Wednesday, February 28, 2007


While we're on the subject of movies.......

If you happen to have a surround sound system (5.1, 6.1 or 7.1), odds are that either your receiver or your dvd player has a dts decoder built in. Just look for the dts logo (like the picture) somewhere on the front of the component. If you have one, the next time you watch a movie that happens to have dts audio, I highly recommend giving the dts track a shot. If you don't see the logo on the dvd case, check the setup menu for audio selection and you'll see it there, if it's available.

I mention this for two reasons. First, in my opinion, dts audio is by far a more realistic reproduction of sound and it's actually louder with lower volume settings so it never sounds strained or maxed. Now don't get me wrong, I could watch "The Matrix" on a 12-inch black & white television set with a single speaker and still enjoy it, but total immersion into the sound can make a significant difference.

The second reason is because dts, which stands for Digital Theater Sound, does more than produce audio for films. Over the past couple of years the company has been branching out and one of their endeavors has been to produce music compact discs that have been mixed in 5.1 surround sound. As of right now, they have a diversified selection ranging from rock to classical. Some of the music is new and in some cases, master recordings have been taken back into the studio and remixed to 5.1 surround with the assistance of the artists. I have several, and it's amazing to hear The Police or Queen, for example, in complete surround. Some of the songs are mixed so well, it's as if you're sitting with the band while they're playing around you.

I'm not saying it's life changing, or anything, but it is very cool. Check out their website if you're so inclined - there's even a buy 2 get 1 free sale going on.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


While we're on the subject of movies........
I know that I mentioned this in one of my previous posts, but I felt that a quick revisit might not be such a bad idea in case anyone (out of the three) who reads this, by chance, missed it.

If you're a fan of movies and have a taste for what, critically, amounts to some of the most important films ever made, then you really should check out the Criterion Collection. They have been making definitive editions of movies since around 1984 and were one of the primary reasons that movies became available in their original aspect ratio. Criterion was also the originator of "Special Editions" or "Directors Cuts" because they worked closely with the filmmakers to provide content for those who were interested. Their other large contribution to the film world has been the fact that the company has spent a significant amount of time and money restoring classics that could have easily been lost, forever.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Spaghetti Western Decadence

So I'm watching the Oscars, last night, and it suddenly dawns on me: This is why the terrorists hate us so much. Someone (here in the states) can be born in the poorest geographical location you can think of and, in the span of a few short decades, end up at a party wearing rocks that are worth more than the average person makes in five years. Now, granted, the same thing can be accomplished in Afghanistan, but it 's not nearly as posh and the rocks really are, well, rocks. And I'm sure that last night there was a group of terrorists sitting in a cave somewhere, watching the Oscars hoping to see Forest Whitaker win for his portrayal of Idi Amin and the more they saw, the more inflamed they became at us Westerners - like we're the rich land barons and they're the struggling peasants. We're probably very lucky that Forest won. Can you imagine the havoc that could have ensued if Peter "Lawrence of Arabia" O'Toole had won? Pandemonium.

Anyway, I'm thinking that maybe we should start filming movies in the Middle East. They obviously like being filmed - they make videos all the time - so eventually the terrorists would wind up as extras and as soon as one of them actually landed a speaking part, they're done. One speaking part would be enough for the 'acting bug' to infest the entire group. Then they'd want to direct and independent productions would start popping up and, before you know it, they'd want to be doing things their way and making their own decisions and running their own show and saying we're in the way and start trying to get rid of us and we'd want to stay because we'd be too embarrassed to leave so soon and not remain the shining examples of film making and, well, it would just be one big mess. Okay, never mind.

Sunday, February 25, 2007


Sorry for the long synopsis (All Movie Guide), but anything less would not do it justice:

Brazil constitutes Terry Gilliam's enormously ambitious follow-up to his 1981 Time Bandits. It also represents the second installment in a trilogy of Gilliam films on imagination versus reality, that began with Bandits and ended in 1989 with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. To create this wild, visually audacious satire, Gilliam combines dystopian elements from Orwell, Huxley and Kafka (plus a central character who mirrors Walter Mitty) with his own trademark, Monty Python-esque, jet black British humor and his gift for extraordinary visual invention. The results are thoroughly unprecedented in the cinema.

