1. A young, stylish couple is moving in at the end of the block. Guy has tats, cool shoes, rolled up jeans, rocker tee, mod hat, etc. Wifey, more plainly dressed, is carrying a TV up the front steps. Granny from the neighborhood shouts across the street, "Hey man, where'd you get them pants?" Guy is like, "H&M." Granny is like, "Aychen-What?" Guy is like, "H and M. It's downtown." Granny mumbles something unintelligible.
2. Standing at the bus stop, listening to music, pissed that the G2 is off-schedule AGAIN. Staring down P St., trying to will the bus into existence. There are other people behind me, but I'm not sure who, and I don't care, 'cuz the G2 sucks, and that's all I'm really thinking about. Guy in a termite-control truck stops and says, "hey man," and I'm expecting him to ask for directions. (People do this all the time.) Instead, he says, "man, you should be talking to her." I turn around, and there's a young (i.e. 22-ish) woman behind me. Looks kinda like a curvier, blonder Jeanne Tripplehorn. Termite man has good taste. I grin and flash the wedding ring to him, in that spread-finger, look-at-my-bling style: "Nah, man, I got one of these." Guy laughs, basically ignoring me, and says again, "you should talk to her." Then I notice the tableau: It's me, the Tripplehorner, and a third young woman. All of us are overheated, and we all have iPod plugs in our ears. Termite man must've been thinking, "look at these corny white people."
1. The middle section of The Oranges Band's "The World And Everything In It" (an MK tip)
2. Richard Christy playing technically perfect renditions of famous drum solos ("Hot For Teacher, "Tom Sawyer") on the buttocks of porn star Lori Lust
3. Successfully combating blossom drop (insert Mayim Bialik quip here)
4. Insanely upbeat and courteous tire-store guys
5. "Lookin' at Taguchi it's about that time," via "Sportscenter" (source material here as wmv file)
6. Enforcing a strict moratorium on my intake of news items about shark attacks
Duets have their purpose: Put two people together, and let them play-act a love affair, even if it seems kinda weird. This is all well and good. But why hasn't anybody done a tender, loving, perfectly mainstream ditty about a three-way relationship, y'know, with three equal parts for people to sing? Suggested titles:
"Both Of You Get Over Here"
"The Third Pillow"
"Who Gets The Back Seat?"
"Daddy, Daddy and Mommy"
"Mommy, Mommy and Daddy"
"Equal Time, Equal Love"
... is to dive back into virtual reality:
After downing bottles of water and eating all the granola bars carried by a group of volunteer searchers, the boy asked to play a video game on one rescuer's cell phone, the sheriff said.
We've all felt that way about Tetris or Mario at some point, I guess.
Favela Rising: As a colorful, spunky, accidental epilogue to "City of God," it works overtime as a chronicle of the recent developments in Rio's slums. And with a central figure as mighty as Anderson Sa, it's inevitably magnetic. But I keep thinking about the music cues: There are so many opportunities to drop a bomb on the viewer -- in that Scorsese way -- and it just never really happens.
The Swenkas: So much style, so much heart, so much creativity, and yet so little information. The Swenkas themselves deserve more than a 90 minute news report, and fittingly, Jeppe Rønde gives them a hopeful, life-affirming narrative to inhabit. But it's the kind of film that demands a few questions of the director: Why don't you provide more background on them? Why didn't you put more of the actual swanking into the flick? His answers, to the crowd in Silver Spring, were simple: Personal choice. He wanted to tell a story, and not just explain a phenomenon. And maybe he's right: It doesn't take much brainpower to figure out the core human motivations of the swenkas themselves. (Think: low-rider car enthusiasts, early '80s hip-hop fashions, Japanese hipsters.) The lack of a historical record -- and the limited amount of exposition about the swanking craft itself -- is where the flick creates its mystery. I was willing to roll with that; you might not be, and that's quite alright. Side note: It's definitely not about the bling, it's about shirts, ties and socks. Man stuff.
