Feb 28, 2011

Terrible Things

I'm a new fan of April Smith and The Great Picture Show, even though I don't really know too much about them.  I know that I like what I've heard so far.  Especially "Terrible Things", which AMC has been using for their own promos for a while now.  It intrigued me enough to do a 3-second Google search to find out who was belting out such a great tune.

Check it...

Feb 27, 2011

Oscars Chat Reminder

Doing the Cover It Live thing tonight at the Verdant Dude.

7PM for the pre-game, 8PM (EST) for the show.  Follow this link to participate.

You know you wanna.

Feb 25, 2011

Live-Blogging the Oscars. Again.

I can't believe it, but this is the third year of using Cover It Live to host an Oscar Party here on the ole Verdant Dude. So if you aren't doing anything on Sunday night other than sitting in front of the boob (hehe) tube watching the Oscars, then why don't you join us? Because the only thing better than actually drinking with the likes of myself, Water Logged Canine and Sybil Law (I'm assuming), is to come and chat with us during the Oscars while we are all drinking virtual-style.  Huh?

I'll send out a reminder on Sunday because you all seem a little bit flighty, if you ask me.  I set it up for 7PM Eastern so we can get our red carpet catty insults on, if you are into that kinda thing.  Or just show up at 8PM for the show and we'll try to pretend we weren't talking about you. 

PS - Great Oscars story. John Waters was on Craig Ferguson the other night talking about award shows. He said that all award shows have a certain sexual proclivity. The Golden Globes are the swingers. The SAG Awards are the hipster sexual crowd. Et cetera. But the Oscars, Waters said, were totally gay. If you are into the Oscars, especially at an early age, then you are totally gay. Well maybe I am, and MAYBE I AM!

Feb 24, 2011

The End

I have this weird memory from about 30 years ago that I refuse to let go.  It's because I've made it a part of a conditioned response that I have.  Like whenever I hear someone say "mostly", I repeat it, but in a little girl Newt voice from the film Aliens.  If you dig that movie, then you know what I mean.  If you don't, please don't judge me.

This other conditioned response I've developed comes whenever anyone mentions the Doors or Jim Morrison.  It, thankfully, doesn't happen that often.  Not that I don't appreciate the Doors.  Hell, I kinda like them.  But I say thankfully because this particular conditioned response makes me smile every time, and I wanna keep it that way.

You see, there was this comedian I saw on TV way back around 1980 who did this bit about how Jim Morrison's life would have been a lot different if he had become some kind of clown-poet.  And then the comedian, it may have been Bob Nelson, started in with Clown Jim's version of "The End".

The clown awoke before dawn,
he put his clown shoes on
He put on a clown face
from an ancient gallery

I don't know why, but that always made me laugh.  It still does to this day.  So whenever the Doors or Jim Morrison (or the end of Apocalypse Now) comes up, I wanna yell out "HE FLOPPED ON DOWN THE HALL!"

It's all I can do to keep it to myself when it's, ahem, not appropriate.  Ya know?

Feb 23, 2011

Bucatini All'Amatriciana

Here's what I cooked last night for the two of us.  Bucatini All'Amatriciana from Mario Batali's Babbo Ristorante in NYC.  And it was deeee-licious!

You can check out the recipe on that link, and I followed it pretty closely too.  I used pancetta instead of guanciale (a substitution suggested on the website), and I omitted the shredded carrot in the sauce.  Other than that, it was the genuine article.  It came out as a real thick and hearty dish with just about every flavor represented in every bite.  You could really taste the red onion, thyme, parsley, pancetta and garlic along with the tomato.  It was delicious, if not as light a dish as my usual favorite pasta creation.  Good for a cold winter evening.

Mario Batali's Version
Earl's version

PS - Hat tip to Alex Belth over at the Bronx Banter Blog for the heads up.  I don't know if I've mentioned his blog before, but it's a favorite of mine.  Sure, he writes about his beloved NY Yankees a great deal.  But in between the baseball posts are some great stuff about food, movies, music and life in NYC.  In other words, it's my kinda jernt.

