Thanks A Lot 

Already, another year rushes to a close, but before we become swallowed up in the Christmas consumer machine, we still have a chance to reflect on what’s been good this year—or maybe better put, what we’ve got to be thankful for. This is an important distinction: I know that, as I dig in on stuffing (from the bird, naturally), I’ll be thankful for Billy Bob Thornton’s new record, the televised Victoria’s Secret fashion show last week, and Mariah Carey’s Glitter.

But I’m a simple man, and I don’t want to bore you with my easily amused brain. It’s more interesting to meditate on what our favorite celebrities are thankful for. There’s no way of knowing for certain, of course, but using my amazing powers of intuition and perception, I’m going to venture some guesses. Please don’t try this at home. I am a professional.

Snoop Dogg: thankful for good lawyers When you start your musical career with an album dedicated to a particularly potent strain of marijuana, it’s obvious that you have, well, let’s call it a “hobby.” But here in the land of the free, we’re not always tolerant of others’ hobbies; and when that’s the case, it’s best to keep your avocation on the down low.

When you’re a celebrity, though, these concerns aren’t so great, thanks to the benefit of expensive-but-well-worth-the-money legal teams. So last month when Snoop was pulled over in Amherst, Ohio, because police claimed to smell “burnt marijuana” emanating from his “Puff, Puff, Pass Tour” bus, he probably wasn’t quite as anxious as the average wake-’n’-baker might be. Despite the fact that police seized 200 grams of what I’m sure was California kind bud, Snoop’s lawyers entered a plea of innocent, claiming the search procedure was based on Snoop’s reputation, rather than any evidence.

Gee, I wish I could tool around in my Maui Waui Mazda taking bong hits, and then claim that any investigation into my actions was null and void because it was based on my reputation as dedicated toker. That’d be sweet!

Woody Harrelson: thankful for pot Snoop’s attempt to weasel out of his conviction is really a betrayal of any personal convictions he might have. Instead of hiding behind his stoner image, he should stand up and be unashamed of his love for the stinky green stuff—just like Woody Harrelson. Earlier this year, Woody showed up to his guest stint on Will and Grace in his “Mother Ship,” a minibus straight out of Cheech & Chong that runs on hemp oil, has hemp curtains, and carries Woody’s hemp-head friends, who wear the latest in hemp fashion while traveling the country preaching about the benefits of hemp! OK, maybe actors have too much time on their hands; I guess Woody oughta be thankful for that too.

Larry Hagman’s friends: thankful Larry Hagman isn’t dead In his new autobiography, Hello Darlin’: Tall and Absolutely True Tales About My Life, Hagman says that when he dies, he would like his corpse fed through a wood chipper, then scattered over a wheat field. In time, after a new crop of wheat gets harvested from the field, he’d like it milled into flour that would then be baked into a cake. Then he wants his closest friends to eat the cake. After reading that, I bet turkey will never have looked so good to these people.

Peter Buck: thankful for the American legal system There’s a tradition of rock-star debauchery on airlines. But what happened to R.E.M.’s Peter Buck on a British Airways flight last April surpasses such great moments as Izzy Stradlin urinating in the middle of the aisle when he couldn’t get in the bathroom or Shelby Lynne being escorted off a plane when she refused to quit singing. No, according to a court transcript, the fortysomething Buck drank 15 glasses of wine before staggering around the plane, getting stuck between seats, mistaking a hostess trolley for a CD player and covering himself and the cabin services manager with the contents of a yogurt tub. This pathetic display fits his long rumored role as the “dick” of the group. The irony is that it looks like Buck just might get off: Without explanation, the jury in his trial was dismissed, and no indication was given that the trial date would be reset.

On a vaguely related note, while my mother was pregnant with me, she once rode on a plane with Jethro Tull. Top that!

Halle Berry: thankful for having the body of a goddess If there actually were such a thing as a perfect female form—and there isn’t—Halle Berry just might have it. No doubt, she may have the most perfectly rounded curves I have ever seen. She knows it too, and has smartly kept them under wraps for quite awhile. But this year, Halle needs a new house, and she’s cashing in. First there was the bosom baring in last summer’s Swordfish, which reportedly earned her a bonus of $500,000 per mammary. (Naturally, she has denied this.) Now the upcoming Monster’s Ball features the full package in a highly erotic scene with Billy Bob Thornton. That’s right boys, the dream: full frontal nudity. Yet again, she’s apparently picking up a bonus cool mil for her performance.

Sylvester Stallone: thankful for the presence of an indisputable bad guy Nearly three months have passed since Sept. 11, and Stallone obviously sees an opportunity to resurrect his action career after failing on the indie circuit. Word has it that he’s in the midst of writing a new Rambo movie. With Communism long gone, it would appear that Osama bin Laden has given the character a new lease on life—at least in Stallone’s mind. In this fourth film in the franchise, Rambo will drop into Afghanistan to fight Taliban leaders and possibly even capture bin Laden alive.

Now, aside from the most obvious reasons why this concept is just wrong, let’s look at a couple others. First of all, drumming up this type of jingoism might’ve been fine in the ’80s, but it really isn’t appropriate anymore. This isn’t the Cold War, in which few Americans had any contact with actual Russians. This is a very volatile battle, with many innocent Middle Eastern people caught in the middle.

Second, Rambo fought with the Afghans and against the Russians in Rambo III. Having him go back to fight them only reminds us all too well of the foreign policies that helped put us in this situation in the first place. Lastly and, I feel, most importantly, Rambo is not a friend of the United States. The entire point of the Rambo movies is that he’s a Vietnam veteran who’s been screwed by our government and by a fickle public. Is that the type of hero we need right now?

I guess we can all be thankful for this much: The movie is bound to flop.

Quotidian Challenge

“Knowing is half the battle.”

Be the first to e-mail the origin of this useless bit of trivia to poplife the shame of your name printed as the winner and some free useless crap from the Nashville Scene!

Previous week’s answer: “Oh bliss! Bliss and heaven! Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. It was like a bird of rarest-spun heaven metal or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now. As I slooshied, I knew such lovely pictures!”—Malcolm McDowell as Alex DeLarge in A Clockwork Orange.

Winner: Craig Dowell.


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