The Avengers “Endgame” for the uninitiated….

May 6, 2019 Leave a comment

I went to see the Avengers movie this weekend….knowing I’d be sorta confused because I don’t really know anything about the Avengers….having not seen any of the previous movies (I hear there are lots of them….both Avengers and movies about Avengers). But I love going to the movies with my family, so I went.

So what follows is not so much a review as it is a series of confused observations. I cannot state that it will NOT contain spoilers, but I can say that my confusion level is so high that I really can’t say that it WILL either. So, read at your own risk.

To level set, for the first hour or so I thought Robert Downey Jr was Captain America. I then learned that he’s Ironman, which I thought was a Black Sabbath song (bit of a chicken or the egg thing going on in my mind over this one). I have no idea what super-powers either one of these guys have, but since they kept getting their asses kicked by the big meanie guy with the chin that looks like a ball-sack, they both seemed seriously wanting. In one scene an emaciated looking Robert Downey Jr looked like Tom Hanks from the movie “Philadelphia”….so it’s no wonder he was getting tossed around like a rag doll. Dude needs to eat a sandwich. Ozzy Ozbourne could have done just as well against Josh Brolin, who the credits say was the actor who played “Thanos”, the bad guy with the dickface, even though he seemed all computerized. Acting is getting weird yo….

Thanos at one point killed half the universe by turning them into dust, which seemed pretty nasty. Not sure why he didn’t just kill all the Avengers instead and save time, but I’m sure he had his reasons. Once the time machine thing happens, the army he killed come back and they are REALLY mad…with good reason one might suspect, although it’s not clear if they knew they were dead before and are thus getting a re-do. The chronology is a bit fuzzy when you’re dealing with time travel.

(In any case, Mel Gibson should sue these guys for the Braveheart-ish battle scenes.)

I thought Captain America was Captain Marvel. I’ve never read comic books so I had no idea Captain Marvel was female. Every time I saw what I took to be a woman Avenger, I just assumed she was Wonder Woman, a tragic rookie mistake that I took a lot of shit for and am not ashamed to admit here.

(from here I learned of the DC vs Marvel thing, which I did not know was a thing. But it certainly explains why Superman never showed up. If he was around, it would probably be a shorter movie. Just saying…)

There’s that english actor who is in a billion movies who seemed to spend the entire movie holding back the ocean with one hand and drawing circles with the other. I bet he made millions. All I know is that I coulda done the same thing if they cast me….for a lot less cash. He’s the guy with the name that sounds like the part of the tuxedo that hides your beer belly.

I still have no idea who Don Cheadle is supposed to be. I swore I was told by somebody that Jeremy Renner was the Green Lantern, only to learn that he’s really somebody named “Hawkeye”…so I just assumed maybe he had some sort of Korean War past? No idea. Further clarification is needed. Every time he was on-screen I just started thinking about “The Hurt Locker”. And why does this Hawkeye have such awful hair? It looks like an ingrown mullet trying to avoid his ears. He is good with a bow and arrow though, so if you’re going on a big game hunt he’s your man. (He does a lousy job of keeping track of his family, that I can tell you)

The Hulk and Spiderman were easy to ID, for obvious reasons. I had no idea Spiderman was still in High School. I’d LOVE to see him try to explain his absences to his principal. Hulk doesn’t need to be pissed off to turn into the Hulk anymore. He’s just permanently green and seemingly sedated. I’m sure there’s a reason for this but I must have missed it. He also wears glasses, so there must be some sort of magic radiation thing that makes the lenses and frames grow exponentially.

I have a hard time telling Hollywood beefcake apart, so Chris Pratt and Liam Hemsworth and the Captain America guy (not sure of his name) seem like the same person. I was then told that one of them is not really an Avenger, but a “Guardian of the Galaxy” (no clue who they are) who I guess was just hanging around wanting to be in a movie? No idea. One of them was “Thor”….the god of something to do with hammers or Led Zeppelin. Still not sure which was which. There’s also a wise-cracking raccoon, which I thought was a bear cub but whatever. I didn’t know raccoons could talk. He had all the good lines, in any case.

