Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The 3Rs, Dept.

As a wee little sobsister, I watched an assload of television.

I may have mentioned that.

Whatever was on the local independent channels in NYC. WPIX. WNEW. WWOR. So, I was weaned on hours and hours of F Troop and McHale's Navy, My Favorite Martian and I Love Lucy, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. The foundation stones of modern television comedy, such as it is. And along with all this was an double-scoop helping of cartoons. Warner Bros. and Fleischer and Disney and Hanna-Barbera and Gumby, whose surrealism unnerved me in a way I enjoyed but couldn't identify (never a huge fan of MGM or Terrytoons or Lantz, never particularly liked Tom and Jerry or Heckle and Jeckle or Woody Woodpecker; I watched them, though, because, really, what else was I to do as a 7-year-old? Hail a cab down to the Stork Club?). And a whole bunch of what I now know as anime.

Not the eyeglazing slickness of now, but a simpler version, exported and reshaped for what was perceived as the American sensibility. 8th Man and Gigantor and Speed Racer and, rarely, Kimba the White Lion.

And there's all manner of fascinating minutiae associated with the preceding, from Isao Tomita composing the theme song to Kimba to Ralph Bakshi doing the opening to the U.S. version of 8th Man. Enough for a Web site of its own, I'm sure. At any rate, along with these was an animated film I only recently discovered was titled Gulliver's Travels Beyond the Moon.


I happened upon it by searching YouTube for the phrase "rise, robots, rise," which I remembered from an animated film I watched several times back then and nothing to do with the great and obscure early '90s band. Having watched the clip and having it not only stir long-dormant memories, but intrigue me on its own terms, I now feel compelled to find the film and watch it in its entirety.

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying Rise Robots Rise's two videos on YT: "If I Only Knew" and "Talk Is Cheap". When first I heard this band back in that golden morning in America before Monica Lewinsky was baptized in presidential spooge (screen gets wavy; harp glissandi unspool), they'd been touted as "Steely Dan-like." I bought the CD and didn't hear the connection, so I set it aside. Returning to it now, I can see the slight resemblance, more attitudinal than musical, but also hear all the non-Steely Dan goodness in there, as well.

And if you order within the next thirty minutes, you will enjoy this collection of 1960s Marvel Superheroes TV cartoon theme songs. Your sobsister has hummed lyrically mangled versions of these since knee-high to a grasshopper.

No, don't thank me. It's my responsibility according to the wise and aged monk who gave me my powers

Thursday, December 17, 2009

It's Like Ray-ee-ain on Your Wedding Day, Dept.

Right, so Alanis Morissette is interviewed by Runner's World about her preparations to run her first marathon. Why Alanis Morissette? I don't know; maybe Edie Brickell was busy, maybe Suzanne Vega had a charley horse, maybe Lisa Loeb has ballooned to 20 stone.

At any rate, the most famous semi-Jewish Canadian female singer-songwriter ever is lobbed breathless, starstruck questions like, "Have you had any celebrity running partners?" and "You're a rock star. Shouldn't you be doing tons of drugs and staying up late and partying?" You know, the questions one normally asks a runner in a magazine devoted to running. And Alanis says things like, "I do have a philosophy that includes kind of keeping the balance...There is great care, but I still party and include a little debauchery and some indulgences because I have to." Pretty straightforward. A subtle allusion to her activities, and done.

But, no. That's not enough for Our Girl Reporter. Her follow-up: "What's your favorite way to indulge and party?" 'Cause, like, I like to party, too...? Like, I interviewed Chace, well, not interviewed-interviewed...? like, I talked to him, you know? at this, like, thing in Silverlake...? And I was, like, ohmyGhod, so messed up!!!111

At any rate, Alanis answers, "I occasionally indulge in red wine, and it's fun to have medical marijuana once in while." This is not a helpful thing to say from the standpoint of advocacy for medical marijuana. The point of medical marijuana is to relieve pain or combat the symptoms of a wasting disease or alleviate depression or whatever therapeutic use to which it's being put. But it shouldn't be "fun," any more than taking Paxil or Lipitor or Detrol is fun. No, the thing to say is, "It's fun to have marijuana once in a while." Full stop.

At any rate, the interview continues, it ends, it's published online.

Then come the comments.

And, through the magic of the Internuts, we get to hear from someone named RunToLive. Oh, such a jolly fellow is RunToLive! Here's his first comment on Alanis' interview:

I think it's just plain stupid, and sad actually, that she smokes marijuana just to keep her "rock star" image. I was kind of impressed until I got to the whole marijuana bit...

Not content to leave it at that, three minutes later he notes:

Oh and I *loved* the "The detox and veganism really allowed me to tune into the subtleties of how food affects my body." part *before* she adds "oh, yeah...and I smoke dope [paraphrased]." It just throws the "tune into the subtleties" and the veganism bit into the trashcan.

RunToLive lists his interests as, "Running, lifelong learning, and making the world a better place." Clearly, he accomplishes the latter goal by making other people wrong as often and as hard as he can. At any rate, a few more people comment, pro and con, then here comes RunToLive with his capper:

I just think it's stupid that she talks up the detoxifying effects of veganism, then goes on to mention that she pollutes her body with dope. Pollution is pollution when it comes to the ill effects it can have on a runner's physiology, whether it be from marijuana, tobacco, or alcohol.

Umm..."pollution is pollution"? By this point, I'm imagining this judgmental stugots is cowering behind a desk, lest his "essence" be stolen by women. Or taking another icy shower to keep the thoughts, the memories, from crowding into the front of his head. All those little gray men, huge expressionless eyes and lighttipp'd fingers, feeling him, probing him as they rise, together, in a beam of solid light to the waiting starship...

Anyhoo, it amused me and disgusted me, both. The notion that his opposition to a famous stranger's lifestyle would prompt him to write at length in order to discredit--and, by doing so, silence--that impossibly distant voice. Then, I realized, that's what I'm doing right here, except my target is an anonymous shmuck. So, maybe we aren't so different, he and I, you know, under the skin. Maybe, over a beer, we'd talk and joke and laugh and recount victories and bemoan defeats and see the humanity that joins us rather than the inhumanity that pushes us apart. Maybe.

Now, if you'll excuse me, Choc City has been turned into a great frozen blancmange by the **seventh worst snowstorm in the city's history**, according to DopplerWatchStormTrackerEyeWitnessNews, so your sobsister will be quite busy, mainly looking for neighborhood youth willing to clear our stairs, sidewalk and car.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

"Light up, baby, and get real high,
Here comes the man with the jive."

More Like "Second World Whore," Amirite?, Dept

As you know, I love the Internetjes like a terrier loves a biscuit. And one of the things I loves most, besides Porgy, is the role that the inspired amateur has played in its richness. A good example of that in a bit.

But, hey, y'know what? I feel that our Siamese wars in Iraqistan are missing a little sump'in sump'in. I mean, sure, we've got tragic civilian casualties and bloated Beltway bandits, fuck-you-Clausewitz thinking and profligate money-pissing. But, do we have a popular song celebrating GIs boning foreign damsels? I'm gonna say N-O!

This, more than anything else associated with these ventures--including the number, if not the size, of the parasites whose living comes from fucking the taxpayer over on any and everything associated with their anemiagenic diet of blood and silver--breaks with the proud, century-old tradition of American overseas dickwaggling. I mean, let's go back to the War to End All Notion of Civilized War; sure, we were late to the game and missed the opportunity to sacrifice the flower of a generation to some sort of incestuous squabble over the proper length of a leader's mustache, but we--the greater transatlantic "we"--had some great choonz, people.

"Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag," "It's A Long Way To Tipperary," "Take Me Back to Dear Old Blighty," "Oh! It's A Lovely War," "Over There," "How 'Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down on the Farm (After They've Seen Paree?)" and so many other beloved standards. And if you order within the next 30 minutes... *ha ha* At any rate, they knew about memorializing, through the catchy ditty, the ritual and pointless sacrifice of their young men. We, as a nation, have forgotten this.

And returning to my earlier point, we have forgotten how to celebrate through song the thousand-mile-long furrows of fucking that our boys have thrown at overseas cooze. For example, "Mademoiselle from Armentières"; now, here's a classic that's equally adaptable to the barracks or the playground.

Children might sing:

"Madamoiselle from Armentiers
Madamoiselle from Armentiers
Madamoiselle from Armentiers
Hasn't been kissed in forty years

Their fathers and uncles, late come from killing the Hun, might sing:

"Up the stairs and into bed
She swore I broke her maiden head
Up the stairs and into bed
She swore I broke her maiden head

Finishing how ever many verses they remembered or invented that invoked a life so distant from their own postwar existence that it might as well have happened to John Barrymore or Ronald Colman except that their flesh's memory holds that life like coins in a purse, with the justifiably immortal couplet:

"The French, they are a funny race
They fight with their feet and fuck with their face.

