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Monthly Archives: November 2010

Godspeed, Leslie Nielson

Leslie Nielson has probably made me laugh out loud (literally) a hundred thousand times.  The first time I saw him was in 1980, in the theater, watching Airplane!  There was an earthquake that day, right here in Ohio, prompting my father – who is also pretty hilarious – to have tee shirts made which read “I Survived The 1980 Ohio Earthquake.”

The only reason we could feel the earthquake was that we were in a theater – I think it was about a 2.3 or something – but looking back, perhaps it was more than an earthquake.  Perhaps it was a seismic shift in the foundation of Comedy Itself. 

Few actors can be enshrined in the ranks of the Comedic Greats without ever being known for stand-up.  Seinfeld, Martin, Pryor, Murphy, Carlin – all of them have nearly killed me laughing countless times, and it’s not a race.  But what Leslie Nielson effortlessly pulled off onscreen in his prime is worthy of study.  Hell, it’s worthy of statues – big ones, too.

Here are ten Leslie Nielson lines or scenes which put me on the floor the first dozen or so times they happened in front of me, not even necessarily my favorite ten, just the first ten to come to mind.

1 – “Don’t call me Shirley.”  This line is as iconic as any of them out there, like “Go ahead, make my day.” and Vader’s “No, I am your father.”  Hilarious to ten year-olds and adults alike, and a perfect example of Leslie Nielson’s deadpan genius.

2 – When Frank Drebin gets bitten on the hand by Vincent Ludwig’s priceless fish, and then accidentally stabs it with Vincent Ludwig’s priceless pen which is “Impervious to everything but water,” then drops them both back into the aquarium.

3 – When he assures the wife of Officer Nordberg (O.J. Simpson), that once he’s recovered from his injuries, he’ll have a position right here at Police Squad.  “Unless he’s a drooling vegetable,” he adds. “But I think that goes without saying.”

4 – In the original series when he’s protecting a boxer from gangsters, and they show up and tell the boxer they’ve got his girl.  They produce a purse, boxer says, “Mary’s purse!”  But Drebin dismisses it – “There must be a million purses like this in the city.”  Then her scarf, which he also dismisses.  Then her toaster, and Drebin stares at it gravely.  “Oh. My. God.”  And then the toast pops up.

5 – “You take a risk when you get up in the morning, cross the street, or stick your face in a fan.”  Got that right.

6 – “Well.”  Not many actors could make a single word so funny, but Leslie Nielson did it frequently.  For example, when he stunned Vincent Ludwig with his cufflink stun gun, and then assured the bystander that he hadn’t killed ludwig, explaining the cufflinks.  Then Ludwig falls off the stadium and gets run over by several vehicles including a steamroller, and then stomped on by the marching band.  That’s what he said – “Well.” 

6a – “Well.”  Also, again, when he’s leaving the force and cleaning out his desk and finds evidence from a previous case.  “How ’bout that, he was innocent!”  “Frank he went to the chair last year.”  “Well.”

7 – “I just want you to know, good luck, we’re all counting on you.”  This line is actually a gift to mankind – you can get a laugh with that in practically any situation involving a door.

8 – “When I see five guys in togas stabbing a sixth right out there in broad daylight, I shoot the bastards, that’s my policy.”  Except it was apparently a Shakespeare at the Park presentation of Julius Caeser.  He killed five actors – “good ones, too!”

9 – When he urinates for ninety seconds with a live microphone on him, at the Queen’s welcome ceremony.  “No matter how silly the idea of having a Queen seems to us…”

10 – When he accidentally trashes and sets fire to the office he’s trying to be sneaky and search, culminating in “Sexual assault with a concrete dildo!”  (It’s funny because he doesn’t really sexually assault anyone with it and it isn’t a dildo, it’s a concrete penis from a naked statue.)

.

What we need is the opposite of a moment of silence.  We need a worldwide viewing of Airplane! and Airplane 2: The Sequel!, and all of the Naked Gun movies, and if you can find them, the six original Police Squad television episodes.  Everyone on the planet should watch these movies on a recursive loop for about forty days and forty nights – that’s the scale of the loss that we’ve suffered, when Leslie Nielson moved on from our world.

Yes, gather together those rare friends of yours who don’t yet know of him, and those friends with whom you’ve grown up, giggling on living room floors in front of his ingenious antics.  Draw near your children and your parents, your enemies and your friends, and celebrate the timeless works of the Deadpan King himself.

As the Vikings and the Klingons were prone to do upon the death of warriors, let us warn the afterlife that a comedic samurai approaches, weary from a life of cracking everyone up, his Hammer of Comedy slung over his shoulder, his mighty horn blasting forth at the sight of the gargantuan, dinosaur-bone gates.  

Let the hysterical laughter of the entire human race ring across the Earth and the Heavens.  Let us  throw back our heads and cackle across the cosmos as a single, unified race, until Dr. Pepper comes out of our collective noses.  For we are all equal are we not, when we are writhing on the floor, gasping for breath, laughing our very asses off?

Let  us warn the gods and the spirits and the angels and the beasts, with our planet-spanning symphony of snorts and giggles.  Beware, we’ll tell them, for quite possibly the funniest human being to ever walk the face of the Earth approaches your vaulted halls.  On your feet, Carlin and Pryor and Candy and Foxx – Leslie Nielson is coming to crack you up for eternity, a befuddled look on his face, but he’s not befuddled, fellas.  No, he’s not.  He just knows what he’s doing, that’s all, and I know you’ve saved him a spot. 

He’ll drive his squad car on a long and slapstick route across the afterlife, to whatever Comedic Valhalla awaits the truly hilarious, and when he pulls up out front, he’ll blast over the garbage cans and not even notice.  Welcome him, with feasting and wine, with song and fireworks – but not with laugh tracks, for the Mighty Leslie Nielson needs them not. 

Godspeed, Sir.  May your soul come to roost where you can get a decent view of the world you’ve left behind, and the Category 5 hurricane of breathless laughter that has swept across it throughout your brilliant life and beyond.   Thank you sincerely for the trillions of smiles that you’ve ever put on our faces – God knows we’ve needed them, here on Earth. 

I hope you find some peace, wherever you’ve gone, and I hope your funeral is truly hilarious – I know that you wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

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National Don’t Stab Or Shoot Anyone Day

I’m looking at the newspaper today here in Columbus, Ohio and I’m seeing that a guy was found shot dead on the west side, a guy stabbed his wife and two kids, another guy out near Dayton shot his brother then himself in an ironic and thoroughly wrong-headed argument about Thanksgiving food, and a guy on the OSU campus had a knife thrown at him, like I guess by a pirate or a ninja or something, right there on High Street.

All I can think is, guys, I get pretty worked up around the holidays, too.  I get that freaky, pulsating Dad vein on my forehead, I stomp around, I clumsily try to avoid swearing and end up swearing very clumsily instead.  I know what it’s like to freak out, I’m not here to judge you.

I’m just telling you, I know what it’s like to lose it, and folks who know me well will tell you, I can be a bit of a jerk.  Sure.  But I’ve never, literally never shot or stabbed anyone.  Not even once, not even a mime.

I wish it was a secret I could bestow upon everyone, how to avoid shooting or stabbing someone, but it’s not like a new kind of meditation or anything.  A good tip might be, if you’re feeling like it might be a hard promise to keep to yourself, don’t get a gun.  Sure, just don’t buy one.

Like if you’re trying to quit smoking, you don’t buy a carton of cigarettes and leave them in your closet just in case you change your mind.  If you find yourself, upon getting angry, even thinking about your gun, let alone getting it out and calling it by a girl’s name and refering to yourself as the Angel of Death, then listen.  Just get rid of that damn thing in a more relaxed mood.

Go on, it’s okay.  That goes for throwing knives, too.  I mean, who the hell throws a knife and sticks it right out of a guy’s face like he’s made of wood?  Here’s the article – just look at this guy.

I just can’t see what the problem could have possibly been, to warrant a throwing knife attack.  What does this guy, keep a knife in his boot at all times?  In case he gets captured, or what?

And the Thanksgiving story, about the guy shooting his brother then himself – these guys were adults.  I’ll bet there were some indications in their lives, leading up to this story, indications that one or both of them might be prone to getting a little trigger happy.  Probably also some territorial issues between the two, which I’ll bet you might have been able to pick up on sometime in their teens.

And I don’t want to blame the bystanders or be disrespectful or anything, but you know, maybe a bigger turkey might have been in order, if these two guys were that serious about it.  Perhaps cornish hens – everybody gets his own little bird and then there’s no argument.  And very generally, when there’s no argument, nobody Shoots Anybody, Self, as the headlines tend to read.

At my mom’s house, the rules are quite clear on this.  We have to check in our guns and crossbows and throwing knives at the front door and we don’t get them back until we’re in our cars at the end of the driveway.  My oldest niece is some kind of gymnastics ninja girl, so she can kill us all with her bare hands, and the answer there is, she has to keep her shoelaces tied together and wear a blindfold.

Works like a charm.  So far, we are snapping down something like forty years of Thanksgiving dinners without a single gunfight and no murders or even hospitalizations.  The was one knife fight but that was a monkey with knives taped to his hands – he stuck one of ’em in an electrical outlet and then went berzerk, screechin’ and stabbin’ and stabbin’ and screeching. 

The eighties were a wild time, man.  I sure miss that crazy little mystery-solving monkey.  I think my Uncle Bill eventually shot him in a card game.

Anyway, there’s a National Day For Pretty Much Everything Else, so I think there should be a National Don’t Stab Or Shoot Anyone Day.  I’m not sure how much it would affect me, since I don’t do either of those things anyway, but I’d sure enjoy the newspaper more the next day.   

I’m even willing to work with you if you freak out and for example, decide to beat someone to death with the old frozen-turkey-in-a-pillow-case.  That’s not stabbing or shooting, and so see, you’re good.  I think it still goes against the spirit of National Don’t Stab Or Shoot Anyone Day, but I’m thinking, baby steps.  Don’t get greedy.

One day, that’s all I’m asking.  What’s the official process on this sort of thing?  How do I get this ball rolling?

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2010 in News/Commentary, Phoning It In

 

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The OSU-Michigan Time Warp

It seems like it was just yesterday that I was recovering from eating eight pounds of tasty Thanksgiving food, and realized Actual Greeno was in town from Chicago.  So I knocked out a quick post about my King Kong glass, and then jumped in a car to drive out to Springfield and get him.  This was of course followed by a delightful dinner in the Short North, a few tasty glasses of Stella down at Mac’s Cafe, and then six hours of bar stool wiseassery at the King Avenue Five.

But it wasn’t yesterday.  It was two days ago.  Alien abduction-style, I am missing a full day, and it’s all because of the OSU-Michigan rivalry, which goes way back several centuries to a dispute over which state had to take Toledo.  Obviously, we lost and we appear to have never gotten over it.

So all of the sudden, it’s the next day and Greeno and I were suddenly sitting in a bar again with bloody marys in front of us, and the entire city was also sitting in bars, acting like that was a perfectly normal thing to do at ten o’clock in the morning.  It’s not, you know.

It turns out, this ancient rivalry is expressed in the form of football.  Given how excited everyone was, and given what time we were all in a bar, I had assumed it was a big military conflict, something on the scale of the Iraq Invasion. 

Football games are quite long, but I think that I did a lot better than normal, for a dude who knows about as much about the game as I do about Harry Potter.  For example, I was almost always clapping at the correct time, and for the most part, I could tell you why I was clapping.  Sometimes, there was a little confusion with regards to how long I ought to be clapping – I feel kind of silly clapping at a box on the wall for more than a second or two, even if everyone else is doing the same thing.

I remember the effect this game has on the city quite well, from my days as a campus bartender back in the early nineties.  A normal shift for a bartender on a day like this is sixteen hours, and one thing I can tell you is that you will be doing yourself and your bartender a big favor if you figure out what the hell you want to drink before you get the bartender’s attention.  They’re in kind of a hurry back there, and they don’t think it’s cute or funny when you call them over to observe you as you chew on your lip and think about various drinks and giggle.

You might also think it’s funny to simply order “beer,” the joke being I think that you don’t care what kind of beer, you just want beer.  Unfortunately, bartenders do not have the option of choosing for you – there are typically a hundred different kinds of beers back there.  It’s not nearly as funny or admirable as you might think.  Not very funny, and somewhat time-consuming.

Also, do not drink and drive.  That’s true anytime, of course, but even more so on the day of the OSU-Michigan game, since the cops are out in full force and they’re low on cash.  They can literally pull people over at random and score DUIs, like plucking trout from a stream.

No, a better solution is to call your wife circa eleven o’clock and admit that you seem to be in a bar again, and just maybe add that a ride home would be super, but maybe not for five or six more hours.  Then, forget to eat any meals and try to talk louder and louder each hour.

When the game is over, be certain to notice who won.  I’m pretty sure it was OSU because nobody ran outside and started flipping cars over or burning couches.  Even if you brought it up a few times, it was like it just wouldn’t take hold.

When my wife arrived, she failed to bring any fried chicken despite my brother’s very clear and repeated requests for it, but that was fine.  No problem.  I had, after all, left to go out with Greeno something like twenty hours before that, so all in all, we had to admit that she was being a pretty good sport.

Really, it was like some kind of trap.  There was no reason to allow or condone my behavior, but she seemed to think it was pretty funny and perfectly fine.  In the car, I said, from now on, I’m not going to go out twice at the same time, and I’m always going to remember to eat meals, and once we get home, remind me to post something on Future Tom because I haven’t done that yet.

Then it was eight hours later.  Still no fried chicken.  Still nobody angry at Tom or hollering at Tom, still a decent weekend.  So I just posted something about the time warp I just went through, and that counts as Saturday.  Even though Saturday’s almost gone.

 
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Posted by on November 28, 2010 in Fried Chicken, Knuckleheads, Time Travel

 

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The King Kong Glass Belongs To Me

I’m just trying to be clear about this, because I know that this is a time to give thanks and all that – and I did thank my brother profusely for my new Favorite Object In The World, the swank, collector’s glass with a picture of 1976 King Kong on it, fighting with a giant snake.

I would include a picture of it, but Kimberly Kinrade just recently convinced me that I shouldn’t put actual pictures of my kids up on my blog, and I’m thinking, well if I can’t put pictures of my kids up there, then I’m sure as hell not going to flash around a picture of my new King Kong glass.  That’s just asking for trouble.

Now, the reason my brother picked up the glass is that when I was five and he was seven, a few well-meaning adults attempted to normalize us by getting us into baseball card collecting.  We were two very strange kids, so that was a nice if misguided idea, since at the time neither of us knew how to play baseball, or what to make of any of the names or stats on the backs of the cards, or even really how to recognize a baseball if it was sitting in the middle of the floor.

Yes, but just walk us over to the baseball card section at the drugstore, give us a buck apiece and tell us to pick something out, and you can bet we’d figure out that there were Giant Movie Monster cards, too.  Nice try, Normalizers. 

As you probably guessed, the picture on my new King Kong glass is the same one that was on the longest-surviving King Kong card that we had – so after all this time, the Circle of Kong is finally complete.  See why I’m so super serious about this now? 

As you probably already know, the 1976 King Kong was the best Kong movie ever.  I know that you might be partial to the old claymation one, just because it was so amazing and groundbreaking and they had nothing to work with and it changed cinema and blah, blah, blah.  I’m sure it was awesome, back when everybody was huddling around their radios at night to listen to the freaking Shadow.

Okay, in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the original, but so what?  I saw bits and pieces of it, and it looked like King Kong and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer were about to go and save the Baby New Year.  But when you read the synopsis, that’s not what happens at all. 

It’s more like a puppet show version of the cool, 1976 version, which I think they ripped off sixty years in advance somehow.  I haven’t yet hammered out the details, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and uncharacteristically suggest that it had something to do with time travel.

Anyway, it’s not just my opinion.  The version I haven’t seen –  objectively, it’s nothing compared to the one that’s a treasured part of my childhood.

And just in case you think I’m being self-centered or just plain old stupid, I had a couple of buddies of mine at NASA run all of my calculations through their supercomputers, and I’m right.  You can argue with me and my rocket scientist friends if you want to, but that sounds frustrating and stubborn, frankly, and as you probably noticed, I’m pretty busy.

And it’s not that I didn’t like Peter Jackson’s modern, super-charged version, it’s just that – and I can’t believe I’m saying this – there is such a thing as Too Many Dinosaurs.  Clearly, anyone who started saying anything like that to Peter Jackson got booted off the set.  Too many dinosaurs makes the dinosaurs seem more like extra CG wackos in the digitally screwed-with Star Wars bar. 

If everybody at school has a Tron tee shirt on, then it kind of takes the molten coolness out of the one you’re already wearing, you know?

Don’t worry, though, Mr. Jackson, you came in third, right behind the Japanese King Kong Vs. Godzilla.  Don’t thank me, buddy, that’s NASA talking.

Anyway, with the Christmas season next on the list of things that are supposed to trick me into being positive all the time, I just wanted everyone – my children in particular – to be aware that the spirit of giving and sharing and all that will not apply to my new King Kong glass, which is mine, mine, mine.

Even if you see it in my cupboard, just sitting there doing nothing, and you start thinking, oh, I’ll just drink out of that swank King Kong glass and then wash it and put it back later, and nobody will ever know – I’m here to tell you to keep your hands off it.  Because you will not wash it or put it back later.  You will just leave it around someplace, or you’ll fill it up with oil paint or something.   Or you’ll break it, old-fashioned style.

And also, you don’t know when I’m going to come blasting in the front door, running straight to the cupboard for my New Favorite Object.  If that happens while you’re standing there drinking a milkshake out of it, you better hope you have a big pit full of sleeping gas in front of you. 

Now, this is a tricky and ambiguous concept, I know, so let me be even more clear.  Even if you intend to fill the King Kong glass with dry Cheerios and then eat them with your paws in front of the television watching an actual King Kong movie, that still counts.  Because I can just hear you saying, well I’m not drinking out of it so it’s not a glass.  I’m eating cereal out of it so it’s a tall, narrow bowl.

I don’t care.  It doesn’t matter if you make up a new name for my King Kong glass, and it doesn’t matter if that new name makes perfect sense.  It doesn’t matter if you’re drinking out of it, eating out of it, making sandcastles with it, or just hiding it to enrage me.  It’s still mine, and you can’t touch it.

See, I like to drink my juice out of it in the morning, so I can hold it up in a sunbeam and make hissing and roaring noises.  King Kong ends up ripping that snake’s head right in half, you know.  Go ahead and make fun, then you won’t even be allowed to look at it, let alone drink out of it. 

I’m the boss of the King Kong glass, you dig? 

Yes, I’m an adult and no, I’m not intoxicated.  Why does everyone keep asking me that?

 

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Everybody Agrees On Pirates

Everybody knows what it’s like at Thanksgiving dinner when someone starts piping up with their political views, as if that’s a fine time to open a rational and productive conversation about a nice, polarizing topic.  It’s not a right or left-wing kind of tendency, it’s more about who has the psychological advantage at the time.

The advantage usually comes from numbers – families tend to lean toward one political party or the other.   The unfortunate folks who marry into these families then have the choice of simply gritting their teeth and pretending to agree with everybody, or taking the bait and ending up engaged in long, frustrating and often insulting exchanges which are troubling enough on a day-to-day basis.  They can flat ruin a holiday dinner.

Right about now, it’s your conservative family members who will be swaggering about going “Yep, the people have spoken and the tide’s turning and I’m right, just like I suspected.”

In the same manner that two years ago the liberals were all moonwalking around with big O’s painted on their foreheads, acting like South Park characters. 

I conduct real estate closings to fill in the gaps between blogging checks (there aren’t really any blogging checks), and I can recall shortly after Obama got into office, I was going to do a closing for a buddy of mine’s dad.

This guy is a very old-school conservative – has owned his own business for thirty or forty years, has an office with Limbaugh books on the walls, and he likes to sit in there, puffing on big, serious cigars.  He’s the kind of fellow who will diagnosis you as a communist, and he won’t do it quietly.

Without going into the political side of things, let’s just say we don’t share all of the same views, but he’s never diagnosed me as a communist, and a real estate closing can take around an hour.  That’s without a series of political interludes.

So I know the guy, it wouldn’t have done any good to just walk in there and pretend to be Johnny Right Wing.  That works on strangers by the way, I trained a guy – a real, serious Keith Olbermann liberal – to close real estate transactions during the 2004 election, and I paraphrased Bill Murray from Ghostbusters, when he asked how to deal with politics during a closing.

“Listen,” I told him.  “If someone asks you if you’re a Republican, you say yes.”

He didn’t listen, by the way – just last month he was diagnosed as a communist.  Sigh.

Anyway, going into the closing, I was trying to think of how to handle the political side of the conversation I was about to have, and I decided to see if I could come up with anything that both of us would agree on.  Then, when politics inevitably arose in conversation, I could hold up that topic, whatever it was.

Right after Obama got into office, there wasn’t much that appealed to both sides.  But there were the pirates who had taken hostages, and who then took some bullets courtesy of a few Navy SEALS.

I pulled up a couple of stories about it online, so I’d know what I was talking about.  The SEALS had dropped into the water a mile away from the ship the pirates had boarded, made their way to it in the dark, which is already more than the rest of us could have done.

Then they climbed up the side of it with suction cups on their hands, undetected and lined up sniper rifle shots on rough seas. They were aiming at a small boat tethered to one side, where three pirates had guns to a hostage’s head.  The SEALS decided that the hostages were about to be killed, so they fired simultaneously through tiny moving windows in the dark, three shots, three hits, and then the hostages were sitting there with three dead pirates.

Right of a Tom Clancy novel – who doesn’t want to talk about that?

I thought, that’s it right there.  We can definitely both agree on pirates, and we can definitely both agree that Navy SEALS are badass, and so I read up on the details (I’m afraid they’re a little hazy two years later, so I might currently have the numbers wrong, for example), and then I went into the closing fully prepared to describe exactly how the SEALS got into position and took their shots.

It wasn’t even a trick or a ploy – I thought it was absolutely fascinating, how most of us sat at home watching the pirate/hostage situation on our televisions, feeling completely helpless while we learned about professional hostage negotiators and how ransom gets paid and what kind of political craziness was going on in Somalia, to make this piracy lifestyle worthwhile.

It was certainly very effective, though.  Not five minutes into the closing, this guy started to frame a political conversation, and I said, “Hey, man, how ’bout those Navy SEALS taking out those pirates, huh?”

And his face lit up – just like a kid on Christmas morning.  It turned out, he didn’t know many of the details, so in the gaps between documents where conversations take place in this sort of situation, we ended up talking like a couple of twelve year-olds about the badass Navy SEALS who weren’t helpless at all when it came to pirates, no, my friend.  Not very helpless at all. 

You might in fact have characterized them and their well-placed bullets as very helpful indeed.  Unless you were a pirate, that is.

So that’s my suggestion, as Thanksgiving dinner draws near, if you’re worried about political debates ruining dinner.  Think of a few things in advance that everyone agrees on, and use them to diffuse the topic as it comes up.  If you can’t think of any, go ahead and use pirates.

Let me know how it goes.  Have a happy Thanksgiving everybody, unless you’re one of my overseas readers, in which case have a bang-up Thursday and let me know how that goes, too.

 

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A World Without Charlie Sheen

I don’t watch Two and a Half Men – there’s an awful lot I can watch on television but I draw the line at laugh tracks.  Fortunately, I don’t need to watch his show – his antics in real life are keeping me thoroughly entertained.

Sometimes it’s not cool at all – allegations of domestic violence, for example – not cool.  But other times he’s busting up a hotel room and frightening the porn star/escort in his company, and then subsequently suing her – that’s really a matter of perspective, whether or not you think that’s cool.  If I had to make the determination right now, I’d have to say cool.

My reasoning there is that he’s so clearly not ashamed.  It’s not like he’s a married Senator who has to walk around looking at his feet now, and waiting six months to write a book about it, those poor guys.  Trashing a hotel room is a very Bad Boy Celebrity thing to do, and that’s exactly the sort of thing he’s been reveling in for about twenty-five years.

You know, all I can think is, if we want Charlie Sheen to change his ways, we probably ought to quit jacking his income up by millions of dollars every single year, for doing exactly what he’s doing.  I don’t think the solid gold house and the rocket car and the extremely generous porn star/escort budget are settling him down, you know?

For example, last year his car was mysteriously driven off a cliff, which is undeniably cool.  Not something that happens to people very often, but it sure happened to Charlie Sheen, and he didn’t even seem very surprised, did he? 

Wouldn’t you love to know the actual series of events leading up to that?  Unfortunately, it’s not really any of our business, is it?

Charlie’s answer is, somebody must have stolen it.  Out of his walled community.  And then rolled it down a cliff.  That’s the kind of criminal enterprise that’s sweeping the country right now, since there’s so much money in Very Brief Grand Theft Auto Followed By Pointless Destruction Of Said Auto.

It’s a crazy world!

By far the most entertaining thing about Charlie Sheen is how everybody keeps getting shocked by him.  He’s made it pretty clear, he likes to get his drink on and hang out with porn stars and no, he’s not sorry.  Asked recently about the $150,000 watch he lost on the night he trashed the hotel room, he sort of shrugged and said, “Well, you know, if you’re going to have expensive tastes, you’re going to have expensive losses.”

I love in that one how he’s baffled by everyone, walking around like all he did was pour a drink on someone and then sing karaoke with a lampshade on his head.  Can’t a guy have one bad night?  Well, maybe one bad night every couple of months?

In fact, if you’re Charlie Sheen, sure you can.  You just need an attorney budget similar to your porn star/escort budget, and buddy, he’s got it.

Charlie Sheen is in a pretty solid position.  His show is geared toward divorced men, and also possibly women whose sons are divorced men, and possibly married men who wish they were divorced.  And children, I suppose, children whose parents aren’t too into message management.

See how that’s a solid group of people who don’t care what Charlie Sheen gets into, as long as he survives it with a grin on his face?  A group of people delighted to hear about his porn star escort. 

What a nice world that’s got to be.  Charlie Sheen doesn’t have to try to convince you with a straight face that he didn’t inhale.  Oh, he inhaled all right.  He’s going to inhale again tonight, if he feels like it.  Maybe even tomorrow, on his way to the bank.

Now he’s about to take the porn star to court, and see, that’s exactly the kind of hilarious Night Court-type of scenario that I find so entertaining.  I mean, I don’t care whether he wins or loses and I doubt Charlie Sheen does either.  It’s just funny to be so unapologetic about the whole thing.

Oh, did I trash your hotel room?  Sorry about that, I’m sure he said, reaching into the pocket of his bathrobe for his cash loaf.  Here you go, Stretch.

Charlie Sheen’s attitude is, if you don’t like his show, don’t watch it.  And if you don’t like how he treats his hotel rooms then steer clear of him once he’s checked in.  And for a wide variety of reasons, it doesn’t sound like you ought to marry him, under any circumstances, and I’ll bet he’d tell you that, too.

I don’t think I want to live in a world without Charlie Sheen out there, wreckin’ it nice and crazy for the rest of us squares.  It makes me feel inspired, like those guys who keep trying to kayak across the ocean and the dude who can hold his breath underwater for a half an hour.

And since I don’t watch his show, and Men At Work is so poorly circulated, when else am I going to catch him on the television?

 

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The Alternative To Invasive Airport Scanners

You know, I’m not much of an air traveler.  A quick jaunt to Chicago now and then, if I only have a couple of days and don’t feel like driving the whole time, that’s about it.  The farthest I’ve flown is Las Vegas, and I’m sure that went just fine.  But I’ll tell you my favorite part of flying, in my relatively limited experience – it’s always been the part where the plane lands and hasn’t exploded and the wheels stay on, and the pilot parks it right by the door so we can easily walk out of it.

