Friday, November 30, 2007

On THE ROAD with Cormac McCarthy

The first time I heard about Author Cormac McCarthy was when Billy Bob Thornton directed Matt Damon in the movie version of All The Pretty Horses.

On a side note, I hear Billy Bob was more than a little pissed off that his 3-hour opus was edited by the Weinsteins and released at a mere 2 hours. I would’ve loved to see Thornton's version, because I hear it stays true to the overall feel of McCarthy's novel.

Then, a couple years ago, the Coen Brothers announced they were shooting a movie called No Country for Old Men based on another McCarthy novel.

"Hmm," I thought to myself. "I’m going to have to pick up one of his books."

Finally, Oprah Winfrey picked McCarthy’s latest novel The Road for her precious Book Club. She even visited the reclusive author for a one-hour interview to talk about the book. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of Winfrey. But I will say that she is getting people to read. And, even if it is mostly Baby Boomer white women, I’m happy to see novels getting their due attention on the national platform. Plus she had a couple good picks in the past including The Corrections, The Color Purple and The Grapes of Wrath.

That was that. My interest was piqued. I picked up The Road on Amazon.com and devoured it in less than a month. (Hey, I'm a slow reader with very little time on my hands!)

So, how was it? Well, it’s very dark, very depressing, very bleak and very good.

From page one, you realize something ain't right in Denmark. The human population has exponentially been wiped from the Earth. How or Why? The reader is never told. There are whispers of ashes flying through the steel-gray sky to hint that there could have been a possible nuclear war. Plus, the absence of animals, including birds, deer and other wildlife, hint that possibly there was some sort of viral flu epidemic that swept the world and destroyed the land. Another possible theory is that a meteor struck the Earth, hurling ash into the atmosphere and instantly killing 99% of the Earth’s population including animals. Who really knows. To be honest, does it even matter? I don't really think so.

In any event, we’re thrown into the life of a father (no name throughout the book) and his son, who are pushing a cart down the road and headed South to warmer climate and some sort of happiness. From my point of view, I would say the book takes place on the East coast. Possibly Virginia. Maybe North Carolina or even West Virginia.

Throughout the book, they have some interesting run-ins with characters including survivors described by the son as "the bad guys". In a sense you feel that some of these "bad guys" are harvesting humans to eat. Although most of the cannibalism is insinuated, there are a few well-written scenes that set the tension meter high. In fact, there is a terrifying scene in a basement of a house midway through the book that still resonates in my brain.

There aren’t too many horrific scenes. However, there are just enough to make the reader comprehend that the world has changed. The rules have changed. And it’s a violent world where every man and woman are, pretty much, on their own. It’s almost like humans are deer running around in the wild scavenging for food. To put it bluntly, this is the father and son's life. And, in a nutshell, this is the book. Traveling around. Looking for food. Finding shelter. Hiding from strangers on the road. Defending themselves at all costs.

The young son is thrown into this seemingly uncaring, terrifying world with no sunshine, no fun, no school, no friends and, most importantly, no motherly love. While the father, who coughs up bloody clots every morning, is dealing with his own demons and slowly coming to grips with his own mortality. It’s a truly shocking reality that, I suppose, all of us must face when Death comes a knockin'.

Personally, as a reader and a father of two kids, I began to ask myself some rather blunt questions as I delved deeper and deeper into the novel. What would I do if I were thrust into this situation? Where would I go? Would I kill? What is the point of life? Why are we here? Why are we even trying to survive? What kind of advice could I instill into my kids that times would get better?

The ending, however, gives the reader a glimmer of hope that humanity, perhaps, will continue. But, by that time, you’ll be asking yourself the question "Is it all worth it anyway."

The writing is extremely simplistic, but effective. And highlighted by the fact that there are no quotation marks throughout the book. At times this can be a bit frustrating, especially if you're a copywriter. The conversations between the father and the son are brutally honest and very realistic. Nothing in McCarthy's writing seems to be forced. There are no flashy words and the prose is very straight-forward. In fact, it almost reads as a blow-by-blow journal of thoughts and actions of the father, told in a third-person point of view.

On a personal note, after reading the book I attempted to write a short story that mimicked McCarthy’s prose in The Road. (Enter Price is Right failure song here) Not a chance. It's truly difficult to write this way. Like I said, it may seem simplistic, but the author chooses his words as carefully as a master chef chooses ingredients for an award-winning dish.

I heard the McCarthy thought up the idea for the book when he was traveling with his young son. He was in a motel, looking out the window. He glanced to his son, who was sleeping on the bed, then glanced back to the window and imagined the hills on fire. That's when the whole novel hit him like a ton of bricks.

There you have it. The Road is a fantastic read. McCarthy is a great master of his craft. And I strongly urge you to pick up a copy and see for yourself.

FILM NOTE: Numerous movie web sites have reported that a film based on The Road is in the works with John Hillcoat set to direct. For all of those unaware, Hillcoat directed The Proposition, a gritty psuedo-western set in Australia. It’s also rumored that Viggo Mortensan or Guy Pearce will play the father. From a movie point of view, the book reminds me of a mixture of Se7en, The Unforgiven, Saving Private Ryan and Mad Max if they were all directed by Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line, The New World, Badlands). All I can say, is I hope they stay very, very close to the feel of the book.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

No Country for Old Coens

I haven't had the chance to see the Coen Brother's No Country For Old Men yet. To be honest, I've probably seen two movies this whole year in a theater. However, my good buddy Mac Cargould had the opportunity to view it this past weekend.

