Friday, December 18, 2009

Where are Crow and Tom Servo when you need them?

Okay, so last night, I’m trying to finish hats for my nephew’s bald, little head. Fingers flying. Ears bored. So I turn on the TV. I just leave it on the same channel. I just needed noise.

This movie starts. I kind of glance at the title. Hard Luck. Familiar? Maybe. I don’t know. Whatever.

This movie is holy crap bad. In the first 5 minutes, they roll out the lead character’s entire back story. Good guy gone wrong. Goes to prison. Finds redemption in the love of a good social worker. Gets released. Hurricane Katrina hits and kills his wife and destroys his home. He goes back to New York. Where, oh, by the way, he’s from. Did I mention this is all in 5 minutes? Did I mention this is Wesley Snipes? Oh, you say. That explains a lot. Yes, it does.

Along the way, there’s a white boy who thinks he’s Tony Montana, a Puerto Rican girl who says she’s Cuban (why? I don’t know. Maybe it’s more exotic), Mario Van Peebles as a cop, a gun fight that becomes a car chase, and Cybill Shepherd dressed in a French Maid outfit with a plastic mask on engaging in some seriously weird Saw action with her young Asion boy toy, while her mentally challenged son sits in a farm house (why? I still don’t know). And there’s something going on with the Mafia. Or the cops. I wasn’t sure on that point. It didn’t seem to make a difference. Anyway, I gave up after a half hour. Yeah, that was all in a half hour.

Remember when Wesley Snipes was the new Denzel Washington? Yeah, me too. Wonder if he does. Remember when Mario Van Peebles was a respectable actor and director? Yeah. Me neither. Remember when Cybill Shepherd left Moonlighting to do bigger things? Bet she cries herself to sleep at night remembering that too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

To paraphrase my mother: You'd look so much prettier without all that PhotoShop all over your face

Okay, this is just annoying. Is airbrushing a model for face cream false advertising? Duh. (and BTW – if your pants won’t make a model look thinner without the aid of Photoshop, then they won’t make me look thinner either. Because I’ve yet to figure out how to airbrush real life. So, yeah, that’s false advertising too.)

And so completely unnecessary in my opinion. We get older. That’s okay. We don’t need some false hope that some bottle of wonder cream is going to erase the tracks of time. By 50, you have the face you earned. If you lived healthy, kept your karma clean, avoided the sun when possible and did your best to smile whenever possible, then you look just fine. I guarantee it. And if you didn’t do all those things all the time, you’ve earned your lumps and you probably have some really interesting life lessons that you can impart on others, and a little moderately priced lotion as part of a healthy skin care regime. And you look just fine. If you were a bitter, nasty blight on humanity and a boil on the collective posterior, you also have the face your earned, and the most expensive bottle of platypus placenta/Kopi Luwak extract face cream in the world isn’t going to make you a beautiful person. It isn’t. I don’t care what Twiggy says.

I’ll go on the record saying that I think there are very few things on this planet prettier or more feminine that a happy, healthy, older woman. It’s just true. The way the ocean is pretty. Or a sunset. And the happy and healthy part can’t be bought in a bottle. They take harder work that slapping down a credit card. No shortcuts. No airbrushing. And No magic potions. Leave those faces alone, Madison Avenue.

Lump o' Coal

Okay. I’m getting Grinchy. Enough already with the Christmas.

My fault. I popped the cork too soon. I started doing Christmas right after Thanksgiving. Mis-take. I jumped in and knitted, and shopped, and decorated, and drank eggnog, and listened to Christmas music, and watched holiday specials, and uuuuuuugggggghhhhhh.

Too much of a good thing. I’m really starting to get tired of Christmas music. And just on a personal note to all radio stations, more than one version of the same song in the same hour does not count as a different song. I don’t care if Nat King Cole and Christine Aguilera have a “different take” on the classic. It’s still chestnuts roasting on an open fire. And enough with the Perry Como. You shouldn’t operate a vehicle under the influence of Perry Como. And speaking of under the influence, could somebody please get Sarah Mclachlan some antidepressants? Girl sounds fit to slash her dang wrists. And I love Burl Ives. You love Burl Ives. Everybody loves Burl Ives, but Holly Jolly Christmas is on too many play lists. There is no federal regulation that states it must be played every hour. There are a lot of other perfectly good songs out there. Everybody and their dogs have a Christmas album. This is why God created iTunes.

Okay. Whew. Glad I let that out. It was giving me acid reflux. Or maybe that was the 20 ginger snaps that I ate. Anyway. I’ll get back on track. If I can get everything done by Saturday, I may take a Christmas-free Sunday, and just avoid all things holly and jolly for a day. A holiday-less sorbet to cleanse the palate.

