Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Sir Sean Connery

I would have liked to start this piece by saying, “His name is Connery, Sean Connery”, which I did, but it would be too clichéd. Lazy journalism, they say. Plus, his name is actually Thomas Sean Connery and he is referred to as Big Tam in his hometown, Edinburg, Scotland. Hardly a reference to the sophisticated, suave gentleman spy he would play in 1962.

Today is Connery’s 80th birthday and he has decided to retire from acting, citing, as one of the reasons, that Hollywood is run by “idiots”. Too bad, the farewell film was badly reviewed (though I liked it) A League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, unlike Eastwood who retired from acting symbolically killing off all the images he had created over the time in Gran Torino, a huge financial and critical success. Connery deserves something like that, but if at all there is a consolation, he will always be remembered as the best damn James Bond of them all.

But the downside to that acclamation though, is that he will not be remembered for some of the finest on-screen performances he had delivered as a serious actor. The caged animal in The Hill (1965), the conflicted cop in The Offence (1973), the man who would be king in The Man Who Would Be King (1975), ageing Robin Hood in Robin and Marion (1976), medieval Franciscan Sherlock Holmes in The Name of The Rose (1986), a publisher caught in an espionage conflict in The Russia House (1990), and an author coming out of self-imposed exile in Finding Forester (2000). Of course, he was awarded an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his screen bursting performance in The Untouchables (1987) beating the magnificent Robert de Niro from the same pix. This despite of de Niro putting on weight and wearing same underwear Al Capone (role he played) wore.

Hopefully this post would help few visitors of this site to remember his contributions other than that damned James Bond*. So, here’s to you Sir Sean. Happy 80th Birthday!

*Yes, during a press conference he did say, “I’d love to kill that damned James Bond”.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

6 Reincarnation Nightmare for Heterosexual Male



Aside: This was something I worked on in order to have sold to www.cracked.com, arguably one of the funniest online comedy site I’ve read. Initially I wrote it in their style, strong language and all, and realised that it didn’t look good. I mean, it had enough profanities to make Tarantino blush. Why trying to sound like someone else when already I sound bad. So, you guys get the torture as usual. Oh, you can click on the sub-heading for the pix and don't tell me you have never seen a honey bee, puh-leeze. End of aside.

After-life is a strange thing. It’s strange because you know zilch about it and the best knowledge you can get is from some religious figures, and they are usually not so pretty. Because you would have done at least a thing or two, no matter how pious you are, and this is minimum, get your ass burned slightly in hell.

But that is from the Abraham religions. As for me, one thing I heard about afterlife when growing up in the plantation worshipping cows, snakes and occasionally, dogs (no, really), is that Hindus believe in reincarnation. Of course, you need not necessarily get to be born again as the same person; you probably had enough of yourself already.

You might become greater like, say, a rock star, a sport superstar or the US President. Or you might get shittier life as a grave digger, sanitation engineer or Bhuddist monk. But the thing is, you don’t always get to be reborn as man, as the faith dictates, you can be anything.

I’ll cut to the chase. Let’s say you dig the reincarnation thing, have embraced Hinduism and if you are a healthy heterosexual male, be very afraid, because you can be one of these:

1. The Black Widow Spider.

Firstly, you will be relieved to know that you will not be called a Black Widower spider. But you will be, trust me. Why?

Here’s what a female black widow spider do after they have sex with the male. They eat the dudes. Yeah, ribs and all, if spider have back ribs that is. But wait a minute, that’s only if you are a smaller spider than the girl spider you are making out with. But there is such thing as order of the nature, doesn’t it?

That’s right, the dumb male spider which just survived being the female’s sheesh kebab, goes to another for another make out session, and pray to your spider god or Spider-Man or whatever, the next babe might be bigger than you, probably the size of Babe the pig, and is about ready to mate you, and excrete you out later.

So, you don’t want to be a spider the next birth? How about…

2 The Death Stalker Scorpion.

Apart from the fact that heavy metal band Scorpion totally forgot to use that as a title for an awesome album, how would you like to be one? That’s a bloody cool name to bandy about and brag to other creatures. A typical day in your life can go like this

You: Hi, I am The Death Stalker Scorpion.

Hippopotamus: Hi, I’m hipota..hippoto…something.

You: Hahaha, what a pussy name.

