Thursday, June 30, 2005

FLASHBACK: Too many nonconformists are all alike

Each Thursday, I will post "flashbacks," articles written when I was in college and actually funny. The following unaltered column was originally published April 22, 1998 in The Red & Black in Athens, GA. Call it a trip down memory lane, call it the worst kind of masturbatory blogging - I just can't believe I wrote this over seven years ago.

Widespread Panic doesn't do it for me.

Far be it from me to consider myself a true Athens resident, though, because suddenly every one of us is the biggest Spreadhead ever. I, though, will be honest - I couldn't name one of their songs.

Of course, I was interested to see the sights Saturday night, and I trekked downtown to find a mass of people, seemingly most from out-of-town, partying hippie-style.

Color me not impressed. Sure, there were people having fun, and I can appreciate that. Unfortunately, while walking around attempting to get away from the smell of patchouli and sweat, I began to think. And that's never a good sign.

Watching the tens of thousands of people, I began to wonder how many would have considered themselves Panic fans a month ago. I could almost hear the mooing as I witnessed the entire city become a herd of cattle.

Is there anything wrong with that, though? After a bit of initial skepticism, I found myself almost appreciating the instant fandom of the masses. It's all in good fun, and nobody's getting hurt.

Of course, then my cynical side had to pop up. I started looking around at all the people who, most likely, had been Panic fans for a long time. The hippies.

I bet if you cornered each one of them and asked them about themselves, they'd label themselves "non-conformists." And then they'd go join the rest of their friends - who look exactly like them. The same clothing. The same hair. The same dancing style. Even the same damn hippie attitude.

Which is fine, if that's what makes them happy. But I couldn't get over the idea that most of them actually believed they were not conforming to anything (I get this bitter when I'm tired and the only sober person around).

So what defines "original" today? What does "hip" mean? What exactly makes one "cutting edge?"

Who cares? If somebody has a style you want, copy it. If it makes you happy, do it for yourself. There's no shame in that. Don't, though, insult other people's intelligence by insisting you're original.

As a guideline, the following is a list of things that won't make you an "insider" in any social clique or class. They won't make you a guru of coolness. They won't make Michael Stipe want to give you a high-five. Do these things if you want to, but swallow it - you're a conformist, even if you: Listen to Marilyn Manson, P.J. Harvey or Tori Amos. Wear Doc Marten's, bell-bottoms or the top of your way-too-baggy jeans at the bottom of your butt. Smoke and are proud of it. Don't smoke and are proud of it. Watch "The X-Files." Have a Coke in the morning. Are a far-left Democrat. Are a far-right Republican. Save souls from eternal damnation. Refer to Trent Reznor as "my muse." Hate Greeks. Are passionately pro-Greek. Don't have a clue who Golden Pantry Guy is. Love "South Park" and have a copy of "The Spirit of Christmas." Haven't seen "Titanic" just to be "the only one." Play golf. Consider yourself a Vegan (ask Linda McCartney about the health benefits). Make cheap jokes at the expense of dead people. Have a "Darwin" fish on your car. Wear clothes eight sizes too small (for the love of God, listen to this one). Love hacky-sack, frisbee or golf. Are gay. Have ever referred to anything as "da bomb." Enjoy line-dancing. Really respect Kevin Smith's "subversive mentality and mise en scene."

The list is endless. True, it does seem like all of the original ideas have been used up. All the themes have been turned into theme parks, as Christian Slater says in "Pump Up the Volume." But stop whining and please, admit that you may just be a little bit like some of us normal, conformed folk. We aren't that terrible.

– Josh Massey is a staff writer for The Red and Black. His column appears each Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

He went the distance

"Son, if I'd only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes... now that would have been a tragedy."

One hundred years ago today, Archibald "Moonlight" Graham took the field for the New York Giants.

It was an insignificant major league career - one game, zero at-bats - but it became baseball legend in the 1982 W.P. Kinsella novel "Shoeless Joe," and even moreso in the 1989 film adaptation, "Field of Dreams."

Despite their obvious roots in spiritual fantasy, both book and movie got the facts surprisingly straight. Graham was brought in as a late defensive replacement on June 29, 1905, and was left standing in the on-deck circle when the game ended on a pop-up. With his baseball career over, he found his true calling as a doctor in Chisholm, Minn. He practiced general medicine for six years, but in a move after my own heart, he spent over four decades as a physician for the local school system.

