Jan 31, 2006

Overrated films part 8.

I may catch a lot flack from Malick fans for this, but since no one I know is a true apologist for the often times absent director I feel some critisism thrown his way is due. Terrence Malick fans are often times more loyal than your eccentric 'Star Wars' buff; however for different reasons. When you critique the George Lucas franchise his legions of devotees feel obligated to defend his work at all costs. Star Wars are at the core children's' films and trash talking them is to any fan a seeming attack on their childhood, or at least their adult side clinging to their adolescence.

Terrence Malick fans are worse. Not only are you critiquing their entertainment, but you're also stepping on their intellect. I believe devotees of his work feel they are somehow intellectually and aesthically superior to a general public who will wait in line for 'Big Momma's House 2'. While I do find elements of Malick's films refreshing I will not accept him as a god of cinema that so many claim him to be.

'The Thin Red Line' was a perfect example of directorial hubris. After a two decade long absence from cinema Malick helmed this project with much praise even before the movie came out. Fans of 'Badlands' were eagerly anticipating the next great film while looking forward to late night discussions on each and every detail in the movie.

The movie has moments of greatness, but it's a dull, preachy, and sometimes insulting experience. The film takes place in the Pacific theatre of WWII and chronicles small stories of numerous characters. Many stars lined up to be in the film if only for a few minutes. John Travolta, George Clooney, Nick Nolte, and Sean Penn just to name a few. I wonder if they thought they were going to be in the next truly great film.

After an interesting and exciting first half showing the American takeover of a Japanese base the movie kicks into low gear and slowly wallows into sheer boredom. Characters come and go after their stories are told, which are often times uninteresting. The theme of war being populated by thousands of souls who feel disconnected by the violence was beat into you for almost three hours and would never move on. Malick reminded me of a news analyst repeating themselves over and over again. The last half of the film churns out some of the best visuals I've ever seen, but a narrative that is disjointed and preachy. If this theme were of a religious nature people would turn in disgust. My buddy Kyle said the second half of the movie is nothing but a pretty screensaver.

The movie opened on the tails of Speilberg's Saving Private Ryan. Most movie goers preferred the Tom Hanks story of rescuing the last of the Ryan clan. The Thin Red Line though had it's very vocal minority praising the film as one of the best ever. The film was nominated for numerous Academy Awards, but rightfully won the Cinematography honor. Again it has some of the best photography I've ever seen if film. Too bad the story wasn't as compelling.

The Thin Red Line trailer:

"Pretty pictures and vague pondering do not a movie make!" - Edward Johnson-Ott

Jan 30, 2006

Toys that are too expensive.

This weekend I traveled up to Bellingham for a visit with Andrew and the folks. Pretty tame trip, but one of the highlights was window shopping at the local Harley Davidson Store. Andrew invited me to go looking at motorcycles. The Pretty Girl and I arrived before Andrew did and I looked around at bikes that I can barely afford. Some were true gems. The store offered zero down with zero interest.

Oh the temptation. I could sit there and finally ride the Fatboy or RoadKing that I've been dreaming of in the summer months. I could take rides to the coast, mountains, etc and embrace the scenic beauty of our state from the back of a noisy hog. I would carry my camera in my saddle bags and shoot all sorts of gorgeous pics. Oh god I love the idea of owning an expensive Harley.

Andrew showed up and we looked around and we probably annoyed, or at least entertained, the Pretty Girl with our boyish grins and drooling all over the high priced chrome motorcycles. He really wanted me to get one, but I declined as I have other expenses in my life that I'm saving up for. As I walked away I kind of regret not blowing more money than I can afford at a luxury item that I've been wanting since I was 12, but I decided to be old and sensible. I don't know how I feel about that.

“And I to my motorcycle, parked like the soul of the junkyard restored, a bicycle fleshed With power, and tore off up Highway 106 continually drunk on the wind in my mouth wringing the handlebar for speed, wild to be wreckage forever” - James Dickey



I haven't read James Frey's 'A Million Little Pieces'. I haven't had any real desire to do so, that is until now. I've read many a story about drug addiction as well as known many recovering and practicing drug addicts. Their stories are sometimes spectacular and often times harrowing.

As you are probably aware James Frey's memoirs have been called into question because of it's inaccuracies. Many readers claim they felt betrayed by the author's creative liberties. Book reviewers, journalists, and other media professionals are now thrusting the story into the limelight while a lot of the public is calling for Frey's crucifixion.

Now there's Oprah. Yes you regular reader(s) may note that I'm not a big fan of hers nor do I understand how she's reached the status of a deity amongst many daytime television viewers. Oprah placed his book on her famous book club list. After the allegations of "fraud" the queen of superficial television brought him on her show for an interview. She decided to berate him for lying to the public and scold him like he was a child. She claimed she felt duped by his exaggerated claims, such as the fact he wrote he spent 89 days in jail when in reality he only spent a few hours. Throughout the interview she talked down to him with a holier than thou approach.

"I have been in television since I was 19 years old, and I have never been in this position," she said at the outset of the program. "To everyone who has challenged me on" the subject of the book's veracity, she later admitted, "you are absolutely right." To Frey, Winfrey said, "It is difficult for me to talk to you because I really feel duped ... but more importantly I feel that you betrayed millions of readers."

My parents were conservative folk, but some of the remnants of the counter culture remained with them while they raised me. One of life's lesson they reminded me of over and over again was to not believe everything you read.

Drug addiction is a serious issue and many feel passionate about stories such as Frey's; however I can't understand all these thoughts of betrayal. Autobiographies are more fiction than fact. We are viewing the person's life through an extremely limited perspective and should always take them with a grain of salt. Most readers should know this. Why then did they take Frey's writings so seriously? He's just one man recounting his experience. As I understand it he never brought in anyone else's opinion on his recovery.

Take for example a story of your past you might tell. Then ask a friend who was present to tell the story. Do you find little or often times huge inaccuracies between the two narrations?

Mick Foley, a pro wrestler, did a book tour years ago promoting his autobiography. He stated on every stop that he felt the publishing industry was far more fake than pro wrestling could even try to be. That's saying quite a bit people.

