Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Bush: The Pot Calling the Kettle Black

I think this is the best example of brazen audacity I've encountered recently. Especially after his OWN performance these last six years. Perhaps we should follow his advice and link his salary to his performance. (Where would Jenna get her drinking money then? Who would pay for Laura's hideous polyester caboose-accentuating pantsuits?)

It figures, though: now that his approval ratings are in the sewer, all of his neo-conservative buddies have basically thrown him to the wolves, and he won't benefit by sucking their asses anymore, he's decided to play the "grown-up" and exhort everyone to live up to their responsibilities.

The trouble is, coming from him, it's too good a joke not to laugh at...

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What?! Are You F*cking Kidding Me??

So let me get this straight...T.R. Knight is the victim of an ugly verbal assault by a knuckle-dragging, hotheaded bigot on the set of his show. THEN he's victimized AGAIN after the Golden Globes when said asshole REPEATS the slur that he "didn't" use (nice try, by the way)...and now T.R. is going to quit the show??

What. Ever.

Bush is in my hometown today... I won't be going down to visit anytime soon. At least until it airs out.

Monday, January 29, 2007

We'll Dance on Your Grave!

Does anybody else find this a tad morbid? I mean, I know we don't like the guy, but geez...!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

"Hello, this is God speaking..."

I did laundry today and accidentally washed my cigarettes because I'd forgotten to clean out my pockets last night when I came home. Cigarettes are expensive. Maybe this is God's way of telling me I should quit (because the shortness of breath and stinky clothes aren't enough...?).


In other news, "Caged Dames" opened this weekend, and the cast is fantastic! Our audiences have enjoyed it thoroughly. The new song ("Boostin'") is great, as are all the changes made to the script. Andra's using the electronic keyboard now, so she can be more creative with the sounds than she could with the piano. Our new Mary (Abigail Trabue) is doing a great job and Annie Gloyn (Trixie and typist/guard) has taken over the roles very nicely. I sort of miss her Aggie the prison snitch (the malicious glint in her eyes as she repeated Mary's letter from her mother was a fond memory of mine...along with the towel she always had wrapped around her head), but this one lets her sing and dance more...


Big Girls rehearsal yesterday was productive, if not completely amicable. I wasn't able to tape the rough vocal demo, but I did bring the recorder with me, and just sang it roughly while the rhythm section banged it out for the first time so Tracy could hear it and play around with melody ideas. We also started working on four other new ones, so it was pretty productive. Towards the end of rehearsal, disputes arose over the chord progression of a new song, and it started getting pretty acrimonious (not uncommon for the person who actually flared up, sadly). So we decided to end it for the week. The "flare-up" person stormed out without saying goodbye (just as well, because I would have said something in return, and it wouldn't have been goodbye).

But these things happen periodically and we just move on (I made a point of telling the others that if it began happening more frequently, I was cashing in my chips. I won't put up with that kind of shit in my free time. Period. I hope they pass it along to the "flarer-upper").


Super Bowl next week! I don't really give a shit...

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Out-FOXing the Enemy...

It looks like CNN and Fox News are bringin' it on...

So this report comes out talking about Barack Obama's childhood education at a madrassa in Indonesia, and everyone's gonna think he's a terrorist, since madrassas are often associated with the teaching of extreme Islamist beliefs...

Fox News says that this report was commissioned by Obama's rival for the 2008 Dem spot, Hillary Clinton. Well, actually Fox didn't say it first; Insight magazine, which has an incestuous relationship with the ultraconservative Washington Times, said it first. And so compellingly: when called on the carpet as to the veracity of their reporting, they stood by the report, saying that "sources close to the Clinton warroom" confirmed its truth. What sources would those be? The ladies who come and fill the coffee urns? Sorry, unless you can give me names, I ain't giving you my trust. Oh yeah, and both Clinton and Obama denied the rumors, calling them "irresponsible."

And now CNN and Fox News are taking the gloves off. Fox gets higher ratings, but CNN claims that its reporting is more thorough and credible, as they sent a reporter to the madrassa in question, which turned out to have no affliation with religious teachings. They also made a few snide comments about Fox's reporting techniques, hinting, perhaps at their predilection for reporting scurrilous second-hand rumors from another steaming Republican manhole. Fox's spokeswoman, Irena Briganti, responded by calling it "yet another cry for attention from the Paris Hilton of television news, Anderson Cooper."

