Oops, I did it again

Be with me

This is a weird flick of four different love story vignettes. It’s in Chinese. Don’t do it.

Biutiful

I think I liked this movie. It’s not what I thought it would be at all. Javier Bardem plays a single dad to two kids and then he is diagnosed with terminal cancer. He’s also a criminal exploiting the illegal immigrants in Spain. He has to figure out how to provide for his kids after he dies and how to reconcile his bad deeds before he goes to hell, presumably. And then he kills a baby. Yikes. It’s a deliberate, though not always linear movie…But good…I think. (I’m still more than a little terrified that Bardem will show up to my door talmabout “friendo.”)

Cedar Rapids

Sigh. I had, not exactly high hopes, but hopes of some kind, for this movie. Instead, it ended up reconfirming the theory that me and my college roommates came up with decades ago about movies…if it can’t even get to 90 minutes, it’s going to suck. Sure enough, this movie about a button up insurance salesman who goes on a bender of crack, alcohol and adultery is not funny or sweet or even remotely interesting. I especially hated that we were supposed to be shocked that the black man speaks proper English and gardens — but then it’s hysterical when he goes all “gangta.” Eyeroll. I expected better from this cast. Also…whoa, I wondered what happened to Anne Heche.

Country Strong

I keep forgetting to review this movie. Or forgetting if I did already. But just in case, ARRRGHH GOOD LORD THIS MOVIE SUCKED IT! Whoever told Gweneth Paltrow she could sing…oh wait, this line is sounding familiar, maybe I did review it already.

Cowboys vs. Aliens

Dear Super 8, please take note: THIS IS WHAT A SUMMER BLOCKBUSTER SHOULD BE! See the title: Cowboys v. Aliens. Wanna know the plot? THERE ARE COWBOYS FIGHTING ALIENS! SEEE??? That’s how that shit should work! Anyway, loved this flick. I clapped when Harrison Ford came on screen — ever since that craptacular Indy sequel, I’ve been pissed at him. But he’s back in awesome shape in this movie. I also played the “guess who’s an alien game.” I was 1 for 4, which is pretty good if you ask me! Plus, I got to yell out “TAKE THAT ALIEN”! And, honestly, isn’t that really what summer blockbusters are about? No? It’s not? Is that just for black people? #races

Exit through the giftshop

Documentary about grafitti artist Banksy and possible street art fraud “Mr. Brain Wash.” If this were twitter, I’d slap a #whitepeopleproblems tag on this.

Dune

So how much money did George Lucas get when he sued David Lynch for this blatant Star Wars rip-off? Like really? Was it new mansion money? So, I’m apparently not allowed to say anything bad about this movie because it’s a “classic.” Instead, I will say you know what the hallmark of an amazing movie is? When every character needs to have a voiceover explaining what the hell they’re doing and why because otherwise no one would have a clue. And such a movie further ascends to the pantheon of awesome cinema when on top of those voiceovers, they have an overarching narrator because it STILL doesn’t make any sense. Yarf!

Vera drake

It took me six weeks to do it, but DAMMIT, I FINISHED THIS! I have no idea why the first hour and ten minutes exist, as an hour and ten minutes after the last half hour would have been infinitely more interesting, but I finished it! *slow clap*

Captain America

I took @VinNay to this movie for his birthday because he refused to watch Dune with me. We both fell asleep during the movie, though at different parts. This movie was fine, I guess. I just don’t like the notion that “Captain America” won World War 2. America won World War 2. (Shut it. I will fight you.) Like, if they make some movie where Sam Jackson’s eyepatch guy frees the slaves…um…actually, I might go see that… *whistles*

Harry Potter: Part 72 3D: The revenge of Voldemort’s Hammer

This movie might be the best one in the series. I say “might” because it’s been, what? Eight years? Who can remember! And I forshizzle ain’t watching them again. This one might also be better than the book about the same events.

Transformers 3: Michael Bay,needs a hobby

Robots from outer space battle for Earth supremacy. Somehow, Shia Lebouef is an asset. Things go boom. Frequently.

True Grit
The Coen brothers tricked me! Tricked! This movie was okay. Kinda boring. Really predictable. And boring. I guess some dude kills this girl’s dad, so she hires Jeff Bridges to track him down, but Matt Damon is already on his trail, so they go off on a “two scruffy men and a little lady” adventure. There’s a bunch of shooting. But not the cool rapid fire kind.


The Company Men

This effing movie is such a bullshit, racist, sexist, craptacular piece of crap that I will punch Ben Affleck in the FACE ON SIGHT if I ever see him! Arrrgghhh. He gets laid off, but keeps his Porsche and golf club membership, and his wife, conveniently, goes back to work as a nurse. Then, his brother-in-law gives him a construction job. Then his old boss is fired and decides to open a new company, on some Pretty Woman “let’s build ships together” tip, and he makes Affleck the head of it. Nevermind that all the women are either retarded or sleeping with men 40 years their senior or that the black guy is the best educated of the bunch and ends up working construction for free…wait, did I say nevermind? Correction. MIND!! Double mind! TRIPLE MIND! Right. In. The. Face.

Illusionist
This is a weird creepy cartoon about this wandering middle aged magician and a teenaged girl who decides to stow away with him. Uh huh. She’s all “I want new shoes!” “I want a pretty dress!” “Get me that coat in the window!” And he has to get like three extra jobs to buy them for her while pretending he gets them by “magic.” After a few years, she’s now a young woman and takes up with the first dude to bat eyes at her through a window. So, then the magician is all “you know what? Fuck you, whore!” I may be paraphrasing. Also, there’s no talking in the movie cause the magician speaks French or something and the girl doesn’t. I said weird already, right?

Posted in Movies | 25 Comments

Happy Birthday to me! (cross posted)

I’ve had this blog so long, I feel like I must have told all my stories already. However, it’s my blog, my birthday and I shall be indulged.

(I’m currently sitting behind right field at MCU Park in Coney Island watching the Brooklyn Cyclones take on something called “the Monsters” on Irish night. There are Irish line dancers doing a jig around the field while bag pipers bag pipe.) The only part of this setting that makes sense for this story is that it’s a temperate Brooklyn night on the eve of my birthday. For that is where my story begins…

You may find it hard to believe, but I wasn’t always a proponent of the birthday season. Sure, my earliest birthdays were elaborate affairs with multiple cakes and pinatas and games and prizes (my mother loves to remind me that one year I threw such a tantrum after losing at musical chairs that I had to be taken to a toy store where I could be bought a prize for coming in second. “And after that, I just bought a prize for you and a prize for the winner.” Damn straight, woman. It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.)

However, those were the halcyon days of 365 days a year day care center. All of my cousins were still in single digits and pinatas and cakes were exactly where they wanted to be.

But once I was properly in elementary school, it all fell apart. My cousins were teenagers, my classmates were away for the summer and my birthday became a hodge podge of whatever riff raff kids happened to still be in East Coco Beach come the second week of July. And then when this stupid girl caused me to crash my brand new bike at my tenth birthday party (she was trying to run alongside me and grabbed the handlebars once I hit the downhill slope) I had had quite enough.

“Nah, I don’t want a party this year,” ten-year-old Dawn declared in June. My mother shrugged. On the fourth of July, she said “are you sure?”

Yup.

And that was that. My birthday became such a non event that *my mother* forgot my sixteenth! #rude (Oh, she’ll swear up and down that she did not, but then how come she didn’t say “happy birthday,” till after I was all “ahem. Um. Do you know what today is?” And then my “present” was a necklace that she dug out of her jewelry box. Uh huh.

But when I turned seventeen, I was working at a corporate law firm in Manhattan and HR arranged a surprise party for me, with an ice cream cake and everything! (OMG! A leprechaun is currently rounding the bases! I KID YOU NOT! He’s like two feet tall, y’all!! I’m transfixed!)

I worked at the same place again the following year, but there was no party, so I just went around subtly telling everyone it was my birthday till my boss took me and the other interns out to lunch.

Score!

(National anthem gives me goosebumps EVERY TIME!)

