Friday, November 18, 2005

Ramblings for the Evening (11/18/05)

It's Friday night. When I was in college, I would be partying at this time of night. Now, I sit here at my computer wondering why I can't get to sleep. My wife, who still isn't feeling well, is passed out cold. Not me. Granted, when I was in college, I had mastered the four hour night. Go to bed at 3 and wake up at 7. No pain. Guess it caught up to me. Of course that six day experiment with no sleep didn't help much.
Might as well get to the rambles.
So, without further ado: BRONCO BILLY!
Songs to the Key of Me:
A student asked me what song truly represents who I am. Now, first of all, there cannot be one song to describe a person. There can be one song at the time, but we feel different things at different times of the day. This is one reason why, during my student teaching, I had the Senior English class create The Soundtrack of Your Life. In essence, the students had to pick no less than five songs, explain how the song speaks to their life, and then choose lyrics from the song to illustrate the point (teachers: feel free to crib. It's what we do). The students got into that assignment. It made up for making them read The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka...or so I was told.
Anyway, the second point is that when the pressure is applied, it can be hard to boil your life down to one song. However, because I haven't been able to sleep, the perfect song came right into my head: "Overkill" by Men at Work. Do you know this song? If not, the lyrics are below. Discussion will continue after the song.
I can’t get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know will be alright
Perhaps it’s just my imagination
Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
Come back another day
Alone between the sheets
Only brings exasperation
It’s time to walk the streets
Smell the desperation
At least there’s pretty lights
And though there’s little variation
It nullifies the night
From overkill
Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
I can’t get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications
Especially at night
I worry over situations
I know will be alright
It’s just overkill
Day after day it reappears
Night after night my heartbeat shows the fear
Ghosts appear and fade away
Now, except for the part about being alone in the sheets (as my wife is asleep there. However, not wanting to wake her up, I wait till she passes out and then I sneak away to continue my insomnia).
If this song is my representation (and I only thought of it because of the opening line) then it means I worry about things I can't fix. It's true that I do. Though I would never admit to them personally, I worry about my students alot. Some of them don't realize how great they are, how smart they are, or even how talented they are. Some have a screwed up view of the world that has no real basis. I could go on and on.
I worry about my wife, of course.
I worry about my family members.
I think really random thoughts when I can't sleep as well (more on that later).
I've said this before. My brain is like a radio that gets four stations in clearly all at once, and I can understand each station all the time. It's really weird.
So, let me open this up to you, my dear readers. What are three songs that represent who you are right now? Give it some thought before you answer.
And don't worry about me. As the man says, "I'm not dead yet. I feel happy."
Leab, Psychologist...For Free:
I ended up playing psychologist again today. I know there are people and students who get so pissed at me when I do that, but you know what? As much as you don't want to admit it: I'm usually right. That's what happens when you've gone through Hell, seen people go through Hell, and guided people back from Hell.
Anyway, I bought some windows tonight. (I know, seems like a weird segue, but it comes back.) The guy (I won't use his name or the company name) shows up at my house to do some measurements and to talk to me about payment (I managed to haggle the price way was a good night for me in the saving money department). We sit in my kitchen and start talking. Now, I've met him before and remembered some information he told me about his kid, his wife, and such. I ask him how all that's going, and suddenly he's my patient. He starts telling me about how his co-workers attack him for his political and religious beliefs (he's the only Liberal and the only Jew where he works), how he's unhappy with the direction of the world (COUGH--TOM--COUGH), and more. A quick 15 minute visit became an hour. 60 minutes while I tried to help him sort his feelings. This is happening to me more and more. One of my students told me I should be a counselor. I don't think so. I like helping people, but sometimes I hear these problems and...well...I don't think they're real problems. If you don't like the Goldfish your mom bought you, just tell her. She won't die or hate you because of it. Come on.
