Saturday, November 13, 2004

A Lebanese Girl And An Israeli Girl Write Their Names On Rockets

Suukee was eleven years old, the daughter of a Lebanese fisherman. She wore black linen pants, a beige linen shirt and leather sandals and had a black scarf wrapped around her long black hair. Suukee's linen came from flax grown in northern Spain, fabricated in Ireland, and exported to Beirut where it was sewn into garments. The leather in Suukee's sandals came from a steer born in Texas, whose hide was cut and exported to Bucherest, Romania where it was fashioned into sandals, which were then exported to Beirut. Suukee held a blue Sharpie nontoxic permanent felt tip marker in her right hand. The Sharpie marker was made by the Sanford Corporation of Bellwood, Illinois. The blue ink in the marker was manufactured in Brazil where it was trucked to Caracas and soaked with the felt-tips of the pens, packed and inserted into plastic blanks, packaged and loaded on a container ship where it was shipped to Southampton, England where it was exported to Beirut.
Suukee was standing next to a Katyusha rocket that was leaning against a cinderblock wall in an alley of the seaside town of Sidon in Southern Lebanon. The steel of the Katyusha was manufactured in Russia, sold to China where it was shipped to North Korea where the rocket was shaped and shipped back to Russia where it was armed. She wrote her name 'Suukee' on the tip of the Katyusha rocket. A Shiite man standing next to the rocket smiled. Suukee smiled back. The Shiite man picked up the rocket with the assistance of two other Shiite men, each a member of Hezbollah, and loaded the rocket onto the back of a 2003 green Ford F-150 pickup truck, a truck designed in Deaborn, Michigan and assembled from parts manufactured in Asia and the United States. As the Ford truck pulled away, it kicked up dust from the stone pavement which landed partly on Suukee's face. The stone came from an old mine in the Golan Heights. Suukee rubbed her eyes, and then picked up the white and blue soccer ball manufactured by Adidas in Indonesia. She walked with the soccer ball to a small courtyard.
Rachel was eleven years old, the daughter of an Israeli fisherman. She wore a pair of Joe's Jeans which were manufactured in Hong Kong and exported to New York where they were distributed to Tel Aviv. Rachel was wearing sandals that were given to her by her uncle who purchased them in Beirut when he was on a business trip. Rachel's white t-shirt had a photograph of Madonna on it. Rachel was wearing a baseball cap with the Brazil national soccer team's insignia embroidered on the front. She held a blue Sharpie nontoxic permanent felt tip marker in her right hand.
Rachel was standing next to a Jericho missile, which was entirely manufactured in the United States, but retro-fitted in Israel. The Jericho missile was supported horizontally by a trailer on wheels and there was a buzz of activity to prepare the missile to be brought to an Israeli submarine to get in on board so the submarine could pull out of Haifa's naval marina as soon as possible. Rachel wrote her name on the tip of the Jericho missile with the blue Sharpie felt-tip pen. Several Israeli Navy officers smiled at Rachel, but urged her to move away so they could start hauling the missile down the ramp to the submarine. Rachel picked up her red Lands’ End backpack which contained several books and her burgundy leather-bound diary which was exported from New York by Graphic Image. She walked up a hill in Haifa to one of the several Haifa libraries.
An Israeli jet dropped a bomb on the courtyard in the seaside town of Sidon where Suukee was kicking her Adidas soccer ball.
Sukkee's Katyusha rocket landed on the library in the town of Haifa where Rachel was writing in her burgundy leather-bound diary with a blue Bic pen manufactured by Biro of France.
Suukee and Rachel died within minutes of each other on Sunday morning in the heat of the July sun. The sky was clear, except for the smoke and dust that rose from the blast caused by the rockets. The Israeli submarine made it to safe waters carrying the Jericho missile.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Lindsay Lohan And Her Mother Smoking Cigarettes In Their Underwear

Lindsay Lohan sat in her underwear in Bungalow 11 at the Chateau Marmont. The undergarments were white, and one bra strap was off her shoulder. She had not showered in the last 24 hours. Lindsay was on her fourth Marlboro Light cigarette and it was only 9:45 in the morning. She had awoken at 7:33, which was typical for her since the night was spent largely drinking champagne and wine at three different clubs in west Los Angeles. This is not to mention the pack and a half of cigarettes she smoked plus the one joint. Lindsay did not have a headache, but she felt woozy and tired. Not the kind of 'tired' that permits sleep; the kind that represents a weary body, one whose chemistry has been taxed. Though she knew on some level that the Marlboros she was sucking on this morning were not helping, she had also convinced herself that the nicotine might shore up her body and get her feeling normal again.
Lindsay was glad that she did not have to go to the Georgia Rule movie set today. She just could not deal with the pressure of the crew, the director, the producers, the actors, and the fact that everyone was watching her, seeing if she could deliver a good performance notwithstanding the hard partying. So far so good, Lindsay thought. Everyday she gave them what they wanted. She felt it. It felt good. But it was also hard at times, and she needed to relax at night to clear out her system. Well, OK, maybe not clear out her system, but fill her system with alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. The nights altered her mood and revived her spirit while she was partying. It felt so good during the night even though the mornings were like having your brain soaked in maple syrup.
Lindsay hung her head low while she sat on the edge of the bed. Her breasts felt heavy. In fact, everything felt heavy. The alcohol bloated her in the morning, forcing her to starve all day to get back that weightless feeling she so craved. She looked down and saw three cigarette butts she had dropped on the floor. Jeez, had she just dropped them on the floor like that? How irresponsible. Lindsay smiled and then rubbed her head.
Dina Lohan, Lindsay's mother, walked out of the bathroom. Dina was also wearing white undergarments. Like mother, like daughter. Dina had a pink towel in her hand with the Chateau Marmont logo embroidered on each end. Dina was drying her hair from the shower she just took.
"You OK?" asked Dina of her daughter.

"Lindsay, I am talking to you. Are you OK?" asked Dina of her daughter, Lindsay Lohan.
"What? I'm sorry. What did you say?" said Lindsay as she put a cigarette in her mouth and sucked hard and deep.
"I said are you OK?" said Dina.
"Yeah. Why?" said Lindsay.
"Because you don't look well," said Dina.
"I'm fine," said Lindsay.
"You should not be smoking this early," said Dina.
"Leave me alone, Mom," said Lindsay.
Dina reaches over to Lindsay and pulls the Marlboro Light cigarette out of Lindsay's mouth.
"What the—" said Lindsay.
Dina places the cigarette in her own mouth and sucks the smoke into her own lungs.
"I'm sharing," said Dina.
"I don't need your shit right now, Mom," said Lindsay.
"My shit? I'm trying to connect," said Dina.
Lindsay reached down into the small cocktail purse on the floor and pulled out a crushed pack of Marlboros. There was one bent cigarette remaining, which she removed and placed in her mouth. Lindsay had a Bic lighter permanently attached to her left hand, which she used to light the bent cigarette.
"So the Brits dropped your record deal. And now we are being sued by these other vulture-bastards. Sorry about the deposition you have to go to," said Dina.
"I'm not going. I can't deal with that right now. Is the air conditioning working? It's fucking hot in here," said Lindsay as she totally removed her bra to air out her breasts. Lindsay through the bra down onto the floor next to her cigarette butts.
"It's working. It is just like, what, 105 outside," said Dina.
"Do you have those sleeping pills?" asked Lindsay.
"Yeah. But you should get up and move around. Get some exercise," said Dina as she continued to puff on the cigarette she pulled out of her daughter's mouth.
"Mom, would you stop with the lectures already. I just need to sleep. I can sleep today," said Lindsay.
"And so what are you going to do tonight, party again?" asked Dina.
"Jesus. You don't stop, do you. I thought you were on my side," said Lindsay.
"I am on your side. But I just think that staying up all night doing what you do, and then taking sleeping pills so you can sleep through the day so you can stay up all night again is not good for your health," said Dina.
"Like you know anything about what's good for my health," said Lindsay. Lindsay flicked her half-smoked cigarette at her mother which missed her by inches.
"Hey. What did you do that for?" said Dina.
"I'm just joking. Get me those sleeping pills. Now, Mom," said Lindsay.
Lindsay lied back on the bed, her bare legs dangling off the end. As she fell back, her ample breasts flopped around and settled to her sides. Dina was about to search for the sleeping pills when she noticed that Lindsay's mouth was open. Lindsay was fast asleep and snoring quite loudly. Lindsay had always snored, ever since she was a child, but the snoring had gotten louder in the last few years. It didn’t matter. Better snoring than drinking and smoking joints. Good, thought Dina. Her daughter will sleep naturally, without the aid of drugs. Dina smiled. Lindsay Lohan would have a healthy day.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Johnny Depp Gives Keira Knightley Acting Advice

Johnny Depp sat on a cheap black metal folding chair in his forty foot by nine foot trailer that had been hauled to the southern tip of Grand Bahama Island for the shooting of a scene for Pirates of the Caribbean — Dead Man's Chest. Depp was in costume, his long hair strands tied with beads. The trailer's air conditioning unit sat on top, and was humming with a grind and a rattle, working hard to beat the near hundred degree heat on the expansive white sandy beach outside.
Sitting in front of Depp was Keira Knightley. Keira's hairpiece was on the floor between her bare legs and feet. She was wearing a light blue bikini, her elbows leaning on her knees and she was bending forward. Keira's hair was cropped short, a result of the role she played in the movie Domino. Because of Domino, Keira had to wear a wig throughout the shooting of Pirates.
Depp peeled a banana and started to chomp, as if in his Jack Sparrow character.
"You should eat something," said Depp.
"I have a headache," said Keira as she rubbed her forehead.
"You're dehydrated," said Depp.
"I hate the heat. I hate the beach. This is torture," said Keira.
Keira was five foot seven inches tall and by Depp's estimation weighed no more than 100 pounds. The bones of her shoulders as well as Keira's sternum and collar bones all protruded through paper thin skin. And Depp could see Keira’s spine run up the middle of her back, like a narrow rocky berm running over a sand hill. A skeleton. Not a nanometer of fatty tissue was anywhere on Keira’s body except for her breasts, a location where women did not seem to mind fat cells. Keira had obviously been starving herself for the Pirates movie, but Depp could not understand why since she was in heavy costume for most of the film.
"I do not like to give advice to my colleagues, but I if I may make a suggestion," said Depp.
"A suggestion about what?" asked Keira as she rubbed the back of her neck.
"You're phoning in the performance. That accounts for the fact that you are having a miserable time," said Depp.
"Excuse me?" said Keira.
"You are not in character. In fact, you haven't even created a character for Elizabeth Swan. You're just saying the lines. The words are coming from nowhere," said Depp.
"Oh, like the fey pirate thing you're doing with Jack Sparrow is a real character. Give me a break," said Keira.
"Well, maybe it's thin, but it's still a character. I've at least made a choice. And so I am having fun," said Depp.
"You're having fun because it's an excuse for you to be feminine, which is really all you want to do anyway. Why don't you put on a dress and go all the way," said Keira.
"Jack Sparrow is not a cross dresser. And he likes women. He just has a way of being. Anyway, I am not the one who has a headache and is starving themselves to death," said Depp.
"What? I am not starving myself. Anyway, my body is like none of your business," said Keira.
"You are in my trailer,' said Depp.
"I am in your trailer because the fucking air conditioning is not working in my trailer. And don’t think that kiss thing we did means anthing. I got a headache right after the five fucking takes on that kiss," said Keira.
“The first one was the best,” said Depp.
“I sort of liked the last one,” said Keira, who then became mindful of her betrayal. “I liked the last one because it was the last one, got it,” said Keira.
"Look. They are about to shoot you running around on the beach. Get dressed and show yourself how good a time you can have. Get a little character and have a little fun. Run around the beach and act silly. Be silly. Then you will not feel the heat, and the beach will become a beautiful place. And I bet your headache will go away," said Depp.
"Is that Johnny Depp giving me advice or Jack Sparrow?" said Keira.
"I'm not sure," said Depp.
Keira smiled. She grabbed her wig and stood on her pencil thin legs and opened the trailer door. The bright sun of the Bahamas shot in like a saber. Keira stepped out and closed the door from behind. Depp decided that Keira weighed less than 100 pounds, and was probably too weak to create a character. Maybe she was exhausted from her work in Domino. Maybe she was just doing it for the paycheck. Afterall, it was a Disney movie based on a Disney theme park ride. So maybe Keira Knightley felt like she could just phone it in and rely on her big-lip smile to get her through the movie. But as far as Depp was concerned, whether it is a light movie or a heavy movie, an actor should always find a way to create a character. Without it, the people do not get their money's worth. And for Depp, it was all about what the audience was getting. If they are not getting character, then what’s the purpose of the actor, Depp thought. Depp suspected that the popularity of digital animation was in part due to the fact that actors had not been doing their work. Why would an audience watch an actor just say the lines if they could also watch animated cars just say their lines. Actors have so much more in their arsenal of tools, it was a shame most of them did not use the power of their craft.
Depp was starting to feel sad. He could feel Jack Sparrow leaving his body. Depp stood up and shook his body, shaking out his thoughts and retrieving the pirate Jack Sparrow. Jack Sparrow returned and he was ready to go. He walked his light walk to the door and left the trailer into the Bahamian sun. And the movie continues.

Thursday, February 5, 2004

Angelina Jolie Convinces Mariane Pearl To Drop Jennifer Aniston

Mariane Pearl sat in the back of the candle-lit restaurant in West Los Angeles. She had walked in and was immediately ushered to a hidden table for six around a tiled partition, clearly set up for private meals and meetings. She though was sitting at the table for fifteen minutes, all alone, sipping a green tea and wondering if this was going to be one of those typical Hollywood meetings where the movie stars are late and everyone waits, sitting on their hands, having small talk simply to fill the dead space until the stars arrive. Mariane, though, had no one to try out small talk with. Alone, is what she was, very much alone since her husband, Daniel Pearl, was brutally kidnapped and murdered in Pakistan. She had written her book, A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband Danny Pearl to keep herself busy, to diminish the feeling of loneliness, an attempt to bring back Danny if just in her mind as she reconstructed her husband's life.
Mariane was surprised when the book was immediately picked up and it sold well. She immediately became a minor celebrity, calls from agents about appearances, speeches, fund-raising events and of course movie deals. It was the call from Jennifer Aniston, a direct call, a personal call, with Jennifer on the other line, calling Mariane on Mariane's cell phone, that was the biggest surprise. Jennifer read the book and wanted to buy the movie rights. They met on several occasions, Jennifer Aniston and Mariane Pearl, at restaurants, at Jennifer's house, at Mariane's house, at business offices, and all along Jennifer was very upfront about why she was interested. Jennifer Aniston wanted to play the role of Mariane Pearl in the movie based on her book.
Mariane was of course flattered. Jennifer Aniston playing her. The thought was both amusing and at times difficult to wrap her arms around. Not that Jennifer Ansiton couldn't do it. It was just that anyone playing Mariane, particularly someone so beautiful and charismatic and famous as Jennifer Aniston, was difficult to fathom. Someone other than you playing you was like looking in a mirror and seeing someone else. Or was it like watching yourself, an act of narcissim that Mariane did not wish to grapple with. Afterall, this happened all the time. So she had decided to let it happen. Jennifer Aniston would be Mariane Pearl. At least in a movie.
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie walked around the partition, both dressed very casually, hidden by sunglasses and scarves. Mariane was surprised to see Angelina Jolie. Mariane thought that she was simply meeting Brad Pitt.
"Sorry we're late," said Brad.
"It's OK," said Mariane.
A waiter arrived.
"Just a cappucinno for me in a paper cup," said Brad.
The waiter looked at Angelina, who shook her head in silence.
"This is Angelina. Angelina this is Mariane Pearl," said Brad.
"Hi," said Angelina.
"Hi," said Mariane.
"I have some very exciting news, Mariane," said Brad.
"Yes?" said Mariane.
"We are proceeding with the movie. Michael Winterbottom is directing. I'm producing. We are starting right away with development," said Brad.
"Great," said Mariane.
"A minor change. Well, actually a big change, one that helps the film enormously. Angelina is going to play you," said Brad.
"Angelina? But I thought--" said Mariane.
"Jennifer is no longer involved. But that is OK. It is all good," said Brad.
"But I was just talking to Jennifer, I don't know, maybe three weeks ago. She was doing some research," said Mariane.
"Brad, I said it would be better if--" said Angelina.
"No. It is important that you are here. Mariane, this is a crazy business. Things never proceed as originally planned. Usually things fall apart. But you are lucky. You are very lucky. Rather than fall apart, your book, Danny's life and your life will all come together in a movie starring an actor with even better credentials. It is all good, and I promise you this will move forward and be a major motion picture," said Brad.
"I don't know. I feel funny about this. I feel bad," said Mariane.
"Yes, but frankly, Mariane, you really don't have a say in casting," said Brad.
"Oh shut up Brad, of course she has a say," said Angelina with a slight smile on her face. "Mariane, I have read your book several times, and it has become very important to me to become a part of this project. As you no doubt know, I have dedicated much of my life to traveling the world and to purposely involving myself in causes for the underprivileged, the poor, the sick. I have used my celebrity as best I can to help others, rather than squander it on a Hollywood lifestyle. And to me, the fact that you and Danny did not have the resources at your disposal as I do, you nevertheless still dedicated your lives to others. That astounds me, that you and Danny would give so much of yourselves when you did not have much in the way of money or wealth or command of the media. I sit here in awe of you and of your late husband, and I would consider it a privilege, indeed an honor, to play the role of your life. In fact, I hunger to do so because it is a story that must be told," said Angelina.
Mariane was not stupid. She felt she was being played, and Angelina was playing her like a deck of cards. But quite frankly, Angelina seemed sincere. Now of course she might be simply acting. Afterall, she is an actress. But the energy between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt disturbed the air around the table with a narcotic that almost made Mariane giddy. Maybe Mariane was being played, but she felt high from it all.
"I am very flattered that you would say all that. But I still feel uncomfortable about the Jennifer thing," said Mariane.
"Of course you do. Anyone would. But you know the things that have happened. Jennifer no longer has any interest in the production company, Brad's Plan B production company, that purchased the rights to your book, and to put it bluntly, and I think you know this all too well, shit happens," said Angelina.
Mariane looked at Angelina who was returning the look. Brad had long since sat back in his chair sipping his cappuccino that was served almost immediately after he ordered it. Brad was out of the equation, at least for this meeting. Angelina’s “shit happens” remark was her way of communicating that this is the way it is, and there is nothing Mariane can do about it. Nevertheless, it almost added to the narcotic effect of the moment to watch Angelina Jolie say “shit happens.”
"Well, OK. I guess," said Mariane.
"I knew you would understand. And you know we are going to be spending a lot of time together. I have to get to know you. I've got to know you to play you," said Angelina.
Mariane could not help but think that this little meeting had already started to instruct Angelina about Mariane.
"One thing, though, Mariane, and this is very important. You must drop the Jennifer Aniston thing when asked by the media, and you must enthusiastically support the decision of casting me in the movie. If the media starts to give us bad press, then this project will fall apart. That is not a threat, it is just Hollywood for you. It sucks, but money comes and goes so fast, and everyone is skittish about everything. You understand," said Angelina.
"Yes," said Mariane.
"I've got to go. Brad," said Angelina as she stood. "You guys talk, fill Mariane in on the timing and everything," said Angelina to Brad. "It was great meeting you," said Angelina as she turned and walked out into the hot Los Angeles late afternoon sun.
"You want a drink?" asked Brad Pitt.
Alone with Brad Pitt in the back of a fancy Los Angeles restaurant. This was all set up to seal the deal. The girls came to terms, and now the guy is going to make certain it all proceeds in accordance with the plan. Plan B, that is.