Thursday, October 21, 2010

Do Bully Gay kids+Christianity=Suicide? Mr. Daly Says No, What Say You?

Sorry for the lack of contributions to the site but I'm still suffering from withdraws from my Italy vacation! ^_^

I came across this piece on CNN while avoiding doing any more actual work today and thought I'd share it with the group. Mostly because after all the news stories about so many kids taking their own lives recently due to being bullied for being gay and after speaking with an old friend whose recently attended two funerals and family events for the loss of a family friends kid due to this very issue, I found this article quite disturbing.

But, take a read and post your thoughts. Also take a moment to read the very extensive comments to the article, especially Kate's which I thought was pretty brilliant.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Humor from the Political Circus...

From West Coast to East Coast, we've got crazy ass shit going on... so much so that I think it no longer qualifies as political theater and is now into straight on circus antics in both the modern and Roman senses ;-)

Gizmodo has this story about what happens when you leave off a letter from a address in a political tweet:

This is not the endorsement you are looking for.

Then in NY, we've got Handles McSideburns:

and the Madam who thinks she can fix the Metropolitan Transportation Authority because at her escort service she was able to provide "on-time and reliable service."

And this is all without even touching on the Tea Partiers... The Rally to Restore Sanity can't come soon enough. Is it any wonder that I've been reveling in the original cast recording to Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson:

(Yes, I can bring almost any topic back to Broadway ;-)

Oh, and a bonus intentional bit of comedy:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Building America's Hockey Capital ... The Correct Way (Or, So You Want To Be A Hockey Fan)

Because it's hockey season (and because I wanted post #69), I'm (mostly) regurgitating this blog post I put up on my personal blog back in March. These words of wisdom are just as true today as they were all those moons ago.

The long hot summer of our sporting discontent is over and we have a few games under our belt. I'm guessing that the success of our little hockey club over the past three years has turned a bunch of people on to the sport that probably had never given it a first thought before. And that's fine. Hockey is an exciting game and one of the most accessible. The more the merrier.


If you are going to attend a game (which you should ... hockey is best witnessed live), there are some things you need to know.

The General Must-Follows

These rules are universal. They are the most basic of the basics and are followed in every hockey rink all over the world. If you walk away with learning only five things from this post, learn these five!

  1. You don't have to know the rules to have a good time.

    It's true. There will be enough hard-core fans sitting immediately around you. Don't be afraid to ask what's going on. Trust me, we love to talk about the game and help new fans get acclimated.

  2. Practice the "Puck In Play" rule.

    The "Puck In Play" rule is simple ... when the game is on, you stay put. It doesn't matter where you are or what you need to do. You can wait until a break in the action. See, hockey is a fast-paced game and, very literally, you can blink and miss an important play (like a goal). So every second that the puck is in play is important to hockey fans. We do not take kindly to the asshole who made us miss our favorite player score on our most hated team. You don't want to be that asshole so don't be.

  3. Sit back in your seat!

    This goes in hand with the "Puck In Play" rule. When you lean forward in your seat, you take away a large amount of visual real estate. Sit back in your seat so the people behind you can see the whole ice as well.

    But, Diarist, the people in front of me are leaning forward.

    The tap them politely on the shoulder and ask them to sit back. If they hit you with the same lame excuse, tell them to tell the people in front of them to sit back. And so on. We all want to see the game so please let us.

  4. Keep the chatter to a minimum.

    You are permitted to cheer as much and as enthusiastically as you wish. You are permitted to discuss the rules of the game or the strategies being used. But blathering on and on about work or personal life is irritating and prevents those around you from enjoying the game. If you wish to catch up with your buddies and discuss how that chick (or guy) the other week gave you crabs, please don't come to the game. No one wants to hear that.

  5. Know your limit.

    Alcohol is served at the game during the first two periods. You are more than welcome to have some beers or cocktails. But know when to say when.

The Capitals Optionals

The next set of rules are specific to the Washington Capitals experience at Verizon Center.
  1. Properly enjoy The National Anthem.

    It happens at the start of every game. Sometimes the Canadian National Anthem is performed as well. When the anthem(s) start, stand up. You are encouraged to sing, though it's not mandatory. Many people in the crowd will shout RED at "And the rockets RED glare ...". It is okay to do that. Some people will shout O at "Oh say does that ...". It is not okay to do that. The O is a Baltimore tradition that was begun at (and for) Oriole games. We are not Baltimore. We are not the Orioles.

