Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wife and Kids and Household Pet, Army Green Was No Safe Butt

We are watching the season premiere of Last Comic Standing. I love this show, largely because I fashion myself an armchair critic of stand-up, despite not really knowing anything more than anyone else who watched a lot of Comedy Central as a kid. The show has gone downhill at least in respect to the host, which moved from the somewhat humorous Jay Mohr to the completely unfunny Irish guy who is not even worth my wikipedia-ing his name to the actively humor swallowing Bill Bellamy. Katie had the audacity to say he sounded (just vocally mind you) like Tracy Morgan, which is a bit like comparing a homeless guy farting into a public water fountain to Sgt. Pepper’s. There are a bunch of funny people on the first episode, and I’m well aware that there have been legitimate professional comics on the show from its inception, but ARJ BARKER is trying out this year. I don’t expect everyone to understand that with respect to stand-up, Arj Barker is somewhat famous. My, somewhat hyperbolic claim, is that he is more famous already then everyone who has ever been on this show combined. Admittedly, the audience of his big hit, skews towards the college crowd, but still.

We went strawberry picking today and it is a brilliant activity. It only takes like half an hour, it doesn’t cost very much, it gets you a bit of exercise, and you get to eat all the free strawberries you want. Not to mention that you come home with 8 pounds of strawberries, which gives you incentive to make lots of random desserts and pretend that cheesecake and chocolate don’t count for so much when they happen to be wrapped around something you can verify grew out of the ground.

Just wanted to check in to mention that. Hippo needs me to get the chow off the top shelf.



Monday, June 11, 2007

A Singer in a Smoky Room, Smell of Wine and Cheap Perfume, For a Smile they Can Share the Night, It Goes On and On and On and Butt

I have intentionally not read anything about the Sopranos finale and have only heard one headline that Katie told me, something from MSNBC that wasn’t very revealing. So I wanted to go on record before I did such reading as saying just a couple quick things.

1) I imagine the episode is going to get panned. Lots of TV critics, lots of fanbois, want resolution. They want to know what happens to Tony, where his family goes, if Sil ever comes out, etc. I don’t at all mean to degrade these responses, I had them as well. We expect resolution, especially at the end of long running TV shows, in a way that we do not always even demand it from movies. My brief psychological guess is that investment in a 2 hour film does not equal investment in a seven year show. When that resolution is inadequate (Seinfeld) people get mad, whereas the “best” finales tend to bring things to a point where the situation cannot continue and then show you the barren set as a sort of “remember me” (Cheers, MASH).

2) I loved it. I thought it was not only fitting for the show, but an incredibly brave and brilliant thing to do. When you go into a show with the primary question of “are they gonna kill Tony,” there is an inevitable sense of tension, of panic almost. The final episode of the show was able to convey a sense of tension without resolution, to wind you up and wind you up and wind you up, without any release, in a way that I don’t know if I’ve ever seen before. I thought that was all very well connected with the whole question of the season which revolved around Tony’s legacy. Besides Meadow’s line about being a boring suburban doctor, I think the last words of the show (“Don’t stop…”) were practically perfect. Admittedly, I do not write television, precisely because I cannot come up with good creative endings, but I have been thinking about this episode pretty much every moment since it ended, and I cannot come up with anything that would have been better.

Just wanted that registered before I find out if I am right. I will be back with my thoughts about the reviews at some point. Hippo agrees with me, btw.



Saturday, June 09, 2007

I Couldn't Make it Without You, I Should Have Known Better to Doubt You, I Thought I Heard the End of Butt

It did not actually take me an entire week to recover from last week’s bachelor party related extravaganza, but it was close. Katie’s argument is that I am getting old, since I cannot handle a four day non-stop weekend without getting sorta sick. My argument is that I could probably never handle such a thing, but certainly being out of constant party form doesn’t help. I flew into Chicago on Friday morning, had breakfast with Moody and took the train out to West Chicago to meet Wilksteady and cruise to the cities. I was operating on about 2 hours of sleep at that point and not surprisingly got little more that evening. I won’t detail most of the party, but we did have a fantastic dinner at Rudolph’s on Saturday in addition to a delightful 2 egg, 2 sausage patty, 2 hashed brown slice, 2 piece of cheese sandwich that I fashioned midday. Also notable, having an inflatable woman around is pretty awesome, even when she is just sitting on an empty beer bottle on the table in the corner. Final notable item, if you are ever being annoyed by a drunk girl in a bar, it is useful to have a guy who went to Harvard Law nearby, because that is quality diversion material.

After the bachelor party’s massive two day toll had devastated me, and left me with about 10 hours of sleep over the course of four days, we drove back to Chicago and played some Wii. James and Cassie were kind enough to host me for the evening in what will very soon be a gorgeous residence, especially the kitchen, of which I am quite jealous. I didn’t fly out of the city until late on Monday, so I spent the morning at the Chicago Institute of Art, which was actually far better than I remember it being. I walked a majority of the place, skipping sections on decorative arts, early American art and Asian art. I was especially surprised that I would have forgotten the pretty impressive collection of surrealist works, including shocking amounts of Miro, Magritte and Man Ray. There was also a photography exhibition featuring a series by Sarah Hobbs. This was one of my favorite works of the day, thought it is clearly much more impressive as an actual print. I spent 4.5 hours in the museum and had the perfect amount of time to depart, get a couple of Vienna Beef hot dogs and get to the airport before the trains could get crowded.

A great time that I managed to pull off for a pretty reasonable amount of cash. It was good to see everybody, especially when I have an excuse to conduct myself without concern for sleep, function, work, other people, etc.

While the week since has not been outstandingly productive, it did feature the acquisition of another briefly paying job for the summer. It also featured the viewing of a number of pretty good films, mostly stuff I had wanted to see that happened to be on HBO. We also, for the first time in arguably millennia, headed out to actually see a movie. I somehow managed to convince Katie that this movie should be knocked up and let me thoroughly thank whoever decided that they should make a movie this funny with pregnancy as the subject matter. For my purposes so much of the film was made by Seth Rogan and the d00d who looks like the d00d who was the goalie in the Big Green, that it could have been about unicorn firefighters and I still would have dug it.

Hippo wants me to open the window, which is ridiculous because the air inside the house is still recently conditioned, but I will likely oblige her Hippo-ish desire.