Friday, July 17, 2009

The Hangover - A Movie Review!

Last night I stepped out for dinner and a movie. The dinner part was easy. We decided to try a a restaurant near the movie theater so we picked RockSugar in Century City. RockSugar, which takes its name from an essential ingredient used by Asian chefs is a new place. I believe it just opened last month. I think they're owned by the Cheesecake factory folks, but don't let that deter you. The food was pretty good and the service was exceptional. And It didn't really have that food chain feeling. RockSugar prides itself on it's mixture of the cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and India. Wow, that was a mouth full. Restaurateur, David Overton and Singapore-raised, chef Mohan Ismail have done a fine job putting all of these exotic tastes together and they have created a comfortable environment to dine. It's a nice place to go with a small group of people and order a variety of dishes. The dishes are served Asian family-style and are great for sharing and discussing. If you're slightly adventurous, I can assure you that there's something on the menu especially for you. If bold new tastes don't excite you, there's still something on the menu for you but you might want to try the food court upstairs instead. It'll be cheaper. By the way, if you make it to RockSugar, be sure to try the Holy Basil Vanilla Twist Martini. It's refreshing and on the list of Los Angeles' top 10 original drinks.

So anyway, after I loaded up on the Crispy Spring Rolls, Clay pot Beef, Grapefruit and Jicama Salad, Thai Noodles, and Wok fried Chinese Long Beans I was content. Fortunately, I didn't overdo it. Because then my pants would have been too tight and the upcoming laughing would have been painful. We were considering two movies to see: Bruno and The Hangover. It just so happened that the times for The Hangover worked out better for our dinner plans.

What a Wild Ride!

This movie is totally whacked! It adds new meaning to the cliche "What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas." I got the impression that the writers of this movie sat around a room and continued to out do each other with wild perversion until they had a complete story. The interesting thing about the complete project is - It all fits. And the story is totally plausible. I found myself laughing at one of the characters, and then two, then three, four.......
Five..... Six.......etc., even the baby was funny! (Remember - I liked the movie Old School)

The movie was sick and unfair! I think it offended everyone equally. From a male perspective, I totally get it. I even got the Mike Tyson part. They made "Iron Mike" look rather soft and sensitive but at the same time lethal. You end up laughing so much you forget about all of his personal trials, troubles, and tribulations. Mike Epps has a small role. He's a funny guy. I'm not sure they used him to his full potential.

Suffice to say, if you're a man above 18 years old, I think you'll like the movie. I was in doubt at how the movie would sit with the female members of our group but they seemed to enjoy the movie as well. I think it confirmed in their heads that women are definitely the smarter sex!

Sure makes you look and think differently about Bachelor Parties and Las Vegas.

By the way, if you like this movie - Take a look at the movie - "Very Bad Things" - Different, but similar.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Funky Wedding Dances!

It's that time of year again. Summertime!

In addition to all of the picnics and vacation plans, some of us will be attending our fair share of weddings and receptions. While most of these events are fun and sentimental times for the newly wed couples, others can be quite entertaining for the guest.

Today, I'm just having some fun with something completely off the wall!

These folks were looking to jazz up their wedding dances. They put together something a little

"Dancing with the stars", "So You Think You Can Dance", and "Hip-Hop Abs."

If you have a wedding coming up and are trying to decide how and what to do for your first dance as a married couple, you might want to take a look at these videos and take a few notes:

Everyone else, just enjoy the scenery.

I think if you can do the "Funky Wedding Dance" together, you're off to a good start and probably have many years of happiness ahead. What do you think?

Which video do you like the best?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Running of the Bulls is Dangerous!

It was a hot August day many years ago. I was in a Texas border town and saw a poster nailed to a telephone pole advertising a bullfight just across the border in Mexico. Why not? I thought. So I grabbed a few friends and off we went. It was my first time at this.... Not my first trip to Mexico but my first time watching a bullfight live, up close, and in the flesh. It was something I had to do I suppose. Another box to check and a square to fill. All things considered, I was not impressed with my little adventure. Don't get me wrong, there was quite a bit of ceremony. There was music, trumpets, food, and lots of cheering - "Ole!" The Matador was suave, distinguished, and graceful. Yet, in the end, the Bull fell and the Matador walked out of the stadium with his head held high and his shoulders back and down. Sort of strutting as he left.
A predictable ending.

In retrospect, I didn't quite see the sport in the activity. The way I see it, the bull always dies. In my case, this waltz between "El Torro" and the "Toreador", while poetic, was marked with a gruesome finality that has left an unfriendly image in my mind for years. The Matador seemed to be toying with the bull. Confusing him while wearing him down and frustrating him.

I watched as the bull, dazed and bewildered, slowly moved from one stage of slaughter to the next. Ending up with several barbed spears sticking out of his shoulders. His thrusts and charges becoming less aggressive until finally, he was killed with the matador plunging several swords into the bull.

Here's something I learned later:

Apparently in these bullfights, the audience looks for the matador to display an appropriate level of style and courage and for the bull to display aggression and determination. For the matador, this means performing skillfully in front of the bull, often turning his back on it to demonstrate his courage and mastery over the animal. The skill with which he delivers the fatal blow is another major point to look for. A skillful matador will achieve it in one stroke. Two is barely acceptable, while more than two is usually regarded as a bad job.

