Thursday, May 31, 2007

Roundtable: Western Consumer Blues


For this week's Roundtable, Atul muses on something I believe to be a problem strictly for UStians: Stuff bought, and not used (or BANU), therefore taking up space in one's life. Particularly if one is a pack rat (which Atul professes to be, and which I must own up to a large amount).

Seems like most people tend to weed out such things when moving from one domicile to another; but I must confess to liking what I noticed the Germans doing, when I lived there: Junk Day.

Can't remember how often this happened during the year, but whenever it happened, families would place whatever possessions they didn't wish to own anymore out on the curb, leaving it to the general public to stop by, peruse, and take, if so desired. Also can't remember what happened to items not picked up...It's been a while.

Tell the group what crap you can't get rid of, whether out of consumer guilt, or emotional attachment.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Flashback: Hey, What About The Froog?

So, I was in the process of the ever ongoing Earworm War with Mynxie, when she brought up Ray Charles' "What'd I Say?", and a flood of memories came my way...

Before you hit play on the YouTube display below, I want you to imagine the big 'fro'ed, 10yr. old me (I looked a little older than the kid pictured here), freshly moved to the US, with a basic understanding of English, sitting down and watching the Blues Brothers in the theater.

At this point in the movie, Jake got out, they met the nun, chatted with Cab Calloway, visited James Brown's church, likely got chased by the cops, and have started putting the band back together (I think after the restaurant scene). And then...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fascinating Trivia

So, I'm reading Kaufman, who is talking about listening to famed baseball announcer Ernie Harwell, and I come across this bit:

The last team to do radio re-creations of road games was the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1951. Harwell, who did re-creations for the minor-league Atlanta Crackers in the '40s, said he smacked a ruler on the table to make the sound of the ball hitting the bat. "Different guys had different things," he said. "Some people had very involved recordings with cheers on them and things like that."
--King Kaufman,

The Atlanta Crackers? Goddamn if that isn't a better team name than the fuckin' Atlanta Braves! Someone better get on this, and fast!

I want a commemorative jersey!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

B. Jones: Sobering Up

Oh, god. It's so much worse than I thought...(via Enjoy.)

Wait, uhoh...DTs. Crap, no it isn't (third paragraph from bottom).

I need a gin bath, now. Or sleep.

Roundtable: Woman! Wo. Man. WoooooooMAN!

ectoplasm in the jim jam
i doth wonder who it's fram
but please don't take my orange dram
it's already filled with cheese

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Diff'rent Links For Diff'rent Folks

Not content with simply leaving a place holder, I, instead, supply you with links to items that have struck my fancy:

Okay, if you've been reading this blog, and still are unfamiliar with Salon's expansive reach; well, wake up Chachi! Yeah, Slate's pretty similar, and Fray, their online community, is pretty well-established; I just don't go in for their style...besides, my limited time keeps me from stepping into the Fray...

Anyway, do me a favor: Read Gary Kamiya's brutally honest dissection of why the US is currently not ready to impeach what is easily the most deceitful president in the US' young history...Once you've done that, forward the link to anyone you know, including some of your favorite right-wing nutjobs. Give 'em fits, whydoncha?

Next up, a screed defending ABC's Lost against those "gimme now" types that make up the UStian viewing public.

See, from soul-damning critiques of the nation, to justifying a particular TV viewing habit, Salon's got it all. Hell, it even pointed me to folks who think like I do about where the next set of terrorists will come from.

Moving away from Salon, and to matters a bit more...heady: Joss Whedon, geek extraordinaire and TV medium revolutionary (better than "TV terrorist" I s'pose) delivers one hell of a rant, regarding our world's deeming of women's worth. I only disagree with the point he makes about the various religions out there. I can think of one exception to his rule.

But that's another entry. Hell, that's another blog.

Next entry: JJ's right, an old friend drops by.

B. Jones: Hello? Hey, Douschebags!

[TBO's Note: Upon hearing that the Sonics drew the Number Two slot in the upcoming draft, I had to look for Missives-friend B. Jones to get his take on the matter. I finally found him huddled in a fetal position in a corner of the room he was occupying. What follows are, in essence, his thoughts.--tbo]

whoop-dee-doo, Sonics got number two. Finally, they're getting what their fans have been getting over the last three years.

