Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sometimes kicking off the holiday season is a real Hasselhoff

The Hasselhoff clan enjoyed a fine start to the holiday season this weekend, David being rushed to the hospital for what most folks assume is another case of alcohol poisoning and his ex-wife arrested for a DUI.

Ahh, the sights and sounds of that most magical time of the year - it really takes me back to those days of yore growing up. What says Christmas more than the holiday colors of the ambulance and police siren lights in your driveway? Perhaps only the evergreen shade of Dad's vomit splattered on the yule log and his snow white stubble grown over the course of a five day bender.  Eggnog, anyone?


That's as good a pratfall into this holiday season as any - thanks, David.  Perhaps someone ought to pick him up a casket on for Christmas - might be a timely gift.  Whatever Santa brings you, I'm sure it'll be appropriate.

Seems even the perfect Tiger Woods was having a bit of a rocky domestic go of things this weekend as Black Friday bleeds into Cyber Monday.

Speaking of Cyber Monday, I've got a week of mad craziness at work before I take a break for a few days, and I'm expecting the asylum to be especially loony on a number of levels.   So I'm hanging up my blogging shoes for the next five days unless something truly significant compels me to post (even then, I may hold off until Friday).

So I'll finish off the evening in typically schizophrenic fashion, clicking incessantly between Frost/Nixon (the parallels between Hasselhoff and Nixon are eerie), Gladiator, Apocalypse Now, HBO's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Concert and Animal House. Mostly the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame show.  Lou Reed and Metallica doing Sweet Jane!  That made my weekend.  And U2, Springsteen and Patti Smith doing Because the Night (Patti's version)!  Made my weekend twice.  Patti and Lou.  Is anything more New York?

Catch you on the other side.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Secretary Lapre?

My mentor Don Lapre once said "Small ads equal big profits."

Actually, that was pretty much the only thing he said, but he managed to do it in many and varied ways, always with an enthusiasm normally only seen from coke fiends on a four day jag.

This guru clearly provides sage advice in any era but it's especially profound given today's economic climate.

I see you cringing.  "Steve!",  you exclaim.  "Don Lapre is a has-been and when he did have a TV presence on those 3am Making Money infomercials in the 90's, he was a transparently cartoonish huckster.  His utterances were pure nonsense."

My reply is simple: That's the point.  That's his genius.  

And don't forget his good works in the 21st century: "Greatest Vitamin in the World!"  They were some pretty good vitamins, I hear (better even than Flintstone Chewables or - dare I say - Lucy's Vitameatavegamin).

Mr. Lapre is a man whose time has finally come.  Two dimensional (really, closer to 1 1/2 dimensions) and so cartoonish he makes Roger Rabbit seem like Edward R. Murrow.  A guy whose catchphrases - indeed, almost everything he has said or written, including the contents of his Making Money package  - are filled with more mumbo jumbo than Alice through the Looking Glass.

And I know: I bought Making Money back in 1998.  I did it not so I could make money for myself - it was clear it wouldn't be much help there - but to help Don make money.  It was the Pet Rock of Get Rich Quick schemes, minus the rock.  It was magnificence unbounded - truly a sight to behold.  Mainly, I did it out of curiosity and I was most definitely not disappointed.

This is precisely why Don's more essential than ever.  We live in a world where the goings on of our nation's financial industry resemble nothing so much as a Road Runner re-run strained through the worst sort of acid trip and topped with unbridled brilliance in the art of idiocy.

Folks are calling for Tim Geithner's head.  He's a sharp numbers guy, but he's pretty light on charisma, on camera presence, on pitching lumps of shit and making the world see diamonds.   That's Don's sweet spot.  We need to sell small ads to countries with deep pockets and gullibility to spare (not an all that uncommon combination).   Like Don did, we'll start out from "our tiny one-bedroom apartment" at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  Ship those All American Making Money packages at 50 mil a pop of pure profit.  If anyone can sell it, our boy can.

