Friday, April 28, 2006


Generally, I try really hard to get along with my neighbors. Most of them are easy to get along with, so I expend very little energy tolerating them. However, one of my neighbors is really starting to wear on me.

She is known as the neighborhood gossip/snitch. She knows about everything going on long before anybody else does. She also sticks her big ugly nose where it doesn’t belong. She has never done this with me, because I keep to myself and never give her any ammunition. However, I’ve seen it done with a few neighbors, and she is relenting.

Let me give you one example. Her immediate neighbor, the one she shares the twin with (not a person, but a type of house), bought his house about 6 months before we bought ours. He has always been nothing but friendly to me, and has done major improvements to his property in the short time he has been there. For some reason, this bothers the sea-hag (since I can’t give you her name, I will be calling her this, because she looks like one). I’m guessing she doesn’t like the idea of home improvement around the neighborhood, because she would like to continue living in her filth and not feeling guilty about it.

So, now she is sticking her nose in his business, asking if he has gotten permits for his improvements. She even has mentioned on several times that the fence that separates their property is 3 inches on her side. Now, nobody should give a flying rat’s ass about 3 inches, especially since it was her dopey husband’s idea to do this years ago. But, now she wants to remind the guy over and over again that he can’t do anything on that part of the property, and that she may want to plant flowers there. In my humble opinion, she should at the very least think about removing the hairs inhabiting her face before she event worries about the three inches of property. This is but one “topic” that she has “discussed” with her neighbor. There are many more, and unfortunately, she comes by when she sees me outside to go over all of them, while I try mightily to ignore her (it never works, she could probably make a brick wall blink).

But now, I suspect that she is stealing my coupons. I know it seems petty, but I am really into coupon clipping now. But, this past week, we didn’t get our coupons … or did we. The Inquirer does a weird thing, in that they send out the coupons on Saturday and the newspaper on Sunday. We didn’t get the coupons on Saturday, so I called the Inquirer, and they delivered them yesterday. I put the coupons on my front step (I was on my way to work … and running late). But, when I got home, they were gone. This lady is the only one in the neighborhood who has no problems trespassing on anybody else’s property, and I know that this would be something she would be totally capable and willing to do.

What will I do about this? Probably not much. BUT, I will definitely tell her that somebody has been stealing my coupons the next time I talk to bush-face. Then, I will say that it has bothered me so much that I have installed a hidden camera to catch the thief. This will hopefully make the hairs on her face stand up, much like a porcupine.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pitiful Pedestrians

As a driver of a car, I must admit that I am partial to the rights of automobile drivers everywhere, and I tend to take their side over the smug pedestrian. People who lack mobile transportation always whine about how they are always neglected by their brethren with vehicular transportation. And although this may be the case in many a situation, a reoccurring incident happened to me yet again this morning.

As I was dropping my wife off in Old City, I was making a right-hand turn onto 5th Street from Walnut Street. I saw a pedestrian speeding up his walking pace to cross the street – in my mind he was doing it just to slow down my commute. As he got to the street, he decided to slow his pace, totally ignoring the car that was trying to turn.

This kind of stuff infuriates me. I understand that pedestrians have the right of way, but please show a little respect here. I have no problems letting you cross the street, BUT IF YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE CROSSING, AND YOU ARE TAKING YOUR GOOD OLD TIME, EVEN THOUGH YOU KNOW YOU ARE HOLDING UP TRAFFIC, I HAVE A PROBLEM WITH YOU. Show some respect, and you’ll get some respect. You are not the only person in the entire world that matters, jackass.

Here’s another one – now, pedestrians have the right of way at crosswalks, BUT if they cross somewhere else, that is illegal. I’m not trying to be a stickler for the rules, but if you are crossing, and you are not at an intersection, AND you are pulling the “I’m a pedestrian, and I’ll walk at any speed I want while ignoring oncoming traffic” routine, then again, I have a problem with you (for those of you who actually make an effort to cross at a faster pace, you are as good as gold in my book).
So, do us all a favor, pedestrians – let’s make an effort to help with the traffic problems, and walk a little more briskly across streets. You’ll reduce some aggravation.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Suggestions and Stuff

1. Current Song in My Head – “Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo” by The Bloodhound Gang. If you haven’t heard this song yet, (A) you probably live in Philly (music selection is about as good as its clean waters), or (B) you just don’t like new music and prefer listening to Lynard Skynard on your stylish Sylvania Eight-Track. The song is as catchy as it is raunchy/funny. Once you hear it, it sticks in you head, but please don’t sing the lyrics out loud at work – you might get a sexual harassment warning.

