Monthly Archives: May 2010

Salon’s Matt Zoller Seitz hates superhero movies:

The comic book film has become a gravy train to nowhere. The genre cranks up directors’ box office averages and keeps offbeat actors fully employed for years at a stretch by dutifully replicating (with precious few exceptions) the least interesting, least exciting elements of its source material; spicing up otherwise rote superhero vs. supervillain storylines with “complications” and “revisions” (scare quotes intentional) that the filmmakers, for reasons of fiduciary duty, cannot properly investigate; and delivering amusing characterizations, dense stories or stunning visuals while typically failing to combine those aspects into a satisfying whole.

Contra Seitz, I disagree about the quality of superhero movies that have been coming out. In fact, I think that one of the reasons they have become such mainstays is that after twenty years they finally figured out how to make these movies. They’ve been catching up ever since. I mean, these movies are not high art. But they’re not throwaway either. For a cartoon analogy, compare He-Man to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Airbender isn’t exactly high art, but it’s obvious that between then and now studios have finally figured out how to make this stuff good. Good for what it is, anyway.

Seitz comes at this from the perspective of a movie critic and movie critics come at movies from a different perspective than the general audience. When you see so many movies, a movie’s originality takes on a whole lot more importance. Formulas become not just a negative, but actively painful. Formulaic-but-good becomes an oxymoron or sorts. I also have an appreciation for the different. It’s one of the reasons that I stopped watching superhero movies as they came out unless it was a character I really wanted to see or it was highly recommended. But that doesn’t make the movies I am not seeing bad. Nor is it, I think, damning of the genre itself.

This is the part where superhero movie fans say “If you don’t like them then don’t watch them.” The problem is that, as Ross Douthat points out, they’re affecting cinema whether you’re watching them or not.

It’s a good question, but of course once you start asking questions like that it’s a pretty short leap to wondering why we couldn’t have a movie about a Tony Stark-like figure — say, a screwball comedy about a billionaire’s romance with his omnicompetent assistant, which is basically the best thing about the “Iron Man” franchise anyway — in which he isn’t a superhero at all. And from there, it’s an even shorter leap to questions like, “what kind of movies would a clean-and-sober Robert Downey, Jr. be making if he wasn’t already signed up for ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Iron Man 3’ and the sequel to last’s year ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (which was basically a superhero flick dressed up in Victoriana)”? Or “what kind of films might Jon Favreau/Bryan Singer/Sam Raimi/Christopher Nolan have directed if they hadn’t been sucked into the superhero vortex”? Or “wouldn’t it have been nice to see a Heath Ledger/Christian Bale confrontation in which they weren’t saddled with the grim conventions of the comic-book blockbuster?” Or … well, you get the idea.

In this sense, I think that superhero movies are a sign of a larger problem. The studios are risk-averse and little without an automatic audience is getting made. Comic books have that audience. So do remakes. Further, they want a little something for everybody. Superhero movies are actually a somewhat flexible genre. They can have great romantic angles, fantasy origins, scientific origins, straight up action origins. You’ll notice that most of those appeal to a particular audience, but that’s another factor in and of itself.

The movie audience has changed. While I am skeptical of TV advertisers claiming that the young and hip demographics are the most important, I believe it when it comes to movies. As home entertainment systems get better and better, educated professionals see take themselves more and more out of the theater-going demographic. You’re left with a larger portion of your audience as young people looking for somewhere to go to, young adults with the movie for moving tickets but not surround-sound in their house, and older people that never became educated professionals. That’s not to say that smart folks over 30 have stopped seeing movies entirely, but they’re not as strong a demographic as they used to be. They are for television, though, which is why television is increasingly becoming the medium for higher art.

Category: Theater

Arapaho is Mountain Dew country. You go to any convenience store and you see more real estate given the Mountain Dew than you see to Coca-Cola or Pepsi. Unfortunately, Arapaho is also partial to homogeneity. They like things plain. Nearly every restaurant in Callie is a burger place. Even the Mexican restaurants here eschew spicy. I could go on and on, but this has repercussions when it comes to Mountain Dew. Namely, they have rows of the stuff but they only have one flavor. Sometimes they don’t even have diet available, much less Code Red, Voltage or (dare to even hope) Livewire. Oh, well they do have the Throwback stuff, so maybe that’s taking up the slots they’d otherwise be giving Diet or Code Red.

