Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Multiplex Madness 2007!


This is a hard time for a fanboy like myself. The Christmas movie season can be feast or famine and ’06 is not knocking my socks off. Alas, what’s a geek like me to do? Well, make a list of what’s around the corner for ’07 of course!

Although the dates may change here’s the hot list – thus far…

- Ghostrider (2/16/07 – I’m jazzed for this one. Make mine Marvel.)
- 300 (3/9/07 – from Frank Miller’s graphic novel. Not for the kids and based on a true story. Molan Labe!)
- TMNT (CG on 3/23/07. I met Peter Laird a few years back, nice guy)
- Grind House (4/6/07 – Terantino & Rodriguez back in black. Not for the kids.)
- Spiderman 3 (5/4/07 – I can’t wait for this one)
- 28 Weeks Later (5/11/07 – The not-zombie zombie sequel!)
- 1408 (5/18/07 – Steven King ghost story, sign me up)
- Shrek the Third (5/18/07 – “Not my gumdrop buttons!”)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End (5/25/07 – Bring it on)
- Fantastic Four – Rise of the Silver Surfer (6/15/07 – Hope it works)
- Ratatoulille (6/29/07 – Pixar. You can’t go wrong w/ Pixar.)
- Transformers (7/4/07 – This’ll be big)
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (7/13/07 – I’m a Potterhead and I’m not ashamed of it!)
- Mr. Bean’s Holiday (9/28/07 – I love the character.)
- Thirty Days of Night (10/19/07 – Vampires at the artic circle. Based on the graphic novel. No doubt I’m there.)
- I Am Legend (11/19/07 – It’s the end of the world as we know it and I feel fine.)
- National Treasure II (12/21/07 – This one revolves around Abe Lincoln and 18 missing pages from John Wilkes Booth’s library. I never expected there to be a sequel but here it comes.)

There are also two wild cards Battle Angel (James Cameron returns to the director’s chair) and Sweeny Todd (Tim Burton & Johnny Depp have adapted the play) but I don’t know the release dates yet.

Yeah, it’s a good time to be a geek.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Changing Channels

Celebrity has been described as “The cult of personality.” I don’t believe that this is far from the truth. It is pitiful what we value in our society. Pitiful. These swollen bags of self-important protoplasm & ego that we choose to worship truly sadden me. It would be simple to name names but why? You probably already have a list of pop culture figures dancing through your mind. We have elected the beautiful, the rich and have lifted them onto pedestals with our time, money and attention – why? Just because someone has amassed a fortune by inheriting it, sleeping with someone who has money or power or actually earning it does not mean that they deserve to be worshiped. Some celebrities have been elevated to a position of veneration and they, most certainly, have their disciples. Never forget that it is we who do this. Oh we can blame the media but they are only giving the public what it wants; and what we want is drivel. They are happy to supply.

I weep for the future.

I’m going to describe a scene that happened yesterday morning. I’m not naming names – these meat puppets already get entirely too much publicity. I was getting ready for work and turned on "Good Morning America." They ran out of news and started discussing a shocking celebrity battle. The story concerned a celebrity who put his hand across the mouth of another celebrity, which in turn caused another celebrity from another waste of time TV show to become upset at the celebrity who was physically accosted. This celebrity (the one with her mouth covered by the other celebrity) phoned the waste of time TV show of the other bloated celebrity to complain. And this is news? Really. So I changed the channel over to the "Today Show" and just guess what they were covering. Yup, the same celebrities in the same non-issue incident. Now here we have two major networks covering the same “story” at the same time. Why? Because this pabulum is what we as a viewing public choose to care about – it’s what we choose to worship. Have no doubt about it worship is the right word.

I stopped changing channels and just switched the TV off. As previously stated, I intentionally did not use any of the people’s names involved in the “incident” because they get entirely too much press as it is and here, in this blog at least, I control the names of those I choose to venerate and remember. Art for art’s sake does not mean that we have to worship at the feet of a group of talking heads. The above example is just the tip of the festering boil; there have been, are and will continue to be such important newsworthy stories to capture our collective attention and dumb us down once again. Fortunately we now have hundreds of channels to choose from to keep us up to speed on the big issues of celebrity life. Even better – all televisions are still equipped with an on/off button.

Switch it off.

No celebrities were harmed during the above diatribe… unfortunately.

A Word On Michael Richards

Wow.