Where was I? Ah, yes, birthdays were making a comeback! We got derailed at 19 cause my birthday fell on the first day of camp, so I didn’t know anyone and then I fell off the stage during an improv performance. I rallied though, and pretended that I meant to do it. I didn’t. Ouchie.

(Update: turns out “the Monsters” are short for “The Vermont Lake Monsters.” I just booed their lead off batter. Incidentally, do you know what you can see from these seats behind right field? Right field. And a bit of center field. Also, the PA announcer just made the following annoucement “Will the owner of a maroon Chevy, plate number blah blah blah. Please report to the parking lot. Your lights are on, your windows are down, your car is running and your keys are inside.” O_o I guess I should mention they were giving away free jerseys to the first 3000 guests. I didn’t get one. Sadface. However, had I been quicker, I coulda gotten a free Chevy!)

I don’t remember my twentieth, but I do know that I was so stoked for my 21st! I had crazy plans, maaaan! I could finally drink! I made a list of all the places that gave out free drinks on your birthday and I would be damned if I wasn’t gonna hit every one!

And then do you know what happened? Do *YOU*?? My spiteful, vindictive, rude, mean-spirited grandmother died on July 3rd!

Aarrrggghhhh.

So on my awesome 21st birthday when I was *supposed* to be doing a free pub crawl, I was in a hot Baptist church in Panama *eulogizing* this woman! And since my family was now in mourning, we couldn’t play music, dance or be happy in any fashion. Do you know what that puts a damper on? My BIRTHDAY!

That woman was EVIL, I TELLS YA! EEEEEVVVUUUULLLLLL! That’s right, with a U! Hmph.

So, I was annoyed with birthdays again, because the following year was spent having her dumb year-dead memorial thingy.

(Ah, but I whined about my ruined birthday so loudly and frequently, that my college roommates threw me a surprise party in the middle of that December.)

And then…the summer I turned 24, I was again working at a New York law firm, but this time I was a summer associate, the corporate market was booming and they were totally in the “convince Dawn to come work here full time” business. (That business has, sadly, since gone under.)

I had a party at the top of the World Trade Center. Went to dinner at all the highest Zagat rated restaurants each workday in July. I was taken to plays and WNBA games. I got box seats to the subway series games… It was magic on a stick! And thus, the birthday season was born!

The following year, my mom threw her first birthday party for me in like 15 years. My cake had a water fountain! No, seriously. A working water fountain. And so the July birthday was redeemed. I see so many Cancers on twitter celebrating their July birthdays, that I know the modern-day youth do not suffer the fate of neglect so prevalent in my tween years.

(Aww, the right fielder just collided with the first baseman. Neither ended up catching the ball.)

Social media ensures that birthdays are no longer just for the lucky September through June set. As for me, I still have like nine years of missed birthdays to catch up on. Starting…..NOW!!

Happy Birthday me!!

Yaaayyy!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

JU-LIED

See what I did there? July? Ju-lied? I am so great!

It’s my birthday month! Are you all excited? Ready to shower me with praise and adoration? I am gearing up for daily parties and international cake eating. I’m looking at you, Toronto.

So yeah…here I am again. Listen. LIS-TEN! THINGS HAPPEN! Though not to me, apparently. I am somehow always watching movies. Stop staring. It’s rude. Anyhoo…so I sorta kinda saw a bunch of movies! Want to hear about them?

Super 8

Okay, this one is kind of a funny story. Through no fault of its own, I thought Super 8 was going to be about superheroes and super powers — I take that back, I thought that because of the NAME, so it’s totally the movie’s own fault! Anyway, I decided that since I was actually going OUT to the movies, I should do it properly. So I paid TWENTY dollars to see this flick in the IMAX theater. By the end, I. was. PISSED! In retrospect, this movie was fine for what it was, think more ET than Batman. The guy from Friday Night Lights is quite good as the worried, stern dad and the heavy child-actor cast did not make me want to vomit. That sister of the little blond girl might just be better than the blond girl herself. HOWEVER, at the time…I was maaaad that I had wasted $20 when there weren’t even that many special effects scenes. I could have seen this movie three months from now, on my flatscreen and been perfectly happy. So, in protest, I walked across the movie theater hall to see…

X-Men: First Class

Now, I was almost super mad at this movie too, because it starts off very cerebrally without much stuff flying around. But it turns around about forty minutes in and becomes a fairly kick ass, ass kicking movie. I’m not a comic geek, so I don’t have much to say about adherence to the real origin stories, but I did love the first two X-men movies and this was a GREAT prequel. I also highly dug the cameos from Wolverine and John Stamos’ ex-wife! Two thumbs up. However, this still meant that I had paid $10 for Super 8. I found that distateful, so I went to see my boyfriend in my head, Ryan Reynolds, in…

Green Lantern: 3D

Sneaking into a 3D movie is not without its challenges. Needless to say, I overcame them…happily I LOVED this movie! I thought the 3D parts actually made sense (unlike most totally unnecessary 3D fare.) I liked the alien spaceship guy and of course, Ryan Reynolds was practically perfect in every way. Heck, I didn’t even hate Serena from Gossip Girl, even though she was throwing herself at my boyfriend – how embarrasing for her. I liked the storyline. The mad scientist part was kinda sad, he just wanted a little love, was that so wrong… but I don’t really see how they do a sequel. A TV show maybe…or like a live action play that Ryan Reynolds will perform in my house every day…*whistles*

Pirates of the Caribbean 4

Okay, now I felt completely justified seeing this movie for free because the last Pirates of the Carribean was just SO bloody awful and I felt the franchise owed me. This movie was not horrible, in fact, I rather enjoyed some parts of it…though, holy crap it was long! And for the life of me, I cannot remember what happens to the mermaid or that christian man… anyway, it was fine. Of course, I had now spent something like 12 hours staring at giant movie screens. I was starving, dehydrated and had a severe headache. So, I went home and watched…

Mao’s Last Dancer

The trailer for this movie made it seem more arty than it actually was. It told a surprisingly linear story of a Chinese dancer who was reluctantly loaned out by the communist regime to spend a summer dancing with a texas troupe. It then disappointingly gets very formulaic with him falling in love and marrying the first american girl to smile at him. He clashes with his government about going back blah blah blah. There weren’t even any horrible consequences. Also, I’m pretty sure he wasn’t actually Mao’s last dancer. Lame.

The Hit List

Man, once again, Cuba Gooding Jr. sucks me in with a delightful premise of a man, who is down on his luck and having the worst day of all time, running into a disillusioned hitman who promises to eliminate the guy’s enemies for him. The guy doesn’t take it seriously and writes down five names. But when they start dying off…dun dun dun. Awesome, right? Wrong! Cuba Gooding juniors all over it and all that’s left is a sucktacular mess!

The Good German

It took about seven hours to see this movie one Sunday. I put it in, fell asleep twenty minutes through. I woke up, started it over, fell asleep 24 minutes in. Decided not to start over, fell asleep twenty minutes after that. And so on, till I was well rested and had sorta pieced together that Cate Blanchett was some kind of race traitor in this horrible knock off of Casablanca. And I think George Clooney was in it…but that might just have been an awesome dream.

Shallow Grave

Alceste not only *recommended* this flick to me; he loaned it to me because he OWNS it. O_o Yeah, I have to fight him now. With fists. This piece of crap is a so-called morality tale about four friends who take in a boarder. The man dies and they discover he was hiding a suitcase of money. Instead of calling the police to collect the body, they devise an elaborately ridiculous scheme to hide the body so they can keep the money. And everything that happens after that moronic decision is, predictably, equally moronic. Ugh. WITH FISTS, ALCESTE!

Another Year

This movie ranks up there with Black Swan and Catfish as one of the best movies I’ve seen. It’s haunting, depressing, cute, touching, funny, depressing…oh, did I say depressing already? Basically, it follows a couple and their friends and family for one year. One character, who believes her whole life will change if she could only get a car, will just about break your heart. Poor thing. Great movie.

