Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Release the Drain Snakes

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

The past few days have been pretty uneventful. Work during the day, catching up on posts at night. Don’t remember if I told you…but I’ve been doing the eHarmony thing the past few months. I know I haven’t mentioned it a lot because…well, it’s kind of a rip-off. However, that being said, this Saturday I have a little get-together with one of the ladies. The only thing is…she lives almost two hours away, so I don’t really see it going too far…but I figured it’d be great to at least meet her, have dinner in Reno, a few laughs, see where it goes from there. What’s that? Oh you want to know a little about her? Well, she’s 23, mother of a 4-year old, likes football & basketball (though she did say that she’s a Cowboys fan…which almost made me “Close Match” immediately), likes similar kinds of movies & music, and based on our conversations…is very funny, witty & seems to have a great perspective on life. I’m sure being the single mother of a four-year old will do that to you. I’m excited to meet her…but again, not sure what kind of future it has. You know me though. I’m optimistic. Wish me luck.

This past week, I watched a few movies too. The first one was “The Box” starring Frank Langella, James Marsden & Cameron Diaz. This is a story written & directed by Richard Kelly (“Donnie Darko” & “Southland Tales”) about a young couple in Virginia (Marsden & Diaz…with a horrible southern accent) who are approached by a NASA employee named Arlington Steward (Langella) who was horribly disfigured (think Two Face on “The Dark Knight”) and presents them with a box…and a proposition. Press this button and two things will happen. You will be presented with a suitcase filled with one million American dollars…and somebody you don’t know will die. If you don’t press the button, I’ll go on to the next person. So after much deliberation (and because they don’t want this movie to only last 20 minutes), the wife presses the button. Steward shows up with the million dollars…and as he walks away, they have a change of heart. Now for the most intriguing part (yes, even more intriguing than the original scenario), all offers are final…and now, he’s going to make a similar offer…to somebody that they don’t know. Aaaaaah snap! Then, in typical Richard Kelly fashion, it gets f**king crazy. It was a little better than I was expecting. You may wanna give it a shot if you’re into to those psychological mirror-on-society kind of movies. It definitely fills the bill. Just be prepared for the occasional “What the f**k?” every now and then.

The next movie was the most recent from director John Woo (“Broken Arrow”, “Face/Off” & “Mission: Impossible 2”) which was titled “Red Cliff” and is about the famous battle in 3rd century China. Basically, there is the emperor and a power-hungry leader of his army on one side…and two other kingdoms who were enemies, now must join forces…or face being conquered. Now, I know what you’re probably thinking. China, epic battle flick, lots of subtitles or bad dubbing, and it’s a John Woo movie so there’s probably a lot of doves flying around and slow motion shots. Pass. I’m telling you, if you like martial arts movies, epic battle movies like Braveheart, or anything like that…then this is a great movie. More so, there’s even a little love story worked in, there’s a lot of great and realistic strategy involved, and it’s not cheesy. It’s actually very well done…and I give John Woo all the credit in the world. I suggest that everybody check it out…and don’t worry, the dubbing is actually pretty good.

Also arriving through Netflix, was the movie that put John Woo on the Hollywood map over twenty years ago, “The Killer” starring Chow Yun-Fat. This is widely regarded as one of the greatest shoot-em-up movies of all time…but because it had never made it to DVD until recently, I had never seen it (except for the occasional clip of the final shoot out in the church referred to in every other Woo film). The story revolves around a Hong Kong assassin (Chow) who accidentally blinds a female lounge singer while trying to save her during a hit. Six months later, he starts up a relationship with her, being a hitman with a heart of gold. Well, he also has his day job…and during one big final hit, he’s betrayed by the organization…and has to shoot his way out. There’s a lot of double-crosses, new alliances, old friendships, but most of all… There’s a LOT of guns!!! This truly is one of the greatest shoot-em-ups of all time. I highly recommend it to anybody who likes those…and it’s actually pretty clever & heartfelt at the same time. Very difficult to pull off when bullets are flying everywhere. Again, kudos to John Woo. Now I’m gonna have to watch “Face/Off” again…and not just for some of the greatest one-liners in cinema history like “I can eat a peach for hours”, “I hate to see you go, but I love to watch you leave” & “If I were to let you suck my tongue, would you be grateful?” I am Castor Troy. Now for some other news…

