Saturday, December 27, 2008

Ho to the Ho to the Ho, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

Christmas is officially over; I returned all the gifts my family got me at Bed, Bath and Blagojevich.

Saw an odd movie this holiday, "Valkyrie & Me" about a failed plot to kill Hitler's dog.

To give you an idea how emotional "Marley & Me" is, Dick Cheney saw it and stopped scowling for a minute.  

It was awkward, Cheney got so emotional at the end of "Marley & Me"he tried to shoot the veterinarian.

Even Sarah Palin got in to the holiday spirit, she went with her Jewish friends to a Hanukkah service led by a Rabbi, or as she called him, Joe the Plumberstein.  

A woman in Arkansas gave birth to her 18th child, all of them with a name that starts with J. The Mom named the last child: Jail-For-Your-Dad-If-He-Ever-Touches-Me-Again.  

"Marley & Me" is #1 at the box office, or as it is known in Beijing, "My Dinner with Marley."

The ADT Golf Skills Championship featured a lot of trash talking between the golfers. Well, golfers don't really trash talk, it's more like refuse referencing;

"Gosh golly, you rascal, that shot of yours was reminiscent of my dear grandmother, Nanna."  

Since you asked:

"So, Lex, you didn't tell us: did you cry during "Marley & Me," yah big wuss?" 

Yes, inner tirade, and I am not even ashamed to say I did cry. You couldn't be a human and not cry. In fact, I cried even though I was giving it everything I could not to cry as AC was two seats down next to Mom. 

It reminded me of the time I took a wrong turn snowboarding on the back side of Park City and had to go down a black diamond run that was sheer and solid slick ice. It took hanging on with every muscle I had not to slide off and fall. 

Still shocked at the dismal 52% critic approval. Although that number is deceiving. The critics who liked it raved - as many of the top critics did - and many of the critics who gave a negative review did so only because they warned it was far more emotional than the promos would lead you to believe. 

But the truly negative critical reviews of "Marley & Me" pointed out a huge demographic and personality discrepancy between the terminally annoying coffee shop, art school snotty film critics and me and you, the people who go see movies. These pseudo-intellectual snippy twits don't care that we don't care about their love of the grandiose and the minutia that goes into the making of great FILMS, pronounced with two syllables.  (Phil-lems)  

These self-righteous snots have their smug snouts so far in the air they cannot begin to grasp what real folks enjoy. And they don't care. Their own over-blown opinions take priority over their real job, to either recommend or not recommend a movie the general public would love.    

Friday, December 26, 2008

My “Marley & Me” review.

You know how the worst thing that can happen to a movie is over-anticipation? No matter how good it is, you thought the movie would be better and it takes away from the experience. Well, my expectations have never been higher for a movie than they were for “Marley & Me”.

In fact, everything that can doom a movie was lined up to ruin “Marley & Me.” A, I read and loved the book, so of course the movie is going to be a let down. And, B, I read all of the rave reviews, so expectations were sky high. And, C,I am not a fan of movies that make me cry.

And yet “Marley & Me” still blew me away it was so good. It blew me away. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit I am a full-blown Labrador nut-job and am probably biased as a result) 

Yes, if you have followed the commercials and the trailers, like I have, you have seen a lot of the funny scenes, but there are many, many more. And they don’t even begin to capture the heart-wrenching poignant scenes. Alan Arkin was one of my favorite actors before this movie and now I don’t even know what category in which to put him. Arkin is like an honorary family member.

Please, I am begging you, if you are, like me, put off by movies that make you cry, you would be cheating yourself from a wonderful experience if you didn’t see “Marley & Me.” That is what this movie was for me, far more of an experience than a movie.

"Marley & Me" is also proof that movie critics have their heads so far up their own pseudo-intellectual asses that they have no idea what real people like as "Rotten Tomatoes" only gave it 52 % positives.  Snotty, mean-spirited a-holes are pre-wired not to like dog movies as even "Old Yeller"and "My Dog Skip" got mixed reviews when they came out.  But many of these snarky critic tools objected that "Marley & Me" was too emotionally wrenching revealing the problem was in the critic's lack of depth and not the movie's depth.  

Although I will say the critics who liked "Marley & Me" raved about it. (New rule: if you have more cats than friends, do not review dog movies) And if you prefer the dazzle, sparkle and flash of movies like, oh say, "The Wizard of Oz" or the big production of "Mamma Mia" as I think many movie critics do, over candor, honesty and heart, than maybe "Marley & Me" is not for you. 

