Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 - A Prophecy

I have seen the future. And it is terrifying. It was December 26th, 2:47 AM Eastern Standard Time and I was drowning in eggnog, limping down the last leg of a thirty-six hour peyote trip. I was laughing and crying and vomiting when suddenly…a seismic shockwave put me on my back.

I awoke, my studio apartment awash in a sea of blinding white light. And through the overwhelming luminescence appeared a three-dimensional projection of the future. In a montage of sound bites, newspaper headlines, Tweets and Facebook updates, I saw 2011’s highlights. They were alarming and arresting, occasionally inspiring but usually quite frightening. I started this blog to share my wisdom with the masses; hence I have a moral imperative to share my knowledge of the future with you as well. So brace yourself.

In two week's time, January’s annual aurora borealis phenomena will join forces with a colossal solar flare and the combined radiation emissions will cause the Alaskan moose population to mutate. They will develop the capacity to reason and the ability to breathe fire and in an act of vengeance, a herd of them will break into the Palin residence where they will proceed to slaughter and field dress the entire family. 

Authorities will arrive at the Palin residence weeks after the fact to find the entire family stuffed and mounted on a fleet of snowmobiles. The words “Real niggaz don’t die…and neither do pit bulls with lipstick muthafuckas!” are written on the wall in blood. Forensic analysis reveals that the words are in fact written with moose hooves but the significance of the Ebonic, N.W.A.-inspired phrasing will eternally baffle authorities. 

An atypically harmonious and bi-partisan Congress will pass a litany of groundbreaking legislation. Medicare and Medicaid coverage is doubled but in subsequent efforts to prove Congress’s pragmatic flexibility, it’s funding is halved a month later. The ‘Death Panels’ that would allegedly be formed by Obamacare somehow morph from propaganda phantoms to omnipotent juggernauts and at their peak, deem half the American populous unworthy of continued life and a majority of Congress unworthy of continued service. By year’s end they will enact “The Final Edict.” At its culmination, the American population will be cut in half, the Senate reduced from 100 members to 7 and as a result of the reductions in Medicaid expenditures, the budget deficit will decrease by .06%. Those still alive will laud the accomplishment as “a Darwinist breakthrough of historic proportions” and proof that America’s Two-Party system of government still works.  

In August, the NBA free-agency circus results in the following: Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul and Kevin Durant all join the Knicks. The remaining free agents join the Miami Heat and the other twenty-eight teams are euthanized due to poor ticket sales and an inability to attract sponsors. When the Heat meat the Knicks in the finals, NBA President David Stern puts locks and chains on all the doors exiting Madison Square Garden before setting it on fire. Everyone inside dies…except for Spike Lee and the Knicks City Dancers who were fortuitously clad in flame-retardant unitards. Before being executed by a firing squad, Stern remarks, “I just thought it would be better if the NBA started over from scratch.” He is canonized by the Vatican weeks later. A week after that, Mark Cuban buys the Vatican and canonizes himself.

With the NBA eliminated and the WNBA still struggling to find an audience, league executives finally do what they should have done years ago…they lower the rims to nine feet and change the uniforms to lingerie. With thong-clad women posterizing each other on a nightly basis, WNBA games’ ratings are instantaneously quadrupled, becoming the ninth most popular women’s sport, right between jai alai and snooker. Frederick’s of Hollywood replaces Gatorade as the sponsor for the Slam Dunk Contest and in a gripping final round, Candace Parker wins on a dunk during which she hurtles Verne Troyer.

By February, the unemployment rate skyrockets to 38% and in an act of desperation, both houses of Congress pass a mandate requiring the Kardashian sisters and The Real Housewives of New Jersey, Beverly Hills, Washington DC and Atlanta to enter the workforce. But without any job skills to contribute, the economy and unemployment rate remain unchanged. Having nothing else of value to contribute, the women are drained of silicone and collagen. Six hundred gallons are extracted and due to their extraordinary buoyancy, half of it is used to revitalize the slumping life preserver industry. The other half is pumped into developmental laboratories where chemists, aided by billions in federal funding, finally decipher the elusive chemical properties of Flubber.

In early Spring, Justin Beiber shocks the world when he changes his Facebook ‘Relationship Status’ from ‘Single’ to ‘Uber-Gay.’ In a heart-warming display of loyalty to the pop star and his transcendant artistry, Tom Brady and 23,000,000 teenage boys change their sexual orientation. On his eighteenth birthday, Justin joins the Marine Corps and three days into Basic Training, he is killed in an overzealous Code Red orchestrated by Jerry Falwell’s grandson Brutus. Within a month of the tragedy, ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ is tweaked into the flagrantly unconstitutional but effective ‘Don’t Join the Marines if You’re a Pre-Pubecent Gaylord with Feathered Bangs’ policy.

