Saturday, September 18, 2010


I am in mourning.  
Just like this old man version of Private Ryan, I'm a wreck.

Unlike the Hebrews of old, I don't shave my head and cover myself in sackcloth and ash when sorrow afflicts my spirit.  No no.

When I mourn, I let the beard devour my face.  It has its way with me.

at my confidence all day long.  

through my facial follicles.

It grows,
it grows

Why do I mourn?
For 100 games the San Diego Padres baseball organization was triumphantly in first place in their division.  With less than three weeks to go, they have fallen from that pedestal.  They are dashing six months of hopes and expectations... and the sorrow of 40 years without a world series victory.  This is why.

The current rivals to my beloved Padres are the San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies.

Now, let's say, for the sake of argument, that at the beginning of the season, the San Diego Padres came out and said, "This year, and every year for the rest of eternity, our goal is to stop the San Francisco Giants from winning the division."  Well, that's a pretty darn negative goal.  As a fan, why would I bother to be personally invested, if the stakes are only ever to stop a negative force.  The only drive that exists under that strata is a fear of the consequences if my opponent prevails.  If the Padres were never striving to gain a world series championship, then I wouldn't care.  I wouldn't follow that wagon.

This, and no more, is what Disney's The Sorcerer's Apprentice throttles its magic fusion rings about for 100 minutes.  You see, there are these evil guys, and if they ever get free from their babushka doll prison trap, their gonna do bad stuff, like, kill everyone in the world bad stuff.  This is all that propels the movie.  Okay, okay, there's also some distant mythology about searching for the new 'one', that wizard which will take up the mantle of ol' dead Merlin himself.  But the only reason this 'Prime Merlinian' is being searched for --- is to give him the opportunity to stop the bad dudes.

Why is it that the bad folks want to destroy the world?  We are never told.  Nope.  They have no motive.  They are merely obstacles to be overcome by the forces of anti-evil.  Maybe they found their Disney-created cosmos a bit boring.  I can't blame them.

I can't really call the Nic Cage Sorcerer Guy Good, because he doesn't really do anything positive except stop the bad guys.  And in my mind, Tom Hanks was right in Saving Private Ryan.  In order for the Private to be a good guy, it's not enough just to kill Nazis, he needed to invent a longer lasting light bulb as well.  That was the point of that movie, right?  That's why the old guy is crying at the cemetery; guilt for never coming up with that light bulb idea.  So, Nicholas Cage the Sorcerer cannot just rely on his banning of villains into babushka dolls.  He must also save the whales (just like the awesome Enterprise crew of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home), or kiss a baby or share his hand fusion trick with scientists or, of course, create a longer lasting light bulb, dammit!

If I cared about the good people at Walt Disney like I do for the Padres, I would be fancying myself a  beard the scope of Joaquin Pheonix's monster, for the level of mourning would be cataclysmic.

Do good, Disney.  Do good.  Stop only doing not-evil.  That's just not good enough.

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