Thursday, January 18, 2007

Who Wants to Be a Celebrity?

"We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."
This was only one line out of a hundred memorable lines in the 1999 movie Fight Club, which so happens to be one of my favorite movies. Ironically, though, the line was delivered by Brad Pitt, who is both a "movie god" and a millionaire. (Though thankfully not a rock star, which is more than could be said for his Fight Club co-star, Jared Leto.)

I find this quote interesting because I think that it has something to do with the explosion of celebrity snark these days. It's hard to be a celebrity these days. Just ask Mel Gibson and Michael Richards. Or Tom Cruise, Britney Spears, Jessica Simpson, Ben Affleck. I mean, isn't the career path of Paris Hilton best described as "We build her up, so we can tear her down."

It used to be that the stars were looked up to. People wanted to be them, wanted to be like them. That's what made them stars. Do you think Michael Jordan would have been in all those McDonald's or Hanes ads if the corporate advertisers didn't think you wanted to "be like Mike?"

But do you want to be Tom Cruise? An object of merciless ridicule, about your height, about your wife, about your baby, about your day on Oprah. I don't think so.

Would you want to have to look around every day to make sure there are no photographers hiding in the bushes with a telephoto lens? Would you want a grainy, unappealing photo of your cottage cheese ass blaring out of every checkstand in America?

I'm sure you wouldn't mind the millions, and the huge estate in Malibu, the vacation cottage in Aspen, the private jets and personal assistants. But all that other shit? Who needs it?

Not me. I'd rather be just rich than rich and famous.

Celebrities walk around with targets on their backs. The just rich...they could be anybody. From their vantage point, there's not too many perks in being a celebrity.

One of the perks of being a celebrity is something called "awards season." It's like the "Christmas season" in the real world. Things slow down. You have a lot of time off and spend a lot of time preparing for that one big day. Only if you're a celebrity during "awards season" your main concern is getting the right look. Working out, chemical peels, botox, fittings with your designer. Then there's all the politicking, the meet and greets and the photo ops and the celebratory screenings.

And sometimes, just sometimes, you say something that really pisses someone off. Michael Moore did it as the Oscars. The band shushed him and the press tore into him, and now people roll their eyes when they hear his name. Republicans even named a wing of the Democratic party after him.

And then you got Isaiah Washington, with his "I never called T.R. a faggot," comments. I saw a bit of the video today on CNN, and apparently he said it with the full cast behind him. You could just see how some of their gazes narrowed and they shook their heads. Katherine Heigel was pretty pissed afterwards, too, and T.R. was on Ellen, trying to put his feelings into words.

It's kind of a funny story, when you think about it. A hit award-winning show. A fist fight on the set. A homophobic slur. The outing of an actor. Hurt feelings. Bitter resentment. Careers in jeopardy.

And of course the famous celebrity mea culpa, in which Washington's case reads in part:
“I apologize to T.R., my colleagues, the fans of the show and especially the lesbian and gay community for using a word that is unacceptable in any context or circumstance. I marred what should have been a perfect night for everyone who works on ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ I can neither defend nor explain my behavior. I can also no longer deny to myself that there are issues I obviously need to examine within my own soul, and I’ve asked for help.”
Is rehab far behind?

To add to the stew, Washington convincingly played a gay man in Spike Lee's Get on the Bus and his performance would have led me to believe he had a certain empathy with the gay experience. But I guess that's why they call it acting.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Regional Sports

Ten years ago, the "Seattle sound" was what everyone wanted. Now, not so much.

I don't watch American Idol, though. I second Triumph when he says:
American Idols, that's who I look for
In the poop section of my local record store
Ruben or clay, oh which should I pick
It's like choosing which puddle of vomit to lick
I do watch NBA basketball though. And tonight we watched the Lakers take one out of the hands of San Antonio. It would be nice to see the Nuggets, but we don't have Altitude, the super special network owned by Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche.

It's kind of funny, really. What's he doing trying to start a network? Altitude's ten state region only had 3 NBA teams in it.

Although, it does make you think. How come Las Vegas doesn't have any pro teams? I think that should change. One of the most popular tourist destinations in the US and no pro ball teams? If I had a few billion, I'd start an NFL franchise in Las Vegas.

If expansion isn't an option, I'd buy a team and move it to Las Vegas. I'd get a casino group to help fund the stadium. And I would be rich! Fans from around the country could come see their home team play at the Bellagio Stadium. We'll call them the Las Vegas Gamblers. The Ace of Spades would be our logo.

