Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Poor King of the Sea

How does one actually learn that their superpower is talking to fish? Seriously, like, how far down the list do you have to go before you get to that? Flying, I get. X-ray vision, sure, people are horny and that one dude suddenly gets a nice little surprise. Super-speed, yeah, you'll stumble upon that pretty easily trying to catch a morning train.

But at what point do you get to the talking at shit and seeing if it'll talk back? And, even if you somehow arrive to that sad superhero place where you are trying to strike up random conversations with animals, how do you settle on fish? They certainly wouldn't be the first species you tried--dogs, cats, lions, horses, parakeets, roaches, spiders all would've been higher on my list. Whoever keeps going all the way into phylum's basement is one persistent sumbitch...or, retarded.

I'm just saying, is all. Kinda sad.

Friday, May 26, 2006


All I can say is about friggin' time. Finally, 10 years after it premiered on Fox, Ben Edlund's crazy-brilliant animated show is coming out on DVD. I can, at long last, destroy those shitty bootlegs I bought at San Diego two years back. Ben Edlund goes on the list of people who are too scary-smart to exist in the same world as the rest of us hacks.

(I recall someone saying, when John Rogers posted on his blog that Ben was set to write an episode of Global Frequency, "You were gonna be Ben Edlund's boss!" John replied, and I quote, "I will be blunt—in no way shape or form would I have been Ben Edlund's boss. I would have been the guy who ran the show Ben was working on. The very second he finished his first story pitch, I thought 'Shit, now I'm going to have to spend a year pretending I don't secretly know he's a much better writer than I am.' ")

So, I rejoice.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Mr. 3000...

...was a bad movie, I know, but in looking for titles with the number "3000" in it, it was the Bernie Mac fiasco or 3000 Miles to Graceland, which the simple typing of has made me throw up in my mouth a little.

No, sometime in the last couple of days, this l'il blog has tallied up more than 3000 hits. Now, some of those are mine, but not all that many. So thank you all for continuing to stop by and for finding something here worth coming back for.

Now I just have to keep it going...stupid pressure.

Monday, May 22, 2006


There's a site called OneWord that offers a very simple writing challenge. (I found it while visiting the AiT/Planetlar site, and seeing Larry's take on "cult.") You are presented with a word, seemingly plucked out of the ether, and given 60 seconds to write something about that word. Whatever comes to mind.

As writers, we see it as our mandate to think about what we write. Hell, I know I've spent years mentalizing my way through stories, waiting for them to click in a way that makes sense. But this little exercise doesn't give you time to think, or even to revise. This is the very definition of writing from the gut.

You're on the clock. One minute for one word. There's nothing to it but to do it.

10 Things I Hate About Commandments

Not to be a YouTube whore...but it's so damned easy.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Chappelle Knows All

In case you were wondering why the Aquaman show didn't get picked up by The CW...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

That Shit is Real, Yo

Unlike my man Bill, who seems to have it in for the Mission: Impossible flicks (and, if you check out his blog, he's got some good reasons), I kinda liked this latest installment. It holds together a damned sight better than M:I-2—which, when watching today, is a structural mess. There's no reason for an action/spy thriller to be completely devoid of action for the entire first hour. And even the John Woo-ness, which I loved when I first saw it, hasn't aged very well. Totally untethered to reality, that movie is.

But there's a moment in M:I-3 that really resonated with me. Ethan Hunt has just escaped from the Big Bad's clutches and learns that his wife is being held in a building almost a mile from his current location. So, easily-GPS-trackable cell phone in hand, Ethan takes off down a riverside road in Shanghai, in full sprint, and the camera tracks him almost the entire way. In one shot. And, say what you will about Tom Cruise, that fucker can run.

It reminded me of what I love about old Jackie Chan movies: That those incredible stunts were actually being done by Jackie himself. He was willing to sacrifice his body—and sanity, more often than not—for my ten bucks. There's an incredible verisimilitude to seeing reality on screen, and never more so than during a moment when you usually don't.