Two Avengers die. One I still don’t know the name of…she died from a fall, which seemed especially cruel since she’s an Avenger and all of them seem to be able to fly and flit around whenever they want to. I think she offed herself to save the world. Or something along those lines. I guess her contract was up with the studio.

There is a green chick in the movie who reminded me the the Star Trek alien Captain Kirk boinked a long time ago. No idea what her deal is or which side she was on. Her loyalties seemed to waver.

Samuel L Jackson showed up at the end, apparently for no other reason than Samuel L Jackson is in every movie ever made. Keep in mind that for, literally, 3 seconds of work he was paid about 100 times more than you will make over your entire lifetime.

You’re welcome.

I didn’t know the Black Panther was an Avenger. I assume he is because he’s in this movie, but then again there’s the Galaxy people so…all bets appear to be off. I never saw the Black Panther film, and after learning that Captain Marvel was female, thought that maybe she was…or he was…or whatever. Then Captain America grows old (time machines….lots going on here) and gives his shield to yet ANOTHER guy…so I thought maybe HE was the Black Panther. To be honest, I have no idea who the Black Panther is even now. But apparently Captain America will now be black, which means Trump won’t be tweeting about him. SAD!

Who the fuck is Antman? Did they run out of ideas? He must have some powers, but other than being really boring I didn’t see any.

At the same theater at the same time was a movie about Shazam, which seemed very bad timing on somebody’s part. I assume he’s not an Avenger?

Oh, and after all the hard work and dying is completed, Gwyneth Paltrow suddenly shows up looking radiant….at which point I stopped asking any questions and just went with the flow.

All in all, I give it a thumb’s up even though I didn’t understand any of it. Because Sunday was a dreary, rainy day and I got to spend it with the fam, who loved it.

That is all.

In a bit..

–tf

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The Dirt

March 23, 2019 Leave a comment

I watched the Motley Crue whateveritscalled late last night. With weirdly placed voice-overs and actors speaking directly to the camera…..it’s sort of a movie/documentary/immorality tale that begins with a scene showing the drummer going down on a girl in the middle of a crowded party, with her eventually…er…squirting across the room. This sets the overall tone quite nicely….so that later when we see the lead singer repeatedly banging groupies in assorted (always unlocked…strange?) bathrooms, or the bass player shooting heroin into his neck and between his toes, it feels almost quaint in comparison.

The 80s were a strange time. If you were a rock star you could kill your friend and seriously injure 2 others in a drunken car crash and spend less than a month in jail. When you returned from court appointed rehab what do you do? Why, snort heroin of course.

You were also celebrated for snorting ants up your nose and lapping up urine with your tongue. As long as you looked good in spandex and had good hair. Of course there was some music involved, but I think the movie spends more time on the nameless girl who sits under the band’s bar table offering unsuspecting blowjobs than to the appeal of the songs.

The debauchery is only interrupted to deal with the tragic death of the lead singer’s young daughter to cancer (dealt with with all the aplomb of a bad Lifetime movie), and then picks back up with the death and resurrection of the bass player, who was revived from his latest heroin OD via not 1 but 2 shots of adrenaline straight into his heart.

Hardly any of the nearly always scantily clad women in the movie are even given names, although one of them gets enough screen time to be punched in the face by the drummer, who later marries his first Hollywood starlet (his second one is, for whatever reason, not addressed in the film at all). He calls his wife on a payphone after a show while he’s getting a blow job, but feels sorta guilty about it afterwards….especially when his wife discovers such things and files for divorce. This is not exactly the film the #MeToo movement has been waiting for….but you do get the feeling that these guys had a small hand in creating the movement anyway.

Rock and roll road hijinks are a-plenty….with plenty of bar brawls and trashed hotel rooms and TVs tossed out of windows. There’s enough cocaine to make the medellin cartel blush. In a nice touch, we learn that the band’s manager resorts to handcuffing the band’s rhythm section to their respective beds, so they can’t get up to any more mayhem. This was my favorite bit, actually. One wondered why he didn’t cuff them the second they walked off the stage….

