Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Review--2009 Edition

Well, here we are at the end of 2009, and I feel obligated to give you the 3 readers of this blog my traditional year-end review, so here goes!

Best Movie of the Year:

Winner: AVATAR. Cliched plot aside, I've never been so transfixed by any movie, and I have to say that this is one movie that lived up to the hype.
Runner up: TRANSFORMERS: RISE OF THE FALLEN. I don't care what the critics thought. I liked it!

Worst Movie of the Year:

Winner (sort of): 2012. I've never walked out of the theater after a disaster movie laughing my ass off. Until this movie.
Runner up: Knowing. If there was ever a better example of the Oscar curse than Nicholas Cage, I'm having a hard time thinking of it.

Most Disappointing Movie of the Year:

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. This movie was like watching a live action version of Team America: World Police. Seriously. As if the French needed another reason to hate us...
Runner up: Tie: Star Trek. I'm not sure why J.J. Abrans thought he needed to take the entire Gene Roddenberry ST universe out to the courtyard, tie it to a post, and shoot it, but that's what he did. And that is not a good thing...
Tie: Watchmen. After reading the full graphic novel, I was impressed by how faithful the filmmakers were able to follow it--right up until the end...

Movie I wish I'd seen:
Up. Why can't I get over my fear of seeing animated movies in the theater?!

Movie I'm glad I didn't see:
Inglorious Basterds. Why is it that critics think that everything Quentin Tarantino touches turns to gold? Trust me when I say that they are WRONG!

Best Sports moment of 2009:
OSU 21. UM 10. Nuff said
Runner up:
OSU 24, PSU 7

Worst Sports moment of 2009:
Texas 24, OSU 21
Runner up:
Stanley Cup game 7: Pittsburgh 2, Detroit 1

Well, that's all I've got for now. Happy New Year, everyone!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Things you Miss

When you don't have cable TV (Yes, I'm the one!)

Didya catch that? "We did not have a terrorist attack on our country during Bush's term".

Um, Okay.

Well, I suppose you could say she is right in one way: We did NOT have A terrorist attack on our country--we had THE terrorist attack.

Or, perhaps you could spin it another way: We didn't have one during his SECOND term...

Ah, who am I kidding?! She's a MORON!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ted Nugent, You. Are. An. Idiot.

Rocker Ted Nugent recently made this statement to Royal Flush magazine:

"I think that Barack Hussein Obama should be put in jail. It is clear that Barack Hussein Obama is a communist. (Former Chinese leader) Mao Tse Tung lives and his name is Barack Hussein Obama. This country should be ashamed. I wanna throw up."

Me too.

I am waiting for the same type of uproar that happened after Natalie Maines comment in a concert in England, wherein she said she was ashamed that George Bush was from Texas (paraphrasing).

Seriously. People destroyed Dixie Chicks CD's. DJ's were suspended for playing the Dixie Chicks. The three women in the band received death threats.

So will the same thing happen to Nugent? Judging by the cheers heard at his concerts--especially after he exhorts President Obama and Hilary Clinton to "suck on his machine gun (again, paraphrasing)--I have serious doubts.

So I will simply say this: Ted Nugent, you are a moron. I don't own any of your albums, and I never will. And in the future, if I hear one of your songs on the radio, I'm switching to another station.

Because that is my choice. I am an American, not a communist.

Saturday, December 19, 2009


It's a movie.

It's a good movie.

It's a GREAT movie.

I highly recommend this movie to you the 3 readers of this blog. And see the "Real 3D" version if you can. I won't tell you to go see it--now! I will simply say that I don't think you'll be disappointed if you do.

I will admit, I was skeptical. I have grown increasingly nearsighted as I grow older. As a result, I must wear glasses if I want to see anything clearly that is farther away than 15 feet. This means that when I go to see a movie in a theater, I either have to sit in the front row (a guaranteed recipe for a head and neck ache) or wear my glasses to see the movie clearly. This of course, brings me in a roundabout way to my point: I had to wear the Real 3D glasses over my own glasses if I wanted to get the full effect. This was also a guaranteed recipe for a skull-splitting headache.

But it sooo didn't matter.

For nearly 3 hours today, I sat in a movie theater and was transported into another world.

This was the first movie I've seen in a theater using the Real 3D technology, and I think this was also the first movie that REALLY made use of the technology. And I have to say that if the brainiacs working this technology ever figure a way to make it so the audience doesn't have to wear the glasses to experience the effect, there will never be another major motion picture made without it.

