Monday, June 07, 2004

See ya, Ronnie

I'm not a person who believes in exalting the dead simply because we're breathing and they aren't. If I hated you in life, the absence of same will not change that.

So it will come as no surprise that, while I did not wish the man ill, I'm not even a little sorry to see Ronald Reagan die.


First of all, he was 93 years old. Was it a case of being "cut down in his prime?" Only if you expected him to live to 193.

He had a nice long life surrounded by comforts so many others didn't have. Some of those "others" were have-nots due to Ronald Reagan's policies.

He did not die, at 42, of AIDS. He couldn't. You cannot die from something you refuse to acknowledge exists. You can, however, ensure many others (who will never have a week-long national mourning) die from a disease if you're president and refuse to support finding a cure for an epidemic. Ronald Reagan proved that.

In his later years, he was never without a warm, inviting home and nursing care as he suffered from Alzheimers.

The same cannot be said of the many mentally ill people cast out into the streets in the 1980's as a direct result of Reagan's policies.

They were denied care. They were denied a roof over their heads. Who mourned them? Certainly not Ronald Reagan.

Ronald Reagan, first as an actor, later a governor and finally as President, always had employment and retirement. The same cannot be said for many people living under "Reaganomics" and de-regulation. Both, of course, Reagan policies. The former was partially to blame for the huge disparity between the have's and have-nots. The latter? Well, time has proven wrong his theory that "companies can regulate and police themselves." Yeah, and the wolf can guard the henhouse with a modicum of responsiblity.

The have-nots and those who've lost their for more information about due to corporate decisions to outsource -- will we be seeing their funerals on television? Hardly.

While we're encouraged to mourn the loss of a President, we need to look honestly, unblinkingly, at that leader's legacy. We continue to suffer from many of the policies implemented under his reign. His death, will certainly sad for his family, friends and those who knew him, does not render him blameless and perfect. It does not change his very flawed record and those of us who do not share in the media's deification of the man are not being disrespectful or terrible.

Just like he should have done under oath during the Iran Contra Affair but didn't, we're telling the truth.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Mike's country 'tis of thee. . .

Wizards, wild creatures and evil lurking around the corner are all elements of the most important film experience this summer.

No, not Harry Potter .

Fahrenheit 9/11 is the must-see film of the year.

In typical Michael Moore style, it's sure to be a cinematic Molotov cocktail, full of amazing juxtaposition, taking the audience from horror to humor and back again. On the way, you'll laugh, cringe and, ultimately, learn more than you might want to know.

If Moore wasn't effective and thought-provoking, his detractors wouldn't feel the need to react so vociferously. Think about it: How many times have you heard people speak of Moore's physical features, challenge smaller sequences within his films, and argue that the director makes himself too important a part of the story?

Why not argue that his films are pointless? Because you can't. In the larger scheme, the issues he has raised since Roger and Me are irrefutable problems facing our country. Corporate greed, disparity between the have and have nots, gun misuse, and now, political subterfuge.

His movies are mandatory viewing, even if you disagree with his approach. Why? Provocative and interesting, they challenge us to face our problems and, at the very least, discuss potential solutions.

Love him or hate him (and I'm firmly in the former camp), we need someone like him to rattle our collective cages as we slip farther and farther into an apathetic abyss.

A teen I know who has seen all of Moore's movies remarked today: I'm surprised nobody has killed him yet.

After seeing the trailer for Fahrenheit 9/11, I've got to agree. Thankfully, he's still with us, doing what he does best.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Mark Geragos, aka "Don't Hate me Because I'm a Slimeball"

Just when you thought it was safe to assume Johnny Cochran depicted the lowest of the low, now we have Mark "Don't Watch My Hands, Folks!" Geragos. Proving that, in the world of criminal defense, the limbo ain't no children's party game.

Geragos, who once assured a jury he could and would provide receipts for Winona Ryder's, ahem purchases. . .who once asked the jury for said trial to believe him rather than what their lying eyes showed them, via closed-circuit store video. . .Geragos, who even Michael Jackson apparently found lowly. . .should be disbarred.

Oh, sure. The man so owns all that's cheap and theatrical he's like the bastard child of Barnum and Bailey's one-nighter under The Big Top. He makes it look effortless. Hell, it probably is effortless - for him.

But ethical? His efforts on behalf of Scott Peterson are anything but. Since taking the case last summer, he's made public statements that he would "in days, if not hours" expose the real killers. That Amber Frey was involved in Laci Peterson's disappearance. That a "satanic cult" was involved. That some granny was a stealth juror, impaneled and sworn for the sole purpose of frying Scott.

Evidence? Geragos don't need no steenkin' evidence. Don't trouble him with things as paltry and meaningless as facts.

His latest, defense tactic. . .is to state that the unborn child of Laci Peterson was actually born. Forget that the autopsy shows an undilated cervix and no botched c-section.

Because everybody knows that satanic cult members want to perform ritual sacrifice by removing all the organs housed in the ribcage on upwards in order to get to the child.

Like going to Panama by way of Alaska - it makes no sense.

Another Geragos Gem? Scott is stone cold innocent.

