RIP Evel

The world is slightly less awesome today with the passing of Evel Knievel.

Not that I was ever a huge fan, or even an afficionado, or a casual follower. It's just that there's one less dude in the world who made a living out of jumping over shit on his motorcycle, a profession somewhere between pro wrestler and trapeze artist on the internationally-recognized Scale of Awesomity.

One Week

Once again swiping something I discovered via Christopher Bird over at, but this is something that most certainly deserves to be seen by my legions of loyal and adoring readers:

One Week's Worth of Food

These are great photos all by themselves. Taken together, they form a fascinating photo essay that touches on some of the ideas I discussed in my Thanksgiving post last week.

Also, it's worth noting that I'm beyond astounded that an American family of four with two teenage boys (the Revis family) didn't have the highest total on the list. Cost of living in Western Europe, I suppose.


Erin, world's most dangerous poet, teacher who assigns too much reading and not enough Jimi, bourbon connoisseur, Impressive Clergyman and all-around swell dame, has tagged me, y'all. The mission, should I choose to accept it (and I do): to write about certain topics in blocks of 8. Here's the results:

8 passions in my life:

Comics - even the long underwear stuff that intellectual nerds like me aren't supposed to like
Great breakfasts on Saturday mornings (and Sundays, too)
Creating the perfect pot of chili
The oddball roadside attractions and greasy-spoon diners of America
Art - makin' it, lookin' at it, talkin' about it, thinkin' about it...
Reading the first page/paragraph/sentence of a book that makes you realize right off the bat that it's going to be great
Looking up at the sky and every time coming to the strangely-always-new realization that the universe is far more vast than my mind can possibly comprehend, and I am correspondingly far more tiny than my egotistical human brain can possibly comprehend (all of which happens pretty much every time I do this). Astronomy, in other words
Going along with that last one, sitting around a campfire and drinking ("which really hasn't been topped in several millennia of development of leisure activities." - my brudder).

8 things to do before I die:

Publish my comics (in book form, preferably not at a vanity publisher)
Climb Mt. Fuji
Qualify for and run the Boston Marathon
Win a chili cookoff
Own a show-worthy '67 VW Beetle
Appear on "Jeopardy!"
Own a big hunk of ground someplace in Wyoming or Montana

8 things I often say:

"Those're swell!"
"Oh, for fuck's sake..."
"The waiting game sucks. Let's play Hungry Hungry Hippos!"
"What do you want for dinner?"
"Let's shall."
"You're a kitty!" [or any other of an ever-increasing number of inane things we say to our cats on a regular basis]
"I like pie."

8 books I read recently:

"The Android's Dream" by John Scalzi
"Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters" by Courtney E. Martin
"Book One: Work, 1986-2006" by Chip Kidd
"Empire of Ivory" by Naomi Novik
"The Lies of Locke Lamora" by Scott Lynch
"The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl" by Barry Lyga
"A Feast for Crows" by George R.R. Martin
"The Hobbit" by JRR Tolkien (for the millionth time)

8 songs that mean something to me:

"If I Had $1,000,000" by Barenaked Ladies
"Particle Man" by They Might Be Giants
"What Would You Say" by the Dave Matthews Band
"In the Garage" by Weezer
"Watchin' the Wheels" by John Lennon
"Yeah" by Usher
"Uncle John's Band" by the Grateful Dead
"Take it Easy" by the Eagles

8 qualities I look for in a friend:

Sense of humor
Good tippers
Has at least one good drink he or she makes very well or knows a lot about
Likes playing games of some sort - not necessarily D&D or nerdy boardgames with hundreds of parts and thousands of rules, tho those are nice; the ability to play and enjoy poker or gin or cribbage will do just fine
Shares willingly and happily
But on the other hand, doesn't drink all my booze
Is awesome in some way shape or form
Knows the proper response to "I'll be careful..."*

8 people who I’m passing this on to:


* That would be, "You'll be dead!" in case you didn't know

For Your Consideration on Thanksgiving Eve

It is easy to forget about the Pilgrims. They have become just another bit of cultural/historical ephemera, just another bit of standard Americana with no more real meaning than Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or Ronald McDonald, dour black-and-white clothing and funny buckled shoes serving the same purpose a "Ho ho ho" and a bag of toys or a red afro wig and a set of Golden Arches. The Pilgrims are today as much a gaggle of third-graders in construction paper hats sharing watery fruit punch, carrot sticks and cookies with a matching gaggle of third-graders in construction paper feathered headdresses as a real part of our shared history.

