Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rambo by the numbers

And I thought that I had a lot of free time.

As for Rambo, it was hyper-violent...and awesome. Sure, the acting was pretty bad (and the CGI blood a bit distracting), but it was what it set out to be: a Big Dumb Action Flick with a little slice of message (the whole Burma thing) on the side.

The past week has been quite Stallone-y for me, as I took in three Rambo movies and Rocky Balboa. It's been over 20 years since I last saw First Blood and I forgot that it is actually a good movie. Even Stallone's tearful monologue at the end choked me up a bit. I'd also not seen Rambo: First Blood Part 2 in quite a while. I knew it was a Big Dumb Action Flick, but this is King Big Dumb Action Flick. Stallone chokes a snake! (Uh, literally, not figuratively) Tonight I may watch Rambo III for the first time.

Seriously, though, Stallone is pretty underrated as a writer/director and I'm interested to see how Sly's Edgar Allen Poe movie turns out. Yo, nevermore! For now I'll just patiently wait for Demolition Man 2. I'm sure that Wesley Snipes could use the money.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Crush of the Week: Julie Benz

This week's Crush is actress Julie Benz. I primarily know her from "Dexter", but saw her last night in Rambo.

In the movie she does a terrific job of sitting in mud and crying.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A "Boo-urns!" toast

Not Robert Burns.

A very merry Burns Night to all! Possible ways that I will celebrate: staying up all night reciting sonnets on "Guitar Hero", enjoying the poetic violence of the first three Rambo movies, or both.

I don't have any scotch on hand, but I do have a little bit of Celtic Crossing (hey, Ireland's close enough geographically) that I'll likely polish off. My pipe tobacco of choice for tonight? Wilke No. 5 (Royal Scot), of course.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Well, now they call me the sleaze

Now, I'm normally not one to capitalize on a tragedy, but I think getting both Michelle Williams and Mary-Kate Olsen (as well as perrennial "high" scorer Lindsay Lohan) in my Fafarazzi draft are going to be my keys to victory in this league. Go, me!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Crush of the Year 2007: Tina Fey

The Micah World Brain Trust has finally surfaced from its intense pow-wow deep within the sub-basement of MW HQ and determined the 2007 Crush of the Year.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present this year's recipient: Tina Fey. Funny. Geeky. Hot. And probably the most searched for person on this blog in 2006. Her likeness will be preserved in the Hall of Crushes, along with previous honorees Scarlett Johansson and Shandi Finnessey. Congratulations, Tina. You've earned it.

Runners-up for this year include Monica Bellucci, Kristen Bell, and Schick Treadmill Girl. Should Tina die or otherwise fail to perform her CotY duties, one of you will be called up from the bullpen.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Holiday playing "Holiday in Cambodia"

It's not unnatural for me to knock out 2 or 3 books while I'm on vacation. For the most part I ignore TV and other things that suck away my time in the regular world and devote my downtime to reading.

So, here I've been at the beach for the past three days and I've barely put a dent in the books I brought. Why? My nephews brought down "Guitar Hero III". It's been a hit amongst everyone in the house*.

I sucked terribly when I first played the original version a few years ago. But now I am a master of the "easy" level. I live green, red, and yellow circles. You should see me shred. Really, I'm that good.

But if I hear "Slow Ride" one more time, I'll bash the faux guitar against the wall.

*The game gets bonus points for having a Stone Roses song, albeit in cover band form, but still...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Best of 2007: music

Click and watch me grow.

1. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black Forget all of the tabloid headlines. This is one hell of an album, from start to finish.
2. Lily Allen - Alright, Still Believe the hype. Every song's a winner on this one. Maybe a bit too "British" for American dominance, though.
3. Jarvis Cocker - Jarvis Like Pulp? Then you'll love this album. Jarvis grows older, but with his detached coolness intact.
4. The National - Boxer This is the sound of summer nights, happy or sad.
5. The Fratellis - Costello Music Just one big, Scottish ball of fun.
6. Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter Great songwriter who tackles many different sytles...and more often than not succeeds.
7. Nick Lowe - At My Age Elder statesman of pop realizes he isn't getting any younger.
8. The Pierces - Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge Two sisters change genres almost as much as they switch men.
9. Mika - Life in Cartoon Motion If you can't have Freddie Mercury, this is the next best thing.
10. The New Pornographers - Challengers Candaian popsters create melodies that are inescapable.

