The red… doormat, maybe.

It’s been so busy this week I didn’t get to tell you about Tuesday night, when I took a day off work and went to Royal Oak for May’s Mitten Movie Project, a monthly screening of short films. Our DFC class project was in it, and it got a few chuckles where it was supposed to, so I was happy.

But the highlight (for me, anyway) was a short by Mike Eshaq, “MT* Crib*: Arab American Style,” which was hysterical. (I’m obscuring the name of the cable channel’s well-known show in the title, just in case they have robo-goons out there looking for copyright violators. In the Q-and-A, I asked Eshaq how he got permission to use their name and graphics and he said, “Um, I didn’t.” So let’s keep it our secret.)

Anyway, a trip to Ali’s crib to see “how they kick it in East Dearborn” followed the template down to every jerky push zoom and quick-cut edit. The actors were all friends, it was a low/no-budget production, but it worked. The first big inside-the-house laugh featured Ali’s mother yelling downstairs in Arabic to make sure no one is sitting on her living-room couches. Talk about comedy as a unifying force; is there a single ethnic group in America where women don’t protect the living room with their lives? In the Snoop Dogg episode of this very series, there was a sign outside the living room: THIS IS NOT A KICK-IT ROOM. (There were signs everywhere in Snoop’s house, in fact. NO EATING IN THE STUDIO and CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF. Sometimes having an entourage is like being a Cub Scout den mother, I guess.) It wasn’t clear plastic furniture covers, but it was close.

The featured attraction seemed to be this; we watched all three episodes. The filmmaker wasn’t there — he’s off in L.A. establishing his showbiz career — so the stars came to the Q-and-A. I didn’t really have any questions for them; mine were all for the filmmaker, and they boiled down to “how the hell did you find room in your budget for a freakin’ helicopter,” but that was answered by someone sitting near me, who replied, “His parents are really rich,” and that was that.

The director of our little student production was there, and asked if I’d be game for a weekend filmmaking challenge associated with the Detroit-Windsor film festival next month. Here’s how it works: You assemble a team, and on Friday you’re given four elements — a location, a genre, a line of dialogue and a prop. You have until Sunday to turn in a short film (OK, video) incorporating all four, which are then screened for the crowd and judged for fabulous prizes that usually boil down to a couple hundred bucks. It actually sounds kind of fun. A veteran of one of these described his most recent experience; I forget the location, but the rest were action/adventure, “I’ll have to get back to you later” and a hat or something. “Don’t plan on getting much sleep,” he said. Deadline is a drug, as we all know. We might have to do this.

If nothing else, the making-of featurette will be a great video for NN.C.

So, a little bloggage:

Mitch Albom, man of the people, whines that the Wings are doing really well in the Western Conference NHL finals, and yet still there are empty seats at the Joe. Bad fans, bad! At last count, a hundred or so commenters had reminded him that the state is in a recession, and major-league sports tickets might be considered a luxury under such circumstances.

The Poor Man is back with a while new comics series — The Amazing League of Pundits. And it’s hilarious.

Something I didn’t know was happening: A few thoughts about eBay’s decline.

The scary thing about this new movie, Noise? Is that I identify so strongly. If I had a rocket launcher, some son-of-a-bitch with a gas-powered blower would die…

That’s it, folks. I have a doctor’s appointment in an hour to discuss a flare-up of my plantar fasciitis, and I think I’ll impress him with my commitment to fitness by riding my bike there. At this point, it hurts too much to walk.

Posted at 10:09 am in Movies, Popculch, Same ol' same ol' |

30 responses to “The red… doormat, maybe.”

  1. brian stouder said on May 9, 2008 at 10:20 am

    “a flare-up of my plantar fasciitis”

    Aha!! Jonah Goldberg (a heel if there ever was one) was right!!

    The ebay thing is interesting; I get umpteen phishing fraud emails every week, and half of them utilize ebay’s & paypal’s identity.

    But did you notice the date on the ebay article?

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  2. michaela said on May 9, 2008 at 10:23 am

    I’d love to see an update on that eBay piece; I’d bet there are economists out there studying what happens to the number of items up for auction on eBay when the economy is in the crapper. I’ve sold a small handful of things on eBay — a really small handful — and find it to not be worth the hassle at all. That’s in part because I can’t figure out how much to charge on shipping and thus end up making very little… and in part because posting stuff on Craigslist and getting rid of it locally is SO much easier.

