Saturday, July 22, 2006

Crashing Marriage and Awful Lyrics

It's not a good sign when the marriage proposal culminates with an airplane crash and a response to the proposal given during the ambulance ride. But that's what happened.

What's the worst song lyrics you ever heard? This paper has a list of 32 bad ones, including:

THE SONG: America, "A Horse With No Name"
THE LYRIC: "There were plants and birds and rocks and things"
THE VERDICT: What, did he get tired? Rocks and things?"

And I have to agreee with the following as well - it's my personal choice for worst in a long long time:

THE SONG: Black Eyed Peas, "My Humps"
THE LYRIC: “My hump, my hump, my hump, my hump, my hump,
My hump, my hump, my hump, my lovely lady lumps.”

Yeah, that's bad. Ah, for the days when cryptic lyrics prompted an FBI investigation.

And finally, the lowest-viewed week of broadcast television ever. Welcome to 2006.

Oh, and my personal fave quote from this week can be found at Atomic Tumor:

"Local racetrack is a dumb idea unless you're interested in boosting the mullet ratio in Oak Ridge."

Friday, July 21, 2006

A Musical Interlude

I'll take the cue here tonite from the pages of Newscoma, who posted this fine entry via YouTube tonite.

This is a video from a concert by Frank Zappa, a master musician and guitar god. This song is from one of my favorite albums, "One Size Fits All." The tune here is called "Florentine Pogen" and presents a perfect example of all the things about Frank I love and that I miss so much.

The music and arrangement is intricate and off the wall, like holding out for that duck call solo. The lyrics are a rock and roll example of "Jabberwocky" - tight rhymes and goofy wordplay which singer Napoleon Murphy Brock belts out as if he were telling you an incredible tale of heartbreak. And Frank simply wails on the guitar. And look at that band - George Duke on keyboards and the incredible Ruth Underwood on vibraphone and percussion (and duck call) - they are having a fantastic time.

I know only a select few of us can find the groove for Zappa. But that's ok. Try it. You may like it.

Crank it up for the next 10 minutes, wait for that guitar solo. And Chester's go-rilla (he go 'moo').

A partial examination of the lyrics can be found here, not that it really matters.

Will Ferrell Rocks Knox

Today's edition of the Knoxville News Sentinel chronicles the arrival, the performance, the crowd and the charitable fundraising efforts of comedian Will Ferrell as he promoted "Talledaga Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" to aid a children's charity group..

Some fans recalled the wild days of Frank the Tank in "Old School", and as the KNS article reports, Will gladly played along:

After the screening we're going to run naked through Borders," he proclaimed to an enthusiastic response. "It's gonna get crazy."

Variety - The Children's Charity of Eastern Tennessee sold 1,000 tickets to the event, the fifth such benefit the group has hosted with Regal. The lure of Ferrell and "Talladega Nights" raised $260,000, besting last year's "Dukes of Hazzard" premiere with Johnny Knoxville, Jessica Simpson and Seann William Scott by about $31,000."

I admit to much hysterical laughter watching Ferrell's work on Saturday Night Live and in many movies. I'll happily stop to watch again and again as he evokes explosive good cheer in "Elf" or as the Anchorman's Anchorman as Ron Burgundy. His humor is not just infectious - it's overwhelming, like a Saint Bernard jumping on top of you and licking your face

Kudos to all who helped raised the money for the charity.

Camera Obscura - Clerks, Comics and the Comic-Con

The 2006 Comic-Con in San Diego brings out some big names in comics and in movies, and it may well be the Year of the Comic Book since the Post Office will issue a superhero stamp set on Friday. Projects of all types, from graphic novels to new movies and games much more are offered to fans this weekend in a kind of approval-hunt from the real board of directors - the fans who buy and read and often imitate the products offered.

A full list of the weekend's events are offered a which includes a public debate/discussion between Depak Chopra and Grant Morrison on the Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes. This weird collision of corporate and private minds is seldom dull and has expanded to include just about any product imaginable. This is a bona-fide cultural stew of ideas and arguments about whether Batman could off Superman or if Halo could off them both.

