Faith Can Move Mountains... But Dynamite Works Better
Monday, February 29, 2016
Saturday, February 27, 2016
The Oscars are tomorrow. As always, I won't be watching. I would rather crawl over a mile of broken glass as opposed to watching that self congratulatory nonsense. That said, over the last couple of years I've written predictions on what might unfold during the ceremony. So some of what follows plays off previous years, in case you were wondering. Shall we begin?
At noon local time, outside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, hordes of fans will already be in attendance near the red carpet entrances, having had camped out for days on end. Apparently they have nothing to do with their days than spend it outside a performance studio hoping that their favourite star might hear them over the din of hundreds of other drooling nitwits screaming the same thing at other people. Bets will be passed back and forth as to if this will finally be the year Leonardo DiCaprio breaks his bad luck streak of not winning Oscars.
Hordes of entertainment reporters, vile fiends that they are, bereft of brains or dignity, will take up their positions on risers and select locations of the red carpet, preparing to send back breathless reports to their home shows, pretend that the Oscars are the centre of the universe, and annoy endless actors with the inane question, “so who are you wearing?”
Host Chris Rock, hours before the ceremony, will be looking over his notes, wondering if the Academy will invite him back after this year, considering how much he plans on bringing up the Oscars So White notion as a topic of conversation. He will also wonder if Leonardo DiCaprio will appreciate his remarks on the recent temper tantrum episode, or about his losing streak.
At his hotel room preparing for the evening, nominee Leonardo DiCaprio will have been dressed for hours, practicing his acceptance speech, telling himself that this year will be the year he finally wins that Oscar.
Marco Rubio will issue a statement while sneering, telling his supporters that “Hollywood has no idea what real American values are.” He will repeat that six times in two minutes before his handlers realize the RubioBot3000 needs reprogramming.
Donald Trump, still in traction but not letting that shut him up, will put in a call to FOX News demanding why no one’s paying attention to him. “I’m the greatest famous person in the history of the universe!” he will yell. “The greatest! The best! I am fabulous, tremendous, and spectacular! Shakespeare, Jesus Christ, Lincoln, Mother Teresa? Those stupid ass mother****ers got nothing on me! Wait, are we on? Because the ****ing public shouldn’t hear that. Don’t you ****ers quote me on that, you hear me????”
Bernie Sanders will miss the Oscars, since he sees the Oscars for the back slapping buffoonery that they are.
Ben Carson, trailing in the polls, will fall asleep while answering a question about who he thinks will win the Best Actor Award.
Hillary Clinton will be too busy to answer any questions about if she’ll be watching the Oscars, having had lost track of where her husband’s gone.
Somewhere in the Alberta foothills, legendary RCMP inspector Lars Ulrich, busy hunting down an actual suspect to kick around before putting the cuffs on him, will feel a profound sense of relief that for once, there are no entertainment reporters within a thousand kilometres of him.
Actors will start turning up early on, pasting on their biggest smiles while dealing with the inane questions from entertainment reporters. Some will be nominees. Others will be past winners. Some will be presenters. Still others wish they could get Oscar nominations, and yet have somehow managed to score invitations to the whole evening. Honestly, how does an overgrown man child like Adam Sandler show up at these things? Does he have blackmail material on a few choice Academy members? And who invited the supremely narcissistic Katherine Heigl plus her wife, the alternate reality Katherine Heigl?
The bear from The Revenant will issue a statement through a bear-to-English interpreter. “Why is there no Oscar for Best Performance By An Animal? I did some of my best work, and I might even say I’m a much better actor than that whiny prat DiCaprio. All he did on set all day was gripe about how no one will give him an Oscar.”
Barbra Streisand, having had miraculously survived a fall off a building after last year’s awards ceremony debacle, and despite not having made a film in four years, will show up demanding why she is not just given the Best Actress award by default. “I’m the greatest actress in history, if I could be so modest in just saying it. Do I have to start singing to get some attention? Because I will...” Anyone with taste in music will quietly back away from the Streisand Demon. The producers will have Streisand removed from the theatre, wishing to prevent the same temper tantrum and misbehaviour as last year.
