Posts tagged ‘New York City’

Twilight Had a Past Life

Beauty and the Beast (TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday I was at work, chatting with a young friend, and we were bitching about the stupidity of Twilight, like I like to do, when somehow it occurred to me that Twilight has been around before. How, you might ask? Am I talking about Dracula? Interview with the Vampire, perhaps? No, it doesn’t involve vampires at all.

Over 20 years ago now someone in television had an idea about a lion-man who was living in an underworld of misfits in a sewer tunnel beneath New York City. And that lion-man saved a rich, spoiled attorney after she was viciously attacked in a city park. He nursed her back to health, and they formed a special bond, one where he could read her feelings. She gradually got better and went back to the real world where she decided to become an assistant district attorney and fight crime.

Eventually, the woman (Catherine) became a helper, someone from the real world who helped the misfit creatures keep their underworld labyrinth a secret. The lion-man (Vincent) came and saved Catherine from danger every week when he sensed that she was distressed, and then he read her poetry. They did not make love. A wealthy, super hot businessman was in love with Catherine, but she strung him along, caught between her powerful bond with Vincent and the hope of a normal life.

Hel-lo! Beauty and the Beast is Twilight. The parallels are amazing! Well, all except for the fact that I kind of liked Beauty and the Beast. First off, both Vincent and Edward are supernatural creatures. Both Vincent and Edward have psychic bonds with their objects of affection. Both Vincent and Edward have families of likewise unusual beings whose secrets must be guarded at all costs; in fact, both Vincent and Edward have a “Father.” Beauty and the Beast has a wealthy businessman. Twilight has a hot werewolf. Both the werewolf and the businessman are rivals that represent the hope of a more normal life for our heroine.

And perhaps the most important parallel of all: no one is having sex. Nobody is getting any. But it isn’t that they don’t want to! No. The reason Vincent and Edward don’t touch their lovers except to save the constant damsels in distress is because they are both afraid that they will hurt their lady loves. This is the most crucial parallel: the crux of the stories.

Oh, sure, eventually Edward and Bella and Catherine and Vincent get around to doing it. But you have to wait for the last book with Twilight. And Catherine has Vincent’s baby but then later dies in the jump the shark moment from Beauty and the Beast. Sex is a killer. Gotta save it for the last book.

I’ve totally discovered the route to commercial success! It’s a blueprint. First, create a mythical man-beast. Then have him rescue a young heroine, repeatedly, as in so often that you wonder how it is possible for one woman to be so clumsy and/or attract so much danger. Have the heroine be smitten with the man-beast but torn between him and a more conventional life represented by a rival who’s hopefully both hot and rich. But just hot will do.

Have the hero risk his life repeatedly for the heroine but selflessly refuse to have sex with her, even if she begs him to do it. And voila! You have a blueprint for success. And I think what Stephenie Meyer has learned is that if you absolutely remove body hair or any semblance of post pubescent masculinity, that you can appeal to teenage girls with this formula! Amazing!

Now that I’ve figured this out I can write my own bestselling saga. In fact, I can write a bunch of them. I’ll just change the hero out. My first page turner will be called Minotaur. That’ll get me a five book deal at least. Next, I’ll write Satyr. Oooh. I wonder if you could remake The Fly as a teen romance. I’m going to be very busy writing crap. If you have any story ideas for some mythical men who won’t have sex, feel free to comment here.

April 19, 2011 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

Funny Women: Linda Bloodworth Thomason

Linda Bloodworth Thomason is a writer and television producer. Born in 1947 in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, she went on to obtain an English degree from the University of Missouri. Upon graduation she secured a teaching position at an inner city high school in Los Angles’ Watts neighborhood.

Later, she worked as a journalist for the Los Angles Daily Journal and did some freelance writing for television. Her breakthrough was with a script written for an episode of M*A*S*H*, co-authored with actress Mary Kay Place, and entitled, “Hot Lips and Empty Arms.”

Linda also wrote the original pilot for the Norman Lear produced One Day at a Time, which introduced the American public to a young Valerie Bertinelli. The show was created by Whitney Blake (the mother on TV’s Hazel and the real life mother of Meredith Baxter) and Blake’s husband Allan Manings.

