Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Jackie Stallone

My apologies in advance for posting this video of Jackie Stallone (mother of Sylvester), but I simply can't help myself. When you see the video, you'll know why. As I must be the last to find out, Jackie Stallone did a stint on the reality TV show, Celebrity Big Brother. Either Jackie has had a whole HECK of alot of plastic surgery, or the fact that Rocky Balboa emerged from her hoo-ha has had some seriously far-reaching effects on the woman's appearance.

I know I'm not right, but when I watch this video, during the cuts when Jackie is all sprawled out on the big red chair, I cannot help but picture Sylvester Stallone's head superimposed between her legs saying, "Yo, Adrianne!"

I told you I wasn't right.

Schuyler's Monster

Robert Rummel-Hudson is a blogger I've been reading since. Well, since before the word "blog" was even part of the lexicon. I'd say, I've been reading him since probably 1998. Rob's unique voice, without a doubt, is one that in part inspired me to become a blogger myself.

During the course of Rob's online journaling he and his wife Julie became parents. Their daughter, Schuyler Noel (pronounced "Sky-lar") is now around six years old and also the victim of a condition that effects her ability to speak. Rob refers to this affliction as Schuyler's "monster". Rob's blog is a record of his journey with his daughter. It is a fascinating read that, not too surprisingly, considering the quality of his writing, landed him a book deal. Rob's book, "Schuyler's Monster: A Father's Journey with his Wordless Daughter" will be published in February, 2008.

Meantime, Rob has posted a series of videos featuring himself and his wife, Julie, discussing their experiences with their daughter and his upcoming book. You can pre-order your copy here.

Congratulations, Rob.

Design Star Season Two: The First Challenge

I'm a bit tardy getting this post up. Sunday when the episode originally premiered, Igot the show time wrong, so I was stupidly out walking the dog while the show aired (ARGH!). I missed the second showing due to the poorly timed injestation (is that a word?) of sleep meds. The sleep meds won. I FINALLY caught the show last night.

Not surprisingly, and exactly like Season One, the first design challenge was for the contestants to design their own Las Vegas living quarters. The space is a palatial loft with high ceilings, industrial tile floors, and amazing views of the city. With a budget of $15,000, funds weren't much of an issue.

Neeraja the Bitch was in charge of keeping track of and divvying up the money. By all accounts, she did a good job (at the money part). Sparkly Josh Johnson a charming southerner from Tennessee, and also my favorite contestant (who has a blog...lookie!), was paired with urban designer Will Smith and together they designed a large bedroom space. Josh described his pairing with Will as, "Country Faith Hill meets the Urban Queen Latifah". Together, the two made a great team designing what I believe was the best space of the challenge. Neither Josh nor Will was ever in danger of elimination this round. Here's a photo of the redesigned space:

Meanwhile, the second most successful design team was comprised of Scott Corridan, Todd Davis (check out Todd's amazing website here [noise]) and Kim Myles. Together the three designed a dining space, a relaxing nook and, riskily I thought, threw in a half-pipe for skateboarding. Despite this last unconventional choice, their design was cohesive, practical and attractive. Todd Davis' carpentry skills were intrinsic to the success of this team since he easily built the dining table and half pipe. Scott and Kim made excellent finishing and style choices. Like Josh and Will, there was never any doubt about this team. Here's a shot of the (sunken) dining space:



Designing the smaller bedroom was the design team of Adriana Nussbaumer and Christina Ray. These two were like oil and water. It took them hours to settle on colors, and still more hours to develop a design plan. Feisty hispanic Adriana essentially overcame the more reticent super southern Christina in most cases. Their space, while bearable fabric and flow wise, was harshly criticized by Vern for the somewhat bazaar accessory choices. Christina was ultimately chastised for allowing her voice to be squelched. Though somewhat iffy, these two stayed and were never actually necks on the block this round. Personally, I thought the room worked fine. See for yourself:

Next was Neeraja Lockart designing the bar area solo. In this case "designing" is a misnomer. Essentially, Neeraja threw up some paint, dressed the surface of the bar with lots of random glassware, changed the light bulbs in the large chandelier that lit the space from white to pink and called it done. The job landed her neck on the block. As Vern pointed out, although she had the funds, Neeraja could not even manage to provide any sort of bar stools in for seating. Hello? Badness. But Neeraja survived the round. Check it out: Coming in next to last, we have the design team of Granola Josh Foss and annoying straight man RobB Mariani. Together these two designed what I think was supposed to be a lounge of sorts. The space ended up being a curved wooden seating bench painted deep gray with many brightly colored throw pillows on top. RobB's artwork consisted of a junked car door nailed to a wall. While RobB was fond of doing lots of eye-rolling at the camera in regard to Josh's supposed lack of carpentry skills, it was RobB's head that, rightly I thought, ended up on the block. And you know how badly I wanted RobB to go. But it was not to be. I think Vern described this design as looking like a "harem threw up". I like to call it "Harem Scare 'Em":

Which brings us to the eliminated contestant. Yah. Buh-bye wacky Lisa Millard. As you will recall I had high hopes for this quirky contestant who designed her wedding dress out of wax paper. But, alas, we are once again reminded 'tis a fine line between wildly creative and wingnut. And poor Lisa ended up firmly in the latter category at the end of this challenge. Assigned the task of designing the foyer, Lisa's first great! idea! was to stamp the names of the all the contestants on to the wall of the entry way. Only spelled backwards. Get it?! Backwards?! Nobody got it. Ahem. Also part of her design was some origami sculpture made from folded pages of the Las Vegas phone book. They reminded me of the "Trouble with Tribbles" episode of Star Trek. Also included in Lisa's design were some benches or some-such, but between the stamps and the tribbles? Lisa was out. It actually came down to Lisa and RobB. I'm hoping RobB will be the next to go. We'll see. Meantime, view the losing entry way:


You can see a short interview with Lisa and get all kinds of other info on the show here.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Held Over!


The Waitress can still be viewed at Maiden Alley Cinema. Due to popular demand, the film will be shown:

Thursday, August 2, 7:00 PM

Friday, August 3; 7:00 PM

Saturday, August 4; 4:00 PM, 7:00 and 9:15 PM

Sunday, August 5; 4:00 and 7:00 PM

You can check out the website here (noise). I highly recommend this one.

Happy Trails Tom Snyder


I was saddened today to read about the death of late night TV talk show host, Tom Snyder at the age of 71 from leukemia yesterday in San Fransisco. I have been a fan since the seventies when I would stay up in the wee hours of the summer to watch his interviews.

The "Tomorrow Show" hosted by Tom was the most straight forward of formats consisting of Tom, the guest du jour, and Tom's burning cigarette in a darkened studio. Tom would sometimes joke with the camera crew, but one never actually saw them, you could just hear their disembodied voices laughing at the wisecracks Tom directed their way, usually at the beginning of every show. It made for a very intimate setting and one that, coupled with the late night factor (the show started at midnight), made you feel as if there wasn't anybody else in the world.

Tom had a great sense of humor and a trademark infectious laugh that was easy to imitate by people like Dan Ackroyd who famously sent it up on SNL. Tom was a tough interviewer, though, and never shied away from The Question, whatever it might be. I remember vivdly the night Elton John admitted to being bisexual on the show (back in the day when people didn't talk about that sort of thing like they do now) and for some reason Tom's interview with Quentin Crisp (gay activist and author of The Naked Civil Servant) really stands out in my mind as groundbreaking for the time. I did see the now famous show when punk singer Wendy O'Williams blew up a TV during a performance on the Tomorrow Show.

Along with being a fearless interviewer, Tom was also opinionated which is unusual, I think, for TV talkshow hosts. There was none of this bland never-show-your-true-self stuff going on with Tom. While he was always respectful of his guests, you still always knew what Tom was thinking--one lift of his eyebrow or teensy smirk let the viewer instantly know when Tom "smelled a rat" as they say.

I can only ever recall Tom actually sort of losing it on a show one time. It was one where he interviewed some hate-mongering white supremicists, truly obnoxious people. For a while there, I thought Tom would come to blows with his guests that night, but that outcome was, thankfully, averted. Although? Someone seriously needed to beat the crap out of those people.

