‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ raises the bar
There’s always a level of risk when a beloved work of popular culture is reworked. Striking the proper balance between loyalty to the source material and creating something fresh is difficult. With the possible exception of Christopher Nolan’s work with Batman, no filmmaker has managed to walk that tightrope as deftly as J.J. Abrams has with the world of “Star Trek.”
The 2009 reboot of the series was handled brilliantly, keeping true to the spirit of the original Trek mythos while still allowing this new crew to follow its own unique path. So there were high hopes for “Star Trek Into Darkness,” the second installment of this new Trek voyage.
The American people are a fairly forgiving bunch. While individual scandals are often marked with a whirlwind of initial outrage, the furor usually dies down eventually. The person or persons involved in said scandals will often curry a return to favor at some point – it might take a while, but chances are decent that if we loved you once, we can love you again; call it 99 times out of 100.
Welcome to the 1%, Lance Armstrong.
The controversial cyclist finally broke down and admitted to using blood doping, performance-enhancing drugs and just about any other weird thing that he could put in his body to gain an unfair advantage over his competitors. The seven-time Tour de France champion made his confession in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, aired over two nights on Winfrey’s OWN cable network.
What am I doing giving you a cold soup recipe in cold weather? Simply because you don't have to prepare it cold. It is just as delicious when you omit the ricotta and add 2 cups light or heavy cream and gently warm it over low heat, topped with a few flavored croutons.
Gazpacho is traditionally made never touching heat. A variety of vegetables are chopped then processed in a blender until fairly smooth and then served with stale bread. Although I find this satisfactory, it's not the texture I admire completely. I find that cooking a portion of the ingredients makes for a smoother and more flavored meal, if you can call it that. A great lunch though. I live this soup with a hot, grilled vegetable sandwich. Although neither contains meat, it truly is satisfying.
When blame does no good
I live in Maine. Not only do I live here but I also grew up in its rural parts and, as a citizen of the farm town of Corinth for a good chunk of my life, I understand that people around these parts absolutely love the rights the Second Amendment guarantees them. Most of my classmates were hunters, so I understand the culture that revolves around Mainers and the guns they love. These are a passionate, hearty people and I have nothing against them exercising their constitutional right to bear arms.
I also understand that the nature of this piece may upset these well-armed folks, so I’m going to throw out the disclaimer that this has nothing to do with them. Yet it has everything to do with an association some of them belong to, so please don’t introduce me to the business end of your birdshot-hucking beauties.
Loose lips sink spaceships
A bit of backstory: I've been playing a crapton of “Sins of a Solar Empire,” and one of my favorite pastimes is giving my ships incredibly dumb names. Normally this would be the end of it. But my imagination decided to wander off with my keyboard, so instead of me telling you about why this game is real-time, slow-burn strategy gold, I'm going to share a short tale of those unfortunate enough to be stuck serving on one of my ill-named behemoth capital ships.
Opening the Valve on a legitimate free-to-play game
To my left and right, I see hats. Hats everywhere. The gentlemen standing by my side are supposedly ready to make war, but it’s terribly hard to tell that from the various shades of bags, alien monsters, goggles and baseball caps adoring their noggins. In all honesty, this is what draws me to “Team Fortress 2.” This lighter take on warfare, set sometime in the ‘50s, is still boasting a huge following despite releasing as a part of the Orange Box almost five years ago. Why’s that, you ask? Last June, Valve released it to the public as a free-to-play game.
For the vast majority of hardcore gamers, free-to-play is seen as an incredibly dirty term. Any game that either adopts the model from the start or uses it later on in its lifespan is immediately considered a failure and is generally avoided like the plague. Most of this is based on the stigma that most free-to-play games generally have a pay-to-win philosophy: player doesn’t do as well as other players, player buys an uber gun for a fair price, and said player ends up topping the scoreboards with the blood money-bought gun. Another issue that can crop up is charging an exorbitant amount for new content, constricting the non-paying players to a few basic maps or character classes. Either way, free-to-play has left a bad taste in the mouths of gamers that truly want to earn their success. To them, paying for better weapons is trading skill gained over the course of committing yourself to a game for money. You’re purchasing hard-fought victories instead of dedicating the time and energy necessary to attain them normally.
New Idol Judges
I don’t watch much Reality TV, and when I do, it is usually something on the cable networks. Im more of a “Dirty Jobs” or “Storage Wars” guy than an “Idol” or “DWTS” guy. This doesn’t mean that I don’t have opinions about those shows, however.
The buzz right now is about who the next “American Idol” judges will be. Some are saying Charlie Sheen, some are saying Adam Lambert. The answer is plain as day.
Look, as I said, I don’t watch it, but I can tell that the show has lost its edge since Simon left. They need to fill the void with someone as abrasive and snotty as he was. Steven Tyler and J-Lo can’t fill those shoes. You not only need someone who will put these budding starlets in their place, but someone who has years of experience doing so.
Tom - Kat
Well, anyone who had 5 years, 7 months and 11 days in the TomKat Marriage Length Pool®, you are the winner of a brand new set of bragging rights! That’s right, Scientology’s power couple has called it quits. Katie Holmes filed for divorce from Tom Cruise late last month, setting the rumor mill abuzz.
Now, I’m not going to get into the reasons for the split here, nor am I going to speculate on the rumors that Katie did this to keep Tom from sending their 6-year-old daughter Suri to an intensive Scientology institute called SeaOrg, Or that the Church was tailing Katie as of late. Nope, those are rumors that haven’t been confirmed, so we, as the bastion of journalism we so clearly are, cannot in good faith report those claims.
What I am going to focus on here is the child, Suri. Sweetie, you are young, and you have your whole life ahead of you. Do yourself a favor and get interested in math or accounting or something boring like that. Just don’t go into the entertainment field. America would probably love to see you be the next Miley or Lindsay, but don’t give in. You are better than that.
Another fallen “Idol”
We’ve long had a bit of a fast and loose attitude in this space with regards to what actually constitutes “celebrity.” We have to, if only so we can be sure to include the seemingly never-ending waves of reality stars who appear to be anxiously awaiting their chance to be complete a-holes.
Which brings us to Jermaine Jones.
Jermaine was a contestant on “American Idol” – you know, that show that people still inexplicably watch for some reason. He had spent a significant part of his time on the show throwing out sob story after sob story, including one about his absentee dad who suddenly reappeared when his son was on the verge of fame.
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