Alabama Education - A Jefferson County geometry teacher was placed on paid administrative leave Tuesday after being accused of using a hypothetical assassination plot on President Barack Obama as a way to teach geometric angles. Yes, paid administrative leave. School Superintendent Phil Hammonds said Corner High School teacher Gregory Harrison could face possible termination (of employment? Or is there some kind of story problem for this one too?). Hammonds earlier said the teacher remained at work and there were no plans to fire him. But in announcing that the teacher was being placed on leave, the superintendent said his office had been flooded with calls from people around the nation, mainly upset that further action hadn't been taken against the teacher. Roy Sexton, special agent in charge of Birmingham's Secret Service office, said his agency spoke with the teacher after being told about his comment, but no charges were filed and the investigation was closed. "We did not find a credible threat," Sexton said. Hammonds said he will talk to teachers and students before recommending to the school board what action, if any, might be appropriate. It was not immediately known how long the teacher may be on leave. Hammonds said the school system in Alabama's most populous county was embarrassed by what Harrison said. "There is nothing that can be said to rationalize what he said. We take this very seriously. There is no place in our society for a person to make these comments," Hammonds said. Attempts to reach Harrison for comment were not immediately successful. Calls to Hammonds were referred to the school system's attorney, Burgin Kent, who did not immediately return a call for comment. Joseph Brown, a senior in the geometry class, told The Birmingham News that the teacher "was talking about angles and said, 'If you're in this building, you would need to take this angle to shoot the president.'" Wow! Really? I’m all for saying random stuff to make sure that the kids are paying attention but…really? I mean…if I had to guess a place where something like this would happen, it’d be Jefferson County, Alabama…but still, you’d think…really? Sigh… I’m sure they’ll figure it out. I’m done thinking about it. I’ve got other stupid things to focus on…

Stupid Movie? – So, have you ever read the synopsis of a movie and thought “This could be the worst movie ever made”? Well, I just had the thought on this one. Isla Fisher (“Wedding Crashers” & “Confessions of a Shopaholic”) is being lined up to star in and Wayne McClammy is in negotiations to direct the comedy "Desperados" for Universal Pictures says The Hollywood Reporter. Ellen Rapoport penned the script about a woman who gets very upset when her new boyfriend doesn't get back in touch with her after they have sex. After sending an indignant email to him, she soon learns the truth - he's comatose in a Mexican hospital (spring break?). In a panic she and her friends race to Mexico in an effort to intercept the email before he recovers. So…yeah, that’s the plot of this masterpiece. Oh…and you may be asking yourself, “Wayne McClammy? That’s a very distinctive name. Where do I know that from?” Well, McClammy is most famous for directing the viral videos "I'm F**king Matt Damon" and "I'm F**king Ben Affleck." Filming kicks off at the end of the year…and I’m predicting three Razzies…but then again, it may not even be noticed by the academy.

