August 29, 2004

The Wall, pt 7 (Side Four)

So, the Worms are all hunkered down at stage right while Doctor, Wife and Mother are guiding Pink up the ramp at down-left onto the platform. Pink is resisting more and more violently, scared to death of getting on the platform and doing "the show".

At this point 7 to 10 new characters begin to walk on the stage. They are a diverse group; black, white, male, female, and dressed in various outfits (a policeman, fireman, librarian, whatever). Kind of like the Village People, only different. The point is that they represent everyone - a wide slice of society.

As the intro to "In The Flesh" pounds away, Pink is resisting, but gradually realizes that there's no getting out of this. He, still wearing the wall-vest, btw, reaches behind the desk and pulls out an army helmet. Steeling himself, he methodically puts the helmet on his head. His expression changes; he now looks menacing, wild-eyed and grinning.
The Worms see this, get up, run onto the platform and stand firmly, proudly beside him -- two on each side -- with their feet apart and their fists on their waists.

As for the Village People (I'll just call them that..), they may be standing or sitting or squatting, depending on how it works -- ie, how high the platform is.
Or maybe they could be hunched over with their hands on their knees like outfielders waiting for a batter to hit the ball.

Pink, looking over the heads of the Village People and out into the audience, begins to sing:

So ya, thought ya, might like to...
go to the show!
To feel the warm thrill of confusion
that space cadet glow

Beginning to pace just a little bit, the Worms will join in the singing:
Pink:I've got some bad news for you, sunshine
Pink isn't well, he stayed back at the hotel,
and he
Pink & Worms: Sent us! Along!
as a Surro-Gate! Band!
We're gonna find out where you fans really stand!!

Pink: Are there any queers in the theater tonight?
Get 'em up against the wall

The Worms hop from the platform and approach the Village People shouting "'GAINST! THE! WALL!" as they push some of them away from center-stage, outward toward the sides of the wall.
They do more of the same, and the Village People resist somewhat, but are mainly just confused and surprised.
...and there's one in the spotlight,
he don't look right to me,
get him up against the wall.
And that one looks Jewish, that one's a coon!
Who let all this riff-raff into the room?!
There's one smoking a joint!
And another with spots?!
If I had my way I'd have all o'ya shot!

On the album, the music of "In The Flesh" continues for a while longer. But, I'd like to change it so that, with the word "SHOT!", the near-staccato guitar and thundering drumbeat of "Run Like Hell" would immediately begin.
The 15-18 people on stage will start moving vigorously as Pink steps down from the platform and moves toward centerstage; the Village People, Doctor, Wife and Mother will try to get near Pink, but the Worms will stop them using "wall-paddles".

The wall-paddles are like hand-held "Stop" signs that you might see crossing guards carrying -- they're bricks-on-a-stick.
The Worms will stand between the would-be intruders and stand like military traffic guards; holding the wall-paddles at arms length while planting themselves with military bearing with their other arm folded behind their backs. When a Worm has successfully stopped one intruder, another will approach and she'll run to block his path in the same way.

The "Run, run, run, run.." background voices will be sung by both the Worms and the Village People alternately.
Meanwhile Pink makes his way up-stage and sings to the audience as well as the folks on stage. He's pacing back and forth, they're trying to "reach" him.

You better make your face up in your favorite disquise!
with your button-down lips and your roller-blind eyes!
with your empty smile and your hungry heart!
feel the bile rising from your guilty past!
with your nerves in tatters when the cockleshell shatters
and the hammers batter down the door!
you better run like hell!

Pink throws his hands up and thrusts them at the audience as if saying "BAH!", and heads downstage toward the platform while the cast is singing "Run, run, run, run..." and the Village People are trying to get near him. They're mouthing shouting words, throwing their arms out in frustration, pounding their fingers into their chests as if asking "It's me! Don't you remember me?!"

Pink turns around, realizing he has more to say, and frustrangrily (TM) makes his way up-stage again to address the audience.

You better run all day, you better all night!
and keep your dirty feelings deep inside!
and if you take your girlfriend out tonight
you better park the car well out of sight
'cause if they catch you in the back seat trying to pick her locks
they're gonna send you back to mother in a cardboard box!
You better run!!

I think the intensity of the mood can carry the scene. I was thinking of splashing some images of something-or-other on the wall, but I've decided that the lyric and stage action should do it.
One big reason (and the reason I quoted the entire lyric) is that not many people know the lyric to "Run Like Hell".
If you ask a Pink Floyd fan if they know all the words to "Mother", or "Good-bye Blue Sky", or "One Of My Turns" they'll say yes. But if you ask 'em to recite the words to "Run Like Hell" they'll turn their head, stare into space, acessing...accessing, and look at you dumbfoundedly shaking their head.

Anyway, the song goes into it's final fits as the Worms finally successfully reduce the Village People to resigning themselves to stand back as the glorious strains of "Waiting For The Worms" takes over.
Pink is squatting at center-stage wringing his hands with wide-eyed satisfaction.
The Worms stand firmly around him in a semi-circle. One to his right, one to his left, one each at forward left and right. Victoriously with wall-paddles in one hand, high the air, the other hand on their waists, feet planted and looking out proudly, the Worms announce:

Worms: You'll never reach me now!
V.P. Ooo-oooo!
Worms: No matter how you try!
Good-bye cruel world, it's over,
walk on by....!

Pink: Sitting in a bunker
Pink & Worms: here behind my wall!
Wife (stepping forward and pointing, warningly and accusingly at Pink as he grins maniacally): Waiting for the Worms to come!
Worms: Worms. To. Come(?)!

Did you see that coming? heheh.
At this moment there's a drum beat; puh-puh-puh-PUM! puh-puh-puh-PUM! puhpuh p'puhpuh-puh-PUM!
That'll be the beat of the Village People's stomping feet as they close in on the protective Worms, testing their strength. The Worms will lean backward, fighting the intrusion as Pink, squatting, bows his head and pushes his hands outward, fighting the incoming, pressing world. Just before the final PUM!, Pink pushes his hands up and out; the Worms jump forward in victory, holding their wall-paddles high; and the rest of the cast fall backward and land on their asses.
Pink has just successfully, for now, preserved his space and gleefully continues calmly.
Pink:Perfect isolation
Pink & Worms:here behind my wall!
Pink:waiting for the worms t'come
Worms Worms. To. Come!

This time the drumbeat is of the Worms inching outward, and the Village People retreating, as Pink stands up and makes his way forward.

Here's where I want to make a major change in the lyrics. Here is the rest of Roger Waters' lyric to this song:

Waiting, for the final solution to strengthen the strain
Waiting to follow the Worms
Waiting to turn on the showers and fire the ovens
Waiting for queens and the coons and the reds and the Jews
Waiting to follow the worms

would you like to see Britannia rule again,
my friend?
All you have to do is follow the Worms!
would you like send our colored cousins home again,
my friend?
All you have to do is follow the worms!

I want to keep some of it, maybe even all of it. But I definately want to extend it. Waters focuses on a lot of racial and "lifestyle" issues. But, to my mind, Pink is rejecting anyone and everyone and so this passage deserves to be embellished to show that he's shutting out everyone. Not just those with superficial differences, but those with any differences - no matter how trivial. In fact: the more trivial the better because it'll showcase just how pathological his defensiveness is.
The lyric might go:
Waiting - for the beaurocrats and autocrats to turn on their whores
Waiting - for the soccer moms and football widows!
waiting to follow the Worms
Waiting - for under-ripe bananas and left-handed cable guys from Muncie, Indiana!
waiting to follow the Worms
Waiting - for the Nerds and the Brains and the Freaks and the Jocks!
Waiting - for the fat kids.. and even the tough kids with chicken pox...!

Now that everyone's included, the music presses on while Pink retreats to deep center-stage. The Worms and Village People stalk the stage with concern, but more and more neither seems to have an upper-hand

As the music drones on we'll notice voice-overs. "How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat?!", "Hey, are you feelin' okay?", and many others. We'll hear GWB saying "Freedom will be defended", some quotes from Churchill..... But the final voice-over will be the Preacher's words that were heard in the very beginning:

"...that the only way to avoid the pain of loss is reject the joy of love. And, hopefully, none of us would ever choose that.

With the music pulsating around him, Pink looks around as if he'd heard something that reminded him of something he'd forgotten.
He stands up and looks around. Village People will extend their arms and he'll take them only to be seperated by the Worms as Pink looks less and less convinced that they should've been seperated.

Pink's internal trauma comes to a head as the thundering music builds to a loud HALT.
He waves his head for a brief second and then angrily shouts:


He looks around. Approaches various members of the Village People, struggling to recognize them and what he's done to them.
He counts his fingers as if trying to reconstruct the timeline that's led to this moment, and finally slinks to down-stage-right to walk up the ramp that leads to the desk.

After a solemn moment, taking careful stock of the cast, he slowly removes his helmet and reaches below the desk and pulls on a Judge's robe and presents a giant gavel. The curiously subdued strains of "The Trial" begin as Pink takes a seat behind the desk.

See ya in a little while for the finale!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:54 PM | Comments (0)

The Wall, pt 6 (Comfortably Numb)

One problem with staging "Comfortably Numb" is that the song is "everybody's favorite". As soon as it begins, many in the audience will be thinking "at least THIS oughta be good", so it'd better be good.
Here's what I got so far:

After the Worms twirl away from Pink, the music to "Comfortably Numb" begins, and we see Wife coming in from the left and Mother coming from the right - both are in a wedding march (left foot forward, feet together, right foor forward, feet together...). The Doctor comes in out the darkness from downstage, striding easily and with his hands behind his back. He's dressed in a blue surgical outfit with a stethoscope around his neck and an "ear inspector" (that little thingamagig with a light that he uses to look into your ear) in his hand.

He squats down beside the seated Pink and puts the thingy up his ear and peers in for the line:

Hello, hello, is there anybody in there?
Just nod if you can hear

Pink does not respond. Doctor gets up and walks behind Pink asking "Is there anyone home", glances at Wife and Mother and squats on the other side of Pink.
Come on, now,
I hear you're feeling down
Well, I can ease your pain,
get you on your feet again

In response to the word "pain", Pink will turn his head slowing away from Doctor with just a hint of a smile. Looking more intently, the kindly Doctor holds Pink's hand and searches his eyes for any sign of lucidity.
Relax, I'll need some information first,
just the basic facts.
Can you show me where it hurts?

The lights get brighter and colorful lights float across the set, kinda phychedelic and mirror-ball-like, and lava lamp-style swirling shapes could play on the backdrop. Pink will sit silently, staring at nothing in particular, as the Worms (they speak for him now) sing the chorus as they gracefully dance a choreographed ballet. (Doctor will remain at Pink's side while Wife and Mother stand motionless about 4 or 5 feet on either side.)

There is no pain, you are receding...

...When I was a child I had a fever
My hands felt just like two balloons

I'm wondering how difficult it would be to have Pink wearing rubber gloves, tightly fitted at the wrists, with tubing from the gloves running up his sleeves to a little pump that the actor playing Doctor can squeeze to inflate them, or make them "throb". It might seem silly and obvious, but it might be eerie and fit the mood.

Anyway, the Worms finish the chorus ("I-I-I-I-I have become comfortably numb") and the lights return to the previous low levels and Doctor becomes "alive" again.

Okay, okay, just a little pin prick

He taps Pinks shoulder with a phantom needle - like a tuberculosis tester - and the gloves deflate.
Doctor: There'll be no more
Worms (spinning to the floor): AAAA-AAA-AAH!!
Doctor though you may feel a little sick.
Can you stand up...?
Worms (running past Pink and whispering in Pink's ear, in turn as they pass): stand up, stand up, stand up
Doctor (as he and Pink rise): I do believe it's working, good
That'll keep you going through the show
Come on, it's time to go

After the Doctor says "going through the show" Pink will look into his face, now slowly but surely coming around, and Pink will begin singing the second chorus, with the Worms assisting him in various places -- as if their identities are fading in and out of each other.
The colorful lights return, but there are no images on the wall this time.

