Saturday, July 3, 2010

Happy Birthday Audra McDonald

If you (or your wife, Eric) watch Private Practice, you might not realize that Audra McDonald is one of the most celebrated Broadway actresses of the last 2 decades. Hell, you might not realize that, in addition to her 4 Tonys, she has 2 Grammys. That's 2 more Grammys than Liza.

Since I don't watch Private Practice, nor am I married to someone on whom I can blame the watching of Private Practice (Eric), I didn't realize that she is on Private Practice. And she is. She IS on Private Practice.

But her Emmy nomination was not for Private Practice. It was for Wit. Just so you know...

Anyway I don't have anything specific I needed to share about Audra except that, you know, there's way more to her than Private Practice. So ladies, tell your husbands who pretend they aren't watching. (They are.)

Song of the Day: "Scissor Runner"

Jenny (Rilo Kiley) Lewis picks another side project (after Jenny & The Watson Twins), this time with, I don't know, a boyfriend named Johnny.

Here's the thing, despite this song's pure power-pop sound, you should never, ever, run with scissors.
Jenny and Johnny - Scissor Runner by timbretantrum

Friday, July 2, 2010

Flashback Song: "Fourth of July"

Another chapter in a book where the chapters are endless
And they're always the same
A verse, and a verse, and refrain

Aimee Mann from her first solo album, some 17 years ago. The 4th of July has long been celebrated as a shitty holiday for me. It wouldn't be so bad these days if I didn't have a dog who's freaked out by fireworks, and it's legal to buy and set off fireworks in neighborhoods where I live. So all the baggage I traditionally associate with the 4th of July have been replaced by Midge sympathy angst.

What a waste of gunpowder on sky.

Well, except for the gays

You know, if you're gay, and your pursuit of happiness is to marry your partner and be equal in all civil rights that a heterosexual couple (perhaps even a 4-times previously married couple) enjoy, well, fuck you, per Chuck Grassley.

Grassley does say that gay marriage should be left to the states. Perhaps just like slavery, eh Chuck?


Yep, smaller government except in my bedroom and your uterus. And if your uterus is IN my bedroom, something's really wrong (Becky, go look for a Creative Loafing elsewhere).

Happy Birthday Lindsay Lohan

Remember how much fun Lindsay used to be? God that was years ago. It seems like forever. Lately it's just drama drama drama! And obsessing about her ex- like that? Kinda pathetic.

Sigh. What can you do? Just try to remember that Mean Girls is a good movie, I guess, and not read the insane ramblings via Twitter or whatever. Just ignore them if you can.

Happy birthday dude! Maybe get some help...

Song of the Day: "Six Legged Man"

Black Francis (not Frank Black), from a solo release that precedes a Pixies reunion tour focused around Doolittle (well, I'm sure they might sneak one or two new songs in, maybe from his solo album). The Pixies remain a thorn in my side. For every song of theirs I can enjoy, there's "Monkey Gone to Heaven" which has a degree of difficulty of like 70. Or, what's that song about Tony? "Tony's Theme"? It's like when you accidentally bite your cheek and then you won't keep your tongue from poking at it even though it hurts. And here's that song...
BLACK FRANCIS / Six Legged Man by indie-1

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Alan Grayson rocks my world, again

(h\t Digby via Twitter)

Calling it The War Is Making You Poor Act kicks ass!


You know, I really don't consider myself obsessed with whether or not Liza Minnelli has won a Grammy (she has not, but she does have an honorary award or "living legend" or something similar). All evidence to the contrary...

This from the Home Shopping web page describes Liza with full EGOT credentials.
(click to embiggen)

And yet this search of the Grammy Award Winners database says no.
(I say "no,' you say 'yes,' But you will change your mind)
(click to embiggen)

So less Home Shopping, more recording a duet with Allison Krauss, that girl has Grammy magic!

What is hip hop?

(h\t Greg at work)

THIS is hip hop.

THIS IS HIP-HOP! from Airwave Ranger on Vimeo.

A time capsule from 1987

It's also Debbie Harry's birthday--one of her biggest solo hits, "In Love With Love" was remixed by Stock/Aiken/Waterman, and, let's be honest, there's nothing about this video, not the look, the clothes, the sound or the dancing, that doesn't scream WE LOVE THE 80S!

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Flashback Song: "Shame"

I have a pretty common name, but none of the decidedly more famous people with the same name is famous enough to be a household name. There IS a disambiguation page for my name, see if you recognize any of them. I have to imagine there are a good 8 to 10 women around the country with the name Evelyn King who get asked if they're "Champagne" pretty much 3 times a month (still). And these are the 8 to 10 who haven't gotten married or started called themselves Eve or Lyn just to avoid this.

