The Canadian Club











Well, Dave, someone heard my earlier plea about obtaining a free ticket to the Deli.  I mean, except for the free part.  And so it is that I am headed off to Hindustan today to see my Hindustani girlfriend!

But, I wouldn’t leave without throwing some questions your way, Dave… And so here are some things I was thinking about:

So, sifting through this compilation, I noticed this press release for something that calls itself  “Bezi Bra Discs,” basically subtle pasties.  This apparently resolves an age-old predicament

“With so many air-conditioned rooms, women wearing sleek bridal wear are seeing more than just wedding cake. They are seeing they outline of their nipples through their dresses,” says Anne Zuckerman, owner of Edith’s Inc. “This is not they way most brides — and their bridal party — want to stand out on such an important day as a wedding.”

Now, I have to admit to finding it a really bad sign that our contemporaries are horrified of this.  And yet, don’t you have some old acquaintance that “invented” and sold the same thing?  What were they called? Who has a patent on this?  And how could several people have the same bad idea at once? In essence, this invokes the Almodovar paradox, where what is presented as particularly sensitive to women, strikes me, rather, as sneering misogyny.

And, to answer your question, Dave, yes, I have seen three Almodovar films.  They basically have a drag queen‘s portrayal of the feminine mystique.  Perhaps it is in those grand gesticulations of mocking hyperbole that modern criticism reads feminism.  Or maybe I have it all wrong, and there is some confusion and distinction that I’m not making between movies that are feminist by nature, and those that are sensitive portrayals of women.

Moving along, I’m very curious about this thing called Momofuku.  Why is it extremely popular as a subject of Facebook status updates?  What is it?  Is its appeal related in some way to the popularity of those French Connection UK T-shirts?  Help me out here, Dave.

Finally, you have a kid, right?  Well, can you ask him what the deal is with all these poopyheads?

Well, that’s about enough out of me.  I best be shining my shoes and sliding my passport in its protective sleeve.  See ya on the other side of 2009!

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{December 19, 2009}   You know what I hate?

Yeah, Russ, I’m with you:  this whole Senate thing is making me crazy.  I hate the Nelsons, I hate the Liebermans, I hate the Snowes and — uh oh, here it comes — I HATE HOWARD DEAN.  What makes stupid centrists think that it’s anything other than morally abhorrent to hold the process hostage to their vanity, and what makes stupid lefties think that some magical single-payer opportunity is going to pop up any time soon, when our country has been attempting and failing to deal with this health-care clusterfrak for decades (a century, by some reckoning)?

Really, the term “centrist” is pretty useless, no?  Included under that umbrella term are both the pragmatists (the “can’t we all just get along?” people)- and the contrarians (the “pox on both your houses” people) — and while both those groups are referred to as centrists, they don’t actually have so much in common, do they?  I say this because, as a relatively moderate leftie of the former persuasion, I want to KILL EVERYONE of the latter persuasion, some of whom are the totally leotarded swing-voter types that I still have trouble believing actually exist — onnly they do exist, because without them, our national elections wouldn’t be such a nightmare, right?

And while I’m on the cranky, ranty warpath:  what about Christmas?

I’m getting Footie Pajamas a real Lionel train set this year (Ages 8 and up?  Pshaw!  That’s just The Man trying to keep us down!) — so that’s rad, but the rest of it is kinda bollocks.  I feel like I can’t, in good conscience, file Christmas Cheer under Taking the Joke Too Far, especially when there are kids involved, because while I’m kind of an asshole, I’m not that big an asshole.  Plus, I have to be careful not to cede too much ground to Big Pajamas, who would probably avoid all ritualized celebrations if he had his druthers.  And yet.  And yet.  I had this idea that it would be magical fun again when I had a child to surprise with amazing, longed-for presents, but right now it mostly feels like one more thing I gotta do, you know?

What DO I like, you ask?  I’ll tell you, Russ (just in case you haven’t been able to guess by taking a quick look at our new decorating scheme around here).  I like the first snowstorm of the year.  Happy Hanukkah, my friend, and good luck finishing your phrenology paper.  I look forward to oodles of bloggy X-mas cheer from you next week.



