Thursday, September 27, 2007
OK, first of all, this is totally not safe for work, not safe to play around kids, the whole shebang.
Secondly, it made me laugh like crazy. Here's what happens when Martin Scorsese's Casino is managed by Bert and Ernie.
You know, I never noticed it before, but Burt looks a bit like De Niro ... and Ernie looks a lot like Pesci.
Labels: You Tube
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Scott Nehring, who posts clever, smart film reviews at Nehring The Edge has had a heart attack. Doctors expect him to come out OK, but stop by his site and wish him well all the same.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Movie Review: The Lives Of Others
In East Germany in the 1980’s, a communist government surveillance expert studies a playwright who’s suspected of subversive, anti-socialist intentions. The government spy gets caught up in the playwright’s life in a surprising way that changes both his own motives and his own life, and ultimately has a tremendous effect on the lives of the playwright and those in his inner circle. (German; subtitled)
- Solid direction, engrossing story.
- Strong performances.
- Smart, thoughtful. This film is something special.
- A moment of violence toward the end of the film that seemed jarring and out of place.
4 and a half out of five stars. Great film.
In 1974, between installments of the Godfather series, Francis Ford Coppola released a relatively subdued, small film called The Conversation. Featuring one of Gene Hackman’s finest performances in the lead roll, The Conversation is my favorite of Coppola’s films, mostly for the same reasons that make it seem an anomaly among his work. The Conversation is character driven and hinges on the quiet power of Hackman’s acting. Given the nature of most of Coppola’s other films, this small movie seems almost out of place.
It was impossible for me to watch The Lives Of Others without thinking about The Conversation. Both films are stories about surveillance experts who get drawn into the lives of the people they’re spying on; drawn in to the point of becoming participants in the events they’re supposed to simply observe. Both movies work primarily because of strong performances by their lead actors. But The Lives Of Others is an even less conventional film than The Conversation. It more honestly considers the ambiguities and the gray areas between right and wrong than Coppola’s film. I still prefer The Conversation to The Lives Of Others if only because the older movie is punchier, more “economical.” But, if I’m completely honest, I’d have to say that I believe that The Lives Of Others is more resonant, and probably has more to say about the conflicts within the human soul than The Conversation does. More than most other films do, for that matter.
Much has been written by a number of self-congratulatory critics who’ve jumped at the chance to draw parallels between 1980’s East Germany, as depicted in The Lives Of Others, and Patriot-Act-era America. Don’t believe the hype. Any thread that might exist between modern American politics and this story is tenuous at best, and any reasonable viewer would surely note the differences between communist oppression and American liberty. In a DVD extra interview, writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck makes it clear that his story isn’t intended as metaphor for the modern world. It’s instead a commentary on the inhumane policies of Soviet style communism and the way that a genuine love for mankind might have changed men like Lenin for the better. Ultimately, though, politics are a secondary element in The Lives Of Others. At it’s heart, this is simply a story about loneliness and desperation, and about the human need to trust and be trusted. Von Donnersmarck isn’t as concerned here about political matters as he is about matters of the heart. To the extent that communism is a factor here, it simply serves as the source of ubiquitous dread that haunts the characters.
As Wiesler, the government man, Ulrich Mühe gives a performance that reminded me quite a bit of a young Kevin Spacey. I mean that as a serious compliment. I’m talking here about the Kevin Spacey of movies like Glengarry Glen Ross, not the guy who makes films like K-Pax. I’m talking about Kevin Spacey in his prime. Mühe reaches that level of acting in The Lives Of Others, and his performance carries the film. The role calls for subtle character development, and Mühe never plays his whole hand. I sometimes found myself surprised by the character's actions, but I never found them implausible. Over the course of this movie we see a man change dramatically, but in baby steps, and often against his own conscious will. Another actor might have overplayed the part. Ulrich Mühe is right on key, and utterly convincing. That's remarkable when you consider that, as a man tasked with simply listening, he has relatively little dialogue in the film.
