Wednesday, April 30, 2008

my friend barry's emmy

remember when i saw that emmy out my kitchen window? that's when i first talked about my friend barry's emmy:
"now, i certainly know people who have emmys. please. please. plenty of people...okay i know one person with an emmy. and he lives in milwaukee. my friend barry link...and i've never actually been in the same room as barry's emmy."
and i talked about it again here, referring to this photo:
"this is either a photo of my friend barry's emmy award, OR an elaborately set up shot...designed to look like a photo of the emmy award [out my kitchen window]..."
if you want to be completely up to snuff, click those links, go back and read those old posts. it's important. because i'm in milwaukee now, and i'm getting closer to actually seeing barry's emmy.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

beaten down

i think barack obama is honest. i think he's intelligent. i think he's sincere. i don't think he's an elitist, or out of touch, or unpatriotic.

obama is using a(nother) press conference today to condemn and deride jeremiah wright's appearances over the last week. "his comments contradict everything i've done in my life," he says. "i am outraged and saddened."

unfortunately, i think obama looks more saddened than outraged, more beaten down than ready to punch back. i worry that will be troublesome to voters who are taking a second look at senator clinton because she is recasting herself in the role of a fighter: she's tough, she can take a blow, she keeps on going and going, and she can get down in the dirt if necessary and fight for the working class. granted, i've tuned into this press conference a few minutes late, but obama does not look like a fighter here.

i'm sure this isn't easy. this is a wounded man, who is probably incredibly sad. but i think we want to see some of the outrage. i think we want to see the man stand up, and...well...fight.
UPDATE 1:43 p.m. -- did i misread it? reporters who were in the room for this press conference are saying "you could feel the anger" coming from obama.

UPDATE 10:07 p.m. -- cnn political reporter candy crowley, tonight on 360 with anderson cooper: "the room was very tense... you could almost see (obama) seething. you couldn't see it so well on t.v. but live - in the room - it was very apparent."

book 'em danno, she's five-O

in august of this year, madonna louise ciccone ritchie will be 50 years old. 50. fifty. fifty-fifty-fifty. and she likes to shimmy, do plies, stretch aaand kick! she's a choo-choo charley and a class act. and i'm here to tell you: her new album is the jam. yes, i said the jam. it is also dope, tight, chill, pimp, sick, loose, phat, hella, gnarly, the shit, the crunk, off the hook, off the chain, and wicked fresh hott. and i am so not kidding.

(seriously. did you ever think we'd be talking about madonna at fifty?)

Monday, April 28, 2008

frontega homeless and cheese

i'm in milwaukee, at panera bread, ordering my "usual" -- half a frontega chicken sandwich and a cup of creamy tomato soup (which happens to be vegetarian creamy tomato soup although i don't order it because it's vegetarian, i mean, obviously -- the chicken sandwich) when suddenly, another customer mysteriously appears from somewhere inside the restaurant and interrupts to speak to the delightful but curiously large asian man/boy taking my order.

the customer whispers something in man/boy's ear while carefully gesturing toward the back of the restaurant. "you're serious?" man/boy says. the customer grimaces, nods, and slips back into the mist.

moments later, as i'm waiting for my order, i hear a shrill, trumpet-like voice from behind the counter: a saucy teenage girl (as saucy as teenage girls get in wisconsin) announces to her fellow employees "okay are you ready for this?" all the employees immediately stop what they're doing to listen to her. this girl has power. customers stop chewing. birds stop chirping. the muzak pauses. there is now complete and utter silence for what promises to be the announcement of the decade.

"there's a homeless guy in the bathroom, pants down, asleep on the toilet," saucy says.

no one moves.
birds stand still.

"ohmygod what?! what did you say?" another employee mumbles.

"homeless guy in the bathroom. pants down. asleep on the toilet." she reiterates, full trumpet-voice.

there's a beat of silence. then a quiet but extended groan from the customers, the birds, and the other employees, including the skinny guy ladling out my creamy tomato soup. "did anyone tell chris?" skinny says, as he drops cheesy asiago croutons in my soup (i usually ask for extra croutons, but i'm trying to slim down a bit.) "chris is not gonna be happy."

