Friday, November 30, 2007

Black Lips Black Lips Black Lips!!!

I don't know what's going on lately, but there are a ton of good shows to see. Last week, Ariel Pink, and now tonight - The Black Lips!!!! For those who don't know, The Black Lips are one of very few truly awesome local bands here in Atlanta. More on my musings on the local music scne at another time, since I don't really have any time today to write due to being late which was due to Sophia being sick - well, symptom-free but showing bad stuff in her pee and needing blood work blah blah blah. Long story short, worrying, expensive, and stealing my lunch and other free time from me here at work.

Anyway, the most important thing to know about The Black Lips is that they are CRAZY, like crazier than Krazee Glue and Crazy Eddie and Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson all put together. They were banned for a long time from playing live anywhere in Atlanta, and in several NYC venues as well, and they only recently played their first post-ban show in Atlanta and that was at the Claremont Lounge, a famously seedy strip club where 200 pound women crush beer cans between their boobs, amongst other low-rent delights. Apparently their good bahvior on Letterman and at South by Southwest, and semi-good behavior at the Siren festival (they had a chicken running around on stage with them - his name is Popcorn - maybe he will be there tonight).

The point is I am excited. Here's the video for "Katrina". I'd like to put some live footage up instead but I can't really peruse it at work since they are naked/throwing up/a little of both in a lot of it. Keep your fingers crossed for nudity, barf, and, hopefully, Popcorn! And especially keep your fingers crossed that Sophia is okay.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Russ's Collage du Jour

Could This Ever Happen Again?

I've been working on collages all morning. It's a strange process because, although the end result is often funny, the images I'm working with are generally pretty fucked up. I mostly manage to stay pretty cool and detached and logical during the process - if I didn't I would never get anything done. You just can't burst into tears at every single photo and accomplish anything, you know? However, I am not a robot, and it's always interesting to see which images get to me on a given day and why. Today I have been looking at concentration camps, African civil wars, floods, Vietnam...the usual. Every once in a while I have stopped and thought a little bit more about certain photos, but this one is the first one that really got to me today. This photo was taken by Ed Clark and appeared in Life magazine on April 17, 1945 (my grandfather's 28th birthday, and, I believe, the last one he spent fighting in World War II). The picture has a cool story and here it is:

"In Warm Springs, Ga., 50 photographers and newsreel cameramen jostled for a shot as the hearse carrying Franklin D. Roosevelt's body headed to the train station.

Suddenly, Life magazine photographer Ed Clark heard the strains of "Goin' Home," a favorite song of FDR's, being played on the accordion. Turning, he saw Navy bandsman Graham Jackson playing the tune, his face showing anguish and tears streaming down his cheeks.

"I thought, 'My God! What a picture,' " Clark said. "I took three or four shots with my Leica, hoping that nobody else noticed."

No one did. Clark's exclusive photograph took up a full page in the April 17, 1945, issue of Life, which was devoted to Roosevelt's death. The picture came to symbolize a nation's grief."

The reason this picture made me stop working and start crying is because it made me think of how far we've come as a nation from that moment. The thought of all those people of different backgrounds coming together and being so upset for the death of George Bush is laughable. It would never happen. The question is, could it ever happen again with any president, or is this image a product of a more innocent, less fractured time? Would Bill Clinton's death spark this type of emotion? I don't know if anyone's could. I have only been really sad and emotional about one public figure's death - George Harrison. But the only time I have experienced shared emotion on the scale that this photo depicts is on September 11 and the few days following. Is that what it takes these days? Sadly, I think the answer is probably yes.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Russ Senior is So Fucking Cool

Usually there are no names or faces on this blog but this is too cool to not post. Russ Senior has been attending Rock n Roll Fantsay Camp for a few years now -he's benn to LA, NYC, and now Vegas - and has become a true rock star. The man who once entertained Russ by hesitantly playing "Wish You Were Here" and "Fly By Night" over and over (and over) again on the guitar has evolved into a confident and extremely competent bass player with style and stage presence. He's also widened his appreciation of rock n roll in its many forms - no longer just classic and progressive - even enjoying a bass clinic with Dave Ellefson of Megadeth! But perhaps the most satisfying thing of all so far has been watching Russ Senior play "Paradise City" with Slash. I'll post a link to this when I'm back on my PC at work (damn you, Safari). It's so cool because I was fairly obsessed with Guns n Roses when I was about 12 years old. I made my fellow residents of Cabin Lakeside at Camp Keystone in Brevard, North Carolina dress up and perfrom "Welcome to the Jungle" at the summer camp talent show (I was Axl). I had cats named Axl and Izzy and a rabbit named Mr. Brownstone. So you can imagine how tickled I am by the above photo and why I need to break the unspoken blog rules and post it. Rock on, Russ Senior!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Among the Most Bizarre and Satsifying Things I Have Ever Seen

Okay, real quick, because I think I am the only person who cares. The Ariel Pink show was FUCKING OUT OF CONTROL. They played with Cass McCombs and did one set of Ariel stuff with Cass on stage with them and then a second set of Cass stuff with Ariel on stage. I guess the majority of the band was Ariel's usual band. First of all, he is seriously TINY. He looks like a tiny little pocket monkey. As in, he looks like a monkey and you could fit him in your pocket easily. I was expecting tall and lanky for some reason. Also he is very scrunched up and intenese and tense looking in the shoulders. He is cute though. REALLY greasy hair. The band were cool - the bassist looked exactly like Chainsaw from Summer School (what are eggs?) and one of the guitarists who was also the main tamborine dude looked more like Rod/Todd Flanders then any human being I have ever seen. Anyway so they finally get started and it's like this wall of sound, Phil Spector style, beautiful 60s jangly guitars, very Byrds and Beach Boys but also very disco and new wave but just super intense. Wall of sound is the best I can do. It was so weird because his stuff is so lo fi when you listen to the recordings but this was probably among the fullest, most beautiful sound I have ever heard. It seriously got inside of me and came out of my ears and nose. Bunches and my two friends who joined me, who ranged from skeptical to hadn;t ever heard of him, were all really impressed, so it wasn't just me and my weird Ariel Pink obsession. His voice is amazing. His pants kept falling down. Dude is definitely WEIRD but charming in a tiny greasy way. He seemed really different from his videos and interviews though.

So they played about 8 songs and then announced they were taking a break and having a drink and smoke and coming back out to play more. Well, they came back out and it was tte biggest about face I have ever witnessed, a total 180. It was chaos - totla disarray, amps getting blown out, and when they finally got a song underway, Ariel was standing there with his guitar while Cass was singing, and I guess he was supposed to sing too, but he just kind of scooted the guitar around so that he could rest his chin on it and nodded the fuck off. Seriously, I haven't seen anyone that smacked out since I woke myself up to catch my reflection in my knife at a dinner party at a Portugese restaurant in Newark in 1997 and thought "Damn, I gotta stop doing this shit. I 'm acting like Boy George at Live Aid!" (I did stop, fyi. A long time ago, so there.) Yeah, it was nuts. He fell asleep right there on stage. I felt like I had been magically transported back to the 90s. I mean, who the fuck is still doing heroin??? In 2007??? He managed to shake it off a little but it was obvious that things were only going to get worse and Cass was kind of dull after Ariel (okay, really dull but that is a hard act to follow). So 5 stars for the first half and 4 for the second, but the second set of stars is awarded according to different criteria, like being scarily fucked up.

Oh and the crowd was probably the weirdest I have ever seen. This shit made a Danielson Famile show seem like the American Music Awards.

