Don’t Wanna Hear About It.

At Goldman Sach’s, the owner’s son is often handed over to me when he comes in at 3 pm. He’s a senior in High School.  Alone in the deli, Stevie Sachs and I have time to discuss things. The other day we had a conversation about the White Stripes. He wrongly suggested that their live shows might suffer because of the smallness of the band. As I walked toward the window ledge to make adjustments to my ipod and the connected boombox, I informed him of the falsity of his claim.

“See how Jack’s playing that riff? See now how he’s basically playing it again, but with that rhythmic feedback this time?”

“See how here, he stops playing? See how the crowd is now carrying the riff? Ohhh oh oh oh  oh ohhhhh ohhhh? You hear that? It’s just the crowd Oh’ing that riff and Meg hitting her bass drum. Yeah, OK, Now, Stevie- you don’t teach this. The people Oh’ing that guitar riff are the masses. They can’t sing. They went to work today. They went out for coffee. They have bellies. They are short, tall, bald, gaunt, thin. They watch cooking shows. They work in HR. They settle. They go home. They watch sports. They occasionally go to concerts. Rock & Roll isn’t their job. Most of them don’t have musical talent- but they have to collectively carry this little guitar riff while Jack stops playing. And they need to do it well enough so that Jack can sing along.  …SO, Stevie, in order for this to happen the riff needs to be stirring. So infectious that it sears itself onto their consciousness.  This searing needs to happen through crappy car speakers while the masses are  at drive-thru windows. It needs to stick when they’re leaning out of their cars, guts pressed against doors, reaching for burgers. You have to communicate something to them with this riff. You have to wake them up. At the office, when they realize that they’re humming something, they need to stop and ask themselves exactly what they’re humming. Rock & Roll isn’t their job. They do not have roadies in penguin suits and top hats chauffeur them around in classic cars. But they need to do be able to do this. This isn’t easy Stevie.”

I Guess It’s Good To Be Grateful For The Little Good Things That Happen To you

A message from Nick Jones:

Several months ago, I [Nicholas Rian Jones] found out that someone was using my social security number for several Wells Fargo bank accounts.  This someone is a wonderful lady from San Jose by the name of Rosa.  Miss Rosa has been using a credit card under my SS# for the past six years, and surprisingly has not completely obliterated my credit score.  That’s right, she has been paying her/my monthly bills and effectively establishing a score of 700.  I don’t know whether to thank her, or to be p.o.’d that she’s been unlawfully using my identity since I was in eighth grade.  I guess it’s good to be grateful for the little good things that happen to you.  So here’s to you, Rosa Rivera: thank you for the exceptional credit score!

The bank said they would have this all taken care of, though here I am four months later with no answers.  I can’t say that I am surprised.  After various attempts to contact Wells Fargo, I got nothing.  Again, no surprise.  The SS admin office was really cool too. I waited there for two hours with a multitude of pungent lowlifes [Maybe a patron of the office was wearing mesh pants without the mercy of underwear. Maybe another smelled of urine and cheap perfume. Screaming baby/babies perhaps? Anyway, Nick Jones waited among these people before he was finally] called up to the window and told, “There is nothing we can do about identity theft.”  Gotta love bureaucracies.

Speaking of candy, [Nick Jones spoke of candy in a paragraph that was omitted.] I am fiercely hooked on those little Japanese Starburst-like candies called High-CHEWs.  They are ridiculously delicious.  [Ridiculously Delicious Ridiculously Delicious Ridiculously Delicious] I urge you readers to try them.  But stick to the strawberry and green apple flavors.  Any other flavor is chomping in vain.  I assume the name High-CHEW refers to the amount of chewing necessary to consume one of the tough little buggers.  Green apple and strawberry are totally worth the effort.

Jr. College

Thongs everywhere. Pants got real low while I was on my mission. Low-cut jeans with thongs pulled tight and bundled up. Sticking out to the left, out to the right. Every color. Sometimes something special at the top- like a shiny bead.  Of course all of this is because visible panty lines are weird.

