Saturday, January 26, 2008

How do you make a whore moan?

NEW YORK - Sylvester Stallone says he used human growth hormone to get buff for the new "Rambo" movie, and defends its use. "HGH (human growth hormone) is nothing," the 61-year-old actor tells Time magazine in its Feb. 4 issue. "Anyone who calls it a steroid is grossly misinformed."
As is anyone who calls Stallone an "actor". What's odd is that he took a growth hormone, but clearly hasn't grown much. His last two films were sequels to 30-year old concepts that were long ago worn out. Grow, will ya?
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Most taxpayers could expect a rebate of up to $600 starting in mid-May under the economic aid plan set to go through Congress within weeks. Couples could get twice as much, with even more for most families with children. All that, however, depends on smooth sailing at the Internal Revenue Service, and the agency already is up to its eyeballs in filings and refunds.
As usual, the single people get screwed. C'mon, who spends more money than single people? What are those married people going to do with six-hundred bucks? Save it or pay a bill. Us single folk will do something to help the economy, like a Vegas weekend or a nice Asian massage parlor. At the very least, we'll blow it on beer or take-out meals or both. We're ready to put the money back into the economy.
Help us.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Live nude girls!

That should be good for the Google searchers.
I see that my pals at the Whole Foods Market have shunned the whole plastic shopping bag deal in favor of the canvas ones. It's about time. Last night, I picked up three more at the local Shop Rite, and damned if the kid cashier didn't try to put my stuff in one of those plastic things. I suppose it's some sort of "learned" response, but I'm thinking that the higher-up's at our local supermarkets need to start training the cashiers in the beauty of the re-usable bag.
It's a minor struggle to take them into the market. First, they want to know if they're mine or if I'm buying them. What's the point of selling them in the store if it's only going to make the employees think you're stealing them? Second, it's another minor struggle to get the groceries on the conveyor and throw the canvas bags at the bagger at the end of the line before they can start with the crinkly plastic. "No-no, here use these! I paid for them - really!"

On my way to work today, I got behind three different vehicles who insisted on stopping short. They don't make their way to the stop line at the traffic light. They leave a car-length between themselves and the big white line. I suppose at some point they were clipped by a left-turner and got spooked. Later, the highway was mobbed with the slow-mergers. The people who stagger down the on-ramp and merge in at 50, while the rest of the world is doing 65. I'm thinking I should introduce them to the grocery baggers and have some sort of memory-erasing intervention.
I'm starting to get the hang of this new digital Nikon camera I bought last week. Immediately after I bought it, the weather turned un-Godly cold, which made me appreciate the new mattress I bought, so it ain't a total loss. I'm planning to get out in public with it this weekend, and at this stage, I'm working up a name for the blog on which I'll publish the photos. Meanwhile, here's a cyanotype of the cat to calm your nerves. He's a beautiful boy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Where are the noisemakers?

With the recent Dr. Martin Luther King holiday , I’m reminded that there aren’t any real activists left in the world. That era passed in the 60s, and I’m thinking that the fate of people like King, Lenny Bruce and Robert Kennedy convinced the more rational thinkers that being a loudmouth and challenging authority can lead to one’s demise. That pretty much puts an end to their activism.
The “go along to get along” methodology works in modern culture to the extent that people can make a nice living off it. Conversely, people like Bono made their fortune and now roam the world with fistfuls of money, and have nothing to lose by being moralistic. If they fall, they fall on a pile of money big enough to cushion it. But they won’t, because they don’t take a risky enough stance on anything to put their lucrative career in jeopardy and, God forbid, be unpopular.
I don't mean to pick on him, but he's generally front and center so he's an easy target. Choose your favorite celebrity activist and you'll find someone who has made a fortune in the entertainment industry and now has the luxury of preaching about something that isn't all that controversial. For that, they are given "Person of the Year" awards and praised for whatever it is that they're doing. Spot me $20 million and I'll ride around in a Greenpeace boat too.
The days are long gone when an activist would risk being arrested or encourage a courtroom appearance. The current crop of presidential candidates preach “change,” but in fact, it’s pretty much more of the same with a different set of faces in varying shapes and colors. The bold move would be electing a woman or a black man – if that’s what he is. To be different in today’s culture (and succeed at it) one must first be popular, so that the mainstream media will pick up your message and you can sponsor a colored wristband or support a big charitable cause that nobody could argue – like cancer research or poverty.
Besides which, the really big issues are gone, like free speech and racial discrimination. They’ve been legislated and the people who fought for the legislation have died for their causes. All that’s left now are the “easy” ones like building homes for poor people, fighting diseases and wiping out illiteracy. Is anybody taking the "pro" stance on cancer or being illiterate? No. Try saying "fuck" in a nightclub in 1958, being black and sitting at a Woolworth's lunch counter or being a woman and trying to get a job. There were plenty of "con" stances there.
All that's left now is the low-hanging fruit.
“I’m not popular enough to be different”
- Homer Simpson

