March 29, 2006

Potential Hotel Amenities That Could Be Just As Meaningless as "Turndown Service"

  1. Chair Pre-Angling Feature

  2. TV Remote Pre-Cursed for Dead Batteries

  3. Beds Jumped On Prior to Check-In

  4. Honor Bar Door Pre-Jiggled to Make Sure it Really Is Locked

  5. Fire Exit Map Pre-Ignored

  6. TV Pre-Presumed to be Somehow Broadcasting My Every Move to Some Closed-Circuit Pervert

Posted by Chris on 03/29/06

What of the Bible? There's something funny to be said about that. Or... is it too cliche?


I'll wait here.

Posted by: Big Fat Brian at March 30, 2006 7:06 AM

The Bible...pre-guilt tripped for only glancing at it briefly in hotel rooms gone by and battling feelings of “not getting it.”

Posted by: your cousin in-law in AZ at March 30, 2006 7:24 AM

No Bible in this Hotel. Perhaps they could tell I was Unaffiliated when I arrived.

Posted by: Chris at March 30, 2006 3:18 PM

you're unaffiliated??!

I'm going to have to use my newfound ministerial ordainment to convert you to the one true faith.

Ya na kadishtu nilgh'ri stell'bsna Nyogtha,
K'yarnak phlegethor l'ebumna syha'h n'ghft,
Ya hai kadishtu ep r'luh-eeh Nyogtha eeh,
S'uhn-ngh athg li'hee orr'e syha'h.

Posted by: olmy at March 31, 2006 7:09 AM

Might I add: hooker pre-spunked and awkwardly asked to leave.

Might I add this? Might I?

Posted by: simon at March 31, 2006 7:44 PM

That all depends... are you adding simply the CONCEPT, or the ACTUAL HOOKER?

'Cause I think a few of us MIGHT have an issue with the actual hooker. Maybe.

And Chris, perhaps they were trying to tell me something, the hotel we were at in Iowa offered up BOTH a Bible AND the Book of Mormon! Oh dear... what does that say about me?

Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at April 3, 2006 8:27 AM

"HOOKER?" "PRE-SPUNKED?" Have I been redirected to the Hustler Humor page? I'm calling Jesus right now and filing a complaint.

Posted by: Fattyfat at April 3, 2006 11:03 AM

I shouldn't have used the word "hooker", I should have put "sex worker" instead, so no one has an issue. Ah, semantics.

(Or is the concept of sex the nub of the issue, maybe?)

Posted by: simon at April 5, 2006 2:01 PM

March 26, 2006

Christopher Durang Explains It All For You

From playwright Christopher Durang's blog on the Huffington Post (At least I HOPE it's his blog), a post I'd like to hang on to:

As we know, Christ came down to earth to instruct us in the ways in which we must limit our sexual expression. He may have said the Beatitudes one stray weekend between appearances at the Knights of Columbus, He may have said startling things like "love thy enemy," "turn the other cheek," and "resist not the evil doer" - but He either meant those as quirky but meaningless bromides, or perhaps they've been mistranslated, and He actually said "God is my co-pilot, and whenever you go to war, know that God is right beside you, killing people too."

Posted by Chris on 03/26/06

March 21, 2006

Six Bullets for Tuesday

That is not the title of a film noir*, but the format for today's blogging.

  • Firewall. Sadly, my reaction to this movie is, enh. Just "enh." It had some exciting bits but I felt I'd seen it all before. Probably for obsessive Harrison Ford fans only. And truly, when it comes to that point in the movie where he batters a goon who so richly deserved it, it's done as only he can.

    In fact there should be a Harrison Ford Fight Club, where guys get together and have not these brutal, bloody Tyler Durgan fights in basements, but they show up in sort of nice academic attire and have fights because they have to, to protect their family, with lots of slamming and battering and at the end, you'd grab your opponent by the lapels, pull him close, and say "NOW GET OFF MY PLANE" or "WHERE'S MY WIFE" before delivering that last, solid roundhouse.

  • I am sad to report my most unfortunate and extreme video game addiction ever. Yes, EVER. Including Goldeneye, Adventure on Atari 2600, and all the Zeldas. And it is to a laughably generically-named game called Space Empires IV.

