Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Love, Love Me Do Drop Dead

Sir Paul McCartney is the Avatar of Male Romantic Love. Paul and Linda McCartney were married for nearly 30 years, and spent a grand total of about a 24 hours apart from each other during the entire time. He wrote and sang songs with lyrics like:

I need to laugh, and when the sun is out
I've got something I can laugh about
I feel good, in a special way
I'm in love and it's a sunny day

Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine
Good day sunshine

Then we lie beneath a shady tree
I love her and she's loving me
She feels good, she know she's looking fine
I'm so proud to know that she is mine*

This is a man assured in his masculinity. If Eminem tried to rap something like this he'd spend the rest of the weekend plowing through every groupie in the greater Detroit metropolitan area just to prove to himself he's still a man. "Good Day Sunshine" represents to me who Paul is and what he believes in: simple, pure, romantic love that transcends irony and fear. She's good, he's good, the sunshine's good and so is life.

Not to be mean, but I want Heather Mills McCartney to lose her other leg, then die of dehydration while trying to find it.

Full Disclosure: I don't know Mrs. McCartney personally. I do know that Paul's children all despised her from the jump and publicly fretted that she was after their Dad's money. When Mrs. McCartney was confronted with this before she married Paul, her reply was essentially, "If I wanted to marry a man for his money, there are other more wealthy men I could go after". First of all... huh? Paul is a billionaire, sister, and unless you're looking to cozy up to Sam Walton's corpse there really aren't that many of them lying around unattached. Secondly, the proper response to the "You're an opportunistic slut" accusation is to declare your undying love, not start a comparison/contrast debate about the size of his bank account. These were some giant red flags before the marriage, but there was no way to know how it would turn out. You had to give Paul the benefit of the doubt based on his ability to pick wives in the past.

And that's what this is all about, really: the benefit of the doubt. I don't know Paul either, but after being married to the same woman for 29 years and earnestly singing, "My Love", "Got To Get You Into My Life", "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "Love Me Do", "All My Loving", "And I Love Her", "Loving Your Love", "Me Love You Long Time" and who could forget "Love Love Love Love Love Love and did I mention Love", he's made an impression on me as kind've a loving person. She's made an impression as a money-grubbing whore.

I've known Paul since my childhood. Some of my earliest memories are of dancing around my living room with my Mom to a worn 8-track tape of Abbey Road. Paul is the kindly, smiling uncle of my imagination. For me, this episode has been like watching her marry Mr. Rogers, divorce him, then get half of the Kingdom of Make Believe, use of the Trolley on weekends and joint custody of Henrietta Pussycat.

Paul didn't go with a pre-nup. He said it wasn't romantic. Because of this, Mrs. McCartney is never going to have to work again. She's going to be awarded piles of money and property. She'll get a fortune, but she'll never have Paul's most precious possessions: self-respect, public adoration, two legs and a loving soul. Is this a fair assessment of the situation and Mrs. McCartney's character? No idea. But Paul's got the benefit of the doubt, and this is the Internet. Case closed.

Her next move? I hear Eminem's available.


*Yes, it's stuck in my head now, too.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Gridiron Vengeance

The AFC and NFC Championship games are scheduled for this Sunday in the National Football League. Only four teams remain in the quest for the Super Bowl, so instead of breaking down each game in an in-depth NFL preview, I thought this week we'd answer the real question on every football fan's mind: If The Avengers* played professional football, what positions would they play? Here's the scouting report:

Quarterback: Captain America. A natural leader with above-average arm strength. Able to systematically break down defenses. He's also a PR dream come true. Two big questions remain: Can he grip the football effectively in a two-hand grasp while holding his shield? Also, watch out if the NFL goes through with its plan to begin random-testing its players for Super-Soldier Serum. Cap has not helped his case by saying that he's "not here to talk about the past", then going on to lecture about how inexpensive everything was back in the 40's.

Running Back: Black Panther (with Jarvis, at right). King T'Challa of Wakanda was a late fourth-round pick, but he has proven a lot of scouts wrong with his gutty play and quick cuts in the lane. Early on it appeared ego might have been a problem, but his team-mates have grown accustomed to calling him "Your Majesty". Very devoted fan base. Dislikes: Artificial turf, whitey.

Tight End: Iron Man. Is there anything this guy can't do? Strong and tough but also with a good deal of range. Flies down the field for the big play. Can he block? Are you kidding? They call them "repulsor rays" for a reason, baby. Picked up his fourth DUI early in the season, blamed the media, superheroes, Jews and Captain America.

