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Chasing The American Dream

January 30, 2007


While I’m on the subject of TV reviews, is there any show more annoying than Deal or No Deal? I watched it last week as a prelude to Heroes. It may have been the worst show I’ve ever seen, but I wanted to give it a second chance so I tuned in once again before Heroes. My opinion didn’t change and for sure, I’ll never watch it again. I honestly can’t think of any redeeming qualities the show possesses. OK, it does have suspense so I’ll give it that. Oh, and if you like pretty models performing Vanna White-type duties, then maybe the show’s for you.

The biggest problem with the show is its contestants. I’m not exactly sure how they’re picked, but I think it must be something similar to The Price is Right where people stand in a line to get in, and they pick the contestants that have the most “personality.” Only these contestants make the Price is Right contestants look like library partisans. They’ve gotta be the most obnoxious, loud, unintelligent, and of course greedy people I’ve ever seen. Contestants with an IQ of over 50 need not apply. Last week, I watched this incredibly annoying bug-eyed lady turn down deal after deal. Tens of thousands of dollars weren’t enough for her. She was greedy and wanted to win a million dollars. Now, as if she wasn’t annoying enough, her friends and family were even more obnoxious and annoying. It was nauseating to watch and I found myself rooting hard against her. I laughed my ass off when all she walked off with was $500.

Last night, there were more annoying contestants and more annoying contestants’ families. Easy to root against. In a similar pattern, they frittered away thousands of dollars as the audience and family members kept insisting to refuse deals. To top all this off, the show’s creators somehow chose a washed-up comedian (Howie Mandel) to emcee the show. Long gone was the long frizzy hair he used to have, now replaced with a bald head. He’s not funny and doesn’t really try to be. He’s not annoying anymore because he can let the contestants handle that aspect. Actually, he’s got a pretty easy job. He watches the contestants make fools of themselves and utters the largely becoming popular phrase, “Deal or no deal.” Howie baby, the decision is pretty easy for me. No deal.


January 24, 2007


If I were Lost’s creator JJ Abrams, I’d be scratchin’ my head. I saw my first Heroes episode last night and I immediately began noticing a troubling trend. There were too many similarities between it and Lost. Let’s start with the logos. Pretty close, huh? Yeah and it got worse. The opening five minutes of the episode ended in high suspense and a quick cut to the logo… just like Lost does. The episode was riddled with character flashbacks… just like Lost. There’s a pretty blonde named Claire… just like Lost. There was an African-American father and son who were separated from the boy’s mother…just like Lost. There was an Indian guy names Suresh who looked and sounded like Lost’s Sayid. There was a hunky troubled guy named Isaac who resembled Lost’s Sawyer. And there was a mystery list of names that apparently is key to the show’s heroes just like there is a list of names on Lost that The Others have and whose mystery is still unknown.

That was just an hour’s worth of observations, but I’m convinced that Heroes is a Lost rip-off. JJ, I’d sue if I were you.


January 19, 2007


photo courtesy of miamiherald.com

I remember saying to my friends Jim Soper and Mike Singer, “Why in the hell are we out here?” I mean, here we were in gym class out in a field wearing jackets upon jackets in the sub-30 degree weather. There would be no ballgames that day. We were too cold to move. It was cloudy and windy and might as well have been Buffalo. I looked up into the sky and couldn’t believe it. I saw a few snow flurries floating down. It was the first time I’d seen ‘snow.’ Sure, a few flurries don’t really qualify as snow, but as 14-year-old who’d never seen any, it was exciting. I guess our coach realized the futility of exercising in that weather so he cancelled the class and around lunchtime, as I recall, we were all sent home for the day.

I’d forgotten about all that until I saw today’s paper. It could be argued that January 19, 1977 was one of the strangest weather phenomenon in history. Snow in Miami. True, according to official weather reports, snow wasn’t actually recorded in the record books because there were only traces of it. But hey, I was out there and I witnessed it. A little piece of weather history.

January 05, 2007


Life, I’ve concluded, is a test. Not just one test but and endless and unprogrammed one. Situations and circumstances arise everyday and we’re forced to make choices. Life’s tests. Sometimes we make excellent choices and give ourselves A’s. Other times we make horrible choices and deserve F’s. As I look back on this past year, it’s time to reveal my report card for 2006.