Silly cat photo starring Mimi

Mimi had surgery last week! Here she is modeling her soft Elizabethan collar. She told me she'll save it for when she's finally fed up with Brooklyn and with me. She plans to run off and become a circus clown. I hate to lose her but she does seem suited to the carny lifestyle.

Eau de Brooklyn

Allow me to state the obvious. This is NOT what Brooklyn smells like, or at least not where I'm from. Try adding a little beef patty to the mix and you'd get a little closer.

A father-daughter duo created 'Eau de Brooklyn' fragrance line

BY DENISE ROMANO From today's Daily News:
He's a neurologist by day and a perfumer by night.

Emilio Oribe of Boerum Hill and his 10-year-old daughter, Catalina, began experimenting with scented oils in their basement as a fun project, coming up with a fresh scent they call "Eau de Brooklyn."

"I have always been fascinated with how scents bring back memories," Oribe, 52, said. "I started reading about it and set up shop to make some in the basement."

The Oribes made both memories and scents.

Father and daughter went through many different formulas until they came up with one they liked.

"It was refreshing and full of energy," he said, adding that the first form of Eau de Brooklyn was a soap, created two years ago; a spray perfume was released this summer.

"We live in Brooklyn and we love the place, so this is the best name for it," said Oribe, whose practice maintains offices in Manhattan and Queens. "It's uplifting and full of energy, just like the borough."

Eau de Brooklyn's fresh scent has notes of citrus and tea-bergamot. With the help of brother, Nicholas, 8, Catalina created the design on the packaging, using a photograph of flowers from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Even the family cat, Oliver, tested and approved of the smell by sleeping atop a stack of soaps.

"It was a lot of fun, we were lucky to do this," Oribe said, adding that the scents are now manufactured in New Jersey and people with disabilities do the packaging in Astoria.

Brooklyn News asked borough residents if the scent reminded them of home.

"They say trees grow in Brooklyn and it's got this natural smell. It smells like citrus and cinnamon," said Dwayne Walker, 20, of Crown Heights.

Yvonne Waldemar, a doctor from Brooklyn Heights, agreed.

"It reminds me of the Japanese section of the Botanic Garden," she said. "It's kind of like the Orient."

Desmond Eaddy, 26, of Williamsburg, liked its fresh smell.

"Some parts of Brooklyn smell nice and some don't," he said. "It makes me think of the farmer's market at Borough Hall or Prospect Park."

But there are always critics in the brassy borough, and Eau de Brooklyn had its share.

"It smells like the Gowanus Canal," said Joel Slatcher, 73, of Bensonhurst.

For a list of stores that carry Eau de Brooklyn, visit .

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Oscar the Grouch

It’s Tuesday morning, and again I find myself in a mood so foul that it makes Oscar the Grouch look like a fucking Teletubby. However, there is a lining in my day so silver as to blind me every time it catches the sun. Tonight is the Ariel Pink show!!!! Safe to say I am freaking out. Freaking out! This venue is so small it’s nuts. I have visions of sugarplums dancing in my head. The sugarplum vision is of getting there earlier and hanging out and meeting Ariel because I just know that he will be hanging out there doing god knows what, whatever it is that he does. All I know is that he’s such a weirdo and such a nerd that if I go by myself, which it is looking like may be the case, I won’t feel weird or awkward at all and will make friends with him. I’m considering burning a CD of my artwork and giving it to him and telling him to pick one and he can have it.

His sunny SoCal sounds are currently warming my day as I sit at my desk and experience the alienating drudgery of labor (and stick it to the man by writing this).

Ok so here’s Ariel sounding like the Beach Boys. Here’s Ariel sounding like Hall & Oates. Here’s Ariel being uncategorizably bizarre.

I think I may be a little in love with him.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Flip Flopper Says What?

I may be in Georgia now, but I lived in NYC for ten years, most of which were Giuliani years. - I moved there about 5 months prior to the start of Count Chockula's first term. So I was there in 1997, when the Count's semi-sane facade started to crack really badly and the Mussolini-on-the-balcony-esque, unstable megalomaniac started to really show. In other words, it was "Giuliani time."

As most Americans know - and for some reason love - Giuliani "cleaned up" New York, the ultimate symbol of this "cleaning up" being Times Square, which transformed rather rapidly from the candy colored, transsexual prostitute-studded wonderland of Travis Bickle's day into something resembling Epcot center, complete with an Olive Garden. In other words, safe for civilization! What people who didn;t live in NYC failed to realize was that the transformation of Times Square was in fact part of a protracted series of battles in NY courts over zoning laws and the sex industry - and that Giuliani was not completely victorious. Although he was able to manipulate the judiciary to bend almost completely to his will in banishing legal sex workers and adult businesses (eg peep shows and x-rated bookstores) to the dustiest and most vacant of neighborhoods (most notably the apocalyptically industrial strech of Brooklyn's 3rd avenue that runs under the BQE), the courts stopped short of full compliance, allowing several adult-orineted businesses that carried a certain amount of non-adult merchandise to stay where they were. Well, the Count was PISSED. Like, psychotically pissd. The only other time I heard him this pissed was when Margarita Rosario, mother of police shooting victim Anthony Rosario, confronted the Count on his weekly call-in show with the facts she had uncovered regarding the cover-up of the monumental fuck up that led to her son's unjust death (I recommend everyone see the documentary about this case, "Unjustifiable Homicide," which features this phone call and will seriously scare the bejeesus out of you. He is a fucking psycho, and the way he talks to Margarita Rosario is proof). The Count was so pissed that he took to the airwaves and asked all concerned New Yorkers to take to the streets and photograph the patrons of these adult businesses as they entered and/or left the premises (my best friend and I promptly spent the day photographing each other waving and smiling as we entered sex shop after sex shop). He said that if the courts would not close these businesses, ehw ould shame their customers away and force them to close by default.

So tonight I come home and read about how the Count has promised to appoint conservative judges. Here are some excerpts from the AP:

"In a speech marking the 25th anniversary of the Federalist Society, Giuliani spelled out a conservative legal agenda in which he cited Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts as models for the judges he would appoint to the federal bench.

He contended that Democrats Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards, as president, would select judges who were 'activists and try to legislate social policy.'

'We're seeking to find judges who understand the very, very important concept that judges exist to interpret the law, not to invent the law,' he said."

Nice. So let me get this straight - the guy who refused to accept a strictly constructed ruling of the NY bench on zoning laws and went so far as to attempt to circumvent it through a smear campaign of businesses deemed legally entitled to operate in their locations - this guy is now preaching about "inventing the law?" Where is that guy who followed Kerry around dressed as a giant flip flop? We are gonna need him this time aroud.

Russ's Collage du Who Knows What Jour

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Precipitation Update, Part 2

Okay, it rained a little last night. See you in church! Just kidding. But seriously, I'm glad it rained and also very glad that Governor Perdue Chicken out the prayer thing in the context of praying for god's forgiveness for not taking care of the earth. No new conservation measures were announced, which I'm sure god would have dug, but whatever.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Precipitation Update

Well, it's still not raining here. It is very humid though, so maybe they just did not pray quite hard enough.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lord Have Mercy

Today, Georgia idiot I mean governor Sonny Perdue took advantage of his position as leader of the entire state to grab Georgia’s ongoing drought by the horns and wrestle it to the ground. How, you ask? Through the magic of prayer! You have probably heard about this as it’s exactly the kind of embarrassing stereotype-perpetuating news about the South that gets national media attention. To make matters worse, the sun is currently shining as brightly and strongly as it has done for several weeks now. We need rain so badly that I was willing to suspend my horror/embarrassment/cynicism and hope that Sonny’s multi-faith prayer convention would work – I even optimistically left a bucket on my roof to catch any drops that the Baby Jesus might deign to squeeze out. The rabbis who were invited probably ruined the whole thing by going on the local NPR affiliate this morning to talk about how Jewish folk believe that good stewardship of the earth is a significant part of their faith and that you can’t really ask God to make it rain when you’ve been consistently fucking up the environment with grossly unchecked development for at least as long as I have been in Georgia (since 1980), but hey, they’d show up anyway. I imagine what they really wanted to say was that they would plotz if this bullshit actually worked.

