Friday, July 31, 2009

Stare Way to Heaven

On the elevator today a young lady and her toddler got on mid-flight (or is it "mid-ride"?) and I noticed the lil' moppet was staring at me as though entranced--the sight of a business-casual attired office jockey was fascinating to the little dude! I remarked that he was a curious little guy, and the mother laughed and said that he can only get away with that when he's little. I got to thinking, how true that is! Fifteen years from now--when a Coke will cost eight bucks at a restaurant, when China buys California from us, and when Jenna Bush is Vice President--that kid will have learned the cardinal rule of staring.

What is this cardinal rule? Depending on what you're staring at:

1) Men. Don't stare at men. Unless you're a toddler, you'll weird us out.

2) Tits. As they said on Seinfeld, it's natural to stare at tits, just treat it like a solar eclipse--look quickly, then look away!

3) A couple fighting. Stare long and hard. They should be embarrassed to fight in public.

4) When wearing sunglasses. Don't think this gives you total freedom to stare. I had a friend who once wore glasses on a commuter train, and figured he could stare at a woman across from him with impunity. After a few minutes the woman asked another commuter if she could trade places, because "that weird guy in sunglasses keeps staring at me". I laughed my ass off when he told me that story.

5) At a mugger who is mugging you. A good idea if you want to identify him to police, but don't get caught staring too long--he may want to eliminate witnesses.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Parental Arrival

With my parents' arrival tomorrow, I've got to find ways to entertain them for the weekend. Back in Maine, entertaining visitors was more difficult, as (a) the weather is usually awful, and (b) there aren't a lot of indoor activities for tourists. A typical visit in Portland would consist of walking into town and saying "here's the historic Old Port. I hope you're into drinking because that's what we do here." Then they spend the next several hours watching me weep into my hands.

Here in DC, it's a bit different--there's a whole mess of museums, and if the weather's nice, you can drop visitors off at the Mall and say "soak up the history, I'll pick you up at six--I'll be getting tanked up at one of those outdoor bars across town". It's just a bigger city, so it has that advantage.

Of course, the parents have visited me many times during the years I was living here before Maine, and have seen just about everything here--and you can only take the "hey you haven't seen the White House since Obama became president" bit so far. So this may mean "quality time" with "bonding" and such. Better stock up on beer.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Isn't It Ironical

You know what fries my potatoes? Hipsters. They ruined irony for the rest of us. Allow me to explain.

For years, being "ironic" was a good way to get people to think you're funny. "Oh, see he's being ironic, ha ha" is sort of how it would go. Show up late to work stinking of gin and when they ask you where you were you say "I was helping sick orphans when one of them dumped a martini on me" and people who don't even know what irony is will think you're being ironical and funny. (Sure, you'll get a visit from HR, but you only go around once) It's also a good way to disguise saying something stupid--like when someone asks if you've been to the opera and you say "I saw Cats when I was a kid" and they point out that Cats isn't an opera and you save face by saying "I was being ironic, should I talk slower for you, fucktard?" Irony was a terrific thing.

Now, with hipsters doing everything "ironically" like drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon, wearing trucker hats, and bowling, the whole concept is ruined. Ruined! And I don't buy it when some hipster tries to argue that they drink PBR for the taste, or actually enjoy bowling, or wear trucker hats because they're cheap and comfortable. There's nothing more ironic than a hipster pretending they're not even being ironic.

Monday, July 27, 2009

On to Conquer Television

As an up and coming titan of the entertainment business (just as soon as my two films, "Road House 3--Back to Basics" and "Psycho Jesus Versus Emo Hitler" make it to the silver screen) it's important for me to prepare a foray into television during my downtime. However, TV is a tricky animal, which has chewed up and spit out naive farm boys like James Cameron (still high off of "Titanic" when he made "Dark Angel") and Magic Johnson (whose talk show lasted maybe one week). There are a lot of things I haven't figured out about TV, and would like some answers:

1) Why did anyone think it would be a good idea to end an episode of a show with a freeze-frame of the characters laughing as the credits roll? This also means still shots of the episode we just saw, as the rest of the credits come up.

2) What's the point of canned laughter? Will something be funnier if we hear the laughter of others? Are we sheep?

