Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We eat horses, don't we?

Well, now we do.

There are so many levels of mistaken assumption to point out in association with this story that I almost don’t know where to begin.

It started for me when I saw a post by a distant FB friend who said ‘[Obama] needs to be out of here!’ based on her anger at horse slaughter becoming legal again.

First there’s the ignorance of basic civics, and how laws are made--that is, Congress writes laws, meaning a shitload of Republicans AND Democrats agreed to pass this shite bill before it ever made it to Obama’s desk. (I think she may have unfriended me after I gently pointed this out to her...she definitely pulled her post.)

It’s pretty funny how predisposed dislikes create a bad guy instantly in people’s minds before they even know what it is they’re mad about.

But anyway. Putting aside Fox News-educated understanding of how the world works for a moment, what is really irksome about this is the dumbness and hypocrisy of saying one animal is verboten for human consumption while any number of other animals are perfectly acceptable. It’s the Dennis Leary ‘otters are cute’ argument, and it makes just as much sense.

As Jonathan Safran Foer pointed out in ‘Eating Animals’ (and in an excellent ‘Modest Proposal’) if the issue is whether dogs--or in this case horses--are intelligent, feeling, playful, sensitive, companion animals, then we should not only not kill and eat horses and dogs and cats. We should stop killing pigs immediately, and probably cows and possibly even chickens as well.

So for the same people who natter on about how great bacon is or who play the chest-thumping ‘I’m a carnivore’ card to get all weepy about Nugget or Fido ending up in someone’s stewpot demonstrates a tremendous disconnect and failure to think through the entirety of the problem.

SIDEBAR: By the way, how tough do you have to be to slaughter an animal that has no idea what you’re up to and no way to fight back? Kill and eat a human and I might respect your bad-assery, tough guy.

So, yes, Obama signed an odious bill into law allowing the slaughter of horses for human consumption, a law passed by (Republican- or at least Money-controlled) Congress, a bill that was pushed by pro-horse slaughter forces in red states like Wyoming. And, no, we shouldn’t eat horses, for the same reasons we don’t eat dogs or cats, because they are smart, loving, intelligent, playful animals with apparently rich emotional lives that we can never truly understand. But by that logic neither should we eat pigs or cows. At the very least, people should be aware of the hypocrisy of eating one type of animal that possesses these qualities while being appalled at the notion of eating another.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Holiday Fever

Thanksgiving is fun. If you’re hanging out with the right people, it can be a great time to relax, enjoy good food and drink with friends in a convivial all-day/all-night atmosphere. I imagine Roman and medieval ‘feast days’ were something like what we do that Thursday in November, sadly only once a year. We all need more days spent together in this style, I think, time to take a deep breath and commune with one another, in a world where our fun is crammed into bite-sized packets and consumed before we rush headlong back to the gray drudgery of ‘the real world.’

But then there’s Christmas and all that ‘the holiday season’ implies.

I get very tired of hearing that it’s the people who don’t buy into the holiday hype who are wrong, who are ‘dead on the inside,’ or ‘broken,’ etc.

I would argue that if you actually stop and think about it, it’s the freaky-enthusiastic holiday harpies who are truly a bit off. Those madly grinning, ‘joyous’ people who dress up their houses, their dogs and their kids in green and red costumes starting in mid-November. Who fart candy canes and shit cookies. Who revel in shopping on the sickest day of the year. And frankly who seem to be lacking something real and genuine and human within themselves, and who try to make up for their hollowness with holiday niceties.

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Nice sweater, Aunt Mabel.

If it’s about your family, and how much you love them, then you’re doing it wrong. Presumably your family exists the rest of the year too. I’d suggest you work on being more loving toward them--and maybe even toward all of humanity--all year round, not just on one magical day in December when Mithras (oops, I mean Jesus) was allegedly born under a mysterious star that appeared out of nowhere.

If it’s about hearkening back to ‘a better time,’ some Norman Rockwell wet dream of wholesome American life, then go fuck yourself. That time never existed. It has always been a lie sold to us to cover the sickness at the heart of this nation and humanity as a whole. If such a time ever was real for some, keep in mind that it existed at the expense of the freedom of black people, and women, and laborers, and was built on the broken and dying backs of the slaves who built this country and the Indians from whom it was stolen.

