Monday, December 14, 2009
OK. It's taken a few months here. The honeymoon is over. Time to get something off my mind. And yeah, maybe it wouldn't hurt to move the freeze frame of my wife's boobies a little further down the page.
But what's on my mind, sadly, is Barbara Walters' 10 Most Fascinating People of 2009. God help me.
No one respectable has ever bothered to accuse Barbara of breaking the integrity bank when it comes to her celebrity interviews, specials, involvement with "The View," or anything since she interviewed the Shah of Iran in 1979. The woman really is a shameless panderer. Nothing wrong with that, I suppose.
But watching her show last weekend out of pure boredom, I could hardly believe her definition of "fascinating" could be reconciled with my understanding of the English language. I mean, a turd baking on a hot stretch of highway can be fascinating. The pain from a kidney stone attack -- of which I've had five -- while excrutiating, tear-inducing and homicide-impulse-inducing, could also be described as fascinating.
But look at this list:
Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Glenn Beck, Tyler Perry, Kate Gosselin, Adam Lambert, Sarah Palin, Brett Favre, Jenny Sanford, Michael Jackson’s three children.
Holy bucket of ass hairs.
I'm trying here. It's not easy. But I'm trying hard to come up with a list of people who might have aggravated a larger quantity of the living shit out of me in 2009. I mean, Joe Lieberman took most of the year off before recently resurrecting his campaign as my state's biggest, most rancid human-shaped enema.
But these others? Other than Michelle Obama, and the blameless Jenny Sanford and the Jackson kids, this is a list of horrible, horrible, pathetic jackasses. And listen, I'm going on the record to say I'm fascinated by the orange self-proclaimed guidos of "Jersey Shore" and the human wrecks of the Dr. Drew rehab shows.
Kate Gosselin is a harpy fame whore whose loathsome qualities can only be surpassed, sadly and amazingly, by her doucherific ex-husband.
Adam Lambert looks like Dracula in drag and sings like one of those head phone hearing-test beeps at the DMV.
I'm not in any position to judge, so I'll let Spike Lee filet Tyler Perry as basically the manager of a modern day minstrel show.
I'm glad that until about two months ago, I'd never even heard of Lady Gaga. Now that I've seen her, she makes me want to gaga all over the floor.
Glenn Beck is Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity's retarded kid brother. Only more unhinged and possibly more likely to insight the kind of violence his type always seem to insight during times of economic hardship.
Sarah Palin is a know-nothing celeb-u-tante masquerading as a deep thinking realist. She quit her elected office to make a fortune. More power to her. But the only thing fascinating is how anyone could possibly continue to take her seriously.
Which brings me to Brett Fucking Favre. If he had spent the rest of his most recent "retirement" on his Mississippi lawn tractor, I would have no feelings about him whatsoever. Maybe he could have retained a handful of the fond feelings I had for him when he was the plucky, infectious winner in Green Bay. But after his endless public soap opera over the first retirement/comeback, it was hard enough to root for him playing for my own team. After the Jets and his right arm imploded last year, I was glad to be rid of him. His ego could hardly fit in the new stadium.
Now he's fucking 11-2. Looking better than ever on a team with Adrian Peterson. If he wins the Super Bowl the only thing more fascinating might be whom I might kill as a result of my homicidal rage.
Do you think Kate Gosselin would come to my Super Bowl party?
