08/31/04 - Father of the Pride is the worst TV show ever made.

I ... I ... I'm speechless. I don't know where to start.

Was it for familes? Do family shows say "slut" and "whore" much? I mean, I don't watch much Nickelodeon, but I don't think Spongebob talks about his virginity often. Not nearly as much as those freakin' pandas. Ugh.

It was freakin' ugly, too. Each character had lips, which I hate. Not that those lips matched up with with words coming out of their mouths, mind you. But that was okay, as I was more distracted by the un-furriness of them. They're lions, for Chrissake! Make them fuzzy!

Hmm, what else. Ugly charcter designs, too. None of them had any weight at all, they're all fluffy and light like little clouds. And their eyes! Someone once said the key to good animation is in the eyes. Well, we all know bad animation involves eyes like in Father of the Pride.

But back to the writing. Did I miss something in this particular episode - all of a sudden Nelson the Panda is in love with Kate the Lion? I mean, it's not like I expect a dream sequence of him running towards her in slow motion with Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet" playing in the background ... but, well, I actually do expect that from DreamWorks.

It was horrid. I mean, are Sigfried and Roy cool with all of the gay jokes, too? They were so cheap. Oooh, rhinestone codpiece. Haven't ever heard that about Sigfried and Roy before!

You know, I bet the only reason they played the episode without commercials is that we all would have switched during the first break, and never switched back.

But the biggest annoyance of the night is having Donkey from Shrek be the guest star next week. Holy shit. That sums up DreamWorks, and, to a certain extent, Katzenberg, right there. Beating a "good" idea to death. (I use quotes because I don't think a back-talkin' sass like Donkey is a good idea at all, but hey, the public liked him, and Katzenberg is just a whore for the public). Seriously, I bet the only reason he wanted to make this show was because he had a big hit with The Lion King back when he was running the Disney Studio.

It just pisses me off that this show is going to fail, and probably set back prime-time animation for years. That's the real tragedy.

08/31/04 - It's a whole damned town of fun.

On Sunday a couple of us went to Funtown U.S.A. - a local amusement park. My first inclination in writing this was to rip into how cheap and run-down everything is there. I haven't been there in ... dang, must be nine or ten years now, and I swear they haven't painted anything since then. Well, that's not completely true. They built a new "roller-coaster" so they must have painted that. Actually, scratch that. Try this - they "built" a new roller-coaster so they must have painted that.

The quotation marks work much better there. It's one of those "only one car on the tracks at a time because we just don't have the electricity for two" coasters. You know, "one car at a time because when, when it breaks only twenty-four people will be killed, not forty-eight" coasters. One of those, "one car at a time because forty-eight people screaming in mortal terror at the sound of the brakes grinding and popping and twisting is twice the decibels the town of Saco will permit" coasters. The old, "one car at a time because there are only thirty chiropractors on Route 1 in Saco to fix the backs of patrons, any more would upset the precious balance of doctors to patients ratio" coasters.

Okay, I'll stop now.

What I was going to really write about was how grim a crowd attends said park. But now I'm too busy thinking up coaster jokes. So let's just say that if an alien mothership abducted half of Funtown U.S.A. thinking they'd get a accurate cross-section of the world population the invasion of this planet would already be underway now. Unfortunately, the conquestadors would have brought size double XL jumpsuits for when we had to work in the slave mines digging up iron ore and gold for their spaceships. Oh, and specially made helmets to fit our mullets. And sadly no mouthguards to protect our teeth. ('Cause they don't think we gots any.)

Oh, and feel free to insert a joke about tattoos here. I couldn't think of any that go with the whole "alien invasion" thing above. Guess I'm just having an off day ...

08/30/04 - iBook is Back ... kinda.

Apple put in a new hard drive - got it back on Friday. Re-installed everything, put back the 5000-something-odd iTunes songs, and, for some damned reason, I can't connect to my Airport network to get online wirelessly. So I have to physically connect my computer to an Ethernet cable to go online. Geesh. It's like we're in the 20th century or something ...

08/29/04 - Postscript to George Lucas.

One more thing I want to mention, George. In Episode 3 you had better explain what happens to all of the Gungans. 'Cause I sure as hell don't remember Jar-Jar or his kids screwing around in Episodes 4, 5, or 6. Did the Jedi wipe them out after costing them another decisive victory? Did the Sith wipe them out for fun and sport? I hope it's something fun (and bloody)!