    This is a simple space empire game, like so many others I've played, but it's turn-based. You don't fly ships around or aim guns, you issue orders. And it's not 3D, it's all on a stylized map. You gather resources, design ships, trade or declare war on the other computer players, you open warps to other systems, you blow up their planets or collapse their star, you build space stations, you make plans, you - oh God. It is such geeky, geeky greatness.

    It is like the best board game you ever had that you could never get anyone to play because it took forever and there were jillions of pieces - only the board unfolds to the size of your whole yard and all the pieces are automated. Help.

  • Thank You for Smoking. Very funny. Aaron Eckhart is great. Maybe a little thin on reflection but a good time was had by all.

  • Libertine. Johnny Depp - brilliant. Malkovich? Pike, Morton? Great. But I was not involved in this tale of the Earl of Rochester's debauchery. Here's a man who flaunted society's rules, indulging in every sexual passion, drank constantly - and at the end, who would have guessed, dies of syphillis.

    There was no indication that he was burning himself out at a young age for any real reason. For the first third there's an idea that training Samantha Morton's character may be his great work, that he can only achieve greatness through the very excess that would kill him - but then that sort of fades away. He turns his tribute to the King into a bawdy farce, he falls into disfavor - and then he sort of spirals away.

    In the prologue we are warned that we will not like the main character. It is not that I did not like him, it's that I didn't see what made his life a tale worth telling.

  • The IT Crowd. A friend sent me a link to this hilarious BBC show on Youtube. Check it out - it's just 20 minutes or so.

  • I think Trance has to be one of the most egregiously-misnamed of music genres. Up-tempo oontz music isn't going to put me into any sort of trance state. Maybe it should be called "Migraine." Or maybe I should start taking X first.

    *If it WERE a film noir, it would be a tale of revenge, with a Robert Mitchum-type lead exacting revenge on the six people who conspired against him and left him for dead. The "six bullets" would refer to the bullets he loaded his revolver with, each of them with a bad guy's name etched on it - and the last one he'd save for that double-crossing dame (Barbra Stanwyck) who not only left him for dead, she stole his heart as well.

    Posted by Chris on 03/21/06
  • March 20, 2006

    A Simple Rule

    It's that time of year again. And I'd like to establish a simple rule for the I.R.S. that I think is only fair.

    I'm not a person that owns anything of value. I have no dependents, no extra exemptions, and I'm not itemizing. So I don't think I should even have to TOUCH a 1040, or think about it.

    Because you've had all year to get your money from me, every time I got a paycheck.

    I say if you think you missed out on anything, I should be able to keep it at this point.

    Posted by Chris on 03/20/06

    March 16, 2006

    My Money is No Good Here

    The public transportation system here is not as bad as everyone says. True, there is not much of the light rail that I loved so much in Chicago, and none of that small amount reaches me here in West L.A. or Brentwood Adjacent or Nearly Santa Monica or wherever it's said that I live - but there are buses a'plenty, I never have to wait long for one, and they are rarely crowded.

    But one thing they have not quite got the hang of on the Blue Buses are the "fare cards" - those debit cards that you add money to and stick in the slot to pay for your ride. Specifically it is the "adding money" part which gives them trouble.

    In Chicago you can go into any station anywhere and add dollars to your card, then use them on a train or bus. Here you can really only do it in at the front of the moving bus.

    Now, I have sympathy for a bus driver who has to both drive and administer the card system at the same time. I'm sure that whenever I ask to put money on my card I am putting people's live in danger. But the way that most Blue Bus drivers deal with it, I have found, is by not. My wrinkled five-dollar bill will get spit back out by the machine, the driver will scowl and say "Try it next time," and then they will wave me back into the bus for a free ride.

    In this manner, with this one wrinkled five dollar bill at the ready, I rode for free on the Blue Bus for two solid weeks. Until one determined driver actually got so annoyed that he pulled over so that he could make the machine work. I was much loved that day on the bus.

