The All-Encompassing Whomping Bat of Disdain
Yesterday, I crawled out from under the stone that is my shelter to say a few words about my dislike for A.I. (American Idol... actually, I don't care for the movie A.I. either so you may interpret the letters how you wish) and in turn musicals. Granted, I haven't blogged very much recently, but it is far less infrequent than a cicadan cycle, as we in the Washington area are experiencing with cotton-in-our-ears horror.

Firstly, there were two comments made regarding the post on this very site. Two excellent exceptions were suggested to me that gave me pause and perhaps even a smidgeon of doubt as to my convictions. The first from Pep being the film Grease. I am forced to admit under duress and threat of expulsion from the no-Homers club that I am a fan of that film and I can watch it all the way through without skipping through the songs. However, this doesn't constitute some kind of chink in my contempt-armor; Grease is a film that transcends the genre and is a timeless classic. As such, I declare it to be the sole exception to my benign and loving rule.

The second, more clever and frankly insidious, comment was made by "Maggie May", a dog I know with quite a few tricks up her sleeve. "Maggie" has tempted me with my admitted and overt love of the Buffy series by wondering if the highly-touted musical episode, Once More With Feeling, was an exception because (1) a song-and-dance demon casts a spell on 'the gang', thus negating my argument about the jarring nature of musicals, and (2) it's Buffy. I've got to admit that Joss is a fucking genius and if I had blogged this commentary a few years ago, I would have thought it eerie that he managed to neutralize my core argument. Alas, and this may come as a shock, I have not seen the episode, so I can't comment. Yes, it is Buffy, but my aversion to musicals kept me from seeing it (I've seen snippets). So, I'll reserve judgement for now, but I'm sure that when I get past my obviously flawed condition, I will enjoy it. And no, this would not constitute a second exception because of the above-mentioned plot-device which circumvents my rules.

Finally, Jaquandor, a.k.a. Kelly "Chainsaw" Sedinger, pontificates (or blathers, depending on your P.O.V.) on the fundamental difference between us, i.e., he loveslovesloves them musicals. I don't see it as a core difference, per se, mostly because I don't spend any of my time thinking about musicals (all evidence to the contrary the last two days), so they represent a incredibly small part of my life. Kelly also interprets that I "hate" musicals, but that's a bit of an exaggeration. I just don't like them. If I had to pick a fundamental difference between myself and Buffalo-boy, it would be simply (and no less critically) that I hold the record for longest letter written, conceded by Kelly himself. And that I don't like Almond Joy or Mounds, while he loves both. That is all that matters. I don't like them.

Just the way I don't like you stinky liberals. Stinky! Okay, that was just an aside, but K.C.S. in that very same post characterizes me as a conservative, while I think of myself as an independent. In other words, while I do tend toward the conservative (with foreign policy and taxes), I would certainly never adopt a feckless 'anyone-but-the-democrat-in-power' byline. That to me is just whinery. IGNORE THIS LAST PARAGRAPH IF YOU CAN'T HANDLE 'THE TRUTH'!!! ;)


Jimmy Crack Corn... and I don't like musicals
It still baffles me the interest level in the nouveau-Star-Search, pretentiously called "American Idol". Apparently, someone vaingloriously named Fantasia won the contest last night. When my girlfriend had the clicker the other night I was subjected to about 10 minutes of the show. Seriously, this is quality programming? I will aver from expressing contempt towards people who revere and/or buy the products shoveled out by theses shows, and just chalk it up to one of those things I am not conditioned or programmed to appreciate.

That list has included, for many years, any and all manner of musicals. I've never been able to appreciate musicals in any form. For those minor musical movies I admit are classics and I quote from, such as Willy Wonka and Chocolate Factory, technology comes to the rescue. Through the miracle of DVD I jump over the dancing/singing scenes so I can enjoy the twisted humor and sharp dialogue.

Coincidentally, the other night I also (forced, could not acquire remote) watched about 20 minutes of Chicago, purported to be a top-notch musical on film. Again, I just couldn't maintain much of a passing interest in the routines. The conversation good and the plot seemed pretty interesting, but when the characters would break into song in the middle of dialogue, for me it would bring the film to a screeching halt.

