RIP Gene Wilder

Gene was one of Milwaukee’s greatest exports. For me he’ll forever be the Waco Kid in Blazing Saddles, Mel Brooks’ best comedy that I hope Hollywood will never try to remake. Gene’s Willy Wonka was perfect too. His interpretation had this quiet seething which he let loose near the end. I’ve seen the Tim Burton attempt and Johnny Depp was lame because their Wonka was a goofy cartoon character.

There were so many funny movies Gene made with and without Mel Brooks in the Seventies. After Saddles and Young Frankenstein, I have to highly recommend The World’s Greatest Lover with Carol Kane.

Thank you Gene for all your work and humor.

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Star Trek Beyond: Rental at best


I lifted my boycott on the “new” Star Trek after a good friend top me I didn’t need to see the previous turd…Star Trek Into Explosions to understand Beyond. This shouldn’t be a surprise, the franchise has gone with shallowness and characters that no one really gives a crap about. However, I wanted to show my support for Simon Pegg being the co-writer. I think all his contributions were paved over by director Justin Lin whose past work is primarily those awful Fast and Furious flicks. Thus, it was one of his movies with space stuff on it.

Beyond proves that Star Trek works best as a TV show with episodic adventures and not a movie franchise like Star Wars. Pine remains blah as Captain Kirk, Quinto’s Spock and Urban’s McCoy continue to be great yet their screen time is cut back as the story is divided into four sets of characters trying to solve the ho hum crisis.

The crisis? The Enterprise has to go check out some unknown nebula which is oddly full of asteroids to investigate what’s beyond the stellar landmark. As the trailers show and I’m not spoiling anything, the ship is destroyed in the process and the crew scattered as the escape pods land on the habitable world below. I guess they went this way because the famous starship was also destroyed in Star Trek III. Since Lin’s background is car-chase movies, the solution entails punching, motorcycle stunts and overused Beastie Boys “music.” I thought JJ Abrams’ vision of the 23rd Century was already awful due to the crew drinking Budweiser, Lin makes it even worse. Seeing Chinese investors (Alibaba) being one of a few production companies also shows how far Paramount has sunk.

Alamo Extras: Some guys playing an online Star Trek game; people thinking their shower is a transporter (an ad for the French subway); ads plugging the communicator pin, the show’s encyclopedia and an overpriced pen; commercial selling the original Mego dolls; clips from the ST:NG VCR game; painfully awful fan films; clip from Muppet Babies; clip from the Star Trek cartoon; James Doohan plugging collector plates; Shatner doing a commercial for a grocery store; Nimoy shilling for a beeper company; ad for the Mego Star Trek communicator station; the awful “Star Trekkin” song; commercial for ST:NG action figures; Patrick Stewart promoting his one-man A Christmas Carol stage performance; George Takei promoting Milwaukee’s bus system; Pizza Hut ad with Klingons dining there; Hick Trek; Mego ad for the superphaser game.

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Another reason why Austin isn’t “Texas”

Texas joined the sampled of idiocy by passing a law to say it’s OK to carry guns around in public. Their flawed thinking goes along these lines:

  • Mass shootings will be prevented because “good guys” will be armed to dispatch the killer before the cops show up.
  • More drivel about the Second Amendment which is always their interpretation while ignoring the militia element.

Private universities get to opt out (coincidence?) but not the public ones such as the centerpiece of Austin. Oh there’s conditions such as age; you have to be 21 to have a permit for “open carry,” never mind that the mentally ill who do these things aren’t really deterred.

The real reason this idiocy has passed was to please the ammosexuals, the NRA and those who want to steer the conversation in favor of Teabagger revisionism. What do I mean by the latter? A professor brings up an uncomfortable topic/viewpoint, then the unstable, self-hating “student” can just murder the teacher with his legal firearm. Problem solved in the diehard Alt-Right and Teabagger movement’s manifesto.

Anyway, I’m glad to see the students fighting back as per this article in the Guardian. I agree with them. Fight obscenity and idiocy with absurdity. Let’s face it, a gun is often a surrogate for the ammosexual’s inadequacy and self-hate.

