Saving Radio.

What the hell, radio? Why do you keep trying to destroy yourself?

 

Let me back up.

Some friends on Facebook recently got into it over why, philosophically and morally, one shouldn’t listen to Pandora (I’m throwing Spotify into this conversation, along with all the ‘radio’ style online streaming playlist generators available everywhere now) and further, why one should embrace the good ol’ fashioned LOCAL RADIO.

Except that there’s no such thing anymore. Not really.

And I’m not just implying that all the little mom and pop radio stations have gone away, because as you surely know by now, they mostly have. The ones that cling tenaciously to life in this day and age do so with automated satellite programming in every daypart outside of maybe morning drive, which begs the question “how are you considered a local radio station if you don’t have local jocks or local news or sports or weather after ten AM?” It’s like a local businessman owning an Applebee’s. It’s in your town, but it sure ain’t a “local” joint.

Ah, good point, Turner!

Thanks. But let me finish.

Local radio. Okay. I’ve got a plan to fix local radio, to save it, to grow it back into the behemoth it once was. The great thing about it is that my plan provides for those radio operations owned by great big monster corporations, too. Sorry, whiney buy-local types, but at this point there’s no distinction. Radio, to survive must embrace what it has become, which is a business, a factory, a product. And like it or not, those megalithic companies like iHeartMedia? Despite laying off or firing thousands over the past decade, that company in particular still accounts for over 20,000 employees. Those are real, live humans with mouths to feed and mortgages.

So, what’s my plan?

 

Be. Local.

 

It’s so simple. So brilliant. And it’s not an original thought; consultants have been screaming this at air talent for decades.

 

Be. Local.

 

How in Christ’s name are you going to claim to be a “Live and local” radio station if the only topics of conversation are Metallica and Donald Trump? Or Taylor Swift and the next Avengers movie? Or whether Big Bang Theory got renewed? Or Connor McDavid retaking the NHL scoring lead? Because here’s the tough medicine, kids: if I want to hear about those topics, I’ll go to a national news or entertainment outlet. I’ll do this because I know those outlets have you totally outgunned. They have reporters on-site, backstage access, the agent’s phone number, etc. They’ll do a much better job of covering the big stuff than you ever will. It’s not your fault. It’s just the way it is.

That’s one reason why I have NEVER been able to listen to local home-grown sports shows in markets outside of the top fifty or so. Because once your local AA baseball team news has been covered in three minutes or so (“Looks like Jennings is getting called up to the AAA team! Okay, on the MLB scores…”) you literally have nothing else to talk about but the big leagues. And brother, if you think I give two shits what the guy in Champaign, Illinois thinks about this year’s Masters, then you, my friend, are sorely mistaken. Leave that stuff to ESPN. They know what they’re doing.

Can a local radio show talk about the big events, the hot new movie or mobile device or TV program? Absolutely. Can they express disbelief at our moronic President and encourage discussion? Certainly! Hell, I’d say you’d be falling behind if you didn’t touch on those things. But you have to make them local. BE. LOCAL. There’s talk of Trump being impeached or quitting. If you’re a radio show in Indiana, you must absolutely discuss how your former governor might soon be president. What does that mean for the state? After Pence’s record of gutting education in his home state, how does the DeVos appointment help or hurt? Did a listener used to work for Pence? Are there local teachers that have horror stories? Or a business that maybe was saved by Pence’s tax credits or some shit? These are discussions that the guys in Washington D.C. will never tell as well as you can. James Hetfield had a mic malfunction at the Grammys. What happened the last time Metallica played your town? Good? Bad? Who was there? Are they coming back any time soon? DO YOU HAVE TICKETS?!? BE LOCAL.

Anyway. Maybe radio doesn’t stand a chance. Maybe people enjoy satellite radio because it’s safe and uniform and they can travel the world and hear the exact same thing no matter where they go. That seems impossible to me, though; but then again, the average Sirius XM listener has like 140 channels and only listens to about six of those (seriously, everyone really likes Lithium and like one 80’s station and some sports feeds until they go on spring break and check out the reggae channel only to discover that it isn’t 100% Bob Marley all the time.) Safety in boringness. Vanilla remains the top-selling flavor of ice cream. Big Bang Theory is “America’s #1 Comedy!” Fucking puke.

