|random thoughts and thoroughbred selections|
|"All life is 6-5 against" - Damon Runyon|
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
I Say To The Youth, "Here's The Truth."
President Bush gave the commencement address at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI last week.
In related news, our local high school was able to land the Purple Girl from the Wanta Fanta soda ad to laud our grads.
Her name is Tamara, she enjoys the beach, said we have a beautiful community - and in what was a surprise announcement - she doesn't actually drink the grape soda.
She told the graduating class of 2005 to aim high, you can be anything you want to be.
Unless, that is, you want to be a soda shill in a rubber zipsuit. You can't be that unless you're leggy, quasi-ethnic, have terrific teeth, and be willing to take out one or more nearly-super spokesmodels on your way up.
Tamara has terrific teeth. In between conspicuous sips of Fanta Red Pop at the podium, she flashed her thousand dollar smile, and spoke of what awaits our graduating Seniors.
She spoke for twenty minutes about life after high school, and how freedom can be refreshing like an Orange Fanta, or surprise you with its complexities like the Black Cherry varietal. About how one day you're head cheerleader and dating the soon-to-be redshirted incoming freshman quarterback for Northern Iowa, and the next day you're on a plane to Newark to shoot your first Bailey's Irish Creme ad. About how life can be interesting in the minutae, moments where one can see past the absurdities of carrying that daydreamy gaze of faraway pleasure while caressing a Toyota, or spending all day hustling fibreboard composites while wearing an evening gown at a trade show.
Tamara wanted to be a veterinarian, and may yet one day go back to school to realize this dream. But in that spirit, she spoke of grabbing the brass ring before the devestation of age and regret turns one old and bitter. She was absolutely glowing remembering of that day in the mall in Des Moines where a well-dressed woman in her 40s approached this young girl with a ponytail browsing the midriff tees at Hot Topic and proclaimed, "You are it." She was absolutely it, and soon after was featured in her very first photo shoot, a Summer style spread for Des Moines Magazine.
"If growling and sexy on all fours while selling non-dairy creamer makes you happy - like it does for me - go out there. Grab life by the horns and hang on for dear life, because it's a wild ride." She shook her head from side-to-side, tousling that beautiful brunette mane in the process. "I hope somewhere in this room, one of you will cure cancer. I hope one of you will write the next great play or novel. I hope one of you is anchoring the Nightly News, and I hope to see one of you modeling jewelry in the next Sears Catalog. You are the future, don't be afraid. You are it."
Tamara left the podium to thunderous applause, as she told the graduating class of 2005 she wanted to buy each and every one of them their first Fanta as high school graduates - and she did. Tamara, side by side with the school's principal, one bestowing the fruits of four years of hard work, the other bearing a bottled beverage that maybe read a book about fruit once to commemorate their first moments of adult refreshment.
There wasn't a dry eye in the house.
Alright, so I made that up. As a matter of fact, I have no clue why I wrote that to begin with, aside from seeing a Fanta ad on TV last night.
In other news, re-writing the REALDOLL FAQ (see below) the other day has brought the following searcher to my site: realdoll used for sell. Now, excusing the obvious grammatical error, we have a guy (presumably) looking to buy a previously soiled sex toy from someone else.
I mean, I have a tough enough time understanding why anyone would want to buy one of these things to begin with, let alone feeling like it's alright to buy one someone else has befouled time and time again. Makes no sense to me at all.
Someone also was searching for a bachelor party game called "feed the kitty." If that's not a euphemism, I don't know what is.
Getting back to that "buying a used sexdoll" kink, I wonder what would happen if by someone's weird joke one of those REALDOLLs landed on my doorstep. I mean, we all want to say we'd never have sex with an inanimate object, but we're rarely faced with a choice like this one. It'd be free, I'd be curious, and that's what they're built for. I can proudly say I've never once in my life had the urge to cut a hole in something, or use the vacuum hose, or whatever.
I think anyone that tells you they wouldn't at least test-drive is lying or has small children running around the house. Now, keeping one of those things around is another story entirely. Obviously, living alone and not having a lot of company would have its advantages in this scenario. You could put an easy chair in the bedroom and just plunk the thing down there. (Since I don't usually have people over, I'd really only have to worry about the dog using it as a chew toy*.) That being said, unless you were intending on using your doll with great frequency, having it sit in a chair while you sleep in the same room absolutely falls under the category of "unnerving." You could stand it up in a closet, but I can't see that either. Every time you go for a shirt or a broom or a can of tomatoes (depending in which closet you've chosen to store your doll) you get that little shock of a dead naked chick being in there.
If that's your thing, then more power to you.
*OK, so when I was re-writing the FAQ they mentioned that they do sell body parts seperately from the total doll. Wouldn't it be great to order an entire arm or leg for your dog to carry around and gnaw on? Seriously.
OK, so the other assumption is that these things ship naked. Now, obviously, these things are most properly used in that state, but wouldn't that get boring? Wouldn't you eventually need to create scenarios (note to Maudie: "Hey, I was just reaching for my towel!") to keep your level of interest up? I'd think that no matter how poseable these dolls are, you'd eventually find it a little boring to grab the hundred pound rubber body out of the closet, put it on all fours, and just go to town until you're done.