Ha ha! That's the stuff, fellows!

Nothing enlivened that Bonus Army shantytown like a few verses of "Hinkey-dinkey," a swig of paralyzing petroleum distillate and a quarter-hour's tubercular coughing.

Moving forward to the Last War We Had Any Business Fighting, sure, our boys were diddlin' damsels across twenty time zones, but where was it best celebrated in song? Right here in our own backyard!

A photographer and self-proclaimed "Calypsophile," Kevin Burke has a Web site devoted to the song "Rum and Coca-Cola," the top single of 1945 and one of the most memorable songs of There's a fascinating backstory concerning the song and the intellectual property struggles behind its origin as a Trinidadian carnival song and its subsequent "coincidental" and contemporaneous composition--after a USO visit to Trinidad--by the grating Morey Amsterdam and other thieving White people. But our focus here is on its theme: local women prostituting themselves for G.I.s for the love of the almighty DOLL-AH!! The preceding delivered in an O'Jays chorus.

The original version, by Lord Invader and Lionel Belasco, is considerably grittier than the hit version by the Andrews Sisters, but even their whitebread rendition carries some pepper and pretty clearly makes its point:

"Out on Manzinella Beach
G.I. romance with native peach
All night long, make tropic love
Next day, sit in hot sun and cool off

Drinkin' rum and Coca-Cola
Go down Point Koo-mah-nah
Both mother and daughter
Workin' for the Yankee dollar.

The Trinidadian original makes the point ganz klar:

"Since the Yankees come to Trinidad
They have the young girls going mad
The young girls say they treat them nice
And they give them a better price.

A couple got married one afternoon
And was to go to Mayaro on a honeymoon
The very night the wife went with a Yankee lad
And the stupid husband went staring mad.

They drink rum and Coca-Cola, &c.

Can you imagine millions of virginal Mary Beths and Johnnies locking shy eyes over a malted milk, whatever the fuck that is, as the jukebox singers croon about native women balling soldiers for the few dollars that'll feed their families that week? Gosh, Freddie, I hope you get sent to Japan, you could bring me back some of those dreamy pearls...

But now? Bupkis. Or "BAPkis," if you're a Jada Pinkett Smith fan. For some reason. Maybe she gave you a lift once when your car was in the shop.

At any rate, we don't have a song called "Baby Got Burka" to warm our Home Front hearts while our boys do what boys do when they're separated from the girls who, through their ministrations, keep them from doing what boys would otherwise do among the general unsuspecting populace. And until we do, these won't be proper wars, I'm sorry to tell you. So, get out there, America, and petition Irving Berlin or George M. Cohan to come back from the grave and pen some rousing ditties that'll carry our boys from Baghdad to the Khyber Pass. Hey, the fucking Vietnam "conflict" didn't have a song, and how'd we do there? Point sobsister.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mais où sont les chattes d'antan?, Dept.

Marilyn Chambers. Seka. Linda Lovelace. Desireé Cousteau. Georgina Spelvin. Vanessa del Rio. Traci Lords. Juliet Anderson. Lisa Deleeuw. Annie Sprinkle. Annette Haven. Bambi Woods. Ginger Lynn. (And, thank yew, I hadn't forgotten, John Leslie. John Holmes. Ron Jeremy. Harry Reems. Johnnie Keyes. Jamie Gillis.)

What is the adult film industry equivalent of "We didn't need dialogue. We had faces!"?

And who among us does not have fond memories of pouring fondant to the celluloid escapades of these pornothespians? So many handymen called to service a lady's plumbing. So many girls in Camaros with fellatious notions of how to settle a speeding ticket. So much money shot. Disinfectant-scented darkroom glimpses into a parallel world of amazingly easy pleasure, only two bits a thrill.

(I once heard that the real difference between porn and non-porn is that the narrative of the former unspools in real time. So, you accompany the hung plumber driving crosstown to his new client's house. Take a right. Down the road a ways. Stop light. Round the circle. Straight past the laundromat and the liquor store. There's a spot in front of the house. Park. Take the keys out of the ignition. Walk to the front door. Ring the bell. Denying the existence of the jump cut certainly helped these porn Griffiths and Vertovs pad three or four suckyfucky scenes into feature-length films.)

Even now, as porn, like heartburn medication, is more commonly available than at any time in human history, it has, for your sobsister, lost its charm, its mystery, its creaky Americana. The stars of the '60s and '70s were human, individual and distinctive in a way that finds few equivalents in the modern day. Not to romanticize the job of grinding out dozens, hundreds of loops. Or forget the difficult lives some of these actors experienced before, during or after their film careers. But, there's something I love about the products that tumble forth at the creation of an art form. Like early sound musicals. Or 1939 comic books. In that formative period when any action repeated becomes a rule. Just as the unanticipated possibility of real profit presents itself to the moneymen. And those impromptu rules become conventions and then cliches.

So, just as Ruby Keeler's tap solo in 42nd Street looks like someone trying to shake shoeboxes off her feet, so, too, does the dialogue in these seminal (*ha ha*) adult films sound as if it were a Warsaw Pact translation of a Love, American Style episode being read by those people down the street who really need to buy shades for their bathroom. But the charm of both genres is undiminished--if anything, enhanced--by the wide-eyed novelty and earnest clumsiness. They are camp in the best way.


What costs a dollar apiece?
Gershwin and Porter by Lee Wiley and a great early Steve Winwood retrospective and a Blue Note 1949-59 best-of and a rerelease of the first Crown Heights Affair album ("You Can't Bend My Super Rod": how had I never heard this song?) and Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret and Mandrill's Just Outside of Town, all and each on glorious, frangible vinyl


So, where was I...? Men's penises, or Men spenis es..., from Catullus 50. Yes, vintage pornography. Unlike our current enlightened times, wherein parents and pillars of the community can post daily MPEG updates to without risking the stocks, flogging and transportation, in the Olden Days people actually felt shame at being associated with, not to mention participating in, public copulation before any audience, much less a national one. More informed commentators than I will have spilt useful ink on how the various '60s revolutions midwived the adult film industry. But it's still worth noting just how outré appearing in porn was at the time.

For perspective, this period fell in the vast gap between the 8mm domino-mask'd cavalier of greatgrandfather's smoker fame and the 21st-century 18-year-old, his Flip and oral "Brytny" in his Rover. At that time, to do this work as a profession, as the thing one did to live, was to be little better than a whore at a time when whores didn't enjoy book deals and talk show seats. Whereas Gypsy Rose Lee, by dint of her style, savvy and smarts, became acceptable in the way a reformed madam did, the women of porn offered no coyness or tease. They just fucked men and women and black men for money. On camera. For a living. Between stretches of plot and dialogue that were either crafted to ape Hollywood's infinitely more prestigious products or to avoid courtroom claims of gratuitous prurience. In contrast to our own enlightened present, when the "leaked" sex tape is a savvy career move, at that time, a sexually explicit film of a national figure, hot-eyed and moaning around the veined pipe she's sucking, would have been ruinous, suicidal, unimaginable. Imagine, for example, a Sophia Loren sex tape.

I'll be here when you're done.

All set? So, the fact that these people were alienated enough from society at large to say, "I'm going to let a bunch of guys fuck me onscreen, and, with any luck, millions will see me" was pretty radical as a departure from societal norms and expectations. The extent to which the actors were abused or abused themselves as a function of this work seems to have been widely divergent. (For example, were drugs used for pleasure, for escape or for coercion?) Yet, the films exude enough rough fun transcending the paucity of resources to engage the viewer as genre narrative in the midst of forming the conventions that would define the genre.

Pornography made the VCR and pornography drove the Internet, building on the work of these people. And I think that the fact that some freaks in San Francisco and Los Angeles contributed substantially to the popularization of two of the three transformative entertainment-driven technologies of the latter half of the 20th century (portable music from the Walkman on, being the third) is pretty fucking remarkable. And as unlikely as the outsider sons of immigrants pooling pushcart and pin money to build the dominant American contribution to world culture of the last 100 years.

So, yes, the Porn Pioneers. Doff your hat or boff your cat if you see one of these august personages in the street. Others metamorphosed their crayon-and-oaktag world into Bukkake Bitchez VIII: Ass Candy. Sic transit Gloria Leonard, and all that. But they had faces then, if occasionally streaked with the white tracers of luv. They are the Bessie Loves and Dick Powells of their form. And just because their form involved a few more threeways than most cultural innovations does not in any way diminish the significance of their contribution.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Homosecular, amirite?!?", Dept.

