Sunday, December 05, 2010

Cold Brittania, Dept.

So, your sobsister is back from a short week in London Town, which did not have me low or even have me down.  And, as I've done in the past, I thought to share with you some observations, ruminations and gentle expectorations regarding our trip.

  1. It was frickin' gelid in Londinium.  While we were lucky not to get any of the November rain, pace Axl Rose, or even any of the November snow that subsequently pasted Blighty, we were happy for the heavy sweater/pashmina/coat/hat/gloves cocoon.
  2. Related to this, with the same indomitable spirit that saw their great-grandmothers face down the Blitz, London girls were wearing miniskirts and sheer stockings in cold that would make Inuit quake and fold.  Take that, Adolf!
  3. The UK Passports line upon arrival looked like a Lahori production of The Usual Suspects.  I could be wrong, but I sense a significant demographic shift.
  4. Enjoyed some brilliant gastropub fare, very much in the new-cuisine-from-old-England vein.  Snail and bacon pie.  Roasted bone marrow and parsley salad.  Whole partridge with wilted greens and chestnuts.  Meat and two veg built the Empire.  Take that, Adolf!
  5. Gitmo nothing!  Put a few wannabe terrorists in United's Economy class seats for an eight-hour flight, and they'll be selling out the cause faster'n you can say "72 virgins."
  6. Hearing American tourists' voices while on holiday abroad is like thinking of your mother while having sex.  Unless you enjoy thinking about your mother while having sex.  In which case, despite my general espousal of moral relativism, I can do nothing but heap shame on you.
  7. London Underground's trains are snug.  Were the cars only a bit narrower, you could k-nock k-nees with the person sitting opposite.  Were the ceilings only a bit lower, severe curvature of the spine would be endemic throughout the resident population.  Yet, they are awfully charming, their miles of connecting stairs and tunnels obviating the need for expensive gym memberships.  Which might explain why, in Central London at least, I didn't see any fat people who weren't middle-aged men tucking into stacked plates of steaming offal.
  8. Emergency vehicles in London drive fast.  And I mean Jerry Bruckheimer car chase-fast.  Saw several take it on two wheels, oddly enough on the straightaways.  By contrast, Choc City's emergency vehicles only drive that fast when the "Hot Doughnuts" sign is on at the Krispy Kreme.
  9. Great cities have rivers that divide them, each part having its own character to the extent of its difference defining it in contrast to the other half.  The Seine and the Rive Gauche.  The Tiber and Trastevere.  The Thames and South London.  The East River and the Outer Boroughs.  Washington, D.C., is notably absent from this discussion.
  10. "Take a slash" has become my new favorite way to indicate to companions that I have to excuse myself to avail myself of the conveniences.  Blended with rhyming slang, it makes for incomprehensible good fun! "Sorry, luv, I've got to get my plates up the apples to take a slash!"  In the words of George Bernard Shaw, "We are two nations separated by a common language.  Also, Audrey Hepburn had no fucking business playing Eliza Doolittle.  Fact."
More later.
I'd say "more earlier," but I'm bound by linear time.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Don't Go Home with Your Hard-On, Dept.

For an inspiring tale of one academic's quest for knowledge, even at personal risk, please click here for the story of Dr. Giles Brindley, a man who has inched his way into scientific history and legend.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

You Can't Spell "Specious Reasoning" Without "V-A-T-I-C-A-N," Dept.

Right, so Pope B-b-b-benny is getting some column inches for saying that condoms maybe sorta kinda could be hemidemisemi-OK for male prostitutes who don't want to spread AIDS. Which normally would be an "are you shitting me?" qualification, but coming from Popesy might as well be an invitation to a chickenhawk film festival at St. Peter's...oh, wait, that's next Thursday.

Cooler mitres prevailed, however, as His Teutonic Nibs hastened to say, according to HuffPo,  "...that it wasn't the way to deal with the evil of HIV, and elsewhere in the book reaffirmed church teaching on contraception and abortion, saying: 'How many children are killed who might one day have been geniuses, who could have given humanity something new, who could have given us a new Mozart or some new technical discovery?'"

I fucking love this line of reasoning.  Because it hangs in the air, with kind of a pleading look, saying, "C'mon, slugger, hit me out into the far cheap seats..."

Yes, let us think of all the geniuses, the Mozarts, the Einsteins, who will only live their short spermy lives in the reservoir tip of a prophylactic contoured for her pleasure.

Then let us think of all the genocidal sociopaths, the serial killers, the televangelists and TeaDouchebaggers, the Hitlers, Pol Pots and Stalins, who are similarly fated to bump their little noggins against latex before shuffling off this mortal coil.  Gee, them condoms don't look so bad now, do they, Benny?

And then let us think of the fact that, in an average load of spooge, one would count upwards of 200 million sperm, each capable of being the next Anita O'Day or, alternately, Katy Perry.  Well, if the great and tragic sin is wasting these precious little fellers, why would our Intelligent Designer not have simply made conception a one sperm/one egg deal?  Because, even with the best of intentions, the most Catholic of couplers is going to waste over 299 million potential Mozarts.  How does that make sense, Benadryl?

Short answer: It don't.  Longer answer: It really doesn't make any fucking sense at all.

So...I guess the fact that there's even the slightest bit of an exception shown by the paedo-pal's pontiff to the condom ban, particularly when it's related to HIV/AIDS prevention, a topic on which the Vatican has been just this side of an ostrich in terms of reasonable, non-faith-based prevention, is a good thing.  But, really, Ben-Wa, even Life Sciences 101 makes a mockery of your point.  So, why don't we agree that Not Every Sperm Is Sacred, to paraphrase those fellows, and jog reasonwards along the continuum, rather than ooga-boogawards?

Because, remember when you told me to tell you when you were being that guy?  Well, you're being that guy.  Like, a lot.  So, chill.  Put on that Colbie Caillat album you like.  Maybe a little Pinot Grigio.  And not so much talking, boo.  You are not making things better.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Ketchup Time, Dept.

Hey, mid-term elections!  Krazy Teabaggers!  Dirty tricks!  The National Mall ass-deep in meta-signs and moderates!  More Krazy Teabaggers!  Loudmouthery in the ascendant!  National Tragedy™ Sarah Palin inexplicably still not back to flipping burgers in a food trailer!  Dick Tracy villain Mitch "Limpface" McConnell a-plottin'!  Michele Bachmann eluding the men with the butterfly nets!  The Three Weird Sisters--Angle, O'Donnell, Miller--unable to make their witchly cooking stick to America's ribs!

And the bottom line......we welcome our new Oompa-Loompa Speaker of the House, John "I'm a Massive" Boehner!  The American people look forward to two years of gratuitous, partisan obstructionism on the part of our first Tangerine-American House leader.  It's as if Ohio were somehow able to transplant a horrible, sebum-fat wen from its face to that of the nation.  Thanks, Buckeyes!

