Friday, March 30, 2007

Hey Sparta, Persia just called you a ...

Caution: spoilers ahead

I'd have to say I really enjoyed Frank Miller's 300. A fictionalized version of the Battle of Thermopylae, this movie provides lots of good ol' fashioned fightin' and killin'. If you like that, then this movie is for you. Just don't make the mistake my sister made by getting too attached to "the 300." (Shhh, they don't make it. Sorry to ruin it for you.) But like I said, it's good. It's Sin City meets Gladiator. However it's not the first movie to tackle this subject matter. The theme: brave and noble Spartans defend democracy & liberty for all of Greece and mankind.

Remember this day, men, for it will be yours for all time.I do love how the Spartans were so noble and concerned with protecting the cause of liberty, it was inspiring. They believed in all kinds of liberty, like pederasty. The also believed in reproductive liberty, as they had their own system of abortion, only they waited until after the child is born. Darwinism in action, kill the lesser babies, let the surviving children take their chances with ravenous wolves - only the strong, baby! Noble people, just trying to advance the human race, that's all. The Nazis thought they were advancing the human race, too. My point: don't let them get you to romanticize Sparta too much.

The truth of the matter is that the Spartans just plain loved to kick ace and take names (whilst sporting a cape & some underoos). That's right, Persia! We came here to practice democracy and whoop some ace - looks like we're almost out of democracy... The Spartans were like the crazy loose cannon of Greek city-states - like that one guy in your fraternity that always got in a fight. You always knew that no matter what, if he went out with the rest of you, he was going to find him self in some sh-, er, um, some stuff, even if it was going to be with someone at your table. Everybody was unsure of what he was gonna do, and no one wanted to man up to him, so everyone just catered to his incessant yelling and demanding - tell him, "Yeah, you're right, that bouncer's scared, man, I agree...No, I hear you, yeah I know you can fight, that's right, we got your back, dude, you're the man," until he's drunk enough so you can talk him into taking a cab.

But, no matter how annoying he was to deal with, with all the drama and whatnot, when it came down to it, you were glad he was on your side, because he could, in fact, take care of business. That's the way the rest of the city-states felt. They didn't like dealing with Sparta, because they all knew they certainly couldn't tell them what to do, so they were all like "Yeah, Sparta, you're the man, Sparta...let's go talk to some ladies, we can fight tomorrow, yes, I know, we're gonna tear 'em up..."

But as soon as Xerxes comes to town, you'd better believe they're all like "Hey Sparta - Persia just called you gay!" Then Sparta slams his pool cue and shatters the big mirror behind the bar and it is on...

Queen Gorgo: Stand by your man, and tell the world you love him...But getting back to the movie, it was very well done. Good battle scenes and very good CG visuals. Superb performances by the cast. Faramir was a good narrator. Xerxes looked like that dude from The Crying Game on steroids. Be wary of the guitarist from Steel Dragon.

The cast might make you a little self-conscious, as I heard my friend remark with an apprehensive grimace - only five minutes in to the film, "I need to go work out." I probably should also mention that this might not be the best one for mixed company, definitely a guy flick. It might be a little dicy, as the filmmakers wanted to be historically accurate, so the king had to roam his palatial balcony au naturel. At least Leonidas had his beard to keep him warm. Also it might get a little awkward when you see Gorgo's goods in a ten-second scene of some royal consummating. Probably not one for a first date. Might want to wait until one of those Neat Flicks video companies can provide an edited-for-the-family version...

I think that the lesson we should all take away from this film is the one "the 300" learned all too late: if a deformed baby (who makes John Merrick look like Brad Pitt) that was not discarded on the slopes of Mount Taygetos, grows up and comes back to you all retard-strong and wants to help, let him.