2. Current CD in My Car – This is tricky because I have a 6-cd changer. But, the one I’ve been listening to the most is “Senior Smoke” by Electric Six. These guys do an interesting weave of heavy metal and disco, and successfully accomplish the meshing of said genres. The lyrics are often times funny, but sometimes very cryptic. The guitar riffs seem familiar but add their own unique qualities. The rhythms are without a doubt toe-tappingly good. I highly recommend them.

3. Latest Movie I’ve Seen – Scary Movie 4 (I guess that is no shock if you know anything about my taste in movies). While not nearly as innovative and funny as previous Zucker brother movies like Airplane, Top Secret, and Naked Gun, it still is a very solid movie. The movie does a decent job of spoofing such movies as Brokeback Mountain, The Village, The War of the Worlds, and Million Dollar Baby, while also taking funny cracks at our President and the armed forces in a tasteful (un-Wayans-like) manner.

4. Favorite New Drink – Since we are rapidly approaching summer, it might be time to add something a little sweet (no, not me) to the drink menu. Sue and I went to A.C. a few weekends ago, and when we asked for a suggestion of something to drink from the bartender at the Martini Bar in Bally’s, he said that the hot-new martini (no, I’m not gay) is the watermelon martini. He was even nice enough to give us the recipe – now you can make this as strong or weak as you want. He said to use Grey Goose vodka, Watermelon Pucker (you can find this at the liquor store), and a dash of Southern comfort. We made a few at home, and they were delicious.

5. Favorite New Restaurant – Now, I’d prefer to use a different one than one of the chains, but we haven’t gone out to too many in the recent past. We took my parents out to one about a month or two ago, and I gotta tell ya, it was really pretty good. The restaurant is Charlie Brown’s, and the closest one to me is in Springfield. The prices are very reasonable, and the cuts of steak (at least my cut of steak) was really good. Plus, they have a great salad bar, and drink specials every Thursday. I’m not saying this is the quality of a “top-of-the-line” steak restaurant, but for the price, it is very, very good.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thoughts, Thoughts, and More Thoughts

I don’t know why these things have crossed my mind, but I figured I’d share them with you all, and wait eagerly for you input (that sounds very pornographic – so never-mind).

1. You know how when you are swimming and open your eyes under water and everything is blurry? Well, I was wondering if the opposite happens for fish. If you take them out of the water, will their vision get blurred by air? Or, is their vision blurred in the water as well? (I know, whoa, Ogre, that’s heavy)

2. What exactly is the difference between tonic water and club soda? I don’t drink many mixed drinks with either of these in it so that is why I’m asking. Also, what is the difference between birch beer and root beer? I am not a connoisseur of either of these, but for some reason, I think they taste the same (or at least very similar).

3. For some reason, I was thinking about Elizabeth Perkins the other day, and I realized that she must’ve had one of the best agents in the world, because somehow, she got leads in movies, and she is really not that attractive of a lady. Any other actors or actresses that should be paying their agents double?

4. Can Jay Glazer be taken seriously as an NFL analyst if he is also an announcer for PRIDE fighting? To me, this is sort of like Merlin Olsen doing commercials for Teleflora – I mean, how can we look at him as a former NFL tough-guy AND analyst when he is trying to shove flowers up our asses?

