Thursday, June 24, 2010

some thoughts on apple

i love the dickish extremes people will go to in order to express their dickish opinions on the interwebs.

not that i disagree with much of this.

as usual, click on it to make it bigger.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

arrogant or confident

My favorite latest post from lamebook.

I like to think I'm ninety percent Jay-Z with just a dash of Kanye.

waiting for a new videogame

I can't wait for this new game to come out! Seems like it's taking forever!

Monday, June 21, 2010

dummy ipad

$49 for a prank? sorry, i'll wait till next year's model to come out so the price goes down.

the new white meat


You guys remember this?

Well, seems the National Pork Board sent a cease-and-desist letter over their use of trademarked phrase 'the other white meat,' because their ad for this canned unicorn meat used the phrase 'the new white meat.'

These guys had to explain that it was a parody ad for a product that doesn't exist because UNICORNS DON'T EXIST.

I guess the pork board's lawyers missed the anthropology class where they explained that unicorns are extinct because of overhunting by humans.

Or maybe they're just stupid from eating so much trichinosis-infected pork.

then again, some of us don't.

"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal."

--Albert Camus

Thursday, June 17, 2010

vuvu this zela

And I thought vuvuzela was something the ladies had to see their special doctor about. And like, get an unguent or lotion of some sort.

via fakescience which is an awesome site you should visit.

Ol' Alfred

My latest review from the Post.


Rain can sometimes elicit melancholy; other times the sound of a soft rain, the smell of wet grass and the loam beneath, the feel of the stillness on the world can seem cleansing, a needed healing process.

“The Life and Times of Ol’ Alfred” begins and ends on the sound of rain, and the sensation is a mixture of sadness and healing.

That seems apropos, given the tumultuous year Shadow has endured.

Left reeling after the untimely death of founder Jeffrey Nickelson and subsequent off-stage drama fraught with resignations and hurt feelings as board members jockeyed for control of the company, Shadow was reduced in May to canceling an entire production. For a time, the future looked grim.

Let there be no doubt, however: Shadow is back.

In a moving, personal and deeply affecting debut, new playwright Jon Ian Sayles presents the story of his great-great-great grandfather, Alfred Sayles, as told through anecdotes passed down over the years.

Keeping it in the family, Sayles called on his father, veteran Shadow personality Hugo Jon Sayles to both direct and play Alfred, which certainly didn’t hurt the show’s chances.

The themes of sadness along with healing also run throughout the play, as Alfred gazes back on a life born into slavery, a life which never got a whole lot easier, even after Emancipation.

Born in Virginia, as a young child Sayles quickly learned what freedom meant. When relating the story of one of her escapes from slavery, his mother (portrayed by Lonnie McCabe) tells of being asked by someone if she is indeed a slave.

“Not no more I’m not,” she retorts, steel in her voice.

Aside from the better-known horrors of slavery--the whip, the privation, the institutionalized rape--there is a less-talked about type of pain inflicted by the complete and cruel control of slave owners that Sayles the younger presents here in heart-rending fashion: that of families being split up and sold off to distant owners.

Both McCabe and Sayles display a depth of emotion during a scene in which the family is broken up that is an embarrassment of riches. To not feel your own tears welling up as Sayles wipes his eyes and prepares to move on to the next anecdote is to be emotionally bereft, to be something less than a feeling, complete human being.

Later, though, he makes an observation that could be the tagline for the entire show: “Happiness follows sadness like night follows day. But they don’t last forever.”

And the play does have a few much-needed, unexpected sources of levity: A meeting of newly emancipated farmers is broken up by Night Riders torching Sayles’ house. As the fire spreads to the plantation owner’s crops and threatens the main house, in a panic one of the Klansmen goes up to Sayles, pulls off his hood and says, “All right, boy, grab a bucket! We gotta put out this here fire!”

Despite his tribulations, Alfred lived nearly 100 years, had numerous children, and fought hard against the former slave-owning power structure to take his own course, eventually succeeding. In the process he helped break trail for those who followed.

For his first production, Jon Ian Sayles has penned a powerful, moving piece. And while it is more a series of anecdotes as opposed to a point A to point Z play per se, at an hour and twenty minutes, it seems just right. The stories are riveting, and the time and character shifts are dealt with smoothly.

Hugo Jon Sayles as Alfred is obviously the focus of much of the show, and he adroitly pilots a roller-coaster of emotions without ever phoning in a false note.

The tears come, for people on stage as well as in the house, and they are genuine and unstoppable.

And both Lonnie McCabe and Karon Majeel are Sayles’ equals in terms of depth of emotion and the truth that they tell here, without resorting to manipulation or trickery.

Indeed, there is nothing but truth onstage during this show.

