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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I Don't Buy The Emmy Solidarity

"And Cut! ...Let's Try This One More Time!"

I'm sure I'm not the first, and actually, I really hope I'm not the only:

I call bullshit.

Sure there's a lot of that on TV and everywhere, but enough is enough: When the most ambitious people on Earth put on a front that they are not, that's is simply PR and somebody has to say something before this takes even a greater psychic toll than it already has.

In fact, as a friend recently pointed out, the main job of PR is to make very ambitious types look less ambitious: To take the burgeoning starlet who gave favors (of all degrees) to bring producers and others to their showcases while struggling in oblivion, and make them seem on the Letterman couch that they'd rather be with the girls back in high school.

 "Oh, this Hollywood thing..."

The only truth that can gleaned from the moment is that some of the ladies on stage wanted to share the moment with the winner.


Martha Plimpton is said to have spread the word via Twitter. "Amy has an idea..." From there, they decided to do it.

So which is it? A brilliant moment of inspiration or a rehearsed bit?

 Being an awards show, where writers stand backstage scribbling jokes and moments later are sputtered by host, this twittering is only a degree less coordinated than the dance numbers.

I have seen less choreographed Wrestlemanias.

And the shot when Poehler stood up? Where was the camera, in Will Arnett's bow-tie?

Where did that tiara come from? How did that pageant theme evolve from such a moment of a spontaneity?

I believe one actress can have a moment of inspiration. I even believe two actresses can talk about doing something for years and at the moment they say "fuck it" and do it.

I don't believe six actresses nominated for the same Emmy category without the intervention of God or even Oprah could agree on the same wine for the sangria never mind this bit.

If it be inspiration, then do it, but don't pass off a staged event as something other than that. Why is Martha Plimpton twittering about the "idea" again, (I can't resist), this is more preparation than most TV shows put into the series finale?

They twittered each other, yes, but you better believe that they called their agents, their PR person and the producers of the show to make sure that this wouldn't be construed as anything but positive.

Had Poehler gone up and stayed on stage by herself, putting herself out there to be judged by some as "stealing the winner's thunder" or "weird" or as a performer "Okay, that bit went on too much"; if she and the other brilliant ladies of solidarity, had individually made a statement a la Jim Carrey- he lampoons the event, his fellow nominees like Nick Nolte grit their teeth or feign an approving laugh- then join the chorus of "brilliant!"

But this is only a shade less severe and manipulative than someone going up to the podium and saying "We're all winners...Women of comedy unite!" and calling them all on stage to hold hands.

This is marketing for these individuals' future films and shows and award nominations.


And when people call upon PR what does that say about their cause?

If they think Emmys are bullshit, then insist by contract that the networks never mention the nominations when advertising the show; insist when giving a commencement address that the College Dean not call them "three-time Emmy nominee."

And what does it say about comediennes who would hold hands with the others? They love "Mike and Molly"?  Whatever happened to shitting on each other and mocking their work but privately love it? What has now emerged is " I love this woman, my peer..."...but (behind a hand) "her show sucks."

"But it's about supporting other women..."

Yes, five other women. The 3.1 billion others, I think, like everyone else is no better because of this display of horseshit...

Make the scripted look spontaneous, the insincere as austere and rivalry as solidarity.

Ah, TV...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Most, If Not All, Is Better At 40

Kitschy and True
"Pay no attention those who come flying out of the gates after college and grad school...If your intentions are true and you work, in your 40's it will pay off in spiritual gold."- Camille Paglia


You gotta wonder about an age in life where being an asshole is generally regarded as an asset.

Yes, there are plenty of 40 and 50 year olds who pride themselves on being a son-of-a-bitch. But clearly we understand that it's probably about erectile dysfunction.

20 and 30 year olds earn their stripes by being "no nonsense." Or "nipping things in the bud." It's great to be respected by the other copywriters, but making a point of "not taking shit from anyone", we know, doesn't make for happy times.

Frankly, I say: more nonsense. A little excess in the 20's and 30's- no nipping anything.

You play your cards right and you can have it all at both 20 and 40.

A few thoughts of what is better at 40...

At 50, you're on your own.


There was that time in our thirties where we went back to gym and hopped on the stationary bike for 40 then 50 and then 90 minutes. We did the circuit of weights, twice. High reps.

