Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Impressive, Most Impressive

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is the best of the STAR WARS movies. It also made the least amount of money, but that matters not.

The director of EMPIRE, Irvin Kershner, died this week at the age of eighty-seven. He had lung cancer.I went to a convention earlier this year where Kersh was supposed to appear. But he was too ill, and had been hospitalized, in fact, but recorded a greeting for the audience. It seemed pretty apparent he wouldn't be around much longer.

But EMPIRE will be.

You know, George Lucas made it clear, early on in his career, that he neither enjoyed writing nor directing movies, that his joy was in the editing room. So it makes no sense he would've deviated from that for them gorram Prequels. THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is the film he had the least amount of influence and impact on (not to say that Lucas shouldn't get credit for the film in the end), and who knows how much of the greatness of that movie should be laid on Kershner's doorstep?

Or Kasdan's? Or Kurtz's?

There's no knowing, but as the man has passed away, let's take this opportunity to thank him for TESB, and how much of an impact it made on our childhoods.

I met Irvin Kershner once, a few years ago, and listened to him speak about the making of the film. There were so many questions and so much he could've talked about that the hour allotted wasn't nearly enough.

After the screening, he had a little autograph session in the lobby. I took this picture when he signed my EMPIRE poster, and was immediately censored by the theater staff. Apparently, it was okay to talk to the man, ask for him to sign something, but not to take his picture. Hmmm.

At that convention this year, Kersh expressed his disappointment at not being able to make it out to talk and sign autographs. He offered to sign anything anybody sent him if they didn't mind paying the postage. That struck me as pretty generous, or at least that he was a guy who really appreciated his fans.

You do the same, when you're rich and famous, won't you?


Sunday, November 28, 2010

...and don't call me Shirley

This afternoon, I started up the next disc in my NetFlix queue, the first episode of the Boris Karloff-hosted "Thriller" TV series. The premiere episode was called "The Twisted Image" and it starred Leslie Nielsen as a businessman who is pursued (hounded, really) by an attractive young girl who may have less than honorable intentions toward him. As I watched it, I thought about Nielsen's career, and how he spent so many years as a serious actor, only to have it all change in 1980's AIRPLANE!, and be considered a comedic actor ever since. I wondered how old a man he must be today, then went on with the programme.Well, it didn't really surprise me tonight when I turned on my news reader and found that Leslie Nielsen died today at the age of eighty-four.

While a couple of his recent movies were less than palatable, his role as Frank Drebin in the "Police Squad!" series and films would be enough to endear him to me forever, not to mention CREEPSHOW, AIRPLANE!, FORBIDDEN PLANET, and SCARY MOVIE 3. Heck, I even liked DRACULA DEAD & LOVING IT.
He brought me a lot of laughs, and I hope you feel the same.

Lt. Rish Drebin, Police Squad

Friday, November 26, 2010

Where You Eat

At work today I met a lovely new employee, cute as the night is long, but with one of those ugly first names that you can't really imagine a pretty girl having (plus, it's the last name of one of my friends, so that's even worse). But I took a shine to her immediately, and even though I know sod-all about women, I interacted with her as much as humanly possible during my endless shift today.

At lunch, we happened to both be in the breakroom at the same time (either by coincidence, or by way of me somehow arranging for my sister to bring me food twenty-five minutes after my scheduled lunch time so that we'd end up in there together), and I chatted her up a bit more, while I could. There were a couple other dudes in there at the same time (including the guy with the atrocious Boston accent, who's she's probably sleeping with as I type this), and I thought all of us were conversing pleasantly and innocuously.

After the new girl got up to go back to work, one of the dudes (not the accented one) put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Don't shit where you eat, man."

I thought that was pretty funny because:
A) I'd never met this guy before this week,
2) The phrase has always been vulgarly hilarious to me,
and C) Because he picked up on my obviously un-subtle interest.

Anyway, just thought I'd mention it.

Stupid Thing of the Week

Friggin' bastards at Fox announced this week they're going to reboot "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Without Joss Whedon.

