Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Big Boned Tuesday

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

And a Merry Fat Tuesday to all of you!!! Seems like just last year I was right in the thick of Mardi Gras…and my friend Filly called me this morning so that I could enjoy it briefly (or at least the sounds of it). So probably the busiest weekend in a long time (Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, Olympics, etc.) is capped off with Fat Tuesday, one last celebration before the time of Lent, when you’re supposed to make a solemn pact with the Big Guy to give something up in exchange for spiritual creaminess or something. Like a New Year’s Resolution – Take Two. Then Easter / Zombie Jesus Day comes around and you binge on chocolates, deviled eggs and candies that any other time of year would be called chalk or packaging.

Are you swearing off anything for Lent? Perhaps rather than denying yourself, you’re taking a vow to be less so. Maybe rather than swearing off alcohol, chocolate, cigarettes, fast food, television, or something of that nature, you’re swearing off self-loathing, fear, hesitation, procrastination, or just being more outgoing. I’ve thought briefly about what I could swear off…but I don’t have a whole lot of vices left since I moved here. I don’t drink much, I’ve never smoked, I’m learning to cook at home anyway, I don’t eat a lot of chocolate, and I guess I could give up television like I did for the previous year but DirecTV’s would screw me out of my contract so there’s no point to that. Besides, what else would I do to entertain myself? Write? Knit? Read? (Shiver…) On that note, shiver? Exercise I guess but I’m already doing that more. Besides, exercising eight hours a day would get real old real quick…especially when I have nobody to show it off to. I mean…it has thus far. I don’t know. Any suggestions? Because right now I’m leaning towards, over the course of forty days, turning a Fat Tuesday into a Ripped Like Jesus Sunday when Easter comes around…and if the weather stays in the sixties until then, that’d really help me…but it’d probably signal the end of life as we know it & admitting that Al Gore was right. Still can’t believe it’s been snowing in Dallas but late spring here in Tahoe.

Givin’ It Up for Lent – Here’s another idea from across the pond. Church leaders are encouraging people to give up their iPods for Lent, instead of more traditional vices such as chocolate, to help save the planet. The Bishop of London, Richard Chartres, and the Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, are among those calling for a carbon fast for Lent which begins on Wednesday. As well as spending a day without using technology such as mobile phones or iPods, the 46 daily suggestions also include eating by candlelight, cutting meat (as opposed to cheese?) and vegetables thinner so they cook faster and flushing the toilet less often (like #2 only?). "Instead of giving up chocolate for Lent, why not fast for justice...to help those suffering from the effects of climate change," said Jones. Interesting ideas all…and I’m down with the dinner of thinly sliced, delicious meats & veggies by candlelight anytime. You may be onto something there, gentlemen…and good luck with getting kids away from their iPods. You’d have a better shot getting them away from oral sex cold turkey starting today. Oh, and speaking of Fat Tuesday…

