Monday, February 26, 2007

The 79th Academy Awards – The Day After

I can only take the actual Academy Awards broadcast so much before my skin starts to crawl. It’s not because of the filmmakers – it’s because of all of the trappings that go with the wacky cult of personality. I don’t care what’s in the gift bags of the presenters or whatever Wolfgang Puck is cooking. It’s not core. The full frontal massaging of massive egos wears on my nerves. I care nothing for the ‘red carpet’, fashion or dance numbers. No, all I really care about when it comes the Academy Awards is movies. I care for the storytellers. Theoretically, the AA is voted on by industry people for industry people i.e. peer recognition. I don’t mean to sound completely like whiz and vinegar, it is the Academy Awards and theoretically the 900 lb. Gorilla of the industry; the industry of making movies; of telling stories. I happen to love the movies and have more than a passing interest in who wins. What can I say; I’m a movie geek.

Back on 2/10/07, I made my predictions right here @ Chicken Scratch. Were my picks close? I’ll list the category, who won and my pick. So without further ado here’s the battle Oscar VS. Evil Chicken!

Performance by an actor in a leading role: Who won? – Forrest Whitaker. Who I picked – Peter O’Toole. I thought they’d give it to him since he’s been nominated 8 times and has never taken Oscar home.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role: Who won? – Alan Arkin. Who I picked – Alan Arkin. I got one!

Performance by an actress in a leading role: Who won? – Helen Mirren. Who I picked – Meryl Streep. Oscar’s beating me two to one…

Performance by an actress in a supporting role: Who won? – Jennifer Hudson. Who did I pick? – Jennifer Hudson. She seems like a pretty cool lady ta boot. We’re tied once more Oscar… Come get some.

Best documentatry feature: Who won? – “An Inconvenient Truth”. Who’d I pick? – “An Inconvenient Truth”. EC pulls ahead of Oscar! By the way – the actor that played Al Gore was spot on.

Adapted screenplay: Who won? – “The Departed”. Who did I pick? – “Borat – Cultural learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhastan”. It seems we are tied once more.

Original screenplay: Who won? – “Little Miss Sunshine”. Who’d I pick? – “Letters from Iwa Jima”. Tiebreaker – Oscar takes the lead.

Achievement in directing: Who won? – Martin Scorsese for “The Departed”. Who’d I pick – Clint Eastwood for “Letters From Iwo Jima”. Oscar brings the smack. EC done went and backed the wrong movie icon. Still, how cool was it that Marty finally has one? This guy is a national treasure just like Eastwood.

Best motion picture of the year: Who got it? – “The Departed”. Who’d I say would win? – “Letters From Iwo Jima”. And there we have it; I was soundly trounced by Oscar by a score of 6 to 3. Oscar wins.

I won’t go into the finer details of who won what for the myriad of other categories but I will say I was pretty close with a lot of my picks. I was pleased when “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” won for best visual effects and glad that “Pan’s Labyrinth” took home 3 Academy Awards. Yes Oscar beat me this time but I’ll be back again next year. Oh and Oscar… here’s an inconvenient truth for you; “Dreamgirls” should have won for best song.

See you at the multiplex.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Lottery

You know what? I’m tired of not hitting the lottery. I’ve been trying for years but alas… no luck. Believe me it’s not for lack of trying. The lottery has taken more out of me than I have taken out of it – thus far. Oh I’ve had the occasional scratch off hit but the big one has alluded me. In 1670, John Ray wrote, “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride.” Oh so true. Still, despite overwhelming odds I play when the numbers are high enough. It is important to have a plan for any contingency be it terrorist attack or if the lights go out. Well, here’s my tentative plan for what happens after I, Evil Chicken, happen to hit the lottery.

I’m going cash option. Don’t even tempt me with a 20, 25 or 30-year payout. The only thing that is guaranteed in this life besides death and taxes is change and right NOW. I can do some good in the NOW with the resources that a major lottery win could provide. It’s the future that is sketchy and anything is possible. On the way to cash the check I could be struck by a meteorite or a bus making hitting the lottery pretty much a moot point. Thanks, I’ll take the cash.