Next year, 12 days of Christmas ONLY.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Catch a Tiger by the Tail

I clicked on Top 10 most searched today link on Yahoo for "Actovegin". I mean, I had to know. Is this something new? A fad? A trend? A bandwagon I have yet to jump? A new superhero? Is it newly coined word for the practice of actively vegging out? Oxymoronic, yet intriguing. Or is it politically active vegans who can't spell?

But no. It's just more good news for Tiger Woods. It never rains, right? So one of his doctors got busted for performance enhancing drugs. And considering the string of extra curricular activities that have showed up, it's no wonder he needs a little help with his long game. So to speak.

Are we witnessing the complete meltdown of one of the top sports figures of the century? Can sports betting and tax evasion be far behind?

Idle Hands

Okay, after all my years of watching Intervention and Dr. Drew Rehab of the Stars (drugs and sex editions), I may not be qualified to be an actual addiction therapist. But I have figured out one handy hint that I think would help all of these people.

Get a hobby.

And I mean this seriously. No facetiousness intended. What you see, time after time, is people who’ve given up the main thing that took up their time, who then have nothing but time to sit around with all their obsessive thoughts. A good hobby will take care of that. It’s something to do with your hands. In the case of sex addicts, a benefit not to be underestimated. In fact, as a devoted knitter, I’d recommend a yarn craft to start out. Those sex addicts could probably keep homeless shelters and NIC/ICUs stocked in blankets and preemie caps year round. Of course, as a functional yarn addict, I can tell you, it could be trading one addiction for another. But at least this one would result in a sweater.

Also, as a confirmed hobbyist, I can say that there is a certain buzz you get out of a completed project. The feeling of “I ROCK!” that comes with that last stitch, brush stroke, step, or whatever it is you do to keep busy is pretty damn good. Given the fact that every addict seems to have self-esteem lower than a snakes belly in a wagon rut, a little I ROCK could probably come in handy.

A good hobby will keep you engaged, give you a sense of achievement, give you something to talk to about to other hobbyists and it can get you through a tough time. And I’d think it could go a long way if you’re trying to get out of the Devil’s workshop.

Monday, December 14, 2009


Invictus – I’m going to give it a personal grade of A, an overall grade of B+. It is not a towering cinematic achievement. But it is good story telling. And if you are in a group that has a vested interest, I think, like me, you’ll like it a lot. And here’s how I’d break those groups out:

Morgan Freeman fans: [Hi, Glo!] It’s his best performance in years. He really challenged himself by taking on a distinctive public figure like Mandela. The accent isn’t exactly right (Matt Damon does a much better job with the Boer accent), but he gets Mandela’s cadence and tone very, very well. And the body language is just spot on. Plus you also get the magnetism that you get even just watching Mandela on TV. There’s a good mix of “great man” and “just a man”. I’d compare it to a Frank Capra movie. With Freeman playing the Jimmy Stewart role.

Sports fans: This is a really good sports movies. And even if you don’t understand the finer points of rugby (how many Americans do?), you’ll get what a physical and dynamic sport this is. It could even tempt a few American football fans into checking this craziness out. Rugby is like football if you grafted on soccer, volleyball and king of the mountain, and then played it backwards and off your medication. The only place that the movie slightly falls down is that because they didn’t want the other players to completely tower over Matt Damon, the other members of the team aren’t quite as big as they should be, so you don’t quite get the overall impact of what professional rugby should look like. But it’s pretty darned close.

And you were there: This is where I fall in. After reading Playing the Enemy, I had to wonder what it was like to actually be there at that World Cup match. And you really get a taste of the scope of what happened that day when the Springboks played the All Blacks. Clint Eastwood really went for the power of the historical moment. Once again, I knew how it all turned out, but I was still riveted. And it’s a good piece of end-of-the-year optimism that shows a moment where people behaved better than they thought possible.

On the downside, there are some things that would be misleading if you didn’t know the actual history. Damon’s character appears to be a mix of Francois Pienaar and Morne Du Plessis. The way the Springboks learned Nkosi Sikelele is completely inaccurate. The flyover is an even better story than what you get in the movie. And you might get the impression that Mandela only came up with his plan after he came to office, when there is good evidence that he had the seeds of the idea quite a bit before he came to power. But there are sacrifices that need to be made in history in order to make a coherent movie. And I think the adaptation is close enough that you get some taste of the incredible real-life drama that this was. And I hope some people will become curious enough to go find out what really happened.

TIME: Quotes of the Day