Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Reasonably Decent Alan Bishop Interview

This KUSF community radio interview came down on the always lively Sun City Girls yahoo groups forum the other day. It's aint tits, but what is?

Alan (Alvarius B.) Bishop Interview on KUSF.

Among the highlights:

Q: In Morocco, the women do most of the household chores. They make the bread and carry the loaves to the corner bakery to bake while the men are in the bars sipping mint tea. Is it anything as close in Indonesian land?

A: Islamic cultures are somewhat similar around the world and men and women are not seen socializing together very much. Of course all men aren't sitting in tea shops either....some of them actually have jobs and work. The unemployment rate is high and that accounts for men sitting in tea shops as much as anything else. Western culture does not understand Islamic culture and I am a bit hesitant to criticize the way things are in the Islamic world. I don't believe in imposing cultural views upon those who are different. Americans are engineered to make quick judgments without researching or experiencing first hand what they are "judging". And they listen to "experts" too much and give them too much credit because they are socially engineered to do so. All spokespeople and experts have agendas. Most don't even realize that they serve an agenda that they are not even aware of. They cannot be trusted EVER! If you want to know something about anything you must do the research yourself. The modern Islamic world has many problems as do all cultures. I am not here to criticize or change them. I respect differences even if I do not understand why or how they came to be. My experiences have taught me that women have much more power than we are all led to believe in ALL cultures.

Q: What are the societies leading the way for women’s emancipation?

A: The Minangkebaeu people of Sumatra are a Matrilinear culture. The children descend from their mother instead of their father. They are Muslims although their version of Islam is somewhat different. The women control property and money and make major decisions. Its completely unique and assimilated with their pre-Islamic system of thought. They are a very resourceful and clever people. The legend of their independence from outside control is a fascinating one. They were to battle the mighty Javanese to decide who would control the land of their people and they convinced the Javanese to settle the dispute by having a Buffalo fight instead of sacraficing their people against one another. The Javanese sent their fiercist, mighty Bull to battle against the Minang's best. The Minang sent a little baby calf to do battle with this Mighty Javanese Buffalo. Except they separated the calf from its mother and didn't feed the calf for days and they fastened sharp razors around its mouth so that when the calf charged the Bull, it thought the Bull was its mother and when the calf tried to suckle for milk, it gored the Bull to death with the sharp razors and the calf was victorious! Minangkebaeu literally means "Victory Buffalo". The Javanese honored the outcome and left them alone.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Stuffy Film Review - Kinsey (2004)

A Dangerously Beautiful Kinda Creepy Mind – Kinsey (2004)

I watched this movie last night and wanted to put this review on Netflix but, alas, it was way too long. So, in the interest of keeping this site a good mix of low and high brow, I’m putting it on here. Keep in mind this aint particularly an endorsement of the film… I only wanted to post this somewhere. On with the stuffiness:

Kinsey is neither a great nor lousy film. It tends to float between examining the man and examining his work, illuminating one always to the detriment of the other. The result is a somewhat engrossing look at a scientist so hard-wired to his profession that his cold, analytical look into the facts of human sexual activity (the how’s—he has no intellectual or personal interest in the why’s) ultimately leads to his swift marginalization by a scandalized American public. When his scientific tunnel-vision is seen to neglect the humanity of his subjects Kinsey also loses support from the academic and intellectual world who, under an untenable amount of public and governmental scrutiny, are only too happy to get this bee out of their bonnet.

It is during this time that we see the doctor falling into the fabled trap of the driven scientist--Kinsey begins to get too close to his subject matter. Way too close. More and more he, his research associates and their families become shockingly open with their personal sex lives and practices. They are never uncomfortable in turning the microscope on themselves (a grievous error in scientific data collection) and as a result, the same calculated scientific attitude they bring to their research carries over to their personal lives with ever more chaotic results. Jealousy wells, marriages are ruined and the team falls apart as the science of sexuality increasingly erodes the humanity of sexuality.

This descent doesn’t come entirely unexpected of course. Early in the film we’re given an illustration of just how driven and one-track minded Kinsey is during the gall-wasp collection segments early in his career. We’re also given unending reminders of the scientist's painfully awkward social “graces." While this is reportedly quite true in real life, in the film it all serves the purpose of explaining why he crossed the lines he did and how, for all the incredible insight his work gave us, he couldn’t see the faults in his own research and had no idea how to gracefully present it to the non-scientific American public. The film is never exactly successful in its attempt to realize this conflict which is given the same two-dimensional treatment as Kinsey’s tumultuous relationship with his father. Especially in their blink-and-you-miss-it resolution.

