I’m Spartacus!

(not pictured – Spartacus)

From Dr. Zaius via Samurai Frog:

Shakesville is under attack! A denial-of-service attack! In a show of support for Shakesville, Blue Gal is invoking the ancient ritualistic tradition of “I Am Spartacus!” (You have to do it people, it’s in your contract, page 62, paragraph 3.)

This all started as a reaction to an announcement from Shakespeare’s Sister that she was bowing out of the Edwards campaign to protect him from the hateful spew from the right-wing troglodytes. Driftglass started an “I’m Spartacus” dance craze that swept the nation. Still don’t get it? YouTube to the rescue. Long live concertive control!

Ann Who?

So, it appears that Ann Coulter is bubbling up all over the place again. I’m assuming you already know the details. Even if you don’t, the details aren’t really related to the point I’m trying to make.

People get angry — people get very angry at the things she says.

Okay, sure, she says some heinous things. But isn’t that her purpose, to provoke outrage?

What else does she have?

Ann is like the sensationalist news stories we obsessively follow and decry. In the media soup, Ann Coulter is the equivalent of a cop shooting his wife and children.

She keeps popping up in our culture because of a need for people to feel outrage.

Do any conservatives actually think she is any kind of worthwhile advocate for their views and values? If a conservative does like Coulter, is it for any reason other than she makes people (or as Ann would say, “liberals”) angry?

So what do you do? How do you respond?

Probably the first step is to not get angry. That’s really her only power over you and I. In her particular case, I believe ignoring her is the best course of action.

But before you get to the ignoring, check out this post of mine. She sounds pretty funny with a James Brown backbeat.

I Answer The Questions Of Our Next President

When Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein, the befezzed, potential future president of the United States offers his interviewing services, you jump on it like a monkey jumping on another monkey, right?

Here are his interview questions, and my answers.

1) Who were your childhood heroes? And why did you look up to them?

I used to read lots of comics when I was a kid and loved Spider-Man, but I don’t think I ever got into the mindset where I would find the heroes in comics to be heroes to look up to.

I liked various music, television and movies, but really didn’t have any heroes there, either. I loved Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, but didn’t really associate them with Jim Henson at the time (who I’d probably consider a hero of mine now, at least).

I was also relatively oblivious to the events of the day as well, so no heroes on the national or world stage existed for me, either.

I guess my brother would probably be, for me, the person most fitting the words ‘childhood hero’.

He’s seven years older than me. I always looked up to him. Whether it was reading his old comics or listening to an old mixtape he made, things that were in some way connected to him carried a greater meaning, and emotional impact.

I still remember when I was about seven or eight, he let me tag along on a walk to a convenience store with him and his friends. The store was probably no more than a mile from our house, but it seemed like a hundred to me. It probably wasn’t that big a deal to him, but to me it was like a big adventure that I felt happy to be part of.

I can’t really pin down why I looked up to him so much. That’s just the way it was, I guess.

2) What is one film and one book you would recommend that everyone see and read and why?

Book: Interventions, by Noam Chomsky
I’m picking the most recent political book by linguist and activist, Noam Chomsky. I’m honestly not that familiar with his work in linguistics, but I have read virtually all his political books. In my opinion, Chomsky is a profoundly thoughtful and articulate critic of the United States, focusing primarily on its role in world affairs. I first read one of his books, Towards A New Cold War, about ten years ago, and it completely shook me to my core. Some people feel his writings are pessimistic, or overly critical of the US. I don’t really feel that way. I think he is doing something he believes in, and is trying to effect positive change in the best way he knows how. He’s trying to make the world a better place. I think the more people (particularly, Americans) are aware of his writings, the less likely wars like Iraq and Vietnam will be started and perpetuated.

Movie: Defending Your Life, by Albert Brooks
Something about this movie and its portrayal of an afterlife really clicked with me. There’s no concept of a hell, or really even an omnipresent supreme being. It’s all about fear. Did fear rule your life on Earth? Fear is seen as the cause of the majority of our worldly problems. Fear is what keeps people from moving on into their next stage of existence (I like this concept more than one of some kind of lazy-ass heavenly paradise). Fear is what keeps people from using the full potential of their brains (people on Earth use only 3% of their brains).

All my life I have struggled with fear and uncertainty, as I’m sure many people do. This movie does a lot of great things. Among them, it de-religifies spirituality and encourages one to take chances and work through doubt. Plus, you can eat all you want of the finest foods in the afterlife without gaining a pound.

3) Which, if any, countries outside the USA have you visited?

