Monday, February 28, 2011


Every year I do an Oscar recap, but this year it was tough to get motivated. The Oscars were just so fucking dull. I was almost as bored with the awards ceremony as James Franco was. Almost.
The Oscars should have some element of surprise at some point, and there was none this year, unless you count Roger Deakins being robbed of the cinematography award by an overrated Social Network. Otherwise, everything was so predictable (except for a few of my predictions, which didn't take into account the Academy's total infatuation with English period pieces. Didn't they get that out of their system with year after year of Merchant/Ivory wins?).
The winners are supposed to be the best actors in the world, so why can't they give a good fucking speech on the biggest stage there is?!??!? I mean, come on! Enough with the long lists of make-up artists, agents, and their dry cleaners! Give a speech that means something and is memorable.
Well, maybe I'm just getting too jaded, but this year really was monotonous. It was pure torture just trying to get through it. Watching the Oscars this year felt like work. Boring, unrewarding, volunteer work at that. It should be about big Hollywood moments, but delivered so few that I figured I'd write my own headlines for the night. Some are satire, and some are wishful thinking.....

Kodak Theater, L.A.- Best Supporting Actress winner Melissa Leo provided the most exciting moment of the night by swearing on live TV, but then proceeded to ruin it by rambling on with the most embarassingly ingratiating speech since Sally Field. Well, what do you expect from somebody so desperate and needy that she took out full page ads begging for votes?

Sardi's, L.A.- Best Supporting actor winner Christian Bale seems to be keeping a lid on his temper these days, but the same cannot be said for his out of control beard and moustache. At the Sardi's after party, two female escorts, who were there with Russel Brand, began teasing Bale for seemingly forgetting his wife's name during his acceptance speech, at which point Bale's beard (which had been spotted drinking heavily) flew into a rage before spitting at the escorts and throwing bits of food and soup that it had apparentely hidden earlier. The beard and the high priced hookers were separated and a barber was called.

Kodak Theater, L.A.- Confirming that he was still alive, Kirk Douglas presented the Best Supporting Actress award last night. As Douglas shuffled out, the entire world smiled awkwardly and clapped condescendingly. After struggling through his lines, Douglas tortured the nominees by not reading the winner's name in some sort of altzheimer's version of Punk'd. Many critics have said it is a commentary on how bad the ceremony was this year that a 94 year-old stroke victim provided the most buzz.

Offices of Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe, L.A.- The acrtress Julia Roberts has filed suit against Oscar co-host Anne Hathaway stating "There is only room in this town for one anorexic, overrated, gigantic mouth superstar." Roberts also cited copyright infringment over the nickname "Croc Mouth" and stated that she would seek a percentage of earnings on any fiesty, independent, adorable women that Hathaway plays in future chick flicks.

Kodak Theater, L.A.- Ol' Randy walkin' to the stage, walkin' up the steps. He takes the Oscar...wavin' to the crowd. He's just a guy, who's even more annoying talkin', than he is a singin'.....talks some more, makin' the 'ol bad jokes, lookin' back on the old winnin' Oscar blues. Bumph-bumph. Thank you!

Municipal Court, L.A.- Sheen and Lohan, who were married moments before the Oscars by a Scientologist preist, announced on Good Morning America that they are getting divorced. Lohan cited domestic abuse and infidelity as the reason that their 3 hour and 45 minute marriage was ending. Sheen responded by calling Lohan a "devil bred snake" who has caused him "nothing but misery as she deprived me of a lot of my drugs" and didn't give him space for "Sheen time!" He went on to say that he hoped that Lohan would "get ebola virus and die. Only then would she be spared from the lightning bolts of my eyes." Sheen is shopping around a tell-all book about their short-lived, but tempestuous relationship. Bidding starts at one kilo.

Maybe they'll let Ricky Gervais host next year. That'd spice things up at least....

Saturday, February 26, 2011


It's already that time of year again. Prom night and the Super Bowl wrapped in one for Hollywood. Seems like a fairly predictable year, but we'll see what happens.
My picks.....

Best Soundtrack: The Social Network; Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross +

Best Song: We Belong Together; Toy Story 3 +

Best Animated Movie: Toy Story 3 +

Best Editing: The Social Network; Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter +

Best Documentary: Inside Job (but I'm really pulling for Exit Through the Gift Shop) +

