Monday, September 28, 2009

Dear Anonymous Production Assistant ::STOP:: We're stumped ::STOP:: Please help us ::STOP::

I'll admit it. The Anonymous Production Assistant is one of my heroes. While facelessly (hey, he's the one who guards his anonymity) toiling in various Production Offices out there in L.A. he also takes the time to solve the problems of newcomers and veterans alike. Look, here he is, altruistically solving peoples' problems. I ask the guys from NASA help their neighbors launch rockets in their free time? Do the Border Police help keep kids off of old peoples' lawns on their day off? Do the 12-year-olds in your neighborhood sweat shop spend their 3 hours between shifts sewing rag dolls for charity? I think not!

But TAPA is tirelessly fielding questions from his loyal readers and seeking to enlighten them with perceptive and educated answers.

Well, it's my turn now, Mr. TAPA! Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to tell us how this damned piece of office machinery works.

Witness, The Office Depot, Heavy Duty 120 Page Stapler. We can't get it to staple anything. It refuses to force any staples at all to pierce any sheets of paper at all. We haven't actually tried, but I'm confident in saying we wouldn't be able to get it to staple a single sheet of one-ply toilet paper.

This is extremely disappointing to us. I mean, just look at that sucker! This bad boy is just chock full of X (and Y) Chromosomes...not a single Y in the mix just tons of mixed up X's and Y's. This is one testosterone-laden, macho beast of a stapler. It's Jean-Claude Van Damme, Sylvester Stallone, Steven Seagal, and The Rock all rolled up into one piece of mean paper uniter. I'd bet it could even drum up a little Will Smith eye-twinkle if it tried. What it can't do is staple.

I've tried. Our POC has tried. Our APOC has tried. A veritable trail of broken-hearted Office PA's have tried. We even let a Producer try. (None of us really had any expectations from that, but he does sign all the checks, so who was gonna tell him No?)

We've gotten this little doohickey to swing out, but you're looking at its full extension. That seems particularly useless.

We know how to put staples in and we know how to get them back out -- just not through the firing mechanism. We actually, quite like pulling out the little spring-loaded thing in the end -- that's as close as we come to successfully operating this thing.

Look! It releases.

And then it comes all the way out.

And then, we can put staples in or take staples out. We even attempt to make it staple something each time we get this far. I don't know why we expect a different outcome. It just seems worth we do.

Looking at this thing, it seems like you ought to be able to pull something up know, the way you can with a regular old wussy stapler. But you can't. Or, at least if you can, we haven't been able to find the release that allows that. (We've tried forcing it too. No Joy.)

Please help us Anonymous Production Assistant. We just want to staple the way the kids at the big shows do.

P.S. If you can solve our problem for us, I promise to create (and send to you) some sort of crappy Certificate of Appreciation that you can frame and conspicuously display near your desk. That's gotta be worth something.

Give It Another Five-Hundred Or So Years.

Here's a picture of a ruin somewhere with a vine or tree or some such that's been growing for a bazillion years in some jungle. I have no idea who the guy is in the shot, so I've artistically made him even more anonymous.

Here's a vine growing up the side of the building behind our production office. I doubt I'll be around when it gets to be really impressive. You should be able to click on the picture and see it in all of its present-day spectacularness.

P.S. I would have shot it with some really exciting angle of sun on it, but:

A.) The sun only hits it for about 5 minutes in the early afternoon - the vagaries of building placement in NYC, and

B.) The sun was behind some really pesky clouds during those alloted 5 minutes today.

So sorry.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Did You Know That 100 Minus 6 Equals 105? Well It Does.

Friday was a pretty great day, scouting-wise. We had our first scout with the Director. Just to remind you, the way this works is that we show him pictures of a lot of places and then he narrows down the list before we go out and look at things in person. Also, to remind you, this show has almost 100 locations to find for ten episodes.

So, we looked at some restaurants and some churches and a few stores, but mostly we concentrated on apartments. And he liked a bunch of the apartments we showed him. Yay! What's even better is that we'll get five or six of the "scripted apartments" in three real life apartments...all in the same building! (With some characters, you never see any more of the apartment than the kitchen or the bedroom, so we can mix and match a little).

Needless to say, I've been feeling a little bit smug.

Then reality intruded on my self-back-patting session. The problem is that he didn't like the exterior of this building for any of the characters...and we have exterior scenes for almost all of them. So, whereas I was looking for things like "Int./Ext. So-and-So's Apt.", I now have to separate off the exteriors and find them somewhere else. And whereas "Int./Ext. So-and-So's Apt." used to be one location (in my thinking, at least), now it's two separate locations.

