Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On the Way to Losing Weight

Jeff Garlin, Larry David's sidekick on Curb Your Enthusiasm guest starred on Bill Mahr's last weekend.

After losing a ton of weight, he wrote a book touting his success.
Mahr interrupted, asking what kind of diet he was on.

"I didn't diet. I never dieted," Garlin said. "I made a lifestyle change."

“You mean you started to exercise and eat healthy food?” I yelled from the kitchen counter while slicing tomatoes into my salad.

A moment later Garlin explained that he was eating better and exercising.

"The great mystery solved," I said.  Like it was a state secret.  Like nobody thought of it before.
Only millions have tried the same thing, but Garlin wrote a book?

The subject was old and tired, and too dull to maintain any level of excitement.  Then again, Garlin’s likable, fat, and friends with Larry David.

Funny too.

More important almost everyone identifies with losing excess poundage.  New Years resolutions commence on midnight December 31st and depart by the time Dick Clark takes his New Year's nap.

But Garlin made a commitment.

Like Seinfeld coming into that car rental agency and finding that they hadn’t held his reservation, he learned it's easy to make one, but real hard to hold.

Jeff Garlin had sworn off sugar and hasn't had a cookie or a crumb of cake in ages.   Like an alcoholic, one whiff of a Ho-Ho and he’s lost on that white crystal path to Twinkie Land.

So he doesn’t buy it, and if he’s near it, walks away.

That’s what he says, and he’s thinner, so we believe him.

It’s a lifestyle change, and that ain't easy.

Of course there’s plenty of alternatives.

 Amazon carries 49,420 diet books. There’s the No Diet, the ph Diet, the S Diet, the Mayo Clinic Diet, the Diva Diet, the Fat Smart Diet, and the anti-inflammatory one for starters.

If you’re seriously trying to drop weight, I’d pick the Kind Diet over The Skinny Bitch, and the Eat-Clean over the Crap-filled.

Okay, there’s no crap-filled because that’s the one we normally ingest but abandon when we’re following one of the 49,000 above.

Mahr mentioned that many people lose but gain it back, a la Kirstie Alley.  Garlin countered that he wasn’t on some controlled program, that his was a way of life.

Lifestyle versus specific program.  Everyone knows both require commitment, which means perseverance, no matter what.

No matter if your boyfriend, husband, girlfriend blew up and walked out on you, now no matter if you lost your car, your job, your maid, your money, your mind.

Gotta stick with the program--like any of the to-die-for diets on Amazon.

That first, and anything will work. 

Because those that don't commit, just keep buying more books.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sandra Bullock and the Bandit

Can you believe that Sandra Bullock was married to a man for five years and had no idea the guy was a neo-Nazi?

Jesse James, it fits that he's named for the bandit, somehow kept his private life utterly and completely private.

Except Sandra Bullock WAS his private life.

They met in 2004 and got married a year later. In the time they dated and in the years they were legally bound had they never had a serious discussion about values and beliefs?  Not a chat? Not a nothing?

Bullock won best actress for The Blind Side but talk about being blindsided.

How many times had she passed his surfboard in the garage, the one decorated with a Nazi swastika towering over everything else inside?   And how about his other Nazi decals adorning motorcycles and the walls where he works?

Even his friends shared his beliefs.

Only Sandra Bullock, the Oscar winning actress, was shocked into silence and hightailed it back to Austin, Texas, into the arms of family and friends.

Well, it's only love.  You can't expect perfection.

Did Juliet know every detail about Romeo, or did she assume he'd clear the table, fold the laundry, and help potty-train the kids?

Lovers dream.  They do it all the time, and then get divorced when the ceiling cracks and falls on their heads.

But after six years together, Bullock had no insight whatsoever. 

She must've come down with that tunnel vision kind of romance, the one with the hazy, nougat filled center that causes instant glaucoma the moment she gazes into her husband's lying eyes.

A third mistress of James' surfaced this morning.

‘Course it’s sounding a lot Tiger, and whew, the timing's perfect.   Now that the golfer's gotten serious help and the late night comics used up all the good jokes, we got nothing more to say and are looking around for something like it, but a lot more interesting.

Not that we wish Sandra any unhappiness, no, no, not us.   Yet...

Yet what's more fascinating than another woman screwed by a cheating husband, but this time married to a Nazi and not even knowing it!

