Feb 17th, 2008
You’re never too old to throw yourself on your back in the lawn. I did it yesterday, camera in hand.
You’re never too old to throw yourself on your back in the lawn. I did it yesterday, camera in hand.
Yeah, I know I’ve talked trash about my brother, Biggus Dickus, before but he is my brother. And Friday he will turn 60. So, in honor of that momentous occasion, I give you:
moar funny pictures
The RLA and I have been busily watching movies lately. Netflix, IFC, Turner Classics, The Movie Chanel… And I can honestly say that the majority of what I’ve seen has been crap. Jeff Goldblum’s mockumentary “Pittsburgh”? Sucked. It had its moments, but they were few and far between. Like, was the director of the Pittsburgh production of “Music Man” in on the joke, or not. Because if not, the scenes where he’s trying to tell Goldblum that reinventing Harold Hill into a neurotic, twitchy idiot is not going to work, and there are only two days of rehersal left? Those are weepingly funny. If he was in on the joke? Not so much.
“2001, A Space Odyssey” is a classic, right? And I watched it again the other night for the first time in years and years. I watched it straight. I watched it waiting for it to be as brilliant and cinematically life-changing as it was the first time I saw it in 196whatever, when my friend Kay fell asleep during the trip. I kept waiting. And waiting. And I realized that there was a total of 10 minutes of dialog in the whole thing, and that those ten minutes did absolutely nothing toward driving the plot. And then I realized that there was no plot. And then I realized that I needed to see “Barry Lyndon” again. And then I thought that I should call Kay and apologize to her for ridiculing her for falling asleep in the theater and tell her that she was right about that.
We watched “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and within the first five minutes I identified the choreographer as Bob Fosse. And I’m not even all that savvy about dance. That said, there are certain moves that will forever be Fosse, and nobody else. Jazz hands and contrapuntal feet, to be precise. I want a copy of “A Secretary Is Not a Toy”. Which is a lovely segue into the other musical I watched, “A Funny Thing Happened on My Way to the Forum”, a film that stands the test of time and then some. That is a great piece of cinema, with some great performances by some giants of the stage: Phil Silvers, Zero Mostel, Jack Gilford, and of course, the immortal Buster Keaton. Probably one of my all-time faves, and the number “Everybody Ought To Have a Maid” is almost always in rotation on the i-pod.
Downloaded MAGIC this morning, and haven’t made it all the way through the first full listen, but I can say this: when Bruce sings “It’s a long walk home”, he is not talking about from his ex-girlfriend’s place to his. Unless, you know, his ex-girlfriend is Lady Liberty and his apartment is a metaphor for American civil liberties. Another cut that is not about cars and girls is “Last to Die” and unless you were sleeping through all the attempts to dishonor John Kerry during the last presidential campaign, you’ll recognize the line “last to die for a mistake”, as the pull quote from his appearance before congress as a Viet Nam vet against the war. As much as this has been promoted as a back-to-roots rock and roll cd, this is a very political cd. Not that there is anything wrong with that. And it is a very danceable, hummable cd.
There are echoes of sounds from the San Francisco Summer of Love, and from late-period Beatles, and even a track where you can actually appreciate that after 30 years and endless stages, Bruce has learned to sing. That may be the result of touring with the angel-voiced Nils Lofgren, too. I’m leaning towards loving this album. The first dozen times I heard the pre-release cut “Radio Nowhere” I wasn’t sure, to tell you the truth. I thought the production was a little dodgy. I thought it was a little, uh, light weight. Then I watched the video, and the penny dropped for me.
It’s only rock and roll, but I love it.
Lord knows that I am the first to point fingers and laugh at the misfortunes of others, but not today. Today I am going to tell you something: I fear for Britney Spears. I have put her on my personal suicide/early death watch.
I saw her performance at the VMAs and it was so pitiful and sad that I could barely laugh at Sara Silverman’s routine. I did laugh, though. Inappropriate or not, cheap shots or not, the woman was funny. But Britney wasn’t funny. Nor was she there. She looked lost. She couldn’t walk in those heels, either because she was somehow impaired (drunk, high, downed out, a and b only, a and c only, all of the above) or because she somehow didn’t practice enough in them. Her movements weren’t the crisp dance movements of just a couple years ago, they were flacid and half-hearted. She didn’t seem to know the routine. Poor thing looked like a deer caught in the headlights.
And while personally, I could just kill for that body (not, you know, actually work out for it though), it wasn’t a body that should have been on display in that costume. Take a tip from her royal highness, Miss Cher, and if you want to expose yourself, do it through sheer mesh and under a shit load of sequins. Nobody will ever notice anything, and you will look Fabulous.
