Friday, January 9, 2009

High Resolution

Well, I think I’ve come up with my 2009 resolution. It combines something I’m not sure I’m capable of, with something I’d really like to do, with something I really think should be done. What more could I want?

I’ve decided (and it’s okay to think I’m crazy; I think I’m crazy too) to try to come up with an advertising campaign about litter in Texas. Something to update the old “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign. Because the amount of litter in this state is just sick.

I’ve never lived in a place that had so much garbage just laying around. It’s by the side of the road. It’s down river beds. It’s in open fields. And people seem to have no sense of shame about it. I’ve seen people clean their cars out driving down the freeway. I’ve seen people leave beer bottles, piles of cigarette butts and dirty diapers in parking lots. Which to me is a total WTF?. Walk ten feet to the garbage can, for crying out loud. Okay, you don’t want it in your car. But I don’t want it in my state either.

So there has to be something that changes attitudes. Because people talk a good game about loving this state. But when it comes to keeping it clean, Texans are all hat and no cattle. I mean would you treat something you’re proud of that way? Hell no.

And I’ve always thought I’d be a good advertising person, if it wouldn’t make me feel like a minion of Satan to use my powers of persuasion to get people to buy corn syrup and SUVs. But this is something I can get behind. I can be persuasive. I just need to use my power for good and not evil.

I don’t know if I’ll come up with anything that would really work. I don’t know if anybody would listen to me if I did come up with something that would work. I don’t know if I could convince an entire state that eco friendly isn’t just shopping bags and light bulbs. But I don’t have to resolve to succeed. I just have to resolve to try. I have to try.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ambivalence - It's such a handy word

To review: Ambivalence - n. - The coexistence of opposing attitudes or feelings, such as love and hate, toward a person, object, or idea.

Take one movie. Add Harry Connick Jr. looking yummier than he has EVER looked before. (The man should be a spokesman for Redi-Whip. You know what I'm talkin' 'bout. Yes, indeed. Can I get an amen from the choir?) Then make Renee Zelwegger the star.

But . . . I . . . what? I . . . but . . . why? What? How? No! I . . . oh. Damn.

Watch out. Here comes the Bride

I think that Bride Wars kind of defines what I think is wrong with Hollywood these days. I can state ahead of time that it is within the realm of possibility that I could be wrong in this. It could be a charming romp that delights from an opening montage set to an appropriately upbeat 80s tune to the closing credits accompanied by a sappy jingle by whoever the up and coming pop princess of the moment is (just guessing). But I look at the trailers and I can't see anything there that I haven't seen at least a dozen times before. A silly movie with an even sillier plot, punctuated by pop culutre gags. Bo-ring.

And I used to loooooove these silly bits of non-sense. But let's face it, there isn't a Billy Wilder out there writing these things anymore. I don't think even Billy Crystal is writing these anymore. I'm starting to think there's a ROMCOM3000 program that spits out this drivel. The dialogue sucks. The plots are laaaaaame. And the poor actors are relying on charm and bone structure to get them through. That's a lot to ask. And there's only so many times you can ride that pony.

And speaking on relying on charm to get them through - was using Bride Wars as a vehicle for Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway really necessary? If you're going to use a stale bit of fluff as a vehicle, you'd better put people in the parts that can make something out of it. Whatever Happened to Baby Jane is a piece of crap. But it's a piece of crap with Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. Now that I want to see. You know what would have made Bride Wars worth the ticket and the extra big bucket of popcorn? Meryl Streep and Glenn Close. Ah, hell yeah! That says blockbuster. Meryl and Glenn wrestling on the floor of the Plaza in white taffetta? Sublime. And Hudson and Hathaway could be bridesmaids standing around looking aghast. And maybe learn something. Someday they may have the chops to bring a stale screenplay on home. But it ain't today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Doctor, Doctor!,8599,1870028,00.html

I am so totally behind Dr. Sanjay Gupta being nominated as the Surgeon General. He's got the two Cs that always get me: cute and compassionate. And while that doesn't necessarily qualify him to lead a national health initiative, he does have other stuff going for him. He's extremely articulate. He's book smart and people smart. And, oh, by the way, dude works his ass off. CNN correspondent, works for a university and still works in seeing patients. And you don't have to worry if it's as hard a brain surgery. He can do that too. I think he'd totally kick ass.

