Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"what would you say is your life motto?"

part of the audition process for disney on classic each year is answering a few questions you probably weren't prepared for. not questions like, "how's your tap?" or "can you do a scottish dialect?" but rather "how would you describe your personality?" or "what is your view of the character of pumba?" or my personal favorite, "what would you say is your life motto?" this sign along the meji-dori in tokyo – somewhere between shibuya and harajuku – provides what i think is a perfectly suitable answer to that last question.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

this is your tea party

not some fringe offshoot, but one of the three largest "tea parties." the message? muslim's don't belong in congress. but yeah, the tea party's goals are all about fiscal responsibility, the deficit, and taxes...

if a picture is worth a thousand words...

...what is the value of 1000 pictures? or 4000?

Monday, October 25, 2010

what have you done for me lately?

democratic national committee treasurer andrew tobias provides a list of 42 accomplishments of the obama administration and the democratic congress toward lgbt equality.

those were the good old days

remember when i used to actually write stuff for this blog?

like this, about smoking and smokers:
my legitimate smoking history mainly involves smoking unfiltered cigarettes because they made me high as a kite on may day. camels were good. if i didn’t have any unfiltered camels, i’d rip the filter off a regular camel and smoke that. easy peasy. i'd usually smoke at the end of the day. at home. at night. in my room. in secret. with the door locked. two or at the most, sometimes three. a day.

i haven't had a cigarette in about eight years. at times, it's been difficult to not take up again. i’d stub my toe and think “damnit, i wish i had a cigarette.” (i often think the same thing about crack.) but for the most part, once i decided to quit, i quit. same with caffeine, booze, marijuana, cocaine, and…mm-hmm…crack. those were harder. especially the crack. and the booze. and the cocaine.

what was not hard was quitting heroin. i never did heroin. and i lied about the caffeine. are you kidding? i tried to quit caffeine once and ended up huddled in a corner, clutching a mrs. beasley doll, sweating and shivering and mumbling something about magilla gorilla. then I had a sip of diet coke and suddenly all was right with the world. it's a true story.

but hey. this isn't about me, it's about you. you smokers. hi.
or this, which was eventually featured on a national lgbt website:
he was dressed modestly – worn-out blue jeans, work boots, a brown hooded sweatshirt – and had an intense, but warm, open face. no one spoke to him, no one approached him, yet he was anything but alone. there was a solace, a confidence. i caught his eye at one point, and something subtle passed between us. nothing sexual, but a welcome, if you will. as if he knew something i didn't, and was telling me everything was going to be okay. at the time i wasn't sure what it was, but i remember it vividly to this day.

after his pool game he perched in a corner, still by himself, and pulled out a small, silver harmonica. a harmonica. what a fantastical place this san francisco is, i thought. no one seemed to care or even notice when he began to play. the tune was sweet and simple, but it was a bluesy, haunted sound that filled the echoy openness of that quiet barroom, interrupted only by the muffled whistles and dings of a lone pinball machine in a back room somewhere. and eventually the jukebox playing the stones' "miss you".

it wasn't the absence of straight folk that i found intriguing about that neighborhood bar, or even the mysterious harmonica player in the corner. it was the stunning sense of freedom. of being at home. it's not something you feel as a gay person growing up in a small, rural town. it's not something you know enough to miss, either.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

congratulations governor andrew cuomo, ctd.

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Republican Carl Paladino’s hometown Buffalo News on Sunday endorsed his rival in the New York governor’s race, declaring “there is no choice” but Andrew Cuomo.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

think i'll go eat worms

yeah. this guy's just not very well liked:
"We need all of you to fight on. We need all of you fired up," (President Barack Obama) told the roaring crowd of students and admirers — 37,500 of them.

the generational gop gap

why will republicans win big on november 2nd? david frum says it's not because the country is rejecting democrats, or even president obama and his policies. it's because you under-30-year-olds aren't going to vote.

a politician sticking to his princibles?

gail collins finds two immensely good reasons for wisconsin to like, and reelect, russ feingold:
First, unlike the majority of Democrats running for re-election in Middle America, he is not trying to pretend that he didn’t vote for the health care bill, or that he voted for it with his fingers crossed, planning to completely overhaul it in 2011. “You bet I voted for that bill! I’m proud I did it!” he hollered during a campaign stop with Michelle Obama.

He keeps pointing out all the good and popular things the law contains. In debates, he asks Johnson — who’s promising to repeal Obamacare — if he really wants to reopen the hated “doughnut hole” in the Medicare prescription drug program or go back to allowing insurers to refuse to cover children with pre-existing medical conditions.

Second, Feingold is actually sticking to his principles even though it could cost him the race.
and to show her support of feingold, collins has a proposal for wisconsin voters:
Wisconsinites, if you decide to re-elect this guy I will be so happy I will personally lead a movement to make the rest of the country stop calling you Cheeseheads.
maybe she can help get rid of that fonzie statue, too.

tweet of the day

the o'donnell fix for hard times

having trouble paying your rent? run for office.

juan, it's michael calling

michael moore asks a rather relevant question of juan williams: "What do you think when you see rich middle-aged white men talking on TV about how they get nervous around African Americans on the street?"

and yes. there's much more.

some good news from newsweek

a new newsweek poll povides some good news for dems and the president:
Despite doom-saying about Democrats’ chances in the midterms, the latest NEWSWEEK Poll shows that they remain in a close race with Republicans 12 days before Election Day, while the president’s approval ratings have climbed sharply.