    Posted by Chris on 03/16/06

    March 15, 2006

    Sandra Day O'Connor: Dead to me

    From Eric Alterman's MSNBC blog:

    Sandra Day O’Connor, a conservative Republican ex-Supreme Court Justice spoke at Georgetown last week. The only reporter present was NPR’s Nina Totenberg. Nobody else covered the speech, but here’s what she said: attacks on the judiciary by some Republican leaders pose a direct threat to our constitutional freedoms.

    No really.

    And while she didn’t name Tom Delay, you could not mistake her target. She quoted his attacks on the courts at a meeting of the conservative Christian group Justice Sunday last year when DeLay took out after the courts for rulings on abortions, prayer and the Terri Schiavo case.

    How interesting, Sandra. And you know what else is a direct threat to constitutional freedom? You retiring while George W. Bush is in office. Thanks a lot.

    In fact, I am employing the new service Snubster, below, which Friend John told me about today, to make it official: You, Sandra, are DEAD TO ME.

    Posted by Chris on 03/15/06

    March 14, 2006

    The thing about lawyers...

    ... is that you have to picture them as little 13-year-old girls. When they decide that they want something they will go through their little ritual of histrionics and tantrums and precocious little turns of language, because they spent so much time and money in school learning how to do just that, and all of it for the most part can be ignored.

    You, as the adult, must be patient and wait out the little drama. Because what is the point of trying to out-teen-drama-queen a 13-year old? Soon they will be spent and in the welcome quiet you will be able to parse through their impressive presentation to get to the actual nugget of information.

    And then you must ask yourself: after this whole pageant, what is it that they think they want? And can I give it to them? If so, go ahead. As an adult you know it will just be easier to let them think they have Clarence Darrowed their way to yet another great victory. Apologies to the good ones out there, but that world is not mine.

    Why the comparatively much less potent Landlord gives me fits yet I seem to have the number of that truer menace in the Fiend Folio of Life - the Lawyer - I do not know. But I recently had an unpleasant series of communiques from a legal type that, had it been from a Landlord, would have caused no end of cursing and throwing and blog-posting. But for some reason after the whole session of professional brachiating and alpha-dogging and corporate CCing fanfare was over, I just shrugged and moved on. Go figure.

    Posted by Chris on 03/14/06

    Hey, will you just CLEAN UP the damn M drive already Chris? Ye Gods, man...

    Posted by: Ranger Dekiion at March 14, 2006 6:12 PM

    of course, the prosecution must point out that you can find more disk storage in a flash drive than what you provide all of the lawyers globally.

    Posted by: william jennings bryan at March 15, 2006 11:00 AM

    POINT OF ORDER! This discussion has become far too specific and as such I ask that it be stricken from the record and I ask the judge to have the jury disregard it!

    Posted by: Chris at March 15, 2006 2:42 PM

    March 9, 2006

    India is the Miller's Crossing of the I.T. World

    On Wednesdays there's an early conference call for everyone in the I.T. department. 6 AM for me and the others on the west coast, 8 for the Chicago office, 9 AM for most folks at headquarters and on the East Coast. We do it early so that the folks in the India office can get on at a reasonable hour.

    So I struggle bleary-eyed out of bed when it's still dark outside, and people are taking the early train all over America to get in and give our updates. And then at the end "India" gets on and it's this one guy on his cell phone, on the way home, usually a different guy every time, and he says maybe two sentences about how things are steady-state. And that's it.

    Considering India is where the majority of our business is, it's a bit of an anti-climax.

    Also considering the near-constant threat of one's job "going over to India," I am forced to conclude that there IS no India. Or rather, there is, but it's just a metaphorical place - it's where they send you in I.T. when you have to be professionally whacked. If I ever get asked to go to the India office I'm leaving all my jewelry and bling at home before I go, like Donnie Brasco.

    Posted by Chris on 03/ 9/06

    Hmmm. India and Michael Bay's "The Island" both start with "I." Coincidence, or something more?

    Posted by: Foley at March 9, 2006 12:41 PM

    I've just been on the phone with Hollywood. You're to be "disappeared" for this revelation, Foley.

