Monday, February 28, 2011

Movie Review: "Red"

   Watching movies is one of my favorite activities. It gives me an opportunity to be taken away from this mortal plane of existence and experience the world through the vision of some twisted director or genius writer. I only have one wish when watching a be thoroughly entertained. That said, lets jump right in on my thoughts of the latest film to be graced with my vision.
The Cast
   The cast has some pretty heavy hitters in terms of talent and blockbuster box office draw. Bruce Willis is a bonafide action star and does what he does best...look cool as a cucumber while killing the bad guys. Helen Mirren doesn’t have much wiggle room to really let her acting skills shine, but she makes her role extremely enjoyable to watch and brings more depth to her character than anyone else could. Morgan Freeman has even less wiggle room to unleash his incredible talent, but makes the most of what he’s given and delivers as much as anyone could. Karl Urban is a very talented actor (loved his performance in Star Trek) and delivers believability to his role of a CIA operative doing his job, with some reservations. Brian Cox is very talented and delivers a very enjoyable rendition of an old retired Russian spy. John Malkovich is awesome...and kept me glued to the screen with hefty anticipation of what he was going to say or do next. When it comes to playing crazy or imbalanced characters, few do it better than him.
The Plot: 
   Bruce Willis is retired CIA analyst Frank Moses, living life very simply and lonely, trying to make a connection over the phone with Mary-Louise Parker, a customer service representative, when he suddenly finds himself the target of a hit squad. With seemingly no reason to be a target and certain that his romantic interest is now in danger as well, he sets out to find out who is trying to kill them and why. To do this he enlists the help of various friends along the way, inadvertently assembling them into one of the deadliest hit squads to ever grace the silver screen.
   Karl Urban is tasked with the elimination of Frank Moses but soon comes to understand that Moses is much, much more than he was originally led to believe and the powers that be pulling the strings...have woven a very tangled web. Brian Cox is a Russian operative and former lover of Mirren’s character that finally has the opportunity to work with his former enemies to uncover a secret that is being kept at the cost of many lives. What follows next is a blistering ride of guns and explosions wrapped in misdirection, mystery and comedy.
The Verdict: 
   This movie is a nice action-comedy that didn’t feel like a waste of time. However, I was sitting through it seemingly in anticipation for something more to happen. There was only one scene in the entire film that I felt the need to rewind because of a “holy crap, did you see that?” factor. Designed to be an action-comedy, it could have used a little more of both to really make the impact on me that paying those big names was supposed to do.
   I’m an action junkie and love a good laugh mixed in with explosions, car chases, and a hail of bullets. This movie was certainly my cup of tea...but as fond as I am about cinnamon...this movie only gets two and a half sticks, out of five, in my cup.