Then of course….the Behind the Music-like redemption. The band elects to enter rehab collectively….or so we’re told. We watch them struggling to stay relevant in the 90s, flailing away inside a studio decorated on the outside with a huge poster of Pearl Jam. So it’s not like the filmmakers didn’t have a sense of humor.

The band splits up…..not sure how many times….they get a new singer….not sure how many times….they reform and tour again, not sure how many times. I’m alerted at the end that the band is still together, which was news to me. They’re portrayed as survivors, a band of brothers, a group of boys will be boys scamps….with a twinkle in their collective eye, and all sorts of war stories for the grand kids.

And not as….you know……complete assholes lucky to be both alive, and out of jail.

I never gave a shit about Motley Crue. Their direct appeal to the lowest common neanderthal never resonated with me…..but that didn’t stop me from buying a Ted Nugent live record, so who knows? Teenage boys are demented by design. I do think I’m a better human being for having a Pete Townshend poster on my teenage wall than one of Nikki Sixx, however.

I also don’t think any of the Crue would have lasted a week with Keith Moon. So there.

In a bit..

–tf

 

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Eat the rich…

March 17, 2019 Leave a comment

When I started reading the headlines about rich people using their money to gain unfair advantages for their spoiled douchey kids, I scrolled right past the way I scroll past articles about Trump saying something stupid. I’m unclear why this is even considered newsworthy.

Of course rich people, most of whom have gotten rich by being sketchy in the first place, use their money to influence all sorts of situations that would normally require……like…hard work and stuff. I must say that spending a cool half million to buy scholarship spots on a college crew team for your 2 daughters, neither of whom has ever stepped on a boat before, doesn’t exactly scream “high parental SAT score”, but then neither does being known for playing second fiddle to John Stamos. Subsequently marrying a fashion designer with a net worth of $80 million doesn’t make you any smarter. It just means you get to do your makeup and choose your wardrobe before the FBI arrests you.

eatWe’ve all heard about kids in academically prestigious schools, schools with acceptance rates in the single digits, and wondered how they could possibly get in without being able to recite the ABCs or read a wall clock. And I’m not talking about the ones who can tomahawk dunk or run for 200 yards a game. (Athletics are a special category, where classes are as optional as actually graduating, and under-the-table payments might force you to actually take a pay cut when you become a professional.) I’m talking about the random dolts who couldn’t get a 1600 on an SAT if they took it 5 times and added up the scores. Their only qualification, inevitably is coming from a family that has gobs of money. Of course these kids are stealing a spot from somebody way more qualified, but from the college admission perspective, the kids left out were too dumb to be born to rich parents so….fuck them.

Generally money is enough. There’s no need to doctor SAT scores, so this part is a bit confusing to me. You can only chalk this up to astounding hubris….the “my kid scores this”……type of hubris that separates the normal rich asshole parents from the supersonic rich asshole parents.

Even a school as pretentiously self-important as Harvard has their price. The fact that it took the slimy Kushner family a $2.5 million bribe to get Mr Ivanka Trump enrolled gives new definition to the term “the best and the brightest”. This is definitely not a case where more is better. Can you imagine how much of a fucking idiot your son must be if it takes $2.5 million of your hard earned stolen money to get him into a school?

Stunning how so many were involved in this scheme….at all levels. Apparently there is nobody left in the US who can’t be bought, from college admission directors, to coaches, to some blue collar schlub at the table set up at the SAT testing school, willing to wave the 50 year old white haired guy with the picture ID of the 17 year old girl past. But a hung- over college kid with bad time management skills who cuts and pastes sections of a Wikipedia page and forgets to add a footnote will be dragged before some insufferable academic board and systematically filleted.

Sounds fair.