People--and by "people," I mean "the nagging voices inside my head"--ask me, "'Ey, sobsister! What for you gotta be hatin' the Catholic Church with-a the white heat of a thousand-a suns?" And I respond, "Hey, Mr. Bacciagalupe! How's business?", then I grab a bright red apple from his stand, he pretend-spars with me and I go to work in my brand-new '52 Packard.

Well, here's one reason! The Good Ol' Catholic Church is opposing Choc City's measure to allow same-sex marriage. No surprise, right? Because the cassock set are down with the paedo playtime, but consenting adults in a relationship where the balance of power is negotiated? Fuck that shit five ways to Magdala! They've even got a note from Jesus saying--and I paraphrase liberally--"Fuck that shit five ways to Magdala!"

But, here's the kicker: not only is B-b-b-benny's Man-Boy Love Klatsch opposing this measure due to its longstanding policy of being to basic human decency what thalidomide was to eugenics, they're threatening to walk out on the social service programs they run for the city. Because of some higher religious principle, doubtless no doubt...? Oh, wait, here's what the WashPost says, it's because "...they would have to obey city laws prohibiting discrimination against gay men and lesbians."

So, the RC Church, purported beacon of righteousness since Western Civ was a pimply J.D., is willing to say, in front of God an' everybody, "By the blood of Our Savior whom, we fervently believe, died for the salvation of all men, we will fight for our right to be able to discriminate openly against a group that has does us no ill and to withhold our charity on a bitch's whim."

Thank you, Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church, thank you. Mainly for reminding me precisely why I despise your establishment with what my friend Bacciagalupe calls, "the white heat of a thousand suns." The difference between, say, you and any hardballing Wall Street buyout shark is that you're just so much better at reducing your downside exposure, simply by speaking the mumbo and the jumbo and basking in the backlight of that big rose window called the autumn sky.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Ontogeny Monetizes Philogeny, Dept.

Right, so we're parked in front of the Hypnogogue, preparing for an hour's avarice as Antiques Roadshow visits Louisville, KY Jelly, to gorge on the burgoo of bluegrass-state detritus. And this ad comes on.

Well, it's not an "ad"-ad because this is Public Television. Parked above the crass commercial concerns that drive the Big 4 networks to prostitute the core of integrity that would otherwise serve as their lodestar, Public Television won't suck Mammon's teat for the sake of a few greasy, cokey, crumpled Franklins. No, instead, Public Television features 60-second art films that depict a young woman's bittersweet coming of age thanks to the Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive of the Subaru Outback. Less of the coming of age part, actually.

In the background, we hear a young girl speaking to someone, as we're shown a black-and-white photograph of a woman holding a camera. In her slacks, bold belt, tucked-in sweater and playfully defiant expression, she evokes Carole Lombard on location in the Southwest. A thin, red line drops from the lower edge of her photo and veers sharp left to connect to a warmtoned color photo of the same camera being used by a woman in an Ali MacGraw Love Story hat. The clothes she wears, the background of the walls--the walls of a home, in the pictured prelapsarian era we'll call The Good '70s--her simple makeup, these all speak to a less-direct but no-less-consciously asserted female presence than that of the first photo. The thin red line--a vibrant line of descent, certainly-- then drops to a live-action, gauzy shot of a little girl, sprawled on a carpet, next to the camera we've already seen twice. She's the one whose voice we've been hearing. She's been speaking to her dolls, the ones she's arranging for the photo she's about take. "Say 'Cheese'..." she intones with all the calculated sweetness a professional actress of age six can be instructed to summon by "creatives" who may not be entirely sensitive to how like the uncanny shudder that a corpse evokes is this counterfeiting of child's imagination.

But somewhere between the first indistinct words we hear this child say and the last instruction we hear her offer, an adult woman's voice takes command of our earholes to thoughtfully inform us, "Some of the most important things passed down through generations have nothing to do with DNA. Liberty Mutual. Proud sponsor of Antiques Roadshow."

This is the point at which your sobsister's eyes widen to saucer size, mouth to gape like an off-season Tunnel of Love.

If you show me images of three generations of women--joined one to the other by what I can only construe as a stylized bloodline--each closely drawn to photography, then my first thought is actually not, "Oh, right, they're connected by their ownership of this object." No. It's more along the lines of "My GOD, is that a photography gene or a shiver of great white sharks?!?"

At least this non-commercial is being more honest than the show it "makes possible" as regards Antiques Roadshow society's valuation of the inherited, be it tangible or intangibly small. Every single bouffanted mercantilist who shleps a 300-lb *fingers crossed* authentic Colonial tallboy into the Father Coughlin Memorial Convention Center in downtown Saginaw and hears that she is potentially ten thousand bananas richer...and that's a conservative estimate...may say, "Oh, but we would never sell it!" but surely thinks, "Saint BART'S, baay-beee!!"

The disconnect between and the diametricity of the visual message and the verbal message. I imagine that those who conceptualized and executed this non-commercial were unaware that its talking point complements its visuals as well as four-alarm chili does a wedding dress. The equivalent of hearing the story of the Good Samaritan, and your take-away is that those who don't get involved are truly the Elect of the Lord.

Liberty Mutual, I know nothing about beyond the fact that it's an insurance company and, as such, makes its money by doing you out of as much recompense as its lawyers say it can do and still avoid being bumbusted in litigation. But absolutely nothing about its association with this exercise in cognitive dissonance gives me confidence that, as a corporate entity, it has the taste or sense that God gave a drunken sailor in a two-buck whorehouse. So, you may want to look elsewhere for that auto insurance.

I occasionally wonder about the people who work at ad agencies. Do they have magic wands they wave at their clients? Or do they possess m4d Jedi skillz? "This commercial is not asinine." "Your corporate messaging will be clearer thanks to this commercial." "You want to bring us a six-pack of hookers and a silver bucket of blow."

Here's the referenced non-commercial, along with its companion non-commercial involving a violin, three generations of Black people who all play the violin and the fact that they are joined solely by their ownership of the violin, not by any quote-unquote transmitted genetic predisposition.

Do you think when the ad people and the insurance company executives responsible for this paradigm of televisual non-commerce look in a mirror, they see themselves or only the room behind them?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Things Are Not As They Theme, Dept.

I recently tweeted the demise of composer Vic Mizzy. And that, in itself, is sad. The tweeting of it, I mean.

Previously: The bard Vic Mizzy has joined the Nine atop Mount Parnassus! Let us erect a monument in gleaming marble that will straddle the ages and offer up a hecatomb in his eternal honor!

Today: RT OMG Vic Mizzy hu? died u guyz!! #deadpool

Yes. We suck as a civilization.

Anyhoo, Vic Mizzy died. And in every American's DNA is encoded the fingersnaps of The Addams Family theme, which he wrote, and in every American's racial memory lurks the bantering theme for Green Acres, which he also wrote.

Now, sure, you have your "academy" poets with their MFAs and dog-eared Moleskines full of squinchy, purloined feet. But, as I've tried to show in the past, American popular lyric-writing kicks a lot of this Autumn Afternoons in Hartford shite in teh culo.

By way of demonstration, here are the lyrics for The Addams Family theme:

They're creepy and they're kooky,
Mysterious and spooky,
They're all together ooky,
The Addams Family.

Their house is a museum
Where people come to see 'em
They really are a screa-um,
The Addams Family.


So, get a witch's shawl on,
A broomstick you can crawl on,
We're gonna pay a call on
The Addams Family.

Okay? 'Nuff said.

Now, howzabout a little Green Acres?

He: Green acres is the place for me.
Farm livin' is the life for me.
Land spreadin' out so far and wide
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

She: New York is where I'd rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay.
I just adore a penthouse view.
Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.

He:...The chores.
She:...The stores.
He:...Fresh air.
She:...Times Square

He: You are my wife.
She: Goodbye, city life.

Both: Green Acres, we are there!

I mean, can that be beat as an expository duet? One minute, six seconds; everything you need to know about the lead characters' relationship and about the premise of the show. Hell, you could do a three-act opera in 30 minutes with that kind of concision and economy! It's catchy, it's funny, you welcome it week after week.

Let me hitch my pants up to my tits, don my Henry-Fonda-in-On-Golden-Pond hat and affect my Andy Rooney croak...

What the H-E-double-swizzle-sticks happened to TV theme songs? Three shows I watch regularly--popular shows--have nothing that even vaguely resembles a theme. Lost? A hanging attackless chord. Heroes? Ten seconds of whirling flute and percussion. Stargate Universe? Talky expository bit a la Babylon 5 and Battlestar Galactica--Jesus, I watch a lot of sci-fi television--over rumbling symphonic bits, then done. Tell me that Lost wouldn't be improved with a Gilligan's Island-style theme. I think it might go something like this...