Meanwhile, Senator and professional jackass Johnny Isakson recently proposed another brilliant solution to the drought: suspend the Endangered Species Act in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. A little background: the three smartest and most sophistimacated states in the union basically share a water supply. Moonshine, sweet tea, and sausage gravy, too, but the levels of all of those are just fine, thanks! The supply consists of some specific bodies of water, such as manmade Lake Lanier, about 40 minutes north of Atlanta. Lake Lanier is managed by the Army Corps of Engineers, who are responsible for doling out water to us and our marginally stupider and more backwards neighbors to the west and south. Although each state uses the shared water supply for a variety of purposes, the general consensus is that it’s used mainly by Georgia for drinking water, by Alabammy for industry, and by Florida for…drum roll…endangered species habitat protection. This is because one of the most significant sources of shared water is the Apalachicola River basin, which is located in North Florida and is one of the most important remaining relatively undisturbed wetland habitats in the United States, and home to three officially threatened species and many more that are expected to become threatened or even endangered if water levels are not protected. Senator Isaakson interprets this as putting - to quote The Muppets Take Manhattan – “pigs and chickens and things” before human beings (and Republican senators). So, the point is that Johnny would rather tell the last purple bankclimber mussel or Gulf sturgeon not to let the door hit him on the way out than work to curb the needless overdevelopment of property in Georgia by loosening the vice grip of property developers on local governments, or insist that watering of golf courses be suspended, or implement a plan to temporarily raise taxes in order to subsidize owners of business such as car washes so that they can be shuttered without the risk of going out of business until water levels are back in the black, or eradicate the inefficient septic tanks which Atlanta has more of than any other city in all of North America.

Back to the subject of prayer. The other day at work, a colleague was having a particularly bad day. Various things where going wrong on both the home and business fronts, and most of us knew about it and had commiserated. Now, we currently have a particularly stupid intern-type person working part time in our office. This woman is attending what I like to call Ronald McDonald Law School, a local degree factory which caters to morons willing to pay through the nose for a law degree which will basically ensure their future hiring at nowhere but the most ambulance-chaser-y, yellow pages-advertised of law firms. One of our more odious and self-important legal assistants recently departed our firm to attend this fine institution and has - to my considerable chagrin - been hired repeatedly since then in a part-time intern-y role, bringing with her many fellow self-important and thoroughly deluded fools who she calls classmates. The aforementioned idiot is one of these. Okay, so this idot rolls in and commences with catching up on the latest workplace drama. Shortly thereafter, I see her whisking the aforementioned highly aggrieved co-worker into the single-occupancy executive washroom that is situated directly acros from my work area. A bizarre ruccus proceeded to eminate from said washroom. At first I thought it was the idiot ranting in a self-absorbed manner about some recent drama in her own life, as is usually her practice (although usually done in a public area for all of us to hear), but I soon became aware of such phrases as "guide this child through the wilderness" and "help her to see the light in this time of struggle" and, of course, the big money word - "jesus." It seriously sounded like Jim Bakker was in the executive washroom and I seriously expected tongues to be spoken at any moment. I went and notified my most heretical co-worker and we listened outside the door with our mouths hanging open in abject horror like the satanists that we are.

In closing, lord help THIS poor child through this wilderness in which those around her seem to have gone completely fucking mad and become even more insufferably religious than they already were. Ay-men.

Way Better than a Romney Bumper Sticker

Yesterday (see below) I was in such a fowl mood and my day was so irritating that a Romney bumper sticker constituted the shockingly low high point of my day. Well, today is looking up. It seems that those lovely people at the Criterion Collection are releasing Fassbinder's Berlin Alexanderplatz on DVD today. Berlin Alexanderplatz represents a 15 1/2 hour long hole in my goal of seeing every second every committed to film by my ubermensch R.W. I am fairly obsessed with Fassbinder and readily admit it. Shockingly, I don't think I have really gushed about him much here. I'm going to save that for another time but, in brief, my favorite Fassbinder films (thus far) are Katzelmacher, Mother Kusters Goes to Heaven, Fox and His Friends, and (of course) Ali: Fear Eat Soul (people call this film Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, but the German, "angst essen seele auf", actually translates as "fear eat soul" and is how Ali delivers the line in his poor German). If you have never seen a Fassbinder film, Ali is the holy grail and I recommend you see it. As a tribute to Douglas Sirk's All that Heaven Allows, it is far superior to Todd Haynes's Far from Heaven, and that was a good film but no Ali. Prepare to have your heart taken out and bludgeoned into tiny pieces and then put in a blender and then thrown in your face. But prepare for this feeling to sneak up on you so slowly that at moments you may be quite bored and exasperated with the film's typical self-conscious artificiality. And as with any Fassbinder film, marvel at the fact that he made this pure masterpiece in the span of about five days and was coked, pilled-up, and drunk out of his mind for the duration of the production.

Ok now I am doing what I said I wasn't going to do which is gush. I could write about Fassbinder all day and then all night and then all day again. That's how much I love him. Suffice to say, Fassbinder fans have been waiting a long time for this day. Berlin Alexanderplatz, here I come.

Monday, November 12, 2007

It's a Loretta Lockhorn Day

I was trying to figure out what disgruntled character best matches my frame of mind today. I was originally thinking of that angry Boynton cat with the pissed-off-signifying squiggle over his head, but upon closer self-analysis, I think Loretta Lockhorn works better. The domestic strife is absent, but the heavy lidded reservedness with which she keeps her disdain for all around her barely in check pretty much sums up how I have felt for most of the day. It's just been one of those days where the apathy and philistinism that surround me have really worn me down.

I have had a nagging earache on and off for months now, which can generally be held at bay with Flonase and nasal saline spray. But thanks to a cold that the nasty little non-hand-washing cretins at my office where passing around like Kool-Aid at Jonestown last week, my ear now hurts pretty much constantly. The only thing that works is Affrin, which is more addicitve than crack if used for more than 3 days at a time, and I'm on day two. So I was already in NO MOOD for the atmosphere of idiocy at my workplace, manifested most pungently by the inability of around 25 educated attorneys to discuss anything other than sports (the men) or clothes (the women - see, we can't even defy fucking gender stereotypes). It did not help that there were a bunch of top secret meetings going on with some sort of expensive consultant. I have worked in enough firms to know that most of the time, a consultant could be really awesome, but the firm only hears what they want to hear, never asks for the input of the staff (who often have the best ideas about ways to imporve things - or at least I sure as hell do), and winds up with nothing improved and a bunch of disgruntled staff who know that the firm spent a shitload flying some choad in from Chicago while handing out paltry raises at review time.

It also did not help that the other focus of the day was an orgasmatron-looking single-cup coffee maker sent over for our sampling and potential purchase (again, money very well spent) by Starbucks, along with mini muffins and mini croissants and other modern mini forms of lotus and opium meant to lull us into sweet, sated corporate somnambulism. This may sound innocuous enough, but what really fucking pissed me off is that Starbucks also sent over roughly 350 million paper cups and corrugated sleeves for said cups, which the earth-raping dingbats at my firm dutifully assembled next to the machine. So now, in addition to the paper and plastic cups which everyone had begun filling with caffeine when the day first started, there were Starbucks cups and sleeves all over the place. Here's a solution to a hot cup - get a mug. It has a handle, and you're only going to your desk, you Oryx and Crake-inducing piece of shit. In no mood for such shenanigans, I snuck into the break room during a quiet moment and hid all the cups and sleeves and replaced them with china mugs. Ha. I'm sure people were so confused that they just gave up and held their open mouths under the single serving spout.

