The Following Actors Will NOT Be Playing Dr. Stephen Strange

San Diego Comic Con is upon us, and with it comes all of the swirling rumors about the newest casting buzz int he Marvel Cinematic Universe.  Marvel has been making a mint at the box office by producing high budget and high concept adaptations of some of the B-list properties that Marvel, and its parent company Disney, have managed to keep a hold of.
Next week marks the opening of Marvel’s Guardians of The Galaxy, which will be the true test of the Marvel brand name to see if they can make the oft-unheard of comic property float.  But on the horizon is Marvel’s next wave, and with that a lot of speculation on who will play Marvel’s sorcerer supreme, Dr. Strange.  Names from Joaquin Phoenix and Benedict Cumberbatch to John Hamm and Johnny Depp have been thrown around for the role.  We would like to narrow the field a bit, with this exclusive look at who’s NOT going to be showing up as Dr. Strange:

1.) Buster Keaton

Library of Congress

Library of Congress

 

Despite being  the leading stuntman of his time, it is unlikely Keaton will be showing up on celluloid any time soon.  While it’s still unclear if Dr. Strange will provide an action vehicle for it’s main star or something more cerebral, Keaton seems to have left Hollywood for good, despite the occasional cameo in film or television.  Keaton stopped acting on the regular in the mid-60s, citing his advanced age and, also, his death from lung cancer.   So a comeback, even for a high-dollar prospect like the Marvel films, seems unlikely.

2. Bruce Willis

Photo by Gage Skidmore

Photo by Gage Skidmore

 

Probably best well known for his turn as the titular crooning cat burglar Hudson Hawk in a movie bearing that character’s name, Willis would seem like a shoe-in for a movie that hopes to make a skajillion dollars at the box office.  However, the drawing power he brought to films like Hudson Hawk, Fire With Fire, Cop Out, and Assassination of a High School President doesn’t seem to be impressing Disney executives.  At last report not only was Bruce Willis not high on the list of actors to portray the dark sorcerer with silver streaks in his dark locks, Willis wasn’t even on the list to begin with; crushing the hopes of people who enjoyed his work in Nancy Drew and Rugrats Go Wild.  This might also be a disappointment to fans of Willis’s more off-beat and independent films like Die Hard, Die Hard 2: Die Harder, and Die Hard 3: Beavis and Butthead Do America.

3. Robert Downey Jr.

Photo by Sgt. Michael Connors

Photo by Sgt. Michael Connors

Robert Downey Jr.’s comeback from drug addiction and Hollywood badboy fame is the stuff of legend.  Going from a coked-out smart ass to a major box office draw.  However despite his undeniable box office return prowess, it is unlikely that Disney and Marvel will tap this star to jump into the red cape and orange gloves of Stephen Strange.  It turns out that Downey Jr. has already established himself as a major draw in the Marvel franchise in the film Iron Man Three.  While I’m sure Disney could pull some kind of crossover with the same camera trickery they showed in 1961′s The Parent Trap (starring Haley Mills), the general consensus is that having the same actor in two parts, within the same universe, might prove slightly confusing even for the most stalwart fans.

4. Oprah Winfrey

Greg Hernandez, Creative Commons

Greg Hernandez, Creative Commons

This Oscar winning juggernaut of mass media won’t be coming to a theater near you as Dr. Stephen Strange.  While some backlash has erupted around the seemingly white male-centric projects like Star Wars- Episode VII 3-D: The Desolation of Jared-Syn, it seems that Disney and Marvel are hoping that similar backlash won’t befall them, despite passing over the unquestionable draw that Oprah Winfrey would have at the theaters.  Winfrey has a built-in fan base from her years on syndicated television and her turn as a cable network mogul.  However that wasn’t enough to tear down gender and color barriers when it comes to the role of Dr. Stephen Strange.

