Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
(We join the presidential debate already in progress.)
Moderator: Mr. President, many people have criticized your administration for the unilateral approach you took toward the war in Iraq. If you had it to do over again, would you heed the advice of the world community and give the U.N. weapons inspectors more time to find evidence of weapons of mass destruction?
Bush: Listen, cappy, them weapons inspectors had plenty of time to find them weapons. While they was runnin' around in the desert with their head up some camel's ass, Saddam and alla his cronies, y'know, like Dr. Germ and Lady Anthrax and Dirty Bomb Bob was plannin' to destroy our freedom. The world community had given Iraq chance after chance to not be invaded. How many chances to not be invaded are you gonna give a guy? If I had it to do all over again, I would do absolutely nothing differently except maybe I'd have Saddam actually have some dubya em dees so's I wouldn't have to catch all this shit from media types like you.
Moderator: Senator Kerry?
Kerry: Well, of course, if it had been up to me, we would not have invaded Iraq without financial and military support from many more countries than made up our "Coalition of the Willing." I would have gone before the U.N., made a stronger case for invasion and abided by their decision. But not in any pussy kind of way, because I'm very macho, you know.
Bush: Yeah? Well how many cans of Pabst can you do outta one beer bong?
Moderator: Mr. President, you're not allowed to respond directly.
Bush: I'm sorry. Cocaine makes me a little jumpy. Sorry.
Moderator: Senator Kerry, if elected, would you push to rescind President Bush's tax cut which gives a huge break to the wealthiest Americans?
Bush: I sure as hell wouldn't!
Moderator: The question was for Senator Kerry, Mr. President.
Bush: Oh. Sorry. Again, it's just the coke talking.
Kerry: I would push for repeal of Mr. Bush's tax cut. I don't think his argument that rich people always avoid paying anyway holds water. We have got to do something about the huge deficit under which we are now operating and the tax cut would be the first place I'd start. Sure, my wife might complain in that cute little accent of hers. She might say, "But Johnny-poo, that tax cut is good for us." But I'd take her firmly in hand, maybe apply a light spanking, and tell her, "Shh, Terri. Daddy knows what he's doing."
Moderator: Mr. President, one last question. Boxers or briefs?
Bush: Actually, pally, I'm going commando-in-chief, if you get what I'm sayin'.
Moderator: Ah. Right.
Bush: That means I'm not wearing underwear.
Moderator: Yes, sir, I underst--
Bush: I like a nice breeze on my pee-pee.
Moderator: And so we come to the end of our first debate. We'll see you again on the eighth in St. Louis. Good night.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Angst for the Memories
It was my intention to sit down and write a scholarly treatise on Stanley Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket as viewed through the prism of post- September 11th America. I thought I'd discuss the morality of training men to kill in a country already overwhelmed with grief and maybe draw parallels between R. Lee Ermey's gunnery sergeant and Dick Cheney or something like that. I don't have it in me, though. At the risk of disappointing those of you who might have thought you'd found your free, downloadable doctoral thesis, I am forgoing that particular essay. Perhaps this is due to the wet dog smell hovering oppressively in the air--the remnants of Hurricane Jeanne are currently flooding New York streets and making sure my pit bull mix doesn't want to stay outside long enough to do his business--or perhaps I'm just despairing about the upcoming election.
I don't know how much more I can take. I'm carroming wildly around the pinball machine of the mind (a sentence which I've just copyrighted, so hands off, Phillip Roth). I don't know what's going to happen and I'm afraid I might implode while waiting. What's to think, here, honestly?
The polls that I've seen lately mostly show Bush in the lead. Michael Moore points out that polls are bullshit, that they don't poll people who use cell phones as their main form of communication and are therefore missing a large pool of young and mostly Democratic voters. On the other hand, Kerry has spent most of the campaign thus far answering one charge or another orchestrated by Karl "Satan's Love-child" Rove and has neither stood up enough for himself nor explained his vision to the public. On the other other hand, Bush is the guy who got us into an unpopular war in which more and more young American men are dying every week, and that will be taken into account when people step into the voting booth. On the final hand, though, we come to the fact that many, many, many people in this country are willfully ignorant and get what little tiny bit of news they take in from FOX or some other skewed source and still think that Sadaam Hussein was behind September 11th, the Challenger explosion and their Grandma's hemorrhoids.
