Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Saturday was Dizzy’s birthday… but the real celebration for her birthday will be next week. Stay tuned for details (it’s a secret & she reads the blog). Besides, this weekend her mom was in town… and her cousin was graduating high school… so it was more about family togetherness than her lasting another year of sexiness. Friday night, I met up for dinner with her & her mom so we went to our favorite $5.99 all-you-can-eat dim sum buffet in Chinatown. What’s the name of the place? Good question. It’s near the corner of Grant & Jackson though. We ate there, then we hung out at her place that evening watching an old TV show from the 90’s.
Now, “Due South” is a delightful little show that Dizzy turned me on to… though I swear I’ve seen the end credits before, so it was probably before something I used to watch in the mid-90’s. Anyway, it’s a comedic series about a mountie named Benton Fraser (Paul Gross) who goes to the mean streets of Chicago to look for his father’s killer (pilot) and then decides to stay there with the Canadian consulate. With his trusty wolf Diefenbaker, he pairs up with a local Italian-American stereotype detective and gets caught in all kinds of do-gooder shenanigans. Now, if you’re looking for intense cop drama, you’re not going to find it here… at all… like even a little bit. There are many plot holes, but it’s a fun little series about a sweet, honest, dedicated & infallible mountie and how he just tries to bring a little good & justice to the underprivileged of Chicago. Dizzy has loved it since she was a young’un… and I kinda think she sees a lot of Benton Fraser in me… you know, the whole tall good-looking sweet gentleman superhero thing. Anyway, I recommend checking out at least the first three episodes (the third one “Manhunt” has the great Leslie Nielsen as Buck Frobisher) and if you like it after that… you’re welcome.
Saturday, Dizzy went to the graduation while I slept in… we’ll say it’s because she couldn’t get any more tickets but… I’m not complaining. Afterwards though, we met up at California Pizza Kitchen for lunch with the family, then again in the evening we hung out at her aunt’s house for a few drinks & reminiscing… mostly about times before I came around, but it was still a LOT of fun. Sunday was pretty lazy… but that’s why I’m gonna fill you up with some newsy knowledge… and a super movie review.
Tuesday night, Dizzy, Angera & I went to see a special preview of “Man of Steel”, the new Superman reboot starring Henry Cavill (“The Tudors”) as Superman/Clark Kent, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Michael Shannon as General Zod, Russell Crowe as Ja-Rel (bio daddy), Kevin Costner as Clark’s earth daddy, Diane Lane as Clark’s earth mama, and plenty of others in the cast like Laurence Fishburne, Harry Lennix, Christopher Meloni, Richard Schiff and on & on (and a superhot East German actress named Antje Traue, keep an eye on her). From the director of “300” & “Watchmen” Zach Snyder and the writer/producers of the “Dark Knight” trilogy, it was supposed to be a bit of a grittier more realistic Superman… and compared to the latest reboot from a few years ago, it definitely didn’t disappoint. The movie’s story is basically the combination of the original “Superman” (backstory of Krypton, intro of Superman) & “Superman II” (“KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!!”) but is condensed into a 2.5 hour flick. This turns into the story being told in a lot of flashbacks, quick cuts, and can be a little off-putting & a little confusing at times… but overall, I’d say it was a pretty good flick. There’s a lot of action, some of which is pretty ridiculous & inconsistent… and plot holes abound… but this is Superman. I found it wildly entertaining, great score & tonal setting (I even broke a tear at one point), and the acting was very good. Henry Cavill does a great job of balancing the angsty side of a young Clark Kent with the charm that you’ve come to expect with Superman from the Christopher Reeve movies. Michael Shannon is pretty good as General Zod & the dichotomy of a man who will do anything to preserve his race, even if it means destroying most of it (just go with it) yet really fueled by vengeance at the same time. Amy Adams is cute… as she should be… but really the main thing I had with the movie is the INTENSE fight scenes & global destruction involved… with basically no repercussions. Spoiler alert/shocker: Manhattan (sorry Metropolis?) gets thoroughly throttled over the course of many epic battles… basically to the point of barren wasteland at the end of the final fight scene… yet during the resolution two minutes later, the Daily Planet is back to work like nothing happened. Now THAT’S a cleanup crew. Anyway, I would highly recommend going to watch the movie & I think everybody did a great job with it… but yeah, be ready to suspend your disbelief. P.S. There's a dragon...

