Friday, April 04, 2003

In Which It's Too Short To Title

The British invasion of Baghdad began today when Herman's Hermits stormed in from the south under protective fire power supplied by the Dave Clark Five....You get the idea.

Oh, I just remembered how the BBC described the videotape of Saddam Hussein released today - "The video showed a man in a military uniform with a thick black moustache visting the troops." Oh, my. Not even "a man purported to be Saddam Hussein". Just "a man in a military uniform". Oh, and just in case you're slow like I am, the big bad booming bash of an insurrection in Basra didn't happen. Someone...ummm...jumped the gun on that. The report that George dresses in a Barney costume every night and pumps his fist saying "yuh-huh-huh-huh, feels goods" while Ari Fleischer pees on him has not yet been substantiated. It is thought to be false.

"A psychotic is a person who needs help
Each and every day
If a little bird is telling you to kill the pope
You're (bomp bomp) A-OK!"
- From Alternate Reality Barney
In Which I Write The Blog I Was Intending To Write Before The Day Decided To Go Someplace I Hadn't Anticipated

I am "the primary caregiver" for my children. My wife is out the door at 7:15 most mornings and until she gets home around 6, it's all me. I supervise the rousing drowsy children, breaksfast, make lunches, make sure they're dressed and don't look homeless and drop them off at school.

Every morning when I open my youngest daughter's lunchbox, I see the pear and carrots from the previous day. They're always there. I've told her she needs to eat them, but she won't. (In all honesty, I say this to her for the benefit of my wife. I'm not the most health conscious person in the world.) It's not that she doesn't like pears and carrots. She leaves them for last and doesn't get to them. At least that's what she says.

What I would like to say to her is - "Look, you don't want to eat them, fine. I'm not going to sit next to you at lunch and force you to. But...could you toss the pear and the carrots out after lunch and pretend you've eaten them? Appearance of action is more important than actual action, anyway. Just a lil hint from your old dad."

I can't, of course, say this. These are things that children learn on their own.

Looking back over the last few entries, I should probably somehow tie this into some kind of statement about the war, since I haven't said much about it lately. But, I'm not going to.
In Which I Am Not Who I Was Supposed To Be

A little under two months ago, Mr Beef Jar and Terry appeared on the Board for the first time. If you didn't follow the link they are kind of like Lemony Snicket Meets Jean Genet Meets Don Rickles. Their sole function is to annoy. Are they funny? Not really. I have a certain respect for the world of torture, sex misanthropy that they've created for themselves. I don't think I could come up with it.

As a matter of fact, I didn't. Someone decided that I did. I'm hoping that the link that implicated me will be removed soon. [Which, during this blog, it has]

MRBJAT has reportedly been killed by his captors. Let's hope he stays dead.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

In Which I Buy A Clarinet And The Reasons Therefore

In the summer of 1972, after fourth grade ended, my family moved from sunny Southern California to miserable, wretched Commack, Long Island. After six hellish months, during which my mother ran out of the house yelling she was never coming back (she did...she'd forgotten her wallet and had no shoes on), we moved to Rochester, NY. I came in in the middle of fifth grade. I was told to go sign up for an instrument. That was the extent of the instructions. I thought that I'd like to do clarinet. Unfortunately, my naturally reticent temperment combined with a new school, poor instructions and parents with a marriage that was just barely together conspired to keep me from finding out exactly how to get signed up. Thus - no clarient lessons.

Now, a clarient is for sale. And I'm buying it. Certainly, and I've watched The Music Man enough to know this, once I put it together I will be brilliant. The Ghost of Benny Goodman, intrigued, will appear before me desparately attempting to clap his ectoplasmatic hands. The Ghost of Woody Allen will join...wait...he'd not dead yet...but he doesn't look too good.

You get the idea. This clarinet wipes out all the past disappointments that I have ever suffered. All of them. No therapy. No Zoloft. Just a sweet lil candystick.

[NB - Well after the fact, I learned that Commack is where Henery Hill, the mobster from Goodfellas lived. It did not surprise me in the least.]
In Which Teri Gross Gets Me Hot And The War Is (Once Again) Bemoaned

I dropped the girls off at school this morning, as usual. On the way to school, we listen to the CD from the radio show and after I drop them off I turn on NPR. War, war, war. NPR is all war all the time now. No Fresh Air. No Car Talk. No respite. How long will it take for 24hr war coverage to stop? Surely there's been some decent serial killings, environmental disasters, corporate fraud or shake ups in an international symphony orchestra NPR could report on. BBC be damned, it feels like ages since I've heard a good pro-Palestinian piece. I miss the days when I could fantasize about Teri Gross interviewing Susan Sontag wearing a cream-colored crotchless teddy and touching Susan's hand far too much.

What's it going to take to knock the war off the front pages? "Elizabeth Smart's Parents Hire New Handyman". "Alan Greenspan/Dick Cheney Love Tryst". "Condy Rice - I'm Half Iraqi". "Bush - Sorry, America, I Fucked Up". Only another terrorist action on US soil will get rid of the war news. And I pray to God that it doesn't happen.

Still, at some point, the war ratings will go down. "Poorly plotted...strains the credibility of the audience," the critic from the Times will moan. "Talky and ponderous", the critic from Time will whine. "Two Thumb Up" Roger Ebert will crow. Americans will get bored with this war. They'll write to the networks and say "Enough with the updates! I don't watch TV to be reminded of the world. I just wanna watch Fear Factor."

