Tuesday, January 29, 2008
Anyway, it's back!!! That 2 hour finale was actually back in May, and I'm gonna go on record and say that it's the greatest 2 hour episode in television history. Can you think of one better? The only one that may come close is the "Hunter" 2 parter where McCall is raped and Hunter follows the dude (named Raul) to Mexico and kills him. But I don't think that really compares, plus I was 9 when I watched it. It is to be respected though, because to this day the name Raul gives me chills. There's a baseball player, Raul Ibanez, and I hate him just because he shares the same name as the guy who raped McCall.
I'm so stoked for season 4. The finale left us with so many cool questions for the future episodes: will they get off the island? will all the flashbacks be flash forwards? will Walt continue to age at the same rate and be 7 feet tall, have a beard, and play for the Cleveland Cavaliers the next time we see him? We just don't know.
But I thought in honor of "Lost" coming back and it being so long, I'd do a refresher on what happened in the finale:
While on the island, Kate says to Jack: "why are you sticking up for Sawyer? He'd never do it for you". Jack replies: "Because I love you".
Charlie sacrifices himself for no good reason - he totally could've escaped - and was killed by the eye patch guy with a hand grenade while talking with Desmond's gal Penny. While drowning, Charlie writes a note on his hand to Desmond that says "not Penny's boat".
Locke is shot by Ben and left for dead. Just as he's about to kill himself to end the misery, Walt appears - about 5 inches taller and a voice 12 octaves lower than before - and tells Locke to get up because "you have work to do".
Kate may or may not be pregnant by Sawyer.
We see "flashbacks" of Jack off the island and completely miserable. He was about to jump off a bridge when there was a car accident and he saves a mom and her son. But he's not in a real celebratory mood about it afterward, it kinda interrupted his suicide.
Also in the "flashbacks", Jack goes to the funeral, which "nobody showed up" to. We don't know who this person was (but upon re-watching, my extremely wild guess is that it was Ben).
There's an invisible guy named Jacob. That's all I know about that.
Jack leads the gang up to a radio tower so Naomi - the black girl who parachuted in and says there's a rescue boat off the island - can use her phone to call in a rescue.
Alex asks her dad Ben "why do you have to stop them? why don't you just let them leave?" Ben says "Because I can't". Then Ben tells Jack that Naomi isn't who she says she is, and if they call for the boat every single person on the island will be killed.
While Naomi is about to make the call to her boat, Ben says "Jack, you don't know what you're doing. By making that call it will be the beginning of the end". The name of episode 1, season 4: "The Beginning of the End".
Jack beats the crap out of Ben, but he's still alive because Jack wants him "to see the moment we all get off this island".
Sawyer, with the help of Hurley, Juliet, Sayid, Bernard, and Jin, kill a shitload of The Others. Sayid shoots Tom with the line "that's for taking the kid off the raft". Yes!
Re-watching the finale, I remembered why it was impossible to know for sure that these were flash forwards: Jack says to the Doctor, "you get my father down here, and if I'm drunker than he is, you can fire me". I guess he was just drunk, cause his daddy's dead.
Locke gets up, presumably healed by the magic of the island, and then puts a knife in Naomi's back for some reason, and then aims a gun at Jack and says he'll kill Jack if he makes the rescue call. But Locke relents and puts the gun down, and says "Jack, you're not supposed to do this".
Jack makes the call anyway. He gets in contact with the boat and asks "can you get a fix on our location". The dude on the other end goes, "hell yeah we can, we'll be right there!"
The "flashback" is revealed to be a flash forward, as Jack meets up with Kate near an airport runway. Future Kate looks hot. She's now with a mystery man who is never revealed. Jack wants to go back to the island. He says they never should've left, but Kate disagrees. She leaves him as he screams, "we have to go back!!!"
I just realized that if you don't watch the show and you read all these things, they seem totally insane...insanely awesome! Enjoy season 4.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I went to a Hollywood eatery (see! i can write gossipy language too! next up: canoodling) the other night and saw a couple of celebrities. I went to a place on Sunset and Vine called Magnolia, which I've been too several times before (without celebrity incident). It has a trendy bar in the front and serves American fare like mac and cheese and meat and potatoes. See, it's so cool it serves cheap shit like your mom used to! Anyway, it was about a 30 minute wait for a table so we went to the bar for a drink and sitting nearby on a bar stool was...Kirsten Dunst.
