October 30, 2007

End Of Summer (Mid-Autumn) Story-thon, Day 18

Today's suggestion is from Dominic Dierkes: "Booth or table?"

Never sit with yer back facin’ the door. That’s how Kansas Pete got it, right in the back. Always sit facin’ the door.

And never sit near the kitchen. That’s how they got Allegheny Slim: He was just sittin’ there playin’ poker and the fella came right out of the kitchen and blasted him. He woulda had more time to react if he’d a been sittin’ further away from the kitchen. Also, the fella was dressed as a cook. Don’t sit nowhere near the kitchen.

Don’t you sit at no table with a spittoon. A table with a spittoon was the undoin’ of Stink-Eye Wallace Barr. He leaned over to spit in that spittoon and another fella at the table saw his opportunity and Stink-Eye never raised his head again. Without the convenience of the spittoon temptin’ him to lean over and take advantage of it, Stink-Eye been lookin’ up when the other fella raised his pistol, and he mighta had a mouthful of spit for a little while, but he would still have a lot of other bodily fluids besides. Stink-Eye killed the man’s cousin in Cheyenne. Don’t sit near a spittoon, unless you wanna end up like him.

And while we’re on the subject, don’t go in no drinking establishment what has a piano player. It was in Trouble Dan’s Established Pianee Parlor where The Man Called Alice Watkins was lit up by twenty-two rifles. They say that salaried and mustachioed dandy was ticklin’ the ivories so fine right up until the moment the barrels of twenty-two rifles was stuck in the various and sundry knotholes, crevices, and spaces between boards in the walls of Trouble Dan’s (which, fer all its pretentions of bein’ Established, weren’t much more than a glorified tar-paper lean-to) and all went off at once, turnin’ The Man Called Alice, who was holdin’ court at a table in the center of the place, into so much human chili. It don’t take a scholar of military history to see that if it hadn’t been for the sweet pianee music, doubtless The Man Called Alice Watkins woulda heard his assassins takin’ up their positions all around the shack. So unless you hate the way your guts is inside of ya, don’t go in no place with no piano player.

Bunker Gupp, that was the worst of ‘em. Indian burst right through the saloon doors and put a knife in his forehead. Of course, you couldn’t miss that big forehead, and Bunker Gupp tryin’ to take in a little mid-day sun by facin’ the door. Just goes to show ya, never sit facing the door. I realize I said ALWAYS sit facin’ the door not half a mile of this trail back. I meant it back then much as I mean it now.

Never sit facin’ the door. Also: always sit facin’ the door. And never fall asleep. And never don’t get enough sleep. Don’t gamble none unless ya are. Don’t lend no money, borrow none, make none, or spend none. If ya hope on livin’, don’t fill up yer canteen halfway, or all the way, don’t take advice from a tomboy gypsy masqueradin’ as a Hapsburg prince, don’t stop the cattle-drive to watch a puppet-show, and don’t you ever wear boots. You gotta do all of it and none of it. ‘Cause it’s always when you’re livin’ that somebody makes you die. Like the fella said, it's always when you're doin' the things that let 'em get ya that they get ya.

Posted by DC at 12:01 AM | Comments (221)

October 28, 2007

Mediafest!

Here is a bunch of stuff I am in/related to/enjoy. Consuming this post could take up twenty minutes to a half an hour of your day. You're welcome!


I was in a web-commercial for the Nokia N95. There is improvising with your buddies in a theater under a grocery store for a group of people who want to laugh, and then there's improvising by yourself in mid-day in an honest-to-god graveyard surrounded by thirty film professionals and ad people where basically your only immediate feedback is sneaking glances to see if you're making the cute PA have to try and not laugh. Different, but still fun. Also: zombies! You can see it here.




Next, two new Derrick joints. Hosted in glorious HD by the magnificent duders at College Humor.

Jazz Man.






Godfather.



Podcast! Literary guru slash all-around good dude David Moldawer has a podcast called "Moldawer In The Morning," and I was the guest on last week's version. You can hear us jaw about news stories and pretend it's Monday morning when it's actually late Thursday in the smelly back room at UCBT here. It was a gas!

I'm a little biased, but 30 Rock is the best comedy on TV, and the poor career decisions of one Tracy Jordan are the best part of said show. Below is his Halloween novelty song, "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah," with hypeman work by Donald (of Derrick and the 30 Rock writing staff).

Tracy Jordan - "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah" (right click/save as)




I have been the recepient of some good as hell mixes recently.

A guy I hadn't talked too much since Freshman year, Matty J, came out of left field with some amazing Brazilian mixes. Here's one from his Spring mix. It may be the catchiest thing I've ever heard.