Recently I wrote a list of things in here that Hollywood thinks happen in real life but never ever do: parking spot open in front of the crowded restaurant, sex in the kitchen, droll, sarcastic waiters making pithy remarks, harmless exploding fireballs.

None of that fake Hollywood filler happens in “Marley & Me.” Its integrity and honesty is remarkable, especially for Hollywood. God bless whoever on this project decided to stay so true to John Grogan’s great book.

And Jennifer Anniston and Owen Wilson were absolutely spectacular. And what made them so spectacular was that they weren’t trying to be spectacular. On bad movies you have to try and remember that they are trying to get you to believe what is happening on the screen is real. “Marley & Me” makes it hard to believe what is happening on the screen isn’t real. And the credit for that goes to Anniston and Wilson and the director, David Frankel, who clearly is a true dog lover.

Being a cranky and cynical bastard, I have a list of known Hollywood douche-bag actors who, if they are in a movie, I won’t see it: Stephen Segal, Val Kilmer, Jim Belushi, Tom Arnold, etc.

Now, thanks to “Marley & Me,” I have a more positive list of actors who I will go see whatever movie they are in and it consists of Jennifer Anniston, Owen Wilson and Alan Arkin.

I knew I would fall in love with Marley, but I didn’t expect to also fall for John and Jennifer Grogan. And yet, in full candor, there is a fair amount of yuppie whining from both about having to work at having a great family and a great career that I don't remember reading in the book. 

But that is my only complaint. 

To call this movie a tear-jerker is to point out how clichés, like tear-jerker which are used by lame movie critics, are so trite and ineffective, just like the lame movie critics themselves. This movie is a soul-wrench and, as anyone who has a soul and has had their soul wrenched knows, a good wrenching is both magical and good for the soul.

For my kind and lovely wife, Virginia, and our amazing and kind and beautiful daughter, Ann Caroline and me, “Marley & Me” was also a love letter to how rich our lives with two lovable clown Labradors, Kasey and Wrigley, has been. (You should have seen A.C. dote on our doggies when she got home. Fussed- over beasts is what they was)

There is one scene where Owen Wilson’s character, the author John Grogan, runs into his babe-hound buddy whose writing career has taken off as he has remained steadfastly and actively single. They exchange updates. The babe hound’s career has taken off to the stratosphere as the proud dad whips out a snapshot of his beautiful wife, his three wonderful kids and his crazy dog.

As the old friends say goodbye you could sense the deep sadness Wilson’s character felt for his friend for his having missed out on all the rich experiences he has known. And yet you can almost hear the single guy mutter “poor bastard” under his breath for Wilson’s character. The amazing thing is that both types of people, devoted family folks, and Peter-Pan-syndrome single types, will love this movie.

Not to overdue it, but if you don’t like this movie, you need to get a soul.

“Marley & Me” shows in a way no other movie has, with the exception of “My Dog Skip” and “Old Yeller”, how dogs, no matter how misbehaved, are just furry angelic devoted family members who weasel their way deep inside your heart and they stay there. Even after they’re gone.

God bless you clearance puppy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

And a Happy New Year to Paris Hilton, President Bush, Hillary Clinton, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Natalie Maines, Rosie O'Donnell, Madonna, the chicks on "The View" and the rest of the Dixie Chicks, Donald Trump, the Oakland Raiders and Al Davis, Carmel Valley Mom drivers, Michael Vick, the French and, yes, even Kristen Stewart. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Festivus for the rest of us Eve, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

How . . . cold . . . was it?
It was so cold in Washington DC, President Bush asked a reporter to throw a pair of Ugg boots at him.

It is so cold in Chicago people were shaking like that thing on Rod Blagojevich’s head getting deloused for jail.

It was so cold in Los Angeles guys were dating Paris Hilton just so they could feel that burning sensation when they peed.

It is so cold in New York, reporters are getting up close to Bill Clinton’s head just to feel the warmth from his red-faced rants.

It was so cold in New York, the hookers were offering a Bernie Madoff special, for $500 bucks they’ll do something so evil you’ll also burn in hell.

A Continental flight skidded way off the runway in Denver and caught fire but nobody was seriously hurt; upon hearing this, Jet Blue said; “See, that’s why we never leave the runway.”

