Leaving Las Vegas; On Hiatus

Greenlee Gazette is on hiatus until the first week of February. New stories may appear, but I'll be mostly offline. Please come back and see me after I make the transition!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween Happenings of Ye Editor


I'm not sure how much I'll be around for blogging today, if at all. Today, I'm finally getting the top back on the Jeep, after freezing my ears off this week. I'm enlisting the aid of a friend, since The Other Half is away. This is in preparation for the long drive to North Las Vegas. My friend and some time blog contributor Stupid Monkey Planet is hosting a Halloween party tonight, and he lives way across town. No way am I making the drive with no top and no doors!

Tonight's gathering is a costume party, and I don't quite have my costume hammered out yet. I may post pictures tomorrow if all goes well. My first inkling was to do my "Grandpa Greenlee" costume, from a couple years ago. This entails white hairspray, The (much taller) Other Half's pants, pulled up to my rib cage, suspenders and a rolled t-shirt on my back to hunch me over, a cane and some makeup with a scrunched up face. But I didn't fancy spending all evening hunched and coated with white hairspray. This photo is from a work dress-up day, and I actually won the contest. At first, some people didn't even recognize me! I guess I'll have to color my hair if it ever goes completely gray.

Anyway, happy Halloween, everybody! Remember, it's not only Halloween, it's also the end of Daylight Saving Time, and very nearly a full moon. So be ready for a weird night!

Halloween Horrors: A Third George Bush in Politics?


Image from Politico

If it were possible to type a blood-curdling scream, that's what I'd do! Another George Bush in politics? I can't take it. . . At least this one doesn't look like a drooling moron.

[Excerpt]

A Bush goes to War

Mentioning his last name is a sure way to harass liberals and acknowledging his half Mexican blood often challenges the temperament of the most extreme conservatives.

George P. Bush, the grandson and the nephew of two U.S. Presidents, is being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan as Lieutenant in the Navy Reserve, assigned to an intelligence unit. . .

Read more at: AOL News


Rachel Maddow Talks About Liz Cheney's On-Fire Pants

Oh, okay, I'll say it. Liz Cheney is a liar! Big time, out and proud, spawn of Darth liar. I suppose I should be happy that her attempts at salvaging the Bush/Cheney administration's reputation are so ridiculously lame. Rachel lands some blows in this bit, even if Lawrence O'Donnell had already beaten Liz to a pulp in the previous hour on MSNBC. But both of them are absolutely correct, and both bits are completely blogworthy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lawrence O'Donnell Rips Liz Cheney as Liar and Political Opportunist

Ooh, Lawrence O'Donnell is getting very, very good at guest hosting shows such as Countdown with Keith Olbermann. So good in fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all if he got his own show. Here, O'Donnell smacks down Satan's Spawn, Liz Cheney, using everything but the c-word. And he's absolutely right.

Light Blogging Friday

I've spent most of my day prepping the house and running errands for The Other Half's brother-in-law's arrival this afternoon. And The Other Half isn't even home! Figures, right? Anyway, due to his visit, I'll be away from the computer most--if not all--of the day and evening. I know, I know, excuses, excuses. Hopefully, I'll have some time later tonight to get some fresh stuff onto the blog. Until then, enjoy this.

Halloween II Preview (Remake)

Jon Stewart Proves Conclusively: FOX is Not "News"

This subject again? Does something as obvious as Glenn Beck's insanity require proof? Maybe not, but this clip from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart explains in exhaustive detail--and with hilarious results--exactly why FOX "News" is not news.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
For Fox Sake!
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis



Halloween Horrors: Top 10 BAD Horror Movies

Yep, it's another re-run. But Halloween's a-comin', and we're running out of time to prepare for a horror movie marathon! And sometimes, you've just got to have a really tacky--but still fun!--vintage horror film.


Image from Wikipedia

I got to thinking of other lists I've posted about horror movies--scary, funny, classic--and realized I'd neglected a whole cache of horror movies. Those movies that are so bad, they're good. Well, "good" might be too strong. But for one reason or another, these really bad horror movies found their way into my heart. See what you think.

Greenlee Gazette's Top 10 BAD Horror Movies

1. Sleepaway Camp (1983) - A legendary bad horror film. It tries to jump on the bandwagon of Friday the 13th, and its ilk, and does so supremely badly. It has a (SPOILER ALERT!) Crying Game twist ending! It also sets up two sequels, which were intentionally bad.

2. It's Alive! (1974) - What's scarier than a twisted, mutant, killer baby? Maybe the stuntman crawling under a baby costume? Hilariously bad, as are its sequels.

3. Prom Night (1980) - Trying to cash in on Halloween, this film actually landed Jamie Lee Curtis in the starring role. Stretching the "holiday" theme of other successful horror films, this one has a lame killer, with a lamer reason for being a killer. Still, they remade it in 2008 anyway. Anyone know how bad the remake was?

4. Night of the Creeps (1986) - OK, this one may have been intentionally bad. But I'm not sure. It does employ cheapie horror staple Tom Atkins. And has some very funny (ooh, I mean scary) effects. Good for a laugh.

5. Truth or Dare? - A Critical Madness (1986) - Not the Madonna documentary. No, this abysmally bad horror film is a rarity--no one I've ever talked to has heard of it. A seemingly ordinary man goes bananas, and starts killing people, most hilariously a bunch of people at a bus stop. You will sit with your mouth agape at the badness of this film. Rare, but if you can find it, have fun.

6. Squirm (1976) - Killer worms. I'm not kidding. My favorite part is when one of the unlucky ladies decides to take a shower, and worms come out of the shower head. We went to see this at the drive-in when I was a kid, thinking the double-play of this and the film below was a single film, Tentacles & Squirm. Hey, it sounded better than it was.

7. Tentacles (1977) - Hilarious film about a killer squid. No-budget effects led to actors trying to make the squid look like it was attacking them.

8. The Grudge (2004) - This is the only big budgeted and hit films on this list. I wanted to like this film, I really did. Sarah Michelle Gellar is a fave, since I'm a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. But as compelling as the film tries to be, it was utterly incomprehensible to me. Maybe I just don't get the Japanese horror thing.

