Friday, January 27, 2006

And now these messages

The World's Greatest Lovers, the honkytonk combo I sing with, plays weddings. We most definitely play weddings. Wedding season is just around the corner, and we want to play your wedding. We loved the weddings we played last summer, and we want to play your wedding. So remember, we want to play your wedding.

To learn more about the World's Greatest Lovers -- and was there ever a better name for a wedding band? -- check out our Web site.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Oh well is reporting that coreweekly, the "faux" alternative weekly put out by the publisher of Madison's daily newspapers, is folding.

coreweekly's editors made decisions I disagreed with, but no one likes to hear about more layoffs in the newspaper industry. Grim news.
A big howdy

Take note, everyone, of a new addition to the blogroll over on the side: the musings of Adam Benedetto, legendary Green Party politician and Madison man about town. A wanderer, he is blogging from Mali and goodness knows where else.

In other housekeeping news, I have removed my book log, which had become extremely pointless. Books are so 1987. Kidding! I read books constantly, but that book log was doomed to fail. Too much work. Anyway, with the proper national security clearance, you could probably learn all you want about my reading habits from the Madison public library.
The pinnacle

On the Daily Page Forum there is a new post encouraging Madisonians to complain about their landlords, but I'd like to take this opportunity to write a word of praise for my landlords, Apex Property Management, Inc.

I've had some horrific landlords in my day, but the people at Apex have been delightful to deal with from the moment I started renting from them five years ago. They're friendly, they return calls, they fix stuff promptly. And they even bring candy at Christmas. Did I mention they're friendly?

Until I learn to stop worrying and buy a house, I'm happy to rent from Apex. Apex Property Management, Inc., of thee I sing.

(Private to Apex: loved the cashew clusters last time, but what happened to the peanut butter bears?)

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tiny dancer

Chris Penn is dead at age 40. The other Penn brother who acts, Chris Penn has been on my mind of late, mostly thanks to his role as The Kid Who Can't Dance in Footloose.

Minus the odd polka frenzy I have never cared much for dancing, which probably has to do with the fact that as a child, I attended a school affiliated with a Christian ideology that forbids dancing. So I never danced when I was a kid and, all these years and much spiritual progress later, I still don't dance much.

But while I was attending that school Footloose came out, and I went to see it. And whenever I think about my disinclination to cut a rug (whenever, for example, someone asks me to dance, which happened as recently as Monday), I always flash back to the scenes in which Kevin Bacon, a pro-dancing rebel, is dance instructor to Chris Penn, an adolescent who is terrorized by his small town's anti-dancing religious hegemony -- and who, as it happens, can't dance a step anyway.

The film raises an interesting theological question. If, as my early religious instructors said, God doesn't want us to dance, does that mean God has preemptively bestowed grace upon people who are hopeless dancers, like the Penn character?

Regardless: Although Footloose is not a particularly good movie, it does have that exhilirating montage sequence, set to Deniece Williams' "Let's Hear It For the Boy," in which Bacon teaches Penn to dance. An important element of the pedagogy is a super-old-school Walkman into which two headsets can be plugged.

Adieu, Chris Penn, and thanks for reminding us that God won't strike us down if we dance. (Private to God: I do think the robot dancing has gotten out of control.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The big shew

Don't forget, you all, that I and my honkytonk band the World's Greatest Lovers will play our first club date of '06 this Thursday at the Shamrock Bar. Showtime is 10 pm at night, and there is no cover. The Shamrock is at 117 W. Main St. in downtown Madison.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Good word

"Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans caused a controversy by saying that when New Orleans is rebuilt it will be a 'chocolate city.' Nagin went on to say that chocolate New Orleans will be protected by a system of graham cracker levees."

-- Conan O'Brien

Sunday, January 22, 2006

False idols

After watching last week's installment of "American Idol," I must say (and I know I'm not the first to say it): The singers who do well on the show may be skillful, but they sound alike -- bland, boy-bandish. The singing has much fancy technique, but not much heart. What would happen if, say, Lester Flatt auditioned? He would be dismissed, after being mocked and derided.

I'd forgotten that I Tivoed "American Idol" at all, but then I read the editorial in today's New York Times that denounces the show for, in its early rounds, inviting talentless people to audition only so the judges can ridicule them for the television audience. The editorial says of the contestants,
Many appear terribly vulnerable and some seem to border on mentally impaired. The fun is supposed to come from seeing the celebrity judges roll their eyes, laugh, and tell them that they are tone-deaf, fat, funny-looking or, in the case of one young man, "atrocious" and "confused." (The cameras followed him out of the audition room, the better to make sport of him crying with his family.)
I'm with the Times on this. I get very uncomfortable watching people being made fools of, which is why I loathe practical jokes. I realize that no one auditions unwillingly, but the judging is startlingly, mercilessly cruel, and the cameras are unflinching.

Particularly dismaying was the finale of the episode I watched, which was promoted by teasers throughout the broadcast. What was so extraordinary about the last candidate? He committed the unpardonable sin of not being as gifted as Clay Aiken, yes -- but also, his gender was ambiguous. In case anyone missed the fact, host Ryan Seacrest repeatedly pointed it out in the teasers. And in case anyone missed those, there was a closeup of judge Simon Cowell making bug eyes at the sight of a well-meaning young man in high heels and plunging neckline. And in case anyone missed that, the last shots of the weeping, humiliated candidate were accompanied by "The Crying Game," the song by transgendered Boy George from the movie of the same name, about a transgendered character.

Could it get more witless, obvious, exploitative, offensive? Another triumph for humanity. I fart on "American Idol."