Feb 22, 2011

Final Girl Film Club: Frozen

Note: This post is a part of Stacie Ponder's Final Girl Film Club.  She picks 'em, we watch and review 'em.  It's so easy that even an idiot like me can figger it out.  Go check out her site later on today to see her review and some links to some of the other Film Club gang.  It's SUPER fun!  Ahem...

Have you seen or heard about the film Open Water?  It's one of those based-on-reality films that was/is one of my worst nightmares.  Being stranded out at sea, surrounded by hungry sharks.  The couple in the film (and in real life) were accidentally left behind from a scuba expedition when the dive-boat crew messed up the headcount.  When they surface, they see the boat is gone and there is no land in sight.  Sharks come cruising and it's all "nom nom nom" after that.

Frozen is like that, but with skiing/snowboarding instead of scuba diving.  And careless ski-lift operators instead of a careless dive-boat crew.  And wolves instead of sharks.  Other than that, it's exactly like Open Water.

Doesn't sound plausible, does it?  It's really not.  But lets give it the old college try to explain how that shit might happen. 

A dude, his girlfriend/beard and his best friend/secret gay crush head to the mountains (New England?) for a day of skiing and catty in-fighting.  Instead of spending money on ski-lift passes, they bribe the operator with $100.  Did they save a lot of money?  I have no idea.  Skiing isn't my bag.  But they must have, because they are beaming with delight at all the money they saved.  But after a day of bunny trails because of the lame girlfriend/beard, the fellas decide they want one more run so they can get their speed on.  They feel the need...the need for speed!  Hmm...why does that sound familiar?  Lemme get back to that.

Now I must have blacked out momentarily, because I seem to remember her deciding to hang out and wait while they blaze fiercely down the mountain.  But there she was, getting on the ski lift with them.  I think "someone" was trying to break that nice gay couple up, if you ask me.  So it's now dark out and the ski-lift operator balks at letting them take one more run because there is some weather coming in.  He eventually relents, then he has to take a piss or something and he winds up forgetting about them.  His replacement, thinking everyone is off the mountain, stops the ski-lift while they are halfway up the mountain, turns off the lights and goes home.  And this was a Sunday night, so the mountain won't re-open again until Friday. 

Really?  Do they do that?  People don't go skiing during the week?  Like I said, it isn't my bag.

So now the three of them are stuck...I don't know how high up in the air on a ski-chair as a winter storm blows in.  I say that I don't know how high they are up because they never say and they never ask.  That's all I would be talking about.  "How far do you think it is to the ground?  Can a person survive a jump like that?  How about we tie some of our clothes together and lower one of us to the ground?  Or at least halfway?  What do you guys think?"

Having that conversation would have really been a good idea.  Instead they decide to panic, not cover up their exposed faces from the elements (that was driving me nuts!) and not huddle for warmth (driving me nuts times two!).  Three really bad ideas.  You can probably guess where this winds up.  Yup, frostbite, compound fractures and a lot of "nom nom nom" once the wolves come cruising.

OK...it wasn't awful.  But it wasn't very good either.  I felt like they all could have come through the other side of this thing if they just took a moment and figured some stuff out.  But instead, they decided to ignore a lot of obvious stuff, sit around like retards and then leap (hehe) directly into the danger zone. 

The danger zone?  Why does that sound familiar?  And that need for speed thing, what was that all about?  Wait a minute.  Oh yeah, the dude's best friend/secret gay crush is played by Shawn Ashmore.  He also played Iceman in the X-Men films.  And Val Kilmer famously played Iceman in Top Gun, another movie with a lot of latent gay stuff going down.  I mean, besides Tom Cruise being in it.

"Highway to the danger zone.  I'll take you right in to the danger zone!"

Two quick thumbs up the film DOES deserve.  One of the productions companies is called A Bigger Boat.  I like that.  And a snowplow dude in the film was played by Kane Hodder...Jason Vorhees himself! Ah, you big lug.  I can't quit you!

Feb 21, 2011

Beer Review: Greenport Harbor Brewing

Last weekend we had the opportunity to head out to the East End of Long Island on the North Fork to visit a relatively new and relatively small brewery in Greenport called, duh, Greenport Harbor Brewing.  They have a tasting room that is open on Fridays and Saturdays, but as it turned out...it was closed on this particular Saturday as they were moving the tasting room and doing construction.  Crap.

