Monday, March 08, 2004

Once again, it's time to kill a few minutes with another edition of blog filler. Please enjoy these random, unrelated thoughts on various topics:

- I have mixed feelings about John Kerry getting the Democratic nomination. Don't get me wrong, I'd vote
for a chinchilla or a telemarketer or a flat can of RC Cola with a 1987 expiration date instead of Bush. But it's kinda difficult to get excited about Kerry, who reminds me of a tenured English professor who quit caring about whether his students were paying attention a decade ago. And although Kerry's record is solid enough, I'm more than a bit worried by the fact that he's never really offered a vision for where the country will be headed in the future, as well as his weathervaning on things like the gay marriage issue. But I'll take one for the team here - anti-Bush unity is more important than anything else right now. (And fine, you win, America - what you want in a president is vastly different from what I want. So I'll just resign myself to voting for the least offensive option for the rest of my life.)

- I finally got a chance to hear the live version of Smile performed by Brian Wilson in London last month. I was apprehensive about hearing it - partly because of Wilson's scattershot at best output of the past thirty years, partly because middle-aged rock shows tend to have an aura of faded glory that dampens the effect of the original works, and partly because you can't go home again - but it's an incredible piece of work. The bootleg versions of Smile were by their nature patchwork productions, featuring some good ideas without any thematic threading, but this version finally flows and feels like a fully realized series of song cycles. And while it's true that Brian Wilson can't hit the notes he could in 1966, his voice has taken on a new resonance - it's particularly poignant to hear the coming-of-age ballad "Wonderful" sung by a 61-year-old whose entire life has been defined by the pain of innocence lost. Obviously, there's no way to recapture the magic of the prime, classic Beach Boys recordings during their brief, meteoric heyday, but this is a rare instance of successful closure of the past.

- I feel obligated to make some sort of comment on the Jesus movie, even though I haven't seen it and I have no real opinions about it either way. Judging from the previews, it seems to consist of two hours of Jesus getting the shit beat out of him. I wish someone would make a beatings-per-scene comparison between this movie and Salo or the 120 Days of Sodom or Caligula or a backyard wrestling tape. (Does that satisfy my legal requirement to comment on The Passion of the Christ? Excellent.)

- McDonald's is getting rid of the supersize fries and sodas this year, in a desperate attempt to deflect some of the growing criticism of their unhealthy product lines (and, mostly, avoid additional class action lawsuits). I guess any vague notions of corporate responsibility are welcome in this day and age (even market-driven ones like this), but this idea that we as a nation need to be protected from our own consumerist whims is sort of embarrassing. C'mon, everyone knows that eating at McDonald's is essentially a low-level form of slow suicide, anyway. But this decision won't put a dent in the fattenization of America. If supersize fries are outlawed, then only outlaws will have supersize fries. And just think of the problems we'll have with people illegally crossing the border to Canada to buy poutine.

- Speaking of food, enough with the damn Atkins-friendly stuff everywhere. I bought a roll of Certs yesterday and each mint is individually wrapped in bacon now.

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