It’s a Helluva Town

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Yes, that’s pretty much me in NYC (or, if we’re being honest, just about anywhere), which is where I’ll be jetting off this morning.

Anyway, my Christmas present to myself this year was tickets to see the critically-acclaimed production of The Glass Menagerie before it closes later this month. And as long as I’m there, I decided to squeeze in a couple of other shows… Well, OK, yes – I’m seeing four other shows (Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, Kinky Boots, Matilda, Once – yes, I know: GAY) and maybe a fifth if I think I can fit a Saturday matinee into my whirlwind schedule.

And for those of you who may not have the same appreciation that I do for Broadway and American musical theater, here’s NPH opening last year’s Tony Awards and doing a damn fine job (in a mere 8 minutes!) of showing just why it’s so great to see theater – especially in NYC.

So… The Olympics

Well, I did in fact tune into the Olympics to watch the Opening Ceremony. I did so with distinctly mixed feelings, given that I’m rather supportive of the idea of boycotting watching the games, since I think NBC has not adequately responded to concerns that their $800 million wall-to-wall broadcast is whitewashing the very serious human rights violations going on in Russia – particularly those affecting the gay and transgender community.

Though, with that being said, I did take some comfort in the fact that my decision to cut the cable with Comcast (NBC’s owner) means that they actually have no idea that I’m watching, since I’m using that sweet over-the-air, old-school broadcast system (and in HD that I’m quite sure is of a better quality than that throttled crap I used to get over the cable). Of course, Comcast is also my broadband provider, so my hands aren’t all that clean.

Anyhoo, the Opening Ceremonies were, for lack of a better word, dull. I actually wondered a bit about who the intended audience was – and I suspect it was actually the people of Russia rather than the rest of the world, here seeing live and in color the glories of what their leader has wrought. I don’t suggest that’s either a good or bad thing – though perhaps it’s different than what we’ve come to expect from these spectacles, which typically aim to wow the globe with the majesty, the grandeur of the host country. And this one? Not so much. It was really long and felt enervating; and perhaps it’s just a reflection of my innate American philistinism, but much of the subject matter was simply not engaging (though perhaps more people like ballet than I do – but it’s always acted on me like a powerful narcotic).

Of course, I didn’t really watch the festivities without my own preconceived agenda, namely that, even in spite of the deeply corrupt nature of the Olympics, this was an especially egregious example; and that it was being put on to glorify and entrench Vladimir Putin. Did it succeed? Well, to hear the fawning Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera breathlessly describing the goings-on, apparently so. But for me? Not so much. Plus, we’re still seeing bits like this:

Now, it’s pretty baller that a member of the U.S. bobsled team just stone-cold kicked his way out of the bathroom he got locked into – though the door made from corrugated cardboard is not exactly screaming high-end facilities.

At any rate, I really only posted about the Olympics as an excuse to post a couple of videos. First, a really spot-on show of support to the LGBT communities in Russia from a group of Swedes – singing the Russian national anthem (in Russian!). “Kind of insanely subervise,” as one of my good friends put it.

And then this. Not only because it’s fabulous – but because I think that, while mockery alone can’t bring down a tyrant, laughing at one can both diminish him and point out the absurdity of his views. Good luck gays, on Gay Mountain!

Somebody Call the Burn Unit!

Bravo, NY Post. Bravo.

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And honestly, this is all I have to add about that:

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Pulled Over!

I must confess, I was a bit leery of sharing this video on here, what with the slim chance that some anti-bike nuts will stumble across it and brand me history’s greatest monster for my horrible lawlessness and disregard for human life. But, eh – what’re you gonna do?

Anyhoo, a few weeks ago, I was biking home, eastbound on Market St. and I got pulled over by an SFPD officer. My crime? Stopping for a red light at 10th and Market – but doing so after the intersection’s limit line.

Oh, and while you watch, please keep your eye out for the MB SUV in the left lane – I’ll have more to say about him later…

Now, let me state for the record: YES, I AM WELL-AWARE THAT WHAT I DID WAS A VIOLATION OF THE MOTOR VEHICLE CODE. I also certainly appreciated that I was let go with a warning and that the officer was generally courteous (though I thought he belabored the rules about the limit line).

But here’s why I have some issues with this incident:

1. This is a particularly poorly designed stretch of road. As cars and bikes pass Van Ness going eastbound, they are forced to cross paths in a way that is confusing and potentially dangerous for the uninitiated. Vehicles must get into the far right lane as bikes must merge from the right into the center bike lane. Once at 10th, the intersection’s limit line is six car-lengths back from 10th St. Thus, while I did in fact go past the limit line, I was not in the path of any vehicular traffic nor did I interact with any pedestrians, since there were none present at any time during this incident. Also, what about the the two cars in the right lane that had passed the limit line? Why weren’t they busted?

