Tuesday, January 31, 2006
You Said Irony Was The Shackles Of Youth
If I could assume credit for making one movie, I think it would be Lost in Translation. I've never actually seen that movie and I've heard very mixed things about it even though it was beloved by critics, so it's not about having my named attached to a sure-fire high-quality product. It would be more about being Sofia Coppolla. She had a lot to answer for after she single-handedly ruined The Godfather, Part III, so having something to her/my credit that (for better or worse) established a reputation based on ability other than a lack of screen chemistry with Andy Garcia would be a huge, huge relief. And then past that, right now she/I would be in a great position to do just about whatever she/I wanted, reveling in that insane sort of carte blanche that artists get when the thing they did last time was almost universally praised within industry circles. Plus there'd be no pressure because if she/I failed on the next thing, we could always retreat to our solid, solid fall-back position of being the offspring of someone who has a shitload of money. And I would have gotten to hang out with Bill Murray in Tokyo for a couple of months.
If I could assume credit for having written one book, I think it would have to be The Da Vinci Code. Now this one I have experienced first hand. I really, really hated it. It's the longest fiction book I've ever read that has no characters in it whatsoever. There are people with names and jobs and hands to hold things and feet to run away from giant albinos with, but they never threaten to break out into something as complicated as personalities in any of the book's 100+ chapters. The reason I would have chosen this one is because a) I will have written an international best-seller apparently without having tried very hard and b) the person in my life with a shitload of money would be me. Then I could finally build my house out of gold with stained-glass windows made out of cut gems, two giant marble fountains (one for chocolate milk, one for champagne) and a dog. Not one of those cheap humane society mongrels either, I mean a purebreed dog. It doesn't matter really which kind of dog; the point would be that I would have so much money that I would have time to give a shit who my dog's parents were. That's rich.
If I could assume credit for having written/performed/recorded one song, I think it would be "Star 69" by REM. I would want that one because it's just the right mix of poppy verse-chorus-verse easy-going-ness while still all crunchy guitar-driven up-tempo. That's the commercial side. On the artistic-credibility side, I would be very happy with the fact that nobody in the world knows what the words to the song are because they're all Michael Stipe mumbly gibberish brought to vivid life in his inimitable underwater mush-mouth style. See, because nobody respects you in the music business unless a certain segment of the population has no fucking idea what you're talking about. That way people can fill in their own meanings and interpretations, ironically making a wall of incomprehensible sound and noise "accessible" to a mainstream audience. Plus I just wanted to mention it because Monster is a really good album that people don't talk about enough. And no, not because it happened to be the last thing I listened to yesterday.
If I were an 11-year-old girl, I would make a lot more lists just like this one.
I have big dreams. I want fame. But fame costs. And right here is where I start paying... in other people's sweat.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.5
Monday, January 30, 2006
Monday Lite: Serving Size = 1/2 Cup
Something occurred to me today as I was sitting down at breakfast.
If the Cap'n were to take off his hat, what would happen? He'd lose his eyebrows completely for a start. Although the shadowing does suggest that they exist independently of the hat-material floating in space. And the eyes themselves, well, they could go either way. I don't know if they're attached to the top of the nose and rest outside the front of the hat or if they're attached to the lower brim of the hat and simply rest on the bridge of the nose but either way, they are clearly not in any way fixed into sockets.
Apparently he's got white hair, but with all the crazy geometry going on, I'm not so sure his skull doesn't just stop right there where the hat begins.
The shape and cut of that collar is something else as well. Perhaps the unorthodox placement of his eyes counteracts the potential peripheral-vision problem one would normally associate with a solid wall of material from one's shoulder to their temples. The only real conclusion one can reach is that the collar is designed to hide something. Perhaps a scar or a hickey or a tattoo or something. Maybe young Ensign Crunch was horribly disfigured by the knife of an overly amorous senior seaman below decks when he initially fought off his advances; perhaps the collar covers his ears because he has no ears, cut off as a warning to other young swabbies who would dare defy the future Cap'n's nemesis and his deep, sea-borne hunger for the touch of supple young flesh.
That preposterous mustache growing directly out of his nostrils is so obviously false; this is a man with something to hide. He's clearly got stories to tell. How'd he lose his fifth finger on his right hand? Does he have a left hand at all? What's with the speech impediment preventing him from saying the word "captain"?
No, he sits there, smiling, shilling for the Quakers and their peacenik hippie cereal, gorging himself on milk and milled corn trying to stuff the pain down while cutting the fuck out of his gums and palate. He accepts the pain as both a reminder of past trauma and as a rebuke for the worthlessness he feels as a living, breathing two-dimensional... thing.
Oh, I curse the riddle with no answer...
Who are you, Cap'n?
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.6 (in the end, this is only a "what I had for breakfast" post)
Sunday, January 29, 2006
I Apologize For What Follows
I've got some existentially terrifying news for everyone. It was sort of destined to happen eventually, but still I was able to delude myself by assuming it would never happen to me.
We established on Friday that I will, on occasion, engage in conversation with myself. Usually it's an act of consolation and calming as I--yet again!--talk myself out of storming a Krispy Kreme with a high-powered rifle, taking hostages and then doing us all in in a fantastic conflagration of flames, cooking fat and sugar glaze.
That scenario is also inevitable, but that's not the one I'm talking about tonight. What I'm talking about is how over the weekend, I finally had the conversation with myself about blogging and the frequency with which I participate. My self-conversation went sort of like this:
ME: What the fuck are you doing this for again?
There was this long, awkward pause. I tried to distract myself by making chit-chat about the weather and the best way to bar the exits of a Krispy Kreme shop all by myself, but eventually the answer was clear: there was no answer.
I should warn people that the rest of this post is all inward-looking Pops self-absorption. If you've recently eaten, I suggest you turn away now.
I'm not even sure how the suicidal six-days-per-week schedule got started. The only thing I can think of is that someone who really doesn't like me and has access to ancient Native American animal shaman hypno-magic capable of both forcing someone to do their bidding and making them generally forgetful about the details at the same time must be responsible.
But then that's a pretty specific category consisting solely of Criss Angel, Mindfreak. But I've never met Criss Angel.
Or have I?!
No, I haven't. I think if I did and even if he put the stink-eye whammy on me to make me forget, I'd have found at least one tell-tale smudge of eyeliner or concealer somewhere about my home or on my person. Dude wears a lot of make-up.
The obvious answer must be that I do it for my readership, my devoted and loyal Bucketeers.
But then I looked at my 12 month Sitemeter graph and it looks like this:
That was quite a peak in July/August of last year, but since then...? Long slow decline. I'm looking more and more like the blog equivalent of David Lee Roth. One day you're "Hot For Teacher", then you're "Just A Gigolo" and eventually you're inspiring people to pay for radio which they've always gotten for free because you suck so badly at filling in for Howard Stern. But unlike me, at least Diamond Dave can pull off a scissor kick.
So as much I love and respect and appreciate the totally undeserved and frankly confounding loyalty of you Bucketeers out there, in terms of trajectory of cultural potency, it's looking like the ole Bucket is going the way of singer/songwriter/banjoist Nigel "Bloody Fingers" Siskind.
I know, you're thinking: Who?
Add to all this the daily bout of "Oh my God, I forgot how to be funny in text form! Today's the day I'm exposed as the fraud I know I am!" Yes, it's just a tedious and undeserving of your attention as it sounds.
But then, just before the darkness hit me full-on, just before I was about to finish this post with a dramatic announcement about how I didn't want to do this anymore and how the Bucket would be drastically changing it's format if not going away completely, it hit me.
What hit me, you ask? It was the last sentence of the second to last paragraph you just read: "Yes, it's just a tedious and undeserving of your attention as it sounds."
Tedium, self-absorption, boredom, navel-gazing, all manner of mental and verbal masturbation engaged in not just occasionally but exclusively when I have absolutely nothing to say and no idea how or even why I should say it.
And look! I just wrote 650 words about it!
And look again! You just read the whole thing!
After I even WARNED YOU that it was going to be all Pops-y!
Blogging is awesome.
I'll see you people tomorrow.
I love you guys.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0 (only you'll have to imagine that 10 has been recalibrated to accommodate the new heights of narcissism displayed herein)
Friday, January 27, 2006
Pops Caritas Est
I'm very grateful to Blogger for all it has done for me. It's hard to complain about a service that is ego-nourishing, personally aggrandizing and completely free. Once you leave public school, it's sometimes difficult for adults to find a place with the right kind of safe, inviting environment in which to completely humiliate themselves.
I am sort of annoyed with Blogger in that I only seem to notice what they are doing when they fuck something up. And believe me, they've fucked plenty of things up. All my most brilliant, world-beating posts have been lost, sucked away into cyber-oblivion by various Blogger hiccups. You think some of this crap has been entertaining, you should have seen the crap that got lost! It vibrated; it hummed; it glowed, soft yet brilliant, like well-polished gold. I wish you could have seen it.
See, now I'm inviting people to look at my crap. If that doesn't sum up blogging completely, I don't know what does.
When Blogger does good things, however, you hardly notice. They don't do a very good job at all of letting people know when new features arrive. For instance I just found out they added a post-counter to the Blogger dashboard! Did you people realize that? For all I know it's been up there for six months, but I didn't notice. You better believe I noticed when their original post counter thing failed to work; I even wrote a highly emotional e-mail. Once I finally convinced the police that, no, I neither had a working thermonuclear device in my position nor did I even know where the Blogger people were headquartered, that whole incident sort of just blew over.
You know what I did find out from my new post-counter thing though? This is my 504th post! Yay me!
The 504th post is a special, special day in a blogger's career. For some people, it takes three years. For others it takes about a month and a half. For all of us, it means the same things: 1) I stopped paying close attention to post numbers sometime before I reached 500, thus the +4 oversight and 2) it's possible that I may have been doing this for too long.