I say let's welcome Treasury Secretary Don Lapre to the cabinet.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Andy's Art, Dollars and Nonsense, Talkin' with Walken

An Andy Warhol painting went for 43+ million last week at Sotheby's.  Valuation of art is a strange and complex thing, playing out quickly or over millennia.  In many ways, it is precedence driven, and there's currently a chain reaction of ballooning Warhol worth.

I dig Andy's work fine but geez, that's a lot of mula for a picture of a lot less mula (200 $1.00 bills, to be exact).

And I like Andy's stuff a lot more when it lives within its proper context (the FactoryEdie and Co., the Velvets, the swinging 60's, etc.).  It loses its pizazz flowing through  Richie Rich Sotheby's auction house and into C. Montgomery Burns' vault.

Otherwise, give me Ralph Steadman,Francis Bacon and Jackson Pollock.

You want real art?

How about Christopher Walken's recent interpretation of Lady Gaga's Poker Face?  Now, that's something to behold. Walken is the king of the single scene, from his debut in Annie Hall, to True Romance and Pulp Fiction, and on to SNL's Southern Colonel Angus ("He's heading down South") and Blue Oyster Cult Producer ("I need more Cowbell").  Ya can't beat him with a stick.  Oh!

Needs more Cowbell, though.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Here comes Oprah Claus! Here comes Oprah Claus! Right down Oprah Claus Lane!

It's Christmas time in Hollis Queens
Mom's cooking chicken and collard greens 
Rice and stuffing, macaroni and cheese 
And Santa put gifts under Christmas trees

Ahh, the traditional sounds of the Holidays.  But I'm not feelin' it yet, even with the harmonies of Reverend Joey Simmons and Darryl McDaniels warbling through the stereo speakers. (Whose house? Run's House!)  Maybe I need the weather to turn colder.  Perhaps once Thanksgiving is past us.

I miss the wise counsel of The Most Interesting Man in the World.  He seems to have drifted off the page, so to speak. And when he does make an appearance, it's only to let me know where I've been, not where I must go next. Thanks to him, I know the after party is the one you want to go to. But what should I do after that?  In some ways, he represents what's true and real about Christmas.  A Santa Claus for the new age, kind of.  A Dos Equis-drinking (though, he reminds us, "not always"), womanizing, partying, adventuring Saint Nick.

Speaking of Saint Nicolas, maybe Nicolas Cage can provide some yuletide guidance in his new flick The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. I was a big fan of the first Bad Lieutenant film when it came out back in 1993, that one showcasing an under appreciated Harvey Keitel performance to my mind as good as his more acclaimed romps through Taxi Driver, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, etc.

There are some real rave reviews for this Bad LT "sequel" (its only relationship to the original is the title character's profession, rank, and corruption).  Many have proclaimed this Cage's best performance since Leaving Las Vegas, his wicked lieutenant sharing much with the protagonist of that film (tortured soul, substance abuser).  Unlike the earlier Keitel crime drama, this new one isn't a brutally serious NYC-based fallen angel/Catholic guilt parable but rather a brutally bleak black comedy, set in post-Katrina New Orleans.   Maybe it'll put me in the holiday spirit!

Meanwhile the pop culture world is a blaze this week with Oprah putting the kibosh on her gabfest after 25 years and vampire fever striking the tweeny-bopper crowd (and those older folk with similar sensibilities).  Personally, just give me Ed Wood's friend Bela Lugosi and Lily Munster, thank you very much. You can keep yer twlight's last gleaming and yer honest plasma.

Speaking of the Divine Miss 'O', Oprah's next act appears to be her own network (the Oprah Winfrey Network, natch), rolling out in 2011.  It's supposed to "replace the Discovery Health Channel."  Forget government takeover of Healthcare, I'm way more concerned about the Oprah machine taking over my Discovery Health.  She's got ten times the juice of our puny government and I depend on my friends at Discovery Health to get me through the day a lot more than I do my PPO lately.