Students on cell phones telling the other end that they got soooooo fucked up last night. $100 mediocre text books written by professors who are forcing us to buy their books which is like economically unethical, isn’t’ it? Students who go because their parents get discounts on health and car insurance. Student’s who don’t want to be there. The girl who could have gone away but attends because her mother is sick. The kid who wears a trench coat over wife beater tank-top. Shirts encouraging me to listen to Bob Marley. Kid wearing coat over tank-top playing Dance Dance Revolution in the cafeteria with coat flying all around its huge diameter. Professors protecting their coffee at a generous distance from the coat’s diameter, looking on, mystified. Professors who don’t want to be there. Hats telling me to party and/or surf naked. Going into my professor’s office and telling her that I had questions about the last test. Explaining to professor that my girlfriend, who’s away at real college talks to her teachers all the time. My girlfriend is kinda cute- and you know she’s working it a little when she’s in there. Maybe she bumps her grade up a notch- and it bugs me to think about her doing that. But this is ENGLISH. I mean c’mon, it’s all I got. (I didn’t quite say that.)  Professor goes over the test and finds a couple things that, yeah, were in fact mistakes on her part and I did in fact have an A and she’s glad that I came in because I deserved that A. But that I was cute though. (She really said that last part.)

There’s now a section called Jr. College.  It’s about Jr. College in Southern California in the 2000’s.

The Cat and the Tree

Fall of 2005

I think about description and how I’m not very good at it, how I can’t do it.  I think about how Robin Williams tells Ethan Hawke that he can do better than just say “scary man.” Ethan Hawke gets up to the front of class and after some prodding from Williams he has a creative breakthrough and eventually says “sweaty toothed madman.” I wonder if that’s really any better than “very very scary man” cuz I can think of a very scary looking man when I hear “very very scary man.” I get distracted when I think “sweaty-toothed madman.”  I just get way too into the tooth when I think about it. Saliva on the tooth. Any moisture on the tooth is saliva, not sweat, am I right?  If it is sweat, who’s to know it’s not saliva?  I don’t understand. Not even close to being scared at this point.

I can’t describe. I’m on the phone with Amy and I explain that I don’t really need to describe a tree.  I argue that everyone knows what trees look like from TV and movies.  Writers don’t need to waste their time with that stuff anymore.  She wants me to describe a tree anyway.

“AaronChan, I want you to write about a tree.”  Away from the phone, she yells at Augustus, her roommate’s cat.

“AUGUSTUS!” She doesn’t want Augustus in her room.

I tell her that’s cute. She tells me I’m wrong- she wasn’t trying to be cute.  I say that it’s cute even if she’s not trying to be. I explain that I’m often funny when I’m not trying to be. I tell her about the time I watched Empire of the Sun with Tyson and Quinn. (convey how long it was and how they maybe didn’t want to watch it.) They know I love the movie Empire of the Sun. I give them this confused look, this pathetic look that says “Please stop making jokes at me.” And they laugh.  I explain to her that I’m not doing anything to be funny when I make those confused faces. To the subject, there’s nothing special about being funny if you’re not trying. At this point I’m trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing. I’m basically explaining to Amy that I’m often made fun of by Tyson and Quinn. I’m not making any sense. I don’t think she cares much…she’s not really saying anything.  She tells me again she wants me to describe a tree.  I tell her I’ll describe a tree on myspace tomorrow.

For Tyson – With Cereal and Phone Books

My friend Tyson expressed his disdain for phonebooks this evening. Over the phone, he explained that there really wasn’t any reason for them to exist; though he knew a few reasons they should not exist.

First of all, Cell Phones.

Second, and this is basically the same as the first, THE INTERNET. Seriously, no reason phone books should exist.

Number three, TREES.

Tyson said that he often waits for the phone man to bring the phone book.  Usually it’s in the morning, when he’s still in his red bath robe. He explained that he walks over to the window with his cup of coffee and pokes his finger through the blinds.  He stares out into the apartment parking lot and wonders aloud to his wife about the possibility of The Phone Book Guy coming around the neighborhood. He sips from his mug and leans closer to the window. He wonders when that guy’s gonna drop one off at their doorstep.

