Nov 30, 2009

Karaoke Turkey

That would be me. And the rest of my extended family.

After a sumptuous feast on Thanksgiving Day we break out the karaoke software, hook a few computers together with the sound system and we have a good 'ole time singing to the hits.  First the kids until around 9:30PM or so, and then we adults take over.  This year we cut the festivities off early and we were done by 2AM.  : )

I did a couple of solos to start things off. "Folsom Prison Blues" by Johnny Cash and "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" by The Charlie Daniels Band. I don't know why, but I tend to go real country whenever I karaoke. The rock stuff is too hard to sing, I guess. Or maybe, like Marie Osmond, I'm a little bit country after all.  But I dance better.  Naturally.

One of the highlights was a silly duet (kinda) of the song down below that I did with a dude who smells like a wet dog.  Oh, and his duet with my Gia on "If I Close My Eyes Forever" by Lita Ford and Ozzy Osbourne.  That one rocked.

Hope y'all had a great Thanksgiving weekend.  And for those of you outside of the US, I hope your plain old ordinary weekend was almost as wonderful.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. And now Slyde will mention something about "Come Monday"...just watch.

Nov 26, 2009

Gobble Gobble Hey!

Hope you all have a Rock, Rock, Rock & Roll Thanksgiving!

PS - I think I'm missing a "rock" or two up there in that sentence.

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. God(dess) Bless the Ramones.

Nov 25, 2009

The Big Night Out

It was in the not-too-distant past that the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving was THE night out for those of us who enjoy a raucous evening out at the pub.  Bellying up to the bar with good friends all around.  The harmonious tinkle of ice cubes as they tumble into a cocktail glass, just waiting for for some fine Scotch or Irish Whiskey or Bourbon.  A beautifully poured Guinness served at just the right temperature.  College basketball on the telly, good tunes on the jukebox and lots of laughs all around.

I guess it all started in college.  We would finish up our pre-break exams and head home for a long holiday weekend.  The bars at home usually would have a liberal policy toward those of us who were underage at the time.  It was a far, far simpler time and place. Bars packed with college and high-school aged kids all looking for a good time or some courage for the next day's sit-down with the extended family.  Maybe you got to see some of your old high-school friends.  Maybe you would hang with your new friends.  But the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving was something that you would look forward to.  A bold and epic night out on the town.

Then as we grow older, the importance of the night diminishes in a steady declining arc.  We no longer have to sneak into bars, in fact we would hold it as a badge of honor that we could get into any joint we wanted to get into on any given night.  But Wednesday night before Thanksgiving was still pretty special for a time.  Maybe we make sure to have a glass or two of water along the way.  Maybe we make sure we would have a designated driver, cab or drunken stumble home.  We weren't kids anymore.

And then the years pass and the night suddenly loses all of it's former glamour.  It finally happened for me a few years ago.  I just grew tired of my favorite watering hole being overrun by children half my age for one awful night.  And there comes a time when those of us well-versed in the language of the pub begin to refer to nights like this one as "Amateur Night".  New Year's Eve and St. Patrick's Day are also fine examples of "Amateur Night".  Those of us who have earned our professional standing in the sport of drinking eschew these nights out all together.  A quiet night at home or a small gathering with friends is the preferred event.

I just wonder when it was that I got so old that a night out at the pub seems more like a chore than a good time.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Drive safe everyone.

Nov 24, 2009

The Jackal

One of my all-time favorite TV shows is The West Wing.  Might be #1 on the list really, well...the first 3 years at least.  And Press Secretary CJ Cregg as played by Allisson Janney is my favorite character on the show.  Especially when she is acting the fool, like when she lip-synced her way through The Jackal.   Click on that link to see the magic.

Or just take a listen to the full version by Ronny Jordan and Dana Bryant.  This is one of the tunes that we listened to around the fire the other night.  Not sure why that is important, but there you go.  Enjoy!

The Jackal
by Ronny Brown and Dana Bryant

Did I ever tell you about the man who changed my life?
The one I thought, ohhh. Lord, when I saw him walkin' back in that bar, all tall and
lean with them broad shoulders, sweeeet lips, I knew that I had died and gone to. . .
Chocolate Heaven. . .

He had a real deep voice, white pearly teeth, his shoe was always shiny.
Long slender fingers manicured perfectly.
The man wore 800-dollar Italian suit, straight from, I dunno, what would they call it,
Milan or Rome or someplace like that?

I knew it wasn't local.
I said, I got to get next to that.
I haven't seen him in a long time.
The man was so fine, he could get any good girl into trouble. . .
Can you guess what his name was?. . .
Well. . . 'The Jackal'. . . 'The Jackal'. Say. 'The Jackal'. . .

He was fat back cat cool like a Friday afternoon martini, chillin' at a quarter after 5.
Twist of lime, Coke on the side.
The brother loved the high life.
Had a Ph.D. in street stride.
They called him 'The Jackal'.