9. Bug (1975) - The bugs try to be scary. But they're not.

10. Deadly Friend (1986) - Little House on the Prairie star, Matthew Laborteaux was pretty cute, but this is a total misfire by horror master, Wes Craven. Highlight: the old lady from Throw Mama From the Train gets beheaded by a basketball. Seriously.

Previously:

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Computer Woes: Blogger's Busted!


If there is one truism among computer users, whether we're Macs or PCs, it's that we're set in our ways. We like the way we do things, and we want to keep doing them that way. Every once in a while, we're thrown a curve, like updating to a new version of our operating system, or they make a change to software we're used to. Other times, a glitch or a bug appears that becomes infuriating.

Last night, I started getting one of those bugs. When I blog, I tend to use AOL 9.5 and Internet Explorer 8 in tandem. Why? Because that's the way I likes it! I do all my research in AOL, and I do the blogging from IE. It's worked pretty well, if not always perfectly. Last night, The Blogger software's "New Post" window stopped accepting the "paste" command. It doesn't work from the mouse, from the toolbar, or from pressing CTRL+V on the keyboard. The only thing that works is to go into "Edit HTML" mode, and paste there. Which is cumbersome for the way I work.

I sought help on Blogger's help board, but found the typical "well have you tried. . ." type non-solutions, suggestions to use FireFox or Google Chrome, and other work-arounds. But no solution was to be found. So, in lieu of a fix, I'm now blogging from Chrome. This is going to take some getting used to.

More Proof that FOX is Not "News"


Image from source, Huffington Post

As if you needed any more evidence. . .

[Excerpt]

Fox And Friends: 22 Mentions Of Acorn And Pessimism About Rising GDP

The very public war between the White House and Fox News has produced a heated debate as to whether the cable network simply has a slant or, worse, is a vehicle for politically motivated criticism administration.

It is a distinction with a major difference. Being a launching pad for the Republican Party talking points would make Fox more a partisan echo chamber than a legitimate source of news. Having a slant, by contrast, is a qualification that more than a few legitimate news outlets share.

Read more at: Huffington Post

Joe Lieberman Promised Universal Health Care in 2006


Image from source, Raw Story

What a douche.

[Excerpt]

Flip Flop: Lieberman Promised Universal Health Care in 2006

Political watchdogs and supporters of the public health care option are accusing Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman of hypocrisy for announcing he plans to filibuster the Senate health care reform bill after years of voicing support for health care reform. . .

Read more at: Raw Story


Halloween Horrors: Guide to Friday the 13th

Happy Halloween! If you have not yet picked out your scary movies for your Halloween weekend, here is another of my lists from the early days of the blog, this one a run-down of the famous Friday the 13th series. When I originally wrote this, news of a "reboot" of the series was fresh. Now it is available on DVD and Blu-ray, and I definitely recommend it.


Photo from Wikipedia.org

Sprinkled throughout this blog is ample evidence that I am a horror movie nut. That's in addition to being a comic book/superhero nut, a 70s ABC-TV nut, and a far-left loony moonbat political nut!

With Halloween coming up, there will undoubtedly be a heavier focus on the horror movie nut side of me. Previously, I commented on how much I did not want to see Rob Zombie's re-imagined Halloween. I still don't, but I'm sure someday I'll get the DVD. Anyway, unlike the original Halloween, I'm not sure anyone would put Friday the 13th in the "classic" category. At least not good classics. The series is loved with a heavy dose of nostalgia, and not a lot else.

Sure, it's iconic, was amazingly influential, and made a whole lot of money for both Paramount and New Line studios. But the Friday the 13th string of movies was easily the hollowest, least plotted, acted and impactful storywise of the horror movie franchises (Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Hellraiser). Each Friday film pretty much follows a mindless killer, stalking stupid people.

There were variations along the way. And if you try to assign a real-world continuity to the films, you'll give yourself a headache that feels like a machete in your skull. Here are some short recaps (star ratings do not relate to the real movie world, only within the horror movie genre!):

Friday the 13th - The first film is by far the best. Jason does not appear (outside of a possible hallucination), but his storyline is set up. Notable for Betsy Palmer's iconic performance as Jason's mother. Sets the tone and atmosphere for the first four to seven movies. Plus, Kevin Bacon. ***

Friday the 13th, Part 2 -Almost as good as the first, though very short (especially considering the recap at the beginning). Notable for Amy Steel's strong performance, the VW bug scene, and the guy in the wheelchair. Struggles to find a reason why Jason didn't drown, and why he was motivated to start his killing spree. Though the explanation is weak, it is used as the basis for the rest of the series. **

Friday the 13th, Part 3 - This (originally) 3D installment is one of the weakest, with very little story, and shots that were intended for the 3D audience. Most notable for hand-walking guy's death, and Jason's acquisition of his iconic hockey mask. *

Friday the 13th - The Final Chapter - Yeah, right! Best of sequels, and could have served as the finale, but there was more money to be made. Jason ventures out of Camp Crystal Lake, and seems to meet his end. Plus, Corey Feldman and Crispin Glover? ***

Friday the 13th (Part V): A New Beginning - Close to as good as part 4, reviled by fans for its plot twist, but very much in line with the tone of the first four movies. And Corey Feldman only wishes he grew up to look like John Shepherd! **

Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives - Yeah, I guess he lives. Often considered one of the best sequels, it left me cold. It felt like a different studio picked up the reigns. This edition has a vastly different tone from the first five films, and the gory kills just aren't there. *

Friday the 13th, Part VII: The New Blood - They throw a psychic girl into the mix, and tack on a ridiculous ending, which puts Jason into the same scenario as the end of the last movie--making this one irrelevant. On the plus side the tone of the first five movies is back. *

Friday the 13th, Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan - The tone is still there, as Jason stows away on a cruise ship bound for New York. Most of the action is on the boat, and there are some great scenes. But it feels like the series is running on fumes. *1/2

Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday - New Line Cinema took over the franchise from Paramount here, and it is very, very obvious this was made by others. Some of the feel is still there, and the film is undeniably fun. Adds a bunch of new story elements that wreck any (already strained) continuity from the first 8 films. Also ignores the end of Part VIII. Fun anyway. And it sets up the movie after the next one.**1/2