A quick side-note to illustrate this: I had more than one student this week, when I brought up the election on class, which I unfortunately do a lot, say, "Hey, I read in the paper that John Kerry is a fag." Instead of taking the time to ask them what the hell a guy's preference for sticking his dick one place instead of another has to do with his ability to run the country, which would have gotten me absolutely nowhere except maybe to apoplexy, I just asked what the hell they were talking about. Apparently, there was something in a paper, something "humorous" about how huggy-touchy-feely Kerry was with Edward in the days after he'd chosen him as the Vice Presidential candidate. And my students wondered, earnestly, if he was a fag.
I believe that children are the future; teach them well and let them fuck the country right the hell up.
And that's the thing, see, as much as I want to be an optimist and believe what Michael Moore says about the people of this country understanding that Bush has to go; that the people of this country understand that the world community has had enough of Bush and will basically turn their backs on us like Michael to Fredo in Godfather II if we're stupid enough to send him to the fucking White House again; as much as I truly want to believe that, I can't help but think of the great George Carlin's appraisal of humanity, which goes something like: "Think how stupid the average person is. Then, realize that half of them are even dumber than that." I don't necessarily believe that America is stupid, despite the success of Paris Hilton. But Bush's team has been extremely effective at controlling the dialogue of this election. They've made a goddamn war hero out to be the jerk, while the draft-evading cokehead is the underdog victimized by vicious media attacks.
One would think, looking at the candidates, that an intelligent man like Kerry would wipe the intellectual floor with Bush in the upcoming debates. But Bush is good at getting those sound bites out there that play so well in the heartland. He's got that smug fucking grin that comes with the conviction that he's god's chosen one and we'd all better follow him. And there are too many people for my comfort who dig that. People who see him as "Maverick" from Top Gun; the cocky hotdog who plays by his own rules and then fucks Kelly McGillis. America needs to wake up here. 'Cause it's not Kelly McGillis who's gonna get fucked. It's us.
I'm seriously considering putting myself under anaesthesia to keep my ass knocked out until November 3rd. Somebody wake me when this nightmare is over.
Monday, September 27, 2004
(Junior) High Fashion
The kids in one of my classes were making fun of me the other day. Not an unusual occurrence. I am, after all, a white guy from Ohio. They weren't making fun of my whiteness; they weren't making fun of my mid-westernhood. They were giving me shit about my shoes.
After four days solid of wearing a pair of dress shoes that are just a tiny bit too tight, I broke out the one pair of athletic shoes in my decidedly non-athletic shoe collection: a pair of brown sneakers from Payless. I picked them up because I wanted something I could walk around in all day comfortably. I didn't notice that they were "Shaqs." Apparently, Shaq needed to install a new hot tub in his private jet, so he lent his name to a line of cheap Payless sneakers which, now that I look at the tongue of the shoe, do actually say, "Shaq."
My students, it seems, have marketing awareness that leaves mine crying for its mother in the dirt. They spotted my shoes within minutes of my showing up in the schoolyard in the morning. One of them said to another, "Yo, Mr. Wack's wearing Shaqs." (Actually, what he said was "Mr. Walk's wearing Shaq's," because my new principal was concerned with how junior high school kids would heap abuse on me if they knew how my name is really spelled, so I have, for the first time in my life, distorted the truth about something that's been a point of honor and pride for 34 years. This makes me want to cry. Anyway...) They all took a closer look and started laughing to one another behind their hands.
One of them recovered from his guffawing enough to say, "Mr. Walk, you're wearing shoes from Payless?" To which I replied that I was, in fact, wearing shoes from Payless and big fucking deal. See, this is where the difference between my childhood and theirs really hits home to me. These kids know more and care more about clothes than I ever did, as a child or now. They're all fucking driven to wear the latest in Cool Wear, be it Burberry or Hilfinger or Sean Jean or huge pink t-shirts (which I don't watch nearly enough hip-hop videos to come close to understanding.) They slam on kids who don't dress in appropriate brands and styles.
When I was in sixth grade, this is not how it was. Yes, there were styles that were cool. I remember when Nike sweatshirts were very big for a time. I remember that painters' caps enjoyed a brief run as fashionable. In junior high, everyone was wearing sweatpants pulled up a couple inches above the ankle. The kids who followed these trends and wore all the right stuff were very cool. But you weren't made fun of if you didn't wear the right stuff. Most guys I knew didn't overly concern themselves with being Junior GQ. We got along okay anyway.