Left Tackle: Thor. Are you sacking the quarterback on this guy's watch? I say thee nay! He brings his patented move "The Hammer" down on any defensive linemen who try to beat him around the outside. Coachable, but he believes he's a living God, and his posse isn't helping (his brother, especially).

Quarterback (backup): Hawkeye. Desperately needs a trade. His accuracy is uncanny, but he's buried on the bench behind the most popular player in the league. A bit too fond of trick plays. Currently on parole.

Wide Receiver: Quicksilver. Big Play Pietro (alternate nickname: "Surly Prick Pietro") can break open a game at any time. His concentration is questionable and hands are below average, but the speed! Remember Black Panther's ego issues you thought you might be dealing with? You've got them times 10 with this guy. Expect a contract holdout every year for more money and outlandish perks. Is he worth it? Speed kills, baby...

Left Tackle (backup): Wonder Man. Maybe if Thor gets hurt... hahahahaha, just kidding. Williams! More Gatorade over here!

Free Safety: The Vision. You're coming over the middle on a crossing route, you reach up for the high, arcing pass, the ball grazes the tips of your fingers and you've just about made the catch... BOOM! Aw no you didn't! The Vision done blowed you up (Note: The Vision is slang-free)!!! His smooth moves and machine-like precision enable him to play at peak efficiency at all times. Light as a feather on his feet in coverage but like a rock on the tackles. Contract demands: Redheads, sunlight.

Defensive Tackle: Giant-Man. This one can plug the gaps. Do yourself a favor and abandon running up the middle early with him in the trenches. Tested positive for steroids twice. He's also schizophrenic and a convicted wife-beater. In other words, your typical defensive lineman.

Outside Linebacker: The Hulk. Who's going to show up this week? The meek, mild-mannered wuss who can't tackle, or the rage-fueled monster who eats offenses for breakfast? Despises the media who he claims "Won't leave Hulk alone". Coach-killer. He's got a rap sheet a mile long, but the upside! Loaded with ability but desperately needs it to be harnessed. Perhaps a young female coach like Betty Ross could maximize his talent? Female coach. Oh, God that was a funny one. Oh, my sides.

Cheerleaders: The Scarlet Witch and The Wasp. There's a no-fraternization rule between players and cheerleaders but these two think of it more as a guideline. The Scarlet Witch is a gypsy shaking it for a paycheck, while The Wasp is a poor little rich girl who shakes it 'cause she can't help it. Think Paris Hilton but brunette, a half-inch tall and not quite as much of a whore.


* What positions would the Justice League play? Glad you asked:
  • Quarterback: Superman
  • Running Back: The Atom
  • Wide Receiver: The Flash
  • Tight End: Green Lantern
  • Cornerback: Batman
  • Middle Linebacker: Martian Manhunter
  • Cheerleaders: Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Black Canary and Zatanna. Just a murderer's row. Good god, the fishnets alone! Is it hot in here?
  • Waterboy: Aquaman
The big question, of course, is who would win in a football game between The Avengers and The Justice League. Such a question is a matter of cosmic import! It's a conundrum far too puzzling and enigmatic to be contained in a mere single footnote, faithful readers!**

Footnote to the footnote:

** The Justice League.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Fat Fantasy Island

Yesterday, my wife Amy told me that she has a fantasy about losing weight. She meets fitness guru Bob Greene on Oprah and he pledges to help her work off those post-pregnancy pounds. Amy then works with Bob over the next few months in a brutal workout regimen that melts off the Excess-Amy one pound at a time.* When the boot-camp is over, she appears on Oprah. They talk about how she did it, how spectacular it feels to be thin and then she and Oprah make out. Okay, sorry, I added the last part. A lifetime of fantasies involving women has trained me to always end with them rubbing each other.

Of course, when she told me this fantasy of hers, I put my arm around her comfortingly, gave her a kiss and whispered, "Your fantasy is stupid."

I mean, Jesus Christ, it's a fantasy. You've got your ideal fantasy situation and you're working your ass off! I don't know much**, but when you're imagining yourself losing weight you can do better than Bob Fucking Greene.