I wouldn’t want anyone to know I hit. This is hard. Just for fun let’s say the pot was 200 million (hey if you’re gonna dream why not make it big). So that makes a net of about 100 million dollars. Not too shabby. Still the last thing you want, I would imagine, is anyone finding out. This would force you to change your lifestyle on other’s terms instead of your own. This is why Clark Kent and Peter Parker have secret identities. While they are Kent and Parker – no problem, they blend in; when they fly or start to climb on walls, they don’t blend in so much. Note: this is probably impossible but it would be nice to remain as anonymous.

Taxes. I figure that the Feds and the state will automatically take half of the pot in taxes alone. So whatever the pot may be I divide it in half from Jump Street. Bank on it. Now comes the make or break time. There are many lottery winners who have lost everything due to pride, poor decisions or a mixture of the two.

It’s good to have a plan… no?

Automatically, from the top, the first 10% is going to my church. I also figure that I will have to enlist a lawyer and an accountant since I do not trust myself with such a sum of money. Oh I have ideas on what to do but solid know-how? I’m not the one. There are goals such as being out of debt, having the kids weddings and college funds paid off, as well as, investing (which is nebulous as all get out to yours truly). Hey, that’s what the accountant is for. Under investments there is a movie that I would like to produce, as well as, a film company that I would like to help along the way.

Now then, let’s talk pure, unadulterated selfishness. This is where ‘I wish’ goes to ‘I want.’ Mother Hen and I have always wanted a log home on some acreage with a body of water close by, you know – for kayaking, canoeing and fishing. I want to be able to flip hamburgers on the grill in my underwear and get that full body tan I’ve always wanted so immediate neighbors are not an option. I want the kids to have a bunkroom where they can sleep and play. I would love a huge laundry room – a place where I would never have to worry about throwing clean clothes on the dinning room table to wait to be separated and taken to their respective dressers. Oh yes. The Evil Chicken laundry room would be a wonderful step forward in clothes cleaning technology. There would be a table where I could separate and personalized shelves where I could throw their clothes…

“I don’t have any pants.”

“Check your shelf – I KNOW I just washed some.”

Oh yeah, good times…

The Laundry Room would have a door that could open and close. Amazing. This concept just gives me chills. People could come to our home and not have to see the laundry that I have not put away.


The kitchen would have a working dishwasher. Oh yes, it would. There would be a pantry next to the Laundry Room with a working door too. No fuss, no muss, no dishes in the sink that still have to be cleaned.

Oh yeah. Look (I’m pointing at my arm); I’ve got chills just thinking about it.

You may say, “But Evil Chicken, you’ve just won the lottery, why don’t you hire a maid, cook or personal assistant?” Say… that’s a good question. My answer is “No thanks.” My reasons are twofold. First as Bob Dylan sang, “Did you ever turn around to see the frowns on the jugglers and clowns when they all did tricks for you?” I don’t want anyone in a subservient position in my own home. It’s creepy. Secondly I don’t want to give anyone the ammunition for the eventual tell all book about that “Sick and twisted Evil Chicken.” Gentle reader I will be the one to write that book; thank you very much. Don’t worry – it’ll be coming soon.

But enough about Rancho Del Evil Chicken. Let me tell you about what happens while it’s being built. The EC-5 is going on the road. Yup. We are touring the lower 48 states in an RV while towing a four door Jeep Wrangler; a mothership and shuttlecraft. Don’t worry I’ll write about each adventure. We’ll need to abandon the Mothership to fly over to Hawaii and back but after that it up through British Columbia and on to Alaska. We’ll geocache the whole way. After a good long while in Alaska we’ll tour Canada; push our way east and take the Cat Hydrofoil from Nova Scotia to Bar Harbor Maine. Grab a sunrise from the top of Cadillac Mountain and half dozen lobsters or so and we’re on our way back home. I’ll collect the adventures in a book, watch the kids grow and continue to post our adventures on SJG (South Jersey Geocaching), the Big Green ( and, right here my Chicken Scratch blog. We’ll print tee shirts, “EC-5 American Tour – 2007.”

