30 May 2008

Deadly Lamarr

Harvey Korman
(1927-2008)
Comedian, conniving Western villain, the Great Gazoo

Rowling putters with more Potter

True fans heard this yesterday or so — that J.K. Rowling has penned a prequel to her Harry Potter books.

Don't get too excited, though. It's an 800-word work that's handwritten and to be auctioned off for charity. The big question, pundits say, is "What's it worth?"

Easy. It's worth 8/10ths of a picture, since a picture's worth a thousand words.

(Wonder how much naughtiness she was able to squeeze into that short amount of space...)

29 May 2008

Yeah, but what is it?

The unlikely beneficiary of tough financial times and rising grocery expenses?

Spam. Sales of the gelatinous meat project have spiked in the last quarter. Here's a story on the phenomenon from the Associated Press.

I don't have an issue with the meatstuff. I ate it all the time as a kid. I do remember an ill-advised radio campaign where two guys debated where Spam came from, and they concluded it was the, uh, "Spam animal." Now I'm no marketing genius, but it doesn't seem like a good idea, fellas, to endorse all those mystery-meat jokes.

The Sports Rock Cafe in Phenix City has been offering a fried Spam sammich for a couple of years. Might just have to go get me one...

Fins to the left

Folks around the office were talking about that Jimmy Buffett beer, Landshark Lager.

"Some people like Corona. Some people like Landshark," one woman says to me. Really, that's probably all I needed to hear.

I tried it anyway. Feh. Like the world needed another watery, flavorless beer. "Island style" indeed.

CJ tells me that Buffett hates Corona, yet everyone drinks it at his concerts. Maybe it's a way for him to get a piece of that pie. Maybe he'll only sell Landshark at his show. You know what, though? I'll never know.

28 May 2008

Sign o' the times

Hack. Cough. Spittle.

With no apologies to Lou Gramm, I got a fever of 100.3, and baby, I can't even dance right now. Scratchy throat. Dizzy head. And the head cold symptoms ain't so hot either.

I need more than a mother to take care of me right now. I need a...

That's right, I need a superma. Too bad I didn't swing into this store when I saw the sign, on the Gulf Coast, last weekend. Wouldda walked closer for a better photo, but it would've easily been some sort of open-container violation.

27 May 2008

Raconteurs. Live. Tonight.

This just announced by National Public Radio: A live concert Webcast by those steady-as-she-goes Raconteurs. It starts at 10 p.m. EDT and can be streamed rightcheer.

It's a sold-out concert at Washington D.C.'s 9:30 Club. And it'll be archived on the NPR site if'n you gotta go with "Boston Legal's" James Spudeater Spader (right) instead of Jack White.

(Sorry so many blogposts today. Catching up after the long weekend, I guess...)

Make that 98 luftballons

A French daredevil, Michel Fournier, who planned to enjoy the world's longest free-fall after jumping from a balloon from 25 miles up, suffered a major setback today.

His balloon left without him.

You can find photos of the balloon sailing away without him at his Web site, where initially it was posted that "Une équipe va tenter la récupération du ballon" — or a team would try to recover the balloon.

At a later press conference, Fournier said, "Le ballon à été retrouvé dans les plaines à 40km de la zone de lancement. Les techniciens étudient actuellement le dysfonctionnement.
Une conférence de presse sera donnée dès les premières conclusions."

Which, per Babelfish, translates to "D'oh!"

***
"Everyone's a superhero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk"
Nena, "99 Red Balloons"

Paper chase

Two of my pieces ran in the paper today.

Here's a story about the city of Columbus' dwindling brown bag license. R.I.P.

And here's a story about former mayor Frank Martin's fictionalized account of a true court case. I didn't like the book, "Sowega," personally, but maybe I'm a writing snob. Martin fans might want to check it out.

'Flex' vs. 'Sex'

Let's just hope this isn't a sneak preview of the "Sex and the City" movie...



OK, so that's clearly not Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte (mmmm, Charlotte...) or Miranda. They're female bodybuilders. At least allegedly female. That one with the nose and the blonde wig, her name's really Dewayne, I think. The one in the frozen frame above has the scariest cleavage I've ever seen, and I just came back from a condo on the Redneck Riviera, where all the boys have massive man-mary glands.

