Thursday, May 26, 2011

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I saw an ad from TCM recently about their June 2011 schedule. If you are a SF/monster fan you might want to tune in on Thursdays as they will be showing many old SF films on those dates throughout June. Here's a line-up:

June 2, Thursday
08:00pm Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956)
09:45pm Rodan (1957)
11:15pm Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (1964)
01:00am Godzilla vs. Monster Zero (1970)
02:45am Dinosaurus! (1960)
04:15am The Valley of Gwangi (1969)

June 9, Thursday
08:00pm Them! (1954)
09:45pm The Cosmic Monster (1958)
11:15pm Tarantula (1955)
12:45am The Black Scorpion (1957)
02:30am The Giant Claw (1957)
04:00am The Wasp Woman (1959)

June 16, Thursday
08:00pm Attack of the 50 Ft. Woman (1958)
09:30pm Village of the Giants (1965)
11:00pm Queen of Outer Space (1958)
12:30am Mars Needs Women (1968)
02:00am The Cyclops (1957)
03:30am The Manster (1959)
04:45am The Killer Shrews (1959)

June 23, Thursday
08:00pm It Came From Beneath the Sea (1955)
09:30pm The Monster that Challenged the World (1957)
11:00pm The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms (1953)
12:30am The Giant Behemoth (1959)
02:00am The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1955)
03:30am Creature From the Haunted Sea (1961)
05:00am Hercules and the Princess of Troy (1965)

June 30, Thursday
08:00pm The Blob (1958)
09:30pm The H-Man (1958)
11:00pm The Magnetic Monster (1953)
12:30am X: The Unknown (1956)
02:00am The Thing From Another World (1951)
03:30am It! The Terror From Beyond Space (1958)
04:45am Watch the Skies! (2005)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

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I just got back last weekend from the Dallas Comic Con. Yep, that's me by the Tardis. It's been a while since I've been to any sort of convention of this type. I think the last one my brother and I attended was in the early 90s when we went to the San Diego Con. I also didn't know that this Con was the same one that was previously put on at the Plano Convention Center (turns out it's the same promoter).

At any rate, it was sort of a mixture of boom or bust for me. I enjoyed it for the most part, but I think overall I expected more. Having said that though, I did enjoy myself. As I've said the same promoters that previously held the Con in Plano decided to move the Con to Irving. The facility in Irving is a new building, so it was nice and clean, but there were a few things I didn't like about it. For one, they were doing all sort of construction around that area, so we had to find alternate routes to the site. Once there, the main parking (which I think was inadequate to begin with) was gone, so that meant there were two other lots to pick from. The first high-rise parking lot had a large queue of cars already backed up, so we decided to go further down to the next lot, where we found a park pretty quickly, but we were about a mile or more from the convention center. A little walk never hurt anyone, but it was looking rainy that day, and we hoped it wouldn't come a downpour.

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Once we made it to the event, and purchased our tickets, we made our way inside. They were pretty crowded, which is a good thing for the promoters, but I think the facility wasn't large enough for the turn-out. I can't imagine this Con growing any larger because the building would be inadequate for the fans and venders. Actually when I walked inside I noticed the general area of the place seemed smaller to what the Cons were during the mid-80's and other Cons I'd been to. As we entered the crowd could barely move around, creating sort of gridlock. I noticed several boxes of twenty-five cent comics in that area, which may have been the reason, I thought about thumbing through them, but quickly dismissed the idea due to the crowd. We finally got out of that area, and just sort of walked around looking at who was selling what, and just the overall layout of the area. The place was pretty packed, but we both had cell phones, and decided, we'd look around on our own, and meet outside in the concession area or back upstairs at one of the planned discussions.

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(I just went back to the other part of the house, so I could jog my memory about certain things. I dug around in some boxes of past fan memorabilia to find some of my older programs of the past Cons I've attended. The first Comic Con I attended was back in November 1988, and was called Dallas Fantasy Fair. Whoever was sponsoring those did it for many years, up to around 1993 or so. The show in 1993 was the last DFF I attended. I think they continued on with them for a year or so, until the sponsor, from the rumor I heard, made off with the money and didn't pay his debts. So that was the end of the DFF.)


