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Archive for December, 2006

(I do not care for this song)

Dreamgirls is one of the musicals I’ve never been able to get really excited about….right up there with Little Shop of Horrors and Starlight Express. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the soundtrack to Dreamgirls prior to today. My brother, on the other hand, seems to love it. (That’s okay…he can have Dg and I’ll take Fiddler.)

Anyway, since the movie’s out, everyone is talking about the show,and referencing the one show-stopping number, so I figured I should listen to it at least once. I’ve now played it through a couple of times, and really don’t care for it.

For a better modern Broadway showstopper, I’ve got my money on Good Morning, Baltimore.

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It’s not that I don’t want to write anything. It’s that I can’t. I sit down to express a thought and it’s only half-formed. I can’t coax anything to the surface long enough to turn it into post-worthy material. I think that’s largely due to having Christmas giant on the horizon. This time of year I’m always in a potpourri of moods. I’m excited to see my family, gleeful about indulging in traditions and nervous about all the year-end things that are looming. Each happy thought about opening stockings on Christmas morning is followed with an anxious mental notice to myself about tracking down all my I-9s for tax season. Any time I get thrilled to think about going to my favourite restaurants for Christmas meals I also instantly think of my annual medical deductable starting over again in January. And I know that means I will successfully avoid the emergency room until, say, January 15th or so. I think I’m the only human being alive who actually runs a tab at their local hospital.

I also think the “true meaning of Christmas” is kind of depressing in a way. I know that we’re endlessly grateful that Baby Jesus came to earth for us and that all of the carols about how He is such a sweet baby who never cries and sleeps in heavenly peace have created this happy image of a tranquil baby that goes well with a winter night. There are no holiday songs about a scared twelve-year-old girl having her innards ripped out while lying in the stink of a barn. There are no joyful songs about cutting (or biting) the cord and looking for water to wash the gunk from the crying baby, about wrapping him in an old towel and putting him in an overgrown dog dish. And nothing about the pain that came after. The struggles of a Godman who had to contend with human pain and ultimately die a grisly, horrible death. I think Christmas sanitises Jesus too much. Even Silent Night makes Him sound less like God and more like a hunk of meat. Tender and mild? Is this God made incarnate for our sins or well-marinated venison? I absolutely hate that line of that song. I’ve been enlisting my brother and sister in a campaign to find a different rhyme for “child”.

So here I am, happy and anxious and eager for Christmas to get here and sad that it will so soon be over.

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I know your intentions are good, and on one level I appreciate the efforts you’re going through to promote your going concerns. I know postage is expensive.

But please, I implore you.

Do not stick any more crap in my front door. I have many good reasons for this request. Let me share them with you, so you know why your candy canes, Christmas cards, spa services brochures, real estate calendars and other “goodies” are not welcome.

~I know and like several real estate agents personally. They have either ponied up the money to mail me the calendars or given them to me in person. That shows a respect for my personal space that I admire.

~ I live in a no-soliciting neighbourhood. Your gestures of “holiday cheer” [hint: I’m not eating the candy canes, the Hershey’s kisses and the cookies you gave me] are actually an affront to my privacy.

~ When your “gift” contains chocolate, it often draws cats and dogs. I’m sure you don’t mean to poison the errant neighbourhood pets, but that’s what happens.

~ During the holidays people often travel for days at a time. Nothing says “rob me!” like a pile of detritus stuck in the front door.

~ I’m often home alone, and nothing freaks me out more than a stranger walking up to my front door, peering in my front window to see if I’m home and then sticking an invite to their church in my door. This may be the new “fire-and-brimstone” approach–scaring me into finding the Lord–but I don’t need it and it’s not welcome.

Thank you.

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I have a bundle of half-formed thoughts again…nothing worth an entire post. But I want to throw them out there because I only take Christmas week off from blogging. Or so I tell myself.

Wow on the Miss USA thing. I mean, I get there are standards of conduct and that you sign a contract saying you’ll be a role model and whatnot. But honestly, having your personal life evaluated for wholesomeness by Donald Trump has got to sting just a little bit.

–I think the Senator who has fallen ill should be replaced by someone else elected by the people. Failing that, he should be replaced by a member of his own party. But if he isn’t, and they replace him with a Republican I have only two words. Jim Jeffords.

