Sunday, December 31, 2006

144. Hitch, Fiddler on the Roof

Here are some more movie reviews. And don't forget to check my last movie reviews if you missed them.

Hitch (2005 Will Smith, Eva Mendes, Kevin James)

(Ultra short review:) Mustard on Kevin James’ clothing: three (3) times. F words: one (1). Disfigurement of Will Smith’s face: one (1). Legitimate laughs: six (6). Thrown inhalers: one (1). Times this movie made me think of every other romantic comedy: three million six hundred fifty three thousand six hundert and forty seven (365,3,64,7).

(Thoughtful Review:) Hitch is a good enough movie I guess. It’s got plenty of comedy for men and for women , and it’s got enough real-world significance for me to give it a thumbs up. Kevin James is nails in this movie as is the James/Smith team. Downside: like every other romantic comedy, this movies ceases to be funny just about the time the characters take their situation too seriously—see: couple falls in love, couple has a trying time, couple almost breaks up, couple gets back together; many, many people buy the movie only to donate it to a third world country three (3) months later. Sorry The Congo, you’re going to get Hitch next Christmas

(Standard rating:) Eleven and a half (11 1/2) stars out of seventeen (17).
(Non-standard rating:) Guys, you won’t feel embarrassed to have your friends see this movie on your shelf until three (3) months from now when the movie should be shipped to The Congo.

Fiddler on the Roof (Topol, Norma Crane, Leonard Frey, Molly Picon)

(Ultra short review:) Who the heck is Topol, and how does he get through life with just one name?

(Thoughtful Review:) Fiddler on the Roof is a classic movie and I don’t make bones about the fact that I love it. I have even been known to prop my arms up, elbows and ninety degrees (90˚) and dance to "Tradition." On the other hand, the movie is much too heavy for me starting at the wedding scene **SPOILER ALERT** when the local head honcho dood comes in and busts up the wedding party. On the other hand, there’s always the fact that they named one of the daughters ‘Hotel.’

(Standard rating:) Fourteen (14) stars out of seventeen (17)
(Non-standard rating:) Seriously, there’s a female character named ‘Hotel.’ That’s A-one (1), top-quality comedy, folks.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

143. Rocky Balboa

Sorry I haven’t blogged for so long; I couldn’t find my crayons to write anything down. This holiday season has been filled with much movie watching at the ramblings household. In the next couple of days, I'll post reviews for each of the movies I've watched this holiday season. As promised, first is Rocky Balboa--and The Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music (1965 Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer)

(Ultra short review:) That reverend mother sure can sing—too bad she can’t fly like Gidget can.

(Thoughtful Review:) Do we really have to get into this? The reader is already tired and we haven’t even gotten to Rocky yet. No? Well…Okay then.

(Standard rating:) Thirty three (33) stars out of seventeen (17)
(Non-standard rating:) Girls shouldn’t have boy haircuts. Julie Andrews would have looked a lot better with shoulder length feathered hair. And the lonely goat song makes me wistful.

Rocky Balboa (2006 Sylvester Stallone, Burt Young, Antonio Tarver, Peter Petrelli)

(Ultra short review:) Rocky is old, but he’ll kick your trash if you bother his not-girlfriend.

(Thoughtful Review:) Rocky Balboa is not just a good Rocky movie, it’s a good movie period. I thought the Rocky character was brilliantly displayed in this movie, and I’ll fight anyone who says differently in a charity match. Rocky Balboa didn’t display Rocky as a fighter with a vision, but a vision of a man who is a fighter. Ol’ Sly delivered a few soliloquies that brought me to my figurative knees and then built me back up and made me want to be a better person. In short, go see it. It’s not a ‘Rocky’ Movie. It’s a movie. Downside: some might tell you the movie (pre-fight) is too long and never goes anywhere. I say the issues the Rocky character faces (loss of a spouse, estrangement of a son, helping strangers) couldn’t be shorter. It’s a story of him trying to weave his personal struggles in with his everyday life. It’s not long—it’s brilliant.

