January 2010 Archives

Random Thoughts

Whoever first said "There's no such thing as a stupid question" was out of his mind.  I have heard  countless stupid questions in my life.  Saying something stupid and then putting a question mark after it does not immunize it from being stupid.  It's like putting salt on spoiled eggs.

Tiger Woods filed for a restraining order to prevent publication of nude photos of him in a UK paper.  Photos he claimed did not exist. But he sued to stop them from being published.

When I was about seven years old, I asked my mother if I could have some cake for dinner.  She (obviously) said "That's a stupid question! NO!"  In anger, I shouted at her "When I'm a grown up, I am going to have cake for dinner whenever I want!  And candy, too!" When I grew up, I made good on my threat and have cake for dinner whenever I want and I am quite happy.

The other day, the "Alanis Morisette filter" failed on my radio and the song "Ironic" came on. I noticed that none of the situations she sang about were ironic. Rain on your wedding day?  Not ironic.  A free ride when you've already paid?  Nope.  Some good advice that you just didn't take?  Sorry, not ironic.  A song called "Ironic" that doesn't have anything ironic in it.  Now, that's...ironic.

You only have to play the "Open your mouth and close your eyes, and you will get a big surprise" game one time to figure out you never want to play it again.

Most people who say "I am so sick of al the drama" are usually the source and cause of all the drama.

The media must have had a really hard time covering the arrest of James O'Keefe for trying to mess with the Senate phone system.  The only reason it would be newsworthy is the fact that his hidden camera films exposed ACORN doing bad, bad things.  But since the media largely ignored that story, it is having a tough time explaining who he is and why his arrest is significant without also addressing the question of why it ignored the ACORN story.

After watching "Kitchen Nightmares" I am convinced that I never, ever want to own a restaurant.

Many bands write "I am soooo sick of this life on the road songs" - Journey with "Faithfully", Bob Seger with "Turn the Page," etc.  But Daughtry recorded one of those songs on their first freaking album!  As in, before it released and before they actually went out on tour.  Hello!!!!  Spend some time actually out on the road before you complain about being so weary from being out on the road.

My Tastes Include Both Twinkies AND Ho-Hos

There are several seminal events in everyone's life which are permanently burned into our psyches and whose details remain as clear today as when we first experienced them.  Some are happy moments, some sad, others bittersweet.  Many of them are "firsts" - first car, first love, first house.  One of my landmark moments probably seems very mundane - the purchase of my first DVD player.  It came bundled with five movies, none of which I cared to see, including "Lost in Space" (a terrible, terrible film) and "City of Angels" (booooring). But the real reason I closed the deal is that one of my favorite flicks of all time had just been released - "Spartacus."

I bought the player at Best Buy, brought it home, and hooked it up to my 500 pound 32-inch Sony television and my stereo system to fully enjoy the experience.  I carefully unwrapped the disc and fired it up, barely containing my excitement.  Finally, I had "Spartacus" AND a DVD player!  My oldest child was about six years old at the time and came in to ask me what I was doing.  When I told her that I was watching "Spartacus" she excitedly asked me if she could watch it with me.  It warmed my heart to be sharing such a fine film with the next generation.  After about ten minutes, however, she asked me where the spiders were.  Spiders?  "Aren't we watching Spider Kiss?  Where are the spiders?"  When I explained to her that gladiators were waaaaay better than spiders, she ditched me.  (Years later, when I received "Planet of the Apes" for Christmas, her younger sister, also about six at the time, asked to join me for the viewing.  I enthusiastically agreed and told her how this is one of her daddy's favorite movies, how it's a classic, yada yada. She sat patiently through the crash of the spacecraft into the lake and the wandering of the astronauts through  the desert.  But after about ten minutes, she got up and said "I'm going to my room to play.  Call me when the monkeys show up." Another dream crushed by a six year old girl).


The movie on DVD was better than on VHS or even television because it had been fully restored and the sound had been remastered.  Also, the controversial (and missing from VHS) "Snails and oysters" scene, in which Lawrence Olivier's Crassus puts the moves on Tony Curtis's Antoninus while in the bath, was back in the movie.  When the studio was preparing to release the DVD, they wanted to include that scene, but did not have the original print, as it had been destroyed in a fire years ago.  So they notified film collectors of their need for this missing scene, and fortunately one had a copy, but there was no audio, only video.  The studio contacted Tony Curtis and asked him to re-dub the scene, which he did.  But Olivier was long-since dead, so they got Anthony Hopkins to record the dialogue.

