The King is Dead...

The LA Times and other sources have reported today that the King of Pop has passed on. He reportedly collapsed at his brother's house as the result of cardiac arrest and could not be revived at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. MoTown should ring out the bells tonight in remembrance of its once favored, then fallen son. Jackson was, in his prime, perhaps the most prolific entertainer of a generation. He had been rehearsing in Los Angeles in preparation for a series of comeback concerts scheduled for London in 2010. He was 50. What a sad story.


Loved "UP"

Tonight, a beautiful young lady took me to see Disney Pixar's latest masterpiece: Up. UP should be definitive proof that Pixar really can do no wrong. With only a handful of central characters, little dialogue, and a small plot, Up still succeeds tremendously. Those few characters are eloquently and subtly crafted, evolving quickly, but believably throughout the film. The crotchety old Carl Fredericksen, the rapscallious (and hilarious) dogs, the "mailman" boy scout, and even the silent bird were all unfolded deftly and entertainingly. At one point, I couldn't help but cheer in my heart and shed a little tear for Zeus when Doug (the talking dog) showed up at the famous house doorstep and simply said "I hid under your porch because I love you." The little dialogue there is plays perfect counterpoint to the stunning, and often emotional imagery. I've never seen a silent montage more heartfelt and more winning than the 60 years of Mr. Fredericksen's tender marriage that Pixar unfolds in a masterful 45 seconds. The colors, shading, design, and choreography were what we've all come to expect from a Pixar film. Finally, the admittedly short plot played out beautifully with the simple nature of the film. I won't play the spoiler on this one, but suffice it to say that in the final moments of the movie, I was on the edge of my seat and even caught myself holding my breath. That's the sign of a great flick. While it wasn't quite on the grand, operatic scale of WALL*E or the decadent imagery and Parisian je ne sais quoi of Ratatouille, Up easily stands up there with The Incredibles and Toy Story 2. And those are two of my favorite movies. What a great night. Thanks, Erin!!! Below is my ranking of the 10 Pixar Movies to come out since Toy Story. Let me know what you think. 1. WALL*E 2. Ratatouille 3. The Incredibles (tie) 3. Up (tie) 5. Toy Story 2 6. Finding Nemo 7. Monster's Inc. 8. A Bug's Life 9. Toy Story 10. Cars On the sidebar, you can cast your vote for favorite. Feel free to stuff the ballot box!


HDTV: Blackouts and The Future of Gadgetry

Well, last week we heard the death knell for ol' analog television. That technological stalwart that brought you Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, Mork & Mindy, and Homer and Marge Simpson. Only, television's not gone...it's just...better. For those who haven't seen HDTV and been able to compare it to analog, imagine getting a brand new pair of prescription glasses or comparing the North Star to the Sun. Yes. It's that startling. Sometimes, in the case of aging newscasters and television personalities, it can be unsettling. And on a few, rare occasions, it can be downright frightening. So this has me thinking "What's up next in technology?" Well, quite a lot it seems. Here are three future gadgets that are going to blow us away! 1. Robot Servants Hopefully, these robots will not rise up in revolution to bring about Armageddon, as has happened in just about every Science Fiction book since Asimov took up a pen and every Science Fiction movie since, well, ever. Actually, you can already find robotic servants gallivanting about high-tech homes as I write this: iRobot (wait, I thought I already saw that movie!) provides robots for both industrial/governmental use and for personal home use. Among its top sellers, iRobot boasts While the iRobot line isn't exactly Terminator-esque in its dogged relentlessness or sheer killing capacity, I think with the advent of the floor washing, pooper scooper automoton we have to be prepared for the future! But before I go out and buy a bomb shelter (that may not be effective against the inevitable HumanKilla 1000 model from iRobot), I'm at least waiting until the robots that look human come around... 2. Lightsaber Toothbrushes And not the cheap plastic kind, either! Just go here. You won't regret it! Seriously. In the not-so-distant future, you'll be able to (safely) lightsaber your teeth clean. You read that right. This officially gives new meaning to using the force. In my geekboy brain, I can't help but hear Admiral Ackbar shouting "Your teeth can handle power of this magnitude..." Oh...just go visit the link already, OK?! 3. ThoughtMail The US Army has been experimenting with thought reading. It has even invested some serious money in developing a "thought helmet." In order to send commands wirelessly and soundlessly to other units. For real. I'm not making this up. Go here if you don't believe me. And check out the actual image below: This gadget brings up the inevitable domestic application of this military technology, and what I think will definitely be the wave of the future--ThoughtMail (TM). Trust me, this will be even more revolutionary than email, Gmail, facebook, Twitter, and the written word combined! Just think of the possibilities this kind of technology raises! You'll be able to instantly send chain emails to friends without having to spend all that time clicking "Forward" and "Send" separately; you can carelessly update your blase and sometimes embarrassing social network statuses without having to write a word; and you can foolishly send that strongly thought-through message to your boss that your brain conjured up. And this time, when he gets it, you don't have to use the "I wrote it just to blow off steam and never really intended to send it" excuse, you can actually just say "My brain made me do it." And it will be a legitimate excuse! Awesome. And with that, Future, to you I say, "!"