If I was a kid today, I'd be completely fucked. See, my parents loved me and took care of me. I always had plenty of clothes and they were never ratty or full of holes. But they were generally, like, Tuffskins Huskies from Sears or St. John's Bay sweaters from Penney's. My dad just never saw the sense in paying more than fifteen dollars for tennis shoes that I was going to outgrow in a few months anyway.
My sister, because she was both a girl and a couple of years older, had a little more say in what she wore. She always had at least a couple pairs of whatever jeans were trendy at the time. But what the hell did I have to complain about as long as what I wore kept me warm and dry?
And my parents were right. To this day, I don't see the point in paying a hundred bucks for a pair of jeans when you could get practically the same thing for thirty. I don't have any burning desire to look like the guys in the Kenneth Cole ads. And I shop for shoes at goddamn Payless. Why should I or anybody else give a shit what's on my feet? What kind of peace of mind am I meant to get from knowing that I plopped down a hundred and fifty dollars for Air Jordans? I am not an Yves Saint Laurant-following girl. I am a guy and guys should not fucking care what they're wearing.
There. I've said it. Unless a man is going out for a fancy night on the town or he's gay, he should not give two shits what he's wearing. As long it's marginally clean. And doesn't have gaping holes through which his genitalia can poke. And isn't made of rubber.
And it makes him feel pretty.
Friday, September 24, 2004
A Break from Reality
I haven't watched a lot of reality television. Most of the people on these shows remind me of the frat boys and sorority girls I didn't want to hang out with in college, so I've figured the shows were probably not my cup of tea. The episodes I have seen have proved that they're not tea at all, but rather luke-warm goat piss.
I don't, for example, understand why the people who put together The Bachelor feel the need to pause for a full three minutes, panning frantically back and forth among the vacuous retards waiting with baited breath, while the future abusive husband they all want ever so slowly picks up that final rose. Someone needs to explain to me, as well, what sort of med-fly-like life cycle these women are on that they can form these "strong emotional bonds" with a guy they've been kind-of-sort-of-dating for three days. This is like claiming to be a Chicagoan because you had a half-hour layover at O'Hare.
Just in case the mere existence of shit like this on the airwaves isn't enough to convince you that America deserves George Bush, we have magazines like US and fucking In Touch; sub-People bundles of drek which actually report on how these pre-fab "couples" are doing. And it's always BIG NEWS when they break up. Five years ago, nobody seemed particularly shocked when Darva Conger didn't go through with marrying the rapist (or whatever the hell he was) who picked her on Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire. Have we now lost so many collective brain cells that we think that the fiancees from The Bachelor or Meet the Parents or Hey I'm a Moron, Marry Me have relationships grounded in anything deeper than your average window box?
Likewise, I've heard conversations in which people expressed surprise that whatever J.C. Penney catalog model it was that won The Apprentice wasn't immediately made Vice President at Trump, Inc. Think about this for a moment. The Donald (although I really just think of him as A Donald) may look and sound like the biggest idiot to ever wear a dead golden retriever on his head, but he's been in business a long, long time. He's made a shitload of money. He's made several shitloads of money. Is there any way that he's going to hand a position of real authority to someone because they and their "team" were better at selling ice cream cones?
I can't stand Survivor and its rip-offs in part because I don't want to listen to alpha-male dipshits boastfully laying out for the viewing audience their "master plan" to get some other double-x-chromosome jackass voted off. "I've formed an alliance with Jake and Ashley, but I've formed an underground coalition with Cooper and Sasha to get rid of Logan." Your plan is not that fucking fascinating, guy. Just shove the coconuts up your ass--or whatever the "immunity challenge" is--and shut your stubbly goddamn mouth.
There are occasional reality show bits and pieces that make me smile. I think most of the stand up on Last Comic Standing is as fun to listen to as a ninety-year-old hacking up the morning's phlegm, but I do occasionally get a chuckle out of how much Jay Mohr hates what he has to do to earn a paycheck. Listen to him some time as he's explaining, for the five hundredth time, the process by which the comedians vote each other off. You can see in the set of his jaw that he'd kind of like to slit his wrists while jumping off of a tall building.