In the early eighties I was lucky enough to get to be in the studio audience at 30 Rock, NYC during a taping of Tom's show. He interviewed singer-songwriter Paul Williams and boxer Rocky Graciano. Not two of the most exciting people (for me at least), but it was definitely a thrill for me to see Tom live in action after so many years of watching on TV. I learned one thing: Tom was really, really tall.


In more recent years Tom hosted a short-lived show on CNBC where he enjoyed a fairly tenuous relationship with studio execs that he wasn't particularly shy about discussing in front of the cameras--a habit which did not endear him, I'm sure, to the Powers that Be. For me, though, it was just another reason to like Tom.

So, one last Bizzyville Super-Snap for Tom Snyder, a one-of-a-kind journalist and entertainer. We'll miss you Tom.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Girls Gone Wild

It's been a great weekend.

Yesterday I fixed lunch at my house for my friends, Christa and Mary. Afterward, we went shoe shopping at N&N where many shoes were tried and none were chosen. Then it was downtown for more shoe shopping which morphed into antique shopping where we spent some time agreeing that old iron beds are the bomb and we each need (a reasonably priced) one for our own selves.

Then it was back to my house to cool off with fresh brewed iced tea (because antiqueing in this town is hot work) and to check movie times for The Waitress (noise) which we took in at the matinee showing. The film was a sweet feel-good flick I highly recommend. Besides Keri Russell of "Felicity" fame (who did a fine job), the film also starred Cheryl Hines of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" where she plays Larry David's wife, Cheryl. In "The Waitress" Hines plays Keri's BFF and fellow waitress at the pie diner where they work. I can only imagine Hines must be from the south, because she kicked some serious ass with her right-on southern accent. If not, super-snaps to her voice coach.

After the movie, I spent some time explaining to my little friends how I just am not into drinking, don't care anything about it, hardly ever do it because I'm all about feeling good and enjoying the moment to the fullest extent possible. So of course we then headed on over to a certain dilapidated river side bar where we all proceeded to load up on beer.

Just when we thought the evening couldn't possibly get any better, Essie, the big haired Mayfield Karaoke man showed up and began cranking out the tunes and strumming along on his guitar. It wasn't too long before we all three somehow found ourselves holding a microphone a piece and harmonizing along with our new good friend, Essie, with every song in the Eagles catalog (did I mention Mary and Christa are also "kin" to me? They, too, know many lyrics.). Our biggest fan was a large giggly man in a do-rag who spent most of the evening encouraging us to, "BRING IT ON HOME, GIRLS! YAH! All RIIIIGHT!"

Of course, we were only too happy to, ahem, "bring it on home" again and again. I think it was Christa who began to do the whole "woo-hoo!" between songs and enthusiastically shout out the name of the bar where all this fun was taking place. Like as in, "Woo hoo! We're kickin' it tonight at XXX's Bar! WOOOOO!", etc. Of course, I cannot repeat the name of said bar here, as it is far too embarassing, but last night? Last night it was our most favoritest place in the whole wide world. And soon we were all doing the, "WOOO! Let's hear it for XXX"s Bar! WOOHOO!" into our individual microphones between songs.

Dear God.

Eventually, though, we did reach that point in the evening when it was far past our bedtimes and a large infusion of grease laden food was absolutely critical. I can tell you that the patrons of the X-Bar did try to entice us to stay with the promise of free shots while Essie cued up a personal favorite of mine on the k-machine, "Mustang Sally", as we were settling up the tab. I'm happy to report that we somehow had the good sense not to take them up on that particular offer.

Otherwise we might still be there. Bringing it on home.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Beware The Temp

As someone who worked with her (satanic) spouse for years, I was interested to read this Yahoo! article on Tips for Married Co-Workers.

While it’s all very sound advice, “institute a hands-off policy from 9 to 5” and, “the office cafeteria is not the place to re-hash a weekend fight”, I’m not sure how realistic it is for two people so intimately involved to really keep their work and home life separate unless you really are Ozzie and Harriet.

I’m not saying it isn’t possible, mind you, because make no mistake, the S-Man and I managed to do it, it’s just that it is in the end, if you’re high strung like the two of us, a very tiresome trick to keep pulling off. What ultimately starts out as harmless grab-ass in the broom closet can all too quickly descend into hysterical spouses wildly frisbeeing CD Rom’s at each other’s heads at top speed and with deadly intent. (That last incident happened while everyone else was at lunch and the former never happened. I don’t know what you’re talking about.)

Of course, everyone’s reaction to having a relationship with a co-worker is that it’s just plain stupid. And, you’re so right, it totally is. I don’t recommend it.

However, much like Ross Gellar from the sitcom “Friends” famously screeching over and over, “We were ON A BREAK!”, my only defense is, “He was a TEMP…A TEMP!” And he was a temp (“A TEEEEEMP!”). The S-Man started out at my workplace as a temp who was to have a six month stint as a (PART-TIME, mind you) temporary co-worker and that’s all.

What’s the harm in a little happy hour? I says to myself. And then, what’s the big deal about dinner? I says. We’ll take in a movie, I says. HE’S A TEMP! I says.

Next thing you know, I’m at the swampy home of a Justice of the Peace in Paris, Tennessee saying “I do”.

To The Temp.

We’re not totally crazy, we knew it was a bad idea when the S-Man snagged a full-time position in my department, to continue seeing each other. We had telephone conversations (keep in mind, this was PRE-cell phone) like this:

(phone rings)

ME
Hello?!

SATAN
Hello?!

ME
Hello?!


SATAN
What’s for dinner?

ME
Congrats on the new job.

SATAN
Thanks. So, what time are you coming over?

ME
I’m not. We can’t keep seeing each other.

SATAN
Why not?

ME
Stop it.

SATAN
(sighs)

ME
I can’t keep dating you. You know this. We WORK TOGETHER.

SATAN
So we won’t date during working hours.

ME
I’m serious! This is driving me nuts. We have to stop.

SATAN
(sighs again.)
Well. Okay.

ME
I’m glad you understand.

SATAN
See you at six?

ME
Six-thirty.

And on it went. Things just kept getting more and more difficult and complicated. So, naturally, we got married. Oh yah! Did we FIX that problem OR WHAT?!

Anyway, I think we can all agree that I’m better qualified to write a list of top-ten tips for married co-workers. So here you go (and remember, it's worth what you paid for it).:

1. Get another job.


2. Failing that, get a divorce.


3. When you’re in your respective cars driving to the office (because no one knows you’re married) and you’re racing to see who gets to the office parking lot first? Watch out for the cops. They give tickets for that sort of thing.


4. While it may SEEM like to really good idea to flip your wife’s skirt up over her waist in the stairwell? Don’t give in to temptation. Often times, the boss unexpectedly enters said stairwell through another door. And gets way too much information.


5. Give up on the idea that you can boss your wife around. Even if you are her boss. It just doesn’t work that way, son.


6. Remember to remember your co-worker wife on Valentine’s Day. Otherwise? While all the other ladies are sporting fresh flowers on their desks and your wife’s desk has the same old dusty paper clips and stapler? It’s going to be a really long day.


7. Feel like making fun of your spouse’s idea in a meeting? Not smart. It’s going to be a really long week.


8. Avoid riding the elevator alone together. This, trust me, is a recipe for disaster.


9. In case you’re wondering? If you piss off your co-worker wife REALLY bad and she controls you getting your mail AND your phone calls? You might seriously not get either. For a very long time. Who you gonna tell, suckah?


10. When that inevitable CD Rom frisbeeing incident happens (and it will, oh, yes, it will) be sure to be near a four drawer filing cabinet you can duck behind. Otherwise, you’ll need to keep a supply of bandages on hand.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Links of Interest

Just thought I'd share a few links (both SFW) from UK's "The Daily Mail" a place where I increasingly tend to find interesting tidbits.

First, this piece, on poor out-of-control Britney Spears detailing an incident at a recent photo shoot where Brits vomited on a Gucci dress, let her dog crap on another designer piece, and that isn't even all. Maybe she and Lindsey Lohan should drive off the rim of the Grand Canyon, Thelma and Louise style.

