Friday, March 30, 2007
"My work is to reach people with ideas, hopes, dreams, encouragement, insight, and revelation. That's what an actor wants to do." - John Astin
Wednesday, March 28, 2007
So, the White House has a secret internet account set up by the Republican National Committee so that, I guess, the kids can play their interactive politico video games, like the new FireAtWill USAttorneysDismissal game, without getting subpoenaed. Or something. I mean, don't We The People (remember them) own those computers and all the scores thereupon? But, you know, it could be something else. Something they don't want us to see. Something we shouldn't click ...
Damn! News moves fast these days. Must be a'cuz of them darned fax machines and cellulite phones. HERE's the real reason they need a Secret Server:
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Although back in November of last year, we mentioned (and joined in the commemoration of) World Diabetes Day, I bring you today's celebration: American Diabetes Alert® Day.
You can almost hear The American Diabetes Association arguing with the International Diabetes Foundation, not untruthfully: "Americans aren't International. Most can't even find a country on a map, much less tell you where their pancreas is. A third of the 21 million Americans who have diabetes don't even know they have it, so they're not going to care about a World Day of education! We need to get out and scare them with blood tests and alerts!"
The IDF answers: "Maybe if more citizens of wealthy nations like the U.S. knew more about diabetes, it wouldn't trickle down to developing nations with the lifestyle and foods you export."
ADA: "Don't be naive! Americans only know about their Type 2 diabetes when a complication arises, and then the doctor gives them some pills or shots, so why bother with all the smarts and edumacation?"
IDF: "It sometimes appears that wealthier countries don't care about diabetes growing into the developing world. That's why we need WORLD Diabetes Day. Every person has the right to learn about this disease."
ADA: "What? You want we should just hand over the massive profits our medical and pharmaceutical industries to some kid in Nambazimbia? You just let us sell our fast food and Playstations, and we'll take care of the sugar-freak cash cow over here."
HEY, Hold on, you kids! Take it outside.
Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death by disease. And for whatever reason, there is no cure. I was diagnosed with Type One 37 years ago, when they used to talk about "a cure." Now, they talk about new drugs and treatment options. And thank you for those, because an insulin pump is better than boiling syringes any day. But did you give up on the cure thing? "If you give a person a diagnosis, you get a patient for life. If you give a person a cure, you get an empty seat in the waiting room." Maybe it's time to ask both the IDF and the ADA, who undoubtedly get a lot of funding from sources that produce a lot of those "treatment options."
I agree with Maggie in this post over at Aces Full of Links. Maybe we should just have a "No Day" day and forget all of this.
Monday, March 26, 2007
If you use The Google™ to find quotes from Sterling Hayden, you're bound to find a bunch of people who never got past page 24 of his majestic 400+-page memoir Wanderer. They unfurl this massive banner, a pithy quote of introduction which seems to lay down some onboard rules of conduct:
I like this book by Sterling Relyea Walter Hayden. And not because of this quote. Often folks cite this without the second paragraph, probably because he says "sexual," or since it is ludicrously anachronistic in this age of hedge fund braggarts, campaign finance corruption, and ostentatious blingbling. Hell, money's all we talk about today. Yes, we have "diseased values," as Sterling noted 45 years ago. But, a few pages later in the book, he summarizes his dislike for "the businessman," describing "the businessman" as "the vulture of a cannibalistic society." Whom he admits to emulating, admiring that ruthless dedication. But instead of profit, Hayden sought self-respect. It's complex here on the Beach for a kid who ran away to sea at 17 and learned one unassailable truism: "Whatever you haul, you put your back into it." Hayden was appalled at the idea of standing in front of a camera, breathing somebody else's cleverly written line and then picking up a check for it. He was appalled at his own "ratting" before the H.U.A.C. He was appalled at the Nazis and was willing to sign up as a Marine with the O.S.S. as "John Hamilton" and parachute with Tito's guerrillas to change the world.
"To be truly challenging, a voyage, like a life, must rest on a firm foundation of financial unrest. Otherwise, you are doomed to a routine traverse, the kind known to yachtsmen who play with their boats at sea -- "cruising" it is called. Voyaging belongs to seamen, and to the wanderers of the world who cannot, or will not, fit in. If you are contemplating a voyage and you have the means, abandon the venture until your fortunes change. Only then will you know what the sea is all about.
"Little has been written about the ways a man may blast himself free. Why? I don't know, unless the answer lies in our diseased values.A man seldom hesitates to describe his work; he gladly divulges the privacies of alleged sexual conquests. But ask him how much he has in the bank and he recoils into a shocked a stubborn silence.
