Thursday, July 8, 2010

John Cleese Has America's Ticket

The below video is titled "John Cleese Rants - Soccer vs. Football," and it's anything but an unintelligible hate-screed one might expect from anything with the word "rant" in it. Of course it's funny--Cleese always is--but it's also enlightening. The unpopularity of football (soccer) in America has always vexed me because it's such a treat for the eyes when two teams of skill go at it. As Cleese explains, though, this is merely another case of corporate media dictating what is and isn't to be popular as football's virtually uninterrupted action is not conducive to advertisers, thus cutting into the network's revenue stream.

America: it's all about the Benjamins.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tearful Native Americans Not Enough To Convince Some, I Guess

While crossing San Pablo Ave. on Adeline southbound I saw a man toss his spent can of beer to the sidewalk.

People still do that?

Well, he was really more of a boy, probably somewhere in his teens. That will give you the idea of the caliber of human being here. I'm stupefied that this remains an issue in the 21st century as I thought it had been eliminated like polio--a relic of the past that our parents talk about in hushed tones. There're garbage cans on practically every corner in the city, and if not a municipal one then some shop's can or a resident's plastic bin. How hard is it to hold the can until then?

Witnessing this most preventable of hits to urban beautification irks me deeply for two reasons. First, Japan has almost zero public waste bins, so the public must hold their trash until they get home, to work or find a convenience store with a waste can out front. I "suffered" through this for three years and you know what? It's really not that big of a burden! Next, and perhaps most important, I'm really starting to like life in Oakland and it pains me to even think that I may need to move out of the city soon due to my current unemployment. But with residents not even willing to crush and stow a can in their pocket does this city have a brighter future? Thanks to, ahem, contacts in city government I've recently become privy to a good deal of the inner workings of Oakland's civic leadership and it's a bleak picture indeed. Residents and local officials have to pull together pretty soon to save Oakland from the blight it was not even fifteen years ago.

First order of business: stop littering on my damn city.

Hank Scorpio For World Leader

Completely out of left field, for sure, but while I've been writing up articles about MIB III plot details and Bruce Willis cologne somehow the subject of the greatest forgotten Simpsons side character popped up. How could I have forgotten about Hank Scorpio, Homer's one-time boss and evil mastermind? Too bad he only appeared once, but best not to spoil the genius of his character on too many guest spots. Here's his theme song:


Monday, July 5, 2010

Meanwhile, Several Months Later...

Late to the party, certainly, I picked up a copy of McSweeney's superb San Francisco Panorama in late May and have been slowly making my way through the fat chunk of newsprint and higher quality stock paper that compose the thing. It's all fairly old news, so I'm taking my time. If you're not familiar with Panorama, it came out in December of '09 and stands as McSweeney's, well, some would say swan song to the print newspaper, but I'd like to consider it a blueprint for the future of the medium. It contains several segments including news, sports, entertainment/book review and an interesting news-magazine supplement.

By far my favorite section is the magazine. I've been enlightened on the subjects of what transpires when two gay San Franciscans visit a NASCAR race in Michigan, why film distribution is broken in the U.S. (very handy while writing for, how a green (as in experience) lawyer broke through the red tape to deliver a family from home foreclosure and how a black woman from Oakland experienced the cold southern climes of Antarctica.

It's that latter most article that's been continually blowing my mind these days as I read and then re-read the thing over and over again. It's the style the draws me in, as well as the story. Author Mary Williams writes from a third-person perspective and placing you in her place. There are plenty of "Your new boss..." and "You will..." moments where she pulls the reader into her place where I feel like she's just writing about me; I was the one suffering through frostbite and food-zealous dive-bombing skuas on the ice sheets of Antarctica. If she's still in Oakland I'd really like to meet her, shake her hand and buy her a hot cup of...whatever.