Monday, February 14, 2011

Been Thinkin' About Jivin'....

It was Early November when I scrapped my first Jive. I remember I was going to begin by adapting an Ol’ Johnny Carson routine to paper. It was gonna go something like this right here….

1. Spend 2 hours strapped to a gurney like Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange and forced to watch Revolutionary Road for the 2nd time….

2. Attend a 2 hour “VH1 Storytellers” event where Darryl Worley gives in-depth analysis of the meanings and inspirations behind his lyrics…..

3. Spend 2 hours listening to a girlfriend try and explain to me why she’s leaving me for Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino….

......Name 3 things I’d rather experience than 2 hours of gridlock traffic in any city…at any time.

Last fall, as I was frequently traveling long distances by plane and by automobile to the southern tip of the state, I had weekends that were almost completely sabotaged by flight delays and gridlock traffic. One Friday, it was my turn to pick my friend up from the airport. I was looking forward to experiencing the satisfaction that comes with the successful implementation of “the perfect airport-pickup”. I left earlier than anyone would ever have even considered leaving. I was way ahead of schedule…that was until I merged on to North Stemmons Fwy. My friend flew from Houston to Dallas before my car moved an inch. “Now, Christopher, surely you moved a mile, a block, or at least a car-length”, you might suggest. Nope…I didn’t move one damn inch. Literally. Instead of being cool, calm and collected, I arrived at the airport as an out of breath, sweaty mess. When I was asked why I wasn’t there waiting, I almost lost it. It set the tone for what would be another aggravating weekend. Written with the same gusto as the unforgettable spoken phrase about what water will do to mattresses or what mustard will do to shirts, I planned to comment on how “Gridlock Ruins Plans”...and it really does. And that’s a fact, Jack.

I was gonna write it…but scrapped it.

Then I was going to write a Jive that would showcase the entire 1st Act of a screenplay that I’ve been writing. Feeling as though my intellectual property would be wasted, I wanted to post it so that someone might read it, film it, and make a fortune. Then, I would attempt to sue them for “stealing” my idea. It was a stupid idea that I dismissed fairly quickly. However, the idea did spark a question about what would be the Top5 titles of a screenplay written about my life. Get Rich or Quit Tryin’ would have to top that list.

I was gonna write it…but didn’t.

On a related topic, I was going to write a Jive that would voice my excitement about making movies again. For the past five years, I somehow managed to get paid for making “videos”. It has become my identity and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. However, during this period, I only made music videos; shelving all other ideas I may have had. Well…I did make Frank Goes To The Klan Rally (2007) in which I fought off actual Network News Crews in order to “get the shot”, but it did not require much preparation. I was proud of myself for creating something “off the cuff” like that, though.

I was going to Jive about our “Return to the Streets” and all the webisodes that I hope to showcase in the Top5 Drive-In in the months to come. I was going to discuss my pleasure in realizing how much I’ve improved as a director and the satisfaction I've derived from witnessing Frank’s improved acting ability. I didn’t have to mutter my “go-to line of direction” either. I never once suggested to Frank that he should “try and act more natural”.

Then there was the Jive about American Idol that I started and never completed. Yep…I thought about it. I was going to make a bold statement by suggesting that this has been the most enjoyable season for me since Taylor Hicks won in 2006. Not to sound creepy or suggest that I’m obsessed with her or anything, but of course my new-found enjoyment has to do with the addition of Jennifer Lopez to the show. She’s Just About As Pretty As It Gets. I’m no John Hinckley* or anything…just an admirer of her beauty. I was going to “caboose” the Jive (thanks, Brent) with my Top5 Most Beautiful Actresses. I would have listed:

5. Mila Kunis
4. Rosario Dawson
3. Salma Hayek
2. Eva Mendes
1. Jennifer Lopez
* I originally placed Catherine Keener at #5 until I was called out on it. She's my favorite actress but not in the league of the other Top5.

I remember I was asked on more than one occasion which Beatle I preferred - John or Paul. I thought about writing about that too. I love Paul McCartney's music and consider him to be the most famous entertainer in the world. However, I base my decision about who I prefer on this scenario - I can "Imagine" (Pun!) a situation in which John and Paul are sitting around sharing a smoke in the Dakota Apartments. Obladi Oblada plays on the radio. John says to Paul, "You are a more talented bloke than that, man. Really, Paul"? I can't think of one John Lennon tune where after listening to it, Paul could retort by posing the same question back at his former bandmate. Think about it. If you prefer the optimistic sounds of Paul McCartney's beautiful music, I can't fault you. Just know that John was realistic enough to know better.