The first time I came across such blatant lies in memoirs came with the book Satan's Underground. My parent's bought a copy of it and had it lying around so one day I picked it up. It was a woman's account with Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) and how she struggled to live a somewhat normal life after the horrific tales she told. The book goes on to give a somewhat vague account of a huge network of devil worshippers involved in child porn, prostitution, and infanticide. This book was widely praised by many high ranking Christian publishers such as Hal Lindsey. Even as a 15 year old I questioned some of the accountings in the book as events seemed to be changed for dramatic purposes, but the overall story I thought was valid. The author was prominately displayed on TV talking about the supposed widespread SRA including the infamous Geraldo show where he "investigated" SRA.

Years later I came across an article in Cornerstone magazine, a Christian publication, which investigated her claims and found them to be entirely false. After interviewing her family and friends they found that most of the claims could've never happened and that she was mentally ill. After the SRA scare died down and the FBI couldn't find any evidence of a vast conspiracy her star faded thankfully. The witch hunt that developed from her book was truly amazing.

Now all these whiny people who sit there and complain about Frey's book should know better. Oprah is in no position to make someone feel shitty for falsifying information. If we believe everything she told us we would only assume that her weight loss plan(s) work and it's important to follow celebrity culture.

I am curious to see if the book sales actually go up because of all this publicity.

"Autobiography is probably the most respectable form of lying." - Humphrey Carpenter

Oprah Confronts Author James Frey

Jan 29, 2006

Republicans keep great company.

Chinese censors have decided to close screenings of the film 'Brokeback Mountain' because of it's gay content. Now lets ponder this.

First off China has an extreme population problem to the point where infanticide is practiced. You would think a little buttsex would actually be welcome there. They have invaded, tortured, and robbed the Tibetan people of their culture. They openly threaten the supposedly sovereign nation of Taiwan even going so far as to turn a blind eye to UN doctrine. They have set up numerous Stalinesque sweat shop labor factories in order to boost their economy while largely overlooking any workers rights.

Why does the Chinese left sound so US right?

"There are more gulags that are operating in China today than there were when Solz wrote the book." - Frank R. Wolf

China censors decree gay cowboy film too sensitive

Jan 27, 2006

Worse than a creditor.

I don't understand prostitution. I would never pay someone for sex even if they looked like Keira Knightley, Salma Hayek, or Grace Kelly. It's just not for me. Or maybe it's because I'm too poor to afford one that has a full set of teeth and is under the age of 47. Seriously I really don't understand the attraction of paying a girl to do down on you no matter how hot.

A man in the UK suddenly realized that he had no money to pay a hooker for her services. Rather than call her pimp for a beatdown the woman took matters into her own hands...err make that mouth. She did what any reasonable woman of the night would do. She bit his penis for about 45 seconds which landed the man onto the surgical table.

Let this be a lesson to all you. Well I don't think anyone who reads this actually pays for sex. Lapdances maybe. Phone sex...hmm...okay maybe once in high school on the speakerphone at a party before your girlfriend walked in on you guys listening in and laughing and wouldn't speak to you for a week and....uhhhh.

"Britney would make a better prostitute than Christina. She's thicker." - Snoop Dogg

Client needed op after prostitute bit penis

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

So a friend of mine who will go nameless has decided to try and meet Asian girls. Not Asian girls in the US, but correspond with them overseas. Yep it's an internet dating service for men and women looking for love in the orient.

Now I try and not judge my friend's search for love. He's a moral person with a good set of values, but I don't understand how anyone can do this. Call me old fashioned, but I just never got the whole internet dating thing in the first place much less one where the couples are seperated by an ocean, literally.

Just read the testimonials listed on the site. Holy god are they comedy gold. Listed through the site are a bunch of ugly men with attractive women. Some of the pictures are extremely telling. Note how few of the testimonials are written by the women.

Whether it be the old geezers, the geeks, or the dude who looks like Meatloaf, the countries these girls are from must suck horribly for them to actually get naked with these guys. Some of them are relatively attractive and probably have a lot of money; however I imagine that's not the norm. I really feel sorry for some of these women as well as the men. Not sorry enough to get a good chuckle from the pics.

"I have found my soul-mate and I believe it is karma that we found each other on AsianEuro." - Brian, AsianEuro user.

Just a few of the success stories....

Jan 25, 2006

Don't be evil, but being a dictator's bitch is okay.

Google is now censoring it's search engine results in China. The Chinese government doesn't like their citizens looking up sites with terms such as boobies, freedom, etc. and has since barred Google from being used in the country. Sensing a huge market surge in the region Google has come to an agreement with the Maoist government.

Now I like Google's products. I use them obviously, but I find the "Don't be evil" motto amusing. When it came out it garnered a lot of press and many websites were praising Google's anti-satanic message. Internet users tired of big corporations such as Microsoft, Sun, and Oracle dominating the market found the search engine quality and mission statement refreshing.

It's not Google's incentive not to be evil, but to profit. Censorship is considered the ultimate Lucifer amongst internet users and yet the shareholders of Google could care less. They don't give a damn about evil or good. They just want to make money like any corporation. Don't be fooled by the hype of any company whether it be Google, Microsoft, Wal-Mart, or GM. Just because they may provide a good product doesn't mean they have your best interests in mind.

"I personally like that Google is pushing the envelope on fair use and other issues." - Joichi Ito

Google Agrees to Censor Results in China

Marlon Brando was gay and you're supposed to buy a book and give a good shit.

I'm a huge Brando fan. When I was about 12 one Saturday afternoon I sat down in front of the TV and watched The Wild One. I was hooked. I wanted to be Johnny. Shortly thereafter I rented A Streetcar Named Desire and again I was mesmerized at the man playing Stanley. I own most of his finer works such as The Godfather and On the Waterfront.

