Total Perspective Vortex
What really happened to Trillian? Theories abound, but you can see what she's really been up to on this blog. If you're looking for white mice, depressed robots, or the occasional Pan Galactic Gargleblaster you might be better served here:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/cult/hitchhikers/guide/.

Otherwise, hello, and welcome.
Mail Trillian here<





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Women, The Internet and You: Tips for Men Who Use Online Dating Sites
Part I, Your Profile and Email

Part II, Selecting a Potential Date

Part III, Your First Date!

Part IV, After the First Date. Now What?


"50 First Dates"






Don't just sit there angry and ranting, do something constructive.
In the words of Patti Smith (all hail Sister Patti): People have the power.
Contact your elected officials.

Don't be passive = get involved = make a difference.
Find Federal Officials
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or Search by State

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Contact The Media
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Words are cool.
The English language is complex, stupid, illogical, confounding, brilliant, beautiful, and fascinating.
Every now and then a word presents itself that typifies all the maddeningly gorgeousness of language. They're the words that give you pause for thought. "Who came up with that word? That's an interesting string of letters." Their beauty doesn't lie in their definition (although that can play a role). It's also not in their onomatopoeia, though that, too, can play a role. Their beauty is in the way their letters combine - the visual poetry of words - and/or the way they sound when spoken. We talk a lot about music we like to hear and art we like to see, so let's all hail the unsung heroes of communication, poetry and life: Words.
Here are some I like. (Not because of their definition.)

Quasar
Hyperbole
Amenable
Taciturn
Ennui
Prophetic
Tawdry
Hubris
Ethereal
Syzygy
Umbrageous
Twerp
Sluice
Omnipotent
Sanctuary
Malevolent
Maelstrom
Luddite
Subterfuge
Akimbo
Hoosegow
Dodecahedron
Visceral
Soupçon
Truculent
Vitriol
Mercurial
Kerfuffle
Sangfroid




























 







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Highlights from the Archives. Some favorite Trillian moments.

Void, Of Course: Eliminating Expectations and Emotions for a Better Way of Life

200i: iPodyssey

Macs Are from Venus, Windows is from Mars Can a relationship survive across platform barriers?
Jerking Off

Get A Job

Office Church Ladies: A Fieldguide

'Cause I'm a Blonde

True? Honestly? I think not.

A Good Day AND Funyuns?

The Easter Boy

Relationship in the Dumpster

Wedding Dress 4 Sale, Never Worn

Got Friends? Are You Sure? Take This Test

What About Class? Take This Test

A Long Time Ago, in a Galaxy Far Far Away, There Was a Really Bad Movie

May Your Alchemical Process be Complete. Rob Roy Recipe

Good Thing She's Not in a Good Mood Very Often (We Knew it Wouldn't Last)

What Do I Have to Do to Put You in this Car Today?

Of Mice and Me (Killer Cat Strikes in Local Woman's Apartment)

Trillian: The Musical (The Holiday Special)

LA Woman (I Love (Hate) LA)

It is my Cultureth
...and it would suit-eth me kindly to speak-eth in such mannered tongue

Slanglish

It's a Little Bit Me, It's a Little Bit You
Blogging a Legacy for Future Generations


Parents Visiting? Use Trillian's Mantra!

Ghosts of Christmas Past: Mod Hair Ken

Caught Blogging by Mom, Boss or Other

2003 Holiday Sho-Lo/Mullet Awards

Crullers, The Beer Store and Other Saintly Places

Come on Out of that Doghouse! It's a Sunshine Day!

"...I had no idea our CEO is actually Paula Abdul in disguise."

Lap Dance of the Cripple

Of Muppets and American Idols
"I said happier place, not crappier place!"

Finally Off Crutches, Trillian is Emancipated

Payless? Trillian? Shoe Confessions

Reality Wednesday: Extremely Local Pub

Reality Wednesday: Backstage Staging Zone (The Sweater Blog)

The Night Secret Agent Man Shot My Dad

To Dream the Impossible Dream: The Office Karaoke Party

Trillian Flies Economy Class (Prisoner, Cell Block H)

Trillian Visits the Village of the Damned, Takes Drugs, Becomes Delusional and Blogs Her Brains Out

Trillian's Parents are Powerless

Striptease for Spiders: A PETA Charity Event (People for the Ethical Treatment of Arachnids)

What's Up with Trillian and the Richard Branson Worship?

"Screw the French and their politics, give me their cheese!"


















 
Mail Trillian here





Trillian's Guide to the Galaxy gives 5 stars to these places in the Universe:
So much more than fun with fonts, this is a daily dose of visual poetry set against a backdrop of historical trivia. (C'mon, how can you not love a site that notes Wolfman Jack's birthday?!)