Still, it makes me wonder if this thing is passed on from generation to generation. My father has this same problem. He goes to the post office and some schmuck comes to him for advice. It's weird.
Sometimes, though, people really don't want help. They just want someone to reiterate the beliefs they have back at them. Let's try to make that less vague. Person A belives Democracy is going down the toilet. Others disagree. They tell someone, "I believe that Democracy is dying." Person B then says, "Ok, you believe Democracy is dying." Person A now has heard their belief made concrete. It has been reiterated to them. Make sense?
Maybe not. I AM rambling here.
Random Insomnia Thoughts:
-Who decides what the "it" toy for the Holiday is. Are there a bunch of kids who play with these things and say, "I want that all the time," and thus the publicity is born? Is it adults trying to think like children?
-History is cyclical...unfortunately. Having seen Good Night, and Good Luck, it's amazing to me how much our society now is starting to look like America in the 1950s. Look out...your neighbor MAY BE A TERRORIST. Check the threat level! Anyone who disagrees with this is UN-AMERICAN!
-If a dog and a cat have a close relationship, is that like a gay couple in the animal world? Or is it more like a rich uptown/person from the wrong side of the tracks relationship?
-Why aren't there more new Rabbi/Priest jokes?
-Why can't the government just give us an even number for stamps? 39 cents? Come on. Just make it 40 cents now and leave us alone for awhile. A sheet of stamps would be a straight 8 dollars. That works for me. Now were looking at $7.80. Great, I get change back that's both bills AND coins. Not cool, U.S. Postal service. And why can't I give my postman money at Christmas? I can give a doorman, sanitation worker, even a cop money at Holiday time. Why not a postal worker. They deserve it now.
-Why is that fashion went back to the 60s, 70s, and 80s, but not to the 40s when everyone dressed really nicely?
-If emotions are nothing more than an amino acid, then it would be really easy to inhibit them with a drug...hence anti-depression medication.
-Why is it that countries like Germany and Ireland, which have such great beers, come here and drink Budweiser? It makes no sense to me.
This last one actually happened tonight, so it's funny that I was thinking about it.
-If you go to a restaurant and remember information that the wait staff has given you (what they're studying, funny stories, etc) does that mean you're flirting or just a nice guy?
Personally I want to know as the girl at the Greek place thought I was flirting with her, because I remembered she dropped out of Law School. I was just being nice. How is that flirting?
Believe me, I got ALOT more. I'll wait, however.
Like Mr. DeRusha, I get some pretty interesting hatemail here. Sure, I'm not a TV reporter, but I apparently write things people don't like (and some of you still don't get that the whole Sherno thing was and still is a joke).
Still, let's not pick on DeRusha for reporting on the Sex show, ok? He's doing his job, and his joke about "sex in the middle" was funny.
You can send hatemail to me all you want, but let's try not to hate a reporter for...oh...I don't know...doing his job.
Contact from the Slanderous One:
I spoke with the Slanderizer. Slanderous Minneapolis will return soon, but I have been given the ok to have slander once a week until SM returns. Look for a Vascellaro story next week (your turn is coming J.D....It's coming. Ok, just kidding. You I can stand).
And finally:
Loving my Readers:
Sure, I get hatemail, but I know there are also a few of you out here who check in to see what ole crazy here is spouting today. I appreciate it. Whether it's Sherye and D.J. down in Bama (Roll Tide!), or the "crew" in Hawaii, I'm glad something I have to say either makes you think, laugh, or just be pissed (and for you Brits, that's the anger, not the drunkeness, though I wish I could do that with words).
So here's a toast to you, my dear readers. May you be healthy, wealthy, and wise.
Until Monday, Guten Nacht.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