[SIDEBAR: America is a gas station: out front, the sun shines down on dad as he smiles tensely and wipes a small spot off the fender of his shiny new car. He fills the tank on credit, plucks a stray thread from his crisp, pressed shirt and squints into the sunlight, wondering how far they can get before nightfall.

Mom sits on the passenger seat staring straight ahead at nothing, unseeing, unblinking. She clutches her purse in a white-knuckle grip.

In the musty, dank shop out back, Sis is on her knees sucking off the fat, grimy mechanic who smiles through his tobacco-stained teeth and pats her on the head with his greasy hand, calling her a good girl.

Junior sits on the broken toilet in the flickering fluorescent light of the filthy bathroom, ramming a needle into his arm in a desperate attempt to find some way to tolerate the perfection of his life.]

But back to the holidays:

If it’s about taking joy in the consumerist orgy of Christmas shopping and how much fun it is to get new stuff, then go double-fuck yourself.

Fuck everything about this.

If that’s the case then you are a dead husk, a useless meat sack gobbling up the empty calories of this bereft culture, with nothing of your own to offer the world, no light of any kind living inside you. You are the dead eyes of Kim Kardashian; you are the bland idiocy of Justin Beiber. The happy glow of your new iPhone will decay soon enough, leaving you longing for the next object that will temporarily illuminate your miserable, empty life ever-so briefly until it too becomes passe and needs to be replaced. You are overgrown children coming to your senses at the tail end of the annual Christmas morning present orgy, sitting amid a pile of shredded wrapping paper and staring glassy-eyed at the pile of toys that are already growing old.

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I gots me sum light bulbs! For real cheap!

You could argue that the holidays are simply a microcosm of what’s wrong with this country: false joy plastered over sick-at-heart underlying problems, all of it buried under a pile of mindless consumption and shiny things to distract us from the doom toward which we are careening.

So, uh, Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

yummy turkey staph

And people ask why I'm a vegetarian (from a Wired article):
There are two new studies out that confirm, once again, that drug-resistant staph or MRSA — normally thought of as a problem in hospitals and out in everyday life, in schoolkids, sports teams, jails and gyms — is showing up in animals and in the meat those animals become.
full article

MRSA is the strain of staph that is resistant to multiple antibiotics, but which normally responds to tetracycline. If you don't know what an  MRSA staph infection implies, then by all means click this link. Not if you're eating though.

But when the researchers looked at the strain they found in factory farms they found something disturbing in factory turkey samples:
In this paper, all of the staph found in pork and turkey was tetracycline-resistant even when it was not MRSA (which, definitionally, is resistant to methicillin or its close analog oxacillin). Six of the seven staph-containing turkey samples were t034, and one was t337, which is associated with another MRSA strain that has emerged in pigs in China. “This suggests that turkeys, in addition to pigs, are a possible reservoir for both the ST398 and ST9 strains in the United States,” the authors say.
(ST398 and ST9 are the tetracycline-resistant strains of staph.)

Could we, through our mindless addiction to cheap meat, be producing the very diseases which will eventually kill us off? Far-off and far-fetched though this might seem, it is certainly not beyond the realm of possibility.

Yeah, that's shit all over them. Delicious.

And really, if the conditions in meat-producing facilities aren't enough to gross you out on factory meat (which is statistically all the meat you will ever consume in modern America) then maybe the thought of the uber-diseases these corporations are creating in their petri dish facilities by pumping these animals full of massive doses of hormones and antibiotics might do it.

(warning: very disturbing images of animal abuse)

Do any parents ever consider what they are training their kids to consume for life? Do they ever wonder if they might be making their kids sick or at least priming to become sick later in life by feeding them things like chicken nuggets or even store-bought meat?

Think about that when you line up for another plate of turkey.


that's gotta hurt


Finally, just what you wanted to see while you're digesting all that turkey and stuffing: here's a book called 'Stuck Up!: 100 Objects Inserted & Ingested in Places They Shouldn't Be.'

It's a collection of x-rays of patients who had to go to the emergency room because, 'er...I, uh, slipped in the shower and that Barbie doll got jammed up my ass...'

Barbie's Dream Castle this is not.

Or 'I was working out and fell off the treadmill and somehow my iPod got crammed into my butt.'

Good tunes, man. I wonder what they'd sound like up my ass...

Okey dokey.

