Monthly Archives: August 2009

i have a 25-wood and intend to use it

8/31/09

Lucy has been telling everyone I’m going to the South Pole. I mean, South Carolina, South Pole, who’s keeping track?

seen today en route from LAX to Myrtle Beach, SC:

• girl in security line wearing a cotton skirt that went down to her calves, then gathered into separate cuffs for each leg. Culottes? Potato sack race? Terry-cloth parachute? Not sure, but it was a dusty rose color, and she was very pretty, which made it all quite confusing.

• goth rocker in security line, who was 6’5″ until he took his platform glam boots, and then he was barely six feet tall. He had a guitar strapped to his back, and his glam boots had eight giant buckles each. He was very sweet, one of those “I didn’t find music, music found me” kind of gentlemen with almost vitiligous, alabaster pale skin. Ten minutes after I was out of the line, he was still taking one of his boots off.

• a generously obese woman with nice eyes sat behind me and told her neighbor, “I used to work at Walmart, but then someone approached me about being a plus-size model, and now… on a good day of modeling, I make four weeks’ worth of workin’ at Walmart.”

• small plane from Atlanta to Myrtle Beach seemed to use its last ten rows for “fear of flying” exposure therapy. The woman behind me hadn’t flown in two years and had restless leg syndrome (into the back of my chair) and the woman behind her hadn’t flown in 14 years (and was by far the most calm). The flight attendants knew about all of them, and was amazing. I felt blessed to have extincted that process in myself.

• draconian rules about liquids and Ziploc bags have forced passengers to load most of the their toiletries into their checked bags, or worse yet, forced passengers to check bags. This has coincided with the airline industry’s new draconian fees for checking baggage. (insert fuming mad emoticon here)

• golf has been ravaged by the recession, as you might have guessed. Nice resorts handing out deals in desperation, and you can have any tee time you’d like. Finally, plebes like me and Sean can play Davis Love III’s course!

bizzitches only wants to play candyland

8/26/09

End of Summer RandomFest 2009™ Continues!

Jesus, those are some good band names on yesterday’s entry – please keep the coming if you have more, as we’re going through all of them.

But let’s keep it easy today, a CODE WORD question too easy to ignore… what was (and perhaps is) your favorite board game?

Mine? Glad you asked:

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nonesuch mcSpluttershirts and the colonorectal imaging cameras

8/25/09

Yes, there are certainly more profound issues in the world (especially today), but ladies and gents, I need your help. Since “The Strike” and various forms of “Strike” already exist on iTunes, OUR BAND NEEDS A NEW NAME. We’re at the end of our rope with this one, having already dealt with it in 2007, and need to trawl your collective forebrains.

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Yes, we know there’s plenty of jokey band names. We need one we can actually use, so nothing in the realm of “The Vaguely Creepy Flight Attendants” or “Cap’n Kokk and his Fantazmik Urethra” or “That Wasn’t a Fart That Was The Chair”. Our band is hard to describe (we’ve heard “Aimee Mann meets the Red Hot Chili Peppers” and “XTC meets Tom Petty”) but we’re the kind of group that needs a name that isn’t much longer than two syllables, if’n you know what I mean. We’re twee enough without the name making us tweer.

Try listening to the song below – I happened to write this one, but both our guitarist and lead singer are gifted songwriters – and see if it conjures something. Or just tell me a band name you always wish existed. If yours gets selected, you get a handwritten love note and CD from the four of us!

I’m a Nine.mp3

two dishes, but to one table

8/24/09

Let us continue Random Summer Countdown™ with some good news, shall we? Of course you remember my brother Sean, his wife Jordana and friend Mac and their theater company Gideon Productions from such delights as 2005’s FLEET WEEK (winner, Best Musical, NYC Fringe 2005), 2006’s frenetic AIR GUITAR, 2007’s disturbingly awesome HAIL SATAN, not to mention the universally lauded “UNIVERSAL ROBOTS” and my personal favorite, “THE FIRST ANNUAL ST. IGNATIUS CHANNUKAH PAGEANT”. They have done it again with this year’s entry into the NYC Fringe Festival, “VIRAL”.

