Friday, March 28, 2008

Superficial Thoughts

If you're interested in playing an April Fools joke on family and loved ones tell them you've been accepted as a contestant on the Moment of Truth.

"Results like these do not belong on the resume of a Supreme Being" - Carlin on religion, great line.

I enjoy how the City Journal consistently rails against intellectualism but doesn't mind dropping references to Bentham's Panopticon and the like. (btw Bentham's Panopticon is one of the coolest ideas I've ever read about on Wikipedia).

In the Sienfeld episode where Kramer allows people to smoke in his apt. - Kramer asks for ash tray from Jerry. Was there a time when people who didn't smoke had ashtrays for people who did? To smoke in the non-smokers apt? That seems outrageous to me.

Seinfeld is somehow getting funnier to me, again, apparently this is also happening to others our age, pretty crazy how good that show was.

Sometimes I wish I lived to 86 years old and was born in December of 1918 and died in the summer of 2004. It must've been truly magnificient to believe that the Red Sox were as irredeemable as their fans.

Isn't it weird that two entirely different sports called Football are the most popular sports in their native lands. Is there something about the word "Football" rather than the sports themselves?

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Politics Issue

I was inspired by the Onion magazine to put the above together. This may become a semi-regular addition to the blog. SportSquee was recently added to the blog roll. "Margee" is a friend of mine from high school and a very funny, creative writer. Be back soon.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Child-Man of La Mancha

While trying to conjure a name for a post reviewing Man of La Mancha at The DUO Theater I was reminded of Kay S. Hymowitz’s Child-Man in the Promised Land article which left an indelible mark on my brain (and which I responded to here). I decided to google Ms. Hymowitz to see if she had put together any other wildly misguided articles. Thankfully she had; including another one on her favorite subject titled Marriage and Caste, featuring this line:

Growing financial independence and changing mores not only gave women the freedom to divorce in lemming-like numbers; it also allowed them to dispense with marriage altogether and have children, Murphy Brown–style, on their own.”

This 1) is wholly contradictory to her uniquely flawed Child-Man story 2) suggests the sole blame for the spike in divorce belongs to women and 3) makes yet another reference to cheesedick pop culture, which is unequivocally the leading cause of men divorcing their wives in the United States.

Anyway, Ms. Hymowitz has got to be the dumbest contributor to the City-Journal and her idiocy is always entertaining so let’s move on.

On St. Patrick’s Day my lady friend and I holed up in a booth at a bar in Brooklyn and drank till we had forgotten our worries and created new ones. It was a good time and nice to be secluded in a crowded bar. Last night at Room 5001’s production of Man of La Mancha I had a similar feeling of seclusion amongst a crowd but the effect was more suffocating than reassuring.

Man of La Mancha is the story of 8 prisoners awaiting the inevitable and attempting to distract themselves along the way. The entirety of the play takes place within the confines of a jail cell and at times during the nearly two hour production the viewer experiences the feelings of imprisonment the prisoners are meant to bear.

In this way it can be seen as a grossly pessimistic metaphor for existence but the escapes that the distractions sometimes provide proove to be a savior to the prisoners and the audience. Man of La Mancha seems to be the rationalization for the creation of drama and in some ways it works and in some ways it doesn’t (which might just be genius).

The story is okay. This retelling substituted a man for the woman prisoner who gets raped in the original which seems more fitting. I can’t imagine many instances in the history of legal confinement when one woman has been detained with seven men. And the rape scene was certainly affecting and well acted which touches on Man of La Mancha’s strongest point.

The acting in Man of La Mancha is very very good. Justin Levine plays the lead of Miguel de Cervantes with a touch of madness and a lot of likability. Omar Perez seems larger than his stature would suggest allowing him to be fittingly menacing (I was surprised how short he was after the show), and Ricardo Perez-Gonzalez has a tremendous singing voice.

But the real star of the show is Rusty Buehler who is the play-within-a-play director as Cervantes' squire, Sancho Panza, as well as the comic relief of the show. His performance is idiosyncratic, clever and very entertaining.

On the whole, the story has highs and lows but the show was very well done.

Man of La Mancha at the DUO Theater 62 East 4th Street, between 2nd and 3rd Ave, $20 General Admission. Performances: Friday, March 21 8pm; Saturday, March 22 8pm; Sunday, March 23 3pm; Thursday, March 27 8pm; Friday, March 28 8pm; Saturday, March 29 8pm; Sunday, March 30 8pm


Put another spike in the coffin of substantive journalism. Deadline Hollywood Daily got the jump on the NYT, WaPo and others in reporting that the Associated Press is adding 21 new employees to its entertainment beat. I’m becoming more and more convinced that the only way for the fourth estate to maintain its watchdog roll will be through non-profit organizations. The paradigm has shifted and the money and interest isn’t there for real reporting anymore. (I found that link through Romenescko btw, I do not frequent Deadline Hollywood Daily).

