Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Comedic Gem in Tyler Perry's "House of Payne"

My wife and I have been watching Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" since it started on TBS a few weeks ago. Like Perry's other works, this show is an hilarious work with a lot of seriousness hidden inside. If you haven't caught the show yet, I highly recommend you check it out. You can watch entire episodes on TBS' web site (be prepared to watch some Pine Sol commercials if you do).

Curtis Payne, one of the main characters in the show, is played by LaVan Davis. That this man hasn't been more well-known is beyond me. In the show, I can only describe the character he plays as a cross between Archie Bunker and Curly Howard. Those are comparisons I don't make lightly.

He is like Archie Bunker, not because of bigotry; there's none of that. But Curtis' world-view and being set in his ways make for some very funny scenes (with a lot of seriousness just under the current). Like Archie, he even has his own chair (throne) which no one is supposed to occupy but him. Unlike Archie, when someone is in his chair he's more likely to grab the person and throw him or her off than to just wave his arms and demand his rightful spot.

That Davis is like Curly Howard is something which elevates him, and the entire show, onto a whole new level of comedy reached by a very few. His body movement, timing, song-like vocalizations and one-liners tossed into the mix so remind me of Curly in his heyday. Davis does little of the slapstick-funny stuff which made Curly a legend, it's the subtle things he does with such aplomb that show his genius.

Davis may also be somewhat of a renaissance man. According to his bio on the TBS web site he is studying opera. I have a feeling whatever this man puts his mind to he will accomplish.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Another "President for Life"

Chavez says he could govern until 2027
Venezuela president says he needs more time to reshape economy


Down in Venezuela, Hugo Chavez is working hard to consolidate his power and to extend his influence in nearby countries. He's still holding true to the Hitler/Stalin play book by pushing his constitutional reforms to allow him to serve 7-year terms as president and eliminate term limits so he can be elected over and over. He says he needs to stay in power until 2021 so he can establish a "socialistic economic model" in Venezuela and help "the poor."

I guess it helps the poor to make everyone in the country equally poor - except for the cronies running the place. Someone has to figure out how to spend the country's money.

Chavez is also trying to cast himself as a humanitarian by mediating a prisoner exchange in Columbia between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government. This seems oddly familiar - perhaps I'm thinking about the "oppressed" Germans in the Sudetenland of the Czech Republic and how Hitler had to rescue them. Here, Chavez is helping the poor and oppressed FARC rebels, no doubt in return for favors later. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Chavez and his Cuban Pal Castro are among those who bankroll the FARC in the first place.

One last thought - I read this great quote from Frank Zappa the other day: "Communism doesn't work because people like to own stuff."

Perhaps I will expand upon that theme and write about one of the many reasons the people of Russia and the rest of the Soviet Block tossed off the mantle of Communism. One of the reasons is because (for the most part) oppressed people desire the freedom to determine their own destinies and to take care of themselves.

Then, it'll be time to look at a corollary of that: why do people who have freedom eventually insist on giving the government more power so they don't have to take care of themselves. Logically, I'd think the free people would insist on remaining free, but that doesn't seem to be the case. I'll have to ponder on that one for a while.

NB - I'm not sure why the headline on MSNBC.com reads "2027" while the date mentioned inside the story is "2021." One of the dates is doubtlessly a typo. It's probably the "2027" in the headline since multiples of 7 would make 3 terms under the proposed constitutional change end in 2021