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.

1. NO SHAKESPEARE FOR FIVE YEARS.
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!

2. MAKE ALL YOUR PLAYS A PREMIERE OF SOME KIND
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!

3. PRODUCE "DIRTY, FAST, AND OFTEN."
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.

4. ATTRACT THE YOUTHS
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).

5. OFFER CHILD CARE
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.

6. FIGHT FOR REAL ESTATE
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.

7. BEER ME.
Yes. Indeed.

8. FUCK SOME SHIT UP
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.

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

10. DROP OUT OF GRAD SCHOOL
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.

Department of Motor Vehicles

Ryan Avent takes the time to push back on everyone who greets a call for government-run whatever with the Fisher Price My First Political Argument counter: "Really, have you ever been to a DMV?"

I can't speak with any authority on how DC manages their own Department of Motor Vehicles. For all I know they are Sisyphean playgrounds of dysfunction. But in Arlington, we have it pretty good, actually. My own experience is that simple tasks take a very short time, exotic tasks take slightly longer. I plan my trips to coincide with times when I know few people will be there, and this tends to help. Obviously, when I find myself facing the need to go over there during its peak hours, I expect a wait. I'm pretty comfortable saying that most bad experiences out at Four Mile Run occur when poor planning intersects with the sorts of dumbasses who believe the world owes them a remedy for their own stupidity.

In fact, the only thing I'd change about the DMV experience is the fact that the LaRouchetards are always there, hanging around outside the door, no doubt mining a rich vein of fuckwits who blame other people for their own shortcomings. It would be nice to not have to endure their prattle - as they say, "There oughtta be a law." But I'll meet you libertarians halfway and come out against government-run deprogramming centers.

Monday, October 06, 2008

The Band Plays Some Song About Forgetting Yourself For Awhile

You know, like it or not, the name you give your band is going to dictate how far you take your act. Regardless of what you think of their music, names like "U2" or "Coldplay" are good brand names, as well as good band names. Those are bands you can Race For The Cure or advocate Tibetan Freedom with. You're not going to strike a discordant note or send a mixed message. Let's face it, maybe you have written the song that, by all rights, should have brought to Israelis and the Palestinians together in a Hundred Year Bake Sale for Peace. I'm not doubting your motives. I'm not shorting your passion. What I'm saying is that you maybe should have thought some shit through when you decided to name your band "Hoobastank," dickface.

With that in mind, I'm really not sure you're maxing out your potential when you name your band The Airborne Toxic Event. But this song, "Sometime Around Midnight," is really pretty great.

It's the Message We Send. Our Relevance Pays.

A few years ago, Rachel Sklar and I were on an elevator and she introduced me to two people: Obama Girl and Maureen Tkacik. Of the two, the latter was the more interesting and intimidating, and since then, she's added much to my understanding and enjoyment of the world through her writing. Right now, the big story in America, probably for the next year, is the epic and chaotic spasm in our economy, so naturally, Nick Denton gets rid of the one person he has on hand who knows what they're talking about in that arena. Hey. He's the fucking supergenius, I guess. Anyway, nobody's perfect. There was that time during the DNC when she wrote something that really disappointed me, personally. But one can say that about anybody, I suppose. In the end, I'll say she's a good egg, and at the very least, I think that Moe sat at her desk, and tried to be honest.

Zorn!

Before this season began, Amanda Mattos and I had sort of an ad hoc deal that we were going to treat this Redskins season as if they were a first year expansion team. Prior performance had little to do with it, uncertainty over what the frack sort of coach Jim Zorn was going to be was more the reason behind my decision (I won't speak for Mattos). Back then, I was thinking: Okay, Seattle QB, studied under Holmgren, thought of as having a book full of gimcrack offensive plays. This sounded to me like a sort of pretty-boy, playbook-has-the-answers sort of guy. We'd just survived one of those sorts at offensive coordinator, and I wasn't looking forward to year with a guy at the realm who thought the fundamentals of the game could be made to conform to the drawings in some binder.

Well, after today, I gotta say I seemed to have Zorn pegged all wrong. As it turns out, he's actually more about tone and toughness than anything else. That play - fourth and one, with just under three minutes remaining - to seal the game sort of says it all. Yeah, we know that Portis actually "called the play." But Zorn clearly had final edit, and he was out to send a message - Washington was going to be a team that TOOK wins, thank you very much. The man has balls. He has balls with the lead. Go back and watch some of Washington's fourth quarter exploits in the recent wins. This team isn't about coasting to victory. They seem to be about delivering coup de graces.

And now, we're 4-1, division road games are done, and we got the Browns, Rams and Lions coming up next. I warn all visitors to this city: motherfuckin' Washingtonians are about to get insufferable up in this piece.

What can I say? Not bad for a an expansion team.

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In related Redskins news: Oy, Sage Rosenfels! You are going to have a lot to think about this Yom Kippur, my friend.

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Also, UVa beat Maryland, rather astoundingly! They have thus secured the one win each year I truly give a shit about. There likely won't be too many more! I'm glad to see that the University has reversed its position on the carrying of signs at the game. Those students need something to do! And the sign-making may be the last bulwark between the gains we have made as a student body and the bad old days of wearing ties and fancy dresses to football games. My only question is: how much of this bad karma could be corrected if the school reversed course on another terrible error, and brought back the pep band?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Rotting On Remainder

I love this image that ran on Gawker. Wanna know why? It's a pile of remaindered books, and chief among the books that nobody wants to read, ever, is Jonah Goldberg's treatise to obtuseness, Liberal Fascism. Ha ha, loser! Actually, this is just one step in the life cycle of Jonah Goldberg's book. Next up, these copies are trashed, pulped, and mulched, where they will form the soil for numerous flowers to grow. Flowers grown from composted copies of this book will, naturally, be the most dumbassed flowers in the world.