Monday, July 31, 2006

I've Been Push Polled

This part really happened:

The phone rings. A lady claims to be from Peach Surveys or some similar sounding name. She asks in the upcoming run-off for Lt. Gov. would I be more likely to vote for Jim Martin or Greg Hecht. When told Martin she then asks if knowing Jim Martin voted to raise his salary 63% while cutting teacher's salaries would I be more or less likely to vote for him. I take issue with the premise and she thanks me for my time and hangs up.

Now the comic elaboration:

Later she calls back while holding her nose to change her voice and claiming to be from ATL Opinions. She asks if I knew Jim Martin fathered John McCain's illegitimate black child and how that would affect his trustworthiness on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being extremely untrustworthy, 2 as somewhat untrustworthy, etc. I reply that test results revealed on a recent Maury cast doubt on that charge. She thanks me for my time and hangs up.

The same woman calls again. She now speaks with a mock Italian accent and claims to be from "La-o Republica-o Newsa-papa." She asks if I knew that Jim Martin had a gay marriage on an Indian casino and "would-a that-a make-a him more-a Satan's-a minion-a or less (cough, cough) -a?"

I hang up.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Full Disclosure

In an open letter to Luke Wilson, Steely Dan slams his brother Owen for starring in You, Me and Dupree, a film blatantly stealing a character from their Grammy-winning song “Cousin Dupree.”

I’ve referenced Steely Dan in 2 bits. Lest I invite their hip, jazz-rock wrath for mentioning them in my obscure, ill-attended stand-up performances, let me explain. One is during a riff on original sin—part of an extended hunk on the Catholic Church’s imminent revision of the doctrine of Limbo. After playing the naïf and thinking Original Sin meant sinning in a uniquely creative manner—itself a somewhat hack premise—I first suggest the gluttony of eating too many sloths. Then I invoke sexual intercourse with a Savannah College of Art and Design coed but in a banal, derivative manner. “That’d be different, right? Fucking someone outré in a blasé way? We’re talking missionary position, Steely Dan on the stereo, maybe a little white wine.” This last clause is to be spoken in a comic voice parodying an unoriginal, suburban seducer but usually just comes nasal—I’m not known for my character work.

The other bit is based on their infamous name and is excerpted here.

In each I fully disclose the band’s name and deride not their music but its proletarian use. Still, I hope this public statement means we’re cool.

Methinks their beef may in part be a piling on to the "Owen’s overexposed" backlash. I also participated in this with a reference to Owen in an unreleased comic short spoofing Dogme 95 titled Dogme 05. (The dogmatic Danish directors could get a release for their stark depiction of a suicide if they only add Owen Wilson as the victims buddy.)

Still, artists have a right to be upset when work they inspire falls short. Don McLean famously dissed American Pie star Jason Biggs for not fucking the pie for 8 and a half minutes in a ’58 Impala. That would have been funnier.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Today's the Taste of East Atlanta.

I'm guessing menthol.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Science is for Sissies

"President Bush issued the first veto of his five-year-old administration yesterday, rejecting Congress's bid to lift funding restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research...."

Way to finally take a stand: on the backs of spinal cord patients.

My sister has MS. Can we at least use the stern cells at the back of the fridge?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Where My Ladies At?

My precinct on John Wesley Dobbs Avenue had only 2 women poll workers this morning--each well under 50.

Quite a switch from my first election--an off year, non-partisan race for Wisconsin State Superintendent of Public Instruction. In our squat, 1-room city hall/volunteer fire department pool room nearly a dozen community-minded blue hairs divvied up the duties. Stooped in pairs over the voter rolls layed out on gray card tables--a plain, unadorned geometry of square table, pencil line and osteoporosis curve.