Happy-Go-Lucky

I gave Another Year so many stars that Netflix felt that I would definitely totally love this movie about a happy go lucky woman who has to learn to drive after her bike is stolen. I must now fight Netflix with my fists. Bleeecchhh.

School of Life
stars Ryan Reynolds as a teacher with some kind of terminal blood disease that inspires him to approach teaching his middle schoolers with that Robin Williams “seize the day” spirit. This upsets the conservative headmaster’s son teacher and he sets out to destroy Ryan and his life seizing ways…until he learns the tragic truth. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry…no, actually you won’t do any of those things. This movie is bad. On the plus side, you do get to watch Ryan Reynolds.

A summer in Genoa

The previews for this movie about a mom who dies, leaving behind her husband and young daughters, intrigued me. It wasn’t clear where they were going with it. Does the mom’s ghost come back or does the family just move to Italy and start over. After seeing the movie I’m still not sure. Blah. It did make me want to go to Italy though!

Inside Job

A documentary about the 2008 financial meltdown. Like all good documentaries to raises up the hackles and angries up the blood! I want prison sentences and I need the President to explain to me why these people are still working in his administration as financial advisors?! I demand answers! But then the movie ended and I forgot. But now I remember again! ANSWERS!

Get Low

Yet another movie with an expert trailer. The story of a dude who decides to throw his funeral before he dies so that everyone in the town can tell a story about him, seemed like something I would enjoy. But instead of committing to that premise, the movie changes into a sentimental story about regret and a quest for forgiveness. Boo. I wanted the movie where all the townspeople roast this old dude.

Multiple Sarcasms

One of those “married man has female best friend and then half way through the movie realizes he’s been in love with his best friend the whole time and then tells her one drunken night” movies. Those movies can be good, if done properly. This one isn’t cause it isn’t. Boo. Also, why is Stockard Channing in this? Why?

Double Take

A faux documentary about Alfred Hitchcock having dinner with himself from the future. And about Hitchcock’s real life double…it’s weird and eery, and it intersperses lots of stuff about the cold war. Honestly, I still don’t know what I think about it…the meeting yourself from the future part is fascinating and being a celebrity doppleganger sounds cool…I dunno. It’s weird. But short. So there’s that.

Posted in Movies | 22 Comments

An open letter to New York Catholics who are freaking the eff out

I want to tell you to calm down.

However, as a chronic hypochondriac who is easily startled by small animals and loud noises, I know that “calm down,” is the last thing you should say to someone who is freaking the eff out.

Instead, I will tell you a story.

I grew up in a very poor urban neighborhood in Brooklyn. In the 1980s, it was called “the ghetto.” I’m pretty sure that today there is some touchy feely name for it. My mother couldn’t afford to send me to Catholic school, so I went to public school during the week and got my Catholic training at CCD on Sundays before church. My mother also taught CCD at our parish to the older kids preparing for confirmation. These classes met after church. So, all told, I would spend about four hours every morning at church. An hour in my CCD class, an hour and a half in mass and another couple of hours waiting for my mom to finish teaching. The latter hours would be spent sitting with Sister Frances in the rectory listening to the Mets game on the radio. (She grew up as a die-hard Brooklyn Dodgers fan and taught me to spit at any mention of the L.A. Dodgers (ptui) and several ways to curse the name of Walter O’Malley.) But against the backdrop of the Amazins on the radio and packing away the supplies from the morning CCD classes, Sister Frances also instilled a love of scripture and the Church itself. I loved learning bible stories and I memorized prayers the way other children memorized pop songs. It was Sister Frances who fielded all my early questions reconciling my secular world education with my religious beliefs.

So despite my public school curricula chock full of sex education and evolution, I was still extremely active in my faith. I was the youngest CCD teacher at Holy Cross and served as a lector during mass all through high school. When I was a teenager, I was chosen to represent my East Flatbush parish at Catholic World Youth day in Poland. I think we were in Poland for eight days. Toward the end of our trip, a few of the other kids managed to get ahold of the communion wine.

Appalled at the sight of my fellow Catholic youth taking swigs from the decanter, I firmly declined.

“That’s stealing. What you guys are doing is completely wrong,” I said in a language I can now safely identify as “uncool square.”

The kid who had extended the decanter to me, shrugged and pulled the bottle up to his own lips and drank.

“Yeah, but Jesus will forgive me.”

Touche, tall rebel kid with that teenage mustache all the boys “grow” as soon as they “can,” touche.

The next night, still buzzing from hearing Pope John Paul II speak and meeting thousands of other Catholic young people from all over the world, we all stayed up engaged in the much more appropriate activity of talking about our favorite bible stories and our first confessions — turns out I wasn’t the only smartass to make-up a sin and then say “Lied during my first confession.”

Hi.Lar.Ious.

When I graduated from high school, I went out to one of those elite Ivy League universities. I went to church every Sunday for about a week during Freshman year. Yeah. But mostly I went to church on Easter Sunday until I moved back to New York.

I started to study law in Harlem and joined a tiny on-campus parish. I loved going to mass there. I very quickly knew everyone and was surprised at how comforting I found the familiarity of the liturgy. Between managing my first apartment, working nights to pay bills and attending first year law classes, being someplace where I knew all the words and could predict with absolute certainty what would happen next, just about saved my sanity.

That spring, I volunteered in New Orleans to work on the death penalty appeal of a teenager on Louisiana’s death row. I ended up going to mass in New Orleans with a few of the other Catholic law students on the trip. AND IT WAS EXACTLY THE SAME! It was my first mass in a different state and I just couldn’t believe it! A thousand miles from home and mass was the same!

A couple of years later, I was in Jamaica, waiting out the impending Y2K worldwide meltdown on a beach and I went to the local Catholic church in Negril on Christmas Day. There were about twenty people attending and when the priest asked if I would do the readings, I said sure. I read the Greatest Story ever told on the altar wearing shorts and flip-flops. It was magic!

Last year, after hearing the sad news that one of my friends had taken his own life, I found myself seeking answers in a small chapel in a Boston suburb. I was surprised that I didn’t feel that usual sanctuary. The homily didn’t seem relevant. The readings were unhelpful and the endless announcements at the end were just annoying. I didn’t return to church for six months. It was a long, lonely winter. And I wish I wasn’t about to undermine all of my credibility in the next sentence, but…

And then one afternoon, I was watching an Anthony Hopkins movie about demonic possession. Yeah, I know. But you have to understand strange things had been happening to me the WHOLE weekend! I was half-convinced I was a witch. (I’m not a witch, I’m you. ™) The movie convinced the other half of me that I might be possessed. Just to be sure, the next morning, I was at the 11:45 mass. As it so happens, this was a confirmation mass. Twenty-five shiny teenagers in their Sunday best, surrounded by beaming family members as they, as adult members of the church, confirmed the vows made on their behalf at their infant baptisms.

Magic, no, better…faith!

The homily was a wonderful story about how important confirmation was because everyday for the rest of their lives, so many things would serve to pull them away from their faith. And one by one, each of those youngsters made their way to the altar and, with their sponsors, rejected Satan and recited the belief in Jesus.

Mass the following week was about Pentecost and the week after that, the Father’s Day mass was about the holy Trinity. I haven’t missed mass in five weeks.

But the face and sound of Catholics beaming into my home from my television during these last few weeks were not the comforting, welcoming faithful voices I hear in church on Sundays. This was an angry, terrified Catholic church. I heard callers screaming that “they want to get rid of the church. They‘re closing down churches and now they want to take away our sacraments.” The caller never did clarify who the “they” were. Then, Archbishop Dolan said marriage equality would be “terribly detrimental” to the Church. I learned that the church’s lawyers were going to battle against marriage equality. My friends mocked me because Catholic churches were banning the use of rainbows.
Damn you, Canadia!

I started to become angry. My Catholic church isn’t about fear and exclusion and lawyer armies! When victory for your side means “haw-haw no marriage for them!” You’ve strayed a ways from the catholic and Catholic way.