5. Dalton Winfield

Photo by Mrs. Winfield

Photo by Mrs. Winfield

In news that will no doubt come as a crushing blow to people who are fans of the underdog; Salina, Kansas 5th Grader Dalton Winfield has been confirmed to be out of the running for the lead role in Marvel’s Dr. Strange movie.  A new face to people unfamiliar with the Hollywood fringe, Winfield was cast in Mrs. Balischock’s 5th grade Thanksgiving Day Pagent as Big Chief Friendship, which Winfield’s mom, Mrs. Winfield, described as absolutely wonderful.  However even the success of the off-off Broadway stage wasn’t quite enough to keep Winfield in the running.  When asked about the rumors that he was up for Dr. Strange Marvel executives only coyly replied “Who the Hell are you talking about?”

I Am a Giant Idiot

Courtesy of Universal Television

Courtesy of Universal Television

Earlier today I “shared” an article that was set up to appear as it was from the USA Today website, saying that HULK actor Lou Ferrigno was killed in a car accident.

It’s not true.  Y’all will be happy, as was I, to hear that Lou is still with us.

Sadly I “shared” before I did my due diligence to verify its actuality and I got snowed.  Hard.

As somebody who usually prides himself in not usually falling for hoax crap like this, imagine my shame in falling for this garbage.  I present the thread here, as an enduring reminder of why I should be ashamed.

THINK BEFORE YOU “SHARE.”

Facebook

Facebook

I’d Like to Teach The World To Sing in Perfect Harmony- When You Dance. On the Floor. In the Round.

DoubleCanEverybody talking Coke, Coke, Coke, English, Coke.  Speaking English, singing English.  Melting pot this, Inarticulate indignation that.  It’s all regarding a Super Bowl commercial where Coke advertised its product by allowing a multi-racial group to sing (in perfect melody only) America the Beautiful, in an assortment of languages.  Some people took umbrage to this, saying that Coke was spewing Anti-American sentiment.

Oddly, most of the complaints against Coke were barely describable as "English."

Oddly, most of the twitter complaints against Coke were barely describable as “English.”

In the meantime, others took umbrage to the original umbrage and the whole thing got fought out over Social Networking.

I’m sick of it.  I really am.  There are more important issues at stake here, people.

What I want to talk about is the hypothesis that the Michael Jackson Pepsi Generation commercial, from the 80s, was a documentation of actual events filmed in real time with no rehearsal.  This further supports the claims that Michael Jackson had the superpower that enabled him to make crowds of people dance in a seemingly choreographed manner with the simple snap of his fingers.

Think about it. It explains so much.

We Need To Talk About Kevin… Smith.

Kevin Smith

Jareed, Creative Commons Flickr

I’ve been playing a lot of catch up during this 500 movie challenge that I’ve gotten myself into.  This means watching movies that I’ve been meaning to see for sometime but never got around to.  This is usually because of dumb excuses.  I was waiting to watch it with company, I was never in the mood, that looked good but this looks better… but now those things go right out the window.  Now I’m grabbing some of these old titles and saying “I want to watch this, and I have time, why not now?”

One of the films I recently watched was Kevin Smith’s film Red State.  I’d been avoiding this one for a specific reason.  The movie came out to a great deal of controversy at the Sundance film festival.  Kevin Smith, in his usual P.T. Barnum fashion, announced that he was so confident in the film that he would auction off the distribution rights immediately following the premiere screening.  This of course got a lot of attention, and a scrum of critics and entertainment reporters made it a point to be in the audience to see things unfold.

Following the film, Smith walked out on stage and announced that there would be no auction, as he had just sold the film rights to himself, for pocket money.  Basically getting the message out to the aforementioned scrum of reporters and critics, that he’d be launching his own distribution company.  It was a publicity stunt by every definition, and what’s worse is that the reporters missed the money shot that they had come to chronicle.

Ron Jeremy Delivers Money Shot

A wise man once said, “Never ever, ever skimp on the money shot.” (jnissa, Flickr Creative Commons)

From there it was luke-warm reviews for the movie, and bad press from the journalists.  Smith not helping matters by taking some critics and reporters to task on twitter, which, to me, seemed childish.