I forgot to mention that approximately five minutes after I arrived at work, I was made to assist and calm down a hysterical male divorce client who turned up unannounced in a horrible state trying to file a restraining order against his wife, who he knew for about a month, married, filed for divorce from approximately three months later, and has now spent more time than they were married going through this divorce. I really have no time for people who rush into marriage and are all boo hoo when their wife scratches their door up with her car keys and threatens to call the police making false allegations of rape. I mean, we have celebrities to show us that these premature weddings are a bad idea. Pay attention! Drew Barrymore didn't get married 73 times for herself, you know!

Things started to look up(ish) when I left work and saw two political bumper stickers which I have not seen yet down here. One was Bill Richardson (well, I've seen the Bill Richardson bumper stickers in my trash, but that's it until now) and the other was Mitt Romney. Although I have soured on Richardson since my initial drunken and misguided Romeo-esque window serenading, and would cheerfully shave Romney's head while he slept, for some reason these displays of support for what amount to unusual candidates down here kind of warmed my heart. There's something reassuring in knowing that there are people who have thought about the election enough to not just know about but actually endorse someone other than the Big 3 (Giuliani, Clinton, Obama - I know Romney is popular elsewhere but you don't hear a lot about him down here). After my day of hating all the unengaged fuckwads around me, this cheered me somewhat. Somewhat. Too bad I went to Blockbuster immedialy thereafter and could not find the Danish movie After the Wedding, but could find the place on the wall where 53 copies of I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry would have been had they not all been snatched up by people who apparently have either not a single lone brain cell in their heads or no sense of shame, or both. I would like to think that all 53 copies were at the homes of Queer Theory PhD candidates, serving as research for various theses on the representation of homosexuality in the mainstream media, but I doubt this is the case.

It is indeed a grey, Loretta Lockhorn day when the brightest patch of sunlight is a fucking Romney bumper sticker.

Is this true? Because if it is, it's awesome.

Bunches told me that he heard a report about John Edwards on NPR yesterday and that he promised that if he is elected and Congress does not approve universal health care, he will suspend health insurance for all senators and congresspersons. I have been looking for corroboration of this too-awesome-to-be-true nugget of butt-kicking genius but can't find any. His position statements on his website have some fighting words about how he's taking names of those who voted "no" on S-CHIP and will see that they are run out of office post haste.

I really like him. I am officially committed and have signed up to volunteer. I read through all of the position statements and have little quarrel with any of his positions, except of course he isn't for drug legalization, but I'm putting that aside (again). I mean, who am I gonna vote for - Mike Gravel? I'd rather post a video of myself throwing a rock. Ha.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Second Chance Act: Call Your Member of Congress!

I don't write enough about the issue of prison reform on this blog and I really should, because, as far as I'm concerned, it's one of the most important issues in America today and is barely even discussed. I have been working with a retired federal corrections officer for a little while now, helping him to get the word out about his experiences and the inside dirt on sentencing laws and prison reform. This guy is a decorated lieutenant who was basically forced into early retirement as a direct result of his activism. Since then, he has worked as a community leader with organizations like the November Coalition that focus on prison reform. Unfortunately, this dedicated gentleman has been in poor health for a while now and ilives mainly on disability checks, which amount to very little. Recently he was contaced by the authorites and told that his activism (for which he makes no money - he is not a non-profit organization and works on a strictly volunteer basis) amounts to work, and if he's healthy enough to do that, he's healthy enough to work. They told him to cease his activism or lose his disability pension, which he is entitled to as a retired warden who worked for over thirty years in the federal prison system and who has been officially deemed eligible for disability by approved doctors. The whole thing stinks. Yes, it is about race, of course, but like most things in this country, it's really about money. More and more prisons are either owned and run by private companies or have many of their services contracted to private companies. As with most privatized services, the almighty dollar is the top priorty, at the expense of not only prisoners but alo the rest of us in the free world. Rehabilitation programs - be they educational, psycholgoical, addiction treatment, whatever - are becoming a thing of the past. The implicit goal of incarceration is to ensure recidivism. A single free man or woman represents a loss of an average of $40,000 per year to the private prison industry. In many cases, private corrections firms have contracts with local businesses and provide prisoners to work for virtual slave labor wages. So the community suffers in that not only are inmates basically encouraged to offend again, leaving children fatherless or motherless and families struggling to get by on single incomes, but also in that jobs are lost on a great scale. And, for the prisoners who do this work, finding work upon release is practically impossible as the only skill they have is to do a job that is done by prisoners. So they have no income, and guess what? They offend again. I believe Joseph Heller wrote a book about this type of situation...

Yes, race is a huge part of this. Of course minorites suffer more under this sytem as their already marginalized positions in society make them far easier targets. And since it's all about money, money can keep you out of the system. And who has money? Oh, that's right -whitey. But not every whitey- at the end of the day, like most issues that are cast in a the light of race, class is of almost equal importance. A black man is more likely to be stopped by the police than a poor white man, but once they enter the system and are given court-appointed attorneys, they are equally screwed. The ultimate cash prize for the private prison system is the death penalty, which is why the state agencies that fund defense of death penalty cases are virtually bankrupt.

This is one of those issues that all makes such crystal clear sense, but no one seems to know or care about it. This is because of the stigma of crime. Like terrorism, there is so much innate fear surrounding this issue that it is all but impossible for most people to discuss it rationally. Any discussion of prison reform can be squashed with horrifying tales of coddled pedophiles who emerge to kill tiny children. Pedophiles are the 9/11 of prison reform - an anomaly that is used to distort the whole argument.

Okay, the point is that this Tuesday, November 13, the Second Chance Act is coming up for a vote in Congress. This is one of the first prison reform bills to see the light of day in years. Here are a few of the things this act would do (I pulled this from the Human Rights Watch website:

1. National Offender Reentry Resource Center. Establishes a national resource center for states, local governments, service providers, faith-based organization, corrections and community organizations to collect and disseminate best practices and provide training and support around reentry.

2. Federal Taskforce. Creates a federal interagency taskforce to identify programs and resources on reentry, identify ways to better collaborate, develops interagency initiatives and a national reentry research agenda. Review and report to Congress on the federal barriers that exist to successful reentry with recommendations.

3. National Family Caregiver Support Program. Removes the age limitation of at least 60 years of age for grandparents to receive support and services while caring for their grandchildren due to parental incarceration.

4. Technical Amendment to Drug-Free Student Loan Provision. Ensures that the Drug-Free Student Loans provision only applies to offenses committed while receiving federal aid and encourages treatment.

2. Protection Against Dangerous Felons. Provides grants to states and local governments that may be used to develop or adopt procedures to ensure that dangerous felons are not released from prison prematurely.

3. Assessment Tools. Provides grants to states and local governments that may be used to utilize established assessment tools to assess the risk factors of returning inmates and prioritizing services based on risk.

4. Mentoring Grants. Provides grants to community-based organizations that may be used for mentoring of adult offenders or providing transitional services for re-integration into the community.

5. Demonstration Grants. Provides grants to states and local governments that may be used to provide mental health services, substance abuse treatment and aftercare, and treatment for contagious diseases to offenders in custody and after reentry into the community.

