Tag Archives: Life

Man Crush (1 in a series of 25): John Cusack

crush (krush) v. crushed, crush-ing, crush-es  1.  To break, pound, or grind (stone or ore, for example) into small fragments or powder. 2.  To extract or obtain by pressure or squeezing:  crush juice from a grape.

n.  informal 1.  A usually temporary infatuation. 2.  One who is the subject of an infatuation.

Heterosexuality is my most consistent characteristic.  It is as certain as sun up or sun down, as a Starbucks on a street corner near you or the better-luck-next-year of the Chicago Cubs of any season since 1908.

Straight husbands suffering from a quarter life crisis have crushes, too; ours bear a little more sophistication from the teen-aged version:  Sheer lust is replaced by admiration, frantic obsession is muted by respect, candle-light vigils trumped by google searches.

To wit:

The career of a former child star follows a familiar arc:  Fame is sudden and the ascent is meteoric, public consciousness/tolerance reaches a saturation point, the decline is a horrific–albeit spectacular–plummet back to where any social relevance has been reduced to random trivia answers, TV reality programs with a nostalgic bent, or a hallucinogen-induced crime spree .

Then there’s John Cusack.

The native Chicagoan is the rule’s exception, having successfully navigated the treacherous straits of Hollywood burnout.  In the process, he has assembled an impressive, if not prolific, inventory of film credits that even the venerable Michael Caine must view with a spot of envy.

Identifying Cusack as a former teen heart-throb is like preceding ‘addict’ with ‘recovering.’  Cusack seems sensibly rooted in a clever understanding of where he began his career and where it has evolved from.

Cusack has saturated movie audiences with a heavy volume of projects, seemingly releasing a movie every year since 1983.   The recent Hot TubTime Machine demonstrates that he possesses the quality that eludes most entertainers:  He doesn’t take himself too seriously.

More reasons to love John Cusack, in no particular order:

1. He golfs.

2. He contributes to the Huffington Post.

3. He’s made-out with Amanda Peet, Diane Lane, Daphne Zuniga, Ione Skye, Annette Bening, Dianne Wiest, and Minnie Driver.

4. His sister is Joan Cusack.

5. He loves baseball.

6. He made out with Nicolette Sheridan, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Marisa Tomei and Demi Moore.

7. He loves The Clash and The Ramones.

8. He is fearless with his political views.

9. He starred in Being John Malkovich.

10. He made out with Julia Roberts, Catherine Keener, Lisa Bonet, Iben Hjejle, Bridget Moynahan and Kate Beckinsale.

By definition, a crush suggests something fleeting and temporary, yet the  man crush I have for Cusack defies even this description.

Cusack has fanned the flames of my smoldering man crush ever since he portrayed Hoops McCann in One Crazy Summer.

Cusack is a dude’s dude, sharp as a dagger and an icon of film.

Just don’t call him Kevin Spacey (see below).

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Sole Mates?

Exhibit A

Now, husbands and wives fight; it’s what we do.

We quarrel, bicker, contest, spat, battle, debate, argue, retort, oppose, and agitate.

We defend our positions,  present new ideas, and cast our stones.

Sometimes, international decisions hang in the balance (who is ultimately responsible for Haiti’s recovery)?   Other times domestic issues take precedence (is it that hard to separate the whites from the colors)?

So long as there is no physical or mental abuse, it’s completely within the guidelines of what makes a healthy marriage.

But, after a recent scrum with the wife, I needed an outlet.

Shrinks always suggest to their clients to go buy themselves something.  Retail would be my medicine this day; new shoes the remedy.

But what kind of shoe?  Something casual, but not lazy.  Versatile, but not over done.  Fun, but not quirky.

Selection made, I wore them right out of the store to break them in.  I arrived home, curious to see if the wife would notice.

She looked at me, then at my new shoes and froze.

Ha! I detected a pang of jealousy.  I danced my gloat dance.

She could only stare at my feet with a look of complete disbelief.

My gloat dance started to lose steam.  The shoes must have sent her over the edge.

“Do you like them?” I asked.  The gloat dance began anew, a few exploratory steps.

My wife left the room.  What’s she so mad about?  They’re only shoes!

After a moment, she walked back into the room.

On her feet were the newly purchased female version of the exact same shoes (with slightly different color scheme)!

We stared at each other’s feet.

Somewhere, O. Henry shrieked with delight.

Damn it, woman.  It had to be you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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The Year 2010, With a Side of Avocado

Image courtesy of bttf.com

So this is the future, huh?

* sniff* I’m not impressed.  

Sure, I own a car.  It just doesn’t hover, is all.

Yes, I have a home.  Just ignore the fact that it lacks conveyor belts and automatic sliding doors.

I have pets.  They are of the molecular– not titanium steel– variety.  It seems a little archaic, but they are nonetheless quite lovable.  And none of them are named Astro.

I know it’s a bit early in the new year– hell, it’s only January– but isn’t 2010 the year we make contact?

Maybe, my expectations are too high.  Maybe, we’ve reached the summit of humankind’s capacity to evolve.  Or maybe, we’ve reached a saturation point in our intellectual curiosity.

I mean, who gives a sh*t about space travel when we can just Twitter each other about what we had for lunch.

Maybe that will be the theme of the 2010:  Instead of progress, let’s regress!

If we’ve reached the crescendo of human thought, why not start devolving back to our original single-celled form.  Life was so much easier as a protozoa, anyway.

Or maybe, we’ll take a ride down the nostalgia turnpike and revisit each decade in reverse order!

Let’s start with the 80’s, the decade of my misguided youth, where hitchhiking, driving without a seat belt and drinking from your neighbor’s hose was safe and acceptable behavior.

Ah yes, the 80’s.  Transformers were animated and not CG, Magic and Bird were in The Finals and Clear Pepsi was a viable drinking option.  *sigh*

Then we’ll revive the 70’s where first I was afraid I was petrified/ kept thinking I could never live without you by my side/ but I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong/ I grew strong/ I learned how to carry on and so you’re back from outer space/ I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face/ I should have changed my stupid lock/ I should have made you leave your key/ if I had known for just one second you’d be back to bother me.

But, I digress.

What about the sixties?  Where the courageous application of radical thoughts and ideas created a forward thinking momentum that would pave the way for this country to one day choose an African-American president.

Oh, and free love wasn’t bad, either.

So if 2010 is the future– and by every measure of Stanley Kubrick’s undeniable genius, all things indicate that it is– then I’m pretty disappointed.

In this age of information, it seems we know maybe too much about everything.  We have become calloused by our own knowledge; jaded by things that used to cause wonderment; unimpressed by the impressive.

In sum, dear reader, I submit to you that maybe the path to progress is to regress.

Collectively, we should reduce our perspective to that of a three-year old child, when we were enchanted by the world around us and were driven to discover more about it.  We should continue to be romanced by our universe.

Or, if that doesn’t strike your fancy, we can keep things as they are:  If anyone cares to know, I had a turkey sandwich for lunch.

With avocado.

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Trade Secrets Revealed

Houdini once shackled himself in chains, was submerged in a tank of water and escaped in less than a minute.

David Blaine took a stroll down the side of a skyscraper.

David Copperfield convinced that supermodel to marry him.

Impressive efforts, all three.

Read on, dear reader– I’ve done one better.

Be prepared to be astonished; brace yourself for the improbable; be ready to raise an eyebrow and say “damn.”

Behold, the greatest magic trick ever to be perpetrated on mankind:

I have watched an obscene amount of sports on TV this year and have managed to successfully stay married.

(Dramatic pause to let the certain tidal wave of  “oooohhhhs” and “aaaahhhhs” wash over this post).

The proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better can feel your skepticism.  We can sense your disbelief.  We are abundantly aware that despite popular sentiment, not everything you read on the internet is true.

But it is most certainly real.  I can tell you, in breathtaking detail, who has qualified for the NFL playoffs all while an engraved platinum band still rests on my finger.

Marriage and sports can coexist– and we are willing to share our trade secrets with you.

We have tested the method in our state of the art facility (my living room).  We have applied it generously under a variety of conditions (College Bowl Games, Pro Football, NCAA hoops, golf).  We have even adapted our system into a user-friendly format that we have named, during an epiphany of creative genius, the S.A.V.E. method.  It is an acronym for:

S is for set-up.

Possibly the most critical part of the process.  Without a proper set-up the best laid plans of mice and men would be smashed to bits.  Know the day and time of the game.  (NFL note:   Do not assume that your game is on Sunday.  The complex football schedule will squeeze games in on Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.  Is it a local game or out of market?  Morning or afternoon)?

Know the schedule, understand the logistics involved, plan ahead.  Store this knowledge safely into the recesses of your brain, right next to what’s for dinner and don’t forget to take out the trash.

A is for Approach.

It’s go time.  With your knowledge of the schedule neatly tucked away plan which game you really want to see.  (Don’t get greedy!  You can’t see ’em all)!  Tell the wife, well in advance, that you plan on watching your chosen game.  Don’t dance around the subject– be direct.  She will appreciate your advance planning and will be impressed by your consideration of her time.

Tread lightly, dear reader, for timing is crucial.  If her favorite couple gets booted off of Dancing With The Stars or if those handbags she’s been keeping her eye on are no longer on sale, abort mission.  I repeat, abort mission!

V is for Value.

Help the wife to understand the importance of the game.    Tell her what’s at stake.  Will a champion be crowned?   Does an invite to the playoffs hang in the balance?  The more value attached to the game, the more likely it becomes that she will accept your need to be a captive audience member.

Remember, this is where salesmanship is at a premium.  Placing value on the game can cover a wide range of popular subjects:  Is a favorite actress of hers dating the star quarterback?  Plug it.  Isn’t that defensive end the guy from Dancing With The Stars?  Plug it.  Aren’t they playing in San Francisco, the city that she loves to visit?  Plug away.

Maybe you’ll even convince her to watch the game with you.  Hell, it just may be the start of an activity that you’ll share together.
This may not be such a bad alternative– just so long as you are able to see the action.

Note: At no time during the approach and value stage should you whine, snivel or pout.  When executed properly, you will advance to the final level…

E is for Enjoy the Game.

Spoil yourself with the fruits of your labor.  Kick up your feet.  Crank up the volume.  Guzzle a cold one.  You’ve done your due diligence, so watch your chosen game with the uninterrupted peace that you’ve created.

WarningBe certain that such behavior is not conducted within plain view of the wife.  Poor sportsmanship or excessive celebration may jeopardize future athletic viewership.

Suck, my life does not.

In summary, dear reader, the proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better implore you to try this battle-tested system, which has been made publicly available just in time for the NFL playoffs.    What have you got to lose?

It may just S.A.V.E. your marriage.

The proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better assumes no liability for the poor application or general misuse of the above described method. Results may vary. Actions outside of this method should be conducted at your own peril. May cause rash or irritation.  Discontinue use and call a doctor if symptoms persist. Use as directed.

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‘Tis The Season To Prove Your Manhood

O, what a tangled web we weave!

I’m all for gender equality.  I’m completely comfortable in a world where men wear pink and women sport blue; where women mow the lawn and men wash the dishes; where women crop their hair and men wear ponytails.

But even in a world as diverse and flexible as ours, there are certain activities that require a specific division of labor.  In my universe, there are things that I would not ask or expect my wife to do.

As liberal as I can be, I see it as my MANLY DUTY to perform the following list of tasks, no questions asked:

1.  Take out the trash.

2.  When in the car together, I drive.

These things have always been assumed; they are intrinsic to both of us.  We have never had a discussion about it, nor do I expect to have a discussion about it. They are automatic.  Simply, it is what a man does.

Well, dear reader, that short list of required man things just got a bit longer.  The list now reads:

1.  You still take out the trash.

2.  I don’t care how little sleep you’ve had, you are still driving.

AND

3.  Hang Holiday Lights on the House

The above words were my exact thoughts as I stood balanced at the top of a rickety expandable ladder, a tangled cord of holiday lights in one hand and a staple gun in the other.  That, and Shit!  Don’t look down… just concentrate on what you are doing… what a great post this would make… don’t look down…

From my vantage point, my wife looked like a miniature version of herself at the top of the driveway, blanket over her shoulders, nursing a hot mug of coffee.  She watched me defy gravity, risking life and limb for the entertainment of the entire neighborhood.

“Damn, it’s cold out here,” she said as she disappeared back into the house, leaving me during the pinnacle of my life and death struggle.

All in the name of holiday cheer.

I called down to my brother-in-law, who was holding the base of the ladder.

“My life is in your hands.”  He didn’t answer right away, which made me wonder if he took my words as the statement that it was, or a direction.

The ladder shook.

*   *   *

Back on Earth, with the ground firmly beneath me, I looked up at the house to admire the final outcome:  Not quite the Griswold’s, but a noble effort nonetheless.  Our lights burned into the night, boasting to the rest of the community of the holiday spirit that lived within.

A neighbor down the street, in the process of hanging his own lights, nodded his approval at me.  Our next door neighbor called over at me.  “I’ve got to do that tomorrow,”  he said.  “I leave for a business trip next week, so I promised the wife that I’d hang our lights before I flew out.”

“That’s what we do,”  I called back, meaning, that is our manly duty.

He caught my drift.  “It’s what we do,” he echoed before driving off to the store to stock up on his own holiday lights.

Satisfied, I strolled into the house, logged on to the laptop and started this post.

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The ‘State of the Blog’ Address

Sez Me Street

2009 milestones:

Sesame Street turns 40.

The Berlin Wall came down 20 years ago.

Bacon Makes It Better receives its 3ooth visit.

It’s been said that maintaining a blog is a lot like a visit to the Grand Canyon; you shout your viewpoint into the open abyss, hoping for an intelligent reply, but the only thing you get in return is the sound of your own voice.

It is an apt comparison.

The proprietors of Bacon Makes It Better understand this frustration.  The daily ritual of checking the Blog Stats on the Dashboard can feel like studying the charts of a cardiac arrest victim.  My graphs would flatline for what seemed miles, taunting me in every measure, like a visual model of my own lifeless writing career.

I started to think maybe, I should just give up this blogging thing. My ‘fight or flight’ instinct was leaning towards the latter.

Then something funny happened.

Someone– other than my wife– actually read my blog!  Days later another poor soul stumbled upon my site.  Then another.  And another.  Soon, comments appeared and asked for my moderation.

If being an artist means that you’re able to provoke an emotional response with your chosen medium– my blog posts, in this case– then mission accomplished.  I’m ready to get all bohemian, start shopping for ascots and chop off my ear in the name of art.

But I’m not quite finished yet.  There’s still so much to write about; I feel like I’m just getting warmed up.

In this special edition post, I’d like to recognize the key moments in the short lifespan of Bacon Makes It Better:

Most popular post

1st Place- Pick a Team, Any Team.

2nd Place- Deja Vu All Over Again Or:  How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Accept The Yankees.

Most Controversial Post- Flower Power.  It’s all in good fun honey.  Honey?

First Ever Comment- Wretcheddollface about Magic In a Bottle.

Favorite Comment (Tie)- Shoutsfromtheabyss about The Obligatory Holloween Post:  An Open Letter to the Trick or Treaters in my ‘Hood.

Most Honored Guest- Donald Mills from Crabbyoldfart.

Most Frequent Visitor- Olympus Monz.

Favorite Accidental Visitor- The person who did a google search for “How do you say ‘trick or treat’ in Swedish.”  This search brought them to this post.  Hope you found what you were looking for.

Favorite Tag That Generated Traffic- R. Kelly tag for An Open Letter To The Swiss:  First You Poke Holes In My Cheese, Now This? Not quite what you expected, huh?

Best Avatar- The Burger King Head from Chappy81 aka Doin’ Work.

Most Bitter Comment- LuisJPena regarding Angel Baseball Fans on Deja Vu All Over Again Or:  How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Accept The Yankees.

Personal Favorite All-Time Post- Greetings From Antarctica:  An Open Letter To The International Olympic Committee.

Thanks, for making Bacon Makes It Better the runaway success that it is!

All ten of you.

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The Box: A Telepathic Movie Review

Dude, where's my career?

telepathy:  (Greek origin)  The sympathetic affection of one mind by the thoughts, feelings or emotions of another at a distance, without communicating through the normal channels of sensation.

In my high school days, The Book of Questions was a sensation.  The book confronted the reader with an endless stream of questions that challenged one’s moral judgment and ethical make-up.

The questions in the book were usually phrased in such a manner, or some approximation, to the following:  If you had the ability to kill a complete stranger in a unique manner– like say, pressing a red button on a mystical box–  in exchange for a million dollars, would you do it?

My buddies and I would gather ’round and pose these questions to each other; our responses were dissected and laid bare for all to criticize.

Controlled substances were optional.

It was a great way to pass the time and delude ourselves into believing we were complex and sophisticated thinkers.

Little did I know that in 2009, popular culture would try to pull that sh*t on me again, this time in the form of the movie called “The Box.”

Disclaimer:  I have not seen the movie “THE BOX”, nor do I have any desire to see it.  I have no affiliation or vested interest in the success or failure of this movie. See * page of this blog.  Nonetheless, I will review this movie with a wink and a hunch.

Five years down the road when I’m having trouble sleeping at 2 in the morning for whatever reason and the only other viewing alternative is some Tyler Perry suckfest on TBS or the late local news and a Seinfeld re-run is a half-hour away.  I have just described the only conditions where I might see any glimpse of this atrocious excuse for a movie called “The Box.”

Spoiler alert!  Do not attempt to read any further!  Spoiler alert!

1. It’s a flimsy star vehicle. They tried to seduce us by casting Cameron Diaz to salvage this mess.  Her career trajectory hasn’t exactly been upwardly mobile these days.  The producers could have found better insurance from that talking lizard.

2. The first twenty minutes of the movie is devoted to boring characterization scenes.  In order for the movie to function we have to buy into the notion that the main character is totally sympathetic and completely redemptive.  Again, Cameron Diaz as insurance.

3. Be prepared for Cameron Diaz in impeccable make-up, soft fill lighting with plenty of obnoxious close-ups as the director has proactively shot the movie in a user friendly film ratio to aid the inevitable data transfer from big screen to TV screen.

4. Despite the seemingly insurmountable moral dilemma that the trailer is projecting, Cameron Diaz will press the red button in the box.  Of course she does.

5. The person that will die as a result of her pressing the red button in the box will have eventual implications on her life.  The only suspense here is if the audience will still be awake or coherent enough to find out.

Let’s recap:

The movie “The Box.”  Why bother?

Here at Bacon Makes It Better, we don’t just rant, we offer solutions, too:

Top Five Things To Do Instead of Paying Good Money To See “The Box”

5. Clean out storm drains.

4. Visit your dentist.

3. Watch something else.  Anything else.

2. Go to the DMV.

1. Stab your eyes out with a rusty screwdriver.

Look!  I’m a film critic/ movie going consultant!

That’ll be $8.50, please.

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