We return refreshed from Thanksgiving in thankless LA with more than turkey under our belt, but a few things learned as well!
– Do not enter the Alterdimension of Wedding Preparation wantonly. Trying to balance our desire for a humble affair with my parents' desire for a sort of go-for-broke-extravaganza-cum-Chinese-cash-machine was a hopeless venture, as if taking the back-end of a No. 2 to the indelible Dorian Gray. I'll end up kowtowing to a much more showy affair… literally.
– Daniel Craig fuckin' rocks as the new James Bond. He's got equal parts soccer thug, rapier wit, and loyalist to the crown, making him the most British of the Bonds. The Bond girls this time are top notch too, the Tanqueray Ten to Brosnan & Co's Tanqueray. Pay the man some respect and go watch Layer Cake if you haven't already.
– The Wii is being marketed in a completely new way. I stood at Target watching the infomercial? trying to decide if they were selling a game console or a sonic toothbrush. The very fact that I hated the approach probably means they'll tap into a geriatric mother lode of casual gamers.
– Democrats may be a good change for Congress, but they're stopping at nothing to be a disaster on the economy. Between the populist minimum wage promises that really affect only 5% of the workforce (mostly part-time teens), the complete avoidance of the Alternative Minimum Tax law (which you'll learn about very soon if you didn't get surprised by it already), the lowering of mortgage interest rates (are they nuts?), and their simultaneous insistence on Republicans balancing tax cuts with budgets cuts while their own tax cuts are being paid by the ghost of Christmas past, we're in for trouble. But that's ok, since they get to blame it on Bush's expensive war, you know the one that made us forget about Clinton's social security scam?
We braced ourselves and stepped into X-Men 3 with low expectations carefully normalized to the wave of negative reviews that deluged the gap Brian Singer left, and that Brett Ratner tried to fill. And honestly, it wasn't a bad flick, great action, funny moments, and lots of so-so special FX. I'd say decent FX if it wasn't for the abuse of particle systems and the "shattery" feel of the bridges and other exploding objects, which really got annoying since there is always something being explodeded. The X-men fan in the recesses of my soul, however, was indignant. Juggernaut, a mutant? Phoenix a double personality? Magneto so campy he should have sported a titanium handlebar mustache to twirl to tensile breaking point?
What the hell were they thinking? Sure, the movie was fun. I got my money's worth. But plucking the audience's money's worth is hardly a way to perpetuate the species, a species like the perennially entertaining James Bond money-tree. No, a species like X-men won't grow much without Miracle-Gro and respect. I mean c'mon… Psylocke is a Morlock?
Speaking of money-trees, the tumbling market these days makes for a great albeit risky buying opportunity, yet I am looking at some severely underpriced large-cap. The inflation fears keep rising, and while I had predicted long-term rate hikes from the FED long ago, I've grown to realize that inflation is only part of the reason for them. In fact, the FED doesn't fight inflation so much as create/hide it. M3 anyone? No, the FED is really fighting to keep the dollar high, yet is faced with keeping domestic equities attractive at the same time.
Inflation is the rising of prices, not the fall of money value, although that is the net effect. But such forces affect more than the U.S. economy, it affects entertainment as well. As the price to see Wolverine slash some nobodies up increases, the value of my time and cash spent at the cinemas, my "FandangoBucks" per se plummets, and will quickly lead other movie-goers like me to enter that deflationary spiral that entails sitting on the couch with five Netflix offerings upon the altar of the coffee table. Now that's diversifying your portfolio.