Friday, November 26, 2010
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
So it looks like I’m not the only one who finds the holiday season creepy and off-putting! Hooray!
The good folks at Vintage Theatre recently held an open-submission, blind-entry new play contest for their ‘Very Dark Holiday Playwright Festivus.’ It’s a new play festival they’re putting on this Christmas--and my short play was one of the winners.
It’s a one-act about a teenage girl named Kristianne who isn’t interested in going into the family business as her parents insist she do. Her boyfriend is trying to convince her to run away, but she is torn by loyalty to her family--especially for her younger brother Nick, who seems to have a special way of looking at the world. Here’s a teaser for you:
That's all you get for now. :)KRISTIANNEIt’s not like I have any privacy anyway.MOMKristianne--KRISTIANNEIt’s Krystal. With a ‘K.’ How many times do I have to--MOM(mildly)Your name is Kristianne, dear. Krystal with a ‘K’ makes you sound like a truck stop coke whore.KRISTIANNEMom...MOMEven saying the phrase, ‘It’s Krystal with a K,’ makes you sound like a truck stop coke whore.KRISTIANNEOh my god.###
Oh, all right, if you insist. Here's one more teaser line, one which perhaps goes to the heart of the thing:
MOMHoney, sometimes...family is destiny. No matter how hard we try to escape from what we were born into, we become it anyway. You are who you are, and who you are is your family. Like it or not.
Here’s the info--my friend (and fellow playwright) Frank Oteri is organizing the show, and they have arranged to have music as well at many of the performances. Each performance will feature all six plays, and I am tentatively planning to play guitar at a couple of the shows as well. We’re looking at the 22nd and the 29th, right now. Will update as more info becomes available.
Hope to see you there, and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
“A Very Dark Holiday Playwright Festivus”
Vintage Theatre invites you to join their holiday playwright festival of original one-act plays from Colorado playwrights.
SILENT NIGHT -by Jeffrey Neuman
directed by Linda Orr
‘TIS THE SEASON -by Linda Berry
directed by Luke A. Terry
INTIMATE INFORMATION – by Frank A. Oteri
directed by Stephen Paulding
RINGING IT IN -by Laura Coe
directed by Stephanie Prugh
BORED TO DEATH – by Mark Sbani
directed by Frank A. Oteri
FAMILY BUSINESS – by Kurt Brighton
directed by Nita Froelich
Tuesday, December 21 – Friday, December 31, 2010
or go to
As usual 'The Simpsons' nails it.
Also as usual, Bill O'Reilly has his loofa-lined panties in a twist. He simply cannot believe that a comedy show would dare to point out something that is obvious to all but the most dunderheaded, blinkered moron: Fox News caters to morons. Heaven forfend!
And here's Bill and Beck (sounds like a morning 'Zoo Crew' type of radio duo, no?) wondering why in the world Jimmy Carter would claim that Fox News distorts the facts. That's just crazy talk.
Crazy like the world is turning crazy! Buy gold! Buy a survival kit! You never know when the godless atheists and their brown people cohorts might rise up and toss us good, rich, white Christians out of power!
Monday, November 22, 2010
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
This is the perfect shirt for dealing with TSA at the airport this holiday season! Available at feed store (link above.)
If you don't understand the reference, here's a pic from the Post depicting what an alternative pat-down (instead of going through the radioactive, potentially cancer-causing backscatter x-ray machine) will look like.
Welcome to America, son. Land of the free.
I wouldn't recommend free-ballin' though. That TSA guy looks like he's digging his way up to that guy's pancreas.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
has been named the New Oxford American Dictionary’s 2010 Word of the Year!
refudiate: verb used loosely to mean “reject”: she called on them to refudiate the proposal to build a mosque.
[origin — blend of refute and repudiate]
Those of us who love words and the language should immediately boycott all products related to the Oxford University Press and the Oxford English Dictionary, and reject their so-called authority on anything word-related. Your cutesy attempt at self-ridicule and humor in your post about this moronic move only confirms that you have abdicated any and all authority on the matter of the English language and how it should be used:
If a word becomes common enough (as did last year’s WOTY, unfriend), they will consider adding it to one (or several) of the dictionaries we publish. As for “refudiate,” well, I’m not yet sure that it will be includiated.
Thanks also for hastening the slide toward our very own Idiocracy, in this case, aided by the makers of a fucking dictionary, the very people who should have been expected to hold the line against this kind of creeping retardation.
What? That's not a word? Oh, haha! If only that word appeared on your site, then it would be funny! Well, just wait until next year. I'm sure it'll find its way into the fucking dictionary.