The Sunday after the marriage equality bill was signed into law, a despondent Archbishop had this to say:

“This is about prayer,” he said inside the cathedral. “I sort of needed a good dose of the Lord’s grace and mercy because I’ve been down a little lately as you can imagine.”

Archbishop Dolan said he was disheartened that the same-sex marriage bill was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.

“I would have to say I was sad because it’s not good for the common good,” the archbishop said. “I think society and culture is at its peril.”

And I felt so sorry for him. Every week he gets to perform a miracle on the altar of one of the finest cathedrals in the world and he’s bummed out because two chicks can marry each in New York? How is he not celebrating the hundreds of thousands of children still being confirmed in the church despite all the sex, drugs and rock n roll in the streets? Is he seriously scared a marriage certificate bearing the names Adam and Steve “endangers” the Church? The Church built on Peter, who was so badass that when the Romans came to crucify him was all “okay, but can you crucify me upside down because I’m not worthy enough to die the way Christ did?” Does the Archbishop think Governor Cuomo’s pen is mightier than the church that inspired St. Stephen to continue reciting scripture even as he was stoned to death?

That feeling of loss the New York bishops are feeling is basically the manifestation of the principle of political philosophy that separation of church and state is important for each to thrive. New York should not be governed by Catholic doctrine; the head of New York’s Catholic community should not be drafting legislation for state governance. And even if you disagree with that principle, why wouldn’t you start with Catholic driven legislation to require food for the hungry or jail for adulterers or mandatory baptism for all babies? Those seem to hit more universal tenets of the Catholic faith than this blind “defense” of the sacrament of marriage — incidentally, a sacrament none of these activist bishops have ever participated in.

The church is made stronger when its clergy, its congregations, its army of lawyers are focused on strengthening the church. Make sure it’s safe for kids to hang out in rectories with nuns and priests. Make sure you’re spending money keeping Catholic schools open, not making settlements to abuse victims. Instead of giving “sky-is-falling” interviews, the church leaders should be getting to know their congregations, answering questions, providing comfort. Fear, anger, and hate have no place in the Catholic church; the church should a refuge from those things. We reject them.

The Catholic church has provided a framework for most of my life and I’m sure the same can be said for many of the Catholics currently freaking the eff out. But the truth is, the church is you. It’s me. It’s our faith that will keep it strong and serve as an example for the future generations of Catholics. Attacking “society,” and using scare tactics to frighten people about the coming of fire and brimstone, stands in stark opposition to the church’s teaching that God is love. Live and let live; render unto Caesar and all that jazz.

It wasn’t sodomy that brought the Roman empire to its knees, it was Christianity!

There is nothing for us to be afraid of! We are Catholics! We get crucified upside down, son! We say the same mass in Brooklyn and New Orleans and Jamaica! Nothing the state of New York does diminishes the Catholic church in any way. Being part of the Catholic church, despite the fact that most of my classmates were “agnostics” or thought black people should be Baptists made me used to being a lone voice; it gave me the courage to tell my fellow trip participants that wine stealing is wrong. Being Catholic gave rebel teen the faith to know that if he did, and he asked for it, Jesus would forgive him. How awesome are we? Pretty darn.

So, I’m not going to tell you to calm down. But I will repeat what we hear every Sunday “Peace be with you.”

Let the states run their governments the way their elected leaders and their voters see fit; let the church provide a place where young kids can learn to love God and hate the LA Dodgers.
Ptui.

Posted in Memoir, Personal | 18 Comments

End of an Era

I must start with a bit of breaking news from the Summersverse…I just canceled
my blockbuster subscription.

The company has been recently acquired by Dish Network or something and for the last five weeks have not gotten in any new movies… or most accurately, have not sent me any new movies, as you’ll shortly see in my movie reviews. So, the long and the short of it (Did I get that saying right? Hell does that mean??) is that I’ll have an extra $25 a month and this is probably my last lengthy movie reviews post unless and until I’m all unemployed again. Or Netflix finally brings streaming to the Droid X. I know you’re all sad. Shut up! You’ll miss me! #Rude

I wish I could say I’ll be going out with a bang here, alas…

Funny Face

First off, I thought this movie was Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand. It’s not.
It’s Funny *FACE* with that Audrey Hepburn lady from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
It’s TERRRRRRIIIBBLLLEEEE. It’s a musical, but she can’t sing. It’s about “funny looking girls,” but she’s not funny looking. It’s a love story with a romantic lead old enough to be her grandpa! BOO! LAME! EWWW!! Oh, and it’s Gene Kelly dancing, which should be awesome, but he’s like 300 years old in the movie and I spend all his dance solos terrified that he’s going to break a hip. NO. BUENO.


Meet Me in St. Louis

The best part of this movie is in the first ten minutes, where the little girl
is talking about how much she loves St. Louis (she’s like 5) and she says “It’s
my favorite city! Wasn’t I lucky to be born in my favorite city?” I laughed so hard! THAT’S HOW I FEEL ABOUT BROOKLYN! Except it’s not ridiculous for me to say
that because I’m a grown-up. And I’m well traveled! Anyway, it’s a musical, but
not a really good one. I didn’t leave my couch singing any of the songs, though I did recognize a couple of them. Acting is predictably hammy, as was the way in
the olden times of Judy Garland movies.


Finder’s Fee

So, a couple of months ago I decided to go all in on Ryan Reynolds. When I go all in, I go ALL IN. So here we are. This is a “Jeff Probst” production (head desk) about a guy who finds a wallet. Turns out that inside the wallet is THAT NIGHT’S WINNING LOTTO TICKET! OMG! (Seriously, worst scene ever. The lotto ticket is only three numbers, but the camera keeps going back and forth between the TV screen of the winning numbers and the ticket like it was the White House nuclear codes. AND THEN the guy takes a pencil to double check AGAIN. I’m like 8 23 91, MORON! IT’S THREE NUMBERS!) Anyway, he had called up the lost wallet guy before he realized the 6 million dollar ticket was in there, the guy comes and then the cops lock down their building so the old man has to stay and tell his sob story as the guy feels guilt about taking the ticket. Think a beating heart beneath the floorboards. Except much much much worse. Not even Ryan Reynolds could save this. There is some really bad poker in it.

Foolproof

Yet another Ryan Reynolds flick from the way back machine. He and his friends plan a faux jewelry heist, but their plans are stolen by a Mafia big wig and carried out. He then blackmails them with the threat of telling the cops they did it unless they help him carry out the heist he really wants to work on. They agree. It’s bad, but not terrible. And I like Ryan Reynolds in this. I also like saying Ryan Reynolds. I also now believe that typing is speaking. Moving on.

Catfish

Okay. Wow. WOW WOW! This and Black Swan are the best movies I’ve seen all year. Catfish is a documentary about a New York City photographer’s relationship with a family in the Midwest. People have questioned whether it’s real or if it’s like that Joaquin Phoenix fauxmentary thing. I can understand the skepticism because the whole thing is so brilliant you can’t believe it’s true. It held particular fascination for me because I do live so much of my life online (so much so I think typing is speaking.) But this flick made me seriously consider deleting my facebook account. So good!


Somewhere

This movie, like all movies directed by Sophia Coppola, makes me long for the
days when she was an actress. Oh yeah, I said it. Sophia the actress >>>>>>
Sophia the Director. AND SHE SUCKED AS AN ACTRESS! So here’s Somewhere: Opening
scene: Guy driving his Beamer around a racetrack three times. Closing scene:
Guy driving his Beamer down the LA Freeway. Get it? GET IT?? First he was going
nowhere BUT NOWWWWWWW he’s…going….SOMEWHERE! Kill me.

Rabbit hole

This movie is weird. It’s about a couple who loses their four-year-old son to a
car accident. The husband wants to go to group therapy; the wife doesn’t. So the
husband smokes pot with a lady from group and the wife has playdates with the teenager who drove the car that killed her son. And there’s a mother and a pregnant sister. I dunno. It’s not the worst, but…yeah.

