What, I'm supposed to encapsulate my life in a few sentences and hope it comes out in some kind of meaningful way?
I love James Spader. It's true. He's got some kind of amazing charisma. I first discovered his draw with Sex, Lies and Videotape, and later on with the wonderful Secretary. He's been in a lot of other films, but those two are precious to me. Yes, MY precious...

Linked segue time. I've wondered, since I've recently seen Donnie Darko, if Maggie Gyllenhaal imagines her true brother really dead to pull off the grieving scene.
Yay death
I don't normally stray into topics of the political nature, mostly because I think that a lot of the blogs out there are regurgitated, uninformed crap, but I'll mention this because it's in one of my fields of considerable knowledge and interest. When I say that, I mean the continued dumb-fuck Palestinian suicide bombing raid on Israel, and now Israel's very appropriate response. Note that the immediate dumb-fuck response of the Palestinians is to horde around the carcasses and chant "God is great" (or, as we've come to be familiar with it in movies featureing dumb-fuck militants, Allahu Akbar). That's normally what I do when people get killed, especially those who are terrorists. I'm sorry that the powers-that-be confiscated your land to make up for hundreds of years of Europeans Jew-bashing, but that was 60 years ago. Get over it. Try to get along. God thinks you are dumb-fucks, and he's right. You bring it on yourselves. Find your militants and string them up by their balls. This kind of shit is great for me: I don't need caffeine in the morning when I read about the latest religious dumb-fuck maneuvers. Apologies to Rachel Lucas if I sound like her.


"You speak treason!""Fluently."
Had to but it on DVD. One of my favorite movies to this day. Errol Flynn and Basil Rathbone's dramatic (and brilliantly scored by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who won a richly-deserved Oscar for his efforts) swordfight is alone worth the price, but that's only the capper in this wonderful movie. Of course, my first introduction to the film was Robin's "Welcome to Sherwood" clip that was featured in a Bugs Bunny cartoon, a fond memory if there ever was one.

I'm not as big a fan of The Sea Hawk as Skeletor, preferring Captain Blood, the film that put Errol on the map.

I had to juxtapose my order with this classic just to confirm my eclectic tastes.

If it wasn't for the internet, I'd have a lot more money. Thank goodness for disposable income.


Not that there isn't any pressure
I'm a Philly fan, and I don't very often 'talk smack', but this season in particular is going to be a low-key, tense one. Thanks to the hype and urgency that goes with having one of the top (if not THE) teams in the league, we are the team to beat, and every game we win is just another notch, whilst every other team will be euphoric to beat the favorite.

No Death Eaters?

A photo of a sign from the Massive Attack tour. Considering the nature of their songs, this seems odd.Anyway, I need to get one of those signs for my room. Or someone should make a t-shirt.
You Can Blow With This, You Can Blow With That.
Now back online: Spike Jonze's MTV-award-winning Fatboy Slim video, featuring a dancing Christopher Walken. For those of you familiar with my Walken-impersonation, this will be a blast form the past. Great video (and song).

Bonus Walken Day! A commentary from the archives of the Onion, byChristopher Walken. Works best if you imagine him reading it aloud. I like hot dogs... now...

Honoring the 9/11 hijackers

What a bunch of deluded assholes. Although it the article did afford me my Religious Idiot Quote of the Day:
    Bakri told NBC the actions of the hijackers were sanctioned by God: “If God did not permit that to happen, (it) would never happen.”

So, therefore, anything that happens is sanctioned by "God". What unassailable (and unprovable, naturally) logic. GOAK knows and allows all as well.


For the Poker Addicts
Those of you who are looking for more poker action on TV, perhaps need look no further than the Travel Channel. Turns out that the Discovery-affiliate airs it's own series on Wednesdays called The World Poker Tour. I'll let you know how it turns out. Or you let me know. Or we ignore each other from now on. Fine, then!

Bonus! Ever wanted to see how you'd stack up against a pro? Travel Channel offers an interactive challenge -- see if you make the correct call against Howard Lederer (the Professor). Cool stuff! Here's some of the other challenges. I'm sure I know someone who wants to beat Phil Hellmuth!


