Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Musical Groups with the Longevity Gene

I once did a post on the topic of One Hit Wonders, I thought it would only be appropriate to address their opposite. I'm talking about music groups that were popular back in Teddy Roosevelt's time who are still making music today.

Some groups and artists are quite successful and keep making music for 10 or 20 years. Some do it for a lifetime. The following groups are amazing. I'm not necessarily a fan of all of them, but you've got to hand it to them for their long term success.

The Rolling Stones-I'm beginning to think Keith Richards is invincible. It must be all that healthy living.

U2- I never would have guessed that they would still be around back when I was watching their New Years Day video on MTV back in the early 80's. I also wouldn't have expected Bono to rise to the level of Ambassador of the earth.

Michael Jackson- I started writing this post over a year ago and shelved it before he died so don't think I'm not aware that MJ is no longer around, but he was in the process of preparing for a comeback tour.

Madonna- She scares me, but she's still kicking after 27 years.

Aerosmith- They started in 1970 and are still popular today. Maybe musical longevity has something to do with big lips? Jagger and Tyler seem to support that theory.

ZZ top, The Beach Boys, and Pink Floyd are know for either having the original band members or for still performing today, although they may not be in demand like they used to be. This reminds me of the scene in This Is Spinal Tap when they end up performing at a mall opening and are the opening act for a puppet show.

I'd like to thank all the bands and artists who have been roaming the earth for ages and are still around. It saves me a lot of time to not have to learn about the new whipper snappers like Justin Bieber. I'm sure I have forgotten many others seasoned artists. Feel free to comment to add any to the list.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Based on a True Story

I think most people have seen movies that are "based on a true story". A close cousin to this type of movie is the "based on actual events" genre. As inspiring as these movies may be, I always wonder in the back of my mind which parts are accurate and what parts Hollywood chose to spice up or exaggerate.

Take a war movie for instance. Is the reference to an actual war or battle the true part and the rest just an embellishment? Where do you draw the line? I would love to make a movie about myself and promote it as based on a true story. The real part would be my name, the fact that I'm a man, and enjoy eating pastries, but I would probably elaborate a little about the martial arts skills, being a secret agent, and the part about playing in the NBA.

Even when a movie based on a true story is good like Rudy, Gifted Hands, Flash of Genius, Patch Adams, Erin Brokovich, 8 Seconds, October Sky, Glory Road, The Pursuit of Happyness, etc. it still makes me wonder what parts were not quite accurate. I can tell you one area that is almost always embellished. It entails using attractive actors for the lead characters in the movie. When you watch one of these movies and then see the special features on DVD after and they interview the person the movie was about, they seldom look like Brad Pit or Kate Beckinsale.

I'm proposing that any time someone makes a movie based on a true story, that they are required to list in small print on the poster "Except in real life this person is not that good looking." I hope I haven't ruined inspirational movies based on real events and true stories for you with my cynicism, but this is something I have always struggled with.

PS- This post topic based on an actual post from The Movie Guy blog.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Glad I'm Not Flying This Week

I've heard a lot of people complaining about the new security measures and I can totally understand where they are coming from, but the people I really feel bad for are the TSA employees. How would you like to pat down and frisk strangers all day? I'm pretty sure the average American couple looks more like Tom Arnold and Rosanne Barr than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aliens Rock

Recently I've been watching old X-files episodes on Netflix. I've also been tempted to rent The Fourth Kind. These shows got me thinking about aliens and the many movies that deal with this subject matter.

I like alien movies. I was just about to make the bold statement that it is hard to go wrong when making a movie about aliens. Then I remembered how bad some recent movies featuring aliens were. I'm thinking about the recent The Day the Earth Stood Still and Escape to Witch Mountain remakes, and Transformers 2. I also didn't care for Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull incorporating aliens into the story. Mixing Indian Jones and Aliens is like mixing chocolate and tuna fish. I also heard that Skyline is one of the worst movies ever.

Aside from these stinker movies, there is something appealing about interacting with life forms from other planets. Their appearances often vary from little green creatures, scary monsters, normal looking people, to even super heroes. Here are some of the better alien movies that come to mind in this genre.

The Arrival
Close Encounters
Invasion of The Body Snatchers
Alien (s)
The Fifth Element
Independence Day
Mars Attacks
District 9
Mission to Mars
Star Trek series
Galaxy Quest
Men in Black

Star Wars series

If I was abducted by aliens, they would probably be the scary looking ones. I imagine I would be kept in a giant glass jar with some air holes in the top or something similar to a plastic gerbil cage with a wheel. I would probably have a young alien girl captor who would sometimes shake my cage hard to wake me up if I didn't keep her entertained. That would suck. I'm going to do everything in my power to keep that from happening.