So I get to add 5 new locations to the list and I've got pretty much exactly as many locations to still find as I did before we crossed 6 of them off the list on Friday. Does that make sense? Sure it guys are much better at math than I am.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Douchenozzles On Parade!

Hey Kids! Guess who was in town today?

Yup! Those warm and fuzzy folks from the Westboro Baptist Church! They spent the day running around Manhattan and then paid a visit to Brooklyn Technical High School...a mere 8 blocks or so from my house! I honestly wasn't sure why they decided to go to Brooklyn Tech, but here's the text from WBC's website with their schedule of events.

Whatever. Hey, the thing is, I couldn't have them showing up in my own nabe without going to take a look. So, I got my ass down to Brooklyn Tech by 3:00 p.m. meaning to get a good seat. Here's what things looked like at 3:00 p.m.

OK, there's a bunch of students hanging out across the street by the park waiting for the idiots to show up.

Ft. Greene Place (where the demonstration was scheduled) is strangely tranquil. (That huge 6 or 7 story building on the left is Brooklyn Tech. I think there's a couple of thousand students who go there from all over the five boroughs.)

The organized counter demonstrators begin to arrive around 3:15.

Aren't they adorable?

But at 3:20, there still wasn't any sign of the WBC schmucks!

I have to tell you. At this point, I was getting sincerely pissed! I expect punctuality from my hatemongers. If a bunch of assholes say they're going to be somewhere at 3:20pm, they'd damned well better fucking be there at 3:20 p.m. I'm a busy guy.

Well,'s the thing. Maybe they were on time. But they went to the wrong fucking place!
Here's a handy map for clarification.

They missed the school by a 1/2 a block! Why? Well, I guess they're just incompetent.

How are they incompetent? Let me count the ways.

-They scheduled their demonstration to begin approximately 40 minutes after the students get to go home. (If you're on the sidewalk when school gets out, you learn how salmon feel trying to swim upstream to spawn. The 4 blocks between the school and the subway are a solid mass of youthful hormones and acne twice-a-day before and after school.)

-They were late. (Clearly, they need help with navigating NYC traffic, or at least knowing how long it takes to get from one place to another.)

-They missed their scheduled protest spot...and this may be my favorite part of the whole thing. Ya' they were about to turn the corner onto Ft. Greene Place, they must have seen the barricades and caution tape set up on the corners. And with their massive inbred brainpower firing on all 3 synapses...they decided, Oh, this must be the designated Putz Pen!

I guess they didn't notice the construction guys. See, the barricades were there because the curbs and the sidewalk were being re-built.

Never mind...they went to the wrong spot and made all of us Brooklynites hike a block further out of our way to giggle at them. Inconsiderate bastards!

Oh, did I mention there were only 5 of them? And maybe 12 cops who looked like they really wished they were somewhere else? And about 200 students who hung around to watch them? And don't forget the baby brigade!

I honestly don't know if anyone on either side was yelling anything. Fulton Street (where they staged their demonstration) has so much traffic noise that you could land a division of Marines a block away in helicopters without noticing there was anything going on. It was pretty pathetic!

Here's some pics of the grand Hoo-Ha! (Note the hardhat in the middle of the first picture trying to figure out if he's going to be able to knock off work by 4:00 pm, like he's supposed to.)

The baby counter-demonstrators do themselves proud!

Am I supposed to pick up milk or bread on the way home? I'll get beer. Beer's always good.

Why couldn't they send me to a riot...or something interesting?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No Poop Zone

I wasn't sure what I was going to tell you about this morning. At first, I was thinking I'd tell you about our office craft service setup. It's a little sad. O.K., I'm not talking sad, like the Crafty you'll see over on, but sad, nonetheless. You all seem to envy us our never ending coffee and snacks (and you should), but you should also be aware that it's not all skittles and beer.

Look at the cornucopia I walked into this morning.

It's yesterday's Box-of-Joe! But then I decided I ought to be fair about the whole subject. I was the first one into the office. And there were only 7 of us in yesterday, so it's not like they've had time to gear up the gourmet buffet, so I'll give them a break.

Instead, let's talk about the one element of design in our office that's stinks...A tiny loo in a shitty place! (I think I'm done with Britishisms now, but if another occurs to me, I'll use it...just a warning.)