For reviews on movies in a theater near you, visit

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Anatomy of the Fart

   Yes, you read the title correctly so stop reading now if you’re not up to this discussion. Before you go though, just are not above this, everybody does it and contrary to that voice in your head, you do not produce the sweet smell of roses.
   Everybody, or should I say, every body passes gas at some point. The only thing that separates us is our reaction to this and/or our intentions before doing this. I would guess that most people are embarrassed when the deed is done within nose shot of other people. I say guess because I know some really unique individuals that don’t have an embarrassed cell in their body and happen to always be within nose shot of others when tragedy strikes. That being said, I have observed some very acute differences between men and women in regards to this subject.
   Women seem to be always embarrassed by this subject...unless they’re getting revenge. Men seem to never be embarrassed by this subject...and yet also use it as a means of vengeance. Men, though, also use it as a source of entertainment...but more on that later. So why does anyone get embarrassed by a perfectly normal function of the human body? It’s natural and necessary...and can be very detrimental if not done (although I’d argue...and am, that it’s certainly detrimental to a sound mind). I think most don’t want to be associated with the source of such a huge degree of discomfort and, at times, complete outrage. I’ve seen fights erupt behind (heh) this and probably justifiably so. Think for a moment of all the situations you have been in...or could have been in when, as I said before, tragedy struck. It’s not funny...or is it?
   We’ve all seen some sort of comedy involving the fart and most of us have found something funny in a comedy skit, show or cartoon wherein we chuckle at the loud expelling of the nauseous air. A lady bends over on some You Tube video in a crowded bank and accidentally rips one...we sit at home laughing as we watch it...funny. Stuck in a crowded train that stalls in between stops when the deed is done...not funny. On a crowded elevator in a high rise that starts its stops at the twenty-fifth floor and the compartment is flooded with human nerve agent by floor three...not funny. Enthralled by a great movie at your favorite theater on a Friday night when a human sewer pipe is vacated...not funny. Speeding down the highway in a crowded car and the driver decides to engage the window locks as the anal toxin takes years off your life...pure evil. Enjoying a late meal that has been the only meal of the day and is one of your favorite dishes when the invisible billy goat throws up and permeates your culinary joy...time to fight.
   A person of some moral decency would be assaulted by shame to be the source in any of the above examples...but there are deviants among us that not only flush shame down the toilet (and just shame it seems), but actually take great joy in the olfactory agony of others. He (and I should note that I have never seen a woman play this role outside of revenge) will be the one sitting in the corner...with tears in his eyes...from intense laughter. He is the one suppressing snorts and giggles on the elevator. He is the one sitting behind you in the theater quietly cracking up as you start cussing. He is the one driving. He is the one headed to the hospital with a fork in his ass because he forgot that messing with a person’s food is punishable with violence. You might think all this extreme...or you might have some horror stories of your own, either way there is nobody reading this that has gone through life untouched by the gas of another.
   It seems the delivery is a large part of our programed reaction. Hear a loud whoopee cushion sound and everyone starts looking around with anticipation and possible laughter at the culprit. Here nothing but think to yourself “good God, how can any smell like that exist” as your first encounter...and it’s a different experience altogether. The “silent but deadly” approach is the preferred method of a planned attack by the deviants among us and although all of us are capable of quiet devastation, most of us manipulate the situation to afford us some solitude before we suicide ourselves by intestinal gas. always makes us take note when we cannot stand our own intestinal potion. I’m just writing about what nobody has the...stomach, to admit.
   We are all human and I’ll be the first to embrace our humanity. I’ll also be an avid supporter of imposing a fine for natural gaseous acts of personal terrorism. So if they ever introduce the bill, remember you heard it here first. If you’re reading this and happen to be one of the deviants I spoke help. Rectal gas isn’t a toy and the noses on our faces were not put there for your personal amusement. 
If anyone found any part of this post yourself to the proper’re human.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Little Guidance Goes A Long Way

   As I look around at all the empty spaces and hear all the stories of friends and friends of friends out of work, looking for something stable to pay the bills, I give pause to the idea that the recession is over. Many people still don’t fully understand what a recession is (page 9). Technical understanding of the event aside, there are many people that have intimate knowledge of the effect the current economy has had in their lives. They are living the answer to “What now” (page 19) everyday as best they can. For those that don’t have to ponder this question daily, another question is being asked: Will 2011 bring with it another Great Recession?
   A quick Google search will net a trove of information on the subject. This question is being asked and answered by economists that eat, sleep and breath economic trends...and the consensus isn’t roses and apple pie. This is the very reason we don’t like to talk about doesn’t smell good when we breath in the reality. It doesn’t taste good when we swallow the truth. With so much progress gained and so much more to reach for, it feels like a step back to have to be diligent in covering the basics (page 24). However, if you ask anyone that has gone through a recent job loss or a recent foreclosure, the step back some are fearing is the step forward they are trying to take.
   There are those that will be reading this and looking toward the stock market as their indicator of the coming economic climate. They may not even realize how fortunate they are to even be in a position where the trend of the market has tangible effect on the quality of their life. Although a recession will hit all of us differently, the question still has to be asked by those watching the stock market and those looking for savings at the supermarket.
   Even though I’ve heard it said that we are out of the recession, the reality is that the chaos and mayhem manifested as job loss, home foreclosure and lifestyle reduction continue to linger on with new cases everyday. For anyone that came through this having fallen in the pit of tough times and climbed out again, the prospect of going back isn’t welcome news. Where is the silver lining for anyone living in Colorado (page 66), Florida (page 74), Georgia (page 76), Nevada (page 113) and Utah (page 145) where economic stress didn’t ease at all for all of 2010?
   It seems to me that standing around watching the clouds roll in and simply waiting for a storm to wet you doesn’t make much sense. Thinking outside the box (page 48) to stay ahead of any economic storm, and staying dry after it hits by having creative ways to save money and generate income seems to be a preferable option to just getting soaked. 