And Now...A New Edition

Ok, I don't know about you, but I miss Slanderous Minneapolis. The Slanderizer is great at using the Twin Cities as a base and creating fantastic and funny stories. It's been awhile since the last entry. So, until Slanderizer returns with new material, I will dedicate my Thursdays to slander around the Twin Cities. Sure, it won't be as funny as Slanderous Minneapolis, but I'll give it the college try. So, I present:
Slander a la Leab
War Between Malls Looms
Ever since it opened, millions upon millions of people have visited
The Mall of America, a shining beacon of Capitalism headquartered here in the "third city" of the Twin Cities. On average, the Mall draws about 40 million people per year. That's more than Disneyland, Graceland, AND the Grand Canyon combined. It is, in fact, the largest mall in America, but not the world.
In the city of Edmonton lies the
West Edmonton Mall, or the Mall of Canada to most Canadians. This mall has over 800 stores, 110 places to eat, AND the world's largest indoor wave pool (but only 1 Starbucks. How...strange).
Ever since the West Ed mall added on, the MOA has been acting like a jealous teenager. "Oh he thinks he's soooo great,' MOA was heard saying. Just wait till I get that casino and hotel, then I'll add a skyway over to Ikea. Then I'LL be the biggest mall...IN THE WORLD!"
Not to be outdone, the MOC lashed back.
"What did that hoser say? Oh, I should check MOA into the boards for giving me a skull cramp. He wouldn't last a second here in the harsh climate of Alberta. It takes a real mall to cater to the water park AND the shopping crowd. I need a Molson. Whatever MOA thinks it can do, I can do better AND cheaper."
Upon hearing this our beloved Minnesota mall was set into a frenzy.
"That bitch. Oh it's so on now. SO ON! I was able to bitch slap the Palisades in Nyack, New York when it thought it would be bigger, and this little 'strip mall' won't be a problem either. Here's what I want you to tell my 'friend' to the north. We have places where families can still go. The fact that he has a restaurant called 'Mounties' where half-naked women serve food dressed at Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) ON HORSES. How is that sanitary? HORSES, IN A RESTAURANT. What the hell are those Canadians thinking?"
Insiders say that the war of words may elevate from minor taunting until someone "gets served." Only time will tell.
And as a bonus:
This just in:
To all residents of Minnesota. My sources tell me that Don Shelby has lost a bet with Jason DeRusha. While discussing the Sex and So Much More show happening right now, The Don made a bet with J.D about the number of films special guest
Ron Jeremy has appeared in. After a tense debate and much fact-checking, it turned out that DeRusha had the exact number (928)while Shelby was 42 off. The fact that DeRusha knew this number worries this reporter, but Jason seems like a very intelligent man with intricate knowledge of the strange.
Due to the fact that The Don lost this bet, he has to appear at the show this weekend and be around the Twin Cities all day when not in the convention center. What's worse (for Mr. Shelby anyway) is that the specifics of the bet have become even more clear: Mr. Shelby cannot complain if anyone hugs him or asks him, "Got Milk?"
So, if you see Don Shelby this weekend, feel free to yell, "Got Milk?" at him, or, do what this reporter is going to, and hug him. He looks like he needs a good hug.
Like I said, not as good as the Slanderizer, but I'm trying.
See you all tomorrow...I hope.

Michele Says

Twin Cities Blogger gathering. Saturday night (say 7:30 or so) Psycho Suzi's. If you can make it, be there. Oh, and the guest of honor is Michele, so do something nice for her (buying drinks works).
'Nuff said.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Ramblings for the Evening (11/16/05)

So tired. What's worse is that my wife is having problems sleeping as well. There's nothing worse than just lying there and then hearing, "You awake, too?" Makes me feel guilty.
Best moment of the day? Trying to explain to someone what the term, "Good job," means.
"Is it great?"
"No, it's a good job."
"What would have made it great?"
"Well, no mistakes."
"Wouldn't it have been excellent then?"
"Do you want me to say 'Ok job' chief?"
"Then stop talking and take your 8 out of 10."
Well let's get to it.
So, without further ado: WON'T SOMEONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?
No Movies in Class:
A buddy of mine sent me
this article, and it really pissed me off. Now, I can see both sides of this argument (which I will show here), but overall this is absolutely stupid. The teacher is showing a historical film. One that is used in college classes to give students an idea of the Elizabethan Era. Yes, it is R-rated, but so is Schindler's List, a film shown freely in most classes, because it deals with a the Holocaust in a frank manner (no pun intended Anne Frank fans). If you refuse to read the article, an English teacher in Georgia showed the film Elizabeth to his senior AP English class. Once discovered, he was given five minutes to either resign or be fired. Where's the choice? No chance to defend himself, just leave or be tossed. However, I said I would look at this objectively, so:

Gives a visual to the Era

Gives an honest look at the Era

Allows students to NOT use their imagination
Gives an honest look at the Era

Beyond that, if you have any students under the age of 17, you have to have parental permission. This can be done with a simple permission slip that is signed by the parents. If he didn't have them, AND he had underage students, the school has an argument, BUT come on. This is a film designed to show how Elizabeth came to power, ruled, and then left power. It's history and helps set up the period writings. We let Herr Schindler go, because it depicts a dark time in a very realistic way. We'll let kids see Nazis kill the Jews, but one naked butt in the Elizabethan period and it's off with his head? If a history teacher ever wants to give visual aid to the McCarthy Era, can she or he no show Good Night, and Good Luck? This would help the students visualize Murrow's struggles. Double standard indeed.
Rap vs. Country for America's Morals:
So I was listening to CNN at around two or three in the morning. Again: couldn't sleep. They bring on this guy (couldn't tell you his name to save my life) to talk about Country Music and the Country Music Awards in NY last night (because New York just SCREAMS Country Music, right?). Anyway, this guy starts talking about how Country Music is American music, etc, etc,
and then he starts talking (no lie) about how Country is filled with moralistic songs that teach people the right way to live, "unlike Rap or Hip-Hop, which teaches kids to be thugs and kill each other." He went on to talk about how Hip-Hop promotes rape and all sorts of other un-American and non-moralistic activities. Fine, that's his opinion. Here's my problem.
I agree that some rap artists promote some not so good ideas (such as killing a guy for his money, slapping your bitch up, etc.), however you cannot say that Country music, as a whole, promotes "totally wholesome ideas."
For every "pimp" that comes out of hip-hop, there's the guy in country who sings a song (oh, let's say Toby Keith, for instance) about a guy who's mad at his girlfriend, so he sleeps with a waitress. Wow, that's chock full o' morals. Just because the Black Eyed Peas have a song called "My Humps" (which is about that part of ladies that most men look at right away) doesn't mean they're destroying America. Last night's big winner was Lee Ann Womack for her song, "I May Hate Myself in the Morning." Essentially, her song is about a woman who is lonely so she decides to sleep with her ex. Hey, that's a great "moral lesson". I'm lonely, so even though I'll regret, I should get it on with my ex.
Look, I have no problem admitting that some Rap or Hip-Hop is not necessarily life-afirming, but neither is alot of Country Music. Don't try to sell me on that.
Tis the Season...Sigh:
I am not a huge fan of the "holiday season." Not because of the religious aspects (I couldn't care less about that), and not, as so many like to believe about people who don't like the holidays, because of my family. No, I hate this time of year because sensible people are infused with mob mentality.
People who normally make sense and act calm will beat each other in order to get that on sale item or get the "COOL, NEW ITEM" such as this year's "it" item: the upside-down Christmas tree. Now, I'm of two minds of this little baby. Part of me says, "Sure it makes sense. More presents can fit (I mean we are a materialistic society), and if you have to put it near furniture, it will take up less room. It's something different from the usual trees, and, if you believe Christmas trees are a religious symbol, this literally turns the religious symbolism upside-down. This tree could be used for Chanukkah or Kwanzaa.
So what's the problem with it? A cheap one costs $300. That's just the beginning. It really IS designed to fit more presents under it. That's not really fitting into the spirit of the holiday, and THAT is my main problem: We have seriously lost the meaning of this holiday. This holiday has become more about finding the perfect gift than anything else. Instead of, "Merry Christmas," we should just shout, "Happy Give Me What I Want Day!"
There are other issues, of course. I was at JoAnn Fabrics over in "The Grove" (That's for you, DeRusha. It is your hood.), and started looking through the holiday aisles while waiting for my pictures I had framed (they were searching for them). There was nothing for Kwanzaa. Ok, because it's a holiday that was recognized starting in 1969, I guess I can understand that, but what amazed me was 1 aisle for Chanukkah. One measly aisle. And in that aisle? Well there were menoras...and...that's it. What surprised me was when I asked one of the associates (or workers) about the lack of Chanukkah stuff.
"Where's the rest of your Chanukkah decorations?"
"This is it, sir."
"There are...(I count) eight aisles of Christmas decorations, and only one aisle of Chanukkah stuff? Interesting."
"Well we do have blue and silver decorations over here."
She leads me to an area with a giant sign that reads, "Winter Decorations" and says, "This should work. I mean, blue and silver are the Chanukkah colors, right?"
I had no answer. What would you say? "Hey, thanks. Good stuff....Yeah."
I just don't like this time of year, because women will trample each other at 6 AM at a Wal-Mart just to save five dollars. The spirit of goodwill seems to disappear very quickly and instead of helping each other, we attack each other.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Little Jimmy Gets Math...and Smack:
A 5 year old kindergartner in Pennsylvania was in trouble when he arrived at school with 8 bags (EIGHT, folks) of Heroin. First of all, I hope that kid was getting good money from the teachers. Ok, ok. In all seriousness, what is amazing to me is not that the kid had the drugs, but the fact that after he was caught with them, the school was unsure of what to do. They waited almost three weeks before confronting the parents. This tells me that the school's lawyer must have been on vacation. You have to feel bad for this kid as well, because he's going to need a Parole Officer until he graduates from college. I work with kids now who are freshman and have P.Os.
And finally:
Sex Bomb:
Tomorrow begins the Sex and So Much More show. There's controversy from people who think it's "just horrible" that this show is occuring. As if, oh I don't know, people shouldn't know about SEX. Eeeeek!
On a separate note, anyone notice how excited (pun intended) DeRusha is to cover this thing? It's a little scary.
Ok, I'm just kidding. Scary is the WCCO commercial with Don Shelby (AKA The Don) drinking organic milk like a fiend. How many takes did he do, I wonder. Did he get bored and whip the milk at someone? Did he diva out?
Ok, I'm out for the night. Until tomorrow.

