Sunday, February 14, 2010

Two Things: Give 'Em Hell Malone & F*ck Southwest Air

Being that this entry in the ongoing putrification of the Internet known as the HoB will be rather pointed, I'll try and be brief -- which means that if I were writing for a printed periodical, I'd be out of a job and collecting empty soda cans.

First and foremost, I came across a Thomas Jane film entitled "Give 'Em Hell Malone" -- which also features Ving Rhames and Elsa Pataky. Many of you know Thomas Jane from the HBO Series "Hung," and many others of you might know him from films like "The Punisher" and/or "61*." Many -- no, all -- of you will not have seen him in perhaps his best film, "Thursday," in which he stars alongside Aaron Eckhart and Paulina Porizkova. That's unfortunate -- but what's even more unfortunate is that anyone felt the need -- or that it was appropriate -- to green-light "Give 'Em Hell Malone." How anyone would allow this two-hour pile of shit to be committed to film without following it up with firing squads for the writer, director and producer(s) is beyond me.

In a word, dogshit. Complete and utter dogshit.

Now on to more rosy pastures.

Apparently, one of the more admirable people in the film business, Kevin Smith (Mallrats, Clerks, Dogma, and the forthcoming Cop Out) had a rough weekend. The other day, he boarded a flight leaving from Oakland to LA (or the other way around) on Southwest Airlines and was the victim of an incident. Apparently, the captain -- a pilot -- of the plane, prior to takeoff, left the cockpit and advised Mr. Smith that he was too fat to fly.

Again: they deemed him a safety risk because he was too heavy to fly.

Never mind that all the previous Southwest staff -- check-in people, flight attendants, baggage people -- didn't find him too heavy to fly, nor was there any problem for him to fly on his prior (Southwest) flight. But apparently he was forced to leave the plane.

Now -- coincidentally -- I posted a photo of Mr. Smith earlier last week speaking at the MacWorld Expo in San Fran, and observed that he was really ballooning. Based on the photo, I'd have to assume he was close to 300 pounds. However, despite the fact that I believe he's gained a lot of weight -- most likely due to his increasing, self-professed enjoyment of marijuana, apparently -- I can't believe an airline actually deemed him worthy of humiliation and ridicule by forcing him off a flight.

The details of the incident are sketchy -- google "Kevin Smith Southwest" for more details -- but it seems that he was comfortably ensconced in his seats (he can fit in one but purchases two for privacy) and wearing a seat belt (without an extender) when Captain Shitbird decided to have him removed. I can respect an airline that is responsible and treats its customers well (cough cough Virgin America cough cough) but what I know of Southwest is that they make decisions that are ridiculous and repulsive. The last time I read something incredibly ridiculous about SouthWest was when they decided a young girl's outfit included a skirt that was apparently too mini for their tastes and advised her she would either have to put a blanket over herself for the entire flight or leave the aircraft.

Far be it from me to lecture a corporation on its strategy, but if treating your customers like shit is in your mantra and/or corporate lexicon, you're doing something wrong. Two other entities -- Blockbuster and Dominos Pizza -- make these types of value judgments about what their customers want and/or to which they are entitled, and both of those companies are just as shitty as SouthWest. Blockbuster -- like Walmart, another crappy corporate entity -- makes value judgments about which movies it will carry (or only carry certain types of films), and behold and lo, Blockbuster is going out of business (not immediately...they're on life support). Dominos Pizza's founder began speaking out about abortion and value judgments, and aside from the fact their pizza is more cardboard than quality, I will not patronize them ever again, and I hope they too hit the skids.

But SouthWest just picked on the wrong fat dude. Kevin Smith has so many fans and such a huge fan base -- on Twitter and at the View Askewniverse (his self-themed forum) -- that the next month will not be spent on PR for his soon-to-be released film Cop Out but in its place how shitty SouthWest is and why they should be boycotted.

I don't care how many "bags fly free" ads they run, any company that decides to judge people on their outfit or their weight doesn't have any place in my America. I'm not sure why or how they came to be this condescending, holier-than-thou source of all that's right (or wrong, your perspective) in America, but I know that I will never -- ever -- patronize them.

In an age where media and communication and information has real, tangible, power, SouthWest just picked on the wrong porcine passenger, and they should -- and will -- pay the price. Whether they survive this incident merely with a 20% drop in revenue or whether this begins their final descent is anyone's guess; but I know that any entity which deems it necessary and appropriate to pull this shit -- especially with someone whose opinions are broadcast to millions of people -- does not deserve to be in business, and while I appreciate the sensibility that this asshat pilot felt he was just doing his job, I can assure you that he, and every other self-aggrandizing imbecile that works for that shithole, should literally and figuratively go down with the ship.

Being that Mr. Smith has since been a non-stop tweet machine about this incident -- entitling many of his tweets and podcasts "F*ck Southwest Air," the irony in and of this particular incident is that the captain's concern that Mr. Smith's weight might bring down a plane will -- hopefully -- and ultimately -- result in the entire airline figuratively slamming into the ground.



