Bloodquake

At the gym I frequent there is series of televisions mounted on the wall, so if you find running four miles to be insufficiently taxing you can also watch “Fifth Wheel”. All the programs have captioning at the bottom, allowing you to read the dialog as it’s being said. Noises and other non-verbal communications is shown in brackets, e.g., “I think, like, Terry is, y’know, totally hot and [giggles] like HOT!”

Today I saw an ad demonstrating a new X-box game called “Bloodquake.” During the entire commercial the caption read “[Sound of guns firing]”.

David Cross

David Cross was one co-creators (along with Bob Odenkirk) of the typically brilliant and often hilarious Mr. Show, which ran for a couple of seasons on HBO. The show is now defunct, and despite Cross’s nonstop campaign of cajoling, threatening, insulting and whining, HBO has refused to release the episodes on either tape or DVD. Fed up, Cross did something pretty damn cool: he funded the creation of Mr. Show VHS tapes himself and then gave them to select video stores throughout the USA, stipulating that these outlets must, in turn, allow patrons to check out the tapes for free. In this way he managed to get around the legal rigamarole which prevents him from distributing his own show for profit. Here in Seattle, you can find the Mr. Show episodes tucked away in the New Releases section of the sublime Scarecrow Video.

Cross and Odenkirk will soon have a movie out entitled Run Ronnie Run, which is based on a bit from a Mr. Show episode. Unfortunately, like most flicks based on a single skit, it’s rumored to be pretty bad.

Curse Those Non-English-Speaking Workers

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that, right about now, somebody feels like a complete ass: Plaque Inscription Mistakenly Thanks Martin Luther King’s Killer for “Keeping the Dream Alive”. Here’s hoping that the guilty party never goes into the tattoo business. Be sure to check out the last few paragraphs in which the plaque company’s owner, invoking the “infinite monkeys on infinite keyboards” theory, blames the whole snafu on a non-English-speaking worker who apparently picked the letters R-A-Y at random. Let’s all sadly shake our heads together, shall we?

Education

Overheard:

Person One: So, how’s school?
Person Two: Great.
Person One: Do you find it rewarding?
Person Two: Oh, yes. I think it’s very mind uhhh, uhhhhhhh. Errrm, uhhhhhh. Um. Uhhhh…
Person One: “Expanding”?
Person Two: Yes.

Wine Experts Are Frauds

I knew it! Last night on NPR, Marketplace [realaudio link here] reported on a study to be published in the scientific journal “Brain and Languages” which suggests, in effect, that the verbage wine “experts” use when describing a wine’s bouquet is a bunch of pretentious twaddle. Here’s the BBC’s article on the findings, in which a researcher poured odorless red dye into white wine, served it to 54 students, and then recorded the drinkers’ comments, all of which described the concoction with red wine imagery.

Also: The science of getting shitfaced The “New Scientist” directory of articles relating to drunkenness. Some of my favorites: why drunk people tend to stagger more to one side than another, drunks can control their behavior if they really want to, and girls can match boys drink for drink, so long as they stick to beer.

Catchy Name

I’m terrible with names, but I have no trouble remembering the name Enron . Maybe the origin of this moniker is trivial — the founder’s name being Karl Enron or something — but I like to imagine that, like many big corporations these days, the energy company let a cabal of marketing guys intentionally cook up a name that would be easy to say and impossible to forget. And it’s thanks to those guys that people like me, who know very little about the specifics of this boondoggle, can still say “What’s the name of that company, the one that imploded and implicated the Bush administration of all sorts of shady dealing? Oh yeah: Enron!”

Movies: In The Bedroom

Perhaps my expectation were too high, but I thought In The Bedroom didn’t quite live up to all the superlatives which have been heaped upon it. Yes, it was a fine film, but I found it to be a little too shallow to be an effective philosophical drama and a little too ponderous to be a convincing psychological thriller. They should have picked a genre and stuck with it. I recommend it, but don’t go in anticipation of “The Best Movie of the Year!!” In the category of Actor in the Movie Who Has an Bit Role And Yet Nonetheless Kicks Ass, the award goes to Celia Weston playing the part “kid’s father’s best friend’s wife”. In one scene you just hear her voice echoing down a staircase (i.e., she’s not even on screen) and she’s still terrific. Download cracks.

Speaking of movies (when am I not?), it looks like David Lynch’s fabulous Mulholland Drive is finally getting it’s due. Best movie I saw in 2001, surpassed only by “Lord of the Rings” and “Memento”.

Reality!

My wife and I were jogging through nearby Ravenna Park this afternoon when we found ourselves in the middle of a swordfight. Every Saturday and Sunday a considerable number of Youth — presumably affiliated with the local Society for Creative Anachronism (or perhaps just afflicted with the need to LARP) — gather in the Park to both barbeque and whack each other with sticks. So we’ve become accustomed to seeing them during our weekend jogs, so much so that we now just refer to them collectively as Hogwarts.

This particular swordfight was unusual, though, because it was taking place right in the middle of a trail, instead of in the picnic area where we are accustomed to seeing melee. As we got closer to the fray we didn?t quite know what to do. But then, suddenly, one of the fighters yelled “Reality!” and all hostilities ceased, as the combatants respectfully stood off to the side of the trail and allowed us to past unmolested. In addition to being quite courteous, it also made me feel like a Level 14 Wizard in possession of the Elven Broach of Peacemaking +3.

The next time I find myself at the end of a line at Starbucks I’m going to holler “Reality!” and see what happens.

One Day In September

We recently received One Day in September from The Only Internet Commerce Site That Really Makes Any Sense Anymore, NetFlix.com. After reading the capsule description (“A documentary about the terrorists who held 11 Israeli athletes hostage during the 1972 Olympics”) I suddenly realized I had no interest in seeing it. Why watch a DVD about terrorism when I can just flip to channel 5 and watch Dan Rather yammer on about it any day of the week?

Yesterday day, though, with nothing else good on TV, we finally watched it. And boy howdie: it was goooood.