Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Seriously Funny

I've said it before, and I'll probably say it again, but Craig Ferguson is hilarious. Tonight's episode of The Late Late Show was the best I've seen yet. If you can find clips of Craig with Ewan McGregor (specifically of their ESPN UK bit), watch them. And then spread them around. And then watch them again.

Oh, also, I like that cell phone commercial with Meatloaf and his kid. Good stuff.

Let me sleep on it

And Winner Is...

I've now (finally!) seen all five of this past year's Best Picture nominees (No Country For Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Juno, Atonement, and Michael Clayton). Without a doubt No Country, and Blood were the best two pictures. Personally I'd go for Blood, as it had a power I haven't seen from movie since American Beauty. No Country was exciting in it's own right, and I appreciated the depth of thought and philosophy behind the film. Either film could have rightfully won the award.

Juno was a sweet little picture, a terrific glimpse of real life. Michael Clayton was a compelling drama, but enough similar movies have been done (albeit it in other styles (legal thrillers, mystery)) that it lost some of its impact.

I want to talk about Atonement. [Spoilers ahead] Because what the &%$@ was that?!? There was no atoning. There was no pay-off. The stupid frickin' chick never made up for what she did. She didn't even begin to make up for it. Even in the version of the story she told she didn't really make up for it. It was a gigantic crock.

I can see how the idea could make for a terrific book, and apparently the novel was terrific. I can see that as an exploration of the nature of fiction it would be a powerful and insightful experience. But the movie wasn't about the nature of fiction, it was about the characters and the plot. And the plot didn't have any &$#%ing atonement! It didn't leave me satisfied. It left me angry. I haven't been this upset at the lack of pay off since I saw Meet the Parents. Yeah, that's right; the best comparison I have for Atonement is to Meet the Parents.

I guess I'll never grow a sideburn
It's a shame with all I've got to go between

Friday, April 25, 2008

Progress, I Guess

Yesterday I was conducting an intake interview of a potential client. We're required to ask how they would categorize their color/ethnicity. This potential client, who was in his 70's, looked at me and said, "Well, I used to be a negro. Then I was 'colored'. I suppose now I'm just black."

They say you gotta stay hungry
Hey baby I'm just about starving tonight

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Phickle Thoughts

That's right, I'm going back to the "Phickle Thoughts". "Quick Ficks" was voted down pretty much unanimously. I never really liked "Phickle Thoughts" but everyone else seems to, and if there's one thing this blog is about, it's making everyone else happy.
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I've been having a tremendous discussion over on Jacob's blog. If you're at all interested in why Libertarians are wrong, I recommend you check it out.
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I'm pretty happy Clinton won Pennsylvania. She's been claiming for some time now that she, unlike Obama, will be able to compete in critical states (such as Pennsylvania and Ohio) come November. And that's a terrific point. Obama might be more exciting and/or inspiring (though personally I'm neither excited or inspired by Obama), but I don't know that he'll be able to win against a Republican. He doesn't excite people who don't already agree with him.

Plus, I just read a piece on Yahoo news that revealed "about one in four Clinton supporters said they would back John McCain in the general election should Obama win, while fewer than one in five of Obama's voters said they support McCain if Clinton should win." I think this highlights that Clinton can pull more centrist voters than Obama. I've been saying this for months now. People should just listen to me... Sheesh.
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I'm planning on going to the Nationals game on Wednesday. I'm pretty excited to see the new ballpark. Throw in the fact that Johan Santana is pitching, and it should be a pretty awesome evening. It'll be hard to watch him throw for someone other than the Twins, but, just like with KG, I like the guy too much as an athlete to let the team he's on change my view of him. Plus, he's just so cute.
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I'm trying to put together a list of "The Best Songs You've Never Heard". If anyone has a good suggestion for songs they love but they don't think most people know of, I'd love the recommendation.

I hear you whisper & the words melt everyone

Monday, April 21, 2008

God Bless

As a lifelong, practicing Catholic I'm usually interested in what's happening with the papacy. Considering how directly the position can be traced back to Peter and the original Apostles, it's pretty cool to have it as a part of your faith life.

