Saturday, April 30, 2011

A-Z Blogging Challenge - The Letter Z - Zarathos

The first supernatural Ghost Rider is stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, who, in order to save the life of his mentor, agreed to give his soul to "Satan" (later revealed to be an arch-demon named Mephisto). Instead, his soul bonded with the entity called Zarathos. When utilizing Zarathos' powers Blaze's flesh is consumed by hellfire, causing his head to become a flaming skull. He rides a fiery motorcycle and wields trademark blasts of hellfire from his skeletal hands. He starred in the series from 1972-1983. - Wikipedia

Now that the April A-Z Blogging Challenge is over I would like to thank all of you who took a chance and checked out my blog. I have increased my own number of interesting people to follow, many who are published authors. I hope you found some entertainment when you came here and I hope you stick around for a long time after this blogging challenge is done.

Hanna (2011)

When we first meet Hannah (Saoirse Ronan - 'Lovely Bones') she is hunting deer in Siberia with only a bow an arrow. While cleaning her kill she is confronted by a man who engages her in hand to hand combat. He defeats her but just barely. Soon we learn that their relationship is not a normal one between this man and this young girl. They act like father and daughter but all their interactions are about preparation for some think that will happen in the future.

The young girl's life has been spent in training - use of weapons, languages, history and memorized locations have filled her days. On one such day, she tells her father/trainer (Eric Bana) that she is 'ready'. Ready for what we don't know.

The father digs a radio receiver out of the snow and tells Hanna that when she pushes the red button, then people will know where she is and will come for her. Only she will know when that time in right. Of course she pushes the button and hear begins our story.

Her father leaves her because he knows that people who will come looking for Hanna will not allow him to remain alive. He, however is not leaving her to die. He has trained her and given her the skills that will increase her chances to survive what ever happens next.

Enter Cate Blanchett as Marissa, a former 'handler' of the father who we learn was a spy for some shadowy government agency like the CIA. She recognizes the frequency the father allowed to be sent and is intrigue to see what her former 'asset' is up to now. She has no idea there will only be a young girl when her team of agents make their way to Hanna's Siberian home.

Blanchett is intrigued by the young girl and brings her in for psychological study. All Hanna wants to do is speak to Marissa, her father's old boss. When they try to trick Hanna, we find out just how dangerous a person she is as she kills several people to facilitate her escape from the complex in which she is being held.

The soundtrack to the film is fantastic. The club beats and rhythms perfectly mesh with those moments of escape through the unfamiliar environments Anna soon finds herself confronted with. They are as disjointed as Hanna's thought processes must have been as she constantly re-evaluate her plan at ever turn.

We know that whoever Marissa is, she is not a nice person and had something to do with the death of who I assumed to be Hanna's mother. Now she is mobilizing all her resources just to find one teen girl and the father whom she deems a national security risk.

There are some scenes of humor when 'fish out of water' Hanna joins a vacationing family and experiences some trappings of a normal teenage life. But she cannot stop to smell the roses for too long - she is still a fugitive after all and there are questions that she needs the answers too.

This was an exciting movie with a fascinating concept. I got attached to the main character who I both admired and felt sorry for. The secrets about Hanna's past are interesting and all the performances are top notch.

I couldn't help thinking as I was watching that this movie would make an excellent TV series as Hanna must constantly be on the run from the shadowy organization out to reclaim her. But I would need the series to be set in Europe like this movie was.


Girls We Love Here At The Cave Of Cool - Chloe Moretz

Chloe is one of my favorite young actresses working today. From 'Kick Ass' to 'Let Me In' and her funny turn and Jack's nemesis on '30 Rock', she has shown a range of abilities not often seen in actors twice her age.

Coach's Corner

If you are even a regular viewer of 'Hockey Night In Canada' then you know who these two people are. During the first period of Saturday night hockey games sportscaster Ron McClain (the guy in the nice suit who is also a local boy from my home town) and Don Cherry (who was both a hockey player and a coach) discuss the finer points of the current game.

Don Cherry is know for his bombastic nature and support for hitting and fighting in the NHL. He loves nothing more than to see one player smash an opposing team's player into the side boards. He also loves it when two player drop their gloves and pound each other while trying to stay balanced on their skates.

Cherry is unapologetic about his support for violence in hockey. As a player, he had the reputation for being tough and spending lots of time in the penalty box. He even puts out the 'Rock 'Em Sock 'Em' DVDS that highlight the best checks and hockey fights in any given season.

He speaks loudly and proudly about the players he admires because of their toughness and 'old time hockey' style of play. He has no patience for European players who, in his opinion, are wimps for not getting into fights and for not dishing out punishment to their opponents.

