I'll come up with something in a minute.

Quantum Of Solace Thoughts

Has it occurred to anyone else that they’re remaking Thunderball as a trilogy?*

Just wondering.

Oh, and I counted at least 6 references to other Bond movies, how many did you spot?

EDIT: *Or rather they’re extending some of the ideas of the book into a trilogy. Either way, SPECTRE is clearly on the return in a new form. I couldn’t be happier if Bond went back to using a Walther PPK instead of the P99. Oh, he did!

EDIT OF THE EDIT: That’s not a spoiler by the way, I gleaned that much from the trailer.

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December 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Santa Bear

There is like, almost no information about Santa Bear on the web. Besides some ebay sales and stuff that is.

I* have this one from 1991 as well as this cute fella from 1998 and his girlfriend.

I was going to write a thing about the whole Santa Bear collection, but without more web based information we would have to rely on my rather dogey memory… and no one wants that! My sister has a couple really nice ones, collector’s items that were only sold in very small numbers and only advertised in the small print ad colomns.

Of course since Hudson’s doesn’t even exist anymore, it might be a bit hard to find any official timeline now.

Ah well… maybe I can get her to take some photos and send them to me, maybe I can build a decent article out of it later.

They started in about 1985 and they were neat and that’s about it.

I just was getting them out for house decorating and I got curious.

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Quick List

Once again, for a friend, I’m putting together a quick list of Holiday Specials I don’t hate for people who can’t spew bile as well as I do but still would like to watch something. My standard for acceptance here is that none of these send me into a blind rage of stabbity proportions…

The “Good!”
A Christmas Story which I’ll always put near the top, even though I still haven’t reviewed it. If I get Big Blue back in order before December is over I’ll do it this year.
Scrooge, the 1951 Alastair Sim version of A Christmas Carol, and the 1984 George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol both get in the good column.
Will Vinton’s A Claymation Christmas Celebration: Good claymation, good music, only seriously misfires once.
The Simpsons’ Christmas Special because I love the sense of pathos they manage to produce in this first episode ever.
If you get the Rugrats Holiday Celebration you’ll end up with some good stuff and some eh stuff. The Chanukah special and The Santa Experience are both good. I’m not so keen on the other stuff, mostly it’s not bad though. I’m not a fan of the show after Dill shows up frankly.

The “Eh”
For TV episodes… The Avengers: Too Many Christmas Trees, Chef! “A Bird in the Hand” and A Nero Wolfe Mystery: Christmas Party. All three of these are cheats because they’re part of a TV show and you sort of have to buy the whole season to get the one program, but what the hell, you could bit-torrent it.
Rowan Atkinson is okay in Merry Christmas Mr. Bean and Blackadder’s Christmas Carol but I don’t jump up and down for either of them.
The Vicar of Dibley: The Christmas Lunch Incident is okay the first time, but it can’t be counted as an annual favorite. It falls under the same problem as the other episodes.

And the “Maybe”
Now I like Christmas Eve on Sesame Street, but I despise anything with Elmo in it. Elmo ruined Sesame Street, and while you’re free to disagree, you are wrong if you do so. I hate that an ensemble cast like that got turned into the Elmo show, fucking Elmo. Jar Jar Binks ain’t got shit on Elmo.
I also like It’s a Wonderful Red Green Christmas, but if you don’t dig Red Green you won’t like this. You can only watch it once every three years or so.
Then you’ve got all the things that take place during the holiday season, but aren’t actually Christmas movies.
Of course anime has a whole lot of holiday specials, but I feel that would be opening a door that’s best left shut really.

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

I’m just a bit sick.

001zrr2g

I self-amuse easily. AMUSE! Not abuse.

Preverts!

Hell, most of you are post-verts at this point.

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hard Boiled Christmas (Day Five)

Hard Boiled Christmas

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

 

 

Day 5: The Car and The Agents

 

 

            I followed Noonan’s car out to Pontiac, taking I-75 to M59 and then that down into town. Along the way I noticed a brown Buick, the color of milk chocolate, driving behind me. A face which was already becoming very familiar was in the driver’s seat, following at an even pace. I could have sworn I recognized the person driving, but I couldn’t connect him to anything just yet.

 

            Pontiac is like a smaller version of Detroit, in many ways, in that it was once more bustling than it is today. While there is still business to be done there, and some work to be found, it’s not the nicest area of Michigan to be in. There was a certain grayness to the entire place, like its color had been sapped out of it along with its vitality. The decorations were up, but they were mostly cheap and long lasting things that were ragged around the edges. Plastic fringe on metal frames, the plastic snapping in the cold air, and never quite with a powerful enough color to survive having it’s color sucked away by the area.

