Saturday, May 30, 2009

The fall doesn't kill you

The sudden stop at the bottom does.  

Sometime around dawn Sunday we'll finally wrap this shoot.  I'll say my goodbyes and get in my truck and drive straight home to Chicago and kiss my kids for two days straight.  

But at some point I know it'll get quiet enough for the fucker in my head to be audible again.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Twenty years since Tiananmen.

In terms of emotional memory its hard to believe that its been that long.   In retrospect my reaction to the massacre was inversely  proportioned to my inability to process the possibility that a government would openly murder its own civilians in those kinds of numbers.  I was furious both because of what happened and because I knew there would be no justice.  There was a protest or sit in or "come show your support" event in Grant Park a few days afterward and I remember sitting there seething over how pointless and futile all the speeches were and a guy walked by selling copies of the Daily Worker and I could not believe it.  I started yelling at him for having the fucking gall and of course what followed didn't flatter either of us.  Thank god I was in diapers when Kent St. happened.

I don't mean to be flip but I it seems to me that the change the student protesters forced can be measured by the extent to which excess Chinese capital financed our recent housing bubble.  I don't think that's what they had in mind.

Bush v. Gore lawyers team up for gay marriage. Now shit is weird.

This feels like a bid for a book deal or a reality show pitch.  And its a mistake.  Lets keep in mind one member of this super lawyer duo was the Solicitor General for Bush and argued on his behalf in the what may be the worst Supreme Court decision since Plessey v. Ferguson which handed conservative bigots another 8 years of power to disenfranchise gays.   Nevertheless this Batman and Robin of the bar seem to think that they can leverage their relative celebrity to right the wrongs at least one of them have enabled.  Okay, but I wish they'd both stop.

Im on record saying I don't want to see gay marriage recognized only through the courts.  Very few Americans are willing to be raging  bigots and as more and more of us realize that this is what continued opposition to gay marriage requires fewer and fewer of us will do it.  We're winning.  Slowly.  But we are.  

Now I get the point of opposition to that approach.  But the problem with conservatives is they claim to believe in natural rights, but at the same time they're quite comfortable  denying some access to those natural rights until they are forced to by the ballot.   So they don't believe in natural rights as much as they believe in majorities because they are  bullies.  Fine.  Wrong. But I can get over it.

The reality is that if these two are able to bring a gay marriage case to THIS court it will lose. It will lose by a lot.   Where would we be right now if Brown v. Board of Education had gone the other way??  That's  what we're looking at.  These two should shut up  and just donate lots of their lawyer money to gay rights' groups instead.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Silver Lining in Prop 8 Decision Today

First of all I think its  important that the state just recognized 18,000 more marriages than they did before the decision.  Is it far far far short of equality?  Of course it is but considering that having those unions rendered null and void was one possible outcome I think it is important to note that this decision creates a very important fissure in the state's position, one which will likely have to be revisited electorally and soon.  Its a rather substantial constitutional dichotomy.

Secondly, and this is  tough, had the state Supreme Court overturned the decision the backlash would have been enormous and strengthened the bigoted and reactionary forces that oppose equal rights  in the first place.   One might say that this is an easy position for me to take as a married hetero and Im sympathetic to that argument but I would rather have gay marriage from the ballet box than the majority decision.   I'd rather have the Christian/Mormon bigots have to deal with how marginal they are rather than whine about how a court usurped supposedly the will of the people.  The tide is turning our way but I do think the way it turns is important.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Government providing credit? A good argument why they should.

I don't know that I agree with this  but I've never thought in terms of transactional credit being a public good and as such potentially facilitated by governments.  In any event this is a deeply wonky concept  at this point and  I really look forward to the discussion coming into the mainstream.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Dispatch from Indie Movie-ville

Today was supposed to be a movie star day.  Today was supposed to be the day that I  had  to work at flipping all the relatively easy drama and tears of  last week and suddenly invest some charisma and charm into making my character "likable".  Is there a more hateful word?  Clearly there  is not.

Well thank god the generator blew and I got to pretend like this "likable" thing is never going to happen.  So I found myself instead on location in someone's beautiful house in my underwear, in their bedroom, getting ready to shoot my character saying a prayer, (which is another thing I don't do easily) and waiting and waiting and waiting for lights/camera/props/
to get ready to shoot.