This Lenny Dykstra article in the New Yorker is amazing for anyone who ever cared about the Mets in the 80’s, Phillies in the 90’s, baseball in any era, sports on the whole, compelling storytelling or existence in general… actually it’s not that good but it is a good read.

I really recommend checking out the White Rabbit’s Myspace page and taking a listen. They’re quite good.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On the Tele

Pretty mediocre South Park tonight. Satirizing celebrity adoration (in this case it was Brittany) is like banging Lindsay Lohan when you're both stuck in a barrel. I'm sure it was still infinitely better than the episode of Lewis Black's Root of All Evil that followed it. At one point during the ep of South Park there was a commercial for LBRAE where Black said something like "watch this show America 'cause it's your duty." And then he proceeded to say "did you hear that South Park fans, I said 'duty'" - as if his show attracts more high-minded fans than SP. That show is offensively bad, I actually just had the show on my television with the t.v. on mute and changed the channel because I didn't want Nielsen to report an additional viewer that's how bad it is.

And finally tonight, I didn't keep a log of Moment of Truth but did watch most of it and wow. The contestant - a smokin hot, wildly insecure Caucasian looking Puerto Rican chick - was the victim of tremendous hubris. Asked the question, had she ever slept with anyone to further her career, she answered no and was found to be false. Apparently she really hadn't ever slept with someone (or so it seemed from her reaction) but going on that show is far more ethically and morally comprimising than whoring in the interest of career advancement. Sleep with some one and you've affected two people's lives - yours and the person who would have advanced in your stead - go on that show and you're fucking with at least 4 peoples lives. Utilitarianism is an over-simplified philosophical belief but in the case of contestants on this program, society should want them affecting as few people's lives as possible.

Further, sleeping with some one in the interest of career advancement is Machiavellian, and honestly Machiavelli has not been proven wrong. Fucking your loved ones for financial success and notoriety is always wrong.

The new Seth Rogan movie trailer looks killer.

I have a bunch of other links and a sociological experiment I'm about to start to report on soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Moment of Truth

Two weeks ago I watched with horror as a participant on the Moment of Truth on Fox destroyed her marriage, her husband's self-esteem and her own self-image. It was similar to watching Nuclear winter descend on the Southern Hemisphere. This week I've decided to do a journal of it, lets see what happens:

8:05: They've introduced the contestant, he looks like Matthew Perry with a much cheeper haircut. Apparently he's a carpenter, I don't imagine he's very Christ-like.

8:06: Q: "As a handy-man have you ever prolonged a job so you could bill more hours?" A: Yes, true, his explanation seems reasonable, bounced check, billed the extra money.

8:07: Q: "Have you ever made a wax replica of your private parts?" Yes- true, "my wife was going to bring it with her but it didn't fit in her purse" - not bad, did he come up with that on the spot? Mom: "I don't know him" she's going to become progressively more annoying.

8:08: Q: "Have you ever felt that your wife is excessively jealous of other women?" A: Yes - true. I have a feeling that this may be problematic going forward.

8:09: Q: "Has your wife Amy, ever said something that hurt you so much it made you cry?" Yes - true. Pussy.

8:10: Q: "Would you say your wife is the most attractive woman you've ever dated?" No - true. The audience applause after embarrassing correct answers is fascinating. They must be cued by signs right?

8:12 Q: "Since you've had children have you lost any of your sexual attraction to your wife?"

Commercial Break

They prep the t.v. audience for moments later in the show prior to each commercial break. We already know that two of the questions are "have you ever had sex with one of your wife's sisters" and "have you ever had sex with any of your friends wives". Also apparently Chandler's estranged father is going to make an appearance later in the show.

8:15 The show has returned, the slimy show host repeats the question. Answer: No - true.

8:17 Onto level two. For $25,000 Q: "Are you sexually attracted to any of your wife's sisters? Yes - true. One of the sisters is sitting right next to the wife, she's not bad looking and apparently there are 5 sisters in the family.

New revelation, he's dated the sister and another of the sisters, you can't blame the guy for answering that question in the affirmative. Further, what kind of bumblefuck town do they find these people in that he's dated 3 of 5 sisters in one family?

8:19: Q: "Have you ever lied to your parents about your religious belief" Yes - true. Is there anyone for whom that answer isn't true? Also this guy was raised Mormon, who the hell with any degree of analytical thought could believe in Mormanism? - Also that answers the question as to where they find these people.

8:21 Q: "Do you think your father worked hard enough to provide for your family?" No- true, as his mother cries. Yfbfb question: "Do you think you're a big enough asshole to destroy your entire family?