Toward the end of the movie, as the victorious Crassus reviews the defeated slave army, he informs them that he is going to crucify the whole lot of them all along the Apian Way from Mount Vesuvius to Rome.  But, he offers, he will spare their lives if they will simply hand over their leader, Sparatcus.  One by one his men stand up and declare "I'm Sparatcus!"  Burned by the knowledge that his own men would never display such loyalty for him, he stares icily into Spartacus's eyes and rides on.  Classic filmmaking.  But, just for kicks, I hit the "Alternate Language" button on the remote control and heard a bunch of high-pitched Roman slaves squealing "Je suis Spartacus! Je suis! Je suis!" with the emphasis on the third syllable, making it even funnier.  It was also hilarious because we all know that if Spartacus's crew had indeed been Frenchmen, they would have shouted "Voici Spartacus juste là!!" (Here's Spartacus right here!).  Then they would have joined forces with the Romans and helped them fight against their fellow slaves.  Thankfully the Roman Empire was entirely devoid of Frenchmen.


I am reminded of that first DVD player and that first DVD by the passing this week of Jean Simmons, who played Varinia.  She was Spartacus's companion, his human side, his inspiration for escaping the gladiatorial school and the reason he tried to defeat Rome and end slavery.  The closing scene, in which Varinia stops at the foot of Spartacus's cross to speak to her dying husband is another classic, which elicits a tear from anybody not made of stone.  She holds up their son and tells him "This is your son. He's free, Spartacus! Free! He's free. He'll remember you, Spartacus. Because I'll tell him. I'll tell him who his father was and what he dreamed of!"

So, it is to you, Jean Simmons (and Varinia), that I raise my glass.  Rest in Peace.

I Think I Can See My House From Here!

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Where in the world can you just be walking along, minding your own business and get whacked on the head by an airliner, flying at its normal cruising altitude?  Mount Everest, that's where.  How do I know this?  Because I watch a lot of TV.  I have to.  It's my duty, as the Fat Kid, to consume as much television as possible.  Occasionally something interesting makes it to my brain, and sometimes I am even able to recall it later.

So, anyway, there I was, doing my duty when I happened upon a miniseries on the Discovery Channel entitled "Everest: Beyond the Limit." At first I was going to keep channel surfing in search of an infomercial which could help me lounge my way to a tighter waistline, when one of the climbers said "All I do is eat and sleep."  Say what?  Needless to say, I was hooked.  The guy was Tim, a rather large man who was not a professional climber and not in particularly good shape but who was, nonetheless, scaling the world's tallest peak.  Tim had been involved in a motorcycle accident a few years ago, and (as anybody would) decided that once he got out of the hospital, he needed to spend nearly three months four miles above sea level trying to conquer Everest. All he needed was $40,000 and a plane ticket to Nepal.  His eating and sleeping comment was made when he was asked about camp life and getting acclimated to the higher altitude.  Mental note to self: move from your current sea level location to a really high place where your eating and sleeping lifestyle is not considered lazy but high altitude training.


As I watched Tim and his fellow climbers struggle from Base Camp (17,000 feet) to Advanced Base Camp (21,000 feet) and so on up toward the summit of 29,035, I kept noticing the narrator repeating one particular phrase: "The Sherpas went on ahead to set up camp/lay down the rope/set up the ladders."  The Sherpas would go on up ahead, climbing using only their hands, feet, and whatever tools they could attach to these appendages, and lay down ropes for the others to climb with, ladders to bridge chasms, and haul all the heavy gear such as food and oxygen tanks.

I started to wonder "Why are we spending all our time watching these fat Westerners hike, not climb, up this mountain when it would be far more interesting to see how the Sherpas do it?"  Don't get me wrong.  Mount Everest is a menacing place, whose extreme weather can kill a man in little time and with little warning.  More than a hundred climbers' bodies lie on the mountain, left where they died.  The air is so thin near the peak that one can asphyxiate while breathing and frost bite can claim any of the extremities even if you survive.  But if all the heavy lifting (both literally and figuratively) is being done by others who have gone up ahead and made everything easier for you, doesn't that tarnish the accomplishment, even just a little?  On the flip side, it also makes when Hillary and his crew did in 1963 all the more impressive, especially since they did not have the satellite weather forecasting that we enjoy today, and weather is the most dangerous thing about Everest.


