Rants, Raves, & Random Thoughts

Shameless self-promotion of my writing skills or lack there of.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. Ah, for the second week in a row, a member of the fairer sex takes the prize. 2004 was not a good year for the ladies.

(24 July 2004, Wisconsin) Barbara, 26, must have listened too many times to the old song "High Hopes" and its verse about a perky little fish: "And she swam, and she swam right over the dam." But Barbara needed more than willpower to fulfill her high hopes, when she decided to take the shortest route between the Upper Dells and the Lower Dells.

She piloted a personal watercraft at high speed past numerous signs warning craft to slow down because of the imminent danger. She wove through the support posts of two separate bridges, one for trains, and one for cars. She ignored the screaming pleas of her 24-year-old passenger, who finally jumped off at the last minute. And she did it--she soared over that dam like a flying fish.

Then she crash-landed on the concrete spillway, dying instantly from massive head injuries.

Nearby residents told police that Barbara had been speeding like a maniac at high speeds in no-wake zones near the shore, despite the many posted warnings. Blood tests showed she had also been drinking like a fish. When asked to comment on her demise, the Police Chief said, "It kind of speaks for itself."



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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Movie Review: Apocalypto

Apocalypto shows us what happens when great governments go bad. The Mayan kingdom is in a state of decline and its rulers deem that human sacrifice is the only way to return their lands to glory. We are brought into the story, by showing the peaceful, if not down right playful side of the Mayan culture before being tossed headlong into the bloodstained maw of the beast.


Synopsis


From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Mel Gibson ("The Passion of the Christ," "Braveheart") comes APOCALYPTO: a heart-stopping, mythic action-adventure set against the turbulent end times of the once-great Mayan civilization. When his idyllic existence is brutally disrupted by a violent invading force, a man is taken on a perilous journey to a world ruled by fear and oppression where a harrowing end awaits him. Through a twist of fate and spurred by the power of his love for his woman and his family, he will make a desperate break to return home and to ultimately save his way of life.

Visceral, thrilling and boldly thought-provoking, APOCALYPTO brings to life, through Gibson's ambitious creative vision, a world from the ancient past hereto never before seen on the modern screen that speaks powerfully to our lives today.

Shot on location in Catemaco -- in one of the last remaining tracts of rainforests left in Mexico -- and in Veracruz, with a cast made up entirely of indigenous peoples from the Americas, APOCALYPTO is directed by Mel Gibson, produced by Gibson and Bruce Davey and written by Gibson and Farhad Safinia, who co-produces. The executive producers are Ned Dowd and Vicki Christianson.

The behind-the-scenes team, who spent intense months shooting in the jungle and recreating a spectacular Mayan kingdom of soaring pyramids and mysterious temples, includes Academy Award-winning director of photography Dean Semler ("Dances With Wolves"), two-time Academy Award-nominated production designer Tom Sanders ("Saving Private Ryan," "Dracula," "Braveheart"), two-time Oscar®-nominated film editor John Wright ("Speed," "The Hunt for Red October," "The Passion of the Christ") and Oscar®-winning composer and multiple Academy Award nominee James Horner ("Titanic," "A Beautiful Mind," "House of Sand and Fog," the forthcoming "The Good Shepherd").

Powerful Maya kingdoms ruled in the Americas for more than 1,000 years, forging expansive cities, constructing sky-piercing pyramids and building an impressively advanced society of extraordinary cultural and scientific achievement. Then, in a flash of history, this world collapsed. All that was left behind were a few jungle-covered pyramids and a tantalizing mystery. Now, 500 years after the end of the Mayan civilization, director Mel Gibson delves into this never-explored realm to create a modern screen adventure which unfolds like a timeless myth about one man's quest to save that which matters to him the most in a world on the brink of destruction: APOCALYPTO.


I highly recommend this movie.

Rating: 5 Stars


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Monday, May 28, 2007

In the Early Morning Rain

Before I dive into my usual Monday drivel, I want to take a minute to recognize my brothers and sisters who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. Thank you. You will be missed. When I see you again, we’ll do a final march, our cadence will sound like thunder to those below.