Jason X - Tenth installment puts Jason in space, with no context to the rest of the storyline. Continuity-wise has no home, and is akin to a comic book "elseworlds" or "imaginary story." Has its fun parts, but utterly skippable. *1/2

Freddy Vs. Jason - I loved it. They took the monster from the best horror franchise (though it had run out of steam) and the worst (but still loved), and pitted them against each other. Truly, one of the best outings for this type of movie in a long, long time. That said, not the least bit scary. Plays like gory comedy. ***

Friday the 13th (Remake) - I was right that they couldn't really mess up the remake. It's a hoot. The twist--apparently--is that most of the characters you kinda want to see dead. And Jason is given a much heftier back-story. Unfortunately, they still don't explain what happened that made Mrs. Voorhees think he died when he didn't. Still, I'd put this in the top three with the first two installments.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Christopher Hitchens on Joy Behar Show on God

I can't switch to The Joy Behar Show out of loyalty to Rachel Maddow. But I'm enjoying the clips! Atheist author Christopher Hitchens can out-debate a religious person on religion even when he's sauced. Which is often. His politics may be different from mine, but I dig his views on religion in America.

Movie Review: Michael Jackson's This is It


Check Out Dance Footage From Michael Jackson's This Is It
by SonyPictures


I went to see the advance screening of Michael Jackson's This is It last night at the Brenden Theaters at the Palms Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Having been a fan when I was in school (who wasn't in the early 80s?), and later, I already had incentive to go. But having had a former co-worker and roommate who actually worked for Jackson for 15 years, I had a more personal reasons.

For many years, my friend has relayed stories from his tenure, and even got me a gig at Neverland Valley Ranch once running the bumper cars! So my MJ fandom has an added dimension. I attended a dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe with the "King of Pop Fanatics," which I may not quite qualify for. For instance, while I've owned Thriller and Bad in vinyl and CD, bought Dangerous and HIStory Volume I & II on CD and have had varioius iterations of Jackson's videos on laserdisc and DVD, I'm far from a completist. Blood on the Dancefloor and Invincible never made an appearance in my collection.

I've always thought that Jackson had terrible PR. His people couldn't spin any of his eccentricities well, and he always came off far worse than he might've otherwise. Of course the allegations against him were a PR nightmare. Many people to this day will adamantly insist that he was guilty, even though he was acquitted of all charges. My own personal insight into the stories has lead me to believe that the charges were baseless. But I can understand how others might be inclined to disagree.

Anyway, all of that has little to do with This is It, except that particular dark cloud seems to hang over everything. Fortunately, from the time the picture starts, all the craziness melts into the background. You even forget the rhinoplasty after a while, and just get into the music, the moves, the attention to detail Michael had for his craft.

The biggest revelation of the film is that the tour Jackson was about to embark on was real. After all of the past weirdness and flakiness, many believed the tour was going to somehow be cancelled before it began. But it is hard to come to that conclusion watching the film. If Jackson had survived, he had a hell of a show ready to go. I remember seeing news/entertainment (they really are pretty much one entity now) reports that had Jackson barely able to stand, on oxygen, going through dance moves like a creaky old man. Not true.

The movie is almost a concert film, but since all we get to see is a combination of several dress rehearsals, it is of course a little different. We get to see Jackson perform, though not always in full voice. He dances like crazy, but you can see that he's still mapping out what he's going to do. And he knows exactly what he wants of himself and others.

Most of all, Jackson's treatment of his dancers, musicians and other employees was endearing. He showed respect for them, great deference, and yet still was adamant that he got what he wanted out of them. I liked seeing the playfulness, and the "we'll work it out, it will be amazing" attitude.

For a film that was cobbled together from different video sources at different performances in just a few months, I have to say the producer and the editors did an amazing job. The songs--though not complete, due to the rehearsal nature--were edited together seamlessly. Video produced to be used in the concert tour is used effectively in the film, as well as behind the scenes "making of" information. A cynic might label This is It to be little more than a "DVD special feature" from the missing real concert. And it probably would have been, had that concert tour ever happened. But it never would have been this epic. Great job all around.

Levi Johnston to Leak Embarrassing Palin Secrets?

You know, it's funny. When America first met Levi Johnston, Sarah Palin's almost future son-in-law, Democrats rolled their eyes. Republicans made excuses for why this didn't wreck the "abstinence only" plans, and Palin's standing as a "family values" advocate. Now that Johnston is removed from the Palin family, Republicans have stopped making excuses for him, and now make excuses for why he's irrelevant and is no reflection on Caribou Barbie.

Democrats, mean time, are still rolling their eyes. But we're also clapping our hands! Because the entertainment value is priceless.


Watch CBS News Videos Online

FOX "News" = FOX "Opinion"

Same difference. . .

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Happy Tuesday, See You Wednesday! NIGHT!


UPDATE: In at midnight PDT after seeing the premiere of "Michael Jackson's This is It," (pretty spectacular by the way). Up at 7am PDT to go to work, so obviously no time to blog until after work. See you then!

ORIGINAL POST:
Today, I'm going straight from work to the Hard Rock Cafe to meet some friends for the big Michael Jackson This is It dinner, and then movie here in Las Vegas. I have a friend and former roommate who worked for Jackson for many years, so there's sort of a personal connection. Plus, I never get out and do "Vegasy" things, like most of us locals, so it will be fun!

But, it's unlikely that I'll be getting around to blogging for Tuesday. So please, scroll down, see if there's anything you missed. And if you don't find anything new, please come back tomorrow!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Secret Service Can't Keep Up with Threats Against Obama

Halloween Horrors: Top 10 SCARY Horror Movies

Back in the early days of the blog, I posted a series of lists of my favorite Halloween films. Since we're nearing All Hallows' Even again, I thought I'd repost some of them. With a few updates and additions.

Image from Wikipedia.org

There are as many "top 10" horror movie lists as there are horror fans. And for the list to have any relevance, you have to quantify what you mean by "horror." There's the kind of movie that really scares you, and keeps you up at night. There's the kind that makes you laugh (yes, horror can be funny). And there's the kind that is just iconic--they might not scare you exactly, but leaving them off of your list is heresy.

