Saturday, January 31, 2009

Celebrity Status

Have you noticed that celebrities just don't try any more? Time was, a celebrity felt some responsibility to maintain an image and give us regular schlubs someone to look up to. The true stars of old would revel in their fame and the reflect the spotlight back to their adoring fans a hundred times more brightly.

Now they hop in and out of black SUVs wearing baseball hats and sunglasses. Unshaven guys (and girls), no makeup, no haircut, they don't even tuck their shirts in for Pete's sake! They get paid umpteen bajillion dollars to pretend to be somebody else, and when they finally get a chance to be themselves they dress down to the Headin-out-to-Walmart-for-a-six-pack-and-some-Pringles level. I mean, Natalie Portman could walk through that door right now, and she'd be just another skank-ass bitch in sweat pants.* I want more from my celebrities.

Heck, if I was famous, you'd never hear the end of it. If I was Viggo Mortenson I'd never take the freakin' sword off. Lord Aragorn, Elindel's Heir and King of Gondor, always gets a table, bro.

Can you imagine how much fun James Earl Jones must have with his answering machine? He can make Darth Vader say anything he wants. "It is as I have forseen. Leave a message after the tone. I will return your call. The circle will be complete."

Liberace had it right. Live the dream.

I guess we can add celebrity glamor to the list of things the internet has killed, just after the ability to get away with lying about trivia (damn Wikipedia!).

*Nat, babe. You know I'm kidding.

Soup Bowl!

So what's the deal with this weekend? Something big is going on, there are snacks everywhere, and all these humongous guys are running around on the TV hollering "Soup Bowl! Soup Bowl!".

They're all jacked up about making the soup bowl, going to the soup bowl, or how they're going to win the soup bowl. Now during State Fair season our local potters, who are famous for their competitiveness, have been known to get a little rowdy, though I don't think it's ever come to blows. But these guys on TV act like they're gonna tear each others heads off over a soup bowl. I'm sorry, not "a" soup bowl, but "The" Soup Bowl.

At the grocery store they have a huge pyramid of chips and beer, like The Lost Temple of Solomon's Snacks to promote The Soup Bowl. Everywhere people are planning Soup Bowl menus, hosting Soup Bowl parties, or deciding which sports bar to celebrate The Soup Bowl in.
But for all the rigmarole, the hype, the hyperbole, the hoopla, I still haven't seen, heard of, or in other other way perceived a single, solitary, can, ladle, or drop of actual soup. Well I aim to fix that at my house. My Soup Bowl party is gonna be BYOS (Bring Your Own Spoon).

Saturday, January 03, 2009

What's wrong with the United States

Panhandles. Panhandles are an embarrassment to cartographers everywhere. Panhandles say "Here's a compromise that didn't work." They're a tribute to the petty needs of the stubborn few triumphing over common sense.

Texas and Oklahoma each have panhandles that border the other. Of course they don't get along.

I'll forgive Idaho's panhandle. Nobody there cares anyway.

Florida's panhandle is another matter altogether. If it wasn't for Mobile, Alabama would be landlocked. In fact, Mobile shamefully sits smack dab in the middle of what one could argue is the Alabama panhandle. All I'm saying is that if the Governor of Alabama were to mobilize the National Guard and march south to the Gulf of Mexico, I'd gladly look the other way. Florida should share the Gulf Coast. It's not like they're using it.

West Virginia has two panhandles. Having lived up there amongst them, all I can say is: Evolution can do mean things to people.

The attached map (which you may click to enlarge) shows my humble proposal to set things right. I've taken the liberty to address a few issues in addition to panhandles, as noted below:

1) Alabama gets full access to the sea, and helps mitigate Florida's exposure to natural disasters.
2) Oklahoma gets the Texas panhandle. Texas gets punished for having the larger of the two panhandles.
3) West Virginia cedes both panhandles. Maybe Ohio and Maryland can do something with them.
4) Michigan's upper peninsula/panhandle is absorbed by Wisconsin. It's just more tidy that way.
5) California is split into 5 states: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Northern, Central, and Southern California. The world's 7th largest economy shouldn't be concentrated in one state.
6) New England is consolidated into one state. They're still over-represented in congress.

What about Alaska's panhandles? No can do. Russia and Canada get nothing.

The above changes would serve to erase the stain of panhandles from our nation's geography. They would lead to a more orderly union, and we wouldn't even have to change the flag.