For some people, that second realization could lead to all kinds of self-examination and light a fire under them to leave the stagnant, masturbatory world of blogging behind and go out there and find themselves a life. Luckily for you, not so for me. I love me a rut. The only thing I love more than a rut is stagnant masturbation. I ain't going no-place.
These sort of numerical milestones are important as they give one a moment to reflect on the weight and scope of the body of work that has been developed. It is also an excellent, very helpful break from having to think of something to write about. "It's my 504th post!" just sort of screams for attention.
July 2004 was a long, long time ago. I know my motivations and rationalizations for why I do this blog thing have changed in subtle yet important ways since I started, but I'm not 100% sure how or why. I could launch into a lengthy dissection of the inner workings of my psyche to understand the interplay between personality and knowledge and the development of the self in a context mediated by circumstance and time. Or I could just ask.
POPS OF THE NOW: Hello?
HISTORICAL POPS OF JULY 2004: Fuck off. I'm busy.
POTN: I know.
HP: You know what?
POTN: I know what you're up to. You're starting a blog.
HP: What's a blog?
POTN: It's a thing on the internet where you type stuff and then publish it for all the world to see. It's a gateway to guaranteed fame and fortune through the written word, just as you've always wanted.
HP: That sounds like a lot of work. Plus I might miss reruns of Deep Space 9 on Spike. Fuck off.
POTN: Uh... you... um... can't not blog.
HP: Why the fuck not? Come on, you're making me miss this. This is the episode where that bitch with the wrinkly nose is really angry about something.
POTN: You have to start a blog. Have. To.
POTN: I'm not presenting you with options, I'm just saying it's temporally and existentially impossible for you not to. If you don't start a blog, I--the You of the Now--couldn't possibly exist.
HP: You mean this conversation would never have taken place?
POTN: At the very least.
HP: Sold! Now fuck off.
POTN: All right, fine. Just so you know though: Bush wins.
HP: What did you say?
POTN: In the election in November. You don't know it yet, but Bush wins.
HP: Get the fuck out of here. No one would be stupid enough to vote for him. He's retarded.
POTN: I'm serious. He wins 49 states in 2004. Everything except Tennessee, ironically. It's a goddamn shame.
HP: Are you serious?
POTN: Can you afford to gamble that I'm not?
HP: Fine, I'll start a bog.
HP: Whatever. But only to save mankind from itself. Now fuck off so I can get started.
Wow. That was something of a surprise. Who knew I had such a direct influence in my own decision to start my blog. Very manipulative of me, I must say. I didn't like lying to myself about the size of the Bush victory in the election, but something had to be done. Besides, who can say for sure that I lied? Kerry didn't win, but maybe if I hadn't started blogging in July of '04, Bush really would have won 49 states. Moral victories don't count for much in politics, but they do in the sense that I was not so despondent after the election that I didn't immediately kill myself or worse, move to Canada. I just wrote some mopey blogposts about it.
To future Popses I say: way to go, Pops. Keep up the good work.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0
Thursday, January 26, 2006
So Very Sleepy
It has taken 19 months, but I have officially run out of ideas. You leeches have officially sucked me dry. As a testament to my creative bankruptcy, I present for you all--in lieu of the expected text-heavy Awesome you've come to love and respect--the following picture of a monkey in a suit.
I'll see you people tomorrow. If I can't find a picture of a dog riding a unicycle or something similar, I fear for all of us.
UPDATE #1: See, there's even a story about Michael Jackson dressed as a woman while shopping in Bahrain and I can't even think of anything to do with THAT. I told you people, I'm spent. Only, isn't cross-dressing a capital offense in Muslim countries? Wouldn't it be ironic if he went AAAAAALL the way to Bahrain to get away from potential legal trouble with this pedophile business only to be beheaded for wearing a head-scarf?
UPDATE #2: And now people are finding me (top result!) with the Google search: did doctors decide liam neeson's colon problem was anxiety related?. And still... nothing. I'm like a eunuch in a whorehouse today.
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Nice Guy Eddie
Before I get started, I would like to state for the public record that I'm not some kind of hippy. I get regular haircuts, I find mescaline to be pedestrian and narcissistic and me and soap are on a first name basis. I wouldn't eat bean curd on a bet. A beaded poncho is not a good look for me, although I understand that the beaded poncho is not a good look for anybody, ever. I do own a pair of Birkenstocks, but how can a $100 pair of sandals represent the anti-material anti-establishment ethos? The answer is: it can't. All it can do is wrap my materialist pig feet in cork-lined leather-strapped consumer goodness. So what follows is not a loony ashram Left-Coast anti-corporate knee-jerk thing.
Also before I get started, I would like to further point out that I'm not some kind of whack-job conspiracy theorist. I don't line my windows with tin-foil to keep the invisible mind-reading waves at bay, I don't drive out to places like "Area 51" to catch a glimpse of the government-hidden UFOs and me and soap are on a first-name basis. I don't believe the CIA has any secret transmitters hidden in my dental fillings or that any of the materials used therein are left over from the melted-down guns used by the small army that assassinated John F. Kennedy. Sure, I do believe that the world is controlled by seven Jewish bankers living in a bank vault in Switzerland, but some things just stand to reason. So what follows is not a crazy paranoid dementia caused by too much alone time and access an X-Files box-set DVD.
Finally, I would like to point out that I am also not 100 years old. Both my hips are the ones I was born with, my hearing is completely un-aided and me and soap are on a first name, non-home-aid-worker-applied basis. When I do take Viagra it is for entertainment purposes only. I wish I had the luxury to complain about how my kids all abandoned me. So what follows is not a "I remember when I was a boy, them were the good ole days" meandering soliloquy about the degradation of society in general from its high point which happened to coincide with the period of time when I was a) old enough to remember and b) not old enough to have to pay taxes.
I want you to keep all that in mind while I talk about how shocking it is that CBS and Warner Bros. are merging UPN and the WB to form a new network.
At first I thought "Wow, great, merge UPN and WB. Now I can have all the shows I don't watch conveniently in one place."
And then I thought "Hey, CBS is starting a new network, that's interesting. That name sounds familiar, CBS... CBS... what do they do again?"
Oh yeah! They already are a network!
It seems sort of stupid. I mean, essentially CBS is going to be competing with itself 6 nights per week. Now, maybe they don't mind so much since Reba isn't much of a threat to CSI, but now she's their Reba.
I think. Unless she's not on any more. I would ask you people, but I'm 100% certain nobody on earth ever watched that show, ever. I think just to be safe I should include an IMDb link just so people will believe that there is (was?) a show with that name.
This merger is just another step in the corporate consolidation of the mass media, man, all folded together as part of the military-industrial complex.
Worse, it will help them keep track of all of us. See, the satellites can't track us with just one channel, so the second channel is being introduced so that our exact locations can be triangulated from space via our remote controls and then transmitted to the Specimen Tracking Station and Staging Area on the dark side of the moon being operated jointly by the human-Zephaloid One Earth Provisional Government.
When I was a kid, we didn't go in for this sort of thing. Not just the tracking and the aliens, I mean the whole thing all the way down to the TV stations. We had laws, you know, that said companies couldn't own more than one TV station in any market. Now in LA alone, CBS runs channel 2 (KCBS), channel 9 (KCAL), channel 5 (KTLA) and maybe channel 13 (KCOP), not to mention all the Viacom channels (MTV, Comedy Central, etc.) and Lord knows what else. If it weren't for all this rheumatism, I'd fly outta this chair and give them boys up there what-for. Not in my America, mister!
I've told you what I'm not, so now let me lay out exactly what I am: I am a person exactly my age of exactly my time and exactly of my socio-economic standing. That means I'm going to sit here and bitch to you people and then not do anything else about it because if I plan to do too much, I might overschedule myself and miss Two and a Half Men. And nobody wants that.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.1
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
Everyone can relax, I'm still alive. Everything's fine, everyone's safe, nothing has happened yet. Despite the constant torment, the unceasing siege of monstrous devil winds over the past several days, neither me nor my home has been shorn of the fickle bonds of gravity and tossed forever, endlessly upward in the cruel grasp of the malevolent, cackling atmosphere. But it hasn't been for lack of trying.
I was going to say we've been "buffeted by winds" but really, I can't think of a less threatening word than "buffeted." It just looks wrong when you're trying to build a credible sense of menace. "Buffeted" isn't what roaring, earth-stripping winds do. It's the answer to the question: "What did you guys do in Vegas when you got hungry?"
With the seasonal Santa Anas, we get not only a string of days off from having to worry about our hair, we also get 0% humidity. This means lots and lots of news coverage about RED FLAG WARNINGS and RED FLAG CONDITIONS and how we're all one stray cigarette butt away from being engulfed in a fiery suburban inferno. It's all very ominous.
More dire from my point of view is that when it gets really dry, I get these little tiny cracks in the skin at the corner of my fingernails that really hurt. It sounds wimpy, but I thought you'd all be happy to know that typing causes me little contact-pressure shocks of excruciating pain. The things I do for you, honestly...
The good thing about the wind is that it blows the smog out temporarily. People complain about the air quality out here just because it happens to be the worst in the whole country, but they don't realize that we have up to 10 days per year of virtually no smog whatsoever. I would write more about it, but I'm sort of gassed from all this typing. I need a time-out.
The obvious solution to the pollution problem: more Santa Ana winds. But no, the fat-cats in Sacramento wouldn't let us have that, no. They're all in bed with the pollution makers and the medical industry lobby who just sit back and watch the money roll in when our lungs no longer function. I don't know how they do it, but I'm sure they're taxing my compromised breathing capacity somehow.
