Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The nominees are in!

Not for the Academy Awards. That's nothing but a bunch of self congratulatory pats on the back for movies that no one would have seen unless the movie critic whores didn't hail them as "genius," "breath-taking" and "brilliant." No, I'm talking about the nominees for the 2005 Golden Raspberry Awards, better known as the Razzies. These nominations are for the worst films of 2005 and leading the pack with eight nominations is...you guessed it: Son of the Mask. Somehow I knew this one would be a real stinker.

This list of nominees is really a who's who of overrated talentless hacks who sometimes (and somehow) masquerade as actual movie stars (I'm talking about you Tom Cruise!). The Foundation has even introduced a new category this year called "Most Tiresome Tabloid Target." Groovy!

I only wish the presentation of the Razzies was televised instead of the Oscars because it would only be about fifteen minutes long and we wouldn't have to hear about how brave an actor was for playing a retarded character or how good an actress was because she gained a bunch of weight for a movie. Plus no one would show up to accept these things (except Halle Berry who had a sense of humor about her 2004 nomination and win!) so there would be no boring, "do as I say, not as I do" rants and/or holier-than-thou political soapbox speeches. But alas, the Razzies ceremony will not be televised March 4th. That's about as sad as the state of Hollywood right now.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Grandaddy is almost finished

Grandaddy, one of my favorite bands of the last few years, will be calling it quits after the release of their forthcoming album, Just Like the Fambly Cat. I can't say that I'm quite surprised. They are another in a long line of indie rock bands that have a loyal fanbase but could never really crack the highly commercial sector of the music business despite crafting some extremely catchy pop songs and getting one included in a Honda commercial. I was at least fortunate enough to see them twice in concert and was quite impressed by how they could recreate their album sound so well on stage. They had a knack for writing songs about the intrusion of technology into everyday life so well while using said technology to accent their music. Call it extreme irony if you will, but their albums contain some very addictive music with only a handful of throwaway songs. The same cannot be said for their EPs and maybe their experimental nature contributed to their demise, but Under the Western Freeway, The Sophtware Slump and Sumday are albums that I go back to constantly and never tire of. Grandaddy, you will be missed, but at least we will have one last album offering to soften the blow of the loss.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

7 Challenger Myths

Here's an interesting article marking not only the 20th anniversary of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, but also seven persistent myths about the event.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Richard Hatch to star in "Survivor: Federal Prison"

Richard Hatch, this first winner of Survivor, has been found guilty of evading taxes on his prize money from the show. His argument was that the producers of the show promised to pay his taxes if he won. I guess he should have improvised some kind of written contract on that island rather than rely on a verbal agreement. He could face up to 13 years in Federal (PMITA) prison and $600,000 in fines.

I've only seen two episodes of survivor, one of which was the episode where Richard Hatch won. I could tell from that one show that he was an arrogant jerk so I guess this is just karma's way of paying him back. I'd say he was going to have a rough time in prison but he'll probably make an alliance with some prisoners and later stab them in the back...literally.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

RIP Chris Penn

I was shocked to learn late last night that Chris Penn had been found dead at 43. Despite how much fun I make of Footloose, he was really great as Kevin Bacon's only friend in the town where dancing was forbidden. And of course, who could forget him as Nice Guy Eddie in Reservoir Dogs? He will be missed.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Tales from the City

I read an article about a fairly new blog written by a woman who drives a taxi in New York City. She usually keeps a digital camera with her and records the life at New York Hack. It's a pretty interesting read since I haven't made it to the Big Apple yet. Maybe when Roxi and I go in May, we can end up on her blog!


Friends and readers may know of my love for Futurama and how I thought that it was one of many shows that ended before it's time. There have been rumors brewing for a while now about a possible return of Futurama, but until now they have been just that. On Friday, voice actor extraordinaire, Billy West, posted the following message on his website:

Posted: 19 January 2006 at 4:44pm | IP Logged
Here's the official word on Futurama!!
[Creator/showrunner] David X. [Cohen] phoned me about an hour ago and said that this Futurama project is a done deal! Here's the word from DX--- There are 4 DVD movies that we'll start recording at the end of July or August. Full feature length FUTURAMA movies. Everybody is excited to get back together--as I am!

Into the Future,

Needless to say, I am very excited about this development!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Note to celebrities that give their kids dumb names...

...Your kids are suffering for your egomaniacal stunts. Bob Geldof's daughter, Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof says that her ridiculous name has "made her life a living hell."

I hate ridiculous names, my weird name has haunted me all my life.

Pay attention Gweneth Paltrow and Chris Martin. Just because you are in the movies and the music business doesn't give you the right to destroy your children's lives. As it is they already have the deck stacked against them for being children of the famous, but by giving them absurd names you are just asking for them to be tormented through the formidable years of their lives.

Honestly I'm amazed that any celebrity child can make it to 18 without a crack habit and a criminal record.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

57 Years and Counting

In the early hours of this morning, the mysterious Poe Toaster made his/her appearance in Baltimore to place three roses and a half bottle of Cognac on the grave of Edgar Allen Poe. The scene was the same as it has been every January 19th, Poe's birthday, for the past fifty-seven years. The Poe Toaster typically carries out his/her tribute without any disruption from on-lookers, however this year a small group of people decided to cause a bit of a rabble. Perhaps they were trying to unmask the toaster but thankfully were unsuccessful. So those that are curious will have to wait for year fifty-eight before seeing the return of the mysterious Poe Toaster.