The super-powered vigilante has been a constant in American culture for more than 60 years, survivng a blistering Congressional investigation in the 1950s, the campy inventions of television in the 1960s and 70s and arrives in the 21st Century with the appropriate computerized effects to tackle issues like the Patriot Act. Comics often stand today as the philosophical musings of the American mind. Often the main characters are there to save us from ourselves or face the wrath of a public who sees them as a menace.

I'd bet cash money many of those who attend will also leave the convention to take in director kevin Smith's newest movie, "Clerks 2." Smith is a major fanboy and a major player in all the creative realms visible at the convention. Smith has created his own universe of characters and events which run all through his productions (well, maybe not "Jersey Girl"). His View Askew production company has had a large presence on the Web via Movie Poop Shoot and his My Boring Ass Life blog.

A fascinating glimpse of how fanatical the fans and the corporate world following Smith's career have become were documented in "An Evening With Kevin Smith." This 224-minute documentary offers Smith in a very relaxed tour of college campuses talking about the minor details of his movies, the high-profile productions that came his way after his cult fame developed and shows his storytelling skills in a very watchable movie. Once I started watching and listening, it simply became impossible to stop. His recounting of the bland and the bizarre events fame provided is a must-see.

Pop culture myth-making is a goal for another filmmaker, M. Night Shyamalan, and it's a goal he seldom reaches. One of the most overrated and undertalented writer/directors I've had the awful chore of experiencing may be getting a stiff rebuke this weekend as his movie "Lady In The Water" is released.

Honestly, one OK movie (Sixth Sense) and some truly awful ones (Unbreakable, The Village) has led Night (who names their kid Night?) to this new faux mystery film with a story about "narfs" and "scrunts" and features himself as a Great Misunderstood Writer. I'll pass.


Some years ago I reluctantly attended a screening of the movie "Road House" with Patrick Swayze as the Ultimate Bouncer. Five young women in the audience screamed like swooning banshees throughout the movie, and I admit that the movie was so awful I kinda liked it. Now thanks to the Mike Nelson of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 fame, you can watch the movie and listen to Nelson's commentary via a new web site called RiffTrax. "We don't make movies, we make fun of them" boasts the advertising. It would be great to see more unauthorized movie commentaries shredding your favorite or least favorite film.

Writer/director Danny Boyle expands his catalog into science-fiction in a movie called "Sunshine," about a last-ditch effort to repair the failing Sun, is currently in production. Boyle has been running throgh the genres of film in movies like "Trainspotting" to "A Life Less Ordinary" to "28 Days Later". A behind the scenes and making of collection of clips available here.

"Night of the Living Dead in 3-D"??? Yes, it's shambling to life.

"Adventures of Brisco County Jr" arrives on DVD as does star Bruce Campbell's other short-lived TV series, "Jack of All Trades."

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Quick, Hide The Inflatable Sheep!!

Sorry to detract from your apocalyptic day-mares about the End of The World or the Start of World War 12, but let's be honest. Just what exactly do you think you can do to stop civil war in the Middle East as you peck away at a keyboard or surf across the internet tubes??

I myself am more than annoyed by the fact that certain religious/military groups constantly want to drag the 21st Century into their Thousands of Years of Warfare and Hatred. Other than new weapons technologies supplied by outside countries, (or new innocents to kill) nothing much new is here. The Lust for natural resources has most national attentions pinned like a butterfly in a glass box as refugees run hither and yon. So if you feel like justifying the actions on one group versus another group, then have at it my friend.

As for me, my attention tends to wander about like a drunken sailor on the docks, heading for the buildings where singing can be heard, or maybe for that little place where the incredible aromas of freshly-made food drifts away on invisible breezes.

And here on the internet tubes in the ever-expanding world of blogging writers and readers, the newest study says the average writer/reader is a 14 year old girl posting OMG!!! and other horrible shorthands and misspellings as they unravel the mysteries of the latest American Idol machinatons or the problematic nature of cell phones and downloading ringtones. Or maybe you're just a political hack preaching the victories of Your Candidate/Pundit and the evils of The Other Candidate/Pundit.

And then there are those bloggers whose activities defy categories.

Which brings you and me to the point of this post:

Some thieves have hauled off a 14-foot inflatable sheep and the authorities say they can't find it:

I can't figure out what someone would do with a 14-foot sheep," Sather said. "It can't go in your basement and if it's in your back yard, your neighbor will notice. If it's target practice, it only lasts once.'

