Wednesday, March 31, 2010

$teve: The Next Brad Pitt

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

The snow is still coming down. Basically had to dig Gretchen out of the garage…and my roommate’s truck is basically tucked away in the snow…and we may be able to unearth it with some steady digging…but we’re not going to even try until the parking lot is plowed. There’s about two feet of Sierra Cement all around…so there’s nowhere to put the snow out of the way until then. Sigh… Snow is beautiful…until you’re driving tires deep on top of ice in it. Gretchen’s a champ though. Other than that, not a whole lot going on. My dad & brother went shooting yesterday…and got to witness the fire tornado firsthand on the drive back to civilization. They allegedly have pictures but have yet to forward them to me. I’ll keep you posted. My mom & stepdad are excited for their Asian cruise. Plans are falling in place for my road trip. Zombie Jesus Day is nigh. I’d think about making a traditional Love Family Easter Brunch of corned beef hash, deviled eggs, and assorted chocolates & high fructose corn syrup…or as I like to call it, Carbs & Cholesterol…but I’m pretty sure that my roommate wouldn’t eat any of it…and I probably really shouldn’t, definitely not for a week or so as I would be forced to. I mean…you can’t let that stuff go to waste, right?

Last night, amid the falling snow, I watched the film “Extract” starring Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Ben Affleck, Kristin Wiig, J.K. Simmons, Gene Simmons, and overall a pretty good ensemble cast. It’s the latest movie from writer / director Mike Judge who has made such timeless classics as “Office Space”, “Idiocracy” & “Beavis & Butthead Do America” over the years, so it was more of his funny view of everyday life. It’s the story of a man (Bateman) who owns & operates a food extract factory while he deals with a possible sale of the company, lawsuit, & a major case of blue balls thanks to the sexless marriage with his wife (Wiig). Well, his bartender buddy (Affleck) convinces him, while under the influence of horse tranquilizers, to hire a gigolo to seduce his wife, so that he can have a guilt-free rendezvous with a superhot employee (Kunis) who has been showing all the signs. Okay, so that’s a pretty horrible description of the plot…but hey, if you like other Mike Judge movies, this one’s pretty good too. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a timeless classic like the others…but it’s still worth a shot. So now I will continue with the news…

Superman Update – Okay, this is just getting ridiculous now. A few weeks ago, I told you about the bidding war between the most expensive comic purchase in history between Superman & Batman, and Superman just took the lead again in a big way. A copy of the 1938 edition of Action Comics No. 1 sold Monday for $1.5 million on the auction Web site The issue, which features Superman's debut and originally sold for 10 cents, is widely considered the Holy Grail of comic books. The same issue sold in February for $1 million, though that copy wasn't in as good condition as the issue that sold Monday. That number was bested just days later when a 1939 comic book featuring Batman's debut sold for $75,000 more at an auction in Dallas. There are about 100 copies of Action Comics No. 1 believed to be in existence, and only a handful in good condition. The issue that sold Monday was rated slightly higher than the one that sold in February; it had been tucked inside an old movie magazine for years before being discovered. The issue was bought from a private collector and then sold by Stephen Fishler and Vincent Zurzolo, the co-owners of It was bought minutes after being posted Monday at the asking price of $1.5 million by "a hardcore comic book fan," Fishler said. "There's been a lot of attempts to acquire this book over the last 15 years. The recent activity, I guess, did the trick." Fishler speculated that the sudden burst of record-priced sales are due to "pent-up demand." Issues of such prized comic books rarely become available for purchase. Rarer still are issues in such good condition. "I can't imagine another book coming on the market that exists that would top this. This may be the final say — at least for the next 10 or 20 years — for a record price of a comic book." Or at least until next week when I’ll probably be reporting about another sale. Maybe this one will be for a random comic like…Duckman No. 5 or something. Anyway, Superman’s back on top. Your move, Dark Knight.