During the first part of the chorus ("There is no pain... ...can't hear what you say"), Doctor, Wife and Mother will lead Pink by the arms toward the back left to the ramp leading up to the platform. But Pink will stop short and turn to face the audience for the lines:

When I was a child I caught a fleeting glimpse
out of the corner of my eye

There will be an image on the wall flickering in and out, giving the audience just enough time to notice it, look up, and see a picture of Mother, Father and Boy Pink sitting for a family portrait just before it disappears for good.
Pink: I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
the child is grown, the dream is gone
Pink & Worms: I-I-I-I-I have become comfortably numb

Pink turns toward the back again and walks with Doctor, Wife and Mother as the music heads for the second guitar solo. But instead of the solo it goes straight into "The Show Must Go On".

The Worms are circling as they try to get to the platform, Pink keeps stopping short and turning as D, W & M try to coax him along. The Worms sing "Ooo, Ma, ooo, Pa.." and Pink turns his back to D, W & M and heads for centerstage frightened, singing "Must the show go on?".
Wife and Mother approach him slowly as the Worms circle in, waving their hands and fingers in the air around their heads and, almost mockingly, sing:

Oooo, Pa, take home, take me home, take me home
Oooo, Ma, let me go, let me go, let me go...

As Wife and Mother each grab an arm, Pink continues:
There must be some mistake
I didn't mean to let them take away my soul
am I too old? Is it too late?

They begin to turn him back around, but he turns sharply again and sings the verse that isn't on the album, but the lyric is written on the inner sleeve (to the same tune):
Pink: Do I have to stand up
wild-eyed in the spotlight
what a nightmare, Why
don't I turn and run?
Worms: Ooo, Ma, ooo, Pa
Pink (looking at his hands confusedly): Where has the feeling gone?
Worms: Ooo, Ma, ooo, Pa
Pink (asking Mother): Will I remember the song?
Worms: Ooooo, aaah...
Wife, Mother, Doctor: The show must go on.

Pink, Wife and Mother walk more quickly, join the Doctor and begin up the ramp to the platform.
The Worms head over to a spot at stage right and squat down and stare wide-eyed at Pink, cat-like, or sprite-like, watching closely to see how he handles this.

The powerful sound of "In The Flesh" begins. But that's for the next post. Fear not, we're almost done!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

August 28, 2004

The Wall, pt 5 (Side Three)

Part 1
Part 2 (Side One)
Part 3 (Mother)
Part 4 (Side Two)

Out of the dying strains of "Wish You Were Here" comes "Hey You". As, I think, in the audiences mind, this should be a turning point of sorts (we're entering the second half of the show), Pink will now, almost soberly and out of character, address the audience itself.

This is a hard song to come up with visuals for. And since there'll be plenty of visuals for Side Four, maybe this is a good time to treat this part of the play as nothing more than a song being sung, if y'know what I mean.

Stalking the front of the stage, Pink will look directly into members of the audiences eyes -- as many as possible. They should begin to feel that they're no longer just passively watching a play, but are being asked, personally, to enter into it.

Pink begins:

Hey you, out there in the cold
getting lonely, getting old, can you feel me?
Hey you, standing in the aisle with itchy feet and fading smile, can you feel me?

Wife, unsettled and still holding onto hope, singing to Pink and addressing the audience while pointing at the Worms:
Hey you! Don't help them to bury the light!
Don't give in
without a fight!

Pink turns in the vague direction of Wife's voice:
Hey you, out there on your own,
sitting naked by the phone, will you touch me?
Hey you, with you're ear against the wall
waiting for someone to call out, will you touch me?
Hey you! Would you help me to carry the stone?!!

Wife, shaking her head, pleading, and near tears:
Open your heart,
I want to come home!

The Schoolmaster enters, with trusty 4-foot long giant ruler in his hand, and explains to the audience:
But, it was all a fantasy
His wall was too high, as you can see
No matter how she tried, he would not break free!
And the Worms ate into his brain!

Of course, he wont sing it as calmly as it's sung on the album. It will definately be a controlled-shreiking Schoolmaster moment! If there was any doubt left that Pink might not be the "hero" of this play, it should be gone by now.

And, as for the worms, they've been conspicuously absent. This is a moment for Pink to be himself, so the Worms (the gals in pink) will be resting quietly in the background for now. (I mean, c'mon, you can't expect four actress-singers to put out for 1&1/2-2 hours straight!)

Wife, now turning to the audience, wails:

Hey you!
Out there on the road, only doing what you're told,
can you help me?!

Pink turns sharply and runs to the wall at stage left:
Hey you! Out there beyond the wall,
breaking bottles in the hall, can you help ME?!

Pink and Wife sing the rest together, each more angry and more desperate than the other:
Hey you, don't tell me there's no hope at all!!
Together we stand
divided we fall!....

Both Pink and Wife slink to the floor on their respective sides of the wall.

Pink, very deliberately, takes off the wall-vest. This, he obviously feels (my kingdom for an actor!), might be his last chance to save himself. He sheds the vest and leaves it lying at the base of the wall.

At this pont the album goes into "Is There Anybody Out There?" followed by a haunting acoustic instrumental. I'm going to reverse them and play the instumental first (for reasons that'll be obvious in a minute).

During the instrumental Pink will simply retreat to stage right (the bed) and use super-sized (for the audience's sake) crayons to draw pictures of Nothing. He'll seem to have an idea, but it all comes out nebulous, and he sets aside page after page still trying to draw a coherent image.
That's all.

The music seems to want more -- maybe the audience is expecting some more film images -- but this is going to be pure emptiness. And if anyone in the audience thinks this is boring then they're not paying attention, dag nab it!

I'm toying with the idea of having Pink sloppily color with crayons while the disembodied voice of the Schoolmaster shout "Stay inside the lines!". It might work, but I wonder if it would enhance the message or confuse it. Any thoughts?

Anywho, Pink looks up from his coloring book and begins to wander toward the wall at more extreme stage right just as the minor chord driven music of "Is Anybody Out There?" begins to take over.

He feels the wall asking "Is there anybody out there?"
Getting no answer he moves downstage along the wall and asks again. By the the fourth, and final that "Is there anybody out there...?" is asked, he's at stage left, near Wife.

The Worms come out of the dark and seem to want to comfort him as the opening piano riff of The Final Cut's "Paranoid Eyes" begins.

I'm not sure how to describe the facial expressions of the Worms at this point. They're not desperate or forceful or malicious. They're just concerned, worried and eager to help; in a word: motherly. But, maybe those facial expressions look exactly alike?

Assuming that y'don't know the song "Paranoid Eyes" I'll describe it thusly: It's a quiet song, for the most part, with a 6/4 beat. Maybe even a 12/4 beat. Either way it a 3/4 beat, super-sized, and almost sounds like a lullaby.

What's special now is the way that it's sung. The Worms will approach Pink at stage left and pull him toward center stage singing the lyric. But, they'll sing it as four voices. I mean, they'll overlap their voices throughout the lines.

For an example here are the first lines:

Worm 1: "Button your lip and"
Worm 2: "lip and don't let the shield"
Worm 3: "the shield slip"
Worm 4: "Get a fresh grip"
Worm 1: "grip on your bullet"
Worm 2: "bullet-proof mask"

And so it reads like:

"Button your (lip and don't let the shield) slip
Get a fresh (grip on your bullet)-proof mask"

The idea is that they're not a character, but merely a voice - or several voices - within Pink. If this is done well then I think it could be the highlight of the show. We're hearing a single lyric sung by four different voices for no other reason than that they each - as characters - barely exist.

Up 'til now the Worms have been a curiosity, a device, no more significant than the vintage radio, the desk, or the playing of Churchill's speaches. But now they are singing, but it's a strange kind of singing. They don't sing with one voice, and I think that that'll help the scene because it's definately a transitional scene; Pink is surrendering to the Worms' whispers.

They run up to him after the final "Is there anybody out there...?".
As the quiet and soothing piano tinkling of "Paranoid Eyes" begins, the four Worms take him by the arms and lead toward center stage singing:

Button your (lip and don't) let (the shield) slip.
Get (fresh grip) on your (bullet-proof) mask.
And if (they try to) break down your (disguise with their) questions,
you can hide (hide) hide
behind (paranoid) eyes.

The Worms lead Pink to stage right where he'll mime holding a glass and leaning on a bar. The Worms:
Put on (yer brave face
and) slip over (the road) for a jar
Fixing yer grin (as you casually lean) on the bar
Laughing too (loud for the rest of) the world
with (the boys in) the crowd
you can hide (hide) hide
behind (petrified) eyes.

There's a more comforting musical interlude here because it breaks out of the controlled quietness of the rest of the song. A gently pulsing tambourine makes it sound sound free'er, and also gives time for the Worms to cross the stage and retrieve the wall-vest that Pink left laying at stage left. They gracefully -- as if in a ballet -- return it to him and again help him into it.
As they dress him and lead him to the chair at stage center they continue:
You believed (in their stories of) fame, (fortune and) glory

Pink, tucking himself into the vest, sadly nods in agreement.
Now you're lost (in a haze of alcohol-soft) middle-age

And Pink, settling into the chair, sounds out:
The pie in the sky
turned out to be mi-i-i-les too high

The Worms take turns hushing his lips with their forefingers; "sshhh.." they sing:
You can hide (hide) hide
behind (mild blue) eyes,
Hide (hide) hide
Hide (away the) blue skies

The gentle piano calms even more as we hear the ever loudening beat of the snare drum that ushers in "Bring The Boys Back Home".

While many off-stage voices will be heard here, Mother's is the foremost; singing apart and more emotionally than the rest.
Films will play, on the wall, showing columns of soldiers marching backward, and tanks rolling in reverse.
At the final "BRING..." we'll see the Saddam statue falling UP; running in reverse. And as Mother wails her final back ho-o-o-o-me..!", we'll see the famous film of the stone swistika being exploded above the stadium. It'll, be in slow motion reverse as it reconstitutes its sorry self back into existence.

Pink sits in the chair at center stage, glassy-eyed, not even caring about what might be going on around him. The worms stare into Pink's face and ask "Is there anybody out there...?" Their voices reverberate through the silenced theater for a moment. Satisfied that Pink has no answer, they twirl away in all directions as "Comfortably Numb" begins.

The lights get brighter and Wife enters from the left, Mother from the right, and a Doctor enters from the rear, probably dressed in a blue surgical outfit.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:15 AM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2004

The Wall, pt 4 (Side Two)

Fair warning: My ideas for most of side two are very underdeveloped as I've given these songs the least amount of thought. But, I'll chime in with little I've got so far anyway...

So, having dispensed with "Mother"'s final line "Mother, did it need to be so high?", the music continues as Pink and Wife dance as if at their wedding.
Then the room darkens a bit as the omenous strains of "Good-bye Blue Sky" begin to take over, which then give way to the gentler "Ooo-oo, ooo, ooo, ooooo" part.

My idea for the song is to have Pink and Wife dance together throughout, but to gradually become more and more distant. Wife will want to continue to dance close, but Pink will become less and less interested, eventually spending more and more time near Mother. The trick is NOT to give the impression that he'd actually prefer to BE with Mother, but that Mother's psychological hold on him -- her fear and protectiveness -- is a large part of him now, and is overruling his Wife's influence.

As the omenous music returns for the lyric, we'll see images of war beginning with WW2, and running through the Vietnam era; probably including some Kent State footage, the famous photos of the Vietnamese General shooting a Viet Cong in the head, the naked napalm victim girl, etc. Pink and Wife, and Pink and Mother, may embrace and search the sky for danger at various appropriate moments as the lyric goes:

Did did did did you see the frightened ones?
Did did did did you hear the falling bombs?
Did did did did you ever wonder why we had to run for shelter when the promise of a brave new world unfurled beneath the clear blue sky?

...the flames are all long gone
but the pain lingers on...

