Tampa-based writer/blogger/analyst/comic/creative genius
While normally we gather to bury the underachieved, the pathetic, and the downtrodden, today we bury a legend. Today we mourn the loss of the patron saint of sassy old ladies everywhere, the delectable, amazing Bea Arthur.
Miss Beatrice Frankel was born in New York just before the Great Depression. She lived a bunch of years then got into acting. She was good at it.
In the great year of 1971, Miss Bea showed her mettle against the immortal Archie Bunker. Bea’s “Maude” character was the bane of the conservative, bigoted, pre-Sarah Palin sect. If her character was around today, she would have been called a heretic and crucified by the disciples of Bill O’Reilly and Glenn Beck.
But still Bea marched on, matching George and Weezy as the most successful spin-off of Archie and Edith. After “Maude”, Bea helped usher in the debut of the baddest bounty hunter the galaxy has ever seen. Then she moved to Miami to live with her mother, a ditzy loon, and the world’s oldest slut.
Like many of my generation, Bea Arthur stands on the pantheon among the most awesome old babes. She was cool without having to be cool. The old lady you wouldn’t mind having a beer with and maybe even smoking a doob with (I have no idea if Bea Arthur actually smoked weed, but it would be cooler if she did). Also, to top it off, she is the only woman over 65 I ever imagined naked, thank you Brendan Fraser.
On a related note, the Golden Girls now join the Beatles and the Who as amazing quartets who only have two surviving members as Estelle Getty left us last year.
So here’s to you, Bea Arthur. Thank you for pissing off the Right, introducing Boba Fett, being a voice of reason in a house of dopey Dade County dames, being the sexual fantasy of wannabe rockers everywhere, and giving me 3 points in the Thunder Matt Fantasy Death League.
Rest in peace, Bea. You will be missed.
I saw Obsessed this weekend, the new movie executive produced by Magic Johnson and featuring Beyonce Knowles, Jerry O’Connell, some people I recognized, and I few people I never heard of. It wasn’t my choice but it wasn’t the worst movie I’ve seen.
That said, I did have some problems with it: I thought it was racist and demeaning to both white women and black men.
Now I am not going to go as far as this blog, but let me just say what bothered me.
First the plot from imdb.com:
A successful asset manager, who has just received a huge promotion, is blissfully happy in his career and in his marriage. But a temp worker starts stalking him, all the things he’s worked so hard for are placed in jeopardy.
Ok, first of all, if I remember right, the “successful asset manager” is the only black man in the whole movie. He had no black friends, no family, he was it. Although professionally successful, I took him as a weak character who did not act to remove a problem (the “temp worker”) until it got out of hand. But of course, had he solved the problem from the get-go, there wouldn’t have been a movie.
And why weren’t there any other successful black men in the movie? Was he the only black man hired by that company?
Second, the antagonist – the temp. What dawned on me near the middle of the movie was that the only blond-haired white person in the movie was a seductive, over-sexed psychotic. That was a little weird. Imagine if the psycho bitch was the only Asian-American, Indian-American, or a Hispanic-American woman in the movie.
(Funny side note: the temp’s first scene with the “successful asset manager” was nearly identical to the scene in Undercover Brother when Anton Jackson meets “White She-Devil”. From the “I’m new in town” line to the “accidental” dropping of her paperwork. I hate to say it, but I nearly busted out laughing.)
Unlike the blog I linked to, I don’t blame Beyonce Knowles. She was just played the role given to her. I do blame the people in charge (like Magic Johnson) for allowing the characters to fall into negative stereotypes. All it would have taken was one other blond-haired woman and another black man – someone to allow the viewers to have a different point of reference.
(P.S. Here is another review that singles out Magic Johnson but absolutely trashes the movie – jeez, I didn’t think it was that bad.)
As part of my multi-media attack, I answered a few questions for Brian Spaeth, the actor/screenwriter/blogger/producer I interviewed earlier this week.
Go check out my interview.
Few musicians have a greater impact on today’s music than George Clinton. The number of George Clinton beats and songs used by hip-hop artists is beyond count. He is probably the most sampled performer outside of James Brown. And with the passing of the Godfather of Soul back in 2006, George Clinton has inherited the title of Funky Patriarch. Although it’s been nearly 30 years since Clinton smoked the Billboard charts with hits like “Atomic Dog” and “Flash Light”, he still manages to makes his presence known with cameos on TV shows (CMT’s Gone Country 3) and albums (Wu-Tang Clan’s 8 Diagrams, for example).