GENIUS!!! – Who wouldn’t want a million dollars just for being you? Maybe you could use it to buy Duckman No. 5 or something? Well, a 43-year-old unemployed bachelor who lives with his elderly mother in Russia — and who won $1 million for solving a problem that has stumped mathematicians for a century is considering just that. Grigory Perelman can't decide if he wants the money. "He said he would need to think about it," said James Carlson, who telephoned Perelman with the news he had won the Millennium Prize awarded by the Clay Mathematics Institute of Cambridge, Mass. Carlson said he wasn't too surprised by the apparent lack of interest from Perelman, a reclusive genius who has a history of refusing big prizes. In 2006, Perelman made headlines when he stayed away from the ceremony in Madrid where he was supposed to get a Fields Medal, often called the Nobel Prize of Mathematics. He remained at home in St. Petersburg instead. As for the new prize, Perelman (PER-il-mahn) told a local television station he hasn't made a decision on whether to accept the money, and that Carlson's institute will be the first to know when he does. Sergei Rukshin, Perelman's high school math teacher, told The Associated Press on Monday that "I know that this time he is seriously thinking about whether he will accept the prize. He still has some time.” The awards ceremony is in June. Rukshin said Perelman has been without work for four years and has declined all job offers. He previously worked at the Steklov Mathematics Institute. "As far as I know, after there was so much media attention ... he did not want to be a public person and to look like an animal in the zoo," Rukshin said. He said he had encouraged Perelman to accept the prize to provide for himself and his elderly mother. Technically, the award is a done deal. "He has been awarded the prize. That's the decision of the committee," Carlson said. "He may or may not accept the money." Carlson declined to discuss what would happen to the $1 million if Perelman rejects it. Several groups in Russia, including the St. Petersburg Communist Party, have made public appeals to Perelman to give them the cash to fight poverty if he doesn't want it for himself. Perelman was honored for proving the Poincare (pwan-kah-RAY) conjecture, which deals with shapes that exist in four or more dimensions, rather than the familiar three dimensions. The conjecture proposes a test for determining whether a shape in such space, no matter how distorted, is a three-dimensional sphere. Yeah. That’s why the answers worth a million bucks. That was one of seven problems the Clay institute identified in 2000 as being worthy of a $1 million Millennium Prize. It's the first problem on the list to be solved. The Clay institute was founded in 1998 by Landon T. Clay, a Boston businessman, and his wife, Lavinia D. Clay. Tamara Yefimova, a deputy director of Perelman's high school who has known the mathematician since he was a student there, said that once he started working on the Poincare conjecture he became totally absorbed in it. She said Perelman stopped visiting his old school to help students and stopped attending meetings of the city's math society. As a high school student, Perelman obviously was the most gifted student, Yefimova said. The only reason he didn't get a gold medal upon graduation, she said, was that the unathletic scholar didn't get the top grade in physical education. Perelman went on to earn college and postgraduate degrees in mathematics and mechanical engineering from Leningrad State University and Steklov Mathematics Institute. "It could have been only him who would solve the Poincare conjecture," Yefimova said. Indeed, Carlson said, Perelman's solution was "a truly amazing piece of mathematics." We may think this is crazy, to turn down a million dollars…but then again, who are we to question GENIUS? Think about it. He could be the happiest man on the planet. He lives with the Love of his life – his mother. She probably cooks hot meals every day. He doesn’t have a job to worry about. He can rock a beard and there’s nobody to judge him. He doesn’t have that girlfriend bullsh*t to deal with. His only concerns are solving the mysteries of the universe…at his leisure. I was kind of surprised that he even had a phone to contact him…but then I remembered that he’s a bachelor…in Russia. What if he has a fixin’ for a mail-order bride? Or a pizza? Or it’s hella cold outside and he wants some Chinese instead of mom’s cooking? Still, the million dollars might be kind of cool as far as helping out your mama. If she were down, I’d take her on a trip to all the places she’s ever dreamed of visiting and treating her like a f**king princess…but maybe his mom isn’t into all that. Maybe she’s perfectly happy spending time with her baby boy genius. You know what, congratulations on your award…and your sweet ass life, comrade. Do with it what you wish.

No Surprise Here – Ricky Martin is gay. In other news, Hugh Hefner likes blondes.