CellStories

Alliance for the Great Lakes


Hot, so cool, so cool we're hot.

Ig Nobel Awards

And you think YOU have the worst bridesmaid dress?

Coolest Jewelry in the Universe here (trust Trillian, she knows)

Red Tango

If your boss is an idiot, click here.

Evil Cat Full of Loathing.

Wildlife Works

Detroit Cobras


The Beachwood Reporter is better than not all, but most sex.



Hey! Why not check out some great art and illustration while you're here? Please? It won't hurt and it's free.

Shag

Kii Arens

Tim Biskup

Jeff Soto

Jotto




Get Fuzzy Now!
If you're not getting fuzzy, you should be. All hail Darby Conley. Yes, he's part of the Syndicate. But he's cool.





Who or what is HWNMNBS: (He Whose Name Must Not Be Spoken) Trillian's ex-fiancé. "Issues? What issues?"







Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.


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Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Smart Girls
(A Trillian de-composition, to the tune of Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys)

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

Smart girls ain’t easy to love and they’re above playing games
And they’d rather read a book than subvert themselves
Kafka, Beethoven and foreign movies
And each night alone with her cat
And they won’t understand her and she won’t die young
She’ll probably just wither away

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains

A smart girl loves creaky old libraries and lively debates
Exploring the world and art and witty reparteé
Men who don’t know her won’t like her and those who do
Sometimes won’t know how to take her
She’s rarely wrong but in desperation will play dumb
Because men hate that she’s always right

Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
Don’t let them do puzzles and read lots of books
Make ‘em be strippers and dancers and such
Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be smart girls
They’ll never find men and they’re always alone
Even though men claim they want brains





























Life(?) of Trillian
Single/Zero

 
Saturday, July 07, 2007  
Another day, another flight delay. Had I known the Furry Creature was going to die before I moved, had I known someone in my office was going to quit and leave me stuck schlepping back and forth and up and down around the continent I wouldn't have bothered to worry about, much less actually gone out and found a home. I could be like John Candy in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, schlepping around the country with a big trunk full of my life's accumulation of stuff. Seriously, being homeless wouldn't have been a big deal because in the past couple of months I've rarely been there - two or three days at home is a long stretch for me lately. I'm not complaining about that. I have zero motivation to "do" anything with my new place. I don't care that most of the moving boxes are still exactly where the movers dropped them. I don't care that there is an electrical problem which needs tending - I'm rarely there so a functioning light source, much less using my hair dryer in the bathroom is a non-issue.

None of this matters to me. I was forced to move, I found a place to live, it's just yet another place I sleep on the list of many, many residences I've had in my lifetime. There's nothing special about it and mostly, my cat's not there. There's no reason for me to want to be home, nothing holding my heart there. The only thing behind that door are walls and lifeless space.

Which is fine. That's fine. I knew life after the Furry Creature was going to be rough, I knew it was going to be an enormous adjustment. So, the constant travel is actually welcomed - it spares me the daily agony of walking into an empty abode without his funny, furry, friskiness there to greet me. It spares me the long lonely nights, absolutely truly alone now, not even a cat to keep me company.

A lot of people don't like traveling on their own because they feel lonely in hotel rooms. I understand that. I know that loneliness. But. It's a better loneliness than being in your own home, alone, and lonely. That loneliness and emptiness has a much more omnipotent oppression to it.

And of course I don't exactly miss my office and coworkers. Being away from that environment is a really good thing.

But I know this isn't "normal." And I know it's enabling me to avoid dealing with all the changes that were forced on me and enabling me to avoid dealing with some serious issues in my career and professional life. The irony in that statement is that I'm traveling for work. And out here, on the road, I like my job. People respect me and listen to me. People treat me like an intelligent, professional human being. It's, you know, nice. Unfortunately that spell is broken every time I call or email the office. My harsh reality crashes down on me and reminds me that there's more to my job and career than being out with clients and other professionals. It reminds me that at some point this will come to an end and I will have to spend
long, tiring, soul sapping days in the office.

And no, it's not like it's fun and games and no stress out on the road - or in the air - it's not. The truth is that I work even longer days than when I'm in the office. Ask anyone who regularly travels for work and they'll tell you the same thing. Longer days punctuated with travel days full of delays and stress about making a connection or meeting on time. Longer days filled with thinking on my feet with clients, forced to be "on" for 10 - 12 straight hours, and then back to a hotel room to work on ideas created during the day, prep and present them before catching the next flight to the next town. I'm road worn and weary to say the least. But there's nothing at home for me - a new empty place to sleep, alone. So I'm out here in this limbo land. I'm tired and sick of traveling, but I don't want to go home.

