Monday, August 31, 2009

Disney Buys Marvel. 'Nuff Said

The corporate hive mind entity known as Disney is preparing to assimilate yet another entertainment company. Disney announced Monday today that it has agreed to purchase comic book and action hero company Marvel Entertainment for about $4 billion. Nerds everywhere gasped a collective sigh of exasperation so great, that the course of Hurricane Jimena was altered.

Personally, I'm not all that worried. All the licensing deals currently in place will remain in place for the duration of their scheduled terms, which means that Universal Studios' Superhero Island will remain intact for now and the movie deals involving Sony/Spider-Man and Fox/X-Men will also be unaffected for now. With regards to Marvel's comic universe, Marvel has been destroying that from the inside out since the 1990's, so it can't get much worse.

We will, however, be able to look forward to some exciting new storylines:
  • An epic battle between The Mighty Avengers and Scrooge McDuck
  • The untold tale of how Spider-Man met the Little Mermaid
  • Goofy replaces The Thing on the Fantastic Four
  • Mickey Mouse battles Galactus while the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance
  • Wolverine will now pop claws that are made of nerf foam and tickle his opponents into submission
  • In 8 months, Mephisto will appear and alter everyone's memory of the sale so that nobody remembers that Disney bought Marvel and Hannah Montana's secret identity will be restored.

Monday, August 24, 2009

You Know You Are Screwed When The Monks Refuse To Bless You

It started out as a simple road trip across the Indiana border. Jason had said that we needed to get out of town and chum some new waters. He was probably right. With the college kids coming back into town, getting a decent beer in this berg was going to be a task. I had already grown tired of watching the sunset from my porch, getting lost in the coming chaning of the seasons, only to be interrupted by the sound of some drunken frat boy puking in my neighbor's lawn as the music of Enya creshendoed in my mind. "Sail away, sail away, sail away".

With GPS in hand, we set a course for a little dive bar in Terre Haute. We met up with old friends and made some new ones. I was served beer in a bottles that looked like they had been created in a deformed glass blowing machine. We sang kareoke (badly). As the night ended, we found ourselves at a Denny's pondering our next move.

Halfway into drunkinly arguing with his Moon Over My Hammie, Jason had a revelation. "We suck", he said.

It was a simple statement, one that I could not argue with. "I agree that we do have the stench of epic fail on us lately" I said as I over-peppered my scrambled eggs.

"We should go to a temple or something and have a bunch of monks bless the fail off of us" Jason said.

I immediately thought of the Ba'hai temple in Wilmette, IL. I lived near it once and was always awestruck by it. I suggested that we make a trip up there sometime in the next few months.

Dave, who had been uncaracteristically silent this whole time offered another option. "I know of this monestary outside of Cincinatti. I could get in on some of that bless-the-failure-off-of-us action. I bet they'd do it. And there's great Chili Five Way out there".

I felt, as the only sober and sane one at the table, that I should offer some kind of counter-argument, but my words had failed me. I knew that there could be no stopping this. I sat silent in tacit agreement hoping that the tip jar known as Destiny would be full enough to get us to where we were going.

Some four hours later, we found ourselves at the doorstep of the Monastary of Saint Claire. We pounded on the door and were met by a guy with a vague resemblance to Friar Tuck. A curious look was cast upon each of us as we silently processed what was confronting us.

"Dude!" Dave exclaimed, breaking the silence. "I didn't know monks could be chicks!".

He was right. The monk who answered the door was indeed a female. We had stumbled upon a monastary of sisters, not brothers. "What my friend is saying", I offered, trying to be the voice of reason, "is that we'd like a blessing. We feel a little out of God's sight these days, you might say. We'd like to have the...uh...sisters...gather around and pray for us to receive a little guidance".

The sister shook her head and said matter-of-factly "We don't do that. We pray for the needs of the church and the needs of the world".

"I thought monks weren't allowed to talk" Jason said under his breath.

We were invited to pray in the chapel or share service later, neither of which any of us felt comfortable doing. In a last ditch attempt to elicit a blessing from the sister and wrest a win from the gap-toothed jaws of defeat, I faked a sneeze. The sister just shook her head. Not so much as a "God Bless You" or even a "You're So Good Looking".

And Chili over spaghetti noodles is the Devil's work. Of this, I am convinced.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Brett Farve Comes Out Of Retirement Again

Quarterback Brett Farve is coming out of retirement yet again. Normally, I wouldn't be able to muster enough effort to care about it, but I'm starting to think that, contrary to what most NFL fans are saying, this may actually be a good thing. Farve may very well be the flakiest quarterback of all time, but I want to see him play the game until they have to wheel his rotting corpse out of the stadium. I want to see the guy throwing interception after interception while riding on a hoveround. And I want that hoveround to be insured through an AARP approved insurer, complete with a roadside assistance clause.

And it comes as no surprise to me that the Vikings would sign him. They have two inconsistant quarterbacks as it is and could probably use a future hall-of-famer on the team. Plus, they can get $4,500 from the government when they turn him in at the end of the season through the "Cash For Clunkers" program.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Drunk Guy Camps Out In The Middle Of My Street

Fresh off of my triumphant return as DJ TommyMac, I drove onto my street to find what looked like a heap of garbage lying in the middle of the road just past my house. Upon letting the dogs out to do their thing on my lawn, they headed straight for the heap in the middle of the road. The thought of my dogs trying to gobble down the contents of a trash pile alarmed me, so I yelled at them to turn back, which they did. Surprisingly, though, the trash heap seemed to move in reaction to my voice. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the trash heap was actually a person.