Best of all, after the crucial conflict of the story has been resolved, the movie continues with a post-script that’s as poignant and important as anything that’s come before. Some movies don’t seem to know when to end. This movie featured a final act that really could have been edited out to make the film tighter, but it wasn’t excised, and I’m glad. The final act of this movie changed everything before in meaningful, profound ways. I expected The Lives Of Others to end twenty minutes before it actually did, but once the closing credits rolled I was glad to have stayed with these characters a little longer and to have had the chance to learn more about their lives in post-communist Germany.
My one complaint with the film involves the death of one if the main characters. The movie’s principle conflict is resolved in a shocking way, and I don’t want to tell you too much. I will say, though, that there was a moment of violence that really drew me out of the movie. It seemed out of character and a bit too much like a soap opera for this thoughtful and reserved film. It broke the spell for me for a minute, and left me feeling a little frustrated with the director. I sat there thinking ”Oh, come on, (Character X) wouldn’t have died that way. OD’d on drugs, maybe, but not that way…”
After we watched the movie, my wife made a strong argument to me in defense of that one scene. Her take on it made sense, and her perspective made that scene seem more “organic” to me. Still, while actually watching the film, that one scene distracted me enough to bug me. It marred my initial enjoyment of what I’d have otherwise considered a pretty darn perfect film.
Ultimately, though, The Lives Of Others really is a smart, evocative movie full of insight and reflection on how we effect each other, sometimes without even realizing it. The movie stayed with me for a few days after I saw it, and I’ve thought about it since then. It’s even given me reason to stop and think before I spoke a couple of times in the last few days. Like Schindler’s List and Ikiru, this is a movie that I’m sure I’ll always be glad to have seen.
Post Script - I was saddened to learn just now when I read Nehring's review that Ulrich Mühe died of cancer this past July. His passing makes his performance all the more poignant. I hope his work in The Lives Of Others finds a wide, appreciative audience.
Friday, September 21, 2007
Once again, MCF comes up with the answers and we provide the questions:
1. Two beaches and a marina.
If I have five beaches and three marinas and I give you three beaches and two marinas, how many of each do I have left?
2. “This **** just got real.”
If you were a cashier, what phrase would you say to each customer instead of the over-used "Have a nice day?"
This picture would be funnier if the guy were doing what?
4. “Those would make a great coat!”.
Hey, what do you think of these two shirts?
5. David Hewlett and Trey Parker.
Can you name an actor on Stargate: Atlantis and a guy who makes really funny movies even though he comes off as an annoying a-hole in interviews?
6. A square bit.
This odd little video is the first one that pops up when you put what phrase into the search engine at YouTube?
7. My knee.
What the heck is that?
8. They would cancel each other out and the show would last forever.
What would happen if there were a TV show called Iceman Vs. The Human Torch?
9. I jumped in a big puddle of mud.
Did you jump in a big puddle of mud?
10. Because, It's Midnite.
Why won't you feed your Mogwai?
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Does anybody else remember a criminally underrated rock band from the '90's called Mindfunk? No? I didn't think so.
Just a brief bit of history: Mindfunk was made up of former members of Celtic Frost, M.O.D. and Soundgarden. Their first album, released by Sony/Epic, isn't all that great. It's not much more than basic hair metal; slick production, simple riffs, etc.
Their second album, however, is really something special. Dropped, so named because Sony/Epic dropped the band after their first album flopped, is an outstanding slab of stoner rock. Imagine a band as funky as the Chili Peppers and as doomy as Black Sabbath. That's what the second album delivers. When I finally do my long-pondered awesome albums that nobody has ever heard post, Mindfunk's Dropped will be featured prominently.
A total of two people bought Dropped, me and my buddy Jamie, and the band once again lost their record deal.
Their third album, which wasn't even released in the US, is called The People Who Fell From The Sky. I've looked for it off and on for ages, and finally had the brilliant idea (thanks, Wendy) to check Half.com. There is a copy there for ten bucks. I might just finally get it.
