Thursday, July 1, 2010

And speaking of internet TMI . . .

Okay, so I'm looking at the Smoking Gun, and they've got Jeffrey Jones arrest card from his arrest for failing to report his change of residence as a sex offender. If you don't remember, Jones was the actor who played Ferris Bueller's principal and skads of other cult movie supporting roles. He was busted, and convicted, of being a pervert; talk about things your career can't come back from - ever. Anway, his arrest card has the address where he was busted. I'm guessing it's the address he moved to without reporting it to his PO.

Straight to Google I go to look it up on Google Maps streetview. Totally, normal middle class neighborhood. You kinda expect them to be in a run down trailer park, or a by-the-week roach motel. But this looks like another Pleasant Valley Sunday to me. I'm sure his neighbors weren't thinking the new guy is that actor from Beetlejuice. Or a creepy dude that you need to keep far, far away from you children.

Spies like us

So, the Russian spies. Does anyone get a feeling that this is all just a really, really elaborate marketing campaign for Angelina Jolie’s new movie? Salt is about a possibly deep cover sleeper spy, and it has a very slick advertising campaign. And now all the sudden, there’s a bunch of Russkie spies getting picked up and splashed across the news. Am I wrong? Isn’t the Cold War over? Spies? Really? It’s gotta be a PR stunt, right?

And the more I read, the more I think real spies wouldn’t have been this incompetent. I’d say they’ve been using the Burn Notice “Ask a Spy” webgame as a training video, but honestly Bruce Campbell hands out better tips. For free. Dead drops, fine. It’s a classic. But pre-paid cell phones? My 11-year old niece uses better tricks to pass notes in school. And evidently, Perez Hilton does a better job of intelligence gathering than this bunch. Why would the Russians want to buy this information if they could get the same thing watching TMZ? Lame.

On the other hand, the Salt ad campaign is pretty slick. And slick is the last word I’d use to describe this spy operation. If I was Russia, I’d be denying all knowledge. Not because it was spying. Because it was just so bad. Em-bar-ass-ing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Now you didn't hear this from me, but . . .

Okay, to confirm some business related information on an acquaintance, I googled. You know. Like you do. Once upon a time, you’d pick up the phone and call a mutual acquaintance or some other neutral third party when you needed some little bit of information that you probably should have known anyway, and would be kind of embarrassing to admit to the party themselves. So now there’s Google – that all purpose neutral third party who can save your butt from all sorts of interpersonal brain farts.

So, I start typing the person’s name in, and it goes into that suggestive search thing, where it gives you other popular searches that have started out as your has. Like you’re searching “George Cloo” and it offers “George Clooney”, “George Clooney ER”, “George Clooney limoncello”, “George Clooney girlfriend”, and the like. But when I started out with the acquaintances name and immediately it suggested this person’s name plus the word “fired”. Just slipped that word in there, all innocent-like. “Oh, was this what you were looking for?” Well, no. But I am only human. Yeah, I looked.

And it was all about how the acquaintance had “exited” their previous employment. Okay, I don’t know the situation, but . . . harsh. Super harsh. Not my experience of this person at all. But talk about things I didn’t need to know. Yikers.

Let’s face it. Google is our friend. But Google is everybody’s friend. And Google has a big mouth and will run and tattle anything they know to anyone who asks. Or possibly doesn’t actually ask. Sometimes they just offer up a big ol’ slice o’ run-and-tell pie to somebody who hadn’t actually bellied up to the gossip fence. Wow. Just wow, people. The internet is one scary place. And it gets scarier by the minute.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Don't call it a comeback just yet

I’ve seen several items on the internet today about whether it’s time to forgive Chris Brown. He got some heavy-duty mock over the bawling at the Michael Jackson tribute. Some people are wondering if the public is ready to forgive him for beating up Rhianna.

Here’s how you know: It’s not what the scandal was over, it’s how over-inflated your stock was when it happened. The scandal is the moment where people re-evaluate the hype. And if you’re talent doesn’t come close to the buzz, forget it. You’re going to be out for a long, long time. If you ever come back.

Case in point, Mel Gibson. Mel was talented enough to survive when his only crime was being a bit of an arrogant jerk. But really, when it comes right down to it, he’s a good looking ham with about 3 acting moves and a pretty mediocre director, who got very, very lucky in having a string of hit movies. Then came a DUI, anti-Semitism, sugar tits, a messy divorce and, now, possibly domestic violence. Passion of the Christ ain’t going to pull you back out of that swamp. And his stock plummeted down to really what his market value should have been all along: C-list actor.

But, you say, all Tom Cruise did was jump on a couch, does he deserve to be in actor jail? Maybe not. But his stock had been over-inflated for years. He was the most popular, bankable actor on the planet, but he hadn’t pushed himself in 20 years. He’d been relying on a good smile and a flash of charisma pretty much since Top Gun. He went to the bad boy in need of the love of a good woman well far too often. And unfortunately for him, bouncing on the sofa was enough to make everyone rethink the hype. I actually suspect he might have a trick or two that we haven’t seen yet. But he’d played it safe so long there was no way to really justify his reputation. If he goes the path of trying new things, and maybe risking failure, he might just get out of jail, and approach his glory days (of thunder – sorry, had to be done).

My opinion? Chris Brown has never shown me anything that would lead me to believe that his talent has merited a resurrection. Good dancer, okay singer, who’d been over-hyped for years. There are certainly plenty of performers out there who are just as talented, if not more so. And don’t have the stink of being an abuser on them. Michael Jackson barely survived one of the worst types of scandals that there can be. But he was talented. Believe the hype. Chris Brown is no Michael Jackson.

Keep your friends close, but not too close for comfort

I think there would be an interesting sociological/psychological thesis that could be based on the road trip. And if I was going to do it, my initial thesis would be, Never put four passengers in a 4-passenger car. I could write up this weekend’s Hill Country foray as a case study.

For it to be a true road trip, you need a driver and a navigator. The third person adds a desirable level of rotation, and a flexible dynamic between having to concentrate on the road, providing discussion topics, or sitting the back seat with your iPod playing and staring out the window. And of course, they become the tie breaker in the tacos or barbecue for dinner decision. Person number four, however, just throws a big fat monkey wrench into the works. Cross-chatter starts. Somebody thinks somebody else was supposed to grab the map. Stomachs do not synchronize. Somebody’s hot, somebody’s cold, somebody’s just right, and somebody is sitting in the corner writing a journal entry that says “Day 2: Have begun to try to chew through my seatbelt . . .”

Not that I don’t love all my friends. And I’d go on a road trip with any two of them any time, any place. We did manage to even out the bumps, and have a good time. But four people in a Toyota, unless they are all practicing Buddhist monks or mildly tranquilized, is just crabby patties waiting to happen.

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