Saturday, February 28, 2009

Brave and the Bold"ly Going

If you're not watching "Batman: The Brave & the Bold" airing Fridays at 8pm on Cartoon Network, then you're missing a show that's 12 kinds of awesome.

From the Dick Sprang inspired art design to the team-ups you never thought you'd see on TV (Blue Beetle, Deadman & Kamandi to name just a few) to the solid voice work of Diedrich Bader as The Caped Crusader (Bader straddles the line between gruff, Kevin Conroy "Dark Knight" & Adam West 60's classic perfectly), B&tB has something for every comics/Batman fan.

This week's episode opened the door to the infinite earths of the DC Universe & had Bats impersonating Owlman to take down that earth's Injustice League. It's a 2-parter that wraps up next week and I can't wait.

So, if you want a weekly Batman fix with a Darknight Detective that isn't, you know, an obsessive jerk then "Batman: The Brave & The Bold" is for you. Check it out!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Art Without A Net

Why do I love improv?

It's the only art form ('s an art) that gets created as it happens.

Books and movies take years to complete. Songs, symphonies and plays are written and rehearsed many times before the public sees them. Painters slave over a canvas alone before exhibiting a piece.

But not improv. Improv springs forth fully formed, like Venus from the forehead of Zeus, as soon as the performers hear the suggestion. It's raw, primal and immediate. It's art without a net.

That's the thrill of watching & performing improv. Anything can happen. It's the rush of the unexpected meeting the spark of inspiration.

It's an adrenaline rush that's hard to beat. If you're not already a fan, you should check it out. You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Step Away From The Eggs

I'm not a regular viewer of the Food Network. But my only other treadmill viewing options at the gym yesterday were CNN and Fast Money on MSNBC, so I went with the channel that was least likely to make me need anti-depressants. What I saw shook me to the core.

Food Network Lady (or "FNL" for short) was attempting to "spice up" scrambled eggs. First of all, next to bacon, scrambled eggs are the perfect food...there's no reason to "spice them up." And secondly, according to Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Ph D and his intensive scrambled egg research, "Scrambled eggs are as good as they're ever going to get." This, of course was right before his breakthrough work with bioluminescent goldfish. But I digress.

ANYWAY...imagine my horror when FNL unveiled that her secret ingredient for "spicing up" scrambled eggs was...wait for it...asparagus! Friends & neighbors, I almost fell off the treadmill.

Now, I'm not one of those Amish food people who believe that any deviation from the norm is the work of Beezlebub. I've been know to throw some bacon bits on my peanut butter sandwich (shut up...I like it) and Lord knows that hash browns go to a whole 'nother level when they get scattered, smothered & covered.

But there is something so stomach-churningly wrong about adding asparagus to scrambled eggs that words fail me. Adding asparagus to anything is bad enough, but what did those poor eggs ever do to deserve that?

Oh, yeah...she made a special drink to wash down this gastrointestinal WMD she created...Pineapple Margaritas.

Somebody get me some Maalox.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Movie Firsts

In celebration of last night's Academy Awards, I thought I'd share a few of my very own "Movie Firsts."

Song of the South
Controversial, polarizing, insensitive...all words that have been used to describe this Disney classic. But to a 5 year old, it was opening the door to a whole new world.

Gone With The Wind
My parents took me to a rerelease when I was 6 or 7. I remember asking at intermission if it was over. I never fell as in love with it as some people have, but it holds a special place in my heart.

I don't remember the circumstances that led me to being dropped off to see this cute puppy movie. What I do know is that I was having a grand old time until the mean kidnappers kicked Benji's little girlfriend & I lost it. Everything turned out OK in the end, but it was the first time (but not the last) I got sucker punched by a kid's movie.

When I turned 16 & realized that I didn't have to rely on other people to get me to the theater, I was as happy as a pig in mud. Technically, I might have seen the Bond flick "A View To A Kill" before "Fletch", but since "A View To A Kill" sucked & "Fletch" was awesome, I'm declaring "Fletch" the winner.

The summer of Fletch was also the summer that a girl started talking to me of her on volition at the mall one day. We hit it off & met that weekend to see "Cocoon." PG rated shenanigans ensued. Thank you Steve Guttenberg.