930 F Street: Arriving in D.C. in the twilight of its punk heyday, I got to see exactly one show at the old 9:30 club: A reunion gig by the Slickee Boys at the end of 1995. The place was gone within weeks. Sigh. The doc has a lot of talking heads, but none of them seem to be bullshitters, and the filmmakers themselves generally avoid blatant nostalgia. The chief function, then, is to make the point that a kickass club -- one where people can truly embrace the music -- needs not only to cultivate good bands, but good fans. And it doesn't hurt if the club exists on a depressed street, in a depressed downtown, with owners who have a combination of good taste and fearlessness. Or maybe it was just that people left the place glad that they were still alive. Side note: The archival footage is sweet, but the filmmakers (who were rookies on this project) said a lot more has come out of the woodwork since they wrapped up production. Oh well.
The short version: 40GB iPod acting funny. Run diagnostics. Disk Utility sez the problem is like, huge. Tell Apple that I want service. Two days later, an empty box arrives via DHL. Put iPod inside, annoyed that I have to find a DHL drop point after biz hours. Upon exiting the building, a DHL truck is stuck in traffic directly in front of me. Give box to DHL guys. Six days later, brand new iPod arrives via DHL. No money spent.
I mentioned my neighborhood to an acquaintance yesterday, and the person said, "ooh, edgy." Uh, not any more. As a renter, with buyin' somewhere on my mind, number-progressions like $400,000-$850,000-$950,000 don't make me sad, they make me wanna walk around town, flickin' middle fingers at people. Lately, I have particular fuel for my blame game. From the WaPost:
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan last week warned that home prices in some areas are "unsustainable." In a report to be released today, however, the Harvard economists say the market continues to be fueled by easy credit, low interest rates, affluent baby boomers buying second homes and the continued growth of immigration. Moreover, thanks to an expanding economy, regulatory constraints and a limited supply of land for development, they see no sign of a slowdown.
The "affluent baby boomers buying second homes" part is just too juicy to pass up. But I'm not dwelling in any old-fashioned Gen X angst here. I'm thinking, "how can this process be subverted for my benefit?" Of course, most of the answers involve something akin to performance art. Damn liberal-arts degree.
Concert-ticket "presales" generate buzz. They're supposed to fuel more sales when the tickets are finally made available to the mass market (which generally has access to most presales, anyway, but whatever). So if you're a rock band with old, saggy balls, and you have to extend the presale for your second show in a particular city, does it mean that your cultural clout has finally dipped to the level of your testicles? Got this in the inbox today, from Comcast:
Oct. 12th, 7:30pm
The Rolling Stones 2nd Show Presale has been extended!
If you were unable last week to take advantage of this EXCLUSIVE PRESALE OFFER to get the BEST SEATS in the arena BEFORE tickets go on sale to the public, this is your chance.
Limited quantities are available for top two price levels only.
Now, because it's a show in Philly -- arguably the vortex of the Stones-tongue-logo-tattoo universe -- they'll probably sell out show No. 2. But that ol' whiff of rigor mortis is stronger than ever. And oh yeah -- Comcast can bite me.
Kinsey: Liam Neeson comes off a little bit too much like a guy playing the newsreel version of a famous guy, but I bought it all, anyway. Bonus: more nudity than expected.
The Manchurian Candidate: With that haircut and those pale power-suits, Meryl Streep could walk right into Congress and start blabbing with members -- and nobody would think twice about whether she belonged. (Assuming, of course, that they wouldn't notice it was Meryl Streep.)
Ray: The film's big lesson: Make your living imitating people, and soon enough, people won't know who you are. Jamie Foxx needs to do another flick like Collateral, stat.
Seabiscuit: Tobey gets hurt, horse wins, movie over, right? Wrong.
