Archive for November, 2007

In Which It’s A Bang AND A Whimper AND Neither

November 27th, 2007 4 comments

*I'M* outta order!??? 

At 11:17pm stopped at Summer St and Mt. Auburn, I sat in my car staring at the Dunkin Donuts sign.  I really shouldn’t, I told myself, you don’t really need a donut.  I agreed, but just as I turned left onto Mt. Auburn my other shoulder angel (I have two) said, fuck it – after that town council meeting you deserve a goddamn donut.  I agreed.  And it was satisfying.  It wasn’t satisfying.  I’m not going to tell you what I thought about it.  Maybe I’ll tell you on the 30th.  Maybe I didn’t even get a donut.  Shame!  Shame on you!

Confused?  What the hell do you expect after three and a half hours of the Marilyn Devaney Show town council meeting?  No one knows if this was her penultimate town council meeting – only her hairdresser knows for sure.  And maybe a priest friend.  She gave nothing away so it’s hard to tell if her performance tonight was a Norma Desmond thing or just run of the mill Marilyn.

Sure, it started off nicely enough with the obligatory presentation on the background, current state of and suggestion for this year’s property taxes (an increase of 1.75% and a 25% residential exemption – please check facts in the Tab on Friday).  The presentation covered the ground thoroughly and prompted Marilyn to offer that “there’s really no questions to ask but…” and then continued to talk anway.

They went on to the issue of continuing to double of property tax exemptions for the elderly, veterans and the blind and agreed to do so.

Marilyn then laid the groundwork for things to come by insisting that her last minute agenda item be brought up.  Clyde said no, not yet at which point Marilyn pulled a cross out of her purse and began to nail herself to it.  “I PUT TWO AGENDA ITEMS ON AND YOU TOOK THEM OFF!  WHY AM I NOT ALLOWED THE COURTESY…” and you can fill in the rest yourself.  Clyde worked the gavel and did his bad parenting thing where he tries to calm her down by yelling back at her.  (Sidenote – is there any way we can swap the wood gavel for one of the squeaky plastic ones?  It’s much more appropriate.)  Somehow, Marilyn understood that she could bring one of the items up after the last scheduled item.

Donohue then brought up the desire to explore moving the town council towards becoming a paperless body.  The idea is that each councilor would get a laptop, prompting Devaney to ask the musical question – “Does this mean we’d by nine laptops for nine people?” and assert that “I don’t even have a computer.”  It’s not Marilyn without a conspiracy theory and she didn’t disappoint, quickly pointing out that email was just another form of serial calling.  “This,” she stated unequivocally, “is another technology that can be abused.”  Oddly, enough, so are microphones.  It’s hyperbole to say the brakes were off that that point but not much.  Lawn, after enthusiastically backing the idea finished off with, “I object to a councilor accusing this council of serial calling.”  Despite the fracas, the councilors managed to stay on topic and not get too far baited.  Sideris did a Reagan impersonation pulling out a thick stack of papers that constituted all the revisions of the Coolidge School lease.  At the end of it, they agreed to pursue the idea.  Even though I support the idea, I’m not sure it’s ready for prime time since laws still dictate paper copies of everything for the public record and, unless they’ve hidden the SSID, Town Hall does not have wireless yet.

The show began in earnest.  Rather than gracefully present her agenda item, Marilyn started off with a diatribe about her mistreatment on the council and how this item got knocked off the agenda of the last meeting and “WHERE IS THE DEMOCRACY!!??” when she’s not allowed to -.  Clyde cut her off.  “You’re bringing it up now, right?”  With the wind taken out of the sails of her ego,  she read the full, horribly written text of a resolution to tell the Mass. Municipal Association to sever ties with the ADL over their denial of the Armenian genocide.  Call me old fashioned, but I don’t think that any government document should contain the word “hypocrisy”

Hecht, a member of the MMA, spoke about the process the MMA was going through.  While he supported a resolution he felt that he could not vote on it since “we got it 15 minutes ago and….”  Marilyn doesn’t need permission to speak, so she cut him off revisited the theme of “I PUT TWO AGENDA ITEMS ON AND THEY WERE TAKEN OFF!”  More gavel action from Clyde (squeak-squeak-squeak…see how great that would be?!!).  We all took a side trip to visit “Yes-You-Did-No-I-Didn’t-Land. 