3) Why on late night talk shows does the host need a desk? Are they doing business between interviews?

4) Bob Newhart really needs another show. We're due.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Psycho Jesus

After watching Ted Mikels "Astro Zombies" it occurred to me that there's really no such thing as an idea too dumb to make a movie out of. Remember this is the guy who brought us "The Girl in the Gold Boots" which made Leslie McRae a household name, at least in her own household. So I got to thinking, if I were in the shoes of a talented director like Mikels, what would I put in a movie to make it a smash hit?

Start with the title. The working title would be "Psycho Jesus and the Pirate Hookers" but when it reaches theaters we'd need something classier, like "From Here to Tomorrow" or "Eternity Forever" or "Night Never Falls". Then the art-house set will be sold, guaranteeing some early cash in the big cities. But how to make this play in the suburban cineplexes where Joe Lunchpail wants to shell out $10 a pop?

I wouldn't put Gwynth Paltrow in it because she sucks and has a face that looks like she got into a boxing match with a bear. I'd try maybe Cate Blanchett since she has Oscar chops, and that just means I'd have to wait for her to hit a long career slump and will be desperate enough to appear in my movie. Cate's pretty matronly so I'd cast her as the "ma bear" of the Pirate Hookers (yeah you can see what sort of movie this is going to be). For sex appeal, I'd toss in Eliza Dushku and Jessica Alba (two women desperately in need of a career comeback and without enough judgment to realize that my movie won't get them the Palm D'Or at Cannes. Scantily clad, you ask? You already know the answer to that!

For the male lead, I'd toss in Eric Bana because he's got good range and he's part of that "Australian Mafia" that includes Naomi Watts and Russell Crowe and Xena the Warrior Princess--so at least we'd have some star power at the movie premiere (and this could be my chance to get to Naomi). Bana needs something to shoot him to the A-list, so maybe he could play Psycho Jesus.

Now, why are we having Jesus come back from the grave to wreak havoc on the world? Well, first we need something that will be controversial enough to get all the Christians to boycott it and give us free publicity. But second, this might be just the thing to create some genuine religious debate, which might just--possibly--get the much-needed sequel to the Bible written. (More on this in a later post)

Now I just need to think of a plot. But consider this film in pre-pre-production.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Another Stupid Movie Review

As you know, I watch quite a few movies, and every now and again I see something that qualifies as "shitballs retarded". Last night's viewing of 1970s "The Losers" was just such a film. This was the story of a biker gang that the U.S. army used in Vietnam to fight the Viet Cong and Chinese, in full biker regalia and with motorcycles and dune buggies. And sadly, the movie was even stupider than it sounds. But I learned a number of things from watching this film:

1) Apparently Chinese troops were heavily involved in the Vietnam War.

2) Apparently both sides in the Vietnam War were armed with WWII vintage weapons and vehicles.

3) Apparently the Vietnamese countryside can be easily mistaken for the American south, with manicured lawns and Georgia pine all throughout the jungle.

4) Apparently the Viet Cong looks a lot like Mexicans.

5) Apparently during the waning days of the war, we got so desperate we thought that a completely retarded idea like sending a biker gang after our enemies would be a good idea.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Playing By My Own Rules

I've often heard that people admire a man who "plays by his own rules". I mean, who doesn't admire such a free spirit? Hell, it doesn't even matter if the rules are completely arbitrary and pointless, just so long as they're his own! I've come up with some random rules I'm going to start playing by:

1) Anyone using a clever expression like "don't bite the hand of the gift horse" or "this isn't rocket surgery" is automatically clever enough to earn themselves a beer.

2) Anyone who asks me about abortion will get an answer--but the answer will be about gun control.

3) Greeks. Can't trust them, never will. If I meet a Greek that I like, I'm going to pretend s/he is Lebanese.

4) Never, EVER eat chicken on a Tuesday.

5) If you have a bumper sticker on your car, I won't key it. But I might pay some street urchin to do so.

6) Wearing flip flops for your night on the town? If you're not in Florida, then that's a foot-stomping. Sorry, it's the rules.

7) Flavored bottled water is from here on out to be referred to as "weak juice".

