Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tony's not dead. Yet.

Tony's not dead.

The common logic is that we're smart enough to figure out the clues that spell out that the last 10 seconds of "Sopranos" being total blackness is that Tony "never heard the one that got him".
That would make Chase an artist, one who rises above the medium and drek that is so common in television and cable and actually made a show that does what art is supposed to do - make you think. Conversely that would also make us intelligent, thoughtful and observant, able to understand to subtle tones and nuances of quality television and not be spoon fed resolution. Otherwise Chase is a hack who got lucky and we got bamboozled. And we're too smart for that.

Steven Colbert coined the term truthiness to quantify this sort of thinking.

Only one person died in the last episode - Phil Leotardo. And when the shooter stepped up to the side of the SUV and put the gun to Phil's temple to make sure, his wife did something remarkable: she screamed. Phil might not have seen it coming, but he knew if only for a second something wasn't right.

The previous episode Bobby turned and saw the guns, he saw it coming. Sil shot back at his assassins, he saw it coming. So now Tony doesn't see it coming? Now he might have died the next day, or the next morning, or later on that night, but when the screen went black, Mr. Soprano was alive and well. Okay, alive any way.

Let's look at the scene in Holsten's, assuming Members Only is the shooter. (excuse the Star Wars-ian geekiness)

- The shooter would have trailed him there, as they'd just decided Holsten's. There is no piece in the bathroom unless they salted half the restaurants in Jersey (this is not the Godfather!). He would have it on him, probably a 9mm.
- The shooter enters with AJ and takes a seat at the bar, glancing at Tony. Then goes to the restroom moments before Meadow enters.
- The bell over the door rings, Meadow enters and the screen goes black.

So the supposition is that the Shooter comes out of the bathroom, steps up the table puts the pistol to Tony's temple and pulls the trigger - thus the blackness.

Carmella doesn't scream? She would have. AJ sits passively? He would started running. The booth was clearly visible from the outside door, Meadow takes in the scene of her father with a gun to her head and what? Does nothing? The wasn't even a odd look on her face. The shooter clipped Tony with a 9mm from 6 to 8 feet in the head with one shot? Or apparently the shooter came out of the bathroom with a street sweeper and clacked the whole family in one wave.

Let's look at the mechanics of a "hit". In that situation to get the guaranteed kill, the guy comes out of the bathroom and hops into the booth and slaps the gun to Tony's head before anyone can react? Hardly likely. He wouldn't have sat down, it would have been an in motion thing to facilitate escape. The assassination would require the same style of Bobby's hit - Gun's drawn, arm outstretched to get the aim, first bullet in the chest to immobilize, second or third to the head for certainty. Which means somebody at the table, in the restaurant would have seen it coming. Someone would have reacted.

Assume the shooter(s) were the black guys. They were laughing, not the solemn grim faced killers from previous hits in the story reality. And they would have had to come from across the room, with the same weapon out and ready pose that Members Only would have assumed. Tony would have "see that coming".

So what happened?

What Chase did was give us the cop-out ending. It's like one of those "What If" books where you pick how the story goes from here tales only for adults, and with strippers. And they've ripped out the pages that say "the end" on them. Inconclusive to the say the least as far as resolution. A pitch black flash that left you to interpret it on your own. It smacks of sensationalism, not a story from a seasoned storyteller. A better ending would have been Tony looking at a trial, or back into a more mundane than you would think for killers life that made the story what it was. The kind of man who went to work, killed a guy, then came home and ate pie with the wife and kids while they talked about college applications.

Face it, the ending was supposed to be that last bite of the perfect meal, and turns out it's the little burnt bit.

Bartender... stoli. For the Russian.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ooops, out of quarters...

Banished for a year from the NFL for acting the ass, Adam "Pacman" Jones still hasn't figured it out. Instead of picking up stakes and moving to say Arizona, renting a spot in the middle of the desert and spending his days working out and meditating, he's up in yet another urban strip club causing incidents. It's a shame to say it, but he almost deserves what happens to him if it goes bad after this.

Wanted for "questioning" about a shooting incident? Does he realize he's on probation? I mean seriously.

The meat of the story is that at a Strip Club in south Atlanta some men, as men do in strip clubs, offered a woman some money. Only she wasn't a dancer, just hanging out (It's really a big thing now, women go to strip clubs just to hang out. In one or two spots there are more women than men some nights). One of the men with her - allegedly Pacman Jones - took offense and as these things are wont to happen, a scuffle ensued. The group of men who started the incident took their leave, but were followed by men in Pacman's entourage. And that's when the shooting started. Nobody died...this time..but the police would love to speak to speak to everyone involved.

Now I doubt he anything to do with the actual shooting, but it's fairly certain he precipitated it. The crowd this soon to be former NFL star hangs with is a posse of people from his old neighborhood, old buddys and people who are going to get him in trouble. If they really were concerned about him, not the superficial posturing that all "thugs" do, a) they would make him stay home, b) make him move to Brewster, KS (pop. 285) and 95% caucasian or c) realize that they're actions are jeapordizing his future and avail to curtail their activities. But none of this is going to happen, and so another potential great talent is going to be lost to foolishness.

In the venacular of them streets...them Dope boys doing him dirty. Sure, they've got a few stacks in their pockets and if Pacman never plays ball again they'll hook him up for the minute. But that never lasts forever, and it's only a matter of time before someone as dramatic as Pacman ends up in the wrong spot at the wrong time saying the wrong thing. Chances are he'll be with the wrong people and they'll make the wrong decision, and things from that point will only get less right. Given the choice between standing in an alley at 3am with your boys and standing on the field at the Superbowl with your team, the idea that you would choose the former means I might understand less about the human psyche than I realize. Because that choice means the ghetto is in his mind.

Bartender...Thunderbird if you got it. No? How about Wild Irish Rose?

Monday, June 18, 2007

A Quick Restaurant Review - Rare: Soul Tapas & Lounge

Me and Sporty finally made it over to Rare on Piedmont. She'd been working two jobs for a minute to get her house stuff straight and so we'd been on the back burner. We're doing the Lincoln Lounge on Wednesday at Compound so Monday was it this week, and I chose the Soul Tapas spot Rare.

Now on Friday nights, you can't get in there. I mean it's packed like a slave ship the brothers are in there so tight. But then brothers in Atlanta have a tendency to clump - make a spot ultra hot for second then move on - and right now this is it. I went during the week for two reason, a) so I could really feel the whole spot and b) to actually taste the food in comfort.

It's laid out kinda like Bed used to be, only the mattresses are firmer and it's not really bed like. Sporty immediately jumped on it and stretched out, leaving me to order. This was the first sign she really liked the spot. We had the fish and shrimp, piri-piri pork, the ribs and chicken and waffles tapas to start. As we waited we tried to figure out the wax candle table and the old black movie (1940's) that was playing against the wall. It's done by the same folks who did Harlem Bar, so the concept isn't new - just the films are older.

She like the ribs, she loved the pork, she even ate the shrimp and girts. Then Sporty liked the homemade hot sauce. This was a first, cause she only likes one brand of hot sauce. Then we had a second pork and a second ribs. We were stuffed on leaving. Six tapas two drinks and right around $50...not bad. The space will be crowded plus on Fridays, and even as we sat there a unescourted couple edged into our space, but it was all good.

Bartender...another one whatever it was I was drinking.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The last few seconds...

Like many, I thought at 10:03pm Sunday night that my cable had went out.

As I nearly leaned off the couch waiting for a)Meadow to get hit a car b) Meadow to walk in on her father getting shot c) Tony to follow and kill the guy in the bathroom d) Tony to get clipped by the guy coming out of the bathroom e) I don't know, screen and yours went black on some of the best televsion since Fox's Profit or Action. Or the first season of Sheriff Lobo. (Hey, I like what I like)

Instead I got wrap up. Phil's boys get antsy and like people do in real life realize that making money is preferable to killing so they cut a deal. Tony goes to see Sil and feels bad. Tony goes to see Uncle June and feels okay about it. One of his guys turns and Tony might get indicted. Paulie acts superstitious. AJ wants to join the army then finally stops moping around when somebody mentions Hollywood. Meadow is getting married and is on track to a good job.

For this I sat glued to my seat for 62 minutes?

Okay when they capped Phil in front of the wife and grandkids, now that was cool. And Tony dancing with the Feds. If nobody had died you would have sworn this was a badly written if not boring soap opera and not the freaking Sopranos. And I'm still not sure it was. Are we absolutely sure that they won't sneak the real last episode on next Sunday when nobody's watching?

Tony should burned down Flatbush Wax Removal or whatever that place was. Paulie should have shown up some where with three machine gun toting mugs and flap blasted someobody. Instead Carmella comments on the mail and Janice sits on the back porch trying to figure out how to steal her uncle's money. This is supposed to be well crafted drama? Really?

I've heard that Mr. Chase is oblique kinda guy, but this is ridiculous. Over the past two days I've heard it cursed and praised. There was even a rumor that the guy at the counter in the final scene is listed in the credits as Phil's newphew and the black screeen is meant indicate Tony's life ended. Or that the real ending will only be available on the DVD. Both are lies. This is quite frankly a piss poor attempt at suspenseful ending that leaves the audience empty. Okay, those intellectuals who feel the director was trying to say something subtle feel okay, but the rest of us feel a little cheated.

Compared to their last culturally significant show the always interesting Sex in the City (yeah, I watched) we saw at the end that Carrie got back with Big. We don't know if it lasted or anything, I mean they'd been off and on forever so it could have been temporary, but we had some sembelance of closure. This was supposed to be a smarter show and loose ends are understandable. Sil's still in the hospital. Tony might be going to trial. Meadow might find herself picking between her husband and her father. Those are loose ends. The last few seconds was cheap melodrama worthy of a egostic Oklahoma City Tech School film school student.

I'm not very happy with these HBO folks right now. And no, I really wasn't interested in watching surfers in John from Cinncinati, either.

Barkeep...Knob Creek. No ice.

Monday, June 11, 2007

These feets is made for walking

If you're ever in Piedmont park at 7am, you might spot me walking it out. Last week I got punked into starting an exercise regimen at 6:30-6:45 AM in the park. We do an hour then take it in and go to work.

By punked I mean we middle aged out of shape guys are in the office all the time talking about diets, how we're about to get started next week (always next week), how we're about to start eating better, regain that form we sported in high school or college and fuck like a rockstar again..only this time knowing we'll what we're doing. And she'll love it.

So after two weeks of suggesting a quick break in the middle of the work day, so I could get away from my phone, my buddy asks me how many times I've gone out and took the break. My number was a little low. To prove I was serious I agreed to do this thing at Piedmont. I ain't been up this early regularly since never.

I was surprised to find the park so crowded in the AM. We usually enter over by the Park Tavern, swing wide by the lake then around the track, do three brisk laps (we're supposed to be adding stairs tomorrow) then roll straight down to 10th and back to the corner. Walking now, not running, jeez. In our stroll we're greeted by the Boot Camp folks who are out doing calestenics when we get there (what time do they arrive?) and many the morning jogger.

I get tired watching the Boot Camp folks as they run by.

Me and Tom talk about whatever, and I think we're the only friendly people in the park. I don't really see anybody else talk to anybody else. Okay, the homeless guy was talking to himself, but I'm not sure that counts.

My goal is a six pack. Okay maybe a twelve pack-ish. All I know is that I'm down from a keg, and working my way from party ball down to case. I just want to feel comfortable taking off my damn shirt. As soon as my legs and back stop hurting. And my feet. And my sides. And my butt.

Bartender...Bacardi and diet Sprite.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The utter bastards

I had been consumed with the purchase of my home. Had been as in past tense.

I put off the film I was planning.
I put off the book I'm writing.
I put off the law school applications.
Work suffered as I had to split my attention.
Even this blog suffered - it got depressing to update it.

Two months and $2700 later, still no house. They lied to me, mislead me and and in the end cheated me out of a life changing opportunity. LIFE CHANGING!

I'm turning them into their regulatory agency, gonna get a ruling then sue like a motherfucker.

Barkeep...moonshine. No ice.