He was big Mack daddy super black stylin' a diamonds in the back Cadillac.
Fur-lined boards, white wall wheels, cruise control, built for speed, chrome on evray-thang.
And stereophonic speakers, though he really didn't need them.
When they called him. . . 'The Jackal'. Say. 'The Jackal'. . .

Fly boy was in the buttermilk, hard, livin' fast, livin' large, 6 foot 4 and not an ounce of fat!
When women asked, 'is you a Cat?' He said 'I did more that that.
I'm the firmest of the firm
And in case you, hadn't known, they call me 'The Jackal'.

Served the 18-year bid first Riker's Island then they hid him in the state
penitentiary. Said the charge was Grand Larceny.
That was 1975, and today, if he's still alive, he'd be living in the park.
Hm. The brother whose claim to fame was that they called him 'The Jackal'. 'The Jackal'. . ."


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. CJ Cregg IS the Jackal!

Nov 23, 2009

A Promethean Gift

The gift of fire...

Friends of ours came over on Sunday with an unexpected birthday gift.  An iron outdoor fire pit.  And we put it to immediate use.  It was a beautiful crisp fall evening, so we grabbed some wood off the pile, a bottle of  Jameson off the bar and had ourselves a sit-down out on the patio. 

We are going to do this once a week.  Turn off the TV for a few hours and chill out in front of a fire on a cold night.

It's like camping, but we get to sleep in our own bed instead of on the hard, cold ground.

Now excuse me for a moment while I head to the store to get some graham crackers, marshmallows and chocolate.   "Please sir...I want s'mores!"

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. I am the God of Hellfire, and I bring you...

Nov 20, 2009

High-brow? Moi?

Thanks for all the suggestions yesterday. I'll put them all in the "figure it out" machine and see what pops out over the weekend.

In the meantime, French painter Joseph Ducreux may be dead for these long 200 years. But the brother was a pimp, as evidenced by one of his self-portraits.

He's got it all.  The pimp hat, pimp cane, the attitude, the clothes...Ducreux was styling.  And he is the newest darling of the Internet Meme scene. 

Go check out a whole gallery of LolDucs here, if it is in thine will.

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. What I would give for a hat like that...

Nov 19, 2009


No, not that Avatar.  Although I'm holding onto cautious optimism for it.  It most likely will suck, but hey...Cameron has rarely let us down before.  Right?  Even if he does come off like a dick in some interviews.

I'm talking about my avatar.  You know, this one right here:

I'm thinking about trading it in for something new.  Maybe even a picture of myself like all the other adults out there use.  I am, after all, 43 now.  Oh, thanks for all the "Happy Birthday" wishes yesterday in the comments.  You kids are the fucking best!

So while I wrestle with this obviously life-changing decision, maybe y'all could jump in and let me know what you think.  Should the old Green Man stay or should I change things up a bit?  And if it's the latter, then gimme a suggestion or two.

No, Slyde...I will not be doing any full frontal nudity.  Nothing from behind either, ya big queen ya!

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day.  And no, I won't be going back to the blinking Bug-Eyed Earl.  That ship has sailed. 

Nov 18, 2009

What it all means

Some random facts about birthday.  Along with some snide commentary in blue.

Your date of conception was on or about 25 February 1966 which was a Friday.
(Most of my many siblings were born in September, October or November.  Ah those cold winter months!)

You were born on a Friday
(Probably around Happy Hour)
under the astrological sign Scorpio.

(Fuck you!)
Your Life path number is 6.

(And this means...)

Your fortune cookie reads:
As the purse is emptied the heart is filled. 

(My heart would be filled with a winning lottery ticket as well)

Life Path Compatibility:
You are most compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 3, 6 & 9.
You should get along well with those with the Life Path numbers 2, 4, 8, 11 & 22.
You are least compatible with those with the Life Path numbers 1, 5 & 7.

(Hmm...I do enjoy the numbers 6 and 9)

The Julian calendar date of your birth is 2439447.5.

(Star date?)
The golden number for 1966 is 10.
The epact number for 1966 is 8.
The year 1966 was not a leap year.

Your birthday falls into the Chinese year beginning 1/21/1966 and ending 2/8/1967.
You were born in the Chinese year of the Horse.

(That's what she said)

Your Native American Zodiac sign is Snake; your plant is Thistle.

(That would be a great name for a bar.  The Snake and the Thistle)

You were born in the Egyptian month of Tyby, the first month of the season of Poret (Emergence - Fertile soil).

(Tyby is my favorite time of the year in Cairo)

Your date of birth on the Hebrew calendar is 6 Kislev 5727.
Or if you were born after sundown then the date is 7 Kislev 5727.

(Happy hour was probably after sundown, so I guess it's the latter)

The Mayan Calendar long count date of your birthday is which is
12 baktun 17 katun 13 tun 4 uinal 3 kin

(Is the word "urinial" up there in my Mayan birthdate?)

The date of Mardi Gras on your birth year was Tuesday 22 February 1966.
(Holy shit!  That's right around when I was conceived.  It's all starting to make sense!)