But he wasn’t serious. He doesn’t even drink coffee.

Naturally the talk turned to cereal, and its merits. Cereal is really quick. Cereal into a bowl, then milk. It’s faster than microwave stuff. I told him that right now, I’m doing plain Honey Nut Cheerios, nothing fancy. So good. He remarked about the deliciousness of Honey Nut’s milk. We agreed that post-cereal leftover milk is crucial, and that Honey Nut pretty much nails it.

Cereal was a mammoth part of my growing up years. I had late Fridays in high school and I told him about my Nintendo Goldeneye/Kellogs Smacks binges on those Fridays before school. Sometimes I had to pause the game to stop and take a few spoonfuls. You can always smell the Smacks in your pee. It’s weird, but there’s no denying it. And I know I’m not the only one. He said he knew what I was talking about. We talked about how Captain Crunch carves up your mouth. You might as well chew on steel wool- but Crunch Berries made them worth it.

I said that when I moved to Boston, I was finally able to give up dairy. Doctors had been telling me to do so since I was a young child. (Soy doesn’t hold a candle to the real stuff.) But in recent months I’ve found cereal again and I can’t really envision another separation.

Tyson told me to write this stuff on my blog.

Two Months

On Nov 21, I had vague plans to play guitars with my friend Jason and my other friend Dan. Jason and Dan weren’t very familiar with each other at the time. The day prior, at Goldman Sachs, Dan walked over to the deli where I was slicing corned beef and asked me what was going on. I told Dan that my friend Jason was available to jam the next day. I asked him if he could join. Dan told me that he liked the idea of the three of us getting together and playing guitars. He was available to do that because like me, he had Nov 21st off. In addition to the guitar playing, made food plans. We were going to make a big-ass tray of deviled eggs. I was really excited. But on Nov 21, Dan was off the face of the Earth- not answering any texts or calls. Jason thought we were supposed to meet much earlier…or later, but just not when I thought we were supposed to meet. Nothing happened. The next day at work, Dan said “My phone wasn’t working, I just thought you guys would just show up.”

If this is your first time at SFSF, it’s important to remember that the little boutique grocery store where I work was bought by the major Wall ST firm, Goldman Sachs. Economists have called it a desperate move for a flailing company. Some feel that the purchase of a little foodie store in Somerville, MA is a sure sign of the end. Important thing is, any reference to Goldman’s is where I work. And  it’s important that when you envision Goldman Sachs, that you don’t picture any glamorous high rise in Manhattan. I work in a deli. The building has one real floor and a basement with a low ceiling where I routinely bump my head on pipes before the caffeine is flowing properly through my veins. People laugh if they’re lucky enough to see me bump my head and they see a little cloud of dust sparked by the collision.

Jason and Dan are both really good at playing guitar. (Good in this context means at least a whole lot better than me.) I was excited for them to jam together. What was supposed to happen was, they were to realize that they were long-lost musical brothers, and form a band wherein I was allowed to play simple bass. (I deluded myself into believing that they would benefit from being restricted to playing around my vast deficiencies on the bass. So the band would benefit as a whole. That all helped bolster my excitement.)

This blog is celebrating its Two-Month Anniversary. It was launched on Nov 21.

What happened was I felt sorry for myself for choosing to pick up the bass at age 27. I chose the wrong passion. I’ve determined this a few times over the past year. I sat at my desk with my hands behind my head, staring at the computer. I thought about a couple things I could write about. Back in those autumnal days I’d been thinking of a movie I saw a long time ago called We Were Soldiers and I decided that I didn’t like it. From what I recalled. So I went to the nearest Blog Website and set up SFSF. I wrote two reviews of movies that I vaguely remembered or hadn’t seen entirely. Though what I labored over the most was the About section. Maybe that was because I had no idea what this blog was about other than I better start freaking having things for people to read before I’m 30.

Almost a month later, on December 17, Sarah C. wrote her first masterpiece. She was added, I’ll admit, because I was a little nervous. It sounds silly to say she was added largely for legitimacy reasons, but yeah, she was.  The important thing is Sarah C’s a good writer and she’s here to stay; as far as I’m concerned this blog mess is 50% hers.