The Sayles clan et al remind us that, while facing hard truths can bring sadness, it is only by doing so that healing can begin.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

o pennsylvania...

do NOT clean up this man's rental kayak without a hazmat suit.

my home state. you never cease to amaze with your parade of weirdoes and pervs:
A preliminary hearing was held in Cumberland County Monday for a Lewisberry man who was charged with indecent exposure, open lewdness and disorderly conduct following an incident on May 21, when Upper Allen Township police were summoned to Simpson Park for a report of a kayaker who had exposed himself.
The piece goes on to use a phrase i don't think i've ever seen before: he "masturbated at other kayakers."

I'm heading to Jersey this year for Christmas instead of PA so I can meet some classy people.

via fark.

running on empty

here's a short film made by someone named Ross Ching. via.
in it he depicts a Los Angeles with no cars.
it's very provocative, just to think about what the world might look like when and if people and/or their noisy, exhaust-spewing vehicles ever disappeared.

Running on Empty from Ross Ching on Vimeo.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

we have failed part II

rant part deux.

first part here.

We Have Failed (part II)

A hypothesis: In an era of unprecedented wealth, we are witnessing the flowering of the first generation of unprecedented privilege. As loathsome, odious and inhuman as they are, the first generation of these ultra-privileged--the Cheneys, the Blankfeins, and the Haywards of this world--are going to be left in the dust by the younger versions of themselves that are coming up now.

We are breeding a generation of remorseless, obscenely affluent children, monstrous offspring so cocooned in privilege that they are utterly unaware of the value of anything or anyone aside from themselves. They are unaware even that other people and things could be said to have intrinsic value apart from the uses to which they can be put.

This is a new creature stalking this poisoned and dying world, a cold, alien organism lacking conscience, morals, and even basic humanity. Empathy is a concept they are unequipped to grasp, much less experience.

But Van der Sloot, Dick Cheney, Lloyd Blankfein, and Tony Hayward are not aberrations. Nor are the elementary schoolchildren who torture and kill one another, nor are the teens who leave overdosing friends to die, nor are the girls who deposit their newborns in dumpsters and return to the prom.

They are simply acting out the logical extension of a value that has lain hidden at the heart of civilization since the times of the Egyptians.

Only now it is surfacing more blatantly and more overtly than it ever has before, and among a wider swath of people, and from there broadcast to the rest of us: the knowledge that the ultimate commodity is not gold, nor diamonds, nor oil.

The ultimate commodity is people.

Controlling people, whether through brute force, physical intimidation, religious intimidation, or economic coercion, is and has long been recognized by the elites as the key building block toward so-called civilization--and not incidentally, towards the elites’ own state of privilege and comfort.

And controlling people, the treatment of people as a disposable commodity is exactly what Van der Sloot, Dick Cheney, Lloyd Blankfein, and Tony Hayward have in common, and it is what makes them all monsters.

We should not wonder that the second generation of these monsters, that cold, demented children like Van der Sloot behave in these ways; we should marvel that more of them don’t. With the examples they are given--people who demonstrate that consequences don’t matter and that you can do whatever you want, to whomever you want as long as you’re rich--we should be surprised that sport-murder isn’t more prevalent among the prep school/Ivy League crowd.

Patrick Bateman has arrived, and he brought friends.

That is also what makes us a failure as a species: that we have let the ones who set this example and who live by this mindset continue unabated for so long.

Any sane animal, any rational clan or group in nature would have recognized these sociopath aberrations as something dangerous, as a threat to their individual survival, as well as something that jeopardizes the entirety of the clan, and they would have shunned them.

Or, more likely, they would have cut them out of the gene pool altogether.

We, on the other hand continue to worship the obscenely wealthy as though they were keepers of some magical secret knowledge, not the lucky, dishonest and ruthless monsters they are, descended from more of the same. Thieves breeding thieves, sociopaths breeding sociopaths, they sharpen their foul, twisted gene pool ever-finer with each generation, each becoming better at preying on the human species, the species which they have elected to leave behind, and which they judge as something lesser than themselves.

We all pretend that the underlying system of thought--humans as commodity--is fine and dandy, that it’s just a few bad apples that have gone outside the pale.

But in allowing these creatures and their poisonous philosophy to reach the destructive, institutionalized heights that they have, we have doomed innocent individual humans, entire regions and cultures of humanity, and potentially hundreds or even thousands of other species.

In other words, we have failed. We have all failed, and we have done so spectacularly.

If there is a god or an alien species or a Gaia spirit that is considering taking charge, they better get their ass in gear.

Pretty soon there might not be much left to save.