*crunching sound, hippo walks off*

So, in addition to badass name, you are also one of the deadliest animals if the Hippo has not stepped on you already. These scorpions are said to be able to “inject extremely toxic venom (a neurotoxin) that can cause extreme pain, fever, convulsions, paralysis, and often coma or death in humans”.

Remember, that happens to human, and think how that applies to fellow dude scorpions. Yeah, you start doing that ritual dance of yours, find a nice cozy place spot to get it on, and guess what happens? No, you are not going to sit there and wait for your woman to lay eggs and watch juniors hatch out. No, your juniors would soon find some remnants of what used to be you and learn what cannibalism is all about.

So, The Death Stalker Scorpion is out of your list. But…but if you are still thinking of the whole sting thing, why not become a …

3. Honey Bee

You heard that before, “fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee”. Who needs butterfly, when you can fly and frickin’ sting like a bee. Now, how cool is that? Well, till you have sex of course.

That’s right. And are you sure you want to know about this? Ready? Here goes…

You see there is this queen just waiting to be mated by all you guys. Sad, but that’s the truth in bees world, you guys have to share the same babe chick is about ten times bigger than you on top of that. It’s like you are on the bed with female sumo wrestler, if such profession exists.

Here’s what happens when you do the gigantic babe bee; your vital biological instrument gets left inside. Yes, you don’t get to bring back your wedding tackle once the business is done. You leave it there, excuse yourself and let the other guy remove it. Yeah, it’s that pathetic. After that the next excitement would be how soon you can cut your bee wrist with bee blade.

So, you value your priceless attachment? In fact, want to be creature with enormous member, why not reborn as…

4. Banana Slug

If you are the kind of guy who is perhaps the only one replying to all those spam mails about elongating your reproductive tool, then you will love being Banana Slug. It’s latin name is “dolichyphallus” which means, “giant penis”, and yes “phallus” does not mean “brain”.

Sure they are about 6 to 8 inches long, so what, right? Well, it matters because their wiener also measure from 6 to frickin’ 8 inches long!!!

Excited? Imagine having one of your own which is about as long as your height is. Okay, here’s a bummer. Banana slugs are hermaphrodites, which means that if someone tells you, “go f*** yourself,” you can oblige happily. Well, maybe not so, because you have this whole hermaphrodites gay thingy going on here.

That’s right, and on top of that you will have to choose a mate of the same size, you know to make sure things go smoothly, because if the size does not correspond, your thing will get stuck inside the other slug. Big deal, it can be removed. How?

Remember the bee? It’s just a matter of detaching, like removing your contact lens or wig. What happens here is a tad different. The other slug will bite your ding dong off. It’s not cruelty, okay, scientist calls it “apophallation” which means its normal among the scientist community which they joke about it at the water cooler.

Alright, I can sense that you were already cringing and brought your thighs together tightly several paragraphs ago. You want to step beck from being an aggressive creature think of Dalai Lama and reborn as…

5. The Praying Mantis.

Hah! You probably want to be ahead of me and say, “waitaminute, Rakesh, it has been disproved, this whole praying mantis biting off its mate’s head thingy”. It’s right here .

Oh yeah, Mr. Smartypants. One hell of a mythbuster ain’t ya. Read again especially this part: “…male mantises will often offer themselves up as food to the female during mating process, and from a biological standpoint this action makes sense: There is no point to mating female who might die from a lack of food before she can lay her eggs and pass the father’s genes onto the next generation”.

Sure in human terms you might get to pay for the abortion for that anorexic supermodel you slept with on top of supplying her with grubs the rest of your natural frickin’ life. As an insect, it’s only natural that you become the grub for a pregnant woman.

So, it’s not a myth. Plus, the article also says that the whole frequency of such occurrence is still debated in the entomological world. While they are busy debating more male praying mantis are doing just that, praying.

So okay, we are done with insects and damned hermaphrodites. Why not a reptile? Why not be born as…

6. Whiptail Lizards.

Nice name, something like Indiana Jones of the reptile kingdom. Tell you what, forget it. There’s this whole Lesbian Island thing going on in there. Yeah they are all female. Unless you are thinking of being born again as different sex.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Two Wheel Menace.

The Star Online (newspaper) this morning screamed “Superman or just stupid men” while the linked news story blared the clichéd headline, “It’s a bird, it’s a plane...no, it’s Rempit-men” and the above pic was featured.

