Monday, November 20, 2006


Wow. This is really bad. Michael Richards, the frizzy-haired comic actor who played Kramer on Seinfeld, was caught on tape making a complete ass out of himself.

On stage.

Apparently, he was getting heckled by a couple guys at a recent stand-up comedy show at the Laugh Factory when he completely lost all control and made a number of incredibly insensitive racial comments about the hecklers.

I personally think heckling sucks, but it doesn't sink to this level.

Be warned, the link is vulgar in its depiction of Michael Richards ceremoniously ending his own career. Click on the movie link to view the whole thing yourself. I hope he made a call to Mel Gibson's publicist after this shocking performance, because he's going to need a PR miracle to survive this Apocalytpo stumble.

Sunday, November 19, 2006


Here's something that breaks my heart.

We were at Barnes & Noble Bookseller yesterday afternoon, browsing for Christmas gift inspiration, when we decided to stop in their second floor cafe for a gingerbread latte. As we waited for the barista to whip up our seasonal specialty beverages, we pulled up chairs at a nearby table. At the table behind us, three young boys were talking to each other while one of their mothers read quietly beside them.

"Yeah, I know. We're ALL going to go to war."

"Yeah, like, in 10 years it's going to be World War 3."

"I know. I'm going to be 19. We're going to have to go to war."

"I heard World War 3 is already started, but we won't have to go for 10 years."

"Yeah. It's started already. But the real world war won't be for 10 years."

As we got up to get our warm spiced coffee drinks, I suddenly felt terribly depressed. "Did you hear that?" I asked. "Those kids were talking about going to war. They were NINE years old and talking about World War 3."

It was startling, and made me wonder what kind of world we had created - that war was the expectation of our nation's youth. And not just any old war, but the mother of all smackdown numero tres.

I wasn't worried about going to war when I was a kid. We had the evil Russians to fear, not war. War back then was a handful of mysterious men in smoke-filled rooms without windows, pushing big red buttons and bringing armageddon to places thousands of miles away. It was a fear we couldn't imagine, so we didn't imagine it. We played Frogger and Pitfall and spun around on broken down cardboard boxes to people rhymically making fart sounds with their mouths. The human beatbox age was a simpler time.

But today's kids see news reports every day of American soldiers dying in a faraway place. They have family members, or friends with family members, serving extended tours of duty in the Middle East. And what are we telling our kids when they ask why we're at war? Do we tell them the truth? Or do we tell them what George Bush tells us because the Administration's soundbytes are hardwired into our polluted stream of consciousness? Do we reflexively demonize the nation of Islam? Do we define them all as "terrorists"? Do we say, "Because they hate us"? Or do we take the time to explain to our kids the way of the world - detailing our complex cultural differences, outlining our very different histories, and making an attempt to tell both sides of the story. They don't hate our people, kids. They hate our policies. There's a difference. They don't hate our way of life. They hate that our way of life is sustained at the expense of theirs. The responsibility for our current conflict is shared, depsite what you may hear from the righteous brothers at arms.

How do we raise our children so they don't make the same mistakes we've made? I don't quote Ozzy Osbourne very often - not because he isn't quoteworthy, but because his exact words are usually subject to great debate - but "maybe it's not too learn how to love and forget how to hate."

The alternative may be exactly as those precocious 9-year-olds put it.

We'll be going off the rails on a crazy train.


FYI - the world is in the process of selecting a new list of 7 World Wonders, and you can vote for your favorites here.

Some of the structures that made the list baffle me. The Eiffel Tower? One of the 7 Wonders of the World? I don't think so. Even the Parisians thought it hideous when it was first constructed. Others on the list make complete sense. Stonehenge. Easter Island. Truly magnificent "wonders" that defy explanation and instill us with a sense of awe.

A large number of contenders are up for consideration, and the world wants your opinion. Which was a greater world wonder - the Great Wall of China or the Eiffel Tower? No question in my mind that the largest man-made monument on the planet nabs that honor...but you may not see it that way. Read the short blurbs on all of the nominees (there are a bunch I personally wasn't even aware of) and then cast your vote today!