Look at the diagram below. You'll see that my office is in a really safe spot, speaking olfactory-wise. (I'm also immediately next to the door to the fire escape which is helpfully disconnected from any alarms and makes for a lovely smoking deck.) The problem, however, is that we have one men's room and one women's room...both of the oners. And they're in the lobby. This is kind of a chokepoint which usually only means it's a narrow bit of ingress/egress that everyone has to pass through.

But leaving the office last night, I discovered that it really is a chokepoint. It reminded me of a scene I witnessed years ago on location. The Teamster driving the trailer for one of our lovely female stars went into her trailer meaning to do his mid-day tidy-up. He opened the door and practically fell back out onto the street, as if he'd been hit by the blastwave from a bomb. Without missing a beat, he hollered, "Jeez girl! Whatchue been eatin'...feet?"

I'll be issuing an executive order today. The restrooms in the office will henceforth be a No Poop Zone. I'm sorry if this is TMI for anyone, but whoever was in there yesterday before I left must have been holding it for a month.

All staff will be invited to make use of their own facilities at home on their own time. In the event they have some alternate schedule of bodily functions that prevents that timing, I'd like to point out that there are 3 other floors here...each with their own facilities. We don't know the people on those floors and I have no qualms about you assaulting them.

Monday, September 21, 2009

First Day In A New Production Office

I'm not complaining but...

Remember that last Production Office on the day we moved in? Lots of acreage? Tumbleweeds blowing across the plains? And, yeah, that was just the locations department. That little alcove on the right side of the first pic was my own personal space.

Ahhhhhhh...personal space.

Another angle on things.

Well, this is the office for my department on this new show. Look at the three of our desks crammed in together there. But we do have a window! Sheer luxury.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

All You Need To Know.

Well, this year's Emmys are in the record book and the only really important thing for you to know is that I've kept up my perfect record of not having won one.

Please tune in next January when I won't win a Golden Globe.

Good night and thank you for watching.

[This blog post has been brought to you by the fine folks at Dominoes Pizza. Go ahead and call them. I didn't get an Emmy and you won't get a pizza.]

I'm No Lawyer, But...

(H/T to Snavely and Eric [or Evan] in the comments)

If you haven't been following this one, Orly Taitz (Birther in Chief?) has had her head handed to her once again. This time, she was representing Capt. Connie Rhodes (an Army doctor) who was disputing the legality of her deployment orders to Iraq. I can't find Taitz's complaint, so I'm going to have to extrapolate some things from the Judge's response to her request for a Temporary Restraining Order. (link is for a PDF)

I'll admit that I'm not sure whether or not her objection was that " her deployment orders are unconstitutional and unenforceable because President Barack Obama is not constitutionally eligible to act as Commander in Chief of the United States armed forces" (page 1 of the Judge's decision), and therefore an "unlawful order", or if she was seeking "Conscientious Objector" status as alluded to on page 4 of the same decision.

Either way, I've gotta think Capt. Rhodes is well and truly fucked.

Let's look at the unlawful order angle first. It's my understanding that U.S. military personnel not only have a right to disobey an unlawful order, but also have an affirmative obligation to do so. We've got a tradition and legal precedents that just following orders is no defense for a soldier who commits a crime. I'll be the first to admit that under certain circumstances, this places soldiers in a truly unenviable position. You don't have to be a legal scholar to understand that you've been issued an illegal order if your platoon leader orders you to "shoot all those babies, rape all the women and cut off the men's hands and feet". That's pretty clear-cut.

Are there other orders you might receive that would be a little harder to parse? Suppose you're ordered to bomb a clearly labeled maternity hospital. Intelligence says "it's not really a maternity hospital at all; we've seen the head of the enemy's nuclear weapons program entering and exiting the building for the last couple of days. It's a bomb factory." For whatever reason, you happen to know that this same guy's wife had a baby due just about this week. You might be understandably a little conflicted about the quality of the intelligence reports and the legality of your orders. Tough decision, in my mind. (Things would be a little more clear if you were engaged in a firefight and there was an enemy soldier in every window of the same building firing at your unit at the time.)

If the soldier in my second hypothetical refused the order to bomb the "maternity hospital", I have no idea who would prevail in a prosecution. I'd certainly follow the trial with interest because I'd at least feel like the soldier had a good faith reason for believing he'd been issued an unlawful order. As the judge put it, Capt. Connie Rhodes has no such good faith reason.

"She has presented no credible evidence and has made no reliable factual allegations to support her unsubstantiated, conclusory allegations and conjecture that President Obama is ineligible to serve as President of the United States."