 

            That’s Michigan in the winter for you though. I can never understand why goth kids wear black all the time, clearly the color of despair is gray. It seems like all the color and light is sucked from the world at this time of year. Nothing can hold up very well, so the only answer is to try and be even more colorful than before. That’s hard on a person though, having to amp up your feelings, particularly if you’re like me and don’t really have any. That must be why people are so relentlessly cheerful at this time of year, to try and fight of the inevitable life sucking power of the grayness of winter. If they’d just go with it, they could ride out the winter being cold and emotionally distant. Don’t knock it, it works.

 

            The section of Pontiac we drove into is certainly not the sort of place where someone like Christmas would leave her car, or even enter. She had a huge house, servants, private security, and countless adoring fans. Of course, there had been a time when she would have come here, particularly a place like this, but that was before she got too big for all that. There was a time when she would have made it a point to come here, to let everyone know that she was for both the great and the small. Now she would only give them a cursory glance before moving on to some place with cleaner streets and more money.

 

            I knew that something was up as soon as the small party store came into view. There was a small German car parked in the small black topped parking lot, with four huge black SUVs surrounding it like linebackers looking to gang rape the last cheerleader on earth. There were also the agents skulking around the parking lot, crouched down like birds looking for crumbs of bread, only to find that what they thought was a piece of hamburger bun was actually a cigarette butt.

 

            We couldn’t actually get into the parking, because of the state trooper that had parked across the entrance, so we parked on the street. We walked to where said state trooper was talking with some other detectives and police officers. There was a mixture of uniforms and plains clothes standing around, watching the agents with mistrust. No one trusts the Government agents, because the government agents don’t trust anyone else. The Agents also wore their uniforms as well. They were never out of uniform though, not ever. The lower ranks had white shirts and black ties with the navy blue coats that had the name of their agency in yellow letter on the back. If I ever run into an agent that dresses in anything other than the standard suits and jackets then I’ll probably end up in bed with them out of sheer confusion. I just hope the agent that changes from the dress code is a woman, and a cute one for preference.

 

            As we got out of our cars, both groups looked at us warily. I didn’t see a lot of familiar faces, which meant everyone was watching me with trepidation. I could have been anybody, and a man in a suit who isn’t being belligerent from the word go is a problem in situations like this. Anytime the new arrival approaches quietly, it either means trouble or it means that someone was being dragged along to be forced to look at something.

 

            “Hello Noonan.” Lieutenant Rowcliffe said as the two of us approached.

 

            “Jack Collier guys.” Noonan said. “He’s the private guy who worked with Christmas in the past.”

 

            They all relaxed upon hearing my real profession. When two guys in suits came in an unmarked, but clearly official police car, the group had smartened up a bit. When it because clear that they were just dealing with a detective and a gumshoe, they relaxed again. They then went through the process of checking for my name in their heads, and then the process of judging me by what they probably saw as my accomplishments. Christmas had still been seen as the most desirable woman around when I was with her after all.

 

            “What do we know?” Noonan asked to get everyone’s minds back on work.

 

            “Well, the store owner said the car wasn’t here when he got here, but that it was about an hour ago.” One of the uniformed officers said. “The driver’s door was open and the keys were in the ignition. He says the purse was on the passenger seat and when he checked the wallet, he found Christmas’s driver’s license and called it into the locals. I heard it on the radio and came by as well. We confirmed it and then the feds got here and shooed everyone away.”

 

            “And then we all came along too.” Rowcliffe said.

 

            “Just dumped then?” Noonan asked.

 

            “I would say so.” The trooper said. “Of course I could be wrong, but I think that car has been cleaned of everything it would have ever offered in the way of clues.”

 

            “Probably right.” I said. “But what say we go over and look at it.”

 

            “Feds won’t let you.” Rowcliffe said glancing at me.

 

            “Let’s go try anyway.” I said walking towards the small German car.

 

            “Stop right there.” An agent that looked to be about fifteen said.

 

            He stood from his bird-like crouch, ran ten paces and then held out his hand like he was a traffic cop. I’m not exactly sure what reaction he expected to get, but I think he was trying to terrify me with his federalness. Since it takes a little more than a vat grown agent who hasn’t started to shave to intimidate me, I kept walking. Noonan, noticing that I kept going, kept up the pace behind me.

 

            “Hey!” The young agent yelled as I passed him.

 

            It’s interesting how quick those little agents can move when threatened. They formed a wall of prepubescent flesh before us, their huge mirrored sunglasses nearly blinding us as they shifted their heads to reflect the sun. I wondered again when these agents started being younger than me. It was like teenagers, at some point they all started being so many years younger than me. It didn’t used to be that way. It used to be teenagers were about the same age, or only a little younger than me. Now they were half my age, how the hell does something like that happen?

