Thursday, June 17, 2010

Scent of the Corpse Flower

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Last night, I decided to head to Incline Village to play some pick-up basketball…because it had been a while…and I didn’t really have anything else to do. See, every Wednesday night, it’s allegedly an open gym where usually a dozen or so guys (and maybe a few lucky gals) meet up to play some ball. Now, not being a resident of Incline Village, I had to pay a fee to get in…but hey, as long as the games are good, I’m down. I walk onto the basketball court…and half the court is set up like a f**king carnival. I’m not joking. Like one of those giant bouncing cages, that thing where you race climbing a horizontal rope ladder, all that crazy stuff. However, on the other half were a few guys shooting hoops, so we got a 4-on-4 game going for…about a half hour. Then a swarm of preteens come onto the court to…well, stand around. So that kinda cancelled our game because there simply wasn’t enough room to do anything…and preteen kids are f**king idiots and don’t understand the concept of “If you stand there, you’re gonna get ran over. I’m bigger than you. I was here first. Go read a f**king book!” I really wasn’t that bitter…but only because I got a comp pass to go back there another time. Got to meet a few cool cats and play some ball for free. Can’t hate on that. Anyway, that was really it last night. Here’s some news…

Raise the Drawbridge - Radical Russian artists have painted a giant protest penis on a drawbridge in central St. Petersburg ahead of a meeting that is the Russian answer to the World Economic Forum, police said on Wednesday. Measuring 65 meters (220 ft) long and 27 meters across, the light-colored phallus rises and glistens against the imperial-era capital's elegant skyline when the bridge is drawn up to let ships pass in the twilit northern summer nights. Politically minded art collective Voina, or War (“Huh, what iiiiis it good for? Absolutely nothing”), said they drew the graffiti on Monday to protest the heightened security measures expected at the International Economic Forum, held from June 17 in Saint Petersburg, the hometown of both Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Unsanctioned political art or public messages in the form of graffiti and painting are extremely rare in Russia. "We have painted a giant phallus to show what the FSB and Interior Ministry are doing in terms of security for the forum," Voina said in a statement. The FSB is Russia's main internal security agency. When the bridge is opened, the erect-looking penis stands beside the local headquarters of the FSB, successor to the KGB. The forum will draw international business leaders and will be attended by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. St. Petersburg is the hometown of both Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer and FSB chief. The phallus was still visible on Wednesday, when one of the artists was fined by police, a spokesman said. Voina became a household name in the Russian blogger scene two years ago when they filmed five couples having sex a day before Russia's last presidential election. The stunt was seen as a wry pun on the handover of power. That’s it. I just don’t get modern art. By the way, are you aware that there were probably hundreds of publicly sold films of people (usually couples) having sex made the day before our last presidential election? Don’t think it really affected anything with Obama getting elected (or did it?). I like the giant penis bridge thing. Then again, I can understand why the FSB might be pissed. If some “artist” painted a giant cock on my Jeep or some other property of mine, depending on how well it captures my girth, I might be pissed about it too. Heck, most of our monuments and skyscrapers are just shiny phallic symbols anyway. It’s been that way since ancient times. Obelisk? I’m sure that’s Egyptian for “Boomstick.” Can’t wait to see more of these popping up all over the world. Maybe that elevating drawbridge in Old Sac will get some artistic hanging “testicles” for passing boats, all in the name or the arts, of course. Not just because of the ironic neighborhood name. “Check it out. Looks like that steamboat getting teabagged by the bridge.” Make it happen unemployed artists of Northern California!!! I know there are a LOT of you out there reading this.