    Posted by: Chris at March 9, 2006 1:11 PM

    March 8, 2006

    A Note I'd Leave For My Personal Assistant If I Had One

    Doreen -

  • I know you're new here, but you've got to get on top of the personal correspondence. I keep getting these reminders pop up for birthdays that are more than a month old. And some of them are kids! A late birthday for a kid means definitely a nicer gift if I'm to maintain the "fun uncle" ruse, so this is getting expensive.

    P.S. - I'm not saying you have to actually forge my signature on the cards, but if you could have them lined up for me ready to go so I could do it, that would be great. ;) And please don't ask me if I like certain cards - whatever you pick will be fine.

  • Lately when I walk to work I am not passing the "quickly check my look in the store window" test. Today I thought I had it going on with the hair product but when I caught my reflection I actually did a double-take it was so wrong. I look to you to let me know if I have some Vincent Price thing going on with the hair-do, OK Doreen?

    And don't be afraid to tell me when I have toothpaste on my mouth or if the collar's unbuttoned. You know I'm scatter-brained about these things - and I can't be going to these meetings looking like some "special" person who doesn't know any better.

  • You're going to have to do a better job explaining the South Beach thing, Doreen. (I've chosen to call you Doreen - I hope that's OK) I know there's a list in the book of what's in and what's out, but is there a simple mnemonic I can use? If none existing, can you make one up? For instance: were there carbs in the doughnut I had this morning? If so, were they the "good" kind? See, I don't even know if there are "good" and "bad" carbs!

    P.S. OK, I know that doughnuts are out but my confusion is real. Throw something on my calendar so we can sit down and you can explain it again. In fact let's make it a lunch thing and you can demonstrate the actual foods I shoudn't be eating.

  • I hope it is OK with you if I wait a bit longer 'til I clean out the other room for your office. I know it can't be convenient to handle everything standing up in the kitchen but you can see space is tight. Also, since you don't exist, I'm assuming it's not a big issue. Thanks for your patience!

  • Re: The Blog. If I don't update it every day just pull something from the past and re-post it. Better yet, keep a tape recorder handy and I'll toss you some choice nuggets on my way to and fro. You know, something about airline food or the President. It's a stream-of-conscious thing anyway, people won't notice.

  • Doreen, I thought you told me you were a certified Notary when I hired you. Listen, Toots - maybe I didn't make it clear from the get-go but I need a Notary in here all the time, see? I've got plenty of papers that need to be official with the stamp and what not. And I don't mean hustling them down to Louie on the corner every time I need the imprint on something! I could have the shoe-shine kid do that for a nickel and a cigarette!

    Tell you what's what - get on those pretty little getaway sticks and hoof it down to City Hall or wherever so you can take the test. How hard can it be? We need that Toot Sweet, see?

  • Hey - good job on making the office both professional and also a pleasant place to work lately! I'm happy to have clients in here. ;)

  • Doreen - sorry about the "Toots" thing. Occasionally I like to talk in the 1930's vernacular. It helps me to work sometimes if I imagine I'm Sam Spade. Hope that's not a problem - I DO NOT want to be one of "those" bosses!!! So you have to tell me when it's over the line.

  • Hey, how many weeks ago did I have that meeting at FIND?!? Have we not followed up with that guy re: the Film Festival press kit? Also, please get that list of possible film festivals for "Plant," and please let's get all the movies put on DVD.

  • Why am I not having meetings with more industry professionals? Are there messages you're not giving me? COME ON DOREEN!

    Posted by Chris on 03/ 8/06
  • March 7, 2006

    The Hollywood Monolith

    One thing about this time of year is the constant talk from both sides of the political spectrum about how Hollywood is out of touch with America, or how Hollywood decided to foist a pro-gay agenda on family values, or how Hollywood made a bunch of movies this year that examined important social issues, etc.

    Hollywood becomes a convenient group for people on the right or left to point to - but I don't think "Hollywood" decides to do anything. I don't think there's a monolithic Hollywood committee that sits down in a smoke-filled room anywhere and decides what movies will be coming out in a given year, just like there's not a single Academy that sits down in chambers and decides together who will win an Oscar.

    Hollywood isn't like the military, all moving forward under one chain of command. It's a huge group of different executives putting movies out there, some trying to make a lot of money by following the trends, some trying to make the money and be socially conscious, some just doing whatever tickles them that day, all of them competing for our attention.