"i know," saucy says, "this is the second time today."

as i enjoy my chicken sandwich and tomato soup, i watch poor chris mope off toward the men's room, shaking his head in disgust, and i think to myself, "ahhh, feels just like home." of course in new york, it wouldn't be only the second time.

joe watkins can blow me

joe watkins (pastor of the christ evangelical lutheran church in philadelphia; a key non-lawyer member of the government relations practice at buchanan ingersoll, a major national law firm; former associate director in the office of public liaison at the white house under president george h. w. bush; former assistant state director for u.s. senator dan quayle) is on msnbc blathering on and on about rev. jeremiah wright, and how wright shouldn't be giving news conferences -- this is hurting barack obama -- wright is at the least divisive and at the worst offensive -- if i'm a white working class voter and i see this guy on t.v. i will never...

woah, hold on.

first of all, joe, you're NOT a white, working class voter. you don't really know what it's like to be one, just like i will never know what it's like to be at the same time pastor of an african american church AND a republican strategist. i'm not sure how you have time to be a pastor, joe, since you're constantly on television in your republican strategist role. you criticize jeremiah wright for his politics, saying a pastor's job is to preach the gospel of jesus christ, but that's not what are you doing on television. what do your parishioners think about that? maybe we should ask them. all 85 of them. (about as many people read this blog on a regular basis.)

joe, whatever you think of rev. wright and his past sermons (or the endless youtube clips of them) he's on television speaking to bill moyers, addressing the detroit NAACP, and giving a "news conference" this morning because people like you can't stop talking about him. if you were talking about me that much I'D BE GIVING A NEWS CONFERENCE. why don't you tell msnbc that we should be talking about the poor, or talking about health care, or talking about war...oh wait. you're perfectly happy to talk about this because you're a republican.

here's my two cents: if the voters actually listen to wright's speech at the NAACP and at the national press club conference this morning they might find they actually AGREE with much of what he has to say. and in the end (i'm gonna go out on a limb here) i bet that his speaking out is actually gonna HELP obama. why? all the pundits on cable news (including blowhard watkins) are sniping about how wright's re-appearance is absolutely going to hurt him. and we all know how right those pundits always are.

(btw - thanks to my friend jeff for the post title)

i'm not sellin' cars, okay?

it's late.

i wanted to post something deniro, to help explain to those who don't understand exactly why my arm hairs stood at attention the other night.

raging bull, i thought. ("whadya doin? i just said don't overcook it, you're overcookin' it, bring it over. bring it over. it's like a piece a charcoal bring it over here!!!")

no. taxi driver. of course. ("look, can i see you again? no, i don't mean like that, i mean regularly -- this is nothing for a person to do.")

wait, what about new york, new york? not the most popular, but still one of my favorites. ("let's forget it, that's what i said. no, that's what I said. i said it -- i forgot it already.")

but then there's the deer hunter. the scene i wanted to post from the deer hunter was the second russian roulette scene, and if you haven't seen the movie...well you should see the movie. i first saw it with my friend ross rothmeier when we were in high school -- just about old enough to enlist, or be drafted -- if the situation ever arose. in a year or two i would register, at least.

as we drove away from the theater we both were nauseous. "i never, ever want to go to war, " i remember saying to ross. "i never want to go through that." i was embarrased to say it. ashamed. as though it made me less of a man, less of a person. ross said he didn't ever want to go either.

if you have seen the deer hunter, this may remind you of how powerful it, and deniro, is.

and after you've watched all those clips, here's something short and sweet and to the point. something i'd not seen. something worthy of 1:30 a.m. on a sunday night / monday morning.

Friday, April 25, 2008

shameless toad-promotion

okay, bear with me.

this isn't just a repost, check this out -- "a year with frog and toad" at first stage milwaukee has been reviewed. and reviewed. and reviewed three more times. i'm proud of these guys, and this skit. the show runs until may 18th, and if you're in or near milwaukee, wisconsin -- don't miss it.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

the friendly (gay) ghost

"(dick cheney's) beautiful...his wonderful daughter, i don't know her -- she's a lesbian. should she read the plank of the republican party? she doesn't count! she's like casper the lesbian!"
-- comedian richard lewis
on msnbc's countdown

i will never forget...that cake!

TODAY: john mccain in new orleans' ninth ward, about the bush administration's response to hurricane katrina --
"america will never forget, i will never forget, and never again will there be a mismanaged natural disaster, man made or natural, again that will occur in this country."