At first, I thought of WIllie Wonka and the Oompa Loompas - they did all the work, he got all the credit.  But at least Wonka sought out the Oompa Loompas and brought them to London to work.  When Westerners got to Everest, the Sherpas were already there, and had been for centuries!

All this glory hogging got me thinking.  What I really need to do to be rich and famous is to find some hard-working people, steal credit for their hard work, and then brag about my accomplishment (*cough* Al Gore inventing the Internet *cough*).  I am going to start my search immediately...just as soon as I get done with my sea level version of high altitude training.

This Is My Son George. This Is My Other Son George...

Back when I was in college (a long time ago) ESPN used to air Friday Night Fights, a weekly show featuring non-title boxing matches.  While I am not the biggest fan of boxing right now, back in the day I used to follow it fairly closely and usually got to catch the re-airing FNF after I got home from work (at Baskin-Robbins, one of the best places to work if you are a fan of snack foods).  The first time a saw George Foreman, it was on this show, and I remember I was afraid of him.  He was fighting the State Champ of Montana, whose name escapes me.  

I knew who George Foreman was but had never actually seen him box.  I knew he was a washed up fighter who was last seen getting pummeled by Mohammad Ali in the Congo when I was just a small boy.  Still, even old and over the hill, he looked menacing.  When the fight started, Foreman went to work, putting his head down and stomping his large and flabby body straight towards the State Champ of Montana, mindlessly and menacingly engaging his foe with all the dexterity and personality of a stone troll.  He looked and fought like one of those cartoon mob flunkies, whose hat fell down over the eyes and never uttered a word other than "yes, boss."  In the third or fourth round, he came out with a flurry of punches that knocked the State Champ of Montana into a daze, and the ref stepped in and stopped the fight.

After Foreman won the match and came ringside for the post-fight interview, I fully expected to hear the voice of that cartoon mob flunky, speaking in dull, emotionless monotone.  Instead, I heard a standup comedian - a real charmer.  The analyst asked George what motivated him to come out swinging in that last round, and he answered "There's a large pile of cheeseburgers in my dressing room, and I said to myself between rounds 'Boy, am I getting hungry.  Let's beat the fool up so we can go backstage and eat!'"  When asked if he wanted to say anything before the interview ended, Foreman looked at the camera and said "I want to say hello to my son George, my other son George, my daughter George, and my other son George."


The rest is history, as Foreman climbed his way back the ladder and defeated Michael Moorer in 1994 to regain the world heavyweight title at age 45.  He is probably better-known today as a pitchman, putting his name on the George Foreman Grill.

I thought of George Foreman today as I ran in the PF Chang's Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon.  As we neared mile 8 and my buddy Brad (who had already run farther than he ever had before by two miles at this point) started to break down with leg problems, I had to dig deep inside me to keep my motivation up and thus keep Brad going.  My mind came back home, to the kitchen, to where my little girl Sarah had baked me the most ginormous cupcake ever.  She had gotten me something that she had seen on TV for Christmas, a giant cupcake kit (I don't know if George Foreman pitches it or not).  This huge freak of confection has the same amount of cake in it as two dozen human-sized cupcakes - I know because when she mixed the batter, she split it into two halves, one of which made my giant cupcake and the other made two dozen of the other kind.

She had lovingly frosted it and decorated it for me.  And there is sat in my kitchen waiting for me to finish this race and come home to share it with her.  I thought of George - and of that cupcake - and kept going.  Thank you George Foreman.  And thank you little princess.  You - and that gut-busting cupcake - are the wind beneath my wings.


Is Either One Of These Guys Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

This week's devastating earthquake took the world by surprise, prompting an outpouring of support from the entire globe.  The United States vowed swift action, while Russia, Cuba, and the United Nations mobilized relief workers without wasting any time.

Also swift to leap into action was a pair of knuckleheads, whose shared credo seems to be "If you don't have anything intelligent to say, make sure you say it loudly."  First one out of the gate was the Rev. Pat Robertson, who declared that the devastation visited upon the impoverished Third World nation was God's wrath being poured down in response to Haitians' rejection of Jesus in favor of voodoo.  This is not the first time Robertson has been associated with such remarks in the wake of tragedy.  Immediately following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, he and Jerry Falwell were asked to comment, and Falwell opined that God was punishing the United States for homosexuality, abortion, and pagans.  Robertson declared his agreement and expanded that since we are a free society and our freely-elected officials are responsible for an increasing secularization of our society, God is holding everyone responsible.


