Breakfast of Rainbow Puppies

Killers and jailbirds, dilettantes and scofflaws, I’m just trying to have coffee and someone is talking about some pseudo-news-reality-witch-hunt-bloodbath-headline television show. Apparently we all crave the details of how some father in the midwest went berserk at work with a sidearm or a couple in Florida rented their own daughter out from down in the basement until she was old enough to vote, it just never ends. The more it’s splashed everywhere, the less it all matters in our everyday lives, it just becomes wallpaper. I just can’t figure where the fringe sits between the filthy perpetrators and the good folks who love hearing about it. I eat cereal and drink orange juice and read about the most nefarious and disgusting kind of people doing the worst kinds of things to each other. Suddenly things ain’t tasting so sweet this morning.

Strangely, advertising revenue and media ratings have little to do with good and happy news.

Oh money, how you sometimes turn the world in such a dark and twisted way!

Maybe if I sprinkle some dollars on my breakfast it’ll give it some yummy again.

Save The Roots!

I feel sorry for The Roots. The Roots are this great hip-hop band from Philly who are immensely talented and have great success especially among those who have grown to loathe the pedestrian contemporary rap songs about rims on whips or cabbage and grips.

Why The Roots deserve our sympathy is because every weeknight they have to sit through an entire, uninterrupted episode of the late nite snooze-fest of a show that is hosted by the sadly unimaginative Jimmy Fallon. Since The Roots are the house band, they bear witness to high-grade talent going rotten in the interview chair on the daily. The exchanges between Fallon and his guests are punishingly forced, plodding and just plain boring. I would rather watch my father pick his ears with a car key than sit through Jimmy Fallon interviewing someone. Fallon’s lack of common cultural knowledge leaves him sitting there like a nervous muppet with nothing interesting to say, unaware that he has no shred of spontaneous wit. 

The episodes are rabbit pebbles strung together by long, dull stories from celebrities and maybe a silly voice thrown in and this sorry recipe for entertainment reduces his show to a 60 minute log of awkward silence. I’ve counted how many times people laugh during a Jimmy Fallon segment and wonder why The Roots haven’t thrown their instruments through the phony scenic background and burned that place to dust. Simply put, the show just isn’t funny and the business of a late night show that isn’t Nightline is to be funny or we’re all falling asleep wishing The Roots would change their name to The Riots.

I know The Roots are getting paid but couldn’t they be given reprieve from this terrible show? We all know Fallon won’t last another year, which is unfortunate because on SNL he was quite funny, in his element he was goofy and charming. But leave him alone with the likes of Robert DeNiro or even Danny DeVito and count the tumbleweeds.

The Roots need to migrate to a better show or this is going to stain their resume, what about that crazy Scottish guy? His show’s kinda irreverent and bizarre. Way more fun than watching Jimmy Fallon struggle to put words together to form something that matters. Poor bastard.

The very least he could do is replace The Roots with a band more fitting for his nightly vacuous conversations, like Good Charlotte or The Black Eyed Peas so The Roots can go on making great music without enduring their horribly grueling day job.

Reality Ain’t Real Enough?

Grindstone. There are people who work and those who don’t. Most work. Few don’t. Some who don’t work now had to work at one time, possibly acquiring enough resource to not have to work any longer. Most of us, though, work. Every day. T0 stay alive. Strange, having to work to stay alive. Like sprinting through the jungle daily after a dinner boar. Like plowing a field from dawn to twilight, or being a factory hand on 12 hour shifts alongside those who’ve lost fingers or most of their pensions.

I must be one lazy ess oh bee.

‘Cause I’m just sitting watching bad TV.

Instead of out looking for a jay oh bee.