See, Irena, I have two problems with that. First of all, Anderson Cooper doesn't have to cry for anyone's attention--they pretty much give it to him because he's a hottie, albeit a smirking one. Your camp doesn't have a whole lotta hotties, except maybe Sean Hannity, who also smirks a lot, and since he was rumored to be banging Ann Coulter, that casts his judgment into some serious, serious doubt. (Oh, whoops, there we go with the "rumor" thing! Goodness, it's tempting isn't it?)

Second, the very fact that you respond to a professional criticism with a base personal insult pretty much confirms that the criticism was valid. One can't turn Fox News on without catching some sour-faced, jowly right-wing pundit whose milk of magnesia clearly hasn't kicked in. Sure, you have higher ratings. You have them for the same reason Jerry Springer and "Dynasty" got great ratings: people like a great catfight or, failing that, an entertaining loon. Who doesn't love a great kook? It's more compelling than "America's Funniest Videos." And you get to watch people call each other names!

But at the end of the day, do people really believe you? I think not. If they did, you wouldn't be so desperate and angry. (You could solve that by not hitching your wagon to a fading star next time.)

This time, let's please demand more from our mainstream media than just a pile of warmed-over shit. Better yet, find other sources of news--on both sides. It takes some culling and "separating wheat from chaff" as far as the facts go, but you can get good information from the hegemony among them (that is, the facts that they all agree on).

The good news about all this is that at least Clinton and Obama do not appear to be clawing at each other's throats over this. They seem to be following the accepted rules of dignified competition.

Of course, look where it got our candidates last time.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Heat Is On!

Well, not literally, of course. It's winter. And the theatre, where "Caged Dames" (the remount!) opens tomorrow night, is not heated. In fact, it's colder than a well-digger's ass (however cold that might be). The band is sitting next to the back fire exit door, too, which is NOT insulated and where you could safely store meat without risk of spoilage. But we're getting used to it...

Speaking of opening, it's hard to believe it's almost upon us...the time since the holidays (and "Rudolph") has really flown by. I can't imagine what it's been like for the actors in the show, who've been in rehearsal for the last several weeks already (even though it's almost all the same cast, except for one, there were some rewrites and timing things that changed, so I'm sure it's different from what they were used to before).

But tech week is always a bitch, and this one is no many cues for the stage manager and lighting director to work out, staging the finale (which almost always has to be done during tech, because that's about the first time you can get into the space). Add the hectic schedule to the shitty weather and, needless to say, tempers get frayed. Last night was especially touchy, and a few people snapped at each other a few times. But that's pretty normal when things get crazy just before opening, and after all, it comes from caring! If everyone didn't want a terrific show, people wouldn't be so passionate...

And it's going to be a terrific show! Last night's run-through (when we finally got to it) was pretty fucking terrific. The new bits and the music changes are terrific, too. There's still time to get your tickets for tomorrow's opening, so be sure to reserve them now!


In other news, Big Girls is spending the next few weekends learning new songs and preparing to record our first CD (besides the demo we did a year ago). I've got one more composition called "Johnny Johnny" (which I've written and re-written about 6 times), which I just sent charts out to the other members a few days ago. I need to sit down with my keyboard and bang out a simple demo with a tape recorder so Tracy can hear the vocals. I have not done this yet. I may have to do it tomorrow night after "Caged Dames" opening. Rehearsal is Saturday, so I need to do that soon...fortunately, it should be an easy song to learn.

So, my weekend days are full of Big Girls and my weekend nights are full of "Dames." Who knew a fag would have so many women in his life?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You Make Me Feel Like...Throwing a Tantrum!

70's popster Leo Sayer makes a dramatic exit from England's "Big Brother 5"...and all because of underwear.