Sarah C. is not to be confused with Sarah Beaumont. That did happen a couple times. People said things to me like “Sarah Beaumont writes for the blog?” Sarah Beaumont does not write for the blog but she has read most things and given great feedback, and is a fine person. I like to call her The Beau. Sarah C. is The Biz. I know another Sarah whom I like to call The Boz.

Good Little Foot Soldiers

The latest Internet sex scandal involves New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan. From the first word of this post, to the moment I push the publish button, there will be seven more scandals. Anyhow, as Sports Illustrated pointed out, the scandal involved Ryan’s freaking wife. So big deal. But it involved feet. That’s funny. He’s a big man. OK, he’s a fat man. He is. He is a fat, middle-aged man and he likes feet. That’s all funny. On the subway today, I saw the cover of the Boston Metro Newspaper. I saw Ryan’s big imperfect face surrounded by feet. In a single sentence, the headline made a reference to Ryan’s sex scandal while opining that the Patriots were going to win the playoff game vs the Jets. I can’t remember what it was. It wasn’t “Pat’s gotta strong foothold over the Jets.” Nope. Um…maybe it was “Pats gonna make Ryan try to take his foot out of his mouth…or his wife’s mouth…or his wife’s foot out of his…” I don’t know.

Here’s a video of Patriots little wideout that could, Wes Welker, saying “foot” more times than usual for a typical post-game or post-practice interview.

Video means Welker makes my short list of pro athletes I would want to hang out with. Short list includes by-the-way (and I know this lacks relevance): And it isn’t complete:

Shaq (basketball)
Eric Byrnes (baseball)
Khalil Greene (baseball, retired?)
Charles Barkley (basketball, retired)
John Kruk (baseball, retired)

Note, in my opinion players who aren’t married to the game of baseball don’t fit in in Boston. Manny Ramirez created serious tension in New England when he played here. He was perhaps the best player in baseball, but he wasn’t all business in his approach to the GAME of baseball. For instance, during the 2007 MLB playoffs, Manny was scorned for not being sad enough after a loss to the Cleveland Indians. The loss put the Red Sox on the brink of elimination. Manny had an attitude that seems natural for a player who was secure in his considerable talent though still at the mercy of a game HEAVILY reliant on luck. He was criticized for not being fully invested.

“Why should we panic?” he said. “We’ve got a great team.
[If] it doesn’t happen, so who cares? There’s always next year. It’s not like it’s the end of the world.”

Hold on now, THAT’S TRUE- Everything he said. Manny hit many home runs for the Red sox after that. They won the world series after he said that. That year.

“Red Sox” nation didn’t exist before Manny got to Boston. You know what existed? Empty seats and mediocrity. New England doesn’t like to talk about that though. They like to talk about Pedroia and Youkilis being gamers. Getting dirty uniforms and whatnot. Manny is arguably the greatest hitter of the modern era and as he smashed lasers around Fenway for 8 years, he knew dirty uniforms had nothing to do with it. He played a game for millions of dollars a year. He played a game that consisted of lots of standing around in the grass, lots of sitting around on a bench, and lots of hitting little white balls. He knew it was absurd and he didn’t pretend it wasn’t.

Manny was born in the Dominican republic. He grew up in Washington Heights at the northern tip of Manhattan. Safe to say had he not played big league baseball, he, his family, and most of his friends would be financially less fortunate than yours. With a bat, he can hit a ball hard, and that changed everything. That’s gotta be weird. It makes sense that a relative outsider might not treat it all so seriously. I’m sure Manny has seen a Dominican-born valet park a BMW owned by a Newton-born man in a 1000 dollar suit topped off with a Red-Sox hat. And I’m sure he’s seen some genuine East Coast class-separation and condescension loud and clear. The talent that separates worship from condescension probably gave him pause and it should us. Dirty uniform players like Pedroia and Youkilis would likely never be hungry (like the literal definition of hungry- no food) had their baseball dreams not come true. It’s easier for them to to be all life-and-death about baseball when life and death is in a different context. For many American athletes (and non-athletes) “Death” is not making the team.

