Monday, February 22, 2010

Americans Humble Uppity Canadians!

Look, some of my best friends are Canadian. I really like Canada. So much so that I chose my ancestors to be from there (I'm half French-Canadian. That would be "Le" Blaiser to vous, buddy.)

But I have to say, when Jamie Salé and David Pelletier were artistically out-skated by the Russians in 2002 at Salt Lake, and then had the gall to ask for a do-over when they didn't get the gold all for themselves, it was as if the entire country jumped the shark and landed with a resounding PLOTZ in the Artic Circle. For me.

I know, I know, I'm bringing a minority opinion here--not many people agreed with the French judge, but sometimes the truth hurts--despite the ensuing brouhaha, if you value artistry over athletic prowess--and what French judge doesn't--then the Russians get it every time. And Canada, not for nothing, but we turn to you for more polite, better-dressed versions of our American selves. If I wanted to see spoiled athletes getting preferential treatment, I needn't look any further than my alma mater, SUNY-Binghamton.

So. Regarding last night's drubbing in Olympic Hockey in Vancouver's ingenuously named Canada Hockey Place, Let's just say our Friends to the North have had this coming for quite some time. Sorry. Yes it had to be your national sport, and on home ice. Don't do it again. Unless you want to come down to Fenway and beat us at baseball.

And you gotta get through 2007 World Series MVP Mike Lowell to do that. Not much stops Senator Lowell--testicular cancer, surgically repaired thumbs, or flaky deals with Texas. Dude also graduated with a 4.0 from high school and wrote a book, which I aim to check out, post haste. How many books has Jamie Salé written that don't have the word "Pouty" in the title. I'm just sayin'.

Thanks for reading, and please remember that just because I finally broke down and got one of those digital cable-box tuner thingys for my TV, it doesn't mean that adult males look cool on Razor Scooters.

Monday, February 8, 2010

When He's Sixty-Four

When I finally got the progeny all tucked in last night, a quick check on the Intehnets brought joyous tidings from the South--New Orleans had stunned the Pop-Jock Colts, and I'm sure Bourbon Street is flowing as I type, merely 10 hours later.

Here's my take: The Saints watched living legends Pete Townshend and Roger Daltry putting all men to shame in 12-minutes flat, and then came out 50-some-strong to answer one of rock's--and teendom's--ineffable questions: "Who the bleep are you?" Who the bleep are we? We're survivors. We're onside kick at the top of the Second Half. We're Special Teams, and we want our goddammed football back. Who the BLEEP are YOU?

When I was hanging out in college radio land, there was this guy named Holmsie (and not for nothing, isn't there always a Holmsie?), who went on and on about The Who. Tied up in Tears for Fears as I was, I didn't get it, and I never understood the sheer power of The Who until adulthood. Like the Fab Four, two of them have rocked on to the next life, and after last night's Super Bowl Halftime Show, I'm thinking of accepting Pete Townshend as my personal Lord and Saviour.

Cagey in Matrix-styled mirrored shades and topped with a cheeky porkpie hat, the lead guitarist for the greatest rock band ever was a walking wink; ever the sly one, Pete Townshend has consistently been up to no good, his whole life. The cat can play. He can still sing. He's 64.

No one can top him. Let's just run down the list.

Sir Elton's candle has flickered into Pop-Musical Theatre Irrelevance, Age 62

Aerosmith's Steven Tyler is back in rehab, and once he dries out needs to get back to the business of presiding as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Age 61

Pauvre Guillame Joel... you will always be the man, but for now, see Tyler. Age 60

Sir Paul. I'm so sorry, Sir Paul. You are THE living legend. A pharoah amongst songwriters. Your music is scripture. But you fell from grace quite a bit when you released a pro-war song for pity's sake. And then the one-legged lady hopped away from you. Honestly, what are we to make of that? Age, 67
Mick. OK, in fairness, this guy is a close second, but he doesn't play guitar. At least not like Pete. Age, 66.

Keith Richards. Title of Greatest Living Rocker only open to the living.

Robert Matthew Van Winkle. Thank you for tipping your Wal*Mart of Pensacola Valet Parking Attendents! Age, 42.

Pete Townshend oughta get the key to New Orleans. I may be the only one who knows, and I'm giving him full personal credit for motivating last night's dreamy deliverance. It was every bit as good as Prince singing Purple Rain *in* the rain. Hypnotic lights. Ejaculatory fireworks. Transcendent rock, nearly every lick a line of poetry. God Bless the British Invasion.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bonedry Sledding Hills and the Goondock Saints...

The rarest moment in early parenthood, perhaps, is when one is up in the morning while the progeny sleeps.

He was up quite late two nights ago, and it finally has caught up to him, and so, with jazz tinkling on the boom box and coffee brewing in the pot, I have a moment to sit at the table, wrapped in fleece, grey light filtering in from the slatted blinds. Sunday morning. And the weather has done us wrong.

