Wednesday, May 30, 2007

I'm Pretty Sure I Know What I Did Last Summer

A few thoughts on my time away from home:

Dirty Vegas

Whatever Rat-Packian cool Vegas used to exude is long since dead -- crushed under the weight of one 800-pound, wheelchair-bound woman or another straddling a slot machine for days at a time, then disgracefully dumped into the street by a limo-full of striped-shirted idiots hopped-up on blow and Red Bull & Vodkas. While it stands as a useful Mecca of gruesome American mythology, it's still basically South Beach without the beach -- and that's not a good thing.

As for me, I wound up spending most of my time inside a cheap Hilton -- which I guess is what most men do when they come to Vegas these days.


Want a Shooter with That?

In keeping with Vegas's reputation for providing visitors the opportunity to indulge in any and all vices, the city is home to a gun shop that rents fully-automatic weapons. Needless to say, there was no way I could pass up a chance to test fire an HK MP-5 -- the preferred weapon of the British SAS. By the time I had burned through two clips, it was clear that, A) something like that really would've come in handy when dealing with the aforementioned striped-shirted idiots, and B) the shooting skills my father taught me years ago haven't softened much; I have the paper target riddled with clusters of head and body shots to prove it. Boo-ya.

But then again...

Conventional Wisdom, or Lack Thereof

It was a massive business convention being put together by my wife which dragged the both of us to Vegas in the first place. To her credit, she somehow managed to keep a smile on her face and a spring in her step, despite having to sometimes deal with a veritable tsunami of imbeciles from around the world.

One encounter which she relayed to me stands out:

On the last day of the convention, as Jayne was standing at her booth offering leftover bags of potato chips and such to delegates, she was approached by two men. Upon being informed of the free vittles, their eyes lit up and one of them immediately muscled past my wife and began greedily scraping bag after bag of chips off the table and into his waiting tote. As he did this, the other man -- who had now identified himself and his snack-deprived partner as convention delegates from Oklahoma -- attempted to deflect Jayne's attention away from the surreal feeding-frenzy by striking up a conversation with her; an action that, as far as he's concerned, apparently involves making a presumptuous and insulting comment about someone's home city, which in this case just happened to be displayed on the badge of the person with whom he was speaking.

"So, you're from New York; that's where all those liberals are?"

Keep in mind -- it's my wife's job to be nice.

"Well, there are all kinds there really," she responded.

"A lot of Muslims there, huh?"

Also keep in mind -- as he's saying this, his friend is bent over the table directly behind Jayne, grabbing all the snacks he can get his hands on. Did I mention incidentally that both men are fat enough to be lost moons of Jupiter?

The talking chimp continues:

"Man, all them Muslims need to be rounded up and sent home. Get 'em out of America."

Now, Jayne's just about done.

"With all due respect, I have several Muslim friends -- and their home is right here."

"Oh yeah? That sounds like a New Yorker. I've got some friends in New York and they say the same thing. I always tell 'em, 'You just wait til you see that big flash of light -- then you're gonna be sorry you argued with me.'"

"I take it Christians are okay though, right?"

At this impertinence, Snack-boy's ears prick up and he stops shoveling crap into his bag. He once again hectors his way past Jayne and joins his friend's side.

"What did you say?" he asks, with equal parts astonishment and defiance.

"Christians have caused violence for centuries; they still bomb abortion clinics to this day."

Fat-ass #1 -- the guy who initially started this pleasant conversation -- immediately feels the need to identify his friend.

"You should know that this man is a Baptist minister, and he preaches about the dangers of Muslims at church every Sunday."

And now, having been properly introduced, the minister speaks authoritatively.

"Christians bombing abortion clinics is different."

Having been vindicated by ignorance and stupidity, my wife pisses on the proverbial fire and calls in the proverbial dogs.

"Sure thing. You gentlemen have a nice day -- enjoy those snacks."

I have no doubt that those two walked away thinking that my wife was the biggest heathen bitch on the planet and would pay for her uppity insolence with her very soul -- which is why I love her more than anything.

Meanwhile, on TV...

