Saturday, May 31, 2008
Saw Speed Racer with Drew (and my dad) the other day, and it was better than the media blowhards would have you expect. A pleasant surprise.
First and foremost, it looks frickin' fabulous. I don't know how those Wachowski boys did it, but the colors are nothing short of stunning, the CGI is brilliant, everything just POPS off the screen. You have never seen anything like it, I guarantee.
The action, also, is fantastic. The race scenes in the mountains and the desert especially will keep you on the edge of your seat. The massive, four-wheel-steering powerslides thru the turns do get a little tiresome, as do the mid-air spins and barrel-rolls (these are supposed to be race cars, not Wizzers or T-38s, or are they?), but that's pretty nit-picky. It's good fun.
The characters and acting? If you have to ask about those things, you are totally missing the point. Matthew Fox is good as Racer X, Goodman and Sarandon are perfectly serviceable as the cartoon parents, and everyone else does their job. Believe me, they are NOT what this movie is about.
This is yet another technical tour-de-force by the Wachowskis. Remember how you felt walking out of The Matrix for the first time? You had never seen anything like it before. I know, since then you've seen all that stuff a hundred times. Remember the first time you saw it? That's how you'll feel walking out of this one.
See it in digital. See it on a big screen. It's fun. Really fun.
Big deal, right?
I agree, except why did they have to name it "Skynet"?
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Nana and Pops took the kids last night (THANK YOU!), so Robynne and I went out to the show. Sorta surprisingly, she was hip to the idea of seeing Iron Man. Turns out a buff Robert Downey Jr is big stuff. Who knew?
Well, whatever it takes - I'm glad we went. It was good fun.
Downey has always been great at making unlikeable characters likeable. Julian in Less Than Zero, Blake in Two Girls and A Guy, Agent Royce in US Marshals, all colossal jerks, but you like them anyway. And none of those movies are his best work.
Tony Stark (Downey) is an arrogant a-hole. But he's funny, laid back, and difficult to dislike. Of course, he goes thru a major change in perception and perspective, and gets easier to like as the movie goes on. But the first scene of the movie, Stark is at the top of his a-hole-ness, and it's his funniest bit in the movie.
The CGI is well above average, there are some great, great shots (Iron Man throwing a leaping overhand right, giving just a squirt from the jet-boots to get a bit more into it - it's the best comic book art come to computer-generated life you can imagine), the dialog is real, there are a couple of neat cameos (director Favreau puts himself into a swell little comic role, and Stan Lee gets what may be the most-fun-to-film 2-second film appearance ever), and it doesn't ever slow down for long.
It's probably too much for the kids (it's rated PG-13 for a reason), but it's a hoot. Go check it out.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
We're going to Game 6. Whoda thunk it after Game 3? Not me.
Another gritty, desperate effort by the Stars, this time in the chamber of horrors called Joe Louis Arena, was led, as usual, by Captain Brendan Morrow. A cross check to the right cheek didn't take the starch out of him. Turco was fantastic, choosing the perfect time to shake the Joe monkey off his back.
The series shifts back to the AAC for Game 6 on Monday night. One game at a time, baby. This thing ain't over!
Friday, May 16, 2008
It. Was. AWESOME!
He died in the hospital.
No word on how far he spat.
On the one hand, this is one of the worst natural disasters to hit anywhere in recent memory. Millions homeless, tens of thousands dead, an entire heavily-populated region under water - this is as bad as anything that's happened in Bangladesh or Timor or wherever you want to name, certainly the worst natural disaster since the tsunami.
On the other hand, it's so predictable. The fascist thugs who constitute the "government" of Burma are so vile, so completely unconcerned about the welfare of the people they profess to care for, all this is to them is another exercise in clamping down on information, lying to the press and the rest of the world, and an excuse to go shopping in the tons of relief goods stuck in Rangoon warehouses.
See, I've upset myself just writing that one paragraph. This is why I've stayed away from the story. It infuriates me, and there is NOTHING we in the West can do about it.
