Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Angels & Demons - Dan Brown is back!

Not content with confounding, confusing and majorly pissing off Christians and Catholics alike, to the extent that many saw the DaVinci Code as an insult to and an attack on their faith, particularly since those in the secular world saw it as the truth, Dan Brown is back again with Angels and Demons.

It's the sequel to The Da Vinci Code film, though it's really a prequel. And if that doesn't put your brain in a spin, don't worry, there's plenty more where that came from. No surprises then that the Vatican is against the film:


"Vatican Bans Dan Brown Film Angels & Demons From Rome Churches"

"The Vatican has banned the makers of Angels & Demons, the latest Dan Brown thriller to be filmed, from shooting scenes not only in the Vatican but in any church in Rome on the ground that it is "an offence against God" and "wounds common religious feelings".


“Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, head of the Vatican's Prefecture for Economic Affairs, said that the author had "turned the Gospels upside down to poison the faith. It would be unacceptable to transform churches into film sets so that his blasphemous novels can be made into mendacious films in the name of business."


You can read the full article at:


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article4147839.ece


The teaser trailer initially featured a camera panning over the Vatican and hovering over St Peter's Square, focusing on a statue of an angel. Suddenly the angel turns its big stone head and TA-DAH! – it's actually a demon.

But someone, somewhere, must have thought that first trailer far too clearcut. So now there's a much, much more complicated two-and-a-half-minute, dialogue-packed extravaganza that says so much and yet does little more than prompt a trailer addict's impassioned response of: "Sorry, what?"


In this trailer there is a subliminal message at the part where the letters “Illuminati” spin. You can see "altarsofscience" written in it.


If you go to the web site www.altarsofscience.com you can see the Antimatter canister ticking. The time on the right side is perhaps the time until movie hits the big screen in May 2009.


Angels and Demons is, of course, a book in the same series as The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Although it's actually a prequel to the Da Vinci book, it's presented here as a sequel – which is only fair since eleventy-billion people read it after enjoying the other one. And yes, found it to be not quite as catchy or readable, but that's not the point here.

The problem with the Da Vinci film, director Ron Howard has said, was that they tried to stick too closely to a familiar and extremely popular book, and it ended up being too wordy and staged. So this time, we can assume, they're doing a loose adaptation of a less familiar and less popular work instead. So that should work out brilliantly.


"Thousands are gathered in St Peter's Square. The new Pope is yet to be selected," says a news presenter-style voiceover. A girl screams. And then there's a dead body: a dead priest, no less.


Voices are heard, under random images.


"We are under attack from an old enemy."


"Find Professor Langdon!"


Excellent. That should tell you that it's related to The Da Vinci Code, if you didn't know already. If only the name was more recognizable and rolled off the tongue more easily, though. Like Indiana Jones – now there's a recognizable name. Professor Langdon? Not so much.


"He exposed one of the greatest cover-ups in human history, " [footage from The Da Vinci Code here, in case you haven't got the idea yet, like duh!], "but what terrifying discovery could make the Vatican turn to him?"


Gosh, I don't know. Perhaps they need help with a sodoku clue?


"It's Illuminati!"


Yes, that'll be it. Which is weird, because it's one of the easiest words to guess at in a sodoku. Too many i’s.

"The Illuminati are a secret society dedicated to scientific truth. The Catholic church ordered a brutal massacre to silence them forever. They've come for their revenge."


Ah right. So not only is Professor Langdon providing them with the solution, he's also patronizing them by poking holes in Catholicism. Excellent.


Yet, in the context of the trailer, all of that makes sense. And that's marvelous. But then it goes a little non-linear.


"There's a hidden trail through Rome itself. I need access to the Vatican archives!"


"Access to the archives is only by written decree by the holy father!"


"Fellas, you called me!" says Langdon with a wry smile.


A hidden trail, you say? Just like The Da Vinci Code! And then there's Tom Hanks, just like in The Da Vinci Code! What a coincidence!


"This is the first sign" says Hanks, referring to nothing anyone can identify. A statue, basically. What it's the first sign of, or why, anyone who hasn't read the book hasn't a chance of knowing.


"What koind of soign?" says Ewan McGregor (who clearly hasn't managed to get past the first three pages of the Angels and Demons script, like so many others). Best thing though, is that he says it in his very best "let's get on with this and hand over the cheque so I can finance my next world trip please" cool Irish. Bless you McGregor, you're getting to be so predictable.