Got a letter in the mail
Go to war or go to jail
Got a letter in the mail
In the early morning rain
I packed my bags, I kissed my wife
And headed for the Army life
I packed my bags, I kissed my wife
In the early morning rain
I told my son not to cry
But I had tears in my eyes
I told my son not to cry
In the early morning rain
With my weapon in my hand
And a pocket full of sand
With my weapon in my hand
In the early morning rain
Got the enemy to my front
And the ocean to my rear
Wounded dying's all I hear
In the early morning rain
As I'm laying here to rest
Caught a bullet in the chest
Even though I've done my best
In the early morning rain
Tell my darling not to cry
Cause I'll never say good-bye
Tell my darling not to cry
In the early morning rain
Many a soldier will die today
Guess there's nothing left to say
So our children, they can play
In the early morning rain
Yes, now Sergeant I can see
Why this training's good for me
Forever more we will be free
In the early morning rain

And now for something a little lighter...

I’ve heard it said that the two happiest days in a boat owner’s life are the day he buys his first boat and the day he sells it. I’m beginning to see what they mean.

I purchased a new Wakeboard tower and racks about a month ago. I installed it myself. The manual clearly tells you that it is a two man job, but as I was trying to install it during the small gaps we had between rain storms, I opted to tackle this beast mano e mano. It came together nicely, though it took quite a bit longer than it would have had I called in an extra set of hands.

I spent most of last week, preparing the boat for the big boating weekend. I performed all of the standard preventative maintenance tasks as well as a few aesthetic touch ups. I also installed a new sonar system, because my last one died a horrible death on our last trip of the season for the previous year.

By Friday, I was chomping at the bit. By the time school was out and the Mrs. home from work, I had the trailblazer packed, the boat hitched up and was pacing around the living room waiting patiently for our departure.

We made it to the lake with plenty of daylight to spare. We dropped the boat in the water and with a flick of a switch, the engine purred to life. My wife circled the boat, while I went to park the truck. I boarded the vessel with the giddy anticipation, I can only compare to childhood memories of Christmas morning. We just cleared the “no wake” buoys, when the boat died.

That’s right, the !@#$ thing refused to play with us. I did get to see how cold the water was, as I had to bring us back to shore and trailer the POS by hand. Upon our dejected return to the house, I quickly tore into the boat in hopes of finding a plausible explanation of why it had passed every inspection only to leave us stranded. No such luck. It appears to have a major malfunction in the fuel delivery system. It looks like my Spyder will have to make yet another trip to the boat shop.

Oh, well…I guess there is always next weekend.

We made the best of it though. We went bowling (my wife smoked us both with her awesome bowling skills), braved the crowds to see the latest installment of Pirates of the Caribbean and had family and friends over for cookouts. Not the way I envisioned the weekend going, but not a bad way to spend the holiday in the end.

I’m also heading out to another cookout and general good time at my sister-in-law’s house this afternoon. There should be volleyball, horseshoes and of course plenty of swimming pool time.

No boat, no problem.

How have you spent your long weekend?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Live Life Backwards

I received this in my email and I couldn’t help but pass it on. I hope everyone has a fun holiday weekend. Stay safe.

I want to live my next life backwards:


You start out dead and get that out of the way.


Then you wake up in an old age home feeling better every day.


Then you get kicked out for being too healthy.


You enjoy your retirement and collect your pension.


Then when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day.


You work 40 years until you're too young to work.


You get ready for High School: drink alcohol, party, and you're generally
promiscuous.


Then you go to primary school, you become a kid, you play, and you have no
responsibilities.


Then you become a baby, and then...


You spend your last 9 months floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like
conditions: central heating, room service on tap, and then...


You finish off as an orgasm.


I rest my case.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(2 November 2004, Portland, Oregon) Dianne, a 56-year-old bus driver with 22 years of experience, pulled into the Sunset Transit Center shortly before noon. She was running six minutes late, and was eager to use the bathroom.

After waiting impatiently for her passengers to disembark, Dianne hurried off the bus, leaving the engine in gear and running, with no parking brake engaged. She walked around the front of the bus and reached in the driver's window to pull the lever that closed the door.