"'I've always wanted to sail to the south seas, but I can't afford it.' What these men can't afford is not to go. They are enmeshed in the cancerous discipline of "security." And in the worship of security we fling our lives beneath the wheels of routine - and before we know it our lives are gone.
"What does a man need - really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in - and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all - in the material sense, and we know it. But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade.
"The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed. Where, then, lies the answer? In choice. Which shall it be: bankruptcy of purse or bankruptcy of life? What follows is not a blueprint for the man entombed..."
I think I started to read Wanderer some time in junior high school, and my dad shook his head and called Hayden "crazy" or something dismissive and obscure. I was sure my dad was harping about "those commies" or the fact that Hayden "kidnapped" his children and "endangered" them on some boat or other. My dad called people "crazy" when he didn't agree with their politics or didn't get their jokes. My dad was doomed to cruising a "routine traverse," although to him every league seemed a particular struggle. Good luck with that.
Somehow I picked up a little philosophy that rafted up with that in Wanderer. I recognize "voyaging" from the Gloucester dragger who beat Bluenose and wrote Wanderer. Although I'm here on this preposterous gadgetry, I won't be buried under it. I have made this voyage by relying on a trusty compass, putting my back into it, mostly, and every port is home and every other working hand is a mate.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Thursday, March 22, 2007
- Further proving that this here "interweb presence" is not a hard news site, we discover that the confusing act of self-defeating vandalism I mentioned earlier this week actually occurred last Wednesday. I’m not the first guy on the Neighborhood Watch roster.
- Radio commingles two competing pretensions: it wants to entertain, and it wants to inform. Talk radio often fails at both. The “Ain’t the 1st Amendment a Bitch” and the “Why’s the Main Stream Media Always Picking on Me” crowds have become the new voice of the “Should be Tongueless.” Until recently, I was a member of the “Let ‘Em All Talk and Let the ‘OFF’ Button Sort ‘Em Out” contingent. Now, I think “the public airwaves” [sic] should all just play accordion waltzes. Everybody has their own (usually mistaken) unshakable apprehension. And an iPod.
- Our old pal Ken (okay, husband of old pal. But he is old.) tried to rein in the radio fervor with a clever column, but just tossed more vegetable oil on the greasy stove fire that is local radio. In local talk radio -- which was not very good to begin with -- the tricks are more obvious, the flaws are more flagrant, and the mistakes (although certainly easier to deny or discount) are more noticeable.
- That’s why I'm listening to Carrie Rodriguez. Once again, fiddle trumps polemics.
- To see how life would be without your computer, try a day without it. You’re supposed to be computer-free tomorrow, March 24, for Shutdown Day. Unless, of course,. you’re reading this tomorrow. In which case: Here’s that bilby everybody’s talking about…
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Monday, March 19, 2007
The above photo itself is of the new CV Variety, an under-construction new restaurant/variety store/filling station in my immediate environs. This new convenience is taking the place of a much-beloved 1950's-era trans fat festival called Dairy Chief, of which I have stolen a pic from the Standard-Times to show you here:When I first experienced "the Chief," I thought, "What genius installed this brilliant performance art piece? A great idea! Hire ugly fat people and their kids to dress up like trailer trash and smear runny goo all over their spotty faces to exhibit the post-world-war excesses of the "new" suburban lifestyle. I've done historical interpretation and costumed re-enactments, but this is too perfect."
"Too perfect," indeed. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that these "people" are my Beachmates! And this carefully-deconstructed anachronistic pig wallow was a local institution. Very Americana: picnic benches, gravel lot, garish lighting. You can't see the shabby system of cobbled-together shacks and trailers housing the frying apparati that made the nearby Dunkin Donuts smell like onion rings, even in the off-season. I've also mercifully spared you an image of the usual throngs of overweight mouth-breathers clustering around the take-out windows complaining about some "obstinant" or "belligerate" personnel.
Apparently, after a green beer last Saturday night, someone scrawled, spray-painted whatever, on the brand new clapboard siding. "You Call This Dartmouth PriDE?" The question mark is most telling in its filigreed enhancement. Someone was proud of their handiwork. They were making a statement. They were complaining, already. Getting a jump on the local pastime of pissing and moaning about something new for no good reason. And they want the world to know that the politically-insensitive ramshackle craptasy that was Dairy Chief will NOT be replaced by this new-fangled monstrosity of clean lines, careful landscaping, tasteful decor. No, no. None of them faggotty-ass cloth napkins and metal forks for Dartmouth. Because, as we can plainly read, Dartmouth is proud of its knuckledragging ignorance and its bone-headed lack of logic and polish. After all, this is the community that insisted that a wounded police officer doesn't deserve compensation from the town. And that its library doesn't deserve funding. Or doesn't mind losing $750,000 over the last 10 years giving away tax breaks. My heart goes out to Chris (Hemingway) of CV Variety. He actually still believes in this beach, and I respect his perseverance, resolve, and enviable aplomb. He's been shoved and ridiculed for this since word got out that he was acquiring the site. These are the dum-dums who can't operate a four-way stop.
