Wednesday, August 31, 2011

This causes me physical pain: "Thin Man" remake moves forward

Johnny Depp's The Thin Man remake gets new writer.
Based on the series of books by Dashiell Hammett, the plot centers around Nick and Nora Charles, a married couple that decides to solve murder mysteries for fun. The first film version of the books was made in 1934 and the film spawned five sequels as well as a television series. Depp will play Nick and it's unknown who will play Nora.
I cringe at the thought of recasting Nora.  No idea who they'll go with, but I'd bet good money whoever it is wouldn't be fit to scrape the dirt off Myrna Loy's shoes.  I can't think of anyone I would consider a modern-day Loy, not even remotely close.
...while (director Rob) Marshall, who previously directed Chicago and Nine, is also interested in including musical numbers. 
It's been done.  And it flopped.

I expect this one to go the unspectacular way of the Manchurian Candidate remake, which didn't even earn back its cost despite a powerhouse cast.

Come on, Hollywood.  How about leaving the existing classics alone and trying to come up with some new classics instead? 

Updated with some awesome Thin Man clips!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Wonder if he'd consider a straight-up trade for a '93 Corolla?

Via Puck Daddy: Reggie Dunlop sat here: Car from Slap Shot parade for sale.  Its 95-year-old owner no longer drives it and has put it on the block.

I especially liked this idea from the article: Hell, the NHL should buy it and have Bettman drive out with the Cup every year at the end of the Final.

Unfortunately for hockey fans, the league just isn't that cool.  The game is, but the league office honchos not so much. Which is a shame, because it would be awesome and the fans would love it.  I would never utter another critical word about Bettman again if he made this happen.

Wait, now we're calling them "minor-attracted persons"???

Lets just use the correct terms, shall we?  Pedophiles and perverts.  Also, criminals.

This is an honest-to-God news story: Mental health group looks to remove stigma from pedophilia.
A group of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals say it's time to change the way society views individuals who have physical attractions to children.
According to the group...the speakers in attendance concluded that "minor-attracted" individuals are largely misunderstood and should not be criminalized even as their actions should be discouraged.
The "I'm the victim here" card, with total lack of acknowledgement of the real victims.  Poor dears, they're just misunderstood.  Then there's the real world, where sexual abuse and sexual assault are sick, vicious crimes and should be treated as such regardless of the motivation behind these acts.  And since we're whining about stigmatization, how about the shame, pain and permanent scars inflicted on their victims?
Critics of the conference say it was a thinly veiled attempt to make children of any age sexually accessible to adults.
"Absolutely," Dr. Judith Reisman, a visiting professor of law at Liberty School of Law said. "Oh, they're very clear about that. Their goal is to take all shame out of the lust for children."
Agreed.  A shameless - and shameful - attempt to normalize perversion and criminal activity, by claiming they can't help who or what they're attracted to.  Next thing you know, they'll bust out the "born this way" card and anyone who expresses objection to them and/or their actions will be tagged with increasingly meaningless labels like hater or bigot and be told they need to stop judging and embrace diversity. 

If this kind of stuff is actually going mainstream, I can easily envision a twisted day when a public figure expresses their intolerant disgust of "minor-attracted persons" and are forced to do the public apology walk of shame to salvage their reputation and career.  Maybe put in a supportive appearance at a Minor-Attracted Pride event for good measure.
The American Psychiatric Association did not participate in the conference, and evidently does not condone the group's message.
"An adult who engages in sexual activity with a child is performing a criminal and immoral act and this is never considered normal or socially acceptable behavior," the APA wrote in a 2003 position statement.
Correct.  Never.

I don't even have children and I still feel a natural, instinctive desire to want to protect them from anyone who would do them harm, especially from pedophiles and the idiots who defend their actions and inclinations.  Here's an idea - stop coddling criminals and start sympathizing with people who really need and deserve it: Their victims.  And think of the children for a change.

At this rate eventually all types of sexual behavior will be "normalized" and nothing will be criminal.  Maybe that's the point.  There's tolerance, then there's just total jettisoning of decency and common sense, but given increased sexualization of children over the past few years, I guess we shouldn't be surprised at a story like this.