5. So, I hear that David Lee Roth is getting canned by FREE-FM. Now, I am about as surprised by this as I am by the way the Phillies are playing right now (hey-yo). But, here is the surprise – rumor has it that CBS-Radio is replacing Roth with Opie and Anthony … that’s right, the same duo that got kicked off the air for playing sex in a church on the airwaves (they will still do their show on XM, but 3 hours of the 5-hour show will be broadcast on CBS-Radio). So, let me get this straight – CBS basically forces Howard Stern off the airwaves by strictly enforcing FCC guidelines, instead of fighting the FCC. Then, they replace Stern with the much less edgy Roth (who would’ve thought that would ever be said about Roth) for 3 ½ months, basically to appease the FCC. THEN, when their stock goes into the toilet, they replace Roth with the much more controversial Opie and Anthony. What does this say about CBS-Radio, other than they have no idea what they have done, nor do they have any idea what they continue to do? I don’t hate Opie and Anthony – I listened to them a bit when they were on afternoon drive a few years ago. Sure, they were childish, immature, and repeatedly crossed the lines of decency and good taste – I have no problems with this as long as it is funny. But, how can CBS justify this move? Why exactly did they get rid of Stern again (I know, Stern basically quit, but CBS forced him out)? How can XM allow this to happen? Are they getting money for this? Will the show get watered down? Will this work? Will CBS actually put up a fight with the FCC when the FCC threatens them with fines? Does anybody care?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

How I Ruined Easter

Like I had said in the previous post, one of the traditions of Easter is having ham for dinner. However, this is no longer necessarily the case with the Griebs (at least at the Grieb’s house that I am invited to for Easter). The following is, for the most part, a true story on how I was able to change this disgusting tradition.

When I was around 10 or 11, I was more-or-less a normal kid, in that I loved playing sports, thought girls had Kuties, thought fart jokes were hysterically funny. You know, the usual kiddie things. However, one thing that was different about me (besides the fact that I had chafe marks from wearing ‘Lederhosen’) was that I had an aversion to ham (see last post). Most of my relatives knew this very well.

I want to preface this story by saying that I know that I’m in a very small minority, as most people of Christian faith absolutely love ham. I don’t look down on these “common-folk,” but I do feel a bond to others who admit to hating ham. It is not an easy thing to do. Back to the story.

It was my Uncle Richard’s turn to host the Grieb Easter dinner (In our family, we had rotating holiday-hosting. It can be very confusing). He and his wife decided to go the traditional route of cooking ham for Easter dinner, even though they knew very well that I would not eat ham, even if my life depended on it (alright, maybe if my life depended on it, I would bite the bullet, but anything short of that, and …well, you’ll see).

You can imagine my disappointment when I found out the situation. I was (and probably still am) a very stubborn person. I think my mom knew immediately that I would not be easy to deal with at this point. No “arrangements” were made for me, which compounded the situation. Now by arrangements, let me give you some examples:

***If you are inviting Los to your house for a dinner, and you are planning on having ham, please do one of the following:

1. Make sure that there is another meat that you are cooking. Some of my family members have gone to this extreme by cooking a turkey and a ham, or something like that. This is not an easy thing to do, but it is always appreciated.
2. Have an alternative ready for Los, whether it is a t.v. dinner, or a turkey hoagie.
3. Inform Los that he needs to bring something with him. It is no problem for Los to stop at McDonalds prior.
4. Don’t invite Los. You may save yourself a headache.

Once again, back to the story. When dinner-time rolled around, I was so incensed with being ignored (that’s the way I felt – because they had ham, it made me feel like I was being ignored. I know … it must be a sickness). So, my mom handed me a plate, and I said that I wasn’t interested in eating. My mom, god bless her soul, said that I needed to eat something. She started going down the list of items on the table: Corn – no!, Potatoes – no!, Sauerkraut – no!, Broccoli – no! Finally, after my mom was thoroughly annoyed by my no answers, she said the now famous words, “Fine. Then, have a bowl of ketchup.”

Normal kids would’ve probably just shrugged that off, and had some corn. Not me. I decided to take my mom up on her offer to see who would blink first. I poured myself a bowl of Heinz, and ate it … the entire bowl … just ketchup. Here is what I discovered. Ketchup does not fill you up, not even a bowl of it. But, I was determined. I did not eat another thing the entire time over there. Wow, what an impression I must’ve given to the rest of my relatives.
Here’s the thing, though. It worked. There is never just ham on the menu at family gatherings because of me. The more depressing thing is that at some gatherings, like this past Easter Sunday, there was no ham on the menu at all (at my mom’s house). I feel bad about this, because my wife and a few family members REALLY love ham. But, I don’t feel that bad because my tummy is full.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Easter Tradition - No Ham Please!