The poll finds that 48 percent of registered voters would be more likely to vote for Democrats, compared with 42 percent who lean Republican (those numbers are similar to those in the last NEWSWEEK Poll, which found Democrats favored 48 percent to 43 percent).

President Obama’s approval ratings have jumped substantially, crossing the magic halfway threshold to 54 percent, up from 48 percent in late September, while the portion of respondents who disapprove of the president dropped to 40 percent, the lowest disapproval rating in a NEWSWEEK Poll since February 2010.

quote of the day

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."
– Mark Twain
(hat tip dee dee derson)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

my life can end peacefully now

rolling stone gives the new elton john / leon russell album, the union, five stars. they're right to.
Singing in a strong, elastic growl and matching John's piano work with low-end rolls and top-note sparkle, Russell jars the younger man from his routine sheen, back to the natural fiber and grandeur of 1970's Elton John and Tumbleweed Connection. On The Union, produced by T Bone Burnett, John and Russell share the resurrection. Each goes back to what he first did best. Then they do it together.
npr is streaming the entire album.

UPDATE 10/21/10: it's official. rolling stone is now in love with elton john (and leon russell.) the two legends kicked off a concert tour promoting the union last night at the beacon theatre in new york:
The centerpiece of the show was a complete performance of The Union. Powered by four back-up singers, a four-piece horn section and the house band led by guitarist Marc Ribot, the songs sounded even better than they do on record. Elton and Leon have such similar styles it was often hard to tell who was playing piano. The best material on The Union ranks among the best work of either singer, particularly the Civil War epic "Gone To Shiloh." When Elton and Leon's voice merged on the line "when flags and bullets start to fly" the result was positively chilling.

may tomorrow be a perfect day

what a cruel, cruel joke the mormons are playing on me in 2010 – i will be in japan while this is happening in new york:
Donny & Marie - A Broadway Christmas, a new holiday production starring brother and sister Donny and Marie Osmond, will play 12 performances at Broadway's Marquis Theatre Dec. 9-19. Tickets go on sale 10 AM Oct. 20.

The show is "in the holiday tradition of the 'Osmond Family Christmas' television specials," according to the producers. This marks the first time the concert, TV and recording stars — internationally famous for their 1970s variety show, recordings and recent appearances on "Dancing With the Stars" — have shared a Broadway stage.

Expect "their trademark show-stopping Christmas production numbers," including "favorite hits mixed with the irresistible chemistry that made them international stars."
here's some of that irresistible chemistry now:

check out the smart choreography, yet another impressive guest list, and the ice vanities forming what appears to be a busby berkeley-esqe swastika-on-ice.

my new favorite song of the day

maybe of the week. get on that pig and hold on tight.

(hat tip erik nelson)

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

in threes...?

quote of the day

“Good morning, Anita Hill, it’s Ginny Thomas.

I just wanted to reach across the airwaves and the years and ask you to consider something. I would love you to consider an apology sometime and some full explanation of why you did what you did with my husband.

So give it some thought and certainly pray about this and come to understand why you did what you did.

Okay have a good day.”

– Virginia Thomas,
wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas,
in a message left last weekend on the voicemail of Anita Hill

Monday, October 18, 2010

"it's official. i'm in love with japan."

are you reading kate mccann's account of her time in japan while touring with disney on classic? you should be.

the dumbing down of america republicans

south carolina republican senator lindsey graham on sarah palin: "People on our side like Sarah. She talks in a way they can understand."

yeah, as opposed to talking like an intelligent person.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

congratulations governor andrew cuomo, ctd.

carl paladino doesn't want reporters to write any "dastardly lies" about his feelings on homosexuals and homosexuality. he also says children should not be “brainwashed” into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable. this after three men thought to be gay were recently tortured, burned and sodomized with a small baseball bat by a gang of thugs in the bronx. oh, and there was that rutgers student who jumped off the gwb after his roommates filmed him having sex with a man. but yeah, carl, let's protect our children.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

discovering the real tokyo

dinner in a closet, seating for seven, down a tiny, secluded alleyway near the shinjuku station in tokyo. depending on the establishement, and the night – and you, for that matter – you might not be invited in. or you might be cajoled into sitting down before you have a chance to say no.

jen's noodling in nihon

my friend jen zappola is blogging about our japan trip again this year. she sums up her return:
It’s odd to feel at home on the other side of the earth. I’m back in Japan for my second tour with Disney on Classic and the Tokyo Philharmonic (how lucky am I?). All seven American singers arrived last Friday. And as I wheeled my massive luggage cart through the bright Narita Airport I had a very clear memory of a thought I’d had when I was departing Nartia last December – What if I never come back to this wonderful country?

I remember being surprised by that thought. I was ready to go home! I’d been in a foreign country for three months. A country where not only can I not speak the language, I can’t even sound out their alphabet. Three months of white rice. Of Japanese television (you think our commercials are annoying). Of buying my groceries at the convenient store. Three months without hummus! I was tired. I missed America. I missed my family.

And yet. Arriving at Narita last December, pack(ed) and ready to fly home, I didn’t want to leave. Because I couldn’t stand the thought of never coming back.

The people. This culture. The joy and the love that I feel from and toward them. It all came rushing back. And I realized I had missed Japan.

So now I’m back in Tokyo ready to start the 2010 tour. Ready to eat white rice. And attempt more Japanese. And bow. And excited to be comfortable with Japan. So much so now that it feels like there is a little place right here where–believe it or not!–I feel like I fit right it.
more from dear jen here.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

quote of the day

"I'm never going to do a fucking Christmas album ever."
– elton john
responding to a suggestion from his US record company