I decided to hold off on seeing Red State until after the kerfuffle died down and I could give it a fair shake.  I knew it would probably take years, and it did.

You see, as I have often said, I worshiped at the altar of Kevin Smith for years.  When I watched Clerks for the first time, (on VHS, mind you) it spoke directly to me.  It was about a couple of Gen-X, minimum-wage schlubs hanging out and being cool while talking frankly about pop culture and even more frankly about blow jobs.  Which is exactly what I was.  A [latter-day] Gen-X, minimum-wage schlub who liked to hang out, try to be cool, and talk about pop culture and speak frankly of blow jobs (which, in my case, was a strictly theoretical discussion, at the time.)

VHS Tapes

The 90s. If this guy’s collection was anything like mine, at least one of those labels is code for “porn that I don’t want mom to find.” (Orin Zebest, Creative Commons Flickr)

Years later, but still early enough that I was venomously flying to Smith’s defense around late-night sessions of coffee and cigarettes (Jim Jarmuch reference not-intended), a friend of mine really put it best.  ”Trevor, we liked those movies because they actually had the balls to say ‘go down on,’” and while I didn’t agree with him at the time, he was right.  I liked it because it was what I thought was hip and edgy, but the real honest-to-goodness hip and edgy stuff wasn’t actually carried on the shelves at Blockbuster.

Be that as it may, I enjoyed Smith’s movies.  I really liked Clerks, I liked Mallrats, I loved Chasing Amy, I really loved Dogma.

Then, something happened.  Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was released and it was almost like Star Wars: Episode 1.  I thought I liked it.  At least, I was really, really trying to convince myself I liked it… but there was a little tiny voice within me that just kept screaming “that wasn’t very good.”  I saw the movie again, and again.  Bought it on DVD, watched it several more times.  But ultimately… I just stopped watching it because, frankly, I didn’t like it.

He was the guy who lived the dream.  Kevin Smith.  He was the filmmaker with no formal training who went on to have a successful career writing and directing movies I liked, and… he’d let me down.  What’s worse is that he really let me down with more of the same.  It was still two Gen-X schlubs talking frankly about sex and pop culture.

But even at the beginning of our eventual growing apart, there was one thing that I had always given Smith, and that was he was ridiculously in touch with his fans.  He went on College tours, he had an active forum that he and his co-horts posted on regularly.  He made announcements on these boards before anyone else had a chance to break the news.  The guy talked to his fans when they asked questions, which I’d never experienced before.  He was a filmmaker that I looked up to, who was accessible.

But there had been a change during that hey day of View Askew’s internet forum.  Smith had made announcements.  A lot of announcements.  These pertained, specifically, to upcoming projects he had a hand in, specifically: Fletch Won, The Green Hornet, Clerks: The Animated Movie, and a few comic book runs that he had started that just seemed to never get finished (specifically Spider-man & Black Cat and Daredevil Bullseye.)  Slowly but surely, each project would go into development hell, or would just sit and wait and nothing would come of it.  He did eventually finish his runs on the comics, but Spider-man & Black Cat was really, really bad.  So the fans who were excited to see him expand into new frontiers and stretch his wings a bit, kind of got tired of waiting.  Suddenly, his best asset became is greatest flaw, as eventually, only the rabid Jay & Silent Bob fans posted to the forums and awaited an audience with Smith.  The rest of us moved on.

Sullen Bob and... Pantera fan in a wig.

“Yes, Mr. Smith? We think Jersey Girl was totally lacking in ‘Snootchie’ and ‘Bootchie.’ You should have more of those in your next film.” (allygirl520, Creative Commons Flickr)

After that came an age of mediocrity for Smith.  Jersey Girl was kind of “meh.”  Zack and Miri Make a Porno was kind of “meh.”  Cop Out really dropped the baton and was low-level “meh.”  Clerks 2, I admit had a lot of heart and was probably a step above “meh” but it was no Chasing Amy (and, yes.  There is a certain irony to criticizing the guy for never leaving formula and then praising him for a sequel to his first film.  I’m not a perfect individual, people.  I’m flawed.)

