News 2005

And don'cha come back...

I really don't want to sound like this post is meant to degrade or take anything away from the great state of Idaho.  I've never been there before so who am I to pass judgment, right?  I wouldn't mind visiting sometime, to be honest.

Okay, pleasantries and apologies aside...

I read on Snopes today that the Idaho Legislature passed a resolution commending filmmakers Jared and Jarusha Hess for the many ways in which their film Napoleon Dynamite portrays the positives of life in Idaho.

Miscnapoleon_1I have seen Napoleon Dynamite and, while I would agree that it doesn't make fun of Idaho, per se, I never really perceived the film as complimentary of life in the state either.

I would just like to take a moment to make mention of some of what I perceived to be the funnier points of this resolution...

WHEREAS, the Preston High School administration and staff, particularly the cafeteria staff, have enjoyed notoriety and worldwide attention;

Hahahahahahaha!!!!

WHEREAS, Uncle Rico's football skills are a testament to Idaho athletics;

Ummm, is that really something to be proud of?

WHEREAS, Napoleon's bicycle and Kip's skateboard promote better air quality and carpooling as alternatives to fuel-dependent methods of transportation;

Yeah, but wouldn't insurance premiums rise a bit considering Napoleon's penchant for "sweet jumps"?

WHEREAS, Rico and Kip's Tupperware sales and Deb's keychains and glamour shots promote entrepreneurism and self-sufficiency in Idaho's small towns;

Isn't this what freelance web and graphic design are for?  Damn, and I thought I stood a chance in the world...

WHEREAS, Napoleon's tetherball dexterity emphasizes the importance of physical education in Idaho public schools;

Oh, those poor children have no hope whatsoever, do they?

WHEREAS, any members of the House of Representatives or the Senate of the Legislature of the State of Idaho who choose to vote "Nay" on this concurrent resolution are "FREAKIN' IDIOTS!" and run the risk of having the "Worst Day of Their Lives!"

Yeah, you'd have to be a Freakin' Idiot to vote against this.  The negative press would kill any chance of a re-election.

I am now awaiting the e-mail that will inform me of the nation's first instance of a restraining order taken out by an entire state against a solitary individual.  I'm sure it will read something like...

Dear Kevin "Freakin' Idiot" Apgar,

While we appreciate your initial attempts at "smoothing things over," per se, at the beginning of your blog post dated November 28, 2005, found at http://kapgar.typepad.com, we must take this opportunity to inform you that you are not welcome in the State of Idaho, nor will you ever be.

We take our state very seriously and do not appreciate your attempts at humor.

Should you ever come within 500 feet of our state's borders, all law enforcement officials and duly deputized citizens have been instructed to beat you with nunchakus and/or shoot you on sight, whichever proves most convenient in the given situation.  Should you, somehow, make it through this first line of defense, a pack of rogue llamas have been trained to detect your particular "odor" and will spit you into submission at which time you will be apprehended, tied to a pole, and shown the true power of our fully armed and operational Youth Tetherball League.

Sincerely,

Representative Larry Bradford
House of Representatives
State of Idaho
U.S.A.

P.S. You are no longer welcome to dine on tater tots, either.

I'm hosed.  My current Dave-o-Sketch reading seems to agree...

Miscdaveosketch


We are the champions, my friends...

Well, more specifically, the Chicago White Sox are the champions... er... my friends.

Finishing out a season in which everyone was convinced they would eventually roll over and die like a fish caught on dry land, the White Sox have won the World Series.  Were there some controversial calls?  Yep.  Did the Sox catch a ton of breaks that they probably should not have?  Yep.  But do they still deserve it?  You betcha.

So my sincere congratulations (and my envy) go to Sox players and true Sox fans in the world.  It's been 88 years.  Have some fun with this.

Miscchisoxcapture

"Cubbies, come out to play-i-ay!" 

The heat is now on for my Cubbies

Before these last couple of seasons, they had fallback excuses.  Any time they failed to do well in the regular or post season, they could always just say "wait until next year" and point to their fellow perennial losers, the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago White Sox.  And, for some reason, we fans would accept that.  Not anymore, guys.  They both have won World Series titles and swept their way to it, no less.

"Lovable Losers" just ain't gonna cut it anymore.  There are no excuses left.  In my mind, right now, you're just "losers," plain and simple.  Stop blaming the goat and Bartman and just play.  And you'd better do it soon.  I get the feeling that my fellow Chicagoans' patience is going to be running quite thin this next season and you might see some defection.  The "Friendly Confines" had damned well better become the place where opposing teams come to die.