Best Cinematography: True Grit; Roger Deakins x

Best Art Direction: The King's Speech x

Best Visual Effects: Inception +

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network; Aaron Sorkin +

Best Original Screenplay: Inception; Christopher Nolan x

Best Foreign Movie: Biutiful x

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo +

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale +

Best Actress: Natalie Portman +

Best Actor: Colin Firth +

Best Director: David Fincher x

Best Movie: The King's Speech +

So there you have them. Now go and win your office pool!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I finally saw The Social Network the other day, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn't learn a damn thing, but it was a fun fictionalized tale of modern empire building. Plus, it had a really catchy Trent Reznor soundtrack. Aaron Sorkin's West Wing, rapid-fire, Abbott and Costello on meth dialogue was preposterous and got really annoying after awhile, but overall an intriguing character study (although, from what I can tell, a completely made up character). After watching it, I wanted to run out and buy a hoodie and some flip flops and create the next virtual drug that the world will become addicted to. Facebook has truly changed the course of human history. It has permanently altered how people interact globally, and in the recent case of Egypt, helped overthrow a government. First by helping to organize and rally support, and then by spurring people to action once the regime tried to deny people access to it. Technology, computers, and the internet are expanding at an exponential speed that not even the most prophetic sci-fi writer could have imagined. The cyber revolution will have a bigger impact on humanity than even the industrial revolution did.
That's why it was with curiosity, chagrin, and resignation that I tuned in last night to see the latest computer programming milestone. A computer that can play Jeopardy! against the best champions of all time. I have mixed emotions about these "challenges." Actually, it's not mixed, I just hate them. As an avid chess player, I was dismayed when Garry Kasparov's match with Big Blue was announced. Kasparov had beaten an earlier version of Big Blue, and now IBM was back with an updated version that had been basically designed exclusively to beat Kasparov. Big Blue had every game that Kasparov had ever played programmed into it, while Kasparov didn't have any of Big Blue's games to study to see how it "thought" and played. Kasparov lost the second game of the match in a dubious fashion and became infuriated and basically threw the rest of the match playing recklessly and angry. He had an extremely uncharacteristic meltdown and lost the match in a tantrum-like flurry of bad play. Chess is a mentally grueling game with subtle and intense emotional aspect that is completely removed in a computer. It is the pressure and mental stress of chess that makes it such an enduring and beautiful human endeavor. Sure a computer can analyze millions of moves per second, but if Big Blue played Big Blue, it would be draw, draw, draw, draw, on and on. There's no excitement in that. The heart of chess is two human brains straining against each other in total mental war. A cold hard computer can never replicate that.
When Jeopardy! announced that the IBM computer Watson was going to challenge Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter, I thought "Great. Here we go again. They're going to 'prove' that a computer is 'better' at yet another thing I love." I prepared for the worst, but hoped for the best. After one day, Watson is tied with Brad, which is better than I thought would happen. The funniest moment of the show was when Ken rang in and guessed the 1920's for the decade that crosswords first appeared (also my guess). After Alex said that was wrong, Watson rang in and guessed..........the 1920's. The look that Ken turned and gave the Watson avatar screen standing next to him was priceless. Totally made the show.
As for the other questions that this challenge might answer (or answers that it might question in the case of Jeopardy!) are as follows: Can a computer be programmed with all the accumulated facts in the course of human history? Yes. Is a computer faster at reading an electronically delivered text question than a human? Definitely. Can a computer "ring in" faster with an electronic cue than a human eye to hand reaction? You betchya. There. I just answered all those questions and I didn't need four years, millions and millions of dollars, and a fucking three day infomercial for IBM to prove it! I'm surprised that Alex wasn't wearing a god damned trucker hat with IBM plastered on it. The argument that they learn so much by developing these projects is bullshit. Just do the research for useful projects and learn from that. Watson doesn't even have voice recognition! What the fuck? Even cars have voice recognition these days! Besides, Watson already exists. It's called Google.
So congrats IBM on a clever marketing ploy.
Will I watch the rest of the match? Yes.
Am I impressed?
What is no.

Postscript: Watson went on to destroy Ken and Brad in day two, but then in Final Jeopardy! guessed Toronto when the category was U.S. Cities. How the fuck does a computer who has been nailing complicated questions all day not even guess a city in the right country????????? (the number of question marks indicates my level of incredulity) How is there not a fail safe programmed in to keep Watson from guessing an answer that isn't even a viable option? Now, not only am I not impressed, I smell a rat.

Friday, February 11, 2011


I saw this ad in the personal encounters section of Craigslist under Men seeking Women......

Me: Late 50's ex-con, currently unemployed. I have a fear of water, so I rarely shower. I am 80 pounds overweight, but not really concerned about it. I'm a recovering alcoholic, although I've only been sober for a couple weeks, so I could relapse at any moment. I enjoy video games and sleeping.

You: Young attractive professional with a good income and a nice home. Must be a good cook and enjoy oral sex (giving not receiving). If you have children that's OK, as long as they know how to keep a secret. I am extremely racist, so do not respond unless you are white. No fat chicks please.

I wonder if he got any responses......

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


For the past few months, I've been studying for the Jeopardy! online test tonight. Along with some good old fashioned book learnin', I've also been using the internet to broaden my horizons. Here are ten things the interwebs have taught me:

1) 9/11 was a conspiracy by Ralph Nader and Michelle Obama to help fluxuate the gold market and make it easier for the Mayan aliens to land in 2012. I'm still doing a little fact checking on this one.

2) Playing at, I've been learning the flags of the world by beating people from different countries. Interesting fact: Romania has the ugliest flag on the planet. It looks like something an E-tard would wear to a rave.

3) Porn is very popular.

4) After watching shows like Jersey Shore, Bad Girls Club, Tool Academy, and Millionaire Matchmaker online, I understand why the rest of the world hates America. Judging by these shows, it's hard to disagree.

5) Apparentely, a lot of people want to fuck their own life for some reason.

6) Playing poker online, I've started to learn time zones so that I can better calculate when to play against drunk people in different countries. There's nothing better than check-trapping a drunk Russian...

7) Really weird people go to Wal-mart.

8) Everybody on Twitter and Facebook thinks that they are celebrities, and that we want to hear every detail of their mundane and delusional existence. Not my friends of course...

9) This just in: The Onion is still the funniest fucking thing on the planet.

10) The English language has deteriorated to a series of consonants, grunts, numbers, and puncuation emoticons. Everything I read online looks like the name of a Prince song.

Wish me luck on my test!