Has gentrification forced old folks out of their eponymous Fourth Ward? Or were they sleeping in for the lunch rush?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Vacant Movie Theater Endorses May

The currently closed Cinefé 8 on Panola Rd. has come out strong for Lee May in the race for Dekalb County Commission District 5--where I used to work. Meanwhile the vacant Hairston Village 8 maintains it’s unwavering support for Daddy Day Care.

BTW, Lee May’s occupation? Movie theatre owner.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Destroy All Michelins

The parking lot at Eyedrum—the innovative, independent art gallery and performance space on MLK. Made up of very large gravel and an assortment of mystery shards, the lot is actually an outdoor installation piece titled “Tire Hazard.”

Both mind and wheel-opening, Eyedrum celebrates the challenge of coming to terms with something new. As a mousy little twerp who likes Dixieland and Schubert, my ears need some exercise now and then. Often that challenge can be rewarding. There was the neat Theremin tribute show with over a dozen different players—including one guy who adapted Lev’s space-age “wave your hands around it to change the pitch and volume” technology to a palm pilot and stylus. Then there was my first electronica show where two guys sat behind laptops while we sat in chairs watching them point and click. And the more accessible Album 88 benefit shows where I'm increasingly the creepy old guy.

Strangely, about the only time my tires escaped Eyedrum unscathed was after a group photography exhibit titled Tetanus and Gangrene: Barefoot in the New South. Some of the least erotic nudes I’ve seen.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

"Why Imagine 3 Blades When 1 Will Do?"

South Decatur's own Ocha La Rocha has a (swamp?) rockin' tune called Occam's Razor. They also post an explanation of the reference on their MySpace blog.

Reminded me of this little skit from a few years back. Yet another rumination on obscure points of theology. I lead a cloistered life.:(

The Gravest Sin Since Heliocentrism

The Catholic Church may excommunicate scientists who engage in stem cell research.

They'll be placed under house arrest at a villa near Florence.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

I Was Born In A Small Town

Travis Sharp’s Lawrenceburg borrows a plot from Star Wars and clothes, hair and accents from The Dukes of Hazard to follow a Luke Duke/Skywalker's fight to keep a Wal-Mart-esque Big Box retail store from opening in his small Tennessee town. Why use such ubiquitous icons of pop culture to warn against corporate hegemony? ‘Cause it’s a comedy not a manifesto. More Agit-Pop than Prop, the idea is to have some laughs not romanticize some agrarian utopia. The threat to Lawrenceburg is not nostalgic but practical: less local control of your local economy, lowered wages and a net loss of jobs.

I grew up in rural Wisconsin. We had more Catholics than Baptists, but still had tractor pulls and demolition derbies, country music and Paul Harvey on the radio, hunting, fishing and lots and lots of beer. The Dukes of Hazard was very popular when I was in school, all the more so when we learned that Tom Wopat hailed from nearby Lodi. To date there is no Wal-Mart there and plenty of local businesses get by on farm and tourist dollars. (It’s right by the river.)

Now I live near Little Five Points where a growing number of Big Box stores have opened nearby. But there’s also a strong sense of neighborhood. As the Edgewood Target neared completion I'd joke onstage “Hope that doesn’t force out of business all these family-owned head shops.” It'd get a laugh, but as much from uncertainty about L5P's future as from any hint of wit. Every community feels threatened.

Meanwhile, Atlanta’s former mayor is lending aid and comfort to Wal-Mart. His main argument is that working families could sure use lower prices--a valid point argued fuller here. But is Wal-Mart an example of a socially just company? In contrast to Methodist minister and Wal-Mart critic Joe Lowery and Baptist ministers like Dr. King, Rev. Young is a Congregationalist and member of the United Church of Christ. Might there be a theological reason for his Wal-Mart support. Quite the opposite. "The basic unit of the United Church of Christ is the local church...." My only guess is that Ambassador Young’s old church must have had a really old usher at the door or used an off-brand communion like Sam’s Choice Unleavened Wafers or Equate Brand Krist. But while he's an International man of God, I'm content to think metaphysical and shop local. When I can.