Not all of the items were inserted, as you may have gathered from the title. Some were swallowed or otherwise found themselves interfaced with a human body. Funny stuff, if a little gross and a little WTF.

One piece of advice: if you do somehow slip and magically get a Barbie doll stuck in your rectum, don't send Buzz Lightyear in there to get her out. Certainly not feet-first.

Not that he could see much better if he went in head-first...

To infinity and beyond?

I mean, isn't the obvious choice to send Ken? We have to assume he's had experience with being in other people's bums... :D

The Lion in Winter

What an incredible week-plus. Just back in Denver for a few days following ten days of intensive theatre doing ‘The Lion in Winter’ at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts with Thingamajig Theatre Company. Seven days of that was prep for the three performances we did this past weekend, all of which were incredible--even, eventually, the Sunday matinee to cap off ten straight days of exhaustion and immersion in this monster.

Me and Anna Hershey as King Henry II and Princess Alais. My, what big, furry shoulders you have, your majesty...

It was an incredible weekend especially considering the radically reduced rehearsal time-frame. Pat Payne, the director figures we put in close to 60 hours of rehearsal in just 7 days.

What an incredible group of people to work with too.

Imagine taking nine people you don’t know--or, to be fair, of whom there are several individual connections, but who as a group have never worked together before--and trusting them to put together a show as complex and emotionally raw as ‘The Lion in Winter’ from top to bottom in just seven days' time.

If you’re not familiar with the play, do yourself a favor and watch the multiple-Oscar wining 1966 film version, starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole; it is incredible. It joins the uber-dysfunctional family of King Henry II for Christmas, 1183-style. But this is no holly-jolly Christmas, believe me.

The set of 'The Lion in Winter.'

Pagosa Springs has an a amazing facility, with LED lights and a huge, beautiful lobby that doubles as an art gallery/reception hall.

The emotional roller-coaster this man and his family go through in 24 hours is frankly brutal to portray. From the final scene of Act One through the end of the play, I (as Henry) get to disown my three sons in a tearful shriek (‘Goddamn you!!’) get told off by Queen Eleanor (who I have kept imprisoned for a decade) nearly lose my lover Alais, narrowly escape death myself and nearly commit murder.

It’s a crazy ride. We are getting great houses and a tremendous response to what we’re putting out there. Tons of audience tears flowing by the end, which I always take as a good sign (in theatre, not in relationships, haha, although the latter seems to occur more often. :)

Anyway, the Pagosa Springs local talent have been peerless in their welcome of us Denver peeps. I’ve been staying at a house that the theater owners Tim and Laura Moore bought (Tim also plays my son Richard). It’s less than a mile to the theater, and has a roof, heat, and a cold Beer Storage Unit...what’s the name for that thing? Oh yeah, a refrigerator. And that is mostly all I need. I go running at a reservoir connected with Pagosa Lake a mile or so away from the house, and the town and surrounding countryside are gorgeous and have been mostly sunny, even in winter.

Myself, David Trudeau and Robin Hebert (they are playing King Phillip of France and Henry’s son Geoffrey, respectively) have had a great time there, and I’m looking forward to more fun as well as another two weekends of shows after Thanksgiving. The show, even over the course of just one weekend so far, has grown tremendously, and I look forward to seeing what we are able to do once it has sunk into our bones even more.

Anyway. Wanted to decompress some of that, so thanks for indulging me. Please come down if you can; you won’t be disappointed. The set and costumes are rented from the Arvada Center’s production of the show, and reflect the nearly $100,000 budget they had for such things.

Aside from that, there is a great deal of talent on that stage, a great deal of honest, genuine emotion, and the show is well worth the drive.

Bonus: You can crash at 'my place' when you come down--just stay the hell away from my Beer Storage Unit. :)

ADDENDUM: Oh yeah, the damn hot springs are AWESOME! How could I forget our late-night adventure at the springs on Friday after the show? After all, it is called Pagosa SPRINGS for a reason...Nothing like frost on the handrails and ice on the paths as you soak in a steaming, 107-degree, sulfur-infused pool. I believe all theaters should attempt to replicate this. Hot tubs for all actors! It's my new crusade! :)

idiotic, essentially

Here's the latest idiocy from Fox News on the topic of Casual Pepper Spray Cop. After Bill O'Reilly offered that we shouldn't '...Monday-morning quarterback' the actions of police at '...what is a very liberal school,' (still not sure why that matters, but oh well). Then they discussed what pepper spray is really like, prompting Kelly to opine that pepper spray ' a food product, essentially.'