Celebrities who share your birthday:

Owen Wilson (1968)
Kirk Lee Hammett (1962)
Elizabeth Perkins (1960)
Linda Evans (1942)
Brenda Vaccaro (1939)
Alan Shepard, Jr. (1923)
Imogene Coca (1908)
Eugene Ormandy (1899)
William Gilbert (1836)
(Ugh...Kirk Hammett?  Really?)

Top songs of 1966

I'm a Believer by Monkees
The Ballad of the Green Berets by S/Sgt. Barry Sadler
Winchester Cathedral by New Vaudeville Band
Soul and Inspiration by Righteous Brothers
Monday, Monday by The Mama's & the Papa's
We Can Work It Out by Beatles
Summer In the City by Lovin' Spoonful
Cherish by Association
You Can't Hurry Love by Supremes
Wild Thing by Troggs
(I love these songs!)

Your age is the equivalent of a dog that is 6.146771037182 years old. (You're still chasing cats!)

Your lucky day is Tuesday.
Your lucky number is 9 & 11.
Your ruling planet(s) is Mars & Pluto.
Your lucky dates are 1st, 10th, 19th, 28th.
Your opposition sign is Taurus.
Your opposition number(s) is 6.

Today is not one of your lucky days!
(Wait...what the fuck is that all about?  Today isn't my lucky day?  Fuck you, mystical birthday chart!)

Those 43 candles produce 43 BTUs,
or 10,836 calories of heat (that's only 10.8360 food Calories!) .
You can boil 4.91 US ounces of water with that many candles.  

(Now this shit is just getting mean)

Your birth flower is CHRYSANTHEMUM

(And in BOLD letters too!)

Your birthstone is Citrine

The Mystical properties of Citrine

Citrine is said to help one connect with Spirit.
Some lists consider these stones to be your birthstone. (Birthstone lists come from Jewelers, Tibet, Ayurvedic Indian medicine, and other sources)

Yellow Topaz, Pearl, Diamond
(Isn't Citrine something you gargle with?)

Your birth tree is

Chestnut Tree, the Honesty Of unusual beauty, does not want to impress, well-developed sense of justice, vivacious, interested, a born diplomat, but irritable and sensitive in company, often due to a lack of self-confidence, acts sometimes superior, feels not understood, loves only once, has difficulties in finding a partner.

(Well, I was gonna say something sarcastic but that describes me to a fucking T!)

The moon's phase on the day you were
born was waxing crescent. 

(I was just going to edit this to be a full moon.  Because that would be cooler.  Ah-woo!!!)


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Me and Owen Wilson...getting older today.  Nice.

Nov 17, 2009

The Dock is In!

So all you need to know about this brilliant animated short from James Blagden is that there was a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates named Dock Ellis who pitched a no-hitter back in 1970 while on LSD.  One of my favorite all-time baseball stories.

And who said drugs were a recent problem with baseball?

UPDATE: Amazing how this happens, but a dude who smells like a wet dog just told me that today (yesterday) is the birthday of LSD! was first synthesized on November 16, 1938.  Far out!


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. He really did wear hair rollers.

Nov 16, 2009

What's Happening?

This post belongs on MovieGrenade, really. But I just don't think I have the energy for two posts tonight so it comes down to The Verdant Dude. Besides, this is a film that really should be reviewed on a site with "verdant" in the title.

I guess you know that I have a thing for bad movies. I realize they are gonna be awful, but I can usually find something...anything in the film that I enjoy.  It's almost a badge of honor that I can normally sit through just about any film AND that I can kind of enjoy it.

That didn't, um, occur* with The Happening.

This movie was a steaming pile of dog shit.  Everything was bad.  The writing, the acting, everything.   I can't even tell you if the cinematography was any good because I was just so sick of seeing shots of the wind moving through the trees and bushes.  Do you realize how much work had to go into making this film this awful that there were absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever?  I mean, M. Night Shamalamadingdong was trying to make an awful movie, right?  He can't honestly look at this finished product and think that it was any good.  Can he?

I'm just glad that when the inevitable plant toxin/zombie apocalypse comes that I can be saved by exuding good vibes all around.  Better get my mood ring out of storage and practice exuding those vibes.  The trees outside are kinda looking at me funny.

Now let me be clear about something here.  I was expecting The Happening to be awful.  That's why we wanted to watch it.  Because we had heard that not only was the film bad, but it was historically bad and kind of awesome because of that.  But we went into it hoping for this, yearning for this.  We wanted to laugh along with it as it bumbled across our television screen.  But it wound up sucking even more than that.  It went round the bend and wound up being so bad that we couldn't even appreciate it's badness.  I don't know if that makes any sense, but Joe Posnanski happened to be writing the about the same thing tonight about a football game between the Raiders and the Chiefs and he, of course, wrote about this sensation much better than I could ever hope to.  Here is what he said:

Joe Queenan invented a word I’m trying to think of now. The word defined the feeling you have when you see something that really sucks but — irrationally — you find yourself wishing that it had sucked just a little bit more. 