Oh, the cover of the Metro is “Why the Pats will de-FEET the Jets.” Here is a link to a story about it.

http://content.usatoday.com/communities/thehuddle/post/2011/01/boston-paper-puts-rex-ryan-in-collage-of-feet-on-cover/1

IRRResponsible

 

 

This is Aaron eating cereal

 

Couple things- I can’t indent. I don’t know why. In the past I feared that anxiety, fear of failure, lack of direction, or lack of talent would prevent me from ever writing anything. Never in my wildest dreams did I think indentation would be a hurdle…so paragraphs are separated by spaces now, and aren’t indented. Not going to talk about it further. It’s a blast here at SFSF.

Just as unimportant, there is a picture of me in this masterpiece for no particular reason. Well, it’s the first picture of me. Sarah and I are having professional portraits done on Wednesday by Anne Geddes. That’ll also be the day we record a 4-hour long radio show. It’s going to be about two train operators. And a three-legged dog.

“SOOOOO, I don’t know what to do because I sent it in on Friday and the deadline is the 2nd, which is Sunday, which is kind of stupid-”

I don’t know what she’s talking about.

“I over-nighted the application. Cost me sixty dollars. It should be there by the time-”

Oh yeah, OK, so Thea’s talking about college applications. She’s applying to different masters writing programs throughout the country. Why is she talking to me about this?

Ben is about ten feet behind Thea, stocking the produce section. His early morning movements have an economy to them. He looks at the world as if he were a newborn. He places cabbage and lettuce into the produce stand with motions that resemble a baby sitting in a bassinet. He slowly lifts his arms up and down, getting used to his new body. He looks at his hands as if they are doing something completely alien.

“-over-nighted it on Thursday, I spent sixty dollars OK? not thirty-”

My coffee is sitting on the counter by my deli register. I haven’t drank a bit of it yet. I need to get ice from the machine in the basement to turn my coffee into iced coffee. I still don’t get why she’s telling me about her application issues…oh yeah- “Your application to UW?” Thea and I both lived in Seattle, so we share that. Plus we’re writers I guess. I think that’s why she’s telling me about this stuff. “When’s the deadline?”

“The 2nd. The deadline comes while they’re out but it will be there for them on Monday when they get back in.  But like the deadline-”

Thea’s wearing the shirt that I made fun of her for wearing.  I made fun of her about a month ago and I haven’t seen her wear it since. I thought she opened the door for scorn and whatnot because she first observed the hideousness of what looks like a man’s horizontally striped, Reagan era polo shirt- something a 17 year old pothead purchases at The Goodwill. That day, she admitted that her shirt was old and ugly, so I agreed and told her it didn’t look very flattering on her. Plus, we’re at work, we all wear old, ugly clothes. Her shirt just looked particularly old and ugly. Saying that was a mistake. I felt like it was OK, because I was just adding to the pile. Natalia Herzigovina, the manager, gave her shit about the shirt too- I think. But like I said, it was a mistake.

“SO…don’t know what to do…kinda worried.”

I used to mock statements such as “Not before I have my coffee.” I don’t know why she’s talking to me about the application process. I tended to focus on the possesive my when I made fun of people and their relationships with coffee.

“You’re looking at my shirt aren’t you? I know you hate my shirt.”

“Nope.” Ben looks manufactured. He is tan, slim, and slightly taller than average. He is good-looking. He has a black beard. It’s about the same length and thickness as the hair on his head- very short. In the mornings he’s more like a robot that was just rebooted, not an infant. He makes careful, inquisitive arm movement toward the produce stand. Ben Calls me Delington because I work in the deli.

“-So what should I do?”

This is unreal, she’s asking me for advice now.“When’s the deadline?”

“The 2nd. The deadline occurs while they’re away, on vacation with their happy little families eating turkey and stuffing and ham.  It will be waiting for them when they get back to the office on Monday.”

Ben is a mobile wax figure. His hair and beard never vary in appearance. Delington is maybe my 24th nickname. “Call them.”