Thanksgiving is about gluttony and football in the year 2007. We'll maybe go once around the table before passing the dark meat and the gravy in order to pay lip-service to the nominal reason for the feast and each say one thing for which we are thankful. But will we really stop and think about it? Or will we just say, "Uh, yeah, friends and family for me, too, pass the stuffing, would you?" and turn back to the TV with the dim hope that the Jets are somehow beating the Cowboys?

We forget that the Pilgrims were not gathering to give thanks for "friends and family," or for Brett Favre's sudden rejuvenation. The Pilgrims were giving thanks for a year in which they didn't die. They were giving thanks to God for their very survival. And not just survival - they were celebrating their good fortune in having more than they needed.

If you know me, you know that this isn't meant as some sort of rose-tinted nostalgia for the Good Old Days When Thanksgiving Meant Something, or a "Why does nobody give thanks to God on Thanksgiving?" polemic, because honestly, I'm as prepared to believe in Santa Claus as I am a God who gives a flying fuck whether human beings are giving thanks to him or not. This is certainly not an anti-football thing, because I'll be watching it, too. This is merely an exhortation for each of us to consider what we really have to be thankful for.

Give thanks for plentiful food, for living in a country where a feast such as the standard Thanksgiving dinner is possible. While you're at it, give thanks for clean, safe drinking water, gallons and gallons of which are to be had just by turning a knob in your kitchen without ever leaving your house.

Give thanks for good health. There is no doubt that the health care system in the United States is a mess and desperately in need of overhaul. On the other hand, we are not dying of typhoid, of cholera, of measles. We live in a world where smallpox, a scourge of mankind throughout history, has been essentially eradicated.

Give thanks for easy and safe travel and communication. You can fly or drive or take the train to see your friends and family on Thanksgiving, or, failing that, you can call them or text them on a phone you carry around in your pocket or email them with a computer you can carry around in a briefcase. With Skype and a $30 camera, you can talk to them for free on what amounts to a "Jetsons"-style video phone.

Give thanks for Black Friday. No, you don't have to like consumerism, you don't have to like the appalling excess, you don't have to like parents having screaming, clawing battles to the death over Cabbage Patch Kids or Power Rangers or Bad Touch Elmo or whatever is the season's "must-have" Christmas toy. But it is worth pausing to remember amongst all the outrageous consumer insanity that will have officially kicked off less than 48 hours from now that we live in a nation where basically anything we need or want is available with a trip to the Jimget or a few clicks on Amazon 24/7.

Millions upon millions around the world don't have these things. They don't know where their next meal is coming from, they have to trek miles from their homes to find drinking water that is reasonably close to safe, they do die of diseases we can't imagine having at all, they are cut off from anyone more than a few miles away, they have almost no material possessions to speak of and no way of acquiring simple things like new clothing or basic medicines and toiletries, much less books and DVDs and iPods and fancy kitchen gadgets.

This isn't meant to be a guilt trip. Nor is it meant to be a blinkered view of the United States of America, in which there is undoubtedly still poverty, hunger, disease, loneliness and isolation and all the rest. This an age in which the gulf between the "Haves" and the "Have-nots" is vast orders of magnitude wider than at any previous point in human history. And despite what we may think when we play keep-up-with-the-Joneses, most of us here in America fall quite squarely on the "Have" side of that gulf, all things considered.

And that is something for which to be truly thankful. We must feel gratitude for our luck to have been born on this side of the gulf and to have all of these things. We must not take them for granted. We feast not just out of gluttony. We feast because we lucky enough to be able to feast. Like the Pilgrims, we feast to celebrate our good fortune.

Now, let's eat.

So THAT's why he's called The Count!

Found via Mighty God King: A Sesame Street video in which no rock stars from Athens, GA were harmed.

Top Five - Film This Book!

