Soon To Be Classics

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Why I Dislike Tom Cruise

I'm in a quandry.

The latest version of H.G. Welles' War of the Worlds (and yet, not one bears any resemblance to the original source material) comes out this week. Tom (Xenu will save me) Cruise stars as a loser who needs an extinction-level event to prove he's a good father to his daughter, the adorable Dakota Fanning. (There's a Supernanny episode I'd love to see!)

Anyway, there's lots of things exploding and such, evil aliens (didn't Spielberg once say he would NEVER feature evil aliens?) and more importantly, the END OF THE WORLD. I love those movies. Movies that feature how man handles the end of our "dominance" have always fascinated me. Deep Impact, Armeggeddon, even The Stand are all pretty good examples of the come-uppance that man so richly deserves.

So War of the Worlds opens on Wednesday. To get to all the good blow-uppity stuff, I have to sit through another wooden performance by Tom (Xenu will save me) Cruise. At least it will be the longest stretch of film we've seen him in lately when he's not jumping on a couch proclaiming his love to Katie (the only thing in Batman Begins that sucked) Holmes. Why I dislike him really boils down to his idiot religion (cult).

I had a cult try to recruit me once, back in college. I was studying in the Ohio Union on the Ohio State University campus late one night. The shops had already closed and there was just a handful of people in this large seating area. A young man walked up to me and asked me if Jesus was my savoir. I said "sure" and went back to my studies. He pressed and began talking about eternal damnation, the fires of hell, dogs and cats living together, the return of the Pips, and other signs of the apocalypse. I politely asked him to leave me to my studies. He then told me that his "friends" had a bus right out front and they were inviting me to "join them on the bus". (Side note, I will hear this phrase later in life. 5 points if you've heard it too.) Sure enough, there WAS a large motor coach parked outside.

The guy then began pressing me harder. I was to leave all of my possessions right there on the table, leave school, my friends and family and join him and his friends. I told him one last time "no" and was getting a little frightened by this time. I looked around to see if he had any friends nearby but didn't see anyone but a few couples at other tables on the other side of the room. He then put his hand on my arm and told me to "c'mon, let's go". I'm not a violent person per say and haven't been in a lot of fights but a combination of fear and anger caused me to, for the first and only time in my life, tell a total stranger that if he didn't remove his arm and leave me alone I was going to pound him into a "bloody smear".

This jerk then began with his higher pitched "you're going to hell" nonsense and walked away from me. I guess I must have cost him a commission or something. I gathered up my stuff and quickly went back to my room, never taking my eyes off that fucking bus.

So how does this relate to Tom (Xenu will save me) Cruise? Anytime I hear of anyone that tries to foist their cult bullshit on another, I think back to that jerk I met when I was 18 years old. That is how I see Cruise, Travolta, Kelly Preston, Catherine Bell, and a host of other Hollywood celebs that subscribe to this nonsense. Read deep on their cult and you'll see how people have been hurt.

Maybe the aliens can't come soon enough. Or maybe, as the movie poster states, they're already here.

Monday, June 27, 2005

We Hope You Had The Time Of Your Life

My wife and I were waxing poetic last night about the relationships and friendships you make in your life. Case in point, was a lovely couple that were our neighbors back in Ohio. This couple, Chuck and Kathy, were in their mid-50's so they had about 20 years on Jen and I. When they moved in across the street, I told Jen to "bake something". Jen thought I was insane and told me that "no one ever did that anymore". We did it anyway.

Unannounced, we waltzed over one night with cake in tow. Both were taken aback and genuinely surprised that neighbors "still did that", especially a younger couple such as ourselves. After two hours of cake, coffee and conversations, we became fast friends. Over a year and a half, we attended each other's holiday celebrations, exchanged gifts, helped with yard work, etc. Better friends we'd never find.

Then we had to move to Norfolk and we said we'd "stay in touch". Despite the reality that no one ever does, we called them several times, sent letters and pictures and did what we could. Eventually, they didn't return the call and we pretty much wrote it off as done.

