Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Top 6 Life-Affirming, "We are one", Cheeseball, Grin Inducing, Online Vids.

I don't approve of lists. As a thoughtful and curious human being I relish the opportunity to study and research things i find interesting, and lists, especially "Top 5" tend to take on a definitive air that I resent and often disagree with. THAT being said, I love me a good compilation and this one is particularly touching. The power of the web to bring people closer whether through "Chocolate Rain", "Teh Kittehs" or art and acts of kindness as will be displayed below, truly highlights and elevates the human experience, and brings us all face to face with each other forcing us to accept each other's humanity and in turn our own.

#6 "Sound of Music" Train Station

Done for a Belgian cable company but with the bright eyed awesomeness "Improv Everywhere" stunts, the innocence of hundreds of dancing children and adults breaking into "spontaneous" dance to a well-loved musical, makes you believe for a moment, that the world really is a magical place.

#5 Hugging Cops

What happens when the government decides to actually fix a problem rather than punish offenders? You get a moment of whimsical law enforcement that sends out a stronger message than any moving violation ever could.

#4 Stand By Me

The Group "Playing For Change" brings us a beautiful rendition of the Ben E. King classic by musicians around the world adding their part to the song as it travelled the globe. With buskers, street musicians, and artist from around the globe adding their bits, this video is a remarkable tribute to the international language of music.

Playing For Change | Song Around The World "Stand By Me" from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

#3 Where the Hell is Matt?

In his Internet Phenomenon, Matt Harding visits several countries doing a silly jig and proving that despite international differences, everyone across the world gets a kick out of acting like a goofball from time to time.

#2 Tang Hong Mihn in Love

All the convoluted notions of romantic love, insecurities, dating, barriers, and emotion rendered useless by Tang Hong Mihn.
It is important to note that the little girl is probably Malay and therefore Muslim and that Tang is probably Chinese and Buddhist or Christian. Childhood, like love, knows no barriers.

#1 Yes We Can

Groan, sneer, gnash your teeth, flail your arms wildly, the potency of this video and of the movement that it accompanied has left its mark on history. The Obama Presidency, and even his party's nomination was not a secure thing when this video was released, and "Yes We Can" was launched into the public conscious when this video went viral . The voices of celebrities and common people in this video represents precisely the sort of social awareness and internet savvy that all the other videos had, only in a much much larger scale and with historic results.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Chivalry is Dead, Long Live Chivalry

Maybe it is because spring has sprung and the lusty warm days of summer are ahead of us, but my mind has been turning to romantic pursuits as of late. I’d generally be worried about being in such a state if I were not also in the throes of my annual philosophical rebirth. My mind turning from the everyday toil to indulge in tender thoughts, has found safety in the lazy river of romantic love. So into a turbulent world of Piracy and Teabagging, of social networking and comedy, and of the beautiful paradox that is southern California that I thrust my sword and call out the ancient battle cry of the Grail King- “Amor!”

Now, if I were to follow through with the Grail King analogy, you would find me castrated by a Saracen representing nature. I hardly need a de-balling by a symbolic Taliban to remind me of the dangers of launching hips first into amorous adventures, especially while wagging my sword under the guise of more noble pursuits. Yet I am recognizing within me a clear-headedness in regards to the quest for romantic love that seems to be at incredible odds with the whirlwind of an existence that I have carved out for myself.

I acknowledge then, that this exquisite intrusion into my reality has been a welcome break, and I sense the urge is strong to bring these desires both mental and physical to fruition. But how the hell do I channel my inner Chivalric romantic self into some real-world lovin’ from a lady worthy of my mighty efforts? Moreover, what will my mighty efforts be?

The answer came to me the other day. While at work my co-worker complained of having to “Play the game”, a complaint that I’ve heard often and am guilty of myself. “The Game” of course refers to the tit for tat of modern courtship. A girl who feels a lusty desire for a man, will counter-instinctually become coy and prudish in order to fulfill some long lost moral code. A lad, knowing full well that his sole intent is to bed a lassie, will nonetheless spend time and money on her, even if that is not required. You must be interested, but not TOO interested. You must be outgoing, but not obnoxious. You can’t call for three days after you meet , you kiss on the first date, but only depending on the mood of the evening. She wants a bad boy with a career, he wants a virgin slut, you do not have sex on the first date, but if you do you shouldn’t expect it to mean anything. You don’t date someone younger than your age, divided by two plus seven. The rules continue, and it becomes obvious that you must, in fact, play a rather self-imposed game.
Why the hell? We demand that others jump through hoops and deny ourselves the gratification we seek. We bang our heads in frustration, beat our chests and scream “WTF?”. What ARE the rules for this DUMB game, and from what ring in Satan’s bunghole did they come?

Chivalry, dammit. Fuckin’ Chivalry. We owe the confusion of modern dating to the chappies who first strutted up to a lady, while sporting tights and a lute, and instead of violating her on the spot, sang her a song. She however, is not blameless. If she had fallen back and spread em at the moment she first began to feel herself swoon, then we wouldn’t be in this mess either. Instead, she gave him a hankerchief, and asked him to come back. He came back after slaying a dragon for her, and she allowed him to kiss the back of her neck, and so on until we are so mired in rules that we abandon them altogether, get drunk, and hope for the best. So why do we find ourselves insisting on applying qualifications to our amorous intents even if we have in the past been exhausted by these self inflicted rules and given ourselves to more base inclinations?