All In
A reminder to you World Series of Poker fans: tomorrow night's final episode will be at 8 PM, instead of the regular 9 pm Tuesday showing.
I know doctors say I should have two, but I just don't think I can drink that much
More great advertising news for wine makers. Sigh. Why don't they ever say anything nice about Jack? Oh well. I guess eventually I'll have to get into wine. I'm not a fan of much that you have to sip. I like gulping, and coldness.

PS. The header line is in reference to an old episode of the Simpsons -- where Homer moves to Terror Lake and works for Hank Scorpio. A great piece of false drama involves Marge, stranded in the house with nothing productive to do, seen to start drinking glasses of wine (accompanied by foreboding musical cues). Later on, she confesses that she drank the wine, but just couldn't consume the recommended amount. If you don't get the joke in that then die die die.


Philosopher's Corner
Who would have though that the most complex, thought-provoking movie this year would be Freddy vs. Jason?


Blue Sky on Mars
Orbital Oddities: Why Mars will be So Close to Earth in August
But no sign of Corner Paul
Those of you curious to get a small glimpse of my favorite haunt -- you're in luck (but only if you have cable and a VCR)! The Food Network's series, Date Plate, will be airing some upcoming repeats of a recent episode filmed at Southside. I make a small cameo as a fork.
You picked the wrong house, bub
Completing the Malaysian upgrade: X2, my favorite superhero movie OF ALL TIME. Yes, better than Superman.


Showdown next week
Those of you upset that ESPN showed a repeat episode of the World Series of Poker can take comfort that the final show will be aired next Tuesday.
Greatest Cheese In the World
It's a very subjective title to grant, but for my money Old York Sharp is the greatest cheese in the history of the world. I grew up on this stuff in Western NY state, and I order it online today. It's that good, and nothing I've ever sampled anywhere else (and I like cheese) comes even close.

You keep your distance with a system of touch | and gentle persuasion
I can't get "Head Over Heels" out of my mental playlist, thanks to Donnie Darko. I can't stop thinking about the movie, which I saw a couple nights ago.

I've now thought about it enough to own it. Amazon will be my undoing.

PS. It took me two seconds to pre-order this movie, so you can rest easy.
I was working and then...
For the love of god take Mr. Poo's advice and don't go here, especially if you have a work ethic.

I used to love playing games like Monkey Ball and Gyro Ball.

Although this version of Spank the monkey is quite enjoyable, it isn't as fun as the good old original (my record is 244 mph -- I think you'd have to throw your mouse through a wall to get the record).


The old fashioned way
In deference to El Cid's former writing style -- he's recently given up the longhand -- here's how Stephen King submitted his review of Harry Potter V to Entertainment Weekly for publishing. Yes, it's handwritten penmanship from the man himself, and fascinating stuff.

UPDATE: Here's the story behind the handwritten review.
I haven't killed anyone... since 1984
Not surprisingly, it turns out that having relationships with people who you have both good and bad feelings towards can make you sick. I've known this for a few years now. Oh well.


Homer's song of protest
Not like I didn't expect it, but Walter Chaw has delivered a chuckle-full review of Uptown Girls. Just don't read it while in a meeting, like I did (you get very confused looks when you suddely spit out your drink).


Iverson: Finally saying what is on my mind
Maybe it's because he's had his own publicity-drenched brushes with the law, or maybe it's because he's tired of the media treatment (like many of us), but whatever the reason, The Answer has delivered a cogent commentary on all the hype over the Kobe situation:
    "'It's just something I don't like to discuss or want to discuss, because I've been through that in my own life,' Iverson said. 'You have people speculating on what they think happened, and everybody is talking about it. It's a big media circus, and it takes away from the realness of what went on. You turn it into a comedy show instead of something real. It's just unfair to speak on it and say what I think. I just wouldn't do it. I got respect for Kobe and I got respect for the alleged victim, and I won't do that.'
    'I feel, in a situation like this, people should be quiet until something happens,' Iverson continued. 'But everybody just keeps yapping and yapping and yapping and (nobody knows) what happened but the two people that were involved. I hope (Bryant doesn't) have planes flying over his house and people camping out in front of his house all day and taking pictures of his dog, his kids and all that. ... I just hope he's not going through those types of things, because it's not right. If he's innocent, that's terrible. If he's guilty, then, hey ... but if he's innocent, I feel so bad. Because that's going to scar him for the rest of his life.'"