This freelance writing eventually led to the opportunity for Thomason to create her own series, Filthy Rich. Filthy Rich was quickly cancelled but not before she forged friendships with two talented performers, the late Dixie Carter, and Delta Burke.

Designing Women was a show that centered around an interior design firm helmed by the Sugarbaker sisters (Carter and Burke), a divorcee with two young children (Annie Potts) and a naïve single woman (Jean Smart). The four women employed an African American man (Meshach Taylor) who had previously spent time in jail for a wrongful burglary conviction. In later seasons the cast changed. The only original cast member who wasn’t Southern was Smart.

Designing Women explored many feminist themes and contemporary women’s issues through the lives of its female characters. The show featured broad physical comedy and standard sitcom fare but also frequently raised topical issues like racism, homophobia, domestic violence, AIDS, and prejudice towards overweight women. The show ran for seven years, from 1986 to 1993 and was a Nielsen hit for much of that time.

This success led to other shows such as Evening Shade and Hearts Afire. Hearts Afire starred John Ritter and Markie Post and marked the introduction of Billy Bob Thornton to most of the world, although he undoubtedly had earlier acting jobs. With the addition of Evening Shade and Hearts Afire, Bloodworth Thomason and her husband Harry Thomason were producing three television sitcoms at once, which makes her the female Chuck Lorre of her day, only one with a greater social conscience.

The Thomasons were friends of the Clintons, dating back to his days as governor of Arkansas, and Hillary Rodham Clinton’s father made a cameo appearance on Hearts Afire. The Thomasons helped with the Clinton presidential campaign by writing excerpts for some of his speeches and producing promotional spots for television.

Currently, Thomason sponsors the Claudia Foundation, a charity that provides opportunities for young people, especially young women. The charity gives scholarships to young people who might not have the chance to go to school and provides the chance to engage in community service. The Claudia Foundation also supports literacy causes and allows young women to have cultural experiences that they might not have otherwise had the good fortune to appreciate, such as Broadway plays.

Linda Bloodworth Thomason has contributed significantly to American popular culture as well as to politics. She’s even stood up for fair reporting in this media age of increasingly polarized talking heads. Thomason and other Hollywood insiders stood up to call out MSNBC on their coverage of Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential race.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/10/28/us-msnbc-idUSTRE49R0GK20081028

http://www.claudiafoundation.org/

http://www.shemadeit.org/meet/biography.aspx?m=88

March 4, 2011 at 4:44 am 3 comments

He Felt Dead Inside

kristin.eonline.com - CBS Comedies Premiere Pa...

Image via Wikipedia

Two and a Half Men is not a show that I regularly watch. I’ve maybe seen three episodes, if that. I like Jon Cryer. I like the kid on there, Angus Whatisface. I absolutely adore Conchata Ferrell and Holland Taylor. I think Charlie Sheen, undoubtedly, is a gifted actor. If you can inherit the acting gene, then he obviously got it from his dad. But Charlie Sheen is a tool. How much of his being a tool is genuinely Charlie and how much is his addiction? I don’t know. But he’s a tool just the same.

I’m not sure how he became a tool. His parents seem like such nice Catholic folks. His brother Emilio seems to have his head screwed on straight and his priorities right, and by all accounts is a nice guy. Even exes Demi Moore (they were engaged) and Paula Abdul never have anything mean to say about him and maintain friendships with him. So, what the hell happened to Charlie?

First, Charlie got caught partying in a New York City hotel room with a porn star who locked herself in the closet, while Denise Richards and his two young daughters were in the room next door. In a separate incident months later, Charlie had the ambulance called to his house and had to be hospitalized, for what the actor said was a hernia, but what many people suspect was a bout of pancreatitis. The producers of Two and a Half Men, and the network that it’s on, CBS, decided to enforce a sort of suspension in order for him to get his act together.

They gave him time to go to rehab and sort himself out. This is the second time he’s been given time to go to rehab in less than two years. The first was when he got probation for allegedly physically attacking his wife, while under the influence.

This has created some controversy, since it’s contended that the crew of his show are hurting while they miss the salaries they would normally receive, waiting for Charlie to get his act together. Charlie maintains that he doesn’t have a problem. He likes to party. He has the money to do so, and he shows up on time with his lines learned and delivers a good performance. He doesn’t think there’s any need to shut down the show, and he’s offered some of his own money in order to make up for the loss of salary on the part of the show’s crewmembers. So, maybe he’s not a big tool, just a little one. We could ask any hooker in L.A. and probably find out.