1/2 point if you make reference to it in the coming DVD release of Star Wars 4, 5 and 6 later this year. See, I know you can't resist changing them again. I mean, even beyond how you mutilated them for the "Special Editions" a few years back. So we might as well get some half-assed extra in Mos Eisley saying something like, "Remember how the Sith killed off that whole asinine Gungan race? See, I tells ya that the Empire ain't bad!"

Oh, and even as much as I looooove Nat Nat (see Muppet post below), you'd better NOT put Amidalia in those DVD releases for 4, 5 or 6. Tarkin blows Alderaan up point blank, we don't need any funny business with Nat Nat Portman looking forty years old.

08/26/04 - Ashanti? Crap.

So, if you didn't know, Disney finally bought the Muppets this year. And now they're going to make a Wonderful World of Disney TV movie The Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

I'm excited as all hell about this. I love the Muppets. Sure, they could use a little freshening and a little more exposure - but hey - isn't that Disney's strongsuit? They are to exposure what George Michael was a few years ago. No but seriously, they're great at abusing intellectual properties that way.

Anyway, back to my point. There have been all of these internet rumors about the casting of Dorothy in said Muppets' Wonderful Wizard of Oz flick. The two big names bandied about early on were Anne Hathaway and Nat Nat Portman. Obviously, I was torn - which direction to go ... hot, or hotter? Cute, or cuter? Tough choice. I mean, is there any way I could lose here?

And then the other day our pal Jim Hill wrote an article that Disney wanted none other than Lizzie McGuire as Dorothy. Get her back into the Disney fold. Make her happy (and a few bucks for Eisner, too.) Anyway, as you all know, I'm a big fan.

So I thought, "Gee, now there's no way I can lose. Anne, Nat Nat or Lizzie. Damn!"

Of course today I read that R&B "singer" Ashanti is gonna play Dorothy.

Damn damn damn.

Rounding out the cast we have Kermit as the Scarecrow, Gonzo as the Tin Man, Fozzie is the Cowardly Lion, Miss Piggy as the witches both good and bad, and Queen Latifah beginning her descent into Cuba Gooding territory as Auntie Em.

Damn damn damn.

I lose.

08/25/04 - Star Wars Episodes 7-9.

So I guess there's this new rumor floating around the internet that George Lucas is going to make more Star Warses. Three more, in fact. Sequels to the original trilogy. Episodes 7 through 9, if you will.

This is, and I think I speak for a large portion of the population when I say this, the stupidest idea since Greedo shooting first.

According to fan site Theforce.net, employees at Lucas's company Industrial Light and Magic have all been made to sign non-disclosure agreements to promise not to talk about the possibility of episode's seven, eight and nine being made.

George, there's a possibility you might find this website. So I want to take a minute and speak to you directly.

Hi, nice of you to stop in. Good to see you. Anyway, George, I grew up on Star Wars 4-6. I love those movies. I taped "A New Hope" off of TV when I was little so I could watch it over and over. Afterwards there was a documentary about this Star Wars fan who filled his garage with toys. Man, did I ever want to be that guy. (When I was little, not now.) I mean, back then my Kenner Han and Luke, and, to a lesser extent, Leia, always, ALWAYS kicked GI Joe's ass. I even saved the Time Magazine with you on the cover from when Jedi came out. I still have it, in fact. Heck, just today I drank from one of the free Burger King glasses from Jedi. Still don't believe I'm a fan? Check out track 8 from The Emperor's New Groove soundtrack! I named that sequence in the movie! (Also the Run Llama Run one, too, but I'll save that for my Tom Tkywer fan letter next week.)


Oh, and if you make Indiana Jones 4 I'm going to personally beat you to death with a plaster bust of Jar-Jar binks.

08/24/04 - The Village.

I finally saw M. Night's "The Village" last night. I liked it. I've heard lots of trash talk about it, but I think that, besides a few glaring flaws, it was an okay movie.

And Ron Howard's daughter did a great job in it. She's cute, too.

08/23/04 - iBroke.

This morning they finally called from the repair shop about my busted iBook.

"You need a new hard drive."

"No duh."

They're sending it back to Apple to fix it, I should have it by the weekend.

08/22/04 - Princess Diaries 2 is a rip-off.