Never, sirs. Never.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Stupid Thing of the Week

So, there's a jagoff at work with the crappiest (and least-convincing) Boston accent, always saying stuff like "Theh ah fahv cahts in the pahking lot" and always having to repeat himself over the walkie-talkie . . . because nobody really speaks like that. Well, we were working the other day and somebody mentioned his name, and I said, "Which one is he? The one with the terrible way of talking?" One of the others said, "No way, his accent is cool!" I said, "That's not an accent, it's an embarrassing speech impediment." And the other two guys said nothing, but were looking past me.

Yep, just like in every single sitcom you've ever seen, he was standing right behind me.

There was an embarrassing moment when I turned and got no clarification of how much he had heard, but I quickly remembered pressing work that needed to be done elsewhere, and slipped away. The rest of the guys probably had a good chuckle about it, though.

But hey, don't feel too bad for Mumbly McRed Sox . . . all the girls at work think the way he speaks is sexy. Ohhhhhh yeah.

Rish "Chandler Bing" Outfield

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stupid Thing of the Week (sorta)

So, I went out to the local karaoke bar with my sister and brother-in-law last night. I only got to sing two songs, and it was sort of Country night (it seemed), so I chose "I'm So Happy I Can't Stop Crying" as my second song, doing both the Toby Keith and Sting parts.

Nobody cared.

My sister seems to absolutely hate beer (a loathing we share), but her husband drank eight bottles and then shared a full pitcher with a Samoan man, which impressed/intimidated me.* My brother-in-law Dave told me he'd never gotten up and sang before, and that he was going to do so then, but he told my sister to pick a song for him. She did, and he told her not to let him know what it was until it started.

That struck me as incredibly brave. I couldn't do that--as much as I enjoy karaoke, I would be terrified it was a song I didn't know or couldn't sing. I quickly scribbled "Every Rose Has Its Thorn" by Poison on a scrap of paper and gave it to the DJ in case Dave was stumped. It was the most protective I'd ever felt toward my sister's husband

Well, when his turn came, Dave got up there, and the music began . . . and sure enough, it was a song he didn't know. So my point is made there. Luckily, his Samoan pal jumped on the other microphone and helped him through it (I suppose all Pacific Islanders know Eagles songs).

But the thing I really wanted to mention was this: at one point, an old woman got up and began crooning a Tammy Wynette song.

A middle-aged woman came up to me and said, "That lady singing is my mother. It would mean a lot to her if you'd get up and dance with me during her song." Well, I figured that was fine, the least I could do as a empirically lonely and self-proclaimed nice guy. We danced our dance (which was a little odd, since there was not another soul out there on the dance floor, plus I dance like a pro wrestler does Shakespeare), and when the song ended, I went back to my table.

One of Dave's buddies came up to me and said, "You just got played, dawg. That ain't her mother, that's just a line she feeds guys to get them to dance with her."

Well played, madam. Well played.

Rish "Ron Got Splinched" Outfield

*What's worst is that he passed out on the couch right after we got home, but STILL got up before me the next morning.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Don't Talk To Strangers

"How come you never learned the golden rule:
Don't talk to strange men, don't be a fool?"

So, I got off work the other night and got in my car to drive home. I saw a female coworker on her way to her place . . . on foot. It was one of the last non-freezing nights of the year, but even I pulled over and asked if she was walking home. She said she was going to the bus stop.

I offered her a ride home, and she hesitated a moment before saying okay and getting in my car. Of course I murdered her and left her out in the desert. It's just my way.

No, actually, I took her a mile or so to her apartment complex and dropped her off, and that was it. But on the way home, I did think about what kind of a decision the girl had to make. She didn't really know me, but she sort of needed a ride. It wasn't cold out, but it wasn't balmy either. Maybe I have a trustworthy face, but maybe I liked to eat young women and wear their skin like a cape.

I couldn't help but think that the poor girl had to ask herself, in the second before she got in or told me to drive on, "Is this guy going to rape me if I get in his car? Or merely kill me? Do I have my pepper spray? What if this guy isn't a killer or a rapist, but is going to want something in return for giving me a ride? What if he asks me out at the end of our drive? What if he deliberately goes the wrong way; would I be able to get out of the car in time? What if he puts on an Air Supply tape and starts singing 'All Out of Love' as we drive?"

It bums me out that I live in a world where the girl might have thought any one of these things. Seems like it might be rough to be a young female on her own, especially one without a car.

But I still feel sorrier for myself, don't get me wrong.

