Friday, December 31, 2010

Yet Again...

I am ringing in the new year in typical fashion... at work. This is no hardship, as I consider New Year's Eve to be "amateur night"- a lot of establishments price-gouge, and there is a lot of dumbassery as "in vino veritas" reveals that there are a lot of knuckleheads in the population. No need freezing outside with a couple million of my closest friends, or slogging back home on the 4 train blinking as the dawnzerly light streams in through the windows (North of 149th St, the train leaves the tunnel and travels on an elevated track) after dropping seventy-five bucks for the privilege to drink bottom shelf champagne. No need to navigate roads plagued by impaired drivers, or having to deal with the gendarmes. Yeah, I usually spend the night in low-key fashion.

I have to say that, while not an overly pessimistic person, I really don't see things getting any better in 2011. 2010 was a pretty piss-poor year, especially when viewed as a coda for an overly optimistic 2009. I get the feeling that 2011 will be another "lost year" following a lost decade. My personal situation is not so bad, but the feeling of "potential squandered" still haunts the whole damn country. I apologize for being a downer... how about a video for a nice little bit of power-pop as a "riff" on my "amateur night" comment?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Shameful Anniversary

December 29, 2010 marks the 120th anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre, in which the U.S. 7th Cavalry killed almost three hundred members (mostly women, children, and elderly men) of the Lakota Sioux nation- "a thing to melt the heart of a man, if it was of stone, to see those little children, with their bodies shot to pieces, thrown naked into the pit.". The Wounded Knee massacre followed decades of broken treaties, and the near extirpation of the bison on which the plains people largely subsisted. Of course, by the time of westward expansion onto the plains, the slaughter and forced relocation of the autochthonous peoples of the Americas had been well underway for centuries.

Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is probably the best introduction to the horrific treatment received by the indigenous people of the Americas. It is a read that haunts the reader long after the book is put down.

Of course, the latest ill-timed right wing screamfest results from President Obama expressing his support for the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. After centuries of wanton slaughter, broken treaties, and heinous mistreatment, many Native Americans are mired in poverty- making light of their plight in an effort to count coup on a political opponent is simply despicable.

Thom Hartmann devoted a goodly chunk of time to the Wounded Knee massacre on his 12/29 show, so a nod of the naked noggin is due to him.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

White Supremacists, Kiss My Ás

It seems that white supremacists are in a snit over the casting of a black actor as Norse god Heimdall in an upcoming movie based on a series of comic books (insert joke about white thupremathists being thor). Gadzooks, they are a whiny bunch of emo kids. To make the schadenfreude even more delicious, one of Heimdall's nicknames is white god, or hvíta ás. It's really amazing what sets off the knuckle-dragging, teabagging set. As an added betrayal by **snerk** the comics industry, Batman has started a French franchise with (gasp!) a Mohammedan. Perfidious purveyors of puerile prose with pretty pictures, you leave right wingers with no recourse other than reading actual books... ACTUAL BOOKS!!! Monsters! Idris Elba should tell the white supremacists to blow his Gjallarhorn.

I have my own beef with Marvel's imagery, though, I mean Asa-Þor has got a red beard! Jumping Jörmungandr on a pogo stick, "redbeard" is a common cognomen for the god of thunder!!! Thor also, for the record, looks dynamite in a bridal gown.

I just want to add that I am not knocking comic books, even though (with a couple of notable exceptions) I've never really been into them- it's a noticable lacuna in my otherwise solid geek credentials. I am most certainly, however, knocking white supremacists- fuckers give us shavepates a bad name.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Felt Old and Decrepit Today

The last couple of days have been a slog- I arrived at work around 7PM on Sunday to avoid driving through the blizzard at its peak, and ended up leaving at almost 4PM the following day. Upon arriving at home, I found that the snowplows had left huge piles of snow at the sides of the local streets, so I had to carve out a parking spot. My next door neighbors (who are wonderful) let me park in their driveway while I dug out a parking spot. I usually help them shovel snow because they are both getting on in years- they got help from a former co-worker yesterday. Anyway, I spent a couple of hours digging out a spot. A couple of hours of grunt work at the tail end of a thirty-hour endurance tour left me completely wiped out- I ate a quick dinner, brushed my teeth, and passed out for the next fourteen hours.

