Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Dispatch From Escalatorville: Mama Say Mama Sa Ma Ma Cu Sa Edition

Add "In Bed" At The End.
There's an old wish/curse, oft credited to the Chinese, that states "May you live in interesting times". I think we've arrived. Have ya looked around lately?

Andy Warhol must be somewhere laughing, for he blessed us with a prophetic curse as well: "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes."

If only someone were keeping a better eye on that clock - it's seems most current celebrities have been hovering over 14:59 for far too long.

Adventures In Channel Flippery
I don't turn to the Weather Channel on a regular basis - but I have noticed that they employ a wide swath of humanity as'WeatherCasters'.

Now, despite what your local news program would indicate, I refuse to believe that half of all TV personalities are degree certified meteorological experts. Heck, I only know one in real life, and I doubt he gives a flying fig about being on the tube.

Back to the Weather Channel. Doesn't it seem that, at any given time, at least one of the personalities on that channel is pregnant? It's got to be a tough gig for any Mom-To-Be to act seriously about upcoming tropical depressions, all the while trying to maneuver your own emerging front.

And Candy Bars Cost A Nickel...
Call me old fashioned, but I liked it better when newscasters simply gave us the news. Here's a message for all those talking heads resting on their swivel pods: give us the info we need, stop pontificating, stop opinionating, stop being snarky, stop emoting like I am supposed to value your insignificant detritus of thought about miniscule and unimportant subjects.

Your job is to read the frikkn' news - if you want to distort the facts of teh story to suit your personal opinion or make yourself a star, then go somewhere else and get off the, supposedly impartial, "News" program.

Also, is it entirely necessary to have 17 different broadcasts throughout the day?. Our parents and grandparents had only 30 minutes per day of televised news (even less in the golden age of radio) - and they lived through much worse times than these.

I still trust Walter Cronkite more than any current teleprompted biscuit head.

From The 'And Take Your Lipstick With You' Dept.
Confidential to S.P. in Anchorage: I looked this up in a Dictionary:
Resign: verb. 1: to give up one's office or position : quit.

So, resigning -by definition- is "quitting". If you don't finish the job you took - that makes you a fucking quitter. My goodness, you've tainted the reputation of your office, your state, your gender, AND the Republican Party. Shut up and go away already.

Before you go, however, let's clarify your sports analogy. As Governor, you would be the teams Coach, not the point guard - and no self respecting coach abandons the team halfway through the second quarter - despite the score, or pending book deal. Stop winking at me.

Specific Solutions For The General Motorist.
I don't know if anyone has thought of this yet, but here's a suggestion:

Lets get all the car manufacturing employees to switch from building new cars to retrofitting all current models with green technology (whether that be bio-fuel or hybrid engines). Then everyone can bring their vehicles to local dealerships for a change over. It couldn't be that difficult to train the workers how to repair and retro-fit any car with more efficient fuel cells.

Next, lets open up trade relations between the United States and Cuba.

Y'see, Cubans have been using the same model cars for close to 50 years now - they obviously have found ways to keep these now vintage vehicles running through the years. Why not organize a swap?

We could simply trade our later model cars (now fitted with green engines) for the vehicles that have been clunking around that island since Fidel took over. We'll bring all those autos back to the factories where the newly trained workers can retro-fit them as well.

What true, road loving American wouldn't want to buy an antique car that runs on new, modern energy?

Tell ya what, as an incentive - for every re-modified classic "renewed" vehicle purchased, we'll throw in a box of authentic Cuban cigars.

The Cubans get new energy efficient cars, Americans get classic and newly energy efficient cars (plus the worlds 2nd best recreational smoke), and the earth gets to keep spinning without us wasting more oil or emitting harmful auto fumes into the ozone. Use the old engines to supplement ocean reefs where the coral is withering. Voila, we just saved the economy, global relations, and the environment. Everybody wins.

More Exciting Than That Pregnant Chick On The Weather Channel
There's a reason I'm not a television executive, yet... However, I bet the following idea would be a huge ratings hit. We will call our program "I Am The Best" - and everyone whom auditions will be selected as a contestant.

The lucky throngs will be flown to Guantanamo (there's got to be a big empty building down there somewhere) and forced to live in the facilities "Recreation Room" with all other contestants.

Every 36 hours the floor will drop out, plunging each and every contestant into a pool of acid.

A pool of acid that is also ON FIRE.

The winner: all of us whom detest the unbiased fame wagon that television has become.