How to prove that one wrong? Easy. Take a look at all the crazy funhouse hoops his defense attorney more than willingly jumps through in his ludicrous attempts to utilize any nutty idea necessary to get his client off.
Smacking of five-parts desparation to two-parts silliness, his theatrical contortions atop Implausible Cliff make it obvious that even he finds Scott Peterson impossible to defend in any realistic, ethical manner.

Instead of justice, we're gonna get a three ring circus.

Step right up, one and all. Just don't look too hard at the man behind the curtain; he's sweating.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Thanks, but I've been tossed out of better places

Who knew it was against restaurant policy to rock back and forth, holding a knife, imitating someone at a nearby table who was laughing maniacally? Gene knew. That's who. We only learned when he told us we weren't welcome to return.

If you ask me, Norman "lithium laughter" Bates sitting across from us shoulda been thrown out. Throughout his meal he barked like a demented hyena. But it was a fake laugh, much like that of Tom Cruise. Only completely insane, like Tom Cruise right before he loses it and divorces Penelope Cruz' head from her neck, via chainsaw.

Like nails on a chalkboard (not the sound, the actual sight of them imbedded onto the board, sans fingers), it was a moment that would cause normal folks to avert their eyes. Not us. We felt it needed props. It called out for scary background music. It begged for a raison d'etre.

I was only trying to help.

Hence, the knife. My dinner companion choked on her Frank Sinatra (all the food here is named after stars -- in reality, the dish was fettucine). Could I help it if the sad Mr. Giggles kept forcing me to help him?

Gene's is my favorite place to eat, with or without Pseudo Bela Lugosi's vocal stylings. Sure he'll let me back in again. Maybe, like the Don Knotts (boneless, skinless chicken breast) Dr. Demento and his kicky, whacked-out giggle will earn a dish named just for them. One with a picture of a knife-wielding psycho next to it.

The Remains of the Day

What do you want done with your body when you die? Very big concern of mine, frankly. All my life, I've hated both burial and cremation.

My answer? Taxidermy. Spending the afterlife as something useful, like a plant stand, coat tree, garbage can. Yes, people do seem to find that a crazy notion. But, why?

Loving something means wanting it around forever, right? Taxidermy presents just this kind of opportunity, minus the whole growing old and getting squicky looking factor.

Truth is, I've not lived up to my potential in life. That could all change in death with the mere addition of some electrical components or a well placed ashtray.

Naturally, the deal would come with certain caveats:

1. No dogs allowed.

Too much chewing and possible hydrant factor. The last thing I need is to be crapped on for eternity.

2. Regular dusting.

Please use Pledge. Smelling lemony fresh is just as important in the hereafter as it is here. Also, occasional makeup refreshening might be nice.

3. No second-handing

Sure, my own family would take good care of me. But the thought of ending up in the hands of someone with more nefarious intentions scares me. And being left on the curb at some point? Awful.

Other than that, smooth sailing. I envision spending a long, happy afterlife in a nice nook somewhere, smiling and holding an ashtray, fancy garbage can or perhaps even a nice tray that holds appetizers at parties. Maybe my owner will make costumes for me to wear. Just like those ducks you often see on porches, my attire will change with seasons or special events.

Maybe it will even start a trend.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

To all the heelots in the world. . .

You mean to tell me you'd try to kill the John Doe movement if you can't use it to get what you want?...Well, that certainly is a new low. I guess I've seen everything now...You...think of deliberately killing an idea that's made millions of people a little bit happier. An idea that's brought thousands of 'em here from all over the country - by bus, and by freight and jalopies and on foot - so they could pass on to each other their own simple little experiences...

Why, your type's as old as history - if you can't lay your dirty fingers on a decent idea and twist it and squeeze it and stuff it into your own pockets, you slap it down.

Like dogs, if you can't eat something, you bury it!

Why, this is the one worthwhile thing that's come along. People are finally finding out that the guy next door isn't a bad egg. That's simple, isn't it?...It may be the one thing capable of saving this cock-eyed world.

Yet you sit back there on your fat hulks and tell me you'll kill it if you can't use it. Well, you go ahead and try. You couldn't do it in a million years with all your radio stations and all your power, because it's bigger than whether I'm a fake, it's bigger than your ambitions, and it's bigger than all the bracelets and fur coats in the world.

What makes them come and listen and get up their John Doe clubs the way they do?....Maybe they're like me - just beginning to get an idea of what those things mean.

--Long John Willoughby, Meet John Doe

These words are particularly suitable to the whole andykaufmanreturns blogspot. Sure, not everyone went there for the same reasons. Some, like me, had a great time buying into the fantasy. It made me re-read my Kaufman books and think about the past 20 years of living. What are identities? Are we doomed to fit one mold or can we be many? Is genius really that far from insanity?

Mostly, though, the blogs' comments from people far and wide made me realize that the war and our current POTUS are not aberrations. Humanity hasn't really evolved much, after all.

We're still more than willing to strike first in anger, line-jumping to slam our neighbor just to feel a little more secure in some self-proclaimed intelligence. We're still mostly judgmental, overly arrogant and convinced beyond a doubt of our so-called rightful places in the world. By and large, we've still got little collective capacity for flights of imagination, childlike wonder and general openness to seeing what could be, rather than what is.

In that kind of environment, if Andy Kaufman really were alive, who would blame him for wanting to stay dead?

Ed. note: Perhaps I'm just projecting. Maybe it's just me who wishes to stay dead?

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