Thursday, May 29, 2008

Four minutes of baby footage. Hey, at least it's more interesting than watching The View

For those of you who read the previous post in the first few hours after I wrote it, take note of a correction: Lump is not 27# but 17#, a glaring typo that made my nine month old sound like a hungry hungry hippo.

* * *

My sister commented the other day about a video I had made of Lump crawling. That was odd, considering I'd told no one about it and had only uploaded it to Youtube the night before. Apparently my every move is followed by my adoring fans. That, or my family is creepy nosy. :).

A word about the video, which was taken May 16th. Yes, both Lump and Smiley are in their diapers (or in Smiley's case a pull-up). Lisa objected to this saying that I never seem to show the baby in actual clothes, leaving the impression we live in the sticks and make moonshine for a living. I have no idea why the baby was sans clothes, so you've got me there, but I'd just given Smiley a bath and he should have been busy getting his PJ's on.  As you'll see he had other ideas.

Aside from the fact that I want to gag every time I hear my voice on tape, I sound a little exasperated at Smiley. I don't remember why, other than the PJ thing, and for all I know I'm hearing something that wasn't there in the first place.

Gadzooks, I like to over-analyze everything, don't I? Geesh.  On with the show!


Just a family update

I won't waste time apologizing for not posting in a week, as I'm betting for some of you it was a welcome break. I will however offer some explanation:

A) I've just been busy as heck with work. I've said I seem to accomplish more now  in four hours than I used to in twelve under the old owners. I'm only half-kidding. It's amazing what you can get done when you aren't handcuffed by a budget the size of a pimple. I'm enjoying working under the new regime, although some of that might be a honeymoon glow that will wear off in time.

B) I haven't had any time to read anything. For instance, I just now finished 'Salem's Lot, which I've been plugging away at for weeks. With book reading down to a crawl there's been no time to visit other blogs. The guilt of failing to meet the tit-for-tat expectations of blogdom has slowed my desire to post.

C) I've actually been working on my fiction, which is a nifty change of pace.

D) Life, in general, has been hectic.

Ok, brief updates:

1. Me: still employed, still devilishly handsome. I kicked caffeine cold turkey four or five days ago, suffered through one day of exhaustion, and emerged with essentially the same energy level as always. The reason for the change?  I was downing two or three 20 oz. Diet Pepsi Max's a day, along with some standard diet soda, and I was getting a bit jumpy.

2. Lisa: still married to a devilishly handsome man. In high gear to prepare for LuLu's upcoming birthday party and YaYa's dance recital.

3. YaYa: 50 pounds at her last checkup and healthy. However, the doc did announce that she was constipated and prescribed a mild fiber supplement. Despite YaYa's best efforts to convince us that this was a malady worth mounds of sympathy and special attention, we've basically told her to be quiet and start pooping. :)

Last Friday I took a call at work from her school announcing that she had tripped and hit her face against the corner of a desk. No stitches, but a heck of a shiner and a small but glaring gash running horizontally across her left eye. Even now, nearly a week later it's still black and blue.

So guess what? Tuesday was 1st grade's turn to 'host' Mass, and during the homily on the Good Samaritan the priest said "And just last week one of our first graders - I won't say who because I don't want to embarrass them - fell when practicing for Mass and hurt her eye. And you know what? All the people who stopped and helped her? They were Good Samaritans too."

 You should've seen the grin on the kid - she loved the attention from her peers that gave her!

3. LuLu - 40# and healthy. Having some trouble with lower case letters at school but easily passed the 'entrance exam' for K5 next year.

4. Smiley - more and more often he goes #1 on the potty (standing up in front of it actually, which impressed me) and sometimes even #2. Just sometimes mind you.

Sadly, we've given up our long awaited placement at a great Montessori school for the fall and stuck with his special ed class for another year. He still barely talks, but he's shown some improvement. His non-verbal communication has greatly expanded in recent weeks.

5. Baby aka Lump - Lump being a nickname her Mom is trying to make stick. Just fine and dandy, sleeping through the night and a solid 17#. Of late she refuses all attempts to be spoon fed, preferring finger food and/or to slobber food in with her own hands.

I hope to post again tomorrow. Until then, have a good one.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Eating Out with the Family, or How to Ruin a Meal

After work today Lisa and I took the family to Boston Market. The total for three kids meals and two adult versions?


"For $32 I should've gone to Olive Garden," I told the cashier. And I wasn't joking; our Mother's Day meal was $48, and a heck of a lot better.

Still, at least none of the money was burned on tips. The day before I'd taken YaYa out to a restaurant for a father/daughter 'moment' and wound up having one of my old customers - aka one of my old 3rd shift 'regulars' - as my waitress. No chance she didn't recognize me since she greeted me by name when I walked in the door.


Tardy service, a spilled soup, slow refills, and she never once looked me in the eyes, not even when she stopped at my table and chatted for a few minutes, but I still felt compelled to lay down a $5 tip on a $14 meal.

I didn't even have the pleasure of a relaxing meal, since YaYa was a pill. At one point she snapped her fingers at the girl to get her attention - WTF????

"Boy she's mad today," the waitress said.

"No she's not, she's being a brat," I said. "Apologize. Now!"

She did, and was ok the rest of the way, but what an impression to leave behind.

[BUT . . it's not like  I haven't seen the waitress in some of her worst-ever 'please let me forget this night' moments, enough to earn YaYa a pass just this once.]

Another awkward moment: the waitress asked about another regular from back in the day. He was murdered several years ago, taken out in the woods in Michigan and executed, to tell you the truth, but apparently she hadn't heard the news.

Yeah, you try answering the inevitable questions after your kid hears you say that at dinner.

* * * *

In answer to some of the comments:

1. Nope, I haven't seen The Best Man in Grass Creek. but I'll bounce over to Netflix shortly and see if I can't add it to my queue. UPDATE: Couldn't find it there, but the Milwaukee library system has a copy. I'll take a look for it over the weekend.

2. Thanks to FisherKristina for her help in fixing an AOL error that was prohibiting me from posting.

3. Nah, there was no Bluetooth involved at the mall, she was just a kook. I looked real hard for an earpiece but came up empty. But you're right, sometimes those phones lead to all kinds of misunderstandings.

 I once held a Fantasy Baseball draft for a league I ran, right around the birth of bluetooth/hands free technology.  After each selection my buddy Tre would politely intone "John selects Ken Griffey. Ken Griffey" and so on to another owner who couldn't make the physical draft.

 At the end of the draft Tre took out his bluetooth and phone and laid them on the table.

"Oh, thank God," one of the other guys said, honestly relieved. "The whole day I thought you were just some nut who talked to himself."

