This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One of the Oldest Urban Legends

This morning, around sunrise, I was seated at the counter of a diner located one town away from my current residence. Good coffee, huge portions -- and if you finish all the food they give you, they'll give you more, no charge -- and you get to overhear just about the kinds of conversations you'd expect to overhear coming from the average working man.

I was a bit surprised, however, when one of these "average working men" asserted that all the heads of state across the world.... kings, presidents, prime ministers, whatever... are frozen when they die so they can be brought back later if and when the technology exists for someone to do so. That was a new one, at least to me. And he said that not only as if it were a fact, but also as if everyone who'd heard him say it knew it was a fact.

And without turning to face him or his buddies, I set my coffee cup on the counter and waited for the other shoe to drop. And I wasn't disappointed.

"Well," began one of them, "you know Walt Disney is still frozen..."

That again. That particular urban legend has been around as long as Uncle Walt's been dead, and that happened over forty years ago! My God, people still believe that?

Why do people believe that?

And... umm... Do you believe that?

If so... why? Where's your proof?

Maybe you're sitting there smugly saying, "I don't need proof. Everybody knows it."

Oh, everybody does, huh?

On the subject of "everybody," try this one on: There was a rather well-known studio head during Hollywood's golden era. He had a lot of innovative ideas. He also had a few nay-sayers in the company who would tell him during creative meetings that these proposed innovations simply couldn't be done. When faced with this pessimism, the studio head would ask, "Who says it can't be done?" and the reply was generally to the effect of, "Well... everybody says it can't be done." And the studio head's retort to "everybody says" was, "Name two."

Funny thing. That studio head was Walt Disney.

Now, how many of you saw that coming?




Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

From the Archives: "Oscar the Grouch?" and "Good Thing"

David'Z Current CommentZ: Today you get two from the old Diaryland archives, you lucky ducks!

I didn't watch the Oscar telecast the other night, primarily because I haven't been to the cinema in a while. In fact, the newest films I've seen lately have been (in no particular order) "Fantastic Four" (the first one), "The Black Dahlia," and "Batman Begins"... and those were all on television.

And the last time I actually went "to the movies" was to see "Sin City," released in 2005! Wow, it's been that long?

Anyway, for that matter, I didn't see 2004's Oscar ceremonies either, but that didn't stop me from posting the following on March 1, 2004!

And here it is, because I felt you had a right to see it! Well... that, and the fact that I've been busy, and wanted to post some damned thing.

So... *ahem*... see you at the bottom.

Oscar the Grouch?

As I begin this, the Oscars for Best Whatevers have all been given out, and the consensus already seems to be that the awards telecast was disappointing because there were no real surprises. At least, that's what I've gathered by hopping about online; I didn't actually watch the blasted thing. I didn't have what they call a "vested interest" in the proceedings, since I've only been to the movies three, maybe four, times in the past year. I did see "A Mighty Wind," from which the Best Song nominee "Kiss at the End of the Rainbow" hailed, but that was a fluke, no real reason to tune in to the entire broadcast.

Anyone know if "Bad Santa" came in for any nominations? I saw that...

I read somewhere that Charlize Theron said she was "not going to become Halle Berry," or words to that effect. (I know that an extra few minutes' research on the 'net would deliver unto me the exact quote, but I'm just too tired tonight. Sue me.) Evidently, Ms. Theron was referring to the fact that Ms. Berry followed up an Oscar-winning performance in "Monster's Ball" with a role in the James Bond film, "Die Another Day." To that I reply, "So-freakin'-what?" The implied question is, why would someone whose career finally brought her to the level of Accepted Serious Actress do something like that?

Hmm. I wonder.

Maybe she did it because it was fun? Halle Berry has also appeared in the "X-Men" movies. Maybe she simply enjoys the different opportunities provided by what she does for a living! Who'da thunk it? Hell, maybe -- and I'm just guessing, here -- that's why she became an actress in the first place, so she could "be" radically different people? I mean, am I really going out on a limb, here? And if I can understand this, why can't Charlize Theron?

A lot of stars known for a "serious" body of work have later (and I stress "later" as opposed to early in their careers, when they were starving and would take anything) opted to do comedic roles, or other things that are somewhat less prestigious. I could name several of these stars, stars who are Accepted Serious Actors, Oscar winners, even. I'll name three.

1) Robert De Niro is one of the most respected actors alive, but not necessarily for his role as Fearless Leader in "The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle." However, I doubt he took that role because his rent was overdue. And although it seems that comedy is often looked down upon by many of the academy's voting members, De Niro has played several comedic roles in the last few years.