At least it's nice to see one Chicago team playing baseball.  Dunno what the Cubs were playing this year, but it certainly wasn't Major League-caliber baseball.  I'd venture a bet that our local minor league team, the Kane County Cougars, could have a field day on the Cubs.

Oh, and I'm still working on my Halloween meme and it will come out later today.  Don't think I'm using this as my only post for the day.  Yep, it will be another multipost kind of day here at Kapgar.com.  Woo hoo!


When you're a Jet, you're a Jet all the way...

When I read this bit of news this morning, I wanted to cry.

In a weekend in which Aardman Studios took the #1 spot at the box office with their claymation hit Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, they also took a big hit when a fire scorched a warehouse where most of their sets, memorabilia, and awards were being housed.

So much film and animation history destroyed, never to be recovered.  That is terrible.

But, you've gotta admire W&G creator Nick Park who decided he had no choice other than to take it all in stride especially when he thought about this event in light of the earthquake in Pakistan and India.  Despite the loss, he still feels lucky.  Most people would whine about their loss (or, in my case, whine about someone else's loss... go fig), but here is Park putting it all in perspective.

And now for something completely different...

Random Act of Senseless Thought:
I don't know why, but it seemed to me that I needed a section in which I can just post random thoughts that I might have about anything and just post it to see what anyone has to say about it all.  I know that most of the stuff I post is kinda like this, but these will just be brief snippets.  Nothing that really merits an entire post.  They will likely just be tacked on the end of a larger post.  And I have no idea how often they will pop in my head.  So here's my first...

If the Winnipeg Jets play the San Jose Sharks (NHL), would the organist play nothing but West Side Story tunes?

Yeah, that was bad.  I admit it.


There goes my hero...

MiscjoshrushingMaybe this was announced a while ago, but this morning was the first I'd heard about former U.S. Marine Captain Josh Rushing taking a job with the English language branch of Al Jazeera television.  I found out while watching Today and they were postulating about whether or not it was a good idea.

Two words... HELL and YES!

C'mon, people.  Much of the Arab world hates the U.S.  They have hated us for years for any number of reasons.  So, if they are willing to take on a red-blooded U.S. Marine to work as a correspondent, on-air personality, writer, producer, consultant, whatever (his official job capacity has not yet been determined), how can it be a bad thing? 

If there is a better example of a person who believes in the "American Ideal," I am hard pressed to think of who it might be.

But it's not as though his viewpoints are 100% pro-American.  Rushing was the U.S. Public Relations Officer that played a large part in the documentary Control Room all about the behind-the-scenes operations at Al Jazeera.  His character, from what I've read (I have yet to see the movie, but my brother in law says it was amazing), evolves greatly through the course of the film in his growing understanding of both Muslim and American viewpoints.  Hence why he was chosen by Al Jazeera.

Conservatives, according to Today, are afraid that he will not be able to properly represent the viewpoints he plans to bring to the table with Al Jazeera.  I don't think anybody can legitimately expect them to accept our views.  It just won't happen, but at least they are willing to try.  And Rushing is willing to be the first to jump in the fire.

Will he wind up a scapegoat?  Yep.

Will he take a lot of flack not just because he is an American but because he was also part of the U.S. military?  You bet.

Does he know it?  Absolutely.  And he is more than willing to take it, he says.

But he also is being given the opportunity to bring at least a little balance to what many people claim is very biased reporting.  Hiring someone to work the "other side of the fence" is just plain smart on the part of Al Jazeera.  Whether or not they will make the most of this opportunity remains to be seen.  Lots of things remain to be seen.

Good luck, Josh.  I'm hoping this works out for the best.  God knows our country needs any positive PR it can get in the world arena.  And I think we all know why we are in this PR quagmire, don't we...

Miscbushleftbehind_1

My brother in law forwarded this photo to me from Yahoo News/AFP with the following message...

I thought this picture was funny.  Bush is talking about the "No Child Left Behind" issue and it distinctly says "Left Behind" in the background of the picture.  Having that behind him was perfect just because I don't know anybody who doesn't think he should have been left behind as a child... we won't even get into his presidency.  But how funny is it that he preaches about this topic when we all know he had to have been one of the dumbest kids in his school as a child?  About the picture, though, either that is just coincidence or the photographer had been waiting all day for him to stand right there.  "Come on, Georgie!  One step to the right.  Perfect!!"

It is a beautiful picture, Scott.  Thanks for the laugh.  Thus, proving that a picture really is worth a thousand words... or, more appropriately, a thousand mispronounced words.