I'm not the real Perez, so I don't have pictures of the event, but just know that she looked exactly the way you think she'd look.
I went up next to the dude she was talking with to order a drink. He had a hat on and had a British accent. When he turned around I realized it was Simon Pegg. The dude from "Shaun of the Dead", "Hot Fuzz", and the upcoming "Star Trek" (he's playing Scottie).
That's pretty much exactly what they looked like, except add a hat. They got taken back to their table, and then we got taken back to ours - and it was right next to them. A quick search by the research team at Handleman Enterprises discovered that she and Simon are in "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" together.
Now, since I'm not an experienced paparazzo, I couldn't tell if they were canoodling or not. The question is: how much do you need for a canoodle? She had some food off his plate...but then a bunch of hangers on joined them, so I don't know if that's canoodle quality. So much for my big scoop.
Anyway, seeing Kirsten reminded me how it does suck to be a celebrity all the time. Not that it sucks to be a celebrity all the time, but it sucks that you can never turn it off. Every where you go you're making someone's day and they're staring at you. And by "they" I mean me.
It also made me feel bad for certain comments a certain blogger once posted here, especially since Kirsten seemed like a normal chick and quite delightful.
And as you may recall, my friend Mat and I theorized that her breasts hung down to her bellybutton, forming a line much akin to the equator on a map of the world. Whoops, sorry for that one. However, I do stand by the fact that she should never play the female lead in a romantic comedy. Would the girl of your dreams go out with Scotty? I don't think so.Now for the real celebrity sighting. So I'm at S Bar, which is just up the street from Magnolia. And this blonde at the bar with a deep voice is being drunk and obnoxious. She's cute, except for the fact that she's loudly lecturing about screenwriting format. It's rare that an attractive girl is so instantly unlikeable to me, it usually takes months of me dating them to figure that out.
But I was grossed out by this girl right off the bat. Who was it? Well, I later found out it was...Tara Reid...'s sister. Her sister! The apple did not fall far from the ho tree.
But that's not even the celebrity sighting, people!
I slide past the sister to the bar and order my drink from a female bartender. And I think to myself, "hey, do I know this girl?" She gets me my drink. It's driving me crazy. And then it hits me who she is and I get so angry at myself because I call myself an expert at this...
The people I was with didn't believe me. But then I picked up my tab and on the receipt it said "Sheena". Ha! Suck on that, losers!
That receipt is now in my wallet and laminated for safety.
Thursday, January 24, 2008
"He was my favorite actor and my favorite talent. I wanted to meet him because I was very impressed with him from the very beginning. His agent introduced me to him at a party, and I just fell (in love). Actors need other actors to be inspired by, and he was my actor."
"I would give back all of my awards and my nominations just to have him back again..."
Incidentally, John Travolta has 1 Golden Globe, 0 Oscars, 2 Blockbusters, 1 David Donatello award, 2 Golden Apples, 2 MTV Movie awards, 1 Razzie, and he might have one of those Scientology medals that Tom Cruise got, but I'm still checking on it. So that's a lot of stuff.
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
All right. The US Ambassador to Iraq's name is John Negroponte. Everyone knows him, he's like, really important right now. Kids can't get enough of him, he's like the Ambassador version of Hannah Montana.
Anyway, here's how it goes: Say your friend Jeff does you a favor, you say:
"Who's my John NEGROponte? Jeff's my John NEGROponte!"
The best part about it is, if people don't know who that is they're just gonna assume you're cooler than them. However, if you want to be cool and educate, you can go:
"Who's my US Ambassador to Iraq John NEGROponte? Jeff's my US Ambassador to Iraq John NEGROponte!"
See? It works both ways!
This is gonna be huge!
Thursday, January 17, 2008
What follows is my opinion on what has occurred and the reasons for it. It may not be true, but it is what I believe to be true. (WARNING: this may be long and boring and of no interest to you):
WHERE WE'VE BEEN
Every 3 years the contracts between SAG, the DGA, and the WGA and the producers (or AMPTP - basically Fox, Disney, NBC, CBS, Sony, Warner Bros, etc.) come up and must be renegotiated. Usually there is some fighting but in the end something is hammered out without incident.