Next, this piece on Oscar the cat, lifelong resident of a British nursing home who has become famous for predicting the deaths of its residents. Typically, Oscar will curl up with a patient within a few hours of their deaths. No doubt cat lovers will think this sweet, while cat haters will take it as just one more good reason for hating cats. I am among the former group as are employees of the nursing home who have awarded Oscar a plaque for his "hospice work". An interesting article.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I LOVE the library book sale...

...and it's coming up this weekend:

BOOK SALE McCracken County Library Friends Summer Book Sale, Friday July 27th, 9am-7pm and Saturday July 28th, 9am-1pm in Paducah's St. Paul Lutheran Church Gym, 21st & KY Ave. Most hardbacks $1 and paperbacks .50¢. Features silent auction, special interest books and bake sale.

(I know two rockin' blogger girls very likely to be there!)

Also, in case you're not aware, if you live here locally, you can subscribe to "Next Read" an e-service our Library provides that keeps you informed when books in your area of interest become available for check-out (for FREE!). Sign up here.

TLC's Matt Roloff to Appear in Paducah


Just learned this morning that Matt Roloff, star of the TLC reality TV series, "Little People, Big World" will appear in Paducah at the Carson Center for the Performing Arts Friday August 10 at 6:30 at an event that will benefit both the River's Edge Film Festival and Maiden Alley Cinema. Get all the details here.

Matt (pictured above red sweater) is the patriarch of a family comprised of his wife Amy (also a "little person" with dwarfism) and their four children, three of whom are normally sized and one, Zach (green tee-shirt), who is also a little person like his parents.

If you're not aware (and I think most everyone is by now), the Roloffs live on a farm outside Porteland, Oregon and have submitted to having their daily lives documented for television for the last several years. It will come as no suprise that I am a fan, considering my love of all things documentary.

Interestingly, the Roloff's lives are on one level surprisingly normal. Once one gets over the size thing, it's all the usual drama surrounding child rearing and teenagerhood. Roloff's wife, Amy, though frequently doing it standing on a stool, is a harried mother of four chauffering her kids to soccer practice, grocery shopping and endlessly cleaning the kitchen while Matt works as an engineer.
What's unusual is the Roloff Farm that Matt and Amy have transformed into a magical playground for their kids and tourist attraction for everybody else. See a map here.
Also out of the ordinary, of course, are the physical deficits inherent with dwarfism. Young Zach underwent surgery after he was stricken with severe headaches in a past season and Matt's physical limitations and struggles are obvious. Both Matt and Amy are surprisingly articulate and obviously very open about their situation.
I was unaware that Matt is a motivational speaker, but not surprised. The man is truly an inspiration.
Interestingly, Eric Streit, the field producer of "Little People, Big World" is a native Paducahan. Streit will give a free talk about his experiences during seventeen years in the industry immediately preceeding Matt's talk on August 10th.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What's Great about the 80s--The Young Ones

Shown on MTV, usually on Sunday nights, the Young Ones (precursor to Kids in the Hall) was a raucous UK import like Monty Python, but younger and more violent. I’ve heard tell that many young people at the time were indulging in a certain agricultural product while watching and that this greatly enhanced the viewing experience. I myself would not know since I did not indulge in said agricultural product. And I most definitely did not indulge in this product most certainly not while watching The Young Ones.

Because that would just be wrong.

What's Great about the 80s--Robert Cray, Smoking Gun

You'll have to jump to see the Robert Cray video, but it's worth the trip. I'm not sure why Robert Cray hasn't achieved more elevated stuper star status. He is talented enough to deserve it.

A recent Devil chat.

SATAN
(Just getting home from work)
So, what did you do today?

ME
Oh, the usual, housework, errands, blogged...same old thrilling non-working stuff!

SATAN
Just out of curiosity how much time would you say you spend on your blog. In a day.

ME
(shrugs)
Pork loin for dinner!

SATAN
Would you say...an hour? Two? More?

ME
Hard to say...how about I fix you a nice coconut cocktail?

SATAN
You know, I think you're kind of obsessive compulsive about certain things.

ME
Obsessive compulsive? Me? Obsessive compulsive? Nah.

SATAN
Yep.

ME
So, what, now you're Dr. Phil? Look. I'm NOT obsessive compulsive. Never have been. That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard and you've got alot of nerve trying to label me like that I'm NOT OBSESSIVE. I'm a blogger. Bloggers blog. They blog all the time, every day. You know what? I'm going to BLOG ABOUT THIS. I'm going to blog about YOU saying I'M OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE about my BLOG because this is RIDICULOUS. In fact, I'm going to blog it now. RIGHT NOW.

SATAN
How 'bout that drink?

ME
(Heading for the computer.)
As IF.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Happy Happy Joy Joy (for now...)

Somebody suggested to me yesterday that I was getting a little too caught up in this blog in talking about everything going on in the world but wasn’t saying much of anything about myself. And isn’t talking about you sort of the point, she asked.

Well, yah.

So, what’s going on with me is that life is extremely good. Maybe that’s why I’m a little afraid to write about it.

Last night I was thinking about just how wonderful it is when your time is your own and you live in a lovely house very near people you care about and your son is in school and you write in your blog every day and everybody is healthy and you go see fantastic movies with your friends and the weather is crazy unseasonably delightfully cool for July and it reminded me of part of the book “Ishmael”.

The part where they discuss how civilization is going gangbusters now but that’s just because we don’t know that this is just that brief, blissful moment that crazy people experience just after they LEAP off a very high cliff—that exhilarating nanosecond just before they start falling, at about a zillion miles an hour, to their inevitable rendezvous with, shall we say, REALITY.

And then I thought no, no, that’s good but not quite it. More ridiculous than that. A better illustration would be my old friend Wile E. Coyote. Remember him? Always chasing the Roadrunner but never quite catching him? (Incidentally, I have to confess now that I was a seriously gullible boob as a tot. I watched Roadrunner because I thought someday, it just stands to reason, Wile E. is really actually going to get the Roadrunner. I thought this. Every Saturday as I ate dried Quisp cereal out of the box and watched. Sort of cringing with dread.)

So, anyway, I’m thinking I’m more like Wile E. Coyote—he runs off the edge of the cliff there is a brief pause (where I am now) and then his body heads for the bottom of the gulch, his neck stretches out, he gives you the ‘holy shit’ look, and then with a twanging sound effect he is gone.

Hey….THAT’S ME! (Clucky Chicken!)

Naturally, this sent me to (wait for it) YouTube.

(Welcome to my world. Won’t you come on in…)

where I found this great Wile E. tribute video. You’ll see the pratfall I describe in there a few times. Just picture my face superimposed over Wile E.’s during those.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Technology as Teenager

From the smart folks at TED, the multi-talented Kevin Kelly publisher of the Whole Earth Review and Executive Director at WIRED, shares his take on the evolution of technology. According to the TED Blog, "He suggests that we can think of technology as another kingdom of life -- call it the technium. And that, like all other life, it grows. In part, he has this to say:"

I tend to think of the technium like a child of humanity. Our job will be to train the technium, to imbue it with certain principles because, at a certain level and at a certain age, it will basically become much more autonomous than it is now. It will leave us like a teenager who goes on to live alone: although he or she will continue to interact with us and will always be part of us, we have to let it go.

To succeed in this, though, he warns:

We need to have a deep sense of our values, what we stand for. In a deep irony, the more technology advances, the less sure we are of who we are and what we stand for as a species and as individuals.

See Kevin's entire fascinating talk at TED 2005 (noise, 20 minutes). Boy, is this piece thought provoking.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Happy Trails Tammy Faye


Tammy Faye Messner, who as Tammy Faye Bakker helped her husband, Jim, build a multimillion-dollar evangelism empire and then watched it collapse in disgrace, died Friday, July 20, 2007. She was 65.
It may surprise you to learn that I was a Tammy Faye Messner fan. It kind of surprises me.

