20 December 2006
Putting episodes online sucks. Streaming video sucks. Let me at least download it and play it on my TV.
And to top it off, they won't even put the new episodes online until their normal weekly slot.
ABC has only two good shows (Boston Legal being the other), and they just killed one.
I don't know whether to be disgusted or disappointed. Day Break would be better served on FX or pay TV.
Here's the first montage:
This is a mosaic of the extreme ultraviolet images from the STEREO Ahead observatory's SECCHI/Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope taken on Dec. 4, 2006, its first day of imaging. These false color images show the sun's atmospheres at a range of different temperatures. Clockwise from top left:
- 1 million degrees Kelvin (171 A)
- 1.5 million K (195 A)
- 60,000-80,000 K (304 A)
- 2.5 million K (286 A)
08 December 2006
Daybreak is another story. The acting isn't always stellar (although the great Adam Baldwin has perfected the endearing asshole character), but the story and the gimmick is just plain good TV. It's far better than the other litany of serialized dramas that have been cancelled this season, but, like the rest, it's going the way of the dodo. And that's a damned shame. The least they could do is air the episodes they've got in the can, but it looks like I'll have to stream them online.
For this most part, this is a Graphic Novel lover's dream, as most GNs cost around $10, and that's basically a 5-for-3 deal. Pretty snazzy.
But if you're a fan of the great Nate Barlow and Nick Cornish, it works out to a pretty decent deal on their premier DVDs:
Nate: Adam West's Tales from Beyond: $22.08
Nick: Psycho Beach Party: $30.82
Google Checkout Discout: -$20.00
Total: $32.90 plus tax, which is zero outside of California (I believe).
Pretty damned good. Now go abuse the deal.
Other Nick options:
Hometown Legend: $13.18
Code Hunter: $9.98
01 December 2006
Now I can't go to a movie without hearing some jackass's phone ringing, or witnessing some kid text messaging on their blindingly bright phone. When I went to see Casino Royale last weekend (my first movie since September), I caught a 2:15 matinee on Friday. I figured the digital set wouldn't be out that early. Wrong. In the row in front of me, some dude's phone rang twice before he actually ANSWERED it. Guess it would've been rude to turn it off.
Then, at one point in the movie the dude and both of his friends were all checking their text messages a the same time. Those phones are frickin' bright in a darkened theater.
And don't get me started on frackin' Vibrate mode. I can hear it when your phone is vibrating. Everyone can hear it. Turn off the damned phone. There is NOTHING, yes I mean NOTHING, that is so important that you can't be out of touch for 2.5 hours.
You might think that's not the case, but you're wrong. You have what's commonly known as an inflated sense of self-importance. Get some perspective. That email doesn't need to be returned ASAP. If it did, you'd be at work. If someone in your family is dying, or deathly allergic to something, I'm sure whomever is with them knows how to use an epi pen, or to call the paramedics. You're not going to rush home to give anyone CPR, are you? No, I didn't think so. Oh, you're a doctor? Well it's a good thing there are other doctors; a whole lot of them. Some are probably more talented than you are.
Give it a rest. Turn off your phone. Or, better yet, leave it in the car. That way when you "forget" to turn it off, only your leather seats have to hear "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor."
And kids, that backlight is BRIGHT. The only reason I'm not saying anything is that the disruption I would cause by calling you out would be worse than the one you're causing. Get out of the theatre.
Only one film I attended this year, Pirates of the Caribbean 2, was interruption-free. The theater had a very nice "zero-strike" policy regarding such things. Your phone rings, goodbye. You're texting, hasta la vista. Guess what? Great moviegoing experience.
Get your act together, theatres. It's already cheaper for me to buy the DVD than it is to buy two tickets to watch the thing on the big screen.
29 November 2006
09 November 2006
I was having problems with blogger 2 weeks ago, so you get a twofer today. Hopefully week 10 (a.k.a. the Eagles post-bye victory over the Redskins) will see my teams wallow a bit less in the mire. Barb's still got some promise, but outside of the Phalanx, I'm pretty much done for the year in all leagues.
AnyGivenSunday2006: Don't Be Denied denied Philadelphia Phreak (2-6) 65-51
UIUCAAL: Philadelphia Phalanx (4-4) bombed Old English 117-86
WFL: Heir Jordyn crowned Barbie's Bruins (5-3) 83-41
WFL: The Rockets torched The Senators (4-4) 106-62
farleysfootball: Moshville Lightning struck Philadelphia Fear (2-6) 50-42
farleysfootball: Red Sox beaned Bookworms (3-5) 47-26
AnyGivenSunday2006: Philadelphia Phreak (3-6) roased the Dragons 137-113
UIUCAAL: Tusken Raiders gaffi stuck Philadelphia Phalanx (4-5) 91-67
WFL: Barbie's Bruins (6-3) launched the Rockets 80-75
WFL: West Coast Ballers bounced The Senators (4-5) 82-74
farleysfootball: Philadelphia Fear (3-6) d-dayed Slaytanic Whermacht 45-36
farleysfootball: Bookworms (4-5) tined Moshville Lightning 49-41
Nice thing about Week 9 is the Eagles were on a bye, so they couldn't go to 4-5.
29 October 2006
What I was actually upset about is going 0-4 in my fantasy leagues this week. Barb, however, continued her tear and went 2-0 again, with one win, sadly, against yours truly.
AnyGivenSunday2006: Dragons flamed Philadelphia Phreak (2-5) 80-71
UIUCAAL: Crevasse Shrimp peeled Philadelphia Phalanx (3-4) 91-67
WFL: Barbie's Bruins (5-2) mauled The Senators (4-3) 88-82
farleysfootball: Red Sox edged Philadelphia Fear (2-5) 49-48
farleysfootball: Bookworms (3-4) burned 2006 Skins Bandwagon 50-35
At least things can't get worse.