True story.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

P.S. I Love You


Oh, sure it was sappy, over-the-top, and featured too many Irishmen, but you know what: I really liked this movie.

P.S. I Love You is the movie version of the Cecelia Ahern bestseller. It tells the story of the recently widowed Holly, played by Hilary Swank, who is guided through the grieving process by a series of letters and packages her deceased husband arranged to have delivered in the year after his death.

Swank isn't an actress who's name screams 'romantic comedy', but she does an outstanding job as the grieving Holly. The supporting cast, led by Kathy Bates, Lisa Kudrow, and Harry Connick, Jr,. shine. And the story, while over the top, keeps you involved and pulls at your heart.

Flaws? Not many, and certainly not worth much of a mention. I didn't buy the main characters as 19 and 24 year olds in the flashbacks, but what are you going to do, invent a fountain of youth? I thought the couple squabbled an awful lot, considering we were able to glimpse but the smallest portion of their life together. And SPOILER WARNING I thought her choice of a final  love interest was odd, and an obvious attempt to clone of her late husband. It didn't scream 'I've moved on', which after all was the point of the movie.

As romantic comedies go, 75 out of a 100; on my own scale 80 out of 100.

* * * *
A word about the DVD extras. "The name of the game is Snaps' is one of the oddest but most intriguing DVD extras I've seen. You need to watch it.

Also, the interview with author Cecelia Ahern was sinful. One, because she was all of twenty-one when she wrote the book and made her fortune, and two, because she is very attractive, a true Danny-girl.

[That bleeping Snaps song won't leave my head. 'Snaps is the name of the game, the name of the game is Snaps'.]


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More events of today

After the events at the mall I took LuLu and Smiley to the library. You know all that poetic nostalgia I have for my time as an employee there?

Yeah, tempered a bit.

Today The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel  published an online database of every city employee's salary and financial benefits for 2007.

Naturally, I looked up the folks I know. I was shocked. There are some former co-workers of mine who still have the same position, and all of them have a minimum of 15 years on the job by now, and probably close to twenty.

Even with overtime, the average of the bunch was $25,000.


Then I saw the name of my old supervisor. She's since been promoted and now stands two responsibility/pay levels above my old job. With a hefty chunk of overtime pay she just barely approaches what I made last year.

And for the record, I make diddly-poo by most standards.

So the moral of the story is: I guess you can't go home again, or the grass isn't greener, or whatever other platitude you choose to recite.

And feel free to sock anyone who says all city workers are overpaid.

But I guess I really did make the right choice in leaving the library ten years ago.

Huh. Will wonders never cease?

* * * *

One thing about that online database, and the criminal and civil court records available on the web, and the Department of Neighborhood Services reports, etc.

I understand they've always been open records, available to all.

But I think the web does a disservice by having it sit out there for all to see. If I want to know what Suzie Q makes for a living or when she was busted for meth, I should at least have to put forth the effort to go to the library or city hall to find out.

I think that physical distance weeds out the freaks and the peeping Tom's. If you go all that way to view the info, chances are you had a legitimate reason to do so.

And yes,  I'm guilty of pandering to the voyeristic nature of it too. But hypocrite or not, it isn't right.

* * *

Here's a shock. The city inspector came back today and out of the blue said "now don't go writing about this on Slapinons again."

Turns out he's read the site, and has possibly visited more than once. Oopsie. Small world. 

Quote of the Day, and a Lovely Lady at the Mall

After work today I packed up LuLu and Smiley and headed for the mall to have my wedding ring repaired. Somehow I'd managed to flatten the bottom of the ring, almost to the point it would've stood up on its own if it wasn't so top heavy.

On the way home I called Lisa.

"Yeah, they said it would be a week and I could pick it up next Monday night."

"A week? How bad did you damage it?"

"It hasn't changed since you saw it. I think they just wanted to send it to a goldsmith in Chicago."

"Oh. Well at least it'll be free."[we'd purchased the lifetime warranty back in the day]

"Yeah, but I'm really upset. It's the first time in twelve years that ring's been off my finger for more than a minute."

"Awww, that's sweet. But I know you love me baby.. . "

"Nah, it's not that. I'm upset this didn't happen the week you were out of town. You're really going to cramp my chances now."

"God, how long did it take you to think of  that joke?"

"Oh, about ten seconds after the jeweler told me the news."

Sighs. "Dork."

* * * *

I do miss the ring though. There's a depression around my finger that borders on a permanent disfigurement, like some poor Chinese girl's feet a hundred years ago. And I'm very very used to twisting it constantly. It's absence is  . . bothersome.

* * * * *
On the way out of the mall a black woman walked up to the three of us and said "Loretta! Pull it god da** it! MotherF*er pull the g***amned cord bit**."

Well now. Allrighty. Not cool to say in front of the kids, not that they even noticed.  I quickly gauged the physical threat level, dismissed her, and got on with enjoying my Aunt Annie pretzel.

Priorities and all. Besides, by now I'm used to kooks.

But on the way out I noticed that without meaning to, the woman and my fine trio seemed to be in sync, We turned, she turned. She went left in front of us, we wound up going left. At one point Smiley ran in front of her towards the escalator and I had to push past her, begging her pardon. She said she understood and said 'go ahead" polite as can be.

Ten feet later she began talking to Lorretta again. I noticed security quietly encircling our cozy group and decided it was time to get the kids back to the car. Still not upset, mind you, because this was diddly-poo. This isn't New York, but it ain't Mayberry either.

But the whole way through Boston Store we do the same joined-at-the-hip thing. Every time there was a chance to skip ahead the kids would want to stop and look at this or that, or jump on the giant shoe pics plastered on the floor.

We all walked out the door together, and the woman turned around, flipped the guards the bird, and said "See you later motherf**ers".

By now I've got a smile on my face because its pretty obvious this chick and I are going down together, Bonnie and Clyde style. I can't get rid of her, and now there's cops in cars following behind us. And no, I didn't want to stop walking, because I wasn't keen on the kids seeing more of the show.

It turns out this woman is parked three cars away from us, despite the fact that this is the largest mall in the state of Wisconsin, with a parking lot the size of Rhode Island. As she starts going off on the guards as her grand finale,  Lu starts to argue with me about where she should sit. Man, kids can be oblivious. I felt like laughing.

"Do you not see the crazy lady over there? Did you somehow miss the cops that were following us, or the  car that almost ran over Smiley? What do you think is going on here?  I really don't need to have two little kids get in my way if all hell breaks loose. Get in the bleepin' car"

And yeah, I'm proud to say I actually said 'bleepin'."

