Saturday, June 30, 2007
Good morning, folkses. Here are some semi-random observations and musings for your reading pleasure.
1.Mcdonalds. I have eaten many a Mikey-D's breakfast over the past few weeks, and I've noticed a disturbing trend. While most of the employees are courteous, and mostly competent, the customers have become totally annoying. The other day I was waiting in line behind two Hispanic people, one man and one woman. The woman did not seem to speak any English, and the 15-year-old girl behind the counter not only didn't speak any Spanish, but seemed downright pissed that she was expected to understand the woman. The man, who spoke both languages quite well, was trying to help, but he kept contradicting what the woman was saying. It was a train wreck. Then, when I finally got my order, that same woman and her friend parked themselves in front of the soft drink dispensers, jabbering away at each other, and taking their sweet time getting their drinks. Then, to top it all off, a kindly old man dropped his coffee right between my feet, thus spraying the famously scalding liquid onto my legs(I wear shorts to work down here)and making sure I would smell like Juan Valdez's back yard all day. Now, I don't really have a problem with immigration, but when I went to France, I learned a few basic words in French so I could be understood in places such as eating establishments. Yet when people come here, they complain that we don't speak their language. I know that this is a very simplistic view of the immigrant situation, but it just irks me.
2. Friends. Most of my life I have surrounded myself with people either much younger, or much older than me. This hasn't always been intentional, but just the way things worked out. But last night I visited two of my oldest, and dearest friends, Robert and Patty. We have known each other since junior college and high school, respectively, and it was wonderful to sit with people my own age for a time. They have two beautiful children, a gorgeous house, and many of the same concerns and enjoyments as I. It was a warm, loving, comfortable visit. This is not to say I don't enjoy being with my friends of all ages, but it is a treat to be with folks my own age from time to time.
3. Cosmo. About 10 years ago Deb went on tour. She asked me if I would live in her apartment for the duration and take care of Cosmo...her cat. I was glad to do so, and spent many a wonderful hour with the pillow sized, black and white critter. He was not an overly affectionate beastie, but almost always appreciated a good scratch. He was playful, and easy going, and very mellow. Alas, last week, time caught up with Cosmo. He had been ill for a long time with feline diabetes, and there were a few close calls, but he just kept on keeping on. I got to see him about a week before the end. He was a skinny, but still appreciative Cosmo, and we shared a bit of quality time, for which I'm grateful. When Deb informed me of his passing, I cried. Not just teared up. I actually cried. I haven't done that without the aid of alcohol in more years than I can remember. He was a truly groovy kitty, and he will be missed.
4. Home. I want to go home, but I have another week of service to perform down here. It has been great seeing everybody, and my accommodations are top notch, but I miss my wife, my bed, my kitties, and my stuff. The trip back promises to be lots of fun, though. I'll be stopping by the great wizard Rico's place, and then he and I shall go to the nerdvana that is the Kennedy Space Center. Thence I shall go a bit further north to visit my friend Sherri, and then, finally, home. Then I get to start my new job at Eckerd College. And there was much rejoicing.
Ok, cats and kittens, I'm out for now. Make sure you tip the wait staff, and remember I'll be here all week. ;-)
Monday, June 25, 2007
Yesterday morning Mrs. Marius and I, on the spur of the moment, went to IHOP and then the movies. We saw the Fantastic Four sequel. And much to my wonderment and surprise, I liked it a lot. The first movie was ok, but it was bogged down by the weight of exposition, and thus moved too slowly. This one is not hindered by such considerations, and is a rocket from the opening credits. The story is simplistic, but genuinely funny and heartwarming at times, and moves fast enough that it was over almost before I knew it. There were moments when we laughed out loud, and at no time did I feel the 'oh, come on' reflex kick in. Is it going to change the way comic book movies are made? No. But it was fun, action packed, and well performed. Michael Chiklis' Thing steals the show, even though Chris Evans (the Human Torch) tries his best to do so. There wasn't enough Silver Surfer, and the presence of Dr. Doom was kind of contrived, but overall this was a big budget Saturday Morning cartoon with live actors, and we had a great time. So some afternoon dump the kids at Gramma's, get yourself a big bucket of popcorn, and let the 12 year old in you run wild. This movie is exactly what the big summer blockbuster is supposed to be...fun.