8:22 Q: "When visiting your Father do you think your step-mother intentionally does things to make you feel unwelcome?" Yes - true. Any child of a step-parent would have no problem answering in the affirmative if they felt this way. None.

8:24: The slimy host calls out the father, Chuck (of course), to ask the question. The father reminds me of an out of shape version of the father from American Beauty. Q: "Despite the life you've lead, do you think I still love you?"

Commercial Break

This question is inherently flawed. First, I wonder if the father put in the qualifier "despite the life you've lead" and second, by him being there, Chandler can assume that he still love's him, this may be warped logic but it doesn't matter if it's not true in reality, it only matters that it's true in his mind.

8:29: It's annoying how they repeat the last minute after every commercial break.

8:30: A: Yes - true. This guy seems like a tool btw, he seems like he's hamming up the dramatic effect for the show. The product of an asshole father. They embrace and his father says that he's proud of his son. My parents have always dreamed of me making it big on reality television. I've done nothing but disappoint.

8:32: He's just won $25,000, but nothing's locked, he can lose it all at any point.

8:33: They cut to a commercial break, teasing with the same three questions they've teased the last two commercial breaks to. This show is taking a short-term approach to a potentially long running show. It's really compelling content wise despite its trashy side, but it's not nearly as rewarding of a viewing experience as it should be because they cram a half an hours worth of material into and hour show. I mean there was 3 minutes of unseen content in between the last two commercial breaks. Can I get some show with my advertisements?

8:37: They're back. Chandler asked how he's doing: I'm good, I'm glad I'm here...Anything for a buck.

8:38: "Have you ever thought that your past drug use may have caused permanent damage to your body?" Yes - true. Who cares.

8:40: Have you ever had a sexual fantasy about a friends wife?" Yes - true. What if it was a dream? That question seemed loaded.

8:42: "Have you ever had sexual relations with any of your wife's sisters?

Commercial break.

He's dated two of them, doesn't that depend on what the definition of is is? This show may be getting too stupid for my taste. Also if you're scoring at home, that's 8 minutes of commercials for 9 minutes of programming not including the commercial break we're currently engaged in. And that is with a minute at the opening of each segment to remind us what happened previously and a minute at the end of each segment to tease future content.

8:47: They're back. Let's give'em a minute to recap.

8:48: A: No - true. So the point if moot, I maintain that question was bullshit.

8:50: Have you ever had sex with any of your friends wives?

Commercial Break

I feel like Fox is really bending me over during this show. Network television's really gonna squeeze every last drop out of interest in their programming as fast as possible aren't they.

8:53: Another minute to recap.

8:54: Slimy host asks Chandler's wive if she has any idea what the answer is going to be. She says no. A: Yes - true (audience applauds, wife cries, Chandler wins $100,000).

He decides to call it quits and "go home with the money he has." It's not so much that he is leaving with the final shread of dignity that he has, it's that he is leaving with one strand less than the full compliment of anti-dignity.

Show ends, clips from future shows, then a flash of the production company called "Lighthearted entertainment".

I've seen the devil and it has FOX in the lower right hand corner.

Friday, March 7, 2008

The Motes: A story of Redemption

The one year anniversary of this blog passed fittingly without a post. I’m learning a new language so that I can start a new blog and post irregularly in Spanish.

I sent an email to a friend yesterday that highlighted a growing concern of mine. Last May I wrote a story on Starbucks and realized when I typed "Starbucks" into Microsoft Word it underlined the word – as incorrectly spelled – if it was not capitalized, but when it was capitalized the word was not underlined. Then while emailing my friend on Microsoft’s Outlook program I wrote this passage: I remember going to Wikipedia (btw Outlook automatically capitalizes Wikipedia when you type it in - the corporatization of the world has implications beyond the upper-casing of proper nouns but this is symptomatic)

Even as I type this on blogger when I write "Microsoft" the word is underlined if not capitalized – what the fuck?! Leave me alone you gigantic multinational conglomerates – you may own the clothes I wear, the television I watch, the soap I use, the car I drive, the food I eat, the land I walk on, my dog, the computer I use, the phone I talk on, the debt I’ve accumulated, the girl I sleep with, the chair I’m sitting in, the website I’m posting on, the news I read, the social networking sites I stalk people on, the alcohol I drink, and probably even the other substances I consume, but you don’t own me.

On another note, the aforementioned dog, The Motes, has made a miraculous comeback from the retardation that her epileptic seizures had induced. Cheers to The Motes, I'm so proud of you. Aw da Motes!

I’ll be back on Sunday with thoughts on the Plug Awards®

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dear Texas and Ohio,

Please stop voting.

Yours truly,

America (and every other country in the world)