Friday, November 30, 2007
It's not too crowded, and I catch snatches of conversations, lovers making plans, friends laughing at jokes, old people remembering absent companions. I'm with them, but then again I'm not. I'm in the moment but not of it.
There's a musician entertaining the crowd, with a guitar and a Spanish song about a simpler life. I don't understand all the words, but I hear the emotions and I understand enough: life and love and family in a world where things are just a little more permanent than they really are.
And if anyone notices me I'm just a man sitting alone having a drink and soaking in a beautiful day. Maybe I'm waiting for someone, or maybe I'm really alone. Or maybe I'm not really here, I'm far away, in a future time, merely looking back and remembering one snippet of a moment that has no name, no label... and can't be recreated except in the smoke of a dream.
Another breeze happens by, and I lean my head back and close my eyes, and for the briefest of times I breathe all of this in, everything, everyone... but then I have to exhale and the moment is gone.
But before it fades completely I feel the road that leads here, and the road that leads away, and maybe I'm thinking of who I'd like to bring with me when I visit again, and the miles won't seem so long, and the distance won't seem so far, and the moment won't seem so brief.
Friday, November 23, 2007
The coffeemaker is not working anymore.
The coffeemaker is dead.
I cannot make coffee in the morning.
Just in case you've missed how important this disaster is, I CANNOT MAKE COFFEE IN THE MORNING.
This means, for those of you who cannot fathom the full import, I have to drink work coffee. Mind you, it's not bad. Well, not too bad. Okay, it's digestible, but that's about it.
Would it make me a bad person if I misused my blog to ask any moderately wealthy friend to think about giving me a super-duper, bells and whistles coffeemaker for Xmas so that I don't have to kill myself?
Yes, my morning joe is that important.
Never mind, I can't wait until Xmas. Love ya, Santa, but I ain't waiting for you to come down my chimney with a java machine. I'll get one on my own. I've got mad man-whore skillz. I'll be brewin' again in no time.
Look out world, I'll do god-knows-what for coffee!
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Friday, November 16, 2007
That light is a long way off, and we can only hope it's not merely illuminating a sign that says, "Wrong way."
The writers and producers will be sitting back down for formal talks on November 26.
At the core of the contract dispute is compensation for shows offered on the Internet -- a medium that appeals to a number of tech-savvy, young assistants who aspire to create their own online programming and want a piece of the profits.
The producers group has said it's offering writers a share of licensing fees paid by Web sites to stream shows.
However, the union rejected the offer, saying the payments wouldn't begin until six weeks after a show goes online and viewer interest is nearly exhausted.
Writers also want a cut of revenue from non-skippable ads contained in many shows streamed free online. The alliance slammed the door on that demand.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Also in NYC, David Letterman is reportedly going to pay his staff their salaries through the end of the year, out of his own deep pockets. Over to you, Jay...?
While I support the strike, it sure is hard living with Daily Show, Colbert, and soon, the Office and 30 Rock.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
Of course we'll be outraged. But then we'll get used to it. And in a month or so, we'll be ECSTATIC when prices "fall" to $3.5o.
We're frogs, the water's boiling, and we don't realize it.
Monday, November 12, 2007
"If the Bush administration succeeds in its latest request for funding for the war in Iraq, the total cost would rise to $611.5 billion, according to the National Priorities Project, a nonprofit research group," the staff stated in an online introduction. "The amount got us wondering: What would $611 billion buy?"
Among the findings, from college tuition to free gasoline -- each posted with an accompanying photo -- staffers revealed the following:
• "U.S. drivers consume approximately 384.7 million gallons of gasoline a day. Retail prices averaged $3.00 a gallon in early November. Breaking it down, $611 billion could buy gasoline for everybody in the United States, for about 530 days."
• "In fiscal 2008, Medicare benefits will total $454 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation summary. The $611 billion in war costs is 17 times the amount vetoed by the president for a $35 billion health."
• "According to World Bank estimates, $54 billion a year would eliminate starvation and malnutrition globally by 2015, while $30 billion would provide a year of primary education for every child on earth. At the upper range of those estimates, the $611 billion cost of the war could have fed and educated the world's poor for seven years."
Friday, November 09, 2007
At the very least, the first thing we need to do is take patients' medical decisions OUT of the hands of these insurance companies and put them back into the hands of the patients and their doctors.
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
In other news, "Lost" fans may have a hard time. The show was set to return this February, but the strike could delay it to the fall, or even February of 2009. Maybe now is the time for the show's producers to just go ahead and spill the secret that the island is Purgatory, and call it a day.
Monday, November 05, 2007
Jon Stewart's rep just called back to deny the information above. I checked back with my source, who set me straight on a few details: Stewart is not paying writers out of his own pocket, but through Busboy, his production company. And it's not just writers who are getting their salaries covered but all the shows' employees. "He's hoping that it wraps up amicably and quickly, and over the course of that time he wants to look out for his employees," he says.
But when I ran this by Stewart's rep, he emailed back, "While I hesitate to knock down every rumor that comes up, the assertion that Jon and/or Busboy Productions will be paying for the staff is false and we have no further comment beyond this at this time."
But my main man Jon Stewart is showing solidarity with his fellow writers. He's paying the staff writers of both TDS and Colbert Report their salaries for the next two weeks out of his own pocket.
Sunday, November 04, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
VI was way too packed, it was a Friday night after all, and there was going to be no sitting down for a couple of hours, so we walked down Melrose and found a bar called the Snakepit. Smaller, also packed, but it seemed a little more comfortable. There my friends proceeded to keep buying me booze until my relationship with earth's gravity field changed.
At some point an older lady -- i.e. around 60 (?) -- proceeded to "rearrange" my shirt and rub my nipples. I'm told she's a regular. Okay. I told her that it costs 5 bucks to rub my right nipple and 3 bucks to rub my left. "How come the right costs more?" she asked. "Because the left one doesn't get hard," I said.
Sorry, no pics.
Thursday, November 01, 2007
The novella is an award-winning, semi-autobiographical story of a gay sci-fi author adopting a "special needs" emotionally wounded child who believes he's from Mars.
I took my apprehensions with me to a special screening of the film Tuesday night. I had heard they'd "straightwashed" the author, turned him from a single gay man to a straight widower. I smelled sellout, and of course I surmised that the studio wanted this to be a movie for middle American families, and as such, they believed that "normal" middle Americans wouldn't cotton to a story of a gay man adopting a child. Yes, I am cynical.
But my apprehensions were unfounded. The change in the character actually served to highlight a very important dimension to the story -- that the author was just as wounded by the loss of his wife as was the child by his lack of a family. The heart of the story is two wounded people reaching out to the universe and finding each other. So I can forgive the change, because it keeps intact the emotional core of my friend's book.
Alas, the movie opens with what could have been a scene from my own life -- the author as a child, at the mercy of bullies, retreating into sci-fi worlds of fantasy as an escape mechanism, a lifeboat from life.
The movie then flashes forward to the author explaining what all writers know, that in every story he writes at least one character is himself. But in author "David Gordon's" sci fi novel, he is the alien, the creature, just as he feels he is the alien in the real world.
Oh boy. The movie is not about David Gerrold and his son... it's about me! I suspect this will resonate with so many of us who feel the same way sometimes.
"David" is still mourning, two years later, the loss of his wife. And what does he find? A small child who believes he also is an alien; but the child's belief is his entire world, his whole existence. The sun is too bright. He has special powers to protect himself from an alien world. He must wear a "holding down belt" to keep Mars' gravity from pulling him back.
The metaphor is, of course, obvious to us: there is no permanence, sometimes people who say they love you don't, and sometimes people throw you away, and you can go floating helplessly away from all the comforts you know.
John Cusack is amazing, as always. His acting appears so effortless, and his underplaying here only serves to reveal the writer to us. The fact that he is onscreen in practically every scene makes the movie better.
Bobby Coleman, playing "Dennis," is phenomenal. He was there at the screening, running around barefoot, and so different from the character he played on screen that one can see that this kid has mountains of acting talent.
Amanda Peet, in the potential love-interest role, is also terrific. Unfortunately, her character, not in the original story, is completely unnecessary here. Her part could have been excised and nothing would have changed. HOWEVER, there is one scene between her and Cusack where the characters almost begin to express their romantic interest in each other, and it's so wonderfully underplayed and rewarding that Peet completely redeems her presence.
And of course, not enough can be said about Joan Cusack playing (one can assume stereotypically) the role of "David Gordon's" sister. As expected, her scenes are lovely, and as always, she gets some of the best supporting-character lines.
Oliver Platt, Richard Schiff, and Howard Hesseman (seen too briefly) all shine. But most soulful, even in her short screen time, is Sophie Okonedo as the director of the home where Bobby is staying at the beginning of the movie.
Moviegoers who don't like schmaltz may not enjoy the film... EXCEPT that ALL of the performances, even from the supporting players, are so excellent and so enjoyable that the schmaltz is digestible. This is well-made schmaltz, and there's a place in the world for it, my friends.
The film is filled with many wonderful moments -- John Cusack explaining how one can become a superstar in baseball with only a "little" extra effort; a speech about how the real world is plenty weird enough without having to be from Mars; and, in what almost appears to be a throwaway, a scene in which "Bobby Coleman" does a little Martian dance. Probably the most memorable scene in the whole movie.
Some critics have complained the biggest fault here is that the film is a little too obvious with its message. There is only one line I felt was over the top -- that of Anjelica Huston in a cameo as David's publisher complaining, "Why can't you just be what we want you to be?" But Cusack plays his reaction so well that the sledgehammer to our heads is excusable and the headache quickly fades.
Bottom line: This is a touching family film with a very big heart on its sleeve. Yes, it's schmaltz. But this is damn good schmaltz. And the story is based on some real people who are just as wonderful as the way they're portrayed. So skip the overhyped blockbusters this weekend, and go see The Martian Child, and walk out of the theater feeling a little better than went you went in.
And on the way home, pick up a few boxes of Lucky Charms.