"Earth, Air, Fire, Water," says the voice of Hanks over each usefully illustrated sign, "and the fifth sign," which is just unbearably vague.

The fifth sign. You know, that one we're not allowed to know about yet.


Perhaps it's just something unmentionable in the context of a general-rated trailer. Earth, Air, Fire, Water and … Hair gel! No? Swamp-gas? Wait, it's eggnog! I don't know!


"May God forgive you for what you've done."


"Father, if God has issues, they won't be with what we've done. They'll be with what we're about to do."


What? This comes out of nowhere, and is meaningless except for the suggestion that at some point, someone in the movie is going to do or plan to do something that might not be very nice.


"Our church is at war."


With all laws of sense, apparently.


"This is the first marker! The path is alive!"

This is the first mention I've heard of markers. Or paths. Because I've never managed to read the entirety of this book. And isn't that the point? Because increasingly, this trailer might as well scrub all hope of a plot accessible to a non-Brownophile and just print the words "If you liked Angels and Demons as well as The Da Vinci Code, why not watch this on a plane sometime because you'll probably be able to follow it. And look! It has Tom Hanks in it and everyone loves Tom Hanks, right?" in big white letters on the screen.


"You're talking about THE moment of creation!"


Are you? Who is? What? When? That comes from nowhere. Seriously, I wouldn't have transcribed every line from the trailer if they'd made cohesive sense when put together. By now, they're just chucking in buzzwords.


"Open the doors and tell the world the truth."


Truth!


"It has to be here!"


"This is it. This is the truth!"


To which we can only possibly rise up and say: "It's what? Where? What? Does it? Arrgghhh!!


My verdict? Watch it for the entertainment value. It’s a far better picture than The Da Vinci Code in terms of being action packed.


I’m off to listen to some Earth Wind & Fire. The 80’s band, dude. Now that’s awesome.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Disclaimer


Now that I have your undivided attention, listen up. I do not like it that I have come to the point where I am informing you that I reserve the right to moderate (that’s my polite way of saying delete) comments, but that is what I have been forced to do recently.

Comments have gone downhill with my post on Elizabeth Wong, to the point where I no longer really enjoy reading them.
I encourage discussion, and I don’t mind disagreement, even passionate disagreement, but I do not blog to host a platform for nastiness. If you want to disagree with me or other commenters, that’s fine, but I think it’s not too much to ask that you make your case with civility and class. That’s what’s going to be enforced around here from this point forward. It’s a big Internet. Everyone is entitled to a voice; just don’t ask me to host it if you’re going to be rude.


Comment Policy

I reserve the right to remove comments at my discretion. Think of comment threads like a dinner party at my house. If you make the party unpleasant for others or me, you won't be invited back. I am happy to tolerate a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but I'm not going to tolerate nastiness, rudeness, vulgarity, vitriol, or excessively snippy snarkiness towards myself or other commenters. You may make your case passionately, but civility is expected.

Dave Avran

Spanking DA Monkey

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Elizabeth Wong - Who cast the first stone?


I'm sure there are enough people out there with numerous versions of the Eli Wong story. Some shamelessly exploit and milk the situation. Many have jumped to her defense. Others spout conspiracy theories. I refuse to join in the chorus. This is what I have to say on that subject:

What nude? What scandal? What loose morals? It's time people learn the nuances of the English language and what these words could imply. Stop the propaganda.


If somebody can be accused of being immoral by being nude in his/her own home then we can't have anybody taking a bath naked in their own house in Malaysia.


Selangor state executive councillor and assemblywoman Elizabeth Wong’s predicament is not much different. In this case, the pictures were believed to be taken by a former boyfriend, believed to be a Malay guy named Hilmi, without her consent.


Whatever the motive of the person who released the pictures to the media, he has achieved his objective. Wong has been embarrassed in public and has offered to step down from her position both as executive councilor and assemblywoman.


All Elizabeth Wong did was sink into a nap, glasses still attached, and a moment of voyeurism that was thrillingly executed then while she slumbered - catapulted her into titillating bedlam, rocking her party and spicing up, yet again, Malaysia’s throbbing political narrative.


Wong was snapped sleeping in a delectable position by her then boyfriend. It was very private, very personal and very none-of-our business, until the boyfriend, by now a spurned ex-beau, decided to expose those intimate moments to an unsuspecting but wildly receptive crowd.


Sex, scandal and aberrant behavior categorized under sex and scandal is perhaps the most seductive social spectacle in Malaysia, followed by Machiavellian politics like the brutish kind you see in Ipoh and Kuala Kangsar, and murder of the most heinous classification, like the horror in Ampang yesterday where a killer and/or killers slashed a family to death but spared the life of a one-year old.