Just sit right back and you'll hear a tale,
About a doughty set
That flew out from Australia's shores
Aboard a fragile jet.
The doc was a handsome, healing man,
Of stern and troubled mien.
A passenger, but not for long,
On flight eight-fifteen, on flight eight-fifteen.
&c., &c.

Granted, working one's way through all 14 billed main characters in the course of a theme might cut into each week's story a bit. But recapitulation is part of sonata form, so nyah.

At any rate, ave atque vale, Vic Mizzy. Know that countless generations will thrum the lyre and whack the tabor to your songs. Or not. But thanks, anyway.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

el pueblo unido jamas sera jodido, Dept.

Fiesta Latina: In Performance at the White House. Yes. Let me take a wild guess...Jimmy Smits and George Lopez as hosts? Yes! Gloria Estefan and either J.Lo or Marc Anthony? Yes and double yes! Los Lobos? Yes! Sheila E.? Yes! Well, that about taps it for Latin music/celebrities.

*ha ha!* I joke. No, I don't. That was about it, with the addition of Eva Longoria-whatever and Jose Feliciano. At one point, during the all-hands-on-deck finale, an al-Qaeda attack could have mooted the Latin Grammys for a generation.

High points: musical director Sheila E. and dad Pete Escovedo's dueting timbales on "Ran Kan Kan." Oddly watchable Marc Anthony's first, Spanish-language number. Jose Feliciano's Spanish-language version of the famous bit from the Concierto de Aranjuez. Homegirl Justice Sotomayor getting the big shout-out from BHO and a standing O from the audience. Sheila E. not having to do "The Glamorous Life." J.Lo not doing anything except introducing Marc Anthony.

Low points: personality-free kid with no real voice doing a reggaeton number. Skinny Mexican girl Thalia, not gifted with a strong set of pipes or much stage presence, doing some song and inviting Barry out for a dance--Michelle could've had her for lunch and been left hungry, but she graciously allowed the First Hubby to twirl a bit with the child. Gloria Estefan not doing "Conga."

No, but really: we're needing more Hispano-Latino celebs. 'Cause y'all are running poor Jimmy Smits ragged. He's barely had time to work in 20 years because he's too busy hosting the Latin Grammys or the Alma Awards or some shit.

Notable by their absence: my girl Jessica Alba, Cristina Aguilera, Carlos Santana, Ruben Blades, Shakira, all the great Latino musicians (Willie Colon, Eddie Palmieri) who pioneered the New York sound. I'm not sure what the rationale behind the invites was, 'cause I don't think that everyone on stage was Murrican. Hell, bring on Los Aterciopelados, Cafe Tacuba and Soda Stereo, for that matter.

At any rate, my goodness, but there are some doughy white people in Choc City. All the Latino pols filling two tables, they had to pack the house with gringos. Woof. On the beat, people. And two. And four. And two. And four.


Richardson '12. You heard it here first.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Sarah Palin, Her Booke, Dept.


Oh, Baby Jesus, thank you for me being alive in these times! In an earlier age, women and politicians--much less the two together like some wonderful cup-shaped confection of some sort--could not have had their balls-out shamelessness amplified for a global audience without the omnivorous news cycle feeding its own unattainable satiety. In a later age, we will all be breeding stock for giant ant warrior-mages. But now--and only now--in the overripe sweet spot of Western Civilization, can there be a "Sarah Palin." A woman so bereft of wit, culture, breeding, prudence and shame as to constitute a hapax legomenon of European-American political culture. And I've heard Michele Bachmann speak.

Look at her. Utterly, wilfully deaf to the little voice that arrests most of us before we make reeking asses of ourselves, before we act in ways that would embarrass a gang of Somali pirates, before we say things that a child of three would dismiss as jejune, unconsidered and reductive. Admirable, really, if only for her ability to take such limited natural gifts and parlay them into global fame and disproportionate power simply by being able to sniff the Zeitgeist and jump ass-first through a closed window to grab it.

Her appearance is a factor, of course. Just attractive enough, certainly for American politics. The thwarted beauty queen who unites the cute girls and the wannabes. And her sculpted backstory. The frontier hubby. The kids with the SUV names. The where-have-you-gone-Margaret-Mead? religious practices. But it's the tenacity, the disregard for common sense and received wisdom that makes her the toddler with the fork in a roomful of sockets who is apparently immune to electrocution.

Her meh-moir is already #1 on Amazon's best-seller list, driven to that height, no doubt, by the conservative bulk book-buying machine. I mean, do you know anyone who'd shell out 15 hard-earned simoleons to read delusional, self-justifying rants uninformed by logic or any grounding in Western political philosophy, literature or history? Heck, you can read that for nothin' over at! No, for the right wing in the good ol' U.S. of A., it's totally worth it to blow hundreds of thousands of someone else's dollars to be able to point to this book and say, "New York Times best-seller." (O, the lovely trees felled to support this vain deception. At least they will all soon return to the bosom of earth as landfill.) It's all part of the Plan. You know, The Plan?? The one where the Joker, having already crippled the United States by engineering the election (and re-election!) of George Wasteproduct Bush, schemes to deal the deathblow by elevating the Antichrist of Intellectualism to the highest office in the land? Boy, Batman really needs to pull his cowl out of his ass soon if we have any hope of surviving the Clown Prince of Crime's nefarious plot!

Can the nation be saved?!? Tune in again, kids! Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Putting the "I" in "lifestyle," Dept.

Longtime readers of this space will know that I hate The Washington Post. I'm sorry; I should be more precise: I hate the lifestyle sections of The Washington Post. To the extent that, for the longest time, we didn't take home delivery of the Post just to spare my blood pressure.

But it's back. And try as your sobsister might to avert my eyes, I did see the Sunday magazine this weekend. It looked...different. From the title on down. So, I turned to the first pages and found an "Editor's Note." One that, in so many ways, reaffirmed and validated my "Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome." *ha ha* Did you see what I...? Oh. Okay.

At any rate, the "Editor's Note." Written by a "Debra Leithauser." It begins, "If you're anything like me..."

Regard this as the Fate Knocks on Beethoven's Door in Ms. Leithauser's Fifth Symphony. Dot-dot-dot-dash.

How is this phrase in any way motivic, you chirp sweetly? It is motivic not only because of its ubiquity (discussed below) in the article in question but, perhaps more importantly, because of the way it exemplifies much of what I despise in the Post's lifestyle Weltanschauung. For, the lifestyle editors of the Post learned, perhaps at an inappropriately early age, that what matters most in the reader's understanding of anything to do with the external world is how the reportorial "I" processes it in his or her fascinating life and mind. As a consequence, rare indeed is the article that doesn't place its writer and her reaction to the subject matter squarely in your line of sight, like a woman in an enormous bonnet blocking your view of the stage. If the writer were, say, Oriana Fallaci, there might be value added by the engagement. If the writer is Jane Shlobotnik, somewhat less so.

Thus, "If you're anything like me," it begins, "you're a fan of this magazine." Well, no, I'm not. And I'm also having a hard time with the way this relationship is being defined, frankly. Plus, I know there must be a famous Greek philosopher's name attached to the rhetorical device deployed in this opening sentence. Being "anything like me" is solely predicated on my approval of the magazine. So, if I am not a fan of the magazine, I am nothing like her. Quod erat menstruandum.

She continues, "The new WP Magazine adds to that experience. You'll continue to find deeply reported articles that illuminate and inspire..."

Yes. "WP Magazine." Its logo is a large "wp" in a gothic face, not unlike that found in the Post's masthead. Or The New York Times' masthead. Or on the logo of the Times' monthly glossy style supplement, "T." The Anglo-Irish philosomuso Declan MacManus put it best, perhaps, when he wrote, "All little sisters like to try on big sister's clothes."

Moving on, then, "deeply reported"? Ummm...does that mean something like "reported in depth"? If so, say so. Please. For the children's sake. And I'm going to go out on a limb and say that very, very, very few indeed are the times that the Post's magazine writing has illuminated me or inspired me to do anything. Except, perhaps, write this piece.

Blah blah the crossword blah blah the dining column.

New graf. "Why the changes? Well, because if you're anything like me..."

Do you see what I mean? It flows through the editorial body like ichor. The conviction that their "take" on the situation is the prism through which you should view events. Like the one on the cover of Dark Side of the Moon. Only turning objective reality into a rainbow of middle-brow solipsism.

" also have a giggling, gurgling baby; a first-grader going on middle-schooler; and neighbors who wish they had more time for ... well, just about everything."

[ghuk ghukk ghaaaaaaak ghuk gh...ghaaaaakkkh ghu...ghu... I'm sorry. God. I'm sorry. Oh God, anchovies taste so much worse on the way up than on the way down...]

