Turns out the movie was marketed wrong. In the states it was marketed as a big effects movie. Watching it, it was a fairy tale. A fairy tale in a great way.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Turns out the movie was marketed wrong. In the states it was marketed as a big effects movie. Watching it, it was a fairy tale. A fairy tale in a great way.
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
They had struggled and worked to make every payment but were about to fall behind. Their lender wouldn't refinance or freeze their rate (their lender was "Countrysomething" but not CountryWide.) The lender had not responded to their last 4 letters or to calls to talk about the loan. If there were problems, the lender was going to foreclose. They had paid these rate hikes for like 2 1/2 years, and were now getting late.
ABC News called and the lender agreed to refinance at 7% - where the lender made money and where this family was more than able to make all the payments. Ta Da! Everyone happy, no one foreclosed,.
But, as ABC noted, this wouldn't have happened if ABC News didn't call. And the ABC News "investment experts" explained that they would have told the family - without a new loan the family should default. As the house wasn't worth the mortgage and they were essentially over paying rent. (Their words.)
But the family didn't want to default, they loved the house and are happy to pay 7% (would have agreed to 9% easily). And this wasn't a mansion. It was a $140,000 house and they have 3 teenage boys. One of which dropped out of Junior College to help with the bills.
So here's the rub in my brain. I don't want people to lose their homes, but I don't want the government to bail out greedy banks who are forcing this issue either. And, by government in the previous sentence, I mean tax dollars. And yes, I know the irony that I work for a greedy bank.
It seems to me that the proposed government bailouts that have been floated have the rates frozen in place with government guarantees to pay them back. That would have frozen this couple at 14%. They either barely make the payments (which were about $2,100 at 14%) or the government pays - and by "government I mean you and I . However the fix of a refi at 7% dropped the payment to $1,300 a month. They make the payments, the kid goes back to school. The bank borrows the money from the fed at 3.75% and lends it at 7%. Everyone makes out.
Those people who were paying 14% were getting fleeced. What "benchmark" loan rate would continue to rise 1% every 6 months to 14% now? What was it tied to? And I understand that banks would rather foreclose on a middling percentage of expensive loans instead of having to freeze or refinance all expensive loans - and lose lose some vast profits in the process . But it seems wrong to me.
I don't want a "fix" that is a handout of my money to banks and a screwing of the people in trouble.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Then you go into the bathroom, and the little puppy is stuck in the bathtub. And he waits for you to get him out.
Anyway, I love the album, and I have Mickey to thank. So there you go.
Monday, January 28, 2008
And the surge was suppose to buy time for the Iraqi's to pull their act together, politically. It hasn't and we have armed the Sunni's to help us tame the regions that the Shites can't control. But...
Having bitched about that (and pretty much everything else Bush does), can I say the surge has done one thing that everyone can applaud. It has reduced deaths - both in our military and civilian life. It has free'd the United States Military to work with the locals - whoever they are - to bring a better life to ordinary people.
I would like to commend President Bush for that change. I am happy (and was proved wrong) as he accepted the changes on the ground which have lead to a better life for the locals and for our service men and women. No bullshit here. Just credit where it is due. The US Army and Marines have been working their asses off to make life better. The President changed tactics to help it occur. Kudos to both.
As a people I think it is incumbant on us to honor those who scrafice so much, when things go right or wrong. As a democracy I think it is incumbant on us to raise the warnings when we think our government is wrong and equally important to raise a voice in agreement when things go right.
Saturday, January 26, 2008
Friday, January 25, 2008
According to MSNBC, it will be "... part “Little Girl Lost” by Drew Barrymore and part inside look at being an “it” girl."
So it will be the sad story of a girl used by Hollywood and how FABulous it was to be queen of nightclubs. The mind reels. Although it does provide an opportunity to show the pre and post boob job pictures (check the nose too!).
Then they moved them to a Sunday.
Then they moved them from the last Monday in March to sometime around winter solstice.
Take a basic year - I took 1995 at random. The nominees for Best Picture were Apollo 13, Babe, Braveheart (winner), Il Postino and Sense & Sensability. Can you imagine any of those even getting a nomination this year!!!
