Boom! Change No One Would Have Seen Coming

October 18, 2008

Some morning, I’m going to be sitting bleary eyed on the couch, easing myself from sleep, and ESPN is going to greet me with news of the death of John Madden. When that sad day comes, there will be an outpouring of grief from several generations of American males which will rival the global mourning that followed the death of Princess Di.

I have told Paloma this and she shakes her head skeptically. However, guys my age have fathers who watched Madden at the start of his coaching career. We might even remember watching his final few Raiders’ teams before he became an announcer. My nephew and his friends play his signature video game incessantly (I have avoided it for fear I would quit my job to devote time to mastering it).

Madden is like a crazy, yet good natured, uncle to us all – which makes his crazy uncle eccentricities part of his charm – and the man who introduced us to the wonder of the turducken.

The man’s grassroots appeal makes me wonder why, if the Republicans had to nominate an old, white guy, they didn’t consider John Madden. Imagine him drawing up foreign policy using a telestrator or sending Brett Favre to be a special envoy to the Middle East. He could pull in some of the salary cap experts that NFL teams employ for his economic team.

And I’ve believed for years that if W was serious about catching bin Laden, he’d have assigned the task to the NFL.

Of course, Madden would need to have Al Michaels riding shogun as VP to keep John focused and on track (and to handle formal affairs or events which require air travel).

Meanwhile, Sarah Palin could squeeze Al Davis out of his ownership of the Oakland Raiders, move the team to Wasila, and – once Alaska secedes – the NFL would fulfill its goal of having a team outside the US. It would yield a staggering amount of cash in merchandising.

Certainly enough cash to bailout the world.

Tears For Fears – Change

Fishbone – Change

John Waite – Change

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Change Of Heart

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Going Postal: How I Intend To Thrive In A Post-Apocalyptic World

April 21, 2008

The drumbeat that we, as a species, are reaching the closing credits keeps getting louder and whether we are or not is anyone’s guess. I, for one, am now able to face such a proposition with a new-found sense of contentment and a plan for success in a brave new world which doesn’t rely on AdSense earnings.

I have seen The Postman.

I had seen a bit of Kevin Costner’s magnum opus years ago and had no intention of ever seeing more, but it was late and the pickings were slim. “I know that Tom Petty’s in it,” I said to Paloma, shrugging, trying to feign a semblance of optimism. It was some of the best acting of the evening.

I have now seen it, though, and I am richer for the experience. If you’re unfamiliar with the premise, it’s set sometime in the near future and there has been some disaster that has left civilization in ruins with pockets of refugees and a quasi-military strongman who is trying to consolidate power. I’m not sure what the disaster was as Paloma and I were going full-freakin’ Mystery Science Theater on the flick. There was some comment about drought, but everything seemed pretty lush and well-watered to me.

Enter Costner, a drifter with a penchant for Shakespeare, who takes refuge in a mail truck during a thunderstorm and dons the dead carrier’s garb. With nothing more than a bag of mail, a USPS jacket, and a rather snazzy cap, he becomes The Man. Actually, he becomes The Postman.

Coming upon an enclave of survivors, Costner is soon more popular than Jessica Lange when she was rescued by that oil tanker full of roughnecks in the ’76 version of King Kong. He gets soup. He gets a bath. They throw some party which gives reason to believe that bad jam bands will indeed survive the apocalypse. He gets hooked up with a fetching, young village lass.

The Postman is livin’ la vida loca and there doesn’t appear to be a dog in sight.

Sure, it’s not all seashells and balloons. There is that strongman to contend with who doesn’t like the fact that The Postman is giving the punters hope that the United States is being reformed. There’s also the sheriff of the village who is suspicious of The Postman’s credentials. Of course, said sheriff is actually Mr. Kruger from Kruger Industrial Smoothing (this will make sense to Seinfeld fans), so George Costanza and the legacy of The Human Fund has obviously made him cynical toward do-gooders.

The Postman must also contend with cavernous plot holes, inane dialogue, and acting that would mar a good sock-puppet production. So, hey, he does have his hands full, but he also has soup, a hot soak, and a nubile companion.

He also gets to hang with Tom Petty, who is the major of Bridge City. As my girlfriend reminded me, Petty also has had a recurring role on King Of The Hill and, like that part, in The Postman he essentially seems to be playing Tom Petty. However, he gives a tour de force performance because, no matter how gifted an actor – DeNiro, Pacino, or whomever you might fancy – no one plays Tom Petty like Tom Petty.

Forget stockpiling bottled water or canned hams. I intend to thrive after armageddon using the lessons I’ve learned from Kevin Costner, I’m off to find a mail carrier’s jacket or a patch of the US Postal Service which I might affix to my Belgian army coat.

David Baerwald – The Postman

Aztec Camera – We Could Send Letters

PJ Harvey – The Letter

The Posies – Love Letter Boxes