A book is being published which is said to have a pic of Marlon sucking a guy off. He supposedly slept with everybody from Marilyn Monroe to Cary Grant. Now I have a horrible gaydar, but I never suspected him of being gay. Really though would you buy a book about his bi-sexuality? How boring would that be? Imagine the table of contents of the upcoming book:

Chapter 1: Marlon fucked a girl.
Chapter 2: Marlon fucked a man.
Chapter 3: Marlon fucked a man and a girl.
Chapter 4: Marlon fucked a man in the back of a cab while Montgomery Clift watched and masturbated.
Chapter 5: Marlon was arrested. Goats were involved. Errol Flynn flees the scene.
Chapter 6: Marlon and Cary, A Gay Affair to Remember.
Chapter 7: Marlon is still gay, fucks another man.
Chapter 8: Marlon only sleeps with women to convince himself he's not all the way gay.
Chapter 9: Marlon is still fucking a lot of people.

These days are we supposed to be shocked that a Hollywood star had gay sex? Seriously if someone told me that Tom Hanks regularly attends orgies with the clinically obese while midgets dressed as Nazis goose step around the room and Russell Crowe and Dennis Quaid watch as they fondle each other and recite poetry by Robert Fulghum I would not be surprised at all.

"The only reason I'm in Hollywood is that I don't have the moral courage to refuse the money." - Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando was gay

Should I just turn a blind eye?

Most blogs I read are of the liberal slant, but I do read some conservative sources to get the other side. I never read political blogs for accurate information, but more for entertainment sound byte purposes. They serve my needs and I enjoy them; however I'm afraid most people take them way to seriously.

They are a dominant force in the internet political landscape. Coming from a generation who gets most of their news from the Daily Show the trend is disturbing. It's not the job of most bloggers to provide accurate information nor act as a responsible journalist. It's their job mostly
to opine and a lot of times to sell add space. Actually it's not much different than any 'regular' journalist. Whenever I blog about our government you can always bet that you're going to hear the side of Erik and on one else.

I haven't found a moderate blogger out there. Most are slanted one way or another, because that's what entertains people I guess. Moderates don't really have a strong voice in politics, because frankly it's boring. Conservatives and liberals work well, because they have a strong agenda that's passionate. Reason does not sell.

There are many double standards of the Republicans that it makes me cry, but for now I'll point one out at the Democrats. Hillary Clinton namely. She recently compared Congress being run as a "plantation" to a black church congregation. When she made such comments the audience seemed rather hushed, but right leaning websites blasted her comments as showboating a national tragedy.

They really do have a point. When I watched the speech I saw the Illinois native suddenly speak with an accent, although I'm unclear as to which accent she was trying to convey. She stood up there and tried to make herself one of the people. The idea of that is laughable.

The media fallout was really mute and no one really paid much attention to it. Why? This is the second time she's made comments of this nature. You probably don't remember the time she made a terrible joke about Gandhi running a gas station, because again no one really cared.

The Clintons' have been bulletproof for a long time, but someone in the Democratic party really needs to sit her down and tell her that this is inappropriate. If a Republican did this they would be tarred and feathered. Look what happened to Trent Lott when he toasted the jackass Strom Thurmond. Granted I have no sympathy for Trent, but Republicans are more willing to abandon all party loyalty in favor of shooting down someone who is perceived of racism to make it seem like their really taking care of bigotry in the GOP. When a Democrat does this people just think they made a bad joke. A Democrat can't be racist, because they're a Democrat after all.

I don't believe Hillary is a racist, but I do think she needs to use better judgment when making statements as this. She has shown to me that she exists so far outside of the mainstream that she has forgotten how to communicate with the common folk. I'm tired of being disgusted with the Republican party, but I look at the incompetence of the Democratic leadership and contemplate a Canadian visa. They both sicken me.

"He ran a gas station down in St. Louis." - Hillary Clinton on Gandhi.

Clinton's 'plantation' remark draws fire

Jan 24, 2006


I remember 1992. I was in high school getting ready to graduate. Young, naive, and still wondering what it was I was going to do with my life. I was in love, in the best shape of my life, and had no clue about the complicated world that I inhabited.

The earth was changing at least in my tunnel vision. The cold war was over and it seemed the world would be safer. Butt rock was going the way of the dodo. Environmental causes were becoming a necessity rather than a hippie cross to bare.

The first time I saw Bill Clinton speak I was hopeful. Granted he wasn't a great speaker at the time, but I believed in him. After the Gulf War part 1 as well as Panama I really wanted to see the tyrant elder Bush ousted from the White House. Being 17 I couldn't vote yet, but I really thought that Clinton was someone to believe in. I thought young people would head out in droves to polls. Sadly hardly anyone of my generation did and still don't.

I was normally cynical about politics from an early age, but yet I was so taken with the idea of the Republicans losing control of Presidential politics. Having only remember seeing Bush and Reagan I thought them as everything that was wrong with our electorate. Clinton coming along promising health care, a good economy, and a reign of peace seemed so welcoming I cast aside all thoughts of hatred towards politicians and threw in my lowly support of the man from Arkansas.

Deep down I really didn't like Bill nor Hillary, but I did have hope. He appeared on MTV and was asked the famous question about his undergarments preference. He played the sax. He fucked around. He tried pot. All of this shouldn't matter when picking the leader of the free world, but the young people wanted a change. Sometimes for reasons they never understood. Maybe it was just for the sake of change.

The world was becoming black and white for me and I found safety in that. When November 8th hit I was relieved to hear Bush would be packing his U-haul and a regime change was upon us. The Democrats had the White House, Senate, and House. Things were looking bright.

Then Clinton went to work. He appointed incompetent people to important positions including his wife. Her failed health care plan as well as Bill's own lackluster policy initiatives really brought me down. His only real successes were Republican agendas, such as NAFTA which was a larger blow to the environment than anyone recognizes. The public grew weary of his lack of leadership, but were marveled by his ability to communicate to them.

1996 came and the Republicans took over Congress. I imagine the voters got tired of Clinton's right leaning policies and decided they might as well go with Republicans rather than
Republicans masked as Democrats.

You know the rest. Clinton became an embarrassment, but it took Bush II to make me miss him. I imagine though there was some young Republican in the fall of 2000 who felt just as I did in 1992. Come 2008 I believe they'll feel the same way I did after 8 years of incompetence. I feel somewhat betrayed by my elected leaders and will probably never feel the energy I possessed as a young armchair politician, but I'll always miss 1992.

