Pixar Top Ten

What’s the difference between fact and opinion?  My approval.  That’s right, Chief Dodo simply has to stamp an opinion with his OK and it magically changes to fact.  It’s like I’ve got the Midas touch over all things that are up for debate.

Here’s the proof. Pixar has completed 10 movies and I’ve ranked them from worst to first. 

#10 – Wal*E (2008)

Pluses – *Classic love story from an unlikely source.  *The robots were varied and interesting.

Subtractions –  *Cockroach was the supporting character.  *The comic relief (a little cleaning bot) was nonexistent for long portions of the movie.  *There were long stretches especially during the beginning that left you wondering if Pixar was just trying to lengthen the movie.  *Desperate – thirst educing – lack of dialogue.  *No cool antagonist. 

Additionally-  *What happened to the sandstorms that plagued earth in the movie’s beginning?  *How does that stupid plant manage to live with it changing hands so many times?  More importantly, the plant is out in space for a brief period of time…hey, space KILLS!  *Where did the new animals and plants come from?

#9 – Up (2007)

Pluses – *A cranky, stoic old man is comic GOLD.  *A fat Asian kid is comic PLATINUM!  *Great love story.  *The talking dogs were funny – especially the Alfa dog.

Subtractions –  *Going from (presumably) America to somewhere in South America by way of a thunderstorm made no scene – even for a movie with a flying house.  *The final scene was waaaay over the top.  *Not enough lines for the FAT, ASIAN KID!!

Additionally – *What on Heaven’s name is Mr. Fredrickson taking?!  The old man is strong enough to manage the momentum of an air born house, run from dogs, and keep a hose from slipping off an edge with a dog, fat Asian kid (see, you’re smiling), and a large bird on the other end!  *The villain was Mr. Fredrickson’s childhood hero…but he’s still alive and kicking when Fredrickson is an old man!  What?

#8 – Finding Nemo (2004)

Pluses – *Dory was great as a supporting character and comic relief.  *Story about overcoming your disadvantages was nice.  *Under water environments were neat – especially the sunken submarine and mines.  *Sharks who worked not to eat other fish was amusing.

Subtractions – Most of the movie was one chase scene after another.  Sharks!  Now deep-sea angler fish!  Look out…jellyfish!  Oh no gulls!  *The whale scene was hard to swallow (yep, a pun)

Additionally – Why was this movie such a smashing success?  I suppose it’s easy for kids to understand, “RUN or you’ll be eaten!”  I’d put UP ahead of this one but people would riot.

#7 – Toy Story 2 (2003)

Pluses – *Zerg was cool.  *I liked the toy collector angle.  *The toy store scene with all the additional Buzzes was comic. 

Subtractions – *It was a sequel – you lose points for that.  *Lacked much of the original’s magic.

Additionally – Are we really going to do a Toy Story 3?   …Apparently so.  The truth is I haven’t seen this movie in a long time.  The fact that I’m not making any effort to correct that isn’t a good sign.  This placement seems about right.

#6 Ratatulli (2007)

Pluses- *The kitchen staff was varied and interesting. *The imaginary Gusteu was fantastic.  A rat with an imagination!  *Using a childhood dish to dismantle the food critic’s facade was genius.  I loved it and could easily relate to it.

Minuses- *Well, did you notice that the main character was a rat?  It’s tough to get too excited about rats running a kitchen.  I could never quite get past it.  *I once worked in a restaurant.  The amount of time the critic waits to be served while all the high drama goes on in the kitchen and the streets drove me bananas.  When the kitchen staff walks out of the restaurant, a dude on roller skates waiting tables and one qualified chef isn’t enough to keep it going!  The critic and the others must have been waiting for forty-five minutes to an hour! 

Additionally- Remme rides a cookbook through lit sewer pipes to make it to Paris.  Last time I checked  books don’t float.  This bothered me.