When the song ends with the "Good-bye blue sky, good-bye...." refrain, Pink and Wife will be on opposite sides of the stage, and Mother will be standing at extreme stage right -- outside the wall.
She will have an air of accomplishment about her, maybe even gratefully patting the bricks as if to say "Nice wall; Please serve my son well..."

At this point the album goes into "Empty Spaces"; the intro to "Young Lust". But the inner sleeve of the LP has lyrics to a much longer song that isn't actually on the album called "What Shall We Do Now?". Without that song we have no segue from Pink and WIfe's marriage to their estrangement.

In lieu of the song that was intended for the album, I'll add here a song from Pink Floyd's 1971 album Atom Heart Mother called "If".
It's a slow and sparse song, sung with only an acoustic guitar (but I'll want my buddy Pete to add a viola part to it). The only word to describe it might be "wistful", and it'll be a duet between Pink (withdrawing from Wife out of force of habit), and Wife (withdrawing from Pink out of near self-pity).

Here's the lyric:

Wife: If I were a swan, I'd be gone.
If I were a train, I'd be late.
Pink: And if I were a good man,
I'd talk with you
More often than I do.

Pink: If I were to sleep, I could dream.
If I were afraid, I could hide.
Wife: If you go insane, please don't put
Your ideas in my brain.

Wife:: If I were the moon, I'd be cool.
If I were a rule, I would bend.
Pink: If I were a good man, I'd understand
The spaces between friends.

Wife: If I were alone, I would cry.
And if I were with you, I'd be home and dry.
Pink: And if I go insane,
Will you still let me join in the game?

Wife: If I were a swan, I'd be gone.
If I were a train, I'd be late again.
Pink: If I were a good man,
I'd talk with you
More often than I do.

The only spark of an idea that I have so far for what might actually happen during the song is for the Worms (the gals in pink) to dance slowly and gracefully while flying light streamers around while trying - and failing - to tie them together. Needs more thought...

Initially I was going to dispense with "Empty Spaces" and "Young Lust" because A) I've never cared for either one of 'em, and B) they don't really do much for moving the story forward.
But I think I've decided to keep them in because A) a lot of people I know seem to like "Young Lust", B) it's an uptempo rocker, which would be refreshing at this juncture, and C) it could be fodder for some comic relief -- also refreshing at this juncture.

At the end of "If", Wife will also end up outside the wall, though at stage left -- the opposite side from Mother. Pink is at stage left just on the inside of wall from Wife (who probably has her hands and ear against it, listening for him), and he very slowly and methodically places one (1) brick into place as he moans very slowly and barely in control:

What shall I use to fill the empty places
where we used to talk?
How shall I fill the final spaces?
How shall I complete the wall...?

The set becomes brighter as "Young Lust" thunders in. We'll see colors we haven't seen yet showing that Pink is "a new boy... a stranger in this town". He's willfully becoming someone he's never let himself be before: someone looking for "a dirty woman".

If you don't know the lyric, yer not missing much. It was written mainly by David Gilmour, not Roger Waters, and has no real point or insight to it. The title's words "young lust" could describe the state of mind of the author more than the specific topic (there is none). It's just "Ooo, babe, set me free... I need a dirty woman... ".

But there's some oportunity for light comedy here. Pink could maybe pull a Bowser and try to impress Dirty Woman by flexing a non-existent muscle. And he could then rip open his shirt to reveal a t-shirt with his zodiac symbol on it -- visually asking What's yer sign? -- as she turns away unimpressed.

But, of course, they do end up together. Pink sits in the chair at center stage almost ignoring Dirty Woman as she makes her way around the "fabulous room!". Pink is fidgetting a bit. He's not ignoring her because he wants to be alone. No, he's just frustrated. It's not her physical presence that bothers him. It's her identity -- her needfulness for attention and conversation that's too demanding on his now natural state of isolation. In short; she's talking too much.

She wanders the stage commenting on various aspects of his room:

Are all these YOUR guitars?!

Is that a Monet?!

Look at this TUB!! Wanna take a ba-a-a-th...?

Hey... Are you feelin' okay?

The piano comes in as "One Of My Turns" begins. The lights reduce to two spots; one on Pink and (barely at the edge) Dirty Woman, the other on Wife and (barely at the edges) the wall.
Pink sorta shrugs as he mutters
Day after day
a love'll turn grey
like the skin of a dying man

Wife sings:
Night after night
we pretend it's all right
But I have grown older
and you have grown colder
and nothing is very much fun.. anymore

The spot on wife dims as Pink leans forward -- like's "coming to".
I. Can. Feeeeel...
one of turns coming on

Dirty Woman is sitting him, staring into his eyes. Imagine the Zapruder film; how Jackie was staring into Kennedy's face after he'd been pierced through the throat. Her look is just plain blank concern. At that moment she knew absolutely nothing other than that something was terribly wrong and she cared. It's obvious that Dirty Woman cares in a way that Pink, right now, can only hope to try to understand.
I... feel...
cold as a razorblade,
tight as a tourniquet,
dry as a funeral drum...

Pink explodes on Dirty Woman, demanding that she go get his "favorite axe" (guitar).
Once again I'll assume that you're familiar with the album and that I don't need to describe the confrontation between Pink and Dirty Woman anymore than the visuals that the lyric implies will do it. Which means, yes, I haven't quite worked 'em out yet.

"Don't Leave Me Now" comes and goes. The only interesting part is that it'a a duet between Pink and Mother. Pink agonizingly wails Don't leave me now..." just as Mother does in the second half.
The ending with it's sad and sultry "Oooooo, ba-a-a-be..." refrain gives way to the angry "Another Brick, pt 3":

I don't need no arms around me...!

Pink is willing to surrender, and the Worms (the gals in pink babydoll dresses) are ready to help him. Pink turns his back and heads for the chair at center stage while the Worms softly sing with and/or for him.

The Worms gracefully help the withering Pink into a white vest with lines signifying a brick structure. Finally the audience sees that they represent his worst and most basal instincts. They've looked and sounded pretty 'til now. But from here on out they'll seem sinister; even more so for having fooled us by quietly doing their beautiful thang. Dang, we should've seen it coming.
Yep, the audience will never see these four sweet-singing angels-of-something the same way again.

Anywho, the lyric to "Good-bye Cruel World" is simply (and sung by both the Worms and Pink in a way that yer not sure who's leading):

Good-bye cruel world
I'm leaving you today
Good-bye, good-bye, good-bye.

Good-bye all you people.
There's nothing you can say
to make me change my mind.

Only, it doesn't sound like that. It'll, instead, be sung to the beat, key and tempo of "Wish You Were Here" because that's exactly what will follow.

The images through the quiet song will be of the Madrid bombing of 3/11, and headlines proclaiming Spain's withdrawal from the war on terror.

Again, Side Two is the hardest to visualize. But I think that there'll be hell to pay for cowardice if a video montage can't be made and put to work here. :)
The images will, of course, be in tune with the tone of the live action/music.

As Pink has withdrawn, we hear from Wife, still patiently seated at stage left:

so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue skies from pain?
Can you tell a green field from a cold steel rail?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

[Update: I'm thinking now that maybe the Gunner/Father should sing that verse and the next one. He appeared at the very beginning of the show, and will appear again at the end. As this is the half-way point, it might be timely to give him an appearance here. Not only is it apropriate for Pink's soldier Father to speak during the Madrid bombing images, but it'd be a surprise for the audience to see him again, and anything that'd make the audience go "ooo..." is okay in my book. mheh.]

This is where the lights get pretty bright and the entire cast -- led by the Schoolmaster -- walks on to support Wife. The images of Madrid are playing and newspaper headlines scrawl across the wall: "Spain Withdraws Troops From Iraq"... and the like.

Wife continues:

Did they get you to trade
your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for Change?
Did you exchange a walk-on part in a War
for a lead role in a Cage?

Wife, Pink and Mother will sing the final verse together, line by line, like this:

Pink:How I wish, how I wish you were here
Mother: We're just two lost souls swimming in a fishbowl
Wife: year after year
Pink: Running over the same old ground, what have we found...
Wife: the same old fear
Mother: Wish you were here

If Gunner/Father sings the first two verses, then Pink's first line could be thought of as being adressed to him; which would make even more sense than if it were adressed to Wife.
Mother then admits that there's a problem, though seems unable to find a way around it, while Wife seems to have more regret about it than Mother.
Pink is beginning to agree and asks "what have we found" and Wife give him the answer.

But my favorite part is Mother's last line. The first instinct is to assume that she's addressing Pink. But, since Pink began the verse possibly addressing Gunner/Father, it might be heard that Mother is also thinking all the way back to the beginning of the "troubles".
But, also, since Mother's line immediately follows Wife's, it could be heard that she's saying one of two things to her: pleadingly, "I wish you in my shoes and could better understand me"; or, enviously, "I wish I were more like you". The beauty is that, I think, any of those interpretations could work.

Like I said, I have a lot of thought yet to put into side two. But side three is coming up, and (at least once we get past "Hey You") should get mighty interesting.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:57 PM | Comments (3)

August 25, 2004

The Wall, pt 3 (Mother)

Part 1
Part 2

So, Boy Pink is sitting on the edge of the bed, while Mother is behind him miming doing the dishes, and non-chalantly (with voice-over from adult actor) blurts out:

Mother, do think they'll drop the Bomb?

Mother snaps to -- eyeing Boy Pink with concern and then looking out and up searching for dangers in the sky as she climbs onto the bed from the rear. And as Boy Pink happily passes a piece of paper over his shoulder he asks:
Mother, do you think they'll like this song?

Mother scans it, looks at the back of Boy Pink's head with wonderment and concern and crushes the paper in her fist and lets it fall. Boy Pink then, suddenly looking like he's paying attention to his own questions, looks up from his coloring book quizzically:
Mother, do you think they'll try to break my balls?

Mother recoils from the bed and puts her hand over her mouth. Not realizing that Boy Pink is merely asking a question, and is probably expecting an encouraging word for an answer, she's obviously worried now that he needs to be as fearful of risk as she is lest he be as harmed by loss as she was. And he, almost unfeelingly, just asking for asking's sake, asks:
Oooo, Mother, should I build a wall?

and Mother shows with her body language that's torn about about how to deal with this; as if this was a "I knew this was coming but I still held out hope that it never would" moment.

Boy Pink then hops off the bed and moves toward center stage.

Mother, should I run for President?

Immediately Mother clutches her hands to her chest and grins widely at the thought of her son being President. But, there's a brief image on the wall backdrop of an Abraham Lincoln photo followed by a brief snippet of the Zapruder film, and Mother runs to Boy Pink and throws her arms around him while looking out and up for danger. Boy Pink throws her off:
Mother, should I trust the government?

Again, Mother initially is encouraged but the images on the wall (I'm not sure what exactly to use yet) make her run to hold and protect him. Again he breaks free, but this time he turns directly to her as if asking why she's being so protective:
Mother, will they put me in the firing line?!

and Mother stands away this time, giving him his space because she's not sure if she's mistaken about how to handle this. Boy Pink then turns away and exasperates:
Oooo, is it just waste of time?

Mother approaches the now brooding Boy Pink slowly, puts her right arm around him and her left hand on his head, combing his hair with her fingers, and her cheek on top of that. Having made a decision she comforts him:
Hush now, baby, baby, don't you cry
Mother's gonna make all of your nightmares come true
Mother's gonna put all of her fears into you
Mother's gonna keep you right here, under her wing
She wont let you fly but she might let you sing
Mother's gonna keep Baby cozy and warm...

At this point the lights show the set and we see four (4) figures entering the stage (two from each side). They are young ladies dressed in airy pink dresses. The base of their costume is body-hugging, but they also have an outer "baby-doll" layer, knee-length, that's very sheer and flowing. I'll call these gals the "Worms" just 'cause I don't know what else to call them.