I had some other friends from Sherman, Tx. that was attending as well, and we'd sort of planned on meeting (if possible). They called me while we were still hustling a place to park. We were wanting to meet up somewhere at the Con, but it just didn't turn out that way. I know they'd gotten up very early to get there on time, etc. Perhaps we'll meet at some other time or place. But we did chat on the phone for a bit here and there. Mike said he went to the John Westley Shipp and Amanda Pays forum, they were on the Flash TV series of several years back. They've since gone on to play other roles in their careers.

At any rate, my brother and I split up. I sort of roamed around looking, and really wasn't that impressed overall with the vender tables. They had the general milieu of collectible items: models, action figures, comics, photographs, bootleg DVD type stuff, and so on. I found an interesting (cheap) vender that was selling comics three for a dollar, and started looking. At least at his spot it was navigable. It turned out the guy that had that set of tables was the same owner of Titan Comics, the main big comic shop in Dallas. Ha. So I looked around in his long boxes and found a few things.

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I found a couple of Incognito comics on Icon press by Ed Brubaker & Sean Philips. They are sort of pulp inspired comics, which I know I'll enjoy reading. What impresses me about Incognito is that it's 22/23 pages of story and art, without one ad. That's amazing for these days! Also at the back there's an essay by various people. In issue #2, which I picked up, the essay is by Professor Jess Nevins on the aviation pulp, G8. I also found an Incognito #4, and in the back of that Nevins discusses Nick Carter, who he says was the original superhero, apparently. Who knew? I haven't read either of these issues yet, but I'm already looking forward to it, and hope I can find some more.

I'll wrap up with part 2, of the Con in a day or so. Stay tunes.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

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Bob Dylan had a birthday this past week, he turned 70. So I thought I'd write a post commemorating the event, however, something went wonky with my posting, so it's a day or so late. At any rate, here it is:

Happy Birthday, Bob Dylan. He turns 70 today, it's hard to believe. What an American icon. I became aware of Dylan from listening to his hit song, Rainy Day Women 12 & 35 many years ago, which was on his Blonde On Blonde album. Also many popular bands of the day recorded some of his hits as well, like The Byrds and such. I eventually bought the 45 rpm song, Rainy Day Women, probably from some birthday money or other small windfall. If you'll remember the lyrics, they're the one where he sings: "They'll stone you when you're trying to be so good. They'll stone you just like they said they would," and so forth. At the time I thought he was singing about getting, well... stoned or high, and the trials and tribulations of being in rock music and being a rock star, although the double entendre could have many meanings, which only adds to the mystique of Dylan.

Here are a few other postings about the song at random from the web:

With the line, "Everybody Must Get Stoned," this song is often associated with smoking marijuana. It is really about trials of relationships with women.

The "official" explanation of how this song got its name: A woman and her daughter came into the recording studio out of the rain. Dylan guessed their ages correctly as 12 and 35.

A less official explanation: The song is about 2 women who came into the studio on a rainy day. Dylan apparently read an article about punishment for women in Islamic states - hence "Everybody must get stoned" because relationships are a trial and error thing.

If you multiply 12 by 35, you get 420, a number commonly associated with smoking marijuana. 420 came about because 5 high school students in California could only smoke at 4:20 in the afternoon. This time was after school and before their parents came home, so it was a good time for them to get high.

Currently, I'd have to guess that Dylan was singing less about getting high than some other topic, but I haven't read exactly what that song is about. Perhaps somewhere there's a book or bio on him where they delve into that.

At any rate, he's still a great musician and song writer. I thought I'd post my top ten favorite albums by him.

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1. John Westley Harding was my first lp by Dylan. I'd collected a few 45s by him, but as I remember the Harding album came out around winter, and I had enough spare money to buy it. It was sort of an mysterious purchase, as I remember looking at the album cover and questioning it: What's this music like? Who are those other guys on the cover? Is that other guy on the cover an Indian? Who's that old man standing behind Dylan? I hope I don't get burned buying this record, and so forth. The album itself was a great place to start however. It has folk rock overtones, and was easy to get into, yet had enough mystery in a lot of the lyrics to listen to over and over again, which I certainly did.