(Standard rating:) Fifteen (15) stars out of (17).
(Non-standard rating:) My wife Limpy and I wanted to rent some of the early Rocky films to catch up. I can’t find any of them in any of the video rental stores within a five mile radius. People have Rocky fever again.

Watch for reviews on Fiddler on the Roof, Ice Age 2: The Meltdown, Hitch, Over the Hedge.

Grettel! The PRINCE!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

142. Tradition. Tradition!

So my wife Limpy and I started a new tradition this year. We’re watching Fiddler on the Roof right now with the first mate. I mean, what says “Christmas” better than that Wattoo sound alike, Tevye, and the good citizens of Anatevka?

On the other hand, my wife Limpy and I come from completely distinct cultures: She’s from the Caribbean, I’m from Utah; she hates milk, my family comes from dairy farmers; she’s a grade A beauty, I am not attractive; I’m stupid, she’s intelligent; I say tomato, she says

On the other hand, if I were a rich man, I’d change it all and make sure to pay her enough just to conform to our culture. Until then, though, I intend on meeting her halfway—so we’re watching a movie about Jewish people. Thus begins our Christmas tradition.

On the other hand, I’ve just celebrated my thirty-third (33rd) birthday on the twenty-second (22nd). Fortunately this year I was blessed to be able to stretch my birthday for three days. Thursday (the day before my birthday) my wife Limpy and I had invited my siblings’ children over for a sleepover and give my siblings a chance to shed the layers of self-loathing and do a little bit of last minute shopping. Or to find all the lost “hidden” gifts in the attic.

On the other hand, Thursday was also the day of the big bowl game of my favorite college football team. What was I to do? Watch the game—that’s what. Not before I planned myself a birthday party, however. So I drew a donkey so we could play ‘pin the tail’ on its butt. I also went down to Wizzymart to buy bags of party favors. By planning the party, I was given the chance to be completely selfish and forget everyone else once the game started. I must mention at this point that I don’t have ESPN at home, so I planned all this at my friends’ house. We played ‘pin the tail on the donkey,’ cried a little, blew out candles, and I let them eat cake.

On the other hand, Friday was my actual birthday, so I forced my niece and nephews to serve me all morning before we delivered them back to their parents’ house. I requested waffles—not too brown—with real blueberry syrup, home-butchered bacon, and homemade eggnog. The eight-(8)-year-old did a mediocre job of things, but the five-(5)-year-old and the two-(2)-year-old didn’t do a very good job with that old sow out back. Then I slept in bed all day crying.

On the other hand, Saturday was the day my parents could watch the first mate, so that’s when my wife Limpy and I took our chance to go on our date. I dragged her to see Rocky Balboa—did you know ol’ Sly Stallone is getting pretty old now?—and then we went to one of those fancy Japanese restaurants where they light the food on fire right in front of you. We didn’t even get sick this year like we did last year and the year before that. Chalk one up for the chefs!

On the other hand, so that’s how you squeeze three days out of your birthday. Next time I promise a review of Rocky Balboa.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

141. Audible but Deadly

So today I tried to sneak in a little silent-but-deadly, but I forgot about the silent. Did I mention I was in the office when it happened and four (4) or five (5) people were blessed by the aire of stupid? Well since the only thing to do was laugh, I did. Can't cry over spilt milk. Until you are alone at home curled up in the upstairs bathtub sucking your thumb.

Anyway, Christmas is upon us. I just wish she weren't so weighty--and why did her parents name her Christmas anyway?

I've just finished all the shopping yesterday. I also started yesterday since we aren't doing anything big this year. We spent all the Christmas money on lottery tickets--I have a good feeling about my chances.

Yesterday I purchased a fishin' pole for the first mate. He'll grow into it. And I crocheted a new outfit for my wife Limpy. I hope she doesn't read this before the big day, but I think I'm safe--even if she does read this, she doesn't know what the outfit is. Is it overalls? Is it a sun dress? Is it a new church dress? Is it long johns? No matter what, the surprise will remain intact.

