Friday, January 16, 2009

Why I Hate Black History Month

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Please read on before you judge my title. Anyway, it's official now. My mom's officially in Denver, along with my aunt Pat…and I officially have a phone again. Yippee!!! At first glance, it's not as grand as my original phone…but I'm a simple man with simple needs…and I'll just have to mess around with the settings to get it the way I like it. Big ups to my mom for bringing it to me. How am I going to repay her? She wants to go to the Grizzly Rose tonight, which is apparently the biggest Country-Western bar in Denver…and yes, they have a mechanical bull. Since I'm the DD though, there may not be pictures…but there's only one way to find out. Stay tuned...

The other night, I watched Nic Cage's latest movie "Bangkok Dangerous" and it was…difficult to watch. Now, I'm a big fan of shoot-em-up movies, anything Thai and Nicolas Cage is quickly going up my list of favorite actors…but this movie was just really, really slow…really brutal…and there's really no point to it. That being said, it's about a hitman (Cage) who goes to Thailand for "the last job" before retiring…and of course, it doesn't go exactly as planned…and he has to shoot his way out. Directed by the Pang Brothers ("The Messengers" which was also a very very slow pointless movie…but it was horror) and not really having anything else worth mentioning. Nice action scene with those motorized gondolas in the canals of Thailand…but you've seen it all before…and better. I wouldn't personally recommend it. Wanna see a good hitman movie that you probably haven't seen? Watch "Assassins" with Sly & Antonio Benderas…or even a comedy like "The Big Hit" with Marky Mark & Lou Diamond Phillips. Wanna see a shoot-em-up? Watch "Shoot 'Em Up" with Clive Owen, Paul Giamatti and Monica Bellucci. Pass on Bangkok. Still wanna go to Thailand to see an underground Muay Thai kickboxing match…but not on business.

Last night, I watched the 1985 Japanese film "Ran" directed by Akira Kurosawa, which is based on Shakespeare's play "King Lear" (oh yeah, I took AP Literature) but set in Sengoku-period Japan (Samurai) and has three sons instead of three daughters as the children of King Lear (Todehari in this film). Now, I'm a big fan of Shakespeare…and I think it's incredible that in the centuries since he wrote his plays, that nobody has really been able to top them…and King Lear is one of my favorites, not just because it deals with tradition, madness, treachery, manipulation, betrayal, flattery, the brutality of war and has the words of the Bard to spice it…but anything good enough to be tattooed on the piece of art that is Megan Fox is surely a masterpiece in itself…except maybe the name "Brian" but that's different. Anyway, it's a pretty long film, about 160 minutes…and some parts do seem to drag…but it's pretty true to the material…and though they may have wanted to proofread some of the subtitles, it was a pretty good movie and great cinematography and even acting…though a little odd at times. Must be a cultural thing. If you're a fan of Shakespeare but are tired of English accents, I say give it a watch…but be prepared to read.

Know Your Audience - With Martin Luther King Day on Monday…and the Inauguration of the first African-American President on Tuesday…and Black History Month coming up in a few days, how do you let something like this slide by? In St Louis, a flier headlined "Why I Hate Black History Month" that was sent home with schoolchildren has been tweaked after a handful of complaints (Really?). Organizers say they were trying to emphasize the importance of learning about black history all year long, not just in February. The revised flier is titled, "Why I LOVE Black History Month." The fliers were sent home last week with students at Jackson Park Elementary School. They were meant to publicize a planned Parent Teacher Organization meeting on the subject (Of why you hate Black History Month?). Organizers say they didn't mean to offend anyone, but some recipients "felt it could be racist." Others simply didn't like the word "hate." About three-quarters of the school's 350 students are black. Not well thought out at all. Catchy title though…but I'll bet you that more than half of those complaining didn't bother to read flier. It's a method that I use when titling my blog. You've seen it before. "Nelly Climbs Into Diddy's Underpants", "Hippoes, Dragonflies & Boobies", and "Churchill Was A Myth!!!" or great movie lines like "Sabrina, don't just stare at it. Eat it.", "Only Good Bug is a Dead Bug" and "You Never Go Ass to Mouth!" This one though…was sent home with schoolchildren…and even the Churchill one's questionable for titling something of that nature. I guess the point is, know your audience. If you ever wanted to offend or piss somebody off, the easiest way is to talk to a parent of an elementary student. They're pretty touchy…and rightfully so. Bush has made them all paranoid. No more tying kids to trees and leaving them a bowl of food while you go on vacation to Puerto Vallarta (MOM!!! DAD!!!). No more "Go cut daddy a switch" or "Go get mommy's headache Kool-Aid" because that's a bad impression. Not even spanking…at least until they get that first boyfriend…and then she's calling somebody else daddy. I don't know. They just don't make kids like they used to. Easy for me to say, not having any…but I'll let you know how my new children's books are received. Some are sequels to previous benchmarks…and I have two so far, entitled "The Adventures of Dick & Gina" and "Everybody Poops…but you done completely crapped your pants!!!" I can see some of the complaints now. "Dick & Gina? That sounds awfully close to reproductive organs. It's especially awkward when there are lines in the text such as 'Gina likes Dick, Dick likes Gina, Gina wraps herself around Dick, It's hot outside.' Gina feels warm and moist. I think it's just sending the wrong message to kids." "What? That hugging is bad? How about the part where Gina spills her ice cream on Dick? Are you telling me that when 'Gina licks Dick' that it's bad because it's unsanitary?" My God, what started this conversation? Oh yeah, the flier in St Louis. Anyway, new topic. I'm scaring myself a bit.

