Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bringing a Boiled Leek to a Gunfight, Dept.

Right, so... Scott Brown. Massachusetts. A week later, and my mind is still trying to wrap itself around how incredibly badly the Demoprats miscalculated that particular race, but I'm actually having better luck imagining a 6-dimensional Calabi–Yau manifold.

Let's see...on the one hand, you've got this Man of the People who drives a beat-ass pickup truck, is a lieutenant colonel in the Mass. National Guard, is a champion triathlete, won Cosmo's "America's Sexiest Man" competition back in the day, has raised $5 million for an order of Cistercian nuns, is married to a TV newswoman and has one daughter who was a semifinalist on American Idol and another who's pre-med at Syracuse, the two of them attractive and apparently comfortable wearing very small swimwear.

On the other hand, you had someone who lost a double-digit lead in the polls by fucking up a joke about the Red Sox; defending the overreaction during the Aqua Teen Hunger Force ad campaign when LED signs were thought to be bombs; being on the side of the angels on key issues that are hugely liberal, i.e, divisive; and being a competent litigator at a time when lawyers and the educated are in particularly low esteem. I mean, the Democrats could've run Taylor Swift stapled to one of the Na'vi and still had an uphill slog. So, "aloof wonk" is just a few doors down from the Hopeless Hotel on the Rue de Despair.

I can't imagine the calculus that the Dems used to arrive at this juncture. Maybe it worked on paper. Maybe people in focus groups lied about favoring competence over charisma. Maybe the polling was conducted by the same outfit that touted Thomas E. Dewey, New Coke and Leno at 10. I myself don't know.

At any rate, Massachusetts, having sated its need to skullfuck the legacy of their late senior senator, now has its own Sarah Palin. Now, I wrote earlier about my demand that Dickflashin' Brown cover the Palinator, because, according to the ancient texts of my people, "OMGz!!! bby Bralin wld TOTLY rul!!!" In other words, or in words, their offspring would signal the End of Days and the Rapture of the Rapture-Ready, which I'm cool with because I'd enjoy getting a seat on the subway every morning and not seeing anyone reading The Washington Times as anything resembling journalism outside, say, Myanmar.

But, now I'm thinking something else, and this is what I'm thinking: have Scott Brown and Sarah Palin ever been photographed together? Because, I'm concerned, Gentle Readers. Concerned that the entities we know as The Most Annoying Woman in America™ and Starkers McBushpeek may actually be the two personae of a hermaphroditic whole, possibly from another planet, if not another dimension!

Keep watching the skies, friends. And keep watching Glee, because, sure, New Directions won Sectionals, but look at the competition... And, finally, keep watching your hands, because when you shake hands with the Bralin, there's a better-than-even chance you'll lose your rings and a digit or two in the exchange.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

caption me

"Eugenics" Spelled Backwards Is "Satan", Bitchez!!!111, Dept.

Well, it looks like it's time for an old-fashioned Sobsister Caption Contest! Because this cries out for something like public commentary. Beyond, "huh huh, I'd hit dat...twice." Which is the tenor of a certain segment of the online dialogue I've read. But then I really shouldn't follow Ellen DeGeneres' Twitter feed. *ha ha* No, really, she's obsessed.

At any rate, if these are the kids he could produce with the wife, I can only reiterate my request, no, demand that he and Sarahcuda unite to Make a Baby. Das √úberbaby. Who will grow to rule us with a strong right hand of Pandering Charisma and a sharp left hand of Wrongheaded Statement.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Double Meaning, Hidden Dragon, Dept

So, as Constant Readers may know, I'm a big fan of the risque R'n'B. Songs like "Big Ten-Inch Record" and "Let Me Bang Your Box" and "Big Long Slidin' Thing." And, of course, the great crossover double-entendre single, the Dominoes' "Sixty Minute Man." As a consequence of which, readers have asked me, sobsister, are you a sixty-minute man? To which I reply, Sure am...it takes at least that long for the Cialis to kick in. *ha ha* I kid regarding use of erection-enhancing medication. In fact, next week, we're going over to Madrid Airport to see the Spanish Fly. *ha ha* No, really, I've never taken any pills or powders to provoke tumescence, senescence or luminescence. Mainly out of fear of that Four-Hour Erection about which the ads all warn me. I mean, what do you do with it for the remaining three hours and 55 minutes? *ha ha* Oh, dick humor...

At any rate, "Sixty Minute Man." Here's my question. The singer, bass Bill Brown, talks about the 60 minutes comprising 15 minutes of kissin', 15 minutes of teasin', 15 minutes of squeezin' and 15 minutes of "blowin' my top." Now, I thought he was the top. So, I have to recalibrate my entire understanding of the sexual dynamics of that relationship. Is he declaring himself a bottom? Did they do such things in 1951? I thought people were too busy dropping dimes on comsymps before the HUAC to declare their sexual power preference, but I may be wrong.