The Onion A.V. Club offers 21 good books that need to be great, now (and while you're there, check out 20 Good Books Made Into Not-so-Good Movies), some of which I nodded in agreement with (e.g. The Time Traveler's Wife, which is kind of cheating because it's already in production with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams in the leads, and Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck), some of which I wondered how they think anyone could possibly make a good movie from (e.g. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, a great, brilliant, wonderful book which is also the textbook definition of "unfilmable" if anything is, and A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, another great book that is great largely because of the unique voice of Dave Eggers, which again doesn't really seem to translate to film).'s a few additions to that list of my own:

1. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett: Terry Gilliam has been trying to get an adaptation of this off the ground for years. I don't suppose it's really all that surprising that a movie that would draw the predictable outcry from the usual suspects about boycotts and how Hollywood has no respect for Christians and how it's a sign that Christians are a persecuted minority in this country can't get funding. Still, the potential exists here for something that's smart, exciting and funny all at once. I've long imagined John Cleese as Aziraphale and Robert Carlyle as Crowley, though lately it's occurred to me that it seems like a perfect opportunity to re-team Stephen Fry (Aziraphale) and Hugh Laurie (Crowley).

2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon: This is supposedly in the works as well, helmed by Stephen Daldry, director of Billy Elliot and The Hours. I'll admit this one is a tough nut to crack, in cinematic terms. There's not all that much of a plot, but it's dense and complex in terms of characterization. The easy way out is "Poor kids make good with comic books," but there's so much more going on here. Casting will be a bear as well - to do it right, you've got to get a couple of kids around 18-20 years old for the leads. And not The CW/"Gossip Girl"-types, either. David Krumholz would have been perfect as Sammy a few years back, but he's far too old now. A header on an IMDB message board posting offers this nugget of joy: "How about Zach Braff as Joe Kavalier?", which made me throw up in my mouth a little.

3. His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik: Peter Jackson's company has optioned this series, which seems like a good fit. I hope it actually gets made. The story is thoroughly cinematic, and it would be a great opportunity for the Weta Digital artists to go nuts, creating dragons of all sizes and descriptions. It could be like Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, only with a much better title (and seriously, that's a great title, y'all). Sequels are built-in, as there's already three more books in the series with at least one more on the way - and they only get deeper, better and more exciting as the books go on. It's a shame that Ioan Gruffudd has already played Horatio Hornblower, because he'd be about dead perfect as Capt. Will Laurence.

4. The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller: Some of the things I've heard about The Dark Knight, next summer's Batman Begins sequel, lead me to believe that this is the ultimate goal that Christopher Nolan and David Goyer have in mind, not least of which is the title. If frickin' awesome would that be? It's got its problems, no doubt. The studio might balk at the R-rating some of the more explicit violence would assuredly draw...but that could be toned down to a nice PG-13 level. And they might not be thrilled with the way Superman, one of their other franchise heroes, kinda-sorta plays the part of a villain in this story. Still...a nerd can dream, right? I think Kurt Russell in a sort of Snake Plisskin-ish mode could probably do justice to cranky old Batman. Throw in a cameo appearance from David Letterman, and you've got it made.

5. Conan by Robert E. Howard: I believe that the Governor of California's original turn as Conan is generally a bit underrated. That said, you can't tell me it's not high time for a new, truly great Conan movie. A movie that gives us a Conan who is cunning, as shrewd and quick-witted as he is strong and handy with a blade, rather than the monosyllabic goon in previous adaptations. Howard's Conan is superstitious and mistrustful of cities and "civilized" life...but he's not stupid. "The Tower of the Elephant" might be a little too far on the weird side for a mass audience to accept - but why not borrow the good bits from "The God in the Bowl," "Rogues in the House" and "Red Nails"? Instead of some generic warrior woman or helpless princess, why not give us Belit, Queen of the Black Coast as Conan's love interest? Why not give us that long-promised "other story" about how Conan came to be King of Aquilonia by his own hand? Why not give us a Conan movie with a hero who can actually deliver dialogue instead of grunting in a heavy German accent? Find an actor who is strong and athletic, but not just another body builder. Finally pit him against Thoth-Amon, who fans of the stories and the comics have been dying to see on-screen for ages and ages, perhaps. Whaddaya say, Hollywood?

Like a Sturgeon

The Hollywood writers have been on strike for nearly a week now. It has been a subject of much discussion on this here internet, unsurprisingly. There have been many displays of support, an awful lot of questions, and no shortage of pure stupidity.

