Saturday, April 30, 2011

Stuff I Like

Grant's: slightly sweet, reasonably smooth with a balanced taste that goes down with an easy burn. This is my every day night, just before bed elixir.

Bargain priced at Trader Joe's, a 1 litre bottle only runs $11.99, but it's a better drink than that. Seems every other week, the checker has to make a comment about how good 'this stuff' is, and 'everybody' is talking about it.

You'll love the distinctive triangular bottle that fits well in the hand and makes pouring so much easier at those times when you're having just one more.

WildTurkey: This is my favorite. Old school; kinda smokey and leathery with a sweetness that doesn't overpower. I like the way it attacks both front and back in balanced proportion. A more masculine attitude with a burn that is as soothing as it is pronounced.
I like it over ice.

It's also 101 proof, so I save for the weekends when waking up in a timely fashion is not so critical.

About $17.00 for a 750ml bottle at Trader Joe's, but you'll pay much more elsewhere.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Water For Elephants

Not normally a movie I'd go see unless I was taking my Mom out for the day, which I was. And glad I did on both counts...

Told through the memories of Jacob Jankowski(Robert Pattinson), a depression-era Cornell veterinary student just days from graduation when tragedy strikes, leaving him without a family or a home. In desperation, he jumps a train out of town that just happens to be a circus train.

In short order, Jacob finds himself working for the circus, caring for the animals, and trying to score some love from Marlena (Reese Witherspoon), the star attraction and wife of August(Christoph Waltz), the cruel and brutal circus master.

Wonderfully told and beautifully produced, Water For Elephants believably transports the viewer back in time to the 1930's and into the tough and gritty life of circus performers. Solid performances by the entire cast leaves me with nothing negative to say but for the slow start at the beginning until the storytelling finally winds up and sucks you in.

A good 'date night' movie, this would be only the third time I've seen an audience applaud at the end of the show.
What's that tell you that I didn't already?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Your Highness

Remember 'Krull', that cool flick from the 1980's? Well, I do. This one is a lot like that:
The Prince is moments from marriage to the fair maiden of his dreams when some evil-doer enemy type dude crashes the party and kicks a lot of ass before running off with the bride-to-be... setting the stage for the great quest to rescue the maiden after first acquiring the exclusive unique weapon of special powers that, until now, nobody knew existed.

OK, now take that plot, add a whole bunch of bawdy humor, endless dick jokes, and stupid ideas and you'll have a mega-bomb titled Your Highness. Basically, a Weapon of Mass Artistic Destruction.

I've seen a few horribly bad films, like this one, or more comparable, this one.

This one is beyond that level of bad, with the character Isabel, well played by uber-talented Natalie Portman, the only aspect worth watching. Unfortunately, Isabel doesn't grace us with her presence until about 1/3 the way through.
But she does provide a tasty 'stripping down to a thong bikini' scene. I liked that part, but it's not nearly enough to recommend so much as a Netflix offering.

No More, More, More.

A sweet taste of butter and honey, strong burn and not very subtle. Cutting it with water works best, though cutting is not much of an issue for me. Instead, it's nearly a requirement.
But I love the name, and it's good with Coke.

I'll be going back to Wild Turkey next payday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

America's Court Jester

He is known for dressing inmates in pink underwear and feeding them green baloney.
And now America's toughest Sheriff has come up with a new initiative to give the public a voice in law enforcement - an online Mugshot of the Day competition.

I don't know about the "America's Toughest Sheriff" title, but he's definitely the most attention seeking.

Some of his policies are kinda humorous, others seem to make sense, but I'm not the one sitting in his jail having to deal with them.
This latest stunt I don't like much at all.

It would be a different argument if he was posting mugshots of convicted inmates, but that's not what these are.
He's holding people up to public ridicule who have not been convicted of any crime. In our system, not convicted means innocent.

I know... mugshots are a matter of public record, but it's a different issue entirely when photos of innocent people are purposefully distributed by those in a position of trust for the purpose of entertainment or ridicule.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Wish It Was Mine

From Letters to the Editor, Orange County Register:

There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year-old’s life: “The Lord of the Rings” and “Atlas Shrugged.” One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.

I love it...


In comments from the previous post, Brian queries that I am "in love with Natalie Portman".

Let me explain my fetish...
I saw The Professional way back in 1994. In that movie, also Natalie's debut, she plays opposite Jean Reno as a recently orphaned 12 year old girl from a troubled family.
A local hit man takes her under his wing and teaches her his craft, and the two embark on a loving father-daughter, domestic-type relationship. You know the story, I'm sure.