But, in the Malaysian scheme of things where tenuous crumbs of hinted scandal is good enough for a full-blown case, Elizabeth Wong has been hounded and ridiculed…and it’s not even her fault.


If you think that Ms Wong is the same plate of fetish delight sautéed to entertain the masses baying for blood and opprobrium, think again. She is hardly typical. Granted, the low resolution pictures of her sleeping torso - likely snapped with a low-pixel handphone camera under mild lighting - are somewhat compromising.


Well, who wouldn’t be that way in the strict privacy of their own bedroom? That is the absolute point. Any pictures taken from within that moment and released to the outside world - provided Ms Wong genuinely had no knowledge of the deed - will always be viewed out of context.


But released to the outside world it was and according to some reports, a handful of pictures and perhaps a video too is floating in cyberspace. Yes, I have seen the pictures. Wong is wearing a t-shirt and a sarong, and is sleeping with her legs spread open. She is not wearing any undergarments. This is not the definition of "nude" as widely alleged .


The spurned boyfriend, whoever the scoundrel is, mischievously released the pictures/video in a moment of post-breakup wrath. It is this lout, and not Elizabeth Wong, who should be pilloried.


For the media, there is a dilemma whenever things like this happen. If it is purely a personal matter with no repercussions on others, do they keep things out of the press? And even if they did, what assurance is there that it won’t appear on the Internet?


But once the news is out, really, there is not much point blaming the newspapers for continuing to use it. When the public’s prurient interest in such matters is raised to fever pitch, newspapers which ignore the interest do so at their own peril in terms of losing out to other rival newspapers.


It is news and there is an obligation to report what transpires after that and how a public figure responds to an unfolding event of great stress to her and the reactions of those around her.


Despite everything we say about the right to privacy and our public position that Wong did no wrong, it will be hypocritical if those concerned milk the issue and still insist that she pay the price with her resignation.


Let’s admit and acknowledge that for a wide section of the public — the vast majority of us normal human beings — there are boyfriends and girlfriends and intimate moments of great privacy.


If a partner violates that privacy for any reason, the other party is not to blame — the blame lies with the person who broke that trust, not the person who gave it.


If that is what we believe as a society, then Wong’s offer to resign should be rejected. If we believe that and still accept her resignation, then we are hypocrites for we are holding her responsible for merely, like the rest of us, being human.


Whichever way this whole sad, sorry episode turns out, the unquestioned criminal in this case is the person who took and distributed the pictures, and it must be pretty clear and obvious to any competent investigator who that is by now.


My hope is that the ex-boyfriend does not get off scot-free for perpetrating what is essentially a sordid crime. He should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.


Do not pass moral judgment on Elizabeth until and unless you know the whole truth. For now, respect Wong's right to her privacy. Give her space and respect her decision. Remember what Jesus said - let him who is without sin cast the first stone.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Valentine's Day

Contrary to what you buggers think, I AM a romantic guy. I took my girl friend out to a candle light dinner at Souled Out in Desa Sri Hartamas. Heck, I even took a picture of her all dressed up.
After dinner we took the obligatory romantic moonlight stroll and lo and behold, what did we see?
Guess Malaysians vill nevair lern too spel porperly, vill dey? Click on the picture above to see what I mean.

Monday, February 9, 2009

The Spanker’s Guide To Getting Laid On Valentine's Day

Get excited, boys - it's Valentine's Day, the most romantic day of the year. At least, that's what Hallmark and other Malaysian retailers have been trying to tell you. With February 14th fast approaching, you better have something good planned for you and your baby. The Spanker turns Cupid Blogger to bring you the following tips:

By "something good", I'm not referring to that time you guys decided to get 50 hot chicken wings, a case of beer, and watched the entire Indiana Jones franchise from start to finish (note: if you actually did do this, you are officially dating the greatest girlfriend that ever lived).

I'm talking about planning the most romantic night in your relationship... by what SHE would deem romantic. That's right, dude: it's all about her on this one. In case you're wondering about your due, you'll always have your birthday.


Rule #1: It's All About Her

Modern women don’t have high expectations of men these days. Thanks to the downfall of modern society, as long as we can talk, eat, and occasionally shower, there’s very little we have to live up to. Of course, when we do go above and beyond, that usually catches their attention.