"Today is a big day in TV history. On this day forty-one years ago, the Beverly Hillbillies aired for the first time right here on CBS. They took a little break, then in 1992, they moved into the White House for eight years." - David Letterman

Jan 23, 2006

New age store.

This weekend turned out to be a great one. The Pretty Girl decided to surprise me with a trip. After a rocky start I picked her up and she told me to head south on I-5. After a long drive we ended up going through my hometown of Longview. She directed me over the bridge to Oregon where I showed her my old childhood home. We then made a stop in the bustling metropolis called Clatskanie. Don't bother looking it up on a map. We stopped and ate dinner at Humps. I'm not kidding. That's the restaurant's real name.

We hit the road again and headed down the Oregon coast where I probably annoyed her with my pointing out many landmarks associated with my younger years. She then directed me into Cannon Beach where we checked in at the Ocean Lodge. Beautiful hotel right on the waterfront with a great view just a little south of Haystack Rock. I don't think I could've picked a better place.

The next day we hiked up the beach into Cannon Beach city center. It's a small quaint costal town with lots of tiny ma and pa shops. My favorite store was Surya's Essence. The place had an on site energy medium who was busy with a client as noted by the sign outside a door. Oh and the sign asked us to be quite, cause energy must be mute I guess. We walked in and saw all sorts of Asian and Hindu statues, crystals that were supposed to be good for you, incense, and a whole plethora of new age material designed to make you a more enlightened person. I love the fact that I can reach nirvana for only $19.95. The crystals fascinated me. They market them as if they were vitamins.

I was browsing the books section where I discovered all sorts of spiritual literature as well as a weight loss book written by Dr Phil. Isn't he fat? Taking weight loss advice from Dr Phil is sort of like hearing an multiculturalism lecture delivered by David Duke.

One clerk appeared in an unusually cheery mood with three mop looking dogs. She had that voice that sounded like someone at a Hooters waitress convention sans the great body. I think she was the energy medium, but I didn't ask for fear I would be stuck in an hour long one sided conversation with a person trying to convince me that my life sucked and all I need was a lot of work done to my aura. Next time I go I'm bringing The Watchtower materials just to see how they would react. The Pretty Girl soon whispered to me that we should get out of there soon to which I agreed.

We did some more shopping. Actually I just followed her around stores while she looked a various tourist items and clothing. We then headed up to Seaside where we played Skee Ball, Air Hockey, and shot hoops at the local arcade. I got to play my favorite video game as well. We did all the costal touristy stuff such as eat the good ice cream, walk along the boardwalk, and sat along the beach and people watched. Well I watched her do that while I imagined what kind of story she had laid out for each person that walked by.

In keeping with dining at oddly named places we ate at the Bigfoot Pub and Grub. Great food and a lively atmosphere for sure if you don't mind seeing a replica sasquatch walking into the joint. There were also stuffed animals and deer antlers as decor. It was actually the second time I ate there which is quite telling.

The Pretty Girl took me to the coast actually as my Christmas present and it is quite possibly the best I've ever received.

"The New Age? It's just the old age stuck in a microwave oven for fifteen seconds." - James Randi

Jan 20, 2006

No excuse for my ignorance.

I walked into a gas station today and saw an Arab man behind the counter. He was reading a leather bound book written in what seemed to be Arabic. I assumed it to be the Koran.

I thought it was kind of cool that his boss seemed to be okay with him carrying religious material in front of customers. Some people may be offended by it, but still this man was reading this proudly in front of everyone. I admired his dedication to his faith. Maybe even envying it. I thought about how he might catch hell from jackasses for his lineage as well as his religion. Poor guy.

He then closed the book and set it down so I could pay for the gas. I looked at the book and it had a cross on it. The guy was reading the Bible. I walked out of there and felt like a complete schmuck. After all the late night discussions during my younger years about race, stereotypes, and media I stood there and sized this guy's whole life up because I saw him read a book. Another clueless guy from the lilly white Northwest.

"The whole idea of a stereotype is to simplify. Instead of going through the problem of all this great diversity - that it's this or maybe that - you have just one large statement; It is this." Chinua Achebe

Jan 17, 2006

In keeping with high journalistic standards.

Usually I find entertainment news uninteresting and entertainment journalists to be the stench that is fowler than witnessed working a graveyard shift with a bunch of men. However I find myself being a hypocrite of the highest order when breasts are involved in any story. Whether they be Tara Reid 'accidentally' exposing herself or scaling the walls of Salma Hayek's home only to find it unoccupied therefore I had no choice but to raid her video collection and sit upon her rocking horse shirtless watching Desperado and waiting for her to come home only to be approached by some pain in the ass cop who claims trespassing laws are in fact a big deal....uhh....wait I never did that. Nope. It was someone else. Yeah.

Wow that got a little silly there.

Anyways I believe the red carpet reporter pictured above is a hero in an age of growing cynicism. We need more men like him. In fact I want to be him if not for only that one glorious moment he was blessed with the grace of the classy Scarlett Johansson's assets. She is quite the giver and bless her for it.

"[on sex scenes] A lot of people get nervous. I try to be relaxed. There are those first few takes where you're like, 'This is awkward', and it's hot and you're almost naked, but if someone catches sight of your bare breasts, you think: 'Let them have it and enjoy it for the day'" - Scarlett Johansson

Jan 16, 2006

Overrated films part 7.

While not horrible, 'Shakespeare in Love' swept the Academys and brought an enormous following that seemed less like fanfare and more like a religion. Like sci-fi spectacles, such as 'Star Wars' and 'Lord of the Rings', fans of this film seem to take any criticism of it as personal, or worse will question your historical and/or cultural knowledge based upon your enjoyment of this film.

I enjoy the works of William Shakespeare, well most of it. I'm a big fan of 'Twelfth Night', 'A Midsummer Nights Dream', 'Hamlet', and 'Henry V'. 'Romeo and Juliet'; however, is one of my least favorite of his plays. It actually ranks as low as 'A Comedy of Errors' in my book. That being said a movie based upon the creation of his most famous penning of star crossed lovers seemed to be a silly concept.

