Monday observations

Perhaps the dumbest flash mob ever was held Saturday at Birkdale Village, near Charlotte. The village is one of those “new urbanism” developments, a so-called walkable neighborhood that has shopping, homes and workplaces located in one area. So it’s basically a mall with the roof ripped off and a gated community built next door.

Saturday’s newspaper had a notice in the local section reporting that Birkdale was hosting the flash mob to coincide with its tree-lighting ceremony, and that would-be mobbers could go to YouTube to learn the choreography that would be involved. The song was “I Gotta Feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas, a raucous number hardly befitting the conservative all-white crowd that was likely to gather.

Now, as I understand the concept, a flash mob is a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual action for a brief time, then quickly disperse, all to the surprise of those who aren’t in on the joke. It doesn’t have a public announcement notifying the crowd that it’s only 15 minutes away, it doesn’t have young moms trying to explain the notion to their three-year-olds, and it doesn’t have Santa Claus waiting in the wings to make his initial appearance of the Christmas season afterwards.

It did have about 2,000 people start hollering and throwing their arms in the air when the appointed hour arrived, but so did the Titanic and I wouldn’t consider that a flash mob either.

mob1

Your arms may be in the air, but I just don't care

*   *   *   *

My wife and I went to see the movie “2012” this weekend and, though I’m generally not a fan special-effects disaster movies, I must say I’ve never enjoyed myself more while watching billions of people die in a worldwide catastrophe.

I was a little surprised by the casting of the primary characters, at least at first. Amanda Peat as the lead actress? What, they couldn’t get Teri Garr? And I know John Cusack is widely regarded as a professional who always turns in a first-rate performance. He simply seems well past his peak. I guess the money saved by not hiring big-name stars went instead to the computerized graphics.

And those graphics were absolutely great! I challenge anyone not to thrill to the scene where giraffes and elephants, dangling in harnesses beneath Army helicopters, appear over the crest of the Himalaya Mountains in the climactic rescue scene. Either thrill, or laugh hysterically — the choice is yours.

*   *   *   *

The holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and it won’t be long before I take a Sunday afternoon to engage in a long-standing tradition of goodwill and cheer that I’ve practiced in recent years.

I drive my car to the biggest regional mall in the area on one of the busiest shopping days, and circle patiently until I can find a really good parking place. I’ll park my car, walk briefly to the mall entrance, then return slowly to my car. I watch for a newly arriving motorist, and motion toward my car that I’m getting ready to leave. Inevitably I get a big smile and a mouthed “thank you” from the grateful driver. It makes me feel good inside to know that I’ve taken the time to help my fellow man, even if only in a small way.

Then I pull out of the space and repeat the process, pretty much for the rest of the afternoon. It warms my heart so.

*   *   *   *

It was sadly predictable to hear the Republican response last week to President Obama’s plan to bring the masterminds of the 9/11 attacks to New York City for trial. They were against the idea, claiming that it would make the city the target of another terrorist attack.

First the GOP co-opts the Democrats’ frequent cry of “racism” in response to every affront, and now they’re stealing our tradition of cowardice.

Republican opposition to everything that Obama stands for seems to have reached the point that White House strategists might be able to start using a little contrary psychology. Once the President decides on a policy course, he could announce that he’s going to do the opposite, then respond to the inevitable outcry by reversing his position to do what he intended in the first place.

I think this could really work well for the upcoming change in strategy toward Afghanistan. If, as is likely, the President wants to slightly increase troop levels but target the forces in a way that will yield the best results while at the same time setting measurable goals and deadlines for success, he should announce instead that he’s deploying a circus, several shipments of inflatable bouncy houses and a fleet of Segways, specially modified to handle the rugged mountain terrain.

Conservative ideologues could then demand a more sensible approach, and the President could go on national TV to shout “opposite day!” to a grateful nation.

*   *   *   *

With the football season heading into the home stretch, keepers of the Mayan calendar are now ready to reveal their predictions for the NFL playoffs.

Chief sports analyst Chichen Itza met with reporters at his Mayan temple in Las Vegas to announce his picks. Itza has worked with the Nevada gaming commission for the past several years, helping casino owners set the odds for crucial games in all the major professional sports leagues.

In the AFC, Itza likes San Diego over Uaxactun in their wild-card game, while in the NFC he gives the nod to Kaqchikel over Philadelphia.

“I think (Charger quarterback) Phillip Rivers has really come into his own this season, and I like his team’s chances down the stretch,” Itza said. “It’ll be a real interesting matchup against the Uaxactun defense, which is known for holding quarterbacks down by their four limbs, then ripping out their heart. I don’t care how big your offensive line is, that kind of thing is tough to defend against.”

Because Philadelphia hasn’t found an effective use for Michael Vick in an offense still dominated by veteran quarterback Donovan McNabb, Itza sees the Eagles falling to Kaqchikel in a tight match, then having all the Eagles’ wives and children kidnapped.

In the AFC’s next round, Itza thinks San Diego’s run of luck will end against the mighty defense of Chunchucmil, while New England tops Cincinnati. In the NFC, star running back and likely league MVP Yucatec Uxmal will lead his Huehuetenango team over the Minnesota Vikings, and the Iximche squad will fall in overtime to New Orleans. This sets up a final four that Itza said could prove to be quite unpredictable.

“I think the Saints will suffer a regular-season defeat before the playoffs, so the pressure of a winless season will be off,” he said. “That could be just enough to make the difference in the finals, as long as Uxmal’s running game is held in check. And a lot of that depends on whether or not he’ll be able to ride his jaguar on draw plays.”

“I like Tom Brady’s verticality just enough to give the Patriots the edge over Chuchucmil, which then sets up a Super Bowl with New England going against New Orleans,” Itza said.

His prediction for ultimate Super Bowl champion will be kept under wraps until the night before the game, or is available online now for $19.99 at mayanpredictions.com. He warned, however, that “all prognostications could go out the window” if the Q’umarkaj, Zacpeten and Dzibilchaltun tribes now involved in treaty negotiations reach an agreement by Feb. 1 and join forces to invade and enslave Miami, site of Super Bowl XLIV.

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4 Responses to “Monday observations”

  1. atticannie Says:

    Hi Davis, you are king of the humor genre. I bow to your superior writing.

  2. Jesa Says:

    Give me back my cowardice, republicans! It’s all I had…

  3. fakename2 Says:

    Davis…I am ready for a Reader Comments blog 🙂

  4. planetross Says:

    Your posts flow over me … and I will read over them again.
    Great writing.

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