Jonathan Pryce stars as Sam Lowry, a civil servant who chooses to blind himself to the decaying, drone-like world around him. It's a world marred by oppressive automatization and towering bureaucracy, and populated by tyrannical guards who strongarm lawbreakers. And Lowry is stuck in the middle of this nightmare. Whenever real life becomes too oppressive, Sam fantasizes (to the tune of Ary Baroso's 1930s hit "Brazil") about sailing through the clouds as a winged superhero, and rescuing beautiful Jill Layton (Kim Greist) from a giant, Samurai warrior. The omnipresent computer that controls everything in the "real" world malfunctions, causing an innocent citizen to be arrested and tortured to death. When Sam routinely investigates the error, he meets - and pursues Jill , literally the girl of his dreams. But in real life, she's a tough-as-nails truck driver who initially wants nothing to do with him. It turns out that she is suspected of underground activities, in connection with a terrorist network wanted for bombing public places. The price Sam pays for his association with her is a close encounter with the man in charge of torturing troublesome citizens Michael Palin. He is rescued - at the last minute - by maintenance man Harry Tuttle, Robert De Niro, who moonlights as a terrorist, but that only represents the beginning of his plight, for now the "system" is onto him.

Gilliam ran into enormous problems with Brazil. Universal - which produced the picture - originally slated it for release in 1984, but the studio - intimidated by the film's whopping length of 142 minutes - demanded that Gilliam trim the film to bring it in under two hours and alter the pessimistic ending. Gilliam refused; Universal shelved the picture for a year. In response, the director took out a full page ad in Variety asking studio president Sid Sheinberg when the film would be released. Sensing tremendous pressure, Universal bowed to Gilliam's insistence on fewer cuts but still demanded a happy ending. Gilliam trimmed only eleven minutes and altered the conclusion just slightly (instead of cutting to black, it fades into puffy white clouds on a blue sky, with a reprise of the title tune). It was thus released in early 1985 at 131 minutes, and of course became a seminal work; many critics regarded it at the time as the best film of the eighties. ~ Nathan Southern

There's not much left for me to say. This is a great film and it's one of the few times that I'd actually say, "See this movie," because, if you like movies, movies this good don't come around very often. This film is somewhat "heavier" than Gilliam's previous and post work (except for "12 Monkeys") and depicts an extremely dystopian society.

If you decide to see it, make sure to see the unedited version and not the "love conquers all" version. Recently (Sept 2006), The Criterion Collection released an updated dvd of the film in a single disc version or a three disc set. The single disc is the original (Terry Gilliam approved) version and the three disc set includes the original version, the "love conquers all" version and tons of extras and documentaries. Both options had been release by Criterion, in the past, but the Sept. releases have now had their sound upgraded and the images have been remastered in high-definition and enhanced for wide screen televisions which really showcase Terry Gilliam's attention to detail.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Number 23

I saw "The Number 23" today, and for anyone not already familiar with the psychological premise: Jim Carrey plays a man whose life unravels after he comes into contact with an obscure book titled The Number 23. As he reads the book, he becomes increasingly convinced that it is based on his own life. His obsession with the number 23 starts to consume him, and he begins to realize the book forecasts far graver consequences for his life than he could have ever imagined.

This turned out to be better than I expected. I guess I would say it falls somewhere in the "not bad" to "above average" category however, keep in mind that I went in expecting very bad. I still haven't forgiven Joel Schumacher for "Batman and Robin" and my expectations were very low, so it was relatively easy to impress me. I will admit, Schumacher's direction, in this movie, reminded me more if his earlier films like "The Lost Boys" and "Flatliners" than some of his "I really need a paycheck" movies.

I thought Jim Carrey was very good in his portrayal but, unfortunately, people already see him as loopy so they probably won't see his performance as much of a stretch. Virginia Madsen was pretty much as she always is in my opinion: good but never a standout. I gave the movie bonus points because of the addition of Rhona Mitra. I had not known that she was part of the cast and I'm a fan of hers from "Boston Legal" and "The Practice."

