Sunday, February 28, 2010
I watched the gold medal hockey game with friends this evening. Yes, we'd tivo'ed the game, but wow was I glad someone else was there to watch with me. Without other people to be amazed, I might be left talking about it out loud for days.
This occurred following my viewing of L.A. Confidential last night. Afterward, my reaction was, "How has no one insisted I see this movie?" I thought it was awesome. The interwoven storylines of three main characters lead to all three, at some point, having to confront/confess/cope with who they really are as people - making decisions of charcter for each one. Super. I don't think I can think of another movie recently that combines both thrill and suspense with actual character development across the board to the point of crisis.
One thing - I'm currently not trying to think of ways to contradict myself = lazy journalism there.
That will bite me in the butt. But that will have to be tomorrow.
Canada, thank you for such fantastic Olympic games. You are a neighbor and friend - as gracious as you are generous.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
So, I've decided to make a list. And yes, that does make today's crockpot a listy-gimmick, but I'm ok with it.
Perfectly cooked bacon
Waves in the ocean
Waves at sporting events
Socks and towels straight from the dryer
The cherry on top
A good pun
A bad pun
Freckles on noses from the sun
Knowing you're wearing your favorite pair of underwear
A just ripe banana
Seeing the geometric shape of a snowflake when it lands before it melts
Roller coaster downs
The sound of music
The Sound of Music
Seeing baby animals next to full-sized animals
Newly sharpened pencils/ A new box of crayons
An old man with a pipe
Children trying to do something intently and seriously
Chimney smells in winter air
Cookie batter left on the mixing bowl
Shoes that make noise
Crossword puzzle completion
A good thunderstorm
Drive-thru car washes
Smell of cut-grass and the sound of a push mower
Just making a yellow light
A dog in your lap
A good book
The last bit of the trip before you get where you're going
Friday, February 26, 2010
So it is. A perception of this evening shifted, but welcomed.
I am finding that not to be the case in all things, which is no surprise as I most often always hate change. For example, discovering my rent is being raised - unwelcome change. My grocery store no longer stocks Dannon Coffee flavored yogurt - unwelcome change. Hayden Pantierrerereeeree is a redhead? well, actually I don't care about that one.
Anyway, I picked up a book on the two-week check out shelf of the library that I assumed was Paul McCartney's autobiography or memoir of some kind. Wrong! Paul McCartney: A Life by Peter A. Carlin is in fact a biography, so named because it is BY somebody else. (That's official).
Despite glossy photos in the center of the book, I am having real trouble getting into it at all, much less through it. I'm still in England for the most part. Like, we're pretty huge around town and we have our signature look and Brian Epstein and we JUST got to America and are surprised to see how that's going. But I find I'm not liking the book because it's making me like the Beatles less. Nearly all of them! (I mean, who has anything bad to say about George?) And I prefer to join the rest of Americans in just disliking Yoko when it comes to Beatle-ness.
In all fairness, some of my negative feelings come from my dislike of the fake present tense. I am sure there's an actual grammar rule tense that describes what it's written in other than "fake present," but I find it very infuriating to read a biography told in a style that makes it seem like Peter A. Carlin was there, and not merely speculating on mood, reaction, and facts and occurrences based on reports, many of them from those whose "first-hand"edness probably happened some forty drug-addled years ago. Things like, "Paul couldn't be bothered by John's impertinent pout and demand for attention - this was his night to shine, and he was going to, by God."
Like, huh? You weren't there! So that somehow gets on my nerves - impossible omniscient. I think that's the style of this biography. Impossible emotional omniscient.
But what is in fact more worrisome than the style to my overall enjoyment of a life story I am, in fact, quite interested in knowing is that the characterizations do not match entirely with the characterizations of each Beatle persona I have in my mind. And yes, they are nuanced. Yep, I bet they fought and did some of the drugs and were hugely into a lot of things. But, as those who've followed the crockpot's departure into my own speculation about Paul McCartney and his current life with Michael Jackson might guess, I really prefer to keep it a little happier around the edges. Paul, Michael, and Prince, doing normal things - that's what I would like to see.
We'll see if I make it through. I think I at least want to make it to the Linda McCartney part. We'll see. And speaking of crockpot departures, remind me I have to get back to that showdown with Prince and Paul and Michael!
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Speaking of comebacks of a sort, Cyndi Lauper is going to be on The Apprentice. Ever since that was announced, I've noticed a sudden increase in air play for her songs. I'm certain that's not a coincidence, but it's certainly a boon for Cyndi Lauper fans (me). Lately a lot of air time for "All Through the Night" has made me very happy. Check it out. Also, check out her legs! Man! I don't remember those from the 80s. She-bop, indeed. Anyway, I think the lyrics to this song are quite beautiful on the whole, and when I catch it on the radio I usually enjoy some poignant car singing. I'm kind of not sure why she's doing The Apprentice, frankly. Particularly given my new love of the Sundance and Logo channels in their programming. I think Cyndi could be a star there, even serving in the Sharon Osbourne role for a show, but maybe she wanted to keep it mainstream? Don't know. But Cyndi, welcome back. Always glad to see you, Time after time.
I'm still at my desk, stewing in my own frustration (girls just wanna have fun!, after all), wondering if it's possible to give oneself a stress toothache in addition to a stress headache. I don't know, but why can I feel one side of my face throb while the other sits gummin' away as usual. Dunno dunno. But from forehead to jaw to tooth, something's not right with the left. I guess it's my left? Your right? Is that a term like stage right? Face right? Again, don't know.
Today I had a doctor's appointment that even included a blood draw. The lab for labwork - blood, urine, x-ray - was downstairs. I ended up in the small corner of the world of a blood technician who introduced herself to me by saying she'd be "my vampire" for the day. Given vampire popularity of late, that's quite a claim to make to a stranger! But, given her skill at actually extracting blood from veins by way of pokey things, I suppose it was apt.