 So, radio friends…fight the fight. Dare to improve. Stop getting your entire show from show prep services and Reddit. Tell the story about that weird guy who always hangs out on the corner of Fairfield and Washington. Even better, get that guy on the air. Bring him into the studio. New donut shop in town? Buy a dozen and bring them in, eat em on the air. Had an unusually mild winter (or even better, an unusually bitter one?) Host a beach party. Fake tan contests. Give away a trip to the Bahamas. WHATEVER. Do your own thing. Relate. Be local.

Save radio. I’m counting on you. I believe in you.

Peace.

TW

Sweet Christmas!

I only tell you this in the interest of transparency. It’s really none of your business, and most of you frankly just don’t care…but the tone of this blog sort of requires a bit of backstory regarding my philosophical beliefs. They’re fairly nebulous. If I absolutely had to define myself, I’d go with quantum-spiritualist. Maybe a super-agnostic. Saganite Buddhist. I believe that as we learn more about our universe via quantum physics and the exploration of space, the more we find that yes, maybe some of those philosophers that lived and taught two millennia ago were on to something. Those giants of aniquity sensed things about our universe that they couldn’t quite explain, truths that they felt in their very cells, but for which they had no mechanism for exploration, other than to just ask “what if?” That’s why all the really good old Greek and Roman figures happened to be scientists and mathematicians as well as soul-searchers and dreamers. They were trying to figure out the universe from both angles, and perhaps the world would be better off if we did more of that sort of thing nowadays. All that being said, I’m here to heap 100% of the credit for what we know as our traditional holiday season at the feet of our Christian brothers and sisters. They deserve it.

My atheist and new-age intellectual friends are surely interrupting with “but Christmas itself is a pagan holiday!” And they’re right, of course: it goes even deeper than that and much further back in time. The Winter Solstice has been recognized by cultures since humans first started scribbling on cave walls. It evolved into Celtic and Nordic observances and then into the full-blown Saturnalia festival of ancient Rome. And that’s where Christianity took the ball and ran with it.

jesus-football

Jesus was clearly forward of the line of scrimmage.

Early Christian leaders were a savvy group. They knew that their religion was bound to spread like wildfire simply by telling the common people about the great news: simply accept that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Redeemer, the incarnate son of the One True God, confess to him your sins, and presto! Eternal life! It really was too good a deal to pass up. But the church knew that The People enjoyed certain practices and celebrations as part of their culture that would not easily be given up. So the Christian leadership wisely said “Fine, you can keep your silly rituals. But we’re totally rebranding them.” So instead of pagan fertility rites involving eggs, rabbits, and other symbols of baby-making sexual intercourse, the church offered instead to celebrate renewal in a very literal sense: the return of Jesus from the dead. And of course, the Saturnalia (or, amongst the “barbaric” German and Celtic peoples, “Yule”) became not only a celebration of “the return of the sun” but of the “birth of the Son.” It made perfect sense. And once the emperor Constantine began establishing Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire sometime early in the 4th century, the deal was truly sealed.

That’s why we have Christmas trees instead of Yule Trees. Or Holiday Trees. That’s why we have Santa Claus (Greek bishop St. Nikolaos) and gift giving and such, right there in the dead of winter. Not that all of those things, the reindeer, the mistletoe, the holly, the candy canes and gingerbread houses, were necessarily Christian in origin, but because of the rapid and total spread of Christianity, these customs all fell under the same umbrella. They became universal. Sure, the Polish Santa might be unrecognizable as Swiety Mikolaj, but the idea remains intact.

MerryOldSanta

Oh, that’s a doll. Thank God. I thought I was going to have to write a really dark Polish Santa joke.

 

Christmas drives everything in December. Hanukah wouldn’t be such a big deal if it weren’t for Christmas. Nobody would have ever heard of Kwanzaa if it took place in June. They’re just piggybacking on the runaway rollercoaster of goodwill that Christianity started. Jesus had momentum. Plenty of room on the Midwinter Bandwagon.

But here’s where the dark clouds roll in. The sad truth is this: there have been plenty of bad Christians out there saying and doing enough stupid shit that the non-believers or folks sitting on the fence of religious belief are being driven from the church by these actions. Fighting against marriage equality, spouting hateful (and mostly untrue) things about Muslims on Facebook, thinly-veiled racism and hypocritical greed, misogyny, the abuse of children at the hands of Catholic priests…all of these things have stained the reputation of the once-infallible and all-powerful church.