“What if the log cabin isn’t finished yet?” you ask. Another fine question I might add. Well then it’ll be time for the “EC-5 European Tour – 2008.” We’ll check off the cities that I’ve got listed to the right in “Top 10 Cities Evil Chicken Wants to Visit” – European edition…

Mmmm… Smell the greed. I do. It is important to realize that things are just that – things i.e. material goods or worldly possessions. The BMW that you buy with your lottery winnings is gonna rust and the jewelry? All of it will all tarnish. The electronics and plastic creations will become obsolete and lose their luster. J.K. Rowling’s Albus Dumbledore find Harry Potter staring into “The Mirror of Erised.” This mirror allows the viewer to see their deepest dreams and desires realized – at least in the mirror’s reflection. Dumbledore wisely tells Harry that, “It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live.” That’s good advice. Earthly treasure is all well and good but you really can’t take it with you. Forgive me gentle reader; I’ve dwelled too long on dreams.

Perhaps it would be best to give the bulk of it away. I mean, do I really need that much money? No. Do I know of situations, families, churches and organizations that could use it? Yes. K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple Stupid. It would be wonderful to anonymously make a difference with the blessing of a lottery win by supporting missionaries, local soup kitchens, charities, pay off some mortgages and meet, at least to some degree, the needs of others who really need it.

I’m dreaming once again… Alas, “If wishes were horses then beggars would ride”.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Films That are Worth a Second Look – Part II

“The Matrix Revolutions” (2003) – I could get grief for adding this to my list of films to revisit. I balked a long time with this film. I didn’t want to see it – “The Matrix Reloaded” (Matrix II) left a nasty aftertaste in my mouth to the point that I didn’t care what happened in part III. Sure, “The Matrix” (part I) was awesome – wonderful to behold but mass rave/dance scenes a non-delivery on forwarding the mythology that the first film set up nixed “Reloaded” for me. Well, I recently saw “Revolutions” and I’d like to apologize to Andy and Larry Wachowski. “Revolutions” was a drastic improvement over part II and most certainly worth a second look. The war against the machines with the battle for the Dock was worth it alone – the rental that is.

“V for Vendetta” (2005) – This is another Wachowski Brothers film and with this one I never balked at seeing it. This is based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel of the same name. Moore is a dark genius whose stories will go down as some of the finest graphic works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He has had the unfortunate circumstance of watching his work come to the big screen incorrectly – this has happened repeatedly and with absolutely horrible consequences (wait for cable to see “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” Don’t rent it – wait for cable - On second thought, miss it on cable too). It was an abomination of an adaptation of a really great story (do go immediately to Barnes & Noble, Borders or you local comic book shop and pick up a copy of the graphic novel – you won’t be disappointed). Being burned in the past, Moore had his name removed form “V” sighting that the filmmakers were going to be espousing a liberal philosophy when his story focused on personal freedoms. The ironic thing is that this film is pretty close to the spirit of Moore’s vision. “V for Vendetta” works on so many levels. It’ s a wonderfully realized film that will make you contemplate the Gunpowder Treason plot (see EC’s 11/5/06 blog – and the movie).

“Little Miss Sunshine” (2006) – If you haven’t seen this film, please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy as soon as possible. What a great little picture. It deserves any Oscars that come its way. Great cast, great script, great direction – great film. It’s a dysfunctional family road trip. There are no throw away characters here; each is dynamic – each learns something vital along the way and so may we. When their dysfunction becomes function you will cheer. I know I did.

“Finding Neverland” (2004) – What an amazing film – the creative process personified. Johnny Depp is J.M. Barrie the man who wrote “Peter Pan” and the story revolves his muse – the Davies family. Kate Winslet plays the widowed mother of the Davies clan and Freddie Highmore plays one of her children, Peter. Radha Mitchell is Barrie’s wife who does not understand him – his amazement of what could be; the possibility of the unwritten page or the wonders of being swept away by the telling of the tale. Birth is not easy. This is how “Peter Pan” was birthed. If you missed it in the theaters or bypassed it at your local Blockbuster back up a couple of isles and rent it immediately. I promise you will not be disappointed.

