Did you know that being married is like being nibbled to death by a duck?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

If There Were An Award For Biggest Geek Ever...

It would go to me, because I would be wearing these pants (and looking mightily hot, I might add).

I think that's the nerdiest thing I have ever seen. But at least now there is a standard: "Hey, what's the nerdiest thing you've ever seen?" Well my friends, now that question can be easily answered.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Keep Your Head Up

A collection of hockey hits to remind everyone that it's playoff season. Go Avs, go Sharks.

A classic battle of two incredible fighters (is it wrong to laugh at that? Morally, I mean...).

An extremely rare glimpse at one of the deadliest of all Ninjas -- the drunken Street Ninja!

And if anyone wonders why I am currently immersing myself in Brazilian jiu jitsu rather than, say, kung fu or something like that, here would be one example, and yet another here if you're bored.

Quick Book Review (And Then Back to Funny)

Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg. Go buy it right now and read it. Now. Go. Hurry up.

Seriously though, this is a fascinating book that basically centers on what fascism really is and how, in today's society, our ideas of it and our understanding of "right" and "left" when concerning politics is, essentially, a bit skewed (and not all that accurate).

Filled with page after page of "whoa, I didn't know that" and "I never thought of it that way" type stuff, the book is incredibly well researched and worth every minute of your time if you are at all interested in the nature of politics today and the history behind it. I can't recommend it highly enough for someone interested in history and/or current affairs.

I won't bother with the details (read the description at the link provided) unless the debate happens to kick up in the comment section (from any one of the four of you who still read this blog).

Update: The blog for the book and answers to some criticism of it can be found here.


I'm not even sure where to begin with this one...

Let's suspend our belief in reality for just a minute and actually subscribe to the nonsense that is the debate on global warming. Does that make it ok to compare it to what can be regarded as one of the most heroic events of the 20th century by American service members?

Update: Hot Air, as usual, beat me to it for commenting on it.

Here's where it doesn't make sense to me: for the most part, the concern of global warming lies on the left side of the political aisle (correct me if I'm wrong). The same side which, by and large, is adamantly opposed to war of all kinds these days. Unless, as I'm seeing it now, it can be used for "propaganda" for their own cause.

Am I missing something?

Getting Serious For Just a Minute

Recently I have been listening to the album The Warrior's Code by the Dropkick Murphys quite a bit, and today I happened to look at the lyrics to one of the songs. For the most part, I am not a lyrics guy; I won't even really pay attention to the words of a song until I've heard it a number of times. But a couple of their songs struck me as rather poignant, and this one in particular hit me hard after reading their description of it in the liner notes.

I thought about reprinting them here, but for certain reasons I decided just to provide the link. So follow that and click on the green tab to the right of the song "Last Letter Home" (it's the 13th track). Then read the reason behind the lyrics and song at the bottom. It's not the greatest song, but the words are pretty powerful for obvious reasons.

And, if you have time, do yourself a favor and read the lyrics to "Green Fields of France" while you are there. Them Irish know how to bring tears to your eyes, by golly.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Alien vs Predator II (Aka the Culmination of My Being)

Do you have any idea of the full-fledged awesomeness that I am about to partake in? If you are like me, then of course you do, and are completely jealous of the fact that, at 9:06 a.m., I am sitting down to watch Alien vs. Predator: Requiem while still in my shorts and t-shirt (pants are way overrated). If, on the other hand, you are not like me and you have no idea what this movie is all about, I think that you should probably be banned. And no, I don't just mean from this blog; I'm talking about life and all of its pleasures, as well. Suck it up, loser. You just don't match up.

Ok, I just hit play, so this could get pretty wild real fast. Do your best to keep up, 'cause I'm not waiting for you. These plot lines are bound to be thick and twisted, so if you have a headache or something, it's probably best that you just sit this one out.

The movie starts where the last one left off, with the Predator guys in their spaceship and an Alien popping out of the chest of a Predator that died. It also appears that they have kept a lot of live "sample" aliens for future use. I'm sure that won't come back to haunt them. The ship crashes back to earth where a guy and his son are deer hunting in the woods. Oh they are gonners for sure. Yup, the dad just lost an arm from acid Alien blood. Dude, didn't you see the movie? That stuff burns!