Monday, May 19, 2008

Misc Chatter

AOL's being funky tonight. Despite working within their software I have been asked to sign in whenever I visit an AOL owned site, including Slapinions. What a pain.

* * * *

An anniversary of some importance today. It's been two years to the day since I witnessed a fatal accident at work. As cliche as it may be, it seems like only the blink of an eye since it happened. It was easily one of the worst days of my life (and please Lord, let it remain solidly near the top of the heap, never to be bumped down the ladder by something worse)

I thought of that a lot today, especially since an unexpected city inspection took me into the scene of the accident for a long period of time (and yes, the inspection was a coincidence. I asked).

As on that day, my prayers go out to the family of the deceased.

* * * *

Even now, at 10 o'clock at night, I'm bitter that it isn't Memorial Day. All last week I thought today was the holiday. And even though I had planned on working today I'd promised the kids they could stay at Grandma's last night and sleep in. Oopsies. Once I found out the true date  I was strangely disappointed and sulky about it most of the day. Big baby.

* * * *

Since Lu wanted to see the dance concert, me and the two oldest girls threw down for yet another three tickets to Lisa's show yesterday. YaYa really didn't want to go but sucked it up and held it together, and both of them were pretty darn good during the show. Thanks for that.

* * * * *

Word came to me today that a former co-worker from my years at the library has passed away. She was a very large woman of considerable girth. At right around 5 feet tall her weight had a crippling affect and even as early as 1993 she walked with a cane and stopped and wheezed every few feet when in motion.. She continued to deteriorate in my time there, to the point where she became known for soiling the office chairs because of the pressure the weight put on her bowels.

I was always nice to her - believe it or not, my other job did not require me to play the part of the bad guy nor did it make me bitter and snappish - but in the recent years my recollections of her have joined a sort of supporting cast in my head: the knife-wielding transsexual, the morbidly obese woman, the mousy super friendly guy who carried pocket notebooks, the homeless customers, etc. She became a caricature, and frankly I feel guilty about that now that she's dead.

But you know what really sucks? She was recruited, heavily recruited, in her home state of Iowa by Marquette University, attended the school here on a full scholarship, picked up two degrees including one in philosophy, and then wasted the rest of her life on an entry level civil service job and ate herself to a lonely death over the course of the last thirty years. She used to say it was Gods Will. What a waste. What a lousy waste.

* * * *

On a similar but less dire score, Saturday marked two years since I ventured into Weight Watchers. Six months later I had dropped fifty pounds, then quit smoking and put it all back and more. I don't know, maybe the smoking was just an excuse to return to the food I love. Who knows? 

But I reckon it's time to start trying again.

My Kid Could Paint That - Review


Outside of politics and religion few things can get people as fired up as a debate on the value of modern art.

It's easy at first glance to dismiss it as lazy, a brainless splattering of paint created by someone who couldn't make the cut in the world of 'real' painting. Even within the art world there's a hardy core of people who decry it as little more than decorative wallpaper, or as a reviewer once described Jackson Pollack's work "a joke in bad taste."

That perception lies at the heart of My Kid Could Paint That, a documentary on the career of Marla Omstead. At the time of the film Marla was a four year old prodigy who's abstract canvases sold for thousands and made her the talk of the media. Then a 60 Minutes expose alleged that her father, not her, was the true painter and an intense backlash began. Today, after having videotaped her creative process to refute the charges Marla continues to sell paintings, but the controversy never truly died out. The filmed work differs in tone and style from her other pieces, and questions about their authenticity linger.

The filmaker never blatantly chooses sides, but by his choice of what conversations and film to include, it's clear he believes fraud was involved.

My own opinion? I think she did a lot of the painting, but I think her  father stepped in to help her out,  maybe simply by 'directing' her, or by finishing them himself. He certainly does himself no favors in this film. On camera he comes across as a stage Dad eager for the limelight, pushy with his daughter, a bit creepy, and if body language means anything, estranged from his wife.

No matter; I wasn't there. I can't tell you if she did the work herself, and neither can the director. More to the point - does it matter who painted them? Either way the paintings are stunning, 'worthy of the Metropolitan' or so one reviewer states on camera.. So if Marla didn't paint them, and her father did, who cares?

Apparently a whole bunch of people. I'm not naive. I know that a doodle from Da Vinci is worth more than a masterpiece from you or me. But it surprises me that it matters so much in this case. It's more than a financial issue, it's as if the artistic worth of the pieces are based solely on the girl.

I don't get it. To my mind having the paintings debunked would seem to be a boon to the art world. No matter their level of sophistication, how much of life and love and emotion can a four year old instill in a painting? As it stands, the paintings might be technically proficient but devoid of depth.

Ok, if she was outed your pocketbook would take a hit. But wouldn't you look at the canvas on your wall knowing that a grown man with a lifetime of experiences under his belt created it  and say "wow, there really is X and Y and G in this piece, and it truly means R and S and C?" Doesn't that mean something?

I guess not. And if you think that isn't the center of this whole Marla 'issue' top to bottom, you're crazy. Watch the film and listen to the condescension the gallery owner, Marla's gallery owner, has for abstract art as a hyper-realist himself.

It's all about our obsession with liking and valuing this work while at the same time holding it in contempt. It's twisted, it's foolish, and it's very real.

An interesting film, but short in length, wishy-washy on announcing the director's bias even while it's obviously atwork, and arguably guilty of (further) exploiting the child. As documentaries go, 74 out of 100.

* * * *

I used to scoff at modern art and consider it junk, but it's growing on me as I get older. I spent part of this evening on No Ordinary Moment looking at some pieces and thinking that I should encourage Lisa to paint something to hang on the office walls. Interested Lis?

Oh, one more thing. Marla might have more talent than other kids, but part of that can be chalked up to her parents. Honestly, if one of my kids just started dumping paint on a canvas in the quantity she does to start a piece, I'd freak out, scold them for wasting my hard earned money, and shoo them to bed. Kudos for them - and their pocketbook - for allowing her to give it a go in the first place.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The 2008 Dance Recital

This weekend is a big one in the Slapinions household because it's home to the annual dance recitals. Best of all, after fifteen years Lisa has returned to dancing and is performing throughout the weekend.

Previous dance recitals were amply covered here. Check them out if you have time - 2005, 2007, (two that year actually) even the awful, please Lord-let-me-forget-about-it May of 2006 wasn't strong enough to completely deny a post.

With Lis in the show I was responsible for hauling YaYa, her friend Sophia, Chris' daughters Faith (who was in a dance at the Bradley Center herself recently) and Meadow to the gig. The venue had changed from Whitefish Bay High to another suburban high school where, thankfully, parking is no longer a problem.

