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Friday, March 03, 2006

Oscars, Oscars, Oscars

More celebrities weigh in on the upcoming DOUI live blog:

Russell Crowe - "I'm go to throw my cell phone at them in protest."

Dave Chappelle - "I'll be watching to see what these guys write and you can sign that in stone. When have I ever gone back on my word?"

Isaac Mizrahi - "They're so cute I could just pinch those little cheeks, and I don't mean the ones you can see darling. We are talking about Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, right?"

Tim Allen - "Those guys are the greatest. Oh, by the way be sure and see me in the remake of Disney's The Shaggy Dog coming soon to a theater near you. OK, I admit it, I'm desperate for the money."

Nick Lachey - "Yeah, that's great. Hey, they got any jobs over there at DOUI?"

George Clooney (nominee) - "I love it when they question my patriotism and call me a traitor. I love it like a big ole ham sandwich on rye that I stuff my mouth with and down with a RC Cola. We are talking about Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, right?"

David Letterman - "Uma, Oprah. Oprah, Uma. Oh man, that never gets old does it."

Paula Abdul - "I just absholuly *hick* think thosh guys are the gre *hick* test. I love the way they shing and do the spinny fliva distic. giggling uncontollably Make it your *hick* own you sicko fasbilters, got to zit down now."

Dick Cheney - "I've got a little something for those boys. The first time I hear a Brokeback Mountain joke that disparages my home state of Wyoming we might just have a little hunting accident."

Where'd Earl Shuffle Off To?

I know that is the question many of you have asked, given that I normally post daily. Well, I've been in training for the last two days for our upcoming Live Blog of the Oscars!

With so much posting occurring in so short a span of time (Average Oscar Show: 12 hours, 47 minutes, not including repeat Beyonce performances) I have to be at my fittest for such an enterprise. Last year, I was on my own and had at least 3 finger cramps and a pulled groin from all the posts. I was positively knackered at the end.

This year, I'm taking every precaution to be at my best. Not only will I properly warm up before the telecast, but I've been employing a special training plan as well. Here is just a sample of my daily regimen:

4:00 AM - Wake up.
4:01 AM - What in the hell am I doing up so early? Go back to sleep.
7:00 AM - Wake up.
7:05 AM - Shower, brush teeth, shave, wax chest (How'd that get in there?)
7:10 AM - Wash hair.
7:13 AM - Rinse, repeat.
7:20 AM - Get dressed. Wear special "training pants."
7:30 AM - Full English Breakfast.
7:35 AM - Head off to real job at (CLASSIFIED by United States Department of Defense AND United Kingdom MI6). Do several deep knee bends during regular work hours. Deep breathing, preferably during random phone calls to female celebrities.
Noon - Lunch - Something with bacon. Read Variety cover to cover. Snicker inappropriately.
4:00 PM - Tea - Avoid the cucumber sandwiches. Stick to scrummy buttered scones. No lumberjack jokes, please.
5:00 PM - Return home.
5:01 PM - Sleep.
7:00 PM - Watch all of Entertainment Tonight. Try not to retch too much.
7:30 PM - Sleep.
8:00 PM - Dinner. Lots of beef and potatoes. Crunchie for pudding.
8:15 PM - Sleep.
10:00 PM - Wake up from terrible nightmare where Mary Hart and Mark Steines co-host the Academy Awards.
10:01 PM - Sleep.
11:00 PM - Wake up from terrible nightmare where Jon Stewart hosts the Academy Awards.
11:01 PM - Realize that it's not a nightmare. Console self that it beats Hart and Steines.
11:02 PM - Vigourous typing exercise
11:03 PM - Sleep.

So, as you can plainly see, I'm hard at work getting ready. We do hope you can join me/us/whoever turns up on March 5th.

