Archive for August, 2011

He's so desperate, he's joined Facebook and LinkedIn

Following the assassination of Osama bin Laden in his Pakistan porn crib on May 2, Ayman al-Zawahiri became the acting leader of the no-goodnik al-Qaeda organization.

al-Zawahiri, long recognized as a dastardly mastermind but lacking in the charisma department, is reportedly fed up with leading the organization after almost four months.

“He’s had it,” said an insider close to al-Qaeda operations. “There’s too many meetings, too many PowerPoint presentations, too many forms to fill out and expense reports to sign. He’s toast, so he’s updating his resume and starting to network like crazy. He’s even joined Facebook and LinkedIn– he’s that serious.”

Reportedly the 60-year old leader is also fed up with not getting any respect within the organization. “He always lived in Osama’s shadow,” said a confidant, “and that hurt al-Zawahiri’s ego. He thought that when he took over he’d get some respect, but it hasn’t happened–– dude’s the Rodney Dangerfield of terrorists.”

Apparently al-Zawahiri is also concerned about the recent drone-induced death of the #2 al Queda official, Atiyah Abdul Rahman.

“They’re dropping like flies,” said the unnamed source, “and al-Zawahiri wants to get out while he can. Rumor has it he’ll even shave his face fur for the right opportunity.”

You will be bored. You will feel like an idiot.

Our Idiot Brother may be the most disappointing movie of the year. It’s chocked with talented, interesting performers– Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Steve Coogan, Emily Mortimer, Rashida Jones and more– yet it muddles around aimlessly trying to decide if it’s shooting for comedy, drama, dramedy, comedrama, morality tale, what exactly?

In the end, it’s an aggravation. The message is that the brother, Ned (Paul Rudd), is too trusting, naive and innocent in this world and that makes him an idiot. Or does it? Hey, maybe the sisters and others who are scrambling so hard to succeed, playacting their way through keeping a happy face, doing whatever needs to be done to get ahead and get their selfish ways… hey, maybe they’re the idiots!

It’s not a bad message, it’s just a story told with no focus and no clear point of view. Blame writers David Schisgall and Evgenia Peretz. Adding to the disappointment, it’s well-shot with good production values. Credit director Jesse Peretz. This film’s a turd that’s been varnished to a fine shine.

How bad is this film? Well, you know how many comedies have bloopers or outtakes at the end rolling during the credits? This film does that trick, but not even the outtakes are funny.

It’s a pity this film ever got made.

Steve Jobs has left the building. He is no longer Mr. Apple. While this day had to eventually come, it doesn’t make it any easier to take.

No other business leader has been such a visionary, and no other company is such a reflection of its inspirational leader. Jobs is Apple, Apple is Jobs, and we will see if the great company can continue going forward without him at the helm.

I suspect it will. After all, Jobs stocked the pond.

In its early days, back when IBM ruled the PC world, Apple was positioned as “the computer for the rest of us.” Us were those who could care less how the damn thing worked. Us were the technophobic crowd who merely wanted the magic without knowing how the trick was done. Us were the ones who wanted to do a task with one keystroke instead of three, and wanted to make it possible for typography to be beautiful.

That’s what Jobs and Apple gave us: easy to use computers and devices that did what needed to be done, while doing some other cool things, all while looking pretty cool.

I spend most days hunched over an Apple laptop. I listen to an iPod on foot, in the car and on the plane. I talk on an iPhone and surf the web with it, too. I rarely resist the siren call of an Apple store and lust for all the goodies within (MacBook Air, I’m stalking you). And, of course, I’ve been a fan of Apple’s advertising from the start.

Aside from those couple years when Jobs got das boot from Apple and created NeXT and turbo-boosted Pixar, the company was a reflection of the man in jeans and a black turtleneck. A man who is sick, but still generously shared his wisdom a few years back with this inspiring commencement address.

A man who was our modern day Edison with his name listed on 313 Apple patents. A man who thought differently, and asked us to think different. A true American legend, this Steve Jobs. He will be missed. Enjoy.

Buffet needs to cut out the loudmouth soup!

Billionaire Warren Buffet, who testified last week that he and other super rich not be “coddled” by lenient tax laws, has been accused of being a socialist agitator who should be deported immediately.

“We can’t have troublemakers like Buffet running around serving bowls of loudmouth soup,” said Paul Guggins, a lobbyist for another billionaire’s company. “He’s an agitator and must be dealt with extreme prejudice for his socialist kowtowing. Buffet needs to act his wealth!”

