Viola

January 10th, 2014

I saw her on the plane. A beauty bound for somewhere, a destination that, although we share, she seems to have clouded in my mind.

The stewardess offers her a hot, moist towel. With great care, she washes her hands. Her fingers delicately caress each other before she relinquishes the fortunate cloth. Distracted, I’ve neglected my own cleaning. I am fixated on the black clad shoulder, gently draped in blond hair and peeking out into the aisle.

The stewardess waits impatiently to collect my yet unutilized towel. Almost no worse for wear, I surrender the damp cloth.

I turn the volume up slightly on the CD in an effort to relieve my mind from pondering this unknown beauty, this nameless, faceless, shoulder and straight blonde hair.

She sits most certainly unaware of the attention I dote on her. Should I be unable to temper my imagination, I can take solace in that I have another six and a half hours to ponder her unmolested by all but my own musings.

I can invent her story.

Is she flying off to a place unknown to meet the love of her life?

Is it warmth that beckons?

Pleasure?

Tragedy?

I think not the last, for she seems not distraught.

A book has her attentions now. I should be as fortunate to fall under her gaze. It’s thick, the book. A text? A classic? Dostoevsky? For certain not a trashy romance novel. Not indeed. She is too smart. Perchance Hemingway — The Great American in Paris?

Which of course, I now remember is our shared destination. A tiny miracle. Before we’ve even met, we already share something in common.

Now they’ve arrived with drinks. Does she desire a glass of wine perhaps? I can’t say. The stewardess and her damned cart seem to have taken up permanent residence between us, forever destined to obscure my view. I am deprived.

The gin I drank at the airport lounge seems to have lost its magic. Perhaps we should get reacquainted when the seemingly immovable obstruction that bears liquid nectar should by chance migrate this direction.

What a moppet! I sit as the Alchemist’s dreamer content to avoid disappointment. The damned cart is passed now. Again spirited, and again free to observe, from relative safety, the intriguing blonde. She again occupies the entirety of my conscious mind.

What is there for her in Paris?

Vacation? Friends? Home? A family?

If she’s French, what could I, the belligerent American, have to offer her? Do French women admire American cinema? Would she appreciate my barrage of inane movie references?

Is she from New York, my home’s cultural rival? If so, does she embody the mysterious energy that comes from a city where people walk? She would certainly poses a lively soul – not one sucked into the smoggy abyss of home.

Son of a bitch!

François, the smug, sunglass sporting Frog in the row ahead of her’s has just rudely intruded upon our moment. He offers her a pillow! She accepts. Nice work Pierre.

Shit! Dead batteries. Now it is Musica y Mas or nada en todo! Gracias American Airlines.

Her book just lost the battle to fatigue. She pulls the almost uselessly thin red airline blanket around her waist and up under her arms. Situating for sleep has left her tender shoulder hidden from view. Now only the soft crown of blonde remains uncovered.

Soon, I am sure sleep will earn a victory here, back in 40B.

Will that delicate shoulder join me in my dreams? If so, will the rest of her likewise oblige? Victory postponed. Her light is back on again! Something seems to have grabbed her attention. Is it still the book? Her manicured fingers move over something unseen.

Crack. Smack. Bushwhacked.

I am Michael’s trapped, stunned, tortured prey.

Her mystery haunts my thoughts. I hunt for her story in the recesses of my mind. She burdens my soul. She has captured my imagination.

It is the book that still owns her focus.

Difficult turbulence. Should it continue, I will be left crippled, only able to scratch incoherent makings on the page. Damn the pilot. No doubt another Frog. There must be an altitude which wouldn’t dare interfere with my ramblings.

Damn it. Pierre is again mobile. Pierre, François, Rene, Jean Renalut. That damnable Frog who’s name I can only guess at, and then hate myself over every wasted second pondering that smug French face.

He looked at her as he passed through the aisle. Did she notice his poorly hidden stare? What does he hide behind those dark shades? It’s night. On an airplane. High in the dark night sky. You goddamn French Corey Hart impersonator! Thank God, he’s seated again. How dare François interfere!

Damn French and their romantic tendencies. You turn me petulant, Pierre!