Amidst all the horror, death, disease, and utter destruction of the Irrawaddy Delta, Than Shwe and his fellow thugs pushed thru the referendum on the new constitution (you know, the one that took 14 years to write and pretty much guarantees military dominance, crushing of democracy, and repression of everyone not above the rank of captain into perpetuity) and got, shockingly 92% approval. Who, I wonder, were the 8% who voted against it? What a disgusting joke.
Maybe, just maybe, the unholy disaster in the south actually causes something to change. Maybe the government has shown it total disregard for the welfare of the people so blatantly and so repugnantly that the population comes to the conclusion (not wrongly, btw) they have nothing to lose in a widespread revolt. It could happen.
But I doubt it.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
It's bad enough when creaky, old, worn-out Jimmy Buffett or big-hat-no-sleeves-and-less-talent Kenny Chesney invade our fair burg. On Aug 9, we will have to deal with the likes of Goatwhore and Apocalyptica.
Anyone want to rent my house that day? I sure won't be here.
No one, myself included, had any hopes for the Stars entering this year's playoffs, so to make it to the Western Conf Finals, playing the President's Cup winners and probably Stanley Cup champs, is an unexpected bonus. There remains a chance for the a miracle comeback, but it's not like Detroit is barely beating our boys. This has been a domination from the beginning. Those guys are just better.
Last night was a great effort, and it was good to see some smart play, real scoring chances, and passion from our boys. They aren't going down without a fight.
However, injuries to Barnes, Boucher, Lehtinen, and (probably) Morrow are taking their toll. The inexperience of the kids on the blue line, and some mistakes by Zubov (I'm sorry, but I still think a bit over-rated) led to a couple of scores last night. And Detroit has some truly outstanding players.
Game 4 is tomorrow night, and we sure would like to see the boys avoid the sweep. I think they will. I think this team has too much pride to go out meekly. We'll be by the channel for sure!
Monday, May 12, 2008
But, of course, there is always the chance that the deviant and odd are shunned by society because they are deviant and odd, and not because the deviant and odd are actually better than everyone else which leads everyone else to shun them.
Nobody understands me, therefore I am better than everyone. Except you of course. I'll let you be better than me if you'll give me a job.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Unable to afford a camera crew and equipment to make a video, they put their noggins together and came up with a genius idea. Taking advantage of the Brit obsession with CCTV cameras, they moved their equipment all over Manchester, set up in crosswalks, street corners, shop entrances, even on a bus, and played their single "Paper". Then they requested the footage from the camera owners under the Freedom of Information Act. They cobbled together clips from over 20 cameras and, voila, a video was born.
I am not prepared to call these guys the next Beatles, or even the next Housemartins, but they aren't terrible, and the video is kind of fun.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
The Stars looked somewhat awed by the mighty Red Wings tonight. No one in white had a particularly good game, although they finished better than they started. At least, I think so. It's also possible Detroit let up on the gas with a huge lead.
It's one game, and Wing have been sitting with their feet up for some time, while the Stars were battling for their lives against the Sharks. So, this could be nothing to worry about.
Or it could be a real short series. We'll find out a lot on Saturday night.
Until then, there's lots of hockey sudden-expertism to enjoy over on the DMN Stars blog. Be sure to read the comments. I suspect about one commenter out of ten actually knows something, while the other nine are spewing the same drivel we heard on the telecast or on Bob and Dan's post-game show. Good for a giggle, if nothing else.
Monday, May 05, 2008
This one sat in the draft bin for quite a while. Interesting, though, so I'll go ahead and post it, several weeks later...
The article goes into some fairly arcane accounting and financial market mumbo-jumbo, but I think the upshot is this: Investment vehicles (mutual funds, hedge funds, asset-backed securities which can include sub-prime mortgage-backed securities, etc) state their value by a rule called "mark to market". In other words, the proprietors of such vehicles determine the value of their assets by comparing them to the market values of similar assets. These valuations are, of course, subject to audits and can't be total figments of imagination.