You know who else is a tool? Chuck Lorre. And CBS. Here’s the bottom line, guys. Shit or get off the pot. Charlie Sheen is an addict. Charlie Sheen is hurting himself more than he’s hurting anyone else. Here are the choices: either enforce sobriety and start testing him every day and requiring that he pass the pee test, and then fire his ass if he doesn’t, or continue to enable his behavior and look the other way.

It wouldn’t be the first time that an addict was placated, either in Hollywood or in real life. Sometimes people are so good at what they do that companies decide it’s worth putting up with a few hidden bottles around the office. I remember a job I had in college where one of my coworkers always smelled of alcohol, frequently took two and three hour lunches at the track, hid bottles of liquor in his desk drawers and the ceiling panels, and we all looked the other way and pretended not to see. Charlie Sheen is no different.

The available choices are clear. Take the high ground and say that you won’t put up with this self-destructive behavior, and that if he wants to work for the money that, if nothing else, buys his drugs, he’s going to have to be sober while he’s working. Or take the low road like you’ve been doing for the past eight years.

Let’s face it. Is there anyone on God’s green earth that doesn’t know what they’re getting into with Charlie Sheen…ahead of time? And do we honestly think that these people really didn’t know anything was going on with him?

There is no middle ground of a few weeks off for “home rehab.” This is bullshit. Charlie doesn’t think he has a problem, and giving him a few weeks off isn’t going to solve that dilemma.

You know what? If Charlie Sheen is actually capable of passing pee tests while the show is shooting and then partying during the off season, I would almost agree with him that he’s capable of using drugs recreationally. Not. But at least it would be holding him accountable. Most people in the real world can’t have the kinds of legal and personal problems Sheen’s been having and remain employed for this long. Charlie Sheen is damn lucky. He’s just too arrogant to see that.

Chuck Lorre writes vanity cards and displays them for a mere few seconds at the end of each of his shows. A recent vanity card on Two and a Half Men read:

“I exercise regularly. I eat moderate amounts of healthy food. I make sure to get plenty of rest. I see my doctor once a year and my dentist twice a year. I floss every night. I’ve had chest x-rays, cardio stress tests, EKG’s and colonoscopies. I see a psychologist and have a variety of hobbies to reduce stress. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t do drugs. I don’t have crazy, reckless sex with strangers.

If Charlie Sheen outlives me, I’m gonna be really pissed.”

That, indeed, may be how Lorre feels, but it’s a pretty shitty thing to do to put further spotlight on Sheen’s problems, and it’s pretty low. He may be hell to put up with, and he probably is, but Lorre is sort of kicking his golden calf while it’s down. Keep your feelings to yourself, Chuck Lorre, and show a little class and maturity by keeping your mouth shut.

Everyone puts up with Sheen’s behavior because his show is an entire industry in and of itself. It’s a little micro-economy that feeds many, many people. The powers that be are afraid that if Sheen goes, then so goes the show. And maybe that’s the case. Or maybe not. If Chuck Lorre is half the writer that I’m sure he thinks he is, then he can keep the cottage industry that is Two and Half Men afloat by bringing in another actor to replace him.

Sheen thinks that’s impossible. He thinks that Lorre’s writing stinks, and that he literally saves the show every week, all by himself. He doesn’t even give any credit to his fellow actors. What Charlie Sheen is forgetting is that no one is irreplaceable. I don’t care who the fuck you are. What was your last big TV gig before this one, Charlie? As I seem to recall, it was on Spin City, where you replaced the irreplaceable Michael J. Fox, and the show ran for another two years. And you aren’t fit to be a pimple on Michael J. Fox’s ass.

http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/02/15/charlie-sheen-men-vanity-card-if-charlie-sheen-outlives-me/

February 25, 2011 at 2:44 am 2 comments

Brushes with Fame

I have had some brushes with fame, which when you are talking about me will actually be some pretty boring stuff, but I will attempt to tell it in an entertaining way.