Now, I’m not really enchanted with Smith as a filmmaker at all, and that breaks my heart.  Because I was SO into him years ago, it almost feels like a waste.  I still enjoy his older stuff, so there is that, and I certainly catch myself hoping every time he announces a new project, that it’ll be the one that brings me back into the flock.  However, Red State wasn’t that movie.  Sadly, I thought it was so “meh” that it probably falls somewhere in the middle of Smith’s other “meh” films, standing out in neither quality or lack thereof.  The script seemed half-baked and seemed to suffer from either needing more drafts or needing less.  Really, it could go either way.  But the performances were good, so the movie wasn’t un-entertaining.

His next project is a kooky concept piece that seems like it’ll at least be creepy or interesting, about a man who is captured and has to live in a guy’s basement dressed as a walrus.  I’m told the whole concept came from one of Smith’s podcasts, which people tell me are good, but I just can’t bring myself to care enough to listen to them.  Same goes for his last several spoken word specials.  My Smith fire is fading, and I miss its warmth, but I need something more substantial than Smith talking about him self to stoke the logs.

“Damnation seize my soul if I give you quarters, or take any from you.” -Edward “Blackbeard” Teach

STARZ

STARZ

I love pirates.

Like… really dig the history, the lore, the iconic imagery, the art they’ve inspired…

I loved Treasure Island. I think the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie was pretty cool (and even elements of the sequels were enjoyable, if you piece meal them apart from the choices that weren’t quite so hot.)

So I’m looking at this new television program Black Sails, which is premiering on STARZ this week.  And I’m given pause on a few things.

One: Michael Bay’s name is attached to this project.
Now, I’m not the violent Michael-Bay hater that some of my contemporaries and colleagues are, I happened to enjoy such outings as The Rock and The Island, for their own brand of over-the-top charm.  But I also acknowledge that the name “Michael Bay” does not necessarily a good project make.  I think being over the top is what ultimately dragged down the three Pirates of the Caribbean sequels.  Well, that and some questionable writing.  Since over-the-topness is kind of Michael Bay’s forte, I’m a little concerned.  Also, Jerry Bruckheimer is attached… who was also a producer on the Pirates of the Caribbean films, so… that’s starting not to bode well.

However, they’re both producers on the project, and the list of producers is a long one.  So, it depends on how hands-on and, subsequently, how restrained their roles were.

Two: Jack Racham.  On the Black Sails Imdb page, there is a character named, simply, “Racham.”  So, since this is a pirate show, and the words “pirate” and “Racham” will inevitably leave you solving for “x” on Racham’s first name and arriving at the answer: Jack.
Jack Racham was a historical pirate from the days of yore.  Now, that… is pretty cool.  But unfortunately Jack Racham was a fairly unremarkable pirate.  He was no Blackbeard or Henry Morgan.  Probably the most significant thing he did for the world of piracy was to strike a blow for gender equality and start hiring women.  Specifically Ann Bonny and “Bloody” Mary Read.  Now… Bonny and Read, were pretty remarkable pirates, often outshining Racham and certainly overshadowing him in history.

The Imdb page, unfortunately only lists Ann Bonny as a character, so it makes me wonder how “in” to the fascinating story of Jack’s girls they will get.

BUT…

Like I said, these are only things that give me pause.  They subdue my excitement and may, over all, not be an issue.

It appears from synopses and pre-release coverage that the main crux of the story will be a prequel of sorts to Treasure Island.  I will be the first to admit that Treasure Island was a story that could probably beget some prequel action.  The book, itself, nearly starts in the middle of a much grander tale.