A note: I've revamped the rules for inclusion and the determining factor is that CDs need to have a domestic release in 2007 to be a part of the list. Because of that, there are some repeats from last year's list (1, 2, 3) and one new one (5). If you want to nix those from the list, include these honorable mentions:

11. Amy LaVere - Anchors and Anvils Country girl with a very unique voice goes bad...kind of.
12. Art Brut - It's a Bit Complicated They've practiced their instruments since their debut, but have retained their sense of humor.
13. Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala The best Swedish pop record I heard all year.
14. Motion City Soundtrack - Even If It Kills Me Exceeds your minimum daily requirement of insanely catchy hooks.

Disappointments (in alphabetical order):
Crowded House - Time on Earth
Fountains of Wayne - Traffic and Weather
Hot Hot Heat - Happiness Ltd.
Northern State - Can I Keep This Pen?
Say Anything - In Defense of the Genre

Best Soundtracks:
Hot Fuzz
The mixed tape format really works. Adam Ant bleeds into XTC, the Kinks meld into the Fratellis, dialogue is peppered throughout.
Once Beautiful.
Music and Lyrics If only for the spot-on '80s parody "Pop! Goes My Heart."

Patton Oswalt - Werewolves and Lollipops
Michael Showalter - Sandwiches & Cats
Micahel Ian Black - I'm a Wonderful Man

Best Compilation: Radio 1 Established 1967* 40 covers by mostly new-ish artists. Lily's Allen's take on the Pretenders' "Don't Get Me Wrong" is my favorite. Worth noting: By not switiching up the last verse with a guy, Girls Aloud add a lesbian vibe to Wheatus' "Teenage Dirtbag."

Best (and only) Concerts:
Tony Bennett
The Roots
Pink Martini
"Weird Al" Yankovic
Carbon Leaf

*Okay, so this is a UK import released in 2007, but I don't see it getting a domestic release, hence its inclusion.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Best of 2007: song

In my humble little opinion, the best written song of 2007 is "The Temptation of Atom" by Josh Ritter. It's the story of two missile silo workers. Isolated from the world above and on the verge of annihilation, they develop a relationship, mostly out of circumstance.

It's delicate, yet humorous and chock full of nuclear imagery (Adam = atom, get it?). And that last line - at once completely selfish, but also a bit romantic - gave me chills when I first heard it.

Grab the studio version here.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Best of 2007: singles

Here are my favorite singles* released in 2007. They are listed in no particular order.

Spoon - "The Underdog" Hipster band sticks it to The Man. With horns!

Common with Lily Allen - "Drivin' Me Wild" Honestly, I think Common's latest album is just okay, but this song is a winner.

Mika - "Grace Kelly" It's the feel-good castrato hit of the summer!

The White Stripes - "Conquest" Jack and Meg go bullfighting. With horns!

Kanye West - "Stronger" Kanye's ego battles French electronic musicians. And we win.

Jack Ingram - "Love You" The lone country song on this list. The video features one of this year's Crushes.

Jarvis Cocker - "Don't Let Him Waste Your Time" Jarvis Cocker, Taxi Driver of the Year.

Motion City Soundtrack - "This Is For Real" Insanely catchy, with a chorus reminiscent of Icehouse's "Electric Blue."

Maroon 5 - "Wake Up Call" It's like a little movie, full of guns, cars, strippers, and Adam Levine. My sister's analysis of the song: "It sounds like Britney."

Fountains of Wayne - "Someone to Love" The highlight from an otherwise disappointing album. Great casting of Demetri Martin (who actually has a law degree).

The Fratellis - "Flathead" Dibs on the chick in red.

Finger Eleven - "Paralyzer" Sure, it's corporate neo-cock rock, but I dig it. The lead singer looks like Jeremy Piven's bowling alley-employed cousin.

Rihanna with Jay-Z - "Umbrella" I know this one flew under the radar, but it's quite infectious. Too bad stuff like this gets no airplay.

*Officially released, not just random favorite songs.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Best of 2007: movies

1. Hot Fuzz: This movie was the most fun that I had in the theater all year. Sure, it wasn't as good as Shaun of the Dead, but that's quite a film to follow up (in my eyes, at least).
2. The Lives of Others: If you would've asked me a year ago that a German film would rank number two on my list, I would've spat out my Spätzle. My grandfather's probably rolling in his grave right now.
3. Once: A late entry (just saw it over the weekend), this is a very moving story of a budding relationship. It has shades of Lost in Translation, only with more music and less Japanese people.
4. Knocked Up: The best sci-fi movie of the year. At least, that's how I'd classify any film where a man like Seth Rogen lands a woman like Katherine Heigl.
5. Ratatouille: Pixar combined my two passions - fine dining and animated rodents.
6. Superbad: Ah, to be in high school again.
7. Live Free or Die Hard: The second most fun I had in the theaters in 2007. This could've been really bad and my expectations weren't high. But it was a blast that didn't let up.
8. The Bourne Ultimatum: The thinking man's action film would've ranked even higher had diretor Paul Greengrass invested in a tripod.
9. 1408: See, kids. You don't have to show explicit gore to create a creepy movie.
10. Breach: Chris Cooper shined in this tale of espionage that, unfortunately, didn't really contain much espionage.