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  3. michaela said on May 9, 2008 at 10:27 am

    Oh, and re: the home show parody: We did a version of that for my grandparents a couple years back. They don’t travel any more, but wanted to see the homes my sister and I had bought recently. (They’re in NJ and we’re in Maine.) So my dad came over with his video camera and we shot 10-min features at each house for a DVD called Cri** of Maine, complete with the de rigeur inside-the-fridge shot. The parody was totally lost on my grandparents, of course, but the rest of us had a lot of fun with it.

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  4. Dexter said on May 9, 2008 at 10:41 am

    A few weeks ago we had a discussion about “The Prize Winner of Defiance , Ohio”, a book by Terry Ryan that was made into a movie starring Julianna Moore and Woody Harrelson. Short notice:
    DirecTV Channel 521, STZw, 11:20 AM until 1:10 PM, today.

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  5. Dexter said on May 9, 2008 at 11:05 am

    I was about the second person to comment on Albom’s column, at about 2:00 AM.
    I wasn’t surprised to see the torrent of frustration that followed Mitch’s column. I am a huge fan , I wear Red Wings gear around and watch intently…but on TV. I used to go to the games every now and then, but no more.
    I just accept the fact that a person needs a lot of disposable cash to be a fan that attends games. Just a few years ago , for example, I went to major league baseball games on five consecutive Saturdays, and I attended nearly every UM home football game for about 25 years.
    Mitch’s article didn’t bother me a bit because I know he wasn’t deriding me, a retiree who can’t afford to go anymore; he was actually, I believe, trying to jump start the corporate ticket holders who just don’t care to go…and the Wings aren’t pushing to get those tickets into the hands of fans who might love to see a game. I was surprised at the availability of so many tickets to the general public, too, and of course Mitch hinted at that. I have had seats that were so far from the ice the only joy was in the knowing I was in the company of other true fans who never would get the prime seats.
    Sometimes I purchased great seats for baseball games from scalpers and once I was a guest of a corporate executive from our company who had great seats (our HQ was in Cleveland)…but now even cheap seats , parking, and gasoline make it too much a luxury to go, period.
    The gap has been defined: if you have been down-sized, if you are trying to keep your house from foreclosure, if you are retired or anything but a person who hasn’t taken a south fork in the road of destiny, Mitch wasn’t yelling at you. He was just chiding his fellows who have avoided strife and are sailing along on the American dream, financially worry-free.
    Was it Bruce Hornsby who sang “That’s just the way it is….”?

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  6. beb said on May 9, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Don’t get me started on what I’d do if I had a rocket launcher; the carnage would be horrendous. I’d start with the boom cars that rattle the windows of our house as they drive down the street…. But then my favorite comic book character was always The Hulk, so I guess I have an anger management problem.

    I read, probably on Slashdot, that Ebay australia was thinking of forcing everyone using their site to use paypal. I prefer checks or money orders because of the ending phishing I get about paypal (and I don’t even have an account). I think the Australian trade association has decided to look into Ebay Australian’s plan.

    There’s a big difference between Ebay and Amazon which affects how you pay. Amazon owns the products they’re selling, Ebay doesn’t. Amazon ca set up an efficient credit card payment system because they own what they sell. Ebay can only try to facilitate paymen between the millions of winner and the millions of sellers. I don’t think they can set up a credit card payment system for third party persons.

    If a winning team like the Wings can’t sell tickets, I wonder how the Tigers are doing? How can so many highly paid players stink? The mind boggles.

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  7. Jolene said on May 9, 2008 at 12:59 pm

    I’ve done quite a bit of both buying and selling on eBay and am pretty familiar w/ its interface, so I don’t really see the problems w/ paying. As both buyer and seller, I think PayPal is the bomb. A couple of clicks, and I’m done. As a buyer, no going to the post office to mail a check. As a seller, I’d much rather get paid through PayPal than have to deposit a check or cash a money order.

    But the fees . . . aiyeee! I am constantly getting promotional emails offering discounts on their listing fees, so they must, indeed, be having trouble sustaining volume.

    What’s tough about eBay, if it’s not your full-time job, is how much trouble it is to sell things, depending, of course, on what you’re selling. In general, though, you have to (1) take a good photo, (2) upload the photos, (3) write a good description, (4) respond to questions from potential buyers, (5) bother people who don’t pay right away about getting paid, (6) acquire appropriate packing materials, (7) pack the item, and (8) ship it to the buyer. Not too long ago, I sold a set of china, and, although I got a fairly good price for it, I don’t think it amounted to much as an hourly wage once all these tasks were taken into account.