Raising Arizona
Spring break, senior year of high school. I took a lovely young lady to see this Coen Brothers classic. I spent the whole two hours laughing my fool head off. She spent it looking at me like I was a fool for laughing. Discussions ensued. I picked the Coen Brothers over her. I regret nothing.

Married To The Mob
Technically on our second date, I still don't think this was a great movie but the company was so good we've been together over 20 years. So, thanks Dean Stockwell, Michelle Pfeiffer, Matthew Modine and a very young, very thin Alec Baldwin.

And just for kicks & giggles...not so much firsts as interesting facts....

A) I got to see Star Wars the first time because Herbie Goes To Monte Carlo was sold out. The Force is strong, but apparently not stronger than Don Knotts.

B) My dad & I went to see Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Once again, sold out. So we saw Steven Speilberg's 1941 instead. I still think it's underrated.

Top Gun
I saw the Tom Cruise as naval aviator epic four times with three different girls the summer it came out. What can I say...I had the need, the need for speed.

Iron Eagle
Yes, that "Iron Eagle." The one that Lou Gossett, Jr. should be forced to return his Oscar for appearing in. The theater was packed, so I sat on the floor. In my defense, there was a girl involved.

Full Metal Jacket
Good Morning Vietnam
My friend Daniel & I would work a simple scam our Freshman year of college. A new theater opened up that had midnight shows on Friday & Saturday nights. We would go to the 9pm show, pick a movie on the same side of the theater and attend the midnight show for free. Since we were broke college students & a lot of the movies we saw free sucked (Loose Cannons with Gene Hackman & Dan Aykroyd ring any bells), we were untroubled by our ethical lapses.
ANNNNYWAY....For my birthday that year, we ran the gauntlet & saw Kubrick's Vietnam epic on campus at Vanderbilt (I still maintain that Full Metal Jacket is half a masterpiece. The half devoted to training the recruits is miles better than the "find the sniper" second half), went to Fountain Square to see Moonstruck because (a) I had faked a review of it for my campus paper & actually wanted to see it (there was a girl involved) and (b) needed a little lighter fare and then wrapped up the day with more Vietnam highjinks.

So there are a few of my movie memories. Hope you enjoyed them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

True Story

Last Friday, I was hanging out at Hiberian while waiting to meet up with some friends when something very unusual happened (at least it's unusual for me)

Sitting at the bar sipping a Coke when a lady walks by me on the way back to her seat. She stops, looks at me & says, "You look like my best friend Michael. He's very handsome." and then she walks away.

Now friends & neighbors, I've been called a lot of things over the course of my four score years: Funny, nice, cute, sweet and a few things that weren't so complimentary. But I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I've been flat out called "handsome"...and never, ever by a total stranger for apparently no reason at all.

To be completely honest, I totally dug it & quite frankly actually believed it for awhile. And before you ask,no she wasn't drunk, blind or least I don't think she was.

So thank you total stranger for brightening my day and boosting my self-esteem at the end of a long, tiring work week.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Flirting With Disaster

It has been brought to my attention that I am a bit of a flirt. I plead guilty to that. I am a flirt and I expect to be until the day I die. In fact, if I'm not flirting then someone should really check my pulse, because I'm probably dead.

While I do enjoy flirting with women, I do not hit on them. There is a very definite difference and woe be unto the man who doesn't know it. Flirting is fun and should be enjoyable for both parties. Hitting on someone (who isn't interested) is creepy, off putting and makes you look like a jerk. As a public service to all my male brethren, here are the inherent differences between flirting and hitting on.

(Why am I only addressing the men? In the first place, I happen to be one & have some experience in the matter and in the second place, it's a sad but true fact that men don't care if they're being flirted with or hit on as long as a woman is paying attention to them)

A. Flirting, when done correctly, can be done anywhere & anytime. It's always complimentary and with totally innocent intentions and expectations. You're not trying to "get" anything. As a matter of fact, if you are skilled enough, you can flirt with someone in front of their significant other without getting you teeth kicked in. The reason is simple and bears repeating: You are not trying to achieve anything other than making the flirtee feel better about themselves. There is no agenda to flirting.