It is a sad statement indeed. For one, I always thought Superman is stupid, a safe judgement to someone who wears his undies outside and thinks he can hide his identify by wearing spectacles (actually the whole world is playing prank against Clark Kent by pretending to be fooled), and number two, mainstream newspapers, which already getting threats in terms of attention from other online news portals and blogs, are still writing clichéd headlines that clearly shows extreme laziness. Come on, even if you want to use the “bird, plane” headline, the subject matter should be in the sky, say renegade Mat Rempits parachuting upside down…which is not a disservice to those group anyway.

To the uninformed (ie. non-Malaysians) I’ll get you the wiki “we have info for everything but not exactly authentic” pedia, which says, that “A Mat Rempit is a Malaysian term for ‘an individual who participates in illegal street racing’, usually involving underbone motorcycles (colloquially known as Kapcai) or scooters”. It went on to say that some of them perform crazy stunts for fun, such as the wheelie, superman (lying flat on the seat), wikang, and scorpion (standing on the seat with one leg during a wheelie). Whether or not this contribute to the fall of the country’s Foreign Direct Investment or not is questionable, but there is something else more damaging.

You see, an underbone motorcycle in my own grouch-pedia means, “a kind of bike which made many scrap metal dealers’ millionaires”. No, really. In a statistic revealed by transport ministry recently noted that in 2009, out of 6,745 road accident related deaths, 4,067 involved the motorcyclists and the pillion rider. That’s like…let me get a calculator.

Yes, 60.3% of total number of folks in body bags last year constitutes death from motorbikes. Unbelievable right? I too cannot believe that, after almost two decades of adult life, I can still calculate percentages. But that’s another matter.

So, one of the major killer in Malaysia, apart from diseases, natural disaster, unnatural disasters (google “Malaysia Accidents” for more info) murders, rape, negligence, and politics (google “Malaysia By-Election” for more info), motorbikes are a serious threat to our dear lives. More so than anything horrific you can think of, including Miley Cirus.

The trouible is, the motorbikes are not only killing Mat Rempits, but decent law breaking citizens who threat their motorbikes the same way Michael J. Fox treats hover board in Back to the Future Pt II. Which means, they can ride the bike any way they want, and be any where they want through any possible means, to get where they want to get. They would ride between and swerve in and out of moving vehicles and if there is a way, probably ride over the hood of the car just because all moving vehicles bigger than bikes are treated like obstruction.

I have in many occasions seen motorbikes entering the main roads only to crash straight onto a bus or lorry, and the big vehicles may not even realise it. It’s hard to figure out where they are coming from because they feel traffic law does not apply to them, unless there are cops around. I am generalising, but all ye motorcyclist readers, think hard, don’t tell me you haven’t done any of the thing I mentioned. Plus, do you really buckle your helmets? Chuck it on your head because it’s law, not because it will help not to spill your noodles on the roadside. Cool.

Of course, I am being unfair. There are many motorcyclist who are going about their business when they are rammed into by other vehicles no thanks to the reckless drivers, be it cars, lorries or even other motorcyclist. Or cows!

I kid you not. Recently a motorcyclist and his girlfriend were rammed by not one, but three cows as reported here. The report noted that the 22-year-old electrician and his girlfriend were on their way to Paya Terubong when three cows charged at them. Said the electricion, "One of the cows rammed my motorcycle and all three of us fell. The cow got up and ran off.” The cow is a fugitive now.

Anyway, I don’t even know why I am writing this entry, maybe a reminder that as long as there are the underbone motorcycles are around, we can expect many meaningless death (as opposed to meaningful death [google “Malaysian By-Election” for more info) no thanks to this little two wheelers that could.

By the way, please tell me the words, “underbone motorcycle” doesn’t give you crazy ideas.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Endhiran Audio Launch: Rajini, A.R. Rahman & Rajini.

Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC) is probably the easiest location to find in Malaysia. Once you have entered the Putrajaya province, there’s signboard every kilometre informing you where to turn, appearing again at every turn, every nook and corner, in your face that when you reach the place, you expect to see a sign that says, “PICC: What GPS?”.

