Saturday, March 31, 2007

Foiled Again, Plus Musings on Age

I'm still not dead. My wife's plot to kill me has utterly failed.

This is a bit of a surprise, since I thought that it was going to work.

As previously mentioned, she drafted me into a play that she was directing. In short, the guy that was supposed to be playing the lead went completely bonkers for a while, and never showed up for rehearsals. In the cast was someone who'd played the part before, so while the situation was being sorted out, he was named as the backup, the heir apparent in case it became necessary. However, were that to happen, there'd be nobody to play the part he was playing. As it happens, I've played that part before, so she asked me to be on tap. Normally, I'd be a swell guy & go along with it. I gotta live with the woman, and it's good to keep her happy. I do try my best. However, I had to object on two bases: One, I've been sick for a while, hadn't shaken it, and I wasn't sure it was a good idea to do something demanding quite yet. One of those damn things that just hangs on for what seems like forever. The second reason that the show in question was Godspell. For the uninitiated (and shame on you), it's a very high-energy play. The energy of the piece is, in essence, youthful, and generally you wouldn't cast people past 30 in it.

I'm, um, a little older than that. OK, I'm 47 (shut up!). So I ask, am I not too old to be in this cast? Nonsense, she says.

I got proven wrong on every point. One, I managed in spite of still not feeling good. Two, I did indeed have the "right" energy, and the play turned out very well, I'm happy to say. I'm not too old to be in Godspell. Yet. It could happen any minute, and it had better not, as the last performance is tomorrow.

Meanwhile, in a somewhat parallel vein, my 30th high school reunion is coming up in June (I said shut up!). I thought about how it was five years ago, and what it was likely to be like this time. How is the collective gang holding up? Some far better than others, no doubt. So, allow me a few moments of smugness here while I lend some credence to the old saw that you're as young as you feel:

-Not looking the age certainly helps. OK, I admit that the hair is colored, but it's only about 15% grey. I've avoided the sun my whole life, unless wearing SPF3,000 sunscreen (I come from a long line of pale people). Currently, I still have no lines on my face.
-I still have a good, energetic spring in my step. I just freakin' well did Godspell, after all.
-Unlike a certain percentage of the guys who'll show up at the reunion, I'll not be counted in with those who are fat, losing their hair, have a questionable heart, high cholesterol & blood pressure.... I need to shed a few pounds, OK, but I have none of those problems. I'm a performing artist, and I am my own instrument. I do try to take care of the thing.
-Mid-life crisis? You've gotta be kidding! Not me! I'm watching my contemporaries struggle their way through it, and for the life of me, I just don't get it. It would never occur to "trade in" my spouse for a "trophy wife"; we'll celebrate our silver anniversary this year, and thank you, she IS a trophy wife. If I had the money (which I do not; I mentioned that I'm a performing artist), I wouldn't be caught dead buying a red sports car or humongous SUV. Forget it, I'm a "greenie" and I want a hybrid car.

So much energy and money expended for them to "find out who they really are" or something like that. Regain their lost youth. The big mistakes therein: First, don't lose your youth; take it with you. It stays a lot fresher that way. Second: Friend, if you don't know who you are by now, then I'm sorry, but that's pretty pathetic. Try getting a mirror & make an honest assessment. If you don't like it, then do one small thing tomorrow to change it. The same the next day, and the next, and so on. Actually, it'll turn out that you're the same person you were, but you'll feel better about yourself because you're making better choices. That's a good thing! It's far better than the young wife (statistics overwhelmingly say that she won't stay with you, anyway) and the red sports car. That's degrading yourself, not changing. Being a slightly better person tomorrow in your words and deeds? Infinitely more valuable.

It's called aging gracefully, or so they say. In spite of everything I've just said, I think I'll cling to a little denial for a while. Don't worry, every time my 23 year old daughter walks into the room, it gets shot down.

The good thing is, I can always come back here, read my own words, and resolve not to be a hypocrite about it. I've just handed you the weapon with which to give me a reminder flesh wound.

I think that the point that the crisis-prone members of my age bracket miss is that it's not about what you did yesterday or twenty years ago. It's especially not about what you did not do in all that time.