2) Geoffrey Rush is another actor with a relatively small but prestigious list of acting credits. These credits include Casanova Frankenstein in "Mystery Men." *Ahem.*

3) Jack Nicholson won his first Oscar almost thirty years ago, for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," but it hasn't kept him from playing roles like Jack Torrance in "The Shining" (horror being another oft-neglected genre when awards time rolls around), and appearances in "The Witches of Eastwick," "Batman," and "Mars Attacks!"

Sometimes, actors simply enjoy the opportunity to "chew the scenery," as the old expression goes.

Anyway... A few tenuously-related asides, here:

A) I did manage to see Halle Berry's Oscar-winning performance in "Monster's Ball." I found most of the actors and actresses in that film to be noteworthy, but it didn't make me feel any better about the characters themselves. The movie was populated by a bunch of unsympathetic, self-centered, unsettling types, and I watched all the way to the end, never feeling that any of them truly deserved the happiness they longed for, or anything that could be considered "a better life."

B) It's getting to be that the reason I check out any Billy Bob Thornton film is the same reason I gravitate toward Samuel L. Jackson's films: I just want to see what kind of hair he's wearing.

C) While I make no bones about leaping to Halle Berry's defense in regards to her choice of any role not "suited" to an Accepted Serious Actress, I really wonder about her choices where the bomb "Swordfish" was concerned. After allegedly accepting a $500,000 bonus to appear topless in the ill-fated flick (This was before her out-there nudity in "Monster's Ball."), she appeared on 2001's MTV Movie Awards along with "Swordfish" co-stars Hugh Jackman and John Travolta, all but admitting that the only thing remotely worthwhile about the film was its brief glimpse of her exposed breasts. Pointing directly at them, Halle stated something to the effect of "if you wanna see these, go see 'Swordfish.'" Yeah, that'll work.

C½?!?) Speaking of nudity, it used to be that an actress would only do nude scenes early in her career, but never (or rarely) again, once she'd become an Accepted Serious Actress. Now it doesn't seem to matter. Halle Berry won the Oscar for "Monster's Ball." irregardless of her nude love scene. "Irregardless of," I stress, and not "in spite of," and certainly not "because of." In fact, a nude scene seems to imply a more serious direction for some actresses. Anyone remember all the hoopla last year about Meg Ryan's performance in "In the Cut?" Remember the headlines (from more than one source)? "Meg Ryan Bares All!" (Yeah, so? That and ten cents will get you a photocopy of a cup of coffee!) There were more articles about her nude scenes than there were about the plot of the movie! What was the big deal? She'd appeared nude twelve years earlier, in "The Doors," too. Maybe that doesn't count, 'though, because that was before films like "Sleepless in Seattle" and "You've Got Mail" unofficially made her "America's Sweetheart." Oh, well, if I may be allowed a sexist observation, Meg Ryan "baring all" ain't so much, anyway. And besides, it's like an old high school friend of mine once said, "If you've seen one... you've seen 'em both."

And with that juvenile observation...

Thanks for your time.

More of David'Z Current CommentZ: Hey, guess what? The story of Charlize Theron versus Halle Berry has a happy ending of sorts, although it wasn't until November 23, 2005 that I got to enlighten the world, in my role as... well, whatever the hell my role is!

Here 'tis!

Good Thing...

In an earlier entry, I commented on Charlize Theron's alleged crack about Halle Berry's choices in movie roles since Ms. Berry's Oscar-winning performance in "Monster's Ball," like that of a so-called "Bond girl" in "Die Another Day," her role as "Storm" in the "X-Men" series, her title role of "Catwoman," etc.: Note to self. Do not become Halle Berry."

Well, some time thereafter, Ms. Theron claimed she'd never made such a remark: "That was a comment the writer made, and he said that I'd said it. That's not my style. I don't like that kind of cattiness. Women shouldn't go against women."

Hmm. Good thing, that. Anybody see the trailer for "Aeon Flux?"

By the way, not to nit-pick about such a minor feature on a face so attractive as that of Ms. Theron's, but... Has anybody else noticed that odd little "hole" -- for lack of a better term -- in her lips? (See photo below... as if I could stop you!)

I would have shown more examples,
but I was admittedly a tad... umm...
distracted by all the nude photos I
encountered of Ms. Theron when I did
an "image search" on the internet!

Anyway... It reminds me of the indentation toymakers place in the mouth of a plastic baby doll, so one can insert the nipple of a baby bottle.

Yup... just the kind of serious facial flaw which would prompt me to turn down Charlize Theron -- or any woman remotely resembling her -- if she were to hit on me at a singles bar.

And now... May I have a "Yeah, right!" from the congregation, brothers and sisters?

Thanks for your time.

More of David'Z Current CommentZ: Hey, guess what (he said again)? I have absolutely nothing to add here.

Lucky you.