I shall now unleash my inner Mr. Roarke and welcome you... to Fat Fantasy Island!!! Smiles, everyone, smiles! Here are my 5 more interesting weight loss fantasies. They may contain disturbing images or ideas, but thankfully none involve actual exercise. Also, these fantasies cater predominantly to the male psyche, but they can easily be flipped around to be enjoyed by the fairer sex:
  1. The government finds out about that Bad Thing You Did. They come for you and put you in a black car with tinted windows. At the airport you're transferred to a Learjet, where a man in a white lab coat who looks a bit like Christopher Lloyd from Back to the Future draws your blood and examines it under a microscope. Once finished, he turns to one of the agents and nods knowingly. Upon touchdown you're hustled into a bunker at Langley and met by C.I.A. Deputy Director Stephen R. Kappes. Mr Kappes informs you that your cellular structure has been identified as ideal for a new Super-Soldier experiment, and if you will submit to a painless procedure and commit to work for the Agency for a period of ten years, your record will be expunged. Also, you'll be well compensated, and you'll never pay taxes again. The promises are sweet, but there is an air of menace... you know if you refuse, things will not be pleasant for you and your family. You agree, and are hastily strapped to a table as Deputy Director Kappes exits the room. The scientist who looks vaguely like Christopher Lloyd injects you with a purple, dimly-glowing liquid. You scream in pain, unsurprised that a seasoned agent like Kappes could lie so effortlessly. Within seconds your muscles begin to jerk and spasm, finally revving up into an all-over body-quake, as if you were riding in a fast-moving jeep over a series of speed bumps. After a few minutes the involuntary muscle movement stops, and you peer down at what had been your body. It's like looking at someone else: washboard abs, bulging muscles and even enlarged sex organs. They undo the straps and you stagger to your feet, discovering that you've also gotten taller! An agent approaches somewhat reluctantly and offers you a manila folder marked "Confidential, Eyes Only". He tells you he has your first assignment: a guerrilla leader in Peru needs your "attention", with extreme prejudice. Suddenly your hand lashes out, grabs the agent's neck and twists, and he flops to the ground, his neck broken. Dr. Lloyd's eyes widen in panic, his hands fumbling for the alarm button on the wall. He never makes it. You didn't ask for this, but by God you're going to teach them what it means to threaten you and yours. You raise your bloody fists high in the air and scream, "Kappes!!! You! Are! Mine!!!" Then you run your hands over your perfectly formed six-pack and marvel over how damn hot you are.
  2. Aliens hit you with a thin ray. I mean, the ray is actually pretty wide, but it makes you thin. They consider ramming a metal probe up your pooper for no reason, but mercifully decide against it and let you go. In a week your confused face is on the cover of the Weekly World News with the headline: "ALIENS PROBED MY POOPER".
  3. You awaken with a start to realize you are not alone in your bedroom. A human-sized shape crouches at the foot of your bed, watching you. As you begin to scream, the man lunges at you and covers your mouth with a hand as cold as ice. With his free hand he switches on the bed-side lamp, revealing both his pale, handsome features and sharp, bone-white fangs. It's a vampire! He hisses, "You are my descendant, ten generations removed, and I have come to grant you your birthright. Dominion over the night shall be yours. Do you wish this great gift? To become a vampire?" You have a few questions and he answers them one after the other. "Yes, you'll live forever. No, you can't go out in sunlight. Yes, you can still have sex. Goddamn that emo wench Anne Rice for spreading that rumor. No, it doesn't have to be gay sex, damn that bitch Rice to Hell. Yes, you'll be skinny." You go for it.
  4. You see an advertisement on late night television for a pill that will make you thin. You buy it and it works.
  5. Anna Nicole Smith shows up at your high school reunion. She is just like you've always imagined she was in real life: crazy, coked-up and dumb. Anna Nicole slouches over to you at the bar and asks you to buy her a drink. After you tolerate her small talk for a few minutes, she mistakenly assumes that you are kindred souls. In a hushed, serious tone, she tells you the secret of how she really got thin: In the Grotto at the Playboy mansion there is an immortal water nymph that is the source of all Hugh Hefner's success. You point out that Hef only moved into the mansion after his early gains with Playboy magazine, but Anna Nicole's only reply is to turn and throw up on that boy or girl who dissed you all those years ago in homeroom. Then Anna Nicole collapses, the overdose fatal, but before she dies she whispers to you the secret incantation to make the Grotto Nymph obey you in all things. It's insane... but what do you have to lose? You fly out to L.A. the next day, but getting past the gate and into the grotto is a problem. After concocting some wild schemes surely doomed to failure, you finally just settle on ringing the doorbell and seeing what happens. A snooty-looking butler answers (you were hoping for a Playmate), and you stammer that you'd like to be allowed go to the grotto, please. He eyes you quizzically, then closes the door in your face. After a few seconds you turn to leave dejectedly, but the door re-opens and Hef himself stands there in his silk pajamas. He begins to ask you a question, but when your eyes meet he stops abruptly. "You know, don't you," he rasps. "The incantation. Anna Nicole, you fucking whore." Then he turns dejectedly and motions you to follow. You walk together through the lavish mansion and down into the steamy mist of the infamous Playboy Grotto. There, on the steps, with the warm water gently lapping at your feet you softly say the words given to you by the fallen Playmate of the Year and Guess Jeans model. In an instant the water begins to swirl, and the shape of a beautiful woman rises from the center of the pool. A voice murmurs like a burbling mountain stream, and you hear it not with your ears but in your very soul. Hef hears it too, and begins to weep. He mutters sadly, "All this is yours now. All of it." You have pity for the great man and put a hand on his shoulder. You tell him that while the mansion and everything in it now belongs to you, you'd like him to stay as your honored guest for the rest of his life. You embrace, and then the nymph weaves her ancient spells. She tells you that you can peruse every Playboy magazine ever made and choose three Playmates. The girls will materialize exactly as they were in the pictorials and stay that way forever. They will live to serve you, even doing all the work of putting together the magazine every month. Hef nods. He's never assembled a magazine in his life; it's always been the magical servants. You settle in quickly to life in the mansion, the days filled with parties, orgies and pinball. Every day, you wonder when the crafty old man will betray your hospitality and try and take back what was once his, but he never does. He never does. Plus, you're thin.