Nice little holiday tip
Madonna earned $280 million on her “Sticky and Sweet” tour; or as her still-divorcing ex-husband, Guy Ritchie calls the tour proceeds: My Christmas bonus.

Joe and Dick
Joe Biden and Dick Cheney have been trading insults in the press, but I think they are making up; today Cheney asked Biden to go quail hunting.

Joe Biden and Dick Cheney have been trading insults in the press, you can see why Cheney and Biden don’t get along, they’re fundamentally different, Biden shoots his mouth off and Cheney shoots guys in the mouth.

Joe Biden and Dick Cheney have been trading insults in the press, you can see why Cheney and Biden don’t get along, they’re fundamentally different, Biden has hair plugs and Cheney plugs guys in the hair.

Who knew?
Didn’t you love all the Arab cultural experts who actually explained to us that throwing a shoe at someone is considered an insult? But throwing your pants at someone is considered a come on.

Invading Paris . . . again
Luckily she wasn’t home, but a burglar broke into Paris Hilton’s bedroom and stole over two million dollars in jewelry; yeah, I don’t feel bad for Paris either.

A burglar broke into Paris Hilton’s bedroom and stole over two million dollars in jewelry; Two million in jewelry. Oh, and one hidden video camera.

Too bad
New York Jet end Shaun Ellis was fined $10,000 for throwing a snowball at a fan after the Jets loss to Seattle. Jets QB Brett Favre tried to throw a snowball, but it was intercepted and returned for a touchdown.

Dah Bearsssssssssssssssss
The Chicago Bears rallied from behind to beat the Green Bay Packers in overtime. It was so cold during the game, to get warm, five Bear fans crawled underneath that thing on Ill. Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s head.

You bet it is
A burglar broke into Paris Hilton’s bedroom and stole two million dollars in jewelry and the police have no leads; can you believe that? Paris was sent to jail but this guy walks. Is this a great country or what?

How bad is it?
This economy is bad. Rod Blagojevich tried to sell Santa’s seat to the highest bidder.

To sell more cars Ford is going to produce a car called the Madoff which runs like hell.

It’s time for a rousing session of:

Readers Ask Lex

Dear Lex,

Tell us something about yourself that we might not have ever guessed.

Natalie Maines.

Dear Natalie;

You mean something like I actually did take English courses past the third grade?

Let me see. I bet you didn’t know I was a founding member of the Jonah Brothers? Now don’t confuse us with the Jonas Brothers. We weren’t nearly as good, we just caused a lot of bad luck on ships.

Like, whatever Lex,

Like, what is, like, your spaz-out problem-ski with that totally awesome chick who plays Bella in “Twilight”. OMG, she is like a crazillion times more talented than, like, you are, duh.

Kristen Stew . . . I mean, um, Stewart Krist, yeah, that’s it.

Dear Stewart;

No kidding, I saw a print interview with Kristen and she did not seem nearly as much of a bitchy little pseudo-intellectual tool, rather self-deprecating and funny.

So I disregarded it. Bratty bitch be trippin’.

To whatever Lex it may concern:

Regardless, or irregardless as Bush might say, of your Fantasy Team’s dismal performance this year, I was wondering what are your NFL predictions for the playoffs?

Michael Vick.

Dear Michael;

Killing time until “Marley and Me” opens? Do me a favor and don’t bet on Marley to win a dog fight in the movie. It ain’t goin’ down like that, yo.

Momentum going into the playoffs is everything. This bodes well for the Dolphins, the Titans and especially Carolina and even New England. In fact, Carolina is playing so well I am starting to actually be able to distinguish them from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Almost.

Bucs? Toast. D looks old. Pittsburgh looks beaten up. Dallas is Terrell’d. (It’s a verb, look it up) Indianapolis is back to form. Something tells me Atlanta is not for real although they have made an amazing comeback. Lord knows I loves me some Bears, but they aren’t a playoff team this year. But the Giants may be the team again but someone has to come up big at receiver and that’s a big if. And don’t count New England out of the playoffs but they need help.

My Super Bowl prediction? Indianapolis upsets the Titans for the AFC Championship and lose to Carolina in the Super Bowl with the Jaguars, err, I mean Panthers getting a big win.

But then I started Fred Taylor and Chester Taylor in my fantasy backfield, so what do I know?