Monday, November 15, 2010


I've seen a couple promotions this month for "Movember" which is a prostate cancer awareness campaign.The premise behind it is that men will create awareness for the cause by growing a moustache during the month of November.

Participants are encouraged to start clean-shaven at the first of the month and then grow a stache until the end of the month. I'm not sure how that raises money, unless it works like a read-a-thon. Maybe they get pledges from their neighbors who pay by the length of facial hair you grow. Anyway, last year the organization claims to have raised 42 million dollars for the cause.

I have been pretty much clean-shaven my entire life, but sometimes at the end of the year I will refrain from shaving for a while, but I don't really consider that trying to grow a beard. I have never gone longer than a week without shaving. If you want a good summary of facial hair you can check the post I did a couple years ago called Facial Hair 101.

I think the reason most guys will want to participate in Movember is not so much a concern about prostate cancer awareness, but rather just as an excuse to grow a moustache. At any rate, my hat is off to any cause that raises money for cancer. So, if you see some dude sporting a moustache this month, there is a good chance he's not just doing it as a fashion statement.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

I'd like to acknowledge that it's Veterans Day today, and aside from not having to go into work, I'm also grateful for the sacrifices that veterans have made for our country. Rather than re-run a prior post I did last year, I'll just refer you to my Armed Forces post if you want to know how I feel about this subject.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Comment Spammers

I think the comments are sometimes the best part of a post. I enjoy the interaction as I read other people's comments. I know that some people will comment on posts just to get their name out and to get some publicity. I can't really blame them for wanting to expand their circle of friends and blogging is certainly a game open to everyone. What does bug me, however; is when a person cuts and pasts a 5 page random comment that is completely unrelated to the post they are commenting on.

Last week after posting my pizza etiquette rant, I received the weirdest comment. It was a from a man who claimed to be from India who enjoys eating Naan breads. (It's hard to go wrong with an introduction like that.) He then commented on a variety of subjects including conspiracy theories about fluoride and aspartame, the mark of the beast, national debt, secret societies, etc. I was going to delete it since it was just a long random comment, but I decided to post it so you could see what a text book spam comment looks like. I'm okay with weird paranoid comments, but I'd prefer them after a post about the Illuminati or end of the world. At least he could have thrown in the words pepperoni or olives somewhere in there to make me think he even read my post.

I occasionally get comments from a company that is trying to sell Air Jordans. They usually consist of sentences in broken English promising the best prices. My fitness blog also gets random comments from medical equipment suppliers trying to promote their stuff. Anyway, I would suggest that trying to advertise your business on Chaka's World in the comments section is about as effective as buying a billboard in the middle of the desert.

I hope I don't sound like I'm critical of readers comments. I have some of the coolest followers who read my blog and I always enjoy their comments. I sometimes run into people who say they read one of my posts and then tell me something about that topic. When I ask why they didn't comment with that insight they often feel scared of posting their comments. As a result, I'd like to dedicate this boring post to all those people who have read my blog but have never commented. I dare you to come out of the closet and say something. It's time to stop hiding in the shadows and be a participant instead of a spectator. (Unless you want to comment about Naan breads.)

Sunday, November 7, 2010

8 Industries Changed By The Internet

I was cleaning my closet recently and I came across a record my sister gave me in the late 70's. It was the B-52's High Fidelity. I haven't listened to a record in over 25 years, but I keep it just in case it's worth a lot of money some day. (That's basically my retirement plan.) Owning a vinyl record these days reminded me how technology has changed over the years.

I'm all for technology, but I can't believe how fast it keeps changing. Just the other day I was thinking about the improvements that have taken place in my life because of the Internet. Every industry had been impacted by it. Here is a list of some industries that the Internet has changed or even killed.

1. Travel agencies- When was the last time you went to a travel agent's office to find out airfare prices on a vacation? About 5 years ago I tried getting some Hawaii brochures, but I couldn't find a travel agent that had anything more that the same computer access I did. I guess they still exist, but most people make online travel reservations themselves now.

2. CD Stores- Yesterday someone mentioned the name "Sam Goody" and I realized I haven't heard that name for over 10 years. Few people buy hard copies of their music these days at a physical music store. Today most people download music files thanks to I-tunes, Amazon, and other providers.

3. The post office- We still use the post office in to in order to send cards or gifts, but unless you have an official formal letter you are sending to a friend, most people wouldn't imagine writing a letter, paying for a stamp, and then waiting several days for it to arrive.

