Sunday, January 27, 2008

Coming To Star Wars

About a year ago I came across a reworked trailer for Stephen King's The Shining. The movie, you may recall, was and remains one of the more memorable performances of Jack Nicholson's career. The fact that it was a creepy, disturbing horror movie set in a vacated Colorado ski lodge in the dead of winter only added to its worthiness.

The above-described reworked trailer features footage from the film with Peter Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" as background music The on-screen text suggests a warm, fuzzy film about a boy and his dad -- decidedly different than the original.

The latest reworking of an original film -- or two, in this upcoming case -- is a keeper.

Following is a rockin' mash-up of Coming to America and Star Wars. Go here to check it out.

PS Props to Fresh Arrival for this ;-)

Friday, January 25, 2008

That Ain't No Djoke...

Yesterday, I made mention of the Brian Leetch ceremony to be held last night at Madison Square Garden and Roger Federer's inevitable victory at the Australian Open. While the former was incredible and something that brought back memories I forgot I had, the latter is a fallacy, as Roger Federer was defeated in straight sets by Novak Djokovic early this morning.

With respect to the Brian Leetch retirement festivities, there are too many snippets to mention; suffice to say that I, along with 18,000+ in the Garden itself, along with another 2,500 in the Theater at Madison Square Garden, alternated between cheers, applause, shouts of approval and tears of joy. It was almost as shameless and embarrassing as was the similar ceremonies dedicated to Wayne Gretzky's and Mark Messier's numbers being retired by Madison Square Garden and the New York Rangers. The only exception was that in the case of Brian Leetch, his retirement was marked by the facts that a) he was and is and will remain a true career Ranger, despite the fact he played for Toronto and Boston at the tail end of his career; and b) his exceptional humility and decency during the ceremony, as well as during his playing days, reminded me that nice guys do finish first sometimes.

Congratulations to #2 and his family.

As for Federer, his loss is akin to Dewey defeating Truman, the Cyborg T-1000 losing to Michael Biehn and Sarah Connor, and Joe Namath's Jets beating the Colts, all wrapped up with the shock of a cold morning toilet seat that has been treated with dry ice.

Or as EMF once observed, it's unbelievable.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

And The Band Played On

At some point, I was planning to address the Giants reaching the Super Bowl as well as the "action down under." The latter topic, of course, refers to the Australian Open, with which those of you who watch ESPN2 are familiar and not some porn goings-on.

And then Heath Ledger died, presumably by accidental overdose.

I was leaving a City building downtown, about 5ish, when I checked my Blackberry for an e-mail that had yet to arrive; in doing so, I read the CNN Update and literally stopped, in the street, in my tracks.

I called Kaia within thirty seconds of reading the news and she had, ostensibly, the same reaction as had I, and, presumably, had most people: "Holy shit. How awful."

None of the details -- that there were prescription or non-prescription sleeping pills found near his body, that he had intentionally or unintentionally overdosed on some medication and/or drug, and that he may or may not have been depressed -- are of particular note. Either way, no matter the circumstances, he's gone, and that's extremely a sad, tragic bit of news. Reading earlier in the week about Suzanne Pleshette, Sir Edmund Hillary or Sam The Butcher passing away were sad footnotes to an otherwise Hilary Clinton-Barack Obama-dominated news week. But hearing about Heath Ledger's passing -- who seemed full of promise, heart, talent and a bright, impressive future -- was very sad.

It seems almost insignificant to mention the upcoming Australian Open finals involving Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic, or the impending finals between Roger Federer and whoever is unlucky enough to have to lose a three-set match to make Federer's victory official.

Similarly, it seems somewhat anti-climactic to mention the Giants -- incredibly -- are heading to Phoenix to face the unbeaten Patriots in the Super Bowl. Incredible for me is the right word -- never in a million years did I think this year's Giants team had it in them to go beyond one playoff loss at best; the fact they've extended themselves to reach the Super Bowl is amazing. As a friend of mine said, "Anything beyond one win in the playoffs for this Giants team is gravy; they should not have made it this far, so if they happen to lose the Super Bowl, no biggie. They had a great season either way." I fully agree. I'd love to see them win, but facing a juggernaut like this year's Patriots -- the first team to reach 18-0 in, um...ever -- suggests the Giants won't come close. But I'm hoping they can pull off an upset and be mentioned in the same breath as a team that tried -- and failed -- to have an undefeated season. If it happens, great. If not, good job nonetheless to the boys in Blue.

