Sunday, April 30, 2006

April Madness at Wahl-mart

I couldn't let the month of April get by without revisiting one of my April columns of 2005, and join in the pile-on of Wahl-mart.

Sort of.

Actually ambivalent about what Wahl-mart does or doesn't, I was more interested in what was happening with a then (and still) controversy wracking sports -- steroid use -- and how it had found it's way into the seemingly harmless, cutesy world of the Wahl-mart cost-cutting 'spot' icon.

Prepare yourself for a gripping, poignant tale, told in true 'April' fashion, right hyar.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

United 93

*Warning: unapologetic personal opinion and graphic language upcoming*

The nation-wide premiere of the movie United 93 is tomorrow -- Friday, April 28, 2006.

I don't need to recap the story behind the movie: unless you've lived in a cave since prior to September 11, 2001, incommunicado with the rest of the world, you know at least something of it.

Having said that, I won't be going to this movie.

Not because of what happens in it; I've seen movie depictions of other airline disasters, real and imagined. Watching Dirty Harry wreak havoc on bad guys and politically-correct morons in San Francisco, bothers me not; watching Bruce Willis destroy terrorists and a building in LA is entertainment in my book. I've watched my share of "Ahnold", Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood and Steven Seagal movies, bothered not by the level of violence depicted in them.

And I won't pass on this movie because, as some folks for differing reasons claim, that this movie is "just too soon". Interestingly, next-of-kin of United 93, have come out (so far) unanimously behind this movie. You'd think if this movie was "too soon" for anyone, it'd be them. But no: the movie meets with their varied levels of approval. I can't say that I understand their feelings on the matter; not having personally experienced what they have, I can't truly understand what they feel, but I could sympathize with any of them who thought perhaps that this film was "too soon". God bless them and their lost loved ones.

For those who think this film is "too soon", there is a portion among them who hypocritically didn't think Michael Moore's fraudumentary was "too soon"; it just better fit their personal agendas than does United 93. For them, the movie is "too soon", for it may re-ignite the raw emotions felt by millions of Americans in the immediate wake of September 11, 2001. And that doesn't fit the agenda of the "blame everything/anything on Bush" crowd.

Pardon my French (which you'll rarely, if ever again, see herein), but to those so-minded, fuck ya. The movie's out on Friday; deal with it.

I've heard that, for those who've seen the pre-screenings, it is emotionally raw and powerful; tears will run like blood did that horrific day.

For none of those reasons will I not be seeing this movie.

I won't be seeing it because, quite frankly, I don't need to be reminded of the heroism of the passengers and crew of United 93; I haven't forgotten the day, the events, or them. Nor do I need to be reminded of the stakes on that chilling morning in September, 2001: the images of the WTC destruction are seared in my mind, just as the images of Pearl Harbor were seared into the minds of those who witnessed and survived that challenge in American history.

Finally, I don't need to see this movie to be reminded of the stakes in the war on terror, or to be reminded of who's responsible for triggering the heroism of United 93. It wasn't President Bush; it wasn't Republicans. It wasn't a previous president, much as I'd like to blame him. It wasn't American support of Israel. It wasn't God, flag and country.

It was the fault of the Islamic terrorist sons of bitches, now burning eternally in Hell: they alone are to blame for the necessitated heroism and sacrifice of those aboard United 93, period.

I won't be seeing this movie because I don't need to be reminded, as some Americans do, of what happened, and the actions of those aboard that fated aircraft on that terrible morning; I'll never forget the heroic passengers and crew of United 93, or the odious, godless, lowlife bastards they stopped, cold, in the rolling Pennsylvania countryside.

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

A CA Experience In Pictures

In January 1988, I made my second-ever business visit to California. A life-long landlubber (Iowa, SD, CO), I was astonished by the size of San Francisco and LA; I was lost in the traffic. I didn't care for the crowds.

I didn't yet know of the politics, but I'd not come to admire those either, and I digress.

But as I travelled south from Carmel along Highway 1, there was scenery this hyar farm boy had never seen.

These photos -- taken by moi -- are a side of CA I prefer to remember. And enjoyed.

Monday, April 3, 2006

Team America: Muppets Gone Wild

In the late 1950s or early 1960s, Gene Daniels sang of taking 100 pounds of clay, and making the world a better place.