And Bullock?  She's the all American girl!

Over time we hope she's okay and finds true love and all, but for now we wait for the added twists and turns--entanglements, unwanted pregnancies, maybe hundred of thousands of dollars in secret payoffs to keep some talkative women from communicating with the media.

In short we say we can’t stand it but pray for a Greek chorus of whores, a yellow pages of tattooed ladies Mr. James kept horizontally active while Bullock was off on a movie shoot or cooking dinner in anticipation for an evening alone with her husband.

She loved being a wife, she said, though she had no clue she waited for a neo Nazi knight to come charging over the hill on his Hitler Harley.

But first James was careful, or maybe just a bit   Driving into the garage, I can see him ripping off his latest Third Reich pocket patch and tucking it into the saddlebag along the rear of his bike.

That completed, he opened the side door wide, and yelled, "Hey baby, I'm home!"

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Pope and his Naughty Priests

Once again the Catholic Church is embroiled in scandal, this time across Europe, just as I predicted a few years ago when things broke loose on this side of the pond.

“I bet this is nothing compared to what's going on in Ireland.  It’s a Catholic country. Can you imagine what those sickoes are doing over there?”

Jeez, I had completely forgotten all about Germany, Belgium, Italy, and everywhere else.

To date 500,000 victims have come forward complaining of sexual abuse from church officials.  That’s a half a million people, folks, making the problem huge, and making the Catholic Church the largest pedophiliac organization known in the world today.

But then I don't know any other.  Do you?

Pope Benedict’s originally from Germany, and Munich’s in an uproar, not only because of the wide spread abuse—it’s everywhere—but because the then Cardinal Ratziner covered up for one of the child rapists.  To avoid any breath of embarrassment, Ratzinger allowed the criminal to flee behind his parish walls and enter into “therapy.” 

A few years later the pig was somehow deemed reformed and was sent to another church where he initiated his hideous acts upon another group of kids.

Ironic isn’t it that the cardinal later served as the pope’s chief investigator for the next 23 years…
Guess the Holy See suffered a severe case of glaucoma.

So what's the church doing about these seemingly endless crimes?

Instead of fixing the source of the problem, they’re fixated on the aftermath.

I agree with zero tolerance—fire the bastards and settle with the victims, but why don’t they get rid of the dogs at the onset?

How come they keep recruiting the same inexperienced men, many of whom have no idea which sex they prefer.  These half formed nut cases are suddenly inducted into a strictly disciplined testosterone-only culture of heavy studying, laborious duties, devotion, but no sex.

Nada.  Not a word or even a message.

And this oasis of denial transfers into a whole lot of trouble for hundreds of thousands of innocent kids.

How about allowing priests to marry while also bringing women into the priesthood?  It works for every other religion, and Catholics are starved for new blood.

But that means change, and change is abhorred behind those thick Catholic walls and within those heavy guarded corridors.

Take Galileo (picture above left), for instance.

He got in a fight with the church around 1610 because he agreed with Copernicus that the sun was the center of the universe and not the earth.

Well the church wasn’t having any of that heretical nonsense and excommunicated the scientist, the worst possible punishment it could ever exact on a man.

Galileo died in disgrace, until the church finally forgave him.

In 1992 to be exact.

Only 382 years later, the church “vindicated” Galileo’s soul.

Turns out the guy was right after all!

It’s just that the pope and his buddies got a little backlogged with paperwork—about 400 years behind.

But they corrected it, so there’s hope for the future—as long as we’re shooting for 2392.

Our ancestors, bless them, will be singing halleluiah.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Anyone Here Seen the Hurt Locker?

I don’t remember reading about it, hearing it advertised, or even opening in Orlando.  Not until the Oscar nominations did I even learn its name.

But I'm no Hollywood insider--though I think I am.  I read my Vanity Fair every month and the theatre section of the Wall Street Journal and our local paper once a week.  And I watched last Sunday's Academy Awards, except for when I took a shower and blew dry my hair.   Okay, those awards are boring most of the time, but today I applaud it.

 I appaud and applaud because Sunday was truly an historic breakthrough.

Congratulations Kathy Bigelow!   It was wonderful—truly grand—that a woman finally won for best director and film of the year.

Except, and I regret to say this...