Is it ever too early in the day to eat a full meal of roast pork, mashed potatoes and macaroni & cheese from one of those Asian-owned buffet places? (I suppose you veggie-types in the crowd are like, "dude, cripes!")
When I ask this, I feel a bit like the guy in "Kingpin" who queries, "Roy, can you get sick drinkin' piss?"
For the record, I did chase it with an Odwalla antioxidant chugger.
One day you'll be like, "I'm gonna buy a delicious beverage" or "I'm gonna devour some dietary supplements" or "I just got paid overtime at my mall job, and I'm gonna grub on savory meat snax, yo," and you'll strut down to the mini-mart and scope out the premises. And then, like, you'll absent-mindedly acquire some sorta packaged food-like substance with a dragon or a fireball on the label, and it'll be so good, man, and you'll be really glad that you treated yourself. And then you'll throw the can/wrapper/packaging away, and you won't even notice that it says, NOW WITH STEM CELLS! But, like, they might be harvested from bull testes or Appalachian roadkill, so, like you won't have to worry about the ethical considerations.
D.C.'s late-vernal haze thickens, but I've found a nice mental outlet: the Konono No. 1 "Congotronics" disc. Yeah, it's a little trance-ular (no Fela funk here), but it's so coolly human and sonically humid that it seems more like a joyful thing than a mere excuse to cruise on psychedelics (although I'm sure some will find it accessible for that kind of exploit, too). It's also definitely one of those too-much-buzz-for-its-own-good discs, but I'm willing to make it my own, rather than merely live with it because of a sense of obligation. Get a taste here (opens window with Quicktime video).
The noggin is much too overheated and slathered in surface moisture to think interesting and original thoughts today. But I supply this irrefutably excellent fact: Your friendly neighborhood Cesspool, because of this post, is now the No. 1 Google hit for "Hasselhoff Shatner." If those two ever book a movie together, I'm golden. To bad I don't know an Ari. Hug it out, bitch.
I can only assume it was you who appeared last night on top of the third base dugout at RFK Stadium to sing a "Real Men of Genius" Bud Light commercial dedicated to Washington Nationals fans. It sure as hell sounded like you. And you were good. The crowd cheered loudly. I couldn't hear you, however, because I was in section 516, where the stadium speakers sound like this: MPRRWWRRRRROWWRROORRPPPWWWRRR. But you looked pretty good on the big video screen, and you seemed happy to be whoring yourself for laughs and profit. The deep-voiced announcer guy who was with you seemed a little less enthused. Or maybe he's just stoic.
Anyway, Dave, because I kinda like those commercials, I'll stop poking fun at you. But here's a little advice: PLEASE get a better Web site. Both davebickler.com and davidbickler.com appear to be available. Judging by the ovation you received last night (which wasn't as loud as the one Jose Guillen got when he made that game-saving catch at the wall), people probably would like to know when you're in town, even if you're just singing about sausage sandwiches on top of the third base dugout.
Spent an evening with the Nats for the first time, and I have the usual complaints: small scoreboard, bad sound, limited food/beer options, and too many reminders of what is lame about seeing baseball in a big, concrete bowl. But the $15 upper-deck seats behind home plate offer a perch with a high enjoyment-to-price ratio, probably better than similar seats in the Vet/Riverfront/Three Rivers mold. The upper deck also seemed to be crawling with friends, co-workers, former co-workers, important contacts/sources for co-workers and people who looked like they belonged to that class of Washingtonian. I didn't see anybody annoyingly famous, but if I had, I would've said, "whose ass did you nuzzle to get your tickets?"
On to more important details: I had to check myself only once. The video screen flashed a multiple-choice trivia question: "Which pitcher had the most victories with the Braves, all time?" The answer, of course, is Warren Spahn. Any baseball nerd worth his card collection knows that. The fan tasked with picking the answer chose another letter. I immediately booed loudly ... and then quickly realized that nobody else was booing. "I keep forgetting I'm not in Philly," I said.