2. I think I bought the two-record set, Blonde On Blonde next, as I felt like I was already enough of a Dylan convert that I should discover some of his back catalogue. Plus this album had some songs on it I heard before and enjoyed like, I Want You and Just Like A Woman, among others. Highway 61 Revisted and Blonde On Blonde were released within six months of each other around 1966, some of the greatest albums in rock and roll.

3. Nashville Skyline--I think around this time frame, I just started picking up whatever new album Dylan released. Nashville Skyline is a great album in that it featured some great ballads like Lay Lady Lay, and a duet with Johnny Cash, Girl From The North Country, which I'll admit, I had to warm up to, but is a wonderful song. It had a more country flavor to it.

4. Bringing It All Back Home
5. Highway 61 Revisted--I think I picked these up next. There was a friend up the street where we were living in a small west Texas town, and he had these two albums, probably some other Dylan vinyl as well. His brother was going to an Ivy League school, and had sent them home to him, as I recall. The guy's name is Jeff Talmadge.

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I mention him because he eventually became a lawyer, but also a song writer as well, and has released around five or so albums himself. At any rate, my brother and I both knew Jeff growing up in the small town of Big Spring, and would hang out at his house, and listen to music and talk to all hours of the night. He had just begun to strum the guitar, and we were trying to learn the instrument as well.

6. New Morning--seemed at the time to be a further progression of Nashville Skyline, sort of Dylan exploring roots music. It was released around three months after Self-Portrait.

7. Self-Portrait--had a impressionistic, self-portrait painting on the cover of Dylan. I think it threw everyone for a loop, myself included. The album was rather sprawling in scope, and didn't have as much of pop appeal like some of his former albums, and perhaps a bit self-indulgent too. But looking back (and listening back) on that album, I think the critics were a bit to quick to criticize the album. I've gone back and listened to it many time since then and I think it holds up to the rest of his oeuvre.

8. Blood on the Tracks--came out in the 80's and was about love gone wrong, with some great song writing like Tangled Up in Blue, Simple Twist of Fate, and really the whole album is wonderful.

9. Freewheelin'--came out around 1962 and is about as good as it gets for folk music of the 60's. Songs like Blowin' in the Wind popularized by Peter, Paul, & Mary became staples of the folk movement, protest songs, ridicules of the cold war mentality, all help to cement Dylan as a cult figure.

10. Modern Times--Dylan continues to put out well crafted albums. Even some of the albums that critics have panned, like Shot of Love, I've enjoyed. I'm also a fan of the Bob Dylan radio hour, which airs (or did) in some sections of the country. All in all a gifted musician, Happy Birthday, Bob.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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Busy day today. I'm trying to get things in order around the house as I'm going to try and get out of town tomorrow. I've planned to go to the Dallas Comic Con. It takes place this weekend in Irving and they have Leonard Nimoy, Carrie Fisher, Stan Lee, and a bunch of other guest. I'll leave early for Dallas, and I'll stay with my brother who lives in Plano. He has to work for the week, but I'll piddle around town for a bit hitting up used bookstores and whatever else. Dallas is a pretty easy town to kill some time in. So today I did chores like mowing the yard, and right now I'm doing some laundry.

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I was pretty much a lazy slob over the weekend. Do you ever know you are unproductive, and you wish you would get up and find the the energy or initiative, just to do a little bit, but it just ain't there? Well, that was my past weekend. So instead of fretting about it, I put the world on pause, and watched tube. Here's a run down of what I saw:

Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel--I enjoyed this nostalgic romp back thru the years with Hef & Playboy magazine. Some parts are time capsule-like that spotlight different eras. Others tackled Hef's activism towards racism, pious religious leaders, etc. It took me back to the 70's when I was in college. Playboy was like a national institution. Oddly when I watched the documentary I thought about an incident while I was at Texas Tech. in summer school. It was pretty boring in summer school, most of the students went home, so everything was pretty quite, and a bit lonely. I was playing the Rolling Stones album, Exile on Main St. one afternoon and this rather scraggly guy shouted through the door, "You like the Stones?" I opened it and got to know the ill-kept guy that lived across the hall. At any rate, after I'd known him for a while he asked me for a favor. He had something he wanted me to keep for him as he was going out of town. I had no idea what that might be hoping it wasn't something illegal or whatever. The next day he brought over a big box of porn. I guess in some ways I was relieved it wasn't a kilo of pot or whatever, but from the way he acted it was something of grave importance. Crazy times.

