Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cyclone Dairy

I've been seeing a catchy ad in the sponsor's section of Daily Kos the past few days. I clicked it this morning and found a web site at the other end of this link:

It's pumping the advantages of milk given by cloned cows. It's either the funniest gag web site ever (heard of reverse psychology?) or it's real and Cyclone Dairy is run by the most clueless business people in recorded history.

If you have knowledge of its veracity, leave a coment. Otherwise, enjoy!

Resurrecting "Life During Wartime"

In 1979, Talking Heads released a song called "Life During Wartime." It's a catchy ditty, but grim if you pay attention to the lyrics. It's about a guy living in a future USA complete with weapons smuggling, gunfire in major cities, roadblocks, and spying. Curiously, it is a world with parties, nightclubs and college, as well.

There's one snippet of the song that made it pure fantasy for the past seven years:

"We're tapping phone lines
I know that ain't allowed"

From 2002 until January 20, 2009, it WAS allowed in the America I live in. "Life During Wartime" was just another song.

Now, with illegal wiretapping again verbotten, "Life During Wartime" can come back as a song that could still happen.

Wait...Do we want the whole song to come true...?

Pronouncing the "T" in "Often"


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Natasha Richardson

Every day for the past six years, I've looked at a picture of Natasha Richardson - sometimes dozens of times a day. It was six years ago this month that I started collecting posters for one of my favorite movies, the 1998 version of "The Parent Trap." I have three posters with her picture in three different rooms, so you can't get away from her in my small house.

It's hitting me a little harder than I would have thought, hearing that Ms Richardson passed away. I didn't know her after all, and I usually don't get attached to entertainers - their job is to give me a quality entertainment product and then go away. In this case, though, the entertainment product was outstanding, her character was a beacon of goodness, and I don't know that I've ever seen her in any other movies. I've seen "The Parent Trap" dozens of times and her on-screen character touches me every time. So every day I see her on one of my posters and I smile. I'll always remember her as 'Elizabeth James," the 35-year-old mother of the precocious twins in "The Parent Trap."

I'm going to let myself be a little sad for her for a while. There is the human element after all - she leaves a young family behind. Next, she was younger than me, so that's way too young to go. And it's just sad.

Natasha Richardson - Thank you for bringing a little movie magic into my life.

Monday, March 16, 2009

TV: Dollhouse

If you're not watching "Dollhouse" (Friday at 8:00, Fox network), I insist that you start. Four episodes have aired so far and each has been better than the one before.

Here's the one-paragraph synopsis: "Dollhouse" is a nickname for a lab run by a shadowy company that takes people, removes their memories and personalities, implants artificial memories and personalities, then sends the "dolls" or "actives" out into the world on "engagements" or missions. These engagements range from being consorts to assassins. Between missions, the dolls have all memories erased and they wander around the dollhouse. Our hero is Caroline, now known as Echo. She is being punished for something - we do not know what - and before her memory was erased, had a personal relationship with Ms DeWitt, who runs the lab. Every episode has Echo going out into the world as a different person and doing stuff. We've seen her be a dream date, a human hunting target, a safecracker and a hostage negotiator. So far, this is a great sci-fi concept but it gets better. Somebody, we don't know who, is feeding an FBI agent information on the Dollhouse. So are the people who run the Dollhouse. Also, even though the actives are wiped at the end of every mission, Echo and fellow hottie Sierra are retaining memories. And they aren't about to let the people who run the place know that.

And even better. "Dollhouse" was created by Joss Whedon, the guy behind "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," "Angel," and "Firefly"/"Serenity." And "Toy Story," if you want to go way back. Joss Whedon shows are so far beyond typical TV programs it's pathetic. There's always a sub-text; there's always a bigger picture. It's too soon to tell if he will use "The Big Bad" method that he used in "Buffy" and "Angel," but Joss will be turning "Dollhouse" upside down and shaking it before long. We already see the seeds - Echo with forbidden memories, the shield of secrecy about to be pierced by the FBI guy, and, most telling, several of the recurring characters are played by actors under the 'Guest Starring' label - you just know that they aren't long for this fictional world. It fits a pattern that Joss joked about during the commentaries on "Buffy" and "Angel": "If someone is happy or things are normal, it's time for someone to die." As interesting and fun as the concept of "Dollhouse" is, it will change and grow before long.

Just imagine the fun the actors are having. Every episode they get to be someone else and then they get to be nobody - someone with no personality. It is great television to watch them inhabit temporary characters with all the certitude of a character that has a history. In the third episode, both Echo and Sierra were imprinted with the same personality. You don't see that on your ordinary TV drama.

Eliza Dushku plays Echo. In her 15 year career, Dushku has held the screen with Robert De Niro, Kirsten Dunst, Terence Stamp and of course, the "Buffy" and "Angel" casts. The supporting cast is all top notch. Of particular note is Harry Lennix, who plays Echo's handler. He was the military commander in the last two Matrix films. In a group of people who treat the dolls as disposable, her handler is the one lone person who actually cares about Echo. And Amy Acker, late of "Angel," pun intended, who plays a doctor with a small conscience. This doctor is no Fred.