 

            “What’s going on?” A voice I recognized half squeaked.

 

            I recognized the voice immediately and it just made me want to start punching. I always thought teasing Agent Smith about his name was funny, because all the agents look the same and Smith is such a common cliché name. There was something about being such a bland character to the extent that the name itself made me laugh. Of course then the Matrix came out and everyone started in on that and after that the joke sort of stopped being funny. Now I’ve got to find other ways to tease Smith.

 

            His narrow face, with the huge mirrored sunglasses poked out from between the young scrawny agents and looked right at me. His face became a deep scowl, and I could see that when he got older he would be one of those old men who always seemed to be scowling, whether he was or not. He would scowl though, because he enjoyed scowling. He wasn’t happy to see me, and I wasn’t exactly thrilled to see him either.

 

            “Collier.” His voice hissed like something that slithered on the ground and bit the ankles of those that stood on two feet. This would probably be the most accurate description of Agent Smith I could make if only there was a way to add those stupid mirrored sunglasses he and all agents insist on wearing.

 

            “Hello Smith.” I said.

 

            “This is a federal investigation.” Smith snapped. “Just because you’ve been around before doesn’t mean you can stick your nose in. Stay out of our way or I’ll have you busted so fast your head will spin.”

 

            I took in a deep breath, which caused my chest to swell. This is one of the ways I tease Smith now that I’ve been robbed of the name thing. His chest can’t expand like mine, he doesn’t have a muscle mass I do. I tucked my head down while doing it, so as to look more menacing. I then took a step forward and as I had expected, the government’s courage held up like it always did. All the agents took a step back as I stepped forward, which is impressive when you consider ten of them were standing in formation.

 

            “Smith.” I growled in a way that let him know that if he was a snake I was a mongoose. “This might be your investigation, but it’s my town. I’ve kicked your ass out of here before and if needs be, I can do it again.”

 

            “You’re not going to get to that car.” Agent Smith hissed again, and if he had neck flaps, he would have flashed them. “You come another step and my men will arrest you.”

 

            I took another step, and instead of arrest there was another demonstration of close rank retreating. I really wanted to shoot it out with the Agents, but I didn’t actually have a gun on me. If you’re going to suggest a gunfight, it’s pretty bad form to then ask if someone can loan you a pistol because you forgot yours at home. I might not be the best subject for study when it comes to etiquette, but I know that much.

 

            So instead of shooting it out with the agents, I decided that I’d made my point about the extra step and turned around. I looked at Noonan as I began to walk away, and he turned and walked next to me. I looked at him and he looked back at me and smiled.

 

            “It was dumped.” Noonan said loud enough for them to hear. “They only protect things like that when they don’t want anyone to know how much time their wasting with a useless prospect.

 

            “Yeah.” I said looking over my shoulder at them.

 

            “What do you think you’ll do to start then?”

 

            “I think I’ll go see Solstice.” I scratched my chin. “Like I said, the start of the story.”

 

            “I’ll see you later then.” He said.

 

            “Yeah.” I turned back to see that the agents still hadn’t moved to gain back the ground they’d lost. They were going to wait until I was gone, which was fine with me.

 

            I got into my car and drove back onto M59, pulling out my cell phone when I got on the highway. I noticed the chocolate brown Buick a few cars back as I started to drive and dialed Solstice’s number. After a few rings, her voice came over.

 

            “Hello?”

 

            “Hi Solstice.” I said. “It’s Jack, how are you doing?”

 

            “Have you heard?” She asked.

 

            “I heard.” I said.

 

            “Terrible, isn’t it?”

 

            “Yeah.” I agreed. “Are you busy today? I’d like to stop by and talk about it.”

 

            “I’m not busy.” Her voice was still oddly cheerful in the face of sorrows, but that was just how her voice worked. “When would you get here?”

 

            “In about an hour.” I said. “Maybe an hour and a half.”

 

            “Well in that case I’ll have lunch ready for you when you get here.” She said, and I couldn’t help but smile.

 

            “I’ll be there in a little while then.” I said watching the brown car in the rear view mirror.

 

            I wondered for a moment how long he was willing to trail me. What kind of mileage did that Buick get? Would he have enough gas? Did he have any donuts? I decided that I would see how long he could try and follow me as we went down I-96. How long would his patience hold up? For that matter how long before he’d have to pull over and get more donuts?

 

This is part five of twenty-five, come back tomorrow for part six and every day this month until we’re done to see what happens next. If you get lost, one of the tags here should help you. The HBC tag will take you to the story while the Jack Tag will take you to Part One of every story we post here.

 

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Fiction | | Leave a comment