Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Best That Never Was

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,

Last night, I went home… and basically after making dinner, watched a bunch of WWII videos that my roommate had DVR’d. It was that Apocalypse series that you see the commercials for… but it was on the Smithsonian Channel… and it was pretty damn good. I’m always amazed by how much video there is of all these massive, horrible scrimmages… and of the executions. I know I’ve heard that Hitler was big on documenting his history and using the medium of film and all… but still, really? My roommate and I are grown ass men and we were just shocked at some of the things they had video off. It’s pretty impressive if you get the chance to check them out… but yeah, mature audiences only. Especially when they start talking about Eastern Europe and the assault on Russia and this “Final Solution” and all that. It’s not exactly an HBO miniseries at that point.

Also, I watched yet another installment of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series… and this one was about Marcus DuPree. Who the f**k is Marcus DuPree? That’s exactly what I said… and I’ve followed football for a while… but apparently it all happened about 30 years ago when I was a youngster. Basically, Marcus was a poor kid from Philadelphia, Mississippi who was basically unstoppable in high school football & the most sought after recruit… probably EVER when it came to college. Long story short, he was getting input from a lot of people (mama, Uncle Curlee, recruiters, the Reverend recruiter who eventually became his agent, etc) and ended up going to the University of Oklahoma for a year (after originally committing to Texas) then after a year or so there… he decided that he didn’t want to do it anymore… so he transferred to Southern Mississippi back home. When they were talking about making him ineligible for over a year, he wanted to go pro… but the kid was 19 at this time. The NFL would have NOTHING to do with him… so his reverend agent convinced him that the USFL was the way to go (remember them?). He played a few games for them with an epic 5 year / $6 million contract (big money back in 1984 sports) but then had a bad knee injury after a few games, went back home… and basically didn’t do much for the next five years. Oh, did I mention that he was 20 years old? When he played, he was unstoppable. Seriously, check the film… but he just seemed to be a poor kid who got taken advantage of here and there… and one knee injury and not wanting to play anymore is all it takes. Well, after that five years, he decided to try again… and in 1990, he played a few years with the L.A. Rams after a MAJOR comeback (he was over 300 pounds at 25 years old, then down to 210 or so when he made his comeback. Seriously though, it was an interesting story… and I thoroughly enjoyed it. There was even the little brother with cerebral palsy who inspired Marcus to play better. This 30 for 30 stuff is pretty good… and diverse too. There was the Ricky Williams one, Tupac meets Mike Tyson, the Once Brothers, the L.A. Raiders, Reggie Miller, the guy who ran across America a few times, Navratilova – Evert, pretty good stuff. I say check it out. In the meantime, here’s the news…

Obama Book – Apparently the former president George W. Bush (the W stands for Wetarded) has a new book that dropped yesterday… and apparently it’s juicy… but not really. I find it hilarious though that the thing that he was most concerned about & bothered him the most about his presidency… was when Kanye West said that he didn’t like black people after Katrina. Really? That was the low point? Not the actual clusterf**k that was the relief effort… but when ‘Ye called you out? You must REALLY like his music, W. Anyway, not to be outdone, somebody’s releasing a new book about current President Barack Obama… and if Bush can ramble on for a few hundred pages about what he did that was worthy of print, then you can bet this books is EPIC in scale… and it is. At a thumb-numbing 5,472 pages, a book devoted to the life of Barack Obama is probably not going to be on the President's list of beach reads, but its Indonesian author is hoping for interest from the White House. Hailed by Indonesian record keepers as the world's thickest book, "The Collection, Obama and Pluralism," was unveiled by local author, director and artist, Damien Dematra to coincide with a visit by the U.S. president which ended on Wednesday. At 34 cm (about 1 ft) thick, the hardbound tome chronicles snippets of Obama's life in Jakarta. The U.S. president spent about four years in Indonesia as a child with his anthropologist mother from 1967 and during his visit spoke fondly of those days. Jaya Suprana, curator of Indonesia's records museum in a nation obsessed with record breaking, said the size of the book beats the previous international title holder -- Agatha Christie's "The Complete Miss Marple," a relatively slender 4,032 pages. Author Dematra, who credits the start of his "Obamamania" to a dinner he attended at the U.S. embassy, has already completed seven books and a movie about the U.S. president in less than a year. Dematra good-naturedly shrugs off suggestions he is obsessed. "I don't mind; for me, the crazier, the better. He is someone I've been inspired by, giving me more understanding on the potential of dreams and pluralism." Dematra's book includes letters to Obama from students at his former school. One child with leukemia wrote to Obama asking for help with medical treatment in the United States. Other letters expressed admiration -- and sympathy for the job. "I think it's not exciting to become a president. Just look at President SBY," said one, a reference to Indonesian leader Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. "Every day he looks as if he has a headache. It must be even harder to lead the American people." Obama spent less than 24 hours in Jakarta on the second stop of his 10-day four-nation Asian tour. He flew on Wednesday to South Korea, where he attends a G20 summit. Sound like a gripping story? Yeah, I’ll probably pass on that one too. Besides, rambling about the same subject for over 5000 pages? That sounds like a dare to me… and have you seen my blog? No problem.