But then again….ho hum. Catching a few Hollywood middling starlets (interesting how the husbands aren’t being pillared though, isn’t it? Things that make you go hmmm…) dumb enough to put their dumbness on display in traceable emails is not going to change the fact that while the earth is round (people who don’t believe this get into colleges too….), it is not fair. At all. Rich kids will always have the advantage over our kids. Our kids will work hard and work fair and follow the rules, and they’ll be allotted the scraps that fall off corporate tables.

And when they leave college, they will deal with dumb rich people in positions of authority over them for the rest of their lives. This is just the beginning, so they might as well learn it now.

The game is rigged Bubba. The only way to end this is to burn it all to the ground.

It’s said there is no replacement for hard work, but those who say that don’t have the ability to simply cut a check.

In a bit..

–tf

 

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Parade Day

March 9, 2019 Leave a comment

It’s Parade Day in Scranton.

Drunk_LeprechaunThe professionals are home today…..or gathered in out-of-the-way bars or man caves, as far away from downtown as possible. They have no desire to be vomited or spilled on, rear-ended, t-boned, shanked over the last parking spot, or forced to play peacemaker during the inevitable Hill Section brawls that will break out when the sun goes down, like wild-fires, all captured on video and posted on social media (Ok…I can’t wait for these, but that doesn’t make me a bad person).

And alas, we all remember the year Scranton became the romance capital of the year, as a parade dwelling couple bent over each other against a dumpster in an alley were made virally famous, to the horror of the Chamber of Commerce and, presumably, their parents. The stuff PTSD is made of.

So again……the pros stay away.

There’s a reason the day is widely known as “amateur hour”, as hordes of 20 something green-clad college students from Schenectady, most of them as Irish as Pope Francis, start drinking Keystone Light at 8am and continue until blackout, emboldened by a pack mentality, peer pressure, and and some Xanax to move things along. Clashes between townies and students are inevitable….and will light up Talkback-16 like a Christmas tree for at least a week.

The sheer disdain professional drinkers have for this day is palpable. Theirs is an orderly existence…….filled with routine. The same bar. The same stool. The same time. Not having to ask for a drink….but having one placed in front of them before they can get their coat off. Three long necks….then a pee. Repeat. Bartenders you can set your watch to. But today? That has been obliterated. Their sacred space has been invaded…..and there is no rank they can pull to get it back. If you want 3 beers today….you better order them at the same time. And if you think you have to pee before 10pm, start lining up now. (the girls have it way worse here…..by 9am the guys have already starting pissing in the sinks to move things along)

And in a nice touch, the weather is uncharacteristically perfect, which increases the potential carnage exponentially.

My musician brothers and sisters are out there…..spread out amongst the numerous bars, somehow negotiating the load-ins despite blocked off streets and zero parking. It’s good pay on parade day….much more than regular gigs….but they earn every penny, with half an eye always on the reeling drunks staggering in front of the stage, threatening to topple the sound system. When the band gets a break, somebody has to stand sentry over the gear, in case somebody takes the guitar in its stand as an invitation to re-create Hendrix at Monterey.

Totally rock and roll. Bands sleep well tonight Bubba. That I can tell you.

And somehow, amidst the maelstrom, a parade actually breaks out, and it’s wonderful. One year my father was chosen as the Grand Marshall, and I know it was a true honor for him. Music and smiles and kids and the joy of a community coming together for a day. Families gather. Old friends reunite. Over the years the cops have really cracked down on open containers, so the trouble mostly remains behind closed doors until after dark. So if you can survive the DUI bumper cars of the expressway and find a place to park, things can remain pretty kid friendly until you make your escape.

Or you can just stay home and watch it on TV.

In a bit..

–tf

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Dry humping the flag….

March 5, 2019 Leave a comment

190303135723-trump-cpac-0302-exlarge-169The President of the United States walked onstage Saturday in front of a disturbingly adoring crowd and proceeded to hump an American flag, surely one of the most disturbing images I’ve seen in quite a while.

