Archive for August, 2008

TOTAL ECLIPSE OF THE HARTLEY

Posted in Life, The Popular with tags , , , , , on August 28, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

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IT’S not like I can pinpoint the exact moment of this paradigm shift, but at some recent point in my life, I went from assuming that everyone I meet is older than me to assuming that everyone’s younger.

Sure, my conclusions could simply be written off as a matter of probability and median age, but they also have to do with attitudes. When I was in my 20s, a lot of the people I met — friends, co-workers — seemed like they had their shit together. Because my shit was scattered all around like a monkey’s, I just figured these people must have lived longer than I had, that they obviously had more time to become responsible adults.

Now that I’m 43, I meet a lot of people who are younger than me — and, alarmingly, they seem to be way more together. I guess I can accept my age and my relative aimlessness — I am a charter member of the slacker generation, after all. What I can’t accept is that I’m older than Bob Newhart.

At least the Bob Newhart I knew and loved, the one I watched every day as a kid, the balding shrink who seemed so adult, the voice of reason amid sitcom chaos.

I was revisiting “The Bob Newhart Show” on DVD a year or two ago and I think his wife Emily made a reference to him turning 40. Forty! How the hell could I be older than Bob Hartley!? Then it happened again, as I watched a sixth(!)-season episode of “I Love Lucy.” There was a reference to Ricky being in his 30s. Huh? I’m even older than Ricky Ricardo?! A guy in black and white?

It’s deeply unsettling — I’m older than the TV characters I looked up to and learned from as a little boy, the people I wanted to be when I grew up. I’m older than Mike Brady, my generation’s surrogate dad, a man who had words of wisdom to impart in any situation. I’m older than Rob Petrie, whose TV-writing job — and wife — looked so awesome. I’m older than Major Nelson, and he was an astronaut! I’m older than Mary Richards when she left WJM. Fuck, I’m probably older than Lou Grant.

I can live with the fact that I’m older than just about all the characters that populate current TV shows — fortysomethings have been a rare sight on TV since “Friends” took over (and even those characters would be considered old if that show debuted today). The casts of ’80s shows like “Hill Street Blues” and “St. Elsewhere” look positively geriatric compared with the casts of today’s hourlong dramas. (I was amazed by the abundance of gray hair in the opening credits of a “St. Elsewhere” episode I watched recently. Try to find one gray hair on “Grey’s Anatomy.”)

But it’s hard to accept that I’ve gotten older than the grown-ups I grew up watching, the wise characters who made adulthood look so appealing to a young boy. I’ve passed them by yet I still haven’t gotten my shit together — no TV-writing job, no family of my own, no nightclub where I can play my bongos. Where’s the tough-but-loving lecture from Mike Brady when you need it?

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THERE IS A GOD … UMMM, NEVER MIND

Posted in The News, The Popular with tags on August 26, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

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There IS A God:

The 2008 Summer Olympics are finally over, drawing to a close a seemingly endless array of ridiculously choreographed events with preordained winners and little drama all designed to display a troubled nation in a positive light.

Ummm, Never Mind…

Click Here

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There IS A God:

A beloved and respected American judicial institution has recognized the need for alternative voices, and has added a new seat to its bench for the first time ever.

Ummm, Never Mind…

Click Here

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There IS A God:

Audrey Toguchi of Aiea, Hawaii, says her cancer went away after she prayed at the grave of Father Damien, a Catholic missionary who died more than a century ago. Now Pope Benedict XVI has approved the case as Damien’s second miracle, opening the way for the 19th-century priest to be declared a saint.

Ummm, Never Mind…

Click Here

And Here

FORK, MOUTH AND DIGESTIVE JUICES NOT INCLUDED

Posted in The Popular with tags on August 25, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

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PRODUCT BASEMENT

Here’s another random selection of those products that make me go ‘huh’. Like this one: How dumb do the people at Sargento think we are?

