Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cars 3 in 2D

Why? Because 3D is stupid, that’s why. Until I’m issued one red and one green contact lens, I really don’t want to hear about it.

I understand Pixar has moved up the release date of “Cars 2: World Grand Prix” by a year, planning a June 2011 release. Why? It seems so rare to move up a release. Was the film done ahead of time? Didn’t want all the voice actors dead by the release?

How unusual for an animated feature to arrive early. Something else must have canceled in order to move it up. Or perhaps someone figured out the target audience was not going to care by 2011. I’m not talking toddlers with maturing tastes, I’m speaking of ‘people pissed off by Owen Wilson’s recent projects’. This select population is in need of rescue well before 2011, but we’ll take what we can get.

Anyhoo, from what little I’ve been able to find regarding the plot of this film, it seems we’re in for even less of Sally Carrera this time around (1). This upsets me on many levels. Yes, yes, I know Walt Disney has an absolute cottage industry built on making little girls want to be princesses. Sure, we need “Boy” movies every bit as much. But what about little girls who love cars?

Sally merchandise has been extremely slim pickins(2). All they want to promote is the male buddy bonding of Lightning and ‘Mater. Perhaps this entertains the boys that secretly wish they were at the princess movies, but for the Porschephiles it’s just another example of the good ol’ NASCAR boys club.

Supposedly Lightning and Mater go to various countries to compete in Grand Prix events and experience culture shock. Where Sally even fits into this, I do not know, but Holly Hunt was listed as a voice talent, so I will assume she makes an appearance. The first film showcased so many things I love: Route 66, the Southwest, Porsches and other sports cars, Owen…

So I figured I was too late for Cars 2. No one called me to consult. Seems I’m going to have to rectify this myself. That’s right, I’m going to have to write the script for Cars III: The Rebuild

Brief Outline:

Sally, still living in Radiator Springs, a once-boom-town now suffering through the recession like the rest of us, gets a call that her father (silver Porsche 356) is on his last cylinders and she must travel back to the Fatherland to see him one final time. She kisses Lightning goodbye and tearfully boards a plane that will take her home to Stuttgart.

Sally arrives in time for five-hankie goodbye where Daddy tells her how proud he’s always been of her and explains he is bequeathing a large swath of the downtown business district to her, as her brother the 914 lacks the horsepower to oversee such a venture.

Before Daddy can even be properly crunched into scrap metal, an incredibly evil (but sexy!) black BMW M1 shows up and says he was an old friend of her father’s and he only wants to help her during this difficult time. It’s painfully obvious to everyone except Sally that he has nefarious intentions, but if she figured it out in the first 20 minutes, we couldn’t fill another 83, now could we???

Initially flattering, he soon starts dominating Sally and trying to make decisions for her. She allows a few, trying to cover in front of friends and family when she realizes they weren’t in her best interest. Slowly, she starts to awaken to the fact she has relinquished too much power. Feeling embarrassment and melancholy, she starts to cry oil(3) alone in a coach house. Singing spark plugs and an air filter that plays itself like an accordion do a huge musical number to cheer her up. (Did you forget this was a Disney film for a moment?) Great bathroom break.

Still, Sally isn’t quite ready to make the break. She doesn’t know how she could head home to America and still oversee German business operations. Fortunately, she meets the sleekest, coolest, most beautiful older gal Jenna (British Green Jaguar XKE) who is a willing mentor on all matters of both the pocketbook and the heart.

Jenna dazzles Sally with her self-confidence and intelligence. She makes some helpful business suggestions and it’s clear the M1 is very threatened by her. The girls go tire shopping and over some 40-Weight at an outdoor cafĂ©, Jenna tells Sally she better dump the Bimmer before she ends up like so many other cars, unappreciated and unloved. She points out that High-Maintenance is not a dirty term, it’s an excuse for guys to neglect you. The Check Engine Now light comes on in Sally’s little dash, and she decides the new racing tires she just bought are perfect – for leaving Bimmy fast. This turns into a musical number, These Slicks Were Made for Squealin’.