There are many traditional things to take part in when it comes to Easter – painting eggs, going to church, spending time with family … heck, most normal families even have ham for dinner … but not my family … well, at least not since I’ve been around. You see, I have what some people call an aversion to the portly product. Truthfully, I think my “aversion” to ham can be more closely described as a downright obsession in its disgustingness (is that even a word)?

How did this all begin, and how far has it gone? I’m glad you asked (and if you didn’t ask, go play in traffic). As a young child, I remember going over to my Uncle Richard’s house, and he had a carved ham on the kitchen table, beckoning me to sample. I obliged, eating somewhere in the neighborhood of 4-6 slices of the curiously pink meat. Later on that night whilst lying in bed, my stomach decided that it did not want to digest all of that ham, and proceeded to prompt me to puke … all over my bed. Needless to say, Inga wasn’t too pleased with her son.

Unfortunately, this type of thing happened on two other occasions when ham was on the menu, which finally caused me to nix any ingestion whatsoever of cooked ham. To put this into perspective, I would much more readily eat Liverwurst and onions, topped with chocolate sauce and warm milk – while watching a marathon of Yes Dear, than I would ham.

Now, here are the boundaries, and I’m not sure why these boundaries are where they are, but they just are. First, I like just about any other pork product (sans pigs feet, because that is just gross). These products include hot dogs, bacon, and pork. However, Canadian bacon would make me gag more than Paris Hilton on a good night. I’m not a big fan of Italian hoagies, but I will eat them if (A) the rolls are really good, (B) if there is enough mayonnaise and lettuce to muffle the taste of the lunchmeat ham, and (C) if beer is involved. But, I’d really rather have a turkey hoagie, roast beef hoagie, or even a chicken salad or tuna hoagie for that matter (in case you are planning to have me over for some sort of hoagie party …. Not that kind of a hoagie party, you perverts).

But it is a little more far reaching than that. I love turkey, BUT if the lunchmeat turkey is considerably pinkish (yes, some lunchmeat turkey looks like this), there is a good chance that I won’t eat this. I’m not sure if my mind is playing tricks on me or not, but I swear the taste of that stuff resembles ham.

I know, my mind doesn’t always work correctly. But as some of you know, I am deftly afraid of puking. In the past, burgers and pizza have been off my list of foods to eat, because I puked after eating them … However, they worked their way back onto the lineup after a while (it took pizza about 3-4 years and burgers about 1 year).

There are other foods I’m not necessarily fond of. I don’t really like baked potatoes or any cooked potato product (dumplings, home fries, etc.), but I do love French fries (not crazy about steak fries, though) and potato chips. I don’t really like peas and beans, either – I think it is a texture thing (so if you make chili for me, go easy on the beans). I’m not crazy about pasta with lots of cheese (so I have difficulty at Italian restaurants). Other than that, I’m pretty good (I know, I have a lot of “normal” foods that I don’t like – it is the product of growing up in a household where food experimentation wasn’t really practiced).

On Tuesday/Wednesday, I’ll have part 2 of the ham story – the part about how I was able to manipulate our entire family. BTW, pass along some foods you don’t like.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Random Summery Thoughts

1. A new Chick Fil-A opened right across the street from the office I work in. I love Chick Fil-A. I mean, I LOVE Chick Fil-A. Now, they’ve built one so close, that I can practically smell the grilled flesh while reading my e-mails. However, even though they gave us free breakfast coupons for visiting on the first day, they still insist on filling the cup with more ice than the Arctic Ocean.

2. I hate to complain, but I have two traffic-related issues to “discuss.” First, the construction on I-95 is getting ridiculous. I’m guessing it is warranted, and the time it is taking to fix whatever the situation is, is justified. But, closing one lane each way just past the International Airport for more than 5 months is a little excessive in my opinion (maybe, I view it this way BECAUSE I NEED TO TAKE THIS ROUTE TO AND FROM WORK EVERY FRICKIN’ DAY AND IT ADDS ANYWHERE FROM 10 MINUTES TO 45 MINUTES TO MY COMMUTE EVERY SINGLE DAY). There is also another road construction “issue” at 4th and Market Street, right by the FOX studios in Olde City. They have had one of the lanes closed off for about 1 full year now, and traffic is not only stifling around there, but it is more dangerous than a pit bull with a headache. Now, I know this one shouldn’t have taken this long, and I’m guessing it is because the city is involved with it (things just same to take longer when the city is involved). I HATE construction.

