From the monthly archives:

January 2009

doves-kingdomofrustOne of my favorite bands of all time write a song dedicated to my favorite movie of all time. How could I not take 5 minutes out of my busiest week in years to comment on this?

Being fans of the Vangelis film score, Blade Runner, we always wanted to write an imaginary song for the closing credits on Ridley Scott’s classic… It’s called Jetstream… Cheers.

If you’re a fan of The Doves you can download “Jetstream” as an MP3 for free off their official website – right this instant. The forthcoming album is titled “Kingdom of Rust and will be available in early April.

And obviously the Kingdom of Nerds couldn’t contain themselves long before actually setting the new song over the flick’s end titles and uploading it to YouTube. Well, sorta. From the YouTube page:

Blade Runner closing images don’t last long enough to enjoy the whole song. So there it is: Doves’ Jetstream song combined with the (fake) Blade Runner end titles reconstructed… using shots from The Shining, Koyaanisqatsi, Mar Adentro & other movies.

I knew that in 1981 Ridley Scott contacted Stanley Kubrick and asked him for extra footage that was originally filmed for The Shining when asked by the studio to make Blade Runner’s ending more upbeat. The scenes in question consisted of forests filmed from a helicopter which I assume were originally slated for helping create the Overlook Hotel’s sense of isolation.


“I’ve seen things you Mancurians wouldn’t believe.”

Does the tune work when played over this cobbled-together series of Runner-esque clips? Regardless, I think it’s a cool premise to admit to on the eve of your first album release in four years. I have high hopes for the record but I highly doubt Jetstream will end up being my favorite track. Having a new Doves record right around the corner, however, makes me happier than a Nexus 6 with no incept date.

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shep-hoodie
Even at -20 degrees celsius, Shepherd was a bad, bad dog.

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Shirley Temple

Shirley Temple Hates Moonbats

I wrote a small piece several years ago “outing” celebs who leaned to the right. I felt a need to do so as a sort of remedy to the throngs of famous liberals who were making Hollywood and the entertainment industry in general look like an extension of the Communist Party. In the time that has followed the site has gotten a tremendous amount of traffic for related terms – leading me to believe that there is a lack of online resources on this topic. And when I see a niche I usually dive right in.

This post, which will be updated when necessary, will strive to become a comprehensive resource for all things related to Republican Celebrities. I will start with a list of names and then fill in more detail as time and research allows. Why am I doing this? Because I want to even the scales a little bit. As a pop culture nerd, movie nut and music whackadoo it pains me to constantly be bombarded with opinions from the entertainment industry’s left that may contradict my own. The fact is there are a lot of uber-famous folks who aren’t complete moonbats, and that comforts me – as it might you. On to the “outing”. And obviously, some of these aren’t going to come as a huge shock.