Still, it's good for a chuckle.

24 May 2008

But where's the Cube Bert?

thanks, Maggie & Bandit
So there's a long weekend. It's raining. You're bored?

Check out Cubeecraft, where you can print out a formative character from your pop culture frame and, with scissors and a pen knife, fold him up into 3-D walking, talking figure*. Or at least a squarish rendition of one.

There are "Star Wars" stormtroopers, Kirby, The "Ghostbusters" Stay-Puft marshmallow man, and even Peyton Manning. Here I made Strong Bad, from Homestar Runner. I did it at work, on a black-and-white printer, so I had to color him red with a ballpoint pen. The blue and green and yellow is via highlighter.

It's all free, by the way.

*figure does not actually walk and talk.

23 May 2008

Randoms

You can find my column from today's edition of the real paper, about Indiana Jones, rightcheer.

Oh, and Jenn and I posted pictures of the pups, Sidda and Seamus, on the new pet photo posting page at the L-E, if anyone wants to see them or post their own pet pix. Hey, lay off. We don't have kids, and it's not nearly as geeky as Dogster.

22 May 2008

Staff position

Thanks Jeff, Ching...
The British Office of Government Commerce paid a graphic design firm a hefty sum for a new logo design. The group came up with the rather unimaginative — if elegant — design:
Or maybe it is more imaginative than we first thought. Here's the logo turned erect er, spun 90 degrees:
The Telegraph reports the story here, in what's one of the funniest innuendo-filled stories I've ever read. Check it out.

Age, mileage

Today is, of course, Indy-pendence Day. I went to the 12:01 a.m. showing of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" last night, so that I could write a column on it for tomorrow.

I didn't like it. Sorry. Not "Temple of Doom" bad. But nowhere near as good as "Raiders" or "Last Crusade.

I'll post a link to the column tomorrow.

21 May 2008

Oh, deer

Thanks, Meg.
This story's just nuts, about a guy who used fisticuffs to defend his bambino from Bambi. Read it on Salon.com, here.

I'd pay a buck (rim shot!) to see the YouTube on this. I mean, if there was footage, it would really be worth some doe.

Golden corral

A local restaurateur told me yesterday he was considering ways to drop his food prices, since, with the economy and all, it's tougher for folks to plan a night out.

In stark contrast is the Wall Street Burger Shoppe — a place that you know is fancy, based on its extravagant use of the extra "pe" at the tail of "shop." The place has just put a price of $175 on a burger made with Kobe beef, shaved black truffles, foie gras, Gruyere cheese, golden truffle mayo, and — here's the kicker — a dusting of gold flakes. (The picture above is one of their modest, $4 burgers.)
The price of the so-called Richard Nouveau Burger just rose from $150 to $175, to ensure its place as New York's most expensive hamburger.

Me, I'll stick to consuming my gold flakes the was God intended, via shots of Goldschlager.

Note: Fellow L-E blogger Chris Johnson beat me to posting something on this. Bastard. I owe him a hamburger, maybe. But he'll have to settle for something from the Dollar Menu at Mickey D's.

20 May 2008

Sunday Spins (Tuesday edition)

Because sometimes you need to unwind in the middle of the week. Or even the front-end of the middle of the week. Like tonight, Tuesday night.

Here's what's in the changer:

* The Hollies, "20 Great Love Songs": Always loved that song "The Air That I Breathe," which is very late-era Hollies. When Radiohead released "Creep," I pretty quickly caught on to the parallels between the songs. I was surprised when a friend told me last week that R'head actually was sued and owed the Hollies money for stealing borrowing the melody from the verses. Or something like that.

* Natalie Merchant, "Motherland": Her best solo record, largely because it was produced by T Bone Burnett, IMO. (His "new" record, "Tooth of Crime," is out now, by the way).

* The Jayhawks, "Hollywood Town Hall": It's their second or third record, but the first one I heard. Feels like Gram Parsons all over the place. My brother thought Gary Louris was a girl, first time he heard "Waiting for the Sun." Silly brother. "Two Angels" is maybe their Best Song Ever.

* Old 97's, "Blame it on Gravity": OK, this isn't an old CD that needed dusting off, so maybe it violates the rules of Sunday Spins. But I'm still trying to wrap my ears around this one.