The Rite

This movie is what can only be described as “Catholic Porn.” Anthony Hopkins is a priest who does exorcisms and an unbeliever seminary student from America is assigned to shadow him. Of course, the student thinks the old man is faking the exorcisms, but then when the old man himself becomes possessed it will be up to the young man to find his faith and vanquish the demon! “I believe in the devil, so I BELIEVE IN GOD!” Cheesy, sure. Effective, hell yes. My ass was in church the next morning for the first time this year. Also, I didn’t just say hell. And I definitely didn’t say it two times.

I love you Phillip Morris

I rented this movie from the store in a predominately Italian-American neighborhood in Brooklyn. I was wearing a Patriots T-shirt and the clerk goes “Tom Brady can lick my balls.” Um…and then, a few seconds later, as he takes the movies from my arms, he goes “You don’t want to watch this movie,” he says holding up the box, with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor on the front, by its edges lest he catch the AIDS “It’s all faggy homo stuff. Disgusting.” Now, there are a hundred and one clever responses to both these statements that I have since come up with, but at the time what I said was “That’s okay. I’ll still take it.” Sure enough, the movie is a romantic comedy about two inmates who meet in prison. It’s also part that movie with Leo DiCaprio where he steals a pilot’s uniform and is walking through the airport with a bunch of stewardesses even though he’s like a teenager. (Oh, you guys are so gonna miss these reviews, aren’t you?! AREN’T YOU?) Jim Carrey is pretty good in this. So is Ewan. I liked it, but I have to admit, if this movie were about a man and a woman, I would have thought it was cheesy. So, it might just be my impulse to not be heterosexist that makes me like it. You know, like how white people give Academy Award nominations to crap like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon or Amistad just not seem racisty.

Gulliver’s Travels

I rented this movie because Donna Noble from Doctor Who is in it. She’s not even really in it all that much. It’s mostly a bromance between Jack Black and Marshall from How I met your mother. It’s okay. Some cool effects. But you so see the end coming a mile away. Amanda Peete also didn’t shine at all and I usually love her! Meh.

Gnomeo and Juliet

Um. Yeah. I rented a movie called Gnomeo and Juliet. And now I’m putting that in writing and publishing it. With my name on it. Um. Yeah. So what can I say? It’s about garden gnomes. Rival garden gnomes. Who fall in love. And…did I say that they were garden gnomes? Why am I still typing?! Little kids might like it though. And I can’t wait for them to get to junior high school and be all “hey, this play is just like that cartoon I saw with the garden gnomes!”

The Dilemma

Vince Vaughn discovers his best friend’s wife is having an affair. When I saw the trailers I thought there would be some twist like…it was really the wife’s cousin or the wife had a twin sister. But no. It is exactly what it says it is. The rest runs very predictably through the bromance formula which has become so popular. Yawn. Queen Latifah is extra weird in this movie. Like extra. Weird. Oh, but it has some hockey in it! What? Hockey is cool.

The Roommate

This movie stars Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girls and Lila from Friday Night Lights. I watched it with my friend F-train, who was visiting from Las Vegas. He did not enjoy it. His comment “oh, these people have TV shows? So they’re not desperate enough to have to do nudity.” He was right. There was no nudity. (The next day we were watching The Good Wife and his only remark was “wait, rewind the lesbian sex scene! I can’t believe they can show this on network TV!) Anyway, The Roommate is a psychological thriller in the vein of “Single White Female.” But it was neither psychological… nor thrilling. I liked Blair in it though. She did a good psycho chick.

No Strings Attached

Ugh. Okay, so this movie sucked, which you totally expect from an Ashton Kutcher
movie, right? BUT THEN it has NATALIE PORTMAN in it! I was TRICKED I TELL YA!
TRICKED! Why is she in THIS??? WHYY?? She’s got Star Wars money, man! I want my 101 minutes of my life back! Eh…who am I kidding, I woulda just wasted them. But dude, this movie was AWFUL. It’s a “romantic” “comedy” about a girl doctor and a man writer who decide to just hook up all the time, but then they fall in love. And then you vomit.

The Mechanic (2011)

I also saw this movie with F-train. In my defense, I planned to spare him my Sunday night movie watching ritual, but the first five minutes of this movie was SO AWESOME that I thought I was doing him a favor by letting him watch it with me. Unfortunately, there were like 100 not so awesome minutes which followed the first five and um…no bueno. Why did I then make him watch the roommate? Well, in for a penny, in for a pound, I say!

The Trial (2010)

This movie stars Matthew Modine. I do not know why I know who he is. I avoided this movie about a wrongfully arrested teen who is paired up with a lawyer whose whole family was just killed in a car crash, FOREVER. It was literally the last movie left on that wall that I hadn’t seen, so I just rented it. It was SO BAD. It’s was like a Tyler Perry movie with white people. Just ham handed morality tale, obvious plot twists and awful awful awful dialogue and plot points. Blech.

Greenberg (2010)

Ben Stiller’s latest pretentious crapfest is…pretentious and crappy! Huzzah! I
actually didn’t mind it because it met my expectations exactly. Skip. Skip.
Skip. Oh what’s it about? A 40-year-old man moves in with his brother after having a mental breakdown and starts up a relationship with the nanny. And then, he takes her to her abortion. Well, not hers, her fetus’. Touching.

The Romantics (2010)

This movie stars every B list actor you can name. I watched it with my six week old nephew. He cried, screamed, spit up and pooped his pants twice. And then he fell asleep. Personally, I thought that was generous. It’s about a “Friends-like” group of six friends who have all dated each other and they are gathering for the wedding of the last pair, but the man is really still in love with one of the other girls and then they quote terrible poetry and then it rains. Or something. AWFUL!

Just Friends

More Ryan Reynolds. Ryan Reynolds! Um…here, he is in love with his best friend, but she has a boyfriend. He decides to proclaim his love anyway, but his note is intercepted by the high school bully and read aloud. In shame, he flees his town never to return until he is a hot, successful bigshot producer. Turns out his crush still lives with her parents in town and he sets out to woo her. But he’s an asshole now. It’s an okay movie. There is hockey in it. Which is weird for a movie starring only American actors. Hush.

Buy the Cow

Oh man. The things I watch for Ryan Reynolds. I swear, Ryan Reynolds himself probably hasn’t seen this movie. There is five long minutes of totally nude Ryan Reynolds in this. And then there’s a plot of some kind involving women as cows.

Back to School

Vinnay recommended this movie in that “how could you have never seen” tone of voice. When in actuality, I coulda lived my whole long perfectly fulfilled life without ever having seen a Rodney Dangerfield movie. Alas, this wasn’t the worst. There were some funny lines. The football team at my high school, now they were tough! After they sack the quarterback, they go after his family! But it was just an hour and a half of Rodney standup.

Blade: the Trinity
Ryan Reynolds FIGHTS VAMPIRES! Listen. I wasn’t fucking around here. All Ryan Reynolds EVERYTHING! He totally saves this otherwise wretched film. I mean, he doesn’t make it good, but he makes it so you aren’t rooting for the vampires to kill everybody. You root for them to kill everybody except Ryan Reynolds.

The In-laws

You know who plays the groom in this awful terrible “comedy,” about a spy’s son marrying a dentist’s daughter? Ryan Reynolds. Again, he’s great. Everyone else? Horrid. He doesn’t save the movie though. It’s unwatchable, no getting around it.

The Green Hornet
I THOUGHT RYAN REYNOLDS WAS IN THIS! ARRRRGHGGGHHHH. *smashes a lamp* Anyway, there are 24 great minutes in this movie. Unfortunately, they’re spread out randomly through the rest of this (inexplicably) 135 minute mess. I don’t know who told that guy from Knocked Up that he was a leading man who could anchor a movie like this, but THAT GUY should be hired by the US Government to handle future negotiations with China about our debt. He’ll SO convince them that we paid already. “What?! You didn’t get the check? This is ridiculous! What’s your address again?!”

Casino Jack

This movie stars Kevin Spacey and that “I’m not lying” guy from SNL. You know, Chanukah Harry… I so just dated myself. Um… movie is okay, the documentary I saw last month was way better.