Stew's Celluloid Soliloquy

This week I want to take into the world of Indian film, or Bollywood as those who think they know what they're talking about call it. Indian director Jayaraj's "Atbhutam" (Wonder), which at first I thought was a biopic of Stevie Wonder, is actually the story of an Indian playwright dying of pancreatic cancer who wishes to be euthanized. The 74 minute film was shot in two hours and 14 minutes, allegedly a new world record but also no way to make a serious film. Jayaraj considers himself an experimental director and far be it from me to say that he's a crackpot. Apparently he knows something about cinema as he is already listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific producer having been involved with 110 films and everyone knows that someone who has produced so many movies can't be a crackpot. Except for maybe Darryl F. Zanuck.

The story of "Abhutam" is loosely based on the Terri Schiavo story in that it involves someone who will die. That, at least for me, is where the comparison ends. It took longer than 2 hours and 14 minutes for the US Supreme Court to deny Terri's writ of certiorari. Still I wanted to find out what the movie was all about so I read through the script and watched a first cut of it. For your review I have included the scene where Ravi, the stricken playwright, is visited by his brother Vijay.

Abhutam

Scene 3

Vijay: Greetings brother, how is the pancreas?

Ravi: Damn this pancreas, they should just remove it and serve it with fava beans.

Both laugh heartily

Ravi: Seriously brother, have you heard from our father and mother.

Vijay: They send greetings as well. But they are not too much excited about the euthanasia.

Ravi: I'm not exactly ecstatic. Laugh track

Vijay: What was that laughing noise I heard?

Ravi: Never mind. (distressed) My life is ending, how ironic!!!

Vijay: Why is it ironic?

Ravi: I'm afraid we have no time to make the incongruity apparent.

Vijay: Good-bye brother.

Ravi: I'll see you when you break on through to the other side.

End scene

A little bit dry there and I think you can see where exploring the life of the dying man may have been of some benefit to the story. Here's another scene where he meets his mother and father for the last time.

Scene 5

Ravi: Welcome to my dear mother and father.

Mother: Ravi, why have you not written or phoned us?

Ravi: I was too busy dying from the bad pancreas.

Mother: Oh yes, now I remember.

Father: My son, your mother and I are worried sick about the euthanasia. At least with the pancreatic cancer you have a 0.0000015 percent chance.

Ravi: My heart will go on. (sitar music swells)

Mother: Why is Vijay playing that sitar so loudly? (we see Vijay in the corner and he stops playing)

Ravi: There is no more time, I must be euthanized. (he takes a shot and waits to die)

End Scene

So if you like slap dash Indian movies that are supposed to mirror real world events please go and see Abhutam with my blessings. It'll at least be as good as 16 Blocks and Ultraviolet and you might even be able to understand the plot.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Give me a six pack of the Chateau Mouton Rothschild!

France, the country of bad body odor and fine wines, is in a tizzy as I post due to the possibility of some wineries going to screw tops instead of corks. I am not a wine connoisseur by any stretch of the imagination; as a matter of a fact some of the finer screw top wines haunt my distant past, but I can understand the reticence that the higher class wino may have when he finds a screw top Bordeaux at his local wine shoppe. We can all imagine the poor bastard bending his favorite corkscrew on a cap and crying into his cuve reserve while writing a scathing letter to the Appelation Contrôlée .

Being a forward thinking business person myself, I can see where the industry may want to use new, innovative, and alternative methods to get their hooch to the masses. Here are some examples of placement and delivery methods I think they might want to know about.



Dom in the Box - For those who love their Dom Perignon we present the juice boxed alternative for those on the go. Now fortified with 100% of your daily allowance of vitamin C, you can take your Mimosa's in the car.



Mmmmm, frothy goodness with our new chocolate wine in a carton. Now, we just need to start making square wine racks.



The "cold one" indeed, enjoy this fine Italian wine while watching the game or fishing in your new Cabela's bass boat. Goda molto i pescatori!!!!!



From the finer jugged wines of France come these delicate, fruity Burgundys. Now with collectible "Presidents of France" bottle stoppers. "I'll trade you three Georges Pompidous for a François Mitterrand."



For only 75 cents a can you can enjoy the finest wines at your office or on your bench in the park. Easy access for the discerning wino.



