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Monthly Archives: August 2008

In the elevator today, where they have the Captivate network, they showed a picture of Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore. Oh, and Ashton’s sorta-stepdaughter, Rumer Willis. Together. like a family. At some sort of premiere or Hollywood gathering.

Look no one has to cry for Bruce Willis, what with his hundreds of millions of dollars, and the fact that he inflicted “Hudson Hawk” upon us. But he can’t see pictures like that and be happy, can he? Rumer, in the picture, looks to be a blossoming young woman, and who does she have around as a male role model/father figure? The guy from “Punk’d”? Who seems what, about five, maybe even six years older than her?

Kudos to him for not going crazy, and, at least publicly, being quite magnanimous about this whole thing. Lesser discipline might have driven some dudes to drinking binges, domestic violence, kidnaping, running up massive strip club bills, and strange hair coloring. It probably helps that he’s a movie star and being a trouper is the smart way to go career and PR-wise. But you’d be shocked how many men can’t see the forest for the trees when it comes to their old flames and their families.

So, bitter divorced guy, the next time you’re sitting in your apartment mad that your wife kept the house and is cougaring it up with some young punk, and you decide, “Hey maybe I should kidnap the kids!”, think to yourself: What would Bruce Willis do?

That you can afford, of course.

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Was on the Upper West Side getting ready to see “Tropic Thunder” with a few members of the gang when the previews started rolling. most of it was standard fare, along with the usual snide commentary. (“College” prompted me to say, “it’s like Superbad, but not good.” Superworse, if you will.)

Then one trailer came on about a young boozehound whose life was in a tailspin. It looked intriguing, actually, and I soon realized it was Oliver Stone’s new movie “W.” , a film about the current Preisdent. It looked like it could be funny and it was interestingly cast. I would not rule out seeing it.

However, as soon as the title of the movie came on the screen, many people in the audience started cheering loudly and applauding.

That’s when I said, “What the hell are you people cheering for?” I’m sure I would have gotten in a shouting match had I not been drowned out by the applause.

Look, I hate George W. Bush as much as the next guy. More than the next guy. I think that if the next President doesn’t get this thing turned around, history will look back on the Bush 43’s presidency as the end of America’s leadership of the free world. He’s such a crappy president that Jimmy Carter laughs at him.

All that being said, how do you know this movie will be any good? Did you not see “Alexander”? Of course you didn’t, it sucked! So does that Comedy Central show “L’il Bush”, but I’m sure you sheep probably TiVo that as well. Heck, you don’t even know if the movie will be all that anti-Bush. Maybe it’ll be a sympahetic portrait of an ideologue who just wanted to believe in trickle-down economics, “starving the beast” of smaller government, and a neoconservative foreign policy to fight terror by spread democracy one invasion at a time, but in the end is let down because it turns out those ideas sucked and didn’t work.

Perhaps it’ll say that his failue is our failure, and he reflects us and the seduction of cutting taxes, pro-war bluster, false piety, and anti-intellectualism that much of this electorate seems determined to fall for every time. Perhaps the true villain will be an uninformed electorate who fell for Republican election-year shenanigans.

Maybe not. Maybe it’ll be the hard-hitting satire we’ve been waiting for that will play to an audience of people who already know how bad a President he is. The kind of people who would just cheer for the preview of an Oliver Stone movie about George W. Bush, blindly, not remembering that this is the guy who gave you “U-Turn”.

In either case, some actual thought on the part of the audience would be nice.

Every now and again, looking for breakfast at the cafeteria, I run across the oatmeal/porridge selection. Once in a while they’ll have flavored oatmeal, sometimes they’ll have porridge, sometimes they’ll have Cream of Wheat. But once in a while, I see an item that I think is called “John McCain’s Irish  Oatmeal”.

It’s actually John McCann’s Irish Oatmeal. I have some issues with astigmatism.

However, as this presidential campaign has gone on, I can’t think of a more appropriate product to symbolize the message being put out by the Republican presidential nominee.

For those of you who know nothing about Irish Oatmeal, it’s basically a style of cutting the oats. Instead of grinding and refining it to death, they take it off the husk, cut it up a couple of times, and that’s it. Breakfast! McCann’s Oats are Steel Cut for a chewier, nuttier, more wholesome flavor.