Now we see the sleepy mountain town nearby... oh super, it's in Colorado. First Red Dawn and now this. And people think I'm silly for stockpiling all these weapons and Cheerios. Oh good, it looks like the local law enforcement found the wreckage of the space ship. They'll know how to handle it. They always do. Small town cops are known for their awesome skills in action movies. Whoops. False alarm. The sheriff only found a bum in a sewer. My bad, the lighting in this movie sucks.

But we are introduced to what appears to be the hero of the story. How do I know? 'Cause he's a geeky kid who delivers pizza and gets beat up by the popular jock. These kids always end up as heroes. And get the girl. Which makes....no sense, whatsoever. Back in the woods, the guy who was hunting with his kid just up-chucked an Alien out of his chest. Whoa, so did his kid. That's not going to be easy to explain to Mom. Back in town we now see a woman who is coming back from...war? She is in Marine digital desert cammo fatigues, sporting a US Army patch, an American flag on the wrong shoulder... and she has some night vision goggles in her bag that her daughter is rummaging through. I have five or six sets myself, because the Army (or Marines...whatever) never keeps track of sensitive items like those.

Well the Aliens just found the bum and Sheriff in the sewer. LUNCH! But never fear, it looks like more Predators are on the way. The chief boot-knocka of all Predators just landed and he doesn't look happy. He is gearing up for some serious action. He could seriously use a training montage right now. That always helps.

The geek-hero is now down in the sewer with his older brother. Why? Because that's where people go in action movies. Duh. Back to the woods with a huge search party for the guy and his kid. Whoa, the Predator just found the bodies and dissolved them with some blue liquid and offed one of the deputies who saw him do it. And....now the deputy is strung up from a tree. The messed up part here is that no one is saying "hey, these bodies are just like the ones in that movie Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger. We should watch out for chameleon-like alien creatures." They act like they've never seen the movie, but who hasn't?

Super-Predator and Alien-Predator hybrid just battled it out in the sewer system. Of course it spilled out into the streets, as these things usually do. Too bad for the waitress at the local diner. I bet she was a slut, anyway. I'm not going as far as saying she deserved it, but she looked like a girl who would definitely cheat on her boyfriend and feel justified in doing so. Hooker.

Geek-hero and the girl are going swimming at the local pool. She's showing a lot of skin, so I wouldn't be surprised if Jason from Friday the 13th shows up any minute. Meanwhile, the Alien/Predator battle has spilled over to the energy plant and shut the power off for the whole town. They really needed to think of an alternative energy source, anyway. That thing was just a giant pollution factory leading to global warming. Greedy, corporate fat-cats getting rich off of the earth's demise. That's why Predator is here; retribution for our selfish destruction of mother earth.

The whole town is on alert now; running, screaming, crying. There may even be some dancing, I'm not sure. The geek-hero, his older brother and the hot chick found their way to the sporting goods store and are loading up. And now the National Guard have arrived in what could be described as the fastest response time ever, but their effectiveness was just about on par with Hillary Clinton's ability to relate to the common man. In other words, their all dead. Apparently they never saw Aliens. Alien-Predator hybrid has found its way the maternity ward of the hospital. Suffice to say that it ended poorly for...well, everyone. Unless prospective parents actually wanted to raise an alien who's blood would melt your skin and it would kill you and lay eggs in your chest. Everyone wants something different these days.

The hero group found where the National Guard showed its lackluster ability and, in a nice twist, took the armored vehicle they showed up in. Usually the main characters aren't smart enough to actually take useful equipment. Yet, they are insisting on finding a helicopter. Why? Take the Stryker and drive into the mountains. Or to Las Vegas. Man that town is hoppin'. Always something to do. But no, they go to the hospital, where the Hybrid has set up a breeding lab for its next generation. Its probably doing stem-cell research, too. Oh, the horror.

Wow! In one of the coolest friendly fire incidents ever, the hot chick got caught in the crossfire of a giant Predator throwing star and pinned to a wall. And the geek-hero took an alien tail through the back a minute later! I didn't see that coming at all. He's still alive, though. And the ever-menacing Army general, watching from an AWACS bird, is preparing to wipe out the town.

