Saturday, December 30, 2006
Almost went ice skating today. Maybe tomorrow. The other celebrants went snowboarding. I thought they only did that kind of stuff on TV.
Meanwhile I heard Saddam Hussein's dead. Let Freedom Ring!
Ah, Guinness gives you strength. And as the Irish always said, "Yeah and it turns your shite black."
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Friday, December 15, 2006
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The following article was banned from at the 11th hour from the Holiday Pull-out Guide scheduled for insert in this Thursday's local papers. Last Friday morning, press day, the editor emailed me with praise for the article; being a very talented writer himself, I was indeed honored. By the end of the day, he wrote to alert me the article had been pulled by the publisher. Supposedly our papers are "family newspapers", one of the more asinine phrases in the american lexicon. What they really mean is "children's" newspaper, because he found the content inappropriate for children, I suppose. And you know how much kids love to read the local paper, what with all the discussion about city councils and annexing, etc! But families do tend to include adults, and certainly the article couldn't be offensive to an adult reader, could it? There mayhaps be a "christian" angle here as well, seeing as how the owner of this newspaper conglomerate is a doctor of divinity or something. And someone decided some time ago that those of a christian bent must be protected at all times from material that might test one's moral fiber or shake one's faith (being of such tender moral fiber and fragile faith, arguably).
Anyway, it's just an article about getting loaded at Christmas.
Hammered for the Holidays
I am, by all accounts, a very smart man. My forte is trivia. If there exists information that is of no use to anyone, I most likely hold its components on the tip of my tongue, sealed behind my lips, ready to spring into the ears of a most uninterested crowd. However, a man can only catalog so much nonsense before he starts misfiling. Case in point: I always confuse the 12 Days of Christmas with the 7 Deadly Sins. As such, rather than avoiding Gluttony, I meld it with the 5 Golden Rings, resulting in what my local Fire Department has dubbed “O’Shaughnessy’s Fifth Day of Bourbon.” They’re always very nice about getting me out of the tree, but despite our long history, I wouldn’t say we’re “close.”
Somehow “Cheer” and “Booze” became interchangeable terms during the holidays. Maybe because it sounds a lot like “Choose” and “Beer.” For whatever reason, a couple of extra drinks during this time of year is less frowned upon than, say, on Good Friday.
Lots of folks have a favorite holiday drink. Eggnog comes to mind. I’m not a fan. Actually, I don’t mind plain eggnog, nor do I sneer at rum. But together? Not so much.
I’m always a bit put off by mulled wine. More the name, than the taste. “Mulled” is too close to “mold”. And “mule.” Mules give off an awful stink. Especially after they’ve been drinking wine.
Bailey’s, while certainly an all-year-long treat, shines during the winter holidays. It’s very popular as served in small chocolate liqueur cups. Available for purchase from your finer chocolatiers or liquor store merchant, these velvety-smooth vessels can also be made at home. That’s what I do. I melt a combination of dark and milk chocolates into a double-boiler. The recipe I use yields 24 chocolate cups. But I stray. I make one cup. It’s the size of a flower pot. And takes three days to chill. And four bottles of Bailey’s to fill. I usually make two. I’ll drink the first one on my own. Then a few hours later, I’ll split the other one with my downstairs neighbor at lunch. As a bribe, so he won’t call the police. (I didn’t really mean those things I said to his grandmother. It’s just I was watching “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” the night before and recalled how she bore a striking resemblance to Burl Ives. What’s the big deal really? He was a lovely man with delicate hands.)
Actually, I’m a relatively weak soldier in the hooch army. My tolerance is only slightly higher than a two-year old’s. Most babies I’ve met can’t hold their liquor. Except the ones I bump into at bars. Real sloppy drunks, they are! Throwing up on themselves. Wetting their pants. Oh wait a minute, those weren’t babies – those were pathetic middle-aged businessmen trying to recapture the old glory by sucking back shots of peppermint schnapps!
Ah, peppermint schnapps! Like drinking a candy cane. (Though I don’t ever recall taking my pants off at a karaoke bar and massacring “Santa Baby” after eating a candy cane.) Peppermint schnapps is a liqueur only to be utilized when no other forms of alcohol are available. When the robotussin and vanilla extract are gone, then and only then is schnapps suggested (though never recommended). One should, in such situations, remain sober and instead empty a tin full of butter cookies while watching a poorly-recorded copy of “Amy Grant’s Christmas Special.” Ed Begley, Jr.’s performance is so bizarre you’ll feel tipsy!
My old friend Harry Carbohydrate’s wife, Mama Pajama, offers up a delightful family recipe at their annual Christmas party (although I think she whipped up a batch in July as well). Whiskey Slushies. Mmmm…let me write that again: Whisky Slushies. That’s good billy. I’m not certain of all the ingredients, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them is a pint of Otis the Drunk’s plasma. There’s tea, a brand of lemon-lime soda, whiskey, ice, whiskey, and some whiskey. She makes it in a big pickle bucket (which is what you’ll be in if you drink too many). It’s cold and smooth. You wouldn’t even know there was booze in it until you began telling the other guests what you really thought of them.
Now, I’m not going to ask you to drink responsibly. Drinking alcohol is irresponsible (if you’re doing it right). But stay out of your car. And anyone else’s car. I would also avoid bicycles, horses, caribou and any other form of conveyance that ostensibly puts you in control. As the old joke goes, “You might spill your drink.”