In the heat of summer, after yet another round of failed negotiations, Israel and Palestine decide to quit stalling and annihilate each other in a nuclear blitzkrieg. Without war-torn strife to define them, the world’s remaining Jews and Muslims wander the earth in a state of disillusioned malaise. Then, in a stunning development, the Jews discover Christ and the Muslims discover the joys in booze, cocaine and white women. Al Qaeda’s stock plummets and they declare bankruptcy in September. Abraham Epstein’s Yarmulkes, Inc. follows suit shortly after.

Growing concern over the recent rash of NFL concussions leads to the elimination of violent contact all together. Tackling is replaced with tickling and the NFL finally succeeds in wooing the American homosexual viewing audience, a demographic that had long eluded them. With less contact and no risk of injury, Brett Favre unretires yet again and rejoins the Vikings. In a divisional playoff game against the Bears, Favre is killed suddenly when his diaphragm collapses from excessive laughter. Linebackers Brian Urlacher and Johnny Weir are assessed a ten yard penalty for ‘Illegal Use of Tummy Sticks.’

During the autopsy, Favre is posthumously cleared of the charges stemming from the explicit text messages he allegedly sent a Jets employee after doctors discover that he is a eunuch. Upon hearing this, Wrangler Jeans immediately drops Favre as a sponsor. Wrangler’s revenue stream remains unchanged because, well, it’s Wrangler.

Reality television is ruled to be an illegal and unruly contaminant to American values by a Republican-led Congress and the legislation is upheld by the Supreme Court. In his majority opinion, Judge Roberts states quite eloquently that ‘Freedom of Speech’ protection does not apply to reality TV stars because most of them shouldn’t be allowed to speak in the first place. With all reality programming removed, the burden of carrying prime time falls on the shoulders of Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory.

R.I.P. 1986-2011
This burden proves to be too heavy and both series are quickly canceled. Since fictional television writers are now extinct, TV stations are reduced to perpetually recycling re-runs of Alf and Homeboys in Outer Space. In the closest voting in history, Homeboys wins the Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama Series. Alf wins for Outstanding Comedy Series and in one of the most horrific moments captured on live television, Alf is assassinated while on stage accepting the award. A PETA hitman is arrested for the crime moments later and in the celebretory aftermath, catnip sales increase 300%.  

By year’s end, our greatest fear will prove to be accurate…President Obama is in fact a Muslim terrorist. On New Year’s Eve, he will dress Sasha and Malia in matching suicide vests and march them into Time’s Square where they will detonate the devices amidst the crowd of one million partiers. Fortunately, the bombs were manufactured in a converted GM plant in Flint, Michigan by inadequately trained employees so in a lackluster explosion, there is only one casualty…The Naked Cowboy. As his shredded, blood-soaked Fruit of the Looms rain down on the crowd like confetti, onlookers do not know whether to rejoice or mourn the fallen cowboy. I just laugh. 

R.I.P. 1978-2011
I know this is a lot to ingest but it would be neglectful of me to withhold this information. My hope is that the knowledge will fuel your efforts to truly make each day count. So enjoy the Palins while you can; they won't be around forever. If you have not yet been serenaded by The Naked Cowboy, get your ass to Time’s Square or forever live with the regret. Tivo every episode of Two and a Half Men and grow yourself a Beiber hair-do no matter how lame you look. Do whatever you need to do to seize this day and every one in 2011.

Now on a personal note, I am currently in pre-production for my film that will begin shooting in February. This endeavor will demand considerable time and energy so I will inevitably be neglecting my blog for the next few months. Will you miss it? Will its absence create a void and if so, how will you fill this void? Or will you really not give a fuck? I don’t know. But ask questions people. Always ask questions.

Luckily, my blogging absence will be well worth it. Because I also saw myself in 2011. I saw myself at the Sundance Film Festival where my film is accepted into competition and generating quite a buzz. But right before the Jury Awards are announced, I am arrested for humping Mila Kunis’s leg at a press junket. I spend a week in Park City County Jail…and it is worth it. 