I just put this up a few posts ago, but apparently it bears repeating.  From Post Secret:

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The first rule of Galactic Club is you don't talk about Galactic Club

So apparently the end of our space program has left our NASA science types with a little too much free time on their hands.  Boredom has set in and they are now reduced to the speculation of some cah-razy must destroy humanity for the sake of the galaxy "theories".  And of course there is a "green" angle.
It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a preemptive alien attack, scientists claim.
Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.
This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a Nasa-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.
The authors warn that extraterrestrials may be wary of civilisations that expand very rapidly, as these may be prone to destroy other life as they grow, just as humans have pushed species to extinction on Earth. In the most extreme scenario, aliens might choose to destroy humanity to protect other civilisations.
 Preachy aliens show up to tell us how to run our planet.

When I read stuff like this the writer in me wants to break out a rolled newspaper and go into "bad dog" mode.  No no no, not the "aliens threaten cold, destructive, naughty earthlings" storyline again!  It's been done to death.  We've seen it a million times.  Can't you come up with something a little more original?

No, not you Hollywood, I'm talking to the scientists this time.

But wait, there's more!
...They might invite humanity to join the "Galactic Club" only for the entry requirements to be too bureaucratic and tedious for humans to bother with. They could even become a nuisance, like the stranded, prawn-like creatures that are kept in a refugee camp in the 2009 South African movie, District 9, the report explains.

The most unappealing outcomes would arise if extraterrestrials caused harm to humanity, even if by accident. While aliens may arrive to eat, enslave or attack us, the report adds that people might also suffer from being physically crushed or by contracting diseases carried by the visitors. In especially unfortunate incidents, humanity could be wiped out when a more advanced civilisation accidentally unleashes an unfriendly artificial intelligence, or performs a catastrophic physics experiment that renders a portion of the galaxy uninhabitable.
It's called fiction, and we already have people working on it.  Sorry your space program got trashed, but I guess you're just going to have to find a new line of work.  May I suggest unpaid community organizer, perhaps?

Or maybe it won't be our war-like tendencies or carbon footprint that eventually condemns us in the eyes of the galactic world court.  Maybe we'll just stand in the path of progress.

Earth.  Possibly only the second-worst leadership in the galaxy.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

House of Davids is for sale. Davids included.

Hancock Park's infamous eyesore is on the market and it can be yours for a measly $2.1 million.  Why?  Apparently the novelty has worn off for owner and statuary aficionado Norwood Young.
Young used to love turning heads — lighting up the lawn, throwing over-the-top theme parties, dressing his naked giant slayers in long red Santa hats for Christmas and "Thriller" jackets in tribute to the late King of Pop.

But now he is done with the Davids, he says.

As long as the people who buy the house pay him, so be it if they strip it back to basic ranch.

"I wouldn't give a rat's behind what they did," says this man who has been singing professionally all his life and has grown tired of being known not for his voice but for his house.
Ah, I think I see the problem here.  House of Davids = famous.  Norwood Young...not so much.   To his credit, he is big enough to admit it and to admit that he let the idea of fame get the better of him.
But most people don't see the house and think Norwood Young, he says. Most people think Davids.

Young came to L.A. in 1994 seeking success and fame. When the Davids made news, he thought he'd found them...

"The idea was to ride the wave of the house and segue that into my music," he says. "But it didn't quite pan out that way."

The House of Davids became an L.A. celebrity. Norwood Young the singer did not...

But in 2007, he appeared on an E! Entertainment TV reality show, "High Maintenance 90210," ordering around a butler. He was on his way to becoming an Angelyne, famous only for pursuit of fame.

"My love for music never changed. My commitment to it did — " he says. "With the house came parties. With the parties came drugs. The drugs meant you didn't get up the next day at a decent hour, so life just went by. So for me, I just lived vicariously through the house."
Young is apparently a genuinely talented singer who suffered childhood sexual abuse, and good for him for surviving that.  As far as his career is concerned, the sad fact (as many people involved in creative pursuits can attest) is that talent and ability are not necessarily guarantees of success in the entertainment industry.   It sounds like he's reached a point in life where he just wants some semblance of normalcy, that he's realized that excess and outrageous behavior isn't going to fill any emotional voids.  Although if he still becomes renowned for his signing, that's okay too.  Wherever he goes next, I can't help but wish him the best, his horrific tastes in home and garden decorating notwithstanding.

The house and the Davids, on the other hand, have taken on a life of their own.  I always wondered what the neighbors really thought of it.  It will be interesting to see who buys the place and what they do with its unique landscaping.