Less than meets the eye: Transformers

Feature length TV episodes: The Simpsons Movie and Reno 911!: Miami

Mismarketed: Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Regret not seeing in the theater: Grindhouse

Not as bad as everyone said: Spider-Man 3

As bad as everyone said: Hitman (I had a free ticket)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Best of 2007: television

The Best...
1. "Flight of the Conchords":
When I first watched this, I figured it was a toned down "Tenacious D". Both were about acoustic duos with inflated self-images, on HBO. I thought it was humorous, but nothing stellar. I kept watching and it really grew on me. Based on my watching the full season on DVD four times in a row, I'm now convinced that these two deadpan losers were the funniest things on TV in 2007.
2. "Dexter": I didn't think that this show's solid first season could be topped, but they did it.
3. "The Shield": Wow. This is the best - and most intense - drama on TV.
4. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia": This is included if only because it introduced the term "bang maid" to my lexicon.
5. "The Sopranos": Tony and company strongly rebounded from a very mediocre previous season (too many dream sequences), but are docked a couple of spots because of an all-too-abrupt series finale.
6. "Curb Your Enthusiasm": Not as funny as it has been in the past, but still better than most comedies out there. Larry David's "shut the fuck up" to his secretary in the season capper may be my favorite TV line of the year.
7. "South Park": "Naggers", Muslim terrorists, the homeless, Bono's feces...this show is still the most adept at handling topical humor.
8. "Entourage": Not much progression in this show from season to season, but it's a fun ride. Ari and Lloyd are my favorite on screen couple right now.
9. "The Knights of Prosperity": This David Letterman-produced mid-season replacement had all the quirk of his earlier canceled-too-soon show "Ed." Maybe it wouldn't have gotten the axe if it had kept it's original title: "Let's Rob Mick Jagger" (the aging Rolling Stone did a hilarious parody of himself, btw).
10. "The Sarah Silverman Program": Come for Sarah's un-PC hijinks, stay for Brian Posehn and Steve Agee's gay couple next door.
11. "Big Love": Having only seen bits and pieces of the first season, I got sucked into this show. And considering that it stars Chloë Sevigny, that's quite the compliment.
12. "Penn & Teller: Bullshit!": The weakest season yet, but their presence is still necessary. The Wal-Mart episode was the best of this run.
13. "Californifornication": It was a bit off-putting seeing Mulder in a sex comedy, but there was just enough nudity and humor to keep me watching. Bonus points for the ridiculous lawsuit brought by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Special Mention: "24" Oh, how the mighty have fallen. Here's hoping the extended break can reinvigorate Jack Bauer. (The same goes for the gang over at "Heroes".)

Note: I wonder about how critics assemble these year-end TV lists, as they always include shows that haven't finished their seasons. What if those shows started strongly but then sucked in their latter half? Or vice versa? Because of that I did not include any programs that straddled the line of the calendar year, which means there's nothing from the '06-'07 or '07-'08 seasons (or whatever's left, due the strike). Every show in the list began and ended its run in 2007. So no bitching about me not including "30 Rock" or "The Office", mmkay?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

30 Rock tumbler

Tonight's episode of "30 Rock": "Episode 210"

As Jack wheels and deals with German TV bigwigs to close a huge television project, he also works to keep his long-distance romance with C.C. alive and well. Meanwhile, Liz buys into real estate. And here's the buzz on Kenneth: He becomes addicted to caffeinated coffee.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Best of 2007: video games

1. Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy This sequel is more of the same of what was found in the first Lego Star Wars, but when the "same" is this fun, who really cares?
2. The Lord of the Rings: The Third Age Terribly addicting RPG until I got stuck at one point and never returned to the game. Hmmmm. Maybe I'll celebrate MLK Day by laying some smack down on some Orcs.
3. Playboy: The Mansion This Sims-with-boobs was fun at first, but then just got kind of...boring. Don't worry. I'm still all-man, baby.

Honorable Mention: Guitar Hero III My nephews got this for Christmas and it's pretty fun, depite my extreme suckitude. I can't really chart it here, though, since I only played one song ("The Metal" by Tenacious D).