For those of you who haven’t read the book, the story starts with an old retired pirate, taking lodging at an small English Inn.  It is discovered that this old pirate is in possession of a map to the buried treasure of the deceased and legendary pirate captain, Flint.  After the old pirate dies, the Innkeeper’s son, and a few proper English gentlemen and adventurers set out seeking the treasure.  But as you can imagine, there’s a huge interest in the former crew of Captain Flint, so there’s pirates under their noses and at their heels the whole time.

But the story of Flint the pirate and is crew, amassing said Treasure was never a story that was fully fleshed out by Treasure Island scribe, Robert Louis Stevenson.  So, there’s a compelling story to be told in the years before Jim Hawkins, Squire Trelawny and Dr. Livesey even enter into it.

However, what I’m looking for, most, in Black Sails is something along the lines of HBO’s Deadwood, and less like previous STARZ original series Spartacus.

Deadwood, while a fictitious look at Old West history, was understated, dramatic, tense and a really solid drama.  It was probably one of the best shows on television before it was untimely cancelled do to budget concerns.

Spartacus, while not a bad show, was certianly a blood and guts, over the top, cash-in on the sword-and-sandal Zack Snyder 300 band wagon.

Where is Black Sails going to land?

I suppose we’ll find out this weekend.

The 500 Movie Challenge: The First 20

Letterboxd.com

Letterboxd.com

I’m quite the movie fan.  When people ask me how big of a fan I am, I usually respond by telling them that at least once annually, I spend well-over $1,000 to fly to Austin, TX when the weather is excellent.  While in the gorgeous town, teaming with bohemian artisans, I sit in a dark room for about 60 hours looking at a flickering wall.

Which is to say I’ve been going to at least one film festival in Austin per year since 2007, when I became fiscally able to do so.

While at these festivals I’ve met some wonderful people, among whom is Tim Anderson, film maker,  a Managing Editor for Bloody Disgusting, and programmer for a few Florida-based film festivals.

Tim did something pretty cool last year.  He resolved to watch 500 films over the course of the year.

“Rules are simple, films must be longer than 45 minutes, television shows do not count.”
-Tim Anderson

Tim made it, by the way.   He almost made it to 600.

But what about me?  An average schlub who isn’t tied to any film festivals professionally?

I think I can do it.  I’m single, lazy, have both Netflix and Hulu, and (after crunching the numbers) I only have to watch about 9 movies in a week.  Which is totally do able.

I’ll post my thoughts here from time to time, but you can keep up with me on my Letterboxd account.

My Letterboxd.com 500 Movie Challenge List

Since the first of 2014, I’ve watched 19 movies.  I’ll hit 20 by tonight.  They’ve ranged from great old re-watches (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) to truly abysmal new first-timers (The Bell Witch Haunting.)

Overall, I’m hoping it will be fun.

You’re Here, You Dig the Blog, Why Not You “Like?”

Tim McCune, Flickr

Stache Wagging staffers learn how to operate these fancy computer things. “See, this is a MONITOR…” (Tim McCune, Flickr)

Apparently you’re not a REAL webpage unless you have one of these new-fangled FaceSpaceDOTcom accounts.

We went ahead and got one.  So, give us a “like” and we’ll keep you abreast of all the goings on over here on ‘Stache Wagging.

In the meantime, when we hit “200″ likes, we’ll do a giveaway of some kind for one of our lucky friends.

Head on over right now, and sound off on what you’d like to see in our prize closet.

Click Here to Find Our Facebook

Thanks everybody who has swung by since the first of the month.  You’re warming my heart.

What We Should Learn From the Duck Dynasty Gaffe

Duck Dynasty DVD

I’d like to point out that Duck Dynasty is sold in the same vicinity as Mama’s Family, and should probably be taken with the same size grain of salt. (Stache Wagging)

We’re all being duped.  More on that in a minute, but first a little preemptive housekeeping:

This is not about human sexuality or rights.  Not this blog.  That conversation is going on in countless other comments sections, social network pages, and the like.   On this blog,  just yesterday, I posted the most late-to-the-party joke about Guns N’ Roses that the internet has seen.   The issues surrounding human sexuality are a topic for a more worthy forum.