If you are not a fan of oatmeal by itself, like me (although I love oatmeal raisin cookies) this sounds like pain in a bowl. Great, just what I need, extra chewy, kind of crunchy pure oats. But it is a wholegrain product and it’s probably quite good for you. I’m still not going to eat it.

Senator John McCain seems to be the political verson of this product. Yeah, you might not really like it that much, and it looks tough to chew, but it’s wholegrain and pure. And you need to like it, even if you don’t. It’s wholegrain, and dammit, that’s what you need.

Sure, you might think you’d enjoy getting out of Iraq, raising taxes on the wealthy, and more government regualtion in our financial markets. That all sounds well and good. But is it really going to make you regular? Is it going to give you your recommended daily allowance of deficits, tough talk, and saber-rattling? No. Sure, John McCain’s Irish Oatmeal may not go down so easy, but you gotta do what you gotta do. It’s chewy, crunchy and unpleasant, but in the end you’ll be better off for it.

It’s kind of a shrewd move, since he can’t be the flashy guy in this election, and he isn’t going to win it touting the recent achievements of the Republican Party. But people know they need their wholegrain oatmeal. You can sprinkle some berries or offshore drilling in there and it’ll go down a bit easier. John Mc Cain has decided that the best message he can send is to show the people that they need their stone-cut oatmeal. You know what you’re getting, and that’s the way to go, even if you may not actually totally like what you’re getting.

But do you really want to try that weird-looking, funnily-named fruity muesli? You see it over there, all different, but promising you a new and tasty kind of way to get youroats, plus nutrients and vitamins. But that looks like it’s for the kind of people who eat egg whites. Egg whites? Is that what you want, America?

You know oatmeal. This is a purer, crunchier form than you’re used to, but you know this stuff is good for you. You won’t be happy about it, but put that aside. Isn’t that better than taking a chance with some product that goes with egg whites or yogurt that maybe, just might give you the runs? John McCain’s Irish Oatmeal will go well with your All-American bacon and sausage, and protect you from the terrorists (and now the Russians) as well.

Why I am not going to be surprised if this works?

I was reading the Washington Post’s article about the nation’s latest boy band sensation, the Jonas Brothers. Because let’s face it, I ain’t gonna listen to their music, but I don’t want to be the guy who doesn’t know who they are.

The piece appears to be a typical tale of boy-band stuff, nothing new, as the article points out, teenage girls have been falling for cute boy singers since the dawn of man. However, like all stories told since the dawn of man, there’s a familiar story arc. In the case of the boy band/teen idol, it’s early success followed by a lifetime of dissipation, the cautionary tale of peaking too early in life and it’s consequences. It always doesn’t happen like this…just mostly. For every Frank Sinatra and Justin Timberlake, there are precisely about 162.73 Joey Fatones and Leif Garretts.

But this time it might be different! As the article points out, they do write their own songs and play their own instruments. Leading to the backhanded compliment of the year from writer J. Freedom du Lac (yes, that’s a real name, the J. is for Josh):

So they’re like the new Hanson, only with more than one hit.

However, I did read a couple of things that would concern me in the future:

1. Dad’s the manager! There’s a good chance Kevin Jonas Sr. is a completely upright and outstanding fellow and I’m being unfair. But I’m sorry, I just don’t trust stage parents. Period. It’s one thing to instill the arts in your child and inspire their talents; it’s another thing to be their roadie, business manager, sound mixer, nutritional consultant, matchmaker, costume designer, lighting director, agent, yoga instructor, and “executive producer” of their albums. Parental involvement is a great thing for young stars, but as parents. Business and parenting don’t always mix. Ask Macaulay Culkin, and then the line forms to the left.

2. The overshadowed brother. Strike one: Kevin Jr. isn’t Nick. Strike two: Kevin Jr. isn’t Joe. Strike three: he isn’t even the bassist, he’s the rhythm guitarist. Yikes. A handsome and talented, but not-as-handsome-and-talented-as-his-bandmate-brothers musician out to prove himself to make himself feel good? That folks, is a knocked-up groupie and tell-all book waiting to happen. Again, let’s hope I’m wrong.

3. Squeaky-clean teens: Oh, did I mention that Kevin Sr. was also a pastor, and that the band members are apparently all going to wait till marriage because they’re good Christian boys? Well, the upside is if they remain squeaky-clean, they will always have a career in Christian rock once their popularity fades. However, if one, or all of them (I think you know who I’m betting on) falls for the earthly pleasures that come with rock popularity, the people (read: parents) down with their image are not going to be happy. That’s just the way it is. When you take the high road in show business, it’s even tougher when you fall down. Not that you shouldn’t try to take the high road. Just know the the path is pretty narrow.