We joined Lisa's father, Mom, and stepdad at the show. Sadly no one from my side was able to attend due to scheduling conflicts.

Lu was a lion in 'The Lion Sleeps Tonight' and I had difficulty discerning which dancer was her  because of the makeup and costume. [Believe me Lu, I tried honey.] But, I can honestly say all the kids were good, as 4 year olds go :)

Lisa did the opening dance, a ballet number, and a tap dance. She prefers tap and I watched the dance with a smile on my face because you could see  from the balcony how happy she was to be tapping away.

Outside of the family numbers, I have to give credit to some unexpected choreography during the Oz Medley, a very impressive Phantom of the Opera number, and a great seated dance from Will Rogers Follies.

A few numbers into the show Lisa's longtime childhood dance instructor, Donna Jeanne, showed up to watch her former pupil.

Lisa wrote it off as nothing because she bought the tickets for Donna and her boyfriend. Pbbbt, I said. You could buy me tickets  for someone's music recital and I'd be danged if I'd show up . . .  unless I cared for the person and was genuinely interested.

Here's Lis and Lu

and her and YaYa

Lu and Meadow:

and Jaspare, Lisa's step-Dad

* * * *

Afterwards YaYa begged to have her friend stay overnight. After refusing a half dozen times I said it'd be up to Sophia's Mom. I thought I was in the clear, as she's always said no. Nope, she was quick to agree, and I was up poop creek :)

That set off Lu, who started crying and saying "it's not my day anymo', now it's her's. So I said we'd rent a movie and she'd have sole dibs on picking it out.

At Blockbuster I had a Moment of Maturity: Lu wanted to rent Barbie's Princess and the Pauper, which they've seen a zillion times and own to boot, although God knows where the DVD is at home. Instead I tried pushing her to pick up the new Barbie Fairy movie. It was ridiculous, I thought, that she'd even ask to rent that old movie.

She demurred, and when I looked down at her I realized she was trying to politely but firmly stick to her gut yet was a minute away from conceding. It doesn't matter, I thought, What difference does it make what movie she wants to watch? Pick your battles, why hurt her feelings over something as lame as this?

"Here Lu, let's rent Pauper," I said, and she was one happy camper.

Then I asked what she wanted to eat, and she said "Pizza Pizza' which is the kid's term for Little Caesear's. I wasn't having that but and wanted to treat them to dinner, so I compromised by taking them to the slightly upscale Italian Restaurant across the street from our house.

"This is the fanciest restaurant I ever ate in," said Sophia. And with a trio of kiddie cocktails (extra cherries) and a pizza, the kids were great company.

When it was rounded out by watching Princess and the Pauper  which is a pretty fine film, I will admit - and later a Diamondbacks/Detroitgame, itwas a fine day all around.

Lost: There's No Place Like Home, pt. 1

I feel like a bit of a charlatan writing a summary of Lost this week, because nothing happened. The season was supposed to conclude with a two-hour episode, with this being the first half. Then the writer's strike ruined the year and the finale was expanded to three hours, with this bit lopped off and sent away on its own like the black sheep of the family.

To me it just felt incomplete.  I think it was blatantly obvious that this was Act I of a play that was rudely interrupted.

Ok. With that rant out of the way, on with the show.

On the island Jack and Kate set out after the helicopter and run into Sawyer and Aaron. With the news of the attack on 'New Otherton' Jack sets out on his own and sends Kate and Aaron back to the beach. Sawyer reluctantly joins Jack, admonishing him that 'you don't get to die alone'.

Meanwhile Sayid has returned to the island with the freighter's lifeboat and Daniel, having voiced an urgent need to get off the isle, ferry's the first group of six back to the freighter, Sun and Aaron among them.

Which would be great, save for the fact that Desmond has found an entire room full of armed explosives aboard the ship, just waiting to be detonated.

Meanwhile Sayid and Kate set out after Jack (is it just me, or do these people wander off in the jungle looking for one another a lot?) Kate displays tracking skills worthy of the Deerslayer but it doesn't help much. Richard and the Others capture them and lead them away.

Jack and Sawyer eventually find the helicopter and learn Hurley is with Ben and Locke. Seeing as that group is headed for an ambush at the Orchid station they decide to . . go wander off in the jungle looking for them.

Off the island, in the near future, we see the Oceanic Six re-introduced to the world. Their families, with the exception of Kate's, are waiting for them.


In  a press conference their fictitious escape from 815 is detailed. Eight - not six - 815 passengers escaped and spent a day in the water before beaching on an uncharted island. Kate gave birth to Aaron there. Then on Day 103 they found an abandoned sailboat on and escaped to a nearby island, blah blah.

Later we see Jack reunite with his Mom and hold a memorial servicefor his father. Claire's Mom comes up to him and in a very Empire Strikes Back moment, tells him Claire was his half-sister. Oh, the shock!

Sayid is reunited with Nadia and they marry in time to attend Hugo's birthday party. At the party Hurley sees the 'numbers' on the odometer of his car and freaks out.

Meanwhile Sun has gone behind her father's back and purchased a controlling interest in his company. This was as revenge for her father's hatred of Jin, which she blames for his death.

And . . yeah, that's pretty much it. A lot of folks moving around doing nothing, accomplishing nothing. Whoo-hoo.

No big questions to ask or debate, so I'll leave you with this: Lost has two seasons left. Without question the Oceanic Six will probably leave the island in this season's finale. I assume at some point Jack and crew will return, as hinted at in his breakdown last year. But aside from that story arc, where will the future of Lost lie?

Will the show move off island and concentrate on the Sayid/Ben vs. Widmore/Desmond motif, or will it continue as is, with the Oceanic Six occupying one aspect of the show and the remaining survivors (still on the Island) continuing with their own life?

Will there be any remaining survivors? Dialogue hints say Sawyer survives at least long enough to decide to remain, but as for the rest, I can't see them choosing to stay (except Rose and Bernard).

I don't know. But I do know that I'm hoping the two hour finale wipes the floor with this below average episode.

Friday, May 16, 2008

New Kids on the Block on the 'Today' Show

Wouldn't you know it, I go through all that hassle for the Chicago tickets and they go and expand the tour by leaps and bounds, including a MILWAUKEE show a mere two days after Lisa's birthday.

Man, I've been to Joe's house (ok, stood outside his driveway on a public street). Seeing as I have his address I might as well just mail the guy a check, since they seem intent on taking all my money anyhow.

Lisa's talking about selling the Chi-town tickets if we score good ones here, but I'm leaning towards going to both, maybe taking YaYa to the Chicago concert if Lisa's friend opts out of the second show. Oh, yeah, yet another of my wife's childhood friends has come acallin' for tickets, so this is turning into a bit of a group outing.