* Andrew Zohn & Jeffrey McFadden, "Duo Spiritoso": Andrew's a buddy and one of the finest classical guitarists in the world -- so certainly the best guitarist I know (Apologies to my buddy Steve Vai (Watch this until Vai brushes back his hair. You will pee your pants)). McFadden's a Maple Leafs fan, so he can't be all bad, either. This is a collection of duo pieces for guitar.

Sexcetera

A new study finds that the whole thing about "technical virginity" is, for the most part, a myth.

For those who don't know (and I don't mean "know" in the Biblical sense), technical virginity is the theory that teens with their burgeoning bodies and explosive sex drives will satisfy their appetites through oral sex or other alternative means aside from traditional intercourse. And so, supposedly, they remain virgins.

But, to quote a Reuters piece referencing the study, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, "The researchers found about 55 percent of the teens said they had engaged in oral sex but that this practice was far more common among those who also had engaged in vaginal sex." Of course, even if teens were doing other stuff in place of "regular" secksheel relations, they'd be kidding themselves. Those other acts are every bit as intimate and sexual as what Roger Ebert calls the "rumpy pumpy."

So the moral of the story is... ummm, errrr, that teens have a lot more sex these days.

And that Ebert should never, ever use the word "rumpy" again.

New 'wave cooking?

You've been here. There's a guy in the break room, about to nuke his sectional microwave-safe plate of leftovers when he comes to the painful realization that everything in there may not be suitable to be heated. So he's weighing the alternatives. Exactly how bad would hot potato salad be, versus how much work is it to scrape the potato stuff onto the lid to sit out the session microwave?

So, brainstorm: Why don't they make sectional plastic containers that actually split apart? I was thinking of an interlocking groove along the top lip, but this guy had the better idea. "Like Lego," he said. You know, so you could carry it as one plate but just pop off the part that needs to stay cold. It would be the McDLT of Tupperware. The hot stays hot, and the cool stays cool.

Of course, it sounds good in theory, but the McDLT didn't sell so well, as I recall. Not that you'd know it from these fans...

***
"What's hotter than hot?
(Ice cold)"
OutKast, "Hey Ya"

19 May 2008

Jonesing for the new Indy?

Many places are doing midnight shows on Wednesday of "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull," including the Carmike 15. Get yer tickets in advance.

The movie's scoring well at Rotten Tomatoes. It's also in the green on Metacritic.com, which I like better since it presents a weighted average. It's a good popcorn flick — that's the consensus. Don't expect anything groundbreaking (the way "Raiders" was in 1981), but it fits in nicely with the other three films.

***Spoiler alert***
Highlight the rest of this line for a key plot point: Indiana Jones is... old now.

The beast within...

This came to my attention via one of Jenn's old co-workers. It's, um, funny.

No, not *that* Police band


"The Band's Visit" — an Israeli film that practically swept its country's awards, not to mention nods from Cannes, Montreal and some other fests — is playing in Columbus now, and I highly recommend it. It's billed as a black comedy about an Egyptian ceremonial police band stuck in the middle of the desert in Israel.

I expected lots of madcap fish-out-of-water humor. There was none of that.

Instead, this is a melancholy riff on loneliness and isolation. And the most isolated person turns out not to be the beautiful restaurateur in Noweheresville, but the guy from the big city. The film is not laugh-out-loud funny. It's not wipe-your-eyes sad. In fact, it feels a bit like a trifle, but it is touching and worth your time.

In Columbus, it's at the Peachtree 8 through Thursday. Elsewhere, look for a rental soon.

18 May 2008

Kitchen kaboodle

When we first started renovating our Bibb City crack house, in 2003, Jenn and I went sans kitchen for months. We'd decided to lay down a brick tile floor, in homage to the Bibb Mill, up the street. And that proved time-consuming. Then we had to have custom cabinets built. Still wanted to fit in an old, antique sink, too, so that was an uber-special job.

So we ate a lot of microwave dinners reheated on top of the makeshift kitchen counter (a.k.a., appliance boxes). And when we finally got something that resembled a kitchen, we were satisfied for a long time while we worked on other, more pressing projects. Still, we were frustrated that the room just wasn't more comfortable...