But one of the owners and the master brewer were there and we had a chance to discuss local craft beer with them in their converted firehouse turned brewery.  It's a really cool joint, and I can't wait to head back for a real tasting when they open it up again.  There is an old jailhouse right next door.  The guys told us they wanted to move the tasting room to the old jail, but since it's a historic site the town turned them down.  Too bad...that would have been cool.

Image courtesy of Loving-Long-Island.com
Since the tasting room was closed, they guys suggested a local restaurant that had a few of their beers fresh on tap.  That's the way all Greenport Harbor beers are served, by the way.  Fresh and on tap.  They haven't begun bottling yet and the furthest West they go is NYC.  And they handle their own distribution here on Long Island, which suits them just fine.

Here's what we tried at the bar:

Harbor Ale - Their flagship brew, an American Pale Ale brewed with wheat.  It's highly drinkable and totally delicious.  A bit of a hop splash in there makes it refreshing as well.  5.30% ABV.

Black Duck Porter - One of the best porters I've tried in a long, long time.  Roasted malt and a bit of smoke dominate this slightly heavy porter.  If you are fan of black beers, then I think you would dig this one.  4.70% ABV.

Havre Rouge - Their Spring Ale, a Belgian-style red ale with a bit of spice and a bit of fruit going on.  I love how the Belgian-style beers taste, um, different depending on where they are made.  This one is a welcome addition and the only example made locally that I can think of.  Really tasty.  5.40% ABV.

I've tried a few others at bars and festivals.  Their Local Honey Summer Ale, Disorient IPA and their Winter Ale called Anti-Freeze are all delicious too.  I'm looking forward to trying some of their other brews as soon as I get a chance.  So far, it's all been good.  Really good.

Feb 18, 2011


I had this post planned for about a week now, but Dave2 pushed it to the top of my blog-pile with a mention of it yesterday on his site.  Justified on FX has, rather suddenly, become my absolute favorite show on television.  It's about a quick-draw throwback of a US Marshall named Raylan Givens who was re-assigned back to his hometown/county in Kentucky after an on-the-job shooting gone right in Miami.  Huh?  Yeah.  Lots of wackiness ensues as he has to deal with his ex-wife, father, childhood friends/criminal kingpins, etc..

It's really, really, really, really good.

The main character is played by Timothy Olyphant, and, to borrow a phrase from the kids at Warming Glow, if you're a dude and you don't have a little crush on Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens then you're totally gay.

The second season so far is even better than the first.  I really how the writers of the show introduced this season's set of antagonists (an awesome backwoods pot-dealing clan led by the surprisingly frightening Margo Martindale), yet still managed to make it seem like a logical continuation of the first season. 

You really should be watching it.

As an addendum to my raving about Justified, here are my current Top 5 must-see television shows.
  • Justified
  • Fringe
  • The Cape
  • Modern Family
  • Raising Hope
Raising Hope and Modern Family might be the only two shoes that have ever made me laugh out loud with frightening consistency. We are constantly pausing and rewinding the DVR to re-watch especially funny parts of each show.  Fringe is just fucking awesome, and anyone who fancies themselves a cool nerd needs to be watching it.

I have a harder time explaining why I love The Cape.  I didn't love it initially.  In fact, I was real close to dropping it after two episodes.  But the third episode won me over, and it keeps getting better and better and weirder and weirder as the weeks go by.  I'm trying not to get too attached to it because it is bringing in terrible ratings so it's likely to get canceled.  But I'm going to enjoy the ride while it lasts.  If you don't mind spoilers, you should head over to io9 and see what the geeks are saying about it.  They love it just as much as I do.

Feb 17, 2011

Red State

Thinking about going to see Kevin Smith's independent "horror" flick Red State next month when it premieres at Radio City Music Hall.

I think it's pretty cool the way that Smith is handling the distribution of this flick. He's going out on the road with it for the next year or so and he is going to be showing it in cities all over. Then he is gonna come out and chat with the audience about it. And Kevin Smith talking about movies is one of my favorite things in the world! Even if actually watching his recent efforts hasn't been quite as much fun.

I guess he got sick of the recent critical reaction to his flicks, and he's admittedly the most sensitive filmmaker out there. First everyone wanted him to do something other than his View Askewverse stuff.  Then everyone wanted him to go back to making those films.  It drove him nuts.

