Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Last Comic Standing

Last Comic Standing

I had to tape Last Comic Standing last night, as the Titans were playing pre-season on Monday Night Football, where it was weird to see Eddie George wearing #27 for the Cowboys. No, he wasn't the hoss that the media had made him out to be, and perhaps even that he thought he was. But he was our hoss. And to have him playing for Bill Parcells for football's version of the evil empire? It sat ill with me.

But I did watch part of last night's battle of the seasons.

Jessica Kirson??!?!?!?!?!???!!

Of all the comics they'd seen, they picked her to replace Bonnie McFarlane?

You know, humor's a subjective thing. But was her 2 minutes anything more than her making a funny face?

And I'm not the biggest Ralphie May fan in the world, but I can't even think of how tough it would be to get out there to tell jokes after his father passed away. I noticed he seemed out of sorts when they introduced the comics at the show's start. That's too rough.

I'll watch the rest of the tape tonight. Dave Mordal's yet to perform, and he was probably my favorite from the first season.

Search Strings

Search Strings

I haven't commented much on my search strings, lately. It's mostly the same old stuff. The amount of search hits I get from people looking for pictures of the private areas of rocker Tommy Lee staggers me. And I still wonder what the people who are looking for these pictures think when they get to this little blog.

I get a lot of people looking for naked pictures of Keira Knightley, as well. I consider these people among my most valued readers, actually. It's nice to have an audience with such fine taste.

But the search string that caught my eye this morning was simply a yahoo search for "What are some pills to help give me a bigger butt?"

Now, if this doesn't beat everything I've ever heard. This quick fix society has just gone too far. If you want to get a bigger butt, you just do it the way we've all done it for generations. You eat a lot of fast food, a lot of ice cream and you it all while sitting in front of the TV watching re-runs of The Brady Bunch and A-Team. There is no quick fix. It'll take a little time. But if you hold on to my easy-to-follow plan (BSTommy Helps You Get Bigger Ass), then in 30 day's time, you'll have a much bigger ass.

Unless you count donuts as pills. Big chewy pills.

Monday, August 30, 2004

TV Tuesday

TV Tuesday

TV Tuesday (on a Monday Night), because I can't string two thoughts together without being prompted.

Now that the Olympics have closed let's review!!

1. How much of the Olympics did you watch?

A little. I didn't make a point to actually sit and watch any particular event. We had a family get together a weekend ago, and I watched most the USA basketball team losing to one of the Eastern European countries. I'd say I watched about a half-hour's worth or so, on average, a night.

2. What's your favorite Olympic sport?

You know, I couldn't give a crap about any track and field event any other time, but I did end up staying up late (Papaw here needs to sleep early) to watch certain events. The 100 meter dash, and a couple of the relays. It's the only time I'll watch them.

I enjoyed seeing what baseball I did in the 2000 games. But since America farted around and didn't even make the games this year, nothing got on.

I rather enjoyed watching Women's Beach Volleyball.

3. What's your least favorite Olympic sport or one you feel should be removed?

I just don't get synchronized swimming. I mean, I understand the concept. I don't see the appeal in competing in a dancing contest in water, and having it judged and televised and all that jazz. I just don't think we should be giving out valuable gold to the group who can dance in the water better than another group.

And don't give me that stuff about how it's hard, and it takes discipline. Novel writing is hard, and it takes discipline. But we don't give Olympic medals out for that, do we?

(We don't, do we?)

To me, synchronized swimming is right up there with competitive bedmaking in terms of athletic competition.

~Bonus~ If you could participate in the Olympics what sport would you want to be in?

Synchronized Swimming.

Sunday, August 29, 2004



I built something this weekend.

It took several hours, and many dozens of dollars.

I think it is a time machine.

So far, it only travels forward in time. At one speed.

That speed is pretty much the same rate at which time usually travels.

I am covered with radiation burns.

Good night.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Bea

Don't Blame Me, I Voted For Bea

Bea Arthur for President.

Seems she had a run in with airline security.

I just see the security guys weighing in their minds: "Is Bea Arthur Going to hijack this plane?"

Personally, if I were trying to decide which of the Golden Girls was going to bring an airliner down, I'd vote on Sofia her own self, Estelle Getty. Or possibly Rose, because it's possible that she'd been brainwashed once or several times in her life.

Boing Boing is good, and stuff.

Flying cars, and other nonsense

Flying Cars, and other nonsense

I saw this story on my Yahoo page this morning, and I felt the tension creeping in.

Flying Cars?!?!?!!???!!?!!??!?

See, apparently we're still looking to the future when everybody has flying cars, Jetsons or Back to the Future style. Story says (in a most disappointed tone), that although NASA and Boeing say the technology is there, we are still many, many years away from the day we all have flying cars.

Now, I've got no problem with the idea of a flying car. I've been stuck in a traffic jam just like the rest of you, and thought about just how wonderful it would be to be able to lift out of the traffic jam harrier-style, and fly beyond the madness.

But am I the only one who sees the problem with this idea?

See, if you've got a flying car, that's great.

But it's great only if you're the only one with the flying car.

If the day comes that Average Joe can own his flying car...the problem is that every other Average Joe in the world will own a flying car.

I'm convinced that anywhere between a fifth and a full-on third of the drivers we have driving your standard ground-based automobiles nowadays aren't completely competent to handle their machines. Not in any kind of responsible manner. Look around you the next time you're out driving, and look at the people who do the little annoying things, like not signalling turns, like refusing to turn right on red even though there's an empty spot the size of Nebraska in the road, or like talking on the cell phone not realizing that they've become so involved with their conversation that they're going 11 miles per hour.

And when you're done with these guys, look at the jagoffs who do the stuff that makes you really psychotically angry. People who do stuff like backing up an entire parking lot for days on end just so that they can turn left out of the parking lot across four lanes of traffic. Or how about those who take it upon themselves to slow everybody in the passing lane of the interstate down by driving 68 in that left hand lane?

Have you ever noticed the number of those cars who drive slowly in that left lane who have that Jesus fish on them? The Jesus fish, or some other manner of religious paraphanelia? It's not a 100% across the board number, but the ratio is up around 4 to 1.

But that's neither here nor there....

Back to my little rant, also, when you're out driving and looking at these colossal boneheads, look at the number of cars you see broken down along side the road. Especially if you're driving on the interstates or freeways. There are two reasons for these breakdowns: Poor craftsmanship, and poor upkeep.

Some cars are just lemons. You get a huge number of moving parts working in conjunction, and if one's out of whack right off the lot, then another is going to start messing up, and another, and another. Even new, the car's constantly breaking down. I figure that if you've got a flying car, you're going to have half again at least as many moving parts as your every day land-based car. And probably more. More to go wrong, in my book.

And then there's the problem of upkeep. There are a lot of cars out there that because of age, or the financial trappings of the driver, or just the sheer negligance of the owner, that are liable to fall apart at any moment.

Now, it's one thing to have these accidents-waiting-to-happen driving around on the road. They break down? You pull them off to the side of the road. And if they cause an accident, the chances are slim that they'll do anything more than take out another car or two.

However, if you've got a Flying P.O.S. out there flying around when its wings suddenly fly off because Jimmy Joe Cottontongue forgot to change the hydraulic fluid, you've suddenly got a missile hurtling towards a random target somewhere on the ground below.