Kevin Smith Kicked Off A Plane – Do you know who Kevin Smith is? If so, then you’re in my cool book. If not, I’m gonna pencil your name in here in a moment. He’s the director behind such stories as “Clerks”, “Mallrats”, “Chasing Amy”, “Dogma”, “Zach & Miri Make A Porno” and “Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back” in which he also plays Silent Bob in all those movies. Yeah, the fat guy in the black trench coat who speaks very rarely. That’s him. Well, he was a Hollywood sensation, then he made “Jersey Girl” and it all went to hell, but he’s really a funny & brilliant filmmaker…and if you ever get the chance, watch the “Evening with Kevin Smith” collection to here some great anecdotes. To be perfectly honest, I see Kevin Smith as how I would be if I got into filmmaking (except a little taller & thinner). His movies are funny yet heartfelt, he always has a role for buddies he grew up with (hell, even starring roles in some flicks), he’s got my kind of eye candy in all of his movies (Eliza Dushku, Shannon Elizabeth, Rosario Dawson, Ali Larter, Elizabeth Banks, even his wife, etc.) and he just seems to have a sense of perspective to all of it from been raising in New Jersey. Well, apparently he’s in the news…but not for his newest movie “Cop Out” starring Bruce Willis (which by the way, the working title was “A Pair of Dicks” but when the studio told him to change it, he decided on the cop-out method and named it, “Cop Out” I love it) but because of his girth. Kevin Smith says he's "way fat," but that shouldn't stop him from flying. The director and actor says a pilot ejected him from a Southwest Airlines flight from Oakland to Burbank, California, saying he didn't fit properly in a single seat. Smith raised a stink about the incident on his Twitter page Sunday, saying "I'm way fat, but I'm not there just yet," and "If you look like me, you may be ejected from Southwest Air." He posted a picture of himself sitting on the plane with his cheeks puffed out. Southwest says it "Customer of Size" policy require travelers must be able to fit safely and comfortably in one seat or make other arrangements. After a storm of angry online comments from Smith and his fans, the airline issued an apology first from its own Twitter account and later in a statement on its Web site titled "Not So Silent Bob," a jovial jab at the Silent Bob character Smith plays in many of his films. "We would like to echo our tweets and again offer our heartfelt apologies to you," the statement said. The airline said it also accommodated Smith on a later flight, gave him a $100 voucher and apologized by phone. Both Smith and the airline acknowledged that he had bought two seats for his original flight from Oakland, where he had spoken at the Macworld Expo conference. But he was flying standby in order to catch an earlier flight, and only one was available. Smith insisted that he was still able to put both armrests down and buckle his seat belt, which is Southwest's standard. Personally, I wouldn’t mind sitting next to a rotund Kevin Smith. I’ve been on a regional flight from LA to Palm Springs before where I had a window seat & the guy next to me was a 400-pound Samoan and because it was a very small plane, I basically had to rest my head on his shoulder because I couldn’t sit straight up (remember, I’m 6’8”) and he couldn’t go…well, anywhere. It was awkward…but he was a nice guy…and we chatted a bit…and it was like being squished between an airplane door & a LoveSac but we made it. That being said, since when did airlines start doing this? Really? I’ve seen many a plump lady & gentleman on flights…like their hips hit both aisle seats as they walk to the back…and never a problem that I’ve seen. I don’t know. To be perfectly honest, I’m not surprised that it happened…but in reality, I’m just really optimistic now that perhaps the next time I board a Southwest flight, I may get to sit next to a director that I respect like Kevin Smith. That could be an interesting meeting of the minds…at least until he asks the stewardess to “Get this f**king a**hole away from me. He claims to have invented Panda Porn and won’t stop talking about a sequel to Zach & Miri starring him & the chick from Transformers.” Sadly, it wouldn’t be the first time that a celebrity called me an a**hole…and probably won’t be the last. Sorry Mr. Smith. I hope that your new movie has great financial success.

Fox Update – Speaking of my future costar, Megan Fox is allegedly desperate to have children. The actress (who still has an on/off relationship with actor Brian Austin Green) said she is a very maternal person but suffers a deep fear that she won’t be able to have kids biologically. “No-one believes me when I talk about this, but I’m really maternal. I worry that because I’ve always wanted kids so much, as the world goes sometimes, I won’t be able to have them – even though I would be able to provide them with such an amazing environment.” Megan, 23, also admitted that, despite her movie successes (maybe not the best word), she isn’t confident about her acting abilities (hmm, realistic modesty) and hates having her picture taken. “With acting, my main weakness is nerves. I have no confidence, and because of that I’m always second-guessing myself. I feel intimidated by fashion. I hate doing photo shoots. But there are some women you could put in underwear and photograph them, and it looks really classy and it doesn’t necessarily provoke a pin-up image. But with me it does, immediately, as soon as I’m in underwear.” It sure does. However, if you don’t like your picture taken, or are intimidated by fashion, or don’t wanna be a pin-up girl, then maybe you shouldn’t be a poster model for Emporio Armani underwear…or an actress…because it’s basically 24 pictures per second that are taken of you on film. Just a thought. Anyway, that’s not the main point of this update, it’s that she wants to have children…and I wish her the best of luck. However, I don’t want you to have children just for the sake of having children. It’s a HUGE step. Your life will change. In fact, I can’t imagine anything more dramatic & magical than the change that happens to you when you become a parent. I’ve seen it with family & friends, my brother probably being the most incredible example. I’m sure that Brian has told you the same thing about when he became a parent. I just hope you find the right guy to help you along the way…or you can always decide to do it yourself. The important thing is that you do what’s right for you and the baby. And of course, if you’re looking for some Grade AAA genetic material, then I know a great guy who lives in Tahoe who would be more than happy to assist you in any way…and thinks he would be a great parent too. Anyway, just throwing that out there.