#5 Bug’s Life (2001)

Pluses – *I thought it was visually appealing.  Everything looked exactly like it would to someone ant size…grains of sand as big as large rocks and droplets of water held by surface tension were nice touches.  *I thought it was honestly funny and the story (albeit predictable) was solid.  *I like screw-up main characters who wind up doing well.  *I enjoyed the circus bugs masquerading as warrior bugs angle.

Minuses- *Yea, it was pretty predictable.  Flick and Princess Ada was inevitable.  The ants were going to unite against the grasshoppers. 

Additionally- *Look, both the fake bird and the real bird scene was as much excitement as you’ll get out of bugs. *The ladybug whose a man is comic gold – you know it is!
   

#4 Monster’s Inc. (2003)

Pluses- *Wildly original!  The cast was a blast especially the Billy Crystal and Rozz characters.  *Collecting screams for power was a great idea as well as the resolution of using laughter as fuel.  *Oddly rewatchable – especially the first half.

Minuses – After the movie’s halfway point the movie quits being funny almost altogether and morphs into a serious, “We gotta save Boo!” game of hide and seek.  *The end chase was a little over the top and why was getting Boo so important to the bad guys…just go through another door and steal a different kid!

Additionally –  At first the Minuses bothered me too much to really enjoy this movie…but it’s growing on me.  I still think it could have been better – a missed opportunity with a great set up.

#3 Toy Story (2000)

Pluses – Everyone empathies with the lost toys of your youth.  I know I’d love to have all my toys back from when I was young.  Not only would they be worth a fortune but there’s no better anchor for the memories of youth.  *The first and a good one…That’s worth extra points.  *Not only were there two main characters but they were BOTH likable and funny.  Their competition was a great addition to the  plot. 

Minuses –  Visually, this Pixar was far and away the least appealing.  It was impressive at the time but now it looks a bit old.  *I don’t know…kid seemed a little obsessed with his toys.  Why weren’t any of the good kids toys broke?  Even good kids break toys.

Additionally- Hey, the music to this movie also contributed.  You watched it and hummed the tunes to yourself.  The other movies on this list (maybe Cars) can’t boast that. 

#2 Cars (2006)

Pluses- *Best opening sequence of any of the Pixar movies.  I have approximately zero interest in car racing and I was into it immediately.  *Great music.  *Strong comic relief in Tow Mater – honestly funny.  *No real antagonist, but a pretty good jerk who WINS in the end.  Great ending which was not seen ten laps out.  *A respect for small town heart and a nostalgic view of the fifties.  *A movie with a ton of cheese potential but avoided cheesy moments nicely.  *Enjoyed the movie from start to finish with almost no lulls.

Minuses- Sally was a boring character…really dull.

Additionally – *When I saw the previews for this film, I thought it would be Pixar’s Waterloo.  As it turns out they were planning that for a couple years down the road.  *The tractor tipping scene was a classic that really didn’t have much to do with the movie.   

#1 The Incredibles (2005)

Pluses – *Not quite as original as some of the others but it’s up there.  *NO BETTER SUPPORTING CHARACTER than Edna Mode.  Not only loved every scene she was in but every word that came out of her mouth.  Classic.  *Syndrome was a bit goofy but surprisingly serious for a Pixar movie.  *End battle scene was exciting.  You knew they had to – but you weren’t sure how they were going to beat the robot.  *Moive stayed funny and if you weren’t laughing, you were enjoying the action.

Minuses- The only one I can think of was…not enough Jack Jr.

Additionally – In a strange way, I enjoyed the message of “Not EVERYONE is special.”  But wait!  You can’t tell someone they’re not special!!!

Un-Aware

NEWS FLASH!  Breast cancer research makes huge strides thanks to millions of women posting the color of their bras on popular websites such as FaceBook and MySpace. 