Graham died a local hero in 1969, at the age of 88. And yes, he did have a fondness for buying blue hats for his wife.

Elias Sports Bureau reports that of the 16,000-plus players in major league history, over 900 have played in only one game. I can't imagine how that must feel, to work your entire life toward one goal only to taste the success for a couple of hours.

It's doubtful many of them went on to shine as bright as "Moonlight," but at least we can hope they really do get to play in some great heavenly games with "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, Buck Weaver and others.

Farking around

Holy crap, I might have actually won a Fark Photoshop contest ("jgm1976" is my Fark and eBay alter ego). Not bad for somebody with next-to-no Photoshop skills.

God, I'm a dork.

Master of his domain

I try to keep this blog pretty apolitical, if only because writing about politics bores me more than a "Lord of the Rings" marathon (zing, Meimi!). There's even more daft political discussion on the Internet than daft movie talk, which is an astounding concept to swallow.

Once in awhile, though, I will at least link to something in the political arena that makes me happy/irks me/causes my brain to actually think - and this is one of those times.

Here's my basic sentiment: Logan Darrow Clements is my new hero. Even more than Brad Pitt. Which is saying a lot.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The eighth blunder of the world?

Is it just me, or does Peter Jackson's "King Kong" look like complete ass?

You'd think special effects would have gotten better in the 12 years since "Jurassic Park," not noticeably worse.

After Hours

I am a record-setter. Of course, I don't think Guinness will be calling any time soon, because my only unique achievement is admittedly dubious. According to the publisher of Athens' own Red & Black newspaper, I worked there longer than any writer in the publication's recorded history. As he handed over a longevity award on my last day, he reminded me I had worked there from January 1995 until that day in late December 1998.

Mind you, this paper was founded in 1893, so this isn't like Jose Guillen setting the all-time Washington Nationals home run mark. It's more like Crash Davis hitting the most minor league dingers - it's certainly an accomplishment, but what does it really mean?

I don't work for a newspaper anymore. I barely write, though I am trying to rectify that. Basically, all I can think of is that I had acquired a wildly inflated reputation of being an in-office Lothario. I say "wildly inflated" because I still hear the legends of my conquests years later, and quite frankly I wish even half of them were true. In reality, I feel like a black guy when somebody goes, "Man, you must have a big dick." What am I to do, correct them?

Where am I going with this? As always, I have little idea, except to say I want to introduce a new Tuesday feature here on Ye Olde Martians Attacking Indianapolis. My pride and joy at the R&B was our weekend section, called After Hours. I would list every movie playing in town, alongside brief synopses and witty commentary. Toward the end of my tenure, I pretty much dropped any legitimate information and just became a smart-ass. It was my finest work to date.

In 1998, though, I would have seen nearly every movie playing at the local multiplex. In 2005, I have seen exactly two. So instead of listing every movie out there, I'll review each movie I've seen in a given week, whether the viewing was in a theater or at home on DVD. Of course, why you would care is beyond me. Movie critique is mostly word vomit anyway, and there's certainly no shortage of it on the Internet. But I need to get my brain a'workin' in different directions, so you're stuck with it. Or you can just go to another webpage.

Be Cool (2005) This "Get Shorty" sequel joins the ranks of "The Blues Brothers 2000," "Vegas Vacation" and "The Whole Ten Yards" as the laziest, most pointless sequels in recent memory. A plot description would only make me angry all over again (I am a big fan of the first film); let's just say John Travolta's performance here does more anti-Scientology legwork than Tom Cruise could do in a month of "Oprahs." (D-) DVD

Eraserhead (1977) Alright, I love David Lynch. "Twin Peaks" still ranks as my all-time favorite television show, and "Mulholland Dr." is up there on my "best movies" list. However, somehow I had never gotten around to seeing this, his 1977 debut. And now that I finally have - boy, it's awful. I mean, I'm all about Lynch's "weird for weird's sake" philosophy, but at least his most recent mind-benders seemed to have solutions to the puzzles. (Do check out the Lynch's nearly 90-minute monologue included in the special features - it's much more entertaining than the film). (C-) DVD