Where would I get the team? California has a couple to spare. New York, too, but I doubt they'd let go of any of theirs. (The Las Vegas Bills probably wouldn't sell very many tickets, either.) Ohio and Texas could afford to lose a team, but I don't want any of those. Florida could spare at least one. Jacksonville's not too attached to the Jaguars are they?

Road Rage

The people driving on the streets of Denver today are lucky that I don't have a car-mounted rocket launcher.

I mean, I don't mind if you want to go slow. Just do it behind me. And whatever you do, don't pace the dude next to you, alright? Create a passing lane.

To me, driving is about one thing and one thing only --getting from point A to point B-- and it astounds me that most people drive like they have no place to go. Like they're just out and about, seeing the sights.

Roll over accident on the other side of the highway? Well, can't miss this...let me just go ahead and apply pressure to my brakes.

Speed limit is 55? Well, I'll go 54. Don't want to get a speeding ticket, now do we?

Red light? Well, that's a perfect time to groom my fingernails.

I think that the government should instantly revoke every single drivers license out there. No more of this amateur hour shit. Leave it to the professionals. We make a rule: No one gets to drive a car unless they're getting paid to do it. The only people who can get drivers licenses are cab drivers, limo drivers, truck drivers, and police officers.

It would create jobs, for one. And it would save us tons of money. Less gas, less pollution, less traffic congestion, less time lost sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic jams. No more road rage. Less car accidents.

Our world would be perfect. Our world without drivers.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

George W Bush What?

Hold the phone.

President Bush tells Jim Lehrer Saddam's execution ""looked like it was kind of a revenge killing," which is kind of an understatement. He continues:
"I was disappointed and felt like they fumbled the — particularly the Saddam Hussein execution," the president said in an interview with PBS' Jim Lehrer.
If only his devotees were so lucid.

Of course, they've been conditioned by Bush's own rhetoric to celebrate the death and destruction that's occurring in Iraq as some kind of neccesary re-birthing process. You've been hearing that a lot lately, about the growing pains and the "maturation" of the Iraqi government.

But when you step outside all that, and embrace your human side, the side that's telling you that you're not alone in this universe, you start to realize how sick and disgusting it all is.

The first taste was probably Uday and Qusay, their corpses laid out and made recognizable. The military said they wanted to show the people of Iraq that they were dead, but putting the corpses on TV was little more than morbid bragging. In a way, it's no different than putting the heads of your rivals on a pike outside the castle.

Aside from proving their deaths, the parading of their corpses and the popping of champage corks says, This could happen to you. The message was loud and clear.

Then Zarqawi, Saddam, Saddam's brother, the "pranks" at Abu Ghraib, the Haditha massacre. It just makes you go......ugggghhhh.

You start to wonder why we're over there. Who are we helping? Are we just following the flawed war plan of an incompetent executive? Are we trying to defeat Islamic jihadism? Secure their oil for our thirsty markets? Get some influence in their government to gain leverage over Iran? Are we flexing our muscles because we were attacked on 9-11? Do we, as Americans born of the 20th Century, need to have a war every generation or so to maintain our economic superiority by feeding the military-industrial complex? Are we trying to hasten the apocalypse?

You tell me.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Thoughts on the Golden Globes

This guy did some serious nerding out on Star Wars. I have to disagree with...pretty much everything this guy is saying. Maybe that's the backstory that George Lucas intended...doubt it...but then again, I don't think Episodes I thru III were the backstory Lucas intended.

I mean, would Darth Vader ever scream "Noooooooooo!" when he found out the double-crossing bitch that he beat up later died? Not my Darth Vader!

There's a new movie coming out starring Jeremy Piven called Smokin Aces. You've seen the commercial.

After watching a few clips on the site, it looks like a movie that's right up my alley. And it has Alicia Keys in it. Do you know how awesome that is?

It's way more awesome than say...The Queen, which cleaned up at the Golden Globes tonight. My co-worker, Shades, loves to watch awards shows, I've found out. We watched the People's Choice Awards last week and now the Golden Globes. I mean, it was an entertaining show, better than the Oscars, I'd say.

Instead of being seated in the aisles of a theater, they're at tables, with drinks in their hands, surrounded by other celebrities. They showed a shot of someone who was nominated...and wait a minute, was that Prince?

Plus the Oscars are only about movies, and they get a little hoity toity about Hollywood magic and all that. I mean, you would have thought Crash had changed so many lives it was becoming it's own religion.

When you're giving out awards to Ugly Betty, you can't really claim the high road. I've seen Ugly Betty. It's not lame...but it's not my thing.

Babel won. Helen Mirren won...a lot. Fucking Borat won even! Now there's a movie I still have to see.