I took some pictures from a hillside yesterday while out driving around.
Just to give non-Californians a context for the images, palm trees don't usually grow their fronds on top at a 90 degree angle. For Californians, that big shiny thing in the background is called a "lake."
Look how strong the winds were! They even slanted the WHOLE WORLD at a slight downward angle toward the bottom left of the frame! That's some strong wind.
And this one:
This is Riverside (looking north-east-ish) and several other inland communities all the way to the edge of the horizon. Again, for you midwestern flatlanders out there, those bumpy/ridgey things in the distance are called "mountains." They are protuberances in the earth's crust sometimes measuring in the thousands of feet tall! Weird, huh?
The sad thing is that the reason I was so excited to take a picture was that 90% of the time, I can't see any mountains either. They're all hiding behind a layer of smog. Are you listening, Governor Schwarzenegger? You were in Riverside just yesterday when--what a coincidence!--it happened to be all windy and non-smoggy. We demand the same treatment! More wind!
Earlier thoughts on the same subject can be found in this old post. Unlike this pile of crap, that one was academically vetted, so you know it's good.
The last thing I will say is that I love Riverside. I (mostly) grew up here. I bought my first and second houses here. Two of my kids were born here. I was married here. And that was back in the days before we had million-dollar tract homes and fancy movie-star governors. We could afford a nice wedding among family and friends. Our means were still meager since we were just starting out together. I'm not ashamed to say that we couldn't afford the sit-down meal, so we buffeted. It was all we could do to keep the bridsemaids from blowing away.
I hope I will be here tomorrow. It's hard to say what with all the wind. If the siroccos get me, remember, I've loved you all in my way. By that I mean I've had awkward sex dreams about most of you. Sorry. Don't be all weird about it though, OK?
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.7
Monday, January 23, 2006
Monday Regular: Never Play Cards With A Guy Who Has The Same First Name As A City
I talk about sports on this blog from time to time, but not that often. This lack of blog-interest (relative to the rest of the volume of post topics I've used) does not reflect my actual real-life interest. I watch a lot of sports. It's what American men do on weekends to avoid awkward conversations with their wives about who smeared what all over the bathroom walls again.
You'll notice, though, that in the rare occasions I have talked about sports, I have never once talked about basketball. This is because I don't like basketball. And it's not like I hate it so much that it deserves my ridicule and public scorn (like, say, NASCAR) it's just that it hardly registers in my consciousness at all. In many ways it's just like... that other thing... God, what is it... um... man, I always forget... bah... whatever.
At the risk of alienating many of my readers, I'm going to come straight out and say that the reason I don't give a shit about basketball is purely racially motivated.
For years now the game has been increasingly dominated by a grasping, suspicious people we should always keep an eye on and never ride alone in elevators with.
Of course I'm talking about foreigners. NBA and college players come from all over the world now, and not just the good countries either. Crazy places like China and Argentina and "Croatia" and even France. Can you believe it? France is producing NBA players.
And most of these foreigners don't even have the common courtesy to be black. They're all, like, white or Asian or whatever. Who the fuck do these people think they are coming over here to my country and undermining our hard-earned ethno-biological stereotypes about race by being a) excellent at basketball and b) not black?
Not only are our bullshit preconceptions being threatened, but just to twist the knife, they're taking jobs away from African-Americans. Yet another way Whitey has found to stick it to the black man. Larry Bird retires and Mr. Big has to go outside to find him a Manu Ginobili or a Yao Ming in order to dominate a brother. That's why I don't trust the Blue-Eyed Devil and neither should you.
The only reason I bring basketball up at all is because last night something happened that got my attention. LA Lakers non-rapist guard Kobe Bryant scored 81 points in one game vs. the Toronto Raptors.
That's the second highest total in a single game in NBA history.
That's an amazing accomplishment.
I have a question, though: how much does the rest of your team have to suck ass in order for you to score 81 points in a game? You know some of those stiffs were open, too.
I keep thinking--as I do in most situations as it is generally applicable--about the movie Teen Wolf. In that movie, a werewolf Michael J. Fox (least scary movie werewolf ever, by the way) uses his superhuman wolf-powers to (predictably) excel at basketball. It's only logical because when I think "canine" I immediately think "basketball." At least I know that was the thinking behind Air Bud.
In this case specifically, remember in Teen Wolf when Teen Wolf is single-handedly winning games and his fat teammate just kind of wanders up and down the floor while eating? That sums up the Lakers of the Kobe Bryant era. You know Kobe ain't gonna pass. Might as well get a hot dog in between time-outs.
I just hope, for his sake, Kobe is made to understand the importance of teamwork and the value of "just being yourself" before the big game at the very end of the
The existential question of the day--guaranteed to blow your minds if not several other parts of your anatomy--is: what do you turn back in to if you're already yourself? Think about that.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 6.3
Sunday, January 22, 2006
But That's Just My Opinion; I Could Be Wrong
I don't have a lot of time tonight as I've gotten to this late, but I do want to share with you all very briefly:
I watched Dennis Miller's new standup special on HBO Saturday night. I've always been a big Dennis Miller fan, mostly because I get most of the references so he makes me feel smart and pretty.
Weekend update on SNL? Awesome. The Dennis Miller Show with announcer Nick Bakay? Watched that too. Dennis Miller Live on HBO? Yep, down widdit.
I was even on board with the crazy-ass Monday Night Football thing.
The thing I liked the most about Dennis Miller was that everybody got it from Dennis Miller. It didn't matter who they were, if somebody did something retarded in public, they got their face put on the little screen and a joke made about them, usually including (somehow) mentions of both string theory and F-Troop.
Dennis Miller Live was roughly coterminous with the Clinton years and it was fascinating to watch Dennis vascillate between liking Clinton and being frustrated/disappointed/angry at the president for being (occasionally) retarded in public. It might not have been the most consistent, but at least he gave the impression that he was coming from a position of personal emotional honesty. Or, yeah OK, maybe he just needed to fill up a show with jokes once per week. As a slave to content and self-imposed deadlines, I can certainly sympathize with that.
Then 9/11 hit us all and two tragic things happened: 1) upgraded security meant I had to start just letting my fingernails grow willy-nilly for the entire duration of domestic flights and 2) Dennis Miller stopped being funny.
The first 15 minutes of his act on Saturday night was sort of general-interest comedy material. I think I can say the most about it by telling you I don't remember any of it. Could have been the absinthe, but I think it might have just been boring.
Then he started in with the political material. I liked the energy and the commitment in the delivery, that was all there. He laid into people--all Democrats from Hillary to Howard Dean... he even had Harry Reid material--which is fine and good, but then he went on this 10 minute jaunt that ended with (and I'm not exaggerating) RNC talking points about the Iraq-al Qaeda connection and how George Bush's inartful bumpkin-ness is "just what we need right now".
Dennis Miller isn't funny anymore because he's forgotten the first rule of comedy: everyone who isn't you or the audience is an asshole. There are some comedians who would go so far as to include even the audience in the "asshole" category (Andy Kaufman is the only one that leaps to mind immediately). The only time a comedian should say something nice about a politician is if the people watching all paid $1,000 dollars per plate and the proceeds were going to be split 50/50 between the party's national committee and Jack Abramoff. But that's simple math: if you're doing an event for pay, you don't bite the hand that feeds you.
But if you have an HBO special, the last thing anyone wants to hear is how great somebody--anybody--is. If I want to listen to people kiss George Bush's ass, I'll watch Fox News.
But I've never respected Sean Hannity, so it's far less depressing when he does it.
I guess the saddest part was that it seemed like Dennis Miller's whole political viewpoint had been shaped completely by fear. Or "terror," if you will. His point seemed to be that the dirty ragheads all hate us and they're going to get us unless we get them first. It was less funny than it sounds.
If Osama bin Laden had been watching the special from his cave in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region (you'd be surprised how far HBO's reach is), he'd probably be thinking "Holy crap, I guess this shit does work! Look, I broke Dennis Miller! Hey, switch over to Comedy Central. I think The Daily Show is on."
I will also allow for the possibility that I'm used to comedians being slanted to the left politically so when hearing it the other way I'm put off or simply confused. I acknowledge that and accept your chastisement, should you offer it, gentle readers.
But then again, like I said, it just may have been the absinthe.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.4
Friday, January 20, 2006
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #26
Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
starring Albert Brooks
directed by Albert Brooks (Albert Brooks movies)
If anyone needs any further proof that the Jews are co-conspirators in the whole network complex of modern terror and terrorism, look no further than this film. First they did subtle things like send out a secret signal to all the Jews to leave New York in the days before 9/11. That's just proven fact, right?
They're trying to cover themselves with the whole "oh, the terrorist's first aim is to wipe out Israel and kill all the Jews," but come on. They expect us to believe anyone is that ridiculously crazy? The cover is too perfect.
Look at this now: people over here in America were starting to think about Bush and wire-tapping and corruption in Congress, so terrorism and relations with Muslims in general were fading from the forefront of American consciousness. And then, "coincidentally," the day before Albert Brooks (hmm, now what ethno-religious social subset would we say he belongs to...?) has a new movie coming out, POW! Osama bin Laden tape.
Ahhh, terrorism! Terrorism! I have geopolitical existential anxiety once more! What should I do with my $10 to assuage this paralyzing fear of imminent destruction at the hands of a lurking, depersonalized enemy?!
Oh, thank goodness, I can go see this Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World! Maybe it will show me that Muslims laugh and are regular people like us! That will be enough to draw me out of my home-made bomb-proof spider-hole and separate me from my hard earned money!
People told me I was looking too hard for conspiracies when I blew the lid off the connection between Bolivian Maoist revolutionaries and the demise of Must-See TV Thursday on NBC. I took their scoffs then and I can take yours now. I'm looking too hard? You people aren't looking hard enough.
