Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Annotated Inaugural Advisory

The Congressional Inaugural Committee today released an official advisory that more or less sizes up the coming Inaugurapocalypse and reaches the obvious conclusion: now, more than ever, steps must be taken to dissuade as many people as possible from coming to Washington, DC, lest the city be left a deep crater full of human leavings and 75% off HOPESTRONG bracelets. I hate to interfere with their good works, but attention to detail must be paid. Full text is available here.

In the remaining weeks before the 56th presidential inaugural, the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies (JCCIC) will be issuing a series of advisories to help people who plan to attend the swearing-in ceremony.

All of these advisories can be summarized thusly: PLEASE DO NOT COME TO WASHINGTON.

While the actual swearing-in will take place shortly before noon, the formal program begins at 11:30 AM and the musical prelude and seating will begin much earlier. Security checkpoints will open for ticketed guests at 8:00 AM, and the committee advises arriving no later than 9:00 AM to ensure that you are through the checkpoints by the time the program begins.

Also? You will not in any way be through the security checkpoint by the time the program begins, because the security checkpoint will be a storied clusterfuck. You will be able to experience, firsthand, one of the things Washington, DC officials do very well: project a heroic level of indifference to your concerns.

We also recommend developing back-up plans in case your original plans need to be changed at the last minute.

"Bitch set me up" seems to work.

Street closures throughout Washington, D.C., will make traveling by car or taxi very difficult.

This is really too bad, because it's really a fucking snap every other time.

For some people bicycling may be an option to get close to the U.S. Capitol.

That would be "people with bicycles," I guess.

The Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) is working on a plan with city officials to have bike valet stations available outside the security perimeter near the swearing-in ceremonies and parade route.

This will be a wholly unique way of having your bicycle stolen.

D.C.’s subway system will be running “rush-hour” service all day, but is expecting “crush-level” crowds. Be prepared to wait for space on a train for long periods of time, during which you will have to stand in close proximity to several thousand people.

The return trip on public transportation will be the more arduous portion of your commute, as people's enthusiasm will be diminished, overall body odor will be more significant, and the frotteurs far less frisky.

Many Metro escalators will be closed due to crowding and individuals will need to climb Metro stairs or wait to utilize the small number of elevators at Metro stations.

Won't you buy a commemorative Barack Obama Smartrip card, to support our crumbling infrastructure?

The weather in Washington in January is usually quite cold and often rainy or snowy.

In all honesty, while it will be cold, we're pretty used to snow failing to materialize here. I think the last time there was a sustained period of reliable mid-January snows, the terror alert level was at "What Are You Talking About? I've Never Heard Of This Terror Alert Level System, Weird Spaceman From the Future!"

Other prohibited items include, but are not limited to: Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated)...

Yes, it's a disappointing end to the rich tradition of Inauguration Day simulated gunplay.

Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length)...

Cutting remarks at Rick Warren's expense still allowed and encouraged.

Pockets or hand tools, such as “Leatherman”...

Especially the vaguely homosexual sounding hand tools!


Honestly, only a complete asshole would bring a cooler to the inauguration.

Animals (other than service animals), Alcoholic beverages...

Other than service alcoholic beverages.

I Feel I Must Interject Here

Ever wise, Catherine Andrews asks:

zooey deschanel is getting married to ben gibbard. why do i find that so odd?
Well, she's had better vocal training, for starters. Also, one had to imagine she'd move in a decidedly more Paste-y direction, maybe. But mainly, I think it's just because you think of Gibbard singing "Someday You Will Be Loved" to her and think: Ewww.

Another Undercover Glover Lover

I wish we had a secret jute, too! Jute makes a fine rug. Lightweight and easy to vacuum.

Crappy Hour: There's No Culture There's No Spies

Well, it's getting to be the end of the Crappy Hour era. In case you missed it, today I did my last stint as Megan's guest IM correspondent for Jezebel's long running/soon ending daily feature. But, take heart! The plan is to have one massive clusterfuck series finale ending to Crappy Hour on Friday, with Megan and Moe and all of us who've been so fortunate to have had the opportunity to commune with the Jezebelles in their natural habitat. But as always, keep in mind, those plans are tentative. I think I'm probably the most responsible one of the lot, and that's saying something.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The End Of Sparks

Sparks is a drink made up of "malt beverage" and "citric acid," which, when combined with caffeine and a bunch of herbal crap for people who won't suck it up and do actual speed, creates a taste sensation that one might refer to as "jizz vapor." The drink, chiefly popular among art-damaged, ambisexual urban poverty tourists, never really took off in Washington, DC, to Washington, DC's eternal credit. Yet I still remembering the first time I spotted this shit on the grocery shelves, fittingly, at that goddamned Giant in Columbia Heights, and felt the horror of what the city might become. According to Gawker, the drink's manufacturer, MillerCoors, will not be producing this shit anymore. We'll believe that when Brightest Young Things change their name to Respectably Well-Lit Young Things.

[term "jizz vapor" by Sommer Mathis, used under a Creative Commons license.]

Everything Seemingly Is Spinning Out Of Control: Your Next Existential Crisis Will Be Twittered

"It's starting to feel like if an event was live Twittered, it didn't really happen."
This is better than saying it's starting to feel like if an event WASN'T live Twittered, it didn't really happen. But not by much, and, I assure you, that is the slope we are on.

Inaugurapocalypse Downgraded To Mere Inauguruination

Sommer reports that the estimates for the crowds coming for Inauguration have been cut in half - from four million expected attendees to a less calamitous two million. What's up America? You mean you don't want to stand around in the frigid fucking cold amid piles of frozen shit to get nowhere near the festivities? Discussing the city's capacity for handling the crowds, City Administrator Dan Tangherlini said, "It's more of an art than a science." We nevertheless urge Tangherlini: PLEASE USE SCIENCE ANYWAY OKAY?

Anyway, I guess I should thank Saddleback pastor-hack Rick Warren for successfully offending two million people enough that they now plan to stay home and get gay-married to one another.

The Bit With The Boxes

The bit with the boxes proved to be a rather hard nut to crack, despite the fact that it looked like the simplest thing in the world on paper. But an intricate bit of physical business, the need for alacrity, and dialogue that was basically the three of us spitting rapid-fire, repetitive, non-sequiturs at one another seemed to conspire against us again and again. I think that between the three of us: Hugh Owen, Shane Wallis, and myself, we were collectively the sort of people that would hardly be described as being overly disciplined by anyone unfortunate to chronicle our exploits, but still, we should have nailed the scene a lot earlier than we did.

With Randy's patience starting to wear and the the feeling like we were all going to get detention or something starting to loom, the three of us sequestered ourselves to quietly nail the scene down. In the end, we hit upon a plan: a "safe-word" - "Kalamazoo," actually - which, by agreement, we would say if we went in the weeds as a cue to cut the losses and cut to the end. Naturally, by according ourselves this tiny thread of safety and assurance to live in that part of our brains that produces lizardly doubts, we never went in those weeds again. And almost immediately, we had it right to the level of reck and abandon we wanted it. And in a play full of things I just couldn't wait to do, it became one of the things I really looked forward to doing each night.

Anyway, I just wanted people to know that about my friend and colleague, Shane Wallis. And also that he worked very hard to make life interesting for the people he knew, and never seemed to have an unkind thing to say about anybody. He's gone on, now, to a far better place, and as a warning to the people there, let me just say: y'all are about to get up to some shit. Enjoy. I shall miss him greatly.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Nice Reflexes For A Lame Duck, Actually!