However, exotic securities (including the aforementioned sub-prime mortgage-backed securities) are so new and traded by such a small niche of the marketplace, no one really knows what the market is, especially in times of panic. So, these securities are often valued by a method called "mark to model" - the market is small and there isn't much history to go by, so the Wall Street boys and girls use predictive models to divine a value.
Both methods, "mark to market" and "mark to model" are subject to a great deal of psychology. Like almost all markets, securities have value because enough people THINK they have value. Once the psychology gets shaken, the whole thing can crumble.
A number of people who know a hell of a lot more about this subject than I do, including former Presidential candidate Steve Forbes, have called for an end, or at least a suspension, of "mark to market", contending that times of panic render this valuation method worse than useless.
I don't know what to think of all this. It certainly makes sense on the surface, but my grasp of the investment market is hazy at best. I think I understand the role human psychology plays in the whole thing, and that's what scares me the most...
It took another half a period, but the Stars finally, FINALLY, put the Sharks away last night (rather, this morning). I flaked out at 1:00 or so, after the 3rd OT period. Captain Superman (also known as Brendan Morrow) put the game-winner past Nabokov at about 1:25 a.m., Central Daylight Time.
The way I'm feeling this morning, I made the right decision. Another 30 minutes would have likely killed me.
What a game! It's only the semis, so it won't be remembered with the stature of a Finals marathon, but it ranked right up there with the great ones. The first period and, more so, the first OT were as good as you will ever see. I was exhausted after the non-stop end-to-end play of the first OT; I can only imagine (actually, I can't) how the players felt.
So many heroes for the Stars. Turco was unbelievable. THIS is what the guy got that monster contract for. He's earned the right to thumb his nose at all of us who questioned his heart over the past few years. Ribiero, so snake-bit last night, kept firing at the net, only to clang it off the post or be absolutely robbed by Nabokov. And speaking of robbed, Brad Richards should be filling out a police report on that miraculous, how-did-that-not-get-past-the-line glove save Nabokov put on him. Modano, Zubov (still too shaky; perhaps, dare I say it, a bit overrated?), Robidas, the kids on the blue line, Lehtinen, Toby freakin' Peterson, everyone showed something last night.
But the highest praise has to reserved for Captain Brendan Morrow.
I love this type of player - not the fastest, biggest, or most talented guy out there, he makes stuff happen by willing it. A hard-hitting tough guy with talent and enough physical tools to separate him from the goons, this guy is a winner. Things happen around him nearly every shift because he makes them happen. How fitting that he throws the hit of the series on Michalek (who I hope is not seriously hurt) and scores the goal that wins it. If the Stars can keep going, he has a Conn Smythe trophy coming.
Now its on to Detroit. I don't know anything about the Red Wings this year, but we'll all be finding out. How far does this go? I have no idea. Wherever we're going, it's been fun so far, and should be fun as we continue down the road.
I don't know what's keeping these guys going. Whatever it is, Morrow still looks like he's ready to skate thru a wall. Ribiero has the energy to check forwards and back. And Modano still has the jets.
The Stars dominated the first OT, the Sharks clearly had more in the second. Who can dig deep enough to win this thing? We'll see...
Sunday, May 04, 2008
That was the craziest 20 minutes of hockey I have ever seen. Ralph and Razor agree, and they've seen a lot more than I have.
Ribeiro clearly did not go to church this morning. A good Catholic boy would have cashed in one of those golden opportunities. Turco, on the other hand, has more than earned the two "Turcolicious" comments from Razor.
I have to get up at 5:15 tomorrow morning. I can't take much more of this.
Turco - still fantastic. Robidas - giving it up for the team. Morrow - what a hit on Michalek.
I love the Morrow-Ribiero-Lehtinen line. Man, it just seems like stuff happens when those guys are on the ice. Interesting choice by Tippett to have Richards out with Morrow and Lehtinen in the waning moments of period 3. Not sure where that came from.
