It's Oscars time. Somebody wake the Grouch.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Overlooked again.

Speaking of awards, Stew, once again we were overlooked in an annual awards contest. No, I'm not referring to the Oscars, as Jorge Carlito Viejo is up for a technical for his unique combination of film set catering and cinematography (I'm not allowed to give it away, but think empenadas con mole and Steadicams.) No, I'm referring to the 2007 Bloggies.

Alas, we came up short in the humour category, falling to a gossip site, a fashion site, the site of a world famous cartoonist, a site about overheard conversations, and a tech site. This has led me to the conclusion that we need to make the following changes should we ever wish to win one of these (with all bloody due respect) popularity awards:

  • Redesign the site so that the graphics are extremely pretty, instead of the archaic, old-school, off-template, yet beloved graphics we have now.
  • Drop a half-dozen f-bombs every other post.
  • Develop a world famous comic strip...THEN start the blog.
  • Change our names to match those of celebrity females (Lindsey Hilary? Ritchie Cameron?)
  • Discuss the ridiculous attire of said celebrites in graphic and unkind detail (more regularly than we do).
  • Drop words like "bandwidth bottlenecks," "asynchronous packet transfer," and "hydroponic quadronic quantum irridium processor malfunction" into the text.
  • Beg for more votes.

Nah!!!!

Except for perhaps the first one. I see something with lots of rocket ships and skimpily-dressed actresses.

Friday, January 26, 2007

We were NOT amused!!!!!!!

I'm sorry for the title but it was simply a gratuitous use of that royal phrase. The real thrust of my post concerns Oscar season, when we bestow golden statues and fawning accolades on drunken (or soon to be drunken) folks for the work they've done that year. On a side note I find a surprising lack of golden statues and fawning anything in my field of endeavors. Maybe it's the lack of the drunkenness, I'll have to remember that. The Academy Award nominations were made this week and I'd like to take a few moments to familiarize you with some of the nominees in various categories. Tonight we'll begin with the awards for Best Actress.

Best Actress is usually reserved for women with Dame in front of their names, the notable exception being Dame Edna. I still can't see how she didn't get the nod for her scene stealing performance in Fran├žois Truffaut's Day for Night but we're not here to argue that. Before 1955 the award was presented to the actress who sold the most subscriptions to Grit and made the best apple crumble. The sexist connotations of Grit subscription selling soon ended this practice and it was decided to give it to the actress that slept with the most producers. Just kidding, they actually decided to flip a coin and the winner would be determined by absolute chance. However, by 1961 it was determined that the award should be presented to the best actress in a motion picture from the preceding year. This was the turning point.

The award has been associated with many eventful incidents throughout the years. In 1968 it was decided that the Academy would cast a seperate Oscar for the award. The new statue had tiny breasts and was known as the Ophelia but was done away with in 1976 when Jack Nicholson couldn't keep his hands off of it. The strangest event in the awards history was the time in 1978 when Jane Fonda won it.

Now that we've given you a little of the flavor and history of the award let me present a short synopsis of the nominees for this years award:

Kate Winslet - Best known for her stirring turn in the buff as Rose in Titanic, this year Kate starred again in the buff in Little Children. Don't get me wrong, personally I think she can act just as well with her clothes on but she seems to be losing them at an alarming rate. Maybe her next role should be in a movie called Kate Winslet Keeps her Clothes On, then she might have a chance of winning the bleeding thing. Sorry, I got a little carried away there. I'm afraid Kate won't win again this year but at least she'll probably show up at the awards wearing something.

Dame Helen Mirren - Dame Helen (already a good sign) is going to be hard to beat this year in my opinion. Her performance in The, Queen was absolutely spot on and indeed gave me chills at times. For those not familiar with the movie it is a biopic of the famous English rock band Queen in which Dame Helen portrays drummer Roger Taylor. She must have worked with the real Roger on her drum solos because she was wicked hot on the sticks. Her work on Bohemian Rhapsody alone will probably be enough to get her the award this year.

Meryl Streep - This year Meryl, the woman with the most Academy award nominations for Best Actress, stars in The Devil Wears Prada as the ice cold Miranda Priestly. Sadly, her performance is just a rip-off of Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil in the live action version of 101 Dalmations. She's able to hide it pretty well until near the end when she remarks to a cowering Anne Hathaway, "Don't give me those puppy... dog eyes" a clear rip off of the Cruella line "Give me those puppies." This is no Sophie's Choice. It isn't even a She-Devil for that matter.

