Wednesday, June 30, 2010

2010 Halftime Report

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

We've reached the midway point of our 2010 season...but I'm going to hold off on analyzing it until I'm in a better (more focused) mood. Maybe next week. In less than 24 hours, my dad & stepmom will be here…and we’ll probably go check out the Thursday night festival that they have in downtown Truckee every week during the summer. I hear good things. Tonight’s a softball game…so we’ll see how that goes. Friday, they have a celebration down at Kings Beach with music by Blues Monster, so hopefully the folks’ll be interested in that. Saturday, we’ll probably meet up with my stepsister and her family in Carson City during the day…and then at night, there are a lot of possibilities. There’s ska music at the park near my house, a Jimi Hendrix tribute band called Purple Haze at the Crystal Bay Casino, and a big Deck Party in Kings Beach with music as well. Sunday, I’m sure I’ll be dragged to a parade or something…but then Monday & Tuesday, we take a trip out to San Francisco. See, apparently I’m the only one in my family who has been there…so I’ve got to share it with the little nephews that live in Carson & have never seen the ocean, right? Plus, it’s a great excuse to go see the city & my buddy Bubbles. So yeah, if you don’t hear from me for a week or so, now you know why. It should make for an epic week.

Last night, I watched an independent movie called “Cold Souls” starring Paul Giamatti…as himself. Sort of. Basically he plays himself in a production of “Uncle Vanya” which is a depressing Russian play. Because he’s a method actor, it starts to wear on him…and he stumbles upon an article about Soul Storage that promises to eliminate suffering…by taking the weight of your troubled soul. He agrees to do it temporarily so that he can do a great performance without the burden…and then get it back. Simple enough, right? Oh, you’re still stuck on the placing a soul into a storage container? Or what constitutes the Soul? Well, forget about that for a moment. Disbelief. Now, trafficking souls is big business between the United States & Russia…but obviously it’s a little shadier in Russia. Transporting souls is tricky when it comes to pressure, so no flights, but instead they have “mules” who transport them (you know, like heroin). Well, long story short, Paul’s soul gets stolen so that it can be put into the body of a (really hot) Russian soap opera actress who wants to be a big star…and Paul finds out…and has to go get it. Now, there’s a whole lot of metaphor & just general allegory kind of thrown your way during this movie…and it’s a little slow at times (but mostly to show just how distraught Paul is and why he would even consider doing something like this). That being said, I thought it was an okay movie. I think it was supposed to be a comedy…but it really wasn’t. You know how those independent movies can be. Great performances all around…but I kind of give it a “take it or leave it” review. The concept was what interested me. As you know, I’ve been contemplating a LOT of things the past month or so…and one of the things that came up was “Am I losing my Soul?” Don’t look at me like that. I’ve been feeling kinda “in the dumps” for a bit despite being surrounded in all this beauty & wonderful people…so it’s the only explanation, right? Yeah, didn’t think so. Anyway, I like my Soul. I couldn’t imagine giving it up…and I’ve got so much of it. I’m like a white chocolate James Brown most of the time. A ball of energy & positive emotions, always ready for a good time no matter where the time or place. So why do I have these feelings sometimes? I assume because I’m just not surrounded by my peeps like I’m used to…but even that’s starting to change a bit. I’m meeting people…and softball’s a lot of fun…and I may have even found another coworker who seemed interested in being a roommate, albeit he lives by the lake now…and will probably want to move just before the snow comes. Heck, I can’t blame him. I’d do the same thing. Anyway, we’ll see how that goes. Covet your Soul, ladies & gentlemen. You’re lucky to have it. Even if it looks like a chickpea (obscure reference to this movie). Here’s some news…

Little Dictator Update - A lock of hair cut from Napoleon Bonaparte's head after he died has sold for $13,000 at an auction in New Zealand. Extra phone lines were installed for the sale to cope with an expected rush of international buyers seeking to snip up the hair cut from the head of former French Emperor a day after his death in 1821 while he was in exile on the island of St. Helena. The circle of hair was part of a collection brought to New Zealand in 1864 by Denzil Ibbetson, a British commissary officer and artist. Ibbetson served on St. Helena during the six years that Napoleon was held on the island after being defeated at the Battle of Waterloo. The collection of about 40 items, including sketches by Ibbetson of Napoleon on his death bed at the age of 51, was sold by his descendants. "The collection has really been in remarkable condition and the family has to be commended for preserving this material for all this time, it's nearly 200 years old," Hamish Coney, managing director of the Art+Object Auction House, told Reuters Television. "In terms of a historical collection that will be located in New Zealand, it's probably one of the most important collections that has ever been found." According to the auction house the lock was bought by an unnamed collector in London. Coney said as well as local interest in New Zealand, there had been interest from Hong Kong, the United States, Lithuania and France. Thirteen grand for a few strands of 200-year old hair? WOW!!! I guess DNA research or something if…for some reason, you wanted to clone him…but really? Man, I don’t think anybody will ever be able to talk crap on any purchase that I make. “$teve, you paid two grand for a poster of Pootie Tang signed by Lance Crowthers?” “Hey, at least I didn’t pay $13,000 for a lock of Napoleon’s hair.” “But… actually you’ve got a great point there.” Anyway, I’m done talking about short French guys who have complexes named after them. Let’s move on to something better like…