Ringo was the "Funny one", George was the "Quiet one", Paul was the "Cute one, and John was the "Talented one". Enough said.

I say that knowing full-well that Oh Darling is one of my favorite songs of all-time...maybe even Top5 Beatle tunes...

....And then there was the Jive I scrapped about my anger at Roberto Alomor being voted in to the MLB Hall Of Fame. A product of the 90's Steroid Era being voted in first round...WHAT? He makes Michael Irvin look like the Rev. Gene Ratliff**. Looking past the fact that Jeff Bagwell did not even get voted in and the fact that Alomar played on a Baltimore Oriole team with such proven "sluggers" as Brady Anderson, Bobby Bonilla and Rafael Palmeiro (tear) , the SOB spit in umpire John Hirschbeck's face. This is such a dasterdly move that I failed to even include it in Video Joe's Moral Code of Ethics (see Jive archives). I would not even spit in Bin Laden's face. I was gonna write about how such an act would rank just below pushing a fully-clothed man in a swimming pool ,while the man in question was in mid-conversation with a Blind Date. I was gonna write about that but instead, wanted to let that soggy cousin of mine know that I'm so happy that it all worked out for him in the end.

Roberto Alamor is lucky that he wasn't good enough to hit 762 homeruns and that his measily-steroid-induced 210 homeruns snuck him into the HOF. He snuck into the Hall of Fame faster than that Nolan Ryan fastball sped by him in The Express' 7th No-hitter.

Anyway, in the spirit of Dwight Yoakum...I've been thinkin' about Jivin', long enough to change my mind.
Feelin' Good ALL the Time
* John Hinckley attempted to assassinate Ronald Reagan in an effort to impress Jodie Foster. BTW, I bet he took her "coming out" announcement personally.
** Gene Ratliff was a former Minister of mine at Gordon Methodist Church. He was my favorite.


Lyle said...

Good read sir. It was like five jives packed into one.

Random observation from this list:

5. Catherine Keener
4. Rosario Dawson
3. Salma Hayek
2. Eva Mendes
1. Jennifer Lopez

Seriously Chris. We all know that you have a preference in women, but are you telling me that that of all the caucasian actresses in the world, in your mind, Catherine Keener is the most beautiful?

On the same thread of "thinkin' bout jivin"....I had a few.

What about some intellectual, political discussion on a topic that is near and dear to many of the readers on this board?

Topic: Thoughts on Texas Cutting $5 billion from public school funding - What is governor "Good Hair's" agenda?

Nah nah nah. Just kidding...

Thinking 'bout jiving more on the lines of how great it has been to have reruns of the Larry Sanders Show on IFC (the Godfather of the HBO sitcom)! "Hey now!"

And speaking of Godfather, how about how every time it is on AMC I cannot turn the channel.

Or Michael Young, justified or whiner?

Or Brock Football - Will it be the next Aledo?

Hoy hoy. I've missed the Jive.


Christopher said...

You Are absolutely right....Catherine Keener did not belong. I've since replaced her in the Top5. I listed her with the mentality that any Caucasian would do.

U strayed from the topic though. What do are your thoughts on Roberto Alomar? John or Paul?

I expect a Jive from you in the near future where you examine topics in local sports such as the Young situation, your love for Galloway, and hatred for Hansen.

Lyle said...

Oh I guess I did stray, but I thought I was keeping in line with the jive on random "jivable" observations. But to answer you:

John or Paul. What more can be said. You nailed my sentiments.

Roberto Alomar. Don't know why you do not think he is a Hall of Fame worthy. Got to remember we're talking about second basemen and I would put him in the top five second basemen of all time. As far as steroid allegations, whether it is right or wrong, the voters are just focusing in on homerun production for everyday players in the steroid era. Alomar doesn't black-balled in this scenario because his credentials are based on his defensive prowess and hitting for average.

You can't just not vote him in based on his character and the spitting incident. As descpicable as it was, there are plenty of known racists, womanizers, boozers, and everything in between already in the hall. "Jerk" is not reason enough for disqualification.

There is that better?


Lyle said...

Oh, also Roberto Alomar got voted in on his second year of eligibility, not the first. Believe he would have been a first ballot HOF'r if not for the spitting incident.

Christopher said...

I was almost positive that he was voted in the first year he was eligible. That's what angered me. If it was his 2nd attempt....well then I may have to budge somewhat on my stance.

Dana said...

