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Thursday, August 18, 2005

Stoned

After the latest headlines for Oliver Stone's pot bust fade, new ones will arise from Stone's involvement in a new 9/11 movie featuring Nicolas Cage.  In fact, they already have.  Stone has a well-earned reputation as a political firebrand, considering that nearly every film he has ever made had some kind of socio-political theme woven into it.  Some people don't like his politics and are afraid of how he might twist the myth of 9/11, but his competence as a film-maker should put those fears to rest.  In fact, I would argue that Oliver Stone is uniquely qualified to make a movie about 9-11.

As proven in Natural Born Killers, JFK, and numerous other brilliant films, Stone is a master of editing different types of film stock to create visceral imagery.  9-11, as experienced by most of the country, that is by those who saw it on TV instead of right outside their windows, was a multi-media experience.  We saw different camera angles, a multitude of images from every conceivable medium.  911 phone calls.  Radio intercepts.  Press conferences.  Amateur footage.  But unlike JFK, there is more than the Zapruder film to document the horror, and knowing Oliver Stone's fetish for stock footage, more than likely we'll see plenty of it edited into his new film.  It's definitely something to look out for.

Speaking of Oliver Stone.  I just saw Alexander, his latest movie just released on DVD.  I read some reviews that called it one of the worst movies of the year.  I didn't think it was that bad.  It wasn't great, but it was what I would consider a noble failure.  Some things just didn't work, and the things that did took a back seat to the things that didn't.  But it was somewhat grittier than either Troy or Gladiator, and I liked that about it.  Plus...it had Rosario Dawson.  There's a woman I could look at all day.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Thoughts on Two Jerks...and a Blonde Joke

Terrell Owens returns to training camp today after his one-week suspension.  In a statement posted on his website, he says, "For you the fan, and your continued support in the most difficult of times, Terrell plans to reward you with a season for the ages. Where small men succumb, great men overcome!"  First of all, Terrell, you are not a “great man.” Thomas Jefferson was a great man.  Martin Luther King was a great man.  You....you are just a football player.  You have done nothing greater than make a few plays and a ton of money.  Get over yourself.  

A co-worker who gets her news from Drudge and Rush Limbaugh hadn't heard about Jack Abramoff's indictment for conspiracy and wire fraud, so of course, she didn't hear about how police want to talk to him about a gangland style hit.  If that's not an argument for diversifying your news sources, I don't know what is.  You simply can't trust the partisan media to tell you the whole story these days, so what you have is liberal publications pushing Abramoff in a guilt-by-association drive to embarrass the Republicans and conservative publications not even mentioning it.  In a perfect world, this wouldn't matter because everyone would be intelligent enough to discern the truth amidst all the bias.  Unfortunately, we don't live in that world.

Here’s a joke I heard on the radio.  Why do blondes wear panties?  In case their ankles get cold.

Monday, August 15, 2005

If you follow football news like I do, you've read a lot about training camp, and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens. I bitched about Owens last year, and this year I hate his guts. He represents everything that's wrong with the attitude of professional football players. When he was with the 49ers, he pissed on the Dallas Star (not literally, of course, but that's what he meant) and gave us all the Sharpie incident. Those things, okay, so they're in bad taste, but they can be chalked up to overexuberance. Then he called his quarterback gay and was traded. The Ravens wanted him, but he refused.

I can pick TO on the phone with his agent. 50 Cent bumps in the background. He's playing a digitized version of himself on Xbox. He's not really paying attention to what his agent says until he hears the word Baltimore. His response: "Man, fuck that!"

The Eagles ended up with him, which was fine with them. The Eagles, although they have yet to win the big one, are perrenially one of the most dominant teams in the NFL. There hasn't been an NFC final game in years that didn't feature Donovan McNabb and his Eagles. TO was going to be a devastating target that was going to finally "take them all the way."

And he was. Thanks the TO, or in spite of TO as it turned out, the Eagles made it to the Super Bowl. He set franchise records and came back from a broken leg to contribute decent numbers to their Super Bowl effort, an effor they lost. And who did TO blame? The Patriots, who had beaten them? Himself? The coaching staff? The media? No. Donovan McNabb's name came up somehow.

And then this year, the second of a seven year $50 million contract, TO held out for restructuring. He missed some training camp and then when he came back, he didn't mesh well. He didn't get along with teammates and eventually tussled with his coach. Last week head coach Andy Reid kicked him out of training camp and suspended him for a week. This weekend, TO was down in Atlanta hanging out with the Falcons.

To hear the sportswriters tell it, TO is on a bizarre crusade of self-destruction and the Eagles would be best to dump him. I agree.

Not only is TO obnoxious, but he's lazy, he's greedy, and he's not a team player. Football, perhaps more than any other sport, is a team game. And there is no glory without a team effort, which is something TO is loathe to provide.

