Friday, April 11, 2008

Mosquito Bites, Vol. II

Quick takes and updates from Planet Josh…

Beginning of the End?

The other night I was driving south on Highway 89 past Kitty Pappa’s Steakhouse on my way to work at 12:45AM, and I realized something. I realized that it didn’t feel strange at all to be driving to work at one in the morning. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

You Gotta Love It, Baby

The NBA playoffs start in about a week, and this is the first time I can remember thinking the Jazz have an equal chance of winning the title or losing in the first round. They are that good, and so is the rest of the Western Conference. About the only team that seriously concerns me is San Antonio, and after seeing the Jazz punk them hard in Salt Lake a while back, I’m not even that intimidated by the Spurs, either. Crazy thing, confidence…

“Why yes…I WOULD like some fries with that”

It may have stemmed from my Monday visits with my grandfather last summer (we’d always go grab fast food for lunch), but for some reason I’ve had this taste for McDonald’s fries lately. As long as I’ve hated their regular food, I still like the fries. Of course, you can’t just buy fries at McDonalds—that would be uncivilized—so I’ve been taking advantage of their two Cherry Pies for $1 deal. Now there’s a square meal.

When Life Gives You Lemons...Go To Chick-Fil-A

Another fast food note: more often than not, I try to avoid buying drinks when I go out to eat, and almost universally when I get take-out. It just doesn’t make sense to pay an extra two dollars for a twelve-ounce drink when you can get two liters at the grocery store for a buck. However, there is one exception: Chick-fil-A lemonade. Have you tried this stuff? If not, you must. It is worth the drive to the mall. It is even worth the drive to Sandy to go to the freestanding Chick-fil-A on State and 100th South.

The Truth is Coming in July

Every couple of years, I get on an “X-Files” kick and watch a bunch of the old episodes. I don’t watch anything past Season 7, because that’s when the show went in the tank. Unlike many shows that took a couple of seasons to get rolling—see “Seinfeld”—the early “X-Files” are the best, even though Scully hadn’t quite attained “Ultimate Woman” status until around the time the first movie came out. (I don’t know…it was something about the red hair and green eyes.) Anyway, I finally found out that there’s going to be another movie this summer. Between that, Indiana Jones, and Batman, it could be a pretty fun year.

I Am A Horrible, Insensitive Person…Maybe

A bit of controversy…in my constant quest to find suitable “Catch of the Day” clips, I stumbled across a YouTube series called “Retarded Policeman”. Yeah, the title is pretty much exactly what the series is. It’s essentially a series of staged traffic stops where a mentally handicapped officer makes fun of hapless civilians. Now, I’m usually not too fond of comedy that makes fun of people for things they can’t control; I’m much more in favor of poking my finger at cultural mores or society in general than in trying to ridicule a particular person. Juvenalian satire instead of Horatian. But this series has me hung up. It’s absolutely hilarious, but I’m still not sure if I should be laughing. In a way, I’m inclined to justify it, because the series makes the policeman—who is played by the director’s younger brother—an endearing character, and the target of the humor always seems to be the person he’s pulling over. At any rate, the fundamental idea itself—crossing the awkwardness of a traffic stop with the awkwardness of having a conversation with someone who’s mentally handicapped—is pretty sharp. I’ll let you judge for yourself:

A Man for All Seasons

Have to acknowledge the passing of Mr. Charleton “FROM MY COLD, DEAD HANDS” Heston…highly quotable as an activist and as an actor. My, my, my…I didn’t realize the man was 84. Of course, according to Bill Simmons on ESPN, the girl that played the brainy nerd on “Beverly Hills, 90210” is 47 now. I guess that joke about all the 90210 cast being in their late 20’s was really true.