All in all, I'm not sure that I would recommend a trip to the theater for this film but I fully believe it would be a more than adequate rental.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Limon Aid

This article really caught my attention. Actually, all it took was the headline: "Senior Citizens Repel Muggers, Kill 1"

Apparently, 12 senior citizens were hanging out at the beach in Limon. They were from a Carnival Cruise ship that had made a scheduled stop at Costa Rica and the 12 seniors had decided to head out on their own and get the lay of the land. While at the beach, three men attempted to rob the seniors and the seniors, evidently, fought back.

The article states that a retired member of the U.S. military aged about 70 put a suspect in a head lock and broke his clavicle after the 20-year-old and two other men armed with a knife and gun held up their tour bus. The suspect was later declared dead, apparently from asphyxiation. The two other men fled when the 12 senior citizens started defending themselves during the attack.

My favorite part is when the Carnival Cruise rep said, "All of the guests involved, who had booked the cruise together as a group, have opted to continue with their vacation plans." Of course they opted to continue. They're all fired up, now. Carnival might want to be careful or there could be some serious ass-kicking at the next port of call.

Side note: In case you didn't recognize the picture, it's from "Hell's Grannies"

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Unexpected Riposte

Now, let's see if I've got this straight: You're at home, doing whatever you do, and, coming from the apartment upstairs, you think you hear a woman screaming for help. You know you must act and yet you have no phone to call for help. Should you see if another neighbor is home who does have a phone? Run outside and yell for help? Knock on the door and loudly say, "Is everything alright in there? I phoned the police and they will be here momentarily!" No wait, I know: Grab the old Calvary sword that you've been playing with since you were a kid, bound up the stairs, kick in the door and demand to know where the helpless maiden (in all her glory) is being help captive. Given the right set of circumstances, you might possibly end up being a hero.

Unfortunately, these circumstances proved to be a guy with a Calvary sword busting in on a guy enjoying some "quality time" with a rather loud porn movie. For the life of me, I can't help but picture one guy, fully clothed, holding a sword and another guy, not so clothed, holding a substantially smaller (and getting smaller) sword. "Now I feel stupid," said James Van Iveren, who has been charged in the case. "This really is nothing, nothing but a mistake." The musketeer was charged with criminal trespass, criminal damage and disorderly conduct, all while using a dangerous weapon, and, together, the misdemeanor counts carry a maximum sentence of 33 months in jail. And by the way, James is 39 years old and lives with his mother......I expect he'll be grounded.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Better Late Late Than Never

I've been a fan of Craig Ferguson's since I first saw him on the Drew Carey Show sometime in 1996. It was primarily because of him and Ryan Stiles that I continued to watch the show on a regular basis. Since that time, I've seen Craig make appearances on multiple shows and I was really glad to see him take over hosting for The Late Late Show. Unfortunately, I knew I would very rarely get to see the show since my schedule does not allow me to stay up that late and, considering that my evenings are pretty well spoken for, I knew that recording the show for later viewing could prove problematic, as well. So, I basically resigned myself to the fact that I simply wouldn't get to see more than one or two episodes a month. Today, that changes.

I saw this article concerning Craig's monologue from last night's show. Basically, he stated that he wasn't going to make fun of Britney Spears and the train wreck that she's become because he didn't think comedy was about attacking the vulnerable and she looked like she needed help. Another article went into a little more detail in regards to what he said concerning his own battle with alcohol,

"And here is why, here is exactly why. This weekend she was checking in, out of rehab, shaving head, getting tattoos. This Sunday I was 15 years sober. And I looked at her weekend -- and I looked at my weekend -- and I thought I'd rather have my weekend. "

I have a lot of respect for someone who doesn't take the easy joke and is completely honest about themselves at the same time. I'll be recording The Late Late Show from this point on.

Monday, February 19, 2007

A President's Day Carol

Early in the story, for obvious reasons, Ebenezer Bush is visited by the Ghost of Presidents Past.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Endurance

The full title for the documentary is: "The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition"

All movie Guide Synopsis: In 1914, explorer Ernest Shackleton set out to become the first man to cross the frozen wastes of the Antarctic continent on foot; however, a combination of treacherous conditions, unexpected changes in weather, and simple bad luck left Shackleton and his crew of 28 men stranded in one of the world's most unforgiving environments for nearly two years. Miraculously, Shackleton and his men not only survived, but brought back remarkable footage of their ordeal, thanks to cameraman Frank Hurley, who traveled with Shackleton to record the adventure on film. The Endurance: Shackleton's Legendary Antarctic Expedition, adapted from the book by Caroline Alexander, combines Hurley's material with newly shot footage tracing the path of Shackleton's journey, presenting a remarkable true-life tale of courage and human survival against grim odds. Liam Neeson narrates. Mark Deming