Just wanted to throw this out there. Mindfunk is a darn good band that fell between the cracks and, unfortunately, there's hardly even any mention of them on the internet. I wanted to add my voice to that small, dedicated din.
A few Mindfunk resources:
- Sample their music at this MySpace page.
- The closest thing there is to an official Mindfunk website is here.
- Their Wikipedia page spells their name as two words, for some reason. On my copy of Dropped and everywhere else I've seen, it's one word.
- Here's their entry at the Metal Archives.
- Here are a few stats.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Check This Out
Free, legal eBooks, available in a ton of different formats. No registration necessary, no strings attached, from what I can tell, no BS of any kind. Just download and read: manybooks.net.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
YouTube Junk: Bombs And Tazers
Ya know, I'd get a lot more done during the day if they'd never invented YouTube.
The video below, ostensibly from Iraq, put my heart in my throat. It isn't graphic or gory, but it is a good indication of the kind of danger the troops face every day.
Language warning: You'll hear a soldier use the s-word in shock and fear ... and in this situation, I think most of us would have said the s-word or worse.
Now here's a weird case: Andrew Meyer, a student at the University of Florida, attended a John Kerry speech and proceeded to ask questions about ... I think ... the 2004 presidential race, impeachment, secret societies, Bill Clinton, rigged elections, Cocoa Puffs and magic flying dragons. (Yes, there is rough language.)
Which is fine, except that when he refused to walk away from the microphone, security had to become involved. Cut to a few minutes later and a raving, swearing Meyer has been pulled away by police officers, tazed, contained, and he's still stark raving mad, yelling and swearing. Dang. Even John Kerry shouldn't have to put up with this kind of thing. But that's what he gets for catering to the moonbats. Lay down with the dogs, get up with the fleas:
The tazer is an amazing thing. It can put a perp flat on the ground, incapacitating them completely, and yet it leaves them somehow able to continue ranting and raving. It turns off the arms and legs and leaves the mouth engaged. Weird.
I have to admit, there's something funny about watching some lunatic, face down on the sidewalk, utterly unable to move and yet still screaming "I'm gonna get you!"
Tazers rock. I wish I had one. I'd use it four, five times a day.
Get in the express lane ahead of me with too many items? ZAP.
My neighbors who keep their dogs on chains every second of every day? I'd ZAP those people every time I saw them. And I'd make them spend their lives on chains, too. See how they like it.
And people who buy scratch-off lottery tickets and stand there at the counter, scratching them off and buying more, oblivious to the people in line behind them? ZAP. ZAP. ZAP ZAP ZAP.
ZAP. Mwaaaa haa ha ha ha.
Monday, September 17, 2007
Never Underestimate The Negative Power...
...of stupid people in large groups.
In movies like Born on the Fourth of July and Forrest Gump, anti-Vietnam-War protests are always presented as fairly lopsided affairs. In those films, the protesters are peaceful, tye-dyed flower children who just want to play acoustic guitars and expose how evil the war is, man. And the cops are vicious stormtroopers who enjoy nothing more than crackin' the heads of the innocent.
And I'm sure that many of the people who protested at those anti-war rallies in the '60's remember it just that way. But if today's anti-war rallies are any indication, anti-warriors are really just a hateful, vulgar, directionless bunch of miscreants looking for a reason (any reason) to raise hell.
There was an "anti-war protest" in DC on Saturday, and this clip from that day contains plenty of vulgar language, so consider yourself warned.
Years from now, I'm sure that these "peaceful protesters" will tell themselves that their serene, gentile march was ruined by those hateful, mean ol' neocons.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
Summer In Repose
Just a few pictures for Sunday:
We had a picnic yesterday, probably the last warm-weather outing for our family for the year. Here our kids and my nephew enjoy the amenities at the local state park picnic area.
