Thursday, December 25, 2014

You Complete Me

Your name is NOT Lloyd Dobler. Your bike is NOT a boombox. I think you can figure the rest out. Edit - I just made up a new term. "Doblering" As in "Stop Doblering your bike. You look like an idiot."  -- recent Facebook status update by fredcube.

When I posted this a couple of days ago, I thought it was pretty clever.  Who am I kidding, it's damn clever and I know it.

If you don't know who Lloyd Dobler is, you're not alone.  I didn't either before I decided to post this status update.  I had to look it up.

There's this iconic image of John Cusack holding a boombox high above his head.  He's got kind of a late eighties cool thing going on with the trench coat and sleeves pushed up and everything. This is from a movie called "Say Anything." I've never seen the movie, but I have an idea what's going on here.  I could be completely wrong, but it seems like he's trying to get the girl and this is some sort of powerful scene at the end where he finally wins her over.

How do I spell "Triumph?"
I've seen at least bits of this scene and it seems like the Peter Gabriel song "In Your Eyes" is blaring from the boombox.  I bet in the movie there's some significance to that.

I'm thinking the girl was probably reluctant to enter into a relationship with "The Dobler" here, but she finally did and he made some big mistake to break her heart.  Only after the fact did he realize how much he'd screwed up.

Maybe while they were still getting along nicely, he had made a flippant remark.  I bet they were having a conversation about suckers at love.  Peter Gabriel was playing in the background and Lloyd was all, "I could never say this stuff to a girl - give her the upper hand like that?  What a sap!"

So after he realizes he just screwed up the best thing he ever had, he would do or "say anything" to get her back, he plays that very song outside her window.  I'm getting all weepy just thinking of this fake scenario.  Imagine how fantastic the actual movie must be!

The image above says - "No matter what you think, my resolve will not waver.  I'm holding this damn radio above my head."

And that's cool.

But you know what I hate?  For some reason people do that with their bikes.  I've never understood it.  Usually it is to say, "I've accomplished something."

It might be winning a race or finishing a mountaintop ascent, but it always looks really really stupid.

I've seen it for years, but the first time I saw it and it made me go "Ewww!"  was when I saw this:

This is from a couple of years ago.  It is a local cat 5 race.  The winner - who is a brilliant biochemist by day, decided to take his steed up there with him on the podium.

Like I said, I'd seen people lift their bikes before, but this was the one that made me hate the sight from then on.

I mean:
Oh, the Majesty!


The glorious glorified glory!

I like the last one, because the helmets are hanging from the handle bars.  Douchebags.

I think what I hate so much about it is that it is so unnatural.  I understand that people pose for photos, but this is a whole different level.  You made it to the pinnacle.  You've arrived.  You want to save this moment forever.  Unless you did the race or climbed the mountain while holding the bike over your head, (which would be impressive) why?

The only time you are holding your bike up ever is when posing for a photo.  That's just stupid.  I don't get the inspiration.  I've always wondered about it until I remembered Lloyd Dobler.

I realized that all the people who hold bikes over their heads are trying to win the girl.  I bet they're humming "In your eyes" while they do it.

Well you know what guys?  You're not going to win the girl.  Ever.  You look like a buffoon.

But I do have a suggestion.  You still won't win the girl, but you will look way less ridiculous after your great bike achievements.

Instead of taking your cue from Lloyd Dobler, you need to look to an earlier John Cusack character.  I'm talking about "Bryce" from sixteen candles.  He was one of the super nerds in the movie.  At one point, some bullies threw him into the trunk of a car.

That's where your bike should be for all your triumphant photo shoots you fucking tool.  You're welcome.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I suppose this fits

Tonight when I got home to get caught up on the Facebooks, I threw in "Heathen" by David Bowie.

This is about my favorite David Bowie album.  I automatically buy every David Bowie album that is released (except compilations of hits).  To me, this was the best one he put out since Scary Monsters in 1980 (22 years earlier).  Yes I include "Let's Dance" because though I really liked it when it came out and I enjoyed seeing Bowie getting all super famous and everything,  it's been so overplayed I'm tired of it.

There's also the "Bowie effect."  I blame David Bowie and specifically the success of "Let's Dance" for most of the shitty music that happened mid/late eighties.  The sound was copied to death.  It did not stop until guys like Kurt Cobain came in and brought simple rock and roll back.

I should say 2 things at this point in case they are not completely obvious.  The first is that I have no idea what I'm talking about.  I'm not checking any of what I'm saying.  I haven't heard it somewhere.  These ill informed opinions are based on my imperfect memory of crappy music from 30 years ago.

The second is that I didn't come here to review the 2002 David Bowie Album "Heathen" although it does kick ass and includes a cover of "Cactus" that I like almost as much as the original.

I came here to discuss an idea I had.  I think it would be a good story, but I'm never going to write it for 2 reasons.  The first is that I don't have the discipline to put in what it would take to write well.  I will leave the second as an exercise for the reader.  Or is that exorcise?  (cleverness on display).

