Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Abraham Lincoln Versus The 1812 Overture

Some links for today before I get started with the mischief at hand. Norma had a flashback Friday. Parsnip had a Square Dog Friday. Cheryl has a July 4th post. Shelly had a Fourth of July quote. Krisztina had dessert ideas and outdoor entertaining tips. Lorelei is marking the Fourth of July. And Ivy has a true or false question.

As mentioned, that mischief at hand...

"The British aren't coming! The British aren't coming! Wait, is that what I'm supposed to say?" ~ Milo Revere, April 18th, 1775

"There, I guess King George will be able to read that." ~ John Hancock, July 2nd, 1776

"And he won't even need a telescope. Anyone across the ocean can see that monster sized signature of yours, Hancock. Are you desperately trying to overcompensate for something? Because someday a fellow named Freud might have to say something about that." ~ John Adams, July 2nd, 1776

"Oh, don't worry, Libbie, I'm sure nothing at all is going to happen while I'm out picking a fight with the Lakotas. I mean, what's the worst that could happen? By the way, hold onto my lucky rabbit's foot. It's kept me alive all this time, but I shouldn't be superstitious." ~ George Armstrong Custer, ~ May 16th, 1876

"I had a strange dream, Mary. A Russian composer will someday write an overture commemorating his nation's victory over the French in 1812, and yet for some odd reason our nation will hijack it and play it endlessly with fireworks on the Fourth of July. What do you think about that?" ~ Abraham Lincoln, July 4th, 1863

It has been my tradition in previous years on Independence Day to showcase spots in American states that I have visited, or would like to visit. I divide the country up each year in half, as opposed to going with fifty different locations. Here is this year's edition, roughly from east to west.

Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island
ECHO Leahy Center, Burlington, Vermont
Yale University, Connecticut
Mount Marcy, New York
Cape May, New Jersey
Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland
Smoke Hole Caverns, West Virginia
Ford's Theatre, Washington,  D.C. 
Charleston, South Carolina

Stones River National Battlefield, Tennessee
Tupelo National Battlefield, Mississippi
Mississippi Bayou, Louisiana
Hurricane River Cave, Arkansas
Hopewell Culture National Historic Park, Ohio
Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana
Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin
Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota
Effigy Mounds National Monument, Iowa
Dodge City, Kansas
Black Kettle National Grassland, Oklahoma

Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico
Devil's Hole, Death Valley, Nevada
Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado
Sacagawea National Monument, South Dakota
Lemhi Pass, Idaho
Fort Clatsop National Monument, Oregon

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Of Canadian Loons And Good Maple Syrup

Some links before getting started. Norma reviewed a film you may not have heard of.  Parsnip had photos. Eve had a poem. The Whisk had this post about swearing. Maria had a recipe. And Lorelei has a book on sale this week.

"I've been to Canada, and I've always had the impression I could take the country over in about two days." ~ Jon Stewart

"I come from Canada, where it's freezing cold seven months of the year." ~ Rachelle Lefevre

"In Canada nobody is ever overthrown, because nobody gives a damn." ~ Mordecai Richler

"Mordecai, you didn't live to see the current PM, or you'd feel like revising that statement." ~ William Kendall

"I tracked my quarry across the mountains, through the icy streams, along switchback trails going back hundreds of years. This was my land, and he was out of his depth and out of his class being tracked by me. I mean honestly, the man was an entertainment reporter, so he could get outwitted by jellyfish. I followed him all the way to Dead Man's Canyon and cornered him. And when he saw there was nowhere else to run, he pushed his luck one too many times by saying he genuinely believed I played drums for Metallica. Let's just say he'll be spending the next three months in a body cast and leave it at that." ~ Inspector Lars Ulrich

It has been my tradition on Canada Day to post images from places in each province and territory across the country, east to west. Some of these places I have seen, others are for the future. Enjoy!