He may be fast, he may be strong. But he is being paid $50 million to play football for seven years. Do you realize how absurd that is? That's above the NFL average. That's above the United States average. That's an insane amount of money. For playing a game once a week a few months a year. Sure the game is big enough now to afford it, but shouldn't $50 million be able to buy some at least some respect?

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Cunning Realist on the sliming of Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a dead US soldier holding a vigil/publicity stunt outside President Bush's Crawford ranch:

Think about the gall of a political and media machine "accusing" a private citizen of changing her mind (imagine that!) about an elected and supposedly accountable public official.....At what point did the ability to change one's mind about a politician become something to be ridiculed and accused of instead of cherished as a basic right?


(In the interest of full disclosure, the Cunning Realist is a self-described lifer in the conservative movement. As you can see, that doesn't mean he's part of the right-wing slime machine.)
Last week I ran across this post talking about nice guys versus bitchy women. If you want to sum it up, basically it says nice guys bad, bitchy women good. Of course, this led to some discussion between me and a female friend (we'll call her Maryanne) on this topic. Being that both of us have had a bad run as of late with the opposite sex, we like to commiserate on the ins and outs of the unending man versus woman cold war.

This was the first volley, with some minor editing for clarity:

-----Original Message-----
From: James
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 9:47 AM
To: Maryanne
Subject: RE: Daily Reading Material

It was interesting but cuts a little close to the bone. I disagree with a lot of it. I'm really sick of "nice guys" being marginalized or portrayed as weak. Whatever. Some guys respect women or at least try to. It doesn't help that we live in a post-feminist world where you're damned if you hold doors for girls and damned if you expect them to get you a beer.

As for the "women don't like to be abused" thing.....bah. It's not her fault....it's always the men. It's not the woman's fault that she sticks around with the boyfriend who is a jerk, who cheats on her, who bosses her around. Nooooooo. It's the man's fault. And women who have a pattern of hooking up with these men....oh it's just bad taste. Not an actual desire to be treated that way. And let's face it....if she didn't like it, she wouldn't put up with it. Now do women actually "like" being mistreated. Actually enjoy it? I doubt it. I can't imagine anyone "liking" being treated like that. But she'll tolerate it, either because she's delusional and has a somewhat idealized mental version of her man that has nothing to do with reality, or she's stupid and doesn't know any better or any number of reasons or maybe, just maybe, she actually does like it. Likes the roller coaster ride because it's unpredictable and thrilling. Doesn't mind the valleys so much because the peaks are so stomach-flippingly amazing that it's somehow worth it.

My friend Nadine (not her real name, ed.)....perfect example of the delusional type. This guy she's been seeing has told her every lie in the book and she has stood there, the perfectly faithful girlfriend. Giving him the benefit of the doubt time and again. She forgave him the fact that he was married. She forgave all the lies. But she's not happy. She doesn't "like" feeling this way, doesn't enjoy being played. And yet she does it. Not because he's such a great guy...obviously he isn't.....but because she thinks that he's better than he is.

This nice guy complaint stuff seems to me like the opposite. Thinking men are worse than they are, because they want a candle lit dinner or to shower you with gifts. Because they write poetry or they're non confrontational. I think when women say "You have to be a man, not some kind of sissy who does whatever I say" what they really mean is "I need to have something to complain about later." It may be an unconscious thought. But I know for a fact that too much security, too much sincerity, too much "nice guyness" scares the shit out of some women.

So where's the balance?


To which Maryanne responded thusly:

-----Original Message-----
From: Maryanne
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 10:10 AM
To: James
Subject: RE: Daily Reading Material

1) Both men and women get themselves into bad co-dependent relationships where they are basically being mistreated by the other party. So Nadine is an example of how people do that, thank you!

2) The nice guy does suck. She tells you the balance in the last exert she writes. The "genuinely" nice guy. The other parts she puts in there I agree with 100%.

If a man is abusive to women then it is his fault, he's abusive. Just as if a woman was to constantly abuse men, she is also at fault. There is a responsibility in your actions. She has an off point with the bad taste idea. One that you might not understand from being a man, whereas you find yourself constantly attracted to the wrong sort of man and therefore dating the wrong man and eternally unhappy because you can not bring yourself to be attracted to what is deemed the right sort of man. It's bad taste in the sense of, I prefer this type of guy, unfortunately this type of guy mistreats me....

