Thursday, February 18, 2010

When Geniuses Get Bored

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well it’s official. My mama’s coming to visit in a few weeks…only she hasn’t sent me the specific dates…and of course she can’t remember…so yeah, to be continued. We’re also supposed to get just a few inches over the weekend…but that’s probably good since most of the economy out here relies on snowfall this time of year. Speaking of snow, congratulations to all the big winners at the Olympics in Vancouver. Way to bring home the gold, silver & bronze for the red, white & blue!!! Here’s the news…

Utah Highway Story – My dad was a cop for a large part of my childhood…and these kind of bedtime stories always entertained me. Definitely more so than tales of Dragons & Princesses and all that. A Utah Highway Patrol trooper found much more than he was looking for when he responded to a report of a car broken down on the side of the freeway. Not only did the trooper find a marijuana pipe in the car, it turns out the car was stolen (uh-oh). And worst of all, the trooper had interrupted a 17-year-old boy and a 34-year-old woman, who were trying to put their clothes back on. (Really? A stolen car…and “worst of all” was a little roadside ass-istance? F**king Utah…) Cameron Roden of the Utah Highway Patrol said, "[The trooper] walked up, he noticed the windows were a little fogged up and as he looked in the vehicle, he noticed there was a male and female in different stages of dress. He made contact with them and found there was something more going on in the vehicle." The car was along the shoulder of I-15 in Orem when the trooper responded. He found the driver, 34-year-old Suzanna McGraw, was adjusting her clothing and a 17-year-old boy in the car was only in his underwear (and proud of it, I’m sure). The boy told the officer the car had run out of gas (and she was teaching her how to cipher gas?), but the only thing the trooper found wrong with the car was that it was stolen. In the end, McGraw was arrested on charges of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, possession of a stolen vehicle and possession of drug paraphernalia. "You don't expect to run into that right in the middle of the city area with something like that going on on the side of the freeway. But we do run into it from time to time, and so we have to be prepared for some of the things we come upon," Roden said. McGraw does have a criminal history of several arrests and was arrested just last month in Orem for possessing a stolen car (ugh…so that’s not a bad thing then?). Troopers say they released the teenager to a responsible adult, and he could also face charges. Some stolen stereo equipment was also found inside the car. McGraw is still being held in the Utah County jail. Her bail has been set at $5,000. Glad to see that Utah hasn’t changed since I left. Sure, steal a car or two, do a little puff-puff-pass…but may God have mercy on your soul if you have sex on the side of the road. Yes, I did read the part where the kid was seventeen…but he didn’t seem to mind. Hell, he’s probably the one who brought the weed & the tunes. We’ve all had our roadside tomfoolery before (at least us exhibitionists) and it’s always a bummer when you get caught…but that’s also half the fun, right? Hell, that kid’s probably going to be king of the school when he goes back…well, until they see the mugshot. Anyway, what’s my point? Oh yeah, worst of all…shame on the UHP for cockblocking. Yeah, that’s all I’ve got.

Billboard Guy Busted – Speaking of roadside shenanigans, remember a few weeks ago when a two-minute porn clip was played on a billboard next to the Kremlin in Moscow? Well, the Russian authorities got their man. Russian police said on Tuesday they had arrested a prankster who hacked into a computer system to show a pornographic movie on a giant advertising screen, causing havoc on a busy Moscow thoroughfare. The two-minute clip, displayed on a video screen above a main road south of the Kremlin, caused midnight traffic jams and a frenzy of excitement across the Russian blogosphere. Police said the hacker gained control of the screen by breaking into an online company's server in the volatile southern region of Chechnya as "he didn't think the police would go looking for him there." (True…but the Mafia will hunt you down anywhere) Police said, "(The hacker) is a highly-educated, temporarily unemployed and extremely advanced Internet user. The scandalous film was the talk of the town." The 40-year-old man said he wanted to "give people a laugh," the popular daily Kommersant reported. Rossiya-24 television said an elderly motorist suffered a heart attack at the wheel after seeing the scenes (Really? If so, it was from a lifetime of eating sausage & drinking vodka, not a horrible camera angle of balls slapping thigh on a big screen). Why do I bring up this story? No, not to give you the image of that horrible camera angle. Because I just wanted to let you know what happens when a bored man who is “highly educated” and “unemployed” does with his free time in this economy. He just wanted to make people laugh…and he caused a man to have a heart attack-ack-ack-ack-ack (you oughta know by now). Well, I got a laugh out of it half the world away…and hopefully you did too. Kudos Kommerade.