I still remember the first time I saw Tammy Faye Bakker, as she was at that time. It was the 1970's, she and Jim were young televangelists, and she was pregnant with her son (I later learned). The Bakkers were working to raise money for a transmission tower or a TV studio (or some such), it was very early on in their ministry, and I couldn't have been much more than 10 years old. It was early on a Saturday morning, a time when I normally would have been watching cartoons. But, for some reason, the channel knob happened to be tuned to an unusual spot and there they were.

I spent alot of time in church in those days, but nobody I'd ever seen at the Sunday morning worship service looked like Tammy. Even back then, she had the amazing spider leg lashes, the thick dark liner, tons of shadow, the bright exagerrated lips. Next to Jim who was himself remarkably baby-faced, the two looked like nothing so much as two almost frighteningly cheerful wind-up preacher dolls.

I remember Tammy singing on that first show I ever saw. What she lacked in range, she made up for in conviction and enthusiasm. With the microphone held close to her glossy lips, Tammy pointed at The Almighty with one index finger topped off by an unnaturally long bright red polished nail, closed her eyes, and launched into a dramatically heartfelt version of some sort of Jesus pop song. Taken as a whole? Tammy Faye Bakker was a spectacle. One that I personally found it difficult, if not impossible to look away from.

I was hooked.

I didn't watch every weekend, mind you, but when I ran across the show? I wasn't changing the channel. In an age where women just weren't in leadership positions in churches (that I knew of at least), Tammy Faye in all her Maybelline glory, was just as intrinsic to the ministry as Jim. Side by side they saved souls, prayed for the lost and the troubled and most of all asked for money from their "prayer partners" as they called their supporters.

While the singing and the praying and the begging for money was interesting, the high point of every show , hands down always, was Tammy Faye winding up and crying. I don't know how she did it, but Tammy Faye would be moved by people in prison, or the sick, or just the power of the Lord in her life to the point of tears at least once during every telecast. And each and every time? I swear? It was just so sincere and mezmerizing: little Tammy Faye smiling through the tears, her chubby little blush painted cheeks streaked with charcoal rivulets of mascara.

On occassion, Tammy Faye would even sing and cry.

Eventually I would lose touch with the show for a time, but in my early twenties I found them again. Living in my first apartment, I shared a car with my roommate which meant I had to drive him to work at the ungodly hour of 4:30 a.m. When I'd get back to the now empty apartment in the pre-dawn hours of the morning, I'd flip on the TV for company as I slipped back in to bed, and there they were again: my old friends J&T.

By this time Tammy's outfits had upgraded to the point being almost as flashy as her make-up and she had a new short hair-do with blonde highlights. They were building Heritage USA and selling shares in the hotels. Tammy was still singing and crying, but the show had upgraded to sort of a talk show Phil Donahue format. The Bakkers were on their way to the big time.

They had also added a new dimension to the show: talking in tongues. You almost couldn't beat it for sheer entertainment value.

I never totally lost touch with the Bakkers again. PTL expanded, they had their own channel, and it got to the point where you could tune in and see the Bakkers pretty much any time performing in a set eventually so elaborate that it looked like nothing so much as the interior of a Prussian palace.

By the time the scandal hit, the Bakker's dog had an air conditioned detached dog house and the family bathroom fixtures were gold plated. Jim's affair with Jessica Hahn was plastered all over the press, tabloid and otherwise, and it was just the misstep their jealous, bloodthirsty televangelist competition was looking for. Good ol' Jerry Falwell came to the "rescue" offering to shepherd Heritage USA through the crisis, a frightened and pressured Jim signed on the dotted line, and the Bakkers lost the ministry they had spent twenty years building over night.

Jim went to prison. Tammy Faye and the Bakker's son, Jamie, would end up near penniless. Eventually, while Jim was in prison, the Bakkers divorced and Tammy Faye wed Roe Messner, a collegue of Jim's during the PTL days.

Through all the chaos, Tammy Faye never lost her faith or her make-up. Her outrageous personal style had earned her many fans in the gay community and it was often them that rallied around her at many of her darkest times. Unlike others in the conservative world of televangelism, Tammy Faye embraced the gay community.

Diagnosed with colon cancer a few years ago, Tammy Faye faced it like she has everything else: faith filled and optimistic. Her final appearance on Larry King Live last night at an incredibly gaunt almost unrecognizable sixty-five pounds, was at turns disturbing, and inspirational. Girlfriend still had her make-up on, was still holding on to her faith, and was clearly, bravely saying a last good-bye.

Less than 48 hours later she was gone.

I can't say I agreed with Tammy Faye's religious beliefs, but I always admired her indomitable spirit, her ability to keep going no matter what, her talent as (let's face it) a gifted performer, her ground-breaking work to advance women in a profession almost completely dominated by men, her inclusive nature in a business famously the opposite, and her unapolagetic unshakable attachment to her make-up.
So here's one final heartfelt Bizzyville Super Snap for a truly unforgettable woman. I don't know where she is now, but I sure do have a sneaking suspicion.

The Summer Blockbuster Premiers Keep Coming: The Simpsons

The Simpsons movie hits Friday, July 27--woohoo!

Ultra Clutch: Coming soon to a drugstore near you!


It won't be the first time a product jumps off the big screen and on to the shelves of local stores, but it might be one of the funnest! Ultra-Clutch, the hairspray of Hairspray is the lastest such prop to morph in to a real life product. Read all about it here at the Edge.


Can the return of big hair be far behind?
[Edited to add: Those links in the Edge story are expired. Turns out, Ultra Clutch isn't all that easy to locate for purchase. I found two bottles for sale on e-bay for $26.00; otherwise get more information here.]

Friday, July 20, 2007

Hairspray: The Review


It's not often that I sit here, fingers poised above the keyboard trying to think of something to say about a movie.

But, this is one of those times.

Because...Hairspray is a perfectly cast, beautifully costumed, impeccably performed hot fudge sundae of joy from beginning to end. There isn't a false note, a draggy segment, or an uncommitted actor to be found. I could go on about each performer individually (and I'm kind of tempted), but suffice it to say they were all just fantastic.

I'm happy to report our little town had the good sense to turn out for the premiere; the theater looked to be near sold out. The audience was moved to applause after several of the amazing numbers during the movie and pretty much everyone succumbed to enthusiastic applause at the end. Not since I saw Grease for the first time have I felt the impulse to leap out of my chair and dance out of a theater as strongly as I did tonight.

Just go.

Netflix: Boldy Giving a Shit about their Customer Base


My love affair w/my friends at Netflix is well documented here. I love the concept, the site, and the customer service I've received is first rate. Not only is Netflix tops at servicing my account, keeping me in touch w/movie loving friends, and recommending films based on my previous ratings, they are now also involved in actually getting out there and producing films as well as researching and finding little known quality work and making it available to the masses.

I just have to take another moment to point out that my movie loving friends continue to work to stay on top. Most recently, they have rolled out a blog in which they are carrying on a dialogue with their users in order to get their input on what features they like, what features they don't, and where the service is going. If you're a Netflix user, don't miss this opportunity to give them your feedback.

Revisiting The Tiny

Long time readers will recall I have a latent fascination for all things tiny. Which is why I could not resist the click on this Yahoo! News story today about an Oregon woman living in an 84 square foot house (confidential to my Mom: you know what else I'm thinking about here, right?).

Sure, it's small but the upside? A six-dollar-a-month electric bill. Get the whole story here. (noise)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hot on the Van Sant Trail...

Since my earth-shattering post earlier this week revealing that film writer/director Gus Van Sant (or as I now like to call him, Gus "Mayfield" Van Sant) actually hails from Mayfield, Kentucky a town twenty or so miles from here, I've been on a desperate quest to track him down and insist that he visit Bizzyville for an interview and tell us all just how a guy like himself busts out of a town like Mayfield and rockets to the top of the Hollywood heap? Inquiring minds need TO KNOW.

So far, much the same way that the wiley Van Sant managed to escape from the evil backwoods clutches of Mayfield (and with realtively small hair at that), he has also managed to elude me. But I'm not giving up so easily! Oh no! We need some answers around here and pronto.

For now, you'll have to content yourself with this little tidbit from Variety. According to the piece, Van Sant is currently attached to direct the big screen version of the Tom Wolfe psychedelic classic, "The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test".