8) No granola and pizza in the same day. Ever.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Iliad

Having recently seen the movie "Troy" it got me thinking of my studies of the Iliad back in college. You know the basic story--a pretty-boy named "Paris" who was a prince of Troy goes and wins over a really hot chick named Helen, who had been Queen of Sparta. This makes her husband and Spartan king Menelaus pissed, and he gets all the other Greek kings to send a massive fleet to go destroy Troy and all its inhabitants and bring Helen back because if there's one thing that impresses a woman, it's genocide. During the ten year war that ensued, Greece's best warrior, Achilles, learns that his gay lover Patroclos was killed in single combat against Trojan prince Hector (Paris' brother), and this sends Achilles into a rage. He ultimately fights against Hector, killing him, then doing all sorts of disrespectful things to the man's body which this being Greece we can only imagine involved having sex with the corpse because there weren't enough sheep around. That night, Hector's father and king of Troy, Priam, sneaks into Achilles' tent and convinces the angry warrior to let him bring the body back to Troy for a decent burial. Rather than grab the old man and say "hey, we can end this war pretty quick now that we have the Trojan king!", Achilles gets sentimental and agrees to give up the defiled corpse. Later, in ensuing battles, Paris shoots and arrow at Achilles, getting him in the heel and killing him, but not before remarking at how ironic it is that he got Achilles in the Achilles Tendon. Ultimately the Greeks couldn't defeat Troy because of that city's huge walls (and the lack of young boys to have sex with in the surrounding countryside was doing hell to their morale), so Greek leader Odysseus hatched a cunning plan, if by "cunning" we mean "shitballs retarded but it might work if the Trojans are also shitballs retarded". The Greeks built a big wooden horse, filling it with some picked warriors, and left it outside the Trojan gates. The Trojans said "hey, look, free horse sculpture, this will go great in our garden" and they brought it into the city. At night the warriors broke out of the horse, seized the front gate and let the rest of the Greek warriors in, where they promptly destroyed the city and slaughtered the population except for Aeneus' crew which went off to found Rome. This gives rise to the expression "don't trust a Greek bearing a gift or standing behind you in the shower".

Monday, July 20, 2009

Flash Gordon Review

I recently had the opportunity to see one of the campiest films ever made, 1980's "Flash Gordon" which represented a low point for international acting legend Max Von Sydow. This film also marked the end of the road for the rock band Queen, which did the soundtrack (with the familiar "FLASH--Ah-ah!" theme tune), and sadly the film did not prove to be the breakout hit for lead actor Sam J. Jones.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Flash Gordon legend, apparently some evil universe overlord named Ming (played by Von Sydow), who isn't even Chinese, is subjecting Earth to various punishments, including "Hot Hail" and "Tornados" and "Jimmy Carter's Economic Policy". New York Jets Quarterback "Flash" Gordon is on a plane with Dale Arden, a comely travel agent ("comely" by 1980 standards, which means polyester and disco colors) when the "hot hail" causes them to crash into a crazy scientist's lab, where he then at gunpoint makes them get into his rocket and take off to escape the hot hail and frankly, hey, free rocket, am I right? Who's not going to want to jump in that thing?

So they take off, and end up at Ming's palace in space where they immediately decide that the Emperor's minions want to overthrow him (apparently Flash Gordon and the mad scientist are both astute interstellar political analysts who can size up a situation in a split second). One thing leads to another, and Flash is fighting with Ming's guards. This fight involves some football moves, but since Flash plays for the Jets the moves involve a lot of fumbles and interceptions. Then, Ming has Flash executed and Dale becomes his concubine because he has a thing for travel agents in disco outfits.

Of course, Ming's sultry daughter Aura takes a liking to Flash, and brings him back to life, helping him escape, where he then wins over Prince Barin (played by future James Bond, Timothy Dalton) in a fight that involves several bullwhippings to the face and surprisingly no welts, scratches or moments of extreme discomfort that one might expect from a bullwhip to the face. Once allied (because after all, nothing wins over another man's respect like a bullwhip to the face) they manage to convince the Hawkmen (don't ask!) to join them in attacking Ming's forces, at the exact moment Ming is about to force Dale (his concubine) to marry him. Sadly, it sort of looks like Dale was kind of looking forward to married life! After all, at one point Flash tells her "save it for our kids"--implying that the two of them will be having kids someday--and Dale says "oh Flash, I accept!" which is kind of weird because it wasn't really a marriage proposal. So one could understand why she wanted to be Mrs. Ming.