So, I hereby order you to start watching "Dollhouse." I also recommend going back and watching the first four eps. You should be able to find them on Hulu or bit torrent. If you enjoy challenging, interesting and non-formulaic television, it's time to move into the "Dollhouse."

Not Burgandy

According to the paint can, the actual name for the color of my living room & kitchen paint is Royal Garnet. I't looks burgandy to me.

Dust, Dust Everywhere

The theme of this weekend is painting. I'm on day three of a self-imposed, four-day sanity weekend. I'm turning two walls in my kitchen/living room from olive to burgundy. The house came with olive walls, which I didn't mind, until the holiday family get together when everybody - every person I'm immediately related to, save mom & dad and a niece's husband who weren't present but including two who aren't officially family yet - everybody hated it. I decided to change up the colors. Oh, one-year old DJ didn't weigh in with an opinion.

The first project was to replace the cheap vinyl in the entry with burgandy Linoleum (tm). That two-day job took about four weeks. Next comes changing to walls to burgandy, then the powder room and a kitchen half-height wall get a contrasting sand color.

Before with get into the gritty details, I'm currently waiting for a garage door repair service. The torsion spring, the coil over the door, broke on Friday. The guy said it's about a $140 job. Not much but always more than a guy wants to spend. At the moment, the garage door is a large paperweight, as it's too heavy for me to lift. That spring seems to be rather important in the anti-gravity scheme of things.

So, back to painting. I'm a big believer in prep work. I've learned a couple of things about prep this week-end. First, taking off trim and patching dings is a lot of work. Next, nobody is going to care about the little dings. In fact, I'm sure I'll start adding new dings shortly after the final coat dries, if not before. Next, I'm very bad at repairing dings. I may be making things worse. Finally, sanding spackle and old paint creates a large amount of dust. Very fine dust that gets everywhere. My shop vac seems to be sucking up the dust, filtering out the largest particles and spewing the finest of the fine particles out into every corner of both the kitchen and living room. My house is hardly spic & span on the best of days, but I cannot envision a time when I will not have a fine layer of dust everywhere.

The primer goes on this afternoon. The first coat of burgandy tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Stuff for the Neighbors

My neighbors across the way - I call them the dog people - got brand new kitchen appliances this morning. No, the people don't resemble dogs - they have one. A big one. This dog is 50 lbs if he's an ounce, and he's an inside pet They walk him in the green space between our homes at least three times a day. I wonder who owns whom? I find it odd to see a couple with a one-year old child and a huge-ass dog in a two-bedroom townhome. I live alone in an identical unit and I find the place a little cramped at times. Well, to each their own.

Their appliances were gleaming stainless steel and looked really nice. They are doing their part to stimulate the economy. Good for them.

Here's why I bring this activity to your attention. I watched the delivery crew unload the fridge and get it on the dolly to begin carting it up the entry stairs. It was only then that the leader measured the door to see if it would fit. It must have fit, as there were no appliances sitting on the sidewalk when I got home from work but wouldn't it be funny if it hadn't fit? Well, funny to us?

Mental note: Be sure to measure doors before ordering new appliances in the future or I'll have to write a very unfunny blog posting when I have to send them back.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Twelve Rounds Update

I saw the preview for Twelve Rounds again. Here are some updates and clarifications.

The guy on the phone says "I look forward to it," not "Game on."

There are even more scenes of the wife having gotten away than I took in on the first viewing. Even less incentive to attend.

Alas, the wife is played by Ashley Scott, who is one of my favorites. I don't feel so bad missing an Ashley Scott movie though - she's made several bad ones so what's one more? I'm just sorry that she hasn't gotten her big break in a good movie yet.

Song: New Age Girl by Deadeye Dick

I heard a song the other day that reminded me of one of my favorite memories of working at Domino's Pizza in my home town way back when. It's a little juvenile and may lose something in translation but it tickled me silly at the time and still does.

There was a hit song in the early 90s by Deadeye Dick called "New Age Girl." If you're not familiar, the singer is extolling the virtues of his girlfriend, Mary Moon, who is into new agey things, like being an environmentalist, wearing crystals and even driving a wind car. In the chorus he tells us that she is, of course, a vegitarian.

About a year after "New Age Girl" was a hit, I was answering phones at Domino's Pizza. I took an order from a traveler staying at one of the city's fine motels. As was the custom, in addition to the room number, we would ask for the name under whom the room was registered. Usually the caller would give their last name and that would be that.

On this fateful night, I took a motel order. The pie had at least one type of meat on it. After taking the pie order, I asked for the address.

"Best Western, room 118."

"And the name on the room?"

"Mary Moon."

Brief pause. "I would have thought you would've ordered something vegitarian."


"We'll have that to you in 30 minutes or less. Thanks for calling."

I had to struggle to get the last part out without cracking up. When the phone was back on the hook, I took a little time to laugh my head off. You don't get perfect shots like that very often.

Maybe you had to be there. I was; I still think it was funny.