So, c'mon, GOP!  Live up to your role, nay, your divinely mandated mission, as the Cock-Blocking Party!  At this critical time in our country's history, we need a Gal Who Can Say 'No'!  Otherwise, the speed of constructive change and reasoned reform might give us the collective vapors!

Saturday, September 18, 2010


You Know You Want It, Dept.

The New York Jets' locker room miasma of sweat and testosterone boasts a collective intelligence, one that even gives voice to its thoughts, such as they are.
I'd guess they were thinking that female reporters flaunt an attitude somewhere between "Ain't There Anyone Here for Love"? and "Baby You Knock Me Out."
Because many of them are fans of the work of Stanley Donen and Anita Loos, or so I've been told.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Letters, We Get Letters, Dept.

Dear Sobsister,

I've been reading stuff on the Internet, and it sounds like I have what they call "penis envy."  I can't stop thinking about how great it would be if I had a penis.  It would make my life heaven.  I wake up each day and go to sleep each night wishing I had a penis, any size, wouldn't matter.  What do you think I should do?

Inches Away in New Canaan

Dear Inches,

Medical science is making great strides, so your dreams may come true sooner than you think.  And, by the way, good luck with that rally today, Mr. Beck.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Letters, We Get Letters, Dept.

Dear Sobsister,

I'm a 43-year-old guy. I took some medicine, and my dick got really hard. The funny thing was, it was St. Joseph's Aspirin for Children. Is there something wrong with me?

Stiff in Ashtabula

Dear Stiff,

Not at all. And I'll see you at the Sunday bingo, Father.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

This Just In!, Dept.

Wait, Jennifer Lopez is going to replace Ellen DeGeneres on American Idol? Wow, the "singer/dancer/actor" who is best known for the size of her ass is going to judge musical ability. Isn't that like making Sarah Palin a Booker Prize judge?

*ha ha* All kidding aside, someone hit that fucking show on the head. The only reality television I've ever watched, and the reason I don't watch reality television.

Idol:talent::McDonald's:haute cuisine. Discuss while listening to Carrie Underwood warble, "Patsy Cline Would Kick My Ass (If She Were Still Alive)."

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Fourteen Lost Souls, Dept.

Right, so, Damn Yankees. Great, overlooked American musical film from the tail end of the Golden Age of Hollywood Musicals™. Rarely named among the genre's best despite powerhouse performances by Gwen Verdon as "Lola" and Ray Walston as "Applegate" (i.e., the Devil) and perennial showstoppers such as "Heart" and "Whatever Lola Wants."

At any rate, the last number in the film. "Two Lost Souls."

Exposition time: Joe Hardy, the middle-aged diehard Washington Senators fan who sold his soul to Applegate in exchange for a pennant for his hapless team and a lead role in the Senators' victory over the hated Yankees as a rejuvenated slugger, commiserates with Lola, who has fallen for the clean-cut Joe. Lola was once the "ugliest woman in Providence, Rhode Island," but was transformed into a bombshell (at the price of her soul) to help Applegate win men's souls. Joe is due to deliver his soul the next day, and the sympathetic Lola has done what she can to help him stay out of Applegate's clutches. They sit in the park, he despairs over his fate, they kiss, they adjourn to a bar for a tipsy dance number. End exposition.

"Two Lost Souls" has been done by a number of performers over the years, some not exactly representing the song's mixed tone of sadness, resignation and release.

So, that said, here's the original 1958 film version with Tab Hunter and Gwen Verdon.

Here are Jane Krakowski and Cheyenne Jackson in the 2008 Encores! series staging of Damn Yankees.

Here are Lee Remick and Jerry Lanning in a trippy, low-budget 1967 television staging.

Here are Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland doing the song in the tramp garb that the latter semi-regularly assumed in a 1963 television performance on The Judy Garland Show.

Here's a Muppet version, featuring Robin and Sweetums.

Here's a twofer: Jaye P. Morgan and Perry Como, the latter incapable of voicing despair in his buttery baritone, followed by Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, who don't improve much on the tone, but do offer some nice harmony singing.

I'll spare you the many high school, college and community theater productions viewable on YT, but I will offer a special Sobsister Sunday Bonus: rehearsal footage, featuring Gwen Verdon and Chita Rivera, from the original run of Chicago. Pure gold, I tells ya.

Anyway, more versions than you'd like, but fewer than you need. Or vice versa.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Artificial Fires, Dept.

the National Mall and Hudson River
fireworks and
"The Stars and Stripes Forever" and "The Caissons Go Rolling Along,"
these songs that introduced
the American Century,
the disconnect between
those times and these,
that America and this.
Like replaying that recording
of your touchdown,
the one that led your high school to the final
at your retirement party.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Another Op'nin', Another Show, Dept

Yeah, so your sobsister is looking at this Tumblr thing. To be precise: here. To be more precise: yo' momma.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Inside a Bog It's Too Dark to Read, Dept.

Well, it's past Memorial Day, and your sobsister can take a three-month-long hiatus from chiding those who would insist on wearing white before the last Monday in May or after the first in September, and turn, instead, to one of my favorite year-round activities: pointing out Choc City's flaws.

Today's topic: Washington:bookstores::Tea Party:intellectualism. That is, something one discards, either through hostility or neglect.

Now, your sobsister, as you may recall, has lived here longer than anyone should be forced to do. As a consequence, I have Context for my critique. When I first came here, sure, there weren't "little plate" restaurants or wine bars or hookah lounges on every corner. What were here, however, were independent bookstores. On the way home today, I compiled a list, right off the top of my widdel head, of those fallen by the wayside. Here's 10 of them with their specialty in parens:

1. Lambda Rising (gay)
2. Lammas (feminism/lesbian)
3. Mystery Books (mystery)
4. Moonstone (sci-fi)
5. Travel Bookstore (travel)
6. Revolution Books (politics)
7. Common Concerns (politics)
8. Franz Bader (art)
9. Chapters (general)
10. Olsson's Books and Records (general).

Now, some of you might be saying, "Well, sobsister, businesses come and go every week, everywhere." And I would first look askance at you for your familiarity, then riposte with the fact that none of the above has been replaced. And, so, despite being ranked as the "second most literate city in the country" (behind the The Emerald City. You know, Seatown? A/k/a "Jet City"? C'mon, you're not even trying! Okay, here's a giveaway: "Gateway to Alaska"), Choc City has almost no independent bookstores. Fact. Even Politics and Prose, the highest-profile indy bookstore in the city, is being sold, according to today's news.

So, yeah. Either this amazingly literate audience is being fully served by Borders and B&N, which, if you've ever been to the Borders or B&N here, means that people are reading an awful lot of Vince Flynn, Chelsea Handler and whoever writes those wretched "street" novels with titles like Bitchez, Divaz and Afrikan Queenz and Oh No You DIN'T! that are marketed as "hip-hop lit" and eschew standard grammar and orthography as Mr. Charlie's Snares, or they're making Amazon richer than Croesus' ex-wife, who talked him out of the pre-nup.