This stupidity has run the gamut, from what you normally see during just about any kind of strike (i.e., pure, unadulterated anti-union stupidity (because, you see, unions are useless in this day and age, not to mention being for-all-intents-and-purposes Communism, and apparently the Powers that Be are pretty likely to give their employees a fair shake out of the goodness of their shriveled, blackened hearts, and, "Why, I work in [x modern white-collar industry] and we don't have a union and we don't need one, so obviously no one needs a union!")) to the kind of stupidity that's really more ignorance of the real issues involved in this particular strike than stupidity per se (i.e., "Does a [insert completely unrelated and dissimilar job or profession] get paid extra every time someone buys [product or service produced by completely unrelated and dissimilar industry]?").

The kind of stupidity that really blows my mind, though, is the kind where someone makes jokes like "Hollywood writers are on can anyone tell?" or just purely idiotic comments like, "How can they claim they deserve more money when they produce dreck like [insert name of phenomenally uncreative movie or television show]?"

Here's why that argument bugs me so much: Yeah, there's a lot of crap coming out of Hollywood right now, from terrible TV shows like "Two and a Half Men" and all forty of CBS's iterations of "Science Cops" to wretched movies like Shrek 3 and Transformers. The thing about that, though, is that there has always been a lot of crap coming out of Hollywood, and there always will be a lot of crap coming out of Hollywood. Movies have been shining gems surrounded by manure for as long as there have been movies. Television has been a few bright oases in the midst of Newton Minnow's "vast wasteland" for as long as there has been television. That's just the way it works.

We think of the 1930s and '40s as the Golden Age for American Cinema, and I'm not going to say it wasn't. But when we think of movies from that era, we think of The Bride of Frankenstein, The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Citizen Kane, you know...the stuff that has (so far) stood the test of time, the stuff that people still watch sixty or seventy years later. It's not that Hollywood wasn't producing crap at the time - it's that nobody remembers the crap because nobody's watching it anymore.

There's a similar perception about television. People still fondly remember and still watch "M*A*S*H" all the time. As long as there's television, you'll probably be able to find an episode of "M*A*S*H" airing on some channel somewhere 24/7. Same with "Cheers." But "M*A*S*H" and "Cheers" were surrounded by truly horrendous shows that are remembered now only as, "Wow, that show sucked," and in another twenty years won't be remembered at all. Case in point - as Boomer/Gen-X nostalgia fades over the years, do you really think anyone is going to remember "The Brady Bunch"?

It's called Sturgeon's Law, coined by science fiction author Theodore Sturgeon. He was defending his genre from its reputation as "that 'Buck Rogers' stuff." His defense? "It's true that 90% of science fiction is crap. But then, 90% of everything is crap." To make an analogy, for every one Mozart composing beautiful and timeless music at any given time, there's at least nine Salieris out there composing utter crap.*

90% of everything is crap. Words to live by. Television and movies weren't better in eras gone by. You've got the same 9:1 ratio of crap to non-crap today as you had in the Good Old Days. Always has been, always will be. And it's certainly no reason to deny the people who work hard on churning it out a fair share of the profits that crap earns.

*It is my understanding that, in using Antonio Salieri as his figure of envy and inadequacy in Amadeus, Peter Schaffer created an unfair impression of Salieri and his work for modern audiences. Be that as it may, I think you get my point.

Boston Red Sox Yankees Junior Logo

Here's the new Boston Red Sox/Yankees Junior logo I wanted to make a couple of weeks ago but didn't have the energy to do. Should be a big seller on T-shirts in Beantown, no?

Up next, "Battling Seizure Robots"

Okay, so this was featured on the Yahoo front page the other day, so you may have seen it. But if you haven't, you really owe it to yourself to check it out. It's yet another piece of proof that, though Americans may have invented television, the Japanese perfected it.


Movie Meme

I don't go in for memes much, but I like writing things about movies, so I'm going to do so, and you're going to like it.

(From Sara via Mle, in case you didn't know)

Movies I've seen are bolded, movies I've seen more than once are *asterisked, movies I couldn't finish are struck thru.