Naughty girls need love too.

After closing the gym last night, Katie and I went out with our friends J and K (no Men in Black jokes, thank you; just trying to maintain some semblance of anonymity here) to eat at a place called McNally's in St. Charles and we followed that up listening to some live blues music at Chord on Blues also in St. Charles.

MiscjolieWe were talking about anything and everything at McNally's -- sports, politics, video games, family, friends, getting drunk.  Typical barroom banter.

Then J told me that he and K (oh yeah, to clarify, J is male and K is female, husband and wife) were listening to sports radio the other day and the DJs recited some statistic about how 57% of women polled said they would cheat on their male significant other for a chance to "be with" Angelina Jolie. 

57%... women... with... Angelina Jolie.

Woah.

That's when K chimed in saying that she would, too.

Again... woah.

J said he'd let her.  So long as he could watch, videotape, etc.  I think that's the typical male response to something like that. 

That would be my response if Katie said that. 

Of course Katie, not being much of a Jolie-camp supporter, said she would be part of the 43% minority.  But if Jennifer Aniston were to make the offer... just kidding.

Oh yeah, according to the poll, Britney Spears came in second at 23% (that's just sick and wrong, ladies; have you no taste?), 12% with Paris Hilton, and a mere 4% with Beyonce (only 4?!?!).

Aside from the actual results of the survey and the reponses by our respective female counterparts, the one thing that makes me curious regarding this whole thing is... who thinks up these things?  Is there actually a job title for these people and they get paid for it?  "Lesbian Love Survey Coordinator" or some such?  And after thinking up a question such as this, who actually has the cojones enough to go out and ask random women their opinion regarding it?  Are women that open to suggestion anymore that you can just walk up to them randomly and ask, "would you sleep with Angelina Jolie given the chance?" without risk of bodily harm, permanent or otherwise?

Okay, yes, these were current college students that were polled, and the survey was conducted by Playboy magazine, but I still think it would take some cojones de piedra to ask the question. 

I don't want to be the one to find out.


I want to ride my bicycle...

MisclancearmstrongLance Armstrong wins his seventh Tour de France!!!

Oh wait, that was some time ago.

Lance Armstrong is retiring at the top of his game!!!

Again, old news.

Lance Armstrong is coming back!!!

Well, that's the rumor anyway. 

Amid the rampant accusations that he is a doper and the claims by a French newspaper that it has proof he was on a drug called EPO during his first tour, rumors have risen to the surface that Lance Armstrong may return to ride another Tour.  Well, his return seems a pretty sure bet amongst gamblers.

Why the hell not?  I think it's great.  Stick it to the Frogs on their home turf in their race for national pride.  Make it eight straight and, even if they continue to claim that you were on drugs for your first Tour win, you will still have seven "undoped" wins to flaunt in their faces.

The way I look at it, he's in the best shape of his life and he only retired a month or so ago, so why not return while you're still great?  It's not as though you've taken time off after your retirement like oh say Magic Johnson or Michael Jordan and then try to make your comeback. He's been peddling his butt off six hours a day every day since announcing his retirement. 

Oh, and a little pharmaceutical lesson for the French... EPO (also known as Erythropoietin) is a drug used to help boost blood cell count that can be hindered by cancer treatment, among other things.  Even if Lance was on EPO, wouldn't it be excusable considering the Tour they claim to have evidence he doped during was his first, the 1999 Tour de France, a mere two-and-a-half years after he was diagnosed with cancer?  He wasn't doing it for competitive advantage.  He was doing it to live.  And that's only if he really was on it, which I'm not sure I believe.

Do it, Lance!  Forget the critics!  Forget the French!  As per the infamous Nike ads... Just Do It!

I did find this one funny... it's a spoof article pondering whether Lance's decision is actually just 'roid rage.


Instant karma's gonna getcha...

Like any other person with any shred of emotion or empathy, I feel terrible for what has happened to those living on the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.  You all took a helluva Cat-5 wallop and I am hoping you pull through it okay.

However, I am saddened, shocked, angered, you name it, regarding how people have been taking advantage of this horrible situation or just simply making things worse than they already are.

One day, you're battening down the hatches against the storm of your lifetime and, even when it's over, it's not over.  Now you must defend yourself against looters and rioters and all the other dregs of society that floated to the surface when the levees broke and flooded the streets.

And it's shameful.  Plain and simple.

