Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Price Paid For Living Like A Good Homo Sapien

Springsteen's admonishment is not 100% true, 100% of the time. Sometimes on at least one of the 57 channels there is something worse than nothing on. Such was the case on Sunday afternoon. Setting aside for a moment DirectTV's willingness to give me for the day for free something I would never pay for in 1,000,000 years, which is their Sunday Ticket package, permitted me to spend about twenty minutes flipping around the dial taking a look at all of the football I would otherwise have been unable to view in the New York area. Twenty minutes was all the time it took to persuade me that I am not missing a damn thing.

Kudos to the folks at HBO for a bit of "counter-programming" in the early afternoon hours on Sunday. I had hoped to stumble across an airing of "Nine Innings from Ground Zero" but instead walked headfirst into "Any Which Way You Can". In the interest of full disclosure, I am compelled to confess that I have been an enormous fan of Clint Eastwood since I was a little boy. I enjoy not just the films in which he is in front of the camera ("The Outlaw Josey Wales"), but also those when is is behind the camera ("Mystic River") or both ("Gran Torino").

That being said, for a period of time from the mid-1970's through 1980 or so, Clint was in a bit of a rut. So much so that he made two fairly lousy films in which one of his co-stars was Ruth Gordon and the other was Clyde the orangutan. As luck would have it, HBO chose to use at its particular pointed stick to thrust into my mind's eye the lesser of the two orangutan movies ("Every Which Way But Loose" is "Unforgiven" by comparison). But for the presence of "Bronco Billy" and "Pink Cadillac" on his resume, "Any Which Way You Can" might be the singlemost dreadful film he has ever made. And no, I do not care how much money he earned from it. Dreck is dreck regardless of its bottom line.

In both movies, Clint's simian co-star engages in some fairly questionable and occasionally amusing behavior. Behavior that presumably would not be tolerated in Malaysia.

In Malaysia these days, Clyde's long-lost sister (no, not really) is all over the news. Apparently, Shirley had been living in a state-run zoo in the southern part of Malaysia and the visitors to her zoo, while being cautioned to not feed the animals, failed to comprehend that giving her a Marlboro or a Pall Mall was against the rules too. If you throw enough lit cigarettes into an orangutan's cage, eventually she starts smoking them. Poor Shirley got hooked. So much so that people report being able to observe discernible mood swings in Shirley when she was Jonesing for some nicotine.

Since my middle seat on the oversold, jammed to the gunwales commuter flight to Hell between two morbidly obese, sweathogs was bought and paid for years ago, 'tis no skin off of my nose to admit that the photograph of Shirley blowing smoke out of her nose did not outrage me. It made me laugh. Truth be told, if she could blow the smoke in the form of rings, Jack Hanna would buy her and take her around the United States making a tour of every late night TV show. But for her inability to form a vowel she is sentenced to a life in Borneo. Poor Shirley.

And alas there is no truth to the rumor - started here of all places - that in Planet of the Apes, Charlton Heston orginally spit out the words, "Take your stinking paws off of my Camels, you damn, dirty ape" only to see the reference to Camels edited out due to licensing concerns. I suppose it would have made Uncle Jim much happier in its unedited form although I suspect we shall never know for certain.

It appears as if Shirley will have to content herself with other traditional Malaysian fare, such as heroin. Here is to hoping that the withdrawal from the nicotine does not kill her....

....and to think, all she was really trying to do was look sophisticated. All over the world, the price of being fashionable remains high. If you have to ask what it is, then you likely do not have the bananas needed to pay it.

Right Shirley?


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