I don’t know what to make of a guy not merely content to be an asshole, but desperate to be the biggest asshole in any room he enters. The speech that followed his dry humping lurched like a drunk on a cruise ship from one bizarre non-sequitur to another, at one point invoking TiVo (um..)…”I think it’s actually better than television, because television is practically useless without TiVo, right?”….before claiming, once again, that his inauguration day (which was nearly 800 days ago, for those counting such things) crowd was the biggest one ever….despite….you know, pesky facts the the contrary. And near the end of his speech he riffed on forest fires thus….”The leaves — every once in a while, you have to remove the leaves because they are so — a guy smoking a cigarette, he throws it away, he doesn’t mean it…”, just in case you were concerned that he might be a wee bit of a simpleton on the science of such things.

He spoke gibberish for well over 2 hours, unscripted, and his minions practically jizzed all over themselves the entire time, especially when he once again called the press the enemy of the people and claimed that anybody in Congress who doesn’t agree with him “hate our country.” And of course there was the “lock her up” chant. If anything, he needs new material. It’s like Ric Flair living on “woo!” for 40 years.

Totally normal stuff. Lincolnian even.

From “the better angels of our nature” to “I never saw so many beautiful-looking machine guns. I’d look at that equipment and I’d say, ‘Man …’ They sit in the trees. They sit on the lawn.” Yea….me neither.

From “…in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal…” to “Nobody has left. I watch those doors. Because a lot of times — a lot of times — well, one time, the press said people left. Yeah, you know where they went? To the bathroom. And then they came back.”

President’s of the United States said these things. In public. In major speeches. You figure it out if that’s your thing. I’d rather just get drunk.

It’s hard to comment on such utterances. If Trump’s idiocy proves anything, it’s that one can get used to just about anything if presented with it frequently enough. The fact that he’s incapable of telling the truth, has the vocabulary of a 4th grader attending classes in the van in the school parking lot, has the attention span of a goldfish, is a blatant draft dodger and a serial sexual predator, and is racist as fuck….well…..it’s become boring. Nobody really cares anymore. He’s done and said 200 things that would have gotten anybody else thrown over the side with a cinder block tied to his ankle…and nobody gives a shit….because this is daily stuff, like the morning coffee. There is no longer anything unique about a President who speaks English but isn’t quite sure where to put the words.

No supporter of his would leave their daughter alone in a room with the man, but as long as he’s hating on the browns and owning them libs…..well that’s a trade-off they’re willing to live with. I’m not sure how this works…..

The truth has become, ironically enough, fake news.

We’re doomed Bubba.

In a bit…

–tf

 

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Sunday evenings and Monday mornings….

March 4, 2019 Leave a comment

This weather is whipsawing us…..spring is close but seeming more and more like fake news. Getting home last night was a bit of a shit show…..but it ended well. A warm fire and stocked cupboards and a dog happy to see me….so happy in fact that he peed all over the comforter, which delayed bedtime for a bit. Max is my dog’s name. Cute as a button but not much for taking direction, and fully equipped with some serious bladder control issues. Anybody want him?

Sunday evenings are sad and lonely times…..we’re never quite able to forget the panic attacks of yesteryear….dreading the resumption of school days. Either due to the test we didn’t study for, the homework we neglected, or the bully we were hoping to avoid. Even though school is over for us grown-ups, the terrors it inspired remain with us. Forever. Like luggage or an STD.

The promise of sketchy weather always brought out the gambler in us……no need to study for that exam, or to write that graded essay due in first period,  or to plan an alternate route home to avoid said promised beating, with a Sunday nor’easter bearing down on us. No need, even, to pretend we have a fever by placing the warm washcloth on our forehead for 10 minutes before calling Mom up for her diagnosis. Right? All in good time….for tomorrow we rest and snowboard and drink hot chocolate (only on called days do we drink this, not sure why)….confident that one adult or the other will whisper those delightful words into our sleeping ears….”school is cancelled today”.

(“Two hour delay” is possible, but while it’s better than nothing, it’s still a massive letdown. This is the all or nothing section of our lives….)

