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Tuesday, June 28, 2005
A Letter from Hooters
After a trip to "Hooters of Beaverton" back in April, I wrote a negative review and posed the question: "Why do people go to Hooters when they live in a place with more strip clubs per capita than any other city in America?"
"Adrienne," a Hooter girl, sent in the following last week via the feedback forum. It doesn't provide much of an answer to this riddle but she does (basically) call me a loser. And isn't that worthy of a post? Here's what she had to say:
To answer your question, Adrienne, it's not because of the bad food, lame atmosphere, terrible beer selection, dumb puns, or even the uncomfortable wooden stools. Sure, all of those things don't earn the franchise any brownie points but, above all else, I hate the franchise because of "Hooter." He's a character from Captain EO, the defunct Disneyland attraction that closed its doors after Michael Jackson's career hit the skids. I couldn't even find a picture of Hooter on the internet so I had to settle for a Hooter-less screenshot from the film (see below).
As Hooters franchises started popping up all of the country, Americans began associating the word "Hooter" not with this long forgotten fictional character (or owls or boobs for that matter) but with the restaurants. A Google search on "Hooters" turns up 774,000 matches. A Google search on "Hooter" yields more 317,000 links, many of them relating to Hooters instead of Captain EO's alien pal. And that just ain't right.
So until Hooter scores much belated respect, or gets an airline named after him, I'm going to continue holding a grudge against your employer.
Monday, June 27, 2005
Sounds like KONG!
If you haven't dones so already, you can watch the new King Kong trailer here.
Brought to you by the good people at...Volkswagen? Wait, they don't build Kong-size cars.
Maybe Ford didn't return their calls.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
Sort of like a Friar's roast but with people dressed up like robots
When it isn't coming up with stuffy "greatest" movie lists that piss everyone off, the American Film Institute hands out the occasional lifetime achievement award. George Lucas snagged one on June 9th during a gala event in his honor but it wasn't broadcasted to the public until the 20th on the USA Network. Why should you care? Because Carrie Fisher, after apparently getting drunk at the open bar, tore into Lucas on stage. And William Shatner sang "My Way." Maybe I'm alone here but, for me, this is what I would call quality television. Here's a rundown:
1 minute into the broadcast: The show kicks off with a video montage of George Lucas' career highlights. Most of the cuts come from the Indiana Jones films and the first Star Wars trilogy. The new trilogy receives roughly 20 seconds of the 2 minute segment, 2 of which involve the much maligned Jar Jar Binks. Howard the Duck also scores a few seconds. Grand total of footage devoted to Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker? 4 seconds.
2 minutes in: A guy in a Chewbacca suit is sitting in the audience with various tuxedo'd producers and cast members involved with Lucas' hits. They hug as Lucas walks in and takes a seat. Growling Wookie noises fill the auditorium as Chewbacca and the director make "small talk."
3 minutes in: William Shatner takes the stage with a half dozen stormtroopers and makes a joke about having to do another Star Trek convention. He's corrected and starts singing a George Lucas tribute version of "My Way." The stormtroopers start dancing behind but quickly grow tired of his one-liners. "Live long, Lucas," he sputters as he's "hauled off" stage. "You've prospered enough."
35 minutes in: Steven Spielberg is there but Francis Ford Coppola is a no show. He phones in a brief tribute while sitting in a tux on a porch at his vineyard.
45 minutes in: A bloated, probably drunk Carrie Fisher takes the stage. "My name is Carrie Fisher and I'm an alcoholic," she sputters. Many awkward laughs are about to follow. After repeatedly calling Lucas a "sadist," she rolls out a series of inappropriate anecdotes that don't fit in among the night's other light-hearted tributes. Apparently, Lucas wouldn't let her wear underwear during the filming of A New Hope. Her closing line: "I hope I slept with you to get that job. If not, who was that guy?" Was she joking? Don't know, don't care. If Fisher's speech isn't currently making the rounds as a Bit Torrent, it should be.
69 minutes in: Ford gives his second speech during an Indiana Jones segment. "Hurry up, George," he says. "If you wait too long Sean will be too old to play my father." Har-dee-har-har.
