Thursday, May 27, 2010

$teve Shrugged

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Well, softball game happened…and it was cold and wet…but it was a pretty good game though we lost in the closing moments 19-18. It wasn’t my fault though. Hell I barely played…but I was a pretty good cheerleader…and had a Coors Light tallboy during the last two innings. If that’s not great softball, I don’t know what is. Other than that, just excited for the weekend (a little snow flurry last night but should be clear for tomorrow) and got a call from Filly last night in New Orleans. She’s facing the loss of her job (but they’ve honestly had it in for her since I moved her down there last winter) but I think…it may be the best thing that could happen to her. She moved down to New Orleans because she wanted to meet people, see the city & make art. In the 18 months or so that she’s been down there, she hasn’t been able to do ANY of that. She works all night, sleeps all day & is miserable just about every waking moment because of drama from her job and not being able to express herself. So now, with unemployment looming, she’s able to reevaluate her life…and get it back on the track that she wants. What will she do? Well, she’s already expressed interest and made connections for everything from making & selling her art on Frenchman’s Street to driving carriages in the French Quarter to designing costumes for local productions to painting coconuts for the Zulu Nation. The best part about all of those…is that they not only help her to express her artistic side (which I know nothing about…but assume it’s pretty important) but the money isn’t too bad & you can make your own hours, no more working all through the night & sleeping during the day (FYI – She works the swing shift, she’s not a prostitute, just to clarify). So yeah, I think this may be a great thing for her. Sometimes we need that little kick in the backside to do what we were meant to do…and I think she’ll be happier for it & fall back in Love with the Crescent City. Good luck Filly!!!

You’re Gonna Need It – For those of you who don’t believe in newspaper or television or radio or any other form of communication, here’s a quick update on that pesky oil spill that’s been going on over a month in the Gulf of Mexico. In short, it’s still going. BP said Thursday its bid to cap the Gulf of Mexico oil leak with cement was on track as submarines toiled round the clock while fumes forced boats involved in the clean-up back to port. "The job has been proceeding according to plan," BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said after the start of the maneuver dubbed a "top kill" (catchy name, sounds like a Steven Seagal movie) began amid huge pressure to finally staunch the five-week-old spill. US officials meanwhile said all 125 commercial fishing boats helping to clean up the oil off Louisiana's Breton Sound were recalled after four workers reported health problems. The crew members aboard three separate vessels working in the area "reported experiencing nausea, dizziness, headaches and chest pains", raising questions over the toxicity of chemical dispersants used by BP to break up the slick. After several previous failed attempts to cap the oil, BP boss Tony Hayward (aka Captain Killbuzz) has already downplayed hopes for success with the 'top kill,' cautioning the procedure has never been tried before at such depth and against such pressure. He warned it was expected to take two days to complete the difficult operation to inject heavy drilling fluids (Super Drain-O) into the oil flow and then seal it with cement. "We just need to take the next 24 hours and see what the results are," Suttles told reporters after being asked BP's level of optimism after the process was begun. The work being carried out by remote-controlled robotic submarines a mile below the surface aims to counterbalance the oil flow with the injected fluids, drowning the leak long enough to dump cement on top and permanently seal it. White House deputy spokesman Bill Burton told reporters on Air Force One that President Barack Obama was being updated on the progress. "I would say that his level of frustration is very high and that every moment that that hole is not plugged the president has a deep level of concern," he said. So to translate, the President’s pissed that this is getting clusterf**ked and being billed as his Katrina. The Deepwater Horizon rig, 50 miles (80 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, exploded back on April 20th, killing 11 workers. Its fractured pipe has been spouting oil for 36 days, creating a massive slick washing up along the coast and threatening endangered birds, animals and plants. Oil has now soiled more than 100 miles of Louisiana coastline, state Governor Bobby Jindal said Wednesday, more than doubling the previous estimate. A tour of coastal areas left the president of the local Plaquemines parish aghast at the devastation -- and what he described as an incompetent response. "The same oil that's been out there two weeks ago is still out there. And nothing is being done," Billy Nungesser told CNN. BP has previously only managed to siphon up some oil via a tube inserted into the pipe last week and Hayward has put the chances of the "top kill" success at 60-70%. Officials are also readying back-up options but some, including the drilling of relief wells to divert the flow and allow the original well to be capped, could take several months. Obama is also expected to announce tough new offshore oil regulations today after receiving an Interior Department report into what has become one of the worst oil spills in US history. In a hint of what might be in the report, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar told lawmakers that "there are significant enhancements that can be made with respect to the safety of outer continental shelf oil and gas development." The response by BP, Obama and the government all got bad grades from Americans in a new USA TODAY/Gallup Poll. Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed Monday and Tuesday said BP was doing a "poor" or "very poor" job. Sixty percent said the same about the federal government, while 53% slapped Obama with a poor rating on the crisis. Thanks to a webcam which BP has placed close to the leak, the whole procedure is being aired live on US television, with news channels streaming footage of the oil gushing from the broken well pipe…as I’m sure you’ve all seen. So basically a delicate and rare ecosystem like the swamps of Louisiana and the everglades of Florida may be covered in more oil than bad pasta…and then with the coming summer, possibly deep fried. I really hope this “top kill” thing works because…seriously. You would think they had a ready & immediate plan for something like this. Not “The funnel isn’t working, let’s try a cork. Damn! That’s not working either. Ugh… I guess we could… build another platform a few miles away and try to maintain some of the oil before it all gushes out into the ocean. That’d work, right? Do we still have any of that kitty litter stuff to help soak it up?” I’m also curious why I haven’t heard Kanye say that Obama doesn’t like black people…but then again, I haven’t heard a lot from him recently…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I don’t blame the President. Seriously, what else could he do? Send the military in to cork it up? I think he’s already funding the sandbars or whatever that I hear they’re putting up to keep the oil out. It’s just ridiculous all around…and it’s looking like I might not be taking that cruise from New Orleans to the Caribbean anytime soon. Although, who knows? Maybe in a few months the oil will turn to asphalt and I can just drive from the Big Easy to the Caymans.