  • Clint Eastwood
  • Vince Vaughn
  • Bo Derek
  • Adam Sandler
  • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson
  • Karl Malone
  • Ron Silver
  • Dr. Phil
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Britney Spears
  • James Earl Jones
  • Kelsey Grammer
  • Bruce Willis
  • Jessica Simpson
  • Angie Harmon
  • Chuck Norris
  • Nick Lachey
  • Sarah Michelle Gellar
  • Dennis Hopper
  • Ben Stein
  • Tom Clancy
  • Robert Duvall
  • Ricky Schroder
  • Gloria Estefan
  • Tom Selleck
  • Kid Rock
  • Vincent Gallo
  • Vince McMahon
  • Joe Theismann
  • Sela Ward
  • Buddy Ebsen
  • Doris Day
  • Chaka Khan
  • George Hamilton
  • Hal Holbrook
  • Scott Baio
  • Ted Nugent
  • Wayne Newton
  • LL Cool J
  • Charles Barkley
  • Tom Beringer
  • Ernest Borgnine
  • Bruce Boxleitner
  • Delta Burke
  • Nell Carter
  • C.C. Deville
  • Jerry Doyle
  • Clyde Drexler
  • Pete Sampra
  • Susan Lucci
  • Yaphet Koto
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Ric Flair
  • Steve Young
  • Robert Stack
  • George Stein
  • Shirley Temple
  • Reggie White
  • Ted Williams
  • Tiger Woods
  • James Caviezal
  • AC Green
  • Dorothy Hamill
  • Brett Farve
  • Crystal Gayle
  • R. Lee Ermey
  • Bob Hope
  • John Larroquette
  • Mike Love
  • David Lynch
  • Norm MacDonland
  • Johnny Mathis
  • Don McLean
  • Gary Numan
  • Gary Oldman
  • John Popper
  • Roseanna
  • Kurt Russell
  • Regis Philbin
  • Joe Pesci
  • Jon Secada
  • Lara Flynn Boyle
  • 50 Cent
  • Naomi Judd
  • Bill Belicheck
  • Tony Danza
  • Alice Cooper
  • Andy Garcia
  • Dennis Franz
  • Danny Aiello
  • Janine Turner
  • Kris Everet
  • Drew Carey
  • Dean Cain
  • Sylvester Stallone
  • Dixie Carter
  • Sammy Hagar
  • Robert Davi
  • Jamie Farr
  • Robert Conrad
  • Shirley Jones
  • Heather Locklear
  • Dennis Miller
  • Meatloaf
  • Pat Sajak
  • Kim Alexis
  • Rachel Hunter
  • John Elway
  • Sara Evans
  • Mike Ditka
  • Lee Ann Womack
  • Johnny Ramone
  • Mary Lou Retton
  • Shannen Doherty
  • Mel Gibson
  • Mari Osmond
  • Charlton Heston
  • Don King
  • Jackie Mason
  • Kirk Cameron
  • James Woods
  • Curt Schilling
  • Kathy Ireland
  • Jon Voight
  • Loretta Lynn
  • Patricia Heaton

…and now you know why 90% of these people haven’t worked in years.

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geese-terrorists
What really brought down US Air Flight 1549.

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Rags to Riches: A C64 Anomaly

by Dave on January 16, 2009

in Nerdery

About 7 years ago, on what I imagine must have been a particularly lonely Saturday night, I not only discovered a website devoted to old Commodore 64 games but stuck around long enough to actually write a review of one of my favorites: Rags to Riches. I have been getting emails from other retro nerds as a result ever since. Yes, I have become a font of knowledge concerning all things related to this odd little game about, you guessed it, a homeless person.

rags to riches
A “homeless” video game in the mid-80s? Actually, that’s completely appropriate.

How anyone ever came up with the premise for Rags to Riches during the prehistoric C64 gaming era is beyond me. This title stands out because it is simply the most original game I have ever played. The usual collection of space aliens, fast cars, ninjas, warlocks and helicopters are replaced by a pathetic drunken tramp wandering the city streets in search of a better life.

To this day I still wonder how this game came about. There was nothing remotely like it during the C64 era and when I got the umpteenth email tonight from someone wishing to ask me a question about the game, I decided to dig a little deeper. Afterall, the name of the guy who wrote it, Bob Keener, is readily visible on the game’s splash screen. Who is this Bob Keener, and is he still involved in video game development nearly 25 years later? I really hope so as I am already sufficiently impressed with his imagination.

I really didn’t expect to find that much on the subject. Little did I know that both the game, and Bob Keener, both have their own Wikipedia entries. This confirms what I’ve known since 2002 when I began getting related emails in my old Hotmail account – R2R (as I believe it would be called were it re-released today) has an impressive cult following. Hardly surprising though given it’s multi-layered complexity which once again I have to point out was extraordinary on a machine and in an age where embarrassingly pixilated (by today’s standards) dragons, spaceships, ghosts and wizards were the norm. From Wikipedia – seriously, read this:

rags to riches video game
Straight out the front door of the jail at 7am. – If I had a nickel…

An alcohol, food/rest, and two education meters indicate the player’s current status. If both the alcohol level and food/rest level reach zero, the player dies and the game ends. Restaurants, fast food outlets, and convenience stores offer the player nourishment, with price depending on the establishment; there is also a soup kitchen in which a filling meal is available for free. Some stores have limited opening hours displayed on store windows and others are open at all hours. At night, it is usually advisable that the player find accommodation such as a hotel room, ranging in price from $2 per night to $40 per week; the food/rest levels deplete twice as fast during night time. Drinking alcohol is an inexpensive means of staying alive; however, the player cannot gain employment while affected.