Penelope Cruz - Penelope stars in the Pedro Almadovar film Volver. Not having seen the film I will have to take from the title that it involves someone returning gifts after Christmas enduring the long lines at Wal-mart. Regardless the point is that Penelope is one hot babe and you always have to have at least one hot babe in the running for the award. That way as we're panning through the audience showing the nominees we'll at least know who doesn't have a chance because we all know hot babes only win Best Supporting Actress unless they portray transgendered men, serial killers, or June Carter Cash. Since Penelope portrays none of the above in Volver we must assume she will lose, but look great doing it.

Dame Judi Dench - Once again we have to give Dame Judi a leg up on the competion due to her title and the fact that...hey, everybody loves Dame Judi. How else could one explain the fact that she won Best Supporting Actress for a movie that she appeared in for no more than eight minutes. Not that she wasn't very royal and all but come on... EIGHT MINUTES. I would have to put my money on Dame Judi or Dame Helen this year because once again, dames always have a better chance in this category. Is that a pun? It must be something like it. Anyway, best of luck to Dame Judi.

Cate Blanchett - Not nominated, you'll find her under Best Supporting Actress. But remember, everyone loves Dame Judi. Call us back when you're name is Dame Cate.

So there you are, the nominees for Best Actress in a Motion Picture for 2007. I will leave you with a little scorecard so that you can make up your mind who will win.

Kate Winslet

  • Pros - Good actress
  • Cons - No clothes - if that can be considered a con.

Dame Helen Mirren

  • Pros - This dame plays a mean drum.
  • Cons - Not Dame Judi

Meryl Streep

Penelope Cruz

  • Pros - Hot babe
  • Cons - Not a hot Dame

Dame Judi Dench

  • Pros - do I have to say it again?
  • Cons - None that I can see.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Signature of Health

We interrupt this blog to bring you breaking news. According to Venezuelan dictator Hugo (pronounced HOOOO GO) Chavez, Fidel Castro is "almost jogging" only days after reports of his impending death were announced. We now go to a press conference being held by El Presidente Chavez.

Chavez: Yes he indeed is almost jogging and according to his brother Raul is thinking of taking up mountain biking and wind surfing.

Reporter: There are not a lot of good mountain biking areas in Cuba. Where would he do it?

Chavez: He would do it on his ranch after taking care of various tasks such as mending fences, milking the bulls, and taking care of chickens.

Reporter: How can you be sure that Fidel is in such good shape, have you seen him?

Chavez: No, not recently but just look at the signature on this document. Wow, zowie zow what a very strong and masculine and healthy signature, don't you think. Just look.

Reporter: But how do you know it was Castro that signed the documents?

Chavez: Well if you would like you can go backstage with these gentlemen and they'll give you a very close look at it.

Reporter: Uh, my goodness you are right what a healthy looking signature and it's definitely Fidel's. I can see that now, the light was bad a minute ago, but you're right on.

Chavez: I thought so. I'll be showing you a thumb-print tomorrow which will show beyond a doubt that Fidel will live to be at least 206 years old.

Please stay tuned for further developments.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I suppose it's better than the "Dry Heaves."

American sporting clubs have the quaint tradition of affixing nicknames to their teams. Other nations do this to some extent as well: Bolton Wanderers, London Irish, Bournemouth Catholic River Wideners Club. (Apologies... that last one was from a Monty Python sketch. I'm 50% certain that's not a real club.) However, in the U.S. the practice is de rigueur, which is French for "...gotta do that Hi!" (Apologies again...that was from Raising Arizona. The actual translation is "cheese in my trousers.")

Most nicknames are related to the region, city or state the club is from. This explains the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Some names are the product of over-zealous but undertalented marketing types. This explains the Washington Wizards and the Anaheim Mighty Ducks (now, just the Ducks).

Some names were clearly chosen as a result of the abuse of controlled substances. This explains the University of California-Irvine Anteaters.

Often the names are a source of embarassment. For several years, the Major League Soccer club in Kansas City was known as the "Wiz." This would be the equivalent of naming an English football club in Brighton the "Piss." F.C. Dallas in Major League Soccer used to be called the Burn. Most of us simply assume that the owner of the club named it for the feeling he had whilst finishing the last of the 24 vodka martinis he downed prior to the naming process.

So anyway, I was glancing at one of the American basketball minor leagues recently. The league is the American Basketball Association or ABA. This is not the league that Dr. J played in in the early seventies. If you're interested in how the current ABA fits in the hierarchy, the following list may be of assistance:

American Basketball Leagues in order of prominence:

1. NBA
2. NBA Developmental League
3. NCAA Basketball Division I
4. National Junior College Basketball
5. NCAA Basketball Division II
6. NCAA Basketball Division III
7. NAIA Collegiate Basketball
8. NCAA Women's Basketball
9. Pickup Games, Rucker Park, NY
10. High School Basketball
11. Junior High School Basketball
12. Church League Basketball
13. Drunken Fraternity Basketball*
14. Drunken Sorority Basketball*
15. Playstation 2 Basketball
16. ABA*
17. Beginners' Youth Rec Basketball*

Anyway, the ABA is an American league and thus the teams have colourful nicknames. The problem with the ABA nicknames is that they appear to be scraping the bottom of the proverbial barrel.

