Friday Fives – more about the Tap

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Your favorite book?

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.  You know that already, though.  Let’s mix it up, then, and say ‘Lamb: the gospel of christ according to his best friend Biff’.  I really, really like this new author.  Well… new to me.

Your favorite movie?

Big Fish.  Re-reading over this, before I hit ‘publish’, maybe I should have said ‘Spinal Tap’.  There is a 2 page diatribe down there on how great the film is, how great the actors are, and how incredible it is that they wrote and scored and improvised the film.  But… you know that movie.  You may not know ‘Big Fish’.  It is perfect storytelling.  The cinematography is stunning.  Can you imagine if Tim Burton tried to make something joyful?  Just for once?  Well, with Big Fish, he did.  Don’t worry, it still has his wife.  (Shakes fist in the air).  Don’t just watch the movie, just go buy it.  Get it in blu-ray, too.  You really want the full cinematic experience, if you can.  Don’t have blu ray yet?  Buy it… just for this movie.

Your favorite adaptation of a book to a movie?

 Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas.  So good it is freaky!  Depp goes FULL Hunter Thompson in this role.  Not just window dressing, either.  HST was in full cooperation with the film… well… as cooperative as someone like HST could be.  Depp lived with Hunter for months before the filming.  They became fast and close friends.  So much so that when Hunter died, Depp paid for the whole ‘launching his ashes into space from a Gonzo fist cannon that was several stories high’.  Yeah, that isn’t a typo or urban legend.  It happened, and all thanks to Johnny.  They had a kinship all along as they are both from Kentucky.

 Your least favorite adaptation ever of anything to a movie?

Being a book guy, I am always supposed to say ‘the book was better’.  However, I have almost universally enjoyed adaptations of my favorite books into movies.  I like to see the creativity of filmmakers trying to capture such an ephemeral thing.  For example, the last ‘Alice in Wonderland’ movie with Johnny Depp.  Everyone shit on it.  There are good reasons to shit on it – it WAY over featured Johnny Depp, and of course since it was Burton the lead role went to his wife.  He does that EVERY FUCKING MOVIE.  Though my praise for Depp’s acting in ‘Fear & Loathing’ is effusive… he isn’t too good in this movie.  Too hammy, just chewing up scenery being all proud of himself for looking clever.  We can blame Burton for that, though.

But… I loved it (Fear & Loathing, that is).  Here is why – everyone has told that story in various forms of film.  It’s a classic.  The Burton one, though, is a totally different telling.  It takes a story never told… which is what happens if Alice goes back to that world as an adult.  What happens?  Who is there?  Did anything, or anyone, change?  Did it ever really happen?  I think that is cool and creative.  I haven’t seen the second one, but I will.  I waited on purpose.  Since it was reviewed to badly, I knew I could wait and just buy a bluray copy for $10.  I like those (as opposed to just watching it on Amazon) because you get all the featurettes and behind the scenes stuff.

 Your first ever novel/comic book/movie character crush?

  • Editors note: Long diatribe warning

The guys in Spinal Tap.  I mean, it is just some British actors playing dumb, right?  Not remotely!  The actors are all American, and improvised the entire movie, AND wrote AND performed those songs.  It went so well that the fake band accidentally became a real band.   They released albums and recorded new music and even toured.  If you look at all these starlets today, you see Spinal Tap was more real than any of them.  Think Rhianna writes her own songs?  Think she can play and instrument?  Think she actually sings in concert?  Spinal Tap wins on every level.

In fact, those guys went on to do more movies together, and the guys wrote an entirely new music act for ‘a Mighty Wind’, which is actually a great folk album.  Got to see them live, and they played both Spinal Tap songs and a Mighty Wind songs.  That movie (another Chris Guest project) was also entirely improvised.

Why do it?  They are crazy rich.  The bass player is 40% of the voices on the Simpsons.  He probably has 100 million in the bank, and he is schlepping around from city to city playing these silly and perfect songs from 30 years ago.

My favorite thing about these guys when they did press for Spinal Tap (not known as a classic when it was released, but a stupid and pointless low budget art film)… they only did it in character.  You never got to interview Chris Guest or Michael McKean or Harry Shearer.  You could only talk to Derek Smalls, Nigel Tufnel, and David St Hubbins.  Now… we know Chris Guest as a genius filmmaker, and Harry Shearer as most of the Simpsons.  Back then, in 1980?  A bunch of improve yahoos.  Michael McKean was only known for playing Lenny in Laverne & Shirley.