But poor Miss Spears. If, as the tabloids say, she is insecure about herself, this fire storm of “Fatty, Fat, Fat” and “She Can’t Dance” could put her over the edge. She has displayed enough self-destructive habits, displayed enough bad judgement, that one has to wonder (well, this one has to wonder) if she could totally self-destruct. Suicide? Overdose? A simple slip behind the wheel and over the high side of the PCH?
I hope someone gets her help. I doubt it will happen. But I think I’ve finally seen my fill of this particular train wreck. I’ll just turn the page.
Well, the University of Miami has decided, after a long, hard look at the money, to abandon the historic Orange Bowl and move to Dolphin Stadium. While this sucks and is typical of the wanton disregard for history and tradition that is traditional in the Magic City (Miami), there is a silver lining here, maybe, and that is this: since the OB is certain to be fodder for redevelopment, maybe, just maybe, this centrally located space can be turned into a baseball stadium for my sorta-beloved Florida Marlins.
The Marlins are stuck playing in the nasty cement heat sink that is Dolphin Stadium, and while being a cement heat sink isn’t so bad if you are playing football in what passes for the winter, it is absolute death in August for baseball. Not to mention the fact that the stadium does not convert well, with wonky corners in left field.
A few years ago I had figured out the perfect place for the baseball stadium, but nobody would listen to me and today that spot is occupied by something called “Jungle Island”, but which used to be Parrot Jungle. Of course, and again, this being Miami, the original Parrot Jungle was located in a tropical paradise of banyan trees, lagoons and 50-year old native plantings, but the neighbors complained about the free range Macaws and the riff-raff who came from out of the neighborhood to have breakfast with the flamingos and cockatiels, so the Parrot Jungle moved to a barren fill island in Biscayne Bay and had to build a tropical jungle from scratch. And that caused a drop off in attendance (well, the heat, the lack of shade and foliage and the rise in entrance fee from $10 to $35) and so now the newly-renamed Jungle Island is sort of struggling, when it could have been a beautiful baseball stadium with boat dockage for the sky boxes, and a view of the downtown skyline, and the wet dream of the tourist industry: an aerial view of the turquoise waters of Biscayne Bay surrounding the lush green of a real grass diamond, with the white cruise ships in the channel… telecast during a spring training day game while the snow is six feet deep in the rust belt.
Hey, I’m not bitter. Nobody listens to the prophet in his own time. Anyway. Now there is the very real possibility of a domed stadium in (almost) downtown. Will it happen? Not bloody likely, this IS Miami after all, and what better use for an obsolete (but not really) sports facility than overpriced housing in an over-saturated market?
I’ll give you odds that the Orange Bowl does not become the Marlins’ state of the art, retro-but-domed palace of play, but instead becomes Orange Bowl Towers, a state of the art condo tower with studios starting at $200,000.
So. I’m a blonde, although here at the second half of my life, it is more of a rodential sort of brown, liberally salted with white? grey? transparent? Whatever. Anyway. I’m a blonde, and sometimes I act like one.
Take for instance the other night when I was reviewing my credit card bill. There were two very large charges to Apple. I tried to review the purchases, but there were no details. I drew a total blank. I knew that I had bought no new hardware, no new software from Apple. And there were two charges made on consecutive days. I was stumped. It had to be credit card theft, right?
I went on-line to my credit card company and challenged the charges. Done and done. When the RLA came back from walking the dogs, I told him about the mysterious charges and he looked at me like I had grown a third head.
What do you mean, you don’t recognize the charges? DUH. It’s the calendars and books you made for everyone’s holiday gifts. Almost $800 worth of calendars and books.
Yesterday morning, bright and early, I called the credit card company. They had already credited my account the full amount and had closed the file. (Let’s give credit—HAH—where credit is due: American Express.) As far as they were concerned, the matter was over. I said it was fraudulent, they believed me. Done and done. If I needed to pay Apple, Apple would have to re-bill me; I need to call them.
So I did. And I apologized for being a ditz. And I told them that I needed to pay them, but AmEx couldn’t reinstate the charge, and what do we do now?
Apple support escalated me through a few levels of customer service, and then got my e-mail, so they could send me instructions for payment. But they didn’t. What they sent me was a thank you note for being a loyal customer. And told me to keep my order, free of charge.
There’s an old adage in marketing that an unhappy customer will tell seven people about a bad experience, but a happy customer will only tell one, maybe two.
I’m over the moon happy, and I want as many people as I can tell to hear the story of what customer service is supposed to be. Both from American Express (you said you didn’t make that charge and that’s enough for us, here’s your money back) and Apple. I don’t even know WHY Apple made that decision. Maybe it was because of MacWorld. Maybe they looked up my account saw that I’ve been a loyal customer since 1988. Maybe it was just karma. Maybe I was the one millionth customer. Maybe it is just that Apple is the best company in the world.
What ever. I know that today, I’m proud to be a stockholder and a former employee. Steve Jobs, you are my idol.