Ok, I've loafed enough, time to get back to work.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
What a weekend! Since Wednesday your intrepid Marius, and the good ship Hyperion, have together driven 976 miles! I had to return the Child-O-The-Apocalypse to the homeworld for a neurologist appointment. After a full day and night of electronic probing it seems the young'n's grey matter is chugging along quite normally. And there was much rejoicing. So then, Saturday morn packed I child and luggage of Thurston Howell The Third proportions into the Hyperion and headed North, to Tallahassee to hand off the child to her father. Many a Vivarin and Mountain Dew was quaffed, but the 500+ mile round trip ended without incident yesternight. And I slept the sleep of the dead.
Today Mrs. Marius and I broke our fast at a house of worldwide renown, and dined 'pon flat cakes and delightful egg dishes. And much strawberry syrup met a grisly fate twixt my gnashing teeth. Then t'was on to the cinema, where a quartet of fantastic beings did battle with a shiny surfer, and a doctor of doom. And we were much entertained. T'was then back to Castle Marius for a quick nap, a quick pack, and a long drive back here to WPB, where I am once again the guest of my beloved C. And lo, Marius is wooly.
I also picked up the audio book of Al Franken's Lies, and the Lying Liars that Tell Them, but that will be for another post.
Adieu, mes amis.
Friday, June 22, 2007
For those who refer to me with euphemisms that evince images of female genitalia, this is why I don't ride roller coasters. On Thursday, at Six Flags Kentucky, a 16 year old girl was riding the Superman Tower of Power, which is a free-fall thrill ride wherein riders are raised 177 feet in the air and dropped. But just before 5pm, a cable snapped and went underneath the car holding the passengers and severed the girl's feet at the ankles.
I'll stick with the tea cups and the bumper cars, thank you very much.
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Oh sweet irony, how I love to embrace thee. Ok, now that we have talked about sequels that should never have been, let us discuss a much smaller topic: sequels we wish had happened. Every now and then there comes a film whose characters and situations are just so enthralling that we dearly want to see more of them, yet in this puzzling world of multiple visits to the Well-O-Crap(tm) the producers never make another one. I have been racking my tiny little brain over this one, and I can only come up with one and a half, but I have no doubt that you wonderous visitors will rectify my senility and fill in the blanks admirably. And so, without further stuff(ala Chuck Barris) I give you Marius' List of Sequels The Should Have Been:
1. The Adventures of Remo Williams. In 1985 a tiny little B movie premiered based on The Destroyer books in which a cop, played by Fred Ward, presumed dead, is forced to choose between becoming really dead, or becoming a secret assassin for the government. He is trained in the mysterious martial art, Shinanju, by a diminutive Korean, played wonderfully by Joel Grey, who heaps both physical and verbal abuse on Remo. The training is as amusing as it is effective, and even though the film had more of a made-for-tv feel it was a lot of fun. It also featured a young actress by the name of Kate Mulgrew, although IMHO she was pretty awful in this flick. It was not a great film, but it was entertaining, and a hell of a lot better than some of the celluloid turds that get two and three sequels, and I looked forward to more installments. I later found out, when I worked with Joel Grey, that he was expecting to do more movies as well. But it never came to pass.
1/2. Galaxy Quest. This movie was a beautiful send up of the world of Star Trek fandom, but never insulted the people it was lampooning. A group of actors from a now-cancelled Science Fiction tv series suddenly find themselves portraying their on-screen personas for real. With Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, and Allen Rickman leading a wonderful cast the film was a comic masterpiece. I give this one 1/2 because I would love to see more, but I fear that a sequel would be subjected to the same crapification I spoke of in the last blog. I suppose it is best that there was not a second movie, but it would be nice to see if done right.
Ok, your turn. What movies would you like to see continued?