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
By Bruce Springsteen
Mister Trouble come walkin' this way
Year gone by feels like one long day
But I'm alive and I'm feelin' all right
Well I run that hard road outta heartbreak city
Built a roadside carnival out of hurt and self-pity
It was all wrong well now I'm moving on
Ain't no church bells ringing
Ain't no flags unfurled
It's just me and you and the love we're bringing
Into the real world
Into the real world
I built a shrine in my heart it wasn't pretty to see
Made out of fool's gold memory and tears cried
Now I'm headin' over the rise
I'm searchin' for one clear moment of love and truth
I still got a little faith
But what I need is some proof tonight
I'm lookin' for it in your eyes
Ain't no church bells ringing
Ain't no flags unfurled
Just me and you and the faith we're bringing
Into the real world
Into the real world
Well tonight I just wanna shout
I feel my soul waist deep and sinkin'
Into this black river of doubt
I just wanna rise and walk along the riverside
And when the morning comes baby I don't wanna hide
I'll stand right at your side with my arms open wide
I wanna find some answers I wanna ask for some help
I'm tired of running scared
Baby let's get our bags packed
We'll take it here to hell and heaven and back
And if love is hopeless hopeless at best
Come on put on your party dress it's ours tonight
And we're goin' with the tumblin' dice
Ain't no church bells ringing
Ain't no flags unfurled
It's just me and you and the hope we're bringing
Into the real world
Well into the real world
Oh into the real world
As read Aug. 30, 2009:
I sat down to write these vows last October. Congress had just passed a $700 billion Wall Street bailout, and as I typed, the Dow Jones sunk 800 points. We were in the home stretch of a presidential campaign getting nastier by the second. Wars raged and newspapers vanished. The future seemed as cloudy and confused as ever.
And here we are today. I had no way of knowing what the world would look like. I just knew I wanted to look at it with you.
We got engaged 563 days ago. It feels like yesterday. I knew then as I know now that marriage is not some simple ceremony to cement our commitment and celebrate our love. We have lived these 563 days much like we will live every day afterward. Getting married is an expression of commitment, yes. But it is also the only time in my entire life you’ll ever likely see me express something else: faith.
Not faith in a supreme being or politicians or the fortunes of a football team. But simple, pure, unending faith in you. Faith in us.
I vow to follow all the usual rules of marriage. I promise to love you, protect you, honor you, hear you, make you laugh and embrace the times you must laugh at me.
I also promise to pronounce your name properly and try my best to keep the popcorn off the top shelf where you can’t reach it.
But above all, I vow to never lose faith in the bond that has grown between us. To respect its strength and sanctity.
I vow to be the best husband I can be. To cultivate hope, soften pain, ease fears, and build with you a home immune from the insanity of this world. I vow to never leave your side as we walk forward from here to forever.
Saturday, August 08, 2009
It's a cliche, but John Hughes sort of defined high school existence for a generation of kids who dreamed of getting out of there even before they got there. Celebrate the guy who gave the world Farmer Ted.
And for some reason, among the hoards of tribute videos, I have a soft spot for this mother dragooning her children into performing in her reenactment of a movie they're too young to see.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Ed McMahon (old and sick), Farrah Fawcett (middle aged and cancerous), Michael Jackson (middle aged, generally weird and addicted) and now Steve McNnair (young, fit and possibly unlucky in love).
None of this has anything to do with anything else. It just seems helpful at times to take stock of what is happening in the world.
And by that, I mean a world in which Iran attempts to stifle a populist revolt against Islamist fascism, North Korea threatens to fire missiles at Hawaii, and U.S. governors are Terminators issuing IOUs for a bankrupt state, beauty pageant (and vice presidential) runners-up quitting so as not to act like a quitter, and philanderers embroiled in Argentinian romances with soul mates.
There's a show on TV in which fat people dance in whore attire and another in which someone who calls himself a doctor eats tainted vegetables to produce parasitic worms from his poo.
Gays are getting married, a black guy is in the White House and I've had a poison ivy rash on my leg for almost two months now. Interesting times, indeed.
But when did Mad Magazine start scripting our current events?
Friday, June 26, 2009
More than one person has remarked to me since yesterday: What's the big deal about Michael Jackson?
A fair question. He has been an irrelevant freak for so long, it's hard to recall what was so special about him in the first place. My bride-to-be had never even seen the videos for "Thriller" or "Beat It" until I showed them to her a few months back on YouTube.
Check out his legendary performance from the Motown 25th anniversary special. Yes, there was a time when these moves were fresh and unique. Yes, there was a time when he looked mostly human even if his talent made him appear from another world. Yes, he can hold a room entranced even while lip-syncing. When he moonwalks toward the end, part of the audience appears to spit out their eyeballs.
But even if you're not taken in by his voice, his dance moves or his undeniable stage presence, the numbers don't lie. The man reached a popularity untouched by anyone since Elvis and The Beatles.
