1. The Incredibles, in a word was, what the hell, INCREDIBLE! Seriously; like "the Oscar goes to...," Best Picture kind of incredible. "The Oscar goes to...," Best Director kind of incredible. "The Oscar goes to...," Best Original Screenplay kind of incredible. It had more emotional depth than most live-action movies, and absolutely blows the doors off previous Pixar and Dreamworks efforts. To not be acknowledged as such would be an even bigger crime than the 1999 Best Picture award.
2. The preview of Pixar's next effort, Cars, struck me as both an odd direction and incredibly boring. As it is quite possibly their last movie in conjunction with Disney, I wonder if they purposely went with a lesser concept to complete their contract, anticipating a new partner and saving their best stuff for the future? Because, really, unlike any of their previous films' previews, Cars just looks dumb.
3. For the most part, I consider myself a pretty tolerant and non-prejudicial person. Politically incorrect jokes aside, I don't typically judge anyone by whatever subgroup society has created for them, understanding that people are individuals and should be judged accordingly. That said, this morning, for the second time in the three years since 9/11, I got off of a train before my stop because there was a guy that was giving me the "looks like a terrorist" heebie-jeebies. He looked like a middle eastern Spike Lee, complete with facial hair and dorky glasses, wearing a baseball cap, jeans and a sweatshirt and carrying only a rectangular leather CD case. No CD player, mind you, just the case. And he was holding it close to his lap, tapping away nervously. And he was sitting right next to me. If he looked like anything but someone from the middle east, I would have probably found him merely annoying. If he'd looked the way he looked, but had a CD player to go with the case, I probably wouldn't have paid him the slightest bit of attention. But he didn't, and all the things that led so many otherwise sensible Americans to vote for George Bush three weeks ago flared up in my mind and I was convinced this guy was going to blow the train somewhere between the City Hall and Wall Street stations. So I got off the train at 14th Street, caught the next one, and braced myself at each stop, each delay, each announcement, not sure whether I was hoping more that I was wrong, or right. Because being right would have been traumatic, but being wrong meant I'd completely given in to the fear.
4. The other time I got off a train for similar reasons, it was in the middle of the afternoon in midtown sometime early last year, and the guy appeared to be a Hasidic Jew, carrying a large leather briefcase that he kept stepping away from.
5. It's a horrible situation, yes, but am I the only one to see the irony in this statement: "When you're hunting, you don't expect somebody to try to shoot you and murder you," hunter Bill Wagner said. "You have no idea who is coming up to you."
6. I don't blame Ron Artest one bit for charging the stands and whooping some fan's ass during the game in Detroit last Friday. Fans verbally cross the line way too often as it is, knowing a player can't/won't do anything to retaliate, but throwing cups of beer onto the playing field removes all barriers in my mind. Do we really buy into a teams' "ownership" of players to the degree that they should be dehumanized and not expected to react to things that would push most people over the edge? While I think his actions warrant a suspension, missing the entire season - without pay - is way too harsh a penalty. Especially if the fans involved merely receive a slap on the wrist. As for the fans that actually came down on the court and got waxed, they deserved it.
7. The NaNoWriMo train completely derailed last week after picking up a cockiness-inducing head of steam, and I'm now Donald Trump-deep in the Word Debt hole: Babe in the Woods, NaNoWriMo Word Count, Day 21: 15,609 (-19,398)
8. Speaking of The Donald, I missed last week's double termination on The Apprentice, but I did catch the Maxim spread, and was impressed by the airbrushing job on Pam that managed to make her look...feminine. Not nearly enough to get her the cover, though, so she loses yet again! In the end, I still wonder how any of these dimwits were ever considered as a potential Apprentice, or if they were simply the prerequisite eye candy mixed in with the more legitimate contenders.
9. The fact that LL Cool J's latest effort, The DEFinition, is as good as it is, is amazing considering how long he's been rapping. I mean, where's his former nemesis Kool Moe Dee these days? Ice-T? MC Hammer? Hooking up with Timbaland was a smart move and, if he's lost a bit of his "Hard as Hell" edge from the good old days, he shows that he can still go toe-to-toe with the young bucks - anyone heard from Canibus recently? - and keep heads nodding. Headsprung, in particular, is as infectious a track as he's had in years.
10. Am I the only that's completely over Destiny's Child? Without the video as proof, would anyone even know their new song wasn't just another Beyoncé solo effort? And am I the only one the that likes Kelly Rowland more than Beyoncé?
11. I finally received the 125 manuscripts I'll be judging for the Bronx Writers' Center's Chapter One competition, along with a late-January deadline to get through them. 125 twenty-page opening chapters of novels from writers throughout the City. Did my random test, pulling one entry from the middle of the stack, and was pleased to find myself still reading it four pages in. I suspect this will be a more pleasant experience than the year I judged poetry for the BRIO award. In general, fiction writers tend to be more realistic than poets about the quality of their work and more reluctant to submit it to contests half-assed. We'll see...