Evinha - "Que Bandiera"

My friend Zed, an intern from UCB, hooked me with a CD full of 2007 songs, since I had admittedly not been keeping up with my trolling of douchey music blogs. The mix is killer! A taste:

Red Dons - "No Pain"

This is from a mixtape, not a mix. It is a new Jay-Z song. It almost made me cry it is so good. It will be on his "American Gangster" album. It ain't stepped on, dig me? Thanks, Purns.

Jay-Z - "Roc Boys"

We now return you to, you guessed it, the StoryThon, already in slow-motion progress. If you sent in a suggestion, I will get to it. I promise ya.

Posted by DC at 09:58 PM | Comments (32)

October 17, 2007

End Of Summer (Beginning Of Autumn) Story Thon, Day 17

Today's suggestion is from Kaitlin Valli: "avalanche"




Yo, let me introduce the crew from the top, ‘cause we got like mad different styles to how we do our shit, we one of the deepest crews in rap, y’know what I’m sayin, so just let me break it down right quick.

First we got Avalanche, y’know what I’m sayin, he just, he be comin down the mountain on some real, on some real he comin down the mountain type shit, like, oh shit, don’t talk or nothing or even breathe, this mountain be stupid prone to avalanches ‘n shit, but look, you open yo mouth and you spoke, you dumb, and now here comes the avalanche and now you trapped under seventy feet o’ snow with nothin’ but a dog and two sherpas and the millionaire that funded yo expedition, know what I’m sayin’? He the Avalanche.

Then we got Secret Shopper, y’know what I’m sayin, he just be comin all up in your store, you know what I mean? He all UP in your store, knowwhati’msayin, you know, where you got the goods at and ALL that, but you ain’t even know, you just think he another customer, youknowwhati’msayin, a CUSTOMER, and he come up in your store and he catch you doin like five things wrong that you supposed to be doin according to the employee handbook, you know, you not be givin the full range of customer service, you be talkin’ on your cellphone and you don’t even offer to help the person out to they car with they groceries, youknowwhati’msayin, and he don’t even say nothing, he just report you to corporate and he get paid and then corporate be telling your boss and then YOU get in trouble, yknowwhati’msayin? He the Secret Shopper.

Next is the Cubist, and the Cubist is the Cubist ‘cause he jus be deconSTRUCtin you, yourknowwhatI’msayin, he deconstructin you into your component parts, right, breakin you down into your natural shapes and abstractin um in two dimensions, his style is crazy, like, people be lookin at how he broke you down and initially they be like “This is garbage, how is this art?” but eventually they see how how he broke you down like a bitch is, like, givin mad different perspectives at one time, like, one perspective shows how you a bitch, and the other perspective shows how you a punk-ass bitch, and they see how he broke you down all abstract is reflective of like, mad upheavals in modern thought due to industrialization n’ shit, youknowwhatI’msayin’, and your ass jus be hangin on a wall in two dimensions and though it may not be appreciated in its time someday your bitch-ass gonna sell for millions of dollars, yknowwhati’msayin’, and though his style is eventually superseded by like mad surrealisms, he gon be influential, right, his influence gon still be reflected to-DAY. Naw mean? He the Cubist.

Then, oh shit, then we got The Great American Novel, ferreal, we got The Great American Novel, ‘cause can’t nobody write LIKE him and therefore can’t nobody WRITE him, you know what I’m sayin, fam? And The Great American Novel, he ain’t even gon come after you, y’know? You gotta come after him, y’know, you gon have like, you gon like go to college and you be all studying all kinda liberal arts, you be studying poetry, you be writin mad music reviews for the school paper, knowwhatI’msayin, but your parents be like pressurin you to have a fallback career, they be on some serious “People are always going to need lawyers” shit, type real, and so you be pre-law, and in yo Ethics seminar, no doubt you gon have some real pretty well-meanin well-bred girl you gon meet, and before you know it you married and yo fallback career is yo career, no JOKE, you be eatin’ off how you specialized in trade libel at Yale, knowwhatI’msayin, ferreal, but all the while knowin you shoulda done something creative, so when you bald and you hit forty you have like this ill midlife crisis, like this shit is a bomb, like you be quittin the firm just as they about to make you partner and you got kids and you be like, “Yo, I’m gon write the Great American Novel, word is bond,” and your wizz be mad as hell, and you try, but you been outta the game too long and that creative spark done died DOWN, fam, it done GUTTERED, and you get to like page twenty after like six months but you do end up fuckin the babysitter, youknowwhatI’msayin? He on some real dream-of-capturing-something-essential-and-oddly-hollow-at-the-center-of-the-American-experience-driven-better-men-than-you-to-the-bottle-and-the-grave type SHIT. Word. He gon make you drink. He the Great American Novel.