In 1988, there was a 5 and a half month long strike by the WGA over a bunch of issues. One thing that happened during this (and during the 1985 contract) was a dispute about movie rentals, or more accurately, VHS tapes. The producers claimed it was a "new business" and didn't know if there was that much money in it. Also, they argued that the Guild needed to factor in the costs of actually making the tapes. They gave the WGA a shitty ass deal and said once we all figured out how this "new business" came together, there would be the appropriate renegotiation for a better percentage of residuals for writers. VHS turned into DVD, and DVD's turned into a ginormous money maker, and that renegotiation never happened. This left a bitter taste in the mouths of writers.
Recently, a new technology for distributing media gained popularity: the internet. And as it's become easier to download and stream TV and movies, it started to become clear that the unions would want their piece of the new media pie. That fight did not take place in the last negotiation, so the industry braced for the big battle of 2007.
The AMPTP said: "we don't know about this internet you speak of" and "we're losing money on that thing we don't even know about". Sound familiar? Well, that's why the WGA felt the need to dig in its heels because whatever we hammered out this time, if the past was any indication, there would not be any "do overs". Also, its become increasingly clear that the internet will soon mean everything. There probably won't be DVDs for much longer, and networks are frequently rerunning their shows on the internet and not TV. A lot of money is at stake, and that always means war.
But one thing was different this time around: normally when the contract is up, the DGA negotiates first and the WGA last. However this year, the WGA's contract was up first (i don't know why this happened). And in the WGA's point of view, the DGA had consistent gotten a shitty deal that they had to then accept ("it's good enough for the DGA but it's not good enough for you?). This time, the writers would be setting the precedent for everyone else and that is a tough thing, especially when no less than the future of the world is at stake.
WHERE WE WERE A COUPLE MONTHS AGO
The WGA had an option if they couldn't work out a deal with the AMPTP: go on strike on November 1st, or wait until June when the DGA and SAG's contracts were up and walk out together. The collective wisdom was that the WGA would wait until June.
The WGA decided to pull the ol' switcheroo and go out in November - hoping to catch the AMPTP off guard, the thinking being that the producers wouldn't have stockpiled TV and movie scripts, they'd miss out on sweeps, and the 2008 fall TV season would be put in jeopardy, as would be the up fronts (where the networks show the advertisers their new shows, and the advertisers give them literally a BILLION DOLLARS, pinky up to mouth). Going out in November was seen as giving us a lot of leverage.
But the AMPTP saw this whole thing differently.
They didn't want to negotiate with the WGA first. They hate the WGA. Those directors, now those are some nice guys. They liked it the old way, where the DGA takes a crap deal and everyone else goes along with it.
Thus, they decided to let the WGA go on strike. To do this they had to do a great song and dance both at the negotiating table and to the media. They had to make it look like they were talking in good faith, when in fact they weren't. They ranted and raved, claimed the WGA was outrageous and the leadership was incompetent. It was a bullshit routine, a con job even Sawyer from "Lost" would be proud of. The beauty of it was that while they were not giving a shit, the WGA did. The WGA was trying desperately to make a deal, so we were negotiating with ourselves - taking stuff off the table. It was a win-win for the AMPTP - they didn't have to give us anything cause they weren't negotiating, meanwhile we were taking stuff off the table!
They also had another win with this strategy: with the strike coming at the end of the year, they wouldn't have to pay anybody so their 2007 numbers looked amazing. Sure, some folks would be out of work, but the bottom line would look great. The strike is genius! But wait, there's more!
Also, after 6 weeks or so of a strike, they are allowed to use force majeure to cancel development deals they don't like. So by letting the strike go on for awhile, they were ridding themselves of many financial burdens. Another victory for the bottom line!
So wait, what is that now? A win-win-win-win. That's a lot of wins.
On December 7th, the AMPTP finally ended their bullshit song and dance and walked out of negotiations. They said we were insane. They wrote up a list of 6 things that we had to take off the table in order for them to talk to us again. Gee, and I thought that's what negotiations were for.
Since the AMPTP wouldn't talk to us, we decided to try and make deals with individual companies. The idea being that it would show the world that we can make deals, we're not asking for anything outrageous, and if we get enough we might pressure the big boys to follow suit. Some thought this would fracture the guild, but I did not find that to be the case at all. In fact, a lot of people thought that the individual agreements were great deals for us.
