How clueless do you have to be to not realize that Superman and Clark Kent look exactly alike? That’s the question for the ages — something that has haunted every version of Superman since he debuted as a comic book character in 1938. His was one of the original “secret identities” and the concept involved the Man-of-Steel being accepted by everyone as an alien visitor (who looks human) known as Superman. Even so, no problem there. When he put on a pair of glasses and a business suit and acted a little differently in order to pass as Clark Kent, however, it seemed that nobody realized they were the same person. As comic book films have gotten more and more realistic, the cognitive dissonance we experience in enjoying the character has grown greater and greater.
Later this month, President Barack Obama will stand before a crowd in Washington, D.C. and take the oath of office. We already know that this will be historic simply from the point-of-view of Obama’s background and race. The other competition, however, is performance. We know he’s a great orator and people will expect a barn-burner of an inspirational speech. He won’t have any problem eclipsing others that went before him like George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Richard Nixon or even Bill Clinton. No, the man Obama has to stand up to by way of historical comparison is President John Kennedy. 48 years ago, the inaugural was similarly a piece of history. Not only was it jeopardized by bad weather, but it brought generational change to the White House. It was at that tiime that newly elected President John Kennedy spoke those words we still remember.
We believe so much in the candidacy of Barack Obama that we’ve written a campaign song and we’d like to share it with you. As a couple of striking screenwriters and a singer-composer, we wanted to to make the case in an unconventional way.
I’ve just spent a couple of hours in my backyard with the “Hollywood Rattlesnake Wrangler” — a great guy, Bo Slypapich. Bo is a one-of-a-kind who has hunted down rattlers for everybody from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Brad Garrett and today he came to my house after working for Sally Field.
Yesterday, my wife and I went with six other couples to an afternoon showing of the new “The Heartbreak Kid” at our local cineplex. Then we went out for a nice Italian dinner, drank a little wine, and got ready for part two. That involved going back to our place and watching the original “The Heartbreak Kid” in our home theater. I’ve been doing this kind of comparison viewing for these Smackdowns for a while now, but never quite so organized and never with so many other voices in the mix. We definitely came up with a consensus winner — more on that at the end.
Most of us are very familiar with the story of O.J. Simpson — the famous athlete a criminal jury said didn’t do it only to have a civil jury say he did just over a year later. Like the Los Angeles riots which preceded the arrest of O.J. by two years, this story said as much about the state of race relations in America as they did about the guilt or innocence of the accused. Before the racial overtone set in, however, coverage in these initial issues had a lot to do with the actual slow-speed chase. Here’s the way Time started in both versions:
The boss was a tough immigrant — a Basque from Spain — named Mariano Bilbao and he was living (or working) the American dream. Work, work, work and, if you did that, life would be easier for your kids. His kid was just a baby, and Mariano was in full pay-the-dues mode to get ahead in time for his kid to have the good life he dreamed of.
The truth is, for decades now, I’ve been paying people in salons with fancy names like Casablanca or Savvy a lot of money to cut my hair. My latest one cost the most ever because the shampoo was done in a dark room with incense and New Age music and felt more like a mini-massage. Going to that place, though, always involved pulling out the schedule, often having to re-schedule because of my stylist’s day or mine changing suddenly, and building yet another appointment in an already busy day into my life.
The Chris Matthews Show did a bit today about a picture of President Bush and Vice-President Cheney as they looked at their watches together. It’s a pretty fun picture, goofy like synchronized swim without the water. Matthews challenged his panel to each come up with a caption and they all did. (I wonder if he showed it to them before-hand? Probably.)
A disciplinary committee disbarred disgraced prosecutor Mike Nifong for his leading role in the disastrous and dishonest prosecution of three Duke University lacrosse players who he falsely accused of rape last year. Even Nifong agreed that his punishment fit his crime.The only thing left in Nifong’s public humiliation will be the books and the movie that may come of all this. I’d love to write the movie of this slow-motion disaster. In fact, I tried as hard as I knew how to do exactly that.
As “Studio 60″ continues its fade-out, my TiVO grabbed last night’s episode which had, as a story-line, the flashback to the days right after 9/11. It dealt with the characters wondering just how to be funny in light of the tragedy and the reality that we would now be living in the shadow of terrorism.