Oprah, what the fuck are you trying to pull?  You trying to put Liberator Catheter Lady (I call her "Cath") and Activia Jamie Lee in the poor house?  Don't screw with my favorite network.  I need my Dr. G fix and can't afford to fly down to Florida each week to watch her work in person.  I've got Medical Mysteries to solve and Life in the ER to live (there are Untold Stories in there yet to tell, I hear ... er, tell).   This concerns me greatly.

Oh well, that's a couple of years from now.  Be kind to us, oh great and powerful 'O'.  Oprah, perhaps more even than the Most Interesting Man, represents the true embodiment of Kris Kringle - new cars for everyone!  Oprah Claus.  All I want for Christmas, Dear Oprah Claus, is that you take pity on my fav Discovery Health shows and allow them to live on when your network takes over.

And with that ...

RUN-DMC - Christmas In Hollis (Official Music Video) - Click here for more free videos

Monday, November 16, 2009

"She feeds you Tea and Oranges that come all the way from China" - L. Cohen, 1967

Man, I tell ya - people are blastin' Obama for bowing to the Japanese Emperor.  Come on!  Are we really as a country that stuffed full of Ugly Americans who find any gesture besides an arrogant sneer to be a sign of weakness?  Sadly, it seems that we are.  In fact, in some circles they're calling the bow an "act of treason."  Clearly.  What ever happened to "walk softly and carry a big stick"?  A little sign of respect goes a helluva long way, but there's no convincing those whose diplomatic philosophy is forged through years of study at the feet of Ambassadors John Rambo and Lone Wolf McQuade. Our former president (and vice president and UN ambassador) were strident believers in this school of "thought".

Besides, Japan isn't our new overlord, China is.  We'll really be seeing some bowing in the days ahead.  Given our massive debt to the Red Horde, Barack just might have to turn around and bow in the other direction ("bring out the gimp").  We owe them close to a trillion dollars and I don't imagine playing on their commie sympathies will do the trick ("Oh, debt is so bourgeoisie, Mr. Chairman.  Let's just call it square - you know, between us socialists - wink, wink!").  As Paulie said in Goodfellas, "Fuck you, pay me." 

All this makes it somewhat difficult to point out China's atrocious human rights record when we should be shoving their face in it like a bad doggie who keeps shitting on the carpet.  I'm assuming this is the reason we've been so quiet since ... well, many a moon.  And perhaps why Obama gave the Hello Dalai Lama the cold shoulder recently.  Last I checked, we didn't owe him any money (I don't think he has it to lend).   Oh, well.  You get into bed with the sharks, ya gotta deal with the consequences.

Proving that 'Ugly Americans' don't have to be bad looking, the Ice Queen of the Midnight Sun is jingo jangling her spurs into a gallop as the Going Rouge book tour blazes into a town near you this week. Hillary was yakking on the Sunday talk shows that she'd look forward to coffee with her baked Alaskan sister sometime soon - I smell a View episode for the ages!  Or maybe something a bit more juicy on Jerry Springer.

Wolf Blitzer let us know today that "the best political team on television" was closely following Sarah Mania II.  He added, "Candy Crowley has the book and is reading it as we speak."   Thanks, Wolf.  Good to hear Candy's calling all her exclusive Washington inside sources for the real skinny. She got the book a day early!  I hope she underlines the good parts.  I half expected Wolf to then pause for half a beat followed by the distinctive sound of a toilet flushing off-camera. Ba-Dum.  Rim Shot.  Then Wolf with a sly smile: "Sounds like Candy's finished the book and we'll have her into the situation room for her analysis as soon as she washes her hands." 