Needless to say, whenever I get the chance to see such a maestro at work and be in the presence of musical greatness I don’t hesitate. Also, considering I recently bemoaned the commercialization of the funk, I needed my confidence in The Funk lifted by the man who made it famous.
It’s late, so I am giving you guys the rapid bullet style:
- This was the second time I’ve seen George Clinton in concert. Back in 2001, I saw Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars perform in a club in Tallahassee. That was one of the best shows I have ever seen, so this show, nearly eight years later, had a lot to measure up to.
- George Clinton has one of the biggest, most awesome backing bands I have ever seen. I am not sure whether they were Parliament, Funkdelic, the P-Funk All-Stars, or just a motley assortment of talent. But they were awesome. And a majority of them were only used for a small selection of songs. It was difficult to keep track, but I think there were three rotating drummers; six different guitar players; eight back-up singers; two organists; one rapper; two hype-men; one trumpet player, trombone player, sax player, and bassist. That’s 27 people if you include George Clinton.
- Best musicians: the two lead guitar players and the saxophonist. Awesome mind-melting solos. Perhaps the best was the guitar solo on “Maggot Brain”.
- Clinton and crew played most of the classics: “Give Up The Funk”, “Make My Funk The P-Funk”, “Up for the Down Stroke”, etc. No “Atomic Dog” or “Flash Light” though. And I was really surprised there was no “Chocolate City” or “Paint The White House Black”. Most interesting suprise: a cover of Lil John and the Ying Yang Twins’ “Get Low” (From the window to the wall …).
- Another pleasant discovery was back-up singer Kim Manning. Wow. I don’t what I was more impressed by: her voice, her appearance, or the fact that she rolled across the wire-covered stage on roller skates and never once tripped.
- Manning wasn’t the most impressive back-up singer however, that title belonged to the woman George Clinton brought out for the last song. Absolutely amazing singing voice. Probably the best I have heard live since seeing Shemekia Copeland.
- This concert had possibly the most diverse crowd I have ever seen at any concert. There were black folks, white folks, young folks, old folks, preppy folks, and numerous hippie folks. Everybody was represented. And although a few people drank too much (crazy hippies!), I didn’t see security get involved other than to tell a girl or two to get down off of a guy’s shoulders. I’m not sure if the positive vibe was due to the music or the copious amount of weed being smoked by the crowd. Whatever works, I guess.
Overall, this show wasn’t quite as good as the ’01 show in Tallahassee. That show was an “A”. Tonight’s show only gets a “B+”. For only $26, however, it was absolutely worth the money.
For those curious, my belief in The Funk has been restored. Though I am still violently opposed to any commercial that uses The Funk – especially when it involves goofy kids or credit cards pitched by Morgan Freeman.
(Note: That picture was not taken tonight. It is from George Clinton’s myspace page. I forgot to bring my camera.)
Perhaps you have heard the latest in post-life disposal. A few days ago, Dennis Mascari opened an opportunity for the deceased to stay close to the flowing ivy of Wrigley and carry their love for the Cubs into the Great Beyond.
Of course the questions will be asked:
Will they allow non-Cubs fans to eternally lay in a Cubs Crypt? Could they discriminate? Does the 14th Amendment (“Separate But Equal”) apply to the non-living?
And what about the timelessness of burial sites? When alien anthropologists come down to Earth one million years from now, what will they think of what will be the passing fad of attaching a an animal-themed sports logo to a grave site? Will they realize that the burial site represents loyalty to an activity played by other humans? Not a god, not a tribe, but a group of contestants in an activity that has only been on this planet for the last 200 years – tops.
Why do I get the feeling this is just the beginning? Unfortunately, you know this will open a Pandora’s box of ridiculously themed grave sites. While your great-grandfather will lay soundly in the Cubs Graveyard, great-grandma might just chose to have her eternal rest in the “Murder She Wrote” Mausoleum. How awkward will that be? Imagine hearing Angela Lansbury explain how your great-grandmother will enjoy her dead years. Kinda creepy, if you ask me.