And then he decided that it was silly to have a production/distribution company spend all the money to market the film when he could just do it himself through new media/social networks. Pretty cool. So he has re-invented the model that filmmakers used back before the big Hollywood machine took over.

I think the movie business can use a breath of fresh air like this. Good for Kevin Smith.

Feb 16, 2011


I can't believe I missed this!

Back on Monday, it seems that a fairly large meteor burned through the atmosphere and was visible during mid-day in my area as a large fireball in this sky.  It's estimated that the rock weighed in excess of several tons, and that it probably burned up in the atmosphere or splashed down in the ocean off of Long Island or New Jersey.

Seriously...I miss all the coolest shit!

View more videos at: http://www.nbcnewyork.com.

And one more thing.  Isn't this how it all started in Cloverfield?  Hmmm?

I'm getting my camcorder ready.  SEQUEL!!!

Feb 15, 2011

Those Three Little Words

Pitchers and catchers.

As in pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training yesterday for a lot of teams, including my NY Yankees.  For a lot of us baseball fans, that date is the most important date of the year.  The day that baseball starts again.  For those of you who aren't baseball fans?  Well, you just don't understand.

As for me, this awful winter is finally over and Spring is just around the corner.  It helped that the temperature climbed above 50F for the first time in forever yesterday.  Supposed to stay that way all week too.  I am stoked beyond being stoked.

Baseball.  Sigh.

It's back.

Feb 14, 2011

How it should have ended

Had a whole mess of fun last night ignoring the Grammy Awards and watching the videos on How It Should Have Ended.  They take movies or TV shows with implausible endings and then show how it should have ended had it been written a little bit more...er, logically.

Like Top Gun (embedded video not shown on feed readers):

Oh, and have a Happy Valentine's Day. Blah blah blah. Whatever.

Feb 11, 2011

Root Beer Jingle

I've got the worst earworm of all-time going on right now.  And only because it's only a 3-4 second part of a root beer jingle from a million years ago that is stuck in my head.  And I can't remember the root beer brand or the tune that it borrowed from.

Here's the deal:

I think the jingle is from a commercial from the mid to late-70's.  I don't recall if it was A&W, Barq's, Mug or some other brand of root beer.  But the commercial had gangsters and molls and showgirls like something out of Guys and Dolls.  And the only part of the lyric I can remember, the part that is currently stuck in my head, goes something like "Root beer, Mr. Shakes...".  Sung by the showgirls or the molls or whomever while they were dancing around like flappers from the 1920's.  The tune that is uses is just out of my reach too, but I think it was from a fairly famous show-tune or something.  Gah.

It's maddening that I can't remember enough of the details to do a proper search for it.  And believe me, I've tried.  Even worse is wondering why this tiny bit of an un-remembered root beer commercial popped back into my brain after all this time.  And got stuck there.  Is this what a stroke is like?

Someone...please help me out here.  Or put me out of my misery.

Feb 10, 2011

True Grit

I was gonna save this for a Monday post, because I kinda gave myself a schedule for this blog a few months ago that included movie reviews on Mondays once a month.  But fuck that!

We went to see True Grit yesterday around dinner time.  Gia recently (like two days ago) lost her job, and I thought that would open up opportunities for us to go to the movies every once in a while.  See?  I always look on the bright side of things.  A movie...a little dinner...I'm there for her.

I was equal parts looking forward to this film and dreading it.  Looking forward to it because I love the Coen Brothers and Jeff Bridges.  Dreading it because the original film with John Wayne is one of the favorite films of my childhood.   I think the looking forward to it part was a bit greater than the dreading it part, but it was a fine line for me.

Turns out, I needn't have worried.  True Grit is absolutely amazing!  I couldn't have been more happy with the new film, and it didn't detract at all from my love of the original one.  Sure, Jeff Bridges isn't John Wayne.  But John Wayne wasn't Jeff Bridges!  And the rest of the cast of the new film were far better actors than the ones who played those roles in the original.  Well, most of them.  Barry Pepper as Ned Pepper (hey!) was really good, but I can't say he was better than Robert Duvall.  In fact, there was one moment where he sounded almost EXACTLY like Robert Duvall as Ned Pepper.  I don't know if he did that on purpose, or if it was just something that I projected onto his performance.  Probably the latter.  But overall...great performances in the new film.  Really amazing.