* My wife is skinny and beautiful and wonderful and smart and please don't divorce me.

** Memorizing casts of movies I've never seen, playing an Empath in City of Heroes, juggling (3 balls only), 80's comic books, cat training, job interviewing, using two needle-guns effectively in Halo 2, Game-Mastering the Amber role-playing game, glaring at people with righteous rage and radio DJ'ing. Yes, that list was as pathetic to write as it was to read.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Hall of Justice Part 2

I'm not a big baseball fan. My favorite way to watch it is in a Sportscenter highlight, because about thirty seconds worth of interesting things actually happen in a baseball game. I do, however, enjoy tailgating, Cracker Jacks and beer. In other words, I really enjoy going to a ballgame, I just don't want to see the actual game.

Here's an idea: Next baseball season, have all the games be played in an underground bunker in Utah. Then at the end of every week, combine all the highlights from that week's games and show them in order, without anyone knowing the outcome. If they broadcast them at the ballpark on massive jumbotrons in the middle of the diamond I would even buy season tickets to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Ooo! And strippers! They should be trotted out between every other inning to entertain the crowd. No, make that every inning. Never mind, let's just hit the strip-club and call it a day.

Regardless, even though I'm not a baseball aficionado, I am a huge fan of their Hall of Fame. The Baseball Hall of Fame gets it right, and why? Because they hate virtually everyone.

This week, the Hall elected Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken Jr. Even if you don't know about baseball, you probably know about Cal. He's the player who helped save baseball by actually-get this- playing baseball. He was out there playing every single game for 2,632 consecutive games. An impressive record, though Brett Favre's starting every football game since 1992 blows it away in my opinion. It's one thing to play a game where you throw, catch and try to hit a ball three or four times a contest, but quite another when you're facing almost a dozen 300 lb. men whose only job is to run at you as fast as they can and break your legs. Suck on that, Cal. Still, he was a no-brainer for the Hall.

Tony Gwynn also belongs. He would have hit .400 in 1994 if Major League Baseball hadn't called off the season on account of Bud Selig being a tool. Tony also has the distinction of being the best baseball-playing fat-man since Babe Ruth, giving hope to doughy losers like myself that if we only got our big break, we too could stride out on that diamond and get hit in the face with a Roger Clemens fastball. For this, Tony deserves entry.

Now let's talk about those people that the Baseball Hall of Fame shut out this year: Everyone else on the planet. This is a good thing. The more exclusive the membership, the more valuable and memorable the induction. This is one area where the National Football League drops the ball. Their Hall inducts six players every single year. Want to know who entered the Baseball Hall last year? Don Sutton.* Want to know who entered the Football Hall? So do I. I completely forgot, and I actually like football.**

Here's my sole criteria for induction in any Hall of Fame: when someone asks you if a certain player should be in a Hall of Fame and you go, "Hmmmm..." he's out. If you have to think for longer than it takes to take a breath, it's over. The Hall of Fame is for those who have blown everyone away with their undeniable greatness, and "hmmmm..." doesn't cut it.