Now, I have to say that I do like The Amazing Race. For one thing, the goofy tasks they have to go through to get the clues telling them where to go next are usually at least vaguely interesting. This past season, I, for one, loved watching stick-thin models being forced to eat a full pound of caviar or a midget running down the street with a side of beef on her head or an "extreme athlete" exploding with rage because his oxen wouldn't cooperate. I like the way they identify whichever of the teams are on screen. Last season, they had a couple who'd been dating for ten years without having sex. Whenever they showed them, they'd flash "Brenda & Carl. Dating; virgins" on the screen. This year, they had a pair of dating christian models who repeatedly thanked The Lord or asked for His help in, say, walking a pack of dogs through a crowded street. When faced with a "challenge" in which they both had to cut off their hair--long, flowing brunette for her, Greatest American Hero for him--they refused and left their fate up to the lord, who saw fit to keep them in the game. No matter who the teams of two are, though, they all have wonderfully explosive moments of hatred. Many of them seem to be one poorly navigated canoe trip away from full-on domestic violence. And that's always good television.
In the end, though, I can't help but feel that reality television is taking away slots from quality scripted shows like Yes, Dear and According to Jim and Dr. Vegas. How can shitty actors be expected to make a living when shitty reality shows are preventing them? Who's going to put the food on Joey Lawrence's table? Can you look a starving Fran Drescher in the eye? Please, return to the land of make-believe and leave reality behind. Remember: in the fake world, Martin Sheen is president.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
Like every other guy born from 1967 to 1973 who wasn't raised either in a cave or by acid-damaged luddite hippies on a commune whose sole electrical appliance was the water filter on the living room bong, I was greatly influenced by the original Star Wars trilogy. From an unshakeable--albeit susceptible to burial deep, deep within my psyche--belief in the ultimate triumph of good and virtue to a life-long attraction to short brunettes to spiritual beliefs that proved to be embarrassingly similar to The Force, the saga of the Skywalker family shaped my life in many ways.
I don't want to get into any kind of analysis of this, as it's been done to death in doctoral theses and magazine articles and nine out of ten indie movies released between 1991 and 2000. I lay out my love of Star Wars merely to impress upon the reader the depth, length and breadth of my excitement that the original threesome are finally being released this week on DVD.
Now, I'm not going to spend a whole lot of time carping about how Lucas has cheapened the original trilogy by foisting upon us Episodes I & II, movies so horrendously written that one might assume they'd issued forth from the typewriter of a retarded monkey. I won't dwell on acting stiffer than Ann Coulter's nipples as she stares at a picture of George W. Bush in a flight suit. I'll pause only the briefest of moments to mention the blasphemy of introducing into the Star Wars pantheon characters as truly offensive as the Asian-sounding trade ministers or the neo-Jamaican Jar Jar Binks, which appeared to be lifted from a Bugs Bunny cartoon circa 1942.
All of that I leave behind as I explore the special Advance Copy I received from Lucasfilm and share the secrets and surprises contained within...with you.
Hopefully, my disclosing all these wonderful factoids won't take away from your enjoyment of these classics, now completely retooled by an increasingly wrong-headed director who thinks he's "improving" them. May the Force blah blah blah.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
The Bitch Goddess Caffeine
I drink a lot of Diet Mountain Dew. The average amount of it I consume on any given day is, like all of these sorts of things, cyclical. I have, at times, gotten up to the point where I drink seven or eight cans of it in a twenty-four hour period. If you subtract from that the pathetically little amount of sleep I get per night, let's say that that averages six hours, that means that I go through stretches wherein I consume nearly half a can of Diet Mountain Dew every hour.
Am I right to be disturbed not only by the amount of this soda I drink, but also by the fact that I think about it in the same kind of terms I used to use to describe my cigarette intake? It tells me in no uncertain terms that I am, there can be no arguing, an addict. I've been drinking this neon yellow shit for twelve years now. That's a lot of potassium benzoate, brominated vegetable oil and phenylketonurics that I've put in my body. I'm pretty sure that my innards are completely calcified from years of this sort of abuse. Or at the very least this stuff has to have eaten away at my stomach lining, leaving me seconds away from ulcer-central.