I've pushed myself too hard without a recharge and I know my enthusiasm and creativity are suffering because of it. I admit, I've "phoned in" a couple of ideas lately and I'm not proud of that. Yet. Going home and going back to the office for any real length of time holds no appeal. I simply do not care. There's little for me out here, but there's nothing there.

A client recently asked me about all the time away from home and if it bothered me and if I found it difficult to maintain relationships. Relationships?! Well, you know, thanks for assuming I could actually have a relationship, there client, but that's a non-issue for me. Out of the mouths of babes, she said, "If you're never home you can't meet people and start a relationship." She's right, of course, so that hit home pretty hard. This is a comfy little shell of excuse for me in that regard. Oh sure, it's not as if I was meeting all sorts of eligible and interesting bachelors and this traveling is preventing me from getting serious with one of them, but, you know, just in case some fluke situation were to occur and I would meet a viable relationship guy, it's not going to happen as I schlep over, around, up and down North America.

Spending the majority of your time traveling for work does things to you and your life. To summarize: Life as you know it ceases to exist. Social life? Are you kidding? When you are home you're trying to catch up on work in the office which has piled up because no one fills in for you back in the office while you're gone, and the rest of your precious home time is spent doing laundry, sorting mail and bills, and trying to sleep like a normal person, in your own time zone, in your own bed.

Because of time constraints (no free time during business hours) on the road I've been reduced to shopping at airports. I bought my dad's birthday present, a second wedding present for friends, a birthday present for my sister, and presents for the godkids. Oh, and, I sent flowers to the funeral of a friend's father from an FTD kiosk in Denver. These airport planners aren't stupid. Forget American Airlines' claim to know why we fly. It's the marketers of airport merchandising who know why we fly and why we are reduced and captive to buying their goods. They know we're harried, tired, dazed and under the gun to procure normal items of life, like birthday presents, goodies for the kiddies and flowers. They know people in our situation could rely on online purchasing, but sometimes that $9.95 connection fee is too much for us to stomach for a 30 minute session or we have a long delay and nothing to do but wander the concourses, think about our friends and family and how we wish we were with them, forget that our expense accounts won't cover gifts for family and friends, and voila! a merchandise marketer's wet dream is actualized.

For me it's borne of necessity. I don't have much money to spend on gifts, but I have to buy something. Everyone who knows me knows I've been spanning the globe without an hour to spare for shopping for gifts. So I've got a good excuse, erm, reason, for not searching out perfect gifts far in advance of the event. However, given the particulars, I've done extremely well to spend very little money on gifts which do not scream "airport present!" I'm not proud of this. I know I'm playing into the hand of marketing and captivity, that I am a hostage of the airline industry. Not only do I (well, my company) pay hugely overpriced airfares, they get more money out of me at the airports because of their delays. Food. Beverage. Books. Magazines. Newspapers. Bottles of water. Gifts for the family because I don't have time to shop in real stores due to the flight delays. Makes my stomach hurt to think about the vicious circle of marketing and money and my place in that circle of marketing life.

But.

On the other hand. I can't argue the convenience. And I can't argue that I found reasonably priced, decent, okay, at least appropriate gifts. My dad loved the Abe Lincoln book, my friends have already used their wine decanter and have it displayed in their dining room (they emailed me a photo) and my godkids have had a blast growing and shrinking their grow toys. My sister's t-shirt is as good as one I would have found if I'd scoured Haight Asbury for one. Or maybe I'm just so tired I'm delusional. Maybe they're all just being polite and extra kind to me because of all the stress, travel and lack of time I have. To be fair, I could give my dad anything, anything and he'd rave about it. My godkids are well grounded youngsters who don't expect presents and therefore appreciate any token given to them. My friends who remarried got very few gifts (and less support) so I think the fact that I acknowledged their unity in any form other than criticism hit a tender chord with them.

Once the necessary shopping is done, the magazine is read, the iPod only has enough power left for the flight, the people watching becomes tedious, and the delay has been extended another two hours, again, I find myself pulled to the place I generally avoid.

Airport bars.

"I don't want to be one of those sorry people who sits in airport bars by themselves," has been my lifetime motto. You know what I mean. You've seen them. Weary, sad, vacant eyed people, usually middle aged, sitting alone in bars in airports, engaging in conversation with the bar tender or other weary passengers stuck on a layover or delay. This is it, this is the sum total of my social life, an hour or two at an airport bar. Note to self: Get a life.