So, because I'm unable to whittle all of those types down to 10, here is one that is just focussed on the really scary horror movies. Hopefully, you can use this for your Halloween night suggestion list.

Greenlee Gazette Top 10 Scary Horror Movies

1. The Exorcist (1973) - This is the granddaddy of all scary movies. Even better if you're Catholic (so I'm told), or have ever had a devil dream (which I have). Loses none of its punch, 35 years later, except for a few anachronisms that remind you: "Hey, this is a 70s movie," like lighting up cigarettes in a hospital! You know the movie has really got something when it can effect a completely non-religious cynic like me!

2. The Hitcher (1986) - Maybe not strictly "horror," but definitely scary. The first time I watched this, I was on the edge of my seat for the whole film. Rutger Hauer is one of the scariest villains ever on screen. Sometimes the tension is almost unbearable. Though C. Thomas Howell's 80s 'do might take you out of the moment. But, skip the sequel and the remake, seriously.

3. Dawn of the Dead (1978) - The greatest zombie movie of all time packs in the gore, shocks and scares. Possibly the best low-budget horror movie of all time. Even Leonard Maltin thinks so. Mall culture may be dying, but not quite like this! The sequel looks newer and snazzier, sure, but the original can't be beat.

4. The Omen (1976) - Creepy, scary and right up there with The Exorcist for religion-inspired nightmares. That little Damien kid is the archetype for all scary horror movie children. Yet another where you can skip the remake, but the first two sequels have their moments.

5. Halloween (1978) - The godfather of slasher flicks, this film will actually make you jump. Great suspense, good payoffs, and an incredible score. Jamie Lee Curtis is the best movie scream queen in cinema history. I haven't seen the remake yet, but haven't heard great things. But if you like this one, Parts 2, 4 and 5 are pretty good. The rest are rubbish.

6. 28 Days Later (2003) - A modern update of zombie movies--sort of. It will scare you, and give you a vague discomfort hours later. The sequel? Nah.

7. Phantasm (1979) - This (extremely) low-budget film has more scares than some entire horror franchises. The Tall Man is one of the creepiest villains ever on film, short of Dick Cheney.

8. A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) - Sure, you may have forgotten that the series started out scary, but the first film in the franchise delivers the scares, and an eerie nightmare vibe. First time viewers will have a hard time sorting out dreams from reality. Some of the sequels are good, but none are as scary.

9. Hostel (2005) - This is in the current trend of "horror porn," where the camera lingers on the cruelty and gore. But it is undeniably scary, and will freak you out. The sequel? Not so much.

10. Hellraiser (1987) - The series has been diluted by the countless sequels, but the original still gives me the creeps. Pinhead and his Cenobites will tear your soul apart! Again, sequelitis robs this one of its novelty and creepiness. So, avoid them if you're looking to get frightened.

Media Matters: Rise Of The Conservative Media

Powerful. And maddening. . .

The Rude Pundit Goes After Ann Coulter. Blogger Happy.


Photo from AssociatedContent

Ann Coulter hasn't really made a big splash lately. Her shtick played better in the old Bush days (can you believe it's only been 10 months?). But she keeps popping up on FOX "News" and other random venues, spewing her mindless prattle. She even still has a newspaper column, which--so my conservative friends insist--sometimes make a good point or two amongst the flotsam.

So why am I writing about her? Because The Rude Pundit just wrote a great piece on her that I wanted to share. And I haven't linked to a Rude post in a good long while. It's about time. WARNING: Rude's column is. . .well. . .rude. So expect some harsh (but appropriate) language.

[Excerpt]

Why Ann Coulter Is a Cunt, Part 45,307 (with a Note on Fox "news" Biases)

. . .But it's pathetic, really, truly, in a "Look at the rabbits, Lenny" kind of way, how now, with Ted Kennedy dead and the Chappaquiddick arrows gone, Coulter's quiver of reference points is getting emptier and emptier. All she's really got left is passive aggressive Bill Clinton sex remarks. Reading her columns these days, now that she's been out-batshitted by Glenn Beck and out-babed by Sarah Palin, is not unlike listening to a toothless meth addicted woman at a bar tell you how hot she used to be and won't you please let her suck your d**k for a dollar. . .

Read more at: The Rude Pundit

Limbaugh Gets Punk'd


Image from TPM Muckraker

This story is already a few days old, and I'd been thinking of doing a post about it. But not until I read this take on it did I decide I had to. As you all probably know, Rush Limbaugh was taken to task for past racist utterances, and was effectively barred from buying interest in an NFL team. Several of those quotes were unattributable, though not necessarily bogus. And the righties had a field day, accusing the media of slandering Limbaugh. As though such a thing is possible.

Well, El Rushbo ran with a totally false story about President Obama recently, with origins from a political parody. And after the ruse was exposed, nobody on the right said "boo" about Rush slandering the President. Small wonder. Anyway, this is a great piece on the story.

[Excerpt]

When wingnuts get punk'd

Hey, remember all that brewhaha last week about some quotes right-wingers claim Rush Limbaugh didn't say?

Well, nobody really came forward with any proof that he did or didn't say a couple racist quotes attributed to him. Evidently, in in 1998, in the days before internet media watchdogs, someone didn't think of recording Boss Hogg's radio show for future prosperity. And because of just
a few 'alleged' quotes, the tighty righties got all wound up, cranking the mockrage machine to 11. Never mind that they conveniently 'ignored' the really nasty quotes Limbaugh's critics did have recorded evidence for. Why let the truth get in the way of good spin? . . .

Read more at: Liberal Talk Radio

Sunday, October 25, 2009

FOX "News" Sunday Compares Obama to Untouchables Gangsters

OK, so Chris Wallace, the vaguely creepy host of FOX "News" Sunday is trying to prove that FOX "News" really is news by using the right-wing favorite trope of accusing President Obama of "Chicago-style" politics? And Al Capone-era Chicago at that? It would seem that FOX is still in a defensive crouch over the White House's oh-so-provable claim that FOX "News" isn't actually news. But it is so funny that their defense is to continue proving that they aren't!