This view will soon be a collage of grays, oranges and browns instead of greens, blues and purples.
The recent mountain fire in our area left burned, dead patches along the ridges. It's kinda stomach-turning, although it could have been far worse. Don't play with matches, kids.
The stores already have Halloween fare on the shelves and I couldn't resist blowing a buck fifty on a package of zombie-eye glasses last evening.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
MCF recently mentioned the B13's bad car accident in '92. I'd seen the pictures before and they always make me cringe.
I'm something of a paranoid passenger, as Wendy can attest, due to my own history of car accidents. I'm one of those guys who sits in the passenger seat maniacally clutching the dashboard, eyes wide, mouth agape, screaming "SLOW DOWN!! And that's before the driver even puts the key in the ignition.
My first car accident occurred shortly after I got my driver's license. I was a junior in high school. As MCF says, "kids are crazy," and I was one of many who had to learn lessons the hard way. One lesson I learned the hard way is that you should pay attention to the road, the road signs and the traffic signals when you're driving ... instead of haphazardly bopping down the road over the speed limit, eating a McDonalds cheeseburger and blasting Metallica's Disposable Heroes, paying no attention to traffic lights. I ran a traffic light at a busy intersection and crashed my mother's Ford Escort into a Chevy Blazer. I totaled the Blazer I hit and did something like $3,000 worth of damage to the Escort; shockingly it wasn't the other way around. Upon impact I flew forward (nope, not wearing a seatbelt) and spider-webbed the windshield of the Escort with my head, then flew to the left and embedded the window crank into the door with my left arm. Pretty scary. And to make matters worse, I knew that it was my fault. Thankfully, nobody was hurt beyond my few bumps and bruises, but I was terrified to tell my mom what had happened. Long story short, I got a year's driving probation and a good scare.
A few years later I was driving home from work one afternoon, once again blasting Metallica but this time paying attention to the road, when an old man ran a stop sign and I hit his station wagon with my car; that same Ford Escort which I'd since bought from my mom. This time the accident wasn't my fault, and I was fortunate in that a police officer witnessed the whole thing and testified on my behalf when the case went to court. Nonetheless, in this second instance there was more damage done to me and the car. This time the Escort was totaled, and I had to be cut from the car with the jaws of life and taken to the hospital in an ambulance. I was strapped to a flat surface of some sort by paramedics and x-rayed and cat-scanned before I was allowed to get up because I'd had a neck injury. Thank God the injury turned out to be just a bad strain/sprain and not something more severe.
When that case went to court the old man who'd ran the stoplight told the judge that it wasn't his fault, but the police officer who'd seen the accident testified differently. The cop suggested that the old man have his license revoked since he had a history, but the judge didn't take that suggestion. Sadly, a few years later, the old guy got on the interstate near here going in the wrong direction and hit a big truck head-on. The truck driver wasn't injured, but the old guy was killed.
Then, a few years after that, I was on my way to visit a girlfriend who was going to college at James Madison University, about 90 minutes away. It was a winter night and an icestorm blew up from out of nowhere. I didn't realize how quickly the weather had gotten bad and I didn't adjust my driving in time… so I hit an ice patch on an interstate bridge going at least sixty. My car spun three times at that speed, and it seemed to take about a half an hour. You know how people say that time slows down during those kinds of things? It really does. I can vividly remember having time to pray that God would just make the car stop spinning. And I can vividly remember the headlights of other cars all around me. They seemed to be coming from all directions. Finally, my car came to a stop on the shoulder of the interstate, facing in the wrong direction. I wasn't hurt and the car itself was unscathed. I sat staring at the cars passing me as I faced them pointed in the wrong direction, wondering how in the world I could possibly be perfectly fine. It was the most uneventful of my car accidents but it was easily the most terrifying.
So, yes, I'm a bad passenger. I always assume that the "other guy" is going to run a stop sign, that there's some unseen hazard on the road, or that safes and pianos are going to just start falling out of the sky.