Batman Update – There has been another (alleged) Batman sighting…and of course, it was where the real Batman wishes he could’ve been…but dad had to work all week. Brazil's Carnival revelry drew to a close on Wednesday with the anxiously awaited award for the best parade in Rio de Janeiro going to a show featuring skiers dressed like Batman and a pregnant drum queen. The Unidos da Tijuca samba group won the battle for Rio bragging rights for the first time in 74 years for their parade entitled "It's a Secret!" (shhh, don’t tell) that also featured rapid-fire costume changes and a dancing impersonator of the late pop singer Michael Jackson. Its drum section was led by a four-month pregnant television presenter, Adriane Galisteu. The Viradouro group, which whipped up controversy by selecting a seven-year-old as its drum queen, finished last and was relegated to the second division. Rio's samba schools are organized into two separate divisions. Each year 12 samba "schools" of samba parade elaborate sparkling costumes, props and extravagant floats. Judges' marks for the parades are painstakingly read out for over an hour on national television on Ash Wednesday. The schools, which provide an annual coming-out for many of Rio's most impoverished slum areas, often have skit-like elements, making the overall experience a cross between Disney World and an Italian opera (sounds lame…but the Brazilian hotties help). "It's a spectacle that has a lot of culture, a lot of history and a bit of theatre. I get goose bumps, it's a very strong, very nice feeling," said Amanda Souza, 24, as she waited for a parade at Rio's Sambadrome stadium Sunday night. Rio street parties, or "blocos," as they are known in the city, continued on Wednesday as revellers partied up until the vote. With names like "Christ's Arm Pits" and "Don't Move Because It Stinks," they have increased in popularity in recent years as an alternative to the scripted parades. Although near-naked women in tiny bikinis have become the iconic image of Rio's Carnival (ah yeah), exposed flesh is a small aspect of the elaborate displays that provide thousands of people with work and happiness each year. "Without Carnival, I don't think I could live." said Luiz Paulo, 22, as he waited to parade. The samba songs that accompany each parade speak of social issues, national heroes and important moments in Brazilian or world history. A school this year honored the 50th anniversary of the founding of Brasilia, the nation's capital. The blue-and-white Beija Flor school launched the parade with a float of Brasilia's iconic cathedral and sang "Brasilia: the capital of hope." Another group opened its pink-and-green parade with a mock confrontation between police and prisoners to show how music was a liberating force for the country during its 1964-1985 military dictatorship. See? My blog can be educational. You didn’t know about a Brazilian dictatorship. Admit it. A spectator said the Carnival helps her to overcome some fears in a city that suffers from frequent violence and confrontations between the police and drug-traffickers. "We forget our problems. We get courage to walk on the streets," said Inaura dos Santos Martins, 58, who attends the annual event at the Sambadrome. I want to make it to Rio before I die. Luckily with today’s modern medicine that gives me about a century to do so…but I also realize that it’s right in the heart of the Apocalypse where there are already thirty foot anacondas nearby…but I’m willing to risk it (as long as I’m strapped). Carnival is alleged like Mardi Gras…but in Brazil. Having done Mardi Gras, now I think I need to take the next step…and I haven’t been to South America yet…so it makes sense. Who wants to go with me? Maybe we can hitch a ride with the Batman.