AFI Top 100 Films

1. Citizen Kane* (1941): I wouldn't say it was my favorite movie, but it's definitely Top Ten, and I honestly believe it soundly deserves its reputation as the Greatest Movie of All Time. Brilliant, innovative and every bit as good today as in '41.
2. The Godfather* (1972): I think my testicles would be revoked if I didn't love this movie.
3. Casablanca* (1942): The Hollywood studio system at its apex. Also, Ingrid Bergman? Appears in the dictionary beside the phrase, "Drop Dead Gorgeous."
4. Raging Bull(1980): I don't think this one is even Scorsese's best, but a great movie nevertheless.
5. Singin’ in the Rain (1952): Earns its title as the best Hollywood musical over its nearest competitor by a country mile.
6. Gone with the Wind* (1939): Seeing a beautifully restored print of this on the big screen for the 60th Anniversary re-release in '99 was absolutely awesome.
7. Lawrence of Arabia* (1962): I like this movie in any format, but ultimately this is one that really only works on a big screen.
8. Schindler’s List (1993): I'm with Mle on this one, though I did actually buy it on VHS back when I was working at Ballbuster Video, being a huge Spielberg fan. Never actually watched the tape, though.
9. Vertigo* (1958): One of the best directors ever in his prime.
10. The Wizard of Oz* (1939): One of a very small handful of movies that absolutely everybody has seen.
11. City Lights (1931): I know film buffs are supposed to love Chaplin, but I just can't get into him for some reason.
12. The Searchers* (1956): Unavoidable, as this was one that my Dad would watch basically anytime it appeared on AMC when I was a kid, which was usually two or three times a year. And well worth the watching, too.
13. Star Wars* (1977): Second on this list of the small handful of movies that absolutely everybody has seen.
14. Psycho (1960): I imagine what my opinion of this movie might have been had I seen this without knowing the Shower Scene was coming.
15. Sunset Blvd. (1950): Ah, Billy Wilder...maybe the best writer ever in Hollywood. "I'm still big! The pictures got small!" = a lifetime of delusion and psychosis summed up in seven words.
16. 2001: A Space Odyssey* (1968): Took me a few tries to get into it, but once I did, endlessly rewarding.
17. The Graduate (1967): Has not aged well.
18. The General (1927): I like Keaton better than Chaplin.
19. On the Waterfront (1954): To borrow a line, "I know."
20. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946): Third on the list from the Small Handful.
21. Chinatown (1974): People usually talk about the writing and the direction, but often ignore the fact that Jack Nicholson is just awesome here.
22. Some Like It Hot (1959): Billy Wilder again. That the same guy is behind this as Sunset Blvd. is pretty amazing.
23. The Grapes of Wrath (1940): Good, not great in my opinion. Not as good as the book, as they say.
24. E.T. The Extraterrestrial* (1982): Fifth on the list from the Small Handful
25. To Kill a Mockingbird* (1962): By contrast, every bit as good as the book, and maybe better.
26. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
27. High Noon (1952)
28. All About Eve (1950)
29. Double Indemnity (1944)
30. Apocalypse Now (1979): Maybe it's just me, but I find this one highly over-rated. And it collapses under its own weight (and Marlon Brando's) during the last act.
31. The Maltese Falcon (1941): Certainly my favorite hard-boiled detective movie.
32. The Godfather Part II* (1974): Unlike most, I wouldn't say it's as good or better than Part I. Still great, though.
33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975): Overrated - but Nicholson is awesome.
34. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937): I know I've seen it all the way through, but my memories of it are vague.
35. Annie Hall (1977): Never been a Woody Allen fan.
36. The Bridge on the River Kwai* (1957): A revelation to me after a lifetime of seeing Alec Guinness only as Obi-Wan Kenobi.
37. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
38. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
39. Dr. Strangelove* (1964): Peter Sellers = Comedy God.
40. The Sound of Music* (1965): One of only a few movie adaptations I can think of that improves on the stage version.
41. King Kong* (1933): I loved Peter Jackson's remake, but this packs more into 90 minutes than Jackson did in 180.
42. Bonnie and Clyde (1967): Violence as poetry.
43. Midnight Cowboy (1969): I think the reason this movie left Mle feeling sad is because it's an incredibly depressing story. But that's just a guess.
44. The Philadelphia Story (1940)
