I Started A Flickr Group: Chickens on Railroad Tracks

Chickens. Railroad tracks. Chickens on railroad tracks.I decided to start a Flickr group devoted to all media featuring chickens on railroad tracks after looking over some awesome photography by good friend Michael J. McCrystal and seeing the eclectic groups inviting him to submit his photos. Yes, there are groups for brick roads, family beach portraits, smurfs, chickens, trains, and just about every other damn thing you can think of, but none focused exclusively on chickens (preferably alive) on (or near) railroad tracks.

The majestic chicken strutting cockily amongst the confluence of man-made ironworks and nature's wood, the very thoroughfares of large, powerful locomotives arouses feelings of the sublime. Cocks. Steel. Wood. Locomotives through a tunnel.

Maybe I should start a Flowers in Gaping Holes in the Ground group too?

So if you happen to have any pictures meeting the aforementioned criteria, submit them! I even took the time to create pun related titles for members (chuggachugganteclairses), moderators (chickentrackers), and of course admins (BallastlessCocks). Join today or the last hour of my life was devoted to overworking a simple joke.


Movie Review: Extraordinary Measures

Don't hope for a miracle. Tell it to get off your plane.I went into this moving knowing I would come down with a case of the warm fuzzies. The cheesetastic tagline alone was a neon sign of "uplifting family drama". Being looked upon as such a movie, CBS Films did a good job of entertaining and educating the audience. You're mom will love it.

The "based on a true story" film, directed by Tom Vaughan (Super Grass, What Happens in Vegas) is about John Crowley's (Brendan Fraser) and his wife Aileen's (Keri Russell) quest to find a cure to a rare genetic disorder, which two of their three children have, called Pompe disease. Fraser turns to Dr. Robert Stonehill (Executive Producer, Harrison Ford) who is working on an advanced form of an enzyme to counteract the effects of the disease.

Stylistically the movie was CBS doing Disney design. A clean, well lighted world where every room, office, and park is perfectly manicured and noticeably a set; not a place where people live, work and risk. A PG world without grit or sharp edges helping to enfold the audience in the safety of order and structure to offset any discomfort felt seeing children with tracheostomy tubes in motorized wheelchairs (a Hollywood way of showing illness akin to an oxygen tube while sitting in a bed). All accompanied by a soundtrack of orchestral swelling, queuing the audience to the proper emotional response.

Fraser's Ivy-League-Caring-Every-Dad who gambles the limited time he has with his kids to try and save them is well within Fraser's abilities and he is a good fit for the role, evoking a version of his Ben Sullivan from Scrubs. The characters business prowess makes him the straight man to Ford, who the audience is told is "brilliant", "eccentric", and "a loose cannon". He also listens to the rock music loudly while working! But is he a big softy deep down? Only time can tell.

The duo start a research team but soon needs to sell out to Big Pharm to get the funding required to accomplish their goals. Enter potential devils - Derek Webster, Jared Harris, & Patrick Bauchau. Seeing them all sitting at the table together was all that was required to accomplish the idea of soul selling. Watching Ford, and particularly Fraser deal with the consequences and pay offs of the deal compose the last act of the film.

While overdone in style and having a conclusion you knew going into the theater, the fact it was based off actual events, the shortened time, and appropriate casting made for an enjoyable, albeit forgettable, time. 3 out of 5 stars.

Other observations:
  • Sometimes it was necessary to put up what part of the country the characters were in as they traveled around. Other times, like when I can see the exit sign that says "Chicago" it wasn't necessary to tell me they were in Chicago.
  • Keri Russell was a hot mom.
  • Pompe disease has an incident rate of 1:40,000 - more info
Obvious Product Placement:
  • Ford vehicles: old & new, car & actor
  • Budweiser
  • Lowe's
  • Genzyme Corp.
  • Not so obvious: Nike (parts filmed at HQ in Oregon)


Movie Review: The Lovely Bones

Of this much we can be sure: It was the 1970s. A movie with an advertised synopsis telling us, "...a young girl who has been murdered...", spends most of the first act (half an hour or more?) establishing the time period with various, attentive details with the should-be-dead-girl walking around alive. How a movie based on a book can get so lost in itself in confounding.

The movie, directed by Peter Jackson, hits some plot points in common with the novel, but grinds off all the sharp edges, leaving us in a PG-13 mess. Jackson left the audience to imagine what was done to wide-eyed, whispering Susie (Saoirse Ronan), reducing the found evidence from body parts to just blood. Yet it was necessary to have us watch Susie's father (Wahlberg) get beat savagely by a high school jock & watch the killer's death blow for CGI blow. An affair between the detective and the mother is ever so slightly hinted upon, but never actually occurs, and we learn nothing of the detective or serial killer George Harvey's (Stanley Tucci giving a nice, creepster showing) background, leaving them as both stock characters. There was time for an extended montage of funny with Gramma Sarandon, though!

The glimpses we catch of life after Susie's death are like ripples from a skipping stone on a still lake. No depth at each point, only the faintest disturbance. The film fails to decide just what sort of movie it wants to be, drawing themes of loss & obsession, as well as gimmicks, from various supernatural movies and shows (What Dreams May Come, 6th Sense, hell I half expected Beetlejuice) and turning them into a wet-noodle by which the audience is repeatedly thrashed.

Other observations:

So heaven is spending eternity with other victims of your murderer, in a place that looks like where you were murdered? I thought Hell was other people.

What's the difference between Heaven & the in-between place? More people, less surrealist backgrounds.

How many years did it take for Susie to move on, exactly? Their were 24 rolls of film, so 1 a month to develop would make it two years, yet more time than that seemed to have passed for little sister Lindsey.

The forced sense of cosmic justice when Harvey dies. Some people in the audience cheered (ugh) because the universe finally gave him his comeuppance - after killing 9 people over 13 years.

Story does provide a sinkhole business model for Tampa Bay area to consider given recent events.


ESPN Gives Sports the Full Captain Eo

ESPN and the mouse pulling its strings are launching a 3D network; seriously. Following a year filled with 3D films, (more slated for 2010-11!) Disney must have felt the time was right to reach out into the sports world and overhaul the boring HD flatness, because munching on snacks and buzzing on beer is so lame in 2D, we want 3D glasses strapped to your heads!

The network, ESPN 3D, is slated to have 85 live sporting events in the first year, starting June 11 with a World Cup match between South Africa & Mexico. Other events: 2011 BCS National Championship Game, various college basketball & football games, 25+/- World Cup matches, and the Summer X-Games.

How this will add anything to the games is not clear. How much more interesting will any of the games really get in 3D? If everything is viewed moving horizontally, from a predominantly zoomed out vantage point, where's the wow factor? Will ESPN add additional camera crews to get ground level, in-your-face views just so players can poke their hands at the camera, and occasionally throw things at the audience?

The special effects may be left to the commentators and maybe the cheerleaders. They could play with yo-yos and have laser effects around them. Maybe a furby/butterfly mascot to wave cutely at the screen before commercial breaks.

"This is a turning point for 3-D," Consumer Electronics Association CEO Gary Shapiro told USA Today.

My stomach is already queasy thinking about it.

Below is a artistic interpretation of how ESPN 3D will "change the world", starting with evil 2D overlords.

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