Shoe Money Tonight

Occasional ramblings by an anesthesiologist/mother (and sometimes her husband).

Sunday, July 29, 2007

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

This year is the 20th Anniversary of Shark Week . I honestly think that I have been watching this since it first started, as I cant remember a time when I didn't watch it. I was 9 when they first started it. I have to say that I look forward to Shark Week every year, especially the new documentaries that they show.

This year they did a viewer's choice for the 8pm EST slot. "Air Jaws" won. It's about the South African great whites that jump out of the water to attack seals. There are some great photos of this on the web, including the ones on apex predators .

If you head over to iTunes, you can download some documentaries from last year. Peter and I did that last year and watched them on our trip.

I'm really looking forward to the documentary making it's debut tonight. It's about the USS Indianapolis , which was one of the worst naval losses in WWII and the worst shark attack in history. On the shark week website they have a timeline . So if anyone is wondering what I'm up to this week, at least from 8-11pm, I'll be watching Shark Week.

So, I'm a little obsessed. It's ok.

Updated 8/16/07 to correct image links.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

A Very Harry Weekend

As of about 10 minutes ago I finished the book. I started reading it when it arrived at 2:45pm, stopped at 5pm to go to dinner and see Order of the Phoenix with Peter and Alexis. We got home about 11 and now I'm done. Good book. I have no desire to spoil anyone, so that is all I'm going to say about the book itself.

Seeing as we only ordered one copy, I can't imagine what it was like for Peter to be sitting next to me as I'm reading and reacting. Now, as he's started, I can at least ask him which part he's responding to. And frankly, I tried to keep my emotions in check so as not to spoil too much for him.

I enjoyed the movie, although it was not the best of the series by far. What I noticed in both this movie and Goblet of Fire, is that they seemed rushed despite the length of the movie. That's probably because there was so much in both novels. If they were four hour movies, they probably would have felt rushed.

After the movie we went to Anderson's for some ice cream. While we were in line, deciding what we wanted, they announced that it was time for another Harry Potter trivia question and that the first person to come to the counter with the correct answer would get a free cone. After they asked the question, I overheard one of the workers say that no one was going to get the answer. Mind you, I heard this as I was sprinting over to answer the question. I got it right. That earned me a hi-five from the girl who asked the question. I tried to declare myself "Queen Dork of the Universe" but Peter pointed out I wasn't eligible, because I left my wand at home.

Oh, did you want to know the question?

What is Albus Dumbledore's full name?

Oh, yeah the answer:
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbldore

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

I'm getting tired of waiting......

So several months ago, Peter and I ordered two copies of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from One copy was for us and one was for Peter's dad as a father's day gift. Why did we order from them Amazon rather than going through a local bookstore? Basically because when we went to Barnes and Noble to pre-order them, we found out we couldn't actually pre-order them and pay for them at that time, we could just reserve a copy. It was a little too unwieldy to do that because in order to give it as a gift to his dad we would have had to reserve a copy, then buy a giftcard in the amount of the book. So we went to Amazon, which was offering guaranteed delivery on July 21st if you paid for standard shipping. The guarantee being if id didn't arrive on the 21st, you would not be charged. About two hours ago, we got the phone call from Peter's dad saying he got his copy.

We are still waiting. My UPS tracking number says that it is "in transit" and that it was loaded for delivery. I'm getting very very very frustrated. I'm telling you (all of my readers) right now, that if that book is not here soon, I'm sending Peter out to buy a copy, because it's driving me crazy. Why the fsck was I so stupid? I won't have time to read it until next weekend if it doesn't come today.

EDIT: 2:45pm. It finally arrived.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Macallan Cask Strength

A word of warning:

Today, I submitted my final exam as well as my paperwork for my graduate diploma. I decided to treat myself. I picked up a bottle of Macallan Cask Strength.

A word of warning.

It is very good.

It is also very strong.

I'm about to fire up the grill to cook my dinner. If I don't survive: I love you all.

Update: 18:37

I have survived. The grill survived. The steak was magnificent.

One casualty, however: a bowl. Preliminary findings indicate thermal shock, caused by the rapid heating of frozen corn by means of a magnetron. The chief of police has ordered the rounding up of usual suspects, as well as the immediate assembly of a butter sauce.

Crimes Against Fashion

And now, the lighter side of crimes against humanity.

ES1 got herself an impromptu day off yesterday. We took the opportunity to go the mall. I desperately needed shoes. We also both needed some random clothes.