6. Collaboration with Community Colleges. Provides grants to states and local governments that may be used to facilitate collaboration among corrections and community corrections, technical schools, community colleges, and workforce development employment services.

7. Post-release Housing. Provides grants to states and local governments that may be used to provide structured post-release housing and transitional housing, including group homes for recovering substance abusers, through which offenders are provided supervision and services immediately following reentry into the community;

8. Family-Based Treatment. Provides grants to states and local governments that may be used to expand family-based treatment centers that offer family-based comprehensive treatment services for parents and their children as a complete family unit.

If you think this stuff is important, please call or e-mail your member of congress tomorrow!!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Separated at Birth: Ryan Seacrest and Mark Anthony

Does anyone else see this one? It's hard to see because Seacrest is always smiling and Marc is never smiling. Seacrest out.

Russ's Collage du Who Knows What Jour

This one is called "Diplomacy." Its Kissinger and Powell going to prom. That's actually me under Powell - it's my junior prom picture. Look how skinny I was! Those were the days!

The dude I went with was dumb as rocks, but he was hot. He got transferred from the next high school for being naughty. He looked like Richard Greico (who I thought was hot back then, gross) but had the Johnny Depp tattoo of the huge Native American head and dressed all James Dean with a white t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up and a pack of Marlboro reds tucked in. People were jealous of me. Ha. Oh and he stole that car. It was pretty fly.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Silly Cat Picture Starring Orangello & Sophia

The other day Bunches called on his way home from Target and told me that, among other things, he had purchased "cat stuff." I thought he meant food and litter. Silly me. Of course he meant neckties!!!

I love these ties so much. They are the only hilarious cat clothing that I have ever seen a cat tolerate. I guess because it's a collar. Orangello wouldn't sit still for his picture, by the way. I guess he was too excited about his tie. I love them so much that I wrote a jingle for them, should the cat necktie people ever feel that they need a commercial:

Orangello got to his desk at 9
Cuz you know the boss likes it when he's on time
He's using Excel and Microsoft Word
He's a business cat - haven't you heard?

Business cat, he's a business cat
He's wearing his tie
Cuz he knows where it's at

Business cat, yes business cat
Puts on his tie
And his business hat

Sophia rolls into the meeting room
You know she's gonna get that promotion soon
She's working hard, working overtime
Gotta take home every last dime

Business cat, she's a business cat
She's wearing her tie
Cuz she knows where it's at

Business cat, yes business cat
Puts on her tie
Smooths her suit down flat

Orangello eats his lunch at the mall
Goes to the food court cuz they got it all
Sophia goes to the Blue Ridge Grill
Because she's a VP and can foot the bill

Business cats, they’re business cats
Wearing their ties
Cuz they know where it's at

Business cats, and it ain't no lie
You can tell by their suits
And their business ties

Russ's Collage du Who Knows What Jour

This one is called "Self-Promotion, Fallujah, 2006." Some new movie in which Tom Cruise chews all the scenery is opening this weekend, so this one's for you, Tom! (please note that Tom will probably sure me over this. You bettter believe I will NEVER make a collage with Prince! What the fuck crawled up his ass? He's suing a fucking baby for dancing to "Let's Go Crazy" on YouTube! I kid you not! Looks like somebody already did go crazy!)

Separated at Birth: Boy George and King Tut

My Mom came up with this one. But I found the perfect picture of George O'Dowd!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

They Actually Paid a Bunch of Morons to Come Up With This?

I saw a commercial for this the other night (and then approximately 50 more times) and couldn't believe my ears/eyes. Have you seen this latest variation on the cat litter theme? Can you believe this shit (pun intended)? Just in case Odor Alert litter is news to you, allow me to fill you in. Rather, allow Arm & Hammer to fill you in:

"No matter how frequently you scoop out the clumps, you may miss some soiled pieces — which gradually accumulate and begin to smell. New ARM & HAMMER® Odor Alert™ Cat Litter is the only litter with Pre-Odor Indicators that turn blue on contact with urine. So you can see and remove the source of odor BEFORE you can smell it! "

Pre-Odor Indicators? Have you ever SMELLED cat pee? There is no pre-odor! It commences with stinking horribly the second it emerges from the cats nether regions!!! The only pre-odor indicator that makes sense is one that alerts you to an approaching cat with a full bladder. Cat pee is not GOING to smell - it already fucking smells!!! Geez!!! Bunches is always crabbing about how they keep reinventing pizaa (stuffed crust, whole pizza stuffed, two pizzas on top of each other with the top pizza upside down, pizza in strips instead of triangles, and so on). At least that shit can be tasty. This is just stupid. Pre-odor my ass. My panties are in such a wad over this, I need a dose of "The Lighter Side of...", and I mean the real thing!

HA! That is so true! How many times have I reluctantly laid down my giant old school scrub brush while my head was all lathered up and left a relaxing bath only to find that what I THOUGHT was my doorbell was in fact Archie Bunker's doorbell? I ask you!!!

I Knew It!!!

I always had a feeling about George & Pervez, but I can't believe they have decided to go public with their relationship! And I REALLY can't believe that they are going public by telling us about their phone sex!!! I mean, did Bush REALLY say "I told him to take off his uniform." I need more info. Did he ask Pervez what he was wearing first? Because, you know, if it was nighttime, Pervez may have had on his military pyjamas insyead of his regular uniform. You know, the ones with the built-in feet and the fuzzy epaulets?

And what was the rest of the conversation? Did he tell him to start with the jacket and take it off REAL SLOW? Was there phone-licking involved? Did George make Pervez say hot, sexy things like "martial law," "suspended elections," and "groups of more than five people may not gather in public?"

Ladies, get your brassieres and matches out!

This weekend ladies everywhere will be observing the 30th anniversary of the First Women's National Congress, held in Houston all those years ago. Or, I guess, they won't—or at least I won't—because... the first I heard of it was this morning on the Brian Lehrer Show. (Ladies, can we get our PR machine in order?)

Anyway, this weekend at Hunter College a bunch of feminist leaders will meet to update the pro-women platform that was constructed back in '77, which included hot button topics like equal pay, equal rights, reproductive freedom, domestic abuse, child care, lesbian rights, minority women, and education.

I guess we won't be crossing any of those items off the list.

Some lady leader I'd never heard of (surprise, surprise) said on the radio this morning that "updating" the platform will really entail adding on to it topics like expanded rights for lesbians, protections for sex workers, and stricter punishment for sex trafficking. And they'll also talk about men: male feminists, how men feel about feminism, etc..

Umm... hello? Why the fuck are we talking about male feminism at a ladies congress? And why are we talking about male feminism in this day and age when young women don't even call themselves feminists? Let's talk instead about why we don't yet have a lady president in office, why the lady who is running for president gets put through the wringer every day (and people think it has nothing to do with her being a lady?!), and why so many women and their children are starving in 2007, in America, the richest country that has ever existed in the history of the fucking universe. What the fuck?! I'm all for third wave feminism, mainly because, what choice do I have, really, but can't we just fucking band together? Let's NOT talk about men and let's pound some sense into young girls who think feminism is an idea of the past.

So, if anyone wants to join me, I'll be on the sidewalk in front of Hunter this weekend setting my brasserie on fire. If I wasn't making $.71 to the male dollar, I might consider burning two.