Stealing Harvard – On paper, Adam Wheeler had undeniably strong credentials to get into Harvard: a perfect SAT score, straight A's at a prestigious prep school and glowing recommendations from four professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. While at Harvard, Wheeler seemed a shoo-in for a Rhodes or Fulbright scholarship. His applications included his Harvard transcript, which also featured all A's, as well as a list of books he had co-written, courses he had taught and lectures he had given…but authorities say it was all a big con. In fact, Wheeler had never attended the exclusive Phillips Academy prep school in Andover or MIT. And his academic record at Harvard was far less dazzling than he claimed. Instead of straight A's, Wheeler had received some A's, a few B's and a D. His SAT scores were also much less impressive: 1160 and 1220, not the perfect 1600 he had claimed, according to court documents. Wheeler, 23, of Milton, Delaware, was ordered held on $5,000 bail Tuesday after pleading not guilty to 20 counts of larceny, identity fraud and other charges. If he posts bail, he must stay away from Harvard and the other academic institutions involved in his alleged scheme, surrender his passport and remain in Massachusetts, a Middlesex Superior Court judge said. Wheeler was tossed from Harvard last fall after he tried to get the school's endorsement for Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships, and a professor reviewing his applications found evidence he had plagiarized from another professor, prosecutors say. Wheeler's parents gave him up to a Yale official who called to ask about their son's transfer application. (“Look mom & dad, if you don’t want to pay for an Ivy League school, this is how I have to do it”) Prosecutor John Verner (not to be confused with Dean Verner) said in court Tuesday that Wheeler essentially stole $45,000 in financial aid, scholarship money and academic awards from Harvard. "This defendant's actions cheated those who competed honestly and fairly for admissions and for the scholarships that this defendant fraudulently obtained," said Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone. Wheeler, an English major (Really? That should’ve been your first clue that he wasn’t too bright) who would have graduated from Harvard this spring, tried to transfer to Yale or Brown after he got caught at Harvard, Leone said, again by falsifying his achievements and recommendations. In his applications, Wheeler said he was employed by McLean Hospital, a psychiatric facility affiliated with Harvard, even though he was not. His transfer application included faked recommendations from an employee at the hospital and from his former Harvard dean, Leone said. A Yale official called the Wheeler home to ask about his application, and a parent told the official that the application wasn't truthful and their son had been thrown out of Harvard. Wheeler's parents refused to comment outside of court Tuesday. His lawyer, Steven Sussman, said his client "will have his day in court and that day is not today." Sussman said Wheeler has no prior criminal record. He would not discuss the charges against Wheeler. Harvard said in a statement it could not discuss individual cases because of federal privacy laws and referred all questions to the district attorney's office. Prosecutors said Wheeler actually graduated from Caesar Rodney High School, a public school in Kent County, Delaware, in 2005. He attended Bowdoin College in Maine from 2005-07, but was suspended for academic dishonesty, according to court records. In court documents, prosecutors said that at the time Wheeler was told he would be suspended from Bowdoin, he was completing his application to transfer to Harvard. But authorities say that instead of applying as a suspended sophomore from Bowdoin, he said he was a straight-A student with a 1600 SAT. Hey, I really don’t care. College is a f**king rip-off anyway. There, I said it. I’ve said it repeatedly. He’ll go to jail. Harvard will get their money from another source. What’s done is done. Don’t get me wrong, an education is incredibly important & everybody should broaden their horizons every day…and I feel a little bad for the one person, whoever that may be, that got gypped out of some scholarship money. I just think that going into horrible financial debt to get an education because you want to get a degree in English to write a book that nobody’s ever going to read (except maybe the prosecuting attorney if it’s a detailed memoir of how you conned an education out of Harvard & Yale) is probably not the best way to do it. And honestly, you can get just as good of an education from a community college as you can from Harvard (unless you’re going to be a doctor or something). I went to university and/or college for seven years. I have two degrees. I’ve also had disposable income for the past three years since I graduated…and have moved several times to find decent employment. I don’t know. Maybe it’s more about work ethic, willingness to grow, and developing synapses of thought that’ll help you for the rest of your life rather than spending many thousands of dollars to cram for a test and you’ll forget that information that you “learned” within a month, possibly because you’re experimenting with stiff drugs and loose women to relieve the “stress” of academia. Like I said, I don’t know. It’s all really a game of chance anyway, right?