Gats for Tots – In local news, Strobridge Elementary School in Hayward, California, held a toy-gun exchange program over the weekend, according to a report from CBS-5 San Francisco. Inspired by gun buy-back programs that focus on getting weapons off the streets, Principal Charles Hill felt a similar program for toys made a lot of sense. "Playing with toys guns, saying 'I'm going to shoot you,' desensitizes them," said Hill, "so, as they get older, it's easier for them to use a real gun." Students who participated were given books in exchange for their toy guns. They were also enrolled in a raffle to win a bike, the event's grand prize. CBS-5 spoke with parents who had brought their children to trade in their guns. One mother said she was always against toy guns, but she noted that her son felt left out when he saw the other kids playing with theirs. Some of the guns shown in the CBS-5 report were clearly fake, but others that were exchanged might easily have passed for real weapons. Police Officer Braydon Wilson, who was at the toy-gun exchange to talk to students about safety, told CBS-5 that sometimes kids will paint their toy guns to look like real ones. Other times, owners of real guns will paint the tip of the gun barrel orange to make it appear like a toy, according to Wilson. To sell to children? Hmm… I’m thinking that wasn’t the point of that last statement. The Daily Review spoke with Yih-Chau Chang, spokesperson for Responsible Citizens of California, a group that educates people about gun rights. "Having a group of children playing cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians is a normal part of growing up," Chang said to the Daily Review. "While the intentions are obviously good on the part of the school administration, this doesn't really educate children about guns or gun safety. Guns are used in crimes, but they are more often used in defensive ways, which prevent violent crime from occurring in the first place." So what do you think? Good idea? Bad idea? Personally I took two things away from this… I like the idea of trading toy guns for books to hopefully educate the kids… you know, fill their heads with little bullets of knowledge. Secondly, I also really like the idea of painting the tip of my real gun to orange so that people disregard it until I knee cap ‘em.  Some may say that it defeats the purpose of using a gun as a form of deterrence to coax somebody with an implied harmless gun but… I warned ‘em… they chose to call my bluff… pop-pop… pop-pop-pop-pop. G-u-NIT!!! Haha… sorry, apparently I’m the only one that thinks that’s funny. Well then, how about this next story?
Gats for Tots 2: Reloaded - Two would-be robbers met their match on Monday evening when they encountered a brave 10-year-old. (Note that in this story, the child is described as “brave”) It all began around 5:30 p.m. when the suspects, dressed in disguise, knocked on the door of the Brooklyn home. When two teenage girls opened the door, the two men pushed passed them, and headed upstairs, according to the Associated Press. When one of the suspects tried to enter a bedroom on the second floor, the 40-year-old home owner slammed the bedroom door on one of the home invaders arms, causing him to drop the gun. The owner's 10-year-old son grabbed the gun and fired a shot into the wall. One of the suspects fired back, without hitting anyone. The would-be robbers then ran off. Police are investigating, according to the AP story. They say other kids were in the house at the time but did not witness anything. (Jesus, how many kids were in the house?) So yeah, there’s an instance were a child holding a gun may have saved a life, right? Weird… Another brave boy also recently made news for his quick thinking during a home invasion. In Detroit, when burglars forced their way into Jaden Kanka’s home, the 9-year-old heard the intruders talking to his mom and boyfriend in the front of the house. He sneaked out the one-story bedroom window and ran to a neighbor, who called the police. The criminals were still in the home when police arrived and were quickly arrested. Where do I stand on gun laws? Look, if you know how to use them then maybe you should have one, just in case. It’s like an emergency kit in your car. You don’t want to have to use it… but it’s good to know it’s there when you need it. As far as kids with guns? Not until they’ve proven that they can learn to respect it… and even then, when they can afford to buy their own. Just like driving a car.
Drones: Taking More American Jobs – Drones are in the news a lot today… for many reasons. They’re being used in strategic threat elimination in wars overseas. They’re assisting with recognizance missions in otherwise uninhabitable areas from the wreckage of a fallen building to a nuclear hotspot at a nuclear power plant. They also remind many of those HK Killers from the Terminator movies & various other sci-fi mischief makers. However, now… in the present… this may be the next big threat to American jobs (such as eliminating strategic threats). TacoCopter turned out to be a fake. So did the Burrito Bomber. But now, the skies, at least in the U.K., have finally opened up to fast food: Domino's Pizza has carried out a delivery order by drone helicopter. Video of the DomiCopter—developed by Aerosight—was posted by T + Biscuits, the creative agency brought in by the pizza chain's U.K. headquarters. The copter reportedly can deliver up to two large pizzas over a four-mile radius in 10 minutes or less (which basically means all of San Francisco or Manhattan). “If anything, it went quicker than a pizza boy," T + Biscuits founder Tom Hatton told Fox News. "We were amazed at how easy it was going to be.” Of course, there are a few caveats about the drone delivery. First, it was not technically a drone mission. While Domino's said GPS coordinates could potentially be used in future delivery flights, this inaugural mission was controlled by an experienced drone copter pilot who had the benefit of several cameras to help guide the flight. Second, drone flights come with several restrictions in the U.S. For example, commercial drone flights are illegal in the U.S. until 2015. Why? You know why… Even then, in most states, drones can fly up to around 400 feet but must have the permission of landowners before entering private property. That could easily be handled by a one-click legal agreement with each online drone delivery order. But for now, the politics and science of drone food delivery remain complicated (and undiscussed really). In the meantime, Domino's U.K. says it will conduct further tests, including whether the drone can handle a larger payload to incorporate items such as 2-liter bottles of soda into future deliveries. Yes my friends… technology is making you fatter faster… and I think it’s great. I still expect my pizza to be cold, look like it’s been dropped a few times & somehow I’m pretty sure even the drone will give me the sh*t eye when I give them the tip.