They flaunt this shit right under your nose knowing you'd never find something if they just fail to hide it at all. See, because they're crafty, the Jews and the terrorists. The Bolivians, they're methods were brutish and crude and motivated by their hot Latin blood to take down their archnemesis, Matt LeBlanc. Passion is fine, but it's unfocused and sloppy.
But this group, they're cold, calculating. They might say "world domination" and "death to the Great Satan", but when it comes right down to it, what they really want is an Executive Producer credit and a percentage of the gross.
Come on. Fifty years of intractable conflict over a strip of land about the size of New Jersey, only less hospitable or inviting. Is anyone else buying this? They even say "Mossad had a hand in planning and executing 9/11" because they know we'll go "No way, that's ridiculous." And meanwhile right now Yitzak Rabin and Yasser Arafat (both still alive, by the way) are drinking mojitos and having their feet washed by the long, silky hair of the natives in Tahiti having a good laugh at our expense, all paid for by the cash they made off Munich.
You don't have to believe me now, but trust me. You will. I have a gift. I see the secret subtle messages transmitted by movies and TV and radio and magazines and the supposed "random" barking of dogs in my neighborhood. I know the last one sounds hard to believe, but once I started feeding my Haldol to my dog which gave her the ability to speak English, she laid it all out for me.
Keep your dogs where you can see them, people. That's all I'll say.
As for this movie, I definitely want to go see it. Not for entertainment purposes, but for research. When I receive the coded messages, I'll be sure to broadcast them to you all either by mental telepathic blast or via this blog ASAP. If there are any dogs in the movie, that should drastically cut down the interpretation time.
Now I have to go. I need to feed the spiders that live under my skin.
Three (out of 3) on the Hot Babysitter Scale
PS- I heart Albert Brooks.
PPS- I may also heart Sheetal Sheth, also appearing in this film.
PPPS- One week after I actually get to see a movie, this one and Terence Malick's The New World comes out. God hates me.
Thursday, January 19, 2006
(Some) Death To (Most Of) The Infidel(s)!
I guess it isn't impossible that we could learn to live in this world alongside militant jihadist Muslim Wahhabi anti-American fundamentalists. Some much more socially tricky things have been worked out. In high school Rusty Porter ate his own scabs and smelled like formaldehyde and horseradish and yet somehow he had a date to the prom. If a snake can make nice and live with a mouse that was originally meant to be its supper, well, we need only look to nature for our example; it's just like the homos tell us about the gay penguins. Look to the animals, my friends. My dog, for example, spends all day licking herself and has--to my knowledge--never started a war. There's something to learn in that.
However, as much as I'd like to, I have a hard time taking Osama bin Laden at his word when he says he would be open to a truce. I mean, first of all, in the same exact message he tells us we should get ready for new attacks inside the US, so that kind of undercuts his "maybe we can work some of this shit out" message. He kind of buries the lead, the be honest. He might be one hell of an international criminal mastermind, but his composition skills leave something to be desired.
Frankly, his offer of a possible truce seems both half-hearted and confused. First of all, he ties it to withdrawal of US troops from Iraq. So immediately I'm thinking, wow, the Bush-Cheney people are good. They've even got Osama convinced that Iraq is somehow connected to the war on terror. Apparently I haven't been giving the administration propaganda machine enough credit.
Plus, you really sort of undercut your "truce" message when you include things like "The operations are under preparation and you will see them in your houses as soon as they are complete, God willing". By "operations" in our homes, I think it's too much to hope that he's talking about a nation-wide candle party. Unless the candles are made from the boiled flesh of Zionist babies and release anthrax into the air when they burn. I think bin Laden would be down with that. Anything short of that, I call bullshit.
I'm tired of all this threat/counterthreat/attack/invasion cycle. It's time just to figure out once and for all what it is exactly what bin Laden wants. I'm not saying that we should give it to him necessarily (especially if what he wants is "death to America" as I was planning on using America for several years to come), I'm just saying if we're going to engage, let's know what it is we're talking about. The Bush people keep sliding around their motives and actions and justifications while at the same time bin Laden keeps changing his short-term goals from video-tape to video-tape. It's all so squishy and formless and intellectually bankrupt on both sides; it's like dealing with a bunch of Senate Democrats, frankly. And everyone knows nothing gets done if you leave it to those people.
I'm sort of discouraged because as of a few days ago, I thought I'd actually cracked it. I thought I'd finally figured out what exactly it was that Osama bin Laden wanted so desperately that he was willing to commit mass murder of innocents of a period of years to make it happen. But then Kelly Clarkson agreed to let American Idol use her songs and STILL with the threats. So there went that theory.
Ah well. Back to square one.
When I do figure it out, you people will be the first to know. I'll audioblog it from my cellphone while driving like mad to someplace less likely to be a target. Terrorists hate Riverside. It's just too freedom-y.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.0
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Can You Smell What The Rock Is Cooking?
Sometimes people wonder what the good folks over at GoldenPalace.com are thinking. They're the ones who paid money to have a giant temporary tattoo of their name scrawled across a boxer's back for the duration of a fight. They're the ones who bought some baseball player's spit-out chewing gum and the grilled cheese sandwich that may or may not have an image of the Virgin Mary burnt into it.
They are also the ones who as of yesterday paid William Shatner $25,000 for his passed kidney stone. Folks immediately go "Goddamn, what the fuck is wrong with these people? What are they going to do with a kidney stone from some geezer Canadian Jew?" Partially at least, I agree: I mean come on, Canadian AND Jewish? Talk about your marginal of the marginal. Fiendishly undermining whole governments while being very polite about it all at the same time. The combination just makes no sense.
I know he was Captain Kirk and all, but I have a hard time believing that even the most unreasonably fanatical Kirk-o-philes would be interested in anything that escaped the man's urethra anymore. In '68 sure, or even around the time Wrath of Khan was released maybe, but now? No, sir.
This is the biggest Star Trek Original Series Cast Member Penis-Related news since George "Sulu" Takei announced he was gay, fine, but $25,000? Just think of what they'll pay for Leonard Nimoy's Prince Albert barbell.
Of course the purchase only makes sense if you think about how much television, print and radio advertising costs and then, concurrently, think of how much the name "GoldenPalace.com" is now being bandied about in the free (free) media and by stupid, gullible, susceptible-to-suggestion bloggers out there desperate for anything unusual or eye-catching around which to build a blogpost replete with dick jokes. Dummies like that can be had for nothing.
So GoldenPalace buys something lame and useless that nobody wants and no one was using. It's called "public attention" and this week it happened to arrive in the shape of Captain Kirk's crystalline bladder excreta.
While I applaud the cynical bastards at GoldenPalace for their initiative, I would like to state publicly that I would never, ever, ever, ever like to visit their storage warehouse. Forget about the kidney stone, I don't even want to know where they keep that boxer.
It all sounds pretty silly, but when you stop and think that we live in a country where people take dancing lessons with their dogs, how strange is it that somebody bought William Shatner's kidney stone?
Now if someone starts taking dancing lessons with William Shatner's kidney stone, that will get my attention.
My favorite part of the Shatner article is right at the end:
"GoldenPalace.com originally offered $15,000 for the stone but Shatner turned it down, noting that his 'Star Trek' tunics have commanded more than $100,000. His counteroffer was accepted."
Wow. Someone asked to buy someone else's kidney stone and there had to be a counteroffer. Say what you want about the Shat, his urinary tract might not be up to snuff, but his balls are working just fine.
All that respect he lost with me from TJ Hooker has been gained back.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 2.6
Tuesday, January 17, 2006
It's been a long time coming, ladies and gentlemen, but the time for judgment has come at long last. Today scores will be settled, reputations made or destroyed, all grievances satisfied by the most basic means we know: in the ring.
The bad blood between these two warriors has been well chronicled: both arrived in my house on the same fateful day, Christmas 2005. In the short time they've spent here together it has become abundantly clear that there just isn't room in any one house for the both of them. Their distaste for one another is personal, it is real, it is brutal, all of which can be expected when you put two beings together and force them to compete for the attentions of three fickle children and for the limited, precious resource of life-giving double-A batteries.
No more hype. No more waiting. The winner stays, the loser is banished to the back of a closet with the "educational" toys. Ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, I give you: The Contestants.
Name: E-L-M-O Dancing Elmo
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
Vitals: Mimes along to modified Village People song "YMCA" to spell "ELMO" instead. Waves arms and does a bunch of poncey hand gestures. Also does "Give me an E! Give me an L!" (etc.) cheer. Just to sum up, that's Village People and cheerleading. All things considered, possibly the gayest toy ever (after He-Man, naturally). But he is, after all, still a monster and not to be trifled with.
Name: Tumble Time Tigger
Weight: 2.75 lbs.
Vitals: Does cartwheels while singing along to a modified version of either Rick James' "Superfreak" or MC Hammer's "U Can't Touch This", depending on when you were born. Slurred and idiosyncratic speech, possibly some version of Creole. Boundless energy as a result of rampant ADHD, which may hurt or help. Too soon to say. May be some kind of tiger, which can only help.
The oldest cliché in the fight game is "Styles make fights". That couldn't be more true here. From Elmo, we can expect a close-in, hands-oriented, forms-based style. His footwork consists of a fair bit of rocking from one side to the other, but little else. Watch out for the devastating downward arm of his "M" in the "E-L-M-O" sequence. Get caught with that and the "M" will only stand for "motherfucker, that hurt!" Or at least it would if you could still speak after being knocked the fuck out.