Friday, June 11, 2010

o i rock so hard

i look just like this when i run.

just did a 5.2 mile run! i know, that's not very far for serious runners, but this is the furthest (farthest? i can never keep those straight) i've gone since my doctor-mandated 8-week layoff from running ended a few weeks ago. my lungs felt great and so did my legs. virtually zero knee pain, which makes me very very very happy. :)

sorry, the endorphin rush i get from running is so far and above anything i've ever achieved with biking or swimming that i am afraid i am a card-carrying, Kool-aid drinking official cult member. and when my health is fucked (like my knee was) to the point where i can't run i get very fucking cranky. so happy it seems to be improving.

check out if you want to know how far you actually go on your runs and bike rides. it's pretty cool.

actually this is probably more accurate.

we have failed

Here's part I of a rant that has been rattling around in my head for a couple of weeks. Part II will be up in the next few days.


We have failed.

We have failed as stewards of the planet, stewards of our own species, even as stewards of ourselves.

Without a doubt, the future--such as it may be--will judge us as the most short-sighted, selfish, and willfully ignorant people ever to walk the planet.

World War II gave us ‘The Greatest Generation.’

Perhaps the generation currently attending our severely under-funded schools will be known as ‘The Dumbest Generation.’

And mine will be ‘The Selfish Generation.’

If the species survives the next few hundred years--think about how we’ve been going in recent decades and reconsider that proposition soberly for a moment--the children of the future will certainly curse our greed and willful stupidity.

They will curse us, but only if there is any knowledge left of what has gone before--or indeed, any knowledge at all beyond the misinterpreted and misunderstood hand-me-downs of some ancient tribal peoples’ retrograde customs and laws.

The survivors will marvel at how foolish we were--that is, if they are not the benighted, reverse-Darwinian distillation of generations of the interbreeding of our dumbest, as seems likely given birthrate trends among religious fundamentalists versus the rest of the population.

[SIDEBAR: Imagine the resulting dull-witted species we might become as a result of centuries of fearful, superstitious, inbred rednecks seeking comfort in that which is the same while fearing The Different:

On the blistering, lifeless desert the planet becomes, they would mock as heretics any of their number who dare speak of ancient legends that tell of the lush, green Eden this place once was. They would shun education and reach instead for murky parables as retold by ignorant, millennia-dead herdsmen, unaware of the irony that it was their true-believer ancestors who finally succeeded in fulfilling their own ridiculous fables by remaking Earth into a blasted hellscape, all through their own stupidity and short-sightedness, all while chasing some dubious afterlife.]

But it must be said that all believers, irrational though they may be--the religious true believers, those who believe in some awakened Gaia taking charge, or those who believe in a benevolent alien race coming down to save us from ourselves--all of these demonstrate an unspoken truth: our species has an instinctive understanding that we are not capable of running the world.

We know this to be true, somewhere deep in the frightened, dark place inside our souls, though we are loath to admit it. We know we are ignorant, helpless creatures desperately in need of guidance.

We understand intuitively that we are too weak, stupid, and selfish to steward even our own petty desires and those of our fellows, much less the planet.

There are, as always, some choice examples of late to demonstrate this hypothesis.

Obviously, nowhere is our utter incompetence and failure to deal with the consequences of our bankrupt ideology better illustrated than in the current and ongoing environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. ‘Nuff said.

And the repercussions from our previous most recent failure to steward ourselves, others of our species, and the planet--that of the well-planned and well-abetted Wall Street shakedown of the economies of the entire world--are still being felt.

But another, less obvious example to which we can turn to illustrate our desperately misguided efforts to lead ourselves and each other is the Joran Van der Sloot case.

Take a look at this thick-skulled, meatheaded monster.

This dead-eyed, slope-headed beast, upon--apparently--getting away with murder once, largely as a result of having a wealthy and influential daddy, has now allegedly gone back to the well one too many times and confessed to another murder.

Now, I have never committed murder. Nor do I have any plans or desire to murder anyone, ever.

But if I had been involved, somehow, in some situation that had resulted in the death and/or disappearance of a girl I had been hanging out with, something that had exploded into a huge international manhunt and potential murder trial, and if I had sat in jail for three months during that investigation, AND IF, somehow, miraculously, I had been cleared of this crime, or at least gotten to go home and leave it behind me, I would be very very very fucking careful in the future, wouldn’t you?

Wouldn’t any sane person get down on their knees every day and offer thanks to Odin, Zeus, Jehova and any other deity they could think of that they had gotten away from this mess?

One would think, the second time around, some part of this creature had to know that what he was doing was wrong, and self-destructive, and other-destructive. One would think that, over the course of the Natalee Holloway investigation, he at least would come to some understanding of what ‘other-destructive’ meant to the rest of the world, if not within himself.

But he did it anyway.

Now look at these monsters.

The similarities to Van der Sloot are stronger than you might think. These creatures also were born of human families, raised with values and ideas similar to those we all hold dear.

