Photo by Jay Hagan,
7/12/08 Burbank, CA
A Thought for Today
Be prepared. Occasionally things get a
little crazy, like every ten minutes or so.
TO BEGIN WITH
Here’s some stuff I’ve been thinking about of late that I thought I
might share with you. Fair warning then, all musings aren’t necessarily
NOBODY ASKED ME BUT . . .
This coming Friday, 8/8/08, is a day the people of China have been
looking forward to for years . . . the opening of the 2008 Olympic Games
in Beijing. But there is no joy these days in the Chinese film
community. ‘Why didn’t we think of that’ they must be asking themselves.
China is considered the animation capitol of the world. They make their
own highly successful feature length cartoons that, while seldom
exported, still clean up at theatres throughout their own country.
Chinese animators and studios contract to turn out episodes of such
stalwart American series as The Simpsons and many a Disney TV and film
production is now ‘Made In China’. As everyone breathing knows by now
the national symbol of China is the loveable and cuddly panda. Remember
too, it was China that gave the world Marshal Arts.
And what is the number one animated film of all time in China? What else
but “Kung Fu Panda” a movie produced by DreamWorks, USA. The world
box-office figures for this little Hollywood export is now over half a
billion dollars meaning, I guess, that it may well end up being the top
grossing animated film of all time in every country on earth.
FAMILY LIFE ON TV
I don’t know if they could be called The Good Old Days but remember when
TV heroes were doctors, lawyers and teachers? Cowboys too and even an
occasional blue-collar worker were looked up to as role models.
How TV times change, now we are being asked to identify with and even
root for a soccer mom who grows and sells pot for a living; Mary-Louise
Parker as the mom in Showtime’s “Weeds.” TMC earned four Emmy
nominations for its “Breaking Bad” series in which dad, an ex-chemistry
teacher, played by Bryan Cranston idles away the day in his Winnebago
brewing crystal meth for fun and profit..
Then there’s that “Dexter” bachelor guy over on Showtime and lately CBS.
As played by Anthony Michael Hall he’s not your every day run of the
mill serial killer but a serial killer nonetheless.
Thing is, these shows are well written, beautifully produced and peopled
with intelligent actors who make them fun to watch and a pleasant change
from the every day headlines mostly about dope dealers and murderers.
You and me and the critics seem to like them but I doubt that Dr.
Huckstable would be amused.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
For months Senator McCain kept badgering fellow presumptive presidential
candidate Senator Obama to get up and go to Iraq. “Go see it before you
talk about it,” he chided. So Obama went to the Middle East and Europe
(seven countries in 6 day) and everywhere he went a cheering public and
an adoring press followed. Meanwhile back in the USA no matter what
McCain did there seemed to be no press coverage and few measurable
crowds. So, you guessed it, McCain took to criticizing Obama for being
overseas when there were so many more important things going on here at
FINAL, FINAL NOTICE
First I started getting calls on my business line, then my home phone
followed shortly by my cell number (which almost no one has because I
can never remember it myself). It’s a recorded message announcing that
the warranty on my automobile has run out. At first I didn’t bother
listening since I knew that wasn’t the case but because of the frequency
of the calls I finally heard the recording out and stayed on the line
until a live voice came on at the end of the pitch. When I queried her
as to my account number she said that information was confidential. So I
asked her the make and model of my auto and that info turned out to be
confidential too. Click. Obviously I was on yet another sucker list and
the messages were shots in the dark.
The calls haven’t abated and today a new wrinkle was added; a postcard
arrived in the mail. “This is your FINAL NOTICE,” I was warned. “Your
vehicle’s factory warranty has expired, call IMMEDIATELY to take
advantage of this final offer. All major credit cards accepted.”
TWO FOR ONE
A woman was recently arrested for trying to make a deal to have her
husband offed for the princely sum of $500 bucks and a pick-up truck.
Unfortunately for her the would-be assassin was a police informant. At
the skyrocketing cost of gas and the way trucks guzzle it getting rid of
her old man and the truck at the same time probably made some sense.
Alas she is now being investigated for the mysterious deaths of several
Seams like every week or so we read or hear about a spouse attempting to
put a hit on their other half and it usually works out the same way ––
they end up in the slammer because the gunman they contacted turned out
to be an undercover cop. Have these people never watched Hard Copy or
America’s Most Wanted?
WITH TWO YOU GET ALGAE
Back to Beijing, but not as far as many of the athletes planning to
attend the ’80 games are concerned. Some of the runners, jumpers and
muscle pumpers who should be in The Olympic Village by night and by day
familiarizing themselves with the tracks and venue’s where they will
begin to compete next week have opted to continue last minute training a
bit closer to home or in nearby Japan or South Korea. Nope, there’s no
talk among the athletes of boycotting the games just a few not so minor
worries about self-preservation.
With new factories sprouting up monthly and automobiles more prevalent
and affordable than ever Beijing has held the title of the world’s most
polluted city since the late 1980’s and by all accounts the living and
working environment worsens by the day. As late as yesterday afternoon
all those promises about clearing the pollution from the air and the
algae from the sea have come to naught. As late as this afternoon one
observer told a news organization that the air is so thick with smog
that the top of the spectator bleachers can barely be seen from the
tracks set out for the runners.
The algae in the rivers and lakes rowers are expected to oar through
seem to grow back as quickly as removed. But a Chinese official
explained it this way, “Today happened to be a particularly foggy day
and so it held the smog.” One American sprinter has vowed to run with a
facemask. Some drugstores near Olympic training centers report that they
are out of stock where facemasks are concerned. Apparently athletes as
well as spectators are buying them in bulk.
These games promise, as always, to be surprise filled with the events
outside the events competing for attention. Now that everyone in the
stands will have a camera or cell phone capable of putting us in the
picture these will be the first games where the Internet will play as
important a role as network and cable television for getting
Gold Medal winner David Carl Figueroa
It’s doubtful that even the most intrepid censors will be able to thwart
thousands of cameras trained on a pack of runners face masked in the 500
or Spain’s amazing David Carl Figueroa’s oar battling that icky green
stuff as he rows his way to gold along a polluted Red river. If it has
to happen I hope we see it while its happening and not if and when the
highly censored Net is open again to all posters.
RM 8/1/08 First Publication
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