McClain plays the straight man who both asks Cherry questions and makes jokes at Cherry's expense - with the jokes usually flying right over Cherry's head. It's great entertainment from two guys that bring out the best in each other. McClain is arguably the smartest man in sports broadcasting. He knows exactly what to say to the goon sitting beside him and that is what makes 'Coach's Corner' so interesting to watch.

The most fun aspect of Don Cherry's personality, however, has to be his selection of clothing to wear on TV. The loud sports coats, the high collars and mis-matched ties are his trademark. He is larger than life so it's important to him that his cloths are larger than life too.

We Canadians are a quiet, polite people but for some reason we love Don Cherry's 'in your face' style of sportscasting. He just tells it like it is and has the knowledge and authority to backup what he is saying. He may be the only guy in the world that can pull off his 'looks' and not have them distract from his message. If anything his loud clothing only enhance his message.

Check out one of the episodes of 'Coaches Corner'. McClain can barely keep from bursting out in laughter sitting beside Cherry who is wearing one of his classic sports coats. It's important to remember that this is what it is like every week. You gotta love Canada.

Happy Katurday

Surviving A Sword Fight

I can understand a bad guy throwing his gun at the hero when he runs out of bullets. That is a natural reaction because intellectually you know that the gun may hit the hero in the face or at least distract him enough to make an escape.

However, throwing a sword or using it like a spear annoys me to no end. It's a SWORD you are holding. The chances that you will stick a guy let along pin his sleeve to the rails of a ship (as shown in this picture) are next to zero. Then you are left without a weapon and at the mercy of your foe. Swords don't have the balance of a spear and therefor should never be used as one.

When one is training to use a sword, I can assure you that no time is spent tossing it at a target. Keep your sword in your hand at all times and improve your skills so that you can defeat another guy with a sword. Now if your opponent throws his sword at you...first grin at his stupidity and then slash him through the heart.

Now let's assume for a second that the villain does have time to shoot his flint lock pistol. First of all those things malfunction all the time and are totally unreliable. You need to get many elements (shot, powder, paper, flint spark) to work perfectly together to do any damage.

Secondly the lead ball is delivered with so little force that even if you are hit anywhere below your neck, you can survive the wound. More often than not the bullet will not even penetrate the heavy cloaks you are wearing.

So what have we learned?

*Be a man and take the bullet
*Don't throw something that is not designed to be thrown. It's just a wasted play that leaves you weaponless
*Practice throwing a KNIFE which IS a weapon designed to be thrown. Learning how to throw a knife under pressure is a good back-up skill to have.
*Move close enough to your opponent and use your sword as it was intended to be used - by forcing the sharp pointy end through your opponent's heart.

Do we understand now? Good.

Please don't make me have this conversation with you ever again.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Just Because She Is Made By Barbie

I am calling this Carol Ferris doll an action figure and you can't do anything about that.

Photo Of The Month

I am someone who has no fear of dangerous weather. If I can see a tornado in the distance I would run towards it instead of running away. I can't resist being close to all that raw power. This picture reminds me of that attitude. I hate living in an age when you can't trust a photo to be real and not photoshopped because this one has all the hallmarks of not being natural.

Tumblr Quote Of The Day

“Say “excuse me…” one more time, motherfucker… That is what I want one of these interviewers to say to him. I’m really upset about the lack of integrity the media has shown towards their reporting on Trump. You might say to me that I shouldn't’t worry and that he’s done this all before and he’s not really gonna run and it’s just a publicity stunt. Regardless of whether this is some sort of ego-maniacal piece of performance art or a legitimate campaign, he is hurting us with the things he says. Everyone in the media should be holding this fucker’s feet to the fire and insisting that he answer questions. I find it hard to believe I’m saying this, but he’s worse than Bush. He either needs to open himself up to the same scrutiny he is requiring of others, or he needs to be ignored. I mean, seriously, this shit has got to stop.”

I totally agree with this sentiment. Ever since the arrival of Fox News on the scene, reporters seem to have given up their ages old purpose of speaking truth to power. Truth used to be the goal of ever journalist but this is no longer the case.

Individuals like Donald Trump or Glen Beck or any of the other talking heads representing the Right have been given a free pass to just make up facts to support their own narrative. Since Obama became President, the tendency to use fear and misinformation has not only cheapened the political discourse but has prevented real change from occurring.

The Right have taken a page out of the old Nazi playbook - "repeat the lie enough times and it becomes the truth". When reporters can't or won't challenge the garbage that comes out of the mouths of racist teabaggers or self-serving carnival barkers, the common person is left with no alternative than to believe the lies they are spoon fed.

They become conditioned to use only the rhetoric of one side of the spectrum (The Right) to form their political beliefs. When this happens, voters reject en masse the political ideas of the Left (regardless if the Left presents good ideas or not) and can be easily convinced to vote against their best interests.

