busblog

nothing in here is true

  1. Friday, May 31, 2019

    zero hour nine am 

    there is so much to like about Rocket Man, the sorta musical about Elton John’s life and career

    and very little not to like: perfectly fine acting, singing, visuals

    but something seemed missing.

    maybe because we know how it ends

    maybe because it just seems like the standard old rock and roll story:

    unloved kid succeeds at sex drugs rock. or does he?

    in fictional films theres a lot more at stake, more dynamic highs and lows.

    even at his lowest it seems glamorous and fabulous and luxurious.

    this is exactly my sort of movie: rock bios. and i learned a lot.

    and hats off to Taron Egerton who looked, sounded, and even walked just like Elton.

    one thing that was weird and sort of similar to last year’s Bohemian Rhapsody:

    just like how they omitted the story of the inclusion of David Bowie for the hit “Under Pressure,” there was no mention of John’s good friend Princess Diana.

     

  2. Thursday, May 30, 2019
  3. Tuesday, May 28, 2019

    but can your friends do this 

    saw two movies the last two days that i thought were great: booksmart and aladdin

    booksmart is olivia wilde’s directorial debut and it’s perfect

    aladdin is disney trying to remake the unremakable and like magic they pulled it off

    whats a little bit sad is booksmart is a little bit better than aladdin but in three weeks it’ll probably be pulled from theaters because of everything else coming down the pipeline

    we saw aladdin tonight in a sold out imax theater in burbank and people were clapping and cheering and so was i and when i got home i saw that critics only gave it 57% on rotten tomatoes, while audiences gave it a 94.

    i never want to be that disconnected from my audience. i never want to be so hung up on minor stumbles when what you just accomplished was unasked-for, impossible and sacrilege

    and yet it entertained families of all ages.

    maybe the problem is many of these critics dont see the movies on their own dime in hometown theaters sitting next to the butcher the baker and the cbd maker. sold out 930pm showing on a tuesday. will smith the only name you know on the poster? that right there is something.

    it was bollywood it was hollywood and i probably saw more brown faces the a screen than ever in my life that didnt take place is wakanda. and it was beautiful.

    when i was a kid i was sent to this summer camp in washington dc that really had an affect on my life. when we werent playing sports we were studying the bible or riding fast through the woods in a station wagon with its roof cut off at high speeds by a jesuit priest driver.

    but when we were playing sports it was all trash talk. id never experienced anything like that in the suburbs of illinois. the play by play was a bombardment of insults darted at any and all weakness they could find.

    yo suburbs with the ball. white boy point guard. whattya gonna do. WHITE. BOY. you look scared as shit.

    we were 10.

    these black kids my age from baltimore could do anything with the ball. comfortable in the tiny gym so small that the end walls were barely an inch past the baseline. they had a rule that if you dribbled, planted your foot on the wall (technically out of bounds). lifted off and slammed it home, then it counted.

    their version of dunking.

    i could barely touch the net no matter how you got me up there and half these kids were basically dunking. on you.

    8 hours every day in the muggy, summer heat of DC with these trash talking, aggressive, athletic all stars and you could either completely collapse emotionally, like i saw a bunch of kids do, or level up.

    i began first with language. i knew i wasn’t going to be able to speak how they did without looking like an absolute faker, so i insulted their grammar. constantly. even though i loved it.

    and despite being years behind them on the basketball court, we matched up well in soccer, baseball, tennis and fencing. imagine driving by and seeing 60 black kids fencing in a field. all of us dissing each other behind those masks, seconds away from actually fighting.

    but one thing we all had respect for was attempting the impossible.

    whether it be fighting the biggest, meanest dudes at the end of the day – the brothers made every kid who started a fight during the day, box their foe at the end of the day, in a giant circle that we all made in the gym before the st anthony prayer.

    or making an incredible play on the field,

    or making an amazing move on someone before scoring.

    even if you hated the kid and he was on the other team, if he pulled off something remarkable, you said something like damn g. or ok, money. i dont remember making any friends there. it was us versus everyone all day. but we respected each other.

    once they put us in a van and drove to this public swimming pool. half the kids didnt know how to swim at the beginning of summer, but everyone could swim by the end of it, in part because of all the new insults some of the boys had to endure. a few lanes were set aside just for races. i remember zero parental supervision. just the loudest boy saying something like, yo, get the fuck outta these two lanes. i’m up, who wanna race me for a Now Or Later in the cantina?

    the camp had a snack bar called the cantina, but you had to pay, and a lot of these kids were poor so they were always trying to bet with those of us whose parents had put money in our accounts. it was never a good idea to try to avoid a reasonable wager.

    there were hold your breath underwater competitions, diving contests and cannonball contests. everything was a game. everyone needed to win. miracles happened. just like in life.

    but just like on the field, in the pool if someone did something incredible, even if you hated them, like this fat guy who intentionally did a bellyflop off the high dive, you had to give him props. and we did. and we hated them a little less.

    aladdin pulled off the impossible on the biggest stage and the critics need to say so.

    and yr girl olivia wilde made an instant classic high school comedy

    which is also impossible

    and for that she deserves love.

