Friday, March 31, 2006

Movies That Should Have Won

Does anyone disagree that Citizen Kane should have beat How Green Was My Valley?

If you don't think Raging Bull should have beat Ordinary People, I'll have to hurt you.

I'd go with Ed Wood but would accept Pulp Fiction over Forrest Gump.

I'd like anything over Titanic.

Warning: I've never deleted a comment before but that might change for anyone suggesting that Shakespeare in Love shouldn't have won.
Movie Rating System

In case anyone is wondering, the "worst," "bad but forgivable," and "group of friends" categories go from worst to slightly better; the "musicals," "like," and "favorites" go from best to less; and "eh" is in no particular order.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Best Losers

Over at Louis's Mr. TV Head blog, I found this poll to vote for the worst Oscar-winning movies of the year.

Here's my break-down:

Didn't see: Gone with the Wind (39), Million Dollar Baby (04), Crash (05)

1. Greatest Show on Earth (52) Stick with burning bushes, C.
2. You Can't Take it With You (38) It's a Wonderful Life isn't sappy enough for you? Try Capra's earlier effort.
3. Titanic (97) I liked Kate Winslet's breasts and the part where everyone died.
4. Oliver! (68) This movie doesn't even deserve a snide comment. Considering making it number one.
5. The English Patient (96) The hero makes a deal with the Nazis for the woman he loves. Paging Zombie Bogart to kick the shit out of every pansy involved with this masturbatory pile of slop.
6. Around the World in 80 Days (56) Makes the Jackie Chan version look good.

Bad but forgivable:
1. Gentleman's Agreement (47) Here's Gregory Peck to tell you that hating Jews is wrong.
2. Going My Way (44) "There's a war on. We'd rather vote for Bing singing to choir boys than the much superior Double indemnity.
3. How Green Was My Valley (41) "There's a war in Europe. And Mr. Hearst gave us strict instructions."
4. The Great Ziegfeld (36) You could have made another Thin Man movie from the cast.
5. Mrs. Miniver (42) The weaker, English version of From Here to Eternity. Kinda like the opposite of our beers.
6. Hamlet (48) Everyone says they love this version but, I'm sorry, Gertrude is supposed to be older than her son. Still it's a good way to cut 2-1/2 hours out of a literature class.
7. Forrest Gump (94) "Uh, we're not at war any more. Why didn't we vote for Pulp Fiction?"
8. The Last Emperor (88) Hello, this guy was gayer than James Whale. Shouldn't you have at least hinted at it?
9. Gandhi (82) Just shoot him already and get it over with.
10. The Deer Hunter (78) Yeah, I've got an evening to kill.
11. Silence of the Lambs (91) This is like the opposite of a David Lynch film. The more I think about it, the more I hate it.
12. Ben-Hur (59) You let the Roman Empire fall? Damn you! Damn you all to hell!

Musicals ("Uh, honey, I watched that with you. Don't I deserve a blowjob or something?")
Chicago (02), West Side Story (61), Gigi (59), My Fair Lady (64), American in Paris (51), Sound of Music (65)

("Uh, honey, I watched that with you. Don't I deserve a blowjob from you and a group of your friends?")
Terms of Endearment (83), Ordinary People (80), Kramer vs. Kramer (79), Out of Africa (85)

Category of "Eh"
Platoon (86), American Beauty (99), Best Years of Our Lives (46), Gladiator (00), Braveheart (95), The Sting (73), Driving Miss Daisy (89), Beautiful Mind (01), Chariot of Fire (91), Dances with Wolves (90), Life of Emile Zola (37), Schindler's List (93--yeah, how many times have YOU watched it?)

