Monday, April 30, 2007

Excuses Are Like Elbows (Or, Clearly Taking My Time)


An art teacher of mine used to always say: "Excuses are like elbows - most people usually have at least two."

So, here I am with yet another excuse as to why I'm still not caught up on the Amsterdam stories, why I haven't organized my photos yet, and all that. Well, I got sidetracked over the weekend and felt the need to relive a certain aspect of my Amsterdam trip (hint: inhale, hold, exhale) and avoid all self-defined duty.

I guess I've used up my two elbows...so I'll get back to it...tomorrow.

In the meantime, here's a comment I left on someone else's blog. I know it's sort of cheating...but I'm pooped (see below). The topic of the original blog entry was singer Sheryl Crow's newfound interest in the environment...and her committment to, well, being conservative when it comes to how she manages her post-dump clumps:

Sheryl writes on her tour blog: "I propose a limitation to be put on how many squares of toilet paper can be used in any one sitting. I think we are industrious enough people to make it work with only one square per restroom visit, except, of course, on those pesky occasions where two to three could be required"

I took offense to this for some reason and replied:

shit.

at first, I thought she was talking about shittin, crappin, pinchin a loaf.

I was all: "oh, hells no flaka bitch. just 'cause you eat a soy bean or two every month and prolly bust a little teeny tiny rabbit turd out yo ass every six weeks don't mean you can tell me how much TP I can use, OK."

When you eat like a mofo, you shit like a mofo. Thank God I gots a new Japanese toilet seat to hose and bidet my backside like I was fancypants Jacqueline Bisset on a cruise. Ain't no Sheryl gon pop out my muthafuckin toilet tank and give me a hard time.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Gettin' Liddy Wid It (Or, One of Many Many Many)



OK, so as promised, here goes Tales of Amsterjam...

I'm cheating a little though and I'm just going to post a video for now...proof positive that music television is more interesting in Europe. Late at night in the hotel room - digging deep into the throes of that special brand of trans-Atlantic I-can't-believe-I-can't sleep jetlag, I saw this video for "Munich" by the Editors on MTV Europe (or MTV Holland or MTV Hashish or MTV USoHiiiiiiigh or whatever it's called in the Netherlands).

However...

Before I get into one of those all-too-easy-to-fall-into traps of discussing how Europe is just, like, y'know so much cooler/better/funkier/more cultureder than America, I also saw one of the worst televised programs I've ever encountered while in Amsterdam.

It was the Dutch version of American Idol.

Now, I can't hang with the American version of said show, so I'm not sure why I'm surprised at how much the Dutch version sucked. The (so-called) winner of the night was a young girl who - A. could not sing at all, B. had cornrows, and C. was wearing so much glittery, sort-of-sequined pink eyeshadow that she could barely lift her eyelids. The studio audience was composed of about five people - at least two of whom - safe to say - were her parents.

As much as the world bitches and moans about America - at least we get one thing right:

We can easily entertain the dirty, slothy masses without batting an eyelash.

Eyelid sequins or not.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

You Trippin' T (Or, Why You Trippin' G?)


Yeah, yeah yeah.

So...it's Thursday and there's nothing new here even though I promised something Monday and/or Tuesday and/or Wednesday.

Yeah, yeah yeah.

I ducked out of town...out of state...out of country...out of continent last weekend...and have yet to get my shit together and say something...anything about it.

Yo, I been trippin', OK?

Shit.

Seriously...I have many stories and many photographs from my incredibly fast and incredibly furious trip to Amsterdam.

But, in keeping with the spirit of the Dutch, I'm taking my time and taking it easy in getting there. Even though I've been banging through client work all week and trying to re-establish a decent sleep cycle and breaking a mild but crippling addiction to 24-Hour Claritin, in my head I'm still sitting at a quiet outdoor cafe with a beer and a fistfull of frites - letting the spring sun gently pat my face.

So, just chill bitches - and - dang - stop trippin'.

More soon...

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Just Calm Down (Or, 'Til Tuesday)


This site will be on "pause" for a few days...not that I've been a writing machine this week, or that anyone other than you five-ish regular readers will be stopping by, wondering why there's a lack of new material. Not to worry, there will be stories, images, photos, et. al. galore when I resume here on Monday.

Or...Tuesday.

Or...Wednesday.

Until then.

