Well, my mom’s off to Asia. She called me this morning as she was boarding the plane…and apparently she’s going to miss me. I’m sure she’ll get over that when she sees the Forbidden City, Okinawa, and everything else over the next month. Oh well, I’ll just have to do with the metropolis of San Francisco, the majesty of the Pacific Coast, an entire city populated by Angels, another city ripe with sin & decadence, then a week back home…all while spending time with those that I love. I’m sure I’ll get over it too. Anyway, that’s really about it for me so…back to you, $teve.
Johnny English Sequel – Have you seen “Johnny English” yet? Well you should. Also, Universal Pictures and Working Title are assembling a sequel to the spy comedy "Johnny English" says Variety. The 2003 James Bond satire had Rowan Atkinson starring as an inept British Intelligence worker called into service after every secret agent in the country is wiped out in an explosion at a funeral. He soon uncovers a plot by French prison entrepreneur Pascal Sauvage (John Malkovich) to steal the British Crown Jewels. The original cost a modest $40 million and even though it flopped in the U.S. ($28 million), it did very well overseas with a global $161 million haul. Oliver Parker ("St. Trinian's") is onboard to direct with the budget expected to be around the same. The move is seen as an example of the struggling studio's new plans to avoid high-cost, high-risk fare. Hamish McColl ("Mr. Bean's Holiday") penned the screenplay and Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner are producing. Filming kicks off in August. So there you go. Also, I think I know of the perfect big name American actor who could fill the shoes of Malkovich in the sequel…and may be looking for a good paying gig…
Nicolas Cage Update – Ladies, Nicolas Cage may be looking for a home. Okay, probably not, but now that I have your attention, a Bel-Air mansion owned by Nicolas Cage has found no takers in a foreclosure auction. The opening bid for the actor's 12,000-square-foot home was $10.4 million, but there are $18 million worth of loans on the property (that’s $1500 per square foot or over $10 per square inch). The Tudor mansion boasts six bedrooms, a central tower, home theater and an Olympic-sized pool. The house reverted to the foreclosing lender at Wednesday's auction in Pomona. Even though he's one of Hollywood's highest-paid stars, Cage has money troubles. He owes millions in unpaid taxes and in January his foreclosed home in Las Vegas sold for nearly $5 million. Cage sued his former business manager in October for $20 million, claiming the man's advice led him toward financial ruin (never should’ve invest in our children’s future). The ex-manager says Cage is a spendthrift. It’s amazing how this happens to some stars & big wigs…but it’s really hard to feel sorry for them at the same time. How much was he asking for his house? Oh about a thousand times what I made last year after taxes? Sounds a little rich for my blood. Maybe if I get a good rate on a loan… nah, Bel Air’s not my cup o’ tea. Best of luck to you sir. I hope that you get a fair price for your property and are able to get out of financial debt…because I don’t want you to have to do another Ghost Rider. No one should be subjected to that.
Beer Strike - Scores of Carlsberg workers walked off their jobs in protest Thursday after the Danish brewer tightened laid-back rules on workplace drinking and removed beer coolers from work sites (GASP!!!), a company spokesman said. The warehouse and production workers in Denmark are rebelling against the company's new alcohol policy, which allows them to drink beer only during lunch hours in the canteen. Previously, they could help themselves to beer throughout the day, from coolers placed around the work sites (f**k your water coolers, America!!!). The only restriction was "that you could not be drunk at work. It was up to each and everyone to be responsible," company spokesman Jens Bekke said. Carlsberg had mulled a stricter drinking policy for years and finally decided to impose the new rules on April 1st (seriously, April Fool’s Day? Is this a joke?), prompting protests from the staff. Bekke said around 800 workers went on strike Wednesday and around 250 walked (or rather stumbled) off their jobs Thursday, resulting in interruptions to beer transports in and around Copenhagen. Carlsberg's truck drivers joined the strike in sympathy — even though they are exempt from the new rules, Bekke said. Oh…and yeah, you read that correctly. The truck drivers…are exempt from the rules involving not being drunk while working. Specifically, the truck drivers are permitted to bring three beers from the canteen because they often don't have time to have lunch there. You know, it’s like the Danish equivalent of ADA but for the drunk driver that’s always on the go. Sigh… don’t worry, the trucks have alcohol ignition locks preventing the drivers from driving drunk…or at least over the legal limit. So in case you’re wondering why your local grocery store doesn’t have Carlsberg brand on the shelf right now…well, there’s a