Insomnia: Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!

This hurts.
I got into my nice cozy bed about two hours ago.
The sheets were slightly chilled, but the warmth of the down comforter on top made it balance out almost perfectly. There was no noise, no light, and everything was set for a perfect night sleep.
So why am I writing at 1-something in the morning? Because Insomnia robs me of sleep.
I wish it were more like the song:
"Love...unrequited...robs me of my sleep at night."
Unfortunately for me, the very person I love is next to me in bed, so it cannot be that.
I'm not sure what's keeping me up now.
There's a set of rules they give to insomniacs to help them sleep. These include:
-No exercise after 5 PM. No problem. I can work out after school.
-No Caffeine after 4 PM. Again, no problem. I seem to be prefering water lately. Plus, I don't really like coffee. I know, I'm Un-American. Get over it.
-No stimulation before bed. Here's what that includes:
No Reading
No Sex or bedroom related activities (which is strange, because wouldn't that tire you out to sleep?)
No Exercise (covered that already)
No Eating (Um, who needs the nightmares?)
No Stressful activity (this includes any work, but as a teacher, you work until your eyes scream, "NO MORE!"
-If you still can't sleep, you can try a glass of warm milk. Isn't this essentially eating? Plus, it's liquid. You down a bunch of liquid and go to bed, you're asking to for your body to wake you up to head to the bathroom.
-Get plenty of sunlight. This one is my favorite. Up here in the Nord (yes, purposely misspelled), the sun kinda leaves for a long time. Add to that that I go to work before sunrise and leave with little time left before sunset...I get no sun. However, I am not dropping $200 to have a visor that simulates sunlight. It's not the same. No matter what you say. It's not the same. I also don't understand how sunlight helps me sleep. Seriously. I need it to be dark to sleep. My bedroom now has blackout curtains which make it pitch black. Yet here I am...typing away.

These rules seem kinda arbitrary. Don't read in bed. Ok, but when my wife reads, she passes out cold. I end up having to slide the bookmark in, close the book, and turn off the light for her. It's kinda cute. Me, I end up reading the whole three hundred page book in one sitting.
My favorite thing on
Web MD about Insomnia is the section about Exams and Tests. Gee. How should I test for Insomnia. How about it's after 1:20, and I'm awake. (Yes, I type fast. Get over it.)
I know I'm not alone, but man, this is a bad time for Insomnia.
Maybe ranting will help.
I should go find out.
One last note: I see in my last post that I wrote "No ramblings for tomorrow." Addendum: It should be until tomorrow, or at this point 14 hours or so from now.
Hope you all are sleeping well.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