MisckatrinalootingTo some degree, I can understand scavenging to get the basics for survival. You need food and water to survive. But then you get people breaking into stores and stealing entirely unnecessary items like New Orleans Saints jerseys, new shoes, and TVs.  Ummm, correct me if I'm wrong, but a Saints jersey is not going to help you get back your life from this disaster, is it?  The streets are flooded, what good are new shoes going to do?  And how do you plan to watch your new five-finger-discount television when the likelihood is that you won't have electricity for another few weeks? (Photo courtesy of MSNBC.com)

Instead of using this opportunity to turn a personal profit, why aren't more people trying to show the better side of humanity?  Why aren't people helping each other? 

What we have, instead, is armed gangs of looters running free in the streets.  The military, as a result, is increasing National Guard presence to 30,000 and is even going to send in regular Army troops as support. NBC is sending over private security to protect reporters and cameramen to allow them to do their jobs in relative peace.  When I read the headline "NBC sends armed guards to lawless Gulf Coast" I couldn't help but laugh because it sounds like some cheesy spaghetti western. 

Then the reality of it all set in.  My God, so many people on the Gulf Coast are no better than common criminals.  They are the scourge of the Earth and now we need armed military to protect against them.  When did New Orleans and Gulfport become Baghdad? 

Children have been separated from their parents and must dodge random gunfire in the search for their family.  How wrong is that?

For those residents that are trying to be as correct about their self-relief efforts as possible by waiting in lines and paying when necessary and not wielding a gun, I applaud you.  To those who are helping others whom they have never met before and likely will never see again but are doing so because of a sense of moral obligation, I bow before you.

To those who are looting, beating, price gouging (*cough* BP *cough*), and causing general havoc in the midst of one of the nation's greatest natural tragedies, you'd better be prepared.  Karma will get you.  And I hope it hurts.


We will, we will rock you.

Victory was ours last night!  The Bears won!  Woo hoo!

But it almost didn't work out for us.

LinkbearsFor the first half of the game (and a little of the third quarter), the Bears current starting quarterback, Chad Hutchinson, just played terribly.  Overthrew, underthrew, sacked, you name it.  He completed only 3 of 14 passes for 33 yards.  He was also sacked twice.

I felt horribly for the guy.  Katie and I both actually like him.  He's a decent guy, but he just doesn't have what it takes to be a starting quarterback, apparently.  Everyone was booing him as were the three guys with me at the game.  I was uttering good luck wishes to him under my breath.  But each time I did that, he only made matters worse. 

Then, when they finally brought rookie Kyle Orton in to the game in the third quarter, he gets the ball downfield and the Bears score a touchdown.  Nothing like salt on Hutchinson's open wound.  Odds are pretty good Orton will get the nod as the Bears' new starter.

I really wanted the guy to play a great game as there was talk that this preseason game was Hutch's last chance to prove his mettle or he would lose the job.  I think it's lost.  My friends and several callers into some of the post-game AM radio shows were even wondering if he would make the regular season roster at this point.  I don't think he did that terribly, but who knows how coaches and general managers think?  You never can say.

Overall, though, the game was great and we all had a lot of fun.  I downed five beers, three of which came before the end of the first quarter.  Considering how little I ate yesterday, that probably wasn't the best idea.  But I wasn't driving, so who really cares?  My friend, Jason, had eight beers.  So I don't feel like as much of a souse. 

Well, the Bears won and we nearly lost our voices cheering.  Can't get much better than that.


Dream on, white boy; dream on, black girl.

The Early Show on, I think it was, CBS presented an abbreviated debate about whether or not racial profiling should be used to help identify potential terrorists.

One side of the argument claimed that it was an infringement of civil rights.  Which is true and I agree that is a bad thing.  Hell, I'm very much against portions of the Patriot Act for the same reason.

The flip side of the coin is that, in this age of Islamic militancy against western culture and interests, it could help.

While it does seem that most of the terrorists that have emerged since the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centers do appear to be of middle eastern origin and Islamic in terms of religious preference, this does not mean that they all are.

But what does it really matter if racial profiling is officially announced as a "tool" to help in the crusade against terrorism?  It has been used for years and will continue to be used regardless. 

Police will always nail African Americans to the wall when it comes to making busts or remain extra watchful when black people are around.  Airport personnel are always going to worry when they see someone of middle eastern descent on their flights.  Hispanic families will always be perceived as lowering property values in neighborhoods where they live.  White males are always going to be serial killers.

Sad as it is, this is the nature of the beast.  Saying that racial profiling is illegal is the truth, but nothing will ever stop it, period. 

