Only Kids Can Make Bad Jokes Funny

Yesterday I was drying Hope off after bath time. She was complaining that the towel was too rough, so I told her the old joke about the guy and his talking dog. If you’re not familiar with it, here it is:

A guy has a talking dog and brings it to a talent scout. “This dog can talk!” he says. “Okay, Spike, what’s on the top of a house?” “Roof!” the dog replies. The agent grumbles. The guy then asks the dog “what does sandpaper feel like?” “Rough!” the dog answers. The talent agent tells the guy he has one more chance or he’ll throw the guy and his dog out in the street. “No, hang on,” the guy says. “This one will amaze you. ” He turns and asks the dog: “Who was the greatest home run hitter of all time?” “Ruth!” goes the dog. The talent scout boots them out of his office onto the street. And the dog turns to the guy and says “You think I should have said Hank Aaron?”

Hope clearly didn’t get the joke. But she laughed.

A few minutes later she asked if we could tell the joke together, with her supplying the dog’s answer. I said yes, so we told it to The Civee and Luke. The joke went normally, with her going “Roof” and “Rough.” But when I asked “Who was the greatest home run hitter of all time?”, she replied ” Derek Jeter.”

She may very well be funnier than I am.

Teasing Star Wars

This morning was an exciting morning to be a Star Wars fan.

The first teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens was posted online. The short teaser doesn’t show much. A few shots of characters and locations (one familiar location, no familiar characters). But by the last shot, where the greatest spaceship in the galaxy loops and rolls over a desert planet, I was drooling for more.

This teaser reminds me of 16 years ago, when the teaser trailer for Episode I was released. That was also exciting to have new Star Wars material for the first time in a long time. That teaser gave a lot more away than the Episode VII trailer does. But times sure are different. Back then, I was in my dorm room, downloading a video file that was about 20 Megs large. The source was some guy’s camcorder from inside a movie theater. Even though the official version of the trailer was released shortly thereafter and has been available on DVDs and YouTube for some time, I think I watched that poor quality AVI file more than any other version.

Here’s the Phantom Menace trailer (the official) version for comparison:

Next to the Episode VII teaser, this is practically a full-length feature. It has dialogue, multiple locations, familiar characters. And it’s about double the length.

To me, while the Episode I trailer felt like Star Wars, after seeing today’s trailer, I can say that the Episode VII one is Star Wars. And the appearance of a certain hunk of junk may have something to do with that.

When Kids Correctly Identify Cultural Artifacts

Earlier this morning, I was at the computer, mesmerized by the following image, purportedly from the trailer of Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens:

I asked Hope if she knew what it was. Her reply was immediate: “The Millennium Falcon!”

To which Luke, who was in the next room, responded: “Han Solo!”

Days like this I feel like I’m doing the parenting thing right.

Weezer: Everything Will Be Alright In The End

Everything Will Be Alright In The End CoverI’m like most Weezer fans in that the band’s first two albums are my favorite. While I love their remaining six albums, there’s just something about 1994’s The Blue Album and 1996’s Pinkerton that just gets me.

The Blue Album was the first album I heard where I felt like I had something in common with the performer. As for Pinkerton, as a (then) college student, I could relate to it on a whole different level.

Weezer has released a bunch of solid albums since then, but their latest album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End is their first since Pinkerton to feel like the songs all matter to the band. This is an album about something- the songs are about relationships and how everything we build eventually goes away. These are songs written and performed by men with families, writing from that point of view. There’s a concept behind the album and if you’re paying attention, you can see it. As a grown man with a family, I can relate to these themes and songs. As a Weezer fan, it’s always wonderfulto have an album full of great, rocking songs. But it’s even better to be able to relate to the songs.

The album’s first single Back to the Shack has been on available since July. While it’s a decent song, it is by far the album’s low point. It’s an important statement with a great riff, but the other songs are just better.

Take for instance, Lonely Girl, which sounds like it could have been on 2001’s The Green Album, but wasn’t held back by that album’s production choices. Or opener Ain’t Got Nobody, a classic Weezer-sounding rock gem with discernible structure. The album has two historically themed songs, The British Are Coming and Cleopatra, which are both great songs in their own right. The album seemingly ends on Foolish Father, which is the most emotionally deep song Weezer has done since Pinkerton. But after Foolish Father is a three-song mostly instrumental suite, The Futurescope Trilogy which closes out the album with guitar solo after guitar solo.

In a lot of ways, this is the album Weezer fans have been waiting for since 1996. But for those of us who have enjoyed the albums between then and now, it’s nice to have something that takes the good things from those albums and improves on them.