It's an interesting phenomena to me: When I'm traveling, especially at airports, men are nice to me, friendly, even. And no, don't go there, I mean in casual, non-"interested" ways. I think it's because I'm obviously a business traveler, and the guys who are nice to me are also business travelers. We have an instant kinship because of why we're stuck at yet another airport in the first place. It's a sort of Stockholm Syndrome wherein we identify with our co-captives and commiserate about our captor. Not really Stockholm Syndrome, more of a Hogan's Heroes syndrom. And our captors are just as stupid and evil as Col. Klink and Sgt. Schultz. (More on that in a minute.)

Generally the men I meet are good guys. Guys I'd be interested in if they weren't, you know, married. Ladies, if your husband is out traveling for work and he's never had a fidelity infraction in the past, then trust him. These guys wear their wedding rings like badges of honor and while, yes, they initiate conversations with me, within one or two sentences they're talking about you. Their wife thinks this. Their wife does that. They went here or there on their honeymoon. Most of these guys would much rather be home with you. They don't seek me out as a little potential fun in the Admiral's Club, they're just frustrated, bored, sick of their coworker traveling with them and missing you like mad so they talk to me. We're no commitment required surrogates for real family and friends. We're all in the same boat, filling in empty hours waiting for a flight. We don't talk about politics, religion or sex. Well, that is, apart from guys in sales who scour these joints for fresh prey, and the guys who've imbibed a bit too much. The over-imbibed guys will breach the airport conversation topic etiquette. The rest of us just share a knowing glance. Most of us have had a bad day, hit a low and overdone it at the airport bar. Most of us can tell the difference between a bad day, long night, dinner from the mini bar, a bad phone call to the office and the one too many drinks which can follow if there's a long flight delay versus a professional airport bar drinker.

Recently, one guy who reminded me so much of my brother it was uncanny and a bit scary, confided that he'd do anything to find a job with no travel so he could be home with his wife. "We want to have kids," he said longingly, wistfully, "how are we supposed to have kids when I'm gone all the time and when I'm home I'm so tired all I want to do is sleep? How can I be a good dad if I'm never home?" These guys are good guys, real guys, thoughtful guys. Guys stuck in jobs which pay a decent salary but, here's the thing, as much as they'd love to find another job without as much travel, they can't search, much less interview for those jobs because they're always flying here or there for their current job. They're as stuck and trapped as I am, and sadly, they want out as badly as I do. Another guy, down the bar from us, who, oddly, looked a lot like HWNMBNS (I see a lot of his type lately, must be the fatigue and loneliness) chimed in and said he'd been through a divorce for that very reason. He said it was the best thing that could have ever happened to him, but I sensed that was false bravado, that he was trying to convince himself the job was worth it and the ex was only holding him back and getting in the way of his success. Those two guys and another guy who looked like pre-arrest era Nick Nolte and I grew silent and turned our travel weary eyes to the television.

And there we all were, stuck waiting for departure because of yet another weather delay. We were lucky this time, though, because we weren't on the runway stuck on an immobile airplane. This time they didn't even board us. Not because the airline was being nice and conscientious and respectful of the passengers and their comfort and emotional well being, but because, well, they couldn't board us because our plane hadn't yet arrived. Believe me, if there had been a plane for us to board they would have herded us onto it, pretending that we were going to take off as scheduled, pull away from the gate and then leave us sitting there in runway takeoff limbo. But that didn't happen this time. This time I hit the weather delay lottery and got to spend two hours in an airport bar watching America's Got Talent.

Oh lucky day. Oh lucky me.

Sure, I could have got up and left at any point, but I was held spellbound not by the Hoff, but by the enthusiasm and interest my fellow delayed air travelers had in this show.

If you haven't had the, um, "experience" of America's Got Talent, well, you haven't missed much. It's the faux reality formula so wildly popular these days wherein millions of everyday people, your friends and neighbors, line up for hours, even days, to try out for a spot on the show and a shot at fame and fortune. If they make it past the preliminary approval of "producers" (most of whom know absolutely nothing about actually producing a television show or how to gauge the particular talent or ability which is the theme of the show they are "producing.") The contestants who make it past the producer filter are then judged by a panel of three judges, people allegedly esteemed and worthy of the big comfy judging chair and carefully placed soda product. Simon, Randy and Paula. Insert new names and faces, put a spin on the ability required by the contestants and away you go. Dancing, inventing, cooking, automotive customizing, interior design, writing (oh wait, that one hasn't hit the US yet, it'll be interesting to see if it does) or the catch all free for all: "talent."

Apparently anything goes here. If you have some kind of "talent" you can try out for this show. Interestingly, though, there seem to be a lot of singers. Maybe they were confused. Maybe they didn't realize this isn't American Idol. Or Maybe they didn't make the producer cut on American Idol and thought they'd give it a go in the general "talent" show.