This could involve going to see a reunion of a bad band like The Outfield* and finding that while the concert was awful it was just not quite as bad as you hoped or remembered. It could involve going to see a movie you expect to be intensely awful, only it turns out only to be regular strength awful.
We wanted it to be intensely awful.  But when a movie is just "regular strength" awful, well...what's the fun in that?  There was only one brief shining moment when it crossed the boundary into intensely bad.  Having just realized that it was indeed the plants that were poisoning us, and I'm still not sure just how that realization came upon him, Wahlberg decides to have a "we come in peace" chat with a fern in this living room they are in.  He sidles up to it, gives it all the good vibes he can think of, and then he realizes that it's made of plastic.  He was talking to a plastic fern. 

See that right there is what we were hoping for.  Mark Wahlberg talking to plastic plants.  Gimme an entire two hours of that and I'm a happy camper. But no, instead it was just "regular strength" awful.  And there is no fun in that.  No fun at all.

There were so many scratch your head wtf moments in this film to even come close to listing them all.  But if I had to pick my favorite it would probably be Marky Mark singing "Black Water" outside of that house in the middle of the woods to prove that he was normal.  See?  And when I say it was my favorite moment, what I really mean is that it was the point in the film when my head felt like it was gonna explode the most.

This was a terrible, terrible film.  And I don't mean that as a compliment.

Hey's me.  Mark Wahlberg.  How you doing?  You're made of wood and I created Entourage.  See, we're not that different.  But you keep on releasing neuro-toxins and making everyone around me kill themselves and that ain't cool.  Cmon tree...I just wanna talk with you, dog.  No?  OK.  Say hi to your mother for me.

*didn't want to use "happen" right there. - Earl


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Where are all the bees disappearing to anyway?

Nov 13, 2009

Proust and Jon Bon Jovi

What a couple of poofs!

The Proust Questionnaire has made it's rounds around the blogosphere in the past few weeks, and it got me to thinking about how most American's know about it from James Lipton's twice-removed bastardization of it on his show Inside the Actor's Studio.

Then, quite by mistake, I happen to be watching the Bravo Network yesterday and I was surprised to see that they were still producing that show. I say "by mistake" because I would never intentionally watch that channel anymore. It used to be great. Filled with hours upon hours of wonderful programming like The West Wing, Live From the Lincoln Center, independent films and yes, Inside the Actor's Studio. But that has all changed. It's now filled with crap like The Desperate Housewives of (insert city here), Salon Takeover and Top Chef. Sure, some folks love Top Chef but it's the one that started the makeover of Bravo into purely reality crap TV. So I hate it most of all.

But Inside the Actor's Studio has really taken a turn for the worse.  It used to be something I looked forward to on Sunday nights.  Enlightened and intelligent conversation with some of the best actors and filmmakers working today.

Check out some of the guests they had on during the first two seasons from 1994-1995:
  • Paul Newman
  • Sidney Lumet
  • Sally Field
  • Dennis Hopper
  • Arthur Miller
  • Neil Simon
  • Faye Dunaway
  • Holly Hunter
  • Christopher Walken
Sure, they had the occasional WTF pick.  Mary Stuart Masterson?  Really?  I mean, I love Some Kind of Wonderful more than just about anyone, but c'mon!

So I was dismayed to find that not only is the show still being made, but they are really diving deep to scrape the bottom of the barrel.  This past Sunday, as part of the show's 15th season, James Lipton sat down and interviewed Jon Bon Jovi.


On Inside the Actor's Studio!  Oh, and it wasn't only him.  They had the rest of the guys from the band there as well.  What could these guys possibly contribute to the discussion of the craft of acting in front of a group of students from the New School?  Fucking ridiculous.

Oh, and he they haven't been the only lame guests on the show over the past couple of seasons.  No siree bob!
  • Martin Lawrence - did they talk about Big Momma's House 2?
  • Tim Allen - "Tell us about working with Mr. John Travolta in...Wild Hogs!"
  • Teri Hatcher - "Are they real, and are they spectacular?"
  • Eddie Murphy - about 12 years after he was relevant.
  • Charlie Sheen - Charlie fucking Sheen?!?
  • Daniel Radcliffe - I'm sure his breadth of work was invaluable to the students.
  • The cast of The Family Guy - I rest my case.
You know, a few years back I heard a story about this show.  It was right after the film Troy came out and the producers wanted to have Brad Pitt on with Lipton as it would have been a ratings win.  When they contacted him he turned it down saying that he hadn't achieved enough in film yet to deserve the honor of being on the show in front of those students.  But he suggested that they ask Peter O'Toole if they really wanted someone from that movie, since no one would question all that he had accomplished in the industry.

The producers passed on O'Toole.  Guess he wasn't going to be a ratings draw even though it would have been a highly entertaining interview.

Fucking douchebags!

Passing on Lawrence of Fucking Arabia!  And that was one of eight of his roles that were nominated for Academy Awards.  But nah...he probably wouldn't have much insight into the business.  Nah!