In 2004, Parker and Stone took a hundred pounds of clay, a few tons of other odds and ends, and wrought havoc in the name of freedom and denigrating Hollywood.

I admit, I'm not much of a movie-goer. It's 2006, and I'm only now getting around to seeing the 2004 release of Team America: World Police. And only then, 'cuz I didn't have to rent it (a friend loaned me the DVD). That, and I figured it'll help my next blog posting make sense in a digressive way.


I'm sure some folks know the background hyar: the creators of South Park (Trey Parker/Matt Stone) created not an animated movie, but a marrionettesquepade, starring all sorts of figurines (real and imagined) from the current-day war (shooting and yapping) on terror. And done up in the typical Parker/Stone genre (lowbrow raunchy language, sex, violence, abuse of silly putty, crustaceans, actors, directors, Scientologists, et al), though at least in this case there was no killing of Kenny by "those bastards", whoever they're held to be.

Not that this movie has any shortage of killing or bastards. Just like action movies I surmise it's meant to mock, the kill ratio outdoes even Dirty Harry, Martin Riggs or a T-rex at their most lethal.

Because the movie was rated for sex, violence and language -- and because I didn't want to have to pause it every 10 seconds to explain the string thing to Seymour -- I briefly hesitated to let my pet rock and his earette gal pal (Jane) partake in the movie review.

One look from a crestfallen rock and corn cobette caused me to relent.

Since I was accused of giving away too much of the movie plot in Mars Attacks! (even though the movie'd been out for nearly 10 years when I got around to reviewing it....sheesh), I will not go so far with Team America: World Police. I'll simply postulate these humble, subjective observations for those in the reading audience who, like me, haven't seen this thing yet:

1. This ain't your Mortimer Snerd or Peanut from HBO; and it most definitely ain't for kids, save for the kids that lurk for a lifetime inside most adults. If you still laugh at a "pull my finger" moment, you'll laugh at something in this movie.

2. The opening scene and wasting of Paris to "save it" was pretty ham-handed. I liked that. In fact, the gratuitous destruction in various and sundry places -- a jeep decapitating the Sphinx in Egypt, for example -- was thoroughly gratifying for action movie buffs who dig rampant, over-the-top destruction of whatever/wherever.

3. The underlying satire of action films was obvious in every stage; granted, I'm easily amused, and I found it easy to be amused throughout this romp.

4. Parker's/Stone's dislike of Hollywood actors/actresses is obvious and equally hilarious; especially the climatic battle between liberal Hollyputtys and Team America. It really is too bad that the real actors/actresses portrayed wouldn't lend their voices to their marrionettes, but (a) that's Hollywood egos for you and (b) Parker/Stone would have phfffffed their offer.

5. The (in)famous marrionette sex scene is...well, let's put it this way: Jane had her eyes covered (wherever they are on an earette of corn), and Seymour had a *duck hit over the head* look throughout; he was rather annoyed with me later, since everytime he tried to ask a question (about every new position), I was laughing too hard to respond. Bottomline: I think even Dr. Ruth could have learned a thing or two from this scene. I know I did. What, I'm not sure...maybe that even marrionettes need Viagra, or that slivers are sexy?

*Not in those regions...ewwww*.

6. The music -- especially the novel creations made especially for the film -- deserved awards. My particular favorites were Kim Jong Il's soulful rendition of "I'm So Ronery", and the haunting, poignant love song, "Pearl Harbor (the movie) Sucks, And I Miss You". Having seen the All-Ben-Affleck All-The-Time mockumentary-as-movie, I couldn't agree more. It did suck. And hearing my name trashed in the lyrics (though Parker/Stone are actually trashing that director yahoo who stole my name), was priceless.

In the end, I have to say that I found myself laughing at the satire, the absurdity, and at times I can't even say were funny. "So stupid that it was funny" isn't quite the case; but it's pretty close. Like Mars Attacks!, if you can suspend all reason or drink enough wine beforehand, Team America: World Police isn't a bad way to spend 90-some (very)odd minutes of an evening.

I'm just not sure you should try any parts of "that scene" at home.

If there's a downside to having reviewed this movie, it's that Seymour is now eyeing Jane with "that look". Fortunately, I didn't answer any of his questions, so he doesn't know what "that look" means, let alone what to do about it, at least for now.

Better still, since Jane has proven pretty adept at fending off unwanted attention with the flyswatter.