22 October 2006
Wrong. By the time I turned the game on, Grossman had a whopping -7 points, having thrown two interceptions and lost two fumbles. Edge had 40 yards, so I was now down 6. Grossman started playing fairly well in the second half, and then he threw his third interception. Minus 2. Arizona, up 23-10, was playing burn-the-clock, just handing it to Edge, so money in the bank, right? Edge fumbles. Minus 2. Grossman gets the ball back. Grossman throws another interception. Minus 2. That's 6 turnovers now on him alone. It suffices to say that I lost. To add insult to injury, I had Brees and his 28 points vs. my Eagles on the bench. Same with Reggie Brown and his 26 while Andre Johnson and his 8 started.
Plus, the Eagles lost after watching Brees burn down the clock for the last 8 minutes of the game (including 3 knees before the winning field goal).
AnyGivenSunday2006: Philadelphia Phreak (2-4) denied Don't Be Denied 130-100
UIUCAAL: Anchor Bay Assassins slit Philadelphia Phalanx (3-3) 96-91
WFL: Heir Jordyn rattled The Senators (4-2) 114-88
WFL: Barbie's Bruins (4-2) clawed jazzysnastees 87-66
farleysfootball: 206 Skins Bandwagon mossed Philadelphia Fear (2-4) 50-45
farleysfootball: WVU Mountaineers burned the Bookworms (2-4) 65-48
This week in the WFL, The 4-2 Senators vs. The 4-2 Bookworms. Let the only man win.
13 October 2006
Fantasywise, Barb went 2-0 for her second week in a row, while I went 2-2 again.
AnyGivenSunday2006: My Opponent Sucks edged Philadelphia Phreak (1-4) 87-84
UIUCAAL: S-Boro Wolverines farnked Philadelphia Phalanx (3-2) 88-81
WFL: The Senators (4-1) censured Jazzynastees 111-78
WFL: Barbie's Bruins (3-2) torched the Benchwarmers 86-29
farleysfootball: Philadelphia Fear (2-3) eroded the WVU Mountaineers 38-32
farleysfootball: Bookworms (2-3) cut off The Third Legge 34-29
I can't believe how bad the Phreak are this year...usually I'm a force in that league. I need Hasselbeck to step up now that he's through his bye.
Also, I predict Eagles over Saints 28-9. Sorry, New Orleans.
05 October 2006
AnyGivenSunday2006: Kona Loves Chargers zapped Philadelphia Phreak (1-3) 128-80
UIUCAAL: Philadelphia Phalanx (3-1) speared Alabama Hot Pocket 83-61
WFL: The Senators (3-1) splintered the Benchwarmers 100-72
WFL: Barbie's Bruins (2-2) mauled the Diehards 62-56
farleysfootball: The Third Legge spooked Philadelphia Fear (1-3) 50-37
farleysfootball: Bookworms (1-3) shelled the Partyterps 42-36
The only thing that really matters this week is that the Eagles beat the Cowboys. Everything else is static.
27 September 2006
LORRI doesn't have color capability, but Ralph will be sending back color pictures of the gas giant during the rendezvous/gravity assist in January and February. One thing I like about this picture is that it's the first image of Jupiter that I've ever seen that doesn't show the Great Red Spot.
26 September 2006
Fantasy-wise, I was running on all cylinders. I went 4-0, and Barb clocked her first win of the sason, against my dear brother, who's now on a losing streak.
AnyGivenSunday2006: Philadelphia Phreak (1-2) doubled Natronics 120-55
UIUCAAL: Philadelphia Phalanx (2-1) edged Underperformer 85-83
WFL: The Senators (2-1) Maclaned the Diehards 95-67
WFL: Barbie's Bruins (1-2) clawed the Beavers 77.1-76.6
farleysfootball: Philadelphia Fear (1-2) shelled the Partyterps 55-36
farleysfootball: Luckydawgs buried the Bookworms (0-3) 48-36
Barb had the misfortune of going against Matt Hasselbeck this week, otherwise she might've pulled out the victory. Still, a respectable showing for the Bushmans.
Sublime: Jeff's Famous Pizza exhaustively shows you how to make a true Neopolitan-style pizza in your own oven. It may require a little engineering on your part, but Jeff talks you through it.
Horrifying: Dishwasher-Poached Salmon. Need I say more?
19 September 2006
It was again a horrible fantasy week, with Barb and me going 1-5 between us:
AnyGivenSunday2006: Kona Blade Runners carved Philadelphia Phreak (0-2) 89-71
UIUCAAL: ChampCandyCorn carmelized Philadelphia Phalanx (1-1) 110-85
WFL: The Senators (1-1) dammed the Beavers 103-101
WFL: Sniveling Idiots stupefied Barbie's Bruins (0-2) 110-102
farleysfootball: LuckyDawgs gnawed Philadelphia Fear (0-2) 51-37
farleysfootball: Mark Brunell Sucks intercepted the Bookworms (0-2) 48-35
Gotta go make some roster moves and try to stem the bleeding. Next week, 6-0!
14 September 2006
Barbara Bushman of Olney, another returnee, said, "It didn't help to get angry, but I was confused as to how this could happen. How could you can have voting and no ballots for people to vote with?"That this sort of boobery could happen just goes to show you that the only difference between a wealthy county and a poor one is that the idiots are rich.
Bushman said the morning’s problems made her late for work — and she didn’t even get a chance to vote.
"I feel better now," Bushman said after voting Tuesday night. "But now I'm thinking, how could this be a valid election when people couldn’t cast their vote?"
My favorite quote from this morning's WaPo:
You can't make this stuff up.
Andrea LaRue, a lawyer volunteering on behalf of U.S. Senate candidate Ben Cardin, steps up to the counter with a question for [Montgomery County Election Board President Nancy] Dacek.
"Do you have a chain-of-custody plan for the provisional ballots?" LaRue asks.
"A who?" Dacek replies.