Buffet admitted last week that he only pays a 17% tax rate on his income, the lowest tax rate of anyone who works in his office. He encouraged the government to close tax loopholes and begin asking the rich to pay their fair share. His public conversation has angered many Americans, including Clive R. Hunsickle, an associate manager of a Taco Bell in Jacksonville, Florida.

“Buffet is dead wrong about taxing the rich. We need to give the rich lots more tax breaks so that they’ll create more jobs and the economy will get all trickled down so that it can grow like a tomato plant in July. We need to eliminate all government spending and give tax breaks to the job creators if we’re ever going to get out of this mess Obama put us in,” Hunsickle said as he opened poly bags of seasoned Taco Bell meat for the lunch rush hour. “If the rich want to be taxed more, I won’t stand for it. The whole thing sounds as un-American as a burning flag at an ACLU meeting.”

Soon after he spoke, Mr. Hunsickle was informed he’d lost his job due to downsizing. He was angered. “It’s all Buffet’s fault,” the ex-associate manager said, “if he’d just take his tax breaks and create more jobs instead of asking for more taxes, we’d get somewhere! I need to use my noggin to invent some big moneymaker like Buffet did with his buffet line. Then when I got rich, I would take my tax breaks like a true American!”

Buffet could not be reached for comment on the subject of tax breaks or buffet lines. Rumors circulate that the outspoken billionaire is off the grid.

The toughest battle they face is getting to the ending credits.

Oh, Hollywood, how many times have you tried to throw star power at a project, locked in a grade-A director and spent the GDP of a small country on special effects only to end up with a celluloid turd that’s DOA?

The answer is way too many times. The problem is black and white: the script sucked.

If it’s not on the page, it can’t be on the screen. Poorly developed one-dimensional characters will be just that no matter what mega-watt stars play them.

Case in point– Cowboys & Aliens. We’ve got star power out the wazoo. James Bond and Indiana Jones, for crying out loud– Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. Toss in some sex appeal with Olivia Wilde and terrific actors Sam Rockwell and Paul Dano, all directed by Jon Favreau, and you should have a blockbuster. Nope. Instead it’s a dud. A movie that clocks in at just under two hours and could have easily lost thirty minutes and would have been better if for no other reason than it would have put itself out of its misery sooner.

I won’t bore you with the alleged plot. Suffice to say, like Snakes On A Plane the title is the plot. There’s a gaggle of screenwriters and producers listed in the credits and they all should be ashamed to have wasted so much talent on such a futile fart-in-the-bathtub kind of film.

Next time, maybe start on the page before you blow a bundle bringing it to the screen.

Do apes have to pay the Golden Gate Bridge toll? Hell no, not when they're super smart!

If you’ve ever been to the zoo, you’ve probably seen apes do some amazing things like fling their poo or eat their own vomit. Do not be mislead. Although they may act like drunk frat pledges, they’re actually crafty critters– especially when you give them some drugs that turbo-goose their intellect.

Rise of The Planet of The Apes is a pretty terrific film; one of the better popcorn munchers of the summer. It’s a prequel, and like many of the prequels of the past few years, one of the better films in the franchise.

It stars James Franco as a brilliant pharmaceutical scientist working on a drug to battle Alzheimer’s disease, which his pappy has Pops is played by John Lithgow. Franco tests his experimental drug on apes. The apes get wicked smart and quite agitated. Do you see a bad moon rising?

I’m not much of a James Franco fan. He’s fine in this role, but is pretty vanilla overall. That isn’t so bad though since he’s playing support to some terrific computer generated ape actors and the phenomenal Andy Serkis who plays the hero ape, Caesar. Serkis brings this ape to wonderful human-like life. He’s the same guy who played Gollum in the Lord of The Rings flicks.

But the real stars here are the special effects and some slick direction by Rupert Wyatt from a smart screenplay by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver. The score by Patrick Doyle is well done and pitch perfect for the action and emotion.

You also get to hear the famous command, “Get your filthy hands off me you damn dirty ape!” just not in Chick Heston’s golden baritone. Be on the lookout for Mr. Heston who does appear in this movie. Good stuff.

This is one fine film and a fun ride. Give it a go and chances are you’ll like it so much that you won’t fling poo at the screen.