Unfortunately, I cannot look at my insides to ascertain the damage done. The only physical effect that I can detect for certain is the withdrawal headache I get if I don't get enough of it. That's really pretty pathetic. I mean, if you ask me why I drink Diet Mountain Dew, I can't really say, "I love the taste." It tastes pretty much like battery acid. I can't say, "It gives me pep." I've built up such a tolerance to caffeine that I am utterly unable to feel its effects, excepting the occasional bout of the 2:30 AM Why-The-Hell-Can't-I-Stop-My-Mind Jitters when I drink a can after 10:30 at night.
So, if I can't nail down a positive reason I drink this shit, then it boils down to, "Because it hurts if I don't." Which is something that a crackhead or an enema junkie might say. What an awful reason to do anything. "Because it hurts if I don't." This basically makes me caffeine's abuse wife. I may think about just taking the kids and leaving, but caffeine's usually so good to me. I know it really loves me, deep down under all the pain.
My case is not hopeless. When my wife and I were in Europe, I went completely without Diet Mountain Dew. The Spaniards have never heard of the stuff. The French piss from a high place on that sort of relic of American culture (oddly enough, Diet Mountain Dew sort of looks like piss, but that's neither here nor there). When we were over there, I actually made do with good old fashioned coffee. (Well "good" is sort of a misnomer, considering that English and Dutch coffee was a couple notches below "abysmal.") I did start drinking a lot more Diet Coke, or, as the French and Spanish call it, "Coca Cola Lite,"--because, if you're going to use an English word, "lite" is much more descriptive than "diet."
As soon as I hit the States, though, I hopped right back on the Diet Mountain Dew horse and I've been riding it wildly across the plains ever since. I think the time has come for me to dismount.
Going cold turkey would probably leave me with a massive cerebral hemorrhage, so I think I'm going to have to taper off. My goal is to be drinking no more soda by Christmas. Instead I will get my caffeine only from coffee. About five pots of it a day ought to do.
Sunday, September 12, 2004
God Bless the U.S.A.
Most of the day had already gone by yesterday before I realized that commemoration was in order. For the first time in three years, September 11th completely slipped my mind. Before, I've taken a moment to reflect, maybe dropped a note to the people I was with when it all happened or reminded myself of how much I love my wife and how frightening it was to be across the continent from her and to not know where or how she was.
That's how I mark the day.
A friend of ours was dancing last night in an outdoor performance in southern Manhattan. Due to a little confusion about exactly where this was, we ended up spending some time at Ground Zero, where we witnessed how others choose to remember.
T-Shirt vendors, apparently, choose to remember the worst terrorist attack ever on U.S. soil by clearing out their warehouses of all the shit that hasn't sold in previous years and slashing prices. They were out in droves, with their "NYC 9/11/01" shirts and their "Never Forget" hats and their clever changey pictures which show the Twin Towers when held one way and an eagle carrying a flag when looked at from a different angle. Tasteful!
There were people who dug their "These Colors Don't Run" signs out of the attic or reassembled their "Send a Bomb to Saddam" missile prop, apparently either forgetting that Saddam is already in jail or just being to lazy to repaint it with the name of whoever Bush wants to attack next.
Bad actors seem to feel that the best way to honor those who were killed is to perform bad readers theater. And they stood by the hallowed ground and emoted their little hearts out, bringing tears to the eyes of people who came from all over the country to memorialize the tragedy and buy Twin Towers snow globes.
People mourned in matching t-shirts with the FDNY logo on the front and "Carson City Nevada Remembers" on the back. They expressed their love for this country while waving huge flags and wearing flag-fabric pants suits that rubbed Old Glory between their fat, sweaty thighs. They comforted those who lost family members by holding up bibles and signs that read "Repent, for only in the embrace of our Lord Jesus can you avoid the pits of Hell!" I'm certain the families of Muslim and Jewish were glad to hear that.
My absolute favorite, though, the best of the best of the best, was this dyed-blonde mullet-head and his dyed blonde galpal who parked their commemorative monster truck in front of Ground Zero--apparently with full cooperation of the authorities, so maybe it was designated "The Official Monster Truck of New York Mourning"--for hours. Allow me to describe the truck. Think big; think jacked up on huge over-size wheels; think police lights on top; think special amplified fog horn to yell our collective rage to the skies; think the most beautifully airbrushed pre-attack skyline of New York, adorned with air-brushed yellow ribbons and air-brushed flags. Truly a heartfelt expression of grief. So this pudgy chowderhead and his rejected-by-Penthouse life-partner are sitting atop this fucking monstrosity for at least a couple hours as morons form an ogling circle and take pictures of the truck, the mullet-head, themselves standing in front of the truck, themselves with the mullet-head, the mullet-head and his girlfriend struggling to remember how to spell "cat." Then, for extra fun, the crowd gets the guy to occasionally flash the lights and set off his big aaooooga horn.