12 September 2006
Of course for every yin, there's a yang. Between us, Barbie and I went 1-5 in our fantasy leagues. Here's the roundup:
AnyGivenSunday2006: SupremeSilverSharpie overwrote Philadelphia Phreak (0-1) 99-86
UIUCAAL: Philadelphia Phalanx (1-0) brandted Captain Fantastic 76-60
WFL: Sniveling Idiots dumbed down The Senators (0-1) 79-76
WFL: The Conservatives taxed Barbie's Bruins (0-1) 94-90
farleysfootball: Todd Collins Sucks passed the Philadelphia Fear (0-1) 58-41
farleysfootball: Lucky Legges punted the Bookworms (0-1) 40-37
A poor record, but not discouraging, as all games were close save the The Fear, who had the misfortune of going against Donovan McNabb and field goal machine Jeff Wilkins. The Fear scored the fourth-highest total in the 14-team league, but they played the highest-scorer of the week. Que sera sera.
Onward and upward!
07 September 2006
South: Panthers 12-4
West: Seattle 12-4
East: Eagles 11-5
North: Lions 10-6
Wildcard 1: Giants 10-6
Wildcard 2: Cardinals 10-6
Playoff Round 1:
Eagles def. Cardinals
Giants def. Lions
Playoff Round 2:
Eagles def. Seattle
Panthers def. Giants
NFC Championship: Eagles def. Panthers
South: Colts 13-3
West: Broncos 11-5
North: Bengals 11-5
East: Dolphins 10-6
Wildcard 1: Ravens 10-6
Wildcard 2: Patriots 10-6
Playoff Round 1:
Ravens def. Dolphins
Bengals def. Patriots
Playoff Round 2:
Colts def. Ravens
Bengals def. Broncos
AFC Championship: Bengals def. Colts
Super Bowl XLI: Eagles def. Bengals
Of course, I'm biased.
How will the Eagles win eleven games, you ask? I'm glad you did:
Sep 10 Eagles (1-0) def. Houston
Sep 17 - Eagles (2-0) def. NY Giants
Sep 24 - Eagles (3-0) def. San Francisco
Oct 2 - Eagles (4-0) def. Green Bay
Oct 8 - Dallas def. Eagles (4-1)
Oct 15 - Eagles (5-1) def. New Orleans
Oct 22 - Tampa Bay def. Eagles (5-2)
Oct 29 - Eagles (6-2) def. Jacksonville
Nov 7 - Open
Nov 12 - Eagles (7-2) def. Washington
Nov 19 - Eagles (8-2) def. Tennessee
Nov 26 - Indianapolis def Eagles (8-3)
Dec 4 - Carolina def. Eagles (8-4)
Dec 10 - Eagles (9-4) def. Washington
Dec 17 - NY Giants def. Eagles (9-5)
Dec 25 - Eagles (10-5) def. Dallas
Dec 31 - Eagles (11-5) def. Atlanta
That'll do it.
League: Any Given Sunday 2006
Team: Philadelphia Phreak
QB1 Matt Hasselbeck* 5
QB2 Jon Kitna 8
WR1 Roy Williams* 8
WR2 Joe Horn* 7
WR3 Derrick Mason* 7
WR4 Drew Bennett* 7
RB1 Stephen Jackson* 7
RB2 Carnell Williams* 4
RB3 DeAngelo Williams 9
RB4 Jerious Norwood 5
TE1 Vernon Davis* 7
TE2 Leonard Pope 9
PK1 Neil Rackers* 9
DEF Philadelphia* 9
This league has a lot of starters (10) and a very shallow bench (4). Usually the ratio is more like 8:7. While I've got very good to great talent at all of the skill positions, due to the league's structure my depth isn't great, and on Week 7, I may have to start players on bye weeks because I can't afford to replace them all.
Team: Philadelphia Fear
QB1 Jon Kitna* 8
QB2 Steve McNair 7
WR1 Larry Fitzgerald* 9
WR2 Chris Chambers* 8
WR3 Keenan McCardell 3
WR4 Reggie Brown 9
RB1 Brian Westbrook* 9
RB2 Reggie Bush 7
RB3 Frank Gore 7
TE1 Tony Gonzalez* 3
PK1 Mike Nugent* 9
DP1 Lance Briggs* 7
DP2 Brian Dawkins* 9
DP3 Sheldon Brown 9
DP4 Karlos Dansby 9
I'm not all that happy with this lineup, but it's got potential. I've never played in a league with mandated defensive players, so this'll be a learning experience as well. My guess is they don't matter much, but we'll see.
Team: Philadelphia Phalanx
QB1 Drew Brees* 7
QB2 Steve McNair 7
QB3 Jon Kitna 8
WR1 Torry Holt* 7
WR2 Chris Chambers* 8
WR3 Andre Johnson 5
WR4 Matt Jones 6
RB1 Edgerrin James* 9
RB2 Ronnie Brown* 8
RB3 Reuben Droughns 6
RB4 Fred Taylor 6
TE1 Todd Heap* 7
TE2 Chris Cooley 8
PK1 Lawrence Tynes* 3
DT1 Philadelphia* 9
I love this squad. Solid to rock-star at all skill positions. I should be able to do some real damage here.
League: Woodbine Football League
Team: The Senators
QB1 Donovan McNabb* 9
QB2 Steve McNair 7
WR1 Chad Johnson* 5
WR2 Chris Chambers* 8
WR3 Derrick Mason* 7
WR4 Hank Baskett 9
WR5 Isaac Bruce 7
WR6 Greg Jennings 6
RB1 Carnell Williams* 4
RB2 Mike Bell* 4
RB3 Deuce McCallister 7
RB4 Fred Taylor 6
RB5 Jerious Norwood 5
PK1 Lawrence Tynes* 3
DT1 Minnesota * 6
Running back depth could be a concern for this team, but QB and WR are in great shape. If you've not noticed, I'm high on Chris Chambers and Steve McNair this season. I originally had Drew Brees and Warrick Dunn, but since Brees and McNair had the same bye, a change was needed. The wife had Eli Manning and Donovan McNabb and needed some help at RB, so I gave her Brees and Dunn for McNabb and Deuce McCallister. We'll see how well that works out.