1. All About Eve (50) George Sanders! I love that guy!
2. Midnight Cowboy (69) Why was this rated "X"?
3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (75) Just try that with the Joker!
4. Broadway Melody (28) Hey, it's making noises!
5. Cimmaron (30) The black kid named Napoleon dies saving a couple of white girls. Hey, just think of how the audience in Georgia reacted.
6. On the Waterfront (54) Too much message but it's got the line.
7. Laurence of Arabia (62) I like that scene with the match.
8. Grand Hotel (31) It's mentioned in The Apartment.
9. The Apartment (60) Fred MacMurray as a sadistic SOB? I love that guy!
10. Rocky (76) Yes, you do too.
11. Cavalcade (32) The Titanic sinks in 15 minutes!
12. Amadeus (84) That's Mozart's middle name.
13. All the King's Men (49) It's funny cuz it's true.
14. A Man for All Seasons (66) I even like the Charlie Heston version.
15. Wings (27) D.W. could have done it better but he was probably drunk at the time.
16. Mutiny on the Bounty (35) Look at him whip that guy! You'd think he was Jesus!
17. Marty (55) They drink beer on screen. That was shocking for the times.
18. It Happened One Night (34) "Uh, honey, yes, I did like it. Okay, I'll get to work.
19. The Lost Weekend (45) "Yeah, it's Reefer Madness Redux but Billy should have won last year. And I like that scene with the bat and the rat."
20. Annie Hall (77) Just to piss off the Star Wars fans.
21. From Here to Eternity (53) This is pretty close to "eh."

1. The Godfather II (74) And he went on to make that stupid version of Dracula.
2. The Godfather (72) And Frankenstein.
3. Patton (70) "Damn! He shot that mule in the head!"
4. Rebecca (40) George Sanders and Alfred Hitchcock! I'm in love!
5. In the Heat of the Night (67) "Do they call you Virgil?"
6. The French Connection (71) The 70s rocked (in this regard).
7. Rain Man (89) I actually don't want to punch Tom Cruise in the face!
8. Casablanca (43) Hey, Bogart, check out that piece of crap that wins in '96.
9. Bridge on the River Kwai (58) Is it just me or are American actors much worse than British?
10. Unforgiven (92) Clint.
11. Return of the King (03) Yes, I'm openly geeky.
12. Shakespeare in Love (98) "Thank you God! I don't care what Covington says--Speilberg and Hanks lost--you do exist!"
13. Tom Jones (63) Hey, in the 60s and not a musical. I use it in class and--oh, nevermind.
14. All's Quiet on the Western Front (30) Do I just like this or put it here? I switched about eight times.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Class Once More

For the second quarter in a row, Clermont College's copier was down on the first week of classes. I had to print everything individually which looked good but must cost a fortune.

Yesterday I turned 38. Oddly enough, I hadn't given my age much thought and for the longest time thought I was already 38 and was turning 39. I feel like Bill Murray on a very long Groundhog's day.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Allegedly Drunk

Remember the post from a while back about zoos in Florida forced to separate dangerous animals even farther from the public, because of the risk of an idiot trying to French kiss a puma?

"This was strictly human error and poor judgment."
Don't Come Knocking You're a
(Hey, they can't all be gems)

This gives me an excuse to tell my sister's alligator story.

While she lived in Florida, a man in the area was awakened by his dog barking. He went down to investigate and found the dog in front of a sliding glass door with a huge alligator on the other side. Being a native, he went back to bed but shortly afterwards heard the glass shatter. Being a native, he had a loaded .45 and went downstairs and blasted the alligator's brains out (even though gators have small brains, this is easier than it sounds--just shoot level between the eyes). Sadly, he missed a few shots and had to replace his hard wood floor. I think the kicker was that his insurance replaced the door but didn't want to pay for the floor.

(Okay, that's not much of a gem either.)
Thinking about Nixon

In keeping with the lightning fast pace of the blogosphere, here's some musings about our 37th president.

1. I've always heard Nixon used as a master of apophasis (ad hominem attacks that are framed in a way that appears the speaker is trying to avoid them, e.g., "I think we should stick to the issues, not the undeniable fact that my opponent's father was a high ranking figure in organized crime and sold bathtub rum to schoolgirls," "I'm not even going to bring up that my opponent is a papist who takes orders from Rome," or "Let's avoid mentioning that the good senator is romantically linked to Rita Haysworth and instead focus on inflation") but all the examples are hypothetical. Does anyone know of a real quote where he does this? (My half-ass attempts: and

2. The Checker's Speech is a textbook example of all sorts of rhetorical devices (aposiopesis, when he got so choked up with emotion that he couldn't speak for a moment; straw man argument, defiantly announcing that he wouldn't give the dog up although none of his critics had ever suggested such a thing; emotional appeals, the millions of souls lost to communism during the Truman administration) but was the overall speech the truth?