Signal Hill, St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador
Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia
North Cape, Prince Edward Island
Fundy National Park, New Brunswick
St. Joseph's Oratory, Montreal, Quebec
Lake Nipigon, Ontario
Spruce Woods Provincial Park, Manitoba
Fort Battleford National Historic Park, Saskatchewan
Alert, Nunavut

Great Bear Lake, Northwest Territories 
Mount Logan, Yukon
Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta
Okanagan Lake, British Columbia

Monday, June 29, 2015

Michael Bay And His Explosive Football

Deranged Self Absorbed Director Threatens to Helm Beloved Children’s Film Adaptation

Los Angeles (AP) There are no sacred cows in Hollywood, it seems. Reporters were summoned to the offices of Digital Domain this week for an announcement by director Michael Bay, whose obnoxious, loud films have been a pestilence for years in movie theatres, including Pearl Harbor, The Rock, and the Transformers series. The director, who never heard of a movie explosion he didn’t like, and who finds himself the most fascinating human being on the planet, has been taking on a swirl of projects, convinced that each one is going to get him Oscars. This reporter was one of a number of real reporters sent in to mingle with fake reporters (otherwise known as entertainment reporters) to hear the announcement. This reporter remains in editor dictated hell for months on end simply because his editor despises everything about him (editor: you laughed at my mother-in-law’s funeral. I never forget, and I never forgive).

At any rate, despite the callous disregard of the editor who should have been relieved to see his mother-in-law battleaxe shuffle off her mortal coil (editor: hey! Watch your mouth!), this reporter knew he’d be stuck with this purgatory of an assignment. On a side note: yes, your mother-in-law was a battleaxe. Now then, we return to the subject at hand. This reporter and a number of actual reporters were subjected to the presence of vacant headed buffoons calling themselves entertainment reporters in the auditorium. Those of us who were real reporters speculated on how many times Bay would look in the mirror, already set up by the podium. Finally a staffer came out, called everyone to order, and announced the arrival of her boss.

Bay came out on stage, waved and grinned in his usual halfwitted way, and stopped by the podium, gazing at himself in the full length mirror and winking. This reporter expected that deep down, Michael Bay was deeply in love with Michael Bay. He was dressed as usual- jeans, blazer, and a denim shirt unbuttoned at the neck. And he had the customary slightly dishevelled hair and three days of stubble. “Hello, everyone!” he called out as he looked over the crowd of reporters, stealing one last glance at himself in the mirror. “It is delightful to see you all here today! Just as much of a delight as it must be for you to be here and hear my announcement. Am I right or am I right?”

The real reporters remained silent. Entertainment reporters applauded. Bay seemed to only notice the latter. He smiled again in that customary halfwitted way of his, oblivious to reality. “You know, I’m a busy man. I always have lots of things on the go, big projects in the wings, and I can never stop taking on a new challenge. That’s what I’m here today to tell you, about my next big challenge.”

“Are you going to take a vow of silence and stop making films?” this reporter asked.

“No! Of course not!” Bay said, totally oblivious to this reporter’s tone. “Oh, you’re such a kidder! Why would I walk away from the world of film? The movie world needs me, after all. What would they do without me? Who else is as good as I am in blowing things up during every film? Nobody! Now then, what I’m here today to tell you about is a new film concept. Something that will blow you away and have you wanting to see right now. A film that is bigger and grander and more explosive than you can imagine.” This reporter wondered if he could get assigned to something less obnoxious. Like the Rachel Dolezal story.

Nonetheless, the ordeal continued. Bay kept prattling on, obviously in love with the sound of his own voice. “You know, there’s a beloved institution out there, a comic strip that we’ve all known and grown up with. I can tell you that yes, I know there’s a movie in the works already about them, but my take is going to be different. For one thing, it’ll be live action, not animated. And for another, it’s going to take the characters and make them adults. Something we would have never seen in the original series, because, hey, let’s face it, comic strip characters generally do not get older. Except for Doonesbury. And that one’s just a little too dry to adapt for a movie. Though I could make something of that Jeff Redfern is the Red Rascal ongoing plotline.” This reporter sighed, imagining just how much of a mess Bay could make of that.

Bay smiled, gazed at himself in the mirror once again, smiled some more, and then turned his gaze back on his audience. “Where was I? Oh, yes. My film. Right. Ladies and gentlemen, my next big project, once I’m done with the other multitude of other projects I’m working on, yes, folks, the one you’ve all been waiting for...” This reporter glanced at his watch, wondering how long the buildup would take. Three minutes and lots of hype words later, Bay finally finished by saying, “I’m adapting Peanuts for the big screen! Yeahhhhh!!!!

