Monday, April 12, 2010

Always Lucky to Be Here

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Welcome to my 777th post on my blog. Not bad for just under three years...and how much ridiculous babbling I do...but hey, thanks for reading. Perhaps my future memoirs will be released in volume format. So…I don’t know if I’ve already told you about the drama…but my mom went to Thailand on Friday…just as sh*t got really crazy, like not just people leaving pools of blood in the street…but like riots & fatalities. Saturday morning, I’m reading this in the newspaper…and my mom’s showing up right in the middle of it…so I’m understandably worried. I start to freak a little bit…because that’s my mama. Well, after about an hour, I get a call from a number I don’t know…and it’s my mom. Apparently, she had gotten to the airport, told the cab driver where her hotel was, and the driver basically said, “Ugh…they started shooting about an hour ago, so I’m not going to downtown. I’ll take you to this other place though.” So long story short, she’s safe & sound in the resort area of Pattaya, about 100 miles from Bangkok…and probably having a massage after a day of riding elephants or something. I was so glad to hear that…and of course the next few hours I was calling people up to let them know that they were okay (because calling from Thailand is expensive). The rest of the day, I basically caught up on some errands, got ready for my road trip, worked out a few times and enjoyed the outdoors a bit since I knew it supposed to snow on Sunday.

Sunday, I woke up, went to workout, played some basketball, and about an hour into it…I pulled a muscle in my lower back. Not cool. This must be what it’s like to get old. My dad always warned me growing up that tall people have back problems, so stand up straight, bend at the knees, all that kind of stuff…but it still doesn’t protect against everything. I was actually just kinda bending over to grab a basketball for a little 7-year old girl who had let it roll away…and JOINK!!! Tossed it back to her, calmly stepped over to my stuff, grabbed my bag, irked as I lifted my legs up into Gretchen, and went home. The rest of the day, I was basically trying to rest it, keep it stretched out a bit, heat pads, all that stuff. Really not my favorite thing in the world. To top it off, Bubbles called from Vegas…and one of her friends from work (met her once, sweet funny girl in her twenties) passed away in a car accident…and she was obviously a little distraught. I tried my best to ease her (from 500+ miles away) but when I was trying to let her talk & let it all out, it just made her cry more…until after about five minutes, she said she’d call me back later. I’ve had a few friends pass in car accidents over the years & have been in a few close calls myself. In fact, about a dozen classmates back in high school…and there’s really not much you can say. Sure, you’ve got the clichés like “they’re in a better place” and “at least they went quickly” or some stupid sh*t like that…but really, what can you say? Remember the good times you had? That doesn’t help, just leads to more crying…which can be therapeutic…but it’s not exactly something you want to show to those you care about. Being vulnerable when you’ve spent your whole life being a Rock or something like that. I don’t know. I’m not the best person to speak to over the phone about stuff like this. I’m more of a great shoulder to cry on & a great listener…but when it comes to my input, just keep talking on your own & I’ll nod and/or shake my head and let you let it all out. My condolences to Bubbles & her friend’s family and friends. It’s truly tragic…and one of the top fears I had of moving to Vegas last year. Drive safe out there. We’d really miss you.

Sorry about all that moping & whining. It’s not my style…but that was my weekend. A lot of worry, pain & longing to help friends. I know it sounds horrible…but it wasn’t that bad. Besides, the Wingmans will be here in two days (recent events may change that though) and we’re gonna have a great time before I go off and have a great time of my own on Road Trip 2010. So in the meantime, here’s some news clippings that you might like…

Summer Movies Update – Well, it’s almost that time of year. The days are getting longer, the flowers are blooming, the birds & bees are engaging in interspecies erotica (or whatever that metaphor means) and that means that the summer movie season is almost here…and there are some good ones. Just to put them all out there so that you can schedule your activities accordingly, here’s a quick sum-up of the big ones:

Iron Man 2 – May 7th – This movie should be awesome. Robert Downey jr’s back…and add a sexy Scarlett Johansen and a badass Mickey Rourke…and you’ve got movie gold. My dad & brother want me to go see it with them when I visit so we’ll see if I have a movie review when I come back from Road Trip 2010.

Robin Hood – May 14th – Director Ridley Scott & Russell Crowe team up to see if they can bring some of that “Gladiator” magic to Sherwood Forest. From what I understand, it’s a more historically accurate depiction of the Robin Hood story…but it’s gonna be difficult to top “Men in Tights” in my opinion.