Let's go over a partial list of this year's failed nominees:
  • Rich "Goose" Gossage: Tremendous closer, better nickname. Almost cried when Tom Cruise got him killed in Top Gun. Came closer than anyone this year who didn't get in, and I wouldn't have had a problem with it if he'd made it.
  • Lee Smith: Most saves ever. No cool nickname, so he's out. Let that be a lesson to you.
  • Jack Morris: Not the best in the regular season, but an absolute stud in the playoffs. Baseball doesn't seem to factor in this statistic I call "winning" into their calculations, apparently. I'd let him in.
  • Don Mattingly: "Mr. Baseball" did have a nickname, though it was pretty egomaniacal of him. How about just "Mr. First Base"? Afraid of being branded a light-petter, Mattingly? Oh, and he never won a championship while playing his entire career with the New York Yankees, who I hear are pretty good. Plus, they won the World Series the year after he retired. Coincidence? Probably, but he's out. His new nickname is "Mr. Nose Pressed Against the Glass of the Hall of Fame Door, Crying Like a Goddamned Schoolgirl".
See, that's how hardcore the Hall is. I'm a brutal taskmaster, and already I would have let four in instead of two this year. Now for the steroid wing:
  • Albert Belle: An utter psychopath. Let's see, he cheated with a corked bat, screamed obscenities at Hannah Storm (because he thought she was Leslie Visser. Hey, we've all been there, Albert), routinely glared with white-hot hatred at little children who wanted his autograph, whipped a baseball into the stands at a fan and hit him, charged the stands and personally attacked another fan, ran down rowdy trick-or-treaters with his car, was convicted of stalking a woman from an escort service, even going so far as to secretly install a gps system in her car... it's a phenomenal list. Personally, I'd induct him into the Hall just to see the terrified looks on the faces of the crowd and his fellow inductees. I can easily see him stepping up to the podium and then hosing down the crowd with a submachine gun a la the Penguin in Batman Returns. Steroid probability: 75%, Crazy probability: Off the charts. We're talking Bruce Dern-level crazy here. If you see Albert Belle, contact the authorities immediately and commence praying, because Albert has already attached a gps and knows where you are!
  • Ken Caminiti: Died because of cocaine, fast cars and steroids. Steroid probability: 100%, duh.
  • Jose Canseco: A marvel of biology. Jose is an entity consisting of a myriad concoction of steroids encased in skin. He also dated Madonna. Steroid probability: damn... can't find the "infinity" symbol on the keyboard...
And most importantly,
  • Mark McGuire: Saved baseball after the strike. Has the magic number of 500 home runs that automatically gets you into the hall of fame. Good teammate, gives to charity and strongly suspected of having cheated by taking steroids. Steroid probability: Impossible to say. Trying to think of the exact number. Thinking, thinking...

And it's over. Sorry, Mark.

But not really. You see, being enshrined in a Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor and privilege, therefore being excluded from membership is not a punishment****. We don't have to prove that someone doesn't belong. It's not innocent before proven guilty. They need to prove they belong, and if there's a shadow of a doubt over almost everyone from the 90's because of steroids, well that's something that could have been avoided if the players who weren't using had had the courage to stand up and demand testing to expose the ones that were. Does that sound difficult, calling out your fellow players? Does it sound like such an action would take extraordinary courage? You bet your ass it would. It would take someone with monumental resolve, strength and honor.

Sounds like a Hall of Famer to me.


* They shouldn't have inducted even one player last year. Don Sutton has no business in the Hall of Fame unless he buys his ticket like everyone else. Even then, I'd make him pay double. Check the mammoth white-man-fro he's kickin'. Yo, Napoleon Dynamite, when they construct a Hall of Not Bad for A Very Long Time, you've got my vote.

** List of Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees for 2006 and my meaningless votes for each:
  • Troy Aikman- No problem with this one at all. He doesn't get a ton of credit for the success of those Dallas Cowboys teams of the 90's, but I always thought he was underrated. His mechanics were flawless (Ditka even used film of Aikman to show Jim Harbaugh how to throw a football, which pissed Harbaugh off to no end).
  • Harry Carson- Hall of very good. Two rings with the Giants, excellent player, but he benefited from playing with the greatest linebacker of all time.
  • John Madden- Is he even still human? I can't bear to look at him anymore. I dare you to stare into his eyes for just one minute and retain your sanity. No, no! Look away! Save yourself!! Anyway, great coach but not for long enough. If it takes the Hall 25 years to induct you, that's a pretty big "Hmmmm...". He got in because he stayed famous, period. I would have kept your fat ass out, Johnny. BOOM!
  • Warren Moon- The most borderline guy on the list for me. A ton of yards, but no rings and he played a quarter of his career in the Canadian Football League... damn, no, he's out. But it's close.
  • Reggie White- The most feared Defensive lineman of his era. Held the record for sacks all-time. No question a Hall of Famer. I idolized the man, so of course he later unleashes a racist diatribe at the Wisconsin statehouse. Every goddamned time I look up to an athlete they wind up breaking my heart, with the exception of Brett Farve. This of course means that within the week we'll be hearing the words "Favre, nuns, helpless kittens, coke-fueled, machete and bloodbath" in the same news story.
  • Rayfield Wright- An offensive lineman for Dallas I've never heard of, but that means nothing. Offensive lineman are like referees or your own spleen: if you suddenly become aware of them, it usually means they're fucking up.

