Monday, August 17, 2009

Low Down and Draggin' Edition

Greetings from Escalatorville. We begin this edition with this sentence of the day (taken from one of them interweb "news" services):
"Scientists don't know why a closely sniffed Ponderosa smells like baking cookies."
Now, since that's out of the way...

Vroom Vroom
The lovely Bess and I have taken to scootering as our main (read: only) method of vehicular transportation. Generally, this works just fine - we don't really need to go too far, and we save a bundle on gasoline. Also, Bess looks pretty cute on the damn thing.
I, on the other hand, must look fairly ridiculous - at least that's the idea I get based on the number of hoots, hollers, at outright guffaws that launch in my direction every time I ride the thing.

Consider the visual - I am six foot three inches tall, bespectacled, and have a robust red and white beard.
The scooter itself is small and pink.

I have also learned a little bit of scooter etiquette in my riding experience;on more major thoroughfares - be sure to stay toward the right side of your lane (it's a bit safer, allows passing space, and eliminates the direct inhalation of exhaust fumes); second, use the less squeaky brakes when tooling around the neighborhood in the early morning hours; and third, if you plan to compliment a fellow rider as you pass by (especially if they are cute and female), it's best to make sure you enunciate the space between the words "Nice Scooter."

Just like she was?
Dear Random SUV Driver; I am sure that your "Dearest Momma" appreciates the mobile memorial that you've turned your car into. She'd probably like it a bit more if the stickers admonishing your love for her departed soul weren't tilted, warped, and off center.

Benefactors Wanted
It’s been said that a million dollars doesn't really go too far these days. Tell you what, if anyone wants to fund the experiment - I’ll happily test that theory…

We see a lot of politicians stating how shameful and unfair it is that the current economic situation will eventually have to be reconciled by future generations. Yet, we don't see any of them opening up their own checkbooks, do we? I did some research.

As of 2006- the U..S. Census Bureau says, the median annual household income was $48,201 (yeah, I laughed openly at that too). However, the current salary for rank-and-file members of the House and Senate is about $174,000 per year. Three and a half times the average - and in 2009, they have about 140 days of work.

Well, I think we just figured out how to solve a bit of this countries money troubles, didn’t we? Of course we’ll have to hide their pay cut within the back pages of an amendment to declare a ‘Celebration of Reality TV Day’ or something equally vapid. The plan won’t work if they actually read what they’re voting on.

Also, any uses of the term ‘Dawg’ in the familiar…
It's come to my realization, and hopefully yours, that the English language is in trouble. Some of our most worthy terms and phrases have been obfuscated to a point beyond recognition.. Yes, obfuscated (you have the internet, look it up). Three examples of terms we need to take back from the brink, or lose forever:

-"Hero" - I'm sick of everyone being a hero all of the sudden. In the wake of 9/11 (another phrase that we need to remove from the discourse, but don't get me started....), it seems that anyone can be a hero for nearly anything. Give money to a charitable cause - "you're a hero." Wear a flag pin on your lapel - "you're a hero." Show up on time and be photographed doing it? "Congratulations, you're a photogenic hero."

I may be a bit antiquated, but I recall when the term would only be applied to someone who committed an actual act of heroism.

Now, don't get me wrong, I am a fan of our police and firefighters, as well as the folks that sign up for our armed forces. However, just putting on a uniform doesn't make you a hero. If Superman never saved people, he’d just be a freak in a cape.

Drowning while attempting to save another from the same fate - That's a hero. Jumping in front of an assassin's bullet to save a child or dignitary - That's heroic. An Army recruit who shoots themselves in the face while goofing off with his/her gun? Sorry, not a hero, just a badluckian.

-"Role Model" - Shouldn't this distinction be determined by ones actions and intelligent decisions instead of notoriety or paycheck? Sports stars are not role models, they are simply good athletes with the skills required to be part of a successful corporation (and sometimes, not even that successful). A father who has to raise two kids on minimum wage and gets them to do homework without joining a gang or wasting too much time on television - that man is a freaking role model. Getting rich just for playing a game? Nice fantasy for most, but no role model status in that.

-"Celebrity" - used to be that you had to have a list of achievements in your field in order to qualify as a celebrity. Now anyone who happens to make it into a television frame or in an internet video thinks they deserve to be let beyond the velvet rope. You should have done enough work to be celebrated for your achievements - thus that 'celeb' portion of the word.
If you are famous just for being famous - that don't count.

You ever notice the hubbub that arises whenever one of those 'entertainment' programs promises to show a celebrities first interview in an extended period of time? If the appearance is a true rarity, then it's probably someone who actually deserved to be called 'celebrity' at one point in time. There should be a distinct line between actual celebrities and attention whores.

A former Beatle, Rolling Stone, or multiple Oscar winner = Celebrity. Nearly anyone who has embraced being on a 'reality TV show' = Fame Gobbler.

Flavoring the melting pot with arsenic
Just a thought, and I don't mean to cast any aspersions, but then again, maybe I do. Would all of those in the "Birther" movement be raising such a fuss if John McCain had been elected? I doubt it.

Even though McCain was born in Panama during a time when that region was still an oligarchy. Now that I think of it, why don't you show me your "long-form" birth certificate...

Some things should stay invisible
News reports indicate that Steven Spielberg is set to do a remake of the classic Jimmy Stewart film 'Harvey,' one of my personal favorites. If that's how you feel about cinematic legends Steven, then I guess you've given up all rights to complain if, 30 years from now, the world is presented with 'Quentin Tarantinos A Color Purple' or 'Schindlers List - A Spike Lee Joint'.

Nothing Up My Sleeve Dept.
Since I was younger, I've been a bit enthralled by Magic acts. I've been intrigued by the art of deception, and how the workings of simple devices can create grand illusion. I always enjoy the 'figuring it out' part - even when I have no clue as to how a trick was done. I also enjoy the element of 'cheese' that envelopes most of the performances in that genre which have come along within the past few decades.

Two self evident truths, however, have altered my thinking, and may make it difficult for me to watch those specials in the future. Truth Number One - Magic Acts are inherently mysterious and/or sexy. Truth Number Two - Magic itself (in the manner expressed herein) is Fake. Thus, Magic acts themselves are simply fake sex. Not exactly a substitute for pornography, mind you, but bearing similar specifics.

Think on it. You have a Magician, impeccably dressed, who can be any age, shape, or size. The magician almost always has two or three partners or assistants who are invariably younger, attractive, and flexible.

At some point in the act a "Magic box" makes its way onto the stage. Once an assistant has assumed a position relevant to the workings of the "magic box" - they are subject to being penetrated by the magicians blade, sword, or set of spikes. If not subject to the magicians dangerous points, an assistant might be contorted or transported to a new position.

The magician provides plenty of show, flourish, and grandeur while the assistant/partner usually gives an expression of either:
A) annoyed bemusement and concern
B) thrill, joy, and amazement
or C )utter boredom or despair

A side note for emphasis - no matter how intense, difficult, or impressive the magician makes it look, those in the know realize that most often, it's the assistant doing most of the work in that trick.

You Can't Spell Roulette without URL:
Now, a collection of random websites that you may wish to check out, or not:

For Your Sunny Day...
And finally - I've included it before, and may again - possibly the best 7 minutes ever committed to videotape(dedicated to the Lovely Bess on the occasion of her 27th birthday):

Have as good a time as you can, and thanks for visiting Escalatorvile.
Z.F. Lively