Worst Beverages – Sorry, I was thinking Hurricanes…and New Orleans…and so my mind drifted to delicious beverages that I can pick up in the French Quarter (soon to be cheaper than purified water?) and so I’ll mention this story. What would you think is the most unhealthy drink in America? And yes I specified America because…well, water’s not always a top choice in a lot of other countries unless you want some new specimen of parasite living inside of you. Any guesses? My guess would be Tequila. Period. It always seems to make me feel unhealthy…and oftentimes a little dirty. However, a milkshake containing 2,010 calories (equivalent to eating 68 strips of sweet delicious bacon or 30 chocolate chip cookies) has topped a list of the 20 worst drinks in America compiled by Men's Health magazine. The Cold Stone PB&C milkshake, made with peanut butter, chocolate ice-cream and milk, contains 68 grams of saturated fat and 153 grams of sugar, according to nutritional details on the company's website. Huh…and that just happens to be my favorite milkshake. Weird. "In terms of saturated fat, drinking this Cold Stone catastrophe is like slurping up 68 strips of bacon," the magazine said. The second worst drink in America was listed as the Peanut Power Plus Grape from Smoothie King with a large cup packing 1,498 calories and the same amount of sugar as 20 Reese's Peanut Butter Cups chocolate and peanut butter snacks. Wow, really? But it’s grape? McDonald's large Triple Thick Chocolate Shake came in third with 1,160 calories or the equivalent of 13 of the fast food chain's hot apple pies (So wait, a hot apple pie is less than 100 calories? Get the f**k out!!!). A spokesman from the Cold Stone Creamery pointed out that the company does also offer low-calorie, reduced-fat options for customers looking for "a lighter indulgence" such as its range of sinless smoothies with only 110 calories. So there you have. Even tequila is better for you than a milkshake…but not nearly as delicious.

CSI: North Pole – What? Has Santa been murdered? Is Mrs. Claus the prime suspect? Did the jolly man finally find out about her midget fetish & the online gang bang video entitled “Deck the Halls”? No, sorry. Nothing quite that exciting…or is it? Alaska State Troopers are puzzled by a gruesome discovery in the city of North Pole, Alaska - 26 headless chickens carefully arranged at a coop. Police say the fly-infested carcasses found Monday were arranged in a 12- to 15-foot-long line pattern that ended in a circle. There was no sign of the missing heads. Three chickens were left unharmed, and there was no damage to the coop. Trooper spokeswoman Megan Peters says officers "have no idea what the thought process was." They say there's a possibility that the killings were intended as a threat (“This is a message from Don Corleone!!!”). Those responsible could be charged with felony criminal mischief. The birds were unsuitable for eating, so investigators disposed of the chickens after photographing the scene. So just to clarify, Alaska State Troopers are puzzled…by finding decapitated chickens…in a chicken coop. Just…think about that for a second. Yeah yeah, I get the whole neatly arranged pattern and it’s not like it was intended at that exact moment…but still. Was there a letter? Then there was no threat. Now… I have a theory. And I shall express it in a slightly modified manner in tribute to one of the greatest films of the modern era “Predator 2” - “F**king Eskimo Voodoo Magic, mon!!!” Oh yes!!! 26 Chickens? That’s 13 twice. And a circular pattern? Sacrificed in a way that is purely an offering to some unknown entity? I don’t wanna be doing your job for you, Alaska State Troopers (cuz it’s too damn cold up there) but I’m thinking you should check it out. And certainly charge them with Chicken Abuse…because what’s the point of sacrificing chicken if you’re not going to deep fry it in eleven herbs and spices? Okay, maybe not that last part…but still, f**king Eskimo Voodoo Magic, mon. And I’m reminded of something else from my youth that my daddy once told me, “You don’t choke another man’s chicken.” He may have been drunk at the time…but the meaning’s still the same. Forget “CSI: North Pole”, I’m thinking of a new title for this TV drama – “Cold Justice” Rated M for Language & Violence.