75 minutes in: The tribute skips over Howard the Duck and The Radioland Murders. Willow recieves roughly 90 seconds.
80 minutes in: Jimmy Smits comes out to introduce a segment. He's the only member of the new trilogy cast that showed up. The new trilogy gets a quick, five minute tribute.
105 minutes in: The screen behind the stage lights up with a video montage of Star Wars fans chimming in from around the world. "Star Wars taught me how to speak English," one excitedly stammers.
115 minutes in: George Lucas takes the stage to accept the award. He offers a hat tip to John Williams and compares him to Buddy Holly. Not Beethoven. Not Mozart. Budy Holly. He mocks himself as "the king of wooden dialog" and the credits roll.
Quality television. Indubitably.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Revenge of the Overly Earnest
Have a look (PDF).
Maybe he's on a mission from God.
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
Hung Far Low no more
It seems like every month another iconic Portland business shuts its doors. Next on the chopping block is the city's best named bar, Hung Far Low. Johnathan Nicholas reports:
"The Lowdown on Hung Far
"Best news" might not be the best choice of words, Mr. Nicholas. While Hung Far Low may relocate, its iconic stairwell and gritty mafia movie-style atmosphere will most likely stay put.
There's a million anecdotes or at least a half dozen anecdotes I could roll out here. There was the night a friend spotted Rasheed Wallace sitting at the bar. During a recent midnight trip I found a crowded table full of bored teens in prom attire (talk about your lost photo opps). It was the first bar threshold I crossed in Portland. Then there was the ancient bartender that once worked in the Temple Room. Here's a description from a photo gallery I put together a while back:
"[He was] a man that resembled a mole, had a voice like gravel on a 110 degree day and looked as if his skin hadn't touched sunlight since 1974. 'I need 'dooh IDs, 'dooh,' he would rasp when we entered. Then he would stare at them under a tiny desk lamp and finally serve us gin & gins."
I'm going miss that place. The sign too. That block on 4th Avenue is going to experience a lot less giggling fits from passing clubhoppers come July.
And what could possibly be the reason for the closure? Could it be the creeping menace that is the Pearl District? OK, I'm making assumptions. Maybe the family that owns the place has simply decided to move on. But is it any doubt Hung Far Low, and/or the building that houses it, will quickly be replaced with another condo tower, drab art gallery and/or martini bar?
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
All along the Watchtower?
Could it be a real photograph or a Photoshop-ed image lifted from a copy of The Watchtower? Check out the photo that ran on the cover of today's edition of the Oregonian and decide for yourself.
Let's see, there's both horizontal and vertical lightening, a blood red sunset, an epic rainbow and a crowd of indifferent onlookers (possibly all Christians killing time until the Rapture).
My vote goes for the later. The only thing the photo is missing is a few Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
But, on a somewhat more serious note, Sunday's night's lightening storm was pretty righteous. I was stuck at work and watched most of it from the window near my cubicle. Given the high winds and the freaky sunset it at least looked like the end of the world. Walking around on the park near my workplace while on break was a kick. I just wish I had brought along a camera. Even if the storm wasn't fueled by God's wraith it would have made for a few good photos.
My personal theory: bored pixies orchestrated the whole thing. Or it could have been a result of balmy temperatures and unusual southerly winds, circling around a Pacific low-pressure zone. Whatever.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Fun with "Engrish"
What would be an appropriate way to return from a four-day blogging hiatus?
With another gallery of Tokyo photos. This entry in Welcome to Blog's endless "It Came From Over There" photo series focuses on examples of "Engrish." What's that, you ask? As the Urban Dictionary would have it...
Engrish: A form of English characterized by bad translation from Japanese by someone who is decent at translating vocabulary but has a poor grasp of English grammar. Tends to be a word-by-word literal translation with humorous results for native English speakers.
Click here to view the rest of them.
While the English skills of these sign writers far exceed my Japanese skills, that's not going to stop me from posting these pics. Consider all the kanji that has popped up around the US in recent years. On everything from "Kill Bill" posters to tattoos to t-shirts at JC Penny. There's probably a million sites overseas devoted to America's poor use of the Japanese language.