Corpse Flower - The "corpse flower" is alive at Michigan State University. But it won't last forever. What’s the Corpse Flower, you ask? The 5-foot-tall Amorphophallus titanum (which I believe is Latin for “Ever-changing Giant Phallus”) that flowered Friday for the first time in 15 years is expected to finish blooming Tuesday (They always seem to bloom too quickly). Mike Grillo, a Ph.D. student, tells the Lansing State Journal that the randomly flowering plant "looks like something meaty that's dead" and seduces flies and carrion beetles by emitting a pungent perfume akin to the putrid smell of rotting flesh. Portions of its large leaves are blood-colored burgundy. Hot, right? About 500 visitors have viewed the plant, which naturally grows in equatorial rainforests on the Indonesian island of Sumatra (incase you can’t make it to Lansing by Tuesday). Grillo said the plant will lie dormant for several months before regrowing…and it’s just weird that this last time took 15 years. Sounds like a necrophiliac’s dream plant to me. At least it’d be a conversation starter to have around the house. “Hey Jake, I brought some beers for the game and…what the f**k is that smell? Is there a dead cat in the walls?” “That’s my new flowers. I’ve got a few now & they JUST bloomed. Aren’t they gorgeous?” “JESUS!!! What the f**k is that? It looks like you’ve been watering roadkill.” “That is Amorphophallus Titanum, a Sumatran jungle plant.” “I’m gonna…hmmmph. Oh God, it smells like a zombie orgy on Bourbon Street in here. Maybe we should go to my apartment? They’re only getting fumigated for termites.” Yes, now get the image of a zombie orgy on Bourbon Street out of your mind. Yes, YES!!! Bwahahahaahahaha… Anyway, now you know what a corpse flower is.

Ice Cream Gang Wars - Police in Washington state said an ice cream vendor threatened another vendor with a knife and told HER to get off his turf. The man acknowledged talking with the woman Sunday in a cul-de-sac but denied making threats. Police found a knife (for opening packages of creamsicles) in his truck and arrested him for investigation of assault. The Daily Herald of Everett reported the 51-year-old man appeared in District Court Monday and was ordered held on $25,000 bail. The woman said she didn't think she was violating the unwritten code among vendors about where they sell frozen treats. Obviously, she was wrong. She needs to step her game up and get back to the timeless principles of the Ten Crack Commandments. Also, who the hell drives around neighborhoods slowly in urban neighborhoods and DOESN’T pack heat? Do you have any idea what kids have hidden in their daddy’s pants? A couple of punk-ass kids come up, order some rocket pops and a fudgesicle, “Okay, that’ll be $2.50”, kid pulls out a 9mm “How about you just clean out that register for me?”, “Sure thing playa” as you reveal the AK-47 under your apron, then suddenly you’re in a shoot-out like a sequel to Heat. Lady, you got your turf taken with a knife. I think you’re just in the wrong game. Maybe you need to get back into your old game that involved more corner & alleys than cul-de-sacs…and if you need someone to help you back in, gimme a call. We’ll see what we can work with. “Oh $teve, you’re crazy. We’re talking about ice cream.” Don’t you listen to Wu Tang??? Cash Rules Everything Around Me, CREAM!!! Get the money, dolla dolla bills y’all. That’s right, CREAM. As in Iced CREAM. You think it’s just a clever acronym? You think it’s a game? You think it’s a f**king game? (barks like a dog) This is real life. This happens. Protect ya neck. By the way, I love it that a wholesome Caucasian man born & raised in Utah can very easily refer to Wu Tang, DMX & Biggie (among others that I decided to delete out to avoid rambling) in a story about old people & ice cream. I’m sure this is exactly what the pioneers of hip-hop had in mind thirty years ago.