And what makes it worse is that racial profiling causes tension.  If you are Muslim and heading into an airport, you are automatically going to be on edge because you know the possibility of you being treated with prejudice is 100% greater than if you are of any other heritage in the world.  Even if you have no reason to be suspected whatsoever.  This edginess will make you defensive which will, in the eyes of law enforcement and airport personnel, make you appear like you are guilty and hiding something.  Hence, you become a target.  If you try to file some kind of lawsuit due to racial profiling, your case is shot down nearly automatically because law enforcement will just say that you were acting suspiciously.  They have their justification.

Racial profiling is evil.  But I don't see anything happening to it, ever. 

I have personally witnessed what can happen as a result of racial profiling.  I have spoken with black friends who have been pulled over for doing nothing more than driving a car or walking down the street in what is otherwise perceived as a white neighborhood.  I have heard white people talk about the "negative influence" a household of some other race has had on their neighborhood.  I see Muslim people constantly watching out the corners of their eyes as they walk down the street.

Heck, if you have been a reader of my site since 2001, you will know that I was part of an instance of racial profiling while on my honeymoon.  When a pair of middle eastern men came on board one of our return flights from Hawaii (I want to say the LA to Chicago leg), I was asked by a male flight attendant if I would help to take them down should they both get up at the same time and move towards the cockpit.  I am a big man who is relatively strong (at least in my mind) and I was sitting on the aisle a few rows behind them.  The flight attendant said he hated to make it look like he was performing racial profiling, but he and others were scared as this was only a month after 9/11.  The crew even went so far as to announce that the forward restrooms were "out of order" - the ones right by the entrance to the cockpit - thus giving these potential "terrorists" no reason to move forward in the plane whatsoever.

I didn't agree with the rationale behind the request, but I agreed to help should something happen.  Not that I expected it to, but, in light of 9/11, I would never sit back and just accept it should something actually begin.  Not anymore.  A terrorist shows up on a flight I'm on, I'm doing everything in my power to bring him down.  Should I succeed, I will make him or her pay for it.

Nothing happened, thankfully.  But I did score myself a free bottle of pretty decent champagne for my "willingness" to help.  And, God knows, the flight attendants were at Katie's and my beck and call the entire flight.  If it hadn't been so early in the morning, I would have been drinking for free the whole time.  Damn my timing.


Broken wing?

MisckerrywoodIn what should come as no surprise to Chicago Cubs fans everywhere, yet another player has gone down with yet another injury.  After only three innings, and three home runs ceded, Kerry Wood left the game with stiffness in his pitching shoulder.

Whether he will spend time on the DL remains to be seen.  But it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest.  He's always on the DL.  I can't remember the last time he has gone a full season without being on the DL.  It may have happened, but I sure don't remember it.  Heck, he's already been on the DL once this season.

Just trade him.  Please.  Let him loose while he still has some value to other teams.

Yet the Cubs stay the course as though he and Mark Prior are the future of the pitching rotation.  Bzzzzttt... wrong answer.

Of course, that just means he will be a spectacular pitcher wherever else he winds up. Isn't that how it always works with Cubs trades?  Greg Maddux.  Rafael Palmeiro. 

I still don't understand why we let go of Matt Clement.  I loved that guy.  He was my favorite Cub.  But it just strengthens my love of the Bosox since that's where he now is.

What I found funniest about this whole thing was that, while driving to work this morning, Bruce Wolf, who reads the sports report on The Loop (WLUP 97.9 FM), likened Kerry Wood to the Space Shuttle... "He's expensive, dangerous, and often scrubbed."  Talk about poetic.  I loved it.


Why?

I had a great idea for a post for today that was just completely blown to hell (unfortunately, literally) by something that I just need to talk about more.  And I'm sure many fellow bloggers will be posting about this one as well.

I was awoken this morning, as I am every morning, by our clock radio tuned to WTMX 101.9 FM.  However, instead of the normal mindless chit-chat of the Eric & Kathy Morning Show, I heard the words "blood" and "pain" uttered in a rather deadpan voice by Eric just before I shut it off.  After those words processed, I turned the radio back on very briefly (hoping not to wake Katie up) to hear what was going on.  They never said what was going on outright in the minute that I had it on, so I turned the TV on to CNN on mute.  Imagine my surprise.  And horror.

Miscbus77As I'm sure you all know already, several subway stations and a double-decker bus were attacked, presumably by terrorists, in London.  This all happened at their rush hour which, I believe, equates to about 3 a.m. CDT.  In all, I've heard that there were seven different attacks, all coordinated to happen at the same time, and at least a dozen people are confirmed dead while well over 100 are injured.