Dating: F. Once again, I was aggressive in my search. I can’t argue that I didn’t have my opportunities, but the results were horrendous. Promising beginnings ended up horribly. Some, I’ve written about. Others have yet to be written. I guess in summation, I got dumped by a self-proclaimed MILF, I got badly used by a model, and I badly misjudged an uptown girl (unwritten story). And I wrote about countless other online disasters. I got so fed up, I canceled my online dating sites and stopped dating all-together in October. RESOLUTION. I’m going to continue my dating fast. Fast not as in speed but as in abstinence. I’ve truly lost my desire to date. I’ve been pushing hard for three years now with little to show for it so I’m going to take a step back. I actually feel good about this. I’ve finally realized that, for me, it’s OK to be alone. After the divorce I felt like the clock was ticking and I had to act quickly before I got “old.” It’s been a wild ride, but I now know this isn’t the case. I know I don’t necessarily HAVE to find a special someone. So there. I said it. I mean, you guys have been telling me for a long time now that I’ll probably find someone when I stop looking so hard. Something tells me you’re right about that. It may make for a boring year for blogging, however.

HUMA: F. You know what this is, right? It’s pronounced WHO-ma. An acronym for Head Up My Ass. And I had this affliction far too long as hinted above. What kills me most is making the same mistake twice in life. That’s what happened with the model and there’s really no excuse for it. Shame on me. RESOLUTION. I think abstinence will help me avoid HUMA. But eventually, the tests will come and I will have to make choices. Please Plantation, no HUMA this year.

Fatherhood: B+. Andy and I had many great times together. I’m hoping he can have more confidence in me as a father to talk to and discuss what’s on his mind. RESOLUTION. I guess I need to keep doing what I’m doing. I think as he gets older he’ll hopefully rely on me as a parent for help and guidance. I won’t include moving to Arizona a resolution here but I am continually exploring the option so you never know.

Work: B. No complaints here. It was a rather calm year. My only beef really is that I got no significant raise or bonus. I got to travel overseas for the first time in my life. RESOLUTION. Status Quo.

Stability: A. I needed this. I had the same job and I didn’t move. It’s been years since this has happened and I sorely needed it. RESOLUTION. This one is tough to control but again, tests may come and tough choices may have to be made.

Health: B. I might have given this one an A, but I dropped my exercise regimen about two months ago. The doctors say I’m healthy at least. RESOLUTION. Get back into my running and workout routines. Cut out sweets and junk food and eat healthier. I’m sure everyone has this on their resolution list.

Sleep: B+. I’m continually making progress here. Long gone are the months where I only got 100 hours of sleep. I’m getting 6 or 7 hours a night now which is great. My blog suffers though because I’m not up at all hours of the night writing. RESOLUTION. Devote more of my sleep time to my bed and not my couch.

Writing: C. Blog-wise, I certainly wrote my share although writer’s block cropped up at year’s end. Book-wise, I didn’t make much progress and that’s unacceptable. RESOLUTION. Make my book a priority this year and finish it by mid-year so that scripts and book summaries can be sent out to perspective agents. Blogging may suffer but I really need and want to finish this project. It’s my #1 goal for the year. Wish me luck.

January 01, 2007


Where’s Linus when you need him? I feel like Charlie Brown. You remember the scene. Charlie Brown is lost in the spirit of Christmas and struggles to find the meaning of it all. He’s exasperated and says aloud, “Isn't there anyone out there who can tell me what Christmas is all about?” And of course, Linus comes to the rescue and delivers his famous, “That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown” speech. Well like Charlie Brown, I’m lost. Not about the meaning of Christmas but of New Year’s. New Year’s and I have never gotten along. I can honestly say I’ve never had a great one. Last night on TV, I watched the ball drop in Times Square. I opened my door and heard the usual pomp and circumstance, fireworks, people screaming, etc. New Year’s Eve. A worldly celebration yet for some reason, I’ve never been able to relate to this holiday.

Christmas, Easter, Hannukah, July 4th, Thanksgiving. They all have reasons to be celebrated. I understand them. But New Year’s? I mean, it could be the biggest common celebration of the world, right? But what exactly are we celebrating? Are we going that crazy over a new beginning? Crazy to where cars are flipped, shots are fired, people die? I walked around my neighborhood today to find trash everywhere and light poles toppled. Yeah, I’m sure the tragedies and the negativity are in the minority, but I still don’t get why the world goes crazy over the clock striking midnight. OK, I understood the year 2000 celebration. And I understand it IS a new year. Is THAT what we’re celebrating? Or are we celebrating the fact that we made it through the past year? Maybe if I understood the meaning of it all, I wouldn’t be so depressed every January 1st. Linus Van Pelt, where are you when I need you most?