Dave Jones

I've made it abundantly clear that I'm not a fan of what passes for television news these days, particularly at the local level. (Every market in America boasts a "Problem-Solvers," an "Eyewitness News," a station which claims to be "On Your Side," and one whose "Coverage You Can Count On"). Given this rather cynical appraisal of the business, it's strange that I still find myself drawn to the television whenever I travel -- especially right around the time-slots usually inhabited by local news. It'd be easy and somewhat forgivable to claim that I'm powerless against the hypnotically awful onslaught of Rod Hodgson, Tracy Takamura-Velez-Gonzalez, Flip Skipwell with Doppler/Viper-700,000 Weather, and Bobby Turdwarden, now 37 days sober, with All-Cliche' Sports; unfortunately, that would do little to justify the outrage that invariably ulcerates my stomach about ten minutes into each broadcast I choose to endure.

Here's the thing though -- there's no denying that the outrage stems from a sense of disappointment, which would mean that my expectations aren't being met, which would mean that I have expectations in the first place, which would mean that I haven't entirely given up hope on local news.

Which brings me to KLAS Morning News Anchor Dave McCann.

When I first saw this guy, my thought was, "Holy fucking shit -- why in God's name did they put somebody who's obviously on Klonopin on a morning news show?" McCann's near-comatose manner could easily serve as Vegas's official snooze button, leaving an entire population plunked quickly and unsuspectingly into thousands of bowls of Corn Flakes at the slightest hint of his dull monotone. He's bland to the point of being practically non-existent. He's the fucking Sandman.

Yet, the longer I watched Dynamic Dave -- while valiantly fighting off the overwhelming desire to go back to sleep -- the more I started to realize that something utterly subversive was lurking behind those vacant eyes; it was this realization that made Dave McCann my new hero.

A quick scan of Dave's bio on the KLAS website tells you that he's been at the station for 15 years -- an unimaginable tenure in local news. He was born in Orem, Utah and is the oldest of 10 children. He has 5 kids of his own. He went to BYU. He's a Mormon (as if that needs to be stated outright).

All of this immediately makes him suspect, simply because no one on earth can possibly be that boring.

My theory: Dave McCann is either a serial killer hiding in plain sight -- taunting the police with every word he utters on-air, or, more likely, he's a performance artist of unmatched caliber who's pulling the most impressive practical joke in history.

There is a third possibility -- one that Dave's own stoic persona seems to hint at if you watch him long enough.

He's just given up. He's a guy who's been at the same station for 15 years and now cries himself to sleep every night knowing that the following morning he'll once again be stuck making trite segues to traffic and interviewing a woman who won a walk-on role on The Guiding Light.

Regardless, Dave McCann is my new favorite person in television news.

But on to L.A....

Driving Force

Jayne and I rented a 2007 Miata and drove it from Vegas to L.A.

The car was seriously one of our favorite parts of the entire vacation.

Speaking of cars...

I Am Become Death, the Destroyer of Idiots

The last time I was in South Florida, Anna Nicole Smith died there.

Last week, while I was in Los Angeles, Lindsay Lohan drove her car into a tree and wound up in rehab and Charles Nelson-Reilly, literally, flamed out.

Coincidence? I think not.

And finally...

There Are Many Copies, and They Have a Tan

Jayne cleverly pointed out that, as with the Cylons of Battlestar Galactica, there are really only 12 models of Angelino -- with each person representing only a slight variation on one of a dozen possible themes.

I'd tell you what the models are, but really, why spoil the surprise ending?


Christy said...

At first glance I thought the marquee said Loose Sluts. I wish it said that.

litelysalted said...

Terry Ruggles is my favorite person in television news.

Manny said...

WTF?! Why didn't Jayne mention those collossal fucktards during dinner? That would have been an hour conversation in itself....but the Amy Winehouse story was good.

the Mad Hattress said...

I agree that the two munchers were asses (and thieves at that) but it kind of intrigues me why the first religion/race/creed,etc. that got thrown out there as a retort/slam was 'Christians' why not Jews or Buddhists or Druids? Isnt that sort of a PC version of profiling? Hows come its ok to be prejudiced against that particular religion - almost cool even... there have to be some idiots out there that are Wiccans, right? Some chip stealing rat bastard Jehovah Witness'? YAAAAAAAAAAWN I get bored with Christians always being the butt of every joke... there are a lot of pricks out there that dont claim any religion at all... anyone who is oh so tolerant of ANYONE and EVERYONE EXCEPT people who believe in Jesus is just as radical as the next Bible thumping shit kicking chip swiper... you still rock but that was just a total turn off...

Jayne said...

Ms. Hattress, you can't blame Chez for that one.