So they’re going to make a pirate-hunter reality show? The waters off Africa will be the new battleground for ratings and armchair commandos as the internet forums will fill up with camo-flag waving netizens proposing battleplans and strategies. Sweet. There’s a cougar reality show? I can only pray it’s like this, proving once again that life only gets better as it goes. America truly is a melting pot because as soon as someone thinks of a way to make something more edgy, more hip, more digusting and shockingly fascinating, it eventually implodes under it’s own pressure to perform, never to be heard from again. But until then…

Prison shows are pretty strange, some of the convicts interviewed enjoy a little attention and celebrity while wistfully commenting on their life sentences and what their tattoos mean.  A whole society behind bars, a mindset much different than those who drive Subarus and Volvos. Louie the Fly from the Satanic Brotherhood in cell block C lives quite a different life from Ann in San Diego scrabbling up the corporate ladder or Henry in Scranton who sells things like vacuum cleaners and encyclopedias.

Ego-whore housewives of the disgustingly privleged, see who can lose the most weight where contestants who fail are paraded across the stage to have pies thrown at them, there’s even a show that follows repo men around so we can see the reaction of deadbeats and the penniless as they have their belongings repossessed while being taped for a television audience. The moral of every episode: “pay your bills.” Thanks for the insight.

I’m waiting for the show that follows around corporate executives so we can see them shut down entire production plants and laugh all the way to the Mexican cartels. Or maybe have a television crew can follow Joe into the manager’s office and we can all watch his eyes as he’s laid off. Then pan to the boss whose remorse is no doubt gleaned from a great make-up job and clever lighting. No shortage of subjects there, why not show grade schoolers grappling with the fact they need to pack up their toys becuase they’re being evicted since both parents lost their jobs? We could call it “You’re Fired!” or “The Young and The Homeless”.

My nation of rabid, morbid voyeurs, vicarious tragedy is how we sleep at night, assured of a better life than the one we just watched break down. Admittedly, I’m guilty of pleasuring myself with the televised trainwrecks of America and I’ll happily use the TV Guide or People magazine to wipe my belly. Of Dorito crumbs, of course.

What Would Danzig Do?

Real life video TV shows have always attracted me. A closet fetish for handicam concrete pratfalls and crotches being split by metal handrails, skateboards, diving boards, trampolines and parachutes, injuries and collisions go hand in hand with my hand in the cheetos bag. I do, however, have trouble enjoying the programs where they show security camera footage of violent criminals doing terrible things to people who merely went to work that day. For the most part though, give me some bloopers and dumb people doing harm to themselves and I’m all smiles.

One of the great pioneers is the show where the police chase people who are “innocent ’till proven guilty” (I got news for you, if they’re innocent they wouldn’t be running) and it’s arguably the lowest denominator of entertainment, even the name of the show is a bare-bones joke: “Cops”. That might be why I love it. I enjoy watching people who aren’t me (but could’ve been, long ago) getting harassed by the the poe-leese. Reminds me to continue being an upstanding citizen.

I realize that watching television programs of this nature will turn my brain to oatmeal but I’m getting too old and far beyond help.

Television fashion is especially high with reality shows where a camera crew follows people around while they do inane things like yell at their mother or make out with their neighbor. Often these episodes conclude with debauchery involving malt beverages or appletinis. For those of you who don’t know, a “malt beverage” is a euphemism for “girlie wine cooler bottled with a liquor brand name”.

I have briefly witnessed one of the most inflammatory TV programs which mix both the premise of videotapes of violent criminals and reality tv filled with bimbos. It’s some cranked up, hidden camera, we’re-going- to-stage-this-horrible-situation-and-watch- you-flounder show. This show secretly tapes normal folks and their reactions when faced with, for example, a guy beating up his girlfriend in the park, or a store clerk using racial epithets at customers or a mom breastfeeding a homeless guy at a bus stop and then see how the bystanders would react. Would they intervene? Ignore it and go about their business? Are they cowardly lions or John Rambo? It’s a mix of candid camera and shocking videos and people react differently at different times to different things so the show proves nothing. It’s flashy tabloid palaver, it’s as if a network executive stuffed a camera up your colon and then shoved David Duke and Al Sharpton up behind it to throw down in your lower intestine for all of America. “What Would You Do?”