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A trillion here, a trillion there -- before you know it, you're talking about a lot of money.

I think we have some money coming to us. At least that's what the guys in the big domed building are saying. They wouldn't lie, would they? They're busy cooking up a rebate scheme to help our struggling American economy because money fixes everything.
In the great tradition of the federal government, they think that the best way to solve a problem is to throw money at it, and who better to throw money at than the American people?
We're supposed to spend it on junk that we wouldn't spend it on otherwise in order to -- anyone? -- stimulate -- anyone? -- stimulate the economy. Yes, the economy. The one that's in such horrible shape that economists are using the "R" word, recession and the one that's in such bad shape that the rest of the world followed in line and their stock markets dropped like stones in sympathy.
Then, earlier this morning, the Federal Reserve (not a branch of the Federal government) cut interest rates by the biggest margin since 1991 and the smart money (ours, not theirs) says that they will do it again when they meet next time. Bravo, Fed guys. All those poor schnooks with adjustable rate mortgages will suddenly have more money to -- anyone? -- spend on junk they wouldn't normally spend it on like big screen TVs and cigarettes.
Some of the junk they're going to spend it on isn't made here. In fact, most of the junk isn't made here, since we're pretty much a service-based economy. We're good at Geek Squads and Temp Agencies, just don't ask us to build anything. We have to go overseas to get the parts, and if it's something we can sub out, we'll even go overseas to sub it out.
The guys in the dome aren't saying how much they're going to give us, but they're saying that the poor will get more than the rich. Uh-huh. That's because they say that poor people are more likely to spend it on junk than rich people. Rich people do stupid things like saving and investing. What's the point of that? We need to jump-start the economy.
I know what you're asking. Where is this money going to come from? That's a fair question. People will figure that it's just money that the government has lying around, because after all, they print the stuff, right? No, not really. They're going to borrow it. As of the 18th of January, this neat little number represents the Federal Budget Deficit:
That's 9 trillion dollars, if you're keeping score at home. It's over $30,000 per person in the United States. In the time it took me to cut and paste that number, it grew by a few thousand dollars. So, what's the harm in giving out a few hundred dollars to head of household taxpayers, right? Here's what they're going to do...
They're going to borrow money, give it to us, have us spend it on stuff, some or most of it made outside the country, pay interest on the money they're giving us and cross their fingers and toes that all our pointless spending somehow breathes life into a recessionary economy.
All the while, taxpayers will be screaming, "Hooray, they're giving us money!" Yeah, right ... giving. The Romans used to call it Bread and Circus.
In the words of Eric Cartman, "Dude, this is pretty fucked up, right here."

Monday, January 21, 2008

Since I only have two thumbs, it's "two thumbs up" for Cloverfield.