Frankly, given this stupid stunt coming from you, why should people bother to learn to speak and write correctly if this kind of frighteningly stupid shit is given legitimacy? (And what of the timing--the day after Sarah Proud and Dumb's reality show debuts? I smell a rat.)
I'll tell you why we should care (though obviously you don't) about the demise of our language, and the cheapening of it: the quality of language bears a direct correlation with the quality of thought expressed with it.
I rest my case.
Frankly, Oxford American Dictionary, I think you would be better served pondering a famous catchphrase associated with another politico:
Go fuck yourself.
FINALLY! Photographic evidence that ewoks are real! And not only did they live on Endor, they live right here on Earth!!
Or at least they did. As you can see here, they were likely killed off by a species of giant chipmunks that no doubt wiped out the ewoks by cramming them into their mouths along with tasty, tasty almonds. Here we see a male ewok about to plunge a spear into the thick hide of a giant chipmunk, in defense of his mate, who is clearly shrieking in terror as the chipmunk has stuffed her into his cheek pouch. Look at the cool, almost sinister expression the chipmunk wears. Thank goodness the giant chipmunk died out long ago. But so sad the ewoks went too.
When will they ever learn? Damn you giant chipmunks!!! Damn you all to hell!!!
Sunday, November 14, 2010
I find it strangely jolly. Should I look into getting my dosages changed?
It's by an artist named Mark Elliot. He seems to have more artwork on his site.
The psychological damage done to humans simply by the way we choose to live is literally incalculable. We literally cannot imagine what we could be, what we ought to be, what our souls, our DNA are crying out to be. The weight of the centuries of lies and ‘civilizing’ forces and forced subservience to imagined and invented authority both earthly and otherworldly has so warped us that we no longer can know--truly know in our bones, our hearts and our minds--what we are.
What I mean is, over the past 100,000 years--and the millions of years we developed toward becoming anatomically modern humans--we developed in certain ways in order to survive and thrive under certain conditions. At least until 10,000 or so years ago when the development of agriculture and large-group culture began, and began to change everything, all that evolution, all that societal pressure and breeding resulted in survivors who do well under the rigors of life on the savannah: running after game, running from predators or fighting them, absorbing the open air and freedom (as well as the heart-racing, nerve-tingling fear and tension) of always being on the move and never knowing where one’s next meal might come from--this is what we are, what we are supposed to be, like it or not.
Fight or flight. Hard-wired. 100 percent pure adrenaline, baby.
Not incidentally, surviving all of this long enough to pass on one’s genetic material was not only key to our ancestors’ survival, it's key to our eventual existence--without these particular traits, we never come along. And these traits are key to understanding what we are now--and what is wrong with us. You cannot overcome 100,000 years of human evolution and breeding--not to mention the countless millennia leading up to that moment when we became humans--with a few centuries of so-called civilization.
It’s absurd on the face of it. We are what we are, and what we are is animal. Animal-Plus, if you like, as a nod to our big brains (ever-insecure, lest they be forgotten! Don't worry--I got your back, buddy.) but that’s another matter for another discussion.
However, this is no Fight Club/Iron John bullshit lament for the lost Bukowski/Hemingway Manly Man, one who never really existed in the first place, certainly not at this late date.
Understand, those beings on that long-ago savannah were our ancestors, and understand what that means: their DNA is ours, their hard-wiring is ours. They are us. We are them.
And they would not recognize us today. The skills and tendencies and strengths they gave us are all washed out to shades of sallow gray, bleached to nothing by society’s rules, or sublimated at best. Our aggressions and the need for that adrenaline and freedom and the awful, wonderful fear that comes with them are expressed only in shadowplay, in pretend danger: video games, road rage, backstabbing bitchiness, sports, bar fights, empty loud-mouthery from safe behind computer keys--all the poisonous frustrations of the modern age that eat away at us because we have no real outlet to be who and what we are; these are the places where the animal tries and fails to get out from under.
SIDEBAR: Interestingly, some of the people most frustrated by these confusing signals from our big brains and our DNA often seek out jobs in law enforcement or the military, where there’s at least a chance that some head-bashing might come up. But those tasked with imposing our imaginary civilization on our clearly uncivilized species are, perhaps unsurprisingly, often the most fucked up of us all.
What dismal, flaccid creatures we have become. Cramped into boxes, piled one atop the other like factory chickens. No wonder we routinely beat, rape, and murder one another.
Of course we do; we’re all mad.
Friday, November 12, 2010
This right here, this right here, ladies and gentlemen, this shit right here, this is why I hate the holidays. The fact of this product's existence, and the fact that it is in Target right now, two weeks before Thanksgiving.