The bus is equipped with automatic brakes that keep it from moving as long as the doors are open. Once the doors shut, the brakes release after a one-and-a-half-second delay.

As Dianne passed in front of the bus on her way to the toilet, she suddenly found the 15-ton bus creeping slowly towards her. She could have jumped out of the way. In fact, she could have ambled out of the way. Instead, witnesses watched her push against the bus with her arms outstretched, in an effort to stop it.


The mass of a bus is more than 200 times the mass of an adult woman. You do the math. The bus did indeed stop, eventually, due to circumstances other than Dianne's efforts.
Paramedics arrived within minutes, to find Dianne dead beneath the bus.

An investigation blamed the accident on "operator error."


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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Mediocre Shepherd

The Good Shepherd had all the makings of a truly great movie, a star studded cast, an intriguing plot, American heritage. This movie should have been a blockbuster. Sadly, it was executed at a snail’s pace. What should have been a high tension “who dunnit”, revealed itself to be one of the year’s biggest disappointments. The premise held my interest enough that I watched the entire movie, but I had to pace back and forth in the living room as I viewed it to keep from falling asleep.


Synopsis


The tumultuous early history of the Central Intelligence Agency is viewed through the prism of one man’s life in The Good Shepherd, an espionage drama starring Academy Award® winners Matt Damon, Angelina Jolie and Robert De Niro and directed by Robert De Niro. Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) understands the value of secrecy—discretion and commitment to honor have been embedded in him since childhood. As an eager, optimistic student at Yale, he is recruited to join the secret society Skull and Bones, a brotherhood and breeding ground for future world leaders. Wilson’s acute mind, spotless reputation and sincere belief in American values render him a prime candidate for a career in intelligence, and he is soon recruited to work for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) during WWII. As one of the covert founders of the CIA, working in the heart of an organization where duplicity is required and nothing is taken at face value, Edward’s’ idealism is steadily eroded by a growing suspicious nature, reflective of a world settling into the long paranoia of the Cold War. As his methods are adopted as standard operating procedure, Wilson develops into one of the Agency’s veteran operatives, all the while combating his KGB counterpart. However, his steely dedication to his country comes at an ever-increasing price. Not even his wife Clover (Angelina Jolie) or his beloved son can divert Wilson from a path that will force him to sacrifice everything in pursuit of this job.

Watch this movie at your own peril.


Rating: 2 Stars


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Monday, May 21, 2007

This and That

What does I & C mean and what can they do for us? Instrumentation and Controls is the short answer (oddly enough, to both questions), but that doesn’t seem to give people a warm and fuzzy. It is this question that has kept me away from you good people of blogland.

I worked up a presentation, complete with definitions, examples and just enough quasi-facetious anecdotes to keep the layman from jabbing his eyes out with a pencil during the course of the day long event. I’ve finally finished the first draft and am now awaiting comments from the boss (no, not Mr. Springsteen). Once we have the presentation in polished, I’ll fly down to Houston and present it to the other divisions of our company in hopes that not only will they send work our way, but that they send the appropriate work our way. This should be fun…

Oh, I’m sorry. Am I boring you? Then let’s talk about something else. It is Monday after all, and I should probably dive into the weekend recap.

On Friday, we were both pretty wiped from the week’s activities (I worked up the above mentioned presentation between the other projects I have on my plate), so we decided to stay home and rent movies. I’ll do an official review at some point this week, but one gets a thumbs down and one gets a solid meh.

Saturday morning we got up early, strapped on the leather and…hey, get your mind out of the gutter. We decided to take a scenic ride on the motorcycle. We made a day of it, and what a day it was. The wind in our hair, the vibrations of the bike, the lake, the hills, the view in general, there is nothing quite like being on the open road.

Saturday evening we went to dinner at Bourbon Street with a couple of friends to celebrate a birthday (Happy Birthday again, Monica). This was my first visit to the restaurant and I have to say, I was impressed. Great food, fantastic atmosphere and lively staff make this a memorable place to eat.

After dinner, we slipped over to Mayfest. We heard several great bands and pursued the wares of some truly remarkable artisans. There were a lot more people in attendance than I remember in recent years. I’m sure the fantastic weather we had over the weekend played no small part in the turnout.