Although there has been no call to arms, and H.M.S. Impossible is not an armed vessel (hence the "H.M.S." not "H.M.A.V."), if I have to drag the twelve-pounders down to Russell's Mills Road, so be it. I will continue to be proud to fill up, buy stuff, and eat at the establishment of anyone with so much faith in our community. It might be a lesson to me.
and just so you don't think I'll ever go soft on the Beach, here's this:
Saturday, March 17, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
- When I wasn’t delivering other people’s boats, one of my favorite crews was a Dutch family. If you lived with a family of talking dolphins, you wouldn’t have better, more water-savvy company. That’s why I love to see stuff like this.
- Inappropriate over-reactions and a fixation on vengeance. I've spent the greater part of the last week hearing proud attestations of ruthlessness and inhumane remarks. Remarks made by self-professed “law-abiding, hard-working, God-fearing, taxpaying” folk. The people next to me on the highway, admitting that they have no compassion and no understanding of complex or simple issues. I have never given up on my fellow citizens. But I'm getting close. Talk radio, online forums, joint chiefs of staff, religious leaders, appellate courts… All a lack of civility, an abundance of callousness. An unworthy sense of privilege and entitlement. "Solutions" to society’s ills are prescribed with pigheaded self-righteousness, uneducated bigotry, and downright lies about health issues, environmental issues, immigration issues, political issues, foreign affairs, and human rights.
- Yeah, my local cable provider hasn't carried CNN, or C-Span for the past week, leaving only Faux. It would be better if they just ran Larry the Cable Guy videos.
- I hope I didn't just Secret-like manifest that.
- Puny human.
- Rahm Emanuel needs to grow a sense of humor.
- Some decisions have nothing to do with politics. In fact, the best decisions have to do with neighborliness.
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
I use "commonitions" instead of "aids" for obvious reasons. Let the Coasties use what they will. They're Homeland Security. At least I'm a day ahead of stuff this week...
- In case you're bored with your own "little placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity," the H.P. Lovecraft walking tours should help you enjoy the early Spring snow in Providence RI, March 17 at 11 a.m. and March 18 at 1 p.m., led by the Providence Preservation Society and the Rhode Island Historical Society. Thanks to Brown University's Public Humanities Program. Keep a watch for ancient deities.
- Or go your own way and enjoy the kookoo cthulhu stylings of this walkabout.
- Wit, the surprisingly engaging response play is presented by Your Theatre in NewBedford. I remember acting at YT five-six years ago and discussing the play with a fellow director, wondering if Margaret Edson's principal material (terminal cervical cancer) wouldn't drive off the regulars. Since then, this whole community has felt the loss of a great spirit, Mary Magnan, to ovarian cancer. Her husband John created a traveling art exhibit responding in a way which has healed a lot of hurt around here. And obviously given other artists the wind to take on the issue themselves.
- Speaking of wind... It's time for the New Bedford Half-Marathon. And then, I suppose, the New Bedford Three-Quarter Symphony. Or the New Bedford One-Third Ballet.
from last week's (click) TimesOnLine(UK):
"An arch-conservative cardinal chosen by the Pope to deliver this year’s Lenten meditations to the Vatican hierarchy has caused consternation by giving warning of an Antichrist who is “a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist.”
I would have posted this sooner, but I didn't hear about this because I was at an anti-war/recycling meeting at the Unitarians'.
Then, we were at a time for Pete (click) Stark (D-CA).
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
(Yes, that's the H.M.S. Impossible Hoodie and the model is throwing up the "3M/3rd Mate" stack.)
Monday, March 12, 2007
from the NYTimes...
Rock ’n’ roll drew me from my mother’s hand and led me to experience. In the end it was my neighbors who put everything in perspective. An approving nod from the old Italian woman who sells me pasta. A high five from the postman. An embrace from the notary and his wife. And a shout from the sanitation man driving down my street: “Hey, Patti, Hall of Fame. One for us.”