Barb's in two of the same league's that I'm in. She did pretty well in the drafts, also. I'll be updating her performance here as well:
Team: The Bookworms
QB1 Kurt Warner* 9
QB2 David Carr 5
WR1 Terrell Owens* 9
WR2 Roy Williams* 8
WR3 Donte' Stallworth 9
WR4 Eddie Kennison 3
RB1 Lamont Jordan* 3
RB2 DeShaun Foster 9
RB3 Fred Taylor 6
TE1 Ben Watson* 6
TE2 Courtney Anderson 3
PK1 Rob Bironas* 7
DP1 Ronde Barber* 4
DP2 Adrian Wilson* 9
DP3 Deltha O'Neal 5
Personally, I'd like to see T.O.'s hammy bench him for the season and to watch Donte' ascend to the #1 spot in Philly. That'd be good for everyone. Barb got bit by the injury bug early with Dominick Davis bowing out, but since we only start one RB in this league, she was able to replace him easily enough with Fred Taylor.
League: Woodbine Football League
Team: Barbie's Bruins
QB1 Eli Manning* 4
QB2 Drew Brees* 7
WR1 Marvin Harrison* 6
WR2 Antonio Gates* 3
WR3 Jeremy Shockey* 4
WR4 Amani Toomer 4
WR5 Keenan McCardell 3
WR6 Donte' Stallworth 9
RB1 Shaun Alexander* 5
RB1 Warrick Dunn* 5
RB3 Samkon Gado 6
RB4 Derek Blaylock 9
RB5 Michael Pittman 4
PK1 Neil Rackers* 9
DT1 Miami* 8
Najeh Davenport being cut made her pick of Samkon much better, and Donte' as her sixth WR could prove to be a huge steal. I can't say I approve of all of the Giants, but then again I may be biased.
Let the games begin.
06 September 2006
Since I've got to order from England anyway, I'm having them throw in the Sin Sin Sin DVD-EP I tried to buy in Italy/Greece/Turkey and this little gem I've heard so much about.
05 September 2006
21 August 2006
This was started after I saw High Fidelity. Narrowing any "best of" list to 5 ain't easy, but I've given it my best shot. Maybe some more lists will pop up from time to time.
Top 5 Fruit
3. Rainier Cherry
Honorable Mention: Banana, Pineapple, Grape
Top 5 Movies of 2006
1. Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
2. Inside Man
3. Little Miss Sunshine
4. Superman Returns
5. V for Vendetta
Top 5 Movies of 2005
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
2. Batman Begins
3. The Aristocrats
Top 5 Words in the English Language
I'd use these every day, if I could...
Top 5 Awesome Albums I Don't Hear Played Enough
1. No One is Really Beautiful - Jude
2. thirteen tales from urban bohemia - Dandy Warhols
3. Welcome Interstate Managers - Fountains of Wayne
4. Sing When You're Winning - Robbie Williams
5. Drunken Lullabies - Flogging Molly
Top 5 Movies of 2004
1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
3. Kill Bill (complete film)
4. The Incredibles
5. Finding Neverland
Top 5 Movies of 2003
1. Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2. City of God
3. Whale Rider
4. Big Fish
5. Terminator 3
Top 5 Movies of 2002
1. About a Boy
2. Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
3. Nueve Reinas (Nine Queens)
4. Y Tu Mamá También
Top 5 Movies of 2001
1. Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
2. Bridget Jones's Diary
4. Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le
5. Black Hawk Down
Top 5 Movies of 2000
1. High Fidelity
2. Two Family House
3. Finding Forrester
5. Gladiator/Almost Famous (tie)
Top 5 Perfect Albums of All-Time
(where every track is a masterpiece)
1. Paul Simon - Graceland
2. R.E.M. - Life's Rich Pageant
3. The Beatles - Abbey Road
4. The Traveling Wilburys - The Traveling Wilburys
5. Chris Isaak - Forever Blue
Top 5 Movies of All-Time
1. The Princess Bride
2. Angels with Dirty Faces
3. The Empire Strikes Back
4. Raiders of the Lost Ark
5. The Godfather, Part 2
Top 5 Comedies of All-Time
2. Young Frankenstein
3. Annie Hall
4. This is Spinal Tap
5. The Big Lebowski
Top 5 Romantic Comedies of All-Time
1. When Harry Met Sally
2. The Wedding Singer
3. Shakespeare in Love
4. Bridget Jones's Diary
5. High Fidelity
Top 5 Sci-Fi Films of All-Time
2. 12 Monkeys
3. The Abyss
4. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
5. Blade Runner
Top 5 Animated Films of All-Time
1. The Secret of Nimh
2. Beauty and the Beast
3. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
4. Toy Story
5. South Park Bigger, Longer, and Uncut
Honorable Mention: The Iron Giant
Top 5 Fantasy Films of All-Time
1. The Dark Crystal
2. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
3. Time Bandits
4. Army of Darkness
Top Romantic Songs By Decade
(this may be getting a bit too specific, but just something I was pondering today)
1950s: The Sun's Gonna Shine Again, Ray Charles
1960s: (tie) Son of a Preacher Man, Dusty Springfield
Fly Me to the Moon, Frank Sinatra and Count Basie
1970s: Your Song, Elton John
1980s: (tie) In Your Eyes, Peter Gabriel
Romeo and Juliet, Dire Straits
1990s: Sandalwood, Lisa Loeb
2000s: Unemployed Boyfriend, Everclear
Top 5 Books of the 20th Century
1. A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
2. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
3. Catcher in the Rye, J. D. Salinger
4. Cat's Cradle, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
5. A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
Interestingly enough, they all start with C.