To me, that leaves a hole. I always believed that once you make a friend, you have that friend for life. Jen had a different take on it and last night told me that maybe friends weren't meant to be anchors that drag you down as you move through life. Instead, they're meant to be there and enhance the times of your life your with them. When you move on, they (and you) have done their job. You'll make new friends that will also fill that role. Instead of trying to hold onto the previous people you loved, their roles will be filled. The metaphor is mine but that's what she was saying. I learned this last year without realizing it, when I was able to track down my childhood best friend and spend dinner and an evening with him. It wasn't the same, and we haven't called each other since.

So as we all face the inevitable point where we "move on", maybe it's easier when you look at your friends and thank and love them for what they were to you and not dwell on what they can't offer you in the future.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Sounds LIke The F'ing Vogons To Me

And just when I thought there was nothing to post about today.

5 points if you get the Vogon reference. ;)

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The Penthouse Letters Universe

I believe I actually stepped into the Penthouse Letters Universe today at lunch.

For those unitiated few that don't know about this realm of delight and mystery, the Penthouse Letters Universe is where people who write letters that begin "..I never thought it would happen to me, but..." live. Essentially, it is a fantasy realm where busty librarians, bodacious bank clerks, and hot female pizza delivery girls will drop to their knees at the snap of a finger.

But I digress.

After a bite of lunch today I had some time to kill before returning to the office. I opted to wander over to MacArthur mall and check on the latest video game releases that I will never buy, much less actually play. (Damn you World of Warcraft!!)

As I walked in, I noticed immediately that the pimply-faced, gel-haired, "doode" that usually works there was replaced by a rather busty, and attractive blonde lady in an unbuttoned white shirt and tight black skirt. She looked up and smiled at me, asking me how I was. I never thought this would happen to me.

From the back of the store, another blonde woman walked out asking what a good role-playing console game might be. She said she enjoys fantasy but doesn't like the blood and gore. The two women then got into a discussion about Kingdom Hearts (?), the Disney RPG for the Playstation 2. Behind the counter blonde really loved the game for the gameplay and RPG elements while customer blonde was genuinely interested as it didn't sound bloody. I never thought this would happen to me.

Another lady walked out from the back as well, just browsing the shelves. She was not blonde, or good looking, but it really just made the other two even hotter. (Think back to the effect that you get when a pretty girl always invites her homely friend out to the bars. The pretty girl gets better looking instantly by default.)

It then dawned on me that I was standing in Electronics Boutique, during the summer, in the middle of the day, in a mall, and I was the only male in the store.

I never thought it would happen to me, but there you have it.

Blonde #2 then left, sans purchase. Blonde #1 asked me if I had played "Destroy All Humans" and how much fun she had playing that game on her console. To me, the exchange roughly translated this way.

Blonde #1: I would really enjoy playing with your joystick.

Me:, I play World of Warcraft. (Thought: Idiot!!)

Blonde #1: Ok, well you might want to try Advent Rising. (This translated as: Loser, begone from my store before I beat you with a pair of Drum Master Sticks.)

I looked at my watch and realized it was time to get back to work. I thanked her for berating me and quickly left. I believe the third lady was calling the police by this time.

I never thought it would happen to me.

Monday, June 20, 2005

When Marketing Attacks

I recently read in a Maxim magazine (yes, they have words) that one of the perils of Marketing is the "creeping inability to distinguish good from evil". As much as I wholeheartedly agree with that, I would add the following "..and the inability to detect our own bullshit."

Consider the following line from a press release announcing Disney's intentions to do an Underdog movie, based on the 1960's cartoon superhero dog:

Producer Gary Barber said in a statement, "Anything where you have a dog in that superhero
context, that's appealing on a global basis."


Here's some conjecture on similar statements for previous superhero movies:

Steel: "Anything where you have Shaq in that superhero context, that's appealing on a global basis."

Catwoman: "Anything where you have a half-naked Halle Berry in that superhero context, that's appealing on a global basis."

Batman & Robin: "Anything where you have a plastic formed ass-piece, cod-piece and nipples on the bat-suit in that superhero context, that's appealing on a global basis."

You get the idea.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Batman Begins. Well, again at least.