You know what though?  I just decided not to reveal the idea yet.  Actually, it's all written out in great detail below, but I'm going to delete that before I post this.  Once I got to writing about it, I realized I am not ready to give up on it yet.  It may not be an original idea, but I can't think of anything I've seen or read quite like it.  It may actually be the first original thought I've ever had.  Or maybe I watched a movie about it in the mid eighties.

[ redacted story idea reveal! ]

That just leaves one little problem.  What to talk about.

Oh man I love this song that just came on.  It is called "Everyone Says Hi" from the David Bowie album "Heathen."

Last night when I was exercising (exorcising) on the rollers, I was about halfway done when I thought, "This just isn't working.  I should just quit."  but I didn't.  I stuck with it.  I suffered to the bitter end.

Luckily for all of us, this blog post is not like my workout last night.  Well it's exactly like it except for the part about forging bravely to completion.

I will however leave you with the opening paragraph from one of the chapters of "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish" by Douglas Adams. Well if I can find it and if that's what book it's from.  Hang on ...

Yep.  Found it.  Here it is:

“If you took a couple of David Bowies and stuck one of the David Bowies on the top of the other David Bowie, then attached another David Bowie to the end of each of the arms of the upper of the first two David Bowies and wrapped the whole business up in a dirty beach robe you would then have something which didn't exactly look like John Watson, but which those who knew him would find hauntingly familiar.”

Man I miss that guy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Friday Night Extra: Turning Point

Today is my Grandma Surber's 101st birthday.  She died at the age of 96.  Sometime in about 1998, this photo was taken.  I exercised regularly at that time, but mostly weightlifting - what you kids call resistance training - because everything has to be called training.

Anyway for "cardio training" which I only did because you were supposed to, I had sarted riding my bike.  An old Bianchi.  Eventually, I dropped the "Resistance Training" completely and decided I'd become a dedicated cyclist.  When I told my boss, he said, "Cyclist?  Those guys are all anorexic and you look like Chinese Mafia."

Seeing this photo, I know what he meant.  True story.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Gift Ideas

Earlier today my mother sent me an email.  Wait a minute.  I want to talk about something else first.  Last night I was reading the Google box while my wife (Edna Cube) was watching a thrilling crime drama or two.  The first one is a new series called "Stalker!!" (emphasis added).

One of the show's stars is a fine actor by the name of Dylan McDermott. I know who Dylan McDermott is.  He was in the hit Television Law drama series "The Practice."  He has dark hair and dazzling blue eyes.

But I'm not going to pretend for one second that I have ever been 100% sure of his name.  Well, I am right now because I just looked it up on the google box (like I did last night when Edna asked me to make sure).  She said "That guy from 'The Practice' is in this."

I said, "Dylan McDermott?"

and she said, "Well either that or Dermot Mulroney."

"Oh yeah", I said. I was pretty sure it was Dylan McDermott, but I had to check to make absolutely sure.  Just Like I've had to do every single time a conversation about either one of these two has come up.  Which is weird because they don't look like each other.

Just call me "D.M."

"The Derminator"
One of these guys is in the new crime drama series "THE FUCKING STALKER!" (emphasis added).

So then I remembered the first time I saw this guy (turns out it wasn't. It was just the first time I remembered seeing him).  It was in a movie from the early 90's with Tom Sizemore and Sharon Stone.  It was called "Where Sleeping Dogs Lie."  It was a mystery-thriller type movie.  I just remember wondering the whole time if the movie makers would work in a way for Sharon Stone's character to be interrogated by the police.

That reminds me - they should totally remake Basic Instinct (and Fatal Attraction for that matter) with the same actors.  That would be gross.

Anyway, a few days after I watched "Where Sleeping Dogs Lie"  I was telling my sister about it.  I was saying it was "okay," but I really liked Tom Sizemore in it.  And this other guy.  Dylan McDermott.

My sister said, "Was it Dylan McDermott or Dermot Mulroney?"

At that point I had never heard of Dermot Mulroney before, so I told my sister maybe it was,  Maybe I just got the name wrong.

This confusion over who's who is probably good for these guys.  They can potentially each be credited with more work than they've actually done.

I've got to think that if you're a super gorgeous mega hunk, being confused for a completely different super gorgeous mega hunk can only help your star rise.

Mark Anthony McDermott must've thought so too.  That name would never be confused with Dermot Mulroney so Mark Anthony became "Dylan."

But there's yet another serious TV drama Irish pretty boy.  Unfortunately, his name was tragically unambiguous.  Patrick Dempsey was shit out of luck until he had his name legally changed to "Derek McDreamy."  Now he stands to reap the accolades of the other two.  Pretty clever.
Check and mate

Truthfully, women don't care which one of these guys takes the helm of the new hit emotional television drama.  Also, they don't seem to know or care which one is which.  Except ironically for "Derek McDreamy."  All women know which one he is.  Rawr!

But that's not what I came here to talk about.  In "The McStalker" last night, there was a woman who was being stalked.  She had written a book (supposedly).  The way the police people figured out that she had a ghost writer (a fact she denied) is by asking her the meaning of two words found in her manuscript.