Death of a Word – As you may know, I studied German for six years (well over a decade ago) and it has served me well… okay, actually it only came in handy watching “Inglorious Basterds” and other WWII movies… but still, I’m hopeful that one day it’ll help out. Anyway, the German language has one less long word to worry about… and it’s a doozy. "Rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz," a 65-letter word meaning "law delegating beef label monitoring," has been dropped following changes to European Union law regulating the testing of cattle, the BBC reports. The so-called "tapeworm" word—common in Germany—was introduced in 1999 during the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (aka "mad cow disease") crisis. But now that the EU has halted testing of "healthy cattle at abattoirs," the BBC said, "the need for the word vanished." With "rindfleischetikettierungsueberwachungsaufgabenuebertragungsgesetz" ousted, the 49-letter  Donaudampfschifffahrtsgesellschaftskapitaenswitwe" ("widow of a Danube steamboat company captain") appears to have inherited the longest-word mantle, though it does not appear in the German standard language dictionary. The longest word found in there is "Kraftfahrzeughaftpflichtversicherung," or "automobile liability insurance." The longest word in the English language is the subject of nerdy debate, mostly over whether chemical terms should be considered words. The chemical name of the largest known protein, for instance, has 189,819 letters. (Last year, a man attempted to pronounce it in a three-hour, 30-minute YouTube video.) Really? Come on now, chemistry nerds… "Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis," a lung disease caused by inhaling very fine ash and sand dust, was the longest word to appear in a major dictionary when it turned up in the Webster's New International Dictionary in 1939. My money is on "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," a song from the 1964 Disney film "Mary Poppins," that appears in the Oxford English Dictionary. What does that mean? Absolutely nothing. German words are funny… but now we bid… that word, auf wiedersehen (until I see you later… because I’m pretty sure there’ll be another meat-born disease in Europe soon enough & then… that word will come back into everyday lexicon).
Bacon Update – Bacon & donuts! Everybody knows that bacon & donuts go together like… like bacon & eggs… or bacon & beer… or bacon & bleu cheese… or bacon & bacon. However, Dunkin’ Donuts wants everyone to have the opportunity to experience its new culinary creation. So the store has decided to begin selling its bacon, egg and doughnut sandwiches at all of its locations beginning June 7th. The sandwich contains a fried egg and slices of smoked bacon stuffed between the halves of a sliced, glazed doughnut. “The glazed doughnut is light and fluffy and gives you just the right amount of sweetness,” says Dunkin’ Executive Chef Stan Frankenthaler. “Combined with the lightly salted, smoked bacon, the texture and flavors marry together in a wonderful way. It’s a delicious bite of the perfect harmonization of sweet and savory flavors.” And the timing is perfect, as June 7 was also the too-good-to-be-true holiday National Doughnut Day. As it turns out, Dunkin' is not the first operation to produce a doughnut-based sandwich. The Illinois minor league baseball team the Gateway Grizzlies has been selling a doughnut hamburger, using Krispy Kremes in place of traditional buns. The ballpark says it sells 100-200 of the sandwiches each game night for $4.50 each. However, the bacon donut sandwich is not the avalanche of calories some might expect. In fact, it clocks in at only 360 calories, less than Dunkin’s turkey sausage sandwich (390 calories), which is marketed at more health conscious consumers. Then again, we’re talking about comparing Dunkin’ Donuts to Dunkin’ Donuts. Interestingly, food chains that offer lower-calorie dining options saw an 11% spike in sales last year, while those that didn’t saw a 15% drop in sales, according to information released by the Hudson Institute. However, as the AP notes, over-the-top food options have proved incredibly popular as well. For example, Taco Bell said its Doritos Locos Taco has proved to be its most successful item ever, boosting the chain’s overall sales by 8% in 2012 (and that’s some SERIOUS coin for a staple chain like Taco Bell). And if that's the case, the bacon doughnut might just prove to be a strong addition for Dunkin' Donuts, which already generated some $5.5 billion in 2012 across its 7,015 U.S. locations. What’s the point? Bacon sells! And yes… I kinda want bacon egg & donut sandwiches to be part of the next Bacon Day…
What’s that? WHEN IS THE NEXT BACON DAY? Well, in honor of the great thespian & Philadelphia’s own Kevin Norwood Bacon’s 55th birthday coming up in early July (and basically the one year anniversary of the idea), we are throwing the next Bacon Day within the next month. Really just trying to decide between the two weekends before & after… and just in time to introduce two new roommates to the incredible event!!! So if you’re interested, let me know & I’d be happy to send you the details. We’d love to host you & share our delicious treats with you.
Aside from that, not a whole lot more else to say, work is work, play is play, tomorrow is another day! Have a great day everybody!!!

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