Is he aware of the heat of my gaze on the tender backs of her hands? On her golden blonde locks? On her elusive shoulder?

He is jealous! Does he know her? Is it I who intrudes?

No! He is a buffoon!

She’d not be in his company, the sunglass clad fool. He belongs on Sunset at Le Dome rather there here in the midst of our burgeoning love.

It seems a shame that just three rows prevent us from sharing more than fleeting mental infatuation.

Could she be travelling alone?

Is it possible that no one waits for her arrival at De Gaulle? Perhaps someone expects her eminent return to JFK.

“… for she will be my heroine for all time. And her name will be… Viola.”

Each moment she occupies my mind is both an eternity and an instant. For until I know the real woman, she is as intangible of the furthest reaches of the Universe. She is as elusive as a moment already passed.

How appropriate, “Lady Luck” has joined my consciousness via Musica y Mas by way of the soundtrack to Guy’s and Dolls.

This lady is not only my luck, but the instrument that makes this flight pass without the usual airline induced discomfort. Like Robert Alda’s lady, does she blow on the dice of other men’s thoughts? Pierre would like to think so.

The fine airline cuisine is now being ferried down the aisle. Will it be the same dreadfully dry chicken that accompanied us on the originating flight from St. Thomas? Its odor seems to confirm that fowl thought.

Why do they deliver the beverage so far in advance of the meal? Shouldn’t we be afforded the luxury of at least being able to wash down dreadful mouthfuls?

Long before the next gin arrives, the meal will have long outlived its usefulness.

There goes her book. Quickly the light follows. It seems she will elect to pass on the meal. Probably for the best.

I sat down at the start of this flight with the hope of finding some plot for a one act play. Unknowingly, perhaps even unwillingly, she has become my muse. Is it in fact possible that she has materialized as the inspiration I demand? Has she bestowed upon me a creative directive, compelling these very words to flow?

I was off Europe like my inspiration, one E.H., to write. And before I cross into EU airspace, I’ve already constructed an elaborate plot. Is this the foundation for my first stage play?

Sacrebleu!

She has arisen. She is headed this way. To the ladies, no doubt. This is the moment. I will get my first full glimpse of her. Will her actual beauty match the glorious machinations of my mind?

She is stunning.

While I am happily rewarded in my first full sighting, I am nevertheless disappointed, as her eyes remained focused ahead. Her gaze never drifted, ever so slightly in my direction, so our eyes could meet.

Maybe her intuition somehow made her aware of the attentions I’ve been lavishing upon her. Was she burdened with the absurdity of living up to the superhuman expectations in my damned thoughts.

My cursed, wretched mind is both an ally and my greatest enemy. Why must I over think every blessed thing? Why do I craft elaborate and unattainable dramas in the grey wrinkles of my tortured head?

Is she upset with me for forcing her into my ethereal world nestled in lonely thoughts — In a lonely world — Solitarily occupied by my imagination? Is it fair to drag her, or anyone, into my unstable existence?

She’s cold. A trip to the overhead bin produces a coat that she quickly adorns.

I’ve seen all of her now. Not the corporeal entirety. But the well dressed, and eminently beautiful version of her that she shares with the public. She is as beautiful as any creature I could invent in the perfection of thought.

Had she been entirely a fictional figment of gin soaked thought, she couldn’t be more beautiful.

She has regal cheekbones, seemingly perfect stone carved lines. And the most perfect chin. It protrudes just enough to give definition and balance to her exquisite face. In this intellectually stymied alcohol fueled state, I am unable to discern the color of her eyes.

The gnat-like frenzy that the stewardesses continue to exude has now successfully gathered the remains of the meal. Refuse acquired, they return to the recesses of the plane to deposit them.

Lights around the cabin now dim, and in many cases, cease to propel any light at all as the cabin is prepared for the over night journey.

We are barely two hours into our voyage.

She is well equipped for travel. She snuggles against an inflatable pillow. It seems sleep is poised to overwhelm her.

As she drifts off, I realize that fatigue is my companion as well. She will most likely be driven from my mind as consciousness fades. I hope she finds her way to my dreams.

Exhausted, I must surrender my pen and my mind, if only for the briefest of moments.