Top 5 Literary Characters of the 20th Century
1. Ignatius Reilly, A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole
2. Alex Portnoy, Portnoy's Complaint, Philip Roth
3. Charlie Gordon, Flowers for Algernon, Daniel Keyes
4. R. Daneel Olivaw, The Caves of Steel et al., Isaac Asimov
5. Batman (Bruce Wayne), Detective Comics et al., Bob Kane
Top 5 Worst Movies I Ever Paid Money to See
1. In Love and War
2. Dead Man
3. The Avengers
4. The Blair Witch Project
5. Batman Forever
Top 5 Movies I Love, Yet Know Are Terrible
2. Dude, Where's My Car?
3. The Re-Animator
5. The Phantom
Top 5 Television Comedies of All Time
1. The Simpsons
2. The Muppet Show / Muppets Tonight
3. Monty Python's Flying Circus
Honorable Mention: Mystery Science Theater 3000
16 August 2006
Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest, 3.75 Stars: This movie was everything I'd hoped it would be: exciting, action-packed, well-acted, great effects, beautiful cinematography, and (assuredly) a cliffhanger. Other than it being a bit long (but not tediously so), I have virtually no complaints about this film whatsoever. I would like to update, however, my original impression of the first Pirates film, which, while positive, was less-than-glowing. After repeated viewings, both are masterpieces of action-comedy. I can't wait for the third. Oh, and be sure to stay till the end of the credits.
Superman Returns, 3.5 Stars: After all the hype, it became fashionable not to like this film. Frankly, I don't get it. This was a great superhero movie. It's not Batman Returns, but since Superman ain't Batman, I wouldn't expect it to be. In fact, as Superman stories go, this was fairly dark. First off, I love that they wrote off Superman III and IV. They sucked and are worthy of dismissal. Brandon Routh was more than able as Supes; Kate Bosworth (lovely, if too skinny, as a brunette) was surprisingly good as Lois Lane, and Kevin Spacey was simply awesome as Lex Luthor. Kayser Sose owns every scene he's in. The only character I didn't get was Parker Posey's annoying moll. She was but a pale imitation of Valerie Perrine's great Miss Teschmacher. Bring on the sequel. Then let's have some Christian Bale - Brandon Routh action in Batman & Superman!
She's the Man, 3 Stars: This update of Just One of the Guys (itself an update of Twelfth Night) was on a cross-country flight, so don't worry that I actually shelled out money to see it. The only reason I put my headphones on was that during the opening credits I saw Vinnie Jones and David Cross, a combination not to be missed. It turns out that it's a pretty darned good teen comedy. Amanda Bynes was quite good as the girl in men's clothing who just wants to play soccer. So was everyone else. The real thing this film was lacking (which JOotG had) is boobs. A movie like this needs boobs. Bring on the boobs.
The Da Vinci Code, 2.75 Stars: Notwithstanding the race riot which almost started when Barbie told the folks in front of us to quit text-messaging with their flashlight-bright cell phones, this was a pretty dull interpretation of Dan Brown's bestseller. Tom Hanks's hair was creepy. Audrey Tautou was wooden. Jean Reno wasn't in enough scenes, and Ian McKellen was, as usual, marvelous. Ron Howard is, as always, capable in his direction, but no more. I wish someone like Michel Gondry could've gotten the job and done the book (which was pretty good, but not a masterpiece) justice.
Annapolis, 2.5 Stars: I saw this on the airplane on the way back. This is a passable boxing film disguised as An Officer and a Gentleman. James Franco is the angry, brooding Brando-in-On-The-Waterfront-type who gets into the Naval Academy off the wait list and somehow manages to pass his classes despite being fairly dim and never studying. The film, overall, is watchable, though predictable. Jordana Brewster is ridiculously hot. Tyrese Gibson is a suitably pissed-off Marine (why a Marine is at Annapolis is never explained), and Vicellous Shannon is given his first decent role since Hurricane.
08 August 2006
03 August 2006
...that they are incapable of distinguishing lies from truth, and in the interest of being "fair and balanced," simply let representatives of warring factions dictate what is happening?
...that they are capable of distinguishing lies from truth, but are simply unwilling to do the legwork to do so?
...that they are willing to do the legwork, but have let radical terrorists intimidate them into submission?
It's a doozy, to be sure. Woodward and Bernstein may have brought down a president, but they were fairly (not 100%) certain that they were unlikely to come to any real harm in the course of their investigations. That's the difference between the USA and Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Lebanon. No reporter wants to be the next Daniel Pearl.
So while journalists have relatively free reign in Haifa, Netanya, and the rest of bombarded northern Israel, the ones in Beirut and southern Lebanon have minders and spinners, and are given carefully orchestrated "tours" of the areas bombed by Israelis.
It makes me wonder why supposed "news" organizations would even bother going to report from Lebanon. I suppose they rationalize that some news is better than no news, but broadcasting what amounts to propaganda is more irresponsible than broadcasting nothing at all. Especially when they could go across the border into Israel and walk around wherever they please. I suppose it all comes down to advertising revenue, which sickens me.
I say to all news agencies of the western world: get all of your useless, terrified, browbeaten, propaganda-delivering "journalists" the hell out of Lebanon, and tell Hezbollah that they're not coming back until they are allowed to report the news. If the world only gets the Israeli side of the story, so be it. At least they'll be hearing unvarnished truth. Maybe that'll finally bring some clarity to this mud.
26 July 2006
21 July 2006
The place he's at in Ephesus, Turkey is the restored facade of the Library of Celsus. I was there seven weeks ago, and it is as amazing and impressive as it looks.
20 July 2006
In the meantime, here's how to give your own photographs the signature Frank Miller Sin City look.
21 June 2006
You can also get a closer look on Feed Two.
And, while they're not showing anything worthwhile now, there's feeds Three and Four.
You can also do the ol' refresh every few second option at the KSC ELV Countdown Video site.
Also for the textphile among you, there's regular updates at SpaceFlightNow.