Moving on to her (seeming) argument that she should be granted "Conscientious Objector" status, can you have a conscientious objection to a war based solely on who is issuing the orders? Can you follow all of the same guy's orders up to the point where you're ordered to go into harm's way and then have a conscientious objection? If you're regular army (not even a reservist), as I believe Capt. Rhodes is, can you conscientiously object to patching up soldiers in a war you think is wrong...for whatever reason? I'm pretty sure that someone misunderstands the concept of conscientious objection.

From page 13 or the Judge's decision:

"[Capt. Rhodes] insists that she would have no qualms about fulfilling her duties if President George W. Bush was still in office."

This makes me a little curious. If Obama had taken office and immediately ordered all troops home from Iraq within 60 days, would that be an illegal order? Seriously, WTF?

Please note that Judge Land stomps on Taitz pretty early in this decision:

Plaintiff’s counsel is hereby notified that the filing of any future actions in this Court,
which are similarly frivolous, shall subject counsel to sanctions.
Taitz, of course, responded by promptly filing a motion asking the judge to reconsider and the judge responded by giving her 14 days to explain why he shouldn't impose a $10,000 fine on her for disobeying his first order. I can't imagine why she's surprised when she questions the court's legitimacy by accusing it of being subservient "to the same illegitimate chain of command which Plaintiff has previously protested". I always thought judges just loved it when you questioned their authority.

And to put a cap on things, Capt. Rhodes flew to Iraq on Friday, but not before shooting off this letter to the judge explaining that she was unaware of, and had never authorized any further arguments on her behalf. I have to say I question her sincerity when she says, "I had no intention of refusing orders nor will I. I simply wanted to verify the lawfulness of my orders." I think it's much more likely that some officer sat her down after the original decision for a little counseling session, the gist of which was, Knock it the fuck off, soldier!

As the judge put it, this case was never really properly in the civilian jurisdiction; it was subject to the UCMJ and military authority. And I'd think that military authority would have a valid case if they chose to pursue the issue. It's a lot more likely that someone near the top of the food chain has let it be known that they'd prefer the whole thing just whither on the vine instead of lending it any more credence by pursuing it.

Capt. Rhodes seems to have seen the light. Orly Taitz, on the other hand, is in a dark, dark room with no hopes of finding a door, a window, or a light switch.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

LuLu Sez...

Nathan's busy writing something for your entertainment. In the meantime, please enjoy my Lackluster Ceiling Cat impersonation. I'm not perfect but a girl can have aspirations!

Friday, September 18, 2009


I've been more or less absent here lately and I need to rectify that. Anyway, here's a little status report on the job I started Monday.

As I mentioned, out of the first 8 half-hour episodes of this show, there are 24 locations in repeat episodes and another 59 that show up in just one episode. There are more than a few locations (Example: Interior Javier's's House) that only show up for 1/2 page of a script or so. Let me put that in perspective:

-Feature film scripts average 115 to 130 pages.
-1/2 hour show scripts average 28 to 31 pages.
-Feature films need to shoot 1.5 - 5 pages per shooting day. (The more money you've got, the more time you can spend on each scene.)
-Most one-hour TV dramas shoot 5 to 8 pages per day.

We'll be shooting 9 to 12 pages per day.

What that means, among other things, is that it would really kill us to have to move the company to a new location on any particular shooting day. Do we need to find two, or three, or maybe even five locations in one spot? Locations that need to look entirely different from each other? Yup! (If we don't, you get the audience sitting there scratching their heads wondering why Alan has never met Ruby before, even though it looks like he lives in her basement.)

So, the options I need to offer, in order of preference are:

-Roll the equipment across the hall to find a completely different look.
-Roll the equipment down the hall to find a completely different look.
-Haul the equipment up one flight of stairs to find a completely different look.
-Move the equipment to the house next door to find a completely different look.
-Haul all of the equipment out to the street. Load it all back into the trucks. Drive the trucks across town. Unload all of the equipment and haul it into a completely different location to find a completely different look. Give up the idea of getting more than one page of dialog shot on that day. Cease production while the studio fires everyone and finds people who know how to do their jobs.

You may be seeing why I don't consider the last option to be optimal.

