Everyone Should See Spinal Tap At Least Once

What I Gave and Received This Christmas

This was a very good Christmas. Lyndsay and I had lots of fun with our family and friends and the gifts given and received were really special. We are grateful to you. But I want to use this post to mention the gifts I gave to and received from Lyndsay this year. I started Christmas shopping online around the end of October. This saves me the headache of shopping last minute. I avoid alot of stress this way.

This year I was uncertain how she’d receive some items but I knew I had at least one good one. In the end she loved everything I gave her…when she’s happy, I’m happy. Here’s what I gave Lyndsay (and the order in which she opened them):

1) Black and Decker Handi-Saw: It’s a small sabre saw. She saw this on TV once and thought it was cool. She enjoyed getting it and I’m sure thought of a million uses for it.

2) A t-shirt that says “I love Monkey business” and features a drawing of a chimp using a computer. This was a lot of fun.

3) Small set of glass bowls with plastic lids for food storage—she specifically asked for these and loved them.

4) A Larger set of glass bowls and dishes with plastic lids.

5) This was the crown jewel: an 11×27 “Rear Window” movie poster. Rear Window is Lyndsay’s fav film and I was so excited to give it to her. She promptly framed it and hung it in our den.

The gifts I received were equally as awesome and I love everything Lyndsay bought for me:

1) Some new black shoes. I don’t have any black casual shoes (both pairs of my black shoes are dressy). Very cool.

2) An awesome Star Trek Original Series 2009 calendar. I am a total trekkie and this was perfect.

3) A set of Star Trek Pez dispensers. This was so unexpected and I loved it.

4) iTunes Gift Card. Always useful. Used it up in about 5 minutes. Seabird is an awesome band. Check ‘em out.

5) “Miracles” by C.S. Lewis. I specifically asked for this. Can’t wait to get into it. But I have two other books to finish first! I always read multiple books simultaneously. It’s a blessing…and a curse.

6) This is a little sad. She gave me Star Trek: The Original Series Season 1 on DVD that she found online (b/c it is very hard to find). But it had some problems so we had to return it. We’ll just have to shop around until we find a copy. But it’s the thought that counts!

Did you notice that I didn’t receive anything computer or Apple related? That’s unusual. Anyway, thank you, zeez, for the great gifts and Happy New Year to all of our friends!

Josh H.

Casablanca Has Something For Everyone

Until a couple of years ago I lived my life in an unknown darkness. I walked in darkness and was unaware. It was Stephen and his wife Renee who opened my eyes and shed light on my path. Until that time I had never seen the movie “Casablanca” starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. My ideas of fine cinema changed that night. What an amazing story!

I love history. The American Revolution and World War II are my two favorite periods in history to study. In both cases I am amazed at the resolve of the colonists and the non-German Western Europeans respectively to resist evil regimes even if it meant their lives. “Casablanca” the film takes place in Casablanca the city in French Moracco during the German occupation of France in World War II. Rick Blaine is an American refugee who owns a night club and is friends with the local prefect of police Louis Renault (and with whom he has “a beautiful friendship”). Rick is an isolationist in terms of politics, foreign affairs, and personal affairs. He “sticks [his] neck out for nobody!”

During the course of the film Rick finds himself dragged into a situation in which a French resistance leader is hiding out in Casablanca while the German gestapo searches for him. The leader’s name is Victor Laszlo. The lady accompanying him is his wife Ilsa, a former lady friend of Rick who broke his heart when she unexpectedly abandoned him with a strange Dear John letter. Now Rick is faced with the decision to get his girl back, or turn in Lazlo to Louis, or defy the gestapo and help them. This movie has elements for the history buff, the romantic, the action movie fan, the fan of suspense all rolled up together. And the dialogue is absolutely superb. There is so much wit in this film.

If you have never watched “Casablanca”, the most quoted film of all time…

“Play it, Sam!”

“Louis, this looks like the beginning of a beautiful friendship”

“Round up the usual supsects”

“Here’s lookin’ at you, kid”

“We’ll always have Paris.”

…then make some time this week or this weekend to view it. Put the kids to bed early, make some popcorn, turn out the lights and enjoy what is arguably the finest film ever made. Everyone should see this movie. I would be glad to loan you my copy. But whatever you do, you must watch “Casablanca”. It will change the standard by which you judge every other movie. The so-called cinema that is produced today will lose its flavor for there is nothing that comes close to “Casablanca”. Ever since I watched “Casablanca” the first time there are few films now after which I will sit back and say “wow”. Borrow mine, get it on Netflix, buy it, or rent it! Now! Go ahead!