So, here’s the deal: women only ask two days of us to make them feel amazing – Valentine’s Day and your anniversary. Valentine’s Day is one of the only days that your girlfriend will ask you to be Prince Charming (whatever that is to her) and you owe it to her.


Because, y’know, it only happens once a year. I’m not saying splurge, I’m not saying be obvious; I’m saying: “Make. It. Count.” A Valentine’s Day to be remembered is possibly the greatest leverage in any relationship, especially considering that she chooses to ignore your mammoth porn DVD collection.

Avoid:

* Taking her out to dinner to your usual spots. You never hear any great Valentine’s story start with “First, he picked up the phone and ordered KFC Chicken…”


* Being secretive about anything. Imagine you get a phone call from the hottest girl you ever knew in high school; she’s in town and wants to see you. You go out for drinks, flirt heavily, and just when it looks like this will be the greatest night of your life – she tells you “I can’t wait for you to meet my husband!” That’s what a secret on Valentine’s Day can be like for your girlfriend: high expectations, big letdown.


* Group Activities. Yoga, working out or cooking classes can be a great present… on February 15th. Today is all about her and you.


Why Valentine's Day Matters To Her

It’s not the Hallmark aspect of the holiday, it’s the fact that – for some ridiculous reason – our culture decided that everybody needs to get romantic. Women like romance, some way more than others. It’s not that she wants to be smothered; she just wants to know that she matters to you. You don’t need to go overboard, but you should make an effort that is personalized and says something special.


That’s why I advocate staying away from your stereotypical gestures. Think of it this way: if she had one day to fulfill your basic ideal of a girlfriend, wouldn’t you hope that’d include her dressing up like the Umbrella Girl in the F1 series? Same idea.


The Argument Against Buying Underwear

Here’s the one thing about buying your girlfriend lingerie for Valentine’s Day: you may be a complete idiot. I mean, do you know what she likes? Granted, that may sound counterintuitive to the point of seeing the woman you love in skimpy underwear, but follow me on this one.


Everybody’s got body issues. On top of that, I’m sure she may not appreciate you saying something like “I saw Amber Chia wearing it last week in Spanking DA Monkey” Game point? “Aw c’mon, I think it’s sexy.” Here’s what you do: leave the sexy underwear to a couple’s trip to Victoria Secret… or just let it be a surprise everytime.


In order for your girl to feel sexy, she’s going to need to feel confident and that will most likely happen if she’s comfortable with what she’s wearing. When it comes to getting you excited, she wants a vote of confidence, not to be introduced to your porn-induced fantasies (that’s for the anniversary).

The Argument To Get Freaky

Just as Valentine’s Day should be about your girl, so should Valentine’s Night. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t get your just due in the bedroom, but… well, did you mess up today? Then in that case, I can understand her icy defensive blitz. Anyway, you want to cap Valentine’s Day with some of the best sex you two have ever had. Have fun, but switch it up with something new.


Nothing from out-of-nowhere. If you two always half-joke about the kinkier side of life, don’t think she wants you to buy a harness and the hardest riding crop you can find. Instead focus on your technique: tonguing moves, increasing your endurance, a position that puts her on the absolute receiving end. If you can pull this off, you will have successfully given your girlfriend a great Valentine’s Day to remember. And she will be looking to repay the favor in the near future. Hi, St. Patrick’s Day…


What Women Don’t Want For Valentine's Day.

Don't get me wrong guys, I love this hallmark day. There is nothing better than a day dedicated to the love between two people. Yet, why is it that this love day only happens once a year? Can't we be in love all the time?


Women don't always want your "gifts" ya know. Especially your last minute gifts. Check the following out and see what women don’t want.

Last Minute Gifts

Just forget it if it’s a last minute gift. I mean, what’s the point? It obviously wasn’t thought out; it’s just going to be some flowers and some booze anyway. That last minute crap’s gotta go dude!

Stuffed Toys

Puhleese! Enough is enough! Don’t you understand that they are adults?! They don’t want stuffed animals anymore! STOP IT! JUST STOP IT, STOP IT, STOP IT!

Chalky Candy Hearts

Who said these were good anyway? I mean you could probably write on the sidewalk with these. Instead, spill your love to her there on the sidewalk, instead of making her ingest those chemicals.

What makes you think she would care to eat the word “By” anyway?

Chocolates

Aside from the chocolates with nuts and caramel inside, they do not want chocolate with pink crap. What is that pink crap inside those chocolate hearts? Worse, sometimes its red gooey crap!

Yes, they love chocolate; In fact, they could even sleep with chocolate. But only if it has nuts and caramel inside. Sheesh!