Coming soon to a fast food restaurant near you. Grab a burger and a flute of the one of our finer vintages.



A local wine tasting clubs expert sommeliers. "Billy Joe, what'd you think of that new Bordeaux?" "Hoooweee, I didn't much care for the nose, but it sure persisted on the palate. Give me another can and another plate of beans."

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I'll give you three sticks of chewing gum and a rump roast, and that's my final offer!

I was just sitting around contemplating the awful fate of that Romanian footballer who got purchased by another team for 15 kilos of meat, when I realised that this system of barter between sports clubs might not be a bad idea. Food is a precious commodity in many parts of the world. Why shouldn't we use it alongside cold, hard cash? I suppose the only disadvantage would be that if bacon were money, I'd constantly be eating into my profits. (Yes, that was a horrible joke.)

So, as a public service to boards of athletic clubs and franchises, here is a short list of athlete valuations from various sports for those looking to dabble in the transfer/free agent market.

**********

David Beckham (Spanish Liga - Real Madrid) - 20 kg Beef Wellington, 1/2 pan of quiche, 30 kg Bangers and Mash, one Toblerone chocolate bar.
Yao Ming (NBA - Houston Rockets) - 100 kg Szechuan Beef, 14 spring rolls, side of rice
Shaquille O'Neal (NBA - Miami Heat) - 250 lbs. Ham, one bottle of Sprite
Barry Bonds (MLB - San Francisco Giants) - 20,000 lbs. "Enhanced" Protein Shake.
Ruud Van Nistelrooy (English Premier League - Manchester United) - 85 kg Stroopwafels, two dozen Harings
Alastair Cook (Cricket - Essex) - 2,000 kg Twiglets, 2 lt Irn Bru
Shizuka Arakawa (Figure Skater - Japan) 100 kg teriyaki-flavoured shaved ice
Matt Hasselbeck (NFL - Seattle Seahawks) - 175 lbs. grouper, chips, tartar sauce, and a Diet Coke
Tiger Woods - 10,000,000 lbs. Gold Plated lobster, 1 Pad Thai Noodle take away.
Sasha Cohen (Figure Skater - USA) - 1200 sugar biscuits/cookies, Shirley Temple cocktail, 1 McDonald's Happy Meal
Terrell Owens (NFL - Philadelphia Eagles) - 1400 lbs. Big Mouth Bass
Thierry Henry (English Premier League - Arsenal) - The entire world supply of caviar.
Bode Miller (Alpine Skier - USA) - Empty beer bottle, 4 peppermint Tic Tacs

The Live Oscar Blog is Coming!

Sean Penn - "Oh, no! Not again! %$#&*@!!!"

Gwyneth Paltrow - "I'd so much rather be on the Internet listening to those sexy boys that sitting with a bunch of stuck up pompous self-reverential bastards at the Awards show!"

Clint Eastwood - "Make my day, Dictionary punks!" (Blows a huge hole in a nearby limo)

Martin Scorcese - "They present a kind of faux outrage at the mispent glamour of the event, celebrating it while skewering it in a loving, yet vicious fashion. Incisive...very incisive."

Woody Allen - "Why are you even talking to me? I don't even go to the Academy Awards. I'd rather sit naked in a hot tub with Carol Channing and Caspar Weinburger than be caught at the Oscars! You're just trying to catch me and Soon-Yi in a compromising position."

Keira Knightley - "I dig DOUI!" (Update: Apparently, she was referring to Doui, Chad in Africa. Oh, well.)

Joan Rivers - "Those blogger guys dress like refugees from a Scottish Athletic Attic. They'd wear tartan tennis shoes to the Nobels. Now, watch as I make my famous disrespectful gagging noise, sitting here in an overprice Bob Mackie that Cher would mistake for refuse from a discotheque."

Ben Affleck - "They haven't let me into the Oscars in the past two years. J-Lo won't let them."