And she's totally right about the idea of the guy that showers you with crap you never wanted being a bit possessive. Which you should not be insulted by, you are not this man. This is the man that tends to treat woman as objects. He really does. He thinks he makes up for it by giving her all kinds of crap, and a lot of women think it does....personal choice again I suppose. This is also the guy that doesn't inform his girlfriend or wife or whatever about the things that actually go on in his life. He acts as if she doesn't need to know or doesn't need to worry herself about it. So if your the kind of woman that says, I like to be treated like an idiot who can't think for myself but P.S. gets a lot of pretty crap...then there ya go. This author has no interest, and I concur.

And don't even talk to me about the idea of non-confrontational, when all I have heard from you is that you're tired of dealing with women that seem to be disinterested in solving conflicts. You don't like it in women, we don't like it in men. And let me give you a better example of what she's discussing. Let's say maybe I come home in a bad mood, no fault to my boyfriend. But somehow I get all bent out of shape and suddenly the anger from the day is now all his fault and he;s getting screamed at for maybe breathing too loudly. So that's not an uncommon thing for either sex to do....but the reaction is important. Look, we both know you didn't do me any harm by making that noise when you exhaled....and honestly, for you to apologize to me would be ridiculous. And you know what? DON'T! You don't need to get into a full blown argument at this point, but you do need to stand up for yourself in the sense that, I am allowed to breath, and I don't like being yelled at. She is referring to the guy that will cower in the corner and say, "I'm sorry honey", "you're right, it's all my fault". YUCK!


That, of course, prompted this somewhat pessimistic reply:

-----Original Message-----
From: James
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 11:53 AM
To: Maryanne
Subject: RE: Daily Reading Material

People in general suck, both men and women. Being in a relationship (even if it's not called a "relationship") isn't THAT difficult. It takes respect, a little bit of selflessness (that's a hard one in this day and age), some communication, acceptance, and voila. Just like baking a cake.

Nice guys don't suck. Nice guys deserve to be loved just as much as the not-so-nice guys. They don't have to "genuinely nice". They don't have to be asses, either. But some nice guys truly do want to sweep a woman off her feet. Some guys think it's rude to stare or make a cheap pass. Some guys really are just looking for that one girl they can love. Some guys want to give that girl whatever she wants, including happiness. Most nice guys are not controlling. They are shy. They are respectful. They are grateful. They just want to love and be loved in return.

The guy who pretends to be a nice guy because he's controlling or manipulative is just that...a pretender. He can NOT be included in the "nice guy" category. Not any more than I could be considered a woman if I wore a dress and some six inch heels. He's a wolf in sheep's clothing, but a wolf nonetheless. Same with the mouse in your example. That's not a man. That's a mouse. He might be a nice mouse, but not a "nice guy." Besides....I doubt there are really that man mice like that out there. I doubt even (name deleted to protect the lame), as desperate as he is, would go that route.

And women who have bad taste in men don't get a free pass because they just happen to be attracted to men who are bad for them. Some people...we call them junkies....have a taste for certain substances that are bad for them. Are they absolved of all blame? Or should they deservedly get some crap for continually injecting poison in their veins. (The metaphorical equivalent would be the woman who continually hooks up with the asshole.) Women like that need to go into therapy. Maybe get some treatment for their addiction to bad men. So they're not attracted to the guy who buys her flowers or respects her opinion. Okay, fine. Be careful what you wish for, cuz you just might get it. And while it's not their fault if their man is an abusive jerk...it's their fault if they stay with him. Their fault if they take him back. Their fault if they put up with it, and even enjoy it a little.

And NO ONE is going to convince me that women who are with jerks don't enjoy it....even just a little. I'm reminded of a line from that movie Seven, when they find the Gluttony murder victim. Brad Pitt: "Did you check his vital signs?" Beat Cop: "He's been lying face down in a plate of spaghetti sauce for a half hour. If he wasn't dead, he would have stood up by now." If women didn't like being with assholes.....they wouldn't be with them. They would seek out nice guys.

But can't have that, now can we. Cuz nice guys suck! Haha


Woah, is my bitterness and negativity showing through in that one? Sure looks like it.

Maryanne responded with this:

-----Original Message-----
From: Maryanne
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 12:44 PM
To: James
Subject: RE: Daily Reading Material

If someone does something, no matter how bad it is for them they obviously get something out of it. So I'm not trying to convince you that a woman or a man even...in an abusive relationship isn't getting something out of it.

Nice guys do suck. Do you really want to know why most of the "nice guys" suck in my opinion at least?


And of course, after answering in the affirmative and waiting with bated breath for the answer, for the secret that I have been missing all these years, Maryanne put it down like this:

-----Original Message-----
From: Maryanne
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 2:54 PM
To: James
Subject: RE: Daily Reading Material

To put it quite crudely, the nice guy will not fuck you like you want to be fucked.

Let me explain....

The whole nice guy thing, in my opinion at least, is an antiquated concept at best. In the 1950's the "nice guy" did not finish last. And most girls did not want the bad boy, they wanted the nice guy that was sweet to them and would marry them and take care of them.