Dumpaholic (Or, An Obligation)


Since I posted the other "My Humps" parody...I feel obligated to post this parody of that parody...here's Peaches singing "My Dumps".

Of course, my scatalogical sensibilites had something to do with it too.

Enjoy...if you can.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Customer Always Spites (Or, The Art of the Down Sell)


Today I bought some overpriced clothing for an upcoming trip at a local store that specializes in overpriced clothing.

Go figure.

Maybe I'm just a bitter, jaded consumer, but the art of the "upsell" often tap dances on my last nerve.

Let me explain...

As I was paying for said overpriced clothes, wondering why I always get sucked into this particular store, shucking away too much money on semi-impluse purchases like t-shirts and pants and sweaters and hats and scarves and jeans and belts and shoes and shorts and culhottes and skorts and muu-muus and ponchos and pith helmets and ascots and chains and wallets and bags and man-purses and twin-sets and formal gowns when I always end up wearing the same four outfits and always end up looking like a custodian or a truck driver or an undercover cop, I was asked if I would like to apply for a store credit card.

"I already have one." I replied quickly - hoping to cut off what I knew was coming next.

The salesperson helping me was very sweet - but I could tell, he was a new addition to the staff.

"Oh, well then. You should really be using that card then! You get so much with it!!"

I laughed knowingly and thought: Like an 85% annual interest rate on purchases?

I thought my laugh - loud and dripping with an "are you fucking kidding me?" sentiment - would have shut him down.

"Oh, well then. You really should use the store card. Every dollar you spend you get..."

"I know about the card." I said.

"Oh, well then. If you spend just a little more money today, you'll get a $25 gift certificate!"

I looked at the total and asked how much more "a little" money would be for said certificate.

"Oh, well then. Let's see. Just $25 more! That's all you'd have to spend for the certificate!"

I could barely contain myself. A deep chuckle poured out of me.

"So, if I spend $25 more on something I don't want, you'll give me $25 in credit?"

"Yes! You are right!!"

Thing is, nothing - I mean nothing in this store cost $25...not even a pleather chapstick case or a pair of tube socks. I would have had to spend more than $25 to get a return on investment. I was already having post-purchase guilt, so I had to shut the shit down.

"How about, I don't spend that $25 - you keep your $25 and we'll call it a day?"

The salesperson, left with the invisible corpse of his failed upsell, just stared at me and sighed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (Or, An Excuse)

Clearly, stories are light in coming this week...here's another drawing in lieu of anything wordy.

Word.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Love Machine (Or, Wet Fur)



I'm slapping some peace and harmony up in this space today....see above.

Drawing Room (Or, For the Sake of Gossip)


Well, since my wave of excitement has passed, I probably won't end up writing a longer review on the Gossip show...I will repeat this from the show though - courtesy of Ms. Ditto:

"Oh, honey. I don't even bother telling people exactly where I'm from in Arkansas. People in New York don't even know what 'Arkansas' is."

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Four, Five - Get it Right (Or, The Gossip @ Knitting Factory)

For a mere $12 I saw The Gossip last night at Knitting Factory. I would gladly pay 10 times that to repeat the experience all over again. I'll have to write something a little more substantive later, since I'm still nursing a killer hangover that doesn't seem to want to vacate anytime soon.

I will say this, quickly: lead singer Beth Ditto is a motherfucking superstar. I really love the Gossip - but seeing them live took my love to a whole new level. To say she set the stage on fire would be a gross understatement. Ditto taps into a major source - her energy, intensity, and humor is, well, overwhelming. She's more than a great rock star - she just might be the world's best blues singer too.

I will also say - bitch had me dancing. Something of a major feat these days.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Truth in Signage (Or, Chelsea Girls)


The landmark Chelsea Hotel is trying to say something. It's signature neon signage (above) has taken leave of its full self to reveal...

A. A casual observation of gay male sluttitude in the neighborhood.

B. A judgment of underage outer-borough girls sneaking into any number of nightclubs on the weekends.

C. A call to arms for the stay-at-home, stuck-in-my-million-dollar high-rise-condo wives of investment bankers who are tired of playdates and pottery classes and various "Young Patrons of.." committees and are looking for a little daytime friction with any number of off-duty cops or contractors or UPS delivery men.

D. A requiem for the original set of Chelsea Hotel-Hoes. (Oh, the days of cheap rents and amphetamine overdoses are so far, far gone now.)