*** Off-field stuff counts in the Baseball Hall. In football, off-field doesn't enter into it. This is why no one had a problem voting Lawrence Taylor into the Hall despite him being a huge crack-head even while actually being inducted. Plus, like Albert Belle, no one was going to tell LT that he wasn't getting in for fear of being torn to pieces and eaten. Even if he hadn't been enshrined, they just would have let him walk on stage and mumble a speech before staggering off to find more crack.

**** We'll tackle the Pete Rose issue another time.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Hall of Justice

Based on the title of this post and the content of the posts before it, it would be reasonable to assume that this will be a long and rambling diatribe on Samurai from the Superfriends (shown at left wearing the thong bathing suit from Borat). Hahaha, you make assumptions about my blog at your peril! It's actually a post about the Baseball Hall of Fame (first, though, Samurai sucks. He has the power to conjure wind, become a tornado, turn invisible, engulf himself in flames... in other words, he's Everything Man, a character every boy pretended they were when they were six years old. Whatever power you think is cool, you suddenly have. Plus, his name is "Samurai". If he were white, he would have named himself "Knight", or perhaps just "Fighting Guy". And in hindsight? Wendy, Marvin, Wonderdog, Zan, Jana and their godforsaken space-monkey Gleek were one Scrappy Doo away from making the Superfriends the worst shitheap of animation ever produced. Sorry, I'm not getting nostalgic about it. That show blew, and I'm a worse person for ever having liked it in the first place. When my future-self travels back in time to warn me not to invest every cent I've got in that Hitler-cloning laboratory, afterwards we'll continue back to 1976 and slap the hell out of me as a child for ever enjoying Superfriends).

Well, we're out of time. Next post: the Baseball Hall of Fame gets it right this year.

Friday, January 5, 2007

Superman Sinned

Everyone has different criteria for deciding whether or not a film is "good". My friend Juan's value system is very clear on this point: if someone kicks someone else at any point in the movie, it's good. He once demanded that I accompany him to a screening of Mortal Kombat (Tagline: Nothing In This World Has Prepared You For This. Truer words never written.) and I went. Now, this is a movie that he had seen before, but he paid money to see it again with me. I spent the first half of the flick rolling my eyes and threatening to call immigration on him, but suddenly Juan's "Rosebud" moment appeared on the screen: Johnny Cage stands in a well manicured forest, then kicks Scorpion! Or perhaps, Skorpion. Or maybe it was Sub-Zero, whoever. Then Juan turns to me and nods knowingly. Kick accomplished, he's satisfied with the evening.

Upon leaving the theater, I accost him, using my well honed wit and razor sharp mind to probe his motivation for inflicting this film on me. "What the fuuuuuuck??!!"

"Did you see that kick? Bla-DOW!!!" Juan attempts to replicate Johhny Cage's kick to the best of his ability while we exit the theater into the mall. Pass
erby unsurprisingly decide to grant the large, semi-high-kicking Mexican the right of way. "Good shit, man."

"But... but the rest of the movie sucked. It was just one kick..." No matter. If you put the Mortal Kombat DVD in to this day, he'll sit for an hour and wat
ch to get to that kick.

This is exactly how I'll be with the Superman Returns DVD. I'll watch to get to the two or three scenes of Superman doing Super Things. The rest of the time I'll be emitting a low growl that will cause my cat to slink and hide under the dining room table.


Most of the movie is actually not too bad. It has some wonderf
ul scenes of Superman flying around, shooting lasers from his eyes and generally being awesome. Kate Bosworth (fatal vulnerability: food. Actual photo at left) plays a bland and malnourished Lois Lane, Kevin Spacey plays Kevin Spacey but without a toupee and Brandon Routh plays Christopher Reeve. Some kid plays Superman's ignored bastard, which is the part of the movie most people absolutely hate. The addition of the child is unnecessary at best, but he's not intolerable. Supes and Lois spent some serious quality time in the Fortress of Solitude- one of the greatest bachelor pads of all time- so it's not out of the realm of possibility that they could have reproduced.