I was never really a huge Jackson fan. I can recall someone at camp playing the "Thriller" album over and over again in the summer of 1983. Granted, I didn't have much taste in music then, but it didn't do anything for me. And there was even a point in 1984 when I was watching a Prince video on MTV (remember when they played videos?) and couldn't understand why Michael Jackson was so hairy.
And he was always so weird. The chimp, Elizabeth Taylor, the hyperbaric chamber, Neverland, the glove, the gay-military outfits, the Elephant Man's bones, Lisa Marie, the accusations of pedophilia, the high-pitched girly voice, the seeming desire to become white, the plastic surgury that eventually lopped off his nose.
At the heart of it appeared to be an arrested development triggered by an abusive taskmaster of a father who made his children into superstars only to watch them go supernova and burst into pieces. Andrew Sullivan has a pyschological/cultural take as worthy as any.
Michael Jackson was an international sensation, as recognized around the world as the NY Yankees' logo, McDonald's or -- once upon a time -- Muhammad Ali. On a list of the most prominent world figures whose death might spark as much interest, I can think of only Ali, the Pope (though perhaps not the current one), Obama and Paul McCartney. Frank Sinatra and Johnny Carson were pretty big, but mostly in the U.S.
But the question of why should we care is different from why we should take note.
We should not care as though we have lost a loved one. Michael Jackson was a celebrity entertainer, not our parent or child. But in the way our culture created him, chewed him up and spat him out, perhaps he's a symbol for a sick world. It appears Jackson wanted to remain a child. I'm not exusing him for the choices he made in his own life. And I ain't saying it's my responsibility, but someone really should take better care of such people.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Quick thoughts on the reincarnated speculation Brett Favre will once again un-retire and try to play football.
When Favre played for the Packers, I always rooted for him. Right up to the very last interception he threw against the Giants.
When Favre played for the Jets, I rooted for him. But only because, as a Jets fan, I had to. (See: Rick Mirer, Bubby Brister, Ray Lucas, Frank Reich, Browning Nagle, Neil O'Donnel, etc.)
If Favre comes back to play for the Vikings or some other team, I will root against him. With rabid glee.
And if he stays retired, struggling with the finality of his decision while mowing his Mississippi lawn with a tractor, I swear to God, I will root for the weeds.
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
For those of you who grew up watching G.I. Joe, here's a more mature take on the franchise from Adult Swim. People actually get shot. No convenient parachutes from exploding helicopters. And it still hits the nostalgia sweet spot. I don't know what to make of this summer's life-action movie, but this came out of nowhere and entertained me.
And enjoy the spoof public service announcements above. Pork chop sandwiches!
Monday, April 13, 2009
Friday, April 10, 2009
I remember learning about the five Ws in elementary school. These were the question words. All of the world's answers lay just beyond their asking.
In our global, digitally connected society, that has never been more true.
Still, I never really think of asking Google direct questions. Mostly I use keywords. The idea of typing “Why does my ass hurt?” doesn't seem, to me, as productive or as elegant as simply typing “hemorrhoids” or “sex play riding crop injury.”
But all you need to do these days is type a word or two into the Google search box, and by perusing the automated suggestions you can get a pretty good idea of what's on people's minds.
Some are scientific: Why is the sky blue? What does my name mean?
Some are political: Who should I vote for? Where do I vote?
Some are paranoid: Where was Obama born? Why do men cheat?
(Be careful typing in something like “why do black.” At least if anyone is watching you. Or you have a sense of shame.)
And my favorites are philosophical, enigmatic, and – if you don't recognize the pop cultural significance of the phrase – absurd: Where the hell is Matt? Who moved my cheese? When will I grow up? Why do men have nipples? Why do dogs eat poop? Why did I get married? Where are they now?
Indeed. Questions for the ages.