Sunday, we fired up the grill. I made bacon wrapped prawns and some killer pasta with scallops as the main ingredient for the sauce. Other than that, we just hung out.

So how did you spend your weekend?

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(21 February 2004, Ottawa, Canada) Ameer, a second-year engineering student at Carleton University, was celebrating his 20th birthday with friends in his 11th-floor apartment when they embarked on a spitting contest. His two friends had already made their marks. Ameer thought he could use his engineering skills to improve his performance. A quick mental calculation of trajectory, projectile velocity, and wind speed indicated that winning required more than a simple "stand and spit" technique. Ameer took a running start, flew over the balcony railing, and plunged to his death.

"It was purely accidental," said Ottawa police, "momentum carried him beyond." The building's security guard heard the thud. "He was one of the smartest guys I ever met in my life," the guard said. "He had a maturity beyond his age."

Spitting contest deaths are becoming a trend. In 1999, a 25-year-old soldier in Alabama won the first Darwin Award in this category in 1999, using the same techinque and achieving the same result. 23-year-old Bartosz of Mt. Prospect, was nominated for falling 20 feet onto his head in December 2005. Bartosz is remarkable for having fallen over an apartment railing without running start. But Ameer clearly trumps his competitors with his 11-story fall.

Perhaps the three have reunited in the afterlife, arm in arm, sailing through the air, their projectiles suspended in front of them like bullets in the Matrix movies.


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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Movie Review: Casino Royale

Casino Royale is an action packed, spy adventure, oh and it happens to be a Bond movie. Yes, it had the gadgets, the girls and the near misses, but as this is Bond in the beginning, he is very rough around the edges. Apparently, it takes years to become the super smooth agent we all remember from the other films. Oddly enough, I’m more than ok with that.

Synopsis


Daniel Craig stars as "007" James Bond, most lethal agent on Her Majesty's Secret Service in "Casino Royale." Based on the first Bond book written by Ian Fleming, the story, which has never been told on film until now, recounts the making of the world's greatest secret agent.

James Bond's first "007" mission leads him to Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen), banker to the world's terrorists. In order to stop him, and bring down the terrorist network, Bond must beat Le Chiffre in a high-stakes poker game at Casino Royale. Bond is initially annoyed when a beautiful British Treasury official, Vesper Lynd (Eva Green), is assigned to deliver his stake for the game and watch over the government's money. But, as Bond and Vesper survive a series of lethal attacks by Le Chiffre and his henchmen, a mutual attraction develops leading them both into further danger and events that will shape Bond's life forever.

This movie is a must see. It has something for everyone. Whether you are a seasoned Bond fan, or just a lover of a good action flick, it will suck you in and not let you go until the credits roll.

Rating: 5 Stars


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Monday, May 14, 2007

Get Your Motor Running

We had a very exciting weekend. We danced, we played, we spent time with loved ones and we put a few miles on my bike for a good cause.

On Friday, our friend Kim came back from Wisconsin to pick up the last of her things (she moved back up there not long ago). We met her and a couple of other friends at Crow Creek Tavern for dinner and drinks. After a bit of catch up and celebration, the ladies (I was the only man present) decided they wanted to trek over to Fishbonz to hear Imzadi rock the house. Those guys are awesome. If you ever get a chance to hear them play, I suggest you take advantage of them. They put on one helluva show.

After dancing the night away, we had to part ways, assuring Kim we would come see her in the great frozen north. Yep, I’m thinking that will likely be a summer trip, given my tremendous aversion to the cold.

Saturday, we participated in our first ever Handlebars and Hotrods Poker Run. The event raised funds for Cancer Sucks. Nearly a thousand bikers rallied to the cause this year. It was an awesome spectacle to behold, let alone participate in for this neck of the woods. It was a beautiful day for a ride. The sun finally decided to come out. I’m guessing she wanted to get a good look at all of the bikes.