But Wolf has about as much of a sense of humor as my lint brush, which makes him funny quite often, but never intentionally.  Don't you go changin', Wolfie.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Look what the Bug Dragged In

Creeping Jesus, I'm sick.  I spent most of the day attempting to get out of bed and the last few hours trying to eat the same little dish of Jello (unsuccessfully).  I've finally gotten to the point where I can concentrate enough to both sit up without tossing my cookies while at the same time typing legible sentences (well, as legible as they usually are anyway).  I should take this magic act on the road (were it not for the fact that when I attempt to stand erect, said cookies are tossed like salad).   Not sure why I'm updating this infernal albatross of a blog.  It's like a nervous tick. I guess it keeps my mind off the nausea and fever.

I missed a friend's wedding today thanks to this bug.  Shit.  After I went to the effort last month to buy a new suit for the occasion. (When I got the invitation, I went hunting for my then-"current" garb and discovered that it must had passed on to its great reward earlier in the year, the victim of a terminal case of mildew.)  

Oh, well.  I'm set for the next wedding and/or funeral that might head my way.  In the end, it was probably for the best I didn't try and drag myself to the nuptials (besides getting the congregation sick, I don't imagine Mike or Greta would have appreciated one of their guests heaving on the wedding cake; would make a great story a few years down the road but might put a damper on the day viewed in present tense).

I notice when I'm sick that my unfortunate tendency to use parentheses in sentences is accentuated.  I'm not sure how I became aware of that (or if it's even true ... he says safely tucked within parens). 

Time to go lay back down, the light's starting to get too bright and I really can't concentrate on attempting to make this post at all humorous or otherwise interesting ... Like as not I'll be tossing this - or perhaps simply slap a warning sticker screaming "Caution: written for author's therapeutic purposes only.  Dense concentration of whining." 

Here's to feeling better tomorrow, cause I can't imagine feeling worse.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Louzing my Religion

Lou Dobbs is pulling up stakes from his perch at CNN, answering the cries of the great unwashed as he presumably prepares to run for some sort of public office. Help us, Obi-Wan Kenobe, you're our only hope. Superman in a suit and tie (if Superman happened to be a megalomaniac gas bag).

Lou's got some brains, though: he's a leg up on the Palins and Becks and O'Reillys of the world. I lump him into the same bucket as Keith Olbermann on the left (a fellow megalomaniac gas bag who could surely challenge Lou to a round-the-world-in-80-days balloon race). Olbermann's at least got a better sense of humor than Lou (or, to be more accurate, he has a sense of humor); Dobbs is utterly barren in that department, or at least in what he has chosen to share with the general public.

Do I smell a Dobbs/Palin 2012 ticket choo-chooing up the tracks? Dobbs/Beck? Dobbs/Trump? Our protector of the middle class, the only thing that scares him more than its demise is the idea of becoming a member of its ranks. Do the middle class have shoe shine attendants at the ready in their bathrooms at home? Probably just in the downstairs shitters. Poor bastards. How can they live like that?

Or perhaps Lou will do a 180 and run for President of Mexico. What better way to stem the tide of illegal immigration into the country from south of the border?

Now, Louie happened to be a local Seattle News anchor once upon a time in the swinging 70s and some members of my family were close with those close to Lou. So I heard things. If Mr. Dobbs is indeed jonesing for a legislative seat (or, god forbid, something more executive), he might be advised to pony up some duckets to have that massive graveyard of skeletons rattling around his closet cremated, or at least buried extra deep.

Suffice to say that when Lou christened his old financial news show "Moneyline", he reached back into his Disco Days for the concept surrounding the original logo: a big ol' nose with a rolled up $100.00 vacuuming up a long, fat white line across a mirror balanced on top of the Wall Street Opening Bell, with all the Fortune 100 Stock Symbols reflecting back up through it. The producers rightly vetoed the idea, even as Lou was gathering the "props" needed for its photo shoot.

Lou: "I'll be the model - and bring the supplies! It's a powerful metaphor for the lure and danger of uninformed gambling in the complex world of securities!"

Exec: "It's suicide, Lou - you'd be drummed off the air before you'd even started! Wait -- your eyes - your eyes are all pupil! You skin is Chiquita yellow! Are you sick?"