To reiterate, I am not gay. Attending the concert with Lisa would be enjoyable and memorable. Attending it with her and a friend, still enjoyable, still memorable, with maybe a bit of the luster taken off. Going to a show with a bunch of screaming women who will spend the evening gushing about how they will use and abuse the guys on stage until parts fall off may just breach my self-imposed ( and admittedly low) standards of minimum testosterone.

(Naturally, I'm blowing smoke. I'll go.)

Anywho, NKOTB appeared on the Today show this morning and performed for the first time in nearly 15 years. I thought they seemed mighty rusty on the opening medley of old hits, did grand on their new song Summertime, and were fine if not awe-inspiring on Tonight. Donnie was still a gansta attention hog, Joe and Jordan did most of the singing, Danny stayed in the background, and Jon looked scared as hell. Serves him right, what with Lisa wearing a 'I heart Jon' button at our wedding. That's karma biting you in the butt Jon; you better recognize.

I kid I kid.

Here's the clips of the show. By the way, and I'm not saying this to justify my manhood, but which one of their wives gave the go-ahead for those backup dancers? The girl in the black mini at about a minute and a half into  Summertime . . Yowsas.

And for the serious fan, here's the lyrics to Summertime.

Jones Beach 1988. Come on!

Do you remember,
Or should I rewind,
To that summer when you caught my eye,
I played it cool,
The weather was hot,
You had the beauty and the beach on lock.

With your flip flops, half shirt, short shorts, mini skirt,
Walkin' on the beach, so pretty,
You wasn't lookin' for a man,
When you saw me in the sand,
But you fell for the boy from the city.

I was like, "hey, girl, can I get your number"
I remember what you told me too,
"Don't call after ten"
But you know that I did,
'Cause I couldn't stop thinkin' 'bout you.

I think about you in the summertime,
(Oh oh)
And all the good times we had, baby,
Been a few years and I can't deny,
(Oh oh)
The thought of you still makes me crazy,
I think about you in the summertime,
(Oh oh)
I'm sittin' here in the sun with you on my mind.
You're my, my summertime.

Do you remember,
I'll never forget,
Touchin' your body all soakin' wet,
The water was cool,
The feelin' was hot,
Kissin' on you while the ocean rocked.

In your strapless sundress,
Kickin' back, no stress,
As long as we was together,
'Cause we were feelin' young love,
And we couldn't get enough.
Baby, I could reminisce forever.

And now I'm like,
Hey, girl, don't you know I miss it,
And I wonder if you miss it too,
Never thought it would end 'til it did,
Now, I'm here and I can't stopthinkin' 'bout you.

I think about you in the summertime,
(Oh oh)
And all the good times we had, baby,
Been a few years and I can't deny,
(Oh oh)
The thought of you still makes me crazy,
I think about you in the summertime,
I'm sittin' here in the sun with you on my mind.
You're my, my summertime.

Spoken: Break it down.

Summer ended,
Winter started,
It got colder,
When we parted ways,
(Spoken: I like this part.)
As the seasons change.
(Spoken: Bring it forward, bring it back)
Winter melted,
Spring I felt it,
Summertime will never be the same,
(Without you. My summertime.)
My summertime.

I think about you in the summertime,
I think about you
(Oh oh)
And all the good times we had, baby,
We had baby
It's been a few years and I can't deny,
I can't deny
(Oh oh)
The thought of you still makes me crazy,
Makes me crazy
I think about you in the summertime,
I'm sittin' here in the sun with you on my mind.
On my mind,
My summertime.

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, oh yeah

Here's a grand karaoke style version of the song w/ lyrics attached.

Kurt Cobain, and a story of Hole in concert

I think it's downright deplorable that more than a month has passed since the anniversary of his death and I have yet to post in memory of Kurt Cobain.

I know, I know - most of you have no interest in the lead singer of Nirvana. A close friend of mine online has called him a 'loser' and a 'druggie' and even Lisa, while tolerant of my love for Nirvana, secretly dismisses their music as noise and hold them accountable for the death of New Kids.

"School ended and everyone was wearing NKOTB shirts. . . school started in the fall and those same girls were wearing flannel."

Nirvana didn't kill off NKOTB - they had already peaked - but I'm proud to say they did knock Michael Jackson out of the #1 slot, never to return.

I won't go into a long post about Kurt. Instead I'll direct you to a long post I wrote a few years ago. It was over-the-top in parts but it's far from the worst thing I ever wrote.

Ringing endorsement, huh?

* * *

Hand in hand with a love of Kurt seems to be a distaste for . . or outright hatred of his wife Yoko Ono/Maria/Holly/Heather McCartney, a.k.a. Courtney Love. As a cowinkydink, here's the second of three comments an employee (World Traveler) wrote to Slapinons. It tells of seeing Courtney's band Hole in concert.

I have edited it for content, because the man has a knack for vulgarity that would make me pirate grandpappy proud.

So, I will repeat what I so arduously attempted to put down last night. 
A long, long time ago in a barrio far, far away, past Boyle Heights, Past East L.A., Past Pacoima, Downey, I mean way out there hombre, Lived a gangly group of fellows:  Dark Vatos, Chewy tobacco, Han Cholo and Princess laidup.  There it was a coffee shop as coffee shops were wont to be in poor, dangerous and dark, deep darkest areas of Los Angeles, a few suburban white kids crossed the color barrier to see a show at the "Natural Fudge Cafe."  We are talking old school, before Lesbians felt safe playing folk songs in Coffee shops or "Coffee Houses" as then they were called.    Am I taking too long getting to the point, too bad!  This is not your forum, eh?
Our purpose in trekking past our demographic restrictions was to see a band I am most sure you would approve of called "The Imperial But Wizards."  More on them later.  So, we paid our three dollars and were entreated to a skanky, dirty, dirty-blonde string bag screaming into the microphone with increasing intensity:  "I am not going to f’king strip anymore."  Now, this is long before girls in various parts of the country incorporated words like "Fing and MotherF*er" so we were a bit interested for the first few and then began to boo with the rest of the ten or twelve in the audience.
The Band of course was "Hole" and it had to be all in all, the worst excuse for a headliner.  Most certainly, they did not rate opening up for the But Wizards.  The Bass player was a drunken [redacted] who just held onto the bass like Jimmy Page permanently bent over his Gibson Les Paul.  She didn't even attempt to play, which at least was honest.  The drummer wasn't all that bad and perhaps was the only one with any talent.  I think she could keep time.  Heavy, large and with a chin stud-- than rather avant garde -- she was pretty as an old washtub.  The guitar player was a dude with long hair, unshaven, no makeup and a pull over summer dress.  He was assiduously watching the fretboard, trying to recall the bar chords to the only song they could play over and over again, Neil Young's, "Cinnamon Girl."  He could not keep time nor could he fret a simple bar chord, but no matter. 
Later on, weeks after the show after leaving a .45 Grave concert at Raji's on Hollywood Blvd, I struck up a conversation with the aforementioned drummer.  I found her intimidating and big and she invited mefor coffee but I begged out.  Still, I had to ask her about the Vanilla Fudge Concert a few weeks back and it was all she could do to say that next time, she would be singing and that Courtney was stripping for a reason, track marks not withstanding. 
[redacted], I want to get on with the real show, the Imperial But Wizards and I would like to refer you to .45 Grave, a most talented, parody death rock band whose lead singer,"Dinah Cancer" [redacted].  But always keep them wanting more, eh.  So for next time, doglast