We went in the locker room, peeled off the sweaty clothes and said "Yah!" when we had lost four pounds! Then, we lost twenty! We got in shape for summer. And then, the next winter we looked in the mirror after a shower and nearly cried at the sight.

"Why does this happen? I work and work and work; I put in so many hours and it just doesn't come off?"

You look through the Adidas Shoe Box at the polaroids of you flexing after a set of curls, or with your girlfriends in your first bikini and sigh: "Ah, I guess I'm not sixteen anymore..."

No, you're not. But unlearn all the crap from the past twenty-some years and go back to basics.

First off: Don't do any workout that could (or should) be done reading Redbook.

What sixteen year old does an hour and a half at fifty percent on the stairmaster?  You didn't have time for  two and half hours of leisurely, low-intensity peddling; you were getting picked up in fifteen minutes, so you did a quick hundred push-up, sprayed yourself with Polo and were out the door.

That black and white instructional poster that came with weight set had it right.

Personal Trainers who specialize in workouts for 40 and up, say: Powerlifts- bench, squat, clean and jerk.

And not light, either. Heavy is better.

And not high reps. 5 sets of 5.

And if lifting's not your thing, sprint work.

It's said the perfect workout for building muscle in 40 (and up) year olds is: 8 30-second sprints with two minute breaks in-between. So: Sprint half the high school track, and then walk a lap. 8 times. Three days a week.

Like the hundred push-ups, or the workout with the thigh-master, it takes about twenty minutes.

It works at 40 because the energy spent in muscle recruitment for the explosion and then in the healing of the ripped muscle, coupled with the calories expended on the natural changes in your body (just like the changes at 16), burns fat and leaves you with lean muscle.

You ate. You drank. And because you hit it hard for a short period, you stayed lean and got muscular. Draining that testosterone doing low-intensity marathon workout is just masochistic. And it doesn't work as well as the twenty minute workout.

You might be more capable of having that 16 year old body at 42 than you think.


I find myself getting choked up at least twice a morning while I scan the radio on my way to work. It happened today with "Lido Shuffle": Man, what was my problem with Boz Scaggs? His name? A silly album cover? The fact my somewhat faggy seventh grade music teacher in between playing "Hot Cross Buns" on the recorder professed to love him?

And didn't I catch myself not so long ago joining Joe Jackson in lamenting "Always somethin' breakin' us in two"? I knew back then that "Look Sharp" was one of the finest albums of the time, but Mr. Jackson had to pay because he'd provided the score for the douchey guy with the moppy hair and zipper jacket to make out with my crush at the high school dance.

And you know, so what if their fan base sat on hoods of cars and picked fights in the high school lot, Van Halen, I realize, is much more than just muscle music.

This comes with living a bit: Being a teacher myself that students might find somewhat faggy and worthy of occasional mockery (inside sources told me I'm called "Lighthouse" because of a small bright bald patch on the rear of my head);  myself being a moppy haired douche who took a make-out session or two for granted on several occasions; living through several more heartbreaks; and spending a good portion of my late teen's and twenties, working towards the hood-of-the-car-muscle-thing, I am more accepting; I can look beyond the petty differences and finally, at 40, enjoy the music for what it is.

I hate no one anymore.

Well, actually, I gotta say I tried with Deadheads. Sorry. But I was driving the PCH a while back and some dick in a jeep blaring a live "Sugar Magnolia" ruined it. He looked like the over-privileged assholes from towns like Wellesley who always liked it and were in denial of how rich they are; who, like the kids from Beverly Hills 90210, call their friends' parents by their first name. I don't care that the cover of "Women Are Smarter" rocks, I'll get my fix from Harry Belafonte's version...

Yes: It's better at 40 because you can contradict yourself in the same sub-section and roll out of it with but a simple justification:

At 40, you are more accepting but have keener eye and stronger intolerance for what was always bullshit.


At 33, drinking and dropping your pants at your 15th high school reunion is generally met with: " Oh God, that is getting soooo old...hasn't he grown up" and "It's so least at 20 it was something worth looking at."

But, put that bit aside for nearly a decade, and then resurrect it at the 25th and it's "He's an F'n riot!" "Oh man, still crazy after all these years...!" and "It's so good to be around somebody who still wants to have a good time!"

With balance (and some genetic luck), the drink won't have a grip on you. And when it's due time to be  a pant-dropping buffoon, you'll be able to summon that part of you to yours and everyone else's delight.


Less is more.