Back to the AMPTP. Despite all the wins their strategy provided them, they desperately needed one thing to happen to make it successful: they HAD to make a deal with the DGA. Repeat, had to. If the DGA walked, and then SAG, plus us, the entertainment business would be effectively shut down adn they'd start losing real money, and maybe their monopoly over it would be in serious trouble. So yeah, they had to make that deal, and then there would be extreme pressure on the WGA to settle, and SAG after that.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
In the last couple weeks, guess what happened? The members of the AMPTP have used force majeure to cancel a bunch of deals. This occurred at the same time as they started negotiations with the DGA. And once the deals started to get the ax, the writing was on the wall: a deal was about to go down.
And today, we have our AMPTP/DGA deal. From the looks of things - it just came out and we don't have any real detail yet - it's pretty good. Not great, but good. And probably a lot better than would've been made had the writers not been on strike. Because again, they had to make a deal, and the directors had the leverage gained by us.
So we'll see what happens next, but it looks like this deal provides a framework for a deal with us. The funny thing is, the deal includes two things that they said we MUST TAKE OFF THE TABLE OR THEY WOULD NEVER TALK TO US EVER AGAIN. Hmmm, guess that was bullshit.
Now one of two things is going to happen:
1) We will accept the framework of the deal and have something worked out by the end of the month or so.
2) We will say the deal is crap, not take it, and SAG will join us on the picket lines come June, all hell will break loose, and I'll be working at Handleman Plumbling Supplies.
Uh, I guess I'll take door #1.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
But I feel like I would be neglectful if I didn't post about this Tom Cruise video. If you haven't heard, it's a Scientology recruitment video where Tom goes on for 8 minutes extolling the virtues of his "faith". Some people are saying that it makes his Oprah appearance look normal by comparison. I disagree. It's almost exactly what you'd expect from him at this point. But make up your own mind and watch it here.
By the way, in case you're not a Thetan, KSW apparently means "Keep Scientology Working" (you uneducated Sea Org bastards!).
And if that isn't crazy enough, how about what Katie Holmes is saying about Suri:
"She's a very strong woman. I'm very proud of her. She's very smart and strong, and really magical."
There is also this great one from her Letterman appearance:
"I'm excited. She's so smart. She's already talking a lot and you can see she's already a wonderful artist".
Wow, the kid isn't even 2 yet and she's reached womanhood and is a wonderful artist.
In a related story, last night my nephew crapped the bed.
'American Idol' Premiere Lowest Rated in Four Years
The seventh-season premiere of Fox’s “American Idol” was its lowest-rated in four years.
“Idol” fell from last year’s series-high premiere perch, yet was once again a ratings titan that readily blew away all competitors Tuesday night, as well as all other network premieres from earlier this season.
“Idol” received a 13.8 rating among adults 18 to 49, according to preliminary Nielsen data.
That’s down 13% from last year’s 15.8 and down 10% from 2006’s 15.3.
Among total viewers, “Idol” was seen by an average of 33.2 million, down 11% from last year.
Both the demo and the total-viewer figures are the lowest Tuesday night "Idol" premiere standings since 2004.
Contrary to last season, when the judges took critical knocks for some vicious mocking of the contestants in the opening rounds, this time Simon Cowell was on his best behavior. One rejected contestant was even given a group hug by the judges.
“The King of Mean was replaced by the Prince of Nice,” the NY Post declared.
"Why are the judges so well behaved?” asked the Washington Post's Lisa de Moraes.
Monday, January 14, 2008
You love "American Idol", and I get that. Actually, I don't get it, it's just karaoke, you fucking morons!!! Okay, I'm sorry, that was wrong. I shouldn't have said that. My feelings are not the point. It's great that you enjoy watching this show. That Simon, he's incorrigible, isn't he? But I'm here to ask you to do me a solid: don't watch it this year.
Some reasons for this request. 1) You could show the world that you like, you know, good television. 2) You've made Ryan Seacrest rich, famous, and ubiquitous, and you're not gonna like the kharma that's coming back on your ass for that, so do what you can now. 3) Maybe it's time for the people who make and record music to be actual musicians. 4) Don't you know it's a karaoke show, you dumb motherfuckers?!