Jack Kerouac said, “Try never get drunk outside yr own house.” I think that’s a wonderful message for the holidays. I think you shouldn’t even get drunk outside your bedroom. That’s why I’ll be curled up in bed on Christmas Eve, stocking at my feet; the sounds of Christmas Mass at the Vatican murmuring from the TV, as its warm blue glow blankets my bourbon-soaked flannels; the window frost diffusing the cuticle moon’s light.
Are those sleighbells I hear? No, just the wreath I knocked off the bathroom door in my dizzy rush to deck the walls with figgy pudding!
Merry Christmas to all! And like a stocking by the chimney, may you be hungover with care!
Monday, December 11, 2006
Thursday, November 30, 2006
“Give, Love, Rent”
Excluding Saturday mornings in the late 70s to early 80s, my favorite moments in front of the TV are those spent watching Christmas specials. Animation preferred, but not exclusive. I exude nostalgia like a musk during this season. Peppermint musk, if you were curious.
I taped (meaning videotaped) many of these specials around 1985, I guess. Network stuff. It’s probably all available on DVD now. Maybe I’ll bother to check and reveal their availability at the end of this article. It all depends on whether I even finish this article. I might get wrapped up in reminiscing and reviewing these shows and never get around to writing about them. I do that. I load up on pinwheel cookies and cold milk. Or one of those egg nog lattes. Then I nod off. Or nog off, depending on how much rum’s in the mug. (This mug doesn’t need much rum.) And the next thing I know, the a-wassailing’s all done, the garland’s packed away, and I’m nursing a mouse-like hangover at SoTac on St. Stephen’s Day. I swear it’s almost like these shows WANT to dwell in obscurity! Stupid Ziggy!
Aw, Ziggy. Sorry, Ziggy. You know – Ziggy! Hapless, hairless, humble Ziggy. I was never sure – was he some sort of savant or something? Anyway, he had a Christmas special on ABC back in 1982. “Ziggy’s Gift,” with a theme song by Harry Nilsson! ”Give, Love, Joy” wafts through my memory every Advent. Are the kids into Nilsson still? Were they ever? What year is it?
This half-hour animated special follows Ziggy on Christmas Eve or something as he gets a job as a department store Santa. Then he kinda gets hassled a bit by the world. You know, the way Ziggy does. It’s rough in the cold dark city. (Zig’s got an apartment there with a small menagerie of pets.) Yet he perseveres without complaining and in the end he is rewarded for his quiet strength and kindness. This follows a troubling incident involving terrified turkeys.
Hey, I was at the Salvation Army the other day. You know, ‘tis the season (actually I needed a book of Rod McKuen poems…). So I’m sifting through the rubble and you know what I find? (Is it a point, you ask?). I find a Ziggy Christmas ornament from 1979. There he is, dressed in a Santa suit, with his dog (what’s that dog’s name? Marmaduke or Dondi or something?) So I buy it, solitarily smug at my perception of the synchronicity of it and all. You see, cuz he wears that same Santa suit in the TV special. It’s the craziest thing. AND I think there’s a Salvation Army Santa in the cartoon as well! Another Christmas miracle. Go know, right?
Tinsel Trivia: Know who provided Ziggy’s voice? Nobody. He didn’t talk! That’s nice. I wish there were more Ziggys in the world.
It occurs to me that “Ziggy’s Gift” may have been the last great holiday special of my time. I’d ask my friend, nostalgia victim Harry Carbohydrate, what his opinion is if I could ever get him to stop watching “The Star Wars Holiday Special.” (As all Star Warriors know, said holiday special, from which Lucas has distanced himself 30 parsecs, premiered November 17, 1978 on CBS. I’ll spare you the synopsis, but suffice to say Bruce Vilanch, who, two years earlier, penned “The Paul Lynde Halloween Special” lent his rapier wit to the proceedings.) Seated a zeptometer from his TV, Harry’s been studying his poorly re-dubbed videotape with a tenacity typically observed in rebuffed UFOlogists. Sure it’s compelling – Bea Arthur serenading a giant rat – but so’s digging up a cesspool…for a little while. Two hours, this thing is! Find yourself a bootlegged copy of this “fabled disaster” (Carbo’s phrase) and suffer like the rest of us. I give it 4.5 out of 5 Ziggy’s. Mostly because you’ve never seen anything like it in your life!
I hope you won’t confuse my flippancy with cynicism. I love Christmas. Everything about it! Especially, as I’ve mentioned, the holiday specials, of which “Ziggy’s Gift” almost tops the list (narrowed out only by “Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol”).
“Ziggy’s Gift” was recently released on DVD. So it’s easily available, despite my feigned ignorance earlier. It’s touching without being manipulative. Funny, but never snide. Mirroring the best of humanity (which can still be quite benevolent), it illustrates how a little kindness goes a long way.
I give “Ziggy’s Gift” 5 out of 5 Bea Arthurs.
Monday, November 27, 2006
(Image courtesty kgw.com)
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Images stars Susannah York and is one creepy fucking film. I wish I was watching it right now.
Altman is often, or maybe always, regarded as a renegade director of sorts, which means he avoid the typical studio system pap. Who are we stuck with now? Tony Scott? God save us.
The first Altman film I ever saw was "Popeye." Of course, I wasn't aware of directors and such things back then. I also didn't know it was my first exposure to Nilsson. Except for maybe the coconut song.
I got a press release emailed to me here at work and was mostly disturbed by the image.
What's more frozen? the Blizzard or her smile?