Not an off-handed joke for her, however. This lady had formally and officially found her corner of the world - her domain, her space to be herself in the workplace and do her thing and do it well. Originally, when I arrived at the lab after the sterile doctors' office confines, I was shocked by the blaring music of the Clash. Um, huh? You're going to watch me bleed? Band-aids and The Cure - great. There were also Halloween decorations, skulls in particular, adorning things. It was upon seeing the blood technician that I realized that all of the batty accoutrement was intentional, not horribly out of season. This chick loved her goth stuff.
The thing was, her aesthetic crossed many many versions of pop subculture. The music, the clothes, the hair, the decor - it was a little bit all over the place, but the message, in the interdisciplinary genre combine of "outsiderness", was clear - I am NOT playing by the rules (except where mandated by law in the handling of hematological fluids). She chose the label goth. Do I think some goths would fight her and accuse her of wannabe-in it? Yes.
(did the image of a goth-cage-match just excite me? a bit. but it's won by like, out-emo-ing somemone).
I could not guesstimate an age, even based on context clues that she had a child who was old enough to be sent "upstate" to be raised to avoid gang activity. She said that her family was the goth family on the street of gangbangers. My image of a goth family, aside from the original Aadamses, is probably formed by memories of episodes of Wife Swap where a family self-identified as "the goth family." She looked more than happy to be a part of such a label. And, with her Snookie-length, jet black hair, which was crusted into hm...Edward Scissorhandsesque knots near the roots, she was happy as could be. And yep - bang. In, stuck, bleeding, out. She was good. At the time I was like, man I don't think I'd want to work in my own goth blood basement office. But right now, I very much see the genius there, curled around the orange and black skeleton garland tenderly resting on the "Notice of Insurance Policy Implications" signage.
I have no idea what my equivalent corner of the world would be.
I doubt it would be goth, even though the Aadams Family showed at the beginning of every episode - it's a snap.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Last night I was able to watch two hours of virtuosic tap dancing for absolutely no cost.
Savion Glover (pictured left), Marshall Davis, Jr., and Maurice Chestnut performed "Bare Soundz," a two-hour tap blitz that was designed to create music in its execution rather than to be performed to music. These three gentlemen used their feet. For hours. At unimaginable speeds. And they sounded like drums. Drums big, drums small, drums metal, drums canvas, drumsticks. As well as: an idling engine, a revving engine, a helicopter, and jazz. Yep, they were all in there. And yes, it was fantastic!
I first became familiar with Savion Glover during his stint on Sesame Street. He is, in my memory, Elmo's first friend. Elmo and Gina and Savion all seemed to hang out. I was dubious of Gina, as I was a Maria loyalist, especially when it was someone was eating sandwiches in Mr. Hooper's store, and Elmo was never my favorite. Sure, could this be a by-product of my not being 2 years old? Yes. But who refers to themselves in the third person like that and isn't annoying? And why was he always so upbeat? Grover, Oscar, Big Bird, Snuffy - these characters were nuanced in their emotional range. Sometimes they all needed hugs. Oscar is, by name, a grouch. Elmo just likes hugs. Sure, this could also be a carry over from my loyalty to the Sesame Street of my childhood. Elmo was not on my Sesame Street. Maybe I don't like change (I hate change), but I sort of don't like Elmo (please don't tell my niece). Now Elmo's friend Savion, on the other hand, that guy seemed cool. He danced! And how.
Glover, Davis, and Chestnut, in addition to dancing for what seemed like four hours, not two, also moved their feet at the speed of hummingbirds' wings. My eye literally could not catch the movements between front, back, side and side. It was, in addition to very entertaining, awe-inspiring. WHAT THE?! That was my reaction. Head shaking, disbelieving - What the?!?! Because how do you learn to make your feet move that quickly that often that many times in a row without your feet snapping off at the joint? How many hours a day do you practice? And how do you ever get them to rest, especially if they are trained to follow and revel in, a beat?
I am a sucker for watching people do things really, really well in ways I cannot dream of doing. The Olympics, for example, is of such interest (I believe the first entry of this Lent explains) because I cannot fathom doing what the athletes are doing. Ever. With the body I have. On this Earth, with its current gravitational restrictions. Bare Soundz was the same situation. I was spell-bound and in awe. How can you do that? How can you move like that? How can you be that good?
My friend Krista and I both thought that Savion Glover's posture was downright puppet-like. He held is arms jauntily aloft at both sides but limp, as if they were held up by strings waiting to be moved by a puppet-master.
Do I believe his arms were thoroughly engaged in the dancing he was doing? Yes.
Do I have any clue how the physiology of his movements worked to make it possible? No. But I'm so far from having any idea that I'm even more impressed.
The other thing that was both captivating and confusing was that the dancers really appeared to have scrawny, wiry legs. Where was the power center? What was being used most? Like speedskaters have quads that are the size of medium-sized dogs, so too do most elite athletes have very telling physiques depending on which muscles they use most and develop well beyond the average Joe wearing spandex. But the tap dancers seemed to be all sinew. Perhaps that is part of what it takes? Being mostly muscle fiber, but not too much of it?
Whatever made him go-go-go, Savion Glover and friends (Maurice and Marshall - not Gina and Elmo) were absolutely mind-boggling in their tap abilities. Quite a feat by quite some feet.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
It's as though someone has unplugged my power source, and I'm getting the message that I either need to switch to adapter power or I'll automatically power down, losing unsaved information.
All I can do is double scoop tomorrow's rambles. Probably a treat for no one, and my apologies for being so lame, but again, something beyond my powers is at work here. Might not even brush my teeth.
Monday, February 22, 2010
"Seriously, Blossom and Six as names for two teenage girls on one show. Did we ever learn what Six was short for? Because what is that abbreviating? Sixfanie? Sixmantha? Margaret? Come on.March 2, 2009 - Fishcrockpot entry on day six of Lent crockpotting
Boner Stabone is a more believable and lovable sitcom best friend nickname (and, frankly, a far better character). Yep, I just checked to see if Stabone was spelled with one B or two, and let's just say it looks like joining the army worked out ok for Boner. And don't get me started on how great that episode was. Literal growing pains. His character was all grown up and had to leave. That will choke you up thinking back! The hug in the driveway...
Show me that smile again!"
February 22, 2010 - Facebook status prior to writing sixth day of Lent crockpot on same topic:
While at work today perusing the internet for one reason or another (procrastination?), I noticed that "Growing Pains" was a top 10 search on Yahoo!. As noted by my assertion a few days ago that I might figure skate in the Olympics to the Growing Pains theme song if given the chance, and my general love of the sitcoms of my childhood, that was one link I could not resist clicking. The story that followed was decidedly sad.
Apparently Boner has taken to Vancouver, which - fine, so have a lot of the world's citizenry. Vancouver is kinda a big deal right now. But he's depressed and he's missing. Not wanting to be found is one thing, but not wanting to be found because you're very much depressed and trying to disappear entirely is another. Not good at all.
As demonstrated by my near identical responses to Andrew Koenig's character Boner Stabone, a little less than a full year apart from one another, I really liked Boner. And, as you can tell by my referencing his departure episode both times, that episode really got me. Boner was leaving me at the same time he left Mike Seaver. Boner was all grown up! It was the end of an era in our mutual television maturation. And a flashback to young Boner and young Mikey Seaver at the bus stop meeting each other for the first time? Come on! I remember the hell out of that. Because it left a mark. Because I cared about Boner. Because I grew up while he did.
Looking up the story about his character this time, I see that the Growing Pains writers were even funnier than we thought. Boner's full name was Richard "Boner" Stabone. Dick Boner Stabone? Zing, indeed. Even Maggie Malone couldn't get a clean quote from a writer on how that one came to be.
The USA Today article taught me that Andrew Koenig, who played Boner, is in fact descended from television royalty, being the son of Chekov from Star Trek. What was more shocking to me? Boner, before fleeing to Canada, lived in the same neighborhood I do! Boner could have been MY LITERAL goofy, good-hearted, unintentionally funny next door neighbor. We could have gotten into hijinx! Bikes, babes, basketball, breaking stuff - good old fashioned sitcom hijinx. Someone to say hilarious things and not know they're hilarious - if only.
Boner from Growing Pains, Skippy from Family Ties, Vinnie to Doogie Howser, M.D.! Six to Blossom. Kimmy Gibbler. The list goes on and on. But it is the really lovable goofball best friends of the t.v. families I grew up with that really mean the most to me. I do believe Boner may be tops among them. He was a kind of goofy lovable that was a cut above the rest. I wonder if being unable to live down his time as Boner has had an effect on his current depression. I certainly hope not, as the Boner I remember is beloved. A silly, dirty name? Yes. But a character of my personal childhood sitcom lore.
Hopefully - whether being found by media and authorities or just being found by someone who can help him - Andrew Koenig will find the help he needs and the life he wants. Maybe it is in Canada. Could be.
His work and worth is certainly not lost on me. And it's taking all my reserve not to quote the entire theme song here. It kind of fits.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Examples, in short: hardcore Clay-mate (one who loves Clay Aiken) so much so that she refused to believe he was gay well past the point that most people say, within five years of our ages, had; loves Nicholas Sparks, cries frequently at country songs and when something adorable and touching happens . In summary, she's a loving, feeling, wonderful person who has not built a cavern of cynicism into which she retreats, taking with her only a laptop with which to write a blog and enough snacks to support her emotional eating habits as prompted by writing deadlines and, generally, emotions. She also is Jo in the living, twentieth century version of Little Women, being the oldest of four sisters, a former newspaper reporter, a tenacious achiever who demands superior work of herself and equal footing with her peers, and having married a guy who is sometimes thought to be foreign or surly based on his initial social interactions with others (these folks are wonderful, btw, some of my very best friends, and they have the senses of humor about themselves required to be some of my very best friends). She does have some life situational overlap with the target demographic she aligns with that that makes Hallmark moments touch her way more tenderly than they touch me.
I go about this wordy prelude to say that after years of teasing, I have saved her the trouble of having to isolate my tastes as I've self-identified in a target demographic of which I am not a member, but whose tastes I clearly must share - gay folk! I love the Bravo network, but am suddenly enchanted by the offerings of LOGO. They show both Reno 911 (LOVE LOVE LOVE) and the Sarah Silverman Program in syndication, along with my new flavor of the month in reality programming - RuPaul's Drag Race!
This show is amazing on many levels - one being that it is perhaps the best cheeky spoof of a bonafide hit since Reno 911 spoofed Cops. The format is lifted entirely (as are a few other things that are out of view) from America's Next Top Model. From getting "She-Mail" to learn about a challenge, to the totally excessive focus on RuPaul at about every quarter of the show (modeled after Tyra's camera self-love), this show is that show, but way better. It laughs at itself. RuPaul's admonition and encouragement to contestants every week? "Don't F*CK it up." Hilarious. Blunt. Direct. And YES. Don't! Or you'll go home. How to save yourself from elimination? Lip synch for your life! Contestants have a simultaneous lip synching showdown at the end of the runway. Amazing! Great format! Entirely compelling! I wish more things in life were decided by the merits of lip synching performance, actually!
The show also boasts having found a perfect use for Santino Rice, former Project Runway top three finisher with an acerbic wit and a spot-on Tim Gunn impersonation. This is his forum and his commentary does not disappoint.
Also, drag queen puns, dirty and otherwise, are amazing! I love RuPaul's jokes! And send ups of very accepted drag love (i.e. Kathy Griffin, Dolly Parton, glitter). The contestants wait for judges to deliberate in "the interior illusions" lounge. Everything is tongue-in-cheek. RuPaul leaves no stone unturned...INTO A WOMAN! (terrible but I could not resist).
Beyond being a great send up of a show that takes itself way too seriously and whose contestants are way too skinny, catty, and for the most part, not that interesting as people, this show reveals the different reasons for, and experiences of, dressing in drag. Some of these contestants feel like women when in drag. Others feel like they're performing. Some feel they're they're true selves. One thing is undeniable - they're gorgeous! Like, stunning! Watching their transformations every episode stops me in my tracks. Many times I don't remember which contestant it is I'm looking at because their transformation into their drag persona is so complete. My God, if I could walk like a woman like they did, I might be going places. As is, I'm at home watching them femme it up. One contestant in the episode I just watched said he loves drag because no one had ever told him he was attractive as a man, but everybody thinks he's beautiful as a woman. It was such a crushing, revealing, honest, poignant statement that was a segment cutaway as he walked the runway, essentially a two minute throw away. But wow. That's really a lot to take in. The other thing that's great is that these women do catty as they do makeup - waaaaay beyond the average. But it's part of their characters, and therefore way more likable than a 19 year old whose limbs and thinness make her look like a fawn complaining that a roommate has made fun of her walk behind her back.
This is not petty bullshit, it's in your face bullshit. Which I prefer.
I recommend it. And I'm also really interested in traveling to Key West due in no small part to the gay-friendly commercials they air during the drag race.
But to do that, I better WORK.
(too far of a stretch to RuPaul song?)
Saturday, February 20, 2010
As promised yesterday, tonight's entry will feature quotes, thoughts, and comments from people I actually know who are not me. What's different about these guest commentators, however, is that unlike the times when say, I attribute thoughts to Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney or a stranger in a grocery store or an ESPN commentator, these thoughts come from three of the greatest minds of my generation. Just look at this roster and begin to feel inferior:
- Sara Wobker B.A., MPH, MD
- Susanne Hall, B.A., M.A., PhD
- Erin Valenti Bawa, B.S., M.S., PhD, CFA
Folks, the doctors are IN.
And the doctors are interested in responding to a great hypothetical question - spurred on by the Winter Olympics, posed by a friend of Dr. Wobker
What would you wear, and what music would you play for the long program skate?This question elicited an immediate series of WOWs from me, as it is really really really hard to answer. Do you go for hilarity? Things you'd actually like to listen to and wear? Something that you think would win you a medal? Something so wrong it has to be right? I have still yet to think of my definite answer. And this question came to me by email on Friday morning!
Dr. Wobker was in a room of people considering the question. As she does not suffer fools, I'll assume the room full of people were also some great minds, thinking alike.
Below, Dr. Wobker's report from the scene of live interaction prior to posing the question to an online group, [with some additions by me] and her follow up answer:
"[One friend said she would] 'dress like A prince, and play prince songs.'"
[This apparently led to the realization that it would hilarious to see]
the Artist Formerly Known as Prince...skating to the minnesota . which led to this realization - that prince on ice would not be so different from prince on stage, and he's been in ice skating outfits most of his professional career. furthermore, prince on ice should totally happen[HOLY CRAP HOW HAS IT NOT?].
my answer: a catsuit made entirely of that nude fabric that they put in the low Vs of the outfits, because i am intrigued by it, and the ."
The only thing that leads me to refute this speculation is my thorough and genuine belief that Prince, were he so inclined, would be skating at the professional level. Really. Do you know what kind of people wear figure skating outfits as signature looks for their professional careers? People with the builds of figure skaters. Long story short, Purple Rain on Ice seems about 4 months away from a realistic possibility, starring Prince himself, as himself. I think he could get up to speed in about four months. And MY GOD would I love to see a Johnny Weir/Prince collaboration (airing on Bravo). Wow. WOW. Think about it. Um, Johnny Weir cast as the crying dove??? He already has feathers on his fallen angel costume from this Olympics (reflecting how he felt about his career and sport since the last Olympics, according to commentators). It is not such a far, or technically difficult, jump to make.
Dr. Valenti Bawa responded to Dr. Wobker's idea for a totally nude body suit by pointing out that we have already seen this in popular culture in the form of the community college mascot featured on the NBC show Community, the Greendale Human Being. This mascot who is completely non-descript in gender, ethnicity, and all other categories for categorization was made to be inoffensive in all possible ways. As a result, the human being is terrifying - covered head to to (including face) in nylon spandex of a sort. Would that be a great look for Dr. Wobker, assuming she didn't cover her head? I think it would be compelling. But only if she used ridiculously strong and utterly unnatural face makeup like that featured on ice dancers.
Dr. Hall's response was stellar and speedy. No one's surprised. Or that her idea is genius:
My answer is easy--I'd play the theme on a loop and dress as dorothy, in majestic robes of tortured tailoring, and skates that look like roman sandals. If I had the budget, I'd set up a cascading uniform of reveals that began with Dorothy's voluminous outfit, stripped away to a tasteful grandma dress for rose, which tears away to a sexy silky nightgown for Blanche, which then finally tears off to an even older lady dress for sophia and her handbag which, in the piece de resistance, I open, and a dove, symbolizing eternal friendship, escapes into to the night.Really. Can you get better than this? Unbelievably awesome. Undeniably awesome. Awesome. My only concern is that to execute this, you would have to hear the Golden Girls theme song enough times to perfectly land every single detail - which i would imagine might drive a person crazy. The only thing standing in the way of this, from my perspective, is the possible downside of liking the show less or hating the theme song (PERISH THE THOUGHT!) afterward. Would a gold medal replace the Golden Girls adequately? Picture it. America, 2010...
Dr. Valenti Bawa, after much consideration, decided on the following:
While I love this Michael Jackson pairs idea, I do fear the same personal outcome. Would it be worth a gold medal to no longer enjoy hearing "Beat It"? No one wants to be defeated. But which way is a win? Tough decisions.
My answers? I had to just make a list of ideas. I can't commit! And can't decide which songs I'd be willing to sacrifice for the gold! One idea would be to start skating to Swan Lake, as I believe Oksana Baiul did to get her gold. Or at least she dressed like a swan. I think I'd start about 10 seconds of swan lake - record scratch! - then switch to Bjork. Her swan dress? Yep. It featured ice skating craftsmanship.
TV Theme Songs - Magnum P.I., and a medley of other 70s & 80s cop detective themes, climaxing with the Knight Rider theme song. In this I'd like to steal Sue's idea for the costume reveals as well. Mustache mandatory. KIT zamboni preferred.
Alternate - Growing Pains theme song
Songs I like that I'd have to sacrifice for the win but believe are long enough to do the job -
Freedom 90 - George Michael
Man in the Mirror - Michael Jackson
Coming Around Again - Carly Simon (this is actually an idea stolen from my dad, and he's pretty right, it would be a great skating song)
Tell Me Lies - Fleetwood Mac
Silly Love Songs - Paul McCartney (Live and Let die a close 2nd due to builds inherent in the music)
Songs I think would be great new avenues for ice skating use -
Mash ups - They're already dicey and awesome. Put it on.
Sound of Music Overture followed by Andre Benjamin's "Favorite Things" cover - both are great
Pairs Skating ideas like Erin's-
Copa Cabana - Barry Manilow (the story is all there. get a yellow outfit)
Pina Colada song - Rupert Holmes (ditto)
My short program - Lots. Of. Jumps.
Lots of them.
I'm going to leave this topic open for discussion and revisiting. Could be a slow cooker situation for my ideas to catch up in quality to those put forth by the doctor caucus.
My thanks to all aforementioned super-minds for their super consideration of the questions and challenges consuming our world today across disciplines! Front row seats to PROI (that's what purple rain on ice sounds like as a word...symbol still forthcoming from our graphics department).
Friday, February 19, 2010
Last night, after leaving the crock with comments about Olympic injustice, I then watched what I considered to be a miscarriage of Olympic justice occur (on DVR, on tape-delay). I for one, love this ice queen:
Ladies and gentlemen, Johnny Weir. (Shown at left bending over for judges).
Now, Johnny Weir's outspoken ways and signature style are both what have damned him, in my opinion, to be slighted by judges for just not being respectable enough about the sacred tradition of figure skating (is that the bad blonde dye jobs and hair gel of former Soviet Union men he should be going for, or the total fake-baked skin, and personality [though all due congrats on the gold] of his arch-rival and current gold medal winner, Evan Lysacek? what was with the snakessssss, Evan???), as well as made him into someone fascinating and titillating enough to be relevant after his figure skating career in worlds apart from figure skating - for instance, the fashion world, which he plans to pursue.
Johnny Weir does not seem destined to end up on the Campbell's Soup Tour of Champions with other retired skaters, but might very well end up on the Project Runway episode involving a Campbell's Soup challenge (a few episodes back this season). He already has a reality show, Be Good, Johnny Weir, on the Sundance Channel that I find to be hopelessly misplaced on that network. Bravo, what. the. F(ashion error)? I mean, he admits to cleaning all the time to relieve stress (those familiar with my sink bleaching ritual know how endearing I find this to be), so isn't he close enough to a housewife of whatever county to sign him on? Is he too smart? He's definitely catty enough, but likable because you believe that, though he is clever enough to be a raging bitch, he's not. He stops short. He's a sweetheart inside. Like, he's got a tongue-in-cheek attitude about himself, fame, the sport, life. So you like him. Because though he needs the approval of the ice skating world to be ice skating elite, he realizes it's a bit ridiculous. And he has Dolce & Gabbana tighty whiteys (though they're not white, and D&G, I might sign him for ads!) Bravo, I watch so many shows about so many less interesting people with such lesser talent on your network, why have you not jumped at Johnny like you're beginning your long program and you're down by .02 in technical judging after the free skate?
I've seen about three episodes of his Sundance show. While enjoyable, it could be much better in more experienced hands - Bravo, again, I'm looking at you to masterfully craft interesting t.v. out of people's mere charisma and personal charm. Add actual talent and wow, could be a hit. As it is on Sundance, my favorite portions are when Johnny dresses up as a female Russian entertainment/sports reporter doing a one-on-one interview with famous American skater, Johnny Weir. I mean, hilarious. Someone with a sense of humor about himself. But it seems like his sport doesn't want to be in on the joke. Anyway, I love television and I find Johnny Weir to be quite likable, but something is not yet right on the money about his show. Much like a triple toe loop, the landing has to be perfect for any of it to be impressive. Sundance - good effort, but it's still wobbly.
Last night's performance made me so furious on Johnny Weir's behalf. Sure, I'm not a qualified ice skating judge, but doesn't the edge of your seat factor count for anything? If all the commentators agree it's a "skate of a lifetime" and you're at home giving an Arsenio Hall fist circling of agreement (yes, I am talking about me), doesn't that say anything? The Swiss guy FELL. Come on. I feel for you, Johnny. I think you got jobbed. And not like the Russian skater thinks he got jobbed - actually jobbed.
How has anyone not made the comparison of Silver medalist Plushenko
to Gareth from the original BBC Office?!?
I mean, these aren't even the best pictures for this comparison. They've got the same haircut. And same sense of being better than everyone else and consistently wronged by uncontrollable higher powers. Evan Lysachek? More like Tim.
Really, think about it. Of COURSE the cleancut smiley guy wins. But did he do a quad? No. Plushenko has the same indignant tone I remember...
Exactly like Gareth saying, "right, but could you fight with nun-chucks if you had no arms? I didn't think so" in an argument with Tim. Without Ricky Gervais around, Plushenko just is not as funny as we'd prefer.
Back to Johnny Weir...
The other thing that makes me feel for dear Johnny - and I think his choice might be both protective for his skating career and a mild F you to the media who would love to have yet another story to tell and box to categorize him in, (so why not toy with it by withholding the box) - is the media's total obsession with his sexuality. ESPN radio's Colin Cowherd was discussing him saying that people seemed to be mad that he wouldn't just come out. Cowherd's response was something akin to,"Really, America? Do you really need to be told explicitly? Does he need to date Elton John for you to believe?" I Arsenio'ed that one. And LOL'ed (callback to yesterday! you gotta subscribe to stay alive!).
I defy you to find an article or commentator who does not describe Johnny Weir as flamboyant. And yes, yes, he IS the definition of flamboyant, especially in the men's ice skating world, but it sort of is used in the same way as "articulate" when college basketball commentators discuss their chats with black players. "He was such an articulate young man," with awe and congratulations. What's not being said - "He was so articulate, for a black athlete." Kind of like, "Johnny is just so flamboyant, by which I mean gay."
It's not said, but you can kind of hear it. More than implied.
I will be very interested to see what happens to Johnny after he retires from skating - a.k.a. - when Vancouver ends. He should be able to ride this Olympic wave right into talk show appearances and guest judging roles on either Project Runway or RuPaul's Drag Race (on LOGO - a spoof/homage/total improvement upon Tyra's America's Next Top Model, with actually fascinating people rather than stick thin models). Johnny Weir for Target? Possibly. Though do I kind of want him to go into gown designing with Austin Scarlett? Yes. That too. Do I worry he'll either make a fragrance or go on to guest host Extra too quickly? Yes.
Let's call the whole thing Dancing with the Stars.
Wherever the sequins may fall, I do count myself as a fan. He's savvy and sassy. And you can't mess with that.
Unless you're judging technical merit, I suppose.
Crock-tease: Tomorrow's crock will feature guest input!
A real stew will brew!
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Unfortunately, a cursory Google search only resulted in that lyric being attributed to Tag Team (back again!) in their 1993 hit “Whoomp! There it is.” But I swear I have recently heard a similar, if not identical lyric from a much older song during one of my car radio foray's into the old school jams of Hot 92 Jams. Something like, “Do you need a shovel to dig it?” Something awesome, in any event. If anyone is aware of the original cleverness there, please let me know whoomp, whose it is.
Shockalocka shockalocka shockalocka...
I am sure this is already a whole field of study (Linguistics? American Studies? Communications?), and now, probably a field of much interdisciplinary interest, given the undeniable effects of social media and social networking and well, the iPhone on cultural perceptions and phenomena, but I am fascinated by when words and phrases become adopted for popular use by massive segments of, if not the entire, population. I am equally fascinated by the causes of, and typical time frames for, their extinction. What extinguishes the popular use of a phrase or term that has caught on like wildfire? And which spreads faster, the epidemic use of the word or phrase, or the cure that eradicates it from the collective pop vocabulary? What is the tipping point from cool to uncool? Being used as a joke by the women on The View? Someone has to be studying this.
My basic question - why does no one ask if i can dig it anymore without actually referring to a hole when they do so?Was the ubiquity of diggin' it born solely from Shaft (e.g. is that when even white people appropriated the phrase for use thereby rendering it totally less cool [we white people do that a lot - unfortunate but true.])? And is that what gets things in the collective pop consciousness to die and be pushed back into the collective pop memory (a.k.a. VH1 Show Development whiteboards), when too many people get access to a phrase? When it's being used in generic, overly popular ways that make it uncool to the people who originally started using it? Or when it's being mass marketed as a thing?
Catch phrases and phenomena from popular entertainment are one thing, but aside from those phrases, few and far between are claims of someone originating a phrase that has become a part of popular dialogue. I was startled, in fact, by Paul Mooney's claim that he originated use of the phrase "N-word (sic - edited because I am not Paul Mooney), please." I mean, that is, to me, a very bold claim. Sure, he'd done the research himself so some bias may have been involved in his tracing it back to himself, but still - wow. You created a phrase adopted into pop language? Impressive. I mean, staggering (Also, that information can be found in Paul Mooney's memoir Black is the New White, which I enjoyed primarily for its completely unapologetic storytelling).
I also wonder if writers or performers who unintentionally create phrases that are adopted by pop language ever see their phrase on a keychain at a 99 cent store and want to get on the store intercom and announce they wrote it, or, if aggressively taking over the PA is not an option, stand by the rack all day and tell passersby that they came up with the phrase that now could be what people look at every time they open their house door, or start their car. I saw a special on Milton Glaser, the artist who created the I (PICTURE OF A HEART) NY graphic in which he describes never having made a cent from that design. A CENT. Can you imagine living your entire life in New York City surrounded by people selling your work and really being fine with it? Glaser made the image as part of an effort to revitalize a city he loves so really, he IS fine with it, as it worked quite well. People do heart NY. Pretty hard. But still, the magnanimity of anonymity seems hard to take. I guess today you could get all the recognition for an idea that you need by posting it as your facebook status. "Ginny DeFrank just created a catchphrase that Hallmark will co-opt for greeting cards aimed at their female 45-55 demographic within a year's time." One thumb's up, and suddenly I'm acknowledged and the sense of achievement overwhelms me. But more on facebook in a moment.
Some catchphrases from pop culture entertainment work wonders - they catch. What am I talkin' 'bout Willis? The Bart Simpson triumverate of "eat my shorts," "don’t have a cow man," "cowabunga" comes to mind. Then there's the "Get 'er done" of Larry the Cable Guy, which is referenced both for genuine recognition of the enjoyment of the phrase, as well as ironically by another segment of the population making fun of those taking genuine pleasure in the phrase and act associated with it (if you're reading this, you're probably in this latter category).
Other catchphrases just hit and stick with pop culture - The Terminator's "I’ll be back," Jack Nicholson's "You can't handle the truth!," Tom Cruise's "You complete me," Seinfeld's "Yada, yada, yada," etc. etc. etc.
Maybe it just means I'm old, but really - did they spoof catch phrases to make catchphrases before? See: every children's movie trailer looking to hook adult audiences in the past seven years. Phrases that surfaced as bullet-proof marketing for one creative property because they were adopted, imitated, and used by America at-large are now either spoofed or recycled for use with another property. used the tagline "You can’t handle the tooth" in its bus stop advertisements. Upon seeing such marketing, my brain kinda went - man, I must be old, and then ehhhh, really Disney? Maybe it's because I find A Few Good Men to be hilariously sacred. But maybe it's like stealing another movie's thunder to get lightning to strike again. Seems like cheating.
Anyway – totes moving on, how's about the abbreviation of "totally" that has become "totes"? Remember when Totes was a popular brand of gloves and slippers that really slammed the advertising onto us in the month right before Christmas? Or how about how everyone from ages 15 to, hm, I'll say 40? now uses the word "fail" as a precursor to anything that does not work as it should, including minor accidents like spilling a drink, or major life events. For example, if one were to ask a girlfriend to marry him and to get a negative response, upon retelling the story, something like "lifemate acquisition fail" might be used to cap it off. Totes might say something like that to one's best bud. Turn exclusively to a life of "bromance" after a fail that epic. (Epic is, in the opinion of the crockpot, vastly over-used. At nigh epic proportions. Because really, if everything is epic, epic kind of loses its meaning, no? Totes loses its meaning).
Originally I thought totes and fail were in the same category of, I think online creation and dissemination for cultural adoption, but then I remembered maybe it's Paul Rudd's character saying "Totes Ma'goats" in I Love You, Man (also one of the originators of common acceptance of "bromance!") that totes brought totes to the tongues of teens and twenty-somethings everywhere. I totes catch myself saying totes when I talk to myself, but then I am mad at myself for totes using it. The question is, why do I not want to be part of the pop culture using "totes"? Fail, to my hypothesizing, became massively popular in use because of failblog.org, a blog devoted to enumerating failures of all kinds in visually hilarious ways. A viral sensation among links friends forward to friends, suddenly folks took the link and FAILED to not also take the adoption of "fail" into their vocabularies. Interesting and new. I am not saying I'm above it. Nope, totes use the fail. This blog? Brevity fail! But why do some popular phrases become attractive to and used by some, but hated or eschewed by others? What's the difference there? And what can jump all boundaries and attack an entire culture?
Two fabulous examples of ubiquitously recognized, yet widely and vehemently loved or hated, depending on one's stance, are the abbreviations LOL and OMG. Created to make texting, tweeting, chatting, facebooking, easier, faster, simpler, less keystrokey, laugh out loud and oh my God both serve a purpose in abbreviating commonly used phrases or reactions people have that it takes words to communicate in visual only media. If the other person cannot hear you laugh, typing "I am laughing out loud" indicates that one is laughing like, for real laughing, not laughing to oneself. LOL simplifies this entire concept into three letters. Yet I know many many fine people who HATE the LOL, because it also represents a different type of computer user, a different level of communication sophistication, and, in many cases, a different age level. Like, maybe one belonging to someone still following Miley Cyrus's Twitter feed. So how is the decision made that no, something that, for all intents and purposes does simplify communication, should not become something one uses? And in the recent movie ads for It's Complicated (also a Facebook reference), Alec Baldwin's character says "O.M.G. I thought he would never leave." This line was funny enough to enough people that it was selected for MASS AUDIENCE RECRUITMENT. A joke that played best to the most people, I'm sure. And it's true! Not only would parents and middle-aged people of an age akin to that of the cast think that adopting the language of the kids these days be a plucky thing to do, but so would I, someone who is a child of the people depicted by Meryl Streep and Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, but still too old to have organically adopted O.M.G. into my vocabulary. Who draws the line between ironic use and intended use? And how does one create a line that spans the two? And, when does a line go out of style? And, who let the dogs out? Alas, those seeking answers kinda got the Shaft.
These are the mysteries of pop culture. This was definitely an epic point clarification fail by me, but I totes put the word "crock" in the url so that I can't be taken to court. WYSIWYG, ya'll.
Olympic aside - the crock would like to personally congratulate American alpine skier Julia Mancuso for winning 2 silver medals (neither of which even SHE thought she would, according to color commentators) and skiing her butt off at the Vancouver games. Her 2 new and totally unexpected silver medals (despite her wearing a tiara, I still like her because she's getting a PR shaft), she has remained no more than an afterthought in NBC's coverage. She TIED the all-time record of 3 women's alpine medals with her other medal from Torino. So like, record holder who was a complete underdog is not enough of a story, how? Only because Lindsay Vonn is the one with the talking points and the press package. Come on NBC, love everyone, not just the face people. I shouldn't like Lindsay Vonn less because she's got a better publicity machine. But I do because it's overshadowing some folks doing amazing and unexpected things - like being the second best in the world at two things in two days. Um, recognition fail!