They enter and make their way to the edges of the malcontructed edges of the wall, at stages left and right, to put scattered bricks into place while at the same time they're harmonizing with Mother as she sings:

Oooooo, Babe
Oooooo, Babe
Ooo, Babe, of course Mother's gonna help build the wall.

And here's the first cool visual trick of the play. Mother will hug Boy Pink from behind, tucking her hands into the sleeves of her black dress, and her arms will morph into a red brick wall just as the music flourishes!

It's pretty easy to do, too. The sleeves of Mothers dress will be folds. When she tucks her hands into the sleeves, connecting them, all the Boy Pink kid needs to do is cross his arms while pulling the folded sleeve portions apart thus turning Mother's black sleeves into a wall. Even if done clumsily it'd be worth it. But, hear that music in your head, just following the line "of course mother's gonna help build the wall", and the audial flourish is accompanied by sleeves turning into a frickin' wall. If it's done right it could even draw an audible gasp from the audience. Wee hee! :D

But now comes the tricky part: Pink has to grow in a hurry. So we'll have him dance around with the Worms a bit, then disappear behind the downstage platform and emerge a bit older, then dance again and emerge as the adult that will play Pink for the rest of the show, all within the 45 seconds of the guitar solo, while at the same time the Wife waltzes in from down stage left in a white dress that looks kinda like a wedding dress but is calf-length and she's carrying a large bouquet of white flowers. Pink sings (live now):

Mother, do you think she's good enough
....for me....?

and here's where I add a little special something.
The Worms (the girls in pink) will sing in the background throughout the "quiet times" when Pink isn't singing. They'll sing softly, almost sounding like a whisper:
Mother loves her little baby and Daddy loves you, too
Mother loves her little baby blue and Daddy loves you, too... they continue to build the wall.
I know that I can't make you hear how it sounds by typing a description of it. But, trust me, if the sounds in my head could ever be aloud then you'd know why I feel like it's possible to hear surrender.
It might even be a struggle for the audience to hear what exactly the Worms are singing. But the most important thing is that it sounds ghostly. Unexplainably spooky... like a siren's song. The sweetest sounding invitation to alienation you've ever heard.

The Wife then adds another visual device. From within her bouquet she presents her right hand in a Freddy Kreuger-type razor claw as Pink sings the line

Mother, do you think she's me..?

The Wife presents the claw (maybe even grinning with fangs) and Mother turns sharply as Wife quickly hides her hand (and/or teeth).
They stare each other down: Mother is judgemental, and concerned for her baby, while Wife is feigning a "What, me worry?" look. Wife is simultaneously dismissive of Mother yet is still expecting to win her approval.
Pink runs to Mother, dropping to his knees and huging her hips:
Mother, will she tear yer little boy apart?!

Wife turns away as if in disgust. Pink asks Mother if Wife will break his heart, and Mother again comforts him.
She goes through the "Mother will check out all your girlfriends for you..." verse, while checking Wife out, and decides to at least tacitly approve of Pink's choice for the Wife, but still warning:
You'll always be a baby to me.

The music will continue, subdued, but will NOT include the line "Mother, did it need to be so high?". That line has always pissed me off. Nevermind why....

Anyway, the music will continue into the haunting strains of "Good-bye Blue Sky". But that's side 2 -- which could get interesting -- but we're not there yet...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 11:26 PM | Comments (2)

The Wall, pt 2 (side 1)

Part 1

A few seconds after "The Gunner's Dream" concludes, the opening chords of "In The Flesh" thunder through the darkened theater. There are narrow, colored spotlights roaming the set as if searching for something. Tiny glimpses of the set are revealed as the spotlights make their way around.

Then a spot hits a lone figure just as he begins to sing:

So ya, thought ya, might like to
go to the show.

He's dressed in black pants, a pink shirt, an army helmet with the chin strap hanging loose, and a white vest (almost like a life preserver) with dark lines on it to form the white bricks of the "wall vest".
He has a wide smile and a look in his eyes that's a bit menacing. He is essentially daring us to see this show. Or, perhaps, just warning us that this might not be a "fun" evening.

After he finishes his brief intro his spot is turned off and a film begins to play against the wall backdrop. Its World War II air combat footage, and as the music culminates we hear the roar of engines and the crash of a plane
Imediately there is complete silence but for the tolling of iron bells as the spotlight is on a woman, facing the audience, dressed in black and holding the hand of her son -- perhaps aged 10. And there's also a preacher just off to their right. The preacher says some appropriate words, and ends with:
"...that the only way to avoid the pain of loss is to reject the joy of love, and hopefully none of us would ever choose that."

The preacher disappears into the darkness as the spot follows Mother and Boy Pink to stage left where they reach a bed with ornate brass posts. Mother sits on the bed with Boy Pink in front and in her arms with a framed photo of Daddy (The Gunner). She sings sadly:

Mother loves her baby,
and Daddy loves you, too.
And the sea make look warm to you, baby
and the sky make look blue

She then hugs him a little tighter as she looks out and above as if searching the sky for danger.
but, oo oo ooo oo, babe
oo oo ooo, baby blue
oo oo ooo oo, oo ooo, babe!

Mother then relaxes a bit and smiles at Boy Pink, even hitting the tip of his nose with her finger, drawing a smile from him, as she delivers her warning about "the thin ice of modern life".
As she finishes with the line " you claw the thin ice," the music intensifies, and brightly colored spotlights scan the set, as images play on the wall of various scenes of destruction, and some pictures of WW2 era London - with those blimp things in the sky.

As the tense music of "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 1" begins, very small spotlights show pieces of the wall background while we see Boy Pink and Mother (probably no longer on the bed). The feeling is starting to get a bit claustrophobic as Boy Pink "sings" (it will be the disembodied voice of the actor playing Adult Pink who'll be doing Boy Pink's singing), with the photo of Daddy in his hands:

Daddy's flown across the ocean
leaving just a memory
a snapshot in the family album
Daddy, what else did you leave for me?
Daddy, what'd you leave behind for me?!
All in all it was just a brick in the wall
All in all it was all just bricks in the wall

The thing about this scene is that I don't want it to get too "busy", but I don't want it be too uneventful, either. It might work as is, but I think it needs something else. I'll keep thinking about it...

Anyway, the music stays at the same tense, thumping pace, but changes key to begin "The Happiest Days Of Our Lives", and for the first time the entire set is presented.

The wall is built of white bricks that about the size of a carton of copier paper; say, 12"x12"x18". It's a crescent going from near stage right to extreme down stage to near stage left. There's room on the sides for actors to stand outside the wall at various moments in the play while still being visible to the entire audience.
The wall is highest down stage, and tapers at the sides. There are piles of "loose" bricks that have yet to be built into the wall.

Toward the back of the wall is a platform with ramps on each side, and on which sits a desk. At stage right is the bed and probably a few other pieces of furniture -- but not much. At center stage is a chair or stool, and stage left is left pretty much open.

The Schoolmaster is seated at the desk as the next song begins, but soon ventures out into the stage left area to deal directly with the students.

Since it's probably not practical to have a bunch of kids practice for one small scene of a play, I think the kids will have to be imaginary. A good actor can make this a memorable scene. F'rinstance he could pull the collar of a kid's school uniform and show, with his body movements, the resistence caused by the weight of the invisible kid.

This could also be a good point to bring some comic relief. As the song moves into "Another Brick In The Wall, Part 2" I'll have the Schoolmaster shouting at the kids all sorts of sarcastic and hostile things. Like:

We don't need no education
You wanna ask me if I want fries with that?!
We don't need no thought control
Double negatives are DOUBLY negative!
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Oh, yes, that's a BRILLIANT book report!

Well, I'll come up with some good ones later.

At the end of the kids' chorus, y'know, where it goes into that long guitar solo? That's gone. After the kids sing their final "all in all it's just another brick in the wall", the drums pound the beat for a few measures and BAM! we are thrust into The Final Cut's song "The Hero's Return".

If you're not familiar with The Final Cut then you're missing out on one of Roger Waters' three best efforts (The Wall and Amused To Death being the other two).
"The Hero's Return" is the Schoolmaster's answer to the kids. I can't describe the music or vocal delivery and do it justice. It's an intense piece musically, and sung with real anger and frustration.
The Schoolmaster will sing to the audience with images (probably still slides, not moving pictures) of WW2 London shown on the wall. You'll have to hear the song to find out why I want to put this in the Schoolmaster's mouth, but the lyric goes like this:

Jesus, Jesus, what's it all about?!
Try and clock these little ingrates into shape!
When I was their age all the lights were out!
There was no time to whine and mope about!

Even now part of me flies
over Dresden at angels one five
Though they'll never fathom it,
behind my sarcasm desperate memories lie

Then the music suddenly becomes quieter as we shift to Mother holding Boy Pink in her arms and looking quite frightened:
Sweetheart, Sweetheart,
are you fast asleep? Good.
That's the only time I can really speak to you.
There is something that I've locked away:
a memory that is too painful
to withstand the light of day.

Back to the Schoolmaster:
And when we came back from the war
the banners and flags hung on everyone's door
We danced and we sang in the streets

Schoolmaster and Mother together:
and the church bells rang!

and we hear the tolling bells again, and nothing else. They ring solemnly as Mother holds onto Boy Pink for dear life and the Schoolmaster scolds his students ("How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat?!") as "they" exit toward the back of the stage and disappear behind the platform.

The stage becomes quieter and dimmer as the Schoolmaster exits, eventually leaving Mother and Boy Pink in a wide spotlight. Pink is sitting on the bed and drawing with crayons while Mother is miming washing the dishes or something. The song "Mother" begins. But I think I want to write about in it's own post just 'cause I think this'll be the first real highlight of the play.

Be back in an hour or so!!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:20 PM | Comments (0)

The Wall, pt 1

As any regular or casual visitor has noticed, my usual prolific, and doggone sparkling, posting has been reduced to a trickle in the past week.
It's not that I haven't wanted to post -- or actively looked for subjects to write about. It's that, for the past two weeks straight, I've had Pink Floyd's The Wall running through my head... all day every day.

Why? I've been working up a stageplay, and I think I may be into something good.
My cousin has theater connections (just as I did back in college, 20 years ago...), and this might be something that we can do!

Mind you, this is pretty much all that's occupied my waking hours for the past week or so, but I'd still like to know if my ideas are any good.

It involves actors and musicians, of course, but also some films throughout -- played against the white structure of a wall made of large-laundry-bin-sized bricks.
It omits a few of the songs from the album, but includes a few tracks from the follow-up album The Final Cut, and one earlier song, "If", from the early Pink Floyd album Atom Heart Mother (interesting title, that).

So, without further ado, I present my musings for a stageplay of The Wall:


The house lights go down and the room is black. A piano pounds the first chords of "The Gunner's Dream" (from The Final Cut) in the darkness and we hear a disembodied voice:

The burning in my heart
smolders on and on
with the Gunner's dying words
on the intercom

A film plays of black-and-white footage of vintage aircraft dogfights culminating in a plane's-eye-view of a crash into a green field as the lyric sings:

Floating down, through the clouds, memories come rushing up to meet me now. Between the spaces of the heavens, and the corner of some foreign field, I had a dream.

A uniformed man (perhaps representing Pink's father) stands in a spotllight while the images look like memories. The continuing darkness of the set is meant to show that the play has started yet it hasn't yet started. This is what we're REALLY gonna talk about even though you don't know it yet....

The song continues:

Good-bye Max, goodbye Ma,
After the service when you're walking slowly o the car
and the silver in her hair shines in the cold November air
you'll hear the tolling bell,
shine the silk of your lapel,

and as the teardrops rise to meet the comfort of the band
take her frail hand

Images of everyone whose everyone who spoke out for freedom will flash before the audience's eyes, from JFK and MLK and Jefferson and Reagan and Washington and Lincoln and FDR and everyone else across the board.
We're still in minimalist mode, and we then relax into the final verse (the dream):

A place to stay, enough to eat, somewhere old heroes shuffles safely down the street where you can speak out loud about your doubts and fears and what's more, no one ever disappears, you never hear their standard issue kicking in your door

You can relax on both sides of the tracks
and maniacs don't blow holes in bandsmen by remote control.
And everyone has recourse to the Law
and no one kills the children anymore.