Actors coming into the theatre will find themselves trying to avoid sitting near the embalmed body of Jack Nicholson, propped up in the front row with his tuxedo and sunglasses on, as the conditions of his will stipulated after his death two years ago.
Tom Cruise will be brought into the theatre. To prevent a repeat of last year’s stupidity in which he wasted three hours on a tirade about Scientology and psychology, he will be restrained and fitted with a Hannibal Lecter mask, and placed beside the corpse of Jack Nicholson.
Leonardo DiCaprio will arrive at the theatre with this month’s supermodel date, smiling only with his mouth- a smile that extends to his eyes never happens, after all. A reporter will ask how he’ll feel if he loses the Best Actor award yet again. DiCaprio will try to keep from breaking down into tears.
John Travolta will turn up at the theatre with his wife Kelly Preston, grinning like an idiot, promising not to grope any actress half his age in an attempt to convince people he’s straight. He will also promise not to get anyone’s name wrong this year. When Jennifer Lawrence passes by on the red carpet going inside, he’ll call out, “Hey, it’s Jemima Leighton!” Kelly will wonder if her husband has an undiagnosed brain tumour.
The evening will finally get underway a good hour after it was supposed to begin. ABC executives at the network offices will be looking at their watches in dismay, wondering how to shorten what promises to be an Oscars telecast vastly going over schedule. “Damn it, Jenkins!” the network boss will fume. “You said this wasn’t going to happen again!”
Chris Rock will turn up on stage, starting the opening monologue by remarking on how white this year’s nominees seem to be. The Academy leadership will start fuming. FOX News will start issue angry statements that will only get more deeply bitter through the night: Hollywood Elites Hate The Patriotic and Beloved Tea Party and Rupert Murdoch Calls Chris Rock “Insufferable ****ing Bastard”. Donald Trump will tweet “Worst Oscars Ever! Ever! They should have asked me to be host! It would have been huuuuge!”
Rock will notice DiCaprio down in the audience, step off the stage, and try to engage him in a conversation about that whole losing streak he’s built up. Much to DiCaprio’s dismay, Rock will bring up the whole incident from last year when Marisa Tomei punched his lights out when DiCaprio insulted her. The camera will find Marisa among the audience. She will be smiling with delight.
Sylvester Stallone will win early on as Best Supporting Actor for his role as Rocky Balboa in Creed. The actor will be eloquent and graceful in his speech (not requiring a Stallone-to-English interpreter for once). He will praise the talents of his co-star Michael B. Jordan, suggesting that the young actor deserved a nomination for Best Actor, a remark that will infuriate members of the Academy. “How dare he call into question our all-white nominations!” Edgar Wainwright, an elderly member of the Academy and one time member of the KKK will mutter. “Can we revoke that award?”
Writer E.L. James will storm on stage just before a music number and take to the podium, angrily demanding as to why Fifty Shades Of Grey only got one nomination- for a song she doesn’t even like. “It’s the greatest film of all time, damn it! And you’re ignoring it by not just giving it every Oscar imaginable! This won’t be the last you’ll hear of me!” She will be dragged off stage by security staff, hollering about the legions of Fifty Shades fans, all of whom will carry out her bondage based revenge against every member of the Academy.
Multiple winners will totally ignore the usual hints from the orchestra to keep their speeches short. Producers will find themselves wondering how they could be so far behind their schedule.
Jennifer Lawrence will trip at some point along the way, fulfilling her secret desire to be clumsy in front of more than a billion people.
Anthony Hopkins, presenting one of the awards, will turn his attention to DiCaprio. “You know, Leo, I did a lost in the wilderness and man eating bear movie back in the 90s called The Edge. As it turns out, I didn’t win an Oscar for that one. It doesn’t really matter- I’ve already got a Best Actor Oscar and lots of other hardware and accolades to make up for it.” While DiCaprio will keep a stoic face, in fact he’ll be grinding his teeth and vowing bloody revenge against Anthony Hopkins.