Back in the old days, the days before politically correct vernacular, days before cable television, days before YouTube, there were traveling freak shows. Like a circus except instead of animal acts and trapeze acrobats, "freaks" were put on display. Mostly human "freaks." People born with physical abnormalities or "freakish" abilities. Many of the contestants on America's Got Talent fall into the "freakish" abilities category. Apart from a side show at the early Lollapalooza concerts, freak shows died because shows like The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show showcased people with actual talent, giving the public something "worth while" to watch in the comfort of their own homes. And also because people honestly became more sensitive, intelligent and savvy. We've all seen The Elephant Man. These people are not animals and should not be treated like animals, paraded around with their physical abnormalities flaunted and taunted at gawkers with enough money and lack of sensitivity to view them. Yes, we did take big steps forward, away from "freak shows." But now, in one fell swoop, we've digressed, stepped back a century in our evolution. If you haven't seen Idiocracy, I recommend it. It's a scary look at the future which, based on the current state of things, will easily be our reality very soon.

Why am I running around all Henny Penny about the state of the nation because of some formulaic insipid television show I saw in an airport bar? Because I looked on at the people who were utterly captivated by this show. The same men who expressed a longing for a different life, a family, more time at home, were sitting there spellbound by the freak show. Is that what they would do with more time at home? Sit around watching this crap? If so, then their jobs may be doing them a great favor. Their jobs, which keep them out on the road and away from home, are keeping them from falling into a pit of mind numbingly stupid, uninspired, lowest common denominator, formulaic despair.

I couldn't stand to watch the contestants put themselves through the indignity of displaying their "talents." I was embarrassed for them and worried about them. Why would they do this to themselves? Don't they have friends and family who care about them? Friends and family who would step in and say something, tenderly, gently telling them the truth and preventing them from becoming an object of ridicule? Most of them seem to be there of their own free will. Most of them seem fully aware and able to make personal judgment calls regarding what they were getting themselves into, so they're hardly lambs to the slaughter.

But.

Still. C'mon, people, how about a little personal pride and integrity here? How about saving your little party tricks for little parties with family and friends? Heck, even I've got those kinds of talent, but you don't see me on television doing my impression of a big panting dog after a run on a hot day. (which is so good it freaks out my friends' sheltered cats and it used to crack up the Furry Creature) You don't see me doing an freakishly accurate Robert Plant impersonation. (I do an incredible "Ramble On" and when I combine my panting dog impression as an intro to "Black Dog," well, I mean, it's, it's unsurpassed in its unbelievability. Finish with an encore of me impersonating Billy Corgan impersonating Robert Plant singing "The Immigrant Song" and you've got a real show stopper. I do a fair Billy Corgan impersonating Liam Gallagher, too.) You don't see me on television doing my creative advertising design and marketing jargon rap. (Hey, it brings down the house when us creative nerds get together, and really, what's more entertaining that a white girl rapping?) You don't see me putting together flat pack items from IKEA in record setting time with nothing but an allen wrench and my bare hands. (Seriously, put me in a 12 room house full of boxes of stuff from IKEA and nothing but an allen wrench and time me.) You don't see me playing Shriekback songs on the oboe. (I'm not kidding. I do an awsome Gunning for the Buddha. You know, when everyone else in the room is drunk.) I've got talent. Lots of talents, in fact. Weird, stupid, boring talents. But no. You won't see me performing these remarkable talents on televsion. Why? Because I have a) a small shred of self respect, b) friends and family who care about me and won't let me embarrass myself and shame my family on television, and c) very few vacation days to waste camping out in front of auditoriums and schlepping to LA and Vegas for call back auditions. Because, you know, I have a job and responsibilities. I'm a productive member of society. I don't have the luxury of nothing but time on my hands to go around to reality show auditions. And that, my friends, is what separates reality from reality TV.

Why are there no credible judges on these shows? Why have we never, or barely, heard of the panel of judges on these shows? Why do nefarious nobodies from England suddenly become "esteemed" household names in America? Why are D list washed up has-been "celebrities" called upon to judge?

Well, here are a few theories. Because anyone with actual experience, ability or a knack for finding the next big thing is busy. Busy doing their jobs. Like most of us, they have responsibilities, jobs, families, outside interests and cannot take a six or eight week hiatus from that life to go off and be a judge on some inane formulaic "reality" show. They have already achieved success on their own, worked really hard for it, probably, and don't need or want publicity in the form of a big comfy swivel chair on a judge's panel. They have personal integrity. They're not wannabes or has-beens.

They're not desperate.