“Ed Wood” (1994) – This is a Tim Burton film where Johnny Depp plays the infamous Ed Wood Jr. the man who made the “worst movie ever made”, “Plan 9 From Outer Space”. I love Ed Wood, angora and all. He was a testament to sticking to ones own dreams. In the film the Character, Orson Wells tells Ed Wood during a chance meeting, “Visions are worth fighting for. Why spend your life making someone else's dreams?” It is advice that Ed takes to heart. He writes, shoots, edits and distributes on the fly finding backers wherever he can and all the while he continues to do what he loves – making movies. He is a loyal man as well. He befriends the tragic Bela Lugosi (played masterfully by Martin Landau) who is now addicted to morphine and at the end of his film career. If you haven’t seen it do so. As the character Criswell says, “Can your heart stand the shocking facts of the true story of Edward D. Wood Jr.?” You should chance it.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Molon Labe

As I type this little blog on my laptop in Evil Chicken’s Fortress of Solitude, I’m given pause to look around. In front of me are postcards and pictures that adorn the wall; reminders of past adventures in Maine and California and New Orleans. There’s a small framed picture of Mark Twain and quotes from some of my favorite writers. I’ve got a small shelf that’s filled with various nautical pieces most of which deal with piracy in one form or another. Above that is a chart of the Delaware Bay. To my left is a wall of autographs; Peter Laird (co-creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Mark Moran and Mark Sceurman (creators of Weird NJ), Johanna Cameron (seventies Saturday morning TV staple, Isis) and an issue number 1 of "300" signed by Frank Miller (writer and storyteller). Each one of these hangs on this wall for a reason – I won’t bore you with these reasons save to say that each is there for a purpose. The one that I’d like to discuss with you now, gentle reader is the latter – issue number 1 of “300”.

Frank Miller is one of the greats. Who’s Frank Miller? Why he’s a legend in the field of comics and graphic fiction. If this upsets you in some fashion and if you feel that there is nothing literary that can come from the pages of a comic book then please, do us both a favor and find another blog to read. As Sigmund Freud said to his nephew who told him that he shouldn’t smoke cigars (please forgive my paraphrasing), “Since you have no idea of what you are missing – I can only pity you.”

Still here? Good.

Miller injected high drama into the plotlines of Daredevil – the likes of which had never before been seen in a mainstream comic. He had a hand in retelling a tale of the Wolverine where he learns the way of the Samurai in Japan. He knocked the entire industry on its ear when he wrote “The Dark Knight Returns” (which is still one of the finest examples of graphic novel ever put to paper) “Sin City” was hardcore, hardboiled noir. He created “Robocop” and then, while touring Greece he came across the true story of King Leonidas and his army of 300 souls and the battle of Thermopylae. “300” was born.

"300" is based on a true story. Really. The Spartans drew a line in the sand and made a stand. The Persians, who vastly outnumbered the Spartans, sent a message to Leonidas saying that the king of the Persians would spare their lives if they laid down their weapons and surrendered. Leonidas knew that doing so would give the Persians the upper hand in concurring all of Greece (which would have meant the end of the democracy). Leonidas said, “Molon Labe,” concerning the Spartan’s weapons or, “come and get them.” The Spartans fought to the last man standing, took a huge number of Persians with them and bought Greece the time needed to prepare for the onslaught of Xerxes and his army numbering in the hundreds of thousands. While the 300 perished democracy survived.

Ok, so why is it on my wall? Well, I happen to love Frank Miller and I believe that there are many many lessons that we can pull from King Leonidas and his guard of 300 Spartans. They stood their ground, of course they paid the price for doing so but it was a price each man was willing to pay. Their sacrifice and their courage in the face of such insurmountable odds; who can not recognize the heroism there – the valor? Make a stand make it count. Who can’t get behind such a tale – such an example? For these reasons, issue number 1 of “300” hangs on my wall as a reminder of one of my favorite writers, a nod to courage in the face of adversity and pure righteous indignation. Having the courage of ones own convictions. “300” reminds me that making a stand is not the easy path but that history is rarely written by events that came easy. The 300 refused subjugation, intimidation and slavery – they made their stand at the pass of Thermopylae.

At what pass will you make your stand? When they come asking for your surrender and ask you to lay down your arms (be it your sword, your pen or keyboard, your opinions or even your beliefs); tell them “Molon Labe.” Come and get them.

Make the stand.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Lust in The Heart of South Jersey

I want to talk to you, gentle reader, about an object that Evil Chicken desires; nay – LUSTS after. It’s something that would be put to excellent use for years to come in the Evil Chicken household. It would be a wonderful place to play the Nintendo Wii and the X-box 360 (that we don’t own yet) as well as, the Blue Ray or HD/DVD (that we don’t own either). Gentle reader I lust after a Sony LCD, 1080p (1920x1080), HD TV. I’ll take any size as long as it starts at 46 inches on up.