I woke up around noon, still aching from shoveling, and made plans to meet an old friend who was in town visiting his parents. I met my friend and his father, a retired professor of the Slavic languages department of a major northeastern university. My friend's father had just finished a physical therapy appointment- he is recovering from a minor stroke. The good professor's charmingly accented baritone was hushed, his burly frame was diminished... thankfully, his sharp wit hadn't been dulled by his stroke (as an aside, I always find that the ability to be funny in a second language to be a clear-cut mark of intelligence). I snapped out of my "cripes, I'm hurtin' for certain" mood, and remembered how fortunate I am.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Succor for the Sucker

The snow removal technician has finally arrived to clean out the lot, so I can finally get my ass home after an all-night slog on the job. Yee-haw!

Next year, the organization should award their contract to this guy.

Oh, and incidentally, happy birthday to my great and good friend J-Co, who is always up on the "Community Calendar" even though he has relocated to the Boston area.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

The New York metro area is experiencing a blizzard that is expected to dump anywhere from ten to twenty-four inches of snow on the ground, accompanied by gusts of wind approaching those of a category one hurricane. I'm a snug as a bug in a rug an ootheca here at work. I came in early so I could relieve a beloved co-worker (and because I'd rather be safe at work than driving through a foot of snow a few hours from now, after digging my car out of a snowbank). I have an overnight bag packed, and enough yerba mate to keep a small army of gauchos buzzing. Yeah, I'm dug in for the duration, and have no desire to hit the roads until the sun is high in the sky, and the plows have done their job. Just to refresh the memories of my readers, this is what I will see tomorrow after the sun comes up:

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

I am at work right now, it's been a quiet, peaceful day spent at a truly enchanting spot. A co-worker of mine came in for a few hours and brought his lovely, polite young daughters to keep him company. They left a couple of hours ago, so I have the place to myself. Yeah, we may be understaffed and overextended to a certain extent, but I really can't complain about my circumstances.

Last night, I had Christmas Eve dinner with some great good friends, a family that I'd known since I was a young-un. Stopping by on Christmas Eve for a couple of hours was always a tradition- my characteristically nice friends had a Christmas tree buying routine that would have matched a De Beers diamond merchant's techniques for ruthlessness... they would go to a lot where some poor schmo was selling trees around 5 PM on Christmas Eve, and offer the guy five bucks. Invariably, the guy would say, "That's a thirty dollar tree!" and my friends would respond, "There's nobody else here on the lot, is it a five dollar tree or a zero dollar tree?" They'd bring the tree home, and, in a fashion that would have made Tom Sawyer envious, they would throw a Christmas Eve tree-decorating party. Even when they were still in high school, they had this devious scheme down pat. Their callous treatment of Christmas tree vendors aside, they have always been unfailingly hospitable, generous people (their house, like ours, had an "open door" policy- nobody was turned away). Anyway, I went over to their ancestral abode for Christmas Eve dinner (including Yorkshire pudding made by a Yorkshire native) and a heaping helping of nostalgia. My friends' spouses and kids were over, so I got to hang out with three generations of my awesome extended family at a time I couldn't get out of town to be with my nuclear family.

I'm grateful to have such awesome friends.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Cozy Place to Spend the Winter

Last week, I spent some time looking for praying mantis oothecae in an open field on a jobsite. I didn't find any during my active search, but I stumbled upon one purely by accident on another jobsite. The hardened foam masses have a distinct shape that leap out to a trained eye:

It's funny how pattern recognition works- even a cursory glance at a patch of nondescript vegetation can reveal wonders to an informed observer.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Have Yourselves a Groovy Little Solstice*

So, it was the first day of winter, although it's felt like winter for a couple of weeks now. Just as the arrival of the red winged blackbird heralds spring, I've always seen the arrival of buffleheads as a signal that winter has come (as the old song goes, Gone away is the bluebird, here to stay is a new bird). Of course, the male hooded merganser can often be mistaken for a bufflehead, though the accompanying females with rusty-red heads give the charade away. The hooded mergansers also tend to overwinter in the area, thus leading to potential confusion.