Most Influential Man – So who would you think would be the Most Influential Man? President Obama? Nope. Maybe the President of China? He’s beaten out Obama on a few lists with regards to the subject. How about a former MTV show host? Well… okay, how about if I told you the survey was taken by Angelina Jolie? Megan Fox? Sorry ladies, it’s most influential MAN… and though you’re the total package… you just don’t have the right package. Nope. Talk show host Jon Stewart was crowned the most influential man of 2010, heading a list of 49 men who all swayed public opinion and were described as rule-breakers to some degree in a time of recession. Stewart, who hosted President Barack Obama on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" last week and held a "Rally to Restore Sanity" over Halloween weekend, claimed the No. 1 spot in an annual survey of about 500,000 readers of AskMen, a men's lifestyle website. He was followed by Microsoft's Bill Gates while Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of social networking site Facebook, came in third place. Apple co-founder and chief executive officer Steve Jobs came fourth. "We noticed the rule-breaking trend because it spans a lot of industries," James Bassil, editor-in-chief of AskMen, told Reuters. He said this extended to people like musician Kanye West who ranked fifth, and actor James Franco at seventh, who proved he was more than just a movie star by enrolling in graduate programs and writing a book. Number 48 on the list was Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who stormed off his job with some profanities and a dramatic exit down an inflated emergency chute, winning widespread admiration. This month Slater, 38, pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal mischief and was ordered to undergo a year-long mental health program and receive alcohol and substance abuse counseling. "In the list last year we were looking more at guys who were players in the industry or were perceived as players, like (U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman) Ben Bernanke," said Bassil. "Guys are open to the idea of rejecting the status quo in some ways. They've kind of come to more admire these dudes who took it upon themselves to break out on their own and discover success on their own terms." Last year's list was headed by the character Don Draper from the Emmy-winning drama "Mad Men" who is played by actor Jon Hamm, followed by track star Usain Bolt. This attitude in 2010 could well be due to the recession and lagging recovery, Bassil added. "The terms that were dictated to us previously were terms such as 'work hard' and 'show up on time' and everything will be okay. That's all been kind of proven to be a failure," he said. One notable absence this year was professional golfer Tiger Woods, whose private life unraveled after allegations of infidelity late last year set off a months-long sex scandal. He eventually confessed to infidelity and was divorced from his wife, Elin Nordgren, in August. By contrast, talk show host David Letterman came in at 39 despite his on-air revelations about his affairs followed by an apology to his wife. "Guys obviously preferred David Letterman's response which was to be frank and sincere and 'fess up in the most public form possible rather than the route that Tiger Woods took, which was to try to hide it until it blew up in his face," Bassil said. Oh… and U.S. President Barack Obama fell to 21st place from the top five last year… but then again, it’s a website survey. It’s not exactly a sign that the world is coming to an end.

The End of the World – For years, I’ve been updating you on Sexbots (though the stories aren’t quite as plentiful as they used to be). All this time, I was sure (even before the revelation about snakes destroying us) that technology would be our downfall. We would marry our sexbots and never reproduce… because humans are just too damn crazy & dramatic… and gorillas just don’t work out (I don’t care what H.P. Lovecraft says). But now, some people are finding a loophole in bypassing the whole damn thing. You don’t want to have sex until you’re married? Okay, the answer: marry yourself. Chen Wei-yih has posed for a set of photos in a flowing white dress, enlisted a wedding planner and rented a banquet hall for a marriage celebration with 30 friends… but there is no groom. Chen will marry herself. Uninspired by the men she's met but facing social pressure to get married, the 30-year-old Taipei office worker will hold the reception next month in honor of just one person. "Age thirty is a prime period for me. My work and experience are in good shape, but I haven't found a partner, so what can I do?" Chen said. "It's not that I'm anti-marriage. I just hope that I can express a different idea within the bounds of a tradition." Her T$50,000 ($5,675) wedding comes after online publicity that has netted 1,800 largely sympathetic comments. "I think there will be more and more girls like this," said "divagirl," who did not elaborate. Taiwanese women are marrying later and less often as their economic status advances, fuelling government concerns about a drop in the birth rate and its impact on productivity (of all kinds). Only 40% of women surveyed earlier this year by the education ministry said they imagined married people could live better than singles, local media said. "I was just hoping that more people would love themselves," said Chen, who will go on a solo honeymoon to Australia. Chen said her mother had insisted on a groom at first but later jumped aboard the solo marriage plan. But as Chen cannot officially register a marriage to herself, if she finds a man later she will wed again. "If I had a steady boyfriend, I wouldn't do this. It would be offensive to him, anyway." I would assume the vacation to Australia by yourself would do it too… but hey, it’s all good Chen. Believe me, I’ve thought about marrying myself… oh yes… and not just the drive-thru version either. I’m talking minister, suit, even a little dress for my right hand (who spent the whole day at the spa & with a makeup artist), reception in Reno, a few family & friends in attendance, nothing too fancy or expensive, then a weekend getaway to Monterey… and by the time I’m done with the bride, I won’t be able to write right for a month. “Oh, you invited your sister Lucy? What a surprise! I hope you two have been doing your ergonomic exercises… cuz it’s ON!!!” God help us all if this idea spreads…