I'm sure this all fits into some greater national trend regarding brick-and-mortar retail, its eclipse by online vendors, the decline of the paper book, blah blah. Bottom line: there's one bookstore your sobsister patronizes--a used book store, as it happens--partly because I love used book stores, but primarily and most annoyingly because it's my only real choice if I want to thumb through a book before buying it, if I want to be surprised by the serendipity that only winds along aisles and up shelves, if I want the pleasure of the impulsive purchase and the immediate gratification. My accompanying screed on the dearth of record stores in this town will have to wait for another day.

So, those of you out there who do enjoy an embarrassment of bookstores, I envy you. Few pleasures more satisfying than a cool, large series of rooms filled with well-chosen books. Even if I never read more than a pinch of them. That they exist is a great thing. And that they survive, three thousand years ago and today, in manuscript or on glossy paper. The physicality of bound paper, the fact that the tactile pleasure is physicalizing the emotional and intellectual excitement, curiosity, anticipation it will make me feel is pleasurable to me in a way that few other objects can match.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

I Hate It, But I Drink It Anyway, Dept.

You know, there are things that I love. Familiar things that do not lose their pleasure even through familiarity or frequent reencounter. Annie Hall, for example. Dusty in Memphis. And, of course, far-right-wing, Jesus-bothering homophobes getting caught fucking rentboys.

George Alan Rekers, sclerotic co-founder of the Gospel-gargling, bigotry broodmare Family Research Council, was discovered returning from a 10-day European vacation in the company of a comely companion of his own gender, said companion described in public writing as possessing a "smooth, sweet, tight ass" and "perfectly built 8 inch cock (uncut)" and being "sensual," "wild," and "up for anything." I'll let the Miami New Times tell the story:

Reached by New Times before a trip to Bermuda, Rekers said he learned Lucien was a prostitute only midway through their vacation. "I had surgery," Rekers said, "and I can't lift luggage. That's why I hired him." (Medical problems didn't stop him from pushing the tottering baggage cart through MIA.)

Yet Rekers wouldn't deny he met his slender, blond escort at — which features homepage images of men in bondage and grainy videos of crotch-rubbing twinks — and Lucien confirmed it.

Nom nom nom. It's Schadenfreude Wednesday, kids. The reveal is as good as you could want, short of, to paraphrase Lenny Bruce, Karl Rove whacking it in Ann Coulter's face. And as inevitable.

At this point in our history, the über-religious homophobe who indulges a taste for twink or trade is as familiar a figure as the Pilgrim forefather and the Confederate general. One thing, however, that never ceases to amaze, on a level of which Siegfried and Roy could only have dreamt, and amuse, like Ann Coulter whacking it in Karl Rove's face: how these self-loathing twunts think They'll Pull It Off FOREVER. But enough of them do that it holds out hope to these crippled souls.

And it's only Semi-Schadenfreude Wednesday, kids. Because, however much I deepdish despise those who stifle themselves and make others pay the cost in blood and tears, I have to feel some level of sympathy for a person so broken. Which is an unfamiliar feeling for me.

So, Happy Semi-Schadenfreude Wednesday. I still love hearing these stories every single time they surface. But, by posting's end, the white enamel of pleasure has an unignorable mar.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Twin Sons Under a Sky of White, Dept.

Listening to Miles Davis' In Concert (Recorded Live at Philharmonic Hall, New York) reminds me of listening to Sly's There's a Riot Goin' On.

Which qualifies as more of a tweet than a blog posting, doesn't it?

Terseness and the lateness of the hour correlate highly.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Non, je ne regrette rien, Dept.

The love affair is over. Not by choice. Not mine, anyway.

The object of my affection is leaving me.

Not for someone else, but, painfully, for no reason I can see.
Not yet, anyway.

I know that the next time we meet, things will definitely have changed. Perhaps for the better, but that's so hard to imagine.

We'll see.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Listen to the Swallow, Dept.

As you may know, on rare occasion and for fact-finding purposes only, your sobsister visits Web sites that feature, gratuit, short erotic films, and by "short erotic films," I mean five-minute unSteadicam sextravaganzas with descriptive titles like "Russian facial slut" and "Little but a huge dick." Which, coincidentally, is also a new biography of Mickey Rooney.

Redtube, YouPorn, xhamster, PornHub, it's all one dizzying blur of ejaculate, silicone and salon tan. The pro material I won't touch. If I want to see grotesque tits, I'll watch a Teabagger debate. *ha ha* I don't joke. No, I cast a glance, instead, at those done by "amateurs." Some of whom are "amateur," while others are simply amateurs. I favor the latter, mainly for their "authenticity," a word that, once quote-bracketed, refutes itself. Like those downmarket burger joints that splash a quotey "Best Burger in Town" on their façade, wholly unattributed, so that one can only imagine the hipsterish quote-fingers and rolled eyes of it all. "Oh, yes, it's the 'Best Burger in Town.' Just like I have 'hope for the future.'"

I myself ask why any of the nice ladies in these films--all of whom get the big DeMille closeup as they work the boyfriend's/husband's/filmmaker's balls like Captain Queeg on the witness stand--would allow themselves to be filmed when, within minutes, their eye-bulging gag and eyeful of spunk will be fodder for every wanking cretin on the planet. Clearly, I do not share their view of the appropriate and desirable. But, for good or ill, it is they who drive the proceedings. The men are merely semi-erect offscreen voices, like Charlie talking to Sabrina, Kelly and Jill, except through a glory hole.

The semi-erectness, in fact, is notable, as a number of these auteurs can't quite manage a honest hard-on before the camera's unblinking eye, yet inexplicably want to make that fact known to all of us, even as they're being energetically serviced by reasonably attractive women who one would hope might've had something else to do that afternoon. Finish À la recherche du temps perdu or make a cup of chamomile tea or alphabetize their nail polish or, really, anything other than, as mentioned earlier, get an eyeful of semen.

Parenthetically, I can't imagine why everyone feels the need to have the television on in the visible background while they film themselves fucking. Is it a soundtrack thing? Like, were it silent, the blonde smoking her boyfriend's pole would be unspeakably loud? Or do they really, really not want to miss that Chris Rock concert film? For that matter, I also can't imagine the presence of mind that would allow one to operate a camera while being serviced. All of which explains why this site isn't called "The Sobsister's Porn-Cam Bloopers and Boners." And "Boners" would be in chubby fuchsia type.

At any rate, let me circle back to what might be the point of this lengthy meander: my inability to understand why someone would consent to have a sex tape made of herself for the benefit of an invisible but inescapable leering world.