Last night, I stayed up late to watch the lunar eclipse- the nearly full moon was ringed by an icy halo, and the shadow of the earth gradually obscured Earth's celestial "daughter". While observing the dance of the heavenly bodies, I was lucky enough to see an extremely bright meteor. Even though it was freezing out, the night was enchanting. Yeah, winter may be a drag sometimes, but it surely came in on a high note.

*Title lifted from a hilarious, criminally neglected song.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Always Found Them Creepy

One of the New York Metro area's most beloved Christmas traditions is the New York City Ballet's peformance of George Balanchine's staging of Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker. I have to confess that I have always found the music to The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy to be creepy. Just ignore the visual of the lovely Victoria Luchkina dancing, and listen to the soundtrack- imagine that you've just broken down on a dark, secluded roadway on a freezing winter night, and imagine how you'd feel if you heard this music in the background:

I also find The Carol of the Bells to have a bit of a creepy horror-movie vibe, reminiscent of this:

Mind you, I do not dislike either of these pieces of music, but they both give me just the tiniest frisson of unease. To me, these songs aren't so much Christmas carols, as they are songs for the darkest days of the year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It Runs in the Family

On the anniversary of my father's death, I headed down to the ancestral estate of my paternal relatives in the Bronx, and my aunt (the reigning matriarch of the family) and I went out to dinner. We spent the night recounting family history, and I was reminded of an inter-office memo my father had written while he was serving in the U.S. Army.

Dad went to college and law school under a full R.O.T.C. scholarship- he started off his army career in the military police because he was a large individual, but was transferred pretty quickly to the J.A.G. corps because of his legal background. While serving in the J.A.G. corps in Fort Gordon, a superior officer wrote a memo in which he (inexplicably to me) used stati a plural form for the word status. My father, no doubt appalled by the use of a plural for "status", wrote a letter explaining that, having a fourth declension noun as a root, the proper Latinized plural of the English word status would be status, not the second declension-ish stati. He wrote this letter entirely in Latin (I believe my mother still has a copy of it somewhere). It just goes to show that smartassed erudition, or erudite smartassery, is a characteristic family trait.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

About Last Night

Last night, I was hooting and hollering about being uninspired, but I actually put up quite a bit of stuff in the Writers' Room for snarky cynics. It just goes to show, one is only as good as the people with whom one associates. Thanks, snarky smartasses, you're the best! Now, if only the Muse will sing to me while I'm sailing my own whine-dark sea.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Singularly Uninspired

It's funny, I have a couple of topics I wanted to write about last week, but I just can't find the get-up-and-go to write about them today. Since this is the run-up to Christmas, how about a little Christmas music?

As much as I like the song, I have to say that the video, cobbled together from the performance of another song, is pretty damn uninspired. Therefore, it's a good reflection of the day's malaise here in Bastardland.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Even in Death, He Vexes Me

Dealing with the death of loved ones is difficult (the one year anniversary of my father's death is coming up), but how does one deal with the death of an acquaintance one does not particularly like? What does one do when one finds out that one's most bitter rival has met an untimely end? Should I regret our feud? Could things have turned out differently if we had only met under better circumstances? Part of me feels a pang of remorse... maybe we could have been friends. While his death means that he won't be preemptively stealing the very apples that I've planned to scrump, I can't help but think that those aforementioned apples will taste like ashes in my mouth next fall. The battle of wits made those stolen apples taste sweeter, the rivalry made the very act of scrumping more dramatic. Now, I am robbed of this game, and the lacuna in my spirit vexes me, as does the fact that his corpse is decomposing under my workplace, and the aroma of his passing into the bosom of the earth permeates the building.

Rest in peace, old foe. Our conflict was bitter, your passing pungent.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Recap of Wednesday Night

I am notoriously lazy about tagging my posts... I've never done it. If I did, though, I'd probably have a "making zrm jealous" tag. Well, this would be one of those posts.

On Wednesday night, I rode the 4 train down to Grand Central Terminal, and hoofed it to Connolly's pub on 45th St for a benefit sponsored by the Irish-Mexican Alliance to raise funds for the Committee to Protect Journalists' efforts to grant asylum to Mexican journalists targeted by narco gangs.