I think you guys have over-simplified the John-Paul argument. I am definitely pro-John now that my auditory senses have matured; when I was younger I preferred the melodic trappings of Sir Paul. The cheerfulness of his lyrics and tunes cut through my dark, adolescent angst like Snookie through a crowd of Guidos. I guess my brain just couldn't wrap itself around lyrics like,"Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come" or "I think I know,er mean, er yes, but it's all wrong/ that is I think I disagree." Of course, it blew my mind, and I sang along to it, but youth gravitated towards Paul. Now that I have, ahem, matured, I feel that, lyrically, John was definitely superior. And lyrics mean a lot more to me as I age.

But my firm belief is that there would never have been a phenomenon known as "the Beatles" without the prolific chemistry that existed between John and Paul. Why was neither as successful in their solo careers? Because there was no (as George Martin put it) "middle eight." Okay, so Paul had a tendency to migrate towards the sappy love songs, while John enjoyed writing philosophical, sometimes biting, social commentary and brain teasers. To put it simply, Paul softened up John's hard edges, while John dragged Paul kicking and screaming from silly camp. Many of their songs sounded like there were arguments within the song...two of the better examples being "We Can Work it Out," and "Getting Better." On "Work" you hear Paul's blissfully optomistic "We can work it out," followed by John's biting, "Life it very short, and there's no time for fussing and fighting my friend." On "Getting Better," Paul, "It's getting better all the time," with John's, "I used to be cruel to my woman, I beat her and kept her apart from the things that I love." There are many more examples of this "middle eight" in their music, growing less frequent in their last albums where it was no longer a collaborative process for them.

Personally, at this point in my life, I like John's brutal dose of reality (due probably from near- mid-life cynicism, especially the "life is very short" part)but I stand firm in my belief that you really can't choose who is the "best" Beatle; without either John or Paul, the Beatles would not have existed.

Paradoxically, George became a much stronger musician/songwriter as this John-Paul strong-force depleted in the late 60's. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is in my top 5 favorite Beatle songs.

Christopher said...

Dana, that was articulate, funny, and awesome. I'm going to have to write a complete Jive on the Beatles at a later date. You need to write a "Guest Jive".

Anonymous said...

Really liked the jive and the shout outs Chris. I could really feel the anger. And the idea a being questioned after an incedent that could rank with "water ruins mattresses" I might have had to be hauled away by airport security. Been a while since I have got to let the ritcheous(?) anger flow. I know I don't share your same preferences but do not like Jennifer Lopez or Rosario Dawson. I would have slid in Natalie Portman(i know)and Halle Berry.

On the John and Paul, I accept that John is a better songwriter. But I have to go with Paul. I don't need to think or feel down when listening to music. I want to be upbeat and cheered.

Hate Roberto Alomar. I never thought he stood out. I don't think he was the best 2nd baseman when he was playing. And how the ump or teammates or opposition didn't procede to give him the thrashing of a lifetime is beyond me. Even if I don't know the person that is an instant throat punch.

To answer Lyle. Young is justified. He needs to get Raylen Gibbens to set it right. (best show goin) Young can only take so much. I am talking the Mike Napoli deal. Not that much better power numbers and terrible average. He could have handled the move from 3rd but then bringing in a right hand dh bat was to much. Good Jive.


Lyle said...

My thoughts were Napoli would platoon at DH, 1st and Catcher. I was particularly excited to see some depth added at the catcher position. I just don't see Young losing any at-bats in this scenario. Especially not with Kinsler's track record of injury. Gotta have depth in this league and my believe was that this move added depth. Michael Young's problem is a situation of pride, with him thinking this move (along with the other times he has been asked to move) will hurt his legacy and that the team is not showing him proper respect. All in all, I agree with him. But I also like the moves they have made in the off-season (with the exception of not being able to land a front-line starter). So I am at a crossroads, as I see both sides of the argument. However, I believe this will all blow over, because Young is the consumate professional and will show up to camp, do his job, and end up getting his at-bats.

Its not healthy to keep that anger pent up Kirk! Serenity now....but insanity later.


Dana said...

Christopher...thanks, I would love to write a guest jive. I could practically write a research paper from many angles on this same topic. Plus I am well-versed on pop culture, and definitly have my opinions--whether they are right or wrong.

Kirk...I wouldn't say that John was the best songwriter...just the best lyric writer. You can't beat Paul at weaving a catchy melody...or showmanship. I still love Paul's music; the music highlight of my life will always be seeing him live in concert. I was in awe the whole time! I think I just understand John's music better now. I like music that makes you think as well as music that entertains. It makes me feel smart and relevant, even if the contrary is true.