Monday, January 16, 2006


CNN had a bit of a live translation snafu that has gotten them banned from Iran. I think that the situation is a little tense to be sending in an "expert" who can't distinguish the difference between "weapon" and "energy" especially when it is preceded by the word nuclear!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Plans for New Orleans Rebirth

CNN has an article today that discusses the planning for rebuilding even the hardest hit parts of New Orleans. After Katrina, I was all for rebuilding the entire city, but after visiting two weeks ago, I really do have to wonder about the value of rebuilding the most flood prone parts of the city. They can invest all the money in the world on flood control and prevention of future disasters, but nature is too strong and any precautions will inevitably fail. That is just a fact of life.

After seeing the widespread destruction from the Lower 9th Ward all the way to Lakeview along the still leaking 17th Street Canal, I don't see any logical reason for rebuilding a home or business there. And no this is not a conspiracy as some have suggested. It is a simple fact of economics. I can understand not wanting to leave a neighborhood that you grew up in or where your family has strong community ties, but these areas will flood again and I think that the American taxpayers can only have so much sympathy for the situation. I don't think that there are many people in this country who were not horrified by the destruction and loss that occurred in New Orleans. However, if people choose to return to an area that in some places was covered by more than ten feet of water, they should do so only with the understanding that they are on their own. I don't think that it should be the responsibility of any federal, state or city entity to guarantee protection in the face of future inevitable destruction. The areas in question should probably be better utilized as a spill-way in the event of another flood so that other parts of the city will not be so impacted.

The charges of conspiracy and racism are doing everyone in the hardest hit areas absolutely no good. The city is trying to remove debris from streets and get back to normal as soon as possible. They are not systematically trying to gentrify New Orleans. After seeing what I saw in Lakeview, I can be certain that there are going to be just as many homes torn down there as there will be in the 9th Ward. It's been more than four months now and people are pissed off that they can't return to their homes, but many of those homes are condemned. There will be no new homes until the old ones are torn down but these types of protests are slowing down a process that is already moving extremely slow. I read an interesting observation on Fark.com related to the charges of conspiracy. It basically boiled down to the idea that people have come to use the idea that some vague conspiracy is responsible for anything that you don't like or agree with as opposed to an actual cabal of evildoers plotting against you personally.

Enough with the talk of conspiracy. Hurricanes are violent and destructive. They happen all the time and some years are worse than others. Despite centuries of work, the safety precautions failed and a large part of New Orleans will have to be rebuilt. Looking at this from another perspective, at least New Orleans had some built in precautions. Biloxi, Gulfport, Ocean Springs, Pass Christian, Long Beach, Waveland, Bay St. Louis, etc. didn't have any preventive levees or sea walls and they are in terrible shape as well, but they are working more to clean up than to file lawsuits to prevent demolition of condemned structures. It's time to move forward and rebuild New Orleans in such a way that is sensible for both the economy and future generations of residents.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Being An Aggie...

...it sure wasn't easy watching Texas win the National Championship on Wednesday night. It was especially hard knowing that Vince Young pretty much won the game all by himself and he had stated many times that he planned to return for his senior year next season. Just when I thought I would have to automatically write off next year completely, Vince announced this afternoon that we will be forgoing his senior year and will be entering the NFL draft.

I think enough time has passed for me to say congratulations to the Longhorns and that they really deserved to win. I didn't think that they would be able to compete with USC, but Vince Young is a true difference maker. It is for that reason that I am glad that he will be heading to the NFL. I was really dreading the start of a Texas National Championship repeat. Of course it could still happen and this doesn't in any way open the door for the Aggies to storm to the top of the Big 12, but it sure makes me more excited about next season.

I hope that Coach Fran et al. will do some serious work in the offseason and get the A&M program headed in the right direction. This is the perfect opportunity to make a move in the conference. Let's work on beating Texas and Oklahoma this year and bringing the Aggies back! Gig 'Em!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

1 Down, 41 More to Go!

Frequent readers of this blog will know that I have a strong interest in the Wright Amendment and what it means to Southwest Airlines and flights to and from the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Tonight I was pleased to read that a new law was enacted at the end of 2005 that allowed Missouri to be added to the states with an exemption from the Wright Amendment. Consequently, two new non-stop flights to St. Louis and Kansas City are now available from Dallas Love Field. Progress is progress, but there are still 41 more states that have direct flight restrictions into and out of Love Field. Might I add that it's great to see a Senator take action rather then send a crappy form letter saying that DFW has too much to lose from allowing Southwest unrestricted non-stop flights from Love Field.

Keep the pressure on the suits in DC!

Wright Is Wrong! Set Love Free!

Another lost icon of childhood

My good friend Chris emailed me today with an interesting website advertising an auction of everything from the now closed AstroWorld theme park. I had no idea that it was closed but I guess I should have seen it coming. I think the last time I went there was almost twelve years ago when my high school physics class made the trip for Physics and Science Day. I had been many other times before as a child but I guess after seeing some other amusement parks since then, AstroWorld really wasn't all that great. But it was such an institution of my youth I can't help but feel a little sad. Not quite sad enough to go to this weekend's auction and buy a roller coaster though. The park will be missed but not forgotten thanks to this tribute site set up by AstroWorld webmasters.