Reality. Just can’t beat it.

Someone at the gym sent me one of the parody videos for the Shake Weight. No links here, as they’re about as difficult to find as Vi@gra spam, and I don’t want to be responsible for offending any of you. But it raises the question of what, exactly, the Shake Weight peddlers thought they were doing when they made a piece of exercise equipment that practically begs for parody, whose very own infomercials feature shirtless men exulting, “30 seconds into it, I was already covered in sweat.”

I guess what I’m asking is, is it possible to stake a business plan on an item that will be entirely sold as a dirty joke gift at bachelor/ette parties?

(She said, in a country that made fortunes for the inventors of the Pet Rock and Love Sheep.)

Now that we’ve kicked things off with our customary how-low-can-we-gooooo salvo, I just want to say that those of you who accuse liberals of being obsessed with Sarah Palin may have a point. On the other hand, take a look at this. I’ve been laughing over that picture since I first saw it a version of it on Facebook last night. It’s the reason I think political satire is impossible; how on earth do you compete with reality? Especially when reality gives you quotes like this:

City resident Mark Little said he’s so genuinely tantalized with Palin and her book that he said “it will be the first book I’ve ever read.”

Elsewhere in the same story:

“She’s got the common people’s touch, and we love her. She doesn’t sound like a highfalutin politician. She wants to save us from ourselves and she wants to give us the opportunities to be free.”

Somewhere. H.L. Mencken in smiling. No, he’s peeing his pants laughing.

And so we have arrived at Friday. Guess what I’m doing again in three weeks? Making another 48-hour challenge film! Oy vey. We’ve been invited to participate in the 48 Hour Shootout, for winners of the city competitions. Top prize: $1,000 and screening at the, no shit, Cannes Film Festival. Odds of beating the polished competitors from Los Angeles, New York and other dream cities? Pretty damn slim, but what the hell, we’re in. The rules are slightly different for this one: Everyone gets the same genre/subject and prop. Last year’s was “found money,” and the prop was a bag/suitcase/duffel containing $500,000 in prop dollars (or local equivalent currency, as this is an international competition). Nicely metaphoric for film hobbyists, I’d say. I only saw one of last year’s entries. It was about a guy who takes in a stray dog. The first day he takes it for a walk, and it finds a $10 bill. And so on.

So I’ll miss a weekend of Christmas shopping. So what?

And now it’s the last weekday of my husband’s vacation, and we are celebrating: First we’re going shooting, and then to the DIA to see the Avedon exhibition. Just try to put us in your demographic slot, Liberal Media! We are square pegs!

And I’m outta here. Have a great weekend.

Posted at 11:38 am in Current events, Movies |

18 responses to “Reality. Just can’t beat it.”

  1. jeff borden said on November 20, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    H.L. Mencken actually is clawing at his coffin, wanting a piece of this insanity and wondering why this rich vein of comic gold was not around in his day.

    I am not referring specifically to the opportunistic grifter currently on a nationwide book tour, but what in God’s name is happening when Americans want someone just like them to be president? This also was said of W., who some fans said seemed like the kind of guy they’d love to have a beer with. I cannot be alone in my belief that I do not want a beer drinking buddy carrying nuclear codes, yet clearly, there are millions of Americans who are enamored with the idea of “jus’ folks” in the most powerful office in the world. Do they also want “jus’ folks” operating on them when they need a triple bypass? Do they seek out an “average American” lawyer when they need to defend themselves in a divorce proceeding? Do they look for restaurants where someone off the street strolled into the kitchen to cook? Doubtful. Yet over and over we see people promising to vote for the person who is “just like me.”

    Count me among those who agree with Jon Stewart. I want someone infinitely smarter than me in the Oval Office. I WANT an elitist.

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  2. brian stouder said on November 20, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Still resisting the impulse to use the News-Sentinel’s reporter’s name as the butt of a MILF joke (not to mention Mr Little)

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  3. Jim said on November 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Apparently, buses like this are a standard feature for author tours of a certain type. I remember passing one on I-75 a couple of years ago for some politician–Huckabee maybe. I’ve never seen Carl Hiassen with one.

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  4. Peter said on November 20, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    Nancy, I forgot to ask yesterday – what part of Western Michigan was your spouse in recently? Just askin…

    I love the DIA, although I did get a well deserved smackdown there. On my way out, the lady at the desk asked if I needed directions, being that I’m from out of town and the DIA is in a rough stretch of town. When I told her, no problem, I’m from Chicago, my in-laws are from Gary, she looked at me like the clubhouse manager from the Yankees looks at the rube who just showed up from AA Wilkes-Barre.

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  5. LAMary said on November 20, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    I want to see Philip Roth’s bus.

    When my first son was born, there was something of a fad for home births. I said I wanted to in the most highly rated hospital in town surrounded by overachievers. There are good reasons to hire people not like ourselves to do things.

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  6. ROgirl said on November 20, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Peter, believe it or not, the DIA isn’t really in a rough stretch of town. It’s in the midst of the cultural district, which also includes the Science Center, Historical Museum, College for Creative Studies, the main branch of the Detroit Public Library, and Wayne State University. Granted, you don’t have to go too far to find dilapidated buildings and empty fields, but that’s Detroit.