But after it was over, I was pretty amped, I had the urge to do some fightin' and killin', just like after watching Tombstone or Boyz 'n the Hood or Steel Magnolias. Definitely the mark of a good movie, two thumbs up.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Filet-O-Fish Story

The other day I was headed out to grab a lane and cash in some free bowling coupons, but I stopped for a bite to eat on the way. There they were, those golden arches - the song "Have you had your break today..." plays over and over in my head. Sweet delicious goodness, Jared be darned! It's sooo good, once it hits your lips...Oooh, something catches my eye - a huge banner on top of the Mickey D's informing me of a Double Filet-O-Fish Extra Value Meal, for only $4.99. Did you say Double Filet-O-Fish?? It's a Lent miracle!!! I've never heard of such, that must mean this is a new concept. It sounds mouthwateringly perfect.

Well, upon a successful, short trip in the drive-thru, I'm off to the alley. Oh, it smells so good! I open that container to ensure it's the "double" and oh, it is a double. I'm getting fatter just looking at it. Now comes the pre-eating cleansing of the sandwich. I love tartar sauce as much as the next guy, but McDonald's wants to make sure I have enough, and so they saturate the poor sandwich with that stuff. (In years past, McD's ran a "2 Filet-O-Fish" meal special during Lent, so I would ask for one fish sandwich with no tatar sauce, then transfer half of what's soaking the other sandwich and it was perfect.)

Anyways, so I took the top bun and scraped some sauce off into the cardboard box from whence it came. Don't worry, that sauce was not to be wasted - it would accompany the fries later on. Driving down the road, I take my first bite into my first-ever Double Filet-O-Fish. Twas sooo good. Unfortunately, for yours truly, there was still an excessive volume of tartar - and some escaped out the back of the sandwich.

The culpritI look down, and there's a little glop of sauce, resting right below the fly of my khaki shorts. I was in the process of getting on the freeway, but with the knowledge of what condiments can do to khaki (it's not my first time being a messy baby), I pull to the side of the acceleration ramp to take immediate action.

Growing up fat, I have developed a pretty good system to battle food stains. It involves immediate and direct scrubbing with an ice cube cradled in a napkin. If you're drinking soda, so much the better. Take a little sip, don't swallow, but ever so nonchalantly spit the small amount of soda on to your makeshift scrubber as a helping agent. (The principle behind "A little club soda will get that out" applies here - trust me, I have a chemistry degree.) Cola will stain too, right? Well, which stain would you rather have on your brown khakis, red marinara sauce or a little trace of Diet Coke?

So there I am, after having picked up the bulk of the glop ever so gently, I go to work, while the freeway on-ramp traffic is driving by. My makeshift scrubber, or "Shiv," as I call it, is going to get the job done. So there I am, scrubbing vigorously with rapid arm movements my shorts, stretching the material to ensure a successful cleaning, ignoring the huge wet area now occupying the surface area from the fly to the crotch of my shorts. "The dampness will dry before you get to the bowling alley, just keep scrubbing," I told myself.

Honk, honk!!!

Cars whiz by. "What?" I ask myself, "what are they honking at? I'm well off the road, I have my hazards on." I continue scrubbing, harder and faster. "I can't let this set!" I say ever so determined.


"What are they looking at?" I ask as I see people looking at me as they pass. I then realized that only my upper torso was visible to the passing traffic. If you can visualize what the passing cars saw, then you can perhaps empathize with the mild discomfiture I experienced realizing how I must have appeared to my fellow commuters.

Well, the scrubbing was soon over and I was on my way, having the vents on full blast pointed to my shorts. The sad epilogue to my story was that unfortunately my hard work scrubbing was for naught, as was the perceived show I was giving to traffic. The tartar had done its damage and a [rather noticeable] grease spot had set in right under the fly of my shorts. I bowled with my shirt untucked.

I always feel like somebody's watching me...

The thing about MySpace that gets me is the ads. I mean, I'm trying to login one day and next to the login box is a pic of some cutie in a bikini advertising for some online dating service. The next day there's one for a Christian dating service, with pictures of upstanding young people who are clothed right up to their necks. Who decides which ads make the cut to appear on my 'Space? A computer program? Is it random? Is it geared to what Big Brother AdSense is reading off my account info? I wonder if the type of ads would change if I entered "Married" as my relationship status. -Or if people would quit making references to me being gay in comments they leave. Here's one "Sponsored Link" that popped up next to some picture comments last Thursday, sheesh:

Hey MySpace, what gives?