Got a chance to see Batman Begins last night. Let me just say right out that this is a good film. The reason I can say that is that I actually enjoyed the parts BEFORE we see the costume more than when he's in costume. This is just barely, mind you, but it's still very hard to show a serious actor dressed as a bat and not look silly.

I won't do a long review but I should touch on a few things. Michael Caine was great, as Alfred. This is an easy character to write funny lines for but you need to make him the surrogate father to Bruce Wayne. Although I still say the scene between Geroge Clooney and Michael Gough in Batman and Robin was a great scene, this relationship seemed more realistic.

Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox. Very good but he was kind of the "M" from the Bond franchise. Still, a great cameo and a great choice for a character that the comics have never really fleshed out that much. That will change I'm sure.

Liam Neeson as Ducard. I remember seeing Darkman and thinking "this guy is great, too bad he's only doing b-fare". He is soooo good it's just scary.

Katie (Xenu will save me) Holmes as Rachael Dawson. Her character really didn't bother me as much as I thought. A little perky and obnoxious at first, she didn't damage the film the way that Nicole Kidman did in Batman Forever.

Gary Oldman as Sgt. James Gordon. FINALLY!! One of the most pivotal characters in the Batman universe get treated properly. I was doubtful that Oldman could do this as I'm so used to him playing bad guys or lunatics; something that Gordon is not. He was great. The last scene in the movie is so good.....

I'll post something more in-depth next week after everyone has had a chance to see it. If anyone's going, take me along because I'm up to take the ride again!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Father's Day

Father's Day is my least favorite "holiday". Whereas millions of men across America will get barbecue grills, ties and subscriptions to Maxim Magazine, I just wish I could dodge it all together.

The reason is that I'm in a very weird place right now. I AM a father, but I also lost my father almost 14 years ago. My kids are too young to understand what Father's Day is so my wife fills the role with buying me something "from them". Father's Day is supposed to be a reminder that you love your dad. The reverse of that is it's also a reminder he isn't there. He'll never know my kids and they'll never know him beyond a few photographs that will never hold meaning for them. I never knew my grandfathers as they both died before I was born. My mom has tried to tell me about them, but it falls on deaf ears. It's just not real to me. My dad will not be real to them.

Someday, my daughter will go to my wife and tell her "we need to buy a Father's Day present for daddy". It's probably at this moment that the holiday will shift from an ache to a joy but it's not there yet.

The lesson? Skip the stupid gifts. Don't waste time with meaningless cards and dinners at Golden Corral. Look your dad in the eye and tell him you love and appreciate him. Tell him that the things he's taught you will be invaluable to raising your kids.

While you can.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I'm a bad blogger.

I know this. I don't blog everyday and someone called me on it yesterday.

I think the problem is that I seem to have more fun making sarcastic comments on socho's blog. So it could be that the feedback helps him out.

So I'm asking you, if you read this, just drop me a comment to egg me on.

Don't trust the carnie-folk.

Two Saturdays ago, I put my faith in the carnie-folk, and came up wanting.

I took my beautiful daughter to a ride fair at Mt. Trashmore and rode the three story super-slide. Every safety measure on this deathtrap was in place like the rickety railing, worn wool pad and hi-tech breaking system at the bottom of the slide. This consisted of a thin, green fabric mat stretched over the concrete. Its purpose was not so much to cushion the impact, but to make you forget that you were going to land on solid concrete.

After coming down on my tailbone trying to keep my daughter from getting hurt, I thought I had walked it off. Not so, as the pain grew steadily worse. On Tuesday, I couldn't even get out of bed. Somewhere, a carnie-folk laughed.

I got my first non-dental xrays in my life taken on Wednesday. A very hot latino lab tech asked me quite tenderly what happened before contorting me into horribly painful positions. "Shouldn't trust carnies," she told me.

I also got my first prescription strength painkiller. The mere mention of the word Viccoden drew "oohs", "aahhhs" and "that's good" from friends and family. Didn't do jack for my back though.

So the xrays come back and show nothing broken or fractured, but arthritis?


That's something that old people get. I'm still exactly one month from 40.

So here I am with a bad back, taking pain killers, and an arthritic back. And 40 is approaching fast.

I blame it on the frickin' carnies.