My wife and I were there last weekend because it was the venue for the audio launch of the upcoming Tamil film Endhiran (The Robot), with soundtrack and background score by A.R. “I brought back two Oscars” Rahman, starring superstar Rajinikanth and former Miss. World, Aishwarya “I can’t act but am still in business” Rai, and directed by Shankar. The film is touted as the most expensive ever in India, costing Rs 150 crore. That’s like USD32.5 million. Or RM 103 million!

Anyway, PICC is a monstrosity of a building that looks like a cross between a flying saucer and gigantic monochrome Big Mac. Built too recent to achieve heritage status and too ugly to be featured in the background of a Bollywood dance sequence, it stands perched on a hill ready to become a victim of landslide. Driving round and round the building, we finally reached the parking spot, there were already scores of poor minority and government oppressed Malaysian Indians parking their cars, most of which easily cost double of mine, with the female specie decked in jewellery and all set to compete with Aishwarya “I married a Bachchan” Rai in the costumes department.

The show was to begin at 7.30pm, and we were there at 6.30pm, and there was already crowd and that made me worry. I had been avoiding Indian concerts for more than a decade now, and though this was an audio launch I learned that there will be singing and dancing in it and the presence of the crowd did not make me feel better. Not only I would have to sit through the dreg showcase of dances and music that are most likely not A.R. Rahman’s, but there was an Spider sense within me that there could be other potential visual hazards like the sighting of another Bachchan. All these because of my wife’s hardcore fanatic love for Rajini and admiration for A.R. Rahman (wonderful for someone who, most of her life, never listened to anything other than English and Malay); and my own fascination with them, especially for Rajini who has in the past gave us some of the finest performances in Tamizh film industry. Plus if my wife is fascinated with a dark skinned older bald man, than my marriage is in safe hands.

At around 7pm they allowed us to go up to the third floor where the Planery Hall, the launch site, is and thankfully the crowd was not unruly…that’s because the folks in charge made sure that it didn’t, making sure everyone carried his or her own invitation cards. The escalator to the three floors took forever to reach, and there was nobody to check our invites. So, this mean anyone could have reprinted the invitation card and walked in. Probably they had, because we found a couple sitting in our seats, and I am sure they are not our stand-in. Plus when the show started, there were many standing at the side and behind the last row. So much for limited seating/ticket/invite crap.

Our seat was at the left side of the hall, 8th row from the stage. It was then 7.30pm and the red carpet moment supposedly began. You know the part in award shows where vanity soar sky high and fans forgive the recent turgid turns by the starlets because they wore an awesome dress and display ample cleavages. We the hall audience could only watch on the big screen on what’s happening outside. There were apparently the usual showcase of multi-cultural showcase, which to Malaysians is the moment where we go, “Oh no, here we go again”. I swear it was the same shtick they used when they landed the first Airbus A380 four years ago. But if it sells few more Ringgits for the tourism industry, why not?

The red carpet thing was highly forgettable as the hall audience did not receive audio in some parts. I suppose it was best, at least for my blood pressure. Soon, the stars started arriving, including the highlights of the evening, Rajini, A.R. Rahman, lyricist Vairamuthu and director Shankar. Aishwarya “I lost my makeup kit earlier” Rai was probably still blowing her nails dry. Expected bad news came in form of guests who got nothing to do with Endhiran The Robot except their acting talent in relation to the title, like Sangeetha, Simbhu and Jayam Ravi & Ramya Krishnan. Comedian Vadiveloo appears too and though he got nothing to do with the film he has the right to be there simply because he’s a comedian. No sign of Aishwarya “I follow North Indian Stars’ punctuality” Rai.

The stars themselves walked one by one down towards the front rows, with cheers and applause differing depending on who was coming. Vadiveloo walked by the aisle I was sitting, interestingly requiring assistance walking down the steps – either creaky old age or good beverage age. Rajini and A.R. Rahman got the loudest welcome, and it was not surprising. Though a quarter of that crowd did the same for Simbhu and Jayam Ravi that made it a suspect. The former beauty queen turned bad actress made almost an hour after the show was well into its way. Bravo, madam, you are the epitome of “Showuplateforattention” strategy of extending the lifeline of your career.

In the meantime, with comedian Vivek hosting, the non entities were called upon stage and predictably showered praise on the stars of the show, especially Sun Pictures and its owner Kalanidhi Maran who produced the show. Simbhu danced to a medley of Rajini songs, reminding me of the time back in 1999 when as a new actor he danced to Rajini’s song, proving very well that very much a decade since he started out, he will be doing just that, dancing to Rajini songs. In fact, speech by Vadiveloo and Maran later not so subtly hinted that there will never be another “superstar”. For those in the blur’s information, Simbhu called himself “little superstar” and now “young superstar”, that’s how pathetic it is.