Mark Twain was slightly wrong. Though a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes, if the truth manages to get its shoes off, odds are even they can at least tag the lie in the face.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I think it's a bit odd for German Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück to be "lambasting the 'vulgar Keynesianism' of Gordon Brown." I mean, as Keynesians go, they don't come much more vulgar than Adolf Hitler.

Like Team Aniston, Coached by Isiah Thomas

Defamer fittingly reminds us that while she's out, ostensibly promoting a family film about a lovable dog, Jennifer Aniston is filling the usual magazines up with a lot of snark talk agitation at her ex's new wife and doing photo shoots with all this bonkers nudity. I mean, look, I'm not complaining, of course, but when I saw Aniston's spot for the Ronald McDonald house on teevee tonight and it didn't end with some kind of simulated orgasm, my first reaction was to think, "What a relief!" My next reaction, of course, was to think, "Too bad." I guess this is just a really confusing time for all of us, what with Somali pirates and all.

Crappy Hour: F Silvestre And All His Friends

Today's Crappy Hour was plagued by the fitful NYC wifi connection Megan had to work with, but eventually, we worked it out. Now what's all this about Hayden and McConnell equaling the continuity America needs right now?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hot Housewives...for Science!

You gotta feel for the cover layout artist for German science journal Max Planck Forschung. All the dude needs to do is find a nice patch of stately looking Chinese text to make the cover of the latest issue. You find something that looks perfect and you run it and the cover looks great. And then you find out that what you've slapped on you science journal is actually the text from a flyer advertising a brothel.

There were red faces on the editorial board of one of Germany's top scientific institutions, the Max Planck Institute, after it ran the text of a handbill for a Macau strip club on the front page of its latest journal. Editors had hoped to find an elegant Chinese poem to grace the cover of a special issue, focusing on China, of the MaxPlanckForschung journal, but instead of poetry they ran a text effectively proclaiming "Hot Housewives in action!" on the front of the third-quarter edition. Their "enchanting and coquettish performance" was highly recommended.

The use of traditional Chinese characters and references to "the northern mainland" seem to indicate the text comes from Hong Kong or Macau, and it promises burlesque acts by pretty-as-jade housewives with hot bodies for the daytime visitor.

According to reports, the magazine had consulted a "German sinologist" who is now saying that he missed the "deeper levels of meaning" in the text. I have a feeling that "German sinologist" is something you tell people you can do when you need a job in a down economy, figuring, "When the hell is this ever going to come back to haunt me?" Well...boo.

Anyway it's a pretty great cover, but this is still my favorite.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Ein, Zwei, Die.

Here's the latest bit of cinematic insanity that's been passed my way from the Nabob. Looks to be at least as good as Dragon Wars, maybe better. It's from Norway, and it's got snowmobiles and sexy teens and...well...you'll figure it out.

Yeah, that'll basically do it.

Our Unimpeachable Expertise

Spencer reminds me that I am in this book too, and should be telling you about it! Go buy The Huffington Post Complete Guide to Blogging! For fun and stuff! Or for a parent or aunt who's terrified of the modern world and who maybe needs an entree into one small aspect of it so they won't be some kind of stupid shut-in. It's an enjoyable read you won't regret. And check out pages 93 and 94, where I tell the incredibly true story of how I parlayed a few dick jokes and regrettable personality quirks into some kind of bonkers career. Anyway, makes a great stocking stuffer, provided you have very wide stockings.

Crappy Hour: What We Did In Our Pants

Today, Megan Carpentier and I discusses matters of national import on Jezebel's "Crappy Hour." An excerpt:

JASON: Look, I'm just glad that someone has a definition of "extreme lengths" that stops at "making him wear nothing but underwear" and doesn't involve the sort of things that make Mike Mukasey jizz in his pants. "I hook electrodes, to a brown man's balls and I JIZZ IN MY PANTS."

MEGAN: You know whom else I'm betting lets loose with a couple of teaspoons-full now and again? Michael Chertoff, when he's listening to illegal wiretap tapes. Also, a ton of liberals when Bush said "Welcome to my hanging" this weekend.

JASON: Oh, no doubt. Though Chertoff mostly spews graveyard dust out of his dessicated ghoul-cock. You know Chertoff is a guy that Baby Jesus hates the most. "Waaah. Living-dead abomination! Jizzing graveyeard dust!"

MEGAN: He is, without a doubt, the creepiest-looking guy in Washington. You'd think that he'd look less creepy in person, that maybe it's the TV lights or something. But, no. He really does look exactly that frightening.

JASON: Yeah. And you know, he's not scary-looking? Like we don't even get any sort of terrorist deterrence out of the fact that he's the creepiest fuck in the world. He'd actually be better off if he drew a mad face on a paper bag and wore it around Washington. I guess after Obama takes office it's back to the Jim Rose Sideshow with that guy!

MEGAN: Nah, his wife might get mad if he wore it outside of the bedroom.

JASON: Does he have a wife? I naturally assumed the man fucked mummies, like Dick Morris.

Things sort of degenerate from there.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Other Kate

According to the Facebook status message of Tricia Olszewski (who we love, even as we fail to spell her name correctly), the movie The Reader "only if you'd like to gape at Kate Winslet's extremely large nipples." So, basically, this holiday season enthusiasts of large, exposed nipples will have an alternative to Frost/Nixon.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Via Soup comes the reminder that even as financial institutions sputter and fail, there's one that hasn't come to Washington looking for a punk-ass bailout.

I remember back in Richmond, when we were working at the tatty-ass mall record store, there was a persistent rumor that they were going to open up a Wu Wear in Portsmouth. We'd dream about working there, because how awesome would it have been to have Raekwon as your boss? Then Wu-Tang Forever stiffed like it was Batman Forever, and it felt like a part of our innocence had died. But we all had Radiohead and Spiritualized to fall back on, so it ended up being an all right year.

Did You Ever Get The Feeling That Pandora Was Maybe Complicating Things?

Highlighted box mine. Because for Ludacris fans, it's all about the elocution. [Via Ana Marie's Twitterpics.]

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Really, Open and Honest Communication Is The Cornerstone To Every Successful Marriage

DCeiver: So! Guess what!

Wife of DCeiver: What?

DCeiver: It looks like I might have the opportunity tomorrow to meet someone from my List Of Five.

Wife of DCeiver: Oh! That's right!

DCeiver: Have any concerns?

Wife of DCeiver: Not really! But best of luck to you!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tina Fey in Vanity Fair

Even though Maureen Dowd's approach to interviewing Tina Fey frequently achieves the trademarked high level of shallowness that Dowd is known for, I'm very excited to see Fey get the Vanity Fair cover, if for no other reason than the fact that it finally puts to bed the Story of the Scar. People are very, very interested in that, for some reason. I cannot tell you how many times it's come to pass that someone finds out that I knew Fey in passing at UVa and they ask, straightaway, about the scar. I'm always very honest about it - I tell people that I honestly do not remember if I had ever had a conversation about it with her. My instincts tell me I might have, but my memory contains no recollection. What usually happens next is that the person gets pissed off at me for not knowing and remembering this detail! This has always flummoxed me: I mean, we're talking about someone who I barely knew back in 1992! There wasn't a moment where Tina Fey cautioned me: "Jason! In about a decade, I am going to be crazy famous! Whatever you do, do not forget the exacting details of our handful of interactions." To me, she was just a student who graduated and went to DePaul for grad school, I think.

Anyway, Vanity Fair has relieved me of that burden. Now I can tell people to watch 30 Rock and root for the Fey I do remember: a very funny, very modest, very warm-hearted person, who as far as I can recall, worked very diligently and never let anyone down. I think those memories are rather nice, and shall suffice.