“The correlation was obvious and yet we somehow missed it.”  Blurbs Dr. Twain Tetons, head researcher at the world famous Mayonnaise Clinic in Sandwich, Massachusetts.  “As women around the world began posting exciting colors such as black, lavender, red, and sweat stain, we were able to finally put the pieces together.  Especially helpful were those who admitted they didn’t wear any.”

For years, breast cancer has taken he lives of beloved mothers, sisters, and daughters.  Rates for men remain surprisingly low. 

“Considering men’s fixation with the breast we find this surprising.”  Continues Dr. Tetons.  “We realize now that men’s keen interest in the color of women’s undergarments has helped stave off the disease for years!  The key has always been there!”

Researchers now turn their attention to prostate cancer.  Again, Dr. Tetons, “We are encouraging all men to get online and begin posting what color thier underwear is or was when they first purchased it.”   

Matt Teply of Wood Vegas, Tennessee added, “I’ll be honest with you…I understand the seriousness of the cancer and the heartbreak it has caused but the “awareness” created by posting bra colors is lost on me.  How does this help again?  Wouldn’t we all feel a bit silly listing what we were having for lunch each day to bring awareness to diabetes?”  Mr. Teply looks around and begins to feel uncomfortable.  “Ok, wait, let’s not use my real name…ok?”

All But True…

Dateline: December 9th, 2009-

LOCAL HISPANIC WOMAN SUES EVERY COMPANY IN THE UNITED STATES OVER SPANISH LETTERING

Desmonita Diablo has filed a class action lawsuit with the 3rd District US Court claiming discrimination on the basis of culture.  According to the suit the smaller Spanish lettering on the labels of many common products makes her feel like a second class citizen and makes it difficult for older Spanish speakers to read the labels.  She is suing to make labels of all products the same size and force companies that currently do not have Spanish on their labels to include it.

   “Isn’t this America?!” Mrs. Diablo says through a translator.  “This is supposed to be the land of fairness!  Why is it I always have to press two when I want to speak Spanish?!  Why is English always one?  This is an institutional bias and is not fair.  Be true to your ideals America!”

 She continues, “Whenever I go shopping, the first thing I do when I get home is cross out the English on the labels.  It’s my silent protest – an expression of consolidation with all the Spanish contributions to this nation.  Where would you be America without tequila?”

 A coalition of businesses has offered Mrs. Diablo a settlement of nearly six million pesos and an increase in the Spanish font size by one point.  This offer was immediately rejected by Mrs. Diablo.  She replied through her lawyer, a Mr. Jose Loco, “To offer Mrs. Diablo six million pesos is an insult to her heritage and financial intelligence.  We want dollars.”    

 She is planning a second lawsuit to force all roads including interstates to have Spanish right next to the English.  This second suit will not include monetary damages as she expects to be living well after she collects a settlement from the first lawsuit.
 

“Everyday I have to commute across the boarder, over rough terrain, and past Border agents.  When I get to the city, it would make life much easier if everything was in Spanish too.”  Here Mrs. Diablo becomes adamant.  “We are guests America!  Have you not heard of the right to hospitality?”

Seeking Personalities

 One of pitfalls of being overly candid (i.e. blunt, tactless, critical) is people assuming you don’t appreciate the good things.  How untrue!  I absolutely appreciate the pleasant, well bred things in life…there just aren’t very many.  Besides, it’s just an opinion and other observers are welcome to disagree (you’re crazy though – that first Transformers movie was written by a twelve year old).

As my brother Nate likes to say, “Matt, yea, he just doesn’t like stuff.”

  Perhaps that’s why I’ve struggled with the following conversation card question, “Name five living people you would jump at a chance to meet.”  I’ve been chewing on this thing for almost three days and well…he’s my list as of Nov. 12th, 2009.

 In no particular order…

 Mark Driscoll (pastor, Mars Hill Church in Seattle)  – I’ve attended private schools for many years and countless (excluding college) Sundays at church.  I’ve listened to almost a million preachers and teachers whose abilities wander the entire spectrum.  I’ve listened to the good, bad, and the windbag.  I’ve been bored stiff in a pew, lulled to sleep in one of those cushy chairs modern churches use, and had my interest opened in one of those steel folding chairs.