Sorry. Again, I'm sorry, I'm just sad and confused but I promise I meant every word of it.
I know what you're thinking; "how will I live without knowing what happens?" Well, I have the answer for that: I'm going to tell you.
"Hey, how come you get to watch and we don't?" The answer is: I'm not going to watch it either. But let me take a wild guess as to what is going to happen:
Bad singers will be paraded in front of the three judges, many of them will make the final 12
Simon will wear several of his girlfriend's sweaters
One word: pitchy
A girl will be in the first show, make it to Los Angeles, and last all the way to the finale, and her name is Ryan Seacrest
Drink Coke! Buy a Chevy!
Kenny Rogers will debut his new face
Have I mentioned that all fat black women can sing?
The big superstars of American Idol's past will come back to perform their hits, like Carrie Underwood will do that one song she has, and that chick who won last year will do whatever she's been up to, and that gray haired dude will perform that tune where he yells a lot
Paula Abdul will kidnap Sean Preston Spears and hold him hostage in her bathroom.
Okay? So you don't have to watch now! Tell your friends! Spread the word! Boycott American Idol! Are we gonna do this or what? Change the world, baby! Who's in? Huh? You? No? Okay. You? Right, I understand. Not even you, mom?
Oh, fuck me.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Around that same time I had one of my famous breakfast meetings with my former! agent, Blumberg. During that meeting, Blumberg was running through his whole song and dance about how he could get me meetings with Will Ferrell, etc. Then he says, "maybe you should write a one act play as a sample".
Well, this being Blumberg I kinda rolled my eyes - "why would someone hire me to write a TV show because of a play?" He says some kid wrote a genius one act play that the whole town was talking about, and now that kid was a hot shot on this new show called "Lost".
After hearing that, I demanded to read this so called genius one act play. Blumberg's assistant dutifully messengered it to me. I read it. And much to my suprise, it actually was genius! Blumberg was right, for once, although I'm sure he never actually read it and was just told this stuff by his CAA bosses.
I wish I could give all of you the play, or accurately describe it, but I just can't. All I can say is that involved time travel and Nazis and was just flat out cool. After reading it I was instantly a Lindelof fan, and all of the awesome shit that started playing itself out on "Lost" made total sense because this guy was involved.
Anyway, the WGA is doing a series of "Why We Write" essays. Damon Lindelof's is the latest, and it doesn't just say why he writes, it also shows why he's a genius. Enjoy:
DAMON LINDELOF: WHY I WRITE
I was listening to the news on NPR the other day and two things occurred to me. First, only assholes feel the constant need to tell you they listen to NPR (does anyone ever say, “So I was watching the CW last night…”?) and I guess that makes me an asshole. The second was that in the midst of listening to the story in question, I had finally figured out how to succinctly sum up why I write.
It goes a little something like this --There’s this ninety-year old woman named Rose who, after honking her horn repeatedly at the school bus idling in front of her, decides she has much more important things to do and guns her Honda Civic around the bus. Before she realizes that the bus was stopped for a very good reason indeed, Rose finds herself watching a freight train bear down on her and almost instantly, it smashes into the passenger side of the Civic and pushes it a good hundred feet before screeching to a stop.
Forgoing all the gory details, Rose is pronounced dead at the local hospital and the attending doctor in the ER is tasked with notifying next of kin. Turns out Rose’s husband has been dead for decades, but she has a couple sons and a daughter. The doctor calls one of her sons and his wife answers the phone. The son isn’t home, but the wife offers to take a message. The notification ethics, however, forbid the hospital from telling anyone but next of kin about Rose’s death and so they ask when the son will be home so they can call back.And the wife responds “He won’t be back for two months.” And the hospital says, “Well… do you have a number where we could reach him?” And the wife says no, she doesn’t. And why not?–
Because he’s in space.
As in outer space. As in orbit. As in one of a handful of human beings who have the unique distinction of not being on the fucking planet.
The son, Richard, is working on the International Space Station doing repair work. And as he floats in Zero-G, he is blissfully unaware that his ninety-year old mother has just been flattened by a train.
I shit you not. This really happened.
And what does this family’s personal tragedy have to do with why I write?