  2. DO NOT encourage this guy!

    I have my reasons.

  3. Participate in the group stuff.

    Several videos are played during the commercial breaks. Know them and be prepared.

    * Unleash The Fury!
    * Victory!
    * "The Hockey Song"

    Several chants are done during the course of the game.

    * "Ref, you suck!"
    When the refs make a highly questionable call against our team.

    * "1 ... (2) ... (etc.) ... It's all your fault!"
    After the Capitals score, immediately following the second announcement of the goal.

    * "Who cares?!"
    After the Capitals are scored against, immediately following the second announcement of the goal.

    * "Let's go, Caps!"
    Throughout the game, but especially after Horn Guy or Goat leads the cheer. (See my rant against the Capstronaut.)

Of course there will be a great many other rules and traditions that will come and go. But these will get you started (and keep you from pissing off the fans who have been going for ever). Follow these rules. And enjoy the game.

Let's go, Caps!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Yes He Can! Can't He?

The case: Log Cabin Republicans v. United States of America. The result: the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Well, at least until the Obama Justice Department inevitably appeals Judge Virginia A. Phillips' injunction, that is. What a topsy-turvy world! A Republican group scoring an important victory for gay rights? The Democratic administration fighting to keep the deeply unpopular status quo?

What the hell is going on here? Admittedly, matters more complex than I'm making them sound. The Log Cabins are generally out-of-step with their party. Yet, arch-bogeyman Dick Cheney favors gay marriage. Meanwhile, the Obama administration is bound by precedent to uphold the current law of the land. Yet, liberal-savior President Obama is against gay marriage.

Again, what the hell is going on here? Politics, of course. Regarding gay marriage, the Log Cabins, who have little sway, are hardly the voice of their party. And Dick Cheney has nothing to lose now. Obama, on the other hand, made what is most likely a politically motivated statement while campaigning, to appeal to the center, and now has to stick to it.

I doubt Obama actually believes gay marriage is a bad thing, and I think most Americans, be they for or against gay marriage, agree with me. Obama has already condemned DADT. He even pledged to end it this year. Yet, if Obama holds to a politically expedient position, what does that say about him? Will Democrats applaud his so-called integrity?

This is Obama's moment. I'm no fan of his, but I hope he lives up to his promise to end DADT. Obama has a choice: politics or principles. Now that he has the chance, let's see if, yes, he can make the right decision.

Update: Andrew Sullivan makes the same points, more eloquently of course.

[Mirrored on Cultural Minefield.]

Monday, October 11, 2010

Jack's Completely Unsolicited Theatre Reviews: Double Trouble

This Columbus Day weekend I decided to take some of my hard-earned bonus and spend it on some Broadway shows. Through a fluke the theme of the weekend was "doubles" with shows called Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Promises, Promises, as well as a return trip to see A Little Night Music, now with Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson

Setting the tone for what's about to ensue, the house at the Bernard Jacobs Theatre on 45th looks like they let Lady Gaga rampage through the National Portrait Gallery's Presidential wing with as many Christmas lights as she could ever want. Combining the rock concert format of Hedwig and the Angry Inch with the creative anachronism of Spring Awakening, not since Assassins has presidential history been presented in such a darkly comic, yet poignant manner. It would be easy to say that Bloody Bloody… was simply poking fun at the current state of American Conservatism, but that's only if one ignores the subtext. Sure there's mavericks, teabags, a witchcraft dig, and shades of Bush v. Gore a plenty, but then there's the tale of the problem with populism on either side of the aisle: what do you do once you're elected and the populace can't help you anymore? Sure, the populace is great for getting elected but once elected they turn fickle: you're moving to fast/not fast enough, you're doing too much/not doing enough, etc. And then there's Maude... I mean Congress and the Courts. Damn those checks and balances! Now you're playing to the People's Representatives and not the People themselves. All of this is packed into one and three-quarter hours of rollicking fun that's a cross between an emo rock concert (complete with cutting scenes) and a 5th grade history assembly ;-) There is nary a weak link in the cast from Benjamin Walker as Andrew "Sexypants" Jackson, Lucas Near-Verbrugghe as Twinkie-eating Vice President Van Buren, right on down to a ferret-fondling Secretary of State Clay and the poor actress who has to spend the entire emptying of the house lying on the stage.