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Kent Meister, Matthew Trumbell, Rebecca Comtois, and Amy Lynn Stewart in VIRAL

I have not seen the play – it’s the first Fringe show I’ll have missed – but let’s let the reviewers do the talking:

“dynamic, fun, perceptive” – NYTheatre.com

“unflinching… uncompromising… harrowing… playwright Mac Rogers, thankfully, doesn’t shy away from following through on the promises made in his new play” – Backstage

**** (4 stars) – Time Out New York

“engrossing… its story lingers well after its final moments.” – THEATERMANIA

“Jordana Williams’ direction is taut and effective. From its opening moments, Viral pulls the audience in and doesn’t let go. It is an immediate and fascinating production. Having now seen several of Mac Rogers’ plays, I think he is destined for great things.” – StageBuzz

“Uncompromising, provocative and often bitterly funny” – Show Showdown

“It’s extremely rare to see a play working so well with so much craft in place” – Greenwich Village Examiner

“…the haunting new work by Mac Rogers” – New York Times

If you’re in or around New York City, the last performance is tonight (tickets sold here). It should sell out quickly, but sometimes you can get lucky by showing up. Either way, GREAT JOB, GUYS!

whaddya mean what am i doing

8/23/09

As you might have guessed, I’m in light posting mode until Labor Day, since most of you are off squeezing the last bit of pulp from your summer’s orange. That won’t stop me from putting up some fairly random things each day until we decide to get serious.

Today’s random thing? Click on this image, go to the NYTimes, and then tell me your thoughts. Remember to try all the variables!

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my adductors ache, film at 11

8/20/09

I’ve come to the following conclusion: I suck at Twitter. Transitively, I also suck at Facebook updates. I’m just not made for that kind of communication, even as much as I enjoy flitting through all of your 140-character missives to the world.

Here’s the thing: I have an irrational fear of being bored, and worse yet, being boring. I watched, in my formative years of friendless silence, how people would effortlessly tune out blowhards, know-it-alls and dudes who always have an opinion – and decided that I would try and be none of those things.

When in college, I deliberately never talked about myself on dates, choosing instead to pepper my would-be ladyfriend with enough questions to keep her talking all night. I’d save all my best lines for the Wednesday’s Child column I’d write on Tuesdays, and try to let them speak for themselves.

How I managed to do this – and still be such a dick – is fodder for a future blog, but I always understood the value of underspeaking, even if I wasn’t always able to hold myself back. The same goes for this blog, to a fault. I consider the “CODE WORD” questions to be shiftlessness on my part, and despite the great participation, I feel embarrassed to let you do my work for me. And so I say nothing on certain days, rather than hoist up something lame (which, in turn, flouts all the rules of Web Stickiness, but them’s the breaks).

And there’s the problem with Twitter and Facebook updates – in all honesty, I consider your microseconds valuable, and if I have something interesting to say, I’d rather do it here where I can explain it better, and you can comment at your leisure. I feel unbelievably goofy writing a Twitter update like this one, because I feel like there will be two reactions: “good god, that’s boring” and “well look at YOU, fancypants”.

Before any of you get self-conscious, realize that I read all your Twitter updates with genteel aplomb, even the amazing Peter Rukavina, who has raised microblogging to a Rococo art form. I totally dig on the “ambient social awareness” carnival ride, and my feelings are far from Luddite on this issue.

And god knows I’m not setting myself up as some kind of selfless Buddhist mystery, speaking only in riddles every other decade. A quick glance to the left will show how many years I’ve been doing this blog, indicating that my literary ego is chugging along quite insanely, thank you very much. But there’s something about the one-sentence update that… I don’t know, assumes too much?

fart fire with fire

8/19/09

Look, we’ve known all along that Obama was going for the long haul – the brilliance of his campaign was calculating the chess match of “news cycles” all the way to Election Day, with a clear understanding that you have to have a couple bad weeks in order to return triumphant. His team had a clear understanding of “the media narrative” – the emotional yo-yo constructed by the press every 10 days or so.

The media narrative is one of the most reductive, destructive, stupid and dangerous by-products of cable news outlets needing 24 hours of bullshit to fill their schedule, but if you use it the right way, you can find yourself sitting pretty at just the right time. Now the question is: does Obama still know what he’s doing?

Supposing his moral center and long-held wishes haven’t wavered, he has supported a public option for health care since the very beginning. He knew full well that Republicans not only wouldn’t support a public option, but probably wouldn’t support anything coming from him. Of course, well-known asshole Jim DeMint (R-SC) said it best: “If we’re able to stop Obama on this it will be his Waterloo. It will break him.” At that point, anyone with a shred of insight recognized that Republicans cared nothing for the suffering of Americans, and were only in this game to break Obama personally.

That’s when most people – especially those with a plurality in the House and Senate – would have told the G.O.P. to eat shit and die. Instead, Obama and his people continued the bipartisan route, sitting through town meetings attended by wingnuts with assault rifles, even sandbagging the public health care option (which, to some progressives, was the whole point of reform).

Despite these overtures, the Republicans continued their disinformation campaign, courted their crazies, and made sure everyone knew they considered dialogue a sign of weakness. Finally, today, the White House and Rahm Emanuel declared they’d had it and were going it solo. Cue everyone screaming “IT’S ABOUT FUCKING TIME!”

So the question is this: is Obama’s team still playing for the long haul? Since the Republicans are as predictable as 2nd graders with a box of chocolates, being a step ahead of them is frighteningly easy. It’s a win-win situation: Obama could have predicted their pouty intransigence, and decided to test them on it… if they give in, Obama wins, and if they don’t, Obama does it without them, while saying “I tried bipartisanship, but they wouldn’t meet me halfway.”

In either case, the Republican Party is revealed for what it has become: asinine, backwards, hypocritical enemies of progress who probably wouldn’t mind a lone gunman doing their dirty work for them. As for me, however, I’m long past patience for these miserable fucks.

We wasted valuable time listening to imbeciles like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich talk about “death panels” and “rationing” while another 150,000 Americans lost their health insurance. In the interim, the level of discourse has sunk to early hominid levels, with the Administration having to veer off-message to debunk legends better suited for snopes.com.

Slate says the best way to combat the conservative message is to pretend it doesn’t exist, but I vociferously disagree. The second some bullshit like “death panels” comes down the pike, I would have an ad ready for national television that swings back 14 times as hard, bringing up every rotten thing that particular Republican has ever said, done or fucked.

Newt Gingrich says that Obama’s plan will euthanize your grandparents? Fine. We release an ad on every major network saying “Newt Gingrich is LYING about the health care bill. But what kind of health care analysis can you expect from someone who served his ex-wife divorce papers while she was in her hospital bed suffering from cancer? All the while cheating on her with another woman WHILE IMPEACHING BILL CLINTON?”

But that’s just me. Obama and his staff know what they’re doing. Right?

sapphire and faded jeans

8/17/09

Still recuperating on sleeplessness from days of travel, but I thought I’d share this little tidbit from our family reunion this weekend. I have a strong affection for all my cousins, but I’ve always felt an especially strong bond with a few in particular. One of them is Hunter Kofford, the 13-year-old sister of Cooper, who, as many of you readers know, was the young boy who passed away two weeks ago.

Hunter has been Lucy’s heroine almost since birth, when Lucy began listening to my mom’s album of children’s music. Hunter’s voice has been crystal-clear – with stunning placement – since she was tiny, and she sings lead on about eight of the songs. Lucy regards her as rock royalty.

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Lucy and Hunter strike a pose last summer, September 2008

We always have a talent show at these reunions, and Hunter asked me to play guitar to Corinne Bailey Rae’s song Put Your Records On – of course I said sure, even though I’d only heard the song once before, while using the miter saw in the barn about two years ago. With five minutes until the show, we found an empty room and tried it. I definitely sounded like shit the first time through. Hunter even said it wasn’t a big deal, we didn’t have to do it, but there was NO WAY that I could possibly let her down. If you could have seen her face, and if you knew Hunter, and everything that has happened over the last few weeks… we had to pull it off.

After hearing the chords, I recognized them as the same funky E7 things I’d always loved. Then my brother Kent reminded me what the C#7 looks like when you’re not in a hurry, and that’s all we needed. With three minutes practice, we went downstairs and nailed it in front of a hundred family members.

I mean, it’s a little thing, getting a few chords right. But Hunter sang it so beautifully, this simple little jazz riff with a languid, open feeling. How can you sing these lines…

Three little birds sat on my window

And they told me I don’t need to worry.

Summer came like cinnamon so sweet,

Little girls double-dutch on the concrete

… a week after burying your little brother? I’m just glad I was there and could do something, a few sloppy changes on a 3/4ths-size guitar. You have to hand it to our family, while others face the music with tragedy, we’ve always faced tragedy with music. There isn’t a single life event that doesn’t come with a program, and I can’t imagine it any other way.

Kent recorded us doing the song, and managed to take out the sounds of ambient motor homes and squealing kids. He added some reverb, and voilà… you can listen to it here. Not bad for a couple of white kids sitting on a Barcalounger with a few minutes’ practice.