{November 26, 2009}  

Well, Russ, I’m more or less done with the stuff I needed to get done this week.  All that remains is for me to pack and ship over the next couple of days, then get myself down to the tropics for what will undoubtedly be a strange, strange few days.  Oh, and I have to get something resembling grown-up clothes to wear for my event.  I’m enlisting the help of a far more fashion- and retail-savvy friend this weekend, thank goodness, because I just don’t think I can dress myself anymore.  My ideas about what to wear have been distorted over the last few months by my experiences teaching 21-year-old girls, who — have you noticed this? — don’t wear pants much nowadays.  And like every disturbing, American-Apparel-was-on-to-it-three-years-ago trend, it doesn’t look that bad to me anymore, you know?  All of which means that it won’t be long until I’m wearing this.

Hey, so apologies to my Facebook friends for the self-plagiarism here, but did you see that article from Salon that I posted, along with the response in Jezebel?  The original article discussed our culutre’s weird animosity towards mothers — in particular, educated, white, urban mothers who dare to take their kids out in public places and disturb people around them with kid noise — and sensibly suggested that there is an anti-feminist impulse underlying this animosity.  The Jezebel response — specifically, a sizable percentage of the comments — took some issue with this notion.  Quick, go read those articles.  Then come back.

This little tidbit from Jezebel made me homicidal.

It’s the combination of smugness and obliviousness, Berkeley ethics funded by serious money, of campaigning for liberal politicians while complaining about nanny problems.

Hey, you know what?  I campaign for liberal politicians.  I’ve also had nanny problems.  Seriously, I am so tired of this shit.  Why are otherwise left-leaning types so horrid and myopic when it comes to questions of feminism and motherhood?  It’s a good thing for cities, for public schools and for the environment that relatively affluent families are no longer fleeing urban areas in the same numbers.  It’s a good thing for women to avail themselves of whatever options they can to keep their careers alive during the very difficult early child-rearing years (if that’s what they want to do), as long as they treat child-care workers like professionals.  It’s a good thing for all of us to share our public spaces in a way that helps us learn to accommodate one another.  So why are liberal urbanites so resentful of kids?  Are they really that infantile?  One Jezebel commenter mentioned proudly that she hadn’t been taken to a restaurant until she was five, because her parents didn’t want to subject the other patrons to her antics.  Five fracking years until you’re allowed to take your child to a restaurant?  Are you kidding me?  I don’t take my child to five-course meals in white-tablecloth establishments, but jeez, are we really not supposed to go anywhere but Chuck E. Cheese? For all the screeching about strollers in bars, you’d think that the bars (OK, non-smoking gastropubs, really) we sometimes take our child to DIDN’T HAVE HIGH CHAIRS AVAILABLE.

So frack all y’all.  I’m going out for a pint with my 3-year-old.



{November 3, 2009}   Even Bob Hope had off days

bob_n_bing

Remember when there was that guy Russ who used to contribute to this blog?  Wonder what happened to him…

I hear he’s hiding his head in shame over something — maybe a little hypocritical — he said about Halloween and parties.  Boy, Russ’s Mom really gave him what for!  There certainly was a creative set of costumes and very little flesh.  Perhaps staying sober during such an event ensures that one’s memories are more positive.  I guess the lesson I learned was quite opposite from that set forth in Frazz, below:

Frazz

Now, to address your concern about The Prisoner remake, I think we can only conclude that all remakes of mod British classic television is destined for failure, essentially because Hollywood has a particular knack for screwing up both camp and offbeat adventure.  This reminds me of a lecture I attended recently that veered quite unexpectedly into a tragi-comic over-analysis of Little Miss Sunshine. (More on that later)

However, another reason why The Prisoner thingy will fail is, as you have noted, Jim Cazazwhatever.  This guy has a serious Billy Crudup problem.  Not to say that Billy Crudup does not really have a Billy Crudup problem of his own.  Here’s a guy who totally crudded up the early prognostics of a ‘serious acting’ career!  Still, the unique position of Jim Xaxasville is that nobody wants to watch him in bad movies when they could watch Billy Crudup in bad movies instead.

All that to say, however, that someone told me I have to prepare for class in a few minutes, which will be relatively more arduous than remembering that I used to participate in a vibrant and clever blog.  Yet, I have a feeling that Bob will be hitting the road with Bing again, and quite soon!