Atonement (years of suffering due to a lying little brat)
There will be Blood (innocent steals millions of dollars and heroin and is hunted by cold blooded killers)
No Country for Old Men (Cruel and Angry Man makes money by driving everyone away and finding oil: my guess is that "Cruel and Angry Man" were the stage directions for Daniel Day Lewis).
Juno (happy uplifting tale of pregnant high schooler: comedy)
Micheal Clayton (well.. this is really a great movie so I have nothing bad to say about it)
Either by accident or bad luck, the move to the Kodak Theater has coincided with the movement of nominations from "Best" of the year to " Most Bloated and Atrsy-Fartsy" of the year. I mean, I thought The Bourne movie was great fun, fast moving, well shot and interesting. Could have used a steady cam, but that is a minor issue. But, apparently, too many people saw it and liked it.
In the old days, one or two nominations were held for self-important pictures (let's call it "The English Patient" effect). Now all the nominations, except maybe one, are held for self-important pictures that we (the public) are too dumb to want to see.
One last thing - then I will leave this subject because the Oscars are no longer fun. No matter how many awards Javier Bardem wins... I don't think walking around expressionless blowing people away is the "Best Supporting Actor" performance. I mean, give the hair and makeup man the award. A store manican could have done this performance.
PS: Go see Micheal Clayton. It's good and sneaks up on you.
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
No U.S. leader wants to admit how bad the damage may get from the one-two punch of the credit crunch and housing slump."
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Part of my "not too cold" delusion is that Ed's family in Minnesota is suffering through a wind chill of -40 (funny enough, -40C). It's hard to worry about 20F when friends are in the -40s, but the old Scooter could have done it. Perhaps it is deeper and more concerning change.
Have I grown used to the cold?
Have I grown a layer of fat for the cold? (yes)
What has become of the nice California boy who shivered in 60 degrees (only 1 degree above the 50s!).
Saturday, January 19, 2008
Well, it recently sold again for (wait for it)... $1,035,000! It was a 1921 house! There are four prices on the graph. We purchased the first one and sold the second one. We made about $200K on it. After that the next buyers added a bathroom. Apparently after they sold, the next buyers added a bedroom. I don't know where unless they tore down the back house (the rest of the lot wasn't big enough to legally build on.) Wow!
Friday, January 18, 2008
One has to marvel at the mere ability of verbiage, properly placed and ordered, to touch even the most emotionally immature among us.
Written by a self-important twit.
It is amazing how a really good writer can move me to tears just in the way he describes something.
Written by a fan.
Language, itself, can influence the primal state of the reader by both cadence and vocabulary.
Written by a teacher.
I love words.
Written by Scooter.
I guess this comes to my mind because of the post below - in which I think a very good writer has taken the lazy route to finishing a review.
Movie that appeals to a lot of people?
Incomprehensible piece of claptrap, in which you can't understand the characters due to birth defect, overdone horrible accent or Charleen Theron's stupidly fake buck teeth?
So, of course, they would hate Cloverfield. Manohla Dargis tears it a new one (to put it inelegantly). However ... one must admire the viciousness of the put down deep into the review. I applaud Manohla for the general review.
True, s/he does forget to close the thought with which the paragraph is opened - so atwitter was s/he that the words were to see the light of day; so I take points off for that.
I put the paragraph in question to you. It is both tight as a drum and sloppy - oddly enough my criticism of him or her neatly parallels his or her criticism of the movie! Wheels within wheels.
For a brief, hopeful moment, I thought the filmmakers might be making a point about how the contemporary compulsion to record the world has dulled us to actual lived experience, ncluding the suffering of others — you know, something about the simulacrum syndrome in the post-Godzilla age at the intersection of the camera eye with the narcissistic “I.” Certainly this straw-grasping seemed the most charitable way to explain characters whose lack of personality (“This is crazy, dude!”) is matched only by their incomprehensible stupidity. Smart as Tater Tots and just as differentiated, Rob and his ragtag crew behave like people who have never watched a monster movie or the genre-savvy “Scream” flicks or even an episode of “Lost” (Hello, Mr.
Abrams!), much less experienced the real horrors of Sept. 11.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Here is why. My mom & Nick and Jo & Don. Now that they are all retired and living on savings or pensions (I don't know which or how much and it's none of my beeswax) they have a steady income stream.
Let's say they started last year with $10,000 in savings. They got 3% interest. They end the year with $10,300 ($10,000 + interest). But that $10,300 only buys $9,890 worth of stuff. This might seem pretty esoteric - I grant you.
