Saturday, January 28, 2006


Photo: The Pluto Probe begins its fantastic journey.

Photo: A United Airlines flight bound for Durango. All of the passengers were under the age of ten when they first began making a reservation. (The little girl was recently adopted).

Question: What does the the lovely ski town of Durango have in common with the planet Pluto?

The Answer: Far more than you might ever imagine ---

Recently, NASA launched a satellite probe to Pluto. The $700 million "New Horizons" mission will take ten years to reach its destination some 3 billion miles from earth. Nestled at the far reaches of our solar system, the route taken will be a bit circuitous in order to take advantage of gravitational forces from the various planets, etc. along the way.

So far, all has gone well.

Yesterday, I finally succeeded in making my reservations via United Airlines to travel from San Antonio, Texas to Durango, Colorado, which is nestled in the southwest corner of the Rocky Mountain state.

1. Like the Pluto probe, the cost of my single round-trip ticket is damn close to $700 million.

2. Like the Pluto probe, the time taken to finally secure this reservation took damn near ten years before I reached my modest objective -- the issuance of a single e-ticket. The unbelievable difficulty encountered was courtesy of both the Draconian website and the autochthonous, supposedly automated telephone system this two-bit air carrier has seen fit to install.

3. Like the Pluto probe, the route I must fly is so circuitous it will almost match the distance the "New Horizons" satellite is having to take to reach its far more demanding destination.

So far, all has gone wretchedly bad. Be sure to check back for more updates regarding this "Durango Debacle."

Friday, January 27, 2006


As the UFO Museum is to the Smithsonian...

(Hey, it's a start...and the real question is whether or not I inhale).


Based on the following two Haiku Reviews by Jerry L. Nelson it appears this GARDENER is more "incontinent" than "constant."


Jerry L. Nelson

hard to listen to
could be blessing in disguise...
story has root rot

grows too many plots
no green thumb for this gard'ner
prefer weed killer

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Vicks VapoRub

Another frickin' denial from a high-profile athlete -- this time it is Michael Vick, today's quick pick for being a dick.

Little brother Marcus stomps on an opposing player in the Gator Bowl, an obvious and unprovoked premeditated act that is witnessed by 70,000 people in the stands and millions on TV, and his older brother yesterday speaks out and has the temerity to say, "I know Marcus. He's not the kind of kid that's going to do something like that on purpose."

Bullshit. What planet are you on, Michael?

"Sometimes your emotions just take it's time to move on."

Where? To jail, apparently, since this little angel was arrested and charged with pulling a gun on three teenagers in Virginia just three days later.

I am personally sick and tired of millionaire pro athletes who absolutely will not take responsibility for their actions or, in this case, admit that a sniveling scum-bag brother is guilty of ANYTHING. Just shut up, will ya? You come across even dumber than you look.

Yes, these Vicks rub me the wrong way.

Friday, January 13, 2006

THE DISH -- Hearty Fare For The Hungry Cineast

First, the good news:

THE DISH isn't about crazy Aunt Hildebeth's okra infested homemade potato salad that she religiously prepared for every bi-monthly Luthern pot luck dinner. Hallelujah...

Now, the great news:

This "DISH" is a beguilingly amusing and entertaining Australian film that endearingly evokes the magical days of arguably man's greatest scientific achievement ever -- the 1969 moon landing. Hallelujah all over again...

Flawlessly directed by Rob Sitch, this gem of a movie features a big dish (of the satellite kind), a big heart and some surprisingly big ideas. Memorable scenes abound; one of my favorites is when the U.S. Ambassador visits the gigantic radio telescope in Parkes, New South Wales, at the crucial time it has lost all contact with the Lunar Lander. Not wanting to fess up to the situation, the four scientists (three Australians/one American sent by NASA) revert to deceiving their esteemed guest by having one pretend his is the voice of Neil Armstrong using a microphone in an adjacent part of the structure. The Ambassador leaves very happy and very impressed. "It sounded like he was in the next room!" he declares later to a crowded gathering of local dignitaries. But back at the ranch the pressure was building to unbearable proportions.

Yes, Houston did have a problem. The one and only communication link to this truly epic event in recorded history was a satellite dish in rural Australia with a few bugs. And a few hundred sheep. The sheep may not have cared, but virtually all of mankind did.

A small, but devout group of doubters still abound, questioning whether or not the moon landing was real or the result of an elaborate hoax of unprecedented proportions. Having said this, no one should doubt nor question whether or not this is one of THE best films on the shelves of your local video store. As Gary Thompson of the Philadelphia Daily News declared, THE DISH is "a movie of small steps that manages, in the end, to make a giant dramatic leap."