This game kept you thinking the whole way through – sure I can save myself by topping off my Alcohol Meter, but I’m supposed to show up for work in 2 hours at the gas station. Can I get all the way to the soup kitchen before my Food Meter runs out? It was all about thinking ahead and timing – not frenetically mashing keys or joystick buttons. So who is the man behind this frankly revolutionary game? I had to know.

Neither Bob Keener or the Melody Hall Publishing Corporation’s Wiki entries had any information. Most references I found to the company name were pages requesting more information. It’s obviously been defunct for many years. As far as Bob Keener’s presence within the Google results is concerned, however, WOW – there are a lot of them out there. A couple of professors, a woodworker, a gent from Boston who looks like he might be the right age, dancers, actors and more. I emailed a few of them in the hopes I might get lucky and find the man behind the dusty top hat. Was he right out of college when he wrote the game or someone much further along in their programming career? If he one day stumbles across this article I hope he takes the time to say hello because I’d love to write a follow up of some sort. A “Behind the 80’s Video Game” for the nerderati.

rags to riches 03
Do they sell beer at this Quicki-Mart or is this the Canadian version of the game?

I am happy to see that for most searches my review outranks the Wiki entry, so perhaps it’s only fitting to close this post with a quote from that impeccable piece of writing:

Despite hours of trying, I have never been able to beat this game. Not even close. In spite of its shortcomings, Rags to Riches is worth a download and a look. A truly memorable and original piece of gaming history.

Mr. Keener – who and where are you? General public – please share your memories of this great game. Trivia is also welcomed. What were sales like in 1985? What did the box look like? Inquiring minds want to masturbate in their parent’s basements.

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…And I’m Out Like Swayze

by Dave on January 9, 2009

in Television

swayze-the-beastPatrick – Pye in the Face is pulling for you. Looking forward to the premiere of The Beast on January 14th, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t end up being your swan song. Pneumonia and cancer, however, do not tend to mix well. My thoughts are with you, Road House Curse be dammned.

Beast executive producer John Romano added that Swayze gives the show 100 percent. “He’s bringing the force of his own personal struggle into the performance,” he said. “He does it five days a week, 12 hours a day.”

Patrick fans, early reports lead me to believe that his new show might be something very special. Tune in to A&E this Thursday when we all get to see for ourselves. Hang in there, sir.

In a cruel twist of timing last year, Swayze learned of his diagnosis four hours after The Beast had been picked up for a full 13-episode season. Despite Swayze’s condition, A&E stuck to its commitment, in large part because Swayze was so keen on continuing. Swayze subsequently missed only one day of work during the first season of The Beast, which was shot in Chicago and completed last November.

The man is truly as tough as Dalton.

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Gran Torino: Eastwood, Fish Heads & Heart

by Dave on January 7, 2009

in

Movies tend to become part of the mix over the Holiday Season, and by “Holiday Season” I of course mean Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Nothing, as you can probably surmise at this point, fills me with yuletide cheer quite like political incorrectness. Perhaps that is the reason I’ve already seen Gran Torino three times. Boy, do I love it when all the Academy DVD screeners get released every December!

grantorinoreview
Stay off Walt’s lawn. Seriously.

But enough about my cinematic procurement practices – Gran Torino is an excellent movie that everyone should see and the classic car may never again be associated with Starsky and Hutch. Walt Kowalski reminds me of another Eastwood character, namely Gunny Highway from Heartbreak Ridge. Both are salty war veterans with very little time for bullshit. Both will sooner swing a fist or cock a pistol than stand around chatting with “slack-jawed fruitcakes”. And, most importantly, both are hard men forced to rethink their respective prejudices when they see ways in which they can have a positive effect on a young person’s life.

