Saturday, February 28, 2009

Silly Monkey

My friend Tony Millionaire.

The guy cracks me up.

(Hey, you! Click the image - you'll see it betterer!)

................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Friday, February 27, 2009

Disability - Part II

A very long time ago - years ago - I was sitting in my home office listening to music whilst working. I'd popped a CD into the player. The song below - "Insensatez" - wafted lazily in the background.

Little did I know, not only was it wafting, it was wafting repeatedly.

One. Hour. And. Forty. Five. Minutes. Later .....
..... was when I realized it was on repeat.

On repeat of the exact same track.

For. One. Hour. And. Forty. Five. Minutes.

Practically two hours into the tune I looked up from my work and wondered: "Haven't I heard this song a few times already?"

Ruprecht. He's some kinda Super Genius.

................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I heard this in church a few months ago .....

Kevin was born with a disability that robbed him of oxygen to his brain.

Nevertheless, he had a pretty good life, a pretty normal life.

When grown, he towered at 6'2". But, at 35 years of age, he still had the mental capacity of a 5 year old. Kevin loved life, however.

He loved getting up in the morning. He did a fantastic job everyday at his work which he loved dearly and he never finished work until he was complete with a project. Kevin met each opportunity with the exuberance of a child. Not surprisingly because he was a child mentally.

Kevin loved macaroni and cheese - his favorite meal - which he ate every single evening.

Kevin prayed every night before he went to bed. He prayed with every fiber of his being.

And he also believed that God lived under his bed.

So ... what if God did live under his bed? Kevin was too much of a child to understand this really couldn't be the case.

But it was the fervor, the "gung-ho" attitude Kevin exhibited in his prayer to God that made me wonder.

You see: I worry about the state of affairs in our country. I worry about what I'm going to say during my meeting tomorrow. I worry about what's for dinner tonight. I worry about how I'm ever going to get through the week with so many things filling up my calendar. So many, many trivial things that just don't make a difference. I worry about future events when I don't have any real control over what the future holds.

So ... I wonder: Who really has the disability?

Is it Kevin?

Or is it me?

...................... Ruprecht ( STOP )


.................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Monday, February 23, 2009

You ... You're Good, You ...

How does she do it?

My wife hadn't seen a single film listed on the Oscar ballot ... and still she managed to peg 50% in scoring them.

I broke a 7-year streak back in 2007, my lone glimmer of hope. But it looks like she's on a roll once more.

Flabbergasting stuff, indeed ...

Oh ... she's good. Really good. (You want details and comparisons? Click images to enlarge.)

................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mickey Rourke: Fashion Setter

Because I can, here's today's spread from the L.A. Times on Mickey Rourke.

Good luck Sunday night, Mick. I'm pulling for you.

...................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

Mickey Rourke,
the sartorial 'Wrestler'

Mickey Rourke is not only an unlikely nominee.
He's an unlikely fashion setter.

By Mark Olsen, February 20, 2009

If this year's award season has seemed like an endless parade of trophies for "Slumdog Millionaire" and Kate Winslet, then there has remained one rather tantalizing bit of suspense for dedicated kudo watchers: What will Mickey Rourke wear next?

The actor, working the award circuit in support of his unexpected comeback role in "The Wrestler," had been a sartorial riot of textures and patterns and colors, mixing and matching pieces with a fearlessness paralleled only by his astonishing performance. With his mussy hair, sunglasses and ubiquitous hip-dangling chain, he still evokes the outlaw danger of his biker past, while his penchant for open-necked shirts, unbuttoned cuffs and oversized, slightly undone neckties exudes an air of disheveled elegance. Consider the look something like a luxury hobo or a dandy gone to seed.

Regardless of the outcome in the lead actor category at the Academy Awards on Sunday night, one of this season's most lasting images will certainly be Rourke onstage following his win at the Golden Globes, draped in a sparkling scarf and shiny lapels, one hand clutching his prize, the other dipped nonchalantly into his waistband.

The stylist

Assisting Rourke through the hustle of award season for about the last five months has been New York-based stylist Michael Fisher. Where some male celebrities slide through award season in a cloud of nondescript tastefulness -- George Clooney has publicly prided himself on wearing the same tuxedo for years -- Fisher knew going in that Rourke would be taking his look in a much different direction.

"I met with Mickey, and the first thing he said was that he's not George Clooney and he's never going to be George Clooney," Fisher recalled recently over the phone. "He's not going to wear a classic black tuxedo; he's not interested in that.

"Mickey is a personality, and he has his own sense of style. He likes clothes, and he likes expressing himself though clothes. He does it in his acting and he does it in his day-to-day life. Most guys are either going to be safe and, for lack of a better word, boring when it comes to red carpet dressing, just because they don't have the time or interest, or they're just too afraid of criticism. And Mickey's not that. He likes taking the risk, pushing the envelope and being more flashy. And no one else can wear it like Mickey wears it."

