Saturday, April 26, 2003

  • THE THING: A movie! A Mighty Wind
              on folk singers and music.
                  Funny, clever, sweet.
    Another good chapter in the Christopher Guest collection! The ensemble was as good as ever. I didn't think he could come up with odder characters than he has before, but there are a couple wild ones here.

    Christopher Guest's film have an odd way of making you laugh at and care about the characters at the same time. I mean, don't get me wrong, he is satirical and mocking throughout, but he somehow gives them all an odd vulnerability. It's pretty wild. I'm always impressed. He can take the most oddball, unrealistic characters, and give them a very human side... at least I notice it more in his films than anyone else's.

    I could ramble on for quite some time about how good the film was, but I'll simply say - Just go see it. Well, if you can, it's actually not in a very wide release. Check your local, and not-so-local listings!

Final Score on the Chris Worth Scale: $9.25.
[Which means I got a bargain, since this theatre charged me $9 for an adult ticket. Yeeps. I'm only ever going to matinees from now on. This Blogging gig is not paying much at all!]

  • THE THING: This book: The Simpsons and Philosophy - The D'oh! of Homer, by a whole bunch of people, © 2001
          a book on Simpsons
              to learn of philosophy
                  funny and thorough
    This book was certainly a surprise. It was funny at times, but 65% of it was more like a textbook. I would say at least fifty prominent philosophers are mentioned and discussed throughout the book. There are references to the show throughout, but they are really incidental. This is a good book for fans of the show, but more a book for people who want to learn more about philosphy, psychology, ethics, the nature of thought, satire, and the like.
    Beware, this is not a light read. They use the Simpsons characters and settings to propel you into some very deep thinking. If you are looking for a book consisting of just funny Simpsons references, this is not for you. I did enjoy it, but it took me a few chapters to get my brain focused on the point of the book.

Final Score on the Chris Worth Scale: $10.95.
[Although, if you are using it as a textbook for a college class, they will likely charge you $83.00.]

Friday, April 25, 2003

  • THE THING: A freaky vehicle.
          On route 80
              going a speed of 80
                  a big cat-shaped van.
    I was on my way back from picking up a tuxedo, driving down route 80 west, when an orange blur flew past me. It was a van in the shape of a cat. Amazing. I think it was for Meow Mix or some other cat food, but it was a huge orange-striped tabby van. It had an enormous head - big 3 foot ears sticking up from the top, thick wiry whiskers (which bounced as the van sped along) coming out of the front grill, and a tail wrapped around the side. I was quite impressed...

    ...Impressed enough to jam down the accelerator and catch up, sticking my camera out of the top of my Tracker to try to get some photos. This while-driving photopgraphy is something that I like to think Vinny and I patented on the way home from a camping trip, when we got pictures of each others' cars, Porky's restuarant, and a sign advertising Big Hot Texas Weiners.

It is a film camera, so I don't know if the pictures will come out. If they do, I will try to figure out how to attach them to this blog.

  • THE THING: This book: Denizens by Brian William Neal. © 2003
          Near future sci fi
              space, time, deep ocean travel.
                  Tidy, clever end.
    The book starts out with two very different top-secret missions. One is an expiremental spaceship engine, which might be able to exceed the speed of light. The other, resulting from the discovery of a new sophisticated metal, is a deep sea diving mission to the lowest depths ever reached. It's is obvious from the onset that these stories are intertwined. The resolution of all this turns out to be more than I could have ever imagined. The scope is quite impressive, encompassing science, history, religion, and exploration. I highly recommend it!

Final Score, on the Chris Worth Scale: $7.95.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

  • THE THING: The Nutter Butter I just ate.
          Peanut butter sides
              and peanut butter middle.
                  So simple. So good.

    Yes, I am reviewing a Nutter Butter! I needed a snack, I really didn't have breakfast, and there were some on my desk. Now, a Nutter Butter is good by itself, don't get me wrong, but if you have some coffee nearby, dip it in there. Phoof. REALLY good. Trust me.

    Imagine being in the Nutter Butter brainstorming meeting at Nabisco...

    "We should make a peanut butter cookie. Everyone likes peanut butter cookies!"

    "Yeah, but they just don't have enough peanut butter flavor. How 'bout we take two peanut butter cookies, and put peanut butter in between?"

    "Won't that be too much peanut butter?"

    "Too much peanut butter?! You're fired. We have no room for that attitude here at Nabisco."

WARNING: the Nutter Butter sludge left on the bottom of the coffee mug is a little oogy.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

  • THE THING: The Bachelor Party I went to last night.
          Out in New York City
              Italian food and strippers
                  got groped by a ho.
    My friend Rob is getting married next week. Of course, there is the obligatory bachelor party. I didn't know anyone but the groom to be, and we were traveling into the city, so it was already a struggle for me to be motivated. Oh, and I had to work a full day beforehand.

    Anyway, we went to Puglia's in little Italy for dinner. The food was good, but I could have used some more gnocchi. I think I had just eaten too little all day, so I was starved. The wine was coming to the table pretty regularly, so that was good -- their house red table wine was drinkable, so we were off to a good start.