The image I have in mind for this moment is one that Misha has displayed a few times, of an injured two-year-old, or so, surrounded by willfull but helpless protectors. (Sorry, no link to the photo.)

The song continues intensely:

Night after night, swimmin' 'round and 'round my brain
this dream is driving me insane......

The disembodied voice returns:
In the corner of some foreign field the Gunner sleeps tonight.
What's done is done.
We cannot just write off his final scene...
Believe in the dream.

After that quiet moment the play begins with the strong chords of the album's welcome. There's a lot to work with here, and maybe, just maybe, this might make for some interesting posting.

Lord knows nothing else, recently, has made for interesting posting lately.

Side note: My only "problem" with The Wall was that it always seemed kinda self-consciously cryptic. Almost as if the frickin' point of it all was less important than hiding the frickin' point of it all. I want to make the album show it's true glory, even if it's author didn't fully understand his moment of glory. Or how he reached it. Or how he tried to hide it. Or something.

Part 2 of the virtual stage-show will happen tomorrow. Grab some popcorn; this might be good!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:17 AM | Comments (0)

August 21, 2004

Who told Noam Chomsky that he should start a blog?

I just found out, via Rusty (and he was late to the party, too, apparently), that Noam Chomsky has a blog. Or, maybe, had a blog. He posts even less frequently than I do, and his last post is dated July 26th.
If that's all I have to work with then that's all I got...
I present a fisking of Chomsky's last post:

Turning The Tide: An Independent Iraq

For what it's worth, polls in Iraq reveal very
considerable and apparently growing support for withdrawal
of the US occupying army, apart from the Kurdish regions.

Will you source those poll numbers? No.
And I guess the long suffering Kurds have no voice in your world; a world where, hopefully, all people have a voice. So, we'll just dismiss the Kurds voices as so much unwanted static getting in the way of the unstoppable march of tyranny for the rest of this piece...

That doesn't mean withdrawal tomorrow. No one is talking about that, and it isn't even technically feasible.

By "technically" I presume you mean "logistically". "Technically" adresses a specialized reference. Logistics refers to the process of accomplishing a goal. BTW, aren't you some kind of a linguist specialist? I think I read that somewhere...

But expeditious withdrawal, with a clear deadline, and an authentic rather than merely nominal transfer of sovereignty to Iraqis.

Err... That's a sentence fragment. Are you drunk, Mr. Chomsky?

That isn't in the cards, but not because of concerns that the region will be left in chaos; rather, because it would mean abandoning the primary and quite crucial war aim of establishing the first stable military bases in a dependent client state at the heart of the energy-producing regions, a major lever of world control, as has long been understood. The US isn't about to do that.

Oh, it's about oil again!
Maybe even 3,000 dead friends can't shake your encrusted pathology loose from your self-aggrandized pillars of philosophical recitude. [WTFWT?!] The oil was flowing. Rich and thundering rivers of oil were barrelling through the pipelines on September 10th and the Americans were sitting prim and pretty, m'kay?
If you think that we're in Iraq and Afghanistan for oil then you need to sit yourself in a corner and ponder on just what pre-adolescent trauma you've suffered that's led you to believe that surrender is a virtue.
Your pathology is not mine, thank you very much.

There are other reasons. An independent Iraq would probably take steps to gain a leading position in the Arab world, which would mean confronting the main enemy, US- backed Israel. hat would mean rearming, probably with WMD, to counter Israel's.

Typos aside; what the fuck are you talking about? The Iraqis are looking for an end to their problem: religeous sovereignty.
Remember the seperation of church and State? They ought to be your heroes, you anti-religeous twink. The Iraqi people are the KEY to bringing the middle east, dragged kicking and screaming of need be, into the 18th century. I have nothing but respect for the Iraqi people, and nothing but contempt for the insurgents who aim to thwart their future just because it'd be a future of Freedom.

You are a tyrant. If not directly, then by proxy. You want to let oppression go on and on just because you wonder whether or not it's your place to stop it. It is your place to stop it. If you give up the will to stop it then you will eventually have to submit to it.

Get it yet?

It might also lead to improving relations with Iran. Not impossible is a Shi'ite alliance with Iran and a majority-run Iraq, which might further stimulate moves towards independence in the nearby Shi'te areas of Saudi Arabia, where the oil is. That would lead to domination of the world's energy resources by an independent Shi'ite alliance. Nothing inevitable about any of this of course, but hardly impossible. Can you imagine the US tolerating anything like this? These are among the reasons why permitting democracy in Iraq, even if the rhetoric were meant seriously by Washington and Western commentators, is hardly a likely prospect.

I'll refrain from snarky commentary from now on because this is just pathetic.
Our friend Noam has not even jumped the shark, he has fallen into the tank.

Noam, if yer listening, come back to us, man. You used to make so much sense. You can't let weed and/or drink and/or crack and/or lonliness dictate your thought processes.

Suppose that internal pressures in the US, and whatever pressures exist elsewhere, led to abandonment of the major war aims, so that there could be plans for expeditious withdrawal of the occupying army and transfer of authentic sovereignty. Would that lead to chaos in the region? Or would it reduce tensions and conflicts in the region? We cannot say much with confidence, of course, any more than we could have said anything with confidence about withdrawal of Japanese armies from much of Asia in the early 1940s, or of Russian forces from Afghanistan, and many other cases. But that lack of confidence is not much of an argument for military occupation.

Posted by Noam Chomsky at July 29, 2004 12:07 PM |

I don't even have the cajones to refute this anymore.

Bless you, ol' bean, but I am sorry for you, Noam. I really am.
Hope yer back soon.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:13 PM | Comments (4)

August 20, 2004

Abject Advise for Michelle Malkin

I missed Michelle Malkin's appearance on Hardball last night, but I saw some extended replays on tonight's show (hosted by Andrea Mitchell).
Michelle's take on it can be found HERE.

There's an issue, it seems, about why she didn't say "yes" or "no" to whether she was accusing John Kerry of shooting himself on purpose. She tried to give a lengthy, detailed, accurate response. Now, while I like Michelle of course, here is my opinion on her "tear up" with Chris Mathews:

Michelle blew it. She blew it because she failed to recognize early enough that Chris didn't understand that "self-inflicted wound" is NOT synonymous with "shot himself on purpose".
Even after Chris acknowledged that he hadn't read the book, Unfit For Command, and he kept badgering her for a yes-or-no answer to the "shot himself on purpose" accusation, Michelle still kept trying to give the same answer -- which Mathews wouldn't let her finish.

All she had to do was say, when asked for a "yes" or "no" was: "Fercryingoutloud, of course not, Chris! 'Self-inflicted' does NOT mean that he did it ON PURPOSE! It's a descriptive term that means that if his wound was the result of shrapnel spewed from a grenade that he himself had fired then it's a friggin' 'self-inflicted wound'!! Get a clue and stop thinking that I'm wondering if he shot himself on purpose!!!"

If Michelle had said that then, I believe, Chris would have listened and that whole ugly badgering / defensiveness episode would have been nipped in the bud.

The problem, I think, is that Michelle goes on these programs (we wont mention her appearance on Bill Maher's show) that she's not really.. hmmm... suited for.
Ann Coulter or Laura Ingraham could have put Mathews or Maher right, but, Michelle seems more geared to the tempo of a Ted Koppel, Tom Brokaw, Hannity and Colmes even. Or even Bill O'Reilly when he does his relaxed "on-location" interviews. Michelle doesn't seem equipped to deal with the belligerent nature of some the shows she's, inexplicably, recently been willing to subject herself to.

She knows she'll receive a hostile host and/or audience, but goes in thinking that she'll be ready to deal with it. The problem is that she doesn't even want to deal with it. She knows she'd be more comfortable talking to an interviewer who's willing to actually listen to her answers to their questions, yet goes into the mayhem anyway.

Word to Michelle: Stop thinking that you're in the same zone as Chris Mathews, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Bill Maher, Paul Begala, Madcow, etc. You're not! And if you keep trying to match them -- while trying to, simultaneously, give studied answers in 3 second bytes -- you're only gonna keep looking like you're out of your element... because you are.

Allow yourself to speak and think at your pace and, ferchrissakes, leave Hardball and Bill Maher to those who actually want to deal with that rot. Jus' know your strengths, and know your weaknesses.

I go back into lurking mode now...

UPDATE: I just caught Ms Malkin on Hannity & Colmes, and it was interesting.

Michelle seemed to be more in her element -- as Sean and Alan treated her with respect and gave her time to answer their questions.

But, the thing is, she was defending racial profiling, and both Sean and Alan took her to task on it (though much more gently than Mathews & Maher would have).

Michelle, I understand your concerns. Belie-e-e-ve me, I do. But some folks have started to wonder if you're a "self-hating" Asian-American, and I didn't find this segment to be very encouraging. You noted that a significant percentage of the interned had had actual ties (or reasonably may have had ties) to operatives of Imperial Japan.

But, I says t' you I says: to stifle the Liberty of the People just to be on the safe side is the act of a tyrant, not an American.

I know that you're only asking for common sense in tbat Islamists are most likely to be Arabs, and so there we oughta look.
But also think hard and long about this: How many lives were lost in the Revolution? In the Civil War? In World War II? How many lives do we honor for giving themselves up for our Freedoms? It numbers in the millions. Shall we give up the very Freedoms that we've fought for for the sake of saving several lives?

That sounds callous at first, I know, but zone in on it. Are you claiming that individuals are less important than Liberty? I only ask 'cause, seems to me, that'd be a contradiction in terms. Liberty is all about the Individual, no?!

Protecting the Liberties of all is what we're all about. Power picking and choosing who has Liberty and who doesn't, as we go, is what we're fighting against.
We either fight with our Principles or we die with them.

Live long and prosper.


Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:05 PM | Comments (2)

August 15, 2004

God in popular song...?

I've mentioned before that I'm an athiest/agnostic who actually reads the Bible. I do it because I'm always struck by how true it is if you read it as a parable.
I was a practicing Buddhist for a few years -- off and on -- in the mid to late '80s and, while I stopped chanting and attending meetings, I've always valued my time as a Buddhist for what it taught me about the value of Faith.

One of the most popular stories told and retold by practicing Nicherin Buddhists, is the story of General Stone Tiger. He got his name by piercing a boulder with an arrow that he thought was the tiger that had killed his daughter. "It was his faith in the fact that the stone was a tiger that allowed the arrow to penetrate the rock", they told me.

When I insisted that it was a parable, most of my fellow Buddhists would insist that it was absolutely true. "Faith can change the physical world; it's all in the Mystical Law of Cause and Effect!"
When I asked if he or she had ever stubbed their toe in the dark because they were so-o-o-o convinced that the way was clear, but that the table leg had something to say about it, I usually got blank stares. That's pretty much why I stopped going to the meetings.

Anywho, for some reason I've been trying to think of occassions when God is mentioned in popular songs. Not the obvious references by, oh, the Singing Nun, or when God is specifically the focus of the song such as in Three Dog Night's Jesus Is Just All Right or George Harrison's #1 hit My Sweet Lord. I'm looking more for instances where God/Jesus/Zeus/Thor/Buddha/whatever is just mentioned in passing with no more drama than would be given to mentioning a refridgerator.

While I'm not sure that it was ever a single, the Beach Boys' God Only Knows has usually been mentioned as a "spiritual" love song because it mentions God in the title. But I've always heard it as almost a taking-the-lord's-name-in-vain moment.
White the song sounds beautiful, even somewhat spiritual, my guess is that Brian Wilson wrote the signature line, "God only knows what I'd be without you", according to the phrase's common usage - usually in exasperation: "Where's the beef?" "God only knows..."
So that doesn't count.