Aside from the percentage of viewers who simply dislike the film for its graphic frankness (a frankness very much in the spirit of the doctor himself), half of its detractors feel it’s got technical and/or narrative flaws while the other half feel it glosses over the man’s personal faults and, more importantly, the faults in his research techniques and conclusions. And really, they're both right. The truth does indeed lie somewhere between the two. But that's no reason to entirely condemn the film--or the man.

In the end, we the viewers are left with a fairly gripping biopic with universal subject matter that never quite gets around to answering any of the questions it raises. Kinsey is certainly worth a watch but in its incompleteness the film practically begs us, ironically enough, to continue the research on our own.

Monday, November 28, 2005

The Thing - It's Chuckling Time

This picture hung in my friend Jen's living room when we both lived in Boston. Every time I went over there, I'd be reduced to tears trying not to laugh at it. Jen would get mad and then start laughing at it too. Or just at my sheer, giddy joy at the loveable crappiness of this painting. She emailed it to me the other day and it killed me all over again. Thanks Jen.

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I got paid for the two-day glutton fest that is Thanksgiving. Hallelujah. Apparently, there is a God and while he only pays a few bucks over than minimum wage and won't hire me full time so I can get healthcare, he does bring in Cheap Trick on a Tuesday afternoon and throw me a paid holiday bone. Thanks, Pappi.
Anyway, Thanksgiving props to Justin and Christine and Jill and Dave for hosting and cooking. And to Sarah and everyone else who contributed to the cause. Whatta a blast. Jill had the inspired idea to set up holiday-themed photo areas along with costumes. Of course, it quickly got goofy. Again, whatta blast.

(Santa and the Mrs.)

(The Virgin Sarry)

(The Faithful: Christine and Kelly)

(Guantanamo Justin)

(In front of one of Jill's rad paintings)

(Joanna and a lamp)

(Baby Woody Allen)


(Unwise Man)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Katrina Refugee Apartment Hunts in Gainesville

FEMA's doing a "heckuva" job alright.

Miracle at Gainesville:
How a poet and a resurrected dead man saved a Katrina evacuee.
By Blake Bailey at

"...The first place I visited was very ugly indeed (orange concrete block), but in a fairly nice neighborhood with lots of trees. Once I got inside, though, I had to breathe through my mouth. The filthy gray wall-to-wall carpet not only reeked of mildew, but was scored with cigarette burns, as if the place were a clubhouse for chain-smoking junkies. I thought of what Cheever had said about certain houses 'where everything we see, touch, smell and hear urges us to commit murder or suicide or get drunk and perform some contemptible sexual obscenity.'"

Killer Letter From Senator Harry Reid

Gotta love Harry Reid. He's leading the fight to pick apart the dishonesty and lies spewed day in and day out by the goon squad in the White House and their accomplices in Congress. He deserves our support. As this guy goes to the mat once again against the woefully corrupt Bush regime, they get nervous and begin to swing wildly--below the belt.
Dear B.,

On Sunday the Republican National Committee is going
to start running ads against me in my home state of
Nevada - well I must be doing something right if they
are already that scared.

The ads claim that I am politicizing the war in Iraq.
Quiet frankly this attack is so ludicrous it would be
funny, if the topic were not so serious. Our soldiers
are fighting everyday in Iraq, but instead of engaging
in a legitimate debate on the merits of our current
course in Iraq, George Bush and Dick Cheney do what
they always do and attempt to smear their opponents.

This week alone, we've seen Stephen Hadley. . . Donald
Rumsfeld. . . President Bush. . . and Vice President
Cheney lash out at their critics. . . yet they all
remain silent when it comes to giving our troops and
the American people a plan. Tired rhetoric and
political attacks do nothing to solve our problems in

As a former boxer I know, your opponent always starts
to swing wildly when you've got them on the ropes. The
way to beat them isn't to hesitate, but to continue
landing punches until he goes down. The Iraq war is
too important an issue to allow cheap political
attacks to prevent us from doing what is best for our
troops and best for our country.

Back when I was Nevada Gaming Commissioner the mob
planted a bomb inside my car. That didn't scare me
from doing what was right then, and I certainly am not
scared of George Bush and his gang now. Democrats are
going to keep pressing forward demanding
accountability for intelligence failures and demanding
a strategy for success that will bring the troops

Call the White House and let them know you are tired
of political attacks and want real solutions for Iraq.
You can reach the White House by dialing:


Thank you,

Harry Reid

PS Since Tuesday more than 55,000 of you have signed
the letter to George Bush asking him not to pardon
Scooter Libby. You can still sign onto the letter by

Once Again, No Exit Strategy

From the BBC. I can't decide if it's sad or funny.
President George W Bush tried to make a quick exit from a news conference in Beijing on Sunday - only to find himself thwarted by locked doors.
(Be sure to watch the video.)