What bothers me most about this film is the central core of the plot (okay, Superman lifting up an entire continent of kryptonite over his head when in the scene before he was rendered helpless by a tiny chunk of it bothered me, but it pales in comparison with my main gripe). Fact: Superman is a nice guy. In fact, he's just about the nicest guy ever, next to Jesus. Or me. He looks out for everyone, saves cats in trees and gives plane crash survivors friendly, comforting lectures on why air travel really is the safest form of transportation. In fact, most people who don't like Superman point to one of two reasons: He's too powerful with no weaknesses, or he's just too darned nice.

I call bullshit on the first reason. Superman h
as more weaknesses than any character ever created.
  • Kryptonite- Green kryptonite weakens and kills him (except at the end of Superman Returns where he lifts a continent of it. Seriously, wtf?). Red kryptonite has random but temporary effects on him, and Superman tends to get exposed to it whenever the writers run out of actual ideas. Gold kryptonite wipes out his powers permanently, black kryptonite gives him a split personality, plaid kryptonite forces him to play the bagpipes and on and on.
  • Red sun- If he flies under a red sun he loses his powers. Villains have even used a "red sun-lamp" on him and it's worked. If I were them I'd be basking under that thing 24/7 just to see if it worked the other way around.
  • Magic- He's weak to it. No real explanation given. When you've got as many vulnerabilities as Supes has, you can just keep piling on, apparently.
  • Psychic attacks
  • Sonic attacks
  • Jimmy Olsen- This kid gets in trouble every other issue and Superman has to start intergalactic wars to save his dumb ass. Jimmy Olsen is Lois without the sex. At least... naw, they couldn't be... eww.
As to whether or not he's too nice? That's a matter of personal taste, but there's no doubt he's the nicest guy in comics. He's the best person you can get, basically, consistently making the right choices and helping others. But not in Superman Returns.

In the film, Superman leaves Earth to see if he can find any remnants of Krypton, his homeworld. Hoping for survivors, or anything, really. He just had to see for himself that it was really gone. Totally understandable. But in doing so he pulls one of the biggest dick-moves of all time: he doesn't tell Lois that he's going.

Now this is a five year trip. Some have argued that he didn't know how long it would take. But I don't think he'd misjudge the time frame by more than a factor of two, so let's assume he thought it would only take two years.

Imagine if you were going on a polar expedition. It's going to take two years. Do you... I don't know, tell your significant other that you're going? Or do you just disappear with no word at all. You tell them. I'd tell them. Guys in prison for doing things to other people with carving knives would tell them. Not to tell her is an act of cruelty that can only be fully comprehended by the spouses of soldiers missing-in-action. It's the ultimate dick-move, and totally, utterly out of character for Superman by any standard.

Superman's reasoning for not telling her is explained in a scene by Clark Kent (Superman never actually explains it to Lois himself. He just mumbles, "I'm sorry, Lois" in the flying scene. Routh delivers that line like he's apologizing for not picking up an extra bottle of milk from the convenience store). Clark explains that maybe if Supes had told her he was leaving, he wouldn't have had the courage to go. So he kept her wondering in agony (while pregnant with his child, no less) for five years because he was... weak? Superman?? Aaaaarrrrrghhhhh.

This is a Batman move. Bats would do this in a heartbeat. He'd enjoy it. "Why didn't you tell me-" Vicki Vail would start in. He'd finish the conversation with a steely glare, a snarl and the back of his hand. Then he and Alfred would hogtie her, dump her in an alley and finish out the evening by snapping off The Penguin's teeth one by one with a pair of pliers. Goddamn, I love Batman.

The Superman dick-move in Superman Returns does have a precedent, however. It's reminiscent of the biggest flaw in Superman II. At the end of that film, Lois Lane is upset about having to keep Superman's secret identity secret. It bothers her that she has to see him at work every day as Clark Kent (Clark... you can't get another job? Do you have to work at all? "Sorry, Lois, the dental plan here at the Daily Planet is really swell..."). The whole secret identity thing is a real killjoy for her, so he wipes her mind. Without her permission, or even awareness. Even Mary Jane Watson could deal with Peter Parker being Spider Man after a good heart-to-heart, and she's the most shallow character in comics. No, no time to chat about it, Lois. Let's just mind-rape you with this weird chemical I put on my lips. Another Batman dick-move that some lazy writer forced on Superman instead.