Josh H.

Back To The Future (The Metal Version)

This is too dang funny. If you remember this scene where Marty performs Johnny B. Goode you’ll appreciate this.

I have no idea what song this is being featured in this video but the effect is hilarious (if not shocking).

Josh H.

Star Trek: The Retirement Years

Looks like Spock might be getting a little soft and emotional in his old age. Seriously though, I hope these guys really have a friendship like this and that this wasn’t a publicity stunt.

By the way, I’ve got comments working again. So you can go back and comment all you want on the posts that came out while everything was haywire. Blogosphere kids rejoice!

Josh H.

Zeitgeist: The Movie

I recently learned about an online film called Zeitgeist: The Movie from the Gary DeMar Show, a Christian worldview radio program produced by American Vision. Zeitgeist: The Movie is a three-part film which attempts to explain how we, the people of the world and particularly America, are being duped by a grand religious, political, and economic conspiracy involving Christianity (and religion in general, though only Christianity is actually attacked), the 9/11 attacks on America, and the Federal Reserve. I have not watched the film but from the information on the website and information I gained from the Gary DeMar Show, I can tell you that basically the premise of the film is that the establishment has used Christianity to manipulate the minds of people and create division. Furthermore they rehash the tired conspiracy theory that 9/11 was perpetrated by the Bush Administration in cooperation with other nations. Finally they argue that the U.S. Federal Reserve is basically a group of wealthy bankers bent on world domination. [Read more…]

Michael J. Fox “Frighteners” Blooper

As many of my readers know I am a big Michael J. Fox fan. Back to the Future is my absolute favorite movie of all time. Let me put it into perspective for you. I do not have a middle name. But once when I was a kid I begged my mom to legally change my name to include the middle name Martin, so that I could go by Marty. So am I big fan? You bet.

The following video is a hilarious clip I found where Fox and director Peter Jackson talk about one of the memorable bloopers that took place when they were filming The Frighteners. There are a couple of four letter words dropped so make sure the kids aren’t around.

Josh H.

Where No Nerd Has Gone Before

I have turned into a real dork over the past several years. Now before I begin let me just say that I use the word “dork” in the most flattering, least offensive way possible. More specifically I have become a major Sci-Fi dork. It all started when my wife (she seems to be at the bottom of all this) got me to watch and become interested in Star Trek: The Next Generation.

I had always thought TNG was a pretty good show and I enjoyed the movies that came out while I was in high school. Still, in my mind, when I thought of Star Trek I thought of wormy little guys with acne
who went to conventions and greeted one another with the Vulcan “live long and prosper” hand gesture. [Read more…]

How To Watch Great Online Content…For Free!

Did He say “Free”?

Online media content and access to it is all the rage these days. Nevermind music, because consumers are looking for bigger fish. Consumers want to download or stream and watch their favorite TV shows and even movies. For those on the go this desire has grown exponentially. Apple and others have scrambled for the past two and half years to settle content contracts with movie and television studios resulting in some great partnerships as well as some nasty breakups.

In the wake of NBC’s departure from iTunes came a new kind of service from the combined forces of NBC and News Corp.: Hulu. Launched March 12, 2008, Hulu is an ad-supported free content service which allows users to watch hundreds of television shows and movies on-demand on their PC or Mac. Much in the same way that some networks (e.g. NBC, CBS) are offering free video-on-demand (VOD) on their websites, Hulu streams content to your computer that you can watch as many times as you want and as long as you want.

[Read more…]

Heath Ledger Found Dead

heath ledgerI know that The Smoak House is not the place for the latest Hollywood gossip but I just heard the report that Heath Ledger was found dead in an apartment owned by Mary-Kate Olsen in New York. He was found today (Jan. 22) around 3:30pm EST and authorities state that the probably cause of death was a drug overdose since pills were found near his body.

I bring this up because, well first of all it is sad. Too many celebrities’ lives end this way. But also I am concerned about what will happen with the film The Dark Knight in which Ledger was to play the infamous Joker. A trailer for the film has been released indicating that filming is most likely nearing completion (in fact it may already be in post-production). I am a big fan of the Batman franchise and I have been particularly anticipating this newest movie which was to be Christopher Nolan’s second Batman film. It is my assumption that most of the filming is done but I suppose that if any additional scenes with Ledger were to be done in post-production that those would have to be foregone. But it seems that this year we will be seeing a posthumous performance by Ledger.

This is a sad story and I wish that more celebrities would stop and take notice of the destructive lives they lead. I wish they would see that it does not have to be this way.

Josh H.