notes on flag day

June 14, 2007

Flag Day is one of those events that brings out the ridiculous journalism.

This morning I missed the early bus and, as such, caught a little bit of “Pittsburgh TODAY Live,” the morning show on KDKA TV. Keith Jones, introducing a story about how the founder of Flag Day is from some godawful podunk place in Collier Township or something, announced that on Flag Day, you can “salute our flag by . . . simply flying it!”

THEN, I read in the Post-Gazette about how no one cares about Flag Day anymore and oh what a shame it is and encountered the following:

The designation has faded over the years; some calendars don’t even mark Flag Day.

“That’s how pathetic our calendars are nowadays,” said Rhonda Baldt, manager of Amerian Legion Post 826 in Monroeville.

Right, Rhonda. That’s how pathetic our calendars are. The omission of Flag Day, a redundant observance at best, is a clear indication of a downturn in the quality of our calendars in general. Next thing, they’ll be telling us when Rosh Hashanah begins but not when it ends. I bet they’ll get even lazier and just skip out on the leap year thing completely in 2008. Hell, by 2010 I bet our calendars will be so pathetic, ALL of the months will have 30 days.

what time is it?

May 23, 2007

Today walking around downtown at lunchtime I saw a man who looked like an old sailor rolling up to the library on roller blades while another dude kind of stared at him, some young clean people (Mormons?) giving away CD’s (DVD’s?) about the Lord, a man who looked like Inpector Clousseau clutching a briefcase, etc. etc. This place is often more interesting than Oakland during the day, surprisingly.

Today’s paper has my pieces about Midnite Snake and Z’EV; pick one up, I’ll post the online versions tomorrow once they’re LIVE. Midnite Snake is the cover and golly gee is the picture insane. Unfortunately, it’s eclipsed by the back cover AA ad, which, of course, is an ass and says — not kidding here — “Pantytime™.”

Okay, I guess I’m a little jealous of Dov for getting that trademarked before me.


One things I’ve neglected to mention over the last few days was the upcoming film adaptation conference at Pitt that I noted a couple months ago. I wrote about it for the paper here. I swear I posted about this this morning but apparently I didn’t.

Now on to important comics stuff: it’s been a while since I’ve checked in with you about Rex Morgan, M.D. and all the Troubles there. Suffice it to say, the strip has taken on the heavy subject of the relation between the state and morality, and the state has sustained a bruising.

It all came to a head the night Elvis showed up at the Morgans’ house to off Niki. Abbie (or “Ginger,” as I like to nostalgically call her) came to the rescue, digging under the fence to get to Elvis and pin him before he could do any harm (since, presumably, it took him hours to stand around outside the house before he got up the nerve to go to work).

After Elvis was apprehended, one of the officers stuck around, and announced that he’d have to be taking Niki away — I mean, his mom’s in the hospital with injuries sustained in a meth lab explosion for cripes’ sake, and the Morgans have to legal rights or responsibilities to him. Can you say CYS? Of course Niki was sad, and of course the Morgans were too. Their ire was nothing, though, in comparison with Abby’s Ginger’s:

We’re faced with the ultimate dilemma, hypothesized about by Kropotkin, Goldman, Wolff and so many others: when the state’s actions lie in direct contrast with what’s morally good and right, what are our rights with regard to resisting the state? Abby Ginger would clearly say that it’s well within our rights to snarl and grrrrowl at the state until it backs off — and in this case it does:

As we speak, another subplot is being hatched, to distract us a bit before the Ruby Ridge part of the story comes down.

eat, drink, and be mary

March 5, 2007

Busy times here at Andybot, Inc.

  • First order of business is kudos to Bob Subdivided for his piece in the P-G yesterday about Mary Worth. It was of magnitudes higher quality than the main story that ran with it, which sort of basically made Mary seem as boring as everyone thinks she is.
  • <complain>I now use a Mac at work and still use a PC at home, so every day I re-learn how to do keyboard shortcuts, twice. What a difficult existence.</complain>
  • The new gig affords me the chance to find out about cool stuff that’s going on that I might otherwise miss. Witness: the Bricolage Production Company. They’re doing a staged reading NEXT Sunday/Monday (the 18th and 19th) of a play called “Weightless” by an Australian playwright named Christine Evans. Could be cool. They’re also doing an Amiri Baraka play next month. Keep an eye out.

critical update

February 21, 2007

So, for the most part, I find music writing to be relatively boring and not that notable (that’s not to say that I think it’s EASY, or that I could do a great job at it). However, I would like to point out that Monica Kendrick of Chicago Reader is wonderful to read, and you owe it to yourself to read the Crickets blog on the Reader’s website, if only to keep up with her posts. (As an aside, I wish there was a way on their multiple-author blogs to filter by author, but whatever.) I don’t spend that much time giving pats on the back, so take this seriously. Thank you.

sic semper tyrannis

February 12, 2007

Yesterday brought the yearly Parade magazine WORLD’S WORST DICTATORS issue.

First of all, YES, I’m acutely aware that Parade magazine is essentially a joke and I shouldn’t expect much out of it. But even with that understanding: WHAT? How does a rag so caught up in middle-Americanism and celebrity sycophancy think to, once a year, enumerate and quantify which world dictators are the worst? My working theory is that someone who had previously worked at Mad got a job at Parade and needed an idea quick, and therefore imported some ideas that s/he had come up with for Mad (this explains the existence of Marilyn vos Savant as well).

Ultimately, Parade deserves all the stupid “YOU FORGOT GEORGE BUSH YOU MORANS” comments its getting on its website. Because, hey, when you decide that it makes sense to think you can pass judgment on something as sensitive and important as tyrannical rule, you should expect some ridiculous arguments to ensue. (For example, what’s the deciding factor that determines that Putin can be classed alongside Qaddafi and Hu Jintao but George Bush can’t? And WHO TRUSTS PEOPLE LIKE JAMES BRADY AND LYRIC WALLWORK WINIK TO MAKE THAT CALL?)

