Today in 2016 SUCKS

2016 SUCKS

Well, that is a broad an all encompassing headline. Who gives a shit! Deal with it. The truth is, 2016 for me was mediocre and stupid and useless and I want to punch someone in their stupid asshole face!

Oh wait, sorry, forgot to remember the college students still wearing diapers and sucking their nanny’s big milk infested tits. If I could kick a millennium asshole in the face every day it would be the greatest thing since the invention of cheese. These morons are idiots and deserve to be beaten over the head. Don’t kill them! Make them see how stupid and useless they are. I don’t care if you hurt their feelings, their feelings are manure at this point. Grow up and stop being worthless babies!!!!!!!!

 

DC – The New 52

I know there are a million opinions out there regarding this subject, but I feel the slight need to add my own to the pot.

So, what could I possibly be talking about? The New 52 from DC. Okay, I know that the internet is filled to the brim with those on both sides of the fence tossing out their thoughts about what has happened, what has happened, and what they expect to happen in the future. I will start out by saying that out of the 52 new titles I currently only read Justice League, Justice League International, Teen Titans, Legion of Super Heroes, and Legion Lost. To be perfectly honest, most of what DC offers simply doesn’t appeal to me. They spend way too much ink and paper on solo heroes, which is not my cup of tea. The team books, and the dynamics that are created by those situations are what I find intriguing. Of course, there are other “team” books in the New 52 that I didn’t pick up, but I did that for various reasons.

I do not like anything having to do with the supernatural, do that ruled out the “Dark” series of titles for me, including Justice League Dark. I avoid magic, vampires, zombies, and all their associated crap like the plague. And don’t even get me started on subpar idiotic ideas like Deadman. What a load of crap that is. That’s one of the biggest reasons I skipped the entire “Blackest Night” storyline from last year. I also shy away from gross and disgusting over-the-top violence and blood, which seemed to be the only thing anyone who read Animal Man and titles like that could talk about.

Comics used to be fun and rewarding experiences. They took you away from your own personal reality to a world where people could fly and see exotic lands and planets and save the damsel in distress. They were the modern forms of chivalry that no longer existed in the real world. Sadly, comics have been reduced to mindless violence, blood, gross sex, and other such disturbing images. Comics used to be for kids, they haven’t been for kids for a long long time. I pick and choose as to what titles I read for various reasons and the few titles that I have picked up from the New 52 have so far met my need for creative inspiration and storytelling without the disgusting things I mentioned. For that, I’m glad.

The Justice League is a true origin tale. It’s starting off slow as the heroes meet one another, not trying to slam all of them into the first issue, but rather raising the stakes as they go along and add more heroes. I like this new approach. It gives you the status quo while not overwhelming you at the same time. I’ve only read the first 2 issues, but if the quality continues as it has, there is little reason to question whether Justice League will continue to lead the sales charts.  Justice League International is the only place currently to catch up on one of my favorite characters, Booster Gold. The book showcases lesser known heroes and ones that were in the Pre-52 JLI. So far it’s been a standard team book, but hasn’t really brought anything new to the party that I was hoping it would.  I will continue to read it, but I can only hope that it improves story wise. Teen Titans looked interesting because of the new take on Red Robin. I like what I’ve seen of Wonder Girl so far but so far I really do not like the fact that they feel the need to introduce brand new heroes at this point. There are so many characters that could have been included that it seems a little stupid to have to resort to never before seen characters at this point. We were looking for a “reboot” or a “reimaging” of the heroes were knew and loved. The jury is still out on this book as well.