Nine months later, her left leg gives birth to a child with a large forehead and a foul mouth. Birth of the mutant leg-child results in the long-overdue end of her relationship with Macaulay Culkin; a cataclysmic event that finally restores order and stability to the Universe. How long with this stability last? Will Mila and I end up together? Will our child possess her ethereal beauty or my unfortunate nose? Will these questions ever cease? Let’s hope not. In the mean time, Happy New Year and God help us all.  

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Vick, James, Love, Hate: These Dichotomies That Plague Us All

There is an old adage claiming that ‘Nobody likes to drink alone.’ Well, I love to. Booze is a reliable friend and we have always been there for each other, within and beyond the presence of others. Furthermore, I have always enjoyed my own company tremendously.

As a writer, I sometimes feel the need to venture beyond the confines of my apartment in search of inspirado so what better option for a sauce-happy wordsmith than to go down to his neighborhood watering hole and cuddle up with a pint, pen and his trusty Moleskin (that’s a notebook…Google it.)

There I sat, nursing a mediocre anejo (that’s a type of tequila…Google it) with a Stella back, sandwiched between a camouflage-clad war vet and a man that looked like Santa Claus if St. Nick were a smackhead with body odor and male pattern baldness.

As I genially fended off their attempts at small talk, I gazed up at a couple televisions to see two games playing simultaneously. One featured LeBron James and his Heat in their much-anticipated first game in Cleveland. The other featured the Philadelphia Eagles and the Lazarus of professional football, Michael Vick.

I suddenly found myself seething with more emotions than I could make sense out of as I attempted to follow both games in unison. The parade of boos cascaded down on James from the opening warm-up and would not cease until he took a seat on the bench after the third quarter ended. Vick, on the other hand, was on his home turf where in half a season, he has gone from divisive, third-string afterthought to the Kevin Colb-slaying personification of redemption and the NFL’s most ubiquitous story line.

So there I sat, watching Vick and James, two of the most famous and preternaturally talented specimens in their respective sports…and a funny thing happened. Santa Claus ordered another pint glass filled with Jack Daniels and a splash of coke and asked me what I was writing. I told him it was a graphic novel about lesbian samurai that save the world from a cataclysmic meteor shower.

But that wasn’t the funny thing that happened. The funny thing was that I found myself rooting for both Michael Vick and LeBron James. Yes, I am as shocked and appalled as you are.

What LeBron pulled over the summer was atrocious and in case you read my blog last week, you may have noticed that I screamed ‘FUCK LEBRON JAMES’ in size twenty-six font. I still feel that way but I admittedly noticed a jolt of exuberation when he sank his first jump shot early in the first quarter. Why? He is a spineless traitor who turned his back on a franchise while bending if not breaking NBA tampering rules.

So what was happening to me? I eventually realized that the overwhelming negativity heaped upon James had turned him into the guy I always root for…the underdog. Maybe since the city of Cleveland, the NBA and the world at large wanted him to fail, I wanted him to, if only for one night, rise above the pressure and become the legend we always thought he’d become.

Maybe. Because, and I’ve said this before, I watch sports to see athletes surmount adversity, even if they themselves are responsible for creating it. And what better example than Vick; a walking case study on the rehabilitory efficiency of American correctional institutions.  

Can prison take an underachieving, uber-talented improviser and turn him into the mature, multi-dimensional pocket passer that Vick has become? One with vision, discipline and surgical precision to go along with his speed? Tom Brady is the only quarterback with a better rating and that is by one tenth of a percentage point so it is quite possible. Could someone who made money killing dogs emerge from a two-year prison sentence not only a better quarterback but also a better man? I don’t know.

I do know that Santa Claus here doesn’t look happy. He’s probably had a tough life and it’s December so he’s probably tired of all the fucking Santa Claus jokes he gets. And I know that the red sweater he’s wearing won’t reduce them.

Anyway…where do all these feelings come from? I’m a curious little monkey so I’m always trying to dig down to the bottom of these quandaries to unearth a little truth. Have I forgiven James for his trespasses? No. I still think he’s a ginormous pussy. But the optimist in me hopes he will learn from his failures in judgment and action and become the leader we all want him to be.

Maybe he will fail miserably in Miami, take his immense talents elsewhere and secure a championship he can truly call his own. Maybe Vick will win a Superbowl this year and become the official spokesman for the Humane Society. Maybe Santa Claus is real and he has figured out that I’m not really writing a graphic novel about lesbian samurai. Maybe he’s pissed I lied to him and is not going to give me the blowjob I asked him for for Christmas. I asked him for one last year too and I got a fucking Snuggie instead so it stands to reason that I will get shafted this year as well. Okay, poor choice of words.