Of course the promised snow-mageddon rarely happens as expected….and Monday morning bring roads highly passable, indeed often scraped as dry as a Mormon….with sidewalk snow that can be brushed away with a broom. And once again we’re furious at the dumb weatherman. “Vince didn’t say it would be like this…and neither did that annoying little Snedeker…”

The plan for the weekend was to sleep in. And Saturday morning arrives….and you are fully awake at the normal weekday alarm clock hour….desperate to sleep longer not because you need to, but because you can. This repeats itself on Sunday morning, despite your best Saturday evening efforts to make it not so….so come Sunday evening you’re knackered……and in bed early…eager for a repeat that never comes….for somehow Monday mornings don’t work that way at all. The alarm that you didn’t need the last 2 mornings will screech you into semi-consciousness, and you’ll beat on the snooze button 3 or 4 times before the necessity of adulting finally kicks in. Something inside the sleeping brain knows all about Mondays, and wants no part of them.

And then the day itself. If your job is not the life-saving variety, then Mondays are never quite as horrible as advertised, although they sometimes come pretty damn close. People start to care about real work actually being done around Tuesday morning…..and this care level steadily increases until late Thursday, when it plummets dramatically. Fridays count as real work days only in accounting. They exist to move your hours from 32 to 40.

And then you get home…..ram the garage door shut, pour yourself a tall one, and mumble and grunt your way through any conversations until it’s time for bed….which is generally around 9pm…..since that’s when you woke up from your 2 hour nap and decided to make your way from the couch to the bed. There is no better sleep than a Monday sleep…it’s deep and luxurious and no longer encumbered by it being a Sunday. The week has begun, you have once again survived, and will probably live to do it all over again.

In a bit..

–tf

Categories: Uncategorized

Back at it….

March 3, 2019 1 comment

Trying to settle back into it.

As a writer you need to get to the point where doing nothing stops making you feel lazy… and starts to piss you off.

And you need to once again make friends with discipline….which is like asking me to wear a MAGA hat…..but still.

I’ve got words in my head again….the kind you sing when you assign them to the appropriate noise….and the kind that actors say on-stage when you assign them to the appropriate scene or story.

Initially, whether the words are good or not is irrelevant. First you must get them flowing. Vomit them onto the page…and then worry about what they say or what order they’re in later.

All that time spent being blinded by that blank sheet….trying not to be distracted by a piece of lint on the carpet or the intent gaze of your cat, must be purged.

All that time spent looking over your past work and wondering “how the hell did I do that?” must be accounted for….

You must do penance.

Then you need to lash yourself to your desk chair and start gibbering.

But most importantly, you need to make friends with math.

A few sentences a day. A page. It adds up…..a page a day is a large novel at the end of the year. A page a day is an on-stage trilogy for an entire company. A page a day is more song lyrics than Lennon and McCartney.

Of course, all those pages could be worthless drivel, but if a dog swallows a pearl, eventually he’s gonna crap it out (or die….but we’re being optimists for once here…)

And they say you can’t shine shit, but those who say that are not good re-writers.

Re-writing is the art of digging through the dog’s crap and searching for the pearl. It’s not very glamorous work, and it’s easy to forget that you actually did it in the past, but you did and it’s why you’re questioning your ability to do now what you’ve already done then.

Memory is a tricky thing….and writers are the most forgetful people in the entire world.

So yea…..get down to it and sputter….and be ready to blow your own horn, ’cause if you ain’t willing to do that, don’t expect anybody else to pick up your ball and run with it. If you create something that’s good, you’ll know it. If you create garbage, you’ll know that too. If somebody calls your good stuff garbage, ignore them. If somebody calls your garbage good stuff, ignore them too. Compromise only if the rent is due, but always be grateful for the attention.

The year is a third in the books. I was supposed to get up to all this when the ball dropped…..but I went to bed early that night, missed the ball, then lost track of time. There was some routine chaos to deal with, periods of mass confusion intertwined with loss and collapses of confidence and crippling back pain, but all things must pass. A Beatle scribbled these words on some hotel stationary, so it must be true.

I’m counting on it.

In a bit…

–tf

 

 

 

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