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Nancy Pelosi becomes the first Lady of the House. Hopefully, she won't slip a disk rolling out that "cream puff in a necktie", Dennis Hastert. He was very effective. A moral man. Honorable. Nah, I'm just shittin' you. He was a douche bag.
Is the tide turning in favor of a positive future for the United States? I don't know. I just keep thinking how delicious those Fruity Pebbles I had for breakfast were...
Mmmm...so good. Yeah, so let's begin to repair the seemingly irreparable damage done to this country since those fascist pigs (Read: Bush Administration) hijacked the White House.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Then again, America seems to be being steered back into a more sexually and intellectually repressed direction, so perhaps the poem is more shocking and unacceptable today than it was, say, 8 years ago. I don't know.
Just read it.
Or listen to it (he starts reading it about 41 minutes in).
AND purchase a copy. To have and share.
More on Howl:
Krassner reflects on Ginsberg
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
From the iPod It Came!
Halloween - Kirsty MacColl
Spooky Girlfriend - Elvis Costello
Spooky - Nada Surf
They're Not Witches - Guided By Voices
Love Is Stronger Than Witchcraft - Robert Pollard
Cut Out Witch - Guided By Voices
Waking The Witch - Kate Bush
Ghost Train - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
The Ghost Of A Smile - The Pogues
Ghost Story - Reed/Cale/Nico
Next Exit Ghost Town - Swearing At Motorists
Puerto Rican Ghost - Mars
Walking With a Ghost - Tegan and Sara
Ghost Town - The Specials
Ghosts Of A Different Dream - Guided By Voices
Night Of the Vampire - Roky Erickson
Vampire Blues - Neil Young
North American Vampires - Guided By Voices
Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on My Knee - Captain Beefheart & The Magic Band
Bright Paper Werewolves - Guided By Voices
Werewolves Of London - Warren Zevon
There's A Moon In The Sky (Called The Moon) - The B-52's
The Rising Of The Moon - Shane MacGowan & The Popes
The Haunt - Dumptruck
Haunted - Shane MacGowan & The Popes
Dirty Creature - Split Enz
Men Who Create Fright - Robert Pollard
Such A Scream - Tom Waits
The Hungry Wolf - X
Robot New York - Add N To (X)
Gold Star For Robot Boy - Guided By Voices
School 4 Robots - Brother Cleue
Day Of The Dead - Graeme Downes
Down In The Ground Where The Dead Men Go - The Pogues
Cold Night For Aliigators - Roky Erickson
Dead Souls - Joy Division
Misery Is The River Of The World - Tom Waits
Terrified - Liliput
A Visit To The Creep Doctor - Guided By Voices
Mad Man - The Hives
Madness - Liliput
This Is Hell (Church Studios Version) - Elvis Costello
The Church Of The Holy Spook - Shane MacGowan & The Popes
Whistlin' Past The Graveyard - Tom Waits
Shallow Grave - Elvis Costello & The Attractions
Black Angels Death Song - Reed/Cale/Nico
Wild Cats Of Kilkenny - The Pogues
Tombstone Blues - Bob Dylan
Decryptated - Rosa Yemen
Fear - Throwing Muses
Bone Yard - Tobin Sprout
I'm A Demon - Roky Erickson
Ghost in Me - Heirs to the McQueen Fortune
See You in Hell - Grim Reaper
Boys From The County Hell - The Pogues
Raising Hell - Run-D.M.C.
Everything Goes To Hell - Tom Waits
Real Child Of Hell - X
Blood and Bones - Scud Mountain Boys
Peekaboo! - Devo
Stegosaurus WrxxX - The Slats
You see? It's got like "ghost" and "witches" in the titles and stuff...
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
I finally learned what OMFUG means -- "OTHER MUSIC FOR UPLIFTING GORMANDIZERS" (owner Hilly Kristal defines a gormandizer as a "a voracious eater of music").
Kristal's moving it to Las Vegas (after being booted from their Bowery location after 33 years) to open it as a franchise.
I guess like a Hard Rock Cafe or something.
I can't wait to order a Thunder Burger or a Marquee Moon Pie.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
The conversation started out fine, but I became uncomfortable towards the end and abruptly left.
-- Conversation Window --
Me: how's it going
foleyimbot: cute butt bouncing in the air
Me: uh...yeah. Think the Mets'll win the series?
foleyimbot: well strip down and get relaxed
Me: Yeah, office politics frowns on that...
foleyimbot: well I have aa totally stiff wood now
Me: Did I already ask about the Mets?
foleyimbot: so you got a stiff one now
Me: Is Ed Kranepool still alive?
foleyimbot: do you really do it face down
Me: What, sleep?
foleyimbot: i always use lotion and the hand
Me: Yeah, this fall weather chaps my knuckles...yeah.
foleyimbot: did you spank it this weekend yourself
Me: Wait...what? Someone's calling my name. I'd bettergo...
foleyimbot: you need a massage
Me: I need a stiff drink.
Me: Ahem, ok gotta go.
foleyimbot: how my favorite young stud doing
Me: This is going nowhere. Tell Dennis I said hello...
foleyimbot: do you really do it face down
...Land that I love...
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Where: At work. The paper.
When: 9:47 PST
Listening to: "Stegosaurus WrxxX" by The Slats (GBV, Devo with a pinch of Pixies).
Drinking: Coffee I brewed this morning. Not bad, which is not the same as good.
Eating: Small packages of Whoppers.
Other Activities: Daydreaming and thinking about going to the record store again (went yesterday, got this Slats album, bought for me by brother and sister for feeding their cat).
