Thursday, April 29, 2004

Elton John Cries Foul as America Sheds Another Sequin

This hurts, it hurts like the time I fell that long distance when my stiletto heel broke while running to my Diva meeting. Ok, so I really didn’t have a meeting but this American Idol protest has hurt the nation. For those with willpower let me explain what the lemmings at the cooler are talking about.
One of the “really talented” girls was voted off American Idol. First let me say that although there are judges for this contest, “America decides the Idol.” Since there is no golden calf we get to choose from the best wedding singers sober enough to show. I digress.
The matter at hand is that a young black woman was voted off not too long ago. She was good and by good I mean she wasn’t a redheaded crooner, or a live action Lilo. To add insult to the injury of losing one talented gal, the next two closest to be eliminated were also…black.
What does this mean? Elton John says there is something “incredibly racist” about the way viewers vote on the Fox program. So this means…? It means that white supremacists are dumb enough to let their kids watch Fox too. It means black people have more important things to do than make Paula Abdul think she is wanted back in the spotlight.
Now let me ponder the statement Elton made. Who picks this future town fair act? AMERICA. We messed up our last presidential election what makes Hollywood think that we could handle this responsibility again? Let’s take the positive out of this situation. We now know that racists can operate a phone, yet still do not know how to read a book that’s subject matter does not pop up.
Fox should have a written ballot then. Then only the certifiable losers will vote. Racists will be too busy sitting on their own head.
This still does not remedy poor Sir Elton John. Elton, apparently never noticed any words of hate. How could he? Lookin’ that good strolling down the street wearing more sequins than a disco ball. “I am Captain Glam, what ever you say bounces off me and sticks to you- BAM!”
Back to the parallel we may have missed. American Idol is such an obnoxious part of our society but it still manages to be present in our culture. Likewise, racism is an unending tragedy for our society that we cannot seem to suffocate. In a perfect world we now associate these two together and they destruct each other. Look at it this way. From now on American Idol has a racist undertone that it can’t avoid. Although it appears, Fox probably does not want to come off racist and the racists probably don’t want to be apart of any Fox programming. Death and discredit by association. It is like the high school mentality: “It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s the losers you carpool with.”
It is rather silly to think a Gloria Estefan sing along further jeopardizes our fellow man’s pursuit of equality for all and individual prosperity. It is ok America don’t blame yourself for this. Blame the media. Maxwell, out.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Pee Wee League Scalpers

Before America loses itself in another stellar performance enhanced baseball season I remind the readers that American ballparks are not the only place to pay $7 for ten ounces of beer. I recently made it out to RFK stadium in DC to see the next youth movement, Freddy Adu.
In all fairness to American soccer, this is the best option. Immortalize a player that actually is the age of the core audience, fourteen. If the soccer community impaired Freddy from playing at higher levels, he may have lost interest in the game and tried catch or throw something.
MLS is the wave of the future. Yes, I just said that. I was sitting at the DC United game and whenever there was an announcement, the stadium would here it ten seconds later in Spanish. It is refreshing to know that at least one sport in America recognizes the most recent census results.
However, what are we to do with these kids? This is becoming a recurring event. News from high school newspapers that some recent grad from Puberty High is going to forego four years of higher education and random hook ups for a six plus figure income.
This is just a test, with these “extreme” cases of youth athleticism. Our society is ok with these fourteen-year-old phenoms playing professionally mainly because they are athletes for secondary (if that) sports. Golf and Soccer are probably as nationally popular professional billiards and bowling when they first started to attract obese Middle America.
Golf and soccer? We are more than willing to sacrifice these sports’ reputation for the chance for improvement. The kicker is not watching an absurdly talented youth competing. The joy comes in watching a player young enough to play in a father son/daughter tournament beat the snot out of well trained and conditioned
When does this get really exciting? I want to see a fourteen-year-old football player, or better yet a NASCAR driver. Imagine that media hype. Mom has to ride in the car, since they would still be on their learner’s permit. The kid would not be afraid of a wreck since the human body can repair three times faster than a thirty-year-old (not a scientific statement, just a guestimate). This would be the greatest metaphor to perpetuate the circle of life.
Soon we will have to buy tickets for our children’s little league games. Not the LLWS, but the regular joe polyester uniform league. The other danger in this craze to make a pubescent juggernaut is the parents. Now the other parents of the solid yet not phenomenal players will go even blinder on the reality of their child’s mediocrity.
Youth sports are a society where there are two types of athletics. The local and the traveling teams were distinguishable like they were the jocks and the greasers. How far we have mutated the summer dream of excelling past their peers. It has become the goal to surpass their parents’ peers. The same kids that used to say “my dad can beat your dad…” are now saying, “well my son can beat… you.”
Parents of young children now take the smallest flicker of innocence as a foreshadowing of innovation. “Little Billy can toss a whiffle ball from the porch to his dad in the swimming pool. Tomorrow I have him meeting with a coach for his batting stance, never mind the fact he is only five.” When exactly does a parent discover this genius or athleticism? Somewhere between playing baby Jesus in the Christmas pageant and thumb sucking, perhaps.
In moments like this, I wonder where is Doogie Howser? Not Neil Patrick Harris but a genius doctor that is barely old enough to drive his Porsche. Maybe the genius doctors are smart enough to realize their cash cow will come soon enough. Maybe the intellectual deities are afraid to have their journey with zits and braces made into a public spectacle. Maybe there are child labor laws that only apply to those who can be liable for mistake not a missed goal. Regardless of the law we will exploit them, after it is all for the children. Mommy and daddy know best and now they get 17%.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Digging from one side of the Earth to the other-