But, in less-visceral response, no, I don't. I have no fizzy baby, precocious six-year-old or frazzled-but-lovable neighbors. Then again, I'm not on an ABC sitcom,. And once again, Ms. Leithauser has chosen to define our relationship in an exclusionary way. Why, Ms. Leithauser, why? Is it that time you kept referring to Rashomon as "Rastaman" until I finally had to forehead-flick you? It is, isn't it?

She continues, "That's why we've reimagined the Magazine." People like to reimagine shit here in Choc City. People are reimagining things all the fucking time. Al Gore already Reinvented Government™, so that was taken. But "reimagined" is fine, and it is ever-so redolent of endless mid-afternoon meetings where people drink Coke Zero, check their Blackberrys obsessively and worry any halfway-decent idea to within an inch of its life.

"Reimagined," in this case, equates to Using Fewer Words. You're too busy, Busy Washingtonian. You are defined by the business of your busy-work. You define "multi-tasking." Usually incorrectly. But never no mind. Basically, she's telling us, this is written for the on-the-go-go-go Washingtonian. One who just doesn't have the time, sunshine. "TL;DR", amirite? Which translates to "your paper has a target audience with the attention span of a butterfly."

The Post has been suffering from a tragic bipolarity for some time, you see. It can't decide whether to continue serving its base of stolid, married, 2.5 kids-having, Golden Lab-owning White Professionals in northwest Choc City and northern Virginia who are too busy reimagining their own workplace to read the paper or to continue pandering to the fickle, semiliterate 20-somethings who represent the Last, Best Hope for a paper (and an industry) with one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel, who are too busy texting each other the most inane thoughts in the history of human consciousness to read the paper. The Post's Solomonic solution is to write anodyne articles in the voice of a not-very-well educated soccer mom who wants to convince her tattoo artist/bassist younger sister in Williamsburg that she's, y'know, "hep."

Blah blah clean look blah blah clear navigation.

Closing graf. "If you're anything like me..." I like to skin-pop skag? I think Dario Argento is God? I have a tattoo of Lux Interior on my stomach? What, Ms. Leithauser, what now?!?

" have an opinion about change." I do, actually, and it is this: I think articles about it really shouldn't mention their writers. At all. But I realize this is nigh-unto an impossibility at the Post, where lifestyle articles invariably ask the musical question, "But enough about the topic, what about me?"

To paraphrase the Post's most successful ad campaign, The Washington Post. If you don't get it, you're lucky.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

More Slap than Tickle, Dept.

I have vague recollections of my childhood before age, say, 8. The apartment in which we lived that I recall as always being dark, even at midday. The cat that belonged to the grocery store on Broadway, the first cat I'd ever approached, that scratched naive me as I went to pet it. Fucking cat. And I remember Popeye cartoons.

They were shown after school on local television, one of those shows hosted by an actor dressed as a cop or a cowboy. This one dressed like a ship's captain. I don't know if the nautical theme inspired the choice of cartoon or vice, you know, versa, but he aired Popeye cartoons every afternoon, just before or after the pretend cop who aired Three Stooges shorts, make of that pairing what you will.

Even as a kid, I preferred the Fleischer Popeyes to the a.a.p./United Artists versions. For one thing, I didn't like his nephews, introduced in the latter series. No Huey, Dewey and Louie, they. I mean, "Poopeye, Pipeye, Pupeye, Peepeye"? Ugh. "Poopeye" sounds like a scat-flick parody of Elzie Segar's sailorman, I also didn't like the all-white uniform Popeye wore in the later cartoons. And the fact that the newer versions didn't have the slamming shipboard door to transition between credits during the opening. As you might have guessed, I was a finicky child. But one with impeccable taste, apparently.

So, Popeye...he and Mr. Rough Trade, Bluto, vying for the favors of Olive Oyl. Who, in retrospect, sounds like Marge Simpson filtered through Edith Bunker. This one episode that I recall with absolutely no certainty of its existence in this time-space continuum involved Popeye and Bluto, as usual, beating the bejeezus out of each other but on the dancefloor. Or maybe Bluto and Olive Oyl first, then Bluto and Popeye.

At any rate, they went back and forth in a ritualized dance that may or may not have been familiar to me at the time from whatever other flotsam of films, cartoons and television I'd gathered in the hem of my Alice Blue Gown, but which I now recognize as having been an Apache Dance.

Pronounced "ah-PASH" rather than, you know, "uh-PAH-chee," the dance, in Wikipedia's words:

" taken from a Parisian street gang, which in turn was named for the American Indian tribe due to the perceived savagery of the hoodlums. The term came to be used more generally to refer to certain vicious elements of the Paris underworld at the beginning of the 20th century.

The dance is very brutal to the woman, and sometimes said to reenact a "discussion" between pimp and prostitute. It includes mock slaps and punches, the man picking up and throwing the woman to the ground, or lifting and carrying her while she struggles or feigns unconsciousness.

And, so, a dance from the 1900s is transmitted through a cartoon of the 1930s to a li'l sobsister decades later. And people think we've got durable memes now...

So, here for your dining and slapping pleasure, is a small selection of Apache Dance numbers courtesy of the Why Tee.

A straightforward one here.
A straightforward one bookended by zany bits from the Crazy Gang in 1937 here.
Cicely Courtneidge does one from 1933's Aunt Sally here.
While Gracie Fields watches then does one herself from 1934's Queen of Hearts here.
An Apache dancer comes to a pointy end in this excerpt from 1935's Charlie Chan in Paris here.
And, finally, a silent clip from 1902 accompanied by useful written commentary here.

Yes, more Danse Apache video clips than you'd ever have thought possible, thanks to the magic of the Intertubes. Enjoy, learn and, in the words of Wang Chung,

Take your baby by the hair
And pull her close and there there there
Take your baby by the ears
And play upon her darkest fears

Saturday, August 01, 2009

My words? They taste like wormwood and head cheese, Dept.

Oh, sure. I mocked the tweeting. I placed myself above the tweeting. But now, a casual glance at my right sidebar reveals...I'm a-tweeting.

Now, you may ask, "Sobsister, why Sobsister why?" And the answer comes in the form of a realization I experienced, an epiphany that was bestowed unto me, and that was this: I'm just that fascinating.

Yes. I am sufficiently fascinating that I believe that my most casual glimmer of a notion of a thought deserves immortality even as volumes and libraries of the work of the greatest minds of the classical world are being used as privy paper somewhere in Egypt.

Therefore, never send to know for whom the bird tweets; it tweets for thee.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Boop-boop-a-don't care, Dept.

Hey, late July already? I guess I was in that parallel universe longer than I thought! Ha ha!

But seriously...a brief note that, if you've never watched Ugly Betty or if you have watched it but haven't felt compelled to spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing it, you will not in any way hurt my feelings if you ignore:

Does anyone else think that Ugly Betty has jumped not only the shark but a pod of whales and possibly some whelks, to boot?

Rule Number One of Television Comedy: the boy/girlfriend is hardly ever interesting when the romantic interest is a mid-run throwaway.
Sam and Diane? Interesting.
Maddie and David? Interesting.
Joel and Maggie? Interesting.
Jim and Pam? Interesting.
Why? Because the writers conceived of the relationship as a meaningful part of the characters' overall narrative trajectory.

By contrast:
Phoebe and whatever-Paul-Rudd's-character-was-called? Flat.
Ross and the black paleontologist? Flat.
Monica and Chandler? Ugh.
(And, yes, I watched Friends long after the shark was a tiny dot on the horizon.)

So, now, Betty's dating self-effacing, sensitive, dark-good-looks, wanting-to-be-loved-for-himself-not-his-money Richie Rich-guy. But she's not just dating him. Entire shows are dedicated to him, to them, to him again. And, frankly, I don't watch the show to see Betty find fulfillment. She's sexless and controlling and stunted, and, quite frankly, I was not looking forward to the long string of episodes wherein the Dorky Duckling would emerge as a Hot Latina Swan. (And, really, she's supposed to be so clever--why the frack has she dressed from Episode the First like a shitbomb in a Goodwill dumpster? Are we to understand that she's brilliant and insightful but hasn't figured out that she looks like she's trapped on the Fashion Short Bus?)

No, I watch UB for Amanda and Marc and Hilda and Justin (if they make that child any gayer, he will vanish in a swirl of glitter and Gautier) and Suzuki St. Pierre and all the other krazy kharacters. I don't care if Betty gets laid or finds happiness or becomes a writer. She's just not that interesting. She's the tofu burger we dress up with toppings, yes?