And the cinematography and the score of the film were both amazing.  I rarely notice that while watching a film because I'm a character and dialogue guy, but I really noticed both at quite a few times yesterday while watching it.

Bottom line...go see it.

And if you have 48 minutes to kill, listen to this interview with the Coen Brothers on NPR.  Cool stuff!

Feb 9, 2011

Rocky Week

Not that it's been a rocky week, although it has been.  No, I mean Rocky week.  As in AMC is playing the first five Rocky films this week...one each night.  I don't know why they didn't just skip the fifth one, which was beyond awful.  They should have, and they should have played Rocky Balboa instead.  THAT was actually a really good film and a nice companion piece to the original film.

We all know the first film was the best of the bunch and a true classic of American cinema.  It's iconic and groundbreaking and a bunch of other things.  It WAS 1976 for so many people, including me.  Just a really wonderful film, and a product of its era.

But there are bits and pieces of the next three films that I enjoy almost as much.  Mickey telling Rocky to not let Apollo's threats bother him.  Rocky responding with "Wouldn't it bother you?"  Apollo's manager warning him against fighting Rocky because "He's all wrong for us, baby. I saw you beat that man like I never saw no man get beat before, and the man kept coming after you."  Stuff like that.  Rocky III and Rocky IV have similar moments...although less and less of them as the series progressed. 

I dunno, but I really like Rocky II.  A lot more than I probably should.

"Everybody in the audience better get ready for World War III"

Feb 8, 2011

Kindle me...

I hesitated with the new technology for a long time, but now I'm in.  I'm a Kindle guy.

Here's what happened.  I got Gia a Kindle a few years back.  It was something that she wanted for a long time, and man oh man...she used that Kindle.  I can't even tell you how many books she burned through using it.  She is a voracious reader.  Like I used to be.  Yeah...I don't read nearly as much as I used to read.  Not half as much.  Not a tenth as much.  Not a hundredth as much. 

Now we've got a new e-Reader in the house.  You see, I bought Gia an iPad for Christmas.  And the iPad has a Kindle app that works wonderfully.  The back-lighting might eventually cause problems for her, but we still have the Kindle and I hope she switches back and forth between the two to save her eyes.

Right now, I'm reading Christopher Moore's Lamb on the Kindle while she is reading something or other on the iPad.  I can't keep up with her.  She's been bugging me to read Lamb forever now.  And it's really good.  I'm really digging it, but what do I know?

I do know that up next for both of us is the first part of a Rock & Roll trilogy written by a certain someone I know.  It's already purchased and in the queue.  Is that the right term?  Or am I using Netflix terminology when I should be saying "library"?  Ah...who the hell cares.

So hit me with 2 or 3 Kindle suggestions in the comments section if you have them.  I may actually get to them one of these days.

PS - I dig Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thrillers and Romance novels.  And by "Romance" I mean porn.

Feb 7, 2011

Still Only 25¢: Interlude

Disclaimer: Part of an on-going series of blog posts about comic-books, the mid-70's and a wee boy named Earl. Or not really. You know my name isn't really Earl, right? - Earl

A big part of this series of blog posts, of course, has been the the idea of looking back and re-living a simpler time in our lives.  We've all thought about it. We all miss it.  That wonderful feeling of having everything in your life taken care of you by someone.  No responsibilities besides doing a half-ass job at your school work or doing a half-ass job at whatever chores your folks might have assigned to you.  What were they gonna do?  Fire you?  That concept didn't exist in our 8-year-old minds.

Certainly comic-books belong to that child mind we all have.  Reading one or thinking about one brings us right back to...well, if they weren't happier times they were certainly, um, easier.  Comic-books, board games, hide and seek, riding your bike, having a catch...all of these things bring us back to our childhood years.  Well, for those of us who had happy and non-traumatic experiences as children.

And I think that's important for us to do every once in a while.  It's probably unhealthy to spend all of our days and nights dreaming about a time that didn't involve paying bills or supporting a family, but I don't see the harm in doing it every once in a while.  Especially if you can find a way to use those memories to make your current situation more acceptable.