The Pattern

I am risking a thorough cockpunching for saying this, but I've never been able to get through an episode of Fringe without imagining how much cooler it would be if it starred Catherine Andrews. Actually, I think it's precisely because Anna Torv hasn't yet convinced me that yes, she will cockpunch the shit out of some paranormal stuff if need be. Anyway, it's a pretty uncanny resemblance.

Next Up: ICELAND, starring Bjork and Magnus Ver Magnusson

Pretty great! But left unanswered is who helms this? Depending on whether its Guy Maddin, David Cronenberg, or Atom Egoyan, this could go in a bunch of different directions. [Via.]

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stay Classy, East Orange

Oh hai! I am back now from my recent adventures in the tri-State area, which involved hanging with the niece and nephews, visiting old friends, and spending an uncountable number of hours on the New Jersey Turnpike, which was as awful as it has ever been tonight. My god.

I'd like to recommend the Ramada Inn East Orange, which was not the Murder Hotel it was reputed to be at all. Very much an Aggravated Assault/Possession With Intent To Distribute Hotel instead. There was one working elevator and the hallways smelled vaguely of urine, but the random gatherings of Eastern European men in the lobby were friendly and "warm" for Eastern European standards. One of the hotel staff paused this morning to ask me a question I don't get a lot: "Are you with the music group?" No. No, I was not.

Anyway, I'm back, and I hope you Redskins fan appreciate to hilarious way I drove in to Manhattan to go to a club and straight up goad Plaxico Burress into shooting himself in the leg. Already people are asking me how I did it! Well, it was a simple process, really. See, I knew that Plaxico carried a piece with him at all times. So, I went to the club, and from there, it was just a simple matter of Plaxico Burress being as dumb as a motherfucking bag of rocks.

It was the perfect crime!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Death Of Roy Batty [Jonathan Rees R.I.P.]

Keith Ivey points me to this article on awesomely 1997tastic website DCWatch from Gary Imhoff, reporting that Jonathan Rees, vexatious litigant and crazy bedeviler of DC area blogs and bloggers, has died. He leaves behind a legacy that includes at least one fantastically unsuccessful run for DC Council, endless homophobic blogs, about seven hundred online aliases, and a pure and unadulterated mania that will likely be unmatched in this lifetime. I hope wherever he goes, they give him his brain back. Or let him go even crazier. That was one weird and hateful dude.

Rees probably gave me one of my favoritest blurbs ever: "I am convinced that your left nut is bigger than your right which reflects your often unbalanced reporting but that is your trade mark as Asshole of the Year 2004." That went right on my curriculum vitae.

Rees was good enough to submit to an interview with me. At the time, he didn't know it, but he had specifically agreed to take the Voight-Kampff Test:

The DCeiver: It's your birthday. Someone gives you a calfskin wallet. How do you react?

REES: I always liked things like leather or skin whether a wallet or vest.

The DCeiver: You've got a little boy. He shows you his butterfly collection plus the killing jar. What do you do?

REES: Since I am not a fan of butterfly collections, I might be inclined to encourage him to begin collecting things like coins, stamps or marbles.

The DCeiver: You're watching television. Suddenly you realize there's a wasp crawling on your arm.

REES: I would extend my arm and wait for it to fly off as I have been in that position twice in my life and was never stung.

The DCeiver: You're in a desert walking along in the sand when all of the sudden you look down, and you see a tortoise, Jonathan, it's crawling toward you. You reach down, you flip the tortoise over on its back,
Jonathan. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun,
beating its legs trying to turn itself over, but it can't, not without your
help. But you're not helping. Why is that, Jonathan?

REES: I am not helping because I want it to do more on its own to turn itself over.

The DCeiver: Describe in single words, only the good things that come into your mind. About your mother.

REES: The fact that she took the time to not only raise me but taught me to respect all no matter what their lot in life was and never ask for anything back.

As you might have guessed, he was deemed a replicant. Oh, well. Jonathan Rees saw things you wouldn't believe. Unconfirmed sodomy between DC officials. Misguided campaign flyers, shoved under windshield wipers in Woodley Park. He watched comment streams on blogs glitter on his screen at the public library. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.


Everyone should have a happy Thanksgiving. I'm thankful to have a job and friends and a pretty good life, when you think about it. Best to everyone this holiday season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Bad Day For Butt Banditry

Via Doree Shafrir. So, apparently, it was a very bad day for Tom Larvie, who was arrested today on charges stemming from a raft of activity that won Larvie the nickname "Nebraska's Butt Bandit." His crimes are not what you think they are:

Larvie is suspected of leaving greasy, graphic imprints of his naked behind, and sometimes his groin, on the windows of stores, churches and schools in Valentine since the spring of 2007.

The marks were made with lotion or petroleum jelly.
Perhaps this is a minor quibble, but this doesn't seem much like BANDITRY to me. Bandits steal, or rob people on the highway, or, at the very least, operate machines without permits. Larvie wasn't exactly stealing anything. Sounds to me like he was making his opinion of various institutions known. "Butt Vandal" I could maybe accept, though that would sort of imply that he was running around, wrecking some ass, and, like I said at the outset, his crimes are not what you think they are.

I guess my bigger problem is the fact that he's credited with being NEBRASKA'S Butt Bandit, when really, his whole scope of operations seemed restricted to the city of Valentine - a tiny burg in Northwest Nebraska with a population of about 3,000 people. I have to imagine that there are people right now, in Lincoln - or in the general Omaha-Council Bluffs vicinity, who could lay claim to being the state's great ass-and-taint-presser-on-windows. At least I hope there are. I guess what I'm saying is that Nebraska could really stand to get out more.

Kudos to the AP for really nailing down this story.

Caveat Emptor In The Virginia 47th [Won't Get Gray Raped Again]

So, this dude named Miles Grant is running to unseat Al Eisenberg for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 47th District. According to some of my Arlington Democratic sources, there's a little bit of acrimony as to how a primary fight came about - one person I talked to made it sound like there was a little bit of a lack of politesse on Grant's part. Can't confirm any of that at the moment, and I largely don't give a shit about it. If you live in Arlington, like me, chance are you're arrogant and you're liberal, like me.

Here's what does concern me - nay, disturbs me. As it turns out, Miles Grant once took to these very pages to defend the decision to have Laura Sessions Stepp - supremely confused prude and advocate of the atrocity that is the (very anti-woman) term "gray rape" - speak to would-be mentors of children. Laura Sessions Stepp's nonsense shouldn't get tracked anywhere near children or mentors or, indeed, 21st Century America. Grant's defense of this nonsense is enough for us to be putting down the big NO NO NO as far as his electoral aspirations are concerned.


Dahlia Lithwick's been my favorite writer over at Slate since, like, forever, because hey: I'm a guy who enjoys legal arcana and hates Alberto Gonzalez, so why not! She clerked, I believe, for Judge Procter Hug, which is just the best name for a judge anywhere in the world. Also: she's a fan of the Venn Diagram, especially this one. So I was excited to see her on Maddow last night. I got a post out of it, too! So win, win.

Of course, I had no idea just how far in the tank I could get, until I rewatched the tape and saw what was sitting on the shelf behind her.

Obviously, this is the type of decor with which one can be proudly associated.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Before You Die, You See This Video

As readers know, my friend Amanda is a nice and well adjusted person who is a very good egg. Also, she recommends a lot of good music to people. Because of her music recommendations and general good eggery, whenever I hear a terrible, ear murdering song, I joke that it's a song that Evil Amanda from the Evil Parallel Universe would recommend on her Evil Blog.