John Travolta will snicker to himself and say, “Alistair Henderson really gave Lucas DiGianno a kick in the teeth, didn’t he?”
Tom Cruise will make a Mission Impossible style escape from his restraints, hijacking the stage and starting off on a rant about how he’s consistently ignored. “You people should be bowing down at my feet!” he will bitterly say. Tommy Lee Jones, who last year put Charlie Sheen into traction, will consider getting up and do the same to Cruise, but Marisa Tomei will beat him to the stage and deck Tom Cruise. “My face! My beautiful face!” Cruise will shriek like a little girl while paramedics take him away.
The March Of The Dead will begin, with the faces of those actors, directors, screenwriters, and various others of the industry who have died in the last year being displayed on a big screen. Applause will meet those who are well known. Cinematographers, on the other hand, will be met with a “who the hell is that?” reaction by the audience. And when footage of Abe Vigoda flashes on the screen, more than one person, applauding, will also ask, “didn’t he die thirty years ago?”
Network executives at ABC will be looking at their watches, dismayed at how the broadcast could be five hours behind, while wondering if they should have just placed bets on the ceremony going overtime.
Late in the ceremony, last year’s Best Actress winner Julianne Moore will come to the stage to present the award for Best Actor. Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Eddie Redmayne, Bryan Cranston, and Michael Fassbender will all wait with anticipation as their names are listed. Cameras will be focused on each of them. Moore will reveal the winner. It will not be Leonardo DiCaprio.
While the winner walks towards the stage to accept the Best Actor Oscar, DiCaprio will stalk away from his seat, finding an elderly Academy voter, and start pummelling him, screaming, “That was supposed to be my Oscar!!! Why didn’t you vote for me??? Why??? Why????”
DiCaprio’s attack will be halted when Marisa Tomei will grab him from behind, turn him around, and deliver a left hook punch followed by an elbow smash into his face, sending him falling to the floor and knocking him out cold. The theatre will erupt in applause. Stallone will wonder if he can figure out a way to make a Rocky movie with Marisa Tomei as a woman boxer. Travolta will exclaim, “Millicent Toledo really knows how to fight, doesn’t she?”
The Best Picture Oscar will be given out. Of eight films nominated, only one will win. One of the losing directors will mutter a curse word out loud when they hear that it wasn’t their film. The producers and director of the winning film will take to the stage and accept their accolades. And in turn, each will start making rambling speeches, ignoring the attempts of the orchestra and producers to make them stop.
Chris Rock will close out the ceremony with a farewell, thanking everyone for staying with the telecast. Producers, half asleep, will cue the exit music, which at Rock’s request as one more way to annoy the Academy, will be the theme from Shaft. It will be five forty in the morning local time, and most of the television audience will have given up hours ago, learning only upon waking up in the morning that Marisa Tomei made Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Cruise bleed. The footage will go viral by noon.
Leonardo DiCaprio will find himself fingerprinted, photographed, and booked at a local precinct for assault on a ninety five year old Academy voter. Sporting fresh bruises, a bloody lip, and a broken nose, he will only say over and over again in a high pitched shriek, “Marisa Tomei causes pain!!!”
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Endless Election Campaign Goes On; Possible Solutions On The Horizon
Washington (AP) The U.S. election campaign grinds on as slowly as ever while November seems ages away. While the Democratic nominees have come down to two candidates, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, there are still several Republican candidates trying to kill each other (literally in one case) for the nomination. American voters, meanwhile, find themselves asking the inevitable question: is this how bad the candidates are?
Donald Trump, the perceived front runner in the GOP (despite the fact that the Republican leadership dreads the idea of his getting the nomination), real estate developer, and mouthy blowhard, has been in traction for months, issuing his obnoxiousness even from a sickbed, attacking every single target coming his way, including most recently the Pope. After getting trashed by rival candidate Hulk Hogan and his campaign manager Ric Flair months ago, Trump hasn’t let broken bones slow him down, issuing endless crass attack diatribes and stroking his own ego. “My inauguration party is going to be huge! Huuuuuuuuge! And we’re gonna force the Mexicans to pay for it!” he boasted yesterday.