Nixon had been accused of criminally mismanaging campaign funds (the more things change...) and he gave the speech to reveal his entire financial history. It occurred to me that I've read about the speech in many contexts but never if Nixon was innocent of the initial charges.

3. Have you noticed that now Republicans seem to hate Nixon more than Democrats do? After his death, people lined up to call him a statesman but now I hear him used as an example of evil ("He's as bad as Nixon"), and, more often than not, the speaker is conservative. Nixon was behind the founding of the National Endowment for the Arts and he did visit China but why did his old party turn on him?

Friday, March 24, 2006

No More Books

For the first time, I'm going to try to handle four separate classes without assigning text books in any of them. Books make things so much easier ("Next, read the twenty-page article in the beginning of the chapter") but it's hard to justify their cost. For a ten-week class that only meets once a week, no matter how I sliced it, a $65 book seemed like an excess so I'm going to try to rely on handouts and outside sources. I'm just starting to regret it four days before the quarter even starts.

Tuesday was a snow day. My will to live is about exhausted. On Wednesday I went in to Devilgirl's class and actually felt useful for the first time in the school district. In the past, things moved so smoothly that it didn't feel like I made the slightest difference. This time the class had a substitute who wasn't familiar with special-needs classes of the school so for once someone was happy to see me.

Today my step-daughter got a "write-up" for creative use of the F-word (telling girls in front of her to "shut the fuck up" during school announcements). I remember saying worse much earlier than the seventh grade but I had the sense not to be in earshot of the teacher.

Also I tore a muscle in my neck and am back on medication (left-over stuff from my back). It's never enough.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

"What WE want"

You know, I like junk food. It's pretty obvious just by looking at me. Still I know that junk food isn't good for me and that I really should eat something better. From Roger Ebert's latest Answer Man column, some people don't have similar realizations about movies:

Q. I must take issue with your response to Jay Leno's question about whether Hollywood is out of step with the mainstream public. Your response was, "Maybe the moviegoing public is out of step with good movies." How incredibly insulting and arrogant! Your comment illustrates an obvious belief on your part that the people involved with financing, writing, directing and acting in films -- most of whom live in the unnatural and aesthetic environments of Hollywood and other cloistered situations -- know better than I and the rest of the public what WE want and need in entertainment! Many of us are TIRED of the continual diet of political, environmental and societal issues forced upon us by today's moviemakers. The overwhelming and continual box-office success of the lighter fare vs. the others proves my point.

Donna Larson, Princeton, Minn.

A. No, I think it proves my point. These 2006 films "won" their weekends or placed second: "Hostel," "Underworld: Evolution," "Big Mamma's House 2," "When a Stranger Calls," "Madea's Family Reunion," "The Hills Have Eyes," "Ultraviolet" and "Date Movie." Only three of these, by the way, were "lighter fare," unless vivisection and evisceration make you smile. During the same weeks, these films were not embraced at the box office: "The Matador," "Cache," "The New World," "Transamerica," "The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada," "Tristram Shandy" and "Tsosti." If I prefer the films on the second list, does that make me arrogant? Moviegoers "tired of the continual diet of political, environmental and societal issues" are finding lots of films that entertain them, and those of us who prefer more challenging films have to look a little harder.

I've noticed that the same people who claim that "it's good to relax with something that doesn't strain your brain" are the people who are most in need of a good mental workout. Wes just wrote about the poster boy of witless entertainment, "the single unfunniest person since Pol Pot, Larry the Cable Guy." The fact that Larry's not living out of a dumpster behind an all-night KFC pretty much confirms that, yes, "[m]any of us are TIRED of the continual diet of political, environmental and societal issues forced upon us," and it shows.