Google's suggestions for life's burning questions in April 2009:
Who wants to be a millionaire
Who wants to be a millionaire online game
Who killed the electric car
Who is big poppa on real housewives of altanta
Who wants to be a millionaire game
Who is winning the election
Who should I vote for
Who moved my cheese
Who is my congressman
What not to wear
What is my ip
What does my name mean
What time is the inauguration
What is my ip address
What time is it
What i like about you
What is a good credit score
What is twitter
When i grow up lyrics
When is easter 2009
When is the superbowl
When does twighlight come out on dvd
When is the superbowl in 2009
When is superbowl 2009
When will i die
When is thanksgiving
When will i grow up
When will the world end
Where do I vote
Where does the vice president live
Where was Obama born
Where the wild things are
Where are they now
Where is Santa
Where do I go to vote
Where the hell is Matt
Where are you Christmas lyrics
Where am I registered to vote
Why is the sky blue
Why do cats purr
Why do men cheat
Why so serious
Why did the chicken cross the road
Why do men have nipples
Why did i get married
Why do dogs eat poop
Why georgia lyrics
How to tie a tie
How i met your mother
How to kiss
How to get pregnant
How stuff works
How to cook a turkey
How to lose weight
How to draw
How to knit
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Monday, March 30, 2009
I've been a camp counselor -- only marginally interested in kids. I've stacked boxes, delivered Chinese food and calzones, shuffled paper and procrastinated at temp jobs at Lehman Brothers and Madison Square Garden. I've been a recruiter for an ethically challenged technology consulting firm and answered the phone for a crew of truck salesmen in Secaucus, N.J. I serviced the irrational whims of pharmaceutical marketing managers and tyrannical creative managers in a Manhattan advertising company. For 10 amazing months, I taught English to children in Thailand, suffering the occasional thumb up my butt.
Few of these offered any semblance of satisfaction. For most, my greatest skill lay in the ability to foster an illusion of competence. Just enough to get a promotion or avoid getting fired. Sometimes not enough of either.
My first job, when I was 17, was helping to stock the shelves before the opening of a Linens N Things in East Hanover, N.J. What sticks out in my memory was the Top 40 radio piped in through overhead speakers. It was the year Wayne's World came out, and at least once every two hours I was forced to listen to “Bohemian Rhapsody.” There's only so many times a man can hear “scatamoosh, scatamoosh, can you do the fandango?” before it induces a psychotic breakdown.
My favorite job was restaurant delivery. Just me in the car with some tunes, cruising all over town, eating for free, bullshitting with the kitchen guys and other drivers, using minimal brain power to make change and calculate who stiffed me on a tip. In a busy eight hours I could make more than $150 cash.
Teaching was also great but damn hard. And it's not like I had any real idea what I was doing or any way to measure my effectiveness. For one gig, I taught the same one-hour lesson to nine different classes of 40 or more students of varying ages and skill levels each week. It was exhausting and exhilarating.
When the semester ended, four of the nine classes presented me with gifts. The least impressive of which were flowers, a plastic glowing musical desk pen holder shaped like two roses, a small wooden replica of The Mayflower, and an ultra-shiny Thai silk tie. The most impressive of which were two letters declaring in broken English how much they love and will miss Teacher Rick, how without Teacher Rick they would have no English and how now they not scared so much foreigners.
At least two girls were visibly crying. There were grateful faces and much applause. I couldn’t help but smile. The feeling I had was impressive. Stirring. Foreign. A job well done.
But these were all jobs, not careers.
Which brings me to my least favorite topic of conversation and the one I'm most asked about these days: The Imminent Death of Newspapers.
In case you haven't noticed (perhaps you don't read newspapers), here are only the most recent developments: The Rocky Mountain News closed after 150 years, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer stopped printing its paper in favor of a skeleton online operation, the Tribune Co. has filed for bankruptcy, The Detroit Free Press now only delivers three days a week, The San Francisco Chronicle has threatened to close if it can't find a buyer (possibly making it the first major American city without a daily), the supposedly healthy New York Times has cut salaries by 5 percent after rounds of buyouts, and Gannett and the Newark Star-Ledger have imposed work furloughs.
That's just in the last few months.
The perfect storm of poor planning for a post-Internet world, crushing debt from stupid purchases, shrinking advertisement dollars, the global economic crisis and -- who knows, probably solar flares and cow farts -- have contributed to an unprecedented decline in a once booming and vital industry.