Under Construction

I've been using the same template for about three years now. I've decided it's time for a change. However, with that, I've lost many blog links that I so cherish. Please comment so that I can get you linked back to me! Thanks! PS--The Ads are an experiment. Just to see. :D


Being a Big Guy Certainly Has its Advantages ... and its Disadvantages

Now presenting COMFORT WIPE: The first improvement of toilet paper as we know it since the 1880s! It extends your reach a full 18 inches...while it follows the contours of your body and comfortably cleans! Just one question: Why on EARTH would you want to extend your wiping reach 18 inches?! This made my brothers and I giggle into the early hours. I'm thinking it's a must-have for any American family in this time of economic crisis.


Post Trip Thoughts

Hey all. Well, I'm back from the Mother Land. Norway was beautiful, fun, and a bit nostalgic. Amazing to see where one's family came from. And just how much Norwegians eat. Holy Cow! Anyway, I've had many a thought since returning home. Here's a random smorgasbord: (a) Going on a foreign vacation where I look like everyone else is...different. Norway was blond-haired, blue-eyed. As my little brother, Tim, put it: "Who would have thought that there could be so many blond people outside of Utah County...and Sweden, of course?" It was almost strange to walk around the streets of Oslo or Bergen and not have people immediately recognize us as tourists. (Which reminds me, we could have worn fanny packs and no one would have given us a second thought. Oh, regrets, regrets). I'm used to being the only blond in a 500-mile radius. Not in Norway. In a way, it was refreshing--no one staring at you, muttering "American" or "Bush" under the breath as you stroled past. Refreshing, that is, until I realized that, unlike in South America and Western Europe, I don't speak the local language. Among the few bits of Norwegian that I learned from my Dad and my Grandma growing up, here's what I could say: "Takk for matten" -- Thanks for the food. "Vær så god" -- You're welcome. "Tusen takk for alt" -- A thousand thanks for everything. "Ja / Nei" -- Yes / No "Jeg forstår ikke" -- I don't understand. That's it. That's the sum of my Norsk. You can just imagine the stunning conversations I had with family and friends over there: Lovely cousin who has just cooked us a HUGE meal: "Wah wah wah wah food wah wah wah good wah wah eat." Me: "Thanks for the food. A thousand thanks. I don't understand. You're welcome. Yes. No." Thank goodness that most people learn English there! (b) Europeans think Americans are clinically obese, imperialistically minded zealots of the Bush Doctrine. In fact, people were surprised at how "skinny" our family was. And they kept giving us a hard time about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Like I can do something about it. It still strikes me as a bit hypocritical that Europeans, who for so many hundreds of years, were busy invading, sacking, pillaging, raiding, "colonizing," and imperializing each other, would point at us and say "How dare you, sir?" Not to justify an Imperialist Mindset, that is. Just to point out the vague stench of hypocrisy when I smell it. (c) The Bar Examination was invented either by Beelzebub as a trial run for the sixth circle of Hell, or by a bunch of ex-frat boy attorneys trying to make becoming an attorney as unpleasant as becoming a pledge. Seriously, what client is going to approach an attorney and say "Please, sir, I'd like to know the law of Torts in both Utah and the Common Law within the next 2 hours. Oh, and do be succinct. And, by the way, you don't get to research anthing. And I'll be grading you against the 400 other attorneys I'm testin...er...contacting." If I agreed to do that as an attorney, I could likely be sued for malpractice. But here, I have to do that very thing in order to certify to the state that I'm competent to practice? Isn't that like having a doctor perform surgery on a patient without allowing him to prep for it? Examiner: "Here you go, Doctor. This man's spleen just burst. Go ahead and fix him." Doctor: "Ummm .... I'm an anaesthesiologist." Standardized tests. What a joke. And not a funny one. (d) Mormons are odd folk. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/12/us/12coldcalls.html (e) "24" has renewed my interest in being a federal agent. If being a federal agent means I get to do the same stuff that Jack Bauer gets to in just the two days I've watched him, count me in. (This show is going to get its own post soon, FYI). (f) I miss John Stockton, Jeff Hornacek, and yes ... even Karl Malone. Do you remember when our Jazz used to lead the league in team defense? Or when we would perenially place one or two players on the first team All-NBA Defense? Or when we had players who were paid to hit shots and routinely hit them? Or when we had role players who were grateful and delighted just to have a role to play? Or when we had a chance, even though we never capitalized on that chance, to win it all? Yeah. Me, too. (g) Honey Smacks and Asparagus share an...interesting quality. 'Nuf said.