320687_550156254997822_485779308_n

Pictured: everything bad.

But let’s give credit where credit is due. No, Christianity didn’t invent this holiday. But they took it and gave it to the world. You don’t have to be part of the church or its belief system to appreciate that. Nor do you have to be washed in the blood of the lamb in order to enjoy a cup of eggnog with friends you haven’t seen in years. It’s okay to enjoy everything the holiday season offers, no matter where you are in your spiritual life. And for fuck’s sake, it’s okay to call it “Christmas.” It totally is. I mean, chances are you don’t worship the Norse pantheon (although more and more Icelandic folks are doing just that) but it’s still okay to use the words Wednesday or Thursday. Like it or not, Odin’s Day and Thor’s Day are still right there on the calendar, and even Frigga gets some love with Friday. It’s fine. They’re just arbitrary names for things. Just words. They can’t harm you. They don’t stand for anything evil; they don’t commemorate a dark, bleak, tragic day in history. I also get that some of my well-meaning liberal brothers and sisters are hung-ho in their desire to shield the world from the insidious indoctrination policies of Christian evangelism. They have armored themselves in Political Correctness in an effort to make sure that everyone has a seat at the table. They really do mean well, but…dude. It’s Christmas. The reason of the season. Absolutely. It just is.

The ultimate point to all this? Don’t be afraid to call the holiday by its actual name. Use the word “Christmas.” It’s just a word. It’s not even a bad word. And like it or not, the Christian church is responsible, in a roundabout way, for your vacation days around that time in December. Had Genghis Khan run roughshod over all of Europe back in his time, we’d likely still have a celebration of the Winter Solstice and the gradual lengthening of our days…we’d just call it something else. But that didn’t happen. Christianity happened, thanks to the Roman Empire. So it’s Christmas. Big deal. Go to church if you want. Stay home. Put up a tree, or don’t. Christian, atheist, Muslim, Jew, agnostic, Sikh…it doesn’t matter how you label yourself. You can still enjoy listening to Bing Crosby as a log crackles in the fireplace and children tear open gifts. And I really, really hope that you do.

 

Merry Christmas, everyone.

The Story So Far.

 

Most episodic television programs begin with a “previously on…” montage of scenes that lead right up into that evening’s episode.  Tigh and Starbuck have an argument, Baltar has a conversation with Six, and so on. Maybe it’s Rick and Daryl running through the woods, Carl doing something stupid, and then a closeup of Maggie screaming “RUN!” Whatever. Sons of Anarchy, Burn Notice, The Blacklist. Lots of programs use that storytelling technique.

Wanna hit Starbucks?  Nah, she's out playing pyramid. ZING!!

Wanna hit Starbucks?
Nah, she’s out playing pyramid.
ZING!!

 

Other shows just go right into the latest episode, basically telling the viewer “If you don’t know what’s up, we’re not going to slow down and fill you in. Keep up, already.” Breaking Bad was great at that. Before the titles, you’d see Walt up to some sort of nonsense in the desert, or Mike doing something shady, or some seemingly unrelated shot: a pink stuffed toy, charred and water-logged, floating in a swimming pool. The writers and directors on those sort of programs usually do a masterful job of weaving it all together by the end of the episode. (Or by the end of the season, at least.)

Does this look a little pink, man? ZING!!

Does this look a little pink, man?
ZING!!

 

The point is, I’m not sure what sort of show this is. (I know it’s not a show. It’s a blog. I get it.   I’m not stupid. WHY YOU ALWAYS GOTTA CALL ME STUPID?!) But I do feel like filling you in before I begin the next episode. Because the next episode is a must-see, can’t-miss rollercoaster ride of thrills and excitement! The San Francisco Chronicle raves “Totally engrossing form start to finish” and the Indianapolis Star writes “It’ll have you guessing right up until the very end!” My mom adds “IT’S A BLOG!! SHUT UP AND GET ON WITH IT, ALREADY!”

 

Okay.

 

 


We OPEN on a dusty western street at dusk. Smoke or some other haze almost totally obscures the sinking, orange blob of sun, distorted and watery through the ripples of heat from the desert below.

 

IN THE DISTANCE, a vehicle approaches towards us down a twisting dirt track (editor’s note: in the first draft, this was a DURST track, and Limp Bizkit played underneath for the whole scene. You can see it in the DVD bonus features, although you won’t really want to.)