The best way for me to explain what I mean is to make a parallel to science-fiction. In the genre of these movies there is an ability each viewer must possess to fully enjoy the films, and that is suspension of disbelief. What this means, in short, is that the viewer must be able to put aside his/her doubts about the validity of the technological devices or bizarre characters being seen in the film and just accept that these things or characters are 'real'. Failure to do this will seriously impair the viewer from getting all the enjoyment out of the film.

To illustrate (I have time on my hands and I feel like it, so there), let's use an example from AN EXCELLENT FILM called Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. Roll your eyes if you must, but you might learn something here about yourself. Now, if someone watching the film observes him/herself that 'lightspeed' is physically impossible, or at least beyond our present comprehension, and that fact sticks in their head they won't be paying attention to the film or enjoying it as much. This would be analogous to a student listening to a lecture who gets stuck on one point and starts daydreaming about it, thus ceasing to hear the lecturer for those few minutes.

Or, let's use the more famous example of the beloved and hated Jar Jar Binks. Preconceived notions brought on by contemptable and ridiculous racial reviews of the character might make observing his role in the story difficult because the viewer will be upset or put off by how they are offended that this space alien's voice sounds as if a black man is doing the reading (he is!!!). Whatever the reason, the viewer's mood is soured and he/she is unable to suspend their disbelief about the character. They are jarred from the filmgoing experience (I could have used 'jar-jarred', but I'm not cruel).

And that is what happens to me every time a character inexplicably switches from dialogue to a song. THIS DOESN'T HAPPEN IN REAL LIFE! my mind shouts. And it's too late and I'm thrown for a loop. In other words I am much more able to suspend disbelief, film-wise, that a man can shoot webs out of his wrists than burst into song and dance with 100 strangers on the street.

There is that major problem, but, lo, there's another: the songs themselves. I DON'T LIKE SHOWTUNES IN THEMSELVES. I don't like the songs, I don't have records of them (despite my aversion to musicals, I have heard quite a few numbers in my time -- you can't avoid it), and I don't sing them or like listening to them when driving in a cross-country car trip to get my Sure Thing. I don't remember a time it hasn't been that way, and, like my political convictions, it's not that I don't understand the issue or the concept, it's that I just don't like it or don't agree with it.

The only thing I can expect, and hope to in turn deliver to everyone I meet or write to, is the same consideration that we are not all of the same fiber, the same genes, the same background, and there is nothing wrong with [most of] us. That I don't like beans or disagree with liberals or Christians doesn't mean that there is something wrong with beans (ha). It just means that opinions are like assholes -- everyone's got one -- and if you respect mine, I'll respect yours.

Unless you like American Idol.


If you can't come in her, come on her
Jaquandor posted about a group of Christians whose intent is to lead a modern-day secession. Seems that these particular zealots want to move to a particular crop of land, take over, and start its own nation to keep out the heathens. They have most likely been inspired by Israel's overwhelmingly succesful and docile independent state, knowing that where the Jews failed they would succeed thanks to the guiding hand of Jesus who suffered for 2 hours and 11 celluloidal minutes at the actor-Jews' behest.

They have, no doubt, received inspiration from reading scripture. In doing so, must have looked amongst the thousands of pages (depending on how heavy you like your biblical myth) of lore for the proper words, the perfect mantra for a holy cause. After much deliberation, they came up with this quote quote for their website headliner:
    "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins..." - Revelation 18:4
Of all the myriad quotes they could have chosen as their banner, this one is the one they voted on? The double entendre is hilarious. Not only do we now understand where antiquated Catholic birth control technique originates, but get a true understanding what these lewd Christians are all about, and maybe a little misogyny thrown in to boot. Come, yes, come with us!


"I Just Got Back to Blogging and Boy is My Asshole Tired"
You just don't get many good post titles anymore. That's just one of the sexcapade posts from The Washingtonienne, the hot blogging Capital Hill (former) Staff Assistant who has been turning tricks on the side with presidential appointees. Unfortunately, her recent new blogs have segued into the land of the ridiculous and all-out whorish.