The disease that has infected the Bravo Network has spread to some of it's formerly brilliant original programming.  Feh.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Go ahead, Lipton...jump that shark!.

Nov 12, 2009

Mustard Sandwich

OK. This post is gonna require a bit of work on your part. Yeah, I've been taking it easy on you all these years. I do all the work and you got to sit back and enjoy the results. Well, not today my pretties.

I wanna relay something I overheard the other day.  By itself, it probably isn't very funny.  But if you can make yourself hear it the way I heard it, well...magic may occur.

I was at the local bagel shop the other day.  I'm there 3 or 4 times a week to pick up some bagels, cream cheese and coffee for Gia and I in the mornings.  The counter is usually manned by an assortment of college or high-school aged kids depending on the day of the week.  But the joint is owned by a guy who spends most of his time in the back, making the bagels.

This guy looks like a cross between a close friend of mine and Harvey Fierstein.  But VERY MUCH like Harvey Fierstein.  Very New York, very Jewish...not so much with the gay thing, but other than that he IS Harvey Fierstein.  And the kicker is that he sounds EXACTLY like Harvey Fierstein.  Once again, not so much with the gay thing, but... 

Now for this little exercise to work you are going to need to have Harvey Fierstein's voice in your head.  It may be unpleasant for you for a short period of time, but I know you kids are tough enough to endure.

So listen to Harvey's voice on this video below, and listen to the message while you are at it. 

OK, got it? That's pretty much what this guy looks like and it almost exactly what he sounds like. Just a great, raspy, Jewish, Brooklyn accent on a dumpy, grey-haired guy. Now use that voice in your head while reading the following conversation between this guy (let's call him Harvey) and one of the kids working for him:

Harvey: What are you doing over there?
Kid: I'm making myself a sandwich for later on.
Harvey: What are you putting on it?
Kid: Just some ham and cheese, why?
Harvey: You are putting mustard on that?  Why?  You're gonna ruin the sandwich!
Kid: I like mustard.
Harvey: When you put mustard on a sandwich all you taste is the mustard.  Try a schmear of mayo, maybe.  That's what I like.  But it really doesn't need anything at all.  You are absolutely killing that sandwich!
Kid (smiling now): But I really, really like mustard.
Harvey: Well then, you go ahead and you enjoy your mustard sandwich!

And then he stormed off to the back room.

If I had seen that played out on the big screen I would have been cracking up!  As it was, I had a hard time controlling the giggles until I got back to the car.  Especially when I caught the eye of the kid he was yelling at after he stormed off.  I think he and I were the only ones to hear the exchange because everybody else was in the middle of doing something or other.  I'm sure the kid had fun with it later on with his friends.

Man, I love my local bagel shop!


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Just a schmear of mayo.

Nov 11, 2009

White Like Me

I know this is old news. From a much simpler time and place known as "last week", but I get such a kick out of these before and after pictures of Sammy Sosa.

Sammy, a former giant of a baseball player for those of you not in the know, claims that he had just undergone a "skin rejuvenation" process that left him a bit whiter than he thought he was gonna be.  He says that his skin color has since returned to its' natural pigment.  And that the lighting in the second photo was partially to blame.  Really?

And Michael Jackson never had any "work" done either, right?

Silly celebrities.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. If it was a chemical wash then I'd believe it.  Sammy, of course, is used to playing with chemicals...if ya get my drift.

Nov 10, 2009

Breakfast for Dinner

Long-time readers here know that I have a passion for breakfast. It's my favorite meal of the day. By far.  Nothing like some coffee, some eggs, some bacon, a biscuit...and oh yeah, my new passion, grits!

When I visit a new city for the first time one of the first things I do is scope out the best breakfast joints in town.  I like a place that's off the beaten path.  Someplace that isn't too tourist-y, of you know what I mean.  I like a place that the locals go to eat when they get off work.  It doesn't have to be fancy, hell...the less fancy the better.  I mean, there is a time and a place for a foo-foo breakfast.  Sure.  But most times, give me an old greasy spoon diner* and I'm happy.

*Quick interlude:  I may have mentioned this before, but one of my all-time favorite breakfast joints was a place I will probably never find again somewhere around Toledo, Ohio.  I was in the middle of a vacation where some friends and I were visiting baseball stadiums through the Minnesota/Illinois/Michigan/Ohio area.  We were waiting for a transfer at the train station and we had a couple of hours to kill.  So we walked around the area for a bit and found an old greasy spoon diner.  But the breakfast we had there was magical!  Home-made breakfast sausage that they formed into patties right before us, great coffee and great eggs.  Man, I wish that joint were just around the corner.  Hell, I don't even know the name of the place or exactly where it was.  But that was the best.

So last night while pondering the daily question of what to have for dinner I made a decision.  Breakfast for dinner.  I hadn't eaten a really good breakfast since we came back from Charleston.  One of the first trips to the grocery store when we came back netted us some good old fashioned grits.  But they sat there for over a week, just waiting for me to make 'em.  No instant grits, by the way.  Real hominy grits.

