Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Got back from a family trip to Upstate New York a few days ago and I'm off again tomorrow to NYC for MacWorld, a Life In A Blender gig and general nonsense with friends. All this means I'll be off the blog until Tuesday. Until then, some brief observations.

1) Orlando is brutally hot in the summer. It's the season I notice that I've developed some weird kind of man breasts because just below them is where the sweat appears first on my shirt each day. The only winning strategies are living by the pool or indoors with the air conditioners, which is probably similar to how residents of Mars will eventually deal with the heat.

2) There's nothing to make one feel old and infirmed like a vacation with a body builder. The male half of the lovely couple who invited us to New York is a pumped chunk of muscle who used to box, play college football and compete with the oil and flex set. Mind you, he's totally cool in every way. But when I failed to get upright waterskiing in four attempts and had to give up because my legs and arms screamed in pain, I could only look at him and think I used to... Well, okay, I never used to look like him. But I was kinda in shape. I wasn't this hulking mass with weird man breasts, weak knees and a numb right hand. Things are going to change at Casa De Suburb.

3) Caught Robin Williams on HBO and was fairly unimpressed. When did his whole act become a series of accents and ethnic jokes? In a 100 minute live set, there were maybe 4 really funny bits and two of those seemed sourced from other comics (the Scottish golf story recalled Billy Connelly and I'm almost certain George Carlin did a similar bit about the siblings of Jesus). The rest of the stuff was frantic, yes, but it reminded me of drunken nights with smart college friends, riffing on all sorts of weird topics and headlines. Too many times, Williams would hint at some promising angle, then charge off on less interesting tangent. He must be finding out the awful truth that rockers discover - it's impossible to be 50 and sober and still as thin, sharp or maniacally interesting as when you were 25 and buzzing on coke.

On the plus side, my good buddy Jon did Robin's front of house sound - so yeah!

4) I finally finished Michael Moore's book Stupid White Men and was not knocked out. Moore makes many good points, particularly on class and corporate issues. And can he be funny. But like most agitators he's best at pointing out the faults of others, not in offering any valid solutions (his chapter on resolving international conflicts is painful). In one of the better sections, Moore details how Bill Clinton was probably the best Republican president this country's ever had, when you consider the kind of pro-business stance he had. However, this seething over Clinton policies renders incomprehensible Moore's lust for Hillary, who usually seemed to be backing Clinton's moves away from the traditional liberal platform.

Curiously, Moore appears deeply conflicted about helping Nader blow the 2000 Presidential Election for Gore. At first, he tows the Nader party line - Gore lost the election for himself. Nader had little to do with it. Gore crumbled during the FLA recount. But in the final chapter, Moore changes his tune. He details how in the closing weeks of the 2000 election, he saw Nader's strength handing key states to Bush and suggested that Nader folks to make a deal with Gore or free Nader followers in swing states from voting for him. Moore claims he suggested the later during a late trip to FSU and helped drive down Nader's vote total in Florida to 1.6% from nearly 6%.

If that's true, it a rather amazing dual admission. Not only was Moore willing to sell out Nader when the chips were down, but in some roundabout way, Moore's wants Democrats know that without his efforts, Gore would never have even gotten as close as he did in the Sunshine state.

I still like Moore a lot and agree with him more often than not. I just wish he'd grow up. His lumpen proletariat routine was charming the first couple of times around the block, but now the denim and baseball hat thing is starting to look like a schtick. Show me that you can grow and refine your perspective with 20 additional years of experience and I'm all ears. Continue to harp about GM closing auto plants in Flint and I'm gonna have to sing you Springsteen's My Hometown - These jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back . Figure it out and move on. Stop moping about a past that's long gone.

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