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Archive for October, 2011

When I say that ‘everybody’ is in the movie The Expendables… I’m here to tell you, I mean EVERYBODY!

(If you didn’t get into this movie, you just weren’t trying)

Look at this cast… Sylvester Stallone,  Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Mickey Rourke, Eric Roberts, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, David Zayas. Heck, even Charisma Carpenter from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel is in it!

OK, here’s the deal… taken in large part from the back cover of the DVD package:

Sylvester Stallone is the leader of The Expendables, a tightly-knit team of skilled combat vets turned mercenaries. Hired by a powerful covert operator, the team jets off to a small South American country to overthrow a ruthless dictator. Mayhem ensues when, once there, they find themselves caught in a deadly web of deceit and betrayal. Using every weapon at their disposal, they set out to save the innocent and punish the guilty in this blistering action-packed thriller.

WOW! So, I’m thinking… yippee. An ‘old home week’ get-together of all the coolest 80’s and 90’s action-movie stars shooting off some big league fireworks, flexing muscles and generally blasting the bad guys all to hell. What could go wrong?

(The Expendables)

They opening shoot-em-up scene with Da Boys rescuing hostages from Somali pirates was just what the doctor ordered. Lots of bullets, blood and guts, and all round good old blasting. The ‘Mr Church’ scene with Bruce Willis, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone just had me smiling all the way through it. Sly and Statham blowing up an entire dock load of goon squad soldiers was a lesson in priceless pyrotechnics. And Terry Crews has the most unbelievable kick-ass gun! There are lots of enjoyable fun bits throughout the movie and, as is to be expected, the climax of the movie delivers and delivers and just keeps topping itself.

My two cents… This is an über-guy movie. Sylvester Stallone knows his fan base, knows his audience and knows how to make a movie to appeal to that “guy” crowd. This movie is nothing more than what it purports to be… a whole lot of testosterone, bullets and explosives packed into a 93-minute opposite of a chick flick. I had a lot of fun. This is the kind of movie you watch on a big-screen TV with your buddies, some pizza, wings and cold beer.

Bottom line… If you’re into this kind of movie, you will have the time of your life. If you’re not… then stay away.

One and a half tough-guy mercenary thumbs up.

Oh and by the way…

(The Expendables II)

I understand The Expendables II is scheduled to be released next year!

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Gather ’round kids!

Todays creepy celestial photo comes from the dark outer reaches of space…

I bring you…

The Eerie Beauty of the “Black Widow” Pulsar!

(Pretty cool, eh?)

In terms of sheer weirdness, pulsars [1] rank at or near the top of freaky phenomena found in our universe.

But this little number takes the cake. And she’s moving pretty hippity-skippity across the galaxy, too, at a clip of just about a million kilometers per hour. That’s getting up there, for sure.

The black widow effect is the result of a bow shock wave due to the pulsar’s high-speed. It is visible to optical telescopes, shown in this image as the greenish-yellow crescent shape. The pressure behind the bow shock creates a second shock wave that sweeps the cloud of high-energy particles back from the pulsar to form the cocoon, giving us the spooky dark hooded face of the Black Widow.

There you have it, boys and girls. Just when you thought science couldn’t get any weirder (between thumb-sized bats, ladybug zombieskamikaze ants, the honeybee rapture and lord knows what else we’ll dig up over the next little while), here’s a little something to keep you up at nights thinking of the enormous faceless spectre looking down at us from the heavens.

Sleep well. And you’re welcome!

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[1] A pulsar (a blending of the words ‘pulsating star’) is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation.

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While at my dear friend RSW’s house last week, her daughter, ES, used the word ‘Fashionate!’ That one little word set off a flood of thoughts and memories that I simply had to write down and share.

First, a bit of a glossary…

(The world’s just one big runway, sweetie)

Fashionate:  (adjective) To be passionate about fashion and keep oneself in style.

Fashionista: (noun) A person devoted to fashion clothing, particularly unique or high fashion.

BTW: A person not to be called a Fashionista would be someone who obsessively follows trends. REAL Fashionistas and the truly Fashionate do not believe in trends.

Neither ‘Fashionate’ nor ‘Fashionista’ are, to my mind, derogatory words. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Neither of the above is to be confused with a…

Fashion Whore: (noun) A preachy know it all under a skin of designer clothing. The ‘Fashion Whore’ criticizes everything she considers ‘out of style’ or ‘tacky.’ This kind of bitchiness is, of course, in and of itself, tacky.

‘Fashion Whore’ is most definitely a derogatory phrase.

(Gucci ensemble – long double-breasted coat, wide brimmed hat, scarf, belt, purse, bag and high heel boots)

While I have often been described (not least by myself) as being on the dull rusty edge of fashion, I used to work in a business where I was in frequent contact with all three character types above. I came to love and admire the truly ‘Fashionate.’

I also discovered that you pick up an eye for these things over time.

You learn to spot the good, the bad and the ugly in fashion mighty quick. Example: Good – Heart-stopping styles; Bad – cringe-worthy fashion disasters; Ugly – stomach-wrenching runway tragedies.