Prince of Persia: Sands of Time – May 28th – Jake Gyllenhall plays a Persian prince. This may be up there with Brad Pitt as “The Mexican” and Tom Cruise as “The Last Samurai” but it should be an entertaining, time-traveling adventure with Ali Baba swords.

Killers – June 4th - The honeymoon's over for newlyweds in this action comedy about a wife (Katherine Heigl) who learns her husband (Ashton Kutcher) is a hit man. And no, this is not “Mr & Mrs Smith” or the “The Whole Nine Yards” or anything like that…so don’t even try. This is completely different.

Splice – June 4th - Genetic researchers (Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley) create a sexy but dangerous hybrid out of human and animal DNA. I assume the human DNA they used was not Adrien Brody’s. There’s a lot finer quality out there.

The A-Team – June 11th – Liam Neeson, Bradley Cooper & Jessica Biel headline this remake of the TV series about ex-Special Forces mercenaries for the good guys…fitting the age old paradigm for effective teams. Can you guess which of these is the Brains, Brawn, Looks, Wild Card & Useless Chick? The answers may surprise you.

The Karate Kid – June 11th – Jaden Smith is a kid in China, Jackie Chan is a maintenance man or something, you all know the story. No word on whether Elizabeth Shue will be in it, nor whether there is any fear in this dojo… “No sensei.”

Jonah Hex – June 18th – Josh Brolin is a badass disfigured gunslinger, John Malkovich is a Confederate bad guy with a horde of zombies at his command, and Megan Fox is really really hot and will probably be wearing a corset and blowing smoke from a steaming barrel at least once. Probably the easiest sell of a movie ever.

Knight & Day – June 25th – Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz are… who the hell cares?

Twilight Saga: Eclipse – June 30th – Double pass…

The Last Airbender – July 2nd – Director M. Night Shyamalan returns as he tells the story of the anime TV cartoon classic “Avatar” about a youth with mystical powers reuniting four warring nations. I don’t recall exactly why they couldn’t just name the movie “Avatar” but here’s the twist ending – Unobtainium.

Predators – July 9th – Adrien Brody heads a band of human warriors against the fiercest warriors in the universe. It’s brilliant. What better way to take down this race of hideous aliens than with a man who can walk among them as one of their own like Adrien Brody? HA!!! Okay, at this point, I want to apologize. That is twice now that I’ve criticized Mr. Brody’s looks…and he’s actually an inspiration to me. If that guy can crack the Top 10 sexiest men list, then there’s hope for a guy like me. All I need is to be presented an award by Megan Fox…and it’s on.

Inception – July 16th – Director Christopher Nolan (“Dark Knight” & “Prestige”) teams up with Leonardo DiCaprio in a story about a man who uses technology to enter people’s dreams and steal their ideas. Oh yeah. You know how I feel about dreams…plus throwing in a master storyteller like Nolan and…basically the Brando of our time, DiCaprio. Yeah, I’m excited about this one.

The Sorceror’s Apprentice – July 16th - Nicolas Cage reunites with "National Treasure" creators Bruckheimer and Jon Turteltaub, playing an ancient wizard who takes on a protégé (Jay Baruchel) in modern times to fight a scheming enemy. Could be good.

Salt – July 23rd – Angelina Jolie is a CIA agent out to prove her innocence after a defector announces her as a Russian spy. Angelina with guns, can’t really go wrong, right? Okay, “Wanted” was really bad…but I’m sure this will be better.

The Adjustment Bureau – July 30th – Matt Damon's a politician battling mysterious forces aiming to squelch his romance with a ballerina (Emily Blunt). I like that word “squelch” a lot. What’s that term, onomatopoeia? When a word is what it sounds like or something? Squish, splat, etc. What? Do you want me to comment about the movie? It’s a politician Matt Damon & a ballerina. What more is there to say? Is it a thriller? A romantic comedy? I don’t know. I don’t care. Why?

The Expendables – August 13th – THIS is why. Probably the movie I’m most excited for personally…because it’s just really the kind of action movie I like. Take all the big action stars of the past 30 years, put them into one movie, give them a South American jungle dictator to take out, leave the women & children at home. Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Eric Roberts, the list goes on & on & on…and not to spoil it (because I already did a few months ago) but there’s apparently cameos by Bruce Willis & the Governator himself…so yeah, fun for all who love the 2nd amendment. Anyway, hope this proves helpful…