So, I thought I'd strike while the iron was hot and post his review:

I've been convinced for a long time that the Brothers Coen are amongst the best of the best American filmakers working today. They have an original style that cares about the different aspects of a movie (i.e. cinematography, music, editing...etc.)

And their sense of humor is fuckin' wicked.

I've been itchin' to see this movie since I heard about the raves it got at Cannes. So No Country for Old Men was my Thanksgiving Day movie.

It's been a while since I've seen a good Coen's brother movie in the theater. I walked in feeling like I was going to see an old friend. Right from the start, Joel and Ethan let you know that silence plays a big part in this movie. Something else they let know right from the start - that Javier Bardem is going to fuck some people up! He's the scariest thing I've seen on celluloid in the past ten years. Maybe it's his haircut, I don't know, but one thing I do know is that I'm not going to fuck with anyone I see who looks like that anymore.

The movie's based on a Cormac McCarthy novel. I've talked to some people who read more books than I do and they told me he's pretty well known for writing violent stories.

No shit.

The basic plot is really nothing new to movies. An ordinary person stumbles upon a lot of money. In this case Josh Brolin's 'Llouellen Moss' stumbles upon a major drug deal gone really bad somewhere in south Texas in 1980. When he finds two million dollars in cash in a satchel, his life hits the fan. Because that's when Javier is on his ass and you know it's not going to go well for Josh Brolin.

I always love the way the Coen's use music in there movies. They don't use shit in this one. I don't think there was one piece of music in the whole movie unless it was a radio in the background or something. But the silence really sets the tone for this movie and it makes Javier-Brolin chase that much scarier. You fear for Josh Brolin's life after you see what Javier is doing to everyone else in his path.

This could possibly be the most violent Coen Brothers movie ever. This could possibly be the best acting Josh Brolin has ever done. He's having a hell of a year. His character is no dummy and you really root for him. But Javier's character's might as well be death. And when death is after and wants to kill you with a cattle-prog you better kiss your ass good-bye.

And then there's Tommy Lee Jones. Tommy Lee's old crusty sheriff is not really on the screen half as much as Brolin and Javier, but his character is the backbone of the story. He's on the trail of Javier. Javier is pretty easy to track because he leaves dead bodies wherever he goes. But Tommy Lee is also the narrator and that's where this movie gets interesting. You realize this story is about violence. Tommy Lee understands violence. He knows that there has always been violence and there always will be. And you can just see in his eyes that he really doesn't want to find Javier he would just rather retire and get the fuck out. Violence is no place for old men.

There are plenty story details that I'm not going to get into and all the actors are in top form (Woody Harrelson is always good), which is what you come to expect from Joel and Ethan.


But, the ending will probably be the thing that makes some people hate this movie.

I admit, when I walked out of the theater, I felt like the movie left me hanging and I was pissed. Those damn Coens. But I couldn't stop thinking about it. And after days of thinking and discussing it with other people who have seen it, it makes sense why the Coens would leave the story with that kind of anti-climatic ending. I feel better about it now than when I walked out. However, I feel the need to go back and visit this movie again.

The best thing about Coen brothers movies is they're always good enough to visit again and again. Check it out.

- Review by Milan (Mac) A. Cargould

Thanks Mac. Gets me pretty excited to see it on DVD. I'll have a review of Cormac McCarthy's novel "The Road" either this week or next week. It seems like he has some quiet mixed in with a little ultraviolence in all of his books. That said, I'll also be posting more of Mac's reviews as long as he wants to keep on writing them.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mr. Skin's Top Movie Nude Scenes of 2007

If you're a big fan of Howard Stern, you know who Mr. Skin is. If you don't, well, then you're not living!

In a nutshell, Mr. Skin and his passionate staff at MrSkin.com comb the silver screen for cleavage, undies and nudie shots of both men and women. In fact, if you become a member of his site, he'll tell you the exact time (to the second) of each nude shot in almost every movie there is, even Hellen Mirren before she won an Academy Award for The Queen!

In addition, it's a great source for settling bets. For instance, if you're arguing with someone that Demi Moore appeared topless waaaaaaaay before the Burt Reynolds clunker Striptease. Check out Mr. Skin to find out and win your cash. (The answer is YES and it was in the Michael Caine comedy Blame It On Rio before her booby surgery).

That said, Mr. Skin just released his Top 20 Movie Nude Scenes of 2007. To be honest, I'm surprised Natalie Portman didn't finish No. 1. In fact, I was so excited for her nude scene in Wes Anderson's short Hotel Chevalier, that I wrote about it right here.

Although I haven't seen Marissa Tomei or Keeley Hazell in their roles. I'm sure there must be some pretty good stuff to see! I'll be honest, I haven't even seen all the movies on the list (I've highlighted them in red), which makes me want to go update my Netflix cache.