HOT RUSSIAN SPIES!!! - Anna Chapman has been called the femme fatale of a spy case with Cold War-style intrigue — a striking redhead and self-styled entrepreneur who dabbled in real estate and mused on her Facebook page, "if you can dream, you can become it." Chapman's American dream, U.S. authorities say, was a ruse. The 28-year-old Chapman, they say, was a savvy Russian secret agent who worked with a network of other operatives before an FBI undercover agent lured her into an elaborate trap at a coffee shop in lower Manhattan (apparently it wasn’t just a casual flirtatious cup of coffee). Though the U.S. has branded the operatives as living covertly, at least in Chapman's case, she had taken care to brand herself publicly as a striver of the digital age, passionately embracing online social networking by posting information and images of herself for the world to see (hiding in plain sight). Prosecutors have charged Chapman and 10 other suspects with following orders by Russian intelligence to become "Americanized" enough to infiltrate "policymaking circles" and feed information back to Moscow. Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Farbiarz has called evidence against Chapman "devastating." She is "someone who has extraordinary training, who is a sophisticated agent of Russia," he said. Her mother, who lives in western Moscow, said she is convinced of her daughter's innocence. "Of course I believe that she's innocent," Irina Kushchenko told The Associated Press. She refused to comment further. Chapman and nine others accused of being ring members were arrested across the Northeast and charged with failing to register as foreign agents, a crime that is less serious than espionage and carries up to five years in prison. Some also face money laundering charges. An 11th suspect was arrested in Cyprus, accused of passing money to the other 10 over several years. Prosecutors said several of the defendants were Russians living in the U.S. under assumed names and posing as Canadian or American citizens. It was unclear how and where they were recruited, but court papers said the operation went as far back as the 1990s. Exactly what sort of information the agents are alleged to have provided to their Russian handlers and how valuable it may have been was not disclosed. The FBI finally moved in to break up the ring because one of the suspects was going to leave the country, the Department of Justice said Tuesday. Court documents indicate the FBI believed Chapman was about to go to Moscow, but it wasn't clear whether her impending departure was the one that triggered the arrests. The court papers allege that some of the ring's members were husband and wife and that they used invisible ink, coded radio transmissions and encrypted data and employed methods such as swapping bags in passing at a train station. Farbiarz called the arrests "the tip of the iceberg" of a conspiracy by Russia's intelligence service, the SVR, to collect information inside the U.S. The arrests raised fears that Moscow has planted other couples (remember the 50’s when commies were everywhere?). Such deep-cover agents are known as "illegals" in the intelligence world because they take civilian jobs instead of operating inside Russian embassies and military missions. Russian officials initially denounced the arrests as "Cold War-era spy stories" and accused elements of the U.S. government of trying to undermine the improving relationship between Moscow and Washington. But the White House and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin expressed confidence that the arrests would not damage ties between the two nations. So there are REALLY spies walking among us…and of course, they’re HOT!!! By the way, does anybody see this as possibly the GREATEST PROMOTION of a movie about to hit theatres in a while? What am I talking about? WHO IS SALT??? Hmm, superhot Russian operative who has been living among us & infiltrating the hearth of government? Anna Chapman (a.k.a. Anya Kapucikova en lieu of a far more suggestive James Bond-esque name like Xenia Onatop or Octopussy) may as well be played by Angelina Jolie!!! Like I wasn’t going to watch a movie with an armed Angelina in the first place… now it could be based on a true story. Sad thing is…this isn’t the only story of movie promotion taking this route…

They Call Him Machete – September 3rd can’t get here soon enough for Robert Rodriguez’ movie based on a fake preview from another movie “Machete” to hit theatres. Though the preview has been posted on my blog a few times over the years, this story has little to nothing to do with it…or does it? Police said an 81-year-old man was arrested after he chased another man around a taco stand in Salem, Oregon while armed with a machete. Yes, an elderly gentleman wielding a machete. Go ahead and picture it…and then laugh hysterically…until you realize that it could happen in your neighborhood. Salem police said Monday the man accused the taco stand owner of stealing a drill from his nearby business. When the taco stand owner denied it, the suspect left and returned with a machete. Lt. Dave Okada said the suspect chased the unidentified man around the stand several times before officers arrested him on accusations of menacing and attempted assault. He was booked into the Marion County Jail. There were no injuries in Sunday's incident. Also, is menacing an actual crime? I figured it was just more of a way of life or a dirty look or something. More like a…dangerous or evil attitude as opposed to action, which is basically just annoying. In this case, we’re talking about a grandpa off his rocker attacking another man with a machete over a drill. That’s not exactly my definition of Menacing…but I’ll double check with Webster’s. By the way, in my version of this story, the taco stand owner is played by a wise-cracking Cheech Marin and the old guy is played by Charlton Heston. Act like you wouldn’t like it…