Last week, my wife spent one of her precious few weeks out of school repainting all the cabinets, crown molding and trim in the room. And she crafted out a plan to make a living space in the 15-foot-square room. We finished the last detail work yesterday.

She planned to surprise me with the love seat, but she broke down and told me the plan before she bought it. (A crafty way of securing my help in moving it into the room, I thought.) Anyway, the place looks phenomenal now, and I can take no credit, except for painting the cabinet on which we store the microwave. Thanks, Jenn.

We had breakfast and listened to the new Old 97's record there this morning. (It's good. A little laid back, but lemme give 'er a few more spins before grading it.)

16 May 2008

Nothing against Christians who aren't crazy...

Ordered a video game from Half.com, since I can sill buy stuff secondhand without violating The Pact (which Jenn and I decided to continue for, like, ever).

So the game arrives yesterday, and here's who it's from:

Now, I grew up in Pensacola, Fla., where Bible-thumpers would stand on the street corners near bars and scream so loudly that spit would fly out of their mouths. And these guys represented a loving God?

Those guys would be offended if you called them Christian nuts, even though they were (with emphasis on the "nuts"). At least my video-game-playing friend admits it up front.

15 May 2008

Extra! Extra!

Sorry I've been MIA today. There was actually a fire at the newspaper. I wrote one of the stories on the event, and then I paired up with a coworker to stuff papers and run a delivery route.

So. Very. Tired.

14 May 2008

Second Life for the afterlife

Graveyards are almost always creepy. But who'd have though an online graveyard could be creepier than a real-live one — just in a different way?

Your honor, the prosecution would like to call Cherished Lives to the stand. At the Web site, you can pick a virtual plot for your dear departed. Click through the gate and you'll be greeted by a virtual woman in a large office — Olivia's her name — who asks you to enter a plot number. I punched in three random numbers and she says, "You're driver's waiting for you outside." Then there's the virtual drive, in what looks to be a '57 Chevy, over a covered bridge to someone's plot.

Then it gets really strange. The "plot" looks kind of like a not-so-busy MySpace page, with a photo of the deceased, a song playing in the background (I found two instances of "God Bless the USA"), and a cartoon looking tombstone on a little hill with virtual clouds blowing around behind it.

The reason for the site — besides to make $50 from folks having their loved one so "immortalized" — is explained in this excerpt from a press statement:

"For many people, the opportunity to visit deceased loved ones is not a viable option, so with CherishedLives.com, one can use the virtual world as a portal to memorialize lost loved ones. Visitors can place flowers on virtual tombstones, as well as receive the actual weather conditions at the departed’s real-world cemetery."

To which I say: Ugh.

***
"Won't let the creeping ivy
Won't let the nervous bury me

Our veins are thin

Our rivers poisoned"

Radiohead, "We Suck Young Blood"

Who knew?

There's actually a formula for determining the suitable age range of a mate.

It's simple math. The youngest person someone could date without social stigma is figured thusly:
(Older Person's Age/2) + 7

So a 37-year-old man, uh, just for instance, could date someone who's just shy of her 26th birthday without a social stigma. Kirsten Dunst, for instance. Or Erika Christensen. But then, someone's wife would probably kill him. ... Ladies who are the same age, you get Andy Roddick or, hmm, Kieran Culkin. Sorry.

Or you could just say nuts to social stigma and go ahead and call that Olsen twin. Here's more on the rule, you preevert.

***
"Young girl, get out of my mind
My love for you is way out of line
You'd better run, girl
You're much too young, girl"
Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, "Young Girl"

13 May 2008

Yucky charms

It's crap like this that gives "natural food" a bad name. We got in a big box o' Brothers All Natural Crisps, in varying flavors like Asian pear, apple, and potato. And the trouble starts with the name. The short list:

* They're not crispy. They're powdery. But I guess "Apple Powders" doesn't have much curb appeal at yon market.

* They smell bad. The Asian pear ones smell like rotten dried potato. Which is more than you can say about the potato ones. Those don't smell bad, but they taste like dried stewed potatoes rather than, say, a potato chip or that more famous bit of crispy potato goodness — the Pringle.