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  8. Jolene said on May 9, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    I hope you’ll forgive a tiny amount of overt (but nonpartisan) politicking.

    I’m trying to make sure that everyone I know knows about the start of Barack Obama’s “Vote for Change” voter registration drive. It’s a national project, with organizing meetings to be held all across the country tomorrow AM. If you click on this map, you can find the meeting nearest you.

    This enterprise is, of course, meant to benefit Obama eventually, but voter registration is good for everybody. I don’t know how it’s all going to work, but since I feel awkward about phonebanking and am too lazy for canvassing, I thought this would be a good way to get involved.

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  9. Mindy said on May 9, 2008 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve done too much buying on ebay over the last nine years but haven’t sold a single thing. Too nervous about it. Last week I scored yet another sewing machine as a backup for my aging favorite for a fraction of what it cost to buy new. There were two more of the same model that week, all selling for less than half of what the dealer gets. Several sellers wrote that they loved their machines but needed the money.

    Thirty years ago an uncle of mine who owned a vacuum/sewing machine repair business remarked how the sewing machine is often the first thing people sell during tough economic times and how stupid that is. Making even a few basic garments and mending others would save lots of cash. Looks like nothing has changed.

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  10. Dexter said on May 9, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    beb: I follow the Tigers closely and can answer. We fans who went nuts at 2008’s glittery hopes didn’t realize Miguel Cabrera was such a bad fielder. We also didn’t know that the reason “we” got Renteria was because he has lost a full step in the field and his arm is below major league standards of excellence. We were glad Omar Guillen was going to be a first sacker…then, out of necessity,. Leyland puts him on third base where it is almost a guarantee he will fuck up another ground ball during a game. He’s HORRIBLE. Sheffield seems finished, and the best pitcher is a career minor leaguer as the millionaires get shelled every game. There are bright spots…so stay tuned to Mario and Rod on TV or Jim and Dan on the radio.

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  11. Bill said on May 9, 2008 at 2:42 pm

    Nance: The doc will likely want you to get an orthotic, a substantial arch support type of shoe insert. I’ve had one for over a year and it has completely eliminated the foot pain. Go for it!

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  12. moe99 said on May 9, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    How about a rocket launched office chair?

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  13. Sue said on May 9, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    This just in! The Duggers are pregnant again. Jim Bob and the womb are expecting #18. Which brings me to my two favorite comments (can’t remember where I heard them) from when #17 was born: “It’s a uterus, not a clown car”, and, “When they procreate, it must be like shooting a hot dog down a hallway”. I wouldn’t bring this up, but it’s definitely a Friday kind of item.

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  14. brian stouder said on May 9, 2008 at 3:27 pm

    Sue – definitely!

    I can see being a little ‘out there’ or ‘stunty’ when it comes to, say, adding a chrome doodah to a car (or whatever) – but when you already have so many young folks looking to you for their…..EVERYTHING…..adding an 18th little soul to the throng, for no particular reason at all, strikes me as more than a little troubling

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  15. Dexter said on May 9, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    oh…I am glad you have a good doctor, Nance…the only Plantar issue I had was stubborn Plantar’s warts about fifty years ago…back then the doc coated the wart in acid and cut a little bit away every weekly visit. After more acid and more cutting and scraping, no more Plantar’s warts, after about six visits.
    Well, the wind-blown siding on the house has been repaired, the 5 tons of stone has been delivered and spread, and now it’s time to buy and install a new screen door. Manana…maybe.
    It’s now time to do my ten mile loop on the city bike, the one with fenders.

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  16. LAMary said on May 9, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Related to nothing here, I seem to be on the verge of surviving my a hole boss. I think I’ve won. I may have in fact outlasted him.

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  17. Dexter said on May 9, 2008 at 7:19 pm

    LAM: That is a SWEET feeling!!

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  18. Catherine said on May 9, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    Go LAMary! I’ve survived at least my share of clueless-to-actively-destructive bosses. Nothin like keeping your head down and waiting for them to dig their own graves.