It's always about what you decide to do tomorrow. Decide well, and I'll try to do the same.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Dear Craig Ferguson

(Note: This is an ongoing thing that I originally started writing on the Humor Me Online Forum, and you can find it here: Dear Craig Ferguson
You can get the idea of this post by checking out some of the history there, in which I, in my guise of the terminally corrupt Bucko, & Mariann Simms, the infamous Cadeaux & owner of Humor Me Online, rag on Craig for teasing us on the air and rail at him for not doing the right thing and hiring us. Me first!)

So, you're at it again, eh? Thought I wouldn't notice?

Tuesday night's show.... you literally STARE into the camera and say "dung beetle". NOBODY mentions a dung beetle out of thin air. Oh, but by a stunning coincidence, it's implied in the entries & referenced in the current winner of a Humor Me Online contest, Top Stu. COINCIDENCE?? I think not! Especially not the way you said it. You are messing with us again, man!

And then, THEN.... all the talk about mating animals, especially the frogs (and look, you really have to do something about this frog fetish of yours; you can't seem to stop talking about it). That was Monday & Tuesday. And just WHAT is the subject of the new story in the Mediacrity contest? HMMM?? Peoples' fascination with odd animal MATING FACTS. When did that new story go up? LAST SATURDAY. Listen, Smedley, that's MY contest. I appreciate you wanting to swipe from the best (heh heh.... Cadeaux gonna smite me for that), but come on, couldn't you at least mention our names?

You don't have to use the real ones.... if you mention "Bucko" and "Cadeaux", it'll be plenty damn clear that you're talking to us. Slip them in somewhere. After all, you're Craig Ferguson; who knows what Craig is going to say? Better yet, why don't you have us on your show? We'd be witty, weird, and I personally promise to show no restraint whatsoever. Besides, you owe me, Smedley; your sidekick player, who does the characters & accents & such? You might recall that I suggested it on the HMO Forum BEFORE you hired him. Go back & read it, Scotty; I clearly meant for you to hire ME. You oughta have some pity on a starving artist/actor. Is that too much to ask out of life? Is it? Did I mention that I know some people in Immigration & Naturalization?

Listen, Craig, the tips of the hat & the "inside" comments are great, keep them coming. It's neat, and Mariann gets all loopy when you allude to her or stuff on the site (though it's a bit hard to tell, due to her high endogenous level of loopitude). But consider, the two of us (and I'm the taller one, so you'd notice me first) are a respectable percentage of your national audience. You wouldn't want to disappoint us, now, would you? Of course not.

Look, there's plenty of great material we can provide to you on a regular basis. And remember, I'm taller, so you have to pick me first, just like the tallest kids always got picked in gym class in school. I'm sure you know how that goes. I can cyber-commute (no, there's nothing sexual involved in doing that, unless you ask. Nicely.) & save you a lot of money. Besides, unless I get to be the sidekick character guy like I deserve to be, I'm not keen on living in California. I may live in Hurricane Alley, but at least we know when one of the damn things is coming. I don't like the idea of living someplace where you need earthquake insurance. When you come home to your son at night, don't you want your home to be in the same place where it was when you left in the morning? You ought to give that some thought.

Or, use it in your opening monologue. At the very least, though, manage to say the word "Bucko" while you do it. I need all the self-esteem help I can get.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Spanning the Glob

You heard me right.

In yet another sign that our "society" has gone completely bonkers,
I just turned off the news in disgust. Normally, the news has that effect on me anyway, but I'm calling the whole industry out on this one, and let me say this with some asperity: You all ought to be kicked in the groin over this whole idiotic orgy about Anna Nicole Smith's death. Let's make this easy:

She was a bimbo. She's dead. Accidental drug overdose. Condolences to the family.

And that should bloody well be the END of it!!

