Friday, August 08, 2008

Cow Tipping

It was a slow day at work so got to talking, somehow, about cow tipping and whether it was a myth or not. My school, Washington State University, is known for being a party school as well as a cow-tipper's paradise.

But have you ever seen video of a cow tipping? This will now put that question to rest.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Triumph at Comic-con

Helms on Colbert

This item comes from GQ's comedy issue featuring Seth, uh, what's his name? The Jewish guy with the 'fro in that movie Pineapple Express. Is it Rogen? Anyway, he's on the cover. Inside was this short interview with Ed Helms about his start on "The Daily Show" and his experience with fellow correspondent Stephen Colbert:

"When I started on 'The Daily Show,' I was so nervous that I asked him if he had any pointers. He said, 'You’re gonna be great. Oh, and don’t forget to hang your soul up in the closet and come back for it later.'

"Whenever we were backstage before a taping, Steve would do this pantomime. He would pretend he was the trumpet player in the band, getting ready for his part in 'The Daily Show' theme song. He’s miming that he’s warming up his trumpet, blowing in the spit valve, getting ready to go. And then he raises it to his mouth right when the guitar part kicks in. He would take down his fake trumpet and act surprised, like, 'What the fuck? Where’s the trumpet part?' I must’ve seen him do that 300 times, and it always made me laugh."

Blockbuster by Mail

A few years ago, while working for Lions Gate Entertainment, I came across a little-known company called Netflix. It seemed like a great little start-up, and so I asked my cousin's stockbroker husband if it was a good investment.

He never got back to me, and I sort of wrote the investment off as a silly idea. Then a year later, the stock doubled or tripled. By that time, I saw my cousin's husband who thanked me for the stock tip. Turns out, he invested a few thousand into Netflix and came away a winner.

Am I bitter? More like sour and rotting, to be more precise. That little lesson turned out to be the last time I asked for or gave any stock advice from anyone.

But now I'm thinking of asking the guy about Blockbuster, since while it looks way undervalued, with a price-to-book ratio under 1, I really don't know if they can survive in this evolving industry.

Regardless, I signed up for a trial of Blockbuster's home delivery service. About a year ago, I became rather frustrated by Netflix's lack of predictability. Plus, it was possible the mailman was watching my movies, because I often missed deliveries. Netflix was pretty good about apologizing and providing replacements, but when I asked them if their online delivery would soon work for Mac users, they just told me, "Sorry, probably won't happen." That was the proverbial straw.

So here I am, trying out the new service and... so far, so good. The first discs arrived in one day. I dropped off one of them at the Blockbuster store down the street from the office yesterday, and I might stop in today for an in-store exchange. Call it the dumbed-down version of Netflix, but I kinda like it.

Currently, at the office, I'm working on the old Batman collection for Blu-ray. This includes Batman, Batman Returns, Batman & Robin and Batman Forever. And, boy, do these films look dated. Sure, Batman with Nicholson and Keaton and Basinger came out in 1989, but this was surely a different pre-9/11, pre-Lady Di, pre-Heath time and place.

For those who haven't read about Jack getting upset for not being included in the story-forming process of Dark Knight, click here. But just looking at his picture on the back of the disc packaging, I have to say that even then, he was just too old and too out of shape for the part.

Still, I did love watching him then. I just have no interest in watching him now. As for Val Kilmer and George Clooney in their turns as the Caped One, well, I missed it the first time, so maybe now I'll take a look. Heck, how much worse can it get after watching Spider-man 3?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Weekend Entertainment

I grew up a big fan of the TV series, "Monty Python's Flying Circus," which aired many decades ago on public TV here in the States. Consequently, after hearing a segment on NPR about Eric Idle's "Not the Messiah (He's a very naughty boy)," performing live last weekend at the Hollywood Bowl, I just had to place a bid on eBay for a pair of tix.

It was a fun show, with reminiscences of Life of Brian and, I think, Meaning of Life as well. The reason I'm confused about the latter is that Eric Idle came out for a planned encore and sang what I think is the closing song for Meaning of Life, with lyrics about earth and the planets in the universe.

Monty Python has so infected my life that I even watched the TV series "Fawlty Towers" starring John Cleese for a while, and completely loved Michael Palin's travel series, particularly his "Hemingway Adventures" where he visited all of the author's famous haunts in Europe and Cuba. In one episode, he sat in Hemingway's chair at the bar and got completely inebriated on double Margaritas, then wobbled down the street, cameras rolling, to another bar where he consumed double Mojitos until he blacked out. The very next morning, Palin continued the documentary while hung over and nauseated. It was hilarious!

Two summers ago, after dating my wife-to-be for 3 weeks, we went on a quick jaunt to New York to catch "Spamalot" at the Shubert Theatre where, to my delight, I found out that my wife was a big fan of the movie Monty Python & The Holy Grail.

It's my wife's birthday this week, and the Hollywood Bowl was sort of an early surprise celebration. We picked up sandwiches from Blue Dahlia and brought a chilled bottle of La Crema Pinot Noir for a makeshift picnic dinner.

On Sunday night, we went to Shane Sato's photography studio for a sushi party where I got to indulge my fantasy of being a sushi chef. Shane goes fishing for all sorts of good stuff during the summer, so my fantasy often gets extended and occasionally abused to the point where I feel like I'm working instead of indulging. But, ah, that's another story.

Now, it would've been a fantastic weekend if it weren't for the fact that I had rented Spider-man 3, which is probably the worst superhero movie I have ever seen. What possessed me and the wife to watch the bloopers reel in the Special Features, I have no idea. But man, that was like adding turpentine to an already throbbing and pus-ing wound.