Journalistic legend and quintessential New York City "man of letters" Pete Hamill spoke about his love of Mexico, which was cemented by a five day stint in jail after a drunken bender. While in jail, he was fed by the families of the other jailbirds (including a bus driver who had crashed his vehicle), and generally made to feel at home in a bad situation. He noted the generosity and hospitality of the Mexican people, and his abiding appreciation of their culture.

Panamanian-born international salsa superstar, actor, and politician Rubén Blades (I had the honor to shake his hand and have a brief word with him) spoke about how, as a law school graduate in Panama, he decided to emigrate to the United States rather than to work as an attorney under a military dictatorship (contrast his career- a young lawyer refusing to work under a military dictatorship, and becoming an internationally beloved musician and actor, with that of John Yoo, who worked under a "democratically elected" regime writing justifications for torture, and ended up as a cloistered "think tank" flack writing self-loathing filled diatribes against "elitism"). Hell, I sure as shit wouldn't shake Yoo's hand. Mr Blades recalled his start in the mailroom of Fania Records which led to his career as a songwriter and musician, and gave a stirring account of performing his politically-charged music in venues in the Argentine and Uruguayan dictatorships, and learning afterward that the silent response from the crowd was inspired by respect, not fear.

Host T.J. English gave a brief, blistering talk on the realities on the border, and indicated that he has an upcoming article on the subject of violence against journalists in the February 2011 issue of Playboy- if you want to use the old "I buy it for the articles" line, make this issue the one you purchase "for the article".

A common theme throughout the night was the connection between the Irish American experience and the Mexican American experience. The speakers evoked the St Patrick's Battalion, the Irish soldiers who, unwilling to participate in a war of aggression which brutalized a peasant population with whom they identified, deserted the United States Army during the Mexican-American War, about which Ulysses S. Grant wrote:

Generally the officers of the army were indifferent whether the annexation [of Texas] was consummated or not; but not so all of them. For myself, I was bitterly opposed to the measure, and to this day regard the war, which resulted, as one of the most unjust ever waged by a stronger against a weaker nation. It was an instance of a republic following the bad example of European monarchies, in not considering justice in their desire to acquire additional territory. Texas was originally a state belonging to the republic of Mexico. . . . An empire in territory, it had but a very sparse population, until settled by Americans who had received authority from Mexico to colonize. These colonists paid very little attention to the supreme government, and introduced slavery into the state almost from the start, though the constitution of Mexico did not, nor does it now, sanction that institution. . . . The occupation, separation and annexation were, from the inception of the movement to its final consummation, a conspiracy to acquire territory out of which slave states might be formed for the American Union.

The spoken presentations were followed by performances by waggish Joe Hurley, local favorites Celtic Cross, and, from El Paso, Texas, yet another group of young musicians who look like grad students playing a glorious "wall of sound" of Indie Latin rock (or is that Latin Indie Rock?)- the engaging Frontera Bugalú:

Frontera Bugalú got the dance floor shaking its collective ass. After the set, I told the band's frontman that the addition of a clarinet gave a hint of Middle Eastern flavor to their unmistakably "Mexican" sound- the delicious auditory equivalent of tacos al pastor. This compliment was warmly received, and I purchased their demo CD. Give them a listen, they really are great.

I also had a chance to hang out with a guy, I'll call him "Larry", who is well known on the local music and art scene. While he didn't perform, Larry served as an elder statesman of sorts. I chatted with him briefly, and asked him if he had any plans for a Midwestern tour. Sadly, he told me that, while he loves the Midwest (especially Chicago), the economics of touring weren't very favorable at the time. This sad fact should serve as an impetus for any Midwestern fans to get their arses to New York for a spell.

I have to give a special shout-out to my great and good friend J-Co, who (although he relocated to the greater Boston metro area to raise his lovely family) always seems to be up on the New York calendar of events. Thanks, J-Co, for bringing this to my attention.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Gadzooks, I Hate Them

Man, it's been a busy week, and I have so many topics which I haven't had time to cover... I think I will spend a good portion of the coming week catching up. I just wanted to quickly put up a post saying that the fucking Republicans fucking suck. After years of using first responders as props, and portraying anyone who didn't support the Iraq invasion as an Islamofaciunamericanandproblyafagtoboot, they deny a bill to pay for healthcare for the very people they used as props.

As a New Yorker, I say, "Fuck the fucking fuckers!"