As many bulletin board folks know, The Afro-Squad has been hiding out in wrestling arenas all over Florida. Unfortunately, The Man has also infiltrated these events. According to our spies, The Man has even been paying other wrestling fans to smear the good name of The Afro-Squad!
One of the most outspoken soldiers of The Man is named Blair Russell. The Man has convinced Blair to unleash his literary arrows against The Afro-Squad on a nearly weekly basis. I have personally seen Blair spy on the Squad on numerous occasions. It’s quite sad. Kinda like a hall monitor eager to impress his master.
Blair is a decent, if not good writer, but unfortunately The Man has brainwashed him. Why Blair? Why have you given in to whims of The Man?
Check out all the times Blair has discussed The Afro-Squad on his site:
Dec 19th, 2008:
“there was an incredibly irritating fan there who was a “young adult” (at least in terms of age, but definitely not maturity) who resembled what toady Will Rivera would look like if he was white! … He was the type of moron loud-mouth idiot who wanted the attention to be on him rather than the wrestlers. For the first half of the show he said the stupidest things and it was distracting. You know, besides the Santa hat he had on (which gave me an inkling right away that he was a douche!), he was the type who thinks that Family Guy is the greatest show of all time and the height of hilarity, the person who watches E! and VH1 and overdoses on that worthless pop culture nonsense, the individual who thinks The Big Lebowski* is one of the greatest films of all time. Yeah, that type of person, a type of person that I don’t like due to his general attitude and his smug superiority complex to act like a douche no matter what anyone else may think of his general obnoxiousness. I don’t like people like him, and yet these days they’re everywhere.”
March 6th, 2009:
“Before I get to the results, note this: I see a guy walk in wearing an Ol’ Dirty Bastard t-shirt, of all things. This individual was a cracker-ass white boy, by the way. Anyway, a few minutes later I see him again… and he’s wearing sunglasses and AN AFRO WIG! I silently cursed to myself for like 10 seconds straight as I initially thought it was one of those Afro Squad idiots. But then I remember that at the last WXW show I saw, this Troglodyte was there; he didn’t wear any wigs, but he still acted like how I imagine The Afro Squad acts in FCW; you know, loud-mouth bellowing, saying the stupidest garbage, and most notably, getting attention for yourself. Sad to say, he acted the same way here, and boy do I HATE people like this. In terms of indy shows, little kids >>>>>>> assholes like this guy.”
“Afro Homosexual … wants attention. I guess this is what happens when mommy and daddy don’t love you enough as a child.”
“The Afro Girl … total jagoff … regularly hangs out with the pre-pubescent kids at these events as they’re his intellectual equals”
March 13, 2009:
“the Afro Squad … I haven’t even been around them in person and I am already not surprised by this bit of news at all; I’m judging this based off of what reliable people have told me and the hideously bad “comedy” videos they post on YouTube, not to mention their messageboard postings.”
March 29th, 2009
“Also there were some people that (IMO) I wish weren’t there. The Afro Puff that was at the last Minneola show was there, and from what I hear he IS a member of The Afro Squad! He acted like a mark for himself, as you’d expect, and I’d leave it there, but he sat by some girls, one of whom wore an Afro Squad t-shirt, and *this* stroke has more luck with the ladies than I do? Sigh…”
April 3rd, 2009:
“Sad to say, and I wasn’t sure about it right away, but once they put on their wigs… yep, Afro Squad members in attendance! They were their usual attention-seeking wrestling-crapping selves. Why me? Why couldn’t have they di… oh wait, let me rephrase… why couldn’t they have gotten flat tires while on their way to Zephyrhills?”
April 11th 2009:
“the Afro Puff idiots. He was his usual self and he was bellowing all night long. He started to lose his voice; I wish it would have been completely lost, or even better, be stricken mute for the rest of his life!”
April 20th 2009:
“Then, there was that one Afro Squad guy. I don’t know which one he is, as they’re all alike to me.”
“he only did it to get attention and get his character over, which appears to be “obnoxious attention-seeking clown”.”
“Did I pull out a switchblade and show that fool what time it was? Did I give him the finger?”