All the thief or thieves left was a handwritten note at the scene of the crime that read: "For the sheep, bring peace to the earth."

I'm done. Are you still reading? Well, stop. And leave your comments

A Peaceful Arrival

Today marks the 37th anniversary of humanity's first step onto another world.

During a pause in experiments, Neil suggested we proceed with the flag. It took both of us to set it up and it was nearly a disaster. Public Relations obviously needs practice just as everything else does. A small telescoping arm was attached to the flagpole to keep the flag extended and perpendicular. As hard as we tried, the telescope wouldn't fully extend. Thus the flags which should have been flat, had its own unique permanent wave. Then to our dismay the staff of the pole wouldn't go far enough into the lunar surface to support itself in an upright position. After much struggling we finally coaxed it to remain upright, but in a most precarious position. I dreaded the possibility of the American flag collapsing into the lunar dust in front of the television camera."

Details of the event and the thoughts of those involved are all available here.

A few years later, a Mars landing occured. Video here.

And thanks to DH for the reminder.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Explain This One

Someone will have to explain this one to me.

Throwing away frozen embryos created within the process of operating a fertility clinic is Good and Moral. Using those to-be-discarded, laboratory-grown embryos for stem cell research is Murder and Immoral. So, yes, someone needs to explain that one to me. It is an argument with no basis in the real world.

As I mentioned earlier today, it is unfortunate that tax-funded research sets the marching tone for medical research in general. Given the blindingly high costs of every single level of medical care in the nation, to see that the funds available for research need taxpayer supports also perturbs me.

Hysterical claims are made by some that stem cell research is bogus, that adult cells can provide identical opportunities -- the plain unvarnished truth is the science itself is so new that no one can say with authority one way or the other. (Yes, Science is held in contempt by the current administration, and by the so-called religous political movement, as if it were the central spear on Satan's flaming trident. I suppose we should all be glad that there haven't been public burnings and drownings of scientists.)

The veto of the president today makes no logical sense, and truly appears to me to be sheer political football at everyone else's expense.

And that seems to be a behavioral trend for the Bush presidency.

"The Garden" Has Room For You

There's just too much good stuff on DVD and even television to talk about, so here we are on a Wednesday talking movies -- and yes, this is another journey into Hollywood's Dark Heart, the Horror Movie.

Apologies first for this delayed review of "The Garden," which I've had ready for a week. And much thanks to the folks at Anchor Bay and M-80 for the chance to screen this little apocalyptic gem.

I love the atmosphere and the skillful camera and editing that make "The Garden" work. The psychological background here is dense and layered, as a dream-filled childhood mind intersects with the evil machinations of .... could that be Satan? Or is it just the gravel-voiced performance of actor Lance Henriksen? The churning mind of a troubled child may threaten all the world.

The story follows an alcoholic dad and his son, who are injured in a car crash and find themselves on an eerie farm and their host is an even more eerie farmer named Ben (Henriksen). The fevered and fearful dreams of young Sam seem to be capable of manifesting in reality, which is bad enough. But what if the farm where he seeks refuge is actually The Garden of Eden? Apocalypse is approaching, or is it all just more dreaming?

The cinematography and Henriksen's abilities carry the day. While the story may seem predictable to hard-core fans, the less initiated will like this un-rated foray into dimensional shifts and Twilight Zone-ish twists.

Check out the trailer here at the official website. This DVD offers extras from behind the scenes as well as director's commentary. And as always, the excellent catalog from Anchor Bay presents this movie and a host of others to pick from. Well worth your time to explore, many excellent genre entries are here.


Back tonight for week two on TNT is Stephen King's "Nightmares and Dreamscapes" (Hey, a common theme! Deadly Dreams!!). Last week's debut of this four-week miniseries was just plain fantastic. Two more entries arrive tonight, each a one-hour adaptation of King's creepy tales, and this week again boasting some top-name talents.

First, William H. Macy stars in a dual role as writer and the writer's creation, a hard-boiled detective in an episode titled "Umney's Last Case." The writer seeks the help of his tough-as-nails fictional detective, an act that blends the real and the imagined into one. This episode is co-directed by X-Files alum Rob Bowman.