My first brush with fame was when I was a very little girl, and my parents took us to see a concert of Bobby Vinton. Now this wouldn’t mean anything to most of the people who read this blog, but Bobby Vinton was actually a pretty successful crooner singer of the 1950s. Think Bobby Darrin and Eddie Fisher. His biggest hit is “Blue Velvet.” But he also had other hits, like, “Mr. Lonely,” and, “Roses Are Red.”

My father probably got tickets for my mother. After the concert we went out to eat, and there was Bobby Vinton, eating at the same restaurant we were. This is obviously a sign of bigger things to come. I remember my father didn’t approve that he flirted with the waitress. Maybe he was just being friendly. I don’t know. I couldn’t have been any older than the first grade. I wouldn’t have been a good judge of such things.

I had to wait a while for my next brush with fame. I was twenty-three, and I had flown to Albuquerque for my cousin’s wedding, the same cousin that I described in my post, “Out, Damned Spot!” [https://gooseberrybush.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/out-damned-spot/] Cathy got married the first year that I lived on my own, after I graduated from college. I was flying back from the Albuquerque airport to Dallas when my mother spotted Anne Bancroft in the same terminal where I was waiting for my flight to board.

The next thing I know, my mom, who’s actually super shy, walks right over to Anne Bancroft, shakes her hand, and tells her what a great actress she thinks she is and thanks her for her performances. Ms. Bancroft, in turn, thanks my mom, and she goes on her merry way. The astounding thing about this is that my brother and I are seeing that, since they were married in real life, there was Mel Brooks in the same airport.

My mom comes back, and my brother and I say, in unison, “That was Mel Brooks!”

And my mom says, just as sweetly as you please, “Yes. I saw him. I don’t like him.”

My brother and I gape at each other. “Springtime for Hitler?”

“May the Schwartz be with you?”

“The Inquisition, the Inquisition,” I sing.

Blazing Saddles?” says my brother.

“Horseshit,” says my father. My father does not approve of scatological humor, unless it’s done by men with British accents, like, say, for instance, Benny Hill. Then, it’s okay.

About a year later, I have my third brush with fame. I am working in a penthouse office in Dallas, near the Merrill Lynch building. The company does retirement planning, and it’s owned by a very dear, sweet man who employed me as his receptionist. This man used to own a large and successful insurance agency, and he’s now retired and comes into the office only very occasionally. I spend more time working with his daughter and the three other females who do the daily administration for our clients, mostly small business, a lot of doctors’ and lawyers’ offices.

The girls in the office tease me because they say that the receptionist position at the company is destined for greatness because one of the receptionists at the old insurance agency went on to become a New York City fashion model who made the tabloids for dating Emilio Estevez. And John Hinckley’s brother-in-law once worked for my boss as an insurance agent. Also, the limo driver that used to drive the boss around became a local radio celebrity. Yes, sirree, I am going places.

One day the boss is actually in the office, and a man calls in and asks for him. I am paid to screen calls. Not just anyone gets in to talk to the boss. His time is valuable.

“Who may I say is calling?” I inquire in my most pleasant gatekeeper voice.

“Tom Landry,” he says.

Hmm. Tom Landry, Tom Landry. Where the hell do I know that name from? Oh, yeah. The retired Cowboys coach.

“Tom Landry?” I repeat, after I take the time to scan my brain for just why that name is familiar to me.

“Yes, “ he says.

“Hee, hee, just one moment.”

Now, in all fairness to me, the boss did have a friend who liked to call in and pretend to be other, sometimes famous people. So, I was used to these kinds of “tricks” being pulled on me.

After I announce “Tom Landry,” I patch him through. About five minutes later the boss comes out of his office with a twinkle in his eye, and I am really lucky the man had a sense of humor.

“Did you just laugh at Tom Landry?”

“That was Tom Landry?”

“Yes, I’ve known him for years. We’re friends. He might come by and visit sometime. He used to do that lots. Did you just laugh at him, on the phone?”

Oh, I thought I was going to be in big trouble.

“I didn’t think it was really him.”

“That’s cute,” he said. He got a really big kick out of it, and I turned seventeen shades of red.

The next time I have a brush with fame it’s in person again. I am in my mid to late twenties. I’m at the movies with a girlfriend of mine. She’s in line for the ATM at the Plano Tinseltown Theater. I am in the line with her, even though I don’t need money. The line is roped off, and we are near the front of it, by the doors. It’s near Christmas time. A burst of cold air brings a very good looking and tall couple through the door. I recognize both of them as being familiar, but I can’t for the life of me remember where I remember them from. At first, I just think I know them both from my real life.