Elections Have Come to THIS??? - A deck of cards and a bit of luck helped decide who will likely be the next sheriff of Morrill County, Nebraska. Please, allow me to explain. The nine of hearts Milo Cardenas drew Monday beat Travis Petersen's six of spades, thereby giving Cardenas the Republican nomination for sheriff. Need a little more explanation? Okay. Since no Democrats ran for sheriff, Cardenas, the police chief in Bridgeport, is likely to win in November's election. "I knew it was going to be close, but I didn't expect to be this close," Cardenas said. What? Oh, you don’t know why it came down to a game of one-card draw to decide an election? Oh, well here you go. The two men agreed to cut a deck of cards after Monday's re-count confirmed that both finished at the top of a four-man race with 379 votes after balloting ended last Tuesday. Here’s the kicker: Nebraska state law requires tied elections to be settled by a game of chance. That’s right, ladies & gentlemen. Cardenas said deciding the race with a card game seemed a little crazy (really?) but also seemed like the best option (REALLY?). "I felt more comfortable with the deck of cards. That way you pick your own destiny," Cardenas said. Brandt shuffled the cards seven times and spread them out on a table before the candidates drew cards simultaneously. "People wanted to revote and do a lot of things, but unfortunately, Nebraska law is very clear," Morrill County Clerk Kathy Brandt said. Brandt said none of the candidates who lost in the primary are allowed to run in the general election. "For all those people that didn't vote, they should realize that one vote does make a difference," Brandt said. REALLY? Not even an arm wrestle or a display of archery prowess or a match of Rochambeau? The next sheriff is decided by a card game? You’re Nebraska. At least have them see who can husk the most corn in five minutes or something. Holy crap! I read this article and then immediately pictured Bush & Gore settling their “tie” a decade ago with a card game. “Haha sucker! Read ‘em and weep. Straight flush, b**ch! Now I gets to be President. WOOHOO!!!” You don’t think…is that maybe how it happened? Is a chance game of Texas Hold ‘Em how instead of an educated man with relevant experience in the White House, we elected a retarded Texan? TWICE!!! Sigh… I hope it’s slightly more complicated than that. Sign of the Apocalypse maybe?

Apocalypse Update – Also in Nebraska, if this doesn’t chill you to your very core, I don’t know what will. The Nebraska Humane Society has tracked down the owner of a python found in a toilet of a La Vista hotel room. They said the owner panicked after losing the pet snake while staying at the Hampton Inn in late March and left without alerting management. The python was found a few days later by another guest. The owner has not been cited. Hotel officials have declined to comment. However, I’d be happy to. I think the owner was actually a hostage. Seriously? Who brings a snake to a hotel? Even creepy guys with girls who think snakes are sexy don’t bring snakes to hotel rooms. I think he was able to distract the snake (perhaps a mouse scurrying in the bathroom) and then make a run for it…and the only thing that saved him from a high speed takedown in the parking lot…and that snakes often have trouble with round doorknobs. It’s just hard to imagine the surprise of the other guest. They probably had been holding it for the last half hour, the guy checking them in took forever, they scurry to the room, have to deal with a real key, which can be a bother when you’re about to piss yourself, mad dash to the bathroom, pop open the lid, and start the evacuation process…but then you realize that your stream sounds a little odd. “Holy sh*t!!! Is that a snake?” Of course you continue because…well, what else are you going to do? You may take a step back and adjust the golden arch a bit…but you’re not going to stop. Luckily the snake is blinded before he can execute an effective attack. I know what you’re thinking…and it does kinda sound like something from a late G.I. Joe episode (“We’ll attack the Joesss where they’re mossssst vulnerable.” “Where is that, Commander?” “ON THE JOHN!!! RELEASSSSE THE DRAIN SNAKESSSS!!!”) but this really happened. So be careful out there. You never know when the Apocalypse works its way into your crapper.