WIKIPEDIA: "As the center of Katrina passed east of New Orleans on August 29, 2005, winds were in the Category 2 range, and tidal surge was equivalent to about a Category 3 hurricane...precipitat(ing) the worst engineering disaster in US history."

AUGUST 29, 2005: luke air force base, near phoenix, airzona. george w. bush, in town to promote the administration's medicare prescription-drug plan, laughed and joked with john mccain as he presented the senator with a cake to celebrate mccain's 69th birthday.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

i just got gooned!

oh sure, i've had my brushes with fame.
my own fame, i mean.

for instance, i remember walking out the back door of the whitefish bay high school auditorium after a production of into the woods. the fact that it was community theater made it no different than being in the national tour of a broadway show; the audience outside was excited to see someone they'd watched onstage. usually cinderella, or the witch, or little red ridinghood -- not so much the baker.

similarly, not so much sam carmichael, the dad who gets married at the end of mamma mia. donna - the mom? sophie - the young girl? yup and yup. not sam.

except in philadelphia. somehow, philadelphia was different. people were lined up outside the stage door at the forrest theater to get autographs. and sometimes they even wanted sam carmichael's john hancock. and i gladly signed.

okay, most times gladly.

the best night (or the worst, depending on your perspective) was when three women with playbills in their hands followed me down the street for five blocks. i could hear them chattering behind me, "that's him," one of them said, "i know it's him."

finally, they started yelling. at me. not shouting. not talking loudly. yelling. they were about a half a block away and they were yelling at the top of their lungs, "heeeeey!! hey you!!! hey actor-man!!!"

actor-man, i thought? no. not turning around for that. these women have playbills in their hands. playbills with my name in them. actor-man? nope.


tonight, walking home from times square, i happened past the ziegfeld theater where the new tina fey/amy poehler film "baby mama" was having it's world premier, opening the tribeca film festival. there was the red carpet, stretching all the way down 54th street. and the limo's, and the herds of paparazzi. camera flashes going off like mad, photographers shouting "tina, over here!" and "steve, a smile!" and "hey chevy, look this way!!"
on the opposite side of the street were the fans. or the gawkers. or the goons, as a friend of mine used to call them ("i just got gooned!" he'd say when someone had followed him down the street yelling "hey actor man!")

i couldn't help but laugh at the spectacle of it all. i stood there with everyone else, watching. but what they didn't know was, i was watching them. how silly it all is, i thought! i get it, of course. but that doesn't make it any less silly. i mean, they're people! they're just people. okay they're famous people, but still...people!

"did you see..." a woman was tapping me on the shoulder. "did you see faye dunaway!" i had. i thought she looked old and kind of tired, bless her heart. "didn't she look fantastic!!??" the woman said.

a woman with a thick midwestern accent walked behind us, "th'r ahl soh byootiful, arrrn't theey?"

another couple sidled up next to me. hubby had a small digital camera. wifey's head was bobbing back and forth for a better look. "at least you got a good shot of what's-er-name," the chunky, unfortunately hairdoo'd woman said.

"who?" asked hubby.

"you know, what's-er-name. and she looked great, didn't you think?" said wifey.

"ohhh yeah. what's-er-name did look great," hubby answered.

good old what's-er-name.

alright, so there was sigourney weaver. chevy chase. and, oh...amy poehler. and nbc news anchor brian williams, who stopped and talked to an entertainment reporter and looked like he was doing a one man show at don't tell mamma's. steve martin, that was exciting. i like him. some of the guys from 30 rock.

and the crowd was absolutely a-buzz with every new celebrity spotted. and i kept thinking, so silly. oh my god! they're just people!! they're...just...


there, directly across the street from me, was robert deniro.

i felt the hairs on my arms stand up. and my breath stop short. and my heart crawl slowly out of my chest and shimmy and squeeze it's way into my throat.

this was different. this was deniro.

that's when it happened. i couldn't help it. it just came out of me.

"hey!!!!!" i screamed as loud as i could, "hey actor-man!!!"

