We are finally witnessing the field of Democratic candidates starting to shake out nicely. As a Democrat myself, I am happy to see Sen. John Kerry moving to the front of the pack, mainly because he is the most electable of the bunch.
Electability is key because W and his boys have staged a pretty impressive marketing campaign over the past three years (and amassed an overflowing war chest to match). Some might call it a presidency, but it’s really just been a marketing campaign to get him re-elected. I mean, c’mon. Strapping on a flight suit and declaring “mission accomplished” in a nationally televised speech on a goddam aircraft carrier at sea? You don’t think we’ll see that in a “Re-Elect Bush” campaign commercial later this year, do ya? Naaah. I’m pretty sure he could’ve made that exaggerated declaration from the Oval Office just as well. But that’s not the photo op the White House wanted, so the taxpayers get to foot the bill of flying his country ass out to the middle of the ocean so he and the Presidential Package can preen for the cameras, thanks to an over-tightened flight harness. Continually pissing all over what was a balanced federal budget with brilliant moves like cutting taxes are clearly motivated by the re-election effort as well. And let’s not forget the proposed moon shots that sound like they were conceived by the writers of the old “Star Trek” series after a grueling weekend of sucking the life out of a circa-1968 water pipe.
But I digress. Because of the stiff competition ahead, John Kerry is the Democrats’ best bet to return to the White House. I felt that way even before Kerry became the so-called “front runner.” Kerry has enough of a centrist agenda to reel in a good chunk of the undecided vote (essentially consisting of people that can’t afford cable TV, I guess) and to count on virtually every registered Democrat voting along party lines. If there is any silly “Democrats for Bush” organization popping up, it will be far less than a blip on the political radar and formed primarily for the purpose of getting on TV.
Howard Dean, as impressive of a campaign as he has put together, is not the guy to convince the fence-straddlers to vote Democrat. The only person to his left is Michael Moore, and that’s only after he's been bound and gagged and forced to watch an entire evening of the Fox News Channel. And that post-mortem rant/speech Dean gave in Iowa is a good example of why his appeal is relatively narrow. Even Democrats were thinking, “What the fuck, dude?” Howie, it is extremely poor judgment to go on a Red Bull bender before picking up a microphone and addressing your throng in front of the national media. And, though I haven’t actually checked, I’m pretty sure if you translated “Dean” into Greek, it turns out to be “Dukakis.” The man, a decent president he could turn out to be, does not have nearly the electability that Kerry has.
Perfect Roommate Jason likes John Edwards.Did you know that John Edwards has impetigo? It seems that the thing cures by it's own but it still look nasty. Maybe he should try some impetigo treatment instead of waiting.......anyhow, back to the poin... It probably tickles Edwards’ staff to no ends that he is likeable. That would seem to be the primary objective of the Edwards effort: being likeable. He comes across (to me, anyway) as someone who spends just as much time practicing his smile in the mirror as he does educating himself on the issues. I know that is a belittling statement and likely untrue, but that’s the way he comes off to me. That classic, frequently flashed grin seems less than spontaneous and little more than well-timed. His rope-line interaction with the voters often seems calculated. I saw him listening to a lady in what was supposed to be a casual off-the-cuff conversation with a furrowed brow and a look on his face that feigned concern like I’ve never seen it. Kinda like that look your doctor gives you when you’re describing a minor pain in your stomach and, even though the doc appears to be listening, you know he’s really wondering if the yacht he’s gonna buy with your money will have a wet bar or not.
I also haven’t heard much more than basic campaign rhetoric from Edwards. “…And we’re gonna win and march to Washington and take back the White House and this country, too!” Sorry, Johnny E, but there is nothing special about the words coming out of your mouth. What is he saying, really? Senator Edwards, your time has not yet come. You ain’t the guy. Maybe in ’08 if Bush gets re-elected this year. I will admit, however, in today’s media-driven presidential campaigns, that he second only to Kerry in electability. And IF Edwards pulls off the upset and gets the nomination, we could do far, far worse and I will support him.
And now to the also-rans. For the love of all things holy, Joe Lieberman, take what dignity you have remaining and exit stage left pronto. We know you wanna be president really, really bad, but you got whooped in your own backyard when you finished fifth in New Hampshire. Yes, fifth, dammit. Give up trying to spin your way into a third-place tie. No one’s buying it. You have a good heart and you’re certainly qualified to be president, but you have the charisma of a 15-year-old Bassett hound. (That’s 125 in politician years.) Man, that is a deadly character trait for the majority of this country that depends on sound bites and comedy talk show monologues to decide who they are voting for. Bow out gracefully now.