So, back to the status report. Yesterday, the producer, director and I went to a house in Rockland County (about 20 minutes north of Manhattan) and looked at a place that has been redone from top to bottom to accommodate filming. It's a sprawling old farmhouse (doesn't really look like that anymore though), with a buttload of different rooms. There's a big parking lot on the property (yay - truck parking). All of the doors are 3' wide or wider so you can get gear in and out of the place easily. Most rooms have two or more doors, so the crew is never trapped at the end of a cul-de-sac. Small rooms, like bathrooms actually have "wild walls" (they slide out of your way on rails) so you can back off the camera and actually have room to get a shot. Their electrical service has been beefed up to the point where you could launch the space shuttle with their available amperage. And the multiple breaker boxes all have built-in connectors designed to connect directly to the type of electrical cables that are standard in the industry. Oh, and because of the laws in the town where this house is located, If I can get all of our vehicles onto the property, I won't even need to file a permit!

We'll cram about eight locations into this property -- both interiors and exteriors. We'll move in and get about 2.5 days of shooting done there. And -- cherry on the sundae -- there's a cemetery about a 1/4 mile down the road where we can shoot two cemetery scenes and fill out the last half-day.


I need to revise my locations list. Instead of "TBD" and blank spaces where the actual shooting location gets filled in, I have an address for a ton of stuff!

P.S. Getting this done calls for a really flexible director. A typical conversation from yesterday:

Me: We need a Queens living room for the scenes with Darlene and her husband.

Director: Well, we're already using the living room here for Chuck's house in the suburbs. Hold on, let me think.

Me: :: waits patiently::

Director: Fuck it! The kitchen looks like Queens. Lots of people hang out in their kitchens. Hell, that shot with the spreading pool of blood will look even better on these tile floors.

Me: Works for me!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Space Pee! W00t

It's a bird! No, It's a plane! No, it's 150 lbs. of urine and wastewater dumped from the space shuttle!

Is that cool or what?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I'm Liking Barney Frank Better and Better Every Day.

"I think it's bad precedent to put us in charge of deciding whether people act like jerks. I don't have time to monitor everyone's civility"
-Barney Frank on whether or not Congress should rebuke Joe Wilson.

GoogleStreet Fail.

So, this morning, I was trying to find a specific doorway. I know what it looks like and I know what avenues it's between and I know it's in Chelsea. So, even with that rough idea, I should be able to look at eight blocks or so on Google Street and be able to figure out exactly which street it's on before venturing out to find it in person. Right?

Well, when Google sends out their little camera cars to get the shots of streets and some bastard parks a truck with a mural of a totally different neighborhood on one of the blocks...uh, not so much.

Yeah, that'll save me some shoe-leather.

Or, to paraphrase Homer Simpson..."Ah, the internet; the solution to and cause of all of life's problems."

Monday, September 14, 2009

Jeez! It Looks Like An Awfully Tall Mountain...

...and I haven't even reached the foothills.

I started a new job today - 10 Episodes of a new 1/2-hour comedy for cable. I've got 8 of the 10 scripts.

There are 24 locations that show up in multiple episodes. There are another 59 locations that show up in single episodes. We'll shoot the optometrist's office at the Director's...optometrist's office.

One down; Eighty-Two to go!

Guess I'll take a break now. That was exhausting!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Oh Yeah? Well. Er. Um. Uh...YO MOMMA!

Allow me to pontificate about something...about which I know less than nothing.

We have primary elections coming up here in NY. I don't live in Manhattan, so I don't get to vote I don't really pay a whole lot of attention to the races there. That being said, since Robert Morgenthau, who is 90 and has been the Manhattan District Attorney for the last thirty-four years, is finally retiring, the DA position is finally up for grabs again.

Cy Vance, Jr., Leslie Crocker Snyder and some other guy (who doesn't seem to be a factor by anyone's reckoning), are all running for the post. I won't claim to know anything about any of them. Like I said, I haven't been paying attention since I don't get a say.

But, this morning, I saw one of Ms. Snyder's ads on TV. It seems that Mr. Vance (Jr.) was a defense attorney in Seattle from 1988 to 2004. He's originally from NY, but, for whatever reason, he went west to start his career. Ms. Snyder stayed in NY, worked in the DA's office and then became a Judge. Those seem like fairly good credentials to run on. But she's behind in the polls, so now, she's running against Vance's history.

Her new ad says, "Cyrus Vance fled to Seattle to defend murderers, rapists" and some other bunch of low-lifes I can't quite quote at the moment. I think it was about doctors accused of fraud. My reaction? OMG! A defense attorney defended BAD PEOPLE! I think that's kinda stupid and really hitting below the belt.