If you are not familiar with Ernest Shackleton, please follow this link. Shackleton, in my opinion, was a great man because he recognized that he was in danger of becoming an anachronism. I firmly believe that Shackleton knew that within a few years there would no longer be a place for men like him in history. Technology was making leaps and bounds, the unknown was being peeled open and Europe was on the verge of war. The world was about to be forever changed and Shackleton knew it. So, Shackleton decides to make his mark on history by becoming the first person to cross the Antarctic on foot and, in a stoke of genius, decides to document the journey with pictures and movies made by Frank Hurley. The amazing thing is that, while the expedition failed, Shackleton succeeded in way that he could never have imagined.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Lost In Space

I've just had an epiphany. In a growing percentage of examples, the words "apparent" and "a parent" have nothing in common except their sound. This realization dawned on me while I was reading this article concerning the lawsuit against MySpace.

The lawsuit was for 30 million dollars and had been filed by the family of a 13-year-old girl who said she had been sexually assaulted by a 19-year-old man that she met online. The lawsuit accused MySpace of having no measures to protect children who use it and also named MySpace's parent company, News Corp., and the 19-year-old, whose criminal case has not yet gone to trial. Jason Itkin, an attorney for the girl and her family said, "This is allowing sites like MySpace to avoid the responsibility to make the Internet safe for children. MySpace knows its Web site is a playground for sexual predators. Because of that, MySpace should be doing some very basic safety precautions."

(After reading the last paragraph, all level-headed, intelligent and responsible adults just went, "Huh?" as if something didn't quite make sense. If that was not your reaction, please stop reading now, start spending all of your free time learning macrame and never, ever, have children.)

What happened to the parents "doing some very basic safety precautions"? I guess we've arrived at the point where parents want to be able to let the television be the babysitter until the children are 10 or 11-years-old and then the computer can bear the brunt until the eighteenth birthday. That way, the kids can have MySpace and the adults can have TheirSpace.

The one piece of good news out of the entire fiasco was that the judge is one of the few remaining judges who can actually "think" and is not in favor of frivolous lawsuits. U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks said MySpace is protected under the Communications Decency Act and cannot be expected to verify the age of every user because that "would of course stop MySpace's business in its tracks." So, he dismissed the lawsuit.

The ruling will be appealed, of course. After all, it's about principle; not 30 million dollars.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

From the Bottom of Al's Heart

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I'll bet they would rather have received the ever popular
Whizzo Quality Assortment

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cancel My Membership

This past weekend was a very mild one here in south Florida. The nights were in the low 60's and the high for Saturday and Sunday was in the mid to low 70's. Now, I'm actually a big fan of 'cold and dreary' (which is a huge motivator for me to get out of south Florida), but weekends like this past one are, for me, very entertaining because of the visual conundrum they present.

You see, you have to remember that south Florida is one giant retirement community and to a majority of the population, anything below 80 degrees is cool and anything below 75 is cold. So it's rather amusing to be someplace where there's a diverse age group (like a mall) and see some people in shorts, a larger group wearing sweaters or jackets and another percentage bundled up like Nanook of the North. However, on a 75 degree day, the largest group, by far, is the sweater and jacket group. That's where the conundrum comes in.

I would say that the average age of the jacket wearing group is 75 years. That means that they were, on average, 53 years old in 1985. So where the heck are they getting all of these "Member's Only" jackets? I mean, even at 53 they were too old to be that cool. I was in high school in 1985 (senior) and I wasn't even that cool and by the following year, only late dorks were wearing them because of inventory reduction sales. For a while, I was convinced (hoping) that this was a fashion faux pas confined to south Florida but, recently, I've noticed a disturbing and, possibly, nefarious trend where certain types of people are wearing what can only be called, "Member's Only Clones" because of their similarities to the real thing. It's almost as if these people are actually members of a secret society whose goal remains shrouded in mystery but hints at effecting a majority of the population. Maybe I'm just being paranoid.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Phantom of the Paradise