It's not the 1950's anymore. I don't need to get married I can stay single. I don't need to have kids, I can go without. I don't need to get married, I can make my own money, pay for own apartment, drive my own car, get my own health insurance....the long and the short of it, I don't need you! I may want you, but I don't need you.

So because this sexual revolution that has taken place in the last 55 years I think you would agree that gender roles have changed. Look, if I don't need you to take care of me, do I really need you to open a door? Do I really need you to "sweep me off my feet"? No...and where this is all nice, I am certainly not one of these woman that will ever put someone down for holding the door for me, but necessary...not anymore.

To me, the nice guy, the guy who puts me on a pedastal, the guy that treats me like some princess....this guy, does not value me as a human being, as an EQUAL actually. That guy does not treat me as an equal as a sexual playmate, that dude treats me like some delicate flower. Hardly wants to breath on me for fear I will wilt beneath him. This is the guy that calls himself a nice guy, saying he is not going to half attack his date at the end of the night to get a good night kiss, but in all actuality would really like a kiss and just won't take it!

And it's funny right, cause I will sit here and say, I don't need you to do blah blah blah, but on the other hand I still need you to be a man and make the first move and yes sir...please half attack me at the end of the night to get a kiss. Cause that beats the hell out of a 20 minute awkward conversation about how fun the evening is, where we both really want to kiss each other but no one's doing anything!!!! ARG!

So that's where the bad boy comes in. The bad half attacks me, the bad boy isn't shy about what he wants, the bad boy sees me as an equal. I mean come on, do I think that just because someone is a "nice guy" that he's not in the locker room talking just as much shit as the "bad boy", the difference is the bad boy does it to my face.


All very good points and admittedly eye-opening, but instead of offering answers it just leads to more questions. For instance, if a girl is willing to overlook the negative aspects of the "bad boy" archetype, why is it hard to overlook the bad things about "nice guys?" Pondering that led to this repsonse:


From: James
Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 3:53 PM
To: Maryanne
Subject: RE: Daily Reading Material
That’s an interesting perspective. But don’t you think there will be a time in the not-too-distant future where you won’t be so young and beautiful and it won’t be just about getting laid? Oh that will still be a factor, but you get older. You put on weight. Your skin starts to wrinkle and fade. You’re taking care of things, paying the bills, going to work. You find that you’re lonely, you want some intimacy, you want someone there, not just a sexual playmate, someone to care about, someone to care about you. The bad boy stuff gets boring, too much drama to bring into the comfortable life you’ve built for yourself, too tedious. What then? You want a nice guy. Now you yearn for respect not just another hit and quit. You want someone who isn’t going to embarrass you in public. Someone who isn’t going to face charges. Someone boring and stable and there.

I think, eventually, on a long enough time line, every girl wants a “nice guy.” It’s made light of in sayings like “I’m not looking for Mr. Right. I’m looking for Mr. Right Now.” It’s part of the growing up process. You spend your teens experimenting. Your twenties expanding and perfecting, picking up tips and scars along the way. By the time you hit your thirties, you find your tastes change. Much like they did when you gave up Saturday morning cartoons for Friday night parties. The bad boy stuff just seems…loserish. The nice guy stuff…well, seems tragic. It’s almost as if you wish that there was some way to mix the two, to make a Frankenstein crafted from the best qualities of both nice guys and bad boys, minus all the stuff they don’t like.

And you know...some nice guys do have skills. Some of them may even have skills above and beyond any bad boy out there. But like a set of good China, they only come out of the cupboard on special occasions. I would think that would be appealing to women in some way. Of course, this isn’t something as obvious as the bad boy pawing your breast…and you wouldn’t know it from looking at them. It might even take a little effort to bring it out. But once it’s there, you got all you ever wanted and none of the bad boy baggage.

For anyone, guy or girl, good or bad, getting laid is easy. You just tell em what they want to hear, hold back the stuff they don’t, and keep it physical. But it’s not always about that. Or is it?


Maryanne was unimpressed. Nice guys never win.

Well, I wouldn't say never. I have hope. And this is what I see happening. I see myself remaining single until I get a few years older, after I turn 30. It's unproven, but I suspect that older people, those with a decade of experience and the battlescars to prove it, are a little more laid back in their approach to love and romance. There's not so many silly rules to abide by. Not so many rash ill-planned decisions. By then, they are sick of the games, sick of fickle selfish women and sick of immature asshole men. They want something stable, something free of dramatic Jerry Springer hysterics, something more than just a good lay, something genuine and real. After all, the world is a lonely place and no one wants to die alone.

Maybe I'm wrong about that....I hope not, because if I am, I'm fucked.