It's 9 minutes later. That's all for now.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Bush is a coward (forgive my pre-Korzybski thinking).
And a traitor.
And a murderer (a few witnesses? almost 3,000 mothers of our soldiers, to begin with...).
And a real loser.
And there will be no more exciting television than the broadcast of his trial for war crimes. Unless, of course, by then, he's brought the morality of this nation to a point where public executions are broadcast.
Anyway, read this. It's well-put.
Friday, September 22, 2006
Said Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's president the other day at the United Nations. I love when he gives speeches. You can read the transcript here. He calls Bush the devil. He said he smells.
Some claim Chavez is histrionic; a fame-seeker; a hypocrite. Who cares?
The Bush administration claim to shrug off his remarks. John Bolton, the American ambassador to the United Nations, said, "I'm just not going to comment on this because his remarks just don't warrant a response."
Well, I think they do warrant a response, it's just that Bolton is an inarticulate boob. And the hub of the Central American Death Squads in the 80s. Or so I heard.
So fuck him. And his bosses. Viva Chavez! Viva the People!
Ah, fuck 'em all, actually. Buncha pricks!
Saturday, September 16, 2006
“If he is in Pakistan,” said Bush, “Pakistan’s a sovereign nation. In order for us to send thousands of troops into a sovereign nation, we’ve got to be invited by the government of Pakistan.”
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Almost as powerful to me as the 4:30 Movie opening, this was Channel 9's (WOR) opener for its evening movie feature, some of which probably were made for under a million dollars. I'll always associate "Tara's Theme" with this commercial -- it's so very New York. Maybe if I ever saw "Gone with the Wind", I'd hear it differently. But I haven't. And I won't.
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Well, the results are in: Pluto is no longer considered a planet. Based on new planetary criteria, it didn't make the cut.
But fear not, fellow astronomers, Earth is still balanced with eight neighbors! According to the redefinition of the solar system, the replacement planet is Karl Rove's big smug melon.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Of course, I found it on YouTube. It's also available on the Disney Treasures DVD, Disney Rarities. Which comes in a collector's tin. Which I think is fantastic.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
I like to think it had a lot to do with my scathing indictment of those fascist pigs (see article below).
Although it had nothing to do with that.
Anyway...f- you, jackoffs (at least until Wal-Mart appeals -- blah!)!
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Ah, Wal-Mart (or as my brother likes to call it the “Made in China Store”)! You just can’t get that many Chinese imports outside of a, well, I guess a Wal-Mart in China. More than 70 percent of the products sold in Wal-Mart are made in China. Now, I don’t have any problem with free trade between the nations of the world; I’ve always considered my self an internationalist. But I do favor my own country first. I think you always have to take care of your own backyard before you mow the neighbors.
One of my problems with Wal-Mart is their seemingly pro-american, thumbs-up-working-class aura that cremates all the working-class competition by suckering the working-class into thinking they have the best prices just because they sell staple items like diapers cheaper but set typical department store prices for other items. Sure, they sell music CDs for under $10, but who cares when all they seem to stock is such uninteresting tripe as “Blue Collar Comedy Tour” and any number of soulless carbon-copied mediocre neo-country pin-ups that’d set Hank Williams spinning in his grave like a centrifuge (which would be fitting since the prototype for that device, a whirling arm apparatus, was utilized to determine drag, which is the state of existence into which I’m immediately thrust when subjected to the aforementioned songs).
One time, in a moment of abysmal ignorance, I purchased a $10 pair of pants at Wal-Mart. By the time I reached the parking lot, they had a hole in them!
Nah, nah, I’m only joking. I would never buy a pair of Rustler Jeans. I’m just saying that, in my unscientific opinion, I think they sell junk. And plenty of it, as I perceive things.
And let us not fail to consider the scenario wherein after the decimation of all surrounding competition, Wal-Mart someday packs up and skips town. What then will Beaverton be left with?
So go ahead, build the Wal-Mart in Cedar Mill. Conjure for us the zenith of all gridlock catastrophes! Smother any remaining essence and character from the ever-dwindling numbers of charming small towns. Go ahead and employ our neighbors at what you consider “livable wages” – I’m sure your gargantuan organization is offering as much as you can afford. Why not build up China’s economy at the expense of America’s most precious commodity, its citizenry? All for a $5 tube top!
Maybe I’m wrong. After all, the Vice President of the United States of America thinks Wal-Mart’s doing great things for the economy.
Or maybe I’m right. And Wal-Mart is a gluttonous vortex of ravenous greed and venomous disdain for the working class, wrapped in a nylon, colorfast fabric American flag. On sale now for $19.86!
I’ll take one! And drape it over a Wal-Mart shopping cart – a casket for the ideals of small business.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
"This bill would support the taking of innocent human life in the hope of finding medical benefits for others," Bush said after rejecting calls that he change his policy. "It crosses a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect."
To reiterate, he's a selfish, murderous traitor to democracy.
Here's the obligatory pic of Bush looking like a douche bag.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
I'm listening to Guided By Voices at work. Doesn't everyone? There's a line in "Quality of Armor" off the Propeller lp that sums up my notion of large-headed talking head Sean Hannity, whose show I had the displeasure of sampling last night as he whined at his college professor for giving him a bad final grade (he claimed he recieved the low score because he extolled the virtues of Reagan -- too bad Hannity wasn't a Central American farmer -- to his socialist instructor).
"Waah, I face discrimination for being a Republican... "
Douche bag. I suspect, as his college professor tried to explain over Hannity's interruptive whining and mugging, that he recieved the grade because that was the best his school work could generate. (The professor said he wished he could have given him a lower grade.)
