Archive for January, 2012
I’ll never figure out the plastic surgery/facial thing. Every person that does it, male and female, ends up looking exactly the same: terrible. Nicole Kidman? Ugh. Jerry Jones? Egad. Shannon Tweed? Yikes. Barry Manilow? Beyaggh. Seriously, if plastic surgery actually enhanced a person’s looks, I could kind of understand why someone on the “wrong” side of 50 and with a boatload of money would decide to slice and dice his/her face in the hopes of hanging on to 40 for a few more years. But though it doesn’t enhance anyone’s looks in any way, shape or form, the people that opt for it don’t seem to give a hoot. For them, it’s all about the idea of not looking old – but instead of paying some doctor $100K to stretch your face out tighter than a snare drum and gigantisize your lips so you look like the victim of a three-nest wasp attack, couldn’t you accomplish the youthful thing by wearing a baseball cap, or changing up your makeup, or staying out of the sun more? Or, I don’t know, why don’t you just embrace the autumn of your life and stop worrying about your effing face?
Of course, it’s primarily a Hollywood thing, a money thing. “Aging gracefully” doesn’t exist in the millionaire’s lexicon. I always found Nicole Kidman to be a very attractive woman. But look at her now – good lord. And the sad thing is, it’s just the beginning, because a few years from now she’ll decide she needs another procedure, and then another, until she ends up looking like a serviceable stunt double for Joan Rivers. Once you set foot on the “I look like crap and only surgery can help me” path, there’s no turning back.
It’s sad because it’s psychological. What these people possess in material assets, they sorely lack in the immaterial kind. I wish Stuart Smalley would lend them a hand.
I don’t have a lot to offer today – it’s day five of my son’s “Big Boy Bed” experience and REM sleep has been non-existent. I was, however, awake enough earlier in the week to hear the startling news that New Gingrich is in favor of building an American base on the moon. Being the supporter of space exploration that I am, I soon found myself considering Newt’s motives for such a brave step into the void:
Seven reasons why Newt Gingrich is in favor of an “American Moon base”:
- Covets the opportunity to establish an intergalactic presence for Tiffany’s
- It’s a quiet, out-of-the-way place to stash a mistress or two
- Will give it to General Zod in return for the copyright to “Planet Houston”
- Believes that old wives’ tale about the moon being stuffed with five dollar bills
- Hopes to hook the xenophobes’ vote away from Ron Paul by promising to move the entire country to the moon by 2030
- Mistakenly thought “Moon” was code for “stripper’s keister” and “base” was code for “Little Newt”
- Intent on finding (and eventually snuggling with) Alf
For a moon base to use as a launching pad for further space exploration: a gazillion zillion
For whatever Newt has in mind: -4.9
I’m pretty sure Newt Gingrich has never heard this song:
Mitt Romney is a successful businessman and a devoted family man. He’s handsome, possesses a firm handshake, and smells like Corinthian leather. He has the wink, the nod, the “point out the high school buddy in the crowd, shake your head and laugh” thing, the ability to end a sentence with a promise guaranteed to rile up his constituents, the blue jeans/flannel shirt/”hey, I’m a normal guy!” look , the phalanx of smiling kids behind him. In biz-speak, he “ticks all the right boxes”.
In other words, he’s an android birthed from the womb of corporate America – and his death knell will be his complete and utter lack of real, believable charisma and pathos. Sure, I’d follow Mitt Romney’s investment advice, and I know he could help me out if I ever became hopelessly flummoxed by the Cape Cod antiquing scene – but I wouldn’t follow the guy into a foxhole. In fact, I wouldn’t follow him down the block, unless our destination was a bank or a seminar on M&A’s. Unless he’s talking dollars and cents, Mitt Romney inspires me not the least. I don’t believe he has the depth and complexity of character to make a difference as POTUS, and I don’t believe he has the stones to yank this country out of the morass of greed and indifference it’s currently wallowing in. In short, it would be business – with an emphasis on business – as usual.
Given the choice between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, it’s no contest – Obama gets my vote hands-down, based purely on charisma, attitude and personality. He has his faults, sure — but what President doesn’t? The country’s current state has more to do with its size and a festering culture of irresponsibility than its President. Seriously, how much impact can one man have on a country of 350 million that is separated from him by distance and bureaucracy? Anyways, Obama’s charismatic. He’s personable. He feels genuine – or as genuine as a politician can feel. He seems to care, he can shoot the shit in a believable, “normal guy” way, he’s a fighter, and I don’t get the sense that there’s a secret tab behind his left ear that when pulled will allow you to remove his face, like I do with Romney. If Romney buys the Republican nomination, Obama will crush him. Yes crush, in italics.