 

A MAN (We’ll come to know him as TURNER) stands in the street, facing the approaching vehicle. TURNER wears Wayfarer sunglasses and holds a smoldering, half-smoked MARLBORO CIGARETTE with about an inch of ash on the end.

TURNER doesn’t seem to notice, his vision fixed on the approaching car…or beyond it. It’s hard to tell, because, you know…sunglasses.

 

TURNER takes a drag of cigarette, and exhales slowly.

 

TURNER: Mo-teeeeeee-ya…

 

He tosses the butt to the ground.

CLOSE on the heel of his cowboy boot as he grinds the cigarette into the dusty street.

 

In the BG we see the car more clearly: it is a tan-and-cream colored late-model sedan, like a Lincoln Mark V. The hood ornament is a mounted longhorn steer’s horns.  (editor’s note: in the original shot, the car actually seems to hover about a foot off the ground, while the theme from Twin Peaks plays underneath the scene.  Also, for some reason, the bull’s horns are replaced with twirling chains of chocolate-covered cream-filled long johns, but since no one could remember why it was written that way, this portion of the script was written off as simply “drugs” and forgotten.)

 

CLOSE on TURNER as he smiles.

 

We PAN DOWN the length of his torso, coming to HOLD on the ridiculously large, chrome revolver on his hip as he UNCLASPS the leather strap holding it in place. (editor’s note:  originally, producers wanted the revolver to be two silver-dollar pancakes stapled together.  No one knows why.  Everyone involved in the creation of this episode was terribly hungry.  And tripping balls.)

 

TO BE CONTINUED!


 

 

Well, no. Not really. But damn it, now I have to wrap it up. Guess I’ll have to fill you in next time. It’s a really good story. No, it is!

 

See you next time on “TURNERWATSON.COM!!”

 

(That doesn’t make any goddam sense.)

 

 

Q & A, Part One

Oh, this year has been awesome so far, hasn’t it?  Man…things are happening, wheels are in motion, and ol’ Uncle Turner needs a break already.  (It sucks being old, kids.)

That’s why I decided to turn the tough part of blogging (inspiration!) over to you.  Over at my Facebook page, I asked you to ask me questions.  Nothing was off-limits, and you guys are so creatively insane and brilliantly stupid that I got some really good questions.  Too many to handle all at once, lest this be a 48-page blog entry.  Nobody wants that.  Hell, my radio consultant said the last entry was too long, so…let’s begin.

Ryan asks: Does God have feet?

An excellent question, and quantum physics teaches us that God both does and does not have feet.  Also?  This explains the dual nature of God as both male and female simultaneously.  Hence the old line about us being created “In God’s image.”  Whoa, it got really serious right out of the gate.  Let’s change gears…

"I saw two pairs of footprints, and said HOLY SHIT, GOD!! DON'T STEP ON ME!!"

“I saw two pairs of footprints, and said HOLY SHIT, GOD!! DON’T STEP ON ME!!”

Mike submits: Do you think Hollywood should do a reboot or sequel to Real Genius? And are you available to play Chris Knight, cause Val Kilmer is fat now?

I’ve covered reboots and sequels in previous blogs, and I’d be down for a sequel to this film (one of my all-time faves) if they mixed it up and made Chris the professor or even the project lead at some company.  He’s lost his way a bit, and needs a young, brilliant student to bring him back to the irreverent Chris Knight we all know and love.  Alas, I am also old and fat, so it’ll prolly end up starring Ryan Gosling somehow.

Negative, ghostrider.  The pattern is full...of donuts.

Negative, ghostrider. The pattern is full…of donuts.

From Joe: Colecovision…best gaming console ever?

Son, you know that it’s a war between NES and Sega.  A very tightly-contested war, with no clear victor.  That being said, “Buck Rogers” on the Colecovision was incredible.

My brother and I called this level "Holiday Road" and would sing the Lindsey Buckingham song from "Vacation" as we played.  True story.

My brother and I called this level “Holiday Road” and would sing the Lindsey Buckingham song from “Vacation” as we played. True story.

Brian asks: Rick Flair or Stone Cold Steve Austin ?

No question, it’s always going to be Rick Flair.  Ask me again in twenty years.  It will still be Rick Flair.  WOOOOOOOO!