The run began in Catoosa at Cherokee Casino where they had several vendor booths and a bike show set up to start the day off right. We made our way east to Will Rogers Downs in Claremore to pick up our first card. We spent some time socializing and checking out the other bikes before heading out to Meyers Duran Harley Davidson on Brookside in Tulsa. The next stop on the route was at Hooters in south Tulsa. After that, we visited Action Toys in Broken Arrow. We then ended up back where we started in Catoosa.

It was a great time for a great cause. This is an event we will definitely participate in again. We made a few new friends and a whole lot of memories on that trip.
Sunday, of course, was Mother’s Day. Did you remember to call your mom? We went out to see my mom and had a lovely visit. My son, actually spent the whole weekend with her, so I think she was even happier to see us than normal. Just kidding, they had a great time. After we left her house, we went to visit my wife’s parents and had a nice visit there as well. It was a great way to spend a Sunday.

Since I didn’t take time to post over the weekend, I wanted to take a second to wish all of the Mother’s who read this blog a belated (though still quite heartfelt) Happy Mother’s Day.
So, what did you do over the weekend?

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Kicking and Screaming

Yesterday was a monumental landmark on my road to recovery. I re-entered the dojo. Yep, I resumed karate practice last night. I’m not back to full speed yet, but I held my own and I made it through the entire session without hurting myself. I plan to attend one day a week for a month or so and see how my Achilles tendon takes it. If all goes as planned, I will be back to a full schedule of kicking and punching in no time.

Now, I’ve gotta admit…I’m pretty darned sore this morning. I abused muscles, which literally haven’t been thoroughly worked out in months. I think a long dip in my hot tub should definitely be in my list of must dos for today.

All in all though, I think the dark days of my injury are well behind me. I’m still way ahead of the projected one year recovery time, so I’m more than a little leery of putting too much of a strain on it, but it is healing faster than anyone expected.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dancing With a Train

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards. This weeks story was pointed out to us by author Sandra Ruttan

(8 May 2007, Calgary, Canada) Grabbing onto a moving C-Train as it left a downtown station cost a man his life late Tuesday.

The man, believed to be in his late teens, was fatally injured when he slipped underneath an eastbound train as it left the 6th Street S.W. station just before 11:15 p.m.
"A young man, approximately 19 years old, attempted to climb on the side of the train," Calgary police duty inspector Guy Slater said.

"He fell between the middle and the last carriage of the train and then he was caught in the undercarriage."

Investigators estimated the train dragged the man about 75 metres before freeing him just east of the intersection of 5th Street and 7th Avenue S.W.

The train's driver continued on, not knowing what transpired until bystanders called 911. An ambulance took the man to Foothills Hospital, where he died.

Meanwhile, police stopped the train at the Heritage LRT station and held it for traffic investigators to examine.

Investigators were also viewing security surveillance video taken at the 6th Street S.W. platform, but their preliminary information indicated alcohol may have played a role in the man's death, Slater said.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Play That Funky Music

What’s the deal with all the !@#$ing rain? I know, I know…this time last year, we were screaming about the lack of rain, but come on, this is by far, the wettest start to any year I can remember since I came to Oklahoma. This is getting ridiculous. If I wanted weather like this, I’d move to Seattle. I’m not a duck, for goodness sake.

Ok, end of rant.

Have any of you heard the new NIN album? So far, I’m quite impressed, but they I usually am when it comes to these guys. They have a song, Capital G, which is a direct slam again Dubya. I get the distinct impression he didn’t vote Bush in the last election, that’s all I’m saying.

Speaking of new music, I’ve downloaded quite a few songs from the i-tunes store of late. Every so often, I like to throw out a list of music I’m listening to, in case some of you out there haven’t had a chance to hear these bands. Here is just a taste of what I’m into right now:

The Dandy Warhols - Not If You Were the Last Junkie on Earth
Camper Van Beethoven - Pictures of Matchstick Men
Buckcherry - Crazy Bitch
Fanzine - Head In the Sky
Jay Z - 99 Problems
Liguabe - Eri Bellisima
New York Dolls - Trash
Nickelback - Rock Star
People in Planes – If You Talk Too Much My Head Will Explode
The Raconteurs – Level
Teddybears – Cobrastyle
Ween – Gabrielle
The Rosebuds – Leaves Do Fall
Rock Kills Kid – Paralyzed
Beck – Think I’m In Love
TV On the Radio – Wolf Like Me
We Are Scientists – Inaction
Thom Yorke – Black Swan
Lady Sovereign – Love Me or Hate Me
The Music – Take the Long Road and Walk It

Download as you see fit.
What music are you listening to right now?