Judge Dredd Reboot - DNA Films, Reliance Big Entertainment and IM Global are teaming to develop a 3D film adaptation of John Wagner's UK comic "Judge Dredd" reports Deadline. Alex Garland ("28 Days Later," "Sunshine") penned the script and Pete Travis ("Vantage Point") will direct the sub-$50 million project set in a futuristic world where cops have become judge, jury and executioner. The project will ignore the big-budget 1995 film adaptation starring Sylvester Stallone and will go back to the comic's roots. Despite DNA's deal with Fox, it seems Fox won't be involved in the project (oh, so no Megan Fox then either? What’s the point?). So yet another comic book reboot trying to follow in the footsteps of Batman, Star Trek, the Incredible Hulk, and many others (not Superman though…because that one sucked). The question remains though, how can you possibly ignore Stallone’s Judge Dredd? “I AM THE LAW!!!” Sure there was a lot of cheese (Rob Schneider) but there was also Armand Assante, Diane Lane, & Max Van Sydow…and you know what you’re in for when you watch a Stallone flick. You don’t expect an Oscar winning performance when the title’s “Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot!” where he’s teamed up with a Golden Girl. Hell, you don’t even expect it in a movie titled “Oscar” but you get muscles (even in his sixties, which I have to tip my hat to), one liners, and monologues that may require subtitles…or at least some sound editing. By the way, anybody else seen the preview for “The Expendables” yet? Holy crap, I can’t wait…and I’m certain that Jason Statham will get a nod for Best Supporting Actor. What? You don’t? Of course you don’t. It’s not that kind of movie. (However, that being said, I do kind of expect Jason Statham to get a call about playing Judge Dredd in this reboot…but more on that as news happens) So yeah…lots of comic book movies in the works right now…in fact, here’s a bit of an update that may just set everything up for the Apocalypse.

Summer of 2012 Movies - Warner Bros. Pictures has announced a July 20th 2012 release date for the upcoming third "Batman" feature following on from 2005's "Batman Begins" and 2008's "The Dark Knight". The date is no major surprise - 'Dark Knight' opened July 18th 2008 while director Chris Nolan's upcoming thriller "Inception" opens July 16th this year and both are day-and-date international releases which the next "Batman" is extremely likely to be. Warners didn't confirm that Nolan was returning with the announcement, only the date itself was revealed. Okay, so kinda awesome. It looks like there’ll be a third movie in the Batman reboot series…maybe with the Penguin or Riddler or…dare I even think, Catwoman (Purrrrrrrrfect…)? The big news though…is that he July 20th date puts the opening two weeks after Sony's "Spider-Man" reboot on July 3rd and three weeks after Paramount's "Star Trek" sequel on June 29th. Marvel's high-profile "The Avengers" also opens earlier that summer on May 4th. IESB added to the report indicating that the studio's planned upcoming "Superman" reboot is targeting a Christmas 2012 release (12-21-2012 maybe?) and adds a more dubious but interesting claim of tying it in with "Green Lantern" and the existing Nolan "Batman" films much like Marvel is doing with "The Avengers" for a possible “Justice League” movie…but they’ve been talking about that for decades to no avail. So there you go. In the summer of 2012, you basically have all of the major movie franchises from the past decade dropping at basically the same time. Oh…and I’m sure there’ll be about four more Saw movies between now and then, just to make sure they’re recognized as a major movie franchise. By the way, with the whole “Justice League” thing, right now I’d basically settle for “Wonder Woman” and I know just the actress to fill out that costume…but more on her later.

Swearing in Philadelphia - An American rights group is suing the police in Pennsylvania for issuing tickets, which carry a jail sentence, to people for swearing. Oh yes. Welcome to the Quaker State. Oh wait, sorry. Pennsylvania’s the Keystone State (always smooth, like Keith Stone). Anyway, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed the lawsuits earlier, argues that the right to use profanity is protected by the U.S. Constitution. Where? The first f**king amendment!!! "Unfortunately, many police departments in the commonwealth do not seem to be getting the message that swearing is not a crime," said Marieke Tuthill of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. "The courts have repeatedly found that profanity, unlike obscenity, is protected speech." Obscenity, under the Supreme Court's definition, refers to speech that mainly appeals to the "prurient interest" in sex, according to the ACLU. One lawsuit involves an unidentified woman in Luzerne County in northeast Pennsylvania who was given a citation which carries a maximum penalty of $300 and 90 days in jail after she yelled an offensive word at a motorcyclist who swerved close to her in October 2008 (“No officer, I said…fudge you…and your…hunt for your mother”). In a separate case a man was arrested, cited for disorderly conduct and briefly jailed after shouting a double expletive at a policeman who was writing him a parking ticket (Is a double expletive like “sh*t-wh*re” or something?). The two are among at least 750 people in Pennsylvania a year who face illegal disorderly conduct charges because of the use of profanity in Pennsylvania, the ACLU said. Citations for swearing have also been handed out in other states including Michigan and New York, according to the ACLU, which said it has successfully defended about a dozen people in profanity prosecutions. But the group added that there are more citations given out in Pennsylvania than other states. "Cops don't understand that there's a legal definition of obscenity and therefore issue citations for profanity," said Sara Mullen, a spokeswoman for the ACLU. Tuthill added that the ACLU will continue to bring lawsuits until the practice of issuing citations for swearing is stopped. Pennsylvania state police were not immediately available for comment…but I’m sure it would be something along the lines of “Are you f**king kidding me?” Yes, you can get cited for swearing in public in Pennsylvania. I happen to know for a fact, that in Utah, you only get a stern look from blonde-haired, blue-eyed Stepford Wives for doing so. No jail sentence (unless you count exile). What’s the point? Nothing really. The ACLU has got your back. Remember the Tourettes Defense. And most importantly, be sure to keep Megan Fox out of Pennsylvania.