Rish "I Sense A Topic For 'That Gets My Goat'" Outfield

Friday, November 05, 2010

Dead Fish Aren't Much Fun

I had the two year old overnight one day this week, because his parents were partied out and needed a break. I told him that if he was good, we'd go to the pet store and get fishies.

Well, I don't remember if he was good or not, but I wanted fish, so we went anyway. There are several pet stores in town, for some reason, and we went to the one that has . . . you guessed it, turtles. They had huge ones, fully grown Red Eared Sliders like mine, and the boy kept reaching in and pulling them out. I'd tell him to put them back, go to the fish section, and he'd be back at the turtle tank, risking fingertips to heft them into the open air.

Finally, I had to scoop him up and carry him into the fish display (and this was after four or five times of taking the turtles out). I bought four fish, all cichlids, and I let the child pick them out. I let him carry the bag back to my place, put the bag in the aquarium, and later open the bag to mix in the fish.The problem with my fish is that they can be very aggressive and/or territorial, and I've lost thrice as many fish to attacks and cannibalism than to disease, old age, and escape.

So it didn't surprise me when, a few minutes later, I heard my nephew make a sad sound. I was typing away the computer, but called, "What's wrong?"

"This fish dead," he said, coming into the room.

"Oh crap," I said, "Did one die already?"

"This dead," he said again.

"In the fishtank? Did the other fish kill it?"

"No, this fish," he said, and I looked over. He had it in his hand. His whole shirt was soaked. Apparently, he'd taken it out of the tank himself and held it until it stopped flopping around.

And he was right, it was dead.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Don't Upset the Ghosts

Big and I got together to record stories and podcast episodes this Monday, and long before Religion and Politics reared their ugly, veiny, throbbing heads, we had what should've been a more interesting experience.

Apparently, something we said or one of my jokes upset a spirit, because it threw a potted plant across the kitchen during our recording. My back was to it, and though I didn't know what it was, I remember stiffening, and every hair on my head (and elsewhere) standing straight up.

Big and I were silent for a moment as adrenaline turned us into 'roid rage bodybuilder-types. We then apologized to the ghost/poltergeist (is a poltergeist different than a ghost, or is it just a mischievous spirit?), and continued recording.

Later, we cleaned up the mess, still chuckling about the weird experience. Luckily, Big's wife can sleep through anything (except for my speaking voice), so she didn't stir, but wow, it scared me something fierce.

It's a shame it had to happen at Big's house, though, and not my uncle's House of the Dead. Wasted opportunity, that.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Top Five Pixar Flicks (Redux)

A long time ago, before the podcast took up so much of my time, I used to send out requests for Top Five lists. It's been a while, but with the release of TOY STORY 3 today, I figured I'd bring it back. What are peoples' Top Five Pixar Flicks?

Mine would be:
3. UP

Bigglesby was the first to respond (which is only fitting, since he loves Pixar even more than that Lasseter guy does), so he gave the following complete list:
6. UP

Jeff sent this list in mere seconds after Big did:
1. The Incredibles
2. Up
3. Finding Nemo
4. Cars
5. Monsters Inc.

My Evil Cousin Ryan wrote:
The Incredibles
Toy Story 2
Finding Nemo
Monsters Inc

Lizanne Herd chimed in:
1. UP
2. Toy Story
3. Monsters, Inc.
4. A Bug's Life
5. Ratatouille

My Cousin-In-Law Marissa voted for:
1- The Incredibles
2- Toy Story
3- Cars
4- Finding Nemo
5- Toy Story 3

Sudden Death Nicole said, wondering why I would bother her with this:
1. finding nemo
2. ratatouille
3. the incredibles
4. wall-e
5. up

Abbie Hilton voted in:
Finding Nemo
Monsters Inc.

Renee Chambliss provided:
1. Ratatouille
2. Toy Story 2
3. Finding Nemo
4. Monsters Inc.
5. Up and Wall-E (tie)

Not-yet-corrupt lawyer Ian sent me:
1. Incredibles
2. Up
3. Finding Nemo
4. Toy Story 2
5. Wall-E

And last, my old buddy Rhett wrote:

The winners were

3. UP
I guess it's telling that every single Pixar flick got a mention on somebody's list. Cool. But I find it strange that TOY STORY 3 came in dead last, and it was the best movie I saw this year.