Friday, January 20, 2006

Sundance Film Festival

Ah Sundance. What a shame it’s here again. Well, not really, more so it’s a shame the celebrities have to come to town with it. I dig the whole original spirit of Sundance but have been getting more and more jaded by the whole thing the last few years. It seems to have morphed into just another avenue for celebrities to get more press and stroke they’re already over-inflated egos. I don’t know, maybe I’m just overly critical, but I remember my first Sundance about 10 years ago, back when Park City was still a sleepy little ski town, where no one cared who was walking down the street. Celebrities were treated no different than the locals, and most importantly, most of them ACTED no different than the locals. No entourage, no big limos, no pretense.

Now, both the town and the attitudes (mostly of the celebrities) has changed. The town was completely re-done for the 2002 Olympic Winter Games, transforming its soul from the quaint mining-town-turned-ski-town with wholesome values into a glitzy terribly over-priced resort full of pretentious shops that cater exclusively to the rich and famous. Gone are the cool little local shops that sold local crafts, antiques, or showcasing local artists. The celebrities now roar into town in limos or high dollar SUVs (yeah, those things that pollute and kill, and that these same people wouldn’t be caught DEAD in back in LA) and they march down the streets with their “peeps” or “posse”, competing with each other for the privilege of recognition. It’s interesting that the only time you’ll hear a horn honk in Park City is during Sundance. See, they don’t understand that this isn’t LA and they aren’t Gods. The roads are small and traffic is congested during Sundance. The locals know and expect this. They’re good folks who know that during this time, it takes a bit longer to get from point A to point B. They adapt. They leave a little earlier and know there will be delays on the roads. They also know that blowing the horn isn’t going to magically part the red sea of brake lights so they can get where they’re going. They accept the traffic as part of the plan during these times. The same can’t be said about our esteemed visitors, who feel that their celebrity should gain them special favors. I’ve seen it first hand, over and over.

I’ve worked security for some of the venues and I’m still amazed at the number of times I was asked to break the rules so that some self-inflated ego could get a closer parking place, or access to an event simply because of who they are. Well Skippy, if you were that important, maybe you would have been invited mkay? Now move along. Buh bye. I really enjoyed the time a certain actor (whom I admired) turned to his toadies after I (a) refused to let him in, (b) acknowledged that yes I did know who he was, and (c) offered to let him in if he would simply show me the proper credentials; and said “Can you believe this guy? Some $6.00 an hour loser thinks he can keep ME out of here?” I still laugh at that one for a couple of reasons; first, I was a volunteer, so I wasn’t making $6.00 an hour, and second, yeah, I did keep him out! Sure, I could have let him in, and no one probably would have known, but I learned a little something during my 23+ years in the Military. Rules are there for a reason, whether we agree with them or not. Until the rules are changed, we need to abide by them except in extreme circumstances (sorry, but getting face time at “the” party isn’t extreme). And integrity; Integrity means doing the right thing even when no one will know otherwise. I’m sure (especially by the way he acted when trying to get me break the rules for him) he would have been grateful had I let him in. He probably would have remembered my “kindness” for all of about 6 or 8 steps past the barricade. However, I could not sacrifice my integrity for his temporary approval. I can only hope that maybe, just maybe, he had an inkling that you don’t always get what you want just because you have a bit of fame and money. From what I can see, I don’t think so.

Sundance is here again, and even Robert Redford has noticed the change in his creation. I hope he can get the festival back to its original intent, but somehow I’m afraid those days are done. Too bad, it used to be a real nice deal for all involved.

Just My 3 Cents

This is the first of what I’m sure will be many posts about celebrities. Celebrities have their place in our society, but I’m afraid many of them don’t know exactly where that place is. This is my poor attempt to put my views to paper in some sort of coherent thought.

What is it with celebrities and their perception that they’re so much smarter than the rest of us? I don’t get it, I mean obviously, some of them are smart, but for the most part, they’re merely very good at what they do, whether it’s singing, telling jokes, directing films, or acting. Once they’ve ”made it” and are successful in their field, they’re paid INSANE amounts of money, and everyone around them fawns all over them, telling them how great they are. They are great, at what they do, but I think that’s where they start to get confused. A great actor isn’t necessarily a great intellectual, foreign policy expert, or economist; just as a great mechanic or real estate agent isn’t. I have a theory about why celebrities fall into the trap of thinking they’re more than what they really are.

I think these celebrities, when they’re away from the audience and their circle of leeches, can’t help but do a little inner reflection. Alone in the dark, I think they truly understand who and what they are. They. Are. Fakes. Actors PRETEND they’re someone or something else for a living. The persona on the screen isn’t them. Someone else writes the words they say. Directors guide them to get the reaction they see in their vision of the character. The actor then looks at himself and sees…an empty vessel, a shell that is told how to dress, what to say and how to say it.

