I'll come up with something in a minute.

Piggy Panic

I would like to place myself in the “Let’s not get too panicky yet” crowd over swine flu. It’s not a large segment of the population that has it, the deaths might have been other factors, and normal flu kills lots of people a year. The problem is that the people who have been saying “Don’t Panic” lately have been assholes. They actually have come off sounding like they’re more panicking about a possible panic.

The average statement from one of the Don’t Panic people has read as such…

“Oh come on! No one has died from pig flu! Quit trying to stir up a panic and stop buying into the media hype. You know how stupid you sound? Like anyone has ever died of getting sick! No one dies from getting sick, it’s just a media hoax to make you buy soap. Only libruls/rethuglicans* get sick and die because they hate America!” Actually, that should all be in ALL CAPS, bolded and under a blink tag but I can’t bear to do that to you.

The deniers are actually starting to sound like shrill idiots shrieking that everything’s fine and they won’t hear a single word that contradicts them. They might be right, this might be a fluke, but they could say so with evidence instead of screaming.

Seriously, I’m sorry if you don’t like the facts that most the people who have been hit hardest by this are healthy people and that the science says it’s people my age. I’m sorry that Mexico City completely shut down because of the worries. I’m sorry that people are reacting the way they are, but you can’t change facts just because you don’t like them. You can ask for things to be out into proportion without being a total shitstick about it.

It maybe that in the end Swine Flu will come to nothing, we’ve got a pretty good health service in this country. Maybe it’s not as strong as it used to be, but we’re probably going to be able to lock this down without having to listen to songs like “Baby Can You Dig Your Man” before the whole thing is over.

If shit does go down though, I’ll catch up with you in Boulder.

*P.S. Can we shoot people who use these spellings? Seriously. Even if you don’t like the group, you could at least pretend to be attempting a debate like a grown up.

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Bank Job

Watched The Bank Job and it was ok. It wasn’t really good, but it wasn’t bad either. I think part of my problem with the movie is that this is the most 2008 that 1971 has ever looked. A few guys with mutton chops half glued to their faces does not a historical piece make. Seriously, the sideburns were falling off the actor’s faces in a few places.

Part of the problem may be how big a stiffy movies have had for the 70s in the last 15 years or so. Most the movies from England, particularly crime movies, make it seem like 1980 just never happened. So as a result, the movie London of 2008 already looks a little like 1975, and as a result, 1971 looks a hell of a lot like 2008 anyway. OR! They just weren’t very good a making that time come alive for me.

Also Saffron Burrows has a face that… well it distracted me because cologne lips and botoxed face are not an improvement. Not only was it sort of horrifying to contemplate that she did that to herself on purpose, but I was sitting there thinking “But Botox wasn’t being used like that in 1971” and other such things because her face was such a distraction. I normally wouldn’t draw attention like this, but this face simply couldn’t have existed in 1971 and I found it very distracting. A paper bag with a crude drawn on face could have performed the part as convincingly, and if that bag had a cheeseburger in it, it would weigh more than her and would be sexier, but we’ll leave that to one side.

The writing is just… awful. So many of the lines are trite that you wonder if there was some kind of scorecard handed out to the audience so they could mark off every time an old line would get thrown out by one of the actors. I felt like shouting “BINGO!” when Jason Statham told his wife “Don’t ask me what I’m doing so I won’t have to lie to you” as I felt my board was pretty much full at that point. There is nothing here that hasn’t been done before and been done better. Besides a few points, none of which are all that surprising, this is merely a collection of clichés strung together.

Other than those gripes, it’s not terrible. It works on more of a slow burn than the ads and DVD packaging would make you believe. There isn’t any big chase or fight scenes or anything like that in the movie. It’s a heist movie where they do the job, get the loot, everything goes wrong and they try to make it go right or die trying. The problem is that for something based on history, it plays sort of fast and loose with some of the facts.