Porn Star Hunt - Sri Lankan newspapers on Tuesday published pictures of mainly women that police said had acted in locally produced pornographic films, part of a court-ordered crackdown and the latest sign of growing social conservatism. Police have identified 83 people they say have acted in the films found on websites, and got a court order to have media outlets publish their pictures to help locate the suspects. "This is illegal and we need them to be identified for investigations," police spokesman Priyashanth Jayakody said. The move is part of a crackdown on pornography in the Indian Ocean nation of 21 million. Yes, you read right. A crackdown on pornography! The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission has already blocked around 100 porn sites and police have been arresting people with porn in their mobile phones (apparently they don’t believe in privacy there either). Sri Lanka is a Buddhist majority nation, which also has Hindus, Muslims and Christians, and traditional values and more liberal social norms have generally co-existed well during its modern history. But there have been growing signs of conservatism. There is a movement within a faction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government to ban alcohol (GASP!!!), which has been resisted by the tourist industry which stands to lose revenue as it is rebuilding after the end of a three-decade civil war in May 2009. In March, Sri Lanka refused a visa to the Senegalese-American R&B singer and rapper Akon to perform in Colombo after Buddhists protested over a video in which he appeared briefly showed scantily clad women dancing in front of a Buddha statue. Hundreds of people stormed the head office of Sri Lanka's largest private broadcaster, which was the media sponsor for the Akon concert, in the ensuing uproar. Now, even their smut is at stake. Everybody knows that the best way to crack down on “perverted & illegal sexual behavior” is to send them to prison… where there is absolutely none of that going on. So keep your eyes out for Sri Lankan porn stars on the lam. By the way, is it wrong that I’ll see a perfectly average name like… Katie Morgan while doing my job… and then wonder if it’s THAT Katie Morgan? I didn’t think so.

Emergency! - Sony Pictures has optioned the film rights to Neil Strauss' non-fiction book "Emergency!: This Book Will Save Your Life" and are planning a feature which could well be a star vehicle for Robert Downey Jr. reports Variety. Strauss' book follows his three year trip traveling through the United States and his encounters with a population that has lost its sense of invulnerability and safety thanks to ethnic and religious hatred, and global disasters both environmental and financial. The official book description reads: "'Emergency' traces Neil's white-knuckled journey through today's heart of darkness, as he sets out to move his life offshore, test his skills in the wild, and remake himself as a gun-toting, plane-flying, government-defying survivor. It's a tale of paranoid fantasies and crippling doubts, of shady lawyers and dangerous cult leaders, of billionaire gun nuts and survivalist superheroes, of weirdos, heroes, and ordinary citizens going off the grid." Sounds like a great flick, right? Especially for Robert Downey Jr.? Kind of a “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” meets "Zombieland" meets “Into the Wild” or something. Allan Loeb ("Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps") is adapting the screenplay while Downey Jr., Susan Downey, and Michael DeLuca will produce. So there you go… nothing to fear. Iron Man is out there trying to restore your sense of safety & invulnerability. It’s going to be okay.

Anyway, JL Clyde will be coming to visit this weekend allegedly… so I’m looking forward to that. I’m sure there will be sushi & whimsical adventures involved… and plenty of pictures since it’s going to be beautiful sunshine the entire weekend (and just bitterly cold). Just a few more weeks until everything’s encased in snow again. Oh well, it’s still gorgeous… and I really like it out here. Miss all y’all reading this though, madly. Have a great weekend everybody!!!

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