These are just a sample of the myraid of fake quotes celebrating the news that The Dictionary of Unfortunate Ideas (that would be us, by the way) will once again be Live-Blogging the Oscars. Come and join the excitement on March 5th, right here on ABC...I mean DOUI! Highlights include:

-Our utter and thrilling disregard for fashion sense!
-Dozens of pre-scripted Brokeback Mountain, Sean Penn, and Oprah Winfrey jokes!
-Our annual "When will the host bomb?" pool! (I've got 9:50 p.m., EST, March 3rd)
-Senseless potshots at presenters!
-Naughty lyrics suggestions for best song nominees!
-Explosive behind-the-scenes news that we make up on the fly!
-Stew may even show up!!

See you on the 5th!

Monday, February 27, 2006

You should have held out for a big hamhock and a case of beans!

If you thought you were undervalued at work, then pity poor defender Marius Cioara who was traded from Romanian second division football club UT Arad to fourth division Regal Horia for 15 kilograms of meat.

No word on what kind of meat it was, but I suspect that if Cioara is a half-decent player that it was bacon... If not, then some kind of fatty gristle.

The ironic thing is that UT Arad got the better of the deal. As soon as Cioara was sent packing for his new team, he quit football and moved to Spain to take up a career in agriculture or construction. Rumour has it that he's going to build blocks of Mediterranean flats out of lamb shanks. They'll be colorful, even if they smell a bit in the long run.

So, Regal Horia is out 15 kilos of meat and short one at the back. As the team representative put it in an interview, "We are upset because we lost twice - firstly because we lost a good player and secondly because we lost our team's food for a whole week."

Well, and your dignity...Don't forget about that.

A bit of confusion in Orlando

Stew, I can understand your concern that Robert "Jäger" Iger might be letting these Nazi bastards get out of hand in Orlando. However, I did some checking and found that, thankfully it was all a horrible mistake on the web site. Apparently today's online Disney listings contained several typos, since corrected.

  • The Epcot curfew is actually a parade: Dumbo II: A Grand Curfew, celebrating the upcoming straight-to-the-archives release of the long-awaited sequel to the film about a flying elephant who partied way too late into the evening. (Frankly, I blame the mouse in the Sgt. Pepper's uniform. He probably hooked Dumbo on Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, if you know what I mean.) It is true that violators will be shot...out of a giant circus cannon! It looks like loads of fun.
  • It's a Small World was actually renamed It's a Fashion World and contains a variety of extravagant designs from all over the world, and the most bare skin you'll see outside of the Little Mermaid exhibition (Two Shells and a Tail). The fireworks display is actually entitled Blintzes over Glavne Gas and is ironically a tribute to Yiddish holiday cuisine, starring the Tsuglaykh (Equal) Dancers and the usual Disney gang, except for Miss Piggy from the Muppets, as she's not kosher.
  • The new Animal Kingdom attraction is It's Tough to Be a Director (although anyone who's been on a Disney set could make that mistake..ha, ha!) Tony Danza plays Alfred Hitchcock and Marilu Henner co-stars as Tippi Hendren. The fun animal sidekicks are Scotty, the sleuthing squirrel with a fear of heights, and Norman Bates, the knife happy chimp, who dresses as his mother and slits open anyone who gets too close to his bananas!
  • The Magic Kingdom will be starting Zepplin flights in April, but only as part of their Hindenburg Spectacular! (Note: Be sure to wear flame-retardant clothing if you ride this one.)
  • Finally, Disney Studios is actually running the attraction Drew Carey Presents: The Winfred-Louder's Department Store Fire, a recreation of the last episode of the Drew Carey Show, where the entire cast is burned to a crisp after Lewis and Oswald accidentally forget that grain alcohol and flatulence lighting don't mix (Don't worry! It's cleaned up for the kiddies. They keep their trousers on.)

That last one was a pretty big typo, but W is close to R on the keyboard!

Disney-land, Disney-land über alles!!! Well, it's Disney WORLD but you'll understand.