Knowing--with Nick Cage--total hokum in a way. About a guy that can read the future through some random numbers and such. But I thought it was entertaining for speculative fiction/SF. Some of the effects were pretty cool, so I enjoyed it.

Slaughter--sort of dated, but fun blaxploitation film. I caught this on Sunday, between chores, typical for the era, a bit dated, but ok fun.

Predators--I couldn't finish this one. I thought it had bad dialogue, not a very good story, and a bunch of F-bombs. I'm a SF fan, but I couldn't plow through this one.

While on SF, I'm not much into the new Dr. Who season either. I don't care for the new doctor, and I don't like how they have sort of dumbed down the series. With the last two episodes I saw over the weekend, one involved pirates, and if they got a black spot on their palm, well, a sea-like apparition would appear from water and try to kill them. I thought it was a total ripoff of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Totally unoriginal. The next episode was written by Neil Gaimen, who I generally enjoy as a writer, but this one was also bad. There was way too much SF gobbledygook. The doc and companions land on a planet that's outside of known space, sort of like our space is a bubble, and they land in another bubble--hey, that's what they said... A woman turns out to be in love with the doc, and she turns out to be the spirit of the Tardis. They have to go rescue the doc's companions who have been hijacked by an alien, so they have to build another Tardis. If you are feeling lost, well, you know how I felt. Blah. I like the old Dr. Who.

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey--I actually enjoyed this music doc on metal music. I'm not a huge metal fan, but I enjoyed watching this movie and how metal has changed through the years. I'm a fool for music.

Harry Brown--Michael Caine plays a retired ex-marine whose wife dies, and whose old neighborhood has been taken over by street gangs. He gets a gut full and kicks ass on the street thugs. I enjoyed this little gritty film as well.

More when I get back. I'll do a write-up of the Dallas Con.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

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I got my first notice to appear as a juror the other day for Smith County. They'd sent a little map of where jurors can park for free without being towed or ticketed. So I thought I better go familiarize myself the two lots, rather than just waking up late and not knowing where to go. I also needed air in my bike tires, not that I'm finding any great biking trails or anything. If fact, I haven't really found much of a place I feel safe riding the bike yet, not like I had in Odessa, which was a wonderful place for that. From my house in Odessa, I felt unafraid to hop on the bike and ride all over the place just about. I'd generally go up to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, once or twice around it, and back home. What I liked about the whole route was that it was mostly flat and the streets were wide. Here in Tyler it's hilly and really can be a struggle to go up the hills, plus I don't feel at all safe riding some of the streets--they aren't wide, and the ones that even have markings for a shoulder for bikes are scary. Plus Tyler doesn't have sidewalks in most of their neighborhoods, so you have to ride in the streets. It's a risky business... Plus that's not even taking into account the hit-and-run cases I've already heard about in the local news. Let's face it, most people go nuts behind the wheel. It's not Duke Nukem Forever people, drive defensively and you'll live longer, and hopefully so will everybody else.

Anyway before I left I put some chicken breast in the crock pot to cook. I thought I'd eat one of the breast in a salad later on that night, and make chicken salad out of the other two for sandwiches. Chicken salad sandwiches last pretty well for the week, and are nice and cool and tasty during the summer.


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I actually found a Chevron station here that has a "FREE", get that "FREE" air pump. Those most be on the endangered species list as most gas stations don't have them. They have these coin operated ones, that generally, aren't kept up, and don't work very well. Sort of a pet peeve of mine. So when I find a station that does have a "FREE" one, I'll certainly buy gas there instead of the competitors. Golly, remember when they actually had guys that would put gas in the car for you, and wash your windows, and chitchat with you? You didn't even have to get out of the car to pay. Boy, I'm getting old...