Marilyn Update - Just when you thought every last bit of Marilyn Monroe had been put up for auction, including the crypt above hers at a local cemetery, along comes the couch from her shrink's office. Darren Julien of Julien's Auctions says the psychiatric sofa will be offered June 26-27 during the Hollywood Legends auction at Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino Las Vegas. Other Monroe-abilia up for grabs: her Chanel No. 5, personal photos, bank statements, scripts, signed checks and the chair used in the star's final photo shoot (not the Playboy spread). That’s great and all that somebody’s gonna make a buck off this and another’s going to have a piece of history…but what intrigues me…is what might’ve been spoken on that couch a half century ago. Everybody knows that Marilyn was the quintessential troubled Hollywood starlet – young, beautiful, confused, conflicted, affectionate, addicted, passionate, talented, manipulated, manipulating, but I often wonder if there was a friend or anyone that she felt she could truly confide in, release her inner most thoughts to, her concerns, her dreams, her goals, her heartaches, all of that mess that I assume a shrink is for when you don’t have a friend or family member to go to. Could there have been a way to help her? Or was it too late by that point & the damage was irreversible? Did she think about the future or just live in the moment? Did her past haunt her? Did she look back fondly on her parents? I don’t know. People just fascinate me. You can look at all the evidence, all the trinkets of their life, all the second-hand stories, but you never really know what was going through their mind at any given point or time. Seriously, I hate to say it, but even Hitler thought he was doing good. His thought patterns might’ve been completely out of whack…but behind just about every action, whether good or bad, is a reasoning. Why did she take the pills? Did she just want to end it all? Did she feel completely helpless? Was it an accident? Murder by the secret service? Was she just completely exhausted & that’s how everybody was coping? Miscalculation? Was she sad/angry at the time? What was she sad/angry about? How did she start taking pills? Who knows? But, I guess, if you want to own the couch that she might’ve confided some of the back-story into, then you’ve got a chance in June in sunny Las Vegas. Sorry, I think about weird things sometimes…and go off on rants…but you already know that.

Beatles Update – Remember how I made a big deal about Rock Band: The Beatles? Yeah, still haven’t played it. Didn’t seem like a great deal at the time…but it’ll probably be cheaper soon. Oh…and my Rock Band guitar is still broken. Word to the wise, don’t move all your earthly possession three times in a year to three different states. Anyway, enough about this…his is about John, Paul, George & Ringo. The Vatican has something to say to the Beatles – They’re sorry. No, this isn’t a story of a Liverpool priest, four trusting alter boys & a cover-up. The Vatican has just finally made peace with the Beatles, saying their drug use, "dissolute" lives and even the claim that the band was bigger than Jesus are all in the past — while their music lives on. Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano paid tribute to the Fab Four in its weekend editions, with two articles and a front-page cartoon reproducing the crosswalk immortalized on the cover of the band's album "Abbey Road." The tribute marked the 40th anniversary of the band's breakup. "It's true, they took drugs; swept up by their success, they lived dissolute and uninhibited lives," said the paper. "They even said they were more famous than Jesus," it said, recalling John Lennon's 1966 comment that outraged many Catholics and others. "But, listening to their songs, all of this seems distant and meaningless. Their beautiful melodies, which changed forever pop music and still give us emotions, live on like precious jewels." It is not the first time the Vatican has praised the legendary band from Liverpool. Two years ago, Vatican media hailed the Beatles' musical legacy on the 40th anniversary of the "White Album." And last month the Vatican paper included "Revolver" in its semiserious list of top-10 albums. Now, L'Osservatore says that the Beatles' songs have stood the test of time, and that the band remains "the longest-lasting, most consistent and representative phenomenon in the history of pop music." Giovanni Maria Vian, the editor in chief of L'Osservatore Romano, said Monday that he loves the Beatles. He said that at the time of Lennon's sensational statement, Osservatore "commented that in reality it wasn't that scandalous, because the fascination with Jesus was so great that it attracted these new heroes of the time." Congratulations boys…er rather, men. It’s true. Your music does stand the test of time. Now I’m thinking the Vatican may want to focus on other grudges.