Natalie was about 13 years old when she acted in this film, and her role has been one of my favorite characters through the years in one of the most memorably awesome movies I've ever seen.

So yeah...
I have an interest in this actress on account of my being really impressed with the first time I'd seen her as a, let me repeat... 13 year old girl. She's intriguing, even if most of her movies suck.

And you gotta respect a potential up and comer who, when personally offered a blockbuster role by George Lucas responds with a 'Let me get back to you'.
It's a talent thing.
That's what it's all about.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Still More Natalie

Taking over from where I left off on the previous post...

Natalie Portman's most recent film release, Your Majesty, contains a delicious scene wherein she strips down to a bikini before taking a dive into a cold lake. It's basically a gratuitous flash of flesh that adds little to the film itself, but that's not what's really important from a press angle.

Instead it seems that we have another mini-scandal on our hands. What? Say it ain't so.

I saw this movie recently (more on that later) and can say, as these images provide, Natalie did not use, nor need, a body double for her bikini scene. Instead, we have a situation where Natalie balked at diving into an icy lake and relied on a double to take the plunge in her place.

When you're the star, you can make demands such as this. And who wouldn't when given that option?

This is only 'news' in so far as it plays off the ballerina non-scandal, but has provided the model stand-in with a cheap dose of publicity over a flash of ass that lasted less than one second, if that.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Double Natalie

Body and stunt doubles have been an important part of filmaking since at least the 1950's.
Those who do the scenes that the actors (or actresses, if your name is Amanda) are unable or unwilling to do themselves are, generally speaking, the unsung heroes of Hollywood. The pay is often minimal, credits do not always include them, and when they do, are never specific.

As a matter of professional class, actors do not take credit for stunts that they did not perform. Sure, they may not offer up the information unless asked, nor should they be required to, and it's always best to be kinda less-clear on the subject. Movies are selling fantasy where the primary instrument of delivery is the performer that you've paid to see.

It is into this sticky wicket that Natalie Portman found herself concerning her Oscar winning performance in Black Swan (that I have not yet seen). Natalie has claimed a year and a half of ballet lessons as preparation for her role as a ballerina. Anybody with a minimal clue concerning the art of ballet should know that it takes more than 18 months of coaching (especially when combined with a busy schedule of lousy movies to star in) to create a passable ballerina where none existed.

Knowing this, I would not have assumed that Natalie personally performed all those ballet moves in Black Swan (that I haven't seen, but reports have offered that it was pretty bitchin stuff).

As it is, most movie goers don't possess minimal clues, so the real-life ballerina who made Natalie look so ballerina-ish has raised a bit of stink about Natalie claiming that which she has not claimed.

Enter: the Film Press, which behaves much as the Sports Press, jonesing to report a scandal that isn't there

No scandal here, move along...

(more to come...)

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Easy Solution For An Obvious Problem

Childrens' health and nutrition is very important to me, and I'm happy to see that a Chicago school district is making efforts to protect their students from eating unhealthy homemade lunches while another in the District of Columbia has taken postive steps to protect children from bad milk.

These are both worthy endeavors to be sure, but they don't go far enough. I think every student should have G-Tube installed and then all nutrition can be measured out in the proper dosages, assuring complete and properly balanced nutrition without the epidemic of childhood obesity.

Speaking from experience... my BMI, blood pressure and cholesteral levels were never more perfect than they were during my G-Tube days. With the additional twenty pounds I've put on since then, I'm seriously thinking of going back.

We can do it for the children, too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cat Run

I know a film is unremarkable when I couldn't remember that I saw it just a few days ago... Cat Run stars ... um... OK, let me look it up...

Spanish-born actress, Paz Vega.
Yeah, that's her. She supposedly stars. She's certainly the headliner, but her role is so limited it gets overshadowed by a supporting role. A shame, too.

I like Paz. She has that type of attractiveness that one only finds in the Euro theater, and misses the mark with the type of attributes that would spell s-t-a-r for American audiences: She's not blond, Playboy-style curvy, perfectly featured, nor overtly boobalicious. And she has bags under her eyes.

It's an over-the-counter attractiveness that smolders when combined with the right aura. She has it, and some acting talent as well.

On to the story, shall I?
Paz stars as a high-status prostitute servicing some state department officials in Montenegro when she becomes witness a scandalous cover up and finds herself a target for assassination.