How does a guy with such a big head and a pathetic nostomania of the dreadful 80s ever get laid? (This is not a reference to Psaur)
Even more pathetic than Hannity's show and notions, is the fact that anyone (me) even acknowledges him. He is a dinosaur, indeed. But still walking the earth. More like the alligator, ancestor of the saurians. With that gargantuan reptilian head.
A disgrace to Irishmen everywhere!
Oh yeah, that GBV line. It's:
"The best defense is belligerence." The armor of the ignorant.
Sunday, June 11, 2006
And be sure to visit The Feebs on My Space now! Report to Paneltown, you jackanapes!
Monday, May 22, 2006
Anyway, they blowed it up real good yesterday.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
The lighting was indeed "ambitious and sophisticated in execution."
Plus, I've got a thing for the Assistant Stage Manager...
Storytelling, cast excel in play about the Lindbergh trial
by Ron Cowan
May 15, 2006
By now, cases such as the Lindbergh kidnapping trial of the 1930s seem quite familiar: media overkill, celebrities galore, a lackluster judiciary and expert witnesses by the truckload.
But the subject of John Logan's "Hauptmann," now at Salem Repertory Theatre, still takes on mythic proportions, pitting the anguish of an iconic American family against the fate of a befuddled German immigrant.
Logan, better known for writing films such as "Gladiator" and "The Last Samurai," throws in some allusions to the contrary but pretty much comes down on the side of the defendant, Bruno Richard Hauptmann (Jason Haines). Hauptmann virtually was defenseless against the world of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh and a $1 million prosecution case.
Tautly directed by David Janoviak, with a flair for the dramatic, this is nonetheless involving entertainment, rich with the tapestry of a different era and an almost mythic mix of characters and events.
Did he or didn't he do it? It's never quite certain, though Hauptmann was found in possession of $14,000 of the $50,000 ransom for the baby and later found dead, and the prosecution had both compelling and improbable evidence.
What is more intriguing here is the touching of two distinctly different worlds, the wealth and celebrity of the Lindberghs and the impoverished, troubled life of the immigrant, automatically doubted when questions of guilt and innocence are raised.
Tormented by the police and without adequate legal support (having only an overwhelmed lawyer and $4,000 to mount a case), Hauptmann is little more than an observer hoping for the best and proclaiming his innocence to the end.
One of this play's strengths is its unconventional format, opening just before Hauptmann's execution in 1936 and flashing back to tell the story of the characters and the kidnapping, setting the scene, and then progressing through the drama of the trial.
Other than Haines, cast members play several roles, stepping in and out of characters as the play goes back and forth in time.
Haines is a profoundly affecting figure as Hauptmann, a bewildered and sympathetic man played with a German accent. He addresses the audience directly and participates in the action, letting us know he is telling his story so it can't happen again.
Another strong performer is Thomas Nabhan, particularly in the role of the determined prosecutor in the trial sequence, relentlessly berating poor Hauptmann and guiding his sometimes suspicious experts.
Peter Armetta, who plays a variety of expert witnesses and the odd Dr. John Condon, who inserted himself into the case as a go-between with the kidnappers, is particularly versatile at changing characters.
The excellent cast includes Susan Coromel, Josiah Bania, Tim Jaeger and Dawnie Drebin, all of whom elicit telling details in a variety of characters.
The set by Scott Grim, a gray courtroom/jail setting, does a lot with a little, and his lighting, using an expanded lighting grid, is ambitious and sophisticated in execution. Rebecca Turk's costumes suggest the era, without overdoing the nostalgia.
"Hauptmann" is not lighthearted fare, which has given SRT its greatest success so far, but it is the measure of a professional company that is willing to challenge and reward an audience with edgy and uncompromising theater.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
MY TOP TEN SUMMER SONGS:
1. “California Girls” by The Beach Boys
2. “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
3. “Dancing in the Streets” by Martha and the…
(Snore…) Splash! Oh, sorry, I think I dozed off into my mimosa! Can you imagine another boring list of the same sorry, played-out summer songs? I wouldn’t do that to you. Well, maybe I would if I needed some quick cash. But I wouldn’t do it to myself.
So I’ve decided to compile a list of songs with the word “summer” in the title.
MY TOP TEN “SUMMER” SONGS:
1. “Summer in the City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful
2. “Boys of Summer” by Don Henley
3. “Summer Wind” by Frank Sinatra…
No, no, I’m joking. Anyone with access to the Internet could dredge up an equally banal roster. If I were to seriously write a list of this nature, I’d introduce songs perhaps mildly unfamiliar to the general populace:
MY REAL TOP TEN “SUMMER” SONGS:
1. “That Summer Feeling” by Jonathan Richman
2. “The Other Side of Summer” by Elvis Costello
3. “Shadowy Summer” by The Frustrations
4. “Summer in Siam” by The Pogues
5. “Long Hot Summer” by The Style Council
…and five other super cool hits for those hot summer nights!
OK, maybe that wasn’t all that exciting either. Which is why my Top Ten Summer Songs will instead exhibit those tunes I prefer to listen to in the summer. More to the point, while driving with the window down as my wintry pale hand bangs out an accompanying beat against the unwashed door of my car. Some songs, you will find, indeed have nothing to do with summer in content; a few, I imagine, you will be unfamiliar with (both song and artist); one or two you may never need to hear again. For example, Song #1: Like a Rolling Stone, which plays from 5 to 8 times a day on any given “classic” rock station. (Startlingly, when discussing my list with a contemporary, she queried, “’Like a Rolling Stone?’ How does that go?” My mimosa shot out of my incredulous fingers. “How does that go?” To me, that’s like a third-grade school teacher saying, “The Pledge of what?” Of course, I’m a bit of a “rock snob”, as they say. Oh yeah, and an incredible nerd. On with the list!)