But if inflation accelerates then they will be broke in a few years . And they they will try to move in with me - and that isn't esoteric at all! I like them all, but I only have a 1 bedroom (you know - if inflation continues).
So why is inflation high? the price of energy.
Why is energy getting more expensive? because it is priced in dollars, and the value of dollars is falling in relation to the crap sheiks like to buy (Mercedes, Tag watches, houses in Monaco- all priced in Euro's). So... in order to buy the same amount of crap, the sheiks need more dollars.
Why is the dollar falling? because the government spends a shitload more than it earns. They can print money or borrow to make up the difference (unlike you and me). But if they print / borrow extra money there are more dollars chasing the same amount of crap.
Let's say there were 100 Million Dollars chasing 100Million Euros of stuff. But the US government has a deficit of 50 Million Dollars. It prints an extra 50 Million Dollars. Now there are 150 Million Dollars chasing 100 Million Euros of stuff so the Euro is worth $1.50 instead of $1.00. Ta-da!! Inflation
There seems to be 4 ways out of this.
One way would be to stop pouring money down the rat hole of Iraq.
One way is to raise taxes to pay for everything we provide in the states and blow up in Iraq.
One way is to have the dollar drop in value and we all consume less (recession).
One way is to print more money, have the dollar drop in value and just let inflation ruin our savings.
Now.. on to my question: Why has our President - who has a MBA from YALE - chosen the method that makes my relatives move in with me?! (not that it is all about me - of course).
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
She is no Linda Hamilton, but she is annoyingly intense, which is the key ingredient. The kid is suitable aged (between Nick Stahl and Edward (wasted opportunity) Furlong), and pretty good / annoying. The new hot gal cyborg is totally great. To-tal-Lee. And I like the ex-fiancee EMT guy (who I think is David Kilde, but I am not positive).
Anyway, you poor UK folks, you will like it a lot.
It is a French Language (what else) film about a man who can only communicate by blinking his left eye.
Really. ... Hard to say more isn't it? I mean, I am sure it is good. No, make that manifique. But come on 10 hours of that (and no matter how long it is, it will feel like 10 hours) is just torture.
Monday, January 14, 2008
Yes, I know how that sounds, but come on. As one ages, one should take care of their face. It isn’t vanity, it is a basic step so that children don’t run away from you crying and screaming about seeing the boogie man.
Anywho… As my guy is doing the facial (including the sandblasting (“microderm-abrasion”) with the little vacuum cleaner) he says very casually he is going to clean up stray hairs. So he plucks a few stray eyebrow hairs (I do not scream – how butch… although, I suppose that not screaming at eyebrow tweezing is not “exactly” butch – but you know what I mean). Then he says something muffled about ear wax. Maybe I had ear wax building up. Muffled, because I have been lulled into a zen like state with the face cleaning, warm wash cloth, face scrubbing, warm wash cloth. Warm goo on my ears, RIP RIP RIP!!
Oh… ear WAXING. Oh, that’s very different. But you know, it really helped. I look a lot less like Albert Einstien.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Would that I could show you beautiful pictures of all 3 with fireworks, but they Queens were late and the rain came. Here however, are two of them.
The Queen Victoria (the new one)..
The Queen Mary 2 (the oldest one)... FYI - The QE2 is too long to park in Manhattan and uses the "New York" port in Brooklyn....
She's being retired...
Friday, January 11, 2008
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Eddie's favorite part was when the show was over and we got to leave. He thought it was pretentious.
I thought it was an indictment of the pretentiousness of a group (of overly idealistic commies living in west).
Ed "got it".. but still thought it their overacting of pretentiouness was preachy and pretentious.
We have agreed to disagree here.
Here is the problem with “engineered in China” (as opposed to “made in China”, which is no problem). China has over a billion people and, like, 7 Drills. So everything is pre-drilled (good) and can be put together with an (enclosed) Allen Wrench (bad). See, if they used screws, or wood screws or something that you could attach to a drill – then wham bam thank you Chang, you’ld be done.
But in China then they got to pass one of the 7 drills back and forth. You may not get another turn until year of the Dragon or Wild Boar. So they give EVERYONE an Allen Wrench – manual labor rules!