09 June 2006
08 May 2006
Match Point: 3 Stars. This film is basically Woody Allen remaking his own masterpiece Crimes and Misdemeanors in upper-crust London, just not as skillfully. The beauty of C&M was how he wove together the disparate storylines of people of various moralities in an exploration of human behavior and its consequences (just and unjust). Match Point turns C&M's Martin Landau into Jonathan Rhys Myers, a former tennis pro who manages to get very lucky in life and doesn't manage to fully appreciate it until he's gotten to the brink of screwing it all up. The first hour and change of this film is dreadfully boring to this American Jew, but my guess is that is because I'm not a WASPy Brit. WASPy folks probably feel the same way about the neurotic Jewish banter in Allen's earlier films. The movie really hits its stride in the last 45 minutes, and it was a pleasure to watch them. Scarlett Johannsen is as lovely as always, but doesn't really show the depth of emotion required for her part. Hopefully Woody can get a better performance out of her in their next pairing, Scoop.
My earlier ponderings was due to the appearance, in Match Point, of the ubiquitous Ewen Bremner, Spud in Trainspotting. The dude's everywhere...he's like the British Steve Buscemi...anytime they need a not-so-good looking skinny Brit, they go get him. Think about Trainspotting, though. In addition to Bremner: Ewan McGregor (world-famous), Robert Carlyle (slightly less so), Jonny Lee Miller (was huge for awhile), and Kelly Macdonald (not really famous, but damned accomplished. And I don't need to go through the casts of Big Chill and Breakfast Club because you know them all already. Rhys Meyers points out in Match Point that not enough people attribute luck as an essential component of their success. He's got a point.
Mission Impossible 3: 2.75 stars. This whole franchise has been a style-over-substance disappointment, and MP3 was no exception. Still, there's a place for nonsensical, big explosion movies. It was parts spectacle, fun, and ludicriousness, but I enjoyed most of it, despite the Bond-bad-guy-esque anticlimax. Anyone else find it funny that Billy Crudup and Philip Seymour Hoffman reversed positions from their performances in Almost Famous? Sort of, anyway. Also, Rhys Meyers, pick an accent, dude. I couldn't tell where the hell you were from.
04 May 2006
03 May 2006
Mrs. Henderson Presents: 3.25 Stars. There's nothing wrong with a Judi Dench movie with substantial nudity, so long as the twain never meet, and while it was sketchy for a few minutes, they never did, so all was good. MHP is a solid period piece about a nude vaudeville show in London during the blitz. The women are lovely and buxom; the acting is good; the script is excellent; and the story was great. The set directors clearly had some fun, too, as easily half of the "outdoor" scenes are clearly supposed to look like stage sets. While that distracted a bit from the overall immersive effect of the film, it aided in putting things in context. I especially enjoyed the great Christopher Guest and Bob Hoskins, who both turn in excellent performances. Go rent it.
I almost got the same unit again from Amazon, since it's not in stores anymore, but I know there are some quality issues with the Cyberhome line, so I went local. The latest and greatest Cyberhome goody is the CH-DVR 1600, and what a goody it is. Besides having all of the above features (excepting 5.1 component out), it also plays DIVX- and XVID-compressed AVIs (so I can watch The IT Crowd on my TV rather than my computer). And as if that weren't enough, it has a built-in TV tuner and can record straight to DVD at several quality levels. It can also record from a firewire video camera. This makes me happy. It's also only $82.29 at BestBuy.com. You need to order it online, though, as it's $97.99 in-store, but since you can just pick it up locally, it's not really a hassle.
If you do get it, make sure you look at the model number on the box sticker carefully. There are 3 CH-DVR-1600 models: ZU (old), MU (newer), and MU1 (newest). Supposedly only the MU1 will play DIVX and XVID AVI files properly, and I can vouch that it works. As for making it Region Free...go here.
22 April 2006
The short of it is that a NJ State summer program for their best and brightest was defunded by Gov. Jon Corzine, and, as an alumnus, I was hoping it would be reversed.
Well it looks like it's going to happen, but not quite as I'd envisioned. According to the Star Ledger, of the $1.9M budget the program needs per year, they've managed to raise $1.7 million in private donations in less than a month, including a $200,000 gift from a 36-year-old NJGSS alumna. There's a lesson here about supporting your best and brightest that will probably be lost on politicians, but it's an immeasurable success for the human race, in my humble opinion.
I'd rather see NJ tax dollars support these kids in the future, but it's a start. Not a very libertarian position, I know, but if they're going to collect taxes, I can at least hope they're going to pay for something worthwhile.
Now, can you find me in this class picture?
21 April 2006
The Constant Gardener: 2.75 Stars. All of those critics out there who called this a "taut thriller" and other such spy-movie accolates need to be beaten. There wasn't much thrilling about this movie, and it certainly wasn't a spy flick (and that's what Barb and I were in the mood for when we rented it). Having said that, it was still pretty good, if dreadfully slow at times. It was a surprisingly English film for the Brazilian director of the phenomenal City of God, and while John Le Carre might find that a compliment, it's not really meant as one. The sort of it is that diplomat Ralph Fiennes's leftist wife, Rachel Weisz, is brutally murdered, and Fiennes tries to find out whodunit. However, it's not much of a mystery (your standard corporate bastards in search of profits above all else). This flick does redeem itself at the end, though, which borders on sublime.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason: 2.75 Stars. Considering how much I enjoyed the original Bridget Jones' Diary, it's surprising that I only managed to catch this on Encore last week, but in the end, I was glad I didn't pay to see this in the theater. The usual suspects are back, and as stereotypical as ever. Renee Zellweger looks far better with some extra poundage on her usually skeletal frame, but for some reason the script has her behave more cartoonish than ever. Hugh Grant and Colin Firth are their usual seedy and staid selves, respectively. The real problem with this movie is that they had Bridget getting locked up in a Thai prison. While they made the most of it (it was more a Broadway musical's interpretation of a Thai prison than the real deal), it was still too silly for a purported romantic comedy. They manage to salvage the thing by the end, though, and cap it off with a repeat of the 1st film's Cleaver-Darcy fight to The Darkness's "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." There's also a Robbie Williams tune for your auditory pleasure. Perfect cable viewing.