It's depressing when college students complain about poetry full of hard words and obscure ideas, especially when they're referring to Robert Frost. In the birth of drama, back in the days of the ancient Greeks, it was expected that entertainment should make the audience--even an audience of illiterate farmhands--think. Today that's box office poison.

I'm not crusading against junk food or junk entertainment. God knows I love them both. But it sickens me that people are proud of the fact that they love crap and are offended by people who don't.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Found Meme

Here's what appears to be a meme that I found running on a computer at NKU. Initially it asked all the questions two or three times in slightly altered form (I don't know if the guy was revising the meme as he wrote it) I also have no idea who originally wrote or answered it:

Describe your family: in two words - strong and supportive

How do you deal with your hair? gel and a hair dryer

Your first job: paper route

What kind of student were/are you? smart, but a bit of a rebel against the establishment.

How often do you go to the movies? once or twice a month

Have you had to move before? many, many times

Do you have any regrets right now? not really

Do you think it is okay to date someone you met online? Ironic you should ask that.

Who was the worst teacher you ever had? Dr. Norman Finklestein. His ass will soon be kicked.

Who do you admire? My mom and dad

What do you want to be when you grow up? Already am

What things really irritate you? rednecks and racists

Dumbest thing youÂ’ve ever done: today or in general?

What would you change about the world? Make Pat Robertson and Bill O'Reily towel boys at a gay bath house.

Have you ever had to go to the hospital? yes plenty of times

Have you been to another country? yes

What are your interests? music, books, writing, passionate love.

What are you afraid of? not being able to protect the ones I love

Do you attend church regularly? no

What was the worst date youÂ’ve ever been on? A blind date I discovered was ignorant, racist, and homophobic.

What do you think about the war in Iraq? I think Bush should be there fighting on the front line

What was the worst moment in your life? When my Uncle Gary killed himself.

How do you cope when you are upset? music

What is your favorite thing to eat? BBQ

Bad habits of yours: eat way too much junk food

My answers:

Describe your family: In two words--loud and expensive

How do you deal with your hair? comb and cut it.

Your first job: Mini-golf, peddle boat, and kiddie ride attendant at Coney Island.

What kind of student were/are you? lazy and catching up at the last minute.

How often do you go to the movies? Never since Dec. 2001.

Have you had to move before? Nine times from 1991 to 1999. None since 1999.

Do you have any regrets right now? Regrets? I have a few.

Do you think it is okay to date someone you met online? No, she's really a vice cop or a balding Mormon with a foot fetish.

Who was the worst teacher you ever had? Mrs. (or Miss) Brown from 8th grade science. Drunk and incompetent, she once gave a test with four 15-point questions and graded them on a scale of 100 (meaning if you got all the questions right, you got a D-).

Who do you admire? Rodney Dangerfield.

What do you want to be when you grow up? Making more money.

What things really irritate you? Cell phones.

Dumbest thing youÂ’ve ever done: Assumed that because Devilboy pooped twice that he wouldn't do it again.

What would you change about the world? You wouldn't recognize it.

Have you ever had to go to the hospital? Several times for me; a million times for Devilboy.

Have you been to another country? Once.

What are your interests? Books, mythology, wasting time on the internet.

What are you afraid of? Talking pigs.

Do you attend church regularly? Not anymore.

What was the worst date youÂ’ve ever been on? One with a fundamentalist Christian hermaphrodite.

What do you think about the war in Iraq? I keep expecting it to be a setup for a new season of Candid Camera.

What was the worst moment in your life? My life icontinuousnous worst moment.

How do you cope when you are upset? Surprisingly well.

What is your favorite thing to eat? Ice cream.

Bad habits of yours: Wasting time on memes.
Depressing Update

Well, for the second time since December of 2004, my wife is unemployed. Not that such a thing is ever good but I quit my steady day job to watch the kids during normal working hours because she was so insistent that she was on a fast track to a higher position.