Okay, I'm a little prejudiced because he was responsible for the funniest moment ever on CNN. Well, second funniest after that correspondent getting hit in the chest by the flying Chinese carp. That one is hard to beat. But almost as funny was when Dr. Sanjay did the Planet in Peril piece about endangered species and traditional medicine. He went into this restaurant in China and all innocent-like asked for tiger testicles. The manager is like "Oh, we don't serve that. It's an endangered species. Ho, ho. We wouldn't break the law." And Dr. Sanj is like "Isn't this the Chinese symbol for tiger testicles right here???" and he points to the menu - wa-pah! Busted! You could tell that the manager wasn't expecting to get called out on camera and he got all flustered and tried to play it off like it was just a joke for the tourists. Yeah, right, keep talking, buddy. It was hilarious. And educational. A teaching moment. With chuckles.

Anyway, I totally agree with this article that the US has to get behind preventive medicine. We all know that we're breaking the health system by living unhealthy and expecting to get a pill that will fix the damage we've done to our own bodies. Diabetes and heart disease have got to be on the top of the list if we're going to turn this Titanic around. And I think Dr. Sanjay is a get it done kind of guy.

On a side note, little known fact, I actually met a Surgeon General once. C. Everett Koop's wife attended my parents' church when I was in high school. He'd show up with her every once in awhile, and I met him in one of those after church shake everybody's hand kind of things. Kinda cool. He's the SG that pissed everybody off for a lot of things. Among others saying that kids should learn how to put a condom on correctly in school. Thought it was a health issue for some crazy reason. Whackiness. He definitely didn't learn that one in that church, let me tell ya.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Truth is Beauty (with apologies to Mr. Keats)

I admit it - I watched True Beauty last night. I know I shouldn't. I know my response should be, "What? Oh? Pretty people can be mean? Got it. Thanks. I went to high school." The premise is that 10 of the beautiful people are gathered together to compete for the title of America's Most Beautiful Person and $100,000. Really. They signed up for this. Obviously not competing for America's Smartest Beautiful Person. But regardless. They show up at the obligatory mansion all raring to catfight between bizarre challenges. But the "catch" (can it be called a catch when it's blindingly obvious?) is that they are really being judged on "inner" beauty. As in, is it possible to be both pretty and nice. Seriously, I shouldn't be watching this. It will affect my karma.

But I still watched it. It's like that scab that you just want to pick. Just a little. Can't resist. It was a learning experience. Number one, I didn't know that pretty people actually talked about how pretty they are. Modesty for this, admittedly, lovely bunch of bananas appears to be a foreign concept. Number two, pretty people are a lot less interesting than I would have guessed. Scratch the glitter and you just seem to find another layer of glitter. The main topic of conversation appeared to be how hot everyone was. There was probably a reason nobody at the Algonquin Round Table was a real looker. Number three, it is really hard to talk about how superficial someone else is without coming off kind of, well, superficial. The judges kind of keep the big hook a secret, then lower the boom when somebody gets kicked off, showing them the tape of them being an asswipe during the challenges. Yee-ouch. Harsh is a look even supermodel/judge Cheryl Tiegs can't pull of.

So far, the only really big surprise has been that the two people who are meanest to other pretties have been the nicest to the normals. And actually, they appear to hate each other right out of the gate. At this point I'm hoping that they fall in love with each other in the end and it turns out to be a Bizarro World version of Pride and Prejudice. So romantic. Sick, sad, wrong and romantic.

My resume won't be in the mail

Forget it, Feebs. I hate to crush your hopes in this brutal fashion, but I'm just not going to apply. So quit giving me the puppy dog eyes. Not gonna happen.

Yes, I know I'd look all hot and Sculliesque in a non-descript suit with a Glock .50 strapped to my hip. And put me in the windbreaker with the big "FBI" in yellow on the back, and I'd look cuter than J. Edgar Hoover in a prom gown.