Patti, R.E.M., Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, The Ronettes, and Van Halen join the ranks. (Warren'll get there. Don't you worry. Crystal's book, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, is out in May.)
Saturday, March 10, 2007
When I decided to stow my gear on land, I figured I’d take advantage of all the amenities the Beach had to offer. I took long showers, slept in more than 4 hour increments, washed my clothes whenever they got dirty, got a paying gig in local theater, got serious (and smarter) with a girl, and started – gulp -- watching television. I had spent years without cable (except for whatever was on the set at the end of the bar) and with remote in hand, I sought the original, the well-written, the unique.
Unique, rare. I found myself tuning in a high school cheerleader as she and her classmates fought vampires. Did what? Yep. I became a Buffaholic. I know, I wasn't in the demographic. But I discovered that other people also didn’t go to the Pub on Tuesday nights. A gruff janitor I worked with watched every week, because, as he said, “Miss Summers is a good-looking unit.” I would switch back and forth from Bruins game to latest Sunnydale exploit. Whedon's linguistics crept into regular discourse. A third- or fifth-wheel would become “a Xander.” A particular kind of woman was "a Vengeance Demon.” My job was “chock full of museum-y goodness.” To this day, I still holler at bad drivers, “What is your childhood trauma?”
I have sussed a pattern. Buffy’s Scooby Gang, the five guys who worked with Doc Savage, the Farscape crew of Moya or Serenity, the ‘bots and Joel or Mike from the Satellite of Love, the ‘71-‘72 Bruins, the 2004 Red Sox (except for Schilling) or the Clash or Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers. Crewmates. Teammates. A skilled clan or band all working toward a common goal. Not self-important glory-seekers, not adolescents working in their “rational self-interest,” not a misunderstood loner bending a situation to his own whim. Sure, the show was called Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but would you have watched it if it were just a lone tough girl just killing things without any comic relief or older wisdom or family? Or would anyone have watched Tweedy Librarian Vampire Disliker? Sure, Mike Nelson’s RiffTrax is funny, but often just mean-spirited without Crow or Servo. Even on an America’s Cup race, a crew can work for glory, but I defy any member to claim that ship’s glory for him or herself.
So, in a couple of weeks, Joss Whedon’s latest comic book, Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8, hits the shops. It’ll be lunch at No Problemo and then next door to LooneyToons because I’ve invested in my community. And I’ll pick up a copy because I’ve invested in those characters. And yes, I know I’ll be the oldest person in the store. At least, I think...
Friday, March 9, 2007
- Blue- and stompgrass... Tonight at 9:00, Jeff and Benares with The Rust Kings at The Back Room in Flat Rock NC and tomorrow night at the Zuma Coffee House in Marshall NC.
- Blessed Thistle at Bridge Street Station in Fairhaven MA. Karen (as well as the Bridge Street website) says that they're along with acoustic Jeff Gobush (whom you remember from Rooftop Suicide Club), Cedric "The Entertainer" Josey,and Rebecca Correia (about whom you hear so much ... about).
- As always, the New Bedford Art Museum is getting great reviews (and wicked good word on the street) for Humanly Possible, 4 Figurative Artists. The artists are art profs from the local Looniversity, and class acts all. 380 people showed up at the opening last month, and you'll wish you were one of them.
- In Colonial Williamsburg VA, keep an eye out for Paul Giamatti. He's playing John Adams in some teevee miniseries or other, and they've been filming down there because Boston doesn't look like Boston anymore. I wonder where they go to film Williamsburg?
- If you're your neighborhood's youngest curmudgeon, like me, look for something like Gallery X's High School Select exhibition. The kids are alright.
- I've added a few subjects to The Gam to the right. The other right. Find joy. Remain unafraid.
- And, oh yeah, this:
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
By "community," I’m sure this scamp refers to the UMass-Dartmouth community. Actually, there are a number of fine, nationally-celebrated art and artisanry programs at that University. The outside world (the one with the TacoBell and the mall?), sometimes called "SouthCoast," also has a proud and growing base of artists and entertainers who are shocked to hear that their community needs to have "art and entertainment" brought to them.
And apparently folks who bring "art and entertainment" don't consult an activity schedule. This little imp (whose myspace bio includes the admission, "I have a tatoo of a naked chick sitting on a skull on my ass. Its pretty cool very tasteful. I showed my mom, needless to say she didn't find it funny. I on the other hand found it fucking drop dead funny...") is comfortable in his own intellectual vacuum and prefers to insult the “community” by inflicting on the SouthCoast his “Road Soda brand of entertainment." (“road soda,” for those of us who don't spend all our time trying to score X and hook up, is the co-opted white trash term for beer, often hidden in a fast food cup and imbibed in a vehicle while riding or driving. Oh, so naughty.) I was going to make a crack about "sophomoric," but since that's a cheap shot based on an understanding of the classics, I’ll stop.