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Weekend Recap

Oh, my we had another fun filled weekend. We took care of all of our weekend “must dos” on Friday after work, and then topped the evening off with a nice dinner at Compadre’s (it seemed quite appropriate since it was Cinco de Mayo weekend).

We had every intention of going fishing early Saturday morning. I packed up the truck, loaded and hitched the boat and we were off at the crack of dawn. We stopped to get a bite to eat on the way to the lake. By the time we got out of the restaurant, the weather had turned to crap. 30 mph winds and intimidating clouds caused us to rethink our lake excursion. We headed back to the house and unloaded everything. We were so close this time.

With the extra time we now had, we decided to kick around the house, playing games and just generally enjoying each others company.

I fired up the grill about five o’clock. We had roughly forty pounds of ribs and steaks to prepare, so it took until nearly seven before I was able to pull the last of them off the flames.

There were three fights to be seen, but I’m sad to say the first one was the most exciting. Bautista and Medina put on one hell of a show. Juarez and Hernandez both looked like they were afraid to throw a punch, so they spent most of their time circling each other. I really wanted to see Oscar De La Hoya put a hurting on the over confident Floyd Mayweather, but it was not to be the case. Mayweather won by split decision (which incidentally won me the prize pool for the evening). It was a decent fight with several great blows, but hardly the brutal slug fest it was pumped up to be.

My neighbors next door just so happened to be having a graduation (from college) party on Saturday as well. So, we were able to spend a little time with them between fights. I don’t know about anyone else, but I had a fantastic time.

On Sunday we went to baby Noah’s (son of our friends Amy and Rob) first birthday party. That boy is too cute. After a bit of coaxing, he realized the little cake in front of him was yummy and scooped up icing by the handfuls. That’s right, he wanted no part of the cake itself, but the icing he wore proudly.

After the party, we braved the crowds to see Spiderman 3. I’m not even going to bother with a link there; I think you all already know which movie I’m referring to. I give it a solid, meh. The special effects were fantastic, but well, without giving away any spoilers, the storyline left a little to be desired. They certainly strayed from character’s norm for this one.

So, how did you spend your weekend?

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Friday, May 04, 2007

In Sickness and Health

“Talk to me.” He pleaded with her back. “What have I done to deserve this?”
He stepped closer, letting his breath move her hair. His hand hovered near her shoulder, the warmth of her skin wafting across his palm. But…he couldn’t.

“I know you’re upset, Sabrina, but I can’t fix this, if you don’t tell me what’s wrong.”
Her shoulders slumped, dropping away from his touch. She crumpled. He cupped her elbows, guiding her to the sofa. She fell into the cushions. Her gaze fell to the picture on the end table. He watched her intently as she picked up their wedding picture, tracing the curve of his cheek with her finger.

A trail of mascara washed over her cheeks. The center of the stream was still fluid, but the outer edges already dried and flaked. She looked like she wore a painted mask.
He reached to caress her face, but something in her eyes stopped him. He withdrew his fingers.
“How could you do this to me?”
He drew his fingers back further, clenching them. “What has gotten into you?”
“It’s not good for me to talk to you anymore.” The muscles of her throat contracted and expanded as she swallowed hard. “I need get better. I need to be strong.”

“That’s ridiculous. The doctor said there was nothing wrong with you.”
“Why did you have to take me to that place?”
Her eyes unfocused, looking past him.
“It was for your friend, remember?”

She kissed the picture. “We were at the party and you had such a good time, but then…you always knew how to have a good time.”
“I’m not talking about the party, God damn it!” Why is she doing this?
“Oh, Marcus.” She sobbed, clutching the picture to her chest. “That other car, the red light…I can still hear the scream of our brakes. That sound…the sound of glass breaking and metal bending--”
“I know it scared you and I said I’m sorry. So, I had a few too many glasses of wine. It couldn’t have been that bad or they would have thrown my ass in jail.”
“I don’t think you ever even saw that other car. We just plowed right into it.” She let herself fall to her side on the couch, staring up at the ceiling.