Naturally, the meme world took over from there.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

the lion in winter, in winter

Theatre: The Adventure Continues

Well, some of you may have noticed that I dropped off the face of the earth to some degree during and after Grapes of Wrath (we closed on October 30). I’ve had personal issues but also that show took a lot more out of me emotionally than I thought it would. Trying to not only play my part, but also help keep the trains running on time with a cast of, what, 26 (or was it 60? 237? 9337? I lost track...) was a chore in itself.

At any rate, I was totally down for some well-deserved time off afterward when I got a text from director and ubiquitous theatre-gnome-about-town Pat Payne. “I may have a gig for you. Call me.”

Now Pat and I have very nearly worked together several times, but up until now, the gods of the muse saw fit to put us elsewhere when push came to shove. In this case, though, he was offering me the role of King Henry II in “The Lion in Winter.”

For those of you who haven’t seen the film version of this, get the Oscar-winning 1966 Peter O’Toole/Katherine Hepburn version. It is amazing, both the script and the acting (of course.) The emotional journeys of these people as well as the verbal chess game/sparring match among one of the most dysfunctional royal families in history is epic to witness when done properly.

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That's me. I've aged horribly. And grown back a bunch of hair.

And me being the theatre whore I am, how could I say no? especially when considering that the company putting on the show is Thingamajig Theatre Company in Pagosa Springs. They have artist housing, and so I’m getting a mini-vacation of sorts (strictly a working vacation, as you’ll see) up in the mountains while getting to perform one of the all-time iconic roles of theatre history.

I’m excited but also a bit apprehensive, however, as we are doing this on a quick turnaround timeframe: I’m driving up today for our first night of rehearsal and we open next Friday.

A week from tomorrow.

I’m supposed to be off-book (real close! Real, real close!) but even with the rest of the Pagosa-based cast having already begun work, I anticipate a hard, long climb to get where we need to be for next (fucking!) Friday.

Still, I’m mostly excited for a new adventure. Look for updates here and on FB.

And don’t wish me luck--say break a leg.

Your boy-correspondent,


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

things to do



Staggering, confused, and fetal position all at once is usually the way I cope.

Monday, November 7, 2011

jesus dyed

Of course, the bible isn't in color, so it's entirely possible this was Jesus' actual hair color.

His fabulous, fabulous hair color.


Early warning.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

fuck yeah, thespian peacock

This is one of my new favorite sites, Fuck Yeah, Thespian Peacock. This theatre girl (Maya, I think is her name, in Maryland??) saw the meme world, with Foul Bachelor Frog, and Socially Awkward Penguin (see below),

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And as a typically shy, quiet, wallflower type of a theatre person, she decided to make up her own meme, Thespian Peacock. Also typical of theatre people, she chose a shy, not at all flashy animal as her meme.

It may not have the broad appeal of some memes, but nonetheless, the result is hilarious, especially but not only for theatre nerd and their friends. Here's a few faves but check out her blog for many, many more.

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Thursday, November 3, 2011

obama mask


Oh fuck yeah. That's cool.



Here's several religious posts I've been hoarding.

I love the New Testament/Old Testament beef this brings up. The original East Coast/West Coast battle.

Plus Jesus has awesome bedroom eyes. I'll eat that chick's cracker any day.

She just has to shave the beard first.

Yes. When engineers and their flow charts apply themselves to the illogic of religion.

But this might be the favorite of the batch. I love (loathe) the smug, first-world, top-of-the-food-chain dumbness of religious posts like this.

I think all of these came from my god,

fall colors

Is that what gay guys mean when they talk about 'bears?'


children are so grating

If you're going to eat delicious children, make sure you slice them very thin. Grated or shaved is best. I find this model of playground slide to be the most efficient method.

Just need a large frying pan waiting at the bottom and we're all set.

rule 34

This is so deeply disturbing, I figure by sharing it here, it will no longer haunt my nightmares. Welcome to the jungle, bitches.

Pass the eye bleach please.

mother....I want to--

Antigone. Oedipus. Ouch, my eyes.

via better book titles.