Thursday, July 3, 2008

Election '08: Incompetence Vs. Incontinence

Happy Birthday, America, if you were a chick I'll do you... and take you out to dinner. Not fastfood, but something ncie, like Bennigans. Tomorrow, phriends, is July 4th. Independence Day. If you're British like me, you probably won't give a shit. I’m already trying to figure out which figure to blow off. It’s the last weekend in California to drive and talk on the cell phone without a headset. Starting Tuesday, if you’re caught talking on the phone without a hands-free device, you get hit with a $20 fine. So they are not screwing around. That’s almost an eighth of a tank of gas. Next month all the hookers in New York leave for Minneapolis for the Republican Convention. Sen. Larry Craig has already booked his airport restroom. Anyway, I don't have much of a monlogue, so here are a bunch of July 4th jokes.


Q: What happened as a result of the Stamp Act? A: The Americans licked the British!
Q: Why did Paul Revere ride his horse from Boston to Lexington? A: Because the horse was too heavy to carry!
Q: Why did the British cross the Atlantic? A: To get to the other tide!
Q: What do you call a parade of German mercenaries?
A: A Hessian procession!
Q: What would you get if you crossed a patriot with a small curly-haired dog? A: Yankee Poodle!
Q: Did you hear the one about the Liberty Bell? A: Yeah, it cracked me up!
Q: What would you get if you crossed George Washington with cattle feed? A: The Fodder of Our Country!
Q: What's red, white, blue, and almost as ugly as a dog? A: A revolutionary warthog!


From the home office in sunny Groveland, Florida, here is this week's top ten list:
Top Ten Surprising Facts About Cindy McCain
10. Keeps slim by wrasslin' gators
9. Spends half her day reminding John to take his pills
8. She designs and builds custom made choppers
7. Once at Bloomingdale's, got into a fistfight with Hillary over a pantsuit
6. Each time Tiger Woods winced in pain, she muttered, "Suck it up, princess"
5. Other men she finds sexy: John Adams, Beethoven, Me
4. Wrote hit song "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" while visiting family (sorry -- that's surprising facts about Cyndi Lauper)
3. Ringtone: (Shake Your) Moneymaker
2. Can dead-lift a full keg of beer
And the number one surprising fact about Cindy McCain...
1. After guesting on "The View," claims Barbara Walters hit on her


Russian troops kill 6,000 in Odessa to break a general strike.
Two former secretaries of the Nation of Islam file paternity suits against the head of their church, the honorable Elijah Muhammad. They claimed the prophet had fathered their four children. The allegations eventually cause Malcolm X to quit the NOI.
Jim Morrison is found dead of an apparent heart attack in his Paris apartment bathtub. That's what he wants us to think, anyway.
Vladimir Nikolayev is sentenced to death for killing and eating two people in Novocheboksary, Chuvashia. When police arrested Nikolayev the previous year, they found human meat roasting on the stove, more in the oven, and body parts stashed on his balcony packed in snow.
Mistaking it for a F-14 fighter plane, the American warship USS Vincennes shoots down Iran Air flight 655, killing all 290 people aboard. Despite his country's having recklessly downed a passenger airliner while operating inside Iran's territorial waters, Vice President George Bush declares a month later: "I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever. I don't care what the facts are."
Television actor Jim Backus, known to millions as Thurston Howell III from "Gilligan's Island", dies in Los Angeles of Parkinson's disease.

And now a new pheature called...


When the 1828 election rolled around, a lot of people were terrified when they heard Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson was running. If you're wondering how a guy I am calling a bad ass got such a lame nickname, it's because heused to carry a hickory cane around and beat people senseless with it, and if you're wondering why he did that, it's because he was a fucking lunatic. Former Democratic Senator and Secretary of the Treasurey Albert Gallatin feared a Jackson presidency because of his "habitual disregard of laws and constitutional provisions." Or in other words, the man was a loose canon--17th Century Washigton's answer to Martin Riggs. Sure, he probably didn't have an irate black lieutenant to answer to, or a weary partner who was too old for this shit, but he most certainly had a death wish. How do we know? Well, despite everyone's best efforts, Jackson was elected to the top office, and when he wasn't busy shaping the Presidency as we know it today, you could find him out back dueling. In case you haven't been to the 18th century lately, this unmanly sounding activity actually involves standing across from an armed man and shooting at him while he in turn shoots at you. The number of duels that Jackson took part in varies depending on what source you consult; some say 13, while others rank the number somewhere in the 100's, both of which are entirely too many times for a reasonable human being to stand in front of someone who is strying to kill them with a loaded gun. On one occasion, he challenged a man named Charles Dickinson to a duel, (the reason behind it wasn't important, not to us and certainly not to Jackson), and Jackson was even kind enough to give Dickinson the first shot. I'm gonna go ahead and repeat that: In a duel with pistols, Jackson politely volunteers to be shot at first. Dickinson happily obliged and shot Jackson, who proceeded to shake it off like it was a bee sting. When Jackson returned the favor, Dickinson was not so lucky, and that's why his face isn't on the twenty. The bullet, by the by, remained in Jackson's body for 19 years because, I assume, Jackson knew that time spent removing the bullets would just fall under the general category of "time not dueling," Jackson's least favorite category. Greatest Display of Badassedry: Andrew Jackson was the first president on whom an assassination attempt was made. A man named Richard Lawrence approached Jackson with two pistols both of which, for some reason, misfired. With the possibility of an assassination taken off the table, Jackson proceeded to beat Lawrence near death with his cane until Jackson's aides pulled him off the assassin. The guns were inspected afterwards and it was discovered that theywere in perfect working order, leading some historians to believe that it was an odds-defying "miracle" that Jackson survived, while we're pretty sure that the bullets, like everyone else, were simply scared of Jackson. Most Badass Quote: "I have only two regrets: I didn't shoot Henry Clay and I didn't hang John C. Calhoun." That's right. In a life rich with murdering people for little-to-no reason, Jackson's only regret was that he didn't kill quite enough people. People like Calhoun who, it should be noted, was Jackson's vice president.


Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is an all-around loser: awful job, low self-esteem, a "best friend" who's screwing his girlfriend. But that all changes when Wes learns that his father was a highly trained assassin who passed his skills down genetically, and it's time for Wes to join his old man's comrades in a shady organization known as The Fraternity. I'm sick of watching our once-kick-ass action heroes getting their balls snipped off with PG-13 scissors (looking at you, John McClane), so Wanted's unabashed, over-the-top violence is refreshing. It's also funny, stylish, and totally entertaining. People will complain that it's too violent and unrealistic, but they are completely missing the point. The mythology behind The Fraternity is needlessly convoluted, involving mystic looms (yes, mystic looms), secret codes, and random monks. Why can't they just be killers for hire, and that's that? I can't say I've ever heard Morgan Freeman shout, "Shoot this motherfucker!" Nice, Morgan. No reason why Sam Jackson has to own the monopoly. From 1 to 10, it gets a 9. Go see it!