Superman Sinned. It ruins the picture for me. Not the worst movie in the series, by any means (Superman III & IV... *shudder*) but the flaw is simply too fatal for me to overcome. Another sequel is in the works, but when Superman Returns Again, I'm hoping he's the one I know and love.

And for Juan's sake, I hope this time he kicks someone.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Dreams (That Makes This The 1,456,991st Blog Post On The Internet To Be Titled "Dreams"!! Happy To Help.)

My dreams are usually soulcrushingly horrid affairs. If we're hanging out together, and I tell you that I'm feeling kind've sleepy and might have to be hitting the hay... just smash me in the back of the head with one of those oversized cartoon mallets, I'm begging you. It would spare me from centipedes that split like cells and scurry with supernatural speed up my pants legs. It would hopefully forestall yet another dream involving unspeakable terrors like snakes, hornets or final exams I haven't studied for. And all while naked and being laughed at, let's not forget that. Use the mallet, please, and consign me instead to a dreamless concussive state, or preferably, death.

When I was a child I did have one great dream, which of course began as a nightmare. I was thrown off the Empire State Building. I panicked, screaming, but then came up with a plan that I would later attempt to replicate when awake but with far less success. I looked down at my buttoned shirt, and just like Clark Kent I tore open my shirt at the chest to (hopefully... please God...) reveal that I was in fact SUPERBOY (at right, attempting to super-humanly poop standing up)!!! The famous Super-costume was hidden underneath my clothes the entire time. I then extended my arms in classic flying position, pulled out of my dive and whooshed between the buildings of Metropolis/New York, triumphantly looping and whizzing over the city. I love this dream. I love it even more than the only wet dream I ever had where I was given a hand job by a pretty mulatto girl in a movie theater. Oversharing? Right, moving on.

The Superboy dream is by far the exception to my torture-plagued slumbers. So last night when I actually had an enjoyable experience, I woke and wrote down the two things that I remembered:

1. Lisa Innuendo. There was a woman in the dream who I found very attractive. She had a playfulness mixed with intelligence in her eyes, long, light-brown hair and gave the impression that she was madly, deeply, passionately in love with the real me.

Plus? Boobies.

Her name in the dream was (cue Freud!): Lisa Innuendo. Even my subconscious is freakin' hilarious, when it isn't biting me with poisonous snakes.

For grins, I Googled it (Lisa Innuendo) and while I was hoping for porn (as I am when I Google anything) the first web site that comes up is for Maura Tierney. Now there are many famous women who I think are beautiful, but far, far fewer that I find personally attractive. I have had imaginary flings before (Madonna, in the Papa Don't Preach video) and imaginary girlfriends (Sheena Easton in the 80's). But Maura Tierney is the only woman on Earth that has actually compelled me to get down on one imaginary knee and propose. I'll just go ahead and end the suspense: she said yes.

Maura Tierney is my imaginary fiance, and how "Lisa Innuendo" ever could have come up in a dream and be the search code-words for Maura Tierney freaks me the hell out. Someday she and I will laugh about the whole thing when she becomes my imaginary wife, though she better set a date as she's not getting any younger. Just kidding. You know I love ya, baby.

2. Flight 63. Later in my dream, after the boobies, I was in a foggy city, and I saw a plane going down just above me. On the side of the plane I could see the number "63". It crashed a half a block away from me, and I rushed over to see if I could help. By the time I got there the plane had turned into a Nascar (this being a dream and all) and it was broken up pretty badly, but all of the passengers were completely unhurt. Later, I put the car back together with my mind and drove down narrow streets at two hundred miles an hour. This was far more rad than the centipedes, so I remembered the flight number when I woke up. Then I Googled it.

Flight 63 is the 9/11 jet that lived. It didn't actually happen on 9/11, but it was part of the same al-Qaeda plot. Flight 63 was the Richard Reid* shoebomber flight. That plane came as close as you can to being blown out of the sky, but there wasn't a single casualty.

If you had asked me what the flight number of that jet was before that dream, I could never have told you. I'd probably heard it in passing on some news program at the time, I don't know. I do know that when that web page came up I got chills.

I'm now kind've hoping the centipedes come back, but the mallet is still Plan A.


* Richard Reid looks like an utter tool. Say what you want about the other hijackers, at least they completed the missions they were assigned. This dumbshit couldn't even light a match. Gaze upon the face of failure...

Osama better start holding some recruitment drives a.s.a.p. Not even The Riddler would hire this guy as a henchman.