The medleys were arranged for Sun Pictures and Director Shankar and their respective films. The dances made me realise the importance of an editor in a film. Tribal dance tribute for Aishwarya (no more middle name, I thank you) Rai baffled me in its relevance, and later, a bunch of Shaolin monks, having lost favour in Hong Kong films, did their stuff – one was so impressive (back flip with mili-second stand on the floor with head, whoa!) that Rajini gotup and clapped.

Speaking of whom, as it was difficult to see the superstar eight rows behind, wife asked how we can spot him. I said, “oh, easy, look for a baldy.” My arm is still aching as I type this.

By now, boredom was creeping in, and only Vivek’s easy rapport with the audience helping a little bit, a harmless chuckle here and there, knowing very well that comedian’s once rip-roaring, thigh slapping jokes are now reduced those eliciting lots of cringes and groans.

Then, things brightened up when audio launch was announced. The luminaries were brought to the stage, and some gimmick was prepared where they were supposed to plant their palms on screen and once complete, launch a CD. The usual blast of music, followed by firecracker thing and and the CD came out. Photo op moment, then the stars back to their seat. And this was only half the event.

Later we were shown the first worldwide release of trailer. It looked part awesome (scenes with Rajini), part troubling (all visual effects ones) as images of past Hollywood films flashed by my mind, and the effects looked creaky in some parts. The robot Rajini looks cheeky and I have a feeling is going to steal the show and would be spoke about later. But who knows. Visually impressive for an Indian film, but if they keep comparing it with Hollywood as almost everyone on this stage did, then this is basically Vin Diesel material as far as trailer is concerned. More trailers on songs and one on making of confirms that we can expect some half-baked effects, and top notch performance from Rajini.

The songs were introduced one by one, and except for Arima Arima, I was impressed with none. More dancing, speeches by AR Rahman (short and sweet), Vairamuthu (luckily, not overboard), Shankar (pre-Oscar thanking that would have made Cuba Goodings Jr. proud). He was followed by Aishwarya who thanked everyone except Rajini. Oh wait, she ran back giving a lame excuse of “saving the best for the last”. Gee woman, you said thank you already and was sighted by the hall audience and the TV viewers leaving. Best for the last, my ass!

More songs and finally the moment we have been waiting for, Rajini himself on stage. Looking resplendent in blue striped shirt and black pants (as opposed to the usual dull white & white), he took time to start waiting for the cheering, whistling and the restless audience to settle down. Then, the typical Rajini stage persona takes over. Brushing aside his contribution, he praised everyone else, but he must have been surprised that the folks were only interested to see him and hear his voice. Why? At one part where he gave his trademark laugh, the crowd went wild!

My wife said she had goose bumps watching and hearing him. I would probably feel the same when it comes to the late Sivaji Ganesan or Clint Eastwood. But watching the man who gave countless hours of fun on big and small screen, I suddenly realised that he was there all my life. Second year into my life he made his debut and here he is, still in top position in Indian cinema, and still is entertaining kids and adults alike, aiming to give the best entertainment possible to audiences world over. I can’t explain this feeling, which I suspect, would resurface if I get to see Kamal Haasan in person. After almost more than four hour plus of boring dances, pathetic jokes, droning speeches, clichéd launch (was a trade/business journalist, I’ve seen a lot), and overdone backslapping, Rajini’s short appearance calmed me down, energised me and made me pardon all the downside of the show, except Aishwarya.

Once the show was over, we had difficulties getting to our car park, and found ourselves outside where the VIP cars were waiting. Only when the big shots are wheeled out of the PICC would they open up the doors to car park, and this totally ruined my mood. So, we waited and lo and behold, another Rajini sighting. This time, he walked exactly like how he did in the films, brisk with some followers trying to catch up, only, instead of heroic frown, he smiled and waved to everyone. That image stuck in my mind. Driving way past midnight back home, not even wanting to stop by for a quick bite despite the fact that we were held inside the hall for almost five hours without food or drink, I said to my dazed wife, “Okay, it was worth it”.

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