Now, I haven't seen The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement, nor have I seen The Princess Diaries 1: Royal Yawnfest. But I was reading the review in Entertainment Weekly, and somehow I felt that I'd seen the movie before.

And then it hit me.

The Princess Diaries 2 is a rip off of King Ralph.

Anne Hathaway was all excited -- until she learned she dumped a Coppola.

Mia Thermopolis is now a high school graduate and on her way to Genovia to take up her duties as princess (contrary to what was presented at the end of the first film, Mia does not leave her home for a few more years). Mia continues her 'princess lessons'- riding horses side-saddle, archery, and other royal. But her complicated life is turned upside down once again when she not only learns that she is to take the crown as queen earlier than expected, but that she is also to be married before this event. Robert Schwartzman will not be reprising his role as Mia's love interest.

I didn't write that, and I really don't care that Robert Schwartzman isn't returning. By the way, wanna hear about this jackass? His full name -- "Robert Coppola Schwartzman". Yup. He's a Coppola. Jason Schwartzman's brother. Nicolas Cage's Cousin. Sophia Coppola's cousin. And of course Francis Ford Coppola's nephew. After filming of The Princess Diaries 1 he changed his name to Robert Cage, because his cousin is such a good actor. But then he didn't act in anything. So he changed his name again to Robert Carmine, after his grandfather Carmine Coppola, a composer. And he's the lead singer in that band Rooney that Seth Cohen loves on The OC.

Are those Coppola's reproducing faster than bunnies? I think we have to get a posse together and meet Francis Ford at the next tollbooth he drives through, if you know what I mean. Take him and Fredo out on the lake. Have him take a ride in Appolonia's car. You know.

Anyway, something about the crash-course in royal manners strikes me as very King Ralph-ish. True, Anne Hathaway isn't a sleazy lounge singer, but I'm sure there are lots of "stupid American" jokes.

And I bet she has someone on her side, helping her, like the Peter O'Toole character in "Ralph". And an evil ... I dunno - Lord or something - out to make sure she fails. Maybe John Rhys-Davies or Larry Miller. They both can play evil with the flair associated with a G-Rated Disney flick.

So yeah, don't bother seeing The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement - just go rent the last good John Goodman flick that wasn't animated or directed by the Coen Brothers.

08/21/04 - You'll never guess who was in Bridgton, Maine yesterday.

Yesterday we went to a screening of the new Manchurian Candidate starring Denzel Washington, Liev Schreiber and Meryl Streep here in Bridgton, and Jonathan Demme, the director, was there!

See, we have this fairly crappy movie theater, The Magic Lantern, right in town. It used to have one screen, but about fifteen years ago they split it in two - so now neither screen feels right. Both screens are off-center, the seats go right up to the wall, it's a mess. Or you could say, "the Magic Lantern is an old-fashioned movie parlor, built in 1929 and still operating. There are antiques in the lobby, but also the latest and best in movies showing on two screens. At the Magic Lantern you can enjoy Dolby/Digital surround sound and air conditioning in a Victorian atmosphere that is fetching and friendly."

Anyway, Demme was there because he summers nearby. You'll remember that about fifteen years ago Academy Award® winner Demme directed one of cinema's finest ... of course I'm talking about "Married to the Mob".

He also directed "Silence of the Lambs" and "Philadelphia", too.

It was pretty cool, after the movie he did a little Q & A and then the theater gave out free shit that Paramount had sent. Who would think that in little Bridgton, Maine, this would happen??

08/20/04 - "iBroke - still."

So I took the iBook into an Apple Authorized Repair shop in South Portland on Tuesday and they still haven't looked at it yet. Argh! Just give me a new hard drive! That's all it needs!

08/16/04 - "iBroke."

My iBook is busted again, so I might not update/e-mail for a little while. Hope this doesn't ruin Christmas or anything.

08/16/04 - "Blue and Gold Forever More, We're the Class of '94!"

Saturday night was Lake Region High School's 10 Year Reunion. We hired out this paddleboat on Long Lake for a two hour cruise. (By "we" I mean "the people who organized the cruise and got in contact with all of us lazy bums who just showed up to compare lives with each other").

It was actually really fun. I was kind of dreading it, honestly, because I just moved home and still don't have a job. Or a family. Or a wife. Or a girlfriend. Or even a dog. Plus I was kind of a tool in high school, and I'm sure people still think of me like that.