YouTube: The Revolution Continues

I was fascinated to learn tonight how campaign ’08 is taking it to the internet, particularly at the revolutionary site (and my new internet lover) YouTube.

First there was this news: YouTube and CNN are co-sponsoring unprecedented Democratic presidential debates at the YouTube site. It works like this: you video tape your question for the candidates, upload it at the website some time between now and July 22nd. If your question is chosen, it will be answered live by the candidates who will assemble in Charleston, South Carolina and broadcast their answers live July 23rd on CNN.

Next, as I’m evidently the last to learn, according to a Yahoo!Person of the Web story, generation next is hitting the YouTube airways with all kinds of postings relating to the presidential race. Obama Girl, the video posted at the top of this entry, is definitely the most provocative. Originally posted June 23, it has racked up an impressive 2.5 million views at the time of this writing. The video is a runaway hit and sexy endorsement of Barak Obama for president. In the video model Amber Lee Ettinger croons suggestively to Barak “you’ll get your head of state” (among other things).

Obviously, the video is a send-up, but let’s not pretend some of those 2.5 million viewers aren’t going to be swayed by the sexy to cast at least a vote or two Obama’s way.

It’s all just another reason why this election could just end up any-damn-place. And probably will.

Should I be scared or excited?

What's Great About the 80's--Roxanne, The Police

Okay, there's just no going on with this series until I post this video. Roxanne, and Sting snarling "Roxanne", was so, SO huge in its day that things just sort of weren't the same afterward.

I have to say also, that as I recall the video, it originally had the lip synching problems you see here. We weren't, like, overwhelmed with technology back in those days. Were just all about the passion, baby.

Design Star: Season Two

We all have our dirty little secret favorite reality shows, don't we?

And since I'm always whiling away the hours waiting for the latest season of my VERY FAVORITE reality competition, Project Runway, to hit my mailbox from Netflix, I'll be meantime tuned into season two of Design Star on HGTV which premiers this Sunday, July 22 at 9:00 p.m. CST.

I LOVED season one, although I had to watch clandestinely in the guest room. Reality TV makes the S-Man completely CRAZY--he hates it. Each time he catches me watching, black smoke starts rolling out of all his orifices, his face turns beet red, and he gets all sweaty.

Then he gets really mad.

Anyhoo, this season, DS the line-up includes 11 contestants all of whom you can preview (SFW)via video, a slide show, or read a Q&A (or all three if you're really into it). I can save you some time by telling you that the ones you simply MUST experience are:

1. Josh Johnson from Hendersonville, Tennessee. (noise) Josh has a southern accent thick as molassas and a flambouyant design style he describes as "the love child of Little Richard and Charo". Josh further describes his decorating style by saying, "Imagine the Eiffle Tower in a fur coat." Josh's sense of personal style is manifested in a glittery loud wardrobe heavy on the bling. This guy is a real character and I hope he's got all the right crystals to go the distance.

2. Lisa Millard, Berwick, Pennsylvania. (noise) Lisa is a free spirited quirky designer with drastically two-toned hair. A twenty-five-year-old commercial restaurant space designer by trade, Lisa's special area of expertise is texture. This is a girl who designed and then made her own wedding dress. Out of wax paper. Lisa says she isn't afraid of color either. Which? When you're not afraid of wax paper as wedding gown material, I'd call you a pretty fearless designer all around. Can't wait to see how she does in a competitive setting.

3. Neeraja Lockhart. (noise) Neeraja is one of the older contestants. At 42, she is a make-up artist, a photo stylist, and a bitch. Neeraja's design style is "colorful and dramatic" and she doesn't mind bossing everyone around. Also? She doesn't care who she has to step on to get to the top. I believe this is the constestant they figure will "Amarosa" up the show so I look for her to progress fairly far unless she's a total wing-nut of a designer.

4. Robb (yes, that's two b's if you don't mind) Mariani. (noise) According to RobB, he is from Milwaukee, has been designing all his life (he's at least in his thirties), is able to design in any style from Victorian to Contemporary, and is (here's the hook) straight. Straight like, as in for fun, he likes to drive a semi-rig kind of straight. RobB is a self-proclaimed ugly tee-shirt wearing "man's man". Personally? I like my designers with a little less testosterone, but what do I know.
So that's about it. Otherwise, the videos were as you'd expect or I had trouble getting them to play. This season's show has the nerve to have a blog that I for some reason am not personally writing. I mean, jeeze, all they gotta do is call, drop me an e-mail, send up a smoke signal---I'M AVAILABLE TO BLOG ABOUT MY FAVORITE SHOWS in case anyone is wondering.
Ahem.
So, anyway, looking forward to Sunday.

Rage in a Cage (should be NC-17)

I was saddened this morning to read in our local newspaper that that the Executive Inn will host cage fighting matches on Saturday night. I'd link to the article, but I'm having trouble linking to the paper at all. You can find it at http://www.paducahsun.com/

The article's headline reads:

"Cage fighting fun for the family"

The story is listed in the "entertainment" section of the newspaper and the event is billed as "Paducah Punishment III" promising crowds of "1,000 spectators" according to fight promoter Harold Dick.

The article goes on to say:

One reason for the larger crowds might be the following local fighters are gaining, Dick said.
Like 39-year-old Jason Williams, who’s on the bill this weekend.
By day, Williams works a full-time job in agriculture. Four nights a week he trains at Argonauts Fitness in Paducah to prepare for weekend battles.
His appeal to a mass of people is apparent.
He’s engaged, has two kids and is just as willing to shake your hand as break it.

His mass appeal is "apparent"? Apparent to whom? You'll note those last quotes aren't attributed. When did fact that a local cage fighter that can either break or shake a hand get to be cause to load up the tykes in the mini-van for an evening of fabulous fun? Give me a break.

The whole event is cloaked in the cover of "sport", but I'll be honest, this in my opinion is nothing more than the basest of human aggression legally sanctioned. Purveyors of the sport like to use words like "striking". Come on. This is two guys beating the crap out of each other in a cage in front of an arena full of fans screaming for more. It's nothing new; they used to do this sort of thing all the time with people called "gladiators" in ancient Rome (you may have heard). And, while the general adult public seems bloodthirsty as ever, can't we at least agree that it would be wise to re-think the philosophy that this is some how good, clean, family fun for children?

While he recognizes some may question how legitimate the local brawls are, Williams doesn’t pull any punches about his love for the sport.
“It’s what I do. Runners run, swimmers swim and fighters fight,” he said.

Okay, this is a bit of a no-brainer, but "fighters fight" sounds like what comes just before "muggers mug" and etc. You get the picture.


Parents, know this: a ten-year study published by the British Journal of Sports Medicine describes the sport this way:

MMA competition has attracted attention for its sheer violence. Two contestants wearing minimal protective equipment unleash a myriad of full force punches, elbow strikes, knee strickes, kicks, stomps, neck chokes, joint manipulations, body throws, and other grappling techniques against each other. A competitor seeks through blunt head trauma; disabling an opponent through joint subluxation, dislocation, or soft tissue trauma; cause to syncope by way of a neck choke; or coercing an opponent into submission by any permutation of the preceding.

Despite attemts to ban it by legislators and the medical community, MMA metamorphosed in the 1990's from an underground spectacle into an internationally sactioned sport.

Meanwhile, the Paducah Sun article goes on to say:

Williams [the friendly neighborhood would-be hand-breaker] said he’s practiced discipline, respect and perseverance in training for each of his 12 previous fights.
What results is a product suitable for everyone, he said.
“All ages can enjoy this from grandparents to small children,” Williams said.

Please.

If the industry is not going to regulate the exposure of under-age children to this kind of innappropriate violence, parents are just going to have to do the job themselves.

The article is accurate about one thing. Paducah Punishment III is indeed just that. And it is a punishment our children neither need or deserve.

If you're going to the cage fights, please, get a sitter.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

As Promised: The Strange Story of Bob Geldof, Paula Yates, and Michael Hutchence

(Yes, this is part of my 80's series although the saga goes on into the 2000's.)