Every one who’s anyone, every celebrity
Every other blogger across the deep blue sea
Big ol’ Shaq, Oprah, and Aston Kutcher
Will soon find out what Jordi had for dinner
A wordy little blogger who started on this site
Took his game to myspace and did alright
He wanted to blow up and bless my soul
Now he’s gonna tweet from Tampa to Baltimore
He posts on the Twitter all a day long
Bloggin’ and a-writin’ while a-singin’ his song
All the other people on Twitter St.
Love to hear Jordi goin’ tweet tweet tweet
In the last blog, I discussed a fan who has been possibly hired by The Man to smear the good name of The Afro-Squad. This fan and his pretentious behavior has continuously announced his displeasure at the fact that The Afro-Squad chooses to hang out at local wrestling events.
If you haven’t read his last attack, I encourage you to read that.
This is my response as posted on www.floridawrestlingfans.com.
I am not normally a fan of bulletin boards. I don’t post on them and usually don’t read them either (that’s the other Afro-Squad guy’s thing). That said, however, I signed up just to reply to this post. I was wondering what you were going to write about me this month. I even thought you weren’t going to mention the fact that I tried to talk to you.
For the last five months, you have insulted me and called me derogatory names in your blog entries. It’s no surprise you are not a fan of my behavior at wrestling shows. Point taken. But you continuously drill it into the ground as if I was the bane of your existence. I’ve read “douchebag”, “idiot”, “moron”, etc. I believe the kids call this “hating”.
Word of advice: if I was a wrestling fan, I wouldn’t care about your opinion of other fans was. I would want to know about the show, the wrestlers, and the performance. You seem to try to “report” on the shows you attend, but because you get so caught up in what you like and what you don’t like (to include your attacks on me), your write-ups come across as biased,
opinionated smear attacks vacant of any sort of journalistic integrity.
Feel free to talk to me Blair. Feel free to tell me what pisses you off so much. Maybe you have never seen fans dress up for events. The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Star Wars conventions, Oakland Raiders games, these all have eccentric fans. Sorry if you think putting on an afro means I am trying to get attention. To be honest, the person whose attention I have gotten the most of is yours.
By the way, the correct Star Wars quote is “He DOESN’T like you. I don’t like you either.”
If you are going to quote one of the greatest movies of all time, please get it right.
Within every community, there are people that stand out. People who take the norm and stretch it, flip it, bounce it, turn it on it’s head, and make people question their own ideas in collective confusion. Anyone can enter a community, but it takes the gifted among them to make it interesting.
That said, I am not sure my latest interviewee does that. Actually, I am not sure what he does. He is a factory of ideas, although he sometimes makes people wonder if the foreman is permanently out to lunch.
Of course, I have my biases. My latest interview is someone I have corresponded with for a few years. An e-migo*, if you will. I first discovered Brian Spaeth as a lot of bloggers did, when he was writing for the unique blog YAYSports! NBA. As his screenwriting career turned into a leading role in his first film, Who Shot Mamba?, Brian allowed me and several other bloggers to blog for him at YAYSports. There are several of you out there who discovered me through my time as a substitute Yay blogger. Without a doubt, it was one of my stepping stones towards world domination.
(e-migo (n): “Friends you don’t really know but keep up with via email and Internet social Web sites”. Made semi-popular by writer Joe Posnanski, 2009.)
Then sometime last year, Brian pulled the plug on YAYSports NBA and started blogging over at Mad Props To Baked Potatoes. There he started a writing career, using the blog to promote his two books, Prelude To A Super Airplane and Brad Radby’s Brad Radby (The Complete Filmography 1999-2023). And that’s where we are today.
So to conclude my trilogy of interviews, I decided to send Brian a few questions to try and find out what makes him tick and what’s next for one of the blogosphere’s most creatively eccentric personalities.
The Serious Tip: Define yourself. What are you? Blogger? Screenwriter? Actor? Writer? Social media philosopher?
Brian Spaeth: Well, my Twitter profile says I’m an actor/screenwriter/producer, but probably not in that order.
I’d say I’m actually a screenwriter/producer/actor, would rather be an actor/producer/screenwriter, but would probably function best as a producer/actor/screenwriter.
I’m definitely not a social media philosopher – I talk a good game, but barely function within that world. I do blog, but I’ve never considered myself like a “blogger” as some sort of profession or pursuit. It’s just something I do. The success of my third blog, YAYsports!, was largely an accident, and not something I would or could ever try and replicate.