So after I got air in the bike tires, I headed downtown. Tyler's streets are a bit odd. Some have odd names, some are old-fashioned brick streets (which actually I think is sort of neat, but rough driving on), and then there are some one-way streets as well, so if you're a newbie, you have to look where you're driving. I found the first juror parking lot, and the entrance to the street was under construction, and it was a bit small. I think that one will fill up first. I parked my car there, and thought I'd walk around for some exercise. It was hot that day. Again, no sidewalks, narrow streets, so I have to walk in the street. One guy honks at me, I assume to warn me of his approach. I sort of halfway wave to acknowledge him. I continue on, and not much further along, this time I'm on a sidewalk, and old black guy honks at me, sort of waves, and drives by slow, sort of eyeballing me. I look back, and I think I halfway wave, but I thought he was going to stop for a minute and signal me over or something. If so, I would not have gone up to his window, I play strangers safely and give them distance. I still wonder what his game was--perhaps I'm over paranoid, and he was just friendly. But I get that way being in a strange environment.

I find the second juror parking lot, and it's larger, and not too far a walk from the court house. It's probably the one I'll use, and I'll try and get up early on that date to secure a park. Knock on wood.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

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Hey Kids, Comics.

Here are some more rather interesting online web comics. They are free to read so check them out.

This is Zot, Scott McCloud's comic from a few years back. You can navigate it in a couple of ways. The link starts with the first chapter, which makes sense. He also wrote, Understanding Comics and has been around for years. Zot is light science fiction, and a lot of fun too: here.

Here's another way to navigate Scott's web comic in chapters: here.

And this spot, also has some random stories by McCloud: here.

John Byrne, has returned to writing the comic Next Men, and has a neat site and a comic I've never heard or read before called You Go, Ghoul! You can see his site: here. And the web comic begins: here. Byrne has been around for a long time, and worked on everything from X-Men, Fantastic Four, Superman, The Incredible Hulk, to you name it.

Demons of Sherwood Forest is a Robin Hood story that takes place after the original novel ends many years later. Robin Hood has turned into an alcoholic and is brought back to his senses when his help is needed. Bo Hampton does the art, and Robert Tinnell does the story, and boy it's nice :) Go here.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Here's some more interesting sculpture:

Irma Gruenholz

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H.R.Giger

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Tim Burton (movie director)

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David Byrne (Talking Heads)

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Here's a free look at the first issue to American Jesus, the comic book by Mark Millar. It's provided by the people that have the Newsarama site: here. He also wrote Wanted and Kick-Ass, which were turned into movies. I've seen both movies and they were fine depending on your threshold for action, over-the-top fantastical movies. My mood depends a lot on how I respond to some of these films. I'd read the comic series of Kick-Ass, and enjoyed it on some crazy level, but didn't enjoy the film as much (though many did). It's a warped view of young super heroes, who use as much violence as the bad guys. It's crazy, crude, and really pretty offensive in parts, but that's also a part of Millar's writing style in a few of these limited series. They don't tie-in to the Marvel or DC universe, they are just out there.

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I enjoyed the movie version of Wanted a little better than Kick-Ass, although it was just as preposterous and over-the-top as many movie in this sort of escapist fiction. I haven't read the comic yet, but from what I can tell they differ quite a bit. The comic is more firmly rooted in tropes of super heroes and bad guys, where the movie takes a different route doing away with the super hero costuming and, let's face it, cliches. Instead Wanted, the movie, decided they'd model it after The Matrix more or less. The protagonist has to go through all sorts of hurdles to avenge his father's death, learning how to bend and curve bullets with his mind, and jump over buildings and such. If you are in a mood for such escapist fare it's ok. At any rate, I'd like to read the comic for comparison, and maybe I'll compare the two later. At any rate, Mark Millar now has a third comic that's optioned for a movie, so I think he's doing something right.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

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Back around 1978 I walked into Endless Horizons, the locally-owned record store in Odessa, Texas, and they were playing this reggae album that immediately clobbered me over the head with it's intoxicating melodies, recurring rhythms, and exotic appeal. The album was Kaya by Bob Marley and the Wailers. I bought it that day, and during that summer played it over and over, and became a Bob Marley fan. Later on around the same time frame my brother and I flew down to Jamaica on a vacation and it was a nice laid back trip. It was easy to unwind, and let go of the hustle and stress that most jobs seem to entrap you. We flew into Montego Bay airport, and were whisked off to our hotel room, which was fairly sparse, but clean where the balcony overlooked the ocean view, and the winds blew a sea breeze into the room. Ever since then I've enjoyed my share of Bob Marley music, and also some other reggae bands, and also a few offshoots of that style like dub or ska. I was looking around on a music forum about dub music, which I'll admit, I don't know a lot about other then its close association with reggae, other than dub uses a lot of echo. The main definition might be like this:

Think reggae with lots of heavy reverb, piano, echo and other effects both vocal & instrumental, creating longer and often more instrumentally based tracks. Dub in itself isn't a type of music it is more a treatment that is applied to any of the styles of reggae.It originated in the dancehall culture of the late '60s in Jamaica with DJs adding loads of bass and other effects to create dancehall versions basically, and dub versions in the studio.