Meanwhile in the deli night crew, one of the older workers slipped on the floor as it was being hosed off and broke her wrist. As the EMTs arrived and took her away on a stretcher, customers still kept coming to the counter asking for cheese.

Big fights between my wife and 13-year-old step-daughter show no signs of letting up. I'm ready to cut out my ear drums with a steak knife to get some quiet around her.

Also for some reason, Blogger is displaying the blog weirdly. Not that it's my biggest problem but it's annoying.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Devilboy Slightly Improves Sleeping Ability

After seeing the doctor for the millionth time, he suggested melatonin for Devilboy to sleep more than three hours at a time. At first it helped but last night he was up four times.

We had more run-around with Children's Hospital about autism specialists but supposedly things will be in the works at the end of the month.

Meanwhile at home, he's gone through a stage of pouring liquids on the kitchen floor. Yesterday when I went to change into work clothes, he poured a bottle of chocolate syrup (my wife's really bad idea) all over the floor and himself. The bright side is that the stuff he pours tends to smell nice--chocolate, green apple shampoo, and orange juice.
Finally Another Post

This will make the fourth day I contributed something this March. The archives will look a tad bit hungry.

In the past week I've put together three bookcases, one of which collapsed and was completely destroyed. The other two turned out fine. I could finally unpack the rest of my books.

I had to change the locks twice. The first time I used a Schlage lock which is heavy-duty and tough to force. I know this because the first time I went out and locked the door, when I tried to get back inside it wouldn't open. I went to Lowes and bought a new lock and a crow-bar sized screwdriver, and even with the key seeming to tumble, it took about 15 minutes to tear the lock (and part of the door) apart.

It turned out it wasn't Schlage's fault--for the first time, the catch in the door knob jammed, forcing me to bust that loose as well. The Schlage had worked perfectly all along, I just didn't consider that the problem was the door knob. After seven years of working without a hitch, what are the odds of it jamming the first time I used a new deadbolt?

I replaced the lock and door knob with Kwiki-Lock. Kwiki-Locks ought to have a label saying, "If you majored in English, this is the hardware for you."

Now the door of the shower is acting up. Curtains sound pretty good.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Yes, It's that Dumb Quiz Again

I'm guessing everyone has seen this thing a few million times already but thanks to Pseudojournalist KatieG over at Innisfree, I'm hitting it again.

1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18 and find line 4

"important about the applicant that may not be apparent from"

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can, what do you find?

Air (but if I leaned a little more, I could reach a bookcase).

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?

Goodnight Moon video. Devilboy was vaguely interested.

4. Without looking, guess what time it is.


5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

The dryer and absolutely nothing else.

7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?

About 9:30 to take out the trash.

8. Before you started this survey, what did you look at?

Innisfree courtesy of Pseudojouralist Kate.

9. What are you wearing?

Blue shorts and underwear. Devilboy jumped half a bottle of shampoo on the kitchen floor and I had to use every towel and most of my clothes to clean it up. (The place smells like green apples and the floor is damn shiny.)

10. Did you dream last night?

Yes, it was long and incoherent but the only thing I specifically remember is someone shooting at me from across an empty lot.

11. When did you last laugh?

I think when Devilboy saw me coming to clean up the shampoo and tried to run but slipped all over the floor. He had just had a bath and had to have another.

12. What is on the walls of the room you are in?

Family pictures in collage frames; a framed wedding announcement; a collector's box of little toys, fake Tyrannosaurus teeth, and fake bugs; four DVD cases; a nature picture of about 100 animals; and crayon and pencil marks.

13. Seen anything weird lately?

Devilboy in the shampoo was pretty weird.

14. What do you think of this quiz?

Thanks an effing lot, Katie.

15. What is the last film you saw?

Howl's Moving Castle on DVD. The Fellowship of the Ring at the theater (Dec. 2001).

16. If you turned into a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
A new house with a yard and pool, new pre-assembled furniture, and the final season of Futurama.