I’ve been to a resort in Cozumel, which perhaps technically can’t be considered Mexico due to how insular the environment was designed to be. We were there in mid-September, and no one in the resort mentioned that it was Independence Day (September 16th) the week we were staying (of course, we could have not been the ignorant gringos that didn’t already know this fact). A cab driver mentioned the following day was Independence Day when we were riding from our resort to the main town. So, the following night we decided to skip the resort’s musical salute to international something-or-other and went into town during a celebration by the locals. It was one of the highlights of our trip. At around the time we were in Cozumel, Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs and Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals were having their racing streak of home runs in the Major League back home. I met a man in town who was a fan of Sosa’s. I asked him if he would like me to send him a Sosa t-shirt when I got back to Chicago, to which he enthusiastically agreed. I never sent him a shirt, though, and have lost his address.

For our honeymoon (which actually was more than a year after we had married), my wife and I traded in a timeshare of my brother’s and stayed at a small town, Bad Gastein, in the Austrian Alps. It was offseason, so there was no skiing involved, but we did plenty of hiking (though my wife was five months pregnant with twins at the time, and probably would have liked to have gone a little lighter on the walking). One of the coolest things we saw in Austria was Eisriesenwelt, an ice cave in the side of a mountain. A guide that worked there, Gerhard, gave us a tour of the cavern. I mentioned to him that I had done some caving back in the States, and said that I had used a carbide lamp for illumination. Gerhard stated that he would love to get his hands on one of those lamps, but that they were prohibitively expensive locally. I said I could probably dig one up for him for cheap, and asked him if he would like me to send him one when I got back to Chicago, to which he enthusiastically agreed. I thought I had a lamp back home, but then I couldn’t find it. Then, I lost Gerhard’s address. Actually, I just recently found my carbide lamp at my folks’ house. Gerhard, if you find this blog and give me your address again, I’ll send the lamp to you, I promise.

A couple years earlier, my wife and I did an El Italia package where we saw three cities (Rome, Florence, Venice) in ten days. We weren’t part of a tour group, but we did have reservations in the different cities on certain nights, enforcing how long we stayed at each place. Florence was a blur, though I did propose to my wife there, and bought her an engagement ring on the famous Ponte Vecchio. We had a fantastic time in both Rome and Venice. I’m not a big drinker, but every dinner we ate was accompanied by a decanter of house wine. The ruins of Rome were incredible, particularly the Colosseum. I was so in awe of this building that when a couple of dudes dressed up as Roman Centurions came up and asked to take our picture, I said, “Sure.” I thought they were just being kind and were going to take a picture of my wife and I, but they instead started hamming it up, pretending to threaten my wife and I with a sword as another Centurion snapped a photo. I was chuckling as one of the Roman Centurions muttered to me “..[unintelligible] lira”. “Huh?” I asked. It dawned on me. These guys weren’t out here dressed for kicks, they were charging tourists to take their pictures. So, I fumbled for my wallet, still a little confused. “TWO OF THE BLUE ONES,” he spit out.


In case you don’t know, that’s 20,000 lira (about US $10). vaffanculo!

I guess the lesson to be learned is that if you want something from me while I am traveling in your fair country, you have to trick me.

4) What do you do for a living? Do you like it? And do you see yourself doing it until you retire?

I’m doing mostly Java programming at a bank. Some days it’s more fun than others. A lot of it involves creative problemsolving, but there are stretches of drudgery. I honestly don’t know if I’ll do it all my life. I sort of fell into it. It pays pretty well, and that’s important to me as I’m now supporting a wife and three kids.

My college degree is actually in film production. I halfheartedly pursued a career in the film industry when I first moved to Chicago ten years ago, but as it worked out I was mostly temping.

A guy I work with just recently wrote a script, which I helped him make into a movie just these past two weekends. I recently got an idea in my head for a short film, which I think I might develop into a script, and, hopefully, a movie.

I think as long as I can have some sort of creative outlet, I can be satisfied with most kinds of work.

5) What traits should we pass on to future generations?

If anything, I’d like to see the world be a more humane place. I guess the most important thing to pass on would be the feeling of being a part of something larger than one’s self, a recognition of a greater good. Stuff that makes you think twice before inflicting harm on another.

Thanks so much for these questions, good doctor.

Now, you, reader of this post… Do YOU want to be interviewed?

Interview rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying “Interview me.”
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the questions.
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Two Buck Schmuck Gets A Hairline Fracture

Tonight at the 9-ish shows at the LaGrange Theatre, here were my choices:

Wild HogsSeen it!
Georgia Rule — A Garry Marshall comedy, starring Jane Fonda and Lindsay Lohan. I’d be afraid to attend because my heart would explode with warmth and laughter.
Blades Of Glory — Like Talladega Nights on ice. Though I would probably enjoy Will Arnett and Amy Poehler’s supporting roles as a vicious ice-skating couple in this movie, I didn’t feel like seeing a comedy tonight.

Which leaves us with:

Fracture — a “suspense” “drama” starring Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins.

I don’t believe I have noted it previously, but all the movies I have seen up to this point at the LaGrange have been in Theater 1, the curvy seated room with dim lighting and no drink holders.

