Thursday, June 28, 2007

Here I Go Again With the Bossiness

They've done it again.

I'm reading the Tribune's Red Eye (shaddap, I was doing the puzz and finished early) and turned to Dustin J. Seibert's "Hump Day" column, which is all about dating or not dating women of faith. And lo and behold, right there in Black and White and Puerto Rican, he calls the divide between a woman's overriding faith and his mildly confrontational lack of same the "800-pound gorilla in the room."


It's not. No 800-pound gorillas, goddamn it. Man, even Wikipedia's on my side with this one (and no, I didn't write the entry; I love the term "contamination from a separate idiom" but I would never have thought to call it that, even though that's exactly what it is). And I blame AXA Equitable for that goddamned series of ads perpetrating this crap on the lazy-ass, don't-know-better writers out there who hear something and assume it must be correct because they saw it in an ad or on TV. It's a lot like Seinfeld's "The Yada Yada," which made that phrase a popular shorthand for inane repetition, which is itself a shortening of Oscar Hammerstein's "Yatata, Yatata, Yatata" from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Allegro. Now shit, I'm not suggesting NBC viewers need to know Allegro or anything, but the writers might have looked it up. Or watched M*A*S*H, which also used it correctly. (I'd bet Larry Gelbart wrote the episode in question, and I bet he looked it up.) I hate the laziness involved in shit like that. Studio 60 On the Sunset Strip (like Sorkin hasn't had enough problems with it) did the same thing on last week's episode. Sarah Paulson was doing her not-bad Holly Hunter impression and COMPLETELY MISQUOTED a great line from Broadcast News-"I have crossed some line, someplace. I'm beginning to repel people I'm trying to seduce." Paulson (well, her unbelievably annoying Christian character Harriet; let's get her together with Dustin!) said "I think I've turned a corner someplace..." Aaaaugh.

Sorkin should know better. He fucked up Gilbert and Sullivan too, so double aaaaugh. Maybe he just did what I did when I was writing my book and just assumed a lot of stuff off the top of his head that turned out to be wrong. But still, didn't anybody at NBC know Broadcast News or H.M.S. Pinafore better than I do?

But I digress. Once again, everyone: There is no "800-pound gorilla in the room." It doesn't make sense. The 800-pound gorilla is a metaphor for absolute power (Q: Where does an 800-pound gorilla sit [or sleep]? A: Wherever he wants.) The elephant in the room is a metaphor for deliberate avoidance of an uncomfortable truth (such as, say, ignoring your son's tattoos and body piercings at Thanksgiving, or refusing to discuss your niece's divorce and ugly custody fight). Nobody deliberately avoids the uncomfortable truth of absolute power. Thank you for your time. And please don't make me woodshed you again. I love you too much.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

And I Laugh

Seen and heard on La Salle Street, in front of the gorgeous old Rookery Building:

Man in his Jews For Jesus t-shirt, making with the handout literature. Middle-aged woman walking south, meets his eye and says "Hell no" without breaking stride.

Okay, maybe she said "Oh no" or "Ah, no," but it sounded like "Hell no" and I laughed in spite of myself. I realize that peoples' faith isn't really a laughing matter or a punchline, and the poor guy might have felt really bad, but still. I couldn't help myself.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Didn't you hear me the first time, Bobby?

I said FUCK YOU!
No? Well, thanks for the opportunity, here it is again! FUCK YOU, MOTHERFUCKER!!!

No, no, shut the fuck up. You dont get a fucking pass just because the Cubs came back to win (gimme Koyie Hill, y'all) and some fence-jumping asshole was even stupider than you tonight. Fuck you, you first-ball-fastball-throwing idiot. I mean, shit. There's a novel approach:Let's let as many guys score as we can before getting anyone out. To make sure they score as many as they can to fucking WIN, I'll throw a fat-ass fastball over the fucking plate for a three-run home run. Nothing special. Because I'm as fucking inconsistent as I can fucking be.

I remember the White Sox against the Angels, in Anaheim, it was either 92 or 93, I think, and they were up by like two or three and their bullpen ended up giving up about eight runs. Just brutal, slap hits and an occasional bomb, over and over again, regular as sleep. And at the time I thought that was the worst bullpen performance I'd ever seen.