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A review of 'Teeth' - Warning: Adult Subject Matter



Dear Readers: I'm pretty danged sure that the film I'm about to review will appall many of you, so read on only with care. I'll tiptoe around some stuff, but don't let the kids read it.

Yesterday I went to Blockbuster and picked up the movie Teeth. I called home and read Lisa the box cover. "What kind of video store are you at?" she asked, but granted her approval when I told her the manager's opinion, which was that it was an awful film, 'truly terrible but hilariously funny'.

Teeth is the tale of Dawn, a Christian virgin committed to abstinence who has an unusual genetic adaptation. Inside her genitalia is a set of razor sharp teeth; she is the embodiment of the 'vagina dentata' myth, which frankly I've never heard of but seems to have been quite prevalent in the legends of many ancient people.

At a pivotal point in the film Dawn is date-raped and her teeth defend her, severing her attacker's . . well, you know. In the shock of the rape's aftermath she abandons her vows of purity. Eventually, after chopping off a gynecologist's fingers and emasculating another lover, she learns to control her 'gift'. In the background her evil step-brother has always desired her, and . . .

Ok, the reviews on this film are mainly positive. It's called a dark comedy, a witty feminist film, and a 'twisted tale of female empowerment'.

I didn't get it.

No, it's not the castration thing, as most of the victims were up to no good (although the lover who irked her during sex got a raw deal). I just wanted to laugh, or at least be grossed out.

None of it struck me as funny,except the gynecologist scene. "Vagina Dentata! Arggh! Vagina Dentata!" Really though, what male gyno sees ateenager without a female nurse present?

I think much of the perceived 'comedy' must spring from the depiction of Dawn as a Christian role model in her community. She not only practices abstinence but openly preaches it to groups of school kids. I don't think that's funny. I don't agree with their stance and certainly never tried to put it into practice (although the females of Milwaukee did their darndest to make sure I tried). It's their sincere belief and seeing as it does no harm, I say 'whatever'. Having this happen to her is an odd twist of fate, and it beefs up the story, but funny? No.

On the other hand, the movie was much more solid than I expected, and if you take away the goofy teeth and some of the schlock it would be a fine indy film. A great performance by Jess Wiexler, and nice to see Lenny von Dohlen as the step-Dad, who I remember primarily from Electric Dreams back in the '80's.

2.0 stars out of 4;  2.25 stars if you include the film's poster tagline of  'Every Rose has it's Thorns'.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blaze by Richard Bachman/Stephen King


I've described my binge-and-purge method of reading before, but I'll summarize it again. I will gobble up everything by an author in a period of one or two weeks, then get sick of it and not pick it up again for years.

Right now, I'm on a Stephen King kick. I've bought 20 or more King books, in various editions, over the last two and a half weeks.  (God bless thrift stores and their 69 cent novels!)

Blaze is a trunk novel, one King wrote in the '70's under the penname of Richard Bachman and then put aside for decades.  Allegedly it's the last of the Bachman books (honest and true this time) which would be grand, because the 'death by cancer of the pseudonym' stuff got old 15 years ago.

It's a pretty good yarn with an tried and tested plot.  A rich couple's baby is abducted in the night by Blaze, a mentally impaired giant of a man. He wants to ransom it off but winds up falling in love with the boy instead. The police are close to capturing him, and small wonder: at one point Blaze uses his own name when negotiating the ransom.

It's a 'straight' book, with no horror or supernatural influences. Even the voice of Blaze's deceased partner is well and truly in Blaze's damaged mind. For the briefest of moments late in the book King hints at something more, something otherworldly, but that passes and the reader moves on. To my mind it was an awkward moment that jarred the tone of the book, but that's either my imagination or one of the reasons King buried the book for so long.

I liked it. Not a prize winner, and not something I think will be in print in twenty years, but a good read. 2.5/3.0 stars out of 4.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mother's Day, Quote of the Day, a reading challenge, and problems with a neighbor

Hope you all had a great Mothers Day.

The kids and I bought Lisa a painting entitled 'Winter Trees' for the holiday. I'll probably post a picture of it once it's on the wall. Midmorning we bummed around a strip mall for a bit and then headed over to Olive Garden for lunch, where the kids were so awful at first that I stood up and said I wanted to go home. They quickly turned it around once the first breadstick arrived and were angels from that point forward, but they spent the rest of the afternoon at my Mom's house. That last bit was probably the best gift I gave Lisa the whole day.

Oh, my apologies. The baby was an angel start to finish. I don't want to lump her in with the rest of the troublemakers.

Anyhow, overheard at lunch:

LuLu: I'm a vampire, and I'm gonna suck your blood!

YaYa, w/ full head bob-and-shake: Nuh-uh. I'm a zombie, and I'm already dead so you can't suck my blood.

LuLu: Dad!

Me: It's true, zombies are the living dead. Even if they have blood I doubt you could drink it.  It's not good for you.

YaYa: Ha! Now I'm going to eat you!

 I casually dipped a breadstick. Then:  Well, zombies do eat flesh. But a vampire is pretty close to immortal, so I'm not sure how that would work. Seems like a no-win situation.

LuLu (singsong): Ha Ha! You can't eat me!

* * * *

On Friday the city showed up at my door in response to a neighbor's (and I use the term neighbor loosely) complaint that we are running a day care. It was their second complaint in a year. 

A f'ing day care. Whatever. There are days we can barely handle our four, no one here is looking to add someone else's kids to the mix.

The impetus for the call seems to be what the complaint refers to as 'children of multiple ethnicities' being dropped off at 'all hours of the day and night'. Last things first: my kids are in the house and on the way to bed at 7 pm, and the only time someone here is up past midnight is when the baby's crying.

Back to the first part. Chris' kids are half-black, and apparently that's reason enough for someone to call, and more surprisingly, for the city to respond.