    Certainly you can make the case that the studio ownership is consolidated under a very few people, but have you counted the number of logos that appear before the movie these days? All separate groups. All making independent decisions. You can read the year's output of mainstream American films or who wins what at the Oscars as some sort of organized statement but I think you'd do just as well reading tea leaves.

    Posted by Chris on 03/ 7/06

    Hollywood told you to write that.

    Posted by: simon at March 8, 2006 6:08 AM

    DAMN! What was the give away? The classic three-act structure of the post? The obligatory fart jokes? The latest pop songs playing over the credits?

    Posted by: Chris at March 8, 2006 7:34 AM

    March 2, 2006

    Melinda and Melinda / Match Point

    "Melinda and Melinda" angered me so much that I was ready to write something about how much Woody Allen has coasted by on his early career. But then I checked with IMDB to remind me of his movies and now I am a bit embarrassed. Good Lord, there are some great films on that list. What's the point of even listing them, there are so many greats.

    But it's at least fair to say that none of the movies in this century have been very good. And there's been such a string of badness that I'm not even sure the "every other film is good" rule applies anymore.

    "Melinda and Melinda" is so God-awful bad that I cannot warn you away from it enough. There is a great idea there but by the first twenty minutes I didn't care about it any more. To say the dialogue in this film is stilted is to do a disservice to stilts. It's like listening to students perform Greek theatre. There's no excuse for it. They should bury this movie and put those gigantic spikes around it, the ones designed to warn future civilizations against radioactive dumping grounds.

    "Match Point" is not nearly as bad as that - it's entertaining and Jonathan Rhys Meyers is very good, but to a large degree what is interesting about the movie is the novelty factor. Woody Allen doing a movie that doesn't take place in NY and that has a murder angle to it? That's new! But when it's all said and done, the story isn't that great. And I'm afraid Scarlett Johannsen is showing herself to be an actress who needs a very good script and a very good director, not just a famous one.

    Posted by Chris on 03/ 2/06

    This reminds me of when OPUS worked as the film critic for the Bloom Picayune and he reviewed Benji Saves Everything.

    And he goes on for panels and panels about how horrid the movie was, and then the last panel is "Well, maybe not THAT bad, but Lord, it isn't good".

    So, really, you're sort of like a penguin.

    Posted by: friend jessica at March 3, 2006 8:41 AM

    March 1, 2006

    You Can't Eat Just One!

    Snack executives were pleased with their new Crunch-MMMs™ product until it was discovered that consumers were taking the You Can't Eat Just One!© slogan literally. Within days of the worldwide release of the snack people were dying in waves from ruptured stomachs and complete intestinal blockage.

    Unfortunately the first move by the company to stem the vast number of deaths being caused by their product cost valuable time and countless more lives: believing it was the incredible sweet / savory flavor combination of the Crunch-MMMs™ that kept people eating them until they died, they tasked their Flavor Experts with creating an equally delicious yet appetite-supressing counter-snack, one that would lull consumers away from the fatal Crunch-MMMs™. This proved fruitless.

    Finally after many more gruesome deaths it was discovered that the problem was not the substance of the snack but with the implied legal stricture of the slogan. Consumers seemed to have internalized the idea that the "Just One" in question referred not to the cumulative total of Crunch-MMMs™ eaten in one sitting, but the "Just One" they held in their hand in the moment of bringing it from the box to the mouth. Stuck in a sort of Xeno's Snacking Paradox, consumers in every nation were compelled to eat one Crunch-MMMs™ after the next without stop, since they could not eat just one.

    By the time FEMA had dispatched lawyers to every region to counteract the slogan with flawless legal logic, the world-wide death toll was catastrophic.

    Within weeks, and not unaware of the irony of their own situation, it was the morbidly obese members of the planet's population that ended up inheriting the Earth. They alone had possessed the intestinal fortitude - and capacity - to eat and eat the snack and not fall to rupturing. But as a happy coda to the long global nightmare, because many of the obese were also meek, the religious fundamentalists did not protest.


    Posted by Chris on 03/ 1/06