But no, the night was fun. We all met early at a bar across the street from the boat dock and started drinking. Actually, my buddy Zak and I started drinking around noon when we went out on a lake and floated in innertubes all afternoon. That way we also had a little color, too. I've found chubby tan people are more attractive than chubby pale people.

The pre-reunion was a hoot, nobody recoginzed my friend Angela, in high school she had the big glasses and the poofy hair (as we all did in the early 1990s) and now she has the contacts and the "professional woman hairdo". So many people asked me who's wife she was. it was funny.

The cruise itself was good - I'd say half of the class of 175 were there. A couple of conspicuous absences - both the Valedictorian and the Salutatorian didn't show. Neither did my buddy Mike, but a couple of people mentioned seeing him at Red Sox games over the past few years, which was funny.

We did have, however, a few stowaways from other classes, too. (My brother being the sanctioned one - he was the DJ for the evening!) One kid was totally drunk before the cruise, and kind of followed us onboard. When we were underway, we started asking around, "Hey, did he graduate with us?!?" Nope. But what are we going to do, throw him overboard halfway through the ride? Besides, my brother was the bouncer, too. I guess I shouldn't complain when you hire help like that ...

It was crazy catching up with people after ten years. "So hey, anything new?" I saw lots of baby pictures - the Class of 1994 is pretty good at that, it seems. Met lots of husbands and wives and girlfriends, which is odd. Then there's Chris and Debbie - they were the high school sweethearts who went to college together and then got married. They're the cutest couple. Exactly the same as in high school. It's pretty awesome.

Toward the end of the cruise I saw one classmate who might have had a few. She was all, "When did you get here?!?" I said, "About halfway through the boatride." She said, "Oh." Then it hit her and she made the best drunken-confused face. I assume that when she said "here" she meant "Maine", since most people knew I went to California but might not have known I moved home.

After the ride we went back to the same bar as the pre-reunion show. I didn't recognize one woman, so I asked Debbie who she was. I was more than a little surprised, and I guess I made the drunken-surprised face, because she caught me. So I had to do the whole, "Lisa? Is that you? You look great!" Yep. She gave me some shit for that. Thank God I didn't recognize her because of her hairdo and lack of poofy 1990s hair, and not because she had gained like, three-hundred pounds or something. It's more difficult to fake your way out of that one.

But the topper of the evening, at least for me, was after we were kicked out of the bar. (Because it was closing time. We closed out the bar. The Class of 1994 is pretty good at that, too!) As we all stood around front in the post-post-reunion gathering, one rather tipsy woman said, "Who are you? Were you in our class?" I said yes, and who I was. She said, "Oh! You're cute! You're bigger. You're cute."

So I guess that's good, right? In Vino Veritas?

08/12/04 - Lamest driver's license ever.

Do you want to see the lamest state driver's license ever? A pink and orange monstrosity? Well look no further than the new State of Maine Driver's License!!

The Sample from the State of Maine website

Look at the top banner! It's so very gay! I'm sorry, but it is. I mean, know gay men who would be embarrased of this. I'm sure the hunter/gatherer manly men of Maine must be mortified! Was this voted on by the general population? It couldn't have been. We need a scapegoat. Who do we blame? What about Secretary of State Dan A. Gwadosky? Is he responsible? Or do we just hate him so much for other reasons that we put his name on the banner, just to associate him with really bad and lame graphic design??

And seriously, what's with this "Where America's Day Begins" crap?? Horrid. Horrid.

One time, while at college in Boston, I had a problem with the old fashioned Maine driver's license. I was nineteen or twenty, not even twenty-one, and a couple of buddies and I wanted to go play billiards at Jillian's over on Lansdown St. On a Sunday evening.

Now you had to be eighteen to get in the door, and twenty-one to drink. We weren't even trying to get in to drink, just shoot some pool. And it was a Sunday, for Christsake. But nope. They rejected my license. The old Maine license looked so fake.

But at least it wasn't orange and pink.

Honestly, next time I'm in Boston I'd rather get turned down at the door than have to flash this. I mean, here's what my new one looks like, kinda:

08/11/04 - Ouch.

For the past two days I've been in intense lower back pain. Yesterday night I got so freaked out because my ass was getting numb. What if it was because of lack of circulation, I thought. Can you lose your ass like some people lose fingers or toes to frostbite??