Much senseless destruction later, Ming is overthrown, Flash saves the Earth from haivng the moon crash into it (and he does a literal freeze-frame yelling "YES!"), and millions (okay, thousands) of disappointed theatergoers said to their dates "we skipped Empire Strikes Back for THIS???"

Friday, July 17, 2009

I'm Gonna Buy The Redskins

Being in DC now, I have big plans to start saving money to buy the Washington Redskins from evil owner Dan "I'm a doofus loser moron worse than Hitler" Snyder so that the team can be rooted for once again. However, there are a number of changes that need to be made:

1) Move them back into the District, or at least Arlington. Landover Maryland is actually harder to get to for DC residents than the Baltimore Ravens stadium, since at least the latter can be reached by train (and is walkable to Baltimore's downtown). What about Maryland Redskin fans? Fuck them. Except my friend Mike and his wife, they're okay. But they should move.

2) Change the name. Seriously, Redskins? Yeah, I know, tradition. Well, slavery was a tradition too and all we have to show for it is the movie Roots and I still haven't even seen that. Slavery sucks! So does naming your team after a pejorative aimed at the most downtrodden minority group in the country, which has almost no presence in the DC area. What name would I go with? Crabs. The Washington Crabs! It's awesome, since crabs are delicious and real local to the Chesapeake Bay region.

3) Rename the Stadium. None of this Fed Ex Field crap, or whatever corporation Snyder whored the name out to. Just for that, Snyder, I'm changing it to the "Dan Snyder's A Fuckwad Stadium". I'll save up extra money to fight his legal suit over that.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Great Idea for Romantic Comedy

Seriously, though, isn't this the sort of movie you'd absolutely love to see? With Tom Arnold as his wisecracking sidekick, and Sienna Miller as the quirky free-spirit that he's planning to marry.

Word Bingo Day

Today is "word bingo day" where everyone gets points based on being able to insert key words into their daily conversations. The rules are simple--you have to make the insertion of these words make sense in the context of the conversation, the words have to be used properly based on their understood meanings, and you get double points if you're able to work more than one word in during a sentence. The key is also not to let others in your office/social life know that you are intentionally trying to insert these words in to earn points. Here are the key words of the day:

1) 5 point words: Fucktard, dillweed, fuckwit, dipshit, fuckery, bullshittery, assoholism.

2) 10 point words: defenestrate, cuckold, cacophony, folderol, tommyrot.

3) 15 point words: provincial, haggis, libretto, potbelly, stevedore.

4) 20 point words: histrionic, screechtastic, popinjay, bilious, bloviating, machinations.

Good luck!W

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Plan Omega

So my friend Don Marco has been having trouble at the new job--not with anything job related, but rather with some food pilfering co-worker! Trouble is he doesn't know who's been stealing his food, only that he'd be missing half a sandwich or a Red Bull.

Now first, Red Bull? Seriously? Is this new office the cab of a long-haul truck? I doubt it, since Mark can't drive stick shift, so that leaves only one other possibility--he is working in a big-city nightclub that hosts "raves" on a constant basis! His Red Bull must be necessary to keep him dancing all night, with glo-sticks and sparkles and some zombied out looking chicks. Just one word of advice, Mark--lay off the Bolivian Marching Powder! It has destroyed bigger men.

But this gets away from our point--what to do about a thieving co-worker? My solution has often been to eat things that no one in their right mind would steal (plate of beans, some microwavable fish, random mystery meat--this also has the effect of ruining the kitchen for everyone. It's part of my "scorched earth" theory of workplace dynamics). But presumably Don Marco wants to eat delicious things like peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches, washed down with a sugary energy drink that would make any mother proud. So that leaves the nefarious Plan Omega.