The reason that I'm up in arms about it at the moment is that at about 5:20, my esteemed spouse came out here to the Aubergine Enclave (which is my refuge) and told me that the local cable news channel had just flashed a bulletin about some airliner from Korea having just landed in New Jersey, that called the CDC in Atlanta about having "some sick people aboard". Now, that's potentially VERY serious, isn't it? Remember, the last two epidemic threats both came out of southeast Asia (SARS & avian flu), so what's going on here? My mind, for one, was inquiring and wanted to know.

So, I clicked on CNN Headline News at 5:30, figuring that they'd be right on it. Fat chance (he said, skipping past irony and heading straight for satire); there was no mention of it in over ten minutes of coverage. No, the first six minutes of the channel that's supposed to summarize the top news for you every half hour was all about what? You betcha: Smith. Featuring multiple shots of her & her boobs (mostly her boobs) at a rate nearly approaching that of blipverts (Oh, Google it, will ya?). As a "disputant theorist", they had an interview with the editor of a celebrity gossip magazine who was crying out about conspiracies and cover-ups, which is stupid, because the woman very seldom covered much up and left little to the imagination. So why so much imagination over her death?

Search me. I just don't care. President Ford didn't get this much intense coverage when he died. Granted, he was 92, so it was less of a surprise, and his boobs weren't nearly as good, but that isn't the point! Elvis didn't get this kind of coverage. Did we get a toxicology report on him and start a national debate over it? No! Because he was, gifted singer that he was, essentially a fat redneck who wasn't all that bright (cross reference Anna & "The Colonel" & how both of them ripped off stupid rich men). Sorry to all the idolizers out there, but the truth is the truth.

Finally, this episode of "journalism" having ended, they went to a report about the friendly fire death of NFL star Pat Tillman in Afghanistan. THAT should have come first, dammit! A US Soldier was killed by our own, and as it turns out, there was a big cover-up about it. Among those to be disciplined are four generals. Granted, this got more press than other such deaths because he was a famous football player, but that very fact and the extra attention led to us learning about some extremely important things about our military & the government.

Only to be trumped by a bleached-blonde bimbo who had nine prescription drugs in her system, who was arguably not bright enough to follow all the directions properly, even if she wasn't probably prone to substance abuse, anyway.

Meanwhile, if people around you start dropping dead from some mystery Asian virus that nobody had any warnings about, when it's your turn, at least you can die with the satisfaction that we all knew that Anna Nicole Smith was dead and exactly how dead she was, and that all the pertinent forensic questions of experts such as Joan Rivers were put to rest.

Of course, the only reason they'll have been put to rest is that Joan, the gossip columnists, and the negligent CNN Headline News will all have already succumbed to the mystery plague. If only they'd saved a minute or two to report on it....

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Good Spell

It's been a while. The good news is: I ain't dead yet.

Well, assuming that that's the sort of thing that you consider good news. Some parties, they may not be so happy about it. However, I try not to go to those sorts of parties.

It's been an interesting month, and I've had a lot of ideas for entries here that I've no doubt forgotten, or will be incapable of remembering when I wish. Such is life when you're in the theatre. Whatever you're working on tends to consume your mind & energy, which is as it should be. Do you really want to go to a production of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters when the lead actresses are actually thinking about a wild lesbian threesome together? Well, actually, a good number of you might find that very interesting indeed, but when I buy a ticket to that play, I wanna see some pointless Russian angst.

But, I digress.

What was my point?

Oh yes: That I'm too tired at the moment to have a point, but that I will shortly. Meanwhile, I'm trying to think up horrible things to send to the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, and I'm having a bit of a time with it. For those of you who are B-W virgins, the idea is to write THE worst opening sentence for a story that you can possibly think up. That's not as easy as you think. Here's the contest namesake's original sentence, which will begin with familiar words:

"It was a dark and stormy night; the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

That's a hell of an act to try to follow.

I sent in a pretty ghastly sentence last night, but my intention is to win this year, so I'm going to have to get more rancid than that. A friend of mine won in 2003, and I'm just not going to take it lying down. Not because she lords it over me; it's just that I aim to prove that I can be at least as wretched as she can.

Meanwhile, my wife just walked in with black raspberry-flavored almonds and a dragon. Soon, we'll have company. It's funny just how often those three things happen together.