But we both know how it would go. You'd see my mad psych skills and want me to be a profiler. But I'm still in recovery from seeing Silence of the Lambs. I get this image of Buffalo Bill doing the tuck and cover, and I just . . . eeewww. Just eeewww. And even though I'd probably make the best hostage negotiator of all time ["Send in the Wendy's fries - extra salt. But no soda. If they want a Coke they're going to have to give me a hostage. How ya like them salty apples, bad boy? And turn up the volume on the Beyonce CD. No, it's not to torture them. I just like "Put a Ring On It". If ya liked then ya shoulda . . ."], but I just can't see spending my time sitting outside a fundamentalist compound. Do you know where those people always live? Waco my ass.

I'm sorry, FBI. It's just not meant to be.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Drink a cup of kindness

In all the rush of the New Year, I forgot my annual "grateful" post. So here it is:

Thanks to everybody who has wandered in to read the ramblings of a semi-sane babbler. Or babblings of a semi-insane rambler. Especially "thank you" to Washington Gardener, Angela J., Mo and Des for your comments, and making sure to call me on it when I wander off the "semi" path. I appreciate ya.

Thanks to the Dallas theater community for giving me lots to talk about in 2008. I'm always in debt to people who work to keep me amused. Not that keeping me amused is that hard. Any shiny object will do. But you went above and beyond the call.

On the literary front: Thanks to Neil Gaiman for the Graveyard Book. You know I'm just hanging around waiting for the next big book. But tasty little tidbits like this make the wait bearable. And thanks to Emma Bull for the best book I read all year (Tombstone) - I want MOOOORRRRREEEE! Please.

Muchas gracias to Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers for all the good music, and the great road trip. And also thank you to any friend I strong armed into going to a show - especially you, Mo. You're a trooper.

And thanks to the great state of Texas. If you were half as nuts, I would have nothing to blog about. And ditto that for the entire Presidential election, Wall Street and anything else I sit and watch on AC360 feeling a nice cleansing outrage over. If it weren't for doinks like you, I'd never get to feel superior.

And, of course, as always - thanks to Hugh Jackman. Just for being you. Kisses.

It was a rough year. And the next one isn't looking any smoother. But that's okay. We're just going to grab hands and kick on. Life is what we make it. And y'all make it fun. Thank you.

Back from the big swampy.

After New Years, a couple of friends and I decided to jump in the car and head to Nakadish, LA for the weekend. M had been there last year, and said the holiday light display was really nice, and the town was fun to visit, with lot of history in the area. Don’t bother looking for Nakadish on the map. After many funny looks from the locals, and at the locals as we said, “could you say that again?”, we finally put together that it’s how Natchitoches is pronounced. Seriously. I’m so thankful to have found a state where they are even more screwed up than Texas about pronouncing things. The entire state needs to get together and buy a Hooked on Phonics tape. I understand that’s how it’s pronounced. But that’s not what you wrote down, folks. There is no way you can get Nakadish from those letters.

Anyhoo. Great area. We just jumped in the car and drove around, alternating historical sites with fried food restaurants. There is nothing a Louisianan won’t dip in batter and throw in hot oil. I was actually trying to complete out that Hank Williams song “On the Bayou”. You know, I had crawfish pie (pictured with some kick ass beans and rice at Lasyone's) and filet gumbo. I just needed some jambalaya. But when I finally found it at a restaurant called Crawdaddy’s in Shreveport, my jeans were about to pop and I didn’t think I could do justice to it. (Crawdaddy’s, by the way, is excellent – y’all stop in.) I didn’t actually drink anything out of a Mason jar either, so I guess I’ll have to make another trip to gator country and have another go at a perfect bayou experience. Poor me. (I did eat blackened gator at Papa's, by the way. Eh, it’s okay. Tastes more like pork than chicken. Whatevs.)

We hit Fort Jean Baptiste while we were there. Why they haven’t made a movie about Louis Jucherau de St. Denis, the guy who founded the garrison there is beyond me. He came to Louisiana in the early 1700s as a French marine. Made friends with the Indians, learned their language, got tribal tattoos, wrangled with the Spanish, then married the Spanish commandant’s granddaughter, got knighted and started a dynasty that would control that part of Louisiana for decades. As the guide who took us through the fort said, "You can't make this stuff up." The tatts alone say indie film to me. Like with a young Harvey Keitel type playing St. Denis. They have the entire fort recreated in Natchitoches, so they could probably make the movie cheap. Ah, Hollywood. Why do you never listen to me?

So, great food, and lots of it, and great history, and lots of it. Good way to start the new year.

TIME: Quotes of the Day