(Sidenote – If I could write music, I would compose a duet called “The Harpy And The Mole” with a soprano sax and a bassoon.)

Marilyn’s fury reached it’s peak with what I believe to be the greatest single thing I’ve ever heard from her.  Imagine it’s 1979 and Marilyn is Al Pacino in …And Justice For All.  Clyde squeaks the gavel and tells her that she’s out of order and she belts out, “THIS WHOLE GOVERNMENT IS OUT OF ORDER!!”  Really.  I swear.  It was all I could do not to laugh out loud.

Hecht, sensing a way to regain control, began to say something and, because Marilyn doesn’t need to speak, she cut him off…again.  “DOES HE GET TO SPEAK TWICE?  DOES EVERYBODY HERE GET TO SPEAK TWICE EXCPET ME??”  Clyde wet his double reed and piped, “I think he’d like to finish his statement”.  Hecht, who I believe to be the model of decorum, calmly finished his statement – We just received this.  We should have a chance to look it over, discuss it and make changes to the language so that it represents the whole council.  My translation – Don’t think you’re going to push this horribly executed documents down our throats just because it’s a good idea.  Let’s vote to talk later.

Here’s why Marilyn is bad for the town council – Clyde made the motion to table the resolution for later but because of the all the drama it took five minutes to simply understand what they were voting on.  Right up to the vote, Marilyn’s addled mind still thought they were voting for the resolution.  It would be one thing if this was an isolated incident but too frequently all the quacking and honking obscures the actual work that should be accomplished.  Finally they voted to table it while Marilyn intoned, “Shaaaaaame.  Shaaaaaaame on youuuuu,” as if she were the wife of Jacob Marely.

I can only hope she was talking to herself.  Where the hell does she get off sitting in judgement on the rest of the town council?  Damn near everyone on that the town council plays by Robert’s Rules except her.  The “shame” is in the time that she wastes with her shrill, petulant, childish chiding of everyone.  I’m not surprised that she can’t find the democracy since she spend so much of town council dictatorially monopolizing the discourse.

I won’t go into her ballot initiative which met the same fate and pretty much followed the same script.  Instead, let’s skip of 11pm and “Announcements”.

“I have an announcement,” Marilyn said, her voice trembling.  “First off, I’d like to  apologize to the citizens of Watertown for losing it…”  Not surprisingly, this turned out NOT to be an apology but a doubleplus good rationalization of her abhorrent behavior and, in a move she should patent, disclaiming any responsibility for it.

And then – oh, boy…oh, boy, oh, boy, oh, boy – how to approach this?

Before I continue let me just say that I know that I can be a bit of an asshole.  I take full responsibility for that.  I may not see things the same way as you.  I’ve been known to over-analyze benign things into something shadowy and unclean.  I don’t think I’m always wrong, though.

One of the classic ploys is the “Did you say something about my mother” gambit.  What’s great about it (from the point of the executor, that it is) is that no matter what you say and even if you say nothing, you wind up getting your ass kicked.  Another great ploy, as bush will tell you, is to use tragedy.  Who in their right mind would argue with a 9/11 survivor?  I mean, besides Ann Coulter.

When you spend as much time as Marilyn screaming about how you’re not allowed to talk and then start off a speech with “Please respect me and not respond to the comments I’m about to make” well, the blood rises to my head.

The speech, such as it was, said…nothing.  If you’ve read her stuff in the Tab, you get the idea.  She would not accept any speeches or tokens of thanks for her service.  Her deceased husband, a firefighter, did not receive anything for his service.  She recounted in great detail for everyone to hear all of the wonderful things that he did anonymously.  He didn’t expect (or receive) appreciation and neither would she.  He didn’t want it and neither did she.  But if she did, he wouldn’t be there to witness it.  But she didn’t.

