Wednesday, July 03, 2002 :::
today i had my first brush with terrorism since september. terrorism, i think, or maybe just idiocy.
i got out of the lovely subway at 47th street, as i do every morning, with just enough time to stop at deli plus for some overpriced breakfast. first i stopped in at an omnipresent mcdonald's (this one on 7th ave between 46 and 47...) to use a fee-free atm (being a member of the actor's credit union has at least one perk!), and on my way out through the bat-cave like connection to the equity building, i was informed i couldn't exit the equity building at all, but rather i'd have to travel back through mickey d's and around the corner, which strangely had far too many people on it for this time of the morning. rounding the corner on to 46th, i was somewhat rudely stopped by a number of boys in blue who had to be coaxed into telling me why i couldn't proceed first to the deli and then to my place of employment.
yes, apparently some terrorist had decided to target the deli next door to the actors' equity building, thereby frightening the poor, unemployed, and disenfranchised entertainers of new york into submission. "no more auditions for you, painted whores and heretics! ah! ha! ha!"
a suitcase (or "suspicious package" in police parlance) had been left outside the deli at 0800 hours (more parlance), and the police and bomb squad and ems were all called in, and the entire street was evacuated (which explained all the people on the corner,) and pink subway emergency tape was stretched across the street. what? we didn't rate yellow caution tape? come on! anyway, i arrived at about ten, and shortly thereafter the all-clear was given and we streamed into the street, somewhat cattle-like, on our various vectors to places of employment, delicatessens, and c. on my way into the deli, i saw a pod of cops still perusing the suitcase. it was one of those hard blue plastic numbers, with the black wheels on one side, and it had a hole cut into it. nothing came out of the hole, much to my disappointment, and i didn't get to see any guys in white suits and helmets with wire cutters or anything like that. no flashing l.e.d.'s and no "the green one or the yellow one..." and no ticking and no dynamite bound with duct tape.
an empty blue suitcase.
so, i bought an iced coffee and a muffin, and came upstairs.
the newest get-married-in-front-of-60-million-of-your-closest-friends (i.e.: on TV) reality show is this: Bachelorettes in Alaska. 5 women looking for love, go to a small town in Alaska and date the locals, from whom they will presumably gain a life-partner. i shit you not with this. there are contests for doweries, there are indiana jones and the temple of doom style meals, and there are the requisite idiots on parade. last week's episode had a montage where the 20 men had gathered, many of whom had been rejected already and were back for a second chance, and were hanging out downstairs, having watched the objects of their affection nearly puke over a traditional alaskan meal, who are now going off to sleep with the men they chose instead of this throng, and so these guys start singing a traditional eskimo folk song, and drink whiskey. think the bachelor meets survivor meets twin peaks.
then there's dog eat dog, which maybe has the absolute stupidest contestants on the planet. self-described as fear factor meets weakest link, dog eat dog pits five contestants against each other in challenges of physical and mental skill. the problem here is this: anyone choosing to go on the show is exhibiting a sever lack of mental skill in the first place, so the questions they are made to answer are dumbed waaaaaaayyyy down. the final questions, the ones that should be the hardest, the only gate between nbc and the money, were, i shit you not:
in the "books" category: who wrote the lord of the rings and the hobbit? (contestant got it WRONG)
in the "history" category: who was the first vice-president of the united states? (contestant got it WRONG)
in the "technology" category: what company makes the "pentium" computer chip? (contestant got it WRONG)
in the "television" category: on what tv show did erik estrada play officer poncherello? (contestant got it RIGHT. wow. one imagines if the contestant had had to answer what was the full name of the character "ponch" on CHiPs? would he have been successful.)
here's the genius of the show: the contestant who successfully navigates to the final round has to choose from his/her opponents who will be least likely to answer a question in a given category. this contestant triumphantly judged each opponent unworthy in respective categories, thusly walking with 25 large. the amazing thing is that the opponents could not answer the fucking questions. Intel. In. tel. arrgggghhh. J.R.R. Tolkein, people! the vice-president question got answered like this: "ummm... Johnson." johnson? johnson? i mean, what the fuck? johnson!?! at least guess someone from the proper century!