 



{November 2, 2009}   I am not a number!

Laugh3

So hey there, Russ, how was your Halloween weekend?  What did you wind up being, anyway?

I went to a movie this weekend, which was so exciting for me that I started giggling uncontrollably during the previews and remained more or less rapt throughout the entire film.  You know that scene from Sullivan’s Travels where the convicts are watching the Mickey Mouse cartoon and laughing their heads off?  And it’s such a great scene, but then you’re like, whoa, wait, did grown-ups ever used to think Mickey Mouse was that funny?  (Because, trust me, I’ve seen some of these recently with this guy and they are moderately amusing at best.)  Anyway, I was like those convicts in the movie.  I was like one of those moviegoers who supposedly ran screaming from the Lumiere Brothers’ train film.  I could have watched anything on the big screen and been delighted, I think.  OK, you’re right, maybe not anything.

So it turns out that it can be fun to leave the house and be in the actual, physical world with other human beings (other human beings besides Pajamas and Footie Pajamas, I mean).  As your mom so aptly put it — and kudos to her for her stream of insight! — a lot of my gripes about humankind result from “not actually having left the house for Halloween in many years (don’t deny it!), and are based wholly on [my] readings of Us Weekly in grocery-store lines.”  That is, if by “Halloween” you mean, “any reason except for class or to pick up FP,” and by “Us Weekly in grocery-store lines” you mean, “Jezebel in your studio while eating a solitary apple-and-peanut-butter lunch.”  So yes, Russ’s Mom, your point is well taken.  I welcome your perspective from the outside.

Speaking of the Outside, do you think this is completely misguided, or potentially awesome?  I’m leaning towards the former, but mostly because of my distaste for Jim Caviezel.

So that’s what I learned this weekend.  What did you learn, Russ?



{October 23, 2009}   Bits and pieces… Hi Mom!

You know, Dave, I was just about to ask you if you had seen the last episode of Mad Men, yet — which I think is the — gulp — penultimate of the season? If you have, then we have a heck of a lot to discuss good golly!

In the interim, there’s always Glee.

Anyway, I was reading Flaubert’s correspondence recently — bits and pieces, natch — and it really humbled and almost shamed me.  You remember those wild times when e-mail was just starting out and we had that kind of clubby student interface at the old school?  And then I started getting four to six e-mails a day from my mother?  And we all kind of thought that was really weird.  I mean, not as weird as some people thought I was, but still…

Well, reading the letters Flaubert wrote to his mother from Egypt, it appears that I should have been both more appreciative and more assiduous in my replies all this time… I mean, not only did she write him constantly, constantly complaining that he did not write back often enough, but he actually seemed to take pleasure in reading her letters!  Sentimentally setting aside all other task to open himself to the wellspring of emotions brought about by the words of his chère vieille (seriously, I cannot imagine addressing my mama with some variation of “you old bag”). Moreover, he took to writing to his comrades requesting that they check in on her.  Times change… Anyhoo, it really brought me back to those moments when I would have to lie about where I was traveling, just to avoid any excess of fretting: Flaubert’s mother apparently imagined that he was eaten by crocodiles or, perhaps, besieged by Bedouins as every week went by without word from him.  Of course, in other respects, I have never been expected to give the kind of detailed report on my daily health that Flaubert felt necessary — Dude, TMI!

Otherwise, I was wondering why I always have a rough time leaving the house in the morning.  Then I realized that there is an inverse relationship between distance between sleeping cats and hours it takes to get out the door in the morning:

let sleeping cats lie

let sleeping cats lie

Really… could you bring yourself to abandon such a thing?



I couldn't make it at Police Academy so now I have to go camping with this frickin' robot.

I couldn't make it at Police Academy so now I have to go camping with this frickin' robot.

Funny you should mention the jogging/blogging connection, Dave. Last night, I actually went running for the first time in about two weeks (and I’m not even trying to impress chicks).  Oddly enough, I found again yesterday that I work better, not only while running but, as with my last blogging experience, while blogging.  I think there’s something about replacing distracted and unfocused time during which one might read Matthew Yglesias or — more often — look up music videos on Youtube, with time that one is actually trying to gather and compose one’s thoughts around said music videos.  This then carries over into the rest of my work.