Thursday, June 16, 2005
Batman Begins is the best superhero movie I have ever seen
In 1992, parental outrage over the twisted tone of "Batman Returns" resulted in McDonalds ending its bat-promo. There's no telling what this same crowd is going to make of "Batman Begins," which makes Tim Burton's sequel look like camcorder footage of a preschool play. It's amazing to think that a movie this dark has not only tie-ins toys lining the shelves of Targets across the country, but toothbrushes and DVD players too.
That said, I think it's safe to declare that "Batman Begins" is the boldest, if not the best, film of its kind. The only criticism I can come up with is that it isn't nearly long enough. It contains enough subplots and characters to fill four hours. Because so much material is stuffed into a 135 minute framework, at times, it feels rushed.
The movie's already been praised for its stellar cast, focus on character development and that it feels, looks and breaths a crime drama. Rather than repeat what's already been said elsewhere a million times already, and since I've got about an hour to kill until my shift ends, I'm going to make an argument defending "Batman Begins" as the new reigning champ of superhero movies.
Three other potential candidates immediately spring to mind. "Superman II," "Spiderman II" and Burton's "Batman." How do they stack up against this new Dark Night? Well, let's take a look.
1ST CONTENDER: Batman
Burton and the crew definitely had their hearts in the right crime-ridden Gotham alley. Bruce Wayne here is a tormented soul driven to vengeance by the death of his parents. The set design is brilliant, the Batmobile is about as iconic as a movie prop gets and Jack Nicholson gives a great, coked-up performance as the Joker...and, well, there you go. He ruled the movie to the point that it should have been called Joker. Nicholson received nearly the same amount of screentime as an obviously miscast Michael Keaton. And then there's the climax. Let me get this straight, the Joker storms the streets of Gotham on a parade float handing out millions of dollars as Prince blares over the soundtrack. After the bulletproof Batwing is taken down by a single shot from a handgun, a friggin' handgun, the movie concludes with a half-assed, poorly orchaestrated fist fight at the top of a cathedral. Aftewards, the Joker falls his to death like a generic Disney villian. And this was an improvement over the campy '60s show?
2ND CONTENDER: Superman II
Christopher Reeve was born, if not grown in a tube as part of a Cold War-era government experiment, to play the part and the film is littered with iconic scenes. The brawl that takes down half of Metropolis. The scene where a powerless Clark Kent gets his ass kicked in a truck stop. "Kneel before Zod." But the film's supporting cast is downright terrible. Margot Kidder played Lois Lane as a whiny, perscription painkiller-fueled nag rather than the intrepid reporter from the comic books. Gene Hackman's Lex Luthor is a goofball con man with a full head of hair (a wig but still...) and not a brilliant billionare with too much time on his hands. The film's climax is filled with ridiculously half-baked moments. Superman attacks a foe with a cellophane insignia inexplicably removed from his chest (as last week's Family Guy pointed out, "What's the deal with that?!!"). In one of the film's final scene, he "magically" makes Lois forget his true identity with a wave of his hand. Sure, the Son of Krypton can turn back time but his efforts to fill plotholes aren't quite as effective.
3RD CONTENDER: Spiderman II
It's been almost universally praised as the best superhero film ever made. Rather than roll out two hours of set pieces and action, the film focuses on Peter Parker's struggle to come to terms with his ability to spit webbing out of his wrists and walk on walls. But ultimately the film is too talky. Did it really need that scene with Peter Parker and the girl next door who brings him cake? Or the seemingly endless conversation between him and Aunt May as she prepares to move? That's ten minutes of celluloid that would have been better filled with Alfred Molina's "Doc Oc," who didn't receive nearly enough screentime. Or more scenes of Spiderman beating the crap out of people.
4th CONTENDER: Batman Begins
All the nuances of an Oscar contender. Plenty of character development. Great cast. Great performances. Plenty of action and scary imagery for the kiddies. All in all, a perfect example of what happens when you hand this sort of thing to the right people, give them plenty of money and then get out of their way.
I say "Batman Begins" wins this contest but decide for yourself.
UPDATE: On second thought, don't bother. I'm 100% right on this one.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
It's been a busy week...
...which means I haven't had any time for bloggin'. In place of posts here's a video link leading to a cruel practical joke involving British zombies.