Hostage (2005) A bit of a surprise. It took me watching this film to realize I haven't seen a Bruce Willis film in theaters since 2000. Though this didn't do much in the way of box office, it's a bit of a return to form for the "Die Hard" star. He plays a small-town cop who has to save a family from some thugs who have taken them - well, look at the title. (B-) DVD

The Jacket (2005) Keira Knightley is so absolutely, exquisitely British, hearing her speak in an American accent is off-putting to say the least. The rest of the movie is "Jacob's Ladder"-lite, a mind-bending drama starring Adrien Brody as a (perhaps?) murderous Gulf War vet sentenced to a mental institution. "The Jacket" has a dynamite first hour, only to peter out when it has to explain itself. Bonus points for a little Keira boobage. (B-) DVD

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Pride of the Yankees

Derek Jeter and Gary Sheffield. As opposed to Jeter and Alex Rodriguez. Or Jeter and Yankees GM Brian Cashman. Or Jeter, Barney Frank and Kordell Stewart.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Odell would hit it

Speaking of my beloved Georgia Bulldogs, we really do have the best fans. I am dying to know exactly what kind of "services" could be traded.

Friday, June 24, 2005

UGA, represent

Take a minute and vote for David Pollack in the race for the Under Armour Undeniable Performance ESPY award. Whatever that is. He's going up against, among others, Terrell Owens - which makes your vote doubly important.

Oh, and did you know he knew David Greene when they were kids? It's hard to believe there was never a news story about that.

Friday Random 10: The Secret of the Ooze

You'z all like, "Yo, what'z about tha Frizziday Random 10!" And I'z like, "Ju betta get out my face wit' dat, fucka!" And you'z all like, "Naw, you di'en!" And I'z go, "Uh-huh I'z di'!" So here'z yo' Frizziday Random 10, bizzaatche!

1) U2, "All Along the Watchtower (Live at Point Depot)"
2) Drivin 'N' Cryin, "Livin' By the Book"
3) Bruce Springsteen, "Tougher than the Rest" (very underrated)
4) Run D.M.C., "You Be Illin'"
5) Prince, "Let's Go Crazy"
6) James Brown, "I Got You (I Feel Good)"
7) Passengers, "Elvis Ate America"
8) Tupac Shakur, "So Many Tears"
9) Hootie & the Blowfish, "Look Away"
10) DJ Kool, "Let Me Clear My Throat"

Woah, I swear I wrote that inane introduction before Run D.M.C., Tupac and DJ Kool popped up there. Of course, if this were Freaknik instead of Pride weekend, I'd be a little weirded out. Instead, I'm proud of what seems to be my first 1 to 10 decently cool Random 10. And yes, Hootie is awesome (consistently the best live band out there, my brothers and sisters. Buy a ticket now, thank me later).

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Fat Celebrities, Day II

I think it's safe to say Courtney Love has kicked her drug habit. However, I'm a little worried for her daughter, Frances Bean. That name sounds a little too much like an ice cream flavor, and Ms. Love is easily confused.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

East bound and down

Obsessive though I might be, thoughts of "Cannonball Run II" won't leave my head. Late last night, I even noticed the ad guys had put Frank Sinatra and Jackie Chan together on the poster, which just proves that Burt and Co. knew the collaborative dynamite they were handling.

I sincerely think another "Cannonball Run" movie could heal our nation in these trying times. Obviously Burt should be invited back, along with Shirley MacLaine, Jackie Chan, Abe Vigoda, Tony Danza, Jamie Farr and "Cannonball 1" alum Roger Moore (let's face it, Dom DeLuise is probably a shut-in by now).

We need a new generation of Cannonballers, though, and allow me to throw these guys into the ring: Vince Vaughn, Owen and Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller. I mean, all they do is make movies to hang out with their friends, which is exactly what Burt and Dom used to do in the old days. Hell, throw in the "Ocean's 11" crew - Clooney, Pitt, Damon and Cheadle. Sign up Rachel McAdams, Heather Graham and Salma Hayek as the assorted hottie love interests, and for the sake of Chan/Sinatra history, pair Ke Huy Quan with Jack Nicholson. GOLD, JERRY, GOLD!

This will happen when I run Hollywood.