Not content to let Robertson receive all the scorn and derision, Danny Glover raced to the nearest microphone and told us how global warming was responsible for this disaster, and that the world's inaction at Copenhagen made Mother Gaia angry, so she smote the poor people of Haiti, who probably didn't even have delegates at the meeting.  "When we see what we did at the climate summit in Copenhagen, this is the response, this is what happens, you know what I'm sayin'?"

I know what he's sayin'.  He's sayin' "All we need is Kanye West shouting 'George Bush hates black people' to have the Idiots' Trifecta."


Now, I am no Jeff Foxworthy and it's been many, many years since I was in grammar school. But, I think even a cotton-headed ninny muggin like me would be able to answer the following multiple choice question without using a lifeline (and without making himself look like a complete tool):

Earthquakes are a result of:

A) An angry God, who demands that we sacrifice a virgin in the tallest volcano to assuage His wrath (for now)
B) An offended Mother Earth, who chooses to seek vengeance against rich Western white folks by raining death on poor minorities in Third World countries
C) Shifting tectonic plates, which build up huge amounts of energy as they try to slide past each other, and the eventual releasing of that energy results in dramatic shaking of the ground

If you need to copy off your neighbor or use Google to figure this one out, congratulations: you must be a brain dead celebrity, too in love with being in the camera's eye to let something like human suffering and death on a massive scale keep you from saying something stupid and offensive.

Tens of thousands of people are likely dead with more dying every hour.  Those who survived the quake are now suffering with disease, no food, water, or shelter, and what resources there remain are being fought over by mobs armed with machetes.  Now is not the time for people on any side of the political spectrum to be trying to score cheap political points.

Random Thoughts

Today I am still a little hoarse from all  the shouting I did at this weekend's Packers/Cardinals playoff game.  People wonder why I get so worked up over my team, why I attend games, why I cheer, why I stress over them when, after all, I am merely a spectator and have no say in the final outcome.  To them I put my index finger in their face, pointed upwards, and shout "Scoreboard!!!  Oh, wait.  That's what I say to Packers fans. What I say to those other people is that I have more influence over what happens at the Cards game than I do over what my representatives in Washington do on my behalf, yet people get even more worked up over politics than I do over football.  Plus, they don't make a Madden version of the health care reform debate.

Training a dog to be a cadaver-sniffing hound must be the worst job in the world.

My favorite days of the year are the 2 days before a race (triathlon or marathon) because I carbo load like crazy.  Actually, I always eat like that, but on the days before a race I don't feel guilty about it.

The other day I was at a restaurant and I noticed in the men's restroom there was a sign that said "Employees must wash hands before returning to work."  The only problem was that the sign was over the sink, where, presumably, you'd see it only if you were already washing your hands.  The sign should be over every toilet, the exit, and on every wall.  I once took my kids to a birthday party at a pizza/play type restaurant and was in the restroom when I saw an employee use the facilities and return to work without washing his hands.  i did not allow my kids to finish their pizza.

The city of Berkeley is considering scaling back advanced science classes because the classes, in the words of the school board, benefit too many white kids.  I am not sure what the actual definition of the word "asinine: is, but I am pretty sure that eliminating a successful program that sees kids (both white and minority) learn advanced-level science fits the bill.  If true "equality" is what these people are after, they should try to bring up the bottom rather than tear down the top.  Nobody wins when everyone is equal and miserable.

My buddy Brad is the worst Call of Duty:Modern Warfare wingman ever.  Of all time.  I say that because: 1) It's true, and 2) He doesn't read my blog so he'll never know I said it.  He's also a sore loser, so he'd probably pop me in the mouth for writing this.

I wish they wouldn't sing the national anthem before sporting events.  I don't want to be reminded that there is a higher thing that we fans all share, and that San Francisco 49er and Green Bay Packer fans love this country just as much as I do.  It's really, really distracting.

We need to strike the phrase "public servant" from our language.  A person who makes a career out of working for the government as an elected or appointed official is not a servant, he is a leech.  The longer they are in public office, the less like the public they become, but the more power they gain as they rise through the ranks.  It makes no sense.  I used to know how to solve differential equations, but I haven't had to use calculus in over twenty years.  How much sense would it make for me to be the one in charge of telling those who actually can solve differential equations how to do it?  About as much sense as it would to have a guy who has never run a business, balanced a budget, or worked for a living make laws telling us how to do those things.