The question is why?  Dear Christ Almighty, why? 

Call my stupid if you so desire, but I just don't get how terrorists can think that, by attacking innocent civilians, they are making a stronger case for their particular causes.  Yeah, you're pissed for whatever reason it happens to be this week.  You think that we, the imperialist dogs, have killed your people and made your way of life nearly impossible to continue, right?  You believe you have been wronged and you want the world to know how terrible we are.

But, guess what?  You'd better drop to all fours and start panting and drooling.  By orchestrating these attacks against western society, you are no better than the "dogs" you claim we are. 

I seriously want someone to show me where in the Qu'ran it says that you are to attack innocent people as a tribute to Allah.  Do you really think that you will be honored in the great beyond with 80 virgins for this single-minded retribution that you exact on the world?  You are a murderer, plain and simple.  Accept it.  You are going to Hell.  Or whatever the Islamic equivalent to Hell is.

Understandably, Tony Blair has left the G8 Summit in Scotland to head home to London to be with his people in their time of crisis.  But what I found most impressive was his second address this morning on TV to the world.  Here was a very composed and dignified British Prime Minister standing and decrying this pathetic act with all the other G8 Summit leaders lined up behind him.  It was a very powerful image.

Much like what happened here in the States back on 9/11, London and most of the rest of Europe is on high alert.  The Tube has been shut down and emergency crews are attempting to evacuate those stuck in the trains.  The U.S. government doesn't seem to think there is any immediate threat on our soil and, I believe, the threat level remains unchanged.

I think what really kills me is the timing of these attacks.  In the middle of the G8 Summit which is geared towards helping the impoverished people of the world.  The day after London is awarded the 2012 Summer Olympics.  I dunno why, I just find it disturbing. 

This is not the sort of thing the world wants to wake up to.  I wish we could live in a terror-free world.  But I realize that this will never happen.  In fact, I'm of the opinion that it will only get worse. 

My prayers are with the people of London.


The Original Sin.

I remember being in the middle of getting ready to leave a hotel down in Slidell, Louisiana, back in November 1997 when the news came through on both the TV and the radio that INXS frontman Michael Hutchence had been found hanged in a hotel in Sydney, Australia.

The four of us who had made the trek to this small suburb of New Orleans from Chicago were all rock fans.  Not only were we in "Loozeana" to hit the normal trappings like Rue Bourbon and the French Quarter, but we were also in town for the U2 show at the Superdome.  When we heard the news, it hit all of us like a ton of bricks.  To some degree, we were all fans of INXS.  Myself especially.

I'm not a career-long fan like so many others before me.  I will admit to having only become a fan as a result of 80s radio rotations in which their album Kick featured so prominently.  But I remained a fan long after so many other U.S. fans forgot about them.  I saw them on their Full Moon, Dirty Hearts tour in 1993 at the Aragon Ballroom (or "Brawlroom" as it's lovingly referred to in Chi-town) with my friend Michael who was an even bigger INXS than myself.  Heck, he made the trip out from Ames, Iowa, just to see them play. I slapped five with Hutchence three times while down in front of the stage (and I'll never wash my hand again... just kidding).

I own all their albums (either in CD or MP3 format), including those that predate Kick.  I still listen to them fairly regularly as I feel that INXS is a band whose music remains current.

But I will never be able to see them play live again.  Or will I?

MiscrockstarinxsA week from this coming Monday (that's July 11 for those of you scrambling for your calendars), CBS will premiere their latest in a seemingly neverending line of reality shows... Rock Star: INXS.

What's it all about?  Here you go, as per CBS.com...

Celebrated rock guitarist Dave Navarro and Brooke Burke are the hosts of ROCK STAR: INXS, a new reality show executive produced by SURVIVOR's Mark Burnett. The show combines the world of rock music with relationship-style unscripted drama, performance competition and a weekly contestant elimination. The last singer standing will become the lead singer of the internationally renowned band INXS, will embark on a worldwide concert tour with the band and will be part of the group's new album.

Yes, I realize that my comment "Or will I?" may sound like I'm holding out hope for this show.  That could not be further from the truth.  This is just a train wreck waiting to happen.

This is not the first I've heard of this disaster.  I think it was roughly a year ago that I first heard this show was in the network's coffer.  I was ready to gag then and I'm ready to gag now. 

My problems with the show...