Note to self: investigate correlation between impotence and chairmanship of congressional committees. Then cross-reference for Republican control of the House and Senate. Then take a nap. Then wake up, refreshed. Then maybe have a little snack, nothing too big, dinner's in a couple of hours.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Bing-Bing-Bing! Ricochet Writeup!!, Dept.

I watch a fair amount of television apparently targeting the coveted decrepitude demo. The tell? Lotsa insurance ads sponsored by Cayman Islands shells comprising two guys and a tub of disposable cellies in a backroom holding company laundering Kazakh filth money. Baskets of commercials touting our time's equivalent of patent medicine. Sure, this'ere tonickal libation will cure the bladder swellings, feminine hysteria and anemia both, the croup, the Spanish croup and the German bleeding croup, all in no time at all! Some of ya will have curing fits. A few may have medicinal palpitations. That's yer business and the Lord's. ONE dollahdollahdollahdollah!!

And one thing I've learned from these ads--aside from the fact that, despite being quite ill with a variety of serious physical and mental disorders as well as with the foretold and ineluctable side-effects of their medication, people generally dress nicely, have loving friends and family and live in very pretty houses, often near beaches--is that prescription medicine has names that are poetic in their descriptions of their effect. And by "poetic," I mean, "annoying." So, I've decided that pharmaceutical companies have developed name generators that are fed Bush 43's speeches to form a linguistic matrix from which to generate brand names. You got the black dog onya? You gotta abilify yourself! Clear some brush. Heh-heh.

But that's not even the topic of this post, toasties. It's tangencies.

Here: your sobsister scores a small sack of one-buck vinyl, among which is an LP of instrumentals designed to accompany dancers warming up at home with the Luigi technique.
Now: your sobsister spent many an afternoon hour over three years taking jazz classes at Luigi's studio just south of Lincoln Center and up redolent stairs behind the Greek deli. I never got beyond the advanced beginner level, but it was as much physical fun as I've had doing most anything else ever. Nailing a combination after 45 minutes' hard trying was a heady feeling for somebody who, through high school and college, never pulled off either a Victor Sylvester or a Rudy Valentino.

Eugene Louis "Luigi" Facciuto himself is a whole post or two's worth of story. As Wikipedia notes, he was a dancer "who, after suffering a crippling automobile accident in the 1950s, created a new style of jazz dance based on the warm-up exercises he invented to circumvent his physical handicaps." After restoring himself, he danced in On the Town, An American in Paris, Annie Get Your Gun, Singin’ in the Rain, The Band Wagon and White Christmas, apprenticing himself to Robert Alton and Gene Kelly, the latter reportedly giving him his nickname.

Fabulous classes, the beginner classes he taught every day and the ones his teachers, including the wonderful Nicole, taught before or after in that room with smooth wood floors, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and huge windows onto Broadway. Each one beginning with the warmups and stretches that Luigi himself devised during his recovery, each time shepherded through the nuances by Luigi's instructive asides, some of them mantras he would repeat several time per class.

At any rate, the instrumentals on the LP. Recorded in 1962 and intended to accompany warmups away from the studio, the songs, all originals, flowed from the pen of 23-year-old composer George Fischoff, a piano graduate of Juilliard and student of Serkin and other notable teachers. They're background music, slow- to midtempo tunes that would've become ingrained in the student after hearing it every day while working through the warmup sequence developed by Luigi and described in the booklet one could optionally purchase for 10 bucks.

Nothing particularly memorable. Most likely his seconds. Not representative of the music that he, as a composer and classically trained pianist, would think destined for immortality. His back-cover bio talks about him writing the incidental music for a production of a Garcia Lorca play, and how an "eminent Broadway conductor" had heard this score and "immediately secured publishing rights" to it. The theme from this score was given a lyric and became Fischoff's "first published composition."

So what? You figure he shuffled off to obscurity, giving piano lessons on the Upper West Side through the '70s. But no. He didn't.

1967. "98.6" Keith's biggest hit. Yes, he went by "Keith." Up to #7 on the Billboard chart. Greatest body temperature song till Suzanne Vega's "99.9 F°" And then there's 1967. Spanky and Our Gang, "Lazy Day"? Lead-off cut on the debut album and all the way up to #14. Two classic slices of '60s sunshine pop, music by Mr. Bischoff. Then there's the 1970 B'way musical version of Georgy Girl, titled Georgy, music by Fischoff, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager. Somewhat less successful. Seven preview performances, four subsequently. Curtain down on that venture. Since then, George Fischoff has apparently continued composing for the theatre, including a number of Bible-themed shows that spring from his fervent Christian beliefs. But it's not all Reverend Lovejoy Revue: he most recently toured a show about the life of Gauguin, as well as previously writing the score for a musical based on James Michener's Sayonara.

So, tangencies. MGM musicals, jazz dance classes, a one-buck album and the musical career of George Fischoff. If I were channeling the late Paul Harvey, I could probably have ended this with the revelation that George Fischoff changed his name and gender and now performs as...Bette Midler.

I am not, however, to the understandable relief of his survivors and many fans.