Lou: "I'm fine - whatta mean, whatta mean, I'm fine, fine - whatta mean? God damn you! I've got a degree in economics from Harvard!"

Maybe Lou has a sense of humor after all ...

Okay, perhaps I'm merely making an educated guess as to the goings on in the nascent days of yore at Turner News, back when Wolf was merely an obnoxious pup and Larry King's odometer hadn't yet rolled back over to zeros for the third time (well, maybe not quite as far back as that ... that was the hipster fuck-da-man 60s/70s Larry, as he is seen here posing mug shot style)

You've been freed from your shackles now, Lou; your muzzle at last loosened, 'cause god knows you've restrained yourself from expressing an opinion while on the Atlanta payroll ... You've now been called to a higher purpose, your loyal public breathless in anticipation of your leadership to come.

Perhaps Lou isn't running for public office.

Perhaps he's headed overseas.

Yes, of course. A trip to Kenya to dig up that rat bastard Fascist Communist radical Muslum Socialist Obama's real birth certificate. A Safari! Dr. Louvingston, I presume!

Ahh, but enough of Lou - time to drift the evening away with a guilty pleasure showing on the Retro channel tonight, 1982's Creep Show. This movie's a George Romero adaption of several Stephen King short stories, light on horror and heavy on ham and cheese. My throat is raw and the familiar tickle that is cold and flu season is starting to hammer home its message through my mucus membranes and into my frontal lobe, so perhaps my love for Creep Show is tainted by the claustrophobic veneer of sickness. Perhaps.

It's Father's Day - Where's my Cake!?!?!

It's Father's Day and I've got my Cake - Happy Father's Day!


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Masterpieces come in all shapes and sizes (Roger that)

The Academy of Motion Pictures is going to honor Roger Corman with a lifetime achievement award. This is, to me, a very welcome if surprising decision. Welcome, because I grew up loving Corman's work on the late show (back when that term signfied not a Letterman gabfest but rather the screening of a "lesser" movie or two prior to the channel signing off for the evening). Surprising, because Corman specialized in these "lesser" low budget / b-movies, with plenty of gore and cheesy special effects. Not usually the pretentious Academy's cup of tea, unless they're convinced it's "ironic" or "artistically reverential" a la Tarantino.  That attitude reminds me of a Simpson's throwaway gag in their Viva Ned Flanders Vegas episode where the Mirage Hotel events sign blares the headliner act "A TRIBUTE TO THE MOODY BLUES" and in much smaller print below it: "opening act: the moody blues". 

Corman's heyday ran from the late 1950's through the end of the 60's, a catalog constituting a style both singular and powerfully imaginative, squeezing every ounce out of their shoestring budgets.

Much of Corman's work blazed the trail for the groundbreaking 1970's movies by such young filmmakers as Martin Scorsese and Francis Ford Coppola. The influence is apparent in the camera movement, music and visual stylings of such classics as Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, The Godfather, and Apocalypse Now. Not coincidentally, Scorsese and Coppola were Corman proteges (as were James Cameron, Jonathan Demme, and legions of other notable auteurs).

Speaking of influences, Quentin Tarantino should pony up a percentage of the box office take to Roger for every flick he's put out.

Corman also discovered and nurtured such then-unknown actors as Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper and Robert De Niro, to name just a few. Nicholson was a Corman mainstay in the 60's.

My favorite Corman flicks? A Bucket of Blood, The Premature Burial, The Wild Angels, The Trip, and Bloody Mama.

Good to see Roger's getting a bit of respect from the Hollywood suits. I look at him in the same light as I do the Ramones and Velvet Underground: their discographies do not in and of themselves reflect their importance; rather, it was their inspiration to and influence on scores of other young musicians of note who went on to hall of fame careers. I'm paraphrasing, but somebody once wrote that the Velvet Underground probably only had a few thousand fans during their time together; however, every last one of them formed a band. That's Corman in a nutshell to me.