Legion of Super Heroes and Legion Lost will always be on my pull list no matter what.  I have been a fan of the LSH since I was a little kid and I have loved every reboot or reimagining that they’ve been put through over the years. What I appreciate about the Legion of Super Heroes is that they haven’t really been that affected by the “reboot” of the New 52. Rather, they continued on right where they had been before. I’m still not a big fan of some of the new members they incorporated from Adventure Comics but I’m sure if they were to give them some new costumes that they might eventually grow on me. Still, this is a comic that is well worth looking into. Forget the crap in the Edge and Dark lines and take advantage of the great work being done in the LSH. Legion Lost stars three of my all-time favorite legionnaires: Wildfire, Dawnstar, and Timber Wolf. For those three alone I would purchase this comic. The art and the story so far have drawn me in and are keeping me there for the long haul. I can only hope that other LSH fans pick up this book and devote as much energy to it.

So, over all, I would give the New 52 a D. A lot of what I’ve seen isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, but at least I have found a few books that I can really put on my pull list that still incorporates the great things about comics that I have loved since I was a child.

Puss in Boots

Puss in Boots

After seeing Shrek 4, my faith in Dreamworks and the Shrek franchise was nearly shattered. So, when Puss in Boots was announced I was prepared to hate this movie just as much as the final Shrek production. All I can say, after watching this flick, is that I am pleased to announce that my faith in this studio has been restored. Finally, a great family movie with superb animation, a coherent storyline, ear friendly voice actors, and excellent production values.  And the script itself wasn’t half bad either.

As in the previous outings, Puss in Boots is voiced by Antonio Banderas and he is joined by Salma Hayek as Kitty Softpaws and Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Alexander Dumpty.

The story takes place before Puss in Boots ever met Shrek and goes into his early life as an orphan living in a Spanish style town with another orphan, his “blood brother” Humpty. Humpty has big plans of one day escaping the orphanage and the town and wants Puss to help him on his quest. Along the way, however, Puss develops some honor and pride in the town and his guardian, Imelda, voiced by Constance Marie.  During the story, Puss saves an elderly townswoman from a rampaging bull and becomes a hero to the town. As a reward, Imelda gives him his famous boots and hat that become his signature style.

No longer wishing to go along with Humpty’s plans, Puss instead attempts to talk him into accepting himself and the town and this seems to work up until the point where Humpty tricks Puss into helping him rob the town’s bank. Running from the local law, Humpty is capture on a bridge, Puss escapes, and the ill-gotten gain is lost into the river below. With his name now tarnished because of Humpty, Puss is now spending his time attempting to clear his name and repair his reputation.

The rest of the movie, filled with hilarious characters and situations, and follows Puss’ efforts–including his reteaming with Humpty to steal some magic beans from the evil Jack and Jill. Jack hasn’t been the same since he fell down a hill and broke his crown, after all. His desire to stop being evil and start a family with Jill is laugh out loud funny.

I won’t spoil the rest of the movie, all I can say is that it is a definite must see! There’s no wonder why it beat all of his competition at the theatre opening weekend, I assure you! Take that Eddie Murphy!

Do yourself a favor and renew your faith in Dreamworks and this franchise! Not everything is answered perfectly, I was left with a few questions linking the movies together, but that’s another movie to be made—hopefully!

Agree or disagree – see if for yourself and make up your mind! You won’t regret it!

Indiana Experience 2011

Well, I had a fantastic week in Brazil, Indiana.

As I mentioned in my pervious blog about the trip up, which was basically uneventful, I wanted to make some observations about my old hometown and some of the people there. While my intention is not to be insulting in any way, I will have to admit that I come from one of the most backwards places I think I’ve ever been to. The streets, which haven’t been paved since I was in high school, are all the same. In fact, I think I hit some of the same potholes that were there last summer when I went to visit. It’s become sort of a running joke concerning Brazil, one that I’ve used on several occasions in a story or novel I’ve written.

