Sunday, August 28, 2005

End of the Summer Blowout

So ends another summer season here on the planet Earth, lazy, crazy days usually filled by the three Rs-rest, relaxation and recreation. Instead these past few months have chalk full of life lessons for us all, myself included.

And just what have we learned this summer?

The London bombings brought back some nasty reminders that terrorism has become a way of life in t he 21st century.

Gas prices prove once and for all that the true terrorists are the major oil companies who had record sales at a time when the rest of us are struggling.

Karl Rove will walk away unscathed when he should be tarred and feathered.

The Democrats are spineless. Oh, we already know that.

Pat Robertson is the American equivalent of a radical cleric.

They are never going to find out what happened to Natalee Holloway.

The mother of a dead soldier can be demonized by the right, turned into a martyr on the left and a dancing monkey for the media.

Best movie of the summer: War of the Worlds.

Biggest tool of the summer: Tom Cruise.

Most welcome return to TV: Anthony Bourdain on The Travel Channel’s No Reservations. Bourdain’s book, Kitchen Confidential, was my final inspiration to complete my book In the Dark.

Six Feet Under went out with a whimper (Bad old age makeup! Bad!), but the episodes leading up to the finale were among the best of the series. Oh, and Lauren Ambrose is the best actress of her generation.

I was only able to watch the first episode of Over There. While excellent, this depiction of the current Iraq war is too damn close for casual TV viewing. The world has changed since WW II.

Best TV commercials: Capital One’s Vikings. Maybe they should unleash their wrath on David Spade.

Revenge of the Sith did not suck ass. Much.

Batman Begins completed a geek hat trick (War and Sith included), living up to its hype. Christopher Nolan managed to recreate on the screen not only what Frank Miller brought to The Batman character, but also the contributions of Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams. The only drawback was the slapdash editing of the fight scenes, rendering them confused and unfocused. It seemed as though the chopped up, speeded up method was covering up discrepancies in the staging of these scenes. If I happened to be the stunt coordinator, I would have been pissed. Nothing like good work gone to waste. Isn’t it also rather telling that here’s an All American character like Batman portrayed, and excellently, by another Brit (okay Welsh…eh, Waler, goddamn it, an actor from Wales!) In fact, almost every Brit or Aussie or what have you is playing an American except Liam Neeson and (thankfully) Michael Caine, who cannot do an American accent to save his life. Who were the token Yanks? Morgan Freeman and Katie Holmes. USA! USA!

Celebrity spottings this summer:
Gus Van Sant at the Portland Whole Foods.
Gary the Retard from The Howard Stern Show on an Alaskan Airlines flight to Oakland.
Minka, the 44 Double K Cup stripper at the Oakland Airport. She looked very…uncomfortable.

The main thing I learned this summer was to finally begin to accept the Passage of Time. On a recent trip to California, I found many of the things I loved in the past that have just gone away- the great Coronet Theater in San Francisco where I saw Star Wars when it first opened as well as many other films. It was always an event and the Coronet’s massive presentation never failed to overwhelm. My beloved CafĂ© Riggio, almost directly across the street from the Coronet, also recently shut its doors. My very favorite restaurant, an establishment I had visited with many a lady friend in my time since the early eighties and never failed me on either a culinary or a romantic level, is no more. While it makes me sad and nostalgic for some good ol’ days, the truth is that I haven’t been to either establishment in over ten years. I had put them behind long before the end of the century so it’s really absurd to mourn their demise. Somehow seeing that they both are gone now was a wake up call for me. Yep. A wake up call for mortality. Ain’t that a kick in the ass?

Class dismissed.
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