“You’re so fucking special.” – Radiohead

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Silence

January 10th, 2014

Someone once told me,
Actions speak louder than words.

I paid him no attention
As he walked away.
I realized his actions
Had nothing to say.

Now mine scream loudly,
Like an unheard fallen tree.
I’m waiting for a witness,
To take note of me.

I’m vying for attention,
On life’s crowded stage.
It’s almost the last act,
And I’ve yet to be paid.

I stare out at the vacancies.
And I’m forced to wonder:

Am I condemned or condoned?
Is there a marquee?
Am I tortured or tolerated?
Will an usher come for me?

And then I remember
The wise words I was shown.

Following his example,
I gather my things.
I’ve always been curious,
Who’s waiting in the wings?

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False Prophecy

January 10th, 2014

lonesome conversations
bring mental chaos
to inspired revelations
elevating me to a dais
where I reign supreme
in my empire of emptiness
where the heart beats pristine
as the singular sound of loneliness

in spite of the seer
contradicting her prophecy
the line breaks here
where the forecast’s cacophony
was but half right
in enlightening me
to the suffering of twilight

closing my eyes
remembering what’s lost
in my head churn the lies
that with mutual consent
we entered into a binding contract
one which wasn’t to relent

but both of our actions
challenge the words
mine reducing reality to fractions
the difference between life and death unheard
now we shall be forever apart
as powdered white scissors
have severed our paper thin hearts

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Cavern in My Soul

January 10th, 2014

The flood
Brought forth
In love’s demise
Etched a cavern
A vascular excise.

Agonizing gorging
An irreverent foreman,
Directing construction,
Erecting a marvel,
Of spiritual suction.

An empty chamber.
A gaping hole.
My private Tora Bora.
A cavern,
In my soul.

Impossible to reverse,
What’s carved by sorrow,
The cave of Adullam,
A grandiose monument,
To my ultimate flaw.

The calcite edifice,
Carved with despair,
Cannot be untilled,
Remaining forever,
Nagging to be filled.

Misguided efforts,
The job undone,
Materials the issue,
Leaving the task,
deficient and askew.

Winter’s frost,
Fills the void.
For a time,
Until Spring’s thaw,
ends the sublime.

Soon again,
The echo roars,
In my nascent cavity,
Alerting me to
My useless depravity.

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January 9th, 2014

Death is eminent.

We churn through life from birth to death like a train – destined to follow a track. The train may slow or speed along, but it can never stray from the course. There are two ways to ride on this train. There are two kinds of passengers.

The first passenger holds on tight, wears a seat belt, grasps the armrest, and is pulled along the path always looking forward toward the last stop. It’s safe. He’s locked into a seat. He moves forward, as all do, in relative comfort. Bumps and stops come and go for him as they do for all. But someone else is in control. He is safe as long as he is strapped in.

The second passenger lets go. He is the person who stands and walks about the train. He may be thrashed to the front of the car and back again with each start and stop. His head may be jostled, his clothes ruffled, his arms and legs bruised by every manner of cart or seat or overhead bin. But he’s free to move about the car or into adjoining cars. This is opportunity. He is able to meet any number of passengers, each with a different story, a different journey, and a different adventure. This can be dangerous. The passenger may be hurt or worse. But he may also experience the richness of life – variety. He is stimulated. He can visit the dining car, the bar car, the sleeper car, first class, second class. He is limited only by his own desires.

But the second passenger must be mindful that he is a rare breed. He must be kind to the other passengers as he fleets in and out of their cars. The first cannot help themselves, as they are paralyzed with fear. They desperately cling to their seats afraid to reach the final stop. Some envy the second and respect the second for his lack of fear. Others consider him a fool. Fear keeps them firmly in their seats – seeing the world through only one tiny window.

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New Mock One Sheet for The Pallbearers

August 11th, 2012

The Pallbearers

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Russian jet crash kills 43, many top hockey stars

September 7th, 2011

This is a dark day for hockey. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the departed.

TUNOSHNA, Russia (AP) — A Russian jet carrying a top ice hockey team crashed into a river bank Wednesday while taking off in western Russia, killing at least 43 people and leaving two others critically injured, officials said.