There was an audible gasp from many of the reporters. The beloved comic strip by the late Charles Schulz has been part of our lives for decades, featuring the lives of children written with depth and one beagle with an astounding imagination. There is an animated film in the works, but the idea of Michael Bay desecrating the characters in any way seems to be nightmarish.

“Did you just say....?” a Reuters correspondent started.

“Yes!” Bay said gleefully. “But not Peanuts as it is. I mean, for one thing, there’s no way a studio insurance underwriter would let a guy like me make a film with kids- too many explosions, too much risk. So the concept of my film is to take these characters we all know and bring them up into young adulthood and see where they are now. With lots of explosions.”

Bay glanced at his reflection in the mirror again and smiled. “So our central figure, of course must be Charlie Brown. Where is he at this point in his life? Well, he’s grown up to be a pretty good guy. He gave up his baseball dreams, and when he did that, his infamous bad luck finally went away. Charlie got over that childhood bout of cancer and finally grew a decent head of hair. He’s an Army officer, and a bomb disposal expert, so you just know that in a film I’m making that will come in handy.” Reporters gasped and rolled their eyes. “He’s even happily married. No, not to that Little Red Haired Girl we never saw. Instead he got married to Violet, who for whatever reason didn’t get used that much as time went on.”

This reporter wondered, not for the last time before this press conference would end, if Charles Schulz would be rolling over in his grave. Oblivious to all thoughts of reporters, Bay prattled on. “His friend Schroeder is a world famous concert pianist, just as you’d expect, and Schroeder’s a big part of the plot. His other friend Linus is a theology graduate student who tends to smoke weed and has some strange ideas on divinity and the Great Pumpkin. Sally Brown is an award winning playwright about to debut her new musical My Sweet Baboo on Broadway. Pig-Pen has taken his talent for attracting dirt and put it to good use as a Navy SEAL. Franklin’s a hip-hop artist and my token African-American character, because in a Michael Bay film, you always have to have one of those. Snoopy, admittedly, is where I need to suspend disbelief for a bit, because who’d believe a dog would live in excess of twenty extra years? Snoopy’s still around, still picking fights with the Red Baron and leading his Beagle Scouts and writing books that get rejected by publishers and still thinking of Charlie Brown as that round headed kid. And Peppermint Patty and Marcie have finally come out of the closet and are getting married.”

This reporter sighed with dismay, wondering if his grouchy editor would ever stop being annoyed with him (editor: note to you: I never will, you prat!). Bay was still carrying on with his grandiose announcement. “And rounding out the main characters is the key antagonist. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the one, the only... Lucy van Pelt. She who was crabby and grouchy and obsessed with Schroeder as a child has not improved. In fact, she’s become a supervillain, kidnapping Schroeder for her own lustful purposes, and threatening the world with stolen nukes. Which, of course, happens to be the disarming speciality of our hero, Charlie Brown. The big confrontation between two old adversaries, because let’s face it, Charlie and Lucy hated each other. The stakes are much bigger though than a football being pulled away at the last minute. Which reminds me, the title of my blockbuster is Kick The Football, Charlie Brown.

A collective sigh of dismay rose up from the real reporters. Bay still smiled gleefully. “And now, bringing out my cast, starting with our lead actor....”

“Let me guess, Shia LaBeouf?” this reporter asked.

“No, but he is in the cast,” Bay replied. “No, ladies and gentlemen, playing Charlie Brown with the gravity and dignity that the character so richly deserves, an actor I haven’t worked with before, Mr. Channing Tatum!”

Tatum came out on stage, waving at the crowd, his expression being his usual dimwitted hit in the head by the football too many times look. “Hello there!” he called out. “It’s wonderful to play this timeless character in such a fresh and new way. You wouldn’t believe how long it took me to learn that sentence.”

Bay kept speaking. “And playing his wife, a newcomer to my films, but you’ve seen her in lots of films before. Ladies and gentlemen, playing Violet Gray-Brown... hey, those are three colours! Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to Emma Stone!”

The actress stepped out on stage, looking awkward. “Look, don’t hold this against me, I was signing lots of documents and it turns out one of them was a one movie deal with this hack,” she said, glaring at Bay, who laughed.