Can you imagine how they got that film financed?  “I need 5 million bucks to make a movie with these unproven and unknown actors.”  Who will compose the score?  Who is your screenwriter?  Who is going to actually record the songs they pretend to sing?  You know, like we did with the Monkeys.

Well… about that.  No script.  No musicians.  No songwriters.  No famous actors.  We are just going to throw it to some improve guys. There is no screenplay, they are just going to make up the dialogue as we film.  They will write the songs themselves, and play all the instruments in the recordings.  It’s about a fake British heavy metal band that is washed up.”

Has that ever been done before then?  Roy Scheider is quite famous for improving the line ‘you’re gonna need a bigger boat’ in Jaws.  Everyone looks to that moment to prove his genius.  One sentence.  BFD.  If it were Chris Guest’s crew, they would have made up all the dialogue, built the boat themselves… and fought a real fucking shark.

 I mean, I know it is a masterpiece now… but at the time I bet they got laughed out of Hollywood.  Now, hopefully, you recognize the great McKean from Better Call Saul.  Jesus, is there anything these guys can’t do?  Listen to ‘listen to the flower people’ and tell me that song is not as good or better than anything of that era.  Also, full disclosure… I finally got my band to learn ‘Big Bottom’.  We played it at our last gig.

*bonus news, the guy behind these films, Chris Guest (Spinal Tap, Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman, For your Approval, a Mighty Wind…) has a new film out soon.  It’s called ‘Mascots’, and will be on Netflix soon.  Like everything Larry David does, you can assume it will be all improvised, and wonderfully stupid.

Friday Fives – the Sofa King Edition

a bit late, butt worth it.  Literally took me several hours to write.  Sadly, I have run out of time and patience… so it will not exactly see 8 hours of editing.  Enjoy!

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You just inherited a race horse, what do name him?

Believe it or not, we had a race horse.  His name was Double Heaven.  Well, we had a tenth of a racehorse.  Several years ago, a bunch of us horse friends got together under Bobbie (who I totally miss, and haven’t seen in years) and went in on a race horse together.  It was kinda what you might expect:  fun, rewarding, and wildly expensive.

Did you know it is supposed to be bad juju to bet on your own horse?  True story.  Was told that by a lot of folks, so we never bet on (or against) our own horse.  Pete Rose, I am looking in your direction on this one, pal!

 This is crazy. A quick google search found our horse, she has her own page.  How do I know that was our horse, there could have been thousands of horses with that name.  Answer is, that was our trainer.  BTW… Double Heaven > isn’t that just a beautiful name?  Even as an atheist, I see perfection in those words.  Good name for a band… OR… good nickname for boobies!

 My point being, I guess, that name is out.  So… how about Gonzo Hootie??

If you were an Alien observing humans for research, what would be something humans do that would be seen as completely absurd?

 How are we slaves to smaller, dumber animals.  As humans, we have conquered the ocean, mountains, and space.  We created flight!  We get our goddamn tv from outer fucking space.  Yet, we seem subservient to these things they call ‘dogs’.  We go to work all day every day… to get them food and treats.  The dogs don’t work.  They sit at home and we drive them around and feed them and then pick up their shit.  Even the queen of England doesn’t have someone pick up her shit.

 If we were truly the ‘master’, would they not work to bring us food?  Would they not feed us?  Wouldn’t they follow us around and pick up our shit?  Just sayin’.  Also, dear humans, your ‘master’ (the dog) licks anus while you are sleeping.  Not just his, either.

 Older, wiser people, what is some general life advice you would give to younger people?

this is where I am supposed to say something self deprecating like ‘I may be older, but certainly no wiser’, right?  Then, I should give some folky Twainism** like ‘the only thing I really know is that I know nothing’?  Horseshit!  I am older, and far wiser.  Age and time have taught me about patience and kindness.  I posses neither, but I admire them greatly!  See what I did there?  Lastly, like the Buddha, I do not claim to be wise.  Simply wiser than I was.  Heck, even you are that!

at 44, the most true thing I have learned is ‘you get what you pay for’.  However, that isn’t advice.  It is just an observation.  Best advice for a yute would be from my dad, who said

 you can play now, and pay later… or pay not and play later

He was talking about education in general, and grades in college in specific.  It applies to SO much, though.  His point being if you want to dick around and party and get nothing done now (play)… later in life you will pay.  Meaning, go ahead and drop off the earth and follow the Dead (or whatever) but you will be working at burger king when you are 40.  He was right.  You can spend your evening at the library re-writing term papers (didn’t really have PC computers for the average consumer in the early 90s.  Just the useless TRS80, or the arty and useless Macintosh… each cost more than college) OR…  you can blow it off and go to Brad’s party, instead.  Life is short, you wanna spend it in a library, nerd?  The answer is yes, yes you do. It’s library this Friday night, or working at Dairy Queen EVERY Friday night for $8 an hour for the next 40 years.  You can play now, and pay later.  Or… pay now and play later.