God is mentioned in the old song Little Green Apples, and it almost cuts the mustard, but there are two disqualifiers. One: it's in the chorus and, thus, too prominant a mention to satisfy me; and, two: it's delivered as part of a sarcastic lyric:

"God didn't make little green apples / and it don't rain in Indianap'lis in the summertime..."
It's like saying "I'm not a crook and the Pope ain't Catholic".
So that doesn't count.

Another one that almost made it was Meat Loaf's Paradise By The Dashboard Light. Near the end he bellows "I started swearin' to my god and on my mother's grave / that I would love you 'til the end of time...".
The problem with this one is that ir's delivered in anger/frustration, and that it says "my god", not "God". Jim Steinman, the author, was obviously worried about mentioning God by name and, in the end, chickened out and neutralized it to "my god".
So that doesn't count.

But, alas, I have found one! It's in John Denver's Rocky Mountain High. Tucked inside one of the non-repeating lines of the chorus we can hear:

"But the Colorado Rocky Mountain high
I've seen it rainin' fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky Mountain high, in Colorado"

There it is. God is mentioned in passing, matter of factly, unassumingly, drawing no more attention to itself than the word "campfire" later on.

Are there any other examples of this?

There is one other that I've found that doesn't mention any God, but that certainly sounds like a hymn: the Jackson 5's (and, later, Mariah Carey's) I'll Be There.

If you take out the final half-verse, "If you should ever find someone new / I know s/he better be good to you / 'cause if s/he doesn't / I'll be there", it almost seems to have been first written as a hymn, sung by God, but then changed to become a standard love sung.

"You and I must make a pact
We must bring salvation back
Where there is love
I'll be there

I'll reach out my hand to you
I'll have faith in all you do
Just call my name
And I'll be there, I'll be there

And, ohhhhh
I'll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I'm so glad that I found you
I'll be there with a love that's strong
I'll be your strength. keep holdin' on

holdin' on, holdin' on, holdin' on
Yes I will, yes I will

Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness is all I'm after
Whenever you need me
I'll be there, I'll be there

I'll be there to protect you
With a non-selfish love that respects you
Just call my name
And I'll be there, I'll be there

And ohhhhh...
I'll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I'm so glad that I found you
I'll be there with a love thats strong
I'll be your strength; I'll keep holdin' on

holdin' on, holdin' on, holdin' on, holdin on''

I'd like to know if there are other examples of God being mention matter of factly in song along the lines of Rocky Mountain High. Anybody?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:36 PM | Comments (6)

August 14, 2004

This wasn't casual Friday

Sorry for the sudden lack of posting the last few days, but I've been busy with several peripheral issues... (ooo, mystery...!)

I've recently ranted about the dying art of our rare, precious and beautiful civil protocol in my post HATS, and a little bit more in Things I miss.
Now I have another question: What makes a man or woman think that it's appropriate to show up to a wake for your friend's father dressed like you're going to a %#$& garlic festival?

My friend, Ellen, just lost her dad. The wake was last evening. Tex, Bugs, and Lisa showed up in casual dress.
At least Bugs wore black -- I'll give him that. But, fercryingoutloud, you don't go to your friend's father's wake in blue jeans and a neutral grey pull-over, 'kay?.

I didn't know Sylvester very well, either. Hell, we haven't laid eyes on each other since way back when Ellen was still living with her parents; some six years ago. We probably wouldn't have recognized each other if we passed on the street last week. But that doesn't matter.

Yeah, I went to a wake casually dressed once. It was the wake of my friend Norm's sister and I, unfortunately, had to work late and knew that I couldn't get home, change, and get to the wake in time. I had an excuse, but I still felt like I should've gone up to every single family member and appologized and explained why I was dressed so casually.

Yesterday I carried a suit to work -- on the bus -- just to be dressed for the wake as Tara was picking me up at 5:30. And I didn't do it for ol' Sylvester (he's dead, he wont care...); I did it for his daughter, my friend, Ellen.

She just lost her father and will never again get to say "Hi, Dad!". He might have been nothing to you, but you will put on a jacket and tie even if for no other reason than to show Ellen that you understand that this is an important time for her.

I'm sure that she would rather have you show up naked than not show up at all. But, pleeeeeze, don't ever think that you're too close to the bereaved, or too distant from the deceased, to dress for the occassion. Ellen deserves better from her closest friends at a time like this.

You know who you are, and I love you. But you guys keep doing this (Tara's mother, Norm's mother...) and it's getting old. So just stop fucking this shit up.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 08:12 PM | Comments (2)

August 11, 2004

This is so easy it's almost frightening

Fisking Helen Thomas, that is.

I like to give people the benefit of the doubt when they write something untrue, and imagine they just haven't gotten the lowdown, or are just too dumb-struck with tunnel vision to see all of the facts.
But, when it comes to someone like Helen Thomas, who's supposedly well-read and, thus, "clued in" to the facts, then I gotta wonder if she's either pathologically willfully ignorant, or simply just a lying old hag.

From her most recent column I present:

Kerry Forgot Vietnam Lesson In Voting To OK Iraq War

BOSTON -- Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry made a name for himself more than 30 years ago as a passionate anti-Vietnam war protest leader. But something happened on the way to the U.S. Senate where he adopted that exclusive club's credo: "To get along, go along.''

So far, so good. The Invisible Senator hasn't accomplished much at all in his 19 years there. He seems to like letting his 99 colleagues do the work, then get the gyst of what they've recommended and vote up or down.
But, I dunno Helen. At times he also seems to be the NASCAR Senator , content to just take his seat and turn left for 500 miles.

Surely he hasn't forgotten he fought the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time in Vietnam and the ensuing quagmire that caused the greatest domestic division in the United States since the Civil War.

Well, he sure hasn't forgotten that he fought in the war. But, fighting (protesting) the war? Funny, he never mentions it.

Why didn't those memory bells ring for him when he voted last year for a resolution authorizing President George W. Bush to invade Iraq?

Actually that was two years ago. But time flies by faster and faster as you get older, so we'll let that one slide.

That resolution was a replica of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution that took the country into Vietnam and gave the president the power to do anything necessary for national security -- with few questions asked.

Yes, it was. And I was surprised that more people didn't bring that up at the time. The resolution passed in the Congress 534 to 1.

Still, the Congress can just as easily revoke it if they wanted to.

Kerry won medals ["won", not "earned"? What was he doin', competing in the Jungle Olympics? - TS] for his heroism in Vietnam and his war record has been proudly paraded at the Democratic Party's National Convention where his Vietnam veteran buddies and an array of top retired military brass skeptical about the Iraq war were in the spotlight.

Like the rest of the country, Kerry now knows that all the major reasons cited by Bush to justify his war of choice -- the alleged weapons of mass destruction, Iraq's alleged ties to al-Qaida and the imminent threat allegedly posed by Iraq -- have turned out to be false.

Aah, finally, we've come to your first swooping bevy of moonbattery!

"War of choice". Every war is a war of choice -- even a defensive war where the alternative is surrender.

But, of course, what you meant by that was "A war that we started, where our actions ended the status quo of Peace." The "peace" that you so sorely miss was a 12-year cease-fire that existed only because the U.N. and the U.S. refused to hold Saddam to the terms of the end of Desert Storm. It was years of Iraqi anti-aircraft guns shooting at our patrol planes. That "peace" was years and years of the filling-up of mass graves, imprisonment of children, of torture chambers and rape rooms. And "peaceful" payments, from Saddam to you, if your son "martyred" himself for the cause of Islamist theocracy in the garden of Isreal.

More on this later, dear Helen.

"the imminent threat allegedly posed by Iraq". Once again, with feeling: Bush. Never. Said. That. Saddam. Was. an Imminent. Threat. He said that we couldn't wait until he was because that would mean that he -- with his un"alleged weapons of mass destruction, Iraq's alleged ties to al-Qaida" -- would have the capability of enabling a nuclear "dirty bomb" (or other such device). Maybe you just need to pop a few Cognimax pills and everything'll be fine.

Bush has neither apologized nor offered an acceptable explanation for that immense national deception that is still taking American and Iraqi lives daily.

Maybe because there was no deception. J'ever entertain that possibilty? Of course not; and I doubt that that consideration is imminent.

In his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Kerry socked it to Bush without mentioning him by name. In several pointed remarks in his address to the delegates, the challenger hit Bush's obvious vulnerabilities and credibility problems.

"I will be a commander in chief who will never mislead us into war,'' Kerry said. "I will have a vice president who will not conduct secret meetings with polluters to rewrite our environmental laws. I will listen to the best advice of our military leaders. And I will appoint an attorney general who actually upholds the Constitution of the United States.''

Wow, I'm convinced. So much empty rhetoric, so many rote accusations, so little evidence. I guess that just saying it makes it so! What more can a barking moonbat ask for?!

Kerry also took a swipe against Bush's militant foreign policy but stopped short of saying what other senators have said: That if they knew then what they know now, they never would have supported Bush's unilateral and unprovoked decision to attack Iraq. Somehow, Kerry cannot cross that bridge, apparently fearing he will be called "unpatriotic'' or accused of not supporting the troops in Iraq.

Welp, he's actually come out and said that he would have voted for the war anyway. I guess he's even more frightened and uncourageous than you thought! What a lame-ass, eh?

But he has some second thoughts.

read: developing strategy.

He promised the delegates -- and the nation -- that, "as president, I will ask hard questions and demand hard evidence. I will immediately reform the intelligence system so policy is guided by facts, and facts are never distorted by politics.''

read: blah blah blahbiddy blah...

He was obviously referring to Bush's blame-shifting to the CIA for providing him with the flimsy data he flaunted to back up a war he already wanted.

As opposed to what... blaming himself for reading it? Did you skip your naptime again?

"Saying there are weapons of mass destruction in Iraq doesn't make it so,'' Kerry said. "And proclaiming 'mission accomplished' certainly doesn't make it so,'' he said in another jab at the president's past statements.

Okay, Helen, now I know what you're doing, you clever gal you! You're presenting a farse, right? You're actually making fun of those rediculously partisan idiotarians that want to convince us that they actually believe that "mission accomplished" was one of "the President's past statements"! That those words actually came out of his mouth and not just two words on a banner that the returning sailors on the U.S.S. Lincoln had put up to celebrate their homecoming! Oh, you had me so-o-o fooled for a minute there!

Oh, wait. You're not joshing? That's not a smirk to let me in on the joke? You're serious?!!

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!! dammit, my sides...

Kerry promised that he would "bring back this nation's time-honored tradition: The United States of America never goes to war because we want to, we only go to war because we have to.''

Vietnam, Panama, Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti... Do any of these ring a bell?

What was missing in Kerry's good [sic] speech was a roadmap to peace and reconciliation in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

Reconciliation? Reconciliation?!

Kerry and his nominating convention cloaked him in the Vietnam theme all week long. It's a shame that he seems to have forgotten another lesson he could have learned from Vietnam: He can best support the troops in Iraq by bringing them home as soon as possible.

Let's see now.

We were in Vietnam attempting to drive back the Communist invaders from the north thus to secure liberty in the south. We had no direct national interest, just the sneaking feeling that maybe we should bare any burden to support any friend and oppose any foe in the defense of liberty.

We're in Iraq and Afghanistan because our nation was brutally attacked three years ago. We want to cut the snake of Islamist tyranny off at the head 'cause that's the only way to kill it.

The Islamist movement was driven out of Europe by the Crusades and, to this day, children in the middle east are taught in their schools that that was a setback to the solemn goal: to see that the world submits to Islamic law.

Feeling bitterly outcast, they try to needle their way outward through intimidation and terror. The creation of Isreal 56 years ago is seen as a further tresspass on the territory of Islam. The children of the muslim world are taught to hate Jews, and Jews they do hate. Passionately. Not so much because they're Jews (as opposed to Christians, Hindus or Buddhists), but because they're non-Muslims with a recent foothold in traditionally (to them) Islamic land.
They now populate Europe in astounding and increasing numbers in order to "Islamicize" the west by sheer force of their presence. It's not the past so much as the future that they focus on. Like a laser.