Some may recall Rourke's less glamorous -- and far more quotidian -- boxer-era look of hoodies and workout pants. But these days it's hard to imagine anyone else pulling off Rourke's red carpet attire with quite the same natural ease and élan. (Seriously -- just picture yourself in some of those suits.) Even though some of the clothes come from Europe or relatively exclusive boutiques, most of the pieces are surprisingly available. Anyone could, if they conceivably desired, sport the Mickey Rourke look.

"It's out there," said Fisher, noting that Rourke has been favoring shirts and belts by the line Billionaire Couture and jackets by Dolce & Gabbana. "Mickey kind of gravitates toward Italian designers; they kind of have that machismo, macho aesthetic already there. These looks are out there, you just don't see them translate to everyday life or on celebrities because most guys just don't want to go there, they don't have the guts or the event to wear it."

Despite his newly reformed attitude -- a signal of his humbled return from years in the darker corners of Hollywood and his acceptance of the mantle of rogue elder statesman -- Mickey Rourke is still, of course, Mickey Rourke, and so he remains the final arbiter on what he wears. The same tightrope-walker verve that Rourke brings to his on-screen performance also feeds into his personal style choices.

"A lot of the time it comes down to five minutes before he walks out the door he's the one who says, 'I want to wear this tie with this vest, and this scarf and this shoe.' He kind of puts it all together. I just have to make sure all the elements are there," said Fisher. "When I see it all together I do think he's the only one who could pull it off."

'Good-luck charm'

One of the most distinctive, and remarked upon, elements of Rourke's outfits throughout the season has been the long chain he usually wears clipped to his belt (nope, it's not attached to a wallet), evocative of the rough-and-tumble biker lifestyle that Rourke has injected into his personal back story.

"The chain is his own thing," said Fisher. "It's kind of a good-luck charm. He's had it forever. I was maybe a little apprehensive about the chain on the red carpet, because I associate that with a real street kind of style, not black tie. But he has to be himself, and that's him. I respect that, and at the end of the day it looks good."

Fisher admitted Rourke's Oscar outfit had already been chosen. Though he declines to name a designer, in part to increase the Sunday surprise, he does reveal one fact that may come as little surprise to those who have been looking all season for updates on the Mickey Rourke style file.

"It won't be black."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Stewart Parnell: Invoking Boy

Stewart Parnell, president of Peanut Corporation of America, linked to a massive salmonella outbreak in peanut products, refused to testify at a Congressional hearing February 11th as lawmakers accused him of caring more about profits than food safety.

See if it’s difficult to presume innocence for this guy after you read the following:

- Told by a plant worker in June that nuts had tested positive for salmonella bacteria, Parnell e-mailed back: "I go thru this about once a week ... I will hold my breath ... again."

- An e-mail by Parnell seemed to show a focus on profit over safety, despite a positive test for salmonella in 441 cases of peanut granules, some of which already had been shipped.

- Parnell’s actions - blamed for 600 illnesses and nine deaths to date - prompted one of the largest recalls ever, with more than 1,800 products pulled from store shelves across the country.

- Parnell urged staff to "turn the product loose" even when warned of contamination for a deadly salmonella outbreak.

- Parnell expressed concern about testing costs of his products. According to an e-mail, one of his plant managers told him a product had been shipped that tested positive for salmonella. The product would be retested, he was told. The plant manager also told Parnell that customers receiving the product should put it on hold. A week later, an e-mail from Parnell said, "We need to discuss this …. The time lapse … is costing us huge $$$$$" and that PCA needed to "protect our self and the problem is that the tests absolutely give us no protection."

- Charles Deibel, president of Deibel Laboratories, testified that his company tested Peanut Corp. products and notified the company that salmonella was found in products originating at its Georgia plant. "It is not unusual for Deibel Labs or other food testing laboratories to find that samples clients submit do test positive for salmonella," Deibel said. "What is virtually unheard of is for an entity to disregard those results and place potentially contaminated products into the stream of commerce."

- During the congressional hearing, Representative Greg Walden (R-Ore.) held up a gallon-sized bucket wrapped in yellow crime-scene tape - presumably containing some type of recalled peanut butter product - and asked Parnell whether he would be willing to "take the lid off" and eat any of it. Parnell invoked the 5th Amendment. (He took the 5th Amendment over and over and over again during the hearing.)

- Also during the hearing, Committee Chairman Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) asked Parnell: "The food poisoning of people, is that just a cost of doing business for you?" Parnell said nothing.

So ... what do you think?

Yeah. Me, too. Let’s string this dude up by his Buster Browns.

........................ Ruprecht ( STOP )

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Farewell Erick Lee Purkhiser

Of all the bands I’ve had the fortune to see, The Cramps have always been one of my favorites. So it was a shock to hear last week their front man Erick Lee Purkhiser (better known as Lux Interior) had passed away from a heart condition.

Lux formed
The Cramps while I was in high school, an amalgam of surf and rockabilly and fuzz and punk and B-movie camp. I've never seen a band put so much into a show. With Lux at the forefront, they were thoroughly innovative and genuine in every sense of the word.

Over the last 25 some odd years, I’ve seen this band a goodly amount of times. And it’s safe to say I haven’t seen another band as much as I’ve seen
The Cramps.

