Thursday, February 28, 2008

Movie Song of the Month: “We're in the Money”

I'm probably tempting fate by posting this song so close to April 15, but then again I really, really like this song. It's “We're in the Money” from Gold Diggers of 1933.

If nothing else, it got me to appreciate Ginger Rogers in a way I never did before. Granted, it's a young Ginger Rogers but still...

And, hey, I'd promise you all that I'd post something cheerier.

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Pop Song of the Week: “Your Woman”

One of my favorite songs from the late 1990s. Granted, White Town's “Your Woman” is not the cheeriest of tunes, to be sure, but it sums up the lives of some people I've known -- not any of my former novias, natch, but other people -- more than I'd normally like to admit.

If nothing else, you really have to feel for that brunette.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Las Amigas de Tonio Kruger: The Saga Continues

Yes, this has been a rather soap-opera-ish month for yours truly and every time I think the worst has happened, something else happens. If it doesn't happen to me, it happens to a friend of mine.

I suppose it could be argued that I could have encountered far worse. All my family members are healthy, knock wood, and once I got my engagement ring back from my former girlfriend's family, most of my troubles concerning that situation went away. I still wish things could have turned out differently in regard to my engagement, and if the problems had been just between her and me, I think we could have managed to muddle through them. But, unfortunately, my would-be in-laws got involved, and then suddenly everything got complicated.

Oh, well. As one friend has pointed out, a broken engagement is still better than a broken marriage. And at least the whole crisis taught me something I would have otherwise not learned until after I had gotten married.

Anyway the latest happening to involve one of my friends occurred this weekend when Mi Mejor Amiga got bitten by a dog. The dog has been quarantined by Animal Control, but Mi Mejor Amiga still had to get shots just in case.

If that wasn't bad enough, she had to go into the hospital yesterday and have surgery performed upon one of her hands. Since Mi Mejor Amiga is a RMT (Registered Massage Therapist) and her job obviously involves working with her hands, this wasn't something she was eager to do, but it had to be done.

Anyway, I'm praying that everything went well and that the bad times are over for now. I know bad times never really go away, but sometimes it seems like they do, and I can't wait till that happens.

And, yes, I will return to far cheeriest subjects in the near-future... if I can.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

R.I.P. Linda Lee Essman

No, she wasn't a celebrity but she was the sister of a good friend of mine, so to me, that makes her passing important. She passed away last Wednesday due to Inflammatory Breast Cancer.

I couldn't attend the funeral because of my work schedule but I did attend the Visitation this past Saturday so that I could give my condolences to her next of kin in person.

Her family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, her mourners make a contribution to either Susan B. Komen IBC Research or Vitas Hospice.

She will be missed.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

All the Classic Books That I Have Read, Part Two

Not to be confused, of course, with "All the Classic Books That I Have Read, Part One."

1. The Good Earth (1931) -- Pearl Buck
2. Chéri (1920) -- Colette
3. The Last of Chéri (1926) -- Colette
4. Spartacus (1951) -- Howard Fast
5. Madame Bovary (1857) -- Gustave Flaubert
6. I, Claudius (1934) -- Robert Graves
7. Claudius the God (1935) -- Robert Graves
8. Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928) -- D.H. Lawrence
9. It Can't Happen Here (1935) -- Sinclair Lewis
10. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1889) -- Mark Twain

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R.I.P. Steve Gerber

Ay, Dios. The icons of my teenage years seem to be dying all over the place. First actress Suzanne Pleshette died on the 19th of last month, then actor Roy Scheider died on the 10th of this month, and now I find out that comic book writer Steve Gerber died on the 10 of this month as well.

True, he was never as famous as the first two people...but he should have been. As creator of the comic book series Howard the Duck, he was very easily one of the best comic book satirists of the 1970s. Indeed, his work still packs a heck of a wallop even today.

Unfortunately, when most people think of Howard the Duck, they think of the George Lucas film of the same name, a movie even the most ardent Gerber fans have trouble defending. (Indeed, Gerber fans like myself hate the movie even worse than most people because we're familiar enough with the source material to suspect how great a Howard the Duck movie could have been had it been in the hands of the right filmmaker.)

Fortunately, Gerber's comic book work is starting to become available in paperback. But for how long, I won't even pretend to guess.

Please do not judge the guy by that stupid movie. Judge him by his words.

Come to think of it, that's how all great writers should be judged: by their words.

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TV Quote of the Week

I know what love is cuz I watch talk shows. Love is the end of happiness.
--Danny De Vito, Taxi

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Anti-Valentine Mix II

Not to be confused, of course, with the Anti-Valentine Mix I.

Btw, none of the songs on this list are meant to be taken as a personal comment on my former bride-to-be. Seriously.