Here's a quick synopsis from All Movie Guide:

"He sold his soul for rock-n-roll," read the tagline for Brian De Palma's satirical "Phantom of the Opera" for the '70s rock scene. After hearing Winslow Leach (William Finley) perform a song from his "Faust" rock opera, Phil Spector-ish impresario Swan (Paul Williams) decides that Winslow's opera would be the perfect debut attraction for his new rock palace, the Paradise. Swan steals the music and has Winslow imprisoned -- but not before Winslow meets aspiring songbird Phoenix (Jessica Harper). Jumping prison, Winslow breaks into Swan's Death Records factory to ruin the recordings, but a record press accident grossly disfigures him. Winslow then sneaks into the Paradise to sabotage Swan's show, disguising himself as the Phantom. Swan, however, cuts a deal with the Phantom to finish his cantata; he promises that Phoenix will sing it but then reneges, hiring prissy glam rocker Beef (Gerrit Graham). Determined to have Phoenix sing, the Phantom soon discovers just how far Swan will go to give the people what they want. Lucia Bozzola

This is one of my favorite movies from when I was a kid and even though it was released in 1974, I saw it in 1977 as a double feature with "Star Wars." The only reason for mentioning that is because I'm pretty sure George Lucas saw in when it was released because 'the Phantom' has some striking similarities to a certain dark lord of the Sith. Maybe it's just my overactive imagination.

Anyway, this is a really fun movie with great direction from, as well as being written by, Brian De Palma. Paul Williams does a superb job with the music and while the movie is satirical in nature, the music and lyrics are well written and, in some cases, melodramatic, but never 'hokey'. My favorite character, by far, is Gerrit Graham's, Beef, the over the top heavy metal glam rocker. His character is such a perfect amalgam of rockers of that time as well as rockers that were to be. In fact, this film is rather prophetic in the area of 'things to come' because by 1985, there were at least 10 or 12 'Beef' clones on MTV.

Basically, if you like rock, a little camp, "Phantom of the Opera", "Faust" and even a little "The Picture of Dorian Gray," then you may enjoy this movie. Oh, and during some of the audition scenes, try not to think of "American Idol."

Side note: I have heard an unconfirmed rumor that Brian De Palma is working on a script for an updated remake with a projected release of 2010.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Hannibal Rising

Before I say anything regarding the film, I must confess that I took a short break in my current book, last weekend, and read the novel, "Hannibal Rising" by Thomas Harris. Unlike his previous novels, 'Rising' was short, quickly paced and only took me a couple of days to complete and while I didn't necessarily feel the need for the background of Hannibal, I did enjoy the story as I have enjoyed Harris' books, "Red Dragon", "The Silence of the Lambs", "Hannibal", and the non-Hannibal, "Black Sunday", which was made into a wonderful film staring the late Robert Shaw.

The screenplay for the film was written by Thomas Harris, as well, so there were only minor changes from the book and they were, for the most part, to conserve time. However, I still didn't feel that the story was paced as quickly as it could have been but I realize that having read the book and knowing reasons and what to expect could have easily caused my mental time shift. The story itself, in case you had no clue, deals with the tragedies that befell the Lecter family near the end of World War Two and the events that shaped a young boy into becoming a sociopathic killer. The majority of the film takes place in the early years after the end of the war and I was was shocked at how well done everything was concerning that time period. The director, Peter Weber ("Girl with a pearl Earring"), did a fantastic job recreating the look and feel of those few years. I enjoyed looking at this film a little more than I did watching it. Another thing that really appealed to me about the film is that there were no "celebrities" contained within. This was no 'vehicle' for an individual. The person that I was most familiar with was, Gong Li ("Memoirs of a Geisha") and she wonderful, as usual (I'm a fan).