So looking back is fine.  As long as it only briefly interrupts you from looking ahead and moving forward. 

Feb 4, 2011

The Dark Side of the Stärke

This kid already knows that the dark side is cooler.  Way to go, Volkswagen!

H/T to Rob Neyer over at his new digs for the video.

PS - as far as I can tell,  "Stärke" is the German word for "Force".  But you probably figured that out already.

Feb 3, 2011

Second verse, same as the first

No new post today.  Go back to yesterday's post and try to figure out the remaining movie quotes.  It was a pathetic attempt all around, folks.  Except for those of you who, ya know, commented.

Feb 2, 2011

"Don't ya HATE Perry's wife?"

It's time to pull out that old chestnut.  Movie Quote Trivia time!

You guess the film from the quotes I provide in the comments section.  As the correct answers roll in, I'll update the post with the answer and the smart cookie who gave it.  So let's get down to it, boppers.


1.  "One man... you go high enough you always come to one man... who?" - Payback (badgerdaddy)

2.  "What do I think about the U.S. involvement in the war? We should win it." - Full Metal Jacket (LeSombre)

3.  "They sold their bodies to medicine for money. About $30, I think." - Fast Times at Ridgemont High (Sybil Law)

4.  "What's a dazzling urbanite like you doing in a rustic setting like this?" - Blazing Saddles (hard to believe no one remembered this one)

5.  "...I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like... Books, records, films - these things matter. Call me shallow but it's the fuckin' truth, and by this measure I was having one of the best dates of my life." - High Fidelity (Sybil Law)

6.  "Chrissy, over on the wall, bring me the big knife. I want to cut my throat." - Moonstruck (LeSombre)

7.  "Did you just call me Coltrane?" - The Royal Tenenbaums (Sybil Law)

8.  "No, I'm from the Island. We don't go to the city - crazy people out there with guns." - Diggers (I like to pick at least one movie that is really obscure.  This was it.  A small Paul Rudd film that was really good.  Especially if you grew up on Long Island in the 1970's.)

9.  "Hell's waking up every goddamn day and not even knowing why you're here." - Sin City (LeSombre)

10. "Koufax looks down! He's looking at the great Mickey Mantle now! Here comes the pitch! Mantle swings! It's a fucking home run!" - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Paticus)

11. "Just be careful, because it's a meaningful sweater to me, it's vintage." - Superbad (LeSombre)

12. "Tough luck, Lonnehan. But that's what you get for playing with your head up your ass!" - The Sting (badgerdaddy)

13. "Hey, lemme ask you a question. In the legal sense, can fuckin' Steinbrenner move the Yankees? Does he have the fuckin' right to just move them?" - Rounders (LeSombre)

14. "The ocean? It's over the ocean to Scranton, Pennsylvania?" - The In-Laws (the original one with Alan Arkin and Peter Falk.  Brilliant film.)

15. "Everything happens to me. Now I'm shot by a child." - True Grit (White Rabbit)

16. "The rose goes in the front, big guy." - Bull Durham (Ren)

17. "When ever there is any doubt, there is no doubt. That is the first thing they teach you." - Ronin (LeSombre)

18. "What was he wearing? Well, uh, let's see, he was wearing a red argyle sweater, and tan trousers, and red shoes... No, he's not retarded." - Sixteen Candles (Paticus)

Bonus questions: The title (Arthur - Paticus/Steph) and the label (The Usual Suspects - Paticus) of this post.  Go get 'em kids!

Feb 1, 2011

Earl's Favorite Film Scenes: Volume VIII

I think I've blogged about this before (I'm sure I have), but the opening scene of Christopher McQuarrie's The Way of the Gun is one of my favorite opening scenes of all-time.  The rest of the movie isn't half bad either.  Benicio Del Toro and Ryan Phillipe at their "Butch and Sundance" coolest.  Listen closely at the end...they even use Butch and Sundance's real names.  And check the potty mouth on Sarah Silverman here.  Oh yeah, this clip has a bunch of NSFW language.


"Get off the fuckin' car with your fuckin' ass!"

***Embedding has been disabled. Watch it here.***

Wanna do the man dance?