Friday, November 18, 2005

Today's Political Rant

The bit below was clipped part and parcel from It covers the Bush team’s recent “fight-back” strategy. The story, presented linearly, is, first, a WaPo news story regarding the administration’s new offensive, then, a NYT editorial practically condemning Bush in regard to this, and finally, the White House’s wild response to that editorial in the form of a scattershot press release.

What I find interesting is the White House’s counter attack press release. To defend themselves, they basically point to news stories, many of which were based on cooked “evidence” and “facts” previously released through the White House itself in press releases, speeches, conferences, and, of course, leaks. They prop up their defense on these articles despite ongoing revelations illuminating the “facts” of these stories to be the product of the worst kind of political exaggeration, wishful thinking and outright fabrication.

In other words, the White House is holding up their own media filtered bullshit as proof of not only their own veracity but, by the nature of their careful wording, their own righteousness. Incredible! Thankfully, the public and (finally) the media seem to be through buying White House spin. Not a minute too soon, I might add.
Via Cursor:
As 'Iraq Critics Meet Familiar Reply,' the White House issued a six-page rebuttal to a 900 word editorial it described as coming "from the newspaper that gave us Jayson Blair."

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Speaking of Cos (Reprise)

It looks like I’ll be reprising my role as sidekick for the nation’s first and only live talk show, The Brian Costello Show with Brian Costello this weekend at The Empty Bottle. I’ve played the Ed McMahon to Cos’ Carson a few times in the past after founding sidekick and Chicago’s funniest Japanese import, Ken Kegawa went missing. (Incidentally, no one’s heard from him since—My money’s on the Triads.)

Helping out is always a gas, though admittedly, the last time the show ran long and at about the two and a half hour point I fell asleep on stage. Massively unprofessional, I know. But apparently all’s been forgiven and I’ve been asked back… or several funnier, more congenial folks have backed out. In any case, if you’re in the Chicagoland area this weekend, stop by the Empty Bottle for some laughs, some rock and roll, and perhaps the city’s best bloody marys. And if you’re not careful, you just might learn something.

The Empty Bottle - 1035 N. Western Ave.Chicago, IL
(Corner of Western and Cortez)
Satuday, Nov 19, 3:00 PM
Joe Tower, Lance "Romance" D'Ambrosia & Sean Gardnerwith musical guests CoCoComas and of course, the house band: The Krunchies

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Speaking of Costello...

Speaking of Costello, he’s had his first novel published!

Chicago upstart publishing house Featherproof Press put out The Enchanters Vs. Sprawlburg Springs as their maiden title and our man Cos is currently giving a lot of face time in interviews, readings and such.

The Enchanters... is a superb short-length novel ostensibly about the burnout of a small-time punk band in a middle class suburban hellhole. But, really, there’s more to it than that. As we follow the raucous lives of the four members of The Enchanters and the couple dozen minor players, Cos expertly weaves a stirring punk rock philosophy lesson through the narrative. Ultimately, The Enchanters becomes a story about the flux of inspiration, creation and expression (and its sheer contagion) in the lives of kids who are smart enough to know that the best fun is the kind you make yourself.

Be sure and check out The Enchanters faux band page (the “live” photos are particularly brilliant).

--BUY IT!--

Friday, November 11, 2005

Yes, I Am A Degenerate

An email I sent to Brian Costello earlier today:

Sorry I missed the gig. Hope it went well.
We had a work party for a couple of promotions. It was 5 hours of free drinks at the bar downstairs of our bldg. I think I had 11 gray goose and cranberrys. I passed out on the train coming home around 9:30. I woke up at some stop and ran off the train for some reason thinking I'd arrived at my stop. It wasn't. I'm still not sure which stop it was. But I am sure that I puked all over the stairs of that train stop. Perhaps I was just marking it so I could find it again.
Wandered the streets until I found my way home an hour and a half later. Total zombie walk. Dead drunk.
I have the distinct impression that I was saying all kinds of crazy shit to my coworkers, including the bigshot head of my division. I am positive that one of those crazy things was claiming that I had a 275 bowling average. What the fuck???

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Woah! Woah! Woah! - Part Two - Really.

I’m a criminal. When it comes to wasting electricity, anyway. One of the worst. Lower than low.

When home alone and busy doing anything or nothing, I’m notorious for having every TV in the house on to a different channel, volumes muted while the stereo blasts in the front of the house and the radio back in the kitchen. I guess I enjoy the sensory overload. Or my ADD is way, way outta control.

