That Big Publisher's Clearing House in the Sky - NBC Chicago
Ben’s Breakfast Blog

That Big Publisher's Clearing House in the Sky



    * Goodnight, Ed.  I regret you will never be able to explain that convoluted "Star Search" scoring system to me in person.

    * Wanna get rid of those pesky kids?  High-decibel porn should do the trick.

    * It's official, gym class is the worst thing ever.  My high school gym class should have been titled, "How to hate exercise OR: Why you'll spend the next 10 years of your life avoiding any physical exertion whatsoever."

    * Attention Blog Army!  I summon you to pool your money and buy me this date with Anne Hathaway.  Once relieved of my endless lady woes, I shall have more time to devote to finding exotic news links for your consumption.  (Mulling the lady woe quotient takes up at least 4 hours every day.)

    * TV viewers think every weather forecast is worth 10.5 cents, says the Bureau for Totally Made-up Statistics.

    * Hey, moron.  When you're running from the cops, you might wanna silence your cell phone.

    * 90% of us won't change our behavior when threatened with a life-threatening situation.  Probably explains why you still show up to that job, even though it's killing you.

    (Dedication to Accuracy Dept: The above statistic comes from a press release, which means I had to do a little digging to verify.  Turns out, the real statistic is that 90% of coronary-artery bypass patients don't change their lifestyles to avoid another life threatening surgery.  Changing a lifestyle is a big deal.  It's not like 90% of us wouldn't jump out of the way of a speeding car.  When the car is slow, or if you can enjoy immediate pleasure in the face of delayed pain, yeah, it's easier to stand your stupid, stupid ground.  Personally, I'd rather enjoy a good steak today and lose an hour or two off my life at the end.  Because if I changed my diet, I'd just spend the end of my life pining for a steak, and I wouldn't have the teeth to enjoy it.

    Still, change is hard, and that was my point in posting this in the first place.)

    * Your government is funding a study to discover why men dislike condoms.

    How to stop nagging.  I want my bosses to read this article.  ("Come to work on time.  Do a good job.  Don't steal from your coworkers and threaten to set them on fire."  I mean EVERY DAY with that junk!)

    * Hottie-for-the-ages Tiffani Thiessen is holding up Jimmy Fallon's desired "Saved by the Bell" reunion.  I'm ashamed to say this, but I think Mr. Belding should give her a detention.  There.  I said it.  I'm sorry, Kelly.  I still love you.

    * Congratulations, Brooksville, Florida!  Your city employees will no longer be allowed to freeball.

    * The sexiest trees in Seattle.  That's it.  You've reached the end of the internet.  Nothing more to see here.  Turn around.

    * Perez Hilton got beat up.  I will never get tired of writing that.  I hope to have the opportunity again someday.

    * Hey, ladies!  Having trouble sleeping?  Shove this thing between your mammaries.  (Only $55!)

    * Scientists try to figure out what love is.  Oh, come on, scientists.  Love is when you would throw yourself in front of a bus for that girl who barely acknowledges your existence even though you're super nice to her and you'd make a wonderful husband and father, but she'll never see that because she's too busy being perfect and wonderful.  Right?

    * New washing machine uses plastic instead of water, fails at the job it is intended for.

    * If this Father's Day was a little awkward or strained, be glad you're not this bitter son, selling his dad's ashes on eBay.  Jokes on him, though.  You can't sell human remains on eBay.  Believe me, I've tried.

    * Giant, drunken, lumbering bear/off-duty Chicago Cop Anthony Abbate got probation for stomping a female bartender half his size.  You've obviously seen the video.  (The raging monster claims he pummelled the girl in self-defense.)  The judge says he didn't see "aggravating factors" to justify a prison term.  Really?  How about a 250 lb. gorilla spent five minutes attacking a 125 lb. woman on the ground?  Is that not an aggravating factor?  I think if you hit a woman, you should spend a day in jail.  If you hit her a second time, you should be forcibly castrated and lit on fire.  This story makes me sick.

    * Anne-Marie needs a date.  And her friends need a web design class.  What is this, 1997?  You know, Anne-Marie, I was sorta interested until I saw that picture of you 30 lbs overweight, holding a shotgun.  Reconsider this image unless you want to pose for "Sticky Buns 'n' Ammo."