Monday, March 12, 2007

"I think he converted just for the jokes..."

Maybe I'm johnny-come-lately on this one, but I've recently learned about actor/comedian/UFC commentator/martial artist/reality-gameshow-host Joe Rogan's crusade to protect comedy against joke theft. Apparently, Rogan is fed up with the "joke thieves" out there, and they are ruining comedy by denying the pure comics [like himself] their right to stardom. His biggest beefs of late are with Dane Cook and Carlos Mencia. This has all the earmarks of great fodder for that dude that hosts E!'s The Soup.

Joe Rogan: Comedy Crime-FighterRogan's problem with Mencia begins with the fact that Mencia (whose real first name is Ned) changed his moniker and adopted the surname of his mother for his act, to sound more "Mexican." Rogan also asserts that Carlos is reportedly half-Honduran and half-German. Carlos' unbiased and gospel-truth bio asserts that he is half-Mexican and half-Honduran and that he was raised by his Mexican aunt & uncle in East L.A., whose names are also Mencia.

Carlos Men-stealia?Rogan has spent a lot of effort to expose Mencia, or "Menstealia," as he so cleverly calls him, for plagiarizing numerous comedians from Paul Mooney to Jeff Foxworthy. In February, while performing stand-up, he referred to "Menstealia" knowing that Mencia was in the audience. Mencia immediately went up to defend himself. A pretty gutsy move, I'd say, since the audience was clearly on Rogan's side and that Rogan, aside from being freaking shredded, is also an accomplished martial artist. Watch the video - Rogan's all up in his grill. He could stinkin' whip some tail, well, I digress.

One joke in question was the one about getting illegal immigrants to build the proposed border-wall, and then locking them out. You know, original material - straight from Lou Dobbs. Anywho, another comedian, Ari Shaffir, was present to aid Rogan, claiming that he [Shaffir] wrote that joke and that Mencia started using it after Shaffir appeared as Mencia's opening act. Mencia said he'd been telling that joke long before Shaffir. George Lopez went on Stern with similar accusations. Mencia says that Rogan is just jealous of his success and that Lopez doesn't want any competition from other Hispanic/Latino comedians. Juicy.

Rogan has also come to the defense of comedian Louis C.K., alleging that Dane Cook has ripped off several jokes from him covering topics from itchy behinds to child naming. YouTube audio files show the similarity in the acts but don't establish who said what joke first. The funny thing is, at least for the baby-naming-bit, that Steve Martin did that routine 30 years ago.

I'll take Paul Lynde to block - Circle gets the Square!  'Oh Endora...'Rogan vs. the hacks, this is almost as great as the infamous "Rip Taylor - Paul Lynde slap-fight of 1976."

Just Google, YouTube, or Wikipedia it for the latest updates on the sordid saga. But to get to my point - the fact is that no matter how right he may be, Rogan just hasn't been funny since NewsRadio. Rogan's indignant routine lost me after he said anyone who enjoys Mencia's act is "stupid". I don't know, it seems like this crusade is conveniently getting him noticed again. Fear Factor is over - and just how much can one make by color-commentating at the octagon? I might add too, [IMO] that Louis C.K., Dane Cook, George Lopez, and "Ned" Mencia are all scarcely amusing themselves. Here's a newsflash, geniuses: most comedy is hacked. There is nothing new under the sun. If it's funny, chances are that someone came up with it long before you did.

For further enjoyment:

(Oh yeah, that "Rip Taylor-Paul Lynde" line, I read that a long time ago in an internet message board thread on a Dane Cook - Larry the Cable Guy feud. I don't care, I'm taking it. And kudos to you if you get that reference, or the Lou Dobbs remark, or the title of this blog, without having to look it up...)