Sunday, December 12, 2010

Love and Other Drugs


Yesterday both Ginge and I had a day off.  Me free from rehearsal and Ginge free from stretchy pants sales. Like any two sane people on any Saturday before Christmas in December we chose to go to the local mall.  In our case the South Coast "Super-Mega-Three-Bulidings-Big"  Plaza. We actually did some pretty amazing shopping in under an hour.  Our biggest accomplishment was making good on a gift certificate bestowed on us for our "English Wedding" over a year ago by cousin Jenn and Paul.  I got a new 6" Chef's knife and Ginge gathered a collection of kitchen nick-nacks and a vegetarian cookbook that I will no doubt be feeling the organic wrath of for some time to come.

Our shopping done we scouted for gifts for others and made our way to the predetermined film of choice or rather Ginge's predetermined film of choice. To be fair, there is not much out now and Love and Other Drugs by title alone sounded appealing and the poster (pictured) suggested at minimum "The White Queen" would get her kit off. I was half right.

I have to say that the first hour and some, before I left, the film very much impressed me.  Ed Zwick (Legends of the Fall, Blood Diamond, Glory) pulled off what I consider to be a cinematic coup. He made arguably two of the most exciting elements of life Love and Drugs excruciatingly boring.  A feat all that more impressive when you consider a fair portion of the film is Jake and Anne shagging their brains out. So one could argue Zwick even made sex boring.

Thankfully I have a merciful wife, who after noticing my jittery discomfort and failed attempts to fall asleep, suggested I leave and that she could text me when the film was over. This time I did as I was told.  Leaving the theatre and my wife I was in an utter state of shock.  The most disturbing thing is I can't exactly tell you why it was so bad. All the elements were there; Attractive people, up-beat soundtracking, charming humor, standard "by the numbers" story structure and maybe that is it. Love and Other drugs is cliche. Thank god life does not always imitate art.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

To the Issue of Elkdom.

I understand the exclusion of any party to any party could be viewed as...exclusionary, but here is the interesting rub - its entirely voluntary. I am not a card carrying member of the NRA (unlike the author of the previous two posts) nor do I subscribe to the notion that we have the RIGHT to harbor devices of war (especially when we all can't marry who we want) but I must hold firm to some small notion of privacy and choice. I should note that I appreciate the slippery slope that I am about to traverse. Included in the realm of reason, privacy needs to exist for no other reason than to give us a sense, no matter how fleeting and false it may be, of ownership over our choices.

The Author of this post did not chose to be a member of the NRA it was forced upon him by loving friends as a, if I say so myself, part of a hilarious "Gift Pack."
The Elks Lodge is voluntary. I am sorry that the author, Snarky, has more integrity than others and is unwilling to lie about a religious affiliation but is more than willing to "pretend" to be a juvenile captain Kirk.
I believe the real issue here is confrontation. Snarky needs to see this through the eyes of Kirk and not through the eyes of Snarky and attack the situation with unadulterated pretending.

Oh, but what about his integrity you fat people are no doubt asking? 2 Dollar Beers! Is my Answer. And for you non-fat people asking the same lame virtuous question. 5 dollar Glenlivet 12 year old Scotch. I say to you.

Private clubs are great because they spend all their time, money and effort building a world that excludes the "Riff-Raff" only to one day allow the "Riff-Raff" in. Snarky - be you agnostic or atheist, God fearing mormon, or Card carrying NRA member you know deep down in your soul that you are the "Riff-Raff." Its time to come home! Come home to the Elks!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


As I go for bike rides around LA, whenever I pass another cyclist we often smile, nod, or wave at each other. It’s like saying “Howdy, fellow biker! We’re in the same special club!” Well, I’ve also been trying this with fat people recently. When I pass a fellow overweight person on the sidewalk, I smile and wave as if to say “Hey there! I’m fat, too!!” But so far they just look at me funny.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Funny, He Doesn't Look Elkish

So there’s this Elks lodge all my buddies are joining. Partly because the beer is cheap and the steak dinners are apparently yummy, partly to have a funky, centrally-located gathering place to talk business and hang out, and partly, well, “ironically.”

The Elks Club is great. No joke. From the outside it could be a tool-and-die factory, but inside it’s an episode of Cheers as directed by David Lynch. There’s a meeting hall, a high-school-cafeteria-esque dining room, a cement courtyard for outdoor BBQs, and, of course: a bar. Ah, the bar. The bar rocks. The not-unpleasant, ever-so-slight smell of old beer & mildew lingers in the air. And under that wafts the familiar sweet/sour faint odor of Clorox-mixed-with-stale-sweat I’ll forever associate with 1980’s Time Square porn palaces (um, not that I ever frequented such places….). The lighting is dim and the d├ęcor is early Holiday Inn meets late Sizzler.