But it's Evelyn "Champagne" King's birthday, and I love "Shame" so enjoy!

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Thanks for nothing Joe Biden!

(h\t Salon)

The New Republic (here) has an article about Senate Republicans, and how they have coerced moderate Republicans into voting with bloc unity on every procedural vote, or else lose your Committee Chair positions.

"I know at least 7 [GOP] senators, who I will not name, but were made to make a commitment under threat of losing their chairmanships, if they did not support the leadership on every procedural vote," Biden said at a fundraiser Monday night.

"Every single thing we did, from the important to the not so important, required for the first time in modern American history, majority votes required 60 votes. All the sudden a majority became 60 instead of 50," the VP added, according to a pool report of the event.

Thanks for nothing Joe Biden. By not calling out Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins (both R, ME) you don't give me an opportunity to call them horrific, partisan hacks who need to fucking retire.

But the best part of this is really the implication that Johnny MAVERICK I'M A MAVERICK I'M A MAVERICK I HAVE NEVER ONCE CALLED MYSELF A MAVERICK McCain (R, AZ) is just carrying the water for the Republican, um, "leadership"--wait, Mitch McConnell? Or Rush Limbaugh? Or Michael Steele? Are you shitting me, is John Boehner actually in charge?

Song of the Day: "Crossfire"

Brandon Flowers of The Killers has a solo album coming soon. I've liked all of The Killers' various releases (to varying degrees, but always favorable), so I hope this keeps up his winning streak. In listening to the opening strains I did wonder if Brandon doesn't, just a tiny bit, kinda wanna be the male version of Lady GaGa. Thoughts?
Brandon Flowers - Crossfire (HQ) [] by BrandonFlowersBR

Why was I not aware of this?

(h\t Towleroad)

Liza on Home Shopping.

1. Liza, you HAVE an Emmy, focus on the Grammy girl.

2. She's sounding a LOT like my great Aunt Dorothy. (She never won a Grammy either.)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

3 (it's the magic number)

For lunch today I stopped by a franchise of a well known national chain of sandwich shops for a 6" tuna salad on flat bread. I asked for olives among my requested vegetables.

They gave me 3 pieces of olive.

3 tiny little pieces.

So I asked for a few more, and they happily complied. And they shared with me the instructions they have (at least at that location): give customers 3 of the vegetables they order, and customers need to ask for more. But they made it very clear they would happily give more if asked.

So heads up, if you want more than just the idea of olives on your 6" sub, ask for extra.

You're welcome.

Then how did we get so fat to begin with?

Like most of America living in the catastrophic wake of George W. Bush's self-serving, war criminal-ish policies, Portland (OR) Public Schools are facing serious budget woes for next year. They are doing what they can, and I don't think we can give enough props to the Teacher's Union who a few years ago actually had their members work over a week unpaid to give the students as close to a real school year as they could that year. Everyone's rolling up sleeves. Cuts in the fucked-by-Bush economy are painful. Unless you work for Halliburton, you're probably suffering about now.

PPS is looking at cutting Physical Education classes next year. Removing them wholesale from their curriculum to avoid that wedge of expense. It's no one's ideal, but it's a practical option.

I heard a radio ad today urging Portland residents to resist these cuts. Oregon spends a lot on healthcare costs related to obesity. We can't cut PE, we just can't.

But here's the thing. We've had this PE curriculum for the last what, 50 years? The very same classes while we have become morbidly obese (and I am in the last float of that parade, sitting high on my throne and waving, so I am not casting aspersions).

Seriously. Don't tell me PE as its taught in schools today is a remedy for obesity when it's at its worst right now. (Okay, it's remotely possible that they're making the "it would be even worse" point, but they weren't trying to be nuanced in the ad.)


It's all Clinton's fault

All of it. Ever. Every last thing is Bill Clinton's fault.
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Which just goes to show you that every last person at FOX News is obsessed with Bill Clinton's penis.

But Stewart says it well by applying the acronym HRWATPWRTCITG to war criminal George W. Bush. He really WAS a terrible President who ran the country into the ground.

Happy Birthday Nancy Dussault

If you know me, you know I watch TV news in the morning. I have for a long time. Strangely, weirdly, since like 1976, I think. Somehow I would watch Good Morning America, and I remember Nancy Dussault and David Hartman, the original hosts.

Except I don't. I mean I didn't.

When I discovered it was her, it was a huge relief. Well, it was an "oh, that's who that was." I discovered this maybe 10 years ago. I think I'm lacking something in the facial recognition/recall department, or maybe I just don't notice things. I did the same thing with Susan Sullivan and It's a Living like 4 months ago.