So I made some creamy, cheesy grits with some horseradish cheddar, some eggs over-easy, some crisp bacon, some sliced grilled tomatoes and some buttered English Muffins. 

Best. Dinner. Ever.

What about you?  You dig on some breakfast for dinner every now and again?


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Bippity-boppity bacon.

Nov 9, 2009

The blind squirrel...

...even finds a nut once in a blue moon.

Saturday Night Live is a prime example of that.  For every week that they have a Justin Timberlake hosting when just about everything they do is spot-on, they run ten weeks in a row of pure drek.  And Saturday's episode was pretty bad all-around.  From the opening skit with Kristen Wiig impersonating Greta Van Susteren (not awful)  to just about anything Taylor Swift was involved in (she was really awful*), it was a classic case of SNL mediocrity.  Except for one shining light.

The semi-dependable SNL Digital Short.

Now, I haven't seen Twilight. But that hasn't stopped me from making fun of it. Or enjoying spoofs of it. Like this one. Way to go SNL...for a change.

*I did appreciate her "Stick around...Kanye West is NOT here" comment at the end of her musical monologue.  That's about it though.

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. Lazy fucking blogger.

Nov 8, 2009

3-Word Movie Reviews

I've watched a few movies recently, and I've decided they can all be reviewed in three words.  Probably less, but let's go with three words for this exercise. 

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Marlon Wayans?  Really?

The Boondock Saints
Still bored me.

Drag Me to Hell
Befriend a gypsy.

The Taking of Pelham 123 (2009)
Watch the original.

Buttoned down cool!

It's try it.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. One of my laziest posts ever.  You are welcome.

Nov 6, 2009

Let's lighten things up a bit

With Gia's sister's favorite band. The Kings of Leon.  All of these are from their album Aha Shake Heartbreak.  Enjoy.

He makes funny faces while he sings. Hehe.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. She'll bartend your party.

Nov 5, 2009

The Artist and His/Her Art - Part II

Thanks for all of your comments yesterday. This is a fascinating topic, in my opinion, and all of your well-thought out comments certainly helped me get my mind around the subject a bit more. But let's get right down to the reason why I first wrote about all this crap.

Orson Scott Card

For years I have been a big fan of this man's work.  More specifically, of his Enderverse novels and short fiction work.  I must have read Ender's Game when it first came out because I remember patiently awaiting for it's sequel, Speaker for the Dead, to be published the following year.  As each sequel and re-imagining came out, I gobbled them up.  Couldn't get enough of them.

For those of you not in the know, these science fiction novels revolve around a group of genius children who are sent off planet to Battle School to help find mankind's next savior in the upcoming war with the insect-like race of aliens colloquially known as Buggers.  A commander intelligent enough to lead us to victory.  Humanity has already survived two devastating wars with the aliens and they are looking for a final and permanent solution in the next invasion.  These young geniuses are our best hope.

Roughly half of the books revolve around the titular hero from the first book, a young boy named Ender Wiggin.  The other half, and in my opinion the more enjoyable half, follows Bean and the rest of Ender's companions at Battle School after the war with the Buggers.  Bean is an even smaller, smarter and younger genius than Ender was, and in many ways he was the more important figure in the final Formic/Bugger War and it's aftermath.

I recently picked up the second set of novels prior to going on my vacation.  I had previously read a couple of them, but it had been awhile so I wanted to start fresh with young Bean and his colleagues.  Say what you will about Card, and I plan on saying a lot, but I think the man is a brilliant writer.  The challenge of writing good science fiction is daunting enough, but that challenge is increased ten-fold when writing about characters who are political or military geniuses.  One has to be brilliant in one's own right to convincingly portray genius on the written page.  I found myself being awed by Card's brilliance a long time ago in the first sequel to Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead.  How could this man who writes about genius so well be anything other than a genius himself?

Well, as I read these Bean (or "Shadow") novels on vacation I found myself wondering at the somewhat odd world views of some of these genius characters.  Stuff about religion and marriage and genetic disposition of heterosexuality. And then I remembered something I had read a while ago about Card.  About his stance on gay marriage and homosexuality itself.  Much of that tied into his personal religious views as a Mormon.  Not the most tolerant of religions when it comes to the gay community.

So I started re-reading some of the material he has written about these issues.  Stuff like this and this.  And I started to get angry.  Really angry.

It's filled with all kinds of nonsense rhetoric like this utterly idiotic argument:
In the first place, no law in any state in the United States now or ever has forbidden homosexuals to marry. The law has never asked that a man prove his heterosexuality in order to marry a woman, or a woman hers in order to marry a man.
Any homosexual man who can persuade a woman to take him as her husband can avail himself of all the rights of husbandhood under the law. And, in fact, many homosexual men have done precisely that, without any legal prejudice at all.
Ditto with lesbian women. Many have married men and borne children. And while a fair number of such marriages in recent years have ended in divorce, there are many that have not.
So it is a flat lie to say that homosexuals are deprived of any civil right pertaining to marriage. To get those civil rights, all homosexuals have to do is find someone of the opposite sex willing to join them in marriage.