“Such a kidder!” Bay chuckled.

“Yes, well, whatever, and now you’ve got me shackled with this halfwit.” Stone added, looking at Tatum. “And considering I’ve worked with Michael Cera, I know a lot about halfwits.” The entertainment reporters collectively gasped and started tweeting up a storm. This reporter could already see next week’s tabloid headlines: Washed Up Has Been Actor Skewered By A-List Actress. Entertainment reporters are scum, after all, and this reporter wondered why his cranky editor couldn’t work for one of those outlets (editor: for your next assignment I’m having you tossed into shark infested waters without a shark cage).

Bay seemed oblivious. “And now, playing Linus van Pelt, give a big hand and lots of love to one of my favourite actors, Mr. Shia LaBeouf!”

LaBeouf stepped out on stage, waving and grinning like an idiot. “Shia is so pleased to see you!” the waste of oxygen called out, still in that talking about himself in the third person phase. “Shia is a busy actor! Shia is glad for that, so when Spielberg comes and begs Shia to star in a Mutt Williams movie, Shia can give him the finger!”

LaBeouf joined the other actors. Bay continued his announcement of the cast. “I quite often cast this next actress alongside Shia in other films as a romantic interest. Well, not this time. This time Megan Fox is in my cast, playing a character pivotal to the entire film. She’s got the gravity, depth, personality, intelligence, and fortitude as an actress to play this role. Ladies and gentlemen, give a big hand for Megan, who’s been cast as my antagonist, Lucy van Pelt!”

Fox stepped out on stage, waving and smiling in her usual vacant looking way, dressed in her customary much too tight clothing, ample cleavage on display. “Hi! It’s so wonderful to play one of the most iconic characters of all time! I’m going to have lots of fun being the bad girl!”

Bay smiled. “Now then, I do have someone who’ll be voicing the inner thoughts of Snoopy. Someone I thought would be perfect for the part. He can’t be here today- he’s caught up in television show work at the moment- but he’ll be ready to go when the time comes, and his performance will be the stuff of legend. Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve chosen Seth McFarlane for that role!” There was silence from the reporters. The real reporters were appalled at such a choice. The entertainment reporters were, as usual, confused in the deepest of ways.

Bay seemed to ignore all that. “I’ve got one more cast member to bring out. I’m still in the process of casting more parts, but I couldn’t ignore this guy. Playing the President of the United States in this tense hair raising thriller... Mr. Nicolas Cage!”

Cage came out on the stage, stumbling and grinning in a dazed way, singing in a slurred way, his hairpiece even stranger than usual. “Hail to the Chief, he’s the one we all say hail to, we all say hail ‘cause he keeps himself so clean! He’s got the power, that’s why he’s in the shower...”

This reporter sighed with dismay. Now Nicolas Cage was ripping off Kevin Kline’s performance in Dave. A glance at the watch was in order, and this reporter found himself wondering how many more years he’d be in editorial purgatory at the hands of an overlord editor with no sense of... (editor: purgatory? You’re in editorial hell!)

Regardless of the overlord editor’s annoying habit of continuing to be an irritating prat (editor: hey! Shut up!), this reporter remained doomed to covering such idiocy. Bay was beaming as he spoke. “Ladies and gentlemen, the cast of Kick The Football, Charlie Brown! It’s going to be big! It’s going to be bold! It’s going to be epic! With lots of explosions and barely dressed girls waxing cars and explosions and Aerosmith doing a theme song! Yeah!!!!”

With that, they were off the stage, leaving the reporters and entertainment reporters in their wake. The latter were busy talking about how Emma Stone had skewered Channing Tatum and Michael Cera, while gushing about how epic a movie this would be. Those of us real reporters condemned for one reason or another to cover this nonsense expressed our dismay at the fact that someone as irritating as Michael Bay would have the chance to desecrate Peanuts. This reporter could sum it all up in two words: good grief.

It’s too bad there isn’t a Great Pumpkin. He could stomp all over Michael Bay, and do the same to my cranky editor (editor: you are dead to me. Dead! You hear me? I’m going scorched earth on you until the day I retire).

Like I said: too bad.