Monday, May 29, 2006

Never Forget

Today, on Memorial Day, I'd like to tell you about my Uncle, James McAfee.

Born the youngest of four children, and born many years after my Aunt Jeanine (can you say "Whoops"?!) he was called up to serve in Vietnam.

Now, I know very little about what happened to him over there, but I do know that my Mom, my Uncle David, and my Aunt all said repeatedly that before he went over there, he was a happy, well-adjusted person. And they said that he came back forever changed.

I admit I didn't know him very well. He cut himself off from us, moving himself and his family to Colorado. He visited rarely. He was often short-tempered--although he did his best to control it when us kids were around, we all saw the signs.

He was a good man, though. He loved his family, and was a good father to his children, judging by the fact that they all turned out pretty well. I would guess that he was one of the lucky ones.

But I still lump him as one of the thousands who died in Vietnam but didn't stop moving until years, or even, decades, later.

War, any war, has a profound effect on those who fight in it, even if they are one of the lucky few to emerge from it unhurt. The rapidly dwindling number of veterans who fought in World War II can console themselves with the fact that while they endured a hell that no human being should be forced to endure, they were fighting to destroy a great evil, one that would surely have enslaved the world had it been victorious. The veterans of Vietnam, and, now, of Iraq, have no such consolation.

And that may be the overriding reason why so many of them came home as completely different people.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Hate American Idol

Frequently I imagine this conversation:

"Let me get this straight: You want a loan to start a business that will produce bottles of water and sell them for a dollar a piece. And you think people are going to pay a dollar for sixteen ounces of water, when they can go to any drinking fountain or sink and get all the water they want for free?! Get the hell out of my office!"

Or this one:

"Do I understand this correctly? You want money to start a business that's going to sell COFFEE for three, four dollars a cup! When people can get all the coffee they want out of the office coffee machine for less than 25 cents a cup! (Presses button on phone) Miss Watkins, would you please call security and have them escort this crazy person out of my office?!"

Or how about this one:

"I'm sorry, Mr. Gates, but I just can't see how anyone can create an 'operating system' that will allow anyone to use a computer easily. I mean, everyone knows you need a degree in computer science just to turn on a computer these days! And your idea of placing this system on every computer in the country will never fly. The government did away with the monopolies a long time ago. They'd never let it happen again. I just can't allow our financial backers to invest in your company--what'd you call it? Macrosoft? Microscope?"

(by the way, the irony that I'm using Windows Explorer to make this blog entry while sipping from my bottle of water is not lost on me!)

I know. You're asking me, "What the hell does all this have to do with American Idol?!" Well, Chester, I'm glad you asked!

Because, y'see, I imagine the following conversation taking place in the pitch rooms at one of the big networks besides Fox:

"OK, so as I understand it, your idea for the next big hit TV show is to take hundreds of no-talent hacks, have them sing pop songs badly in front of a panel of judges that includes a washed-up pop Diva and a sarcastic British guy? And then to take the few gold nuggets that get sifted out of those thousands of grains of sand and stick them up on a stage in front of a huge audience? You know, there's a reason Karaoke is only performed by drunken people in bars! It's because nobody wants to make a fool of themselves on national television! Get out of here, you morons!"

I mean, COME ON! Can someone please explain to me the appeal of this show? I have left standing orders to my family and friends that if they ever catch me watching American Idol they have my permission to stick me in a rubber room.

Perhaps it's the curse of Andy Warhol. Everyone and their brother wants their "15 minutes of fame". These days, it's a lot more like "15 minutes of lame"

(I realize I'm probably not the first one to come up with that. I still think it's quite clever, though!)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Words cannot begin to describe

how much I will miss The West Wing

Let me share with you the speech by the WW president that caused this show to grab me by the throat and never let go:
(The President has just intervened in an argument between some West Wing staffers and some religious conservatives):

Now, I love my family, and I've read my Bible from cover to cover so I want you to tell me from what part of Holy Scripture do you suppose the Lambs of God drew their divine inspiration when they sent my 12 year old granddaughter a Raggedy Ann doll with a knife stuck through its throat?

You'll denounce these people Al, you'll do it publicly, and until you do you can all get your fat asses out of my White House.

Can you imagine any politician in this day and age saying that to a faction of religious conservatives?

Jesus, I can't stop crying! I will miss this show!

Happy Mother's Day!

Yeah, Yeah, I haven't posted in a long time. STFU already! I could spin a tale of misfortune and woe, with the requsite violin music and everything, but you'd all see through that pretty quick, so I'll just take this moment to remind everyone that I'm REALLY FUCKING LAZY!!

Anyhoo, I want to wish everyone a happy Mother's Day! Yhis year, for the first time in four years, my family has a reason to celebrate it again!

You may recall that last year I was a little bitter about the whole Mother's Day thing. Well, you may also recall that my nephew, Grant, was born in February. So now, once again, there is a mother in our immediate family, and this is once again a happy day, and not just a reminder of the gaping hole that was left in our lives when my mom died.

So enjoy the day! Peace out!