So, it’s very much the same experience of head-clearing that you get while running (sorry, Dave, guys just don’t “jog”).  The key is, I guess, not spending three hours on any single blog post.

Now, as for your questions of the day, since it seems you have posed them in order of reverse difficulty, I will seek to answer them in reverse order.

First off, OMDG!  You don’t know — but probably can guess — how many times I have wanted to post this song to FB!  I had it stuck in my head several times this past week already, including last night.  I think its evocation predates Glee, but it makes sense that Glee would have now exacerbated its tenacity.  All I can say is “Kudos” to you, Dave, for having found the single most extraordinary Youtube video of Break my Stride.  Mustache and unitards alike will be spinning in my head for the foreseeable future.  And, obviously, the answer to your question (4) is “NO, you will never get this song out of your head!” However, I do not think the brain destroying is necessarily Glee-induced…

Actually, I was just asking myself yesterday:  Should I let my mother know about this blog?  She was one of the most loyal readers of my past blogging effort, if not always the most civil of commenters — Unlike you, though, I am not FB friends with my mother, so I would have to go out of my way to tell her about this blog, and I am not quite sure if I am ready to do that.  But, yes, “Your mama!” is indeed reading this blog already (3).  The question is, when will Ty get with the program?!?

So, I told you yesterday, that I was potential going to live the principle of “WTF-ever” by catching some gay performance art.  I was actually kind of looking forward to being appalled by people in tight-fitting clothes making obscure jerky movements that often would involve their hands chopping the air, swirls, and heads tilting to the side in a kind of Lobdellian tour de force.  However, that is not what Dead Boys delivered.

This was (2), in fact, a straight-up (no pun intended ha ha) musical vaguely inspired by the hanging of homosexuals in Iran — although this inspiration only emerged within the last fifteen minutes of something that seemed overlong, although, apparently, it was in keeping with its theme of “awakening.”  Still, I never want to hear another musical number that contains lyrics such as “performing gender”, “post-structural feminism” and “Foucault” I shit-my-pants you not!  What ended up happening was a series of vignettes centered around a gay performance artist and his hippy-medium landlord that culminated with a psychic channeling that led to a stirring denouement where it was revealed that our hero could in fact have political consciousness AND the dishy Asian saxophone player.  Oh, and a couple of BDSM scenes were thrown in to thicken the broth.  If this seems a bit muddled to you, believe me, it was much worse for people who were actually there.

You will probably say, “Russ, that sounds like totally not your thing.  What were you doing there?”  Well, that’s a valid question.  All I can say is that a classmate of mine was performing in the piece, and, you know, I’m the kind of guy that when someone tells me, “I’m doing this musical-thingy, you should come see it” or, “I’m writing this awesome blog, you should read it.”  Well, I DELIVER THE GOODS.  I SHOW MY SUPPORT. I GET WITH THE PROGRAM.  I guess these are rare qualities these days.  (By the way, this does not hold for reading poetry, sorry…)

Still, the major tragedy is that currently, in Berkeley, there is a musical called Dead Boys as well as a rock opera staging of — get the barf bag — Green Day’s American Idiot, but there is NO ROCK OPERA BASED ON THE MUSIC OF THE DEAD BOYS.  I’m thinking I need to find a crew that will help me remedy this problem.

Finally, I don’t know about you, but I only ever consult Cakewrecks when I need a lil’ pick me up.  But, now that they have a book deal, I think (1) we should boycott the site until we get ours.  Further, being a high school poseur, I think that’s a completely valid question.
Big Nate
I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling an eerie sense of empathy with Big Nate, right now.



{October 17, 2009}   Workout time!

I’m sensing a blogging/jogging parallel here.  I have a little trouble keeping up at the beginning, but ultimately I wind up having to carry a winded, sobbing Russ home in my arms.  I’m going to hit my stride soon, I just know it.

So I have some questions for you today, Russ.

1)  Does this mean that we have to stop looking at Cakewrecks, or is that the kind of question that a poseur would ask?

2)  Tell me more about “Dead Boys.”  Wait, that’s not a question.  Would you be so kind as to tell me more about “Dead Boys?”

3)  Do you think our moms are reading this yet?

4)  Will I ever get “Break My Stride” out of my head, or is this another way in which “Glee” is destroying my brain?



et cetera