I could close this out with an Everything Will Be Alright In The End style pun. But this isn’t the end for Weezer. And everything will be more than alright.

A Public Service Announcement From “Weird Al” Yankovic

It’s an exciting time in the world of music here at the Kingdom.

Weezer is months away from releasing their tenth ninth album. And the greatest musical genius of our or any other time, “Weird Al” Yankovic has just released his latest album.

To promote the album, Yankovic is releasing a video a day over the next week. While I’m unfamiliar with most of the source material, the songs are pretty, pretty good- especially today’s offering, Word Crimes. Word Crimes, based on some song I’ve never heard before, should be required viewing for anyone over the age of seven using a keyboard.

I write and edit the work of others for a living, so the song hits close to home. I know I’ve been guilty of several transgressions here at the Kingdom, but if there’s a lesson from this song, it’s just try and get it right. However, between Word Crimes and the recently leaked CIA Style Book I’ve been on quite a grammar kick lately.

24: Live Another Day – The End?

Despite not writing much the past few weeks about this different season of 24, I’ve really enjoyed 24: Live Another Day.

Multiple changes, including an overseas location, taking four years off and a 12-hour format were good for this show. The return of Cheng as the main villain was a nice touch, as well as Jack’s way of dealing with him at the end. And the last hour was powerful, especially revolving around the death of Audrey (a character I could have done without during previous seasons). We saw two different reactions to her death- that of Jack and that of her father. But what really sold the death was Heller’s next day conversation with the English Prime Minister prior to boarding Air Force One.

As far as everything that happened after that, the ending reminded me a lot of the end of Season Five nine years ago. I’m still puzzled why the Russians want Jack. The were involved in a plot to assassinate the Prime Minister of Whateverastan and destabilize the Middle East peace process and Jack simply kept some of their operatives from making matters worse. This isn’t the first time we got a silent clock for Jack. And I have a feeling Jack will return, which, in a departure from my feelings four years ago, is a good thing.

All I ask is that the next season not be anything like Season Six.

Happy Birthday Luke!

With Luke turning two, I’ve noticed myself comparing where he is now to where Hope was when he was born. This isn’t a bad thing. She was only two months older than he is now and they’re similar in a lot of ways.

She was starting to put together sentences. He’s stringing together words. She was very aware of people and places. We can’t go anywhere with Luke without him pointing out the nearest set of train tracks.

And just as interesting as what they have in common at this stage, what’s next for him is just as exciting. Right after Luke was born, we started potty training Hope. This is definitely something in Luke’s near future. And every day, he’s becoming more and more of a little boy. It’s been a fun two years, but what comes next is even more exciting.

Luke turns two.

The CIA Agent in the Boot

The most competent, loyal person officially associated with the U.S. Government spent tonight’s episode of 24 locked in a boot.

That’s trunk for my American readers.

I’m really liking this season of 24. But things aren’t looking so great for the Americans here. As I mentioned, CIA Agent Kate Morgan (also known as Agent Sarah Walker Bartowski) spent most of the episode in a trunk. That’s some reward for a character who is loyal and gets things done.

Her superiors, while more comfortable are actually doing more to hinder those who wish to thwart the terrorist.

Her boss, CIA Station Chief Steve Navarro is a by-the-book operative who in the last minutes of the episode has been shown to be this season’s mole (even if his mole-ness doesn’t directly relate to the main storyline).

His boss, White House Chief of Staff Mark Boudreau, is an ambitious careerist who only has his position because he’s married to the President’s daughter (he spent three years nursing her back to health!). He’s a cowardly weasel who is clearly jealous of his wife’s relationship to Jack.

His boss, President James Heller, once survived a hostage situation, drove his car off a cliff and I’m pretty sure he throat-punched Jack once. But he has been showing signs of Alzheimer’s and has been getting more feeble as the season goes on.

So these are Jack’s options for backup. And the English aren’t doing much better. James Bond must have been staking out Blofeld’s lair because the MI-6 squad sent in to shadow Jack nearly made a mess out of his whole operation.

Further, it looks like another country’s going to get involved, with Mark selling Jack out to the Russians. Someone remind me- why are the Russians pissed with Jack? Was it because he revealed they were behind the assassination of a head of state in an attempt to disrupt relations between two other sovereign states last season? That’s some real moral high ground the Russians have.

Still, it’s an enjoyable season. So far, it looks like whatever Navarro’s involved in is the one “this doesn’t have anything to do with the main story” plotline this season. And it beats a cougar. That’s all I can ask.