Run, don't walk to see "Cloverfield".
Forget all that crap you've heard about the so-called shaky camera work and the vagaries of the monster and its unexplained purpose. What you need to do is put yourself in the point of history in which the film places us and allow it to flow over you. You can make the mistake of demanding to know what the thing is and where it comes from or you can play along. I suggest you play along. That's what movies are for. If a real monster showed up, I doubt that it would pause to tell us why it was here.
If you must know who or what the monster is, do the research (called Viral-marketing) and read-up on the Japanese company that Rob (Michael Stahl-David) is being transferred from New York to work for. Watch what happens early in the film when the monster appears and think about it. It's not the focal point of the film, so don't allow it to spoil the fun. It is fun, trust me.
I'm usually the first one to scream at bad hand-held camera work from amateurs, let alone Hollywood filmmakers, and the style here did not bother me at all. I went in thinking it would because of my love of the Steady Cam. Forget the camera work. It isn't important.
What is important is the style. Filmmaking is all about style, and this one is loaded with it. It's "Blair Witch Project" meets "War of the Worlds" (the Speilberg one) and you'll find yourself knee-deep in the story, rooting for the characters and wondering how in Hell they made this thing look so realistic. Filmgoers have gotten used to shiny CGI special effects that look more realistic than real life. This one has the grainy look of a home video and still manages to pull off the realism.
As for the actors, lovers of the sitcom will recognize Lizzy Caplan (as Marlena), late of The Class, the dear-departed CBS show. Otherwise, they're unknowns to me, and more's the better. If this film is to be seen and believed, we're better off with unknown actors than a star-studded cast. It just wouldn't work with people we recognize.
I'm not going to tell any of the story for you. Suffice it to say that the 82 minutes whizzes by and after we meet the principals at their little going away party, the action is non-stop and if you're prone to nervousness, this film won't help your condition.
Don't wait for the DVD. Don't download it from the Internet. Cough up the nine bucks and find two hours of your life that you won't wish you could have back. It's not a "guy movie" and it isn't full of gore and guts.
It's a modern sci-fi/horror classic that lives up to its hype.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Sunday things and stuff.

A visit to the A & W web site revealed that they do indeed have burgers and all sorts of food other than the hot dog. Who'd a thunk? Maybe the next time I'm at the food court I might have to try a Papa Burger.
While listening to the radio this morning, I heard an ad for priests. Yep, a radio ad for people to think about giving the priesthood a shot. Right after the ad for truck drivers and before the one for the strip club.
The ad featured current priests telling us that they found their life's calling by becoming a priest. That's nice, but I'd like to think that a career as a priest would come as some sort of revelation divined by a spiritual force - not an ad on the radio. Doesn't the Army advertise the same way?
For the record, the new mattress is an absolute dream. It was more money than I wanted to spend, but in the end, it was worth every penny. There's nothing like a good night's sleep, and I had been on that old lumpy thing for so long I forgot how nice a good one felt. If you're on a mattress that is more than 10 years old, trust me, go out and find one of these pillow top deals and thank me later. Waking up without back and neck pain and feeling rested is worth every nickel you'll spend.
The San Diego Chargers gave the Patriots a run for their money today, but ultimately the power always wins, and in this case, the power is the big team from New England. Now, at 6pm, it boils down to the stinking Packers and the stinking Giants as to who will contest the Patriots in the so-called Super Bowl.
When does baseball season start?

You can observe a lot just by watching.

Overheard at the Deptford Mall food court on Saturday night. A father and his two sons, ages 7 and 9 (probably). The father had gone to fetch dinner for himself and the kids:
KID: You got me a hot dog. I didn't ask for a hot dog.
FATHER: You said you wanted A & W.
KID: But I don't like hot dogs.
FATHER: Too bad. That's what you got.
KID: But that's my opinion!
FATHER: My opinion is that you're going to eat it.
I'm thinking, "Dude, you're losing an argument with a child."
Meanwhile, the wife had gone off someplace in search of her own food. Obviously smarter than the husband. The husband starts wandering the food court aimlessly looking for her, cell phone in hand.
FATHER: Didn't you get my message?
The guy had called her on her cell phone to try to figure out where she was. In a food court in a mall. I'm trying to figure out how these phone companies lose money.
Life in modern America.