So, even though I have no dog in this race, and as I've admitted before, know nothing about the candidates, I think I'll lend my expertise to Mr. Vance for the purposes of rebutting this attack. Here is the ad I'd release if I were him. (Note: Mr. Vance should feel free to use this ad without attribution or remuneration. I would appreciate any slack he can cut me in the event I'm arrested in his jurisdiction and I'd like him to do something about the word remuneration, which I've always thought was kind of a funny word and just a little bit counter-intuitive, if you know what I mean.)

Anyway, here's what I'd run.

Visual: Shot of Cyrus Vance, Jr. catching babies as they're tossed from the window of a burning building. The shot widens to show that he's standing with one foot on the neck of a handcuffed man, presumably the arsonist. He may, or may not, be wearing a cape.

Audio: Cyrus Vance, Jr. has always stood for Truth, Justice and the American Way. His opponent, Leslie Crocker Snyder, however, is known to have THREE NAMES. Do you know who else had three names?

Visual: Cut to shot of Leslie Crocker Snyder wearing clown makeup. (This can be photoshopped if real pictures can't be found.)

Audio: That's right! John Wayne Gacy! And do you know who else had three names?

Visual: Cut to shot of Crocker Snyder poking her head out of a window at the Dallas School Book Depository.

Audio: Right again! Lee Harvey Oswald had three names. Yes, friends...the list goes on and on back through history. From Idi Amin Dada all the way back to Attila the Hun, Evil has had THREE NAMES! And she wants you to elect her over a man named Cyrus Vance, Jr.

Visual: Cut to a shots of happy people.

Audio: While she's parading around her Three Names, please consider the following people: Sammy Davis, Martin Luther King, Hank Williams, Harry Connick...all Juniors. Dale Earnhardt and Ken Griffey...Juniors! By God...even those hamburgers out west are named for Carl's JUNIOR!

Audio continues: The choice is clear...You can vote for a Junior...(overdub sound of a celestial choir), or you can elect a woman with THREE NAMES! (overdub sounds of gunshots and screaming).

Tag: My name is Cyrus Vance, JUNIOR and I approved this ad!

This has been my contribution to civil discourse for the morning. You're welcome.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Idle Curiosity.

I don't know about you, but I'd have given myself enough credit to believe that if I walked into a heavy box one day, stubbing the crap out of my three little toes, and then moved the box to somewhere more out of the way, I'd be able to manage to avoid stubbing the crap out of the same three little toes on the same box, the following day.

I'd have been wrong.


Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I'm Still All Foamy About It, So Don't Expect Too Much.

Nobody has ever made the mistake of calling me a flag waving patriot. I didn't serve in the Military. I don't fly a flag at home on any day, much less holidays. I don't wear a flag lapel pin (well, if I wore suits and had lapels, I wouldn't wear one).

I also don't have a car. But if I did, I wouldn't have any stickers on it proclaiming my patriotism or telling you to support our troops, or a yellow, pink, purple or multi-colored ribbon of any sort. If I had a car, I'd prefer to keep the bumpers clean.

I do, however, vote in every election (city, state and federal). I think I missed one primary since 1978. For that, I get to bitch and moan as loudly as I want about whatever bug is up my ass on any particular day. So do you! Bitch all you like. Welcome to America; please proceed to your designated "Free Speech Zone" and yell a bunch. (Oops, that was a previous bad.) Anyway, what all of that boils down to is that I meet the bare requirements for good citizenship and I'm certainly happy to have been born an American. I've got it pretty good here.

Here's what's got me all riled up. It's not news that a whole bunch of people kept their kids home from school yesterday, lest their kids' pointy little heads be invaded by subversive thoughts voiced by the President of the United States of America. A lot of schools completely wussed out and took the courageous stand of refusing to show the President's speech to their students. Excellent Civics lesson you jerks. (Why do I suspect these are the very same parents and schools who would celebrate the loudest if all kids were required to recite Christian prayers in public school.)

What's got me so worked up is that when I was a kid, we were taught that you respect the office of the Presidency...regardless of who is in Office at the moment. This certainly wasn't an easy lesson considering that from my ninth birthday to my fourteenth, Richard Nixon was in office. (Don't get me wrong, my parents didn't hesitate to let me hear what they thought was wrong with Mr. Nixon, but if he had made a televised speech to school children, or, God Forbid, an actual appearance at my school, I would not have been excused or kept home.) When I was in High School, Gerald Ford held meetings with Anwar Sadat in Jacksonville. My High School band, in which I played the baritone horn, was invited to play the National Anthem and Hail to the Chief for Ford's arrival. Nobody in my family exactly idolized President Ford, but it was an honor to be selected to greet him. He was the freakin' President! (Sadat didn't arrive until the following day and I did bow out of playing the Egyptian National Anthem to honor him. He hadn't yet signed any agreements with Israel and the Yom Kippur War was a fresh memory.)