 All these speakers and not one has motivated me out of bed in the morning with the anticipation of listening to one.  Mr. Driscoll is the exception.  His keen mix of core theology, modern relevancy, and earnest delivery makes him a pleasure.  He’s been gifted for what he does.

 Bill Watterson (creator, Calvin & Hobbes) – How is it that I can read six pages of comics and barely crack a smile?  There are standards…well thought comics with personal appeal (Peanuts) and those that are laser focused on stunning satire (Dilbert) even a few whose whole purpose was a clever jest (Far Side).  These examples stand on the mountaintops of the comic world but only one reaches the clouds…Calvin & Hobbes.

 It’s sometimes a bit surprising to come across an artist that is miles above his contemporaries.  If comics were taken as seriously as orchestra music, Mr. Watterson would be considered a virtuoso – a prodigy. 
 
 His last strip was in 1995 and since then he’s done almost everything possible to shut out his fans.  I understand the man is entitled to his privacy but does he not still derive his livelihood from his admirers?  How much hassle could it be after fifteen years?  It seems a little self-absorbed to me.  It’s for this reason I’ve yet to buy the Complete Calvin & Hobbes. 

 Any Member of the US Supreme Court – What does it do to a person’s psyche to be one of the county’s most powerful, unaccountable people?  These black robed sages even hold the interpretive hand over the Constitution!  They can invalidate the will of citizens and legislatures with a little more than an opinionated term paper.  If our democracy has cracks, these men and woman are the ones that can tear them open.

 Anyway, that’s the list.  I couldn’t make it to five…maybe next year.

Haunting Customers

About a month ago I visited the website of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings.  I was riffling through their site store looking for something that sparked my interest.  Much of it was Viking themed junk (key chains, PEZ dispensers, purple covers for your pepper spray) but something did stand out.  It was the official Viking’s Yearbook.  A publication I hoped would be filled with stats, history, and interesting player profiles.   With everything else on the site priced six times above cost, I was surprised to find it was only eleven dollars.

 I clicked on the Yearbook then on the little digital cart to follow through with my purchase.  “Wow, shipping and handling is only another eleven dollars or I could have it over-nighted for fifty!” 

Look, why don’t we just drop the shipping and handling blurb and call it a sucker tax?  I’m serious.  Anyway, I paid the eleven dollars and it still took THREE WEEKS to get the #$@ thing. 

When the glossy pages finally did reach my eager fingertips, I dived in hoping for twenty-two dollars of riveting information on the team.  Instead, the player profiles were portraits of selected players looking menacing with a tiny box of their career statistics.  The articles where exercises in hyperbole.  (“Head Coach Brad Childress is the football mind behind filing the ball with air!  He is currently trying to change our national colors from red, white, and blue to purple and gold.  No doubt he will be successful in this as he has everything else in his life!”)  Worst of all…the cheerleaders were given only headshots.  Morons!  I don’t care about the cheerleader’s hair!!
 

I honestly believe a high school journalism class could have put together a more interesting publication.  I know I could.

 However, the worst part wasn’t the price or the content.  It’s a phenomenon I call HYC.  
 H – Haunt
 Y – Your
 C – Customers

To buy the yearbook, I needed to hand over my email address.  I hoped it was only to send me my receipt but I was wrong again.  Now I get advertisements in my email inbox telling me about other great products I most likely can’t live without.  I really only wanted the yearbook.  That’s it…I mean it.  This happens all the time!  

*Are you foolish enough to order something from a JCREW catalogue?  HYC!  Now you’re going to need a forklift to empty your mailbox each day!

*Have you given money to a charity but didn’t want to become a long time supporter?  HYC!  Get ready for six hundred IMORTANT MESSAGES regarding the starving lamas in Ecuador.