Crank Rider 2 (Not a Porn) – So this morning, I was kinda checking out the reviews for “Jonah Hex” which comes out tomorrow. As you know, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this movie for some time. However, a few months back, I stumbled upon a story that inferred that the movie was such crap that the studio was already making drastic changes so that something like it never happens again, but the best way to make money back is to saturate television with advertisements and hope for a fantastic opening weekend, right? Well, I started to wonder how something so cool could get so bad…and then I read the reviews…and it all made sense. The comic is about a disfigured gunslinger with hellish powers, who watched his family get burned alive, shoots on sight, talks to the corpses, fraternizes with ladies of the evening, and his arch nemesis is a Confederate general who commands an army of zombies…yet the studio insisted on a PG-13 rating for some reason. Okay. Oh yeah…and this was after they hired the writers of hard R movies with absurd plots like “Crank” (that I enjoy on a primal level) to write up the movie. How did they counteract that? The director is making his live-action directorial debut. What was his previous work? “Horton Hears A Who!” I am NOT joking. That being said, I’ll probably still see the movie, even though I’m sure the only way to make it worse is to cut Megan Fox out of the movie. Anyway, just thoughts I had to share because…well, another crappy movie may be getting made soon. Allegedly, "Crank" and "Gamer" writer/directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor are in early negotiations to direct the comic book hero sequel "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" for Sony Pictures says Heat Vision. Yes, they want to make another Ghost Rider movie. Nicolas Cage (who needs the money) is also in early negotiations to reprise his role as Johnny Blaze, a stunt motorcyclist who makes a deal with the devil and finds himself transforming into a flaming-skulled man driving a motorcycle from hell (hmm, basically the same plot as “Jonah Hex” if you think about it, just different timeframe). Story details are not forthcoming and it's unsure if this will utilize any other character from the previous 2007 film which grossed almost $230 million worldwide despite poor reviews (poor is a generous description…but yeah, it made money). David Goyer wrote the story and it's unsure if Neveldine and Taylor will perform a rewrite. Avi Arad, Ari Arad, Michael De Luca and Steven Paul are producing. Shooting hopes to kick off in the late Fall as the studio must get the film made or the rights will revert back to Marvel. So yeah, Neveldine/Taylor is in talks to make a sequel to one of the worst comic movies ever made…in a rush. This movie can’t possibly fail.

Fraggle Crack Rock – On that same note, I stumbled upon this story. The trend to make films more gritty and realistic has backfired at times. The second "Street Fighter" film proved even worse than the first despite this approach (hell, at least the first had Kylie Minogue in pigtails & the great Raul Julia). Now, "Hoodwinked" scribe Corey Edwards recently posted on his blog that the official script draft he submitted to The Weinstein Company for the film version of classic Muppets spin-off "Fraggle Rock" has been rejected. The reason? His latest draft wasn't "edgy enough". Naturally Edwards isn't happy and vented his frustrations in a posting. Here's an excerpt that I know you’ll enjoy: "EDGY.’ That’s the note. That’s what they are trying to do to the Fraggle Rock movie. EDGE it up! Let me say right now that ‘edgy’ is one of my least favorite words. Since my earliest days in the client video business, ‘edgy’ has been a sign of someone who doesn’t know what they want. Not only is ‘edgy’ a nebulous, abstract word that means something different to everyone, but it chases the immediate whims of pop culture. WHAT is edgy?? Faster edits? Rock music for the score? Boober wearing some gangsta bling? I have no idea. What I DO know is that the word ‘edgy’ should not be anywhere near this movie." Edwards takes a commendable stance as well in regards to the source material which he obviously has a great affection for - "I have said repeatedly that I will do my very best to make this Fraggle movie relevant and modern, to compete with everything else out there. But what I will NOT do is sabotage what made the property beloved in the first place." The writer of the article at Dark Horizons goes on to write “Personally I'm waiting for an 'edgy Muppet movie': Kermit dealing with being the target of racial violence as his alcoholic ex-wife Miss Piggy dives into a plastic surgery fetish. Fozzie Bear going postal with a machine gun in a department store. Statler and Waldorf losing their theatre critic jobs as their print outlets become blogs. Dr. Bunsen Honeydew arrested for sexually assaulting Beaker with a beaker, and of course a coked-up Dr. Teeth dying in a hotel room from autoerotic asphyxiation.” I too would watch that movie. Anyway, on to the next one…