So you can find dub versions of insturmental ska tracks, of rocksteady tracks, of heavy roots tracks, of reggae-soul tracks, of dancefloor, of techno-reggae and many instrumental tracks of all reggae styles. There's even a reggae and dub version of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album, and a treatment for Radiohead as well. The recent trip-hop is sort of a hybrid of it as well.

A good place to start if you want to compare roots with dub is Burning Spear's 1975 album Marcus Garvey, which was followed in '76 by Garvey's Ghost, which is a dub version of the roots on the previous album.

At any rate, if interested in checking out some of this type music, I found a site that provides some podcast of it. You can download free MP3 files of it, and listen to them over your media player or burn a CD. Click on the link that says: Information and track listing. There you will see what musicians are played on that particular program, and a link to download the program. Here's the link: here.

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Your mother is always with you...
She's the whisper of the leaves
as you walk down the street.
She's the smell of bleach in
your freshly laundered socks.
She's the cool hand on your
brow when you're not well.
Your mother lives inside your laughter.

She's crystallized
in every tear drop...
She's the place you came from, your first home..
She's the map you follow with every step that you take.
She's your first love and your first heart break....
and nothing on earth can separate you.
Not time, Not space...
Not even death....will ever separate you
from your mother.... You carry her inside of you....

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

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The other night I watched the movie The American with George Clooney, Violante Placido as Clara, who played an Italian villager, and Paolo Bonacelli who played Father Benedetto. I really enjoyed it and it reminded me of a throw back in style to some earlier movies from the 70's or 80's like The Passenger with Jack Nicholson, although I thought The American was a better film. It also reminded me a bit of Alfred Hitchcock and also something like Gene Hackman in The Conversation, where he becomes involved in his job as a surveillance man and we watch him as he goes through his routine of wire-tapping. All of these films are different from each other in subject matter, The Passenger for me is the weakest, but at the same time, they have a similar feel to them, and The American sort of picked up that vibe.

At any rate, George Clooney is a good actor that picks good roles and scripts for the most part. In The American he plays an assassin, although we aren't privy to who he works for. That's another thing about the film that appealed to me, but may turn off others--there are fill-in-the-blanks to the plot, nuances, and not everything is totally spelled out, for instance, Clooney's past. We walk into the end of his career, his departure or the point in time where he'd like to exit the career, and at the same time we wonder (along with Clooney's character) if that's possible. While watching it, I wondered about people in these type situations/jobs. Do they just live for the moment, enjoy the pay and all the things money buys, and when the time comes, their death will be quick, and game over or what? At any rate, the movie was a little bit of style over substance, but in this film that appealed to me as well. Lighting played a large part of the style where splashes of orange or cool aqua blues would be used to frame shots. All in all a cool film, I wouldn't mind owning a copy.



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ROCKIN' CONCERT DUDE!!

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Monday, May 02, 2011

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I'm currently reading the first book in the series of Doc Savage written by Lester Dent, who used the pen name of Kenneth Robeson as well. It's a pretty interesting read about a sf-oriented pulp-hero who is portrayed as being superhuman in someways predating super heroes. Even though Dent/Robeson alludes to Doc Savage as the Man of Bronze, having bronze-like hair & a bronze-like physique, I've yet to find much as where he struck upon that idea, but perhaps it is just his way to emphasis the character as being hyper normal--writing about how his physical and mental abilities are far above most normal people. Doc Savage also works with a group, sometimes known as the Fabulous Five, some of which are physically strongmen while others have scientific minds or experts in certain fields like geology, electricity and so forth.