In 1977 my high school Distributive Education teacher (read - business for geeks) said two things that always stuck with me. The first was - "You will never have the lifestyle that your parents give you now. The money that your parents have is due to a burp in the economy. Get used to this now." The other thing he said was - "The US may not always be the super power it is now. It may happen in your lifetime. You can't afford to be smug." Now, maybe he was just a crank. Maybe he was a prophet. Mabye, at least as far as money goes, it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. The frightening thing about this war is that Bush is betting the bank on it. I can see him in the Oval Office with Richard Perle whipering in his ear "it's a sure thing! Ya can't lose!" I have no doubt that we will kick the ever-loving SHIT out of Iraq. I do, however, have reservations that this will increase the stature of the United State of America as a kinder, gentler nation willing to use its power humbly.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

In Which Talking About Socail Retardation Makes Me A Social Retard

Dammit! On Tuesday, I had to write a very awkward email essentially begging for work. The guy was supposed to come by and watch my set, but he didn't show, although he'd seen me a few days before. So, I had to write and say "So...ummm...I...whadja think? Didja like it? The set you didn't see was better than the set you did see, which isn't to say that what you saw was bad, but what you didn't see was better. Sooooooo...." I think I spent about an hour on it. Revise, re-revise, re-re-revise. I'm obsessing over it. Is the tone right? Am I sounding accusing? Am I too pushy? Am I not pushy enough? That word doesn't work there, it's too strong, but that word makes me sound like a pussy and...

You get the gist. All during this process, I'm thinking what a social retard I am, and half-considered admitting it in the email and asking for clear and specific instruction on how I should approach and address him. Since Tuesday I've been thinking "social retard, social retard" pretty much the whole time, thinking I should do a blog on it. And then, I read another comics blog and - **sigh**.

To add more social retardity (?), I'm feeling like I want to say "Hey, I was just thinking the same thing! How remarkable!." But how retarded is that to say? "Uh, I kinda know you from the web board and...ummm...I'm a retard, too. And I was gonna do a blog about it but now I can't, which I want to make clear that I don't hold against you, it's just that it's kinda weird but mostly I just wanted to sympathize with you about it, although that's probably the last thing you want to hear, since it's probably the last thing I'd want to hear...."

And, thus, the cycle continues.

It was one of those days where I spent almost the entire morning obsessively checking my email in an effort persuade myself that I was actually doing something productive. I was rudely awakened far too early by my nine-year old singing at the top of her lungs "HOO-RAH FOR THE TOYLAND TRAIN!!! HOO-RAH FOR THE TOYLAND TRAIN!!! HOO-RAH FOR THE TOYLAND TRAIN!!!". This is from an English childrens song from the 50's. The original Noddy which you might know from the hipper version on PBS. The same Noddy of Ian Drury's song "Fuck Off Noddy", which it took all my parental gumption not to scream back at her.

God, let the weather turn even slightly decent so I have some incentive to go outside.

Monday, March 31, 2003

In Which Protesting And Conformity Are Wrastled With

I've heard at least one report of someone losing their job because of the die-in protest in Boston. The guy works in IT. A server crashed and he was unable to make it in the hour time frame the contract specified. It reflects more on the company that fired him than it does on the protesters, but this kind of mass disruption doesn't do anyone any good. It polarizes the issue rather than convert those on the fence.

There are some that see leftists as hippie-wannabes, decked out in their tie-dye, beads and foreign-looking hats. This, of course, is not the case. I have never worn or wanted to wear tie-dye. It's understandable that the media would pick up on the most outlandishly dressed people to put on TV. It's a visual medium. But it does "the cause" no good to look like a trustafarian who's playing at politics before settling down into law or accounting. Mr and Mrs On-The-Fence have just cause to rethink supporting Al Gore when he's surrounding by 20-somethings wear t-shirts with digitized-out profanity on MTV. The marginalized are frequently marginalized for a reason. They just don't look "normal". I don't support this, but that's what happens. Look at the Gay Pride Parades. Men and women playing directly into the stereotype that's expected of them. The hip-hoppers doing the exact same thing.

It's a thorny issue. Putting on "nomal" clothes to conform to expected societal norms connotes selling out or giving in. But, as much as I'd like to, I can't take someone seriously if they're wearing a costume that doesn't fit the verisimilitude of the play being performed. Likewise, I can't expect respect if I walk into Man Ray on Fetish Night wearing...wait...anything goes at Man Ray on Fetish Night.
In Which I Reach The Point Of Saturation With War Coverage

I did what may be the world's first comedy cover night this evening. Peter Dutton put the idea together to have comics cover material done by other comics. The audience then has to guess which comic is being done. Very cool idea. I'm pleased to say that I had the most obscure comic. One person guessed him and then crossed it out. I did Peter Cook who is incredible!

Less than two weeks into it, I'm losing steam on the whole war-thing. At first, I was following it fairly closely. NPR is always on in my car. CNN in the afternoons and at night. I saw raw footage from Al Jeereza on CNN of a guy screaming in pain because his foot was blown off. Another time, Marines were kicking in the doors of houses and brutally yanking people out of them. They might have been terrorists. Maybe. I think that's when my enthusiam waned. What's the point of watching this? What's the point of following this insanity blow-by-blow? Will the war end because of it? Will the US stop being collosal idots because I know three minutes after the fact Rumsfeld is distancing himself from blame if the war goes poorly? Prrrrrobably not. Does that then cast me into the apathetic American who doesn't know what's going on in his country? Not neccessarily. But it makes me feel stupid and guiltly as hell.

Christ. I'm tired. I have to make lunches in the morning.