I am very happy for the kids to the south, for they have received the blizzard of a lifetime. I remember such a snowdrop--in '77, when my dad stuck a be-snowsuited me into a drift that came up to my waist, and they had to plow our 1000-foot driveway with a bulldozer. Today, the children of the southern mid-Atlantic can romp as never before in their young lives, and here's to that, but for most of Essex County, NJ, it's absolute bollocks--a mere dusting; the sleighs would only tear the crap out of the hill. Ah well.

At least there's The Goonies.

Released in '84, it was two years too late for me, but it must have been a generation-defining flick for kids born, say, '71--'74. In it, Samwise Gamgee, at age 13, leads a pack of hormonally hammered dorks who are on the brink of a neighborhood-destroying regime change, resplendent with hopeful hunk big brother Josh Brolin and improbable 80s genius Corey Feldman--sporting a Purple Rain T-shirt and brushing his feathered coif--effortlessly dishing out his best work; I write this without a stitch of irony. Throw in Jeff Cohen as a chubby hero; the iconic Jonathan Ke Quan as a pint-sized nonspecific Asian 007; Joe Pantoliano, who had to have been balding at 15 and who makes even sarcasm itself wince; and an operatic Robert Davi (Oh -- That guy!), one of the most sympathetic bad guys in the history of screwball tween comedies, and you get timeless cinematic bliss--one that the progeny loved last night, one that made up for the lack of a blizzard some 25 years after its birth. Oh yeah, and there's a pinhead. With suspenders and a Superman T-shirt. Just like Jesus in Godspell.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the racialist overtones in The Goonies (graduate students at the University of Silly Studies, take note, for herein lies more than one doctoral thesis). Ke Quan's accent is impossibly "Asian," which is meant to be funny; but wouldn't most kids be speaking unaccented Engrish by that time? And there's a recurring gag of a Hispanic cleaning lady who has the singular cinematic misfortune of auditioning for this turkey relying upon Feldman's character for translation. Ha, ha ha -- Look! She can't speak the language! At the end of the movie, I almost wanted her to keep the jewels and let the gringos' mostly lilly white world meet the wrecking ball.

But in Spielberg's world, the adults merely prop up the dorkitude for a lusty audience. A dusty pirate treasure map is discovered in the attic, and single-speed bike-powered, Cyndi Lauper-backed hijinks ensue. The Goonies are like Our Gang, and Sean Astin an earnest late 20-Century Spanky. Even at age 13, you can tell he knows all along he'll triumph at the end. 'Cause when your final destination is Mordor and your final goal saving all of Middle Earth, busting up a real estate deal in Northern Oregon is but a sweet flyswat of storytelling.

Monday, February 1, 2010

When In Doubt, Land On The NJ Turnpike

Bless me Monday, for I have sinned. It's been seven days since I last kicked your ass, lest you kicked mine.

The air is cold, yet my sky is blue. Today is an excellent day to pay those outstanding fines, write your Grandma even though you're sending belated wishes, speak to the Judge, call your respective agents and negotiate a better tomorrow.

But let's stick to the present tense, even as time stretches around us, Einstein's rubber band, the dimensional rodeo bull that the Swiss make such elegant attempts to lasso to one's wrist.

Today I'm blessed to edit a posthumous manuscript, take a breath for those who can't. Drink coffee. Reconsider the sardine. Bathe in the programming of NPR, my daily glockenspiel of feel-good Lefty Love.

It's February One, and we liberate the Lachrymose Lagomorphs.

A traffic reporter achieved meta-Nirvana today by becoming one with his work, landing on the New Jersey Turnpike like a single-engine Sully, low on oil and high on chutzpah.

Appropos of nothing, here's a leg up on the very latest Smart Phone Aps, as we inevitably barrel ahead toward a future in which Andy Warhol predicted we would all have our own Tricorders:

(Here is where, if I were any good with art, there'd be some funny drawings. Portfolios now welcomed for in-house illustrator...)

The Fire-Extinguisher Ap Remember to sweep your Smart Device back and forth, aimed toward the base of the flames.

The Taser Ap Making the New York City subway ride so much more civilized...

The Toilet Paper Ap Forget leaves in the woods. You ain't been a real man til you've wiped your arse with an iPhone. Bundled with free Purell Ap

The Diner Equilibrium Ap Alters the molecular structure of your smart phone to take on the physical properties of that familiar simple machine, the inclined plane. Then simply slip under the foot of a wobbly table. Usage triggers a 15-minute loop of  "Chim Chim Cher-ee."

The Gentleman's Argument Ap End pointless pissing contests with friends and enemies with this handy little gem. Upon execution, a telecoping arm shoots out of your Smart Device's USB port, with an inflatable white leather glove on the end. On the pinky of the glove is a photosensitive fiber-optic camera that scans in front of the user, and directs the glove to identify the nearest male human and slap its face three times (you cad, you beast, you unearthly slob!)

The Fake Orgasm Ap In today's multitasking society, every little bit helps! If it's already fake.... why not let your Smart Device do the moaning for you, freeing up your actual voice to order pizza, program your voice-activated TIVO, or simply rest, in preparation for tomorrow's daily keening.

Thanks for reading, and just remember that if God had intended you to actually use your iPhone to fake orgasms, he would have given Jaime and Steve bionic nether parts.