I wrote a long and scathing post about this on my 'test journal' but I've buried it becase, frankly, I need to bury my anger, period. The city inspector blew off the complaint and said he'd pop a note in the records to ignore any future calls on the subject, but I am pissed.

Serenity now. Serenity now.

* * * *

One more thing. At the mall I bought YaYa a book for $1 ("He said it was either that or nothing, so I said fine, I'll take it") and she read it aloud to her siblings all the way to my Mom's. This was a book based on a German folk tale, and it featured some pretty hard words and a whole heck of a lot of text per page. 

 I say this to the world: quit bragging about your kid's reading to me. I hear you, I do, saying X is the best reader in his 1st grade class and he's bound for advanced placement. Here's what I say: must be a weak school system. YaYa's already chewing on a Nancy Drew book before bed. She's six and a half.

Bring it. I dog dare ya. One on one readoff, anytime, anyplace, YaYa vs any other 1st grader out there :)

The family radio commercial 2007

I came across these pictures and wanted to put them online. While there was never a reason not to, it just seemed awkward to do so under the company's old ownership, since some of the work was on their behalf.

Lisa has done some voice work here in Milwaukee for me, and a smidgeon down in Illinois. This isn't a job (yet), as it's mainly just as a favor to me and some contacts of mine that were in need of a female voice announcer.

Once upon a time YaYa teamed up with her for a cute radio commercial, and in early 2007 both of my girls did another commercial with their pregnant Mom. I remember the girls were in foul moods that day and were difficult to work with; not exactly a page from Shirley Temple's Book on Resume Building.

Here's the pics.

Someday, if I ever completely sever ties with the company, I'll post the actual commercials. Until then, anonymity takes precedence.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lars and the Real Girl



If I start out this review by telling you that Lars and the Real Girl is a film about a man who falls in love, legitimately in love, with a sex doll, most of you will yell 'pass' and move on.

Well, yes. It is about a man who falls in love with a sex doll. But don't 'x' out just yet.

Lars is a fine film, sweet and intelligent and filled with the notion of putting mankind's best, most noble features on display. It is, and I say this with only a hint of wise-ass, the kind of movie Frank Capra would have made had he been allowed to work with sex toys.

Lars (Ryan Gosling)  is an emotionally stunted 28 year old man leaving in the garage of the house he owns with his brother. He  is the victim of a father who shunned him and an older brother who ran away to escape that fate, leaving Lars alone to face the silence of their dysfunctional household.

Now, as an adult, Lars is a functioning member of society, and a surprisingly popular one. He is viewed as honest and sweet, but he does not reciprocate their affection; he can't. The touch of another human brings him physical pain and his social skill set is akin to that of a hermit.

One day he announces he has a new girlfriend. Her name is Bianca and she is a life-like 'love doll' that he genuinely believes to be real. The delusion is so pervasive that Lars falls well and truly in love.

Under the direction of a psychologist, ably played by Patricia Clarkson, the townsfolk surprisingly embrace her. By doing so, it's believed he will in time overcome his own creation and resume 'normal' life. Along the way Lars begins to have feelings for a co-worker, and an odd love triangle begins.

The townsfolk are the cornerstone of the film. It embraces the idea that, even in this day and age, a community would rally around one of its fallen members and go beyond the limits of ordinary kindness to try and bring him back from the brink. Would it happen? Who knows?

Sure, it's over the top. But each time you think it's going to go too far over that line it pulls back and skips in another direction. The acting is superb and the script deftly orchestrates Lars' building desire to return to the world and rejoin life.

Honesty a grand little movie. Not a comedy, despite its billing, and not a romance or a drama either . . something, well, something a little of all of the above.

4 stars out of 5.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lost: Cabin Fever Season Four, episode 11

I can understand people who disagree with my taste in some things, but the people who scorn Lost boggle my mind. It is intricately plotted, imaginitive in its scope, and very well acted,  If I went to my grave having created something remotely as good, I'd die happy.

Thursday's episode, which I was able to view for the first time yesterday on, continues a string of solid episodes that make this fourth season seem like an apology for the last. It even did one thing I never thought possilbe: it made John Locke seem interesting to me.

The show opens in the late '50's when a teenage Emily Locke is struck by a car.

In the hospital her injuries for her to give birth to a premature baby she names 'John'. The nurses are proud to point out John overcomes pneumonia, infections, etc in the hospital, revealing an odd if not necessarily unnatural ability to recover his health.

Born out of wedlock, the father is identified only by a passing comment by Emily's mother that he is 'twice her (Emily's) age'.

To me this comment is a revelation, as the man known as Anthony Cooper, long considered John's father, doesn't fit the description. Even if Emily is 15 when the events happen and her Mother exaggerates the man's age, that would still put him, converseravtively, at 25 to 30 at the time. Cooper is not a 75 to 80 year old man when he is killed by Sawyer.

And then the funky stuff begins to show up. In the hospital Richard Alpert shows up, looking not a day younger than he does fifty years later when he recruits Juliet for the Others.

Twice more he shows up in John's young life. At a foster family's house he poses as a  recruiter for a school for 'gifted' children, and lays out six items in front of John. He asks him which items belong to him - not which items he would like, but which items belong to him already.

From the items John chooses a vial of granules and a compass, and leans towards choosing a 'Book of Laws', a holy book of the Bahá'í Faith. At the last second he skips the book and chooses a knife, a decision that angers Richard and leads to him storming out of the house.

I am no expert, but my understanding is that the Bahá'í Faith preaches that it is a unifying force that will unite the worlds religions and inaugurate a time of peace and justice. Its founder claimed to be the next step in the scriptural line of messengers that runs from Abraham to Jesus to Mohammed, and so on.

Richard next enters his life via a high school science teacher, who mentions that John is being recruited by a laboratory in Portland (where Juliet was told she'd work, remember?). John, a victim of bullies, erupts when his teacher suggests he embrace science rather than pining for an athletic life that will never be his.

The crippled adult John is then treated to a sermon of sorts from an orderly, who is none other than Matthew Abanddon. Abanddon encourages him to take an Australian walkabout, the very one that will lead to his flight on 815, and then says John will one day 'owe him one'.

On the island John is treated to a dream. In it a Dharma employee named Horace is building a cabin, the cabin. Horace mentions he's been dead 12 years (thereby placing the Purge at ~1992) and that John needs to find him to find Jacob's cabin.


John journeys to the pit of the Dharma dead, where he uncovers Horace's body and pulls a map from his pocket.

On their way to the cabin Ben discounts John's attempts to pin the Purge on him, saying it wasn't his decision. He also bemoans the fact that the island has abandoned him and chosen Locke as its guardian, and warns Locke that being 'chosen' has its own price.