One of these guys dresses with class.  The other might be Goldberg.  I can never tell.

One of these guys dresses with class. The other might be Goldberg. I can never tell.

The music-minded Tuler submits: What’s your favorite local bands?

Ft. Wayne has a surprisingly deep well of local talent.  And like most Midwestern towns, it seems like there’s a bedrock foundation of cover bands, upon which a layer of metal and blues rock lays.  Then you get all the other genres sprinkled about like feldspar. (Geology, bitches!)  I have talented friends in bands like Beneath it All and Valhalla, standout metal bands.  KTR and Downstait are great, too. I’ve always figured Left Lane Cruiser would be a huge national act by now, and it boggles my mind that they aren’t as popular as, say Cage the Elephant (I know, different styles and such.  LLC isn’t easily quantified and packaged, so there’s that.  Perhaps I should’ve compared them to Leon Redbone instead.)  But my tastes are decidedly more punk-rock in nature, so I’d say that you can’t go wrong with Flamingo Nosebleed.  They’ve had (and totally earned) the opportunity to tour with the likes of The Suicide Machines and other “national” acts.  One could make the argument that they’re more popular outside Ft. Wayne proper, which is a shame.

Okay, running out of space, so let’s have one more, hopefully from someone too drunk to stand…ah!  Perfect.

Jake asks (slurringly): If you were half man, half sausage, which half would beer man.

Every man is half sausage and half beer and beer man, beer, man.  Beer.

Yes, this stock photo exists.

Yes, this stock photo exists.

Celebri-tastic!

My dear friend and wonderfully successful multi-media darling and Dream Lord (that’s the new title I’ve bestowed upon her by virtue of my standing in the Affiliation of Gilead) Lauri Loewenberg suggested that I do a fake celebrity gossip blog.  Before I launched such an endeavor, I thought I’d try it out first.  You know, take ‘er for a test drive. (The blog concept, not Lauri.  Although, have you seen her?  Dayum.)  Anyway, here goes…


Jackman and Hoffman VERY Hungry!

NEW YORK – With pre-production over, shooting FINALLY began in earnest on the big-budget adaptation of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.”  Hugh Jackman, who plays the leading role, told us exactly what drew him to the character:

“Well, he’s a bit of mystery, isn’t he?  I mean, here’s this caterpillar with only one purpose in life.  One purpose that we, the audience, can see.  But then, well, it’s  a bit of a shock at the end, innit?  Crikey!”

The superstars took time out from filming recently to catch a Nicks game!

The superstars took time out from filming recently to catch a Nicks game!

Dustin Hoffman seemed incredibly eager to get to work, even though it meant hours spent in makeup and motion-capture CGI rig.

“It’s wonderful.  Simply wonderful.  This is the first time I’ve gotten the chance to combine two things I’ve never really done before.  I get to literally become a singing leaf through the magic of computer animation, and that’s wonderful!  And I get to indulge myself by singing a few old Negro spirituals. And I can say ‘Negro’ because our peoples have been through so much.  And by ‘our peoples’ I mean, of course, actors and athletes.”

Hoffman went on to say that he was more than excited to put such utter crap as “Mister Magorium’s Wonder Emporium” in the rear-view mirror once and for all.

“I will make a successful kid’s movie.  I WILL. ‘Hook’ was so long ago.  So very long…”  the actor then drifted off, staring into space for a few moments before wiping away a bit of drool and excusing himself.  “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” is scheduled for a Holiday 2014 release.

Pop-Star’s Panties Purloined?  “Pish-Posh” Say Police!

Minaj signs a few autographs before being whisked away by the LAPD.

Minaj signs a few autographs before being whisked away by the LAPD.

LOS ANGELES – Pop diva and possible space alien Nicki Minaj  had a bit of a scare recently. Upon arriving in Hollywood for the taping of American Idol, the superstar was met at LAX by Los Angeles police detectives keen to speak with the musical harpy regarding the supposed theft of a pair of her underpants.

“We just couldn’t believe anyone would do that.  Anyone.  Seriously.  Nobody would do that.  Steal her panties, I mean.” That’s according to Detective Ryan Doheny of the LAPD.  He and other law-enforcement personnel began to doubt the singer’s assertion that her “draws been snatched!” when they figured out that “draws” meant “underpants.”