So, getting back to those of you who dread the thought that your children might be damaged by listening to anything the President might have to say, I guess that's fine. That's your right. But please do me the favor of at least exhibiting a little moral honesty. Stop claiming that you're the patriot with every breath you take or with every bumper sticker you display. Take down your flags for the next few years (hopefully eight of them). You seem to think that this Presidency doesn't count somehow and that America has taken some temporary hiatus from being America. That's fine too. Drop out if you like. Just shut the hell up for the duration...or at least until you start campaigning for Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

You are never getting your flying cars. Never!


Because you're idiots.

And because you're idiots and you'll never get your flying cars, neither will I. Thanks! Thanks a lot! IDIOTS!

illustration courtesy of these guys.

Look at that thing. Wouldn't that be sweet? But since a bunch of you are IDIOTS, none of us is ever going to be George Jetson. (I didn't think that sort of thing was fair in first grade, but my opinions didn't do me any good then either.)

Allow me to explain this to you just a little more. The U.S. population is a little over 300,000,000 right now. Without any scientific explanation (or research), let's eliminate, oh 50,000,000 as being too young to drive or to old or in a vegetative state or totally blind or whatever that prevents them from getting a regular old drivers license. That leaves us with 250,000,000 potential drivers and if we want to be conservative, we'll say that, oh, 30% of those people don't have a drivers license for some odd reason or other.

This leaves us with the completely made up (or as academia would call it, pulled out of my ass -- aka POOMA), number of 175,000,000 drivers on U.S. roads every day. That's ONE-HUNDRED SEVENTY-FIVE MILLION drivers on the road. Granted, there are a lot of roads, but for some reason POOMA further reveals that of the 87.369% of licensed drivers who take to the roads each day, fully 96.137% of those choose to drive on only 79.804% of the available road space. (I bet you didn't know that POOMA was so specific -- Well it is. Accept it - idiot!)

That means that 146,989,387.1777499979 drivers are operating all in the same place every day. (That number has a margin of error of plus or minus 3. Sometimes Gertrude Krapovski of Brookings, Iowa decides to walk to the market without notifying us and this throws things off a little.)

But back to the point -- that you're idiots and keeping me from getting my flying car. Every day, all over America, you guys are running into each other and into stationary objects at an alarming rate. C'mon, that building and that road and that stop sign have been in the same exact spot since two years after you were born and suddenly, today, it surprised you? PUTZ!

Now, sticking with my most excellent POOMA skills, I can tell you that there are 614,000 licensed pilots in the U.S. (Hah! fooled you. I actually looked that one up!) That 614,000 includes private pilots, recreational pilots, commercial pilots, helicopter pilots and even friggin' glider pilots. These guys also manage to smash into each other on occasion and to smash into stationary objects (uh, like the ground), more often than would be considered optimal. (Anyone who wants to start babbling at me about how much safer flying is than driving can just keep it to themselves. There are almost 300 drivers for every single pilot -- of course it's safer up there.) And they don't even have to worry about running into ditches when they're trying to avoid each other. They're not limited to the width of the road they're on -- they can go up, down, left, right -- they can go freakin' anywhere to avoid running into stuff! And somehow, they still manage to do it.) (It's beyond my POOMA skills, but I'm curious how many licensed pilots are involved in traffic accidents every year. That's not a guy I'd be eager to fly with.)

In the early days of motoring, some places enacted laws saying you had to have a flagman walking in front of your car to avoid collisions...and they still managed to run into shit.

So, here's the deal. I'm never going to get a flying car and it's your fucking fault. I realize there will be advances in collision avoidance systems and air traffic control and all sorts of things, but I maintain that your ability to be an idiot (which will probably only become more profound), is going to keep the rest of us from having flying cars for generations to come.

You're a blight on the advancement of humanity!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cats! More Popular Now Than Ever (since the blogosphere demands constant content).

Here we have LuLu proving that a cat can fit into any bag, even if it needs some slight renovations first.

And Widget, proving that there is no box too small for a cat (if you don't concern yourself too much about overflow).

Friday, September 4, 2009

I'm not sure if this is a Mel Brooks skit or Mel Gibson's worst nightmare.