B. Hitting on is done with the intention of some sort of personal gain. If you and the lady are both unattached (and the lady is receptive), then no harm no foul. However, if you're seriously hitting on someone in a relationship then you're a scumbag who deserves whatever butt whoopin' you get. Some of the slimier forms of this tactic include trying to plant seeds of doubt, slandering the boyfriend/husband or generally saying things like, "You could do so much better than him." There isn't a circle of Hell deep enough for men who use these tactics.

If you find yourself confused about your intentions, try this little tip: If someone said what you're about to say to your sister, would you stab them repeatedly with a spork without fear or regard for retribution or jail time? If the answer is "yes", then you might want to rethink your approach.

Flirting is a wonderful thing...we all want to feel attractive and desireable. Use your powers for good, because with great power comes great responsibility.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Friends & neighbors, I have seen the heart of darkness. I have stared into the abyss. I have crossed the barren wastes of armageddon. I spent Saturday afternoon at Chuck E. Cheese and lived to tell the tale.

My beloved sister asked if we could have our shared birthday celebration at the home of Mr. Cheese. Because I love her dearly and knew that 18-month old Sainted Nephew Colton might have fun, I agreed. Hanging out with them, our parents & Sainted Wife was fun. The pizza was surprisingly edible (or at least didn't try & violently escape later) and Colt did seem to enjoy himself. So all that was good.

But the dead-eyed looks of existential angst on the faces of the employees was a sight to behold. The sheer desperation and agony at being forced to lead around some pour soul stuffed into a smelly mascot suit could just break your heart. I saw employees playing rock, paper, scissors to see who would clean up a wet bathroom (and with roughly 12,500 kids in the building, you couldn't have gotten me in one of those bathrooms at gunpoint.) We asked one of them who cleans up the munchkin habitrail that was so popular with the kids. The answer: "That's a fun job...sometimes it gets cleaned & sometimes it doesn't."

The teenagers I could understand. This was just a part time gig to make a little folding money. It was adults who worked there who broke my heart. You could see it in their did it come to this? Perhaps they turned to the bottle in their youth and this was all they could get. Perhaps they majored in Elizabethan poetry or Conversational Klingon in college. But how do you get up every single day knowing that all that lies ahead is 8 hours of screaming kids and animatronic rats? If it were me, I'd have to lock up all firearms and sharp objects.

So beware...count your blessings. The next time you're tempted to think that your job sucks & nothing could possibly be worse, say to yourself "It's not Chuck E. Cheese. It's not Chuck E. Cheese."

Unless it which case, may God have mercy on your soul!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Justify My Love

I've spent far too much time over the course of my 40 years explaining, defending or sometimes outright apologizing for movies, music & TV shows that I enjoy. Well, not any more. The crappy things I love (and make no mistake, some of the stuff I love is pure unadulterated crap) are crap, but they're my crap, dagnabit! Confession is good for the soul, so here's a few things that I have adored and, in some cases, still do:

Bruce Willis' "The Return of Bruno"
I listened to the cassette so much, I wore it out. If it was available on CD, I'd wear that out as well

"Rhinestone" starring Sylvester Stallone & Dolly Parton
There's nothing funnier than Stallone trying to be a country singer...except Stallone making his debut singing "Drinkingstein." I had the soundtrack to this as well

Grease 2
I liked it better than Grease & watched it at least once a day the summer I taped it off of HBO

"Convoy" by CW McCall
The ultimate truck driving song. I even bought McCall's Greatest Hits CD.

Hudson Hawk
Bruce Willis strikes again! A complete mess of a movie that entertains me every time I see it.

"Patches" by Clarence Carter
Maybe not as well known as "Strokin", but this "dead father places burden of family farm on son" song is awesome on so many levels.

Necessary Roughness
I love this Scott Bakula/Kathy Ireland football epic like a fat kid loves cookies.

Hee Haw
Grew up watching it. Still love it. The Hee Haw Honeys were my first crush.

There are many, many more that I could list...and still might. Some would say that this is my "guilty pleasure" list. They would be incorrect. I don't feel guilty at all.

I love this crap!