304 S. Muirfield Road for sale on Curbed L.A., Redfin and Zillow.

Image snicked from Curbed L.A. article.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dying young - It's not just for rockstars anymore

The hockey world got another jolt yesterday with the news that former Vancouver Canuck and recent Winnipeg Jets signee Rick Rypien had been found dead in his home in Alberta.  He was 27 years old.  Word around the internets is that he suffered from depression and may have taken his own life.

Rypien's death comes only a few months after the loss of New York Rangers forward Derek Boogaard, who accidentally overdosed on a lethal combination of alcohol and the painkiller oxycodone.  The 28 year old Boogaard was also suffering the after-affects of multiple concussions and the possibility of a return to the NHL was questionable.

Besides dying young, Rypien and Boogaard had a couple other things in common.  Both were troubled off the ice - Boogaard's death came just after completing a stint in rehab, while Rypien had taken multiple leaves from the Canucks for "personal reasons" and was suspended last season when he lost his cool and went after a fan taunting him from the stands.  And as players, they were both what the hockey world refers to as "enforcers", meaning they were better known for their fighting abilities than actual hockey playing skills.  

Last year legendary enforcer Bob Probert, whose career was marred by drug, alcohol and legal problems, died unexpectedly at the age of 45.  His brain was donated to a Boston University Medical School program (as was Boogaard's) that found evidence of chronic traumatic encophalopathy (CTE), a condition similar to boxer's dementia, to be present.  From Wikipedia:
CTE has been most commonly found in professional athletes participating in gridiron football, ice hockey, professional wrestling and other contact sports, who have experienced head trauma, resulting in characteristic degeneration of brain tissue...
Individuals with Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy may show symptoms of dementia such as memory loss, aggression, confusion and depression which may appear within months of the trauma or many decades later.
It's a role every NHL team has, the intimidating tough guy who will beat the crap out of you if you mess with his more skilled teammates, and less heroically, pick a fight in the waning minutes of a hopelessly lost game in order to make a statement that if you can't beat 'em, you can at least beat 'em up.  But the downside of the enforcer role isn't lost on even the most ardent fan: The common joke is that when this player is on your team he's an "enforcer", but if he's on the opposing team, he's a "goon".

Fighting has long been perceived as a black eye to professional hockey (mainly by non-fans and non-hockey media) and historically hockey fans respond by defending their beloved game even more passionately.  However these recent deaths are starting to prompt even dedicated fans to question the wisdom of the emphasis put on pugilism on the ice.  None of these guys died outright from fighting-related injuries, but deadly pattern is emerging nonetheless.  Active players have even begun donating their brains to science in advance; Willie Mitchell of the Kings (who has suffered several concussions in his career) made the decision last season.

And it's not just the guys who are suited up mainly for their fighting skills who are suffering.  Keith Primeau, whose stellar career was ended by a concussion, instigated players brain donation (Mitchell made his announcement in the wake of Primeau's decision and Probert's death).  The league is also struggling with the ongoing absence of concussed superstar Sidney Crosby, who has been out since January after taking a couple of hard hits to the head.  The game is rough enough as it is.  You throw in the part of hockey where it's acceptable for guys to punch each other in the brain as simply their role on the team and it's probably a wonder more of them haven't succumbed early.

Greg Wyshynski (aka Puck Daddy) published a fantastic article today in the wake of Rypien's death: Rick Rypien and the crisis of faith on fighting.   It's an excellent and objective look at the pros and cons of fighting in the sport and how it is perceived by both fans and "outsiders".

The National Hockey League is the pinnacle of the sport of hockey.  It is the ultimate dream of players from around the world who uproot their families and leave their homes for years of their adult lives to relocate to North America to play in this league.  It may sound cruel, but just maybe, if you don't have the necessary skills you shouldn't be in the NHL.  You should be boxing, or perhaps in that other "sport" where guys just get in a cage and brutally kick the crap out of each other if you're into that sort of thing.

Personally, I've always felt that the league could survive just fine without fighting and it wouldn't damper my enthusiasm as a fan at all if that happened.  As mentioned in Wyshynski's article, college and international leagues play successfully without the emphasis on it.  Olympic hockey isn't diminished by the absence of enforcers.  I rag on NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman (the league boss fans love to hate) all the time, but the man could redeem himself one hundred percent if he had the guts to come down hard on this aspect of the game that has become a nightmare for more than just the NHL's PR guys.