It was also pretty cool to have the Pope visit the city I'm living in. I didn't manage to see him at all, but it was still cool. It was a very busy week, and I've seen the Pope before, so it wasn't such a huge priority. Sure, it was John Paul II that I saw, but if you've seen one pope, you've seen 'em all. Actually, with Benedict's visit, I've come to realize just how true that is.

When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope a big number of people were afraid that he was nothing more than a strict and conservative Catholic apologist. Throughout his papacy he has challenged that characterization by reaching out to other religions (namely Islam), though there have been missteps from time to time. This past week, when he consistently brought the sexual abuse scandals to the front of the discussion, he proved that he truly is - much like John Paul II before him - a pastoral shepherd who cares deeply about his flock.

It seems to me that scandal usually invites three responses: denial, blame-shifting, and cover-up. Baseball's steroids scandal, the Patriot's cheating scandal, the faulty intelligence getting us into Iraq scandal, the torture scandal, etc. Whenever a scandal is revealed there's the initial reaction, and as soon as the attention fades a little the people who caused the scandal do their best to move on, often without really addressing the problem.

That's why Benedict's attention to the sex abuse scandal is so welcomed: it's been a while now. Most of the cases have been settled. The issue gets little news coverage. If the church really wanted to brush it under the rug now, they probably could. Instead, Benedict recognized that people are still suffering the effects of this scandal, and that everything that can be done to prevent the problem from recurring needs to be done. The Catholic Church, under Benedict's direction, is still looking at, and implementing, ways to correct the issue.

I don't always agree with Benedict (his conservative approach to the form of the Mass, his apparent view about the separation between laity and clergy), but this visit showed me that he, like his predecessor, has chosen to prioritize the pastoral role of his position. That makes me happy.

Nobody callin' on the phone

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's A Funny, Funny Show

Watching Craig Ferguson tonight and I saw one of the funniest movie preview clips of all time. Just as usual they picked a scene from an upcoming movie (Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo) that features the guest actor (David Krumholtz). This scene was edited to be appropriate for television because, as Krumholtz said, the movie is so dirty that there simply isn't a scene suitable for airing on television.

The scene was basically a guy calling his friend to tell him of the sexual exploits that he'd had the night before. It was obviously quite a graphic description of what seemed to be an unusual form of fornication. Some people might find the unedited version humorous. Those people would be wrong. They would be mistaking shock for comedy. (As an aside, this happens way too often.).

The edited version of the clip was, on the other hand, hilarious. Instead of the various sexual references they dubbed in a series of words that fit the sentences and made a cohesive exchange. Instead of a guy describing bizarre sex acts the conversation became a discussion about afternoon tea. She gave him a "crumpet." Which is a "type of cookie" that she gave him on the "back porch" while he was "sipping tea" in the "afternoon". Or something along those lines.

The dubbed version was brilliant. It made sense, and had a type of innocent goofy humor to it all on its own, and yet the fact that it was replacing obviously dirty words made it all the better. It was like an advanced, reverse mad-libs. Instead of riding a "diaper" to the "boobatorium" they took a higher road. It left the structure of the dirty joke intact, but it wasn't actually dirty.

It's like Krusty says: the young people today, they think comedy is dirty words. It's not -- it's words that *sound* dirty, like "mukluk."

Looking ‘round the room I can tell that you
Are the most beautiful girl in the room.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quick Ficks

From now on, my "Phickle Thoughts" entries will go by this new title, "Quick Ficks". Unless people don't like it, in which case I'll change back. Thoughts?
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God bless playoff hockey. It's so fast and fun and exciting. Way better than basketball.
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Craig Ferguson recently topped Conan O'Brien in ratings for the first time ever. Though I enjoy Conan (and prefer him to Dave or Jay or Jimmy (with the exception of the Damon rivalry thing)), Craig is simply funnier. One of the perks of being a borderline insomniac is that I regularly get to watch Craig.
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Actually, speaking of insomnia, I've had a few rough nights over the last couple weeks. I think it's been largely stress related, since I've been crazy busy at work. Three of the last four weeks I've had arguments scheduled for Monday mornings. I keep getting more and more experience, but I don't seem to get less nervous for the hearings. Fortunately I've gotten some terrific results for clients; I guess stressing about the cases pays off. Still, I'd like to find some better way to avoid the effects that come with stress.
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Flight of the Conchords is hilarious.
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We had an interesting dining experience tonight. One of the first times I've ever intentionally left a low tip. Our waitress seemed completely inept. I ordered the fish'n'chip sandwich, which, unlike the fish'n'chip entree, did not come with tartar sauce. I requested a side of tartar sauce. The waitress told me that she didn't think they had tartar sauce at the restaurant. I casually said that it came with the entree, so hopefully they would have some.