The cheese company’s new line of Potato Finishers includes this helpful tip right on the front of the package: “JUST ADD Potato.” Umm, don’t you kinda START with the potato? And then add this shit on top? You don’t buy croutons and “just add salad” or syrup and “just add pancakes.”

And could that picture on the packaging be any more disgusting? From the looks of this gloopy mess, I think Sargento should have called this stuff Potato Happy Endings™, if you know what I mean.

Now here’s a product for a more, umm, discriminating clientele: Just Whites. “Contains no flavoring or coloring,” if you get their drift. Apparently, it’s the perfect solution for people who get out of their sheets in the morning and don’t want those brown eggs getting mixed into their breakfast. (Thanks to my friend Christine for tipping me off about this unfortunately named product.)

And finally … Now I know I have a dirty mind and all, but should one company be allowed to sell these two products simultaneously? (I suppose it could be worse — they could make EZ Squeeze Spotted Dick.)

Found a product that leaves you dumbstruck? Let me know at thismighthurtblog@gmail.com

HE SHOOTS UP, HE SCORES

Posted in Life, The Popular with tags , , , , on August 19, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

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“YOU should write a book.” I’ve been getting that advice a lot since I quit my newspaper job three months ago.

Of course I’d love to write a book. The reason I got into newspapers was because I wanted to write — even if it meant writing about zoning variances and sewage systems. Hell, I majored in writing at college (albeit for radio, television and film — what the hell was I thinking?)

I’m not interested in doing fiction, although I guess I could write about boy wizards or vampires in love or boy-loving vampire wizards if I were paid enough. But the book would suck massively. I’d really like to write about life. It just shouldn’t be my life.

Why? Well, I never had an affair with my mother. I was never molested as a child (and I was an altar boy and a Webelo scout, for chrissakes). The only thing I’ve ever been addicted to is Wheat Thins. I never did time in jail or rehab. I never had a life-threatening disease or worked as a stripper. I never found out my real father is black, or a killer, or actually my mom. If I have to write what I know, it’s gonna be a pretty boring book.

And that pisses me off. The more screwed up your life is, the better your chances of getting a book deal these days. I’ve been reading a lot of good reviews for “The Night of the Gun,” a new memoir in which David Carr, a New York Times columnist, interviews others to “investigate” and report on his cocaine addiction and his run-ins with the law in the ’80s. What the fuck? First, how does a guy doing crack into his 30s, a guy who can’t even remember whether or not he threatened a friend with a gun, a guy who was high the day his twin daughters were born, a guy who admits he was “a fat thug who beat up women and sold bad coke and terrorized children” — how does this guy wind up with a column at the Times? Damn, I’ve gotta update my resume.

OK, so maybe Carr is a good writer, a guy who made some mistakes in life and cleaned up his act. But should the rewards be this great? Should he be able to make a career out of this? What message does his success send to the hundreds of thousands of struggling writers who can’t get anyone in the business to look at their work? If I had known that being a crack fiend could have opened more doors for me than a college degree, my 20s would have been a lot crazier. My advice to young aspiring writers? Start going on meth benders now and thank me later. (Really, you know it’s not the time to tell your kids to “just say no” when the summer’s biggest box office star is Robert Downey Jr.)

So I’m gonna go shoot up right now, maybe rob a store and threaten a cop. And in 10 or 15 years, you might be reading my bestselling memoir. Or at least a book about junkie vampire wizards in rehab.

THE OVER/UNDER

Posted in The Popular with tags , on August 18, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

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Overrated: “Generation Kill” Underrated: Generation X

Overrated: Scrabulous Underrated: scrapple

Overrated: “A History Of Violence” Underrated: a moment of silence

Overrated: Katy Perry Underrated: Perry Como

Overrated: Johnny Depp Underrated: “Who’s Johnny”

Overrated: “Heroes” Underrated: gyros

Overrated: M.I.A. Underrated: OMD

Overrated: Electability Underrated: Erectibility

Overrated: Sugarland Underrated: Candy Land

NO MORE GAMES (Some More)

Posted in The Popular with tags , on August 14, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

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THANKS for the feedback on the I-hate-the-Olympics movie marathon post below. I used a list of Summer Olympics games to come up with the films and, being American and all, I interpreted Football as Football, and not Soccer. I thought about it later and realized I screwed up, so I’ve adjusted the post.