Only the ghosts of Edie Sedgwick and Nico know fo sho.

(Special thanks to longtime reader Foxxxy Brown Cup for the tip-off. The credit is all yours.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Once More, With Feeling (Or, Sticks Begone)


It's official...after coming home to an apartment that smelled like an overflowing ashtray a few days ago, I'm off the sticks (again) as of today (again). I'll admit, I don't think I was ever hooked on the nicotine...it's more that moment of reflection that comes along with a (stinky, dirty, nasty, yummy) cigarette.

So, as I said a while ago, it's back to food.

Goodbye Blue Monday (Or, The Art of the Index)


Kurt Vonnegut died last night. I'll leave the proper tributes to those more qualified.

Of all the surreal backflips and flipflops in his fiction, there is one very simple scene from his novel Cat's Cradle that is permanently lodged in my head. The main character is traveling by plane - the woman sitting next to him is a professional index writer. (Meaning, she is hired by publishers to create content indexes for various books). The protagonist is about to start reading a book and the index writer claims she can tell many things about an author by a book's index. She takes his book and flips back to its index. She scans the pages for a minute and hands the book back. The gist of her analysis is:

"The author of this book is very troubled. He's also a homosexual - he just doesn't know it yet."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Downtown Venus (Or, Virginia Is For Lovers)

Last night I was walking on Bleecker Street in the Village with my friend Jeremy. We had just passed the (infamous, overrated, so-well-past-its-moment, aneurysm-inducing) Magnolia Bakery and were stopped at a corner, waiting for traffic to pass and the light to change. I was caught offguard by a shrill, screamed question - barked out in a thick New Yawk accent - somewhere off to my right:

"WHERE'S MAGNOLIA BAKERY? WHERE IS IT!"

It took a second to figure out where this wail was coming from. I looked around and saw a massive beige sedan with Virginia license plates crawling through the intersection. The driver was a harried middle-aged woman whose appearance was marked by a blur of make-up and an explosion of curly black hair that was, well, in dire need of some sort of conditioning rinse. She continued:

"HEY, YOU! YEAH. WHERE'S THE BAKERY? MAGNOLIA!"

Speechless, Jeremy and I both pointed over our shoulders down the block. The car slowed down in front of us and the woman continued to yell:

"GREAT. THAT'S JUST GREAT. These are all one way streets! How do I get there!"

We both shrugged and Jeremy replied, "Just drive around the block - it's right there."

Despite our directions and help - the woman's aggravation only escalated:

"JESUS! I mean, I know this city like the back of my hand - but this goddamned Greenwich Village! I tell you - it's a MESS!"

With that, the frizz and the make-up and the yelling and the oddly-out-of-place- given-her-accent Virginia license plates were finally gone - off down the street.

I could only think - it's not the lack of a street grid that makes the Village a mess, lady.

It's that goddamned bakery.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Inspiration (Or, Who Yo Dawg Baby?)

Forever ago, I was reading one of those US Weekly or Star or People types of just-like-heroin publications and lo-and-behold, there was a two-page spread about celebrities and music. It was something like "Stars - They're Just Like Us! They Listen To Music!"; there was a headshot of a star with an accompanying pull quote about what they were currently listening to. No surprise, everything was very - very - authored by some press agent or other. (Jessica Biel likes U2 and Nelly Furtado? Shut up! You're kidding!).

The only star who answered with anything close to honesty was Alicia Keys. Here was her answer - the gist of it, anyway:

"Yo, Chopin is my dawg. Whenever I listen to his jams I think - dang. What was goin' through that cat's head when he rocked that out on the piano? I wish I could play like that - know what I'm sayin?"

Exactly, Miss Keys. Exactly.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Miss Tammy Wynette (Or, Memorex Mo Betta)



I saw the above interview a long time ago on TV and something about it set off my comedic imagination. It stuck with me. I shouldn't shake Tammy.

I have performed and rehashed this particular bit many, many times, but when I saw it again yesterday afternoon - also by chance on TV - I was a little let down.

Miss Tammy Wynette certainly had a taste for the dramatic - but I think in my remix and reperformance and rehash (and rewriting) this description of how George Jones proposed to her, I did her one better. Anyway, you have the version - the real version - above. Below is a transcript of how I "do" Tammy:

"Now, my husband at the time was beatin' on me real bad. One day [George] Jones came over one day when my husband was hittin' on me and Jones said: 'Stop hittin' on Tammy. I love her. We gon' get married.' So, I left that day with Jones. And, we was married the next week."