Let me preface this post by saying that my colleagues at DOUI and I are the exact Poland, er I mean polar, opposites of everything the the Neo-Nazi movement stands for. While it may be true that I can be seen wearing a Gestapo uniform in our second effort at cinema, it was worn only for dramatic effect and, just like young Prince Harry, I apologize for any offense. That out of the way, I saw an article today concerning a Neo-Nazi march and related violence in Orlando, Florida.

Now as many of you may know, Disney World is one of my favorite vacation destinations only eclipsed by Lukas Short's dude ranch out in Taos. To hear that these scumbags have desecrated the ground so close to the Magic Kingdom sends chills down my spine. I know that the incident didn't occur in Disney World but knowing Disney's penchant for inclusion, as seen in its gay and lesbian day ( slated for Frontierland this year) and Night of Joy (which I whole-heartedly endorse), I'm worried we might see Neo-Nazi Nights or Hitlerfest 2006 if we're not careful.

I hurried over to the Disney website to determine if there had been any repercussions from the event affecting Disney and was surprised to find some unusual, un-Disney activity.

  • Epcot - The Germany pavilion in the World Showcase will observe a curfew tonight beginning at 7 pm. Violators will be shot.
  • Magic Kingdom - Renaming of "it's a small world" attraction to "it's a fascist world" and opening of new fireworks presentation "Blitzkrieg over Main Straße" starring the Stuka dancers and the whole Disney gang.
  • Animal Kingdom - New attraction, It's Tough to be a Dictator starring Tony Danza as Hitler and Marilu Henner as Eva Braun. Join Tony, Marilu, and their animal pals Goebbels the Gerbil and Göring the Goat in a fascinating look at the trials and tribulations of one of Europe's most misunderstood landscape painters.
  • Magic Kingdom - Daily Zeppelin flights beginning in April 2006.
  • Disney Studios - New attraction opening in May 2006, Drew Carey presents: "The Reichstag Fire". See how our special effects artists torch the seat of German government again and again to the delight of the gathered crowd.

Let's keep an eye on things down there.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Bum...Bum...bum, bu...ah, skip it!

Well, after two weeks of controversy, sweat, tears, and stunning failures, the Olympics are finally over. It was a very mixed bag. Several athletes tried to eat their donut shaped medals by mistake, providing an unexpected boon for the Torino dental profession. The Closing Ceremonies went off without a hitch, although the decision to extinguish the Olympic flame with a gigantic seltzer bottle drew some complaints from "traditionalists." Also, the decision to give fifteen minutes of time to Count Dracula and a group of Italian Satanists, was roundly criticized by Pope Benedict XVI who pretty much spoke for everyone on the planet. Organizers made up for these setbacks with an exciting musical performance by Matt LeBlanc of American TV's Friends and Joey.

There were a few actual athletic highlights as well, but as these all took place in curling and biathlon, we'll skip them so as not to put anyone to sleep. (I myself happen to like curling, but I also enjoy watching lawn bowls, so take that in context.)

So let us leave Torino, or as the Chinese call it, "Torino", by rounding up the results in some of the more hyped sports:

Figure skating - Michelle Kwan left Torino in tears and disappointment, and not just because Bode Miller kept ringing her up and asking her to go on a skating date. Her injury ended one of the longest and brightest Winter Olympic careers. Unfortunately, the chants of "It's about time, you geezer!" and "Give some of us a chance, you old fart!" from younger skaters, didn't make it a graceful exit.

The winner of the women's singles was Japanese skater Shizuka Arakawa, a revelation because she wasn't given a Bode of a chance to win, and also a revelation in the costume department for the most notable wardrobe malfunction since the 2005 Super Bowl, and we'll leave it at that, except to say that she is also currently the most popular skating champion in several decades. The additional irony of this, was that this incident was far less egregious than the average costume worn by an Olympic skater, or the fact that one of the medalists was named "Slutskaya."

On the men's side, tough skating punk Johnny Weir found out that he inspired about a much fear in his fellow competitors as he does in the Canadian Men's Hockey team, losing out on the medal race and on his attempts to get Bode Miller to ask him out on a skating date.