Now this is where Im supposed to say that I realize all the other people on  set have important jobs too and I guess I did just say that but we all know how insincere that sounds.  Of course they are artists who have visions as well but I honestly will never be convinced that there is any tangible benefit in hurumhping for interminable periods over the question of whether the light should fall 1/2" or 1/8" to the left of my right eyebrow.  And really Im unspeakably vain.

On a any movie the crew is far and away the single biggest entity on set.  The sheer number of people and gadgets it takes to competently produce even the cheapest movie is utterly astounding.  This movie alone easily comes with a  crew of 20 or more and it seems like all of them wield  some kind of  hand held contraption with flashing lights and read outs that obviously justify the vast amounts of time it takes to get the lights to flash differently.

And then you've got the solo actor in his underwear with no gadget, no grips or pa's, no truck full of equipment, no camera or trailer full of costumes.   But finally after a long passage of time the actor in his underwear decides, for today anyway, whether movies are about lights and camera stops, or performances. And he opens his mouth.  Loudly, so as to be heard.   And quickly we shoot.  And tomorrow he eats lunch alone.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A new skill Im working on. Keeping my mouth shut.

Last night the producer of this movie Im doing was kind enough to invite me to dinner at his in-laws along with two other people on the shoot who are long time family friends of theirs.  It was a great time but almost got derailed at the outset.   

The hosts were Notre Dame alums and so of course they were talking about Obama's speech and since I was the only one there who had seen it I dived right in mistakenly assuming we were all wearing the same uniform in the culture wars.  Tactical error.

When I mentioned Obama getting heckled I was asked if Alan Keyes or his group of protesters was involved, which he wasn't as far as I know, but then that oddly segued into comments about how much love there was in the room for Alan Keyes and how at least one person there had voted for him for President.   

Alan-fucking-Keyes.   This had all the makings of an ugly ugly incident.

I blacked out Im sure but I don't know for how long.  When I came to though the first thought that entered my head was that given the circumstances I probably should not inquire as to exactly what the fuck is wrong with these people or explain how they are destroying America with their political views and Perry Ellis nautical theme sweaters.  In fact I didn't say a word.  I just looked out the window and focused on staying upright in my chair.  Before I knew it we were talking about hostas which I also hate but don't care to fight about.

This is progress.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama @ Notre Dame ctd.

"The ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt."

Full text of the speech is here

So why didn't God bless America?

Turns out that as shock and awe got rolling in Iraq Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld began including what he thought would be relevant biblical passages on the cover sheets of his top-secret intelligence briefings for  Bush.  Rummie's calculus, correct in all likelihood,  was that his department's intelligence views would carry more weight  with the juicy-for-Jesus president if they came with the biblical imprimatur.

I think most people who see the cover sheets will be vaguely creeped out by it and disturbed by the implication that Bush was perceived to be so weak-minded by his own advisors that he could be influenced by this kind of thing.  But really, why shouldn't he have been susceptible to biblical influence?  He's a self professed Christian who believes he was washed clean of various addictions by the power of the blood so he's walking the walk.   The bible is intended to be a guide for Christians in decision making in all aspects of life so I don't think its such a big deal really for him to look for some bible back up.

The question for bible-believers I think is why didn't it turn out better? Here we were with a born again  Christian leader looking to the Lord in a war against an army of  ostensibly nihilistic non believers.  That sounds like a pretty sweet set-up.   In that time I think most Americans would have said that God was on our side and certainly  all Christian-istas would have said He was.  So how did it get so fucked up?   Opponents of the war were cast as anti-American and are still characterized as having more tolerance for Islam than Christianity by the Godly right.  But the evidence that Bush's Iraq war policy was divinely guided is pretty slim.

Lincoln said " my concern is not that God is on our side, my greatest concern is to be on God's side".  Clearly the default presumption among most American Christians is that God is on our side by definition when  U.S. policy goals align in a way that accords with their cultural understanding of  His will, indeed they are largely incapable of thinking otherwise.  And of course this is the great danger when religion allows itself to stand as a cultural placeholder rather than an actual philosophy of the spirit.   I doubt that many Christians if any are contemplating whether or not they got crosswise with their savior over this one but I think they should.  It would do their religion and nation no end of good.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Yeah, Im a sap for Obama. So what?