[garbled speech] everyone's all, "this is great news for the beleaguered Sonics, yadda fuggin' yadda, wank wank wank." Won't do us any fuggin' good, will it? All it really means is that we were shitty enough this last season to get into the lottery system. There's something to be proud of.

Anyway, whaddayawanna bet that instead of going for someone good, like an Oden or a Durant, they're gonna go get yet another skinny beanpole, likely of African descent, outta France? You know, another "young talent, with big man potential."

Huh? You don't think that'll happen? LOOK AT THE LAST FIVE YEARS!

[garbled]uckin' McIlvayne...WORST STRING OF OWNERSHIP SINCE...Seahawks...Early Red Sox...Selig.

Oh, but, wait wait...wait a second. I forget. Lemme ask you: Do they have anyone lined up to coach the team next year? Hell, fuck that thought for a second, what about a General Manager to, I don't know, lead the team through the hiring of the coach, get them through the draft, try to keep Rashard Lewis, or at least trade him for something good, or, I dunno, guide the goddamn team through the various minefields they have ahead of them in the coming months...Who do they have? NOBODY, THAT'S FUGGIN' WHO!

Hey, Lenny, get on the fuggin' ball, y'asshole! And hey, I remember your record with the Hawks, so thanks for that first trophy, but don't even think about it, all right? You feel me?

Who the fuck wants to sign with the Sonics anymore? "Hi, hello, hey, yeah, we're a bunch of douschebags from a city of equivocating douschebags...In the next five years, you could end up in Las Vegas, Kansas City, or Oklahoma you really want to live in any of these places? I mean, we could get you bling in Vegas, but that place is played out if you're living there. Besides, we can't afford to pay you more than $4million a year,, talk to the Blazers."



Riveting, isn't it?--tbo

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Roundtable: Thin Line Between Love & Hate

At least, that's what I want to say to Deni, because, if nothing else, it'd shine a new light on his obsessions and may even throw him into a tizzy.

Okay, probably not...well, not at all likely. Really, I'm dreaming.

In this week's Roundtable entry, Deni muses on hate. Can there be positive attributes to hate? Are there good/bad forms of hate? (Actually, he argues that there are.) Finally, he wants to know what/who you hate.

Ah, Deni...He's an old friend of mine, and yes, I can tell you from experience: He's a cantankerous son of a bitch (which is obviously jake with me; check out the comments field in my last two entries for proof*).

What I love about him, though, is that there's no pretense. You wanna know where Deni stands on something? Ask him and he'll tell you. And how. And there's no masking his thoughts for social concerns; he'll call your bullshit even if you are his father-in-law and have a gun pointed to his head.

The best thing, though, is disagreeing with him. Especially when he's off his nut (check out the comments in this entry).

What was my point? Oh, yeah! Go to his site, and get your hate on!

*I kid, JJ, I kid!--tbo

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

No Comfort Zone, Please

Great OpEd piece by Thomas Friedman in the NYTimes (I'd link, but it's currently a subscriber-only feature. Will update, if possible). In it, he compares the weeding out of possible Democrats in the Department of Justice that has led to the current Senate Hearings with Alberto "Who Am I?" Gonzales, with the White House's failed attempts to avoid a similar weeding out of Baathists which has led to Sunni unrest in Iraq.

So, I'm reading, and agreeing, and enjoying the clever compare/contrast when I read this bit:

Democrats need to be careful, though, that they don't let their rage with the hypocrisy of Mr. Bush make them totally crazy, and blind them to the fact that they - we - still need a credible plan to deal with the very real threat to open societies posed by Islamist terrorism. [emphasis mine - TBO]

For the love of Mike.

All right, General Populace, quiz time: Q: Before 9/11, who was responsible for the biggest terrorist event to take place on US soil? A: Timothy McVeigh, a UStian with ties to a UStian militia.

Listen, I grok what Friedman is saying, but, in typical UStian over-reactive fashion, the language used indicates that the populace should only look for this threat from this one corner of the world. As if only these people would be crazy enough to resort to terrorism.

Granted, these are the vestiges of the culture of fear we've been living under for the majority of the last decade, and hopefully, we're seeing the last of it, but, if history's anything to go by, it ain't likely.