On the Lighter Side...Police Academy Edition

You know it's time for an edition of "On the Lighter Side..." when Pat Robertson says or does ANYTHING and when R2 and I start praying that aliens will abduct us. This is especially indicative of a high stress level for me, since I am absolutely terrified of aliens due to watching way too many alien abduction TV shows as a kid. R2, and everyone else I know, make big time fun of me because I think Signs is the scariest movie ever made. If Bunches makes the clicking sound that the aliens make, I seriously hide under the bed for like a week. You better believe he is ALWAYS making that fucking sound. I found my black cashmere turtleneck under the bed the other day! Just kidding, I wish. I don't know where the hell that thing got to. I think the cats are wearing it while I'm at work.

But I digress (shock!). Lately I have been thinking quite a bit about the Police Academy movies. Oh, who am I kidding - I am always thinking about Police Academy. Mahoney, Lassard, Mauser, Sweetchuck, Hightower, Tackleberry, Jones & Hooks, blonde lady with big boobs in the wet t-shirt who fucks the Japanese dude...I love you all. But my true love is Proctor. Proctor has to be among the all time greatest bumblers in cinema history. Here's one of my favorite scenes featuring Proctor. I'm wondering if the phrase "salad tossing" was in usage when this movie came out, because if it was, the reference to "the best salad bar in town" is devillishly clever. Oh, and by the way, has a sex act ever been as poorly described by its nickname as salad tossing? I mean, there is not even a hint there as to what's going on. I had to google that shit!

On that note, do NOT google "teradactyl" if your grandmother is in the room. For some reason my whole family and I were discussing the word roots in that particular dinosaurs name (yes, we are all raging nerds, apparently, not just me), so I googled it...suffice to say, teradactyl is not just a flying dinosaur anymore. I found two other defnitions, neither of which were grandmother-in-the-room-friendly!

Back to Police Academy. My favorite is #2 (if you were Mahoney, you would make a joke of that). It was the first one I saw. I was 10. I must have seen it 50 times. It is one of many 80s movies to feature wild and crazy punks who have nothing in common with actual punks.

Mahoney story: One time R2 and I were on the beach in Queens (shut up) and retired to the sand dunes to blaze a fatty. Upon returning to Bunches and our potato chip-encrusted bedsheet/makeshift beach blanket, a cop walked by. Being stoned and paranoid, we were all "look cool, be cool, cop, cop!", but he passed on by. Literally one minute later, a cop went by on a bike. We were like, "Huh?" Then, a police helicopter flew by. By now we were laughing. Then Bunches says, look, there's a cop on a horse. We were like, ha ha, very funny, but there really was a cop on a horse! Then one went by in one of those little carts with three wheels. Then a car. There were other modes of transportation involved (I think we counted 10 total - a little help, R2?), but the piece de resistance was a cop on a four wheel ATV - just like Mahoney in the opening scene of Police Academy 2!! Needless to say, we were already almost dying laughing, but this seriously nearly killed us.

There are so many more great things to say about Police Academy. Citizens on Patrol is pretty fucking good, for example. I love that David Spade and Ratner From Fast Times are skate punks (a later variation on the punk theme, and just as poorly rendered in most every case) and a bunch of big time skaters from the 80s are in it (another 80s movie standard - where there are poorly rendered skater characters, there are actual real skaters standing right next to them who apparently had no input at all). There is not enough room in the world to say all that has to be said about Police Academy, and I have work to (very reluctantly) do.

Rudy's shit hitting the fan

Shit! Pat Robertson has endorsed Ghouliani! Someone is going to have to shoot him. I mean shoot Rudy, but why not take out Pat Robertson while we're at it? Apparently, Ghouli and Pat became good friends while recovering from prostate cancer. That's some serious male bonding.

Meanwhile, America is insisting that sexism is not at play in Hillary coverage.

Are we living in an alternate reality? Hello? Will the UFO that swept over Kucinich's head at Shirley MacLaine's house please pick me up and transport me to far off land?

Russ's Collage du Who Knows What Jour

This one is called "Modified FBI Technique; Neck Index Technique; Classic FBI Technique." I recommend clicking on the picture so you can appreciate W's facial expressions.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Russ's Collage du Who Knows What Jour

It's been a while. This one is called "Diddy, Tehran, 1979 (After David Burnett)"

Separated at Birth: Count Chocula and Giuliani

I highly doubt I am the first person to think of this. And does Giuliani wear dentures??? Did he knock all his teeth out chewing on the skulls of Puerto Ricans and sex workers?

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Pretty-Off: Japanese Dude Edition

To show that my objectification of men knows no racial, ehtnic, or national boundaries, I am going to go ahead and hold the next pretty-off today, hot on the heels of the first pretty-off. Don't ask me why these pretty-offs are categorized by ehtnicity - they just are. The closest thing I have to an answer is that there are a lot of pretty dudes out there and you have to categorize them somehow. Maybe when we've had all the pretty-offs, we can have a battle royale of the races. Kind of like Survivor did that one season. Or kind of like the battle of the sexes in tennis, except everybody is a dude and they are all way, way prettier than Billie Jean King. I'm thinking maybe of an ugly-fof too, but I'm so sure that Andrew Lloyd Weber would win that there is really very little point. Let me know if you want to nominate someone. And let me know if you disagree with the winners I choose of the various pretty-offs, or if I left someone very, very pretty out of the competition.

Let me just point out that this is a PRETTY-off, not a handsome-off. So don't be thinking that Allen Iverson is my favorite black dude to look at, because he isn't. I dig him, but I dig Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje (Simon Adebesi from Oz) more (even though I hear he's a total pill in real life),
or that the winner of the Japanese dude pretty-off is my favorite Japanese dude - he's not; Takashi Sorimachi is.
At the end of the day, I prefer handsome to pretty (see my Alain Delon vs. Jean-Paul Belmondo post). Don't mean I don't like me some pretty, though. So, without further ado, I present for your consideration the following assorted wagashi (delicious Japanese confections):

That's soccer star Hidetoshi Nakata (top), baseball player Kazuo Matsui (center), and baseball player Ichiro Suzuki (bottom). If you've been reading this blog, you know who the winner is. Ichiro!!! Take your sash, please, Ichiro, and I expect to see it on you on opening day next spring. I don't care if it fucks with your pitching arm. The only reason I am even watching baseball at all is to perv out over you and the other hot guys (which is, like, 3 dudes tops - baseball players are an apocalyptically ugly bunch. Yuck, I shudder just thinking about fat disgusting frat boys like Roger Clemens and pock-marked hicks like Randy Johnson. Why did I just think about them? Now I have to think about Tom Glavine for approximately 17 straight hours to wash the folds of my brain clear of those two horrible, horrible, horrible men.)

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Pretty-Off: Black Dude Edition

I don't know why I'm thinking about this shit right now. I'm supposed to be getting ready to go out and am currently wearing underwear, a sweat-smelling Little Miss Bad t-shirt, glasses, no maekup, and more grease on my hair than Gale and Evelle apply in the gas station bathroom right after they break out of prison in Raising Arizona. Only mine is natural! So in the name of procrastination, I was flipping through my newly arrived issue of Entertainment Weekly (an excellent publication, by the way - they have way better writing and more cred than I ever expected. I guess I was just too creeped out by how socially inept Dalton Ross always seemed when he did his little segments on New York 1) and saw this photo of Chris Brown (top photo). You may remember him as the guy who showed Brit how it's done at the VMAs. I have pretty much given up trying to keep up with youth culture, but I do know who Chris Brown is. Sort of. Anyway, I found myself thinking,"He's pretty, but is he as pretty as Chingy?" For those of you who don't know, Chingy (bottom photo) is a hip hop semi-star who basically parlayed Nelly's St. Louis accent into an entire career. He did do one fucking great jam though - "Holidae Inn", with Snoop and Ludacris. It's about hotel parties, which I fucking love and am constantly trying to throw, to little avail (although I did have three in a row at K & Ms wedding, when I wisely booked the giant suite), and Ludacris has a great line where he says "make your mammary glands jiggle." But at the end of the day, the main thing about Chingy (thingy about Chingy?) is that he is exceedingy pretty. He's one of those people who you have to see moving around to truly appreciate, so if you give a fuck, and I'm betting my cats that you don't, I suggest you head to You Tube. I had pretty much declared Chingy the victor, but then I remembered the fairest of them all: Allen Iverson (center). Not many people seem to appreciate the beauty of Allen's face, and it's a shame. Yeah, he is a great b-baller, and yeah, he's a fucking thug with awesome tattoos, but he spends more time and money on his hair than Naomi Campbell, I guarantee it, and his face is just as pretty. Prettier, actually! So we have a winner. I am sending him a sash that says "Mr. Pretty Black Dude." It'll take a few days to reach him, but watch for him to be wearing it when the Nuggets take on the Knicks next Tuesday, or shortly thereafter. I hope it doesn't fuck up his game.