I did enjoy the film but only after realigning the story in my head. As I said, I loved the look of the movie and thought it was beautifully filmed and I was able to enjoy the story (even though a bit slow) after removing Hannibal from the equation. You see, I don't want to know (or even care about) what made Hannibal into Hannibal. In my mind, the Hannibal of the prior stories was who he was and who he was meant to be. No explanation needed. The problem is, we live in a world where people have developed into these beings that cannot exist without being able to place blame or name the cause. It helps them to sleep at night when they can rationalize that an abusive childhood is what caused the next-door neighbor to murder his Aunt with the claw of a hammer, dismember and bury her pieces in the back yard and highlight the spots with accent lighting which, unbeknownst to them when they were over for a pleasant late afternoon cookout, would join the shadows of the burial mounds like some Satanic anatomical connect-the-dots. They can't deal with the idea of evil for evils' sake. They wouldn't be able to sleep. Those people might enjoy this movie as an excuse or a reason for the character of Hannibal. For me, Hannibal never needed an excuse, cause or reason, he just was.

So, I enjoyed this film for its look and for the story of a young man whose life is shattered and survives horrible events only to have those events continue to haunt him and to what extent he is willing to go to extract revenge. In my mind, this was a different character who just happened to share the same name (the same can be said for the book).

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Neo-Hetero or maybe Retro-Hetero

It's a miracle!! Disgraced Rev. Ted Haggard is now certain that he's 'completely heterosexual.'

According to Rev. Tim Ralph, after three weeks (three whole weeks) of intensive counseling, Haggard has been cured of his desire to have sex with men and, I would guess, no longer smokes crystal meth (or other things). Rev. Ralph was one of the ministers who 'oversaw' Haggard's counseling.

"He is completely heterosexual," Ralph said. "That is something he discovered. It was the acting-out situations where things took place. It wasn't a constant thing." You know, I can think of something else that's not a constant thing - maybe there's a connection.

Anyway, Ted's all better now and an oversight group recommended that he leave town and look into secular work. Since he likes 'acting-out' maybe he could be in the next 'Sinckers' commercial. I'm sure he'd have some 'fabulous' ideas of his own(not that there's anything wrong with that).

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Natural Selection

This caught my attention: "New York may ban iPods while crossing street"

The article states that New York State Sen. Carl Kruger is going to introduce legislation to ban the use of electronics devices such as iPods, Blackberrys and video games while crossing the street. Apparently, three pedestrians in his district have been killed (since September) after stepping into traffic while their attention was focused on their gizmos. "This electronic gadgetry is reaching the point where it's becoming not only endemic but it's creating an atmosphere where we have a major public safety crisis at hand," Kruger said. Not a 'small problem,' but a 'major crisis.'

If you're a fan of Evolution, this 'crisis' could be a good thing. However, if you're an Intelligent Design groupie, you just suffered a smack-down because oblivious to traffic is not a very intelligent design. I only call 'em like I see 'em.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Plan "B" From Outer Space

Okay, if I had to imagine two headlines that I'd never, ever see, one would be, "Paris Hilton Awarded Nobel Prize for Physics," (or any other Nobel prize) and the other would be, "Astronaut to be Charged with Attempted Murder." Maybe Paris has a chance, after all.

It seems Lisa Marie Nowak (Navy Capt. & Astronaut) was arrested after driving close to 1000 miles (wearing diapers for no pit stops) to intercept Colleen Shipman (Air Force Capt.) arriving at Orlando International Airport. Apparently, Nowak (married with three kids) had romantic inclinations toward fellow astronaut William Oefelein (Navy Cmdr.) as did Shipman. I'm guessing that Nowak found out about Shipman and 'went into orbit' over it and decided to 'take off' after her. Shipman was returning to her car in the long term parking lot and noticed a woman (Nowak wearing a black wig) in a trench coat following her. Shipman hurried to her car, (hearing Nowak running up behind her) got in and was able to lock the door before Nowak reached the car. At that point Nowak 'launched' into a story about an emergency and needing to use a cell phone. When Shipman slightly lowered the window, Nowak sprayed pepper spray into the car prompting Shipman to 'rocket' off to the parking attendant to contact the police.

When arrested at a bus stop waiting to return to the airport, Nowak was carrying a black bag containing a steel mallet, a 4 inch folding knife, a BB gun, 3 feet of plastic tubing and several plastic bags and the wig was discovered in a nearby trash bin. When police searched her car they discovered a love letter to Oefelein, latex gloves, e-mails between Shipman and Oefelein and directions to Shipman's residence.

I could understand if Story Musgrave was smacking some Flat-Earther around but this Nowak is a real 'space cadet.' I hope she realizes the 'gravity' of her situation. I'm also curious as to how many more of these NASA love triangles are going on.