I think a proper next step, given the apparent success of the topic, would be a joint project with Fox, the end result being a reality show competition (“The World’s Next Top Despot”?) pitting , say, King Abdullah against Kim Jong-Il to determine once and for all, in a quantitative fashion, just WHO is the most evil of them all. The Politically Engineered Famine Challenge is not one I want to be in front of the TV for.

D’S bullet points

February 8, 2007

  • Last night, skipped out on the avant-garde once more in favor of hanging out with peeps and getting some studying done. Tonight, seeing the Godard film at Regent Square (last night for that) and getting a dog at D’s. Most likely the reason the veggie dogs taste so damn good at D’s is that they’re slathered in meat juice, but so long as you don’t stare at the grill (and I don’t), you can pretend that ‘s not the case. Plus, their fries are my favorites in town, except maybe Rudy’s in Monroeville. Also, their beer selection is immense, although you’re a bit hard pressed find something to drink on the cheap there (but they have mighty fine root beer on tap, if you’re into that).
  • I’m simultaneously annoyed and excited that my favorite ad from the Super Bowl is currently featured on the main page on Youtube: Emerald Nuts — “Boogeyman.” The complete absurdity of sticking Robert Goulet into an ad of any sort in 2007 appeals to me a great deal; having him mess up your desk at work when you nap appeals even more; the clincher is toward the end when he jumps up into the ceiling.
  • The Budweiser “Crabs” commercial is another that I enjoyed; at first, you expect a cliche: animals stealing beer from a picnic and partying. They end up worshipping the cooler instead. This almost derailed the usual stupid water cooler commentary, except I caught Jay Leno Monday night making some clever reference to a beach and girls and crabs. Errr, not funny, moron.
  • Also notable: the totally insane Garmin ad.
  • Among the stupider entries were the Doritos ad (with the guy in the car and the sexxxy lady, made by some schmucks as part of a contest) and the GoDaddy and SalesGenie ads, which just plain made me never want to do business with those companies (I stand by my assertion last year that GoDaddy didn’t have enough money, after paying for the airtime, to actually make a decent spot).
  • The plumbing is back to (relatively) normal at this point. The story is long and sordid and perhaps for the most part doesn’t need telling. Suffice it to say that no one died, and the house didn’t burn down, and we’re able to drink water from the faucet again instead of from the toilet. (Aside: I’m tempted to create a tag on here called “about clogging,” as to label just these sorts of posts.)

Check it: February 8 is next week, and February 8 is when two folks from the Chiapas Media Project will be speaking here at Pitt. 6:00 PM, Alumni Hall Auditorium. Worth checking out for sure. Glad to be of service.

Hi, reader-friends.

First and foremost, do please take a moment to reflect on race relations and your life; do me a favor and read this excerpt from the first chapter of bell hooks’s book Killing Rage. I’m not insisting that you agree with every sentiment (I’m not sure whether I agree with every sentiment); I just want you to read it and let it affect you. Try not to let the myriad typos that ocurred in the transcription process get in your way. Thanks!

Now then: this weekend I watched In Cold Blood. I don’t think I had watched the whole thing straight through before, just parts. I told you a long time ago I was going to write about Capote (right after I watched it) but I never did. I think I’d like to work pretty hard on putting together my thoughts about these two movies, and the book, and write them up pretty formally, so I’m going to hold off on that until I have the time. Given that I haven’t even done my homework this weekend, I guess I’ll need to work a little on my motivation.

The show Friday night went well; some people showed up, the bands were good, we hung out and made good food and watched Do The Right Thing afterward. I’ve got no complaints.  Saturday night I saw Terminal Youth, Warzone Womyn, MANS, Thrak, and Baby Bird. I didn’t think a five-band night was going to treat me well, especially since I had been to shows the three nights previous, but then in fact I enjoyed myself a lot. All the bands were really enjoyable. When was the last time I said that? MANS are from Bloomington and play stuff in the vein of what my band did/does; I honestly don’t usually like bands like that, but I honestly totally love MANS. Go see them sometime if you get the chance (I think this tour is over, but they’ll be back out at some point soon).

coming up things:

January 11, 2007

Okay, first off, I need to tell you about this show I’m doing Friday night at Roboto: It’s at 7 (probably more like 8), and features three bands: Potboiler (from New Paltz, NY), Tin Armour (from Columbus), and Lucas Sloppy’s Flying Organ (from Beaver County). It’ll be $5, and a good time — it can be that thingy in between when you eat dinner and when you do Friday night things, like parties and bar shows and raves and whatever.

Now, slightly further off: next Thursday, the 18th, Colin MacCabe is giving a lecture in 1228 Cathedral of Learning at 5:30pm. It’s called: “Dead Mothers: Patrick McCabe, Neil Jordan and Mother Ireland.” I don’t know much about Patrick McCabe, but it sounds interesting, as Colin MacCabe is a smarty and Irish things are interesting to me.

It’s part of a series of lectures by Pitt film studies folks that seems to be leading up to this conference in March: The Virtues of Fidelity: Film Adaptation as Literary Truth. Details seem to be a little sketch, but Laura Mulvey is speaking, so I’m amped.

And while I’m acting like Horbal, let me refer you to his synopsis of a free film series that’s part of a grad seminar in the German Department: Experimental, Underground, Revolutionary: Avant-garde Films from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.

It’s every Wednesday night this semester; I missed the first two but I’m going to try to hit as many as possible. Big ups to Professor Halle for making it happen.