*Did you order something from ITunes?  Hope you like email messages!  HYC!  With your next purchase, Apple is offering you an application that doesn’t allow you to delete Apple emails!  Order now!

There’s nothing that can be done to stem the onslaught of HYC.  It’s one of the inoperable cancers of our capitalist system.  Just mimic what I’ve started doing…handing out my wife’s email address and my neighbor’s address.  Works like a charm.

 Note #1:  The Viking’s site had a lot of loud slogans for fans.  One that caught my eye was, “Show Your Horns!”  I think I know what they’re trying to say but it sounds a little exhibitionist to me.  I recommend checking state laws before…showing your horns.
 

Note #2:  A quick word about my relationship with the Vikings:  I’ve grown up rooting for the team and have digested every bitter defeat as if it was my own.  When you consider that my expectations for my own behavior are surprisingly low, a Viking’s loss bothers me more than my own personal missteps.  Do the fortunes of a sports organization have any bearing on my life…nope…but I get emotionally invested anyway.  I take it personally.  Does that make any sense?

The Way of the Dodo

November 2nd, 2009 was my 350th, er, I mean 35th birthday.  People sent cards and called to wish me a “Happy Birthday” but I’m no longer convinced birthdays are completely happy occasions.  In a way, it’s like another step in everyone’s long path on the way of the dodo. 

It used to be that birthdays were substantially happier.  They were like magic spells where your parents couldn’t fault you.  The number attached to your name changed meaning you had more freedom and more clout.  A year older meant you were closer to dating age, driving a car, and telling your parents, “Sorry, I’m too old to be spanked.”

The biggest victory I celebrate on my birthdays now is the battle over the top, middle, and bottom.  What do I mean?  The top refers to my hair.  (Still there…win.)  The middle is the middle-aged gut all guys acquire.  (Still not there…win.  Note:  If I was to start a middle aged gut now would be the season – days of Halloween candy coupled with days of leftover birthday cake.)   The bottom refers to the fact that I can still run.  (I do a 5k each time I step on the track.  Does saying 5K impress anyone?)

I’ve come up with a possible remedy to the birthday doldrums.  If for some reason, you forget about it does that negate it?  I know it sounds far-fetched but if it just slipped your mind could you get by with it?  …You’re right, it’s easier just to lie and be done with it.

Here’s a handy chart for those who didn’t already know…

18- You’re now a half adult.

21 – Now you’re a full adult.

27- If you’re not married, you should know that many of the good ones are going off the market about now.

30- That’s it.  Now you’re no longer young.  Welcome to middle aged.

35- If a lifetime was a mountain, you’re about to see the other side.

40- If you smile at a young woman, you’re now creepy.

55- Life takes a small bump…two actually.  Kids should be leaving and retirement is close.

60 – You’re sex appeal…RIP.

70- The golden years of boredom.  Maybe your thirties weren’t so bad.

80 – You ask yourself, “Why am I still here?”

90- Others ask, “Why is he still here?”

Negotiating Reality

The United Nations hasn’t been good for much but one of their crowing achievements has been the passing of UN Resolution # 8EX (Don’t spend too much time trying to figure out what 8EX is…it’s supposed to be a sideways skull and crossbones).  This document officially bans the use of the skull and crossbones emblem on the shipping lanes of the high seas.  This powerful action, coupled with the notorious drop in wooden ship production, should have completely eradicated piracy and relegated the profession to the fanciful pages of fiction.

Avast ye, it hasn’t been so!  For many, news of current pirates off the uncivilized Somali coast has become a bit of a surprise.  On April 8th, 2009, armed pirates off the Horn of Africa in the Indian Ocean took the freight ship Maersk Alabama.  The pirates held the ship for only brief period before the crew retook control.  The captain, a man named Richard Phillips, was taken hostage. 