There was a group of Fashionistas in law school who bemoaned the ‘student casual’ look (i.e. dressed like a young homeless person) and coined the term ‘fashion tort!’ How apropos!

(Gucci suit – two pocket jacket, shirt with scarf, wide brimmed hat, fringe pocket square, belt, pants, clutch and high heel pumps)

Yes, I have a thing for Gucci. Sue me!

And in case you were wondering about the price bracket of the above outfits, let me just say that the little clutch purse the young lady directly above is holding… $1100, which also happens to be the price of that two pocket jacket. Oh, and that delicious long double-breasted coat up above… about $2400. The purse and bag together are well over that.

So, folks… Let’s try to look sharp out there this fall.

Get Fashionate!

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A very dear friend of mine, TR, was kind enough to send me (via Xpresspost) four sweet raisin challahs… and some honey cake!

(Amazingly good raisin challah, braided in a circle for Rosh HaShana!)

The fact that she shipped them from Winnipeg all the way to my home in the Niagara Region made it all the more wonderful!

For a variety of reasons, I was not able to taste the challah until this morning.

O… M… G!!

Truly challalicious!!

(Loose Translation: To/for the honour of [the] Sabbath and [the] holy day)

For those who have not had the joyful experience of enjoying a proper kosher sweet raisin challah, you HAVE to try it.

Thank you, TR! You are, as always, an angel!

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Yes indeed, boys and girls, here you have it…

The Isolator!

(Focus… like it’s 1925!)

In a recent article, the nerdlings at LaughingSquid.com have taken this gem out of mothballs and blown away the dust on an invention which, while perhaps ahead of its time in the mid-twenties, is a product that is ripe for our time!

The Isolator!

(Inventor and science fiction writer Hugo Gernsback wearing his invention)

As LaughingSquid writes, “The Isolator is a bizarre helmet invented in 1925 that encourages focus and concentration by rendering the wearer deaf, piping them full of oxygen, and limiting their vision to a tiny horizontal slit. The Isolator was invented by Hugo Gernsback, editor of Science and Invention magazine, member of ‘The American Physical Society,’ and one of the pioneers of science fiction.”

(An ideal blend of form and function!)

The blogger behind A Great Disorder puts it nicely in the March 10, 2010 article

“These images are from the July, 1925 issue of the long-defunct magazine ‘Science and Invention’, which was edited by Hugo Gernsback, who later became famous as a pioneer in the field of science fiction. He also invented this contraption which, to my mind, nicely illustrates the folly of taking an excessively narrow approach to solving a problem.”

So, kids… Ask Mom and Dad for your very own Isolator!

You can get good grades AND be cool… both at the same time!

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Reminder: I will be in Toronto for the end of the Jewish holidays. I leave Wednesday morning October 19 and return Sunday night October 23.

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OK… This is what I come home to after a nice time away for the Jewish holidays!

Robo-Sex Vacation Tours!

(The new Robo-Stud 3000)

Tourism futurologist (how about THAT for a job?) [1] Ian Yeoman from University of Wellington, New Zealand, said that by 2050 mass tourism would spawn a range of new indoor tourism products. His findings were presented at a tourism conference and in an article in the industry website, Hospitality.net.

In addition to indoor artificial ski centres, circuses, zoos, golf courses and recreated landscapes and gigantic cruise ship, Mr. Yeoman opines that robot ‘prostitutes’ that would not pass on sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV could make an appearance.

(Sex-bots – the ultimate in outsourcing!)

Other opportunities for cheap robo-labour would be robo-waiters at cocktail bars, remote-controlled camera-carrying guard dogs in hotel lobbies, self-cleaning hotel rooms, beds that sensed a guest’s comfort needs and chemical wallpaper that could change colour to suit a guest’s mood.

A study by BetterHumans.com found that 41% of people surveyed would like an android as a human slave. “Robotics will become important, because you’re going to have labour shortages in the future,” Mr. Yeoman said, adding “But you’re talking about extreme futures.”

Extreme indeed! Haven’t these people read I, Robot or at least watched the movie??

(You’re not fooling anyone!)

Mr. Yeoman is not alone. This also is the proposition that David Levy puts forward in his new book Love + Sex with Robots. Renowned futurologist, Ian Pearson has even suggested robots as cyber prostitutes by 2050.

Honestly, people. Get a grip. I mean really.

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[1] Actually, Ian Yeoman is the only one I’ve heard of who does this job. His new book, Tomorrows Tourist, discusses what future tourists will look like in 2030, where they will go on holiday and what they will do.

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Recent reports of a mountain lion or cougar stalking the campus of the University of Iowa prompted campus jokesters to tweet their surprise that Michelle Bachman​ was in town. [1]

(Budda boom!)

But seriously, folks…

I will be off to The Heart of the Old World until next week when I will be back for a couple of days before schlepping out for even more fun-filled Jewish holidays!

May you all have a joyful, blessed and sukkarrific yontiff!

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[1] A cougar, colloquially, is an attractive older woman who seeks out trysts with younger men.

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