Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Romanian club exchanges defender for large lump of meat

- Romanian second division soccer club UT Arad sold a player in exchange for 15 kilograms of meat, local sport daily Pro Sport reported on Monday.

However, fourth division Regal Horia made a bad deal because defender Marius Cioara decided to end his footballing career and take off to Spain to find a job in agriculture or construction.

"We are upset because we lost twice - firstly because we lost a good player and secondly because we lost our team's food for a whole week," a Regal Horia official was quoted as saying by the daily in its electronic edition. (Click Here)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

When A Phone Is A Camera

An idea popped into my head last week and I decided to get a couple different ringtones for my cell phone to use as a ringer for different people. There would be one for family, one for friends, and maybe a couple more sprinkled in the middle just for variety. I even went to Cingular's site to see what is available.

Then I had a slightly bewildering revelation - No one calls me on my cell phone.

Now, to be totally correct, there are people that do make a call to my mobile. My Mom calls it when she can't get me on my home or desk phone. And a friend or two might use the number once in awhile. But that's about it.

It was kind of depressing to think about how little use the phone side of this apparatus is getting. You'd like to think that a person would be at least popular enough to maybe get one cell phone call a day. There are full weeks that I go without it ringing at all.

Let it also be known that I spend my work day at a desk with a phone and a direct extension to it. Most everyone that would want to call me knows when I'm here or at home so they have those two means of communication. It would be kind of silly to call on the cell when I have a more sedantary phone within easy reaching distance.

I'm not sure if this is a lament about having a cellphone that spends more time as a camera than a phone (and the money involved in paying that kind of bill) or that the rest of the world in my personal orbit isn't interested enough in what is in the center of that orbit to call more often. Maybe it all comes down to wanting to feel like someone needs to talk to you so much that they will call you when you are away from the normal phones.

It looks like I'll just be sticking with my "Imperial March" ringtone for now...

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Misunderstood Masterpieces - ROCK & RULE

For a couple years when cable television first arrived at my parents' house, they decided to subscribe to Showtime. I guess it was to have the chance to view the programming that they had on the channel but I never knew for sure because I don't remember either of my parents actually watching that channel. It would appear that this choice was made to appease the younger members of the household.

Back in those days (aka the early to mid 80s), the subscription movie channels only ran anything rated higher than a PG after 8pm. You would never find a BAD BOYS on at 11:30am back then. This tended to feed the need for a lot of programming to fill up the daytime hours. Along with the cheesy 70s kid films both animated and live action, there were a couple random pieces of diamond to appear amid all of the coal.

ROCK & RULE is an animated film that didn't have quite the easiest of releases but that's what happens when you bring the completed film in a year late and nearly every motion picture company board member that okayed your little film had already been fired. After a couple showings in the Boston area, the film was out of circulation before the end of 1983. It was probably a nobrainer for the cable channels to snap this one up.

The story of an evil rock musician named Mok and his attempt to bring forth an evil demon sounded a little farfetched even for the child version of me. This film has two things seriously going for it - the general creativity and the music.

I'll talk about the music first. You can't have the ROCK in the title without the rock music and they went a very interesting way with this film. It was decided to find current rock stars to perform as the characters in the film. It's sort of like the state of my Disney films where you have one person doing the dialogue and another doing the singing. For the singing part of the film, you have Robin Zander of Cheap Trick as the male lead and Debbie Harry as the female lead. Mok's voice vocals are supplied by Lou Reed and, in an interesting bit of casting, Iggy Pop gets to be the voice of the demon. Throw in an uptempo Earth, Wind, & Fire song and you have all of the musical bases covered.

When I saw this film for the first time, I knew who Debbie Harry and EW&F were, but that was about it. This was my first time hearing Cheap Trick and Lou Reed. The Cheap Trick performances seriously won me over. If I had to point to where my interest in them first started, it would be here. All of the music is great and it really brings the film to life in many ways.

Which leads me to the whole creativity aspect of this story. This film worked in so many of the rock cliches and put them to very good use. Mok, from what some of the people that worked on the film have said, is based mainly on the look of Mick Jagger but they threw in some Bowie and Pop to round out the character. He seems like the prototypical over the top rock singer that thinks he can do as he pleases. All of the characters tend to resemble their voices even down to the members of the hero's band that look vaguely like the other members of Cheap Trick. The script might be a little weak in places but it never slows down and keeps right on moving to the end.

There are many people that have probably never heard of ROCK & RULE and I think that that is a bad thing. While this film isn't going to solve world peace, it is definately an exciting animated musical with just enough humor to make it through. Watching this film again was sort of like going back to those days of watching various cable channels to pass the summer afternoons at home. Now if they can only release ANIMALYMPICS...