lot of reasons why…but this is just the newest. I’ve toured a few breweries where the employees get to test their draft…and it was like walking through a screening of Billy Bonka & the Beer Factory. There was a guide in a crazy get-up, answering questions in little quips before breaking into song, a river of lager with a boat made of pretzeled bread, short migrant workers speaking what must’ve been Elfish, twinkling neon shimmering off massive vats of barley-based ecstasy. During our testing after the tour, a few samples in, I swear I could hear the tour guide singing, “Take one drink, then you’ll sink, into a wooooorld of pure inebriation…” but then again, I’m pretty sure that was a Family Guy episode. Damn alcohol (and head injuries) has rotted my memory. My God! Do you think other beer companies would go on strike? Will this disease spread south into the Netherlands, Bavaria, the Czech Republic, maybe even…cross oceans? No, no I refuse to even think about it. I refuse to even imagine a world that’s as dry in every way as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. That would truly be the end of the world. “Oh $teve, you’re crazy. There’s no way that would happen. Besides, haven’t you been saying for years now that snakes will destroy us all before striking brewery workers, global warming, nuclear holocaust or a Miley Cyrus Oscar?” First off, thank you for heading my warnings…and secondly, when you’re right, you’re right…but I had already thought of that…
Apocalypse Update – We’ll never make it to a world without beer? Well, the evil snake forces of the Apocalypse have already infiltrated Germany. Authorities in the German city of Muelheim spent over 100,000 Euros on a three week mission to recover ONE missing snake -- only to discover it had died (or sacrificed for the good of the snake forces). "We had to do everything in our power to find this cobra," said Volker Wiebels, spokesman for the city council. After the highly poisonous monocled cobra (yes, cobra…apparently wearing a lensed eyepiece) escaped from its container in March, fire services cleared the entire apartment block, removed all the furniture and gutted the owner's flat (before stuffing it into intestinal lining & marinating it in beer). They then sealed all the doors and windows of the building, so the 30 cm (1 foot) long reptile couldn't get out, and set large sticky traps to catch it, Wiebels said. Officials finally found the snake lying dead in the rooftop apartment of its 19-year-old owner on Thursday. By that time the cost of the operation had ballooned to about 100,000 Euros (about $135,000). Taxpayers are likely on the hook for 40,000 Euros, because an escaped snake is considered public hazard, Wiebels said. The rest falls on the owner, who paid 70 Euros for the snake at a local reptile trade fair. It was unclear if the city would get its money back, because the man is currently unemployed. "The snake may have been cheap, but unfortunately what happened next wasn't," Wiebels said. To summarized, one foot-long cobra…brought an entire city of 170,000 people to its knees…and cost six digits to find…and when found, it was conveniently dead & gutted in the apartment where he first went missing. The snakes are using our own policies against us. They know that if there’s a venomous snake entered into an environment of a worldwide financial leader like Germany…and in an area where it could survive…then they could bring down their enemy from the top-down. New children’s tales about evil one-eyed snakes (remember, he was monocled) that spit poison into your eyes, both killing Germans & stopping them from reproducing (“Ew, get that one-eyed snake away from me!”). Also, costing obscene amounts of money searching for them…when they’d obviously have to retreat to the ground to survive the bitter cold. Alas, the people of Muelheim wouldn’t stop searching until they found it…so the slithery council decided to sacrifice Raput, the assassin from India for the greater good…and placed his body in an area that was easy for the authorities to find, unable to be tortured for their plans of poisoning the water supply (why I only drink beer & whiskey). Still think I’m crazy? Well then, you explain it Detective. In the meantime…just stay outta my way…and when the Apocalypse comes…I’ll try not to say I told you so…
Mind Reading Machines – Have you ever found yourself wondering, “What the f**k is he thinking?” Probably a few times reading this blog…but help is on the way to answering that somewhat rhetorical question. Mind reading may no longer be the domain of psychics and fortune tellers — now some computers can do it, too. Software that uses brain scans to determine what items people are thinking about was among the technological innovations showcased Wednesday by Intel Corp., which drew back the curtain on a number of projects that are still under development (yet still kept the curtains over the Weather Dominator). The software analyzes functional MRI scans to determine what parts of a person's brain is being activated as he or she thinks. In tests, it guessed with 90% accuracy which of