The day after I arrived in Brazil my dad took me out of lunch at a little mom and pop restaurant called the Sunshine Diner. I had to have a sample of a northern delicacy that I have yet to find in Florida except during Bike Week, the breaded tenderloin sandwich. Okay, while that may not sound very important to you, the casual observer, it was important to me. You have never had a sandwich until you have munched on a tenderloin that is three times bigger than the bun, is breaded and fried to perfection, and is topped with the best condiments. For me, that includes a slice of cheese and some ketchup, although I have had them with pickles before and that is just as great. After my surgery, I can only eat about half of my tenderloin, but it was fantastic and reminded me of why I love those sandwiches so much. Darn Florida, learn how to make tenderloin!

The restaurant was filled with your basic Sunday afternoon crowd of older individuals who looked like they had escaped one of the local nursing homes, one old guy even had his oxygen tank in tow, and your average Brazilian. One guy came in dressed like a crazed biker, including leather chaps, vest, and hat. Only he was the skinniest guy I think I have ever seen apart from a starving children commercial. And his head looked like it had been shrunken by a witch doctor to boot. Now that was a pretty comical sight. They needed to start feeding him better or the wind was going to knock his moped over while he was riding it.

After we returned from the restaurant, my sister Dee came over and we sat and talked for while. Yeah, real excitement there. HA! It was great to visit, I talk to my sister way more than I ever speak to either of my brothers so it was nice to just relax and blather on about what was going on in the family. My dad, obsessed with westerns found an Encore station that is 24 hour westerns so that makes him extremely happy. I watched so many westerns up there it was ridiculous, ha! Reminded me of every Saturday afternoon growing up. So, that was nice in a way. 🙂

Sunday evening I went with my cousin Roberta and her daughter to see Puss in Boots. I’ll talk about that more in another blog. Needless to say I really enjoyed it. Afterwards I went over to her house and we talked for while.  And wouldn’t you know, right in the middle of the visit if Nancy didn’t call Roberta. Talk about bad timing! It made my cousin very uncomfortable having to talk to her, while I was there, but my cousin is a genuinely good and nice person and so spoke with her for a little while. Fortunately I had a homemade strawberry daiquiri to drink and forget about who was on the phone.

On Monday I went to Terre Haute with Dee just to run around and talk and stuff. Nothing too exciting there. I wanted to visit a store up there called Disc Replay to check out their DVDs but I couldn’t find anything I couldn’t live without so ended up not purchasing anything. I will say that I saw one of the funniest signs on a store that I have ever seen. It’s a serious sign but when I first glanced at it I busted out laughing the people in the car next me thought I was crazy. Okay, I AM crazy but that’s an entirely different story. Anyway, here is a picture I took of the sign:

During the week I also got to hang out with one of my old friends, Jesse and his two daughters Amelia and Arlie. Not sure if I spelled their names correctly, although I hope I did. It was great to spend time with Jesse. He is one of my best friends from up north, and one that I have attempted to keep in contact with over the years. He’s been through a lot himself and recently was divorced after his wife left him and his two beautiful children. She was never a real brilliant bulb anyway, just the same as the dim bulb in my life.

On Tuesday, I went back to Terre Haute with Roberta and Cassie (her daughter, I forgot to mention her name earlier) and ran around aimlessly for while. It was good to see the old stomping ground though I was sorry to see that the old comic book shop was now gone. I had gone to that same shop for over fifteen years when I lived up there. It was very sad to see that New Concepts was now just another memory. Sigh.

Oh! Before I forget, I was also able to partake of yet another delicacy I cannot get down in Florida. And don’t even say Krystals because they are pale imitations of the real thing: White Castle! Oh how I love those gut bombing sliders! And the onion chips are fantastic! Since I’ve been in Florida, Terre Haute finally managed to put in a White Castle that I had wished had been there since I was in high school! It is a true going home experience. Dang, when I lived up there we would often drive all the way to Plainfield, which is about an hour away, just to get White Castles! They are that good! The smell may make Cassie sick, but they were a bountiful bouquet of beauty to my nose! Yum yum get me some!