I've tried and failed to find a passage I read sometime in the dim and distant past. I thought it was the porn actress Montana Wildhack in Slaughterhouse-Five who said it. Something to the effect of feeling sometimes like the attentions of all the unseen men who saw her in the dark were drowning her in semen. Maybe it wasn't Vonnegut at all, but it's still a useful image to capture the mood of displaying oneself for an anonymous, insatiably concupiscent audience. I don't doubt that, for some women, it is that display and desire that constitute the attraction, but, given the toxic levels of cretinism and creepiness in many corners of the Internet, it's not like George Clooney and Brad Pitt are leading a circle jerk in your honor on the other side of the screen. I suppose it's much to do with how one feels about drowning in semen of uncertain provenance. If you're thinking of having a bukkake bachelorette party, then five minutes of Internet time might not be such a big deal.

At any rate, the world of amateur short-form porn. Where on a clear day you can see Alcatraz. If you can't stand the meat, get out of the genre. And other pre-dinner aperçus.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

YouTube - Fiona Apple - Criminal

Bad bad girl, Dept.

This video, as I recall dimly, was criticized at the time for featuring the, politely put, lean and waifish Fiona Apple en déshabillé looking like a horny death camp survivor. Which, grouped "horny death" "camp survivor"--27 Across, eight letters--is "Liberace." Viewed at 14 years' remove, that aspect is ineluctable, but I can close my eyes and hear someone who sounds like the Black Crowes at their prime.

Further, the Mark Romanek-directed video is visionary for capturing the poses not only of the heroin chic of the '90s, but the paparazzo-upskirt of the '00s. Ms. Apple didn't flash pink, but the same manipulative vulnerability is at work, a LiLo construct avant la lettre.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Vierhundertzwanzig, Dept.

So, d00ds, it's 4/20, that day on which we commemorate one very important thing: our Beloved Führer turns 121 today! Or at least his brain does, issuing orders to the Fifth or Sixth Reich--I forget which we're up to now--from a wired jar in Henry Kissinger's rec room.

*ha ha* I joke, of course. On this day, we remember the day the governor of Caracas declared independence from Spain. And smoked a lot of weed.

Excuse my levity, if not my brevity. What I'm trying to say is take the time today to roll a fatty. Just take his money and invest it in plastics.

And on the more-serious note I eventually had to reach, today, the DC Council approved a medical marijuana bill that will allow chronically ill patients to obtain marijuana from city-sanctioned distribution centers. And this is progress that I wouldn't have thought possible two years ago.

So, cheers, dears. Here's something to close out your evening.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

YouTube - Godspell - 04 - Joanne Jonas - Turn Back, O Man!

Jesus Is Just Alright, Dept.

At the same time that I have a nostalgic semidemiquasi-affection for parts of Godspell's score, I also understand why people hate hippies.

And I never understood Jesus as a clown. I mean, what the fuck was up with that? All those grammar school nuns who waxed wroth or wrothed wax at Jesus Christ Superstar had clearly spent their fury by the time this made it to the silver screen.

"Turn Back, O Man" is, at least on record, a cute number. The Mae West-ish asides mark it as a Nostalgia Era production, you know, from that period between the late '60s and mid '70s when the styles, music and films of the '30s and '40s informed a substantial segment of contemporary pop culture. The hippie Imogene Coca who performs it here is heavy on the whimsy, light on the sexy, in contrast to the vivacious but nameless teen from a nearby all-girls high school who pitched in on my all-boys high school's production. There was plenty of lap-sitting as she made her way up the center aisle during her performance of the number. It was like Joey Heatherton entertaining the troops in Viet Nam. Only an order of magnitude more fraught with forcibly suppressed sexual tension.

And if you call within the next 30 minutes, you can enjoy the following number, my other Godspell favorite and another Nostalgia Era throwback that reeks of Rudy Vallee crooning through a megaphone to ukulele accompaniment, "All for the Best.

The film adaptation of Godspell is, at best, weirdly entertaining; at worst, twee and misconceived. But it does offer top-notch footage of NYC's cityscape ca. 1972, particularly the latter number, wherein New York's streets and skyline are more the star than the film's protagonists.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Driving Me Mad, Dept.

Do you know what scorches my permanent-press? Well, actually, if you've frequented this space for any length of time, you know the correct answer is "pretty much everything." But one thing that extra-specially ticks my box?

Say we're driving here in Choc City. And someone comes screaming the wrong way down a one-way street at 30 miles over the speed limit with the headlights off at night. We honk the motherfucking bitch because, you know, she's not observing either the letter or the spirit of the rules of the road. And the piece of shit honks back. As if we were engaged in a debate rather than my expressing disapproval with the car horn because, at that moment, I can't drop a 16-ton weight on her head.

I do not understand this. If you're driving so fucktardedly badly that I have to honk my horn at you, you should meekly accept your reprimand and resolve to improve your driving skills, not chestbump me and say, "Oh, yeah?"

I regularly wonder how it is, exactly, that we survive as a species.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hulu - Glee: Vogue

Hulu - Glee: Vogue

Game, Set, Madge, Dept.

Beauty's where you find it
Not just where you bump and grind it

Glee's Sue Sylvester--or is it Jane Lynch?--makes next week's Madonna-themed show a must-see. If it isn't already.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's Got a Groove, It's Got a Meaning, Dept.

Look at me, I'm Sandra B.,
martyrdom's celebrity.
Won the award, learned my husband
had whored.
I'm just poor Sandra B.

Oh, she truly is Sandy Dumbrowski! Her man tempted away by a tattooed Cha-Cha DiGregorio who offered him G*d only knows what forbidden pleasures and satisfactions!

Cute and smart and sweet and frank,
Yet my husband bangs a skank.
Take him to court, where I'll rip him a tort.
The mark of Sandra B.

No, but really. "Jesse James"? Professional ooh-bad-boy! on his third marriage, number two having been to a porn actress who was arrested after beating him; who made a homemade sex tape featuring herself, Crüe vocalist Vince Neil and a Penthouse Pet; and who did federal time for 300 large in tax evasion. Vewwy classy. Here's an example of her work. And here's a site dedicated to her time in the slammer. This is a lady who knows how to monetize her situation. As well as her willingness to pretend-fuck on camera.

So, given how well ol' Jess did with one tattooed trainwreck, he clearly decided to extend his streak, pro forma marital vows notwithstanding, with Michelle McGee. And, no, I won't stick "Bombshell" between her Christian and given names. Mainly because I don't quite see how this faux Goth who must've flunked the Suicide Girls entrance exam and whose FB page features a graphic with the legend "Fuck Me Love Me Leave Me Oh Well Fuck Off and Die"--oh, a writer and a role model--could ever be considered a "bombshell." A "bomb-cratered village on a fault line," maybe. You doubt me? How about a white-power photo shoot in Nazi regalia? It's as tacky and obvious as you would ever hope to malign her for being.