They find the cabin and Locke enters alone. Inside he find Christian Sheppard, Jack's deceased Dad, who says he is not Jacob but authorized to speak for him. With him is Claire (told ya she was dead folks). John emerges with a solution as to how to save the island.

"He wants us to move the island."

* * *

On the freighter Michael's duplicity is discovered and he is tortured. Keamy tries to kill him several times but is prevented by a faulty gun - or is it the island?, and then loads the chopper with enough military supplies to 'burn' the island, and dons what appears to be a detonator on his arm.  The ships captain tries to stop him and is killed, and Keamy slices the throat of the Doctor and throws him overboard to convince Frank to pilot the chopper against his wishes.

Meanwhile the captain had allowed Sayid to escape back to the island on a life raft, but Desmond chose to stay behind and wait for Penny.

As the inbound chopper passes the beach camp Frank tosses out his satellite phone, which appears to be tracking the helicopter, which Jack interprets  as a sign to follow the chopper.

* * * *

Ok, here's my take:

1. John is obviously 'chosen' and has been since birth, but in the larger view of things it would appear the island guided 815 to its doom, at least to some degree. Therefore, when you also consider that it also was able to 'protect' Michael back in the States, the force behind the island is very powerful, very far reaching, and not bound by what we would consider purely ethical criteria.  

2. Time is vastly distorted on the island. The doctor's corpse washed ashore a day or more before he was killed, and Richard is perpetually young. Yet Ben appears to have grown to adulthood on the island in the conventional number of years, as had his daughter.

3. The Sheppard family have some special status on the isle, as they all seem to have been drawn there and now two (deceased) members are representing Jacob.

4. Who is Jacob? Who is the 'leader' of the Others Ben spoke of? Is it Jacob?

5. Are Matthew and Richard on the same 'team' or acting in opposition?

6. Who is John's true father? Is it Jacob, or perhaps Charles Widmore, who may have his own secret history of time distortion?

7. How the heck do you 'move' an island?

8. Why is the island still protecting Michael, but allowed him to remain in captivity while the seek and destroy mission took off?

9. I take the items Richard displayed to indicate the inner workings of the subjects mind, like a 3 D Rorschach test. Obviously John failed, but it was because he sabotaged himself. I think he wanted to select the Book of Laws, but he yearns for a life of physical power as he does right up until the current day, and thus picked up the knife.

10. Claire's put on some weight this season, especially in the face. Or am I crazy? Is she pregnant in real-life? Could that be a reason to 'write her out' of the show at this point?

11. When Emily ran out of the hospital room, saying she 'couldn't do this' (hold John) your first inclination is to say it's a teenage Mom who can't deal with her mistake. But what if it goes deeper than that, and she cannot accept that she is involved in a larger plot? She could be a non-virgin Mary of sorts, a 'host' for a Chosen one. That could be a lot to handle.

12. To account for the three episodes lost to the writer's strike, ABC is adding one hour to each of the final two seasons and one to this fourth year.

27 Dresses

Let it be known (but never spoken of in mixed company) that I like romantic comedies.  I sought out Serendipity in the theater, I have yet to find a Hugh Grant movie I didn't enjoy, I adored 13 going on 30 and I even find the upcoming (and no doubt atrocious) Maid to Order, starring Patrick Dempsey as a male bridesmaid, an item of interest.

I hope that gives me enough metrosexual street cred for people to take notice when I say I really didn't care for 27 Dresses. I didn't hate it, but in the words of the Prophet Isiah, I didn't dig it either.

Katherine Heigl of Grey's Anatomy (aka Clone of Clarize Theron) stars as a 27 time bridesmaid who has a secret crush on her boss. She's the quiet doormat type and as she keeps silent about her feelings her younger sister swoops in, romances, and gets engaged to The Man of Her Dreams. 

Cue the *Real* Man of Her Dreams,  a professional writer assigned to*gasp!*  the wedding page of the local paper. Not just any wedding writer, no; he's also a great writer, a wordsmith that she adores in print. She clips out and keeps copies of his articles, believe it or not. Oh, and yeah, she just can't stand the guy in person.

And away we go. 

Ok, first beef: Not to rehash the 2004 election here, but there is a world that exists outside of New York City and Los Angeles. If our local paper has a wedding section at all it's nominal, and it certainly doesn't print feature length articles about society folk celebrating their fourth marriage. I'm willing to bet Topeka and Springfield and Tulsa probably don't have one either. Granted, that's a minor beef, but it immediately distanced the viewer from the events on screen.

Second: It was mystifyingly predictable. Midway through I turned to my wife and said "You know what will happen? A will lead to B which brings us to either D or F. If it's F then X and Y happen, but if it's D then W will lead to R. Guaranteed."

In fact I was wrong. A did lead to B, followed by F. But then they threw me for a loop - Y and then X took place. It was a complete shock!

Third: Hollywood's penchant for writing in the part of the 'unattractive but promiscuous best friend who is popular with men but hides her insecurities beneath a thin veneer of biting comments'. Congratulations Judy Greer, you have found your niche.

Fourth: their emotionally distant and utterly useless father got on my nerves.

Fifth: The inconsistent characters. This is one of my pet peeves. People can act against their nature, but there better be a reason for it. It doesn't happen in the blink of an eye. I probably won't  just wake up happy one morning, have breakfast and then decide to leave my wife and children, any more than Socialist would wake up, have breakfast, and suddenly decide he wanted to reverse his life course and have children after all. Both actions are against our natures as perceived by the public; if we're in a movie and act against them, the writer better have a damn good reason.

But in 27 Dresses the younger sister is introduced as a worldly, gorgeous, and sexually confident career woman who loves her family but rarely sees them.. Skip ahead a few scenes and she feels compelled to lie about nearly everything about herself because she thinks she can't 'get' a man otherwise. Then a few scenes later she is a complete and selfish bit*h  at the expense of her sister. She also, magically, loses about 100 IQ points from the first act to the second.

I just think that was sloppy work.

Now one big but here: my wife loved the movie. Usually we can agree at least in principle on most films, but at the same time I was writing it off in my head she was vocally addressing the characters on screen. After listening to this for awhile, and hearing her go 'oh no!' at one 'pivotal' scene, I turned to her. "Are you f*'ing with me, or are we watching completely different movies?"

To each his own I guess.

Again, it wasn't awful, just fodder for the discount rack at Blockbuster in a few months time. It could have been better, but I'll grant you the whole preposterous car crash-Bennie and the Jets sing-along-sex scene was a hoot.

I give the movie  2.5 out of 5. What did you think of it?