How do we best preserve Freedom from the religeous tyranny that this country was founded to defeat?

The answer, dear Helen, is to go to the source of the problem and do away -- premptively -- with the shallowness of theocracy that infests the entire region, and to bring to it the prosperity that comes with democracy. We are choosing between a future of religeous persecution, medieval Inquisitions, public stonings and misery, and one of enlightenment, liberty and prosperity.

That war has been fought and won before, but only because we knew that it was worth it. We now have to drag a backward, narrow-minded, tyranical sandtrap kicking and screaming into the 17th century, 'cause it's either that or a return to darkness.

In this day, at this time, the crossroad has been reached and we have a choice. Don't cower away and hope that everything'll work itself out. If you do then yer just in denial.
Persecution and terror, or; liberty and peace. That's our choice today.
Which shall it be, Helen? Which shall it be?

Which shall it be?

(Helen Thomas can be reached at the e-mail address

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:32 PM | Comments (3)

August 09, 2004

One Year Ago Today, pt 3

Just in case I don't have time to post again tonight, here's me post from e'zactly one year ago. I hope you enjoy the silly saga of:

Spam Trek

Well, I've officially lost my mind! Then again, what else am I gonna do on a dreary rainy saturday afternoon?
So, without further ado, my new Df%#ilms:

Spam Trek: The Motion Picture
Spam Trek II: The Wrath of Spam
Spam Trek III: The Search for Spam
Spam Trek IV: The Spamage Home
Spam Trek V: The Spam Frontier
Spam Trek VI: The Undiscovered Spam

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:28 PM | Comments (2)

MadLyrics are in!

I've gotten three responses to the MadLyrics post.

First up is from kermit!

Just fly right back and you'll hear a fart,
it's the tale of a smelly trip
that farted from this dirty port
aboard this rotten ship

The mate was a stinking sailin' man
The Skipper ugly and sure
Five bastards set sail that 9 months
on a 44 hour tour,
a 44 hour tour

The weather starting getting fake
The crunchy ship was caterwauled
If not for the open-mindedness of the hollow crew
the Buttcheek would be slithered,
the Buttcheek would be slithered

The ship oozed on the kitchen table
of this greasy isle
with Glenn Reynolds, the Skipper, too
the pimp and his cane,
the ho
the cop and FrankJ,
all here on Mr Fisk's Isle!

ROFLMFAO!! I think it actually made sense! FrankJ and Glenn Reynolds stuck on an island together with a pimp a ho and a cop! Much merriment for the Skipper to write about in his log! Thanks, kermit!!

(But, who the $^&% is Mr Fisk?!

Second installment comes from the lovely Claire (<--and don't forget to click on that link, it's hysterical!):

Just bleep right back and you'll hear a mooooo
it's a tale of darkish trip
that bit from this alive port
aboard this petulant ship

The mate was a feathered sailin' man,
the Skipper painted and sure
Five sillibi set sail that flash!
on a 3.14 hour tour,
a 3.14159 hour tour (just to be more specific, mheh)

The weather started getting blurry
the stolid ship was plotzed
If not for schizophrenia of the leafy crew
the Bull**** would be lost,
the Bull**** would be lost

The ship enchanted* on the self-doubt*
of this blue desert isle
with Snoozebutton Jim, the Skipper, too
the taster and his horse,
the sorter,
the plucker and Bill INDC,
all here on SondraK's Isle!!

A bizarre trip, indeed! The taster, sorter and plucker, eh? Sounds like they'll at least have some good wine on that *sniff* blue island.

**** I added the asterisks to Claire's "bull" to make it flow and funny.
* Claire missed two words among all the confusing verb past tenses, so I grabbed my dictionary and used the first noun and verb that I saw: "enchanted" and "self-doubt". Gives it an air of enchantment. And, self-doubt.

And, finally, we have Stevie's rendition:

Ju-u-u-u-u-st bounce right back and you'll hear a *squick*
it's a tale of a fugly trip
that spitted from this stupid port
aboard this hairy ship

The mate was a pissed-off sailin' man
the Skipper slovenly and sure
Five cajones set sail that decade
on a 729 hour tour,
a 729 hour tour

The weather started getting creamy
the spikey ship was assaulted
If not for the hypocrisy of the slimy crew
the Manure Pit would be punched,
the Manure Pit would be punched!

The ship farted on the snotrag of this
thumb-dicked desert isle
with Mad Mikey, the Skipper, too,
the Artificial Inseminator and his teabag,
the Nuclear Valve Tech,
the Fluffer and Acidman
all here on Velociman's I-I-I-I-sle!!!

I couldn't stop laughing when I typed this one!! Oh, crikey, that was the funniest thing I've ever typed!! Whe-e-e-w-w-w!!! Thank for that one, Stevie!!

Oh what are Acidman and Velociman gonna do with that Inseminator and Fluffer (and, no, I don't know EXACTLY what that means, but I'm laughing anyway...)..?

Thanks, kermit, Claire and Stevie!!!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:13 AM | Comments (9)

August 08, 2004

Things I miss

Rachel Ann has a wonderful post about her oft silent grandfather. Read the above link, then come back.

Okay, yer back?

Well, as you have read, I wrote in the comments:

Aah, a bittersweet memory. That sounds like the title of a book about trading the complex essence of the beautiful for the simplicity of the superficial and ending up with pretty emptyness. Or something.

Keith Richards once said that "the eyes are the whores of the senses." I don't remember the exact context, but that line always stuck with me.

I was going to try to write a post about specific instances where we've lost the proverbial scent of the flowers for the showyness of the blossoms. But I want to just spout off about a few things that I miss about the way things used to be, as I've been thinking about these (just a little, now and then) since reading a post at Random Pensees, where he said all there is to say about soda fountains.

Watermelon. I swear watermelon doesn't taste like it did when I was a kid. Now, maybe my taste buds have changed a little in the past 30 years. But, usually, that means that sweets are too sweet now. But most of the watermelon I come across now doesn't taste as sweet as I remember, it just tastes bland and the texture is more heavy and soggy. I don't remember ever having a slice or hunk of watermelon as a kid that was anything but firm, light and oh so sweet. Never!

Ice Cream Trucks. Remember the ice cream trucks that rode around in the late afternoons during the summer? The driver rang the bells and all the kids in the neighborhood came running out with their 15 cents, or whatever it was. You'd stare at the, seemingly, hundreds of pictures of what he had in the freezer.
But, if you wanted a cone, the guy in the truck, dressed in white with white cap on his head, pulled a lever and sploodged you a soft cone of vanilla or chocolate ice cream! Then he'd ask if you wanted shots. Yay, for shots!

Now we got this truck that comes around in the late afternoons blaring some synth-o-crap through loudspeakers. You go up to the truck and there's, maybe 15 or 20 items to choose from, and no fresh ice cream dispenser. And the guy doesn't even wear a uniform. It's just a Circus Man freezer case on wheels.
Bring back fresh ice cream trucks!

Penny candy! Remember the rows of big glass jars of penny candy in the drug stores? You scooped out a few of these and some of those and, hey, let's try this one today! The guy with the visor on his head counted them up. For, y'see, each peice cost a penny.
About ten years ago a went into a candy store in the *gag* mall. I flipped up the little door on the plastic dispenser and got a few of these and a few of those. The chicklette behind the counter weighed my little bag of treats. 8 bucks! WTF?!!!

An' speakin' of plastic, everything's made of plastic! Toy trucks, milk bottles, bathtubs, toboggans (if you can find any), toothpicks, tongue depressors, and, ferscrisakes, Lincoln Logs! You can't build a wooden log cabin out of plastic!!!

Drive-In Restaurants. You pulled up to the parking spot and the waitress came out and took your order, then she'd come back with the tray that she clipped onto the car door. I don't know why that's actually better than any other way of doing it, I just miss it, that's all. You can eat in the car without having to struggle with the lack of elbow room while you jockied things around. Just once more in my life I'd like to pull into a drive-in restaurant on a nice summer's day.

Drive-In Theaters!! These I really miss. The last one 'round here closed when I was in High School. No better place to watch a movie after a hot summer day than by sitting in the car with the windows half-open, watching the movie on the gigantic screen, with the speaker hanging on the driver's side window.
When the movie was over, you didn't have to fight the crowds through the lobby of the 12-screen megaplex to get to your car; you're already in your car! You just put the speaker back on the poll and off you went.

Of, course, Drive-ins will never be profitable again because they'd have to have several speakers per car to offer the THX surround-sound (or whatever they call it these days). The only remaining active Drive-In that I know of is in Skowhegan, Maine; some seven hours away from me. Road trip! Who's with me?!

The old Hershey wrappers. Remember those? The candy bar was wrapped in silver paper and the silver paper-wrapped bar was wrapped in the brown paper sleeve. As you ate the Hershey bar you shimmied it up the sleeve and tore more and more of the silver wrapper apart. Aaah, memories.

Chief Big Wheel! OMG! He was just the Drakes version of a Hostess Ring Ding. (Or was he the Hostess version of the Drakes Ring Ding?) Aaah, foggy memories.
Chief Big Wheel was one of my favorites as a kid. The cake was in a yellow wrapper, and the logo was a Big Wheel with an Indian Chief's headdress, holding a tomahawk. Tasty little guy!

Wax Harmonicas. You could actually play them, and then you ate the wax. That was weird. Do they still have wax candy? Beats me.

Candy necklaces! We'd go out playing all day in the woods and in the yards and getting all dirty and sweaty while eating these pieces of candy that we'd been wearing on our necks all day. What were we, nuts!!

Okay, I could go on forever with this, probably, so I'll just stop now. Thanks for letting me yammer on about

things I miss.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 10:24 PM | Comments (2)

Sort of a "Where's George" for bloggers

Found at Susie's:

Testing Meme Propagation In Blogspace: Add Your Blog

This posting is a community experiment that tests how a meme, represented by this blog posting, spreads across blogspace, physical space and time. It will help to show how ideas travel across blogs in space and time and how blogs are connected. It may also help to show which blogs (and aggregation sites) are most influential in the propagation of memes. The dataset from this experiment will be public, and can be located via Google (or Technorati) by doing a search for the GUID for this meme (below).

Please join the test by adding your blog (see instructions, below) and inviting your friends to participate—the more the better. The data from this test will be public and open; others may use it to visualize and study the connectedness of blogspace and the propagation of memes across blogs.

The GUID for this experiment is:


The above GUID enables anyone to easily search Google or other search engines for all blogs that participate in this experiment, once they have indexed the sites that participate, which may take several days or weeks. To locate the full data set, just search for any sites that contain this GUID.

Anyone is free to analyze the data of this experiment. Please publicize your analysis of the data, and/or any comments by adding comments onto the original post (see URL above). (Note: it would be interesting to see a geographic map or a temporal animation, as well as a social network map of the propagation of this meme.)


To add your blog to this experiment, copy this entire posting to your blog, and then answer the questions below, substituting your own information, below, where appropriate. Other than answering the questions below, please do not alter the information, layout or format of this post in order to preserve the integrity of the data in this experiment (this will make it easier for searchers and automated bots to find and analyze the results later).

REQUIRED FIELDS (Note: Replace the answers below with your own answers)

(1) I found this experiment at URL:

(2) I found it via “Newsreader Software” or “Browsing the Web” or “Searching the Web” or “An E-Mail Message”: Browsing the Web

(3) I posted this experiment at URL:

(4) I posted this on date (day/month/year): 08/08/04

(5) I posted this at time (24 hour time): 18:14 EDT

(6) My posting location is (city, state, country): Bridgeport, CT, USA


(7) My blog is hosted by:

(8) My age is: two decades past the legal drinking age

(9) My gender is: Male

(10) My occupation is: Offset printing press operator

(11) I use the following RSS/Atom reader software: What's "RSS/Atom reader software"?