2. What happened to that MB SUV? He was in the transit/taxi only lane in the left yet he never passed the waiting SFPD officer east of 10th St. So, besides having already been illegally traveling in the transit lane, he had to have executed an illegal left- or U-turn – or made a right turn from the left lane onto 10th St. cutting across the bike lane – both illegal and dangerous. And given that he must’ve seen the scooter getting pulled over, the MB driver was pretty clearly aware that he was illegally traveling in the transit lane. Of the bikes, the scooter and the MB, the MB’s actions were, in my view, the most serious and included multiple violations – yet he got away scot-free.

3. What about the first biker guy? He just kept going and thus didn’t get a lecture. That’s a pretty lousy lesson – that I’d be better off ignoring a police officer, since he won’t bother to pursue.

4. Finally – and, really, this is far and away my biggest complaint about this incident – this little stakeout on Market St. was on the afternoon of December 14th – the same day as SantaCon. In other words, someone in command at SFPD decided that, despite the presence in the city that day of thousands of open-container-carrying, public-urinating, projectile-vomiting, “Show us your tits!”-screaming, drunken Santas staggering from bar to bar (several of whom can be seen and heard in the background of my video), this was the ideal day to set up a little trap on Market St. to catch bikers who stopped for a red light but a few feet past the limit line. Excellent setting of priorities, SFPD!

United State of Pop by DJ Earworm

About the only thing I look forward to during this, the least wonderful time of year, is DJ Earworm’s United State of Pop mashup. This year’s effort was excellent as always – despite my initial declaration that it was not his best work. I should really know better – he’s not called “Earworm” for nothing – for as has been the case each of the last three years, once this mashup settles into my brain, it becomes irresistible to me.  Of course, relying on hooks from Swedish House Mafia and Capital Cities, along with the piano track from “Can’t Hold Us” makes it nigh impossible for me not to listen to this mashup compulsively.

What never ceases to amaze me is how completely DJ Earworm transforms the source material – it’s very different to me than something like Pop Danthology, which, while certainly impressive technically, sounds more like a medley of songs. DJ E combines lyrics, hooks and backbeats – and videos! – into something that stands on its own as an entirely new and cohesive creation (or at least that’s my view as a known philistine). I inevitably download the mashup to my iPod, despite already owning a good number of the originals – not because I want this remix, but because I want this new song DJ E has created.

I also like that he respects the genre while also poking some fun. This year’s version was pretty subtle – the various “whoa-oh-oh-oh” phrases plucked from a couple of different songs, reminding us of the sameness inherent in pop music – a genre that is by its very nature trendy and derivative. This same technique was rather more pronounced in his 2010 mashup, where he was able to grab lyrics from five (five!) different songs urging the listener to “put your hands up”; and in 2011, we got the “boom-boom-boom” refrain.

Some additional observations:

  • Robin Thicke has one of the most punchable faces ever.
  • Britney looks fucking great.
  • Lorde’s eye make-up is flawless – though I’m on the fence about her eyebrow game.
  • Speaking of eyebrow game, what’s up with Nellie’s?
  • Despite his association with this year’s rapiest song, Pharrell always makes it work – even with that ridiculous pork-pie hat.
  • Macklemore rocks a fur like nobody’s business. Same goes for Batman pajamas. God, he’s cute.
  • I just find Katy Perry very appealing as a performer. I know I’m not supposed to, but here we are… I mean, c’mon – the stilletto heel as spearhead? That’s pretty hilarious.
  • That trumpet hook from “Safe and Sound” is the hookiest fucking hook of all hooks.
  • With Swedish House Mafia running a very close second in the hooks category.
  • Poor Gaga…

And here, just for some extra fun, is the charming video for “Safe and Sound.” Sebu Simonian, the hot bearded one, is freakin’ adorable and manages to cut quite a respectable rug – I especially love his Rockette routine at 1:12.

You Are Doing It Right

It is actually just as delicious as it looks

I LOVE LOKUM

IM’ing with my friend the other day. She advises that she has only one row left of the box of lokum (that’s “Turkish delight” for any readers who are unsophisticated rubes…) I brought her from Istanbul. (N.B.: for those of my other friends who only got a sample of lokum, the reasons she got an entire box were that she specifically asked for it before I left and she was super-preggo… Of course, I’m still trying to figure out why I didn’t just bring home an entire suitcase-full, given that my own personal stash of lokum was gone by my third day back. God, I am an idiot…).

Now, despite being pretty sure of her answer, I had to ask, “Horizontal or vertical? That is, one row with one of each flavor? Or one last row of all one flavor?”

She replied, “Horizontal. One piece of each. What do you think I am, some sort of monster?”

She also followed up with the advice that she’d been eating it only while her husband was at work, so she wouldn’t have to share.

And this is why we’re friends… We really get each other.

The Price Is Oh So Right

The moon landing. The birth of Little Ricky Ricardo. “Who shot JR?” Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.” The fall of the Berlin Wall. The final episode of Newhart. Alexis and Krystle’s cat-fight in the lily pond. All iconic moments in the history of television viewing.

But let’s face it – none can compare to this, the ultimate Showcase from The Price Is Right. Everything about it is amazing.