45. Shane (1953): Iconic, and did as much by itself to mythologize the American West as the entire career of John Wayne.
46. It Happened One Night (1934)
47. A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
48. Rear Window (1954)
49. Intolerance (1916): I suspect this is here as a placeholder for Griffith's Birth of a Nation, which voters were probably uncomfortable with.
50. Lord of the Rings : The Fellowship of the Ring* (2001): I seem to have a vague recollection of having seen this one a time or two.
51. West Side Story* (1961): Much like The Sound of Music, improves upon its source material.
52. Taxi Driver* (1976): And here's Scorsese's best, only 48 spots lower on the list than Raging Bull.
53. Deer Hunter, The (1978)
54. M*A*S*H (1970): Has not aged well.
55. North by Northwest* (1959): Without question the best of Hitchcock's "Wrong Man" movies, and by far my favorite of his entire filmography.
56. Jaws* (1975): "You're gonna need a bigger boat."
57. Rocky* (1976): Tends to be underrated because it produced so many awful sequels.
58. The Gold Rush (1925)
59. Nashville (1975): I've tried to like Robert Altman, but he just leaves me cold.
60. Duck Soup* (1933): The mirror scene is the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life.
61. Sullivan’s Travels (1941): Deserves praise if nothing else for giving us "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"
62. American Graffiti* (1973): Like "Happy Days," only good.
63. Cabaret (1972): One of a very few films that I had never seen that Mle showed to me - role reversal.
64. Network (1976)
65. The African Queen* (1951): See comments on The Searchers above.
66. Raiders of the Lost Ark* (1981): I was Indiana Jones for Halloween this year.
67. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
68. Unforgiven (1992): Hard to believe, but this isn't even Clint Eastwood's best.
69. Tootsie (1982)
70. A Clockwork Orange (1971): Great movie, but the Alex/Droog Halloween costume is way past played out. It must stop.
71. Saving Private Ryan* (1998): Take away the stupid framing sequence, and you've got something truly incredible.
72. The Shawshank Redemption* (1994): Sixth on the list of the Small Handful.
73. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid* (1969): The movie is still great...but Robert Redford has not aged well.
74. The Silence of the Lambs* (1991): Much like Rocky, it's becoming hard to remember how great this movie is as Hannibal Lecter has over the years become more and more of a cartoonish slasher, indistinguishable from Freddy Krueger or Jason Voorhees.
75. In the Heat of the Night* (1967): Everyone talks about Sidney Poitier, but Rod Steiger holds his own opposite him, which is no mean feat.
76. Forrest Gump* (1994): Say what you will, but Tom Hanks inhabits this character.
77. All the President’s Men (1976)
78. Modern Times (1936)
79. The Wild Bunch (1969): That it's ranked lower on this list than Unforgiven - which owes this movie a pretty big debt - seems kind of odd to me.
80. The Apartment (1960)
81. Spartacus* (1960): Worth the price of admission just to hear Tony Curtis describing himself as "a tellah of tales from laaaawn gago."
82. Sunrise (1927)
83. Titanic* (1997): Final movie on the list from the small handful; not as great as the hype but also not as bad as the backlash. And Kate Winslet? Appears in the dictionary alongside Ingrid Bergman under, "Drop Dead Gorgeous."
84. Easy Rider (1969): Has not aged well.
85. A Night at the Opera (1935): I would never willingly subject myself to the Three Stooges...but I'll watch the Marx Brothers all day long.
86. Platoon (1986): The only Vietnam movie worth a damn, if you ask me.
87. 12 Angry Men (1957)
88. Bringing Up Baby (1938)
89. The Sixth Sense (1999): I figured out The Secret about halfway through. Still liked it.
90. Swing Time (1936)
91. Sophie’s Choice (1982)
92. Goodfellas* (1990): Inspired one of the less good bits of "Animaniacs."
93. The French Connection (1971): Has not aged well.
94. Pulp Fiction* (1994): A couple of sentences cannot adequately sum up my relationship (yes, relationship) with this movie. Remind me to tell you about it sometime.
95. The Last Picture Show (1971)
96. Do the Right Thing* (1989): Criminally underrated by being this low on the list. Should be Top Ten for sure. One of the best movies ever.
97. Blade Runner (1982): "He say you Brade Runner!"
98. Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)
99. Toy Story* (1995): Very good, but doesn't really stand up to Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Ratatouille.
100. Ben-Hur* (1959): The opposite of the Little Old Lady from Pasadena - it makes a Roman chariot race look like the Indy 500.

