Saturday, October 3, 2009

The dumb shit that people say.

University of Southern California running back Stefon Johnson suffered an accident while weight lifting. The bar fell out of his right hand and landed on his throat, severely injuring him.
At 5 feet 11 and 210 pounds, Johnson was able to survive the accident because the muscles around his neck helped him keep open a breathing passage, Hinika said at a news conference Tuesday."Had that been any one of us, meaning me, I would not have survived," Dr. Gudata Hinika, trauma director at California Hospital Medical Center said. "His neck was so solid and so muscular, that actually helped maintain his airway."
In other words, if someone who didn't lift weights dropped a barbell on their neck, he would have died. That makes good nonsense. How about, "Hey, if he wasn't a weight lifter he wouldn't have dropped a barbell on his neck." That works too.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Something to be enthusiastic about.

When I watch television, I want to see a game, laugh or learn something. Otherwise, I'm not interested. There are only a couple of dramas that I bother watching - FlashForward and Dexter. I don't have the time or energy to devote to watching regular people become celebrities, I don't care who survives, who races across the world fastest, which model is top and I find no enjoyment in watching short-order cooks scream at people. That's just me. I think we have plenty of celebrities and I see no need to create more by putting regular people on TV.
I don't consider "reality" shows entertaining. Besides, when have you ever seen anyone act normal when a video camera is five feet away from them? If they want to show us doing what we really do, there should be a show called America Uses the Toilet or America Masturbates or America Picks its Nose. America Watches Television could be a reality show, but ironically I don't think anyone would watch.
When it comes to episodic comedy, there isn't anything like Larry David's Curb Your Enthusiasm. I was trying to describe the show to someone who had never seen it, and I came up with a few standard themes:
  • Some seemingly innocuous event will occur that later is hugely important,
  • a person that Larry insults will later be needed for something he wants or
  • an awkward social situation is made more so by something Larry either says or does.
Last week's show contained two of the three elements. He spent the first two minutes trying to open a blister pac that contained a GPS unit. That's both funny and real. He gave up on it, and pursued his awkward social life. Once he decided to buy a box cutter to open the GPS package, the tool itself became the source of comedy when he needed it to extricate Jeff from his seat belt, only to find that the box cutter was encased in the very packaging he bought it to open.
I think, when a writer comes up with that scenario, he sits back with his arms folded and grins, realizing that he has created something beautiful.
As a viewer, it softens the blow of my cable bill to realize that there is still quality writing on television, and in the morass of junk and made-up celebrities the best things are the things that people create.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

An imperfect blog post.

There is a story on Yahoo's front page touting an "imperfect" Mariah Carey, who is starring in a film called "Precious" and presumably was told to show up without a shred of makeup.
...when the director's first choice to play a dowdy, no-nonsense social worker - Oscar-winner Helen Mirren backed out, he quickly asked Carey to step in.
Consider this quote from the diva:
"That was such a freeing experience for me," Carey said during a recent interview. "By making me look so bad he brought out the ability to never be self-conscious again, and that was a gift that he gave me."
Look so bad? They ran a photo (right) of the unkempt Carey, and my first thought was that she looks like 75 percent of the women in the world, and if this is her without makeup, I don't understand what is "imperfect" about her. It's a shame that our ideals about what constitutes attractiveness have gotten so far out of whack that a beautiful woman without makeup is considered imperfect and said to look bad.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but there isn't any makeup on her from the neck down, and doesn't that count for something? For my money, she's better looking as the dowdy no-nonsense social worker, because there is a natural look that to me, is more beautiful than some construction job that takes an hour to put on (photo top). I just don't know sometimes.
One thing I do know, is that if you're not watching FlashForward on Thursday night, you're missing one of the potentially great television shows of the decade. It first aired last Thursday, and again on Friday because ABC was smart enough to pick up on the word of mouth that it generated. You might be able to catch up for episode 2, or you might want to check the web site and watch the first episode on your PC. It'll only run about 41 minutes without ads, but I guarantee that by the time you get to the last 30 seconds, you'll want to watch it on Thursday to find out what happens.
The plot line revolves around a worldwide episode where everybody passes out for exactly 2 minutes and 17 seconds. During that time, they see a glimpse of their future exactly 6 months from the date of the episode. The producers promised us that, in April 2010 we will find out why everybody passed out. Watching the first episode will get you caught up, but even if you didn't see it, check it out on Thursday at 8:00 on ABC.
You can thank me later.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Eight legs on the floor.