An interesting thing, though. Ben Affleck was there, so was Jennifer Lopez and hubby Mark Anthony. Cameron Diaz was there, wearing some weird poofy dress like she was last week, and so was Justin Timberlake. Brad Pitt was there with Angelina Jolie, and you know she's fucked everyone else in the room. What a weird stew of love and heartbreak swirling around that room.

I can imagine all the drama brewing beneath the surface. Cameron Diaz, insecure, wondering if she looks perky and happy even though she just got dumped by Dick in a Box. Ben Affleck, shooting stares at J. Lo's table thinking, that bitch ruined my career. And look at her, sitting next to that troll, wishing she had a baby like I do. I'm way better looking than him.

Then there was Eddie Murphy, sitting at the table with some beautiful young thing that wasn't the very pregnant Spice Girl he recently dumped. She may have been hired, but she at least looked female.

Martin Scorsese and Stephen Spielberg both came on stage when Marty won for The Departed, another movie I have yet to see. It was like seeing two Olympian gods handed Zeus's thunderbolt. Spielberg and Scorsese.

I think you could make a case that those two guys are some of the most influential artists of the last century or so. Yeah, artists. Picasso just painted pictures. Andy Warhol had his minions silk screening shit at his Factory. Pollack drank a lot and dripped his soul out onto canvas. Very noble, arty things, of course.

But a case can be made that Scorsese and Spielberg, as artists, are much more relevant to our society. I won't make that case here. I'm just saying.

The Playoffs

A couple of close games today, scoring wise. The Bears pulled off an overtime victory against the Seahawks in Chicago. Oh, the kicking game.

One of the lamest parts of playoff football.

At least there's the "oh shit, we gotta do something now" moments in the playoffs. You see that during the regular season, but it's always half-hearted, as if the players have already accepted the loss. In the playoffs, a loss is the end.

The end of a dream, of hope, the end of a whole season of accomplishments. You lose, you're out. So things get vicious, amped up a little more. The game becomes playoff football.

I was glad the Bears beat the Hawks, though. The Bears have been putting together a good season and Grossman has been taking a lot of criticism. He didn't lose today, let's just put it that way. The Seahawks...well, they play at Qwest Field, so fuck them.


I keed, I keed.

The other game though, man, that one really hurt my feelings. The Chargers, with league MVP (the new) LT, LaDainian Tomlinson, great coach Marty Schottenheimer, rookie quarterback Phillip Rivers, and a defense that eats grass and spits fireballs, not to mention the substance abuse violations. They went 14-2, crushed everyone in their path, including the Broncos, and for the most part hung in there with Tom Brady's Patriots.

It's unfortunate, though, that Tom Brady's Patriots just happen to be one of the best playoff football teams ever. Three Super Bowls, a dozen playoff victories. They're good, man, I'm telling you.

But I thought the Chargers would take them. This was Marty's year. How many playoffs teams has Marty Schottenheimer coached? Every team he coached. The Browns, the Skins, the Chiefs, the Chargers. All of them flourished under Marty.

But he never coached a Super Bowl. And they're already talking about firing him already!!! Keep Marty. Try again next year.

The AFC belongs to the Colts anyway.

Now that the field has been narrowed down to the final four, you want my Super Bowl prediction?

The Colts versus the Saints.

The Saints take it by 10.

Yadda, Yadda, Yoda (Ah, gotcha!)

I couldn't wait to get off tonight and plop my ass in front of the first episode of the new season of Rome. Unfortunately, I set my DVR up to record the wrong one, the last episode of the previous season, but no worries. They'll be playing it all week.

I loved the first season and have hipe hopes for this one. I will, however, miss Indira Varma, who killed herself out of guilt for mothering a child while her husband was away at war. Indira's got the kind of beauty that says "Maybe she's born with it," rather than "Maybe it's Maybelline."

Again, it snowed this weekend, and along with the snow, we've had artic temperatures. Right now, just past midnight Mountain time, it's 3 degrees. Skies are clearing, but tomorrow it's not expected to get over 20.

You know what that means. More icy roads. More torture for my car.

The good news is my schedule is changing at the end of this week. Yes, soon I will be working the night shift, a night owl, a lonely voice in the night. The office will be empty. I'll be alone, me and the video wall. The sad thing is that it's all the weekend days, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, but the good thing is that it's four-tens. One less day of commuting, one more day off.

I suspect I'll need that day to recover from the odd hours, but it's not so bad if you think about it this way: I don't have to be at work from Tuesday morning at 8 until Friday night at 10.

That's not so bad.