Well, we’ll see if I’m wrong in the long run. I hope so. Because Brett Michaels, Flavor Flav, Corey Feldman, and a host of others will damned if you’re taking their spot on VH-1 anytime soon, Jonas Brothers.

A buddy of mine sent a news story about the collapse of a well-known arch in Utah’s Arches National Park. This wouldn’t normally be a big deal to anyone, but it meant something in particular to a couple of friends of mine as well as myself.

About a decade ago, we took a cross-country road trip from New York to San Franscisco and back. Along the way we visited, New Orleans, the Grand Canyon, Texas, Vegas, Death Valley, St. Louis, Denver, Kansas, and even survived a trip to the movies in Oakland.

But one of the most fun parts was Arches National Park, and one of its most iconic arches is the Wall Arch.

Uh, should say, was the wall Arch.

It collapsed. Collapsed!

How messed up is that? There are many external markers in our modern lives that tell you time has passed and that things continue to change. Like, your favorite Original King of Comedy dying. Your hairline. (Emphasis on you, I still have all my hair. For now, with a teensy bit o’ gray.) Your waistline. The very real possibility of a not 100-percent white President. Your friends making their own people in their marital beds. Your sudden inability to go out and drink four nights in a row. (Or so I hear.)

Think of it in these terms: I have seen a piece of natural history that is now no more. Eroded into the sands of time (sorry I can’t think of something better). Gone. Not imploded like an old Vegas casino. Not outmoded and slated for destruction for Shea and Yankee Stadium. Not destroyed in an act of terror.

The Wall Arch just collapsed and went away. Like an entertainer that needed to retire or a TV show that had it’s finale. A piece of rock, going on to live only in our imaginations, photographs, and for those lucky enough to see it, our memories.

But time, not a network exective, or fading box office, is what eventually canceled it. Just time and air. The same time and air that created it. And now it’s gone forever.

And it was always going to be gone forever. It’s not like this would be stopped. The inevitability of what happened puts this arch falling in about as much perspective as how it fell. It couldn’t be stopped, or changed, or preserved, because then, it wouldn’t be a wonder of nature, it would be a pretty rock formation in a case or glossy shellac. Still around, yes, but not natural.

You don’t think about witnessing things in nature as being present for history, but, when you go see something like the Grand Canyon, or the Arches, that’s really what you’re doing. Of course, you’re enjoying the majesty of nature, but believe it or not, for a tiny speck of time, you’re watching a work in progress.

Incredible.

That’s what they need to call this “Gossip Girl” show, judging from the ads. I cop to totally knowing nothing about the show, its origins, it’s stars, and its purpose. I do know it’s on the CW. (their motto: “We will try just about f***in’ anything.”)

But the ads make it seem like the whole show is pretty much about young, beautiful people doing the nasty. Somehow they revolve a plot around it, because let’s face it, you can’t bone and not have drama. I suspect episodes revolve around who hit it with who and when and what time and what acts were performed. Who boned and thought a relationship was underway, only to find out that the guy they thought they were making love to was getting busy in a horse-drawn carriage the next night. With her best friend, which is female code for arch-rival, of course.

All this is fine, after all, sex has been a staple of the primetime soap opera for years. But at least there used to appear to be some storylines that didn’t involve boning. I believe Dallas and Dynasty were set in the oil industry. It was like, yeah, people were boning, but that was for the express purpose of getting control of the oil. Like the episode where J.R. Ewing gave Dick Cheney a reacharound. Very controversial. But germane to the storyline. (Okay, that didn’t happen.)

But there’s no oil or gold or bread or ant farms or gossip or any other commodity at stake, it appears with this show. It’s not about the trials and tribualtions of class structure and cliquishness among well-to-do, affluent teenagers. Then again, maybe it is. Point is, I wouldn’t know from the ads. Maybe it’s even a show about the trials and tribualtions of class structure and cliquishness among well-to-do, affluent teenagers…who bone at every opportunity.

I guess there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what the show’s about. But if I ever tune in and detect some semblance of a plot, or see a storyline that is not boning-related, then this show will have done the drooling 40-something “To Catch A Predator” crowd these ads are aimed at a cruel injustice. So it’ll be back to the porn, Viagra and MySpace for them. So sad.