Despite anything that anyone may believe, I’m going to operate from the standpoint that the point of view that Phil Robertson holds is, from my line-of-sight, a point of view that is on the wain in popular culture.  You may not agree, and you are welcome to to YOUR point-of-view.  In the end it really has little to do with what I want to talk about today.

And now with the heavy stuff out of the way, this is what I’m driving at.

Time Magazine’s website, along with just about every other major news site and opinion blog have announced that, after a recent interview with GQ Magazine, Phil Robertson will be on hiatus from the television show Duck Dynasty.  During the interview Robertson apparently made commentary that he believed homosexuality to be a sin in the eyes of God.

In the meantime, I have not watched a single second of Duck Dynasty.  This is not to say that I have any personal dislike of the show, I just have never watched it.  The concept didn’t catch me as being up my alley, I passed on getting involved.  Despite the lack of my support, the show has become a cultural phenomenon, as evidenced by random aisle end-caps covered by Duck Dynasty merch in many discount stores across the country.  But I do have a thing or two to say about reality television.

Duck Hunt Nintendo Game

My knowledge of duck hunting begins and ends at learning to hate this stupid cartoon dog. (Nintendo)

Removing the controversy surrounding what was said, let’s break it down to this:

Phil Robertson will be on hiatus from the television show Duck Dynasty.

Duck Dynasty, to my understanding, is part of what popular culture calls “reality television.”  But exactly how real can it be, if we’re taking these slice of life vignettes from this eccentric duck-hunting family and removing one of the major players in order to soften the risk to the greater brand of the show?

A&E, the network that airs the show, feels that the comments made by Robertson are controversial enough that I might start to hurt the Duck Dynasty name.  From the TV show itself, to the Robertson family bobble heads, to the officially licensed Duck Dynasty clothing, to the Robertson family music albums (I’m not making that up), and the list goes on.  A&E had a very successful brand in Duck Dynasty, now they’re doing damage control after one of the show’s stars made a comment that is contrary to: A.) Current popular opinion and B.) A&E’s take on the issue (according to the Time Magazine article, A&E have come out in support of LGBT community.)

Here’s what to take from it: the show is phony.  It’s a fraud.  It is contrary to the term “reality television,” because it is not real.

If it were real, A&E wouldn’t have any say on who appeared on the show.  Suddenly we have a very real example of pulling the curtain back on this, and many other, “reality television” shows, just with the network’s reaction to what has happened.

Suddenly we see that the camera isn’t just a fly on the wall of the Robertson’s daily lives.  The production company is, in fact, pulling the strings on what happens on the show.

This isn’t to say that there isn’t some modicum of reality to it.  In Florida, there is an eccentric family of duck hunters, and when presented with certain stimuli, I’m sure their reactions are very genuine and real.  But make no mistake, this is not just the story of a family made Rich on duck hunting products.  What you’re seeing is probably more orchestrated and planned out than most episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

It doesn’t end on Duck Dynasty either.  Every “reality show” is this way.  Some shows probably have a higher percentage of “reality” than others, but at the end of the day, each show is a brand and the production companies and networks are not going to allow anything to harm that brand.

I even have first-hand experience of working on a reality television show.  I won’t mention the name, but some quick and easy detective work will reveal which one for anybody that is super-curious.   On this show, the main players were trying to take something from myself and a few other characters, and we got into a huge physical confrontation over it.  While this particular show doesn’t make any bones that the actors on screen are portraying a “reenactment” and aren’t actually real people in real situations, we weren’t given a hell of a lot of direction on how things went down.

