Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Have You Heard?

I have to make a confession. I follow the crowd once in a while. Sometimes I get swept up with the rest of the lemmings and rush off a cliff and drown in the ocean.

It isn't easy unlearning all the things that we were indoctrinated with as a children. Social Studies is just the Americanized version of what Joseph Goebbels called Propaganda. Society tells us what to believe, and we tend to believe it because we don't know any better. Young minds are basically made of Play-Doh.

For some reason, Americans want to believe that there are conspiracies. There are things going on that we can't know about. We are suspicious, we are fearful, we have anxiety. This is something that the media likes to play upon. It sells more anxiety medication and firearms. If you are scared, it is easier to talk you into parting with your money. That is Marketing-101.

I have been caught perpetuating these American myths. They are called Urban Legends. They have been around for a long time, but with the advent of the Internet, they have started to become a force to be reckoned with regarding the direction of our stampeding populace. Once the buffalo are on the move, the earth shakes, and they aren't very easy to control.

While I consider myself pretty skeptical of most things I hear or read, every once in a while a friend of mine will send me some e-mail with some shocking story in it that I (for some stupid reason) assume to be true. My conspiracy theorist comes alive and I chuckle to myself and think it probably has some logic to it. I end up forwarding it on to others, thinking they might be enlightened as well, if not amused. Then I realize that I have been a pawn in the ongoing game of dis-information of the masses.

You have all probably seen these at one time or another;

Mr. Rogers was a US Navy Seal Sniper

The Clinton Death Count

The Federal Government Taxing E-mails

Treasure Trove of Old Cars Found in an Abandoned Barn

Stealing Body Parts In Las Vegas

Gangs Initiation by Flashing Headlights

The list is endless. Most are documented on a website called www.snopes.com. Looking back over all these various urban myths, it got me wondering. Why are we so willing to accept this macabre, evil side of life is lurking right outside our door? Instead of questioning why, what is it that makes us so willing to believe something that when looked at in the harsh light of day looks obviously ridiculous. Worse yet, who starts these things? Do they arise out of our collective conscious or are they planted by people with more sinister motives?

In his documentary film, "Bowling For Columbine", Michael Moore touched on this issue concerning the inherent fear that Americans have and how it has fostered a growing gun culture. There are other indicators of this 'American Anxiety' in society. Hummers, Home Alarm Systems, Fear of Foreigners. They have all been thrust upon us as something that we 'need', but do we really, or is it just fear marketing?

Like I said, it is hard to unlearn the things that we were told are true. And by the way, that whole lemming thing mentioned in the first paragraph, it is fiction, Lemmings don't really drowned themselves in the ocean. The lies are always with us. Like the title to my Blog says, we have to question everything, sometimes even I forget to do it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Essential Cinema - 10

Bad Day At Black Rock

Spencer Tracy
Robert Ryan
Anne Francis
Dean Jagger
Walter Brennan
John Ericson
Ernest Borgnine
Lee Marvin

John Sturges

Don McGuire
Millard Kaufman

William C. Mellor

A disabled WWII veteran goes looking for the father of the soldier that saved his life in combat. In a remote Arizona town he finds the father and a dark secret the townspeople share.

Morality in post WWII America. It shows that in the end, compassion triumphs over hatred. We fought the war overseas for principles that we had yet to apply at home. This is the updated American western. The one that the films like "Stagecoach", "The Searchers" and "High Noon" inevitably led us to. In a remote town, cut off from society, you can get away with almost anything, until someone comes looking for the truth.

The highlights of this film are the cast and the scenery. This is a troupe of seasoned actors that know their craft and can deliver their dialog with ease. The remote Arizona location is breath-taking. You can tell this film wasn't shot on a sound stage. The best part of the film may be the opening credits which show the Southern Pacific Streamliner racing across the open desert. It throws you back to a time when the west was truly remote and when there were still places that you couldn't get to by air travel.

While the film is competent and entertaining, I would not classify it as a great picture. The plot is simple and direct. The uncovering of the mystery happens slowly and methodically. You can't see the ending coming but you somehow know that McCready (Spencer Tracy) will come out of it OK in the end. A competent film that illustrates the craft of making a good cinema experience. Probably the last great western that Hollywood made.


This completes the first 10 film reviews in the Essential Cinema saga. For those of you that missed the first 9 installments, here are the links to them:

9 - L'Avventura
8 - The Ice Harvest
7 - Diary of a French Priest
6 - Ice Station Zebra
5 - The Satan Bug
4 - Out Of The Past
3 - Underwater!
2 - The Night of the Generals
1 - Fail-Safe

In case no one noticed, the title to each blog links to the International Movie Database (IMDB) listing for the film in question. The database contains extensive information on the film as well as numerous reviews (the Essential Cinema Review is included).

There are many more films that I will be reviewing over the next several years. Stay tuned for more interesting takes on theater in the coming months.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Essential Cinema - 9

Italian Language with English Sub-Titles


Gabriele Ferzetti
Monica Vitti
Lea Massari
Dominique Blanchar
Renzo Ricci
James Addams
Dorothy De Poliolo

Michelangelo Antonioni

Michelangelo Antonioni
Elio Bartolini

Aldo Scavarda

Several friends are on vacation in the Mediterranean. One of the women disappears while exploring a deserted island. The film chronicles her friends search for her and their ensuing love affair.

Love and desire are complex things. "The Adventure" referenced in the title refers to not knowing someone and discovering who they are.....often times, over and over again. The underlying message of the film is that you can never really know someone you love and figuring out who they are is a never ending process.

This is one of those films that is considered a classic. The film won a Special Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival when it was shown back in the 1960s. I have always wanted to watch it but was never able to find enough time to sit through the whole film uninterrupted. After finally watching the entire work I must say that I was impressed.

The film is beautifully shot and very intimate. It makes the viewer try and find meaning when there may not be any. There is obviously something going on with the characters, especially Anna at the beginning of the film, but we are not told what it is. These characters are playing games, but their motivation and meaning remain a mystery. There are hints of early Bergman in this work, but with much more passion between the characters. The use of cinematography in the film is outstanding, creating an intimate world of beauty and loneliness. The use of the Italian landscapes, seascapes, countryside, and architecture are stunning and create an hypnotic background for the protagonists in the picture.

While watching the film it is almost impossible to take your eyes off the central characters. It is as though they are about to divulge some secret that is laying just below the surface, but in the end they remain silent and the viewer is left with an insatiable wondering about what is going to happen. It is as though the viewer is thrown into their lives without knowing the whole story and we can only watch as they struggle to come to terms with their passions and their guilt. This could be considered a 'chick flick' (the opposite of Ice Station Zebra) although not the standard Hollywood variety. It deals with deep emotions and the struggle of rational thought over desire.

There are a few cons in this film. It is dated in some of it's cinematic technique. The train rushing through the countryside in the middle of a passionate love scene is a bit of a cliche by today's standards, but may have had profound symbolism when the film was made. American viewers might have a problem with the lack of a neat and tidy plot that has a beginning an arch and a conclusion. It is there, but it is pretty subtle.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Burning Man Blog

Master and Servant

At 10 o'clock on the morning on August 27, 2007 I finally put all my plans in motion and drove Northwest out of Phoenix, Arizona toward the great unknown. I headed toward the Burning Man festival in northern Nevada. Something that I have been trying to do for years, but have never gotten around to it. Things always pop up, or money is tight, or life is just to busy. Despite large amounts of research and speaking with others that had been to Burning Man in the past, I really didn't know what to expect. I knew it would be a long journey and for that I am grateful. If there is one thing that life has taught me, it is good to get away. We see the world with new eyes when we have a different perspective. I need a change of perspective. It has been a long time since I had one.

As with most vacations of this sort (a long drive to a destination), the start of this one is frustrating. Each time I leave the city I find that it has gotten bigger and it takes longer and longer to finally reach its edge and escape. This time is no different. Traffic light after traffic light and endless construction zones made my escape slow and nerve wracking.

By the time I hit the open road about 100 miles from Phoenix I started to relax. I have my iPod with 10 days worth of music on it. I have a cassette recorder that I use to keep a narrative journal of what happens along the way. What follows are the recollections of my trip into the unknown.

Playa Sculpture

I think that the American psyche could not exist without the West. The broad, sweeping expanse of land that is open and unpopulated. Deep down in our minds we have to know it is out there somewhere. A place where everything is new, untamed, uninhabited. I place where you can run away and get lost. Although most of us would never take the risk, we like to know that there is the possibility. This is the route that I am taking on my journey. It is the highway that runs from Las Vegas to Reno, Nevada. Here the landscapes are painted with a broad brush, with horizons that sweep toward the infinite. The West where my mind becomes and ocean, vast and deep and I drift along a ribbon of asphalt with little worry or care. How many times have I traveled this road before? The last I can recall was my trip to the Redwood forest almost a decade ago. When I finally managed to reach the hidden tall trees grove.

This road is endless. I suppose it could lead to any number of possibilities. In essence, it is the most important of things. It is what makes the journey possible. It is endless and it is long. It is journeys such as this that remind me that life is grandiose, it has sweeping vistas and is full of unforeseen things. It isn't predictable. There is no set path, we simply have to seek out a destination and go toward it. During my life, whenever I have felt stressed, over-burdened or depressed, I have sought out a nearby mountain and climbed it. By the time I reach the summit I can look down and all of the problems that chased me up that hill seemed insignificant. That is what this journey is, that is what this road is. The entire trek is a mountain top and as I travel I look out on the vastness of this earth and the infinite possibilities of the universe and see just how small everything really is. Life is to be taken in its entirety and we are not meant to dwell on the little things that burden us.

Playa Sculpture

As I travel through Mina, Nevada ,which is about 150 miles south of Reno, I have noticed the first signs of the 'Burners'. Various vehicles, almost all with bicycles on them, crammed full of camping gear headed in the same direction that I am. While passing through Mina, there was a sign in front of the gas station stating "Welcome Burners". I expect to see more tell-tale signs the closer I get to Black Rock City.

It is 6 o'clock in the evening on August 28th and I have joined the long procession of cars headed toward Burning Man. I am about 40 miles south of Gerlach, Nevada and I will not arrive at Black Rock City (the actual name of the temporary city where Burning Man occurs) for about another hour. But even in this desolate portion of Nevada where the scenery is stark and beautiful, there is a long line of cars inching along the road at 60mph, all headed toward the same destination.

It is 7:30pm and I have reached Burning Man (sort of). The long line of cars is snaking toward the entrance at a pace of between 2 and 14 miles per hour. I expect to be here for at least another hour and this really isn't unexpected with this many people in this remote a location. So I am not in a hurry. The sun has set behind the mountains and dusk has fallen. There is an eerie look to this place. Remote, flat, barren, and there is a cloud of dust that almost looks like a fog over the distant dry lake bed. No doubt kicked up by thousands of bicycles and cars as they roam across the Playa.

It is interesting social behavior that every time this line of cars stops, people eventually get out of their vehicles and try and look down the road to figure out why they aren't moving. They are all anxious and impatient. It is a beautiful sight to behold, so many people from so many places gathering in the middle of nowhere. Primordial in a way. Like flocking geese or a herd of buffalo. While waiting in line to enter Black Rock City, the fading sunlight has created a purplish haze on the horizon and a full moon has risen over the mountains to the east. A gorgeous spectacle, like a large white marble in a purple ocean.

I have no idea what time it is but I have arrived. I set up my tent, which is a homey little place because I plan on being here for at least 5 days. I have my water, I have my box of wine, I have my snacks, got my lantern set up, got my bed, a cute little folding papa-san chair, so I am pretty cozy. I arrived at about 8:30pm and picked an arbitrary spot on the perimeter of Black Rock City to setup my camp . The first thing I did after setting everything up was to take a walk. I strolled to the center of the Playa where the Burning Man is erected and from there I just wandered around for a while to try and get the lay of the land and figure out exactly what this place was like. Suffice to say, it is not really describable. I think the best way to describe it is to imagine a really big state fair on LSD. I keep reminding myself that this is the first day of the event and the whole city is probably a third full. There are already so many art installations, so many people and so many things going on that it is a bit of sensory overload.

I am in the process of making myself some macaroni and cheese and then I will knock off early. The noise and the bustle of the camp will continue well into the morning hours since people will continue to file into Black Rock City all through the night. I will start out fresh tomorrow and begin exploring the Burning Man experience in-depth. I am already certain that there is no way that I will be able to see everything.

Center Camp

It is 9 o'clock in the morning on Wednesday, and I think this is the 30th of September. I am making a pot of percolated coffee in my tent. It is partly cloudy and about 80 degrees outside. I spent most of last night, between 8pm and 1am in the morning, riding my bike around the far reaches of the Playa. I checked out the art and the people and I was pretty overwhelmed by the whole thing. There are definitely two distinct times at Burning Man. During the day it can get rather hot and windy and there is a lot of socializing and folks walking around, lining up to get ice, drinking, relaxing. But when the sun goes down, everything changes. It is cooler, the sky is a huge canopy of stars and everything lights up. There is an abundance of propane fire, neon glow sticks, blinking LEDs and glow wire. Everything becomes outlined in light. It is as though everyone and everything is their own personal Las Vegas. All across the Playa there is never-ending techno music that adds a surreal backdrop of sound to this world. On the Playa, you can ride or walk forever and see nothing but ghostly figures outlined in neon colors roaming between the art installations which vary from simple and beautiful to the outrageous and divine. When I returned at 1am it was getting a bit cool and I was getting pretty tired but there was no let down in the activity on the Playa until dawn.

I think it is safe to say that there are no Republicans here. This is a liberal community that takes that definition to the extreme. I often times refer to the tunnel vision that most of us have living in the compressed society of the city. Society trains us to do the things we are told to do and told to want. We go to work on time, commute long distances, watch a certain television show, own a certain car, dress a certain way, go to certain trendy spots like nightclubs and restaurants. We are on auto-pilot most of the time. Burning Man is the opposite of that. This is where people set their own coarse and don't believe or do what other people say. This is not a negative place. No one says Burning Man sucks, or I don't want to be here. Everybody here is curious, uninhibited and they have made great sacrifices and taken great strides to come here. And they are still coming. The long line of never ending cars is still snaking into Black Rock City, day and night with their headlights stretching toward the horizon. Here, people act upon their world in a positive way. Respecting other's beliefs and / or abilities to do what ever they please.

The population of Black Rock City appears to be an interesting cross section of every type of person. While most of the people can be considered 'hippies' many of them are middle aged and I have seen 'burners' who appear to be in their 50s, 60s and 70s. There are infirm people in wheelchairs or using canes. I have seen a lot of cross dressing trans-gendered people. Young men dressed in feather boas, platform shoes, sequins and pink tops. I assume they are gay, but who cares? It appears that the standard for most women at Burning Man is to dress like a 'Space Hooker'. Many look like prostitutes from the year 2500. They wear platform boots, furry ankle warmers, garters, very small hot-pants, and they are often times topless with outrageous head gear and lots of neon.

Surprisingly, the only people that are totally nude are some of the men who I see walking around with nothing on but a pair of sneakers. But the overriding issue, is that no one really cares and no one really notices. You just do what you want to do here as long as you are not personally offending someone else, and by that I mean punching them in the face or stealing their car. Any life style is acceptable. I don't think George Bush would understand this place.

As I sit here in my tent during the mid-morning sun, it dawns on me that I have to slow down. I am faced with the challenge of just sitting here in my tent, because I know full well that to go and run around on the Playa in the 11am sun will simply get me tired and sweaty and I will end up coming back here and crashing for a while. There are other things I want to do this afternoon that I am waiting for. Hopefully some wind will come up so that I can fly some kites. But in the mean time, I have learned that I just have to sit here and enjoy the fact that I don't have any phones to answer, no office to go to, no screaming television to watch, no helicopters overhead, there is nothing but time. I am re-learning to be at peace with myself which is extremely hard to do anymore, especially living in the polluted and crowded city. So I am just sitting here, reading a book, watching people go by, sipping water. These are my only cares, I have no other worries right now. That other life I have back in the real world seems incredibly far away.

Playa Sculpture

It is Wednesday afternoon and the time is about 2:45pm. I have just returned from about 2 or 3 hours on the far Playa. I was flying some kites and it was a bit tricky, since the wind here is somewhat variable, both in direction and intensity. I spent about a third of my time waiting for the wind to come up to a level where it would keep the kite in the air. I finally managed to fly the kites for about an hour and a half. I had the small quad-line para-foil up and flying which was the easiest one to launch. I could land it, take a drink of water and then launch it again. I also had the small delta wing kite that I have had forever up and flying for a while. I finally had to call it a day, because I was running out of backpack water and the sun was really starting to beat down on me. While traversing the 2 miles back to my tent I realized that the Playa is not a static display. Things are constantly changing. As I was riding back I continually came upon new artwork that hadn't been there the day before. People are continuing to arrive and continuing to set up installations or modifying the current ones. I assume the goal is to have them all installed by Friday which is the official start of the Burning Man weekend, everything is on display Saturday and then they burn the man on Saturday night. But every time I am out on the Playa, I see something new and have to remind myself to return and try and take a picture. Also, the fact that anything that you see installed on the Playa during the daytime will most likely look totally different at night. Almost everything that is put up here lights up at night to make it look more interesting. As for now, I am going to take a break and cool down a bit in the tent and then head over to Center Camp and buy some more ice.

I am amazed that this cassette recorder is still working. I don't recall the last entry I made but this is Saturday. The past two days have been intermittent beautiful weather with the occasional blinding white-out dust storm, three of them to be exact. Last night I slept inside the van because the inside of my tent is basically a large sandbox. I am waiting for the Burning of the Man. Once the Man burns, I am out of here. In certain ways I can't wait to leave and in some ways I will miss this place more than I can imagine. For the last 12 hours, I have spent most of the time sitting in front of my tent just thinking, life, death, parents, wife, work, the future, just thinking. Surprisingly, something I almost never do in Phoenix, I just don't have the time.

Playa Sculpture

I strongly recommend that the Burning Man experience be on every one's to-do list in life. It is something you have to experience and I will be perplexed on how to explain this to people once it is all over. I can rattle off some names; Christy, Mark, Charlie, Breezy, Ed, Neal, Bev, these were all my neighbors. People that by random chance happened to camp next to me. I met them all, I talked to them all. We shared stories together, they gave me food, I gave them wine and ice, they game me homemade apple juice. And we talked, through blinding sandstorms, insufferable heat and starry nights because we all wanted to be here. We all wanted to take the chance. We all wanted to see if we could make it. Some of them have already left, I will leave before some of the others. We will all go back to the regular world. That plain place, the beige world.

Here you can suffer, but nobody really seems to care. There are hardships, but that is true of life in general. At first I hated the dust, I couldn't stand it. Now it is just another part of life. I am coated with it. The other day I was on the Playa flying the quad-line para-foil kite. A dust storm came up from behind and hit me in the back like a fist. I crashed the kit, crouched down, put on my face mask and goggles (requirements in Black Rock City) and waited. I waited for 45 minutes in the middle of a desert for the dust storm to dissipate. I couldn't see more than 10 feet in any direction. It was like praying in the church of the howling wind. It was a hardship, but it was also a new adventure. I knew it would subside, I would recover the kit and come back to Mark and Christy and Neal and all the rest, have a glass of wine, wash myself off with a wet handkerchief and the next day would come with new hardships and adventures.

This is the life that our forefathers knew, this is the life that they talk about in old movies and books. Before the organized rigidity of the city took hold. This is a taste of the covered wagons and riding across the plains, the 45 day trek from Colorado City to San Francisco. They are hardships, but there are rewards at the end.

After all this comes the long journey back home. A journey that will be marked with McDonald's, and Denny's and clean hotel rooms and hot showers with clean towels. Part of me longs for that more than you can imagine, part of me dreads it. Do you want to know what Burning Man is? Burning Man is just life. It is going to the extreme. It is going to the edge and finding out that the edge can be very interesting and different place. But unfortunately, we can't live on the edge forever, we have to return to normalcy. God, I am starting to hate that word.


To view the complete collection of photographs taken at Burning Man that I have posted on Flickr click here.

To visit the Burning Man Website, click on the Blog Title or click here.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Essential Cinema - 8

The Ice Harvest

John Cusack
Billy Bob Thornton
Lara Phillips
Bill Noble
Brad Smith
Ned Bellamy
Connie Nielsen

Harold Ramis

Richard Russo
Robert Benton

Alar Kivilo

"As Wichita Falls, So Falls Wichita Falls", this is the running gag that follows several friends through a long Christmas eve which interweaves their lives into a twisted plot of deceit, blackmail, booze, sex and murder. It is sort of like the adult version of American Graffiti. The players are taking big risks and constantly looking over their shoulder to see if anyone is on their tail. The saga of desperate people seeking a means of escape from the lives they have created.

Escape. Escape from the choices we have made and the lives they have trapped us in. We all wish we had made different choices and often fantasize about making a change that will set things right. However, in the end you don't really know who you can trust and what your friend's motivations are.

Initially, a slow moving story. I wasn't sure exactly where it was going for the first 30 minutes. Most of the beginning was character development and setting the tone for what was to happen later in the film. At first it appears to be a saga of depressing urban life set against the backdrop of Christmas in mid-America. The players suffer from alienation, lying, stealing and cheating and none of them appear happy with their lives. By the second half of the film things start to get interesting. While the resolution of the plot gets to be a little far fetched, the ending is satisfying and somewhat whimsical.

John Cusack in the lead role as Charlie, has a knack for finding characters such as this and he does a damn good job of it. His other films in this genre that come to mind are 'The Grifters' and 'Pushing Tin'. Sort of an every man's alter ego who eventually figures things out.

In the end, the film sinks to the violence and gore genre just a bit. When spattered with blood from the gunshot to the head of your enemy, do folks really wring their hands of blood and mutter 'ow, how gross'? And the conversations with the hit-man locked in the trunk on the way to the river are a bit absurd but rather funny. I walked away from watching this film with a smile on my face, thinking I would have made the same choices that Charlie made. Overall, it was better than I expected.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The New Freak Show

How To Be A Celebrity

Live long enough, and you start to see patterns in everything. The sheer number of tabloids at the supermarket and celebrity news shows on cable are indicative of the public's thirst to be voyeurs to the 'stars'.

Having skimmed many a headline while waiting in the express checkout lane, the patterns start to emerge. I feel as though I am a clairvoyant, since I can pretty much predict what is going to happen to any given celebrity based on this handy flowchart. Its easy, try it yourself.

"Parents" You have to have rich parents or really wacky stage parents to get into show business. Talent won't get you very far. What counts is media saturation. It takes money and agents to get you press. Press gets you airtime. Airtime = Celebrity.

"Crazy Dating" There is a whole industry in Hollywood and New York geared to this. Certain trendy clubs, entourages, and packs of paparazzi roaming the street to document your life. Stumbling toward a limousine at 2am in the morning in a mini-skirt and wearing high heels is a right of passage to be a celebrity.

"Sex Tape" Another requirement is the leaking / divulging of something personal about the celebrity. Garages, dumpsters, glove boxes are all sources. Mind you, these are not accidental. Agents plant these stories or "forget" to pay the storage on rental units so that media can find these items. There is no such thing as bad publicity.

"Drug Use" (altered states), the first (of many) indications that the celebrity is out of control. The public likes to watch their train wrecks...over and over again. Often times accompanied by radical weight-loss or weight-gain.

"Rehab" A car accident isn't required to get here, but it is a good idea for garnering more headlines, since you will be missing in action until they let you out of club 12-step. A stint in rehab as well as clutching a bible afterward is always a good way to impress the judge before your sentencing.

"Plastic Surgery" Again, not a requirement, and probably not even necessary, but it is one of the prerequisites for getting into the club. You have to have a fan base that is guessing about your looks and if they have changed. It is a way of affirming that you are as insecure as your fan base is.

"Crazy Dating-2" This is where one of the infinite lopes comes into play. You can go round and round until you eventually fall off this merry-go-round. Many do. The only way to escape this roller coaster is by death (see car accident / alternate route). Jim Morrison and Grace Kelly took this route. The other way to get out of this loop is to eventually get pregnant (or impregnate someone).

"Wardrobe Malfunction" Is anything but. It is usually the device of the celebrity whose career is failing. It is almost always planned and choreographed for maximum exposure to keep the celebrity in the tabloids for a few more months, but gets old pretty quickly. You can only do it for a short time frame before it loses its shock value.

"Pregnancy / Marriage" They are mutually exclusive and one does not require the other, but they are two distinct photo-opportunities (one lasts 9 months, the other lasts 9 hours). These two events usually signal the end of the first half of the celebrity life-cycle.

"Happy Motherhood" This is only a headline and is usable only when an infant is between 3 and 9 months old. It is a momentary reprieve in the celebrity life before the stars get back to business and the nanny takes over.

"Career Failure" This is when crazy dating and drug use eventually take their toll and the celebrity loses credibility. At this point, a new strategy has to be found to maintain public exposure. Divorce and returning to your hard living ways is always an option. The other option is to continue having children. Additional children put your career on hold and you are basically only famous for producing offspring.

"Redemption/Art House Media/Reality" Eventually, if you can last long enough, all celebrities end up here. Doing media work in what is considered a sustenance level (art house films, low budget work, voice overs and reality / game show contestants).

"Adopting from Africa" A new trend for the 'mature' celebrity who wants to explore their repressed maternal / paternal side. It has the benefit of forgoing the whole pregnancy thing (and keeping your figure) as well as being able to tailor pick what your child looks like to a degree. It also gives and air of compassion and responsibility in your celebrity maturity, but excess in this department can lead to ridicule.

"Feuds and Siblings" or tag on portions of the flow chart where other celebrities with ties to you make inroads into your celebrity in order to further their own careers and obtain media coverage.

New World Order

Things Are Changing

easier to control
Us against them
They weren't like us

What you thought
How you talked
What you said
Wasn't universal

Taught to fear
the unknown
The strange folks
Foreign Cultures

Floodgates opened
300 Baud, Broadband
e-mail, WiFi
Microsoft, Linux, OSX

Everyone is cellular
Part of a grid
The grid is global

We didn't know
Xeng Zhu
20 years ago

Now we send
cell phone pictures
and text messages

His moon is full
Its high noon here
We are now
20 seconds apart

Our governments
think different,
we think the same

The genie is out
consequences unforeseen
Now they are worried

If everyone communicates
The boss loses control
You can't herd cattle,
if the cows are organized

When borders
are just lines on a map
Who do armies fight?

Without the walls
how do you govern?
How do you repress
What everyone thinks.

When global conciseness
replaces global power
Do we speak with one voice
or many?

Fighters and Tanks
can't stop ideas
It isn't us against them anymore
It is just us from now on.