Personally, I'd rather not be sitting down to watch Seinfeld re-runs on the holovid and have a 2038 Mercedvrolet Flymobile crash down on my head, crushing me, the holovid and my Soylent Green Cheetoes in one fell swoop, all because Jimmy Joe couldn't be bothered to put more than 11,000 Astrobucks worth of plutonium in the flux capacitor.

Well, I've written more on this than I would have thought.

Heed my words. When somebody tells you that flying cars are such a long way away, you say "Good." And then you buy more Soylent Green Cheetoes.

Friday, August 27, 2004



A few random thoughts, since I'm not able to string many words together in one coherent statement:

You know, if I had to play water polo? I would probably die of exhaustion.

Saw Open Water last night. I give it a thumbs up. Scary Jellyfish. Scarier sharks.

My favorite Monty Python bit is The Cheese Shop. (No sir. I was deliberately wasting your time.)

I have watched less baseball this season than any other for the last ten. This annoys me. I don't know anything that's going on.

Maybe I'll have more later, after I've had caffiene...

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Giants

The Giants

See, anytime I mention a baseball team that plays its game on the North Side of Chicago, they go on a losing jag. This makes BSTommy's blood pressure go up, and it makes him very sad, and liable to lash out and strangulate people for little things like interrupting a conversation just to answer a cellular telephone.

So, I won't mention them.

Seeing if this logic holds true, I'd like to mention the San Francisco Giants. Giants. Giants. Giants. Giants.

See, I'd like them to go on a nice losing streak. Barry Bonds, and Felipe Alou, and Jason Schmidt and all those other guys.

Lose. Please.

They're a game, game and a half or so behind another baseball team (whose name we will not mention), but this makes me uncomfortable. So I would like the San Francisco Giants to lose many games. And I'll keep mentioning them, because my words are like poison apples.

Giants. (Giants).

This Scientific Experiment has been brought to you by Banquet Chicken Fingers.

A Melanie Hutsell Sighting?

A Melanie Hutsell Sighting?

Did I just have a Melanie Hutsell sighting?

There's a commercial for Hallmark I've seen a couple of times...the gist is that a girl is at a dinner with her girlfriends, and they've all been wowed by the hilarious greeting card she's gotten at Hallmark.

I'm fairly sure one of the girls at the table (wowed by the greeting card) is former SNL cast member Melanie Hutsell.

Man. I've been wondering what happened to her...I've missed her since I last saw her as an extra in the pilot of the Fred Savage office comedy Working....

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

My Cholesterol

My Cholesterol

My triglycerides? They are good.

My LDL's? They are good.

My total cholesterol? It is good, in general.

It is surprising, considering my family's apparent disposition toward cholesterol problems, combined with the fact that for the bulk of my 27 years, I wouldn't eat it unless it was cooked in bacon grease.

But things were good. Not perfect. But good. Definitely better than I was expecting.

My HDL's, (i.e. the Good, Superman Cholesterols?) Not high enough. Needs me some niacin.

So. I'm not as healthy as a horse, but judging by the smell I'm getting there.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Political Commentary

Political Commentary

Every now and then, somebody just says it right. A brief commentary on the blogging political scene....

Birthday Wishes

Reading and Watching

Reading and Watching

What am I reading you ask?

Peter Biskind's Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. An entertaining read on how the rock n' roll generation that emerged out of the 60's made some of the most influential movies of all time, and saved Hollywood. Great stuff. Passionate people. Some wanted to be artists. Some wanted to make money. Some just wanted to be assholes. But they all desperately wanted to make movies, and outside of the studio systems' bounds which had been set in place in Hollywood for decades.

Dennis Hopper? Crazy Drugged Up Mofo.

Warren Beatty? A bit of a prick.

George Lucas? Needs to be punched in the face. But at least back then he wanted to make an artistic statement.

When I moved about a month ago, I'd just started the book. In fact, it was one of the last things I'd packed. And then, when I got settled in over here in east TN, I couldn't find it. I got a little bent out of shape about it, and had almost convinced myself that somehow I'd left the book in the apartment.

But I found it in the front pocket of my bookbag. I've been reading on it, and am (if you will) enjoying the shit out of it (even if it seems I just talked badly about people in it...I'm nearly through. I enjoyed the Scorcese and William Friedkin sections most, so far).

As a note, I've rearranged my Netflix queue so that I can re-view many of the films that are written about in Biskind's book.

What am I watching, you ask?


The nice folks at Netflix sent the second series of The Office over the weekend. More great stuff, though I felt like the second season got tied up in the interpersonal relationships a bit more than the first. It's not necessarily a bad thing, and maybe it's just showing how much we the viewer become involved with the characters.

If there's a them to the second series, it's downward spiral.

Still, I recommend it for its comedy. The conversations between Gareth and Tim are comic gold. The conversation between Gareth and the tech support guy fixing his computer is even better. But the best laughs come when Gareth is pulled aside to give his own private confessional to the audience.

And but damn did I spend a lot of time embarrassed for David Brent....

What else did I watch?

I was off this afternoon, so I wandered to Chattanooga to catch Napoleon Dynamite. I'd heard a lot of good.

I liked it, but only so much. I'd give it three stars.

It's different, I'll give it that. And hella hard to promote, I'd reckon.

But it loses energy, to me, and at times it borders on the land of Bad SNL skit movie land. If you don't buy the character of Napoleon, the movies gonna be a long, waste of time for you.

The movie also reminded me a lot of a Carl Hiassen novel, in that EVERYBODY'S zany, or at least slanted off in their own direction from normal.

Minor League Baseball

Minor League Baseball

I loves me some Minor League Baseball.

I gotta get down to Chattanooga before long. Minor League season will end before long.

But until I can make it, I have to make do with the occasional small taste...

Gooseneck sent this, from an Iowa Cubs (AAA) game. It's from one of Kerry "I Kill You With Baseball" Wood's rehab assignments.....a packed house:

Sunday, August 22, 2004

A few lies

A few lies

From 1991-1993, my father served as the Gorton's Fisherman.

I won the silver medal in the 10 meter platform diving in the 1988 Summer Olympics.

A group of walruses (walri) is referred to as a "cretch."

The digestive system of a baby human defies the laws of thermodynamics.

I got into a fight with Chuck Norris outside a Wings Beach Store in Myrtle Beach, SC.

There is no word in Russian for "pre game warmup." There are 119 for "hangover."

Over a short distance, I can outrun a horse.

The bulk of Bill Gates' fortune is tied up in stock. However, roughly 70% of his liquid assets can be found in collectible Oreo Cookie Christmas tins.

There are actually only 24 letters in our alphabet.

The pinnacle of human artistic achievement is the film Ernest Goes to Camp.

I have written 117 novels under various pseudonyms. (I am J.K. Rowling).

My sister has a 98 m.p.h. fastball, but no control.

The movie Mystic Pizza is a thinly veiled allegory of Harry Truman's presidency.

Celery, if you think about it, is meat.

Julia Roberts can't speak English. She is actually from a small, undiscovered land in Eastern Europe, and does all her English-speaking roles phonetically.

My uncle invented a car that runs on onions.

The National Anthem of Bulgaria is "Ice Ice Baby."

When we die, we become cats.

Your life isn't complete until you have a phone that can take pictures.

The scene in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, where Jonathan Winters destroys the gas station? That was real. He got mad when somebody took a picture of him taking a dump.

The economy is controlled by Florence Henderson.