Van Wilder: Van Gone Wilder

Heeyy, it’s another Ryan Reynolds movie! What’re the odds?! Actually, I all kinds of loved this movie about a seven year undergrad who finally has to get it together to graduate. I actually saw this right after Back to School. They are kind of alike, but Van Wilder is actually funny. Except for the racist “they have to fly in an Indian girl for Kumar to get a girlfriend” part.

And that’s a wrap! It’s been a wild four years, Blockbuster. But it’s time that we part ways. I need to do other things… Like figure out how to beat Kearns at Kinect Sports. Peace.

Posted in Movies | 9 Comments

Back to School

I met up with Alexandra Robbins for a talk she was giving at the High School of the Future High School. I’m pretty sure that’s the name, even though, as I sat in the auditorium in wooden recoiling chairs, I very much felt like the little kid I once was in Elementary School of the past.

The principal made a joke about how the school has been around for twenty years, but the building has been around for a hundred. Alexandra was looking particularly glamorous on that Cinco de Mayo evening.
“I know, right? I did the Today Show!”
“Wait. What? When?”
She gave me a look.
“When was the Today show”?

I did mention it was Cinco de Mayo, right? Official only day of the year on which Stephane drinks tequila?

Alexandra had been invited to talk about her new book “The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth,” that I’ve been going on about nonstop because, well, if it’s true, I’m going to be getting *Earth*!

As if she could read my mind, Alexandra began her speech with my own personal geek story.

Stephane was an outsider in high school. She was made fun of for her clothes and said she never fit in.

Who are you telling, sister!

“Ten years later Stephanie is on the cover of Forbes and Time magazine…”

What? When?! Why was I not informed?!

Yeah, so…apparently there’s some other used-to-be-a-geek Stephane, who spells her name funny, out there stealing all my magazine covers. RUDE!

The rest of Alexandra’s talk was also not about me. She talked some about the book – there was a cute moment where she asked the mom of some kids in the audience if it was okay for her to use the word bitch. It was.

She cited a study about, I want to say caterpillars, which showed that caterpillars will follow the lead caterpillar around a room even though the tasty caterpillar food was only a few inches off the beaten caterpillar track. Those caterpillars died. The plight of blind sycophant caterpillars were mirrored in the tales of the popular kids, who cling to the code of popularity, lest they suffer the fate of the uncool geeks.

She talked about the frustration of one of her protaganists who complained that his own mother would chastise him for not being “normal” enough and she advised parents not to worry if their kid only had one or two friends. I almost called my mother to say “I told you so,” but to be fair, Alexandra did not opine on whether imaginary friends counted. I maintain that they should.

What I most like is that this topic seems to be giving everyone a chance to tell their own story, or that of their child. One mom at the talk, dissolved into tears talking about how her daughter’s two closest friends had shut the girl out of the group. My own twitter guru, @basseyworldlive tweeted a link to an article about Geekiness in Jezebel and wrote “I was such a geek in high school.” If you’ve ever seen Bassey Ikpi perform, you’ll quickly believe in what Alexandra calls “quirk theory,” the idea that the very thing that makes one a “geek” is what leads to excellence in adulthood.

It’s a theory that resonates. The Yahoo article about the book was on yahoo’s most emailed article list and has made its way all around “the facebook”, as my mother insists on calling it.

At the end of the High School of the Future lecture, Alexandra talked about her own high school experience on the fringe and ended with “I’m a dork, I married a dork and now I have a dork family.”

See kids, it all works out in the end.

Okay, now where is my Earth?

Posted in Books | 15 Comments

The American President

“Real Gs move in silence, like Obama” Bassey Ikpi

There was a guy I was friends with in law school. I don’t remember when I met him, but I do know that every few months for some years, he would say something along the lines of “oh, why did I think you were born in Panama?”
I’m sure the first few times I’d shrug and say “mmiunnno, my parents are Panamanian, but I was born and raised in Brooklyn.”
He came to the law school graduation party my mom threw for me at my childhood home and as he looked around at my baby pictures, he once again asked “when did you move here?”
“When I was seven,” I answered because that’s when my mom and I moved to that particular apartment.
“Really? And you don’t speak Spanish?”
“Wait. What? Move where?”
“To the US.”
I didn’t know about the side-eye back then, but I would have been throwing it. Hard.
“I. Was. BORN. IN. BROOKLYN. NEW YORK. UNITED. STATES. OF.”
“Oh, that’s right, that’s right.”
TWO YEARS AFTER THAT, he made the same “mistake,” again. This time, I looked him square in the face and said:
“[Name withheld], I don’t know why you find it so incredible that I am an American citizen. But I am. I was born in a Brooklyn hospital, went to New York public schools, graduated high school from a prep school founded in the 1800s, I have a college degree from the second oldest University in the United States, which has produced five American Presidents, including the current occupant of the White House, I have a law school degree from a University founded by Alexander Hamilton, who wrote the constitution of the United States. The very same law degree you hold. I have worked at the White House. And stood in the oval office. I am not sorta American or almost American, I am all the fucking way American. Got it?”
“No… yeah…I didn’t mean anything by it. I just forgot. Why are you so mad?”
I don’t think we spoke after that, though we might be facebook friends.
*checks*
Yup.

So there I was, last Friday, taking a walk around lower Manhattan looking for a liquor store. I had decided to give the Trimbach Riesling another try mostly because the company rep on twitter made me laugh.

Yes, corporate America, customer service is that easy. I approached the counter at the liquor store and heard a black man angrily asking “if he looks like a fucking kid”?

I quickly gathered they were asking for ID.

“I ain’t a fucking kid. I come in this motherfucking store every fucking week and now y’all acting like I’m a kid?”

The clerk said something to the effect of “we ask everybody, Sir. It’s the law.”

By now, the black man had started rooting around in his jeans for his wallet. As he slams his driver’s license on the counter top, he says “this is some Obama bullshit.”

Indeed, it had been a little more than 24 hours since the President of the United States, a former United States Senator, had to hold a press conference to answer innuendos from the press and TV personalities that, and to be honest, I wasn’t following the news cycle all that closely, either he was born in Kenya or that Hawaii isn’t part of the union.

I wonder who broke the Donald’s google.

The so-called birther movement had been gathering steam since 2006. The President’s birth certificate became such a frequently requested document that Hawaii is trying to make a mint charging extra fees to all those asking for it. Years ago the Governor of Hawaii has signed affidavits attesting to the authenticity of the document. An army deserter who refused to deploy to Iraq because she didn’t recognize the authority of our newly elected Commander in Chief appealed all the way up to the United States Supreme Court with these ridiculous claims. Coming up with bubkis.

I laughed at birthers, much the same way I laughed at the crazy fringe who were all “President GOOORRREE, maan. He won the popular vote!”

Yah huh. As a former police captain friend of mine used to say “tell your story walking, pal.”

And then, I had a weird ass conversation with *my mother* a couple of weeks ago.

“Well, I don’t know where he was born.”

I swear, I caught whiplash swerving to avoid crashing my car.

The fuck?

So Donald Trump says he has a *witness* who will soon come forward, who says she SAW President Obama being born in Kenya, Meredith Viera doesn’t laugh in his gotdang face. Charitably, because she’s shilling for their shared network. Or she’s…well, let’s stay charitable. And once again this becomes a story? Despite the affidavits, the thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of previously requested birth certificates AND A UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT DISMISSAL?

And now my mom “isn’t sure”?

Okay, one more time for the folks in the cheap seats, here’s my birth certificate, the President wearily says. We cool, now? Can I get back to work? Want to see my teeth, motherfuckers? He said that last part quietly so only the black people could hear. We hear real good.

See also: Dance, run.

But no, we weren’t cool. The press cut away from the President’s conference to ask *Donald Trump* if that was good enough. And what did Mr. Trump say? “I don’t know. I have to look at it. I’ll get back to you guys.”

And did the press ask him about his witness? Did anybody say “Mr. Trump, could it be that you are full of shit, Sir?”