So, when Kyle Leafblower pointed me in the direction of the video of this song, my thirst thought was, "My God. This shit is the most played track on Evil Amanda's evil iPod. It is the yellowcake in her uranium enrichment program. I sure hope that Good Donald Rumsfeld can stop her." (Life is complicated in the Evil Parallel Universe.)

Anyway, this is probably the worst song in the world. It's douchebag-powered aural date rape.

Honestly, seeing this video, knowing that the whole of human history has inevitable led to its creation, practically FORCES you to take the only righteous course of action left open to you. Namely: to immediately steal a truckload of rocket-propelled grenades, and then travel back in time to teach the Native Americans to use them in defense of this homeland against all European settlers. So, if by this time next week, I'm in some alternate timeline, cold chillin' with some goddamned Mohicans, living in earthly harmony with the gentle motherfucking buffalo, now you will know why.

What Do Ladies Named Jaime Do?

They use only the most exuberant photos of themselves as their Facebook profile pictures.

Jaime Fearer, left, performs in WIT's SEASON SIX.
Jaime Windon, right, is the BLONDE PHOTOGRAPHER.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Suck it, Twilight!

At E Street Cinema, 555 11th Street NW

Sarah Palin's Grindhouse

Here's that gotcha media again, cold catching Sarah Palin at her worst without noting all those times Joe Biden blithely stood in front of animals getting slaughtered!

I mean, this is just fucking unbelievable! Just remember, Bill Kristol is going to transform this woman into the standard-bearer of the Republican Party any day now, you betcha!

Running On Empty

John McCain is apparently suing singer Jackson Browne for monetary damages (That's right! Senator Seven Homes wants Jackson Browne's money!) because Browne would not let McCain use one of his songs during the campaign, and because McCain is insane.

Of course, Jackson Browne can make this lawsuit go away if he will agree to go out on a series of ten town hall debates with John McCain. For that is all John McCain ever wanted: to travel from whistlestop to whistlestop in the company of another man, like a pair of comical tramps.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Such A Little Thing Makes A Big Difference

Michael Isikoff is a superb reporter, but there's a tendency among journalists to capture every single dispute with the Bush administration as the simple wranglings of two points on the political spectrum. When it comes to the protracted battles over any of the "unitary executive" powers that Bush took for himself -- from wiretapping, to secret prisons, to renditions, to torture, to the suspension of habeas corpus, etc. -- the issue is not a matter of left-versus-right. Rather, it is a conflict between those who believe in a rule of law and fundamental Constitutional rights and a President determined to flout both.
Basic civics is a radical concept, I guess.

Internet Klonopin

I guess my question is, WHY AREN'T THERE MORE OF THESE THINGS? Why isn't one of David Gregory's 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue pundit boxes pointed at a puppy cam? Why can't the New York Times replace Bill Kristol's column with a puppy cam? Why doesn't the Huffington Post have, right now, a PUPPY CAM VERTICAL? Surely these things will come to pass! As Horace wrote in the Ars Poetica, "Simul et jucunda et idonea dicere vitae," which is Latin for "OMG I want those puppies NOM NOM NOM."
The Shiba Inu Puppy Cam is the happiest place on Earth.

Signs Of My Steady Decline

As I have reported elsewhere, Friday night I returned from the Stop Smiling party and went to sleep. And that night, I had a dream. In that dream, I met with Liz Glover, who had been to a Congressional hearing on the bailout disbursement and had shot a series of still photographs of Neel Kashkari testifying before some committee, and while Kashkari hadn't said anything out of the ordinary to the committee, Liz had somehow captured him in such a way that all of his facial expressions looked like his was in the throes of intense sexual ecstacy. (Liz is, in fact, just amazing enough that this is plausible.) So, she and I uploaded all the images, and we created a post for HuffPo entitled "Neel Kashkari Makes His 'O' Face." The dream was so vivid that when I awoke, I still felt the conscious impulse to call up an editor to see how much traffic the post was getting.

The thing is, had it been an actual post, it would have played like gangbusters. Here's hoping my dreams are prophetic!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Famous Last Words

"And then he peeled his turquoise Honda Accord out of the luxury apartment complex, blasted the Verve Pipe’s 'Freshmen,' and drove us home in silence."
That's how Lindsay Robertson ends this post, and I have to say, that is a killer last line right there. Can you imagine how much better Uncle Vanya would be if that's how Sonya buttoned that michegas up? Honestly, I think that line should end all stories, with the exception, of course, of all episodes of Law And Order: SVU, which I have learned should all end with one of the characters enthusiastically shouting, "We're going to Red LOBSTEEEERRRR!" This matter is not up for debate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Week Later...

So! That whole election thing worked out pretty okay, didn't it? WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING. I've been basically re-learning how to relax, not wake up in the middle of the night with Sarah Palin-induced night terrors, working hard at remembering what I used to care about before agreeing to be chomped up and shat out the all consuming maw of our democracy. Teevee and stuff! I recall rock music. Plus, there were all these wonderful people I used to see, I think they were called "friends" or something. Anyway, Spencer Ackerman invited me to relearn all my social niceties BKLYN-STYLE at some football-watching gathering this Sunday, so perhaps I shall partake. Meanwhile, onward.

Oh, and hey, drunken New Jersey asswipe Steven Lipski, do not think for ONE FUCKING MINUTE that I failed to note your dumb ass, urinating off of the balcony of the 9:30 Club onto the patrons below. Jesus, man, were you raised in a GODDAMNED BARN? I just booked three nights in Jersey tonight (two in West Orange, one in Denville) and I will be coming to your misbegotten state with a full bladder to proffer some backsies. I'd do it at Jersey City's coolest rock club - trouble is, I know your whole state doesn't have a "cool rock club." Just sad ass drunks in ramshackle Bloomfield Avenue taverns who've probably already pissed themselves by ten p.m. Never you mind, though. I'ma MAKE IT RAIN.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Our Closing Argument

This Election Day, oscillate wildly.

A Letter From A Fine American Cock


Those of you who support John McCain, I want you to think about this: Barack Obama is going to win. He’s probably going to win walking away. People will spend hours waiting at the polls so they can cast their vote for him. Tomorrow’s supposed to be a beautiful day in most parts of the country: Do you really want to waste a good part of it so that you can someday tell your grandkids that you cast a futile vote against America’s first black president because you were worried about his socialist economic policies? (And remember, by the time your grandkids are around, they’ll know that “socialist economic policies” was simply secret code for “I don’t want to appear racist so I’ll grab at any excuse, no matter how ludicrous and overblown, to keep a black guy out of the White House,” which is just not going to wash.) Of course you don’t. John McCain is going to lose. Take the afternoon off and tell your boss you were voting. Go to a bar or something. Enjoy the sunshine. Your party’s about to take a well-deserved beating; would you rather spend that time standing in line behind a bunch of well-motivated, enthusiastic Democrats who are full of anticipation for this historic moment? Of course not! Get hammered and do something non-racist for the first time in a while. I mean, sure, if you really want to be racist, go vote for McCain, but remember: It’s not going to matter. He’s going to lose.

Those of you who support Barack Obama: Vote. Vote your ass off. Drag everyone you know to the polls with you. Enjoy the sensation of history. Enjoy the well-deserved victory. Enjoy the fierce urgency of now. But remind yourself of this at some point during the day (perhaps at 11 P.M. Eastern tomorrow when they announce that Barack Obama will be the next president of the United States): that was the easy part.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

No, Graham Hough-Cornwell, No!