Wesley Clark, I’ll give you another week before the legitimacy of your campaign evaporates like an August mud puddle in Yuma. A groundswell of support alone isn’t really much of a reason to run for president. A military-only background doesn’t help, either. Why do you think Colin Powell is riding it out with W despite the obvious philosophical gaps between them? So he can add actual political experience to his resume and run in ’08, that’s why. How does “Secretary Clark” sound to you?
Dennis Kucinich, one of the original Lollipop Kids. Unfortunately, the general public takes him about that seriously. He has basically hitched his wagon to Demo Tour ’04 to enjoy a bit of the limelight. No one knows what he stands for or why he is running, nor would anyone be listening if he attempted to explain. Bye, bye, Kootchie. Your 15 Minutes expired long ago.
Al Sharpton, the self-proclaimed Reverend. I give him credit for raising enough money to be able to stand on stage and answer debate moderators’ questions in a regular turn with the Big Boys. You are getting your message out there (we know, you’re pissed) and that’s what counts in your case. Good move losing the tracksuits in time for the campaign. Waking a few minutes earlier in the morning wasn’t that tough, now was it? And don’t think a middle-of-the-pack showing in South Carolina will do anything except get your name mentioned a little earlier in this Tuesday and Wednesday’s newscasts. You hosted SNL. Your mission is complete.
Braun, Gephart and Graham: thanks for taking a bullet for the betterment of the Democratic Party. Hopefully you are rewarded down the road for your unselfish actions.
Your friendly aspiring writer has good news. I have been selected as a finalist for two scriptwriting contests. What does it mean? Being a finalist means those doing the judging have placed me in the top ten percent of the entries. Quite honestly, I’m a bit surprised, but elated, too.
One contest is on TVWriter.com. The site is maintained by Larry Brody, who has been involved as a writer/producer for thousands of hours of television. It’s a great site, with lots of terrific info for anyone who aspires to write for television. Brody’s also great at answering any and all questions from the wannabes who lob them at him. Additionally, there are a few industry veterans who are kind enough to offer their insight.
One of the site’s benefits is a semi-annual contest called the “Spec Scriptacular.” (A spec script is one written on speculation to display the writer’s talents.) I chose the show “Reba.” It was my first sitcom script, though I had written plenty o’ news, commercials and promos for TV and radio before I became involved in managing web sites and writing and editing web content. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the contest and am greatly surprised and flattered to be selected as a finalist. We’ll find out what the final results of the contest are sometime around the 29th of January.
[Brody has also just published a book called, “Television Writing From The Inside Out.” I’ve only read the first few chapters, but I can recommend it highly. The man knows of what he speaks.]
The other contest I more or less backed into. I registered my “Reba” script with WriteSafe.com, a site where you can protect your written work. It’s cheaper ($10) and also provides a place where your stuff can be read online. Registering your work there is also an automatic entry into their contest. But instead of competing against other work in a particular genre (in my case, sitcoms), you’re judged against everyone who registers any sort of work on that site. This includes short stories, screenplays, poetry, TV series premises, etc. Again, I was surprised to see that I made the finals with my first sitcom script.
In both cases, there are prizes to be awarded (cash, writing software, etc.), but the main benefit is EXPOSURE. Both contests appear to carry substantial weight in the “business of show.” Hopefully, someone with power and influence will say, “Hey, not bad. What else ya got?” I’m about 85% of the way through my second script, this one for “According to Jim.” I took a creative writing class over the last several months that ate up most of my writing, so I’m jammin’ now to catch up and get ahead of the curve. (It’s also why my blog entries greatly decreased — that and the annual crack habit I enjoy around the holidays.) I’ll need at least one more script, for a total of three, to be seriously considered for any professional assignments.
Even if I don’t advance any farther, being a finalist is a nice feather in my (prop) cap, though I prefer it raked lightly across my… uh, never mind. I’m just a lucky damn guy. Who knows? Maybe I have some writing talent in there ricocheting around my heart, soul and brain.
So there you have it. The saga of a true Hollyweird wannabe. Wish me some good luck.
Gee, I guess those 1998 Oval Office blowjobs weren’t such a big thing, after all, huh? We had eight years of peace and prosperity under Bill Clinton, but the Republican voters amongst us chose to focus on what had happened to Li’l Bill when they went to the polls in November of 2000.
So much so that they voted against anything resembling a Democrat. At the time, that was Al Gore, the outgoing 2-term vice president and, by many accounts, a very active part of the leadership that shepherded this country through eight highly prosperous years.
Instead, Republican voters listened to their beloved hate-spewing conservative radio mouthpieces and voted in favor of a goober of a governor whose credentials pretty much none of those Republican voters could recite when asked. They were just pissed off about them dad-gum hummers and that was all that mattered.