This particular show that I was on says, via white text on a black screen, that the events were based on real life.  However, when cameras began to roll, the only direction I was given was this: “When we say ‘action,’ the first gentlemen will walk up to the truck.  The rest of you follow about 2 minutes later.  Get loud, yell, curse, get physical.  But don’t swear so much that we have to bleep too much.  We won’t use it.”

And that was it.  I was given a rubber tire-iron and told to confront the main characters.  So if there is any “reality” to the show being based on a true story, I don’t think I did the guy I was playing any justice.  However, I don’t think it was based on anything beyond a very lose concept that is so vague that it’s probably happened many times.

All that being said, the show I was on is a major tent pole for the cable network on which it airs.  That is, if the casting people I was talking to about the viewership of said show are to be believed.  An interesting side note, the people who were casting for this fake/reality television show did the auditions in a theater that is known for mounting Shakespearean productions in Los Angeles.  Casting for the show was, again anecdotally,  a way to earn money for the theater’s more artistic productions.

Shakespeare

A production of Shakespeare’s King Lear in the early 1600′s ended with a duel between Edgar and Edmund that got the entire Globe Theater chanting “JER-RY! JER-RY! JER-RY!”

So if these shows aren’t “real” then why in the Hell do we watch them?

I’m certainly not above watching the occasional episode of Storage Wars, Bar Rescue, or Swamp People which are probably about as “real” as Duck Dynasty.  But at the end of the day, these shows can be damned entertaining, if not wholly accurate.

The characters are fun, the drama is engaging (it’s manipulated to be that way), and we have a good time watching them.  So that’s what we need to do understand these shows for what they are.  They are entertainment pure and simple.

With that being said, Phil Robertson was, obviously, a major part of an entertainment television program that many people enjoy.  Some people were hurt by what he said, some people are hurt that people are hurt.  The controversy rages on.  And it sucks when people you feel an emotional investment in become embroiled in controversy.

I’ve had the fortune of meeting many wonderful artists in the entertainment field, some of whom I’ve grown to call “friends.”  I know that the day is coming when one of these people that I’m very endeared with, will do something I don’t agree with, and it’s going to be rough.  We want these people to be just like us, because we relate to them so well.

But these people are just that.  People.  They have whole lives, well beyond anything that you know about, and they have their own opinions and experiences which will lead them to make their own decisions.  And because the life, opinions and experiences are not yours, their decisions may be contrary to what you want them to do.  But it’s their call to make.

With that in mind, it’s then your call as how you are going to react.  If you’re not going to watch Duck Dynasty after Phil Robertson’s comments, you’ll get no objection from me.  I understand that it sucks when somebody you appreciate does something you don’t like.  On the other side of the token, I’m not going to judge anyone who decides the entertainment value of Duck Dynasty outweighs any personal grievance you might have with one of its featured players or his critics.

Because really, Phil is in the entertainment industry.  And it’s all a matter of if you are entertained.

Now, if you want to talk human sexuality and the ins and outs of this very controversial and complex issue, I’m glad the conversation is taking place.  But don’t do it here.  Go out somewhere where your voice can be better heard.

If you want to talk about the nature of “reality television” and its cultural impact, that conversation can be had here.  But please be civil.

 

I’m Keeping This Title Intentionally Vague to Keep The Magic In Our Lives

Duck eating a cheese doodle.

This picture is, also, totally not related to what I’m talking about. (Sister72, Flickr)

A guy I work with…

Okay.  My boss.

Well, kind of my boss.

I mean, he definitely makes way more decisions than I do, holds more power than I do, has a say in my hiring/firing, but isn’t entirely directly above me.

A guy I work with.

He posted this on Facebook, and by the time you’re reading this, it’s probably made it’s rounds on the internet so you might already know what it is.  But if not, dial this number:

719-266-2837

Shhh.  Don’t ask questions.  Just do it.

It’s a blog.  I can wait.  You don’t even have to press a pause button or anything.

I can find something to do while you call.

This is my life.

