Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Discussion Topic

I'm not quite able to properly think about the topic I had in mind (the product of a congested head) so I'll solicit your opinions and then comment on them tomorrow. What I'm curious about is why World War II gets a free pass when it comes to crazy stuff like soldiers fighting dinosaurs and Nazi vampires while that sort of thing is considered out of place or crass for pretty much any other war?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Random Tuesday

First of all, thank you to whomever bought a copy of Into the Wild through the Amazon link back in February. The 33 cents will come in handy when I make my next order. I don't say that sarcastically; every little bit helps.

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Spent some quality time with Miriya last night to the tune of about three hours. It was just her, myself, and the Baisches' Looney Tunes assortment of animals. Miriya cried intermittently for almost the entire first hour. Eventually she calmed down and we watched a good number of episodes from The Wonder Years.
I had forgotten how good that show was at being timeless despite being set a generation ahead of me. Fun fact of the day: Danica McKellar, aka Winnie Cooper, is a mathematician and math advocate. That's just awesome beyond words.

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Yesterday, I learned the hard way that one needs to deposit checks when they arrive. I'll spare you the details except to say that I felt really really stupid.

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Okay, it's time to return to the ever exciting world of requirements documentation. Unless I think of something brilliant to post about, I'll leave today with the cover to Star-Spangled War Stories #90, which began the batshit-insane yet amazingly cool concept that was fighting dinosaurs in World War II:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weekend Movie Roundup

Because I wasn't feeling very well thanks to the overwhelming pollen counts, I stayed in to sleep and watch stuff. Watched the first two stories of The Sarah Jane Adventures and a couple of remastered Star Trek episodes, all of which were fun. The rest of my viewing time was devoted to the latest films from my Netflix queue.

I watched The Magdalene Sisters on Saturday evening alone since I wasn't sure if Emily could handle it or not. The film tells a semi-fictional story about an Irish Magdalene asylum during the 1960s. Magdalene asylums were institutions run by various orders of the Catholic Church (the ultimate moral authority in Ireland for decades) for "fallen" girls to atone for their sins. Of course, "fallen" was a very subjective criterion that ranged from having a child out of wedlock to flirting with boys. Unfortunately, a lot of the girls from the 1940s on were placed in these virtual prisons involuntarily, forced into labor for no wages, and abused more often than not. The existence of these places went virtually unnoticed until the early 1990s because the victims had been either shamed or frightened into silence long after their ordeal. The film is based on the documentary Sex in a Cold Climate, which finally broke the silence and is included on the DVD. A very powerful film and certainly a film that needed to be made.

The first part of Sunday was spent with Green Street Hooligans starring Elijah Wood. Like NFL football here in America, football (what we call soccer) is huge in England. Rivalries inevitably arise but unlike England (and many other parts of the world), fans don't tend to form gangs to violently fight other fan-based gangs. I personally think it's beyond stupid whenever riots break out after some major sports victory or defeat here in the US, so you can imagine how idiotic I think of the existence of sports hooligan gangs. Green Street Hooligans is a coming-of-age film for Elijah Wood, a disgraced Harvard student who falls in with a hooligan gang when he visits his sister in England. It's a well-made film with terrific performances all around but I can't get past how the film more or less treats this brutal, thuggish behavior as something to be celebrated.

After sleeping for a while, I finished Sunday with Poolhall Junkies. I've always been fascinated with the game of pool and movies about the game. Poolhall Junkies tells the story of Johnny Doyle, a natural talent attempting to get out of the seedy life of being a hustler. The film is fairly lighthearted and has some pretty good dialogue—sort of a combination of Swingers and The Hustler. One of my favorite parts had nothing to do with pool, but of the quest to find a non-psycho girlfriend. There's also a great minor role by Christopher Walken doing his Walken-iest performance since Pulp Fiction. A good, fun movie to end the weekend on.

Emily still wants to see The Magdalene Sisters, but Green Street Hooligans and Poolhall Junkies will be dropped in the mailbox today. Next up in the queue are Fart: The Movie and The Ringer. I figured the next films should be a bit on the stupid side to give me a break from most of the other depressing fare in the queue like Syriana and Munich.

Friday, April 25, 2008

De's Summer Movie Preview

Good gravy it's been a pretty hectic week. So hectic that I didn't have time to put up pictures of apes. Well, your patience is about to be rewarded with my first installment of what I hope will be my annual Summer Movie Preview. Let's not mince words any longer and get this show on the road...