Finally...tonight marks the ceremony during which the New York Rangers will formally retire Brian Leetch's #2 jersey. As to who Brian Leetch is, he is as instrumental to the Rangers' 1994 Stanley Cup victory as was Team Captain Mark Messier (#11, retired), Goaltender Mike Richter (#35, retired), and Adam Graves (#9, not retired). "Leetchy" was a rookie in 1994, and not only earned the Conn Smythe -- the MVP of the playoffs, and the first American-born player to do so -- and he did so quietly, with class, dignity, and earned the respect of the league, not just that year but each year since. The festivities begin this afternoon around 5, so I'm hoping I can get to the Garden to watch the ceremony in the ancillary theater adjacent to the Garden. If not, I'll be more than happy to experience it in HD. I promised a couple of my teammates who are out of town -- one in Japan and the other in Florida -- that I'll record and save it for them. It should be another bittersweet reminder of how special 1994 was to Ranger fans, and more importantly, how difficult it is for teams to consistently reach the goal of winning the Cup.

And yet, somehow, all this other stuff pales in comparison to our discussion of Heath Ledger.


So hopefully,

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Unchanging Nature of Change

A friend of mine has been bouncing off the walls for the past few weeks, mostly due to a new relationship that went south faster than he ever envisioned. When the relationship started, I warned him to go slowly and take one step before planning the wedding. Unfortunately, he barely got to step three with the object of his affection, and while that is, frankly, a good thing -- as I explained to him -- he couldn't understand how things went from all systems go to the relationship being in the toilet and the flush button pulling everything into the Mr. Tidy Bowl undertow so quickly. "How could things have changed so quickly?" These words will probably occupy his semi-conscious thought for the next four weeks or until he finds someone to replace his now ex.

Funny thing is, relationships are, for the most part, two-people vacuums of constant change. Like many people, he thought he knew the person with whom he was getting involved and couldn't understand why things appeared one way and then, so suddenly, reversed course. I tried explaining the nature of relationships to him. For the most part, once we reach the age of 18, we as individuals rarely, if ever, change. Once we've become adults, we may be able to tweak ourselves much like a car manufacturer does from year to year, but it's pretty clear that we are who and what we are. The change, of course, is what life does to the relationship. So there are, essentially, three factors in most relationships: him, her, and life. And life, essentially, is ever-changing...sometimes for good, sometimes for bad, but essentially, a constantly-changing variable. That's why relationships between two or more people are more difficult than a single person dealing with shit in general: I know how I will handle a given situation, but how another person will handle it, within the confines of the relationship between she and I, are imminently less clear.

So when I heard the details surrounding the dissolution of my friend's impending and imploding relationship, it didn't shock me, although on some level I must admit I was disappointed.

A lot of people I know, including the above-described friend, complain to me that they hate dating and they're much better when they're in a relationship. Problem is, I typically answer, dating is necessary to determine which person with which you want to enter into said relationship. If dating were a non-necessity, everyone would just go out and get married and then divorce if it wasn't a good fit. Hmmm. Nevermind.

It's just that it's increasingly rare these days, at least based on the experiences the people I call my friends share with me, to find the right fit. Finding a partner for sex is not the challenge (although I'm sure many of you reading this might suggest otherwise). The real challenge, either way, is finding a person with whom you want to wake up.

Case in point: another friend contacted me about an ex, and I was very forthright, as I didn't want him -- or anyone -- to have to handle the monumental disaster that I had to face awhile back. He thanked me for the heads up, although he seemed a bit hesitant to agree with my assessment and suggested she might have changed. After all, he said, it's been a few years -- maybe she's finally managed to reach the finish line vis-a-vis sanity, self esteem and sobriety. My answer: "highly doubtful."

Of course, two weeks later he called me to detail an episode where he overheard an alcohol-fueled meltdown in which, as he described, said ex ranted and spewed and bristled much as I'd experienced first-hand. In between chortles, belly-laughs and wheezes he managed to ask me how I knew it would happen again. My answer: "people don't change."