I think the real question is “What Would Danzig Do?” Kick both their asses for being their own worst enemy and an embarrassment to everyone.

Danzig would then sacrifice a lamb (chops and gyros) and write in blood on John Quinones’ face: “Stop Thinking Like Geraldo, Your Crappy Show Is Not Insightful”. Then he’d have dinner while watching Cops with the rest of the country.

Art Depreciation

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Saigon doesn’t have a lot of public art. But them spankin’ yankees back home know how to put some weird things in the street.

Ever walk by a sculpture on a sidewalk (city funded, mind you) and thought to yourself, “Geez, my kid sister could do that!” Bad art that you just paid for, silly taxpayer. Not to say all kid sisters are relegated to doing marginal work, but it’s true. Kid sisters all got their heads in the clouds and you’d think it would make them good artists. Not always.

Ever see some painting in a gallery or a museum and say “What? I paid money to look at these ridiculous scribbles?” Gawking while trying the shake the feeling of being swindled not only out of your earnings, but out of precious time. Time isn’t money, it’s worth WAY more than money. And when people have worked so hard starving for their art and you give them time and money to experience their emotional expression, getting ripped off stings. The only one starving is the brain sucker on top of your head.

I used to think that when art was bad, that’s all that it was. I’ve been to plenty of galleries where the art sucked all the creativity from blocks away, a virtual black hole of cool taste, literally, handprints smeared on paper and pasted to the wall with astronomically high price tags. I couldn’t wait to complain about it all night over drinks.

Ever been to a movie that was an absolute blockbuster, a huge hit and everyone saw it but in reality it was a 90 minute crap-fest of such proportions that, before it finished, you struggled to get hospitalized by licking the grunions off the theater floor? Oh yeah, we’ve all been there. More bad art. At 8 bucks for the matinee makes it bad and pricey. But you got to tell all your friends how terrible the cinematic turd you just witnessed was and it brought you all a little closer together.

Bad art begets discussion, so that makes it good art. Weird, huh?

Mickey Rourke’s Face

mickey-rourke-surgery1  What is going on with Mickey Rourke? Is he not one of the perennial cool/scuzzy/sexy/scumbag badasses in all of Hollywood? My man Mickey is looking a lot different lately, and looking stranger and stranger with each passing film. What is going on? Why must many of the great faces and bodies of treasured American entertainment undergo procedures that render them puffy, wind-tunneled, squinty tragedies with feet?

I won’t even get into Kenny Rogers or any other plastic surgery apocalypse seeping out of the Hollywood Hills.

Cosmetic surgery is a godsend for those born with deformities or those accidentally disfigured. Ain’t it odd how people whose entire careers and million dollar empires which are founded on their appearance eventually resort to surgeries that make them look like a kid with a genetic malformation?

Being addicted to facelifts and injections, suctions and tucks is the greatest plague to sweep the wealthy in a long time. Not unlike tattoos, piercings, and any other body modifications, elective cosmetic surgery can lead to just more and more until the skin runs out. Though it is a wonderful way to differentiate yourself from the rest of the pack because nobody wants to move to Florida with a turkey waddle beneath their neck and underarm meat flaps. Or show up at the hot little nightspot not sporting a pair of disproportionate saline bombs and Mick Jagger lips.

What if the economy was linked to how much a celebrity’s face droops? Withered and saggy = Bear market. Strong and tight = Bust out the bubbly.

Like a jailhouse tat or any home-jobby piercing, cosmetic surgery should start at home. Then maybe a small botch will deter those who would be spending enormous amounts of money on procedures that will only lead to them being mocked and pitied. But what about people’s freedom of choice, you ask? Don’t they have the right to spend their money on what they want, looking how they want to look?

I suppose you have a point, smart reader.

Maybe I’m jealous because they have loads of money sitting in an “I’m-looking-like-a-shoe-time-for-some-surgery” fund and I’m stuck with the way I look. Forever. Unless I have one of my buddies help me get that permanent smirk I’ve always wanted. Pope of Greenwich Village style.