Now, I will stop short of saying that assholes like this help me to understand why people hate America. I will, however, state that seeing how many of these people there were in one hour in one block of one city makes me realize that Bush will have no trouble getting re-elected. Because there are a great many people in this country who's thoughts on September 11th and America's position in the world go no deeper than multiple listenings to Len Doolin's classic anthem of twangy-guitar nationalism, "There Ain't No Yellow in the Red, White and Blue." And they all vote Republican.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
Bush VS Moore
I don't know if any of you have been following the election-year battle between Michael Moore and President Bush. I've collected some of the barbs they've traded here for your perusal. Enjoy.
Posted on michaelmoore.com
Dear Mr. President,
You may have read in the newspaper that I decided not to pursue the Academy Award for best documentary this year for my movie Farenheit 9/11. I was certain you'd be wondering why and I thought I'd take a moment to explain myself to you.
First off, I think that the fact that the film is the highest grossing documentary ever is a greater validation than a hundred Oscars TM. Then there's the fact that it already won the Palm D'Or at Cannes, where it received an unprecendented twenty minute standing ovation. Additionally, pundits around the country are saying that, if you lose this election, my film will have played a huge part in your defeat. Add to that the fact that I've already won an Oscar TM, for my last film, Bowling for Columbine, which also set box office records for documentaries, and I just didn't feel the need.
Plus, I'm working on a new book, which my publishers have told me they're going to refuse to publish. I don't care. So strong is my commitment for the truth, I'm going to pay to have it published myself. Unfortunately, those jaggoffs in the paper industry are upset by my politics, and I've heard that they're going to refuse to provide paper on which to print the books. Think that's going to stop me? Hardly.
I'm moving ahead with a bold and daring new plan. I intend to print my new book on a new kind of paper made entirely from recycled pink slips handed out by greedy corporations, with ink made from my own blood. Amazon.com has told me the book has been number one on their best-seller list since the first synapse fired in my head giving birth to the thought that I might write it. Actually, the top five on their pre-order list are all books that I may or may not write in the near future.
You've gravely underestimated the intelligence of the American public, Mr. President. You haven't given them credit enough to admit that they're going to see my movies and buy my books. But they will, sir. Starting with Roger & Me, a little less so with The Big One and then not really at all with Canadian Bacon, but back up to more with Bowling for Columbine and then Farenheit 9/11, the public has spoken with their wallet. And they've said loud and clear that they're intelligent enough to give me money.
Scary for you, huh?
From the Dallas Morning News Op-Ed Page 9/7
Dear Michael Moore,
You're a poopy head. I have enclosed a drawing of your head. Please notice that I have drawn it with a bunch of poo inside it. That's 'cause I think your head is full of poo.
You have a big belly. You are fat with donuts. You don't know this, but I call you Mr. Donut Eater Guy when you're not listening. And since you never really can hear me, 'cause I'm not where you are, I say it a lot.
Do you like maple syrup? If so, check this box...
Love, Big G.dub
Transcript of Michael Moore speech at 42nd Annual People's Choice Awards:
Thank you. It's such an honor that all the people who have helped Farenheit 9/11 gross over $100 million at the box office have now joined together to grace me with this honor. It's made all the more meaningful since I allowed the movie to be shown on television, thus denying myself a chance at another Oscar TM.
I felt trying for another Oscar TM would be selfish. Not only would it mean that none of the other films that will eventually be nominated would have any chance of winning; not only would it mean that my film would reach fewer voters, thus ensuring a Bush victory; not only would a lengthy Oscar TM campaign serve to slow production on my next film, which, although I haven't shot a frame yet, has already received the Audience Award at Sundance. It could also have placed the president's life in danger when any one of my hundreds of thousands of fans takes me too seriously when I call for jihad and his head on a platter from the Kodak Theatre stage. No, no. Much better to speak from this Airport Denny's where the P.C.A's are taped.
So, again, thank you America. Thank you, President Bush, for giving me so much to work with.