All Rise....

I excel at a great many things.  You want someone to keep your seat warm for you while you go see a man about a horse?  I am your guy.  Need someone to show you how to run a post pattern?  Call me.  Have a question about 80's pop culture?  I am all over it.  Confused about what is happening on "Lost"?  No problem.

Although my skills are vast and my understanding broad, one thing I would be very, very bad at is a daytime TV judge.  I would not have the patience to sit there while Yahoo #1 yammers on and on about how Yahoo #2 did her wrong.  And I wouldn't have the fortitude to tell Yahoo #2 to zip her pie hole while Yahoo #1 finishes her statement.  No wonder Judge Judy is so grouchy. (As an aside, I'd also make a very, very bad court reporter.  They don't use real keyboards, you know.  They have a keyboard that looks like it only has one key, and they have some sort of secret code that you have to translate back into English when the judge wants something read back.  Knowing me, I'd probably be daydreaming and pondering why the words "mullet" and "bullet" don't rhyme, and the judge would ask me to read something back, and I'd try to wing it, pulling out what I could from memory and "yada yada"ing the rest. I'd probably end up in jail for contempt of court.)


If you watch a lot of TV (like I do - that's why I am so smart), you'd detect a pattern to these courtroom shows.  Almost all of them fall into a small handful of categories.  The largest group of cases involve some young woman suing her former boyfriend because she bought him a car/paid for his rent/posted his bail/paid to get his car out of impound, and then she finds him with another woman and dumps him.  He claims it was a gift, while she says it was a loan.  Of course she doesn't have a signed agreement that it was a loan, and of course he claims that he repaid the debt, but he can't produce a receipt, and claims that even though he repaid the debt, it was still a gift, and besides all that, there was this one time that she didn't have enough money to cover her share at Chuck E. Cheese, so he got his friend Biff to give him enough money for her share, so that should negate the loan she made to him.

Case after case, plaintiff after plaintiff, verdict after verdict, it is always the same: some knucklehead is being taken to court because someone was stupid enough to entrust him with money and/or possessions. And said knucklehead tries to weasel his out of it by spewing out some nonsense.

In the Fat Kid's Court, he wouldn't tolerate any nonsense.  A typical case would probably go like this:

(Voice over announcer) Now entering the courtroom is Betty, who is suing her ex-boyfriend because she claims he never repaid her when she paid for his parking tickets.  She also is suing for pain and suffering.  (Dramatic music) This is Bubba Joe.  He claims that Betty gave him the money as a gift, and that Betty is a stalker.  He is counter suing because,well, he is a nimrod. (More dramatic music).

Bailiff: All rise for the Honorable Judge Fat Kid

Judge Fat Kid (JFK): I think I read your complaint.  Maybe I didn't.  But since all these cases are essentially the same, let's, for the sake of argument, just say I did and move on.  Now, Betty you are suing Bubba over some parking tickets.  Is that correct?

Betty: Yes, your honor.

JFK: And Bubba, you claim that this was a gift.

Bubba:: That's right.

JFK: Now, Betty, how long have you known Bubba?

Betty: About six months.  We met while I was visiting my brother in prison....

JFK: Prison?

Betty: Correct.  He is currently incarcerated at Pelican Bay.

JFK: Is Bubba a corrections officer there?

Betty: No.  He was an inmate, and he was getting released while I was there, and he asked me for a cigarette and a ride home, and he looked so cute in his mullet and Night Ranger T shirt that I couldn't resist.

JFK: And how long after you met did he ask you for money to pay for these parking  tickets?

Betty: Well, let's see..he moved in with me after about a month.  So, I would say....about a month.

JFK: And, Bubba, how many parking tickets did Betty pay for you?

Bubba: About 10 or so.

JFK: Wow.  That's a lot.

Bubba: Well, the Eye Full Club doesn't have a big parking lot, and there's this fire hydrant...

JFK: Excuse me, but "The Eye Full Club?"

Bubba: it's a gentleman's club.

JFK: A gentleman's club?  Like guys sitting around in top hats and monocles, talking about cattle futures and how hard it is to find good help?

Bubba: Ummmm, no.  Like the other kind.

JFK: You mean like a strip club?

Bubba: Yeah.  I just went in there to use the phone because my car had broken down, and when I came out 3 hours later, I had a ticket.

JFK: Ten times?

Bubba: My car breaks down a lot.

JFK: And, Betty, you paid these tickets?