  1. Michael Hutchence is INXS.  He was their heart, soul, and, for many women as well as some men, their body.  He epitomized the concept of modern stage presence.  His energy is what made the band what it is.  Yes, the other five guys in the band are spectacular musicians and I don't mean to take anything from them, but Hutch defined the band.  Don't sully his memory.  Please.
  2. I know many bands have replaced lead singers in the past with varying degrees of success.  But if you hope to be able to return to some semblance of your past self, don't you think you will need someone of a little higher caliber than unknown artists that, in some cases, are just barely half the age of the other band members?
  3. "Celebrated rock guitarist Dave Navarro"?  Are you kidding me?  Yeah, he was good with Jane's Addiction.  But the one album he did with the Red Hot Chili Peppers (One Hot Minute) was hardly palatable.  Aside from marrying Carmen Electra, what the hell else has he done to deserve the title "Celebrated"? 
  4. And why is Brooke Burke getting snubbed in the adjective category?  No descriptor for her?  Not even "Sex bomb host of Wild On!"  If I were her, I'd be pissed.  Then again, if I were her, I'd be running for the hills knowing that this was my next gig.

Bear in mind that these are just the humble opinions of one U.S. fan of the band.  I would like to ask INXS fans from their home country of Australia what they think (Kazza and others?).  If you are a fan, how do you feel about this whole sordid affair?  If you have no particular opinion, have you heard rumblings from other people?  Grunts of disdain or support?

Just curious.


See if I ever take a bullet for you again.

I just don't get it.  After lobbying for quite some time, Hollywood stunt men and women were once again denied the right to be able to be nominated for and win Academy Awards.

Let's see if I understand this... costume designers, special effects coordinators, sound mixers, and even animators (among many, many others) can win Oscars, am I right?  All those things are fine and dandy.  They are necessary elements when it comes to filmmaking and I don't want it to sound like I think anything should be taken away from them.  But without stunt people, 90% of Hollywood films would be lacking a big chunk of realism.  I use the word "realism" very loosely, by the way.

Actors put their reputations on the line for some roles (not all, mind you).  Stunt people put their lives on the line.  Who is making the greater sacrifice?  I truly think that they should be eligible to win awards.  What makes them less special than the "real" stars of the movies?  To be honest with you, some stunt people are better actors than the real deal.  Hell, there are some movies we see just for the stunts, not because someone like Vin Diesel is in it (God help me when the day comes that I go see a movie simply because Vin Diesel is in it).

If Gwyneth Paltrow can win an Oscar...


All Scientologied out

As a result of her and Tom Cruise doing nothing but going on and on about their farce of a relationship, Katie Holmes is now out of the sequel to Batman Begins. Yes, they are already planning a sequel and they have already signed Christian Bale (Batman/Bruce Wayne), Michael Caine (Alfred), and Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox). I'm not too terribly surprised about the dissing. After all, has she been doing any promotional work for the movie at all? Nope, she's doing nothing aside from blushing and gushing over Tom and, while I may have thought it was cute at first, I am thoroughly disgusted by it now.

Oh yeah, I guess this puts Katie Holmes on the list of people that should disappear a la Paris Hilton. Time to amend the proposal.

As for new casting for the sequel, fanboys of the Web have made Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker and voice of The Joker in Batman: The Animated Series) their number one pick to portray The Joker. I'd love it. I think that would be brilliant casting. You draw in fans from the animated show because of the familiarity with his voice, you draw in everyone that was a fan of him as Luke. Damn, the possibilities are limitless. Please cast him... please cast him...

Miscscarlett_1I also must say that Scarlett Johansson is my new hero. I've dug her since the early stages of her career in The Horse Whisperer and have liked her up through Ghost World and Lost in Translation. But now I bow before her. She is a goddess. Why you may ask? Read this from IMDb...

Cruise "Tried To Convert Johansson"
Scarlett Johansson pulled out of appearing in the second Mission: Impossible sequel after Tom Cruise tried to convert her to scientology, according to reports. Cruise, who produces the action adventures, met with Johansson ahead of casting for the upcoming Mission: Impossible 3 and took her to one of the controversial religion's headquarters, claims Radarmagazine.Com. A source tells the website, "After two hours of proselytizing, Cruise opened a door to reveal a second room full of upper-level Scientologists who had been waiting to dine with the pair, at which point the cool-headed ingénue politely excused herself." Officially Johansson quit the film because of scheduling conflicts after the film was delayed so Cruise could make War Of The Worlds.

You go, girl! Should this story be true, then that's the sort of personal conviction I like to hear about. Way to stand strong against the moral minority, Scarlett.

