AJ Ericksen's Blog World

Friday, June 30

Million to One Shot, Doc

... million to one.

Tuesday, June 27

Steven Seagal Update

This Übermensch not only kicks butt in (straight-to-TNT) movies but he also slays on the guitar, reports the Washington Post.

From the article (with perhaps a bit of sarcasm):
Slumping behind a folding table, the 55-year-old actor appears exhausted and a bit irritable -- perhaps because he slept only an hour the night before, then spent half the day stuck in traffic en route from a gig in Hagerstown before getting onstage to lead his touring band through nearly two hours of high-octane blues. He pounds the table with his left hand, which is roughly the size of a bear paw. He exhales. He looks at his watch. The line keeps moving.

"Your movies inspired me to go into martial arts," says another fan. Seagal nods again and signs again, this time writing his name on the cover of an "Under Siege" DVD.

"Is there going to be an 'Under Siege 3'?" ("I hope so," Seagal says softly. Scribbles on an 8-by-10 photo.)

"You're awesome! When's your next movie going to be in theaters?" ("Probably next year." T-shirt. Keep moving, please.)
* * *
If you really want to get Steven Seagal going, tell him he's no Russell Crowe -- or, for that matter, Don Johnson, Kevin Bacon or Keanu Reeves.

Dynastic Wealth

Yesterday, every major new outlet reported on Warren Buffett's $31 billion gift to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Mr. Buffett and the Gateses gave a great hour-long interview with Charlie Rose on PBS last night that was very interesting. For example, it was heartening to note that "leakage" is very low in vaccine distributions in corrupt countries -- much lower than in projects such as developing infrastructure.

In this avalanche of news reports, I found this little gem from Mr. Buffett on welfare programs:
Nothing is more offensive to the American tradition of meritocracy, [Buffett] said, than rich men being able to pass on "dynastic wealth" and let their grandchildren determine the fates of hundreds of fellow Americans.

Jokingly asking if he had left anyone insulted, he described how offended he was when he heard rich Americans at country clubs describe their feeling that giving welfare to poor people keeps them in poverty "while they are trying to leave their children a more-than-lifetime-supply of food stamps and are substituting a trust officer for a welfare officer."
Regarding inheritances, Mr. Buffett has also been much quoted over the years as saying that he would give his children enough money to do anything but not enough to do nothing.

Saturday, June 10

An Intimate Look at Steven Seagal

From Jared Bloom's Still Kicking: The Very Authorized Biography of Steven Seagal, published in McSweeney's, check out how Hard to Kill was made:
Two days later, Steven received a phone call from his agent, Joe Powers, who was raving about a script he had found earlier that morning in Bruce Willis's trash. It was the story of Mason Storm, a renegade cop who emerges from a coma seven years after discovering an attempted murder plot against a Senate candidate and exacts revenge by killing people and sexing up Kelly LeBrock.

"I like it," Steven said as he slid a green-tea popsicle across his lips. "Politics is very popular right now." And with Congress making laws in Washington at that very moment, he was absolutely right.
Hard to Kill has always been one of my favorite action movies -- Seagal at his very best. Not only does it feature Seagal escaping from a hospital by pushing his bed through the halls with a stick after waking up from several years in a coma, but then he delivers a training sequence before taking on the bad guys that rivals Rocky for overall awesomeness. He even breaks from his mold as the celebate monk and gets the girl -- then wife Kelly LeBrock. Perhaps the most celebrated performance of the greatest action star of his era in his prime. Add it to your library today.