Highway is a Marine Core drill sergeant, so molding said fruitcakes into masculine killing machines is his job. Kowalski, on the other hand, is a recently-widowed and exceptionally crusty retiree who regards his children, grandchildren and new Asian neighbors as unbelievable wastes of space.

“Kowalski is a recognizable type, the gruff, sometimes bigoted old man who may be hiding more heart than he lets on. Even though he’s not too caring at the start, “he ends up expressing love to a family he’s never known before,” – Clint Eastwood

The “love” in question is a long time coming. Particularly hilarious are Walt’s exchanges with the family’s Grandmother as she chews tobacco on their front porch and produces dark-brown horks that put Walt’s to shame. “Why do you still live in this neighborhood you proud old rooster?” she asks him in her ancient Hmong dialect. All of the white folks who used to live in Walt’s community, since the end of the Korean War and during his three decades working at the local Ford plant, have indeed long since died or moved away. “Johnson would turn over in his grave if he could see his lawn right now“, Walt remarks to himself during one such staring contest with Grandma.

The “hood” is now just that, with a Latino and Asian gang jockeying for position and the souls of local male residents – although my favorite scene of the entire movie is when Walt spots Sue, the youngest daughter of the neighbor’s brood, being harassed by a trio of African American gentlemen. “Ever notice how you come across somebody once in a while you shouldn’t have messed with? That’s me.” When the distain with which he looks at his own grandchildren is taken into account, Walt’s prejudices may be aimed primarily at younger generations than any one ethnic group. That statement may be a little hard to swallow when he first drives up in his battered white pickup and asks the youths, “What the hell are you spooks doing?” – but bear with me. By the time the credits roll there will be no doubt in your mind that Walt Kowalski is a very good man.

When her younger brother is caught red-handed trying to steal Walt’s prized possession, a mint-condition 1973 Gran Torino which he himself “put the steering column in himself, right on the line“, a new story arc emerges. “Toad” as Walt calls him, was forced by his cousin’s gang to try and steal the car as initiation into their gang – which Walt knows full well Thao does not want to join. The confused young man becomes Walt’s project of sorts, and the two gradually form a tight bond which “saves” both of them in the end. And what a conclusion it is.

walt-toad
“I’m going to buy you some tools so you don’t have to hang out with them anymore.”

Walt starts to liken the Asian gang to the Korean soldiers he fought 50 years earlier during the war. Instead of communism, however, he is battling to save Thao and his family. “I used to stack you five-high and then use you as sand bags. Now get off my lawn“, he tells the leader whilst pointing the same M1 Garand rifle he used overseas during the first of several tense encounters throughout the film. Later in the film, after the friendship develops, he admits to him that he used the gun to blow the heads off quite a few Koreans – no older than Toad himself.

The remorse he obviously begins to feel increases as the movie progresses – particularly when he confides in his late wife’s favorite priest that “it’s not what you’re ordered to do that you remember. It’s what you’re not ordered to do.” Walt’s salvation from his frequently hinted at wartime atrocities presents itself in the form of a likeable young man who really needs his help. “Hmong girls go to college while the boys go to jail,” Sue tells him at one point. Not if Walt has anything to say about it.

I’ll leave the synopsis and the spoilers there. It’s a touching, honest film with as much humor as there is heart. The racial epithets might make a few people cringe (or protest) but that’s how some people talk and Walt, a “stupid Polack” as his barber likes to remind him, isn’t spared. I’d like to make a list of all the slang terms used in the film and probably will during my inevitable fourth viewing of this superb film. Can’t recommend it enough and if reading this “review” leads you to watch it please come back and leave a comment telling me what you thought. Likewise, if you’ve seen it, I want to hear your thoughts.

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10 Reasons I am Officially Old

by Dave on January 7, 2009

in Reminiscent

Everyone must start to have moments like these in their mid-30s. These are mine. And it’s all true – every word.