So you'd need to buy some clothes for the doll, wouldn't you? And how far do you go with that anyway? One piece of lingerie? Multiple? Costumes? Full outfits? I mean, once you start using your imagination the possibilities are limitless, aren't they? Buy a French maid costume, put a feather duster in its hand, bend it over your dining room sideboard and scold Charmaine for her insolence. Buy a cheerleader outfit, go to town in the back seat of a Buick (wait, I drive a Buick). Buy a big piece of blue cloth, lay it down face up on a metal table, drape the cloth over the doll and pretend like you got stuck in the morgue "after hours."
But really, wouldn't the stupidest feeling in the world have to be perusing the Frederick's of Hollywood catalog for costumes/outfits for your fully articulated lifesized sex toy? Would you find yourself saying, "Oh, that's slutty. I've got to pick that up!" Or maybe things like, "You know, with her skin tone, I think the baby blue is going to look really good on her."
The sad thing is, someone, somewhere today will probably be flipping through that very catalog with that very purpose in mind.
Where I think the REALDOLL people have seriously erred is that they're only reaching out to the weirdos and losers with their product. I think they're missing a significant opportunity to connect with the youth of America. If they could figure out a way to plug a REALDOLL into an X-Box, load up the erogenous zones with sensors, and ship a piece of software along with it, you'd have what would likely be THE GREATEST VIDEO GAME OF ALL TIME. Not only that, but getting high score on this game would actually be something that would benefit the player in real life too? Jet pilots have simulators, why don't high school kids? The game would be an incredible training module for today's youth. The software would encourage proper technique and speed, and give these kids the confidence that a high score playing DOOM just doesn't provide.
I swear to god, if I had a technical bone in my body this would become my life's work. I'd win a Nobel Prize if I could master this. Then again, if you thought Madden 2005 was addictive...
Monday, May 30, 2005
Straight, No Chaser
For lack of anything fundamentally better to do today, I have a few things on my agenda:
ONE - Vacuum and mop. I straightened up yesterday, but as my mom has always said, "There's a difference between straightened and clean."
TWO - Get some Chinese food.
THREE - Rip my entire jazz collection to MP3 and get some CDs for backup.
FOUR - Walk the dog.
FIVE - Do my ironing.
SIX - Call Gary Shandlin, get tape of everything.
OK, so number six isn't on my to-do list.
That third one is a daunting task. I have 50 Miles Davis CDs alone, not to mention two stacks of 50 each featuring other artists - and I still have 20 CDs left to rip from Miles before I can move on to the other stacks. Just to give you an idea what I've collected over the years, here's a quick list of ten CDs from my jazz collection:
Charlie Hunter Trio - Bing, Bing, BingNot to mention some of the classics by Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and others.
It was my good friend Dan who actually steered me into my love of jazz. He was a talented musician, probably a prodigy on the alto sax, and a pretty able electric guitarist as well. It started, as it does for many people who find jazz, with Miles Davis' seminal "Kind of Blue." Chuck Klosterman, in his book Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, mused about the popularity of Eminem:
I find it amusing that so many pundits have tried to create explanations for why Eminem is so polarizing (people say that it's just because he's white, or that it's all because of Dr. Dre, or that it's because he's controversial, etc.). To me, the biggest reason is obvious: He enunciates better than any rapper who ever lived. He's literally good at talking. The first time you hear an Eminem song, you can decide whether or not you find him entertaining."Kind of Blue" is immediately accessible in the same sort of way. It's clean, clear, and largely devoid of the scale-running histrionics someone stumbling into some Charlie Parker or Dizzy Gillespie would hear. It's easy on the ears.
Quoting Robert Palmer's liner notes from the "Kind of Blue" CD:
...(Miles saw) "modal" jazz - in which the improviser was given a scale or series of scales (or "modes") as material to improvise from, rather than a sequence of harmonies... as a way of drastically simplifying modern jazz, which was then pushing against the outer limits of chordal complexity. "The music has gotten thick," Davis complained in a 1958 interview for The Jazz Review. "Guys give me tunes and they're full of chords. I can't play them... I think a movement in jazz is beginning away from the conventional string of chords, and a return to emphasis on melodic rather than harmonic variation. There will be fewer chords but infinite possibilities as to what to do with them." Technical though it may seem to nonmusicians, Davis' statement can be reduced to a single, simple proposition: a return to melody.This album wasn't the first to try modal jazz on for size, but it absolutely stands as the sign-post landmark jazz album, quite probably above any other for importance, brilliance, and as a harbinger of things to come.
My love for jazz was born of this album (and if you don't own it, shame on you), but my love for all things Miles Davis was and continues to be an evolution and de-evolution that starts for me at "Kind of Blue."
To put it simply, once you understand the intent of "Kind of Blue," you can hear the steps Miles and his bands took to get there in the five years prior. And once you hear "Kind of Blue" you can for the first time understand the logical progression his groups took from that point forward. Miles' music was ever-evolving, and "Kind of Blue" marks an important waypoint from what was to what was going to be.
Not only that, but coming through Miles Davis' group was a rite of passage for many, many young jazz musicians that became giants in their own right. For example, John Coltrane is widely regarded as the greatest tenor sax player of all-time, and he did very little of note before joining Miles' group. His album "Ole" owed a direct debt to "Kind of Blue" while taking him in a direction that would ultimately push modality into jazz forms more free and far-reaching on albums like "A Love Supreme." I could draw similar family tree branches through jazz giants like Bill Evans, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and more than a few others. You can usually trace the influence of the Miles Davis albums on which they participated directly through the rest of their solo catalogs.
I don't care what your musical tastes are, "Kind of Blue" belongs in your CD collection. Don't make me beg.
Bill Simmons @ ESPN
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