Eliminating - or at least greatly reducing - fighting in the NHL may no longer simply be a matter of making pro hockey more palatable to the rest of the sports world or to recruit more fans.  Many enforcers may play out their careers and enjoy their retirement without any lingering affects and without resorting to substance abuse or suicide, but do they outweigh the untimely losses of the Proberts, Boogaards and Rypiens of the world?  It may no longer be a matter of image, but simply that we need to take better care of these guys, who will play their hearts and brains out to in order to make a place for themselves in the NHL even if it kills them.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Upcoming Screening: Lon Chaney's "The Penalty" at the Alex Theatre

The Alex Film Society will screen The Penalty on September 18 at the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale.  The 1920 silent film stars Lon Chaney as Blizzard, an angry, sadistic crime boss hellbent on exacting bitter revenge on the doctor who jumped the gun in amputating his legs following a childhood accident.

The film will be accompanied by a live musical score, along with a display of Chaney makeup, props and costumes.

Can't make it?  Check out The Penalty in all its silent greatness here.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Post secrets

Tonight I saved a new Post Secret for the first time in forever.  I don't know why, maybe I've gotten used to them or maybe they're just not as good anymore (I feel like that person who only likes a band's old stuff before they supposedly sold out or went mainstream when I think that).  And no, I've never sent in a secret, although I would like to some day.

Here's the one I saved tonight, followed by some oldies but goodies.  Click for bigger images.

It's the last line that got me.  Based on my experiences with insistent athiests, it was a surprisingly sweet and unexpected sentiment.

I always wonder if this person ever finally snapped and called his or her enviromentalist friends out on using him/her as a chauffeur.  Oh and also on their hypocrisy.

A companion piece to the previous secret.  Funny because it's true.

No, this wasn't me, for so many reasons.

I sometimes wonder if the unconditional love thing isn't just a ploy to distract us from questioning how dogs know exactly what buttons of ours to push.  Of course it's a code, and probably part of a master plan for world domination!

I love the utter joy in this one.  I want nothing but wonderful things for everyone in that household.

I like to think the cute vet figured out what was going on, reported the owner to the authorities and testified against him or her, then took the cat and gave it a healthy, loving home.  Yeah.

Let's face it, there was a time when we were all thinking it.  Especially those of us who don't thrive on household chores.

If this one doesn't break your heart and make you cry like a baby, then you just have no heart to break.  And you probably make your cat drink bleach so you can see your cute vet again.

And here's the granddaddy of them all:

No comment.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Rated R for language, but rated AAA for hilarity and accuracy!

Felonious Munk gets it.  Too bad Congress and the President don't.  This guy should seriously run for office.  Can you just imagine him in a televised debate?

Too many quotable lines to list them all, so just watch the vid.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Because Fred Armisen does a wicked Obama

Just wish the real one was this fun and harmless.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The definition of unintended consequences

So a couple of hyper-sensitive, PC types got their panties in a wad over a novelty candy critical of Obama's lack of accomplishment in office and the result was that the candy was pulled from the shelves of the University of Tennessee bookstore that had been carrying it.

And then the story made the news and exploded all over the internets, and people who would have never heard about this candy found out about it and went looking for it.  The result?  The manufacturer was bombarded with orders.

 Note the part where delivery will be delayed 8-10 weeks.  Weeks!  Good to know that someone's business is booming in this weak-ass economy.

According to the article, the same bookstore used to carry a similar product directed at former President Bush.  In addition, my Mom and I once picked up a tin of "Last Supper After Dinner Mints" at the Fair Oaks Pharmacy in South Pasadena.  We thought they were hilarious.   But unlike the people involved in the University of Tennessee removal we actually possess a sense of humor.  I've never heard of the Bush or Last Supper mints causing a ruckus.

If you want some Obama Disappointmints of your own (and don't mind waiting) you can get them at Richards Variety Store.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This woman for President!