Please allow me to reiterate: Terrorism is a fact of life. The human race has been dealing with it since the dawn of time (remember, the man Jesus could be classified as such). Do we have to like it? No. Should we do as much as possible to be prepared? Hell yes, within reason.

The sooner we embrace the notion, however, the sooner we can lead normal lives without perpetual fear, and the less likely our emotions could be swayed into doing something foolish, like the current war.*

S'a'right? S'a'right.

*Or, hell, anything the current administration has gotten away with in the name of "protecting our nation's interests."
[Edited to add: Apparently, Friedman is a hack. I had no idea; I just took the piece being commented on as a compare/contrast at face value. Hi ho.--tbo]

Monday, May 14, 2007

C'Mon, TBO, Aren't You A Little Too Paranoid?

Yeah, you'd think...But then again, is it really paranoia when you have reason to be?

Glenn Greenwald agrees with me. The (real) journalists at Frontline seem to be on my side too:

I know I'll be watching...

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Roundtable: Shut Your Brain Off

Life's getting busy again, and it's at points like this that I have to find something to take the edge off...Not just a beer, or booze, or whatever else you'd use to dull the senses a little.

I'm talking about the little things you do in conjunction to the mood altering devices mentioned above; whether it's a ball game on the TV, or a good book, or a jazz album, bad reality crapola...whatever.

Yeah, given my generation, the TV's been my little methadone dispenser. Lately, for me it has been netflixing through some TV shows (currently, The Wire and Homicide: Life on the Streets - which is remedial The Wire, anyway)...before that it was the Joss Whedonverse, the Game Show Network's Black and White Overnight block.

But the pure stuff? Sesame Street. The pure 70s - early 80s, pre-Elmo stuff. I had found this on the cable a number of years back, airing from 1a - 3a (who're they playing it for? There's no kids awake at that time)...It's like stepping into a warm little cocoon and regressing to an age where stuff just isn't important. No matter how stressed I was before watching an episode, I'd sleep like a baby after it was done.

What are your escapes from reality? What do you do, where do you go, do you go alone, or with friends?

Monday, May 07, 2007

RIP - Howard Bulson

(Tip o'the keyboard to Chris Comte, who has written a lovely eulogy himself.)

Wow...Outside of JP Patches, I can't imagine a bigger Seattle legend than Howard Bulson, may he rest in peace.

Unlike Patches, though, I believe that Howard has been a bit more prevalent in people's minds in recent years. He was the fixture in many a circle. He worked as an accompanyist at the renowned dive Sorry Charlie's, and was one of the friendliest...personages I'd met in town.

I was, by no means, a regular to his event (especially in the latter years, since Sorry Charlie's closure), but whenever I showed up, either for a birthday or some other celebratory event, he remembered that I did a rendition of "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" in Spanish that he liked to hear. Bless the poor lad, what he endured for a bit of untranslated lyricism.

His death will likely affect others a bit more deeply than it did for me (Marty, Karen, and Lisa come to mind), but this doesn't mean I didn't respect the man.

Cheers, Sir. In a town that could exponentially afford more characters like yourself, you are severely missed already.

EDITED TO ADD: Good friend Skot also eulogizes Mr. Bulson rather well.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Roundtable: Regret's Bitter Taste

The perpetually peevish Carol wonders about our regrets...What are the specific moments in your life that you seriously wish you could take back?

Considering that I prefer to block those moments from my mind, generally, I'm having a tough time coming up with something, but there are a few instances of other's regret that I sometimes remember fondly...

Scene: After party at Theater Schmeater. I'm shooting the breeze with this woman I'd just met, and another actor approaches her, and they have one of those brief shop-related talks, and he asks her what she's up to. She replies that she's about to direct an outdoor production of some Shakespeare play or another, and, after determining the size of the job, I ask her how she's feeling about it.

"Oh, I'm fine right now...Whatever the case, at least I know that it'll be better than that production of Volpone that the Schmee did last year. Ye gods, that was bad." She laughs. "Do you guys know who directed that?"

I raise my hand, "'twas me."

"Oh, it wasn't that bad, I..." she trailed off, and gave up. We all laughed.


You know the deal, go over there, read of the misfortunes of others, and if the spirit moves you, fess up to your own regretful moments.