The first season of M*A*S*H was filmed in my grandparents' basement.

There is actually no such word as "diminutive."

The computer games Solitaire, Spider Solitaire and Freecell have been outlawed by the Catholic Church.

Japan is actually a small town just north of Los Angeles.

Everything depicted in Marvel Comic Books from 1962-1975 actually happened.

The Vikings invented the wheel. They also invented the concept of happiness, Pasta, Water, the written language and the nuclear bomb.

I have three nostrils.

Mickey Rooney is the only surviving hobbit.

My dog knows how to fly a helicopter.

Elvis actually died in 1991, of a heart attack. He is buried outside of Helena, Montana, under the name Eugene Fitzhugh.

Akron, Ohio, was destroyed by Marlon Brando, in 1980.

The first cameras actually did steal your soul. Technology has since been improved.

My middle name is Chantelle.

Ty Cobb was called The Georgia Peach, because he was fuzzy, and grew on a tree.

The only organs you really need are a stomach, one lung and a poopchute.

It is illegal in Tennessee to refer to it as a poopchute.

I was birthed when Corey Feldman spilled water on Gizmo. I'm what happens when the mowgwi eat after midnight.

It is impossible to slap the taste out of Ronald McDonald's mouth.

Kangaroos are stuffed with polyester.

Ernest Hemingway invented the suplex. He was the original Human Suplex Machine.

Blond hair is technically impossible.

Porcupines are born with little tiny wings.

Susan B. Anthony invented ice cream.

Brussel Sprouts are good for you.

Saturday, August 21, 2004



A few random bits and free association, as I stagger headlong into the weekend...

I notice real lack of posts from the writer of this blog this week. That annoyed me, that I hadn't posted anything. I'd been a little busy, but I figured I'd have sat down to write something. But nooooo. Tommy is a lazy so and so.

And then, last night, when I figured I have something to say, the wireless connection is thrown off by the round of thunderstorms we had running through the area.

The thunderstorms were cool. Lots of purple and blue flashes of lightning. Lots of booming thunder. It's because I've watched too much TV and too many movies in my life, but thunderstorms make me think about the segment of the Twilight Zone movie, "Terror at 30,000 Feet" with John Lithgow. There weren't many movies that scared me as a little kid, but this segment scared the bejeezus out of me. Especially when Lithgow has pulled the shade to the window, working to convince himself he didn't see a monster out on the wing of the plane in the flashes of lightning. And then, Lithgow pulls up the shade...

It was pointed out to me a couple of years ago that I look away from a window any time I'm opening a shade or a blind. I was doing it unconsciously. I don't want to see any scary gremlins.

There's a great moment on the show Third Rock from the Sun, when John Lithgow's character meets a character played by William Shatner, and they compare notes about traumatic airplane flights. The Shatner version of "Terror at 30,000 Feet" for the original Twilight Zone TV Show is probably my favorite episodes from that series.

But I think about the movie segment first, because it's the one I saw first. It's the one that worried me to my soul

I think it's about time I went to the eye doctor. It's been too long. My eyes have b een getting tired lately, and a couple of times in the past couple of weeks I've developed a headache.

Wrasslin Fans? I highly recommend the WWE's Chris Benoit/Hard Knocks DVD release. I've gotten both discs over the past couple of weeks off of Netflix. The WWE people have probably put together the most comprehensive collection of a person's work to put on one of their discs.

Since they acquired the video libraries of ECW and WCW, they've put together some really nice collections. The Ric Flair collection was great, but I'd have appreciated a few more promo's and other work Flair did in the mid 80's. The Mick Foley collection just kind of glossed over his work in Japan. But the Benoit disc contains A LOT of the promo work and angle material from his time in ECW, which is where I first saw him. And it's got three or four matches from his time in Japan, with each of those matches having a couple of different commentary tracks.

I'm not playing on EBay much right now. I've bought a couple of books recently, after a long hiatus of Ebay playing. I've made myself stop, because last week I found myself bidding on a complete set of the old Saturday Night's Main Event WWF show, and then praying that somebody outbids me. But I think I'd still like such a set, if only to see the old school WWF angles again.

I say that, because I watched Chris Benoit on his disc, I keep thinking about the British Bulldogs, and especially the Dynamite Kid. I didn't notice until I watched an old Wrestlemania just how similar Benoit and Dynamite Kid are in their styles. Benoit mimics his idols in many ways.

Changing the subject, the Cubs won again. I noticed that they finally moved Sosa down lower in the order. He batted in the five spot last night, with The Moistest Alou hitting cleanup behind Nomar, who batted third. In this configuration, they managed to hit six homers and demolish the Astros 9-2.

Now, if we can convince the guys that it's okay to go out and manufacture a run now and then, instead of thinking the only runs worth scoring are the ones that come from balls flying out of the park, we'll be okay.

The Filthy Hippy's convinced me to head down to Dragon Con for a day in a couple of weeks. He wanted to go for more days, but there are a couple of people at my job on vacation that week, and I couldn't snag those days. It's just as well, it's money I could save for something else instead of using it on hotel fare.

Warren Ellis (whose research blog, Die Puny Humans, is one of my daily reads) is going to be there. I'd like to meet him. And hug him. Although I'm not very good with standing in lines, so we'll see how that works out for me.

Harlan Ellison will be there, too. The couple of books I bought off Ebay were copies of The Glass Teat, and The Other Glass Teat. Commentaries on Television, in general, but also on the social and political environment of the time. He wrote these columns for the Los Angeles Free Press back in 1969 through 1972 (or so...I don't have the books in front of me). Good stuff. Lots of Anti-Nixon rhetoric. What struck me is how many of the complaints Ellison levels against Nixon's Silent Majority would probably apply to the current administration.

It works in cycles.

And also how much of the commentary against stupidity in TV (and movies and books) still applies.

Stupidity knows no cycles. It's constant.

Well. That's what I got. It ain't much, but it's what's in my brain. These words, and lots of little bugs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

My Sister's Car

My Sister's Car

My sister's car is the dirtiest car in the world. I don't know where the dirt ends and the car begins. The mess is on the inside and the out. I was afraid that I was going to get sucked into the trash, schoolwork and work materials, Luke Skywalker in the Death Star-style. I managed to tread the mess, kept my head above it, but the fact that, to her, those lines on the road are simply another person's opinion, made for the most harrowing car ride I've had in weeks.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004



First, I want to say Happy Birthday to my Dad, who's celebrating his today. I say that last part, because I often say "Happy Birthday" to my Dad, along with other sayings like "Where's the Beef?" and "Number Five is Alive!" So, I had to differentiate this "Happy Birthday" from the others. I did this with a headbutt.

I've been feeling a step behind most of the day. Didn't sleep well last night. Got up to use the john and ended up lying awake after returning to the bed. I haven't seen much of the Olympic games, but last night, I saw a bit of the Michael Phelps/Ian Thorpe/van den Hoogenbergensteenerphlargen swimming bout before I went to bed. What are they showing at 3 AM when I can't sleep? A replay of the very same race I saw before I went to bed.

It's kind of like the thing where you decide to watch one TV show, and catch an episode, and it really, really blows. Then, a few months later, you decide Hey! I'll give that Damon Wayans show one more shot. And damned if they aren't showing the exact same episode that turned you off in the first place.

Actually, it's that kind of thing that makes me believe in a higher power.

(I'm talking about Tony Danza).