Once upon a time back in the 1980's there was a popular rocker named Bob Geldof (left). He sang with a band called The Boomtown Rats and played the leading role in the rock opera "The Wall". He was very British and fairly famous. He achieved superstardom status when he organized the 1985 Live Aid Concert, the first charitable mega-concert of its kind. The event was wildly successful raising over $140 million for the starving and impoverished in Africa. This success got Geldof knighted, made him an extremely powerful philanthropic force of nature, and earned him the unofficial title of "saint".


Meanwhile, Bob had a girlfriend named Paula Yates (right). They had gotten together back in 1976. She was (as my friend Julie would say) "wild as a deer" and a Boomtown groupie. Charismatic, extremely blonde, smart, beautiful, and the product of a troubled childhood, Yates was what Woody Allen would call a "...komikaze woman because she wants to crash her plane into you", the "you" in this case meaning, of course, the man of her choice. Yates posed for Penthouse in 1978 and proceeded to crash into Bob with a vengeance. She liked to dabble in drugs. Hey, it was the eighties. She even released a song that hit the charts, a cover of "These Boots were Made for Walkin'", the Nancy Sinatra hit.


Yates did eventually develop a solid career. With Bob's help, she became a music journalist and wrote a column called "Natural Blonde" for a British paper called the Daily Mirror. After that, she landed a hosting gig on a show called "The Tube" which was sort of the 1980's British version of American Bandstand. Yates was quite successful at this. Her relationship with Bob continued through her personal success and, of course, Bob's career continued apace.


In 1983, Yates gave birth to their first child, a girl they named Fifi Trixibelle. And, finally, the ultimate bachelor gave in and proposed. They were married on August 31, 1986. The star-studded wedding party included Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics and Simon LeBon of Duran Duran. I remember vivdly seeing the pictures that were published of the event at the time because of the bright red dress Yates wore. Isn't it sort of fabulous? I mean, it wouldn't be my choice but, dang, she is seriously pulling that off. That's the biggest version of the photo I could find, darn it.



Anyway, sort of surprisingly, motherhood transformed Yates. The couple went on to have two more girls, Peaches Honeyblossom, born in 1989 , and Pixie, born in 1990. Paula even wrote a couple of fairly successful books based on her experiences a a mother.

Paula did also continue her gig on The Tube. Bob developed another show that was strictly a vehicle for Paula called "Big Breakfast". The program was essentially a talk show that took place in a bed which Paula and the guest du-jour would playfully share during the inteview. The provocative show was a big success. In 1994 Yates fatefully interviewed Michael Hutchence (right), hunky lead singer for the rock band, INXS.

There just isn't any doubt about it, Paula Yates and Michael Hutchence fell madly, passionately in love almost instantly. Yates left Geldof in 1995 for Hutchence. The divorce, as you might imagine, was one of the nastiest in show business. It was played out on the front pages of the British tabloid press for years. Geldof, still in love with Yates, used all his considerable power and influence to retain custody of their three girls,. Geldof made visitation difficult for Paula, and the carping between Geldof, Yates, and Hutchence was vicious and seemingly unending.



As an aside, Hutchence, I have read in more places than one, is rumored to have been sexually insatiable. Reportedly up to and including joining the mile high club on a commerical flight EXCEPT he was in his seat at the time. His companion in sky crime? Kylie Minogue. Just thought you needed to know.


In July 1996, Paula Yates gave birth to Michael's daughter and they named her Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily Hutchence, "Tiger" for short.


Sadly, in November, 1997, Hutchence was tragically found hanged in his Sydney hotel room (he was hanging from a door, a belt around his neck). The coroner would rule it a suicide. Yates was completely shattered and became obsessed with clearing Michael's death certificate of the word "suicide". Yates was convinced Hutchence was indulging in a type of maturbation that included cutting off one's oxygen supply to heighten the orgasm by hanging, and that Michael's was a case of accidental death. To make a bad situation worse, the distraught Yates also had to contend with Hutchence's family who began legal proceedings to try wrest custody of Tiger (and, coincidentally all of Michael's money) from Yates. Yates attempted suicide herself (by hanging), was unsuccessful, and eventually sought psychiatric treatment.

Despite seeking help, however, Yates would not recover. She had slipped into the habit of using heroin and drinking heavily. She accidentally overdosed at the age of 40 in September of 2000. Her lifeless body was discovered when a friend called to check on Yates and Tiger answered the phone saying her mother, "wouldn't wake up". Tiger was four years old.


Sort of incredibly, upon hearing of Paula's death, Bob Geldof sprang into action. Geldof made all of Paula's funeral arrangements, paid the tab, and then filed for temporary custody of little Tiger citing Tiger's, "need to be with her three half-sisters at this difficult time". Geldof's appeal was granted. Despite attempts by the Hutchence family, the orphaned girl continues to live with her half-sisters and to be reared by Geldof.

As recently as August of 2006, there have been reports that Michael Hutchence's mother continues to fight for custody of Tiger claiming the girl is "being raised by a succession of nannies" and claiming also that she has only been allowed to spend time with Tiger twice since Paula's death.

Geldof continues to decline comment.

Remembering the 80's--The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Released in 1975, there are those that would argue that Rocky Horror doesn’t belong in this series. However, in my opinion, the cult following this movie generated hit its apex in the 1980’s. It wasn’t until 1977 that the movie even began to rebound from its dismal US premiere despite being a smash musical across the pond. Finicky Americans were not yet ready for the message of sexual freedom, especially of the transsexual don’t-dream-it-be-it variety.

It was during the 1980’s that the film really came into its own, having been given a fishnet covered leg-up by the enthusiastic support it received when famously running as a midnight movie at theaters such as The Biograph in Chicago. The movie spawned a cult following that dressed like the characters, recited the movie, shouted responses to the dialogue en masse, and brought props along such as water guns to shoot during a rainy scene and rice to toss during a wedding scene. Going to see Rocky Horror wasn’t a spectator sport: it was a chance for everyone to wallow in the naughtiness.

Still going strong today, the movie continues to evolve. As one RHPS website reports:

“The Associated Press had occasion to visit a midnight screening of the film around the time of the 2000 Broadway revival and noted how contemporary the responses to the film had become. For example, after Frank has dispatched Eddie with an ax, he removes his bloody gloves and hands them to Magenta. Except this time the crowd shouted, "Here, put these behind O.J.'s house." Moments later when asking Frank to explain his homicidal rage, the audience demanded "tell us what Dr. Kevorkian would say!" "It was a… mercy killing," comes Frank's reply.”

Heh.

Girl's Night Out

After the build-up I've given the Hairspray Premiere, I'd be highly remiss if I wasn't johnny-on-the-spot at the theater Friday night...

SO GIRL'S NIGHT OUT! (Friday, July 20th).

Contact me for details if you'd like to join us.

We're all a little nervous about whether or not John Travolta can fill Divine's plus-sized pumps, but we've got our fingers crossed.
Watch the trailer again here.

The Video

A NOTE TO THE READER:

PLEASE READ THE POST BELOW BEFORE YOU PLAY THIS VIDEO (better effect and all that).

With a (thousand) Song(s) in my Heart

I know a lot of song lyrics.

Not, mind you, useful song lyrics. I can, for instance, sing the Oscar Meyer baloney song straight through. The 1970's version of the Burger King song, "Hold the pickle hold the lettuce..." Since I had the albums, I know pretty much every lyric to songs from "Oklahoma", "The Sound of Music", and "The Wizard of Oz". Because my formative years were the 1970's, I know a whole lot of lyrics from that era. All the Eagles hits, Elton John, "Grease", Doobie Brothers, you get the picture.

Also, because my parents were country music fans in the 1970's, and I was forced as a child to ride in the car with them and listen to said music, I have a pretty wide ranging knowledge of country songs from that era. (And, to be honest, there was some good stuff like Johnny Cash, and Merle Haggard.)

Then there are the hymns. Yep, know most of those (protestant ones) too.

Although he can't carry a tune, the S-Man is sort of a natural "medley-ist". Which means sometimes, on long road trips or when we are trapped in a boring setting for a length of time together which, let's face it, happens all too often, he'll start trying to sing "I Gotta Be Me" which will morph into, "My Way" and somehow then tragically swerve into "Night and Day" which will careen into the SNL Bill Murray version of "Star Wars". It's all done about half a note flat with lots of finger snapping.