Congrats, Roger.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Sesame Street? Give me the City Dump

Sesame Street turns 40 today, eh? So Google tells me, anyway. Is there no end to notable 40th anniversaries this year? Obviously, 1969 was a year of consequence, more than just the summer of Bryan Adams' first wet dream. I was 7 when Sesame Street rolled onto the scene and a bit too old to really get into it (by that point, I was more into superhero cartoons and just starting to grow out of my J.P. Patches phase). But who am I kidding? I never grew out of my love for the world of J.P. Patches, as god awful as it may have been. Awfully good, that is.

For those of you who didn't grow up in the Seattle/Puget Sound area in the 60's or 70's, you're not likely to be familiar with J.P Patches. Let me enlighten you.

J.P. was a tramp/clown played by Chris Wedes who presided as "Mayor of the City Dump," a world that was vaguely Sesame Street-like, in its own low-rent way. The show took place almost exclusively at the same, single-set location (appropriately made to look like the grimy corner of a city dump). J.P. held court there, showing us cartoons and interacting with the wacky gaggle of heroes ("The Swami of Pastrami"), villains ("Boris S. Wart!"), lovers (J.P.'s "girlfriend" Gertrude the Clown), and friends ("Ketchikan the Animal Man") who rounded out this alternate universe of magic and filth.

Except for J.P., virtually all of the characters on the show - whether they be male, female, human or otherwise - were played by Bob Newman wrapped in sundry cheesy, cheap costumes and bad vocal gymnastics. So of course, J.P. could only interact with one at a time since Mr. Newman didn't have a twin or clone and was thus bound by the laws of physics (and trapped in a time and with a budget that did not allow for even the most primitive of special effects).

Wedes and Newman, both now in their eighties, made an appearance last year to witness the unveiling of twin bronze statues of their alter egos on the 50th anniversary of the show's debut (that's them at the ceremony on the left). Of course, these two are still regulars at county fairs, supermarket grand openings and pretty much any other public gathering you can imagine, almost always in full costume (though Newman confines himself to playing just Gertrude these days). The end of the show on television merely meant that they were freed up to take the act on the road up and down the highways and byways of the Great Northwest.

When I was a kid, J.P. was on for an hour and a half on weekday mornings before school and again for an hour in the afternoon. And he popped up for still more on Saturdays. Jeez, that's a lot of show! His morning time slot led up to the national Captain Kangaroo program, but I never got into the Captain all that much. Too polished for my taste, I'm guessing. J.P. was raw, the production values non-existent, with "acting" that would make Keanu Reeves proud. I mentioned that it was a lot of show? Well, it took a City Dump's worth of bullshit to fill up all that air time and the dynamic duo of Wedes and Newman could shovel it steaming and thick while still making you want for more.

Despite - or perhaps because of - all the cheese and really, really, really bad costumes, the world J.P. Patches and crew created seemed very real to me as a young boy. And actual honest-to-goodness people stopped by "The City Dump" nearly every episode to reinforce the suspension of disbelief: local scout troops, CBS Seattle affiliate news and weather personalities, local politicians, national celebrities that happened to be in town, etc. All were welcomed to the Dump by His Honor, that ultimate clown prince of bums. (With apologies to Chaplin, his Little Tramp wouldn't even rate a meal from J.P.'s trashcan, fuckin' silent English twit.)

So, it's not their anniversary or anything, but when I think of Sesame Street, my mind turns to J.P. Patches.

For those interested in more, and aren't satisfied by Wikipedia's entry, visit the J.P. Patches home page.

For those who are baffled by this post, well - ya hadda be there, I guess.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vick and Dick (S&M - Hold the M)

Michael Vick.  What a punk.  The guy's an unrepentant sociopath (I guess to be a sociopath sort of implies that you're incapable of being repentant).   I didn't buy his crocodile tears or his 'heartfelt' regrets.  I couldn't swallow his vow to turn his "mistake" into a crusade for good.   It was clear that this was all (poorly) rehearsed, born from the best spin-meisters money can buy.   Years spent torturing dogs for pleasure do not add up to "a mistake."