As for Tigger, he is just the opposite. He is all kinetic energy and movement. If his whirling tempest of fists, feet, fur and tail doesn't get you, his incessant stream of adorable malapropisms will. And if that fails, the repetitive, endless loop of his song is sure to wear you down until, in the end, you take your own life if only to be free of its twisted siren call. Don't let his plush outside fool you. Inside he's both feral beast and hard, hard plastic.
Can you feel it? I can feel it. It's Go-Time.
The combatants are sizing each other up. I must say, if either one of them are nervous, they're not showing it. One of the benefits of having an inanimate stitched-on face, I suppose. Anyway, kudos to the kids of Indonesia who sewed those facial features on. Eighteen hours a day working in a windowless room with no bathroom facilities has never seemed more worth it.
Let's see if our fighters try to feel each other out at first and... oh! Tigger is wasting no time! His total lack of impulse control is coming into play almost immediately as he dives right into a furious spinning Cartwheel Of Doom attack!
Elmo seems to have no response at all! Is it the paralysis of terror or perhaps some kind of battery issue? All I know is he'd better sort it out before... oh my! Tigger is down! Tigger is down!
He was able to knock Elmo askew, but was not able to complete his Cartwheel Of Doom. Stability has always been a problem for Tigger; it is somewhat ironic that the difference here was stability in the physical sense rather than the mental. Perhaps he should have paced himself.
Elmo seems to have won this one with a total Zen passivity, absorbing the kinetic Tiggerian attack with stoic indifference and letting the poor, gyroscope-free Tumble-Time Tigger spin himself right out of the match. Reminiscent of Ali in Kinshasa vs. Foreman, only shorter, redder and so much gayer.
Let this be a lesson to you homophobes out there, however. Just because a monster looks gay doesn't mean he can't kick your ass. Try explaining that ass-kicking to your friends. It's the one time it's OK to tell people your girlfriend beat you up.
As Elmo wanders off the field of battle in the warm embrace of his companion Chicken Dancer Ernie, I leave you with a final thought: this is the least deserved throwdown victory since that pussy Daniel LaRusso beat up Blonde Johnny with that fruity bird kick thing in The Karate Kid. Before Elmo gets a big head about this victory, remember what happened to Ralph Macchio after that. Yeah, My Cousin Vinny was funny, but that was totally Joe Pesci's movie and don't none of youse forget it.
On a more philosophical note, I was hoping to break one of these toys by putting them through their paces today, but alas. I am doomed to keep hearing their songs and watching their inane and inept antics for some unspecified period of time longer; at least until their batteries die.
But on the positive side, now you can all say you've seen the crappy linoleum in my kitchen. Yay me.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.7
Monday, January 16, 2006
Monday Lite: MLK2K6
OK, so today Al Gore called for the appointment of a special counsel to deal with the White House spying on people without bothering to get those pesky, pesky warrants, even after the fact, where time was not an issue.
Is this how it works now? Can just any-ole-body start calling for insanely specific government action even though they have no connection to any sort of public body on any level? Because me and Al Gore, one of the many things we have in common is that neither of us hold jobs at the moment, let alone public office.
And yet Al Gore gets to make speeches and very sternly "call for" things and the national media comes running while I'm stuck here talking to people whose only motivation for reading is to figure out once and for all if I'm retarded or not. Really, it's same impulse that kept people watching Twin Peaks while they did, fascinated by the masochistic, un-follow-able jumble of it because they had to have their curiosity satisfied.
Many of you will be happy to know that just like David Lynch I'm keeping the Big Reveal as to whether or not I have the mental and social capacity of a third grader under wraps for a long time. Again, like Mr. Lynch, I intend to string it out far past the length of any human endurance or even interest so that when the Big Reveal does come, I'll be left here with just me, my dog and the nice lady who cuts my food up for me.
But back to this Al Gore thing, I guess in the spirit of MLK Day 2006, it's OK for people who aren't inside of government to call for its reform or for it to do what the person speaking insists is the public will for the public good. That's what Martin Luther King, Jr. did. And look, he got his own holiday. But then again, he also got shot, so you have to play these sorts of things just right.
In the spirit of Dr. King and former VP Gore, I too am going to take up the call and add my voice to the list of people demanding things from the government in order to foment change.
I would like to also redouble my identification more with FVP Gore than Dr. King. While Dr. King was clearly more courageous and more patently right, Mr. Gore has not as of this writing been (to the best of my knowledge) subject to any kind of gun violence. Government change is nice and all, but avoiding new bullet-made openings anywhere on my body is really what I'm after, long-term.
What I want from government:
1) Accountability and responsibility among elected leaders.
2) Less accountability and responsibility for me personally.
3) National siesta. Call it "nap-time" if the xenophobes in the Red States have to, but I think we'd all be happier with some quiet time after lunch. They do it in Spain and I don't know any unhappy Spaniards. Technically I only know of one Spaniard and that's Antonio Banderas and he seems to be doing OK. Plus there's an outside chance we'd all end up handsome and married to Melanie Griffith. OK, so there's that one downside...
4) Criminalization of old copies of CD-ROM PC video games. That way, just like alcohol during Prohibition, the black market for old PC-CD games will skyrocket and I can finally get rid of my old copies of Rollercoaster Tycoon and FIFA Soccer 1999 at some kind of profit. I could just throw them away, but they were, like, $50 a shot when I bought them.
That's all I can think of now. I was going to say "National Burrito Bar", but I don't think there's enough sneeze-shield Plexiglass to keep us all safe from that one.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 4.7
Sunday, January 15, 2006
I Ate A Big, Red Candle
Ah, San Diego. City of Lights. City of Love. City by the Bay. Old Smokey. The Big Tangerine. Rocky-top. Chi-Town.
Yes, San Diego is known by many names, most recently "Place-Me-And-My-Wife-Went-Over-The-Weekend."
It's a fantastic city. It really is. It has buildings and people and cars and streets and none of my kids whatsoever. Not one!
Don't misunderstand, they have kids in San Diego, it's only that I am not legally obligated to care for any of them. It's really quite fantastic. Sometimes I wish Riverside were that way, but alas...
We stayed right downtown in the Gaslamp Quarter, a bustling, revived part of the town where every old brick-fronted warehouse and law office is now the home to an never-ending parade of restaurants and nightclubs. Well, I assume they were restaurants and nightclubs, but mostly as far as I could tell the buildings were primarily filled with a few tables and lots and lots of speakers. Oh lordy, the speakers. Braying, thumping, pounding music, a different song coming out of every doorway as we walked down F Street Saturday night.* Apparently, though, with all the speakers and and the tables, there was no room for any people inside as they all were milling about on the sidewalks, huddling in little pods around verboten cigarettes for warmth. It looked like lots of fun and all, but we went to the movies instead.
Before we left on Sunday morning, we went up to the roof our our hotel to take in the full view of the city. I will tell you that San Diego is, geographically at least, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The view of downtown, the bay and Coronado Island in the foggy silence of the early morning, when all the residents of the thumping clubs from the night before are all conveniently elsewhere sleeping their way toward well-deserved skull-splitting headaches, is a sight to behold.
Besides that, there is the city itself, a striking modern landscape of new buildings being built at a furious pace, so it's all gleaming pillars of silver and green glass, parts of which could be yours at completely unreasonable prices. Even the older buildings have a scrubbed, lived-in look that downtowns only achieve with resident care and millions of dollars in City Redevelopment Funds. The result is fair and wonderful and uncaptured by my digital camera, which I managed to leave at home some 80-90 miles north up I-15. So instead of picture pictures, you people get my lame word-pictures instead. Instead of the picture speaking a thousand words, you actually get a thousand words. It's basic math.
The only problem I have with San Diego is that I've seen Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy more than once. So even though I know that the words "San Diego" are not German for "a whale's vagina," the only thing I could manage to think about every time I saw a sign with the words "San Diego" on it--and there were a lot of signs, let me tell you... San Diegans are either wholly self-involved or prone to geographical forgetfulness--all I could think of were whale vaginas. This is most disturbing as I have no idea what a whale vagina looks like, so that left my imagination to fill in the blanks by combining what I knew of non-whale vagina (thank you, seventh-grade biology textbook!) with the dimensions and shapes of whales. Not a pretty mental picture, especially when you're trying to sleep.
That particular emotional trauma aside, I really love San Diego. It's where Mrs. Pops and I go when we're too lazy to drive to Vegas. And for that, it's special to us. We're shockingly lazy people.
Before I leave you, I should confess something: when we went to the movies, circumstances were such that I found myself buying tickets for and the seeing a movie I had no previous intention of seeing. Look, I even chronicled said lack of intention here on this very blog!
We saw Munich. I will tell you, yes ladies and about 10% of you men out there, Eric Bana does spend some time with his taut Aussie torso unencumbered by a shirt, which is fine. But the rest of the movie, for all it's intended stress and thriller and thought-provokingness, sure was boring. Maybe this was my punishment for seeing a movie out of my MIHNIoS file, since in reading about it leading up to the blogpost, I pretty much knew the plot outline front and back before the lights dimmed. But I was surprised at the way in which this movie failed to surprise me. It did make Mrs. Pops cry, but that's only because there was a baby in it. We've had kids for over 6 years now and they're still able to get her with that soppy trick. I guess for some people the novelty never wears off.
By the time we hit the street outside, I was already thinking about whale vaginas again. I guess that's not necessarily a mark against the movie's impact as a whale vagina tends to take up a lot of processor space in the ole brain, but I could have done with a bit of distraction.
We walked back to the hotel and, with no kids around, well, I guess I don't have to tell you what happened there. But I will: we fell asleep. Mmm, romance. Look, you go 7 years without getting any kind of appreciable exercise and then go walking around some Balboa Park museums and most of downtown San Diego all day and see how revved up you are at 11 pm.