“Well, what if I call them and it’s like I’m sealing my fate, I’m highlighting my application as being late and right then and there they deny me? What if that’s how I find out I don’t get in? Right then and there.”

I need to get to that ice machine in the basement. I have to bend over every time I walk down the century-old basement stairs. I suppose this is because the building was designed and built by Oompa Loompas. The stairs are not level.  Pretty sure that I’ll slip one day while bent over in a not-very-balanced position on the not-very-level stairs. And I’m pretty sure that I’ll fall face first onto the cement floor and knock out all of my teeth.

“What should I do?”

“I don’t know. Don’t call them? Just wait or something? Go in there with guns blazing?”

“What should I do, really?”

“I don’t know. Why are you asking me? Why are you asking me! I didn’t finish college! Undergrad! I’m irresponsible! My girlfriend had to walk me through the application process over the phone! I attempted to transfer from a JUNIOR COLLEGE. I applied online and we got it in at like 11:59 pm, one minute before the deadline! I swear! I’m the last person you should talk to! Undergrad! …and guess what? I never went! I got in, and never went! I’m a college drop-out! I am not responsible! IRRRRRResponsible!”

“Hmmm.”

Ben acknowledges me suddenly, “Nice talk Delington.”

Top Ten People Americans Forgave in 2010

Best/Worst of 20## lists are boring; let us instead list the personalities that We, the People, opened our hearts and wallets to in the past year.  Some of the people on the following list have been graciously forgiven by the American public, while some have been forgiven for things I think most people just got tired of caring about.

1. Katy Perry, for writing a song about bisexuality that basically trivializes the entire identity.  Her second album, released in August 2010, debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200.  In other words, she exploited bisexuality as a means of making money, and this is the response the American public gave her:

This photo is so quickly going to backfire on my point. DO NOT BE AROUSED.

2. Kanye West, who finally caught on to hipster-style irony: if you point out just how much media critics and the general American public think you reign supreme in the Kingdom of Assholery, pretentious music websites (lookin’ at you, Pitchfork) will give your album a 10 star rating.

(Though I’d like to point out that I stood by my boi Yeezy 110 percent.  When this blog blows up and he reads it religiously, he’ll know I was there for him the whole time/ask for my hand in common law marriage.)

3. Bill Clinton, but for all the wrong reasons.  Sure, I don’t want to see the guy’s legacy forever tainted by getting a bj under the newly-polished oak desk in the Oval Office, but I also don’t want to see him become Golden Boy U.S.A. because he has this “great” plan to rebuild Haiti that involves forcing their economy to depend on the import of sweatshop jobs and the export of goods created through cheap labor.

4. President Obama.  After getting flack from both parties alllll year, Obama & Co. finally got their metaphorical shit together and signed off on DADT and START, proving that you can get things done even if people don’t like you.  In fact, it might even be better that way, because then you can sign off on real issues instead of pandering to everybody.

Don't know who this guy is? Read Garrison Keillor at his finest: http://dir.salon.com/politics/feature/2002/11/07/minnesota/index.html

5. Annoying teenagers.  Damn you, Justin Bieber, for capturing the hearts of women who would normally be old enough to become concerned/enraged that you text while driving, and chastise you for ruining your childhood just like that Gary Coleman (R.I.P.), but are instead helpless before your puppy-dog-eye implants.  Nobody else got respect, much less admiration, from adults at the age of 16–why should you?  [Shout-out here to my mom, the only woman over the age of 30 I know who inexplicably loathes the little brat.]

Look into my dead eyes and TELL ME YOU DON'T LOVE ME.

6. Mark Zuckerberg.  People complain about how much Facebook sucks, the fact that he owns every photo and video you give him, but no one’s going to stop using the site because of it.  I know I would immediately lose track of any and all social events, my friends’ birthdays and my birthday, become a hermit and forget that I ever “liked” anything IRL.  Not only that, but the douchebag is Time’s Person of the Year, and the movie about his life is up for 6 Golden Globe nominations and was voted Best Film of the Year by every newspaper you’ve ever read.