Behaviorists have studied this in society, it is called ‘delayed gratification’.  They found people with the capacity to do that (delay gratification, or pay now) are WAY more successful in life.  How do you test for something like that?  It’s fascinating.  You ask a kid ‘I can give you one oreo now if you would like.  OR… you can wait 2 hours and have 3 oreos.  In that choice, though, you get none now.  Obviously, for a very young child, it will be about 90% will choose the Oreo now.

Don’t be a hootie, I guess, is the point.

 Even better, funnier, and more relatable?  This scene in Colors, where Robert Duvall is teaching a very young Sean Pen that patience is the key to dealing with these gangs.

Here, just watch this (key dialogue begins at 34 seconds)

 

That story is the absolute perfect essence of my dad’s thoughts.  Of course, I didn’t know how right he was at the time.  My dad has since passed away, and I am still thankful for that paternal wisdom.  I spent an hour trying to explain it to you, even though you likely got it in 30 seconds.  I just wanted to make sure you got it, because it becomes more true every day.

 You travel back in time 3000 years, you can take 1 item. Which item do you choose to become the ruler of Earth?

 Easy – my guitar.  Doesn’t need electricity, comes with the hundreds of songs in my head, will dazzle the ladies, and (perhaps most importantly) allow me to keep myself entertained and occupied for endless hours.  You know this guy scores with the ladies.  Be a hootie, I guess, is my point

 In your will, what is something you could add to cause the most chaos?

 I don’t want to think about my death just yet.  And if I do, I want to think about the awesomeness people will fight to show how great I was.  WAIT… there it is.  Whomever makes the greatest homage to me (must be Eco-sustainable) gets all my… um… worldly… um… old Playboys?  Just kidding.  I don’t keep those. That would be creepy.  I mean, we would start with Hunter’s goodbye, the absolutely brilliant and utterly narcissistic and pointless gonzo cannonGonzo fist’ cannon that shot his ashes into the night sky.

 

Couple of footnotes to an already too long piece

 ** in writing this piece, I was made to remember our horse ‘Double Heaven’.  Remember, I do not write the questions, so it was a genuine surprise when I saw that.  I then realized ‘shit, those words are AMAZING together!’  Even a dummy (atheist with 2 divinities) like me knows that.  So, i then thought ‘shit, I must OWN those two words!’ because that is how we men handle these things.  I hopped over to Go Daddy to secure my loot and found it gone.  YET… not gone to a domain squatter… like those assholes who won’t sell me Lono.com because I don’t have $10,000. 

No, it appears to be a gal who started a blog.  It’s even a WordPress blog.  So, though I am jealous, I am not petty.  Stop over and give her a read.  She is SUPER new to it, and only has a couple posts.  Give her some encouragement.  Funny thing is, if she is as new as I think she is, and had I not sat on my goddamn Friday Fives for a week and a half… i could have got that domain name.  Either way, Double Heaven gal… good luck in your new adventure!

Also, maybe if just one of you turd burglars was here 13 years ago to encourage me when I started I’d be writing books now, instead of managing in a call center, you vampire of joy!

*** note the time and place you just read this, crackers… because I did it again.  That word up there?  Twainism?  I just spilled out of my head.  I had my editor do some research on the etymology of that word.  Since I am my editor, I’ll give you the news directly; I just motherfucking invented that word… as I wrote it.  Let’s put this in perspective, shall we?  Were you there when the Wright Brothers took off?  Were you there when Kennedy got shot?  Well, this is probably bigger.  Unless you were here for this gem, or this one?

really, that word didn’t exist.  Check here, and even here.  I’d offer a third citation for proof, but frankly I am a little butt hurt you even required two.  I do not source things, America… I am the source of things.

lastly lastly let me say this.  I hope you know I am not this narcissistic judgemental asshole I write myself to be.  Literally, it is a character.  Obviously, I am a HUGE part of that character… but I think of it as a bit.  Sort of like Steven Colbert did with his last show.  Like him, I think, it is also a cathartic and fun piece of vanity I recommend everyone try.  Also, when making fun of literally everyone in the bible belt… it’s best not to use your real info.

yes, I am a passionate liberal asshole who thinks he knows what is best for everyone.  In person, though, I ain’t.  I’ll leave you alone, prolly.  I mean, just look at you!  See what I did there?  That was Lono, my online persona.  I am Kevin of Parker, you jackass!