Right.  So gay men and women aren't denied the right to marriage.  They just have to find someone of the opposite sex willing to marry them.  In other words, it's okay for them to marry as long as they are willing to marry someone that they really don't want to marry.  I'm sorry, but I don't think I have ever read a more insulting or idiotic argument against gay marriage than that one right there.

And this is the freakin' genius that I have been lauding all these years?

He claims that it shouldn't be up to the courts to make laws, which is what he believes is happening in California and Massachusetts with regard to same-sex marriage.  That may be true.  But man oh man does he take the ball and run with this one.
The first and greatest threat from court decisions in California and Massachusetts, giving legal recognition to 'gay marriage,' is that it marks the end of democracy in America. These judges are making new law without any democratic process; in fact, their decisions are striking down laws enacted by majority vote.
Then end of democracy in America!  Are you scared yet?  You know sometimes it IS the court's job to strike down laws enacted by majority vote.  If those laws are discriminating against  a minority group, for example.  Sometimes laws are enacted without everyone's best interest in mind.  Constitutional purists would call for amendments or new laws passed by Congress to redact formerly inconsistent or "bad" laws.  Yet the judicial branch is also entrusted with protecting the rights of individuals.  And maybe I am just being a bleeding heart liberal, but I think this is one of these examples.  Who the Hell am I or you or your Congressman to tell someone that they can't marry the person they love?

Card claims that he is not a bigot or a homophobe or intolerant strictly because he does not believe in the "harsh personal treatment of individuals who are unable to resist the temptation to have sexual relations with persons of the same sex,".  You know...the sinners.  Well isn't that mighty white of him?  Using that argument, I guess a person who hates black people but who doesn't see himself participating in a lynching can't be called a racist.  There should just be laws against them and their homosexual behavior, and that my friends can't be intolerance.  Right?

Here is another juicy tidbit from the man:

Laws against homosexual behavior should remain on the books, not to be indiscriminately enforced against anyone who happens to be caught violating them, but to be used when necessary to send a clear message that those who flagrantly violate society's regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.

The goal of the polity is not to put homosexuals in jail. The goal is to discourage people from engaging in homosexual practices in the first place, and, when they nevertheless proceed in their homosexual behavior, to encourage them to do so discreetly, so as not to shake the confidence of the community in the polity's ability to provide rules for safe, stable, dependable marriage and family relationships.
Now I think it is all well and good to have beliefs.  Both religious and political.  But to advocate laws against homosexual behavior so that if such behavior occurs it is done on the down-low to protect the very basic  nature of our society (i.e. marriage) is ludicrous.  In my humble opinion, of course.

Well, it might not be ludicrous to everyone.  Some of you out there may read Card's words and think "Damn right!".  And that is fine.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  I just happen to find Card's opinions, which he often states as fact...both religious and biological, to not mesh with my own personal views of the world I live in.  The fact that he so openly defends his positions in somewhat silly ways only exacerbates my issues with him.

And therein lies the rub.  I still enjoy his writing.  Not his right-wing/conservative/religious writings.  But his science fiction.  I still think Ender's Game and it's sequels are some of the finest examples of the genre.  And I am torn.  Especially when I hear some of his own philosophies echoed in the brilliant minds of those future children he is writing about.

There are two novels left in the Enderverse that I haven't read yet.  A War of Gifts and Ender in Exile.  I want to read them...I really do.  Because I've invested a lot of time in the series and I naturally want to know what happens next.  I think that is common for those of us who get wrapped up in characters that we have come to care about.

Yet I don't want to spend another dime on this man's intellectual property.  Not when I know about some of his personal beliefs.  It's a classic conundrum.

Frankly, I'm having a hard time balancing my long-held belief in the brilliance of Orson Scott Card and my more recent belief that he is a moron.  On certain subjects, of course.

What to do, what to do, what to do?


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. And it is okay to disagree with me on this one.  I won't hold it against you.  Probably.

Nov 4, 2009

The Artist and His/Her Art

There has been a lot of chatter about separating the artist from their art recently with the death of Michael Jackson. I noticed a lot of folks who still claimed to love his music even as the man himself literally morphed into a pedophiliac monster in front of our very eyes.  Or the paparazzi's lens, at least.

Then there were some who shunned the man and his art strictly because of his ridiculous surgeries and his kid-touching ways.  It was never really an issue for me because I was never a fan.  Never owned one album of his even though I had been constantly bombarded with his music and videos during the 1980's.  I probably would have burned any I owned, however, once I found out about his unhealthy predilections toward children.

You see, I have a very hard time separating the art from the artist.  Especially when I find the artist to be loathsome.

Case in point: Roman Polanski.

He's obviously been all over the news lately because of his recent incarceration in Europe over his past crimes in this country and his subsequent escape from the law.  Now, I've heard all the arguments regarding his actions.  Both defending the man and demonizing him.  I happen to be on the "demonize" side of the deal.  I don't care that it was a different time and a different attitude.  Bottom line, I believe that he drugged and raped that girl and he got away with it.  That, in my book, is unforgivable.  I only need to imagine that the poor girl was my daughter or niece and I'm filled with a rage that could only be quenched with his death at my hands.  Preferably a slow and painful one.