So, I leave you to ponder the attraction. Any of them, actually.

Never twice the river same!
Torn between a life and fame!
He's just a fool.
Every man his own tool.
Fangool, I'm Sandra B.!

janine lidemulder

The former Mrs. James shows how she gets and keeps a man.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Pomes Penyeach, Dept.

As a younger sobsister, considerably younger, I heard two works of poetry that have remained with me to this day, some 400 years later. The first was titled "The Good Ship Venus." Anonymous in authorship. Its first quatrain unfolded as follows:

It was on the good ship Venus,
by Christ you should have seen us;
the figurehead was a whore in bed
sucking a big red penis.

The refrain consisted primarily of repetitions of the phrase "frigging in the rigging," presumably lustily declaimed in performance. So, yes, you understand.

The other, same provenance--an Albanian--was "The Ball of Inverness," which began,

Four-and-twenty virgins at the ball at Inverness.
When the ball was over,
There were four-and-twenty less.

I've always thought about that. "Four-and-twenty less." Wrong, really. And, so, today, I remedied that solecism:

Four-and-twenty virgins at the ball at Castle Dewar.
When the ball was over,
There were four-and-twenty fewer.

Actually, in most sources I've found the poem is titled "The Ball of Kirriemuir," although the tone is identical (and the rhyme would work for my purposes equally well). It begins:

O the ball, the ball, the ball, the ball, the ball
at Kirremuir,
there were four-and-twenty prostitutes a-lying
on the floor.

Here's an online version that features such lovely versifying as the following:

There was dancin' in the meadows,
There was dancin' in the ricks,
Ye could nae hear the bagpipes
For the swishin' o' the pricks.

As you might imagine, much better with a stage Scot accent. I don't do accents or dialect humor. In the best interest of all concerned, trust me.

It's a' the ladies back,
Wi' yer arses tae the wall;
Gin ye can't get fucked at Kirriemuir,
Ye'll ne'er get fucked at all!

So say we all!

Thursday, April 01, 2010


True to Form, Dept.

Every song, no matter good or crap, eventually comes true.

Shiny, shiny, shiny boots of leather
Whiplash girlchild in the dark
Comes in bells, your servant, don't forsake him
Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart

The dramaturges of the Absurd could not have crafted a better scenario than this. Allison Meyers, the twit-twat director of the Republican National Committee's "Young Eagles" program for post-pubescent, pre-sclerotic conservatives, was shitcanned for approving a two grand reimbursement for a donor event at a high-end bondage club in West Hollywood that features an Eyes Wide Shut vibe and faux-girl-on-girl action.

I mean, really, it's just too goddamn easy. Obvious, even. Were this a screenplay, it'd be bluepenciled to death. The far-right conservatives who, on the DL, indulge in decadent, kinky fun...CLICHÉ!! And, yet, it's twue, oh so vewwy twue.

Meyers has thrown herself in a hole and pulled it in after her, deleting her Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media profiles. No photos of her are known to exist. She hunts by night and sleeps by day. Mothers tie leeks around their children's necks to ward off her long and gory teeth. Her real name is known only to her Dark Master, the Lord of the Flies.

Naaah...I'm just foolin'...she's a subcompetent gladhander who attended Florida State and who maybe thought she'd figured out how to get ahead in the doubtless-womyn-friendly RNC. She's fucked for now, but maybe she'll "reinvent" herself and run for governor of Alaska.

Hey, it worked for the stupidest woman north of the 49th parallel.

Oh, and Michael Steele is so clowny, Ringling Brothers is considering suing him for IP theft.

1. Lou Reed, 1967.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not-Quite-Liveblogging the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Pt.I, Dept.

Another year, another set of arguments about what the "rock-and-roll" is and should it include anyone who doesn't rock out with his cock out. As your sobsister is watching the broadcast of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Fuse "aren't we as cool as MTV used to be? huh?" network a few weeks after the fact, I'll spare you the narrative and throw out some bullet points that you can use around the watercooler to impress your colleagues and further build the case for your prompt dismissal.

- The broadcast starts with the last bits of Jann Wenner's introductory speech. Something about renewing our faith, presumably in rock'n'roll. But what about Faithless and Faith No More? Isn't there room in the Big Wenner Tent for them?

- The lights dim, and we begin with a performance. It's all super-slow keyboard chords and dry ice a-plenty. Look, there's Bruce Springsteen! Look, there's Eddie Vedder! Look, there's Iggy Pop! Clearly, the director has no confidence in the s-l-o-w chords holding us. Look, there's Meryl Streep!

- Oh, the screen graphic says it's Phish performing "Watcher of the Skies" by Genesis. That must be why we're cutting back and forth between the stage and the members of Genesis. Boy, they look none too happy. Possibly because Phish's Trey Anastasio sings only as well as a dog does taxes. And they're opening the show with a Genesis cover? They must have tremendous faith in people's interest in the awards ceremony. Maybe that's what Jann was talking about: testing the audience's resolve with prog cover acts.

- Now, the little movie about Genesis. Short version: Phil Collins is super-defensive about the band under his tenure, and the band members hate that people will remember the commercial shit they did over the eight-minute tunes in 11/17 time. And, boy, it really still is Peter Gabriel v. everybody else.

- Trey Anastasio then gives his speech prefatory to induction of the band. It's very muso fanboy in the weeds and fairly solipsistic--I mean, crediting Genesis as a foundational influence in your musical formation is less impressive if your band sounds like shit--but informed, at least, and sincere. Phil Collins' daggers-out expression throughout says, "Get this blathering prat off the stage. Now."

- Five members of Genesis come up. Immediately, we're told that Peter Gabriel couldn't be there. He had a "very legitimate, genuine excuse" for not being there, apparently. Something about dust bunnies to sweep, hair to wash and condition and bloodboiling hatred for Phil Collins. *ha ha* I joke. It was awkward. Everything was awkward. You get the feeling that none of them is happy and, perhaps, has not been happy since Peter Gabriel wore that flower outfit. Phil Collins has gone from luvable '80s drum jamoke to the guy at the end of the counter, chain-smoking Luckys and dropping the butts in his cold coffee cup while he mutters about shit and the world and people and shitfuck goddammit.

- Phish then does another number. Not sure why Genesis itself isn't performing. Is Trey their Shabbes goy? "No Reply at All" is the song, and, wowee-wow-wow, Trey Anastasio's high school talent show vocals are doing nothing to enliven a cover so flaccid, it dangles. Ugh, if prog wasn't dead, this yanked the plug out of the wall. I guess Phish decided to go with mad otaku music trivia skillz over charisma and vocal ability for their frontman. It's like CPA Karaoke up there.

As a result, I'm not sure if the show opened with Genesis because they're a Big Name that would draw viewers into the broadcast or because the producers wanted to burn off two wretched covers of a band that couldn't be arsed to perform at its own induction. In either case, the very model of meh.