Small businesswoman rips Obama and "political people" new ones over their ineptitude, poor leadership and crappy treatment (and unrealistic expectations) of business owners:

This is 2:34 of non-stop quotability, but the best part was the final question posed to her, that Obama "would argue that he inherited a mess".
"He did.  Doesn't matter.  I inherit a mess every day as the CEO of my company.  Every day I inherit a mess.  That is my job title: To fix problems.  To get people to work together in harmony for one common goal.  He can't get the people in the White House - I don't care if you're red or blue, your job is to make people work in harmony for one common goal.  The common goal is that this country is a safe, secure country, to come - this is the American dream.  What are you doing to our country?  Get these people together, not vacation, and get them around the table and come up with a plan and understand how you build a plan.  What is the plan?  What are the steps?  How are we going to get there?  Why can't you put together a plan?"
    This is the kind of person - not the current batch of corrupt, out of touch "political people" - who are going to save this country.  Seriously, Amilya Antonetti for President.

    My Mom and I - who are pretty much on opposite sides of the political spectrum - both agree this interview was epic and it made us curious about who exactly she is?  So I went looking and found out  more about this amazing and inspiring woman: Amilya.comAmilya on TwitterAmilya on Facebook - Amilya on Linked InAmilya on Amazon - Sample of media appearances and speaking events - Co-founder of Lucky Napkin

    Saturday, August 6, 2011

    It's only 7:30am here in Hawaii, but I've already found my Tweet of the Day:

    The Occasion says what we were all thinking.

    I don't know who is watching these shows and making these people famous, but you whoever you are you suck.  And have crappy taste in television.

    Friday, August 5, 2011

    It's funny cuz it's true: How cats see their home

    Via I Can Haz Cheezburger:

    Damn I miss Sophie!

    "I can't believe you left me in freaking Glendale.  What kind of Tin Opener Catmom are you?"

    Thursday, August 4, 2011

    New farmer's market coming to Hollywood & Highland

    I can't find anything on their site (or their Facebook page or their Twitter feed) about it yet, but I got an email from Hollywood & Highland today announcing that they will be hosting a new, weekly farmer's market every Saturday beginning September 10:
    Hollywood & Highland Center is joining forces with renowned Farmers Market expert and organizer, Jennifer McColm. The Orange Drive Farmers Market at Hollywood & Highland Center officially opens on Saturday, September 10 and will be open every Saturday, year round, from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM. The market will be located just north of Hollywood Boulevard on Orange Drive in the Center's Orange Court "horseshoe". 
    I am curious to see how this works out.  If it's the area I'm thinking of, the "horseshoe" isn't very big.  Not sure where their going to put everyone.   I do hope it works out, it would be great to have a farmer's market that close to home every week.

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    More things to make me homesick for the City of Angels

    Via Hidden Los Angeles (oh thank you thank you thank you for posting this!), it's L.A. Light:

    Per the filmmaker: I sought out to capture the electric radiance of Los Angeles at night.  Mission accomplished, sir!

    So much to love about this: That fact that it's night (I've gotten to the point where I so much prefer night to day), the Hollywood Sign looking down on the city, glass elevators zipping up and down what I believe is the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, planes looking like UFO's heading into LAX, the spirograph design created by the ferris wheel at the Santa Monica Pier, traffic lights flipping red and green in front of Disney Hall, and all the city lights.  Just gorgeous.  As much as I love ocean views, the fact is that city views seriously rock.  I wanted to move into that place around the 00:37 mark just for the view until on a subsequent viewing I realized it was still the Hollywood Sign, not the inside of a building.

    Tuesday, August 2, 2011

    By the skin of my teeth

    So the Screenwriting Expo was kind enough to extend the deadline for their screenwriting competition for an additional week, from midnight last Sunday July 24 to midnight Sunday July 31.  This gave me more time to try and finish my perpetually ongoing White Collar spec and get it entered.  By Sunday afternoon I'd finally figured out how I was going to finish the story and wrap up the case (and yes, pretty much all my writing is getting done at and only at Old Airport Beach as mentioned in that link).  However, I was still working on it into the evening and was coming to the conclusion that I wasn't going to quite make it.  But lo and behold, after finishing it and registering it with WGA, I finished the submission process with - I kid you not - all of two minutes to spare.  The deadline was 12 midnight Pacific Time; in Hawaii we're currently three hours behind (this shortens to two hours during PST since Hawaii doesn't observe Daylight Saving) and I literally hit the final submit button at 8:58pm Big Island Time.

    I'll put the thing away for a couple months while I work on something else, then pull it out and take a look at it and probably hate it and launch a full-on rewrite, because that's how I roll.  In the meantime, it feels really good to finally be done with this one.