Unless I'm driving. Then, I find that I often feel secure enough to drive and play air guitar at the same time.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
No time for blogging for a few days. Overwhelmed!
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Stark And Haunting
Joe Henry's voice isn't instantly accessible, make no mistake about that. But he's a heck of a songwriter. His song King's Highway tells a story that might even be too bleak for Johnny Cash to have recorded. This song gave me chills when I actually listened to the story. Gov't Mule does a great cover version, but this video features Henry performing it himself:
For those of you who're curious, but don't want to watch the music video, the lyrics to King's Highway are:
I might just change my mind
Sometimes you can never tell
Where a story will unwind
Or how deep is a shallow well
Sometimes you would never guess
Who's all talk and who just might
Find a way or lose themselves
On the King's Highway tonight
I am just like many more
Who lie in bed still and numb
Waking up and I can see
Just how dark it has become
Who knows no better angels now
Who knows none but an earthly light
Who's waiting for a stranger
On the King's Highway tonight
Wasn't how I had it planned
When it finally came around
I took a man with my own hands
But I held him close when he went down
He hadn't time to be afraid
His look was only of surprise
Staring up from where he laid
On the King's Highway tonight
I took the little that he had
Only as an afterthought
He wouldn't have to feel so bad
To think I killed him just because
He was passing through this town
Only 'cause he looked about right
He stopped when I flagged him down
On the King's Highway tonight
I might just change my mind
Sometimes you can never tell
Monday, September 10, 2007
The Island of Dr. Moreau
I'm still trying to let this sink in. I can't get my mind around it. It seems to be real, though.
The following is the statement by the Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority, the body which oversees human embryo research in Britain. The group will allow the creation of part-human, part-animal hybrid embryos for research purposes. British regulations already require that human embryos for research purposes are destroyed within 14 days of their creation.
STATEMENT: "The decision on how the HFEA should approach the licensing of human - animal hybrids and chimera research has presented a particular challenge as this research is so novel in legal, scientific and ethical terms...."
Of course, this is coming from the country where about 50 babies survive abortion and are murdered outside the womb each year ... so why am I surprised?
Now that Fred Thompson is officially in the 2008 Presidential race, the big question on everyone's mind is, of course, what's his campaign theme song going to be?
I think we were all underwhelmed in June when Hillary Clinton announced that her official campaign theme song was going to be You And I by Celine Dion … a song that I don't think I've ever even heard. Which is surprising, since Celine's had about a thousand hits and I thought I'd heard most of them.
A search for campaign theme songs at Google brings up very little, and most of what does come up involves Hillary and that Celine song, anyway. So considering that most of the people running for POTUS in '08 don't seem that concerned about their theme music, I thought I'd make a few suggestions.
- Barack Obama
There's really only one possible campaign song for Barack, and that's John Lennon's Imagine. What could be better than a secular hymn in praise of socialism for a guy who wants the government to have complete control of the economy, health care, speech, thought, and respiration. Besides, Obama and the song itself have a lot in common: both are extremely overrated, both are terribly trendy, and neither one make much sense when you actually pay close attention.
- Mitt Romney
I'm thinking Pink Floyd Redux for the Governor from New England. Something like Shine On You Crazy Mormon.
(OK, that was a cheap shot, and I should feel bad about it, and I probably will tomorrow, and I do like Mitt, but as of this second my philosophy is that I never turn down a cheap shot and I'm not going to start now.)