Of course, after I got over my awe over the movie technology (it took about 2 hours after I got home), I began to dissect this movie with what I hoped was an objective eye. It has a rather standard plot, as I know has been pointed out by various critics: The Evil Humans invade a lush paradise populated by an initially peaceful indigenous species. After their initial efforts are repulsed when said species fights back, they try a different approach: send in infiltrators to study the culture and determine its weaknesses. Of course, said infiltrators naturally come to sympathize with the indigenous species' cause, and over the course of such become its greatest champions and fiercest defenders.

The fact that the plot is cliched, I believe, does not detract from it. It's a well-known fact that any number of tragedies of human history are the result of one race of humans wiping out another. And if it takes a $200 million+ movie with some of the most spectacular special effects seen in a loooong time to drive this point home, then I have no problem with it.

In the meantime, this movie was the most entertaining movie I've seen in a long time, and I may do something that I haven't done in over 2 decades: I may go see it in a theater again. It was that good. And well worth the 3 minutes I sat in the theater afterwords massaging my temples to try to ease the headache caused by the glasses.

So again I will say to you who read this: If you see it, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

You can't say that about many movies these days.

Friday, December 18, 2009

It's the End of the World as we Know it.

Can someone please explain to me humanity's fascination with the end of the world?

Both the Old and New Testament of the Bible have vividly described apocalyptic events. The end of the world exists in the History of the Greek and Roman Gods and Norse Gods. The Qur'an predicts the end of the world.

Uncounted fiction writers have predicted the end of the world, caused by everything from tiny viruses to thermonuclear war to Alien conquest. As have numerous Hollyweird movies. Roland Emmerich has gotten extremely rich by destroying the world no less than three times by my count. I think to top his latest opus he may actually have to literally destroy the planet. Seriously. The man decided that a limo driver/failed author would end up being the savior of one quarter of all surviving humans on the planet. It's hard to imagine where you go from there.

So why the fascination with the end? Why are we as a species so obsessed with how things will end for us?

I have my own theory.

It is this: The poem The Hollow Men by T.S. Eliot ends with the four line stanza:

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

My opinion is that it expresses the idea that our world will not end with some biblical apocalypse, but will simply fade away. We will all die because we have either fallen victim to some virus that will destroy us all gradually, or because we have simply exhausted the resources our planet has to offer us, before we can find some way to replace them.

And while some may survive this end, it's not the kind of survival that anyone will enjoy (Which has ALSO been the subject of many movies and video games. Which are also often bestsellers--but that is another story).

So I believe we enjoy watching movies and reading books that detail humanity's spectacular end simply because we dislike considering Eliot's alternative.

If you have any doubts about this theory, then please consider the box office difference between 2012 and The Road.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

My Problem with Wikipedia

I'm sure all 3 readers of this blog are familiar with the on-line encyclopedia site known as Wikipedia. In case you aren't, the site is a totally free, user-created on-line encyclopedia with fourteen million plus entirely user-created articles in ten different languages, on every subject from Aardvark to zygote and all points in between.

It is an incredible achievement. The bulk of the articles are thoroughly researched, cross-indexed, footnoted, and well-written with few if any grammatical or spelling errors. There are no ads on the site (other than what might appear as a by-product of certain article topics), not only a rarity in this day and age of internet commerce, but almost unheard of. The site operates entirely off revenue donated by its on-line users. It's truly a remarkable feat.

But I do have one problem with it: Links like this one (WARNING: Link leads to female nudity!!!!)

Now, I realize the old adage "A picture is worth a thousand words" has never been more appropriate when trying to describe an article of clothing. And I am a healthy, heterosexual human male, so I enjoy looking at pictures of young, gorgeous, topless women (I'd be VERY surprised if that surprised anyone). That's not my problem.

My problem is, anyone, and I do mean ANYONE, can access this page. And hundreds, if not thousands, of other pages that are even more explicit. There is no filtering of the pages, no "adult" content warnings, no ANYTHING.

And believe me when I say that the page I linked to above is far, far, FAR from being the most explicit page available. If you doubt me, then go to Wikipedia and search for the most sexually explicit thing you can think of. Odds are pretty good that you'll be able to find it.

I'm not disparaging Wikipedia at all. Far from it. I sing its praises regularly, to anyone who will listen. I'm just saying that maybe a few adult content warnings and/or a little bit of control might be in order.