The second hour features actors Henry Thomas and Ron Livingston as they recount what may be the end of one life or perhaps the end of all life in "The End of the Whole Mess."

The official web-site, loaded with interviews and details is here. And if week two is as good as the first one was, we have a minor classic in the making.


One of the constant questions from email and comments concerns the little horror movie with the legendary status which was filmed just a few miles from where I sit here in Morristown. That movie is "The Evil Dead" and director Sam Raimi's 1980s classic and the undefeatable hero named Ash is now headed to the world of musical theatre.

Yes, I said musical.

Reports say:

The show is to debut in New York in October, having already been worked on in Toronto and Montreal.

The men responsible for this unlikely transfer from screen to stage are George Reinblatt, Frank Cipolla and Christopher Bond. The show won't be directed by Sam Raimi, perhaps obviously; instead, Hinton Battle - known to fans of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer television show as the all-singing devil Sweet - will co-direct.

The musical will follow the fortunes of a group of friends (rather than focusing on Ash only) after they unleash the You Know What in a secluded woodland cabin. The first few rows will be called the 'Splatter Zone'. I'm sure we needn't elaborate on that, at all. All performances will begin at the adults-only hour of 11pm, Friday and Saturday nights."

Singing and dancing zombies who aren't politicians. Now that's entertainment!

Fear of a Gay Planet

Twisting the state and the national constitution into a banning mechanism regarding sexual preference is deeply dangerous, for reasons obvious to most adults.

Barring further court actions, the state will present to Tennessee voters a proposal to change our constitution and ban certain consting adults from marrying. I'll vote no on that. I hope you do too. Efforts to alter the national constitution in the same way are also underway.

This is idiocy on so many levels, wasteful too. If you don't see that - nothing I say could open your sealed-shut eyes.

More on this topic via KnoxViews and Congressman Lincoln Davis' comments are here. And with all due respect to Congressman Davis - satire and lampoonery in speeches on the House floor are sometimes difficult to discern. But yeah, I get it. This is ridiculous legislation.

Mike Silence offers some more on the issue here. More comments and discussion are at NiT.

Being afraid of rights between consenting adults based on their sexual behavior says far more about you than you know.

These proposed ammendments stick the government's nose so far under the bedroom sheets we should see this as a perverted invasion of privacy.

I have just a two words to Americans who want to empower a Nanny Government to dictate every molecule of human behavior - Stop it.

UPDATE: Another viewpoint which express it better than I do here.

Medical Research Rebuke

Justifying warfare is easy for the President. Justifying research is not.

White House press secretary Tony Snow explained yesterday, "The president believes strongly that for the purpose of research it's inappropriate for the federal government to finance something that many people consider murder; he's one of them." That the embryos would be discarded anyway "is a tragedy," Mr. Snow added, "but the president is not going to get on the slippery slope of taking something that is living and making it dead for the purpose of research."

On the one hand, I am amazed to see this president actually threatening to veto something which is releated to federal spending. On the other hand, the research holds so much promise to save many lives that to block funding seems specious.

If the justification for warfare across the globe is to protect life, then stem-cell research should also be seen in the same light.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Shuffle Like You Mean It

Is it hotter than seven hells where you are?

Worried that we might be in World War III (or is it IV or even V or VI)?

Is your favorite political candidate chased by chickens?

Did someone leave the microphone on and everyone heard you say a baaaad word?

Can't afford gasoline?

Is your phone/internet under surveillance?

Were you not invited to Avril Lavigne's wedding?

Maybe you're mourning the death of Mickey Spillane --- so

Just soak your eyes in the following video (thanks to Squirrels on Snark for the link to the Tennessee edition of the Global Shuffle), wade out into the closest kiddie pool, or just stroll over to your favorite tourist location and dance, fool, dance!!

D Is For Donut-Hole

The Part D of Medicare has a huge coverage gap which gets this cute little nickname of "donut-hole" which maligns the goodness of donuts and implies the gap isn't that bad. It is bad for the elderly and the sickest and the poorest.

The problematic legislation, which Congress created with much help from pharmaceutical companies, prevents the government from negotiating for lower prices and requires that premiums be paid for coverage even while the individual has no coverage.