TST: So why are you more interesting than the other Brian Spaeths, or should I have interviewed them instead?
The one who makes bionic limbs is probably the one you should’ve gone for. I’m the most interesting Brian Spaeth largely because I have declared it so, and for no other reason.
My biggest pet peeve is when people pronounce “pictures” as “pitchers”. I think this is common in the South – apologies if I’ve insulted anyone you know. I used to pronounce “pillow” as “pellow” until a girlfriend pointed it out, and now I go probably too far with my pronunciation of the “i” sound.
TST: What’s new with Brian Spaeth?
My new book, Brad Radby’s Brad Radby (The Complete Filmography 1999-2023). It ties into my first book, Prelude to a Super Airplane, and also ties into my third book. All the books tie into each other.
The Radby book is largely movie parodies, with an underlying narrative that is actually quite intricate. It’s also completely free to download, or to read online in blog format.
In my personal life, there’s nothing new, but I taught my nieces to say EASTER IN YOUR FACE whenever anyone mentions Easter, and also that everyone in Michigan is sad all the time. They just turned three, so if you ask them about Michigan, they say things like “nobody’s car starts there” or “they don’t have toys in Michigan” in really sad voices. It’s all very cute and hilarious.
TST: What came first: blogger or screenwriter? And do they complement each other in any way? Or are they completely different?
I was a screenwriter long before I had a blog. My first blog actually came about because of my screenwriting, but that’s not an interesting story at all.
I’d say the latter definitely informs and feeds the former. A blog gives me the ability to throw a bunch of stuff at a virtual wall and see what sticks. All my best original ideas in recent years have come from my blog – sometimes this is in a big way, other times it’s just a little thing that inspires something altogether different later on.
TST: Why do you think you are so popular on these Internets? Especially considering your coup de grace has been seen by fewer people than Gigli.
I’m not popular at all – this is a myth I perpetuate in order to make myself feel good. Like I said, the whole YAYsports! thing was an accident. I have no clue how to market myself online. It’s largely a mystery to me how certain things become popular and others don’t.
TST: So do you think other bloggers should take a leap into other forms of media? Or do you think what you have done is just not worth the trouble for other bloggers?
I mean, I didn’t really “take a leap” from blogging to something else. I just kinda do what I do. If you’d told me in November that I’d have written two books by the end of March, with a third one half complete, I would’ve been like, “Huh?”
If people want advice on life, I’m probably the worst person on Earth to listen to. I’m completely erratic, emotionally juvenile, and stubbornly refuse to do anything in the form or fashion that’s established as traditional. The twist is that I’m completely self-aware about this, which is the only reason I’m considered eccentric, as opposed to insane.
Here’s the other twist – people who meet me in person often feel a need to express their surprise that I’m pretty much a normal person to be around.
Seriously though – this is an amazing time for people in creative pursuits, because you can cultivate and reach your audience directly. Do everything you can do, and do it well, and do it today.
TST: What are the last five movies you saw, in order of worst to best?
3) The Day the Earth Stood Still (2008)
2) Red Dawn
1) Slumdog Millionaire
TST: Who are your influences in screenwriting? Acting? Writing? Comedy?
I typically find I’m influenced more by material than people, but just totally random off the top of my head: Steve Martin, Bruce Willis, Airplane!, the Pixar films, Back to the Future, my dad and brother, Scheller Harrison, and my biggest influence is probably Marvel comic books of the late 1980s and early 90s.
TST: Have you ever received a Christmas card from (Cleveland Cavalier’s Head Coach) Mike Brown? Would you accept one from him? Why or why not?
Yeah, I’ve come around on Mike Brown. He finally got an offensive coordinator this year, which is what I’d been saying he should do since the second week of his first season. Congrats to him and Ferry and Gilbert for sticking to it and finding a way that works.
TST: If LeBron James were the Prime Minister of the World, and he met with extraterrestrial beings from the planet Hartoonia who just happened to visit Earth in search of LeBron Fatheads, what would LeBron say?
“Thank you for these gifts. In return, I shall give you my greatest secret, and that is my inability to count out loud past the number forty-six. This is now your burden, and I am free. Welcome to Earf.”