Monday, February 05, 2007

That's Not Virginia

According to this article, almost half of U.S. teenagers said they have seen pornography online because of unrelated searches, misspelled words or (gasp) intentionally. The other 50 percent are lying.

Maybe that helps to explain why (according to the Optometry careers page) 30 percent of all U.S. teens have vision problems.

Sunday, February 04, 2007


My dvd choice for the past week was David Cronenberg's "eXistenZ" starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jude Law which was released in 1999. Here is the synopsis from "All Movie Guide":

Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg, who has long been fascinated by the ways new technology shapes and manipulates the human beings who believe they are its masters, is in familiar territory with eXistenZ, a futuristic thriller which combines elements of science fiction, horror and action-adventure. What is eXistenZ? According to the glossary Cronenberg put together for this film, it is a new organic game system that, when downloaded into humans, accesses their central nervous system, transporting them on a wild ride in and out of reality. What's more, it changes every time it is played, by adapting to the individual user -- you have to play the game to find out why you are playing the game. More than one person can plug into the same game and set out on a series of bizarre and surrealistic adventures together. The narrative takes place sometime in the near future, when game designers are worshipped as superstars and players can organically enter inside the games. Allegra Geller (Jennifer Jason Leigh), the goddess among computer game designers whose latest invention, 'eXistenZ,' taps deeply into its users' fears and desires by blurring the boundaries between reality and escapism, is subject to an assassination attempt and forced to flee. Her sole ally is Ted Pikul (Jude Law), a novice security guard sworn to protect her. Persuading Ted to play the game, Allegra draws them both into a phantasmagorical world where existence ends and eXistenZ begins. Jennifer Jason Leigh, who is supposedly something of a computer nerd in real life, is hip and sexily alluring as Allegra Geller. When she and Pikul make love and are transported to the bizarre setting of a trout farm which has been converted to an assembly line production plant for games, they delve deeper into the dangerously intriguing game. Soon the forces of Anti-eXistenZialism will close in on Pikul and Allegra. eXistenZ marks the first time since Videodrome that Cronenberg has written a completely original screenplay. eXistenZ was inspired by the tribulations of the fugitive writer Salman Rushdie, author of the Satanic Verses. After interviewing the author for a magazine article in 1995, Cronenberg was struck with the idea of an artist who suddenly finds himself on a hit list for religious or philosophical reasons and is forced to go into hiding. The idea of a game came later on, for which he created a new vocabulary. According to Cronenberg, eXistenZ thematically connects to Crash, Videodrome, Naked Lunch and even M. Butterfly in terms of exploring the extent to which we create our own levels of reality and the idea of a creative act being dangerous to the creator. This is the second film on which Alliance Atlantis has been associated with Cronenberg, after Crash, which won the Special Jury Prize at the 1996 International Cannes Film Festival. On the occasion of the presentation of eXistenZ, Cronenberg received a Silver Bear for his outstanding artistic achievements at the 49th International Berlin Film Festival in 1999. Gönül Dönmez-Colin

David Cronenberg is one of my favorite directors and this is a safe film to begin with, if you're not very familiar with him, because some of his movies are exceptionally intense. The ideas are very clear while the story requires undivided attention and seat belts (lots of twists and turns). You may notice that this film is compared to "The Matrix" in some places and that comparison is in reference to the 'real' and 'not real,' only. The perceptions of reality is the only common thread (story wise) between the two films. The non-story similarity the films share is that they both require a bit of thought. With that in mind, enjoy.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

The End of the World As We Know It

No dark movie this week. "Hannibal Rising" is next week.

In the mean time, it you feel the need for something amusingly dark with rudimentary vocal sound effects, click the picture.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mooninite Over Newbury Street

In case you've been keeping up with the Boston "bomb scare," but were still a little fuzzy on the whole "mooninite" thing (referred to as the robot giving the finger), I thought I'd try to be of a little assistance.

This is the mooninite in question:

At least he's not saying, "All your base are belong to us."
Here's more than one:The little guy's not happy that his buddies were arrested.
And, lastly, is the tee shirt:

The signs were to be used for the "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" promotion but, unfortunately, it didn't turn out as fun as it was intended to. Oh well, I'm off to have a snack.