Frivolity Break: Maru the Cat, Big Kitty in a Little Box!

I just love Maru.

Halloween Horrors Twofer: Last House on the Left & Quarantine


Images from links source, Wikipedia
[WARNING: Here there may be spoilers. But not much.]

OK, so I had something of a lazy weekend (not counting many hours working on my Windows 7 upgrade). I have an excuse in that my back is bothering me, and I'm trying to avoid throwing it out altogether. So, I watched some movies. And this being nearly Halloween, I decided on some of today's recent horror offering.

The first one I selected was Quarantine, apparently a remake of a Spanish horror movie. It stars Jennifer Carpenter and Jay Hernandez, and is fairly well made. There is the problem with the central conceit of the film, that a news reporter is playing tag-along with some firemen. Not only does this lead to a seemingly endless setup, with the cameraman following the lovely female reporter around the firehouse, it also means that the entire film is from the perspective of the news camera.

I get that these kinds of things are kind of interesting and different. Something similar was done with Cloverfield, and I guess that new movie Paranormal Activity. But it grows a little tiresome in this one, and stretches credibility sometimes. This cameraman is one freaking cool cucumber given what he's shooting. Anyway, the story involves some sort of disease that turns people into zombies/creatures, kind of like in 28 Days Later. The twist is, the news people and the firemen are trapped in a building while the virus takes its toll.

Quarantine does have high tension, squirm inducing special effects, and a few genuine shocks. The film is well crafted, and well acted too, though Carpenter will begin to drive you nuts when she has her little breakdown. The only problem with the film? Well, the ending was spoiled by the trailer. And me telling you that won't change anything, because if you've seen the trailer (or even the cover of the DVD), you'll have been wondering, "When is THAT going to happen?" And by the time it does, you are well aware you've reached the end. FAIL.

My second choice was The Last House on the Left. It's a remake of a classic, cheapie Wes Craven film, by Wes Craven himself. The subject matter is harsh, and hard-core. It involves the brutal attack and rape of a couple of teen aged girls, and the scene where this happens is almost unbearable. We get it, Wes, we get it! Move on! But an argument could be made that the brutality is necessary for us to believe what happens next.

As in the original film, the group of attackers coincidentally seeks refuge at the home of one of the young women. Eventually, the hospitable parents deduce what happened, and who dunnit, and then you've got yourselves a revenge picture! The formula works, and the acting is decent. There are cringe-inducing moments, and a jolt here and there. I was along for the ride until. . .the ending. No, this one wasn't spoiled it was just stupid. Great special effect, don't get me wrong. But up until that point, a story could have been spun that would have gotten the couple off scot free. After that point? Well, there's no way you could sell that as self defense, or even an accident. Considering how the "big bad" was done away with in the original, it was all anticipation, and a weird payoff.

Over all, both films are worthy of a rent, particularly in your Halloween movie viewing marathon. Just don't expect a kick-ass ending to either one, and you'll be fine.

UPDATE: I just wanted to add, that I didn't realize that Krug, the big bad from Last House was played by Garret Dillahunt until I just read the Wikipedia article. He was one of the stars of the late, lamented Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, and I managed to watch and review the film without even realizing who he was. Who knew that a beard and his demented character could render him unrecognizable? That's acting. And hey, if T:TSCC had featured him shirtless, as this movie did, that show might still be on the air!


What Happens in Vegas: Lily Tomlin's Not Playing With a Full Deck


I've loved Lily Tomlin since before I knew her name. When I was a very little kid, she was Edith Ann and Ernestine on Rowan & Martin's Laugh In. Later, she starred in The Incredible Shrinking Woman, 9 to 5, All of Me and Big Business alongside luminaries like Dolly Parton, Jane Fonda, Steve Martin and Bette Midler. Through it all, I was there. Whenever she even has a bit part in something I'm interested. And she's coming to Vegas! Woo-hoo!




Lily Tomlin will make her Strip debut at MGM Grand on Nov. 10.

George W. Bush: "Mission Impossible"


Image from source, Think Progress

Oh. My. God. We thought we were done with Bushisms, right? I mean, now that he's a private citizen, and not in jail or anything, I thought he'd keep his mouth shut. Well, we're not so lucky. And he's just as goofy as you remember.

[Excerpt]

Bush: I regret standing in front of the ‘Mission Impossible’ banner.

“I am confident that I made decisions based on principle, that I made calls as best I could, and I did not sell my soul,” Bush told an audience of about 1,000 men and women at the $400-a-seat steak luncheon. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Computer Woes: Windows 7 Arrives



This isn't so much "computer woes" as it is just a headache. It isn't exactly Microsoft's fault (or maybe it is). I downloaded the "release candidate" of Windows 7 for free this summer. That was my first mistake. Or Microsoft's. I'm still not sure.

See, the freebie download was for a limited time, meaning it eventually expires. It was also the "Ultimate" edition, which I either missed, or was not indicated. Anyway, I arranged to pre-order my "Home Premium" version, two copies, at a reduced price at the same time I did the download. It was after that purchase was final that I noticed, "Hey, this is Windows 7 Ultimate!" Oh, crap!

So, I waited for the upgrades to come. When they did, I quickly ascertained, yes I could upgrade, but only to a clean installation. Which means basically, a new operating system on a functionally new computer. But you have to reinstall all of your old programs, and backup then restore all of your files.

Mostly, it's working out fine. I'd forgotten about a program or two that I now have to sort out. I can't seem to load my old emails into AOL, but I've found a workaround for that. My biggest issue is with my two printers. Both Canon and HP offer Windows 7 drivers, but so far, they are being quite uncooperative. Sigh.

Anyway, by and large I would recommend Windows 7. It makes the computer run faster, and it's pretty snazzy. And most of you will not have gone the route that I did. Serves me right for having to be a first-adopter! Good luck with yours.

Halloween Horrors: Top 10 CLASSIC Horror Movies

Two years ago, when this blog was fairly new, I ran a series of Top 10 Halloween horror movie lists, to help people find some videos to rent for a fright night. Since we're around to that time of year again, I'll be continuing to rerun those lists, with some sprucing up and updates.