- Hillary Clinton
There are a bunch of better choices for Hillary than some anonymous Celine pop ditty. The headbanger in me wants to suggest Am I Evil, a song originally recorded by Diamond Head and made popular by Metallica. Of course, the Eagles have a few titles that would work for Hillary, such as Lyin' Eyes and Witchy Woman. Then there's always Elton John's The Bitch Is Back. But if you ask me, the best of all possible theme songs for Hillary is Rid Of Me by P.J. Harvey:
- Rudy Giuliani
Rudy's unofficial campaign slogan at this point is "Vote for me anyway." Now, I admit, I liked Rudy a lot when I thought of him as a good man trying to clean up a cesspool of a city … but as a presidential candidate he's become an expert at rationalizing, justifying, apologizing and backtracking. For his campaign song I'd suggest a mash-up; a medley of The Indigo Girls' Shame On You and Bryan Adams's Please Forgive Me. However, to really fit the tenor of the campaign, the song will have to play on an endless loop.
- John Edwards
Of course, there's only one song that will work: ZZ Top's Sharp Dressed Man:
- John McCain
The more McCain talks, the more I'm inclined to think that Run-DMC's Papa Crazy would be ideal for him. But then, given that he's been one of DC's most powerful men for a while now, maybe Black Flag's Gimme Gimme Gimme would work better:
Gimme gimme gimme.
I need some more.
Gimme gimme gimme.
Don't ask what for.
Sitting here like a loaded gun
Waiting to go off.
I've got nothing to do
But shoot my mouth off.
Ultimately, though, I think that the Imperial March from Star Wars would be the perfect campaign song for McCain … if only because I've gotten to the point where I hear it playing in my head every time I see McCain:
- Al Gore
As hard as it is to take seriously, there is still talk in some corners about Al Gore running for President in '08. I guess he's the Democrat version of Nixon. I can't understand Gore's continued popularity among the moonbats, but I think I can explain it. That's why I'd suggest that Al's campaign theme song should be I Put A Spell On You, the original version by Screamin' Jay Hawkins. I'd also suggest that Gore change his name to "Screamin' Al Gore."
- Fred Thompson
A number of songs could serve Fred's campaign well. Tom Petty's I Won't Back Down is an obvious choice. The titles of Anthrax's I'm The Man and 2Pac's All Eyes On Me sum up Thompson's popularity and his image as the candidate to beat. But another song comes to mind for this Alabama-born former Senator from Tennessee. It's a song that expresses pride in the south specifically, but in America in general … and, more than that, it expresses a general willingness to cut through the BS. That seems to fit Thompson well, from what I've seen. So for Thompson's campaign I'd suggest as a theme song A Country Boy Can Survive by Hank Williams, Jr.:
Friday, September 07, 2007
The End Is (Not So) Near
I found this at Rey's:
What's Your Eschatology?
|You scored as Amillenialist, Amillenialism believes that the 1000 year reign is not literal but figurative, and that Christ began to reign at his ascension. People take some prophetic scripture far too literally in your view.|
What's your eschatology?
created with QuizFarm.com
So what's this mean in a nutshell? Well, that I think that the Left Behind "Christian" fiction type stuff is just that: fiction. Entirely. For information on where the whole idea of a "rapture" came from, read up on John Nelson Darby.
My position is that dispensationalism is a distraction at best ... when taken to extremes it can be a damaging, pseudo-christian mythology that gives non-Christians an excuse to dismiss our faith as some kind of sci-fi cult. Focus on the way you live your day to day life and look to Christ for guidance. The "end of the world" is in God's hands. It'll come "like a thief in the night," there's no point in thinking we can prepare for it or anticipate the details.
But then, I'm Catholic. That's what my church teaches, basically.
I don't intend to debate this issue in the comments, but I encourage anyone with a different point of view to post comments with links, references, etc, to explain their own beliefs. All beliefs are welcome here, and I don't presume to speak for all Christians in general, nor for all Catholics.
You'll Never Change A Tire In This Town Again
This is a true story about the stupidest decision I ever made while I worked in radio.
The event in question took place in the late '80's, or maybe around 1990, when I was the "Music Director" at a local small-time radio station. My title of "Music Director" was a dubious one, since I did a little of everything at the station, but nothing without the manager's approval. I was just one more 20-something kid at one more small town radio station where I wrote and produced advertisements, had a daily on-air slot, worked weekends and rotated music in and out of our on-air library. Sine I really was doing a lot, and for little money, the manager decided to indulge me by giving me the title "Music Director" instead of just calling me, more accurately, "Busy Kid." I was the "Music Director," and I made minimum wage, and sometimes I had to clean the toilets. There was just nothing like small town radio in the 80's.