So, I've given up on her with the last three episodes of this season unwatched on the DVR. No, no...don't try to talk me out of it. I'm trying to wean chez sobsister off the glass teat (thank you, Mr. Ellison), and watching underperformers just encourages writers and show runners to get lazy.

Now, The Middleman: The Complete Series is just out on DVD. That, my friends, as you have read me say, is television. Not a shark for miles. Helped by the fact that it shut down for no apparent reason after two seasons. But neveryoumind. Rent it, buy it, download it (legally) and yell "YES!" to good television.

I thank you.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

NAWBLA Newsletter, Dept.

statutory rape night

Well, as ol' Gomer Pyle used to say, Sha-zam! Who says there are no second acts in American lives? Mary Kay Letorneau, America's Most Beloved Pedophile™, is getting work. Some of you may recall that MK made headlines back in '97 when the then-34-year-old married mother of four and elementary school teacher was arrested for boning one of her 12-year-old students. She was preggers with her toy boy's first child when she was arrested. She pleaded guilty to child rape and was sentenced to 7½ years in prison, with all but six months suspended. Talk about recidivisim, within weeks of leaving pokey, she was caught playing hide the salam' with Skeezix in her car and ordered to serve the remainder of her sentence. She was, of course, preg again and gave birth to their second child while in lockup.

Parenthetically, just in case you might be wondering how far the fruit fell from the tree here, MK's daddy, John G. Schmitz, was apparently a politico and hyperconservative loon of the first water (sample 1981 press release: "Senator Schmitz and His Committee Survive Attack of the Bulldykes"; I mean, when the John Birch Society expels you for "extremism," you know you're on the bleeding edge of batshit.). Catholic Marine Corps lieutentant colonel who banged two babies out of some GOP volunteer who, of course, was not his wedded wife.

Anyhoo, it appears that MK's studminimuffin is now aspiring to become a DJ; thus, this awesomely tasteful event. Now, reader commentary at the preceding link identifies what I would think to be the salient problem with this situation, and I quote: Ever wonder what would have happened if the teacher was Gary K. Letourneau and the student was female? What a double standard! Precisely. Kall me krazy, but I don't think that "DJ Headline"'s gig hosted by Father Flotsky, his spiritual adviser and former ass-splitter, would be entirely free of howling, pitchfork-bearing mobs.

It's like my daddy used to say to me when I was knee-high in grasshoppers (I had sworn off Sazeracs): "Leetel sobseester, een America, you can be anytheeng you wanna be, especially eef you are a semi-hot woman eenvolved een a sex crime." I don't know why he would impersonate Peter Lorre whenever he spoke with me, but that was mah daddy.

Now, I do not believe the blonde bimba in the above pic is MK herself. Here, in fact, is a pic of MK and her rape victim loving hubby bookended by two Rhodes scholars:

rapist and victim

Awww, ain't that puh-recious? I can just imagine, years from now, the scene at the Thanksgiving table:

-Gran'ma, how'd you an' Gran'pa meet?
-Well, little Tiffanee, back then I was married and had four little babies to take care of, just like you. But I was also criminally insane, so I fucked one of my boy students repeatedly until he put a baby of his own in my tummy. Now, who wants some more smashed potatoes?

It kinda gets ya...right here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Now on Your Newsstands, Dept.

When I was considerably younger, I used to read New York magazine. Actually, I used to read the hardbound collections--such as Thank You for the Giant Sea Tortoise--of Mary Ann Madden's New York magazine competitions. They were clever and brainy and smart (in both senses of the word) and very much of a piece with the way the city felt to me at that time.

Those books aside, I've never been what one might call a regular reader of the magazine. Mainly to do with the fact that I no longer live there and the fact that I don't care about the disproportionate impact of Lizzie Grubman, her predecessors and her successors on any aspect of life in the city.

That said, I've just finished two New York articles that I'd like to share with you (ah, there's the point of all this...y'all know enough to wait a paragraph or two). The first, "The Benefits of Distraction and Overstimulation," is on attention or, more accurately, our fractured, fragmented lack of it as a society and a wired culture.

woody and larry

The second--the most recent cover story--is "Twilight of the Tummlers," an interesting examination of how Woody Allen's latest, Whatever Works starring Larry David, is a throwback to a style of Jewish comedy no longer being produced.

Now, I take exception to the title of the piece because neither Allen nor David is a tummler. A tummler is the guy at the Catskills resort who'll spray seltzer out his nose while imitating Mrs. Feinbaum doing the cha-cha. Jerry Lewis was the consummate tummler. Woody, not so much. But the article's a good read, and it introduced me to, which is like Beautiful Agony, only with shpritzing instead of spooging.

So, yay New York mag. I'm going to have to keep an eye out for their stories. I mean, it's not The New Yorker but, Christ, compared with Washingtonian magazine--which only seems to exist as a clearing house for plastic surgery ads and which is so unmoored from the day-to-day life of both the average subway rider and the world's most powerful city as to seem more like Palm Springs Life magazine--it's the London Review of Books.


Friday, May 15, 2009

Eight Million Stories on the Naked Titty, Dept.

When I first began this post, the story concerned a relatively unknown beauty pageant contestant from California who had (mis)spoken out about her opposition to gay marriage, an opposition rooted in her deeply held Christian beliefs. It then developed into a story about her surgically enhanced breasts, then about how the California pageant committee had paid for this enhancement. Expanding like the phallic bread dough in Lucy Ricardo's oven, it then concerned rumors of topless photos of the young woman, then her fervent denial and faith-based defense, then the online publication of one, then two, then more photos. Then revelations that the photos were recent, not years-old as had been claimed. And, throughout, there was the drumbeat of imminent dethronement and disgrace for having violated the cardinal rule of beauty pageantry: Don't show your nipples to the audience pipples. Or, don't flash your knockers at the alter kockers. Either way.

And in the eye of the swirl of speculation stood the man. Which man? The man with the most tragic hairpiece in creation. Ahhh. And the fate of this booby-baring bimba was in his hands. Would he conform to the rules and regulations of the pageant, which explicitly excluded prospective contestants who had had photographs taken of themselves nude or partially nude? Or would he do whatever made him the most money and guaranteed him the most column inches? Given that this wasn't just any lecherous, no-taste weasel of a real estate mogul but Miss USA pageant owner Donald Trump hisself, the mammary-sharing missy was allowed to keep her state title. Quoth the hairpiece, "We are in the 21st century. We have determined the pictures taken are some cases the pictures were lovely." (Can't you just picture him wiping the spittle from his lips as he recalls how the images of her supple mounds almost elicited an honest erection? Could the fallen beauty queen become Mrs. *ka-ching!* Trump v.4?) And this pronouncement itself prompted the executive director of the Miss California USA pageant--herself a former Miss USA--to resign.

Would that Wagner were still alive! Richard, not Honus. For, truly, this is an epic worthy of his overwrought Teutonic genius. Talk about a Gesamtkunstwerk! This story weaves together sex, greed, ambition, scandal, lies, bad hair, hypocrisy, titties and Jesus in a multimedia extravaganza of sight, sound and possibly scent!

Now, I'm a frugal sobsister, so I hate to waste perfectly good verbiage. So, following is the original work-in-progress post for your enjoyment. And, if not enjoyment, annoyance. Roll tape...

I'm not a religious person, as some of you may know. My formal observance is limited to taking, on occasion, the Rastafarian sacrament to the accompaniment of late-'50s stereo demonstration records (Wow, the bongo drums are on the right! Now, they're all the way on the left!). *ha ha* I kid. Boys and girls, lips that touch "maryjane" will only feel...very pain...ed. Whatever. At any rate, as a non-religious sobsister, I must take exception to beauty pageant contestant Miss California Carrie Prejean's well-publicized attempts to insert her interpretation of her Lord and Savior's policies vis-à-vis marriage into the secular province of beauty pageantry.

Why is Carrie Prejean (and, here, I must note my surprise at the somewhat pedestrian spelling of her given name; this young woman was clearly miscounselled in a number of ways, not least of which was the fact that, if she expects to excel in the bitch-mount-bitch world of pageantry, she needs to commit 110 percent to a first name such as "Carree" or "Karri" or, ideally, "Karree." Her current name just makes her look like she's not even trying, God love her.) speaking out against marriage for homosexuals? She talked, at the Miss USA pageant, of her support of "opposite marriage" (or "Bizarro marriage") over gay marriage. Which, you know, 1st Amendment and all, is fine. Yet, why is this young woman (and we're awaiting the test results that will confirm that) so adamant about some things that are contra naturam and not others?