I couldn't stand to watch them, the apparent friendless, family-less, talentless auditioners. So I turned my attention to the judges. The people being paid to judge the freak show. The only people more desperate than the auditioners.

Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne, and, oh, the token actual American on the judging panel, David Hasselhoff.

Okay.

Let's go over the title of the program again. America's. Got. Talent. America.

So, um, call me naïve. Call me unimpressed, jaded, cynical and fed-up with the reality "celeb" judge format. Go ahead. Call me all those things. All true. But. Am I the only one to notice and question why, on a panel of three judges of American talent, two of them are English? Okay, if we're to believe what we saw on Meet the Osbournes, Sharon did actually reside in America for a brief stint. But. Um. She's bloody English. And Piers Morgan, um, well, just how many friends and relatives does Simon Cowell need to put on a payroll, anyway? Give us the tally of Simon-dependant "celebrity judges" so we can accurately calculate how many more of these spin-off shows with a judge "kind of" like him on the panel we have to endure on our television airwaves. And Sharon. Is it possible for Sharon to get and hold a job without being being backed by Simon Cowell?

None of the back story really matters, at least in the context of my disgust with this show. America's Got Talent. And yet the only American judge is David Swutting Hasselhoff? What? Was Paula Abdul too busy (read: weird) to take a seat at the comfy swivel chair on the panel?

Oh, oh! And! Jerry Springer, Jerry "Don't call me white trash" Springer, is some sort of back stage commentator. Jerry Springer? What does he know about talent? He can't even keep things on an even keel on his own show, and here he is, back stage, commenting and consoling the talent? What the...? Though, in the context of modern day freak show, who better to tend the freaks than Jerry Springer? It all makes sense in that sense.

And all the more reason for us to rise up, flaming torches in hand, and storm the Bastille of insult to intelligence otherwise known as reality television. Take the ringleader of the suffering, abused talent and hold him captive. The problem is that I don't think anyone would really care if Jerry Springer were being held hostage by a small but intelligent and human rights sensitive crowd of anti-pop prime time terrorists.

David Hasselhoff and Jerry Springer?

Okay. You know, I like the Hoff. I mean, in terms of making fun of himself while at the same time taking himself way too seriously this guy set the bar, the gold standard by which all aspiring no-talent celebrities will be judged. The Hoff had a big golden orange tan to fill in this niche. Becoming the next George Hamilton couldn't have been an easy task. But the Hoff came running in, in dramatic slow motion, no less, with a tan and the ability to take cheesy lines as seriously as a trained Shakespearean actor takes Hamlet. You gotta love a guy who apparently has absolutely no concept that a) all he had going for him was a sort of look a lot of women liked in 1977 (but those days are over), b) he's a really, really bad actor, and c) a singing "career" in Germany doesn't mean squat in the rest of the world, but, yet, he a) appears to believe he's still got it in the looks department, because Tom Selleck, his one time competition and contemporary in the TV hunk category, hasn't done anything lately and they didn't ask Selleck to judge talent, now did they?, b) carries on overacting and misusing dramatic pauses because he apparently doesn't realize this isn't like Baywatch where there are camera cuts to bikini girls or a drowning victim, and that the cameras will continue to roll on him and will air unedited, so he sits there, mouth agape and arched drama eyed waiting for someone to yell "cut!" and c) feels he's an authority on musical ability.

Seriously, I do like the Hoff, I really do. I find him wildly entertaining simply because he is David Hasselhoff. I love his Hoff-ness. Unaware, stupid, untalented, fading looks and ridiculous singing "career" and all. He's the whole package, the real mimbo deal. I love him for that. I loved him in the Spongebob Movie, and I love that he did the movie. They didn't offer Spongebob to Selleck, did they? No they did not. They went straight to the Hoff. And we have the memorable line, "I got to ride the Hasselhoff" out of it and that alone makes every ridiculous aspect of his "career" worth it.

But. From coast to coast, Americans who either have nothing else/better to do with their time or used some of their precious few vacation days* to be there, lined up to show their stuff, their talent, in front of three judges who will be responsible for bestowing a $1 million prize to the "most talented" American. When I think of talented Americans a lot of people come to mind. I personally know a ton of talented Americans. And on the edition of the show I watched, some of the contestants on the show were truly talented. Which makes this whole atrocity and crime against humanity even worse: There were actual talented people on this show. And who's the judging them? Two no-talent English Cowell-ite clones and David swutting Hasselhoff.

What the...?

One more time with feeling, what the...?

