Friday, April 20, 2007

You have left me no choice

I have tried not to go down this path, but you have forced my hand, and now there is no stopping it. There is blood on your hands, that you can not wash away, and it is your fault it is there.

All of the people with your debaucheries like marijuana cigarettes and your expensive vodkas and table service, and your thin models who pretend to like you just because you are a successful hedge fund manager at Lehman Brothers. I have tried to avoid all this, but I can no longer do that.

I sit here and read about all of your flagrant abuses and fouls, such as your low-post double-teams and your setting of picks that are unsportsman-like and detrimental to the fundamentals of the game. Now, My soul is scarred and my choices are shattered.

You have forced your garbage down my throat and have closed the local brand of Quiznos, with their toasted submarine sandwiches and amiable customer service. I have tried to overlook these offenses, but you have forced my hand. No longer will we get free refills, but the beverage of truth is ready to be quaffed by the cupful.

My soul is torched, and my conscience is scarred by your lies and deceits... and also by debaucheries, as outlined in an earlier segment (refer back to that passage for more details). Now there is a different time at hand, a time where I am forced to write like I am a 15-year-old dousche who just finished listening to his first Morrissey album, and issue a warning to all the major news media -- except Jim Lehrer, because I don't watch PBS -- about what I am going to do that will change everything.

I'm going to shoot people, pretty much. Yeah, I guess that's it in a nutshell. Wanna read a play I wrote six months ago?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

News of the Times

As everyone's heard by now, there was a horrific tableau yesterday at Virginia Tech University -- a gunman kills 32 students over the course of a few hours. It has been called many things by the news media -- "bloodbath," "tragedy" -- but the New York Times front page leaps out at me the most. "Rampage." A very specific term that brings me back to another tragedy a few years ago.

The Virginia assault is the deadlest rampage in American history, to be sure, but in this dark hour of loss I want to remind us all of the second deadliest rampage in American history, lest we forget.

May the survivors of that forgotten tragedy find the peace they deserve.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Ask the Romance Guy!

Ron Garrity is the nationally-syndicated columnist "The Romance Guy," and his work has been translated into thirty different languages. He is the author of four books, the latest of which, "Getting the Most Out of Your Marriage," has just been released in softcover.

Dear Romance Guy,

A touchy situation has arisen in my sexual relationship with my husband -- he has expressed an interest in anal sex, and I have no interest whatsoever. I told him that I experimented with it once in college, and found it to be an unpleasant experience I didn't ever want to go through again. I love my husband (we just celebrated our eight-year anniversary) and will do just about anything to make him happy, but I can't do this. How can I put the issue to rest for good?

No Poke in Polk City, Iowa

Dear Poke,

When one partner expresses interest in a sex act that the other can't fulfill, feelings are invariably going to get hurt. You obviously love your husband and care for his needs, and you're going to want to express that sentiment in the pending conversation. But, you have to take a firm line about what kinds of sex acts you feel comfortable participating in. Hopefully, your husband will see that your needs are important as well, and he will understand that this is a topic that's been taken off the table, in the most caring, direct way that each of you can express to one another.

* * * * *

Dear Romance Guy,

My wife isn't interested in anal sex, and I feel like it could add some much-needed spice to an eight-year-old relationship that could use a little invigoration. She seems very cold and unreceptive to the idea, so I don't know how to express to her my desire to do something new. How can I approach her so that she'll listen to me?

New Poke in Polk City, Iowa

Dear New Poke,

My advice to you is to find an internet pharmacist, preferably one in Mexico or central America, and find a heady dose of gamma-hydroxybutyrate and chloral hydrate for a reasonable price. If possible, drive across the border to procure some so you better know the dealer and purity. Then, what you want to do is insinuate a large portion of the drug into her food or beverage saving some for incremental re-dosing later on. The best way to mask the taste of the chloral hydrate is with a stew of root vegetables, so take that into mind when preparing the meal. The effects of the drug will take hold within ten minutes (give-or-take for her body mass), rendering her in a pliable state akin to the so-called "Twilight Sleep" your dentist offers you. At this stage, the mind is unable to process what is happening as it enters a dissociative state where memory is not recorded. You now have your window of opportunity, so enjoy!

("The Romance Guy" appears every Thursday in this space... should the charges filed by 12 separate State Attorneys-General be successfully defended in court.)

