Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Greatest Elvis Movie Never Made or The Healing of A Nation

Recently I've been rereading Peter Guralnick's double volume Elvis biography. Right now I'm close to the end, where Elvis doesn't want to record anything new and his concerts have become drugged out spectacles, where he'd give long, rambling speeches or forget the words to songs or just walk off stage after a couple minutes.

One of the things the King did seem to get excited about, however, was screening then-current blaxploitation flicks. He watched "Shaft," "Black Belt Jones," and "Across 110th Street" repeatedly, boring his hangers-on as he discussed these awesome movies over and over.

Elvis was so impressed with these movies that he wanted to star in his own action flick, which, as opposed to 80% of the movies he had starred in, he would have actually give a crap about.

"I want to be the baddest motherfucker there is," said the King, according to Guralnick.

The Colonel wanted him to do a semi-documentary on karate, then convinced him not to do any movie at all and Elvis died a few years later, brokenhearted.

Now here's the movie that should have been made.

Elvis and Rudy Ray Moore, Dolemite himself, run competing karate studios on different sides of town. Elvis' school is mostly white, Rudy's is mostly black. There is some tension between the two schools, but the King and Dolemite respect each other's martial arts abilities and bad-ass fashion sense, so they have a wary understanding.

Meanwhile, The Man (played by a dead ringer for Richard Nixon) is scheming to take over the youth center where the two schools meet for tournaments and use it to get kids hooked on dope. Nixon uses his Southern Strategy to divide the two races into fighting against each other rather than working together to fix their city.

Then Elvis and Rudy have to team up together and unite the city to take down The Man with their kung fu.

The soundtrack would be '70s Elvis, with assists from Curtis Mayfield and James Brown. Oh, I should probably put in "Trouble Man" by Marvin Gaye, even though that was the title song for another movie, just 'cause it's so bad-ass. We'll have it in the scene where Rudy and Elvis ride around looking for information. They're both sort of weary, especially since the comic relief has just been killed (I'm picturing Jerry Reed, Burt Reynolds and Isaac Hayes), and they're steeling themselves for the big showdown.

Final scene would be Elvis and Rudy standing on a pile of rubble as the sun rises after the big battle. Elvis' "American Trilogy" is playing. As the "Glory, glory, hallelujah" line rises, Elvis and Rudy shake hands. In the digitally remastered version, we can have the ghost of JFK embrace Barack Obama off on the side.

What would have happened if this movie were released? For one, with our country's racial problem fixed, America could put our energies elsewhere and I would be dictating this to my sexy robot secretary from my flying car.

For Elvis, it would have rejuvenated his sagging spirits, he would have fired his manager, kicked out all his sycophants and hangers-on, dumped the pills, and started making music again. His 1980 tour with the Clash would be seen as a high point in both his career and the history of awesomeness.

President James Brown would have led us into an unprecedented new age of peace, prosperity, and funkiness. George W. Bush, freed of the expectations of having a Presidental father, would have stayed in Kennebunkport, running businesses into the ground, terrorizing the help at the club, and living off his parents. He would gain fame as the model for Ted Knight's grandson in "Caddyshack."

Terrorism, hippies, conservatism and fundamentalism of any stripe would never gain a toehold in America, because nobody wanted to be the dick that wrecked the place that gave the world that awesome movie where Dolemite and Elvis fought crime.

Me? Well, for bringing this outline (well, I guess my parents would have had to do it, since I would have been in grade school) to Elvis' attention, I become one of the richest men in the world, regularly recieving loving tribute from all the nations in recognition of my gifts.

Man, I gotta get working on that time machine, quick.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Gossip Game

In college I had this friend who always had to know what everyone was doing. I wouldn't say he was gossipy, since I don't think he used the information to talk about them behind their back or anything, and gossipy sounds sort of fruity, so let's just call him overinterested.

I found this sort of annoying. I'd be telling a story and he'd interrupt a dozen times wanting to know who I was with while I was trying to get to the meat of the story. After a while I found a way to turn this annoyance into a amusing little pasttime. By simply dropping a little information, I could entertain myself for about a half hour or so. I'd start out simple.

