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May 252009
 

My grandfather used to call Memorial Day, Decoration Day. It was the day they would go to the cemetery and decorate the graves of the service men and other family members. So I thought I would wish everyone out there a happy Decoration Day and hop that you took some time out today to remember the reason you had off work today.

Someone on Twitter sent me a link to an interesting article on Memorial Day/Decoration Day (they say Decoration Day was a southern thing, but my grandfather was a PA Dutchman through and through). The article, Memorial Day bivouac of the dead: hallowed, haunted Gettysburg, was written by MaryEllen O’Brien and has a more spiritual angle than military.

I just watched a really good program on PBS called Hallowed Ground. It is all about the US cemeteries through out Europe that mark the finally resting places of 40% of the men and women who fought for freedom in WWI and WWII.

I did not know so many cemeteries were over there. It would make a very interesting group tour sometime.

May 092009
 

PopHangover.com HungoverThe fine and rather sarcastic folks over at Pophangover.com must have been hungover when they reviewed the Spock action figure on their site.

Take a look at the picture to the right. As you can see they are clearly talking about the NEW Spock action figures from Playmates Toys, but are comparing it to Leonard Nimoy as Spock. So of course the photo of the actual person isn’t going to look ANYTHING like the action figure and vice versa.

Perhaps as a pop culture site they are so out of touch with reality that they don’t really know what is going on in the world of pop culture any more? Have they had their collective heads in the sand for the past year? Do they not know that their is a NEW Star Trek movie with a whole new cast? Spock is now played by Zachary Quinto (Sylar from Heroes).

Now with that new knowledge people, try your little review again. Your two main complaints about the figure seem a perfect match when compared to the correct actor.

Quinto as Spock Quinto Toy vs Nimoy Spock

I would say the toy is pretty close, not dead on, but pretty dang close to Quinto (but certainly not Nimoy). And I’m the slacker here 🙂

May 082009
 

IMAX showtimesSaw the new Star Trek movie last night and all I can say right now is “WOW!” I am headed to the IMAX today to see it again and maybe I will be able to formulate more of an actual review at that point, but until then here is my friend’s review from last nights viewing (Warning some spoilers most are at the end of the review — enjoy and go see the film!)

Kent’s Review:

It has been a long, long time since I have given a four star review to any science fiction film released in the theater of late. I was beginning to think the endless sequels, remakes, retreads and prequels had Hollywood in a funk they could not get out of, which certainly did not justify the recent writer’s strike and does even less to fuel the rationalization of the pending actor’s strike. In short, there are very few new ideas out there, and even fewer new ideas that are actually decent and play well from beginning to end without being mucked up by the Hollywood machine. So, in these times of uncertainty, unoriginality and unappreciation, we turn our eyes to what offerings ther are on the table and hope for the best. Sadly, more often than not, we are disappointed with the results.

Until now.

Make no mistake, Star Trek is back, not only in a big way, but in a way that will please fans both young and old and also give chance to newcomers to the saga to hop on board without needing any previous knowledge of the canon or its characters. This is not a reboot. This is not a remake. This is (slightly skewed) fresh start for us to see played out the first meetings of the beloved Original Series characters and many of the snippets of their pasts that were mentioned or alluded to in episodes but were not actually seen. This is no easy task since director J J Abrams needs to walk the fine line between diehard fans, and deeply entrenched legendary history, established and beloved characters, the demands of special effects and action sequences of today and the board of critics, both novice and professional, that have been waiting anxoiusly for this much-hyped recalibration. An impossible task at best, but the results are as mindblowingly close to perfect as anyone could possibly hope to come.

First and foremost, if the cast doesn’t work, the rest of the film doesn’t matter. You can’t just have anyone don a classic Trek uniform, have them deliver tagline references and hope to pass them off as the iconic legends these characters have become. But there are absolutely no worries in that department. Chris Pine’s Kirk is savvy, rebelious, slightly egotistical, reckless and has a weakness for the opposite sex. Equally inpressive is Zachary Quinto’s portrayal of the emotionally and logically divided Spock, who is still trying to determine who he is and sort out what sort of man he is to become. Everyone else – Sulu, Uhura, Chekov, Scotty – is more than passable, even if the looks don’t exactly match or the character developmen is a bit off. But above them all, dead on, perfect-for-the-role is Keith Urban’s portrayal of the late, great DeForrest Kelly’s Dr. McCoy. Just close your eyes as he delivers his crusty county doctor repitoire and try to separate him from his predecessor. Then open them and copare the mannerisms, gestures, expressions and side-of-the-mouth dialogue delivery and try not to believe he is Kelly reborn. The comparisons are staggeringly uncanny.

Then there’s the plot. Well, whenever you have a villain that goes dickering around with time, there are bound to be a few flaws, not to mention inconsistancies that result due to the interference with the space/time continuum. However, since this is not an exact history and some latitude needs to be given for plot devices, the few changes to what history we know of Star Trek are both forgivable and understandable. We can suspend our belief and accept a few minor changes here and there for the sake of the Trek we have all been so eagerly and patiently been waiting for.