two words a person was thinking about, said Intel Labs researcher Dean Pomerleau (Boobs or Booty?). Eventually, the technology could help the severely physically disabled to communicate. And Pomerleau sees it as an early step toward one day being able to control technology with our minds (and probably the other way around too…but shhhh…it’s a secret). "The vision is being able to interface to information, to your devices and to other people without having an intermediary device," he said. For now, the project's accomplishments are far more modest — it can only be used with prohibitively expensive and bulky fMRI equipment and hasn't yet been adapted to analyze abstract thoughts. The system works best when a person is first scanned while thinking of dozens of different concrete nouns — words like "bear" or "hammer." When test subjects are then asked to pick one of two new terms and think about it, the software uses the earlier results as a baseline to determine what the person is thinking. The software works by analyzing the shared attributes of different words. For example, a person who is thinking of a bear uses the same parts of the brain that light up when he or she thinks of a puppy or something else furry. A person thinking of a bear also shows activity in the amygdala — home of the fight-or-flight response. While Intel primarily makes computer processors and other hardware, it often works to develop and demonstrate new technologies in an effort to stimulate the market and advance its reputation. Other innovations on display at Wednesday's Intel event in Manhattan included:
- Cell phone technology that would use motion, GPS and audio data gathered through users' cell phones to track what they're doing and who they're with (and who they’re doing and what with). The technology can distinguish activities such as walking, giving a business presentation and driving. It also compares audio readings from different cell phones to determine who is in the same room (remember Dark Knight?). This would allow users to share their activity information with their close friends and watch avatar versions of their friends throughout the day. It would also let users track and analyze data about how they spend their time. Yeah, that’s the application they’re selling you on…but we all know what it’ll really be used for. Big Brother stuff.
- "Dispute Finder" technology that monitors users' conversations and Internet browsing to warn them when they encounter contested or inaccurate information. The software mines the Internet to find instances in which writers have claimed something is untrue. It then uses speech recognition technology to monitor conversations. So…like a bullsh*t finder? Uh oh. The days of my blog may be limited…but this’ll eventually become a lie detector or something.
- A transparent holographic shopping display that could be used in department stores to point consumers to featured items. Shoppers could also use the giant screen to search the store's inventory, call up maps, and send item information to their cell phones. Oh yeah, holographic employees to help you. “Excuse me, I’m sorry… could you make this a redhead with a higher skirt & a low cut? Thank you. Hello Miss, I’m looking for a new camera.”
- A TV set-top box that connects wirelessly to your laptop and monitors your Internet search history, as well as your TV viewing, to offer relevant video. Why? So the wife can know that I’m watching porn on my laptop while she’s taking the kids to soccer practice? “Roger, why does it keep telling us that ‘The Lord of the G-Strings’ just started on another channel?” “I don’t know. Oh, maybe it’s because I was watching Lord of the Rings the other night. That’s it.” “Now it’s recording ‘Miss Wu and her Amazing Panda Show’ what the hell?” “Oh really? Miss Wu is on? Holy crap honey, you’ve got to see this. Kids!!! Bedtime!!!”
In Deep Shih Tzu – How about all of the above, b**ches??? A stray dog is recovering after getting run over by a freight train — TWICE. Fred Krause of Utah Railway Company says he spotted the cream-colored Shih Tzu on the tracks Sunday near a high school in a Salt Lake City suburb. Krause, who was operating a train, says there was no way to stop before it ran over the dog, which was small enough to avoid actually being hit. Krause says he spotted the same dog on the return trip and this time the pup wasn't so lucky. The dog was running on the tracks and got whacked by the train's snowplow. Krause drove back to the site later and found the dog, which was still dazed and lying on the tracks (ugh…it got hit by a train). Krause and his family in Clinton are nursing the dog back to health and are calling him "The Little Guy." Why? Because everybody roots for the little guy…and had he not been so lucky, he’s be called “Shih Tzu Stain” or something. Thank you, I’ll be here all week.
Yeah, that’ll do it for today. Sorry for my message of impending doom before the weekend…but hey, the weather’s lovely so go check it out. Do something with someone that you Love. Hell, do something with everybody that you Love. Have a great weekend everybody!!!