I hope to put up another post tonight after working an event. Like I said, I've been busy busy busy.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Most Carnivorous Night EVER!!!

Last night was the fifth annual Carnivorous Nights Taxidermy Contest. Originally conceived as a one-off event, inspired by the unsettling "Rump Ape" (a simian simulacrum crafted from the rump of a white-tailed deer) and promoting the engaging Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger by Friends of the Bastard Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson. Five years later, the continuing event sold out a 300 seat venue. Holy catfish, who knew it would take off like it did? The event is a very tongue-in-cheek celebration of "Rogue Taxidermy". Being co-sponsored by the Secret Science Club (SSC goddess Dorian Devins was a judge, SSC goddess Margaret Mittelbach was MC), I attend the event out of solidarity with my people. Last night, I actually presented one of the exhibits, sent by Peter Cua, a genius of an artist from Singapore, who was unable to attend. After my traditional "Carnivorous Night" meal of a spleen sandwich, I headed down to the Bell House for the event. I had my prepared "Shaggy Dog Story" statement (approved by Peter himself), which I read after fortifying myself with two (and no more!) pints of brew:

I feel somewhat unworthy to present these specimens, which were made by Dr Peter Cua of the island nation of Singapore. Dr Cua was unable to attend this event, so you got me... a smartass presenting the work of a genius.

Dr Cua's dream to perfect the miniaturization of taxidermy specimens began with the demise of his beloved pet impala- he had wanted to mount and display it in his home, but his apartment was too small to accommodate such a large specimen, as well as his other belongings... a plight that residents of Brooklyn will no doubt understand.

Dr Cua drew inspiration from the indigenous Jivaro people of South America, and traveled to the Amazon basin to learn their methods for shrinking preserved heads for ritual purposes. While effective, the traditional methods were time consuming, and often messy. During a hiatus in his studies, he recalled a time when he mounted a prize marlin caught by a retired American astronaut living in Singapore… while he met with this client, he was served a sample of freeze-dried space ice cream. Inspiration hit- he would combine traditional Jivaro techniques and cutting-edge NASA technology to form a new field- shrinkadermy through freeze-drying.

As luck would have it , Dr Cua’s initial efforts in this new field coincided with the rise of a multi-nation space program- Dr Cua was approached by a high-ranking official in the International Space Agency, who told him that Russian cosmonauts had been prone to depression brought on by the sterile décor of the MIR space station. In an effort not to repeat this morale problem in the International Space Station, the agency wanted the interior of one of the station’s modules to resemble a rustic cabin, or hunting lodge. Of course, mounted trophies weighed too much for the launch vehicles, and would have taken up too much room in the space station. Through his genius and hard work, Dr Cua was able to shrink bear and moose heads to mount on the bulkheads of the International Space Station, thereby ushering in a new era of rustic charm in outer space. Having planned a manned space flight in 2011, the Chinese Space Agency has consulted with Dr Cua, who is currently preparing some mounted shrinkadermy specimens, so the Chinese space capsule will look like a charming Sichuan farm village, thus giving the astronauts a feeling of nostalgic warmth as they hurtle through the void, because (as Roberto Montalban so memorably said) "It is very cold in space".

Dr Cua has also expressed his desire to show gratitude to the Jivaro people for their tutelage, and is planning on building an extensive freeze-drying facility in the Amazon Basin. Because of his commitment to sustainable development and green technology, he is planning to power this facility with an array of electric eels, which are indigenous to the region.

When asked to reflect on his career, Dr Cua has only two regrets. The first is that the non-avian dinosaurs died off due to the K-T extinction event. Shrinking and mounting one of the awe-inspiring sauropods would have been the crowning achievement of the shrinkadermist’s art. His second regret is that he could not be here tonight with you.

Thank you, and without further preamble, here are the beautiful creations of Dr Cua’s art:

Yeah, just picture the big galumphing galoot in the masthead photo sharing a stage with such delicate, enchanting pieces- wow, I felt "ogreish", and had this dread that I'd somehow drop the display (I am not a clumsy person at all, but I always have this weird "Bull in a china shop" feeling around fragile objects).