Macy's went from disappointment to hilarity. First, ES1 tried unsuccessfully to find decent clothes. There "woman" section (i.e., for any person with curves) was universally matronly. And stay tuned for a rant from her about "Petites."

On the way out, we passed through the dress section. We saw two items that had to be seen to be believed.


I am a big fan of the 80s. But every now and then something reminds me why we tried so desperately to bury parts of that era.

This is one of them:


The Bride of Betelgeuse:

It should also be noted that there are only two men's shoe stores in the Walden Galleria. One got $300 of business from me. The other lost all credibility by prominently displaying a floor-to-ceiling rack of these monstrosities, whose name I shall not utter*.

*For further exploration of the horror that is this atrocious piece of footwear, see the yeoman's work done by The Manolo under the category of horrors.

Updated 8/16/07 to correct image links.

I Agree with Robert Byrd...

I didn't think I'd ever hear myself saying this...

It looks like he said something which actually made sense. He made a rather impassioned statement yesterday to the effect that he wouldn't mind seeing executions in the case of dogfighting rings*. Not only do I agree, I would actually take it a step further.

The poor animals involved in these events, despite the best efforts of many dedicated people, cannot be rehabilitated. Those involved, from the organizers to the spectators, have ceased to be human.

My proposal is this:

1) Track suspects.

2) Find the house where fights occur.

3) Use infrared or other technology to monitor the premises. Wait until an actual fight with spectators is occurring.

4) Seal off the building and demolish it. Have sharpshooters posted to take out anyone attempting to escape.

The geneva convention specifically states that in order to apply under its protections, you have to abide by its rules. You abide by the rules of war, and you should expect to be treated likewise. Violate the rules, and all bets are off. This is why uniformed soldiers are protected but terrorists who behead hostages with knives and bake 11-year old children to serve to their parents are not.

The same applies for the basic rules of civilized society. Free will allows us to choose to operate within the bounds of civilized society or outside of them. We can, in fact, choose whether or not to be human beings. If you operate outside the bounds of civilization, you cease to be human. You become an animal. Friendly animals deserve friendly, humane treatment. Dangerous animals must be dealt with by whatever means are necessary.

Robery Byrd knows a little something about barbarism. It's good to see him arguing against it, for once.

Hey, some people change.

*"Impassioned" is one way to say it. Watching the video, he was downright incoherent at times. [back]

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

DVDs and the Further Reclamation of Youth (IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT AT THE END!)

It wasn't too long ago that many movies were in mortal danger.

Film is fragile. Old movies can degrade over time. Movies that did not have a widespread popularity were particularly vulnerable. Even parts of popular movies were in danger.

Take South Pacific for example. The original theatrical release, now referred to as the "Road Show Version," was 15 minutes longer than the subsequent releases. The extra minutes of footage were barely salvageable. If you watch the DVD, there is a noticeable drop in picture quality during these scenes.

Lost Horizon faired even worse. This classic flick had been so butchered that much of the footage was unsalvageable. If you watch it now, certain scenes will be audio only, with still pictures of the characters to attempt to set the scene.

The same fate nearly befell A New Hope. In discussing the work that went into the 1997 Special Edition, Rick McCallum tells us that the original film had deteriorated severely. If it had not been digitized then, it would have been lost forever.

The confluence of three modern technologies, however, holds the promise of preventing this from happening.

The first technology is modern digital movie manipulation. Movies can be placed into a digital format where, given appropriate backup and maintenance, they can be stored indefinitely. Digital tools can also restore damage to video and audio, providing an experience not seen since its original theatrical release.

Add to this the inexpensiveness of very high quality televisions and audio system. The average home theater will blow away any movie house of just a decade or two ago. Even when people make stupid mistakes like screwing up the aspect ratio or using different sizes of speakers (the most common idiotic mistake is to use a larger speaker for the center channel, even though the Dolby standard specifies that all speakers should be exactly the same), it still makes a great experience. People come to expect high quality experiences.

Finally, we have the internet. Fans of a particular movie may be scattered across the globe. Before the internet, none of them might have known that any others were out there. Now, the internet makes conversations among them easy.

Then Amazon did a brilliant thing. They added a section for people to request DVDs of certain movies. Movie studios can find out how many people are interested in a particular flick. Something that might have bombed at the box office, but gained a strong following on TV or video, can now be shown to garner a great deal of interest. This allows movie studios to determine that certain flicks should be pulled out of their archives for digitizing and cleanup. When the movie is made available, Amazon will email anyone who signed up to let them know about it.