Oh yeah, livin’ large.

Why Sony? They have an excellent track record when it comes to televisions. The Trintatron was an amazing step forward – I have a sneaking suspicion that a Sony BRAVIA or a Grand WEGA would be too.

Why LCD? No reflection to throw off the picture, which, by the way, is 6 times sharper than a regular set. Does that sound like much of a difference? Go see for yourself side by side – the LCD is more real than real. Jaw dropping vivid color and detail that is simply startling.

1080p – What’s that? Dear friends, that is the magic number when it comes to HDTV. Wikipedia (my favorite second brain) says the following, “1080p is the shorthand name for a category of video modes. The number 1080 represents 1,080 lines of vertical resolution, while the letter p stands for progressive scan or non-interlaced. 1080p is considered an HDTV video mode. The term usually assumes a widescreen aspect ratio of 16:9, implying a horizontal (display) resolution of 1920 dots across and a frame resolution of 1920 × 1080 or about 2.07 million pixels. The frame rate in hertz can be either implied by the context or specified after the letter p (such as 1080p30, meaning 30 frames per second). 1080p is sometimes referred to in marketing materials as "True High-Definition" or "Full High-Definition". 1080p is currently the digital standard for filming digital motion pictures. The best technology commercially available is 1080p. Directors such as George Lucas (in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) shoot their digital films in this (1080p) high definition mode to be shown in theaters equipped with 1080p digital projectors.” Do not kid yourselves gentle readers 1080p is what you want – what you desire… Dare, I say lust after. I know I do.

So does anyone know what the winning lottery numbers were tonight?

Saturday, February 17, 2007

What’s a Geek-Boy To Do?

Ahoy Lads and Lasses – There Be Spoilers Ahead…

Ghostrider.” Hmmm. Let me just say that I really wanted to love “Ghostrider.” I remember buying the first issue way back in the seventies and loved it. I kept on reading and found that I began to really love the tragic – deal with the devil – figure that Johnny Blaze represented. High drama? Yeah, and it should be. I cared about what happened to Johnny Blaze because he had heart and soul, albeit a bought one. He was still trying to do the best he could with a bad situation – hoping beyond hope that he was on the road to redemption. The movie reflects a lot of this, which is ultimately a reflection of the heart of the comic.

Did I love it? No. I didn’t hate it and there are parts that are down right likeable but I didn’t love this movie. Believe me I wanted to but there are one too many lines of dialogue that made me cringe; there are too many actors just walking through their roles and too many characters that are just underdeveloped.

Perhaps I’m being too harsh – after all this is a movie about a flaming skeleton on a motorcycle. I should lighten up. There is stuff to like about “Ghostrider”, Sam Shepard, Peter Fonda, Nicholas Cage (at some points) and the straining buttons on Eva Mendez’s blouse all give wonderful performances. The special effects are top notch and I dug the voice of the Ghostrider. It’s the small things that tripped me up like having Johnny being stabbed in the shoulder while in the Ghostrider state and having to be sowed up by Sam Shepard when he’s in human form. If you establish that as the rule in this world that you’ve created then so be it; unfortunately about 15 minutes later the Ghostrider gets shot up by the whole police force and when he regains human form Johnny is not Swiss cheese – you have already established that he will be wounded and it never happens. 5 minutes after he is sowed up Johnny should have a pretty good scar on his shoulder. This is not the case, we see, as he tries to bring on the Ghostrider state in front of a mirror with no shirt on. Hey – no scar. Johnny learns how to control his “inner element” pretty easy too. Yes – I get it, there is supposed to be a camp element evoked with the story but some of the dialogue is horrendous. I felt embarrassed for Cage, having to deliver some of those lines.

You know, I’m being too harsh again. Did I mention the great effects? You know another thing that didn’t do it for me? Trench coats, sneers and young punk attitudes on the bad guys – come on, these are supposed to be fallen angels who have existed for untold millennia and what do we get? – Trench coats and punks with sneers? Uoof-Fah. “Blackheart” the devil’s son is leading them; who happens to be a whiney little git with a trench coat and a sneer.

Did I mention the special effects were great? How about the buttons on Eva Mendez’s blouse?

This movie will make barrels of money and is a decent popcorn flick and harbinger of things to come. The multiplexes will be full this summer as opposed to last. I only hope that the caliber of the movie making gets a little higher.