I’ll add finally that the movie suffers a blow to it’s credibility in the first 30 seconds* by having tits flashed right away and then turning that into a 3-way before two minutes have passed. I’m not a prude by any measure, but when you throw naked girls and implied girl/girl cunnilingus before five minutes have passed I do tend to roll my eyes and say “Oh, it’s going to be THAT kind of movie is it?” and give it a bad mark right away for trying to pander to my lower instincts. The problem is that it’s not actually that sort of movie at all. It’s actually an important plot point, and it’s the only time you see that level of sexuality (although there are more naked girls than I’ve seen in a legitimate film in quite some time) but it feel gratuitous coming in as early as it does.

That might sound like nit-picking, but it really hurt the credibility of the movie for me and it did it in a hurry. It was sold as a low-budget actioner with Jason Statham, and throwing a naked girl on screen then engaging in girl on girl action in the first two minutes is an old trick to try and get guys to stay for the whole movie. The idea being they’ll stick around in the hopes of more tits or more girl on girl action. The best (or worst depending on your view) of this I can think of is Romeo Must Die where two girls dance on the dance floor, a breast is exposed and they have one quick kiss… and then nothing even remotely like that ever happens again in the whole movie.

All that said, it wasn’t a terrible movie, and in fact on a second viewing it may improve. However, I doubt this will ever be anything in my mind beyond a serviceable heist movie. It is serviceable though, just not much more beyond that. Some of the performances are actually pretty good, considering what they’ve been given to work with, but some of the performances are bland and some are painfully bad. As a result, I ended up not caring more about most the characters. It’s not really bad, it just left me feeling it could have been better. It is competent though and I did like it, I just can’t get excited about it now. I’ll watch it again some time, but not right now. It wouldn’t bring shame to the family if you played it between The Asphalt Jungle and Heist in a Robbery Movie Marathon.

Otherwise, get it from Netflix, watch it once, send it back, and get on with your life.

*30 seconds into the movie that is. It takes nearly a minute just to get through the logos of the four production companies that made this before a frame of the actual film is seen.

April 30, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Liberty’s Child (Part Six)

Liberty’s Child

A Jack Collier Mystery

By Brett N. Lashuay

Look here for last week’s entry!

 

 

Day Six: The Flower Garden

 

            I’d decided to drive with the windows down and even opened the moon roof. I’d gone so far as to let the cloth cover that shaded me from the sun slide back, which would let me put my hand right through and wave to the sky. It was hot, actually it was damn hot, but sometimes I like to have the wind blowing in my face. Even on a day like this when the Mini’s thermometer said that it was over a hundred degrees out there, I needed the breeze.

 

            The Flower Garden was not your common flop house. Say whatever you will about it, it’s a high class place. It’s also the sort of place that you should only show up to with an appointment unless you’re a regular customer and have been heavily vetted. It’s a big house, set back in the hills of a place I’m not even going to mention because I wouldn’t want to give them more attention than they need.

 

            There weren’t a lot of cars parked out in front of the big white house, in contrast to what it would be if I came after five when the business men start showing up. After eleven the place really gets hopping and there’s valet service and everything. Right now though, there was the one car that Daisy drives to work in and a man in a short sleeve shirt and khaki pants standing on the steps. He took a few steps and smiled at me with the sort of smile that a man who knows he can call twenty other guys to come in five seconds can allow himself.

 

            “Afternoon sir,” he smiled and nodded at me.

 

            “Afternoon,” I said back as I closed the door behind me.

 

            “Would you be Mister Collier sir?” he asked, smiling as if he were happy to be in the humidity and heat of a July afternoon.

 

            “That’s right,” I said.

 

            “Well you can go right on in then,” he raised a finger to tap at the brim of his hat, an automatic gesture as he wasn’t wearing one.

 

            “Thank you,” I said. “It’s okay to leave the car here?”

 

            “Should be fine sir,” he said smiling affably.

 

            If I weren’t such an observant guy, I might have missed the holster on his hip and the two clips of ammunition on his other hip because he was just being that polite. I walked to the door and opened it, walking through quickly so I could keep as much of the baking hot air outside. It was almost, but not quite, like walking into a large walk-in freezer. The feeling of shock when you get hit by the cold inside was similar, but the shock wasn’t so great because the difference was going from the mouth of hell to someplace that was merely comfortable. The goose bumps still raised on my arm because of the suddenness of the change.