I was also treated yesterday to an overdose of Holiday cheer. Nothing says 'Happy Holidays' like an Indianapolis Colts win. Indy looked good last night for the first time in about a month and it couldn't have happened at a better time. The Colts used to be undefeated, but they started channeling the '72 Saints there for a while. Fortunately, they came back to their senses and played some defense. They won by, like, forty eight (48) points or something. Despite me being a rabid Colts fan, I still like calling Peyton Manning 'Peyote.' It makes me feel good.

My toenail grew back and yesterday I clipped it. I had lost it whilst playing football and I was afraid I would never enjoy the toe protection that had previously been my sole sense of security. Now I feel safe again--no need to eat sunscreen anymore.

Finally, no one--and I mean NO ONE--wanted to come to my blog party, so I cancelled it. If you need me, I'll be crying in the upstairs tub again.

Monday, December 11, 2006

140. I Believe

Therefore I am.

If you're wondering whether I believe in Santa Claus or not, you have your answer. The important issue is whether or not the first mate believes.

I mean, he's four months old already, making him just about the right age to start learning about Santa. And corporal punishment. Later on, we'll teach him about the cover two (2) defense and how to defend a lefty on the court, but that will have to wait until he learns to walk. Or crawl for that matter.

Last night we enjoyed a visit from Jolly ol' Saint Nick at the house of some friends. I think this Santa was 'the real deal' because he knew everyone's names and told funny jokes and was sober and wore jingle bells and was very engaging. He also sees me while I'm sleeping as was evidenced when I woke up late last night and he was hovering over my bed. I thought, "That Santa--he really knows how to check up on a guy." I bet I'm on his good list.

The first mate thought Santa was funny. He stared with all the wonder and excitement all children should exhibit at Christmas (except in Spain where the three (3) wise men bring gifts on the sixth (6th) of January instead.) Then on his way out, Santa sang a song while he jingled his jingle bells and the first mate was barely even alarmed.

That kid's got promise. And a wish list as long as his arm to leave for Papa Noel on Christmas Eve...

Friday, December 08, 2006

139. For Lo, It's Time My Car Got a Blog Name.

Until recently, I've had no need to name the car because I've had no reason to recount stories about her.

Well, that is until last night. Allow me to play the role of raconteur

See, Last night there was a drunken woman. Not mine. I was entering a parking lot at the local church where I was going to play low-intelligence basketball with my low-intelligence friends. As I was arriving, I noticed a pair of amorous youth who were making out à la freakery. Then I noticed the drunken woman.

She was exiting the church and staggering under the load of two (2) sewing machines. She might not have been drunk and only staggered because she was carrying so many sewing machines (more than one (1) is too much, I always say), but I prefer to think she was drunk.

Anyways, as I entered the parking lot, I was barraged with a veritable cornucopia of intriguing and distracting images. And thus I made contact with the concrete base of a lamp post. I struck the post with my left front wheel and allowed it to scrape the entire side of the car. In my defense, the window pillar of my car obscured my view of the lamp post through the sweeping gentle turn I was making. The lamp post was probably cognizant of its position and chose to wait until the last moment to enter my view.

'Yeah but what's the car's name?' you ask. Well after having made such a pathetic driving error, there's no other choice but to name her 'my car Space Lord.' Enjoy this footage of the damage:

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

138. Wherein I Became Handy

(Not to be confused with handsy.)

So when we had our house built, we tried to make sure we built it in a way that would speak to people. We wanted our house to send the message "We need professional help" to the rest of the world. For the most part I think we succeeded, but we hyper-succeeded extra overtime in one little detail: we have no medicine cabinet in our master bathroom.

Or any bathroom for that matter. Because I am practically Bob Vila, or whoever it was who they replaced him with on 'This Old House,' I just decided to do it myself. I mean what could go wrong with cutting a hole in the wall and inserting raw materials and home-cut glass? I'm just asking.

