Friday, December 30, 2005

Tow-tally Cool


How crazy is this? If you drink too much on New Year's Eve, AAA will come tow your car home -- for free -- even if you're not a member!

Imagine how stylin' it would be to leave a party in a tow truck: "Hey ladies, this is how I roll."

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I Get So Emotional, Baby

Well, Kelly and I did our civic duty as San Franciscans last night: We saw "Brokeback Mountain." Our appointment was at 7:30 p.m. at the Embarcadero theater.

Suffice to say, the venue was very busy for a weeknight -- a big change from the many nights we've sat in near-empty theaters at that place ("Haiku Tunnel," anyone?).

As for the movie itself, since I was accused of providing more than "the right amount of gay" in my "Pride & Prejudice" review, I'll keep it brief this time: Best movie of the year. ("Pride" would be my No. 2, followed by "Crash.")

The performances were all outstanding -- from the leads on down to the bit parts, such as Randy Quaid in one of his only non-goofy roles. And this was a movie that said so much by saying so little. Every look, gesture and clipped bit of dialogue packed more emotion and power than 10 "English Patients." The movie's last line -- "Jack, I swear" -- will haunt you long after you leave the theater.

Rating: ****

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Reject!

The New York Times series on athletic recruiting at Haverford continued Sunday. This one focuses on a lacrosse goalie with a 1380 SAT who was rejected in favor of a student with a 1200 SAT -- who was Latino.

I feel like this is going to be fodder for the infamous* Haverford comment board (which, according to a young alumni we met recently, is on the "INTERNET" now).



*infamously dorky

Monday, December 19, 2005

Tree'd Up

I finally broke down and got a Christmas tree Friday night. It is the first real tree in the home and represents a detente between Kelly and me.


Kelly (who always had artificial trees when she was growing up) really wanted a real tree. But in my family, we'd always cut down our own trees, and that was no great shakes either. (We could never agree on what tree to kill, and then one brother would threaten another with the saw.) Anyway, I would have preferred a tinsel tree or, say, no tree at all.

But I have to say, now that the tree is up, it's kind of cool. I like how Kelly put it on top of a side table to make it appear more than 3 feet tall.


After all the work, I had to take a nap.

Jesus Christ!

We saw the Narnia movie on Saturday (in a packed theater with virtually no children at all -- I love this city). On the whole, it was a good film. The effects were decent (except maybe for those beavers -- the CGI on them seemed circa 2001 at best). And all the changes to the original story were improvements. Unlike with the latest Harry Potter -- where the screenwriters had to condense a 734-page book into a 2.5-hour movie -- the Narnia writers had the luxury of expanding a 200-page book into a 2.5-hour movie. They definitely did a good job fleshing out the characters and their motivations.

Before seeing the film, I went back and read the book (Kelly has a complete Narnia set, which appears to be vintage early-1980s). I enjoyed the story as a child (oblivious at the time to any Christian overtones), but as an adult, it leaves a bit to be desired. You can tell why C.S. Lewis was viewed by his Oxford colleague J.R.R. Tolkien as a bit of a hack. Lewis strews his story with all sorts of stock mythological creatures in a haphazard manner (unlike Tolkien, who painstakingly crafted a complex world with its own consistent logic). Yes, the book is for kids. But some stuff just doesn't make sense.

Take, for instance, the appearance of Father Christmas. He tracks down the children and helps them in their quest by giving them several crucial gifts. The problem is, these overt allusions to Christ and Christmas within Narnia aren't consistent with the central allegory: that Aslan's sacrifice and rebirth represents the crucifixion of Christ.

You can't have an allegory about something, and then directly mention the thing you're representing in the allegory! That's just crazy. Are we to believe that Christ died for the sins of Narnia some 2,000 years ago (though who knows how the time would work, since their time doesn't run parallel with that of Earth), and that now Aslan is doing the same thing? Doesn't that strike anyone as odd?

I have no problem with the whole Aslan-as-Christ thing, and I don't think the movie should have played it down. It's a pretty powerful motif, even if you're not a Christian. But be consistent! The writers could have easily deleted Santa and figured out another way for the children to get their gifts.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Chuman Update

As loyal Buboblog readers know, it's been my long-stated goal to create a human-chimp hybrid (I would call it a chuman, but other people have their own terms — hunkee, humanzee, humpanzee, etc.)

So I was intrigued by this story in the New York Times (brought to my attention by the intrepid Bill Stern) about efforts to make a humanzee in the 1930s.