3. I grilled hot dogs and burgers for the first time this year a few days ago. Let me tell ya, there’s nothing like a grilled dog or burger on a beautiful Spring day. It’s like sign that the cold days of winter are gone for good (at least until next winter). I can’t wait to start grilling chicken, steak, burgers, dogs, potatoes, corn, and any other cool concoction (even seafood). Bring on the beautiful summer days filled with the smell of burning charcoal, and freshly cut grass.

4. Summer also means changing alcohol drinking to some sweeter-tasting drinks – such as Corona (with a lime), Long Island Iced Teas, and even those Smirnoff fruity drinks (for the women … I would never drink any drink that wasn’t a manly drink … cough, cough).

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

To Be A Philly Fan

It is thoroughly depressing to be a Philly sports fan. I know this is about as much of a newsflash as water being wet, but I feel a need to rant/reflect, so bare with me (yes, you too, Ryk).

Do you realize that before Philly sports fans were forced to root for horses and argue the validity of horse-racing as a sport, there was a time when true professional sports teams actually were successful? Yes, long before we started excitedly celebrating the virtues of winning minor-league championships, We had an era of success in Philadelphia.

If one can hearken back to the mid-to-late 1970’s to 1983, Philadelphia was a Mecca of sorts when it came to professional sports dominance. The Philadelphia Flyers won two Stanley cups to welcome this era, and were dangerously close to winning a couple more. The Phillies experienced their most successful era ever (not that there were any other eras that were comparatively close, which says something about the Phils) in the late 1970’s/early 1980’s – even winning their lone World Series in 1980. The Eagles, after years of laughably poor teams, actually made it to the Super Bowl in 1980-81, failing to bring home the holy grail after derailing the hated Cowboys in the NFC championship game earlier (some say that the Eagles were so focused on beating their arch-rivals that by the time the Super Bowl came, the team didn’t have the same desire). Heck, even the Sixers had an amazing run, culminating in the last major professional sports championship in the city in 1983 (that team probably should’ve won at least 3 titles, but I digress).

Sure, since 1983, each of the Philly teams has made it to one championship game: The Flyers did so in 1997 (losing to the Red Wings in 4 games), The Phillies in 1993 (losing in 6 to the Blue Jays – I hate Joe Carter!), the Sixers in 2001 (falling to the superior Lakers in 5), and the Eagles (running out of gas against the Pats in 2004-05). But, with 4 professional sports teams, one would probably think that at least one should win a title every 20+ years, right? Not Philly.

The word “Choke,” had become as commonplace as words like cheese-steak, soft-pretzel, and wudder-ice here. We often root for our teams, knowing deep inside that they will find some creative way to let us down. Whether it is giving up a home run in game six of the World Series, losing a star player to a life-threatening concussion prior to a division championship game, having a normally calm quarterback lose his cool in the Super Bowl, or watching a young-rising super-star get outclassed by a younger, more impressive superstar in the NBA championship game.

We have many to blame – coaches, GM’s, players – all being inept in one way or another. But, we fans tend to blame ourselves. We feel we’ve wasted too much time rooting for a team that will always break our hearts. Some of us feel we’ve let the teams down by either not cheering passionately enough or possibly that we are performing our superstitious behaviors properly enough.

We come to the conclusion as true fans that we must stick with our teams through thick and thin. In Philly, it is mostly thin, which is odd, considering that most of the residents are not. Maybe we do it in the hopes that one team will finally reward us for our loyalty. More likely, we do it, because we don’t know any better. For whatever reason, we are fans, and we will follow these teams to our graves. (We may not like what we follow, and we may air out our grievances – just listen to W.I.P. sometime)

Monday, April 10, 2006

What Was M. Night Thinking?

