Man it has been a busy time since I came back from my Road Trip. I’ve gotta catch up on laundry, cleaning, heck even a little personal grooming. I need a haircut. It has been two months. Tonight’s our second softball game…and it’s a night game, which should be interesting. First pitch at 8:45 PM, which means playing until at least 10 PM, then beers, then bed. Right? Isn’t that the standard? I don’t know. Should make for a fun night though as the spectators will be good & drunk by game time. Let’s see. My mom’s “committed” to coming to visit for her birthday in late August…so we’ll see how that works out. Really it’s a question of whether she can wait that long or not. She has been living out of a suitcase for over a month but she also misses her baby boy. That’s another thing. It’s always nice to hear how many people miss me…but it’s a little heart-wrenching too. Occasionally I get calls and text message from all over the States just reading something like “Miss you (frowny face)” or my niece calling and asking if I’m going to come to the Memorial Day barbecue or “Heard our song on the radio and thought of you” or even “Saw a woman undressing in the building across from me…and thought you might appreciate it.” Even last night, I got a message from Bubbles saying that she had looked for our little buddy Oswald all day but couldn’t find him. I’ve been blessed with the best family & friends that a guy could ask for…and I miss you all madly. I really do. But as my alter ego Captain Hammer once said, “The hammer is my penis.” More to the point though, he also said, “A maaaaan’s gotta do what a maaaaan’s gotta do.” Besides, it’d be really difficult for me to live in (clears throat) Slick City, Cedar City, really all over Utah, San Francisco, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, AND Tahoe at the same time. So I kinda have to be rented out like a timeshare…but my home base is currently here…and I really wish that I could show it off to all of you first-hand. It’s… just the sh*t. The good kind. Not that field back at the dairy, more like… two trusting, experimental lovers who know how to keep a secret. Okay, I’m drifting away from my point a little bit. That point is that I too miss all of you…and I think about you all the time, really too damn much. I’m surprised that I remember to breathe with how much I think about you guys…but I’m a master of multitasking so I pull it off. Thank you all for being my friends (the dozen or so of you who read this thing still). Anyway, enough of this sappy sh*t, let’s get to the news, shall we?
Rock Ballad Construction - A digital construction sign along a central Wisconsin interstate has been flashing a rock-inspired passionate message to passing motorists. The sign near Stevens Point spelled out "Danger Danger," "High Voltage," "When We Touch, "When We Kiss," to rush-hour drivers Thursday. The words are borrowed from the song "Danger! High Voltage" by the Detroit-based rock band Electric Six. James Bierman, co-owner of Central State Signing, says a hacker must have changed the message board. The black and orange construction sign was placed on Interstate 39 because the state Department of Transportation contracted with United Painting of Forest Junction to repaint several overpasses in the area. So I guess there’s not really any high voltage to be advised of…but I like the potential of this. Sure, construction signs are kinda of a necessity, especially when lanes are reduced, weather updates, and all that stuff…but hey, why not throw in some entertaining phrases while there’s really nothing to report? I’ve seen the signs that say “Have a nice day! Drive safe!” and just thought, what if it read “It was the heaaat of the moment…” or something like that? Heck, even in advising of something like don’t drive drunk, it could be “One bourbon, one shot, one beer…but wait 3 hours before driving home” or if there’s a new speed limit, “I can’t drive…FIFTY FIIIIIIIVE!!! And neither can you.” Just saying, think about it.
The Fizzy & The Furious - The guys from Maine who became online celebrities by creating geysers from Mentos candies and Diet Coke say they have harnessed that power to create a "rocket car." The contraption created by Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz of Buckfield features a utility trailer on the back and a modified girl's bike at the front. They're offering a teaser of their invention on their website. The full video directed by Rob Cohen of "The Fast and the Furious" will debut online Tuesday. Grobe tells the Sun Journal newspaper that their latest invention uses Coke Zero (shameless plug) and has been dubbed "The Fizzy and the Furious." The two, dressed in lab coats and goggles, became Internet celebrities four years ago with their "experiments" that created geysers by dropping Mentos candies into bottles of Diet Coke. Take THAT, Mythbusters!!! (Not you though, Kari. I’ve got something else you can take…with a little pre-emptive stretching). I think it’s kinda cool that this viral video is actually from the director of “The Fast & the Furious”, “The X-Files” and “Reign of Fire” though. Am I gonna check it out? Maybe. Are you gonna check it out? Here’s the link if you wanna join in the fun. Spoiler alert: It works!!!