Sorry, boys and girls, but I'm really busy tonight.
No ramblings for tomorrow.
However, we will be discussing Rap & Country Music vs. "moral values", Neighborly advice, and more.
Hope to see you tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Mail Mondays (11/14/05)

Ah Monday. A day when people return to work after a relaxing weekend. Why are Mondays usually so bad? Because after relaxing for a day or two, you have to amp it back up to get through the week.
As the temperature drops and the daylight fades to almost nothing, it gets harder to bounce back. At least for me. Oh well.

So, let's get to the mail.
Hey Leab,
How can you not love watching movies at home?
You don't have to deal with annoying people, high prices, or ads.
Come on, Leab. Home theaters are SO much better.

Dear Mini-Ebert,
I don't begrudge anyone who wants to watch their movies at home. I mean I get why. You don't have to deal with annoying patrons (right, Worm?) who talk or answer their cell phones or whatever. It is cheaper. The average matinee here in Minnesota is $6.50. You can get a film for 24 hours on cable's "On Demand" for $4.00. You can rent it at Blockbuster for the same amount. Or, if you know where to look, you can watch it for free online. It all depends on where you look.
Watching at home has other advantages:
-Sometimes you can have better food. You want vegetables or beer? Hey, it's at your house.
-No waiting. No need to get in line, get a seat, and wait through ads and previews. Pop the movie in and go.
-You need to go to the bathroom? Pause the film. You can't do that at a movie theater.
There are a lot of other reasons, and home theaters are getting much better.
So after all these great reasons, why would I still go to the theater?
Well, first of all, the setups in movie theaters are still better than what us laymen can afford. But the ultimate reason is pathos. Seriously. When the people stop talking and watch the movie it can be the most amazing shared experience. I can remember going to see Die Hard in a New York movie theater with my father. If you've never been to a movie in NY, I can honestly say that they are usually the best audiences. During the film the audience laughed together, gasped together, and even cheered together. For those two hours, those couple hundred people were all together in one place and in one mind set.
A more recent example came when I went to Crash. At one point in the film (going to throw a spoiler out here), a little girl is shot at by an older man. In that moment, the entire theater was together feeling what the girl's father was feeling. No one spoke, no one looked away (except me, because I am a freak and want to check out psychological situations), and no one spoke. We all were in the moment.
That's why I love movie theaters. You're away from your home, but in a different world. When done right, you can forget that anything exists outside that black box. AND, the people in that box are now joined by this common experience.
I can't really explain it better than that. Maybe it's because I grew up in a family with cinephiles, but I love being in the theater.

One more for tonight:
This one' s a comment.

There was zero need for that.
None. I am fuming right now.

You might be asking yourself, dear reader, "Leab, what have you done?"
Well, back in
this post, I talked about Emma. Why? Because someone asked me about her. I think she's just pissed at me, because of what I wrote. The problem is: It's all true.
Then again, I wasn't the one who wrote a really bad signature of myself on a body part. So maybe I should be just as angry? I don't know. At this point, I just need to wait for the storm to actually show up. Ho-hum.
As always, have a good night.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Ramblings for the Afternoon (11/13/05)