A perfect example of this can be seen in the recent debate over tax cuts for millionaires. You would never expect people without wealth to fight for the right of the rich to pay less than their fair share in taxes. This, however, was exactly what happened.

Lately I have seen reporters fighting back against this trend. Lawrence O'Donnell and Chris Mathews have openly challenged 'birthers' on the air leaving these liars no place to run for cover except to Fox News and shows hosted by Bill O'Rielly and Sean Hannidy. There they are given leading softball questions that only serve to legitimize their dishonest 'beliefs'.

I don't think that Donald Trump has any doubt that President Obama is an American and was born on American soil. He is just pushing that issue to court the approval of that part of the Republican base who will NEVER believe Obama is anything other than the illegitimate leader of their country. He is playing directly into the fear racist whites have over a black man being President.

Trump is a joke. Fox news is a joke. Conservative talk radio is a joke. When the fifth estate (the press) give up on their responsibility to challenge the lies that are being told they are just as guilty in perpetuating the side show as the individuals who seek to gain from the spectacle.

I can only hope that the fall of Donald Trump will be just as interesting a story to the media as his 'ascendancy'. In fact I know it will be. I just don't want to wait too long for those lies to be written about. You sewed the seeds Mr. Trump. Now get ready to reap the whirlwind.

A-Z Blogging Challenge - The Letter Y - Yummy Noms

I am happy to say that with a combination of exercise, medication and diet that I have really gotten my blood sugar levels under control. A happy side effect of originally being diagnosed in December with Type 2 Diabetes is that now I feel better than I have in years. I have more energy to put towards swimming (my new favorite activity) and I can actually get to sleep most nights.

Diabetes runs in my family so I have been taking blood tests for the past 2 years so that once I was diagnosed, I could get an early start attacking the disease's side effects. I am terrified to lose a foot due to poor circulation or letting the complications associated with diabetes result in blindness, which for me is the worse thing I can ever imagine happening.

I don't fool myself by saying that I can cut the 'bad' foods out of my diet because that is not realistic. Like everything else I ingest, moderation seems to be the key to my health successes.

I think I needed the diagnosis to motivate me to change my self destructing habits and to make those changes a permanent part of my life. To see positive results is very satisfying and encouraging. When I put my full effort and focus towards solving a problem or creating something new (like my blog) I rarely if ever experience failure. I think that effort deserves a reward so I am off to Tim Horton's for a box of twenty 'Timbits'.

Hey Aliens!

If you want me to be impressed that you have a civilization that is capable of interstellar flight, you really should not show up for our first meeting wearing the gayest pajamas I have ever seen. I hope you have a witty reply when reporters ask you all what the hell you were thinking about when you picked out your cloths this morning. It's like you mock us by looking as stupid as you can. What's the matter? Earth not good enough for you to break out the silver jumpsuits? If your arrival is all part of some grand invasion scheme then we are doubly offended and in no way can we take anything you say or do seriously. Next time do a little research before you choose to visit our planet. GAH! You are so lame.

Classic Comedy - Three Amigos

I feel ancient today. I found out that 'The Three Amigos' is 25 years old this year. I feel like I first saw this comedy gem last week. Over at Cultural Compulsive Disorder, my boy Mike D did his own post about the film. It is a hilarious western with Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Chevy Chase, doing some of the best work in their careers.

My friends have this game where we give out our own Oscars to characters in movies who have small parts but they do the most with the few lines they are given. The way that Heffe uses psychology ("I know that I, Heffe, do not have your superior intellect or education. But could it be, that once again, you are made at something else and are looking to take it out on me?") to cheer up El Guapo is some of the best stuff that has ever been written for a move. Perfectly delivered too.

If you have let this movie pass you buy I encourage you to seek it out. I have seen it often and even though I know the script by heart, I still laugh at the same lines and gags everytime I see them.

Mark Zug's Dune Art

I Think I Am On The Ground Floor Of A Very Funny Meme

This is what happens when you wear a stupid hat to an event seen by over a billion people. You would hope that a princess would have more than one choice in head wear. I think she should have asked me for some help by showing me the other hats that were in the running for this event. Her choice just proves that the royals NEED Calvin. I am nothing if not stylish.

If You Remember This Cartoon Strip Then You Are My People

Opus the penquin, Bill the Cat and the rest of the crew? This was a fantastic newspaper strip from the 80s that knew how to make a point while making a joke. I have all the treasuries. There may never be new strips but I will always have the Christmas cartoon - 'A Wish For Wings That Work' to enjoy every holiday season. Makes me wish that the 'Calvin and Hobbes' creator had produced something similar. You already have Calvin's great snowman gags. Just add a nice Christmas message and collect the royalties for the next 100 years of replays.

Faces Of The Bengal Tigers

I love the Tigers. Each face so unique with markings unlike any other of their species. I hate to think of the time when they will only exist in zoos or Las Vegas stage shows.