It left many scratching their heads.  What did she say?  It sounded like she was pissed off that the town did not recognize her husband, but was she?  Should we do something about that?  Did this mean that she would not follow through on the recount?  Or was this speech a hedge in case she lost the recount?  Was this the Watertown version of the Checkers speech which is the final word in passive-aggressiveness?  Like a sphinx guarding the Curlergates, Marilyn kept mum, letting her words hang in the air like sticky cobwebs you can’t brush off.

Will town council, as Clyde was quoted as saying, run smoother without Marilyn?  I can’t imagine it wouldn’t.  Easily an hour could have been chopped off of the running time had Marilyn kept within Roberts’ Rules OR Clyde finally tossed her out for contempt.

After we filed out, dazed and bleary-eyed, someone said that town council meetings could get very dull without Marilyn.  “That’s true,” I said, “Godfather 2 is almost three hours long, but I enjoy sitting through that.”

Categories: Lovable Psychos, Watertown, WWMDD Tags:

In Which I Kind Of Live Blog The Viva Las Vegas Debate

November 15th, 2007 No comments

I’m watching with a slight delay via DVR.  God bless technology!  However, my wife is not keen on stopping, starting, rewinding etc, so it’s still mostly live blogged…kinda.

Did anyone see the premeire show of Project Runway?  The designers were given access to $50,000 worth of fabric and told to come up with something that showed who they were.  A lingerie designer did a baby doll dress that looked like lignerie and got trashed for it.  Others created dull, unimaginative clothes.  One woman showed the judge exactly what she was like and the model could not walk in it.  This debate is much like that show.  Obama, Clinton and Edwards are dull and uninspired – they look, sound and act like politicians.  Biden, Richardson and Dodd sound like they care.  Kucinich is the only truly authentic one up there, but too many people will trip over him.

Sadly, we’ll be saddled with the unimaginitve politicians who look the part and will do nothing differently.

Obama’s gonna be a new kind of politician! HOT DOG!

Wolf’s lost control already!

Hillary is getting her ass kicked.  This is a fucking cage match.  Edwards stare will be the front page thus far.

I’m thrilled that some of this hierarchical “front runner” stuff is coming to the forefront.  This should be a primary in which America gets to see everyone who’s running not just the top three folks the press ordains as worthy.

Biden sounded great, Dodd sounded great, Richardson’s sucking up again – I like everybody except the top three.

I (HEART) Kucinch! – “I won’t vote for someone who uses war as a policy tool”.  Oh….*swoon*

GRRR – Driver’s license question – Blitzer is just looking for the sound bite.  Why is he shouting down Kucinich?   Worst.  Moderator.  Ever. 

Did I hear the question right – “Mr. Kucinch – tell me what you hate about unions.”

Biden – “Show me your budget and I’ll tell you what you value”.  Amen.  Sadly, everyone on the stage to still value war (Kucinich, excepted)

Richardson – Isn’t sucking up anymore.  Human rights more important than US Security.  That’s an amazing statement and completely true – the US should practice what they preach.

Oh great!  Obama won’t let terrorist get nuclear weapons!  YIPPEE!  He wins! (/sarcasm)

**boredom and hugging my wife**

Why, I ask you, WHY does Kucinich get the biggest applause and the least respect?

(Here’s an idea – Let’s have a townhall meeting with our talking heads)

Obama slams Hillary as playing with numbers like Romney or Giuliani and you want to trust him to not saber-rattle with Iran?

Categories: 2008 Debacle, Lovable Psychos Tags:

In Which Visual Irony Works As Well

November 14th, 2007 No comments

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Thanksgiving Comes First

November 13th, 2007 2 comments

It was not yet Halloween when I saw the first of the Xmas crap on the shelves.  Home Deport started selling Birth-of-Jesus merchandise at least two weeks previously to Devil’s Day.  I guess if you were an evangelical it makes sense – you need the power of Jesus to fight Satan.  Somehow, though, I don’t think that Home Depot thought along those lines.  Instead, the Marketplace show on WBUR summed it up – Xmas starts early because the economy is in the shitter.

