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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Educated Adults Watch TV, Too!

Mozart in the Jungle on Amazon

Wow! Powerful. Passionate. Intelligent. Beautiful. Not exactly words usually associated with a TV series. We've come a long way from Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Eight is Enough, American Idol, and whatever insipid trash we've been buried under for so much of the history of the television genre.

Gael Garcia Bernal is the perfect mad genius. This is the best work he has ever done and the best character he has played—that's saying a lot because he's been good in everything. "He does have an undeniable charm," it is said of him at one point—very easily the biggest understatement this TV season. Here's the key: charm, something almost impossible to define. On paper it's easy enough: to delight or please greatly by beauty, attractiveness, etc.; enchant, but on the screen it's another story altogether. Were it not for his enormous charm the character of Rodrigo would just be annoying. This works for the Malcolm McDowell character but he has less presence in the series and serves as a foil to Rodrigo.

And then there is just the perfect touch of humor. There also happens to be a lot of great music.

I do have one complaint. I can't believe that I'm saying this about film but the episodes should be longer; talk about leaving your audience wanting more.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Top Ten Excuses for Jihad Not Sanctioned in the Scripture

Mohammed Leggo

There are a host of reasons for Muslims to commit holy war, or Jihad. The Islamic holy scriptures lay out many important threats to their faith which justify going on the offensive against the kaffars (us).  As you can see, the followers have plenty or reasons to put the boot-crush on the infidels. I don't have the space to list all of them here but I'll give you a few examples:

#4 – Protecting the Islamic state from the evil of the kuffaar (us)
#6 – Exposing the hypocrites (nobody likes hypocrites!)
#7 – Purifying the believers of their sins and ridding them thereof (not sure who gets their ass kicked with this one)
#10 – Ridding the world of corruption (good luck!)

However, things have started to get out of hand and many of the faithful break into jihad at the drop of a hat. Being devout is one thing but let's not go overboard, people. Below are ten unsanctioned reasons for waging a holy war.

 1) Someone has more than 10 items in the express checkout at the supermarket
 2) Losing your card at the sandwich shop just before getting 10th sandwich for free
 3) Bootleg HBO suddenly stops working in the middle of Girls
 4) Happy Hour buffet at strip club no longer serves hot wings
 5) Dallas Cowboys don’t cover the spread
 6) Neighbor’s dog keeps crapping in your yard
 7) Impossible to transfer contacts from Blackberry to new iPhone
 8) Racist Mall food court in Nebraska only has two felafel stands
 9) Nothing else to do
 10) Trying to impress girl on first date

Am I missing any?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

My Top 100 Movie List

I have attempted to make a list of my favorite movies. By favorite I mean movies that I want to see again. There are lots of great movies that I like, but I never care to see again. Citizen Kane comes quickly to mind as an example. I tried to put the list in order of preference, but that became complicated very early on so don’t put too much credence in the numbers.

A casual glance at my list shows that I heavily favor crime and gangster themes and that I prefer newer films. My list is pretty much a fucking bloodbath and I can only wonder at how many homicides are portrayed in all these films. As the Dude says, these are just like my opinion, man.

1)      The Godfather (1972)
2)      The Godfather II (1974)
3)      Amadeus (1984)
4)      Goodfellas (1990)
5)      The Pianist (2002)
6)      Groundhog Day (1993)
7)      A Prophet (2009)
8)      Master and Commander (2003)
9)      The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
10)   Michael Clayton (2007)
11)   Tempest (1982)
12)   Tapas (2005)
13)   Un Franco, 14 Pesetas(2006)
14)   Cousin, Cousine (1975)
15)   The Boxer (1997)
16)   Au Revoir les Enfants(1987)
17)   Rushmore (1998)
18)   Moneyball (2011)
19)   Limitless(2011)
20)   The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
21)   Jean de Florette
22)   Manon des Sources
23)   Fever Pitch (UK)
24)   The Big Lebowski
25)   High Fidelity
26)   La Torre de Suso (2007)
27)   Lone Star (1996)
28)   True Grit (1969)
29)   True Grit (2011)
30)   Alien
31)   The Bounty (1984)
32)   The Road Warrior (1981)
33)   The Wizard of Oz (1939)
34)   Apocalypse Now
35)   Hannah and Her Sisters
36)   West Side Story (1961)
37)   Say Anything (1989)
38)   Munich (2005)
39)   Training Day (2001)
40)   Super Troopers (2001)
41)   The Lives of Others (2006)
42)   Street Kings (2008)
43)   Duck Soup (1933)
44)   Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
45)   Snatch (2000)
46)   RocknRolla (2008)
47)   Pulp Fiction (1994)
48)   Volver (2006)
49)   Reservoir Dogs (1992)
50)   Layer Cake (2004)
51)   Das Boot (1981)
52)   Life of Brian (1979)
53)   The Princess Bride (1987)
54)   Barry Lyndon (1975)
55)   Boiler Room (2000)
56)   The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
57)   The Untouchables (1987)
58)   The English Patient (1996)
59)   El Lobo (2004)
60)   Gladiator (2000)

…to be continued

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

For Being So Smart Doctors Say Some Stupid Stuff

After a lot of very contradictory information from the medical community on what we should and shouldn’t eat, what will and won’t give us a heart attack or cancer or gout or whatever, I feel vindicated in my lifestyle which has basically been eating whatever the hell I want while being on a first-name basis with the dudes at the local bike shop. 

My Mediterranean Diet is the oldest fad in recorded human history. I am fond of saying that if you start every recipe with "2 Hour Bike Ride" then your body can probably do just fine with whatever else you throw in. 

So high cholesterol equals a heart attack and low cholesterol makes you retarded. Got it.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Free at Last: One Man's Quest for a Laurel Tree

Laurus nobilis

I have finally pulled myself out from under the crushing tyranny of the bay leaf industrial complex by finding my own tree. Well, it’s not my tree but I can reach it from the bike trail south of town. No longer will I have to pay out as much as 40 cents for a slim bag with enough leaves for a few months’ work in the kitchen. I owe it all to a cycling friend who pointed out a laurel tree to me on one of our outings. I have ridden by this spot a million times, just past the railroad bridge on the way to Pinedo.

Bay leaf is a strange herb because I really can’t define the taste but I sure can tell when you leave it out of a dish. “Taste two plain tomato sauces side by side, one of them cooked with a bay leaf or two,” says Laurie Harrsen, McCormick’s director of consumer communications. “The difference it makes is amazing. It’s a ‘foundational’ flavor, a workhorse — not the star.” I would never think of making a tomato sauce or any type of stew without two or three laurel leaves. Just remember to discard the leaves after cooking. If you eat them you will die...or something. I've never been stupid enough to ingest them as common sense would tell you that a leaf that doesn't break down after 40 minutes in a pressure cooker isn't about to dissolve in your intestines.

The laurel is native to the Mediterranean, or was brought here from the east but you don’t seem to find it just anywhere. It always seems to have been planted for the purpose of harvesting. In one spot where I've discovered a laurel tree there is a ruined farmhouse near it. The laurel tree is an evergreen and the leaves can be harvested at any time.