Not much happening around my house today.

Went out last night and had nachos with Eric, from Straight White Guy, and Johnny, from Closet Extremist. Both nice fellers. We talked blogs, and works and we ate nachos. And we had one waitress rather huffily tell us that Happy Hour was over!

Got Princess Mononoke from Netflix today. It's a great movie, but I had to cut it down to a couple of segments. My brain has a hard time with long, animated movies, for some reason. And I'm not even saying that to be funny. They wear me out. I've read that your eye sometimes has a hard time establishing border lines and patterns with some animation, and your brain has to work harder to define the image in your mind. As bad as my eyes are, I'm guessing that's got something to do with it.

Today's tasty snack? Nectarines. Go out and eat a nectarine.

And tell your grocer that I told you to do it.

Just eat it in the store. And then sing "Happy Birthday."

While stripping your clothes off.

And when they try to lead you out of the store, engage in Three Stooges like eye gouges before doing a Curly "Nyahahahah", wiping your hands down your face repeatedly, and running away saying "woob woob woob." Because I said so. Because I like Curly the best.

Monday, August 16, 2004

A topic for discussion

A topic for discussion

I got to talking about this with somebody at work the other day.

Generally speaking, of books that have been turned into movies, still enjoy the books better than the movies.

But there are a couple of instances where I enjoyed the movies better than the books....

I'm not the biggest Forrest Gump fan in the world, but the movie flows narratively so much better than the Winston Groom novel it's based on. I didn't necessarily dislike the Groom novel. It's got elements of fantasy that put it more in line with the Big Fish line of stories that, for me, didn't work very well within the frame of the story. I thought that the movie Forrest Gump just flowed better, and in the movie, Forrest's bumps with history weren't as forced as they felt in the book.

Another, and I say this hunching my shoulders, is The Postman. I'm the only person in the world who liked Kevin Costner's movie about a post-apocalyptic area of American communities being pulled together by Kevin Costner's character impersonating a Postman. It's a cheesy movie, with great overacting by Will Patton.

But David Brin's original novel is just rough, rough Science Fiction. The book starts out the same way, but along the way the Postman has to fight a Super Computer, and the book deals, believe it or not, with the mundanites of being a Postman in a post-apocalyptic world.

Those were the big two that I could think of.

My co-worker's examples started with the Lord of the Rings movies. He likes the books, but felt like they got bogged down in its own mythology. He felt like Peter Jackson's movies humanized everything and made the characters more accessible. His is an argument I've heard before, and can appreciate. As it is, I think I like the movies and books right around equally.

His other example was Mystic River, which I could buy, as well. He just like Clint Eastwood's movie a lot more than he liked the book.

By and large, we both still liked the books better than the movies made out of them. But these were the exceptions we came up with in our short conversation.

Any other instances?

Last Day....

Last Day....

Alright all you last-second bidders, today's the day. I know you've been watching for a week, biding your time, waiting for the perfect moment.

Today's the Day.

You have approximately 12 hours, as of this writing, to go buy an authentic piece of Big Stupid Tommy Memorabilia! Right now, the bidding is at the affordable, affordable price of $3.25

Jump on this investment opportunity! What if I become famous? I could write a book! What if I become infamous? I could throw up on the President!

Then, you'd have a piece of memorabilia from Way Back When Tommy hadn't yet thrown up on the President!

Yeah. And you could re-sell it for beaucoup dollars (shekels).

If you were to ask me what to do, I'd say "Bid Now, Bill Gates."

And I'd hope to God that you were Bill Gates, and could bid $1,000,000. Of course, he'd have to get into a bidding war with somebody else who wanted to bid that high. Perhaps Allen Iverson.

Allen Iverson and Bill Gates should get into a bidding war over my napkin today. Allen, since playing basketball for the USA isn't a priority, will have plenty of spare time today to bid. And Bill Gates will get his Loyal Crimson Guard to do his bidding, which today would include bidding on Ebay, on a napkin used by me.

But don't let all this Bill Gates talk discourage you. He's a very busy man. And all Allen Iverson knows is thugaball, not Ebay.

So you get in there and bid, too, Julia Roberts and Will Smith.

Bid now!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Today's Funny

Today's Funny

This joke was told to a group of people at work, and of all the listeners, I was the only that laughed:

A lady, she's been pregnant for nine months, and she goes to the hospital to have the baby.

Afterwards, the doctor comes in, and says "I've got good news, and bad news."

"Give me the good news first," the lady says.

"Well, you've given birth to an 8 & 1/2 pound eyeball."

"An eyeball?"

"Just an eyeball."

The lady is dumbfounded. She's speechless, until she asks:

"If that's the good news, what's the bad news?"

"Well ma'am...it's blind..."

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Hurricanes, and whatnot

Hurricanes, and whatnot

Good post-hurricane reading? Stormy Weather by Carl Hiassen.

The comedian James Gregory has a bit about how his favorite weather disaster is the hurricane, because it tends to institute natural selection in a way a lot of this world doesn't allow anymore.

I couldn't agree more.

James points out the video you inevitably get of Jimmy Joe and Earline in their trailer park located about 450 feet off the coast in Florida, or the Gulf Coast, or South Carolina.

You've seen these people. These two fine folks have watched on their cable television the class 5 hurricane mosey across the Atlantic, watched it grow into a once-a-century monster before their eyes, watched it wipe Haiti and the Dominican Republic off the map, watched it decimate Cuba, and now see the 500 mile wide finger of God making a mad dash for their trailer.

And these two folks have decided that all they'll need here in America is a quick run to Home Depot for a couple of planks of plywood, and three days' supply of water, beer and smokes. That will be all they need to ride this monster out, so that they can keep their collection of beanie babies safe from looters.

I don't know. I've been on a little bit of an ill temper lately. I'm sorry as hell to hear about fatalities and all that. But if you stay in a trailer with 140 mile an hour winds bearing down on you, you deserve everything that you get. There are shelters, at least, better shelters than rusty aluminum walls up on cinder blocks.

I hear about that kind of weather, and I live in a solid home, I say "screw it," and move on. Joe Rogan couldn't pay me any amount of money to stay in a mobile home if a storm bad enough to be named is bearing down anywhere close to my position.

Ah well. Just think of it as God's way of saying "You! Out of the gene pool!"

Changing the subject slightly, the next couple of named storms will be (or are, were they named?) Danielle and Earl.

I smiled when I heard Earl. It's my middle name.

But still, I don't like the name system. I like the ideas I've heard about giving hurricanes horrible, fear inspiring names. Hurricane Attila, I've heard. That would be cool.

My hurricane name list, because I'm bored?

Based almost entirely on words that I think would sound cool after the word "Hurricane."

  1. Akhnaten
  2. Bocephus
  3. Chewbacca
  4. Dagnabbit
  5. Eegah
  6. Frodo
  7. Gordon Sumner
  8. Halytosis
  9. Indianapolis
  10. Jimmy Joe
  11. Khan
  12. LaRussa
  13. My Sharona
  14. Nana Nana Boo Boo
  15. Oscar the Grouch
  16. Patton
  17. Queer Eye
  18. Rastus
  19. Sugarplum Cookie
  20. Tumnus, the Fawn
  21. Unitas
  22. Vichy France
  23. Wonder Woman
  24. X-Treme
  25. Yellow Belly
  26. Zardoz

And, if I made the rules, you wouldn't start over at A each year. Each tropical depression would have a number, corresponding to the year. But for news services, we'd keep up with a list like this.