Dussault's claim to fame is probably Too Close for Comfort, the 1980s sitcom starring Ted Knight fresh off The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Okay, wait, that show ran 6 seasons?! No fucking way. I was guessing 2, 3 at the most. (Oh wait, it did, 3 seasons on ABC and then it got picked up by a producer for syndication and ran another 3 seasons.)

In addition to Knight and Dussault, the show introduced the world to Jim J. Bullock. Also there were 2 other actresses. Typing out their names won't do anyone any good.

The reason I'm selecting Dussault for today's birthday is that 10+ years later, when Dussault played Helen Hunt's mom the first season of Mad About You, I didn't recognize her then. So Dussault has been haunting me for a while. She was replaced in the role by Penny Fuller, and then by Carol Burnett. Her I recognized. By the way, no clips for Mad About You anywhere I can find. But trust me, Dussault was the best of the 3. Unless my memory is horrible in which case she wasn't. That's how it goes.

Dussault was a Tony nominee for the musical Do Re Mi back in 1960.

And so concludes today's birthday.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! And please start wearing a name tag.

Song of the Day: "Sink/Let It Sway"

I first heard Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin (SSLYBY) back in 2008 with their Pershing album. They hail from Springfield MO, and NOT FROM BROOKLYN. Also their straight-forward indie pop is just an uncomplicated delight. I don't feel like I have to decode something. So, you know, hooray! New album, Let It Sway, coming soon.
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - Sink Let It Sway by nmemagazine

The view from my commute home

I walked a part of my afternoon commute on Monday, and caught sight of these works of "art."
The above 2 are paired together on a pedestrian walkway that curls up up over an entrance to I-5 southbound in North Portland.

Closer to home is this colorful, um, clown?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Fucking stenographers

(h\t Glenn Greenwald and Matt Taibbi)

If you are a media type who says the Michael Hastings/Rolling Stone article busting General McChrystal for his blatant disregard for the military code of conduct was inappropriate, I've got words for you.

First, a quick h\t to Scott from Bill in Exile for posting this:
This is the text of Article 88 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice {the UCMJ}.

The UCMJ is, among other things, the criminal code of the military and Article 88 clearly defines what General McChrystal did as a crime:

“Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President, the Vice President, Congress, the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of a military department, the Secretary of Transportation, or the Governor or legislature of any State, Territory, Commonwealth, or possession in which he is on duty or present shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.”

The maximum penalty for which is dismissal, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 1 year.

Okay, so we're clear that, instead of getting a 4-Star General's pension, maybe McChrystal deserved a court martial and to spend a little time in the brig. (I know, court martials are just for faggots, right?)

Anyway, if you're a media type and you think Hastings deserves anything but praise, then you are a fucking stenographer and you need to shut the fuck up.

Laura Logan of CBS, you're a fucking stenographer. Shut the fuck up.

The Washington Press Corps have been dutifully passing along lie after lie from the White House, and as a result this country is mired deeply into 2 seriously fucked wars.

During which we got tax cuts. Fucking tax cuts.

It should never be easy for America to be at war. America's citizens need to give at least a little when we expect young men and women to give everything. But George fucking Bush got us all tax cuts (and the wealthier the better).

But you know what, maybe I was inaccurate in describing Logan as a fucking stenographer. She's married to a defense contractor, so she directly benefits from a protracted war. So she's a fucking stenographer WITH A CONFLICT OF INTEREST.

And I wonder why this country is so fucked up sometimes...

This fucking guy

He's some kind of safety or engineering dude for Toyota. He's been staring at me all fucking day, when I go to log into my Yahoo! web mail. And depending on how drunk I am, he's certainly fuckable, but I don't really want to see him repeatedly.

And it's quite possible Greg Bernas doesn't want to know how fuckable I think he is with or without liquor.

Which is my way of saying, take him the fuck off the login page.

This ad, this in your face ad, that's trying to instill confidence in me that Toyota vehicles are safe, fails to answer the really important question: did ya ever figure out why the fuck those cars wouldn't stop?

If the answer is "no" than I don't care how many awards you won for safety.

But if you want to stop by later, bring some Zima. I'm easy.

Happy Birthday Ray Harryhausen

Release the Kraken? I got your muthafucken Kraken right here! And it's not CGI bullshit. It's old school stop motion animation, smaller than a GI Joe. And it was Harryhausen's. And it rocked!

Here's a montage of Harryhausen's work, set to the music of Tito Puente!

Harryhausen received an honorary award from the Oscar peeps (it may or may not look like an Oscar, so I'm phrasing it that way), but his body of work makes him an icon. Which trumps EGOT every day of the week.

Happy 90th birthday dude! And rock on! And the CGI community can kiss your Kraken.