Booby Bandito - An Orange County woman's new breasts cost her six months in jail (at least her cellmate will have a good night’s sleep on those pillows). Yvonne Jean Pampellonne was sentenced Monday in Westminster for using a fraudulent line of credit to obtain $12,000 in cosmetic surgery, including breast implants and liposuction. The 30-year-old woman had pleaded guilty to burglary, grand theft and identity theft. She was sentenced to 180 days in jail and was placed on three years' probation. Restitution was also ordered by the Westminster judge, but the amount wasn't immediately clear. Pampellonne used a line of credit established in another person's name to get the September 2008 procedures at the Pacific Center for Plastic Surgery in Huntington Beach. So ladies, if you can’t afford that new rack that you’ve been looking for (God knows I have) and you don’t mind spending six months showing off your goods to cell block Double D, then maybe you just need to fraudulently finance that procedure. Want to know how? Gimme a call. Honestly though, real justice would’ve been to take the tatas back, pump her full of Twinkie filling (not in the sexual metaphor way) again & make her pay for that procedure. Like Repo Men or something. Anyway, kinda funny that your new cans could land you in the can.

Holy Skrit!!! - A Hindu holy man with thousands of followers across India resigned as head of a religious organization on Tuesday after police began investigating his role in a sex scandal, officials said. Hold on, it’s not what you expect when you here holy man & sex scandal in the same sentence here in the states. Video footage allegedly showing Nithyananda Swami, head of Dhyanapeetam, or "knowledge center," frolicking with two women angered hundreds of devotees who tried to ransack his center outside the southern city of Bangalore this month. The 32-year-old has denied any links to the women and said the tapes were doctored (Bollywood is booming…) but the police are investigating and have asked people to come forward with evidence. This month has been particularly bad for India's self-styled holy men with Indian police arresting one for running a brothel involving air stewardesses and college students (Get the f**k out! Where?), while charging another with kidnapping a minor (not having sex with DOZENS of minors). Nithyananda Swami, who has big politicians and movie stars as devotees, announced his resignation in a statement. "I have decided to live a life of spiritual seclusion, for some indefinite time...," he said on his website. Oh yeah, spiritual leaders can have a website. It is India. Whenever you have a problem with your website, who do you call? Nithyananda Swami has spiritual centers in Europe and United States and Dhyanapeetam runs free medical centers and supplies food to the poor. The real news about this is that he wasn’t molesting young boys. Lots of ‘em. It’s kinda silly that a religious leader in India would be shamed into a self-imposed exile based on a few pictures of him frolicking (emphasis on licking) with two women when that’s really not a big deal. I mean… it isn’t. Unless he’s married or something…or my definition of frolicking is a little PG compared to that of other reporters. Now, the brothel thing…that’s not good for a religious leader…but if he’s looking for somebody with a strong pimphand to take over management, I know a guy. That’s actually a great idea if you think about it. Stewardesses & college students? Cheese & rice, I wanna visit Bangalore now. Oh…and a religious cult kidnapping children? That’s normal in Utah. It’s just funny how religious scandal differs when you go to different parts of the world.