When you went to a
Cramps show, you came away from it hot, sweaty, exhausted. You went to see this band, eyes wide opened, wondering if you would be witness to everything you've ever heard about them. Post concert? You weren't disappointed ... you got your money’s worth.

Just a few years ago, I got the opportunity to see them one last time at The House Of Blues in Anaheim with a friend of mine. I coerced and cajoled him into going to see them with me. I joked that Lux wasn’t going to be around forever to do his thing, so he’d better get to gettin’ and see him while the seein’ was still available.
With a couple JD Cokes under our belt ot fuel our sensibilites (and one for the show in hand), we made our way to the front at the stage. Nothing - nothing - tops a Cramps concert like being right in the middle of it all. A dangerous place to be for sure ... but an experience to be had.

“Is he coming out on crutches?” I was asked by my friend. I looked at him knowingly, smiled and confessed: “You, sir, are in for a treat.”

Lux did not disappoint. He came out dressed in black from head to toe, complete with “Good Googily-Moogily” sun glasses, bug-eyed things that made him look otherworldly; dark garb contrasting with moon-pale skin. With a bottle of wine in hand, he and the rest of the band
launched into a raucous beginning set that had you in awe he was pushing 60 years of age. He moved effortlessly, lithely. He flung his mike stand around and punctuated songs with perfect Elvis hip sways. Lux alternately sung in perfect pitch one moment and, in the next breath, went completely camp and hicky. The crowd roared at every tune.

When “Tear It Up” came crunching out of their instruments, it was a free for all. A mosh pit had formed at the front of the stage and there were headbangers and punks mixing it up to the fuzzy guitars and ominous drum beat. A huge box fan was conveniently within reach and was impaled by Lux' microphone at an appropriate moment during the song. Amps were climbed on and overturned. Some idjit, drunk out of his skull, was doing his best to impersonate a rhinoceros and head butt people below the stage and I was one of the privileged few to help toss him out on his ass at the end of the song before he did any real damage to himself or anyone else.

The frivolity continued and the air was thick with sweat and noise and cheers.

Two hours later, there were a couple encores. The show had turned out to be nothing less than outstanding. When The Cramps performed, they gave 110%. It was a wonder The House Of Blues was still standing at the end of the thing. I know it was a bit worse for wear. And I remember fondly that it took a couple days for my hearing to return.

My friend? Well, he shook his head at every single song. He knew each one, he’d seen and heard The Cramps previously though screen and video only. But to actually be there ... that was an experience. Each performance elicited a chuckle and a jaw drop. To see “Tear It Up” in the concert film “Urgh, A Music War” was one thing. To see it live, up close and personal was something else entirely. It’s been said that anyone who saw them live has never forgotten the experience. My friend was no different. Not only was he in awe of the show, but he was just as deaf as I was.

I saw The Cramps at the very first Hootenanny Festival at Irvine Lake in 1988. (And in daylight, no less. Scarier than witnessing “Night Of The Living Dead” for the first time.) I saw them at The Hollywood House Of Blues. I’ve seen them at the Hollywood Palladium. I have all their albums, the majority of them on vinyl. I have posters and lobby cards and flyers and announcements and stickers and souvenir T-shirts. I own The Purple Knif Show. My wife’s eyes raise knowingly every time I put on their version of “Fever” (one of “our” special, personal songs).

I’m going to miss Lux Interior
. I grew up appreciating his showmanship, in amazement of his down-to-his-bikini-brief performances and knowing there was a band out there daring enough to crush a childhood favorite of mine (“Shortnin’ Bread”) in a manner that would forever be engrained into my psyche.

Go well, Lux. In the words of
"Human Fly":

96 Tears For 96 Eyes

.......................... Ruprecht ( STOP )

P.S. Lux passed away right down the street from me in Glendale Memorial Hospital here in California.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wordsmithery, Part II

I blogged about my daughter's writings here previously.

So, how 'bout a sequel? Sounds good to me.

I stated then I wished I could write as well as she could. And I stand by that statement.

For your consideration and
without further ado once more:

    - I was worried because I left my school agenda at home.

    - After I said farewell to my friends, I endured the long trip home.

    - We raised a large crop of cornfield which is next to the pond.

    - Come and see the wide and beautiful canyon.

    - I escaped from the huge smoke of fire but the firemen had to save my mom's life.

    - The dark mysterious giant got hurt in the morning.

    - When Joe was doing his chores, he found a crack on the wall.

    - It's an hour away before school ends.

    - At school they had a lesson about Thanksgiving.

    - At art class, we painted clay and used a needle to sew scraps together.

    - My mom said "Don't write on the kitchen table."

    - My ancestors were delighted when I made them a pie.

    - After I ate a crispy cookie, I went to play my harmonica.

    - I can't lie to my mother because she is my elder.

Of this batch, I have a few favorites I can't choose between:

    - The tornado was about to hit a third grader, but everyone scurried all about.

    - The heroic officer was talking with his mouth full.

    - Have you heard or ever seen the impossible solar system?

............................ Ruprecht ( STOP )