So I've generally avoided his films.  In fact, since Chinatown, the only Polanski films I have seen have been Frantic and The Ninth Gate.  Both because I didn't realize they were Polanski films until after I had seen them.  Silly, because The Ninth Gate was so evocative of Rosemary's Baby that I really should have known.

Maybe I am being pig-headed, but I don't see how producers keep funding this man's art.  I don't understand why top actors feel the need to keep working with the man.  He is a vile, creepy little gnome of a rapist and that's that.

In my humble opinion, of course.

And that is generally how it goes with me.  I'm pretty sure Slyde would agree with me here although he takes his grudges to the Nth degree ofttimes.  He still has a problem with Matthew Broderick, I believe, for killing a couple of women in Northern Ireland in an auto accident and only having to pay a $175 fine.  Ferris Killer he calls him, or something like that.  He has issues with Robin Williams, Woody Harrelson and a bunch of others as well, but I forget why.  I tend not to have as much of a problem with artists who have been involved in tragic accidents.  It's not like Broderick woke up that day and decided to kill a couple of people.  He certainly didn't ply them with alcohol and drugs before running his car into them.  Right?

So how about you?  Are you able to separate the art from the artist?  Is it a case-by-case thing or are you generally forgiving of an artist if they produce brilliant and/or enjoyable art?

I'm curious because I recently came across an artist whose personal views I find to be vile but whose art has always been both brilliant and enjoyable for me in the past.  So I'm torn.  Really for the first time in a case like this.

I'll talk more about who and why tomorrow after I hear from the madding crowd. 


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. You can't convince me otherwise.  He is a rapist.

Nov 3, 2009

Really Old Internet Stuff

That's what I'm all about.

So back in 2003 there was this fanboy who made his own Batman short film that cost in the neighborhood of $30,000. OK, he's not really a fanboy. He is in the film business and his name is Sandy Collora.  And he is releasing his first feature film in the near-future. A sci-fi project called Hunter Prey and it is being called a pretty interesting blend of Enemy Mine and Treasure of Sierra Madre. Really.

But it's the Batman short film that I find to be more interesting.  It's an injured Bats chasing down an escaped Joker in the rain.  At first I thought it was gonna be something similar to the end of "The Killing Joke", but then all Hell breaks loose.  You'll see what I mean.  It's not glossy, it's not shiny.  But it feels more like a Batman film than just about anything ever done by someone not named Christopher Nolan.

Check it out, even though you probably already saw it 6 years ago.


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. 2003 called, and it wants it's blog post back.  Sigh.

Nov 2, 2009

Jiggedy Jig

Sunset at the Wreck of the Richard and Charlene - photo by Gia

Back from our vacation in the South last night. Gia's sister and brother-in-law were fantastic hosts, naturally. And we had plenty of time to look around the area for the not-so-faraway future as we are thinking of re-locating. The low country region is right up our alley, lifestyle-wise. It'll just come down to when and how, I guess.  More on that as it becomes available.

But here is a brief list of things I did on my vacation. Because it's all about me.
  • Had grits with just about every meal I ate.  I love me some grits.  I don't know why they aren't as readily available here in the Northeast, but I'm lookin' to change that. 
  • I stayed sober...mostly.  Past vacations have generally been spent in bars until the wee hours.  But since we were exploring a great deal and eating a great deal something had to give.  And that something was alcohol.  Oh sure, I had a few beers while I was watching the Yankees games.  But always in moderation.  The bonus?  No vacation hangovers!  
  • I read the "Shadow" series of books from Orson Scott Card.  Well, I re-read two of them and read the other two for the first time. More on Orson Scott Card later this week.
  • Took a bunch of pictures, and you can see a handful of them here on this Flickr set.  But only if you are really bored, okay?  And try not to make fun of the fat old guy in the hammock.
  • I finished a 5-year business plan for one of my clients. can't all be fun and games.
  • Tried all kinds of funky food like fatback, Hoppin' John and boiled peanuts.  
  • I slept an awful lot.  I'm talking 9-10 hours a night.  I don't know about you, but that's a lot for me.  I usually am at my best after around 6 hours of sleep.  Any more than that and I'm actually more tired during the day.  Weird.
  • I got to spend just about every minute of every day with my best friend in the world.  And what could be better than that?
So what did you do on your last vacation?

Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. I'm not kidding about grits.  I mean to make it my mission in the next few months.

Nov 1, 2009

Hey, it's November!

Why not give my Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge a try?

Our arch-nemesis, Limpy, squeaked out a one-point victory once again in October even after missing a few days. Didn't help that the rest of us missed some days in there as well. It pays to be vigilant. Or horny. Something like that.

So, um, yeah. Trivia!  I'm so excited!


Note: Remember to play the Bug-Eyed Trivia Challenge every day. None of the cool kids are doing it.  Sigh.