 

            There was a small desk with a young good looking woman at it in the front parlor. She had a computer in front of her, like most offices these days have, and she must have been doing something non-work related because it took her a long time to look away as I walked up to her. When she did look up, she blushed a little, which she could do on cue because it looks so cute. Her shrinking coy trick was a wonder to see, and was one of the many reasons they put her out front like this.

 

            “Hi Jack,” she said with a smile.

 

            “Hi Violet,” I said smiling at her. “Is Tiger ready for me?”

 

            “You mean to talk to you?” she said and blushed slightly again.

 

            “Yes,” I nodded.

 

            “Hang on,” she picked up the phone next to her and pressed a button. “He’s here Tiger-Lily.”

 

            After she put the phone down it wasn’t more than five seconds before one of the doors next to the desk opened and Carol came through. I always think of her as Carol, instead of Tiger-Lily, because of the personal connection we’d made a few years ago. She waved her hand at me without a word and I followed her into her office.

 

            When Carol started working with Rose and Daisy at the place they’d decided to call The Flower Garden, they gave her a new professional name. Because her grandfather had come from China and her Grandmother on the other side had come from Korea, she sported features that would make an ordinary honkey like myself think that she had a face that one would call Asian. So when she came here, Daisy and Rose decided that Tiger-Lily was a good name for her. She got them back for it though by being smart enough to more or less take the place over.

 

            It was her idea to replace the mattresses with those extra firm models and then put planks of plywood between the mattress and box spring. It made the bed hard, but being hard it meant that the girls never went to sleep on the job. The beds were too hard to sleep on, which also meant that the johns would move along a little more quickly. She had also put the big trees up around the place, and hid the security cameras in them to keep her girls safe.

 

            “What can I do for you today Jack?” Carol asked as she sat down on one of the couches she kept in her office. She had on a short, loose skirt, and instead of nylons she wore actual silk stockings. She put her long silk covered legs up on the arm, possibly to show me her magnificent stems, but probably because it made her more comfortable.

 

            “You know Columbia was snatched?” I asked.

 

            “Has she?” she asked, looking guilty. “It hasn’t been on the news.”

 

            “She was here last, before she vanished.”

 

            “What would she be doing here?” she tried to look bewildered, which was tough because she was so bad at masking her feelings.

 

            “Fucking guys for money I assume,” I said bluntly, because I like seeing her face turn that particular shade of bright red.

 

            “What do you mean?” she asked, turning her legs towards me and putting her feet on the ground with her knees together.

 

            “Oh come on Carol,” I said tilting my head to one side. “We all know Liberty and Freedom’s child is a whore.”

 

            “Do we all know that?” she asked, “I mean does everyone?”

            “You and I know it,” I said pointing to her and then myself.

 

            “Ah,” she tapped the coffee table that separated us. “Okay.”

 

            “Liberty told me how she’s been hanging out here with Daisy and Rose.”

 

            “Did she?” Carol asked.

 

            “She did,” I nodded.

 

            “She tell you this over silk sheets?” I know Carol doesn’t approve of adultery, which is odd when you consider her clientele, but then she probably doesn’t approve of them either. “I mean I know how people can talk about details at a time like that.”

 

            “She wants me to find her daughter,” I said calmly. “Liberty thinks Columbia just took off for a weekend and her father is making up ransom demands. She’s not hiding out here is she?”

 

            “If she were, would I tell you?” Carol said, looking a little more confident now, but still holding her cards out for everyone in the world to see.

 

            “You might,” I said. “You could send me in with a few people and make sure I didn’t try to grab her or something. She could explain her side of the story, or she could just tell me to fuck off.”

 

            “She’s not here,” Carol said, and I could tell she was telling the truth. “She went to see one of the regulars at his house.”

 

            “You make house calls?” I asked.

 

            “This guys been vetted. He’s a nut and a junkie, but he’s a safe nut.”

 

            “You going to tell me who it is?” I asked.

 

            “We are a discreet business,” she said smiling at me slightly. “I wouldn’t stay in business very long if I started handing out clients’ names and addresses.”

 

            “Aren’t you even slightly worried that she’s not been heard from since she vanished?” I asked her.