Well, here you go, Repubs. Take a good long look at that picture above — it’s a screen grab from a news site yesterday — and ask yourself which is more important now: sexual impropriety or competent leadership?
Sorry. You’re about eight years too late. Take yer voting privileges seriously this time around, will ya?
Ya know, Apple, I was just thinking: If you had some kind of special offers included in your eBlasts, I might actually be interested in buying some of your expensive booty as a present.
But to simply say that you have these products -- as if I didn't know they existed and for no savings whatsofucking ever -- I'm gonna pass and likely not buy anything Apple for the holidays and will possibly even unsubscribe from yer email list.
Something to consider, eh? But hey, that's just me talking. You know, the guy that has both an iMac and a Mac mini in his household along with TWO iPod Touches. Probably not exactly in your target demos.
Freaky news going on in the world, actually right here in California. Salinas, to be exact. That’s in central California, for the geographically impaired.
A couple was arrested a coupla months ago for trying to sell their 6-month-old baby to people in the parking lot of the local Walmart. Coupla meth-head types; she’s 20, he’s 38.
And here’s the kicker: they were asking $25 for the kid. Which is stupid, because any of those people who did wanna buy a baby, all they had to do was to walk right inside Walmart -- they got ‘em on sale for $14.95.
Oh, sure, it’ll probably be some inbred kid from Alabama, but still, you’re saving 10 bucks. Got ‘em right over by the NASCAR luggage.
People, you can’t out-white trash Walmart. They are a full-service retailer
Bud Light presents… Real Men of Genius
(Real Men of Genius!)
Today we salute you, Mr. Overly Critical Conservative Guy.
(Mr. Overly Critical Conservative Guy!)
You exist in a world where it’s strictly ‘us against them’…
and ‘them’ is always wrong.
Your selective memory allows you to criticize anything and everything…
(Why the hell isn’t the economy fi-ixed yet?)
while conveniently forgetting who created the problems in the first place.
You listen to hours of conservative yak radio daily...
(Rush is my personal savior!)
and faithfully regurgitate every word without ever taking notes.
The mere thought of a lady liberal with power…
(Hillary and Nan-say!)
can ruin an entire weekend checkers tournament at the Moose Lodge.
(I feel threatened by powerful women!)
And that’s especially true for the President himself.
(I know he forged his birth certificate!)
He doesn’t look like you… and that’s more than you can handle.
(Vote for Palin in 20-12!)
So smash open a bottle of ice cold Bud Light on the bumper of your jacked-up blacked-out domestic pickup.
(Foreign cars su-uck!)
Because thanks to you, Mr. Overly Critical Conservative Guy, conservatives are never wrong.
(Mr. Overly Critical Conservative Guy!)
- Medium shot: Ian with BP hard hat and ‘Hell No!’ sign
IAN: People of the Gulf! Listen to me, you Southern simpletons!
- Various shots of Gulf Coast business exteriors; they are run down and all have ‘closed’ signs in the daylight
IAN: Your life will not stop sucking. Not for a long time. Not if it costs BP money. Or pride. Oh, hell no.
- Dissolve back to medium shot of Ian broadly smiling;
- Add name/title bar: Ian Milquetoast /Claims Avoidance Specialist
IAN: Hi. I’m Ian Milquetoast. I run the Claims Avoidance Department for British Petroleum. I know a lot of you used to make a decent living off the Gulf Coast economy before our little… [pouts, sniffs mockingly]… ‘accident.’
- Shots of wildlife covered in oil, then…
- Shots of human Gulf residents similarly covered in oil
- Cut to interior shots of same people being hand-scrubbed by professional wildlife handlers
IAN: But now that the Coast has been deluged with BP goo, you’re probably seeing BP as your ticket to Easy Street. Oh, hell no.
- Close-up of Ian with large phony smile
IAN: Not so fast, Boudreaux. Think BP didn’t learn anything from the Exxon Valdez debacle? We got news for you Yanks.
- Cut to shots of dozens of male Caucasian lawyers in 3-piece business suits surfing ashore on surfboard-shaped briefcases; they arrive completely dry and unruffled, folding up their briefcase surfboards into the usual briefcase size and shape
IAN: We have battalions of Claims Avoidance Specialists just like me…
- Cut to interior shots of phone banks featuring the same lawyers all chattering intensely and simultaneously on the phone
IAN: …heartless, soulless, dentally-challenged limeys… standing by to take your calls and, ultimately, either fully deny or substantially downsize whatever monetary claim you wanna throw at us.