But like Van der Sloot, they were all bent and twisted by unlimited privilege, unimaginable wealth, and a consequence-free existence. Their bubbles may have been temporarily dented by their culpability in the direct and indirect murder of others, but ultimately, they found that they got away with it (in Van der Sloot’s case, the first time, anyway.)

And all of these monsters have committed these crimes without blinking an eye or showing any overt twinge of conscience beyond the lip-service the 24-hour media machine requires.

What to make of that?

More to come...
Next up: a hypothesis.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

true west review

True West is playing at the Vic for another three weekends, and well worth checking out.

Here's my review in the Post.

Here's the slightly different version I turned in. :)


When it comes to the dynamics of family, Sam Shepard has a unique gift for peeling back the scabs we thought had healed long ago.

And then dousing the raw wounds with gasoline.

Few playwrights capture so eloquently and yet with such brute force the dreadful angst of what it means to be kin. Shepard knows that the honestly examined chronicle of family contains at least traces of a peculiar, haunting sense of loss, an unspoken shared remembrance of tiny failures, tiny regrets.

Through the interactions of Austin and Lee, the adult sibling protagonists of his 1980 play “True West,” Shepard manages to convey a series of poignant snapshots: we can visualize the ancient broken toys, the fraying cardboard game boxes, the half-remembered fights and the inevitable tears.

Beyond that, Shepard also examines notions of identity, and whether we can truly escape the family that raised us, however far we travel.
The show opens on Austin (Brian Brooks), a Hollywood screenwriter who is pure khakis and minivans, a Polo-shirted distillation of the suburban American Dream, working on a new project while house-sitting for his mother.

Enter slovenly Lee (sloven-Lee?) played by Nils Swanson. Austin’s formerly estranged brother is his polar opposite: swilling down beer, wearing thrift-store slacks and a grubby wife-beater, he talks of breaking into houses and stealing appliances as his major short-term goals.

If Austin is Diet Coke, then Lee is his Mentos.

For any other playwright this could easily devolve into some depressing rehash of “The Odd Couple.” But Shepard, in allowing the temperature to reach a slow boil--and by throwing in scenes in which Austin’s producer Saul (Terry Burnsed) becomes infatuated with Lee and his screenplay idea--allows Austin’s civilized veneer to be agonizingly scraped off, while forcing Lee to acknowledge that his confidence isn’t always backed up by capability.

While much has been made of the too-clever notion that Austin and Lee may actually be two halves of one individual, Shepard himself has said that he was looking more at the notion of each individual human’s internal contradictions, rather than some metaphorical split.

And as we learn more, we see the brothers are indeed of the same ilk. The two men are ground down to their essence, each shaped like a lens, each coming more sharply into focus, each becoming more like his opposite number.

At the same time, they become more like themselves.

In a thankless role, Linda Suttle as the boys’ mother is irritable, baffled and hilariously clueless, as one would expect of a woman who raised these two.

Terry Burnsed’s Saul Kimmer is amusing as an effeminate Hollywood producer, with more layers than his Don Johnson suit might indicate at first. But while allusions to a sexual interest between Saul and Lee can be read into the script, director Terry Dodd may have let some of the jokes get a bit too obvious: Saul talking of Lee’s “raw talent” while holding up his arm at an angle springs to mind.

Indeed, for such a menacingly dark--and, granted, darkly funny--play, the pacing and jokiness at times undercut the actual words the characters were saying. Dodd has the show down to a taut hour and a half, but the banter was so rapid-fire that at times the actors didn’t seem at all connected to what they were saying, much less to what had just been said to them. Shepard’s other great gift--his realism--is thus somewhat lost.

Still and all, the show is a keeper. Swanson is stellar as the dirtbag older brother Lee: uneducated but cagey, Lee possesses that uniquely manipulative, white-trash cunning one can see in former half-term governors of Alaska and the like.

And Brooks’ Austin is the quintessential nice guy who finishes last. An early scene where he gets shunted aside while Lee barges into conversation with producer Saul is both sad and hilarious. One criticism is that when he gets angry in later scenes it can seem forced, as if a switch has been thrown rather than an organic, internal build to that anger--although some of this could also be attributed to the pacing.

Ultimately though, Dodd and his cast do capture the essence of Shepard’s classic: the realization that family, the people we are supposed to know best, are often the most mysterious of strangers.


This obviously isn't Brian and Nils, but it's a pretty cool True West promo pic from the 2000 revival.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

ah, now it all makes sense.

thank you, agent mulder, for connecting the dots for us. via.

and here's what i'd like to think the real agents mulder and scully would think of this fellow's hypothesis:

on the nose

when you hear anyone bitching about the obama admin not doing enough to stem the flow of oil in the gulf, think on this. via.