So to my friend who is in the process of surviving a break-up, I'll most likely skip the "give him a fish" part and try instead to teach him "how to fish" and suggest that he's better off learning to see people for who and what they are rather than for who and what they could be. I think we all, on some level, need to do that, and I am happy to admit I learned this lesson a few years ago and I know I'm much better off having had the opportunity. Granted, I wish I never had to learn this particular lesson amid such an awful, repulsive situation or from such awful, repulsive people, but the bottom line is that once you've learned to see people for who and what they are, it's a lot easier to accept them, and the situation, for what it is.

Or, as Rush once observed, nothing is permanent, but change is.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Fore and Aft

With the coldest winter weather a distant memory, I've spent the past week fighting off bronchitis or whatever is related to bronchitis and substantially worse. A perpetual, persistent cough coupled with an inability to get much-needed sleep has made the last week difficult and less-than-memorable, at least not in a good way.

With Kaia back in SF, at least for the time being, and both of us being sick, I've been skulking my way through my days and nights. I actually hit the office today to catch up on some work I couldn't bring home, and unless tomorrow's weather (as a result of tonight's anticipated snowfall) is awful, I'm heading back there again tomorrow for a while.

In the meantime, between the lack of sleep and the less-than-wonderful waking hours, I can't do much work on any one thing at any given moment, so I've found myself doing some writing, finishing up what is shaping up to be a monster project that should be finished sometime by summer. As for the writing, two major obstacles have appeared. The first is that my copy of Office 2003 took a nosedive when I transferred hard drives and did a system restore; everything of value survived except e-mail and Microsoft Word and Excel. Problem is I haven't been able to put my hands on the install CD, and until I do, I've been relegated to using alternatives while writing. I've got everything else I need to do work-wise on my home PC, but that's the only weak link in an otherwise strong chain. So once I get the copy of Office back on the home PC I should be in better shape to organize the 200 or so pages I've got committed to the hard drive.

Beyond the writing, I've been half in the bag, so I've been catching up on some Anthony Bourdain episodes accumulated on the DVR. I've mentioned Tony B. plenty in these pages so if you're not familiar, hit the Travel Channel and watch his show No Reservations. If you are familiar, which you should be, check out his visits to the Pacific Northwest and to Berlin. Food as an indicator of social and political culture, respectively speaking, isn't necessarily relevant to the world as we know it, but it certainly is interesting and a worthwhile, if alternate, perspective on life, especially with the recent news that Hilary Clinton and Mitt Romney won their respective primaries in Nevada. The news could, certainly, be better.

I'm sure I'll check back again, but before I head back to sleep I'm going to check in with my other half and make sure she's feeling decently. Stay warm, y'all.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The Taming of The Shrew

For the last 48 hours, I have been unsuccessfully trying to tame this shrew. By shrew, of course, I'm referring to a nasty case of bronchitis that lives to make sleep a fleeting luxury and who exists solely to make Kaia's last couple days in NYC before she heads to SFO an exercise in her watching me sleep, getting me medicine and/or soup, and covering me up with blankets, aiming/firing up/turning off/adjusting the air/heat, or just simply trying to make me smile between violent coughing jags.

We've been running all over the place, from Friday night into Saturday. By Sunday, when I woke up feeling shitty, I knew it was going to be one of those days. I just wish the day part was singular and not plural.

Wellums, I am heading back to bed; hopefully I will emerge from this cocoon of medicine, obfuscated sleep, labored breathing and dizzy twilight the better. Although, then again, when they say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger most likely never took modern antibiotics.


Monday, January 14, 2008

House of Boogie 2.75, Under Remodeling

I've been MIA for some time now; between working on other writing projects, surviving the winter weather (NYC in the 50's, woe is me) and working with Kaia on finding a new home in Soho or the UWS, I've been lax in even keeping this space even remotely reminiscent of its once former glory. In short, I was well aware the old template had hit the crapper like a fresh episode of CopRock and the list of links was increasingly less appropriate than Joan Rivers' stand-up act at a Southern Baptists Priest Convention.

But, as Samuel Jackson confessed in Pulp Fiction, I'm trying, Ringo, I'm trying.

Keep your balls -- eyeballs, that is -- peeled on this here site for more uninformative, uninspired, disappointing forays into literary nonsense. I'm sure you'll be disillusioned before long.

But -- for better or worse -- I am definitely back.