  1. I asked for a nosehair trimmer for Christmas. I got a nosehair trimmer for Christmas. I love my nosehair trimmer.
  2. 80% of my gifts this year were sweaters (20% nosehair trimmers,) and I was perfectly ecstatic about that.
  3. I despise people who tailgate me. To the point of wanting to inflict grevious bodily harm. And I talk to them, in my rear view mirror. “Where’s the fucking fire?” The bastards.
  4. If I sleep later than 9am, even on the weekend, I hate myself for the rest of the day.
  5. I have a notebook full of lists with titles like “Outdoor To Dos” and “Tax Prep To Dos”. The only lists I used to maintain were of Goodfellas quotes.
  6. I recently purchased my first can of Metamucil. This, this was a tough one.
  7. In my filing cabinet, I have a folder labeled “Manuals”, full of nothing but manuals.
  8. I have a box in which I have started to save Christmas Cards and wedding invitations.
  9. The $3,000 I would have normally spent on booze in 2008 went to drywall, vapor barrier, paint, laminate flooring, a drop ceiling and a new propeller.
  10. A good portion of my free time is spent driving my Mother to and from the hospital, during which time we discuss little else but my To Do lists. “I’ll put it on my list, Ma. Yes, Ma.”

I’d be thrilled to hear about some of your own “Jesus, I’m disgustingly old” moments in the comments. Don’t be shy – we’re all going through it.

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Just Desserts. Karma. Justice.

by Dave on January 3, 2009

in Politics

Sent to me this afternoon by my Mother. I don’t normally reprint silly forwards, but as I’d been meaning to comment on this topic… Well, I don’t want to give away the punchline:

“In a few short days, an African American man will move from his private residence into a much larger and infinitely more expensive one owned not by him but by the taxpayers. A vast lawn, a perimeter fence and many well trained security specialists will insulate him from the rest of us but the mere fact that this man will be residing in this house should make us all stop and count or blessings – because it proves that we live in a nation where anything is possible.

Many believed this day would never come. Most of us hoped and prayed that it would, but few of us actually believed we would live to see it. Racism is an ugly thing in all of it’s forms and there is little doubt that if this man had moved into this house fifteen years ago, there would have been a great outcry – possibly even rioting in the streets.
Today, we can all be both grateful and proud that no such mayhem will take place.when this man takes up residency in this house.

This man, moving into this house at this time in our nation’s history is much more than a simple change of addresses for him – it is proof of a change in our attitude as a nation. It is an amends of sorts – the righting of a great wrong. It is a symbol of our growth, and of our willingness to “judge a man, not by the color of his skin but by the content of his character”.

There can be little doubt now that the vast majority of us truly believe that this man has earned both his place in history and his new address.

His time in this house will not be easy – it will be fraught with danger and he will face many challenges. I am sure there will be ma ny times when he asks himself how in the world he ended up here and like all who have gone before him, the experience will age him greatly.
But I for one will not waste an ounce of worry for his sake – because in every way a man can, he asked for this.

His whole life for the past fifteen years appears to have been inexorably leading this man toward this house. It is highly probable that that in the past, despite all of his actions, racism would have kept this man out of this house. Today, I thank the lord above that I am an American and that I live in a nation where wrongs are righted, where justice matters and where truly anything is possible.

Who is this man? You ask. You think you know, don’t you? See below.”

oj-simpson-guilty
“Judge, in my defense I’d like to say: Did you just call me a ni…?!”

There have been few moments in my life when I have been as outraged and disgusted as I was on the day when O.J. Simpson was set free for the murders of Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown. I was watching the big screen at the University of Guelph’s now defunct Boo Sports Bar as the entire place erupted into cheers at the “not guilty verdict. I hope that in 15 years of hindsight the revelers on that day have reconsidered. Me? I’m fucking thrilled. Rot in hell, Juice and ’95 jury.

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face-transplant
Li Guoxing – recipient of the world’s first “face-transplant” after being mauled by a bear – has died. This highlights anew the dangers associated with the procedure. And going to the zoo when intoxicated.

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