Monday, October 25, 2004

Playing the part of Joe tonight will be...

Hugh over at Three Bed Two Bath has a great meme which I'll try spreading:

Who would I pick to characterize my voice in a Ken Burns documentary?

The interesting part of this question is that the person doesn't necessarily have to resemble you in any way. They don't particularly have to be great actors (although I think most of us will pick at least good actors). They just have a vocal style well matched to your writing.

So, I'll take a bite:

I'd absolutely love to get: Andre Braugher.
I'd be thrilled with: Anthony Hopkins (that's Hearts in Atlantis and Remains of the Day and The Lion in Winter Hopkins... hopefully he won't have much call for the Hannibal Lecter voice).
I actually think Josh Molina might do the best job, based on my writing.

I'm kind of afraid that, for Ken Burns' Libraries, he'll get:
Steve Buscemi.

(This is not a slight against the greatly talented actor who was the only good thing about the movie Armageddon. I'm just saying... aw, hell, he understands.)

Saturday, October 23, 2004

Thank God for College Radio

(and thank you also for the happy birthday wishes.)

Perhaps you’ve never lived in a little college town (although, if I know you’re reading this blog, you probably have). But for the uninitiated, allow me to describe the radio options out here:
  • Syndicated Clear Channel pop crap
  • Mass-produced Nashville country
  • All Nickleback, All the Time (which doesn’t even come in well)
  • More Clear Channel Nashville Pop Country Crap
  • A mediocre NPR station (they try hard, but if you’ve even been to a city with good public broadcasting, well…)

  • College Radio

Now, the nice thing about our college radio station is that it’s totally freeform, as near as I can tell. DJs seem to have an immense amount of freedom, no enforced playlist here. Really, no format at all. Jazz, rap, electronica, classic rock, alt rock, pop music, hip hop, more rap, different alternative… we got it all, and you can never tell from show to show what you’re getting. In fact, inside a show, you may not know.

I just heard, in a row:

Hurt by Johnny Cash
Common People by William Shatner
A disco version of Comfortably Numb that is so fabulous I can’t even think straight
And Cum on Feel the Noize. (which, apparently, you can't buy on iTunes)

Genius. Sheer genius. I actually listened to about the next hour of material, because it pretty much kept being good like that.

Friday, October 22, 2004

And so it's your birthday, and what have you done?

Well, there’s another year down. 34 feels pretty much like 33 did. I suppose any day that starts with the Red Sox beating the Yanks, and ends with the Cardinals making it to the Series can’t be all bad. And heck, while I failed to actually take the day off, I did go in with a very short to-do list and the attitude that everything else could freaking wait till tomorrow. If you have the option, I highly recommend trying this out – it’s both liberating and oddly productive.

I think, in the interest of not getting melodramatic, my feelings about birthdays are best summed up on Bill Shatner’s new album (that’s an iTunes link there). I’m so freaking happy that album’s out; it’ll be my next iTunes purchase.

And as long as we’re laughing our asses off, I’m clearing out my “list of things to blognugget”:

Funny (but there’s a good chance you’ve already seen the story about how to counter subway preachers.)

Funnier (for those who like cats and politics, and don’t miss this link either, pulled from the comments.)

The single funniest post I've seen on the web in a while (not completely work-safe… partly because of some American Pie-type humor and partly because of the high likelihood you’ll laugh so hard your co-workers will wonder what’s wrong…)

Monday, October 11, 2004

Goodbye, Superman

Christopher Reeve passed away.

To a lot of people my age, Christopher Reeve is synonymous with Superman. So there's a chunk of this which is just "thanks for the memories" to an icon.

But mostly, it's because I can only remember two celebrities who have ever made me so hopeful I cried. One was Cal Ripken. The other was Christopher Reeve.

Here's a guy who got one of the rawest deals you can get. Yet he absolutely, manifestly refused to give up. I remember him doing one of the morning shows, and showing Katie Couric (or somebody) that he could actually tap his index finger again. It was one finger, and it seemed full of strength, full of pride. And here, in this incredibly little thing, was a man of great courage, triumphing. A man proving that where there's will, there's hope.

It made me cry then. And it makes me cry now.

Thanks for the lesson, Mr. Reeve. May choirs of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

People are doing what I say!

Last October, at a high-profile campus event, I saw one of our fine students dressed head-to-toe in a homemade Spiderman costume. There was no easily discernible reason for this, and he wasn’t doing anything else to attract attention to himself.

As it happens, this was also an in-joke in a play I worked on in 1989. (“Spiderman” was going to be the artistic concept for the show, basically so people would stop asking the author and director “what the artistic concept is”. Guess you had to be there.) Seeing a 14-year old joke come to life, 400 miles from its point of origin, is a pretty strange feeling. And when I related this story to one of the people who knew the joke, he said,

“And then, in his 33rd year, the prophecies began to come true.”

Well, it seems more of the prophecies are being fulfilled, because it seems 3 more people have chosen to follow my teachings.

Hugh over at Three Bed Two Bath took my suggestion to read a banned book; he chose Catcher in the Rye. Interestingly enough, he’s finding a lot of empathy for a kid without a single adult in his life who seems to give a damn about him. And Lemming took the same suggestion; she’s slogging through A Moveable Feast, and not liking it very much.

Considering that I bashed Catcher in the Rye and suggested A Moveable Feast for people who don’t like Hemingway, perhaps my public ministry needs work.

And I’m writing this now from an airport gate which I reached without any no-fly hassle. So I’m assuming that Joseph bin Joseph took my advice and turned himself in, thereby clearing our name from the TSA watch list. Who knew I had such power?

(I know that a hypothesis like inconsistencies in the list, or in enforcement, between different airports and airlines probably satisfies Occam’s Razor better. But I’m about to get in a tin can and hurtle through the air at an alarming speed, and I’m going with the theory that I am, actually, in some way more safe.

(Thinking of George Carlin’s routine about airport language… “what is pre-boarding? Let’s get on the plane before we get on the plane? And that’s another thing… let Evil Knievel get on the plane! I’m getting in the damn plane. It’s too windy for me out there!")

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Give it back, you name-stealing bastard!

The good folk of the Transportation Safety Authority have recently informed me that some person with the same name as myself is considered too dangerous to fly in the United States. This is, shall we say, inconvenient. Apparently, they know enough to confirm with some ease that I'm not you, but the process itself is pretty bogus.

(As a side note, it frustrates me greatly when an information system, like those airline checkin kiosks, don't actually give information. But then, I'm not sure I'd be happy with a message that said "please hold still while we decide if you're a wanted terrorist" either.)

So, in the interest of the national security and my own desires, let me say this:

Turn yourself in.

Look, I don’t know what you did. Frankly, I don’t much care. But we have a very common name, and you have to figure you’re screwing up an awful lot of people’s travel plans here. Pay your damn child support. Stop running from whatever that outstanding warrant is. Seems unlikely you’re an Islamic fundamentalist, but if you are, check your Koran and give up the way of the gun. Let’s be honest about this: at least if you get a lawyer and surrender, there are rules about what they can do to you. God only knows what Ashcroft can do if he catches you in a dark alley.


Genuine Marvel-edition No-Prize for any joke about this I haven’t already heard. Nope, I've heard that one. That one too. Told that one to the woman at the ticket counter... she didn't find it funny.