Thanks (again & again & again!) for your time.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Short Shorts

Hm. It occurs to me that the entries in my previous "Short Shorts" column were a tad longer than usual, which may have defeated the purpose of listing them as "Short Shorts." Oh, well. This time, I'll strive for a more appropriate length for each. Wish me luck.

1) This may only be of interest to Massachusetts residents, but almost every reference to our new governor, Deval Patrick, calls him by his title and full name. Have you noticed? "Governor Deval Patrick said such-and-such," or "Governor Deval Patrick appeared at a fund-raiser for so-and-so," etc. But just, simply, "Governor Patrick?" Almost never.

Guess he's just got one of those names like Charlie Brown, or Scooter Libby. Gotta say the whole thing. It's, like, a law or something. Weird.

2) There are times, folks, when it is possible to be too damned polite.

2a) One of them is when you're in traffic, and you stop to let someone else pull out. Okay, so far, so good. But only a minute or two later, you stop again to let someone else pull out. And a mile or two down the road, you do it again. And further along, you do it yet again.

Look, jackass, if you really want to let people get where they're going that much sooner, how about considering me? Who am I, you ask? Why, I'm the poor schmuck behind you. And you're killing my time (and gas mileage) by making me stop so freakin' often just because you're instituting some blasted goodwill campaign!

You really wanna make driving easier for the rest of the world? Then stay the f**k home. Things will go a lot more smoothly with even one less idiot driver -- like you -- on the road.

2b) One other time people can be too polite is at drive-up ATMs.

Now, if I'm at a walk-up ATM, and you're behind me in line, you'd better be far behind me. I'm making a financial transaction, here, and I certainly don't want someone close enough to me to grab the money I just withdrew. So back off, turkey!

However, there's no excuse for a line of cars to keep a great distance between one another.

I was once in the waiting line for a drive-up ATM. For some stupid reason, the second and third vehicles in line had each left a distance of about a full car length between themselves and the car in front of them. This was a cramped little parking lot, I should add, so that these two fools succeeded in creating an honest-to-God traffic jam. People couldn't even enter or leave the lot until #2 was gone and #3 had finally pulled up to begin his transaction.

Whoever came up with the great observation that "certain people are alive only because it's against the law to kill them" must have faced a similar situation.

3) I had supper tonight at a local Thai restaurant. Among other things, I ordered a seaweed salad. (Hey, maybe that sounds disgusting to you, but you're not the one who had to eat it, right?) About two-thirds of the way toward the bottom of the bowl, I noticed that the seaweed was running out, as it were, and the remainder of the bowl was filled with finely-shredded lettuce. Lettuce. What's so exotic about that?

Folks, lettuce doesn't necessarily define a salad, although "greens" do. Anybody who's ever eaten a spinach salad can vouch for that. So the lettuce wasn't necessary. Then why the sneaky substitution? Maybe they were hoping I wouldn't get that far, and therefore, I'd never know? One good look at me will tell you that I don't leave a lot of meals unfinished.

I'm sure that seaweed is much more expensive than lettuce, but shouldn't that be my problem? Give me a full bowl of freakin' seaweed and charge me accordingly! Hell, if I were on a really strict budget, I wouldn't be dining out in the first place.

4) Speaking of restaurants, why do so many restaurants give people who are dining alone (as I was this evening) teeny-tiny empty plates along with the plates the appetizer and (sometimes) the main course are actually served on?

As I said, I'm dining alone; I'm obviously not sharing with anyone.

"Excuse me, waiter, why do I have two plates for only one entrée?" "Ah! An excellent question, sir! One is actually to be eaten from, sir, and the other is merely to display your remaining food proudly!"

Whassamatter, doesn't your dishwasher have enough real work to do?

5) Continuing on the subject of appetizers, I hate it when a date says "Oh, I don't want an appetizer, I'll just have some of yours." So, what, later on, I'm supposed to say "Okay, snooky-wookums, now give me your precious widdle empty plate, so I can give you some of my yummy, yummy boneless buffalo wings, too," right?

That's what you think. I'm ordering just enough for myself, thank you! So screw you, get your own. You might as well, since I'm paying for it any-freakin'-way.

Maybe someday, someone will explain why women eat so little on the first few dates. Ladies, don't bother trying to impress me. I can usually tell what your appetite's really like just by looking at you. (And yes, I know that works both ways.) And if you simply like to eat and are some degree of overweight because of it, I don't care, or I wouldn't have asked you out in the first place.

Besides, I've already learned what I really wanna know about you by watching how you've been treating the waiter or waitress... because that's how you'll be treating me in two or three months, once the newness of our relationship has worn off, and you're no longer trying to impress me.

(Oh, damn, I just gave away a big secret.)