No. Friggin'. Way. The older brother just told the rest of the group to "get to the chopper!" If he covers himself in mud and makes a bow and arrow out of tree roots, I am going to wet myself. Predator has taken notes from Indiana Jones and is now using a whip to decapitate his adversaries. Sweet.

After a battle to the death between Boot Knocka and Hybrid-boy, the entire town is wiped out via Nuke strike, but our heroes got out with helicopter (which I am calling BS on because it was a Huey, and those things can't out-run a 4-year old on a tricycle, let alone a nuclear explosion). Only to be taken in by some Force Recon Marines, who I had no idea worked in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. Shows what I know.

All in all, this was probably without a doubt the most complete movie I've seen in a long time. It really lacked for nothing: Guns? Check. Explosions? Check. Aliens using people as breeding machines? Double check. Hot chicks showing skin? I will say they could have made a lot better effort in this regard. I often got the feeling that they weren't even trying to throw in gratuitous nudity. That takes some serious credibility away from the movie itself, and drops at least one star from my rating. However, when considering a movie to put on while the rest of the world is at work and you are eating Fruit Loops in your pajamas, this ranks right near the top. Not the best in the series, but pretty darn good, none the less.

Stay tuned, as I think there is a new zombie movie out on DVD, as well.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Star Wars (Unleash The Fury)

I may have covered this subject before, but who cares. I'm bored, and after seeing a couple of the original and newer Star Wars episodes this week on Spike TV, I felt I needed to get some things off my chest. Namely, that I have come to the conclusion that, although the Star Wars films are a big part of my childhood -- and still hold a certain place of nostalgic value in my heart -- they are, for the most part, really crappy movies.

Yup, I said it. Bring on the nerd assault; I'm ready for it.

For starters, let's look at the first film which bore the title: A New Hope (which isn't the first, of course, because the ever-wise Mr. Lucas doesn't understand the concept of "chronological order," but more on that later). As we all remember, the movie begins with space ships and laser blasts and a menacing Darth Vader capturing a less-crazy Carrie Fischer (she hadn't married Paul Simon yet). This sticks out in a lot of peoples' minds because, at the time, nothing like it had ever been witnessed. So far, so good.

But then the focus shifts to the hero and focal point of the story: Luke Skywalker (played by Mark Hammil who is, by the way, stumping for Barrack Obama, saying that he is the greatest person he has ever had the opportunity to vote for. Yowza). At this point the story begins to completely fall apart. How do I figure that, only ten minutes in to the first picture? This is where George Lucas actually is a genius; if looking at each individual movie, they work out ok. But when you factor in the entire story, it's pure crap. Look, if Obi-Wan took Luke to the planet of Tattooine in the first place, a) why did he hide them with DARTH VADER'S RELATIVES, and b) don't you think that maybe, just maybe, Obi-Wan could have been hooking him up with some cool Jedi skills while he grew up? Especially considering that he knew he would eventually take him to Yoda, who would talk some crap about how Luke is "too young to begin the training." Well gee, it's not like you didn't have control of this kid from the time he was an infant. I know, instead of keeping a close eye on someone who could very well have more power than anyone in the universe, let's foster him out to some people in the desert and we can just hope he doesn't get molested and end up in some weird cult practicing polygamy and farming out sex-droids.

But see, we forget all of that because "Oooh, look at the pretty colors and big explosions!" Yeah well, I didn't forget, dang nabbit!

As the story progresses, we meet Han Solo who, as Peter Griffin says "is the only actor who's career is not completely ruined by these movies." Han pretty much saves the movie, which is odd considering Luke is supposed to be the hero. But never mind that, go back to the story: Luke, after meeting Obi-Wan at what appears to be the age of 16-18 (way to keep close contact with the wonder-boy through his most formative years, Obi-Wan). Suddenly realizes he has to be a Jedi and do Jedi stuff. Obi-Wan proceeds to give Luke what equates to about a 10-minute block of instruction on light-saber laser-blocking before they end up on the Death Star and Obi-Wan sacrifices himself for...whatever reason. One that has never really become all that clear, even after six movies. Yeah, he says that he is "stronger" dead than alive, but whatever. I sure never saw him doing any training with Luke after he died. He just showed up as an apparition a time or two, spouting crap like "use the force." Thanks a lot, old man. If you had actually lived long enough to teach me what in the hell "the Force" actually is, that might be useful. Maybe.