Sadly, the writer hews to conventional wisdom: that you can't breed humans and chimps because "the genetic material is arranged quite differently on our chromosomes."

I'm not sure I buy this argument, since plenty of people have unique chromosomes (Jamie Lee Curtis, Corky, etc.). I just think we haven't tried long or hard enough. And one of the comments to the New York Times story appears to take this same view:

I have to disagree with Wynne's conclusion that "chimp-human hybrids are probably impossible because the genetic material is arranged quite differently on our chromosomes"—the rearrangements aren't that great and wouldn't be a crippling barrier to hybridization. I'd expect that it's the regulatory differences that would lead to incompatibility in development, and differences in sperm and egg proteins that would make fertilization improbable.


Yeah, what he said.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Hopefully They'll Also Keep the Slightly Gay-Sounding Q-Club


It appears that the much-cherished Quizno's sandwich chain is up for sale. Details are sketchy, but I wonder if this means that the chain has grown too quickly in recent years and the owners want to cash out while the getting's good.

I have been noticing some subpar Quizno's locations lately — like one on El Camino near my office (you would never know it was there if a guy dressed up as a drink cup weren't jumping up and down in front of it).

All I can say to Quizno's new owners: Please keep the free pickle/pepper bar! It's the only thing that keeps me going some days.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Team America

We watched "Team America: World Police" last night (why did we wait so long??) -- a glorious piece of cinema. Even Kelly, who had dreaded watching it when the Netflix came, had to admit it was pretty funny (though she somehow failed to see the humor in the vomiting scene -- one of the film's finest set pieces, in my opinion).

Anyway, this was quite possibly the greatest deleted scene ever:
Gary Johnston: I'm leaving. I'm out.
Spottswoode: No, Gary! You can't leave! We need you now, more than ever!
Gary Johnston: Don't you see what's going on out there? Everyone hates us!
Spottswoode: Hey, now, everyone hated Winnie the Pooh, too.
Gary Johnston: No, they didn't!
Spottswoode: Well, I did. That cocksucking bear killed Jack Kennedy!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Literary Quotes of the Day

Just finished Faulkner's 1939 novel "If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem" (for my book club), and we were all amused by the last two words of the book: "Women, shit."

But my favorite recently discovered literary quote was in Dostoevsky's "The Double" -- perhaps because it is just as random and out-of-nowhere in the book as it is here:

"The friends laughed heartily at the simplicity of the Turks, but paid tribute to their fanaticism, which they ascribed to opium."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Thank You, Eminem

Like most married couples, Kelly and I often struggle to tell the difference between "playful banter" and "hurtful insults."

So it's reassuring to see that Eminem is getting back together with his wife Kim. This must mean she has accepted his many threats to kill her, chop up her body, shoot her, etc. as "just playin'."

This really broadens the banter category for the rest of us!

Monday, December 05, 2005

Book Vs. Movie

Speaking of movie adaptations of books, there's a fun piece in this week's Time that compares recent film and decides which was better — the movie or the book.

Not sure if I agree with everything in there, but at least it means I shouldn't feel bad about never reading "Memoirs of a Geisha" — since apparently the movie is better.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

BuboBlog Reviews 'Pride and Prejudice'

As most of you know, Jane Austen is my [n-word]. When I was in high school, I devoured everything she ever wrote. But "Pride and Prejudice" was always my favorite. And I feel like this movie really gets it right.

Naturally, the 127-minute film couldn't go into the same kind of depth as the 1995 BBC miniseries. And I was concerned that no one could do Darcy like Colin Firth (who played him in the miniseries and also in the "Bridget Jones" movie). But this version's Matthew MacFadyen does a solid job.

The new film also was a bit less subtle than the miniseries (with the notable exception of Mr. Collins' character, who was more cartoonish in the BBC version). There's a scene tacked on at the very end that is very un-Jane Austen, for instance. And the New Yorker review made some snarky remarks about how the movie tried to turn Mr. Darcy into Wuthering Heights' Healthcliff (ostensibly because he crosses a foggy field at one point in the movie). They also complained about changing the timing of Lady Catherine's hissy-fit. But who cares — it worked.

I especially liked what they did with the ball scenes — the way the camera follows the twirling dancers as they exchange dialogue. There's this one exquisite shot that captures the whole sweep of the ball and the emotions of several different characters — all within one extended take. Great stuff.

Rating: **** (out of 4)