I guess our matador did a "Bad job."

Anyway, I found myself cheering for the bull. Secretly hoping the bull would get at least one good shot in before he was slaughtered.

Gratification for the Bull?

It didn't happen. The bull kept it's date with destiny and was loaded up on at trailer and removed from the stadium. I was told that the meat was given to the poor and some of the proceeds from the ticket sales were given to charity.

I've never been back to a bull fight. But a few years later, I read the book "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemmingway in which Hemmingway described "The Running of the Bulls" in Pamplona, Spain. This coincided with a period when I was traveling to Madrid quite a bit. Madrid was one of my favorite cities to visit. The people, scenery, food, ..... All fantastic! I found myself wondering around to all the restaurants that said: "Hemmingway Ate Here." And while I never considered running with the bulls myself, I'd always thought it would be great to attend. You could say I fantasized about sitting on a balcony sipping sangria, eating tapas, and watching the running of the bulls!

I haven't quite made it there yet but each year after the running of the bulls I try to read the report and watch the coverage. This year, I was saddened to learn that the bulls got one back. Daniel Jimeno Romero, 27 years old, has died after being gored in his lung and neck during the famous running of the bulls.

Bystanders say that one bull, which became detached from the others, started repeatedly attacking runners and tossed one into the air and then attacked him on the ground before he was pulled away by the tail and horns. Romero, was taken immediately to intensive care but doctors were unable to save him. Fernando Boneta, who organizes the festival's medical services, said that the bull's horn pierced the runner's body "at the height of the left-hand superclavicular region" and subsequently took "a downwards trajectory that affected the left lung, the aorta and the vena cava".

This was the first death at the running of the bulls since 1995, when Matthew Tassio, a 22-year old American, was gored. As best as I can discover, 15 people have died during the running of the bulls in the last 100 years.


I wonder if a death like this casts a dark shadow over the festival? I'm certain the family and friends of Daniel Romero would gladly trade a thousand bulls to have him back. The irony of this story is that many more young men, now more aware of the danger, are preparing for their chance to run with the bulls. If nothing else, this year's story is certainly a harsh reminder that running with large powerful and angry animals can be dangerous and is not for the faint of heart! The consequences can be severe and permanent.

And That's no Bull!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Video Payday! Simply Red - Sunrise

Once again you walk up to the video payday slot machine drop in some change and pull the lever!

This time you get the unmistakable sampling of Hall and Oates (thanks Miss Jane) and the vocals of Simply Red! A mixture of the young and upcoming R & B sound of Simply Red and their more mature contemporary sound.

So Get out of Bed! The sun is up! Shake a bit and groove a little.....

"It could be Me..... It should be Me...... Forever!"

I think this song is a bit short. I'd like it to go on a bit longer.

Oh well, now you'll have to listen to me. I guess you could hit replay a few times.

Michael or Mick Hucknall, is the lead singer of Simply Red. Michael Hucknall, (born 8 June 1960) is a British singer and songwriter. He was born in Denton, Greater Manchester, as an only child. His mother left him when he was three; the upheaval caused by this event inspired him to write the song "Holding Back the Years". He was raised by his father, Reg, a barber in Stockport.

He got his start in music when he was part of the formation of the band Frantic Elevators.
The Frantic Elevators released four singles, including a version of "Holding Back The Years", which he later recorded with Simply Red.

As lead singer and core member of Simply Red, he has become the identifiable face of the band. His face, including his long curly red hair, was featured prominently on album artwork and in videos. Hucknall is also one of the founders and financial backers of the successful reggae label Blood and Fire. He also manages the record label

Hucknall is active in politics and is a prominent celebrity supporter of the UK Labour Party; he is alleged to be a close friend of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Hucknall and his partner Gabriella Wesberry had a baby daughter, Romy True Hucknall, in June 2007. Hucknall also is part-owner of the Parisian restaurant-bar World Place along with Johnny Depp, John Malkovich, and Sean Penn. What a "Motley Crew" that is huh?

Sunrise - The Lyrics

As I look into your eyes I see the sunrise
The light behind your face helps me realize

Will we sleep and sometimes love until the moon shines
Maybe the next time I’ll be yours and maybe you’ll be mine

I don’t know if it’s even in your mind at all
It could be me
At this moment in time Is it in your mind at all
It should be me, it could be me Forever

Wondering through life will love come home to you
And the love you want forever, will they be true to you

Will we sleep and sometimes love until the moon shines
Maybe the next time I’ll be yours and maybe you’ll be mine

I don’t know if it’s even in your mind at all
It could be me At this moment in time Love’s indescribable
It should be me, it could be me

Easy, ready, willing, over time Where does it stop where do you dare me to draw the line You’ve got the body now you want my soul Don’t even think about it say no go

I don’t know if it’s even in your mind at all It could be me At this moment in time
Is it in your mind at all It should be me, it could be me

Forever Sunrise At this moment in time

Is it in your mind at all It should be me, it could be me ......... Forever