I don't need red milk. Not now, not at Christmas time, not ever.
Not unless it is actually white milk that has had the blood of marketers and ad-men generously splashed into it from the the living gout of red, red krovvy spraying from their open necks.
Now that sounds delicious.
I like this piece because it most directly addresses what's going on on the stage below where I was.
Here's the scan. Translation from Kurt-ese to English follows.
“I’m going to die.”
(Who can accept death?)
(The animal won’t allow it.)
(The Machine insists on running.)
“I’m going to die.” This is such a brave and unheard sentiment. We run our lives based on the notion that we will never die, that the world would stop spinning should it suddenly find itself deprived of our glorious presence. And of course, it’s fear of the unknown that drives this denial. It is what all religion is based on: ignorance of what comes after, and the fear of the masses who are told that someone does know.
The moment of acceptance--pre-deathbed acceptance of the fact of death, of the fact that we simply do not go on and on in this world or any other, that is the moment we become free.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
The empty rhetoric that abounds every Veteran's Day just gets stupider and stupider. Here's Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) likening supporting the deficit commission's ridiculous preliminary report (here's how bad it is: even Fox News hates it) with the sacrifices veterans have made.
Irony alert: the commission recommends making veterans pay for their own healthcare. (via)
The money quote:
“There is no way doing it that’s not controversial and difficult. But you know today is Veterans’ Day. You think of what they sacrificed for this country. If some of us have to sacrifice a political career to get this country back on track then so be it. It has to be done,” Conrad told me.WTF. Cutting old people's social security benefits requires the same courage as being a soldier, carrying arms into a foreign, hostile land, being shot at, being blown up, and being abandoned by the country you love upon your return. You, Senator Conrad, are an idiot.
But here's a way to actually help veterans in what will hopefully be a tangible way. Sign this petition to congress to establish a veteran's trust fund. Text from the declaration of support:
America has a moral obligation to ensure that every soldier injured or wounded while defending our country is guaranteed the help he or she needs. We can do no less for those we send into harm’s way. To that end, the United States Congress should establish a Veterans Trust Fund so that at the outset of engagement in conflict abroad we can ensure that those injured or wounded in the course of their military service receive proper care and support.I know, I know, it's another goddamned online petition, and what good do those ever do, really? But at least in this case, it has the potential to help start a dialogue on the devastating human costs of war suffered by those who serve. I think this is a bit more satisfying and potentially even helpful than empty promises and self-aggrandizing FB shout-outs.
Even if you hate war, as I do, and think it is mostly about bellicose, money-grubbing cynics shouting loudly and forcefully enough to get other people's children to do their fighting for them--especially if you feel that way--don't let them co-opt this day without holding their feet to the fire. If you're going to send people into harm's way, ACTUALLY support them in tangible ways, not just with bullshit platitudes. Sign up now.
ADDENDUM: My grandfather served in WWII, and I never got to meet him. One can only speculate about what kind of psychological damage that does to a family. Not to mention the damage that has been done to the psyches of those who do return.
Every day they post a new book with the title re-imagined as a somewhat more honest look at what the reader might be getting into.
This week George W. Bush's autobiography came out. The actual title is...oh fuck, who cares. Here's their take:
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
I saved the pad because I felt like I had made some notes worth revisiting (I never looked at it until after the run ended, and I never looked at it out of character--or at least offstage) and I wanted to read over what I had done. I’m planning on transcribing some of the more interesting bits in coming days. (Scanning the pages I wrote in cursive would be pretty pointless to anyone who isn’t me.)
Here’s a scan of the first page of the legal pad. As you can see, I started out making some notes in character. (Poor Mrs. Soffer.) Soon enough, I seem to have grown bored and started making notes about tech issues, and trying to make sense of my exits and entrances while I had a moment to breathe and nothing else to do.
I also made notes on my novel, and edited and added scenes to a couple of short stories. It may sound disrespectful or like I wasn’t engaged in what was going on, but as I read over these pages, I think all of these writings were influenced by the sadness of Joe and Harper’s marital troubles and of course the sheer horror of the news Prior delivers to Louis.
In addition to the pages that directly address life and death, there is a short story in progress that I had started before the run, but was definitely influenced by the show. It’s about two brothers, kids whose story centers around death (one boy has a near-death experience himself, and experiences the death of a loved one, and it...changes him in expected ways and unexpected ways.) It also ended up being set in the gloom of late autumn in the northeast, like Angels, and that along with the talk of death and coping with its seeming inevitability definitely altered the places I’ve gone and where I am going with it. I’ll put some pages up here soon.
Hope you find this interesting or at least amusing.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
George W. Bush, on his redemption tour, when asked by Matt Lauer how history will judge his presidency.