In the last episode, the Doctor and Donna were trapped on a planetary repository of books called The Library along with a archaeological team and a microscopic, carnivorous species that hides in the shadows called the Vashta Narada. And somehow, all this is linked to a little girl who seems to be watching the events within the Library the same as the viewer. And now, part two. Steven Moffat delivers in his Herculean task of writing a second part of a fantastic episode that is every bit as good as the first part. We learn that the little girl is actually the planetary database called CAL (patterned after a little girl named Charlotte Abigail Lux), who managed to save the 4,022 survivors of the Vashta Nerada invasion as data in an enormous hard drive. The same fate had befallen Donna at the end of the last episode. There were a few very interesting aspects of this episode that really struck me. The first was River Song's relationship-to-be with the Doctor. Since they "initially" meet in her past, the actress will have to appear younger to pull it off properly. Or perhaps the whole "time is always in flux" concept in "Doctor Who" will reign supreme and timelines will change to prevent the whole thing from happening. Or, they'll just forget about it (just like it's been forgotten that some day the Doctor will have to become Merlin). Second, we got to see Donna live her dream. It seems that for all her wishes for travel and excitement, her true heart's desire is to settle down with a nice man and have a family (wearing the exact same wedding dress from her first appearance, apparently). It's a lifestyle choice that seems to be downplayed in the Who-niverse as a valid alternative. I hope she achieves it at the end of her character arc. Third, why do the Vashta Narada have to eat? They survived a hundred years without anything to feast on, yet they consume like zombies on the rampage once fresh flesh shows up. My guess is that they don't consume for nutrition but rather to learn. Essentially, rather than reading or writing or listening or watching to learn, they consume and absorb the knowledge. It would certainly fit into the library theme of the episode. It would have also made it extra-important that they did not eat the Doctor. Wasn't that a great bluff at the end? The Vashta Narada had the Doctor dead to rights, and his reputation saved him. Apparently, from eating all those people, the Vashta Narada learned to browse the Internet without even requiring a computer. I loved how Charlotte reacted with her head in a pillow when the deformed face of Miss Evangelista was shown. It's exactly the sort of reaction that "Doctor Who" monsters always got out of children. In effect, we're watching a child watch an episode of the show. That's utter brilliance. The theme of the Doctor's true name is once again revisited. I hope the current and future producers of the show don't do anything as stupid as reveal the Doctor's real name. That would be the final nail in the coffin regarding the character's mystique. Exactly how is it saving a life (or group of lives) when you turn them into electronic impulses in a virtual reality machine? Beats the alternative, I suppose. In CAL's home there was a picture of a blond girl with a wolf next to it. A little more foreshadowing.
River Song could still return, and not just as a prequel. She just needs a new body.
Here's what we have. A frightening enemy. A sinister mystery. A possible flame for the Doctor. An excellent episode.


Mark Millar is becoming a real Hollywood insider these days, a Frank Miller in training. He dropped quite an intriguing bombshell to Scotland's Daily Record -- claiming that there's a Superman movie revamp on the way. While some of his claims could be dismissed as wishful thinking by a man who merely wants to fulfill his Kryptonian dreams, he's certainly talking it out with someone. Says Millar, "I've been planning this my entire life. I've got my director and producer set up, and it'll be 2011. This is how far ahead you have to think. The Superman brand is toxic after that last movie lost 200 million, but in 2011 we're hoping to restart it. Sadly I can't say who the director is, but we may make it official by Christmas. But fingers crossed it could work out, that would be my lifetime's dream." Now, this flies directly in the face of Bryan Singer confirming he was attached to the sequel. But there's been a peculiar lack of progress with it. He's obviously busy with Valkyrie, but when you look at how quickly the Iron Man and Spider-Man franchises are moving, well, someone's not moving faster than a speeding bullet anymore. Could Warner Bros really be open to rebooting the franchise? The parallels between Ang Lee's Hulk and Bryan Singer's Superman Returns are striking, and I can honestly see the studio choosing a similarly clean slate. But they would be ditching a pretty expensive investment in Returns, and creating quite a controversy in the process. Far more people loved Superman Returns than Hulk, and Singer commands a lot of geek cred.

There, kids, the latest entry of the Phile. Next week's entry will be on Thursday as well. You might of noticed in the last few week's the Phile is slowly changing. No more Movie Buzz for one thing. I thought it was redundant to have Geek Talk and Movie Buzz. Also, I want to start doing celebrity news as well. Anyway, spread the word, not the turd, and have a safe July 4th. Oh, Indoor fireworks Can still burn your fingers Indoor fireworks We swore we were safe as houses They're not so spectacular
They don't burn up in the sky But they can dazzle or delight Or bring a tear When the smoke gets in your eyes... Peace.


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