Tonight, I saw the majesty of Theater 2. It was a perfectly acceptable theatre, a little on the smallish side, with the screen not quite big enough for the projected images. But it had bright enough lighting for me to read my cherished Movie Fun Facts prior to the movie, and cup holders as far as the eye could see (which isn’t terribly far in Theater 2). One kind of disturbing thing about Theater 2 — you have to walk down a very long, blood-red corridor to get to it. Zoiks!

Hey, have you ever heard of the well-respected film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum? He’s actually turned me onto many interesting films — for example, the works of the great Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami. Apart from periodically providing capsule reviews of recent releases, Rosenbaum also writes weekly columns in the Chicago Reader that are articulate and often thought-provoking.

Now that I have gotten *that* out of the way, here’s his review of Fracture in its entirety (taken from here):

An engineer (Anthony Hopkins) goes on trial in Los Angeles for trying to murder his wife (Embeth Davidtz), and the prosecutor (Ryan Gosling) attempts to push through what appears to be an open-and-shut case but isn’t. With its lavish architecture and Spielbergian lighting, this absorbing thriller has a high-toned look, but director Gregory Hoblit and writers Daniel Pyne and Glenn Gers got much of their training in TV cop shows, which shows in the adroit way they semaphorically abbreviate certain characters and plot developments to slide us past various incongruities. The main interest here is the juxtaposing of Gosling’s Method acting with Hopkins’s more classical style, a spectacle even more mesmerizing than the settings.

Rosenbaum actually gave this movie a “Reader Recommend” (the equivalent of a “thumbs up”). One thing that I have noted in particular with regards to the more “intellectual” film critics, is that occasionally when reviewing a piece-of-shit mainstream movie, they focus on some dumbass component that makes them think the film is somehow watchable. This film wasn’t just a turd, it had teeth, too. Seriously, “semaphorically abbreviate”? The juxtaposition of Gosling’s and Hopkin’s acting styles, a mesmerizing spectacle? Are you fucking kidding me?

This movie was not just boring, it was relentlessly boring. I am not exaggerating in saying that I looked at my watch *at least* ten times during this movie.

The one bright spot in this movie was that in a few scenes Ryan Gosling was wearing a shirt for Camp Ki-Shau-Wau, apparently an old Boy Scout Camp once owned by the Starved Rock Area Council.

My bleary, reddened eyes opened briefly at the sight of the words Starved Rock on his shirt, because that’s a lovely northern Illinois state park I have had the pleasure of hiking. From what I can tell, Camp Ki-Shau-Wau is not located in the park, but a little ways down the Vermillion River. It appears that the camp has been converted to a resort.

Why not learn more about Starved Rock? On the Starved Rock page, do you see those background images of the park drifting behind the happy, active, middle-agish seated couple? Watch those pictures for about two hours, and you’ll get a sense of how it felt to watch Fracture (except the couple was Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins, and they were spectacularly mesmerizing in their contrasting acting styles).

That was nice how I tied that all together, wasn’t it? You didn’t think I could pull it off, did you.

That’s why they pay me the big bucks, ladies and gents.

Hello, Yourself

SamuraiFrog has posted a song of the week, Hello, It’s Me by Todd Rundgren.

I guess I’m pretty Rundgren-deficient or something. I don’t really know any of his work — I only know that he occasionally wears crazy sunglasses.

I liked the song.

Its title is the same as the last song of Lou Reed and John Cale’s Songs For Drella.

The Songs For Drella version is more of a song about saying goodbye.

Here’s a video of it. I believe that with the hair helmet Lou Reed is sporting in this performance, I have now satisfied the mullet quota for my blog for the remainder of the year.

An End To Another Cicadian Rhythm

Not much going on lately in Brookfield, cicada-related at least.

The noise has settled down to what one might hear on a normal summer day. The bugs that used to be flying around are now corpses on the ground.

All in all, this emergence was (for me) unexpected, kind of gross, and pretty cool. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Oh, a side note — my post is punning on Circadian rhythms, a term I learned in a converation a while back with Bubs, in regards to how he had lost his due to working crazy hours.

Here’s some other Rhythms that haven’t entered the common lexicon as of yet.

Chicletian Rhythm – The amount of time it takes to chew a piece of Chiclets gum before it becomes stale and you have to add another piece.

Cardassian Rhythm – Some Star Trek backstory alien race mating-ritual nonsense that I presume exists, and that probably already has a series of fan websites devoted to it (but I am not willing to look for).

Serjtankian Rhythm – The amount of time elapsing between the hearing of a song by System of a Down.

L’il Train Vignette

This morning on my train car, the guitar intro to ACDC’s “Back In Black” kicked in.

A late-middle-aged woman reached into her purse to pull out the cell phone that was producing the music.

As she sipped a box of juice (the kind normally seen in the hands of a toddler), she admonished her son over the phone for forgetting his basketball shoes.