Even better than White Castle–I know, how could anything possibly be better–Tuesday night, at Roberta’s we had the best pizza on planet Earth! By far, this is the best pizza I have ever eaten and is something that I have to get every time I go back to Brazil. Maurizio’s Pizza in Brazil simply makes the best pizza anywhere. I have eaten a lot of pizzas in my time, remember I used to be 500 pounds just a couple of years ago, so I know what I’m talking about, and Maurizio’s has never been beaten. Oh, my goodness is it good! A big thank you goes out to Roberta once more for the dinner and the fine company that evening!

Wednesday evening my dad and I went to my brother David’s house for dinner. I had honestly been dreading this part of the visit as I was preparing myself of one of David’s famous lectures. Thankfully, I was pleasantly surprised. Not only had he invited us over but several others as well, which meant he wasn’t about to air my dirty laundry in front of everyone. The evening was surprisingly nice and laid back and we even went on a short boat ride in my brother’s pontoon boat on the small lake behind his house. Of course, I had fixed myself a rum and fruit juice drink and was feeling mighty good by then so the trip was great and I was able to take a few more awesome pictures. Oh yeah, speaking of pictures, I almost forgot the best part of the whole day on Wednesday. Before dad and I went over to David’s, we took a drive up through Rocky Fork in Parke County, Indiana. Now, Rocky Fork is an entire story onto itself and is a beautiful area out in the rural of Indiana where my mother was born and raised back in the 1930’s. When mom passed away back in 2008, dad and David took mom’s ashes and buried them out in Rocky Fork on some land that David had purchased to use for deer hunting season. So we stopped along the road where they had buried the ashes and I was able to see it for myself, and take some pictures. I’m sure mom would have thought it was nice to be back where she grew up, just up the road from the old homestead. I love that area of Indiana and have a lot of great memories of that place growing up. But, as I said, Rocky Fork is a story onto itself so I won’t go into any more details here.

Thursday I just lounged around the house with dad and watched some westerns and some old Godzilla movies I found on the movie stations. There was a really cheesy movie called “Rebirth of Mothra” which was really hilarious. I had no idea I was in for several more cheesy movies before the night was over. Thursday was the day I went over to visit my friend Scott in Paris, Illinois. Now Scott and I have been friends since the 8th grade when we met in math class. We both had Transformer watches and I remember telling him that my watch could beat his watch and our friendship grew from there. Besides Tim in Mississippi, Scott is my oldest and dearest friend. He’s been my music collaborator and writing partner for over 20 years. You don’t forget a friendship like that. So, anyway, over at Scott’s house we hung out for a while and went to Wal-Mart, which has been our tradition for the last two visits there. It was freezing at his house and his furnace is a joke so I ended up buying a space heater to use for myself that night and left it there for him to use. His old house that he rents is extremely drafty and looks like it’s ready to cave in all the time. Seriously, I wish I could convince him to move to Florida but for the first time this trip he admitted that he finally found a place that he grew roots and is going to stay there. I admire that in him. I hope that I can finally make that assertion about Florida, that I’ve truly laid down my roots, but with the uncertain future I face when it comes to everything else going on in my life, I’m not sure if I’m ever going to make that proclamation.

Wow, talk about getting off on a tangent. Ha! The movies we ended up watching were old sci-fi shows from the 50s. One was filmed at Silver Springs in Ocala, Florida called “Wild Women of Wongo.” Oh. My. Goodness. This cheese was so bad that it made Limburger stand up and say “what stinks?” Talk about hilariously bad acting and even worse dialogue. We followed that up with a pair of Japanese sci-fi movies from the 50s. “Prince of Space” and “Invasion of the Jupiter Men.” Wow. Talk about your crazy plots for movies. They were so bad they were good and kept us in stitches the entire time. Of course we sat there and made fun of everything, which made the experience all the better. It was like old times back in our early twenties, watching some cheesy B movie over at Quincy’s, making fun of it as it played as if we were MST 3000 or something. It was a great end to a great week.