4. Encyclopedias- These used to be the ultimate source of knowledge. Most kids today have never used them. Why flip through every topic from Pathology to Purification when you can just Google Pentagon and get millions of links? They may be old school, but I still like encyclopedias.

5. Newspapers- Newspaper subscriptions have fallen across the board. I heard that the Wall Street Journal was one of the few papers that wasn't losing subscribers. It's getting harder to get people to pay for a newspaper that gets your fingers dirty that you have to throw away after, when you can access the same information online.

6. Video Rentals- Blockbuster and Hollywood have been dismantled by Netflix and Red Box along with other providers of streaming entertainment via the Internet. Ten years ago, standing in line for 20 minutes at the video store on Friday night was a normal activity. I just can't imagine doing that now.

7. TV news casts- It used to be that when you wanted to hear the news, get a weather forecast, or sports score, you'd have to turn on your TV at 6:00 or 10:00 p.m. and then watch a half of news until they finally addressed what ever it was you were trying to find out.

8. The Patience Industry- We have gotten spoiled with instant information and services. It seems our attention levels are now diminished and we are disgusted when we have to wait for anything. Much of this problem is our fault as a society, but most of the blame lies with Al Gore for inventing the Internet in the first place.

Maybe sometime in a technology nostalgia post I can address bringing back the old school fax machines that used curly thermal paper or loud screechy computer modems.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Recipes For Guys

I'm jealous of people who can cook well. I'm good at making mashed potatoes and a few other things, but I am no Chef Gordon Ramsey, meaning I don't know much about food (and I don't drop F-bombs in the kitchen.) Occasionally I come across simple combinations that work, so I have decided to share some of these recipes on Chaka's World as a public service for guys. I make that clarification because these recipes only require two ingredients!

Nachos- Buy a bag of salted corn chips and an avocado. Cut the avocado in half and dip the chips directly into the avocado. It's almost guacamole, but I like it even more.

BBQ Chicken- Cut up some boneless chicken breasts on a grill and smother them in barbecue sauce. Cook until they are done, then eat.

Peach Appetizer- Put a couple of peach halves in a bowl of cottage cheese. It makes a simple salad.

Mock Apple Pie- Open a can of applesauce. Eat or remove several scoops of sauce to make some room. Then pack several graham crackers into it. Let them sit a few minutes until saturated, then scoop out with a spoon and eat. It has the texture and flavor of apple pie...sort of.

Fruit Salad - Cut a cantaloupe in half and clean the seeds out. Fill the empty space with grapes and serve.

You can obviously embellish and improvise on these recipes by adding more ingredients, but I just thought I'd give a starting point to work from.  I know that sharing such simple recipes is probably making some culinary artists like Mary from One Perfect Bite go crazy, but I think she's out of the country now so I should be safe.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Inspirational Movie Endings

I 'd like to address one of the most inspirational, yet over used and formulaic movie occurrences which I'm sure you have all seen. It happens at the climax of a movie when large groups of people get involved  by chanting or clapping together to help the main character to achieve their victory.

I think it is time to name this occurrence so we can better identify it in the future. For now I will call these "buzzer beaters". I love many of the movies that use this technique, but it looses its impact the more you see it. Here is a list of some examples:

Spartacus- The slaves standing up one by one claiming "I'm Spartacus" in order to protect him.
Rudy- The crowd chants his name in unison to get the coach to put him in the game so he can make the final play.
Dead Poets Society- The students stand on their desks while saying "Oh captain, my captain" to show their respect to their teacher.
Strictly Ballroom- After the judges pull the plug to stop the music, the dad starts clapping and slowly the crowd joins in until they create a beat to which they can finish their dance.
Karate Kid 2- The villagers start using their spin drums to give Danielson the guidance and focus he needs to defeat his opponent.
Iron Will- The spectators at the finish line begin whistling the special melody to make the dogs continue running and cross the finish line.
On the Waterfront- The final scene as Terry Maloy confronts the union boss after being beaten and all the dock workers stand in solidarity.
Cool Runnings-When the Jamaican team wipes out and carry their sled towards the finish line. One person starts with the strong, slow, deliberate clap and it catches on until the entire crowd erupts once they finally cross the finish line.

I'm sure there are many more, so feel free to add any others you are aware of in the comment section. Also, if you liked this post I suggest you stand up and say" Chaka" over and over until everyone at your workplace or home is doing the same thing. That will give me the motivation I need to make it through another day.