This also works well with TV shows. This is how we were able to acquire the complete series of Sports Night, Firefly, and, most recently, The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr.

Now, once again, this trisection of kismet has allowed the return of a classic from the 80s.

Now available in glorious 2.35:1 picture with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround:

The 20th Anniversary Edition of:


The Monster Squad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

'nuff said.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

More Aspect Ratio Outrage

Last night, I encountered another grievous example of Aspect Ratio stupidity.

Last night, ES1 & I met a few friends for dinner at Our Favorite Restaurant*. Afterwards, we went to see Transformers. They needed to see it, we wanted to see it again. Good deal.

We went to our favorite theater, parked at the closest spot we could find, walked half a kilometer through cars parked to see Order of the Phoenix, and got in immediately.

The screen itself is approximately a 1.78:1 screen (roughly; I didn't actually use a tape measure). The movie, like any major action flick, appears to be a 2.35:1 aspect ratio movie. What would anyone with a clue do?

Simple. Make the flick use the whole width of the screen, and as much of the height as is needed. Everyone's happy. Yay! Explosions! Optimus Prime with a blazing sword-type thingy coming out of his right arm. Yippee!

Well, not so much. Some rock, some dolt, some less than senseless thing decided to use the whole height of the screen. The obvious result is that everything was vertically stretched.

Not by too much, mind you. One would think that it wouldn't be too bad. Circles would end up as ovals, people would look a bit taller. Unfortunately, it's not that simple.

In this flick, there's a lot of action, and a lot of moving. Anything which rotates, for example the cube-shaped All Spark shown in the beginning of the movie, will actually morph and distort as it moves. Nearly any time the camera moves**, in fact, things will visually distort.

After a little while, one can ignore it. I considered walking out and speaking to a manager. Considering how much cash you need to fork out, that sort of thing is unacceptable. I decided against it for two reasons. The first was that I didn't feel like the hassle. The second was that I figured any correction would probably necessitate an interruption in the movie, which I'm sure most people would find more objectionable than the distortion.

If they screw up "Order of the Phoenix" when we go to see it next weekend, however, I will get up and go complain. For now, however, it is simply another reason for me to just stay home and enjoy my home setup instead.

*Which has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that we happen to be related to the owners. Nothing at all. Stop giving me that look. I'm super cereal. [Back]

**Which, upon second viewing, became a bit of an annoyance. The camera moves way too much. Even when we're just trying to look at a single person, the camera is jiggling. There's a ton of detail and eye candy. It takes you several viewings to see any of it, however, because it won't freakin' sit still! [Back]

Monday, July 09, 2007

Proof that BASH and Canisius are good High Schools

Peter and I both scored the same on this quiz.

You paid attention during 100% of high school!

85-100% You must be an autodidact, because American high schools don't get scores that high! Good show, old chap!

Do you deserve your high school diploma?
Create a Quiz

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Somehow it works.

I stumbled across this YouTube video. It's the Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra performing OutKast's "Hey Ya"

HT: The Corner

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Friday, July 06, 2007

The Great Aspect Ratio Rant

I have always been bothered by the problem of aspect ratio. There is confusion. There are expert attempts at compromise. There are clueless distortions that annoy anyone paying attention. Above all, the issue of aspect ratio is a complicated one. Recent events have served to make it even more complicated.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, the basic problem is this: old movies, new movies, movie screens tv shows, and tvs have different shapes. Something that fits a movie screen perfectly will be the wrong shape for a standard tv screen. New televisions are moving to widescreen, but that's the wrong shape for most things that are on tv.

Basic aspect ratio guide:

4:3 - television & old movies
1.78:1 - widescreen; many movies, many new tv shows, many new computer screens
2.35:1 - really widescreen; generally epic movies, action movies, sci-fi, etc.

The biggest aspect ratio problem used to be getting movies onto a tv screen. There were 3 options:
1 - Chop off the edges of the movie so that it fits the screen, potentially losing 1/3 of the picture
2 - Stretch the picture so that it fits, thereby making everyone look like aliens
3 - Fit the width to the screen, resulting in black bars on the top and bottom of the screen.

The most common solution for decades was to simply cut off the sides, resulting in what was called "fullscreen." When most tv screens were pretty small, this made perfect sense. With the advent of video tapes and DVDs, as well as people getting bigger, higher-quality screens and audio setups, people wanted better ways to reproduce the theater experience.