Nah, it was on to the next thing. Why was the President yukking it up at a thousand dollar a plate dinner with the beltway elite while the poor Americans are unemployed and getting robbed at the gas pumps. Doesn’t he have important work to do…you know, until a year from now when we’ll need to see his birth certificate again.

Boom. President Obama takes a little time out of his Sunday night to mention that “by the by, US forces have shot Osama bin Laden in the face and dumped his body in the ocean.” Um…according to Muslim law.
Chants of U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A ring out across the land. The New York *Post* runs the headline “We Got Him!”
Oh, word? We a “we” now? Thought he was the Kenyan, Indonesian Muslim Socialist?
Ah, but the President’s detractors regrouped. Within a day, he was criticized for using the first person pronoun in his speech. Rush Limbaugh was sarcastically congratulating the President on a good job. Sarah Palin, and God forgive me for violating my own rules about quoting the idiocy of this hack, said “And we thank our president . . . We thank President Bush for having made the right calls to set up this victory.”
You thought it was bad that she couldn’t name foreign leaders? She doesn’t even know who the President of the United States is. Never mind that President Bush flatly said bin Laden wasn’t a priority. Or that Senator McCain stated he wouldn’t chase bin Laden into Pakistan. Nope, President Obama didn’t do squat. Except you know, give the kill order and produce the body of the so-called most wanted man.

All of this to say, I sit here tonight in awe of the President of the United States. The American President. I dismally shake my head at those who see nothing wrong with a man being hounded, for years, about an issue that has been open and closed so many times it even makes Kim Kardashian blush. Every President tells his story… President Bill Clinton was “the man from Hope,” except he wasn’t and the name on his birth certificate wasn’t even Bill Clinton. President George W. Bush, the Texas cowboy was born in Connecticut and went to boarding school in Massachusetts. Don’t dare ask any questions about his military service. You’ll lose your network TV job and end up on HDNET, whatever that is.

Now that the birth certificate issue has been put on temporary hold, Pat Buchanan has questions that President Obama is “affirmative action all the way!” Yup, he probably is and you did mention that the program was signed into law by Richard Nixon, right?
Hello? Tap tap is this thing on?

The White House is a fishbowl. It always has been and probably always will be, but I’ve never seen the biography of a President so persistently poked and prodded as that of President Obama. Never mind that, with TWO autobiographies published before he even took the highest office in the land, where he ADMITS to cocaine use for jeebus sake, no President has probably been as transparent as this man. At 30 he wasn’t drunk driving cars into ditches, but yet he gets derided for “community organizing.” And yet our press, in the name of the AMERICAN PEOPLE ask the AMERICAN PRESIDENT to “just show us one more time that you are in fact American.” Then ask some dude with a Russian wife, if that’s “good enough”?
Get.
The.
FUCK.
OUT.
Cocksucking.
Motherfuckers.

There are those who claim the President’s ego is too large and his speeches are littered with “I” and “me.” Well, fuck yeah, nobody else is giving him credit for anything — oh, except the deficit and the bailout plans which were instituted in 2008, months before he took the oath of office in 2009 — but you know, whatever, President Obama is magic.

I can remember the rage I felt at one asshat repeatedly questioning my legitimacy and I ultimately handled it with my temper and profanity. That President Obama doesn’t even break a sweat and just keeps it moving, is why I’m riding with him in 2012 and in 2013 we’ll start work on the Michelle Obama ’16 campaign.

Ask about me.

Posted in Memoir | 61 Comments

Geeks shall inherit the earth

My friend Alex has a new book out today by that very title, go buy it on amazon! Dooo ittt. I’ll wait.

*taps foot*

Done? Ooh, how about you buy one for your mom too! Don’t worry, I won’t start my post till you get back.

*files nails*

There! Now isn’t that better than that awful Jane Seymour necklace?! I thought it would be.

Anyway, so while reading Geeks, a book which follows 7 “outsiders,” through their high school experience, I seriously kept curling up in a ball of post traumatic stress disorder. I wasn’t just a geek in school, I was apparently all of these geeks. Except the popular one. I hate her so much.

All the people I’m friends with now are self proclaimed geeks/nerds/weirdos/murderers…wait… I think I promised secrecy on that last one.

Please don’t kill me. No, really. Don’t kill me.

But I’m also friends with the smartest, funniest, cleverest most talented people in the world, so, I’m pretty much all-in on the premise of the book that “geeks” are pretty awesome.

Alas, as I relived the horrors of finding a place to sit at lunch or fighting with a faculty adviser over the direction of one of my afterschool clubs, I decided the story I wanted to blog about is one that takes place long after high school.

Well, 1999, so not that long, but I was 2/3 of the way through law school, I had lost all the high school weight and I was making about $2000 a week, so it was as far away from my high school experience as you could get without a time machine.

I went to a rich prep school in the predominantly white neighborhood of Bay Ridge. I was black and dirt poor and, given that Yusef Hawkins had just been murdered for being a black boy in a white neighborhood, totally terrified. My mother, God bless her, would warn me every day to “be careful of those white folks.” Awesome. Great. Terrific. 95% of my classmates were white, 100% of my teachers were white.

I didn’t find much comfort in the black community at my high school either. They were athletes and I wheezed at the mere thought of gym. Plus, I listened to Billy Joel, not “rap music.”

So, my friends were other geeks and nerds, mostly frail white boys I would boss around and make join the clubs I founded. I won President of Debate club every year in a landslide. I founded the chess club and the golf club and the Manifest Destiny club and the German club… yes, there might have been a six step “take over the world plan” involved.

We kept to ourselves and frankly, except for when I was plucked out of my comfort zone for the annual President’s fitness test or homeroom, I had a happy high school existence.

On this particular evening, six years after my graduation, I was at a law firm sponsored event at a fancy Times Square restaurant when I spied “Becky,” at another table. Becky was my high school opposite. She was white and rich (well, probably middle class, but I was dirt poor and anyone who had a car was pretty much Bill Gates in my eyes.) and popular and, it goes without saying, a cheerleader. She had a car and probably dated. I did not speak to Becky. EVER. But, my graduating class only had 93 kids in it, so it wasn’t like we didn’t know each other.

So, there I was, I see Becky at this other table. I’ve been eating and drinking on my corporate account, and did I say drinking? God, I miss the 90s! So I’m in a great mood. I decide to send over a round of drinks to Becky’s table and say hi.

“Stephane! Oh my God. Thank you so much.”

“No problem!”

And then she hugged me, and said “I always thought you hated me in high school! You would never speak to me or anything.”

Whoa.

Dude. Of course, I never spoke to you! You were a cheerleader! What on earth would I say to you? Why would you even want me to speak to you?

But she was right. I would see her and her friends in the hall and pass them by as if they didn’t exist. When one of the guys in her clique made it into AP American history, MY DOMAIN, so far as I was concerned, my friends and I totally didn’t speak to him. And we kinda laughed when he screwed up the exam. That’s what he gets for trying to be “smart.”

I didn’t hate them though, I just sorta assumed that they didn’t like me, so I wasn’t going to like them either! I saw Carrie, I know what popular kids are about! No one was pigs blooding me, I tell you whut!

I made assumptions about what they were assuming about me and acted accordingly. Read: Ignore. Who knows, maybe I could have been friends with the popular crowd. Maybe Becky would have loved the opportunity to join Model UN club. I don’t know, I didn’t ask.

So much of my high school life was about protecting myself from hurt or rejection, that I automatically eliminated even acknowledging about 85% of the people I met, and then being really really mean to the remaining 15% to see who’d stick around to be my friend anyway.

It worked for me, my people were MY PEOPLE and we had a shit ton of nerdy fun playing chess, watching Monty Python movies and ditching prom to go see Jurassic Park, but that night I discovered that maybe…with just a little bit more of an open mind, I might have been able to have an entirely different high school experience.

Or, I might have just been leaving myself vulnerable to a face full of pig’s blood.

One or the other.

Tell me your GEEK story in a comment or email to dawnsummers3000 at yahoo.com this Friday, May 6, 2011.