Just because I'd like to hear Tom Brokaw say "Hurricane Unitas," or "Hurricane X-Treme."

And, I think it would be a little more awe inspiring to hear that Khan destroyed Myrtle Beach.

Plus, if Vichy France destroyed Daytona, wouldn't that be sufficient provocation for us to invade?

Just thinking out loud.

(Because I'm afraid if I left these thoughts to fester, I'd get cancer of the mind.)

Friday, August 13, 2004

Your Friday Auction Update

Your Friday Auction Update

Took a look at the auction this morning, you know, the one where I mocked the Alan Keyes sweaty napkin auction by selling a napkin of my own. Bidding is currently at the economical price of $3.25.

Current high bidder is Bill McCabe.

Bidding ends Monday, so you've got the weekend to get in on the ground floor on this Big Stupid Tommy investment opportunity.

How many sheets are in a paper towel roll? I was wondering this last night. 200? 500? Maybe I could make a business. Heh.

Ah well. The bidding ends Monday night. Y'all go check it out.

Thursday, August 12, 2004



Found this link on Mark Evanier's site:

Several comics interview Richard Pryor.

A couple of interesting notes:

On his own use of the word "nigger," and use of it by comedians today:

I did and do use it at times. The way most comics use it is for shock and all it does is disappoint. The only comic I hear use it to fit a routine is [US comic] Dave Chappelle. He can do it.

And on stand up comics, today:

Only a few comics are being really honest and daring, and not just going for the okee-doke. I love Chris Rock, and Chappelle. Colin Quinn is dangerous. There are some I see that will grow or not. I don't know all their names.
It's a cool read. Check it out.

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday

Theater Thursday, because auctions are cool, and you should bid on them.

Week 13 - What's Old is New Again

Remakes - we see them more and more frequently. Taking an old movie and completely reshooting it with a new cast, new effects, new styles and even new genres can be a hit or miss proposition. This summer we've seen several remakes already, from The Stepword Wives (original and remake) to The Manchurian Candidate (original and remake), plus there's even an Alfie remake in production (original and remake).

1) What is your favorite remake of an older film? Did it actually improve on the original?

I really like both versions of Ocean's Eleven. I don't know that the Soderbergh remake improved on the Rat Pack version, I think each has its own vibe, and I enjoy each pretty much equally.

2) What remake was handled so poorly even if the original was not great it would've seemed Oscar-worthy?

I really, really hated Tim Burton's Planet of the Apes remake. I'm not head over heels about the originals, but at least they don't over-reach their grasp. I don't know how a movie can try to do too much at the same time, yet be so uninspired. It was disappointing, as well, because Burton's movies are generally so stylistic (sometimes they lack substance, but the style usually balances that deficiency out for me)....but his Planet of the Apes was so, I dunno. Mediocre? I watched that, and it seemed like everyone there was just cashing their checks.

Also, the remake of Miracle on 34th Street that came out a while back? That was pretty bad, but only because it sought to update one of the greatest Christmas movies ever.

3) Are there any classic films you feel would cause the fabric of space/time to rip apart were a remake made of it?

I remember reading rumors that they're looking to make an updated The Day the Earth Stood Still, under the same title and everything. That would bother me very much.
Luckily, I haven't heard much on that front lately, so maybe they've dropped the issue.

BONUS) What film would you most like to see remade, and what would be your dream cast?

Eh. Can't think of any. I'm the dumbest man in America this morning. The other morning, I put my finger on the coffee pot's hotplate. That sucked.

Post your answers or a link to your site in the comments.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004



Not a lot of posting going on this week. Been busy with a couple of other things, and also keeping track of the napkin auction...Len Cleavelin quite correctly points out that this could also be considered an investment opportunity. Get yours now!!!!! Before I become famous! Or INfamous!

And then where will you be? Texas?!?!!?

Current bid? 3 American Dollars.

In other news? This has been the busiest day, hit-wise, this blog's ever seen. Owing to the napkin auction, I believe. I'm not completely sure. I got a lot of hits from The National Journal...from one of the pay subscriber areas. So I don't know what's being said. I just know that I've gotten more hits today by a third than I've ever gotten on any other day. So, thanks to the National Journal, I reckon.

A couple of thoughts:

There is a man I've seen several times now in the last week, who rides around my little town here in Tennessee on a bicycle. And he looks like Willie Nelson. The Red Headed Stranger his own self riding around Athens on a bicycle. He even uses his hand signals. Of course, he uses the wrong hand when signalling, so it's confusing if he means he's going to turn right or left when he holds his right hand pointed up to the sky.

But it doesn't change the fact that he looks like Willie Nelson. Only, he doesn't have that stringy drifter's build. This guy's got some farm muscle on him.

Speaking of bicycles...I'm really tired of bicycles on my country roads. I live on a twisty, winding stretch of road, and I can't count the number of bicyclists I've run over just because I can't see their profile around the bend when I come barrelling around the curve.

It seems that we haven't been trying hard enough to get the message across!

The road belongs to everybody.

Everybody who drives a car.

The road belongs to cars, not people in tight clothes riding their toys around on the country roads.

Anyway. Go check out the auction. We think Ebay may have yanked the original Alan Keyes sweaty napkin auction, for unknown reasons, although a couple of people said it was up again as early as today, with a buy now price up near a grand. Who knows? I personally think you should buy my napkin. But I'm biased.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Auction Update

Auction Update

I just went to check the Alan Keyes sweaty napkin auction, and got an Ebay message the the napkin auction was no longer a valid action. Crap. I wanted to see how high it would go. I checked before dinner, and it was up to around $540 or so.

I hope it's not gone for good. It kind of takes a bit of the steam out of my auction, which was getting mad hits from people searching on Ebay for Alan Keyes Napkin. In fact, my auction came up before the actual Alan Keyes napkin auction.

Anyway. If you're interested in an actual piece of Big Stupid Tommy historical memorabilia: You can bid here, still. As of this writing, the bidding's up to a whopping $2.25.

Monday, August 09, 2004

EBay Auction

Ebay Auction,

Given the insanity surrounding the napkin used by Alan Keyes being put on Ebay, I've decided to jump in on some of that action.

I'm not famous. I'm not a politician. I've never given a bombastic speech accepting nomination for office.

But I do use napkins.

It can be yours! Buy my napkin, folks!

Tuesday A.M. Update: Bidding is up to $.60!!!!!!!!!!

(Meanwhile, the Alan Keyes napkin is reaching upwards of $465.)

And, I should note that I found out about the Alan Keyes napkin from Bill McCabe....

Sunday, August 08, 2004

More Minor League Baseball

More Minor League Baseball

Another Minor League Baseball picture, this one from my folks, who went to South Carolina this past weekend, and saw a game at Coastal Federal Field, the home of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, an A-Ball affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.

(this is about the only one without a creepy little girl sitting three rows in front of them turned around and looking directly into the camera lens....)

35 Questions

35 Questions

Because I don't want to mow the yard:

35 Questions
Everything you never cared to know about me one way or the other:




The Glass Teat by Harlan Ellison and
A Death in the Family by James Agee.


It's red.


Trivial Pursuit. Scattergories isn't really a board game, but I like it, too.


I don't read many magazines anymore. Though I do enjoy thumbing through the Sporting News that somebody's been leaving in the breakroom at work, and also I like thumbing through the Weekly World News at the grocery checkout.