Dear Lex;

What should we do with Rod Blagojevich? Because we can waterboard him, in case you didn't know waterboarding was an option. It is. An option, that is. So, let me know if you think we should waterboard him. 'Cause I, uh, we can. Waterboard him that is. 

Dick Cheney

Dear Dick:

Easy you waterboarding freak.

A, release his hair back into the wild, and, B, send him to prison with a tattoo on his butt that says “The line forms here.”

Let him get a taste of what he has been doing to his taxpayers for years.


How dare you say you can’t tell the difference between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Carolina Panthers? Sure, both came into the league at the same time and both are from an obscure area in the South and both mascots are basically the same large species of cat and both have blue and black in their colors and . . . OK, now I’m confused, which one is which again?

Jack Del Rio.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Snicken’ flackin with the Holiday flabber jibber, ha ha ha, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

(Homage to the Coz)

Now that’s punishment

Bernard Madoff, who pulled that $50 billion Ponzi scheme has been sentenced to house arrest in his $7 million Park Ave. Penthouse. Don’t worry, he’s being punished, the whole time he has to watch “The View.”


The kid who knocked up Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter, Bristol, Levi Johnston? Well his mother was arrested in Alaska for selling drugs. In fact, she was so high she actually thought she could see Russia from her house.

That explains it

The movie “Marley and Me” is coming out on Christmas and it is about a badly behaved dog. They got the idea of making a movie about a badly behaved dog by seeing that thing on Rod Blagojevich’s head.

Getting up there

Happy belated birthday to Keith Richards who turned 65 last week; that’s 125 in Keith Richards years and 165 in Amy Winehouse years.

People thought I was crazy when I first said this, but if Keith hangs in there, he may actually reach a point where he looks good for his age.

Hell Freezes over . . . again

Las Vegas had a record snow. It was nice, the strippers ran outside, laid down and waved their arms and legs and made little snow hookers.


Didn’t you love all the so-called Arab cultural experts who explained to us that throwing a shoe at someone is considered an insult in Iraq? Not only that, but, in Iran, apparently urinating in someone’s ear is an expression of contempt.

*Side bar: show me somebody with the title expert and I will show you a world class douche bag.

Guy on the go

A company in Wisconsin has made a beer with pizza ingredients inside of it. It’s perfect for that active guy on the go who doesn’t have time to eat pizza drink beer and then puke.


An Arkansas woman gave birth to her 18th child. The couple’s name is Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar; as in that guy must really have dug her.

Since you asked:

This will be an all time first: seeing a movie on Christmas. But we are going to go see “Marley and Me” Actually, I might see it in a different theater than my fambly. It may scar a ten-year-old girl for life to see her Dad sobbing like a jilted drunken debutante.

There is a great chapter in “Marley and Me” where Marley gets cast to be the family dog in a real Hollywood movie filmed near their Florida home. (It went straight to video) Marley’s owners couldn’t believe the red carpet treatment they got on the way to the set. Classic Hollywood production assistants with clip boards and head sets groveling and smooching all over them in every conceivable way to get Marley to the set.

Once the camera rolled, Marley ruined every take. Knocks over a kid running out of the van.


Jumps out of the van.


Jumps up on a clearly horrified Grandma.

“Cut!” Finally the furious director yells;

“Get this damn dog off of my set, he’s ruining this movie.”

Suddenly all the earlier butt-smooching assistant producers are giving Marley and Marley’s owners the bum’s rush all but saying;

“Don’t let the door hit your ass on the way out.”

That night the director’s assistant calls them in a panic;

“Please, please get that dog back here. We saw the dailies from today’s shoot and that wild beast is the best part of this movie, he is hilarious.”

The best part was all the re-butt smooching and over-groveling the assistant producers had to do when they came back on the set.

We now call our younger Labrador, Wrigley, Marley-Lite.

Monday, December 22, 2008

We gonna throw down the hoe down up in this up in this, Torn Slatterns and Nugget Ranchers

Can you believe it?

Despite the bad economy, can you believe it is almost 2009? I’m still writing 2007 on the checks I bounce.

Nice visual

After stealing $50 billion, Bernard Maddof is out on bail and has been sentenced to house arrest in his $7 million penthouse. How does that make his investors feel to know the guy who stole their life savings is at home eating caviar and sipping champagne while watching “The Flintstones” reruns in his underwear?

What would William Ayers think?