Betty: Yes, your honor.

JFK: And you are also suing for pain and suffering?

Betty: Yes.  My neighbor Agnes told me that I should because she said that's where the big money is.

JFK: (puts face in palm) And are you still seeing Bubba romantically?

Betty: No, sir.  I broke it off with him when I found him and our neighbor making out in the back seat of my car.

JFK: Your car?

Betty: Yes, sir.  His car was impounded, and so he said he needed to borrow my car so that he could drive me to work.

JFK: To drive himself to work?

Betty: No, to drive me to work.  Bubba don't work.  He's got a bad back.

JFK: So, let me get this straight: You pay for his tickets, you give him your car, you support him all those months....

Betty: Yes, sir

JFK: And you never once noticed that he was a fat loser with no means of support?

Betty: No, sir, I didn't.

JFK: OK.  I have come to a decision.  I award you one jillion dollars and order you to only date men with jobs.  Now, a jillion dollars sounds like a lot of money, but you'll never collect a penny of it unless Bubba manages to find a girl with that much money to mooch off of.  And Bubba....

Bubba: Yes, your honor?

JFK: I find you guilty of aggravated stupidity and crimes against fashion,  I order you to watch 50 hours of Masterpiece Theatre (or some other suitable high brow show that you can't understand anything they say even thought they are speaking English).  Court is adjourned.

My First Movie Review

My hatred of the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" is legendary.  With all the zeal of one of those Black Helicopter conspiracy theorist nutjobs, I will tell anyone willing to listen (and even some who are not) of how much I disliked that flick.  Heavy-handed with its preachy tree-hugging moralizing, wooden acting, and over-reliance on special effects and environmentalist cliches and buzzwords ("the Earth is at a tipping point," "we must allow the planet to heal from the damage that mankind has inflicted upon it," yada yada), it set a mark for bad filmmaking.


Well, if the makers of "The Day the Earth Stood Still" had $200 million dollars to spend on eye-popping special effects, stunning cinematography, and ground-breaking CGI acting, they would have come up with "Avatar."  Three trips to the snack bar and 16 Ding Dongs later, and I still cannot get the horrible taste of that film out of my mouth.  Set on some distant moon called Pandora, it is clear from the very first minutes of the film who the bad guys are - humans.  Earth peeps are on Pandora to mine a mineral called "unobtanium," while the entire planet is hostile to their presence.  The humanoid Na'vi attack them with bows and arrows, the animals claw and scratch and eat them without warning, and even the atmosphere hates them.


Weighing in at 2 hours and 40 minutes, it offered plenty of opportunities for me to simultaneously gasp in awe at the wondrous visual effects and plant my face in my palm in reaction to its New Age, "become one with mother Gaia" message.  In fact, my eye muscles are sore from rolling them every time something stupid was said.  When the DVD gets released, college kids will get hammered with the "Avatar" drinking game, in which they have to imbibe a shot every time one of the characters makes a tree-hugging comment.

The Na'vi all have what seems to be a USB plug dangling from their heads, with which they can interface with every other living creature, including their deity.  Yet they haven't figured out the mysteries of the wheel.  Clearly (we are told repeatedly) their way is superior to ours.  Inevitably, hostilities between the Na'vi and humans erupt.  I found myself rooting for the humans.  I am stupid like that.  What made the movie frustrating was the presence of Sygourney Weaver, who has made a career of siding with humans against aliens who seem to be very primitive but turn out to be quite advanced.  Yet, in "Avatar," she sides with the Na'vi and tries to thwart human plans.  It's like dropping Milla Jovavich into a zombie movie and having her take up the zombies' cause.  In fact, during one of the (many) tedious let's-all-commune-with-nature-and-sing-"Kumbaya" scenes, I started to wonder how much better things would be if an army of the undead suddenly sprang up.  Needless to say, it would have improved the film immeasurably.

Speaking of Weaver and aliens, the movie was directed by James Cameron, who brought us such classics as "Terminator" and "Aliens."  (Some would also point to "Titanic" as a classic, but I pretty much hated that movie until I saw Leonardo DeCraprio's frozen corpse bobbing in the water toward the end of the flick, the I loved it - any movie in which DeCraprio bites the bullet is OK with me).  I would have expected him to figure out who the good guys are (humans) and who the bad guys are (everything else).  Clearly, he has lost his mind.

I need to go get some more Ding Dongs and go pop "Terminator" into the DVD player.

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