You know, I don't know that I have one I list as my favorite. I can name several that I don't like.






2, when the answering machine works.


Probably the DVD player. Or the books.


Butter Pecan.


Yeah. Not to ridiculous amounts, unless you count the area here in town where the speed limit on a five lane highway is 35 miles an hour. That's just retarded. Why doesn't the Athens PD just come shake me down once a month?


No, the dog usually just snacks. He doesn't stuff himself until suppertime.




I'm a beer guy.


Feb 20.




TV Announcer for the Cubs. I couldn't do any worse than Chipster.


Judging by the hair color aisle, I think I can. Truly, this is a wondrous time we live in.




Star Wars, Young Frankenstein and the Shawshank Redemption


The left ones, too.


His name is Klomarr, and he likes puddings.


Today, I'm partial to 17.




I'll be sitting on the potty, and a snake will come out the pipes and bite me on my junk. There was an episode of Highway to Heaven were nobody believed this old woman that there was a snake in the toilet. And the guy in the A's hat found it and made everybody believe.


Of All Time? Either Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison concert, or Dead Letter Office, by R.E.M., with honorable mention going to George Carlin's What Am I Doing in New Jersey?

I picked up a Stephen Lynch album a couple of weeks ago (complete with Jay Mohr's Christopher Walken asking for more cowbell). I've been listening to it.


I guess The Simpsons is my favorite of all time, with the Andy Griffith Show and MASH coming in high on the list, as well.

As much as I love The Simpsons, Arrested Development is the only show from this past season that I set aside time to watch.


Burger. Burger. Burger. Burger. (burger)


Wrigley Field's cool. I liked Monticello a lot. My sister's weird hippy house is cool, if not for the hippies.


As the wallpaper, I've got a picture from game 1 of last season's playoff series between the Cubs and Braves, of the two teams lined up on the basepaths for the introductions.

The screen saver is the starfield.


I don't get the fries.


Sonic. It's America's Drive-In. Or Outback Steakhouse


I am under contract agreement to name my first boy child Hardee's Six Dollar Burger.


Nose Harp.

Today's Funny

Today's Funny

I haven't posted a joke in a while:

A midget with a speech impediment or two was obsessed with horses. He decided to go out and buy another one for himself. He went to a breeder and asked to see the finest horse.

When he got to the barn with the other man he said, "Lifth me up so I can thee her eyesth pleasth" So the man lifts him up and lets the man look at the horses eyes, followed by its teeth.

"Very Nithe, can you hold me up to thee its mane?"

The man, a little aggravated picks him up so he can see the mane. After running his fingers through the hair, he asks to be put down.

Finally, the midget says "Can I thee the horse twat pleathe?"

So the other man is pissed, grabs the midget and shoves its face into the horse's nether-regions, and rubs it in.

The midget, completely stunned, backs away and says, "Ok, let me rephrase that, can I thee the horse gallop?"

Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux

Congrats to Greg Maddux, who recorded win number 300 today, as the Cubs downed Barry Bonds and the Giants in San Francisco. I know it's small potatoes in terms of accolades coming from a blog with a readership in the dozens (on a good day). But I wanted to say congrats to Mad Dog. It's an accomplishment that only a handful of players had done prior to this, and one that I don't think we'll see a whole lot more (owing to fewer starts for pitchers in a season, and less incentive to play long careers).

To me, it's a momentous thing, having a pitcher win 300 games.

You wouldn't know it by the way Fox treated it.

I haven't looked at the Fox coverage distribution. Were the Cubs and Giants the National game today? Chattanooga carries the Braves if they play a Saturday afternoon game. And as tantalizing a contest the Braves vs. a last place team is, I really wanted to watch a milestone game this afternoon. I'd wager the Cubs/Giants did get good distribution, and that living near Chattaboogie I got screwed.

But when did Fox break into the Braves to show Cubs highlights? Any time Barry "My hat size is 9 1/8" Bonds came up to bat. Yeah. They think Maddux winning 300's real big.

But I digress.

Mr. Maddux has put together a helluva career. Easily one of the best to pitch in my generation. So, I'm happy that he hit the milestone. Even happier that he did it in a Cub uniform. Good job, Greg.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

The Future

The Future

I'm not going to do well with future technologies. This I know.


I can't even quite master the simple modern ones.


You know how some foods come in plastic bags with the zip-lock closing device built into the package? Shredded cheeses come with it nowadays, to keep the cheese fresh and non-moldy once it's been opened. Some lunchmeats have the zipper. As do pre-made salads and gummi bears.

I can't think of one occasion where I've actually been able to get the package open when I've first bought the stuff without destroying the bag, rendering the zipper useless and spilling most of the contents of the stuff onto the floor in the process.

I jest.

Of course I'll do alright in the future.

I just adjust.

I'm usually able to find a way to re-close the bag without ruining what's inside. Sometimes, I'm actually able to use the zip-lock device.

And if I can't, I'll dump the contents of that package into a container in the fridge. It's usually a large bowl. And it contains the contents of other packages that I was unable to successfully open without throwing the contents all over the kitchen.

So, at any given time, that bowl might contain cheese, or meat, or gummi bears, or cream cheese, or mustard, or beets, or salad, or anything that once came in a bag that I ruined.

And we eat the contents of that large bowl on Sunday. It's called BSTommy's Finger Lickin' Gobbledygood Stew.

One day, it will make me a millionaire. I am sure of it.

Friday, August 06, 2004

High Comedy

High Comedy

High comedy is watching one cat getting a drink out of a small pond, getting scared by the dog, and in his moment of fright, jumping up into the air and coming down in the pond.

The best part was how quickly he got out of the pond, ran around the yard, and then sat, sopping wet, next to a tree with the shocked look on his face that said "What the HELL just happened?"

In Which the Tables Turn

In Which the Tables Turn

I saw the principal from my elementary school yesterday. Just out in town. I hadn't seen him in several years.

It's weird for me seeing these people that I remember from a different vantage point. See, when I thought of this former principal of mine, I thought of him using my mind's eye's last reference point...when I was was much younger, and much shorter. To my mind's eye, which measured in at five feet tall, at the most, this principal was a giant. Huge.

Yesterday, he was much, much shorter than I'd realized. Age is part of it, but age won't shrink a man from the 8 feet or so tall I'd thought he was down to a mere 5'11" or so.

I was pleased with that, for some reason. That I towered over this person who used to strike fear into the hearts of so many kids. (Yes, I take pleasure in accomplishing nothing more than growing to 6'4".)

Rumor was, back in the day, that this particular principal had an electric paddle to do his disciplinary dirty work. I spent many a spare moment in grade school imagining how such a contraption would be constructed. It got to the point that I was tempted to get into trouble, just so that I might get a glimpse of such a wondrous thing.

What did I do to get sent to the principal's office?

I dunno. This kid Mitchell started it. I merely finished things. Actually, it was pretty much the only fight I've ever been part of in my life, and it was just a couple of fifth graders rolling around in the dirt.

Actually, I didn't get sent to the principal's office. I got yelled at in the hallway by the principal and my teacher at the time. And yelled at, and yelled at. To be honest, being the quiet, non-troublesome child I was, it was enough to strike insane terror into my heart.

Over time, I realized the error of my ways. I didn't push things enough. I forgot my goals. I never got to see the electric paddle machine.