Bear in mind that I’m analyzing this from a neutral position. I’m not a Republican or a Democrat. What am I? I think federal government should operate at 20% of its current capacity and authority. I put more emphasis on the individual than the collective. If I were President, and you gave yourself second-degree burns because you wedged a cup of hot coffee between your legs, you would immediately be exiled to my brand-new, Moon-based Colony for Knuckleheads who Contribute Nothing to Society. Your lawyer will be there – you guys can catch up! I believe the trough should be drained and the Capitol fumigated, post-haste. I believe that all politicians’ salaries should be capped at $50K, and that 75% of all post-office revenues accrued from lobbying, consulting and book tours should be donated to charity.
But since we’re still years away from any of this happening, I’ll have to occupy my time with the current situation.
IOH: N/A – Mitt Romney won’t be elected President.
Here’s a song about what could happen if we all finally got our shit together.
Kool & The Gang is the opening act for Van Halen’s 2012 world tour. My first reaction was, “What took so long?” My second reaction was, “Would this have happened if Sammy Hagar was still in the band?” I’ve got no beef with Kool and his Gang – “Victory” got me pumped up for my park district basketball games in 5th grade, and “Ladies Night” has been a staple on my stepdaughter’s new karaoke machine since Christmas. But opening for Van Halen? Nope, not feeling it.
Anyways, I decided to make the best of this peculiar news and started brainstorming other weird opening act/headliner combinations:
The Osmonds opening for Slayer
NKOTB opening for Motorhead
Gallagher opening for GWAR
Megadeth opening for Metallica (or vice-versa)
Captain & Tennille opening for L7
Hanson opening for Iron Maiden
David Garrett opening for Pantera
Yanni opening for Danzig
John Tesh opening for Porcupine Tree
Engelbert Humperdink opening for Loggins & Messina opening for Sepultura
I haven’t seen Van Halen live since the ‘91/’92 F.U.C.K. tour. I’d like to see them again – but with the Red Rocker, who I prefer over DLR. I know, I’m a douchebag.
Here’s who Eddie et al. should have chosen as their opening act. This is one of the best songs of all time. And when I say “all time”, I mean dating back to at least the Mesozoic.
Football is America’s new national pastime — but that still doesn’t necessitate rolling out a six-man pre and postgame crew every Sunday on TV. Six guys, plus assorted pundits, comedians, weather people, ex-players, celebrity guests, agents, mistresses and lord knows whoever else chiming in during a show that only lasts an hour. And it’s not like these guys are tiny – they’re all behemoths, crammed together at one table like gumballs in a jar and unwisely defying the universal law of personal space. I wouldn’t be surprised if they wanted to kill each other after each segment just based on pure hyper-proximity.
I like football – but not enough to tune into a show with six yammering dudes and zillions of charts, stats, graphics, diagrams and analyses of Jimmy Johnson’s hair’s wind resistance, plus robots posturing and a Miller Lite commercial every three minutes. Sensory overload to the extreme, just like 90% of today’s media. I’d use the term “jump the shark” if I thought there was any chance the NFL could be due for a decline and that the six-man pre/postgame show was a harbinger of it, but that isn’t happening. I don’t know what’s more likely to cause mass panic: an announcement that aliens have arrived on Earth with an avant-garde cookbook called To Serve Man, or the NFL season being cancelled.
Give me the days of yore, when the three-man crew of Brent Musberger, Irv Cross and Jimmy the Greek was all we needed. Three guys, a beige backdrop and an occasional toss to Ahmad Rashad. Simple stuff – we’ll talk about the games, we’ll get a quick weather report, we’ll give the Greek a few minutes for the over/under and we’re off. No robots, celebrity impersonators, guys running around in suits diagramming plays on a fake in-studio football field, Mike Ditka trying to recapture the Ditka of 25 years ago instead of enjoying retirement, Terry Bradshaw doing his country bumpkin thing, Chris Carter delivering unsolicited opinions, and dudes trying to write something on an index card without elbow-tickling the nipple of the guy next to him.
This song has nothing to do with football, but the title would be a great fit with one of those “Year in Review” DVDs, i.e. The 1985 Chicago Bears: Architecture of Aggression.
Opportunity Knocks currently holds down a robust 13% on Rotten Tomatoes (I say “currently” because I’m secretly hoping this blog entry generates a wave of support with armchair critics, who through sheer force of will are able to bump it up to a 22). This is inexcusable considering it stars Dana Carvey, one of the funniest comedians of the 80’s/90’s. Yes, the plot is formulaic. Yes, the story is a little thin – unless you’re from Chicago, in which case scenes of Carvey and his girlfriend using a paddleboat on the lake at Lincoln Park Zoo are endearing, as is the fact that the girlfriend’s father’s safe combination is the date on which Cubs great Ernie Banks hit his 500th homerun. Did I mention that the safe’s prized possession is the actual ball Ernie hit? Chicago roolz! Anyhooter, it’s certainly not Vacation, Tommy Boy or Happy Gilmore, but Carvey owns the movie and delivers all of the trademark lines/impressions (including George Bush, leper-guy, Mick Jagger-ish rocker guy, etc.) which made him a household name. It was funny stuff back in the day and for some of us it remains funny.