The pairs and ice dancing competitions I'll have to skip, because this is really too long for a proper football supporter to write about figure skating. (For a humourist though, this really is where most of the gold is...moguls notwithstanding.)

Ice Hockey - In a wild and unpredictable tournament, Canada, Russia, and the USA were all shut out of the men's medals. One U.S. sports columnist suggested that the U.S. should no longer use pros at the Olympics because, "Hey, they won in 1980 and didn't use pros!" his logic apparently being that deferring to something called the "Miracle on Ice" is a great way to get consistent performances at Olympics. The very same columnist then had the audacity to make fun of Bode Miller for making over-hyped statements. He should be Bode's press agent.

The Canadian and US women fared much better, earning Gold and Bronze respectively, and failing to draw any reprimand for repeated slashing fouls on Bode Miller in the Olympic Village when he asked them out on group "skating" dates.

Alpine Skiing - I'm not going to mention "you know who" here (No, Ms. Rowling, I'm not talking about Lord Voldemort... No, not him...no, it's Bode Mill... oops.)

Lots of Austrians won. A few Nordic skiers as well. Then some more Austrians. I forget the names. They were all German sounding, if I remember correctly. The Austrians viewed the whole Olympics as a loss though when a Frenchman won the men's downhill. Vive la France!

Ski Jumping - Austria (yet again), Finland, and Norway continued their joint domination of these events, proving that they can still cooperate with gravity without falling down too often. The biggest shock of the events here were when a German ski jumper had one of his skis more than 7 degrees out of alignment. He was promptly shot by a firing squad of biathletes.

Britain fared better in these events than in past years... by wisely deciding to not send any competitors at all.

Luge and Bobsled - I'm not really sure. It all happened so fast.

Speedskating - There were a number of rivalries. Apollo Anton Yoko Ono irritated the South Koreans. The South Koreans irritated the Chinese. Two American long track skaters irritated each other, and then, in the spirit that symbolizes the Olympics, shook hands briefly and went off to sign separate six-figure contracts with the Wheaties people...without wiping off their hands.

Such is the noble Olympic spirit.

Farewell Torino, Turin (English), Turinovskyisch (Russian), Turinobaba (Pakistani), Torinichensteinensprechensteinich (German), Torinichensteinensprechensteinich-ich -ich (Austro-German), Toe-ree-no (Texan)!!!

All right all you citizens of Torino on holiday, you can come back now! Sorry for the mess.

Raserfrazarole! Summabissitts!

Alsa, this weekend is memorial weekend, apparently.

Darren McGavin has passed away.

Many people will remember him from 1983's A Christmas Story. He played a father with a passion for turkey, very pecuilar lamps, and the most effective prime-time cursing since Fred Flintstone.

While I greatly appreciate that performance and film, my own remembrance is of his turn as the shabby reporter Kolchak in the appropriatedly named televison series Kolchak: The Night Stalker. In this series, he regularly investigated murders and other crimes that invariably led back to supernatural forces, including vampires and werewolves. Any reporter would give their eyeteeth for such scoops (whatever "eyeteeth" are...they sound like something spooky from the programme - teeth with eyes or eyes with teeth) , but invariably Kolchak would come away from his encounters having defeated the force of evil, but remaining completely unbelieved by all others, including what must have been the most skeptically discerning newspaper editor in human history.

I've often thought that in Anne Rice's An Interview with the Vampire that Kolchak should have snagged the interview instead of Christian Slater (who exhibits a completely unrelated shabbiness). I've neither read the book or seen the film, though I suspect Tom Cruise does a fair bit of bouncing up and down on his coffin, but I think having McGavin's Kolchak as the interviewer would offer the dual certainty that the interview would be tough and direct ("Have you at any time harrassed or bitten the Mayor or any of his staff?" "When you turn into a bat, do you follow FAA guidelines for air travel?"), and that, at the end of the interview, the vampire would get a stake up the gizzard.

Entertaining bloke, McGavin. God rest his soul.