From his offices in Mexico City, Mexican President Enrique Nieto rolled his eyes when the press asked about the latest Trump statement. “You know, we’ve tried to be as polite as we can, putting up with this kind of nonsense from that self absorbed ass. Enough’s enough. To use an American phrase... Donald Trump can go **** himself.”
Ted Cruz is still putting up a fight for the nomination, while avoiding the subject of his own birthplace- Calgary, Alberta. “I’m a proud American!” Cruz insisted. “Contrary to some rumours that have been floating about lately, I was not sent in by a Canadian super-villain to undermine the American political scene. I bleed red white and blue and my heart always belongs to Cana... I mean, to America! America! Yes, that’s right!” He and Marco Rubio have been trying to position themselves as the ideal alternate candidate to Trump (while Rubio is given to frequent repetitiveness in his speeches), which includes tearing each other apart. Ben Carson, once at the top of some polls, has been largely sleeping his way through press conferences.
John Kasich remains in place as a candidate, quietly working away at his campaign, even if he’s not getting as much notice as he’d like. Some Republican party officials have expressed hope that Kasich might be seen as the only reasonable option compared to, in the words of one insider, “the rest of those bloody lunatics.”
Former Vice President Dan Quayle, once considered a dullard during his days in the job, shrugged when reporters found him in a classroom trying to figure out how to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. “You know, once upon a time a lot of people made fun of my intellectual abilities. I can say with great pleasure that I feel vindicated by the fact that compared to Trump, Rubio, and Cruz, I’m a smart guy.”
President Obama, meanwhile, is largely staying out of the election, aside from the odd put down of Trump. He’s busy doing his job- running the country and deciding on a nominee for the newly vacant Supreme Court seat now that Justice Scalia is roasting somewhere in a place with no air conditioning. Rumour has it that comedian Lewis Black is among the contenders.
Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann- who launched a joint run at the nomination, boasting that they could be president in turns- dropped out two weeks ago. They were grinning obliviously when they met the press, both of them seemingly drunk. “Well, you know, it’s not our time,” Palin admitted. “So we decided to get out before we ran out of the money our supporters gave us.”
Bachmann nodded. “Yes, we’re spendin’ the rest on a big tailgate party of booze and barbecue, and then we’re going to go all scorched earth on whoever wins the nomination, just so we can get ourselves set up for running again in 2020.”
“Palin and Bachmann 2020!” Palin hollered, smiling like a demented twit. “We'll wreck the country... I mean, we'll save the country! You betcha!”
There are other candidates already thinking of four years down the line. An independent candidate has come forward in recent days, calling the press together for an impromptu press conference. She was once at the center of impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton. She was the subject of endless comedy punchlines. Monica Lewinsky, one time White House intern, spokesperson, and public speaker, was beaming when she was introduced.
“You know, I think voters are sick and tired of both sides, Republican and Democrat alike," she told reporters. "There need to be more voices in the political process in this country. Truly independent thinkers who are beholden to no one- this is what we need in America. I think I could do quite well as an independent voice apart from the crowd. I already have plenty of experience in the Oval Office, after all.” She smiled with pride, paused for a moment before continuing. Reporters wondered if the former President Clinton might be watching this. “Well, I am proud to announce my candidacy for President of the United States in 2020. Vote for Monica, because I know how to get things finished. With a happy ending.”
The announcement displeased Hillary Clinton, at an event in South Carolina, where she was yelling at some of her aides, witnessed by reporters at a distance in the conference center. “This is supposed to be my time! And that **** steals my thunder??? I deserve the White House! It’s mine! It belongs to me! Mine, mine, mine! My own! My precious! How dare she make an announcement while I’m on my way to my destiny! Crowned Empress Hillary The First! Wait... what are those reporters doing over there? Did they hear me?”