You’ve heard the story…The pirates took the captain along with supplies of food and water and boarded one of the twenty-four foot lifeboats.  They would attempt to make it back to shore but their engine failed.  With their ship dead in the water and much too far from shore to swim, the pirates were quickly surrounded by other vessels including the naval destroyer USS Banebridge.  Instead of releasing the hostage and surrendering, the pirates began demanding a ransom (2 million!  Shoot, I’m not worth that much.) and their freedom or they would kill the captain. 

Apparently, government negotiators were working to free the captain.  Really?  What types of negotiations needed to take place?  Put the professionals away for a moment.  From the deck of the Banebridge, broadcast this message to the four pirates.
 
“Attention!  You are given two options.  If you choose to kill your hostage, we will sail within close range and every serviceman on this ship will begin shooting at you…UNTIL WE ARE SURE YOUR BLOATED BODIES HAVE TOO MANY HOLES TO FLOAT!  If you release the Mr. Phillips to us, you will be allowed to live.  You will be convicted and placed in jail but you will live.  But we must remind you…THERE IS NO WAY IN #$%@^ YOU WILL BE ALLOWED TO WALK AWAY FROM THIS WITH FREEDOM OR MONEY!”

(Attn Professional Negotiators:  This is a suggested serving.  The font has been enlarged to show texture.  You may edit to taste.)

The funny thing is…most hostage takers want money and even they know, “you can’t take it with you.” 

Am I making this too simple?  Even if the navy or shipping company did agree to a ransom, wouldn’t they need to haul the pirates back too shore?  Wait, here’s Plan B…Tell them anything you want then as soon as they are on deck and the captain is removed…shoot them.

What an idea!  On Sunday, April 12th, Navy SEALS did just that by shooting three of the four pirates dead in quick succession.  Just when my confidence in the direction of our country takes a new low, something happens to lift my spirits.

Religulous Thinking

February 17th, 2009-  I’m walking through the DVDs at Wal-Mart looking for something worth watching.  It’s a task similar to finding a needle in a haystack.  My eyebrows knit a bit as I scan one poor offering after another.  I guess it isn’t right for me to scorn those who produce our entertainment for offering us this slop when the masses are buying it.  The problem is…I’m not the masses.

My eyes latch onto a strange cover.  It’s a gentleman named Bill Mahr standing between parted waters a’la the Red Sea.  His shoulders and palms are raised in the, “I don’t know” or “I don’t get it either look.”

“Religulous?  Oh, no.”

I pull a copy away from the rack and peek at the back.  I’m going to paraphrase what the back said, “Comedian and TB host (Oops, I mean TV host, sorry.) Bill Mahr travels the globe questioning religion by asking the critical questions all else are afraid to ask.  Such as ‘Why is faith good?’ and ‘If there is an all powerful God, why doesn’t he just speak to us directly?”

Note: I have not seen the documentary so I’m going on a little assumption.  What I have pictured is a smug Bill Mahr ambushing the faithful with difficult questions then standing with the “I don’t get it either look” when the devotee is unable to answer.

There’s a lot to say here…I’ll just break it down by points.

Point #1- There’s nothing wrong with questions like these.  If God is real, then they all have answers.  They must.  After all, if Jesus was asked these questions he would have an answer wouldn’t he? 

I just hate the idea of shooting these questions at someone who might not know enough to answer them.  It’s a little like throwing trigonometry questions at a fifth grader then denying the existence of mathematics if they can’t answer.

Point #2- Even I had to think about how I would answer the question, “What’s so great about faith?”

My answer would run a little like this… “Well Bill, that’s a little like asking, ‘What’s so great about oxygen?’ or ‘Why is water so special?’  Faith is the nourishment that feeds the relationship with our Creator.  Our bodies were designed to use water and oxygen otherwise we would die.  The same goes for the soul.  In this case, we’ll use the Biblical definition for death…separation from God.