Bank Robbing Update - A man robbed an Anchorage bank and escaped on a bicycle but didn't get far (really?). Wait, it gets better. The suspect crashed his bike into a patrol car, slid across the hood and took off running but was detained half a block away five minutes after the robbery, Anchorage Police Lt. Dave Parker said. Police identified the suspect as Christopher Todd Mayer, 45, of Anchorage. He was turned over to the FBI, which will conduct the investigation. Mayer had not been formally charged as of Thursday afternoon, and it was unknown if he had an attorney. Police took a call at 1:15 p.m. from a customer who saw a man wearing a camouflage bandanna (then how did he see it if it was camouflage?) confront a teller at a downtown Wells Fargo bank branch. The witness reported hearing the man say, "This is a robbery. Give me the money fast." The teller stuffed money into the man's backpack. "There was a weapon implied," Parker said. "No weapon was seen." A second witness told a police dispatcher the man's getaway vehicle was a bicycle. Officer Aaron Roberts, responding to a holdup alarm, spotted a bicyclist several blocks away passing through an intersection. The cyclist wore a camouflage bandanna around his neck. He refused to stop, police said, so Roberts chased him until he could maneuver his car into the bike's path. The suspect didn't slow down and struck the patrol car, Parker said. The bicyclist slid over the hood but lost his backpack. "He ended in a heap with his money pouring out of his pack," Parker said. The man did not seem fazed. "It didn't hurt him at all. He popped up and ran away." (PCP?) Roberts, who stays in shape with martial arts, ran him down after about a half block. Witnesses from the bank identified Mayer as the suspect. Now, a bicycle can make a great getaway in a city in gridlock…like New York maybe…except there you have people even unintentionally in the way. Maybe if he would’ve made it to the forest, he’d be in the clear…but that didn’t happen. Oh well, better luck next time, Mr. Mayer. Though that may be a while down the road.
The Tomb - Bruce Willis is in early talks to join the prison escape drama "The Tomb" for Summit Entertainment reports Deadline. Willis would play Ray Breslin, a world-famous structural engineer and security expert who designs escape-proof prisons. He soon finds himself framed and incarcerated in a master prison he designed and must find a way to escape and track down the person responsible. Antoine Fuqua ("King Arthur," "Training Day") is circling to potentially direct the project which Miles Chapman and Jason Keller are penning. Robbie Brenner and Mark Canton are producing. Who doesn’t like Bruce Willis action movies? Only European terrorists with funny accents, that’s who. By the way, watched “The Rock” before my San Fran weekend…so I’m completely in the mood for an escape-proof prison movie with Bruce Willis and…I don’t know, maybe the warden can be played by Tommy Lee Jones or something. That’d be sweet. Throw in a great director like Fuqua…and you’ve really got something. Again though, this is early talks and all that fun Hollywood stuff…which explains my hypothetical erection right now.
F**k Buddies Update - Cary Elwes (“Princess Bride” & “Robin Hood: Men in Tights”) has scored the lead role in the untitled Ivan Reitman comedy at Paramount Pictures reports Variety. The story explores the question of whether two long-term friends (Ashton Kutcher & Natalie Portman) can experience a purely sexual relationship without falling in love. Elwes plays a physician who works with Portman's character and develops a flirtatious relationship. Elizabeth Meriwether penned the script. Greta Gerwig, Kevin Kline, Ophelia Lovibond, Ben Lawson, Olivia Thirlby, Jake M. Johnson, Lake Bell and Guy Brannum also star. Now, I really mention this…because it’s untitled…but that’s because there is another movie in development with the exact same plot. It’s “Friends with Benefits” that will be starring Justin Timberlake & Mila Kunis that’s directed by Will Gluck (“Fired Up!”) that’s basically the same thing. The working title for Reitman’s movie was “F**k Buddies” which is great…but apparently you can’t have the F-word on your poster according to the MPAA, so the search continues for a title. I think they’re even slated for a similar release date around Valentine’s Day next year (ain’t Love grand?). I don’t know, maybe it’s a new thing. What was that one movie a few years back? “A Lot Like Love” that had like Ashton & Amanda Peet in it what was a lot alike. Then there’s my personal favorite of the genre, “Zach & Miri Make a Porno” from last year. I can see the appeal of the whole “f**k buddy” thing…but I’m pretty sure that I’d end up falling in love like in some cheesy romantic-comedy. Call me old fashioned…but a girl’s gotta be my friend before she gets in my bed…and by then, she’s already in my head…so yeah. Like I said, maybe I’m not new school enough…but hey, I’d be interested in finding out. There are other updates in the world of Love…
