Friday, October 30, 2009

A Man in Full

This is It, the revelatory documentary chronicling Michael
Jackson’s rehearsals and preparation for his fifty sold-out
concerts in London proves to be both epic and melancholy. It is
clear that “This is It” was built to be both an homage to and a
recreation of Jackson’s extraordinary forty year career.

The homages include a heartfelt Jackson Five medley and the
recreations include a state of the art reimaging of Jackson’s
epic “Thriller” video. It is fascinating to see how much Jackson
had blossomed. The coltish, skittish man-child of John Landis’
“Thriller” documentary – who appeared both excited and
confused by simple proximity to improbably cute Ola Ray -
has grown into a man, baby. He employs a sure firm “man hand”
in his pas de deux with the sultry young lady with whom he re-
creates his “The Way You Make Me Feel” video. Further, his
man-ish air guitar duet with the young female guitar shero
during the fiery Slash guitar rift from the “Black and White”
video is literally Prince-esque.

This is just one of the many “who knew?” moments to be
gleamed from Kenny Ortega’s valedictory documentary. No-
where evident is the frail, sickly Michael we had been sold by the
“hater” media. This Michael, at the age of fifty, lean, tall and rock
star-ish, out dancing hoofers more than half his age, on a stage
and screen bigger than life, is a protean figure: the once and
future King of Pop; and his Majesty doesn’t do anything by half
measures. It is mesmerizing to witness the spectacle that should
have been.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Me and My Vaio

Me and my (Vaio)
Straighter than narrow
Wherever we go, every one knows
It's me and my (Vaio

I bought my Sony Vaio 15.4” notebook PC almost exactly three
years ago, today, and it was love at first sight. I purchased the
laptop on-line at after doing extensive research
taking into account price, esthetics and performance. 1 GB RAM,
100 GB Hard Drive, it came with Windows XP instead of Vista and
the graphics were gorgeous. The slim, sleek metallic silver laptop
was as utilitarian as it was beautiful. I loved my Vaio even more
than I loved my microwave – and I think the microwave oven is
the greatest invention of the twentieth century.

Me and my (Vaio)
Taking the high road
Wherever we go, everyone knows
It's me and my (Vaio

I took my Vaio everywhere I went. I took it to work with me. I took
it to the Original Pancake House when I ate Saturday breakfast
there. I took it to McDonald’s. I took it to Panera’s. I took it onboard
with me when I traveled on business. I took it on vacation with me.
I took it wherever I could find a hotspot.

And in the morning when I wake up
(It) may be gone, I don't know

I love my Vaio. And last week somebody stole it. Soon as I saw the
broken glass in the back door window pane, I knew it was gone.
Several other things were taken, including my HD television, two
game systems and my GPS system (“Why wasn’t your GPS
system in your car?” the officer who responded to my call asked me.
“Because I didn’t want anybody to steal it,” I answered sheepishly).
But the only thing I cared about was my Vaio.

My life was on that Vaio. One completed (unpublished) novel and
two novels in progress were on that Vaio. The entire contents of
my webpage were on that Vaio. All the digital pictures I have taken
of my children, now 21 and 17, in the last three years were on my
Vaio. Every day that passes I remember something else that I love
and will miss that was on my Vaio.

Everyone tells me I should have backed up the contents of my Vaio.
But did I mention that my Vaio had a 100 GB hard drive? Did I
mention how I took my Vaio everywhere? Did I mention how I
thought me and my Vaio would be together forever and that I could
trust my Vaio with the contents of my life?

I often wonder how the person who stole my Vaio will feel when
they discover how slow it had become or how the CD ROM drive
died a year ago or how the sound card doesn’t work right any more
and how all the sound is distorted. Sigh.

I miss my Vaio.

And we make up just to break up
I'll carry on, oh yes I will.
~Harry Nilsson (“Me and my Arrow”)

Friday, October 9, 2009

A moment in Oslo

Let me set the scene: Oslo City Hall, Oslo, Norway, December
2009. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Barack Obama, resplendent
in his black tux and white tie and vest, steps up to podium to
accept his award. As he basks in the audience applause, Republican
National Committee Chairman Michael Steele will lurch up onto
the stage uninvited. “Excuse me, Barack!” he will say as he grabs
the microphone and shouts, “Everybody knows George W. Bush
had the best video of 2008!” The audience of dignitaries will gasp
in shocked amazement as he continues to show a total lack of
manners and civility.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Wisdom in a Beer Ad

I found my faith on an iconic Guinness Beer ad painted by artist John Gilroy. The ad features a glass of Guinness Beer topped with a smiling, self-satisfied head of foam.

(Which I have mashed up as a Prester John beer ad).

The copy reads "Proof that God Exists and that He LOVES us!"

I use that maxim every time I engage in anything particularly
decadent be it the positively sinful calorie load a cheese slattered, bacon covered bison burger coupled with the strawberry shortcake at Ted's Montana Grill in downtown Atlanta or chain smoking strippers during $5 lap dance night at the Pin Ups Night Club in Decatur, GA. In both instances I discovered there was a God and that He loved me.


Saturday, October 3, 2009

You Do What You Can Do

MacArthur "genius" award winner and famous "clown" Bill Irwin,
who has made a living by using and contorting his fluid and flexible
body, calls the human body "ridiculous."

I am reminded of a conversation I engaged my 21 year-old son in
regarding my favorite conversation starter - "What if plants created
man simply to solve their rather mundane but necessary need to
disperse seeds." My son's irritated response was "why did they
create men; why didn't they just grow legs?" To which I responded,
"Why did men create robots; why didn't they just attach mechanical
appendages directly to their nerve stems?" (Although, what I
really thought was "then they wouldn't be plants").

The answer is you do what you can do.

A funny thing I heard over the weekend pertains to the recent
discovery of another of man's earliest ancestors: one theory is
that this creature learned to walk erect so he could present food
to the female of the species in order to win her sexual favor (to
which Bill Maher snarked, "and her response was still: why don't
we ever go out?"

The answer is you do what you can do.