    Nicolas Sarkozy wants to ban the burqa in France.  Noble thought, Frenchy.  Women should be free to wear whatever they want.  But... what if they choose the burqa?  Hard to fathom, but there are probably some who find it honorable.  You should offer freedom, but you can't mandate it.

    And now, a brief history of the bachelor party.  (Bonus fact: Jimmy Stewart had midgets at his.  Really?)

    * A Spanish bar is slinging free drinks to those who hurl the most creative insults at their bartenders.  If they'd give out booze for failed pick-up attempts, I would never go thirsty again.

    * I am a notorious pack-rat.  I save everything.  And I'm absurdly sentimental.  So as much as I want to adhere to these rules about eliminating clutter, I will probably just continue to horde until I am crushed under the weight of my own belongings.

    * 700 New York City teachers are paid to do nothing.  It's part of their "We're Leavin' Your Child Behind So Fuggehdaboutit" program.

    * I generally hated the first "Transformers" movie.  Even the lovely Megan Fox and a surround sound orgy of explosions were not enough to make me smile.  So it warms my heart to see Roger Ebert sharpening the knives for the upcoming sequel...

    Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" is a horrible experience of unbearable length, briefly punctuated by three or four amusing moments. One of these involves a dog-like robot humping the leg of the heroine. Such are the meager joys. If you want to save yourself the ticket price, go into the kitchen, cue up a male choir singing the music of hell, and get a kid to start banging pots and pans together. Then close your eyes and use your imagination.
    The plot is incomprehensible. The dialog of the Autobots, Deceptibots and Otherbots is meaningless word flap. Their accents are Brooklyese, British and hip-hop, as befits a race from the distant stars. Their appearance looks like junkyard throw-up. They are dumb as a rock. They share the film with human characters who are much more interesting, and that is very faint praise indeed.
     The movie has been signed by Michael Bay. This is the same man who directed "The Rock" in 1996. Now he has made "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen." Faust made a better deal. This isn't a film so much as a toy tie-in. Children holding a Transformer toy in their hand can invest it with wonder and magic, imagining it doing brave deeds and remaining always their friend. I knew a little boy once who lost his blue toy truck at the movies, and cried as if his heart would break. Such a child might regard "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" with fear and dismay.
    The human actors are in a witless sitcom part of the time, and lot of the rest of their time is spent running in slo-mo away from explosions, although--hello!--you can't outrun an explosion. They also make speeches like this one by John Turturro: "Oh, no! The machine is buried in the pyramid! If they turn it on, it will destroy the sun! Not on my watch!" The humans, including lots of U.S. troops, shoot at the Transformers a lot, although never in the history of science fiction has an alien been harmed by gunfire.
    There are many great-looking babes in the film, who are made up to a flawless perfection and look just like real women, if you are a junior fanboy whose experience of the gender is limited to lad magazines. The two most inexplicable characters are Ron and Judy Witwicky (Kevin Dunn and Julie White), who are the parents of Shia LaBeouf, who Mephistopheles threw in to sweeten the deal. They take their son away to Princeton, apparently a party school, where Judy eats some pot and goes berserk. Later they swoop down out of the sky on Egypt, for reasons the movie doesn't make crystal clear, so they also can run in slo-mo from explosions.
     The battle scenes are bewildering. A Bot makes no visual sense anyway, but two or three tangled up together create an incomprehensible confusion. I find it amusing that creatures that can unfold out of a Camaro and stand four stories high do most of their fighting with...fists. Like I say, dumber than a box of staples. They have tiny little heads, except for Starscream®, who is so ancient he has an aluminum beard.
    Aware that this movie opened in England seven hours before Chicago time and the morning papers would be on the streets, after writing the above I looked up the first reviews as a reality check. I was reassured: "Like watching paint dry while getting hit over the head with a frying pan!" (Bradshaw, Guardian); "Sums up everything that is most tedious, crass and despicable about modern Hollywood!" (Tookey, Daily Mail); "A giant, lumbering idiot of a movie!" (Edwards, Daily Mirror). The first American review, however, reported that it "feels destined to be the biggest movie of all time" (Todd Gilchrist, Cinematical). It’s certainly the biggest something of all time.

    * And finally...