Dream an unbelievably big, fatass dream

"License to Drive" is apparently "timeless" now, and Corey Haim wants to, ahem, make another 50 movies. And he looks like a basketball.

Oh, and from the "What would we do without the Internet?" category, I bring you the wisdom of the Haimster.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Casting couch

Driving home from "Batman Begins" on Sunday night, I began wondering if I'd just seen the greatest assembled cast in Hollywood history. The movie (stellar, by the way) featured Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Rutger Hauer, Liam Neeson, Ken Watanabe, Tom Wilkinson, Cillian Murphy and, yes, Katie Holmes. What could possibly rival that lineup?

After about two minutes of soul-searching, I came up with the possible candidates.

"A Bridge Too Far" is the obvious first choice. This World War II epic also featured Caine, alongside Sean Connery, James Caan, Elliott Gould, Anthony Hopkins, Gene Hackman, Laurence Olivier, Ryan O'Neal, Robert Redford, Denholm Elliott and, perhaps most importantly, John Ratzenberger. Verdict: On paper, this cast gives the "Batman Begins" crew a run for its money. It loses out, however, because the movie unfortunately sucked.

"The Thin Red Line" is another war drama that managed to pull a huge, big-name cast. Participating were Sean Penn, Adrien Brody, future Jesus Jim Caviezel, George Clooney, John Cusack, Woody Harrelson, Nick Nolte and John Travolta. Verdict: I probably missed half of those performances, because I slept through this pretentious bore. I refuse to grant anything to this overrated self-important crap.

"The Player" doesn't count. Sure, it had Tim Robbins, Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher, Vincent D'Onofrio, Richard E. Grant, Sydney Pollack, Julia Roberts, Bruce Willis, Jeremy Piven, Gina Gershon, Lyle Lovett, Gary Busey, Cher, John Cusack, Jeff Goldblum, Dennis Franz, Peter Falk, Nick Nolte and Burt Reynolds, but most were... Verdict: ... only brief cameos.

"True Romance" gives "Batman Begins" some serious competition. It also features Oldman, as well as former Batman Val Kilmer, former Batman villain Christopher Walken (in his best role, at that), Christian Slater, Snaggletooth, Brad Pitt, Dennis Hopper, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Rapaport, James Gandolfini, Tom Sizemore, Chris Penn and Balki. In the battle of the Christians, Bale certainly beats Slater (decision: "Batman"). In the battle of Oldmans, Gary's Drexl Spivey is ten times more interesting and memorable than his Jim Gordon (decision: "Romance"). Freeman beats Jackson for my BET nomination (decision: "Batman"), Walken wipes the floor with Hauer (decision: "Romance"), Neeson outclasses Rapaport and Kilmer put together (decision: "Batman"), and I'd rather have sex with Holmes than Arquette (decision: "Batman"). Verdict: Very slight edge to "Batman," even with Pitt and Walken giving the best performances of either film.

"Grand Hotel," the Best Picture of 1932, featured the most star-studded cast in Hollywood's brief history. Greta Garbo was the main attraction, but the film also featured John Barrymore, Joan Crawford, Wallace Berry, Lionel Barrymore, Lewis Stone and Jean Hersholt. Verdict: I still haven't forgiven John for procreating and eventually producing Drew and, in effect, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle." Plus, they're all dead, so who cares?

"The Outsiders." Matt Dillon. Ralph Macchio. C. Thomas Howell. Patrick Swayze. Rob Lowe. Emilio Estevez. Tom Cruise. Diane Lane. Tom Waits. Leif Garrett. Verdict: Do you really think there's a chance I'm granting "Best Cast Ever" status to a film that includes Howell, Swayze and Garrett? And anyway, nobody in this movie was a star when it was released - that's the same reason "Dazed and Confused" and "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" aren't going to be considered here.