Next up: Iggy, Iggy, Iggy

Sunday, March 07, 2010

More like Blunderland Amirite?, Dept.

Yes, so your sobsister now dons the ceremonial caftan, curlytoed slippers and pointed headdress of the amateur film critic to describe my Saturday morning viewing experience of Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in 3D.

Initially, I was tempted to divide the film into Things I Liked and Things I Didn't, with Helena Bonham-Carter in the former and everything else in the latter. But that's a bit too glib and facile. From the vaudeville act of the same name.

Instead, I give you, Constant Readers, the Big Picture and then fill in a detail here and there.

Basically and to its ruin, this film focuses on the visuals and ignores the fact that one's experience of Wonderland and the Looking-Glass Land is defined as much by Lewis Carroll's whirling, snapping, enchanting language, logic and humor as it is by the "wacky characters." It follows, then, the well-trodden path of most film and television adaptations to date in its fixation on the look of said characters--Mad Hatter, White Rabbit, Red Queen--without attempting to recreate or reimagine their voices as conceived in Carroll's wordplay.

As a result, this Alice is like a great spangled and beribboned package that one opens, only to find two-day-old bread and stale marshmallows. Burton told Entertainment Weekly, "I'd never really read the Lewis Carroll books. I knew Alice through music and other illustrators and things. The images were always strong, but the movie versions I'd seen, to me, were always just, like, a little brat wandering around a bunch of weirdos. [Laughs] It was fun to try to make the characters not just weird--I mean they are weird, but we wanted to get deeper into those characters."

This says it all, really. He's taken an illustrator's view of Alice and, in the process, eliminated not only Carroll's wordplay, but also the notion of narrational trajectory, Carroll's or those of any of his interpreters.  And the notion that Burton wanted to get "deeper into those characters" in any traditional sense of that phrase is extremely difficult to reconcile with the finished product, given that they all--beginning and ending with another Johnny Depp portrayal, à la his Willy Wonka, of an impenetrable, inscrutable grotesque--are cartoonish in the extreme.

Deprived of linguistic and intellectual fireworks--and the dialogue is, politely put, "pedestrian"--the film is, at times, a plod. Burton's fusty black-lace-and-ash aesthetic has Alice looking and reading like something cobbled together by Goth film students who want to, like, subvert or whatever maaan, the Disney version.

Further, aside from that fact that the film's conceit--a 19-year-old Alice returns to a Wonderland that has been blighted by the Red Queen's rule to undertake a quest--is RPG-ish in a not-brilliant way, the story has been clumsily rewritten. Alice is no longer the fictional/real-life daughter of Henry Liddell, dean of Christ Church, Oxford, but the fictional/fictional daughter of "Charles Kingsleigh," a merchant with interests in the Far East, and she is being nudged into an arranged marriage with a ginger dweeb Lord with bad digestion.

This would be an odd and unnecessary substitution, except that it affords Burton and screenwriter Linda "I'm eating out forever on The Lion King" Woolverton the opportunity to end the film by having a young woman in the what? 1870s? spout a 21st-century litany of womynly empowerment to an aristocratic crowd that, in the real world, would've had her walled into the attic. She then presumes to dictate to her late father's business partner (and father of the recently spurned swain) her seat-of-the-pantaloons thinking about expanding trade to China. He is, of course, delighted by her, what, fire? spunk? Or perhaps some combination of the two: I'm favoring "fink" over "spire." And makes her an apprentice on a merchant vessel--the "Wonder," but of course; I guess "The Mad Hatter, as Played by Johnny Depp" wouldn't've fit on a ship of the time--to China. It's like an American Girl® book by James Clavell.

Now, the East India Company, which enjoyed a series of monopolies over Asian trade, first opened a trading post in Canton, China, in 1711. So, this bit of visionary entrepreneurialism on the part of "Alice Kingsleigh" would appear to be just a tad out of date, even going back 50 years from the date of publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Why didn't they just have her call for manned space travel? That would've made it even more relevant and historically significant. And maybe for a reliable 3G network. Brought to you by Sprint.

The performances of this soporific screenplay were mostly fine. Helena Bonham-Carter makes the whole thing almost worth it. Her peevish and macrocephalic Red Queen is a great comic and dramatic turn. Crispin Glover, very Crispin Glover as the Knave. At one point, he gestures towards the camera, and I expect him to start fake-laughing before Biff pummels him. Excellent Alan Rickman voice for the Caterpillar. Anne Hathaway, pale as Vogue: Death Edition with smudges for eyes and brows, slowly swans about her sterile castle like a 1957 figure skater on Miltown, gin back. Unfortunately, the underwritten Alice falls to Mia Wasikowska, who evokes a less-interesting Gwyneth Paltrow. She's like Chris Martin playing Gwyneth Paltrow.

And the graphics were decent. 3D just 'cause. The film doesn't do much with the extra dimension except feature those always-amazin' shit-flying-at-the-audience moments that made 3D so commonplace for 15 minutes after House of Wax premiered in 1953.

It was just...boring. There were long stretches where the formulaic quest movie unspooled. She Gathers her Allies. She Finds One in an Unexpected Place. She Suffers a Reverse. She is Triumphant. Her winsome animal companions each had a simplistic back story. On top of which, these watch-glancing stretches were occasionally punctuated by moments that, beside the Goth gloom and the multiplex grasp of history, literature and culture, were unpleasant because of their explicit violence. "Hey, Alice in Wonderland! That's got bunnies in it, right? Little Alice Faye Marie will love it! She gets so scared by those other kids' movies!" And, yes, she will be charmed by the scene of miniature Alice jumping from head to severed head floating in the moat to get to the Red Queen's castle grounds. "Off with his head!" right? Except made unnecessarily obvious.

I don't know if the flaws in the movie come from Burton having to compromise his vision or from Burton not having to compromise his vision. But it is the dog's breakfast. Too violent for the children who would be an Alice adaptation's natural audience, too dumb for the adults who would come to the film expecting Carrollian mind games, too tame for the freaks who want this to be Švankmajer's Alice done 3D. I'm actually not sure of its natural audience, save Johnny Depp completists and Tim Burton fan-addicts.

So, yes. It was a disappointment. I'd gone into it with diminished expectations based on the reviews I'd read, but even those were inflated relative to the level of satisfaction I derived from this film. Wait for the DVD, then wait for a friend to rent it. It's not Švankmajer, it's not American McGee, it's not Lou Bunin or Jonathan Miller.

Here's particularly what it isn't: A few days before seeing the film, I found out that a television adaptation of Elizabeth Swados' Alice in Concert had been made in 1982, not long after its short run at the Public Theater in NYC.  Meryl Streep, on a bare stage, in overalls and a turtleneck,
plays Alice and is potently charming at such intimate range. And, though Swados' songs and story occasionally go off-piste, there is, at least, an attempt at Carrollian inventiveness and ingenuity, particularly when La Streep uses her body, training and talent to convey, with no green screen or CGI, growing bigger than a room will hold.