Friday, June 15, 2007
In reading last night's post about Pirates 3 I started thinking about other movies whose sequels just didn't live up to the original. And that got me to thinking about just why the movie industry can't seem to let a good thing lie. Some films are episodic, like the James Bond movies, or Star Trek films, and make a series of movies an enjoyable experience. But many flicks are brilliant ideas, fully realized the first time around, and rehashes become simply that...rehashes. So without further ado I give you Marius' List of Movies The Should Never Have Had Sequels.
1. The Matrix. This was one of the most original (and yes, C, I know there was a Twilight Zone episode that was similar, but that was nearly 50 years ago) 'machine vs. men' conceptualizations I've ever seen. It was operatic in its use of violence as art, and Keanu Reeves even did a good job acting in it. The final scene, where Neo warns the machines that their day is over, then flies up and out of the frame was sheer genius. It left us with a Schrodinger's box full of ideas and possibilities that no sequel could live up to...and the two that followed never did.
2. Aliens. Yes, I know that Aliens was a sequel, but it is one of the top five sequels that equal their progenitors. It took the brilliantly built foundation of Ridley Scott's Alien and turned it into a full-on action thrill ride. And at the end, when Ripley puts Newt and Hicks into the freezers we all breathed a sigh of relieve and closure at a fight well won. Then Alien 3 gave us all the finger by killing off two of the three survivors before the opening credits even rolled, and sent Ripley into a story that forced us to strain our disbelief to the breaking point. And then, in Alien 4, we fall back on that tired old Science Fiction cliche that in a universe full of monsters, man is the worst one of them all. Barf!
3. Wayne's World. A SNL-based movie that doesn't suck is almost as rare as George Carlin hosting the show, but Mike Meyers and Dana Carvey managed a comic gem with Wayne's World. It was low key, slick, and made no pretensions to greatness. It was just 'two chimps on a davenport' who made us laugh for 90 minutes or so. It used all the bits from the sketches, but never overdid it, and who knew that Rob Lowe could be so dead-pan funny. Then the sequel came out and used the 'if it was funny once in the original, it will be hilarious a dozen times in the sequal' formula, and blew chunks.
4. Ghostbusters. Arguably one of the funniest movies ever made, Ghostbusters came out of nowhere and made us laugh our ectoplasmic asses off. We were all asking each other 'who ya gonna call' for months, and then there was a Saturday Morning cartoon that was fun to watch. Then someone got the bright idea to make another movie, but it seemed to be based more on the cartoon than the original film. It followed the tried and true Hollywood tradition of turning what was once funny into what is now stupid.
5. Jurassic Park. I think that Jurassic Park was one of the finest adaptations of a book into a movie ever. The characters were real, the effects incredible, and the plot believable. The flavor of the book was well captured, and while there were some significant changes, they worked for the film. And the message of the story was clear, well stated, and fun to watch. Then along came Hollywood with their 'do it again' mentality, like a 5 year old with a few million dollars. They asked Michael Crichton to write it, and at first he balked, since he doesn't do sequels, but eventually he caved under the weight of all the cash they shovelled at him. He wrote the screenplay, and a second novel, and both sucked. Nothing new was brought to the table, and setting a T-Rex loose in San Fransisco was more King Kong '77 than good cinema. And the third film was even weaker.
Ok, I've primed the pump. Let me know what sequels you thought were totally unnecessary. Or tell me I'm full of celluloid for my picks. The choice is yours.
Thursday, June 14, 2007
And the yawnfest that is this Summer's movies just keeps going. We saw Pirates of the Carribean III tonight, and while it wasn't Alien 4 bad, it was definately X-Men 3 bad. The effects were great, Depp was as charimatic as ever. Orlando Bloom was all manly with swash firmly buckled, and Kiera Knightly was a vision of kick-ass beauty, but the plot was about as clear as a fine goblet filled with deep sea silt. And it was definately the most gruesome of the series. Anyone bringing children to this installment will be holding some scared little hands come bedtime. I won't say don't see it, since if you've seen the first two you have probably already decided to see this one, but don't expect much. Oh, and do stay til after the credits.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Greetings, Dear Ones, and welcome to the live remote edition of The Corner. As you may know, I am in West Palm Beach for a working vacation. I am working for friends at a uniform sales shop, and while they are putting me to some rather strenuous work, my brain is getting lots of rest. And I have discovered some important information for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. When fighting a shredder, the most powerful weapon in their arsenal should be a staple. I say this because I spent significant portions of Thursday and Friday shredding old documents, and it would have gone much faster if the machine could eat staples.