Her original blog got removed from Blogster when it hit too close to home, but you can read it here. This stuff was a lot more genuine-sounding than the new stuff above, her observations jaded and funny and somehow just a little sweet. To save some time, here's her summation of acronyms:
    FD=The intern in my office whom I want to fuck.
    X=Married man who pays me for sex. Chief of Staff at one of the gov agencies, appointed by Bush.
    T=Lost my virginity to him and fell in love. Dude who has been driving me crazy since 1999. Lives in Springfield, IL. Flies halfway across the country to fuck me, then I don't hear from him for weeks.
    HK=Dude from the Senate office I interned in Jan. thru Feb. Hired me as an intern. Broke up my relationship w/ QV (see below).
    QV=Serious, long-term boyfriend whom I lived with since 2001. Disastrous break up in March, but still seeing each other.
    P=AKA "Threesome Dude." Somebody I would rather forget about.
    YZ=My new office bf with whom I am embroiled in an office sex scandal. The current favorite.
    K=A sugar daddy who wants nothing but anal. Keep trying to end it with him, but the money is too good.

    Shit. I'm fucking six guys. Ewww.
But still my favorite quote has to be:
    A man who tries to fuck you in the ass when you are sober does not love you.
That's entertainment. At least for me today. I don't want to work today and that's that.

UPDATE: The Washingtoniette revealed.
"I love the sound of my own voice", or, "Somewhere I have a point, right?"
Greetings again, bored Friday people. I have some riveting news to report, concerning VH1's 50 Most Awesomely Bad Songs Ever (their words, not mine) list.

More often then not when I go down the list, I was a little put out by the choices listed. Huey Lewis' "Heart of Rock and Roll" may be tiresome and 80's to some, but it is a good song and definitely not #10 (adding insult is that it edged out "Rico Suave"!). Watching the show itself lent a little insight into the decision process. The commentators were obscure comedians (I should put that in quotes) or VH1 staff that weren't particularly insightful or explanatory as to their choices.

In particular, there was one egghead who they kept referencing for what must be the basis for all opinions on the show. I have no idea who he was, but my guess is his name is Andrew Hershberger. Not because this name is on my list of usual suspects, but for the singularly confusing opinion/rant piece posted this week on Cinescape. Andy's (we are on a first name basis) piece doesn't so much as break down the show or give any kind of insight as provide a forum for this kid's ageist blathering:
    I was watching VH1 the other day and they had one of those "worst songs of all time" shows on and by the end when such abominations as "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," "Achy Breaky Heart," and "We Built This City" reared their ugly head and won the coveted top spots I realized this list is made by 30-year-olds. Crusty, pungent, has-been 30-year-olds... Who, besides geriatrics, remembers listening to "The Heart of Rock & Roll" or "The Final Countdown" when they had the immediacy of a contemporary offering?
I'd agree with Andy that those songs hardly merit inclusion on the list, but his logic seems to be that old music (i.e., from [aghast] 20 years ago) should be relegated to a meat locker somewhere. He then goes on to comment on the inclusion of recent songs:
    Out of fifty songs, nine were from this decade alone. Out of 10,000 years of music composition nine of the worst sonic atrocities have been made in the last five years.
His viewpoint seems to veer somewhere between outrage that 80's songs are even listed and recent songs have been included. Huh? Of course, Andy should know that there are very few bands worth shit out there (that didn't exist before 1996), and if his own generation's music has been dragged through 15 miles of shit (so there!). However, he also seems a little upset that 'old' pop music has been stealing the thunder of VH1. What exactly is his complaint? Alas, the world may never know. Possibly that his education (assuming facts not in evidence) did not include a class on essay writing.


Plugging the Sasser hole
As you may be aware, there's a new worm making the rounds on the computer virus network called Sasser. Yesterday, I downloaded a removal utility that found two instances of Sasser on my home PC and removed them (and a trojan horse, too, but I don't want to steal anyone's thunder).

The worm appeared only to overload my CPU so that I was unable to do much of anything. It was more of an annoyance than anything else -- before I got the virus, I merely stopped the application that was hogging all the processing power. However, Microsoft apparently thought it not so much a pest as a pain-in-the-ass, judging by the turn of phrase in the article:
    Sasser appeared on Friday and exploits a recently disclosed hole in a component of Windows called the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service, or LSASS. Microsoft released a software patch, MS04-011, on April 13 that plugs the LSASS hole.
And now all Windows has to do is stop metaphorically bending over.