Also featured in this clip is actor Dirk Benedict, formerly of "Battlestar Galactica." Who actually looks pretty damned good, except for his unnaturally dark dyed hair. He seems wonderfully amused by Leo's tantrum as he eats his macrobiotic food...but he is kind enough to offer Leo some of his own underwear! And who could resist such an offer? Well, Leo for one, who is apparently not won over by the prospect of sharing Starbuck's skivvies. He proceeds to break the door open with a broom handle and a tense confrontation with security and production staff ensues...

Geez, I can't believe I had crushes on these guys when I was a kid...

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Where Have All the Parents Gone...?

Dear Annoying Little Kid in Line in Front of Me at the Grocery Store Tonight:

I realize that while your mom is chatting on her cell phone--loudly and at length--about her upcoming pap smear, and not really paying attention to what you're doing, it must be an irresistible temptation to pull all the pretty boxes down from the shelves and leave them in a big pile in the middle of the aisle.

Please don't do that. Why, you ask? Well, for one thing, it makes it impossible for the rest of us (who are keeping our lips zipped and minding our own goddamned business--oops! I swore in front of a child) to make our way around and make our purchases.

For another thing, well, those things just aren't yours to play with. See, the way the store works is this: if you want to own something there, you pick it up and, in a very orderly fashion, put it in your basket or cart. You take it to the cashier, give him or her some money, and presto! the item is yours. And you can then take it home and step on it, open it and smear it with boogers or just scatter it around like you were doing tonight. But not until you've gotten it out of the store!

And when you're in line in that cashier's lane, and your mother (who by this time, has called yet another nameless, faceless girlfriend--they sound interchangeable, really--and is gabbling on about the shoes she bought at Payless), notices you playing with the conveyor belt and actually interrupts her conversation to tell you to stop, it would behoove you to do so. (Why she didn't notice all your other antics--in the produce aisle, in the meat department, and in the snack aisle--well, we'll just chalk up to slight absent-mindedness. Or a single-minded mission to find just the right shampoo for her--er, shall we say--unique highlights. Or just plain apathy. But at least she did finally notice and react. For a while there, I thought she was a Stepford Wife-in-Training. No, scratch that: they'd never let her dress like that.)

It was pretty plucky of you to smile right at her and keep doing it after she grabbed your hand and said no. You little dickens, you! Do you think you're just so darned cute you can get away with it? Are you autistic? Or are you just hopped up on sugar from all the Capri Sun she gives you to slurp down while she's painting her toenails? In any event, you're lucky you were with her and not with me. Because if I told you not to do something and you did it right in front of me, brazenly daring me to respond, you'd learn, quickly and painfully, how swiftly I do. To the detriment of your derierre. If I'd done that to my mom, I wouldn't have sat for a week.

Also, if you were mine, I'd limit your fluid intake to water, chilled green tea and the occasional barley water. Just because I can. You'd have brussels sprouts and lima beans every goddamned meal, too. Just for shits and giggles, and your regularity. Oh, and your favorite stuffed toy? Going to Goodwill. What do you need it for? You have a loving parent and shouldn't have to transfer your affections that way...

***scene shimmers and dissolves amid dreamy vibraphone music***

Oh! Goodness me, I got carried away with my reveries! I don't want to cause you too much misery, so we'll cut this vignette short before we get to the daily doses of castor oil. But I'm sure that I'm overreacting, anyway.

Because I'm charitably hoping that your mother isn't always as lackadaisical as she was tonight. I'm sure that, when she's not busy shopping at Walgreen's for Scuncis that match her pedal-pushers and crop-tops, she must lay down the law. She must get some tips from Judge Judy. (No beauty tips, though, please: the world can't take yet another woman who looks like Leonard Nimoy.)

If she doesn't, then I wish you good luck in school and in life, kid. You'll need it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Sometimes I Wonder If I'm Ever Gonna Make It Home Again...

Sweet Jesus, who am I?? What is this thing with the screen and the keys? What is that furry creature walking around in my kitchen drinking out of a bowl...?

Exaggeration aside, I really DIDN'T think I'd ever get home tonight...I had a half-day training seminar at Cantigny in Wheaton, and we got done a little after 5:00. I knew it would take forever to get home, especially with the snow, but I'd forgotten how long forever is when you don't have a car stereo that works anymore (my speakers are shorted out and only play when I hit bumps--then stop when I hit the next bump. I'd get them fixed, but I haven't gotten around to it). Also, it's a cassette player, and I don't have any really hip music on cassette, except for the CDs I've dubbed.