Two hundred. 2-0-0. Wow. Granted, there are people out there with post numbers in the thousands, but I still feel pretty good about getting to two hundred. It means my brain isn't empty just yet.
So, without further ado: BOOM, BABY!
Life and Death in Minnesota:
This morning it was reported that a popular wrestler in the
WWE was found dead in his Minneapolis hotel room. Eddie Guerrero was supposed to be part of a show tonight at the Target Center. Now, it has not been said what exactly killed him, but I find it that this is another athlete (you can debate about whether or not wrestling is a sport, but you can't debate these guys do work hard to keep themselves in shape) who has died during "the season."
In Denver you had Thomas Herrion, a rather large football player, die of a heart attack. Jason Collier, the center for the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) died of heart problem. A few years ago Darryl Kile, a pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals died of (you guessed it) a heart problem.
It makes me wonder if all these guys have pushed themselves too hard, be it with some form of exercise or with performance-enhancing drugs. I will be curious to find out if Guerrero died due to a heart problem, or if he died of an overdose or something of that nature.
This made me think, however, and I admit I put this in for a possible post over at
MNSpeak: Who is the most famous person to die in the state of Minnesota? Sure the popular answer would be Paul Wellstone, but outside of Minnesota, not a ton of people know who he is. Is it Herb Brooks? If so, then this lead to a second question: Who is the most famous NON-Minnesotan to die here in Minnesota? Herb was born here in St. Paul, so you can't use him. Again, you could use Wellstone as he was born in D.C., but he's not super-well known.
On the flip side (of sorts) there are the four people injured over at the Brookdale Mall. When
B5, the boy band created by (of all people) Sean (Diddy) Combs, performed at the mall, young girls apparently began storming the stage and created (I love this term) a "Girl Frenzy." Girls, desperate to just touch one of the boys, pushed toward the stage and were fighting with each other. The best part? This whole event was being staged by Radio Disney and was going to be filmed and possible played on the Disney Channel.
Now, there are a few issues here. First of all, 2,000 people were at this concert, and there were only 10 security guards. 10. That means each guy was covering 200 people. Ok, no problem there. Can we blame the fans at all? Sure. Maybe it's wrong, but these kids also started beating on each other to get closer. Is that really what our parents are teaching our kids? "You want one of those kids to notice you? Get in close. Kill anyone that gets in your way!" The last issue? How long until the lawsuit and who's getting sued? If it's Brookdale, then the mall might as well just shut down. It can barely afford what's there now.
It's just another depressing sign of the times we live in. It's almost as bad as going to the movie theater, sitting in your seat, and then having someone tell you that's their seat when EVERY other seat is available. Speaking of movies:
An Ironic Movie Review:
So I went and saw
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. What an incredible film. Seriously. Sure, it's an action-comedy in the same vain as Lethal Weapon, but it manages to do something that not alot of action films do: It makes you think, AND, if you are a film and mystery buff, the film rewards you. What do I mean? Let me explain:
This film takes the classic film noir rules and turns them on on their head (a la Scream and the horror film genre). I'll give you examples by comparing them to another film that used the noir rules (but in the future): Blade Runner.
-One character, usually the main character, narrates the film. In Blade Runner, it was Harrison Ford's Rick Deckard just talking about what he did or thought. This is typical for noir and mystery writing (I suggest you read any novel by Raymond Chandler, which is actually a part of the film, but that comes later). In KKBB, the main character narrates, but he's really bad at it. He even acknowledges this to the audience. He jumps around in time, he can't focus on the story, and he makes sarcastic notes about the action the audience is watching.
-In Blade Runner, as in most noir, you have the Femme Fatale, a usually sexually insatiable woman who (usually) is evil. However, she either comes around to become the main character's girl, or she dies. In KKBB, the femme fatale goes back and forth. She seems evil, but she may or may not be. She commits some questionable acts as well. This leads to the next point:
-The main character has a questionable moral outlook. In both films, the main character does things that may or may not be considered "crossing the line." However, in KKBB, we understand why the character does what he does (I don't want to give anything away, so I will remain vague). We may even react that same way.
Other points:
-The four acts of the film are separated by title cards. Each card is the name of a Raymond Chandler book.
-At one point a character talks about how much he hates it in films when a little known character appears to die or disappear and then reappears at the end. This happens in the film.
-Every "Tough Guy" antic that you're used to seeing in films is used, but changed by screenwriter and director Shane Black. There's the typical Russian Roulette scene, the buddies arguing, and more.
If you're a film nerd like I am, then you can even name films and novels that they are cribbing from (I know, that's sad). That's what makes this film so good. If you know the history, then so much more is open to you, but if you don't then you still will find things to enjoy about the film. I highly recommend it.
That being said, it leads me to my final point today (and yes, I'm writing on a Sunday, because I'm not sure how much free time I will have this week):
What has Happened to Movie Theaters?:
I love going to the movie theater. I even was
quoted in USA Today talking about why I like it. If given the choice of watching at home or watching in a theater, I will choose the theater. There's just something about it. That being said, too many people are treating the movie theater like they are at home. It saddens me. My experience while watching KKBB was not as bad as other times, but it's always annoying when people just start talking to each other. You typical offenders, such as talking to screen ("Don't go in there!"), going across the row to go to the bathroom ("Excuse me, pardon me, sorry."), and late comers ("Is anyone sitting there?") don't bother me so much. No it's the new breed of people who talk to each other through the whole film. "Oh that's so and so. You know...he was on that show...with the girl I think is hot. Wait, what did he just say, I couldn't hear it. Huh, I think I read about how this film ends...etc, etc, etc." I hate these people. You have hours upon hours outside this small black box to talk to each other, and you choose now, when everyone else wants quiet, to talk to each other? There's a special place in Hell for people like you. Right next to the cellphone talkers. How dare you talk on your phone. If you need to talk to someone, leave the theater. Yes, you'll miss some of the movie, but that's your fault for answering the phone. If it's SO pressing that you need to answer, then why are you at the movie theater? Maybe you should be at the hospital for surgery. Wait, it's about dinner tonight? That can wait two hours, you ass! You, too, will be in that special corner of Hell with the talkers and the seat hogs. Oh seat hogs. I really don't like you either. You're the people who save the seats around you as well so no one can sit there. So now, when I enter the theater, even though I'm five minutes early, I have to sit with my nose on the screen, because you don't want someone sharing your armrest. As Corky would say, "You're bastard people. You make me want to go home and bite my pillow."
That being said, the ladies in KKBB with me were not so bad. There were some issues. For example, I laughed a great deal. They never laughed. At one point, I laughed at a joke that was, for intents and purposes, a cheap homosexual joke. It was funny and kind of original. When I laughed, one woman shushed me. That right, she told me to be quiet. Wow. That's pretty harsh.
At the end of the movie, a character apologizes for all the F-bombs dropped throughout the film and one of the woman said, "Thank you." Why did you see this film then?
As we left after credits, one woman stopped me and asked me if I liked the movie.