I watched a spider crawl across the rest room floor at work today.
Exciting? You bet. When it comes to work stuff, it's a ten.
Mostly though, it made me think. There isn't much left once you have resigned yourself to watching a spider crawl across a room other than thinking. So I thought.
I thought about what the spider was doing. His life (as long as it may be) might be spent crawling from one end of our rest room to the other. He might be dead by the time he gets to the exit. If he isn't, the remainder of his time on earth wouldn't be worth much. Either way, it's a giant waste of his time.
The thing I thought about was how the spider seemed to relegate himself to crawling. That was his lot in life. While other spiders were outdoors making webs or killing flies, this spider was spending his waning days crawling across our rest room floor. I saw no future in it, but the spider didn't know what I knew, so he kept crawling.
We don't know if we're crawling aimlessly across some floor or if our crawl is leading somewhere. It's a crawl. Slow and sometimes pointless. We only know if there is a destination if and when we get there. Otherwise, the crawl is just a journey to a place we hope to get to.
We might make it or we might not, or we might not know if we have achieved our goal. Perhaps the goal is to almost achieve it? Perhaps the goal is to fail? In either case, we keep walking until we can walk no more, and the end is only known when it ends.
What if we're crawling aimlessly? Suppose all of our worry and fear is useless in the grand scheme and our life is nothing more than a long crawl along a floor to no end?
Wouldn't that be a bitch.
Natural History
E.B. White

The spider, dropping down from twig,
Unfolds a plan of her devising,
A thin premeditated rig
To use in rising.
And all that journey down through space,
In cool descent and loyal hearted,
She spins a ladder to the place
From where she started.
Thus I, gone forth as spiders do
In spider's web a truth discerning,
Attach one silken thread to you
For my returning.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Back to complaining.

The bag people.

They're relentless. They love bags and they can't wait to start giving them to us. It has become necessary now to be almost rude to them when they attempt to put a single item into a bag. There are just way too many bags being used. It's a bad habit we've gotten into as a society. Stop and check the number of times people leave a store with one or two items in a bag. What's the bag for? At the very least, you'd think the store would want to save a few cents and encourage their clerks to stop using so many bags.

I walked into the store, picked out the thing I needed and carried it in my own hands to the counter and paid for it. Why then, is it necessary to have it placed in a bag so I can carry it out of the store? I think part of it is psychological - or maybe all of it is.

Leaving a store without a bag constitutes stealing, and we don't like people to think we stole something. "Hey, look at that guy. He's carrying that sandwich out of the store and it's not in a bag. Do you think he stole it?" Of course I did. I steal. Maybe I should wave the receipt like a little paper flag on my way out?

They're quick, the bag people. The product scan and swipe into the bag are a singular motion, and sometimes it's necessary for them to take the product out of the bag after I say, "I don't need a bag." I'm not sure how they feel about it, since I've never asked. It's a skill they must have learned in cashier school or wherever it is that they're taught that everything the store sells belongs in a bag - even products with handles or products that come in their own bag.

At the supermarket, (where I use the dreaded canvas bag) there is some sort of product hierarchy that makes it difficult for the cashier to place soapy products in the same bag with food, and they immediately reach for a tiny plastic bag for the soapy stuff. Both products are wrapped (overly so) but the clerk believes that the thin film of plastic will protect the soapy product from infesting the food product where its natural wrapping will fail. There is a science lesson in there someplace.

"Do you want all of this in the same bag?" they ask, expecting me to incredulously scream "No! My God, how could you put dishwasher tablets in the same bag as a box of cereal? Are you nuts?" Sure, go ahead. Between the layers of product wrapping and my natural immune system, I'll be fine. Get over your bag thing, lady.

I have.