Saturday, July 28, 2012

Let the Games Begin! Olympic Judo

Epic video to prepare you for the awesome spectacle that is Olympic Judo!

This year, The US is pinning any hopes for a Judo Gold Medal on Kayla Harrison, a 21-year-old woman who is already a champion on and off the tatami mat.

I wasn't able to download this particular YouTube Video, but it's worth watching to learn about Kayla's personal struggles to reach the top, and to watch her in a relaxed training session that may not be all that different from yours and mine -- except for the intensity that is!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Cost of Being Batman vs. The Cost of Cleaning Up Dirty Laundry...

On Friday, one of the most anticipated movies of the year -- nay, the decade -- will be released.  We will all finally know how Director Christopher Nolan, and his co-writer and brother Jonathon Nolan, will conclude their epic version of Batman's story.  This is, they promise: The End.

I'm a huge Batman movie geek.  The various incarnations of Batman on film reflect their times.  This was the story of Batman for the Post-9/11 world.  It was a complicated, scary, violent, costly, harrowing story.  But it was cathartic for the audience.

But at it's heart, the story weaved all the familiar elements from the Batman comic books into the mix.  Bruce Wayne, billionaire playboy was still the behind the mask; and Batman fought crime with an arsenal of, as a great man once put it, "wonderful toys."

The Gawker blog, io9, posted a summary of one group's calculations about what it would cost to be Batman.  Bottomline?  Well, according to them: $2.8 million.  They also calculate the Wayne fortune at $11.6 billion (yes, that's with a "b").  Which means it ain't cheap to be Batman, but he can afford it.

We could nitpick the cost a bit.  You have to wonder if they figured in the cost of keeping it all secret such as using cut-out companies to buy, manufacture, and ship goods; research and development; hush money for those who must know; routine maintenance; etc.  Being Batman can't possibly be a two or three person operation.  Although I'm sure Wayne goes to certain efforts to keep certain support personnel from knowing what they're really doing. 

But does it really cost that much to clean-up the streets?  I mean, what if you went bargain basement?  Say you had a teeny-tiny budget?  Just what would you get, and how effective would it be?  What if you had a one-person operation?  What if you even had to do your own #Dirtylaundry?

Huh.  That looked like it cost less than $25 a day!  Seems pretty cost effective to me.  Frank even got the locals to pitch in and help.  I have to wonder if the Bodega owner even really charged him for the bottle of Jack.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Marvel Studios: Guardians of the Galaxy

Okay, I've got to admit, I'm a little leery about the marketability of this one...  Marvel Studios announced recently, and then pushed at Comic-Con, they would be making a movie of their Guardians of the Galaxy property.

The what?  Unless you're a major Comic Nerd (and I say that lovingly...) you probably never heard of this team.  That's a potentially brilliant move on Marvel's part.  There's no baggage -- just pure storytelling possibility.  They are banking totally on the brand recognition they've built during what they call "Phase 1" which consisted of Iron Man through The Avengers.  There is no doubt in my mind that people will go see this movie.

But the risk is that the movie is bad.  I mean horribly bad.  It stars a Raccoon for Odin's sake...  But Marvel has made five hits (I'm not counting The Incredible Hulk) that a.) pleased the geeks, and b.) convinced non-fans to put their butts in the seats.  If it is bad, people will probably forgive them.  Especially if Iron Man 3 is satisfying.  (Which is different from saying it's "good" though not necessarily exclusive.)

But I don't think it will be bad.  I think it will be something new that people haven't seen before.  How often do we get that in a movie these days?  New, certainly, but wrapped in the warm familiarity of a Disney/Marvel brand.  Besides, they've made five hits.  Consider the fan buzz about Friday's release of The Dark Knight Rises:

"But what if it's bad?"
"What?  Are you kidding?  This is Christopher Nolan!"
"But it's the third in a trilogy...  What if it's bad?"
"Have you been watching Christopher Nolan's movies?  Name a bad one."
"But what if it's bad?"
"Then I'll be disappointed and wait anxiously for the next Christopher Nolan movie."

I don't think Marvel will make a bad Guardians of the Galaxy movie; this is a calculated move on their part and essential to Phase 2.  (BTW, do you hear geeks grousing too much now about The Incredible Hulk???  No?  Point made: fans get over a miss, especially if the story recovers.)  I think they know what they're doing.

And I remember the Rocket Raccoon mini-series back in the '80's.  It was pretty good and he was a better character than you might think.