After a brief interview with police, Minaj was free to go.  Detective Doheny concluded by saying “I seriously don’t know what’s going on.  I mean…what the f*ck?  I need a Tylenol.”

Good luck, officer!

Whedon’s Secret Weapon!

SAN DIEGO – Joss Whedon certainly has a lot on his plate. The Avengers director and Firefly creator seemingly has a dozen irons in the fire, and shows no sign of letting up.  The rumor machine fired into high gear recently when Hollywood insiders hinted that Joss may take over the Star Trek franchise when JJ Abrams begins work on the next batch of Star Wars properties for Disney.  Rumors that gained steam when, ahead of the upcoming Comic-Con in San Diego, Whedon was spotted on the town with a man many refer to as “the guy behind the guy.”

Whedon's mystery man just may be his silent partner...

Whedon’s mystery man just may be his silent partner…

Who is this mystery man?  A possible sleeping Hollywood giant?  A brilliant script doctor?  A talent-spotter extraordinaire?  Or a tubby Trekkie fanboy known only as “Sam?”

The Whedon camp is mum, giving only this cryptic answer to our prodding questions:

“We have no idea who that kid is.  He just shows up.  Joss took a picture with him last year, and now he, well…he just hangs around.  It’s getting sort of annoying”

Hmmm…sounds like someone is trying to throw us off the scent!  that’s fine with us, as long as that Whedonesque magic keeps-a-comin’, even if it really is all thanks to the mysterious “Sam.” (Wink-wink!)

Father’s Day, South Haven, MI

I like sand on me. I like the loose sand that you don’t realize is there on your forearm until you reach for your drink and there it is, a pale dusting of cinnamon sugar. It comes off easily, just a brush of your hand.

Rhys and I are sitting on the deck of my father-in-law’s place in South Haven, Michigan. He lives right across from the harbor, and we’ve been enjoying the evening watching people walk by. Some tool is “tuning” his cigarette boat, alternately idling and revving it loudly. Rhys asks for more ranch dressing for his carrot sticks, so I show him how to pile what he has left up in one side of his little dish.

Any time now, my wife and eldest son will return. They’ve gone on a quest for lemonade from a beachside vendor. I’m having orange juice and Admiral Nelson spiced rum. Rhys asks if what I am drinking is “yucky” and I confirm his suspicion.

“When I get a little bit older it won’t be so yucky for me?” he asks. I tell him to wait a few years. The cigarette boat captain finally kills his engine.

I look down and see the smiling faces of my returning son and wife. They hold aloft a plastic tumbler of lemonade, their trophy of a successful hunt. Steaks are on the grill and a little more sand falls off of me.

Ahhhh…

@TheJoeSchultz

The other night I was kinda pissy with my good friend, teammate, and all-around swell guy Joe Schultz.  Long story, but I know this other guy who got some really horrible news this week, and I guess it kind of affected me, so I took it out on Joe, since he’s always sleeping with my wife and such (allegedly.) Anyway, I felt bad.  To make amends, I’m dedicating this blog to @TheJoeSchultz (that’s Joe’s Twitter handle.  Catchy, no?)

Some of you blog-followers are already familiar with Joe from the blog I did around Halloween, wherein myself and others blew up his Facebook wall with costume suggestions.  You can read it here.  Some others might know Joe as the drummer for the rock band Rains.  They have their own website and everything! I joke around because I know the guys, but they’ve actually toured the country with some heavyweights (ahem…5FDP for starters.)  In other words, Joe is the big King Shit as far as I’m concerned, which is why I was bummed when the band decided to go ahead and make a video for one of their singles WITHOUT JOE!!! In fairness, it was during a time when Joe was not with the band and they had some other dude drumming.  but, STILL!!!!  THAT’S MY BOY!!

Anyway, here’s that video, which is pretty lackluster without @TheJoeSchultz if you ask me.  But enjoy it anyway, and just imagine Joe’s big, bald head is back there behind the kit.

 

I LOVE JOE SCHULTZ AND I’M NOT AFRAID TO SAY IT!!!

Dig it!