I normally enjoy M. Night Shyamalan’s movies. I particularly enjoyed The Sixth Sense and Unbreakable, and Signs was pretty good too, although nowhere near as good as the previous two. That is why I was particularly excited when I clicked on HBO and The Village was just starting. I had meant to see it in the theatres a few years ago, but for one reason or another, I never got a chance.

I should thank my lucky stars that I didn’t plunk down the $8 to see this pile of steaming crap, because I probably would’ve kicked myself in the nuts for doing so. I was so disappointed in this movie, that I’m fuming over the 2+ hours I wasted viewing this dung. I know I should’ve turned it off, but I just kept on waiting for something to happen (much like the Blair Witch Project), and eventually the credits rolled.

Normally, I would not give too much of a movie away so I wouldn’t spoil it for the people who “weren’t lucky enough” to have seen it yet. But, seriously, I’m doing you a favor. Don’t watch it. You’ll thank me. Not only is there no real action in this flop of a movie, the “big Shyamalan” twist that occurs in every one of his movies is so lame, that I felt like drop-kicking my television set after it was “revealed.”

I am more disappointed by how such a great cast was wasted on this puddle of puke. One would think that a movie that included Joaquin Phoenix, Adrian Brody, William Hurt, and Sigourney Weaver would be a slam-dunk. Apparently, Mr. Shyamalan was really moved by Ishtar, because, much like that movie, a good cast of actors was successfully engulfed in this miserable flick.

The funny part is, I’m usually able to find the good parts of movies. There are exceptions that include Betsy’s Wedding, Quiz Show, and That Darn Cat, but for the most part, I usually look for the good in a movie and focus on that. Heck, I even enjoyed such flops as “Dude, Where’s My Car,” “Dumb and Dumberer,” and “Caddyshack 2.” But, I really can’t think of anything good about this movie.

The “scary monster” that was supposed to be in this movie was something the elder villagers created on their own, which was a tremendous let-down. The “shocking twist” was basically that this town existed in the modern world, which is not shocking at all, considering we have Amish people in this country. Every part of this movie sucked from the lack of action, to the silly vocabulary used.
After I got done watching this movie, I wanted to call HBO up and tell them to put on Meet the Fockers for the 20,000th time, because it was a better option than The Village. Ugh, what a letdown. Did I mention that you shouldn’t go see this movie?

Friday, April 07, 2006

Newspaper-Crapper, Gas, and Maddonna-Star Wars

1. I know this is a controversial subject, and I respect both sides of this issue – newspapers or magazines left in a stall at the office. For the record, I actually enjoy this, because it gives me something to do while dropping a deuce instead of just smelling my excrement. The funny thing is that when I see newspapers in a stall, even when I don’t have to “take the Browns to the Super Bowl,” I sometimes wish that I had to go, so that I could read what was left behind.
I know the counterargument – the one that you are basically touching a newspaper that was in the hands of somebody else who was previously “ripping off some tree bark,” so there is a chance that you may be touching this other person’s turds indirectly. I think these people are germophobes, and probably get sick more than people who aren’t, because they don’t allow their body’s immune system to fully flourish (they keep ingesting antihistamines and antibiotics so frequently, that the immune system basically stops functioning properly). So, quit worrying about crap on the newspaper, and just read the crap that is written in it (geez!).

2. I just heard that it is predicted that gas prices are supposed to hit $3.00 a gallon by this summer again, and boy am I excited. I haven’t been this excited since I had my wisdom teeth pulled (actually, I was hopped up on some sort of pain-preventing drug, so the actual moment of wisdom-teeth eviction was quite enjoyable. But the days immediately following – when I was forced to eat nothing but Jello pudding – were tremendously unenjoyable … like watching Live 8 on MTV.). There has to be some sort of solution for the entire country at this point, or at least a major initiative to solve the problem (either by finding ways to lower the prices, or just plain increasing the speed at which we as a country are weaned off of gasoline). Of course, this could increase the likelihood that my company will allow me to work at home, at least a few days a week … probably not.

