You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Juice Gets Juiced

O.J. Simpson1 was arrested this week for breaking into a Las Vegas hotel room.

I had hoped to avoid writing about the accused/acquitted/probably guilty2 murderer until, say, about Armegeddon - and even then, only as a way to take people's minds off of the general warfare. Unfortunately, Orenthal James Simpson seems determined to enjoy whatever seedy, perverse part of the limelight he can squeeze into these days. He recently released a book entitled "If I Did It," which describe how the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman would have happened, were Simpson the "real killers." Erm... the "real killer."

Apparently, the Goldman family obtained rights to the book - probably as part of the $33+ million settlement O.J. owes them - and published it as "If I Did It: The Confessions of a Killer." No word as to the rumour that the book contains an epilogue described how Simpson, had he been found guilty, would have been sentenced to endure every trial his Police Squad character, Officer Nordberg, faced in the popular film series...twice.

In any case, Simpson allegedly broke into a Las Vegas hotel room in an attempt to "recover" some sports memorabilia (6 clipped nose hairs, a monogrammed shoelace, and a used jock - all autographed, of course). He was quickly nabbed by "hotel security3," arrested, booked, and released on his own recognizance to a nearby golf course.

Enough is enough. I'm calling for a media blackout of O.J.4 The man has had a Heisman Trophy-winning collegiate football career, a Hall of Fame pro career, an inexplicably long, if marginal, acting career, the Hertz and Dingo advert campaigns, and finally, seemingly the longest and most absurd murder trial since Charles Manson's freewheeling, sex, drugs, and schizophrenia prosecution for the Tate-LaBianca Murders in the 70's.

Instead, we're likely to see even more of O.J. in the coming weeks. O.J. explaining how he was mistakenly in the room and that the footprints in the carpet couldn't possibly be his because his Dingo boots made a much deeper impression. Kato Katelin will turn up, fresh from his job as a casino hanger-on, to explain how O.J. was with him most of the night trying to pick up barflies. Johnny Cochran has passed on, but I'm sure they can find a lawyer who rhymes5 and has a size 2 pair of gloves handy.

Oh, well. Steve Martin said that comedy is not pretty. He must have been thinking of the Juice.

1. No relation to Jessica, Ashley, or Homer. Bart? ...maybe.
2. According to the civil lawsuit he lost to the Goldman family. F. Johnny Lee made me write that.
3. Some friendly members of the Gambino family made me write that.
4. No, not orange juice, though I am sick of the adverts where the mother reaches into the refrigerated compartment of the grocery and her hand appears in a Florida orange grove. Who wants sun-baked 85-degree orange juice?
5. F. Johnnie Lee declines the offer, Mr. Simpson. He prefers blank verse anyway.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Nessun Dorma, Except One

Well, I've been away with a rather consistent dizziness and vertigo. Fortunately, the vertigo was not accompanied by the staircases of large Spanish-era missions or vague, bleached-blondes with oversized busts and obvious IQ deficiencies. What James Stewart's character saw in Kim Novak's in that film, I'll never know.1

I've been blessed so far though in that this particular vertigo has not signified anything terminal. Luciano Pavarotti was not so lucky, although to be fair, the poor chap was at the receiving end of a foul case of cancer and not vertigo. I've not experienced the former but I know enough to realise that the two really aren't comparable.

Pavarotti had one of the most remarkable voices in the recorded history of music. It was the kind of voice that could make people weep and shatter bulletproof glass at the same time. His signature tune was the aria "Nessun Dorma"2 from Giancomo Puccini's Turandot. He delivered this again and again in his soaring, high, powerful tenor, thrilling crowds around the world, along with his business manager and accountant. Despite his rotund frame, the most obvious hair-dye job since Ronald Reagan, and a bland, if pleasant personality3, he became a world star in music. All because of that lorry-stopping, ethereal, Tyrannosaurus of a voice.

Like many celebrities, he sadly ditched his first wife for a bubble-headed trophy bird, but even this seem to be excused by his most ardent fans as opera crossing over into life. Which just goes to show that opera and soap opera have more in common than the one word and the poor blocking.

His one film, Yes, Giorgio was noted for Pavarotti's complete and utter inability to act, something that put him on a par with Bob Dylan and Madonna4. Apparently though, opera critics claimed that this deficiency was typical of his on-stage performances as well. Audiences didn't give a biscuit. "Just sing, Luciano," was the only request they had, and Luciano responded, cracking plaster and flattening car tyres in the process. Gloriously, of course.

He'll be missed. For one thing, who'll fill out the Three Tenors at World Cup Finals, now? Justin Timberlake? I bloody well don't think so.

1. Besides the oversized bust, I mean
2. "None Shall Sleep" is a fair translation, although the literal one at Babel Fish Translation is "no sleeps," which just happens to be how Pavarotti might have said it in English.
3. A bit reminiscent of Fred Rogers, only louder and less wholesome
4. Strangely enough though, Art Garfunkel is up on the three of them in this department.