The kid who knocked up Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter, Bristol, Levi Johnston? Well his mother was arrested in Alaska for selling drugs. That isn’t a family, it’s an episode of “Cops.”

The kid who knocked up Sarah Palin’s daughter, Bristol, now he’s her fiancé? Well his mother was arrested in Alaska for selling drugs. In fact, Sarah Palin can see her jail cell from her house.

Invading Paris

A thief broke into Paris Hilton’s house, when she was gone, and ransacked her bedroom; it marked the first time a stranger was in Paris’s bedroom but not in Paris.

Paris got the last laugh, just by going through her underwear drawer, the thief caught a nasty sexually transmitted disease.

Just kidding, Paris doesn’t have an underwear drawer.

Uh, no Paris, that’s not . . . oh my

A thief broke into Paris Hilton’s house when she was gone and ransacked her bedroom; it was very awkward when they asked Paris how it felt to be burgled by a guy, Paris misunderstood and said; “Guys should ask first because it can hurt if you’re not ready for it.”

That’s nothing

They say the Detroit Lions could be the first team to lose 16 games. What are they talking about? The New York Knicks can lose 16 games in one month easy.

I’m stumped

An Arkansas woman gave birth to her 18th child and all the kid’s names begin with the letter J. I think the last one is named: Jou-think-of-one.

Not since then

If they beat the Denver Broncos next week, the San Diego Chargers could go to the playoffs with an 8-8 record while the New England Patriots could stay home with an 11-5 record. If so it will be the worst case of rewarding mediocrity since, well, John McCain picked Sarah Palin.

Not quite

“Superstars of Dance” is airing. It is for those people who thought “Dancing with the Stars” just wasn’t quite gay enough.

Not the same

December 28th is the anniversary of the Baltimore Colts beating the New York Giants in sudden death for the NFL title in 1958, titled; “The greatest game ever played.” Don’t confuse that with the 47-7 drubbing the Patriots gave Arizona Sunday. That game was such a dog it’s; “The greatest game ever spayed.”

How did I miss this the first time?

On the Oprah “30 Rock” Oprah says to Tina Fey’s character, Liz Lemon;

Oprah: “And you know what suffers when you work too hard . . .”

Liz: “Your bowl movements . . .”

Oprah; . . . your personal life.”

Lemon; “Yeah, your personal life . . .”

Man, did I have wild dreams last night.

You know how I say the harder you sleep the deeper you dream? The dreams take off on their own and you’re just along for the ride. And the next level up is when you are sort of in control of the dream and can change things if you want to.

Well last night, I hit some black hole that was even deeper than dreams that take off on their own. Even when you are in a deep dream, you’re vaguely aware of being asleep and that, even if you’re not controlling the dream, it is coming from somewhere in the deep recess of your head. Oh yeah, this is where I used to park in La Jolla or there is that football field in Oak Park.

Last night the dream wasn’t coming from my head. It was like the real world, things were happening that I had no control over. The level above this is REM sleep and pretty deep but this was scary deep sleep like coma deep. Like hibernation.

But the scary part was that the people and things that were happening were really happening. Not to sound all dirt-eating-avocado-head Californian here, but I get the genuine sense I was communicating with these folks. They weren’t ghosts or the dead – I don’t think - just the spirits or souls of people I have known. Quite a few were from college. Some high school and even some were from New York. It was like a nice reunion, one girl wanted a hug, one guy from Santa Barbara said he missed my jokes.

Their spirit from that time was haunting me but in a nice way.

But the scary part was I had no control, it was really happening. Somehow I had slipped into a level where some form of spiritual contact with people from different times and locations was possible. Like the person I knew who was a twenty-year-old windsurfer bartender had a spirit that still existed on a deep level that was still a twenty-year-old windsurfer bartender and I was talking to that person, not the 49 year-old-married father of three he actually is today.

The freaky part was they were doing their own talking, it wasn’t that my dream made them talk. Does that make any sense? Or should I have laid off the grilled onions and horseradish sauce on my steak sandwich I made for the game?

It sorta freaked me out it was so real that I startled myself awake with a loud “Uh!” like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” It felt like a was a diver coming up way too fast from a deep dive.

It is still freaking me out but in a cool way. No lie, I feel like I came back from a great, scary, exciting trip.

It’s on to the Bears- Packer game tonicht. Hopefully the Bears will give the Fudgies some nightmares.