Monday, April 16, 2007


"...for as long as there have been cars there has been [dramatic pause] The Race." Meaning the illegal cross-country roadtrip run every year by those whose families have been kidnapped and sponsored by powerful, evil persons unknown. Presumably the narrator is alluding to The Race's beginnings in 1903 when Horatio Nelson Jackson was blackmailed* into driving across the continent.

Yes, I watched the series premiere of "Drive." Like everyone else, I really just tuned in to see how Nathan Fillion was doing without the brown coat. And (probably, again, like everyone else) I will not be watching another episode as it measured precisely up to the mark assigned to it: subsistence as an excuse for farcical automotive action.

Fillion's character, unaware of what's going on, arrives in an aged pickup. (Points for style on missing the orientation, by the way.) What is truly hilarious, though, is the Dodge [New] Charger driven by Fillion's nemesis, the race watchdog. Dodge has been recklessly slathering television with placement of the new Charger since before its release, and I wonder if it's a coincidence that the only other new vehicle in the race is the Caravan driven by the youngish-mom character. Yes, the Charger's distinctive face is flashed on the screen many times, but what makes it all a tremendous joke is that when Fillion decides to swap his old landscaping co. workhorse for the Dodge, in what is at first a "now our hero's gonna kick some" moment, the car immediately breaks down. So, how does Chrysler Corp feel about this? No word as yet.

*not really

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


I haven't seen it in years, but remember it.

A Hollywood producer has stumbled across the hamlet of Mayberry and wants it to star in his moving picture, "Picnic Meets Our Town." He leaves to show the camera crews the way, and the whole town goes crazy. Floyd will only cut hair to look like a silver screen heartthrob's, Mayor Pike wants to cut down the "eyesore" tree in the square, and Deputy Fife adopts a flashy new uniform. That was The Andy Griffith Show's 13th episode, early 1961.

It happens anew in 2007. Here, in this small town, a filmcrew has arrived. It is not the first time this has happened. That doesn't mean people aren't acting ridiculous. A population that usually uses its cars to travel two blocks to the post office is now walking everywhere in hopes of stumbling in front of a lens. The city has made all members of the high school choir "ambassadors" and sends them everyday to serenade the cast. No, I am not jesting.

As part of the package, a personal friend briefly met Julia Roberts today. He was walking down one side of the street and she appeared on the other, ready to retire from a day of shooting.

"Hi!" he waved.

"Who are you?" she asked.

"Just a humble citizen whose name you will never know," he replied, ending the conversation.

Ms. Roberts, if you, your publicist, or your security chief ever reads this, you have my personal assurance that, no, the young man is not actually deranged. My word.