Sunday, November 18, 2012

Cadillac Lady

For the folks out there thinking that all is lost, that America has reached the end of the line, and that secession should no longer be thought of as a dirty word, I’d like to relate a little incident that happened to me a few days ago.  It may not change your mind about the imminent demise of the republic, but you might feel like at least it doesn’t have to happen today.   

So it’s Thursday, and Thursdays are my favorite day.  After dropping Jessica off at school, I drive Maria out to my mom and dad’s house, and they watch her while I come home and write, alone, uninterrupted, for five or six hours in a row.  Alone.  Uninterrupted.  In a row.  It’s the closest thing to a realization of my dream working life I’ve got.  It hasn’t actually gone that way the last three weeks or so, but today was going to be different.  I could feel it. 

We had already taken daughter number one to school and were driving west on Cactus Road, following the usual route for getting daughter number two to Grandma and Grandpa’s place in Sun City.  We are stopped by the light at 51st Ave and wait there, first in line when the light turns green.  Maria is in her car seat in the back, pestering me to imitate Toby, the snobby, spectacle-wearing, robot-obsessed villain from the PBS show WordGirl.  Toby is her latest crush (I believe I’ve mentioned before about her unsettling tendency to crush on bad guys), and I’ve managed to work up a passable impersonation of the nerdy lad’s voice.  Plus I already have the glasses.  She likes my Toby so much that she is constantly after me to be him.  This time I try to put her off by professing my love for the song on the radio, singing really loudly along with it, effectively drowning out her pleas.  While I’m singing, I’m also thinking about what I’m going to do with my writing time once I get back home.   I can do these two things simultaneously, unlike trying to think and channel Toby, which is mainly why I’m putting her off. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Use the Mouse, Luke - Things You Didn't Know About the Disney-Star Wars Deal

In the aftermath of last week’s movie industry bombshell in which Disney announced it had reached an agreement to purchase Lucasfilm, George Lucas was asked why he decided to sell the company he founded over 40 years ago, the company which is the home base for all things Star Wars.  “I felt that it was my responsibility to make a decision that would be in the best interest of the shareholders of Lucasfilm,” he replied.  When questioned further, specifically about the fact that Lucasfilm has exactly one shareholder – who happens to be George Lucas – Mr. Lucas stated, “That’s what made it so easy to figure out what our best interest was.” 

Asked if he felt the 4.05 billion selling price was fair, Mr. Lucas is said to have removed his solid-gold loafers to shake out a small nugget, adjusted his top hat, squinted through his monocle, and said, “Look, Disney just acquired an entire universe.  On a square-footage basis alone, any real estate agent in the world would tell you that Disney got a steal.” 

During another interview, he was asked when he first began to seriously consider the idea of selling Lucasfilm.  Mr. Lucas replied, “I can tell you exactly when it was.  Bobby [Robert Iger, President of Disney] and I had just sat down to lunch, and he started using the ‘b’ word.  As in ‘billions.’  Before that, I wasn’t thinking about it at all.  In fact, I was thinking about whether to order the manicotti, or the veal scallopini.  I went with the veal.  It was okay.”

In a thunderstrokes exclusive, we found a source close to the Lucas-Disney negotiations who was able to corroborate Lucas’ version of events.  Matt Gary is a waiter, Star Wars fanatic and aspiring screenwriter who traded tables with another server in the hopes of pitching a concept for a web-based Star Wars series to the movie mogul.  He recounts for us exactly what happened on that fateful day.  “He did.  He absolutely did.  He had the veal, even though I told him that the manicotti was the specialty of the house.  But when a man like George Lucas says he wants the veal, you bring him the veal, you know?” 

On the subject of the blockbuster deal, Mr. Gary said, “Well, Mr. Iger said something like, ‘We want to buy Lucasfilm from you, George.  What’s it going to take?’ and George said, ‘hrmf falrefa,’ or something like that; it was hard to tell because he had just taken a hefty bite of his walnut salad with raspberry vinaigrette – a salad I recommended, by the way – and then he held his finger up, and then he finished chewing, and then he swallowed, and then he took a drink of water, and then he cleared his throat, and then he dabbed his mouth with a napkin, and then he said, ‘I’m not selling Lucasfilm, Bob, but thanks for the interest.’ I remember that part very distinctly because he still had a little dressing in his beard, and it was kind of glinting in the light.  Anyway, then Bob – I mean Mr. Iger – says, ‘How’s four billion sound to you, George?’ and George kind of chokes on his focaccia – not eyes bugging out, falling backwards, clutching his throat kind of choking; it was just your regular kind, a lot of coughing and huffing and wheezing – and then he spits the bread out.  I was ready though, man, I was ready.  It would have been a pleasure to perform the Heimlich on that man.  Anyways, George gets his voice back and says, ‘Four billion?  For four billion, I’d sell my company, my name, and my private parking space at the Denver mint.  For four billion, you can have my body when I die.  You can take all the brain tissue samples you want, and dump the rest of me in the freezer with Walt.  I’ll even throw in my dogs and all my Linda Ronstadt records. That was billion with a ‘b,’ right?’”