Oh My God Oh My God Oh My God

Okay, I can barely contain my excitement. It is literally like trying to stuff a sleeping bag back into its carrying case (or an umbrella, your choice). I have been quietly freaking out for several months now at the prospect of the adaptaion of "No Country for Old Men", the newest Coeh brothers movie. I knew it was comng, but I had no idea it was coming NEXT WEEKEND!!!!! While I am embarassed to admit that I have neither read this nor any other Cormac McCarthy novel (which I plan to do immediately - I want to read this before the movie comes out), I have seen every single Coen brothers film at least once. Yes, even The Ladykillers, god help me (I think I have written before about how a major fuck-up only further endears those I love to me because it makes me feel better about myself - e.g. I could kiss Martin Amis for writing Night Train). I would estimate that I have seen Raising Arizona well over 100 times. I often get that Barton Fink feeling. My entire vocabulary is littered with Coen-isms. I will never "be right back" - no, I will always "be back directly." Nine times out of ten, when Orangello meows to me, I say "Ju said it mah, don fuck wid da jesus." I have not called a white russian a white russian for some time now. I often implore Bunches to look into his heart. Food is not good, but "pretty darn good." And so on.

The fact that Javier Bardem is starring in this new film only quintuples my excitment. I love, love, love him and think he is not only one of the handsomest men to ever draw breath, but also one of the greatest actors to ever grace the screen. I find it difficult to think of "Before Night Falls" without sobbing uncontrollably.

The sense that he conveys of a free spirit embarking on life with wild-eyed enthusiasm, drinking up experience and just truly living, and the sense of that free spirit being crushed by the man, the way the life and color and expression and joie de vivre drains from his face by the end of the film... it is so fucking heartbreaking that I actually think it made me cry harder than Jack Twist in Brokeback (am I alone in thinking Jake Gyllenhaal really nailed that shit? God he was just so sweet and optimistic and then so horribly, horribly crushed, and the fact that you don't see it, and it's kind of vague..oh man...). Javier made me forgive Julian Schnabel for both Basquiat (Julian, you WISH you looked like Gary Oldman, and, hate to say it, David Bowie's Warhol is a distant third to Crispin Glover's [#2] and Jared Harris's [#1], and please somebody fold Claire Forlani into a paper airplane and throw her into the caves at Tora Bora, post haste!! I can't believe John Favreau called her skanky irritating ass that many times and was actually bummed that she dissed him. Score, I say!) and those fucking broken dishes paintings. Javier was straight-up ROBBED of the Oscar for that role. ROBBED, I tell you! Yeah, Gladiator whupped major ass and made me actually want to sit on Russell Crowe's short obnoxious Australian wanker lap for a minute, but Oscar-worthy? Over BARDEM? NO! His NOSE deserves a fucking Oscar, for god's sake. Best Performance by a Nose in a Real Life Role.

I am not a violent person, but Javier's rugby nose has made me contemplate on more than one occasion hitting Bunches in the face with a shovel in an attempt to recreate it (and he has a nice broken nose already). Growing up, my parents had this really cool black horse's head sculpture that looked really fancy and heavy but was in fact really light like those fake rocks they would stack up all around Adam Curry/Ricky Rachtman on the Headbanger's Ball set. I was always fascinated by the beautiful lines of that horse's face - it didn't look like a real horse, but more like a horse as painted on a Greek vase (a krater or an amphora or whatever - yeah I took Art History 101, so what?). Javier Bardem looks exactly like that horse. I used to sit and run my hand along its smooth flat black nose, sometimes with my eyes closed. If I ever meet Javier, I will ask him if I can do the same thing to him. And I will now resist the urge to talk about running my hand aong other parts of him with my eyes closed. Fuck, I mentioned it!!! Sorry, but me gusta, Me really, really gusta.

In closing, here's hoping that a) No Country for Old Men is the return to form for the Coen brothers that people are saying it is, b) Javier wins an Oscar this time, like people are saying he will, and c) I make it to next weekend without spontaneously combusting out of sheer excitement as I am thinking I might.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Separated at Birth: Nicholas Rowe (aka Young Sherlock Holmes) and Pete Townshend (aka Ivor the Engine Driver)

As promised. And, for the record, I think life imitated art a little TOO much when it comes to Ivor the Engine driver. Little Girl Guide, stop all your crying, here comes Pete Townshend to download a bunch of kiddie porn and then say it was just for research. Duh, Pete - the excuse is that it's art. Preferably Victorian art. You need to get with Paul Rubens and Jeffrey Jones, stat. Also for the record, A Quick One While He's Away is in my top 10 favorite songs of all time. Me and Bunches sing it when we drive and we have that shit down pat. I always get to be Entwhistle and when I sing "You are forgiven", Bunches sings "You are a gibbon." (a gibbon...a gibbon...a gibbon...sorry, I am singing it now). Finally, for the record, there is an alarmingly small number of pictures of Nicholas Rowe out there, so that little one is the best I could do. If I were him, I would be pissed. And not just about the career death and the nose!!!

On the Lighter Side...

Remember back in the day Mad magazine had a section called "On the Lighter Side" with little cartoons about the lighter side of everyday life? I remeber I had two Mad magazines as a kid that I inherited from god knows where or whom, but I loved them so much and read them until Alfred E. Newman's face wore off and the fold-in fell to pieces. I haven't read Mad in years so I don't know if they still do this, but back then the feature of each issue was a movie spoof. The two I had were "The Empire Strikes Out" and "Young Sureschlock Holmes." Oh man, did they play up the schnozz on whoever the fuck that was in Young Sherlock Holmes. Come to think of it, was that Pete Townsend?? Do I feel a separated at birth coming on? Hell yes I do. Stay tuned. Anyway, "On the Lighter Side" had stuff like two dudes talking and making fun of older people: "Yeah, my parents don't know if Fleetwood Mac is a Cadillac shaped like a hamburgr or a hamburger shaped like a Cadillac." Zing! Take that, oldsters! You are way less cool than that hip young Chritine McVie and Lindsey Buckingham! Eat it, man!!! And then there was Spy vs. Spy.