Promises, Promises

First the good: I'm glad I got to see the original cast in its entirety. Sean Hayes was brilliant, especially in the physical comedy bits (him and Mr. Sheldrake's chair was priceless). Kristin Chenowith was quite good but then that's to be expected, and thankfully, I got to see Tony Award winner Katie Finneran's final performance before she left on maternity leave. Hilarious! Now for the not-so good: While there was some amazing dancing, see above, I was underwhelmed by the Turkey Lurkey number. And then there's Maude... I mean, the insertion of "I Say a Little Prayer" into the score. It just didn't make sense: She's singing it to a "you" while in a scene that has her chatting with a gaggle of her female coworkers? I get what they were trying to do, but I think it could have been done better.

A Little Night Music

THEN: On the whole I enjoyed this production in spite of my dislike of certain directorial choices (the overture came across as funereal, the use of the lieder singers as servants, accents were all over the place, etc.). Angela Lansbury was, of course, excellent (even if she did flub her penultimate line). Catherine Zeta-Jones did a credible job with the singing (admittedly not a taxing singing role) and sparkled in her scenes with her mother and daughter. Leigh Ann Larkin did a stellar rendition of Miller's Son putting Madonna to shame with her bench gyrations.

NOW: Bernadette was a far better choice for the role managing the comedy and the singing. Her performance of "Send in the Clowns" was amazing, light years better than CZJ. That being said, while I recall disliking Anne in the first viewing, I wanted to kill her this viewing. Her vowels were all over the place as was her accent (why was she sounding Scottish in a play based in Sweden). For an example of the vowel issue, take the lyric "I'm not domineering" which came out like "Um Gnat Doh-meh-nairing." Every time she opened her mouth I really wanted to "get my hat and my knife." Jessica Grové was in for Leigh Ann Larkin as Petra. Upon re-reading my first review, I'm sensing that the sarcasm might have been lost on the Madonna reference. I was not pleased at that choice, and was glad they (or she) toned it down. And then there's Maude... I mean, Elaine Stritch. I can't tell whether Elaine was hamming it up or forgetting her lines or both. She too went up on her penultimate line such that I'm beginning to wonder what's so hard about "The smile for the fools was particularly broad tonight." That being said whereas Angela and past Madame Armfeldts have played the role with gravitas, Elaine played it in a more earthy manner befitting someone who slept her way to the top.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Thing For Me - Metronomy

So, the song is okay... but, the video is brilliant... Check it out and enjoy. For more from Metronomy, click the link... It is for the song "Heartbreaker," which I like a tad better.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Apologies

I would like to take the time to apologize for not blogging recently for the following reasons:

1) I had a large load of schoolwork.
2) I was not in a good mental place for writing, trust me here.
3) I was abducted by pirates and ransomed off to Saudi prince.
4) I narrowly escaped death, see item 3.
5) I was busy watching the extended versions of all 3 Lord of the Rings movies
6) I stuck the pages of my latest submission together with butterscotch, prior to butterbeer making.
7) I had a unicorn pass gas in my apartment and have been cleaning up glitter (the herpes of the Arts & Crafts World) ever since.
8) Only the 1st 2 are true.
9) Only this statement and the 1st 2 are true...and maybe #7.

I am excited to announce; however, that I am almost done with my Moderately Angry blog. I just need some statistics and figures to support my thoughts. And I will be posting a random music blog today as hopefully some ear candy for some of you to enjoy.

That all being said, I would like to thank Big Daddy for his submission about being unemployed and Just Jack for his continued Nerdfest entries :-) I want to hear from the rest of you that I haven't gotten to read this week, including "lol pics" from Peter.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Blessing in Disguse: Story of being Unemployed for a Month

This story starts like most stories of being laid off start. I was tailgating at the VA Tech vs Boise State game when my phone rang. It was the irritatingly dumb sounding voice of my subcontracting manager telling me that due to a cut in funding from my project, I was not to report to work tomorrow. There was no good bye lunch or happy hour for me, no severance, not pat on the back or shoulder to cry on. No, I was just told not to report to work the following day. From there I proceeded to drink another beer and eat some more chili before heading into the stadium.