The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry said the Yak-42 plane crashed in sunny weather immediately after leaving an airport near the city of Yaroslavl, on the Volga River about 150 miles (240 kilometers) northeast of Moscow.

Russian jet crash kills 43, many top hockey stars – NHL – Yahoo! Sports.

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First Person in Film

July 15th, 2011

Based on the argument I made last week against 3D, that it undermines the connection between the protagonist and the audience, it was suggested to me that by that logic, film should be shot in the first person. Having not seen this done before, I rented LADY IN THE LAKE, directed by and starring Robert Montgomery as Philip Marlowe shot almost exclusively in the first person.

The majority of the film is shot as though the camera is Marlowe. We see what he sees. The other actors address the camera directly as though it was Marlowe. There are only a few occasions when Marlowe looks into a mirror and we see his reflection.  The only other time we see Marlowe is in a framing device where he directly addresses the camera at the start and end of the film giving us the setup and denouement.

Ironically, I was expecting this to be as distracting as 3D, if not more so, due to the fact that it is completely atypical. I thought it was a gimmick, no less unnatural than 3D because of my conditioning. I was expecting the moments when the other characters addressed the camera to be the most disquieting as we have been taught that this is one of the most blatant mistakes an actor can make.

I didn’t find it disturbing at all.

This may be in part due to the fact that the story and characters are strong. It is an interesting mystery, which kept me engaged throughout in spite of dated dialogue, languid action and antiquated mannerisms. Perhaps the effect wasn’t as pronounced as it might have been, be it good or bad, since the film was black and white, thus lacking the reality of vision.  Maybe I’m more conditioned to accept first person after countless hours of CALL OF DUTY.

However, I also didn’t feel any more connected to the protagonist. It didn’t create a more significant illusion that I was Philip Marlowe.  This may be due to other facts, chiefly the black and white. Or perhaps the story was just dated enough that I couldn’t relate to the character as much as audiences in the forties might have. I wonder how a film like CRANK would fare in the first person?

The only moments where I really felt disconnected from Marlowe were during the framing scenes when he addressed the camera directly himself. I know this was more common, especially in Hitchcock’s work, during this era. However, in this case, since the rest of the film was in the first person, these moments really did take me out of the plot.

All in all, seeing first person used in film was interesting. I’m not ready to see every film shot this way, but would welcome the chance to see a more contemporary story in the first person. Of course, convincing today’s egotistical, tabloid-centric, starts to forgo 98% of their screen time may be an unwinnable battle.

 

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3D Undermines the Filmgoing Experience

July 8th, 2011

Since AVATAR, studios, production companies, and directors have embraced 3D. When considering the additional box office revenue, it is easy to see why the studios and production companies like 3D. Since the director is charged with creating an emotional and entertaining experience ostensibly putting the creative before the commercial, it becomes more difficult to understand why they would embrace this technology. Ultimately, 3D is the antithesis of the desired audience experience and destroys that which makes attending a film rewarding.

Film is a voyeuristic experience. We watch the film to experience the events that are happening to the characters on screen. Usually, the audience identifies with and feels empathy for the protagonist.  When a story is well constructed with vibrant characters, interesting plot and a richly developed world, the audience forgets all about their problems, their world, even themselves. For two hours we are seeing the world of the protagonist through his/her eyes. Psychologically, we have turned off our ego.

At its worst, 3D reminds us we are physically separate from the protagonist. For example, in AVATAR, Jake mounts an alien horse and rides away from the camera. When he does this, he is already appearing to leave us behind as gets smaller in the frame. When the accompanying 3D effect is bits of dirt and mulch being kicked up and sprayed in our face, we become aware of ourselves and literally try to dodge the debris. This is a classic example of the concept of breaking the 4th wall. Any effect, whether it is 3D, a camera move, or a sound that draws attention to itself, takes the audience out of the context of the story. It makes them aware that they are watching a creative work. They are no longer experiencing what the character experiences.

At its best, 3D puts spatial distance between us and the main character. Again in AVATAR, when Jake is standing under the tree of life, the little jellyfish-like creatures float around him and us. While this is better than the previous example because we are experiencing the same event that the protagonist is, it reinforces the spatial distance between us. Being trained to perceive depth with our binocular vision, we subconsciously estimate the distance between obstacles and ourselves. Psychologically, we have now severed the connection between the protagonist and our mind.  In fact, some part of our psyche may even be trying to “get back” to the protagonist, making us uncomfortable even if we are unaware of the cause. If the story is working, we don’t want to be apart from the protagonist.

For 3D to effectively communicate emotion and experience, there needs to be an organic reason in the logic of the story for the audience to be separate from the characters. Until screenwriters figure out how to include a “me” character in the plot, it seems unlikely that the psychology could ever work.

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Super 8 Has Nothing To Do With Aliens or Soviets

June 27th, 2011

SPOILER ALERT: If you have not seen the film, stop reading now!

Are you still reading? Then either you’ve seen the film or you’re the kind of person who reads the last page of a mystery novel to see “who done it”.

A number of critics have suggested that “Super 8” falls short because the alien is really a metaphor far a larger threat, most often the Soviet Union. And in today’s climate, that metaphor doesn’t resonate with audiences. Well they couldn’t be more wrong.

The only part they got right is that the alien is in fact a metaphor.

It’s not a metaphor for the Soviet threat. Yes, a woman at the town meeting emphatically states her belief that the alien is of Soviet origin. This is simply contextual accuracy. The film is set in 1979, the height of the Cold War. During the Cold War, the Soviets were blamed for just about everything. If the film didn’t have at least one character thinking the Soviets were to blame, there would be something wrong.

Yes, the military is pursuing the threat. What does the military represent? For most Americans, it represents security and domestic tranquility. When we are children, it’s our parents who provide a blanket of security. Domestic is another word for home. Jackson Lamb is a deputy, also a protector. Perhaps the military is simply a manifestation of Jackson’s superego, trying to protect his son Joe.

But protect him from what?

Before the alien arrives, there was a tragic accident that resulted in the death of Joe’s mother, Elizabeth, for which Jackson blames Louis Dainard. This accident tore apart the small town, pitting the Dainard and Lamb families against each other. The alien arrives in a train wreck, another terrible accident. Train wreck is a metaphor that is often used to describe someone who is a drunk, like Louis.

So perhaps the alien represents the death of Joe’s mother, the result of a tragic accident.

Or maybe the alien is Joe’s mother.

It lives underground, precisely where we inter the dead. It is desperately trying to get home. A home that is located in the heavens. But something is keeping it here on Earth.

As the alien’s ship is nearing completion, notice that Jackson and Louis have set aside their differences to save their children. In fact, they have forgiven each other. Before Elizabeth is ready to go home, she needs to ease the guilt that both Jackson and Louis have over her death, mend their broken friendship, and ensure her son’s happiness by removing the obstacles to his relationship with Louis’ daughter, Alice.

But the ship needs one more thing before it can lift the alien to the heavens, something beyond Elizabeth’s control. The last piece is the locket that Elizabeth left for Joe. The locket is a symbol of Joe’s reluctance to move on. He isn’t ready to say goodbye. Whenever he’s scared, Joe holds the locket. It represents his mother, his security, his love.

It is often said that until a loved one lets go, a soul cannot be free to go home. It is a stirring moment, when the alien ship is pulling on the locket, and it isn’t ripped from Joe’s grasp, rather he lets it go so the alien can return home.

If the alien is in fact a metaphor for Joe’s deceased mother, I can think of nothing that has more universal appeal. Nothing resonates with humans, regardless of their culture or beliefs, like the loss of a loved one. The alien in “Super 8” might just be one of the most resonate metaphors ever filmed.

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Tim Donaghy Should Have Been a World Cup Ref

June 28th, 2010

With the World Cup underway in South Africa, and under constant badgering from an English “mate”, I have conceded and decided to watch soccer. It has been very educational.

Soccer enjoys a tremendous following worldwide. I am beginning to understand why. Most of the world is made up of countries that couldn’t defend their Grandmother from a stiff wind. Soccer exploits this weakness.

Soccer is the ultimate equalizer. Not through competitive play. Not because a tiny nation of two million can compete with a nation of three hundred million and earn a draw. Not because politics is kept off the pitch (What the hell is a pitch anyway? Is the vacant lot where kids play soccer covered in tar?) No. Soccer is the great equalizer because the referees can make any arbitrary call they like with impunity.

First, the time keeping is a travesty. In 1884, Leon Breitling began manufacturing stopwatches in Switzerland. There is no excuse for any soccer match played from 1885 on not utilizing them. This “mystery” time added to the end of the match is so easily contrived by the officials, as to leave every match decided in that period questionable. What’s worse is how the players have learned to manipulate the refs. This arbitrary “mystery” time is responsible for the lamest tactic in any sport — the flop. Players do this to con the referee into falsely calling a foul (another very arbitrary event in soccer based on today’s match of USA and Slovenia) and cajole extra “mystery” time into the game.

Soccer fans pay close attention. When you see a player rolling around with his hands over his face, this in not because he is in pain. He is hiding an ear-to-ear grin. He dare not risk exposing his Cheshire mug, lest the deception is revealed. What’s worse is that this practice has been exported. As more European players show up in the NBA, their youth soccer training permeates the hardwood just as it did the pitch. Thank you Vladi Divacs for bringing the soccer flop to the USA.

I understand that for many Europeans this behavior is normal and expected both on and off the pitch. In France, they deployed the soccer flop successfully on a national scale in World Wars I and II. The Germans bitch slapped Froggy to the ground. The French proceeded to roll around in the dirt until we came and ran the Germans out. Since the referees allow this in soccer and the USA indulged the flop in two wars, it is understandable that the practice goes on. We must make a stand now and say no to the flop. The NBA is considering making it a foul. PLEASE DO. And soccer follow suit.

My first exposure to “mystery” time should have been my last. Back in the EuroCup, England was beating the French one to zero (not nill, but zero which is the actual number of goals the team has). When the officials added “mystery” time, suddenly the French had a two to one win. That should have been the last soccer match I watched. But my English “mate” is very convincing. A stopwatch would have ended that game in regulation time rather than in the vortex provided by flops and fools.

Adding a stopwatch to the game opens a number of other very successful measures to prevent poor and downright corrupt officials from plying their trade.

When the clock stops, there is time to review goals like the one disallowed in today’s match between the US and Slovenia. This has been tested and proved reliable in the NHL. Soccer should take a good hard look at the NHL. This is basically the same game played by men. If these men can handle a short stoppage to make sure the calls are correct, the whiney floppers of the pitch should be able to handle it as well. Why this goal was waved off may be one of the greatest mysteries in sports history (if we can call soccer a sport).

Soccer should borrow the concept of protecting the goalie from the NHL as well. There is an English striker that should have been beaten to a bloody mess after kicking Howard last Saturday.

Critics of stopping the clock contend that it will slow down the game. The game slows down the game. Just let the referees pick a winner upfront. This will save us from watching men run around aimlessly on the pitch until the “mystery” time is sufficient for the ref’s chosen team to have taken the lead.

But my favorite game fixing technique is the whole card system. Having watched a fair share of matches, and having been a sports fan and participant my entire life, I still see no reasoning behind the cards. Sometimes a yellow is awarded when everyone thinks it should be a red. Sometimes a red when it should be a yellow. Or cards of both varieties issued when a player flops at just the right Hollywood stuntman angle in relation to the ref. And other times no card is issued at all. Consistency would be a great target here.

Unless soccer does something to remedy these deficiencies, it won’t matter how the game evolves in the USA. The officials still basically decide the matches. Perhaps Tim Donaghy should move over to FIFA. At least I can mirror his bets and make a little money on the world’s game. I mean fix.

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BCS = Communism

January 7th, 2009

Communism is an egalitarian system of social organization, in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state, dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.

34 bowl games. That means 34 “winners.”

How nice, 34 teams can call themselves winners. How egalitarian. I remember the last time I was involved with so many “winning teams.” It was in tee-ball. We didn’t even keep score.

The BCS selects (read controls) the 68 teams who participate in this social activity called bowl season, and thus get the economic reward. A ton of money is spread around 68 schools (nearly half of the D-I football schools, pretty egalitarian). And yes, even the losers get paid (very egalitarian). It is likely that more money is spread around these schools in a single season than was distributed in the entire history of Soviet Russia.

In every other sport on the planet, there can be only one winner. Hell, even soccer, which has more ties than all the world’s fathers, has a tournament every four years with JUST ONE WINNER. Maybe you heard of it: the World Cup. Sure they start with some ridiculous round robin, where teams can lose and still advance. But at some point, they switch to single elimination until there is just one silly “football” team left.

On paper, the BCS sounds good. Let’s have a lot of meaningful games. Lot’s of little championships are better than one, right? WRONG. Homer Simpson was smart enough to see, “…Communism worked in theory, in theory.”

At the end of the BCS schedule, we are left with many teams who claim to be No. 1. How many players hold up a single digit while mugging the camera and mouthing “We’re number one”? They can’t all be No. 1, can they? I was not that good in math. Let’s count it out: “one, one, one, one, one, two.” Hold on, that sounds wrong. Can we get someone from MIT to check that math please?

Not to worry. The BCS will tell us which team is No. 1 after the last BCS bowl game.  This is Communism, pure and simple. It is truth if they tell you it is truth. They have some formula with computers and voters and…

Hold everything! I could be wrong. What is more democratic than a vote? The BCS does have a nifty little vote that will tell us who is No. 1.  The BCS is a Democracy, not Communism after all!

But, this little vote is held by a select few, the coaches. One might even call these coaches the party leaders. This vote is starting to reek of Communism again (see: dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.)

What about the masses—all of the players? Why shouldn’t their vote count? How do they vote? I like to think that their vote is the performance they leave on the field. What better way to exercise their vote than with a playoff? The team with the most good votes, sometimes called plays or drives, wins!

But in a playoff, not everyone can win. Hell, even the best team will lose sometimes. Guess what? SOMETIMES YOU LOSE. SOMETIMES THE BEST TEAM LOSES! Just ask the Patriots.

In the film A Fish Called Wanda, John Cleese’s character summed it up best: “Winners like North Vietnam? I’m tellin’ ya baby, they kicked your little ass there. Boy, they whooped yer hide real good.” While getting our “little ass” kicked there still stings, he has a point. They won. We lost. Period. End of story.

Even Communist countries have a playoff. Vietnam beat the tar out of the French before we had the “good sense” to step in “carry the ball.”  The Soviets participated in a hockey playoff. While we were over here fighting for Lord Stanley’s Cup, they were beating the rest of the Nordic and Eastern Europeans in a little playoff known as the World Championships of Hockey (which had just one winner, usually the Red Army).

Yes, your team might lose the big game.  They might not be able to call themselves a bowl winner. But, if they were to win a true championship game (one preceded by a playoff) those losses would make that win much, much sweeter. Without the pain of losing, the string of wins needed to take a playoff would be, well, just another bowl season.

And with a playoff, we get drama! Drama like underdogs, who come from nowhere to beat the big boys. Some say, “Fluke.” I say, “Destiny!” I say, “History!”

Back in ’76, there was a little underdog who was facing the greatest force on Earth. That force was the British, and the little underdog, a ragtag group of rebels who called themselves the United States of America.  Without an upset win, we’d all still be speaking English. Well, English with a silly little accent anyway.

Whether or not there is a playoff, college football will still have the most meaningful regular season of any league. That is simply because there are ONLY 12 GAMES! If they only played 12 NBA, MLB, or NHL games, the regular season would be pretty damn important too. Win as many of the 12 as you can to make the playoffs. Each and every one of those 12 would still be as critical to win. Each and every one would still be interesting as hell to watch (unless, of course, you are a Notre Dame fan these days).

The BCS was kind enough to award the right to broadcast these egalitarian games to ESPN for five years.  Thanks to the purest of American ideals, the contract, we are stuck with Communism for the next five years. The BCS was smart enough to put their ideology in written, binding form.  What a clever, self-perpetuating, political party.

We can only pray that like the Berlin wall, this Communist juggernaut will fall one day. Until then, be American. Use your Capital One card to buy some Tostitos chips and Emerald nuts to munch while you watch the games. You might even want to call your pals on your AT&T wireless Nokia phone and ask them if they think we will be free from the Bowl Communism Series before the Cubans will be free from the Castros.

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