Note: As with books, I don't rush out to buy video games. That's why the above are kind of old. But the release of a new Katamari Damacy game has me tempted to go out and buy an Xbox 360.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Best of 2007: books

The best:
1. World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks: This book transported zombies from their normal horror genre to the realm of historical fiction and it really worked. It wasn't scary unless you actually thought about the world being taken over by the undead. I think that since this book was such a success the time is right for me to publish that zombierotica novel that I've been working on.

And the rest:
2. Chuck Klosterman IV: A Decade of Curious People and Dangerous Ideas by Chuck Klosterman
3. I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert
4. The Modern Gentleman: A Guide to Essential Manners, Savvy & Vice by Phineas Mollod & Jason Tesauro
5. The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones by Anthony Bourdain
6. Cell by Stephen King
7. On the Wealth of Nations by P.J. O'Rourke
8. Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenom of Christian Rock by Andrew Beaujon
9. The Rock Snob's Dictionary: An Essential Lexicon of Rockological Knowledge by David Kamp and Steven Daly
10. The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash by David Urbanski
11. The Hollywood Project: A Look into the Minds of the Makers of Spiritually Relevant Films by Alex Field
12. The Christian Culture Survival Guide: The Misadventures of an Outsider on the Inside by Matthew Paul Turner

Hey, look at that! I averaged one book a month last year.

Note: This list contains only one book published in 2007 because: a) I rarely buy books right when they are released; b) I have a HUGE reading pile; and c) I'm a pretty slow reader. But the above is what I read - and dug - this past year.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Go, Bucks!

It ain't going to be pretty tonight. Help me cope with the inevitable disappoint, bag of Snyder's Garlic Bread Nibblers.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Micah World Top 25

Here they are, the top 25 songs burning up my iPod (as of 1.05.08):

1. "Everysong" - Lloyd Cole
2. "Lights On" - The Pierces
3. "Hope For Us All" - Nick Lowe
4. "I Knew You Before" - Dustin Kensrue
5. "A Postcard To Nina" - Jens Lekman
6. "Gospel" - The National
7. "For The Girl" - The Fratellis
8. "Love You" - Jack Ingram
9. "Hey Eugene" - Pink Martini
10. "Song Without A Chorus" - Butch Walker
11. "Daughter" - Loudon Wainwright III
12. "Grace Kelly" - Mika
13. "Paris 2004" - Peter Bjorn and John
14. "St. Augustine" - Band of Horses
15. "You Picked Me" - A Fine Frenzy
16. "Flathead" - The Fratellis
17. "Tonite" - Jarvis Cocker
18. "The Temptation Of Adam" - Josh Ritter
19. "Foundations" - Kate Nash
20. "LDN" - Lily Allen
21. "Brainy" - The National
22. "Pull Shapes" - The Pipettes
23. "Nothing Better" - The Postal Service
24. "Meet Me At The Fair" - The Push Stars
25. "88 Lines About 44 Women" - The Nails

There are a few changes since the last chart. This'll be the last one of these for a while, since I got a new iPod Classic (!) and all playcounts have been reset.

Friday, January 04, 2008

If the sweater fits...

Do the box of Krusty-Os and Shaun of the Dead figure diminish my erudite look? Is Louis Armstrong mocking me?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

I'm a Grandpa!

Well, not really, but I am well on my way to dressing like one. My new cardigan sweater arrived today. Dig those leather elbow patches. Check out that shawl collar. And, oh, those buttons! Now all I need to do is find a suitable mate, impregnate her with my seed, raise a child, and have him/her reproduce.

Until then I'll be stockpiling Werther's Originals.

For me, sweaters are the new crack. Although this particular one was a Christmas gift, I have purchased 3 others and received another as a present in the past two weeks. One more reason why I love the winter weather.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

UPS can suck it

I just got off of the phone with a UPS customer service representative who told me that the reason my Second Day Air package was not delivered yesterday like it was supposed to be was because it was accidentally put in with the Ground delivieries. And since today is a holiday, it won't be delivered until tomorrow (and I can't just go and pick it up). I wouldn't be so pissed if it wasn't for the fact that I really needed my parcel for today's New Year's gathering with the family.

So, in my last two experiences with UPS they are 0-2 for on-time deliveries. I don't have a seething white hot rage with the service like I do with FedEx SmartPost (which truly is Beelzebub's carrier of choice), but they aren't really persuading me to be my first choice in shipping, either. Sorry, Doug Heffernan.