I swear, I'm trembling as I type this. "Cannonball Run II" is an apex of Hollywood talent in so many ways, its power and emotional force will never be felt again in our lifetimes. What other movie - pardon me, film - will ever again have a one-two punch nearly as awe-inspiring as Frank Sinatra and Jackie Chan? And that isn't even mentioning the combined talents of Burt Reynolds, Dom DeLuise, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Shirley MacLaine (in her follow-up to winning the Oscar for "Terms of Endearment," mind you), Sid Caesar, Richard "Jaws" Kiel, ABE VIGODA, Marilu Henner, Telly Savalas, Jamie Farr, Tim Conway, Tony Danza, Don Knotts, Ricardo Montalban, Jim Nabors, Charles Nelson Reilly, Alex "Moe Greene" Rocco, Catherine Bach, Susan Anton, Henry Silva, Joe Theismann, Mel Tillis, George "Goober" Lindsey and Fred Dryer? Verdict: "Batman" is toast. Long live "Cannonball Run II," and please God, answer my now-going-on-21-year-long prayer for "Cannonball Run III." Some of those people are still alive.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Profiles in courage

Do you think Tom Cruise prefers to be photographed from his right or left side? Just wondering...

Sunday, June 19, 2005

My father, the hero

The treehouse went up twice.

My dad was responsible the first time, drawing the plans himself, hauling the wood, ladders and tools to our backyard, and spending the weekend suspended 20 feet in the air. He was building my second home, but I couldn't yet envision his ultimate goal. All my 8-year-old mind could do was marvel at this man’s until-now hidden talent.

I mean, this was my dad - he could coach a baseball team and grill a mean hamburger, but who knew he was also Tarzan, hanging from the limbs, building this perfect contraption that would hold me among the birds, squirrels and branches?

There were many games played up there, many nights spent under the clouds, and my pop culture-saturated imagination steered it in 20 directions at once. That treehouse was at once Knight Rider, the Millennium Falcon, the A-Team’s van, and a mysterious hideout invisible to all things female. It was my father's eye-opening worksmanship that constructed all of those things for me.

The second time it went up, my dad had nothing to do with it. He was asleep, and only the neighbor's screams caused his eyes to open. Rubbing out the bleariness, he pulled the curtain back to look down into our back yard. The treehouse, about ten feet into the forest, was brightly lit, the flames shooting toward the sky.

I was awake as well. Racing into the hall, I saw the top of my dad's head as it disappeared down the stairs. Following as quickly as I could, I ran down, out the door, and into the backyard to the forest's edge.

Our neighbor was standing there, holding a fire extinguisher but seemingly unable to move. He was frozen, with a fire-tinted glassiness in his eyes. His son, I would later find out, had been given permission to spend the night in the treehouse, but there was no response after calling his son's name. The lack of a reply had stopped his feet, and likely his heart.

My dad grabbed the extinguisher with the grace of a relay runner snatching the baton, and he sprinted up the treehouse ladder into the fire. I followed him to the first rung, looking up toward the violence. I began to climb. When you're 8, there are no thoughts of mortality or even danger; I can't remember my exact thought process, but I'm sure I believed I could do something, anything to help.

My face poked over the edge, immediately seeing the remnants of a charred sleeping bag and the fire still surrounding it. Before my eyes could focus, though, everything was suddenly engulfed in a cloud of white dust. The extinguisher's hiss pummeled my ears while its discharge entered my eyes, nose and mouth. I tried to climb down, but only covered a couple of rungs before my hands let go.

I fell, expecting to hit the ground, but instead I landed in my neighbor's arms, my eyes closed, my mouth coughing. While my father was working to save his son, he was there to save me.

"He's not here, nobody is up here," my dad said. The spray was still burning my eyes, but I looked up long enough to see the fire was out. My dad was a shadow, standing in the smoke, lit only by the few remaining embers and the stars behind him.

He reported down the good news, that a sun lamp had been left on, and the only victims were a pair of sleeping bags and the floor of my forest home. Our neighbor's son, it turns out, had walked to a friend's house, and was safe from everything but his parent's wrath.

That night, though, wasn't about what was lost. It was what I gained, which was perhaps my first impression of my father as a true human being. He was the coach, the architect, and now the hero, and I will never forget the pride I felt that night. And I count my blessings that I still see my father in exactly the same light, some 20-plus years later.

Happy Father's Day.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Chris Klein's stream of consciousness...