Peter's sculptures took the "Most Intriguing" prize in the contest.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gelt Trip

So, Hanukkah began on December 1, and I haven't mentioned it at all. I kinda feel a little guilty, and I'm not even Jewish, man. I forwarded a link to the Electric Eel Christmas Tree post by SMcG to a friend of mine, and she remarked, "Gotta get one of those for my electric menorah." This got me thinking... an electric eel has no visible scales, so it is most likely not kosher. Even if it is not for human consumption, can an observant Jew bring something as treif as an electric eel into the house on Hanukkah? Not having a theological bent, I will leave this question to the religious sages.

As an aside, if any of you know of a single frum girl who needs her potatoes grated, I will work for latkes. Special consideration will be given to young ladies with wide hips and narrow kitchens. So, happy Hanukkah to all readers, and please send latkes, gelt, and money.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Happy Belated Birthday, Sweetums

Yesterday was the birthday of my older brother, Sweetums. The origin of the Sweetums moniker dates back to the days when I had a glorious golden 'fro. My younger brother Vincenzo and one of my cousins (gotta dig up a pseudonym for him- I think he assumed the alias "Big Leo" in the course of the hilarious "Midnight Gardeners" prank) decided to skip a high school pep rally the day before Thanksgiving, which prompted my mother to say, "Well, your brother would never skip any school event!"

My sister's peanut gallery observation was, "Oh, yeah, he's so perfect, Sweetums would never do anything bad."

Not even a minute after my mother gave her little lecture, Sweetums showed up at the door, home for Thanksgiving break a day early. My mother asked, "What are you doing here? I thought you were coming home tomorrow."

The response, "Oh, I was offered a ride home, so I bagged a couple of classes so I wouldn't have to take the bus."

Timing is everything.

Happy birthday Sweetums, give my love to the wife and kids.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Opening Salvo in the War on Christmas?

A few years back, I probably would've been inclined to drop some spare change in the bucket of a Salvation Army bell-ringer out of knee-jerk generosity, but then I had an epiphany, a Road to Damascus Highway to Hell moment, if you will. The bell ringer was outside the supermarket, and I paused and thought, "Wait, the Salvation Army is a religious organization, and I know absolutely nothing about their tenets." I needed to find out more about the Sally Army. Well, sure enough, the tingling spider sense was correct. Yeah, the Salvation Army is a typical authoritarian Protestant Evangelical group with an anti-gay agenda... the "S" word was the initial tip-off for me. To compound the problem, the Salvation Army also has a clear-cut anti-drunkard bias... this hits home, because drunkards are my people! Yeah, no need to feel even the slightest twinge of Scroogitude as you pass by these bell-ringers for bigotry. Find another, more worthy charity to support. Of course, no blistering indictment of the S.A. would be complete without posting this classic singalong:

As an added bonus, here's an additional song which describes a similar group's (thankfully) failed attempt to abduct a proud worshipper of Dionysus into a lifetime of servitude to a sere, Calvinist divinity:

Gotta dig those Portugese subtitles. I was familiar with "Monkees" iteration of the song from my childhood, but this is the best version I could find on the t00bz, although the Saved finale subverts the original intent of the song.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Seduction in the Tea House and Other Tales of Urban Lust

Well, now that I have your attention... Last night, I attended a special birthday performance by Friend of the Bastard Saasha Foo. Well, I'll begin by saying that she should consider a name change to Saasha Feu, because the girl was on fire- she called her set Devil with a Heart of Gold, and I instantly thought, "This could be the basis for a hilariously warped musical comedy to submit to the Fringe Festival."