  4. Monday, May 27, 2019

    tom waits last great record turned 20 years old last month 

    how does time go that fast? i still consider this one of his new records.

    weirdly it was a huge hit without having any hits.

    also how you sell a million records on an album looking like that, sounding the way it does and with it called MULE VARIATIONS?

    it’s proof of a few things that i want to embody for the rest of my days on this crust

    1. tom waits can do no wrong
    2. tom waits is the exception to all the rules
    3. which means we too can be the exception to all rules
    4. there are a million people out there in the world who will pay real money for real art no matter how different it is from everything else, because there are enough people in the world who appreciate artistry and craftsmanship and humor and weirdness and love and death and darkness and light. and those are the people who i am glad to call my friends.
    5. creativity is better than bullshit… every single time.
    6. you dont have to be pretty or dress great or sing like mariah carey or be young and cute to sell records. no you dont.
    7. if you give up on yourself you give up on all the loveliness that people are waiting for you to bring them.

    even though he came across as a throwback when he first came out, he was an original and only got more original as he got older. people talk about voice. i dont think people know what theyre really talking about when they talk about voice but tom waits has a style, an attitude, a come from, a point of view, and for damn sure a unique way of telling a story that is easily imitated but rarely covered. springsteen sang a tom waits song during the born in the usa tour (jersey girl) but tom did it better which is saying something because bruce was at his peak during that time.

    and in many ways waits aged better than bruce, creatively, without having to do this gimmick or that one. we all want to be the big rock star selling out any arena we want.

    but i gotta say, i think id rather be the person who can just be oozing with that mysterious spirit that even the french dont have a word for.

     

  5. today bill buckner died, he was 69 

    when i was a little kid i got bill buckner’s autograph on my baseball mitt

    dumb move because i used that glove a lot and it quickly smeared off.

    later good ole #22 would agree to sign autographs at this video store near my home

    hardly anyone showed up and i got there just as he was leaving.

    his handler said, sorry kid, shows over.

    and that changed the way i felt about my once favorite Cub.

    then, of course, he let a Mookie Wilson ball roll though his legs when he was playing for Boston in the 1986 world series.

    that made me like him again because it was such a Cub thing to do.

    but most people don’t remember another important ball that billy buck didn’t catch

    in 1974 when Hank Aaron was about to break Babe Ruth’s unbreakable home run record

    it was shaggy headed bill buckner in left field, he then of the Dodgers.

    when the ball sailed over his bushy eyebrows he tried to scale the fence.

    Cubs announcer Len Kasper asked him years later if he was trying to catch the most famous dong

    “No, I wanted to jump into the bullpen and get the ball!” he said of the valuable piece of history.

  6. Saturday, May 25, 2019

    i have a pretty good idea for a side thing 

    im going to have to invest about $600, maybe $700 because i need to go to disneyland

    there, i will walk around.

    the rest is secret.

    but legal.

    have no fear.

    id really like to go with my buddy todd who is at disneyland a few times a month.

    whats funny is today i first texted him and received no response.

    then later in the night i called him. something i had done last week and it went straight to voicemail. tonight it did not go to voicemail immediately. it rang a few times and then i left a message.

    i have no idea how i became this way, but over time i started taking things personally.

    people are busy, they have their own trips, they have an entire universe spinning around them

    im just one star out there glimmering next to a thousand just like me

    and even though i dont even really look at me as a star at all, maybe more semi stealth helicopter looking for a car chase

    if i dont get a return call my feelings get hurt.

    which is crazy because whos got time for feelings these days

    anyway i wanna change the world and todd if youre reading this call me back

    thank you

  7. Wednesday, May 22, 2019

    i had a big interview today. 

    it was with a company that i really love, and i wouldnt have to move, and i could do what im good at and i would get health insurance

    the person interviewing me said, “wow thats a good question” after each of my questions, and i hope that’s a positive thing. who knows.

    i had studied up on some things that were in the job description. and that was fun. like cramming for a final. but those things never came up. it was only a 30 minute interview. thats all it was supposed to be. i don’t think i made any unforced errors.

    afterwards i wanted to walk around and get rid of all the nervous energy but it was raining.