The main problem I have with the movie is that it was a comedy that is not funny. When sitting in the theatre watching the movie I kept trying to imagine if the main character wasn't Shakespeare would people still be laughing? Would humor this corny work in any other period piece? While the attempts at humor were cute they never produced a laugh out loud chuckle. The famous English playwrite nancied about writing down lines he heard on the street and I waited for a stage hand to pop onto the screen with a sign that said "Laugh people. This is really clever." Gags of mistaken identity were induced, but instead of using the comic timing of 'Twelfth Night' the screenwriters borrowed from the inferior 'A Comedy of Errors'.

'Shakespeare in Love' is entertaining; however it's not great. The furious pacing of the beginning was a little much only to have the film slow way down during it's overdone ending. Characters waxed philosophic at times which were supposed to be profound, but it felt shallow and forced.

This is not to say it didn't have it's high points. Some of the acting was good as well as the look of the period was captured with great authenticity.

After the release of the film Mirimax studios went on a media blitz promoting the acting of Paltrow and Fiennes and praising this movie above superior Best Picture nominated films such as 'Elizabeth'. Actually it was a pretty weak year for Best Picture nominees, but still it's hard to imagine this film in the same camp as 'The Godfather'.

Shakespeare in Love trailer:

"Result resembles one of Neil Simon's middlebrow romps more than it does 'As You Like It'." - Laura Miller

Jan 15, 2006

Take two doses of good oral and call me in the morning.

Usually when we get sick we take the age old remedies such as eating chicken soup, resting, and drinking much orange juice. While this is sound reasoning to get over a cold a Swiss researcher has come to the conclusion that the best method for recovery is great sex.

According to Manfred Schedlovski orgasms creates numerous phagocytes which fight your body's ailments. The more orgasms the healthier you will be. "Fuck the sick" is not just a Republican health care plan anymore, but a real humanitarian approach to illness.

“An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away” - Mae West

Hot sex treats common cold

Reasoning with 4yr olds.

My friend Kevin calls me on Saturday announcing that he has his daughter Crystal over and would like me to come and visit. Her mother is insane and he's had difficulty with her agreeing to visitation rights among other things. I could go on and on about Crystal's mom and how she's not fit to take care of herself much less a child, but it depresses me just to think about it.

I head up to Everett and take the child to Toys R Us which is one of my favorite places ever. Crystal tore up the place taking bikes off the racks and riding them up and down the aisles with great speed. She had to try out every tricycle and bike that was equipped with training wheels or she threw a tantrum. Kevin of course let the derby commence.

After what seemed like forever in the store I finally picked out a My First Leap Pad Learning Desk for her. Kevin was very stoked cause he really wanted some learning toys for her which her mother never provides. We went back to Kevin's place and he stated he had to take his roommate to work and asked if I could watch over her. I agreed and the little one helped me put together the desk. Actually she just barked orders at me while I screwed in the legs of the desk and made sure I was doing it right, cause she "would be mad if it was bwoken."

After I put the thing together we sat down and I showed her how to use the Leap Pad. She was very excited using the pen to touch the characters that all responded to her. It's also loud as hell which I love.

After a while she got sick of my presence and said "You need to weave the woom and shut the dooh or my daddy will be mad".

"No I don't," I replied. "I need to watch over you and children don't tell adults what to do."

"Yes you do oh daddy wuh be mad."

"No he won't. He'd actually be upset if I didn't watch you. Now you do as your told or desk time will be over." I left out the part about if her dad was upset I could care less.

"Noooooooooooo," she cried. Kid has a set of lungs on her.

"Stop the tantrum and be good like your daddy said or I'm taking apart the desk."

Crying ceased.

"Okay," she said with a smile. She then went back to playing with her Leap Pad.

I exited the room and told her the door would stay open so I could keep an eye on her. I wasn't gone 2 minutes when I hear her screaming "Ewik, Ewik, Ewik, Ewik."

"What, what, what?" I said running in the room imagining the worst.

"Wook I made staws," she said with an adorable grin. The desk came with stamps shaped like stars and she showed off her stamp art to me with great pride.

"Right on. That's very pretty. Now if you want to show me something just use your inside voice."

"Okay Ewik."

I go to the kitchen to get her some apple juice and once again she screams "Ewik, Ewik, Ewik, Ewik."

I run back inside assuming she stabbed herself with a sharp object. I find her bouncing on her bed.

"I can jump on my bed,"she said as she giggled.

I told her to stop and reminded her of the story of the monkeys that suffered skull damage while doing such an activity.

"I'm no monkey Ewik," she shot back with a frown.

Can't argue with that really.

She stopped though and I sat her on my lap and told her about the boy who cried wolf. She doesn't like wolves now.

I don't even have kids and already I can see my gross incompetence at child rearing.

"Raising kids is part joy and part guerilla warfare." - Ed Asner

Jan 12, 2006

I'm not rooting for the home team. Deal with it.

The Seattle Seahawks have enjoyed real success this year. They have already scored an impressive record of 13-3. Shaun Alexander became the league MVP. They're healthy and ready to take on the Redskins for a possible playoff win, their first since 1984. Everybody in the area is hooting and hollering about the possibility of the Seahawks going to the Super Bowl for the first time ever.

I don't care. I enjoy football, but I'm not going to jump on the bandwagon of the Seahawks just because they are doing well this year. So many times have I heard the line "You have to root for your home team", but when I ask people why they either stare at me dumbfounded or loudly state "because".

Okay. Thanks for clearing that up.

For years that team has been terrible to the community of the Puget Sound. They've had a lackluster history bringing in little revenue then turn around and beg the taxpayers to build them a new stadium. They've threatened to move their team and try and hold the city hostage for their corporate welfare scheme. Granted the taxpayers gladly gave them the vote to use public funds to build the stadium overlooking real issues such as education, health care, traffic, etc. I guess everyone who voted for the stadium believes that professional sports are more important than the real public good.

Don't' get me started on the whole Bosworth fiasco.

I'm not going to root for them no matter how successful they are just because I live here. I'm not going to support every policy Bush makes because I'm an American. I'm not going to listen to Modest Mouse because they're from Issaquah. I don't have to give my fandom to anything because they are located near me. Asking someone to blindly use their money and energy into an organization that they don't care about is almost as bad as asking someone not to question the war in Iraq and using the unpatriotic excuse.