Oh well, BRING ON 300!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Den of Antiquity

We, the EC-5, just got back from the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia; we celebrated Mother Hen’s birthday (29) by taking everyone to the “Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” exhibit. “The exhibition includes approximately 130 objects from the tomb of King Tut and other valley of the King Ancestors.” The majority of the artifacts have never been on American soil. If you enjoy seeing antiquities from a long gone age and shining moment in history then go. Know also that you will pay $27.50 a head (adult) and $17.50 per child (ages 4-11). Know that Tutankhamun’s death mask is not part of the exhibition since “The death mask is not allowed to leave Egypt and therefore is not included in the exhibition.” And know that you will not be allowed to use your camera – photography is strictly prohibited. You can buy all of the pictures you want from the gift shop, which is conveniently located at the end of the exhibition.


It took us roughly an hour and a half to tour through the artifacts. We went at the 2:30 PM, cattle call and, at the end of the day I believe that it was worth it. The kids (the three chicks) absolutely love this period of history. Chick 2.0 was telling me how many jars were usually used in the mummification process and that was well before we were unleashed on the antiquities. Actually seeing some of these items up close and personal gave me a new respect for Egypt’s golden age. The detail in the gold inlays and the hieroglyphs – simply amazing; that and I’ve never seen a solid gold ceremonial dagger before. BTW it was a dagger that was buried with Tut himself. Amazing.

Thanks to the Birthday Girl, Mother Hen, for sharing her 29th birthday with us in such a fashion. I love you Lady. Like you said, “for my birthday I want to make some memories with my family.”

Mission accomplished.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


It occurs to me that I have never really taken the time to share a love of mine. Please forgive me, I did not mean to keep it to myself for so long. Geocaching is as the homepage explains it; “… an entertaining adventure game for gps users. Participating in a cache hunt is a good way to take advantage of the wonderful features and capability of a gps unit. The basic idea is to have individuals and organizations set up caches all over the world and share the locations of these caches on the internet. GPS users can then use the location coordinates to find the caches. Once found, a cache may provide the visitor with a wide variety of rewards. All the visitor is asked to do is if they get something they should try to leave something for the cache.”

Think of it as a high tech treasure hunt that takes you places that you would never have otherwise seen or would have known existed. Pretty cool – no? Well yes – of course it’s cool. I have a hard time recollecting the names of all of the ghost towns and forgotten historical places that we, the Evil Chicken 5 (EC-5) have been. It’s a wonderful family activity and as a tee shirt that I once read said, “I use multi-million dollar equipment to find Tupperware in the woods – what do you do for a hobby?”

I’ve been asked, “What do you win?” Ladies and gentlemen let me just say that with geocaching as with life, it is the journey and not the destination. You win the experience of learning about a location, the exercise of a good hike and the breath of clean fresh air thorough your lungs – well that and you get to sign the log book. We (the EC-5) have been blessed along the path to meet several amazing like-minded individuals; modern day explorers and adventurers – no kidding. I know people who have cached in dozens of countries and each found cache is a story unto itself. I know people who have encountered machine gun toting Federales at the base of a Aztec pyramid, had alligator & snake encounters as well as the occasional run in with drug dealers and, of course, muggles (non-caching folk). It’s not as dangerous as it sounds but as with anything, it’s best to use your common sense before attempting anything be it crossing the street or retrieving a cache. If your “spider-sense” is tingling – you should probably listen. The game is in over 220 countries around the world so chances are wherever you go you will not be too far from a cache.

Don't believe me? Well see for yourself. Go to and type in your zip code. Don’t worry, I promise it’s not a cult. See how many caches are around you, read the hints, find the cords and off you go. Geocachers the world over usually have an endearing trait that is (for the most part) they are people who know the value of stopping to smell the roses, to appreciate the sunrise as well as the sunset and hit the ground running – after all there are more caches out there; just around the corner.

See you on the trails.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The 79th Academy Awards

While I believe that the Academy Awards has become a bloated, self-important ego festival that cares more for song, dance and fashion than film – it’s still the Academy Awards and technically the pinnacle of achievement in Hollywood. Yes it’s a warped place in the universe but it is built that way; housed in a plastic city that sells illusions – Los Angeles, Hollywood California. This being said, it is possible to guess who the Academy will favor based on how the political winds are blowing. Anyway, here’s Evil Chicken’s list for who should get the Oscar and who will get it.