MY TOP TEN SUMMER DAY DRIVING SONGS (with Author’s Commentary):
1. “Like a Rolling Stone” by Bob Dylan
This song has always signaled the unmuzzling of the dog days of summer for me. “How does it feel?” Liberating!
2. “Even a Dog Can Shake Hands” by Warren Zevon
Bang! The ramp light goes green. Let’s see how this baby does on the open road. Fueled by the acerbic wit of Zevon’s delivery and former R.E.M. drummer Bill Berry’s driving bellowing backbeat, the song propels me beyond the mph capacity of Black Bolt (the moniker of my sweet ride). I keep it at 55, but my mind is going, like, I don’t know, 65-70.
3. “Desiree” by Laura Nyro and Labelle
After Zevon gets me off the ground, Nyro holds me there with this ethereal gem polished by vibes and unpronounced piano and clocking in at a perfect 1:52. A summer breeze captured on analog.
4. “Sweet Thing” by The Waterboys
From their masterpiece Fisherman’s Blues, this brilliant reworking of Van Morrison’s original taps my eardrums like a twister, throwing sunlight and dark clouds in my path as I drive on deep into the day.
5. “Motor Away” by Guided By Voices
Dayton, Ohio’s Godfathers of Lo-Fi Rock blow out the windows for you with this paean to the dark American desire to get away, thus sparing you the time-consuming effort of rolling them down yourself, especially when you’ve forfeited power windows for a lower sticker price.
6. “Blue Train” by John Coltrane
Yeah, I know, almost every earnest yet unschooled fan of jazz quickly bulks up their heretofore rock-heavy music library with collections by Miles, Monk, Mingus and Coltrane. I was no exception. “Blue Train”, from his only formal collection of songs for the venerable jazz label, Blue Note, showed me the ability of an instrumental to conjure up such vivid imagery. Maybe I like it too because the main lick reminds me of the horn part in “Vehicle” by The Ides of March. Do do do do doo…
7. “Brandy” by Looking Glass
…though I thought King Harvest sang this, but their song is “Dancing in the Moonlight”, which I thought was sung by Sugarloaf, but they sang…oh, forget it. I sound like Sunday morning radio. Anyway, “My life, my love and my lady…” may not be the sea, but I’m quickly approaching the coast.
8. “Does This Bus Stop at 82nd Street?” by Bruce Springsteen
The wild poetry of his debut album finds its surest footing on this exhaust-filled noisy drive through a hot summer day. “Senorita, Spanish Rose, wipes her eyes and blows her nose…” Honk, honk!
9. “Trouble’s Braids” by Tom Waits
Closer to the ocean we drive. A voice like wet gravel under the rain-heavy eaves. African talking drum, parade bass drum and acoustic bass bouncing in my ears. Through farm and forest, past llama and Labrador. How did this quiet summer drive become a mad dash to the edge of America? I only went out for a smoothie!
What will be the 10th song? Are you anxious to know? Are you even reading this anymore? No one would blame you. You’re probably down by the pool sipping on a peach iced tea and partially tanning in the lukewarm Oregon sun. For anyone still interested, here’s the last song:
10. “Summer in the City” by The Lovin’ Spoonful
Look at me. Some kinda hypocrite, right! I practically mocked anyone who would put this song on a list. So, what do I care? I love it! Those menacing yet hopeful opening chords exploding into the hot concrete noon of New York City. The thirst for open fire hydrants through the thick sheets of humidity until…SALVATION! The fresh air and cool blue lakes of the country; the shade and shadow only found in the city at night.
I have driven down the wide urban streets and rolled over the dusty backroads. Where is summer? I see the ocean before me. I see my home in the rear view mirror. In the expanse lives summer. I see it in the hills and the backyards. I smell it in the cut grass and barbecues. I hear it in this music. I hear it in your voice.
Friday, May 05, 2006
Also, my mind has been lost in fairer thoughts...
Plus I'm finally reading The Davinci Code. I'm hooked. And I don't care that the writing's not f-ing Faulkner -- it's goddamn compelling!
And that completes the telling of the story of Passover.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Monday, April 10, 2006
I said that's it! Those motherfuckers...
Ah, but that was the old me. The dope. The rube. We can't find justice in this world or peace in our time through the obstructions of world governments.
The People must reach out to the People. Nation to nation. Citizen to citizen. Worker to worker.
There's talk of a war with Iran. Jesus fucking Christ! Nobody needs that. It sure as shit won't solve any bullshit problems the governments have been dreaming up.
It'll just kill us all.
Iran, the country (not their government, it would appear) is on the verge of becoming a hip place. The youth of Iran, I hear, are interested in what's been dubbed "western culture" (that's not cowboys and indians, but rather, the world you and I live in). The embrace of western ideals in no way means the death of eastern principles. "Western culture" I consider (despite my bias) the culture of progress, of foresight, of perhaps even world peace, through the opportunities of open and highly-accessible communication.
I mean, if we all start blogging, for instance (although god forbid), that doesn't disallow the practice of Islam or Buddhism or Hinduism. Most of the "western world" practices Christianity, which is just as archaic as others religions, but it doesn't stop anyone from texting a frowny face to a bored co-worker.