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

the itunes reviews

my favorite of today's itunes capsule customer reviews:

for FROM DONNY...WITH LOVE / Donny Osmond
a wonderful collection ☆☆☆☆☆
i am a straight 16 year old teenage boy and I LOVE DONNY!!! this beautifully put together greatest hits CD celebrates all the great work donny has done since 2001, of which in my opinion are his greatest works...he has the most gorgeously clear voice of any male singer i know, and with that voice, boy can he sing... i mean, that man can SING!!! =-D
(by fantasmic! kid)

and terrible. awfully, horrifically terrible.
(by phdproteus)

hell no.
(by booty-butt all-stars)

HANDEL: WATER MUSIC / Jordi Savall & Le Concert Des Nations
beautiful recording ☆☆☆☆
i have been listening to this music for over 50 years. this is one of the very best recordings i have heard. it is lively, nuanced, and has very clear textures. it's tempi are somewhat fast, but i find them suitable for the dance-like melodies. listen for yourself. if you don't find it charming, you're probably dead.
(by phil g.)

uh. no.
lip sync more, please.

(by howexclusive)

great music for children ☆☆☆☆
obviously those people that left negative reviews do not have a little girl that absolutely adores her and she is a great role model, as well. if you don't like her music then don't buy it, but don't leave bad reviews because you are too old to understand what she means to many young girls. you obviously didn't go to any of her concerts (which by the way were ALL sold out), she did great. i mean give the girl a break she is 15 years old (14 when she did some concerts), she has a voice and over time it will improve. remember "nobody's perfect"!! :)
(by kyliesmom)

nice ☆☆☆☆☆
duke da god is the man
(by ffetetw)

dipset ☆☆☆☆☆
this is crack
(by killajosh)

jumbo gumbo ☆☆☆☆
those of us engaged in an ongoing quest for phat bass will be pleased to discover the all-acoustic monster sonics of matt perrine and his sousaphone. he handles this hefty piece of brass plumbing, which makes the tuba look small, with swinging ease. led by saxophonist john ellis, best known for his stint with charlie hunter, this quarted, aptly named double-wide, expertly cooks through a nawlins-flavored set that, as the title implies, is first and foremost feets music. gary versace is excellent on b-3, but it's perrine's perfectly recorded foundatation that fascinates. he gets a showcase on the first track, "all up in the aisles," that blew my pew out.
(by tsk2000)

click on through

as you read and click through tuesdays posts, new and old, i offer one small bit of encouragement: explore a bit.

for instance, let's talk links. sometimes a link is just a link and it will lead you to more information on a given subject, or to the source of a quote, or to a pertinent website with fancy pictures and more links.

but sometimes, a link isn't just a link. it's a actually a link.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

laughing at snl again

one of the funniest things i've seen on saturday night live in a long time:
kristin wiig as over-excited sue. wiig's characters -- michelle dison (lesbian reporter), the target lady, penelope (the habitual braggart), and this week's travel writer judy grimes -- are what i look forward to every saturday at 11:30.

Friday, April 18, 2008

project flag pin

this woman is gonna have her own reality show any day now.

it's nash mccabe, 52, of latrobe, pa. the woman who asked the flag pin question during the debate the other night. (i guess i wasn't sleeping.) this is from the new york times, april 4th:
“How can I vote for a president who won’t wear a flag pin?” Mrs. McCabe, a recently unemployed clerk typist, said in a booth at the Valley Dairy luncheonette in this quiet, small city in western Pennsylvania.
Mr. Obama has said patriotism is about ideas, not flag pins.
“I watch him on TV,” Mrs. McCabe said. “I keep looking for that lapel pin.”
huh. some coincidence, you think, that this woman was featured during the debate last night? maybe the monkeys (gibson and stephanopoulos) didn't wanna ask the question themselves (because they knew how inane it was) so they let someone else ask it?

michael calderone of writes:
When I asked whether questions about flag pins or Bosnia are actually relevant to voters, (Stephanopoulos) replied: “Absolutely.”

“The vote for the president,” Stephanopoulos said, “is one of the most personal” decisions that someone makes.

“When people make that choice, they take into account how candidates stand on the issues,” he said, but also are concerned with “experience, character [and] credibility.”
stephanopoulos is right. questions about flag pins are about character: the character of the person asking the question. and i think we now know the answer to that question.
UPDATE 1:40 p.m. -- be sure to vote in our online poll,
in the dark green column on the right. over there --->