Have you ever ridden on a rickshaw? I did, it was the largest one I have ever seen. Actually it was the Chinatown bus from Washington DC to New York City. This was for no ordinary weekend; this was for New Year’s Eve in New York City.
The ticket informs you to arrive 30 minutes before, after that your seat is no longer a guarantee. These folk mean business, however I learned that business does not always mean there is organization.
As the line forms around the corner, the local news channel arrives, so does the initial disappointment/lesson. They overbooked the bus- kind of like they overbooked their own country.
Enter the old Chinese woman and the four generations that follow her, they simply ignore the societal concept of “the line” (If you have been to Disney and dealt with foreigners you know what I am saying). Now, they take the three front rows- with their dog! Perhaps a preventative measure in case we get stranded and times get desperate, who knows.
There are a few ways to pass time while on the road - read a book, listen to music, talk to a buddy, or count the number of waffle houses until the destination. In this case there was a movie. This was not an epic, a comedy, romance or even a thriller it was all in CHINESE! I was completely lost. Fortunately the eight-inch screen gave way to the closed captioning for the patrons. I almost tried to decipher the story but each bit of caption just looked like firework wrapper.
It wasn’t but a few moments after Jet Li saved the people from the underground mafia that we stopped to fuel up. As I exit I for fresh air I realize that I am in Jersey and might as well take a hit off the exhaust pipe.
Our driver gave us strict notification of a fifteen-minute window until departure. Never in my life have I seen so many people willing to buy a truck stop hot dog in fear of when the next meal will come. “Has it been fifteen minutes?” A man asked. “I think we have a enough time, but who knows which calendar the driver is using.” I replied.
The excitement is building as we get through New Jersey and enter New York. The streets were littered with people and laced with the scent of the last Thursday’s trash. Ahh, I love New York. Then I got off the bus at about 9:00 PM, mind you once again, on New Year’s Eve.
Once I stepped foot off the bus and felt like I was on location for the next Jackie Chan movie. I and the two other sheltered white folk shared a cab to Time’s Square (which was the nicest cab ride/driver I ever had). Ten dollars each, and suddenly I found myself in the heart of the greatest celebration. Now if I could only find my friend.
The celebration itself was great; NYC was a more than hospitable “town” to visit. Re-hydrated and ready to leave the city I went back into Chinatown. I was very unsure of how well the thirty-minute honor system worked in this Chinatown so I arrived at least forty-five minutes early.
My cab door was almost opened by this man who quickly asked me to buy a ticket, for what I had no clue. He then explained it was for the bus to Washington DC. Getting on the bus I noticed one thing, a vile stench coming from the back of the bus. No, there was not a toilet there, but someone obviously hit up the Chinatown market for some “fresh” groceries.
It was so bad smelling that I could not remain silent about it. “What is going on? Did someone die in the overhead space? Why couldn’t you have just bought the sweet and sour chicken?” Fortunately I was alone in my feelings. I was sitting next to a German student that was part of the “Nannies for Green card” program. She was a cute (by European standards) bus companion.
Just before we left the city we stopped by the barber. Apparently the driver knew a man that was mid-cut and needed a lift to DC. This exclusive club allows only for those who can tell time in Chinese. It really is no place for a curly haired guy to go. Although I would love to see if the barber could handle the tumbleweed atop my scalp opposed to the plethora of straight dark brown hair.
After that makeshift pickup we zoomed back to DC only to stop whenever the hoodlums in the back of the bus acted out. There always has to be some degenerates at the back of a bus.
I woke up thinking we made it in record time, but alas, the rather disgruntled driver stopped to go school bus driver on the aforementioned hoodlums. “Don’t push the buttons.” “Which buttons? These buttons?” Great, keep it up nimrod. It is always is wise poke the panda. They appear soft and cuddly but when that bamboo shanks left and well…I digress.
It really is amazing how travelers’s can create their own fear and enjoyment. Sixty-five dollars later, I have countless memories of my state of the art rickshaw ride, not to mention packets of soy sauce.