The supporting cast is adequate, and boosted by the presence of Robert Loggia, Hollywood’s equivalent of Methuselah. Adam West is in this category too. Neither of these dudes ever seems to age mentally – they’re eternally sharp. I loved Loggia in Independence Day, I loved him in Big and I love him in this. His “I eat gravel sandwiches for breakfast” voice gives him an EF Hutton-ish quality in his roles – when he talks, people better damn well listen, or chances are they’ll be flying head-first out a window.
Damn I love his voice. In fact, a fictitious conversation between him and Opportunity Knocks’ director, Donald Petrie, just ran through my head:
Petrie: Bob, you done gargling that 8oz. mug of brass tacks?
Petrie: Great! Now, are you ready to do the scene with Dana in the bathroom – you know, where he comes up with his awesome idea for stall door advertising?
Petrie: Ok — at the end, your line is “Way to go, Jonathan!” Can I hear you say it for me one time?
Loggia (gnawing on a wrench): “WAY TO GO, JONNAATHAANN!”
Petrie: I just came.
13%? For a movie featuring an on-fire Dana Carvey, the legendary Robert Loggia, a sappy-yet-endearing love song by Tina Turner and a reggae song by a singer who you’d swear is black until you looked him up on Wikipedia? I don’t think so.
Holy crap – IMDB just reminded me that James Tolkan is in this movie. He’s the guy that plays the surly principal in Back to the Future and the surly, cigar-puffing commander in Top Gun. James Tolkan is, in a word, surly — and because he’s surly, he’d take 13%, munch it down like a bag of Bugles and then poop out a 73. Guaranteed.
I cringed the first time I saw American Airlines’ “support our troops” ad – the one where the soldier says “thank you sir/ma’am” to everyone he meets before and during his flight, and then upon landing encounters the pilot who pops out of the cockpit to say “no – thank you.” I admit that in the process of cringing I felt slightly un-American (no pun intended), but I chalked this up to lack of sleep and being preoccupied with the soreness in my ribs after my two-year-old had just dropped an atomic knee on me from the top rope (aka the couch armrest). I figured I’d see the ad again, and probably react differently.
Here’s a chart of my subsequent reactions to the ad:
2nd time: Cringe
3rd time: Cringe + sarcastic smirk
4th time: Cringe + sarcastic smirk + channel change
If you want to profess your support for the troops, great – but why waste money on a television commercial? Instead, send food, buy care packages, donate to soldiers’ families, etc. Any corporation that feels the need to announce its allegiance via a sappy commercial to something that should be ingrained in every human being’s psyche – that being the desire to show compassion for someone risking their life for their country – comes off as hollow and self-serving, and only makes me distrust them and their product even more.
See, here’s the thing: The three hundred million people that currently abhor the airline industry aren’t going to change their minds simply because American Airlines or whoever “supports our troops”. The widespread loathing of the inept, customer-last fashion in which the airlines have been run for the last 30 years is so entrenched in our collective consciousness that there is no possible way for the airlines to ever again regain the country’s respect. So why bother?
Unfortunately, air travel has become so fundamental to our existence that we fly because our professional and personal livelihoods depend on it, in spite of the knuckleheaded, asinine way in which the airlines are run — and we only care about which airline we’re traveling on when it comes to miles, rewards, and the rest of the gobbledy-gook that airlines use to divert our attention while they’re busy perfecting their state-of-the-art third-world in-flight conditions and researching new fees to hammer consumers with.
The broader problem is this: when it comes to industries that our integral to maintaining our (and by “our” I mean the entire planet, not just the U.S.) social efficiency – air travel, oil and hospitals are my big three – there is no way these should be privatized to the point where gigantic, grossly-out-of-proportion-with-reality profits can be turned. Yes, I know such a statement sounds odd when it’s related to an industry where most of the major players have gone bankrupt, but hopefully you get my point. I’m all for capitalism, I’m all for hard work, I’m all for being free to pursue our dreams and getting paid based on our own merits, but to a point – because in my opinion of the corporate world, the desire to make money always trumps the desire to serve, and bad things happen when industries that should exist to benefit society are instead focused solely on lining their pocketbooks. No amount of “c’mon, let’s support our troops together!” and “We’re for clean energy because we care about babies!” advertising schlock will make me feel otherwise.
And no, I don’t think turning everything over to the government is the answer – far from it. Give me a few lifetimes and I’ll have a solution for you that will probably involve a reorganization of SETI, cold fusion and colonizing the Moon.
Here’s a classic metal song about trying to find a solution: