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Archive for September, 2008

Americathon, Part 3

September 26, 2008 By: admin Category: Americathon, Campaign 2008, Politics, Video

Well, clearly, without trying, there’s just too much material on the economic crisis and so the “Americathon” series is extending.

As you know I don’t usually embed videos on this blog, so when I do, I really mean for you to see it. Case in point, Letterman evicerates John McCain without a script…

Americathon, Part 2

September 26, 2008 By: admin Category: Americathon, Campaign 2008, News, Politics, Video

My last post–Americathon, Part 1–was supposed to be something completely different. It was supposed to be this post. But I was on a roll and clearly needed to get that stuff out, so now I’m picking up where the first sentence left off in “Part 1,” “For years I’ve felt it coming…”

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There’s this movie Michael and I loved in the late 70s. It was called “Americathon.” This was the tagline…

 “In a story told in narrative flashbacks, a young TV consultant is hired by the President of a bankrupt USA to organize a telethon in order to prevent the country from being repossessed by wealthy Native Americans.”

Isn’t that alone enough to make you want to see the movie? Well, let me tell you about the other parts that might have you hugging your loved ones, and your assets, closer…

In the movie, set in 1998, people are living in their cars and riding bikes to work. Let that sink in… It’s not so funny during a looming 1929-style economic crisis, is it?  The ironic twist that Native Americans are the wealthiest folks in the land is terrific, but the rest of the movie is chilling in it’s prediction of a future we are living right now…

In the telethon that is developed and hosted by the amazing Harvey Corman, entertainers are booked furiously to keep the telethon going and going. As the time passes, the producers and host realize that the phones ring more if the acts on stage are more extreme, edgy, violent. By the end, the Harvey Corman character realizes that what the people really want is a public execution–they want him to get shot and die onstage.

Sound familiar?

Today’s reality shows have arrived at being only ONE STEP away from this very thing. “Survivor” started us off by showing us how ugly we can be to each other when stressed to the limits, then came Big Brother with it’s camera-in-every-room format. For me, that format jumped the shark of ethics when, in one episode, a young man threatens a young woman with a knife and no one on the production staff of the show came out from behind the cameras to the young woman’s aid. Sure, the young man was fired from the show the next day, but that was the next day, and it’s not even really the problem. The problem was that the environment of the show didn’t suppress that kind of behavior from the get-go, and “anything goes” became, truly, “anything goes” rather than the same with a wink and a nod that this was just television and we should all just perform so the ratings will go up. Was there no history of volatility in this young man’s background that would have indicated in the vetting process that he was unsuitable for the show? Or did the producers just not check deep enough?

A current show on A&E called “Intervention” follows addicts as they abuse drugs and alcohol ON CAMERA and then are forced to face their families in an intervention. Interventions are hard enough, but to have America watching you in your most vulnerable hour…??? And still that’s not the part that gets me, it’s the shooting up and the smoking and the drinking of a liter of vodka and getting into a car ON CAMERA and the field producers doing nothing to stop it that gets me.

A few articles have been written about the legality and ethics of the show, and particularly the role of the show’s field producers and crew who must keep rolling no matter what. Only once did I notice the voice of a producer stepping in to caution the addict against a certain behavior. The alcoholic who at 9:00am had downed the liter of vodka and was getting into her car was asked timidly by the off-camera producer if she really thought it was a good idea that she be driving. In that one moment, the fourth wall was gone and television as we know it was gone with it, forever.

On the one hand, I say good riddance. I hate the fourth wall. I love that television can be this incredible way for us to see each other clearly (if, like anything else, it isn’t abused). On the other hand I say shame on the field producers. This is why launch codes are kept by HUMANS–there are some decisions you don’t want a machine to make.

My feeling is that if this show is going to exist–and, truly, I don’t think it can or should–the field producers have an obligation to become part of the story. They MUST intervene, and THAT is the next evolution of television “entertainment.” “Voyeur TV (VTV): You watch because you can’t turn away.”

How do we go back from that? How do we put that genie back in the bottle? It’s funny, it feels like the evolution of television content is following the technology and real estate sectors–there’s a bubble. And it’s still expanding. When the alcoholic lady from “Intervention” hits a kid with her car and the show gets it on camera, we’ll know that the bubble has burst.

Even though it’s a comedy, “Americathon” was a cautionary tale who’s chickens have come home to roost. Many of us might end up living in our cars. My house isn’t paid off, I just bought it. If I lose my job and my brother looses his and his wife looses hers we’ll all move in my father and will start begging the farmer next door for food. I find myself really wondering what could happen and wanting to prepare but not knowing how the hell to do it.

It’s about limits. All of this is about accepting limits and training yourself to recognize them when they’re far enough away for you to take a different path. TV, like investment banking, has been pushing the limits. Every year there’s something riskier and it hasn’t been subtle. It’s been a slow, obvious boil that we all watched happen. And it says volumes–everything–about our culture. We’re not Evolving, we’re DEvolving. And the question that’s begged is how the hell do we put the genie back in the bottle…???

Americathon, Part 1

September 26, 2008 By: admin Category: Americathon, Campaign 2008, Faith, Family, Happiness, News, Politics

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For years I’ve felt it coming. I don’t know anything about the economy, and only a little about how everything is tied to everything and that that is one of the reasons we’re in this financial crisis, cuz the assholes who are supposed to know about it all turned a blind eye for some reason. Was it only greed? That seems too simple even for money-grubbing, self-loathing conservatives. And while we’re on the subject of conservatives…  somebody please introduce me to a real one. Someone show me a conservative who could tell me to my face that my loving Molly impedes their life.

I’ve actually done an informal study myself. I’m the perfect litmus test: white, pretty, educated, charismatic. I make one hell of a first impression and when, really, almost anyone meets me, they like me. So, a few times, I took this power out for a spin when meeting a conservative. I let the initial niceties happen, but then quickly let slip “my girlfriend,” or “gay,” etc. I wanted them to know upfront who they were talking to. The news came naturally enough in the course of the conversation that The Conservative felt I was “opening up” to them. This was all part of the plan, and, without exception, none of them said anything mean to me, ever. They also never brought up their own “views.” Sometimes, when I had occasion to meet with them more than once, the encounters were friendly and energetic. Not fake, just fun.

Wanna know why? Cuz so much middle class homophobia in this country is a smoke screen. It’s the result of mob-behavior, a “safety in numbers” knee-jerk. People don’t actually give a shit who’s fucking who, I think they give a shit that they, themselves, aren’t experiencing the same feelings of freedom in their relationships that it seems like homosexuals are in ours. That’s a false view, of course — all relationships are the same, regardless of sexual orientation, they’re HARD.

Anyway, I truly think that most conservatives suffer from cultural stagnation. They were brought up with the notion that there’s a set of rules that you live by and that’s that. But look at science, technology, hell–look at tall asians! Rules are being broken all the time in every sector! As humans we have to adapt. All the time. And this is what I think is tripping up most middle class conservatives (I’m talking about the ones that vote)–they haven’t been trained/raised to think outside the box. Maybe it’s the God thing… Maybe they were threatened that if they deviated from the rules they’d be smote. Smited. Smitten..??? Anyway…

When I was at the Republican National Convention, the overall feeling was one of grime, ickiness. I felt filthy inside as well as out, and scared for my life because I was trapped in a small building with a SHITLOAD of people who were lying to themselves. And, like a cornered animal, these folks were desperate. They were holding for dear life onto their precious rules even in the face of overwhelming evidence that doing so was screwing their party. Nobody likes John McCain. Not really. And nobody likes Sarah Palin. Not really. They can’t excited about such lacklustre candidates, but the deal is that they have to say they are because those are the rules.

There’s a lot of beauty in the “conservative” ideal… Conservatives are more about family than liberals, more about service than liberals, and more about loyalty than liberals. Look at the Republican party–they fucking stick together (or, well, until about a year ago they did). I wish more liberals felt more of a sense of responsibility to their children, to their marriages, to the country. I don’t ever want to go to war, and I hate regulation, but I would feel proud to serve in the military if our entire culture was about that. Sadly for conservatives, so many of their kids go into the military because, as a group, conservatives don’t believe in education and have too much of a fierce loyalty first to the country and then to their kids. I guess this is the ironic part of my rant: as a mother I would be okay leaving my kids and going to war myself, but it would be over my dead body that they should go to war.

What’s happening in the financial crisis today is like letting the water out of a pool that hasn’t been drained for  a year–there’s a lot of muck down there at the bottom and now everyone can see it.

I know about as much about Jefferson as I do about the economy, but I do know that he advocated for government changing every 19 years. It’s high time, isn’t it? The rules need re-writing.

Obama’s Economy Recovery Plan

September 24, 2008 By: admin Category: Campaign 2008

Obama’s economic strategy laid out:

http://my.barackobama.com/page/s/economyplan

FROM THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN….

Hi, we are facing a financial crisis as profound as any we have faced since the Great Depression, but there’s something you can do to make your voice heard right now:

http://my.barackobama.com/econrecovery

The Obama campaign is asking folks to support a responsible recovery plan that is fair to taxpayers and will fix our broken economic policies moving forward. It’s actually a very simple plan:

* No Golden Parachutes — Taxpayer dollars should not be used to reward the irresponsible Wall Street executives who helmed this disaster.

* Main Street, Not Just Wall Street — Any bailout plan must include a payback strategy for taxpayers who are footing the bill and aid to innocent homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

* Bipartisan Oversight — The staggering amount of taxpayer money involved demands a bipartisan board to ensure accountability and oversight.

Limbo

September 23, 2008 By: admin Category: Living

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What is it that changes our perspective? Or is the question, why do we let ourselves get to a place where we’re expecting the same things over and over because we’re doing the same things over and over? The luxuries of choice and opportunity are everywhere when you’re in the middle class of a first world country.

These days I almost feel like it’s my duty to be happy, to pursue my dreams because I can and so many others can’t. I don’t even know what can’t looks like. I have a credit card. There’s no such thing as “can’t” for me. And yet I get sad…

Clearly, this deserves more thought…:)

Mi Casa, The Update in Pictures

September 22, 2008 By: admin Category: General

Avec furniture & appliances…

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Installing New Trampoline On Bruddah’s New Boat!

September 22, 2008 By: admin Category: Family, Happiness, House, Michael, Music, Video

Yesterday was a terrific day. After an awesome evening of new music at Mali’s show on Saturday night, I woke up, did some yoga and weights, and then drove over to Mike & Laura’s to pick up Mike so we could head out to rig HIS NEW BOAT (photo gallery below…)!!! He bought a catamaran a few days ago and the new trampoline arrived and needed to be installed.

On the way to his house I listened to the “Best Of…” CD of Box 5, my new favorite band and one of the bands I heard at the show the night before. Mary Bichner (pronounced “BEECHner) has a vocal styling similar to Thom Yorke of Radiohead, and, indeed, when I looked at a video gallery of Box 5 through the years on YouTube I saw a very young Mary wearing a Radiohead shirt… just sayin’… 😉

Anyway, so the CD KICKS ASS and everyone reading this has to listen to the tracks online and then buy the thing. Not one bad song in the 7-song EP.

So, as I listened and drove I got more and more inspired to make a video of one of their songs. Images came at me with a vengeance and before the trip to Carlisle was over I had a full storyboard and format/style in my head. I’ve written to Mary and will be calling her later today to pitch the idea. Very exciting! :)

Also, for the last few days I’ve been storyboarding “In The Cemetery Wher Al Jolson Is Buried” and that’s been going very well. What I hope to do there is to finish the storyboards and then shoot the first “scene” as a test. If the test looks good after I’ve done some post-magic then I will pitch author Amy Hempel for permission/rights to shoot the whole thing. I’ve had a passion for this story since my freshman year at Tisch and for some reason the mojo to do it right, and as a film (I had originally tried adapting it for the stage) has arrived now, while I’m settling into the tiny town of Hudson, MA. :)

Lastly, following is a photo gallery of Michael and me installing the new trampoline on the catamaran her just bought. We had hoped to get the tramp installed and then go for a quick sail, but the former owner didn’t come by with the sails, daggerboards or other rigging necessary, so we just spent the time making sure everything we could do was done well. We’re looking to go sailing later in the week.

The day rounded-out with a nice dinner at Mike & Laura’s while watching “Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle.” I’ve always loved Kal Penn, but he was inspired in this movie, and the movie itself is fuckin’ hilarious. Not a good choice for those who don’t like smart-stupid humor–as opposed to the stupid-stupid humor of Ben Stiller–hate it–or the romantic-stupid humor of Adam Sadler–love it–but it had me on the floor.

Anyway, here’s the Michael With Catamaran photo gallery. Enjoy!

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Installing tramp 1.

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Do The BBC!

September 20, 2008 By: admin Category: General

Sometimes I have to psych myself up… I have to go to a thing tonight that I really don’t want to go to but a good friend is playing and needs the support… and so I go. But not before doing…

THE BBC!!!!

L’Anticipation Me Rend Folle!

September 18, 2008 By: admin Category: General, House, Mom

The couches will be here any second. In the meantime I clean and I edit. Both furiously. And I keep looking over my shoulder and out the window to see if I can squint to see a truck that’s so big that no one would have to squint ever to see it.

I was going to write a short poem about the couches, but instead have made these:

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Sarah’s big gold couch…  

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 Mom’s big white couch…

And for your viewing pleasure, here are the Death-tasting herbs the tea of which I have to drink for the next six nights…

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COUCHES. ANY MINUTE NOW!!!!

 

 

Okay, Well, He’s Definitely Got My Vote

September 17, 2008 By: admin Category: General, House

For so, so long, I’ve been waiting for a politician to say what Barack Obama says in this video. When Lehman Brothers failed I shook my head and prayed someone would step up and say “these things are bad, but the American people have been in crisis longer than these guys…” Imagine my joy when I heard Senator Obama say just that…

These are hard, hard times. When I get through them, and after many years pass, I’ll look back and remember how scared I was.

Today I’m going back to Chinese herbs. I have an appointment with a doctor in Sudbury – relatively close to me – and will ask her about herbs. I need to get back on them because I’m feeling a bit anxious with everything that’s going on, and I know that’s not my normal state. I think the PMS issues are back0–quietly, and small, but back–and I want to catch them before they become huge again. There can be so many little things going on with our bodies that can affect our minds and unless we’re diligent about “checking in” we won’t likely be able to identify when something is real and when it’s a reaction to a thrown chemical. I want to be as sure as I can be. When I was in CA and going regularly to see a Chinese herbalist, I felt even-keeled. That’s been slipping in the last few months — way before the house, by the way — so I want to see if it’s real or just the natural reactions to extreme change.