1. “Anything, Anything (I'll Give You)” -- Dramarama
2. “Dearly Beloved” -- Faith Hill
3. “Don't Tell Me What to Do” -- Pam Tillis
4. “Heal It Up” -- Concrete Blonde
5. “Heart of Stone” -- The Rolling Stones
6. “I Am a Rock” -- Simon & Garfunkel
7. “Kerosene” -- Miranda Lambert
8. “Mr. Brightside” -- The Killers*
9. “No Guilt” -- The Waitresses
10. “Wicked Game” -- Chris Isaak

* I suppose you could always use the cover version Cameron Diaz sings during The Holiday as an adequate substitute, but I wouldn't recommend it.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

R.I.P. Roy Scheider

Roy Scheider, the star of such films as Jaws and All That Jazz, passed away this past Sunday.

He will be missed.

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No, I Haven't Forgotten Jason Bourne

Which is more than I can say for Jason Bourne.

Review of the last Jason Bourne movie due sometime in the near future.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Harry Dresden Is the New Repairman Jack

Okay, that's a callous way to put it since I'm sure that Harry Dresden creator Jim Butcher did not intentionally mean to imitate Repairman Jack creator F. Paul Wilson. But he did.

Moreover, Butcher's last two books in the Harry Dresden series, Dead Beat (2005) and Proven Guilty (2006) have a certain vibe and energy that used to exist in the earliest books of the Repairman Jack series but exist no longer.

Reading the latest Repairman Jack books has become tiresome. Jack is no longer that interesting a character and the troubles he faces have a tedious predictability. Even the plot twists in which yet another of Jack's loved ones ended up facing harm have become predictable -- and shameless. (Indeed, one would think that a good writer like Wilson would able to come up with a better plotline than "Jack's so-and-so faces mortal peril -- yet again.")

However, reading the latest Harry Dresden books is exciting. Harry Dresden is interesting in a way that Jack used to be but is no longer and his stories tend to blend genuine moral conflicts with good old-fashioned derring-do. Not all his storylines involve Harry's nearest and dearest facing mortal peril (which makes the few instances in which that plot device arises all the more powerful). Moreover, the latest books build on each other so that each can be read separately but are more effective when read as a series.

Of course, part of the problem with the Repairman Jack books is that Wilson has written himself into a corner. He can't really do anything all that new with the Repairman Jack character that would negate the events in an earlier novel (Nightworld) but he can't move on to a new character either. Anyone who has ever read The Tomb (the book that first introduced Repairman Jack) can understand Wilson's reluctance to drop the character, but unfortunately, it's difficult to love the characters Wilson introduced in that book and still applaud the events in the latest books. Even the big twist in the last Repairman Jack book I read (Harbingers) which essentially pits Jack against God isn't as intriguing as one would think.

Harry Dresden's still not as popular as that other Harry fellow who fights evil wizards and stuff but he is definitely worth reading.

The Harry Dresden TV series, alas, is something worth skipping. Oh, well, even Harry can't win 'em all...

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Quote of the Week

I'm a writer. I write not only for a living, I write because I'm a writer.
--Gary Jennings

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Thursday, February 07, 2008

Cambios

In case you haven't noticed, I actually updated my links section this week.

I changed the name of Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez's site to its current name, "Multiplicative Identity." (Cool name, btw.)

I also added a few more sites including:

1. The Joe Bob Report: the official site of Joe Bob Briggs aka John Bloom, prominent drive-in critic and social commentator. Bloo -- er, Briggs has been an idol of mine for years so it's about time he had a link on my site.

2. Film Snobs: the official site of former Cinemarati member and film critic Stephen Himes and his "partner in crime" JimmyO.

3. John Kenneth Muir's Reflections on Film/TV: the official site of author and film critic John Kenneth Muir, a man whose writings have obviously influenced me almost as much as Joe Bob Briggs' -- hopefully, in a good way.

4. Electric Cerebrectomy: the official site of the mysterious blogger known as Samurai Frog, a shameless contrarian with whom I don't always agree but whose writing I often find to be very provocative. However, his posts aren't always family-friendly so I'd recommend giving it a pass if you're the type of person who is easily offended.

I also want to give a quick shout-out to author/blogger Shanna Swendson, yet another one of my favorite published authors -- and not just because she's one of the few authors I've ever met in person. You'd be surprised how often I've read posts on her site that echo some of my thoughts to an uncanny degree. Hopefully, she'll consider that a good thing.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2008

It's Over

My engagement is over, the wedding has been cancelled and I don't feel so good myself.

Someday I may get into more detail about that situation on this site but not just yet.

Let's just say last week wasn't one of my better weeks and this past weekend definitely won't be remembered as one of my better weekends.

And, yes, it does seem sadly ironic that my engagement ended this close to Valentine's Day. Do I have great timing or what?

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