Graham writes:

I could write a whole post about the possible political implications of tomorrow night's Monday Night Football game between our Washington Redskins and the battleground-state Pittsburgh Steelers.
That's technically true! But, in order to write a post about those implications and be CORRECT, Graham would have to write what I pointed out in my previous post, which is that "the Redskins Rule was finally dispelled in 2004, when the Green Bay Packers defeat of the Redskins at the Jack failed to produce a John Kerry victory at the polls."

Friday, October 31, 2008

Democrats Need Not Fear The Redskins Rule

I hate to correct the people at DCist, who've done a good job taking over the Redskins beat since I had to stop doing it, but really, at this important time, DCist Elisabeth really needed to go back over some Redskins history before she wrote this:

Also, ESPN.com reports the Redskins are ‘an accurate barometer for presidential elections,’ and that according to the "Redskins Rule," a Steelers win on Monday would mean a win for Obama, while a Redskins’ victory would mean a win for McCain.
It would have been an excellent opportunity to correct ESPN.com on this regard. The "Redskins Rule" stipulates that if Washington wins their last home game before Election Day, the incumbent party retains the White House. This was true for a long time, but no more. The Redskins Rule was finally dispelled in 2004, when the Green Bay Packers defeat of the Redskins at the Jack failed to produce a John Kerry victory at the polls. So look, DC, there's no reason for you not to root for your Redskins on Monday night, believing that it will be tantamount to a McCain/Wolfhunter victory. Similarly, McCain fans may root for the Steelers if they want to. McCain owes them that much after selling out their offensive line to the Vietcong.

Also, for those of you who hate the fact that Washington has a racist name for their football team, you may, as I do, choose to associate the name with the straight-outta SHARP anti-fascist, anti-racist, pro-labor skinhead sect of the same name. Put yourself in that mindset, and you can be rooting against the right-wing thugs who planned to kill black children and Barack while dressed in top hats. Take that shit the rest of the way and download Neither Washington Nor Moscow, the 1986 album by York's The Redskins, from iTunes. Let's make it work!

The Audacity Of Dopes: There Has Only Ever Been One Person In This Election That Truly Fought For You, With Knives

Maybe the only bad thing about Charlottesville is the local newspaper, The Daily Progress, which sounds like it's named after a Maoist tract but is actually right-wing to the point of near absurdity. This was underscored this morning, when Paul Hashemi rolled into town, clutching a copy of the paper's endorsement of Jim Gilmore for Senator. You know what, Daily Progress, good luck with that. Seriously.

However, if that UNDERSCORED the paper's pure absurdist uselessness, this entry from CVillenews.com boldfaced it, colored it red, and changed the font to Copperplate Gothic Bold:

When Kenneth Jackson—a Republican with no political experience or even really work history—was running for City Council, the Progress endorsed him, despite that he’d been convicted of attacking people with knives on three separate occasions over the course of a decade. They asked: “What other candidate has seen the law enforcement system, the court system, the social services system from the perspective of somebody in trouble?”
They make a good point, for the stabbing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Getting Out The Vote

I live very close to my polling place. In fact, from my window, I can see it right now. I've been voting there for a good many years, so I know the drill. Plus, this is Arlington, where we invent all new reasons to vote and have all sorts of weird days when we do it. We are vote crazy, even in the off years.

Now, I'm ready to get this shit done on Election Day. I've been drilling, running simulations, preparing for contingencies. Right now, I'm prepared for any eventuality, from quotidian concerns like temperature and precipitation, to more remote possibilities. Plagues of locusts? Ready. Second coming of Katrina? No problem. Invasion of alien reverse vampires from beyond the dark side of the moon? Bring it on.

The way it is right now, under normal conditions, I can go from my front door to my polling place very quickly. I'd wager that my average time is about a minute and a half. For much of the day, I was feeling pretty good about this. And then I watched this:

I gotta try to get my time down to 1:15.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Audacity of Dopes: Gotta Keep The Devil Down In The Hole

I think that the presence of Marlo Stanfield is sufficient to turn a Get Out The Vote effort into a Get The Fuck Out The Vote effort.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering DEATH TO AMERICA!

Via Gawker. In the surest sign yet that if the memoir market isn't yet flooded, it soon will be, comes the news that Osama bin Laden - like every lame - is writing his own version of Mein Kampf from his undisclosed location, with the help of a "young man with a Middle Eastern background who will later translate the text into English," who we'll call Ayman al Mark Salter. I sort of can't wait to see who blurbs this thing. Or how they plan to pull off a book tour. Anyway, one more hateful effing thing to look forward to being birthed into the world, though I'm sure a whole circle of NYC-based asshats will continue to insist that Emily Gould is the worst thing that ever happened to America.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Fine Tuned Sense of the Bullshit

The thing about blogging is that so often, you are writing pretty hot and heavy, as quickly as possible. Still, I'm guessing - or hoping! - that Politico's Jonathan Martin regrets using this as the lede of his "Hey, it turns out that Ashley Todd is a big Hoaxy McLiar" post with this sentence:

Seems like McCain just can't catch a break.
Yeah, dude! McCain came this close to catching that "hey-one-of-our-volunteers-got-cut-by-a-knife-wielding-psychopath" GAME CHANGER. Oh, that must have sucked when that didn't quite come through!

Of course, maybe Martin doesn't regret it, if he takes after his colleague Ben Smith, who, as it turns out, behaved like quite the fucking pissant over the whole matter. I guess that's what happens when you jump over the cliff at the behest of Matt Drudge.

Baby For Amy Poehler.

So, Amy Poehler had her baby tonight, very nearly coinciding with the on-air labor that Lorne Michaels was probably hoping for. According to every indication, she's effectively finished now with Saturday Night Live, and will now be moving on to whatever primetime comedy she's cooking up with Greg Daniels and Mike Schur. I've enjoyed Poehler ever since the UCB had their Comedy Central show. She is one of SNL's most versatile performers, and simply had great chemistry with everyone on the show, especially Tine Fey and Seth Meyers.

Can't help but feel a little sad that her time on the show is at an end. Though without a doubt, she went out on top with this:

As great as that was, I think it's worth highlighting an undersung character she used to play on SNL: Kaitlin - a very sweet, very excitable, very weird little girl whose crazy dreams were often too big for her to handle. Luckily, her good-hearted stepfather Rick was always there to make everything okay. In a genre that often thrives on sarcasm and snark, these funny yet sweetly poignant characters always stood out.

Well. You're up, Kristen Wiig!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Please Help Your Local Semi-Employed Journalists

The saddest music in the world played yesterday at the news that Radar, the last truly great haven for the misunderstood and the unemployable, had folded for the last time, its website to become thoroughly de-Balked in favor of setting up a weak clone of TMZ. The whole thing is bad, bad, awful, bad, bad, no-good, horrible, for all the reasons that Rachel notes, and more.

Anyway, one of the casualties of Radar folding has been Ana Marie, who now finds herself with coveted access to the McCain campaign without the financial means to act on it. See, with no Radar, there's no scrilla to actually send her on the trail. Here's where you can help. Go to Ana's blog, and contribute to the cause. There are valuable rewards for those that do:

I have come up with the following pledge drive bonuses! Rewards are cumulative.
  • Anything: Good karma, knowledge that sometimes merit is rewarded. If not in this particular case.
  • Over $10: A personal thank-you email (please include your email in "instructions for seller")
  • Over $50: A personal thank-you phone call (please include your phone number in "instructions for seller")
  • Over $100: My instant message screen name, regular personal updates via email and/or instant messages on election night
  • Over $250: I will ask a senior McCain adviser the question of your choosing and send you the MP3 audio of said exchange
  • Over $500: Phone call from McCain headquarters on election night, detailing hilarious antics sure to ensue
  • Over $1000: One-on-one post-election dinner dinner debrief
As someone who got to experience a one-on-one, post-"so you didn't get the Wonkette job" dinner debrief, I'd say that the $1000 donation is probably the best bargain on the table. To sweeten the pot, I'm sure I could convince Megan Carpentier to throw in some sort of Post Post-Election Dinner Debrief De-Briefing, i.e. some sort of afterparty activity that would end in some sort of "shoes-on/pants-gone" configuration.