The TV behind the dingy bar is permanently set on Fox News, there’s a whiteboard tracking the progress of some on-going Elky golf tournament, and I think I caught a glimpse of a dusty pool table and maybe a dartboard somewhere along the boxcar-like rows of small back rooms.

The bartender has just enough of an "Overlook Hotel" creepiness to make ordering a three-buck Bud Lite interesting. All the male patrons look like white-haired Barney Rubbles, and most have that old-school, macho friendliness peculiar to veterans. A sturdy Semper Fi warmth. The few women bellying up to the bar mighta been beauty queens back in the day before their features & figures got weathered by hard knocks and even harder drinking.

In other words: the perfect place for a bunch of young dudes to hang out. “Ironically” or not. And, to add to the charm, in order to join up one must be interviewed, approved, voted on, and initiated. There’s even some kind of endless (and unintentionally humorous) old introductory film you have to sit through. Awesome.

Come on. How cool is all that? Two of my buddies have already passed though the process, a third is halfway there, and a forth will probably start the procedure when he’s back in town.

So here’s the rub. They tell me there are two “deal breaker” questions they ask during the interview. The first is: “Are you a communist?” No problem there. I can easily say “no” to that one (though, as a Democrat, some Fox-News-aficionados might think me almost there). Then there’s the “Do you believe in God” question. Uh-oh. Apparently you’ve got to answer “yes” to be considered for induction into the wonderful world of Elk-dom.


I’m one of those “don’t ask/don’t tell” life-long atheists. (Though I suppose, technically I’m what they nowadays call a “Tooth-Fairy Agnostic,” but that’s another story.) The point is when people wax all spiritual or religious around me I tend to just smile and nod and try to politely change the subject. Since I realize my non-theistic position is unusual – even controversial (especially here in America) – I mostly keep my lack of belief to myself. But if asked directly, point-blank across a wobbly metal desk in some dark back office by some scrotal-skinned, white-haired Barney Rubble? I’d kinda have to tell the truth. No getting ‘round it.

So I guess I’m out of the game. No secret handshake, no initiation ceremony, no decoder ring for me.

And here’s the thing that just occurred to me today, and it’s why I’m writing this (perhaps too serious – sorry) first blog. If, hypothetically, all my friends joined some club but then subsequently discovered I couldn’t join along with them because I was black, or gay, for female, or Jewish, or Muslim, or some such – I think we’d all feel very different about the situation. Frankly, I think we’d be up in arms. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if my friends didn’t instantly quit that fictitious club in angry, disgusted protest. Or maybe they’d stage a raucous, Norma-Rae-style poster-waving demonstration.

And, I – that hypothetical black/gay/female/Jewish/Muslim me – would probably be equally outraged and alert the media in squinty-eyed righteous indignation, bellowing war cries of “bigotry!” and “unfair!” and yadda yadda. But in this particular case, both myself and my buddies shrugged it off, joked about how quaint and goofy and sweet them-there old Elk rules are, and let it slide.

So I just won’t join and they will. Maybe I’ll attend occasional events there as a “guest.” No biggie.

But it’s an interesting issue, no? It’s as though “non-belief” is the last thing left on the list it’s still okay to be openly exclusionary about here in America. Recently I read an article about how -- though we now have a black president and will one day soon probably have a female one, and though we have assorted Jewish, hispanic, and “out” gay members of congress, etc, etc. -- the way things are going it’ll probably be at least a hundred years before we’re comfortable with openly non-religious politicians. It’s the final frontier of American, er, closet-leaving.

Ah well. If you need me I’ll be nestled back in the walk-in between my wrinkled Dockers and my pit-stained polo shirts.

Godlessly Yours,

A Dangerous, Closet-Dwelling Heathen

Trash Trucks - uneccessary violence towards silence

ARGHH- CACHUNK--BOOM! That's trash truck talk for good morning. I think when the manufacturers of trash trucks were creating these beasts they had zero interest in designing something that was practical yet quiet. Have you ever heard a trash truck that doesn't have squeaky breaks? I'll answer that for you. "maybe, but I've really never paid attention to it. Is this going somewhere?" Let me answer that, "No."