Performance by an actor in a leading role: Who deserves it – Will Smith. Who will get it – Peter O’Toole. Why? He’s old Hollywood. The Academy loves that.

Performance by an actor in a supporting role: Who deserves it – Alan Arkin. Who will get it – Alan Arkin (with respect to Eddie Murphy). Why? Great actor, he’s due and he delivered an amazing performance in “Little Miss Sunshine”.

Performance by an actress in a leading role: Who deserves it – Kate Winslet. Who will get it – Meryl Streep. Why? Thinking like the academy thinks, it’s been a while since she got one.

Performance by an actress in a supporting role: Who deserves it – Abigail Breslin. Who will get it – Jennifer Hudson. Why? “Dreamgirls” is too cool a property to not give something to; as the academy thinks.

Best documentatry feature: Who deserves it – “Jesus Camp”. Who will get it – “An Inconvenient Truth”. Why? What’s more popular than global warming? To the Academy this was an important film – bank on it.

Adapted screenplay: Who deserves it – “Borat – Cultural learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhastan”. Who will get it – Borat; and justly so. Wa wa wee wa!

Original screenplay: Who deserves it – it’s a toss up for me. This is a tough one. “Little Miss Sunshine” or “Pan’s Labyrinth”. Both are amazing to behold. Who gets it – “Letters from Iwa Jima”. Why? Eastwood property.

Achievement in directing: Who deserves it – “United 93”. Who will get it – “Letters From Iwo Jima”. Why? This was a close one for me – it won’t be for the Academy. Clint Eastwood is a living legend and deserves the Oscar. “United 93”, however, takes you back to the exact moment of 9/11, and evokes the emotions that we have spent the last few years building scare tissue over.

Best motion picture of the year: Who deserves it – “Little Miss Sunshine”. Who will get it – “Letters From Iwo Jima”. Why? Eastwood.

Let us not forget the other categories that the Academy will bestow lauding upon… These are my guesses – what the Academy does who knows.

Best animated feature film of the year: “Cars”

Achievement in art direction: “Pan’s Labyrinth” or “Pirates of he Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”.

Achievement in cinematography: “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Achievement in makeup: “Pan’s Labyrinth”

Best Score: “Dreamgirls”

Best Song: Either nominated song from “Dreamgirls”

Sound editing: “Pirates of he Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

Sound mixing: “Pirates of he Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest”

Achievement in visual effects: This is another split for me; it’s either “Pirates of he Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest” or “Superman Returns”.

We shall see what we shall see on 2/25/07.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Change is a Good Thing

Gentle reader, I have embraced the changes to Blogger. Things may look a little different around these parts and that’s not really a bad thing. It’s still the same old rants and raves but now in green.

I’m still playing around with things so forgive the dust – I’m remodeling.

Torture Porn

I know that there is a place for horror movies. There are several horror movies that are among my all time favorites. Watching such a flick becomes a vehicle for dealing with the all too real horrors that are marching in step with us 24/7/365. I get it.

This being said, I have a hard time getting into many of the ‘newest’ horror films that are produced today. There is a difference between horror and torture porn. Torture porn may a reflection of our times but if I wanted to really view it all I have to do is watch the 6 o-clock news, read an article online (or – gasp, in a newspaper), look toward the genocide & it’s aftermath from Rwanda or to Darfur or watch the latest listing of the body counts from the war in Iraq and there it is – live and local; horror, misery and despair. I didn’t even have to shell out $9.00 to see it at the multiplex. I understand the need for this ‘new’ style of horror films – aka – torture porn, but that doesn’t mean I’m gonna support it at the theaters, with DVD rentals or by wearing the merchandized tee shirt. You see the real thing is already horrific enough for me. I don’t feel the need to be entertained by the latest re-invention of a snuff film.

I don’t blame the storytellers, the problem, most assuredly, rests with yours truly. I need hope. Watching the hopeless just doesn’t do it for me. Art is a reflection of life and to me life is hope. Horror, misery and despair all bow to hope since without it they simply don’t exist. I know that the converse is true too but at the end of the day I’ll stack my eggs in hope’s basket. Corny? Too bad, that’s the way it is.

See you at the movies.