And then Scott Fucking Eyre shits on the mound and Bobby Howry wipes everyone's fucking face in it. Well, congratulations, King Shit. You're the new champ.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Tonys Overview

Sunday night! Tony Awards, Tony Soprano, or Tony Parker? Get it? To look at all the bullshit about these three "entertainment options," you'd think we actually have a wide range of things to choose from on TV these days. We don't.

But anyway, my dad and his wife and I watched the Tony Awards. Not terrible, and still the best of the awards shows, because it's live theatre people in their element, doing it live. (Which always makes me wonder about the Emmys-it's a live TV show done by TV people, so why is it so bloated?) That's the best thing (usually) about the Tonys-it's the best-looking show on its feet and the most streamlined and least bloated by its own sense of importance. I mean, these awards shows are all big sloppy kisses from the industries to themselves, all orgies of self-congratulations. (I'm at the non-Equity Jeff Awards tonight, the same thing on a teensy-weensy scale.) But the telecast is what's at hand, and it really amounts to very little anymore than a long-form commercial for the nominated musicals. To wit:

How to Suck in Three Easy Steps
Mary Fucking Poppins, I'm looking at you. Easily the most recognizable of the four shows, a worldwide hit movie with built-in nam-brand blah blah blah, and what do they do? Show "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," which everybody in the world knows? Of course not. (To be fair, the pearly-style choreography I've seen for that number looks like the fucking Macarena, so maybe it was just as well. But.) Here's how they screwed it up:

Step One: "Chim-chi-mah-ny/Chim chim cher-ee?" What? Why with the over-diction? I know Dick Van Dyke had the worst Cockney accent in history in the movie version, but making that nonsense word rhyme with "Swanee" is just plain stupid. It's, um, ah, a play on the word "chimney." One of many examples of the Tony's Dilemma--making big stageworthy business look palatable and not overdone on the small screen. Double-compuneded because in addition to the aforementioned challenge, the performers are playing this night to Radio City Music Hall, the biggest room in the country. Still.

Step Two: "Step in Time." More like "Step in Half-Time." Not a tap number in the movie (sorry to keep comparing, but you know that's just what they want), but a busker two-step. So of course they turned it into a MUCH slower tap specialty for the stage show. Again, why? And even if you have to use the ladies of the ensemble to flesh out the dance corps, don't have them sing it in their own voices. I bet there weren't that many girl sweeps back then. Sounded stupid. Watching this part of the presentation is when I decided, out loud, "this show is crap." And then, to confirm my opinion:

Step Three:
"Anything Can Happen." One of the new songs shoehorned in, this one is at the end of the show, and it's a piece of shit. Seriously, "Anything can happen/If you let it"? What the fuck does that mean? That sounds like Bobby Knight's fun justification for rape from a few years back to me. Obviously, the producers of this family-dollar piece of claptrap wanted a feel-good anthem to wind up the evening, and I can understand that, but why do these things always have to be so fucking simpleminded? And the wide-eyed starry-landscape bullshit staging didn't help things, either. What the hell is wrong with "Let's Go Fly a Kite?" That's the message: Mr. Banks has found his sense of fun and spontanaeity again, thanks to Mary. Simple. He's flying a kite with his family, not changing the world through Hallmark cards. For fuck'sake. If I were a parent of young children, I'd take them to see whatever show was playing next door to Mary Poppins.

Spring Awakening was predictably middle-of-the-road, though I liked the energy and the "high-school-aged kids" bouncing around like pinballs at the end. But, again, overdone, carefully-calibrated "rock." Let's show everyone how hard we're working to look cool. Musicals can't, and never will, rock. Unless it's a concert. The enegies and disciplines are too dissimilar, all efforts to the contrary (Hair, Rent, The Who's Tommy) noted and logged. I guess the authors deserve credit for equating the youthful energies of the characters in the Wedekind play to the youthful energies of rock music, but the relative tameness of what I've heard of the score proves my point. As in Rent, the rock isn't rock enough to sustain a theatical, character-driven, narrative viewpoint. Rock music just isn't built to do that, and people who write good rock music don't know, or aren't interested in, doing it either. So, no earth-shaking revolution in the musical theatre, again, but it looks like it could be good anyway.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Not Just Yes

...but Hell yes.

Now watch President Chimpo pardon the weasel bastard. And watch for Karl Rove, that pasty-ass motherfucker, to tell all and sundry why the U.S. is less safe than we were yesterday.