Tuesday, April 28, 2009

All done, Twit

Okay, so...not so much with the twittering. Twitter seems to be nothing more than a group of people announcing that at some point during their day, a thought has occurred to them. Rather than turn to the person next to them and share said contemplation, they picked up their phones and tweeted. After my exhaustive research with the platform I stopped texting in tweets, primarily because I grew weary of my own reductive thoughts. We spend an inordinate amount of time alone, us independent Americans, and all this alone time occasionally produces a thought or idea that seems worthy of sharing. However, flying solo in the minivan from here to there means there is not a soul in passenger’s seat, no one to turn to and share that insightful reflection. It is helpful to have someone sitting next to me because more than just tuning the radio station, my passenger can also turn to me when I share some flashy quip and correct me by saying “yeah, that’s one of the less brilliant things you’ve said.”

Also, one of my favorite writers is Henry James. Henry would have hated Twitter. Why use one word when you can use eight?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

“The West Wing” Redux: Blow the Man Down

After a few reruns of “The West Wing” on Bravo, I starting thinking about recent news events. From pirates to Portuguese Water Dogs, I’m not sure even Aaron Sorkin could write a script this good for our hip president. But what if he did?
Imagine the scene: West wing, soft white walls, lots of dark wood and glass interior doors. Various rooms of people looking busy and important. Our statuesque president walks at a fast clip with his assistant three paces behind. The assistant is a white version of Charlie, the character played by DulĂ© Hill on the original show. Let’s say Shia Leboeuf.

White Charlie: Good Morning Mr. President.

POTUS: Lights and candles, Charlie!

W.C.: ‘Scuse me, sir?

POTUS: These modern day pirates, Charlie. Scallywags. No code, Charlie.

W.C.: Yes, sir.

POTUS: Lights and candles. The dread pirate Black Bart and his crew overtook a brigandine off the coast of Guiana in 1720.

W.C.: Yes, sir.

POTUS: They wrote a code, Charlie. A code!

W.C.: A code, sir.

POTUS: Article Four of the pirate code states “The lights and candles should be put out at eight at night, and if any of the crew desire to drink after that hour they shall sit upon the open deck without lights.”

W.C.: Without lights, sir.

POTUS: Mrs. O wants me to take Kennedy’s dog, Charlie.

W.C.: Is this the code, still, Mr. President, or are we on to something else, now?

POTUS: Not that I don’t want the dog, mind you. I could care less about the dog. I’m tired of answering questions about the dog. The country is falling apart, I’ve got an economy as rusted out as the Impala my grandma gave me when I turned 16, and all I get from the press are questions about the damn dog!

W.C.: I can see how that would be frustrating, Mr. President.

POTUS: And pirates!

W.C.: Yes, sir.

POTUS: Mrs. O says dogs are like breath mints, Charlie.

W.C.: I’m having a hard time with that connection, Mr. President. You’re going to have to have to walk me through that one, sir.

POTUS: Breath mints, Charlie. You never turn down a breath mint. If someone offers you a breath mint, you take it. They may be offering because your breath stinks.

W.C.: Kennedy offered you the dog because your breath stinks, Mr. President?

POTUS: Does it? Did I brush my teeth this morning, Charlie?

W.C.: I wouldn’t know, sir. I didn’t mean you, sir. I mean….

POTUS: Kennedy may be offering the dog because he knows I need to put this thing to rest. Get on with the business of running the country. You know. Deal with the pirates and all of it.

W.C.: Yes, sir—

POTUS: Here’s the thing, Charlie. It’s a pansy-assed dog. It’s fluffy and curly and looks like a poodle. This is not a presidential dog. This is not the canine representing the Leader of the Free World.

W.C.: I thought it was the girls’ dog, sir?

POTUS: It’s the people’s dog, Charlie. It’s the people’s dog, and the people need a good manly dog. We need a strong dog, now Charlie. We need a Boxer, or a Rottweiler. We need something with teeth, something that looks like it could tear the back seat off any mangy, humanitarian-aid-stealing pirate.

W.C.: And that’s not Senator Kennedy’s dog, sir?

POTUS: Senator Kennedy’s dog couldn’t tear the back seat off a Kardashian, Charlie.

W.C.: That would be a mouthful, Mr. President.

POTUS: Article 12, Charlie: If a member of the crew were to abduct a woman he would be put to death or be marooned. A code, Charlie—even the blackest pirate in the darkest days of piracy had a code.

W.C.: A code, sir.

POTUS: That’s all I’m saying, Charlie.

W.C.: Did they allow dogs on board, sir? In the code?

POTUS: Don’t get smart with me, Charlie.

W.C.: Yes, sir.

POTUS: Where’s my Blackberry? Text Mrs. O. and tell her we’ll take the damn dog.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

More High-Tech Gift Suggestions for the Obamas

So far he’s given a box set of classic American DVDs to Gordon Brown and an i-pod to the Queen. It seems the President and his lovely wife are fans of the practical, take-it-out-of-the-box-and-use-it gift, more than the “lovely gesture” set-it-on-the-shelf category of giving. (Brown grumbled a bit when he went home and discovered he could not play the DVDs in his home player, due to the difference in technology across the pond. Forget about it, Gordie—you can watch most of those movies on Hulu.com anyway.)

I haven’t decided how I feel about our chosen leader giving the Queen an I-pod with a video of Camelot. What do you think, dear reader? See the new poll.

Meanwhile, if this is the route the Obamas plan to go with their giving, perhaps they would appreciate a few further suggestions:

For the president of France, Nicholas Sarkozy: Remember, he married model Carla Bruni. Obviously an admirer of high fashion and healthy physiques, the Obamas could present him with a digital picture frame featuring rolling footage of Michelle & Barack on their Hawaii trip, strolling the beaches in their extremely buff manner.

For President Hu Jintao of China: Radio Shack offers a great deal on a metal detector, which he could wave like a magic wand over shipments of toys and knick-knacks to the US. It would be a nice symbolic gesture of help and hope for the future coming from the Obamas. It sends the message: we know your toys have enough lead to poison a Roman emperor, but we’re still friends. Sorta.

The most popular car in China for all those bazillions of new drivers is a black Buick. We can assume a similar trend will hit India as that country muscles its way into global economics. What a perfect opportunity for the Obamas to present India’s leaders with a Tom Tom. This nifty directional device takes care of the practical needs of navigating through all the cows and crowds, as well as the larger metaphorical aspect of sending the message: We all get lost sometimes, and now you can get directions and not look like a sissy for stopping to ask at the next BP.

For Russian President Dmitry Medvedev: A pair of spy-quality high-tech binoculars, maybe with some Matrix-like night vision feature. He can use them to keep an eye on his neighbors across the way, those pesky Palins.