Remember, Remember

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
The Gunpowder Treason and plot ;
I know of no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.

Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes,
'Twas his intent.
To blow up the King and the Parliament.
Three score barrels of powder below.
Poor old England to overthrow.
By God's providence he was catch'd,
With a dark lantern and burning match

Holloa boys, Holloa boys, let the bells ring
Holloa boys, Holloa boys, God save the King!

Hip hip Hoorah !
Hip hip Hoorah !

A penny loaf to feed ol'Pope,
A farthing cheese to choke him.
A pint of beer to rinse it down,
A faggot of sticks to burn him.
Burn him in a tub of tar,'
Burn him like a blazing star.
Burn his body from his head,
Then we'll say: ol'Pope is dead.

I know it's a British thing, but, hey...happy Guy Fawkes Day, everybody.

And remember, V for Vendetta is about a million times better as a comic than a movie.



It's a tough year to be a sports fan in Colorado. The Rockies got crushed in humiliating fashion in the World Series. The Nuggets have a shot, but look as iffy as ever. The only thing worse in the state's collegiate athletics scene than the Colorado Buffaloes' thoroughly mediocre football is the Colorado State Rams' thoroughly awful football. Okay, the Avalanche have started strong, but three quarters of the country doesn't notice or care what's going on in the world of professional ice hockey anyway. Besides, they look like a potential playoff team, but not like a potential Stanley Cup team.

And then there's the Broncos. The much-beloved Broncos, always #1 in the hearts of every Colorado sports fan, the source of the Orange-and-Blue blood of diehards up and down the Front Range, all across the Centennial State and throughout the Rocky Mountain region.

And they just flat-out suck.

They got walloped today, scoring only one garbage-time TD as the 4th quarter expired. They got beat down by the Detroit Lions, of all teams, an ass-kicking that you just can't sugar-coat.

And this is the second time this season it's happened, after a losing in similarly ludicrous fashion, 41-3, to the San Diego Chargers in week 5.

To be fair, Broncos' starting QB Jay Cutler left the game with an injury early in the 2nd quarter, which is bound to hamper the offensive scheme and execution of any football team.

To be honest as well as fair, though, there has been no evidence to date that Jay Cutler is anything more than a moderately skilled journeyman QB.

Not that you'll convince anyone in the Denver media of that. Broncos radio play-by-play man Dave Logan said as Culter was headed to the locker room after the injury, "This could be an absolute disaster for the Broncos." Hearing this, I'm thinking, "How's that, exactly?" How is there any discernable difference between Cutler and backup QB Patrick Ramsey? What does Cutler contribute that Ramsey can't? A disaster is, "Peyton Manning is injured early in the 2nd quarter and Jim Sorgi has to take over." A disaster is not, "The fair-to-middling starter is injured and the probably-middling-at-best backup QB has to take over."

The true disaster is this Broncos season. I've watched a lot of different Broncos teams over the years. They've ranged from perhaps-among-the-best-teams-ever (The 14-2 1998 repeat Super Bowl winner) to not good (the 6-10 1999 post-Elway-retirement, Terrell Davis' career-ending-injury fiasco season). I've never seen a Broncos team this bad, one to be ranked among the worst in the NFL.

They've won three games this season, squeaking each one out on last-second field goals. They still have to play in Kansas City, in Oakland and in San Diego, none of which they're likely to win. They're going to lose to Tennessee at home, could easily lose to Kansas City at home, and are pretty likely to lose on the road to Chicago and Houston. They might have a decent shot at beating Minnesota at home to close out the season. They could easily finish 4-12, which would be only their 7th losing season since the NFL/AFL merger in 1970. Of course, they could also easily finish 3-13, which would be their lowest win total since 1967. The point is, this is a historically bad Broncos team.

All I've got to keep me interested in football this season is the vague hope that someone will stop the New England Fucking Patriots (that team's new official name) from winning the Super Bowl, so as to bring a couple of months of blissful silence from the smug, self-satisfied asshole Boston sports fans of the world. On the other hand, it would be nice in its way to see the Patriots go undefeated all the way through, so that we never, ever again have to endure footage on "SportsCenter" of the 1972 Miami Fucking Dolphins (long since that team's official name) having another goddamn champagne toast.

Grr...I'm grasping at straws here. As far as I'm concerned, this season is pretty much over.