I complained about this to a friend in Germany.  He didn’t quite get it.  “So,” he asked, “Xmas is the most important sales season and to keep the numbers up they change when it starts?  Stupid Americans.  You care about nothing.”  And he’s right.  We don’t.  America cheapens just about everything it touches.

Think about this – The Christmas Tree Store is open 365 days a year.  In the musty recesses of my brain, I remember when it opened just for Christmas, like the Halloween stores that climb into empty mall space like a hermit crab.  How does the Christmas Tree store stay open 365 days a year, you may wonder?  By selling an awful lot of non-Christmas items.  How, then, do they get the gumption to keep the name The Christmas Tree store?  I’m not sure.  I think it’s the same paradigm that allows Joe Lieberman to continue to call himself a democrat.

The big question is – why does no one care?  I’m too lazy to look up the numbers right now but America’s top God is still Jesus.   Christmas (and it’s probably is worth jogging people’s memory) celebrates the birth of the savior of mankind.  The guy let his dad nail him to a cross on trumped up charges so that we could sin and then be forgiven for it later.  I think that’s the story.  Given that, the wages of sin should not be used to buy Tickle-Me-Elmo 5.0 in October.  You shouldn’t even need to be a “good” Christian to get peeved about corporate America using Jesus to sell product let alone starting a full two months before the actual date.

Like Suldog (the genesis of this post), I remember the tingling feeling that started just after Thanksgiving dinner.  On Friday, we’d pull out the Christmas decorations and begin the long, slow, torturous build up to Christmas.  Looking back, it was like Sixty Minute Man for kids.  We decked our hallways, hung our Little Cowboy Christmas story that my mom cut out from a magazine and pasted on red and green construction paper.  “Will there be a present/Will there be a tree”, it started.  I got chills writing that but my 45-year old self now remembers that Jesus didn’t make an appearance.  Still, we could go into the basement and look at the boxes but you did not touch the boxes until after Thanksgiving.  I’m not really sure what would have happened if we did, but I wasn’t about to be the one that found out.  And I didn’t want to.  It was too magical a feeling to spoil.

“Hey,” I asked the manager at CVS as I stood next to the talking Hannah Montana Xmas cards, “why is the Christmas stuff out before Halloween?”

He barely slowed down to mutter, “We always put it out around then,” before shuttling off, probably to make sure the SpongeBob Xmas tree ornaments occupied the proper width of shelf space required by the corporate office.

Like so many issues in America, we’ve gone too far.  Christmas will continue to start earlier and earlier.  A Labor Day Xmas?  Why not?  The Christmas Tree Store will already be open.

Here are my two suggestions, each worth two cents.

1) Get a group of folks together in your town to have a “Start Your Xmas 2008 Shopping Now” rally.

2) If you’re a Christian, tell your pastor to work the phones of your version of Christianity to pressure the CEO of your denomination to protest the further cheapening of the savior.  If they balk, tell them they won’t see a dime in the collection plate.

After all, money talks.

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In Which It’s A Pretty Good Trick

November 12th, 2007 No comments

Here’s a question – when you think of radical Islamic terrorism what pops first into your head?

Obviously, blogging isn’t immediately interactive or I could wait for an actual response, but I’m going to assume that at least one person said “Osama bin Laden”.  At least one.  After all, he’s the reason that America is so well-respected today.  OBL brought down the World Trade Center so the US correctly invaded Afghanistan and then (having lost track of him there) invaded Iraq because…oh, god, because of so many reasons.  I think my favorite Iraq-Al Qaeda link was the al Qaeda leader the CIA found in an Iraqi hospital.  With logic like this, it’s a wonder we never invaded Buffalo, NY.

Anywho – since we can’t find OBL we decided to stop looking for him.  Americans, theoretically, should have stopped thinking about him, too, since thinking about the failures of the government (at least until 1/20/09) is unpatriotic.  So, kudos to Jonathan Shanzer for spend just under an hour on the topic of   Defining the Threat from Radical Islam and managing not to speak the name of perhaps the most famous radical Islamist that ever walked the face fo the earth.  SORRY, NSA – I meant INFAMOUS.

Take a listen.  It’s worth it.  And don’t expect any of that Ron Paul crap about we had it coming to us.  We didn’t.  And even if we did there’s nothing we can do about it now except…um…move on.