On to the news. The picture above is of Lake Worth beach. Mrs. Marius has joined me for a week, and Celebhith and P took us to breakfast at a restaurant on the pier called Benny's. The food was marvelous, but the beach was depressing. Being as I am prone to spontaneously combust in direct sunlight, I tend to avoid the seashore by day, so this was the first time I had actually set foot upon the beach in many years. Those of you who recognize the pier will notice that much of it is missing. Hurricane Katrina apparently liked the pier so much she took a great deal of it with her. And it's still not fixed. My brother and I used to ride our bikes to the beach in our youth and go fishing off the pier. Alas. But what really got me is that the barrage of hurricanes over the last few years has totally eroded the beach itself away. There used to be at least several dozen feet between the sea grass dunes and the high water mark. Not any more. The tide was out this morning, but there was very little dry sand to walk upon. I'm talking mere feet in some places. It is rather daunting how much Mother Nature can eat off of a shoreline when she gets really hungry.
Ok, I will now rant about that waste of time Paris Hilton. I had hoped that we would be treated to 45 days without hearing about her upon her incarceration. Oh what fools we mortals be. First she's released after 3 days, then she's put back in weeping and crying 'it's not fair' all the way back. And now, as if this were some fucking capital murder case, she puts out a press release saying that she won't appeal the decision! Won't appeal 20 something days in jail?! And it gets lead coverage on C-fucking-NN?! I don't even know what to say. And then, not five minutes later, they interview Labron James and ask him what he thinks will happen on tonight's final Sopranos episode! If Saturday Night Live had done either of these things a few years ago as a sketch we might have found it funny. Now it's just fucking sad. I expect to see such drek on Entertainment Tonight, but CNN?
In good news, the lovely Mrs. Marius brought me a present when she came down. Ozzy Osbourne's new album. It kicks. There is a clarity and focus to the music that has been missing for many years, and it hearkens back in many ways to his Sabbath days. I recommend it.
Ok, pool time. Ta, darlings! :-)
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my hostess and her new family. That's Celebhith in the middle, and to her right is See, a recently adopted greyhound, and on the chair is Koa, a lively chow+something mix. Koa recently moved from Connecticut and seems quite at home in the hellish Florida summer. Both of the new babies are sweet as can be. I have met other greyhounds, and they are usually very mellow almost to the point of not seeming to care if they are getting petted or not. Not See. She's a snugglebunny...albeit a very long, tall snugglebunny. And she's also a kisser. Koa will give a kiss or two as well, but she lives for playing fetch the log or getting her butt scratched. And they both seem to like their new Uncle Marius.
Ok, I start work in the morning, so I'm off to bed. Night night, sleep tight, don't let the bedbugs bite.(isn't that a lovely thought to try to relax to?)
Yesterday I went to see the 'rents. At one point my mom accused me of 'whining' about my dissatisfaction with my job at the high school. Then this morning I was reading Loki's blog, and she's going through some very rough times with chemotherapy, and I began to feel guilty about expressing dismay over my own woes. Then, some hitherto unheard from part of my psyche put forth this very quiet question: is my pain any less significant to me just because someone else has it worse? And is 'worse' really an appropriate word to use? How many times have you been caught in a conversation with someone that, no matter the story you tell of some awful experience or injury you had, they've had one worse? Have you ever been that person? I remember a time, back at the Pope Theatre, when a bunch of us techies were on a break and were comparing scars. I had recently recovered from lopping the end of my thumb off. One of the guys was missing parts of his brain due to falling off of a ladder. One dude had nearly had his face scraped off in a motorcycle crash. Then we all looked at Tim, the Master Electrician, who rather sheepishly said, 'well, I had a really nasty hangnail once.' And, in a bizarro twist of irony, the guy who was totally whole and unmaimed was unspokenly dubbed the loser. Why must we compare our agonies? And why, when someone doesn't have any, or has 'lesser' ones, do we use that to fan the flames of our own pain? Rather than insinuate that Tim was less of a man for not having been damaged, we should have congratulated him for taking better care of himself than we did. But at the end of the day, Tim may not even have a bottle of Advil in his house, while I have pain killers that most doctors haven't heard of.