Other personal notables for me include Sienna Miller in Factory Girl (I hear they actually had sex in the movie for realism), Christina Ricci in Black Snake Moan and Lena Headey in 300. I was also turned on by the kick-ass sex scenes of Michelle Borth and Sonya Walger in the HBO drama Tell Me You Love Me, which didn't make the list. Obviously because it's a TV series.

One warning. Don't be fooled by Ashley Judd in Bug. Yeah, she's totally nude. But she plays a dirty, white-trash lady with no make-up and scratches all over her body. In a way, it's sort of disgusting.

Here's the list. Enjoy. Be sure to print it out and take it with you to Blockbuster for your next rental, you pervs.

1. Marissa Tomei - Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead
2. Keeley Hazell - Cashback
3. Natalie Portman - Hotel Chevalier
4. Christina Ricci - Black Snake Moan
5. Sienna Miller - Factory Girl
6. Roselyn Sanchez - Yellow
7. Malin Ackerman - The Heartbreak Kid
8. Eva Mendes - We Own the Night
9. Lena Headey - 300
10. Stormy Daniels and Nautica Thorne - Knocked Up
11. Alexa Davalos - Feast of Love
12. Chelan Simmons - Good Luck Chuck
13. Wei Tang - Lust, Caution
14. Ashley Judd - Bug
15. Olivia Wilder - Alpha Dog

16. Ana Claudia Talancon - Alone With Her
17. Danielle Harris - Halloween
18. Heather Matarazzo - Hostel: Part II
19. Amber Valetta - The Last Time
20. Lucy Liu - Blood Hunter

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Sears Catalog....My Christmas Bible.


It was a couple weeks before Thanksgiving in the early 80's. My dad, brother and I were outside playing Steelers football on a crisp, cool Saturday afternoon. I was John Stalworth. My brother Terry Bradshaw. I guess that would make my dad Chuck Knoll.

We kept replaying that scene in the fourth quarter of Superbowl XIV when Bradshaw took a snap, faked a handoff, and then threw a pass to Stallworth who, without breaking stride made a clutch catch in the middle of the field and took it all the way to the endzone for a 73-yard go-ahead touchdown.

The 'Stillers' (as we called them in the Ohio Valley) took the lead over the Rams and, ultimately, the Superbowl victory.

After going through that same exact play for the 100th time or so, a familiar green car came rolling down the hill and slowed down as it reached our house. We knew who it was. The country mailman.

When I was a kid, one of the most exciting things was getting the mail. In my opinion, when you're old enough to get the mail, you feel like you're contributing somewhat to the family. It's one of the special moments that makes you feel like an adult. But, not too much of an adult if you get my drift.

As the ball dropped from my hand, we slowly started walking over to the mailbox. Our mouths agape like zombie extras from Night of the Living Dead.

On this particular Saturday, the mailman was taking a little longer than usual, which could only mean one thing. He was packing our mailbox with a ton of extra goodies.

After he went on his way, the starting pistol sounded and the race had begun. Battling for space, my brother and I hightailed our way across the road to retrieve the treasure that lay inside our banged-up, black mailbox.

The handle was within my reach. But, as I grasped the handle, my brother pushed a hand to my face and belted in front of me. "Asshole," I yelled to my brother who returned my sour grapes with a shit-eating, Cheshire grin.

He opened the lid, reached deep inside the cylinderical, metal box and pulled out the pirate booty. A couple bills. A direct mail piece. Our country newsletter The Colerain Times.

It was a good haul by Saturday mail standards. Except, on this particular day, there was more.

"Look," I screamed at the top of my lungs. "You missed something."

Looking like Sam Jones sticking his hand into the alien rock pit in the movie Flash Gordon, I reached into the darkness of the mailbox and felt something big. Something important. Something fantastic.

As I hoisted the mysterious prisoner from its captivity, all was silent as we feasted our eyes upon:

The Sears Great American Christmas Wish Book.

It was 1,000 pages (or so it seemed) of Christmas possibilities published inside one dream catalog.

Now, before the internet. Before thousands of television channels and commercials. Before strip malls. Even before Walmart and Toys R' Us, The Sears Christmas Wish Book was our only Christmas link to the outside world of toys and fun.

It was the only way could get our fix on the latest and greatest toys of the holiday season.

It had every new toy. Every piece of NFL clothing. Every Atari video game. Every outdoor sports supply incuding sleds, balls, bats and kickballs. Basically, it had everything a kid could possibly wish for under the tree.

This book would be our Christmas Bible for the next month or so. We would eat dinner with it while sifting through the pages. We would dissect the latest and greatest new Stars Wars toys before school. We would take it into the rest room and read it for hours as we grunted and groaned on the toilet. In less than a week, it would have those white thumbprint smudges at the edges from turning the pages so much. We would circle, then recircle, every possible item that we wanted Santa to bring us under the tree.

On Christmas Eve, we would both finger through one last time before we went to bed, and pray to Santa Claus that our Toy Wishes would come true.

Which brings me back one particular Christmas involving NFL football and the Pittsburgh Steelers, which I'll talk about tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What's Up With Carrot Top?


Can someone explain what's up with Carrot Top nowadays? I want to know what happened to that funny, skinny geeky 1-800-CALLATT guy that we all knew and loved?