Sports fans are no worse than Harry Potter fans. I can say this because I am a fan of sports. Don't ask me to cheer for Hasselbeck or try to stick up for Paul Allen's selling of our public funds or to buy some sort of memorabilia. Oh and if the Seahawks do keep on winning don't ask me to refer to them as 'we'. Neither you or I had anything to do with them winning. I use to play football and I know as well as any player that no amount of fan cheer will help me play better. Anyone else who tells you otherwise is disillusioned or a liar.

I do wish the team success and if you like the Seahawks then enjoy the season by all means. Don't look down on me if I choose not to. Oh and grow the fuck up.

"I've never been one of those crazy guys. It's just that people have an impression that the Boz lives 24-7. Once the game was over, Mr. Hyde was gone and Dr. Jekyll came out." - Brian Bosworth

Jan 9, 2006

Dating brought to you by Sean Hannity

Dating websites are nothing new. The internet seemed to be created for the sole purpose of people hooking up. Sean Hannity, famous Fox News naz...err...conservative pundit, has created his own dating service for his radio listeners. The thought of a bunch of Hannity fans breeding disturbs me.

"Iraqis are not going to be bombed by the United States. The United States will use pinpoint accuracy, like we always do." - Sean Hannity


Overrated films part 6.

Next up on the overrated list is 'Gladiator', and no I'm not talking about the boxing movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr (what the hell happened to his career?).

While being technically proficient 'Gladiator' sports some of the worst dialogue I've ever heard in such a critically acclaimed film. The visuals looked good, although the constant use of shaky cam was really annoying. The story seemed to be hashed together by writers working against a short deadline and the preachy nature of the movie really seemed insulting. Trying to tie together the decadent violence of Roman entertainment with modern day voyeurism was way to obvious to me and the script arrogantly tried to make it seem subtle.

"Rome is the mob. Conjure magic for them and they'll be distracted. Take away their freedom and still they'll roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the senate, it's the sand of the coliseum." Yeah, we got the point very early in the film, but the screenwriters decided to pound it into us for the entire length of it.

I know many people who love this film, but again you have to ask yourself if this really deserves Best Picture and all the critical acclaim and box office success. I like Russell Crowe as an actor. His work in LA Confidential and Romper Stomper was brilliant; however he could not carry this film.

Gladiator trailer:

"There's something Jerry Springeresque about Gladiator." - Christopher Null

In sickness and in health

I woke up this morning coughing up a storm. After the hacking was done I stood up and realized my ears were all clogged and my balance was that of Hunter S Thompson on an ether binge. After a perilous drive to work I sat at my cubicle and contemplated why I even went in tonight. I'm sitting here now drinking tea and as much orange juice as I can muster.

This weekend was rather fun. The Pretty Girl and I went shopping at the local yuppie mall. Most of you who know me are probably chuckling at the thought of this considering what a horrible consumer I am, but I actually had a good time. I stood patiently as she spent what seemed like an eternity looking at bedding, but she found a great deal on sheets and pillowcases. She spent over $300 dollars less then the normal price. Ahh sales.

I morphed from Erik the slob to Erik the dress up doll as I tried on new jeans. Since I've lost the weight I've been sporting jeans that were way to big for me and put off buying new ones. Clothes never really mattered to me as long as they were comfortable; however they were becoming a real eye sore for anyone who saw me in them. I went into the store and grabbed some pants off the rack and made my way to the fitting rooms. At the end of the fitting room hallway were a bunch of women standing there waiting to see their men come out in their new clothes. The girls faces were eager with anticipation in the hopes that their masculine counterparts were finally going a more metro look. Faces were beaming with pleasure as the guys walked out of the rooms all looking at the girls nervous to see what reaction may ensue. The guys all gave me that look that said "We feel your pain. It'll all be over soon. She's going to be happy so just deal with it." The sacrifice of manly dignity was all worth it as I actually like the stuff I got which is a rarity for me when I shop for clothes.

I'm planning a trip to North Carolina to be at Noah and Shari's wedding. The Pretty Girl's parents live there and I'll be meeting them for the first time. Yes I'm nervous as hell, but it'll be cool. Hopefully they won't hate my guts. If I ever have a daughter I pity the boy who comes to meet me.

"Shopping is a woman thing. It's a contact sport like football. Women enjoy the scrimmage, the noisy crowds, the danger of being trampled to death, and the ecstasy of the purchase." - Erma Bombeck

Jan 8, 2006

Sweetie or sucker?

In an attempt to win back his girlfriend Jim Curtin, who collected Elvis memorabilia for over 30 years, has decided to auction off his goods relating to the King. Apparently she left him because she was tired of his time being spent on collecting stuff in his worship of the famous drug addled star.

This poses many interesting questions to the female readers of Erik's Ramblings, if there are any. A lot of times this blog is mostly male centric, which is convenient cause I'm a guy who enjoys sports, beer, fast cars, pin up girls, etc. I also like musicals, old movies, poetry, and other art forms. How I came to this duality of tastes I don't know.

Okay back on track here. Ladies if you happen to meet someone who has an obsession over a hobby that bothers you would you pursue the relationship? If sports annoy you and the guy makes no mention to hide his fascination with a particular game and/or team and you hate everything about it would you still date him? If so would you continue a relationship with said guy would you constantly nag the guy to change his compulsive ways? If so why?

This also poses some questions for guys. Would you give up your plasma TV Sunday football watching because your girl hates it even though she doesn't have to watch it? Would you put aside your restoration of your classic car or any other time consuming hobby all because she desires more time out of you?

I've never understood this kind of thinking. Hobbies and interests don't bother me as long as there's no animal sacrifices or addictions, but if I felt that someone was hooked on something beyond rehabilitation I wouldn't continue to date her. That's just me though.

Now is this guy a sweetie or a sucker?

"I don't know anything about music. In my line you don't have to." - Elvis Presley

Man auctions Elvis collection for love

Jan 6, 2006

Hey kids. Lets make fun of Chuck Norris. It'll be cool.