So, now I’m back home, ready to get back to the old grind at WellHome and in the rest of my life. You never know what tomorrow will bring, ain’t that the truth? I hope it’s happiness for all of us–one way or another.

 

 

Trip to Indiana

Well, I left home around 4:45 Saturday morning and headed for the Hoosier Homeland. Thankfully I had actually planned everything in advance in such a way that for the first time ever all I had to do was toss my pillow, blanket, and laptop in the car and hit the open road. I had already gotten cash out of the bank, filled up the gas tank, and even had all my snacks and drinks in the front seat ready to go.

I was in Georgia by 8AM and Atlanta by eleven. That was a new record for me. Yeah, not too spectacular, but I was happy with the results. 🙂  I decided to stop in Dalton, GA for lunch around 1PM and managed to find the slowest Wendys on the face of the planet. I swear I stood in line for over twenty minutes and there was only like 4 other people in front of me. AND, when I finally get my sandwich and I’m back on the interstate I discover that when they made my sandwich they forgot to add the pickles and onions and instead put on so much ketcup and mustand that it was literally swimming in the condiments. Talk about tricky eating at seventy-five MPH. Grief, and thankfully I didn’t make a huge mess, which was another new first for me. Ha, I normally would have been covered head to toe in the stuff. I’m just glad that didn’t happen because I was wearing my Weird Al concert shirt and sure didn’t want to get that all stained.

Anyway, after I finally got back on the road again, I quickly moved through Chattanooga and Nashville without much incient. Going over Lookout Mountain I was able to take some really beautiful pictures that I will attempt to upload to FB some time this week. The fall colors and the mountains really combined to create some aweinspiring scenery. It was incredibly beautiful.

Besides those highlights, the trip was uneventful. I hate now and will always hate the part of the trip between Terre Haute and Evansville. You have to go 60 and it’s stop and go through several small towns and intersections. I wish there was a faster way to get there but until I can train my car how to fly I guess this is it.

I will blog more about Brazil, Indiana itself later. Dad took me out to lunch at a little mom and pop diner and I have a couple of observations from that to share.

Bob Potatosalad Cartoons

Few people have probably noticed but I’ve started creating little ironic cartoons and have begun posting them on Facebook. Yeah, I know. Big deal, right? I’m no comedic genius by any sort, and by and far most of them haven’t really been even what I consider funny. More often than not, I write little things that are drenched in irony. I take something I’ve heard or seen, twist it just a little, and put it out there for the world to see. Sometimes I do come up with a gem that I’m really proud of and those are usually the ones that get ignored the most. True, my sense of humor and my take of things are a little off center from everyone else, so it really shouldn’t surprise me much.

Anyway, the reason I’m blogging about this now is that my real intention is for anyone who may happen to read this blog will take a look at what I’ve created and perhaps can send me some suggestions for new cartoons in the future. I’m always willing to steal someone else’s ideas, ha! I need to do that sometimes, because if left to my own devices my little prose usually becomes more mean spirited. I suppose carrying around so much regret and bitterness with you will lead to having a bad attitude once in a while.

So, to save the world from my ridiculous sense of humor—which, I find captivating, bwahahahaha—I invite you to send me as many ideas as you can. Just submit them to my Facebook page. In the writing class that I’m taking now the professor stresses how important it is to receive feedback from others. When you’re the only one writing something you often look at it with biased eyes and it’s hard to find the mistakes or to see the piece’s weaknesses. Please offer me your critiques as well, as they are always welcomed and helpful. I will thank you for them after I calm down and call of the hit I’ve put out on you for daring to say my work isn’t perfect. If, I remember to call off the hit, that is. I have a hard time remembering to do those things so if you get nailed by a sniper on your way to Wal-Mart, you have my deepest apologies. I’ll be sniped next when the assassin learns I don’t have any money to pay them. HA!

Okay, goofiness aside, please look at my cartoons, let me know what you think, and embrace the insanity—it’s the only way to get on its good side.