Walk on Walls – Want to be a superhero? Or the world’s most technologically advanced peeping Tom? Well, a new high-tech suction device could allow humans to walk on walls like Spider-Man or create adhesive devices that could be turned on and off with the flick of a switch. The contraption, inspired by a beetle (insect, not vehicle) that can hold on to a leaf with a force 100 times its weight, uses the surface tension of water to make an adhesive bond, but it does so with a creative twist. It could be used to create sticky shoes or gloves (we’ve all been there…and Spiderman’s not the only superhero that can shoot a sticky web). The device consists of a flat top plate riddled with tiny holes, each just a few hundred microns (a millionth of a meter) wide. A bottom plate holds water. In between is a porous layer. A 9-volt battery powers an electric field that forces water to squeeze through the tiny holes in the top layer. The surface tension of the exposed droplets makes the device grip another surface - much the way two pieces of wet glass stick together (gotta try that). Turn the electricity off, and the bond breaks. "In our everyday experience, these forces are relatively weak," explained Paul Steen, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Cornell University. "But if you make a lot of them and can control them, like the beetle does, you can get strong adhesion forces." More work is needed to create a version of the device that would hold a human to the side of a building, however. One prototype has 1,000 holes and can hold about 30 grams, or roughly 70 paperclips. But tests showed that with more and smaller holes, a 1-inch square device could hold 15 pounds (so a 4-inch square device could hold a man my size). Another possible use would be covering the droplets with thin membranes, making the device exert outward pressure. "You can think about making a credit card-sized device that you can put in a rock fissure or a door, and break it open with very little voltage. It's a fun thing to think about." F**k yeah it is. I’m already planning my superhero crime-fighting tactics.

Damsel is in distress atop the highest tower in the city. All the entrances are heavily guarded. Looks like I’ll have to enter from the rooftop…again. I scale the walls using my super sticky gloves (is it science or chemistry? It’s a secret) get to the roof access and use my nearly perfect Tiger style fighting techniques to stealthily subdue any would-be troublemakers. Using my spidey sense (I have many powers, just deal with it) I’m able to find the door to the room where the damsel is surrounded. How do I get in without getting shot up? Luckily I hacked into the billboard database before arriving and put a little two-minute distraction displaying my unquestionable prowess back at the Bat-chalet. I place one of my new gadgets next to the lock…and as the device splinters the door into toothpicks, I come bursting through with a mighty Muay Thai knee & eliminate all threats before they can take their eyes off the billboard & let blood flow back to their brains. The dust settles…and I stand their in my Adonis pose showing off the goods in the anatomically correct suit, “Are you okay?” “I am now. Who are you?” This is where my romantic side kicks in, “B**ch don’t you read the papers? I’m Batman!!! Hold on.” I pull out my grappling gun, fire it to a nearby building, grab a firm hold on her behind with my super glove, pull her towards me & we swing off to safety. Isn’t technology great?

Top 10 Remakes – I know what you’re thinking…and yeah, I should be making movies…or at least erotic novels starring superheroes & lumberjacks or something…but I’m no Scorsese. Is anybody else excited to go see “Shutter Island” this weekend? It’s a Scorsese horror thriller. Damn it, that’s like Tarantino having a movie out this weekend (but that won’t happen for like five more years probably…and even then he’s talking about a Southern Western on the Underground Railroad). So a few days ago, rumors surfaced at the Berlin Film Festival that Lars von Trier had challenged Martin Scorsese to remake his 1976 film "Taxi Driver," that Scorsese was up to it, and that Robert De Niro would reprise the role of the troubled cabbie Travis Bickle. The rumors have since been denied (thankfully…because I wouldn’t want to see Jodie Foster as a 14-year old prostitute again), but the prospect of 66-year-old De Niro donning a Mohawk required revisiting the best remakes of all time by Though I may not agree with the order, there are a lot of great remakes on this list that I would recommend (as well as the originals). In reverse order, the top 10:

10. "The Departed" (2006): For his remake of the fantastic 2002 film "Infernal Affairs," Martin Scorsese moved the cops and moles from Hong Kong to South Boston, clarified "Infernal's" script, and added Nicholson, Damon, and DiCaprio (who, impressively, out-acted Jack). If you haven’t seen “The Departed” then watch FX, it’s on there like twice a day now…or do yourself one better, go rent it & f**king love it. It would've won a $tevie…and it’s awesome. I would have it higher on the list…but it’s not my list.