On a Cocktail Napkin
Dear Michael Moore,
Poopy poopy poopy. Head, dead, sled. Poo-oo-oo-oo-py. Ladidididididida. Heh.
I'm on cocaine. I'm mister snorty! Yaaay!
Truly one of the greatest intellectual debates in history.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Where Are the Mod Squads of Today?
I read Entertainment Weekly's Fall TV Preview this weekend. It made me very sad. I don't watch all that much television, especially on the networks, but there's usually something every year that sounds at least vaguely intriguing. It's inevitably either far less intriguing in execution than it is on paper or far too outside the normal network parameters for executives to allow it to live. This year, though, there is nothing.
By the time Friends was finally put out of its misery, a good five years too late, I wanted to claw my ears out any time that perky fucking theme song rang out. Now they're going to keep Matt LeBlanc's character on the air so it can continue to decay and putrefy in front of a national audience. Did AfterMash teach us nothing? I think you need only think of the fact that the supporting cast of Seinfeld has about forty-five failed sitcoms between them since that show's overblown and un-funny finale to illustrate that, once you've been on the air for ten years in a row, we're tired of seeing you. The cast of Friends should be kept apart by restraining order and should be forced to wear lowjacks so we can thwart any attempts to do a reunion special.
There's another CSI and another Law & Order on the way. Is there some aspect of forensic investigation or police procedure that the other twelve versions of these shows aren't exploring adequately? Will every city in America with a population of over 8,000 be getting its own CSI? Will every position in a police department be made the subject of a Law & Order? Someone needs to step in and stop Bruckheimer and Wolfe before these shows metasticize to the network bone and crowd out all other shows.
At least these shows are up front about being the same goddamn thing on a different night. CBS appears to think that it's fooling someone by having different names for its sitcoms, but there's not a one of them that couldn't be described by the sentence, "Working stiff has to deal with sassy wife and irrascible father/father-in-law." They've got about five of them now and they're coming out with two more. Unfortunately for the national IQ, that's not a joke. I guess there is that one with Charley Sheen, where there is no wife, unless you count Jon Cryer, which I do.
This year sees all sorts of Hollywood Royalty returning to the small screen. Shannen Doherty! John Goodman! Dean Cain! Those dipshits from Party of Five! Are we being punished for our sins? Is the apocalypse actually nigh? Why can't they just let these people turn up on the occasional reality show? They're taking work away from other actors. Okay, Goodman doesn't belong on that list, I admit. But the man needs to stick to supporting parts in movies. He's got more television misfires than goddamn McClean Stevenson. I say, three strikes, you're out. Once you've proven that you can't star in a decent series, you stop getting chances.
There also needs to be some regulation of the night-time teen soaps. If they're going to all feature kids who can't be distinguished from each other, they should have to either wear nametags or be given some kind of interesting disfiguring scar, because I can't tell any of the guys on The O.C. from any of the guys on One Tree Hill from any of the girls on Everwood. Back in the day, the guys on 90210 at least grew different lengths of sideburns.
I would like to suggest, additionally, that euthanasia be considered as a humane option for E.R., That 70s Show and David Caruso. The first two out of respect for what they were in the beginning and the last just to make the world a better place.
I believe I'll be getting a lot of reading done this fall. So, thank you, networks, for driving me to the library. Where I'll be until you see the light and bring back The Waltons.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
A Short Story
Shecky was unhappy. He'd been that way for a long, long time, but he'd just come to be aware of the full extent of his unhappiness the night of the disastrous party. Before then, he'd just assumed it was natural to be dissatisfied with one's lot in life and to never feel truly at ease at home, at work or anywhere in the world. He'd gone through his entire life without any sort of sustained joy. He'd hit age 28 without ever once lying back on the grass, turning his face to the sky and sighing contentedly.
The night of the party, his birthday party, for his girlfriend always invited her friends over for charades and fondue on his birthday, began like many birthdays in the past. He returned to the apartment after running all of Lanie's errands (picking up his cake, buying the wine, borrowing Mable's decorative fondue forks) to find Lanie hard at work slicing bread cubes and putting shrimp on skewers. Shecky was allergic to shrimp, but he had to admit it always smelled good.