    There was a guy playing on an electric keyboard. He played some classic Italian songs ("Feliculi Felicula!" [perhaps not its actual name], "That's Amore!", stuff like that), but then drifted into some Frank Sinatra. OK, no big deal, he played "New York, New York".... that kind of makes sense. I was noticing the sideburns right as the fellow across from me (was his name Mas? I'm not sure) leans in and says, "This guy's going to drift into doing Elvis any time now." I laughed, but sure enough, 20 seconds later he started doing an Elvis medley. At some point he started playing some "Shake your Nap-kin" song. And everyone seemed to know it -- they were waving their dirty napkins all over the place. I had never seen such a thing. Perhaps I don't get out enough. I also thought it quite unsanitary -- keep them in your lap, people. I really don't want your spit and snot soaked detritus flying all over my food. Thank you.

    Then it was off to find a bar! We debated walking vs. a taxi, when someone noticed an empty limo pulling up. We asked how much to get us to Times Square, and he said $7 a head. Victor talked him down to $50. Great! In we go. To an 8-person limo. All thirteen of us. I could now successfully join the circus as a Volkswagen Bug clown. We were packed in there. My butt was actually in the limo's bar. I was folded up oddly with most of my weight on my calves. It was some really terrible pain.

    We ended up at Houlihan's near Times Square. It was pretty quiet there. We had a bunch of drinks, and could talk. We talked music (Dismemberment Plan, The Streets) and movies (Fantastic Planet, City of Lost Children). It was not entirely unpleasant. Then around midnight, the "All right, ready to go?" muttering began. Boy, was I ever. Three bucks on the bar, jacket donned swiftly, and I was ready to head home. But, alas, this was not the plan.

    Before I hit the next stop, I have to mention Scott haggling with a street vendor outside Houlihan's for a giant silver chain with a Spider-Man medallion on it. It was just great. Asking price $40. Final price $15. Scott proudly put on his new bling-bling, and we were on our way.

    We were off to "Flash Dancers", a gentleman's club. It was a nice place, as strip clubs go, I suppose. I don't actually frequent places were people dance around wearing only thongs, so I don't have a lot to compare it to. But at $20 a person to get in, we'll say it's nice. They even had one of those bathroom attendants. I forget who it was, but one of the guys we were with came back from the bathroom saying, "Hey! If you don't wash your hands you can save a buck!"

    We were put in the back, away from the runways. It was kind of an odd like-you're-in-a-movie feel. There had to be 40 or 50 dancers wandering around. They seemed nice. One of them claimed to be from Sweden and studying Molecular Biology. Rob's cousin was quizzing her, it was kind of funny. "What's the symbol for Carbon Monoxide?" And he was asking her about atomic weights. She passed with flying colors. All while wearing a thong. So surreal.

    I got one $13 drink (yoinks!) and decided I needed some fresh air, and some money (NYC is a damned expensive place). I went out with some of the smokers. We smoked. I went to the ATM across the street. I got my first hooker proposal there. It was a woman in a car. A nice SUV actually. She could have been somebody's soccer mom. I politely declined, but wished her future success.

    We finally departed "Flash Dancers" around 2:30-2:45, I think. While waiting for a cab back to Hoboken, I got my second solicitation for a brief sexual encounter in exchange for cash. This woman was a bit more aggressive than the Soccer Mom Hooker. She came up, and asked if I was ready to party. I explained that I was all partied out. She was unconvinced, and suggested that she would like to spend some time with me, since I was a well-endowed fellow (I'm paraphrasing slightly). Now, I was wearing pants, ones that had a loose fit, so I couldn't be sure how she could tell. Well, apparently she couldn't tell just by looking, and as she took another step foreward, she decided to test her "big man" theory and grabbed a full handful of my manhood. I gently, but firmly, pushed her hand back away from my very personal space, thanked her for my free sample of her services, but suggested she look elsewhere.

    I'll spare you the ride home, though the cab fare negotiations were a bit funny. My night officially ended when I collapsed into my bed at 4:27 am.

I'm too old for this.

  • THE THING: A book! The Adventures of Baron Muchausen, by R.E. Raspe. Originally published around 1780, recently republished for e-book.
          Centuries old text
              adventures, satire, spoof.
                  old, fun, short tall tales.
  • THE FULL REVIEW: This was a pretty nifty book; a classic, I suppose. There was a loosely based movie by Terry Gilliam, if you're not into reading. The book (actually 2 volumes of Baron Munchausen stories bundled together) contains about 38 short stories of the good baron, most only a couple pages long. He gets eaten by fish (at least twice), kills a herd of polar bears, flies right through the center of the Earth, and a whole bunch of other wacky things. Some of the humor is a little dated, and it obviously has an older tone and pacing, but it definitely has the feel of exaggerated stories thrown about in a pub after a few stiff drinks.

Some people rate things on a scale of 1 to 10, or on a four-star system, I rate by worth. What was it worth to me? This book was worth $5.95.

  • THE THING: Dream last night
          Being a rock star
              and singing crazy lyrics,
                  is pretty darn cool.
  • THE FULL REVIEW: I had a dream that I was playing some music in front of some large crowd. It was an awful amount of fun. And I was singing some crazy ass song. It was quite good, I think. And super, super bizarre. I tried to write down as much of the lyrics as I could remember. I just got the chorus down before the the dream fog burned off...

    I'm gonna do it with my headphones
    I'm gonna glue it with an airplane
    I'm gonna chew upon my hairstyle
    I guess that I've freaked out after all!

I think even Freud would have to work on that one for a while...