 

            “Yes,” she nodded. “Which is why I’m going to give you his address. I just want to make sure you’re not going to roust him or anything.”

 

            “I’ll ask some questions and that will be it.”

 

            “Okay,” she said and wrote down an address from memory. “Just don’t give Ed too hard a time, okay?”

 

            “I won’t,” I said standing up as I took the slip of paper. “I’ll just ask some questions.”

 

            “Okay,” she nodded and smiled at me again.

 

            I nodded to her and walked out of the office, because she has always hated it if I try and make nice after I’ve gotten what I wanted. She would have shoed me out if I’d tried to stay around for a few minutes, so I just left her sitting there. It made me feel as filthy as I would have if I’d been a client to her, which in a way I guess I just had been.

 

            I waved at Violet as I walked out to the front door and was smacked in the face with the wet heat of high summer in Michigan for the second time today. I got back into my car and drove away, looking at the address and deciding to just head for Royal Oak where the poet lived. He was something of a celebrity, which meant I would have to handle him with all the more care. I couldn’t have him saying I’d beaten him up to the press or anything, I was supposed to be discrete about this job after all.

           

 

 

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

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Fiction, Jack | | Leave a comment

Thingy!

In conjunction with Connecticut’s thingy today I present my idea!

A new ad for those NOM people that will fit very well into their mindset…
“We’ve got nothing against gays… but would you want one marrying your daughter?”

Thank you and goodnight!

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hmm

I sometimes wonder if Leonardo da Vinci wasn’t just a major ADD case. I mean, I often find my self setting out to write a new story and end up getting distracted only to find 14 weeks late all I’ve done is made a new kind of varnish out of bird’s livers.

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Forms

Whenever I think of Ideal Forms I keep thinking that it’s sort of a backwards route. It’s sometimes translated as Perfect Forms because Plato thought that anything in the material world was corrupted and only the immaterial could hold perfection.

If you haven’t read the link let me make it short. A bed is a bed. If you look at a bed, you know it’s supposed to be a bed. If you look at an entirely different bed, you know that’s also a bed. Beds can be recognized the world over and in almost any shape, size and variation. So there must be some state, some form that is made up of pure bedness. An Ideal Bed if you will that holds whatever characteristics make up a bed and no others.

My problem is I wouldn’t ever call that bed ideal. If it holds only the marks of a bed without any extras, that’s a stripped down bed, that’s a basic bed. What you have is not so much the perfect bed, but a bland bed. Yes, it will be recognized by anyone, but you wouldn’t want to sleep in it. It would have to be so stripped down and so basic that it would be impractical to use as a bed. This complaint extends to all the Ideal Form discussions, as well as the problem you get when two ideals try to work together, since they can’t.

There are other issues as well, such as individual perception of perfection and idealism, but I’m not going to go into them right now. I just wanted to get that bit out as it always bugs me.

April 29, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You know

Those six months I spent as a groupie for Up With People were the darkest days of my life.

Yeah, I’d sort of misunderstood what kind of music they did, and by then I’d already bought the tickets and it’s just a really long story.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Do Not Park

I just got this off my cell phone. In September I went to a store and saw this on a parking space…
Image001

As you can see, no one parked there.

Image002
There was still no one parked there when we came out. No one EVER parked there again.

Spooky!

And now, a window shot.
DSC06251
Just because.

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

Phrases

You know a phrase you never seem to hear?

“I’m so horny I could fuck a rabid moose.”

No one ever seems to be that horny. I’ve asked around about it and that’s when people start telling me that there is nothing shameful or dirty about masturbation. If the offer was to either copulate with a cervidae that had rabies or to crank their shaft (or tickle the oyster, depending on your equipment) they’d take the second option thank you very much.

So that phrase almost never gets said.

And with that in your mind I’m off to watch some movies and fall asleep on the couch, wake up half an hour after that and go to bed as has been my wont* for the last couple of days, except yesterday when I simply fell asleep at my desk and skipped the TV all together.

*Is that right? Would it be want or won’t or what?

April 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Things I learned today.

On the Isle of Portland, you aren’t allowed to say the word “rabbit” for some reason.

April 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment