Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New “My Little Pony” Show Attracting Bizarre, Creepy Audience

It was brought to my attention recently that our airwaves have recently been graced by a brand spanking new version of 1980’s chick-toon “My Little Pony.” The fact that the show has been relaunched is no surprise; After all, we’ve already gone over Hollywood’s complete inability to come up with original ideas here. The new version, entitled “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” (Editor’s Note: No it’s not), is being produced at Hub TV, a new-ish network that you absolutely have to familiarize yourself with if you haven’t already. Seriously, go check out their programming lineup. “Wonder Years”, “Doogie Howser, MD”, “Happy Days”, “Batman”…If someone can find a cooler lineup than that, I’ll hand over the keys to this blog effective immediately (Editor’s Note: No we won’t). Given Hub’s nostalgia-heavy rotation, it’s no surprise that one of their few original programs is a throwback to a 1980’s classic. What is surprising, however, is the cult following that’s developed around the show, a cult following that consists largely of grown men.

Yes, you heard right. There’s a bizarre group of grown-ass men who are obsessed with “My Little Pony: Friend is Magic.” Not just fans. Super-fans. And not just because they got into it through their infant daughter. A lot of these guys have no kids (and probably never will, I’m guessing). And we’re not even talking about a small handful of people here. There are thousands of them. They do fan art, they buy toys, they watch the show religiously. They even have a nickname for themselves: Bronies. Yes, Bronies. As in Bro-Ponies. Bronies. I’ll say it again, just for effect: BRONIES.

At first glance, this sounds understandably creepy. I mean, let’s be honest, if you saw a grown man roaming the My Little Pony section at your local toy store, you’d assume he’s either got kids, or he’s got some kind of a weird sex dungeon somewhere. I mean what could these Bronies possibly see in this show? What could possibly be drawing them in so intensely as to drive them to this particular kind of fanaticism? I used to feel the same when I’d see adults in the comic book store I hung out in when I was twelve. “Get out of here,” I’d think to myself, “this is ours. Go file some taxes or whatever the hell it is you adults do.” In the same way, it feels weird that these grown-ups were so obsessed with this cartoon that’s meant not just for kids, but for really little kids, and generally speaking, little kids of the opposite gender.

But then I got to thinking: Maybe it’s not so weird. After all, for people who grew up in the 80’s, some of our most essential and basic life-lessons were taught to us via Saturday Morning Cartoons, so in that regard, it’s almost a little refreshing to hear about people going back to cartoons as adults and revisiting those simple, innocent messages. Or maybe it’s just that these people are smarter than all of us and have discovered a brief but powerful respite from the chaotic nature of our day-to-day lives in the form of a kid’s show. The more I thought about it, the more I sort of fell in love with the idea. Imagine all of us taking an hour out of every day to watch cartoons and forget about our problems and marvel at how beautifully simple things can be sometimes. I mean, it’s better than getting out of work, going home, and pounding a glass of scotch, right?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Apple's New Version of Final Cut Pro Is A Debacle

For today’s Bright Side, we’re dipping once again into the mailbag. Loyal Reader Eben A. writes:

you should comment on the new version of final cut pro.

Succinctly put, Eben. Let’s backtrack a little for those of you who don’t know what Eben’s talking about. Last week, Apple unveiled Final Cut Pro X, the latest iteration of their editing software that has quickly become the industry standard for professional editors. And while tech blogs and magazines have generally been more-or-less favorable in their reviews, long-time users of the Final Cut Pro platform have unleashed a vitriolic wave of fury at Apple, claiming that FCPX is vastly inferior to its predecessor and simply does not offer enough functionality for the professionals who rely on it. I’m not going to get into exactly what’s missing from FCPX because a) this isn’t a tech blog, b) I’m too simpleminded to understand what the differences are and c) it’s already been covered ad nauseum elsewhere. All you need to know is that one editor apparently called it “Apple’s worst release in history.”

First of all, I think it’s hilarious that all these Apple devotees are taking to the streets in an angry mob, Frankenstein style, simply because most “Apple people” I know vehemently defend basically everything Apple does. Steve Jobs could get on stage tomorrow and announce that he’s initiating a new project called iHolocaust and you’d have a million people tweeting from their iPhones about what a brilliant idea it is. But it’s also funny because Apple has made – and I’m just estimating here – a gazillion dollars dumbing technology down and making it as easy to understand as possible. They didn’t invent the mp3 player, but they made owning one the norm because of how simple the iPod’s interface was. They didn’t invent the touchscreen smartphone either, but they made the idea more palatable to people because of the so-easy-your-parents-can-use-it iPhone. Here, they’ve seemingly taken the Final Cut Pro platform and dumbed it down to make it more accessible to the amateur editor, even at the expense of the professional who relies on it.

Here’s the thing: I’m neither an editor nor an Apple user, so I can’t really relate to your plight here if you’re either one of those things, or even worse, both. But here’s where I can relate: I started DJing in college, sometime around 2000 or 2001. Since then, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on records, turntables, needles, slipmats, mixers, cases, and various other DJ paraphernalia. A few years back a major turning point came with the introduction of digital DJ platforms, which made it progressively easier for people to declare themselves “DJ’s”, even if all they had to show for themselves were two iPods and mixer. This understandably pissed me off, seeing people stroll into a DJ gig with a backpack when I had spent years hauling a hundred pounds worth of records all over the place. The line between professional and amateur had been so blurred that it didn’t even exist anymore. Literally anyone could be a DJ. And that, I thought, wasn’t fair.

I could be totally off-base here, but it seems like the same thing is happening with Apple’s new version of Final Cut Pro. They’re making it simpler, more accessible, and in turn are blurring the line between professional and amateur. And while the professionals out there have every right to get defensive about that, the fact of the matter is, that’s just the nature of technological advancement. Digital photography has all but eliminated the exclusivity of that professional field. Digital DJing did the same. So rather than getting upset about it, why not embrace the fact that your field is being opened up to more people, that maybe now someone will discover a passion for editing that they didn’t even know they had, and wouldn’t have if not for this oh-so-simple new version of Final Cut Pro. Why not use this as motivation and accept the fact that there are going to be more and more people calling themselves editors, and if you want to stay ahead of them, you’ve got to step your game up. Prove why you’re a professional and they’re not. Or, y’know, just stop being a sheep and buy a PC. (*prepares for angry mob*)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Monday Morning Round-Up

Peter Falk Dies at 83Though most readily associated with his iconic role of Columbo, the shlubbiest detective in screen history, Falk will probably be remembered best by children of the 80’s as the grandfather from The Princess Bride. I had the great pleasure of meeting the man a few times while working on one of his later movies and can confirm that he does, in fact, talk like that all the time. R.I.P., Mr. Falk. Heaven’s got a new detective. Maybe now someone can finally get to the bottom of the infamous “who stole ghost-Elvis’ pants” mystery.

Madonna Test-Screens Directorial Debut; Disaster EnsuesThat’s right folks, Madonna is making the leap from pain-in-the-ass musician to pain-in-the-ass movie director. I’ll spare you the gorey details of this report, but suffice it to say the words “terrible” and “no real narrative” are thrown around. I don’t actually harbor any real ill-will towards Madonna other than thinking she’s pretentious as all hell, but what bothers me is the “anyone can make a movie” subtext that always comes to mind when I hear about some celebrity trying their hand at directing. It’s like they think that as long as you know a few key terms and have a competent enough crew, directing a film is easy. I’m all for people branching out, but when you’re a first-time director, try not to alienate your producer, casting director, and crew like Madge here did.

New Report: Sitting Down All Day Long Is Literally Killing Us – New findings from the American Cancer Society have revealed that men and women who sit for more than six hours a day are between 20 and 40% more likely to die than people who do not. So in other words the entire office-based workforce is going to die early. On the one hand, this, like most “everyone’s-getting-fat” health reports, can be looked as at a wake-up call that we all need to live more active lifestyles. On the other, I hope it sheds some light on a topic I feel particularly strongly about: The excessively long American work day. Let’s be honest: Computers and the internet have enabled us to get our work done exponentially faster than our parents and grandparents generations were able to. The nine-to-five work day is simply too long. We’re getting our work done faster, and thus spend more time sitting at our desks looking at hilariously-captioned photos of people’s pets. That’s time we could be out, walking around, getting some exercise, avoiding the onset of atrophy in our extremities.

U.S. Soccer Team Loses to Mexico, Gets Booed In Own CountryWhat’s notable here isn’t the fact that the U.S. lost in the Gold Cup final (no surprise there) but rather that so many of the 93,000 people in LA’s Rose Bowl for the game were rooting for Mexico. Apparently people with, ahem, right-leaning political tendencies are pissed off about this, but let’s not forget that California was once part of Mexico. And not that long ago, either. Seriously, my block could easily pass for Mexico City. Yes it’s our country now. No, that doesn’t take away people’s right to celebrate their heritage when they whip our ass at sports.

NY State Legalizes Gay MarriageNew York, stand up! As a product of New York City, I’m endlessly proud of my home state for taking a big step forward and legalizing Gay Marriage. The bright side to this one was just too obvious, so in the interest of keeping things interesting around here, here’s a slightly more tangential take on the story: Somewhere in New York, there’s a gay or lesbian couple that just broke up. Maybe it’s been a week, maybe it’s been a month. Maybe it’s been even longer than that, but the point is, for this particular couple the pain is still there, because regardless of how long it’s been, they still miss each other. And maybe, just maybe, this bill passing will be the spark that they need to pick up the phone and call each other, to apologize for everything and ask if maybe they can get dinner sometime. And so to that couple I say congratulations. It’s good to see you two together again.

Friday, June 24, 2011

My Car Is A Piece of Crap

Let’s face it, folks: the car is god in America. I often enjoy alternative forms of transportation, such as “walking,” “riding a subway” and “cycling” (don’t bother looking these words up, unless you enjoy arcania), but at the end of the day I live in Los Angeles, a city designed with one goal in mind: to get you behind the wheel of a brand-new car.

Unfortunately, unlike many other residents of this fair city I have neither a trust fund nor any semblance of a career. I have never owned a brand-new car. When people talk about a “new car smell” I play along, imagining it to be a combination of apple pie and cotton candy. When my coworker tells me about financing plans and resale value, I stare at him like a dog listening to a knock-knock joke. My car left these trappings behind long before I came into the picture.

You know how people say that bad pizza is still good, because it’s pizza? That’s my car. A dull black 1998 Nissan Altima with manual transmission, it does its job just well enough that I don’t rip the engine out and start pushing it about like a Flinstones car. The CD player doesn’t work, it occasionally smells like burning, and the sun visor long ago fell onto my face while I was driving. As for the cosmetic aspects, let’s just say that my Altima has not been a good wingman.

But the bright side, my friends, shines on. This is a car, and it abides by the conventions of a car. As long as I put some gas in it now and again, refrain from colliding with other objects, and occasionally bring it to my creepy mechanic, it’s gonna get me to point B. The 98 Altima is a foolproof piece of Japanese engineering, impervious to my utter ignorance of mechanical devices.

And what’s really tops about owning a car that is ninety-one dog years old? Unlike the shining new beauties at your local Mercedes Benz dealer, I don’t stress it when a gang of pigeons mistakes my Altima for an outhouse. When an old lady dings my bumper, I tell her to have a nice day. When I get keyed, and yes, this has happened to me- I go home and drink a beer. Problem solved!

Too many people in my fair city have a perverse amount of pride in their cars. Listen up: nobody thinks you are cool because you drive an Audi. Nobody thinks you are socially responsible because you drive a Prius. Nobody thinks you are edgy because you drive an old army Jeep. They just think you’re a prick, because you’re sitting in front of them on the 405 and you’ve had your blinker on for the last ten minutes. But when you’re driving an old car with a thick layer of dust and bird droppings, at least people think you are borderline homeless and feel sorry for you!

Some dark day, my Altima will heave its last breath and collapse into pieces around me. As with a child’s goldfish, its passing will bring both great sadness and great indifference. With any luck, that’ll be far enough in the future that all cars will run on peanut shells and junk mail and I can get one with the optional robot driver. But I’ll always look back on the wreckage of my old car, sigh, and thank it for the okay times we had together.

-Kris Miller

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Disappointing Return of Sublime (or, When Good Musicians Go Bad)

Alternative rock fans rejoice! Sublime is back! Kind of! Let’s backtrack a little, shall we? Back in the late 90’s, Sublime was one of those tragic success stories that seems to happen more often than it should. They had finally found popular success with “What I Got”, the lead single off of their self-titled third album, but success had come with a price: Their band-defining lead singer Bradey Nowell had died of a drug overdose mere months before the album’s release, and only a week after marrying the mother of his child. I’m not the world’s biggest Sublime fan or anything, but I still think to this day that their second album “40 Oz. To Freedom” is one of the best, most complete, most progressive albums of the alternative era. Their new song, however – which I’m not going to link here for obvious reasons - is immensely underwhelming. I did a little research and discovered that their new lead singer is a 24 year old kid from Orange County by the name of Rome Ramirez who was 10 when Bradley Nowell died. Most appalling about the whole thing is that the kid sounds, quite frankly, like someone in a small-town bar band doing an unimpressive Bradley Nowell impression. I found it to be equal parts disappointing and infuriating that the remaining members of what once was Sublime felt like they could put this cheap knock-off garbage out there and still put the same name on it. This was not Sublime. Sublime died with its lead singer. This was, well, boring.

This, of course, isn’t the first time a good band has done something really disappointing. Queen went on tour with Paul Rodgers filling in for the deceased Freddy Mercury. INXS, desperate to regain some semblance of the spotlight, humiliated themselves with a reality show to find their new lead singer, settling on some douchebag named JD Fortune. Even The Doors reunited in 2002 under a horrible name – The Doors of the 21st Century – with a horrible new singer. Each time the band was met with similar outrage from their most devoted of fans. Other than the Genesis-Peter Gabriel split, very few bands have succeeded in replacing their lead singer (and even then, there’s an argument to be made that the Phil Collins led Genesis was pretty soft). More often than not, they end up alienating their fan base and subjecting themselves to a healthy dose of ridicule.

On the other hand, however, I guess you can’t blame them for just wanting to keep playing music. I mean, this is their life’s calling. It’s gotta be tough to give that up. And while the crappy knockoff of your favorite band may not succeed in doing anything but pissing you off, maybe they’ll inspire a new legion of young fans to rediscover their earlier work. Sure, the “new” version of Sublime is boring and maddening and frustrating all at once, but maybe as a result of their refusal to give up their once-popular name, maybe a few more people will be led to give their earlier, better material a listen. And just because your favorite band does something stupid and ends up descending into mediocrity doesn’t mean you have to turn your back on them forever. Hell, the Beastie Boys have been mired in “meh” for more than ten years now and they’re still one of my favorite bands ever. So in conclusion, the “new” Sublime (Sublime With Rome, as they’re calling themselves) sucks. There’s no getting around it. But the old Sublime is still awesome, and always will be. And the next time you see a good musician go bad? Try to give them the benefit of the doubt.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Getting Robbed Sucks...Or Does It?

For today’s Bright Side we’re dipping into our mailbag (which I swear is just brimming over with submissions). Loyal reader Rebecca K. (names changed to protect the innocent) writes in:

Someone broke into my car yesterday at the dog park and stole my purse from where it was hiding under the passenger seat. Some of its contents included two credit cards, one debit card, my Whole Foods frequent burrito-buyer punchcard, my shades, and an awesome Beastie Boys mixtape I’ve had for 12 years. Long story short, these people run around and take out $1000 in 20 separate cash advances. They also buy $300 worth of cigarettes at the Tobacco Plus, gas up their car at the 7-11, and rent a Redbox DVD. So tell me, what is the bright side to shitty people who do shitty things to very nice, hardworking people? Especially to a poor starving artist like myself?

First things first, our most sincere condolences to Rebecca for having to go through this ordeal. Getting stolen credit cards replaced is indeed a royal pain in the junkstuffs. But the worst part about getting your car broken into, as Ms. K. points out, is the stuff that isn’t so easily replaced, the stuff that holds a more personal value. The shades. The Beastie Boys mixtape. Those are things that undoubtedly evoke an emotional response, that call to mind a specific set of memories. And those things are hard to say goodbye to, especially when you don’t really have a chance to say goodbye at all.

I can actually relate to this pretty directly, as I had my car broken into a few months back. Among the few things stolen were two books of CD’s that had been sitting in my trunk for two years, containing CD’s I bought in High School that I hadn’t listened to in ages. But then, suddenly, they were gone. And even though they hadn’t been a part of my life in a long time, I suddenly found myself longing to listen to them again, full of mourning for the fact that I would never have the chance to rediscover those CD’s again.

There are two bright sides to this, really: On the one hand, it was only in losing all of those CD’s that I rediscovered my appreciation for them. I spent the next few weeks looking up songs on Youtube and marveling in hearing them again for the first time in years. But on the other hand it made me realize that you can’t hold on to things like these forever. Eventually those shades would have broken. Eventually the Beastie Boys mixtape would have gotten worn-out, or stepped on, or lost. Material things like these, no matter how full of memories they are, never last forever. Eventually we have to let go of the tangible things that hold meaning for us, if only to make room for new things. But the feelings those things evoke aren’t going anywhere, no matter how many times they break into your car.

So, Ms. K, take solace in the fact that one day soon you’ll have a new pair of shades and a new burrito-buyer punchcard. And maybe some kind soul will make you another Beastie Boys mixtape (or would have, if some imbecile hadn’t stolen all of his goddamn CD’s from the trunk of his car), and eventually you’ll come to love that one as much as you loved the first. There will be new things to cherish, and new memories to make with them. And think of how wonderful it will feel when you finally find that new pair of shades or that new favorite album, as though it had been waiting there for you for ages, waiting for you to find it. And as for the things you’ve lost, what will end up sticking with you won’t be the feeling of your privacy being invaded, it won’t be the memory of seeing your window smashed. No, those memories will fade. What will remain will be the memory of the way those things used to make you feel once upon a time. You’ll smile to yourself, shake your head a little at the memory of something long-gone, and then you’ll move on. Because that’s what we do.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Morning Round-Up

We’re introducing a new feature here at the Daily Bright Side: The Monday Morning Round-Up, in which we’ll peruse some of the weekend’s top stories, and give you a few quick words on why you should be righteously enthused about all of them. Should this be looked at as a sign that we’re quickly running out of ideas? You’d better believe it, Jack! But hey, at least now you won’t have to waste your time sifting through those pesky “legitimate news outlets.” Now you’ll have all the top stories you need to know about right here, in the most unreliable of places! And away we go….

Obama Impersonator Bombs at Republican Leadership Conference – Sure it’s deplorable that the GOP hired this guy to begin with, but at least they had the good sense to pull him off stage when things got out of hand. And look, he was going to have to find a new line of work eventually. Now he’s probably just going to have to start looking a few years early. Wouldn’t it be great if this guy went on to win an Oscar five years from now and pointed to the time he bombed as an Obama impersonator as the turning point in his career?

Rave in Texas Leaves 1 Dead, Dozens Hospitalized – Maybe this will be the final merciful nail in the coffin of the rave subculture, which probably should have died ten years ago. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for people uniting through music, it’s just that, like most musical movements that have gone on longer than they should have, this one’s intent and message is more than likely lost on its current audience. Sure there’s probably a handful of “original” ravers who are now in their early 40’s and still going to the – ahem – Electric Daisy Carnival, and that’s great that they’ve stuck with it this long. But it’s time for those people to let it go and move on with their lives.

Feds Bust $25 Million Indie Film Scam – This is my personal favorite. Know why? Because now it’s only a matter of time before they imprison Michael Bay, who’s been stealing money from studios and moviegoers for decades now.

Clarence Clemons, E-Street Band Saxophonist, Dies – Hard to find anything positive here, but suffice it to say, Heaven’s All-Star Band is really starting to fill out nicely. Seriously though, while it’s tragic that guys like Clemons are really only appreciated posthumously, it’s nice to see a career sideman finally get his due. Keep doing what you do, Big Man. We hear you.

The Daytime Emmys Happened – I’d normally react to this with a “meh” and a shrug, but I’m mentioning it because friend-of-the-Bright-Side and all-around good person Sara Saedi won one of these bad boys in the New Approaches category for writing a web series that mashed up characters from different Soap Operas. Congratulations to Sara and everyone else involved. And my condolences to Susan Lucci who I can only assume lost for like the thirtieth year in a row.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Hef Got Dumped

Here at the Daily Bright Side we pride ourselves on our ability to find the silver lining in anything, even if we have to dig extra deep to find it, even if we have to go into full bullshit mode to make a totally joyless event sound positive (Your dog died? Great news! Heaven’s Dog Softball Team has a new Shortstop!!!) But every now and then a story comes up that, while superficially a little on the disappointing side, is actually so full of bright sides it’s hard to believe it didn’t happen sooner; The kind of story that makes this non-job of mine a true joy. This, friends, is one of those stories.

On Tuesday it was announced that 85 year-old Hugh Hefner and his 25 year-old fiancĂ©e had called off their engagement, mere weeks before their planned wedding. Rumors swirled about the cause of this supposedly-unexpected breakup (though honestly, who here is legitimately surprised about this?): Some claimed that Crystal has been secretly dating Dr. Phil’s son. Others said she wanted a higher allowance (no, seriously) and wanted to focus on her music career. As an aside, she dropped her first single the same day she dumped Hef. Not that I’m accusing her of being an opportunistic gold-digger or anything. Regardless of why it happened, the fact is that it happened. And honestly, it’s for the best for both of them.

Oh, Hef. My heart goes out to you, man. It really does. I mean how could you not have a certain appreciation for the man’s role in pushing the boundaries of censorship and helping to move the country away from the kind of puritanical beliefs and moral standards that had defined us for entirely too long? How could you not have a soft spot for this skinny, awkward-looking nerd with big ears who made himself the object of every man in America’s envy? Don’t get me wrong here: The annals of American History are rife with real, honest-to-God heroes, and Hef isn’t one of them. But he is a pioneer, a philanthropist, and an activist. And for that, you’ve got to tip your cap to him.

But honestly? It’s getting weird. There was something vaguely charming about the three-way relationship with Holly, Kendra, and the other one everyone forgets even exists. But when you took up with a pair of identical twins? That’s when it started getting creepy. Like I said, we all appreciate the life you’ve led, and the change you’ve inspired. But we get it. Your point’s been made. It’s time to move on. Your image is etched in the History books forever. You don’t have to keep doing this, dating girls who are like a tenth your age, just for the sake of keeping up appearances. We won’t think any less of you if you decided to move out of the Mansion and spend your golden years with someone who’s at least within a quarter-century of your own age.

So I think this is for the best, because personally, I think you deserve someone who’s smart and sophisticated, someone who’s lived a life of their own, who’s had their own experiences and hardships. Someone who has no interest in being on the cover of your magazine and won’t gripe about not having a high enough allowance. Or maybe I’m wrong and you should just go back to Holly, as more than a few people have suggested (After all, as Lady Bright Side pointed out the other night, both have seemingly been floundering since their break-up). Either way, I wish you the best in getting through what I guess is a tough break-up, though you don’t seem all that broken up about it at all. But it’s over, man. Try to go out with a modicum of dignity.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shocking News: John Boehner Is Acting Pissy and Hypocritical

In a development that’s just dripping with irony, House Speaker and unfortunate surname-owner John Boehner sent a letter to the White House yesterday accusing President Obama of being in violation of the War Powers Act for failing to get Congressional approval for the air strikes we’ve been running in Lybia for the last three months. Well, well, well, look who’s getting all salty about ill-planned and largely unauthorized military action... First of all: A letter? Come on, man. The only times you should be writing someone a letter these days is when you’re either twelve and in love for the first time, or forty and begging the IRS to stop harassing you. Writing a grown man a strongly-worded and vaguely threatening letter is the kind of thing you do when you don’t have the balls to tell your neighbor to his face to stop letting his dog poop on your lawn. Secondly, there’s an obvious bit of hypocrisy at play here, namely that the GOP is all up-in-arms about the Big O’s Libya strikes not being justified; Meanwhile, ask a Republican congressman to explain what the justification is for us still being in Iraq and suddenly it’s all “Oh…well see that was different…”

But think about this for a second: Maybe he’s not totally wrong. He’s being a hypocrite, sure. You might even say he’s being kind of a wuss (A letter? A letter?!??? COME ON BRO…). However, in spite of the fact that NATO’s assistance of the rebels in Libya actually seems to be working, public support for our involvement in this little imbroglio isn’t exactly gangbusters these days, and it's not like we're flush with either cash or manpower. So maybe Boehner, in his own misguided way, has a point. Maybe we just shouldn’t be there.

Look, there’s a reason I try to shy away from political discourse, not just as a writer but as a human being, and it’s because I’m not nearly smart enough to understand what the hell is going on 90% of the time. But it’s also because I’m too easily swayed by both sides of any given argument. Seriously, you should see me flipping through that little booklet they give you at election time as I try to figure out which resolutions to vote for. So I’m not saying that I definitively agree or disagree with the content of Boehner’s passive-aggressive little letter, simply because it’s not in my nature to take that kind of a stand when it comes to politics. Yes, It’s hypocritical for Boehner and the GOP to steadfastly refuse to acknowledge that maybe the President knows what he’s doing, and that maybe if given a modicum of time and cooperation he could be proven completely justified. But it would be equally hypocritical for me to blindly dismiss what Boehner’s saying simply because he’s a member of the other team. So I think there’s something to be learned here (Quick, someone cue up the “Wonder Years” closing credit theme!), and that lesson is this: Don’t rush to judgement based on petty, childish reasons. Try to take a minute to think about both sides of the story, even if it means coming to the conclusion that you actually sort of, even just a little bit, agree with someone you don’t really like. In short: Don’t be a Boehner.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hollywood Is Officially Out Of Ideas

It was announced last week that Universal Studios was launching a reboot of “The Wolfman”, a movie that only just came out a year or so ago. Right off the bat, this isn’t the worst news in the world. Sure it displays a general lack of originality on Hollywood’s part, but it also shows us that movie studios are admirably willing and able to recognize a flop as a flop and to pull the plug on it before it spawns a decade’s worth of awful sequels. Surely they’ll have better luck by immediately re-inserting that plug in a different outlet!

Still, the fact remains: Hollywood’s idea-recycling factory is running on fumes, because we’re barely letting our ideas settle in their graves before digging them back up again. I saw a trailer for “Alcatraz”, Nerd King JJ Abram’s new series on Fox in which a group of prisoners on Alcatraz disappear in the past and reappear in the present. Sound familiar? Here’s a hint: “LOST” WAS ABOUT A GROUP OF PEOPLE AND A TIME TRAVELLING ISLAND!!!! We’ve already been down this road, and we’ve already left people feeling deeply unsatisfied by our collective inability to explain such a ridiculous concept! Yes folks, it’s official: Hollywood has officially run out of ideas.

But cheer up, moviegoers! Because after all, if there weren’t a silver lining here, I wouldn’t be writing this! The fact is, the advance of new and better technologies in Hollywood is moving along faster than I’m running out of ideas for this blog. Cinema has always been a forum in which we breathe life into our dreams, and with these new technologies – HD, 3D, 6D, R2D2…wait, I’m getting off track here. Where were we? Right, technology. The point is, we’re only getting better at making our movies bigger, more spectacular, more vivid. And while we may have had our best ideas in the 70’s and 80’s, we were woefully underequipped to execute them. Look at “Tron” for example. The original was groundbreaking at the time, but was an awful movie with visual effects that now seem laughable. The sequel that came out last year? Still an awful movie…but damn if it didn’t look real pretty! The point is, we can always make a bad movie better, even if just on the most superficial of levels. Who cares if our track record of recycling old ideas with splashier visual effects is horrendous? One of these days, we’re bound to get it right!

And when we finally run out of things to remake and the budgets get too big for our own good? We blow it up and start over, just like we did in the late 60’s! Hollywood spent the early part of that decade making sweeping historical epics (their version of the “remake”, if you will) with massive budgets and not only did it nearly sink the studio system, but it gave rise to maybe the greatest seven years in American cinema history from 1967 to 1973. Trust me, I took a class on this in college (*tightens cardigan, sips iced espresso*). So fear not, friends! Sure, you could say that Hollywood’s obsession with remakes and reboots is stifling our collective creativity. I say this house of cards is gonna fall apart any day now, and that’s when the real magic begins. So, who wants to read my action-packed sequel to “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They”?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Guess Who’s Never Going To Be Able To Retire?

According to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, many of us are going to have to work well into our 80’s to be able to afford retirement. First things first: The Employee Benefit Research Institute? I’m pretty sure that’s made up. I mean the report was written by a guy named Jack VanDerhei for crying out loud. If that doesn’t scream “bullshit”, I don’t know what does. I wouldn’t be surprised if this whole report was constructed by the banking industry to scare us all into investing in IRA’s and that Jack VanDerhei is actually just the CEO of Charles Schwab in a funny mustache.

But more to the point, if this is true, and the idea of retiring at 65 is quickly becoming a thing of the past, is this actually all that bad? Not on your life, bub! The truth is, this news is exactly what our generation needed. I’m going to be honest with you here: I have shockingly little to show for my first ten years in the workforce. Oh sure, I’ve got “experience” out the yin-yang, but what has all that experience gotten me? A promotion? Nope. A high salary? Not even close. If anything, I’ve regressed as a professional, not just because I’ve failed to make any forward progress in terms of my job title and salary but because I have even less of an idea of what I want to do with my life now than I did when I had just gotten out of college.

And you know what? I’m not alone. Chances are, half of you reading this are somewhere in the vicinity of thirty years old and don’t have anything even remotely resembling a clearly defined career path yet. If it’s taking us this long just to define our goals, how long is it going to take us to actually realize them? Retiring at sixty-five? Are you kidding me? I’ll be lucky if I’ve gotten half of my lofty goals done by then. The fact is, we need more time. And this report is exactly that: A much needed extension. All of a sudden it’s okay that we’re thirty and haven’t really figured our lives out. We’ve got fifteen more years to work with!

And for those of you who somehow, against all odds, actually have some direction in your lives, and actually do have the career path and the fast-track to that corner office, look at it this way: When you realize in your mid-40’s that you hate your job and wish you had chosen to do something else? You actually can do that! You can go back to school, you can decide to do something else entirely, and it doesn’t have to feel like you’re starting all over again. And you know why? Because you’ll still have forty years of work left!!

Why do we still feel like our lives need to be lived in as straight a line as possible? Why is it looked down upon to change direction a few times, to alter your course, or to take a little more time to figure things out than the generation before us? As life expectancy grows exponentially from one generation to the next, why shouldn’t we be allowed to take a little longer to get our footing? Think about that the next time you start worrying about your direction in life. And take an extra minute than you normally would. Because believe me, you’ve got plenty of time.

Friday, June 10, 2011

In Defense of Hipsters

I remember the exact moment when my neighborhood growing up in Manhattan started to change. There’s a word for that change it went through – gentrification – and I would spend my early 20’s throwing that word around recklessly as I griped about how the neighborhood had been ruined for those of us who liked it the way it used to be. Now it was brimming with boutiques, and worst of all, hipsters. Oh those fucking hipsters and their smugness. I loathed them with a passion.

I moved to LA in my mid-20’s and, like so many people in the same position, eventually found myself living on what us transplants have misnamed “The East Side.” I love it here, I really truly do, and so do my friends, as they almost all live within a ten block radius of each other. One day, something occurred to me: This was somebody else’s neighborhood once. Somewhere there was a Bizarro version of me, someone who had grown up in Echo Park before it was invaded by hipsters, who loathed these out-of-towners misappropriating as their own a neighborhood they had no rightful claim to. And then I made a most awful realization: I was one of those hipsters. Jobless but somehow not broke, lunching at the farmers market, writing my screenplay at the coffee shop. I had even grown a beard. I looked around and realized that my friends were all hipsters too; actors, writers, singer/songwriters and photographers, all hats and vintage t-shirts and insistences that we’re not actually hipsters. It made my heart sink. How had this come to be?!? I came to dread the inevitable weekly barrage of Reply-Alls where everyone signs off their email with a witty tagline.

I couldn’t tell you when or how my change of heart occurred. But somewhere along the line I made peace with my hipster status, realizing that I could fight it, or I could embrace it. And embrace it I have, which has made me suddenly cognizant of the fact that, once you wade through the hats and t-shirts and the witty emails and the general smugness, this particular group of hipsters was pretty damn amazing. Oh, hipsters aren't all this talented. Most, you might argue, are still worthless. But these hipsters were awesome. And with that in mind, I would like to use the remainder of this post as an open letter to my insufferably hip friends:

I love you guys. I mean that. I think your photography is beautiful, and I think your album is brilliant, and I think your abundantly sunny disposition shines in everything you do, even when it’s just a juice commercial. And I think it’s great that you wear hats and tend to a little community garden on Crenshaw. I think that you all, individually and collectively, have so much to share with the world, and I don’t care if Bizarro Jesse FC hates us for that. I hope that all of you follow the advice of my Grandfather and keep doing what you’re doing, regardless of the oft-unfavorable label it might earn us, because dammit, you’re really good at what you do. Yes, we’re hipsters. But we’re also smart and funny and talented. I love you guys for that, and I thank you for making my world a more colorful place to live in. Now please, for the love of God, stop with the mass emails.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So, There's Naked Pictures of You On The Internet...

Needless to say, it’s been a big week in the world of celebrity nudes. First came the Anthony Weiner dong shots, the most embarrassing part of which, perhaps, was the fact that the man clearly has no idea how Twitter works. A few days later, dozens of nude self-portraits of almost-a-movie-star Blake Lively appeared on gossip sites all over the world, the most embarrassing part of which, perhaps, was the fact that the poor girl clearly doesn’t understand how to take a properly focused picture.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh Chaney, this is obvious. The bright side is that now maybe people will think twice before taking racy pictures of themselves and sending them to people they don’t really know.” Well, you’re half-right. But that means you’re half-wrong, too. Y’know why? Because they won’t learn. Oh maybe these two will, but the next fringe Mayoral candidate and borderline starlet won’t. This has been happening for years, and it’ll happen again.

The problem, you see, isn’t that it happened. It’s how we reacted to it. I’m not saying it was okay that Blake Lively had her privacy violated. I’m definitely not saying it was okay for Anthony Weiner to send pictures of his schmack to a single mom in Texas. I’m just saying this: Do we have to keep making such a big deal out of stuff like this? Look, Weiner screwed up. And it’s true that maybe his public shaming for doing what he did will make future d-bags realize that they probably won’t get away with doing the same. But it’s not like he kicked a puppy and set the American Flag on fire. Yes, he did something stupid. Yes, he’s going to get some well-deserved shit from his wife, and yes, this might destroy his marriage. No, this has nothing to do with his ability to do his job. Can we move on? JFK was a known womanizer for crying out loud and he’s widely viewed as one of the greatest Presidents in history! I mean what if you found out your barber/hairdresser had done the same. Would you stop letting him cut your hair? Would anyone care at all other than the people involved?

What’s going to happen when the Facebook generation starts running for public office? How will we react when we inevitably see a picture of our future President back in his or her college years taking bong rips in their underpants? It’s going to happen. It’s not an if, it’s a when. And we need to start preparing ourselves for the inevitability of it by learning to shrug it off, say “who gives a shit” and move on.

And with that in mind, maybe this isn’t such a bad thing in the grand scheme of things. Maybe it’s for the best because maybe the more it happens the less we’ll obsess over it, and the less we obsess over it, the smaller the market will become for these kinds of salacious-but-empty stories. Maybe every time it happens we move a little closer to being the kind of society that realizes that everyone makes bad decisions sometimes, and just because they’re in the public eye doesn’t make it any more our business than if it were our next door neighbor. Maybe we’ll pass judgement on ourselves and each other less when we accept the fact that even our best and brightest can be stupid as shit on occasion. Or maybe, if nothing else, us guys will learn to stop taking pictures of our dicks. Hey, I guess it’s a start.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Why You Should Appreciate Your Crappy Job

Let’s clear up a few misconceptions about what it’s like to work from home: I don’t sleep all morning. I get up at 8 most days. I go to the gym, I come home, I apply to jobs, I make lunch, and by early afternoon I sit down and start writing. I don’t start drinking at noon just because I can. I don’t watch movies all day. Working from home has it’s obvious benefits, but it’s not like I’m sitting here loafing around all day, peeling myself off the couch to bang out a half-assed few pages of some moronic screenplay (FYI: That’s only on Fridays). Writing – good writing, anyway – takes hours, weeks, months on end, and it’s an emotional roller coaster.

But you know what I’m really doing while I’m at home and you’re at your office job? I’m sitting here wishing we could trade places. I left the office world for a reason, but you know what? I miss it, every single day. You know what you get to do at work? You get to talk to people. And it’s the kind of thing you probably take for granted, office banter, the meaningless shards of conversation that you probably won’t remember but that somehow fill your day. Do you realize that I go ten hours at a time, every single day, where I maybe utter four sentences? And two of those are to myself. That most basic feeling of human interaction that you get on a daily basis? Nonexistent in mine, unless you count “getting leered at by pervy foreigners in the steam room at the gym” as human interaction.

You get health benefits, maybe a 401K. At the end of the year, you get one W9 form from your company and, chances are, you get a nice fat tax refund sometime in April or May. You don’t have to sort through a half-dozen 1099’s. You don’t have to keep and organize your receipts all year long just for the sake of maybe shaving a few hundred bucks off the inevitable thousands of dollars you’ll owe the government at the end of the year. You don’t live in perpetual fear of the IRS telling you that all of the aforementioned tax deductions are invalid and that – surprise – you actually owe them even more money now. You had enough good sense to not put all your eggs in one very unstable basket.

You may hate your job, but in all likelihood you realize that it’s just a job, and that it doesn’t define you. And you don’t have this silly idea in your head that you absolutely have to be moved by what you do. And trust me, in spite of what you think, your life is going to be much easier than mine is for the next few decades. You have a job. A real one at that. And it may not be your dream job, but at least it’s not lonely and terrifying and rife with people telling you that maybe that project you just spent a month on would be better if it were, say, completely different. You have a job. And I envy the hell out of you for that. So…Anyone wanna trade?

[Editor’s Note: Shortly after writing this entry, I actually did manage to stumble ass backwards into a job. Needless to say, I miss the shit out of being unemployed.]

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Insomnia

When I was just entering my teenage years I went through a phase where I got really obsessive about how much sleep I was getting. It’s weird that this was what I turned all OCD about as a young teenager. In retrospect, I probably could have spent less time worrying about getting nine hours of sleep a night and more time worrying about not dressing like an imbecile. Parachute pants and goggles, anyone? Yeah…

Of course, once you start worrying about how much sleep you’re getting, you’re bound to be up for another two hours thinking about it, and that’s where my teenaged insomnia came into play. That occasional insomnia has followed me to adulthood. One night a few weeks back, I woke up at two, went into the bathroom for a glass of water, got back in bed, and before you knew it, it was five in the morning and I was still laying there, staring at the ceiling. I ended up getting like four hours of sleep total, which may or may not have contributed to me starting to hallucinate at the gym the next morning.

These days, however, I tend to get less bugged out about it. Part of that, I’m sure, is not having a job to wake up for. I mean, I easily could have stayed up all night and spent all day the following day sleeping. (Note to girlfriend: Not that I would ever actually partake in such irresponsibility…) But part of it is that I’ve come to realize that there’s actually a lot you can do when you’re awake in the middle of the night. Let’s make an always-popular list, shall we?

1. MEDIDATE If you’re having trouble falling asleep, just close your eyes and count your breathing. Best case scenario? You fall back asleep! Worst case scenario? You stay awake but emerge with a peaceful, centered mind. Everyone wins!

2. SEEK OUT INSPIRATION If you’re a creative type like me, you need as much inspiration as you can get, and you need to look for it everywhere. Next time you can’t sleep, try listening to the sounds of your neighborhood. Last night, someone started their car at three in the morning, and within minutes I was constructing a story in my head. Who was this person? Where were they going? Were they sneaking out unbeknownst of a still-sleeping lover? Why were they idling their Mercury Sable for ten minutes outside my window? Do you live in the suburbs where your neighborhood doesn’t make any noise? Break out a pair of binoculars and spy on your neighbors! Same thing!!!

3. PRACTICE THINGS YOU’RE GOING TO SAY TO PEOPLE I actually do this all the time, even when I’m not suffering from insomnia. I wrote this whole post in my head at four in the morning last night (which, in retrospect, actually explains a lot). I rehearse whole conversations sometimes. It goes a long way in creating the impression that I’m quick-witted when I am, in fact, quite slow and dim.

And look, if none of the above work for you, there’s always the good old idiot box. And there’s lots of compelling programming on at four in the morning, including such gems as “Wesley Snipes Uses the Total Body Gym” and an inexplicable nightly four-hour marathon of “Hogan’s Heroes.” Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spend the rest of the day napping seeking gainful employment.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Palin, Like Herpes, Just Won't Go Away

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been almost three years since we put President Obama into office and proceeded to immediately start griping about what an awful and disappointing job he was doing. But then again, a lot has changed in the world since then. (Editor’s Note: Nothing has changed) And when you stop and really think about it, you start to realize how distant 2008 really feels. The faces and names that we saw in the news on a near hourly basis, the people we thought would be a permanent part of our national lexicon have long since faded back into the background, soon to be replaced by new faces and names. Because in the political arena, like everywhere else, most everyone gets their fifteen minutes of fame, and no more. Right?

WRONG. Sarah Palin is back for fifteen more minutes, sucka! With the upcoming release of her feature length documentary “The Undefeated” (I’ll leave it to you guys to fill in the punchline), Washington is abuzz with rumors that Palin is gearing up for a run at the White House. While most would argue that Mitt Romney is probably the lead horse here, snarky bloggers nationwide are salivating over the possibility of an Obama vs. Palin Battle Royale.

It’s actually been sort of tough to gauge Liberal America’s response to this potential match-up. Half seem to think it’ll be as lopsided as the time we invaded Grenada in 1983, in which we sent nearly ten thousand troops into a country the size of, like, Boston. The other half seem paralyzed with fear, either at the thought that she might actually win or simply at the prospect of having to deal with another two years of her fervent idiocy. First things first: She won’t win. I mean, come on. COME ON. Anyone who thought Obama was unqualified to be President should be having a field day with Palin. Christ, I’m shocked she qualified for a gun permit. (“Whaddya mean ‘what am I gonna do with it’? I’m gonna fire it recklessly from a helicopter, naturally.”)

But what if she did win? Would the country really be on the fast track to Hell? Yes. Yes, we’d be doomed. But there’s one thing I think we can all agree on: This woman is freaking HILARIOUS. We got utterly spoiled by eight years of Dubya, arguably the most easily-mocked President in History. Obama? This guy’s not funny at all. Sure he killed at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner with a stand-up routine that single-handedly scuttled Donald Trump’s Presidential Campaign, but I mean…Where’s the embarrassing quotes? Where’s the classic Saturday Night Live parody? With Palin in the White House, we’d surely be well-stocked with mockery material for years to come. And look, maybe she’s not as stupid as she seems. Maybe she’s actually brilliant. I mean, wouldn’t it be a great story if Sarah Palin, the woman who doesn’t read the news, the woman who got tired of being a publically elected official and decided to just quit for no real reason, was actually the key to world peace and we just didn’t know it yet?

So if Sarah Palin actually does become President? Yes, there’s a better than likely chance that the entire country will somehow end up literally sinking into the ocean within six weeks of her taking office. But let’s not be so quick to rush to judgement. I say give her a chance. Maybe she’ll surprise us all. (Editor’s Note: No she won’t)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Grandma is REALLY Confused

My grandmother turned 90 last month. She’s impressively healthy for 90, which may sound surprising when you consider that she broke her hip a few years ago. The truth is, her hip is now made of, like, industrial-grade titanium, which means that if we found ourselves in the midst of a nuclear holocaust in three days, the only things that would survive would be cockroaches and my grandmother’s Terminator hip. But I digress...

She’s a sweetheart, the type of person with a smile that could power the entire Upper East Side of Manhattan in the event of a blackout. She’s got this amazing laugh, where she throws her head back and doesn’t actually make any noise at first until she finally – and only if you’re lucky - lets loose a loud, pronounced, drawn out “HA HAAAAA!” It’s a glorious thing to behold.

However, while she’s still hanging tough physically, it’s the mental side where things are starting to slip. She’s been suffering from pretty severe dementia for the last several years, so much so that she needs round-the-clock supervision. She still lives at home in her own apartment, which she seems to like. “This is a really gorgeous apartment,” she’ll say. “Who lives here?” “YOU DO, GRANDMA.” (You really need to yell, because she wears two hearing aids, neither of which seem to do anything other than emitting a high-pitched whine that only appears to only make matters worse.) She’ll furrow her brow for a second, thinking about it. “This is my apartment?” “YES, GRANDMA. YOU’VE LIVED HERE FOR TWENTY YEARS.” A long beat will pass. “I don’t think so,” she’ll say quietly, shaking her head, like this is something you could legitimately be wrong about. Grandma, these days, is REALLY confused.

It would be easy to get really depressed about it. But there’s one important fact that mitigates my grandma’s worsening mental state: She’s still here. And unlike so many people her age who are suffering from similar degenerative conditions, by and large hers hasn’t manifested itself in the form of anger or bitterness. Think about it: How many times have you either known, seen, or heard about somebody’s elderly relative being crabby as hell and irritable about literally everything? Sure, she gets a little cranky sometimes, and sometimes it’s worse than others. And that’s completely understandable. You’d be pissed off too if you had no idea where you were or what all these strange people were doing there. But despite that, my grandma still has that million watt smile, that head-thrown-back belly laugh, that impossibly sunny demeanor. The fact that she talks to strangers on the street? That’s freaking awesome. Because it’s not like she walks up to people and tells them to fuck off. She smiles, asks how they’re doing as though they were old friends, and wishes them well.

One day, this will be a period of her life that we look back on fondly. “Remember when grandma was so confused she thought her apartment of twenty years was a hotel room and mistook Uncle Andy for her non-existent brother? Remember how she had no idea what the hell was going on, but managed a smile anyway?” She may be confused, but she’s blissfully confused. It’s sad sometimes, but it’s also hilarious and adorable and incredibly endearing. Hell, we should all be so lucky in our old age.

So here's to you, Grandma. May we all, in the event of a major blackout, be as close to you as possible.

Hollywood Divorce (Or “Insert Bad ‘Terminator’ Pun Here”)

By now, you’ve probably heard the big news making waves in Hollywood lately: Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver are splitting up. What’s worse, the Sperminator himself (bad pun count: 1) had a child out of wedlock with one of his housekeepers. Not that this should be all that surprising, of course, given the man’s penchant for getting accused of sexual harassment. Still, Hollywood is going through its usual “shocked-and-appalled” motions over this one, presumably because these two were considered to be some kind of royalty. (He’s a pervy bodybuilder! She’s vaguely related to John Kennedy! It’s power meets power!!)

No doubt, it’s always sad to see a marriage fall apart, regardless of who the couple is, and regardless of whether or not you liked the people involved. It’s sad because there was a time once when these two truly loved each other, when she looked at him and didn’t just see a roided-out-of-his-skull Austrian, when he looked at her and didn’t just see a human Skeletor, when all they saw was each other spending the rest of their lives in happily married bliss. It’s sad because they had kids together, and take it from someone whose parents separated twice before finally getting divorced, that’s never easy for kids to deal with. And it’s sad because, with any given marriage basically having a 50-50 shot at succeeding, every time one fails it feels less like a shocking disappointment, and more like the inevitable conclusion of a sad and doomed cycle of heartbreak.

And yet, it’s not all bad. You see, Maria Shriver has spent the better part of the last decade at the helm of The Women’s Conference, an organization that has “sought to empower women 365 days a year.” In addition to holding a yearly conference to raise money and awareness for women’s issues, they’ve also given out hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships to women across the country. And what better message to send to the millions of women who look to her for inspiration than to stand there in front of them and loudly proclaim: “My pervert of a husband cheated on me, and so I kicked his bitch ass to the curb like the dog that he is!” What could possibly be more empowering to women than exposing one of the 20th century’s most prevalent symbols of masculinity as a lying, cheating, good-for-nothing bastard! “Oh no he won’t be back, (bad pun count: 2) BECAUSE I’M TAKING THE HOUSE, THE PRIVATE JET, AND THE FLEET OF HUMMERS!”

You see ladies, when you’re looking for that perfect man, don’t let yourself get blinded by an abnormally pronounced set of pectoral muscles or a multi-million dollar paycheck. That’s not what makes a real man. Look at me, for example: I’m the cheapest human being on the planet and I have a hard time lifting a gallon of milk. But I am ALL man, baby. Because I love my girl, and I know that she loves me. There’s a trust and a respect there, and I wouldn’t do anything in a million years to break that. And that’s what matters. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go get my swell on at the Hollywood Bally’s.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The End of the World: Not Actually That Bad

Make no mistake about it, folks: The end times are upon us. Depending on who you ask, we’re looking at some kind of rapture or armageddon either two weeks ago or sometime very generally in the next year. Repent! Go to Church and confess your sins! Try to cram as many Yom Kippurs into one year as is humanly possible!! Not so fast, hoss…It ain’t all bad! Allow me to elaborate:

I know certain religions would have you believe that the aforementioned rapture will be near-instantaneous. I, for one, find that very hard to believe. There’s probably – and I’m just guesstimating here – like fifty trillion-billion people in the world. Say half of them are what you’d call “heaven material.” That’s still a lot of people. And you know what comes with that many people? Paperwork. LOTS of paperwork. I know, I know, it’s heaven, and heaven’s run by God, and God can do whatever God wants, but be realistic: Nobody can get through that much paperwork instantaneously! By my count, we’ll have at least six months of paper-pushing before everything gets sorted out. And those six months are gonna be freaking AWESOME. Here’s why:

1. MORE JOBS – I know Hollywood is mostly run by Godless heathens, but there’s gotta be at least a few hundred jobs opening up when the rapture comes. And with that in mind, I’d like to declare my candidacy for all of them. I have extensive experience as an assistant, executive assistant, development assistant, and creative executive, a position I held for one glorious year before being laid off for gross incompetence being too handsome.

2. FEWER CRAZIES – Cold hard fact: The people who are actually going to qualify for an eternity in God’s Kingdom are freaking TERRIFYING. I used to live next door to a Coptic Church and their priests or whatever used to give me nightmares. They dress in long black robes and have beards down to their waists and speak Aramaic or something. And just to prove that I’m not a bigot, hardcore Jews are no less frightening. Your average Hasidic Jew spends more time rocking back and forth than a heroin addict going through withdrawal. Thanks, but no.

3. TOTAL LACK OF CONSEQUENCES – Those of us left behind are definitely going to Hell. So what’s the point in doling out meaningless earthly punishments for the breaking of our pithy human laws and social mores? Guess who’s getting drunk before work?!?

See? Everything’s gonna be just fine. Sure once all that paperwork goes through we’ll be in for an eternity of punishment and damnation. But at least we’ll have those glorious few months of consequence-free bliss to celebrate our end of days. And come on, this is America, people. We’ve made ignoring-the-bad-news-that’s-right-in-front-of-our-faces-until-literally-the-last-possible-minute a freaking ART FORM. So, when you see the skies open up and your neighbor suddenly disappear in a cloud of rapturous pixie-dust, don’t get all down on yourself!! Do the American thing and ignore it, then pour yourself a nice tall scotch and celebrate. I’ll be waiting for you at the bar.