17. Tell me something about you that I don't know.

After I gave my dog a bath yesterday, my wife let him in the bedroom and he took a nap on the bed, soaking it full of wet-dog water. I did five loads of laundry today and will probably do at least four tomorrow.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt and politics, what would you do?

Repeal the laws of physics.

19. Do you like to Dance?

No, and "Dance" shouldn't be capitalized.

20. George Bush.

Please put that in the form of a question.

21. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?

My first child is a girl.

22. Imagine your first child is a boy, what would you call him?

My first child is a girl.

23. Would you ever consider living abroad?

I've tried dressing as a broad but I haven't got the gams for it.

24. What would you want God to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?

Sorry about all that.

25. 4 [sic] people who must also do this theme in their journal.

Bea Arthur, Dick Cheney, Steve "the Crocodile Hunter" Irwin, and Batman.

After finishing, I saw that Louis "Mr. TV Head" set me up for it, too. I guess just read this twice.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

One Down

I had the last regular class for English Comp. III tonight. Still on muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory, and pain killers so it was a weird one.

I graded under the influence and actually heard one student say, "I didn't expect that high!" Looking at the results, I think the drugs added about 18 points to the standard. No complaints, but I'll feel guilty when this wears off.
Cat Killer Controversy

I just found this after the sheep and goat stories below. This looks like a bad week for the animal kingdom.

For those of you with weak stomachs, do not click. This is a Museum of Hoaxes post about a woman in China who allegedly kills kittens by grinding them to death with spiked heels.

Is it real? I don't know but the reactions of the comment crew is almost as disturbing as anything else. They make the crew at look like the seven Solons of ancient Greece.

Okay, for the sake of an argument, forget how many people are killed in China or anything about human rights. Consider that the Chinese government harvests tigers for use in fertility "medicine." The government is constructing a dam that is guaranteed to wipe out an entire species of river dolphin. China has made James Watt seem like a tree hugger and the commenters are going ballistic over one cat?

If it turns out this is real, I hope she winds up taking the cell of one of the demonstrators for democratic freedoms. I'd bet that this is another example of "the more repressive a society, the sicker the porn." Still, I'm hoping it was faked and I'd like to put a hurt on her with a crow bar if it wasn't (but I'd like to do that to a lot of people).
When a Fire Official Loves a Sheep

Of all the things going on in the world, why do I even care?

I guess because, on some level, I never really believed this stuff was true. But crikey!

"You caught me{ellipsis}. I tried to (expletive) your sheep," Johnson told his neighbor.

Johnson's neighbor told sheriff's deputies he was called home Saturday afternoon when his 13-year-old daughter saw Johnson drag one of their sheep into a barn.

"The sheep ran out of the barn at that point," the report says.

Johnson apologized, according to the report, and said he'd had "too much to drink."

Alcohol was involved? Now that's a surprise.
"I probably do need some help."

UPDATE: This is how they deal with the situation in Sudan.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

All Hail Our Shark Overlords

"How did sharks come to rule the world in their iron fins?"

"Well, back in 2006, the Pentagon got this wacky idea."
My Classes Are Never This Exciting

Go to college. See a video of a man having sex with a pig.

Guess I'll send my vida to Grand Rapids Community College.
Mixed Twins?

It's not that I'm saying Snopes was bamboozled on this one but. . .anyone heard about this? I didn't think the genetics behind skin color worked this way (and I got ten out ten in the 8th grade math test).

Here's an old Straight Dope column that doesn't exactly match up but it's the best I can do at short notice.
A Negative Word about Bill Gaines?

Up until now I've had only good thoughts about Bill Gaines, the genius behind Mad Magazine in its glory days, Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, and much, much more.

Now I hear that he was responsible for the death of 3-D comics.

I don't know if I should fall into "It-must-be-true-because-it's-on-the-web" trap but this page has a good reputation.

Not that 3-D comics ever mattered to me like Alfred E. or the Old Witch but somehow. . .

And, yes, I know that Gaines never gave his writers and artists real contracts on Mad, which caused Don Martin to go to the vastly inferior Cracked.

Man, a few more posts like this and I can open my own comic shop.