Yes. And this is The Future Of Journalism.

The Audacity Of Dopes: Official Winner of the Dopeliciously Audacitatious Move of the 2008 Election

The Upside of Sarah Palin

I submit to you, that without Sarah Palin, we would not have this pants-wettingly funny clip of Thandie Newton, Ricky Gervais, and Graham Norton, performing a staged-reading of Nailin' Paylin? Honestly. This is some funny shit. We really need Graham Norton on primetime here.

The Audacity of Dopes: B Is For Bunk

When I started getting news about this McCain volunteer, Ashley Todd, getting mugged and cut up by some anti-McCain lunatic, I didn't want to jump to any conclusions - less than two weeks before the election, everything going the right way...no time to risk playing with fire. But I sort of thought that I could take a couple of small steps, and there, conclusions would be found - namely, that Todd was a crazy hose-beast liar. This sort of goes without saying, but even beyond the backwards-B carved on her cheek, bitch was pretty damn stupid.

  • Dig the description of the perp: "...dark-skinned black man, 6 feet 4 inches tall, 200 pounds with a medium build, short black hair and brown eyes. The man was wearing dark colored jeans, a black undershirt and black shoes." I mean: that's like DARKNESS, wrapped in BLACKNESS, smothered in NEGRO SAUCE. It's like she was mugged by "STARRING WESLEY SNIPES as BLADE" or something.
  • I love how her carefully established narrative on Twitter made her story less plausible. "I am looking for at ATM." "Wow: I am on the wrong side of town!" NO ONE'S TWITTERS ARE THIS QUOTIDIAN. Not even Julia Allisons! And I get like, 300 of those a day!
  • She's part of some group of young Republicans who are all on Twitter. So, can guess how much discussion there was about this GAME CHANGING INCIDENT? None, actually! In short, all her friends thought she was a big old liar.
  • What transpires that makes the mugger aware of Todd's McCain preference, anyway? She said it had to do with a bumper sticker on her car. What led the mugger to notice the bumper sticker in the first place? Am I to believe that the guy turned back and asked if it were her car? That they had a conversation and came to an understanding? "Let me be clear, I support John McCain!"
  • Really, the whole idea of a mugger-slash-activist is a bit...beyond. I mean, he's making off with the scrilla, and then stops to add a handful of additional, intensely time-consuming felonies on top of it? Talking Criminals exist only in the movies.

Spencer has got the deep comparison between Todd and the events depicted in Season Five of The Wire, comparing Todd to McNulty in episode two. Noting that the Pittsburgh cops threatened her with a lie-detector test, I'd draw a shallow comparison myself to one episode earlier, and suggest that the Pittsburgh cops probably only threatened her with a photo copier. ASHLEY TODD IS PRECISELY THAT STUPID.

By the way, Netroots Nation 2009 is going to be in Pittsburgh. Man, we are gonna have some fun with this shit then.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Audacity of Dopes: Your Retail Questions Answered

I sort of had no idea what this was supposed to mean:

Consider also the $4,902.45 charge at Atelier New York, a high-end men’s store, presumably for Ms. Palin’s husband, Todd, the famous First Dude.

Karlo Steel, an owner there, said he had gone through the store’s receipts for September, twice, and found no sales that matched that amount, nor any combination of sales that added up to the total. Because the store carries aggressively directional men’s wear, he caters to a small clientèle and knows most of his customers by name, as well as the history of their purchases.

Seriously? What the hell is aggressively directional menswear? Luckily, Alex Balk was as clarifying as ever.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Audacity Of Dopes: Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair

It's sort of amazing that the McCain campaign can basically walk around announcing that the pretext for their coming attacks makes no sense, aprioricity-wise, and they know that no one's going to call them out on it:

McCain campaign manager Rick Davis told radio host Hugh Hewitt late last week that they are reconsidering using the Rev. Jeremiah Wright as an issue in the last two weeks of the presidential race.

Said Davis: "Look, John McCain has told us a long time ago before this campaign ever got started, back in May, I think, that from his perspective, he was not going to have his campaign actively involved in using Jeremiah Wright as a wedge in this campaign. Now since then, I must say, when Congressman Lewis calls John McCain and Sarah Palin and his entire group of supporters, fifty million people strong around this country, that we're all racists and we should be compared to George Wallace and the kind of horrible segregation and evil and horrible politics that was played at that time, you know, that you've got to rethink all these things. And so I think we're in the process of looking at how we're going to close this campaign. We've got 19 days, and we're taking serious all these issues."
In other words, McCain is going to strafe Obama with attacks he previously declared off-limits because a third party - and entirely and altogether different person, distinct from anyone in the Obama campaign - hurt his precious feelings. I'd say that this gives one key insight into how this angerbot would govern the country, but do I need to? After all, this is one of the people who thinks we should be at war with a different set of people than who declared war on us.

The Audacity Of Dopes: Fake Virginia Does Pretty Well

Ryan Avent clarifies some things about Northern Virginia, which long-necked Sith Lady Of McCain Flackery Nancy Pflotenpooper decries as "fake Virginia."

Now I realize that the folks making statements about which parts of the country are real and unreal are thinking exclusively in terms of “values” and political identification. It seems somehow relevant, however, that non-American America is responsible for the bulk of the nation’s GDP and tax revenues. If you take Northern Virginia away from Virginia, the state ceases to look like a mid-Atlantic new south success story and starts looking like Mississippi. It will be solidly Republican, but it will also be pretty darn poor. If you take the Washington-Boston metroplex out of America, the country gets a lot redder, but it also loses nearly a fifth of its economic output.

About one in eight Virginians lives in Fairfax County. That’s a lot! The median household income in Fairfax is about 160% of the median income for the state as a whole. What that means, of course, is that folks in Fairfax, those Kaine-Obama voting fiends, pay for a lot of state-funded stuff that goes on in Southside or Appalachian Virginia.

Hey don't forget! Over in Band Camp, they've also got the largest fleet of school buses in the country, because they are Communists.

The Audacity of Dopes: < /snark >

Sometimes, America does benefit when we share our wealth with one another. And some people, in fact, do have it harder than Joe The Plumber.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gold Man Sacks

Apparently, the economic downturn has penetrated the niche economic sector known as street performing, and pantomimes, along with dudes painted all metallic and shit, pretending to be robots, are feeling the pinch. Of course, the news still manages to unearth some interesting facts about this culture.

The performer, who calls himself Orange Mime, testifies, "The economy has definitely affected my earnings as a street performer. I am a living statue (silver/gold robot guy) and I have noticed a significant loss in recent weeks... I only hope it gets better for December because that is usually my best month."

You see, I wouldn't have thought that December would be the best month for a street performer. But then I realized that this was probably the time each year that New Yorkers look at these people and realize: "Holy shit. This is what these idiots actually do for their job!" Because why else would they be out there, freezing their silvery balls off.