There's a story in the Post this morning about an ex-NYPD cop who wants to train rabbis and congregants to be first responders in the event of an attack.

There are a few things that stuck out for me. Check out the second to last paragraph where we discover that the guy promoting this isn't so much an ex-NYPD cop as he is a fired NYPD cop. I don't know if there's something there or if it's just lazy reporting, but I'd be curious to know what's behind that.

Also, you must watch the video. There's the guy quoted as saying (paraphrased), "God commands us to protect our health. You can't be healthy if you're dead." And then there's a moment a the very end of the video..."That's not supposed to happen."

I'm going with the Mel Brooks concept.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Oooh! Another Milepost Here At Polybloggimous.

At exactly 10:25:59 P.M. last night, I had my 40,000th visitor.


For the curious among you, the visit came from New Freeport, PA and lasted 49 seconds with 3 page views.

Now let's analyze this for a moment. John Scalzi has remarked often enough that Whatever averages around 40,000 visitors daily. So this blog has 1/600th of his readership. The man better watch that dust cloud in his rear view mirror. (Uh...he's in no danger of me passing him, but at this rate, he laps me quite often and for a brief moment each day, I must seem to be in the lead.)

There's another way to look at this revelation. If you want something kept secret, you'll know just where to post it!

Double w00t!

I've got an idea. How about a phaser? A low-stun setting at just the right moment might do the trick.

Alternate Title #1: Mister Crusher, set course for Betazed.

Alternate Title #2: This may, very well have been Mike K's idea, but if he wants credit for his own ideas, he's gonna need a blog of his own. Hey! I don't make the rules!

There are times when I'm convinced that every time some other responsibility on set occurs to somebody and there isn't any obvious department to assign it to, Locations gets the chore. One of the little things we're responsible for (that you might not have thought of) is Security. There are any number of times that a movie production might need Security -- watching dressed sets overnight, watching equipment on the streets during the day, keeping fans back from celebrities. All of these are valid reasons to hire a Security company, but frankly, finding good companies is a pain in the ass.

First of all, not too put to fine a point to it, but most Security companies supply you with fairly expensive "paid witnesses", or at best, a guy who knows the cops' phone number. Honestly, that's an acceptable level of competence. Granted, I've had a couple of really good companies -- a retired Navy Seal with a bunch of highly trained Rottwielers in Oakland comes to mind -- but I've had others who were either really bad or just plain useless.

On a music video for a Rap artist, I had a Security Company quit because they were afraid of the rapper's friends. On another job, I had to fire the Security Company because I found three of them beating the crap out of some guy in the middle of the street. (He wouldn't drop the donut he was trying to steal from Craft Service.) An extreme lack of a sense of proportion is a disqualifier in my book.

Another issue I have with Security Companies is the question of uniforms. I tend to like to keep things low key. I prefer something like a T-shirt with "Security" written on it, or maybe the name of the company. A wind breaker is fine too. I don't like having a bunch of guys hanging around set looking like rent-a-cops. I did a job a few years ago at one of those stilt-houses in the middle of Biscayne Bay. (This may actually be the one we used.)

We had three barges full of equipment docked there including all of the cameras, generators, lighting and props we'd need for the shoot. We were informed that even though these houses are a good 20 minutes from shore, if we didn't have Security, everything would be gone by the time we came back in the morning. So I found a company willing to have a Security guy show up at a marina for us to pick him up in a boat and bring him out to stay overnight. I usually don't go for armed guards, but the company didn't want him out in the middle of nowhere all night un-armed, so I said O.K. I told them I didn't care about appearances; in fact, the guy should just bring a lot of coffee and something to read overnight -- it wasn't likely that someone was going to sneak up on him as long as he didn't fall asleep.

So, at the end of the day, the last boat is coming out from shore to bring the guard and to shuttle me and the last few people back to shore and there's this guy standing in the prow, posed like Washington crossing the Delaware. As he gets closer, I can see that he's dressed like this:

He wasn't wearing a tie though -- He had on a bright yellow cravat!

So, now, I'm thinking that maybe I've been wrong all these years. Maybe low key and discreet is exactly the wrong idea. Maybe I should be hiring a company with the most flamboyant, ostentatious and garish guards possible.

What I need is StarFleet Security!

And I know there's an ongoing nerd-war regarding the world of Star Trek vs. the world of Star Wars, but don't even suggest I might want to hire Storm Troopers for set security. That'd just be plain silly!

Besides, even Star Wars defenders agree that the Storm Troopers were pretty damned incompetent.