You need faith in order to have any relationship with the Almighty.  I

Point #3- The question, “If there is an all powerful God, why doesn’t he just speak to us directly?” has been around for a while.  Even believers ask God this question.

My answer?  “Ok Bill, this question has a lot to do with us being created with a will.  Ages ago, the angels were offered a choice and some rebelled against God.  This fallen world (Adam and Eve’s stupid choice) offers us this same choice.  Reject God or accept him. 

He’s already offered us all the evidence we need to come to the correct decision:  Christ’s empty tomb plus the testimony of saints and Scripture…the amazing intricacy of Nature and our bodies, which are IMPOSSIBLE without some design…and the structure of our souls, the ideas of charity, liberty, creativity, will, and a sense of right are constructs of a creative soul not chemical reactions.

And trust me Bill, one day he will make it plain and it will be plain for all eternity.  As they say in the broadcast business…this is only a test.”

Maybe we will never completly understand God’s reasoning here; afterall it DOES mean some will be lost.  Is it God’s choice to save who He will?  He chose Isreal over the hundreds of different tribes of the ancient world.  Have you noticed they’re still around?       

Point #4- I have no doubt Mr. Mahr found plenty of things to criticize that cannot be defended.  With all the flaws humans have and the houses of straw they build around the Bible’s strong bulwark, there are many man made practices that aren’t worth anything more than scorn.  Throw in a few false teachers and the wackiness of the miss-informed and I’m sure Bill Mahr had a “hey” day. 

Thankfully I’m not ultimately in charge.

COME BACK MONDAY FOR THE FINAL LETTER OF THE MALE STUDIES CATEGORY.  IT MAY BRING TEARS.

The Dynamics of Weakness

February 13th, 2009-  I work a second job as a lifeguard with the Parks and Recreation Department here in Middle Tennessee.  Guarding is without a doubt the best second job you could hope to secure.  Who could argue with flexible hours, free gym access (both pools are housed with fitness centers), plenty of down time, and the endless people watching?

Most patrons come and go without showing enough significance to leave an inscription my memory.  The faces of the regulars I remember.  (Especially the “Walrus Crew” other wise known as Shallow Aerobics.)

Last Friday a child approached the stand complaining about another boy hitting him.  I hadn’t seen anything so I told him I’d keep a look out.  A second later, the mother approaches me and says, “Yea, that boy over there in the black shorts just pushed junior again.”

Juvenile conflict resolution isn’t listed on my official duties but I decided to go ahead and call the offending child over.  I blew the whistle and he ignored me.  I blew again and he only glanced my direction.

“One more and if I don’t get the proper response bozo here is gone.”

After the third whistle, the boy (possibly eight or nine) stomped up.  The expression on his face was a mask of hostility.  Before I could get a word out, he began pleading his case by shouting.

I interrupted him. “Go take a chair.  You’ve got ten.”  (The dirty secret?  That’s about all a lifeguard has at his or her disposal…time out.  That’s dropping the hammer.  After that we “ask” them to go.)

AngryPants (That’s what I’m going to call him ok?  Good.) kicks the water a bit then sits directly in front of me.  His feet are still in the water.

“Son, that’s a chair over there!”

This time AngryPants gets up and marches over to a chair.  On the way, he begins BITING HIMSELF on the arm!  Uh-oh.  We’ve got a broken kid on our hands and I still don’t know where mom is hiding.

I didn’t have to wait long before AngryPants let me know where his mom was.  He leaped out of his chair and showed off a bit more stomping as he moved to the tables only six feet behind my stand.  I needed to know where he was headed so I turned around.  There was AngryPants screaming in the face of this haggard looking woman at the top of his lungs.  The pool has a water fort that makes a ton of noise so I couldn’t make out what he was saying but it was something akin to, “I’M BEING PERSECTUED AND WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT!”

I can’t stress this enough.  The kid was yelling at his mother like a drill sergeant immediately after a recruit urinates on his boots.  It was brutal, jaw open, full-throated shouting. 