First up is Iron Man, based on the eponymous comic book character. I've read the comics off and on for years and liked the technology aspect of the stories quite a bit. We'll get the origin story (updated for today's modern age as Vietnam was 40 years ago) and an armor-to-armor face-off. While it probably won't make Spider-Man money, I'm sure it will do quite well. It's also directed by Jon Favreau, Mikey from Swingers. Who's the big winner? Mikey's the big winner!

Speed Racer opens the following week, based on the 1960s cartoon series. I bought the first volume Speed Racer DVD several years ago and thought it was okay. The characters are certainly iconic though the stories are somewhat repetitive. The film's storyline will have a little more meat to it than the cartoon and looks like it will be the Moulin Rouge of car racing movies. I'm surprised people haven't complained of seizures watching the busy, garish-colored trailer. Christina Ricci is Trixie and that's reason enough to watch.

May 16 will bring us The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, based on the book by C.S. Lewis. I guess this is supposed to be the Two Towers installment of the Narnia series. I never read the books and I didn't see the first movie either. However, the trailer looks kind of interesting and I'm told Peter Dinklage plays one of the two dwarves in the film. If you want to see how awesome Peter Dinklage is, check out his outstanding starring role in The Station Agent.

May 22 is when we find out if the near 20-year wait was worth it as we all turn out in droves for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The movie is set in 1957 so it doesn't look like we'll be seeing any Nazis this time around. The MacGuffin of the crystal skull is certainly in line with the other supernatural artifacts in the other films. Although Spielberg's track record lately has been a bit disappointing, I have a feeling we'll get our money's worth and be treated to a fun movie.

It looks like the end of the month is a bit of a skip week unless you really want to see Sex and the City or The Strangers. I think you can figure out what Sex and the City is about but here's a brief recap: Vapid whores afraid of aging. The Strangers is about a group of people terrorizing a newly-married couple. You can see why I called it a skip week.

So that takes care of May, which is now the official start of the summer movie season. I'm not sure how many of these I'll see in a theater given that ticket prices at the local cineplex are now $10.50 a pop. But it looks like we have a fun start to the season.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I Carry Stupid in a Bucket

After picking up some dinner, I thought I'd pop into the local Ninth Circle of Hell for some Southern Brew tea in a jug. You have to understand -- Southern-style sweet tea is only beginning to creep into Northern Virginia. Normally I only get to enjoy this yummy nectar if I happen to drive 100 miles south or visit relatives in traditionally Southern states. Unfortunately, the Ninth Circle of Hell is the only place to get this stuff in jug form.

So there I am at the self checkout, ready to pay, only to realize that my wallet is in the car (having pulled it out of my pocket to pay for dinner). But wait, there's change in my pocket. Enough to pay for my liquid crack? Of course not! I was eight cents short. Eight. Cents. Short.

Maybe I can pay using my amazing powers of memorization. I have my debit card number memorized so I should be able to just type it in and be on my way, right? Nope. In order to prevent fraud, you have to swipe an actual card. Makes sense as I wouldn't anyone else using their amazing powers of memorization and my card number.

So I did what any other totally embarrassed person would do. I said I'd be back with my wallet and then ran away. Weird how I have no problem whatsoever running into a burning building but stuff like this scares me to no end.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pope-tastic Thursday

When my carpool buddy and I arrived at the Vienna Metro station this morning, there was already a ton of people there -- a bit of a flip from the usually quiet environs we're used to at 6:30am. Lots of folks itching to attend the Pope's mass um... Mass at the Nationals Park baseball stadium today.

In front of the gates this morning was a table set up selling... wait for it...

The normal all-day pass has been turned into a souvenir for area Catholics to stick in their scrapbooks and cherish for years to come. Umm... okay.

While that's somewhat crass (yet chuckle worthy), I think the funniest story this week involves the people attempting to scalp tickets to the Pope's Mass. In order to even get a ticket, you had to be a church-going Catholic or somehow convince a priest that you should go instead of someone in the church. The tickets have been made non-transferrable but that's not stopping some of these morons from committing simony -- the sale of sacraments, one of which is Mass. It wouldn't surprise me if the same people trying to scalp tickets are the ones that scream the loudest about so-called "Christian persecution".