I Read of Jeannie - American actress Barbara Eden, famed for her starring role in the hit 1960s TV series "I Dream of Jeannie," is writing a tell-all memoir about her career in Hollywood, The Crown Publishing Group said on Tuesday. The memoir, called "Jeannie out of the Bottle," will be published next year, detailing Eden's on and off-screen life with celebrities including Elvis Presley, Warren Beatty, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman, Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball and her "Jeannie" co-star Larry Hagman. "Like Jeannie, I've been bottled up long enough -- it's time for me to pop the cork and talk about the amazing people I've been fortunate enough to meet along the way, and the highs and lows of my every day living," Eden said in a statement. The 75 year-old Arizona-born actress gained stardom from the TV show playing the beautiful 2000-year-old female genie who falls in love with an astronaut, played by Hagman. The series aired between 1965 and 1970 and produced 139 episodes and has been widely rerun on cable TV and in syndication throughout the world. Eden has also appeared regularly on stage in musicals and plays as well as films and guest appearances in other television shows. Will there be any insanely detailed orgy adventures complete with black-and-white stills? Probably not. Then again, when you’re talking about Elvis, Clyde, Dirty Harry, Butch Cassidy, Marilyn, Lucy and a guy that she called “Master” for six years, the possibilities are endless.

Harold & Kumar Christmas - Neil Patrick Harris is set to return for "A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas" and comedian Patton Oswalt will join him according to The Wrap. Harris himself confirmed to that he will re-team with Kal Penn and John Cho for the third feature in the comedy series, despite meeting his apparent demise in 2008's "Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo" (I’m thinking in some kind of Obe Wan using the Force kind of appearance). Oswalt meanwhile is expected to play Todd Dennison, a high-strung friend of Harold's whose infant daughter gets accidentally high on second-hand pot smoke. The third 'Kumar' film began production last week in Michigan where shooting will continue until mid-August. The story follows the pair on a hunt for a new Christmas tree for Harold's father-in-law after Kumar burns it down. Should be a real side-splitter. Eh, we’ll see. Anything with NPH simply HAS to be good. Check out the record. Doogie Howser MD, Starship Troopers, Undercover Brother, the first two Harold & Kumar’s, How I Met Your Mother, Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, hell I’m gonna take it all the way back to Purple People Eater. Oh, you don’t remember that one? Google that sh*t. It’s a kid’s flick before Doogie… and I just remember watching it at my grandma’s once and singing “One eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater” for like a week. What’s my point? All classics. NPH has the Midas Touch.

Fox Update – Sigh… so I guess you’ve all heard. The other day when I said it ain’t over until it’s Mrs. Megan Fox-Austin-Green, apparently that was the final straw for her…and it’s been made official to kill all hope. Megan finally married her long time boyfriend / fiancĂ© Brian Austin Green. Fox's publicist Dominique Appel said Tuesday the couple was "happily married." The 24-year-old actress became engaged to Green earlier this month for the second time. The pair was previously engaged in 2006. It's the first marriage for both. The good news? Green is a dozen years her senior…so it gives me some hope that in a few years some beautiful woman will be able to hand the complex genius that is me…and we fall madly in Love and get married. Also, they’re happy. That’s what’s most important obviously. The bad news? Sigh… now who am I going to report on every week or so with career updates and sound bites to the media that will entertain me… and then pair them with a plethora of pictures that strike at my very core? We shall see. One thing’s for sure though, if I can get over Adriana Lima after she married someone who is vastly my inferior, then I’m sure that I can get over Megan as well. Time heals all wounds…and like I said, some lucky vixen out there will be able to handle all of me… even if I have to slowly work her into it. I’m a patient man. Congratulations to both of you, Brian & Megan. And I understand that I wasn’t invited to the ceremony. It would’ve been awkward.

That’ll do it for today…and I guess for probably the next week or so because I’ll have visitors. Don’t worry, when I return, there shall be plenty of brilliant insights, a few amusing anecdotes, and as always… a lot of pictures gloating just how awesome everything is here in sunny California… so you should just come visit when you get a few days off & I’d be happy to share it all with you. That’s right, I’m talking to you. You know the digits. You’ve had them for years. Call me up. Let’s make it happen. Anyway, have a great Independence Day Weekend everybody!!!

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