"Very much so," I told her. "It was brilliant."
"How can you think that. It was a terrible movie. I should have gone to Zathura. Why did you like it?"
I explained it to her, but I gave her the crib notes version or what I said above.
"Oh, they made fun of homosexuals. That's not funny. And all of the swearing? Not needed. Why was that one woman naked? Who needs to see that?"
"Well, it was integral to the plot. And the homosexual humor was being a homosexual."
"You seem like a nice man, but you obviously don't understand what modern audiences want to see. We don't want to see that."
"Well, I disagree with you, but that's you opinion and thus your right."
So, here's my issue with this: What does a 40 year old midwestern woman know about what modern audiences want? Maybe this woman is one of the people who wrote threatening letters to the WB, because 7th Heaven is ending (and I'm still pissed about Arrested Development). It makes me wonder if she's right, however. The modern audience doesn't want to think. They want the laugh track to tell them when to laugh. They want the film to spell out everything for them so they don't have to think (God forbid you know anything about Murrow and McCarthy BEFORE you see the film. Oh well). I'll give you an example: Thirteen Days. If you never knew anything abuot the Cuban Missle Crisis, you might not really enjoy the film. It expects that you know what happened. Most American audiences don't remember or don't want to have to think. No wonder they call it the boob tube. TV means you don't have to think. You ever watch...let's see what was picked up for the whole year...Freddie? Didn't think so. Neither have I. I only know it's on before Lost. Yet the show has been picked up for the whole year despite not great ratings. This is a show where the plots are rehashed from other shows (so I've been told) and the laugh track is so loud that it almost screams, "LAUGH HERE IDIOT!!!!" Apparently that's what people need. If it's smart, then it will probably fail. Need an example? Beyond Arrested Development, look at The Office. There's no laugh track, and the jokes try to make you uncomfortable. Sure, if you've never, ever worked a day in your life, you might not understand the people's feelings, but most people have worked and that's why the show is so funny. Who hasn't worked with someone that's just so odd or incredibly dumb?
It's just sad that no one really wants to think anymore.
Then again, what do I know? I felt that Zoolander was funny. I could be wrong.