I recently went to go see Lawrence of Arabia at the Ziegfeld theater in Manhattan. (If you've never been, I highly recommend it. One of my favorite NYC activities is sneaking out of work early and catching a matinee at the Ziegfeld, preferably of a film late in its run. There is nothing like sitting in that glorious, red-velvet, single-screen movie palace BY YOURSELF. For those two hours, I have the greatest private screening room in the world.)

Anyway, Lawrence. I'd never seen it on a big screen before, so it was something of a new experience. Besides being blown away, once more, by the strength of that cast (can you imagine being the casting director who got to say to Lean, "I found this kid named Peter; he's a little slight, but he might be good for the lead"?), you just gasp at the magnitude of that production. The scene where Auda's (Anthony Quinn, who inhabits the screen with a bigness that's extinct in today's Hollywood) cavalry storms the fort at Aqaba is, for the most part, a long, sweeping single shot with hundreds of horsemen decending on, and laying waste to, a desert installation.

And it was all done...for real. No CGI. No fake horses. No camera tricks. What you see is what they had. And there's a weight to that scene, to every scene in Lawrence, that can't be replicated.

It makes every film made today look like it's cheating.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Outlets #1

Something I'm trying, spurred on by a thread at The Engine. Essentially, someone--Colleen Doran, I think--said that you can tell a perfectly good story with stick figures, and that more writers should try. Now, because my drawing skills have atrophied to the point of non-existence, I've gone a slightly different route.

Lemme know what you think.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Let 'em eat Chuck

This is the greatest thing on TV right now. And by "greatest," I mean "most awesome." And by "most awesome," I mean "something completely worth TiVo-ing (because it's on Cartoon Network at 5:30 am) and watching over and over so you can bathe in its Cheez-Whizzy-ness."

I bring you Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos. (And, despite being only one "K" away from out and out racist, the portrayal of Asians probably gets you the rest of the way.)

Monday, May 01, 2006

Ante Up and Kick In Like Men

I have very little patience for modern rock and roll. To be more accurate, I have very little patience for the artists who create modern rock and roll. The music isn't bad—I have banged my head to My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy, and Green Day—but to look at them, they're children. Post-teenagers if we give them the benefit of the doubt.

What happened to the men who used to make rock and roll? Even when they were young, the boys from AC/DC, Van Halen, Cream, Traffic, Black Sabbath, etc. looked like men who had lives before rock and brought some of that to bear on their music. I remember hearing stories of how the other members of The Who wanted to kick out Roger Daltrey...but they were afraid of him. He grew up on the wrong side of a coal-mining town (or something) in the bad part of the U.K. and had something of a violent streak. Can you imagine being afraid of Billie Joe from Green Day, who's so "hardcore" he thanked his manager and agents first in his Grammy acceptance speech?

Jimi Hendrix had already been in and out of the Army by the time he was touring with Little Richard's band. He was in his early 20s when he landed in London, blowing the doors off the city by opening a set with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"—with McCartney in the damned audience. And Robert Plant may have looked like a female elf, but that thing he kept trying to suffocate in his trousers was clearly not safe for Catholic school girls.

Rock stars used to be dangerous, now they look like art-school kids with chips on their shoulders.

And that's a big reason why I think hip-hop has taken off the way it has in the last 15 years. Because, say what you will about the music itself (my love for it ebbs and flows, but I've always respected it), the artists are MEN. Whether they can back up their claims to thug-life credibility or not, or if they go the proficient loverman route, it doesn't matter. I think their perceived manliness is what sells a lot of records. (But black music has long been made by artists who were men first. The R&B acts that dominated the pre-disco charts were made up of some hard-working brothers: James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Jackie Wilson, the Temptations, the Four Tops.)

Look at it this way: the people buying records (and I will still refer to them as such) are, for the most part, teenaged girls. The TRL demographic. Always has been, always will be. And so the desire for the music, and the musicians that make it is, both consciously and subconsciously, a sexual one. (And that is why, back in the '50s, Elvis was such a hit: He was giving black music a face that was somewhat tolerable to white parents—he was the other other white meat.)

I don't find it surprising at all that young women are choosing, with their wallets at least, Prince Charming as their romantic ideal...not Prince Charming's intern. I just wonder when rock and roll will remember that.

Casino Royale

I've got no problem with this whatsoever, aside from all the French: