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the curse method

In a recent issue of the New Yorker, there is an article about a young inventor named David Levy. In the article the author outlines many of the methods Levy uses for coming up with new ideas. One of them he calls the Curse Method. "Whenever someone curses, it’s a sign to invent something.". One of his inventions that came from this method is a bike lock for the seat – designed after a friend came in complaining that his bike seat had been stolen.

This has struck a chord with me – probably because I, like most people, am a complainer: I’m great at railing against things that bother me (the latest of which is the fact that buses, which are mostly run by local governments, governments which REQUIRE your car to have smog checks, almost always churn out these un-fucking-believably huge dark clouds of crap as they pull away from a stop), I just rarely do anything about it. This guy does, and obviously not for the good of humanity, but for profit. But still, it’s a damn fine method.

So here are some things that make me curse. I’m sure someone out there can figure out a way to solve them:

Trying to thread a needle
The fact that all collapsible umbrellas break
Cleaning up dog poop when it’s, um, less than firm
The sheer loudness of my electric coffee grinder
Opening cans without a manual can opener
Bad cell phone reception
The lure of Minesweeper
Having to change the huge water bottles at work
The fact that Zippo lighters run out of fluid very quickly
Shoelaces breaking
Radio commercials
Them little cards they stick in magazines
Packages filled with at least 2 or 3 broken hard-shell tortillas
Having to stop play to retrieve the balls when playing tennis
Trying to unwrap CD’s
Constantly breaking CD jewel cases
Sunglasses screws falling out
Sharpies make me woozy
Cats shoving their dirty butts in your face
Washers last 30 minutes. Dryers 45. Doesn’t compute
Christmas lights: one goes out, they all go out
Pop-up windows

Anything I’m forgetting?


…The other night at my neighbor’s four-guest party we somehow got to discussing the show Becker, starring Ted Danson. Only one of us (not I) had seen it, and he said it was surprisingly good. Cheers was an obsession with me and I loved Ted Danson. I love the movie Cousins. I think I sort of bought mildly into some anti-Ted Danson hype after the Whoopie thing and his show Ink (which my former employer Diane English expensively failed to save).

Well, today’s NY Times ran a favorable article on the show. Danson busts out with a quote, in reaction to questions about his Ink experience, that I think sums up very nicely a struggle that many actors fall into that Danson has smartly figured out:

"‘My theory about that one,’ says Danson, ‘is that if you're not a stand-up comedian -- a Cosby or a Seinfeld -- it's a mistake to hire people to find your comedic voice, which is what happened. What we are is actors, and what we need to do is find somebody else's passionate self-expression and then ask very nicely if we can be in it.’"

Writers should love that. Actors should remember it. As both, I get so pissed off when I hear about these shitty diva actors who have "script approval" and then willy-nilly change things to help maintain their star status (like Julia Roberts rewriting the end of My Best Friend’s Wedding.) Shut up and be thankful you get to play the part and speak the words someone spent months and months of their lives on.


…A couple random questions:

What the fuck was the Warner Brothers’ marketing department thinking when they OK’d The Green Mile poster? Shit, what were Tom Hanks and Frank Darabont and Stephen King thinking by not threatening to take their names off the film if it went ahead. It did. It is awful, that poster.

Why is Penny Marshall doing a movie about the Harlem Globetrotters? They already went to Gilligan’s island – that’s all I need to see of them.


…In a little bit, drinks with the Shark. She just called and invited me to go to a screening at Paramount with her after our meeting, but I declined. I want to keep it professional. Bad idea saying no? God. I hope not.

The Larry King Happy Song Corner

king larry.gif (10010 bytes)

So close, no matter how far. Couldn't be much more from the heart. Forever trusting who we are, and nothing else matters. Never opened myself this way. Life is Larry’s, we live it our way. All these words I don't just say. And nothing else matters. Trust Larry seeks and I find in you. Every day for us something new. Open mind for a different view, and nothing else matters… speaking of which. Here’s what I care about: that I wake up and my copy of USA today is on the table, turned to my column. My mandel bread is warm, the coffee is black, and the bran is plentiful. My Shower Chair is already in the bathtub and the Shower Radio is turned to Oldies 91.7 WWBK. And Katie Couric is babbling on the TV in the limo by the time I come downstairs. Besides that, nothing else matters.

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