This blog sure has been willy-nilly of late, ain’t it?  Sorry about that.  New schedule…summertime business.  Them’s the breaks.  While I’ve got you for a minute, I just wanted to slap together some stuff that might keep you busy until the next “real” blog entry.  Just some stuff I like.  Maybe it’ll help you wrap your head around me a little.  For example…

The Novels of James Ellroy

Gott DAMN that guy can write.  I’d never read any of his stuff before the movie adaptation of L.A. Confidential hit theaters.  But that flick blew my skirt up, so to speak, and my dear ol’ mom got me a copy of the screenplay.  It was as good or even better than the movie!  Sounds weird, I know…but the script had so many great notes and asides that nicely filled in the gaps between book and movie.  Here’s what you do: next time you’re at the library or bookstore, check out/purchase/read/steal the screenplay for one of your favorite movies.  Terminator 2 is AMAZING in screenplay form.  (Pretty goddam good movie, too.)

Kim Basinger’s cleavage in no way influenced my decision.

Anyway, recently I started picking up some of the other Ellroy books, to fill in the rest of his “L.A. Quartet.”  I read ’em out of order, because I wanted to read “The Big Nowhere” first.  See, the main character is a scummy bagman/former cop named Turner Meeks.  In the movie version of “L.A. Confidential” they change his name to Leland Meeks.  WHAAAAAA?!?!  Why would you change that awesome name?  Doesn’t matter, because in the movie he’s just an old guy and then a corpse under a house.  Meh.  Maybe it’s better that way.  Fuck you, Leland!!  (Oh.  Maybe I should’ve said “spoiler alert.”  My bad.)

But then I read “The Black Dahlia.”  Holy shit, what an amazing read.  The movie version kinda sucked.  I will say, however, that the casting director got some things right.  As I started reading, I thought “This Lee Blanchard character sounds a lot like Aaron Eckhart.”  I went to IMDB to refresh my memory of the film and DAMN!!  Aaron Eckhart played Harvey Dent!  Or Lee Blanchard!  I’m all confused.  But in closing, read Ellroy’s stuff this summer, then play some L.A. Noire and sip a good Scotch, neat.  You owe it to yourself to lose yourself in late-40’s/early-50’s Los Angeles.

Sharks, motherfucker.

As I write this, there are 75 days until Shark Week on Discovery.  As I write this, there still hasn’t been a better shark-related movie than Jaws.  Did you know that Spielberg’s big gamble which also became the first “summer blockbuster” is 37 years old?  Did you know that “Deep Blue Sea” was a steaming pile of HORSE SHIT?!?  Okay, maybe that thought had occurred to you.  The point is, if you are a shark junkie like me, there just isn’t enough quality shark-related programming out there.  Discovery treats sharks like the goddam McRib, only dangling them in front of us for a LIMITED TIME!!  GET ‘EM WHILE THEY’RE HOT!!! Or, you know…while they’re cold.  Because, you know…cold-blooded.  Fish and all that.

Never. Gets. Old.

Did you know that there are over 350 different kinds of sharks?  Did you also know that there will be substantially less if stupid motherfucking shark-finners, sport fishermen, and the Japanese don’t stop fucking things up?  Yeah, I’m swearing, because that shit gets me mad!  Jesus, people…these things have been around for 64 million years!  If there were still dinosaurs walking around, you bet your ass they would be off-limits as far as soup-making materials and touristy necklaces go.  So why do people think it’s okay to mess with the sharks?  Maybe I should start the rumor that Mahi-Mahi are one of the deadliest killers in the depths of the briny sea!  Did you know that the deadly Mahi (otherwise known as “Dolphin Fish even though they are nothing like dolphins) can devour an entire water buffalo in a matter of seconds?  Fact.  They’ll strip your dog down to bones in the blink of an eye, which is much more terrifying than the scene in Jaws when you see the kid on the raft go under and then we zoom-in dolly-out on Chief Brody’s reaction on the beach.  You know all those dog skeletons you see washing up on the beach when you hit Ft. Lauderdale?  Thank the evil Mahi-Mahi for that.  Another fact:  “Mahi-Mahi” is actually an old Polynesian word for “red-fanged evil smile fish which is a killer of children and dogs”  I know, the Polynesian language is fucked-up, but that’s what it means.

Okay, I’m going to quit now, because I’m getting mad.  If you’re curious/want to help, by the way, check these folks out…http://www.stopsharkfinning.net/

I’ll be back with a heapin’ helpin’ of good old-fashioned entertainment soon.  In the meantime, read James Ellroy and wait for Shark Week.  I love you!  Carry on.