Which leads me to something that has always bugged me; that Luke is a complete ninny. Again, if looking at the story as a whole, we see his father, Anakin, at his age kicking some major butt (and scoring with the ridiculously hot Natalie Portman, I might add. Which brings up another question: how many women did you see Luke with over the course of three movies? Hmmm...). But, like I said before, this could have been avoided had they actually shown some interest in the boy beyond that of a recovering alcoholic, dead-bet dad who shows up when the kid is fully grown and says "gimme a hug!" Let's just say that Luke, in today's society, would be on any sane person's watch list for possible assailants in future school-shootings.

And this brings me to my next point: That George Lucas was completely flying by the seat of his pants in creating this story. There are too many holes to think otherwise. There's no way you would have two people making out in one movie and then "surprise, you're brother and sister" in the next. Unless you are from Kentucky. Or have some serious mommy-issues. Whichever, the guy is a goof. If he had it all planned out, then why didn't Luke get trained as a boy? Why did he make out with his sister? Why wouldn't they change his name from "Skywalker"? Good job hiding him, guys. Put him with Darth Vader's in-laws and have him keep the name. Let's see, you have the ability to travel at/beyond light-speed across the universe, but you chose to "hide" Luke on the planet his now-evil father grew up on. Wow. And Jedis are supposed to be wise. Gotcha.

And what was it, exactly, that made the Empire so bad? This is yet another gaping hole in Lucas' story telling. We never have any concrete explanation of why the Empire is bad and the Rebellion is good. Even after the newer movies came out, trying to tell the back story, it never made any real sense. Maybe the Rebellion were actually terrorists? Perhaps the Empire was just trying to stop an insurgency running wild? We hear some nonsense about "trade federations" in the back story, but isn't that a good thing? Intergalactic trading would be necessary to keep up your economy, especially with the drain of illegal aliens on your Medicare program, would it not? Whatever the cause, it proves that Lucas made it all up well after making the originals; the first three movies give no indication as to why these two groups are fighting, only that one is decidedly "bad" and the other "good." I could go into a whole host of stereotypes that the films use to pull this off, basically insulting the intelligence of every audience member, but that would take too long. And it would be boring. And I seriously doubt anyone is even still reading at this point...

Beyond all of that, my notes kinda trickle into a cursing tirade about how Lord of the Rings is better and how Natalie Portman doesn't return the letters I sent her with my toe-nail clippings. Really not much else to say, because everyone knows that there was never anything really deep or innovative about these stories, and that Jar-Jar Binks was Lucas's way of coming out of the closet. They were basically vehicles for revolutionary special effects, using simplistic plot lines and wickedly-bad acting that happened to come at a time in people of my generation's formative years that forever rendered them to a nostalgic place in our memories because they were so different.

Compare that to the series of movies containing the word "Predator" in the title. If you want to see in-depth story telling at its best, then look no further than that, my friends. Alien Vs. Predator part 2 comes out on DVD tomorrow, so don't even bother calling me. I won't answer. I will be engrossed.

Remember in X Men...

...when they started off the story by telling how sometimes in human evolution there are "great leaps" forward? Yet, when you watch the movie and see some of these mutants, you think "hey, that kinda sucks as far as a "great leap" for that kid." I mean, you have mutants that can walk through walls, mutants that can fly, and then you have some goofy kid that his only power is that he can write...without a pen. Super. "Hey buddy, I know we never take you on cool missions, but that is because it is soooooo important that you stay behind and take....notes. On stuff. Yeah."

Now we have a case of art imitating life (I guess) with, ready for it.... Tree Man! I have to be honest, I'm not even sure where to begin. I mean, talk about getting the shaft on evolutionary "leaps forward." What the heck is he supposed to do with that? What super-villain will he be able to thwart with roots for feet and hands? Unless someone made up of pure carbon dioxide tries to conquer the world, I'm thinking this guy isn't really going to be much help. Just sayin'.

In all seriousness, how suck-tastic would that be, anyway? Wow. Just...wow.