But I finally begrudgingly said that I'd give the guy some time.  I didn't root for the Eagles like I had in the past, but I wasn't necessarily always rooting against them.  Well, a few months have gone by and Vick's having a hard time keeping the sociopath in his core from bubbling up.  It makes an appearance in every interview I've seen him in.  And played a starring role in the one I caught on ESPN tonight.

Now, I'm not a card-carrying PETA vegan (though I happen to agree with their many of their core beliefs).  I'm a carnivore.  I like a tasty steak and dig a decent burger.  I also try not to be hypocritical: dogs are not inherently better than beef cattle simply because I live in a society that keeps the former as pets and kills the latter as food.  Slaughterhouses are grim means to an end.  But the difference is that we generally don't treat them like Disneyland, where people come and get their jollys watching animals die.  And though far too sizable a percentage of these places do cause more suffering than is necessary, but that's the bottom line driving that.  Not an excuse - in fact, I personally find it reprehensible; an example of money as the root of all evil.  Still, the suffering itself is an unfortunate by-product, not their reason for being.  That's the difference between slaughterhouses and dog fighting.   Dog fighting is pure, unadulterated sadism.

Well, eight more games to the season.  Eight more opportunities for the opposition to really lay the hurt on Vick.  I'm not a sadist, I don't want him to suffer unnecessarily.   I'll take the least painful route to a career ending injury for Mr. Vick.

Where are the Hanson Brothers when you need them? 

Speaking of sociopaths, I see one of my favorite childhood television characters is featured in a movie newly arrived to Cinemax.  I speak naturally of Ron Howard's Frost/Nixon.  Though he never made an appearance himself, Nixon was nevertheless omnipresent during the Watergate Trial that played out for me after school on the tube (hey, kids: in those pre-cable days, you couldn't simply switch to the Cartoon Network).   Nixon is the primary reason I became interested in politics, and is perhaps the greatest influence on my current political bent (that's right, Tricky Dick molded me into a liberal).

Frost/Nixon is great theater and Frank Langella really embodies the man in all his complexities. (Is it just a coincidence that Langella also embodied Dracula so well 30 years ago?)  Let's remember that for all of Nixon's warts (and god knows the guy was virtually one big wart), he was cunningly intelligent and we shouldn't minimize the progress he made in our relations with China (our future overlords given the rocketing monetary debt to them we've been amassing).

Who am I kidding?  China was Kissinger's doing.  Nixon could have cared less about "The Red Menace" - he was too busy doing lines of coke off the floor of the oval office while ordering hits on the heads of the Girls and Boy Scouts of America for subversive activity.  Or so I heard ...

Well, Vick and Dick.  The evening started watching an interview with Dick on ESPN, which precipitated this rant, and is ending switching between the Broncos/Steelers game and Frost/Nixon.  Who could ask for a better Monday?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A muted Sunday with Skeletons in its Closet

It's Sunday in Drexel Hill and oddly quiet in my neighborhood.  A gorgeous autumn day here - the foliage at its technicolor peak.  This is probably my favorite time of the year, and yet it doesn't feel that way this go round. Things are muted somehow, less sharply in focus.

Meanwhile, even as fall has only really just swung into full tumble, the Holiday season has already kicked into high gear on my TV and Web Browser.  Both mediums are rife with sticky sweet holiday cheer.  Ba Humbug.

But thank god for Discovery Health, my "go-to" network.  They have a Sunday marathon of Skeleton Stories.  Not sure what this has to do with "health" (I guess it's the forensics angle, much like Dr. G).  Still, fascinating stories.  Fuck football, skeletons rule this Sunday.  Nothing cheers ya up like an afternoon of skeletons, I always say.  Well, I don't always say that, but perhaps I should.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the house managed to (just barely) pass a watered-down health care bill last night that might provide perhaps just a little bit of good but just as likely won't do much at all.  Except, that is, to give its opponents some "see, told ya" ammunition. 