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
So wrote the wise and hilarious Carrie Adams Flower, friend to the crockpot, and the first of three in a trinity of friends, loved ones, personal motivators, and armchair psychologists who suggested I should perhaps take the return of Lent as an opportunity to return to blogging with any consistency whatsoever - to revisit last year's practice of a daily Lenten deadline all the way until the rock rolled away from the tomb or the internet blew up, whichever came first. Carrie recommended I Lent-blog again. Another friend said the same, mere DAYS LATER (thanks Michelle!). Carrie told me that if i heard a third voice echoing the writing notion, it was indeed a higher, and undeniable calling. Like that of on-sale Doritos when you find yourself in a gas station snack shop while intoxicated. Anyway, the third was heard (thanks Mar!), and here's my beginning - the word.
(I'm not sure if that's more sacrilegious against Christianity or Johnny Cochran, actually, but no offense intended to either party).
Carrie is awesome. I think I will have to devote more time to said awesomeness on another day of the Lenten crock, as it is extensive. But if you can't wait until then, please check the following top of the world lookin' down on creation kinda awesome. Yes, fanfreakingtastic.
From her most recent post, I note that Carrie too has Olympic fever! Though her fever seems to be more of a cold/congestion/ one night Nyquil situation, I think her justification of lack of geopolitical implications in medal standings versus individual stories of redemption (or not) for athletes does explain her feelings well.
I, however, am a sucker for these Olympics even if the snowboarders are keepin' it faux-cashze in faux denim and America's sweethearts are now the Chinese (get used to it! unless the gold medal is tainted with lead). Like last year's Lenten blog challenge, I found myself struggling to turn away from televised sporting entertainment toward writing. And we're not even talking about March Madness here! Though I am American, the American athletes do not represent an emotional attachment to my bygone days of college that say, college basketball stars might, which would make it hard not to watch. I think the Winter Olympics present even more intrigue to me in many ways because the athletic performance they achieve is so far removed from any experience I have ever had, and probably will ever have - unless I am shot from a cannon as part of a circus act in Buffalo.
So many of the winter games seem to be human versions of NASCAR - luge, skeleton, short track skating - there's a lot of curves, turns, passes, necessity for caution, aggression, plotting, perfect timing. Breakneck pacing. Making a move. Hugging of turns. Wearing of helmets and gloves and flame-retardant jumpsuits (ok, many jumpsuits have flame graphics on the arms and legs). The same is true for skiing, snowboarding, and that crazy-as-you-wanna-be giant ski jump thing.
I get scared going regular, green-trail-easy-hill, downhill skiing. Snowboarding as a casual, recreational sport seems nuts to me because hey - isn't it bad if you can't free your feet from one unnatural position stuck on plank? But in the Olympics, just strapping sticks to one's feet and jumping off a cliff is commonplace. Does not compute in my brain. What did they just do? How many miles per hour? What the...Things being achieved with human bodies are so unfathomable to me personally that I cannot stop watching others do them. The Summer Olympics are still incredible in terms of physical human achievement, but I have physically jogged terribly slowly around a track before. Does that make it less impressive when people do so at the speed of cheetahs? No, but I can at least partially imagine the sensation of running, based on personal experience. Plus, the Summer Olympics is already loved. I don't have to explain loving them - it's assumed I do. I'm American!
The exclusivity of the Winter Games (competition among those who've been flinging their bodies onto ice ramps of various shapes and sizes since they were four years old because Uncle Sven was the former world champion and had a backyard luge track, for example), while at times unsettling, is also part of the intrigue. I can't do that. I can't understand how they do it. I wish I could do even a part of it. Even a single jump or spin or even the, in my opinion, less intriguing foot work of ice skaters. Heck, I'd even take some ice dancing talent if I could get it!
And unmistakable to the Olympics, no matter how cheesy they try to make it, is athlete emotion. Highest joys and greatest disappointments occur daily, mere seconds apart. As I goofed around with new layouts for the fishcrockpot (old time crock fans will recall I've been talking about reformatting for about 8 months now), I watched two women have their hopes dashed and legs splayed in the downhill skiing final. Watching the falls, I thought they were both at least paralyzed. Crashtest dummies in Volvos take gentler hits than these women. The commentator explained one skier traveled the length of 2/3rds of a football field in mid-air before crashing to the ground headfirst into a flag marking the course. Yet getting up from a fall that knocked her around an ice hill like a pinball between the flappers, that skier was slamming her pole into the snow - frustrated that her race was over, Olympic hopes lost.
Seeing human bodies succeed and fail so dramatically and incredibly and unbelievably with ice, snow, steel, fiberglass, and a boatload of spandex and Blistex is really, really captivating. Add to that the fact that these bodies have personalities attached making them people and WOW, suddenly I'm crying when the favorite to win gold wins gold, and when the 19 year old french guy skates like a young Johnny Weir and can't believe it himself.
Though ridiculously removed from the majority of abilities, talents, and physical potentials of human beings on earth (yes, even the curlers or else wouldn't we all be doing that?), the events of the Winter Olympics, like the Summer Olympics, and as cliche as it may be to say, really do bring out the humanity of humans. The fact that I have an emotional response to a Finnish luger - fairly incredible. And I think, whether you give a crap or not (I couldn't tell you who won what today in the slightest, or what countries' medal counts look like), we can all agree on the greatest gift given to human kind by this Olympiad - uncensored commentary by Dick Button, resident sass master!
See you tomorrow! Because that's what Lent means.
(cue the majestic Olympic soundtrack to play this one out...)