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The greatest movie never made

Monday marks the 30th anniversary of what was perhaps the greatest failure of the Hollywood studio system: Gulf + Western's dismantling of the shoot for Sidney Lumet's "Strike of Midnight," a romantic thriller set in the world of high-stakes gambling. When you look at the pedigree of the movie as it was planned (and very nearly executed), you have to scratch your head and wonder why G+W considered pulling the plug on this project, or much less followed through with it.

The aforementioned Sidney Lumet was coming off the monumental success of "Network" and was looking for another great script to sink his teeth into, and found it in the form of a script floating around, "Strike of Midnight," from a first-time screenwriter named Horace Weems.

The reclusive Weems was coming off a particularly bad run of luck in the late 1960s with his literary fiction pursuits (some had even suggested he was a chemical casualty of the Summer of Love), but he poured all his effort into creating this one lasting document -- which was subsequently greenlighted on May 3, 1976. Casting began a month later, and turned up a formidable lead in George C. Scott.

Scott had won -- and famously turned down -- an Oscar for "Patton," and his name was at the tip of everyone's tongue. Weems, in the one interview he gave to the Los Angeles Times in the summer of 1977, offered that the part was, "written with Scott in mind. Or, George Jessel."

Shooting started in August of 1977 with cast and crew experiencing early creative tensions. Castmembers Robert Vaughn, Ernest Borgnine, and Leon Isaac Kennedy, pictured above, clashed with Lumet over key decisions, including how best to have Borgnine's military police character treat Kennedy's ex-con/lounge singer character. Lumet wanted to see soemthing akin to Wilder and Pryor in "Silver Streak," but Vaughn thought it was a disingenuous portrayal.

Worse yet, late-in-the-process studio notes introduced a separate plot threat not planned by Weems that seemed to be a fusion of sci-fi theatrics and "Osterman Weekend"-type suspense. The casting of song-and-dance man Robert Preston as "Billy Wiggums," a cardsharp who thinks he's from Saturn, did not ease tensions on the set.

Towards the end, 1970s cheesecake icon Adrienne Barbeau groused endlessly about the interminable amount of scenes in which she was either bathing or chained to a concrete wall. As it turned out, those scenes were not in the original script, but rather were hand-scribed by Borgnine himself, an error that would not be discovered until a month after shooting ceased.

Shooting had proceeded contentiously through the winter and into the spring. Finally, R. Smirthwaite Hanover, Gulf + Western Company's financial majordomo, put an end to a tortured motion picture experience with only 56 rolls of film in the can and an estimated 34 pages of script yet to film. From what those few eyewitnesses who saw clips and rushes say, the existing footage is celluloid gold -- the incomprehensible script, coupled with the softshoe of Preston and the decolletage of Barbeau, created what surely would have been one of the seminal 1970s films. Alas, it was also to be a treasure trove never seen again.

We can only wonder how the entire film would have played out. In the words of Warren Beatty, in an offhand comment to writer Robert Towne at the "Heaven Can Wait" opening night party, "If Lumet had managed to wrap 'Midnight' you could have closed the book on the ’70s three years early." Indeed.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Bad job by you

This is an open letter to the guy at work yesterday who walked straight from the toilet stall to the door of the men's room without passing go, collecting $200, or washing his fucking hands (we'll call him "Shmarc Shmattenberg," just to keep things anonymous): The next time you're going to take care of a deuce in the old communal workplace loo, please have the good sense to not walk past a guy diligently washing his hands merely on account of touching his own face, and not some other deeper sanitary issue, without doing the same yourself. If you are going to fly the coop without applying a little tallow lather and water to your e.coli ridden palms, do it on your own clock, and not when I can clearly watch you bug out of the toilet without making things right on behalf of your fellow door-handle users.

Seriously, next time why not just stinkpalm my phone receiver and Bluetooth mouse while you're at it, because I don't think me and your digestive system have been all that thoroughly introduced to one another. Until then, I'll just be over here with the WalMart-size jug of Purel, liberally dosing any and all exposed surfaces with glorious, gelled alcohol.

Remember that botulinium that accounts-payable was suffering from en masse? Thank me for stopping its scorched-earth march at the copydesk. As Patrick Stewart once yelled, "We must draw the line HERE!"