6) And on a related note, I've been hearing a lot about this country's obesity problem. Well, it's true. This country does have a huge problem (pun intended) with big...


That's right, never mind all the overweight men, women, and children. Our real problem is that too damned many people own big fat freakin' cars, and trucks, and freakin' SUVs...

It's gotten way out of hand.

Now, if you really need a pick-up truck because you do a lot of hauling, or all your friends are constantly changing their addresses, fine. And SUVs are great for so-called soccer moms, or anybody else who hasn't yet gotten a handle on the whole concept of birth control...

But you others? What's your real reason for insisting on owning one of these gas-guzzling monstrosities? It's not just about any Freudian "compensation" thing. I mean, it can't be; too many women own these automotive beasts.

The worst thing is that most of you morons haven't even figured out yet how to drive them! For one thing, if you're driving behind me at night, puh-lease back off. The fact that your vehicle is larger means that your headlights are situated fundamentally higher than on a normal car, so you're effectively driving with "high beams" by default. High beams shining in my rear view mirror. So, great, you're a dork, and I can't see, because of it? More than a tad unfair, I should say!

Plus, having a "big fat car" also means you can't do things that "our" regular-sized cars can. Like, park every place than we can, or maneuver smoothly! But you still try, don't you? Lotta resultant fender-benders, fer sure, fer sure.

You're like that pain-in-the-ass college kid wearing his back-pack at the SRO rock concert. He may only weigh 110 pounds soaking wet, but the addition of his back-pack adds an entire other person to his diameter... which he oh-so-conveniently forgets every time he turns one way or another, invariably bumping into someone... like, oh, say, me...

And never apologizing...

7) Okay, one final thing, once again on the subject of restaurants in general, and those "teeny-tiny empty plates" I mentioned earlier: Sometimes, when I go out for breakfast, I don't see anything that I want from their menu's list of combination plates. In these instances, I'll make up my own combo, by ordering a side of corned beef hash, a side of sausage, an English muffin (with peanut butter, if you have it?), whatever.

And quite often, there's some freakin' comedian in the kitchen who sends everything out on separate plates. Taking the whole "side order" concept a bit too literally, I think. Why the hell can't they just put it all on one big plate, if it's all for one person?

I guess those dishwashers don't have enough real work to do.

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

From the Archives: "An Open Letter to A President"

David'Z Current CommentZ: Ah, Presidents' Day! Or Presidents Day. Not President's Day, unless.... Oh, go read it for yourself, here! The person who wrote up this entry for Wikipedia was picky enough about spelling and grammar to be a kindred soul of mine!

Okay, now if you didn't bother jumping to the Wikipedia entry, here's a spoiler: The federal holiday we call Presidents' Day is still officially known as Washington's Birthday.

I remember when we celebrated the birthdays of two presidents each February, namely Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Then somebody got the bright idea of smushing the two days together, and they started calling it Presidents' Day. But as time went by, the focus stayed more on George, and...

(Hmm. "More on George" -- say it aloud -- makes me think of our current president, for some reason. But I digress.)

As I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted, the focus stayed more on George and less -- a lot less -- on Mr. Lincoln. Most of the tacky Presidents' Day ads I see or hear nowadays refer only to the original George W, "W" meaning Washington, of course.

Poor Abe. Bushwhacked not once, but twice!

Anyway, the following post was originally published on October 8, 2005. I thought its inclusion here was appropriate.

(And by the way, the observant ones among you will be wondering why I'm making such a big deal about Presidents' Day, when this blog was actually posted on the day after. Let's just say I was really busy yesterday doing... umm... stuff which I'm certainly not going to disclose here!)

See you at the bottom.