Besides, you young unmarried people with no kids, just wait, you'll see. Just being able to fall asleep next to someone after you've been together for over 10 years without drifting off to thoughts of resentment or alienation or how to slip them rat poison in such a way that those clever CSI people won't figure you out (damn you, David Caruso!) is the absolute height of romance right there.
Maybe it's contentment or happiness that keeps those thoughts away. Maybe it's a sick preoccupation with the genitalia of giant water-dwelling mammals. Who can say? The point is, that's love, baby. No murder = love, whatever the incidental particulars.
You stay classy, Bucketeers. And thanks for stopping by. But mostly, stay classy.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.985
PS- the hockey game on Friday night was fine. One observation: if you have a 4-year-old whose bedtime is 8 pm, do not take them to a hockey game that starts at 7:30 pm unless holding a sleeping deadweight 40-lb. person while crammed into a little plastic seat for three hours is your idea of a good time.
*= and no, "walking down F Street" is not any kind of euphemism. Pervs.
Friday, January 13, 2006
This being January, I want desperately to write you a Movies I Have No Intention of Seeing post, but alas, cruel, cruel circumstance has conspired to rob me of the time required to put a quality post together on the opulent disaster that appears to be Tristan & Isolde. I mean come on, it's directed by the same guy who directed both Waterworld and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. This is the man who almost single-handedly guided Kevin Costner's career from the treacherous heights of industry respect and bankability to the much safer lowlands of occasional embarrassing cameos and practical anonymity. It would have to be unwatchable, wouldn't it? Seeing as the story of Tristan & Isolde is a Anglo-Irish medieval story, I would be willing to at least rent this movie to see if everyone in it talks in modern American English, just like Robin Hood. And if there's a token black guy in it too it may completely circle around from "total cinematic abortion" to "greatest movie ever made".
But for now, here, watch me resist the headlining star-power of James Franco.
It is January indeed.
Got big plans tonight. Taking my oldest boys to see hockey in Anaheim. Don't like hockey and have never been to a game, but this is my encouragement of my kids to take an interest in sports coming back to bite me in the ass.
And then tomorrow--sweet, sweet Saturday--Mrs. Pops and I are leaving town without the children. There are no airplanes involved in this trip, but it might as well be a goddamn rocketship to Venus (do what you will with that imagery). As of Saturday morning, we'll be nothing but an exhaust trail.
Between all the preparations and my oldest boy having a surprise goddamn noon-dismissal from school and all this motherfucking laundry which refuses to do itself, well, I'm afraid this post will have to get you through Sunday night at least, if not Monday.
Don't wait up.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 8.5
Thursday, January 12, 2006
There's A Dream That Strings The Road With Broken Glass For Us To Hold
I love it when new people find my blog. Not for the obvious reason in that it increases my readership and makes me... well, I guess "happy" isn't the right word. There isn't really a word for how you feel when something moves you off your cycle of 24-hour uncontrollable sobbing to just a soft, moist-eyed whimper. But goddamn it, there should be. We have words for stupid things like love and happiness and feeling like you're about to barf* but nothing for that most significant feeling when the utter blackness of your heart and mind and soul flickers--even if only for a second--to a deep, less-all-enveloping charcoal color.
OK, fine, we'll invent one. Let's see, what to call it... well, it's main features are a slightly less than absolute certainty in the meaninglessness of all life, including your own. So "suicidal" isn't quite right; besides, that's sort of taken. Not suicidal but willing to continue living even though the very idea of drawing another breath causes you pain equal to Jennifer Lopez stabbing you in the eye with a spork while singing. Liveable? No, too strong. What's something that's not quite dead, but not exactly participating in the process of living?
Ah! "Existy". That's it. I'm feeling very existy.
I'm feeling that way because yesterday someone stumbled on to an old post of mine and was so moved by it that she re-posted the whole thing on her own myspace blog (with kind attribution of course... otherwise this would be an entirely different post, tonally speaking). This makes me less-unhappy-than-usual for two reasons: 1) it isn't possible for a person to be reminded too often of their own awesomeness, especially after a post like yesterday's and 2) I have finally broken in to the fat myspace.com market completely by accident. With this kind of exposure on such a widely used network, can total world-domination be far behind?
Of course since we're talking myspace, world domination will have to come via 17 year old riotgrrls and sk8rboyzz and all thA hOmiEzzz (my new BFF Nancy--a grown woman--excepted, obviously), but that's OK. Advertisers don't market to teenagers because they have money to spend. They market to teenagers because teenagers, by and large, are stupid and thus susceptible to suggestion. Which is fine by me.
It's also an opportunity to go through the pleasant parts of my now-common cycle of getting to know new readers. They're always so nice and polite and complimentary at first, which is where me and my pal Nancy are right now. But soon, should she consider sticking around, I will wear her down until she sounds like all you other Bucketeers: bored, cynical, unimpressed and unjustifiably angry, mostly at me. We'll whip her into shape yet. We'll have her calling me a "no-talent ass-clown" in no time.
I'm going to take a slight (slight) break from talking about myself to bring up the story about Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito's wife ran crying from the Senate confirmation hearings yesterday.
I would like to take this opportunity to say to Mrs. Alito: Awww, Puddin'.
Of course Republican senators were all indignant after that: "Look, the Democrats made a girl cry! A totally impartial observer to the proceedings spontaneously broke down because of the savagery of Democrats asking questions to which Mr. Alito is free to answer in any way he likes! There's no way people should vote for them in 2006. I know no one brought that last part up, but we're just saying..."
This just sort of underlines for me something that has been bothering me about the state of politics in general over... well, most of my lifetime. Here's my question: how come everyone in public office is such a pussy? No one can ask any kind of challenging question be they press or fellow politician or citizen because, instead of accepting the question for what it is, as a query for knowledge or to test someone's position, the receiver of said question automatically rises up to scorn the asker: "How dare you, sir!" before slapping them with their embroidered velvet glove and storming off to be comforted by their cats and the soothing, non-judging smiles of their Precious Moments collection.
This isn't in any way limited to Republicans, they just happen to be the latest example, especially since there are no Democrats on the national level worth talking about.
I'm wondering what it was exactly Mrs. Alito thought she was going to find when they put her husband up in the Senate between the Senators and the television cameras. Besides the natural Senatorial predilection for grandstanding, her husband is nominated to the Supreme Court of the United States. A lifetime position. Of which there are only nine. With all the line-up changes over the last 15 years, it's easier to get into Duran Duran.
And by God it should be. It doesn't really matter who plays the bass on "Rio" or "Girls on Film" or "Hungry Like the Wolf" or "Wild Boys" or "Save a Prayer" or "Union of the Snake" or "New Moon on Monday" or "The Reflex" or "Is There Something I Should Know?" But we all want to know who's in charge when Bush v. Gore II: This Time It's Personal comes up for decision.
The questions should be hard. The process should be grueling. It's supposed to drive people like Harriet Myers away. Maybe we should disqualify Judge Alito because his wife is such a big baby or has a heroin problem and needed to run out and "get well". Let's not rule that out entirely.
People sometimes wonder where all the great people are in American political life. I would argue that we don't have any because there is nothing in the American political process that is tailored to reveal greatness. The propensity of the system at the moment favors insulation from anything that might be construed as short of total agreement. Pointed questions and contrary views are met less with intelligent, considered responses and more with choruses of "Look what they're doing, everyone! Look how they're being mean!" That sort of environment doesn't foster greatness. It fosters Ted Stevens (R-Alaska). There is no forum for engagement, for parliamentary dignity, for any kind of an honest crucible to find out who is capable and who is not.
We need something more like the British system (minus the gay and/or socialist overtones obviously). We need Prime Minister's Question Time among the congressional leadership. Look, they're trying to replace Tom Delay and how are they going to do it? At a closed-door retreat, decided mainly on who is the best fund-raiser. Does anyone wonder why no one from the Congress has been elected president since 1960?
I know it's not as funny as peaches or girl's names, but sometimes things bother me. I'm sure I drove off at least one new reader (and maybe a few old ones) with that one. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go have a lie-down. My existy is starting to wear off.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 7.5 (splitting the difference between the two halves)
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
The Signs Said "STOP!" But We Went On Whole-Hearted; It Ended Bad, But I Loved What We Started
There's more to being a Failed Writer than just trying to get published and maintaining a sparkling, unblemished zero on the "Success!" side of the ledger, important though that may be. Just as important to making a Failed Writer is the prerequisite death of the dream, little by little, as the Failed Writer finally gets it through his/her thick, sick head that professional fulfillment and the realization of one's dreams are things that happen to other people; deserving, hard-working people who get everything they ever wanted with little or no effort like Britney Spears or Nicole Ritchie.
I know neither Britney nor Nicole are writers (that sort of intellectual heavy-lifting is left to those who are up to the heady task, like Paris Hilton) but both have money and celebrity and tabloid interest (oh fickle tabloid interest, how sharply do I feel the sting of your indifference... unless my wife gives birth to a bat-faced boy, no one will ever read about me while waiting to buy groceries), realizing their ambitions even if--as in Nicole's case--they don't actually seem to have any ambitions.
I guess the commonality there is in their parentage. Not genetics per se but rather in the single-minded childhood-stealing spittle-beflecked ravaging drive by Britney's mother to whore her daughter out to talent shows, Justin Timberlake and The Mickey Mouse Club so that one day she could grow up and give half her fortune to Ebonics-speaking white-boy blunt-smoking backup dancer man-slut. Every mother's dream.
Or in Nicole's case, just being passed successfully through the birth canal entitled her to big fat piles of "Dancin' On The Ceiling" money. And a TV show.