And since none of you commented about me rerating movies on my site, I've made the executive decision to go ahead and do it. You will all know that it has happened because I will list the movie in the Recent Updates box as a new review. I will no longer list the original review as that particular take is no longer mine so why display it as though it is?

The other reason why I'm doing this is because I ran across another movie that I get the feeling will wind up being subject to a rerate. I finally got around to watching Napoleon Dynamite yesterday. A different movie to say the least. Not at all bad as I was expecting it to be. It actually looks like it might be good once I've watched it a second or third time and have allowed myself the opportunity to really soak it in. This happens from time to time. It's good to recognize this. Some foreign films with subtitles need this chance, as well, since you can miss some of what is happening on screen while reading the translations. Damnable thing, but you get used to it.

My rerating and a couple other reviews will be coming soon.


Retire already

I get tired of athletes or entertainers who say they are going to retire, then do it, only to come back one, two, even three or more times. Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, Michael Jordan, etc., etc., ad infinitum.

When is enough going to be enough?

We can now add former Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers Head Coach Phil Jackson to this list. After "retiring" from coaching after taking the Bulls to six NBA championships, he returned and helped the Lakers win, I believe, three championships as well. He left after losing in the NBA Finals last season to the Detroit Pistons (an incredible series, to say the least). Rudy Tomjanovich took his spot but left part way through the season for medical reasons. I have no idea who it was that coached the Lakers through the remainder of the season, but it marked the first time in the last 11 seasons that the Lakers did not make the post season.

So now Jackson is returning complete with his Zen approach to basketball success to likely be hailed as the Lakers' savior. Rumor has it he may even be bringing former Bull Scottie Pippen along as an assistant coach.

However, in the time that he spent "retired" this second time, Jackson published a book called The Last Season: A Team in Search of its Soul, in which he details what it was like to coach some of the players in his final season with the Lakers. From what I've been told, he is not afraid to dish the dirt and even trashes players like Kobe Bryant who are still with the Lakers. Now, do you see this as a good idea? Returning to the team you just trashed in a tell-all book? True a majority of the players are gone from last season and even more are likely to leave during this off season. But Kobe's still there so far as I know and putting those two back together is not, IMHO, that well thought out of a plan.

My other worry is that Jackson is going to tarnish his NBA reputation by not doing as well as everyone expects. Much like Jordan when he returned for his third term in the NBA with the Washington Bullets (I hate to call them the Wizards... political correctness run amok, I tells ya), I wonder if this return will be nothing short of lackluster. Jordan had his moments with the Bullets/Wizards, but nothing memorable and he certainly wasn't his old self. How you can expect him to be at that age is beyond me, but he convinced everyone that he was back in his prime form. Will Jackson be back at his prime? Or is he just adding weight to a sinking ship?


U.S. legal system gets Jacko-d

MiscjackobadMichael Jackson is not guilty, eh? I've gotta say that I'm disappointed by the findings in the case. Maybe he shouldn't be guilty of all charges levelled against him, but definitely a couple of them. Here are the formal charges as per The Scotsman (go fig I had to use a Scottish source to find the list of formal charges, eh?)...

  • Count 1: Conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.
  • Count 2-5: Lewd act upon a child.
  • Count 6: Attempt to commit a lewd act upon a child.
  • Count 7-10: Administering an intoxicating agent to assist in the commission of a felony.

I wholeheartedly believe he is guilty on counts 2-10. The only one I think there is some wiggle room on, per se, would be the first count. It's all a matter of "he said/she said" there. That and I think the victim's mother really overexaggerated the claims here. But we have all kinds of descriptions from independent sources claiming that he did molest children in his bed, his shower, etc. I'm not saying it's entirely his fault. What mother in her right mind would actually allow their child to stay at his place in his bed? She needs a psych eval as well.

There must be something else going on here if they found him not guilty. Something I'm missing. Is there anyone out there that can reasonably explain why he got off? Lesser charges have been brought against non celebrities and they've been put away for years as a result. I think it's just a load of shit the pedestal we put celebrities on. Jackson has maneuvered his way out of legal trouble a couple of times now and he's just going to keep playing the system, IMHO. Why would you stop if you see that you can get away with it?

Funny thing was that I was listening to Woody, Tony, and Ravey on Q101 yesterday afternoon on my way to softball and they were talking about this one "Former Prosecutor" named Wendy Murphy who was so pissed off by the jury's findings that she resorted to calling Jacko the "Teflon Molester." That's just classic.

Oh, and I apologize for my terrible Photoshop job on the cover of Jacko's "Bad" album. It had to be done, though.