Plan Omega was invented by Philip of Macedon when he'd go to battle, only to return to find his fridge was beset by marauding Spartans who'd eat his choiciest sandwiches. Eager to set an example for his brilliant and possibly homosexual son Alexander, Philip would put a lot of pimentos and jalapenos in the sandwich, and then when he saw a Spartan walking around sweating from the mouth from this foul sandwich, it would be a simple matter for Philip to behead the man. Problem solved.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

This Photo Says It All

Wicker Man--Unintentional Hilariousness

Last night I saw the re-make of the Wicker Man--I had enjoyed the Edward Woodward-starring original, which also featured Britt Eckland who was sort of the Megan Fox of her day but with real boobs. And of course the original had Christopher Lee who was one of the all-time British film greats and played about three separate heavies on the '60s TV series "The Avengers". Side note--who was the hottest chick to work with John Steed on that show? Generally people give it to Diana Rigg who played Emma Peel, and while I wouldn't take anything from her I have to say Linda Thorson's Tara King edged her out, though that's just my taste. Anyway, where were we?

Ah yes, 1973's Wicker Man was pretty terrific. SPOILERS AHEAD! The story involved a police investigator (Edward Woodward) staying on a small island off the Scottish coast, investigating a young girl's disappearance and finding very little help from the islanders and being wigged out by Britt Eckland's tits. now, granted these were those weird 1970s tits (a topic for another discussion) but it turns out he's a virgin saving himself for marriage to the woman he's engaged to back on the mainland, so rather than have sex with Rod Stewart's wife he says "no thanks, Britt" and goes back to his investigation. The islanders are no help--he gradually realizes they're very strange, giving him very cryptic information and he also realizes that they're pagans which pisses him off as he's a devout Christian. His meeting with the Lord of the island (Christopher Lee) only confirms his unease, and the climax of the film is him learning that there was no missing girl, the whole thing was a ruse to lure a pure virgin to the island to sacrifice him to the god of the harvest (that's what pagans do, apparently! And this is why I can't go to Burning Man). They put him in this giant wicker sculpture of a man, and burn him alive--good and creepy!

Well, the re-make with Nicholas Cage was a bit different, by which I mean unintentionally hilarious. The island this time is off the coast of Washington State, Cage is a California cop who investigates a missing girl (he's out of his jurisdiction because the request to find the girl came from his ex fiancee) and the island is dominated by women. Cage doesn't seem to be particularly Christian, but is no fan of paganism, no fan of women running the show, and no fan of people not telling him where the missing girl is. He gets attacked by bees and somehow makes this extremely funny, and of course he is wearing a bear suit at one point when he punches out one of the women. Really, this has to be seen to be believed. Hell, the whole thing should have been repackaged as a comedy.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Link of the Day

This link features some great classic print ads that reach a great level of creepiness.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Tips For Dealing With People

People often say to me, they say "Brando, how are you so good with people?" Okay, no one actually ever says that, but work with me here--I've learned a lot in my years about how to deal with people in ways that would make Dale Carnegie blush. With shame and embarrassment! Here are my tips:

1) Show up at a business meeting with a scar, and when they ask what happened casually explain that you beat up a ninja on your way in. They'll see that you're a force to be reckoned with from that point on.

2) When on a date, try not to use the words "ex-girlfriend" and "temporary restraining order" in the same sentence. I've done the math--there's no way to make this good.

3) When ordering from a waitress, don't ask for "the cheapest house booze you got, mixed with something to hide the cheapness of the booze". She'll think you're unsophisticated! Instead, say you have an allergy to glass, and would prefer any booze stored in a plastic bottle. Does the trick!

4) When confronting a gang of toughs on the sidewalk, don't step aside out of deference--this displays inferiority! Instead, pretend you see an old friend on the other side of the street, and wave and cross then. Shout out something like "hey, Rupert, you old so-and-so! I haven't seen you since college!" Don't worry if no one is on the other side of the street to act the part of "Rupert"--the ruffians will assume you were mistaken and give you the benefit of the doubt.