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  19. caliban said on May 9, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    Plantar fascitis is the singularly most painful and inexplicable affliction there is. Well. Maybe not. But it hurts like hell. Jeezus, Nancy. It even hurts when pedalling my bike. I deal with this , and godamighty, it hurts. It’s got a real morphogenesis. But it’s one of those things people don’t believe is real. They should try it, I’ve got spurs on my arches, and on the back of my palms. Contact of any sort is excruciating. Sometimes it goes away, and comes back, which is exceptionally depressing.

    My dad’s a doctor, and he’s told me you might could just whack the lesions and they’d go away. Like crush them. I dont think he believes it. I mean, he’s a doctor. Something about ganglions. Tried it once on the back of my hand. Put the book on the back of my hand where the growth was and just whacked the shit out of it.. Hurt ike hell.

    The book was The American Language by you know who. No Shit. I think I knew something about the American Language. I know you do too. Were you always good at it? Did you understand it was a gift. Did tyou practice? What books did Whadtd you read when you were a kid?
    When I was four, or so, I read
    the Mytserious Island. When I was five, I read The Cloister and the Hearth, and I love that gook to this day. When I was six, I knew Pooh by heart. Oh hell. My childhood reading was just bizarre. I read Sherlock Holmes and Fu ManChu. But you can’t tell me you didn’ t read well ahead of your grade. Ms. Nall. What did you read?

    You read Ursala K LeGuin. Damn. Great writer. If you didn’t, why not?

    In Detroit, there’s a kernel of learning. Most ridiculously excellent high school, and Latin and Greek. Not Cass Tech, but they were black and they were proud. Always mixed with the best looking girls from Grosse Pointe and they were always the mafia girrrls. And looking back, we loved them.

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  20. joodyb said on May 9, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    LAMary, this is no small thing. never give up, never surrender! i toast you!

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  21. caliban said on May 9, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Aha!! Jonah Goldberg (a heel if there ever was one) was right!.

    Jonah Golldberg is a part of the human body.It blows wind and defecates. But its the one from which a fart emits. He’s surely a fart and not even a full-blown turd. Half-baled, half-baked.. Jonah Goldgdrg is a fucking moron, and that’s all she wrote. He writes tripe. He’s a moron

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  22. caliban said on May 9, 2008 at 9:52 pm

    There’s no doubt, the government creeps in Myanmar are blocking humanitarian aid. When the government creeps in the USA object, they have no moral leg to stand on. The Shrub Administration turned aside more than $400,0000,000 worth of aid for Katrina victims. Hevkuva job, assholes. Fact. jack. What is wrong with these dickheads?


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  23. sue said on May 9, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    LAMary, good for you. Been there. I think I’ve mentioned in the past that the boss that I survived still gives us the willies when we talk about him; and two of us still actually have nightmares. Really. The year after he left, copy costs for our department went down $6000. When will you know for sure that you’re going to be ok?

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  24. caliban said on May 9, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    Myanmar aid? There’s about $400million never got to New Orleans because it was blocked by the Bush misadministration. That’s a fact they dont want tyou to know about. They buggered this deal beyond belief. Myanmar does it on purpose, W did it by utter incompetence. They werenen’t the gang that couldn’t shoot straigt. They couldn’t find the trigger. They were positivelely incompetent.


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  25. caliban said on May 9, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    Look. Can’t somebody bring these assholes to trial. They would not have ignored things had it been rich mormons and movie wstars in the Sierras. Pure fact.

    The aid pledged was several hundred million. The aid deployed was less than $40mil. Soo W didn;t wan;t to take aid from China. So he screwsed Nawlins over to look cool? Asshole.

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  26. caliban said on May 9, 2008 at 11:11 pm

    No joke. Bush administration turned down hundreds of millions in aid for Katrina but their dogging a regime they back behind eveybody’s back when it comes to torture??

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  27. caliban said on May 9, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    I got The Skids best CD in the mail today. The Skids was Stuart Adamson’s band. You may know him as the guy that did the bagpipes guitar trick and made the positivelely brillant song “In A Big Country”. It wasn’t a trick. He just knew how to make it cry and sing. Ray Davies thought Stuart was a worthy collaborator. So, in my opinion, there you have it. Shane McGowan and Richard Thompson did him the honor, too. Mighty good.

    He wrote incredibly gorgeous songs, that had to do with Scotland, freedom, fucking the Brits, and what the Brits did to womankind in shackling the Celtic lands, which demeaned the Brits more than their victims.

    I think you’ll all like Stuarts’s songs. They’re really amazing.I’d say excuse me, but I wouldn’t really mean it. Listen to what the boyo did. You’ll really like it.