Believe me, I know how to occupy my own time. (Stachewagging.com / Sister72, Flickr)

Okay, those of you who were going to call, called.  Those who aren’t, aren’t.  Also, the number may have been taken down for any of a number of possible copyright violations, that I suspect occurred, but have no proof of.  So…

[SPOILER ALERT]

The number is for Callin’ Oates the Hall & Oates Emergency Hotline.  When called, the number connects (or “did connect” depending if it’s still up when you read this-  After all, hotlines are dying.  Blogs are eternal) to a robotic, yet oddly seductive, female voice reading a telephone menu.  The menu gives you the option of several hits that you can listen to, via phone, from the masters of 80s pop: Hall and Oates.

I can’t express to you how much I love that this exists.

The best way I can put into words my affection for this hotline is this: I immediately started trying to think of a practical use for it.

The best I came up with was after listening to Option #2- You Make My Dreams Come True.

Thinking back to the scene in the film 500 Days of Summer, when the Joseph Gordon-Levitt character sleeps with Zoey Deschanel, wakes up the next morning feeling like a million bucks, and takes to the streets, dancing and gallivanting around as the song plays.

NOW, you can do that.  If you ever manage to sleep with Zoey Deschanel, you dial up Callin’ Oates and there it is under Option #2.

Of course it then dawned on me after several minutes of day dreaming, that a person has had this option since the release of the iPhone.  You download the song and play it, with less hassle and better fidelity.  So minutes after I discovered this practical use (if you can call having a tool just in case you sleep with a major Hollywood darling “practical”) I realized it wasn’t practical at all.

But that doesn’t stop me from loving it.  Just because I failed to find a practical application doesn’t mean that I wasn’t still looking for an application.  Really the only true practical application is for a giggle and laugh between friends sharing the number.  A nice bit of entertainment.  But there’s entertainment in just about everything.  People still get kicks from reading Rex Morgan M.D. for crying out loud.

Of course, perhaps it’s the anachronism of it all that gives it the entertainment value that it has.  An on-demand music service via phone-dial.  Something totally necessary, yet totally self-aware.  To that end, maybe it’s the old nostalgia gland pumping the juices triggered by the anachronism that takes the hotline from “that’s cute” to “oh, holy crap, everyone must experience this.”

Back in my day, back before the internet was readily available, for free, through the air, at K-Mart.  Before it was even readily available in most homes.  Back when the Personal Computer was for people who were much better off than I’ve ever been, the telephone was a major source of this type of entertainment.

I remember a day when just about everything had a hotline.  From clean jokes for kids, to pre-recorded messages from your favorite celebrities, to raunchy phone sex (all advertised on the USA Network, depending on the hour) had a 1-900 number you could call.

You could also check the time and temperature from a phone.  Although, this one baffled me.  Because this was before the days of cell phones, so if you were calling for a check of the time and temperature you were probably in your home, which are generally equipped with clocks and windows.

Then again, maybe it was really for people who were lonely.  Back in my socially-awkward early teen years, I often called the Why Milk hotline.  The official hotline for the Got Milk advertising campaign.  Really I did it because I was at home, every one in my family was in bed, my friend’s families were in bed so I couldn’t call them.  So I called the pre-recorded voices at Why Milk just to know that there was a world out there.

I wonder what my mother must have felt when she looked at the phone bill and saw 5 calls to a 1-800 number devoted to the consumption of milk every Saturday night.  Glad she never asked.  I wasn’t nearly as eloquent back then as I am now.  Especially when having to explain my bizarre behavior.

But now, if you’re ever feeling isolated in the middle of the night, and you just need to know that there’s something out there.  Something to connect to.  Even if it is just a recording coming from some number originating in Central/Southeastern Colorado, belting out a low fidelity Hall and Oates tunes, you have an option.

I suggest Option #1: When the Morning Comes.

Now, that is a practical use.

Hey, it beats $2 a minute for pre-recorded Corey Feldman.