I also had to get gas on the way home, so I stopped at a BP station, and accidentally slammed the seatbelt buckle in the door. So I opened it again, pulled the buckle out, noticed the clasp of the door was up (where the catch is) and, thinking it wasn't supposed to be, pushed it down. Then the door wouldn't shut and I panicked. Remembering the last time this happened to me (1997), and what the man at the dealer said when I called and querulously demanded that they come tow it in and fix it, I held the door handle up as I slammed it. It worked in 1997.

It did not work tonight. I tried about six times. Just as I started to well and truly panic, I reached down and pulled the clasp back up and open as a last resort. Lo and behold, the door shut fine.

I supposed if I hadn't pissed away a good 20 minutes doing all of that, I would have gotten home earlier. It still would have taken two hours, though. (On a related note, why is Mannheim Road so popular? It's not like it's pretty or must have taken 15 minutes just to crawl past that exit...)

I parked five blocks could have been LOTS worse.


Big Girls did not meet with the photographer last night as planned. Tracy sent an e-mail out yesterday morning saying that since she hadn't heard back from us, she was just going to cancel. ??????? We weren't aware we were supposed to respond! We just assumed that we were to meet there and she would be sending the address out. I called her on her cell and talked to her, and she said we'd schedule something for after next week. She sounded like she had a cold, and she's been stressed out, too, so it's probably as well to wait a bit. Also, it's a few more days for me not to have to worry about how to hide behind something (I'd so much rather be heard and not seen...this is why so many people worked in radio!).

Have a marvy evening, all...stay warm!!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Grown, but not spread...and other news

Let me take a minute to first thank all of you (both of you? all three of you? :-)) for your positive thoughts and prayers during my mom's tests. She talked to her oncologist today, and although the scans had shown the lymph nodes to be larger and a few more to be involved than there were, the PET scan showed no metastasis (spreading) anywhere. So my and your prayers were answered! He's going to put her on a different medication now, which he thinks will keep it back in check and send her cancer marker numbers back down. There are also other options, which made me very happy to hear.

Thanks again for your good thoughts!


Now, to put on the Ingrate Hat: I just saw this bunch of bullshit in the Yahoo! News. Why does it not surprise me that President Bush is now blaming the Iraqis for the botched executions over there? It should come as no shock that while he's trying to plug his big troop buildups over there, he will find any scapegoat to blame for the continued messes that keep an ever-wisening American public* from supporting his policies. Could it be that maybe, beneath the laughable, cocky, swaggering bravado (that he apparently studied by watching reruns of CHIPS), he's realizing that he's not as omnipotent as he'd like to be, no matter how many places he sends Condi Rice to scowl across the table and flash her beady little teeth to try and intimidate foreign diplomats?

Whatever the reason, it's disgusting arrogance for him to pretend that these executions weren't his most fervent wish, however they were carried out. To expect us to believe it is the highest disrespect to our intelligence, and is an insult to every teacher who ever lived or taught for even two seconds (which latter condition even qualifies his glassy-eyed, mottled mess of a wife.)

* What the hell took so long??

Big Girls Eat Cake in Front of a Photographer!

We're meeting with a photographer in Pilsen tomorrow night to come up with ideas for a shoot for our CD cover. Yes, folks, it's really happening! Tracy's got dates scheduled for recording and everything. I know I'll do my best to get the songs right in as few takes as possible (I know with Flesh Hungry Dog, we did it in two takes or less, so concentration is the key--even if you get the flu the next day from all the stress! :-))

Chow for now! (I know that's not the correct Italian way to spell it, but I did it on purpose--comeandgetme!)