* They claim to be "The healthy snack... the one Mother Nature would eat!" Now, not having met Mother Nature, I can't swear this is false. But I can promise you no human being on the far side of starvation would eat them. So they're lying or Ms. Nature's a sadist. You decide.

Have I made it clear yet? These things are disgusting. They couldn't be farther from gusting. They're possibly the worst things I've ever eaten, and remember that I've eaten dirt and barbecued tarantulas. If this the alternative, give me some additives and preservatives, please.

Have you ever really, really, really, really...

...used a thesaurus, Bryan Adams?*

Fans** will be excited to learn that Adams, or "Canada’s #1 ambassador"*** as his press agents call him, has a new record out today. It's called "11," because old musicians who are only moderately talented to start with easily forget how to be creative. He's on tour, and actually coming to Alpharetta, Ga., with (snicker snicker) Foreigner on July 20. You heard it here, and for that, I'm sorry.

Those of us who hate Bryan Adams are much more excited that today is the release date for the new Old 97's record, after a 42-year hiatus****. The album is called "Blame It On Gravity" — see Bryan, not that hard — and the couple of tracks I've heard sound great. Crunchy guitar. High lonesome warble. The whole package. Can't wait to hear the whole thing.

--
* Thanks Jenn. This is a mod of her joke.
** Assuming they still number in the plural.
*** Behind Avril Lavigne, Keanu Reeves, William Shatner, Neil Young, most of The Band, Sarah McLachlan, Jim Carrey, Rush and anyone else over here, right?
**** OK, OK. Four years.

12 May 2008

D-bra

That's an anagram for my name, of course: D-bra. Hot, right?

Today, Newsweek posts a story about the quest to build the perfect bra, wherein the author writes with titillating language such as "bra manufacturers have seized on structural innovation as the latest selling point. Last month Maidenform introduced what it calls a 'breakthrough' backless bra..." Wheeeee!

There are lost of interesting factoids, too, like the average size of the American bra size has swollen from a 34B to a 36C in 15 years. (No stats on how much that average, um, grew thanks to plastic surgery.) There's even a Flash animated demonstration of a hyper-adjustable bra.

So, for all you (a) perverts or (b) women, click here for the story, and here for the Flash demo.

Oh yeah...

We saw this on the drive home:

It's a llama (obviously).
In a field.
In Auburn, Ala.

Burger time

"It's a celebration of the new trend of meat as a condiment," says the PR flak in trying to sell me on a press conference to unveil the new Prime Rib Thickburger at Hardee's on Sunday. Much as I like the beefs, that alone wouldn't have gotten me to make the 45-mile drive to Auburn. But this sounded like an event: tables draped in linen tablecloths with rose centerpieces, a stack of promo tees proclaiming "Burger Slayer," waitstaff wearing tuxedo T-shirts, and a live string band.

What could make it more interesting? How's about I take along my wife, Jenn, who's a vegetarian?

The Hardee's folks had a rough go at first. A cop is in the parking lot, lights flashing, making a traffic stop on some putz. The chain's field marketing manager has a flat tire en route and literally jogs the last mile there. The Mayhem String Band's van has broken down somewhere, and they're nowhere to be found. Plus, turnout's a little thin. It is Mother's Day and all...

But it all worked out. The marketing guy, Nick Ulmer, made it in time. The cop, with his menacing lights, cleared out. And soon enough, the Mayhem boys arrive — in a stretch limo, as you see here.

Here's a bit of their performance...


The burger? It's a big slab of angus beef atop a bedding of thinly sliced prime rib — that's the condi-meat. (At first we were told the burger would be atop chopped liver, or, as a co-worker prefers to call it, "schmaltz." But that turned out to be not exactly right.) There's a tangy sauce on there, too. The whole thing is on a square of soft-ish ciabatta instead of a bun. It's quite good, and not as decadent as it sounds. So no heartburn. Jenn even had a couple of bites, as she's a ciabatta whore. Mostly she just at the fries, though, and we took the other burger home.

They'd ended up giving away the burgers and T-shirts to folks willing to sign up to an e-mail list that night. So I didn't even have to feel guilty about the swag.