- Two lawyers hang up their phones simultaneously and turn to high-five one another
IAN: Our CAS’s are professionally trained veterans of the insurance industry — and they know every claim-denial tactic there is. That includes stalling…
- Close-up of phone as a line is put on hold and blinks
- Cut to medium shot of lawyer casually reading a magazine called ‘Yachts Illustrated’ with several blinking phones lines nearby
- Medium shot of lawyer on the phone, laughing heartily
- Cut to unshaven and frustrated graying middle-aged man also on the phone wearing a ball cap that says ‘Bellefontaine’s Oyster Harvesting,’ shaking his head in disbelief
IAN: …and, of course, paperwork inundation.
- Wide shot of business interior with huge amounts of paper sheets falling from the ceiling; mounds of paper have already accumulated on office desks;
- Sparks fly from a buzzing and irregularly blinking sign on the wall reading ‘Bellefontaine’s Oyster Harvesting’
- Abrupt cut back to Ian with a mock sincere expression on his face
IAN: Lemme ask you something, Gulfies… [close-up Ian’s face] have you considered declaring bankruptcy?
- Cut to exterior of Bellefontaine’s as electric company worker turns off power to an office building; cut to office interior as lights go out in the office;
- Then to a close-up of the office aquarium as a brown liquid trickles into the tank and several small dead fish float on the surface; suddenly, the light goes out in the tank as well
IAN: How about relocating to California? They have a coast, too, ya know. [Extreme close-up of Ian’s face] You like avocados, don’t you? [Chuckles] Heh, heh, heh.
- Cut to same ‘Bellefontaine’s’ owner, slumped in a deck chair on his now run-down oyster boat, which is rocking slowly as it’s tied to a pier;
IAN: Give it up, Boudreaux. We’re the fourth-largest company on the planet. You ain't gonna win. Oh, hell no.
- Wide shot of phone bank room with numerous celebrating lawyers tearing up claims paperwork while blinking neon sign on the wall repeatedly flashes ‘Bonus!’
IAN: Our Specialists have been provided with very attractive incentives that will prevent them from giving in to even your smallest claims, however legitimate they may be.
- Lawyer is shown drawing a big red X through claims paperwork on his disk;
- Another lawyer folds a claim into a paper airplane and flies it across the room; it lands on what appears to be a strip club-type stage, complete with pole; stripper girl removes more articles of clothing as more claims are denied; Specialists cheer
- Back to original medium shot of Ian
IAN: Don’t believe me, Boudreaux? Go ahead. Put the checkers game on hold and give us a call at 1-800-HELLNO-2. We’re standing by right now to deny any and all claims.
- Close-up of Ian with large phony smile
IAN: BP. Not just no, but hell no.
It wasn’t too long ago that when we saw someone talking to themself, we knew to steer clear because they were quite possibly some kinda mental case.
Cut to a few years later… and, as a society, we have done a 180 and now just assume they’re talking on their cell phone via a Bluetooth device.
Can’t say I feel too good about that cognizant about-face. It’s an assumption I try not to make.
For all we know, Babbling Bluetooth Boy isn’t really on the phone and, in reality, is some lunatic talking to one of the 18 voices in his head — Skippy, the disgruntled ice cream vendor whose imaginary truck is loaded with explosive Creamsicles, perhaps — plotting to overthrow the rent-a-cop squad that safeguards your building from Al Queda.
Even worse is when they’re just standing there listening, but you don’t realize it ‘cause you approached from the non-Bluetooth side. So you start talking to them like usual and they cut you off with that please-stand-by/index-finger-in-the-air thing.
Then about the time you start to figure it out, they grimace. Now what? Did they just get some bad news or bad gas? Hey, I don’t know where they ate lunch, so now I’m trying to decide whether to stand there and be patient or dive for cover.
But I do have a remedy that I believe should be implemented immediately. Anyone using a Bluetooth device should be forced to wear a sign around their neck that says “I’m not crazy, I’m just on the phone.”
My wife and I were having dinner the other night at a little eatery in Santa Monica, right down by the beach. And we had this really Goth waiter.
A lot of restaurants have their wait staff dressed in black, but this guy also had long dyed black hair, black fingernail polish, a little bit of eye liner and what appeared to be a pierced brain stem.
And yeah, we made some jokes amongst ourselves, but he was a really good waiter. Kept our drink glasses full, got our orders right, he was really efficient.
We didn’t run up a big tab, just had some salads, no alcohol. So when the check came, I told my wife that I was gonna tip him the full 20%.
When the bill arrives, I get out my tipulator… you all have a tipulator don’t, you?... and the tip comes out to $6.66. Right then, a very strange sensation came over me. I started feeling very cautious and nervous, looking around and behind me, etc.
So we get in the car to drive back to The Valley, switch on the GPS, and the voice guy starts talking very slowly, about 5 octaves lower.
“TURN LEFT ON WILSHIRE BOULEVARD. MERGE ONTO I-405 RAMP ON RIGHT. GOT ANY MARILYN MANSON CD’S?”