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In Which SNL Still SUX

November 5th, 2007 No comments

Dear Lorne Michaels,

Come on, buddy.  Kill it.  Kill it now.  Aren’t you rich enough already?  Do we really need another piece of shit, direct-to-video movie starring the flavor of the month whose only possible benefit is that, after it hits the North Korean market, everyone kills themselves?

Who the fuck is editing these scripts?

Bill:  (Watching Kucinich makes out with his wife)  There’s a marriage he won’t regret in thirty years.
Hillary:  Why, Bill Clinton, how do you expect me to react when you saying something like that?!

Even my 10-year old knows how useless and deadening that last line is.  Way to kill a half-joke.  Are non-native speaking writers that much less expensive to hire?

This sketch literally made me weep bitter tears as to how a ground-breaking show wound up sucking corporate and political cock.  Cheap, badly written, unfunny jokes – why?

I can get you in touch with about twelve different writers that could have made that premise funny.

Remember that great phrase “It’s better to burn out than to turn to rust”?  No.  I guess you don’t.  Too bad you’re happy hackily treading water with Mick Jagger instead of continuing to grow like Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.

Paul Day

[Really, if you care about comedy, don’t watch this.  It’ll make you hate yourself.]

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In Which I Could Do With A Little Of Her Lack Of Self-Awareness

November 2nd, 2007 1 comment

Who is Emmy Rossum?  Beats me.  I’m old and not hep to the youngster’s jive, daddy-o.

It’s odd.  I clicked on one of her music videos on YouTube and the next thing you know, I couldn’t turn on the computer without seeing Emmy Rossum pop up next to something.  It’s not that I mind, really.  Honestly, she’s gorgeous – shutting down your senses gorgeous.  Too bad I hate her music.  Listening to  Slow Me Down is like listening to Enya’s daughter falling into a voice synthesizer with a 10th grade poetess.  Sure she has (probably) a lovely voice and it’s nice to hear faux-acapella.  I’m guessing that sensitive high school students and unmarried, childless 40-something women weep when they listen to it.  “She so right!  I need someone to slow me down!  I’m so less-than for being so driven.”

Why did I stick around for the whole song?  Did I mention that she’s gorgeous?  And that, in the course of the video, she rolls around (probably) naked under a crisp white sheet on overly lit white bed?  Go ahead and judge me.  I don’t care.  I’m glad I did.

Because otherwise I wouldn’t have stopped watching her MySpace Fashion video where she goes shopping for an outfit to wear to some industry event.  To be precise, I almost turned it off once before turning it off for good.  The first time came after the third instance of her talking about “covering up” an outfit so she doesn’t “look so bare”.  Um.  Sure.  So…that was a body double under that sheet?  You can’t trust anything in the digital age anymore.  (frowny emoticon icon thing)

The axe fell (or rather, the mouse clicked) after cutting to an interview in a non-ostentatious sedan when she says

I want to write for a woman who smart and confident and sexy in kind of a vulnerable, real way.  I guess I listen to the radio and so many of the girls on radio are soo objectified in their videos and I guess I want to be more of a real girl…so…that’s what my music’s all about.  (Emphasis transcribed)

So the cheesecake factor that kept me watching the video for a song I disliked wasn’t an objectification?  Emmy’s appearance on MySpace Fashion cries out “objectification” from well-lit beds everywhere.  I’ve yet to run across a reluctant fashion icon.  Even the reclusive Jodie Foster makes no bones about the job she has – people want to see her and she bluntly obliges folding her arms across her wonderful breasts on the cover and inside of national publications.

That’s not to say the professional virgin mask isn’t a valid choice.  Who among us didn’t want to bang Amy Grant even before the bathtub video?  Amy Grant, though, made a conscious decision to break with her goody-good Christian image and show a little skin.  She didn’t, as Rossum does, show a whole bunch of skin then make pious statements about objectification nor did she throw on a strapless black mini-dress, flash her cleavage and then blush about it.

And nothing bangs the objectification drum more than a woman referring to herself as a girl.