"I went to the movies with ...ah, you know, that one guy and the girl? Anyway, it was pretty cool."
"Was it Dave?"
"No, no, it know, that one dude. Anyway, Bruce Willis is running in front of this big fireball, then he turns and says, 'hot enough for you,' and -"
"So was it Jenn? Julie?"
"No, you know, that girl with the hair that hangs out with that guy? Anyway, so Bruce Willis throws a spear at the main terrorist and says, 'stick around,' cause he stabbed him with a big spear -"
"Did you go with Scott? Casey?"
"No, no, no. So then the terrorist pulls out this uzi and is all like, 'eheheheheheheh' and Bruce Willis pulls out his gun and is all like 'gushgushgush' and -"
"Was it Jimmy? Todd?"
"Nah, it was, you know, that one dude and the girl. Anyway, so Bruce Willis is all like 'gushgushgush' and ..."

By this time the guy's face would be turning red as he practically recited the Gainesville phone book to determine who I went to the movies with. If I was feeling especially sporting, I could drag this out to a half hour or so. Awesome thing is, he'd fall for it every time.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 15, 2008. A Date That Will Live in Awesomeness.

Not sure exactly how I did it, but I just won a free Cuban sandwich over at International Cafe. Perhaps spending $3,000 in Cubans over there in the last couple years helped. Perhaps that girl behind the counter just needed an excuse to gaze longingly at me. Regardless of how or why it happened, this just might be the greatest single event in my life.

Let's see...graduation, marriage, first real job...yep, pretty much greatest day in my life.

Man, is that free sammich gonna taste good.


So I went to the store tonight and figured I probably ought to buy a bag of candy to replace the office's depleted supply. Unbeknownst to me it was 2 for 1 and I got the last bag. So now I have a raincheck for FREE CANDY!

Who knows what tomorrow holds? I think I'm hitting the liquor store and the car dealers.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Dream Weaver

If any of you out there could tell me what this dream means, I'd be glad to hear it.

So I go to work and my boss tells me I have to go to another branch. I'm pretty mad about it, but when I get there I realize my job is to stand on an overpass and count these baby animals that are floating by on a river underneath me.

"Ha ha," I think, "Wait til I tell my boss that I spent all day out here counting baby elephants and hippos as they float by. Hey, you know who would really like to see these cute little animals? My wife."

So I get out the phone to call her, but it falls and breaks into a million pieces. The end.

Oh yeah, there was also this part where I'm riding a train into a tunnel while putting hot dogs into donuts, but I don't see how that could possibly mean anything.

Happy Trails

After riding my bike to work every day for about a month, I've gotten sort of addicted. On the rare day that I have to drive the car I feel sort of weird - I guess because the daily ride burns up a lot of energy that I later convert into crazy and/or worry.

This week I discovered the Baldwin Trail, this cool 14.5 mile bike path about 5 miles from my house. I've been there twice this week. The first time I figured I'd do 5 miles in, then 5 miles back which is my daily commute. After about 6 miles, I noticed I wasn't dying, so I ended up doing the whole thing. It probably helped that Christie is redecorating the house, and my once mighty Man Room is being reduced to a Man Corner or Man Alcove under the rising tide of beads and fabric, so I felt it was better for me to be away from the house as much as possible.

Today I took the camera with me, since I noticed all sorts of cool animals Monday. This morning I saw a family of wild turkeys, a chicken family, and a big indigo snake, but they were all too quick for my camera. Instead, I got a picture of a cow.

Most of the trail is covered by a canopy of trees so you don't get too hot.

Through most of this ride, I had Toto's "Africa" and a bunch of Journey songs going through my head thanks to some karaoke last night, so it was sort of like I was reliving the audio of one of my 8th grade dances. I did a passable version of Tom Jones' version of Prince's "Kiss" last night but feel I could have performed better had I hit the gin and tonics.

You also get to pass by all these cool looking swampy areas.

And a gun range

A big chunk of the trail goes around the back of people's farms and trailers and stuff. I read a review that thought this was pretty trashy, but it reminds me of growing up, so I kind of dig it. I didn't take any pictures of people's houses, 'cause I was afraid the sound of freedom might be coming after me.

These are the sort of trails you could find moldy old Penthouse and Playboy magazines on back when I was a kid. The internet has made things a lot easier.

Towards the end of the trail, there's this little skatepark. Man, I would have loved a skatepark when I was a teenager. Actually, I probably would have come up with some Dead Kennedys-esque conspiracy theory about how Reagan was gathering all the skaters in one place to ship them off to the camps or something.

Yeah, I was pretty stupid back then.

You see those? Those are the legs of a man, not some car-driving pansy. Suck it, OPEC!