Downey Update – Speaking of cocaine & movies (it’s okay because I think he’s been clean for a few years & he has a sense of humor), Robert Downey Jr is making some serious movie news. Probably the world’s busiest actor and his wife Susan Downey have established their Warner Bros-based production company Team Downey and announced their first project - the heist film "Yucatan" reports Deadline. What is “Yucatan”? I’m glad you asked. "Prison Break" creator Paul Scheuring was hired five years ago to pen a script based on almost 1,700 pages of decades-old notes and storyboards done by the late acting legend (and my namesake) Steve McQueen who had hoped to topline the project. The story follows a group of thieves who head to Mexico to find Mayan treasure buried for centuries beneath the Yucatan peninsula. It also deals with the historical division within Mexico between the Spanish-blooded aristocrats and the poor indigenous population, and throws in some big action set pieces including a drawn-out motorcycle chase (Remember? Steve McQueen? Bullitt? LeMans? Of course there’s a chase scene). The Downeys and Dan Lin will produce this version which will ditch Scheuring's script and start again from the notes. Downey will get first crack at starring in the film, while McQueen's son Chad will serve as an executive producer. If it does go ahead though, it won't be for a while as Downey is already committed to film both the “Sherlock Holmes” sequel and the Alfonso Cuaron-directed 3D space film "Gravity" this year. How’s Gravity going? Downward. Yes, it’s a bad joke. However, the movie “Gravity” is taking an interesting turn. Yeah, Angelina backed out a while ago which sucks for everybody. However, UK visual effects company Framestore, who worked with Cuaron before on the third "Harry Potter" and "Children of Men", calls the project "the next Avatar" in terms of scale. Here's a copy of the note they posted on their site and was discovered by The Playlist: "The entire film will be made here at Framestore. In effect the film, as Avatar was, is 60% CG feature animation with the balance being hybrid CG and live action elements. Because it’s set in space, most shots require every element to float in zero-gravity. But then factor in that this a stylish Cuarón flick, directed with his trademark languid feel, and you begin to realize the full scale of our challenge. Cuarón’s long and fluid style (the opening shot alone is slated to last at least 20 minutes) leaves no cut points to hide behind. In short, this is a hybrid of a fully animated, photo-real feature film with a blockbusting visual effects movie." It sounds like a very intriguing mix of two distinct genres of film…but I’m a little excited to see it myself. I’m a HUGE fan of the way that “Children of Men” was shot and those like five-minute-plus, no breaks or pause scenes…especially when the scene’s so gripping that you don’t even realize it the first time watching it. The CG will certainly allow them more flexibility than the post leads on but yeah, it sounds like it could be a groundbreaking flick. Then again, I think the four-minute action scene in “The Protector” is one of the greatest achievements in cinematic history…so that should give you some reference. Anyway, good luck Bob. Sounds like you have a full plate…and that’s not even mentioning the Avengers movie or anything like that.

Well, that’ll do it for today. Hopefully I’ve nerded you out enough. By the way, big day today!!! I wanted to save it for last because it’s so awesome. Remember my crack whore sister-in-law? Guess what. Pending bureaucratic BS, she will be my crack whore EX-sister-in-law this time tomorrow. GLORY GLORY HALLELUJAH!!! “What? I thought she was gone long ago, $teve.” Apparently you’ve never tried to get a divorce with children by multiple fathers & a drug-addicted whore mother involved in the great state of Utah. You all know the story, so I’m not going to regurgitate all the horrible details & situations that would make Maury Povich gag…but God willing, I may never have to see that b**ch again. Oh…and I don’t wanna jinx anything until I hear it from a sane person…but be careful what you wish for, ladies & gentlemen. Sometimes those things, like diseases & bad juju that you wish on horrible people, do come true…so please just be careful out there. Have a wonderful day everybody!!!

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