Soon enough, mom approaches me, “What happened?”

“Ma’am, some of the other patrons were complaining about your child hitting the other children and when I called him over he ignored me.  He’s obviously a little too angry and needs to cool it for a few minutes.  (There was ZERO chance of me letting his kid back in the water until I had exacted some form of vengeance.  If his mom wasn’t going to work him over then I would do what I could get away with.)   

“Oh, he’s done swimming.  I just wanted to know what he did and how to punish him.”

I nodded but on the inside I mumbled, “Yea, right.”

I knew that within two minutes of me getting off the stand that kid would be back in the water.  If I had a million dollars to put on it, I wouldn’t have thought twice.

Ten minutes passed and I switched out you can guess what happened…From my perch in the office I saw the child swim another hour with his mother’s beak buried again the book.

I see lesser examples of children ignoring parents all the time this was just the most extreme example.  The question is…Why are adults scared of disciplining children when it’s so obvious they’re testing you?

Got an answer?

A Night At The Movies

DodoEggs.com is the blog that isn’t.  I write so that each post carries the same easy reading, comedic value even six months after it is first written.  It’s a timeless approach that adds value to the website each time I post.  The stock grows without having to rotate.

To accomplish this, I’ve never really written directly to politics, religion, or current events.  This newest category is something of an exception.  Dated topics such as what the latest Congress is doing wrong won’t be covered.  Instead it’s a collection of snippets taken from life as it is now.

February 4th 2009- I’m sitting in the faculty lunchroom at school when one of the teachers from another mini-school comes in to run a few copies.  While they print, she wanders over an relates this story…

“I was at the movies last Saturday night.  Sitting in front was an entire crowd of black folks shouting at the movie, using more profanity than normal language, and laughing loudly at even the serious scenes.  You would have to be there to believe it.

Anyway, when someone from the theater finally came in to ask them to stop they cussed her out too, told them they’d bought a @#$%! ticket and that she was being racist.  So she leaves and gets security to start moving them out.  The entire time they continued to yell and scream everything in the book.

Finally as they are being ushered out, they all began yelling, ‘Obama is gonna fix all this!  Obama is gonna fix all this!  You wait!”

I rewrote about six different concluding statements to this story each covering a different aspect of why some folks out there are completely delusional and none really seemed to do the situation justice.  Needless to say, the expectations for our new president are a bit unrealistic.

February 6th, 2000- I’ll be honest.  I’ve completely lost my respect for Hollywood as a creative Mecca.  California’s gravity has been pulling it away from good writing to special effects for a long time now.  It’s a disease that has movies devolving into visual extravaganzas with storylines no thicker than a page out of an old comic book.

Hollywood’s never ending quest for the next blockbuster has funneled them into one effects laden fiasco after another.  I would guess these are focused on the money demographics.  Like following a recipe, producers find the brooding hero, intriguing love interest, over the top villain, forced comic relief, sacrificing side kick, and an avalanche of SPECIAL EFFECTS.  Mix this in with empty storylines and sequels.  It’s a mess and I don’t know if I’ll ever come back.

Case in point, I was online a few days ago and I traipsed across four banner ads for movies.  In no particular order, the new Star Trek (The name sounds familiar, where have I heard it before?), a Friday the 13th (For this script, Freddie mercilessly cuts up the previous movie plots then tapes them back together.), G.I. Joe (Here’s the trailer…BOOM, slow motion jumping through flames, CRASH, “We never fail,” stern looking hero, KAPLOWEE!  Been done?), Transformers 2 (An episode of Sesame Street is better written than the first movie.  I can’t wait to find out what the sequel transforms into.)

Need an example of good writing triumphing despite bad special effects?  Look no further than the Princess Bride.  It’s a movie I would rather watch a hundred times than subjugate my eyes to one of these blockbusters more than once.