Luckily, my best friend from high school is a Chiropractor. Talked to him tonight. He said it was the sciatic nerve. Just pinched.

Even more lucky, he's coming into town tonight for our high school reunion this weekend. He's staying with my brother and me. Free adjustments all weekend!

Hey, as long as I get rid of this numb ass pain, I'll be a happy camper ...

08/10/04 - Bar None.

I've always been fond of really lame bar names. You know, bad puns, bad logos, bad everything. My reigning favorite was C.J. Thirsty's in Portland. I used to call it C.J. McThirsty's to make it sound even more like something out of The Onion. Sadly, C.J.'s closed their doors sometime recently, before I ever had the chance to check it out.

But that doesn't matter now, I've got a new favorite bar name. Dan found it in Rochester, NY.

Tipsy McStaggers!!

I'm not lying. Check out their website if you don't believe me.

See? I kid you not.

Granted, it's funny to the point of absurdity, so it has to be on purpose, right?

Still, when I open my bar now, I don't know what to call it, for nothing, nothing will ever top Tipsy McStaggers!!

08/06/04 - Pictures of Yosemite.

So I've finally put some pictures from my cross-country trip online. Sadly, all of the digital pictures got bounced from my iBook a little bit ago, but I had photo cds made of the film I shot. Phew!

A Day in Yosemite

08/05/04 - I've Got No Strings.

I finally got my Apple Airport Express With AirTunes from crappy amazon.com (almost a month after I ordered it, thanks for really stepping on it Bezos!)

But I got the whole thing set up, connected to my brother's cable modem, and then, the best part, hooked up to the stereo. Now I can play my iTunes on my computer and have it come out via my stereo! Now that is technology I can get behind! This is seriously cool. Seriously.

08/02/04 - Canadian Strip Clubs - Question Answered!

This weekend I went down to Boston to visit some friends from college. My best friend from college and her roommate drove down from Syracuse, NY, and we met up with two dudes who still live in Boston. It was fun, other than the whole "Nomar" thing which I'd rather nottalkaboutrightnow thankyouverymuch!

Anyway, over the course of the weekend, I finally found the answer to a question that's been, well not driving me crazy or anything. I'd be lying if I said it was earth shattering. Nope, it's sorta been just lingering in the back of my head, really. Only for a little while. I mean, it did perplex me and a few of my compatriots. Okay, "few" might be a little much.

It was just Mike.

In Vegas.

When he was drunk.

Seriously, here is my question: How does one tip a stripper in Canada, where the dollar and even the two dollar monetary denominatons are coins?

I mean, you're not going to run about, dropping fivers in the G-strings of the ladies, even if five dollars Canadian is only approximately $3.81644 US.

Luckily for me, both of the women this weekend I was hanging out with are married. (Well, not as much "lucky for me" but more "lucky for me for the purpose of telling this story"). Living in upstate New York, for one of their bachelorette parties they went to a strip club. A strip club in Niagra Falls. On the Canadian side.

I instantly asked them my question.

Apparently ... get ready for it ... you put the dollar coin ... out on the stage like you would a dollar bill.

Yeah. Big let down.

But then ... but then they said some of the really drunk women would put the coin in their mouth, then kiss the stripper (exotic dancer?) and, while kissing, transfer the coin to his mouth.


08/01/04 - Nomar No-more.

Huh. So I was actually down in Boston all weekend long, a weekend which will live in Red Sox lore. Yesterday the Boston Red Sox traded away fan favorite Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs in this big package deal. It's a tragedy. I don't know what to say, other than this morning I really should have bought the book "Nomar: Fenway's Favorite" at the Barnes and Noble at Boston University.

Wait, I do know what to say. I hope, by magic and fate, that the Red Sox and the Cubs make it to the World Series this year, and that it goes to game 7, and in the 9th inning Nomar hits a Home Run in Fenway, because, yes, the AL won the All-Star game so all of the odd games will be in Boston, and the Red Sox lose the game. In Fenway.


I said it.

Here are some photos from this morning:

It was a cloudy day. As if the very heavens above Boston wept.

Guess it would have been overly conspicuous if on Friday this billboard right outside Fenway Park disappeared, eh?

I probably should have, but I just couldn't muster buying a Nomar Red Sox shirt ...

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