I wonder what hack in the Public Affairs office let this nipper insult the craftspeople, artists, and musicians in the SouthCoast and at the university with such boorishness. Or what editor thought any of this was appropriate. I understand the newspaper courts younger readers. But a half-page devoted to some amateur circle jerk when there are museums, galleries, theater and actual cultural events?
There used to be faculty (I think we called them "advisors" or "guidance counsellors") who would warn college students before they embarrassed themselves and others. But since this generation gets a trophy just for showing up at TeeBall practice, I expect it's now established academic policy to allow enrollees to act with insouciance and impunity.
Unfortunately, the grown-ups out here are not so delighted. Puerile, unversed and highly-publicized childishness is anathema to even the amateur entertainment community in the SouthCoast.
"What else is there to do on a Tuesday night?" this moppet asks. Don’t you even listen to your own campus radio station, WUMD? The station, which often proves that DUMass is actually a pretty bright spot, has been announcing this:
UMass Dartmouth Music Dept. will present a Tuesday evening concert series at the Woodland Commons Cafe located on UMD's Main Campus, Old Westport Rd., Dartmouth, MA. Performances will be held in a coffee house setting from 7-9pm and will feature music students, college alumni & music department faculty. The series, which will run up through May 1st, is opened to the public. For further info, call 508-999-8438 or email email@example.com.
The Open Mic at the New Wave Cafe (143 North Front Street New Bedford) has been going on for years. Tuesday nights. Free pool at Knuckleheads (85 MacArthur Drive) Tuesday Nights. There's a Nepalese movie called Himalaya tonight, on campus.
Do your homework. Don't insult your community, your peers, and your audience, and don't define something publicly that you can't describe.
Learn how to sail before you try to steal that 40' catamaran.
UPDATE: And in nearby Fairhaven, you can enjoy the Marcus Monteiro Quartet every (say it with me) TUESDAY at Bridge Street Station for some of the best alto sax anywhere. Hanx MM4.
Friday, March 2, 2007
- I love March. The end of Winter. I love the smell of the thawing ground, the first sparkling crocus buds and shining forsythia, "the pleasure in the orchard white" as Frost says "... for this is love and nothing else is love."
- I hate the racist Paddy’sDay crap. Last mention, promise.
- Speaking of racism... Why can’t Americans play Americans anymore? Ask Minnie Driver and Eddie Izzard. Both are welcome on my vessel. Eddie has been the best stand-up comic over the past 10 years (never mind the mumu) and Ms. Driver is criminally underrated (And she can never mind the mumu, too). They’re going The Full Hugh Laurie, with Ah-mer-kin accents to play con-parents (“The Riches”) who move the family into a swell new house. Which isn’t theirs.
- The Fall River Orifice of EconoDev has some funny ideas about commuter rail down in this coprner of Mass. (Funny, I didn’t think the masters use the same transport as the slaves.) The idea is that the working class take the train to Boston to work and the leisure class take the train to Fall River to... umm, well, that's where it starts to break down.
- I enjoyed Inconvenient Truth. Really. It challenged some of my notions (e.g. that climate change is gradual and controllable) and strengthened others (in the aftermath of the film, some folk prize ecological destruction and will lie, distort, and slander in order to do it). I also like when the local paper prints comedy letters: Read this one. It is a joke, right? If not, wow. “King Arthur”? (fixed link)
- As far as whether Al Gore should run for President in '08: We already elected him.
- A bunch of folk sent in a bunch of videos inspired by Inconvenient Truth and ask you to judge their work. Go ahead. Some are downright great.
- A local grease-n-brew sportsbar has decided to sell because – get this – its business went down 20% because of the smoking ban that went into effect THREE YEARS AGO. And here I was thinking that business was failing because the teevees were loud, the help was insurmountably ignorant, and the food tasted like ass.
- Yes, Angelina Jolie is prepping for a seat on the Council on Foreign Relations. This means Brad will have to play hostess to some really boring dinner parties. So, I’m suggesting bringing the kids to the meetings and insisting on fair trade muffins and coffee when it’s your turn to bring.
- Incidentally, it’s the Council on Foreign Relations, not the Trilateral Commission or the Illuminati. She would never have anything to do with any group that would send The Hulk to outer space.
- You know where this is going...