Happiest Place in the US – Where would you think would be the happiest state in America? Of course it’s Hawaii, right? Well, if you needed an extra twist of the arm to set off on a Hawaii vacation, here it is: The big-wave state was (of course) the happiest place to live in 2009, according to a newly released national survey. Topping the well-being list among all 50 states, Hawaii pulled ahead of the 2008 leader Utah (yeah, I was surprised too). But Utah and its neighbors still have plenty to smile about. Nine of the top 10 well-being states reside in the Midwest and the West. The South didn't fare so well, taking seven of the 11 lowest well-being spots on the list. The results come from interviews with more than 350,000 American adults who took part in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index in 2009. This is the second year of the survey. The well-being score for each state is an average of six sub-categories, including: life evaluation (self-evaluation about your present life situation and anticipated one in five years); emotional health; work environment (such as job satisfaction); physical health; healthy behavior; basic access (access to healthcare, a doctor, a safe place to exercise and walk, as well as community satisfaction). The top 10 states and their average well-being scores (out of a possible 100 points):

  • Hawaii: 70.2
  • Utah: 68.3
  • Montana: 68.3
  • Minnesota: 67.8
  • Iowa: 67.6
  • Vermont: 67.4
  • Colorado: 67.3
  • Alaska: 67.3
  • North Dakota: 67.3
  • Kansas: 67.2

A complete list of the 2009 happiest states is here. Hawaii also topped the charts for life evaluation, emotional health and physical health, while West Virginia scored the worst on those indexes. Utah was number-one for work environment, scoring 10 points more than the worst state, Delaware. Bad news for Mississippi, which scored lowest on the basic access index. For healthy behavior, Vermont topped the list while Kentucky scored the worst. Overall, state well-being stayed pretty stable from 2008 to 2009. Only four states - South Dakota, Mississippi, Hawaii, and Iowa - upped their scores by two or more points compared with 2008. Wyoming had the greatest drop of 1.3 points since 2008. Compared with 2008, 18 states moved in a negative direction, 27 in a positive direction, and five stayed the same. As for why one state tops the list while another fails miserably, in the past researchers have looked at the relationship between 2008 well-being scores and various factors, including economic indicators, education levels, personality traits and levels of inclusiveness. They found the states with higher gross regional product (GRP) per capita (level of productivity and standard of living), higher income levels and higher median housing value, were significantly happier than poorer areas. (Take THAT “Money won’t buy you happiness” cliché!!!) In addition, the happiest states in 2008 tended to have more residents with advanced educations and jobs that were considered "super-creative," such as architecture, engineering, computer and math occupations, library positions, arts and design work, as well as entertainment, sports and media occupations. Level of inclusiveness was also important, according to the research on the 2008 scores, with some of the states scoring best for well-being also being the most tolerant (or in Utah’s case, most homogenous?). If you're wondering if people in a particular state are happy, you might just want to ask them. Another team of researchers reported results last year in the journal Science showing that a person's self-reported happiness matches up with objective measures of well-being. A separate happiest states list, generated from the individual surveys of this study, differed from the 2008 and 2009 lists that relied on the Gallup-Healthways data. Essentially, the team publishing their work in Science used their data to statistically create a representative American. That way they could take, for example, a 38-year-old woman with a high-school diploma and making medium-wage who is living anywhere and transplant her to another state and get a rough estimate of her happiness level. Fun, right? Also, FYI, California is ranked 19th (though I’ve yet to find anybody that lives here in Tahoe that dreams of going elsewhere) & Nevada is 46th, so maybe Las Vegas wasn’t the happiest place for me to go. Anyway, just thought I’d let you know. By the way, I live in two of the top 7 happiest states last year. YAY!!! Coincidence? Let’s see if Cali moves up the list significantly next year…and Utah falters. Then again, I have my own theory as to why Hawaii’s number one…