He looks like a weird Irish Michael Jackson...with muscles.

Monday, November 19, 2007

LLLLLoyd, sorry to see ya go.

Well, even before Ohio State's 14-3 win over Michigan at the Big House on Saturday, I heard murmurs and rumors that Lloyd Carr was going to step down as head coach of the Maize and Blue.

Although his scowl will be missed, I can't see him staying away from a football field for too long. In a year or two, I wouldn't be surprised to see him heading onto the NFL as an assistant coach or even coaching a lower-tier Division 1 WAC or MAC college team.

I was going to write a big send off, but Columbus Dispatch Sport Reporter Bob Hunter said it all in a poignant Carr column, which ran today. Check it out right here.

However, I will say this - the guy definitely left many a Ohio State fan dejected in the 90's. All of those Michigan wins still sting like they happened yesterday. I mean, whenever anyone utters the word 'Biakabatuka' - I still feel a singe crawl up the back of my spine. And, for that, I know Carr's angry grimace will be remembered by Buckeye Nation everywhere.

Now I'm curious to see who they hire as Jim Tressel's Megatron.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Let's Talk About The Ho's.


I fired up my computer today and came across this story on Yahoo news concerning Santa Claus and his "Ho, Ho, Hos".

And no, I'm not talking about the Hostess goodies with Devil's Food Cake and Creamy Filling, the silky lingerie that women put on their legs or even the gardening tool we've all used in the backyard.

Instead, I'm referring to what Doughboy referred to the ladies as in Boyz in Tha Hood. I'm talking about what Snoop Dog calls all of his bitches (oops, women). I'm referring to the above cartoon.

I'm talking about the ho's, mutha fucka. The ho's.

As it turns out, Santas in Sydney Australia, have been told to not use Santa's traditional catchphrase to the world - "HO HO HO" - because it may be offensive to women, in particular prostitutes.

Instead they've been instructed to say "ha ha ha", the Daily Telegraph reported.

I mean what household is going to keep saying the word "ho" so much that it will warp a kids's mind into thinking, every Christmas, Santa Claus is yelling "Prostitute, Prostitute, Prostitute" at the top of his lungs?

Erp, don't answer that.

"Son. Daughter, gather round," I'm going to say to my kids. "Your mother and I have thought really hard about this and, instead of referring to women as Ma'am, Lady, Grandma, Mom, Mother, Mrs, Ms or Miss, we want you to call them ho's instead. Got that? Now run along."

Seriously though. We're already being told to not say "Merry Christmas" because we'll piss of other religions. Instead, we have to say "Happy Holidays". Blech. On a personal note, when someone says "Happy Holidays" to me, I make it a point to say "Merry Christmas" as loud as I possibly can just to piss them off.

And now you're telling me that our Santas aren't even allowed to call a bitch a "ho" three times fast? Fuck that shit.

This stupid conservative PC world just gotten a little more PC. I guess the joke is on all of us.

Ha! Ha! Ha! indeed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Girl's Bathroom...REVEALED!

In college, I created a cartoon about a young Indiana Jones and his little Arabian friend going on a 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' adventure and unlocking the mysterious secrets of the girl's bathroom.

I was thinking of that cartoon on the way to work today and it brought back a flood of memories.

Like most kids, we would have basketball practice after school. It was that particular magic time when the halls were empty, voices echoed throughout the building and, pretty much, it was a free-for-all when it came to exploring unknown catacombs of the school such as the cafeteria kitchen, the teacher's lounge and the janitor's closet.

During a break in free throws, we were heading to the water fountain, when one of my fifth-grade chums ran over to the girl's bathroom door, pushed it open and darted inside.

A couple seconds passed before he shot his head out of the door and yelled, "Well, are you coming or not?"

Like a herd of sheep, we ushered into the great unknown abyss known as the girl's bathroom.

As we entered, the first difference I noticed was, of course, was no urinals. Now, at the time, I knew women had different body parts and that they couldn’t stand up and pee (Although this wasn’t the case in college). Hence, no urinals.

Another observation: unlike the boy's room, all the bathroom stalls had doors.

To this day, I never understood the phenomena of no doors on boy’s bathroom stalls.
Although I remember walking in on many kids grunting, groaning and wiping with reams and reams of toilet paper - in my 12 years of school, I never, ever took a shit in a school bathroom. And it was primarily due to the lack of stall doors.

As we delved further into the bathroom, I noticed the pink walls. The color gave the girl’s bathroom an overall comfortable ‘girly’ feel. It was actually very welcoming. Had this option been available to me, I would have more than likely let the turds fly in school. Possibly numerous times per day.

Instead of the zoo-like urine and shit smell found daily in the boy’s bathroom, I remembered a dinstint fresh, fruity smell emitting from the air. Also there were no strands of toilet paper on the ground and the balled-up brown construction-paper towels were placed nicely and neatly in the trash can. Man were these girls clean.

Then, all of a sudden, one of my fellow teammates shrieked...

"What the hell is that!" he yelled pointing to the far wall of the girl's restroom.

It was at that exact moment, we came in contact with the Lost Ark of the Covenant...