Song of the Day: "Dancing On My Own"

About 15 years ago, Swedish pop singer Robyn had a big club hit with "Show Me Love." Now this should not be confused with the mega-club hit "Show Me Love" by Robin S. I can't stress enough that "Show Me Love" and "Show Me Love" are completely different songs, and Robyn and Robin S. completely different singers. They are at least 25 bpm different! (Out there somewhere 2 or 3 people are mildly amused, and every one else is staring blankly at the screen).

Swedish Robyn (aka Robyn with a "y," aka the white one) kept going, musically, cultivating a nice repertoire of music, including a few more international hits. It might seem to some that she's cementing an audience with the bois (she has a song titled "Konichiwa Bitches" and I don't think that was her attempt at strengthening her sales in Japan). I'm not saying Robyn's the new Kylie, but OMG she's the new Kylie!!!

Perhaps we will see her perform this on SNL sometime this Fall. Or, like The Ting Tings, 3 years after this is a hit.
Dancing On My Own by robyn

And if you find yourself in Douglasville, GA, stop by the Baby Gap store and say hi to Robin S. She usually opens.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Gilda Radner

An original cast member of Saturday Night Live, but you knew that. She won an Emmy for her work there, and the Spoken Word Grammy for It's Always Something (her autobiography).

She performed this song that I've remembered for 30 years in her one-woman show on Broadway, Gilda Radner Live From New York.

She passed away in 1989 at 42, far too early.

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace.

Happy Birthday Mel Brooks

He is the eighth person to complete the EGOT (I used to call it the Grand Slam, but EGOT seems to have established itself). Mel Brooks, the creative force behind Spaceballs, Dracula: Dead and Loving It, and Robin Hood: Men in Tights has at least one of each of the 4 highest honors in show business.

But it's not all farts, dick jokes and Nazis.

I mean, yes, it's largely largely all of these. Especially Nazis:

My parents used to say that if they could meet any famous couple in the world, they would pick Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. I think that was a pretty great answer. My love for Bancroft has been documented here. Phil and Marlo are probably interesting, but do you expect Phil to have stories like this?

The Broadway musical of The Producers either set or tied a record for number of Tony awards won. Brooks was nominated for Oscars from 2 movies the same year: Best Original Screenplay for Young Frankenstein, and Best Original Song for the theme from Blazing Saddles. And while Young Frankenstein didn't do too well on Broadway, Blazing Saddles is still due next year. And while no one anywhere has said anything about Dulé Hill playing the sheriff, if it happens, you read it here first.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Lights"

Interpol. I love them. If I were 25 years younger, I'd collect all their singles and b-sides and shit. Now it's sufficient for me to check out disks from the library and enjoy their music when I hear it. "There's No 'I' in Threesome" is a favorite of mine for many many reasons. And "The Heinrich Maneuver" fucking rocks my world. And "Slow Hands,"also awesome.

So here's their new song. Enjoy!
Interpol - Lights by nmemagazine

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Bob Keeshan

AKA Captain Kangaroo.

If you were a child between the ages of 3 and 6 any time within the span of 1955 to 1984, and you were a non-Amish American, there's a great chance that Captain Kangaroo was a part of your early childhood education. Or edutainment. And 30 years, wow.

Before he was the Captain, he was a clown. Perhaps the clown on which Sideshows Bob and Mel are based: Clarabell the Clown. Clarabell may have been the first televised clown wielding a spritzer bottle (mostly because it was very early in the history of television--I'm pretty sure clown + spritzer were already established as a wacky combination via either the circus and/or Vaudeville).

His tenure as Clarabell was short, but he followed that with a stint as Corny the Clown (also short). But these 2 roles earned him an induction into the Clown Hall of Fame in 1990. Also, there has been a Clown Hall of Fame in existence since at least 1990.

Captain Kangaroo launched with the Capt., Mr. Green Jeans, Bunny Rabbit, and Mr. Moose. I wonder why the rabbit didn't merit a salutation.

I have a vague recollection of ping-pong balls falling from the ceiling, but as I type this I realize I've been erroneous attributing stuff from Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood to Captain Kangaroo (the trolley and "meow meow" were Rogers, but you probably knew that).

Keeshan received 5 (Daytime) Emmys, 3 Peabody Awards, and the Kennedy Center Honors, in addition to his Clown Hall of Fame thing. And he's an icon of television.

Good morning Captain!

Song of the Day: "Baby Lee"

I had no idea Teenage Fanclub are still together. They are. So are Trash Can Sinatras. And Martha + the Muffins. And DEVO.

And I'm sure there are others.

So there you go...

Like The Charlatans, but less so, Teenage Fanclub never sounded the same to me from album to album;  this seems well within the parameters of an acceptable sound for them. It's sweetly harmonic, but the tempo is a little on the slow side for my tastes. Still, very nice to hear them back.
  Teenage Fanclub - Baby Lee by dtamba