In most american sport, it's inevitable that nicknames will be recycled eventually in some way or another. Otherwise, you'd wind up with the same situation that bands now have in the music industry. All the good names, like the Beatles, Aerosmith, U2, and The Monkees are all gone. So, you're left with Death Cab for Cutie and Hootie and the Blowfish.

Well, the ABA chose this latter, seemingly more creative route. Unfortunately, the lack of good original nicknames is readily apparent. For example, here are three team names and nicknames from the ABA:

1. Minnesota Ripknees
2. Arkansas RiverCatz
3. Vermont Frost Heaves

I'm sure you can see what I mean now. Frost Heaves? What kind of chants get sung at a Frost Heaves match? "Our defence will give your shots rejection, because Frost Heaves are good at wretching!" It's an Emily Dickinson rhyme at best, and it doesn't exactly get the fans on their feet, unless of course the seats are where the wretching has occurred.

As for the Ripknees, obviously this is every other club's least favourite opponent.

Given the remarkable names chosen for ABA "franchises," I thought I'd conclude this little post with a challenge. See if you can tell the difference between the real ABA franchise names below, and the fictional ones I've made up and included in the list. No fair looking at the link for the league. Good luck and Wretch 'em Heaves!

Spot the real American Basketball Association (circa 2000-) team names among the fakes:

1. Honolulu Hula Hos
2. Jacksonville Jam
3. Trenton Scum
4. Quebec Kebekwa
5. Oshkosh B'Gosh
6. Strong Island Sound
7. Upper Peninsula Drifters
8. Bellingham Slam
9. Tidewater Bilge
10. Hollywood Fame
11. Regis and Kelly
12. Beijing Aoshen
13. Canton Chlamydia
14. Tennessee Mud Frogs
15. Birmingham Buttocks
16. Sauk Valley Rollers

Answers: All the even numbered ones are real ABA franchises. Number 5 is a children's brand of clothing. Number 11 is a popular ABC morning programme and future NHL franchise.

*There is some controversy about the order of 15 and 16 ...and also 13 and 14.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Party? Quirks?

In between collecting posts for the upcoming annual "Best of" post (and repeated posting about such) I thought I'd take time to tell you about the magnificent 2nd annual anniversary party we did.

I say did in the sense that we would have done it, had the people we invited actually turned up. I say turned up in that some of these people might have turned up had we actually invited them. I say might through the power of sheer optimism.

The actual celebration was Stew, myself, the missuses, the kids, and a large Chuck E. Cheese, who vaguely smelled of limburger. To be fair, that may have been the pizza.

However, had the above conditions been met, what a smashing do it would have been...

[Cue overused dream sequence music]

**********

Earl Fando: Well, it was certainly nice of you to make it to the party, Madonna.

Joy Behar: I'm Joy Behar.

Earl Fando: Whatever. (turning to other guests) Britney! Will you please stop with the crazy monkey business!!

Britney Spears: Sorry! I forgot again!

Zimpter Fiforg: But it's just her pet Rhesus monkey "Kevin" hyped up on caffiene and Twiglets.

Earl Fando: I know, but I want to stop the "banana jokes" before they start. It's not as if we're cross-marketing with the Maxim web site this week.

Zimpter Fiforg: I forgot. That's next week, isn't it? (looks at notes) This week is Grit.

Earl Fando: Ask her if she's got a pair of dungarees and a straw hat.

**********

Jorge Carlito Viejo: I am much the disappointed that the DeVito Danny did not show up. The empenadas con carne ensalada were for his favorites.

Danny DeVito: Hey, you *&%$# goof! I'm here! I even brought the tequila and enough limoncellos to knock Clooney on his *$$!

George Clooney: DeVito! When are you gonna crack open that 18-wheeler outside?!?

**********

Stew Miller: ...and the elevator over there takes you to wing four of the secret Batcave beneath the house.

Keira Knightley: Do you have a Bat-copter?

Stew Miller: No, we couldn't afford one, so we purchased a Bat-hovercraft instead.

Cameron Diaz: What about a Bat-plane?

Stew Miller: Bat-hot air balloon.

Rip Taylor: How about a Bat-motorcycle?

Stew Miller: Bat-touring 3-speed bicycle.

Madonna: Bat-boat?

Stew Miller: Bat-dinghy.

Madonna: Reaaaaallllly?