Arming everyone won’t work. We’ve been down that road before. It was the over-glamorized Wild West period portrayed by hundreds of inaccurate movies. Not a time I would like to bring back or live in.

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Kubo and the Two Strings: Must See


Another diamond in the rough of crap this Summer. Then again I tend to have more faith in Laika studios like I used to for Pixar…until Laika decides to make Boxtrolls 2, thankfully they’re not taking the easy way.

Kubo is a made-up story and not part of any Japanese folklore yet you’d think it was given the details. It’s a tale about a little boy with one eye who must find three relics to keep his evil grandfather at bay. He is joined at the start of the quest by a snow monkey that talks and then a beetle-esque samurai warrior. Kubo isn’t completely helpless, he can make origami props when he plays his shamisen (three-stringed Japanese guitar/ukelele); e.g. wings to fly away, a ship, etc.

It may be a “kid” movie but there’s enough humor and story to keep adults entertained. I for one was pleased to hear a little more range from Matthew McConaughey as the beetle samurai.

Alamo Extras: Stop-motion fairytale thing; two guys playing “Billie Jean” on shamisens; a Japanese cartoon celebrating the Harvest Festival; kids playing instruments; someone demonstrating the four major styles of playing guitar; Star Wars anthem on a shamisen; tap dancing accompanied by a shamisen.


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Belated birthday to Steve (aka Stvee)!

I was pre-occupied with other crises on Friday but I think the card we sent arrived on time. This really hit the spot of what Stvee likes.

2016 is special too. We met 25 years ago at GenCon (when it was still in Milwaukee and not Indianoplace) and we hit it off quickly. I will always remember the primary reason, I politely had questions for Stvee on how he put Challenge magazine together. Most convention attendees torture artists about the game characters. Just as painful as being an editor and having people telling you why you suck and here’s their notebook full of peeves. You know, the Eltingville Crowd or jerks who make fandom awful for others.

Back to my friend. I hope he had a great day not matter what he did.

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Rick Sanchez has good advice


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Rest in Peace John Martin

Last week John was killed in a car accident courtesy of an asshole running a red light up in Georgetown. I received the sad news during my lunch hour Friday from a co-worker.

Although John left Apple a few years ago, mainly due to his health concerns, he was a member of my 1998 contractor class. Back in those days to join Apple, you had to be skilled enough to support the field techs because there was no front line in Austin. John was pretty clever but his true talents were in software, namely multi-media and when Apple started selling Final Cut Pro he became a wizard.

John will be sorely missed.

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The gossip site shuts down today since Univision had no interest in purchasing it alongside the sister sites. Meanwhile, piece-of-crap Hulk Hogan and enemy of democracy Peter Thiel are beside themselves with delight. Fear not, assholes like those two will get their comeuppance.

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Good luck Larry Wilmore

Friday night I watched the last episode of The Nightly Show courtesy of a DVR. I’m rather bummed over Comedy Central canceling the comedy/panel/talk show. Nightly may not have had the same voice as The Colbert Report or The Daily Show but Larry and his writers were trying something different…something the decrepit Sumner Redstone has no clue about doing.

CC’s current plan is to fill the time with At Midnight. There’s a surprise, I figured they would’ve fallen back on reruns of Scrubs or milk Futurama further.

Good luck Larry, I hope you land on your feet since you’re truly funny.

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Got to relive a little of the Summer of ’89

Saturday I got to dust off an old skill I gained in college…painting. No, not painting a picture or minis, painting walls and ceilings. During my Summers in Milwaukee, I spent three out of four were spent as a member of Marquette’s paint crew. The job entailed washing and painting the walls of dorm rooms. The middle year was my favorite because I was a cutter (translation, someone who trimmed the edges before the others with rollers do the rest). I was also proud of my brush by the time we were laid off; we got busted for playing Pictionary with the first coat of some super thin paint.

What does this have to do with Saturday? My friends needed some assistance painting their baby girl’s room. I decided “sure, painting is a zen thing.” My height helped too. I managed to paint the ceiling over a few hours without any major spills. Maybe I’ll have a photo of my handiwork down the road.

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