–Last night’s The Office was a Christmas treat and a half. Jim’s speech about rebounding (while staring in the direction of the receptionist’s desk) was all the present I needed. From NBC that is. Family members feel free to give me gifts. ;=p

–Asking for money on your blog is a personal choice. Some people do, some people don’t. I don’t really mind seeing tipjars and wishlist links on blog sites, but I mind being ASKED in a post to “hit the tipjar”. Then again, I’m the curmudgeonly type who also minds when the Salvation Army people ring their bells in my face. Dude, I know you’re there. I hear the bell and I see the bucket. No need to shake it harder at me when I walk by. Keep that up and I’ll complain to both the Salvation Army and the Kroger at Providence. In either case–blogging or the Salvation Army–you are begging. Plain and simple. At least have the decency to beg a bit more discreetly. Oh, and one more thing, if you are a blogger who has a tipjar or a wishlist, don’t ask me to hit it when you don’t blog at least three times a week. Or when your blog consists mostly of AP feeds re-posted.

–A few years ago I had this co-worker introduce me to a Christmas candy that’s like crack to me. It’s simple as all get-out but I can’t make it very often because I eat through the whole batch in a matter of minutes. It’s just Rolos, mini pretzels and pecans. Unwrap the Rolos, set them on the mini pretzels and bake in the oven for 10 minutes at 250º. When you take them out of the oven the Rolos should just be soft. Press one pecan in the top of each Rolo. And that’s it. Sweet, salty and caramelly. Homemade Turtles at a fraction of the price. I’m drooling just thinking about it.

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Bob Seger performing The Little Drummer Boy.

Nineteen kinds of wrong.

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:: Why do the various magazines I’ve subscribed to think that I want spam from them? I get about 3 emails A DAY from Entertainment Weekly, Better Homes & Gardens and Taste of Home. It’s irritating to realise that not only is it spam but it’s spam that I’ve actually paid for. And it just now occurs to me that I have nerdy taste in magazines. I also just started getting Real Simple. That’s a long story, but basically we had a few air miles that had to be used up and the only thing we could redeem them on was magazines. And most of the magazines were for things I have absolutely no interest in, like Fly Fisher Monthly and Gay Fashion. No, the magazine wasn’t actually CALLED “Gay Fashion” but it wasn’t Out or The Advocate. (I like the Advocate) And it did have “Gay” in the title. Maybe it was Gay Vogue. I can’t remember….I just know that it so did not apply to me as I’m neither gay nor do I have the slightest ability to comprehend Fashion. Speaking of which, Jen has promised both herself and Pink Kitty to me for Fashion First Aid. I need it, because if there was any area where I was more handicapped than my inability to see without coke-bottle lenses it’s “fashion”. Who decided that Garanamils were only for children? Because I need that kind of help with putting together an outfit. Seriously.

:: Speaking of putting together an outfit, this has nothing to do with that really but it made me think of “The Lost Room” for some reason I can’t fathom. I watched the first 30 minutes or so of that mini series last night, because it was well-reviewed. But I think I’m giving up on it. I worry that I’m not the Sci Fi fan that I used to be because I have no patience with the new little conceits that Modern Sci Fi is doing. The thing about good sci fi is that there is weirdness followed by an explanation for the weirdness. Now the explanation may be as OUT THERE as the rest of the weirdness, but it’s still an explanation. You can say to yourself “a ha! The aliens invaded the outer planets only because those were the ones that grew the algae containing an essential amino acid that the aliens needed to stay alive!” That’s why I dig on Sci Fi. I like the scientific explaination behind the outlandish fiction. Well, that, and I love Alternative Cosmologies. This is why I hale both Phillip K. Dick–who does the “explaination” part very well–and Frank Herbert, master of the AltCosm. But this “Lost Room” show looks like it’s gonna not actually give any kind of explaination for the weirdness. Sports Night Casey corners a loon with a magic bus ticket and asks said loon why the heck everything is so weird. Loon’s response is that “no body knows for sure but some people think that God died and these items are little pieces of his body and then other people think God is still alive and these objects are a test.” What.The.Heck?! Please, dude. Get serious. Can’t you even throw us the standard L’Engle “wrinkle in the fabric of time” nonfriggingsense? Pieces of God’s Dead Corpse sounds absolutely like some 8th grade emo poetry by a girl who aspires to end this life with her head in the oven.

But the worst part so far is that Sports Night Casey takes his daughter to a doctor’s office where everyone has odd plastic smiles on their faces. He’s told that it will be “a couple of hours” so he leaves to head over to a diner across the street. On his way to the diner he meets Bus Ticket Loon and they have a series of Special F/X Misadventures. And of course his daughter is kidnapped. Of course. I’m sorry…I don’t even HAVE human children but if one of my kids were dropped off for a 2-hr. Doctor’s Appt. you’d better believe that I’d whip out my handy Purse Paperback (Currently Reading: Vodka by Boris Starling) and wait for said fruit of my loins to emerge safe and sound. I would definitely not be chasing a lunatic around the corridors of The World’s Creepiest Hospital.

There are about 5 and a half more hours of this show and I don’t know if I’ll make it all the way through or not. That remains to be seen.