In the late '80's there was one of those regular, mercurial surges in the popularity of country music, and a number of record labels signed a glut of country music acts and sent these new artists out to promote their debut albums in small towns all over America. If there was anything like a concert venue in any given small town, then the touring artist might perform a set, usually for free. If the small town in question did not have a concert venue (and this small town did not), then the artist would set up at a local discount department store and spend a few hours signing autographs and shaking hands. The record labels all hoped that under those kinds of circumstances there'd be a local radio station that would help with the promotion by doing an on-air interview, playing a few songs, and just generally making a big deal because "Such-And-Such Record Label's new artist, Joe Cowboy, is in town…"
My manager found out that Capital Records was sending one of their new recruits through our area and that he'd be spending a few hours at the local K-Mart one day, signing autographs and stuff. So he asked me if I'd be willing to go down to K-Mart, interview the guy on air, play a few of his songs, the whole shootin' match. After all, I was the "Music Director," so who'd be better for that job?
My gut reaction was "hell, no." And, really, why would I want to? I worked for minimum wage and doing a live broadcast was a lot of work. I'd have to haul the equipment down by myself and then spend a few hours hanging out with some current-and-future nobody … asking him the usual mundane questions and playing his songs … and then haul the equipment back and put it all away, and it just sounded like a lot of bother.
Besides, as I assured my manager, I'd listened to this guys new single and it sucked. It was boring. He was just one more also-ran in a big field of "hat acts" and there was no point in bothering with him. He'd never take off. My manager acquiesced and I forgot about it.
So the day of the big appearance came and went with little fanfare. The local newspaper showed up at K-Mart and took the guy's picture for the weekend edition, but beyond that, nobody noticed. I heard later that the guy had shown up at K-Mart alone, tired and hungry in an old station wagon. He'd had a flat tire, which he'd changed himself, and he then spent a couple of hours signing autographs for kids and shaking hands with grease on his shirt. He left and, I suppose, continued his small-town tour and I didn't think about him again.
Until he started having hits. Big hits. And lots of them.
The artist in question was Garth Brooks.
As you probably know, Garth Brooks was the biggest selling country music artist of the '90's and one of the biggest selling recording artists from any genre of all time. He is, in fact, America's second best selling solo artist of the entire twentieth century, just behind Elvis. Really.
And I now work a low-level job at a paper mill. I think they call that "karma."
Now, the whole reason I mentioned this is because Bucky Covington is coming to town to do a concert this month. We now have a concert venue in town … and the name of our town is "Covington," so the idea of Bucky Covington comin' to Covington just delights everyone with the wonderful serendipity of it all. It's like if Hannah Montana played a concert in Montana! Or if VH1's New York did an appearance in New York! Or if Hillary Clinton did a campaign stop in Hell, Michigan!
Who the hell is Bucky Covington? I had to ask that myself. Well, it turns out that he's a country music singer who didn't win American Idol and got a record deal to do country albums anyway. You know, a nobody. Right? Well, given my history with branding the wrong people "nobodies," maybe I should think about that.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to the Bucky Covington concert. His kind of music isn't what I enjoy. But, honestly, I wish him the best of everything and all the success in the world. Bucky, if you're out there, when you hit the big time, say hi to Garth for me.
Tell him ol' Darrell always knew he'd make it.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
I'd gotten tired of waiting for this:
After months of not-so-coy will-he-or-won't-he political flirtation, Fred Thompson has finally and officially announced that he is a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination.
"I am running for president of the United States," he said during a taping of NBC's "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" Wednesday evening, drawing applause and cheers from the audience.