I've come to blame the principal for my not getting to realize that dream.

Since then, I've spent better than $9 million (American) in the past 15 years trying to devise a workable and saleable paddling machine. It's only been in the last 15 months that I've devised a prototype design that I feel is feasible for mass production. Sadly, it's ended up being for naught. My corporate backing has fallen away.

Seems people think there's not a market for what I'm selling. I was told: "We don't want to hurt the kids." Also: "There are other ways to discipline students."

Seems to me, a buttwhuppin' machine's the millionaire maker. Everybody needs what I'm selling, so far as I can see.

I've been down about this for a while. I mean, I've been feeling like I've wasted countless years developing my machine. That's time I'd never get back. All that money. All the lives of those migrant workers lost in the construction and testing of the device. All for naught.

But I reached a level of gratification yesterday I'd not thought possible.

I started talking to the principal. I struck up a conversation. I don't think he knew exactly who I was. Out of all the students over the many, many years he'd been educating, I was little more than a vaguely familiar face.

I used it to my advantage. Yesterday, friends, I was more wiley than I'd ever been in my life. I used lies. I used sweet talk. I used the most subtle forms of subterfuge ever imagined. Promises of Fried Chicken and Pro Wrasslin' tapes were the trick. I was able to lure my former principal to my lair laboratory.

We ate chicken (Fried Chicken) and watched Wrasslin' Tapes (Clash of Champions VI) and we talked of many things. By and by, conversation turned to that little combative incident I mentioned earlier.

It was then that the Principal realized just who the hell I was.

"You're the weird kid who got the crap beaten out of him by Mitchell!"

"I didn't get beat up!"

"Yeah, you did. Really bad. I mean, we didn't even punish you because you were whupped so bad. That drove you nuts!"

"Huh?" I said, witty to the last.

"You started bawling! You wanted to go to my office so bad! I didn't understand. You lost the fight. I didn't see the point in punishing you!"

Because I suck at both timing and segue, I then turned on the spotlights to the small stage I had set up.

"Gentlemen!" I said, "Behold! The Paddling Machine!"

"Huh?" he said. The best lines always work.

I threw on my cape and Phantom of the Opera mask and laughed my best maniacal laugh.

"I've surpassed you! I've created a bigger, better paddling machine."

He could only ogle.

"When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the Master!"

Finally, he stammered: "Is that an electric paddling machine?"

"It runs on diesel," I said. "I've spent countless years, a small fortune creating this device! This machine (The Whupinizer) is my life's work! The time for my revenge is at hand!"

"Revenge?" He's a quick one.

"Yeah. You thought you were the only one with a paddling machine! You wanted so much to keep it to yourself, that you wouldn't even stoop to punish me with it!"

"I never had an electric paddling machine," he said.

"Huh?" (Best lines again.)

"That...that was just some stupid story you kids always told. I mean, you kids just ran with it. We even had to send out a note to parents. No paddling machine."

I was floored.

"Do you mean to tell me," the Principal continued, "that you've been working to make your own? For all these years?"

"Well, I did a little reading, and I..."

"You're crazy!"

Why do they always say that?

Then it dawned on me.

Deny, Deny, Deny!

They always deny. Plausible deniability. He's protecting his profession's secrets. Lies. Subterfuge. Obfuscation.

"Don't lie to me!" I yelled.

"I'm not lying, Tommy. There's no such thing!"

He was trying to inveigle me. "Don't try to inveigle me," I said.

"I'm not try....."

I pulled out my sock full of nickels, and ended the conversation.

Oh yeah. He's not awake yet. When he does, we'll throw him in the Whupinzer, strap him in, set the torque, hem up the dooleyflange and turn on the clock!

It is then, after I've gone to the truck stop to buy a couple of gallons of diesel, and gone to buy some safety goggles (because of the sparks) that I will be infinitely curious as to his thoughts on my electric diesel-powered paddling machine.

My name is Big Stupid Tommy, and this has been the dumbest post ever.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Eric's Spooky Night

Eric's Spooky Night

Eric had a wild night over at the Straight White House. The motion detector part of the story kind of creeps me out a little bit.

The Greatest

The Greatest

A while back, Mike Toole went to a Newark Bears game, and had himself a Rickey Henderson sighting.

Upon seeing my excitement at such a thing, he sent a couple of pictures.

He shared with me, I share with you:

Here, he's picking up a ball. When I first looked at the picture, it looked like he was bending to pet a cat, or a kitten. Which, of course, is right in line with my mental concept of "The Greatest."

Thought of the Day

Thought of the Day

With apologies to Len Cleavelin and all the other regular thought posters:

You can sympathize, accordingly, with my upset at the major networks' fear & trembling as regards what they show the little no-neck monsters every Saturday ay-em. Last season, there was such a hue and cry raised by paranoid parents (who can't cop to being responsible for their kids' traumas, so have to blame it on everything from Hong Kong Flu to masturbation, with comic books and TV getting a big blast) that kiddie-shows--notably the animateds--were warping their urchins' minds, that radical changes were proposed in Saturday morning programming....

Refuting...the running-scared set is no problem. Arrayed in the Wertham philosophy that TV (and comic book) violence cause children to use meat cleavers on their mummies are hundreds of psychologists and psychiatrists who contend that filmed horror and terror are good for kids, that they offer a purgative, a release for adolescent tensions and hostilities.

On a personal level, I can vouch for the accuracy of that theory. Every guy who I know who grooved behind horror movies and comic books when he was a tot is today a productive, beautiful person, with imagination and a sense of wonder. The few I know who were only allowed to read Albert Payson Terhune and see movies were the virtues of God and Dogs were extolled are square, hidebound, bigoted, short-sighted schlepps who sport SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL COSSACK bumper stickers.
--Harlan Ellison, in the December 28, 1968, television commentary column The Glass Teat. (I finally picked up a copy off of Ebay...it's good reading).

Monday, August 02, 2004

Because I Don't Get Headlines Like This in My Hometown

Because I Don't Get Headlines Like This in My Hometown

On My Yahoo page, I subscribe to the Ahmedabad, India Local News. Mostly for the headlines. See, in my hometown, we just don't have the same problems that the fine folks in Ahmedabad have.

I found this story: Villagers beat leopard to death.

It's your typical "girl left alone/leopard steals and eats girl/villagers whup on and execute leopard" story. It's appalling. Not even a fair trial. I wonder if they even read him his rights. God Bless America.


This headline is normal enough, if a little gruesome: Three Killed, 10 Injured in Road Accident.

It seems normal enough, but I'm gonna post the lead paragraph:

Ahmedabad, July 29 (IANS) Three people were killed and 10 injured Thursday when a jeep they were travelling in fell in a pit near Surat, police said.

There are two things that caught my eye. First, that's entirely too many people to be riding in a jeep. Thirteen people in a jeep? At minimum, because it's possible that there were other people riding in the jeep who were uninjured. Yeah. That's too many people for a jeep. There aren't enough seatbelts. Unless it's one of those Super Mega Jeeps that I've been making up in my head, for use in my battles against Destro and Cobra Commander, at which time this story frightens me to no end, because those Asians have been stealing thoughts from my brain.

The other thing, however, is that these people were driving along, and the jeep they were travelling in just fell into a pit.

They fell into a pit! See, when I hear the word pit, I don't think ditch, or hole. I think of a pit being at minimum 40 feet, with the potential of being bottomless.