Bush – Chevelle – Filter Show October 19, 2011

Let me begin by saying that I usually go out of my way to avoid any type of moshing environment. I’ve never been a fan of idiots throwing themselves against each other for some unknown insane reason.

Good, now that that’s off my chest, I’d like to say that the concert at the House of Blues on October 19 was AMAZING! The atmosphere was great, the music was fantastic, and the bands really put on an awesome show. The really great thing was that under normal circumstances I never would have been able to attend but my good friend Kelsey, the magical contest winning superstar, managed to snag a couple of free tickets from WJRR on top of the pair she pilfered from Craigslist and I was able to go! Woo to the hoo! Of course, Kelsey and her sister and mom went early in the day while I had to work and managed to get a spot right on the rail in front of the stage. I had to work, unfortunately, and by the time I go there I only managed to get in the center of the room about fifteen people back. But it was right in the center of the stage and I had a great view.

Now, let me tell you about my fun experience. Normally I am very uncomfortable being by myself in large crowds. I know, big fat guy frightened by large crowds. Anyway, there I was in the middle of this sea of strangers looking for my friends. So, I’m pushing my way through as best I could without upsetting one of the giant body builders. Did they ALL have to come to same show together. What? Is there some kind of odd body builder’s newsletter that tells them that they all have to show up at the same show or something? Anyway, I’m snaking through the crowd and I step between these really beautiful girls and that’s as far as I can get. So one of the girls looks at me like I’ve got no business being there, which I didn’t since obviously I wasn’t a body builder and this was their convention or something. So she says, “what are you doing? You’re right in the middle of my group and we’re short!” Okay, so now I’m not a body builder, I’m fat, and now I’m too tall. Tell me I’m old and the grand prize for lame will go to me! Ha. SO, I excuse myself and move back to the other side of them. The show is about to start and I was done fighting the mob so I figured, hey, I have a great view of the stage so I’m going to stay put.

The first band up was Filter. Now, Filter only had one song I could remember and that was “Picture” that came out a few years ago. So, while I did enjoy the set the only song I knew and could sing along to was that one. Let me comment on Filter themselves for a moment. While I completely understand that production in the music industry is everything, the lead singer’s voice just doesn’t sound that great live. He’s okay, but clearly not the greatest. The guitarist looked like he had been exiled from a late 80’s punk band and was totally lost out in the real world with his crazy spiked hair and numerous facial piercings. The bassist, on the other hand, was one of the body builders here for the convention and to prove it he had to parade around the stage sans shirt like he was Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers or something.

It was during Filter that the group of middle-aged while boys directly–I mean the guys were bumping right into me the whole set–decided it was a great time to light up a joint and pass it amongst them. I can see how cops recognize the stink of that stuff. It stank horribly and made me want to gag a few times. It’s not very easy to sing and hold your breath at the same time. And . . . right about then they started jumping around and trying to dance. Body builders should never try to dance around while taking hits off of a joint and two fisting beer. It’s just not a pretty site. It’s also not very coordinated, which led them into almost knocking the girls over. One of them, who I swear looked exactly like Prince minus the mustache, tried to get up into this big bald dude’s face and while he apologized, she just never got over it and had a sour face the rest of the time she was there. Of course, I didn’t know her from Eve so that could very well have been her normal face.

Right after this, a mosh pit began right next to me. Again, let me reiterate. I HATE MOSHING. I think it’s stupid, childish, careless, and has no regard for anyone else. So, right away, I’m using my arms to protect myself. So now, these girls are being slammed from both sides and they’re tiny little things so, being a gentleman I tried to put myself kind of between them and the pit. Thankfully there was this other guy there, who had already been talking to the girls, who was also trying to put himself between them and the pit and we were both able to keep them from being squished.