15 Ways to Ruin Valentine's Day

Ok, so most likely you want to have a good time with your special someone on Valentine's Day (unless you're a total jerk and you're planning on breaking up with your GF on V-day, which in that case you might want to continue reading anyway). So, here are few things not to do on Valentine's Day, unless you'd rather be making elaborate pancake breakfasts for yourself in the not-so-distant future.

Fail To Write A Good Card

In certain cases a touching card just might be enough for your Valentine. More often that not however a card is not enough, so you better have a back-up plan - i.e. a new iPod Nano in your pocket - just in case. But if you do go the “just the card” route, make sure it’s good one - if you’re planning on penning a few dirty limericks and calling it a day, you might want to set up a Match.com account right about now. And no, text messages don’t count.

Say Your Ex's Name

...in bed. And I guarantee that soon your bed will look like the one above.

Forget to Make a Dinner Reservation

Unless you’re cooking dinner for your sweetie at home (we’ll get to that in a minute), then you’re probably planning on going out for dinner. But let’s not forget that ten million other people probably have the same idea as you do, so you might want to make reservation ahead of time. Nothing says angry like having to wait two hours for dinner or even worse, ending up at the local McDonalds.

Say "I Love You" Via Sugar

Remember that episode of “Sex and the City” where Miranda’s BF says “I Love You” for the first time on a cookie? Well, don’t do that. If you’re going to buck up and finally say it, don’t say it with confectionery. Be a man.

Forget to Buy a Present

Since money is tight nowadays, I definitely don’t advocate buying your honey that HD TV she’s been eyeing. However, you should get her a little something (preferably something that won’t wilt or melt.)

Show Up Late

Let’s say due to special circumstances (i.e. your day job), you have to meet your Valentine at the restaurant (or wherever else you happen to be celebrating). Try, try, try not to be late—nothing says scorn like someone who’s gorged themselves on Merlot and bar snacks while waiting for the likes of you.

Burn Dinner

Making dinner for your lover can be a very sweet gesture, but all the sweetness turns to bitterness if you burn dinner. So for heaven’s sake keep an eye on the oven, unless your GF happens to find Old Town Kopitiam romantic.

Call/Email/Text During the Evening

Nothing says I’m a bastard like Blackberrying during dinner or even worse -checking your messages while you’re getting it on. So resist the urge, or better yet turn the stupid thing off - unless you want to wake up alone on February 15.

Forget To Bring Flowers

This one is probably more for the guys than the gals (though I’m sure some guys out there might like to receive a bunch of flowers): It’s usually customary to give flowers on V-Day. So if you know what kind of flowers your honey digs, then that makes the task pretty easy. Otherwise, it’s a little more complicated. You’re usually safe with roses, and you might want to avoid carnations or chrythemums—unless you want her to feel like your mother, or that she's at a funeral.

Eat a Few Cloves of Garlic

If you and your special friend both decide to spring for the garlic chicken at dinner, then great, neither of you will realize how much the other one reeks. However, if garlic consumption for the evening is one-sided, then don’t be surprised if you miss out on a goodnight kiss and subsequently a goodnight bonk.


Talk About Valentine's Days Past

So if this your first V-day with your new sweetheart, then it’s probably best not to mention past Valentine’s with ex-lovers. No one wants to hear about how your ex surprised you with a romantic trip to Paris.

Fail to Clean Up

Ok, this applies to pretty much everyone out there (single and not), so listen up. If you’re planning on bringing someone home to your place on February 14 (whether it’s your honey of six years or the waitress you met at 10:30pm) you better make sure it’s clean. Nothing turns someone off like squalor. Come to think of it, wasn’t there an episode of “Friends” about that?

Eat Too Much For Dinner

Nothing’s less sexy than overeating and (a) having a bloated stomach and (b) having indigestion and/or gas and then (c) falling into a food coma. Ergo, you might want to avoid anything having to do with buffets.

Forget to Give Compliments

When you see your love on Valentine’s Day, ignore the fact that she has bags under her eyes or that her nose is running from the cold air, and tell her that she looks great. Because if you don’t there will probably be hell to pay later.

Fall Asleep Early

Even if you work hard for the money, try not to konk out at 9:25pm on Valentine’s Day. Chances are your GF has something planned after dinner (and I’m not talking about dessert), and you don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, right? Somehow that seems like the wrong kind of analogy to use here… but anyway, just drink a freaking cup of coffee.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and happy bonking.