THE TAMPON MACHINE

Being in fifth grade, I was still a boy. I played kissing games and spin the bottle with girls. I think I even had a psuedo girlfriend or two. In short, I knew girls and boys were different and all that jazz, but I didn’t know we were THAT DIFFERENT.

I would overhear my mom telling people that she was bleeding. I would see the remnants in the trash can, but I just assumed she cut herself. I remember going to the movies and watching The Blue Lagoon. I got freaked out when Brooke Shields had her period in the water. I thought there was a creature under the water biting her.

Suffice to say, I wasn’t educated on the love-making aspect until a little later down the line - a couple years later to be exact. That's when the light went off and I said to myelf, "So that's what that machine was."

So there we were, my buddies and I, our mouths agape as we stared at this machine in awe.

"Man, I wish we had a machine like that in our bathroom," one kid murmured. To be honest, I sort of did too. I was a little jealous that these girls got so many perks. Like the clean bathroom. The pink coloring. Doors on the stalls. And, of course, this mysterious machine.

Boy was I wrong.

In hindight, I liked our little boy’s room. I liked standing by the urinal, pulling my pants all the way down to my ankles and taking a good ol' man piss. I liked the no doors on the stalls. I liked the toilet paper everywhere. Hell, I even liked the poop smell mixed with vomit.

But, you know what I especially like? The fact that I'll never, ever, have a period and/or menstrual cramp as long as I live.

More importantly, I'll never have to use one of those machines. Ever.

Unless, of course, I get shot in the butthole.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Daylight Savings Time Sucks!!

Since we turned the clocks back a week and a half ago it's been gray in Northeast, Ohio. And I'm not talking moody gray...I'm talking gray gray as in cloudy, shitty gray.

Ahhhh, the end of Daylight Savings Time.

Everyone that I know hates the "Fall Back" portion of Daylight Savings Time for a number of reasons. The most obvious being that, well, it gets darker earlier.

Below is my Daylight Savings Timeline for Northeast Ohio. (Arizona, California and Florida...go fuck yourselves).

DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME ENDS - NOVEMBER 4
Major suck. You're coming off a great summer of mowing, running, biking, vacationing, partying and simply being outside enjoying the sun. Not only are you trying to get used to the time change, but you slowly beging to realize that you'll be driving home in the dark for the next four months. In addiiton, your kids are all screwed up. And so are your pets. Plus, for anyone that hates driving at night, there are all those bright headlights and breaklights you have to deal with. (Boy do I sound like an old man!)

THANKSGIVING TO THE FIRST WEEK OF JANUARY
I like to call this the 'honeymoon phase'. You're finally accepting the fact that it's going to get dark earlier. And, look what we have here to make you forget...pretty colored lights to get you in a festive mood and excited about the upcoming holidays. With visions of sugarplums, days off from work and anticipated booty under the tree (and in your bed), you tend to forget the fact that it's pitch dark at 3:30 p.m. Plus, the glimmery glow of green, blue and red lights shines a calming, hopeful spirit onto your soul. Thanks Satan Claus!

END OF JANUARY
By this time, you're eating a bowl of Breyer's ice cream staring out the window with a faint glimpse of hope that you'll eventually be able to get out and get some sun and exercise. Oh, don't get me wrong, you'll be outside - shoveling the snow, throwing salt on the sidewalk, scraping your car off and slowly trudging through the slow, slow traffic to your job. By this time, however, the days are getting noticeably longer. But, you can't tell due to all the grayness and clouds blanketing the Ohio skies. I forgot to add that your skin is also turning a distinct shade of silver.

FEBRUARY
You've been in your house waaaaaayy to long. You're sick of everything, and everyone, in your house. In fact, you're slowly turning into Jack Torrance from The Shining and saying "Hair of the dog that bit me, Lloyd." and "I'm not gonna hurt ya. I'm just gonna bash your brains in. I'm gonna bash 'em right the fuck in." To keep some semplance of sanity, you rearrange your furniture so that it appears you're coming home to a different house...it doesn't work. You've seen all the good movies. In fact, there are only shitty movies at the theaters. In addition, the nights drag on, the cold air blows outside and the only thing keeping you sane is the sweet smell of whiskey on your breath. Days are considerably longer - but you can't tell because you're drunk. Redrum, indeed.

MARCH 1-8
Ahhh, the countdown begins. Only eight days left until....

MARCH 9
DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME BEGINS. Time to spring forward! Time for renewed hope. Time to start tuning up the lawnmower. Time to start visiting your natural parks. Time to gear up for vacations, Memorial Day and, most importantly, long days! It's time to REJOICE!!!

That is, until next November. Sigh.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Michael Mann's Nike Commercial

What do high-powered directors do when they're not filming movies? They direct television commercials, of course.

Film Director Michael Mann (Miami Vice, Ali, Heat, The Insider) revisited the small screen of television and made the following commercial for NIKE Football:



Not sure why he decided to do this commercial. Maybe it was to test new technology for one of his upcoming movies - Frankie Machine or The Few. Maybe it was to make a couple bucks. Maybe because he was bored. Whatever the reason, I'm thoroughly impressed.