I am a big fan of Mountain Dew Livewire. Unfortunately, during my tenure in Deseret it was nowhere to be found. Coworkers at Falstaff would let each other know when we were crossing state lines to get some. Whomever is in charge of Deseret distribution apparently really doesn’t like the stuff. Arapaho seems to be in the same orbit, except that because of the above it’s also missing Code Red and Voltage.

Mountain Dew has recently begun its second Dewmocracy, where they introduce three flavors and allow people to vote on which one to keep. The last time they did this gave us Voltage, though I liked all three options. Unfortunately, Arapaho is undewmocratic because the three flavors are nowhere in sight at convenient stores. Absent some sort of sale, the prices at Safeway are extremely high and the sale they were running was only if you stock up on the same product (no “mix and match” between Pepsi products). So I had an itch to try some of these new Mountain Dew flavors but no means with which to do so.

While driving my route for the Bureau, I stopped at a convenience store in Bass. Much to my shock and amazement, they had Mountain Dew Game Fuel. I never cared all that much for Game Fuel, but it was still at least something different. So I got it and it was my prized possession. I held on to it a couple days for an opportunity that I knew I would be able to completely enjoy it. And… it was flat. It had a sell-by date from last November.

Fortunately, last night I stopped by Safeway and they had a mix and match special going. So I bought all three. Here are my thoughts, for anyone interested:

  • Whiteout – It’s billed as smooth citrus. The smooth (which is really just sweetness) kind of overwhelms the citrus, though. I think it’s too sweet, honestly. Kind of cool that it was actually white rather than clear as I had expected.
  • Distortion – My ex-roommate Dennis called it. It’s like Mountain Dew Baja Blast that they sell exclusively at Taco Bell. I didn’t like Baja Blast when it first came out but it grew on me. Distortion, possibly by virtue of it following the too-sweet Whiteout, I liked coming right out of the can.
  • Typhoon – Very fruity. My least favorite of the three. Whiteout grew on me after a little while but Typhoon really hasn’t. It honestly reminds me of the cheap sugarwater juice that Mom used to pack in my lunch when I was younger.

Right now the vote is tilting in favor of Whiteout. Typhoon follows closely behind. Distortion is toast. Oklahoma and Arkansas are apparently Distortion’s base. Whiteout is carrying few states, but they are dominating California and running up a serious total there. Of course. Now I’m thinking that I might start need to voting strategically. Since Distortion can’t win and Whiteout is the more preferable of the two, do I pick the lesser of evils? Or do I say “I don’t need another flavor of Mountain Dew” and vote my conscience?

Back in the early days of Hit Coffee, there was a vote at my former employer. Winning that vote probably ended up gaining me 10 or 15 pounds. Free soft drink fountains are bad for you. Especially when they have Mountain Dew.

Category: Kitchen

An interesting story about Elie Wiesel (artist and Holocaust survivor) objecting to being a character in a fictional play despite being portrayed as the exemplar of decency and morality:

[Playwright Deb Margolin] says she used Wiesel’s persona in her three-character play (which includes Madoff’s secretary) because “his name is synonymous with decency, morality, the struggle for human dignity and kindness, and in contrast to the most notorious financial criminal in the past 200 years. That’s why he was there, and I felt I had treated his character with great respect — the respect that I genuinely have felt for him.”

The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity had all its assets, $15.2 million, invested with Madoff and lost them when the Ponzi scheme unraveled. In addition, Wiesel personally lost several million dollars to Madoff.

Theater J Artistic Director Ari Roth said the Wiesel Foundation was uncomfortable with having its founder’s name used in the play, but early on Wiesel had not objected. “It wasn’t until Wiesel read the play and found it to be exactly as Deb purported, a work of fiction . . . [that] Wiesel didn’t consent to it,” Roth says.

It reminds me a bit of a difficult conversation I had a few years ago with Evangeline about a blog I was writing at the time. I had given her a pseudonym then as now, but unlike now the readership largely consisted of people that knew her. As such, mutual friend Kelvin had discovered the site and I needed to tell her about it before he did. She was not depicted as evil, but she was depicted as someone that had treated me poorly and left me in a pretty wrecked state. It was kind of the opposite of Wiesel in that the portrayal was mostly accurate but her persona was not specifically her. And unlike Wiesel, she was definitely not portrayed as an exemplar of decency.

Anyhow, after I explained it to her, she actually had no problem with it and looked forward to reading it. She said, “I am a creature of ego and not self-esteem.”

Despite the many differences with Wiesel, my mind makes the connection because of that distinction. Despite the fact that Wiesel was portrayed positively and his presence was put in a place that it never was in real life, he objected to it. He didn’t need the ego injection that Evangeline did, I suppose. The sense of being important – whether as the villain or the hero.