And then it occurs to me. No, I don’t know them from real life. These aren’t any friends of mine. She’s on TV. What the hell is her name? Oh, well. And the guy, that guy is so familiar. Oh, my God! That’s D. B. Sweeney from The Cutting Edge. Later, I would remember that the woman was Angie Harmon, but right then, since I just hit Chick Flick Gold, I only remembered that that was D. B. Sweeney, the man who plays the hockey player turned pairs figure skater for the implausible romantic comedy, The Cutting Edge. That may actually be redundant: implausible romantic comedy. Sort of like saying: unrealistic James Bond spy caper.

I point out my find to my girlfriend. She doesn’t recognize him.

“C’mon. The actor. He was in The Cutting Edge.”

“What is that?”

“I’m going to take your girl card. It’s only maybe the best romantic comedy ever made. “

I can’t remember if My Best Friend’s Wedding had come out by then or not.

“Well, why don’t you go and say hi to him if you think he’s so great?”

Now, obviously, Angie Harmon and D. B. Sweeney were on a date. And since it was near Christmas time and Angie Harmon’s folks live in Dallas, this was probably a pretty serious date. I did not want to interrupt their date, and I was stuck behind a red velvet rope in the line for the ATM. He was several feet away from me, in the snack bar, alone. I think Angie had probably left for the little girls’ room. Believe it or not, I was actually trying to be considerate and unobtrusive. So, I grabbed my chance.

I cupped my hands around my mouth like a megaphone, and I yelled across the theater, “Excuse me!”

No response. I take a deep breath in preparation for another stab at it. After a few seconds he turns to look in my direction. Somehow, amazingly, because I’m pretty sure I withdrew the impromptu megaphone, he looks straight at me, and I have his undivided attention.

I say, “I loved you in The Cutting Edge.” This differentiates me from the typical nut who yells the length of a football field in the middle of a crowded movie theater. At least I recognize that he is an actor and not a failed hockey player named Doug Dorsey.

Thus, seeing that I am trying to pay him a compliment and not attack him like the Kathy Bates character from Misery, Mr. Sweeney rewards me with a slow and secret grin that becomes a full blown smile and thanks me. Now I still have his attention. Ms. Harmon has not yet returned from the restroom. And I could have said something more, like a conversation. But no. Instead, I turn my back to him, grab both my girlfriend’s hands, and jump up and down like a monkey.

This is by no means the end of my brushes with fame, but this post is getting impossibly long. I will save the other ones for a post called Brushes with Fame II: The Squeakquel.

October 3, 2010 at 4:28 pm 1 comment

The Billionaires You Don’t Know About

An article from the August 30, 2010 issue of The New Yorker, entitled, “Covert Operations: The Billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama,” is unfortunately titled. Though the article is definitely liberally biased, what I took from it wasn’t a conspiracy lobbed solely at Obama’s administration.  What I was shocked about was the fact that big money makes all sorts of things happen in America of which I am wholly ignorant.

These guys have almost completely escaped the attention of the American media. If you are not from either New York City or Wichita, Kansas, then I’m betting that there’s a pretty good chance you’ve probably never heard of either Charles or David Koch, the multi-billionaire brothers who are the subjects of the article. My guess is that as staid white billionaires in their seventies, they’re probably not considered sexy enough to get coverage.

Charles and David Koch are the sons of Fred Koch, a multi-millionaire who passed on his considerable fortune to his four sons. Fred Koch was an engineer who developed a new and better way of refining crude oil into gasoline. The story goes that Fred shopped his idea around to the big oil companies in the United States and was summarily turned down by all of them in 1927. Supposedly, the big oil companies regarded Fred Koch as a threat and shut him out of the oil industry altogether.

That’s when Fred Koch went to Stalinist Russia and built a bunch of way more efficient oil refineries over there. This profitable relationship might have gone on indefinitely had not Stalin decided to banish many of Koch’s Soviet co-workers during his years in the Soviet Union. Koch was deeply affected by their loss, was immediately sorry that he had ever partnered with the communist country, and came back home, fiercely anti-Communist in his philosophies.