So there seems to be quite a trend going on where people are amused by the mildly funny tongue in cheek "facts" about Chuck Norris that is floating everywhere. My inbox today was inundated with emails listing the supposed facts. While some of them are funny you get the idea around the third listing that the rest are going to be about Chuck being a bad ass.

I don't know how this fad got started really. I like making fun of Patrick Swayze, The Hoff, and Pat Buchanan, but I'm always years behind current trends. There is of course the infamous line at the end of Dodgeball where Ben Stiller in a fat suit taunts the muscle bound ninja killer by saying "Fucking Chuck Norris". It's all your fault Ben.

Conan O'Brien hosts the often hilarious Walker Texas Ranger clips. This is where he plays a clip from the show and then berates it. Good stuff.

Conan's "Walker: Texas Ranger" clips

Not to be outdone CollegeHumor.com has several posting of pics of students with pictures of Chuck Norris in their dorm rooms as well as action figures and even art dedicated to the star of Braddock: Missing in Action III.

I've only seen two Chuck Norris movies, Delta Force and Invasion USA. I decided even as a 12 year old that never again would I dare to watch another one. Watching those movies will make you dumber. I blame Chuck for my current adult stupidity. I do own a Total Gym though. That's embarrassing really. Then again I do have a George Foreman Grill. I'm kind of lame.

I so can't wait till it's cool to poke fun at the annoying British guy on American Idol.

"Men are like steel. When they lose their temper, they lose their worth." - Chuck Norris

Jan 5, 2006

Overrated films part 5.

It's really hard to call 'Robin Hood Prince of Thieves' overrated since it did not receive critical acclaim, but the box office success of the miserable film was huge. Everyone I knew loved it and still some people admit they enjoy watching the merry Kevin Costner lead his band of robbers through Sherwood Forrest.

I was really excited to see this movie as a teenager. As a wee lad I was thrilled by the original 'The Adventures of Robin Hood'. My dad bought me a toy bow and arrow set and I shot empty pop cans off the fence with it. When I was twelve I upgraded to a compound bow and shot at targets placed upon hay bales. I also can't count how many times I would run about with toy sword in hand pretending I was kicking the shit out of Prince John and robbing the filthy rich.

The movie came and I took my high school sweetheart. I sat there and thought what a piece of dog turd. Not only did Kevin Costner not look, act, or talk like any Robin Hood anyone imagined, but he displayed zero chemistry with the horrible actress Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. The look of the movie was dark, dreary, and really never captured the life of any of the legends. The only saving grace of the movie was Alan Rickman who really seemed to have fun with role. The dialogue was muted and even the swordplay was mediocre. Don't get me started on the ridiculous attempts at humor.

Now when you think of Robin Hood you normally associate it with family fare, but is showing the Sheriff of Nottingham trying to rape Maid Marian really necessary? Does the movie need to start off with chopping off hands? Since when did anyone view Robin Hood as the brooding thoughtful type and not the character that was full of life and love?

We walked out of the theatre and before I could apologize for taking her to see it she started to skip and tell me how she loved it. I walked along side her thanking God I didn't say something.

And then came the Bryan Adams song. Everyone in my generation knows it for you couldn't escape it. The love ballad sung by our favorite Canadian hit the airways at full steam. Every couple I knew in high school had it designated as their song. I even heard it being played in various retail outfits and yes even at weddings. I wonder if those couples who chose that song for their nuptuals feel ashamed of it.

The song would just not go away. Every station you tuned into had it playing for what seemed like an endless loop. It was miserable I tell you.

A trip down memory lane:

"I draw on my memories but blended with a lot of fantasy...but let's set the record straight on something! The Summer of '69 has nothing to do with the actual year 1969. It's about making love and looking back at the good old times." - Bryan Adams

Pat Robertson starting the New Year with a bang.

The second stroke of Ariel Sharon has the left the world wondering about the future of Israel and the important role he played in giving up land that was acquired during the '67 war to the Palestinians. While the international community waits patiently for any update on the health status of the Israeli Prime Minister Pat Robertson decided to play doctor and use his best excuse for any ailment, The Lord.

Yes the Rev Patrick feels that Sharon is feeling God's wrath because he gave up the almighty's land to the Palestinians. I would've assumed the stroke was the result of being a fatty and having one of the most stressful jobs on the planet, but I'm no physician.

I'm not sure what the exact borders God mapped out for Israel. Regardless Robertson should've have called for prayer for Sharon, who he calls a friend, instead of promoting the idea that God will enact vengeance in the form of poor health even when they lead a gluttonous lifestyle.

"There is no such thing as separation of church and state in the Constitution. It is a lie of the Left and we are not going to take it anymore." - Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson: Sharon’s stroke is God’s wrath

I actually kind of miss the Nigerian scam.

Tired of injustices being handed to the public? Sick of hearing about slick greedy lawyers punishing homeowners for simply having a burglar fall down and break a bone? Well here's a story that proves that there are just and noble courts in our often misguided legal community.

A Florida man was sued by a small ISP, CIS, for spamming. The complaints involved high trafficking of their servers and falsely using the ISP's domain name when sending the emails. The judge ordered the spammer to pony up 11 billion dollars. That's right. $11,000,000,000.

The owner of CIS, Robert Kramer, seems to understand that he'll never see the money; however everyone involved, sans the spammer, seems happy with the judgment. Most ISPs and even consumers know that this ruling will not eliminate spam, nor will it even make much of a dent. Most spam originates from countries such as China and Russia where it's difficult to track the perpetrators.

This is my plea to all of you. Please for the love of all that is holy do not purchase things from spam mail. Their products will not enlarge your breasts or penis, nor will some Nigerian give you over $100,000 for a hundred dollar investment. There is no such thing as an email tracking program and Bill Gates will not send you money for simply sending personal email. Just don't do it.

Purchasing these products and services costs everyone. When spammers clog the servers in ISPs the companies have to hire more labor and more equipment. Who pays? The user of course. Cut the demand and it saves all of us a lot of money.

I wish we could develop a program that would send an electric shock through the mouse when anyone clicks an email that states in it's subject line EN1&R6E YOUR PEN15. Better yet the speakers would loudly boom "YOU HAVE A SMALL WILLY...HAHAHAHA...." in a girly voice over and over again. Would send a lot of idiot men with small pee pees to the unemployment line.