Yah. Welcome to my world. (...won't you come on in....)

And that is all yet another of my incredibly long, way-too-much-information ways to just tell you that we have something of a musical sensibility (albeit lopsided, annoying, and frequently off key) going on around here.

And so, maybe it's not too surprising that, at some point, (and I'm not telling you when) in the last few years, everything started reminding me of a song.

For instance, I frequently found myself in a situation with a certain person who was...let's see...how to put this...how about: completely full of shit. Yah. Completely full of shit! That's accurate.

Now, this person, we'll call him, "Hal", was nearly constantly spreading this incredibly stupid line of B.S. pretty much everywhere he went. I mean this guy would tell the most outrageous stories and, thing is, people would actually believe him...which would, of course, in my suseptible musical state prompt me to sing...

Give 'em the old razzle dazzle
Razzle dazzle 'em
Show 'em the first rate scorcerer you are

Long as you keep 'em way off balanace
How can they spot you got no talent?!

Razzle dazzle 'em
And they'll make you a star!

Yep, there's actually a song for most every occasion, I've found.

Eventually, though, I got tired of "Hal". I even, after a while, got tired of singing the song, fun and accurate though it was. It was getting to be a real waste of my life to be near the B.S.

To be honest? It smelled. Really bad. In fact, many people before me (good people) had been overcome and fled the stench.

And so I had a conversation with someone. Someone who could, shall we say, eradicate the B.S. And while this person understood the problem, for whatever reason, this person decided the best thing would be to keep on doing what they had been doing all along. And that is put up with the really bad smell for a while longer.

They were going too keep on, they said.

Keep on.

And that's when it happened.

From the furthest, dimmest recesses of the overly large section of my brain labeled "Useless Songs & Scary Jingles", a rusty old door swung slowly open and, quietly at first, I began hearing these lyrics:

We're gonna keep on
keep on
keep on....

Where, where had I heard this before?

We're gonna keep on...

And then it hit me: The Brady Bunch. Of course! The Keep On song!

The bad costumes! The inane lyrics! The scary cheerfulness! The cross-eyed optimism!

We're gonna keep on, keep on, keep on, keep on dancing all through the night.
We're gonna keep on, keep on, keep on doing it right
We're gonna keep on, keep on , keep on movin
Gonna keep on, keep on, keep on grooving
Keep on singing and dancing all through the night

I guess the conversation sort went on without me after that. Because I was too busy trying not to burst right out into the song right then and there.

Eventually, I went home and told The S-Man about the song (he had actually never heard it before). But I sang him a few bars, he caught the vibe, and for weeks afterward we would give each other a look and then suddenly and without warning together start singing:

We're gonna keep on, keep on, keep on,....

This singing on our part would be always accompanied by us making sort of a choo-choo chugging circular motion with our fists while keeping our arms close to our bodies.

Eventually, it became code for somebody doing something stupid, especially CONTINUING to do something stupid. Like, we're watching TV and George Bush starts talking about the war...immediately we look at each other:

We're gonna keep on, keep on, keep on...

I simply cannot adequately convey the mileage we've gotten out of this bit.

There was only one fly in the ointment. And that is that the S-Man had never actually experienced the full sort of horror of the actual song for himself.

(Wait for it...) and then one day, I was strolling around YouTube and I found it. I FOUND IT. There it was in all it's low quality fringy outfit glory. The Brady Bunch "Keep On" song. Have I mentioned? I HEART YOUTUBE?

And, so ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present The Keep On Song. (I'm not sure if it will appear from YouTube before or after this post, I hope after). I highly recommend you file it away for future reference any time you get the bad knews that someone is going to persist in doing something really stupid. I promise you, it will totally help to picture that person in a bright orange fringy outfit and sing to yourself:

We're gonna keep on
keep on
keep on...

It helps to throw in that choo-choo motion I talked about, too.

The bad news? You may be unable to get this song out of your mind after this.

Ever.

(sorry.)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

For the Savvy Bizzyville Shopper...

Most all the Bizzyville readers I know are smart shoppers and love nothing more than a great bargain. Which is why when I read this article at Yahoo! today I knew I had to pass it along. Find out the best days to buy books, clothes, gas, and more:

Airplane Tickets
When to Buy: Wednesday morning.
Why: "Most airfare sales are thrown out there on the weekend," says travel expert Peter Greenberg, a.k.a. The Travel Detective. Other airlines then jump into the game, discounting their own fares and prompting further changes by the first airline. The fares reach their lowest prices late Tuesday or early Wednesday. Read the rest here. (SFW)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Trailer: William Eggleston In The Real World

View some of the Mayfield, Kentucky footage at the top of this preview.

Sundance Doc Day travels briefly to Mayfield

(Photo: William Eggleston. Visit his official website here.)

Since Monday is "Doc Day" on the Sundance Channel, of course I'm more often than not tuned in. Tonight's documentary feature was a film called "William Eggleston in the Real World". Eggleston is a famous, successful, at first controversial, and quite alcoholic photographer who hails from Memphis, Tennessee.

Born in 1939, and acclaimed since the 1960's, he is now often referred to as the "father of modern color photography". He's a guy who tends to shuffle around peering myopically through his camera lens shooting photographs of the most mundane images imaginable.
Things like the abandoned shoes under a bed or a plain naked lightbulb screwed into a socket on a cracked, squalid ceiling. Often, his shots are composed of only objects, but occassionally they include people. Some of Eggleston's work is beautiful, no doubt, but I'd say that's the exception.

It's all very, in my opinion, avante guarde and depressing; somewhat hopeless, even. I do respect Eggleston's attitude that photography is a science of the moment, a philosophy I actually hold myself. Otherwise? I'm still a little of the not-sure-what-to-make-of-his-work opinion. (Which probably makes me kind of a boob, but there you have it.)

In any case, I wrote all that so I can tell you this: the movie begins with Eggleston shuffling around Mayfield, Kentucky, of all places, taking photographs. We had to rewind the film a few times in order to get our minds around the fact that, yes, that's indeed Mayfield. And it's not like they didn't say it was Mayfield, because they did. We just had a hard time believing it.

If you, as they say in these parts, aren't from around here, I should explain that Mayfield is a town some twenty miles south of Paducah with absolutely nothing going on, unless you count smashed flat barbecue sandwiches and writer Bobbie Ann Mason.

Mayfield isn't don't-blink or-you'll-miss-it, but it is quite small, and seems to produce a particularly nasal, exceptionally twangy southern accent in many--not all mind you--of its residents. Strangely, Mayfield is also somehow responsible for a disproportionately large number of hair dressers (not stylists) who are all female and of the opinion that Big Hair never went out of fashion. When you get highlights in Mayfield? It often still actually means enduring a shower cap and a crochet hook. They call it "getting frosted". As in, "Hey, Debbie! Did you git yer hay-year frawsted agin? Key-yoot!"

So, yah, Bobbie Ann Mason aside, we were a little surprised to find Eggleston there. Turns out he was documenting the town at the request of Gus Van Sant who considers Mayfield his home town.

I ask you, HOW COULD I NOT KNOW THIS?

Gus Van Sant directed: Paris, je t'aime, Finding Forrester, Good Will Hunting, My Own Private Idaho, and Drugstore Cowboy, to name a few. He has a writing credit on some of these and many other films. And he's from Mayfield.

Jeez. Who knew?

(Christa--did you know this?)

I did not know this.

So there you go.

Everything Old Is New Again

While writing my last post about the resurgence of vinyl records, this little ditty kept running through my head. A quick trip to YouTube and, boom, there it is. (I HEART YOUTUBE!) Enjoy this lively version of "Everything Old is New Again" as performed by the amazing Ann Reinking and friend in my favorite movie ever, "All That Jazz".

Return of the...record?


I was surprised to read this story posted today in The Guardian today on the resurging popularity of old fashioned vinyl record albums. According to the piece, in the UK at least, "Two-thirds of all singles [in Great Britain] now come out on in the 7in format, with sales topping 1m."