Bank Robbing Update – Before my road trip, there was a rash of French bank robberies. Then Lilie went to visit…and they mysteriously stopped. Coincidence? Maybe. Then again, there was a lot of art theft during that time. Hmm… Maybe I’ll have to ask Lilie about the Matisse that she got me for my birthday. However, not every high profile robbery in Europe goes as smoothly as those. Would-be robbers in Germany had to flee empty handed after blowing up everything in a bank EXCEPT for where the money was, police said on Wednesday. Photos in German media showed a scene of devastation in the northeastern village of Malliss, with the bank reduced to a pile of rubble and its roof completely obliterated. Amid the wreckage, only the cash machine could be seen intact. "The explosion was so big, they had to run away without the money," said local police spokesman Niels Borgmann. "Something evidently didn't work the way the robbers wanted it to." Cars and buildings in a radius of up to 100 meters were damaged in the night time explosion, though no one was injured. Police are searching for the suspected robbers. Just a heads up, they’re probably not going to respond to “FREEZE!!!” because they’re probably still deaf from the concussion wave of the blast. You would think with their astute engineering skills and meticulous attention to detail that Germans would be perfect for controlled explosive bank robbing. I’m thinking they may find that it was a family affair where someone’s wife convinced them to include their brother-in-law, who ain’t quite right…but needed to help if not just to get out of the house. “Juergen, bring me the 5 grams of nitroglycerine.” “Ugh…Matthias? I thought you said 5 kilograms.” “WHAT??? How did you fit that much into the precision instrument for blowing this lock?” “I didn’t. I had to bring it here in a milk carton.” “Well why the f**k did you already start the timer?” “Oh… Well, the drive over was really boring so…” “Drop it & let’s get the f**k out of here!!!” And boom goes the dynamite…

Atlas Shrugged – Hey, a book that I’ve heard of…yet have little to no idea what it’s about. Okay, so from what I understand, it’s about all the creative minds of the world going on strike because the captains of industry are exploiting them…and then society falls. What? It’s more complicated than a summary that can’t even be compared to Cliff Notes? Well, that’s why they’re making a movie about it. The long-gestating film adaptation of Ayn Rand's 1957 literary classic "Atlas Shrugged" has suddenly raced forward and will head into production in just two weeks reports Deadline New York. Wow, a fortnight to prepare for a major motion picture? Is Michael Bay the director? Entrepreneur John Aglialoro scored the film rights to the work back in 1992 but attempts to adapt the 1100-page property (summarized into a brief run-on sentence by yours truly) have encountered numerous problems and false starts over the years. The likes of Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron and Faye Dunaway have also been attached at one point or another. As a result, a fed up Aglialoro is proceeding along his own agenda and is independently financing a June 11th production start in Los Angeles on the first in a quadrilogy of features based on the objectivism-spouting property. Sigh… Really? It’s going to be FOUR movies? Does it start with “Atlas Shrugged: A New Hope”? Brian O’Tool and Aglialoro co-wrote the script and Stephen Polk (who?) has been hired to make his directorial debut on the project which has been in secretive pre-production for months. The surprise here though is that no-one has yet been cast, and while Theron and Maggie Gyllenhaal are "being courted" to play the lead Dagny Taggart, the production will go forward with unknowns if needs be as financing is already in place. I get the feeling that the entrepreneur is extremely stressed out and just said “You know what? I’ll star in this b**ch if I have to. Let’s just make a movie already. I can’t wait for Angelina to stop adopting kids and those other girls to do their Indies. Hell, I’ll hire a Victoria’s Secret supermodel if I have to. Let’s get this party started.” Hey, he has the movie rights. He’s free to do it however he wants. Wanna star in a series of movies loosely based on “Atlas Shrugged”? Hit him up on his website. YOU could be Dagny.

Why Willie? Why? – Not since Billy Ray Cyrus chopped off his mullet has country music’s world been so rocked by careless clippers. Country music fans have come to expect a little eccentricity from legendary crooner & red-headed stranger Willie Nelson, but he pulled off a real shocker this time: He cut his hair. "Oh Noooooo!," wrote one fan who saw a picture of Nelson's new do on the website of Nashville television and radio personality Jimmy Carter (not the peanut farmer President). Nelson's waist-deep, reddish pigtails have long been one of the singer-songwriter's signature features. But spokeswoman Elaine Schock said Nelson, who's been hanging loose in Hawaii, got his hair cut in the past couple of weeks. Schock said the Texas-born performer didn't make a big fuss about the makeover and thought he might have grown tired of dealing with long locks. She said, "there's a lot of maintenance." And so…it is with a heavy heart, that we bid farewell to the radiant locks of one William Nelson. Ye shall be missed.

Anyway, enough of that stuff. In about 24 hours, I’m going to be in San Francisco starting a magnificent weekend surrounded by friends, hot Latin women & architectural majesty. It’s gonna be awesome. I seriously can’t wait (especially since it still appears to be snowing a bit). Hope that you all have a wonderful three-day Memorial Weekend!!! Play hard & play safe!!!

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