My wife and I were down in the Garden District of New Orleans (pre Katrina) and we were Geocaching in a small park in between two parallel running roads. It was a sunny, well-lit day but our search for the object of our desire was not to be found. The cache was well hidden. We found a large red spider in her web in between bricks where our GPS was telling us to look but other than that – nothing.

New Orleans was/is a vibrant part of the world – there is always something happening. That’s part of the joy of the city. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a guy on a bike riding down the side of the road peddling toward whatever destination awaited him. I didn’t pay much attention since I was still looking for the cache. Suddenly a car turns around the corner and speeds up. The driver of said car sticks his head out of the driver’s window and screams “Get out of my way nigger!” He then bravely sped away from the scene of the incident. The guy on the bike was frustrated; he shook his head and kept on peddling. What else was there to do? Meanwhile, my wife and I just stood with our jaws agape. We didn’t believe what we just witnessed. This was the twenty first century – that sort of thing is a part of the past! Right? Was this a litmus test of southern racial tension or just a simple reminder to a couple from New Jersey that there most certainly is still trouble in the paradise of modern life here in the United States?

Blind hatred really has no bounds or boarders. Since it really lacks any type of moral compass divisions such as North and South don’t really do it any justice. I’m not just talking White verses Black or Black verses White – no one race has any corner of the market when it comes to hatred. It is what it is and you move on. I find it next to impossible to discuss any topic in any depth with someone whose mind has been made up. I teach my children the importance of treating others the way that they want to be treated, no matter what their skin tone is. It is irrelevant. “Do unto others,” is one of the most basic tenants of my faith. We never did find that cache in the park and decided that it would be better to move along.

I still think of that day and I realize that I am one of those na├»ve white guys who believed that, for the most part, blatant hatred is a thing of the past. After all, this is the twenty-first century. I’m pleased and happy to believe this since it fits quite nicely into my white guy existence. I’d like to believe that we are moving forward and that there are equal opportunities for anyone who would take advantage of them. Times have changed – right? We have come some distance but there is still so very far to go. Perhaps it just comes down to fear? It could be fear of the unknown, the unfamiliar; fear of losing control over one’s own environment or of being subjugated; fear of being threatened, mistreated and hurt emotionally or physically; maybe even destroyed, I don’t know. Perhaps recognition of ones own fear is key – no matter what shade of the rainbow ones pigmentation is. Will blind hatred ever be eradicated? No. But it can be seen and understood for what it is – identified so that it can be treated and we can all move on.

I cannot speak for Michael Richard but it seems that his fear got the best of him – right here in the twenty-first century.

Wow.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Gunpowder Treason

My wife reminded me that today was November the 5th; Guy Fawkes Day in the majority of all places United Kingdom. I remember hearing of the Gunpowder Plot in school but I truly took notice with Alan Moore’s “V for Vendetta” and the subsequent film of the same name that he has, as with all of his work that has been excreted into film, disavowed.

So what is the difference between an anarchist and a revolutionary? Where is the line between terrorist and freedom fighter drawn? You got me; the victors write the history books. In Guy Fawkes case the victors caught him attempting to blow up the King and the Parliament Building. Guy was catholic and the King and those in power were protestant. Guy was tortured into revealing the names of his conspirators, hung and drawn & quartered. Ouch.

Today as it states in Wikipedia, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated, “in the United Kingdom take place in towns and villages across the country, involve fireworks displays and the building of bonfires, on which "guys", or dummies, representing Guy Fawkes, the most famous of the conspirators, are traditionally burnt. Before the fifth, children use the "guys" to beg for money with the chant "Penny for the guy".

“Remember, remember the fifth of November.” Now, without further ado, here is the traditional rhyme, which I pulled from Wikipedia, my favorite second brain…

The night is closely associated with the popular rhyme:

Remember remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I see no reason why gunpowder treason
should ever be forgot.


The full rhyme, rarely used, continues:

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, 'twas his intent
to blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below,
Poor old England to overthrow:
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, make the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hip hip hoorah!


The following verses, though originally part of the rhyme, are usually left out of modern day recitations for the inflammatory anti-Catholic remarks:

A penny loaf to feed the Pope.
A farthing o' cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down.
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar.
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head.
Then we'll say ol' Pope is dead.
Hip hip hoorah!
Hip hip hoorah!


So there you have it, don’t blow off any fingers or start any revolutions that you are not prepared to finish. Happy Guy Fawkes Day!