We Represent the Lollipop Guild – Ever wonder what amusement parks are like in the People’s Republic of China? Sitting in a valley in southwest China sits an unlikely and controversial theme park -- the Little People's Kingdom of Dwarfs. Yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Here, dwarfs perform in fairytale costumes for tourists, drawing both curious crowds and a fair share of criticism. For many of the employees, the park is a rare opportunity to find work, and respect…as unlikely as it seems for men and women doing daily spoof performances of Swan Lake in tutus. The park, near Kunming city in Yunnan province, employs 108 dwarfs from across the country, who twice daily gather on an artificial hillside to dance and sing for tourists. As well as a host of dwarf guardian angels, the fantasy world has a king, an army, a health department and even its own foreign ministry, and all must pretend to live in a miniature hilltop village of crooked little houses. For 80 Yuan (about $11.72 which isn’t a small sum in China) tourists can watch skits, sentimental group dances and acrobatics some may view as more than a little reminiscent of medieval freak shows now deemed politically incorrect in many parts of the world (well, if you call anything a “freak show” it sounds mad). The show's centerpiece, a farcical rendition of Swan Lake, sees performers both male and female dressed in pink tutus and pretending to be little swans (ugh…flamingoes are pink, swans are white, right?). "When I did it for the very first time, I felt a bit embarrassed. I had never worn a skirt like that before," said 21-year-old Chen Ruan, who left his native Hunan province to join the park when it opened last July. "But later, once I got used to it, performing it felt very natural," he added. Chen Ming, a flamboyant Sichuanese businessman who single-handedly conceived and funded the park, made his fortune manufacturing electronics and investing in property, but said he had always wanted to do good for society. And Chen now has bigger plans for his little kingdom. Having already invested around 100 million Yuan in the site, which nestles among nine forested peaks, he is looking for a further 700 million to expand it. While the venture is yet to make a profit, Chen hopes the number of performers employed will grow to around 1,000 within a few years. One day, Chen beams, the navy will have its own reservoir, the infantry a railroad, the air force a cable car, and the foreign ministry employees will serve as tour guides. "I'm very happy with it," he told Reuters. "What I need now is for some people, especially Europeans and Americans, to understand us. Because some people don't get it, they think we are using the dwarfs…but what we are actually doing is giving them a platform to live, giving them worth and the ability to work freely, to exist freely," he added. I’m convinced…but not everyone is. Disabled rights groups and members of China's increasingly vocal online community have suggested the park may only serve to increase stigma. "We need to go and tell him how to respect disabled people's rights, how to help disabled people to develop in their own lives, and not to exploit people's curiosity for commercial success," said Xie Yan, director of Beijing's One Plus One Cultural Exchange Center, an NGO which advocates more equality for China's disabled. The situation for China's estimated 83 million people with a disability has improved in recent years, with enrollment figures for schools and universities increasing dramatically. Beijing's hosting of the Paralympics in 2008 also focused government and public attention on the rights of China's disabled. Yet traditional prejudices against anyone who's not considered "normal," and a lack of specialized infrastructure such as wheelchair ramps (or toilets that aren’t holes in the ground?), means many people with disabilities, or medical conditions such as dwarfism, still avoid venturing out. Li Caixia said it had been near impossible to find well-paid work after graduating from high school, and was tempted to the park by the prospect of up to 2,000 Yuan a month, double what she might get working anywhere else (including brothels). "As soon as employers see us, they know they definitely wouldn't want a small person like us. They have to pay the same salary, so they all want to find someone more normal. But here, staff aren't prejudiced like the people outside." The only qualification for employees, whose ages range from 18 to 48, is to be shorter than 130 cms (51 inches, 4-foot-3) and be fundamentally self sufficient. Living together in a dormitory designed to look like a cave, some residents say life in the park (or Shire) is a welcome opportunity to be around others with similar experiences. Facilities from sinks to light switches are installed for people with a short stature in mind, offering greater independence for people many of whom were once heavily reliant on parents or charitable institutions. Kunming primary school teacher Deng Li, whose students were among hundreds enjoying the show on a recent weekday morning, said it was a positive experience for both sides. "You can see the children have accepted them. I think this will be of great help to the children as they grow up and come into contact with people like them." So what do you think? Is it a theme park exploiting the public’s curiosity of midgetry? Or is it a favorable employer of those with a shorter stature than most? You be the judge. I like the idea…but obviously my point of view is…not normal.

Angelina Update – Speaking of childhood fairy tales, Angelina Jolie is apparently interested in taking on the villainous lead role in "Maleficent" for Disney Pictures says The Los Angeles Times. Last week came word that Linda Woolverton ("Beauty and the Beast") would pen the script which is described as a "post-modern family adventure" centering around the evil Queen who served as the main antagonist in Disney's 1959 animated classic "Sleeping Beauty". Jolie is "very interested" in taking on the project according to the paper's sources. Tim Burton has been linked as a potential director for a few months now (since it is a quirky remake of a children’s classic that goes without saying) but no deals are in place with anyone. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t dream… Mmm… I may not have a shot at playing Prince Philip… or even King Stefan for a scene… but I’d gladly play one of her minions as long as she calls me her pet…

Fox Update Megan Fox has apparently turned down the chance to be the next Lara Croft. The Transformers star “reluctantly” said no to the part in the next Tomb Raider movie because she hates being compared to the film franchise’s original star, Angelina Jolie. “The offer has been on the table for Megan for a while but she’s reluctantly turned it down,” says a movie insider. “She’s the logical choice to play Lara and she loves the character but the comparison with Angelina is too much. “It looks like the movie will now star an unknown.” Fox, 23, has previously insisted she’s compared to Jolie because people are desperate to put her “in a box” (the kind of box that’s frequently nominated for Academy Awards and can pick any movie role that the box wants, whether it’s 8-digits for playing a big budget heroine, pairing up with some of the greatest actors & directors of our time, some stupid artsy film to show the box’s range or the retelling of a children’s classic). “The media has to package you and sell you somehow and sell their magazines so everybody has to be ‘the new’ or ‘the next’ someone or something,” she said in October last year. “If I am not a party girl and they can’t sell me as that, and I’m not an Oscar winning actress and they can’t sell me as that, then they have to package me somehow and for some reason they latched on to the Angelina thing because I have a lot of tattoos (mmm… yes, you do… among other traits like vixen eyes, full delicious lips, beautiful curvaceous body & a questionable taste for older men). It was a way to market me and it was a way to sell their magazines or get hits on their blogs — because it makes people uncomfortable if they are unable to put you in a box.”