Naturally, if they haven't figured this shit out by February, it's tough titties.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Audacity Of Dopes: And While Your Head Is Spinning, Hold Tight. It's Just Beginning

Woah! What's this? Why didn't Jim Geraghty and the rest of crew at the National Review tell me there was a Decemberists concert in Saint Louis today? Oh, that's right! Because they're all a bunch of frustrated, paranoiac, Chris Buckley-firing clowns. And the anchor person says, la de da de da.

Dear E! Network

I notice that you guys have the exclusive rights to rerun Saturday Night Live's old episodes on your network. Did you guys know that SNL has been around for over thirty years? See, I don't think that you do! If you did, surely you wouldn't rerun the horrible Paris Hilton/Keane episode every single week. God, you fucks are useless, and I hope that whenever your deal runs out, SNL returns to Comedy Central, where it belongs.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Audacity Of Dopes: Move Those Goalposts!

From the New York Times:

Over all, the poll found that if the election were held today, 53 percent of those determined to be probable voters said they would vote for Mr. Obama and 39 percent said they would vote for Mr. McCain.

The findings come as the race enters its final three weeks, with the two candidates scheduled to hold their third and last debate on Wednesday night, and as separate polls in critical swing states that could decide the election give Mr. Obama a growing edge. But wide gaps in polls have historically tended to narrow in the closing weeks of the race.

Yeah, sure! A fourteen point lead is okay. But wouldn't Generic Democrat be whipping McCain by TWENTY? Why can't Barack Obama close the deal? Hopefully, Generic Democrat will make an appearance at the debate, to offer his plan for "winning" and his support for "nice things!"

When I Say 'Kill The Pain,' I Mean To Get The Devil Out. And When I Say 'Devil,' I Mean The Manifestation of Doubt.

Here's the ebullient Liz Glover talking with Ted Leo, about that one Dead or Alive record you bought in the '80s, and also about Sarah Palin and her coterie of crazyfaced, dickless ghouls that follow her everywhere with torches and pitchforks. Watch Leo's arms! He does a pretty good McCain imitation!

The Audacity of Dopes: My Bucket's Got A Hole In It

Reading this, I am reminded of some onstage patter delivered by Eric Brace of Last Train Home, who, like just about everyone, quite simply doesn't have an explanation for Hank Williams, Jr. "I guess it proves that talent skips a generation," he said.

"Now that Hank III. There's one crazy redneck motherfucker," Brace added.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Until This Is Read, It Is Simultaneously Written and Not Written

Interestingly, while explaining the concept of Schroedinger's Cat to Wife of DCeiver, one of our cats, Tallulah, immediately up and jumped inside a box.

Yeah. I wouldn't fuck with the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, puss.

Declan, our other feline, had the good sense to stretch out and roll around on the floor, where we could clearly observe him not getting asphyxiated.

DC Council Tattoo Parlor Dust Up

I'd be remiss if I didn't comment on the item that DCist led off their day with last Friday, because it amuses me. Way back when, this guy named Harold Brazil on the DC Council who was a useless fuck, and, together with the similarly useless fucktery of Kevin Chavous, formed a mighty duo of hamfisted dumbassery the likes of which you rarely see, and which often got lost amid whatever nonsensical drugs or whores or schemes Marion Barry was up to at the time. When voters finally kicked Brazil and Chavous out of office, it really felt like the DC Council had turned some kind of corner, because those two men straight sucked out loud. This, of course, was terribly wrong.

Anyway, last week, the news caught up with Brazil. What's the idiot dumbass up to? Apparently getting into altercations at Jinx Proof. Brazil apparently went to the tattoo parlor with a pair of his bitches, who were seeking some much needed tramp-stampery or something. Brazil attempted to follow one of the women into the back of the store, was prevented from doing so by an employee, and then proceeded to get BUCK WILD on everyone in the room. They say it took three people to subdue him, but we really doubt that - chances are, there were just additional people in the room who saw what was happening and thought, "Finally, here's my chance to fuck Harold Brazil up."

Anyway, all of this actually happened, in Accordance With The Prophecy.

Ten Little Fixes

Over at the Stranger, Brendan Kiley has got "Ten Things Theatres Need to do Right Now to Save Itself." It's passionate, provocative, well-stated, and worth the read. And naturally, I have some fundamental disagreements. Let's take them in order.

Uhm...okay. Hold up for a minute. I understand what's driving this sentiment. Kiley uses the terms "enabler" and "crutch," so, yeah, I get it. The only thing worse in the theatrical marketplace than bad Shakespeare is mediocre Shakespeare - staged museum pieces, full of fealty, flush with that feeling of We Are Doing Something Important. The problem with deification, is that most worshipping is done on one's knees. But look: rather than go on and on about how Bill's plays contain multitudes and are the roots of realism and have made substantial contributions to the English language, let's focus on the fact that from a marketing standpoint, this is a New Coke idea. Like it or not, Shakespeare is an entree to the theatre for a lot of mainstream audience-goers, and the opportunity to take on those roles fuel the ambitions of the employees you want and need to hire. Beyond that, it's terribly important that theatrical practitioners keep Shakespeare from falling solely into the hands of the English Departments of the world. I'll spare you my lengthy harangue on this score for another time, but trust me: English majors DO NOT GET IT and they NEVER EVER EVER WILL. You turn Shakespeare over to them, for even a month, and it's coming back damaged. Besides, hearing my friend Heather Haney speak in iambic pentameter is one of the eight or nine hottest goddamn things in the world, so: no thank you!

That would be nice, of course. It's great to be known as a conduit for the best new voices in playwrighting. Theatres that hit their stride working that side of the street, and get an audience investment for their troubles are wielding fire. The only problem is that most plays written in the past twenty years are shit sandwiches. Life's too precious to spend an evening watching actors on stage, hatefucking Neil LaBute's brain. In American playwriting, we're not anywhere close to the remarkable, sustained output of 1935-1955. We're not even in the vicinity of the few worthy wheezes of the two-plus decades that followed. And we won't get back there without those good models of playwriting. Frankly, plays have gotten so small and so nauseatingly minute in their psychobabbliciousness, that we could all afford a trip back to the nineteenth century, where people at least figured that they needed to give audiences something huge for it to be worth their time. As it is, I can sit home and jerk myself off for free, thank you very much!

Now this I can get with. I think dark days are opportunity costs. I've also been radicalized by the late and missed Cherry Red Productions to believe that if it's possible to produce something crowd-pleasing in 24 hours time, why wouldn't you do so regularly? Not everything needs to have production-value jizz drenched all over it. Frankly, if you get people in the mindset that five nights out of seven, they can stop in at seven and see something fucked up that they aren't going to see somewhere else, you're probably on the road to making mad bank.

Yeah, I understand the need to plant those seeds, and keep a hold of that demographic. Gotta keep things fertile and vital. But it's important to have balance. That core audience you grew five years ago is five years older now. So are you. Together, you have packed on some world experiences. You're maybe even "adult" in your sensibilities. I think that there's actually not enough "adult" in the mix (and I mean both in terms of MATURITY and LIVE ANAL/ORAL PENETRATION).

YES. And teach those kids! For actual money. This isn't the best time to start those kinds of programs, with the down economy. But if the economy recovers enough for household incomes to intersect with the average parents' desires to get their motherfucking kids out of the house for a few hours so that they can get up to some LIVE ANAL/ORAL PENETRATION, with rubber toys and/or foodstuffs (not my bag, but to each their own!) and/or Heather Haney performing monologues in iambic pentameter, BE THERE TO CATCH THOSE KIDS. In the first place, you are breeding that audience called for in #4, and in the second place, who knows? You might actually be GOOD at teaching kids some theatre, and then you're building out your reputation.