The show could air between ratings champions 'Monkey Ferrets In Bumper Cars' and 'The Man Who Never Stopped Spitting.'
Hold on a sec - I have to take this call from NBC...

'A Single White Glove' Is An Anagram For 'He Lives On Til We Gag'
Some in the media seemed bewildered at the outpouring of emotion toward Michael Jacksons recent death and the way the world kind of slowed down for the days surrounding the memorial.

Well, I don't care what music you listen to now, or what you claim now to have listened to back then - but if you were, as I, between the ages of 10 and 17 when the album was released, you owned a copy of 'Thriller'.

I bought my 'Thriller' on cassette tape at a Sears store a couple weeks after it came out. I used $4.98 of my paper route money to do it - and proceeded to go home and play the hell out of that thing. I dug all the tracks, but I think 'P.Y.T.' and 'Beat It' were my favorites.

At the time, my sister and I lived in a section of town wherein we were the minority. Nowadays, you might hear our neighborhood referred to as 'mid-scale Urban' or something more sell-able in real estate terms. We just knew it as our neighborhood -in the midst of a fully integrated southern city in the early 1980's. I still listened to Top 40 and the local Classic Rock station - but I also got the vibe of what my neighbors, my friends, down the street were picking up on.

Whether it was the opening 'ooh-hoo's of 'Billie Jean' or - a couple years later, Slick Rick's 'La-di-Da-Di' - our musical taste was informed just as much by hearing what the Byrd Park crews were listening too while washing their parents cars on the weekends - as it was by commercial radio and whatever Dick Clark and Casey Kasem were pushing.

However, despite how much I may have enjoyed Frankie Goes To Hollywood or Cyndi Lauper - I wasn't aping their video moves in my bedroom at night. Y'see, that's what influence Michael had.

We didn't have cable television, so no MTV. The only video programs we had access to were Friday Night Videos (on whatever network that was) and a local, only semi-regular, half hour music video jukebox program. Lucky for us, Michael's videos made it everywhere.

Everything the man did back then was something to view in awe - it was beyond "pop music". Hell, my middle school shut down entirely for 5 minutes one day so that they could play 'We Are The World' over the sound system, in compliance with the simultaneous airing of the song on many of the nations radio stations that day.

This was and is the power of Michael Jackson to those of us now staring down our 4th decade and welling up when we fill in the vocal line to John Mayers interpretation of 'Human Nature'. He's not just a music star to us - he in ingrained in our lives.

We missed out on Elvis and the British Invasion - but Jackson's moonwalk on the 'Motown 25' special is our version of the Beatles on Ed Sullivan.

Sure, we may have turned to other musical genres as we got older, and we watched as Michaels achievements seemed to become more tabloid than Billboard. We saw MJ eaten alive by an increasingly vicious and voracious media machine;
-He sleeps in a tube they said (actually a rumor said to be fabricated by Mike himself to throw off the press)
-He wants to buy the elephant man (another rumor, spoofed by Michael in his video for 'Leave Me Alone')
-He wants to be Peter Pan (a kid who can fly, defeat pirates, and retain his youthful exuberance - who wouldn't?).

Yes, there was the trial. Charges of Child Molestation. A serious blow to the man-child that we had become obsessed with when we were kids. However, what the critics keep failing to mention is that, in a court of law - Jackson was ACQUITTED of all charges. An innocent man, in the eyes of our justice system, forever persecuted by the hangers on who made (and still make) their living by reporting on his behaviour.

Whether you trust his innocence or not is a personal belief, but some facts we cannot deny - Michael was a great humanitarian who, despite his odd behaviour, gave away millions to help others and founded organizations to assist humanity. Probably a lot more than you have.

Was the memorial a bit much? Of course. For me, it was a bit jarring to see all the Christ-like poses in the images his family chose to project behind those giving tribute (the most eerie being a photo from rehearsals for the new tour just a few days before he passed - Jackson, in mid dance, arms outstretched, in front of a giant neon sign reading 'This Is It'). Yes, I agree, the near sermons from those reading and giving blessings were somewhat over-dramatic( I half expect some merchants to be selling WWMJD? bracelets in the near future).

However, the man does deserve tribute and thanks. Especially if you were one of those kids, like me, who caught the wave at its largest crest. He made you want to dance, he made you want to smile. And I for one, hope he is able to finally Rest In Peace because of it.

That's Escalatorville for now. Be swell.
-Z.F. Lively

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