I have a feeling I would appreciate that a lot more today, kind of like Doonesebury and Bloom County (I will never get Mary Worth, sorry...I mean, what the fuck was that shit doing in my funny pages? That shit ain't funny! I'll take Family fucking Circle over that preachy bitch! Damn!)
Anyway, my point is, it gets pretty heated here at Zeitgeisty. R2 and I generally fluctuate between psychotic ranting and St. Teresa of Avila-esque ecstatic adoration. (that's me listening to The Stooges, or R2 listening to Kucinich). So, in the tradition of my main Jew Alfred E. Newman, I am re-introducing On the Lighter Side as a category. Only fun, light subkect matter need apply. On the Lighter Side is all about taking a calm, relaxed view on shit. Even crazy shit that makes you feel like acting like the Tasmanian Devil, or Bill O'Reilly, or whatever. Case in point: I had a real day of it at work yesterday. I was running around like Carl Lewis all fucking day and got great feedback from some clients and nothing but grief from one of my assorted various bosses (I work for a regular Whitman's Sampler of freaky attorneys). Partway through the day I realized who I felt like and changed my desktop background image accordingly to this:
Now, you tell me, does it GET any lighter than Cannonball Run (1 or 2)?? I think not. And Dom DeLuise and I share a birthday (fuck you, Peter DeLuise. I don't care when your birthday is, nor do I care where you have been all these years).

I feel a Cannonball Run post coming on. A curse on this internet fatwa at my job. No, a fatwa on this fatwa!!!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

We're Living With Dog Poo (So What?)

As you may have noticed, I have been psychologically dormat for some time now (hence no posts), but I am back and better than ever, and what better way to show it than with one of my favorite past-times, righteous and strident confrontation? I know most people fear public speaking and many fear confrontation. I, on the other hand, could gladly get up on a stage and indignantly yell at wrongdoers for at least two hours every day. In fact, I may well start doing that. Does Atlanta have a Speaker's Corner? Perhaps I will just make myself a sandwich board in the style of one of those old-fashioned "The End is Nigh" dudes and walk around in traffic like a fireman collecting change in his upside down helmet. Difference being, my sign will read "Most of you totally fucking SUCK. Would you like to know why?"

Anyway, the title of this post is to be sung to the tune of the Stooges' "Dog Food." And yes, this involves that old chestnut, dog owners who do not pick up their dog's poo. Sadly, Bunch & I have a neighbor who falls under this category. Even more sadly, the most popular doggy-do-ing area in our neighborhood happens to be right next to our house. As I am not only always up for confrontation but often actively seeking it, and dog poo is a major pet peeve of mine, I began spying on the neighborhood dog people promptly upon moving into our pad. It's very difficult to officially confirm that dog poo has been left - you have to actually see the poo coming out of the butt and the owner walking away from it. This is easier than it sounds. The culprits generally stand a little ways away, so I can se the dog crouching but can't confirm that the number of the ablution being performed (1 or 2). (aside - girl dogs should start peeing like boy dogs - this would solve all the problems) I can run over real fast to check, but it's important to me that I not look like a psycho (too late, I'm sure), so I kind of saunter over after they have started to walk away, and then it's tough to say that the poo I find definiftely came from that dog. I like for my indigantion to me unimpeachable, so I err on the side of sitting quietly, peeping through my blinds like a poo-obsessed cobra (with blinds), waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike.

Last night all of the poo stars aligned and I struck. Ha! I yelled after the offending neighbor, asking her if she meant to leave the poo, and she said yes!!!! Let me repeat, !!!!!!! She instantly became horribly agressive, shouting over me as I expelained to her that not only was it disgusting, but she was also breaking the law. She flat out refused to pick up, depsite my telling her that it was no different than me pulling my pants down and pooing on her doorstep (which she failed to register as an actual threat, not merley an analogy). It took ever fiber of my being not to take the poo and leave it on her dooretsp, but I took the high road. I the poo away, and then I sat right down and wrote myself a letter, as the song goes. Here is the letter, slightly edited to protect my top-secret identity from the one person I don't know who occasionally read this blog:

Re: Violation of Cobb County Ordinance § 10-138(b) (the “Ordinance”)

Dear Ms. [ASSWIPE]:

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is [RUSS] and I am your neighbor at [101 CANDYLAND LANE]. We spoke yesterday, October 31, 2007, at 6:50 p.m. regarding your refusal to properly dispose of feces left by your dogs in the public area immediately adjacent to my property. I am writing to inform you that you are in violation of the above-referenced Ordinance regarding the proper disposal of animal feces and to repeat my reasonable and legal request that you comply with this Ordinance immediately.

I would like you to understand that I in no way wish to be un-neighborly or cause any discord or strife among the residents of [SUBURBAN DYSTOPIA]. Quite to the contrary, I feel that it is you who is being un-neighborly and creating an unpleasant atmosphere. Not only are you putting the health of your fellow residents and their pets at risk, your nasty attitude when I politely approached you regarding this issue is a disgrace to the spirit of a condominium community such as [SUBURBAN DYSTOPIA]. Your fellow residents strive to coexist harmoniously and we all – yourself included – pay monthly dues of Two-Hundred Forty Dollars ($240.00) to maintain as pleasant an environment as possible, a fee that includes landscaping which you are in effect vandalizing. The fact that your defense when approached regarding the violation of the Ordinance was that you have lived here for twenty-five (25) years and never picked up after your dogs is shameful, disgusting, and laughable.

Furthermore, you claim that other dog-owning residents do not pick up after their dogs. I can assure you, Ms. [ASSWIPE], that this is not the case. I take this issue very seriously and, although I can obviously neither speak for every resident nor account for the feces of every dog on every occasion, I can attest that, in the course of my observation, you are the sole resident in violation of the Ordinance.

Although I find it highly implausible that you truly think it is acceptable to leave dog feces in public areas which all residents share and pay to maintain, I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Hence, I have enclosed the Ordinance for your edification (please see Exhibit A). Furthermore, I am treating you with the neighborly respect that you refuse your fellow residents in that I am refraining from lodging a formal complaint at this time. By copy of this letter to the both the [SUBURBAN DYSTOPIA] Condominium Association, Inc. and the Solicitor General (the Cobb County official responsible for prosecuting ordinance violations), I am simply establishing a public record of our dispute.

Please be aware that, in addition to continuing your violation of the Ordinance, it would be highly inadvisable for you to engage in any sort of further un-neighborly behavior, such as retaliation. I do not wish to imply that you would contemplate such action, but I must say that your aggressive and hysterical reaction to my simple request that you help keep our neighborhood healthy, safe, and clean warrants this mention. We have all heard horror stories of simple neighborhood disputes becoming something much more serious due to the overreaction of the parties involved. My request to you is legal, reasonable, and politely stated, and your only proper response is to cease your violation of the Ordinance.

Ms. [ASSWIPE], I thank you for your time in reading this and expect a positive resolution to this issue. If I witness you violating the Ordinance again, I will have no choice but to lodge a formal complaint with both the housing association and the authorities.




Exhibit A


a) Animal owners must keep their yard, property, porches, balconies, decks, etc. reasonably free of animal feces. Animal waste will be removed in a timely manner by placing said material in a closed or sealed container and thereafter disposing of it in the animal owner’s trash receptacle, sanitary disposal unit, or other closed or sealed refuse container.

(b) Persons who permit their animals to defecate on public or private property other than their own property are required to immediately pick up the feces, bag the feces, and properly dispose of the feces. Animal waste shall be removed by placing said matter in a closed or sealed container and thereafter disposing of it in the animal owner’s or public trash receptacle, sanitary disposal unit or other closed or sealed refuse container.

(c) Any person found in violation of subsection (a) or (b) of this section shall be in violation of this chapter, subject to the following exceptions:

1. Persons using guide dogs or assistance dogs are exempt from removing feces;
2. Hunting dogs being used in a legal hunt with permission of the property owner; or
3. Law enforcement officers working police trained dogs.


Sometimes I am really glad I work at a law firm. It teaches you how to write very polite yet threatening letter. In closing, people, pick up your dog poo. This isn't fucking Paris.