"I hope I'm judged a success, but I'm going to be dead, Matt, when they finally figure it out."Nah, I think we've got this one, dude.
The White House will fly the ‘Don’t Tread on Me’ flag, Ayn Rand will be enshrined as a national saint, and the repeal of the 20th century can begin in earnest. Say goodbye to the 40-hour workweek, civil rights protections, minimum wage laws, social security, Medicare, and all regulations ever on all industry and banking. We will invade Iran, North Korea and China, and make America great again.
Hell, we might even bring back Prohibition.
Come to think of it, women have been mighty uppity since they got the right to vote. Lots of them broads voted for the black guy in 2008. Might have to look into that whole 19th Amendment thingee while we’re at it.
But let’s set aside for a moment the hyperbole and empty, triumphalist, wish-fulfillment horseshit coming from formerly down-and-out Red-Staters--white guys who felt humiliated and threatened by a black man in 2008. Also, for now, let’s ignore sober analysis by political science types who say that, given all the negatives the Dems were fighting against, historically the Republicans should have done much better. If it weren’t for the fact that they too are in utter disarray and have no actual plan for improving the state of the union, and if it weren’t for Sarah Proud and Dumb anointing several thugs and lunatics as candidates of choice for the discerning teabagger, they could have taken the Senate too.
So, given all that, what could the bright lights inside the Obama administration be thinking?
What’s next for Team Bobo?
Obviously for teabagger types and other Astroturf-blinded ‘populists,’ those poor spellers inexplicably screaming for tax cuts for people making over $250,000 a year and the end of government--all while they tool around on Medicaid-provided Rascal scooters--the answer to that question would involve some mass suicide pact wherein all Democrats and other filthy librul types repented the error of their ways and decided to end their shame in a massive conflagration, a biblically appropriate cleansing by fire:
Led by Jon Stewart, all those fake Americans--the ones who voted for Democrats--would gather on the White House lawn and pray to the god of Abraham for forgiveness while holding hands and singing one last round of Kumbayah beneath the drawn, quartered, and hanged corpses of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, their viscera dangling gently in the breeze. Then the stoning would commence, obese teabaggers bussed in by Fox News from the hinterlands scooching their Rascals closer to get a better view of the slaughter, drool trickling from their mouths as they wheeze and pant, struggling to heave even small pebbles with their flabby, useless arms, conditioned only by masturbation and clicking back and forth from Fox News to the home shopping channel. Finally, a moat of BP oil surrounding the sinners--purchased at full price on the open market, naturally--is ignited from a torch held by Glenn Beck and a Fox News contest winner.
But barring that--and it is my hope that if any conservative types ever read this, the spontaneous orgasm that the above graf will have ignited in their withered, underused genitalia will so alarm them they will be prevented from reading any further--an interesting question arises, especially when one understands that, historically, a party winning the presidency almost always loses seats in the House and Senate in the following mid-term:
Is Obama playing possum? Or has he simply bent over so many times for big money at the behest of Rahm Emmanuel and David Axelrod that he’s grown Chicago-sized calluses in and around his asshole?
Because here’s the thing: strictly from a political perspective, this mid-term loss might be the best thing that’s happened to him since the inauguration. Simply in terms of Obama’s potential to get re-elected, this mid-term result could be a good thing.
Notwithstanding what the point of his re-election might be from a progressive perspective.
But given his track record, running in 2012 against whomever the Repubs might nominate--and given their recent bent for placating the crazies, it could be pretty much anyone--Obama is going to look downright statesmanlike.
Democrats are drooling at the thought that the teabaggers who will now wish to be taken seriously by the establishment Republicans (they won’t be) will insist on nominating some fiery, family values lunatic from whom moderates will flee. As retarded as many of my fellow Americans seem to have become lately, even we wouldn’t put an idiot and a quitter and a white-trash, charlatan grifter like Sarah Palin in charge.
For chrissakes, tell me that’s true.
Also, Americans love an underdog. A couple years of Republican arrogance and overreach (as if THAT ever happens) might just be what Obama needs to get people behind him again.
The other set of potentials this election ‘defeat’ sets up for the dems is running against two years of bad management of the House in 2012. John Boehner, the HOLIC (that’s Head Oompa-Loopa In Charge; Snookie can be his Number Two; Tila Tequila a mini-Oompa Loompa mascot he keeps on a thin, golden chain) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of big money. There is no way he can grant the teabaggers even a tiny portion of their wish list, not really, not more than crumbs. Expect to see lots of sturm und drang, many, many subpoenas flying about and empty hearings on all sorts of bullshit (please o please o please hold a hearing on Obama’s birth certificate, please?) but when it comes to actual legislation, the House isn’t going to be able to pass jack shit, nothing of import. Certainly not anything that will get through the Senate.