Best tale gets an autographed copy of Geeks will Inherit the Earth! Did I mention it’s in stores now?

Posted in Memoir | 13 Comments

May movie mayhem

Hello there good movie viewers of movielandia! No? Movetopia? Fine. FINE!

It’s May! Wooo…almost my birthday. Is everyone excited? I thought you would be. You have two months and one week to come up with the perfect way of honoring my greatness. FYI: My birthstone is the ruby.

Anyhoo, I totally thought I had slacked on my movie watching, but it seems I still managed a decent amount of couch time and saw a, largely, good group of flicks.

Ticking Clock (2010)

This was not one of that group, unfortunately. But hey, as this falls in the category of movies rented because “there was a black person, who is not Tyler Perry, on the box.” And really crappy movies is pretty much the least a racist should get. Um… this movie stars Cuba Gooding Jr as a crime reporter who stumbles upon a serial killer who is traveling through time killing the people who were mean to him as a child. Awesome premise, yes? But then I need you to remember I said “this movie stars Cuba Gooding Jr.” Moving on.


The King’s Speech (2010)

This movie was okay. I cannot believe it won best picture…well, I can, the Academy loves Holocaust movies and accents. This movie has the second in abundance and a smidge of the second. I thought Colin Firth was AMAZING. Did he win something? He should have. Rush and Bonham Carter were a bit too flip, I thought. They acted like they were acting their parts. I liked the twist at the end. And all in all, it was okay. Not the best movie of the year though…


Black Swan (2010)

Now, THIS movie was amazing! OMG! I spent a week after I saw it going “ATTACK IT! ATTACK IT! ATTACK IT! ATTACK IT!” It was robbed robbed ROBBED! Stupid ass Oscar voters. I was leery going into this. The costumes are weird and the reviews about lesbian ballerinas gave me further pause. But, in reality, this is a movie about a woman coming undone. Actually, it’s about three women, in various stages of undoneness. Winona is after, Mila is before and Princess Amadala is during. It’s genius. She deserved her Oscar, AND HOW. ATTACK IT!

Children of Men

One of my coworkers recommended this movie about a worldwide infertility plague. It’s weird. It’s like a post apocalyptic military nightmare with serious continuity and motivation problems. Meh. I liked Idiocracy better.

Heat

The same coworker recommended this. I LOVED this movie! Why isn’t it more famous? Why didn’t it win awards? DeNiro is a criminal mastermind Pacino the supercop assigned to catch him! They meet face to face in an awesome diner scene where they basically say “I’ll kill you if you get in my way,” and the other one is all “not if I kill you first.” The supporting cast rocks the casbah, too. However, I do not know why an innocent TV had to be harmed in the making of the movie.

Tron [Original Classic] (1982)

This movie is awful. The hell? Our programs are fighting it out in cyberspace? And they wear spandex and neon? No wonder my laptop is always crashing. Save us, Tron. Yawn. Also, all the actors look thisclose to bursting out laughing.


Tron: Legacy (2010)

Now, this movie was genius! So, the son of Tron – well, really, the son of Tron’s partner from the original is now a fighter for freeware and open source code. He’s fighting the men who took over his dad’s company when he gets sucked into the cyber world which took his father 20 years ago! Okay, I’m kidding. This movie sucked too, I just wanted to make VinNay’s brain asplode.

The Amityville Horror [WS] (2005)

This movie is the beginning of me going all-in on Ryan Reynolds. Canadianness aside, he da man! And he’s great in this remake of the House from Hell. Also, the little girl in this becomes the little vampire girl in “Let me In.”

Casino Jack and the United States of Money

This is a documentary about Jack Abramoff. Man, I can totally see Petitedov going “don’t be Jewish don’t be Jewish don’t be Jewish” or “don’t be Republican, don’t be Republican don’t be Republican.” Sorry. This movie is great. If you weren’t sure if Republicans are evil…this movie is for you! It’s also for you if you’re sure Republicans ARE evil.

Casablanca

I saw this movie in AV club when I was 15. I didn’t like it. Then, by some weird chance, I saw it again when I was 25. I loved it. So, I figured I’d continue the pattern and rent it again. I still love it. It’s the greatest love story ever told. And no, none of our problems amount to a hill of beans in this crazy mixed up world. Or something. Sigh.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1 (2010)

This movie was a bagillion times better than the last one. At least it was exciting and stuff happened. But I’ll be glad when it’s all complete with the final movie I’ve got boy wizard fatigue.

Country Strong (2010)

I don’t know who told Gwenyth Paltrow that she can sing. That person needs repeated kicking in the junk. She’s been ruining my Glee for months now…this movie was like a two hour bad episode of a Paltrowfied Glee. It also stars the black haired girl from Gossip Girl who I usually like. Me no likey.

The Next Three Days (2010)

This movie was GREAT! Russell Crowe is back, baby! Obviously, there’s a lot of disbelief suspension required in buying this movie about a guy who breaks his wife out of prison after she is wrongfully convicted of murder, but the movie is good and Crowe sells it.

Fair Game (2010)
This is like a dramaticized documentary of the Valerie Plame affair starring Sean Penn. If you were paying attention to the news in the mid aughts, you’ll be bored. If not, you’ll be appalled that only a New York Times reporter went to jail for this.

Little Fockers (2010)

Blech. I didn’t even like Meet the Parents that much…why did this spawn two sequels? Double blech. Keep in mind, though, I hate Ben Stiller. Shrug.

The Resident (2011)

Does Hilary Swank know that she won an Academy Award? Wait, doesn’t she have TWO? Hmm…maybe that’s it. She’s all “bah, I’ve got my awards, I’m going to set my career to ‘Cuba Gooding Jr.’ This is the only explanation I have for her appearance in this grade D “thriller” clearly designed for a TV actress…like a basic cable TV actress. Blah. Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who I usually love, is also bad. Terrible terrible terrible. Oh, the premise is her landlord is a psycho.

Skyline (2010)
Oh. My. Lord was this movie awful. Starting with the fact that when the old latino cop from Dexter knocks on the apartment door to tell them to keep it down, you just know he’ll be the one to save them later because he’s too big an actor to waste for one scene. Sure enough, he does. But, and this is predictable too, the black guy gets eaten. Oh whoops, was that a spoiler. Bah. I’m saving you from yourselves. They actually had a dude yell “vaya con dios, motherfuckers!” Out. Loud. Where I could hear. No. Just no.

Mystery Team

VinNay recommended this quirky flick starring the black guy from Community. It’s about what would happen if those cute plucky, precocious kid detectives like Encyclopedia Brown or Nancy Drew never bothered to grow up. And at 18/19 they were still solving the crime of the missing baseball for ten cents from their wooden “mystery team” booth. Oh, and what would happen if these developmentally stunted “kids” tried to solve a double homicide. It’s cute and you will laugh your ass off at the last scene. Hahahahahaha

Tristan & Isolde (2001)
This movie is a 70 minute french cartoon. Proving once again that Blockbuster hates me.

Invincible

This movie stars Marky Mark as a walk-on to the Philadelphia Eagles team in 1976. He has some hot abs. Um. The girl from the last three days is in it. I also couldn’t help but think of The Fighter. Marky Mark always plays these working class stiffs with pro athlete talent who make good and get a blond wife out of it. It’s okay. The Eagles suck though. So that’s how you know it’s based on a true story.

Posted in Movies | 10 Comments

Free stuff!

Alexandra Robbins is offering a pretty sweet deal:

What you get: A free signed book of mine -any of my books, until my copies run out. How to get it:

1) On or before this Thursday April 28, become a fan of the “Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth page,” on facebook, change your Faceook profile picture to the photo attached to this note (The Geeks cover).

Keep it as your profile picture until Sunday May 8. 2) Purchase a hardcover (not e-book) copy of The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth sometime before Sat. May 7. Prove it to me. (Or just preorder it through me -email me for details.)

I recommend going through the link on alexandrarobbins.com, where the price is now $16.79. That’s it!

If you live in the continental US, I’ll mail you a free signed book.

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