Friday, December 14, 2007

2007 Year End Wrap Up

Top 10 things everyone could have done without
  1. Restless Leg Syndrome
  2. Brittany, Paris and Anna Nicole
  3. Simulated drowning (Waterboarding sounds like too much fun)
  4. Presidential Debates
  5. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
  6. Dancing With the Stars
  7. iPhone
  8. H-3
  9. Feist
  10. The Simpsons Movie

Top 5 things I learned this year
  1. organic cranberry juice does exist
  2. the more electricity I waste, the lower my bill
  3. Beck is a Scientologist
  4. 38 is the new 38
  5. you can’t find a good therapist in December

Music pics
  1. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
  2. Steve Earle – Washington Square Serenade
  3. Lyle Lovett & His Large Band – It’s Not Big, It’s Large
  4. Garden State soundtrack
  5. Steve Earle – I Feel Alright

Books (I read a lot this year – here are my favorites)
  1. The Complete Gertrude Stein
  2. Letters of Sacco and Vanzetti
  3. Smells Like Dead Elephants – Dispatches from a Rotting Empire (Matt Taibbi)
  4. Generation of Swine (Hunter S. Thompson)
  5. The Complete Dorothy Parker
  6. Windblown World: The Journals of Jack Kerouac
  7. Creating A Character – A Physical Approach to Acting (Moni Yakim)
  8. West of Rome (John Fante)
  9. I Am America and So Can You (Stephen Colbert)
  10. Nobodies (John Bowe)

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Are You Feelin the Joy Yet? Musings and Threats from a Recovering Catholic

I’ve been talking about it for years. That annual empty threat of canceling Christmas. Retreating to some quiet pastoral space to reflect, alone, in the moment, the general peace that comes over me when I know that I don’t have to worry about hosting a party, breaking the bank with useless gifts and dealing with the general bedlam that ensues anytime more than two members of my family are in the same room together. Past years have been all talk and no action, but the seemingly endless mound of steaming bullshit that has made 2007 so craptacular has fostered a renewed resolve in me to boycott all things “ho ho ho.” That includes trees, garlands, cards, “happy holidays” wishes, cookies (well, maybe not cookies) and most importantly, gifts. The reasons for what others will speculate as a Bah Humbug approach to December 25th will likely dance around issues of childlessness, laziness, low funds or a combination of the three. There is truth to the laziness bit, but in reality I’m calling the whole thing off because I just don’t enjoy it anymore. In the past I eagerly anticipated the big day, made plans and had an overall feeling of love and “spirit” if you will for my fellow humans – related and otherwise. Now it looms as an abysmal reminder of purchases, preparations and obligations. And the kicker is that I’m not even a Christian. My family identifies themselves as Catholic, though this seems to be more in name than actions (except for my mother – all true Christian props to her for all time). But in America, let’s face it Christmas is nothing more than a marketing campaign. Messages are blurred, kids are confused. I’m doing my part to ignore it but each day a new card arrives and I begin to get those residually Catholic pangs of guilt that somehow I should reciprocate, however small, a gesture of goodwill in the form of a widget from China. Can I hold my ground? Stand firm in my resolve? There are 14 days till the big one and I’ve got no tree, no cards and no gifts. Will December 24th be filled with a caffeine induced shopping frenzy at the nearest mall? Will I finally put a bullet in my television if one more Garmin ad interrupts my nightly Colbert rerun? Stay tuned………Om mani padme hum

Monday, December 03, 2007

My life was so much more meaningful before I got cable

My life was so much more meaningful before I got cable. For years my nights were a simple choice of NBC, PBS, FOX or a very snowy CBS. I read more, thought more, had more sex. Since acquiring a 200-channel package my time is spent mercilessly divided between Little People Big World, Dog the Bounty Hunter and Shop Latino.

Often I sit in my easy chair and click through all 200 of them in a race to the bottom of who can be more mindless, boring or clich├ęd. I usually stop at C-SPAN or C-SPAN 2 for an unnecessary length of time so my brain can suck in all the useless chatter coming out of the Beltway. Book TV, Road to the Whitehouse, and a re-broadcast of a talk by some no-name political writer whose time came and went before W stole office in 2000.

And now, the writer's strike. I feel compelled to follow all the unpublicized events of the last twenty-nine days - and counting. The only known instances where television actually redeems itself – during The Daily Show and the Colbert Report – have become a distant fond memory that somehow, through the endless reruns, cries fowl.

I find myself empathizing with the strikers, watching their amateur You Tube entries, and pining away in pathetic jealousy wishing I were an out of work writer. Somehow, life would have more importance if I were sitting around with a severe case of writer's block and reading endless blogs if I were doing it as a striking writer, rather than an employed nobody. Each of my envenomed posts would be a noble act of defiance against big conglomerate monsters like Les Moonves and Sumner Redstone. I would be advancing a cause – albeit for personal financial gain – and I'd have the respect of the world. Instead, I spend most of my time sitting in front of a blank screen in a daze. My cats don't even respect me. Gone are the dreams of a wide-eyed 20 something with designs on a cult following and a lucrative book deal.

The strike has forced me to actually think again, to harbor ambitions, make plans, face reality. MAKE IT STOP! I'm three re-runs away from starting a revolution that might prove just stupid enough to actually be televised.