But you have to be curious about these feelings when they come up. At least I do. I have to wonder why the camo-clad army vet is rooting so vehemently against the Eagles. He’s a Jets fan (I asked) so it’s not driven by a desire for the Giants to climb in the standings. Does he have a dog at home? If so, he probably, and justifiably, hates Vick for being a dog killer and most likely will never forgive him.

But despite his heinous past, part of me has forgiven him. And as a die-hard Giants fan who loves animals, this is difficult to accept. I can’t readily root for the dog-killing quarterback of my second most hated NFC East rival, can I? (Yes, Dallas, you will always be first…even though that Tony Romo is so goddamn dreamy.)

But I find myself rooting for Vick. And unlike those who have not had the luxury of psychotherapy…lots and lots and lots of psychotherapy…I know why I cheer for him. I know why I hated him for letting me down four years ago. Like anyone else, I too have been betrayed by those I once held in unreasonably high esteem. It stung. And Vick’s downfall triggered that sting.

I also know why I now hope for his success. Because Michael Vick and I have a great deal in common. We both run a 4.29 second 40-yard dash, we both have three children and we’re both hung like dinosaurs.

Additionally, we both have pasts we are not particularly proud of. And as another Vick touchdown propelled the Eagles to a fourth quarter lead they would not relinquish, he got one step closer to what anyone who has ever fucked up strives for…redemption.

But does he deserve it? The man regularly speaks at schools, telling kids how heartbroken he is that he is legally prohibited from giving his own children the puppy they want so badly. Is he telling the truth?

The angry vet (war veteran, not animal doctor-a very relevant distinction) doesn’t think so. Santa doesn’t really give a shit. He seems indifferent, though he may just be high or generally confused about the world. It’s hard to tell.

But I like to believe that Vick does mean what he says. Because I need to believe that people can change. I believe I have and hope that I can continue to do so. One’s inherent ability to grow, to improve, to self-actualize; it comes up frequently in my writing and I am very cognizant of it. But most normal people (and I’m not knocking them, in fact I envy them) do not share this clarity. Most normal people do not spend their days investigating their feelings and their nights toiling in insomniatic introspection.

So ask yourself…do you hate Michael Vick because you love dogs? Do you cheer for him because of his other worldly athleticism or because you too capitalized on a second chance that someone was generous enough to give you? Do you hate James because someone you loved once betrayed you? Or because you are too ashamed to admit that Cleveland sucks and it’s the last city you would ever want to build a life in?

As a Knicks and Giants fan, I have all the reason in the world to hate both these men…Vick for the threat he poses and James for the promise unfulfilled. So what is going on with this cognitive dissonance that plagues me? Could it be a sign of maturity? Uncompromising hatred is easy and there is something oddly comforting about clinging to a nice, cozy grudge.

But forgiving people is hard. Sifting through faults in search of virtue requires effort and ethical flexibility. So maybe I’m finally growing up. Or maybe that’s just the tequila talking and if it is, still…tal vez estoy creciendo.

Both games ended and the final tallies were impressive. James scored a season high thirty-eight points in only three quarters despite the booing, heckling and multiple skirmishes that erupted in the crowd. Vick threw for over three hundred yards with three total touchdowns and both their teams won easily. How do you feel about this? How do you feel about them? And what do you want from them?

I’ll tell you what I want. I want Michael Vick to become the greatest quarterback in the NFL, exemplifying the prototype of the 21st Century that his potentially holds, thus confirming man’s capacity for growth and the ability to utilize the full extent of one’s limitless faculties. And I also want the Eagles to lose every fucking game they play for the rest of all time. Why? Fuck them and GO BLUE! That’s why.

I want LeBron James to fail in Miami. In a clash of superstar egos, I want Dwayne Wade to kick the shit out of James in the middle of a prime time televised game; a fight that results in their both being ejected and the Heat losing the final game of the year, leaving them one victory shy of the eighth playoff seed. Then I want James to leave Miami, eat some peyote, do some soul-searching in the desert and find another team to play for. Once there, I want him to realize what it takes to be a champion, I want him to dig down deep and I want him to become one.

I want Santa to stop sucking down JD at a record clip and get to work on my blowjob because I really need one. And I need to believe that Vick, James, myself…we can all rise from rubble that we ourselves created and reach our full potential.

And that is what we should all strive for. Because, seriously, what the fuck else are we supposed to do with ourselves while we’re here?