Monday, June 13, 2005
The Goose is loose
From today's Jonathan Nicholas column:
Barkeep Bud Clark's kids are taking wing, but they're not flying far. Plans are underfoot for a second Goose Hollow Inn, in Seaside. They hope to have the place open by July 4th. Tentative name: The Goose at the Cove.
Seaside? Since when do Reubens go well with bumper cars?
Sunday, June 12, 2005
A night with the Guardian Angels and a month with the PTCU
You may want to have a look at this article. It appeared in last week's Willamette Week.
A Rogue of the Week column written by the same guy has stirred up an ongoing debate in its "Story Forum." When Jack Bogdanski mentioned it few Thursdays back on his blog the same thing happened in one of his forums.
Why have I brought this up? No reason, really. I just thought you might like to know.
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Thar' be thorns in that thar' rose parade
I'm sitting in my cubicle right now, killing the last few minutes of my shift with a copy of The Oregonian's annual Rose Festival Guide. Somehow it managed to fall behind my Smurfit Recycling box last week and I just noticed it back there.
The guide offers a two-page rundown on the various floats and "favorites" in this Saturday's Grand Floral Parade. Five entrants stand out among the various high school marching bands and rodeo queens:
Celebrations of beer, gambling, thugs, Scientology and corporate malaise in the middle of Portland's most wholesome annual event. It's enough to make me wish I could get up that early on a Saturday morning to take in all the wholesome, dreamlike surrealism.
Why not just tell Satan to leave?
Why not just tell Satan to leave? Just grab his stuff and get out?
Because if he manages to get behind you there's a good chance he'll poke you with his pitchfork. C'mon, he's Satan Isn't that what he does? I wouldn't put it past him. You just can't trust that guy.
There's no telling what the thematically coy White Stripes were shooting for with a title like "Get Behind Me Satan." Their new album's cover features no less than three bits of religious imagery. Meg White is pictured holding a white apple, Jack White is dressed up in his finest 19th century preacher/mortician duds and their outstretched hands look like a hat tip to the Sistine Chapel's "Creation of Adam." But, as Jack has explained in untold number of interviews, the album's running theme is "characters and the ideal of truth."
Roughly translated, this apparently means songs less about religion than lusting after Rita Hayworth ("White Moon" + "Take, Take, Take") and unrequited love for freeloading spirits ("Little Ghost"). Jack White, still with at least one foot still stuck in his 2004 collaboration with Loretta Lynn, has replaced the White Stripes pounding blues/rock riffs with bittersweet marimbas, folk rock love parables and a softer sound all around. After "Blue Orchid," the album skids off into the wilderness. Aside from the shout-out to Beelzebub, the White Stripes latest shares more than a little in common with the Rolling Stones similar working man's blues departure "Beggar's Banquet."
That isn't to say it stumbles along the way. "My Doorbell," possibly the band's worst track to date, is so annoyingly catchy and banal it ranks among the lamest of Paul McCartney's solo recordings ("Let 'Em In" springs to mind). "Passive Manipulation" further proves that Meg shouldn't be allowed near a microphone. "In the Cold, Cold Night," the solo "Meg song" from "Elephant" was hammered into excellence by Jack's menacing guitar work and its creepy lyrics. Meg's frail voice and slurred delivery is further hampered by the sheer pointlessness of "Passive." The song is probably a rushed cast-off and she sounds like a terrified child being forced to sing at a school recital by an overbearing parent. "Satan" was reportedly went from near-conception to finished in a mere two weeks. Fortunately, it only really shows on this track.
The White Stripes, along with current bands like Franz Ferdinand, the Killers, the Strokes and innumerable others have been endlessly convicted of having their heads firmly stuck in the past. Instead of expanding the reaches of rock, they're more content imitating their influences. While the White Stripes may be as guilty as the rest of them, "Get Behind Me Satan" with its bizarre lyrics and throwback sound proves that they're still the greatest '60s band that was born a generation too late.
Tuesday, June 07, 2005
Photos from the "Goonies Never Say Die!" celebration
As promised yesterday here's a photo set from last weekend's event in Astoria. So what sort of people turn out for the anniversary celebration of a two decade-old kid's movie? Click here to find out.