:: I feel like I should have a third thing to write about but my brain is totally unfocused. I will say that the iTunes free download of the week is some woman singing “Silent Night” and it’s actually very good. I’ve listened to it bunches. Also big props to Big Orange Michael for hooking me up with the “O Holy Night” mp3, which is now available for free download at nbc dot com slash studio 60. And that’s about it for this brain dump because right now I’m sitting staring at the two pigs on my desk and wondering why–if they’re supposedly identical–that the felt muzzles of either pig are attached differently. One is sewn inside and the other is sewn outside. This makes me realise that they were probably handsewn by some poor woman in China. Can you imagine a life of handsewing stuffed pigs for happy meal toys? No? Me either.

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Big news:

Since January 2006, the number of monthly iTunes transactions has declined 58 percent, while the average size per purchase declined by 17 percent, leading to a 65-percent overall drop in monthly iTunes revenue, U.S. market research group Forrester said in a survey among North American consumers.

Wow. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can say that those numbers pretty accurately reflect my own iTunes usage. In the first two years that I used the Music Store I purchased regularly. What’s a dollar here and there–especially for one-off singles you haven’t heard for years? In 2006, though, I’ve actually spent more on iTunes this month than I did the rest of the year combined. Here are my reasons–and I’m betting I’m not the only one with these reasons:

1. I don’t like most of the new stuff out there right now, and I’ve already bought most of the old stuff that I wanted to hear again.

2. I don’t like the fact that the albums don’t come with liner notes. I had written to Apple several times about this, because it was becoming a big disincentive for me when purchasing online. I’m not even in the music business, but I love liner notes. I have noticed that Apple Music Store has begun packaging .pdf “booklets” with select titles. That may be too little, too late.

3. Podcasts are free and they’re more entertaining, by and large. The bulk of my Music Store time lately has been spent downloading podcasts. To me, the growing popularity of free podcasts has put a huge dent in my Music Store shopping. Before I’d browse the offerings and maybe drop a buck or two on some tunes. Now I can browse AND download the same venue without spending any money.

I don’t have all the answers. I do think, though, that these falling numbers are a definite warning shot for Apple AND the Music Industry.

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Dear Lindsay

The second ‘A’ is for Anonymous.

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Please. I beg you. Whoever you are. Wherever you lay your head. Whatever god you pray to.

Do not write any more spoofs on ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas.

I’ve heard political versions, religious versions and at least 6 versions customised for different dog breeds. I’ve heard versions for dieters, alcoholics and the newly divorced. I’ve heard versions for people with new babies.

I think I’m going to pull my hair out if I have to hear another one ever again.

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Last week there was much talk of the Trans-fat ban in New York City. Today there was lively conversation about a possible Nashville City Ordinance banning cigarette smoke in public places.

Proponents of the ordinance think that the ban is a good thing because of all the stricken barworkers, irritated restaurant patrons and wheezing asthmatics who would benefit from the government telling a private business how to regulate their clientele.

I think this is a good idea. In fact, I think it is such a good idea that I’m going to quit being a libertarian and start being a communitarian. All Laws That Benefit Our Community! That will be our slogan. And I have a few laws in mind that I’d like to start with.

1. Fat people should be barred from restaurants. Eating large restaurant portions is bad for one’s health, and being forced to look at fat people eating makes many people nauseous. Not to mention all the waitstaff who develop tendonitis from carrying trays loaded down with all the food to be consumed by fat people.

2. Breastfeeding should be banned in public. There are a lot of germs in public, and a lot of germs on breasts and a lot of germs in babies’ mouths. Breastfeeding is the quickest way to make a baby sick. It’s also makes some people nauseous to see a woman breastfeeding in public. Clearly we’d all be better off if this activity were confined to cars, front porches and the insides of private homes.

3. Smoking should be banned in private homes. You never know who the home will be sold to. It’s possible that the next owner may be allergic to cigarette smoke. It’s also bad if there are defenseless children in the private home exposed to cigarette smoke. Clearly the only good place to smoke is a 4×4 lucite cell with no external ventilation.

4. Public toilets should be banned. What a cornucopia of germs! Do we really need constant exposure to the fecal germs of strangers?

5. Public displays of affection should be banned. With the constant threat of teen pregnancy, AIDS and other STDs , the titillation of watching people hold hands, hug and kiss in public places can prove too much for others to see. These seemingly innocent acts of affection lead inevitably forward to grave public health crises.

I realise these bans all seem harsh, but what is the government for if not to decide what is best for all of us and then curtail our lifestyles to promote the health and longevity of all citizens. Of course too much longevity also creates a public health crisis–those old people are expensive. I think we ought to ban anyone over the age of 70.

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