Set to the music of the final chase scene in The Last of the Mohicans, Mann pretty much brings across the intensity, the passion and the aggression involved in with pro football. Thanks, in part, to the 'acting' of Shawn Merriman (San Diego Chargers)and Steven Jackson (St. Louis Rams).

I'm not sure about you, but after viewing this commercial, I got goose bumps. Then I wanted to suit up, run out of my house and tackle someone in my neighborhood. Anyone. Then do it again. And again. And again. All the way down the streeet...to the police station.

For a more high-definition video of the commercial, visit Nike's site right here.

Does anyone out there know who did the cinematography? I visited a number of site and can't seem to find out who filmed the thing. I'm just curious if it's someone from the agency that produced the commercial or Mann's choice such as long-time collaborator Donte Spinotti.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Things Overheard in Cleveland Cartoon #1

Here's the first in what I hope will be many Witness C-Town (Things Overheard in Cleveland) cartoons:


Working downtown, I'm fortunate to be around a mixed group of people from various races, demographics and income levels. That said, I always keep my ears open for interesting comments and funny scenarios that might make great cartoon fodder.

So whenever I witness something cartoon-worthy, I'll draw it up and share it with you. And that's a promise.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"Fucking Think About It, Man."

A couple months ago, I watched the movie The Prestige directed by Christopher Nolan (Momento, Insomnia, Batman Returns).

It's a pretty interesting movie about dueling magicians...with a twist.

Afterwards, I was very curious about the life and times of Nikola Tesla (played by David Bowie in the film), who had a small, but critical, role in the movie.

That's when I came across the following interesting nugget of information on Tesla's Wikipedia’s entry:

"The single strangest invention Tesla ever proposed was probably the thought photography machine. He reasoned that a thought formed in the mind created a corresponding image in the retina, and the electrical data of this neural transmission could be read and recorded in a machine. The stored information could then be processed through an artificial optic nerve and played back as visual patterns on a viewscreen."

Suddenly I got nostalgic.

When I lived in Columbus, I had a creative buddy who I worked with at an animation sweatshop (calling it a company would be too nice).

Sometimes he would come in stoned. And during those times we would have interesting conversations about various topics ranging from movies and animation to physics and comedy. Sometimes the talks were serious. But most of the time, they were humorous.

And I remember he would always say "Fucking think about it man."

One day he came in (obviously stoned) and proposed an idea creating a camera or computer program that could take pictures of the thoughts inside our brains (Much like Tesla’s idea above.)

I was intrigued.

ME: "But instead of just taking pictures what if....."

HIM: "...we could film a person’s thoughts and dreams, record them onto some sort of computer database..."

ME: "...then edit them and release them as movies?"

HIM: "Fucking awesome!"

The brainstorm had begun. The creativity started to flow. Ideas were thrown out. Some good. Some bad. About 30 minutes later, the brainstorm ended just as fast as it had begun. We both went back to our work.

But as I looked over to my buddy, I could see the wheels still turning in his head.

"You know," he said. "If this concept was real. I mean, if it really worked. Normal people’s dreams would be more interesting; more fantastic then anything the best directors and writers in Hollywood could think up."

He continued.

"You would have bums, hookers, psychopaths and lowlifes all becoming instant celebrities off their dream movies. They would be instant millionaires overnight. It would turn Hollywood on it’s heels, man. In fact, Hollywood as we know it would no longer exist."

"Fucking think about it man."
he exclaimed.

Another idea. Another spark. Another fun conversation.

It was those fun, impromptu brainstorming sessions that kept me coming back to my job even though I was barely eating and making shit for money.

I guess it goes to show what can get you motivated to get your ass up out of bed, put your clothes on, eat your Mr. T cereal and get you to work.

Fucking think about that man.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Concerning Copperfield's Magic Wand.

A couple days ago, I overheard a gentleman at the Tower City Mall in Cleveland, Ohio, tell a couple twenty-something girls that he was going to "Copperfield 'em".

Of course, he was joking. But it does make you think.

It's sad, sad world, when "David Copperfield" is being used synomymously with the word "rape".

Look, I agree that the guy may be a little weird and reclusive (as reported by TMZ.com), but do I think he would fly a woman down to his private island and viciously rape her...simply because he's David Copperfield and above the law? Hell no.

Who would want that press? And think about how much this guy stands to lose? I mean, he could really have any girl (or guy) he wants. And, if he was really lonely and horny, he could always hire a high-class hooker and play make believe.

Frankly, I'm not too sure I want to live in a world where one of my favorite magicians is being branded an 'alleged rapist'. But I digress.

Copperfield's recent sexual allegations sparked a memory about one of the most fantastic magic tricks I've ever seen.

The year was 1983. The Cold War was in full effect, millions watched M*A*S*H end after 11 years on television and Return of the Jedi was filling movie theaters and, in the process, smashing box-office records.

There were also rumors swirling around that Copperfield was at it again and was going to attempt one the biggest magic tricks in the history of the world.

Screw sawing someone in half, screw shoving those stupid swords into the rectangle box and screw those stupid card tricks, Copperfield was going to do the unthinkable and make the Statue of Liberty disappear.

Color me impressed.