I speak, of course, of the fake rack she had installed--at Miss California Pageant expense--scant weeks before the Miss USA contest. Now, as alluded to above, I am no theologian (although I did play William of Ockham in a grade-school pageant titled Razor? YOU Raise Her!), but it strikes me that having a pair of grapefruit halves stuck under your skin in defiance of the Divine Plan for your bosom allotment must surely make the Babby Jayzus cry. It's like Christmas morning, getting a reindeer sweater from Grammy and tossing it back in her face, saying, "Take that tired shit back to Penney's and get me some'a that GTA IV, itch-bay!"

Yet Miss Prejean (no apparent relation to Sister Helen Prejean, except insofar as one has seen a "Dead Man Walking," while the other is a witless twat) seems not at all discomfited by this apparent bit of hypocrisy. And, so, I must ask her, here in this most public of fora:

Carrie Prejean, if the Good Lord Above assigned you to the itty-bitty titty camp, why, then, were you trying to tunnel under to Stalag C-Cup? There is no squint-eyed Sergeant Schultz on duty here, only the unblinking glare of your omnivident god.

Further, Miss Prejean, segueing neatly into the whited sepulchre sitting in the living room of a glass house dept., can you tell me, then, exactly how flashing your own unenhanced raclette at a number of cameras jibes with the precepts of a religion whose more repugnant biases you are using to deny fellow Americans equal treatment under the law? I reiterate my admission that I'm no theologian; that said, I believe that baring one's boobies unto someone other than your husband in anticipation of imminent impregnation is considered a Sin by them as know from Xtian sin. Your "spokesman"--oh, pleez, may I apply for that job when the incumbent converts to full-time at Chuck E. Cheese?!?--tried to make the best of what must be an elephant turd in the punch bowl of your life. Some blather about you having been 17 and naive. You yourself took a slightly different tack with: ""I am a Christian, and I am a model. Models pose for pictures, including lingerie and swimwear photos."

Yeah, sweetie. Models do pose for pictures. But Jesus-loving, God-fearing, Holy Spirit-conversing models don't do over-the-shoulder fuckmebigboy snaps that could incite a churchgoing fellow to play Onan in repertory. Nor do they lie about having taken said snaps in order to snake themselves around the pageant rules. Nor do they lie about the number of times they've had spicyspicycaliente pix taken of themselves. Or the age at which they had them taken. Et cetera, et cetera. You catch my drift, cupcake, right?

But, dang, there are just so many levels to this story--her father maybe was gay and that broke up her parents' marriage?!? Sweet Charles Foster Kane! stop the presses!!--that a measly post barely scratches the surface of analysis, exegesis and mockery for which this story begs like the beggingest beggar who ever begged. So, for now, Crimestoppers, today's takeaway special is this: Christian by convenience is like a hysterical pregnancy--sooner or later, people are going to figure out you're simply full of fetid gas. Mustard and duck sauce are in the bag, plus napkins. Enjoy.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

There Are Children in India Who'd Be Overjoyed with Your Year-old RAZR V3, Dept.

I was fondling my iPhone recently. A private moment. It was raining lightly outside. Because I'd asked that it stop raining, even lightly, inside.

As I traced its sleek lines with a finger, I thought about one thing. One thing only.

How is it that people have the stones to complain about the lack of features in iPhone apps that, on top of everything else and secondary to the point I'm about to make, are free or absurdly cheap?

Reading the reviews at the App Store is an eye-opening experience if you've ever harbored any illusions that people are easy to please. What, that 99-cent app doesn't alphabetize, cross-index or translate into Quechua and Amharic all the entries across your databases, while setting calendar alerts in Outlook?! By G*d, I rue the day they outlawed public horsewhipping!

I just want to call the people who post these, umm, somewhat demanding reviews and say, "Hello, do you mean to tell me that the fact that you can reorder your Netflix queue on your phone from a toilet stall in a bar doesn't drop you to your knees before the altar of Technology?! Did you want your winged horse in brown instead of white?! Does the pattern on your flying carpet clash with your shoes?!? You're just going to piss Technology off, and then she'll take all her shiny shit and split, and you'll be back to banging two rocks together for entertainment and saving acorns for counting beads. Ingrate."

Honestly. Monkeys is the kwaziest people.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Peg o' My Heartburn, Dept.

Pundits Whitewash Torture

Peggy Noonan, Vestal Virgin at the shrine of Ronaldus Reaganorum, had some fascinatingly fascinating things to say last week about the release of Dubya-era memos detailing--and endorsing--waterboarding and other techniques used on swarthy men who face East to pray five times a day. Peg seems to think that there's just no point in revisiting those days and those issues and revealing some of the truths surrounding and underpinning them. She said, "Some things in life need to be mysterious. Sometimes you need to just keep walking."

I know that one doesn't want to know how sausage is made or, generally, witness much of what transpires in a commercial kitchen of meager means and undemanding clientele. But one would expect a political insider and author to exhibit a tad more interest in the secret workings of government. And, really, her current lack of curiosity regarding the whole Bushies-heart-torture issue is quite remarkable, given her own history.

For, if Sister Immaculata Primrose had manifested this discreet squeamishness concerning the darker corners of American politics during the Clinton administration, I would have said that she's simply a woman of circumspection, perhaps due to tender sensibilities and a mild constitution. But, no. She dug into the Lewinsky-Clinton scandale with the gusto of a competitive eater into blueberry pie no. 1. So, it appears that her...delicacy regarding matters of national import flares up only when confronting the bemerded peccadilloes of the conservative set.

For those who haven't had the pleasure, in her public appearances, Pegalong Casuistry combines the pantomime daintiness of a spinster who wouldn't say shit if she had a mouthful, with the sanctimonious condescension of a parochial school teacher towards the retards, Lord love them!, in her charge. Speaking of "civility" in our national discourse v-e-r-y s-l-o-w-l-y in what she must believe is a Gipperesque tone, Peg nonetheless regularly manages to dig the shiv between her target's ribs (hi, Hillary!) with the gusto of a nun with a new ruler and a classroom full of knuckles. This "do as I say, not as I do"-ism seems to be manifesting itself in the temperance of her previous zeal for full disclosure by an unquestioning respect for the inviolable nature of mysteries. Like the Assumption. Or how According to Jim has lasted eight seasons.

Oh, Peggy Noonan, Peggy Noonan! Pitiably blind to the red-headed hypocrisy born at the intersection of her current pleas for discretion and her previous cries for disclosure. The little girl in the plaid jumper who always reminded Sister that she'd forgotten to assign homework, now a wobbly pundit with a repellent public manner and a conveniently short memory. Lord love you, Peg! Ten Our Fathers and twenty-five thousand Hail Marys and your sins will be forgiven. Vade et amplius iam noli peccare.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Navel-grazing, Dept.

Navel-Grazing, Dept.

There's something ineluctably sad about an ill-kept blog. It's not unlike chez sobsister, actually. Paint chipping on the façade, one brick loose from the front steps, mailbox could use replacing...

I haven't been posting here much. Lack of time + lack of inspiration = radio silence. The fact of the matter is--and, here, I'm taking a huge leap of faith that this sort of self-indulgent meta-post is even vaguely interesting to anyone outside my head--that after a point, LOLXtians and LOLNeocons isn't all that interesting to write. There are so many stories out there on which I could be ladling snark that simply recapitulate an unvarying theme.

Last month, for example, B-b-b-Benny and the Peds announced that condoms weren't really the answer in fighting AIDS in Africa. Sure, I could've called him a benighted dogmatist nancy-boy flouncing about in Mommy's caftan while condemning tens, no, hundreds of thousands to death, to unwanted pregnancy and an unbreakable cycle of poverty, simply to bolster his completely made-up belief that, somehow, taking responsibility for, and control of, one's reproductive process is a raspberry in the face of the Invisible Bearded Man in the Sky. But I didn't. I mean, I've come to realize with the passage of time that the Catholic Church regularly says astonishingly ill-advised things that fly like a piazza of spooked pigeons smack in the face of, oh, I don't know, common sense, science, logic. To point out the crass stupidity of the Vatican's pronouncement at each occasion would be like riffling through publicity shots of the Olsen twins and noting again and again and again that they sure could use a fucking sandwich.

Same with the conservatives and, to be precise, the right-wing media in this country. Late last month, twat con Laura Ingraham (isn't that always held on the first Sunday in July? Twat Con '09! with appearances by Monica Goodling, Michelle Malkin and Dana Perino! plus GOP cosplay!) dissed almost-First Daughter Meghan McCain (for criticizing Troll Quean Ann Coulter) by calling her fat. Sure, I could've noted that it's amazing that Laura Ingraham can host a radio show, given that she talks entirely through her ass, or that a neocon lawyer converting to Catholicism has just hit the bullshit rationalization trifecta. But I didn't. The fact of the matter is that the 24-hour news cycle, declining educational achievement and dwindling intellectual engagement nationwide, and booming fast food and pharmaceutical intake has created a roiling subclass of triple-chinned cretin zombies who pay to be told what to think by a gold-clad phalanx of screaming hucksters who grab the addled gomers by the nose to pour know-nothing elixir down their gullets. To point out the witless, intellectually dishonest copromathy that is this circus is like identifying sociopathic nuns in the parochial school system. After a while, your arm gets tired.