I was living up to this rep when Sarah got home that night. The radio in the kitchen was tuned to my favorite night of public radio broadcasting while the bedroom TV was tuned to SportsCenter. Across the house, Early Man's killer, Ozzy-fied debut Closing In cranked from the office stereo and my bass amp rested in mid-surgery on the coffee table across from the other TV which I’d completely forgotten was halfway through showing the third film of the night, the hilariously over-the-top, historical art-porn epic, Caligula.

I’d watched maybe about five minutes of it occasionally looking up from the puzzle of wires in the amp. There's somthing profoundly funny about glancing up at the TV screen and catching a few seconds of a beheading, a castration, a full-on orgy or a pompously over-acted monologue. In that respect (and because it’s damn near impossible to sit through the entire snail-paced, plotless mess), Caligula is far and away the best background movie out there.

So, I always try and tone down the multi-media assault for Sarah’s sake, but being as wrapped up as I was, I forgot and in she walked to the weird world of my alone time. The sonic battering flipped her equilibrium and she stumbled into the living room only to see the filthy speaker cabinet and its innards up on the coffee table. Her expression went from revulsion to shock when she spun around and saw the TV.

Now, Sarah’s no prude by any means, but after the one-two punch of the noise and the mess, she just wasn’t prepared for the whole thing to be lit by the glow of--of all the damn crazy moments in the movie--the "skin lotion" production scene, aka the circle jerk scene. If you’ve seen Caligula you know which one I’m talking about. Ugh. If you haven’t, don’t worry. There’s really no reason to put it in your headspace out of the context of the movie. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. And if that’s the case, you’ve probably got all your favorite web sites bookmarked.

Anyway, that was it for poor Sarah. She looked at the TV, then at me, back and the TV then back at me before rolling her eyes and walking off to dismantle the audio-visual nest I’d made for myself that evening.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Woah! Woah! Woah! - Part Two - Interrupted

I gleefully interrupt the scheduled post of Woah! Woah! Woah! Part Two to bring you the following, late-breaking news. This aint surprising, but boy-howdy is it funny:

Abramoff-Scanlon School of Sleaze -
Wednesday's Senate hearings yielded more scandalous revelations about how the dynamic lobbying duo bilked American Indian tribes out of millions and used the money to win elections for their Republican clients.
(Link is to today's article.)

In regard to the ongoing Washington crooked lobbyist / GOP investigation, a memo has been leaked. It's basically a behind-the-scenes strategic communication regarding get-out-the-vote drives and fundraising. On the surface that doesn't seem like anything to get in a tizzy about, but, it's who they're attempting to reach (their Conservative Christian base) and how these people are referred to when they're not around that is raising eyebrows.

Of course we all know damn well that the GOP and right wing shitheads cozy up to the religious types with all their talk of values and morality only to shake votes from the tree. In fact, if the current administration's track record is any indicator, the right wing is functionally devoid of morals. As one scandal after another mounts, it remains to be seen how far the GOP's pro-family, Compassionate Christian, lib-ruhl hatin' supporters will follow them. I imagine it'll take some time before the shitstink of lies can get washed off; before the impacted manure gets scraped outta their ears; before their eyes can adjust from the black-or-white-ness of the with-us-or-against-us mindset; before the right wing mind fuck begins to ring hollow and the less impressionable, less scared, less stupid among them begin to wake up.

Perhaps this will help:

As one DailyKos reader commented, "I've started reading through the rest of the emails in that 300+ page document dump. The contempt for the wacko constituency is palpable throughout. They are literally converting these fools into cash: charging $5K plus for church rallies; purchasing member lists from the Christian Coalition and charging clients up the wazoo for this 'service.'"

Woah! Woah! Woah! - Part One

Woah! Woah! Woah!
It looks like this thing’s off to a bad start.
In the interest of keeping it up to date, if not wildly exciting, I meant to post something about last Friday night. Never happened. Wasn’t feeling it. Guess I’m feelin’ something now, so here’s the Reader’s Digest version:
See, I stayed home to strip this pair of high end speakers that were hanging around and use the parts to rebuild my old, old bass amp. I was fairly successful until it came to wiring the thing together. It had been almost nine years (!?) since I originally pulled the thing apart and, of course, I’d forgotten what wire went where. Normally, I’d have given it the old college try and soldered away, but over the course of the evening I’d given it the old Gainesville try and somehow drunk an entire bottle of sake intended for both Sarah and I later that night. Oops. Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to pack it at that point, probably saving a few trips down to the fuse box and possibly one to the emergency room.
I only got about two screwdrivers put away by the time Sarah got home from work. She walked in and was aghast at the mess of tools, wires, fiberglass and dirt all over the (five dollar thriftstore) coffee table. She was even more aghast when she turned around and saw on the television a gaggle of dongs, butts and boobs.
(To be continued…. And, NO, it wasn’t porn.)