In short, she gets chased all over Europe while the bodies pile up. Enough of that.

The show gets stolen by Janet McTeer. McTeer's character is a combination of Mary Poppins and Dirty Harry. Prim and proper, speaking a well-mannered polite form of Brit English, she dispatches her victims methodically, often with an unbridled cruelty. She's cold and unfeeling, exactly what you'd want an assassin to be. She's just brilliant.

Other than that, it's a very forgettable movie, with a mercifully limited run. You're glad you missed it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

What's the weather like in Seattle? Tracy knows all about it.

Xenophobia Is Curable

One of Europe's first countries to allow Jews to practice their religion openly may soon pass a law banning centuries-old Jewish and Muslim traditions on the ritual slaughter of animals.

This is stupid. Kosher slaughter is an immensely humane method of killing an animal, requiring an extremely sharp knife to slit the throat in a manner that severs all the nerves and arteries causing the beast to collapse in a relatively painless manner.
Also, part of the method demands that no animal is slaughtered within view of another. As a result, the animal is kept calm and never senses panic. Halal slaughter (Islamic law) follows very much the same protocols.

Both methods of slaughter emphasise respect for the animal and gratitude to the Creator who provides it.

Neither point can be made for the accepted "Western" methods of factory meat production. It is for this reason that most of the fresh meat (exception: pork) that enters my kitchen is halal.

The real reason the Dutch are being asshats in this regard is to further harass their large migrant Muslim community.

I suggest to the Dutch: Maybe if you start having your own babies you won't need to import brown people to do the work that pays the taxes that provide your welfare state. As an added bonus, you won't look like assholes when you propose laws such as this.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Oh, What the Hell...

Just get it over with.
Let's invade Tripoli, hang Qadafi and sons, and then leave the place to whomever is left.
Get it done in a week, OK?

Monday, April 4, 2011

I tossed the idea around in my head for a few minutes. Should I attach that photo, or not? Seriously, I gave it some thought.
I wasn't sure how The Readers would respond. Would it be deemed pornographic? I worried about that.

I eventually decided to go with it because it was the image that most closely matched to the one in my mind when reading the subject article, and I thought it was funny as hell.

I also decided that it was not offensive when taken in that context. If you think I may have crossed a line, just say so, privately if you need to, and it will be removed.

Per Brian's query: the search words were 'Mother' and 'Cow'. Sometimes you never know what's out there til you try.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Got Mom?

Scientists have created genetically modified cattle that produce "human" milk in a bid to make cows' milk more nutritious.
The scientists have successfully introduced human genes into 300 dairy cows to produce milk with the same properties as human breast milk. Human milk contains high quantities of key nutrients that can help to boost the immune system of babies and reduce the risk of infections. The scientists behind the research believe milk from herds of genetically modified cows could provide an alternative to human breast milk and formula milk for babies, which is often criticised as being an inferior substitute. They hope genetically modified dairy products from herds of similar cows could be sold in supermarkets. The research has the backing of a major biotechnology company.
Something about this is kinda freaky to me. I'm not at all antagonistic when it comes to genetically modified foods, and in some way logic tells me there's not big a difference between the selective breeding we've been doing for ages and the genetic modifying we are doing today. (OK, so maybe it's poor logic, but it's all I got.)

As a kid, I used to selectively breed birds, so I've known something about it, on a very basic practical level, for almost my whole life. That it was all about lining up the genes to get what you wanted.
It gave me an edge in grade school science classes when the topic came up. Seemed I was being 'taught' in the classroom what I had already been doing in the backyard for quite some time, tutored by my dad, who was raised as a farmer.
Sure, it's somewhat different from inter-species gene splicing, but an ear of corn is still an ear of corn as a pig is still a pig.

But this... ??

What are we doing?
Turning women into cows?...
Or cows into women?

I don't know... just don't seem right to me.

Or, to quote an animal rights whackjob:
"Why do we need this milk – what is it giving us that we haven't already got."
I would suggest it would be much easier, and more economical, to just encourage further use of real human breast milk.

It's already being produced where needed, is not in short supply, never needs mixing,refrigeration, sterilization or any additional packaging ('cept for maybe extreme circumstances.) Unless...

This whole Mom-Cow milk thing is just one more brick in the wall of the secret world government looking forward to the future when mothers will no longer be necessary, or required, to create the ultimate utopia of super worker humans raised from clones who populate the earth to serve the Illuminati.

It's the only reason I can come up with.