"I'm trying to make the world a more open place by helping people connect and share."--Mark Zuckerberg's FB page. Fine, but according to the kid from The Squid and the Whale, you were actually just trying to pick up chicks. The latter sounds a bit more plausible.

7. Ellen Page, for starring in three mediocre movies as an annoying brat (Juno and Whip It, and the lesser known The Tracey Fragments).  Here’s another person on the list that I didn’t personally hate, even though I’d gladly see anyone involved with the contrived The Tracey Fragments trade places with one of the Chilean miners stuck underground for two months.  But Page actually earned the forgiveness of the American people with a great performance in a brilliant movie in 2010’s Inception.

"Wait, wait, wait--it's called 'The Tracey FRAGMENTS,' so what if we, like, FRAGMENTED the screen?!" = Reason #1 this movie sucked.
Another reason it sucked--Ellen Page's character wears a shower curtain while riding a city bus for much of the film. Eeeeeeedgy!

8. Elizabeth Gilbert, the lauded author of Eat, Pray, Love, for being the worst best-selling memoirist at representing herself.  For those of you unfamiliar with E,P,L, it begins with Gilbert’s descriptions of sobbing on her bathroom floor because she realizes she and her husband need to get a divorce– descriptions that, as one of my writing professors put it, make it sound like “no one has ever been divorced before.”  She decides to go on a world tour to discover herself, to become the strong, self-sufficient woman she knows she is, as any wealthy and newly single adolescent girl would, except this Bildungsroman follows a middle-aged woman.  And, by the end of the book, she’s fallen in love with someone else…whom she marries.  She says she’s “ready to love again,” but I can’t help but think it’s impossible for her to live without a man.  Her book about marriage, Commitment: A Love Story, was a New York Times Bestseller in 2010, and the movie version of E,P,L, starring Julia Roberts, premiered not long thereafter.

I was going to put a video of Elizabeth Gilbert speaking here, but I honestly couldn't get through the whole thing. Besides, this says more than the woman ever could.

9.  Michele Bachmann, who was somehow re-elected in the 2010 Congressional elections.  Sorry to be referencing another Minnesotan politician on this list, but if you’re not familiar with Bachmann (and especially if you are), read this list of the top ten nutso things this Tea Party-er has recently uttered:

http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/the-10-craziest-michele-bachmann-quotes

10.  And, finally, let us not forget: ourselves.  We’re still at war in the Middle East, still allowing people who have no working knowledge of the Constitution/humanity to represent us in Congress, still won’t allow homosexuals to get married, still having petty arguments over whether the government should provide necessary services like health care–and still making New Year’s resolutions like, “Join a gym to get hot abs like The Situation,” and, “Buy sexy lingerie.”  And, of course, still making Top Ten lists of the year before, so we can wrap it up with a nice HTML bow and pretend none of those things will still be happening in 2011.

Well done, America!

We Did It!

–Sarah

57 YR Old Man In A Poodle Skirt

This was written (mostly) in 2005. American Idol was rated TV-G at the time and I objected to that.

The show posts a G rating, signifying it is a family show.  Shows with the TV-PG rating suggest parents should guide their children while watching to reassure them that the world won’t end when they see violence or hear profanity. It’s easy to give a PG rating to a show with violence.  Violence and profanity are easy to spot. The censors have lists of things that need to be rated accordingly or otherwise disallowed. Gun fire = TV-PG; Blood = TV-MA; Vagina = Sorry, Nice Try. AmIdol has a G rating because the censors have a hard time spotting the material that requires discretion. (And this isn’t much of a surprise. I mean, we’re talking about people who are paid to watch and assign ratings to TV shows. We’re probably talking about full-on rejects here. I read a book about the financial system, and I learned that the people who work at the ratings agencies- the agencies that determine whether a bond is good or bad- I learned that those people are imbeciles, that they couldn’t get jobs at real Wall Street Firms, where the real money is. I’m guessing that censors had difficulty landing real entertainment jobs.) <— all that being said, I work in a deli. I’m the deli guy at Goldman Sachs.