I think Fred's campaign would have been better served by announcing earlier and participating in the GOP debate ... but either way I'm glad he stopped the feet-dragging, which had become tiresome. I still think Thompson is the guy I'm most comfortable supporting and I look forward to the next few months of politickin'.
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
I'm tired of fooling myself by constantly saying that I want to do something about my sedentary lifestyle, but never actually doing anything about it. I'm gonna get a WiiFit pad. Then, I'll be able to fool myself into thinking that I really am doing something.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
Bad Boys, Bad Boys
There are a lot of good reasons not to do crystal meth, but the main reason that I don’t do crystal meth is that I don't want to end up on an episode of Cops.
Is Cops still in production? The IMDb page for the series doesn't have an end date listed, but I'd been under the impression for a while now that the show was just in eternal syndication rerun. All the episodes I see seem to be a few years old, anyway. And, I admit, I see quite a few episodes of Cops.
You know, for all my holier-than-though ranting against reality TV, I'm always willing to kill an hour with two back-to-back episodes of Cops. Granted, there has to be absolutely NOTHING better to do at the time, and I have to be on the verge of boredom induced hemorrhaging, but under the right circumstances I will watch the show. I don't call it Cops, though. I call it The Crystal Meth Comedy Hour. If you've ever watched it, you know why. If not, here's a brief explanation: Every episode of Cops features one to four crystal meth junkies being busted for doing something stupid, like trying to buy crystal meth, trying to steal crystal meth, or trying to sell his or her vital organs in order to obtain crystal meth.
I've learned a lot from watching Cops over the years. The main thing I've learned is that you should never, ever, ever, ever run from a cop. Because they will always eventually catch you, and when they do they're going to friggin' SLAM you to the ground. I don't mean knock you down, I don't mean push you to the ground, I mean SLAM you like you were a football and they were Deion Sanders.
Not that they'd have to chase me very far. Maybe ten feet. I admit, I'm so hooked on ice-cream that it might as well be ... uh, crystal meth. I can't remember the last time I had to run for any reason, and I'm darn sure not gonna run a few feet just to have some cop SLAM me to the ground so close to my car I can still almost touch it.
Not every Cops viewing experience in my life has been positive, though. Remember a several years ago when they came out with that Cops: Too Hot For TV video series? Don't rent those. Just don't. Here's what happened: It was a long time ago, before I was ever even married for the first time, and me and a buddy were hanging out, looking for something to do. We decided to go rent a movie and since we couldn't agree on a movie we ended up deciding to check out one of the Cops: Too Hot For TV video tapes that the rental store had.
They shouldn't call those tapes Cops: Too Hot For TV. If they were a little more honest, they'd give them a title like The Naked Screaming Drunk Fat Old Man Show. But I guess nobody'd rent them then. That's pretty much all the video we saw had to offer, though. Naked, screaming, drunk, fat, old men. I suppose we expected to see some cool cop show-downs at strip joints ... or maybe some nekked chicks being arrested for being, oh, "too hot for TV" or something. Noooooo. That's not it at all. It's all naked, screaming, drunk, fat, old men:
- COP: We've received a call to a nearby bar, where a patron is creating some kind of disturbance ... OK, we've arrived at the bar now, let's go inside and see what's going on.
- NAKED, SCREAMING, DRUNK, FAT, OLD MAN: Heeeyyy! Heeeyyyyy!
- COP: Sir, could you calm down? Calm down, sir. Where are your pants?
- NAKED, SCREAMING, DRUNK, FAT OLD MAN: Heeeeeyyyy! F*%k!
- COP: Sir, you have the right to remain silent. If you choose to
- NAKED, SCREAMING, DRUNK, FAT OLD MAN: Heeeeyyyy!!! (takes off running)
- COP: (SLAM!!)
That's another thing I've learned from Cops. When a cop gets a call to arrest a naked person, it's never someone who looks like a famous celebrity.
Well, maybe Benny Hill.
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