Allen's got a good perspective on the whole affair. Most people have already formed their own opinions on the case based on rumours, leaking, partial information, and prejudices. Thankfully, nothing will happen in the case for a couple months so we won't be barraged by a ton of worthless opinions, comments and speculation. For a while, at least.
You owe me 15 grand, pal.
For those of you who are interested in more World Series of Poker-related material, other than Tuesday night's next episode, I stumbled upon a literary outlet.

Fans of the show will be familiar with Howard and Annie Lederer, two of the more charismatic players seen in the tournament. It turns out that their little sister wrote a book about growing up in that household called Poker Face: A Girlhood Among Gamblers. If you happen to read it before I do, let me know.

UPDATE: Here's a good article on Annie.


Hot and vacuous and sending really conflicting messages!
In a rare display of equal voice (that is not what I, nor this site stands for!), I give you my hero Walter Chaw deliciously lambasting Britney's movie Crossroads. This is to avoid an inappropriately-placed Philips head screwdriver.
Bringing up our next Star Wars generation right
Jaquandor wrote a small list of questions his young daughter asked when viewing Return of the Jedi for the first time, and it's priceless.

And, like all responsible parents, he is clearly showing the films in the correct (i.e., original trilogy, then new trilogy) order. [Rant aside: I met someone who had seen only one Star Wars film, and it was Return of the Jedi. What the fuck is wrong with some people?].


Reject! Reject! Reject!
As I noted yesterday, I'll be sorting through potential roommates this week. The ones lucky enough to get an invite to the house were screened via email for possible warning signs.

At work, the hiring and sorting process continues. Here's an exerpt from a recent cover letter:
    My most important principles are to maintain the highest standards of ethic and business conducts, and operated at all time within the laws of the United States and under all regulations and policies of the organization.

This wording used by this candidate (I'm sorry, former candidate), implies one, if not many problems. In no particular order, here are the ones which may apply:
  1. One would hope that you can maintain a civil code of conduct without having to overtly plead it in your cover letter.
  2. His principles have probably gotten him into trouble with his former employer, who saw his law-abiding zealotry as a narc, firebomber, self-appointed diversity expert, or a boorish boy scout.
  3. He is likely required by law to state this disclaimer because he's been accused otherwise.
  4. He is hiding a most treacherous past.
  5. In naming the U.S., one might argue that this is the ONLY country, therefore, whose laws he will respect (cancel that business meeting in Ontario).
  6. By saying "highest" standards, I infer that he believes his standards to be higher than my own (they most likely are). What a pretentious bastard. I will track him down and destroy him with extreme prejudice.

So, please be careful what kind of message you are sending. Thanks.
You played it for her, you can play it for me.
Despite the fact that I own both the VHS and DVD version of the film, I am compelled to buy the just-released Two-Disc Special Edition of Casablanca. Of the impressive list of features, the one that I am most interested in seeing is the commentary by Roger Ebert (his commentary on Dark City and Pulp Fiction were great).

As for my remaining copies, I'm not sure what yet to do. The list is growing of movies I own on both VHS and DVD, but it's hardly worth the price to sell them (the VHS tapes, of course) online. Maybe I'll make a nice fort. Or, I could give them away. Or have a contest. Or have a contest in which I promise to give them away, but instead have my goons show up at the 'winner's' front door to deliver a fish-slap. Hmm...
Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life.
Well, perhaps not drunk, but certainly the other two apply to this woman.


If you can't trust your friends, well, what then? What then?
Recent developments in my household situation have sparked a renewed interest in a classic British thriller. One of our roommates is moving out after August, so the remaining three are getting ready to have a little 'open house' to interview some applicants. We share a house with a big yard in Georgetown, and the rent is very cheap, so this makes the room available very desirable.