Add to this mess the public's inexplicably low opinion of journalism as something to be mistrusted (but free!) and you can see there doesn't seem to be a bright future here.
So, yeah. I'm wondering about the wisdom of choosing to join an industry akin to a rotting corpse sinking in a sea of shit. Kind of like what I imagine might be the ultimate feeling of whoever wins this year's "Rock of Love Bus with Brett Michaels."
But strangely, though the economy gets worse each day and newspapers fall all around us, though I have no backup plan nor the inclination to form one (yet) -- I'm happy. I've spent too many years working soul-sucking jobs or more-or-less unemployed in Manhattan to fritter away what might end up to be the last gasp of print journalism until the country wakes up sometime in 2021 and realizes that hey, we've got nothing to write snarky blogs about if we've got no fucking reporters reporting the fucking news.
My soon-to-be-bride writes for the longest continuously publishing daily newspaper in the country. It's also the currently bankrupt Tribune Co. property that has halved its newsroom in the last 13 months in a suicidal attempt to stay afloat.
I'm not sure how long this will last, and I'm not foolish enough to think it will. But I like what I do. Maybe its unrealistic to expect a career in which I can live a charmed life of the mind, following my curiosity wherever it leads -- basically learning for a living. Learning about people, institutions, and laws. About bio-diesel, land use law, antiques, soldiers, foster care, murdered pigs, lying politicians, gold, gays, cops and kooks.
Some day, I might get a letter from someone thanking me for a job well done (I won't hold my breath waiting). But this isn't really a job for me. It's a career and a life. And I'm not done with it yet. Even if I'm forced to take one of those job-jobs while waiting.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Monday, March 23, 2009
It's true. Maybe. I think so. (Actually, I'm not sure what I think or why I think it, which might be the whole point). Please read, and discuss.
These and other deep thoughts on my mind after reading 370 lengthy comments and counting on Roger Ebert's discussion of "Knowing," a film I didn't plan to see, but likely will now. ("Dark City" by the same director was a great, forgotten sci-fi flick from 1998)
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The global economy is circling the drain with dramatic sloshing not seen since The Great Depression. Two satellites crashed in space adding to a cloud of debris that may one day prevent us from even safely launching anything into space. Two nuclear submarines collided in the Atlantic Ocean. Andy Dick appears to be one of the more well adjusted residents of VH-1's "Sober House." Peanut butter can kill you. And a Connecticut woman has her hands ripped off by a rampaging, Xanax-popping, wine swilling, plant-watering 14-year-old 200-pound domesticated chimpanzee.
Please draw your own conclusions.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Long live the Internets. Find stuff you never knew existed at the click of a mouse. Such as this amazing documentary of the making of "The Shining" shot by Stanley Kubrik's then 17-year-old daughter.
It's strangely fascinating watching Jack order rice and noodles and brushing his teeth. But then you realize he's walking to the set for the climactic axe-through-the-bathroom-door scene.
All sorts of insights into Kubrik's filmmaking process, Shelly Duvall's apparent fragility and gutsy professionalism, and a touching and unexpected emotional reaction from Scatman Crothers.
Well worth 35 minutes.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
A few questions for the record:
Why would a robot do calesthenics?
What do robots have to do with football?
Why does this robot remind me of Ray Lewis?
Will somebody please make this fucking robot go away? They can get Al MacInnis to slap it in the head with that moronic glowing puck.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I really wish I could say I hate all those Coors Light ads, but this one always makes me crack up, to the point where I walk around the house shouting "Playoffs?" every 3 seconds. And then my kids start saying it, and it gets even funnier.
Anyway here's to the 2008 playoffs. Oops - sorry Bones. Hopefully this cheers you up anyway.
Thursday, January 01, 2009
It occurred to me last night, as I rang in the new year on my couch with minimal fanfare, that 2009 will be the last year people will be able to wear eyeglasses shaped with the year's numbers. 2010 would be all lopsided, right?
So here's a requiem to all those enterprising novelty eyewhere tycoons out there. It was a solid 10 year run. See you all in the year 3000.