Thursday, January 15, 2009

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Yap Yap, Bang Bang

I'm trying to decide whether James Joseph Cialella is a crusader with a poorly developed sense of scope or a complete criminal idiot. It may be a bit of both.

Cialella was attending a Christmas day showing of "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" when the family in front of him started talking. He argued with them, threw popcorn (much further than I would ever go, in reality) and then, after a period of escalation, approached the father of the family and shot him in the arm.

I'm of two minds on this. Part of me figures it was just a matter of time before the casual, psychic violence of the movie theater turned into actually puncture wounds. I've been involved in a few altercations where that peculiar sort of unreasonable rage takes over, and the punishment you want dolled out really does not fit the crime of being obnoxious in a movie theater. I've wanted folks to burn alive for throwing candy at me, in other words.

But the other part accepts the fact that when you go to a movie, you are there for a communal experience and every community has its fair share of idiots, loudmouths and young people who couldn't sit still if you dangled free college tuition in front of them. I've come to sort of accept this because it no longer depends on the subject matter of the movie. I've had to tell people to calm down during Oscar bait, been scolded for cheering Sam Jackson during "Snakes on a Plain," had to tell adults to quit kicking my seat during animated children's fare and had candy thrown at me during "Singing in the Rain." People are rude everywhere you go and if you go to a movie theater, you must, MUST expect rude behavior. A movie theater is not a santuary, it's a place where people congregate. It's why I haven't been to a movie in two months and when go, gravitate toward the screenings when no one will be around.

Still, there's a sick sort of schadenfreudeistic thrill out of reading a story when a theater goer actually capped a motherfucker for talking during a movie. That's why the story (as of 1:44 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 27) sits on the top of It's the story they find the most imporant out of all the things happening in the world right now.

I don't find it odd that CNN gave it this much weight, as it seems most people have their awful movie theater experiences list. That's sort of sad, but if the violence keeps escalating, I'm either going to have to go to more movies or fewer of them, depending on what sort of thing I want to see.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Downer

You know, I may not have a lot of money or powerful friends or great achievements or I might not be "good" at anything in particular, but I do have this.

Some days, that's enough.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dumb Doesn't Take A Holiday

I'm not a journalist anymore, but damn it if this reporter from WBIR in Tennessee didn't perfectly capture a perfect moment in time during a report. Here's the story.

(CNN) -- A wall holding back 80 acres of sludge from a coal plant in central Tennessee broke this week, spilling more than 500 million gallons of waste into the surrounding area.The sludge, a byproduct of ash from coal combustion, was contained at a retention site at the Tennessee Valley TVA spokesman Gil Francis told CNN that up to 400 acres of land had been coated by the sludge, a bigger area than the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

Tragic and awful and all that, but...wait for it...the reporter finds a woman directly effected by the sludge dump and drops this amazing little gem:

Some of the goop spilled into the tributary, but preliminary water quality tests show that the drinking water at a nearby treatment plant meets standards.
"I don't want to drink it. It doesn't look healthy to me," Jody Miles, who fishes in the Clinch River, told CNN affiliate WBIR. "Do you reckon they can bring all this life back that's going to die from all this mess?"

Pardon my directness, but no shit you don't want to drink it, it's ashen sludge you idiot. The rest of the ashen sludge you regularly ingest looks a little healthier to you, does it? When you fish in sludge-filled lakes and lay down by crap-filled streams, that's perfectly normal?

But it's the second part that really makes me happy. Any sentence that starts with "Do you reckon" has only gold on the other side. To read the whole sentence, I can just picture Jody Miles, trying to come up with something profound and instead finding an inquiry into whether toxic, ashen sludge might kill fish tumbling out of her mouth. Do you suppose she felt the interview went well?

I think Mrs. Miles should be a standard at other events.

At the scene of a house fire:
"Do you reckon their furniture is burning up too?"

At the scene of a shooting
"Those are some nice shoes. It's a cryin' shame they got blood all over 'em."

Nice work, reporter!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Picture Monday - Hulk Love Chzbrgers

All right, brother. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking "the Hulkster is selling out, putting his name on any kind of crappy product that comes down the line." We'll that's not the truth, brother.

You see, brother, these bulked up sliders are JUST what the Hulkster needs after a long day of training, sayin' my prayers and takin' my vitamins, brother. They knock out hunger better than my BIG LEG DROP.

And I've got news for Mrs. Paul, Fit and Fancy, even the Jolly Green Giant...what are you gonna do when the salmonella from the Hulkster Cheeseburger drops on YOU?!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Toast

I got melancholy yesterday watching Iron Man.

Given the bright sense of fun infused into the middle two reels of Jon Favreau's ode to cool stuff, that's not a common response, but it is a common response to become reflective around the holidays. And I saw "Iron Man" with my little brother, a kid named Jordan who had been part of my life for more than five years.

Every week or so, the wife and I met with Jordan and did all sort of activities I'm sure an 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15-year-old boy found somewhat dull, but the kid endured and I think eventually got something out of us hanging around. Since the match was through Big Brothers/Big Sisters, they tell you "you've made a difference in this child's life." I don't know. A "difference" is such a nebulous term. Still, for better or worse (probably for better, to be fair) the kid was a part of my life for a good chunk.

When "Iron Man" came out, my favorite moment with Jordan came when Tony Stark drove his hot rod car to a private air hanger. The license plate said "STARK3" to which Jordan informs me "that means he's got at least two more" with this great sense of kidly awe in his voice. To not only have one hot rod, but three, that was a dream that kicked the ass of other dreams.

Then, shortly after we saw the flick, he moved. As is common with these matches, there wasn't a lot of warning and bugger all we could do. We didn't get to say good bye, it happened so abruptly. And poof, a five-year fixture in my life was now gone. Hence, the melancholy.

To put that in the parlance of the holiday, it highlighted for me how right now is the time we appreciate being around each other. We like getting stuff and buying stuff, we like eating and traveling, we like the pictures and the sweets, but being around each other when all this good stuff happens, that's something that should make one smile and tear up at the same time. It's special, even if you can set your calendar by it.

So onto the toast:

I am so happy you are in my life
Being around you makes me a better person
Though I am not great at articulating it
Being together keeps me alive
It keeps me moving forward
In the end, it's what I have that matters

Thank you so much
Because when you're gone I will miss you
And though the end can come at any time and in any form
What you've given me is already irreplaceable

To happiness
To joy
To prosperity and safety
But most importantly to us being together
And the love that means

Merry Christmas.

Why is it... only know what you want for Christmas when it's too late to ask for it?