Fred Koch, in the years leading up to the Second World War, heaped praise on Mussolini and warned that a civil rights movement in America would lead to a communist uprising. He made a speech in 1963 in which he claimed that Communists would eventually unknowingly infiltrate even America’s highest political offices.

After Fred Koch died in 1967, two of the brothers fought two of the other brothers for control of their father’s company. In 1980, William, thinking that Charles was assuming sole control without any deference to the other brothers, tried to take over control of the company. Freddie, the oldest brother, was an artist and supposedly a disappointment to their father. He sided with William, who was the twin brother of David. David, an affable playboy who moved to New York City, and agreed ideologically with his brother Charles, sided, of course, with Charles. A legal battle ensued and ended in 1983 when Charles and David bought out William and Freddie’s shares of the company. The feud was so bitter that the warring brothers would not speak with each other at their own mother’s funeral.

The company was named Koch Industries in 1967 upon their father’s death, and it is one of the largest privately owned companies in the world. Charles and David’s combined fortunes are third only to those of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. Bet you’ve heard of them. Koch Industries makes most of its money from oil, but they also own Brawny paper towels, Dixie cups, Stainmaster carpet, Georgia Pacific Lumber, and Lycra. Bet you’ve heard of them, too.

Both Charles and David were heavily influenced by their father’s views, and they became staunch Libertarians. In their opinions, government and government interference, were the enemy. They do not believe in social services, and they think that The New Deal was the worst thing that ever happened to this country, which means that they disapprove of Social Security, among other things. Needless to say, they do not approve of taxes.

In 1979, Charles convinced David to run for political office. David definitely had the personality for it as he was a likeable and nice looking guy, described by others as amiable and less rough edged than his brother Charles.  He also definitely had the money for it. He could have funded his own political campaign even without the backing of another single living soul.  David ran in the Vice Presidential slot for the Libertarian campaign. Their slogan was, “The Libertarian Party has only one source of funds: You.” In truth, it was more like the Libertarian Party had only one source of funds: David Koch.

The Libertarian Party, of course, did not take the White House in 1980. What the Kochs learned from the experience was that the way to affect the kind of change they wanted to see in America was not to run for political office. They did not have the kind of grassroots support for their vision of America that is needed to win an election. What they could do, however, was to subtly influence popular culture by funding an enormous number of non-profits, think tanks, and academics to lobby and write scholarly opinions in support of their political goals. And, of course, their political goals are in support of the profit margins of Koch Industries.

Jane Mayer’s expose on the Koch brothers gives a quote at the beginning of the article, from Charles Lewis of the nonpartisan watchdog group, Center for Public Integrity. Lewis says of the Koch brothers, “There’s no one else who has spent this much money…They have a pattern of lawbreaking, political manipulation, and obfuscation…They are the Standard Oil of our times.”

In 2004, David Koch founded a group called Americans for Prosperity, a group that provided training for future Tea Party crusaders. Peggy Venable, the leader of the Americans for Prosperity, a woman who has been on the Koch payroll since 1994, readily admits that although the Tea Party has not been directly funded by the Kochs or their business entities, the purpose of Americans for Prosperity is to provide Tea Partiers with the education, policy details, and political energy to be effective. Americans for Prosperity also provides them with a list of which politicians they should channel their energies toward defeating. It’s a form of political manipulation, faintly reminiscent of The Manchurian Candidate.

The Kochs, in addition to heavily influencing the “grassroots” Tea Party movement, also fund other groups that further their own interests, including the Cato Institute, a think tank dedicated to funding and completing research that always supports the foregone conclusion that Global Warming doesn’t exist. They consistently lobby against environmental control or reform, oppose alternative energy sources to fossil fuels, and funnel huge amounts of money to The Mercatus Center through charitable donations to George Mason University.

The Mercatus Center is a hugely politically influential think tank. Many policy changes implemented by the George W. Bush administration were first proposed by the brains at The Mercatus Center. What is their favorite target? The Mercatus Center writes a lot of opinions critical of The Environmental Protection Agency. Koch Industries is constantly in trouble with the E.P.A. Does anyone think this is a coincidence?

I wonder why anyone with as much money as the Kochs have feels the need to manipulate the system to create more wealth for themselves. Why take shortcuts with the environment when you could use some of the huge amounts of money that is being funneled to politicians and think tanks and instead channel it into creating alternative fuels or use it to meet existing environmental regulations instead of trying to shortcut or circumvent the system?