For the record, these people were driving, and they drove into a pit. A pit near Surat. Just driving along, and whoops! they just fell into a pit. I've just got this image of a jeep filled to the brim with 13 people, driving merrily along, and just driving and falling into a pit without slowing down. God Bless America. I've never fallen into a pit while driving in America. Well, there was that one time. In my jeep. Near Surat, Alabama.

And then, there's this:

One more Godhra accused arrested

At first, I thought Jeebus! We've got problems with terrorists, but over in Ahmedabad, they're fighting Godzilla monsters! I mean, it's one thing to know that people are plotting against our financial centers. But how would you feel if there was a giant winged lizard bug that might smash your house because it's cranky out there roaming the country side? God Bless America.

The actual story's not that funny. Everywhere you look, it's an us vs. them fight., and Ahmedabad's smack in the middle of that Hindu vs. Muslim sectarian violence.

As if leopards and jeep-eating pits weren't big enough problems.

On second thought, I think having a huge monster roaming the countryside would be less stressful. At least you can see the monster then.

Sunday, August 01, 2004

The Village

The Village

I did my chores today. Mowed. Took the garbage to the dump. Cleaned. Did laundry. I decided to go watch a movie.

I went to see the Village.

I was a little wary. I'd read a couple of good reviews. And a couple of bad reviews. And then there was Roger Ebert, who seemed more angry in his review of the flick than anything.

(It's been brought to my attention that despite my claim in the next paragraph, I do reveal a little much in my review. Re-reading, I think the last paragraph of this post might be what the e-mailer was referring to...I don't think it spoils anything, but if someone else thought so, you might too. Read at your own risk.)

I won't spoil the movie. I will tell you that it's not the great movie a couple of reviews have made it out to be, nor is it the condescending piece of tripe that Eebs has made it out to be (I think Eebs was more put out at being asked not to reveal plot points, at having his professionality called into question).

Do you want to know what The Village reminds me most of?

Remember the documentary American Movie, about Mark Borchardt's tribulations in putting together his black and white short entitled Coven?

The Village reminds me very much of that short movie. For a couple or three reasons.

First, it's the trees. All the shots of trees. For some reason, the biggest thing I remember about Coven is the numerous shots of a forest of trees, stripped naked of their leaves by winter. You have these empty, bony finger-limbs scratching at the white backdrop of a wintery sky. And you get a lot of that in The Village. In Coven, it's used to set tone. In The Village, the forest surrounding the titular village is as big a character in the movie as any of the humans. It obscures shots when looking in at the village, it looms in the background looking out. It claws at the humans when they get near it.

The second thing that reminded me of Coven was the choppy, abrupt nature of many of the cuts. The Village tries very hard to keep the viewer off balance with these abrupt cuts. It works to an extent, but would work better if the people in the titular (I like that word) village didn't live in such a pastoral setting. It's a slower, idyllic setting. I don't think the jump cuts were as effective given the setting. It didn't leave me on the edge of my seat. After a while, it left me a little annoyed.

The third thing that made me kept thinking about Coven when I watched The Village was a little more elusive to me. Through most of the movie, I couldn't put my finger on it. And it wasn't until the end of the movie, when director Shyamalan makes his brief cameo (I hope that hasn't ruined much for anybody....) that I finally figured out what it is.

If you've seen American Movie, and as you get to know Mark Borchardt, you see that as he's put himself into debt and alienated friends and family in the course of putting together Coven, you see a guy who's hungry, who's got ideas, who's got a passion. But upon seeing the final product in conjunction with seeing the American Movie documentary, you see a guy whose hunger and dedication in putting together those ideas tend to blind him a little bit. One of the things that strikes you about Borchardt is that a few times, this bright, enthusiastic moviemaker can't see the forest for all the trees.

I watched The Village, and I thought M. Night Shyamalan's eyes maybe got a little too big for his stomach, if I can move a metaphor over. I saw a moviemaker who started out with good intentions, and a different (for this day and age, if not entirely original in the scope of Hollywood and storytelling's history) idea. But in the middle of developing this idea, the hunger got the better of Shyamalan. The underlying reasons behind Shyamalan's hunger aren't necessarily the same as Borchardt's, but the resulting problems are the same.

I'm speculating that fame may have gotten the better of M. Night. I speculate that in an attempt to make a movie that had some of the shock of the Sixth Sense or Unbreakable, as well as some of the allegory of Signs. Basically, he became a victim of his own success, and wanted to live up to his reputation. And, in doing so, he made the project a little too large. Instead of being able to paint on the canvass with a fine point brush, he had to use a roller.

In the attempt to make surprising allegory, M. Night got a little ham-handed, and didn't finish the job completely. The elements of the macrocosm are forced into the microcosm of the The Village, and aren't disguised terribly well. The movie's twist also suffers a bit for the same reasons. Shyamalan simply tried to do too much with both aspects of his story.

I say that to say this:

I don't think The Village is a bad movie. It's not a great movie. It's flawed.

I didn't feel like I wasted my money watching it. It's a little overworked, but it's not a bad flick. On the whole, I left with something of a positive feeling about the whole deal.

As for the "blatantly transparent parallels", as they've been called, there are a couple of things to be said. The Village is something of an allegory. Shyamalan tries to establish between our world and the world of The Village. I think the biggest problem with the movie is that the project is not as finely done as I would have preferred. Add to that, I think Shyamalan actually suffers a bit due to the current political environment.

I want to say this: I don't think M. Night was commenting with his story on this current political environment on the whole. Maybe he does a little. The naming is unfortunate, and if intentional, boneheaded and detrimental. Butterfly and flowers optimist that I am, I'm choosing to think he was commenting on the politics of government in general.

And I say that, to say this: I don't know that the commentary on government in The Village would go over particularly well in any time period, or under any administration. It would have its detractors in any era. But given the Us vs. Them nature of our current political environment, where you're either wit' us or agin' us, and there is no middle ground, I think The Village suffers because for it.

I would be and am curious as to how this movie will be viewed five, or ten or twenty years from now. I think the similarities between the current administration that people (Ebert) are so quick to huff and puff about being so glaringly easy to spot, will still be easy to spot. Because the names change in government, and some of the faces, but the goals of government will still be the same.

As for the rest of the movie, I think Bryce Howard turned in an excellent, excellent performance as Ivy, the blind girl around whom the movie revolves. In her quiet way, she was able to control every scene she's in.

Adrien Brody, who takes some of the most interesting roles out there, especially given the Oscar win, plays Noah, the town idiot carefully and quite well. He doesn't take a lot of the leading man roles you'd think a Best Actor might turn to. His is a minor, but pivotal role that would have been easy to take over the top and ruin. Mr. Brody should be commended.

And Joaquin Phoenix manages to appear to do more than simply read his lines.

Do I recommend that you go see The Village?

I think that if you go in with an open mind, trying not to unnecessarily be the cynical, jaded nitpicker that we all seem to have become, so that we can appear to be the smartest kid in the class, you'll get more out of the picture than you'd think. But then, I kinda think that about most things, nowadays.

Is it M. Night Shyamalan's best? No. Far from it. It's not the monster movie that you kind of infer it's going to be from the excellent trailer, and it doesn't have the excellent twists of Shyamalan's previous three ventures. But I think what he's put on now is a lot better than 3/4 of the rest of the junk that Hollywood's been putting out lately.