It has been one month to the day since I was let go by my previous job as an IT Techy. Contrary to the normal behavior when one loses their only source of income, I was never worried, angry, sad, nauseous, or even gassy. Instead I was excited and relieved that I could take some time to reflect on my life and really decide what I wanted from it.

My previous job was located in Fairfax, VA and I was commuting from Washington DC. That commute was horrid for me, and this was the first thing on the list of changes I wanted for my new job. The second bolded, underlined, and italicized item on the list was to get paid for what I was worth. I wasn't getting paid for my Masters Degree and it was about time I did. The third and final upgrade to my next job would be better benefits. I was a sub contractor at my previous job and wasn't even getting paid vacation (however the overtime pay made up for it a lot of the times).

With all of the above changes needing to be met in order for me to accept a new job offer, I was off in search of my grail of a job (insert Monty Python coconut galloping noise here). I started applying to big government contractors and getting my resume out via e-mail to all of my contacts. I exhausted every networking source I could, and I'm pretty sure some people have left my network after communicating with me so much (please come back, I love you all). Finally I was contacted by a small company and asked to interview. I went though all the steps, jumped through all the hoops, kissed all the ass that needed a lip touch, and eventually received and offer letter. This job met all of my standards as far as the changes I needed in my career, so I accepted it (and now I'll be near all of the awesome food trucks in DC).

Now to the non-boring part of being unemployed.....

Once the job was secured I could concentrate on my inner happiness (except for the torturing of my liver, sorry liver, I love you & mean it). After being a commuter/working slave for so long I felt that I needed to rejuvenate my body. I got as much sleep as possible, and I even had a friend comment that I looked more rested and calm than I have ever looked to her before (wonder what she thought of me before? Bitch.... Kidding <3).

After realizing that 12 hours of sleep was only part of the remedy of inner happiness, I realized I needed to destress my body and mind.... what better way than to rediscover the art of day drinking. Thanks be to Santa Clause that I have such great friends that are bartenders and/or just work evenings. This allowed me to not go about my day drinking alone (that would be considered alcoholism children). Whether it was a pitcher of swirl margaritas at Lauriol Plaza, double margaritas on the rocks at Logan Tavern (served up by the ever so fabulous Eric), tall beers and lunch at hooters with Kevin in Chinatown on a random Monday, or even Yuenglings with the here and there shots of Jameson at Levelone with my newly dubbed big sister in DC; I rediscovered my inner college student. This was the epiphany I needed in order to relax and stay focused on being happy. This may come across to some of you as borderline alcoholism, but 64.27% of the time I wasn't even getting drunk. The alcohol was like a metaphorical campfire to gather around with good friends and enjoy each others company as well as a few (sometimes a lot of) laughs. As I venture onward to begin a new chapter in my career life, I want to salute the art of day drinking... I honestly and truly believe that everyone should rediscover this holy of holys once in their lifetime (prior to retirement).

My last and final ode to unemployment was the ability to go and visit my beautiful and wonderful girlfriend who lives 4 hours away while she finishes her degree. Long distance relationships aren't the easiest in the world (this is my first and hopefully only one), however having copious amounts of free time allowed me to make that 4 hour drive more often than I would if I were working. I also was able to stay longer than if I had job (thanks to her roommate for not hating me for being there too often). Going back and hanging around undergrads was fun (even the "old man" jokes were enjoyable at times), even attended a VA Tech game in the rain (sucks they lost to freaking JMU though).

The overall unemployment experience for me has been that of a positive one. This is what I will think of every time I hear unemployment rising in this country. I will hope that everyone getting their pink slip, or the call that they shouldn't report to work the following day, will be able to enjoy their time away from the grind of earning a pay check and sucking the days metaphorical or actual dick.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

On the recent spate of gay suicides...

... a compendium of celebrity responses (I know we've all seen them, but it's nice to put them all in one place. If anyone has any other ones, please feel free to tell me and I'll add them).

(And in case the youtube goes away, the original Facebook link)

Playbill's Blog has a compendium of Broadway-related responses as well.