Friday, August 13, 2010

GREAT SCOTCH!!!

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Nice little meteor shower last night. Wasn’t exactly Laser Zeppelin but still pretty cool on a nerdy level. Today is Friday the 13th… and also my Wingman’s birthday. How is he celebrating? By going with his dad & other male family members to Alaska for some fishing. Why is this odd? Because Alaska’s a sausage fest. How else would Palin get elected there? Get a bunch of sex-starved mountain men up there and after a while it becomes “Sure, I’ll take my top off… but only if you elect me governor.” “I’ve got twenty bucks.” “That’s Lower 48 prices…” What was my point? Oh yeah… he told me this was the prettiest girl that he’s seen up there so far…

Last night, I watched “Better Off Dead” starring John Cusack (“2012”) and Curtis Armstrong (“Revenge of the Nerds”) back when they were young bucks. Now, I’m certain that I had seen this movie before… but many many years ago (I vaguely remembered the opening animation sequence). Basically, this movie is a pre-existing prequel to “Hot Tub Time Machine” which I reviewed last week… and now after watching this, makes it all the more hilarious. Lane Meyer (Cusack) is your average teenager (in the 80’s) and his girlfriend just dumped him for some douche ski instructor because… she’s fickle or something. Anyway, now he’s trying to win her back by challenging the ski instructor to a race down K-12, a legendary black diamond ski run. (Side note: I tried to figure out where this movie was set… and I think it’s a fake town here in Northern California where the streets are perfectly dry on Christmas Eve yet is 15 minutes away from the slopes… mysterious) His friend (Armstrong) helps him out… along with a cute French foreign exchange student with a knack for fixing Camaros (oh you think you know how this is going to end?) and it all leads to several montages and the final race. If you like 80’s movies, this is definitely one of the better ones, so check it out. Just don’t look for too much plot… and I love the little scenes where Lane kinda wanders off into his own imagination… because I live there most of the time & understand his struggles. Anyway, check it out. Here’s the news…

Japanese Craziness – There’s this rumor that’s been going around for a while about Japan being the chief example of a culture that values its elderly and makes sure that they are provided for & respected. Don’t feel bad. I fell for it too. Until I read this article and found out that it very well may be a scam. Japanese authorities admitted last week they'd lost track of a 113-year-old woman listed as Tokyo's oldest, days after police searched the home of the city's official oldest man — only to find his long-dead, mummified body. Officials launched a search this week for Fusa Furuya, born in July 1897 and listed as Tokyo's oldest citizen, after it emerged her whereabouts are unknown. Several other celebrated centenarians are also unaccounted for due to poor record-keeping and follow-up in a country that prides itself in its number of long-lived citizens but also frets about an unraveling of traditional family ties. Officials updating their records ahead of a holiday next month honoring the elderly found that Furuya does not live at the address where she is registered, said Hiroshi Sugimoto, an official in Tokyo's Suginami ward. Furuya's 79-year-old daughter, whose name was not disclosed, told officials she was not aware of her mother's registration at that address and said she thought her mother was with her younger brother, with whom she has lost touch. But that address just outside Tokyo turned out to be a vacant lot. Police are also interviewing the brother and another daughter, but still have not been able to locate Furuya. Nice, right? The disappearance follows last week's grisly discovery (also by officials updating the most-elderly list) that the man listed as Tokyo's oldest male, who would have been 111 years old, had actually been dead for some 30 years and his decayed body was still in his home. THIRTY YEARS!!! Reagan had just become President y’all. Police are investigating the family of Sogen Kato for alleged abandonment and swindling his pension money. Kato is believed to have died about 32 years ago, when his family said he retreated to his bedroom, wanting to be a living Buddha. Officials said they had not personally contacted Furuya or Kato for decades (obviously). Authorities are also looking for a 106-year-old man who is missing in Nagoya, central Japan, Kyodo News agency reported. The Asahi newspaper said three more centenarians were unaccounted for in Tokyo. The missing elderly people could cast doubt on the exact number of centenarians in Japan, a figure that has been rising for decades. Officially (allegedly), Japan has 40,399 people aged 100 or older, including 4,800 in Tokyo, according to an annual health ministry report last year marking the September 21st holiday for the elderly. Each centenarian receives a letter and a gift from a local government office — usually by mail. Officials in fewer than half of the country's 47 prefectures (states) routinely keep track of centenarians in person, Kyodo calculated. Health and Welfare Minister Akira Nagatsuma urged officials to find a better way to monitor the elderly (perhaps GPS, heart monitors or bells around their neck?). "Many people have doubts whether the government properly keeps track of senior citizens' whereabouts. It is important for public offices to check up on them — where and how they are — and follow through all the way." But local officials say it is hard to keep track because families are often reluctant to receive official visits. Many also send their elderly relatives to nursing homes without doing the proper paperwork. "It's shocking that even relatives don't know if their parents are alive or dead," Chiba University professor Yoshinori Hiroi, an expert on public welfare, told public broadcaster NHK. "These cases were typical examples of thinning relationship among families and neighbors in Japan today." The rapidly graying population has also fueled concerns about Japan's overburdened public pension and medical care system. Remember that whole dream of mine to study stereotypes? Not looking like such a bad idea now, is it? The important thing here is… keep in touch with your family. Heck, I’m gonna call my grandma when I get home now. It’s been a long time… and I’ll see her when I go to the family reunion in a bit… but just keep in touch. It only takes a minute or two (or hours if your family talks like mine… but you can always claim your cell doesn’t get a signal) and it’d make their day. Guaranteed.