After Bimmy is out of the picture, Sally decides she wants to return home to her true love, Lightning. She asks Jenna to act as her business manager for a handsome salary. Jenna agrees, introducing her to a much-younger new boyfriend, a gold Audi 8. “How very Ford of you!”, Sally smiles. – get it? Ford – Forward? Ford Cougar – Jaguar- younger guy…? Ok. I thought it was funny. Never mind.

So Sally hurries home only to find Lightning has taken up with a heavily airbrushed Toyota Celica with a Nitro Pak. Incensed that he can’t appreciate all-original equipment, she leaves him(4). Credits roll as Sally plans a triumphant return to Radiator Springs where she plans to act as a mentor to other young cars(5). She watches a sunset as the screen blackens down to the International Vehicle Car oval “D” sticker she received near her back bumper – a little tramp stamp she picked up abroad.

~The Beginning~

1 per Wikipedia, Pixar has been criticized for its lack of strong or main female characters

2 Also, would somebody please make the theme bedding in Queen size? Nooo…. Only twin…

3 Although Sally looks young enough to be water-cooled.

4 Think Sandra Bullock and Jesse James

5 “Pixar films follow the same theme of self improvement. With the help of friends or family, a character ventures out into the real world and learns to appreciate his friends and family." At the core, according to John Lasseter, "it's gotta be about the growth of the main character, and how he changes.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Look Who's Lucky

Whoo-hoo! Got a whopping $6.80 from my $2 bet on Lookin' At Lucky. Hey, least I picked a winner. Not like I invested it in BP or anything evil. Now, on to the Belmont. No predictions at this time. Twitter amongst yourselves, I'll be back later with my picks.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Preakness Picks

Right now, I like 5, 6, and 7.

Lookin at Lucky, 7, is a great horse who just couldn't perform in the Derby. He may well be the favorite in the Preakness.

Also sparking my interest is Yawanna Twist, 5, which would be a long shot who could pay some good money.

Tiny little Jackson Bend will be #6. He's just cute. That's reason enough in my book.

I Could Have Told You That

Love Affair With New Cars Lasts Longer for Women

It’s called the “honeymoon period” and it doesn’t just apply to your spouse. It also covers swooning for that brand-new car, and it turns out women love their new cars longer than men do.

According to a survey conducted by, women are more than three times more likely to stay in love with their car longer than men. A woman’s average honeymoon period lasts 14 months, while men only make it about four months before the luster of the new-car relationship wears off. I still love my cars - many years later.

The poll of approximately 2,500 drivers also breaks down the moment people know the magic is gone.

For women, the automotive love affair is over when they let a spouse finally drive it (39%), Ha! start carpooling with other people’s kids (24%),Never eat in the car (12%),I'm OK with this now put makeup on in the car while driving (9% — and also a big no-no) Why not? and leave clothes in the car (6%). Does a Gym Bag count?

Men know the flame has expired when they park around other cars (33%),Still touchy about this! start transporting sports equipment (22%),Rollerblades in a bag are not a problem clean their cars less frequently (17%),Gasp! are bothered by high payments (12%) Always and don’t care who drives on long trips (3%). Oh, yeah, I like to let the hitchhiker take over...

Our only editorial comment on this poll is we bet most of the 22% of guys who cited “transporting sports equipment” were likely just trying to impress a female pollster.

Survey: Women Love Their New Cars Longer Than Men (DriveOn)


Top Ten BP Excuses
10."The Gulf of Mexico was overdue for its 3,000 oil change"
9."We promise we'll get around to it by Labor Day"
8."Relax, it's only leaking 210,000 gallons a day"
7."Giving everyone a free BP travel mug"
6."Louisiana hasn't had a disaster in 5 years"
5."Guy from Goldman Sachs said it would make money"
4."Blame FEMA"
3."Did you hear Ricky Martin's gay?"
2."Blame Toyota"
1."Honestly, we're so reckless -- surprised it took this long"

From Late Night With David Letterman (5/3/10)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Doggone It

Dear Owen Wilson,

You used to be my favorite movie star. Starsky and Hutch. Shanghai Knights. Cars.

Then came Marley and Me.

Please, go back to the writing. I like intellectuals. That also look like blond gods. (almost enough to compensate for the whole 'Owen Cunningham' thing your parents also bestowed upon you.)