So, your sobsister continues to look for veins to mine. One possibility: people whose surnames sound like naughty body parts. Watch for it!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Guilt by Association, Dept.

While I'm always grateful for the many and varied visitors who visit my humble, infrequently updated pages, I occasionally pause to wonder at my constituency, such as it is, based on the keywords they use to find my little sitting room in the blogosphere.

In the last week, folks have made their way here by searching for "offer him anal sex," "advantages of fellatio," *shudder* "ina garten uterus" *shudder*, "tween porn," "uncut monster cock whore" and, as always, "mica ertegun."

I'm...grateful for their custom, given that their paths to my pages have helped me to tease out the underlying, previously-obscured-to-me theme of my blog: underage sodomy, ideally with horse-hung Romanian interior designers.

Thank you, visitrons, one and all. I will now return to crafting my latest blog entry: I Was a Teenage Cum Junkie in Bucharest.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Chapter VII, in which Levi Ducks a Bullet, Dept.

Alaska Gov. Palin's daughter, fiance break up

Levi Johnston and Bristol Palin, the teenage daughter of Gov. Sarah Palin, have broken off their engagement, he said Wednesday, about 2 1/2 months after the couple had a baby.

Oh noez!!! Alaska's number one fairytale out-of-wedlock teen failed abstinence romance is pulling an Exxon Valdez?!? The unseaworthy craft of their relationship broken on the reef of Teen Ennui, spilling millions of gallons of our Hopes for these krazy kids?! And our hopes were ever-so high for this shotgun engagement. I mean, how could a relationship born in thoughtless lust and maintained out of political expediency fail?!?

Well, I'm sure Sarahcuda is doing her dingdong-darndest to comfort her daughter with some folksy-yet-creepy platitudes involving Jesus, cows and free milk. Though maybe things ain't all frowns chez Palin, given that rumor has it, i.e., Levi's sister told the media, Li'l Bristol wasn't even lettin' her baby daddy anywhere near the fruit of his loins!

Oh, 4ever Love, you didn't even make it past this season's American Idol finale!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Ich bin Musik, und Ich schreib' die Lieder, Dept.

When I was just a teenage sobsister in the hands of the wily Jesuits, I studied German for three years. Now, the third year was a wash because all we did was sit around, bullshit with our charming German-born teacher and play Skat, a popular German card game. The second year we spent learning endless vocabulary under the tutelage of another German-born teacher, considerably less charming and determined to convince us that we were the academic elite.
Very "Will to Power," very "Tomorrow Belongs to Me."

So, it was left to the first year to actually, you know, learn how to speak the frackin' language, which we sort of did at the hands of a patient Jesuit who stressed pronunciation above all else. He had a whole routine about the mouth being like a basketball court, and umlauted vowels were pronounced down by the basket and other vowels at the top of the key. Or something. It's enough that I remember enough of it to misremember.

Anyhoo, one of his paedagogical tools was German-language versions of popular songs. Well, popular in 1963, apparently, because all we listened to was "Komm, gib mir deine Hand" by The Beatles and "Die Antwort, mein Freund, ist ganz allein der Wind" by Bobby Dylan and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," which didn't even make sense in English. In that spirit, I offer you this corking version of "Downtown," likely sung by that pet of a girl, Petula Clark, who, if her Web site is any indication, has recorded in all the world languages, plus Quechua and Hmong.

Was the German market so strong in the late '50s and early '60s as to justify rerecording songs in that language? For that matter, was the Spanish-language film market so strong in the mid-'30s as to justify concurrently filming movies, as was done to, for example, Dracula, with Spanish-speaking actors? "Yes," to both, apparently. In the former case, my theory is that there were a lot of unemployed translators in Britain who'd been idle since the days of breaking Jerry's codes. Which should not be confused with "Jerry's Kids."

At any rate, follow the link to Pet Clark and a blast of 1964. I'll be putting on my white vinyl boots and joining you in a min.

From the excellent April Winchell Web site. Spend a week or two there.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

You Can't Spell "Sectarian Shooting Spree" without "Jesus," Dept.

Guns in church bill dies in Arkansas Senate panel -

From the page:
"Guns in church bill dies in Arkansas Senate panel
A state Senate panel has rejected a bill that would allow concealed handguns in Arkansas churches, a proposal that divided religious leaders.

The measure would have removed churches and other houses of worship from the list of places where concealed handguns are banned in Arkansas. Only churches and bars are on that list.

Gol-dang, lily-livered, Jesus-hatin', Huffington-lovin', pinko Adam'n'stEves!

How can a man show his face inside the Lord's House stripped of his shootin' irons?! That'd be like Samson shorn of the locks that gave him his muscles!

Now, imagine you're sittin' there in the pew, and the preacher-man's jawin' on about somethin' or another to do with Jesus, and it's kind of a hot day, heavy, y'know?, and *BANG!* in storms some Supralapsarian sumbitch or, even worse, a Mooslim! Now, if you ain't packin', son, you are lackin'! How're you gonna give that sumbitch a permanent part if your .357's locked up in some fool trunk or whatnot?! Scale a hymnal off 'is head, you won't even make 'im blink!

So, call your senator--'cause writin's for pointyheaded, latte-sippin', Hillary-huggin', Bolshevik sissy boys--and tear that sumbitch a new one.
Tell 'im you got a Biblical right to bear arms before the altar of the Lord! Tell 'im that!
Then tell 'im you know where his little blonde daughter goes to school and, my, ain't she a pretty, fragile li'l thing.
Do it.
Do it for Jesus, 'cause you know He'd do it for you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Get Your Kicks on Route 69, Dept.

Transcript February 14, 2009

MODERATOR: My first question to you, then, is: how does one get from Intercourse, PA to Climax, SK?

What's that? Yes, "sweaty thrusting" is one possibility. Anyone else?
That's right, "crazy-weasel pumping" is another one. What else? Yes, you in the back with the, with the hair?
Well, yes, I think we can count "ramming the 5:15 into the station repeatedly until the headboard splinters."

But it seems that all these answers, valid though they may be, rely solely on brute animal force. How about some approaches that won't bedew your body entire with beads and rivulets of salty glass? Anyone? No?

Then, let me introduce you to something called Xtreme Oral Pleasuring™, or XOP.

Gentlemen and those ladies who wish Lea DeLaria weren't quite so girly, this adorable little button deserves more attention than a Midwest queen at Bloomingdale's 59th Street. Ladies and those fellows who wish Liza Minnelli were harmony triplets, this handsome knob needs the kind of TLC a puppy gives its owner the morning after he's been brought home from the pound.

I can hear you say, "But, sobsister, who is ignorant of the pleasures that the oral pleasuring brings in the way of pleasurable pleasure?" And I say, "No one besides ancient Romans and Hottentots." But are you aware of the many and numerous advantages that Xtreme Oral Pleasuring™ can offer you?

Aside from the fact that you can wear your best suit or frock without fear of pitting it something awful, imagine a fellatio session that lasts 18 hours! The grindingly painful erection aside, XOP offers both participants amazing weight loss benefits--you're probably not stuffing yourself with greasy fast food while someone's making a 14-course Chinese banquet of your junk or while you're scarfing down a cup of DNA juice!

Or think about a cunnilingus encounter that takes a weekend to complete! Ladies, the discomfort occasioned by dehydration and foot cramps is more than offset by the financial advantages you gain! Did you know that if you orgasm continuously for longer than 24 hours you are eligible to claim per diem? And that beaver botherers are eligible for Workmen's Comp for any buccolingual damage incurred while on their employer's premises?!

Check my Web site,, to get updates on the availability of my book, Jaws of Life: Mandibular Endurance and Xtreme Oral Pleasuring™. It gives you 101 numbered tips on how to maintain feeling in your jaw, tongue and lips even as you run a marathon of oral gratification! The first 100 orders will receive a complimentary copy of Earn the Burn!: The Role of Capsicum in Xtreme Oral Training™, an $89.95 value itself, free. And if you order within the next 30 minutes, you'll receive at no additional charge a DVD copy of ShamWow® Bloopers!: America's Kraziest Outtakes!

America, put your money where your mouth should be! Get into Xtreme Oral Pleasuring™ now! For, it is far, far better to give than to receive. Unless you're giving and receiving at the same time. In which case, you are golden, motherfucker.

End transcript.