Movies began to be sold in widescreen. With Videotapes and early DVDs, they were "letterboxed." That is to say that they were showing a 4:3 picture. The top and bottom of that picture, however, was black bars. If you're putting that on a 4:3 screen, there's no problem.

What if you have a widescreen tv? Well, you could live with black bars on all 4 sides - ick! You could also zoom in so that the width fits, and the top and bottom are cut off (since they're just black bars of nothing, that's okay)

Then someone came up with the idea of anamorphic widescreen on DVDs. The gist is that it automatically expands to the right width, losing top and bottom if necessary. Since the top and bottom, again, are shorter, with a blank space, this was the ideal. The same signal will fit every tv shape perfectly! Everyone's happy!

But, there are other issues. The widescreen tv issue is that more and more people are buying widescreen tvs. You can barely go into a bar or restaurant without seeing them. Lots of people have big, shiny, expensive ones in their house.

Unfortunately, most people can't set them up right. The overwhelming majority of what's on tv is in the 4:3 aspect ratio. These tvs have the option of stretching the image to fit the screen.

So, let me get this straight: You spend north of a grand for a tv with great image quality, and then the first thing you do is to distort the image. I understand wanting to use all of the screen, but tv won't fit there. It's inappropriate as well as visually offensive.

Then, these people will keep this distortion even when widescreen content comes on! So, you could fit it properly, but choose to distort anyway. Brilliant.

Unfortunately, proper viewing of tv will require you to switch modes on the tv from time to time, depending on what you're watching. It's a pain, yes. But why buy fancy equipment capable of high quality without bothering to use it properly.

Enter the YouTube issue! In recent years flash video has become a de facto web standard for showing video on web pages. To standardize the display, everything on YouTube is designed to fit in a 320 by 240 pixel box. The same box for every video. Standard and simple.

Unfortunately, that means widescreen content is letterboxed. If you download the videos, there will be black bars on the top and bottom. If you're just showing it fullscreen on a 4:3 screen, it's fine. If you have a widescreen, however, you have to put up with black bars on 4 sides (unless you use QuickTime's handy-dandy Masking feature; it's a lot easier than it looks.)

Again, more complexity. I began thinking of this more and more when going to the movie theater. Prior to the formal previews and trailers, theaters have been showing commericals and featurettes of upcoming movies or tv shows. This is compiled into 1.78:1 picture. Unfortuntately, some dolt threw in 2.35:1 clips, resulting in a tiny picture. Idiots.

Once again, about the only people actually putting some thought and care into this is Apple. Front Row, iTunes and Quicktime all have fullscreen modes. The fullscreen mode will simply conform to whatever screen you're on. There is no distortion. The black bars will either be on the side or the top and bottom if necessary - never both. It just plain works.

Furthermore, if the commercials for the Apple TV and the iPhone are correct, YouTube content on them is actually fit to the proper aspect ratio for the movie, not just forced into 4:3.

Bottom line? Yeah, it's a bit of a pain. We need someone like Apple to get it right. For now, however, you just have to live with making compromises. Just please, for the love of Anchor Steam:





Thursday, July 05, 2007

Summer Movie Season May Be Back

In this post I outlined precisely what my expectations were for The Transformers. Put simply, I wanted something to help me at least briefly recapture my childhood and be a nice little escape for a few hours. I was going to be very disappointed if Michael Bay tried to make a statement.

I was not disappointed.

In each one, there was a tiny bit of sermonizing. John McClane tells hacker kid that the only reason he's a "hero" is that there's nobody else around who will do what needs to be done. If there were, he'd let them do it in an instant. Optimus Prime tells the Autobots that humanity is worth saving because there is the capability of good, and that all sentient beings deserve the right to make their own mistakes.

None of this hippy-dippie "Follow your dreams!" or "You can do anything if you believe in yourself" claptrap. Just the belief that you gotta do what you gotta do. And the best part?

Neither of these "sermons" lasted more than 20 seconds. They were only there to let you catch your breath before more stuff started to blow up. And that's just the way a summer movie should be. There are people who expect philosophizing out of cinema. These are exactly the same people who would use the word "cinema" with a straight face. These are probably the same morons who look to musicians for moral guidance. My advice - these people think they're smart. Let them have their fantasy world. Just ignore them.

Now - on to the review.