Then we got me, Fish Face. I'm Fish Face 'cause I got kind of a fish face.

Posted by DC at 01:53 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2007

End Of Summer (Or Really Beginning Of Autumn If We're Being Honest With Ourselves) Story Thon, Day 16

Today's suggestion is from AJay Smith: "Well, that's not gonna make any babies."


All the cool people with babies freaked her the fuck out. The couple on the subway in hoodies and matching nose-rings, their kid wearing a little newsboy cap, plaid button-down, and boots, looking ready jump out of his stroller and lead an anti-racism ska concert in London in 1985. The Rastafarian couple with a baby dressed like the mother and a toddler a carbon-copy of the dad. The ultra-beautiful West Village professional moms clustered on a street corner telling their babies to wave goodbye to Hunter and Alabaster, and Hunter and Alabaster’s ultra-beautiful Battery Park City moms telling their babies to wave goodbye to Samartina and Zeke.

You were not supposed to be cool when you had a kid. You were supposed to be immediately transformed into a fat ball of lame, an endlessly caring yet hopelessly un-hip boring-job attendee with hugs to spare but just awful, awful taste in music. The second your first kid slid fully out you should open your eyes and find that you’d been teleported to somewhere in the Midwest, a safe fly-over collection of Wal-Marts and IHOPs tucked in the right angles of highway intersections. Where you found yourself should be a place with no social hierarchy except who brings the best homemade whatever to the church picnic. Where you found yourself should not have an alternative paper. Where you found yourself should not have an art scene. Your children need you fat, warm, and acceptable. Your children need you embarrassing.

In her darker moments she wished anyone who had drink specials and sample sales texted to their iPhones would be rendered barren, maybe by some subtle radiation from the lighting fixtures at H&M. She hoped all the babies who had Mohawks before they could walk upright and served as conversation pieces in loft-borne tapas parties would grow up to be Mormon missionaries and mechanical bull operators. And not the mechanical bull at that bar on the Lower East Side with sawdust on the floor, but the mechanical bull in a bar anywhere they are suspicious of irony. She prayed in twenty years they discovered that a rash of high-school shooters all had in common the fact that their parents blogged about them.

People who looked like her had babies, and she could not imagine caring enough about a baby to make its life any good while she cared as much as she did about looking like she did.

She wanted so badly to punch the five-year-old with the Guided By Voices t-shirt, but she told herself it wasn’t the kid’s fault and decided to punch his father instead. But she couldn’t, of course, because his father was her boss.

Posted by DC at 01:13 AM | Comments (29)

October 14, 2007

End Of Summer (Or Really Beginning Of Autumn If We're Being Honest With Ourselves) Story Thon, Day 15

Today's suggestion is from Jason Tamez: "Argentina reggae"

Recently, dancehall reggae artists have come under a great deal of scrutiny for lyrics some say are homophobic. Embattled by outrage from the gay community, cancelled tour dates, and boycotts, much of the genre’s anti-gay sentiment seems to have quieted. Unfortunately, the artists now seem to be focusing their lyrical wrath exclusively, and somewhat inexplicably, on Argentineans.

“Argentinean man, he so stupid/’Tinean man, gon get he hair did” raps popular dancehall artist Beezhive on his song “’Tinian Man.” While Beezhive is the standard-bearer of dancehall’s anti-Argentinian movement, on hundreds of recent songs reggae DJs and MCs have expressed similar feelings.

“Come to me hood, me beat you down like ape/Argentinian man, you love to eat grape,” goes one lyric by the Kingston trio Creepie Fellows. The song continues: “Buss me gun at a ‘Tinian, he wear no vest/juss a dumb V-neck t-shirt on he chest.”

“It’s outrageous,” says Alfonse Terraja, head of the Argentian Anti-Defamation League. “I would say these songs perpetuate negative stereotypes about Argentinians, but as far as I know, there haven’t ever been any negative stereotypes about Argentinians. So these singers seem to have made some up, namely that Argentnians wear V-neck t-shirts, love to eat grapes, and are overly concerned with their hair.” Terraja says the anti-Argentine broadsides come out of nowhere. “Actually there was no Argentinian Anti-Defamation League until a couple of weeks ago,” Terraja said, “we had to start one to deal with all these songs.” At the time he was interviewed for this article at his office at the AADL, he was clearly still unpacking.

The latest in this wave of hate music, “Bitch-Ass Tango-Doers,” by Truck Driva, seems to get more of the facts right, but is still laced with vitriol towards Argentina: “You could got twenty-tree provinces and a GDP of ova two-hundred and twelve trillion, and you still be a bitch!” Driva declaims on the song’s intro. “He’s still spitting hatred,” Terraja said of the song, “It just seems to be interspersed with things he read on Wikipedia.”