Meanwhile, the last of her Democrat opponents, Bernie Sanders, continues his efforts, speaking at events, stressing his campaign platform ideas, such as universal healthcare, improved education, and civility in political life. As seemingly the only rational adult in the campaign, Sanders is outnumbered by nutcases, ambitious buffoons, and blowhards.
A solution to the Republican standoff is coming from the strangest of places. Survivor host and reality show producer Jeff Probst offered a suggestion this week in a press conference. “This could go on for weeks, perhaps all the way to the convention. All the while, it will prove to be more embarrassing to the party and the country. And rather than go through the actual measured steps of the electoral process, why not make something entertaining of it? Well, I thought why not make a one-time reality show of it? A live version of Thunderdome, like from those Mad Max films. George Miller told me to **** off when I asked him to let me use that word, so instead we’re going with Battle Arena.”
Probst grinned like the half-witted moron that some assume he is. “So here we have the idea: the remaining Republican candidates all go into a large, caged space. We hang all sorts of weapons around. Crow bars, tire irons, chain saws, sledge hammers, whatever we can think of. And whoever’s left when it’s all done wins the nomination. If you ask me, I’d put my money on Kasich. It’s always the quiet ones who end up being the most resourceful in a fight.”
Hulk Hogan, still in the running as a presidential candidate, approved of the idea. The former wrestler was with his campaign manager and former wrestling rival Ric Flair at an event in Charleston when they spoke to the press. “This is just the sort of thing that we used to do in wrestlin’, brother... cage matches and steel chairs and cheatin’ and gougin’ eyes and all that, brother.”
Flair grinned and clapped Hogan on the shoulder. “Wooooooooo!!!!! Now this just means the Hulkster is gonna to actually hit people with foreign objects instead of fakin’ it! This is what we’re meant to do! The Battle Arena format is practically rigged for the Hulkster to win! Get used to these three words: President Hulk Hogan!”
Hogan laughed and started singing as the two headed off. “Hail to the Hulk, he’s the one we all say hail to...”
As has been the case in previous years, some American citizens are musing on leaving for Canada depending on the results of the election. Some Republican supporters have threatened that over Obamacare; whether or not it occurred to them that they’d be moving to a country with universal care that was generally to the left of the Democrats is another story. Democrat supporters did some of that during the Years of Dubya (otherwise known in some circles as The Age Of Darkness).
The same trend is showing up this year among Republican voters, dreading the idea of Hillary Clinton as President. Democrat supporters are talking about the idea should the impossible happen and Trump end up cheating his way into the White House. Mass migrations into the Great White North may be an issue the Canadian government will have to deal with either way.
Another idea is starting to gain ground, with tens of thousands of members already joining a group in Connecticut. It is founded out of a serious concern that the election might end up pitting Trump against Clinton, a prospect none of its members like. Calling itself by the peculiar moniker Invite The Canucks Association, the group has suggested that in the case of those two being the final nominees, a petition should be made to the Canadian government.
“If these two are the final candidates, than frankly, this country has come to the point where it’s a failure,” Caroline Travers, a university professor and founder of the group told reporters. “We will have failed our Founding Fathers, who will be ashamed of what’s become of us, of how far we have fallen. We have made this country a joke. If that is the case... we have only one option. To petition the Canadian government to come in, to take over, to turn our states into provinces in the constitutional monarchy that is Canada. That means certain changes. Gun control, universal health care, learning how to spell words like colour in the proper English, instead of color. It means having the Queen as our Queen, instead of being in a republic.”
She carried on speaking after a pause. “It means having a leader who understands working together, tact, and diplomacy as opposed to self centered me first vindictiveness. Canada got rid of one of those guys last fall, after all. It means we start drinking Canadian beer, because let’s face it, American beer has always been watered down at best. It means we get to like Canadian bacon, and how to eat poutine. It means we’re going to have to get used to being obsessed about hockey as a national sport. It means we’re all going to have to learn how to make love in a canoe. Well, not at the same time, obviously, because that might end up resembling an orgy.”