Being a magic fan (insert 'gay' jokes here), I was a little dubious that a young magician such as Copperfield could pull off such a feat. Harry Houdini? Certainly. Harry Blackstone Jr.? Possibly. Doug Henning? Maybe.

But David Copperfield? No freaking way.

Well, I made sure my pessimistic 11-year-old ass was firmly planted in front of the TV when Copperfield waved his magic wand (No not that one!).

With bated breath, here's what I witnessed:




Years and years have passed and I still have no clue how he did it.

A couple magic blogs that I've visited (insert gay jokes here, too) claim the audience was sitting on a revolving platform that rotated slightly to the left, where another blank Statue of Libery platform was constructed, which made it appear as if Lady Liberty had disappeared. Voila!

A lot of other sites claim it was clever lighting, mirrors and smoke techniques. Just your basic, run-of-the-mill disappearing illusion - but on a much bigger scale.

But, the little kid deep inside of me just wants to believe that maybe, just maybe, Copperfield is truly magical. Maybe he wields mysterious powers that the world will never, ever comprehend.

Almost like that one bearded magician who walked the Earth a long, long time ago and turned water into wine...

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Monty Python's 'Find the Fish'

I saw Monty Python's The Meaning of Life a long, long time ago. It's always held a special place in my heart - especially the fat guy puking scene and the sex education class.

However, I could never shake the images, dialogue and overall creepiness of this scene - Find The Fish. I know it's supposed to be funny - but it scared the crap out of me when I was little, especially the elephant waiter with a limp.

If anyone has any idea what this scene is supposed to be about I'm all ears, er, eyes. Of course, I know the fish is in between his/her legs, but nonetheless....

Enjoy (compliments of YouTube):

Monday, November 5, 2007

Eco-Cremation, Rotting Corpses & Compost Piles.

If you ever have the pleasure of having a sit-down, heart-to-heart with Your Finest Eimer, you'll ultimately get to know a couple things about who I am as a person.

First off, I cuss a lot. And, when drunk, I tend to throw my comments into the juvenile gutter with jokes about sex, drugs, pooping, peeing, fucking and sucking.

Secondly, when I die, you'll find out that I don't want to be buried in some stupid casket where I can be dug up and studied by aliens (both illegal & space), anthropologists or even Indiana Jones.

In fact, now that I think about it, I'm not too sure I want to be cremated either.

What's a dead, rotting human corpse to do?

Well, I wasn't too sure either until I picked up this book called Stiff, The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. In the book, Author Mary Roach talks about different uses for your body after you die.

For instance, did you know you can donate your body to a plastic surgeon school so they can practice facelifts on your dead head? You can also donate your body to CSI so they can learn various dates and times of decomposition in different types of environments (in the cold, heat, outside, woods, etc.)

It's a great book and a fantastic read. But, the part that struck a cord with me was the chapter dedicated to a new type of eco-cremation called...RESOMATION.

You know that big compost pile you have in your backyard filled with egg shells, pieces of steak and old spaghetti? Well it's sort of the same process. But it's a human body. And it's sped up to just under three hours.

Resomation (from the Greek word resoma meaning the rebirth of the body) is a process for the lawful, ecological disposal of human remains. Well - lets be honest - it's not exactly lawful in the United States, but a company in Great Britain called 'Resomation Limited' is one of the first companies to market this world-wide alternative to burial and cremation.

So how does it work? Well, I'm not a scientist, but according to an article I found in the British Newspaper The Mail on Sunday, your body is placed in a silk bag withing a metal cage frame, which is then loaded into the resomation machine.

The machine is then filled with a mixture of water, potassium hydroxide, and heated to a high temperature (around 160 degrees centigrade), but at a high pressure which prevents boiling but instead promotes dissolving.

In just three hours (a viewing of the movie Titanic), your body has successfully been transformed into a small quantity of liquid that's filled with amino acids, peptides, sugars and salts and calcium phosphate.

The liquid and the dust are returned to the next of kin to do with as they please. In my case, I think it would be neat to be composted somewhere cool like a rain forest, the Adirondacks Mountains or even Ohio Stadium. And unlike cremation, a composted body is filled with nutrients that will help, not harm, the environment. Your body will actually help trees grow.

It's the circle of life, man. (Pass the joint.)

Look, even if I achieve eventual cartoon or writing stardom, I really truly don't think my body will be up there with Tutankhamen, Stalin or even Jim Morrison. I can only hope my funeral will be as exciting as the Ayatollah Khomeini - when some three million mourners showed up and idly grabbed at Khomeini's coffin, pried it open and, eventually, yanked their beloved patriarch to the ground. Now that's a fun funeral.

And with the rapid number of baby boomers having heart attacks due to the consumption of too many McDonalds Egg McMuffins, it won't be long until our cemetaries are filled to the rim...with Brim!

That's why the idea of resomation is extremely intriguing to this aging Gen X'er. I mean, who says there have to be only two ways to get rid of your body? The government? Pfffft. Fuck that shit!

If I ever come into any extra money, I would definitely invest in a company like this. Hell, I may even become a caretaker. Plus, I would offer an affordable price that would give crematoriums and old-fogey funeral homes a run for their money.

So who's with me?!? How much do you want to invest?