This picture breaks my heart.   Its hard to resist the man's humanity.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Torture photos surface anyway.

Seems we don't necessarily  need Obama to get the rest of the torture photos.   Here's what I want from Cheney and then I'll shut up about the whole thing.   If he's going to continually assert the fear-mongers rationale then he should have to show his hand.  Point to each picture Mr. Vice President and explain exactly,  E-FUCKING-XACTLY, how many thousands of lives the specific procedures in each picture saved and why.   Who were these people, what did they know, and what would have undeniably happened to America absent the torture in these photos?  The man says the dots connect, so let him show us.  Preferably under oath.

Its breakfast. In Iowa

I made a bad dietary decision today and this was it.
Breakfast at the Machine Shed.  I thought maybe when the waitress brought it out that she was being ironic.  She wasn't.  Your options for breakfast at the Shed are these; fat or sugar, fat and sugar, with or without gravy and don't bother to ask if the toast is whole grain.  

I'd post the after-math but honestly Im too embarrassed.  Somewhere a cardiologist is smiling.

Me and Tammy Faye Baker

Its official.  Im a crier.   If you need to cast an actor who can sob like a bitch in prison then you should really give my agent a call cause I can blubber like a baby at the drop of a hat and I work cheap.

This is a recent development.  

When I was younger I didn't do weepy very well.  I did insane explode your head intense  anger realllllly well.  Circa 1994 I could chew all the scenery  you could build 8 times a week nena problema and if that wasn't tough enough for you well....those filterless Lucky Strikes said otherwise.

That was then.

Being a husband and dad.  Letting go of dreams for a  career.  Burying a parent and sister in law much to soon.  Im not so tough these days, and I don't have so much to yell about anymore.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How conservatives get their groove back.

Hurrumphing old white men don't have shwerves of course and neither do hot blonde women who sound just like them except with shorter skirts.  Right now the nexus between small government conservatism and outright social bigotry is unbreakable because the old "Christian" white guys just wont exit stage center-left.   When more conservatives start sounding like this woman instead purple faced guys like this then we'll again be a two party system but there's going to have to be a lot of arterial blockages before the GOP gets there.

Friday, May 8, 2009

The only thing worse than no work...

Is work. 

When will science  identify the strand of DNA floating around my body that is responsible for the voice of negativity in my head?

Hotels make my ass look fat.

Why do I put out so much effort to nail an audition if the subsequent job is so stressful?  

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mormons cover Obama's Mother

It appears that deviating slightly from their guidelines the Mormons have posthumously baptized Obama's Mother.   Brew-ha-ha, outrage, scandal.   Its an easy, and maybe even cheap, observation to make but I've never understood how any religion can claim the standing  to be outraged over the practices of another.

Is posthumous Mormon baptism a tad presumptuous?  Why yes, yes it is. But in the general scope of religious practices is it any odder than believing in the rapture,or that God would prefer men not have a foreskin, or that He has an underwear preference for you?  Once you start telling people that your ritual has the power to turn bread and wine (grape juice for Baptists) into the  flesh and blood of Jesus, and that you should  then eat it, you've forfeited the right to discernment.   The factual basis for "...let there be light" is no stronger than the argument that creation sits on the back of a giant invisible turtle so it seems to me that the best thing to do is believe whatever gets you up in the morning and otherwise tread lightly lest you blaspheme the Turtle.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Unbelievably timely quote from Scalia...

In a bit of I think fiendishly clever legal tweaking a law professor at Fordham has assigned his students the task of tracking down public details of Scalia's life that the oddly private Justice would rather not be widely known since he occupies a sphere entirely of his own creation. 

Its his rationale for keeping his public life private in this respect that just drops the jaw though given his most recently released opinion.  The man apparently wakes up in a new world every morning:

"It is not a rare phenomenon that what is legal may also be quite irresponsible. That appears in the First Amendment context all the time. What can be said often should not be said. Prof. Reidenberg's exercise is an example of perfectly legal, abominably poor judgment. Since he was not teaching a course in judgment, I presume he felt no responsibility to display any."