The answer is obvious to all of those who have been through a breakup. The few fortunate enough to have had a hole in one and live in the bliss of never having to look for “more”, will marvel at the difficulty of the quest for those who are single. Having achieved love once we know of the fulfillment that a sharing of hearts can bring and ultimately we surrender to the joy of companionship, friendship and the Nasty. The troubadors discovered what we know to be true. That there is a much higher bliss to be experienced and it is far more rewarding than simply bumpin’ uglies. Which sucks, because the urge to get it on can be a powerful force. But we are wary of those who fail to see the value of an emotional connection. Let’s face it, none of us seem to think that getting it on with everyone all the time is an admirable quality even to those who may practice such physical liberalism. So even those who we would consider horn dogs, or poon hounds (Canine themes, huh. Doggy style?) will opt for the truer and deeper connection.

Ok, we get it. The quest for the Grail IS the true gift , blah blah blah, the journey is as important as the destination, blah blah blah, wow Alf you are so deep and sexy, blah blah blah…how the hell does that help us in the game of love? How can we play without being playas? What sucks for us even more so than the aforementioned suckage of not being able to find fulfillment in shagging our brains out, is that we all KNOW what it takes to play the game successfully, and its not easy. In fact, its as difficult as Chinese Algebra. It is the denial of self. Ugh. It is that moment when the eyes scout out what the heart desires and the self opens up to unlimited kindness, both receiving and giving. I know. I KNOW this is coming from me, but I think or at least hope we all know what I’m talking about. Mercifully our psyches, nature, society and upbringing give us plenty of opportunities to fuck things up.
So how do I intend on keeping this heady selfless stuff in mind while I fumble my way through the beautiful women of Los Angeles? How can a walking boner ever hope to find “Amour”?

By remembering the basic tenets of chivalry:

Strength with Compassion-

Go for it dude, but don’t be a dick about it.
No one likes a wuss, but the overly aggro are being selfish and that’s just not cool. Find that chill spot on the clutch while idling on a hill and get ready to hit the gas or hit the brakes.

Integrity with Boldness-

Be yourself, but be your AWESOME self.
If you act like a party guy all the time you better be a party guy. Me, I can be a little boring and long winded, a tad heady, yes. But I can party like a soccer hooligan should the slightly boring, heady, long winded occasion present itself. False advertising is the realm of douche bags, the desperate, and teen romantic comedies.

Action with Contemplation-
Make your move, but think about the consequences.
This is a toughie, and definitely one that the walking boner has trouble with. All I can say is that you need to really tread carefully and be sensitive to the other person and on what sort of journey are both going. Don’t let your loins get in your way of seeing red flags. Then again, know which red flags you can ignore.

I think that actually covers it. For everyone. I mean, it doesn’t make things easier, but at least we know that this fight has been fought before and we see the evidence of romantic love everywhere. I’d rather try and be a part of it than sit idly by andwait for the occasional carnal delight. So don your armor, and go forth with a pure heart, like the Grail King, you have nothing to lose but your balls.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

My Reunion with Skippy

When i was a wee bairn in the bonnie hills of Pedregal in Mexico City, I was exposed to my first television shows. This being Mexico and pre-cable, I found myself being exposed to the odd mish-mash of programming that the Mexican network execs passed off for programming. There was Odisea Burbujas (Bubble Odyssey) an oddly educational show involving Frog, Lizard, Mouse and Bee Furries who are led across the stars by a red-headed "Professor". Bizzare, yes? Certainly reminiscent of H.R Puffnstuff. There was Disney's world of Color "De Colores", and of course classic American shows like Dukes of Hazzard, Hawaii 5-0, and the Love Boat. All of which were dubbed in Spanish by the same 5 actors who I think are still doing it. It was weird having Captain Stubing have the same voice as Roscoe P. Coltrane, but you're a kid and you go with it.

However, there was one show that blew my infant mind. An Aussie import based on the same insanity that made Flipper and Lassie such hits, but with a certain Outback/Colony feel to it that made it absolutely mesmerizing. The name of the show was SKIPPY THE BUSH KANGAROO. Basically, the premise is that in an desolate Ranger station in the outback a child with no friends ends up making friends with a genius Kangaroo that communicates with clicks. Not only this, but Skippy had bizzare animal friends like an Emu, and a Wombat who would not only help her (Yes, like Lassie) rescue people in the outback, but would even seek out and apprehend criminals. I KNOW! Your mind is blown.

When we moved to the US in 84, I was absolutely thrilled at American Teevee. Yes, there was already cable in Mexico at the time. I was getting all the latest BETA movies from my dad, grandparents and anyone who stepped foot in the US, along with Happy Meals, Legos and Star Wars toys none of which were available in Mexico at the time (I was as far as I know, the first kid in Mexico to have The Ewok Village). Nothing, could have prepared me for the magical panoply that was Saturday Morning Cartoons. The littles, The Smurfs, The Biskitts (Essentialy Dog-Smurfs), Go Bots, etc. ad nauseum.

Something was amiss, however. No Skippy. Furthermore, whenever i tried to explain Skippy to my Elementary School peers, I was met with the sort of worldly and embracing attitude that can be expected from second graders in Colorado Springs, as they are being told of a Rescue-Kangaroo by the first Mexican they've ever encountered.
Needless to say I dropped Skippy, and adopted the more socially acceptable GIJoe and Transformers. However, in my heart lay a dormant Kangaroo named Skippy.

Fast forward to 2005. I am working at Paradigm Talent Agency, and an Agent (Frank Balkin) is talking to me about TeeVee shows. Out of nowhere, jumps this fantastical tale of Skippy The Bush Kangaroo, and wouldn't you know it, the Internets has arrived. After that magical moment, where for the first time I was able to share Skippy with my co-workers I have waited for the audience and the clip that would encapsulate the entire Skippy experience.

Friends, you are the audience. And here is the clip:

More, you say?

The theme.

The theme as rocked out by a rock band named the Bush Rangers, who dress as the Kelly Gang. Frankly, I almost pooped. Skippy plays the drums.

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