So yeah, I may have bitched and moaned a bit over the last school year, but would hiding it have mattered to anyone in Darfur? I think not. Perhaps if we spent less time worrying about who hurts most, and instead just supported each other when we do hurt, there would be a lot less guilt flying about, and more healing. And Loki, if there's anything I can do to help, you know you just have to call. :-)
And now I'm going to put a band-aid on the boo-boo I got last night.
Marius the Painless(sort of)
Monday, June 04, 2007
Greetings from sunny(read: hotter than Satan's sauna)South Florida. Fear not, dear ones, I shall continue to blog with my usual atomic-clock-like frequency though I be far, far away. Well, ok, who am I trying to kid. I'll probably be as hit or miss as ever, but at least I will try to be more consistent. Is that ok?
I don't know if other areas of the country get to experience this phenomenon, but the drive down left my car at least twice as heavy due to the inches thick layer of dead love bugs coating the entire forward surface of my vehicle. Love Bugs(Plecia nearctica) spend much of the year as larvae, but usually around April-May they take to the air, couple up, and fly about dancing butt-to-butt in huge, harmless, but very gooshy clouds all over the place, and especially along the freeways. I suppose if I had to choose a way to go, in flagrante delecto would be my first choice, but it sure would be nice if these carnal critters would take their enjoyment indoors, or at least away from the roads.
And if you have heard the urban legend that says love bugs were the result of genetic experiments at the University of Florida, and that they were accidentally released into the wild, rest easy. They are natives of Central America who most likely stowed away on cargo ships putting into Louisiana in the '20s, and have discovered what thousands of Spring Breakers already know: our sun-drenched shores a lovely place to indulge in completely unabashed, totally uninterrupted, absolutely anonymous fornication. But the bugs don't waste time with wet carapace contests, or jello shots first.
Now I'm going to make with the scraping.
Marius the Out-Grossed
Saturday, June 02, 2007
So, starting tomorrow, I shall be in sunny South Florida for three weeks. There I shall toil for some friends, earn a few sheckles, and hopefully do a lot of catching up with old friends. So if you fall into that category, and wanna hang, pop me a message and I'll send you my digits. :-)
Marius the Traveler
One of the few comics I read as a young pup, with thanks to Duke, was called The Warlord and starred Travis Morgan, a ripped, blond Air Force pilot who crashes in the mythical land of Skartaris that exists at the center of our hollow planet. It was populated by the requisite dinosaurs, primitives, and remarkably hygienic white she-warriors, and the frequent depictions of him battling with .45 in one hand, and broadsword in the other were quite fun to read. Of course, no one in their right mind would imagine for a moment that there really is a great hole in the Arctic that allows one to access a lost world within...or would they?
Apparently an American physicist named Brooks Agnew believes, and he has booked passage on a Russian icebreaker next year to prove it. In a move right out of a Jules Verne novel, Agnew is picking up where adventurer and entrepreneur Steve Curry left off. Mr. Curry claimed to have located the opening at roughly 400 kilometres northwest of Ellesmere Island, and was selling spaces on the expedition at $20k a pop. Unfortunately Curry died of brain cancer last year, leaving the search for the inner world unfinished.
Agnew claims to believe that the world is hollow, and that this will be a scientific endeavor, but it is interesting to note that among his crew are several experts on meditation, mythology, UFO's, and the requisite documentary crew. In a statement worthy of Carl Denham himself, Agnew says that even if they don't find the legendary opening, the trip "will still make an outstanding documentary...But if we do find something, this will be the greatest geological discovery in the history of the world." Ah, if only P.T. Barnum had thought of this one.
Now if only someone could touch the sky.