I would like to thank--uh, who? and other news

So I've just been absorbing the Golden Globes...first off, it's nice to see some of the folks I've been hearing about--incessantly--win some awards and make some speeches. Even if they didn't expect to make them. Now, I must say, I was pretty pissed off about 9:30 when they said, "Local girl Jennifer Hudson wins big at the Golden Globes," prompting ME to say, "What the hell?? You just ruined the surprise! They haven't", then slowly realizing that, perhaps, they HAD announced it--at the beginning of the show--and we had missed it because we were watching the end of "The Illusionist," which my friend had Dell had rented. (Great flick, by the way. Dirk, you were right on with this one.) Ah, well, the one speech I'd hoped to watch, and I missed it. Well, YouTube, here I come...

A few observations on the show itself, with apologies to those who will no doubt cover the sartorial aspects of the production:

Forest Whitaker: Dude, did you not think you had a chance of winning? You were nominated, you're a fucking powerhouse actor...go to the fucking men's room, grab some toilet paper and start scribbling that speech...even so, your humility says a lot about the quality of your character. Kudos to you. And many more!

Tom Hanks: Okay, cute intro. Yeah, we get it--Warren Beatty was most promising newcomer in *da da da DAHMMMM* 1962. Got it! Nnnnnnnext! Show the montage and get the hell off the stage. Thankyew!

Warren: Yeah, Tom didn't leave you much time, did he? Well, even so...make the most of it. "Succinct" is your new magic word. Rambling will start those nasty Alzheimers rumors, and you don't want that. Nice shout-out to Jack, Dustin and the others, though...sure sign of a class act.

Jennifer Hudson: Honey, you won! It's OK to smile a little...Beyonce didn't take home no statue, did she? Talent still counts for something--among the foreign press, at least...

What happened to the song from "Bobby?" You know, the one that Aretha Franklin and Mary J. Blige were up for? Not even mentioned, as far as I saw. And after the cute interview with Aretha that I heard on NPR this morning, where Aretha said she'd "love, hug, and kiss" a Golden Globe if she won. Guess they didn't get it. Unless maybe it was another that was announced before we tuned in...but I doubt it. Talent can only count for SO MUCH in this, our commercially-driven, finger-perpetually poised down the throat media world we live in...

No clothing comments...I won't even get started on that. I will say that Felicity Huffman's look was much less anorexic than last year's ceremony. America Ferrara was a breath of fresh air, and such a sweetheart...I look forward to seeing much more from her.

The whole thing ended at 10:00PM, and I was most ready to turn in...I'll look forward to the corporate travesty that is the Oscars real soon.


In other news, Big Girls Eat Cake is on the radio! Well, podcasting, anyway. Tracy, our singer, and Terry, our bassist appeared on the Feast of Fools podcast this week talking about the evolution of our band, the origins of our name, our CD plans, etc. My name is not mentioned on air, but is in the online show notes. They even called me "incomparable." (I was the Feast of Fools live show drummer for a while in 2004. That's how I met all these great folks!)

Later, folks...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Moms and other stuff...

My mom called the other night and left me a message that her scans came back and her doctor thinks that her current medication might be failing now and he might need to put her on something else.

I should explain: my mom has breast cancer. In her lung, which is pretty unusual. She first had it in 1994 and went through the chemo, etc., and was in remission for 10 years. Then, three years ago, she developed what she thought was bronchitis--it didn't clear up, so they upgraded it to pneumonia. The anti-biotics didn't help much, so she had the lung drained. Then it filled again. When they drained it again, Mom asked them to do a lab test on it, and after a biopsy, it was discovered that the cancer had come back. My aunt called me from the hospital (I had just gotten to work, having taken a half day off to record vocals for the "Flesh Hungry Dog" CD--a fact which makes me almost laugh now...). She'd clearly been crying and I was numb. It was like deja vu--I remember going numb when Mom first got her diagnosis in 1994, too.

I took the next few days off work and drove down to Peoria to be with them. Mom was doing pretty well and surrounded by friends and my aunt and uncle. She stayed in the hospital for three more days (to recover from the biopsy surgery), while I stayed with my aunt and uncle. She stayed with them as well, while she recovered, and I always had a nice time visiting with them.

It felt strange the second time she got her diagnosis. The first time, I was so much younger and had that strange sort of optimism that we carry around as a talisman in our youth, and which, somehow seems to work. This time, however, I felt useless, defeated, overwhelmed and old. So many things in my life were going wrong (at least in my view), and I didn't think I could take one more thing. And I thought, "How can I be her support when I feel like this?"