Personal note to Kevin: still waiting on that $20 from Affleck. Hope you hung in there and didn't take this incident too-too personally, and while I hope you do jettison some extra baggage, I hope it's not simply this repulsive example of corporate dimensia gone awry that's its impetus.

And finally, Virgin America rocks, even if Branson is one or two bottles short of a case.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Non-Storm of the Year

It was interesting watching last night's Super Bowl; seeing the Saints wring out a victory after a slow start was, frankly, a non-event. But the biggest non-event this weekend without a doubt was the huge snowstorm the NYC area failed to receive.

Back to the lesser non-event, last night's Saints-Colts Super Bowl from Miami. I'd been invited to a few different Super Bowl parties but had so much work prep to address before Monday I declined each invitation. The truth, however, is that I had very little interest in the game itself. I had my work finished late yesterday afternoon so it wasn't a matter of working deep into the night, but I had so little interest in the game itself that I couldn't really justify going anywhere -- given the weather -- to watch 100% of a game in which I had 0% interest.

True, Super Bowl parties rarely are really about the actual game, they're social events, and I'm not anti-social. However, on frigid Sundays with work looming, I tend to be somewhat anti-social. So pfffffffffffft.

Meanwhile, speaking of the Super Bowl, there were five actual moments that, to me, were memorable.

The first was watching "The Who" perform. Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend are in their mid-60's and, despite the fact their band, The Who, started as a statement about how youth was mistreated in the middle 1960's in London, their music is still great. And while they've lost more than a step and look like grandfathers -- and despite the absence of their long-since-departed bandmates Keith Moon and John Entwhistle -- it was a lot of fun watching them blast away for a little while between halves. Nevermind that Pete Townshend's windmill kept getting derailed by an errant jacket or that neither of them were quite able to recreate the tunes they penned forty years ago; it was fun, entertaining and a non-controversial, enjoyable interlude to a to-that-point boring game.

The second moment of interest was the Doritos commercial in which a dog in the park removed his own "bark control" collar and strapped it on a man sitting on a bench teasing him with Doritos. Not only was it a funny ad, but it was nice to see -- yet again -- animals outsmarting humans. Considering this nation's innate stupidity, I really enjoyed this ad. And no, I don't want any of your Doritos.


The third moment of interest was the quickie ad featuring David Letterman complaining that "this is the worst Super Bowl party ever." Then the camera pans out to show Oprah trying to console him. Then the camera pans out further to a seated Jay Leno who says "He's just saying that because I'm here."

Especially given all that's happened over at NBC the last few months with Conan, Jay Leno and the barbs fired between Leno, Letterman and O'Brien, seeing Jay Leno and Oprah on CBS shilling for The Late Show was, in a word, bizarre. Funnyish and memorable, for sure, but bizarre, absolutely.

The fourth moment of interest was the Porter interception of Peyton Manning. Seeing him return the catch for a touchdown to put the Saints up -- at that point -- 22-17 -- was really memorable because the bigger the stage, the more unlikely it is Peyton Manning screws up. The Saints did a great job counteracting Indy's offense, and while credit is due the Saints as a team, that really speaks to Sean Payton's abilities as a coach. So that really pleased me, as he deserved it in a big, big way.

The fifth and final moment of the Super Bowl was the incomplete fourth-and-goal pass that sealed it.

Depending on your perspective, that could either be interpreted as a pessimistic, critical "Wow, so you remembered two plays from an hour-long, internationally-televised four-hour broadcast." However, all things being equal, it says a lot about a well-played, well-officiated, even match-up between two strong teams that I was still watching with less than five minutes to go.

So -- again -- pfffffffffffft.

And finally, and most significantly, thanks to the entire meteorological community which predicted we'd be on the receiving end of a huge snowstorm from Friday night into Saturday evening. Luckily, I was set to see my cousin and his wife for dinner Saturday night, and we discussed canceling but opted to play it by ear. We would have been pretty tweaked had we canceled only to see there was absolutely no snow whatsoever. So kudos to Scott and Maddy, and a big "go shit in your hat" to all the imbeciles who made us believe we were going to be eskimoes this weekend.

Put another way, thirty years ago I could forgive these morons for their complete ineptitude. But now that they have technology and can track a flea's fart 10,000 miles away, I'm not really clear as to why these shitheads can't figure out when a citywide swath of snow is going to hit NYC. I'm not exactly sure why they can't figure it out, but the more they predict we entrench for the Big One, the more I'm likely to suggest they're all full of shit and plan a beach picnic.

So a final -- and most emphatic -- pffffffffffffffffffffft to anyone who wears a cartoon sun pin on their lapel whilst doing a bullshit 11:27PM weather broadcast. And further, may the fleas of 1,000 camels infest on your crotch.

Happy winter, and congrats to my NOLA peeps; enjoy it now, because the Aints will go 4-12 next year ;-)