 

 

Friday Fives – that was weird, wasn’t it?

Kermit's art 2015What moment made you think “fuck, I am weird!”?

Gosh, I don’t know. I am left handed, so that was a big part of it for two reasons. One is, my mind is wired differently. So, I have a pretty unique perspective on things. Second, everything is fucked up. You don’t fit in school desks, you can’t write in a binder, scissors don’t work. The world is a cruel place for a left handed kid. I was literally born to be anti-establishment.

 The next big piece of my education of weirdness was art, through Kermit. Kermit was a close childhood buddy who was into all the cool shit. In high school, he turned me on to: Beatles White Album, Hunter s Thompson, Henry Miller, MC Escher, and Salvador Dali.  He even turned me on to the graphic novelGregory‘. He was the skeleton key to my awakening away from the square world. He was also, not surprisingly, an amazing artist. See that painting up there? He did that. Sorry it’s not a better quality replication. I just used my cell phone. Think that one is nice? Mikey D has one that blows this out of the water!

If there was a king of all the weirdos, who might it be?

I gotta go with Salvador Dali.  He was weird, sure.  Many folks are.  However, he made it a living.  It wasn’t just who he was, but the who he was to all outside appearances.  I can’t think of anyone who was so successful and tickled about their weirdness than Dali.  Well, maybe Andy Warhol… but he didn’t make anything lasting.  He was more John Waters weird (as a marketing angle) than fruit loops.  Dali was fruit loops, baby.

I mean… just look at this photo.  This is a real photo.  There are no tricks, illusions, or photo manipulation.  They this photo took dozens of hours to get the right shot.

The difference between Dali and a madman is that Dali is not mad – S Dali.

What’s the smallest thing that seems to piss you off that no else gets bothered by?

Well, I have talked about the turn signal thing. No sense rehashing that one. Another thing that drives me super nuts is watching people vote actively against their own interests. I would argue no state (well, besides Louisiana) has been more impacted by climate change than Kansas. We used to get our hay from Kansas. It has been SO dry there that now all the hay comes all the way from Canada. Yet… Kansas votes super Republican at all times… even though the GOP denies climate change. Plus, the senators from Kansas and Oklahoma are both working extremely hard to eliminate FEMA. Yet, those two states draw more from FEMA than all other states (almost combined).

It’s the tornadoes. So, this state really really really needs FEMA. Because of climate change, Kansas (and OK) have record tornado years… ever year.  Each year it only gets worse, and climatologists say this will continue.  Yet… these folks vote GOP literally at their own peril. It is so sociologically impossible to understand that it has spawned a movement. It’s called ‘what’s the matter with Kansas’. It is a study (and then a book, and then a movie) as to why Kansas folk aggressively shoot themselves in the foot by voting GOP. Short answer, (and I am dead serious)… it is because of the gays. That is why they all vote Republican. They are afraid of gays. Seriously, watch the documentary.

The state, as we all know, depends on agriculture for everything. They are losing the corn. They can’t make enough hay anymore. That isn’t liberal propaganda. Our hay guy is as right wing as you would guess a hay guy is. It KILLS him to drive all the to Canada for hay to sell in Colorado. It won’t get better, either.

Colorado briefly suffered with this. In the Northern Plains is a town called Greeley. The area around this is VERY heavily dependent on water for agriculture. They had a Congresslady named Marilyn Musgrave. Her one and only concern was stopping the gays. From what? We don’t know, but she was going to stop them.

She let her district languish over and over again. She could have been getting water protection passed, bail out money, protections from farmers against bad crop loans. She did not of that. NOTHING. It took a few election cycles, but the good folks of Greeley finally realized keeping jobs and houses was more important that whether or not there was gays next door. Musgrave never did figure that out, and got bounced. She spent every ounce of political capital and resources to fight gay issues.

       So, that drives me crazy.

What is a common phrase that you absolutely hate hearing?

 “It is what it is.” I get it, and I have had to say it. Sadly, it just means ‘fuck it. Why bother? Why even try?

What’s the dumbest product that made a fortune?

I think we can all look back and agree it was the pet rock. Wait… and bottled water. You know that bottled water is just tap water, right? Plus, you are destroying the oceans with those empty bottles.