Okay, first of all, ahem, a couple hundred and some years ago America won a long and difficult war against England and declared independence from English rule. The problem? The reason for the bloodshed? England was far away, uninvolved and apathetic about issues over in the new worlde. The American settlers felt the folks back home in merry olde just didn't get them, didn't understand them or life in the new worlde. And it was true, they didn't. England thought the folks who set off to America were quirky, religious fanatics, weird and/or stupid. The people who couldn't fit in in England made their way to America. And, well, ya know, ahem, well, yeah, it was probably true in a lot of cases. I have to remain, um, humble on this because my relatives were the ones waving good-bye and rolling their eyes and dismissing them with a sardonic "I thought they'd never leave." But nonetheless, they set off for America to make lives for themselves and you have to at least admire that innocent hope for a new and better life, a fresh start and the willingness to put in the hard work to achieve it. America was and is a very, very different place from England and the settlers were cut of a different jib than the people they left behind in England. That hasn't changed. Believe me, I know, probably better than many Americans, I know the differences between English and American. So why, now, are there two English citizens judging American talent? Huh? I don't get it. And I don't get why other people apparently don't notice, don't care or don't understand why this is just wrong. Isn't this just another form of taxation without representation?

And it's not just that they're English. It's that they're nefarious and infamous in England. Morgan was a tabloid "journalist" (read: Sleaze and scandal headlines) who somehow found a loophole (put it in your wife's name) and was spared conviction (by the skin of his teeth) of insider trading, while Osbourne simply married Ozzy Osbourne.

Um.

Why are they qualified to judge any talent, much less American talent? Were it America's Got Parole then yes, Piers Morgan would be a great judge. Or America's Got Litigation or America's Got 20 to Life or America's Got Corporate Pigs with Balls and No Conscience, then heck yeah, he'd be the perfect judge. Get Martha Stewart and Jeffrey Skilling on the panel and you've got a fantastic panel of judges qualified to critique and rate law breaking, insider trading contestants. And sure, every couple of years I like a little Crazy Train as much as the next person, but it's not even Ozzy, it's his wife. Crazy only by association. Okay, well, yeah, she did marry Ozzy so her mental stability could be questioned. We're not talking about credible people who have talent or even integrity. We're talking two friends of Simon Cowell. And David Hasselhoff. I mean, c'mon, Larry, Moe and Curly would be more qualified to judge American talent (or any talent) than these three.

I know, I know, I'm taking this stupid show way too seriously. Don't like it, don't watch it. Were it not for a weather delay holding me captive at the airport with my fellow Hogan's Heroes syndromites, I wouldn't have.

But. This speaks to an all too prevalent issue I'm confronted with in life away from the airport bar and television. Other people watch this stuff. Other people enjoy it. Other people buy into it. The zeitgeist of all of it is staggeringly, mind numbingly stupid, and yet people, people you and I know, our friends, neighbors and family, are tuning into this fodder and if not buying into it, at least enjoying it.

Why?

Are we really, as a society, that stupid and bored? My life sucks. Really bad. I mean really bad. But holy swutting pabulum, I can find a lot of other ways to spend my evenings. Heck, even other television shows have more to offer than this sort of freak show mentality.

You know, Star Search was stupid. We know that. And yes, people tuned into it. But it seemed like everyone knew it was stupid, it seemed like everyone, especially the home viewing audience, was in on the joke. Ditto the Gong Show.

Now, when I watch people watch these shows or talk about them, they seem duped. They seem to be buying into it and loving it. Maybe it's just easier to sit in front of the TV and just embrace the experience rather than question why.

I get that, I understand that. I watch Spongebob, for instance. But. My line between real reality, real culture, real inspiration and insipid forms of entertainment meant for nothing more than a quick, short fix is not blurred or confused. Pop culture bites with a good merchandising deal. Here today, gone tomorrow, throw away society. It is what it is and I understand that and even see a need for it. We all need a mindless escape now and then. A guilty, but innocent, pleasure. Spongebob. '80s dance music. Pinball. It's not high art or culture or in any way worthwhile and we know it. It's dumb and pointless and we know it. It's just, you know, fun for few minutes.

But, the sinister freak show aspect these faux reality shows have taken on scares me. As a species, we'd come a long way in terms of compassion regarding our less fortunate fellow speci-ites. Freak shows were a thing of a very distant, uncouth, insensitive, embarrassing past. We'd moved on, we'd evolved. And now, in a span of a few years and a lot of money in a few (English) pockets, we've slid backward on the evolution chart. It's supposed to be monkey to man, not man to monkey. And who's leading us backward in evolution? David Hasselhoff.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about an old Twilight Zone episode. The one where the airplane is supposed to land in New York City, but as they descend they find dinosaurs roaming what should be LaGuardia. They go back up and attempt to un-do their wrinkle in time and then find themselves in the distant future. The show fades to black and we're left to assume that plane is still flying out there lost in some time-space continuum wrinkle.

