Saturday, April 25, 2009

Untraceable

As many of you now know I have a plethora of women in my family and although they went to great lengths to teach me the ways of the samurai, they went to even greater ones to hide the fact that women poop. As a matter of fact, although privy to every other female secret, I had been brainwashed to believe that they also never ever fart. Ever. I didn't discover that women pass gas until well into my adult years.

However, when I reflect back upon all those years that I had been deceived, I cannot for the life of me figure out exactly how they managed to keep this fact so expertly hidden. That is, of course, until now. Sorry ladies. . . . .

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Punisher

So, a third movie was made about the Marvel Comic book character, the Punisher, and let me tell you . . . .testicle pulling torture more adequately describes having to watch this cinematic pile of cow dung than anything else. This movie instantly became one of the top 3 worst movies of all time. It had every action movie cliche' and made movies like DareDevil and Electra look like Academy Award Winners.

I knew this movie was going to be bad during the first action sequence (okay, well before that even). The Punisher enters a mansion where a mob family is meeting and a blood bath ensues. After killing every mobster in the room, he climbs atop a chandelier, drapes his legs over, and while hanging upside down (and spinning), draws two weapons and proceeds to terminate all the mindless bodyguards who subsequently enter the room. How he even got the thing to spin in the first place is a mystery, but not nearly as enigmatic as how accurately he shot every bad guy while upside down, whilst performing a trapeze stunt. Circ de soleil apparently has nothing on the Punisher.

The movie just got progressively worse with facially deformed mobsters giving themselves sobriquets such as Jigsaw and springing relatives from local mental institutions to assist in creating mayhem and ultimately bringing down the mob killing protagonist. Seinfeld's nemesis Norm, (ever wonder what happened to him?) played the weapons supplier to this unbelievable vigilante and seemed to be his only friend. (if you can call him that) The movie was devoid of any real characterization, and attempts to insert comic relief would have been more successful had they used mimes and banana peels. Everyone from the writer to the editor should be cryogenically frozen and sent into outer space for creating this film making masterpiece of vomit inducing excrement.

Everything in this movie was predictable, from the plot to the script. One of the most offensive things about this film was the painfully exaggerated gore. The Punisher literally punched a guy's face in and nearly everyone he shot either lost a limb or half of his face. At one point in the movie, he even resets his broken nose with a pencil. That's right, not the old fashion, "Let me wiggle this thing back into place" move; oh no, that would be too easy. I need to shove a pencil halfway to my brain and perform a violent, caveman rhinoplasty without so much as a grimace or a drop of blood.

Save yourselves the punishment and skip over this piece of shit when you're perusing the shelves of your local video store. I sure would have, had the movie I originally wanted had been in stock. Oh well, another one of life's little ironies I suppose. Where the hell is Dolph Lundgren when you need him? I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Field of Dreams

Oftentimes, the best lessons in life we learn without even knowing it. Mr. Miyagi began teaching Daniel Karate by making him wax his cars, paint his house and fence, and sand the floors. Similarly, my Father taught me some of life's most valuable lessons by teaching me how to play baseball.
 
My Dad taught me how to properly oil and shape a new baseball glove; carefully and meticulously working the oil into the new leather, forming a perfect pocket for the ball. Many hours were devoted to punching my fist into the cradles of new gloves to ensure the perfect feel and wear. Life is eerily similar. If you work hard enough at something, life can bend to your will. I learned that the most rewarding things in life need to time to be cultivated.
He showed me how to wait for the perfect pitch, how to hit curveballs, throw a sinker, and 3 different types of fastballs. He showed me how to cut off a throw from the outfield, cover a base, sacrifice bunt, and steal bases. He also stressed that you don't always have to try and smash the ball, just make contact. You'd be surprised how far it goes when you just make contact with the sweet spot of a bat.

Timing is everything. Sometimes showing restraint in the present will produce the perfect set of circumstances in the future. Life inevitably throws you curveballs, I know how to wait them out. Life comes with its hitting slumps, I know how to keep swinging through them. When one strategy isn't working, have two other fastballs you can throw. There are moments when you have to step in and take over a situation, cover your buddy's back, sacrifice yourself for others, or take a risk. When I'm trying too hard to make something work, I know that sometimes just the right amount of effort or finesse, will garner the desired results, often exceeding expectations.
 
I remember my Dad liked to say that there will ALWAYS be somebody faster, stronger, and better than you. You have to work harder, work smarter, and although you might not always beat him, eventually you will. I learned that I didn't like losing, but that it's very much a part of life, and the smart ones learn from it.

He instilled discipline, work ethic, commitment, and courage. Being the coach's son, I was the first to arrive and the last to leave. I learned the value and responsibility of working hard to hone skills. It takes courage to stand in front of an 85 mph fastball. I learned that occasionally you get hit, and although it's painful, you can capitalize on misfortune. Life too can sting, but you have to dust yourself off and get back in the batter's box no matter what. And sometimes, you have to take one for the team.
 
From watching my Dad trek across the baseball diamond to argue a call with an umpire, I learned that you have to stand up for justice, fairness, and equality. I learned that there are times you have to question authority/government and that you have a voice. If nothing else, every time he got in an umpire's face, it demonstrated the quintessential example of commitment and loyalty. In life you have to be fully committed to your cause, your family, and what you believe in, others will loyally follow.
 
He conditioned me to be coachable. I remember he would also say that everyone you come in contact with in your life, potentially has knowledge or insight that could be useful and applicable to your situation. Different people have different vantage points, experiences, skill sets, and knowledge. Stay open minded, listen to what they have to say, consider their experiences and learn from them.

We played catch, pepper, hit batting practice, caught fly balls, and threw countless pitches. It still baffles me to this day, how after all of that, he was simultaneously molding my character and preparing me for life. I had to work hard at some things, while others just came naturally. As I get older and reflect upon these memories with greater frequency, I begin to understand the importance of the bond between Father and Son, and more importantly, how monumentally significant even the most trivial of activities spent with your Father can influence and shape your life.
I'll leave you with lyrics from a Kenny Rogers song that my Dad sent me one day. I think they sum things up rather well. You got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em, Know when to walk away and know when to run. You never count your money when you're sittin at the table. There'll be time enough for countin when the dealins done.