After Lanie went through the checklist with him twice, satisfied only then that he'd completed all his assigned tasks, he went to clean the bathroom, which was not fit to receive company, as he'd accidentally broken a bottle of Old Spice the week before and hadn't yet managed to rid the room of the smell. As he headed off to begin cleaning, Lanie thrust a scrub brush into his hand and informed him that, if he didn't get the ring of scum from around the sides of the tub, he'd be eating his birthday cake on the curb. Shecky pictured the scum ring in his mind and laid himself odds that he'd be streetside come party time.
After ten minutes of scrubbing, Shecky found himself a bit woozy. Between the lingering Old Spice fumes and the Mr. Clean and the complete lack of ventilation, he was growing very dizzy. Nevertheless, he scrubbed away diligently, not wanting to disappoint Lanie. He'd been working on the same spot since he started and the scum ring hadn't faded noticeably. The bucket of Mr. Clean and water, however, had grown somewhat greyish, so he decided he'd better refresh it. He stood up to walk to the sink. Better expressed: he stood up too quickly to walk to the sink and, before he could take so much as a step out of the tub, the room began to spin and pitch. He tried to call out as he fell, but only got out a muffled, "Maarrgh" before his head hit the bathroom floor.
When Shecky awoke, he was very surprised to find himself not on a cold tile floor in need of sweeping. Instead, the surface below him felt and smelled very much like grass. Long, cool grass. He cautiously lifted his head and opened his eyes just a sliver. The tiny silver men who'd gathered around his ankles jumped back and regrouped about five feet from him, near a bright green bush dotted with purple berries. The whispered nervously to each other and gestured furtively in his direction. Shecky sat up and just as quickly fell back down. The little silver men retreated a few feet further.
Shecky decided not to sit up again. He called out, "Excuse me. Do you know what happened to my bathroom?"
The tallest of the little silver men approached Shecky slowly. He very gently said, "Blurg grathha ma wooden."
Shecky shook his head slightly. "Sorry, old man, I don't understand what you're saying."
The little man tried again. "Micken zoo prathta?"
Shecky did his best to interpret the little man's tone. He seemed friendly enough, if slightly paranoid. His head feeling a trifle less spinny, Shecky very slowly sat up, which caused the little man to jump back several paces. Shecky took a better look around and saw that there were practically a whole village-full of little silver people around him. Some of them appeared to be families, with several generations present. Others might have been city councilmen, if one were to judge by the way they interacted. Shecky raised his hand in a slow, friendly wave. He said, "I'm Shecky. Do you speak English?"
Upon which all of the silver people fell on Shecky and tore him apart with their razor sharp teeth. It was incredibly painful. The moral of the story is, always try to speak in the other person's language and never serve fondue at a birthday party.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
Can't write much right now, but I just wanted to ask if any of you saw/heard anything from the speeches at the RNC last night. I think I may have a problem with my hearing. I really need to get it checked out. I'm worried, because it seems to me like I heard Laura Bush say that her husband was some kind of champion of stem cell research. It must be a problem with my ears, because I know that nobody, nobody would be so bald-faced as to assert that a man who, with the collective penis of the conservative Christians firmly in his mouth, affirmed his commitment to the pro-life movement by limiting stem-cell research to a handful of already-existing lines, not all of which are even viable, as to assert that this man has aided the cause of stem-cell research. I guess you could say this is true in the same way that Stalin helped dissidents by giving them plenty of time to themselves in which to gather their thoughts.
And Schwarzenegger? What the fuck was that? He delivered the most ham-handed stand-up routine since Tom Hanks' breakdown scene in Punchline. Apparently, though, I saw an edited version of the speech that left out all the wonderful, thoughtful, effective things that the press saw. I guess the cutting-room floor is littered with keen political insights, 'cause all I saw was a series of movie-reference sound-bites that the lamest Academy Award presenter would've walked off the stage before reading off a cue card.
On a more positive note, the Wife and I, as I've written before, had a wonderful time in Europe, particularly Paris. We're very happy that we loved it so much, because we will be packing up our things and moving there if that frat-boy fuckhead wins. I'm going to go now and attempt to drown my despair in either vodka or Ben & Jerry's, whichever I get my hands on first.
*Quick plug: Disgruntled Bit-Players will be performing a reading of our new piece, The Lefty Show, as part of The UnConvention, Thursday night at 11PM in the Loft Theatre at Barrow Group Space, 312 W. 36th Street in Manhattan's Fashion District. It's funny, it's free, you should come.*