The first one was "peripatetic."  I was like - "You mean like in a parapet?  Cause I know what a parapet is."  Maybe if you're "peripatetic" you like to walk around the perimeter of fortresses or something.  Nope.  It means you travel around a lot(I was near a google box so I checked).

My thought was that was a really stupid word to use in a book.

Next, the police asked the "writer" if she knew what "sanguine" meant.  She didn't know that one either and had to confess that there was a ghost writer.  Ooh ghosts!  Scary!

So I was like, doesn't sanguine mean 'red' as in blood?

No. Well yes.  But if you say someone was sanguine about blah blah blah, you don't mean they are red about it.  It means something like "optimism in the face of adversity" or some shit.

So I didn't really learn anything from "The Stalker" because they left the vocabulary words as an exercise for the viewer.

But that's not what I came here to talk about.  My mother wanted gift ideas for Jack and Abe.

So she sent me an email asking for that.

Thursday, December 04, 2014

April 1992

In about 1987, I went to work at Idelman Telemarketing.  I was there for about 4 years.  After I left, I did a variety of crappy jobs.  Also, I started going to college.  I was studying Computer Science.

At one point I was taking 12 hours and working 3 jobs.  I worked at The YMCA from 10:00PM until 6:00AM.  I drove a school bus from 6:30 AM to 8:30AM.  I went to class during the day and drove the school bus again in the afternoon.

Once in a while, I'd do a charter.  This was a relatively high paying school bus assignment.  Usually to the zoo.

I went to the zoo about twice a month during that time.  Bus drivers could just go in for free, so I usually just went into the "Treetops Cafe" or whatever it's called and grabbed a cup of coffee.  I'd then go sit and watch the monkeys for an hour or do some homework.

On Sundays, I had a job at a church as custodian.  It was St Paul's Lutheran on about 53rd and Maple.

Also, I was married and had a 18 month old daughter.

I started the bus driving job in March.  There was a bunch of training and testing and stuff.  Then there was the big huge CDL test.

I got through all of that and my first day to go alone was Tuesday April 21, 1992.

I was a little nervous.  I had done the route the day before with the manager sitting near the front to show me the ropes.

He had a real command over the kids. They seemed to get unruly in a hurry, so I was concerned.  I felt I'd be treated as a substitute teacher.

Then that night it snowed.  A lot.  Whew.  They'll surely have a snow day, I thought.


So my first day alone with the high school children was in about 7 inches of snow.

As almost always happens, my fears were unfounded.  Those buses get around pretty well in the snow.  The kids were generally well behaved. They had a real tough, street way of talking.  It was a little scary for me sometimes, but it was inherently good natured and friendly.

At this time in the world (like almost always) the trial of the century was going on.

Everyone had watched four members of the Los Angeles police department brutally and relentlessly beat a black man.  This is my first recollection of a video tape of this type.  It was amazing.  There was no denying what had happened.  The man was lying on the ground trying to get away from the baton strikes.  The police just kept on beating the man.

At the time, I don't recall anybody making much of a big deal out of the fact that it was a black man.

It was so blatantly wrong that everybody knew the cops were caught.  It seems to me that the black community was thinking "Finally.  What we've been saying all along is now plain for everyone to see."

The white community was thinking, "Holy shit.  I guess the black people are telling the truth occasionally."

The video proved what no white person (myself included) would have believed without seeing it.

There were tons of jokes about the LAPD.  This is because we wanted to believe this sort of thing was unique.  That the LAPD was somehow an aberration.  Yeah sure, we lied to ourselves, blacks get unfair treatment in LA.  But I bet that's isolated and stuff.

About a week after I started my driving the school bus on my own, 3 of the 4 officers that beat Rodney King were acquitted.  The fourth one, they weren't sure ...

I was shocked.  I couldn't see any way that was acceptable.  Maybe there were people back then saying "If Rodney King hadn't been ..."

These arguments are stupid.  Rodney King had tapped out long before the beating stopped.  Those cops were animals.  No two ways about it.

The next morning at the bus terminal, those of us who had routes into North Omaha were cautioned to be in close contact with the dispatcher.  To watch for violent behavior.

I didn't know what to expect.  I was nervous.  I was ashamed.  I couldn't believe the cops had gotten off.  It had nothing to do with me, but I was the only white person on the bus.

Would a riot start on my bus?  What would I do if it did?

One by one the kids got on the bus.  Sat down.  Looked to the floor.  Did not say a word.  Sad faces all around.  Defeated.

It was the quietest bus ride ever.  I felt like a fool.  I had been worried that the kids might take out some anger on me.

But they had woken up to understand a different reality.  One their parents already knew.  One they had hoped we were past.

It doesn't matter if the whole world sees the injustice. You're fucked.

Later that day, Rush Limbaugh was there to explain that you have to let the justice system work.   That the jury knows something we don't. I used to listen to Rush Limbaugh.

That was the day I stopped.