And that's when I learned that when you concentrate on someone else's crises, your own don't just seem to diminish--they actually do. They're like plants, really--if you don't water them with your anxiety, they wither up and, if not die, at least shrink. Of course, the problems themselves may not disappear, but when you take the urgency and anxiety away, what's really left? I wish I could say that I took that lesson to heart from then on and never let little problems affect me again, but you'd know better--hell, look at the blog! But slowly I keep learning.

Now I'm not as worried about Mom as I was three years ago. We've learned so much more about the cancer itself, and so many new drugs have been developed, that as long as there's something that works for her, the cancer becomes something to manage, almost like diabetes. Hopefully, if they do change her medicine, the next thing they give her will shrink it--so far, it's just been sort of "frozen" and stopped. Her life has really improved, too. She finally sold her dreadful, falling-apart, fixer-upper-that-never-got-fixed-up-because-we-didn't-have-the-money house and moved to a two-bedroom apartment back in our old hometown. I should mention that she's always worked, too. She just plugs right along. I hope I'm like her in a way! She says she thinks I am, especially in the sarcasm department...:-)

So, any good thoughts/prayers are appreciated if you'd care to throw them our way! The management thanks you.


In other news, I still haven't heard from the property manager about my wall. He's contacting plumbers to see who can give us the best rate and come out, so I'll just expect to hear when I hear. Ironically, the water is no longer leaking out of the wall, and it's totally dry now. But of course, if I let it go and paint over, it'll leak again!


Big Girls has a gig tomorrow night (January 12) at 9:00PM at Underground Lounge (Newport just east of Clark Street). We're playing for about 45 minutes to an hour. Fun shit! $7 cover (there are other bands playing also).

More later!

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Do I Look Like ANY of These People? I Didn't Think So...and other news

I nicked yet another cool little tidbit from the MySpace page of one of my fellow Handbag newbies, Trish Austin. It's from the MyHeritage website, which specializes in genaeology, and archiving old photos, etc. They have a cool tool which supposedly takes one of your photos and finds celebrities that match.

Well, I couldn't resist. I wondered to myself, "Will I get Glen Campbell again?" I posted the photo of yours insincerely that appears on my profile here. I thought perhaps I'd get Michael J. Pollard or something. My jaw was slackened by the results:

I'm sorry, on what planet do I even remotely resemble Ava Gardner? And Janice Dickinson?? Puh-fucking-leeze! I hooted out loud at Reiko Aylesworth and Natalie Portman. I don't know who Norman Reedus is...not a bad looking fellow, really. And of course, I'll take Cary Grant without reservation...


In other news, I'm baggy-eyed, drop-dead tired...Big Girls has had two gigs in the last two weeks, and they've both been late-nighters. There's another one booked for Friday, although the organizers keep fucking with the schedule, and there's a slight possibility we'll drop out. (Personally, I hope not, because it would be a 9:00PM show, we'd be done before 10:00, and I could get back North in time to do my real going out. We shall see...)

I also discovered a spot of water damage on my bathroom wall. Terrific. The paint was bubbled, so I knew there was dampness underneath. I peeled the paint off to see where it was coming from (I'd have to redo the paint, anyway), and noticed that the damp is coming through the plaster in one small spot. Nowhere else is affected. So I'm thinking it must be a leak in a pipe coming from upstairs, or from the boiler. This would be good news, since the association would have to pay for the damage and it wouldn't come out of my pocket. However, the only real expense would be getting to and fixing the pipe, which is why I hope it's a "common area problem." The damage repair itself won't take much; probably just patching the plaster and painting over it (actually, I'm going to repaint it myself with a cool light seafoam green color I've been wanting for years...might as well get what I want!).

Anyway, I'll have to contact the association president to see how to go about getting it looked at...more later!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

How Mysterious Am I?

I once again pilfered this survey from David Cerda, who in turn pilfered it from Brigitte Ditmars. God, we're a creative bunch! See if you can guess (or even give a shit about) these factoids about Aaron:

Create your own friendquiz here