Saturday, February 6, 2010

VANOC on the Buses

An elderly woman is seated on a city transit bus the other day.

She has her groceries on the seat beside her.

The bus is half empty.

Let me repeat.

The bus is half empty.

A young woman with VANOC marked all over her perfect self gets on, heads straight to the seated woman, and declares, "I want to sit there."

Not, "Excuse me, ma-am, but may I sit in that seat? Could you move those parcels please..." and anything like this.

And why there?

The bus is half empty.

Did I mention that?

The rude, privileged demand is hardly out of her mouth than the entire remaining passengers begin angrily and loudly chanting, "OFF VANOC! OFF VANOC! OFF VANOC!"

My friend, Donna, who told me this story yesterday, sees this incident as a clear and strong evidence of how so many Vancouverites are feeling about the arrogance of the VANOC Class.

I told her about a first year University professor I had about a thousand years ago, who came into class one bright winter morning and wrote in huge letters across the entire width of the blackboard, "CREDIT IS A SACRED TRUST."

He told us he had just seen this obscenity on a billboard in downtown Winnipeg.

He then ranted for an hour about the abuse of language, about putting spin on usury to make it holy.

This is how both Donna and I feel about "I believe."

Exactly what is it that Donald Sutherland and Bill Goo and all those other stooges believe?

I believe in God?

I believe in the divine right of Vancouver to host the Games?

I believe in free tickets? Little Upchuck? Red Mitties?

Pure shmarm.

Show me an athlete skiing or skating. Don't spend the entire budget to do it. Don't shut down social, health and education programs to pay for it. Don't declare yourself a "world class city." Don't raise Groupthink to Orwellian proportions.

Show me an athlete.

Keep it simple.

A Desparate Man

And detestable, as well.

Iggy Pop, languishing right there at the very bottom of all the polls, in an act of sheer hysteria has raised the spectre of an abortion discussion.

This is supposed to be the new conscience of the nation?

What cynicism.

What over-calculated drama queen idiocy.

What ever happened to the presentation of policy?


Sweating it Out

I have a new radio talk show on the way.

It's called "Sauna Talk."

Which is a bit misleading because all of the conversation and interviews actually take place in the whirlpool at the Vancouver Aquatic Centre on Beach Avenue.

The inspiration came yesterday.

Five men of various shapes and sizes were shvitzing at the far end of the giant tub.

Each one looked and sounded dumber than the last.

But, boy, did they know everything about everything!

Gordon Campbell, George Bush, Afghanistan, Obama, interest rates, mortgages, property assessments, Drew Brees, the Saints...

The Tatooted Man - there's one in every whirlpool - even had a life-size Mickey Mouse on his chest.

Whatever is really "life-size" for The Mick...who knows?

I thought as I hobbled back to the locker room, "The Globe, the New York Times - what do I read this trash for? I've got the experts right here in sloppy hanging Hawaiian bathing suits."

There must be some station in town who really needs something different...

Listen closely over the coming weeks...but, Puleeeeze, brng your own towel!

Golden Oldie

The video below shows the fascinating and complex structuring of a sequence in the 1946 movie, “The Jolson Story.”

This may be the first movie I ever saw.

It is certainly the first one I remember.

And it had a profound effect on me.

To this day, I still have a VHS copy of the film, and the sequel, “Jolson Sings Again.”

The story has been made and remade a dozen times under various guises, beginning with the very first “talkie,” “The Jazz Singer,” starring Al Jolson himself.

“The Jazz Singer” has been remade first with Danny Thomas and then with Neil Diamond.

“Funny Girl,” although a bio of Fanny Brice, follows the same trajectory and themes – the great performer who lays so much out there on the stage for his/her love affair with the audience that he/she can’t possibly have a reasonable or successful personal life. Think Bette Davis – 75 different addresses and 4, I believe, husbands.

In the movie below, Larry Parks is playing Jolson, who, of course recorded all the music tracks.

Jolson was such an egotist that he wanted to play the part himself.

He was dissuaded, but you can see him from a distance – shot from the theatre balcony – in the “Swanee River” number later in the film.

Larry Parks was nominated for Best Actor, but lost to Fredrick March for his role in “The Best Years of our Lives.”

Parks’ career was destroyed shortly thereafter by the McCarthy hearings. He survived by doing Broadway and live theatre around the country.

We didn’t really see him again in the movies until 1962 in “Freud.”

Watch the Process - See the Great Payoff