Thursday, July 28, 2016

True Confessions: Instead of Watching the RNC or the DNC ...

Seriously! Instead of watching the GOP's and the Dems' dueling dumpster fires (*insert banjo music here*), I did just about anything else.  Sure, some people will complain that I'm not doing my civic duty or whatever by not watching ... to which I say, DON'T TELL ME WHAT TO DO WITH MY OWN EYES.

On one night (I forget which), I actually watched the following flick on Syfy instead. The thing is laugh-out-loud horrible, but hey, at least (a) it was entertaining and (b) I know for a fact that neither Sharktopus nor Whalewolf is going to be the next president.

Yup, that was the dude from Starship Troopers, another laughably awful flick. (The Robert A. Heinlein book on which it's based is much better. Trust me on this, will ya?)
Then I proceeded to binge-watch a bunch of shows on Netflix.  I'm thinking of giving the coveted Mad Minerva endorsement to this candidate or possibly this one.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Fun: Real-Life Pokémon Go in NYC

OK, I laughed out loud.  Enjoy!

Star Trekkin' Across the Universe

I've had about all I take of political nonsense all around, so I'm just going to enjoy the fact that the new Star Trek movie is finally premiering.  Until I can get to the theatre and come back with a review for you lovelies, take a gander at this fan film:

And then watch this:

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Fur Flies In UK Politics

Quote of the day: "There are tensions in Parliament. Stand-offs, bristling, screeching and hissing. And no, we aren't talking about the Labour Party."

If you thought people fighting in UK politics is bad, you have another think coming.

The Few. The Proud. The Pokémon Trainers.

Look who's playing Pokémon Go!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Life Imitates the Onion On Every Front

A few days ago I thought I had found the perfect visual distillation of this deplorable year.  As so often happens in situations like this, the year has, within the span of a mere week, somehow managed to get even worse.

Today is a day in which these things exist in the universe (in no particular order and with no attempt at being comprehensive):
  • This loopy argument about an utterly reprehensible human being somehow still makes a certain kind of sick sense if you want the news media to stop being the lapdog of the executive branch and go back to being a watchdog. (Sweet Christmas, did I just say that?)
  • This fangirly writeup about Nigel Farage, one of the UK's most hated public figures, doesn't seem to be ironic.  I'll say this for him: he said he wanted the UK out of the EU, and he actually saw his once-quixotic dream come to pass.  How many politicians can say that?  I mean, really.
  • Since we're talking about the Brits ... The Tories have descended into a rocket-powered roller coaster of backstabbing and power-grubbing, and last I looked, the two top contenders are embroiled in a catfight of hiss-terical proportions because one apparently said something of such grandiose stupidity that it can't be real ... can it? One of these two is supposed to be the heir of Maggie Thatcher?
  • Meanwhile in Australia, some frightened French holidaymakers had to call the cops to save them from "spiders as big as dinner plates." Bonus Aussie goodness: the cops said offhandedly that the tourists really should have been more worried about the 6-foot-long snake that had crawled into in their camper without being noticed. Riiiiiiiiiight.
  • Oh, well, we can escape the nonstop bad news and overheated political polarization by enjoying a little art, right? NOPE.
  • Now from the bastions of cherished academic freedom ... Haha, just kidding! That's PROFESSOR Big Brother to you! 
  • Hell, you can't even play the universe's hottest new game without running into corpses.
  • Et tu?  ET TU?  The whole thing reeks of a tawdry publicity stunt showmance as paparazzi-bait, and I definitely thought you had better taste than to stoop to that.
So let me sum up the current state of everything: "dumpster fire."  I was going to go with "omnishambles" since there's so much Britishness in the word, but I think the image of a mountain of combusting trash is so much more evocative.  In fact, I'll even hit you with some linguistic factoids about the terminology for this epic dumpster fire of a world in which we all are living.

Oh, all right. Not everything is horrible. Some things are merely batcrap crazy. Behold my pick for Headline of the Day: "A Fleet of M&M-Shooting Drones is the Black-Footed Ferret's Last Hope." And you thought it was Obi-Wan. 

Monday, July 04, 2016

Happy Fourth of July! The Original Brexit

On this quintessential American holiday, haters gonna hate ... but living well and having fun is the best riposte and response!  Enjoy your cookouts and fireworks!

You can sign the Declaration yourself at the National Archives online, indulge in some deliciousness, and/or enjoy this snippet from the delightful musical "1776":

Saturday, July 02, 2016

The Perfect Metaphor for 2016

Nothing that I could possibly write about Brexit or US politics or Venezuela or anything else (and all related mass hysteria on social media)  could be better than this image as a metaphor for the entire kit and kaboodle:

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Movie Review: 3 Superhero Flicks (2016)

OK, darlings, let's do this in chronological order: Deadpool, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and Captain America: Civil War.

Short version for the impatient: 
  • Deadpool:  Irreverent, gleefully meta-misbehaving R-rated romp. B+
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: As sleep-inducing as rhino tranquilizers and as vacuously pretentious as college freshmen. D
  • Captain America: Civil War:  Imperfect but entertaining anyway!  A-  (Was there a teensy bit of grade inflation due to comparing this face-off with DC's?  You betcha.)
For those of you who want more details, read on!

Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated

The school year is finally coming to an end!  I can guarantee that the exhausted instructors are far happier about this than the exhausted students. Still, as I start to emerge from the black hole of school to look around at the world, all I see is TRUMP/HILLARY/BREXIT panic-mongering and media madness, and I'm tempted to dive right back into the black hole.

Anyway, as proof of life, here is a hilarious ad that I got from a friend of a friend. Let's have some fun with stereotypes and sport rivalries, shall we?

Monday, March 28, 2016

Movie Madness: "Ben-Hur" (2016)

Here's the trailer for the remake of 1959's Oscar-winning epic Ben-Hur, and I am all kinds of unexcited about this project, even if it somehow got Morgan Freeman to bring some dignitas by sheer dint of his voice:

Maybe the remake will surprise me and actually not be a disgraceful insult to the splendor and substance of the real Ben-Hur (i.e., Heston's, obviously), but I have my doubts.  Heston won the Best Actor Oscar for his turn as the complicated lead character, and I am pretty darn sure nobody's winning anything for the action-filled mess that is the remake if the trailer is any indication.

"Remaking what?"

When I watch the new Ben-Hur and write a review, I might end up having to rehash my Exodus: Gods and Kings review where I said:
I seriously contemplated framing it all as a "I'm sorry, please take me back, I love you!" letter to Chuck Heston. 
... Come on, babe.  You know it's always been about you.
I should never have left Heston's Moses aside to watch Christian Bale's.  It was no contest, and the storytelling was garbage.  Seriously, how do you screw THAT up?  Well, in much the same way people are probably going to screw up the Ben-Hur narrative, I guess?  Come on, the story is supposed to be about the fractured ties between Ben-Hur and Messalla, and the all the trailer can do is have Messalla yell, "Are we having fun now, brother?" like a snippy teenager.  Is that really the best you can do?

Anyway, people tried remaking Ben-Hur as a TV mini-series back in 2010 (yes, this really did happen), and that project made no impact whatsoever.  

Dang it, stop remaking Charlton Heston classics already!  

Contemporary movies are getting to be so much sound-and-fury, CGI pixel insanity kinds of nonsense (with notable exceptions).  Maybe I should start doing reviews of more classic "old" movies to remind everyone, myself included, not to forget the great cinematic achievements of the past.  Sure, they were all made long, long before I was born, but I'm a history buff: we shouldn't become so engulfed in the present that we forget the things that went before and start thinking that the short-term, attention-deficit cult of Now is the only thing that matters.

Longing for a hero on a white horse?  How about four?

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Happy Easter 2016! Χριστός ἀνέστη!

Best wishes to all for a happy, contemplative, and restful Easter!  This year's art of the Resurrection comes from Baroque Venetian painter Sebastiano Ricci and dates around 1715-16.  Currently it resides in the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London.  Click the image to enlarge for better detail.

Usually for holiday art postings I go for something from the Renaissance, but Ricci's vision has such a wonderful sense of color and composition.  Immortal angels and all-too-human soldiers alike are stunned by the sheer power of the figure of Christ risen in sublime glory.

For more Easter art (and related items), see the archives here.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Movie Madness: Terrible Movie Reviews 1, Ben Affleck 0

The reviews are rolling in for the much-anticipated Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and they are pretty brutal.  Look, La Parisienne and I were sure from the get-go that the flick would suck, but "30% on Rotten Tomatoes" is the kind of soul-crushing, black hole level of suck that not even I thought the thing could plunge into.  That's barely better than the 26% rating of the worst superhero movie I ever actually paid to see (that would be Green Lantern from 2011 ... and I still want my money back!).

So when someone edited a sad, sad song into this snippet of an interview with Ben "Batman" Affleck and Henry "Superman" Cavill, the internet ate it up with a Schadenfreudelicious spoon.  This thing is equal parts tragedy and comedy, and I suppose I should feel bad that I laughed, but ... The dead, glazed eyes of surrender just killed me.  At the same time, bless Cavill for bravely - nay, even heroically - soldiering on with a smile.  Take a look for yourself.  Oh, dear.  Oh, oh, dear.

PS: In case you're wondering, I still intend to go see this train wreck ... but maybe I should see Zootopia first (it may be a cartoon, but it's got 99%!).

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Help Wanted in Japan

Think you're up to it?

Care For Some Politics on the Ides of March?

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. Two ambitious senators have the opportunity to stop a pompous would-be tyrant from destroying the republic. To do so, they need to team up and take him down on the Ides of March.
Apply to Rubio, Cruz, and everybody's bête noireTrump.  Hey, the essay is good for a laugh, especially with this imagined Trump-ifying of Shakespeare's Caesar:
"And no one is more constant than me. No one. Maybe the North Star. Maybe. But I gotta tell you, the North Star gets hidden behind the clouds. It's true. It happens. But no cloud ever hides me. I can promise you that. Always I am Trump."

Quote of the Day: Ian McShane on "Game of Thrones"

The great British actor sums up the show in 5 words in this interview, which is itself well worth a read for its sheer personality.  By the way, if you've never seen McShane in Deadwood or Kings, you really should.