Except for Scooter who would much rather use the electric powered drill than the scooter powered Allen Wrench. And yes, I know that it contributes a tiny bit to global warming (tiny!!) … but, I’ll plant a tree. Hell I’ll plant a tree in Israel and kill 2 birds with 1 stone.
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
There is a lot of talk about Hillary Clinton and the pundits and I will tell you it is 99% garbage. People tell pollsters - including exit polls - they will vote for a black man.
Both times the Exit Polls had him winning. Both times he lost. For EVERY OTHER race, the Exit Polls have been correct in predicting the statewide California races. Including every Governor's race that did not include a African American.
Race still matters to people, but we all know enough to tell pollsters it doesn't. And that's what happened.
Once last thing, here is the Headline from Maureen Dowd in the New York Times:
Now calling her a Bitch because she wrote such a trivial piece of garbage about a candidate would be sexist. So may I say, "You are self-serving, un-thinking dickhead."
I freely admit to being ambivalent about the man. I never listened to Prarie Home Companion and it's folksy North Woods /Minnesota days. My guess is plenty of the Neppls and Amiots love him.
I do, however, enjoy his weekly articles in Salon - as a rule. I must admit he is a bit of a male chauvinist, but I always took that as kind of a put on. But today's article makes me wonder if he is being funny (and went one line to far) or is just a little odd?
In the article, he bemoans the fact that architects build men's and women's bathrooms the same size in public places. However human plumbing and gender dress codes mean that women's lines are always longer and this isn't fair. To this point I hardly agree! I, like probably ever male that reads this, have escorted my fair share of women into the men's room stalls in public events when this inequity shows itself. And, trust me, all men experience it when going to an outdoor concert with porta potties and we all wait together.
What made me say, "whoa?", is his reasoning and wrap up. It appears that the reason he thinks this should happen is that he doesn't want to run into an ex-girlfriend in the men's room and be unable to escape. He wants the men's room for men only! And the only way to get that is to make much bigger women's rooms.
That would be, like, reason 38 for me.
Reason 1 should be fairness, but let's be honest boys... Reason 1) It would greatly reduced female crankiness when attending a public event together.
Reason 2) You wouldn't have to stand around the lobby and wait.. and wait... and wait..
Reason 3) Fairness (there it is)
And, can I say, having actually had to be stuck at a urinal next to somebody you went out with, slept with and never called back (Garisson's big fear). It's no big deal - you don't look at your neighbor anyway, so the person is easy to ignore. And if anyone causes a scene in a restroom, they are the one that is thrown off the island.
Postscript... Many many New York public spaces (restaurants, bars, nightclubs and some galleries) have multiple uni-sex bathrooms - as do quite a few LA places. I think this is an elegant solution as long as men remember to lift the seat as they pee, and put it down as they exit.
We got 2 doors away from our house and the skies opened up and drenched us! Trevor and I both tried to shake it off, and took to walking right against buildings with a quickness.
Ultimately we both decided he pee'd enough and we raced back.
Weather (sigh), I'm still getting used to it. Sometimes it looks and feels like I am in LA, then I get the surprise.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Today's is Union Station in Los Angeles. You have all seen Union Station a million times on TV. Here is the outside and one of the current inside shots. It has been in tons of movies, as well as TV shows as varied as Adam 12 to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But more as to why I show you these after the shots.
Note, check the tile roof above, there is a fun fact at the end of this story!!
So, below are pictures of a restaurant. What I did not know, until reading the site, is that this was the last Harvey House built in the US. For anyone is not up on their Judy Garland movies, the Harvey Houses were restaurants built along the railroads as the country grew. There were places were a train would stop and everyone who wanted to could get off for a good meal.
Apparently this Harvey House (closed in the 1960's) served upwards of 800 people an hour during it's prime.
It's now, like most of the rest of the station, refurbed for movies and private parties.
People like my mom, long out of LA, will remember that Union Station fell into disrepair with only about 10 trains a day in the 1970s- 80s. But now that has changed. The station gets 200 trains in and out a day! Many are commuter metrorail from the Inland Empire. Union Station is also the hub of the Metro (subway) Red and Gold lines to the West Side (Red Line 1), Hollywood and the Valley (Red Line 2) and Pasadena (Gold Line).
There are great pictures on the Big Orange site, but I won't bore you with them all.