11 May 2008

Sign o' the times

I've heard that money can burn a hole in your pocket, and I've known people who seemed to have an itch to blow any cash they had. But this ATM on Second Avenue, right in The Bibb, appears to be a whole new type of beast...

09 May 2008

New Indy preview

There's finally a legitimate release of the new "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" trailer that wasn't shot with a handicam in a theater. Cate Blanchett sounds like Natasha the Spy from "Bullwinkle." Mmmmmm.

Here 'tis.

Stuff in the paper

Today's column, in the real paper, is a reworking of the blog post about Xian music from a couple days ago. So you read it here first. But the print one is a little longer, more polished, more realized. But be forewarned, it doesn't use the word "crap." Read it here.

I also had a weeper about a man who's walking to both keep alive the memory of his two dead teens and the help get past their deaths, psychologically. It's here.

I'll post some light-hearted drivel later...

08 May 2008

He's gonna get what he deserves

Sure, Coldplay is gave away its new single for a week. So what? Trent Reznor's giving his entire album away for free.

Hop on over to the Nine Inch Nails Web site, nin.com and you're greeted with the following message from Reznor:

"Click HERE to get the new full-length nine inch nails record: the slip

(thank you for your continued and loyal support over the years - this one's on me)"


So has Trent got a head like a hole, or can this model — where there's not even an option to pay for the record — somehow work? Maybe he'll get the money back on the tour...

07 May 2008

Angels and airwaves

I went through a phase listening to Christian rock, early in high school. Mostly it was the cooler, indie, below-radar bands like D.A., the 77s (that's singer Mike Roe at left), the Altar Boys, LifeSavers Underground, Common Bond, Undercover and the Level Heads. But yeah, I might've had a couple of Stryper records, and I still say there is one (1) Michael W. Smith record that didn't suck.

I came to my senses. Which shouldn't be construed as a knock against Christianity, but a knock against the industry of Christian music, which was trying extremely hard to create music that sounded just like the stuff coming from major record labels. So it was modeling itself on music that I thought was crap, in order to make Christians feel like they had a wholesome alternative to the radio, with songs that sounded exactly as bad as their secular counterparts. Artists were stifled by execs who didn't think the songs they were writing sounded enough like Mariah Carey or whoever the flavor of the month was then. It was those sorts of constrictions that led a young woman named Leslie Phillips to abandon her lucrative career in Christian music, rename herself Sam Phillips and sign to Virgin Records. She wanted the freedom to write spiritual music, and, interestingly, she didn't feel like she could do that on a Christian music label.

All this came to mind as folks alerted me to the launch of a new Christian radio station in Columbus. It's 103.7 The Truth. And if the industry as a whole still suffers from the above-mentioned problems, at least there's a more aggressive station for the holy roller set who don't want to listen to traditional gospel or Southern gospel. I see from their format's R&R charts that the Newsboys are still around — but I didn't like them to start with. Mercyme? Needtobreathe? (More like, Needtousethespacebar.) I don't know these guys. But hopefully there's some creativity coming out of them.

Tune in, if you want to find out.

***
"You lock me up with your expectations
Loosen the pressure you choke me with
I can't breathe
I can't breathe"
Leslie Phillips, "Expectations"

06 May 2008

Scarlett, we do give a damn

Everyone's heard yesterday's news flash about Scarlett Johansson's engagement to Ryan Reynolds (a.k.a. "Lucky Bastard").

Here's something I didn't know about Reynolds (a.k.a. "Van Wilder"): He was previously engaged to Alanis Morissette. Of course, she's a singer, but she'll always have a special place in my heart for her role as the mute God in Kevin Smith's "Dogma."

So Reynolds (a.k.a. "a guy with that girl in the pizza place") has officially moved from dating God to dating a goddess. Isn't that ironic? Yeah, I really do think.

***
"I walk in the light
Of a world I wish, I wish to
Set on fire"
The Alarm, "Scarlet"

Pabst away

Thanks, Meg.
An Illinois man has bought a coffin and customized it so that he will be buried in — seriously — a giant Pabst Blue Ribbon beer can.

As a lover of the PBR, I can understand the inclination. So I'm not judging.

I'm guessing when the man was told that (a) the can-coffin wasn't filled with his favorite beer and (b) the $2,000 it cost him to have built would've bought 571 six-packs of Pabst that he could've enjoyed while he was living, he responded with a great, big, head-slapping "D'oh!"