An Open Letter to A President
(I try to keep my politics out of these RantZ, for the most part. Well, that is, except when I use them for a springboard toward something I think may be mildly amusing. I pretty much describe myself as a moderate with liberal leanings, and it's probably occurred to my regular readers [both of them] that I'm not particularly enamored of the current administration. Be that as it may, the following "open letter" is directed less toward President Bush himself than it is any man -- or woman -- who happens to hold George W. Bush's current office. So even if I procrastinate long enough before finishing & posting this, my butt will still be covered if I have to change "Bush" to "Clinton" [as in Hillary], "Romney," or... Well, who knows? It might even stay "Bush" if Jeb gets elected, seeing as how that family seems intent on establishing the kind of dynasty that would make Blake Carrington proud. Or there's always Jon Stewart, if the write-in faction ever gains control...
And if anybody else has already come up with the following suggestion -- which, to my admittedly limited knowledge, no one yet has -- and I find out about it later... I am gonna be so pissed!
Having said all of that... )
Dear Mr. President,
I am not a politician. (I'd say "Some of my best friends are politicians, however," but that would be a lie. And if I want you to seriously consider this letter and the suggestion contained therein, I suppose I should stick to the truth. As a politician yourself, I assume you have at least heard of that. "The Truth," I mean. But I'll also assume that, as a politician yourself, you're not, shall we say, intimately acquainted with The Truth. But I digress... )
I am a registered voter. (I won't say which party I belong to, nor whether or not I voted for you. Let's just say my party of choice is one of the "Big Two" and leave it at that, shall we?)
I'm not only a registered voter, but I even go so far as to exercise that option on occasion. (So, being somewhat of an idealist, I feel that gives me the right to have my "say" in terms of how the government should be run. Please keep that in mind as you read further.)
I'm not a doctor, nor do I play one on television. (Just thought I'd add that. And give yourself two points if you caught that paraphrased reference.)
I am not an economist, as a quick glance at my financial statement, credit rating, and/or tax returns would tell you. (And since you're the freakin' President, for cryin' out loud, I'm sure you have a connection or two at the IRS who would gladly give you a clandestine peek. G'head, g'head... I'll never know.)
However, looking at the state of the nation -- or the state of the world, for that matter -- after those who are economic advisers have done their part, I feel just as qualified as anyone else to offer the following economic suggestion, a suggestion which I feel will help this country through its current financial crises, as well as any crisis foreseen or unforeseen in our future:
Sell ad space. No, really. Sell ad space!
On what? On yourself.
Don't panic here, I'm not talking about anything permanent, like a visible tattoo on your face. No, I mean, sell ad space on your clothing.
Think about it. You watch NASCAR races, right? (I'll bet you do.) The drivers' suits are covered with company logos. Is that "selling out?" Of course not! The revenue from these ad placements help defray the drivers' operating expenses, pure and simple. Selling out would be if, for example, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. were to pull over during a big race just to chug a bottle of say, Budweiser -- Wait, he's driving, let's make that a Dr. Pepper! -- in full view of the cameras.
I'm not talking about anything that would really impugn what's left of the integrity of the USA, like replacing the eagle in the Presidential Seal with the Geico gecko, or altering the red and white stripes in our nation's flag to closely resemble the swirly ones in the Coca-Cola logo.
Nope. Just a few strategically-placed temporary patches on your suit coat, flannel shirt, or jogging suit, etc.
Stay with me here, please, oh Commander-in-Chief.
As I'm sure you're aware, ad rates are determined by how many people are projected to see that ad. The higher a magazine's circulation, the higher its per-page ad rate. The higher a TV show's Nielsen rating, the higher the cost for a thirty-second or one-minute commercial.
Well, since -- as I stated above -- "you're the freakin' President, for cryin' out loud," virtually everything you do outside of your second-floor living quarters is news to the entire world. And that means cameras galore, whether you're visiting a foreign country, touring a disaster area at home, or just stepping onto the White House lawn long enough to dart into a helicopter. Possible ad rates from public appearances, based on how many millions or billions of people would be expected to see you? Phenomenal! You'd be justified in asking Chrysler, Nike, or McDonald's to shell out billions of dollars for a coveted spot on your blazer!
And don't worry that certain TV stations would blur out the ads, like the networks do with exposed nipples and such, or as they do with company logos like that of Tommy Hilfiger (or whatever brands are currently popular with the rap fans) in videos shown on MTV or VH-1. They wouldn't dare! "You're the freakin' President, for cryin' out loud," remember?
Naturally, all ad revenue would have to go directly into the nation's coffers. No one could therefore accuse you of any wrongdoing. You certainly wouldn't be allowed to benefit personally from this money. I'm sure there's something about not "cashing in" on the job (while you're in office, anyway) written into the Constitution of the United States. (I'd check, but I don't have a copy handy. You probably don't either, I assume.)
All of this ad revenue would result in an unprecedented budgetary surplus. It could shore up Social Security. It could be put toward disaster relief. It could finance a war... or two. It could pay off the national debt. Republicans and (even) Democrats wouldn't have to raise taxes! Happy voters would make a happy Congress (re-elections all around). And a happy Congress would, I expect, be much more inclined to okay any items you might want to push forth on your personal agenda.
Just think about it, okay? (And while you're at it, when you visit those great guys'n'gals at the IRS, could you put in a good word for me, since I've been so helpful to you? Just asking.)
Your Pal,
P.S. -- While I'm still on the subject of national debt and such, here's something you may or may not be aware of: When I was in high school, I took a Business Law course. We learned about something called an "assignment." Briefly put, as I understood it, this means that if Bob owes me $200, and I owe Jack $100, we could get the courts to arrange it so Bob could pay Jack $100 directly, so my debt to Jack would be wiped out, and Bob would only owe me $100 thereafter. Again, I'm no economist, but since each country's national debt involves money they owe (usually to other countries), while they in turn are owed money by other countries... Well, couldn't some of those guys at the United Nations sit down with a big bunch of bean-counters, and shuffle all this paperwork around until each country ends up owing a lot less? Just wondering.
Thanks for your time, Mr. President.