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  7. Sue said on November 20, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    The Mark Little comment is already making its way around the nets. I’m suspicious of it; it seems more like a mischief-maker got in line and made sure he talked to that reporter. The only thing he forgot to add was “except the Bible”.
    Oh, wait. I’m not aware of any library funding issue or school referendum around here that hasn’t had someone standing up proudly at the required public forum to state that he/she (usually a he, why is that?) has never read a book and doesn’t see the need for spending all that money on stuff like books and schools. So Mark Little has lots of annoying company.
    I mean, I’m bad at math and have no interest in it, but at least I understand that I’m at a disadvantage because of it. It’s not something to brag about.

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  8. derwood said on November 20, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    When I was going to physical therapy for my back last summer he had this long bar that I had to hold in front of me and shake without moving my body. It was all I could do not to laugh at myself in the mirror while trying to complete the exercise.

    I can’t wait to see the next movie creation!


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  9. Dexter said on November 20, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    I thought that bus was photoshopped when I saw it last night…you mean to tell me it’s real?

    Lost money…In 2001 I was in Cleveland for baseball. I parked (free on Saturdays) near The Flats and biked to the stadium. After the game I bought an early edition of The Plain Dealer, and read it Sunday. There was a story about an armored car driving through the same intersection I used, at the approximate same time I had pedalled through. The truck’s door had popped open, same old tired story you read about every now and then, except this time my eyes opened a little bigger.
    It seems it was a large amount of cash that was lost…like a couple hundred thousand bucks, but I have forgotten the exact amount. I guess that would make a good topic for a short film…try to keep it?…turn it in? ( A huge cop station and the Cleveland jail was right around the corner). Of course it’s moot…it wasn’t me that found that sack-o-dollars, and I never found out the followup.

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  10. John said on November 20, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    After my shoulder surgery, my physical therapist (Tomásina de Torquemada) had me do the same shaking motion with what appeared to be an unstrung bow. It was the most painful event of the hour.

    Peter, Wilkes-Barre is AAA. The Trenton Thunder is the Yankees’ AA affiliate.

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  11. Rana said on November 20, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    what in God’s name is hap­pen­ing when Amer­i­cans want some­one just like them to be pres­i­dent?

    I suspect it comes out of several generations of suspicion of outsiders coming in and causing trouble for the locals, usually with the justification that the change will be an improvement “for their own good.” The trouble is, interference for classist, elitist reasons – “Oh, look at these poor benighted people who don’t know anything better! Let us make them more like us!” – gets lumped in with the actions of those who are genuinely trying to work with local populations and get necessary improvements done – those who are trying to get WIC funding for local markets, those who want to regulate pollution-spewing hog farms and heavy metal processing, those who offer low-cost health care and vaccinations – it all gets conflated into “Those stupid liberal elitists telling me what to do, and it’s going to cost me money!”

    So the idea is that if you elect a president who is “jus’ folks” then he’ll leave you alone, because he shares your scepticism and hostility towards over-educated do-gooders who mess around in the lives of decent hard-working Americans.

    I have sympathy for the basic attitude – no one likes outsiders acting all superior and telling you that what you’ve been doing is wrong – but in certain segments of the population, it’s become a cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face situation. In the worst manifestations, it becomes an insistence that everyone should also cut off their noses too, because having a nose is snobby or something.

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  12. Julie Robinson said on November 20, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Physical therapy is not supposed to be torture. The guy I went to had a constant refrain of “no pain”. If anything hurt, he had me stop immediately, and he found an alternative exercise. He’s more than a little bit my hero for beating the pain and regaining use of my shoulder and arm. If you’re going to anyone who says it has to hurt, STOP, and find someone else.

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  13. paddyo' said on November 20, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Meanwhile, the OTHER bloodsuckers making news this week are drawing their own zombie hordes in long, long lines . . .

    I speak, of course, about the “Twilight Saga: New Moon”-ies . . . and here’s a helpful primer from Slate for all you aspiring vampires out there:

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  14. alex said on November 20, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Speaking of vampires, check out the flyer I found stuck on the driver’s side window of my vehicle today as I left work:

    They were on all of the full-size pickups and Corvettes in the parking garage. Scary, eh?

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  15. crinoidgirl said on November 20, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    So, you have the Corvette? 😀

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  16. LAMary said on November 20, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    I am just so freaking glad it’s finally Friday.

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  17. alex said on November 21, 2009 at 1:44 am

    Nope, stuck with the truck this week while hubby has a biz trip with the sports car.

    Amazing. I’m probably the only man in that garage not having tits dipped in his beer tonight in exchange for a wad of bills up her hoohoo.

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  18. Denice B. said on November 21, 2009 at 2:32 am

    Have you ever seen the ad on line for a fisherman’s product called the ‘Wonder Boner’? It’s on the web somewhere. Just Google it, and be prepared to be amazed! “Must see TV” if you are a fisherman. From the ad- “My wife would love a Wonder Boner!!!” Narration by the one and only Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs.

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