It was like Andre Agassi playing tennis with his fourteen year old daughter, who might be great at the game with powerful shots and professional potential, but the kid's no match for the old man.  Of course every doting dad wants to offer his child a chance for a solid future, a foundation to build her self-esteem, and maybe the possibility for the other younger generation coming behind her.

So Andre loses an easy shot, allowing his daughter to bask in the glory, and the whole world cheers.


That's what I was thinking when I saw Kathy Bigelow fisting the Oscar beside her. 

She won, yet something was missing.

After endless parties and interviews that night, the sun crept over the horizon.  (Not that I was there, but I imagined that the sun dawns daily in California).  Two things suggest this conclusion.  Oprah came on Monday morning, and serious filmmakers awoke and offered their opinions.

Like Jeffrey Katzenberg, who announced that the far reaching trend toward highly detailed 3D films--films that will closely resemble Avatar--the $300 million production that Bigelow's ex-husband James Cameron had not invented but made so spectacular, other movie makers can barely wait to begin their own creations.

So Bigelow carried home the golden statuette, but who was the real winner? 

A year from now I bet more than half the people in Peoria watching the onslaught of state-of-the-art 3D productions will probably think that Avatar won best film and would have to be reminded that The Hurt Locker, that little independent flick about IED's in Iraq, stole the award that evening.

Yet this accomplishment needed to be achieved.

The Academy finally bent its knobby knees and recognized women running the show.

Look what happened when they noticed  black actors.  

Sure Hattie McDaniels won in 1939 and Sidney Poitier in 1963, and then it all stopped.  But when Denzel Washington and Halle Berry picked up the Oscar for best actor and actress in 2002,  the white code of  "white on white" cracked faster than the Berlin Wall snorting coke.  Talented people of every tint rushed forward to snap up the emotional energy.

And the diversity has done us wonders.

Today women everywhere are proud of Kathy Bigelow.  When she reached for the award, they should've played our national anthem. 

Still I can't forget that tickle of truth.   To paraphrase a Reuter's reporter, Bigelow may have cracked one of Hollywood’s glass ceilings but truly shattering that odious thing will take some time.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hey, That's a Mall Floating By...

The Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas—the world’s largest cruise ship set sail on its maiden voyage this past December with the aim of housing and entertaining 6,300 passengers a week. Larger than many American towns, it carries 8600 people when fully loaded and is the size of almost five Titanics, or four football fields, or...
  You get the picture.

The ship is so huge, it can only dock in several places in the Caribbean, limiting the travel opportunities, and though the price is steeper than other cruises, business is brisk.

How come?

It’s a resort, a playground, and New York City rolled into one that just happens to be floating on the sea.

There are two rock climbing walls, a zip line that allows passengers to fly through the air, and surf machines that create action so that one can beat back the waves without jumping over the sides.

There are also 24 restaurants, 26 kitchens, and three doctors working around the clock.

No crime to worry about because there’s security everywhere, and if someone’s caught, there’s a jail.

A jail?

One woman, who’d never been on a cruise before was interviewed as she walked off the ship. She loved it and was already planning her next vacation.

Well why not? It was frantic, crazy, and crowded, but set in a security ridden, highly controlled environment.

Just like home, but creepier.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Arthur Frommer, founder of the Frommer’s Travel Guides, the Oasis is “a dumbing down of the travel experience.”

Oh Arthur, quit bitching.

There's so much to do.

You can watch employees wash windows, and in the hard to reach places, 18 robots were created to fill the need.  Keep an eye on those robots, making sure those smart alecks don’t miss a spot. And if you get bored, check the jail below deck to see if the prisoner they dragged from the two-story loft suite just before the second seating of dinner—you can’t trust those rich for anything—isn’t planning her escape.

(Look and see if she’s saving any pieces of her sheet to lower into the ocean or asks for time out to dash upstairs for that final sale on women’s cashmere snowflake sweaters).

Take a stroll around Central Park through the center of the ship, eat the second and third portions of your six gourmet meals for the day, do a light workout, get a half hour of sun, take a massage, a facial, enjoy happy hour and the evening serenade with Larry Lindsay from England playing his bagpipe. After dinner, hurry to the Broadway production of Hairspray—the third time you’ve seen it—catch the last fifteen minutes of a comedy show, eat another supper before gorging on the midnight buffet.

No one needs to get off the ship to check out ports of call. They’re too commercial and who wants another retail venue? The Mall of America is floating upstairs!

Come on, is this heaven or what?