The songs would not be so bad, say Terraja and others, if they did not incite listeners to acts of violence against Argentinians. Songs such as “Funeral For A Grape Eata” and “Hang He From He V-Neck” have received heavy airplay in Jamaica. Even international cross-over singles have contained such statements. “Up n’ Down,” an early 2007 single by the dancehall MC Quantitty, exhorts female dancers to “move (their) ass up n’ down” like they are bludgeoning an Argentinan man to death with it.

Many dancehall artists refused to comment for this piece. One who did consent to be interviewed, Bully Boy, denied that anti-Argentinism is a problem in reggae music, but added, “Certain things are right and certain things are just wrong. If your country hangs down like a penis at the tip of South America, your country is a problem.”

Advocates at the AADL hope to use the threat of a boycott to get dancehall’s most popular stars to sign a resolution renouncing Argentiphobic lyrics, but Alfonse Terraja says he would actually rather have them write a resolution explaining why they decided to target Argentina in the first place. “We’re angry, obviously, but more than that, we’re confused,” Terraja said. “I don’t care about my hair one way or the other, I mean, I’m bald. And I like grapes okay, I guess, but…I don’t know. It’s weird.”

Posted by DC at 11:36 PM | Comments (6)

October 09, 2007

End Of Summer (Or Really Beginning Of Autumn If We're Being Honest With Ourselves) Story Thon, Day 14

Today's suggestion is from Dan The Goose: "photosynthesis is a lie"

Dear Houseplant Enthusiast Monthly,

The idea that talking to your plants helps them grow is a specious idea that has persisted in hobbyist circles for far too long. True, there was some research a few years ago which indicated that the correlation between talking to your plants and their growth actually had to do with the CO2 released with the exhalation of human speech, but you would have to talk to your plants for many hours a day to see any real results. So, what we have instead is a generation of spoiled plants who have been convinced they are the center of the universe by the vaguely positive blathering of their idiot owners.

Young growing plants have responded by either refusing to grow or growing too fast, ruining whatever otherwise lovely arrangement they may be a part of, or they may wear their foliage in ever-more-outrageous leafstyles, or, most audaciously, cross-pollinating with other plants not of their species, with the assistance of meddling, anarchist bees. This is why I have instituted a counter-reformation among the plants in my living room and solarium. I do not talk to my plants. No, indeed, I yell at my plants.

My typical houseplant tending routine finds me much as it must find many houseplant enthusiasts, flitting from plant to plant with a water-can and giving each plant its daily drink, except I follow each drink with a stern reminder that this plant is living in my house, under my roof, and therefore it will obey my rules. I shout at each plant, whether it is showing signs of rebellion or not, that I pay for its soil and water and determine its placement in relation to the bay window where the sunlight comes through and as soon as it is old enough to do all those things for itself it may grow or not grow as it pleases but until that time it will do as I say. I then point out that I have two legs, a brain, and opposable thumbs and it does not and therefore it will never be able to do any of those things and I will always be in control so it can just go ahead and shut up. My prize venus fly trap is the only plant really capable of “shutting up” in any real sense, for the other plants it is largely symbolic.

This is the blanket abuse I hurl at all my plants, the one-size-fits-all-harangue. For particular plants I have special manipulations afoot, and these may go well beyond just shouting. For instance, I may tell a geranium “good job, you’re really blooming, you can do it! Bloom!” and it may bloom happily for the next three days but no matter how much or how beautifully it opens on the fourth day I will say to it, “Hmm, I guess that would be considered blooming by some people, but not me, you disappointed me, I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.” This gentle, patient undermining may actually yield much better results in terms of plant control than my standard yelling. While the CO2 the plant receives from my whispering may be insignificant, it always gets a full dose of low self-esteem. In other successful cases, I off-handedly mentioned to a portly ficus that it could stand to drop a few leaves, and said to a chrysanthemum that was wilting before its time, “Go ahead! Kill yourself! You don’t have the guts.” That particular chrysanthemum did end up taking the cowards’ way out, but I think it served as an educational example to the flowers around it.

So I would encourage my fellow hobbyists to follow in my footsteps, and, instead of treating your houseplants as equal partners in your household, remind them frequently who is boss. Rule with a green thumb and an iron fist. Remind them who wields the spade and who can turn them into mulch at a moment’s notice. They may hate you for it now, but they’ll understand when they have plants of their own some day.

Also: remind them that they will never have plants of their own one day, because they are just plants and you are the human, and you hate them.

Yours,

Kerry Whitebeck
Houseplant Disciplinarian

Posted by DC at 05:31 PM | Comments (42)