A few Google searches landed me here, at the Angry Ape reporting back in January that the group, Coldplay, would be releasing a a box set of 7" vinyl albums which they did in March of this year. That set is now available for purchase here at What Records in England and sells for around $100.00 American. Near as I can tell, the set is not available this side of the pond.

In the U.S., however, this piece from NPR reporter, John Sepulvado, posted in April, indicates a record revival is underway in this country as well. Sepulvado credits the development of the USB Turntable for the trend. Basically, the USB turntable is a traditional record player with a cord that plugs into a computer. From there, albums can be easily converted into digital files, thus preserving the (in the opinon of record enthusiasts) "superior" quality of the recordings. The turntables can be purchased for a mere $150 each. In this country, overall, vinyl sales are up 10% this year and climbing.

With records, there is also the tangibility factor. A record, after all, is a whole lot more tactile than a digital file on your iPod, and comes with stubstantial cover art, a whole other dimension that makes for added appeal.

Many of us that grew up in the age of the record album find it difficult, if not impossible, to part with our vinyl. I have written here of the S-Man's album collection, still moldering away in our many storage structures and I have to confess to contributing some vinyl of my own to that mix. In fact, alert readers will remember I flipped through those collections as recently as a few months ago to cull albums for a framing project which, incidentally, is now complete and hanging in our bedroom (see photo top of post).

Do those covers rock or what?

Thing is, neither one of us have a particular burning desire to pluck the vinyl from its cover and plop it on the turntable. Although? the S-Man's turntable stands, to this day, hooked up and ready to play at a moment's notice on the stereo along with his reel-to-reel tape player.

While sentimental about the olden days, I think we both agree that digital is just better. It's hard, for me at least, to miss the snap-crackle-pop of an aged album. I have vivid memories of some of my 45 records being so damaged and scarred from my dealing them out (literally) like playing cards as I would casually leaf through the stack, that I was forced to resort to weighting the needle cartridge with a penny in order that some especially deep groves didn't actually eject the needle from the record entirely (I was resourceful).

Nope, my feet are firmly in the digital age, musically speaking. But the trend is very interesting and I will probably continue to hold on to my vinyl. What's another twenty years at this point give or take?

H + B = V?

One of my favorite columnists, Anna Quindlen, suggests in the upcoming July 23 issue of Newsweek (which, incidentally, I've already linked to once) that Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama should join forces forming a Clinton-Obama ticket for the presidency:

It's not simply that with one fell swoop you would solidify the two largest blocs of Democratic support, but that the historic nature of the pairing would galvanize the race and make any Republican slate seem so same-old. Every politician likes to talk about a new era. The day the Clinton-Obama ticket is announced would really be one for the history books. Read more.

Meanwhile, as hope fades, I continue to pine for a Gore campaign. How about Gore-Obama? Now, that's the ticket.

So, you want to live in Lowertown?

Ever picture yourself in a hip SoHo style apartment in the heart of a thriving arts district? A place only steps away from the grooviest coffee/bubble tea shop in Paducah, not to mention within a stone's throw of downtown? A place with a roomy front porch on which to dream away those lazy summer afternoons? A place in a historic building in which all the great elements of the original structure (refinished original hardwood floors, living room fireplace, exposed brick walls) have been preserved, but in which all the problem areas (worn out plaster, dysfunctional kitchen cabinets, outdated bathroom fixtures) have been replaced with completely new materials? A place where the dishwasher and washer/dryer are furnished for your convenience?

I've got the place for you. I'm not going to be specific about the address, but it is available for immediate lease for $750/month and I know many of you who read me know where to find us. If you are seriously seeking a place, e-mail me (you'll find the address under my profile) to schedule a tour. The apartment is approximately 1,100 square feet and can be arranged as either a one bedroom with a dining room or a two bedroom.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

TED: The Trailer

TED (another word for Hope)

So, I guess in today's modern world made smaller and more connected by technology and the internet, I shouldn't be too surprised to learn that there's a place where you can go to trade ideas and share knowledge with the likes of Al Gore, the founder of Google, Peter Gabriel (who founded a global program called "Witness" that helps draw attention to and thus reduce social injustice), Larry Brilliant (who rid the world of Small Pox), Tony Robbins, Julia Sweeney, Mena Trott (28-year-old founder of leading blog software company, Six Apart), Jane Goodall, along with the greatest names in Architecture, Nuclear Physics, Conservation, Art, and Science, in short--perhaps the greatest gathering of brilliant minds in Technology-Entertainment-Design (T.E.D. for short) anywhere and (if you're like me) you'll be relieved to know it happens annually.

Every February in Monterey, California, 1,000 of of the greatest minds from across the globe in the above mentioned fields gather for a four-day conference. Tickets go for a mere $4,400 but, according to the Netflix movie we viewed tonight called "TED: The Future We Will Create", the conference attendees say the experience is well worth the price of admission. Some conference goers have been forking over that kind of registration fee each year for well over a decade.

Once you see the film? You have no trouble understanding why.

The movie, which incidentally, we viewed straight from the Netflix site without the inconvenience of waiting for it in the mail, gives us just a small sampling of the mind-blowing, revolutionary ideas and concepts presented at the 2006 conference. Presenters are given a mere eighteen minutes in which to get their idea, concept, or technology across. Couple that kind of time restriction with brilliant thinkers at this level, and you have one hell of a compelling and intense four-day show.

As you might imagine, not only are the attendees brilliant, they are also well connected, influential and in many cases wealthy. This conference is the place where great ideas can get off the ground. In a big way.

The highlights of the event are three $100,000 awards given to people who have done especially outstanding work in their field of expertise. In 2005, Bono won the award for his humanitarian work.

More important than the cash prize, however, is another perk that goes along with winning. And that is this: Winners are allowed to make a wish. And all the considerable resources and talents of those assembled are brought to bear on those special wishes. Just learning about this incredible concept and seeing these talented doers and thinkers in action and learning their wonderful wishes for the world made my heart ache with pride to be on the planet with people such as this. And, I probably don't have to tell you that in this day and age, that is a rare feeling indeed.

If you don't see any other movie I recommend, see this one. It is absolutely magical.

And TED isn't keeping love to itself. TED has a blog. And a website. And all these fantastic thought provoking presentations at the TED conference on the latest and the greatest? Can be viewed online. By anybody anywhere anytime.
Lastly, a special Bizzyville SUPER SNAP to filmmaker and actress Daphne Zuniga who produced and co-directed the film (her first such endeavor!) Way to go, Daphne. Seriously.

The Big Chill

I was fascinated to read this Newsweek Article, by Jerry Adler, from the July 23, 2007 edition, on the latest low-tech weapon doctors are using to snatch the recently dead back into the world of the living. Cooling the body, or sending it in to hypothermia, seems to increase one's chances substantially. Doctor's just aren't sure why:

This is a story about what happens when your heart stops: about new research into how brain cells die and how something as simple as lowering body temperature may keep them alive—research that could ultimately save as many as 100,000 lives a year. And it's about the mind as well, the visions people report from their deathbeds and the age-old questions about what, if anything, outlives the body. Read more. (SFW=Safe for Work)

Saturday, July 14, 2007

In Bloom


Enjoy the latest in my "bloom" series. This blossom is especially significant since I grew in myself from seed, something I cannot say about the majority of the plants in my care. I took the photo just now on my balcony (I'm working on catching up w/ you-know-who). For some reason, this was an especially tricky flower to capture for my lense. It kept blowing out no matter if I used auto, manual, macro...ARGH! I don't know what ultimately worked. Maybe it was the especially colorful cursing.
Unfortunately, I lost the seed packet, and I've now forgotten just exactly what kind of flower this actually is. If you know, can you please tell me in the comments (Julie? Christa? Anyone?)? I love the color and shape of the bloom, it sort of puts me in a mind of a Morning Glory but it can't be that because the bloom does not open and close at all. It does, however, grow on a vine. It's a small flower, I'd say no more than an inch across. I adore the vivid blue color and the contrast of all three colors on one tiny blossom, as well as the five sided shape. Click on the image for a larger version.