Archive for June, 2012

The lovely, sharp, and creative folk at WordPress unveiled their theme for their Weekly Photo Challenge and it is right up the alley of all blog writers as the theme is create.

In November of 2010, our family was fortunate enough to be able to go on a cruise (previous scribblings about this trip can be read by pointing your browser of choice to here and here and here).

In addition to winning one of the coveted “Ship-On-A-Stick”, Jared participated in an activity that taught him how to make a few of the iconic towel animals that Carnival Cruises is famous for.

Here is Jared working on an elephant using two towels.

Towel making class

Pachydermical Construction

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This is not the first time I have fished in these waters writing about this subject, which is quite appropriate since the topic I wanted to touch on was how the movie industry appears to have a problem with looking forward and instead seems to go back into its past and recycle things over and over.

I’ve touched on this theme here and here, but here we go again.

At first, this snippet of writing was going to be about how frustrating it is to me to discover that Hollywood – instead of coming up with new and fresh takes on the art of storytelling – have dived back into the 1980s and 90s and are remaking movies from that era.

Did the world truly need another version of Red Dawn and Total Recall?

At first, this posting was to going to be a comment about how remakes rarely live up to the original. Cases in point include the cultural failures of the remakes of Psycho (1998) (which won 2 Razzie Awards) and The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008). These movies may have made money, but few people assert that these remakes were as good or better than the originals.

But then, upon further review, I decided I had something more to say about these remakes other than to shake my fist towards the heavens and shout, “Find some originality, Hollywood!”

Kudos go to the program On The Media for pointing this out to me, but it appears that the original invading army in the new version of Red Dawn were going to be Chinese. However, since there is a potential audience of over one billion Chinese who may want to spend their money and see this movie and the producers don’t want to alienate that many folk…the villians of this flick were changed to North Koreans.

Okay…one thing to recycle, but quite another to kowtow. Well, it is a capitalist system we live in so who am I to gripe?

Okay, okay…how do those plucky (and somewhat) impoverished North Koreans manage to cross that large body of salt water known as the Pacific Ocean? Rafts?

Moving on to Total Recall, I must give kudos to my middle child, Jared, for calling it.

Before we saw Men in Black 3 (my review here), my boys and I saw the trailer for this sci-fi remake. In this preview, there is a moment when the Colin Farrell is in the recall machine and the technician suggest something to Farrell about being a spy. The machine turns on and then all heck-in-a-handbasket breaks out.

It is right before the door is broken down and the guns come out that Jared leans over to me and says, “So the whole movie after this point is his dream, right?”

My middle child, Jared, the film industry expert, nailed it. Granted, the 1990 version of this movie starring the former governor of California ended ambiguously, but it’s interested to note that my eleven-year-old – after only watching one minute of the trailer – grokked a twisted plot device that might flummox older folk.

However, if this entire post has been about films looking backward, why is the title of this here rambling called “Film Forward”? Because I wanted to give kudos (Wow! A three-kudos post!) to the folks of Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.

Near the end of the movie, there is a shot of the skyline of New York City. What I noticed instantly – mainly because I am quite observant when it comes to the silver screen – was that the animators had included the completed version of One World Trade Center (previously known as Freedom Tower).

Kudos to them for looking forward to what the skyline of Gotham will look like. This also guarantees that when this movie is seen after 2013 on DVD, Blu-Ray, tablet, or whatever format is invented later, that the skyline shot will look authentic.

Now, Hollywood, can we have some more original material (i.e., Bridesmaids, Tree of Life, The King’s Speech, Comic Con Episode IV) and less movies that have a number after them (i.e., Cars 2, Scream 4, Final Destination 5, Happy Feet Two)?

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The challenge from WordPress this week – and I am late to this party, but here goes anyway – is “close“.

My offering is what happens when something becomes too close.

My wife travels for her job around the globe and every once in a while she is gifted with the opportunity to experience things not available to most folks from the United States.

In 2010, she travelled to Tanzania and – after doing the consulting thing that earns her her paycheck – she was invited to go on a safari. She saw elephants, giraffes, and even a hyena or two.

She also saw what happens when a water buffalo wanders too close to a pride of lions.

Lions eating a water buffalo

Savannah Buffet

NOTE: My apologies if I mis-identified the animal serving as lunch for the lions. I used to be a software tester, not a zoologist.

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I really have no idea how long I’m going to latch on to this nutty idea of mine, but I like it and that’s all that counts in my private little slice of Reality.

Ladies and gentlemen, I once again give you my creation of BardShark uttering his take on those most famous lines from Hamlet

BardShark quote from Hamlet

Act III, Scene i

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Photo Friday has unveiled their weekly theme and it is clothing.

Rather than regale y’all with my extensive fashion collection or the winning looks of my fabulous children (excuse me while I remove my tongue from my cheek now), I offer you this look that was all the rage back in the ’60s…

Actor in Colonial Willamsburg

…every lady’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed gentleman…

…the 1760s that is.

This picture is from an April 2011 trip the family took to Colonial Williamsburg, that place in Virgina where you can go and see how people lived their lives back before we were a country.

During our visit, several of the reenactors gave performances out in th street that told of the country’s drive and struggle for independence. The man you see in the photo above in the monochromatic duds (but really cool buckle shoes) was just such a performer.

Not only do clothes make the man, but they also help an actor get into the role.

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It has been a looooong time since I posted any of my Cavland creations.

For a quick refresher on what a Cavland is and to see four of my previous drawing using this style, you can jump here.

For the United States observation of Flag Day (which was June 14), I offer the following:

Cavland - Flag


Long may she wave!

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Flag Day

My apologies for being a day late with the hook for this post.

Yesterday, in the United States, was Flag Day, a holiday designed to honor Old Glory and the Stars and Stripes.

In that vein, I offer you this story from last year of a member of the French Parliament offering an amendment that would prohibit the flying of foreign flags in public places. That was probably not the best time for the proposed ban by MP Guy Teissier as the French city of Annecy was bidding to win the right to host the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Pyeongchang, South Korea, will host those Games.

So my follow-up question is this: What is more worthy of a forehead-slap…

a) Living in a country where the legislature debates prohibiting foreign flags (which is almost as absurd as taxing all foreigners living abroad)


b) Living in a country where wearing (or not wearing) a flag pin is considered to be a worthy topic for debate (see here and here and here and here)?

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