Photo from Wikipedia.org

All right, I've covered my favorite scary horror movies, my top funny horror movies, even the bad horror movies., and now it is time for a list of all-time classics. These movies may no longer scare as much as they once did, but they must not be missed, if you are a true horror fan. If you haven't seen any of the movies in this group, do yourself a favor, and add them to your Halloween viewing list!

Greenlee Gazette Top 10 CLASSIC Horror Movies

1. Psycho (1960) - Already reviewed here, this movie still ranks as the all-time classic. It is very nearly perfect. It may not have the unrelenting gore of Hostel, or the outright laughs of Shaun of the Dead, but this movie still contains enough humor and horror to qualify for three of my lists. If you haven't ever seen an Alfred Hitchcock film, start with this one. A must see, but avoid the remake, and (at least) the last two sequels.

2. Rosemary's Baby (1968) - Another of the best 60s horror films. Very high-brow, and stylishly shot. And Ruth Gordon is one little old lady you do not want living next door. And if you're too squicked out by Roman Polanski to watch one of his movies, you shouldn't be watching horror films in the first place. . .

3. Jaws (1975) - Not strictly a horror film, but has more scares than some whole lists of movies. It might not work for Halloween, but wait a few weeks, and then pop this one in for a refresher on what a good scary time you can have any time of year. The sequels get progressively worse, so stick to this one, and maybe Jaws 2.

4. Night of the Living Dead (1969) - In a slightly different league from the first three on this list, this low-budget, black and white film still deserves a spot on the list. George Romero squeezed every last cent out of his budget, and delivered a film that can still scare (and disgust) you, almost 40 years later. This film is in the public domain, so watch out for bad prints. Also avoid the colorized version, and the remake. The sequels though, are pretty good, particularly Dawn of the Dead. The ending of this film might tick you off though.

5. Bride of Frankenstein (1935) - The first movie set the tone, but the sequel hits it out of the park. Outstanding, nearly flawless horror film. Trust me, if you haven't seen it, it is a must. And if it weren't for this film, there might never have been a Young Frankenstein!

6. Alien (1979) - You might have thought it was just a sci-fi film, but don't be fooled. This is top-shelf horror, it's just that the haunted house is a space ship! Even better that it sets up one of the best sequels in movie history, Aliens, which is scary too, but more an action/adventure/sci-fi film.

7. Suspiria (1977) - Creepy, and moody and very, very foreign in tone, this movie will wig you out. A little astray from the other movies in this list, and not for all tastes, but still a classic.

8. Carrie (1976) - Possibly the best strictly horror adaptation of a Stephen King novel. Piper Laurie is an anti-religionist's worst nightmare. Also started the "surprise ending" motif for horror movies for years to come. Look for: William Katt's hair as its own special effect, Edie McClurg in an early role, John Travolta not straying too frar from Vinnie Barbarino yet, and Betty Buckley getting bisected.

9. The Last House on the Left (1972) - Another low-budget cheapie that delivers a wallop. Seriously, you will have a pillow in front of your face during some parts. Wes Craven is the master. I have not seen the sequel, but aren't the originals always better?

10. A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (1986) - Yes, I know, a sequel. But part one is in my "scary" list, and this one is so good, I still consider it a classic. Eerie, moody, and Fred Krueger isn't quite an anti-hero yet. Plus, once again, Wes Craven is at the helm. It's fun watching Patricia Arquette long before she was a Medium.

Previously:

Rachel Re: Why FOX "News" Isn't News

I know, I know. I've been hitting this subject kind of hard lately. There is a reason. When an obvious truth is still considered "open for debate," my synapses misfire and I get a massive headache. I get so irritated that something so clear to me--FOX "News" isn't real news, and is mostly right-wing ideology--is still being lobbed into the air as if there is an equally valid opposite opinion. There isn't.

So any opportunity to wave an obviousness flag in front of people is a good opportunity. And no one does it better than The Rachel Maddow Show.

Friday, October 23, 2009

"AHIP Singers" Disrupt Health Care Event

Now this is how to disrupt a meeting!



Found at: AmericaBlog

Rachel & Keith Talk About White House Visit and Selective Amnesia at FOX "News"

One of the most aggravating things about political discourse is the trope of "selective amnesia." It is carping from the left to the right, or from the right to the left, for something their side has been equally or more guilty of. It is as bad when Terry McAuliffe does it or if Karl Rove does. Those two (and several others) are a certain species of creature in political news that will spin any event or utterance by a public figure as a "win" for their side or a "fail" for the other side. They are--on both sides of the aisle--worthless and contemptible in my opinion.

We expect this from them, and from arch partisans on AM talk radio. And we've gotten to the point as a nation where we either ignore them, or shrug our shoulders and say, "eh, what can you do." Only the most rabid political junkies give them credence. It is when this behavior spreads to--well--the entirety of FOX "News", that it can bleed into other areas, and into "conventional wisdom." That's when I get really torqued off. It reminds me of Sigourney Weaver's character Ripley from Aliens, when she said, "Did I.Q.s drop sharply while I was away?"

To hear Rove and others blast the White House for having a gathering of liberal news and opinion people is one of these selective amnesiac moments. The George W. Bush White House was legendary for their manipulation and use of the media. Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Mike Gallagher and many other far-right pundits like them were routinely invited to speak with President Bush. Liberals and progressives were effectively shut out. President Obama by contrast has had guests from both sides of the aisle. It is enormously frustrating to read and watch this sort of story play out, and only have the real story featured on The Rachel Maddow Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. And if you think I'm showing my own sort of blind spot here, watch the clips and tell me where I'm wrong.



(Worst Person in the World #2, Tucker Carlson, is the relevant part of this clip:)

Ron Reagan Insulted by Ronald Reagan Worshipper?

Ron Reagan, son of the practically deified President Ronald Reagan, has a delightfully entertaining and informative radio show. The show is from a liberal perspective, and airs on Air America Radio. Some of the most amusing moments come from conservative callers to the show, who forget who they're talking to, and bring up Reagan's father. He usually puts them in their place rather quickly and with great humor. Here, it's a bit dicier, since the appearance is on Hardball with Chris Matthews which often has sort of a "Crossfire" shouting match going on.