Putting the dogs back into the house, I cautiously approached the person who had the misfortune of collapsing in the middle of my street. I thought about how lucky he was that a car hadn't run over him due to the nonexistent lighting on the street. I got close enough to see that the person was a college-aged guy but didn't dare approach any closer. How could I get him out of the street? Kick him? Throw water on him? Tell him that there's another house party two blocks over?

I rang the city's non-emergency police line and reported the incident. Within seconds, a squad car turn onto my block. Minutes later, three more showed up. They tried to rouse the guy but didn't get him to respond with much more than a few groans. The officers summoned an ambulance. As they loaded him in, one officer came over, thanked me for my time and assured me that Rummy would be alright.

The whole incident had me thinking about a few things.
  • Somehow, I resisted my powerful urge to take pictures and video of the incident
  • The police were very professional and helpful and nobody was tazed in the incident
  • When I was a college student, even though I drank heroic amounts of booze in single sittings, I always managed to keep from passing out in the street.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Return Of DJ TommyMac

Once upon a time, I was a semi-professional DJ who spun tunes at weddings, clubs and a ship called The Spirit of Chicago. I fell into that line of work, not as a natural progression from my radio career, but thanks to some lucky intervention from my old room-mate Keith. I could write a book about the crazy adventures Keith and I had in that line of work along with tales of the insanity exhibited by the douche-bag who lined up our jobs and rented us our equipment. Overall, though, I look back fondly on those days. I was a damn good DJ.  But, that was a long time ago.

A former grad assistant of mine had asked me earlier this year to DJ her wedding reception. Part of me wondered if I still had what it took to keep a crowd entertained. I resolved that, if I was going to do it, I would try to maximize the entertainment potential while minimizing the overall hassle involved. My biggest gripe with my DJ career back in the day was the labor involved in lugging the equipment around. For this endeavor, I used a sound system I already owned. I had planned to use the same mixer I had used for The Virtual Sink internet show years ago, but I found that, years of storage had rendered it useless. I instead purchased a 4-Channel Microphone Mixer from Radio Shack (Catalog #32-2056). It offers 4 microphone inputs and two line-level inputs all over four channels and was very reasonably priced. For music, I alternated between a conventional CD player and my iPod touch.

Overall, I think I performed pretty well. Although I had a few slip ups and felt a little rusty, I still kept the crowd dancing through most of the evening. It was nice to see that some of the old tricks were still hits and it's also nice to find that line dancing at weddings no longer seems to be popular. The YMCA still packs the floor and Michael Jackson was hugely popular last night.

By far, the weirdest request of the evening came from some guy asking for Ghostbusters. I told him that if I wanted to clear the dance floor, I'd play it, but I usually rely on Yoko Ono's music for that. At the end of the night, I mentioned to the crowd that I can provide DJ services as well as videography, and, if they are so inclined, I'm also an ordained minister who can perform the actual service. With me, you get music, memories and eternal salvation all in one package.

In the end, I wouldn't say that last night signals a return to the life of a mobile DJ. For now, I think of it as a mere featured appearance. But, who knows? I might just be inclined to step back into the role for special occasions.

DJ TommyMac Returns. One Night Only.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

That Education Connection Commercial

I have been watching Adult Swim way too much these days. They play this Education Connection commercial ad infinitum and it has started to stick into my brain much more than the phrase "Head On: Apply Directly To The Forehead" ever had. There's just something about the dull tones, monotone beats and droning cadence that captures my thought processes whenever it's on. It's just so strangely hypnotic. It's like watching the replay of a Nascar crash over and over again. I can't look away.

Watch if you dare. The Virtual Sink will not be held liable if you develop the urge to throw your television out the window upon hearing this song.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Woman Brutally Attacks The Mona Lisa....With A Cup Of Tea

The Mona Lisa, aka La Gioconda, known in France as La Joconde was brutally attacked by a Russian woman last week according to officials from the Louvre, which is home to the famous portrait. Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece is protected by bulletproof glass almost two centimetres thick, and is also contained in a special sealed box to protect it from vibrations and humidity, so, the work was undamaged and viewing was only briefly interrupted. The woman who attacked the painting apparently bought a ceramic mug full of English breakfast tea at the museum cafe and was seen to throw it over the heads of other tourists. The mug then bounced off of the paintings protective barrier and shattered on the ground. Officials have speculated that the woman was angry over being denied French citizenship. Others have speculated that she's just another nutbar in a long line of crazies who have attacked the painting, including:

  • The theft of the painting in 1911 by an Italian nationalist. It was returned in 1913.
  • Being doused with acid in 1956.
  • Having a rock thrown at it later that same year.
  • After the painting was encased in bullet-proof glass, a handicapped woman, upset by the museum's policy for the disabled, sprayed red paint at the painting while it was on display at the Tokyo National Museum in 1974.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The TommyMac Turns 36

I can hardly believe that another year of my life has gone by. It has been a real roller coaster with more than its shares of dizzying highs, terrifying lows and long waits in lines behind smelly people with bad manners. Growing up, I had always had premonitions about never making it beyond the age of 27, so every year I get further past that mark is some sort of gift. They are gifts wrapped up in the love shown to me by my fabulous siblings, my supportive parents and my dear friends. They are gifts that contain the memories of an infinite amount of experiences and a set of unique relationships with a number of diverse people. They are gifts topped with a bow that is my beautiful, blue-eyed daughter.

I spoke with a friend recently who happens to share the same birthday as me, and I'd like to paraphrase her in proposing a toast to those of you, friends, family and fans who'd like to raise a glass to me on the anniversary of my birth. Drink to my coffin. May it be built of the wood of a 100 year old oak, one that I shall plant tomorrow.