Dwelling on the prominence of the vacuous and the talent-free might seem like a cheap ploy to fill space, but that's only because it is. It is also fortuitous that the examples cited underline the point that people aren't successful because they are nice or deserving or happy with their natural hair color, as I am. It isn't about hard work or talent or anything like that. It's about timing. Five years earlier or five years later and Britney doesn't amount to anything. She's back in the Louisiana trailer park, fat, uneducated, on her fourth or fifth kid, living with a shrieking harridan mother who takes every chance she can to remind her about all the singing and speech lessons and how very disappointing it all is.
But then people like that always land on their feet. They probably would have been displaced by Katrina and gotten a big, fat bite of that sweet FEMA rebuilding money. Those people have it made.
And then there are people like me, people whose lives are lived beyond reproach of any kind, blessed with endless patience, an uncompromised and uncompromising sense of moral fortitude, poise and dignity just this side of living sainthood, astonishing good looks, a combination of God-given gifts on the scale of some kind of cross between Hercules and George Clooney all wrapped up in a quiet, self-effacing package of humility.
And still no private jet.
Again, it's a question of timing for me.
The first grown-up book I ever read, with chapters and small print and page numbers in the multiple hundreds was Lord of the Rings. Combine that with my third grade teacher telling me I had some sort of capacity to write (my spare, elegiac "What I Did Over Summer Vacation" was something of a sensation that year) and I decided right then and there that what I would do was write Tolkien-esque fantasy fiction.
Man, that stuff is hard. You have to make up names not just for the people, but for the places and the mountains and the rivers and the horses and the swords--the goddamn swords--while piecing together this wholly invented history of fantastical peoples and events all while taking it seriously enough so it doesn't come off sounding like a Dungeon-Master script for a particularly listless round of D&D. It's hard to realize a dream you hate.
But then: the first time you make one of your friends spit milk out of their nose without having to first punch them in the stomach is a special time in any boy's life. So I figured if I were funny enough to induce the unwilling nasal expression of beverages, I could maybe do what I wanted to do, but make it sort of sardonic and weird. That way I could also fold fantasy in with some modern ideas, which opens everything up to satire. So you work and you slave and you slave and you work until you're getting close to something when someone tells you "Ha, this sounds a lot like Terry Pratchett."
So you investigate, but you're afraid to read it because it might be exactly what you're trying to do, only better than you could possibly do it, but eventually you break down and read it and you think to yourself: motherfucker. Damned if I wasn't right. And the bastard writes a new book every six months, the prick.
You see now that timing was bad as I came after someone well established as a Genre of One. In my Britney example, this would make me Jessica Simpson in that we've already had Britney and Xtina so by the time the last one comes out people are going "Jesus, another one?" Only unlike our Jess, I don't have the option of boning Nick Lachey, although I'm sure if I did I could get a VH1 show out of it. Or at least a one-time special.
So then you sort of fall apart as fragile arty writer-types will. Any excuse to mix Kahlua and cookie-dough. And then this blog thing comes along and you spend 18 months or so to develop a voice and some confidence and--holy shit!--an audience.
And then, just this fortnight, flush with Barnes & Noble giftcards and all burned out on fancy-pants philosophy and history and literature designed to impress the girl at the checkout counter and then endlessly bore me (evidence most recently by a long and laborious relationship with The Divine Comedy), I sort of haphazardly picked up my first-ever David Sedaris book, Naked.
It is a very disconcerting and troubling metaphysical and existential experience to find out that the point to which you had been building without even knowing it had already been reached (and, wouldn't you know it, exceeded) by someone else who was not you and of whom everyone else had already heard.
I guess I should enjoy reading and sigh wistfully as my last dream dies, the one I didn't even get a chance to knowingly have yet.
Failed Writerdom is a tricky, tricky state of being, but, it turns out, one to which I am well suited. The only answer seems to be the Britney model, which would mean precocious teen pushed into Writerdom by overly enthusiastic showbiz-mom types (is typing that much harder than jazz dance?) or completely disengaged parents who practice the kind of neglect that allows kids to have big, stupid dreams without being checked by regular, healthy doses of parentally-administered reality.
But the only example of that I can think of is this punk kid Christopher Paolini. But his latest book was named by Entertainment Weekly as Worst Book Of The Year. So I take a little bit of Schadefreude joy from that, but then I think: in order to be named Worst Book Of The Year, you have to first have a book.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 10.0
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
My normally loyal and faithful comment-program-provider HaloScan has apparently decided it needs some time to itself and is currently being a petulant, non-functioning bastard. I have yet to get an e-mail telling me how I'm a "really great guy" and how any commenting system would be "lucky to have me" but HaloScan and I would be "better of just being friends", but the signs are out there, oh yes. I spent enough time not dating in high school (and, OK, college too) to know when I'm being set-up for the brush-off. It always starts with the silent treatment. Or pepper spray. But this time I hope it's just the silent treatment.
Of course by the time I write this, the thing will probably be working fine just to fuck with me and make me look like an ass. For instance, if you are reading this blogpost and then are immediately able to comment on it, you're going to wonder if perhaps Pops has been making his own brandy out of apples and... well, mostly apples. Again.
In response I can only say that I have no regrets and no embarrassment. I wrote a whole post two days ago about peaches. My shame gland is obviously underperforming. Further, I am a man of the moment. A man of action. I have chest hair. I live in the now. Deal with it (if you can).
Actually having the comments temporarily disabled is sort of liberating. I'm free to write what I want without the expectation or pressure to entertain anybody. Sure, you could always e-mail your displeasure to me directly, but I have no fear of that. What I can say definitively about Bucketeers as a species is that they are crap e-mailers. 99% percent of you never even answer the e-mails I send even though I promise you natrl hrbal viAg.r.a cheep! Remaining silent in the face of offers like that speaks to your masochism, your loathing for me personally and/or your aversion to e-mail as a medium of communication on principle. Believe me, by now the (lack of) message has been received loud and clear.
I'm sorry if that came out with a little tinge of contempt. I don't have anything approaching contempt for bloggers, you people in particular. I love bloggers. How could anyone not love bloggers? We're the helpless, fuzzy, co-dependent, happy parasites on the back of the two-headed beast that is snarling, all-devouring Infotainment. We're sort of a cross between a spaniel pup and a tapeworm. Adorable.
And so endearing. I mean, look at the world today: the Sharon thing in Israel, confirmation hearings for a Supreme Court justice, a nuclear showdown with Iran looming and--come on--bird flu in Turkey. That's a story with built-in puns!
But were any of these the most popular topics of conversation among bloggers over the last 24 hours? No sir. Not according to Technorati. What was it that stoked the nation's--nay, the world's, as I know many of you out there are tricksy, cursed foreigners--interest over this period of recent time?
Flaming mouse burns down man's house.
Don't think I don't see the angle because I do. Man catches mouse, throws caught mouse on pile of burning leaves, mouse escapes arboreal conflagration, runs back into house setting house on fire and burning it to the ground.
Politics is hard. If you're going to talk about it, you have to (presumably) make a token effort at least at a little research and understanding the issue a little bit if only to get the names right.*
Discussion is hard since essentially a blogpost is a conversation with yourself with comments as freakish, unexpectable, unreliable (sometimes simply technologically so) things that sometimes happen and sometimes don't in those giddy hours between the times you hit that big orange PUBLISH POST button.
Hell, humor is hard if only because you post six times per week and there are only so many ways you can think to steer a conversation toward the topic of Brad Pitt's dick. There's only so much lipstick you can put on that pig before it looks like a tragically unfunny transvestite pig whore. Or Robert Smith from the Cure.
But man, a mouse on fire that burns down the house of the man who tried to kill it. That's got funny built right in. And some irony, so long as you don't spend too much time considering that the mouse died in the house-fire anyway. It's sure as hell more interesting than anything that's happened to me in the last 17 months or so.
Did I mention I like peaches?
I guess this is all just my way of writing about this mouse-house-fire topic without writing about it. It's all very meta in the probably-misused way bloggers like us take words and co-opt them for our own nefarious grammatically incorrect ends.
I'd worry more about, but since comments aren't working, I'm going to have to assume you all love it and are would be too busy swooning in text-inspired rapturous ecstasy to be able to comment anyway, were they working.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.8
*= unless you're like me and your "political" blogposts are almost exclusively devoted to imagining big-shot politicians in various degrees of sexually humiliating positions, preferably with one another. That also requires research, but mostly in pictorial form.
Monday, January 09, 2006
Monday Lite: ¿Que?
I don't usually ask readers questions in my blogposts, mostly because I realize that's just a desperate ploy to try and stoke lurkers into commenting and thus artificially inflate the comment count. I don't judge. Maybe people do it to keep the voices quiet so that they might not murder their families and then themselves for just one more day. That's great. Very utilitarian, if still somewhat lame.
All that I say in preparation for today's Totally Rhetorical Question of the Day. I'm not asking you to answer it, just think about it. Give it a good, full mull. Maybe jot down your response in your Courage Journal tonight after your prayers but before your Oxy-Contin. Whatever. The point of the question is not in the answer, but in the asking. That sounds kind of deep in the way that most things that are circular and redundant can be mistaken for Zen thinking. Mostly what it means is that I get to fill up this space with words for yet another day.
Here it is, Totally Rhetorical Question of the Day:
Who would you rather be today: Ariel Sharon or Chad Lowe?
Sharon: 300+ pounds, 77 years old, two strokes, major hemorrhaging in the brain, possible brain-damage, likely end of your life's work if not your life, full stop.
Chad Lowe: Just announced divorce from crazy talented, successful beyond all measure Oscar-winner meal-ticket Hillary Swank, left to languish alone with nothing on his resumé but some guest-work on ER 10 years ago and on that show about that retarded boy with Patty LuPone, trading the deep, sheltering shadow of his much-more talented wife for his old place in the faltering shadow of former playboy brother Rob, now declining rapidly toward jowly washed-up coot-dom.