That was when it got weird. She stopped writing down our orders. She looked at me very intensely. She didn't say anything for at least a full three seconds. She gave a scowl and said pointedly, "Well, I. Didn't. Know. That's why I said that."

I countered with that side-to-side eye thing where you check your peripheri to make sure there aren't any hidden cameras thing. You know, the one that means, "what the heck is going on here?"

"Okay...," I said.

She kept the same tone and repeated her line, though a little more quickly this time through.

I sat in silence. (What would you do?!?)(What would Jesus do?!?)

She stood there for another handful of seconds. Not a word was spoken. Somewhere in the distance, a churchbell failed to ring.

It was, apparently, a stalemate. I still hadn't figured out what the game was, but I'd somehow managed a stalemate.

Finally, Laura stepped in with the save. "And can I have a side salad?"

I love my wife.

Still, after that the waitress didn't return to our table until we were finished with our meal. That's right, she didn't even bring us our food. Our waitress. The person who's job description is, "bring people food", failed to complete that task. We don't know where she went. So about half an hour after we ordered, when one of the other waitstaff asked us if we were ok (we were watching the Twins game, so we probably seemed somewhat content) we mentioned that we still didn't have our food. Within a minute he brought us our plates, which had probably been sitting for quite a while. The food was not hot. This was disturbing.

At the end of the meal we went back and forth about how much to tip the waitress. Generally I aim for 20%, more for good service. Tonight I initially went with my gut and gave a normal amount. But as we sat there, waiting for the half-inning to end before we left, it occurred to me that I would feel worse tipping her well, than I would tipping her poorly. So we adjusted the tip downward. It was a pretty crummy tip, but hey!, she was a pretty crummy waitress. Maybe next time she'll bring her customers their food.

Another way that love is similar to Sellotape, that I've noticed
Is sometimes it's hard to see the end

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Question:

Charleton Heston is dead. I hope he is now experiencing eternal peace.

I'm not going to make the obvious joke, but we all know it.

The question I want to know is, who (if anyone) will now become the face of the pro-gun movement?

Triple points for getting the song reference.

Moses with a gun

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tori, i

Real quick baseball story before I head off to bed on this wonderful Opening Day:

Last fall some of the guys from college drove out to visit/catch the Twins playing in Baltimore. We met up at Camden Yards, and watched an amazing Twins' victory over the O's. It was probably the best game I've ever attended; the whole experience was perfect. It was a well-played ballgame, the good guys won, the food and beverage hit the spot, we had great conversation, there was a strange sweaty guy wearing too-small mesh shorts (it was weird), a large number of Twins fans in our section, a series of jovial exchanges between ourselves and Baltimore supporters (including the line, "Welcome to Baltimore, enjoy the syphillis!"), and oh yeah, I caught a Jason Kubel home run ball.

We were sitting in the centerfield seats, just a few rows up from the field. One of the guys came up with an especially clever chant for when Torii Hunter was trotting out to play defense. We were hoping he'd re-sign with the Twins, though we realized that wasn't much of a possibility. So we began to chant, quite loudly, "Hometown Discount!". He actually turned, looked up at us, cocked his head and gave us an "are you serious?" smirk before shaking his head, "no way".

That was the moment I knew he wouldn't be back with the Twins. That was also the moment I realized I couldn't wish any ill will on Hunter for leaving us. It was hilarious and sad all at the same time. I loved him when he played for the Twins, and I still like him. He's a great guy.

Who got paid.

I'm ok with that.

Especially when he hits into double plays against the Twins (welcome to our world Anaheim!). Godspeed against the rest of the AL Central, Torii. Godspeed.

There's the flasher who lives next door