   I didn’t always listen to the wise words of my elders growing up, only to find myself echoing those same words to a younger generation. With my increased age came a little more wisdom...and now I realize that a little guidance goes a long way.

All page references are from the bookSurvivor’s Guide to a Recession: 50 States
Linked words are for the following:

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Being A Hater: A Viral Societal Infection

   Society is infected and the only cure is common sense and responsible thinking...making the infection a terminal illness because it seems that common sense isn’t common at all...and thinking responsibly is considered deviant behavior.
   Maybe I’m the problem for thinking that most other people are rational intellectuals capable of thinking their way out of a paper bag...or perhaps I just haven’t understood the dire necessity to immerse myself in the advantages of envy and jealousy...and all the joy acting out of that state of mind can bring. Yes...that’s it, I’m missing the boat on this one. The next time I observe someone having something I don’t, I will tear them down and avidly seek to attain exactly what they have...or make sure they don’t have it anymore, thereby making myself feel so much better about the person I am and the world I am creating.
   I’ve been wasting my time seeing joy in the achievement of others, wasting my mind in understanding that life is, indeed, not fair and being thankful for what I have and what I get. I can’t believe I’ve spent so much time thankful for what I have when I could have been hating on the next person for what I don’t have. I can’t believe I’ve been that silly. All this time with an open mind when I could have been as narrow as a foot path in the woods in the dead of winter.
   Dear reader, please forgive my sarcasm, but it serves me as an outlet for the ridiculousness I observe and the idiocy that victimizes many of us everyday when one person, or group of people, hate on another for the way life deals our cards...and sometimes for the poor way we’ve played the hand dealt to us. It makes no sense to me so in fairness, I must entertain the idea that I’m actually the problem and not the one in sync with reality.

   So just as I entertain those thoughts, you too should frolic with the idea that you’re a hater. I mean...really, you might be. If a co-worker goes home early, does it upset you because you have to stay until your shift ends? Do you get upset if you see a police cruiser parked under a "no parking" sign because if you did it, you would get a ticket? Are you angry because firefighters can swap shifts but you, working in the private sector, have to work all your assigned shifts or not get paid for any shifts not worked? When observing the world, do you constantly ask the question, either to yourself or others “why not me?”. If you’ve answered yes to any of these might be a hater.
    How about this...when your co-worker passes your desk on their way home early, you smile and wish them a safe journey. Why they’re going home early really isn’t any concern of yours...after all, you’ve got work to do.
   How about this...the next time you see a police cruiser parked illegally, you simply understand that they can do that and you can’t...because they’re the police. If you want that perk...join the force and enjoy that perk...along with long hours of dealing with the worst society has to offer (aside from the haters).   
   How about stop comparing the private sector with the public sector because they’re not the same. Think for a moment before you target the perks of another job, about the perks of your own job. It’s a sure bet that when you’re done screaming about how badly your tax dollars are being wasted and a public job perk is removed, that the government will mail a check directly to you for the difference in savings...NOT!
   How about this...instead of always asking the question why not you, simply do the best you can at whatever it is you’re doing and be thankful for what you have because the reality is that you're probably somewhere in the societal middle...with some people doing better than you...and some people doing worse.
   The hater virus must be eradicated if we ever want to achieve harmony. People need to start acting like intelligent lifeforms and stop emulating a bunch of crabs stuck in a barrel. If we constantly pull each other down and hold each other back, then nobody gets ahead. Although that might be a pleasing thought to you...if there is nobody ahead, there can never be a helping hand to reach back. Stop drinking the hatorade and digest this food for thought.