More of David'Z Current CommentZ: A subsequent internet search found a somewhat-related article from a 1996 issue of The Christian Science Monitor in 1996! However, the thrust of this article wasn't about our president's beefing up the national treasury; rather, it was about all politicians wearing the logos of their campaign contributors in the interest of full disclosure, as they saying goes. For the full text, go here, but in case you don't want to, here's a longish teaser quote: "Starting now, all candidates for president and Congress should wear the corporate logos of their campaign contributors on their power suits. They also should lend their names and likenesses to their commercial sponsors for use on T-shirts, hats, balloons, billboards, and television ads. Press releases should start referring to candidates as belonging to contributors, as in 'BankAmerica's (insert candidate name here) spoke at the Jaycees meeting today.' "

I like it almost as much as my idea.

Thanks for your time (he said again).

Monday, February 18, 2008

Short Shorts

(Please keep in mind that I've been blogging for a while... just not at this web address. For now, previous "Short Shorts" entries can be accessed here, along with all of my other David'Z RantZ posts from the past. Eventually, most -- if not all -- of the other "Short Shorts" will show up here.

We now return you to your actual blog posting.)

1) I'm so glad The Dark Ages are over, and have been for a while now. I'm defining "The Dark Ages" as the period of about fifteen years when the Kentucky Fried Chicken chain referred to their restaurants as, simply, KFC. Contrary to whatever outlandish explanations you may have heard (mutant chickens, anyone?), they were simply trying to avoid the use of the word "fried," not to mention a couple of other, even-more-yawn-provoking reasons.

So, now that they've resumed using the entire name of the franchise, they have several ads that feature a certain classic rock song performed by an iconic Southern rock band, Lynrd Skynrd. And that song, which I'm sure you're all familiar with, is "Sweet Home Alabama."

"Sweet. " "Home." "Alabama."

Okay, boys'n'girls, what's wrong with this picture?

I mean, whassamatter, you entrepreneurial mother-pluckers? Neil Diamond want too much money for "Kentucky Woman?" Hell, you could've had somebody re-work "My Old Kentucky Home," couldn't you? That's in the public domain!


2) Speaking of restaurants, I have it on good authority that more than 50% of all new restaurants fail within six months of opening. ("Good authority" being Charles Grodin's character in "Midnight Run." But I digress.)

And I know why.

It's those damned salt and pepper packets.

No, really. Think about it. Whenever I get take-out from a restaurant, they're usually pretty good about including ketchup packets, tartar sauce, mayonnaise, jellies, and the like... although, try getting a crummy little container of peanut butter for a lousy English muffin and they look at you like you've got two freakin' heads... !!!



Anyway, all the condiments mentioned above are things you probably would've required anyway. But those little salt and pepper packets? Who needs them? Who really uses them? Yet they give them to you no matter what you order. I'm sure there are some people out there who need to salt a freakin' sandwich, fer cryin' out loud, but I'm betting that most people don't. Never mind, say, an English muffin. Why would I want salt and/or pepper for a muffin-to-go, as opposed to the peanut butter I can't get to save my ass?

And those teeny-tiny, insignificant paper envelopes with salt and pepper don't cost much, I know. Probably about a nickel for a 400 pound box that holds about a zillion of the little buzzards. But that's the deceptive part of the equation. "Penny-wise and pound foolish," and all that.

It's an insidious and unnecessary cost, one that doesn't readily figure into your financial statements!

If someone gives a customer an extra $20 bill in his change, it'll be spotted by the end of the business day. If someone leaves a case of frozen fish sticks outside of the freezer overnight, they can figure exactly what their loss is when they find it in the morning.

But those salt and pepper packets? Ha! No tracing them.

So, Mr. Restaurateur, you just continue letting your employees give them out like they cost nothing. (Literally nothing, not next to nothing.)

And when you close your doors forever, don't come crying to me.

3) I love Chelsea Handler. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Ms. Handler, she's the hostess of an outrageous and funny show on E! called "Chelsea Lately."

Why do I love her? Well, among other reasons, she has done something twice in the past couple of weeks which I myself would've debated doing... before probably chickening out in a misguided attempt to be polite.

She corrected two different people who, referring to the then-upcoming holiday, called it "Valentimes Day." And as we all should know, it's "Valentine's Day." With an "N." I mean, come on, it's the name of a saint, people. Saint Valentine. Have a little respect, willya?

