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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Costumes Seen

- An Indian (South Asian) dressed as an Indian (Native American)
- The War on Christmas
- An Arab and an Orthodox Jew, together, with peace-sign necklaces
- Steve Irwin with a stingray tail in his chest (obligatory. How many of those were there this year?)
- Marty McFly (me)
- Jane Jetson
- Kip Dynamite
- A few droogs

Monday, October 23, 2006

Two Utterly Unintelligable Singers on Consecutive Nights

Thursday: the Pogues at the Wiltern Theater. Los Angeles concert crowds are notoriously dull. Everyone just sort of stands there with their arms crossed staring blankly towards the stage. This was different. The moment the opening act left the stage, the crowd started chanting, "Shaaaaaaane-oooooo... Shaaaaaaane-oooooo...." Groups of people all over the place were partaking in group toasts with whiskey or beer. A soccer chant started in the back of the hall. Then the lights dimmed and the Clash's "Straight to Hell" played. The crowd went nuts. Then the band walked out on stage and the place erupted. The guy standing in front of me was from County Cork; he was waving his hat in the air and pumping his fists. The band members found their places, waved to the crowd... and then himself came out. Wearing head-to-toe black with messy hair, Shane MacGowan staggered to the center of the stage. Fists were pumped in the air, people were screaming, a mosh pit started before anyone even said anything. A few beers were thrown across the hall. And then they roared into the first song ("If I Should Fall From Grace With God" if I remember correctly). Everyone sang along -- to this and every other song -- for 2 hours. Shane took a few breaks to let Phil ("Thousands Are Sailing" and "Young Ned of the Hill") and Spider ("Tuesday Morning") take turns at the mic. There were more mosh pits and thrown beers, singing and chanting throughout it all, as Shane staggered around flinging his microphone, knocking things over, screaming, singing, and mumbling incoherently. It was amazing.

Friday: Bob Dylan at the Los Angeles Forum. Unlike the whiskey-drinking, beer-guzzling crowd of Irish punks the night before, this was a pot-smoking, dirty old hippie crowd. In a much-less intimate setting. But it was Dylan, right? I missed openers Kings of Leon (except for "Trani" which is one of my favorites by them). Then Bob came out. People stood and cheered, then everyone sat down as the band played. Dylan spent the entire concert playing a keyboard -- and some harmonica -- but never picked up a guitar. The songs were rearranged to fit his voice. It was all good, but not great. The band was technically brilliant, but too good almost. Compared to the spontaneity and insanity of the Pogues, the tameness of Bob and his band was kind of dull. And the rearranged songs lost a lot of their impact. They played "Maggie's Farm", "Like a Rolling Stone", "Positively 4th Street", "Tangled Up in Blue", "All Along the Watchtower" among some other hits and new songs, but they sounded NOTHING like the originals. They lost some of the exclamation and momentum. I think "Like a Rolling Stone" is one of the most snideful, sneering, searing attack/insult songs... yet Friday night the question of "how does it feel?" was less an accusation and more... I don't know, like a resigned, weary query.

So, two mumbling singers... each hailed as a poet of their respective movements; each associated with a writer from the British Isles (Brendan Behan and Dylan Thomas); each an enigmatic figure; each rebellious and literary... on consecutive nights. One healthy, God-fearing, and seemingly in a reflective place in life; the other a swollen, bloated drunk with rotted teeth barely making it to the next moment. The former seems to be going through the motions, no longer brilliant but just good; the latter isn't barely able to make it through the motions, but that's what makes him brilliant.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Spreading Democracy by Spreading Legs

My morning commute takes about 20 minutes, which is a pretty quick drive by Los Angeles standards. My minor (and self-diagnosed) ADD means I'm constantly switching stations since I can't stand listening to radio commercials. I usually rotate between Adam Carolla (funny and smart), Al Franken (smart and funny), Rush Limbaugh (insane), and a CD (for when the other three are all on commercials. It happens. A lot. And it's annoying. But anyways...).

So today I happened to be listening to Limbaugh when he went into a rant about this whole Mark Foley affair. Part of his rant included this lovely little (paraphrased) run:

Now we have lists. Lists of which Republican officials are gay, which members of their staffs are gay... who in Washington is gay. Lists and lists of it. Ok, fine. The Dems want to have their lists? Fine. Because you know what? I want a list, too. I want a list of people's sexual preferences as well. Except I want a simple list of all the liberals: who likes to have sex Missionary style and who likes it woman-on-top. Because Missionary is active male, and woman-on-top is passive male, and we're fighting a war here, and we need active males to protect us.

First of all, what the hell?

Second of all, I suppose we now know about Rush Limbaugh's really dull sex life. All missionary, all the time. Sweet.

Thirdly, what is the correct answer for Nancy Pelosi or Barbara Boxer? Rush implied he wanted only missionary fans, but I would think the other option -- active female -- would be (in his really weird analogy... I mean, seriously, what the hell?) desirable. And what about when we have male officials dating/married to female officials at the CIA/FBI/Armed Forces/Legislative Branch? Do we need a 50/50 active male/active female ratio to ensure both are doing their part on the War on Terror, or is it better to have one spouse full-steam ahead on the war and the other to just take it, as it were?

Fourthly, this is Rush's idea of fighting a war... just plowing away with your ass in the air, going about your business stubbornly over and over again? Cuz, you know, that doesn't always work. If you get too predictable and boring, it just doesn't work anymore.

Maybe this is why troop casualties are still high and the insurgency is still going strong: here comes big bad America, and al-Qaeda just sighs, lying there staring at the ceiling, their head dully banging against the head board until, 3 minutes later America rolls off and goes to the bathroom where they look in the mirror and flex, completely missing the beginnings of a wart growing down there on their "smart-bomb," and meanwhile an IED goes off killing a dozen more people.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Goal of the Year

Robin van Persie, Arsenal Gunners.

Arsenal started out slowly, finishing tied with Aston Villa and Middlesbrough, and losing to Manchester City. However, they're undefeated in the UEFA Champions League (beat Dinamo Zagreb to qualify; have beat Hamburg and FC Porto in the group stage) and have won their last 3 Premiership games: Sheffield United, Manchester United (who were in 1st place), and Charlton Athletic.

No one cares about this except me and Nick Hornby.