All of us want to do something important with our lives; we want to know we made a difference during our time here, and yet what really does an actor contribute? Don’t get me wrong, I love movies and I respect actors for what they do in their craft, but that’s where I draw the line. Their job is to entertain me, nothing more. They’re not there to tell me how to live my life, spend my money, or vote in elections. I don’t want my Doctor or mechanic to do these things, so why would I want an actor or musician too? I’m pretty sure the Hollywood elite doesn’t want me or their dry cleaner to give them life advice, so why is it okay for them? They all have their jobs, their professions, their area of expertise and that is what I want and expect from them, nothing more. Granted, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and their right to express it is protected, however, there is nothing that says I have to listen to them. That really bugs them too; they seem to think that because of their fame, their opinion is gospel.

If a celebrity is truly concerned with an issue, then he needs to get involved in the political process and change things. I don’t mean using his celebrity to advance his ideas, but run for office. Put himself in the line of fire, where he has to be responsible for the results of his convictions and actions. There’s nothing wrong with using his celebrity to bring attention to an issue, but unless he's willing to put it on the line and run for office, then that’s as far as it should go. Don’t attack those that disagree, don’t threaten to leave the country if things don’t go your way (well, you can, but at least have the decency to make good on your threat if things don’t go your way, mkay Alec?) unless you’re willing to take real risks.

I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, when a celebrity steps outside his realm and starts forcing his opinions at me, it ruins their performances for me. I can’t watch their movies or listen to their music without thinking about how they pissed me off with their unwanted “advice”. This is especially true with actors. I can seldom see them as the character they’re supposed to be playing. Instead, I see the ACTOR, and when you see the actor and not the character, the illusion is blown. I can’t believe the story at that point. Maybe it’s just me…

Sunday, January 15, 2006

MIA Blogs

I first discovered blogs about two years ago. I don’t remember how I found it, but I stumbled across Bill Whittle's ejectejecteject and was immediately blown away. I didn’t know what a blog was, but I know when writing speaks to me. I started reading every one of his posts and eagerly looked (still do) forward to his next post. From there I found many others with varied themes; some political, some personal, some military, and some just damn funny. The thing I don’t like about blogs is when one of your favorite writers quits blogging. I don’t blame anyone for quitting; blogging is a very personal thing and there are multiple reasons to quit, but some of these writers have such a gift, and their words are such a joy to read that their absence leaves a void. It’s like reading a book by your favorite author. When you finish that book, you just can’t wait for their next work to come out. Unfortunately, when a blogger quits, you may never have the pleasure of reading their work again.

Some bloggers I REALLY miss are RTG, Blue Eyed Infidel, Red2Alpha and his wife Frenchy. RTG’s blog was a brilliant mix of political insight, personal reflection, and incredible fiction. She writes with a raw, honest passion and political insight beyond compare. Blue Eyed Infidel always made me smile, and frequently laugh out loud. I’ll never forget her description of why cats are dullards. I wish I had printed it out! Red2Alpha and Frenchy gave an unprecedented view of the trials and feelings of a soldier serving in a combat zone and his wife at home. The pain of losing friends, and pieces of himself in combat, gave an insight to the humanity of the combat soldier.

Like I said, I really miss these bloggers and hope that some day they start writing in a public forum again, whether it be blogging or books. Until then, I’m thankful I had the privilege of reading their words. I just hope they know how much they were appreciated and are missed.

Saturday, January 14, 2006


So this blog friend I have is getting ready to embark on a life changing journey this Tuesday. She’s ready and we’re all going to benefit from her choice. She’s heading off to basic training in the US Army, and that takes a special person.

People join the military for many reasons; education, travel, skills, or even just for a job. However, something happens that most don’t expect, something almost magical begins to happen during basic. Recruits go through a metamorphosis and emerge from training changed for life. They learn much more than how to march or field strip their weapon. They learn teamwork, responsibility, and most importantly, they learn the importance of HONOR. Honor is a key ingredient missing from most of society these days. Movies, music, sports, government and even religion are overflowing with examples of people without honor. We seem to embrace these dishonorable examples as desirable, and reject or ridicule those who display this critical trait. The cornerstone of the military is honor. Honor allows us to perform the mission for the better good for society as a whole, no matter the personal sacrifices required of the members. Honor is not easy, but honor will get you through difficult, trying times. And honor, once obtained, is one of the most precious possessions you can have. To lose it, is one of the most devastating losses anyone can endure.

The person who that emerges on the far side of basic is forever changed. Whether they make the military a career of not, the skills they learn there will serve them well in any endeavor.

Like I said, she’s ready for this journey and I know the butterfly that will emerge from the chrysalis of basic training will be better than ever. Good luck girl!

Friday, January 13, 2006


Welcome everyone, this is my blog where I get to rant and rave, or simply lay out what's on my mind.

The posts will be infrequent at first, and I tend to get a little wound up with political issues, so if you don't like what you see, well, go away. I don't mind opposing views, in fact I welcome them as long as they are well thought out. I won't bother to respond to worthless drivel based soley on your hate for a certain candidate or party.

I hope to have fun here, some come by and let me know what you think! Cheers all