"Like almost everyone who uses e-mail, I receive a ton of spam every day. Much of it offers to help me get out of debt or get rich quick. It would be funny if it weren't so exciting." - Bill Gates

Clinton Internet provider wins $11B suit against spammer

Jan 4, 2006

Arrogant observations about a world I don't understand.

Last night the Pretty Girl and I went and saw Spielberg's 'Munich' after enjoying a great meal with friends at the Claim Jumper. Arguably the worst film to go see after having such a good time. I'm glad I saw it though for it was one of the most thought provoking movie I've seen in a long time.

'Munich' fictionalizes a Mossad group that hunts and assassinates planners of the Black September terrorist organization. Years ago I watched 'One Day in September' which chronicles the events of the Palestinian terrorist group taking Israeli athletes and coaches hostage during the 72 Olympic games. The documentary was extremely powerful and critical of the German authorities incompetence at keeping the hostages alive. The director seems to point blame at the stubbornness of Berlin's sovereignty which kept any other national law enforcement agency out of the picture. However equipped the Germans may or may not have been during the siege is relevant; however it is shadowed in how it escalated violence in the Middle East region and it changed politics not only for the Olympics, but the world in general. Many believe the hijacking of the Lufthansa, which lead to the release of the three surviving Black September members involved in the Munich standoff, was set up by the Germans to wash their hands clean of the event and to help keep more terror attacks out of their country.

The documentary also strengthened my belief that terrorists always win. Now before you call me some Palestinian sympathizer just try and hear me out. At the end of 'One Day In September' one of the remaining survivors from Black September spoke about how proud he was of the work he did in Munich. He and his group wanted to bring attention to their plight and they accomplished just that. By giving the terrorists the media coverage is the first thing they ask for and the one thing they always achieve. The problem is that the logic dictates to keep the world fixated these terrorists keep upping the ante, hence 9/11.

Spielberg's film is his best work in years. I find his body of work truly amazing. Here's a man who can keep America entertained with popcorn fare such as 'Jurassic Park', 'Indiana Jones', and 'E.T.' and yet provide bits of thought provoking films scattered through his list of no brainer entertainment. Some work ('Schindler's List', 'Empire of the Sun') while others simply fail to engage the audience ('Amistad').

Munich; however, provokes thought and discussion about a critical conflict that may be the powder keg of our lifetime. While Spielberg does not provide easy answers to the idea of the morality and consequences of retaliation they are themes worth exploring. The violence in the film is often graphic and brutal not because of the imagery, but by how the audience can see the unintended effects of retaliatory activity. The performances and cinematography are some of the best. Never is a scene sensationalized nor is the use of color or lighting overdramatic. It works best in it's simplicity.

I've read a few articles on both sides of the conflict denouncing this film. For some reason these people believe all discussion around this subject should be silenced. It's amazing that people on both sides can critique the movie's themes and/or agenda. Man hears what he wants to hear I guess.

I have no answer for peace in that region, nor does Spielberg. Sometimes I find myself arrogant enough to even think I might. What can any comfortable American really understand about the plight of the Israeli and Palestinian people? I used to believe naively that Israel should give the Palestinians their own state and that should keep the peace. I came to the conclusion later that the Palestinian leadership is not interested in coexistence. They could give a shit less about a nation. They just want to see the Israelis off the map. They had their chance for a nation and they didn't take it. As long as the Arab nations openly supports or turns a blind eye to the PLO and Hamas peace will never reign. If America and Britain do not choose to demand that Israel take a more reasoned approach to their homicidal policies then the suffering of their people will exist forever.

"Whoever stands by a just cause cannot possibly be called a terrorist." - Yasser Arafat

Overrated films part 4.

The wild success of 'Forrest Gump' baffles me. It really does. This has to be the corniest Best Picture winner since 'The Greatest Show on Earth'.

I'll never forget the day I saw that movie. I was working at a movie theatre and went to a screening of it. For those of you unfamiliar the employees would screen the movies the night before they opened to make sure the projectionist put the film together correctly and to make sure the print didn't have any flaws. Of course we all enjoyed getting to see the films before anyone else.

The movie started and for the first few minutes I found it mildly amusing. Then came the "run Forrest run" scene all set in slow motion with deep classical music pounding in the background. That sequence alone sums up the entire film. The rest of the movie waxes philosophic with humor that seemed only destined for bad sitcoms. Some scenes don't even make much sense and really didn't have a point at all.

The general public loved it. For many months afterwards media outlets and public speakers quoted the wisdoms of the fictional shrimp tycoon. I would stand there at my podium at the movie theatre while people exited the theatre crying and/or praising the film as the second coming of 'Citizen Kane'. People often asked me if it was a true story. Yes that's the power of film. People will believe that if you show Lyndon Johnson your ass he would just crack a smile. I guess there could've been someone who played ping pong and got lucky with a shrimp and computer investment, but even then that's a stretch.

Corny is as corny does and that's the real story of 'Forrest Gump'. Like most overrated films this one did have it's high points such as the cinematography and the acting, but it does not deserve to be in the hallowed halls of great cinema.

One of the worst scenes of this miserable film:

"Stupid is as stupid does, and this movie is, indeed, stupid." - Luke Thompson

Jan 3, 2006

Happy New Year

This year brought about many wonderful things. The introduction of Wyatt and Madeline tops the list as well as meeting the Pretty Girl. Another year of watching the nephews grow as well as purchasing loud as hell toys for them which probably annoys the hell out of their parents.

This New Years was pretty mellow. The Jiggaman and the Pretty Girl organized a small get together at my place which turned out to be pretty fun. We drank, played poker, and chimed in the new year with kisses and toasts. Not as wild as the time I thought I was in a different town or the one where AS and I shared an entire bottle of vodka after already spending a few hours drinking heavily. About two thirds into the bottle I realized I was the only one drinking. That had to be the most miserable hangover in the history of drinking. The fact I didn't wake up with a toe tag is nothing short of miraculous.

"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." - Mark Twain