“But you’re alright. You came out of it with nothing more than a few scratches.”
“I can’t believe it’s over.”
“What do you mean over? I love you.”
She pulled the picture from her chest; held it at arms length above her face.
“Why did you leave me?”
“I didn’t--”
His words died in his throat as she slung the picture across the room, smashing it against the wall.
“Oh God,” she cried out. “Why did you have to let him die?”

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Movie Review: Smoking Aces

Smoking Aces is an action packed flick, which takes the viewer deep into the seedy underbelly of organized crime. Oh, what a journey they take us on.

Buddy “Aces” Israel is a Las Vegas performer who uses his charisma to work his way up the mafia ranks. When it looks like he is going to turn rat, his arch enemy places a million dollar bounty on his…heart. Yeah, every “would be” hit man in the world comes to claim the prize.

Action packed, and full of enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, this movie is a must see, not just for lovers of a good “shoot ‘em up”, but for anyone who loves a good plot driven story.

Synopsis:

Mob boss Primo Sparazza has taken out a hefty contract on Buddy "Aces" Israel--a sleazy magician who has agreed to turn state's evidence against the Vegas mob. The FBI, sensing a chance to use this small-time con to bring down big-target Sparazza, places Aces into protective custody-under the supervision of two agents dispatched to Aces' Lake Tahoe hideout. When word of the price on Aces' head spreads into the community of ex-cons and cons-to-be, it entices bounty hunters, thugs-for-hire, deadly vixens and double-crossing mobsters to join in the hunt. With all eyes on Tahoe, this rogues' gallery collides in a comic race to hit the jackpot and rub out Aces.


Rating: 5 Stars


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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Dar-Wednesday

It’s time for another installment of The Darwin Awards.

(8 April 2004, The Netherlands) The Martinitower is the tallest building in the north part of the Netherlands, rising 96 meters above the polders. High winds blast the top, making it a frightening place for some sightseers. Fortunately, a balustrade protects visitors from accidentally being blown off, and built-in seats allow them to rest their weary bodies after the onerous climb to the top. But these safety measures were mere inconveniences to a 20-year-old man who decided to impress his girlfriend with his devil-may-care nonchalance. He climbed up on the balustrade and swung his legs to the outside. Then, aided by a gust of wind, he "slipped away," according to his father, who added, "he just liked to show off a little."

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cultural Diversity

On Jan. 31, several hundred Japanese husbands recognized the second annual Beloved Wives Day to upgrade Japanese men's notorious, deeply ingrained indifference to their spouses. Among the husbands' vows: be home from work by the unusually early hour of 8 p.m.; actually look into the missus's eyes and say "thank you"; and try to remember to call her by her name (instead of, as many apparently do in substitution, grunting at her). (Divorce in Japan remains relatively rare, but marital estrangement has been rapidly increasing in recent years.) [Taipei Times-AP, 2-1-07]

Several matrilineal cultures exist in the world, but on Orango Island, off the African coast of tiny Guinea-Bissau, women's power to choose marriage partners is nearly absolute, according to a February Associated Press dispatch. By custom, the woman selects a man, then prepares a special dish of fish marinated in palm oil, after which any reluctance on his part is regarded as dishonoring his family. Before the couple can cohabit, though, a family home must be built from driftwood and mud bricks, and fortunately for the man, that, too, is her job. Islanders told the reporter that men are becoming more assertive, but that change has brought with it the unheard-of phenomenon of divorce. [Seattle Times-AP, 2-3-07]

Spain has long been criticized for its traditions of animal abuse, such as bullfighting and, until recently, one village's festive custom of tossing a live goat from a church tower. German animal welfare activists complained in March about another Spanish "sport": the flinging of live quail into the air (from a catapult) so that hunters can shoot them. (Germany also has its ugliness, according to a March Der Spiegel report, with certain villages' customs of clubbing a hung-up goose and poking a cat with a broomstick through a hole in a crate.) [Spiegel Online, 3-6-07]

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