(And yes, I know that the "holiday" itself as it is today is a commercially-driven, bullsh*t holiday, but I'm sure that Saint Valentine himself -- or actually, "themselves" -- must have had his/their good point/points, or he/they never would've been canonized.

So. Why do people make that mistake? What, do they think, "Summertime... Christmas time... Valentimes?"


Anyway, thanks for doing my work for me, Chelsea. I just wish you'd change the name of your show before people start thinking your name is Chelsea Lately rather than Chelsea Handler.

Oh, well, it's 5:05 a.m., and I really need to get some sleep before I start getting goofy.

Or is it too late?

Thanks for your time.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

From the Archives: "The Last Time I Saw Paris"

David'Z Current CommentZ: This, out of all my David'Z RantZ entries, has had the most hits. No surprise there, I suppose. Keep in mind this was written on November 24, 2003. I'll meet you at the bottom with a few more remarks.

The Last Time I Saw Paris

Ya gotta love the internet...

Paris Hilton, multi-kazillionaire heiress to the Hilton Hotel chain fortune, and co-star of the new Fox Network "reality" show* The Simple Life, is reportedly suffering from major mortification as a result of an explicit three-year-old porn video she taped with her then-boyfriend, Rick Solomon. Currently, this video is all the rage on the internet. Ms. Hilton is terribly embarrassed, to the point of canceling a scheduled guest shot on David Letterman's show -- no Hugh Grant, she! -- and she has implied that she may just disappear from the jet-setting party scene completely (although I tend to doubt that, since this will all eventually blow over... umm... so to speak).

Several people -- including notables like Bill O'Reilly, Ms. Hilton's kinda/sorta contemporary on another Fox channel, the Fox News Channel -- have already offered their opinions on her involvement in the video.

Here's O'Reilly's take on it: "...I don't feel sorry for this dopey woman, as I stated. I mean, 19 years old, she should know that if she's going to have sex with a guy and they're going to record it, that that tape can wind up anywhere. She didn't have -- she didn't have possession of the tape. She let this guy, Shannon Dougherty's ex-husband or something like that -- I don't even know -- have the tape. So, she's getting what she deserves for being foolish..."

By the way, I cut and pasted that quote from a partial transcript on the FOX News website, so blame them -- and not me, please -- for misspelling the name of Shannen Doherty. Maybe if even one of Ms. Doherty's many TV series (anybody remember her as far back as Little House on the Prairie?) had been on their network, they would have bothered to spell her name correctly.

I don't know Mr. O'Reilly personally, so I suppose that calling him -- oh, for instance -- "an insensitive scumbag" would be rather excessive, although I feel compelled to point out -- in light of the recent lawsuit, Fox News Network, LLC, versus Penguin Group (USA), Inc., and Alan S. Franken -- that I would have every right to do so under the fair and balanced (to coin a phrase) freedom of speech laws which this great country of ours affords parodists and other social commentators. So, rather than be "excessive," I won't call him an insensitive scumbag. (In fact... forget I even mentioned it, okay? Thanks a bunch!)

But I digress.

This whole "serves you right, you should have known better" attitude ticks me off more than a bit. This isn't about someone getting her comeuppance for a badly-contrived PR decision. It isn't one of those many instances where an actor or actress later regrets an appearance or performance (and not something necessarily involving a sex scene, or a nude scene) in a legitimate film made at the start of, or during a low point in, that performer's career. This isn't a Traci Lords scenario we're talking about, nor is it Party at Kitty and Stud's (the early 1970s porn film later re-released as The Italian Stallion to capitalize on the new-found, post-Rocky fame of its star, Sylvester Stallone, who was a struggling actor at the time Party at Kitty and Stud's was initially released).

Hell, it's not even simple enough to label this as a "youthful indiscretion" (although Paris was only 19 at the time, as Mr. O'Reilly mentioned above). That's not even the point!

Tim Matheson (as "Otter") said it best in Animal House: "You f**ked up! You trusted us!"

Rick Solomon could very easily say approximately the same thing to Paris Hilton right now. That's all she was really guilty of. Bad judgment. "Uhh... gee... it seemed like a good idea at the time."

Maybe you, dear reader, have never made a porn video. Okay, fine. Percentage-wise, I'm sure that most people haven't. Neither have I (although if I had a better physique... Nahhhhh, let's not go there!).

However, how many of you -- I should really say "us" -- have ever done or said something... anything... which you've later regretted?

Show of hands, here!

Never? Come on, now. If your hand's not in the air, even in the figurative sense, you're a bloody liar!

Chances are, this "regret" (I'm giving you -- and myself --the benefit of the doubt and keeping it singular, here!) involved at least one other participant or witness at the time you did or said it. And if not? I'm willing to bet that -- human nature being what it is -- you later confided in someone, someone whom you trusted to keep your secret, involving him or her after the fact.