Great Scotch!!! – Speaking of finding things a hundred years old, a crate of Scotch whisky that was trapped in Antarctic ice for a century was finally opened Friday — but the heritage dram won't be tasted by whisky lovers. Why not? Because it's being preserved for its historical significance. The crate, recovered from the Antarctic hut of renowned explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton after it was found there in 2006, has been thawed very slowly in recent weeks at the Canterbury Museum in Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island. The crate was painstakingly opened to reveal 11 bottles of Mackinlay's Scotch whisky, wrapped in paper and straw to protect them from the rigors of a rough trip to Antarctica for Shackleton's 1907 Nimrod expedition. Though the crate was frozen solid when it was retrieved earlier this year, the whisky inside could be heard sloshing around in the bottles. Antarctica's minus 22 Fahrenheit (-30 Celsius) temperature was not enough to freeze the liquor, dating from 1896 or 1897 and described as being in remarkably good condition. This Scotch is unlikely ever to be tasted, but master blenders will examine samples of it to see if they can replicate the brew (“Damn the secret ingredient is Dodo urine”). The original recipe for the Scotch no longer exists. Once samples have been extracted and sent to Scottish distiller Whyte and Mackay, which took over Mackinlay's distillery many years ago, the 11 bottles will be returned to their home — under the floorboards of Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds on Ross Island, near Antarctica's McMurdo Sound. (Why?) Whisky lover Michael Milne, a Scot who runs the Whisky Galore liquor outlet in Christchurch, described the rare event as a great experience. "I just looked at this (crate) and honestly, my heartbeat went up about three paces. It was amazing. The box was like a pioneer's box with the wood and nails coming out," he said. Although Milne said he'd give anything to have a taste of the whisky. "It is not going to happen and I am not going to get excited about it, but if there was ever an opportunity, it could be a wonderful one to have." Nigel Watson, executive director of the Antarctic Heritage Trust, which is restoring the explorer's hut, said opening the crate was a delicate process. The crate will remain in cold storage and each of the 11 bottles will be carefully assessed and conserved over the next few weeks. Some samples will be extracted, possibly using a syringe through the bottles' cork stoppers. Nice little story, right? And it gave me an excuse for a title with a “Back to the Future” reference.

Chinese Dominos - More than 10,000 people in northern China (or about 0.002% of a town’s population) have set a world record for the longest chain of human dominoes. Arranged in lines, they slowly collapsed backward onto each other in sequence from a sitting position like a line of toppling dominoes. The 10,267 people who took part wore color-coordinated clothes that spelled out in English and Chinese the name of the city of Ordos in Inner Mongolia where the record attempt was made Thursday. The monitor for Guinness World Records, Wu Xiaohong, declared the new record. It obliterated the record set a decade ago in Singapore by more than 1,000 people. Oh I think we can top it though. We just need to get a place like… San Francisco to unite, meet in the Presidio or something, and claim that record for the U.S. of A. Until then though, I just wanted to show a crazy picture. Congratulations Ordos!!!

Terminator Update – Want more Terminator? Have the four movies and television series not satisfied your hunger for time traveling cyborgs? Well, the "Terminator" franchise is coming back sooner than anticipated, but in an unexpected format. Hannover House and Red Bear Entertainment are teaming to develop "Terminator 3000", a $70 million 3D animated feature based on the characters and storyline of the franchise according to a press release (though $70 million sounds like a LOT for a CG movie). One more little change, the project will tone down the violence as it plans to target a PG-13 rating (like “Jonah Hex”? Good idea). Story details however are being kept top secret (i.e. They have no idea what they’re doing yet). Pacificor, LLC scored the rights to the franchise in January and holds licensing authority over the proposed project. Both companies will release further details later this year in the leadup to the production kicking off in January. Intrigued? Even a little bit? Yeah, it could be awesome. Maybe James Cameron will get back involved. Who knows? Just thought I’d share with you so that you won’t be caught by surprise.

Oblivion - Disney Pictures has picked up the rights to the film adaptation of graphic novel "Oblivion" from Radical Publishing reports Heat Vision. Set in an apocalyptic future where most people live high in the sky due to Earth's surface being uninhabitable (like the Jetsons?), a soldier stuck on the ground goes about his job repairing hunter drones which seek out and destroy members of a savage alien race (Predators? Aliens? Gremlins? Alfs?). He soon comes upon a beautiful woman (hopefully with her consent) whose craft has crashed nearby and together they set out on an epic adventure. The move, said to be one of the more expensive deals of the year, re-teams Disney with "Tron Legacy" director Joseph Kosinski who created the comic and will both direct and produce alongside Barry Levine. Kosinski is also said to be working on the remake of "The Black Hole" and turned in a recent script draft which the studio is apparently happy with (will make money). Sounds like an okay movie, right? Oh… and I know what you’re thinking too. When ARE they going to make an “Alf” movie? A children’s tale of a loveable, huggable wiseass alien from Melmac who crash lands in suburbia, befriends a family & loves to eat p**sy. Mmm… that’s my kind of children’s story.

Anyway, that note will definitely do it for today. Tomorrow’s the Blues Beer & Funk Festival at Squaw Valley… and I’m thinking that I might make a run to Reno to watch a movie… maybe two. The Expendables came out today… but there’s also Inception, Salt, Predators and others that I wanted to check out too. We shall see. Theatres are expensive nowadays. Especially when it’ll probably just be me… unless I meet somebody in the festival… but when has that ever REALLY happened? Anyway, wish me luck… and have a great weekend everybody!!!

Where Should I Go Next?