Me & My Monkey - Another children's book idea that I've had for years is a new age Curious George called "Me & My Monkey" inspired by the Robbie Williams song…about a weekend in Vegas with his bandito monkey…but there are so many possibilities with this format. Anyway, I may have found a costar. Wildlife officials said a rhesus macaque monkey known to throw feces when mad is on the loose in Tampa Bay. Authorities have been trying to capture the primate since Tuesday afternoon, but it managed to evade a bucket truck and tranquilizer dart (Only one? Might I suggest…at least two darts?). Gary Morse with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says the adult male is thought to have escaped from an unlicensed source (Hopefully a zoo of some sorts). It was last seen in Clearwater. The monkey is not considered dangerous…but armed…with extremely stinky projectiles. All he needs is a catchy name now. How about…Fred? Fred the Feces-Flinging Monkey? I can even do the illustrations. It'll be classic. I know what you're all thinking…and I'll let you know when the books are on Amazon so you can get a few for your kids. All proceeds to go to Breast Cancer Research.

Dinosaurs Wore Coats - The evolution of the flashy down feather coat has been traced back to 125 million-year-old dinosaur fossils. The feathers were worn by Beipiaosaurus, which is a therizinosaur, small-headed theropods with long necks and giant claws. Most of the dinosaurs' bodies were covered with short and slender feathers that, based on the fossil evidence, appeared similar to those found in specimens of other non-avian theropods. These feathers had a central shaft with veins branching out from either side, paleontologists said. Other feathers on the head, neck and trunk were long and broad, with no branching. They were not for flight, but might have kept the dinosaurs warm and looking good, said Xing Xu at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. "Both are definitely not for flight. Inferring the function of some structures of extinct animals would be very difficult, and in this case, we are not quite sure whether these feathers are for display or some other functions." He speculated that the short, branched feathers were probably used as insulation, while the more primitive feathers likely served as a visual display to woo mates or as a visual cue in other social interactions. Paleontologists think birds derived from maniraptors (a group of theropods) some 150 million years ago during the Jurassic Period….so the finding sheds light on the evolution of birds and bird-like features. The newly analyzed fossilized feathers came from two specimens unearthed years ago in China's Liaoning Province. There's another children's book in there. "Pretty, Pretty Predators" starring flamboyant dinosaurs. It's just kind of creepy to think about a ten-foot tall, blood-thirsty peacock with claws…but that's a problem for an illustrator…or maybe the storyteller. "Why are his lips red, Uncle $teve?" "Well ugh…that's lipstick, so that he…I mean, she can be a pretty pretty predator." "But the lipstick came from inside that other dinosaur…" "Okay fine, you wanna know why that dinosaur has red lips and that other one is torn inside-out? Because the organs are the tastiest and most nutrient-rich parts….and a predator means a meat-eater…that hunts and kills its own dinner every single day. Any other questions you've got for me, sweetie?" "Where do babies come from?" "The hospital. Okay, time for bed."

Another Reason to Move to Peru - Besides the beautiful women, colorful culture dating back thousands of years, ancient ruins of Machu Picchu and just natural beauty everywhere you look, now there's another reason to move to Peru - Job Security for Alcoholics. Peru's top court has ruled that workers cannot be fired for being drunk on the job, a decision that was criticized by the government on Wednesday for setting a dangerous precedent. The Constitutional Tribunal ordered that Pablo Cayo be given his job back as a janitor for the municipality of Chorrillos, which fired him for being intoxicated at work. The firing was excessive because even though Cayo was drunk, he did not offend or hurt anybody, according to Fernando Calle, one of the justices on Wednesday. Calle said the court would not revise its decision, despite complaints from the government. "It's not a good idea to relax rules at workplaces," said Labour Minister Jorge Villasante. Celso Becerra, the administrative chief of Chorrillos, a suburb of Lima, denounced the ruling. "We've fired four workers for showing up drunk, and two of them were drivers. How can we allow a drunk to work who might run somebody over?" So there you go. Need to hold a steady job…but don't want to give up your steady regimen of cough syrup, then Peru may be the place for you. Still, don't drink & drive. It may not be against the law (while you're on the job) but it's still not a good idea. Not really a kids book directly from this story…but it does infringe on one of my other titles, "Pablo the Peruvian Pornographer" about a man named Pablo who is fired from his job as a janitor, then finds another way to make money. Hey, wait a minute, now that I think about it, there are a few similarities.

Anyway, that'll do it for today. Can't wait to hang with my mom this long weekend. I hope that all have a wonderful weekend as well (in case I don't see ya before MLK Day). Join us next time when we'll discuss…I don't know. I'm sure we'll come up with something. I mean…I spent most of this entry talking about books ranging from King Lear to Pablo the Peruvian Pornographer. Who knows what tomorrow holds? Just have fun and enjoy the moment. Wait, I need to quote some Shakespeare with that, don't I? How about this?

Come, let's away to prison;
We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage:
When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down,
And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live,
And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh
At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues
Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too,
Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out;
And take upon's the mystery of things,
As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out,
In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones
That ebb and flow by the moon.

End scene...


A.P. said...

Yeah, Bangkok Dangerous sucked. I coulda told you that… in fact, I think I might have.

$teve said...

Yeah, you probably did...but you know us doctors/politicians, we never listen to scientists... especially the mad ones. :)

I'm only sorry that I couldn't warn you about the Spirit before it was too late. :)

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