Well, guess what, boys and girls? Some people talk too much, and just can't keep a secret, especially a really "juicy" one. Others become angry for an endless number of reasons, and will do all sorts of things to get back at you if you're the one who angered them. And some people, quite frankly, can simply be "bought."

Someone you are 100% sure you can trust today may rat you out in a heartbeat tomorrow. Romances, friendships, business relationships... All of these can go sour. This is why contracts were created. This is specifically why the pre-nuptial contract for marriages was created. And almost anyone ever asked to sign a pre-nup no doubt took umbrage ("Take two umbrage and call me in the morning...") at the suggestion. "But we don't need one of those! Our love is different! Our love will last forever!"

Mm-hmm. Tell that to Mickey Rooney. Or Liz Taylor. Or anybody else who's been burned many more times than once, but still hasn't learned to stay away from the freakin' stove!

"You f**ked up! You trusted us!"

Bad judgment, that's all she's really guilty of, not only for letting herself be videotaped but for falling prey to a simple human weakness: trusting someone. Like Pamela Anderson & Tommy Lee, and R. Kelly (well, allegedly), and Rob Lowe, and Tonya Harding, and countless others before Ms. Hilton. And she -- like the others -- has ended up paying a price for it.

And so have you, if you've searched online to see what the fuss is about. So... did you? Come on, 'fess up. I won't tell anybody. You can trust me. No, really.

Heh, heh, heh...

Thanks for your time.

*I put "reality" in quotes, because I feel it's a misnomer. These shows generally feature contrived situations, making them anything but "reality!" Even shows which ostensibly do nothing but introduce a camera into someone's home (like MTV's Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica and the myriad variations of The Real World) have changed things, by simple virtue of that intrusion!

More of David'Z Current CommentZ: Ah, Paris, we hardly knew ye! I was so kind, giving her the benefit of the doubt for having a youthful indiscretion come back to bite her on the butt. And of course, we've all seen how Ms. Hilton has gone out of her way to hide her tarnished light under a bushel since that initial scandal broke, don't we?

Ah, well, at least she learned her lesson about those blasted sex tapes, and never made one again!

Thanks for your time (he said again).

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood! new neighborhood, that is!

You see, I've been blogging under the same title, "David'Z RantZ," since late 2003. "Since" doesn't account for the last year-and-a-half, which could charitably be referred to as an "extended hiatus," or uncharitably referred to as a "you lazy f**ker" stage.

Anyway, my original series of blogs was published here. My reason for moving, I hasten to mention, was in no way influenced by anything done by the webmaster of Diaryland (and read that again, please, it's "DIARY-land," not "DAIRY-land") to tick me off. I've just decided that I need more motivation than before to write these things on a regular basis, and... Well, let me explain. Like you could stop me.

Those of you who read my old series of blogs will no doubt recall frequent periods of two or three months where I wrote nothing, punctuated by an eventual "No, I'm not dead" blog. And with all the crap going on in my personal life at any given time, I could always defensively reply "Hey, I don't make any money from my blog!" if anybody complained.

But now, at this new location, I'll be using a combination of internet affiliate plans and Google's AdSense to get at least a small amount of money for writing David'Z RantZ. In other words, yes, I'm $elling out, kinda/sorta. So even 'though this initial blog at my new location is entitled "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood!" I may soon be writing a follow-up entitled "Selling Out, Part Two!"

Now, if you've never encountered "David'Z RantZ" before, my entries are basically a combination of my ranting on whatever topic I deem suitable (usually greatly exaggerated for a hopefully comic effect), and -- as it turned out over time -- a listing of obituaries for celebrities I admired. Actually, they're more correctly categorized as personal tributes rather than straight obits. I occasionally posted entries called "Short Shorts" which were brief comments on various unrelated subjects.

The "new" "David'Z RantZ" will still have all of that crap... errr, I mean, good stuff... plus two new regular features. The first will be called "From the Archives," which will reprint blogs from the old location, blogs which will hopefully be worthy of reprinting. Along with the reprinted item, there'll naturally be updates from my own worst critic, namely myself. The second feature will be entitled "From the IMAGINARY Archives" and will consist of blogs I would have written on such-and-such a date, if I hadn't been so lazy.... I mean, busy... at that time.

And what of my old URL? Well, that'll stay up there for the foreseeable future, at least until I've strip-mined it of all the archives I want to reprint here. So if you're just now encountering "David'Z RantZ" and want a look at its (my?) checkered past, feel free to visit here.

Until next time, boys'n'girls...

Thanks for your time. (Better get used to that little phrase, too. I use it -- or a slightly re-worded version, as appropriate -- to close every blog entry!)

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