Burton's Alice, by contrast, is lazy. An offering to a broader audience than he's enjoyed that will likely not attract new adherents and probably disappoint those who've enjoyed his earlier work. How can Edward Scissorhands and this work be by the same filmmaker? Or Beetlejuice? Or Batman Returns? The invention and energy in those films curdles here into a nasty, calculated product, all sharp edges and surface gloss.  

At the beginning of the first Alice book, she asks herself, "and what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?"  Viewers of Burton's Alice might reasonably ask themselves "and what is the use of a film without story or characters?"

Saturday, March 06, 2010

En Pleno Culo, Dept.

It's been a mixed week for gay lovin'.

Wednesday marked the dawn of legal same-sex marriage in Choc City.

Thursday, anti-gay, married, Republican California State Senator Roy Ashburn was arrested on a DUI after leaving a gay bar with some dude.

Friday, news broke of a Vatican chorister and the gay tricks he obtained for a married Vatican gentleman-in-waiting for €2,000 a pop.

That said, it was a great week to be someone possessed both of a pro-equality mindset and of a deep and abiding sense of Schadenfreude.

Let me break from this for a second to share with you my YouTube Comment of the Week. I'd googled the phrase I've used to title this posting out of curiosity to see where else besides my own mind it might have occurred. Under a four-second--yes, "four-second" thank you Marconi--clip of some brunette mannequin aspirant branded "Paula Davina," I found this comment, which contained the phrase in question:

Yo le meteria la lengua en pleno culo y le mamaria la chocha hasta que me diga "AY PAPI METEMELO YA QUE NO PUEDO MAS!!! AY, AY, AY, PAPI ME VENGOOOO QUE RICOOOOOO!!!! DAME LA LECHITA CALIENTE EN EL CULO PAPI ASIIIII!

I would translate, but it wouldn't represent the "fat guy who cracks up his friends" vibe of it. Suffice to say that there is no word of it that does not testify to his searing desire to fuck every square inch of this chick.

ANYhoo, what can I say about tragic situations wherein men who have profited in a variety of ways from their conformity to, or espousal of, viciously homophobic views then get fuckety-fuck-fucked for their blinding manlust in full view of Jesus Christ and everyone, thanks to the Interwubba-wubba-wubba, as Downtown Julie Brown might once have said. That I love them like a terrier loves equal and opposite tension on the other end of a chew toy? Like that fat motherfucker two grafs back feels about a woman he'll never, ever, ever, never meet? With the cumulative intensity of the sestrigintillion times this story appears or occurs or is quickly and violently hidden in America and Europe and everywhere that humanity is thwarted for the sake of Shit that People Made Up to Keep Others In Line.

The California shitbot--or his "reputational management team"--issued a statement that had a lot of "Ah-have-sinned-Lawd!" to it, the equivalent of him barechested begging strangers to piss on him in the back of some 1978 leather bar half a block from the West Side Highway.

The cassock queen spoke through his mouthpiece, Vinnie Boombats, and said something along the lines of "hurfle murfle privacy hurfle murfle allegations." Yet, according to a wiretap, this Stalwart Soldier of Christ had been ordering bespoke boys, including "'two black Cuban lads,' a former male model from Naples, and a rugby player from Rome," says the HuffPo. Oh, can you begrudge me my sloppy joy? Angelo Balducci, the oh-so-pious twunt in question--he was even a pallbearer for JPII!!--"[was] recorded describing precise physical details of the men he wanted." Let's guess the "precise physical details" he specified... I've got one! "MONSTER ROTO-ROOTER COCK" Yes.

Dear Jesus, it was a hectic week, but you made it so much better for me. My thanks to you and your excellent support staff.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'Cause I'm a Creep, Dept.

As everyone knows, the '60s were a time of tremendous evil. Many irritating tropes of our times were conceived under casual sedation in over-aircon'd rooms while simulated stereo recordings droned in the background. Astonishingly malignant mindsets were more than tolerated; yes, they were even embraced. One such has been recently displayed on the stylish TV smash Mad Men as if it were a medieval gynaecological device: the sophisticated, pervasive misogyny of the time.

Difficult as it may be to believe in these enlightened times, when women can freely climax without fear of confinement in grimy mental institutions, at one point, in the confluence of Cold War paranoia, Eisenhower-era conformism, unregulated chemical derangement and the flop sweat stink of White Male Fear, misogyny of the most corrosive sort was celebrated in the popular culture, and didactic materials were devised and disseminated to instruct women, those fragile vessels, in how not to tipple-topple the status quo with untoward behavior or attitudes.

One prominent example comes to us from the pens of '60s pop music boffins Burt Bacharach and Hal David, who, in the song "Wives and Lovers," reveal an attitude toward women not unlike that which one might adopt in dealing with froward children at mealtime, as Hal David essentially tells young brides that, if they don't eat all their vegetables, the boogieman is going to jump out of the closet and bumboozle them.

"Wives and Lovers," in Jack Jones' Top 20 version, is a lightly swinging ditty perfect for scoring those martini-pitcher evenings. One can tune out the words and enjoy it as a classic pop confection. So, what makes this song a leading candidate for creepiest song of a decade filled with them (don't get me started on "Somethin' Stupid") is the rub between the song's light'n'easy arrangement and the chilling message of its words. Had the lyrics been set to a section of Schoenberg's "Pierrot Lunaire" or even the Sabs' "Iron Man," the fit would've been more congruent. Instead, you get a frothy "Bluesette"-sounding Marlo Thomas theme song with an undertone of rusty Gillette blades in the medicine cabinet ready for long cuts down-not-across in a warm Tuinal bath.

Basically, the message is: listen, sweetheart, your housewifely duties don't stop at rearing the 2.5, cleaning the house and fixing his grub--so, get yourself in pearls and heels as he gets off the 5:30 from Grand Central and pour him a drink while premoistening your business for his pleasure. Otherwise, he's going to plow his blonde, fit and ready secretary through a hotel headboard, and it'll be All Your Fault.

So, yes, Creepiest Song of the '60s. Thank you, Hal David, I can only imagine your home life at the time.

Wives and Lovers

(Burt Bacharach & Hal David)

Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door
Don't think because there's a ring on your finger
You needn't try anymore

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I'm warning you...

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don't send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
He's almost here...

Hey! Little girl
Better wear something pretty
Something you'd wear to go to the city and
Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music
Time to get ready for love
Time to get ready
Time to get ready for love

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tengo Todo Papi, Dept.