This sort of goes without saying, and it's weird that the author captures this as something that theatrical practitioners are opting out of doing when in DC, at least, this is the battle. Stop supporting local pols who aren't serious about the arts, and lampoon them mercilessly, with scandalous intimations of improper ANAL/ORAL PENETRATION.

Yes. Indeed.

Kiley calls for "Boors night out" and crazy audience participation and the fomenting of bad behavior. I approve this message. I had a friend in school who worked at a theatre in Texas that staged wackadoo old-timey melodramas. Everyone on stage and off got wasted, and the actors overacted like their lives depended on it, and the audience bought bags of wadded up paper to throw at the stage whenever the fuck they wanted for $5/bag. And everytime the pulled the curtain on the scene the ASM's would sweep up the paper wads and rebag those fuckers and resell them to the same drunk idiots and that was the entire night and nobody wanted it to end. THERE IS NOT A BAD IDEA IN THERE. I for one, have always had this love/hate thing with the requirement that Helen Hayes puts on theatre companies for award qualification, namely, that they do sixteen performances. I would love to see a company tweak that by scheduling one of the sixteen performances as "Naked Stab For The Helen Hayes Nomination Night," where the company is encouraged to devour the scenery and act like complete jackasses for a night. I also have never seen a play at eight o'clock that wasn't worthy of a lampoon at midnight.

This is kind of a duh. But I imagine that's hard to take from somebody who makes money blogging.

This is the typical thinking of people who either didn't get into grad school or got into a bad one. Since neither case applies to me, I have a different perspective on the matter, and am not the sort to throw a blanket discouragement down on the idea. But look: the problem with many MFA programs is the rampant anti-intellectual strain that's allows students to earn degrees in a subject without actually understanding anything fundamental about it. This breeds too many people who enter the marketplace conditioned to follow orders and expect spoonfeeding, when what the marketplace badly needs are people with bona fide vision. If all you want to do is learn rudimentary Stanislavski from some hack, there's no need to go into debt to do so. You gotta shop around. You also have to acknowledge that if you go that route, chances are, you'll emerge with some debt. I lucked out on a partial scholarship, but my price tag was still pretty substantial.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd marshall forces for the day after graduation. One of the great shames of grad school is that you spent three years developing collegial relationships with other artists, and over time, you build skills, and a rapport, that could translate into something self-sustaining. But at the end of the journey, what happens is that your tight little theatrical producing team gets scattered to the four winds. UVa. did something with their program that I have to recognize now as innovative: they invited a group of actors, directors, and designers to their MFA program, and then didn't take a new class until that group graduated. What ended up happening is that the MFAs bonded tightly, and when they went into the world, many stuck together. From what I gather, the first two cycles left school and founded two professional theatre companies. Those grads were addressing their ambitions AND whatever debts they had by maintaining their strength and getting it to market. (Sadly, UVA switched from inviting directors to inviting playwrights, and the lack of those strong, central auteur figures have arrested these developments.)

Anyway, here's where I step back and let someone like Karl Miller improve on these two-thirds-baked opinions! I'm sure he'll say I'm still giving short shrift to the need for more ORAL/ANAL PENETRATION.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Audacity Of Dopes: Dirty Projectors

At Tuesday night's debate, John McCain was shooting EARMARKS inside a PORK BARREL, because that's all he ever talks about. He used to bitch about this Bear DNA project, until people pointed out that, like a total fucking nimrod, he voted for the Bear DNA whatever. So, during the debate, he instead twisted his pantaloons up over funding for an "overhead projector" for the Adler Planetarium, which is in Chicago, making it a Chicago Machine Planetarium. As the graphic above shows, however, the "projector" in question was not an "overhead projector," it was the PROJECTOR THAT ALL PLANETARIA HAVE because that's what makes them a PLANETARIUM and not a RANDOM BUILDING WITH A DOME.

Overhead projectors, on the other hand, project transparencies at a screen and can be obtained cheaply. How cheaply? Well, when the Rude Mechanicals of Austin, Texas came to Woolly Mammoth to perform Get Your War On, they employed a bunch of overhead projectors during the show. Afterwards, Amy Mills from the show told me that the Rude Mechs got them from a place that specialized in reselling reclaimed office supplies on the cheap. Who were the previous owners that needed to sell off their projectors for pennies, to a theatre company performing a scabrous critique of the Bush administration? HA HA IT WAS ENRON.

The Audacity of Dopes: Vulgar Gestures

[Via Oxdown Gazette]

For my money, it's not Piper Palin flipping the bird that is the real obscenity. It's whatever the hell coat Sarah Palin is wearing. Yeechh.

The Audacity of Dopes: "If Containment Fails, Then Extermination."

Ana Marie's interview with John McCain in the latest issue of Radar is up online for your perusal. Her lede is pretty glorious:

Last year, for example, on a slow day on the campaign trail, I asked the Original Maverick what movie he'd last seen. "The one about zombies," he said.

"28 Weeks Later?" I asked. "The one about a zombie plague in London that has some not very subtle allusions to Gitmo?"

"Yeah, that one," he said. "I liked the first one, too."

"The one that was sort of about the effects of government-propelled hysteria that happened to come out after 9/11?"

His next answer is priceless:

He shrugged. "A lot of those zombie movies are political, you know."
Yes! And also the opposite is true!

Accentuate The Positive

My wonderful friend Monica is an overflowing vessel of joy. But she does have a very serious side. She earns her living in New York City as a dedicated accent reduction teacher. You may not think this work is important. But what you don't know, is that your seemingly innocuous International Talk Like A Pirate Day comes with real human costs. Each year, it's people like Monica who undo the damage.

She's really like a superhero. Funnily enough, her kryptonite is the insect wing of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

CNN Will Read You The Internet, For Some Reason

When I was at the DNC, I had the opportunity to chat with Jonathan Klein, the president of CNN. He was pleasant and engaging, nice enough that one was able to forget, for a time, that the CNN Grill's elapsed time at getting you the chicken sandwich you ordered was running up on the sixty-minute mark. The bar had this decent Red Ale, and delicious mint julepy things, so it was easy enough to pass the time. Plus everything was free, as the CNN Grill was the only place in Denver that coddled journalists, who rightly spent the rest of their time in the hell hole they deserved: dirty shantytents with foul, stanky Porta-Loos adjacent. It was probably due to the overall pleasant accomodations that I didn't ask Klein any hard-hitting questions, but we sort of resolved that if the opportunity arose to speak again, we'd do so.

One question had to do with CNN's overall treatment of the internet as some inscrutable alien technology. It wasn't too long ago that CNN, in an attempt to wrap their head around blogs and other "writing" that happened "online," had this section of their newscast devoted to blowing up blogs on big screens and reading the words written thereon out loud, like we were two year olds. Often, they would highlight the text that was being read, just in case the whole concept of words, spoken aloud, proved too elusive. Recently, the advent of Twitter, which will basically ruin all facets of civilization at some point, has prompted a return of this practice. Gawker has an item that pretty much captures the experience precisely. I'd love the opportunity to ask Klein if he really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really thinks that this is a value-added segment to fill the CNN newshole with, because I sort of think it really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really isn't.

If I had the opportunity to ask Klein another question, I'd ask if CNN, as a corporation, has a human resources policy that states that it's perfectly fine to be caught by police in a public park in possession of crystal meth and with a length of rope tied to one's cock and yet retain one's job. Because I have to say, that's a pretty forward looking policy.