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There were 181 novels in Doc Savage Magazine and at one point producer George Pal announced that he hoped to film them all, but this, based on the first of them, was a flop. Unfortunately the film decided to go for the camp angle similar probably to the 1966 Batman TV show of the time (bad move, at least for me personally). I've never cared much for campy, over-the-top films. I prefer a more serious tone or at least a tone that meshes with the books. I won't lay the entire blame on the director as Hollywood is such a circus at times, but some of the blame I think is warranted. Certainly there was a bit of camp during certain runs or eras of the Batman comic book, with garish contraptions and villains, but there's a lot of straight ahead adventure as well. So for me the best Batman films were the last two: Batman Begins and The Dark Knight played by Christian Bale.

At any rate, the first Doc Savage book starts off in a whirlwind of adventure high atop a scaffolding of girders on an unfinished skyscraper as a red-fingered villain spies through his binoculars into the eighty-sixth floor of Doc's sanctuary. The story opens with many questions: Who is the guy with the red-tipped fingers, what happened to Doc's father who recently died, who is this man of bronze that seems super human, and so forth so much so that the reader is flung headlong into the story. So it's been a fun read.

I've read over the internet that there's possibly a new Doc Savage film in the works. I say possibly because who knows if it will ever get made or shown? But I thought I'd post a link in case you are interested as they have certain actors picked out to play some of the roles like Doc played by Jason Statham. I'm not a huge Statham fan, I'd prefer to see maybe Dwayne Johnson in the title role, but the other characters picked out for the Fabulous Five seem like pretty good picks: here.

Last night there wasn't a lot on the tube, but I watched a bit of The Amazing Race while I made some supper. I finally picked out a movie to watch called The Iron Giant. It was a Disney animated film. It had older animation (not the Pixar style), but it went well with the 50's setting about a young boy growing up in Maine, who finds a giant robot that has crash landed on Earth. He soon befriends the giant, only to have to hide it away from the military who fear and want to destroy. The film reminded me of the original movie, The Day The Earth Stood Still, and some of the other 50's SF films of that age. It also reminded me of growing up through that era. If you enjoy animation or Disney it's worth a watch.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

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Well, President Obama finally came up with his birth certificate, I hope the Birther movement and Donald Trump are satisfied, but I somehow think nothing would satiate that sort of fear mongering wackness. In fact I sometimes wish President Obama had held onto that card a bit longer just to make them look that more idiotic as the campaigns heat up later. I kind of hope Donald Trump runs for president, it would make for interesting entertainment, but I doubt he's really serious about running. Now I guess the opposing party will have to come up with some other fear mongering tactic, spin, or whatever. Maybe they'll have to go back to the old topics of fear: gay military/marriage, abortion, or guns. Who knows?

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Flight 109 to Tower, we been circling around for a bit, you got anything on the ground yet? Some of the passengers are getting restless, and I know I'm tired, Tower, you there?

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Midweek I mowed my yard and did other yard work. I struggled with the weedeaters. You get more tired from trying to start the dang things, than actually using them for the job they're intended to do. I have three of them. Yeah...three! Two are Sears' brands but I suspect they just put their Craftman's name on it to sell in their stores. The worst one is a Weedeater brand. All three are pretty worthless and choke out, and are hard to start, and once you get them running, stall and choke out. It's amazing what a scam lawn equipment has turned into. I have a Sear's mower that I bought a few seasons back. It worked pretty good for one summer season, a lousy four months, and then quit working. It stalls and sputters like the weekeaters. I don't know what the problem with these are, but I know the consumer is getting the shaft. We should have rallied around this issue and taken all this crap back to the store and demanded our money back. Live and learn, I save my receipts for such things now. Still that's no guarantee they'll honor an exchange or take anything back, but at least it's a start. I'm sure they'll make you jump through a hoop to exchange the items, particularly a pricey mower that cost around $350. these days and higher, but I'd do it. At any rate, I stopped with the yard work when the weekeaters wouldn't start, and also noticed that one of the cars, the Buick, I'd inherited from my parents was due an inspection sticker on April 30th.

So it's Friday near quitting time, April 29th, and I jumped in the shower at 4:30 pm, in my wildest delirium fantasy of getting this little car inspection done in about thirty minutes. Okay, no one ever has mistaken me of being Einstein or even Sherlock Holmes. After the quick shower, I guess it calmed me down and brought me to my senses and I thought, man, I'll do it tomorrow, I'm tired and hungry, I'll just eat instead--tomorrow's another day. Sheesh.