Someone referred to Dominicaneoyorquina Maluca as a "Dominican M.I.A." I'll go that one better and call her "M.I.A. meets Lily Allen for a double-caf mocha loca in the Heights." Not what you'd call a long discography, but "El Tigeraso" is a catchy numbah. Enjoy.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Selling the Sizzle, Dept.

Great album, the two-disc UK pressing particularly. The U.S. single-disc version has the cover pic of *sigh* Patsy Kensit in a slit skirt on a scooter. A preternaturally cute woman at that point.

I digress.

Or do I? Because, on the topic of pulchritude marketed: American Apparel ads.

Just for background, AA is the largest clothes manufacturer in the United States, says the Wik. And their ad campaigns have been featured in prominent publications dedicated to the featuring of ad campaigns. Periodicals that could be called, say, Faboo Ads Quarterly or OMG, That Ad!!. If those don't exist, take them, a lagniappe for your custom. At any rate, their ads.

American Apparel, or "AA" for the remainder of this exercise, runs gynocentric ads whose design conceit, to drag in Sir Philip Sidney, seems to be "Girls AA President Dov Charney Would Like to Fuck." Which might account for the string of sexual harassment lawsuits filed against him. Basically, multiethnic size 2s in their early twenties arranged langourous and en déshabillé against a plain background. Attractive in a studied unstudied way. Like, "Yes, I'm that Latina-Asian girl with the smile you saw on the subway this morning. But in a lace body stocking." The ads position them as attractive, but not forbiddingly so. Eye-catching but not "cute." Regular girls who happen to be wearing a tank thong while arching their back on a bare mattress. The models like to arch their backs. And spread their legs. Occasionally at the same time. Here, in Choc City, AA likes to take the full back page of the local free weekly for its ads. As a result, one walks into work after lunch on Thursdays carrying a periodical that looks like Barely Legal Lingerie. Very impressive on that crowded elevator ride.

The ads sell women's clothing but appear to be aimed at men (for whom AA also makes clothing, but, for some reason, never features arching their back and spreading their legs). I don't know if the thinking at AA is that guys are going to be all, "Hey, baby, why don't you get this Double Diamond and Crescent Pattern Fishnet, because the model with the dancer's body who's wearing it in the ad I myself would like to bone till the cows come home?" How often that turns out well, your sobsister cannot say. Not very, I would think. Often, that is.

At any rate, American Apparel. You can't argue with success. Or, rather, you could, except that you're temporarily distracted by the Search for the Best Bottom in the World competition AA is currently running, and then you lose your train of thought.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Toujours Gai, Dept.

Right, so I'm watching the first half-hour of the film Bobby Short at the Cafe Carlyle, the audience shots of which alone are worth the price of admission as an overview of a certain slice of NYC life in the Bad Old Good Old Days, i.e., 1979. And he's being Bobby Short, which, if you're Dianne Wiest in Hannah and Her Sisters is intolerable, but, for the rest of us, is one paradigm of saloon singing, as he calls it. At any rate, the performance is interspersed with interview segments wherein he talks about his life and career. At one point, he talks about growing up listening to broadcasts from the Cotton Club in New York and learning the songs from each edition, that is, each year's revue, of the Cotton Club. He describes then going to New York in 1937 and meeting Duke Ellington, who was preparing the score for that year's Cotton Club show. Short describes the songs, particularly one number, "She's Tall, She's Tan, She's Terrific," as being "almost American folklore."

The scene returns to the Carlyle, where he launches into "She's Tall..." (which, in fact, was written by John Coots and Benny Davis and performed by Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra in '37 and available here) as part of a medley that continues with a short bit of "Posin'" by Chaplin and Kahn, then a laidback version of "Truckin'," a Koehler and Bloom ditty recorded by Fats Waller in 1935, followed by "Breakfast in Harlem," most often associated with the team of Buck and Bubbles, and a bit of 1933's "Old Man Harlem" by Rudy Vallee and Hoagy Carmichael and then back for the big finish with a reprise of "Truckin'." In short, a fabulous medley of songs associated with Harlem, the Cotton Club, '30s dance culture and his own first exposure to the city.

What prompted this entry are the lyrics to "Posin'," which, in Short's performance, on paper and in Jimmie Lunceford's recording, remind your sobsister of nothing so much as Madonna's "Vogue." Here are the lyrics to the first two verses and chorus, transcribed from the Lunceford recording:

Oh, posin'!

Dee-dee, fall-e-oh!
There's a dance you ought to do,
Let me introduce to you,
Everybody pose!

Get a partner, then begin,
Hold whatever pose you're in,
Everybody pose!

It's a dance that you can dance with your girl or wife;
Find a pose, then stop; position's everything in life!
You'll find there's no telling when
Dance will stop and start again,
Everybody pose!

Me, I'm drawing a bright line between this number, inspired by Harlem during its '30s renaissance (at which time underground drag balls gave birth to the dramatic dance style known as "presentation" or "performance") and that *dear god* 20-year-old song, voguing itself the lineal descendant of presentation developed at house balls featuring competition between the "children" of the great style houses of New York. The history of house balls and culture is too big a topic for a blog post (although here's an informative article on the topic), but I enjoy drawing these lines, and so I have done.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ruining his Pants Crease, Dept.

Joe Walsh's "Rocky Mountain Way" is a Great Rock Song. Perfect for any occasion. Driving down the highway. Singing along in a bar. Underscoring a lap dance. This last I can only speak of theoretically, as I've only seen them performed on television. Most recently at the National Prayer Breakfast, when Michele Bachmann thigh-fucked Satan to the tune of NIN's "Closer." It was a moving experience for all concerned. In my case, my breakfast relocated itself from my stomach to my lap.

So, yes, Joe Walsh, "Rocky Mountain Way." Listen to it here, then buy it at your favorite Geschlechtsverkehrbotschaft or neighborhood Fernsehgemeinschaft.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

sarah's hands

Grandma's Hands, Dept.

Sarah's hands
Gave her hints on her positions
Sarah's hands
Took a hundred large away
Sarah's hands
Spell out words she should be saying,
She say, "Raisin' taxes ain't for me,
I'm all for Big Energy,
Who said free speech should be free?"
Sarah's hands

Sarah's hands
Used to field-dress baby's dinner
Sarah's hands
Now just play in the couture
Sarah's hands
Are more eloquent than she is, she says,
"Trippy, Grandma sympathize
Baby momma's got loose thighs,
Scream to God and clench her eyes"
Sarah's hands

Sarah's hands
Twitch and fret on FOX's cameras
Sarah's hands
Tell the nation she's no brain
Sarah's hands
Won't touch presidential Bible
She'll say, "Sure, I like to speak in tongues,
Whore for oil and carry guns,
Betcha Jesus loves my sons"
Lord, we hope she never, ever runs.

If God's in Heaven, we won't be in
Sarah's hands

With profound apologies to the great Bill Withers

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 Überbaby. 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 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.