Five years with that bitch...She wore my ring, now she's wearing his...I should have been in "American Wedding"...Need to rewind the "Oprah" tape and start it again...I mean, what the fuck? I had to suffer through "First Daughter" and "Abandon," he goes to the premiere of "Batman"...I wish I could go to the premiere of "Batman"...Fuck, the Jack Daniels is almost empty...I mean, she's already fucking engaged?...I wish Jason Biggs would return my calls...Where's the fucking remote?...I mean, I sat through "The Gift" too, which was only good because she got naked, and that was something I used to see all the time...I wish I still saw that all the time...What does Tom Cruise have that I don't?...Son of a bitch, the "Batman" commercial is playing again...Where's Julio with my 8-ball?...I wish Seann William Scott would return my calls...Is MGM ever going to call about "Rollerball 2?"...Son of a bitch, the "War of the Worlds" commercial is playing again...I should watch "Election" - those were the days, man...Maybe "Celebrity Poker Showdown" will call...Ebert gave "Batman" thumbs up...Fuck Ebert...I wish Eugene Levy would return my calls...Is it possible to slit my wrists with US Weekly?...

Friday Random 10...

This might be the last chance for the Friday Random 10 to prove it has any mystical powers. I'll continue to do it nevertheless, but I will officially become a skeptic if this one proves to have little foresight.

1) The Pogues, "Dirty Old Town"
2) Pearl Jam, "Satan's Bed"
3) Pearl Jam, "Aye Davanita"
4) Macy Gray, "I Try"
5) Eric Cartman, "Come Sail Away"
6) Tom Petty, "Alright For Now"
7) Deep Blue Something, "Breakfast at Tiffany's"
8) Limahl, "The Neverending Story"
9) Air Supply, "All Out of Love"
10) U2, "Last Night on Earth"

Sigh... If you should ever doubt my honesty regarding the Random 10, please remember this week's installment.

Oh, and I should hope this isn't foreshadowing, because it certainly seems like I could die this weekend. "Last Night on Earth," "The Neverending Story" (meaning the afterlife), and - gulp - "Satan's Bed?" And would "Come Sail Away" refer to the river Styx - who originally sang that song?!?!? Oh fuck.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

And in this corner...

There's a hawk circling my house, while my pug barks at it from the deck. This could be a very interesting match-up.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Who said spam was completely useless?

Isn't obstruction of justice a crime?

If our government weren't more interested in public relations than actual justice, this guy would justifiably be arrested today.

And what's with Bob Woodward knowingly staging fake interviews? Of course, he'll have to answer for that breach of etiquette at about the same time Feds bust down Mark Felt's doors. Which will be right around when Jennifer Love Massey grants her first post-wedding interview.

"It's finaly heere- the new pro vigara comparator" *

There is somebody out there sending out e-mails about Viagra, about sex with farm animals, and about finding me the job of my dreams. Somebody is sitting at a computer right now, just like me, but I'm typing these words and they're typing "Your dream date is only a click away."

People have shitty jobs, I completely understand that. Hell, people with shitty jobs make the world go 'round, so I feel no need to pile on to their disparagement. My real problem is figuring out how these shitty jobs make money for people. Because for those people to line their pockets with even the smallest bit of cash, there is somebody else out there, somebody sitting at a computer right now, just like me, but I'm thinking about them and they're thinking, "I bet I could get some good Viagra through this e-mail." Or, "It just might turn me on to see a woman sucking a horse off." Or, "Maybe I do have to rely on an Indonesian webmaster to find work here in Knoxville."

I have no idea who these people are. I have no idea how these people exist. I wouldn’t get 50 of these e-mails a day, though, if they weren’t out there somewhere.

* An e-mail with that subject hit my inbox as I was typing this. And somebody out there, God love 'em, probably clicked the link within.

Monday, June 13, 2005

The true pillars of our society

If, you know, somebody accidentally fired a few canisters of cyanide gas into any supporters and/or protesters outside Michael Jackson's courthouse, and you know, accidentally killed anybody who honestly thinks it's important to be there - well, would that really be that much of a loss? You know, as long as it was accidental?

Friday, June 10, 2005

Friday Random 10...

I had high hopes for last weekend based on the Friday Random 10. Promises of innocence lost, coming original, people changing, etc. Even as an English major, I was always bad at seeing subtext, and I've gotta be missing it here.