17 April 2006
I can't believe that this show was even conceived of, much less produced. The lovely Caroline Dhavernas plays Jaye, a Gen-Y slacker Ivy League grad living in a trailer park and employed in a tourist gift shop at Niagara Falls. She also receives instructions from talking inanimate objects which she must follow to help people, and bad things happen if she refuses. The genius in the show is that everything she does (or doesn't do) causes things to happen indirectly. It's like a Rube Goldberg machine with people. It's also fun to watch a somewhat self-absorbed, semi-nihilist being forced to help people. Plus, it's got the remarkably versatile Bill Sadler as her father!
The dialogue is crisp. The acting is excellent. The camerawork is inspired. The effects are solid. Fox aired it opposite CSI and it lasted 4 episodes. I wish they had moved it to FX and given it a chance.
Fortunately, the 13 that were shot made it to DVD. DVD 2 should be arriving soon!
For those who like summaries, Patrick Moore, cofounder of Greenpeace, is now endorsing nuclear power. He's finally come to the realization, as I did more than a decade ago, that nuclear power is a hell of a lot better for the environment than fossil fuel-burning plants. He discusses the zero carbon dioxide emissions, reliability, present ubiquitousness (over 20% of power in the US is nuclear), and, yes, safety. If a green can finally say that "Three Mile Island was a success story," which it was since the reactor contained the meltdown, the world must be moving in the right direction.
12 April 2006
While there's been no news on the funding status, I did get a very nice letter back from , who, despite his picture, is actually older than I am. It was obviously a form letter, but a very nice one indicating his support. Read it at your leisure:
The Philadelphia Inquirer also ran a great op-ed opposing Corzine's cuts. Jonathan Last makes the same point my dad did when I discussed it with him: within the public school system, "you're only special if you're disabled." It's a bit cruel worded that way, but special ed. programs are funded through the roof while gifted and talented programs like NJGS are few, far between, and one more appears to be gone. Perhaps there's hope, though.
Well there you have my observation for today.
04 April 2006
31 March 2006
It suffices to say that while the whole thing was a bit dorky, we were all dorky, so it was fun. Easily one of the best summer experiences I ever had. I even went to college with the lovely, talented, and now Dr. Jenn Best, whom I am still in infrequent touch with.
Can you find me in these pictures?
I can still probably name at least a third of those people. NJGSS was the last thing I did in Jersey before we moved to Baltimore, and it's always held a special place in my heart.
So imagine my surprise when I got the following email 2 days ago:
Dear 1990 NJGSS Alums,
You may have heard that the Gov School program is not included in the NJ budget. If funding is not received, the NJGSS program will be cancelled. We are asking for your help to rally the NJ legistators. Attached is a list of suggestions from the director of all of the Governor's Schools. We'd appreciate any help you can give us!
Needless to say, I'm very disappointed in Gov. Corzine. So I've fired off the following letter to him:
Dear Gov. Corzine,
While I am no longer a New Jersey resident, I grew up in Morris County and will always consider myself a New Jerseyan. One of the greatest experiences I was fortunate enough to participate in during my youth was the three weeks I spent at the New Jersey Governor's School in the Sciences in Drew University in 1990.
When I heard that the Governor's School program was on the budget chopping block this year, I could hardly believe it. The concentrated New Jersey brainpower at any of the Governor's Schools should be treasured, fostered, and held up on a pedestal as something that New Jersey does really, really right.
I'd hate to have to start referring to NJGSS as a program in the past tense. Your name is already on the school, Governor. Please don't take it off.
Stewart Bushman (Formerly of Flanders, NJ)
I also sent a letter to Tom Kean, Jr., a NJ State Senator and son of the founder which replaced the last two sentences with, "Your father started that school, Senator. Please don't be the one who stopped it."
Maybe a bit melodramatic, but let's see what happens.
Which it does. TESTERS can be of varying lengths, but is normally 7 or 8 letters. However, if you click on it, you'll notice that the perl script redirects you to http://www.thepixiepit.co.uk/scrabble/. The kicker, though, is that if you were to save the html file and run it locally on your machine, it works fine. I can't see how these two things are different, but clearly the perl script is smarter than I am right now.
Anyone know how to resolve this?
30 March 2006
The best thing about this film will be when this movie cracks $100M, and the studios have no idea why. They'll think they can reproduce this sort of buzz with similar films:
Spiders on a Submarine with Laurence Fishburne
Lions on a Cruise Ship with Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Wild Boars on a Star Cruiser with Wesley Snipes
Coming soon to a theater near you.
Actually, I'd pay to see Wild Boars on a Star Cruiser.
28 March 2006
27 March 2006
23 March 2006
An imagined scene:
Sheer brilliance. Good luck getting the wife to attend opening night, though.
21 March 2006
Tornado: As you might imagine, a bad copy of Twister (and that's saying something). It follows the basic Bruce movie pattern: disaster (Tornadoes), hot chick Bruce gets (Shannon Sturges), and Bruce. Bruce is a washed-out meteorology student turned stormchaser. Saves the day, gets the girl. Not his worst work, but pretty terrible. Nice to see former Ghostbuster Ernie Hudson is still working.
Terminal Invasion: Disaster: Aliens. HCBG: Chase Masterson. Bruce: convicted murderer en route to prison. Tried to be like a very low-budget, present-day Alien or Pitch Black, and failed. Cheesy effects aplenty. Again, watchable, but pretty lousy. Look for a pre-Daily Show Jason Jones.