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Could This Be A Jewhad?

This was posted by MSN News just a little while ago:

"Thousands of Muslim pilgrims rushing to complete a symbolic stoning ritual during the hajj tripped over luggage Thursday, causing a crush in which up to 400 people were killed."

It was also reported that more than 1,000 were injured.

A GOD-DAMN STONING??? LUGGAGE??? Are you kidding me?

What in the name of Shirley Jackson and American Tourister is going on here? Comedy Central will never, ever top this...

Monday, January 09, 2006

GRAHAM CRACKERS -- What's In A Name?

Congratulations to Rice University.

The hiring of Todd Graham appears to be a terrific choice to lead the once-proud Owls football program back to respectability. It also appers Mr. Graham has assembled a young but highly-motivated and energetic group of assistants, capped by yesterday's announcement that former UT quarterback Major Applewhite will take over the role of Offensive Coordinator. I cannot help but believe that the Major will prove to be a phenomenal hire.

So, if Todd Graham and crew is anywhere near as successful as Wayne Graham is coaching the vaunted Owl baseball program, then "the little school that could" will become "the little school that will" -- WIN that is -- on the gridiron as well as on the diamond.

I wonder if there are any other coaches named Graham headed to Rice in the foreseeable future. In checking my various sources it doesn't appear that Nostradamus thinks so. Neither does my good friend (and Rice graduate) Graham Ulrich. Then again, THIS Graham lives in Crested Butte and so I doubt he even cares. After all, as I learned when I lived there myself, nothing below 7,000 feet matters.

Rootie toot toot...

Thursday, January 05, 2006


My nerves last night were more frayed than the pom-poms in the palms of the lovely UT Cheerleaders. Copious quantities of Grolsch, then Tecate and then Labatt Blue dulled the nerves not one bit. (Talk about being international). And given the amount of cerveza imbibed, I probably am now the same size as Mark Mangino, especially given the fact that I was so glued to my Mitsubishi that I didn't even pee during the second half. So I waddle today instead of walk; and a liver transplant may be on the horizon. But I honestly don't care because when all (well, almost) all was said and done I had been witness to the undeniable, nothing can ever top this, holy mother of pearl GREATEST GAME OF THE CENTURY!

I know what you are thinking...

There's been at least a dozen, possibly more, GAMES OF THE CENTURY, including my previous favorite -- the 1969 Longhorn victory over the Arkansas Razorbacks when President Nixon declared UT the National Champions. There's also no doubt that there will be many more GAMES OF THE CENTURY in the years ahead, so I am sure you are wanting to suggest that I not get overly carried away with this year's Rose Bowl game. But carried away I will be...even if it is by an 18-wheeler.

Dallas-based screenwriter Chad Draper, in his brilliant script FALSE RIVER, has a line or two of dialogue that comes to mind. After a chance meeting, followed by a nice romp in the sack, a character named Tina says:

"Let me be your Love Goddess. I know you have plenty of other Love Goddesses where you come from -- but let me be your Love Goddess here for now and forever more."

The 2006 edition of the Rose Bowl has become for me here, now and forever more my GAME OF THE CENTURY. Life's good. I am at total peace with myself. There's nothing else that can top this. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

By the way, when does baseball season start?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006


Movies about the film industry are more plentiful than pubic hairs on Osama bin Laden's daughter. And that's saying a lot.

A few are absolutely terrific -- I consider Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 one of the best motion pictures ever made. Most, however, are dreadful at best given their smug, self-serving glorification and incontinent insider innuendo. Yes, the film industry is populated by self-centered egotists rivaled only by two other groups of individuals: Televangelists and their Wives (oh Lord, those wives!) and by frumpy Real Estate Agents who plaster billboards and business cards with a pathetic photo of their pasty-ass faces. Makes you want to puke...

But I digress.

John Waters' CECIL B. DEMENTED is a slightly salacious salute to guerrilla filmmaking. It attacks Hollywood and the studio cretins who continue to crank out mindless drivel for the masses. It also gently berates technically incompetent, pretentious independent filmmakers. Pot shots are poked at both ends of the spectrum; it is a fun flick possessed with wit, wisdom and wanton wackiness.

Perhaps Roger Ebert described John Waters best when he said: "He is an anarchist in an age of the cautious, an independent in an age of studio creatures, a man whose films are homemade and contain no chemicals or preservatives." Well put, Mr. E. -- and with a cast including Melanie Griffith, Stephen Dorff, Ricki Lake, Mink Stole and Patricia Hearst (yes, that Patricia Hearst), CECIL B. DEMENTED is well worth the rental fee at Blockbuster. As the tagline said: "Demented Forever!"