And finally, the finishing touches. Special effects; check. Music; check. Surprising and unexpected castings for the supportng roles; check. classic taglines that don’t feel forced or out of place; check. All systems; check. An a kickass ship to put them all in; absolutely.

For so many years the “blockbuster” start of the summer has been a mixed bag of disappointments, half-hearted attempts and critically bashed tripe. This year, without question, the summer film season has begun on an extremely positive note. And with the Enterprise out in front, with any luck, this time it will live long and prosper.

Star Trek **** (out of four) Rated PG-13 for violence, language, sexual situations, alcohol consumption, and scary situations. Starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Keith Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saladna, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood, Eric Bana, Ben Cross, Wynona Rider, Deep Roy and Leonard Nimoy.


Spoiler stuff from here down.

  • Things we would like to have seen or heard that were not included in the film:
  • Nurse Chapel
  • Yeoman Janice Rand
  • “He’s dead, Jim.”
  • “I’m only one man, captain.”
  • “Beam me up, Scotty” (only because no one officially ever said it ever) or “Energize” all by itself.
  • “Fascinating.”
  • For the timeline to have been restored, even if only to bring back Amanda or Kirk’s dad, or at least save Vulcan
  • Captain (or Admiral) Robert April
  • Lt. Arex and/or Lt. M’Ress (now that the special effects are available, they could do it)
  • Things that seemed out of place:
  • That little alien creature hanging around with Scotty (sorry Deep Roy)
  • The violation of the orignal canon regarding no one knowing what a romulan looked like before Balance of Terror
  • and, again, the destruction of Vulcan and the loss of Amanda and Kirk’s father
  • That whole scene with young Kirk stealing the car and driving it off the cliff
  • The premise that Budweiser beer will still be around hundreds of years from now.
  • The Spock/Uhura relationship
  • Things that were absolutely cool:
  • The continued death-of-a-red-shirt tradition
  • Uhura being smokin’ hot!
  • The inclusion of an Orion girl. Always welcome.
  • The inclusion of other alien races in crowd scenes. Nice touch.
  • The playing out of the whole Kobyashai Muru incident.
May 042009
 

Wonder if we could get Pennsylvania to pass a state law that prohibits trucks from driving in the left lane? I don’t know about you, but I am sick of driving along at the speed limit only to have to slow down to 45 or less because some stupid ass truck driver thought he had to pass another truck and either can’t or won’t go any faster. Hey if you aren’t even doing the speed limit please stay in the right lane.

Why not make a law like this. It isn’t like it would ever be enforced. We already have stupid laws on the books that polic and drivers ignore. Just the other day I was driving in a construction zone (with my lights on because it is the law) and passed a cop. He did nothing to either the car in front of or behind me, neither had their lights on.

May 032009
 

People and their pets seem to be flocking to social networks. Most can be found on sites like Twitter and facebook, while many are still holding out over at MySpace although it is dropping in popularity.

Popping up all over the internet is a new breed of social networking sites. These new sites are catering specifically to the pet owner and their pets. Sites like YouPet, Cute as Hell and Pikapet are strictly on Topic pet only sites. And yes, your pet is welcome, actually expected, to have his own profile. There are other sites to like People Pets that are offshoots of the human centric sites. So if your pet, like mine, is so inclined set him up with his own profile on Twitter, facebook or the like and watch his virtual friends pile up.

May 022009
 

Pets on the interwebs. Search any social network on the internet these days and you will most certainly find a bunch of pet lovers. Search MySpace, facebook or Twitter just a little harder and you will find the pets that belong to those very same pet lovers. Yes, there is a growing number of pets who blog or have their own web pages, and they connect with each other on these social networks.

Take my big boy Boris for example. I blog about him quite often, what is he does, his new toys, etc. When we first got him I even started a blog about his care and growth. Then we both got sick and the blog fell to the wayside. Recently I started dealing more with facebook and Twitter (as MySpace is yesterdays news) and found myself one night setting up accounts for Boris. So now you can follow the exploits of this kitty cat across the web via his blog (he took it over how), twitter and facebook.

I will continue to write about him here, as he is just too darn cote not too (besides he tends to ignore the fact that he has three older sisters who don’t play on the web — you know how it is for us older folks).

May 012009
 

Mean dogs are given a second chance at life in Idaho. According to the Associated Press dogs that are too mean to be pets are now patrolling prison grounds.

It is good to hear that dogs that would normally be put down because they are un-adoptable are finding a home in the prison system there. Apparently they are just as good if not better than their human counterparts when it comes to being a prison sentry. This mix of German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Belgian Malinois, Pit bulls and Boxers haven’t allowed a single escape since 1986. No one has even tried since the 90s. Officer Amos was quoted as saying, “What makes them a bad pet makes them good sentries.”

Keep up the good work of being a bad dog and keep those bad humans where they belong prison. My only hope is more states see the value of putting these dogs to good use instead of simply putting them down.