Congress needs to review this, but they won't. Elderly, disable, sick or dying Americans seldom get the chance to take a congressman or senator to dinner.

Good coverage on this problem is here, and here is an excerpt:

This colossal gap in coverage (which, you may notice, is larger than the initial coverage itself) is popularly known as “the doughnut hole.” Even worse, those who have fallen into the doughnut hole must still pay their monthly premiums, even though they are paying every last cent of their drug costs during this period out of their own pockets. Talk about adding insult to injury.

It’s hard to say for sure how many people will fall out into the doughnut hole. The best guess available comes from the Kaiser Family Foundation, whose conservative estimate is that almost 7 million people will reach the gap in 2006. Out of these, many will never be able to spend the $2,850 required to get out of it. And the doughnut hole is getting bigger every year: The law is written in such a way that the actual amount of money that people will have to spend to get out of the hole is going to increase annually."

And even after Part D was crafted, big pharma still increased their prices to make sure you hit that hole quicker.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Nostalgia For The Music of the '90s

The post I am pointing you too is just too good to pass up. Fresh perspectives from L.A. on a musical reunion tour featuring En Vogue and Bobby Brown and much more, plus the humble narrator takes us through her own DJ past.

I hate to admit that I did tune in to the Bobby Brown/Whitney Houston "reality" show, which was like a slow-motion celebrity meltdown.

But Valley Grrrl's review of The Bobby is just too funny:

At one point he had a roadie tie his shoes (he went to stage left, put his right foot up on the speaker and a roadie came out and tied it while Bobby continued to let us sing - then he strutted over to stage right and repeated the process with his left foot). He brought a LARGE sistah up on stage and dry humped her while "singing" his classic "Tenderoni" But perhaps the most disturbing moment was when he laid a crisp white towel on the stage. He knelt down in back of the towel and spread it out all neat. I thought maybe he had converted to Muslim and was about to perform his evening prayers. Instead, he proceeded to mount the towel and simulate his love for his wife right there on stage for all to see. I would like to think that the 12 year old girl sitting a few rows in front of me really believed her dad when he told her that Bobby was just doing some push ups. ICK."

Read the whole post.

Forcing A False Debate

Warmakers are having a field day with the newest battles in the Middle East and see it as an "opportunity". I went on rant yesterday in comments on Newscoma's blog (sorry about that) about the disgraced ex-House Majority leader, Newt Gingrich, who wants to push the U.S, our allies and the rest of the world into a Brand New World War, in order to generate enough fear in the U.S. that voters won't review the Republican record of failure in Congress and the Senate. His fear really isn't a world war the U.S. won't win - it's a change in the majority in Congress.

This is beyond foolish, and very nearly suicidal. Fanning the flames of war into a worldwide inferno seems to be the goal. Gingrich and others want to make this an argument about a "we must win" scenario, ignoring the number of lives such a battle would claim. and sees it as a Public Relations battle where using certain key words and phrases will induce enough Fear in the American public to embolden the U.S. into attacking more nations.

Is it a coincidence this Lust for Worldwide War arrives just as the major corporate contracts for military support in Iraq and Afghanistan are winding down?

Opportunity for more contracts, for more military action to seize natural resources, for spreading political instability, which will then be used to justify more military responses in an ever increasing cycle of war.

The mistake in this logic is that it removes the focus from resolving the current warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan and undermines efforts to make resolution possible. It confuses our allies as to our goals and our committments, as they witness a lack of urgency to resolve these conflicts and a desire to spread out into a larger war. I have to wonder if this wasn't a long-developing desire.

Yes, Islamic terrorists want to fight, not talk. Yet, for us to see enemies everywhere means more soldiers are needed and more and more money. And bringing the US into a worldwide conflict is precisely the goal of those who attacked on September 11, 2001.

I'm waiting for the medical analogy to be used - sometimes you have to get sicker in order to get better.

This defeatist and self-serving line of thought will only insure spreading sickness, spreading disaster.

Sadly, the facts are so distorted and lost and the Fear is so great, I doubt the voters will respond with clarity. More and more our policies are all Reaction and not Action and any voices calling for anything else are held in contempt.

Gingrich may just get what he wants: forcing the language of war into everyone's minds.

Who benefits most from this? Perhaps the campaign to put Gingrich in the White House.