Stew Miller: Umm... Excuse me, I see Mrs. Miller's drink needs refreshing!

**********

Angelina Jolie: I understand you're in the NSA?

Nuffy Noe: No, that was just Earl's novel.

Brad Pitt: So, you're in the CIA then?

Nuffy Noe: No, I'm just a writer for the blog and inventor of the "Five Times Better" system of personal betterment.

Angelina Jolie: So, you're in the CIA then?

Nuffy Noe: Sure, OK... I'm in the CIA.

Brad Pitt: You just said you weren't in the CIA.

Nuffy Noe: I'm not.

Angelina Jolie: So which is it?

Nuffy Noe: Which is what?

Brad Pitt: Are you or aren't you in the CIA?

Nuffy Noe: So how do you like these Pringles' Wasabi Avacado Potato Chips?

Angelina Jolie: I give up!

Brad Pitt: Me, too!

(They storm off in the general direction of the Bat-hot tub. Peter Graves walks up and discreetly hands Nuffy a small cassette tape.)

Nuffy Noe: What's this?

Peter Graves: I'm Jim Phelps and this is your secret mission.

Nuffy Noe: Jim who?

Peter Graves: Jim Phelps. (long pause) ...Jim Phelps from Mission Impossible!!

Nuffy Noe: Ooooh! (across the room) Angelina! It's your dad!

(Peter Graves smacks his head with the palm of his hand.)

Nuffy Noe: Weren't you less wrinkly in the movie?

**********

Linus Coconut: Actually, I've only posted twice on this blog.

Jennifer Love Hewitt: Wow, that's deep.

Owen Wilson: That's groovy, man. Very mellow, my friend.

Martin Amis: A staggeringly brilliant demonstration of artistic restraint.

Maya Angelou: You rise! You rise!!! You rise!!!!!

Owen Wilson: Wow, you like totally got one more "rise" out of Maya Angelou than the number of posts you did.

Maya Angelou: That last one was in anticipation of his next post.

Crispin Glover: (Excitedly) Why are there rabid skunks in my pants?!?!?

Linus Coconut: I can see you're a fan of post number two, Crispin.

The Happiest Man in the World...after Brad Pitt we mean.

Scientists at the French Association for Random Thought have found a person they believe to be the "happiest person in the world". The reseachers at F.A.R.T. have studied the brain of Matthieu Ricard and determined through MRI's that he is one happy little camper. What is the reason behind the research? According to the article we can all be happier if we just do some meditation, transforming our sad right brain thoughts into happy left brain thoughts. Let's all try that for just a minute why don't we. Wow, I feel better already.

I decided to sit down with Monsieur Ricard for a little face to face concerning his ideas on meditation and to see if he was a happy as he was made out to be. Not that I don't believe the fine researchers over at F.A.R.T. but they're also the ones that told us Jayson Blair had it right when he was at the N.Y. Times.

Stew: Mr. Ricard it's nice to be able to sit down with you today. How are you feeling?

Ricard: Oh Stew, I'm as happy as a lark.

Stew: Good. Please tell me about your happiness and your meditation techniques.

Ricard: Well, it all began a few years ago when I was visiting my cousin in Nice. I became very interested in the study of meditation and its effect on my happiness. I found that if I thought about it hard enough, I could actually make myself be happy.

Stew: Interesting, what would you think about?

Ricard: I would generally think about the types of things that made me happy; food, sex, and music that made me feel a sense of euphoria. The more I meditated on these things the greater the feelings of happiness I enjoyed.

Stew: So you were able to concentrate on these things and develop a sense of happiness.

Ricard: Yes, those eggheads down at F.A.R.T. see it as an inhibition of right frontal lobe activity and an increase in left frontal lobe activity, but I just call it being mellow. Do you have a glass of water?

Stew: Of course, we can get you some water.

Ricard: Thanks, that's another thing I can thank my cousin for, seems he's a part-time chemist and gave me some of these pills for the headaches I used to have all the time. (shows some little green pills)

Stew: Uh, you know I think those are amphetamines.

Ricard: No, I think they call them migraines. Whatever they were I'm free of them now.

Stew: I mean the pills, I think those are drugs that cause you to feel the euphoria.

Ricard: What?

Stew: (sigh) Pep pills. (blank look from Ricard) Rippers, Smurfs, Speed, Whiz, or Fly Boys, whatever the name I think you've been taking uppers and getting the pychotropic effects.

Ricard: Then I take it these aren't cigarettes. (shows a small handrolled joint)

Stew: Cannabis.

Ricard: So, I'm really just an inadvertent druggie?

Stew: That'll certainly take the wind out of the guys at F.A.R.T. when you break it to them.

Ricard: What will my mom say?

Stew: Tell her you got some bad advice.