[Excerpt]

Gaffney Tells Reagan "Your Father Would Be Ashamed Of You"



Right-wing neoconservative Frank Gaffney went on "Hardball" Thursday night to defend Dick Cheney but ended up just insulting his fellow guest. . .


Read more at: Huffington Post

Glenn Beck = Dwight Schrute?

I hadn't considered it before, but if there is a fictional character that Glenn Beck--himself nearly a fictional character--most resembles, it would be the nerdy, creepy, borderline sociopathic Dwight Schrute from The Office. Or possibly Dale Gribble from King of the Hill. . .


Anderson Cooper: Hate Crimes Protections Extended to Gays

I don't often watch CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, but when I have, it has been entertaining and informative. On the important issue of extending gay rights protections to gay people, Cooper does not disappoint.

One More Time: FOX "News" is NOT News. But What Is?


Image from source, American Chronicle

[EDITOR'S NOTE: First of all, apologies for such a long stretch of down time. But, not only was I out to dinner with friends, but upon my return Blogger was 100% inaccessible. Zilch. Nada. Anyway, I'm back!]

I'm tired of the FOX "News" apologists. It couldn't be plainer and it couldn't be more obvious. FOX "News" is not news. And it hasn't been for a very, very long time. Possibly for its entire history. But arguing the point is like arguing atheism to a staunch evangelical, or fighting with a Depeche Mode fan by telling them, "Hey, 'Mode is way overrated." You get nowhere, and you tick the other guy off.

But some truths should be self evident. FOX "News" is, with a few exceptions, a 24/7/365 right-wing operation. It's not a little canted to the right. It's not merely an equal reflection of a leftward slant in all other media. Yes, that's right. All other media may have a bias, but claiming that it is all left-wing except for FOX is like saying that your kid is the only one in the parade who was marching in step.

As an MSNBC watcher, I will concede that the channel's prime time lineup is slanted left. I will not concede that the rest of the channel is, because I haven't seen evidence of that (particularly with the 3-hour Morning Joe, not to mention Lockup, To Catch a Predator or countless other programs. I won't concede that Rachel Maddow, Big Ed Schultz or Keith Olbermann are merely the flip side of Sean Hannity, Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck either. Their approaches are more than on the opposite sides of the political spectrum. Their approaches are radically different.

On the left, there seems to be a tendency to work from a set of facts, and take the story from there. It may go in a direction that someone on the right wouldn't have taken it, but it starts with a set of facts. On the right, they seem to start with a desired conclusion, and then jigger the facts around until it fits the story they want (see Beck and Hannity particularly). Anyway, besides these differences, if the rest of the media (CNN, CBS, ABC, etc.) is liberally-canted too, why are the MSNBC hosts the ones getting 99% of the backlash from "FOX fans?"

[Excerpt]

THE "BALLOON BOY" & THE WHITE HOUSE: GOOD LESSONS FOR NOT MIXING "NEWS" & "ENTERTAINMENT"

Had the balloon boy´s father just been Googled before the story went public, the "hoax" idea would have immediately popped up for the authorities to take a closer look.…"Balloon Boy" and his fatherDue to this bizarre "flying saucer" hoax event last week, and for the statement finally from the White House saying that FOX News only presents an "ideology", not real news, it´s time to review overall how the country gets its news. No, I mean "real" news. . .

Read more at: American Chronicle

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pat Robertson: Gays Want to Destroy Marriage



You know, I'm long beyond being offended by the likes of Pat Robertson. He's a charleton. He's gotten fat and wealthy off the old people who he's scared into sending him their savings. But what he has to say in this video is more than offensive. It is relentlessly stupid.

The scary thing is, if you go to a right-wing website like FreeRepublic (where they helpfully have a whole section titled "Homosexual Agenda"), you'll find countless people who believe drivel like this. Worse, they propagate it. I suppose if you have wacky political or religious beliefs, something as irrational and illogical as what Robertson has to say could make sense to you.

But let me set the record straight, so to speak. There first of all is no gay agenda, singular. Getting gay people to all agree on something would be beyond impossible. Getting them all to even acknowledge that they are gay would be too. Every human has an agenda, so there are as many gay agendas as there are gay people. So the phrase is nonsense. And thus, some sort of organized effort to "destroy marriage"--whatever that means--wouldn't get very far.

As I've said here before, The Other Half and I got married in Palm Springs last year, while it was still legal. We planned the trip, bought rings, invited a couple of friends, drove through the desert, got a license, and then on to the courthouse for the actual marriage. In all, it cost a few hundred dollars, with little pomp and circumstance. But it would have been entirely too much effort to make some fuzzy political point about "destroying marriage." Ludicrous. We got married because we love each other, wanted to have evidence of our commitment (in the event something should happen), and feared if we didn't jump in and do it, they'd take the opportunity away. WHICH THEY DID.

Our marriage is still legal in California and a handful of other states. But people like Robertson put an amendment up for a vote (twice) in Nevada. It passed on a passel of lies, scare tactics and massive disingenuousness. Remember, this is Nevada, home of drive-thru wedding chapels, quickie divorces, Britney Spears' "oopsie" marriage, Who Wants to Marry a Multimillionaire and John Ensign. "Sanctity of marriage" indeed.

It is the people like Robertson, and groups like "Yes on 8" in California that want to "destroy marriage." My marriage. And they keep proving it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Battle of the Sarah Palin Memoirs!


Image from source, Wonkette

Oh, this is brilliant! A book deriding Sarah Palin designed to closely resemble Going Rogue, her own personal memoir! "Going Rouge" is kind of an odd title, sure. But the similarity might entice one of her less literate (hahahahahaha) fans into buying it, hopefully by mistake. Hilarity ensues.

[Excerpt]

Liberals Actually Did This Savvy PR Thing!