    later i watched the cubs bash a bunch of home runs.

    then i drove for tacos at a taco truck. it has a competing truck around the corner from it that specializes in “plant-based” tacos. echo park, bless your heart.

    before ordering my tacos i walked into the drug store to get a healthy blueberry juice. Blue Power or Blue Machine, whatever… and as i was waiting in line two women walked in. and as soon as they got in, the dog that was trailing behind them stopped, looked at all of us in line, and took a leak, right there on the carpet.

    the lady holding the leash was so embarrassed. “he never does this,” she said.

    both cashiers sorta smiled because whattya gonna do?

    when it was my turn i said, “i bet thats not the craziest thing thats happened at this walgreens.”

    they both said, nope.

  8. crazy, terrible car chase, starring an RV, a woman, and 2 dogs 

    usually car chases are somewhat predictable: the dude (usually it’s a dude) drives around for a few hours, runs out of gas, party’s over.

    it’s the exceptions to the rules that keep us watching. sometimes the dude gets lucky and escapes miraculously. sometimes the guy crashes into something unexpectedly. rarely but sometimes the proper use of a spike strip ends it.

    and sometimes the cops bust with the sweet pit maneuver, spin the guy around and trap him.

    speaking of pits, today a lady with two big pit bulls stole an RV and drove way too fast through the valley.

    on a hairpin u turn in a parking lot she scraped off a good chunk of the passenger side

    she hit two cars hard, and a palm tree.

    halfway though one of her dogs worked his way through the smashed out window and jumped into the street and hobbled over to the sidewalk

    it ended when she hit said palm tree while hitting a man in a car who was trying so hard to get out of the way.

    she ran with her remaining dog to a high wall driveway fence that refused to open up for her and when the CHP grabbed her you could see bloody paw prints on the stairs.

    it was shocking and sad and maybe a little too much to take when you saw the dogs with their big tongues and wagging tails.

    they deserved so much better than this.

    fortunately they are both well, the guy who got hit has a bunch of broken ribs, and the woman was arrested.

    but will we ever find out why she did this, why an RV, and does this disqualify her from owning pets?

    so many questions.

  9. Monday, May 20, 2019

    how it’s done 

    There is so much negativity every day out there. But here’s something nice. And one of the reasons I love people so much.

    Jake Arrieta was traded to the Cubs from Baltimore in 2013 for two guys named Scott and a bucket of mud. He was so bad the Cubs sent him to the minors twice that year.

    But something happened in 2014. The coaching, the catchers, the team? Who knows but he began to transform into an amazing pitcher.

    In 2015 he no-hit the Dodgers, pitched a complete game in the NL Wild Card game and easily earned the Cy Young Award as the best pitcher in the NL.

    In 2016 he was one of the anchors for the Cubs winning the World Series. On the way there he crushed a home run in San Francisco off Madison Bumgarner. And then he won two games in the 7 game epic series against the Indians.

    Early last year his contract ended and the Philadelphia Phillies offered him $75 million over three years. The Cubs chose to spend about that much on a different pitcher, one Yu Darvish.

    Because life is weird, Jake never faced the Cubs last year at Wrigley Field, but tonight he did. And because National League baseball is superior, pitchers bat, like the Founders intended.

    And as fate would have it, Yu is pitching against him. But before the young Japanese hurler could begin, the crowd at the Friendly Confines lived up to their name and gave their once favorite son a huge ovation. And because Darvish is a gentleman, when he heard the roar, he stepped off the mound so the crowd could embrace the man who was so vital to that all-important championship.

    I am tearing up typing this because it is so beautiful. I love these fans so much and I am one of them. This is what gratefulness is. This is what sportsmanship is. This is love.

  10. Sunday, May 19, 2019

    palm reader said, yo, come here 

    i was all no thank you

    she said oh im not trying to give you a reading, i have to ask you a question

    i said, whats your question

    she said, you always seem so happy. whats your secret?

    i was like, oh, simple. the cubs won the world series.

    she was all, but that was in 2016.

    i said, seems like yesterday.

    and as i was walking home she said, thats it? a bunch of people you dont know, all wearing the same color score more points than the other team and for the rest of your life you’re in a good mood?

    i kept walking and said pretty much

    she said, wait wait, what?

    i stopped and said, that season lasted six months. from spring training i knew they were gonna do it. then every month good things happened. then they won. now imagine in the spring you thought bad things were gonna happen, then every month horrible things went down. then in novemember so many bad things happened that millions of people filled the streets. you might still be bummed years later. well, the opposite happened. miracles after miracles. then a huge parade. and now joy. probably forever.