Taking millions of people and then blasting them through the air to different cities all over the country – that seems pretty complicated.  I’d say that’s probably tough enough to pull off in post-9/11 America without all the bitching.  I know I don’t expect anyone to kiss my butt and throw flower petals in front of me all the way to my seat.

It seems that we might be taking for granted the rather miraculous nature of this mode of transportation.  Yes, not so very long ago, we would have been mistaken for gods by any of our fellow human beings right on up to the Pope himself, if they saw us traveling in such a fantastic manner.

Especially the inside, where you can sit there with a whiskey rocks and watch a movie or chat or complain about the screaming baby or unpleasant odors or how drunk Greeno is and where he keeps grabbing you.  A surreal set of things to have on your mind as you’re humming along through the air at a thousand miles per hour, with the curvature of the Earth visible right out your window.

We don’t get to really interact with the pilots anymore – gone are the days of Billy and the creepy cockpit tour from Airplane! – and without the pilots, we apparently feel free to treat everyone we encounter at the airport like they personally work for us and are on the verge of getting fired, and that starts long before we even get on the plane.

I’m always amazed by the petulant, put-upon attitude we toss at the people in charge of keeping bombs and terrorists off of the airplanes we’re about to board.  I’m watching the news and everyone’s acting like the airport security guys are waitresses at Bob Evans and they ordered their pancakes hours ago.

I’m certainly no Zen master, so I definitely understand being frustrated and acting like a jerk because of it.  But you know, Thanksgiving weekend has always been a frustrating time to travel.  It was most likely going to be frustrating – and you were most likely going to act like a jerk about it – anyway.

And yes, the security crew isn’t always the most well-trained and professional crew you’ve ever seen, either.  That’s because we don’t pay them very much so they aren’t a bunch of rocket scientists.  We could certainly stand to pay them like rocket scientists, but I’ll bet there’d be a bit of an uproar when it came to the multi-billion dollar price tag. 

No, instead we pay them very low, and we give them general, unbreakable instructions – like search every single person thoroughly unless they agree to go through the naked scanner.  You don’t want to say, search everyone unless they’re obviously a white business traveler, or search everyone except attorneys’ wives.  Yes, I know it’s frustrating.

Speaking of frustration, I imagine it is also frustrating trying to try to keep bombs off of airplanes, especially since folks can make them out of shoes now.  If you’re someone who thinks all of this is “ridiculous” – there’s a word gets used WAY too much – then I’m curious, do you have any experience keeping bombs off of planes?

Why exactly are you so certain that this is ridiculous?  Please tell us – what’s the best way to go about this?  Just kind of use the Campus Bar Door Guy attitude?  Hot girls, local celebrities, and roommates just buzz on by?  Sounds awesome til your roommate blows up your airplane – I’ve had some roommates pull some pretty crazy shit before.

Yes, I know, the new scanners show you naked.  And if you don’t want to get scanned, then they get to pat you down thoroughly, in a manner best described as “groping.”  You guys all act like you’ve never been to a concert before.  It’s possible to hide bombs in between boobs and thighs – huff and puff all you want, it’s just the world we live in. 

I truly don’t understand it.  Exactly how many times per year does someone need to try blowing up an airplane before we take this completely and permanently seriously?

I mean, I’m really trying not to be flip and condescending here, but damn it – just because you know you’re not here to blow up the plane doesn’t mean the rest of us know that.  And you might think that we should just check people with turbans, but I’m pretty sure, right now, that’s about the last thing you’re going to wear if your plan is to try something crazy on a plane.

No, anyone who wants to get on these planes from now on needs to be checked for weapons and bombs, and it’s 2010.  Technology is shrinking both of those things.  We have to check pretty thoroughly, or what’s the point of checking at all?

Yes, I know that for many, many years we weren’t nearly so invasive about it.  How’d that work out for us again?

 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 23, 2010 in News/Commentary, Unpopular Viewpoints

 

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