Love Market - Once a year, with his wife's blessing, Lau Minh Pao gets to have a guilt-free tryst with his ex. No, it’s not a trap in order to arrange for a divorce. Their rendezvous' have played out more like strolls down memory lane than salacious flings, but they are part of a treasured tradition in this mountainous corner of northern Vietnam that may challenge some more linear concepts of Love (not unlike f**k buddies). "In the past, we were lovers, but we couldn't get married because we were far apart," Pao said simply as he waited for his date on a dark night in the village of Khau Vai in Ha Giang province. Now when they meet, he said, "We pour our hearts out about the time when we were in love." They are not alone. For two days each year, on the 26th and 27th of the third month of the lunar calendar, the tiny village of Khau Vai, strung along a saddle in the lush hills near China, is transformed into a "love market." Hundreds of members of Giay (not gay), Nung, Tay, Dzao, San Chi, Lo Lo (keep it on the Lo Lo) and Hmong hill tribes, among others, trek in from across the mountainous districts nearby to attend. Pao's wife was there, too, meeting her old flame. Some travel for days, even from neighboring provinces. This year, local artists in colorful clothing performed the local myth telling the story of the origin of the Khau Vai Love market. Legend has it an ethnic Giay girl from Ha Giang province fell in love with an ethnic Nung boy from the neighboring province of Cao Bang. The girl was so beautiful that her tribe did not want to let her marry a man from another tribe and a bloody conflict ensued between the two tribes. Watching tragedy unfold before them, the two lovers sorrowfully decided to part ways to avoid further bloodshed and to restore peace (not exactly Romeo & Juliet but pretty close). But to keep their love alive they made a secret pact to meet once a year on the 27th day of the third lunar month in Khau Vai. Thereafter, the hill village became known as a meeting place for all of those in Love. These days, the tradition is carried on, albeit with a modern edge. Giggling girls in native headdresses make dates by text message on their cell phones, and hold them up to snap digital photos of performances. New roads have made the village that lies some 500 km (310 miles) north of Hanoi more accessible. In the Nung language, Khau Vai means 'clouds among the mountains'. "The younger generation now goes out together, and finds each other, and it is more modern, freer and clearer. Back in the old days, our grandparents had to pursue love in secret, not like today," said 23-year-old Hua Thi Nghi an ethnic Giay. Under the dark sky, as other couples cavorted nearby, Pao was looking forward to seeing his old girlfriend. "We've arranged to meet and she'll be here a little bit, around 10 pm. We meet together to re-tell the tale of how it was when we were in love back then," he said. The next day, however, he said their meeting had been cut short by a downpour. But there's always next year. Kinda sweet, right? Even though they’re still separated and hundreds of miles apart, have their own families & lives going, they meet up and reminisce once a year for a weekend. It’s different, I’ll give them that…but I like it.
RIP Dennis Hopper – You know I typically don’t like to end on a sad note…but just gimme a moment. Just a day after the death of former child star & tortured soul Gary Coleman, legendary veteran actor Dennis Hopper died at the age of 74 following a battle with prostate cancer which he was first diagnosed with last year reports The BBC. The actor first came to notice with a small role in "Rebel Without a Cause" and went on to memorable roles in such films as "Easy Rider," "Apocalypse Now," "Blue Velvet," "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral," "Cool Hand Luke," "Hang 'Em High," "True Grit," "Reborn," "The Osterman Weekend," "Hoosiers," "Super Mario Bros.," "True Romance," "Speed," "Waterworld," "EDtv," "Knockaround Guys," "Land of the Dead" and TV shows like "24," "Gunsmoke," and "Crash". Hopper died Saturday morning surrounded by friends and family at his home in Venice, California…which is a great way to go. However, I just… I just like thinking that he went this way a little more. It just seems more…of a Dennis Hopper way to die than that. So ladies & gentlemen, I hope that you all have a wonderful day, I miss you madly, and I will leave you with one of the greatest scenes in cinematic history…in honor of the late great Dennis Hopper…