Look Megan, I know I’m not the one to hand out career advice, especially when it’s something I have as little experience in as the Hollywood hype machine (P.S. Rumors has it, I may be the new host of a late night show soon) but please, think this through logically. You’re right. You’re absolutely right. The media wants to make you the next Angelina or whatever…because they need to promote you as having not only the physical characteristics of this successful actress & activist…but also her talent & raw sexual appeal, despite the fact that you don’t have quite the past as her (I mean…some of the things I’ve heard about pre-Gia Angelina…) and every actress has to go through it. Meryl Streep was the next Hepburn. Sarah Jessica Parker was the next Seabiscuit. The point is… if you have to be put in this “box” as you so put it, I’d take the Jolie box any chance I could get (in more ways than one). Do you think she feels like she’s in a box? Maybe. Do I feel like I’m in a box? All the time. Here’s the thing, they’re not going to hand you super stardom or anything based on your (Jennifer’s) body of work. Also, is this box that they’re trying to put you in the same one that puts your into comic book roles? Sadly, that’s probably a bigger problem with type-casting than any box in playing a former Angelina role that catapulted her from sexy moody chick to international superstar. Do I think that you should be in the Tomb Raider remake? Not particularly (though I do fancy the imagery) but don’t refuse it just because Angelina did it. Yeah, she did…and she did it well. You know what else she did? Won an Academy Award for playing a chick in a mental institution opposite Winona Ryder (who would LOVE to be in Angelina’s “box”). She was also nominated for her role in “Changeling” working with director Clint Eastwood. She’s working with actors like Nicolas Cage, Johnny Depp, Anthony Hopkins, Denzel Washington, Gerard Butler, Antonio Benderas, Jude Law and her husband Brad Pitt. She’s helping the children of Mother Afrika and about to complete her collection of a child from each continent. She’s done a lot of great & admirable things. If you don’t wanna play Lara Croft, good. Don’t. If the script’s horrible, that’s understandable. Even Indiana Jones got REALLY bad by the 4th movie, so why should the sexy female version be any different? If it’s because you don’t want to do any more action movies for a while, good for you. Spread out that portfolio and branch into something like a… Victorian period piece if you can… or a biopic like I’ve often suggested to Hollywood. Ah, the young Mother Teresa. Here’s the thing though, I’ve got great faith in your abilities…but don’t let what the media says about you get you down or make decisions for you. The Media is a bunch of idiots out to say stupid stuff to get people’s attention (sorry…but technically a lot of you are). I’m guilty of it too…but I get the attention of about a dozen people around the world…and it’s not like anybody’s putting this into print or anything. For God’s sake, don’t make career decision based on some stupid sh*t that some idiot like me would say…or even infer that I have some kind of influence on your decisions…knowing full well that I know NOTHING about being a star or an actor on any level. Do what’s best for you. “I turned down the role because…I’m really interested in these other projects & it’ll be a great platform for some other actress that’d be more involved in the role” or “because I want to help bring clean drinking water to the people of Zimbabwe” or “because the script is written by Diablo Cody…and fool me once, shame on you to that f**king hack” whatever the situation may be. Anyway, best of luck to you, Miss Fox…and you know I only dragged this discussion out longer to help you out & give me more reason to post your pictures for my handful of readers (who are probably 80% female surprisingly). I can’t wait to meet you when I visit LA in a few weeks...and I have no doubt that, if needed, you could protect me...

Anyway, that’ll do it for today. Sorry to ramble on for a bit there…but not much else to do when it’s snowing outside and you can’t really make a snowman with Sierra Cement that’s worth a damn. May you all have somebody to keep you warm on these cold winter nights (though isn’t it technically Spring now?) and if not, call on Dr Love & he’ll gladly warm you up by the fireplace…and maybe hum a sexy little tune into your ears. You never know. Have a great night everybody!!!

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