And here are the other Summer Olympics sports I couldn’t come up with movies for. Anyone have any ideas?

  • Field events (like the long jump, pole vault and javelin)
  • Badminton
  • Gymnastics (“Gymkata,” anyone?)
  • Handball
  • Judo (Maybe “Goldfinger”? Didn’t Pussy Galore practice it, among other things?)
  • Pentathlon/Triathlon
  • Rowing (“Dead Poets Society”?)
  • Taekwondo (how ’bout Rex Kwon Do in “Napoleon Dynamite”?)
  • Weighlifting

A gold medal to anyone who can help fill in the gaps…

NO MORE GAMES (A Movie-Marathon Alternative To The Olympics)

Posted in The Popular with tags , , , , , , , on August 12, 2008 by Adam Sapiro

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I CAN’T believe it’s been four years since I completely ignored the last Summer Olympics. If you, like me, couldn’t give a shit about the ’08 Games, then I offer you this list of counter-programming.

Just turn off NBC and enjoy a marathon of these movies instead — you’ll get the games (kinda) without all the garbage.

I had only a few rules for the list — the sport had to be present in the film somehow, the athletes had to be amateurs, and the films had to be great … or at least pretty good.

So let the games be gone and let the marathon begin:

(And for more info on the films, click on the titles to go to their imdb.com pages.)

Archery: “The Adventures of Robin Hood” (1938) It hits the bullseye of fun. (How’s that for a tag line?)

Baseball: “The Sand Lot” (1993) Kinda like “Stand By Me,” but with baseball instead of a body.

Basketball: “Hoop Dreams” (1994) Great doc. (Runner-up: “Deadly Friend,” but only for the decapitation-by-basketball scene)

Boxing: “Twenty Four Seven” (1997) Black and white, British, and Bob Hoskins runs a boxing club.

Canoeing: Without A Paddle” (2004) OK, it’s not that good, but I’ve never seen the obvious pick — “Deliverance” (and I’d rather watch the Olympics than see Ned Beatty squeal).

Cycling: “Breaking Away” (1979) Obviously.

Diving: “Back To School” (1986) Dangerfield doing “the Triple Lindy.” That’s comedy (well, it was in 1986).

Equestrian: “The Godfather” (1972) Yeah, this one’s a stretch, but has a horse ever had greater impact in a movie?

Fencing: “The Princess Bride” (1987) “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

Field Hockey: “Ginger Snaps” (2000) A cool Canadian horror flick about teenage girls and “the curse.”

Gymnastics: OK, I’m stumped here. Does that awesome chase through the construction site in “Casino Royale” count as gymnastics?

Sailing: “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975) There’s really only one scene in the whole film that takes place outside of the mental hospital, but when those inmates bust out…

Shooting: Sorry, but I can’t think of one movie with a gun in it.

Soccer: “Bend It Like Beckham” (2002) Fortunately, Becks isn’t in it — unlike our country.

Swimming: “The Big Bad Swim” (2006) A low-budget comedy about a swim class in Connecticut. Even so, it’s pretty good.

Table Tennis: “Ping Pong” (2002) A manga-based Japanese comedy-drama with cool CGI ping-pong action. (Runner-up: “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut.” Who knew Winona Ryder had such talent?)

Tennis: “Match Point” (2005) Woody Allen managed to slip in a good movie this decade.

Track: “Run Lola Run” (1998) If you gotta watch someone run around and around, you could do worse than Franka Potente.

Volleyball: “Cast Away” (2000) Best use ever of a volleyball in a movie.

Wrestling: “Borat” (2006) Best use ever of a censor bar in a movie.

Well that should keep you busy. Oh, and if anyone knows of a movie with a badminton scene, let me know… (and no, “Bye Bye Birdie” doesn’t count.)