Now, basically, she does say this in the actual interview...albeit way closer to milquetoast than how I say it. In the real interview, she says - about 10 minutes after this clip - that she and George Jones were married two months after the incident.

Ah, distortion and appropriation. It feels so right...

Friday, April 06, 2007

Wurst and Kraut For Easter (Or, Another German Interlude)



Last night I was trying to find new and funny (or old and mildly funny or sort-of-new and not that funny) things on YouTube...to no avail. Instead, I found this clip from Fassbinder's Veronika Voss...it's campy and krauty and well, gorgeous.

The cinematographer - Xaver Schwarzenberger - is a genius. This clip doesn't do the film justice - it's a remarkable visual feat. I saw an interview with him once talking about how he had to create a new sort of development process to make the film as starkly black and white as possible - to make the film as graphic (design-wise) as possible.

Ah, life before computers...

Enjoy.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

You Oughta Hump (Or, Meta-Ho)



This video was all over the place earlier this week...last night at dinner, it came up in converstation. The video works on so many meta-levels...here goes something straight out of media coursework at The New School for Social Research...

Alanis Morrissette's cover of the Black Eyed Peas' song "My Humps" (above) simultaneously spoofs the worst popular song in recent memory and the mid-1990s-woe-is-me-woman-of-rock image of Morrissette herself. In this version, Morrissette gleans an undiscovered narrative of emotional trauma, sexual humilation, and late-stage capitalism from a once meaningless song about a woman's "love humps".

Check it out.

Here we have what was once the spokeswoman/role model/most commercially successful of a certain brand of (former) female angst (the woman scorned) channeling and, in the process, subverting, the current brand of female angst: the woman desperately seeking sexual attention and material reward. Morrissette sings the trite blatherings of a (white, of course) hip-hop muse who equates her personal worth with the labels she wears and the labels she seeks (how exciting her various lumps and humps are) in the plaintive, nearly maudlin song style of a past pop-era in which popular women recording artists sought to express cultural inequalities. Morrissette attacks our culture's current debasement by turning the song inside out through recontexutalizing its lyrics.

In short: homegirl is showing us the song for what it really is - the empty call to arms of the zeitgeist, the attention whore.

Also embedded in this video is a spoof of Morrissette's former image - which was also just as commericalized and commodified during her reign in the mid-90s. What's different now though is the level to which performers go to - literally - whore themselves out to the public. Morrissette's success happened on a wave of female-driven "alternative" rock (Hole, PJ Harvey, Belly, The Breeders, Tori Amos, etc.) that was driven by (in hindsight, anyway) more challenging content.

Yes, Alanis Morrissette just might be the first Meta-Ho.

Anyway, last night at dinner, my friend Torrey and I were talking about all of this and we tried to imagine what the original recording sessions with Fergie and the Black-Eyed Peas must have been like.

PEA 1: Yo, Fergie. We got some beats for you.

PEA 2: Check it out.

PEA 1: Rhyme to it, Fergie.

(Beats play)

FERGIE: (inhaling from bong/crystal pipe/whatever) OOOOH. Yeah. I feeeeel this baby. This is good.

PEA 1: Drop it.

FERGIE: Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh. Uh. (touches her breasts by accident). My. Hump. My. Hump. My Humps.
My. Humps. My Humps. My. Humps. My Humps. My. Humps. My Humps. My. Humps. My Humps. My. Humps. My Humps. My. Humps. My Humps. My. Humps. My Humps. My. Humps. My Humps. My. Humps. My Humps. My. Humps. My Humps......

(Fergie passes out.)

PEA 2: OK, let's work with that. Get some lyrics too.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

As Seen on 120 Minutes (Or, O to the L to the D)



Since it came up in comments yesterday...here's the video for Whale's "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe."

Never have lollipops and metallic underwear gone so well together....

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Four Big Speakers (Or, Requiem for Whale)


I found this on YouTube last night...a live performance from the long lost 90s Swedish band Whale. This is from their album All Disco Dance Must End In Broken Bones.

Not even making it up.

In this performance, the band left off the song's great intro:

"I've got a 35 minute drive. I've got an ear infection. And I'm allergic to leather seats."