It gets so I just can't stand the Democratic leadership in congress.  They're a bunch of lily livered, mealy mouthed jack asses. Politicians in the worst sense of the term.  And I'm one of the few left in this country that happens to think "Politician" can be a noble profession.  But I'd love to have residency in Pelosi's 8th Congressional District in CA, just so I could run her out of office.  We need people in there with a spine.  Also, people who are not yet embalmed.  Nancy misses the mark in both categories. 

If the right is going to demonize any healthcare legislation passed, let's get something through that might have a shot at doing some good, rather than a weighty sprawl of diluted compromises.  The #!*? compromises are made for the people who nevertheless still railed against the thing.  Fear and loathing, indeed.

Alright, alright.  Enough soapbox stuff.

And enough stuff, altogether.  Time to sign off for now.  Until next time ...

Friday, November 6, 2009

My head's been filled with Mr. Yuk

Whatever happened to Mr. Yuk?  I recall him clearly from my childhood and he's apparently still out and about, but keeping a mighty low profile since his glory days in the early 70's.   Not sure why: there's far more poisons to strike fear into the hearts of parents today (or at least we recognize more of them as such now).

I hadn't had a conscious thought of the poster boy for the dangers of poison since his hey day until earlier this week when I inexplicably dropped his name in a discussion on new process adoption ("old way, bad like Mr. Yuk; new way, good like Mr. Pibb").  Never mind that Mr. Pibb doesn't conger up visions of wonderful, I don't have an explanation of why Mr. Yuk slipped from my lips.

Ahh, is there nothing better than 70's TV Commercials?  They just don't make 'em like that anymore.

Though I must admit I'm quite fond of the Halls Refresh Commercial making the rounds, if only for its high octane creep factor taken to a degree I'm sure its makers did not intend.  Or maybe they did.  Either way, it has an effect.  It's certainly nowhere near as creepy as those horrid Charles Schwab commercials (I blame them for the collapse of the financial industry).

This post is obviously going nowhere - at least I'm consistent in that regard.  When I was churning this garbage out daily, it didn't matter as much; however, seeing as though I'm only getting around to it on the weekends, I outta try a bit harder.  I just don't have the energy.

I'm enjoying the umpteenth viewing of Unforgiven, one of my very favorite flicks.  I never liked most of Eastwood's 70's and 80's Dirty Harry-centric action flicks (though they were sort of entertaining in a 'B' movie, guilty pleasure kind of way).  His spaghetti western stuff was classic, though not my cup of tea (and his follow-on cowboy movies through the 70's followed suit, albeit without Leone's style or the cheesy dubbing).  I love the work he's done over the last twenty years, though.  Both in front of but especially behind the camera.

Unforgiven is my top pick of Eastwood's fine 90's/00's litter (fighting neck and neck with Million Dollar Baby and Mystic River).  I'm not a big Western aficionado but Unforgiven turns the genre on its head, mocking all the stereotypes with a jaundiced eye biting on a raw nerve.  And the music's perfect. If you ever shied away because you don't dig Westerns and/or disliked Eastwood's earlier work, do yourself a favor and give it a go.

But now it's over and that means Bedtime for Bonzo, drifting off to a re-run of Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (my favorite of the Bill flicks, though most who like them at all seem to opt for Vol 2).  Not Tarantino's best in my view but entertaining, funny and great tunes all the same.  A glorious mess.  Volume 3 was recently announced for release around 2014.  That's certainly planning ahead (or maybe wishful thinking).

Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day.  I won't have to go to work, so that already makes it a step up from every day of the past three weeks.  But I probably shouldn't jump the gun on that (I think I thought the same thing each of the past two Friday nights).

And finally ... I'm looking forward to the season finale of Mad Men on Sunday, as well as the final episode of the "Seinfeld" story arc on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

After all, I dare to dream big.