Now, for full disclosure. I am a fan of Transformers Generation 1. ES1 got me Season 1 on DVD a few years ago. I haven't seen seasons 2 - 4 in a few years, though I have watched an old VHS copy of the original movie a few times since then. I saw an episode or two of the "Headmasters" series. I know practically nothing about the beastial series that followed. Suffice it to say, I'm an old school fan. All references will be to Generation 1.

Perhaps the greatest departure in this movie from the TV series is in the focus. In the original TV series, the main characters were the Autobots; Spike or Chip were main characters in a few episodes, but the primary focus was on the Autobots. The movie centers around Sam (who is only referred to as "Spike" in the credits). This is to be understood. This movie is designed to introduce the characters. It very much has the feel of a "beginning of a new movie franchise." Transformers 2 has already been greenlit. This is a good thing.

There are also a few changes in the vehicle forms of the Transformers, some for practical considerations, some because VW & Porsche decided to go wimpy, exercising a level of blatant stupidity I do not expect from a company that puts such care and craftsmanship into their cars. Another change is that the Transformers can themselves decide what they want to transform into - enabling them to scan a vehicle and change themselves so they can take that form.

All in all, however, these were minor items. The bottom line is that this movie was not designed for children. This movie was designed for those who were children when the original series was being produced. You need to be able to appreciate a bit of juvenile humor. You need to appreciate incredibly well-done action sequences. You need to be able to suspend disbelief. Above all, you need to be the sort of person who would willingly go to see a movie in which alien robots transform into cars and trucks to fight each other.

The movie begins with Sam acquiring Bumblebee, and soon being chased by Decepticons. Simultaneously, you have a group of Air Force special ops troops running through the desert in Qatar, the only survivors of a Decpticon attack on their base. Bumblebee calls for help. Before the climactic battle you have the Air Force guys, Sam, his rather attractive young lady friend, and 5 Autobots fighting 8 Decepticons. There's not so much a 'plot' as a sequence of events.

Things blow up. More things blow up. See where this is going?

If I have one complaint, it is about some of the action sequences. In an effort to 'draw you in,' some scenes are very frenetic. With fast moving cameras and clouds of debris, it is very difficult to see what is happening. I understand what they were doing, but I didn't like it. You might. ES1 did. I didn't.

Also, a bit more time for Starscream and Megatron to argue would've been nice.

Bottom line - this movie was as close to perfect as you could get. It was a great introduction to those who are unfamiliar with any of the series. It was a great reintroduction for those who have been away. All in all, it was a very good re-imagining of the story. The ending was the perfect setup for a sequel, or series of sequels.

The audience was drawn in and kept in. When ES1 & I saw Attack of the Clones on opening night, no one had ever seen Yoda fight before. When he walked into the room at the climactic battle with Dooku, someone shouted "Yeah! Open up a can of Whoop-ass!" The level of enthusiasm then pales in comparison to what we experienced the other night. The level was very high, and was maintained for close to 3 hours.

You will enjoy this one. Just leave the kids at home.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

4th of July warning

Happy 4th of July everyone.

I know fireworks look cool, but please don't play with them unless you really know what you're doing. There is a reason why fireworks are illegal for purchase in many states. This picture shows what happens when you hold onto a lit firework for too long. Please be aware, this is a graphic picture and not for those with weak stomachs.

HT: MonkeyGirl

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Interview Meme

BaseballChica03 has sent me 5 interview questions to answer, so here goes.

1) How do you feel about single-sex education?

I think that it's a great idea. I wouldn't suggest it for all of schooling, but I think it can be very beneficial during high school. It takes a great deal of pressure off when you're not trying to impress a guy you like (do I act smart or dumb). Plus, we still got to hang out with the boys. I am planning on sending my children to single-sex high school. I also know that one of my cousins went to an all-girls high school, hated it, left it and went to a co-ed public school. She hated that even more and went to an all-girls college.

2) What did you want to be when you grew up?
I have wanted to be a doctor since I was 8 years old. I thought I was going to be an ophthalmologist until my second year of medical school.

3) Who's your favorite superhero and why?
This is a toughie. I'd probably have to say Wolverine. He's got those really cool claws and self-healing powers.

4) What's your favorite musical? Favorite musical that you were in? What do you like about it? (Ok, so that's three.)
Favorite musical - after 20 min of agonizing - three way tie: Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line. Cats and A Chorus Line for the dancing and Superstar for the music and sheer irreverence of it (and I'm still a practicing Roman Catholic). I always watch Superstar during Holy Week.
Favorite Musical I was in is much easier - I've only actually been in one; SHA's production of Annie my senior year.