American Idol holds huge preliminary tryouts at large wide-open venues (normally stadiums) in the cities in which they film the first episodes to air. Producers choose the best and the worst at these preliminary tryouts. The best are serious contenders; the worst are to be sent before Simon Cowell where he will attempt to pop their delusion bubble. Funny thing is, he will pretend that the delusional contestant wasn’t picked for the sole purpose of a nationally televised reality-check. Even better, the check is going to be given by music industry insiders. The entertainment value here lies in the distance between Simon and friends and the delusional contestants. It’s like ten feet but it’s really like worlds apart and that ten feet is going to be as close as it gets for the delusional.  Simon will act as if this is the contestant’s first tryout. Simon will say “you suck” and feign disgust that this person wasted his and the show’s valuable time. Simon won’t acknowledge that this delusional, unpaid contestant was actually playing an integral role in the proven money-making AmIdol formula. Money making, merely money making? I’m leaving it to the reader to insert better words and phrases that capture AmIdol’s decade-long money printing machine into the comment section of this post.

I don’t have much of a problem with AmIdol’s exploitation of the delusional. It’s the reason I watch the show. It makes me feel better. I feel that I’m somewhat delusional and dreamy, and watching talentless contestants attempt to sing on a national stage makes me feel more emotionally stable. I laugh hard, and so does the rest of the family. It’s wrong, but there are greater injustices.

I don’t watch the show when they go to Hollywood and the real competition starts, because I’m not into singers that don’t even try to write songs. I don’t get the lack of effort, or lack of desire to really be heard. Can an artist really communicate anything when he or she is limited to singing songs written by others? They attach their voice to another song and by, oh, shit, going an octave higher than Rod Stewart, are they really saying anything? What is going on there? We don’t really hear a voice when we watch American Idol. We hear “I want to be famous.”

So as I watch the first part of the season, questions arise as I see contestants crying as they walk off the stage- sometimes escorted by security- exploitation time OVER. What kind of parents allows their son or daughter to become so delusional?  What sort of childhood produces this crazy behavior? Did that girl just say she hears voices?  Is this newly rejected contestant really going to walk directly to the street and beg for money as he says he is?  We question the contestant’s self-awareness: “That 57 yr old man in a poodle skirt doesn’t honestly think he stands a chance, does he? He’s  got to know that he sucks!” And I wonder, just as an eight-year old needs to be comforted after a scene of brutal violence; won’t he or she need guidance upon seeing a schizophrenic American Idol contestant?

American Idol doesn’t explore any of these questions; as soon as the laughs are through, it’s on to the next contestant. Oh, and this one is mind blowing…ly good! We go to commercial break with a quick peak of a beautiful 17 year old girl singing Killing me Softly and we see Paula just melt in her chair. We forget about the last girl, the one who was escorted off the stage while doing jumping jacks cuz she thought a display of athleticism was going to sway the judges. No actually, we don’t forget that. How can we forget that? It’s CRAZY.

I don’t have a problem with the show being on air, or the fact that it’s watched more than any other show. I do have a problem with the G rating. Because the show is f*******cked up. Every time I watch the beginning of an AmIdol season, I think to myself, “This is entertaining, but my kids aren’t going to watch this.” My kids are gonna watch Goodfellas before they watch AmIdol.

There’s a song by Blink 182 about a high school kid who gets invited over to a pretty girl’s house to hang out. It’s supposedly based on a true story. The boy thinks the girl might like him so he peddles his bike to her house as fast as he can. When he gets there, the girl and her friend await him with a garden hose in the front yard. They spray him with the hose.

I believe this isn’t much different from what American Idol does with its joke contestants.  The only difference is the girls in the song are more forgivable because of their youth. American Idol is grown up people making money by spraying others with insults and demonic laughter. Never questioning where the delusional singers came from or where they’re going. To me that’s rated R. Or at least rated “So Aaron Jr., we’re gonna have a little talk now.”

For us to live any other way was nuts. Uh, to us, those goody-good people who worked shitty jobs for bum paychecks and took the subway to work every day, and worried about their bills, were dead. I mean they were suckers. They had no balls. If we wanted something we just took it. If anyone complained twice they got hit so bad, believe me, they never complained again.

-Henry Hill, Goodfellas