Bridesmaids at the wedding I went to? Only one, with her husband in the front row. Driving home from the reception? I was pulled over, given a ticket for running a red light (thankfully, I wasn't drunk). Third, I left a wedding reception and wasn't fucking drunk! In fact, that last detail might sum up the wasted opportunity that was Last Weekend.

Here's hoping for a better time this go-round, and a better Random 10.

1) Andrea Bocelli, "Time To Say Goodbye"
2) The Dust Brothers, "Who Is Tyler Durden?"
3) Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, "All or Nothin'"
4) The Beach Boys, "Caroline No"
5) Hans Zimmer, "Main Theme From 'Days of Thunder'"
6) Garth Brooks, "Callin' Baton Rouge"
7) Scissor Sisters, "Better Luck Next Time"
8) Night Ranger, "Sister Christian"
9) John Cameron Mitchell, "Angry Inch"
10) U2, "Love Rescue Me"

I'm officially nervous.

By the way, Dave's a winner.

Family ties (and binds)

My mother is reading my blog. It’s my own fault, to be honest – I sent her the link. It never occurred to me she would actually look at it, though.

"I love what you’re doing with your website," she tells me. "Your grandmother is loving it too – I’ve sent the link to the whole family!"

My jaw drops, which of course she can’t see being 400 miles away. She hears it, however. "Don’t worry, they don’t care what you write. Even the parts about trying to get laid."

I rack my brain searching for what the hell she is talking about. My sexual history has not yet been documented in the online world, and – oh right, I did make an off-the-cuff, sarcastic remark a couple of weeks ago.

"Oh, your grandmother doesn’t even know what ‘getting laid’ means," she says, once again denying her own mother’s saltiness.

Ok, so after years of acting like a golly-shucks-nice-big-ol'-smile-goody-two-shoes around my family, they're about to get a firm grasp of the hedonistic, self-indulgent jackass their daughter/sister has raised.

Gosh darn it.

A Rosie by any other name would smell as sweat-drenched and pasty

I've said I don't want this blog to become something where I'm just linking to other material, and I mean that. Some things are just too good to pass up, though, especially this confrontation between Sean Hannity and Rosie O'Donnell on "The View."

While Hannity is a bit too conservative for my tastes, he comes off as a bastion of common sense, as O'Donnell's retorts become increasingly hysterical to the point she's singing them (I promise I'm not linking to an audio file).

Between Howard Dean, O'Donnell and Harry Reid, it's nice watching the Democrats hang themselves. Remember, there was a day when Republicans had to help.

"Everybody has AIDS!"

All of my alleged heterosexuality aside, I've watched the trailer for the upcoming musical "Rent" about ten times today.

I've never seen the play its based on, never even heard its music - but it has suddenly become one of my must-sees for the fall. That song is amazing, the cast (including a lot of the original Broadway performers) looks sensational, and ... I don't know, it just has a vibe. Something tells me director Chris Columbus finally hit the home run he's flirted with for years. And all of this comes as quite a surprise, as I am not a fan of musicals by any stretch.

Also, it has made me want to visit NYC again - and soon. Who's with me?

That said, this future Oscar winner is still my #1 most anticipated movie of the year. And no, I don't think I'm kidding.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Seriously, WTF?

A quick gander over at shows thunderstorms in the Atlanta area for the next seven freakin' days. Since I got out of school - oh, almost two weeks ago - I don't think 24 hours have passed without rain of some sort.

I know this too well, because the number one priority on my summer "to do" checklist was to get my yard looking, well, better than it does now (a weed actually started strangling Earl yesterday). At no point has it gotten dry enough to even mow the lawn - except for maybe last Sunday, and I was hung over. And yes, that's a valid excuse.

/end of rant

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Separated at birth?


Seriously, though, this is a fun read, if only because of the pomposity of the "BUsh is an idIOt!!!11!!" crowd.

I, for one, don't believe grades mean very much when you enter the real world - and thank God, because mine sucked. But if I'm reading this correctly, neither John Kerry nor George Bush EVER GOT AN A in all of their undergraduate years. Even I wrangled a few of those at the ol' U G of A, and I'm not just talking about my bowling class.

Massey in '08.