Lately, when a plane touches down, I feel like I'm not quite in synch with the people on the ground, like I'm a few years behind or ahead, the same but slightly different, slightly not quite the same reality. Part but apart. Knowing, or unknowing. Just kind of weird. This adventure in television viewing at the airport bar solidified that feeling for me. Surely this cannot be the state of my species? Surely we touched down in some different era, maybe even some different planet. Surely these people, who look normal, intelligent and even sensitive are not sitting here happily enjoying this utter insulting drivel? The only explanation possible is that somewhere, one of my flights touched down in a different era or planet or bizarro world which is not my own.

True, I've felt that way for most of my life, but this experience combined with all my flying lately makes me think something's gone horribly wrong, the fabric of time and space unraveled and I'm hanging by a thread on the frayed end. Sending gifts from another dimension, making phone calls and sending emails from beyond, before, or after 2007. Because this surely cannot be the natural order of things, the way we're supposed to evolve.

*Something else that really bugs me about the whole English judges thing- people outside of the US do not understand that most Americans have at most a mere 14 days of vacation a year, and that many of us can't even use those because of cutbacks at our companies or fear of losing our jobs, or, we have to use vacation days for things like going to the doctor, dentist or staying home because we are literally so sick we are unable to move from our beds or toilets. Got the flu? Bummer, get well soon, really, get well soon, because those days sick in bed are eating into your vacation days. Have a broken leg? Oooh, that totally sucks, what a pain. And what a shame your vacation days will be spent on visits to doctors and physical therapists instead of visiting your family during the Christmas holiday. Other countries in the First world have more generous paid holiday benefits for hard working employees. They have paid sick days apart from vacation days. Five to six weeks is normal in Western Europe, and many companies shut down between Christmas and New Year's and consider those days to be paid holidays. Value is placed on down time, life balance and letting employees not feel chained to their office chairs. You can say a lot about Dickens, good and bad, but, he did Western Europe a huge favor by bringing to light the negative ramifications of not only child labour but also adult labour - all work and no play really does cause problems. Now, when a company suggests reducing vacation day benefits, the concept is usually vetoed because they don't want to come across as Dickensian. The stigma is so entrenched that the 5 - 6 week vacation benefit stands to remain for a long time. But not here in America! American's have always been a hard working bunch. Not afraid of no life outside of work, uh uh, no way. Americans just love, love, love to work and work hard. Vacation? A week, two at the most is all anyone really needs. If you can't unwind and get your life in balance in one or two weeks, well, maybe you need to re-evaluate just how badly you want to be American. Maybe you're just not cut out for the American way of life.

Right, so, very little (or no) vacation time is the norm for Americans. These reality shows, run by English citizens with generous paid vacation benefits, are completely ignorant and/or insensitive to the fact that Americans do not have vacation days to waste or spare. Simon Cowell blathers on about contestants wasting
his time. His swutting precious time. Shut the swut up you overpaid fuckwit. Your time? How many days do you actually have to show up somewhere for "work?" How many vacation days do you have? These kids, if they're working and we hear a lot of stories about crap jobs so some of them actually do have jobs, are using some, if not all of their truly precious vacation days to be there. Heck, I'm guessing most of them don't even have paid vacation days so they're losing money by being there in the first place. Yes, they're wasting their vacation days, but they're buying into the dream, they're hoping the sacrifice will pay off for them, which is the whole premise of these shows, the shows that are making Simon and Co. so ridiculously wealthy.

Right. So if they're working, the auditioners are using several of those precious days to chase a dream by standing in line for days, if they're lucky, going to a call-back, only to be shot down or worse, ridiculed on national television. Sure, if they want to waste their vacation days standing, sitting, sleeping, eating in an audition line, that's their choice and problem. But. I'd like to see a little more respect for these auditioners in terms of the sacrifices they're making to even show up to the audition. And I don't mean made for television great back story sacrifices, I mean the every day reality of using precious vacation days and what that's going to mean when they don't make the cut.

And let's hear it for all the unsung real heroes of "reality" television. The people back in the offices filling in and covering for a co-worker or colleague who's decided to chase a dream, take time off work and audition for a "reality" show. The auditioner left their co-workers in the lurch when they trotted off to audition for a reality show and these workers stepped in and picked up the slack left by the "reality" wannabe. Yay, you, hard working Americans who held down the fort and kept business running while your co-workers left you to chase a $1 million dream. I wonder if any of the winners of these shows give anything back to the people who covered for them at work when they took time off to audition.

8:59 AM

 
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