Miss Foo introduced herself with the eponymous ad-libbed tune, then launched into a hilarious evisceration of Burt Bacharach's Wives and Lovers, turning the dated "default sexism" of the song into a satire of the Beauty-Industrial Complex. Yeah, Brazilian waxing and bleaching "down there" were undreamed-of in Burt's heyday, but Saasha worked them into her brutal-yet-affectionate takedown of the song... hey, it's 3PM, hubby's due back by 7, so girl get cracking! She followed this with another genre-subverting take on a breakup-and-resultant-heartache song, Was I Just Another Blonde to You? Confronting her ex with a younger version of herself, she asks the inevitable questions, such as: "Was I just another sticky bun to break in two?" Put a "Y" on the End of "Man" was her take on polyamory, in which Saasha sings that she wants to schtupp just about every man she sees on the street. The show-stopper for me, though, was the hilarious Park Slope Gigolo, in which Miss Foo sings of the eponymous "working man" paying his way by servicing the stay-at-home mothers who congregate in the local Tea House. The surefire cure for post-partum depression, the Park Slope gigolo ("the sugar in your Bigelow") has his own baby sitter. Saasha followed this up by a mission statement- she wants to start pimping d00ds out to supplement her income (motherlovers take notice, Brooklyn fathers take heed). Saasha's show of love for country music took the form of a takedown of a coked-up former boss who looked on her ass as his "personal property"- a Foo-vian take on Take This Job and Shove It. Her finale was another satire of the pressures on women to conform to unrealistic standards of beauty (a duet with a friend)- The Tapeworm, Gay Porn Diet. Why suffer at the gym, or deprive yourself of calorie laden treats when you can enlist the services of a special little friend, a Platyhelminthine buddy which will allow you to sit on the couch all day long, eating cinnamon rolls slathered with an entire tub of margarine and watching gay porn? Trying to fit into that wedding dress? Just enlist the services of a tapeworm, just make sure it doesn't poke out during the ceremony. Wow, what a finale. Throughout the night, I had to restrain myself from drinking while Saasha was singing... I had visions of Hoegaarden shooting out of my nose. Yeah, she's that funny, and her brilliantly distorted version of the universe (the Foo-niverse, if you will) is a great place to visit for a couple of hours. Adam Klipple and Gary Wang provided an excellent musical background for Saasha's gleefully cracked songscapes.

While I can't find any "spit take" inducing videos of Saasha, here she is in her "serious" mode... I apologize for the darkness of the video image, but one can just make out Miss Foo's trademark "cat eye" vintage glasses and bangs:

After the performance, I told her that, within ten years, drag performers would be imitating her. She replied, "That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me."

Rock on, Saasha Foo, and get cracking on the musical!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Been at It a Year

Wow, it's the one year anniversary of my little blogging experiment. I'd like to thank Jesus, my family, and the Academy... wait, this ain't the Oscars. Besides Jesus, my family, and the Academy, I really want to thank all the fine people listed on the blogroll to the right, I love you all and want to have your babies. I also want to extend a special thanks to my good friend Frenchy, the guy who took the picture of that glabrous, scowling ruffian on the masthead- he had been on my case, telling me for years that I should be blogging... he also gets on my case telling me that I need to do sit-ups, proving that peer pressure need not be a pernicious influence. I also need to give special thanks to Tintin, Gavin, D. Aristophanes, HTML Mencken, and Brad of the Sadly, No! editorial board and the hilarious denizens of the comment threads (I think it was M.Bouffant or Spengler who likened the comments threads at S,N! to a writers' room for smart snarkmeisters- please correct me if I'm wrong). The blogroll is populated mainly by Sadlynaughts. I also have to confess that I feel I owe a debt of gratitude to AK and Smut who gave me the final push over the border into Blogistan- it's no coincidence that I started my blog shortly after the debut of Riddled... how could I possibly let those mad antipodean geniuses have all the fun? Thunder, ZRM, Von, Johnny Pez, Aunt Snow, Jack C, SMcG, Ned, AG, JNeoM, VS, M.B., A212, Jenn of Ark, Spengler, and any others I may have forgotten- thanks all. If you ever get to the NY metro area, first round's on me. Special thanks also to SSC goddesses Margaret and Dorian, who have done a lot to encourage my writing endeavors. Also, a special shout-out to the lurkers (I know that I have some family and friends who read this on a regular basis), and the drive-by posters (I had one anonymous comment on a "local interest" post, and for the life of me couldn't figure out who it could have been). The window must be open a crack, people, 'cos a little rain seems to have gotten into my eye.

So, how would I measure my blog-performance over the past year? Well, have you read anything by Jack Vance? Did you give a listen to "friends of the Bastard" Jim Keyes or Mary Courtney? Did you purchase any music by Hedningarna? Did you click on any links to summaries of the work of any of the lecturers who spoke at the monthly "Drinking and Learning" series? Did you laugh? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then I can feel pretty damn smug.

It's been a hell of a year, thanks for sharing it with me.