I don't know. I just think we should ignore our governments when they try to oppress us with false fears and when they try to fool us or terrorize us into hating the rest of the world.
Because there is no "rest of the world" anymore. There's "the world." And we're all on it. And the governments' answer to disagreements and misunderstandings is to blow the shit out of "them."
And since their "them" is us, we're all "them." So we're all "us." (Try not to follow my "logic" too closely -- you know what I fucking mean!)
What I'm trying to say is that the whole world should just get together to talk about last night's episode of "The Office."
This world needs a common watercooler. And shit.
And no, I'm not drunk!
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Says Groomer, an electric razor from East London, England, "Me 'charm and flattery' went all wonky when that bloke's roughage hit me blades!"
That's his battery, he's saying.
The Union of Follicle Eradicators (UFE) ordered a general strike against all forms of shaving, including sideburns, chests and backs.
Stubbly and whiskered gents were said to be in talks with union organizers this evening at Page Barbershop on Long Island, NY.
Friday, March 24, 2006
In the Fall, a coed academy, specifically the Academy of Character and Ethics, will be opening on the Jefferson High School campus.
Controversy #1 is that the head of the ACE program is a reverend from one of the local churches. So right away, separation of church and state appears to be violated.
Controversy #2 is said pastor's church's donations to the Defense of Marriage Coalition, a group that opposed the gay-marriage efforts of 2004 (Measure 36 sought to amend the Oregon Constitution to recognize marriage only between a man and a woman -- it passed).
(Apparently, many people [not me -- I'm all for it, especially when it involves Portia de Rossi] become enraged at the thought of individuals of the same sex marrying. They innaccurately cite that old, old book as the touchstone for their fallacies and begin to foam at the mouth. This is the same coven of ignorami who can't conjure up the initiative to go to the library or read to their children. I know I'm being insensitive to the spiritually sensitive, so easily shattered by the words that might hurt the baby Jesus, but, you know, fuck 'em. They'd just as soon piss on you than to practice the very same tolerance Jesus preached all those years ago. Before he died.)
Controversy #3 is, perhaps, a personal one. The aforementioned church is a predominantly African-American church, and also possibly the first Baptist church in the Portland area. So therefore, I feel guilty criticizing a black church. The guilt is irrational, I know. (I feel like Alvy Singer's father in "Annie Hall" when discovering the family maid has been accused of stealing something: "She's a colored woman, from Harlem! She has no money! She's got a right to steal from us!") But this is a temporary sting of guilt, easily overcome by what I consider both the ignorance and hypocrisy of followers of Christ, who never said anything about gay marriage. In fact, here's a fella who never married, wore a dress, and hung around with a dozen other fellas all the time drinking wine.
The real corker is that this alternative school is called the Academy of Character & Ethics. I don't know how Character and Ethics neatly entwine with discrimination and intolerance, but maybe the good reverend does. Of course, ACE claims that GLBT students would be accepted without question.
GLBT stands for "Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender." When I first moved out here, I thought it was a sandwich. It's not.
Character & Ethics. Is there anything more subjective? How do you teach that?
Anyway, this is all a very hot topic on the local blogs. Of which I suppose, I am a contributor.
Next up: My favorite Ernest movie!
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Icky Mettle (1993) - Archers of Loaf
Gentlemen (1993) - Afghan Whigs
Bee Thousand (1994) - Guided By Voices
There's Nothing Wrong with Love (1994) - Built to Spill
Tastes Like Chicken (1994) - Meices
Not quite post-Nirvana nor pre-Weezer, these five albums nevertheless stand alone in my mind as a clarion call of what great rock could be. No radio standards, of course, and not much play on MTV, which had not quite completely sucked yet, these albums represented the zenith of my early-90s listening experience.
Icky Mettle saved my fucking life one day. Gentlemen darkened my heart, which was a bit too white anyway. Bee Thousand blew up my mind. There's Nothing Wrong with Love taught me just that. Tastes Like Chicken reminded me that louder doesn't always mean dumber.
They were the last of what I can remember of non-ironic indie rock. I hadn't been so affected by what I saw as a musical movement since the Second British Invasion of a decade earlier. Perhaps it was only marketing or coincidence that group these albums under one heading in my mind.
Or just being in the right place at the right time. And the right space. And the right mind.
And there's a chance that things'll get weird.
Yeah, that's a possibility.
Although I didn't do anything,
No, I didn't do anything.
- "Web in Front" by Archers of Loaf
Sunday, March 19, 2006
And here it is...
Bill co-hosted a new morning show for ABC News called AM America, which was replaced after 10 months by Good Morning, America.
It's doubtful I was watching this in early '75. In fact I'm sure I wasn't. I don't know if I was even awake yet. But if I was, it's obvious what I was tuned to.
Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz.
Mostly, I remember Beutel from WABC's Eyewitness News (that was Channel 7 in the Long Island area). I had forgotten the theme song until I watched to clip above. (Curiously I've learned -- if the internets' anything to trust -- the theme is from the soundtrack to Cool Hand Luke).
That clip looks like it's from 20 years ago! Oh wait, it is...I'm sure I thought the news was shitty back then, but compared to now, it's gold!
So farewell, Bill Beutel! Another forgotten memory of my past now made immortal.
Good luck, and be well.