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Free-Hump Card

I've been thinking about the Free-Hump Card for quite some time. I think it's got some legs. Here's the premise...

Each year, everyone in the United States over 18 years of age is sent a card in the mail which grants the ‘cardholder’ sex with any woman or man in the United States for ‘Free’.

No wining and dining. Just sixty-nining. No jumping behind the bushes. No clubbing people over the head with a log. No more caveman jumping through hoops stuff. No feats of strength.

Just a good old-fashioned Free-Hump Card.

But, here’s the catch, if you approach a woman or man and flash your Free-Hump Card, she/he can refuse ONLY if someone has already used their free-hump card on them.

They can turn you down fair and square and not be held accountable. In some cases (especially if it's a dude), people might be so flattered that they’ll give you a ‘freebie’. But, I really, truly doubt it.

But, if they had not yet received a Free-Hump Card, then – by law – they’re yours for the taking. And, let me make this crystal clear, that goes for women using the card on men (or other women) as well. This isn't Russia or Iran!

Just think of the possibilities.

On January 1 of the new Free-Hump year, you could stalk (did I say stalk?) a movie starlet of your choice. For conversation sake, let’s say um, I don’t know, Diane Lane. You’d find out where she was going to be on New Year’s Eve. Then, as soon as midnight hits, you can beat out her husband - Josh Brolin - and redeem your Free-Hump Card on site. Of course, you may get punched in the face. But, who cares. Eh?

Marvelous. Of course, there may be a bunch of other people/stalkers wanting to hump her as well, so they’ll already have her stalked out and cornered. My advice would be to find someone that lives out in a rural community. Someone who doesn’t do much on the weekends (or New Year’s Eve for that matter). I’m thinking someone Amish.

In hindsight, it would be an advantageous for a husband to use his Free-Hump Card on his wife and vice versa just to secure the fact that neither gets ‘humped’ by a stranger.

But, that’s the beauty of the Free-Hump Card. It’s a tangible Catch 22. Basically, if you love your wife, you’ll use the card on her and vice versa. End of story. If you don’t, well she’ll know your intentions and, to exact revenge, she’ll use her card on someone else. Thus, separating the loving relationships from the unloving ones. Divorce has never been so easy!

"Now Eimer," you ask, "Would I be able to use my Free-Hump card on another woman even if I'm married?" My answer would be "Of Course" but only if you received a prior ‘thumbs-up’ from my wife-to-be. Of course, that leaves your wife open for someone else's Free-Hump Card.

Or, say I wanted to be deceptive, I would pay someone and get their Free-Hump Card (say $10,000), proceed to use my card on my wife then run out and use the purchased Free-Hump Card on someone else. I agree it is a bit deceitful. But hey, it’s my make-believe world and I can do whatever the fuck I want.

You know, a lot of people will be yelling at me saying that this Free-Hump Card is ‘glorified rape’ - more so from the women's point of view than the men's. I’ll say nope. In my make-believe world this was an imaginary bill that was passed through my imaginary Congress and made into an imaginary law. So, if it’s imaginary law, it can’t be considered rape. Unless it gets overturned in my imaginary supreme court and I get imaginary impeached. Which will never happen because, in my make-believe world, I will run a dictatorship and you will die even before you think of impeaching me.


And yes, everyone must participate in the game - even old farts over 90-years-old. If you refuse, you'll be beheaded by guillotine in a town event that will take place at the end of the year - say December 25 or somewhere around that date. Even guys and girls with unredeemed Free-Hump Cards will get their heads cut off at midnight on December 31 of each year. (Hey it’s a brutal world out there.)

"What?" You say, "But, that’s just not fair Eimer."

Well, in my make-believe world, life isn’t fair. Be very happy you don’t live there.

Now who wants a Free-Hump Card?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bigfoot Spotted in Pennsylvania?

As you may or may not know, I wrote a couple posts about Bfro.net and the top six pieces of proof that Bigfoot lives.

Now, I'm not too sure if a couple well-crafted Bigfoot posts automatically turns me into a bonafide professor on the subject. But, believe it or not, I have been hammered with e-mails asking for my opinion about the recent alleged Bigfoot photographs taken in Elk County, Pennsylvania. (Well, three e-mails actually).

The story is gaining some steam and making the rounds on various, legitimate news websites. As a matter of fact, Yahoo.com ran a front-page story late afternoon on the whole incident.

In order to get you up-to-date on all of the hullaballo, read the Bigfoot Field Researcher Organization's account of the story RIGHT HERE.

My impression is that it's NOT a Bigfoot, but a scrawny, skinny, elderly bear looking for some food. Granted the pictures do look 'primatish' (is that a word?). But, if you compare the bear cubs in Image One to the creatures in the other two pics (including the one above), my opinion is that the creature is way too small to even be considered a bonafide Bigfoot.

"But Eimer, could it be a baby Bigfoot?"

Yeah. Sure. I'm with you. I can see you grasping for straws on that one. But, it's NOT a baby Bigfoot. It's a skinny fucking bear.

So, there you have it. My opinion wrapped up neat and tight. And tied with a bow.

Now, after seeing the evidence, I'm curious. What do you think?