5) On public transportation, be sure to give up your seat to a crippled rider, unless you have reason to suspect that s/he were crippled while leading a neo-Nazi fundraiser where they were beating up nuns and kittens and s/he tripped while swinging his/her club at a nun holding a kitten. In which case, they can stand on the subway, thank you very much.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our Country is Now 233 Years Old

Independence Day in this country always has a somewhat warlike feel to it--fireworks (representing explosives), vibrant flag colors (representing bloodshed and sacrifice, as well as thunderous victory over our lessers), open flame cookouts (representing the times we've had to roast our enemies alive), and fambly volleyball games (representing the time Uncle Dave decided to punt the volleyball directly at Grandma just to see if he could get her to drop a tray of fruit salad). This is markedly different from the national holiday of say Canada, where they get together and politely ask the British if they can have a celebration and are rewarded with a "yes" about seventy years later. After all, Canada never had a revolution or civil war, never forcefully wrested themselves from the yoke of others, and never developed the elaborate network of violent street gangs that we have. Hey Canada? Way to be weak sauce!

Our culture on the other hand has always been about that truly American pluck and derring-do, as the original settlers didn't come here and politely ask the Indians if they could use some of the land (or actually, they did do this, singed treaties, then realized that the treaties weren't written in Indian so they could do as they pleased). America has always been about taking what's ours--in fact, many maps of North America list Canada with the subheading "(until the U.S. decides it wants this land)". The fortunate thing is that we've often used this hungry attitude for good things, like fighting Nazis and Communists and the Spanish. And this is what we celebrate every 4th of July.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Losing my Language

Ever since moving back to DC from Maine, I've had to drop my Northern New England accent and mannerisms, as people here are having trouble understanding what I'm saying. DC is in the heart of the "mid-Atlantic", which is an area that doesn't really have an accent--it's sort of nestled between the NY-area accent region and the Southern accent region. Maine, of course, is in the far reaches of New England, where words like "wicked" are thrown around with such abandon that you hardly notice it, and words like "parts" are pronounced "pots" while "pots" is actually pronounced "pawts", if you follow that. I had to stick to a complex language guide when getting used to the Maine/DC dialect:

Mainer: "Go Sox!" This means "I rather favor the baseball club in nearest proximity to my home in [Bangor, Wiscasset, Lewiston], and will deliver mighty kicks to your backside if you disagree with this opinion."

Mainer: "Ah, two bee-ahs heah!" This means "good sir, I would like a draft of your finest ale, preferably locally brewed, but not that sweet-ass Shipyard Pumpkin stuff since it tastes too much like pie. And please provide a second draft for my lady-friend here who's wearing her finest fleece."

Mainer: "Ayuh, it's hawt heah today!" This means "I believe the temperature has gone above 70 degrees, at which point I might break out in a sweat for a record third time this summer."

Mainer: "Hey Chahley, gawt the boat all set, you bringin' be-ahs and cawfee brandy?" This means "Charles, I can think of no better pastime then for us to get inebriated and go boating off of the rockiest coast in the Northeast. I trust you'll be supplying the lager and that coffee-flavored liquor that is inexplicably popular in the northern reaches of our fair state?"

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Last night I saw "Donnie Brasco", the 1997 film with Al Pacino and the always-solid Johnny Depp, portraying the real life story of FBI agent Joe Pistone's infiltration of the Bonnano Family (one of New York's Big Five) and the hijinks that ensued. This was a terrific film with solid portrayals, and was an Oscar contender but it had the misfortune of running up against Titanic, which was a giant piece of shit about a goddam boat and a hackneyed love story that was pulled out of the ass of some Hollywood hack. Did I mention I hated Titanic? Because it did in fact suck monkey turd.

Back to Donnie Brasco--the film raised some questions I always had about cops going into deep cover with gangs--for instance, how far does the undercover man have to go to maintain his cover? If he's asked to "ice some stone cold homeys", will he later be charged with murder? If so, then what is he to do if committing the murder is the only way to maintain cover (and save his own life, most likely)? At the very least an undercover cop ought to be able to steal some cool stuff and slap around meter maids. Otherwise there's no point in being a cop.

Also, it reminds me of the crime family that Don Marco tried to start back in Portland, which was amusing because it was to be led by the one guy in that town who wouldn't hurt a fly without feeling bad about it. In that case I imagine the meter maids would have gotten the drop on us!