Because to me, this is an amazing story. And as soon as I hear it, my brain is already hammering out the scene where Rose’s other kids debate as to whether or not to even tell Richard. The daughter, Christine, insists on telling him that mom died peacefully in her sleep and holding the grisly truth for when he’s back on Earth. Richard’s brother Michael, however, demands they tell Richard all the gory details. Why? Because it was Richard’s fault she was still driving at ninety. Michael’s been trying to get her into assisted living for over five years now and if stupid fucking Richard had just fucking listened to him, she’d still be fucking alive!
Fortunately, I think, the decision is not up to Richard’s siblings. He is, after all, a member of the military, so this would be a NASA issue. And it turns out in their guidelines there’s this thing called the Dual Plume Protocol. The Dual Plume Protocol, or DPP, was officially incorporated into NASA’s Psychological Charter this year. Let me back up --
In September of 2001, the space station was manned by three people -- an American and Two Russians. As they were orbiting over the Northeastern United States, the American called Mission Control to report that he could see (with his naked eye) two massive pillars of black smoke rising up through the atmosphere. When they answered back, explaining that the black smoke was all that remained of the Towers, the American took a long, sorrowful pause and responded – “I wish you hadn’t told me that.”
As a result of the DPP, NASA started actually asking the astronauts who are leaving the planet what their personal wishes are regarding notifications of earthbound tragedies. And this is like, a very detailed document because it covers everything from worldwide catastrophes (i.e. Katrina or a Tsunami) down to things that would only affect the astronaut him or herself (i.e. their mother’s Honda getting pulverized by a freight train) and it must be signed and notarized before launch. Why? Because the emotional state and focus of these guys is critical. They’re being sent up to perform missions on a space station and after spending millions to train them (Richard is one of three people alive who has the skill set to execute these specific repairs) it costs BILLIONS just to get them up there to perform them and the last thing NASA needs is for someone to go batshit with grief on the day they’re supposed to fix the thruster converter thigamajob.
So I’m sitting there thinking how Richard may have filled out his DPP Form…
And I realize there’s no such thing.
I made it up.
Yeah, I remember hearing about the astronauts on the space station having seen the carnage over Manhattan from orbit, but that’s got nothing to do with the story of Rose’s death. In fact, I don’t know how many kids she had or, for that matter, whether or not they can just send an email to Richard (can you get email in space?) and dispense with all the formality.
But where’s the drama in that?
So that’s why I write.
I write because I can’t help but make things up.
I write because I love to tell stories.
I write because my imagination compels me to do so.
I write because if I didn’t, I’d be branded a pathological liar.
Oh, and also because I’m still trying to make my dead father proud of me.
But that’s none of your goddamn business.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
I am also thoroughly loving Fred Thompson's campaign - never before have we had a candidate who literally does not want to win, and would be bummed if he did. There's nothing better than when he gets asked a really long question and simply replies, "Nope", and takes a swig of bourbon, er, coffee.
I sympathize with these candidates. It's a grind. You have to talk to a lot of crazy people. You have to lie. But I don't just sympathize from the outside looking in, I sympathize as a man who has been there myself. Because I once ran for President too.
The year was 1985. The school was Camino Pablo Elementary. The office was commander in chief - School President. It was a historic election.
I give credit to one man for inspiring me to run. A man with big ideas and even bigger dreams. A political dynamo who kept a framed photo of Richard Nixon by his bed side and who was once a strong supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment. And that man's name was Alex P. Keaton, and I thank him.
I was running against an upstanding young student named Relura (whose name is caucasian for Laura Again). She had short blonde hair, and though she had bangs, she was perky as the day is long.
My staff and I ran a disciplined campaign. We got our message out through clever slogans, posters, and the school's PA system.
I made no promises I couldn't keep. I vowed fiscal responsibility. And my campaign did not go dirty. That's right, we ran a clean race and did not slander my opponent.
Even though we had good intelligence of shady shennanigans in her past. I don't want to go into specifics, but a source (Ronny Kirby's kid brother) had witnessed some monkey business under the monkey bars.
But we didn't need to use that. We had issues, ideas, and more importantly, we had spunk.
After a grueling primary season and a recess, it was time for Relura and I to give our big, final speech to the masses. It was to be given in the assembly hall to our entire class, and then the ballots would be cast.