But somehow I doubt it. I’m sure this ad campaign completely reflects the true nature of the show. I won’t watch, but I trust that the season premiere, “Wrong Hole”, will have all the twists and turns I expect (if you know what I mean), and at most ten to twenty lines of dialogue. Mostly about teabagging, hopefully. I’m trusting you, American Bonefest, er Gossip GIrl. Don’t let America, and by America, I mean “assholes who think they’re too good for porn”, down.

By now you know that I am not a fan of Brett Favre. I think he is seriously overrated as an all-time great quarterback and that I have no patience for his deification by fans and much of the media.

So, as a Jets fan, I have to say it…..we’re done.

I understand the move totally. He’s a great player, no doubt, better than Chad “rag-arm” Pennington and Kellen “the Inaccurate Bazooka We Passed Up Matt Leinart For” Clemens. I can’t blame Jet management for doing it. But, there’s no way I can root for Brett Favre in a Jet uniform. Therefore, I am done.

In the best case scenario, he leads the long-downtrodden Jets to victory over the Patriots and all others in the tough AFC, wins the Super Bowl, and cements his reputation as the quarterback everyone seems to think he is (but isn’t). Great, I’m a hypocrite if I root for him wearing my number 4 jersey.

Middling scenario: he gets us into the playoffs as a wild-card, wins a first round playoff game, and then throws five of the most hideous interceptions you will ever see in your life in a 47-24 loss to the San Diego Chargers. When this becomes conveniently forgotten and he is handed the key to the city anyway, my head explodes as I run around sounding like a madman yelling at the columnists and talk show hosts ready to give him a full-body massage and conveniently ignore his final game as they throw rose petals on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Worst case scenario: the team finishes 6-10, ending with an ignominious three-interception effort at home versus the Miami Dolphins, with Favre getting booed in sideways, 39-degree sleet by the disgruntled and heavy-drinking Jets fans. In other words, the sad Jordan-on-the-Wizards type ending we all fear for any great, fondly remembered player. Not good. As much as I have come to not be very tolerant of Favre, even I don’t want to see him go out like that.

Breaking up isn’t easy to do, especially when you’ve poured your heart into a relationship for 25 or so years, but as long as Brett Favre is in this house, this relationship simply cannot be. I am now a football widower, a man without a team, just an impassioned observer of competition.  It’s not what I want, but it’s what I have to do.

So, waiting for me on Facebook today:

1. Hey, one of my junior high school pals found me and wants to have a reunion with other kids in our class! Oh, great, awesome! I always wondered what the old crew from the Bronx was up to! Not really. I don’t want to know who’s lives went well, whose lives got fucked up, who went to jail (I don’t want to be an asshole, but I am from the Bronx), and who is already a grandparent.

What can I say. I didn’t really have a crew then. I don’t know really know how I feel about prople I knew from junior high. I’m not sure any good can come of it. I was well-known, but that was mostly for being the nerdy smart kid, not a role you really want in the Bronx. In a way, it was good, because I learned that just because people may look just like you, doesn’t mean they are like you, you know what I mean? (Ask John McCain if you need a clarification.) So in a way, it helped me look to broaden my horizons. On the other hand the taunting, the jokes, the social anxiety, and the realization that my life might have gone a little smoother if my parents had come from a Spanish-speaking country is all pretty frustrating. Sorry if you’re confused by this readers, but the combination of social strata, race, and language in the Bronx is a lot more complex than many of you will ever know, or realize.

So I have mad mixed feelings about seeing people from junior high. I hope many of them are doing well, really. But I’m not sure I want to relive old wounds, either.

Well, just when you think it can’t get worse…

2. Pubes! Some pictures from a summer house in 2006 are on there, and while I think I am somewhat vindicated (I always told you she pulled my pants down!) I don’t think anything can prepare you for seeing your pubes in living color. It’s not the whole package, mercifully, but…ah, I dunno.

And I thought those dating service ads were annoying…

Anyone who knows me knows, that I am mellow and generally willing to let most things go. Mostly because when I do become angry, property damage and loud noises tend to ensue.

Well, because of some recent subway nonsense, I had to drink a six-pack of beer instead of putting a hole in a wall. (Although it wouldn’t have been so bad, it’s coming down anyway.) Anyhow, check ou my tumblr for three posts of pure madness.