This means we can be pretty discriminating when it comes to who gets the room (we've had over three dozen inquiries in about three days of posting). While contemplating some silly questions to ask (e.g., "Please name at least three applications of A1 sauce."), I was reminded of a great little flick called Shallow Grave. The film was the first film from Danny Boyle and John Hodge (who went on to do the landmark Trainspotting), and the movie that put Ewan McGregor on the map. The relevance is in the first quarter of the movie, three flatmates ruthlessly interview potential candidates for a room in a posh apartment. The questions are as funny as they are meant to make you cringe for the applicants:

  • OK, I'm going to play you just a few seconds of this tape -- I'd like you to name the song, the lead singer and the three hit singles subsequently recorded by him with another band.
  • With which of the following figures do you most closely identify: Joan of Arc, Eva Braun or Marilyn Monroe?
  • Turning very briefly to the subject of corporate finance -- no, this is important. Leveraged buy-outs -- a good thing or a bad thing?
  • And what if I told you that I was the antichrist?

However, the most scathingly funny diatribe comes from, naturally, Alex (McGregor) when he decides to skip the pretense and verbally dress down a hapless applicant:

    So tell me, Cameron, what on earth -- just tell me, because I want to know -- what on earth could make you think that we would want to share a flat like this with someone like you? I mean, my first impression, and they're rarely wrong, is that you have none of the qualities that we would normally seek in a prospective flatmate. I'm talking here about things like presence, charisma, style and charm, and I don't think we're being unreasonable.

I'm looking forward to this week's interviews. Oh yes.
Craptacular Update
Not one to disappoint, my boy Walter Chaw gives his delicious review of Gigli, as one would have predicted from last week's observations.

Enjoy, Bridget.

UPDATE: Looking like everyone else gave it the kiss of death, too.
Blame it on science
Although the tagline of the article suggests a 'free pass' for any guy naive enough to use it as justifications, Is infidelity ‘natural’ for men? is an interesting piece on evolutionary psychology, although it says really nothing new for those of us who are able to think logically. However, it's always handy to have a scientific study handy to debunk or explain away the stereotypes of 'gold-diggers' or 'cradle-robbers':
    Many evolutionary psychologists say these divergent sexual strategies also explain two corollary findings of modern studies. One says men seem more disturbed by sexual infidelity and women seem more disturbed by emotional infidelity. The other says heterosexual men seek women who are young and beautiful because these are viewed as signs of fertility, while heterosexual women seek men who are rich because that helps in raising children.

I looked for the reason why it is impossible (for heterosexual men) to look at a pair of breasts and remain focused on... whatever you are doing (I lost my train of thought there for a second visualising)... but that will perhaps have to wait for the next study. There were more interesting results about the honesty, to self and others, that women have about sexuality:
    In the study[she asked men and women to report whether they masturbated, watched soft-core pornography or hard-core pornography. Each “yes” got a point], both men and women had been told to hand their questionnaires to a researcher. But when women were told to deposit their answers in a locked box supervised by a researcher, their average score jumped to 1.53. And when the women took the test alone in a locked room and then deposited their answers in a locked box — ensuring privacy and anonymity — their score shot up further, to 2.04. The men’s answers did not change significantly, indicating they were less concerned about their opinions being discovered.

Ah, the old double-standard is still alive and well. It's fascinating to see it at work in the social setting, and self-reinforcing; I have observed that women are the ones who (for the most part) use words like "slut" and "whore" to describe other girls. It's a vicious and yet fun circle! Free your mind... slut!


New Movie Reviews
I didn't think it was possible, but so far Gigli has the record (I believe) for lowest rating ever from the collective reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes.

American Wedding is mid-level, but then that's about par for the course in light of its predecessors. I didn't bother to see the sequel because, while I thought American Pie was good, it wasn't as funny as a lot of people indicated.

I doubt I'll see either; only Alyson might be the "x" factor.