    Apparently he killed himself. God knows why

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  28. caliban said on May 10, 2008 at 5:07 am

    I don‘t thinkpolar bears are in any way cute. I saw a polar bear act in Boston Garden one year when it was the year off for Gunther Gebel Williams and the Big Cats. Huge and terrifying, and spectacular, and my then seven year old daughter said they looked more intelligent than we all did watching them.

    I don’t know what I think about the ethics of command performances by positively magnificent predators that could woof their ‘tamers’ on a dime. I guess I don’t really like it, but when it’s RBB&B and little kids and adults are shrieking, and I get a glow in the dark polar bear T-shirt, I turn into a dumbfounded dumbass. Hell, I eat meat occasionally, but if cows got hold of bolt-guns and started nailing slaughterhouse employees, I’m fine with Brussels sprouts and good for the cows. My favorite cartoon is Gahan Wilson’s, with frogs standing over those petroleum encrusted lab trays and humans pinned down ready for pithing. Serves us right.

    But Roy Innes claiming Black Americans are being disadvantaged by protecting Polar Bears from having to swim thousands of miles for a meal and keeping from drowning? That is one seriously coopted black man, and an idiot. The idea that the inevitable demise of any species of God’s creation for the comfort and convenience of mankind is acceptable amounts basically to a sort of defeatism that Ralph Innes may not realize is the slippery slope to terminal racism.

    There’s Alpha and Omega, and noogenesis, according to the greatest biologist of the Twentieth Century, whose also the greatest theologian of the Twentieth Century. It’s spectacularly infuriating that the propagators of intelligent design as an alternative ‘theory’ support killing off entire species in the name of the God we’re supposed to all be becoming. Of course, ‘intelligent design’ posits as its basic beliefs that God wasn’t smart enough to design natural selection and evolution into the equation, but She was boneheaded enough to intend we all end up born-again white men with beholden females.

    Racial divisions by skin color and physical features amount to an exceptionally phony ploy in the grand scheme of biology, with no basis in any sort of science. Exaltation of one species over another is just about as stupid. If you make the rules, you find yourself superior. Opposable thumbs? Masturbation. Language? Blogs. Bigger brains? Duplicity, cowardice, addictions, delusions of grandeur, people that think William Faulkner wasn’t a jerk that wrote impenetrable and entirely indefensible crap for whiskey money.

    So we get Thomas Mann, but we’re plagued with Hermann Hesse. William Gibson, Tim LeHaye. It’s like Adrian Monk says, a blessing and a curse. Good Steven King, bad Steven King. Language may be something we do because it entertains us. I’m open to the idea that whacking sea lions is just as entertaining, but I don’t have the genes for it. Clive Cussler, for Christ’s sake, who’d be a good excuse for cutting off all human typing digits and feeding them to starving polar bears. I don’t know if there’s anybody good enough to balance how horrendous this guy is, and millions of allegedly evolved humans read this drivel. People actually recommended The Davinci Code to friends. What sort of species is it that resorts to such wanton cruelty not in the interest of survival? (And I apologize to everyone that just thought it hilariously …atrocious just doesn’t get it, but there must be a word…abysmal? No. Brainless? Closer.)

    If Roy Innes finds himself on an ice floe with a starving polar bear, who’s superior? The bear, and the black guy’s lunch, same as some bona fide racist like Trent Lott would be. All tastes like blubber. But shoot, science is the devil’s work, and there‘s always the rapcha. When it comes, and I’m still here, I want a baby-blue T-Bird, with the top down and the keys in the ignition, a working debit card with Warren Buffet‘s account number, and a ferocious 14-foot tall furry white bearish guy for my sidekick, and bandoleros wouldn‘t hurt.

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  29. caliban said on May 10, 2008 at 7:05 am

    Ohhhhkkkay. McCain is slightly less lucid than Ron Raygun sundowning.

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  30. LAMary said on May 12, 2008 at 10:58 am

    I’m thinking he will be gone by June. If not gone, neutralized. Right now if he gets it into his head to fire me, I can go after him legally. Aside from having a workman’s comp claim going on from an injury caused by his actions, he was confronted in a meeting with people who outrank him considerably regarding his treatment of me. He’s berated me in front of people a few too many times. Once was more than enough, but he’s gone after me lots more than that. This has been so unpleasant and stressful it’s really had an effect on my life outside work.

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