Fox Update - Megan Fox may be pretty but things get ugly when she is photographed in the nude. In the June issue of Allure, the 24-year-old star of "Transformers" says she has no qualms about hurting the paparazzi photographer who snapped a topless photo of her on the set of her new film (hitting the internet near you). "If I knew who took this picture, I would personally cause them harm - physical harm," she said in the magazine’s upcoming issue. At the time the unauthorized photo was taken, Fox was shooting an independent feature called "Passion Play,” in which she stars alongside Mickey Rourke as a circus sideshow performer (and apparently the luckiest mother f**ker alive). "I'm at my job and I’m trying to play a character and I'm trying to be serious, and this is the sh*t that's happening to me," Fox told the magazine. "It makes me furious." The raven-haired bombshell is often photographed off set around Los Angeles with her on-again, off-again beau of five years, Brian Austin Green. But she does not appreciate being tabloid fodder - even with her top on. "I’m not a f***ing reality-TV star that’s courting the paparazzi and wants my f***ing picture taken all the time," she told Allure. Fox, who is known for speaking her mind, dropped multiple f-bombs during her chat with the fashion magazine, but only six made it to print (enough to permanently scar an Amish child). "I'm going to spend 20 years never saying anything interesting? Never telling a joke? Never pushing anyone's buttons? I'm a person, I'm not a robot." Though she may have a dirty mouth, Fox can't stand dirt as a rule. The actress told the magazine that she suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which means she can't use public cutlery or enter a restroom without feeling uncomfortable. "This is a sickness, I have an illness," she told the magazine. Try Orbit gum. Anyway, as much fun as it is thinking about Megan Fox topless & talking like a filthy sailor as I help her clean those hard-to-reach places, let’s talk about paparazzi. Should they be beaten about the face & neck for invading the privacy of others? I’m kinda fond of the idea. We’ll call it “occupational hazard”, right? Do I blame them for Princess Di’s death? In part. That driver was going to damn fast too. Don’t you know that the best way to keep the motorcycle paparazzi at bay is to abruptly swerve instead of speed up? That’s like the gimme on the driving test in France. Oh yes, I’m familiar with European driving codes as well. I’ve experienced the roundabouts. Then again, it’s also difficult to want to physically harm a man (or woman) who shared Megan Fox’s breasts with the world. I’ll admit, I’m a little torn on the issue…but I’ve got your back, Megan. I hope you find that person and get your sweet, sexy vengeance…and then hopefully TMZ is able to get some footage of that…because that’d be pretty sweet…and then we could kick their ass too.

Anyway, that’ll do it for tonight. Thanks again for listening to me rant about whatever. Hopefully you got a laugh or two out of it, maybe a new thought or perspective on life, maybe you just like the pictures of hot chicks. No worries. I do to. So until tomorrow or whenever I holla atcha again, have a great day everybody!!!

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