3. A coworker of mine passed along a story that apparently George Lucas has asked Madonna to appear in a Star Wars TV show that he is in the process of producing. My biggest question is which Madonna will we see in the show – the trampy Lucky Star Madonna, the whorish Erotica Madonna, the motherly Madonna, or a new creation? Will she be a Jedi or part of an evil empire who’s goal is to wipe out the good Jedi’s (I imagine she has plenty experience wielding a “light saber”). But an overriding question is what does George Lucas see in Madonna that makes him think that she is a perfect fit for Star Wars? Obviously, the Star Wars nerds would probably be able to fill up an Olympic sized swimming pool in a matter of minutes with all of the gunk that they’ll be ejaculating after this news becomes official. But, will the Madonna fans be able to stomach something that doesn’t involve synchronized sex and dancing (or maybe Lucas envisions this in the new Star Wars – sheesh!). Plus, will casual Star Wars fans be sold on this? I mean, it didn’t work when Star Trek tried it with Whoopi Goldberg (I’m not saying that this is the same thing – Whoopi Goldberg has the power to kill shows and movies on the same level asTed McGinley). But this is intriguing. Hopefully her agent was smart enough not to allow her to take the part of Jar Jar Binks.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Nightmares of a Geisha

I may have mentioned earlier that my wife’s birthday was on Monday, and we celebrated by going to Atlantic City to hang out with the nearly dead. What I didn’t tell you was that for her birthday, I did something very un-manly – I agreed to watch Memoirs of a Geisha with her.

To give you an idea of how much I dislike artsy movies, I consider them like watching an opera, and I consider watching an opera like getting punched repeatedly in the testicles. I can get by watching an artsy movie if (a) it is dealing with something that interests me (sex, rock music, or nudity), or (b) if a lot of gratuitous female nudity is shown in the movie. If none of these are on the docket, I will have a difficult time staying awake through the entire movie.

“Thankfully,” Memoirs of a Geisha had none of my prerequisites in it, but I agreed to watch it because I love my wife and sometimes guys (at least the good ones) have to bite the bullet and watch some of the filth that women watch. Mind you, I refuse to watch American Idol because (A) I think the show absolutely sucks worse than Paris Hilton does, and (B) I think it does a disservice to the music industry (in other words, these people with great voices are, in my opinion, better suited for karaoke bars and as wedding singers).

But, I agreed to watch Memoirs of a Geisha with my wife. Little did I know how long this movie was. This movie made King Kong feel like a 20-minute feature. But, that being said, I can understand why this movie was so critically acclaimed. First, and foremost (at least for my interests), the women were absolutely beautiful. Second, it was really interesting to learn about the Geisha culture (of course, I find a better outlet for this to be documentaries and shows on history channels). Thirdly, the back-drops, stages, and props used were well crafted (hey, I know I’m reaching).

The movie was close to 3 hours long, and it felt every bit that long. But, you have to understand, movies I consider classics, such as Weird Science, Airplane, and Dumb and Dumber, may not be everyone else’s cup-of-tea (which, of course, I’ll never understand).

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A.C. and the Elderly

You know how when elephants are going to die (at least in the wild), they travel to a specific location, one in which other elephants have gone to die? I believe it is called an elephant burial ground. It looks like we humans are beginning to do the same thing, but instead of traveling to some remote forest in order to pass on to the next level, the elderly go to Atlantic City.

My god, what a depressing site this “vacation paradise” is. Old people trudging around with their walkers, wheel chairs, oxygen tanks … it looks, feels, and smells like a hospital, except they replace the hospital beds with slot machines. Surely time-challenged humanoids can find other more useful ways to spend their remaining years on this planet than cursing the Lucky 7’s machine all day long, can’t they?

Even Atlantic City offers more than just slots, but one hardly ever sees an older person enjoying a walk up and down the boardwalk, or taking in a nice dinner and show. Instead, they clog up the casino floor with their wheezing, coughing, and excruciatingly slow movements that make negotiating ones way through the casino much like rush hour traffic.
Maybe that is why the higher-end casinos like the Borgata or the more trendy casinos like the Tropicana are so popular – because they basically price out the aging population. I was telling my wife yesterday that it would be great for a casino to either have a young-person section or ban these old people altogether – of course the Trop’ and Borgata found a less abrasive way to solve this problem.