Friday, February 28, 2014

For a Limited Time Only (Restrictions May Apply)

We accept her, one of us, we accept her, one of us Gooble, gobble, gooble, gobble We accept her, we accept her Gooble, gobble, gooble, gobble! 'They're going to make you one of them, my peacock!' -- Todd Browning's Freaks
Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. -- Ferris Bueller's Day Off

I am about to find myself, in a few months, on the wrong side of 30. Which I can accept. I would rather be 36 than 46; and I'm sure that, when (or if), I turn 46, I'll be thankful that I have a decade left until I turn 56, and so on. But what I can't reconcile with is the ostensibly faster passage of time as I age. Until my late 20s, everything seemed to move at an agreeable pace. It's only when I am reminded that 2007 was seven(!) years ago that the cruel momentum of time's passing becomes a fearsome locomotive, gaining speed with each passing year, until last stop...


I am going to die someday, later rather than sooner, Plinko God willing, and hopefully not painfully. I have accepted this idea. But only in theory. I'm not at peace with dying, because I want to keep doing stuff: talking with people I love, getting nudged (not mugged, though) on the subway by some impatient guy, cleaning the grease off of a bicycle chain, eating a burrito at 4 AM with a group of carousers, throwing a snowball at a snowman and appreciating the weird irony, sitting in a movie theater as hundreds of -- or dozens, or a few -- people stare rapt at a white screen and share a communal experience in silence...

Laughing at fart jokes despite myself...eating French-fried potatoes...pretending to not cry at movies...getting indignant when someone notices I'm pretending to not cry and calls me on it...the pretty sound of women talking in hushed tones on the phone...Mario Kart...fucking dachshunds...

I don't want to stop living. One day, though, I will; and the biggest rub is that I won't be able to complain about it. That fills me with terror. If I am no longer Me, how will I know? Everything will vanish. Nothing will be all. How will I know if the Bills win the Super Bowl? How will I know my friends and family are happy when I won't know anything?

I can't fathom nonexistence. I don't think that's an unreasonable statement. Smile, flashbulb...gone.

Souvenirs are 50% off in the gift shop. Tell your friends.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Finish Line

I'll tell you what, I'm never eating at Benihana again. I don't care whose birthday it is.

 February is the cruelest month when it comes to Hollywood movies. After all the jockeying for Oscar votes has been completed, the studios dump their flotsam and jetsam on the movie-going public. Shit like I, Frankenstein gets released*. Combined with all the snowfall in the northeast, where my heart always resides, it makes for a pretty shitty time of year.

This dearth of quality films does however serve as a time to reflect on the feast that was served before last year's nominations deadline, to pick at the leftovers. I've reexamined most of the notable films** and performances, and I've come to two conclusions.


The Wolf of Wall Street would be my vote, if I had one, for Best Picture. Darkly comic and enormously enjoyable, only Martin Scorsese, with assists from Thelma Schoonmaker and Terence Winter, could craft such a remarkable film about absolutely horrible human beings. Marty did on purpose what Brian De Palma did accidentally 31 years earlier with Scarface: he made his protagonist a litmus test to examine the character of the viewer. Jordan Belfort is not a person anyone should ever want to be like. But a lot of people want just that: to be a villain and consider themselves the hero.


Rush, directed by Ron Howard***, is my personal runner-up for the best movie I watched last year. That it got completely shut out of Academy Awards nominations is borderline criminal. It is, perhaps, the finest movie ever made about a rivalry, and Daniel Bruhl's performance is stunning. It got shut out, but, like the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar, nature finds a way. Rush will be discovered and rediscovered over the years. It is so good.

* The only exception in recent years to this rule of thumb, in terms of both box office and critical success, was Taken in 2009.

** I still haven't seen American Hustle.

*** "Cloying" is the term I used to use to describe Ron Howard after A Beautiful Mind and the Da Vinci Code movies. But Rush is as honest a film that someone can make. I would love more from Real Ron Howard, less from Studio Robot Ron Howard.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Wait. What Now?

Honestly, I'm not quite sure what to say about this video... I'll say that a person probably shouldn't watch it at work, but to those that do, hats off to you, sir or madam, as there are some brass balls clanging between those legs of yours. I'll also say that this video isn't family friendly, but again, if one chooses to watch this video with children present, hats off to you, sir or madam, as traumatizing your children is part of being good parent.

The Fifteenth

Stabbing that which isn't meant to lie dormant seems pretty dumb to me. On the flip side, do carry on.

Alanis Morissette - Hands Clean

Friday, February 14, 2014

Where Countries Come together, to Hate Each Other in the Name Of Sport

The Olympics medal rankings and which country is "winning" is truly stupid, yet fixable. The total number of medals should not define a country's overall performance. Just being pretty good -- albeit on an exceptional level -- all around shouldn't amount to the same thing as being unquestionably great. Six pennies plus 3 nickels plus a sole 10-cent coin equal 31 cents; Six dimes plus 3 nickels plus a single penny equal 76 cents. I made you math.

It's ironic that the value of precious metals is easily disregarded every 4 years. Norway (6), the United States (6), and the Netherlands (5) currently have more bronze medals than they have golds, yet they sit, at least on Yahoo! as the top 3 "winners" so far of these Olympics. I find this very petty, like a child going around picking up detritus just so he can say he is its sole owner. To paraphrase the man, you can't turn shit into Shinola. There is much to respect in an Olympic participant: the skill he possesses, the dedication; but to reward in a 3rd -or 2nd-place Olympic athlete the same as a Gold Medalist (proper noun) is wrong. I'm all for equality, but not at the expense of cheapening greatness.

So, how to judge each country based on its medal count? It's easy, like Sunday morning and shoplifting. If you've ever played Mario Kart or have a logical working brain, you would assign points to medals as follows:

Gold: 3
Silver: 2
Bronze: 1

Based on this radical supposition, here is the true Sochi Olympics current rankings (top 5):

Germany: 26 pts*
Norway: 24 pts
Netherlands: 23 pts
Canada: 22 pts
Russia: 20 pts

* Germany collected 7 gold medals in like a day or two (!), yet the Western media, as far as I've seen, have been dumb on the achievement. That shit ain't right. Credit where it's due!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Double Dip

More than a decade ago, I was seated on a rickety chair at an unsteady table in a dilapidated bar of an unsound college town. A young man sitting across from me reached across the table to a pack of Marlboros lying next to my pint of Guinness, removed a cigarette, lit up, and said, "Some people are givers, and some people are takers."

I laughed, mostly because he was a simpleton in the truest sense of the word, and said, "If only I were interested in people." He was a bit too stupid to figure out he'd just been taken, but that's a given.


Occasionally, people will ask me for something, such as, "Are you going to eat those cheese balls?" and whether someone is asking for food, requesting permission to lay hands upon that which is mine, or simply offering a pleasantry as premise to pilfering a plate is irrelevant as well as perplexing, for the people who ask are the ones that needn't. Folks are funny like that. 

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Stars / Alignment

"A bag of black licorice jelly beans just saved your friend from a fiery death, so shut the fuck up and smile already."

"What's that supposed to mean, anyway?"

"It means that magic still exists within this world even if it isn't seen as magic, and what we do isn't who we are even if the stars are in alignment." 

"Yeah, yeah."


Morningwood - Nu Rock