Updatified: The more I think about this comparison, the more I think it is incredibly on target. We all know Neidermeyer was killed in Vietnam by his own troops; we now know many of Kerry's fellow soldiers probably felt the same urge from time to time. Neidermeyer and his frat buddies had a taste for pretentious secret societies, Kerry (like Bush) was a member of Skull and Bones. And Neidermeyer's sworn enemy was, of course, Eric Stratton (Rush Chairman, damn glad to meet you). Who in the world personifies the Eric Stratton mentality better than, you guessed it,...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Friday Random 10...

The knuckles are cracking over here at MAI headquarters, anticipating a long weekend including a couple rounds of golf, a wedding, and potentially some post-wedding bridesmaid canoodling. It's easy to overlook a weekend when you really don't do much of anything during the week, but there is a stark difference - all of your friends have free time on Saturdays and Sundays, thus making a successful social life a bit more within reach.

On with the Friday Random 10. To recap from last week's post (the only time I'll do this):

Basically, these are the first 10 songs that appear on my iPod in "shuffle" mode, and I believe them to be a harbinger of the weekend to come. It will also give you, the reader, a keen insight into my lack of musical taste.

As always, this is completely honest, and you're invited to post your own hopefully embarrassing entries in the Comments section:

1) Roy Orbison, "I Drove All Night"
2) Elvis Presley, "Viva Las Vegas"
3) U2, "All I Want Is You (Live at Point Depot, Dublin)"
4) Don Henley, "The End of the Innocence"
5) U2, "Do You Feel Loved"
6) Kenny Chesney, "Some People Change"
7) Carter Burwell, "After Miller's Crossing"
8) Lynyrd Skynyrd, "Freebird"
9) Old 97's, "Jagged"
10) 311, "Come Original"

What does this all mean, beside the fact that U2 will always show up because I bought their complete collection on iTunes? The inclusion of Lynyrd means much of the weekend will be spent in drunken revelry, but who didn't know that already? I'm certainly intrigued by innocence being lost. Whose innocence, how will it be lost, and exactly how much will I have to do with it? I can only hope "Come Original" plays directly into it.

I'm suddenly very excited about the next couple of days.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Imperceptibly pococurante, astute progeniture prognosticate subjugation

The world's greatest sporting event is currently taking place on ESPN: the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee. I've only been watching five minutes (going 2-for-6), and have already heard a kid reference Napoleon Dynamite - who, honestly, must be some sort of patron saint to these coneheads (at least now that the "Lord of the Rings" movies are a distant memory).

The most shocking fact so far - I saw a pretty girl sitting among the rows of kids. Here's hoping she has a bodyguard outside her hotel room to protect her from the various mouth-breathers she calls "the competition."

Still my favorite freakshow, from 1997:

Nixon... Nixon... Nixon... Nixon... Nixon...

Former Richard Nixon speechwriter, movie star, economist, author, lawyer and game show host Ben Stein (now that's talent) has written a very bitter, very interesting take on the revelation of Deep Throat's identity. Wallow in his anger a bit, won't you?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

60 divided by 2

My dad turned 60 yesterday. Sixty freakin' years old. That's 21,900 days to you an me, Russ.

I remember when my grandfather was in his 60s, and now he’s 60 divided by 10 feet under. My father had me when he was my age - I think my life has gone by relatively quick, so will it now be relatively quick that I turn 60?

“There was a day when I thought 60 was old,” he told me. It occurred to me to say, “Yeah, today,” but I let it go. The truth is, he’s hit his latest milestone only a few months before I hit mine – the ripe old age of 30. It’s the first birthday I’ve ever truly dreaded. Seeing my father’s apparent ease at hitting his seventh decade has not helped me in any way.

During my sophomore year of college, a female friend started dating a 30-year-old. I remember telling her that it was crazy – I mean, 30 is just too old for somebody our age. Never mind that I had a mad crush on her myself, and would have probably talked her out of dating Prince William because he’s “too British,” but I think I honestly believed that 30-year-olds walked with canes. Or at least were up to no good - and come to think of it, I rarely am. Especially when female college sophomores are involved.

Speaking of "Fully Loaded..."

Thank God for the folks at Now we can see the summer-to-summer Lindsay Lohan pictures side-by-side, for all of our voyeuristic comparison shopping needs.

Personally, I think she's still too fat.

By the way, I think we all know who emerged triumphant in this particular battle.