Before you immediately shout "Sharon!", keep in mind that California (where I assume they live) is both a no-fault and community-property state. Also: Sharon is a Jew.
Remember: to answer is not compulsory, nor even necessarily desired. Just something to think about. Assess your priorities and your prejudices, take stock, weigh both sides and decide.
If you're wondering what I'd say, all things being equal, I'd rather be Patty LuPone.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 3.3
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Man, I love peaches. I can't really overstate it. I love peaches. Actually, no, that's not true; it is always possible to overstate. I could go down the road to describing the (totally fictitious and for the sake of this argument) graphically sexual things I want to do to/with/for peaches. That would certainly be overstating it. While I do love peaches, even I think fruit frottage is a step too far.
Barring any act of physical love, I love peaches. Unless that physical act of love is the eating of peaches. That I will do. And do do as often as is practicable.
I don't know what the lure is exactly. Maybe it's because they're soft and fuzzy on the outside, while squishy and messy with the nectar of life within. It is not unlike what I would imagine it would be to bite into a live squirrel, only less wriggly, less likely to counter-bite, less likely to give me rabies when it does so, and delicious.
Oh peach fuzz, so alluring, so enigmatic, so human-skin-like. Why do you haunt me so? I could get nearly all the same sweet pleasure from eating a nectarine, but without the cannibal-confusing fuzz to complicate the experience. But then who says less complicated is better? Deep down somewhere I must enjoy meaty act of biting through hair-laden flesh, cutting and tearing with the teeth God gave me, incisors--canines--alive, working, sinking, vestigial no more. When I eat a peach I will often howl as the wolf howls, exulting in the primal thrill shared by all carnivores throughout the history of all time, reveling in the same feeling felt when the second primordial thing crawled out of the life-giving ooze at the planet's birth and ate the first thing that had crawled out just before it. And yet without all the complicated questions of ethics and morals and cholesterol because, when you get right down to it, I'd just be eating fruit.
But not just any fruit. A peach.
I don't have to eat them in whole form either. I can eat them endlessly from jars or cans, swimming in a light-golden sea of peach-flavored syrup. I am saving the leftover syrup in bags in my freezer. It is my intention one day, when I have enough, to drop all these bags into a bathtub, let them thaw, and then immerse myself in a peachy syrup bath, naked and hairless as a cling peach wedge so that I might know a little something of what it feels to be a peach. Or at least what it feels to be part of a peach after it has been factory cut, processed and jarred. Do not judge me, I beg you. I only wish to know what it is to be delicious.
Perhaps the allure for me is that peaches come from Georgia, the Deep South, a region steeped in romanticism. I imagine they spend their youths blossoming and blooming and growing on the ends of trees, swaying ever so slowly as they hang there, slightly slick in air thick with Tennessee Williams swelter, humidity and the distant scent of the sea; watched and probed and pollinated by bugs the size of sauce-pans. Either way, I'm sure never to mention the name "Sherman" in the presence of a peach lest it go suddenly bad on me out of pure spite.
It is possible that their southern roots, deep in the Georgia soil, make me comfortable enough to express myself around peaches since I know that, as Southerners, however beautiful or alluring or irresistibly edible they might be, there's a fair chance that I'm smarter than they are. Schools in Georgia being what they are for people, I shudder to think of what they don't do for peaches.
Although I'm pretty sure the peaches we get here are grown in Chile. Most of the same points still apply.
Except perhaps the Tennessee Williams stuff.
No, after all that, I'm pretty sure that my love of peaches stems from the fact that it is so hard to find a good one. They all come rock-hard from the grocery store, flavorless and inedible, 11 1/2 months out of the year. Whatever household tricks applied to "ripening" them are doomed to failure as a peach picked too soon is a peach that will never know its true potential as a cosmic being. It is the fruit equivalent of an Olsen twin.
And when properly ripe, if left too long, they become thumb-print stealing mush, a furry bag of nothing with a useless stone inside. An overripe peach, nature's scrotum, the part of the Body Fructal no one wants anything to do with, and rightly so.
But when you do find that one, in that fickle space between under- and over-ripe, a hot summer day, ice-cold from the refrigerator, with a bite the perfect balance of resistant and giving, asking--begging--to be devoured, savored, surrendered to... And knowing how rare such an experience is make every peach enjoyed a little tiny fuzzy sphere of tragedy, a breath of mostly unrepeatable fulfillment surrounded by a vacuum of disappointment the size of the universe bounded only by time measured in lengths by birth and death.
Pineapples are good too.
This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.6
Friday, January 06, 2006
Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing, #25
starring Hot Young People Being Dismembered
directed by Eli Roth (Cabin Fever)
In case none of you had noticed, I have included a link over there on the right hand sidebar that takes you to a list of all the previous MIHNIoS entries. So much genius all in one place. Be careful. Staring directly at the page may scorch your retinas. There is only so much Awesome the human eye can process at once.
Well, I had planned something special for this, the Silver 25th Edition of the Movies I Have No Intention Of Seeing Series. Unfortunately, the mark happened to fall during the month of January.
Ah, January. When all the Oscar-contending movies have all been released just under the previous-year-eligibility wire. Concurrently, it is also snowing in roughly 2/3 of the country right now, which means the impetus to release any sort of movie that anyone would want to see in any numbers just isn't there. This is the month where studios release movies that weren't good enough for their summer or holiday slates of craptastic-yet-lavishly-watchable fare but perhaps cost too much to justify a direct-to-DVD release.
There is one more category, movies-that-suck-but-have-some-kind-of-other-oddball-draw. Sometimes you get movies that have been shelved for ages, but because of some off-screen influence (one of the bit players becomes a star in the interim or, failing that, a producer gets his hands of video evidence of studio heads eating Christian babies in a traditional Hollywood Jewish blood sabbath) they decide to try their luck at making some money off a dead turkey during the bleak entertainment wasteland between Christmas and Memorial Day.
In this case, I have to think the release has to do with the peripheral (peripheral peripheral) involvement of Quentin Tarantino. The movie is billed as "Quentin Tarantino Presents..." even though, as far as I can tell, Quentin Tarantino has nothing to do with this movie in any way besides calling in to morning-zoo-type radio shows along with Mr. Roth and doing his spastic-poodle hyperbole-only-vocabulary act to help promote the film. God knows what kind of video evidence Mr. Roth has on Quentin, but it must be good.
Whatever the motivation, it was nice for Quentin to interrupt his long days of bong hits and Froot Loops to help a pal out. Seeing as Kill Bill was essentially one movie, Tarantino has made a grand total of one film in nine years. Jackie Brown was 1997. That's a lot of Froot Loops in between.
I have not seen Cabin Fever, but I heard it's good. That will have to do it for me because I don't watch scary movies. It's an unfair blanket judgment against all films of a certain genre, I know, but I'm just not built for them, biochemically speaking. Some people watch big hulking dudes in masks jump out and kill naked co-eds while they're in the shower and they get a rush of adrenaline and endorphines that makes the experience exhilarating and pleasureable. I have a different hormonal reaction. What's the hormone called that causes choking, uncontrollable weeping and projectile vomit? That's the one I have.
Actually it's not that bad. They actually just stress me out. I always leave the theater feeling agitated and cranky. Perhaps it's because I know that even though the scary-scary machete-wielding co-ed murderer has been stabbed, shot, beheaded, electrocuted and dropped in a vat of acid, he's somehow not really dead and will reappear in the inevitable sequel(s).
Or perhaps it's because I know deep down that the American Coalition of People With Families Against Things That Other People Think Are Fun are right and the secret lust for blood that lurks in deep in the recesses of my heart and mind have been awakened by exposure to red-colored corn-syrup spilling out of rubber torsos being split in half by plastic cutlery in front of effective lighting and creepy/shrieky mood music. Hollywood is out to get us, people. And they won't be happy until we're all suicidal/homicidal perverts.
The movie is about two lunkheaded American dudes in Europe living on a diet of bong hits, Froot Loops and hot Euro punani. The legend of some hostel in Slovakia peopled entirely by Euro chicks with severe shirt-and-bra aversions draws them in, which inevitably leads to all kinds of bloodletting and (probably) murder.
The lesson, of course, is two-fold: a) rooms/buildings full of slutty naked chicks always SOUND like a good idea, but almost always end in ritual torture and b) never ever trust foreigners. If you walk into a room entirely peopled by foreigners, you either back out slowly or walk forward, killing all in sight before they can kill you. Of course this makes traveling abroad difficult since "abroad" is almost totally populated with foreigners and all that killing can wear a guy out, but if you want to see the Eiffel Tower, you have to be prepared to wade through a mountain of blood and gore to get there. We are Americans. It's the price we must pay for being so motherfucking awesome.
It's an unpleasant fact of life, but you try not to dwell on it. Apparently Mr. Roth has not learned that lesson because in this film, he apparently dwells on everything, almost literally ad nauseam: every puncture, hack, slash, cut, drill, saw, shot, tear... everything in up-close, lingering, bloody detail.
Americans aren't going to stand for that kind of brutality. Unless it's being done to Jesus. Which is weird, but I don't judge.
So I'm on board with the boobies in Hostel, but that's about it. Everything else about this project turns me off, up to and including its dubious January release date. This is no way to begin the 2007 Oscar race.
I have less than no intention of seeing this movie. I actually have no interest in this movie, which is curious considering I just spent about 800 words talking about it. Let me sum up my position by offering for only the second time ever in the grand history of Movies I Have No Intention of Seeing:
That's a big fat ZERO on the Hot Babysitter Scale, people. What that tells you is I'd rather stay home with my kids than see Hostel. Terrifying.