5) What do you like to bake the most? (Alternately, is there a specific kind of pie that's just fun to make?)
I like to make my chocolate and peanut butter chip cookies the most (probably because I can freeze the dough and have slice and bake cookies whenever I want). And it's just plain fun to make pecan pie (especially when I'm in my denim apron and have country music playing on the ipod).

Anyone want an interview, leave it in the comments and i'll get 5 questions to you.

Our Niece's Baptism

Our niece, Annalise Grace, was baptized yesterday. As promised, here are the photos.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

And you guys thought I had a sheltered life?

So Obi-Wandreas and I had to run to the store for a few things. We're in the express lane and there's a girl in front of us who had a question about the cost of her purchase. She was buying a 12 pack of cans of pop and couldn't understand why it rang up for nearly three dollars, when the tag on the shelf said $1.99. The poor teenage cashier had to call a manager over to explain the concept of a deposit to her. "You mean I have to return the cans?" Eventually she paid (by credit card) but I still don't think she truly understood the concept.

It makes me wonder how little she must actually spend her own money or do such menial tasks as shopping. Its not as if a container deposit is a new thing.


There was a time when the summer was a good time for movies. Fun summer blockbusters used to be the norm. It has been many years since there have been any decent movies. I can't even remember the last time I actually looked forward to a summer movie season. ES1 & I have been to the theater perhaps a half dozen times since we were married, mostly to see Harry Potter or Pixar flicks.

Now, ES1 & I are big movie fans. The day after our wedding we hopped across the hotel parking lot to the mall to go see Hellboy. We have a fairly respectable DVD collection. Very little, however, has been able to drag us to the theater of late.

What is the cause? There are many possibilities. What it basically boils down to is that most of Hollywood has become an inbred echo chamber. It's full of idiots who think they have something important to say. Blowhards who often didn't finish grade school spend their time lecturing people who hold degrees they couldn't even spell. The culture of celebrity celebrates fame for the sake of fame.

There are precious few real stars in Hollywood. Take folks like Brad Pitt, George Clooney, or Matt Damon, for instance. They are essentially grown up children. Cary Grant, Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, John Wayne, Clint Eastwood - these people were men.

The female side is a little better. I generally enjoy a good Sandra Bullock or Reese Witherspoon flick. I can actually feel part of my IQ being sucked away, however, whenever Cameron Diaz appears. Angelina Jolie? I can see about 2 reasons for watching her. And I can get that better by watching Nigella Lawson, who actually has brains & talent, teaches good cooking, and doesn't even play up the first thing (because she doesn't need to).

Movies today are all about "shades of gray." Moviemakers make movies where there are no good guys. There's nobody to root for. People who fly around in private jets call people evil for driving cars. Useful idiots who idolize vicious butchers like Castro and Guevara look with scorn upon the founders of this nation. Moviemakers who see those who strap bombs to kids, attack shopping centers, start bloody riots over anything even remotely perceived as insulting, and seek to drive the entire planet into the dark ages as victims, have trouble deciding who the most evil people are - those who go to church, or those who want to make money.

Into all of this is a lack of originality. Everything that has been even remotely big of late has either been an adaptation or a sequel. This is not itself a bad thing, if the moviemakers can remember the original magic. Thankfully, at least one of them has.

ES1 & I went to see Live Free or Die Hard last night. I won't spoil anything for anyone. Suffice it to say, it was everything you want in a Die Hard movie. Great dialogue, great action, and a good story. Everything was perfect, right down to "Yippie Kay-Yay Mother Fscker" appearing at exactly the right time. This is exactly what you want in a summer popcorn flick.

This week, we will be going to see Transformers. Hopefully, Michael Bay won't fsck this one up. Everyone has high expectations of this. How to satisfy them? Don't try to make a statement. As a listener to Trash Talk said about the movie, "I wanna be 10 years old again, watch trucks turn into robots and blow sh** up!"

If they keep this in mind, this could be a great summer movie season. If not, well, what can you expect - there just Hollywood types.


Rest easy, friends. Apparently, after the apocalypse, when Fred Thompson has to fight hordes of radioactive cockroaches over the world's dwindling twinky supply, He'll still be able to call Chuck Norris on his iPhone.

I am Catwoman

Not sure if I really agree with this one.

You Are Catwoman

"Life's a bitch. Now so am I."