Union Station has a little LA thang for me because my mom and dad (back when they were still together - so like 200 years ago) used to take me to a Philippe's home of the original French Onion Dip sandwich. You knew you were there when you saw the Union Station tower.
PS- Final Fun fact about the ceiling tiles. They were made partially from crushed corn cobs!
Monday, January 07, 2008
I agree with the sentiments, but… I do think I know what people meant when they asked if there was going to be a nicer Nancy Grace.
Our latest is that the Prez (Mr. Above the Constitution) used something called a "Pocket Veto" to kill a war funding bill, because it let Americans tortured by Saddam Hussein file claims against Iraqi money held in our banks. The President thought this would be a hardship on the present Iraqi government.
Regardless of the logic of this argument (and there is a certain logic to it), it would be hard to explain to the voters. So the President didn't really explain it at all. Instead he didn't sign the bill while Congress was "out of session" for Christmas. That is a constitutional "Pocket Veto".
The bad news, of course, is that Congress stayed technically "in session" during Christmas so that just this sort of shenanigans couldn't happen. They want him to veto bill or sign it, per the constitution. He says no, if 1/2 of Congress was out of session - all of Congress was out of session. And he won't sign it or veto it. So, the protector of our Constitution, the highest law of the land, ignores Constitution as inconvenient.
Legal scholars say that the President is wrong and would lose any fight in court. General consensus by me is that our wussy Congress will back down after some partisan whining.
Again, let's remember that President Clinton was impeached for lying about a humer given by a non-material 3rd party in a deposition.
48 and I was excited. Sad, really - but there is the new reality. Where I grew up if the low as EVER below 50, the news casters would tell us to bundle up for the night. We were given "Frost Warnings!!" and "Possible Snow in Local Mountains!". I mean 50 was scary time. The thresehold, below which, one had to think about "the Weather (scary voice going mowhaaaa haa ha!)".
Now I use the word "balmy". And probably incorrectly. You know when "balmy" should be used. When doing a horrible Dick Van Dyke impression.
"Blimey Merry Pop'ins. E's gone all balmy in the 'ed, 'e has."
Sunday, January 06, 2008
At one point the interviewer asked her about how her relationship with Blake Shelton was going. She told him that it sucked, but you know, she felt sorry for him and couldn't leave right now. She's funny (and wider than the picture above).
Friday, January 04, 2008
As for the results, well, it's early. Both Huckabee and Obama are likeable guys, with no international experience. Perfect, we haven't had one of those be president in a long time.
I must admit, part of me wants this to be confusing and undecisive until the National Conventions. That would be fun. And it would serve the Republicans and the Democrats right for totally screwing up the nomination process (we are starting BEFORE not on ly the SuperBowl, but the College Football BCS title game - what the hell?).
I used to be annoyed the nominations ruined the Acadamy Award season (being from LA - guess what was more important to me), but I see now the logic of the process. Between football season end and baseball season starts - primary season.
Its Republican Primary Season, no its Democratic Primary Season, no..
No, it's annoyed voter season.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
What is your greatest fear?
Living foolishly above my means and running out of money.
Whaaaa? Is this not the genius behind the last 7 years of super-duper deficit funding? Is this not Bush 43's most Senior Advisor? The President that turned a Clinton Surplus into the largest deficit ever? The very man who said that the Iraq war would pay for itself?
I remember when he was the saviour of the Salt Lake Olympics - and we all know I love someone who fixes the Olympics (Peter Uberoth is still my main man - Republican or not!).
I did think it was odd that he moved to Massachusetts and ran for Governor as a Republican. He was a pretty good Governor too (as liberal Republicans often are in Democratic states) until he wanted to run for President and then tacked wildly to the right.
But seeing him now. Watching him talk and campaign... He doesn't look real. Watching him is a lot like watching "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" at Disneyland. You watch not because you wonder what he will say, but you wonder if the Automatronic Man will actually fall down in a blaze of sparks.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
So Breaux is a pretty darn good thrower. I don't like his Sports Illustrated picture with the flat hair. I like him with the (wait for it)... BreauxHawk.
The press in the Nordic countries is building the Andreas vs Breaux thing, and so there are some cute pictures of the 2 of them. FYI Breaux is 6' 2 1/2".
So go Breaux! I am hoping to see him in Beijing.