Alien Apocalypse: Disaster: Bug-Like Aliens. HCBG: Renee O'Connor. The worst of the bunch. Awful effects (watch for the same two-by-four pile falling on like 10 people). Everyone associated should be embarrassed, except Rosi Chernogorova, who is really, really hot. And naked in Shark Attack III: Megalodon.
Boogeymen II: Masters of Horror: Bruce was just the host of this interview show featuring the best horror film directors and effects folks. Pretty interesting stuff, if sort of dry. I miss that horror movies used to have lots of gratuitous nudity. It was, truly, half the fun. Watch Re-Animator if you disagree.
The Man with the Screaming Brain: Disaster: Death/Brain Patch-up. HCBG: Tamara Gorski. This is sort of a SciFi-flavored mash-up of two Steve Martin films: The Man with Two Brains and All of Me. Bruce also wrote the script and directed it from the original comic book material, which he also wrote. For wearing all those hats, things worked out remarkably well. It was easily the best movie of the bunch (although some would call that faint praise), and was both entertaining and worth my two hours minus commercials (again, thank you DVR). Ted Raimi was also fun to watch as always.
Bruce maintains his mastery of the B-Movie genre, and I think he's got no intention whatsoever of attempting to take over the world. In exchange for this concession, I'll watch all of his movies (and episodes of Xena and Hercules) and buy all of his books.
Just finished the eleventh tome in the Wheel of Time series, and I can say that, overall, it was a pretty good read. Or listen, actually, since I chose the 34-odd-hour audiobook route. It makes for a more interesting commute. RJ hasn't lost his touch, and he's finally sped things up a bit, although not too much time passes in the course of this novel. Fortunately, when RJ gets detail-oriented, it's still a fairly brisk read (unlike Dr. Tolkien), so I was able to handle the not-very-intertwined fates of (primarily) Rand, Mat, Perrin, Egwene, Nynaeve (who gets the best scene in the book), and Elayne (as well as several hundred minor characters) as they went about prepping for the Last Battle by fighting a few skirmishes of their own. Precious few plotlines were wrapped up in this novel, but at least things are moving forward towards the finish in his next book, tentatively titled A Memory of Light.
I think it's a requirement of high fantasy that the supporting cast is more interesting than the main character...Bilbo, Frodo, Belgarion, Rand, etc...none of them are as engaging as their buttkickin', swashbucklin', spell castin', wisecrackin' associates. I suppose that's because an entire novel about Mat or Prince Kheldar could get tiresome.
Just an observation.
20 March 2006
19 March 2006
The game was TIED. Drive, draw, drain. Then make the free throw. Three points: the high-percentage way. Ban the NCAA 3-point line, or at least make these kids run laps in practice when they do stupid crap like that. Maybe that'll learn 'em.
16 March 2006
I suppose it's hard to really differentiate the two in a 10-second sound bite, though.
That's all. Discuss amongst yourselves.
15 March 2006
14 March 2006
Sign up now and you can get priority when waiting in the 200,000-person line on Thursday.
Of course, I don't advocate doing this at work, but I'm not saying not to, either...
03 March 2006
As it turns out, they're doing pretty well.
26 February 2006
Where I start to wonder is the line-item for 6 decanters. Not even Larry Miller could drink that much, and he's the only Jew I know of who ties one on regularly (yes, I know this will be a mixed marriage, but I don't see Mandy downing single-malt whiskey on a regular basis, either). Then there are the $260 pierced tablespoons. 24 of them. Twenty-four spoons with holes in them. The only use I can think of for spoons with holes is for sugaring your Absinthe. Sounds to me like the home of the happy couple is going to be party central.
So this toast is to you, the future Mr. and Mrs. Braffmoore. Let it be each other, and not the thujone, that drives you both insane.
Anyhoo, I thought that registry was random and entertaining enough to post here. Enjoy.
22 February 2006
The DVD is out. The joke is there, along with Saget's telling and two hours of additional filthy, filthy love.
Now who's going to buy it for me?
18 February 2006
Reading Berendt is like reading one of those old hypercard stories. He starts off with a central story, and then he just weaves from tangent to tangential character, occasionally wending back to the main tale, and he does it so skillfully and colorfully that it's hard to believe it's nonfiction. Another solid effort. I hope they get Cusack for the movie, as he did such as good job in the movie of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.
12 February 2006
Roscoe, after some initial trepidation, seemed to enjoy frolicking in it; although not being much taller than the snowline, he took some convincing to get himself out of a few crevasses (admittedly, I tossed him in). Some nice pics:
Full speed ahead!
11 February 2006
This book would've been much better if Richard Rhodes had written it, but it would also have been about 600 pages longer, which is probably more of a treatment than protagonist David Hahn really deserved for his truly idiotic radiation experiments. I'd've liked a bit more hard science in it, but I'm an Atomic Age junkie, so that usually goes without saying. Good book, but I'm glad I didn't buy it. Thank you, Olney Public Library. Now if they only had We Almost Lost Detroit....
Dumped it in the trash. Gettin' a new one tomorrow. Looks like it'll be another Epson, but only because it's inexpensive, not because of the brand. I'm a printer free agent again.
Whatever happened to knowing your audience? You've got a planet full of hard-core sci-fi fans watching a shy, slight dorky dude romancing an hot little petty officer and you kill him off? It was a friggin' low-level subplot from the original movie fercrissake! You worked so hard to set them up to fall in love, and then you replace him with a fighter jock?
I'm not really all that upset about this, mind you, but this sort of tinkering screams that they're quicking running out of ideas on the show. The shark has been jumped. Watch the decline.
07 February 2006
I'd've thought Goldblum would've been higher on the list, but numbers don't lie.
Actually, numbers do lie, frequently.
For example, this list is only for domestic grosses, so I contend it's not really authoritative. It's strange, since his dataset includes worldwide grosses, but he chose only to list the domestic and average domestic grosses.
Odd, but somewhat interesting, as Anthony Daniels averages over $311M per film. Not too shabby an average.