You be the judge:

And after--
And somore after--
And e'enmore after--

Can you tell I like my pain killers? I figure they will dull the dreadful 'everyday' in my life and at the same time, make me feel more sedate. Thank you Traumeel®! I'm also feeling a rush of confidence knowing I finished the project with more than sixty-five percent (65%) of my fingers intact. I'd say it's a good day. And the best part is I don't have to store my analgesic rub under the matress anymore.

In an unrelated note: despite the name that makes you think of the trots, this is one of the best taco stands in the Los Angeles area. I think you should try it out. And get this: it's near the LAX Airport--whose food will give you the trots.


Friday, December 01, 2006

137. Mars is for Lovers.

Let’s get one thing straight right here and now: I am an überdork when it comes to space and Venus and whatnot. Just look at my sidebar, I have a link to NASA’s science page carefully camouflaged near Strongbad and Eric Snider.

So I wasn’t too surprised last night to find myself watching PBS last night instead of The Office because they were talking about meteors hitting the moon and the earth and changing the face of the earth and the face of the organisms that live(d) here. I mean, you’d make the same choice ninety-nine (99) times out of a hundred (100) too. It was kinda cool (to me, the überdork.) For example, large quantities of gold have been found in the impact crater of one of Earth’s older impacts. In others, diamonds, uranium, space proteins, and other valuable and/or important substances to Earth’s inhabitants or economy have been found.

Unfortunately, the show took an unexpected and dramatic turn to Mars’ potential to support life and the likelihood Jupiter’s moon, Europa, could already have life forms. Like a nebula-crazed sheep, I kept right on watching as my shepherd, the TV, spelled it all out to me in the geekiest way possible.

Apparently, a faction of scientists exists who think they could warm up Mars, find liquid water, and make great strides toward making the atmosphere human-friendly in about 50 years. Keep in mind these are the people Trekkies look down on as dorks (but secretly envy them because as dorky as they are, they are much more likely to be living in space soon than those idiots who glue on Spok ears and surface from their troglodyte lairs in their parents’ basement once a year wearing Starfleet uniforms and traveling great distances only to find out other people A) exist and B) have cooler Star Trek gear than them and C) that Geri Ryan was a Star Trek anomaly and neither of the trekkie girls at the convention look like her.) These Mars people (and I use the term loosely) are convinced that humans will be living on Mars not just one day, but one day soon and that we’re probably going to have to repopulate there anyway because the republicans are going to burn the earth alive in a fit of fossil-fuel fueled end-of-the-world skid.

(The previous statements have not been verified by the FDA and may lead to serious damage.)

Anyway, one of these dork geniuses (genii?) was all stressed because he was trying to draw pictures of what Mars life forms would look like based on the limited information we have about its climate and elemental makeup. He had a lot of jellyfish-like versions—very creative—and a couple that looked like Strongbad’s Trogdor drawing. I said CONSUMATE V’s! I swear one of these creatures consisted of nothing but thumbs and mucous.

And I thought to myself: (and please pardon the language, but there’s only one set of words to describe what I thought to myself) What the hell kind of job is that? First of all, if my tax money is going directly or indirectly to people who get to make amoeba drawings for a living I want out. OR hook me up with that job—I know I could get more creative than Milhouse version 0.4. On the other hand, maybe he was drawing Martians as a hobby in which case I say, “Mr. Scientist, this is a woman; put down the homemade tricorder and talk to her. Proceed with prescribed activity until:

•Your violent shaking stops
•You realize her skin is smooth, not like Martian soil
•You no longer have a desire touch her hair
•And until you realize your alien sketches are nothing more than an adult version of Napoleon’s liger.”

I’m the first to get all excited about space ‘n’ stuff, because it gives me respect for creation and patience, but I’ll be Swedish before I’ll let any of my mental energy be wasted on the prospect of space exploration. There’s a difference between my healthy respect for the study of space and their unearthly (pun intended) desire to spend billions and trillions of my dollars to put a man on Mars. I mean, just watch Red Planet one day (it may take two (2) or three (3) viewings to get all the way through it because of the disgust factor) and you’ll know that a mission to mars could only end in disaster.

Alf was a puppet.