This involved me (Chez wasn't there) and 2 men from Oklahoma (their badges prominently displayed this) with midwestern accents complaining about "you liberals in New York..."

Do you really think they could have been Wiccan?

There was more to the conversation than I shared with Chez of course; I couldn't remember it word for word. They made it very clear that they were Christian (Baptist), and apart from filling up their sack with all of the leftover bags of junk food and anything else they could take (which wasn't supposed to be given to them, I was just being NICE), insulting my friends and people who could be my friends, insulting my beliefs and my city, they also made it clear that they believed that the world would be a better place without all the non-believers and liberals (one and the same). Chez makes it sound like I'm sassier than I am... I had tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat when they walked away. I even feel bad that I mentioned bombing the abortion clinics, but I had to bring up some of the hypocrisy when they mentioned that all Muslims are bombers, or I wouldn't have forgiven myself afterwards.

Chez wrote it like I told it, and yes, it really did happen that way. These are the times when I realize that can't leave New York City because I'm too sensitive to intolerance. Believe that? Too sensitive to LEAVE New York. Bet that's a new one for ya'll.

(FYI, some of my favorite people on this earth are devout Christians; my friends and family span the religion/belief spectrum. Unfortunately, most of my bad experiences have been with the Christians, I'm sad to say.)

Anonymous said...

I wonder what would have been said by those two Okie slobs, if Jayne said "the chips were donated by Charles Nelson Reilly, who unfortunately passed on today."

Next trip, rent a camaro drapped in rainbow colors and drive through Oklahoma...and park in front of their Church waving the gay flag...held by a Pakistani

sparksinner said...

I love the feeling of a fully automatic weapon. Got to fire a few clips with an old Tommy gun a few years back. That was cool.

Jayne already said it quite eloquently, but of course Christians came up first. Had it been 2 Japanese dudes maybe Buddhism would be first up.

This should illustrate that there's no use arguing with a fundamentalist. They're totally immune to reason and logic. And their irrational nature makes them volatile. So it's best to smile and pretend you didn't hear or have no opinion.

Welcome back Chez. Hope your time off did you good.

the Mad Hattress said...

nah, it wasn't a blame thing. I am a Christian - not a stereotypical one mind you - i KNOW those of which you speak, escaped them i often say... but that type of person (snack stealer i mean - the original meaning of SS i do believe :D ) is not Jesus' fault any more than than it's your fault we got the reader's digest version of the story :) I am glad to see that someone who seems basically nice and quite tolerant had the nerve to stick up for yourself when you were a bit out numbered. So you go ahead with your bad chip sharin' self... and OK Wiccans prolly not... LOL

Emily Blake said...

THere are definitely too many liberal Muslims in New York. Not like Vegas, where all the God-fearing Christians go to celebrate the legacy of Christ as told by a guy in an Elvis suit.

Jennifer Sulkin said...

I nearly spit out the bagel I was eating over "There are many copies..... and they have a tan."

That was freakin priceless.

Sleepless Mama said...

Jayne, good for you! I'm so sick of hearing these "preachers" yell on and on about how awful Muslims are, and how it is God's Will that the unbelievers be wiped out. It's amazing how similar they sound to fundamentalists on the other side of the planet screaming for a jihad. You are absolutely right, the good Muslim people I grew up with belong right here.

And Chez, as far as Dave McCann: Utah Mormons are often stereotyped as repressed, goofy (in a dumb way), and in dire need of some loosening up. And that's just what the non-Utah Mormons say. It's not always the case, but I think the stereotype exists for a reason. (By the way, you should always capitalize Mormon, just like you would Catholic or Baptist.)

Slash said...

Every time someone has an unpleasant interaction with some asshat and recounts it on TV or the Internets, I think to myself, "Please don't be from Oklahoma, please don't be from Oklahoma, please don't be from Oklahoma..."


Unfortunately, I can assure you that your assumption was safe, most Oklahomans (who bother to do so) call themselves Christians and a large number are every bit as assholish as these two were. They love Bush and Limbaugh and could not be more ignorant about anything that happens outside the state. I think you showed admirable restraint.

We're not all like that, but the ones who are seem to be really proud of it. It makes me want to tell people I'm from Arkansas.

heatdamaged said...

Jayne is my new hero for the day, and that picture is the best one I have ever seen of Lohan. Seriously...she almost looks...dare I say it? HOT. Ugh, off to the showers.