05 May 2008

'GTA IV': Grand indeed

Over on the fine aggregate review Web site Metacritic.com, the brand new "Grand Theft Auto IV" has scored a 99 out of 100, with an astounding 30 reviews giving it a perfect score. Another 14 gave it a 95 or better, and there's only one review lower than that (a 90).

Impressive enough for me to finally consider a next-gen console, mayhaps. Too bad I'm still poor. I need to cull some poker winnings to make the big purchase.

Here's IGN's video review.

Why kids shouldn't be in charge

To celebrate the 50th birthday of the 64-color box o' Crayola crayons — the box with the sharpener built in — the manufacturer of the tasty color-creating wax sticks let kids choose and name eight new colors.

They include a purple-y "best friends," a bright yellow "super happy," an orange "awesome," and an "American Idol"-inspired reddish purple called "famous."

They get props for the evergreen-colored "giving tree," but the rest of it's crap. I mean, what kind of a color is famous (not even to mention what that reflects about the values of today's children)? That doesn't exactly conjure up the same artist possibilities as, say, burnt sienna.

Maybe I'm just still bitter that they changed "Indian red" to "chestnut" in 1999.

03 May 2008

'Iron Man' lives again

Jon Favreau has delivered a winner with "Iron Man," which, quite simply, is wonderful. It's funny, intense, and somehow believable -- and it comes down to good, clever writing and Robert Downey Jr. selling the role. (Granted, that might not've been hard for him, what with all his character's drinking, and wealth, and getting in trouble with the law and all...) I actually rate it as my favorite comic book adaptation. It makes me sad that Favreau didn't handle the "Daredevil" adaptation, like he'd originally wanted to.

S.H.I.E.L.D. fans shouldn't leave before the end of the credits, despite the annoying Carmike folks trying to rush you out by loudly banging the handrests and crinkling their trash bags.

Just how good was it? Well, I've crafted a little chart to compare it to other comic book adaptations. I stuck to movies that (a) I'd seen, (b) represent the best of the franchise (so "Spider-Man 2" is on there, not the first or third ones), and (c) could fit on the chart. Feel free to argue about it...

***
"Heavy boots of lead
Fills his victims full of dread
Running as fast as they can
Iron man lives again"
-- Black Sabbath, "Iron Man"

02 May 2008

Stuff in print

Hey guys. Had a couple things in today's real newspaper.

Here's a piece looking at two biographies of John Patterson (shown left) that both came out in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his election as Alabama governor. Of course, his tie to the Phenix City vice cleanup in the 1950s is more interesting than the higher office, I think...

And here's today's pop culture column, which gives the backstory on the house band at Phenix City's Broad Street Blues club.

Oh, and here's some stuff to do this weekend.

I'll talk back at ya after seeing "Iron Man" this evening.

01 May 2008

Hello, Dali

Our good friend Peg Mammerud (not her real name, but it should be) gave Jenn a bag o' pasta to help her get through the week's exams. But just any box of pasta this was not. It was Salvador Dali-inspired noodles. See?

Some of the fun, surrealist shapes include his trademark moustache and a pair of lips that I'm assuming is supposed to evoke his Mae West Lips sofa.She cooked them tonight. Dalicious. (Urp.)

Movie "Sex"

More than 400,000 people voted in a Moviefone poll asking which summer movie that filmgoers were most excited to see.

Sex wins again.

Thirty-two percent of voters were most anxious to see the "Sex and the City" on the big-screen. It's unclear if the men voters knew that this was an adaptation of the TV show and not, actually porn. Or maybe they voted that way because of Kristin Davis, aka "The Hotness" (shown right, de-nippled (sorry)).

A close second, though, was "Indiana Jones & the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," which drew 31 percent of the vote. Not bad, considering Harrison Ford is 83. From there, the rankings went "The Dark Knight" (21 percent), "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" (8 percent), "Iron Man," (7 percent), and "Speed Racer," (2 percent) (which is 2 percent too many).

I was gonna post a link to the lead of the second "Indy" trailer here. I watched it earlier today. But now the site's removed it at Paramount's request. Bastiges.