It seems to me that the Koch brothers are trying to emulate their father in their political aims, and they are totally forgetting that their father was an original thinker. He invented a more efficient way of refining oil. Why don’t David and Charles take that same energy and passion and direct it into creating alternative forms of energy that are less harmful for our environment? Think outside the box.

September 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm 1 comment

9/11/10

NYC: World Trade Center

Image by wallyg via Flickr

I remember where I was nine years ago when I found out about 9/11. I was in a car on my way to work. I was driving to my job at the basement of an office building on Lamar & Martin Luther King. I was working for a tiny company that sold and produced on hold messages.

The radio, on my way in, was saying that an airplane had flown into one of the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. I wondered if it was a joke. Although, who in the world would joke about a thing like that? I think it was just the shock of it all.

When I got in to work that morning, none of us was working. We were all huddled around TVs and monitors. We shared office space with a small production company that did primarily advertising work in radio and television. A lot of editing equipment and audio-visual components surrounded us, and there was no shortage of ways to watch the coverage.

I saw “live” coverage of the second plane running into the building. I saw television coverage of the whole event and the aftermath over and over and over again until you were almost, but not quite, desensitized to it all. The smoke, the broken glass, the bodies falling or jumping, the rescue workers in masks, rubble, people, blood. I cried.

And after the shock wore off: anger, rage. And this didn’t even happen to me. I didn’t even live in New York City. I lived in Austin, Texas. Thousands of miles away. But this is America, and what happened in New York City felt like a very personal violation to us all.

In the months following the attack, my government lied to me. They outright lied and told me that Saddam Hussein was behind the bombing. The government of Iraq was undeniably linked to the money trail. Intelligence sources had confirmed. Even Colin Powell looked into a camera and lied to me. And I bought into that lie, hook, line and sinker.

We sent our boys over there to die in order to secure oil, not to prevent terrorism or to exact revenge. It was about money, plain and simple. Cheney’s buddies made a lot of money off of war profiteering. And in the end, much like with the recent financial crisis, the real bad guys will get off scott free. The lesson I learned is that the good guys, the winners, are the ones with money.

We’re still not out of Iraq or Afghanistan, despite the fact that I helped elect a new President to his post based in part on the promise he made me that we would leave. He promised to send our boys home. They’re still being sent there. Osama is still hiding out in a cave somewhere. Our boys are still coming home in body bags. For how much longer are we going to continue to find this acceptable?

Pompous and ignorant windbags in Florida get their fifteen minutes of fame for threatening to burn a Quran. People get up in arms over a proposed “Ground Zero Mosque” that’s really an Islamic Community Center, nowhere near Ground Zero. Our President gets accused of being a Muslim, as if which religion he practices, let alone whether he has a faith at all, can qualify or disqualify him for higher office. We shame those people who died in 9/11. They must turn in their graves.

September 11, 2010 at 3:09 pm 2 comments

The Mean Reds

Holly Golightly coined the phrase The Mean Reds. Instead of having the blues she had the mean reds. Sometimes I think that I have the mean reds. To me, it’s like an extreme form of the blues. It’s like being suddenly and inexplicably depressed. There’s no reason to it. It can last for a day or several days or even several weeks.

There are thoughts that play through my head. The thoughts are like this. I am somehow unlovable. I will die alone. I will never have sex again unless a mortician molests my dead body. They will find my dead body partially eaten by my dog. There is no point to life. Why do I get out of bed in the morning? I used to think I was special, and I would do something great with my life, but the truth is that I’m just ordinary. My life has no purpose or meaning. The things I wanted out of life will never be mine. I can’t even get the consolation prizes that should automatically be mine. The rules of the universe change in order to bring me disappointment. Why do I even try?

This is the soundtrack in my mind. I am dangerous when I get like this. I say things that provoke arguments. I misunderstand what’s said to me. I attribute the worst meaning possible to innocuous statements. I should just refuse to speak with people when I have the mean reds. I should write letters of apology in advance.

It’s too bad that you can’t check into a mental hospital for a day, and there’s no such thing as a Prozac drip or a 24-hour antidepressant.

July 23, 2009 at 12:13 am 2 comments


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