Here we have Going Rogue’s doppelganger, Ominous Storm Cloud Dust-Jacket Going “Rouge.” It is a bunch of totally bold essays about how terrible Sarah Palin is, written by Dahlia Lithwick, Katha Pollitt, Hanna Rosin, Matt Taibbi, Michael Tomasky, Rebecca Traister, etc. etc. i.e. all “the good ones” at Slate and the Nation and whatever other publications that are identical to Slate and the Nation that we’re forgetting. . .

Read more at: Wonkette


Franken: Medical Bankruptcies in Countries w/Universal Care Zero

I knew that having Al Franken as Senator would be a good thing.

[Excerpt]

Franken Schools Right-Wing Analyst On Medical Bankruptcies In Countries With Universal Care: ‘It’s Zero’



Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing titled “
Medical Debt: Can Bankruptcy Reform Facilitate a Fresh Start.” The hearing examined medical bankruptcies in America, and witnesses included CAP fellow Elizabeth Edwards and Kerry Burns, a Rhode Island mother who was forced into “financial ruin” by her late son’s medical bills. . .

Read more at: Think Progress

Is White House's Calling Out of FOX "News" Unprecedented?


The question posed in the headline is a good one. Because after White House Communications Director Anita Dunn blasted FOX "News" last week, the cable channel has been acting as if this sort of thing has never happened before. Maybe a more truthful way to report it would be to say that this is the first time it was completely justified.

[Excerpt]

Attack on White House criticism of Fox follows years of GOP assaults on media

Following White House communications director Anita Dunn's entirely justified criticisms of Fox News as an "arm" of the Republican Party, conservative media figures have attacked both Dunn and the Obama administration. But Media Matters for America has compiled a list of organized attacks that GOP leaders -- often aided by Fox News -- have conducted against media outlets based on groundless complaints of bias; those attacks have included boycotts or threatened boycotts of media outlets, efforts to revoke journalists' credentials or ban them from press planes, and even calls to have journalists prosecuted. . .

Read more at: Media Matters


MSNBC Undisputed Leader in Cable News

Heh. This is actually pretty cute. From Countdown with Keith Olbermann.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Frivolity Break: Joss Whedon to Direct Glee!


Image from source, EW

If you type "Joss Whedon" into the search box above, you'll likely have several pages of previous posts of mine to scroll through. I'm a huge fan, and have recently plowed through every episode of every show that Whedon has created. Yeah, I'm that nuts. His current show Dollhouse has been featured here as much as anything, but it looks unlikely to survive for the full TV season. But to help squelch my sadness about that likely eventuality, Whedon will be directing an episode of Glee! Which, given his spectacular success on the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Once More, With Feeling!" bodes very well for fans of the show.

[Excerpt]

'Glee' exclusive: Joss Whedon to direct!

If I hadn’t been warming to Glee already, this for sure would’ve begun defrosting me: Dollhouse-keeper Joss Whedon has agreed to direct one of the back nine episodes that Fox just ordered. . .

Read more at: Entertainment Weekly


Carrie Prejean Has to Pay for Boob Job?


Image from source, Joe.My.God.

You know, beauty pageants haven't held the slightest bit of interest for me since my little sister stopped participating in them back in the mid-80s. And trust me, those little girl pageants were nothing like the monstrosities they've become today. Even when Carrie Prejean, Miss California, was asked the gay marriage question by culture skank Perez Hilton, I wasn't much interested.

In fact, the only thing that made it newsworthy to me at the time was for what the news didn't focus on. In my opinion, she lost the pageant not for her political views, but for the fact that she answered the question with such imbecilic phrasing. "Opposite marriage?" She was as bad as that Miss Teen South Carolina contestant. And the Iraq, such as. . .

Anyway, since Prejean lost, she has parlayed her 15 minutes into an excruciating right-wing world tour, hailed as a hero. Ugh. So it is with great pleasure that I present the following excerpted story. . .

[Excerpt]

Pageant Lawsuit: Pay Us For Your Fake Titties, Carrie Prejean!!!

Miss California USA pageant organizer K2 Productions has filed a counter-suit to Carrie Prejean's claim of religious discrimination, demanding (among other things) that she pay them back for her fake titties. . .

Read more at: Joe.My.God.

FOX "News": A 24/7 Political Operation


There is a long-standing and hard to fight myth that says that virtually all news in the mainstream media is liberally biased. I don't believe it, or at least I don't believe the bias is pervasive. MSNBC has no doubt got three and a half (Hardball vacillates) programs with a liberal slant. Straight up. But they also have Morning Joe, a three-hour chat show headlined by a former Republican Senator, Joe Scarborough. As far as I know, MSNBC's other programming does not have an overt liberal bias.

It is my belief that many conservatives perceive a lack of conservative bias to be automatically slanted left. No, I don't have sources for that, it's just in my humble opinion. But the one unavoidable, incontestable fact is that FOX "News" is absolutely, heavily slanted to the right. FOX defenders will argue that they are merely the flip side to MSNBC (or even the entirety of the news media). They'll argue that Hannity, Glenn Beck and The O'Reilly Factor are the opinion shows, the rest--more or less--is "straight news." Of course, this argument comes almost exclusively from FOX "News" employees, or "FOX fans" who are almost exclusively very conservative. If a viewer is in possession of sight, hearing and an above room temperature IQ, the bias is clear across the board.

But here, you don't have to take my word for it. Check out this video for further clarification.


Keith Olbermann's Worst Person in the World

Yeah, I know he does these every night. But this is a pretty good read on old "Lonesome Rhodes" Glenn Beck.

FOX "News" Un-American?


Do you really think I could pass on a story with the following headline?

[Excerpt]

The O’Garbage Factor: Fox News isn't just bad. It's un-American.

Last week, when White House Communications Director Anita Dunn charged the Fox News Channel with right-wing bias, Fox responded the way it always does. It denied the accusation with a straight face while proceeding to confirm it with its coverage.

Consider Fox's Web story on the episode. It quotes five people. Two of them work for Fox. All of them assert that administration officials are either wrong in substance or politically foolish to criticize the network. No one is cited supporting Dunn's criticisms or saying that it could make sense for Obama to challenge the network's power. It's a textbook example of a biased journalism. . .

Read more at: Newsweek


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