From a writers’ standpoint, it’s an interesting question what liberties we are and are not allowed to take. What kind of protection should celebrities and public officials have in protecting their likeness from being fictitiously portrayed? What kind of protection should private citizens have? And on citizens and public personalities, at what point does a fictional portrayal become capitalizing on someone else’s likeness, which is something we generally frown down upon. Living in a predominantly black neighborhood, Obama’s likeness was everywhere and available on every possible article of clothing. A movie was made about a fictional assassination of George W. Bush but that was okay because it was art. And obviously, a lot was fictionalized in Oliver Stone’s W. and Nixon for the sake of story. And that’s okay because, again, it’s art.

Is it different for public officials than it is for celebrities? The show 30 Rock had a plot where Jenna was going to play Janis Joplin in a biopic but they couldn’t secure the rights. What kind of rights are required (other than the rights to Joplin’s music, which the show addressed differently)? Or was 30 Rock just having fun with copyright elements that don’t actually exist?

For a writer, I really don’t know the answers to any of these questions and more like I probably should. I am in the camp of fictionalizing as much as possible. This is not news to Hit Coffee readers, but it’s also true in my fiction. The President, if portrayed, is never the actual president unless he absolutely has to be. Microsoft doesn’t exist. The movie stars will never be Tom Hanks and the dirty celebrities Paris Hilton unless it’s such a passing reference that I need the instant recognition.

Category: Theater

Arapaho is a Rights Restorative State, which means that felons get back their right to vote and participate in the system once their sentence is complete. In my view, this should be the case in all states. I might be more sympathetic to barring felons to vote if felonies were still limited to only the worst of the worst crimes. I was on the fence on this issue until I lived in Belle Rieve for a while and got to know people that would never again be allowed to vote or run for office (in Deseret, anyway) because of a mistake they made when they were 18 or 19.

I only know about Arapaho’s law because there is a local state assembly race that has garnered some statewide attention. One of the candidates, Steve O’Reilly is on something called the Violent Offender’s Registry. Arapaho’s sense of forgiveness apparently only goes so far. Far from being a fringe candidate, he has been endorsed by some powerful conservative groups in the state. The current assemblyman, who happens to be the brother of the first real estate agent we talked to in the area, has a reputation for being something of a squishy moderate.

O’Reilly attributes his crime (the equivalent of a bar fight, except that he found something within arm’s reach to use as a weapon) to an alcoholism he has since conquered. In addition to being an independent businessman, he has apparently been doing some good works in the area. He can appeal to be removed from the VOR, which he evidently plans to do.

I haven’t decided whether I am even going to vote in the next round of current elections. I haven’t really been in the area long enough to know the issues at play. But the Rights Restoration issue is another in a string of rather pleasant things I have discovered with regard to state law that make me feel better to be an Arapahoan than I expected.

One of the last things I read last night was a comment on a blog that said “DUDE! You weren’t watching Lost?! I was busy getting my mind blown. It was Claire the whole time?! What the f*ing Hell!” Knowing that the Internet was discussing the final episode of Lost that I had not seen yet, I determined that the Internet was a dangerous place to be.

Now, I didn’t know what to make of the comment about Claire. I pass it on precisely because I can inform you that nothing was ruined by that comment. I half thought at the time that it was mostly a head fake. But the next one might not be. So I spent the entire day off the Internet except for an email I sent. It turned out well because there was something that I really needed to get done. The downside is that Hit Coffee was dormant. Anyway, so lest anyone fear because I did not do my weekly Ghostland post and was silent all day today, all is right with the world.

I discovered right after having watched said episode of Lost that a friend of mind apparently ceased to exist. I know this because his Facebook profile was gone. And as we all know, if you don’t exist on Facebook you don’t exist. Fortunately, I got a Friend request from someone with the exact same name and a profile picture that was shockingly similar to my departed friend’s. So I don’t think that the old guy will be missed.

As for the episode itself… I need to think on it more before sharing my thoughts.

UPDATE: Uh oh, the third website I went to was Galley Slaves, where they had a post up about the season finale of Fringe, which I have not yet seen.

Category: Server Room, Theater

Category: Theater

A while back, Stan (OneSTDV) wrote a post about odd and unusual baby names and what they mean:

But as with most SWPL phenomenon, this younger cohort is mirroring black behavior in a parallel opposition to mainstream white culture. Extreme Hollywood examples such as “Apple”, “Suri”, and “Pilot Inspektor” reflect a growing trend amongst the SWPL class. These effete urbanites eschew mainstream/traditional choices in favor of “unique” and “special” names like Aiden, Elijah, Jayden, Nevaeh, Makayla, and Hannah. Are these choices outrageous? Not really, but they represent a conscious effort to individualize their children by opposing “boring” names that harbor historical sentiment.

I think that there is something to what he’s saying, but I think that he over-universalizes it. Frequently the names are not attempts at individuality at all but are simply following the pack. They heard a name, they like it, they apply it to their child. At least, I believe that’s the case for a lot of the names that he mentions. Elijah and Hannah are in the Bible and names don’t go back much further than that. The fact that they have a sudden resurgence has a lot more to do with herd behavior than an individuality banner.

I think for some of the really original names, that goes under the individuality banner. I don’t know how much of that is actual hostility towards middle America and what is not. When it comes to African-Americans, it obviously plays a role. That they would be unenthusiastic about perpetuating names from a culture with whom they have had a historically contentious relationship is no surprise. With swipples, I think it’s more of a mixed thing. I think some do want to distance themselves from middle America, though I have to say that it has always been thus. Names work their way down the SES-chain. In some cases, it’s less about differentiating from Middle America as it is differentiating from People Poorer Than You. The ultimate rebellion against middle America would be to adopt names that are a poke in the eye of their perceived enemy. If they really wanted to state their opposition to American culture, they’d adopt black names. Few, however, do. That’s why I think it has more to do with basic class dynamics than it does a desire to differentiate themselves from one particular group (“Middle America”). Even though it would not be inappropriate, I would be surprised if we have a whole lot of white Baracks graduating high school 20 years from now. And that guy is not only hated by the people they are supposed t0 be hating, he’s the President of the United States.

And another puncture in the theory is that it’s not just poor blacks and rich white swipples that are adopting these names. The first time I was introduced to a lot of outlandish names, it was in… Deseret. Not rich. Very white. Not hostile to middle America. 70% Republican. And no, they weren’t specifically Mormon names. Indeed, it wasn’t just the Mormons doing it.

Heather Horn from The Atlantic has another interesting post on “original baby names” in which it points out… they’re not that original. Not just insofar as they’re copying others by trying to break the baby norm, but the names follow certain patterns:

You end up with those six names that rhyme with Aidan in the top 100 names of the 2000s, and 38 of them, from Aaden to Zayden, in the top 1,000. The irony is that classic English names such as George and Edward, Margaret and Alice — the names that used to be standard-bearers — all have distinctive sounds. They aren’t prisoners to phonetic fashion; each of them sounds instantly recognizable. Contemporary names, by contrast, travel in phonetic packs. More than a third of American boys now receive a name ending in the letter N. (In decades past, the most popular boys’ names were more evenly split between a number of endings, including D, L, S and Y.)

This strikes at the one reason that I am ambivalent to unique names. Basically, there is value in throwing more names into the mix. As someone whose had name(s) shared with classmates throughout school, I can appreciate the diminished confusion by adding a Laetwyn in with a Lenny. Of course, it’s never worked out that way and the result is that you get classes with 27 Jennifers (a name that was not all that common before) and 15 Jasons. But I thought that the names that were punched up at least offered an alternative to that. Even they, though, have become entirely contrived.

Category: Coffeehouse

Memo to Mozilla,

It’s great that you’re doing all of this legwork about how to improve Firefox. I have an alternate proposal: before worrying about improving, fix whatever the heck is wrong with it! It’s finally reached the point that I can barely recommend Firefox to anyone anymore. It’s not like it used to be with few other options. Internet Explorer has suddenly become a pretty good browser. Google Chrome is pretty cool, too, and is expanding it’s plug-ins at a pretty rapid clip. Meanwhile, it’s gotten to the point that if my computer has stopped responding with reasonable diligence, closing Firefox is the first thing I do and it fixes the problem 90% of the time. Even right now, with only 14 tabs open and a window I opened just a few hours ago (and no instances of Adobe Flash open), you are taking up 65% of my CPU usage and nearly a gigabyte of RAM. I know I type fast, but I do not type that fast. This is unacceptable. It did not used to be this way.


Memo to Plantronics,

Your Explorer 330 Bluetooth headset is the best Bluetooth headset the market has seen before or sense. Why, oh, why, did you stop making it?


Memo to Verizon,

Just because I am now your customer does not mean I have decided to stop hating you.


Memo to Garmin GPS Maker,

I wish you would allow me to set View Map as a default. Instead, you put up a screen asking if I want to View Map or Find Route. It’s a fair question. Sometimes I do want to Find Route and other times I just want to View Map. However, if I want to Find Route I can hit the screen an extra time to get to that menu. Really. I can. It’s not likely to create any greater a safety risk because if I am going to find a route I am going to be focused on the GPS anyway. Anyway, while sometimes I want to Find Route and sometimes I want to View Map, I never want the device to simply ask the question indefinitely. At the very least, switch to the map after two minutes of no response. Or add a feature for it to turn off. Cause sometimes I don’t want to use the GPS, and sometimes I want to Find Route, and sometimes I want to View Map, but I repeat I never want that question just sitting there indefinitely.


Memo to Bloggers and Website Administrators,

Unless you’re actually updating your blog every five minute, you do not need the blog to refresh every five minutes. I can hit F5 for myself.


Memo to Electronics Makers Everywhere

Stop the LED abuse! Do not underestimate the power of LED! The power splitter for my car has an LED that lights up the entire car at night. My old Pocket PC docking station had an LED so powerful I had to place black electrical tape over it and it’s still distracting.

Category: Market

One of the attendees of my church growing up, Humboldt Ford was something of a local big to-do. He was a black man that had to overcome a lot to get where he got. Raised in the South, in order to get an appointment to a military academy he had to get an endorsement from a congressperson from the midwest. He made an interesting point about his experiences in the South and in the North. He said that being in the North made him a lot more nervous when he was younger. Why? Because in the South, as unacceptable as the rules were, he knew what they were. With gritted teeth, he could follow them. He knew what restrooms to use. He knew what he could and could not say. In the North, a lot of people had a lot more liberal attitudes and he could do a lot more. The problem was that the rules would be unevenly applied and what was acceptable in one place would get him hurled epithets and threats in another. So he ended up following the rules of the South wherever he was.

The above story should not be considered an apology for the South. On the whole, we had to reach the inconsistency of the North as a middle ground to minorities being able to do everything they’re rightfully allowed to do today.

Rather, it reminds me of some of the values of social norms. The most obvious value is when they encourage good behavior. Few would contest that there is value in that except to the extent to which we can agree what “good behavior” consists of. Norms also hold great value in those with the influence to be able to set them. I mean, you get to tell people to do what you want! But sometimes the norms are pretty neutral. Or they can be extremely negative, grossly unfair validating behavior that should be unacceptable. But when that’s the case, the problems are with the norms themselves instead of their existence.

Seems pretty straightforward, doesn’t it? What about those norms, however, that are either completely arbitrary or difficult to really justify on an objective basis? Those kinds of these where we look at the people trying to enforce them and want to say “Oh, come on, just deal.”

When Mom was raised, it was common for young ladies to go to finishing school where they would learn how properly to be a lady. A good portion of the instruction there involves teaching things that are, in the end, of pretty minimal importance. The objective rationale for never putting your elbows on the table or holding your fork just so are pretty weak.

Fashion norms are themselves are often completely arbitrary. How should you dress? Well it changes from one decade (or shorter) to the next. We judge one another on how we dress not by any objective criteria but rather by how it fits in to a bunch of arbitrary norms. Middle-aged conservative folks see a kid with a dog collar and role their eyes even though a collar is objectively not much different from a necklace. And the kid wears the collar precisely because she wants to be seen that way (whether she admits it or not). All of these communications take place because of shared norms. Arbitrary ones.

In the last half-century or so, there has been a gradual shift away from respecting cultural norms and considering their arbitrariness to be a reason to ignore them. Society obviously has not succeeded in this venture, as the collar demonstrates, but significant headway has been made.

This benefits the individual insofar as they can look, dress, and act as they prefer with far less harassment than they might have seen in yesteryear. This is the upside. The downside, however, is that with loosened cultural norms, it becomes much more difficult for people to know how to behave in the most socially acceptable way. It creates a sort of chaotic landscape.

Dressing and acting however you want, even when you’re not hurting anyone else, will never be entirely okay. There will always be a segment of the population that wants its norms. There will always be a segment of the population that considers what they and those around them do – whatever they and those around them do – to be normal. These are variations as to what has always been the case.

But one thing that is done is that in a void of shared, arbitrary norms of acceptable behavior, acceptable behavior can be conveniently defined and redefined and enforced in an even more arbitrary manner. So in the old way of thinking, wearing a hat indoors was impolite. In the new way of thinking, it’s polite. Until someone you don’t like does it, then you can suddenly decide to enforce that norm as you talk about him behind his back with a bunch of friends that can’t really remember or don’t care that they have done the same. And even if it’s pointed out to them, they can draw whatever arbitrary distinctions that they want.

At least when society draws its arbitrary norms and distinctions, it’s something collectively agreed upon by a group of (granted, wholly unrepresentative) people. People can write a book about it. People that want to know what to do in “polite company” can read that book. It can be taught in finishing school. While these norms were typically written by the privileged, it gave the outsiders an opportunity to learn and abide by them. They probably wouldn’t get it right, but they could try.

In a world where arbitrary norms are derided, they rules can be written and rewritten as often as is convenient for the keep the walls as erected as possible between acceptable people doing acceptable things and unacceptable people doing unacceptable things. Dressing correctly shifts away from standards that can be adhered to and be defined entirely by who is and is not engaging in them. By the time people far down the social pole get word, you can change it all over again. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that as communication has increased, fashion not-quite-norms shift faster and faster to the point that it’s impossible to keep up.

By and large, chaos benefits the powerful. Kids in black and red shirts saying “ANARCHY RULEZ!” are often the very losers who would fare the worst in a more anarchic environment. Rather than creating an environment where the norms of the least among us would be regarded as just as legitimate as those among the most powerful, it creates a system where acceptable behavior is defined precisely around who is doing what. Even if there are no right and wrong things, people will make darn sure there are right and wrong people.

We can’t bring down barriers and norms until and unless we can actually get people on board. When being considered too judgmental (even and especially on arbitrary things) is a bad thing, you get people that quietly judge (which is unfair to the judged because they don’t even know how they are falling short) and you get those that make a big point of judging to be disagreeable and to register their protest at their preferred state of affairs being challenged. The latter folks are often asshats by nature, thus further silencing the first group.

Of course, when a social norm is affirmatively wrong and needs to be challenged, you have to plow forward. It’s hard to argue that a period in time where Humboldt Ford doesn’t entirely know how to act isn’t worth it for Hum Ford to accept a high-level appointment in the administration of the first black president. When a social norm is affirmatively right, it should be defended. In the in between, though? Sometimes having arbitrary-but-harmless rules is better than not.

Category: Coffeehouse

The subject of gifted and talented programs has been coming up, which reminds me of the story of Lamar Heston and the Superstars program. The Superstars program was a Southfield-Mayne Regional School District invention that took the brightest kids from each of the district’s elementary schools and, once a week, bussed them out to take an afternoon of classes together. West Oak Elementary School had four slots, two for boys and two for girls.

My older brothers are both in the same grade. There was no way that two brothers were going to be chosen for the two slots, so Mom didn’t expect both to get in. She wouldn’t have been surprised if neither got in. She was a bit surprised that of the two Truman boys it was the lower-achieving Oliver that got in rather than Mitch. Ollie was an achiever, but not in any standout sort of way. Indeed, the reason that he was in the same grade as his younger brother was that he was held back a year (for maturity rather than academic reasons, but still). That, however, wasn’t nearly as much of a surprise as the inclusion of Lamar Heston.

The main thing that you need to know about Lamar Heston is that the last time I saw him, two years ago, he worked at Wendy’s. And not because he was a Rick Rosner, not in a position of authority, and not because of any temporary setback. He wasn’t a terrible student, but he had some pretty serious behavioral and attitudinal problems. To say the least. Not only was he working at Wendy’s in his mid-30’s but nobody I know that knows him is surprised that he is working at Wendy’s in his mid-30’s.

Mom was baffled. She was actually somewhat indifferent to her kids getting into the Superstars program because she was concerned about our being too sheltered. But why Ollie over Mitch? And why the hell Lamar? The answer was pretty simple and you have probably already figured it out. Mitch was perfectly behaved and Ollie was a chatterbox with an attention problem. Oh, and Lamar was a disciplinary nightmare. Why the hell should the teacher put up with Ollie and (to a much, much greater extent) Lamar if she doesn’t have to? Lamar was black and possibly the only black kid there and there was nobody in the Superstars program that was going to single him out as undeserving of being there.

The next year Mitch and a similarly bright student were invited into the Superstars program. Mom declined.

When I was going through, they actually had three boys and three girls. The main reason being is that they couldn’t just accept the Weatherby Brothers and they couldn’t pick between the identical twins.

Category: Ghostland, School