But let's not end on such a dour note. You know what makes a day brighter? Pictures of monkeys. Here's a picture of Enos, the Space Chimp:

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Did You Hear? The Pope's in Town!

Made the mistake of starting the commute late this morning due to not leaving the office until 10 last night. It didn't occur to me until my carpool driver and I got onto the highway that today starts a flurry of Pope-mania here in DC.

I didn't sleep very much last night so my brain isn't up to its usual nuttiness or attempts at insight despite the quantites of caffeine I'm throwing at it. Sorry, but it's another ape picture today. However, this picture does pretty much sum up my mood after the ordeal of commuting this morning, surrounded by throngs of Pope enthusiasts:

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

No Time for Love, Dr. Jones!

Hi folks.

I'm pretty swamped here at the office right now. Mark Evanier would be posting a picture of a Campbell's tomato soup can. Mike Sterling would be posting a nutty panel or ad from a comic book. Since I'm at a loss to think of something clever, here's a picture of an orangutan:

Thursday, April 10, 2008

There Will Be (New) Blood

Added to the list of Retroactive Conspirators is Bispectacult, a pop culture site run by a pair of goodniks going by the monikers of Dafna and Kid Chris. Aside from their blogging goodness, they also produce a podcast that I haven't listened to yet because I'm lame.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Nightmare Map Wednesday

Started my new job today in lovely Rosslyn (a subdivision of Arlington, Virginia for you non-locals) and was put to work right away. Unfortunately, since I arrived at 9, I had to stay until 5:30. That's fine if you don't live 25 miles away. Anyway, I'm tired so let this map from 1972's Kamandi #1 of the future Western Hemisphere haunt your dreams with Kirby-liciousness until I can find something goofy to write about tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

When Talking Apes Became Boring!

From 1951's Strange Adventures #8:

If I wanted a yawner of a science lesson, there are plenty of ennui-inducing humans up to the task. Yeesh, even Dr. Zaius from the Planet of the Apes TV series was cooler than this.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Write Your Own Joke Monday

Not a whole lot going on today. The project office doesn't have my paperwork yet so I can't start work. Actually, it looks like Wednesday will be my first day. So enjoy this panel from My Greatest Adventure #27 published in the fantastic year that was 1959:

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Secret Fate of Adolf Hitler!

The picture I posted earlier is none other than the cover to an issue of Strange Adventures, specifically issue #3 with its cover date of December 1950. I had been perusing it during a bout of insomnia because nothing relaxes the mind like a nutty collection of sci-fi stories from the end of the Truman administration. While the cover claims "amazing science-fiction" lies within, the real gold is the third story where we finally learn the truth about what happened to everyone's favorite paper hanger. That business about him dead in the bunker with Eva Braun? Total crap. Check it out...

Smart guy that Hitler. All he has to do is shave off that Charlie Chaplin mustache and he can just blend into the local scene. Genius! Unfortunately for Adolf, his fool-proof plan never happens because he's arrested by Martians:

Umm... yeah. Evidently Mars runs on the rocket docket with Der Fuhrer immediately put on trial. Oh, and the legal tradition there are hats made of awesome and masks for lawyers so they don't get their butts kicked by losing defendants:

Because Hitler is (putting it incredibly mildly) history's biggest jerk, he's sentenced to exile aboard a rocketship when his lawyer fails to get him executed. We end this tale succinctly in a style that will be later known as "Serling-esque":

So there you have it folks. Somewhere out there in the far reaches of the universe is a Martian rocket floating in the cosmos containing the remains of one Adolf Hitler. The moral of the story: Don't piss off the Martians. So NASA, quit sending those probes.

Thoroughly Frustrated Thursday

Because the office's IT policy blocks pictures from certain sites, I can't put up the entry I had planned for today until tonight. It's written and I've edited the pictures but I can't publish it because I can't see the pictures to fit them into the text. Grr. Argh.

I can give you a teaser though, thanks to the Grand Comics Database:

Life is okay. Allergy season has started so I'm a tad sniffly of late. Commute was pretty bad this morning to the point where I told some GWU coed to piss off as she tried to present some flyer for something or other to me. I'm not sure what's worse: being hassled by bums or being hassled by college students -- either way it's being hassled but the bums usually back off.

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