The footage of Eyewitness News is from a great site called TV Ark The Television Museum. They have clips from dozens, maybe hundreds (do I have to tell you everything?) of programs.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Ooh she gave me Mekong Whiskey
Ooh she gave me Hong Kong Flu
Ooh she gave me Mekong Whiskey
Put me on a breeze to Katmandu
- from "Sayonara" by The Pogues
Happy St. Patrick's Day from the Lantern Fishworks!
Listen to "Red Roses for Me."
Watch "State of Grace."
Read "The Third Policeman."
Eat a slice of "Pat the Baker."
Snack on an "Aero."
Listen to "Rum, Sodomy and the Lash."
Listen to "If I Should Fall from Grace with God."
Listen to "Red Roses for Me" again.
Tog go bog e,
P.S. - Yr Da's a tinker.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
I'll end the synopsis there, because I don't explain things too well. But it's brilliant and more than timely in our newly heightened world of surveillance and espionage.
I give it four stars on the MO'SH movie review scale. Of course, I give every film either four stars or no stars. It's so much easier that way.
Saturday, March 04, 2006
Listen to "Levi Stubbs' Tears." However you can.
When the world falls apart some things stay in place/Levi Stubbs' tears run down his face
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
Sunday, February 26, 2006
They're banning all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest (which is the same thing).
That's great news for rapists! Now they can have their children mothered by any women they want!
Let me make this outrageous, unconfirmable statement: It would appear to me that the South Dakotan Republican Senators support the parental rights of rapists.
I know, I know...those pricks in the SD Senate don't hate women -- they love babies more.
Of course, they're full of shit. They don't like babies either, especially Native American ones. Anyone remember Wounded Knee?
And so on and so on...
Will your state be next?
P.S. - You know what Jesus says about abortion? Absolutely nothing. So please keep him out of the discussion, all you anti-choice kooks!
Saturday, February 25, 2006
36 and 1/2 years later, here I am, semi-nude, finishing off a bottle of Merlot and listening to a Vic Chesnutt album. Indeed, this is greatness in one of her many forms. The wine is of Washington vintage. The album is "Is the Actor Happy", the 2004 reissue on New West Records (originally released in 1995 on Texas Hotel).
I am anticipating the release of the first full-length by Heirs to the McQueen Fortune, the group formed by my brothers and me. We're now in post-production for the album "The Low Low Moon", produced by the pius brothers, and recorded at Little Ease Studios, Portland, OR, aka the Feeb's basment, save for one track recorded at The Castle on the Oregon Coast. The album's been two years in the making, and has gone through both title changes, and group changes (would it be a Pizazz, Feebs, or Heirs album?). We decided, rightly on the Heirs.
Heirs to the McQueen Fortune are Jim, Pete and myself. Sounding a lot like a Feebs meets the Throats album, with the underrated talent of Pete to lift the music a notch higher. The three of us have recorded together once before as The Sleeping Brothers, an album quickly conceived and executed (or vice versa) in '96 or '97 in Calabash, NC. It's an odd little album that serves as fitting prequel to the present masterwork we've crafted of late.
I'm looking at an April release date, once we remix the songs and get the album cover done. It will primarily be available through CDBaby.com and soonafter on iTunes and many other digital download sites.
For the few of you who have heard Jim's and my music, this is our best work ever. A bold statement, depending on your tastes.
Too old for MTV, and too unpolished (and balls-to-the-fucking-wall) for Adult Contemporary, we are doomed to obscurity for the next 25 years until we're discovered.
Your grandkids are gonna love us.
"He looks like a pink nightmare."
"You used all the glue on purpose."
"Fragile...Must be Italian!"
Farewell, Kolchak! Your stalking nights are over!
And Don Knotts is gone as well! I've gotta put "No Deposit, No Return" in my Netflix queue!
Thursday, February 16, 2006
That public men publish falsehoods
Is nothing new. That America must accept
Like the historical republics corruption and empire
Has been known for years.
Be angry at the sun for setting
If these things anger you. Watch the wheel slope and
They are all bound on the wheel, these people, those
This republic, Europe, Asia.
Observe them gesticulating,
Observe them going down. The gang serves lies, the
Man plays his part; the cold passion for truth
Hunts in no pack.
You are not Catullus, you know,
To lampoon these crude sketches of Caesar. You are far
From Dante's feet, but even farther from his dirty
Let boys want pleasure, and men
Struggle for power, and women perhaps for fame,
And the servile to serve a Leader and the dupes to be
Yours is not theirs.
Monday, February 13, 2006
Sunday, February 05, 2006
I got off 5 songs last night at The Ambassador, a Chinese Restaurant/Karaoke Bar that just remodeled its exterior to resemble a castle. Actually, after a little bit of research, I realize it looks a lot like Jiayuguan Fortress, also known as the "Strongest Fortress Under Heaven."
I wonder if Jiayuguan Fortress was also notorious for serving the "Weakest Bourbon and Coke Under Heaven"? Ah, what does it matter? The Crab Puffs are exquisite!
My repertoire was thus (followed by its rating):
1. Born to Run - Questionable
2. Come Dancing - Fumbling
3. The Stranger - Spot on (although with the whistling, I kept blowing in the mic)
4. Walk Away Renee - Nailed it!
5. Brandy - Got them on the dance floor!
Overall, a 60%. 70% if you consider I had to hold the mic in my hand. I believe the mic stand should be standard at all karaoke bars. And a stool. What am I? Tom "Fucking" Jones? (Thank god no one sang any Tom "Fucking" Jones for a change. Although, "I Will Survive" reared its ugly head around 11ish.)
I got home around 1:30 to find that, alas, the empty sidewalks on my block were still the same...