For the rest of Filter and then for most of Chevelle, once they came on–which was awesome by the way!–one of the girls, was smashed up against my chest. I could not move. I was smashed up against the chest of a 400 pound Islander who looked like he at Sumo wrestlers for breakfast so I had nowhere to go. Hands up, eyes forward, listening to awesome music, protecting myself from idiot moshers, and the occasional crowd surfer. Thankfully, only one of them came across our part of the floor.

When Chevelle was on, the one song I really wanted to hear was “Sleep Apnea.” And, as you would expect, when they did play it the pit started up again and I was so distracted keeping the idiots back that I missed the whole song. Idiots! D’oh!

Between Chevelle and Bush I attempted once more to find my friends only to get within 4 people of them and was forced to turn back. Thankfully, I was able to get back to basically where I had started, but this time I was behind another body builder and his four-foot wide shoulders. Great, now, not only am I getting smashed but I can’t see past this guy. 

When Bush came on they started their set with my favorite song of their’s “Machinehead.” The opening guitar rift is so awesome that I still can’t get it out of my head. It was the perfect opening song, just like “Heavy” when Collective Soul used it to open during the Bash. After that, they played some songs I didn’t immediately recognize and then played “Sounds Like Winter” off of their new album, which is a very good song in my opinion. It was funny, during one of the songs the lead singer started singing a song from the Talking Heads, and with his hair pulled back he looked exactly like the guy. It was hilarious. Wish I had had a better camera to have taken his picture up close then I could have done a real comparison. Ha.

All in all, the concert was a fantastic experience. I loved the music, I met some very interesting people, was able to use my size to help some people not get smashed by idiots, and had a grand old-time. Being on my own in the middle of that crowd would have made me so uncomfortable just a year ago. I’ve grown a little this past few months after everything I’ve been put through. I’m not exactly sure which way I’ve grown but I can see a big difference in myself.

Truth be told, I think I kind of like it.

 

The Big Year Review

If you’re looking for a clean, decent movie to take your family to see that has big stars and awesome cameos, then take your family to see “The Big Year.”

“The Big Year” stars Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson. Three strangers who begin a quest known to bird watchers, or “Birding” as The Big Year. This quest is to find and see the most bird species in North America in one year. Owen Wilson’s character holds the record for seeing 732 species and is determined to keep his record standing. Steve Martin is a very successful businessman who is retiring and is dreaming of completing his own Big Year, while Jack Black is a young computer programmer working for a nuclear facility who wants to have a Big Year so that he can finally do something big with his life after his failed marriage.

While not a laugh a minute comedy, it is still very light-hearted and manages to show you just enough of each character’s life to make you want to care about them. Steve Martin is charming throughout, making this one of his better performances of the last few years. And the normally crazy antics and jumping around behavior that can make Jack Black annoying disappears in this film almost entirely making Jack look and sound like a normal human being. For that fact alone, I found this film to be one of Jack Black’s better roles. Owen Wilson, on the other hand, plays predictable. You’ve seen this character out of him before and done better. While, I liked the character, he wasn’t my favorite by a long shot and made some really bad decisions that cost him a whole lot during the film.

I won’t give away any spoilers to the film itself but be on the look out for cameos by Joel McHale (NBC’s Community), Paul Campbell (Battlestar Galactica), Brian Dennehy, Jim Parsons (Sheldon from Big Bang Theory), and Corbin Bernsen (Psych).

I give the film 4 out of 5 Blackbirds. Go see the film. You’ll enjoy it and your family will too!

Key West Impressions

I will admit that I, like many I assume, had so many preconceived notions about exactly what Key West was all about. Happily, none of those ideas actually came true. At least not in my direct line of sight.

You always grow up hearing stories or seeing something on television that leads you to believe that the whole town is draped in rainbow flags and banana hammocks. The reality, at least in my personal experience, was a quaint tourist trap town filled with historic flavor and a beautiful harbor area filled with street performers where whole families were having a great time out for an evening stroll.