Global Warming Report - Forget red and blue — color America white. There was snow on the ground in 49 states Friday. Who was the lone holdout? The happiest state, Hawaii. Coincidence? It was the United States of Snow, thanks to an unusual combination of weather patterns that dusted the U.S., including the skyscrapers of Dallas, the peach trees of Atlanta and the Florida Panhandle, where hurricanes are more common than snowflakes. More than two-thirds of the nation's land mass had snow on the ground when the day dawned yesterday, and then it snowed ever so slightly in Florida to make it 49 states out of 50. At the same time, those weird weather forces are turning Canada's Winter Olympics into the bring-your-own-snow games (and Tahoe’s been in the 50’s & 60’s for a week now but luckily we had plenty of snow to begin with). Who's the Great White North now? "I'm calling it the upside-down winter," said David Robinson, horrible comedian & head of the Global Snow Lab at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Snow paralyzed and fascinated the Deep South on Friday. Snowball fights broke out at Southern Mississippi University, snow delayed flights at the busy Atlanta airport, and Louisiana hardware stores ran out of snow supplies (“What the f**k is a Sno-Hoe?”). Andalusia, Alabama, shut down its streets because of snow. And yet, Portland, Maine, where snow is usually a given, had to cancel its winter festival for lack of the stuff. Weather geeks turned their eyes to Hawaii (not just for the Hawaiian Tropic Swim Team this time). In that tropical paradise, where a ski club strangely exists, observers were looking closely at the islands' mountain peaks to see if they could find a trace of white to make it a rare 50-for-50 states with snow. But there was no snow in sight. Hawaii's 13,800-foot Mauna Kea volcano, which often gets snow much of the year at its higher elevations, is the most likely place in the 50th state to have snow, but there "is nothing right now," said research meteorologist Tiziana Cherubini at the Mauna Kea Weather Center. It has been a few weeks since there has been snow in the mountains, and none is in the forecast, ruining a perfect 50-for-50, she said. The idea of 50 states with snow is so strange that the federal office that collects weather statistics doesn't keep track of that number and can't say whether it has ever happened. The office can't even say whether 49 out of 50 has ever taken place before. Snow experts at the Global Snow Lab were combing their records but said it may be days before they find out if there has ever been a 50-for-50 snow day. Their best suspect is January 19th, 1977, which had snow in Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, but then Robinson looked for snow in South Carolina and couldn't find any. As of early Friday morning, 67.1% of the U.S. had snow on the ground, with the average depth a healthy 8 inches. Normally, about 40 or 50% of the U.S. has snow cover this time of year, Robinson said. It snowed for only 10 minutes in Century, Florida, just north of Pensacola, barely enough to scrape a few snowballs from the hood of a truck. But that was enough for 6-year-old Kaleb Pace. "I've only ever seen snow on TV till now," Kaleb said, smiling. This is after a month that saw the most snow cover for any December in North America in the 43 years that records have been kept. And then came January 2010, which ranked No. 8 among all months for North American snow cover, with more than 7.03 million square miles of white. The all-time record is February 1978, with 7.31 million square miles. There is a chance this February could break that. There is also a chance that this could go down as the week with the most snow cover on record, Robinson said. So there you go. The apocalypse is upon us…or maybe, this is the way to avert the apocalypse? How so? As you know, the end of the human race is quickly coming thanks to giant snakes taking over strategic positions around the globe & populating at an incredible rate. Well, where is this happening? Florida? Where temperatures are extremely low? Hmm, snakes are cold blooded…and would perish in near freezing temperatures. Maybe somebody is looking out for us…and that makes me happy. Enjoy your snakes & volcano hellfire, Hawaii!!!

Anyway, enough about that. We covered a lot today – Lent, sacrifice, great chubby filmmakers, baby makin’ with superhotties, happiness, the apocalypse, and so much more. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve gotta make a call to a fantastic filmmaking Rapid Rewards member about meeting up in Hollywood to discuss a few ideas and have a showmance baby with my costar before the Apocalypse comes when the snow is lifted. Maybe we’ll hit up Hawaii for the Babymoon but what I’ve found is happiness isn’t where you are, it’s who you’re with. I hope that you all have a wonderful evening!!!

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