And here we go with OT, again. Who's the hero? I'd like to see a blast from the stick of Mr. Fistric. Let's see...
The Sharks really owned the last 5 minutes or so of the period. The Stars are getting another world-class performance from Mr. Turco, but they are going to need to turn up the offensive pressure to win this one.
Safe is death!
We're 20 minutes in to Game 6, and both teams have come out flying. I thought the Stars won the period on the judges scorecard, although neither team lit the lamp.
Some heavy hits, a bunch of good scoring chances for both teams - that last laser to Turco's glove side nearly stopped my heart. Good stuff!
I'm feeling good about the Stars chances in periods 2 and 3. We'll check back in at the 2nd intermission.
You can now buy the RES-Q Wedge at pollywogbaby.com and azream.com. In addition, we've launched resqwedge.com. There's not much to it at the moment, but stay tuned there as well.
Just in case you were, you know, wondering...
UPDATE: Oops. I meant "azream.us". Thanks for correcting me, Simon!
There are previews all over the place. Personally, I like the DMN Stars blog for the latest and greatest news.
Speaking of which, it looks like Stu Barnes isn't going to make it tonight. Dude has to have a concussion, and probably a pretty bad one. Barnes is one of those glue guys who's value is difficult to judge until he misses a lot of time. His absence has resulted in some serious line juggling, which is not what Tippett wants this time of year.
Regardless, this has to end tonight. Game 7 in San Jose would be a nuthouse. You don't go up three games to none, then have to go back to the other guy's place for Game 7. The Red Wings have their feet up right now, recharging for their next opponent. The Stars need some downtime as well, if only to get Barnes back. And they need to regain their confidence, which may be a bit shaken after losing two in a row.
It says here Stars, and maybe by a bunch. I think 3-1 or even 4-1 are likely.
An early paragraph from the piece:
Israel is the only country whose creation was approved by the UN; yet it is the only country whose legitimacy is called into question. It is the only country which the world requires to compromise with its Palestinian Arab attackers and accede to their demands, even while they are firing rockets at its schools and houses and blowing up its citizens. It is the only country which continues to provide electricity and basic services to those attackers and routinely treats thousands of Palestinians in its own hospitals, even those who have Israeli blood on their hands. And yet it is the only country which, in the court of public opinion, is condemned for behaving ‘disproportionately’ when it uses targeted military means to defend itself, and is accused of causing the very ‘Nazi’ or ‘apartheid’ atrocities of which it itself is the victim.
Interesting read. Go check it out.
Saturday, May 03, 2008
It's been a full year since little Madeleine McCann disappeared in Portugal.
No one has any idea where she is or what happened to her. Well, SOMEone knows exactly the answer to both of those questions. But we don't know who that someone is.
She's not coming home. We're never going to know what happened.
It scares me. It saddens me very much.
Please pause for a moment today, think of this little girl, and pray for her.
Ten bonus points if you know where the name came from before clicking here.
Friday, May 02, 2008
I'm still on the bandwagon, and I'm still feeling good. Our boys are still up 3 games to 2 following the just-completed 3-2 OT loss in San Jose.
And yes, I wish I had come up with "Stars lose their way in San Jose". It's terribly gay, but I chuckled.
I'm just a little nervous, that's all.
Letting these clowns back into the series is a mistake, obviously. Especially when you're up 2-0 in Game 5. I give the Sharks full credit, they capitalized on some dumb plays and passiveness by the Stars. And Turco finally let in the soft goal.
Dallas sports fans, myself included, are just too gun-shy. We've been burned by all of our teams in the recent past. Any hint of a possible melt-down is met with much gnashing of teeth and a pressing need for more Maalox.
This needs to end on Sunday. We can't handle a Game 7. The entire DFW Metroplex of Love will spontaneously combust.
The Dark Knight
The Incredible Hulk
You Don't Mess With The Zohan
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
It ought to be a kick-a** summer!