Reverend Al Cometh

Big music news…at least as far as my “people I need to see before they are dead” list. Got word that Al Green is coming to Red Butte Gardens this fall. That is huge. I missed Al a couple of summers ago because he came to Vegas right in the middle of a four-week span where I was gone every weekend, and I couldn’t justify the additional road trip (wow, vacations…I remember what those were like!), but now I’m getting my second chance. It really needs no explanation, but for those of you who haven’t been indoctrinated with Al, “Let’s Stay Together” has become one of my all time favorites in recent years. So I can’t wait to get Al over on the “seen” side, along with James Brown, Ray Charles, as opposed to the, “too late” side, with John Lee Hooker and Lou Rawls.

Words is Hard

I might be able to blame it on the schedule these days (it’s become an easy catch-all), but I’ve had the toughest time getting into any books lately. I’ve always had a habit of starting books and not finishing them, but this streak is getting bad. In the last couple of months, I’ve started A World Lit Only by Fire (non-LDS treatise on the Apostasy), A Brief History of Time (that Stephen Hawking book), Lost in the Funhouse (Andy Kaufmann bio), and Raging Bull (the book the Robert DeNiro movie was based on)…all good books I assume, but I haven’t gotten much farther than the first chapter. Bummer, man.

"They're all gonna laugh at you!"

A little while back I told my Bishop I'd be willing to read over anyone's English paper if they needed some help, since I wasn't currently teaching, could use the practice, and hey, the inevitable karma that comes from being selfless once every few years. So he called me as the Ward English Tutor, which was totally cool except that when I got sustained, no one believed he was serious (he has the same reputation as a joker I do), and so everyone started laughing. When President Hinckley's son was sustained as a General Authority, he said he was the first GA to ever come with a disclaimer. I'm the only person I know of who's had a congregation openly laugh during his sustaining.

The Obama Shuffle

I keep stumbling on these clips at work…Barack Obama dancing with Ellen Degeneres. Once on her show, the other via satellite from some campaign rally in Texas. On the first one he seems pretty laid back; in fact, he almost initiates the boogie. But for some reason on the second he seems really awkward. Maybe it’s because he can’t hear the music he’s supposed to be dancing with, but he just has this great look on his face that seems to say, “try to look Presidential…try to look Presidential”. I’ll take it over Clinton and his saxophone any day—mostly because it’s reassuring to see a nominee even more bowlegged than I am—but it only goes to prove my theory about politicians: they are all nerds.

Presidential Boogie, Reloaded

President Bush also did a little two-step lately, though I like this one he did on tour much better. Can’t say much for his attempt at conga-playing; here’s my reaction to that. Haven’t seen any clips of Hillary dancing; seems she’s more preoccupied with verbal dancing these days—BOSNIA!—though at least one video tries to get her off the hook with that one. I don’t think McCain even thinks about getting down with his bad self anymore…I just can’t get over how much he looks just like the aged version of David Bowman from “2001: A Space Odyssey”, after he goes through the monilith star gate.

The Korver Phenomenon

Thanks to the new gig I’ve been able to score press passes to a few Jazz games. So I’ve been able to do a little shooting from the baseline again, even though I still haven’t picked up my own SLR (gotta wait and see what the taxman has to say, first). A couple of weeks back, I shot the Jazz-Clippers game and got a front-row seat to the Kyle Korver Phenomenon. Most of the time I’d be near the corner of the court, so he’d regularly swing out in my direction on picks or wait out beyond the arc for a kick-out three. Whenever he entered or exited the game or touched the ball, the guy got huge cheers, and even when he was just running around people were calling out to him all the time. Once on his way down some girls sitting courtside got his attention, and when he waved at them (bashfully, I might say), they almost fell out of their chairs.

So as a single LDS guy who’s been unsuccessfully working the single’s scene in Salt Lake for over a decade, I’m just trying to focus real hard on the idea that Korver will keep hitting the three-ball and eventually help Deron Williams forge a Jazz dynasty over the next ten years, which might lead to NBA Commissioner David Stern’s suicide, but would at least help me feel a lot better about eventually starting a survivalist cult in southeastern Idaho and resigning myself to a life of celibacy.