Now... Marmaduke? I didn't think you could sink any lower.
(both of these movies occurred AFTER his suicide attempt. Go figure.)

Did you know?

Owen and Luke's father was the first to bring Monty Python's Flying Circus to American TV where he managed KERA, a PBS station, in Dallas, TX.

Quote he should live by: "I can't think of a movie I wish I'd acted in, but there are movies I wish I'd written."

Quote of his that I live by: "I don't feel like I'm a hundred times happier. Can't we petition someone to make it so that outside stuff is the key to happiness? I'm tired of people always saying, 'It's gotta come from you!' Can't it come from, like, a new pair of shoes?"

The Coupon Curve

Every time a coupon expires, a kitten is killed...

r at least you would think so, the way I run around every week with a stack of store promos in my hand.

Last week was a perfect storm of redeeming as I tried to squeeze every last dollar out of my portfolio of offers.

First up was Kohl's. I had ten dollars in Kohl's cash*, which could be spent on anything. I found two kitchen towels (cute dragonfly design) for $1.99, a candle for $4.99 and a $6 hair band. Between the $10 off and a 15% off I ended up only paying $2.71. Score!

Next was Ulta. I really need to slow down with this place, but they keep sending the coupons...
Spend $10 or more, get $3.50 off. Simple. Straightforward. Easy. Spent $11 and paid $8.01 after tax. Good. Not great, but adequate.

Finally, JC Pennypinchers. Why do I bother? Oh, they have petite sizes, that's why. So I had this mother's day coupon for $10 off any purchase of $25 or more. Then I had two other ones; $10 off any purchase $50 or more, and $15 off any purchase $75 or more. Hmmm.

Usually, I can't find anything and waste two hours even trying to find something coupon-worthy. Somehow, I managed to find all kinds of things I wanted. To maximize the coupons, I needed to make on $50+ and one $25+ purchase to get $20 off. Easier said than done!

It must have taken me almost three hours to get a low priced item to align with the $25. I had $20.99 pants, but there is absolutely NOTHING in the entire store for $4. Not a single sock. Oh, sure, packages of three for $10, but not single pairs. No food items. No clearance jewelry (their junk jewelry starts at about $6 on clearance, and I won't give them the satisfaction of turning my wrist green) no washcloth package or lip gloss for $4 - nothing.

Who are these people? These evil math geniuses who have created this bizarre pricing algorithm designed to keep fashionistas like myself from cashing in on multiple offers? So unlike Kohl's!!!

Determined to get the snow-leopard sweater or die, I settled on an $8 pair of sunglasses. Sheesh. At least I got a vinyl sleeve to put them in, the only reason I like buying sunglasses there.

I need to swear off all shopping for the summer. No more! Save it for the gas tank. Burn those offers from the mail without even opening them. Hit delete on all emails. Cease! Desist! Decoupon!

*I think I earned this by spending $50 in Kohl's the week before. Al needed dress pants for work. He will only wear black (if only he had Johnny Cash's talent or money.... Nope. Just thirst for no-fault dressing. What he's doing with me, I have no idea.) so the transaction took all of 14 minutes as I shopped for him. Out of 3, only one needed to be returned.
Not bad.

Super Odds

Faster than a speeding oil slick

Well, Horse Racing has been quite volatile so far this year. First, the good news: my five-dollar bet on Super Saver to win payed $44 - a fantastic return on the second-favorite horse in a Derby crowded with the mediocre.

The really sad news is my darling Eskendereya (Es-ken-DRAY-ah) had to be retired as a result of soft-tissue injury. I really wanted him to go for the triple crown, but it's not to be. The tiny sliver of silver lining is he was sold to billionaire winemaker Jess Jackson, the same guy who owns Curlin and bought Rachel Alexandra and made the right decision to race her against the colts. (Too late for the derby, to my eternal dismay)

In other really bad news, Rachel Alexandra has finished second in her last two races. Now as a four-year-old, I was hoping she would finally race Zenyatta, but after those performances I think we all know what that outcome would be...

For this Saturday's Preakness, I'm not going with Super Saver. He's just not that good. Calvin is great, the horse isn't. Perhaps Lookin at Lucky? I haven't seen a final line up, so I will keep you posted as to my picks.