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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Worst Bit in the World

I usually like Keith Olbermann, but seriously the guy needs to drop the "Worst Person in the World" bit.

It's always Bill O'Reilly.

Hey, Ketih, if you can't pick someone else, change the name of the bit. Call it "Bill O'Reilly and Two Other Assholes" or something.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

One of The Greatest Living Actors

When I saw the trailer for the new Batman movie a few weeks ago, my first thought wasn't "Oh, man, that looks awesome!" (It looks alright...I guess.) No, my first thought was, "Damn, Heath Ledger is one of the greatest actors alive." *

His Joker looks very interesting, unlike any Joker I've ever seen or thought of. But then I weighed it against some of his other roles, specifically his turn as Ennis Del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain," which was the highlight of the movie, I thought, as well as lesser known, lesser respects characters he's played like Skip Engblom in the "Lords of Dogtown" or Jacob Grimm in the "Brothers Grimm."

Now think about how different these four characters are from another. (I'm assuming you've seen all three of these movies, of course.) As Jacob Grimm, he was the bookish nerd, constantly pushing his glasses up onto his nose, unsure of himself and content to disappear into the background. As Skip Engblom, he's brimming with confidence, full of charisma as the surfer dude party boy. And then there's Ennis, the stone-faced exterior hiding the turbulent emotions inside, all gritting teeth and inarticulate awkwardness. And then there's the Joker...

It's an amazing feat of raw talent that all these characters were played by the same man.

This past weekend I watched another of his movies, The Four Feathers, perhaps his biggest flop though it was clearly intended to be a star-maker for all of its leads, including Wes Bentley, whose biggest exposure lately was, ahem, playing the baddie in Ghostrider, Kate Hudson, whose last good movie was probably Almost Famous, and Djimon Hounsou. (Djimon Hounsou, incidentally, is also on my "greatest actor alive" list. The guy is good.)

The movie itself was semi-interesting, but definitely not an example of cinema at its finest. I watched it mostly for Djimon and Heath, watching Heath closely to see if he deserved the "greatest actor alive" designation I had placed on him.

He did. He didn't have much to work with, but he pulled it off. He showed the promise that he later fulfilled in the trio of movies I mentioned earlier (as well as the forthcoming Dark Knight, I'm assuming).

So imagine my surprise when I heard that he was dead...






* Part of this statement has been rendered obsolete.

Monday, January 21, 2008

An Appeal to the Masses

You watch the debates? Nah, me either. Not when American Gladiators and Deal or No Deal are on!

I guess it was a real slam fest, but probably not as brutal as American Gladiators. During the Pyramid challenge, Wolf totally lunged at the red guy and...

Anyway, I guess I didn't watch the debates because I'm burned out on the horserace. I demanded that we change the channel when they came on. I just didn't want to see them.

Debates are for the undecided. They're for the people who are still weighing the candidates, testing them to see how they do. Maybe it is a sort of theater too, but in that case it's not much different from American Gladiators or Deal or No Deal, just not as exciting. (They are commerce-free though, right?)

I'm not undecided. I tapped my inner George Bush and have already decided. And I'm not sure I can be shaken or convinced. I've tried to think of something that Obama could do that would cost my support, but I can't think of it.

If he fathered a white child or got caught smoking dope with a hooker, I think I'd still support him.

For me, this race isn't about testing the waters or keeping an open mind. It's about crossing my fingers and hoping...praying...that America isn't so gullible to fall for Clinton again.

That's right, the prospect of more Clinton makes this atheist want to petition the Lord.

America's decline should be something grand, something to live up to the juggernaut we Americans have created these past 100 years. Natural disaster, nuclear apocalypse, these should be our death knells. Our empire shouldn't crumble because of dynastic misadventure. We're a nation of the people, for the people, and there are millions of people in this country not named Bush or Clinton.

Let's give them a shot and wait for the warheads to come raining down instead, huh?

Note to Self

Breathe.

Forget about that stupid mini-van on the highway that was going 40 mph in a 65 mph zone. Forget that you got stuck behind this dumbass. Forget that you couldn't get around them because the traffic is whipping by at 65 mph and you're only going 40!

Let it go. Your truck doesn't have an RPG launcher and even if it did, you would get into a lot of trouble if you blasted that minivan into pink mist. Besides, if you think about it, should idiotic driving be considered a capitol offense? Shouldn't there at least be a trial or something? Besides, I'm sure there was a time or two when you were the idiot...

When you could, you got around the mini-van and you moved on with your life. You're home now, no more driving until at least tomorrow. The chances of you crossing paths with the 40 mph idiot again is very slim.

So why are you still angry? Get over it.

More Paul Pena

I've still been listening to Paul Pena and wanted to share this verse from one of his songs called Tuva Farewell. One thing that I like about Pena's music is that it is both intensely personal and also completely literal.

Most music is intensely personal, but it's often couched in opaque metaphors that require some kind of interpretation. Kurt Cobain may sing about being locked in a heart-shaped box for weeks, but he's not talking about literal imprisonment.

Pena is more direct. Take this snippet from a song called Tuva Farewell.
Here I am in Tuva, listening to the sound,
Here I sit at the center of Asia, with my ear to the ground.
Lord, its been a long time, since I've felt so free!
Through the hardships and heartaches,
Through the tiredness of body and mind I see
That every heart needs to sing like a bird on the wing!
Pena tells you exactly where he is, what he's doing, and what he's feeling. No interpretation necessary.