And speaking of the Senate. Senators have to play ball even more closely with big money if they want to hold on to their seats and get plum committee assignments. Rand Paul is a perfect of example of this transformation, though his was incredibly rapid: suddenly earmarks are acceptable. Raising the debt ceiling might be okay. (And of course, don’t forget that despite all his anti-gubbmint rhetoric, Mr. Paul is a huge fan of government handouts, in the form of Medicaid payments to opthamologists.) Now a part of government, he’s a big-government guy all the way.
As to whether street-level anti-government activist types--the ones who hate America so much they want to change the Constitution or spark a revolt against its democratically elected leaders--whether they will see through the smoke and mirrors, that’s another question. But the biggest challenge is going to be getting the Obama White House to see that playing footsie with the Republicans gets them nowhere--unless playing concubine to the big, big money had been their desired address all along.
In which case an added benefit of the Republican gains is that now the Dems can point to the House as the reason they can’t fulfill the liberal wish list they promised in 2008. Meanwhile they can continue to give the healthcare, financial, pharmaceutical, military and oil industries everything they want while dangling another round of empty promises for liberals:
‘...but if you re-elect me in 2012, and we take back the House, I promise, really, really promise, and I mean it this time, no fooling, pinky-swear, that this time around I really will shut down Guantanamo, and end Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and rein in the bankers, and watch closely for oil spills...besides, look at the alternative!’And on the other side of the aisle, envision two years of teabagger disillusionment when Boehner, who is already downplaying the significance of the mid-terms, can’t get anything done, and spins away from truly embracing teabagger ideals. Imagine the internal Republican wars over who gets the nod in 2012. Imagine Obama standing above all that as all the hatred and frustration and ugliness erupts and the Republicans turn on one another.
I'm not saying Obama's people planned it this way, but there are worse places for an incumbent president to be.
All of this may very well just be liberal wish-fulfillment, a fantasy in which I hope that the man who fired up so many people two years ago with talk of change hasn’t been completely co-opted by the money machine that runs Washington. Maybe I am foolishly hoping against hope that the Harvard-educated lawyer isn’t somehow so stupid that he thinks that every first date with the Republicans ought to end with him dropping to his knees for a goodnight blowjob, in the hopes that they might really, really like him:
Boehner guiltily looks up and down the street as he puts away his gnarled, orange Cheeto of a penis, already disgusted with himself.So here’s hoping Obama is a better tactician than a high school sophomore--although he sure hasn’t proven it yet.
‘Um, thanks, uh...” he pretends to pat Obama on the shoulder, but covertly wipes his hand on the president’s jacket. ‘Look, uh, I gotta split. Got a prayer breakfast with Billy Graham’s kid in the morning...um...yeah. So...see ya around!’
‘Gosh,’ says a smiling Obama, wiping John Boehner’s rancid, tobacco-reeking jizz from his chin as the limo pulls away from the curb. ‘He really likes me! He’s sure to call again now!’
But, Christ, any little sliver of hope looks pretty good right about now.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
From horror novelist H. P. Lovecraft, creator of the mythical god Cthulhu:
“As for the Republicans--how can one regard seriously a frightened, greedy, nostalgic huddle of tradesmen and lucky idlers who shut their eyes to history and science, steel their emotions against decent human sympathy, cling to sordid and provincial ideals exalting sheer acquisitiveness and condoning artificial hardship for the non-materially-shrewd, dwell smugly and sentimentally in a distorted dream-cosmos of outmoded phrases and principles and attitudes based on the bygone agricultural-handicraft world, and revel in (consciously or unconsciously) mendacious assumptions (such as the notion that real liberty is synonymous with the single detail of unrestricted economic license or that a rational planning of resource-distribution would contravene some vague and mystical 'American heritage'...) utterly contrary to fact and without the slightest foundation in human experience? Intellectually, the Republican idea deserves the tolerance and respect one gives to the dead.”
(from a 1936 letter) --H. P. Lovecraft
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Wow. So a guy dies at a party after consuming powdered caffeine by the spoonful, enough caffeine to equal 70 cans of Red Bull.
"He was puking up blood and he was sweating really bad," one friend testified. Others said he became incoherent and his speech was slurred.
I'm thinking it might be safer to buy an eight-ball, dude.
Man, I hate it when that happens.
Similarly, someone the other night crept into my room while I slept, stole my healthy, fully functional liver, and replaced it with one soaked in vodka and shame.
Also, they took a crap in my mouth.