Relura and I shook hands on stage - though it was a tough fight, we remained civil. The room was packed and enthusiastic - the result of Relura and I's tremendous "get out the vote" effort, and also the school's requirement that all kids attend.
I was first to speak. I got up and outlined my positions. I was reasoned and polished. I talked of the "Two Americas", about the haves and the have nots, about the dangers of Reagonomics, and about the "Axis of Evil" (in our case it was Rheem Elementary, our Vice Principle, and the metric stystem, not necessarily in that order).
It was a solid, man of the people John Edwards-esque performance. The auditorium cheered, and I felt a win was inevitable. And then Relura got up.
Her speech did not do the things mine did. In fact, you could barely call it a speech at all. It was actually a series of promises. I can still hear her opener:
"We will have snowcones for everyone everyday at lunch!"
I was aghast. Anyone with an elementary knowledge of the red tape of the California Public School System knew that we couldn't get snowcones. But the voting public didn't know that! She continued:
"We will build a new play area, with a pool and waterslides!"
What?!!! I couldn't believe what I was hearing, but our classmates could. They were on their feet, cheering. Even my voting base, my base!, was suddenly applauding water slides that would never be built. She went on.
"If you elect me President, next month Madonna will perform a free concert for the school!" Now my team, Team Handleman! flipped and joined her, they loved Madonna! The place was going nuts. What was once a civilized exchange of ideas had morphed into an episode of Oprah's "My Favorite Things".
It was clear, my career in politics were over. I remember my mom greeting me offstage. She tried to put a brave face on it, pretending like I still had a shot. But we both knew. I didn't cry though, I'm no Hillary.
However, I was still young and naive. And I remember actually looking up at my mom and saying, in all innocence and sincerity, "snowcones for lunch would be kinda cool".
But of course, there were no snowcones. No water slides. And no Madonna. Heck, there wasn't even Tiffany. At that point it didn't matter. She was President and I was a civilian.
So as I watch the politicians of today do their thing, I can't help but feel a little twinge of bitterness. Especially when I see the success Relura now enjoys in politics, though you may now know her by her stage name, Mitt Romney.
Thursday, January 03, 2008
The reason is that when I was a youth and we would visit Los Angeles, my dad would marvel at the stack. He would even drive out of our way just to pass by it, and no matter how many times he saw it he would always have the same excited reaction. He'd turn to me and say "You see that, Irwin? A perfect stack of fire wood! As far as the eye can see! Oh, I love that."
And each time he would say that to me I would smile and nod knowingly. But I never told him my secret shame. The truth that I hid from him all these years is that I really had no idea what the hell he was so excited about.
However, many years have passed since then. And I've grown up and matured into a man and have a greater understanding of the world. So now when I drive by it I look up, and I realize something: I still have no idea why it's cool.
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
There are too many great black names in history to name them all. And sometimes even when they're not funny, they are funny. Case in point: George Foreman naming all of his kids George Foreman.
But don't get me wrong, I'm not hating on black names at all. In fact, I'm mulling over several black names for my future children right now. It makes total sense. I mean, why name my kid Shawn when I can name him DeShawn. Who gets more chicks, Shawn or DeShawn? The answer is obvious, people, DeShawn has sex with the hottest girls in school.
And in some cases black names can guarantee success. Just look at that couple in Orlando who locked up rap fame for their son when they named him Flo Rida. You think "Low" could be rapped by a Larry? I don't think so. And could one of the best NBA players be named Dwayne Wade? Hell no. Dwayne sucks at basketball, but Dwyane Wade is sick.
The football games this week sucked, but there were some great names for me to think about for my son. These are guys I saw on TV in the last couple days:
JaMarcus Russell (the 'm' is capitalized)
Ramarcus Brown (the 'm' isn't capitalized)
Craphonso Thorpe (never start a name with crap)
A new trend is to combine two names. It solves the old problem; you have a kid and your spouse wants one name and you want something else. The solution is simple, put them together!
And finally, my personal favorite, and possibly the lone white guy on the list:
T-Bob is his real name. However, I don't know if it is actually short for T-Robert.
So many choices to consider for my kid, but I think I'm gonna have to stick with a family name. A name that's been passed down through the generations - D'Brickashaw Handleman.