9. "Twelve Monkeys" (1995): Terry Gilliam's apocalyptic time-travel head trip is based on the 1962 28-minute French film "La Jetée," whose manic message is conveyed completely by stills. Gilliam set his story to moving pictures, and cast Bruce Willis as the lead and Brad Pitt as the loony leader of an underground insurgency. I had no idea this was based on a 1960’s PowerPoint presentation…but yeah, great flick as well. Suggestion: Don’t try to understand the whole time traveling by being put inside of a giant condom and ejaculated into the past or whatever, it’ll just make your head hurt.

8. "Ocean's Eleven" (2001): If you ever wonder how Steven Soderbergh is able to spend so much time making cerebral independent films that no one will pay to see (like “The Girlfriend Experience”), look no further than this ultra-sweet piece of celluloid in which he replaced Sinatra, Martin, and Davis with Clooney, Pitt, and Damon. Soderbergh aligned the stars, improved the script, then cashed in his chips. Even the sequels were pretty good…for sequels. I’m still waiting for my call from a fellow great Steve to be the 14th member of the group. I think I would fit right in with George, Brad, Matt and the rest.

7. "The Fly" (1986): David Cronenberg applied his signature meticulous attention to the gory details in this teleportation-gone-wrong remake of a 1958 film about a mad scientist/fly…and this is probably the only reason that Jeff Goldblum can still find work nearly a quarter-century later. He spends his off time watching you poop.

6. "Cape Fear" (1991): In this creepy remake of the 1962 original starring the great Robert Mitchum, Martin Scorsese boosted the suspense and sexual tension, while Robert De Niro put more than a little Travis Bickle into his turn as sinister and vengeful ex-con Max Cody (he also put more than a little awesome ink on his back). Yet another great Scorsese flick.

5. "Scarface" (1983): This is how you produce a classic 1932 gangster flick: First you get Stone to write, then you get De Palma to direct, and then you get Pacino to act as a crazy Cuban drug lord named Tony Montana (for good measure, throw in a gruesome sequence involving a chainsaw). Don’t forget about Michael Pfeiffer…and Manolo (Steven Bauer). You all know how I feel about this movie. Top of the list in my book…but again, it’s not my list.

4. "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (1978): Consider yourself warned: Do not watch Philip Kaufman's remake of the 1956 sci-fi horror flick alone, at night, or with Donald Sutherland. Time to come clean. I’ve never seen ANY version of this movie, even the one a few years ago with Nicole Kidman & Daniel Craig. I may have to check out the 70’s one though if it’s so high on this list.

3. "Dangerous Liaisons" (1988): Stephen Frears received miraculous performances from Glenn Close, Michelle Pfieffer, and John Malkovich, who get down and dirty but mind their manners in 18th-century France in this much-improved, award-winning remake of the 1959 French film of the same name. Oh…and it was also remade into “Cruel Intentions” with Ryan Philippe, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Gellar & Selma Blair and I’m sure there’s not one of you out there who hasn’t seen that. Go on, admit it.

2. "The Thing" (1982): The dialogue pops, the blood spurts, and John Carpenter expertly directs an all-male cast starring Kurt Russell in this alien horror classic adapted from the 1951 picture "The Thing from Another World." There’s really not more to say about it. Pretty good flick, especially for a horror flick.

1. "The Magnificent Seven" (1960): John Sturges boldly remade Akira Kurosawa's 1954 brilliant "Seven Samurai," enlisting Steve McQueen, Charlie Bronson, James Coburn, and Yul Brenner to back him up. The result was so strong that when Sturges met Kurosawa, the legendary Japanese filmmaker told him he loved the film and presented him with a samurai sword. That’s the kind of respect you get when you cast Steve McQueen (my namesake) in the lead role…and back him up with Death Wish, Maverick & the King of Siam. I haven’t seen this movie in a while…and I think I may just have to Netflix it now.

Anyway, I think that’ll do it for today. Hope you all enjoyed it. Happy birthday to John Travolta (56), Molly Ringwald (42), Vanna White (53? Really?), Jack Palance (would-be 90) and Dr. Dre (45). Can’t wait for that new album to drop. It’s been a decade, right? Let’s break out the new Chronic. Doctor’s Orders. “Hey hey hey heeeey, smoke weed everyday!!!” And have a great day!!!

No comments:

Where Should I Go Next?