Included among the 34 photos are shots of the interior of the Goonie House, the attic, what "Mr. Perkins" looks like these days, the line for Chunk's autograph and "Sloth Guy"'s marriage proposal.
There's also a Quicktime video of the "Truffle Shuffle" contest. Click here to take a look but heed this warning first: it could traumatize you for life and kill any houseplants sitting near your monitor.
Also: if you aren't feeling brave, don't keep reading this post...nevermind, it's probably too late. You've probably already seen the screenshot below.
Now I consider myself a fan of "The Goonies" but...as ol' Colonel Kurtz might say "...the horror." Or as Jeff Spicoli might so eloquently put it, "woah, gnarly!" "Sloth Guy" is to left of Chunk (the guy in the white t-shirt).
If you think this is scary, just imagine what goes down at "Weird Science" conventions.
Monday, June 06, 2005
ATTENTION AICN AND CHUD READERS!
If you've come to this blog in search of "Goonies Never Say Die!" conference photos, they'll be posted sometime tomorrow. Until then, here's two links:
Sunday, June 05, 2005
Among the thu..er, supporters
What is it about soccer that makes spectators want to toss around beer and chant lewd slogans? More than any other sport, it whips its followers into a frenzy and the phenomenon even stretches here to Portland's very own USL franchise. Sure, NBA fans will jump on the court every once and blue moon for fisticuffs but is lighting off smoke bombs and throwing beer cups on the court par for the course? Nope.
I've been to two Timbers games at PGE park in the last month. Amidst the scattering of families there's a group of fans that call themselves the Timbers Army. They differentiate themselves from soccer thugs, call themselves instead "supporters" instead, dress in green and white scarves and come ready to terrorize the opposing team with a slew of chants and rituals. Aside from OSU fans during a Civil War weekend, I can say I've never seen fans as passionate as this group of 500 or so diehards that pour into section 107 at the beginning of every home game.
When the opposing team's goalie touches the ball, the army chants, "you suck, asshole" and, as they're quick to point out, "there's no pity in the Rose City." Injured visiting players are consoled with "you're going home in an Portland ambulance!" Along with chants, the Army is equipped with huge flags and home made paraphernalia ranging from sweatshirts to thongs. One fan during a recent game against the Virginia Beach Mariners brought along an inexplicable Phil Collins banner with the words "can you feel it in the air?" Maybe it makes sense in the right context.
The Army blew up during the final minutes of the second half. A series of bad calls sent them into near hysterics and they didn't hesitate to register their indignation with the game's officials. After tossing a few dozen beer cups on the field, the Army lit off smoke bombs, played bagpipes, shouted obscenities and booed as the injury minutes ran down to zero. One fan even began banging on the chair next to him with what looked like a monkey wrench. They even continued after the game had ended until the Timbers themselves gathered at the edge of the field to calm them down.
At the forefront of all this is "Timber" Jim Serrill, the team's chainsaw- wielding mascot. Timber Jim, who prides himself on being the greatest in the country, is a true phenomenon. At 51 he continues to regale home game crowds with backflips, chants and slicing slabs off the Timbers' victory log, modus operandi every time the team scores a goal. During the second half of games he typically ascends to the top of a several story tall post on the edge of the field where he waves around the chainsaw and beats a drum.
Last summer Timber Jim's daughter passed away in a tragic car accident. He's currently at work on a songbook dedicated to her. In addition to his day job as tree trimmer, he works as a first aide instructor and promotes seat belt safety. The army continues to collect donations for his granddaughter's trust fund.
Despite being a minor league team in a sport that has few followers in the states, the Timbers have managed to develop an entire Portland sub-culture. If the Blazers had this kind of fanbase, there's no telling how much different that hometown franchise would be.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Chuck Palahniuk mp3 interview.
Are you the sort of person that doesn't care for the local author and his nihilistic, first-person narratives? Would sooner spend 3threedays watching public access footage of city council meetings than listening to Palahniuk talk about his latest book Haunted? If so, don't click here.
For the rest of you, here's a quick rundown on the highlights of this unedited, 45- minute KUSP interview with Palahniuk:
If you click on the link, prepare to be disgusted.