The atmosphere itself was peaceful and warm and the couples walking around the crowded shopping areas seemed happy and enjoying themselves. The town really held a rustic charm that I found so alluring. The old sailing boat on display, which was the remains of a shipwreck, reminded me that Key West indeed did have a herritage far better to dwell on that what the media liked to spin. Here was a town built on hopes and dreams. Just ask Hemmingway or Jimmy Buffett what it means to dream in Key West. This was a place far removed from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the country. After all, you have to be individuals chasing dreams to have built a highway through all the different keys, through the ocean water, only to reach the alleged southern most point of the Continental US.

Yes, the charm of Key West for me was the laid back atmosphere, the soft music playing from some local restaurant, and the beautiful lights and smells that drifted through the evening twilight.

Would I go back? Absolutely. Do I believe my next experience will be as good as the first? I think it would, but my great experience this time had everything to do with the people I was with. Having the right companions is always so important to how much you enjoy an experience. I’m glad I went with the people I did because together we disspelled mypreconceived notions and for that I very thankful.

Weird Al Yankovic – The Awesome Live Show

Okay, let me start by saying that seeing Weird Al Yankovic is an experience that everyone should have. Not only is the man extremely talented when it comes to writing parodies, but he is a consummate showman! I saw him Wednesday night at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando and I will have to say that it was by far one of the most enjoyable live shows I have been to in a long time. The atmosphere of the venue was just fabulous. The crowd was excited but kept to their seats as they listened to Al’s classics “Fat”, “Amish Paradise” and “Smells Like Nirvana.” While not everyone knew all the words to his latest compositions like “Party in the CIA” and “TMZ” the crowd stayed pumped and excited throughout the show.

Keeping us entertained is a craft that Weird Al’s stage team has down to a science. Al had numerous costume changes during the show and while he was off stage a series of large television screens played amusing “interviews” that Al conducted with celebrities. Of course it was obvious that he was taking actual interviews and manipulating them but they were classic comedy bits that I wish I had a copy of. Starting with Eminem and including snippets from over the years with Keith Richards, Madonna, and Celine Dion, the spots were hilarious and had me rolling in the aisle. Snuck in between these mock interviews were TV and movie spots that Al had either had a cameo or was mentioned by name. One of the funniest was a clip from the TV show “’Til Death.” In it Brad Garrett’s character is talking to the wife, played by Joely Fisher and she is complaining that he had said she looked like Weird Al Yankovic from behind. Garrett’s character responds: “The man has great hair and a tiny butt, you should learn to take a compliment.” That was by far one of the funniest lines from a TV show I’d had heard and had me bursting out with laughter. What makes this even funnier is that Al has learned to take such comedic lines as a compliment and incorporates it into his show.

The costumes that Al wore were classic Yankovic fun. From the “grunge” look he wore in “Smells Like Nirvana” to the crazy lounge suit he donned in “Wanna Be Ur Lovr” each look was unique and inspired by the song itself. This was highlighted by the famous fat suit from the “Fat” video. To watch him dancing around on stage in that fat suit was the clear definition of having your cake and eating it too. And yes, that pun was intentional!

To end the show, Al’s encore consisted of “The Saga Begins” and “Yoda,” both Star Wars parodies. During the awesome rendition of  “The Saga Begins” a whole troop of Stormtroopers marched out along with Darth Vader. Watching them dance around, including the one doing the Macarena, was priceless. And the two minute speed chant that Al, Steve Jay, and Jim West participated in was concert gold. It was one of the oddest most insane things I have seen in a long time.

So, long story short. I hated the concert —NOT! Ha, it was awesome! Now if only I could join a caravan of “Weird-Heads” and follow him around on tour! That would be awesome!  (And for those of you who don’t know—that was a reference to the “Dead Heads” that used to follow the Grateful Dead around on tour. I don’t think there is anything like the “Weird Heads” in existence but I think it’s about time there was!)

BC