Eat Your Veggies – Now for some more light-hearted fare, police say a Pennsylvania father went to his son's elementary school to retrieve nearly four ounces of marijuana from the kindergartner's Elmo backpack (Light Me Up Elmo?). State police say Ronald Washington called Menallen Elementary School in Uniontown on Thursday morning to ask if his son had arrived at school. Police say Washington told school officials he needed to fetch something from the boy's backpack, prompting school officials to search it. Police say school officials called to say they had found pot in the bag. Troopers were waiting to arrest Washington when he arrived shortly before 9 a.m. Online court records don't list an attorney for the 33-year-old Washington. He was unable to post $100,000 (seriously, who can?) and therefore jailed. Hmm, wonder what the kid’s up to now. Anyway, a thought I had was, what if the dad is innocent? Now, hear me out, I’m not a lawyer…but I would totally go with this scenario…and say prove beyond a reasonable doubt otherwise. Repeat after me, “There was WHAT in my son’s backpack? Four ounces? Jesus!!! I can’t believe my son’s a pot dealer. I just wanted to get my calculator that I let him borrow back.” “Do you expect us to believe that your son is selling & distributing marijuana?” “Do you think if it were mine, that I would’ve put FOUR OUNCES into my son’s backpack…of ALL places on God’s Green Earth? I’m sure that I don’t need to tell you this…but even if it’s schwag, that’s over $600. Why, of all the safe places in creation, would I have put that into my son’s backpack…knowing full well that he would take it to school? I should’ve seen all the warning signs. The late hours at ‘soccer practice’… Nobody plays soccer anymore. Always having the newest video games. If I weren’t so stoked that he wanted to play online with me, I probably would’ve wondered where he got the money from. Surely not from me. I’m a custodian.” Anyway, that’s the angle that I would go with. Free legal advice courtesy of Dr Love. Follow-up advice: Don’t drop the soap.

Just Cutting the Grass - Border authorities arrested a man trying to cross the border with two mowers stuffed with the type of grass not usually found in machinery. U.S. Customs and Border Protection arrested an unidentified Mexican man who tried to smuggle 53 pounds' worth of marijuana across the border on Friday (over 200 times what was in the kid’s Elmo bag). The man drove into the inspection station from Tijuana, Mexico, at about 5:30 AM (first clue) hauling the lawnmowers in his pickup. A dog alerted agents and a search turned up 21 packages of pot crammed inside the chassis of the mowers (not the bags). The driver was arrested and booked into San Diego county jail on suspicion of drug trafficking. If it weren’t for the dogs, they might’ve gotten away with it…but that’s why they have them. Just a little something to picture next time you’re out mowing the lawn. “Man, if this were pot, it’d be worth the hassle.” I hope to never go to jail for something like this…because I know I would be the guy in this next story.

One MAJOR Typo - A Thai man has been released from an Indonesian prison after spending three extra years behind bars because of a typo in his paperwork, a report said Friday. Kamjai Khong Thavorn, 53, should have been released in 2007 after serving a 20-year sentence for heroin possession but a clerical error wrongly stated his first year in prison as 1997 instead of 1987, the Jakarta Globe reported. Oops. It gets better. Kamjai was released Thursday only after he told Indonesia's justice minister of the mistake during a chance meeting on the minister's tour of the maximum security prison in Central Java. "We realized the mistake that was made, so he was released unconditionally," the prison's warden, Sutrisman, told the newspaper. Kamjai has been taken to the Thai Embassy in Jakarta, the warden said. Officials at the justice ministry and prison could not immediately be reached for comment Friday…as they are still looking into who to blame for this, I’m sure. How much would that suck? “Hey warden, I ugh…was just watching a little news on TV and ugh…it’s 2010.” “Ugh, yeah?” “Well, granted I’m no mathemagician or anything but…I’m pretty sure I was supposed to be out of here back in 2007.” “Not according to your paperwork.” “Dude, we’ve been buddies since I first came here back in ’87 and you were just the swing shift guard.” “True, you’re a cool cat…but I can’t let you out early.” “Well, I was only supposed to be here for twenty years…so 2007, right?” “Ye…yeah. I just had my 25th anniversary party and…huh, maybe we should have somebody look into that. But first things first, three lashes for making me think. Turn around.” It is an Indonesian prison. I thought I was stretching it by saying they had TV for the inmates.

Anyway, I guess that’ll do it for today. Keep an eye out for your favorite summer movies coming up. Iron Man 2, Jonah Hex, Predators & the Expendables are at the top of my list. Hopefully I can find somebody in the area who might wanna check out a few with me. You know…one of those girls out there who like comic books, Megan Fox & disfigured older men, badass alien hunters & a gang of aging mercenaries. There are baker’s dozens just standing in line for me, I’m sure of it. Have a great day everybody!!!


Alisa said...

-Happy to know your mom is: #1 safe #2 having a nice vacation... tell her hello

-Moping and whining is fine by me!

-I used to be so excited to go to movies but my life is so cut and dried every day (at least right now) that I have next to no idea what movies are out there, so thanks for the update

-Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson will be my best friends in the afterlife

Hope you are doing well (besides the back pain), Steve!

$teve said...

Always glad to help out with movie & Marilyn updates. :)

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