They were best known for their semi-sort-of hit "Hobo Humpin' Slobo Babe".

Also, not making it up. It was my jam circa Spring 1994. Good times.

Detective Story (Or, Sgt. Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson)

This afternoon I was standing outside of my apartment building...smoking.

Yeah, I know. It sucks that I'm back on the sticks, but something kicked in a couple of weeks ago and I found myself dying for one...now I'm finding myself dying for them on a regular basis. All. Over. Again. Hopefully, next week I'll get back to a slightly healthier passion - overeating - so I can get off the cancer sticks.

Anyway, my super has asked me to stand closer to the street when I smoke - and - despite my previous misgivings and bitchings about it - today I complied. So, I stood next to a lamppost, right on the curb. As soon as I sparked the stick, a man came up to me.

"Detective?"

I gave him a confused look and turned over my shoulder. No one was there - in fact, no one else was around at all. I should note: there is a Police Station on my block, so there very well could have been a hoard of folks who would answer to "Detective" amassed behind me.

"Detective?" he asked again. "Aren't you a detective?"

I nervously chuckled and said "Um...no...I'm just...smoking."

"Oh, sorry," he apologized. "I thought I knew you."

As he walked down the street, I considered what I was wearing. I was not in some Cagney and Lacey style pant-suit. I was not in some Police Woman Black Party drag. I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, jeans, and a dirty baseball cap.

Janitor? Maybe.

Urban homosexual in studied man-drag? Definitely.

Angie Dickinson as Sergeant Suzanne "Pepper" Anderson? Not even close.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Marketegging (Or, Edith Massey Never Wanted It To Be This Way)


So, last week, I bought a dozen eggs.

Hey, it's Easter for Christ's Sake.

I thought nothing of these eggs until I went to use one just now. Check out the photograph above...my eggs are trying to tell me something...important.

This egg, clearly knowing that I needed a new show to watch tonight, is suggesting that I try something called "Rules Of Engagement" on CBS.

I must have purchased eggs outside my proper demographic. I should have gone for the pricier organic ones that screamed "hey pretentious liberal urban homosexual - these are for you!" Because the last time I watched CBS, I'm pretty sure I was sitting on the couch next to my grandmother and "Murder, She Wrote" was on.

I'm hoping - praying - that this particular show's got something to do with pregnancy or chickens or infertility or denver omeletes or huevos rancheros or L'Eggs pantyhose or Edith Massey in Pink Flamingos.

Now, I know that marketers and marketeers and to-market-to-marketpeople think of new "breakthrough" things like this everyday...but c'mon now. A text ad for some junky CBS show - somehow screened onto a single egg?

I paid for these dozen eggs - a whole $2.99 or $1.99 or $10.99 or something...were they cheaper because of these ads (yes, they were on all twelve eggs, not just a single, lucky one)? Were these eggs sponsored by this program? What if this screened ad doesn't come off when I hardboil the little bitches? What if I wanted to dye these eggs for Easter? Are my lovely lavender and magenta and pink and aqua and yellow and green and light green and baby blue and royal blue and cornflower and burnt sienna and ochre eggs going to be tainted with these mini, fucked-up commericals for this show?

I do have some words for said marketers:

Back off my motherfucking eggs, bitches.

(OK, speaking of CBS...I somehow morphed into Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes" while writing this. I obviously need to choose a topic this week and stick to it. I promise, it won't be eggs.)

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Another Saturday Night (Or, Not Another Saturday Night)


I'll keep this one short...ish...

I went out last night with my friend Rob - we had an amazing dinner at Ssäm Bar. I didn't intend to, but I continued my Saturday of semi-barbarism by eating an intense variety of meat products - including a terrine made of veal head. Cruel and Unusual? Yes. Delicious? Abso-fucking-lutely.

After dinner, we headed to a (former) favorite watering hole. Neither of us had been there in a while, and we were sort of excited to drink a few beers at an old haunt. Sadly, it was beyond boring. Nothing had changed - same music, same bartenders, same clientele. Not to get all old-and-aged-and-perspectivey about it, but it was the two of us that were different.

After our first beer, Rob turned to me and said, "Let's go outside and smoke a cigarette - maybe it will be more fun after that."

"Why?" I asked. "Does that cigarette come with a lobotomy?"