(12) I use the following software to post to my blog: MovableType

(13) I have been blogging since (day, month, year): 3 Feb 03

(14) My web browser is: IE6

(15) My operating systems are: Windows 98

Posted by Tuning Spork at 06:12 PM | Comments (0)


Well, Stevie's got me thinkin' about MadLibs now. I'm gonna put one up, but with a twist. I invite all comers -- Stevie, I'm looking in your direction... -- to give me words that I'll insert into a song lyric!

Come on, all y'gotta do is leave a list of words in the Comments. It's fun!

The words I need are (I know, that's a lot of adjectives):

verb, past tense
pural noun
span of time
verb, past tense
personality trait (example: eagerness)
verb, past tense
verb, past tense
Person in the room
Person in the room
Person in the room

For "person in the room" pick someone from your blogroll... and have fun!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 12:59 AM | Comments (4)

August 06, 2004

There's no shame in being a mental contortionist

I haven't done a full-scale fisking in a while and it's high time I got my dander up! So, let's have a little look-see at Jesse Jackson's latest op-ed piece from the Chicago Sun Times.

There's no shame in being liberal
August 3, 2004

There they go again. Devoid of ideas, running from the record of failure on the economy and national security,

Wow, is Jesse criticizing the Democrats for once?! Nope, he's just projecting their characteristics onto "the enemy".
President Bush and his campaign are going negative again, trying to label John Kerry rather than level with Americans.

Bush will expose John Kerry because Kerry wont show you his true colors like the fact that he hasn't produced one bit of legislation with his name on it in 19 years. This is called levelling with Americans
Now the refrain is that Kerry and Edwards are too ''liberal'' for America.

Yep, the 1st and 4th most liberal members of the Senate. I'd say they're pr-r-r-etty darn liberal.

Democrats tend to duck when such charges are leveled. Clinton dressed up as a ''New Democrat,'' trying to separate himself rhetorically. Reformers now call themselves ''progressives,'' trying to avoid the label. Frankly, I think it's time for people to stand up.

Stand back for a lesson in how today's leftists are just like our God-fearing founding fathers! Oh, boy, is this great...!

Think about it: A conservative Christian is a contradiction in terms. Christ wasn't a conservative. He fed the hungry simply because they were hungry. He didn't require that they go to work first.

Okay, let's just set aside the fact that it's rediculous to apply modern definitions of "liberal" and "conservative" (of which there are several -- even within the paragraphs of this op-ed piece) to a 2,000 year-old society governed by Kings and Emperors.

The hungry that Christ fed were his followers. He was not their government and they were not his citizens. You can argue, I suppose, that they were in the Kingdom of God and Jesus was their King, but then you get into a dangerous area if you want to compare Christ to the Federal government and Christians to American citizens. Okay? Okay? Okay.

Christ fed his followers with bread and fishes that he produced under his own divine powers, not by taxing society and it's citizens into economic stagnation.
And that line about "He didn't require that they go to work first" sounds like you not only have forgotten the context of where and when and how He fed them, but you almost sound like Jesus was an enabler for the deadly sin of Sloth. That may be a liberal attitude for a "king" to take, but it's certainly not a Christian one.

He healed the sick, simply because they were sick. He didn't push them into an insurance company, or let the drug companies gouge them on prices. Jesus was a liberal; Herod was the conservative.

Maybe I know now why you didn't include the title "Rev." before your name at the head of this article. This isn't the writing of a Reverend, it's the writing of a demagogue.

The sick who were healed were healed by their Faith in Jesus. There were plenty of sick and crippled people around him who were not healed in His presence.
The bit about insurance companies and drug companies at the time of Christ is just too incoherent to address. But I suppose your message is that modern doctors and pharmaceutical scientists ought to be forced to work for the government because, dagnabbit, King Jesus did!

Moses was the liberal; Pharaoh was the conservative. Abolitionists were liberals; slave owners were the conservatives. Mandela is a liberal; the South African apartheid leaders were the conservatives. That's why conservative Dick Cheney supported apartheid over Mandela, and approved of keeping Mandela in prison.

Wow. Talk about a nonsensical string of conclusions that have to basis in rationality. (That was redundant, I know.)
I suppose you could say that Moses, abolitionists, etc were liberals because they were liberators -- much like today's conservatives. But what in tarnation is conservative about Herod, Pharaoh or any other tyrant? You clearly have no understanding of what a conservative is.

And Dick Cheney did not support apartheid or keeping Nelson Mandela in prison you lying sack of shit. He opposed economic sanctions on South Africa because it only hurts the people we wanted to help liberate -- much as you opposed sanctions on Iraq, Cuba, and anywhere else your favorite tyrants choke the livelihood out of the People.

Cheney also voted against drafting a meaningless Congressional resolution calling for Mandela's release. My memory is that he thought it was a confrontational tactic at a time when we were trying to convince the SA government to do away with apartheid. I wished he voted in favor of it, because, frankly, I like confrontational tactics when you know you're in the right about something. But claiming that Cheney "approved of keeping Mandela in prison" is a vicious lie that undermines, in my mind, everything that comes out of your mouth. Liar.

The Suffragettes were liberals; those who opposed the vote for women were conservatives.

Would you stop it already?! What the hell is the rationale for these statements?!

Martin Luther King was a liberal; the segregationists were conservatives. He wanted to end racial discrimination; they wanted to conserve it.

Ah ha! So, you're taking the literal meaning of "conservative" and using to define Conservatives! I should have known it'd be this simplistic!

Advocates of national health care are liberals; George W. Bush, the HMOs and drug companies are the conservatives. They profit from the current system and want to conserve it from reforms that would make health care affordable for all Americans.

Finally, a paragraph that's, at least, mostly true!
What the drug companies want to do is conserve a system whereby they can actually turn a profit and thus actually create the drugs that you want to take from them and hand out like condoms in a schoolyard. Without the money flowing in there ain't no more R&D and thus no more nifty miracle drugs.

What the insurance companies want to do is stop the creation of a system that drives up the cost of healthcare by further removing barriers to price gouging and abuse on the part of physicians and hospitals, or driving up the cost by providing a system where mommy carts little Billy off to the government run clinic everytime he gets the sniffles. [See: Nationalized Healthcare]

America was a liberal idea. Washington and Jefferson were the liberals; King George was the conservative.

Again: a Tyrant is not a Conservative, m'kay? Oh, but I suppose that, once again, you're invoking the irrelevant meaning from the root word "conserve". That would mean that supporters of school vouchers are liberals, while those that want to conserve the anti-choice status quo are conservatives?
Or, if I really wanna be a jerk, I could say that Hitler rolling over Europe was the liberal and the Allies were the conservatives. See, isn't demonizing philosophical opponents with illogical argumentation fun?! :D
God yer dumb.

America was founded on the proposition that ''We the people'' were endowed with inalienable rights -- including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And when oppressed by an unjust ruler, we had the right to declare our independence and establish our own form of government.

Hurray! A paragraph completely devoid of lies, sophistry and idiocy!
But I always wonder why you "liberals" always stop short at "...and the pursuit of Happiness." Don't you like what immediately follows: "And that, to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed"?
Not too fond of that phrase, are ya, Rev...?

And America was built by liberals -- by dissenters, by those persecuted for their religion or their race. The Statute of Liberty doesn't say, ''Send me your privileged, your wealthy, your powerful yearning to conserve their fortunes.'' It says, ''Send me your tired, your poor, your humble yearning to breathe free.''

Damn right. But are you under the impression that the tired and the poor were coming here to remain tired and poor? Don't you think that maybe, just maybe, they came here to be free and, oh I dunno, become wealthy? Or, at least, wealthier?
Of course, once they made a little money they might actually be interested in "conserving" it rather than handing it over to the UberState -- like the one that they just got themselves the hell out of. [See: Eastern Europe]

Today the choices are equally clear. Bush and Cheney argue for tax cuts for the wealthy; they want to consolidate the wealth and power of the ''have mores'' that the president calls ''my base.''

Welp, I just lost what little respect I (may have) had left for ya, Reverand J.J.
Now you're parrotting Michael Moore's use of a tongue-in-cheek address by Bush at an Al Smith dinner as if it were a serious address.

And, fercrisakes, you don't "consolidate" wealth, you create it and invest it in expanding business which then expands employment. I can accept that you don't agree with the economic philosophy, but I can't believe you don't, by now, understand it.
Or, maybe you don't.

Or, maybe you do, and just find it easier to call people "evil" than to have to actually, oh I dunno, debate the issue honestly.

Liberals are for rolling back tax cuts for the rich and investing in education so every child gets a fair shot.

And, I guess Ted Kennedy's a conservative then, 'cause he wrote the Education Bill that Bush signed. No, wait, he's a liberal because he voted for the change that it brought. No, wait, he's a conservative because he voted against the tax cuts when Bush wanted to change... crud, you make my hair hurt...

Conservatives would conserve the two Americas: one system of education, health care and retirement security for the powerful, and one for the rest of us.

Great, now yer channelling John "crossing-over-in-a-pleasant-pink" Edwards...

Liberals would make certain that everyone has the right to a high-quality education, to affordable health care, to a decent retirement.

Well, that wouldn't be a "Right", it'd be a charitable contribution, no? Some eligible people get these things for free, in whole or in part, right now. The trick is to get assistence to those who can't afford insurance (because prices have gone through the roof due in large part to doctors and hospitals having to pay skyrocketting malpractice insurance premiums because people yer buddy John "Two Americas" Edwards like to sue doctors and hospitals into destitution over chicken shit).

Bush wants to cut guaranteed benefits under Social Security while privatizing it;

Another lie. Hey, wow!! Yer on a roll, eh?!!!

Bush's plan for partial privitization (about 2%) would be voluntary, and all promises made in the past will be kept.

liberals want to save Social Security so that all Americans have a basic floor beneath their feet. "conserving" the status quo which will bankrupt the country within 30 years...

Bush is against a minimum wage; liberals want to raise the minimum wage. Bush wants to weaken the 40-hour week and reduce those eligible for overtime; liberals want to make certain workers get paid overtime if they have to work more than 40 hours a week.

All of this is news to me. I don't know where you got these "facts", but, if the rest of the article is any indication of their veracity then I'll just assume that they're lies.
Par, meet Course.

You can pick your side -- liberal or conservative, for change or for the status quo, for the poor or for the privileged. For me, I stand with Christ against Herod; Moses against the Pharaoh; the abolitionists against the slaveholders; King against the segregationists, the Suffragettes against the male politicians; the many against the few, and liberals against this crowd in the White House.

Why didn't you throw in "The Hymies Jews against Hitler"? I guess you thought it might cause a ruckus if you were comparing conservatives to Nazis, but that if you just left it at comparing liberals to Christ and conservatives to Herod, Pharaoh, slave masters, racist Democratic segregationists, sexists and any other tyrant you could think up that no one would notice. You really are a whackjob, aren't ya?

But whatever you choose, the next time Bush and Cheney rail about Kerry being too liberal, remember that America was a liberal idea from the start.

Yep. We pushed out the European world of religious intolerance, anti-semitism, slavery (okay, that took nearly 100 years... I know, I know), speech codes, warrantless searches, economic tyranny, the State-run press, and a whole host of other things that I, for one, am eager to "conserve" for future generations of Americans.

I suppose you might want to, at this juncture (or any other juncture that happens to come along), implore me, in your vein-poppingly socialist fervor, to look at what Jesus meant when he said "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and give unto God what is God's".
Great, I say! Caesar gets Nothing!

When it comes to wealth that's created, and how and why it's created, all you can see is the "evil" of "selfishness". You might like to be a cog in a wheel or a drone in a hive, but receiving only what we need does not inspire US to produce according to our ability. Y'get it yet? I've said it before and I'll s-s-s-ay it again: We're strong because we're rich, and we're rich because we're free.

Sapping the very individualism that has made this country great is exactly what will would if it could (almost got me there!) destroy our greatness and send us down the spiral toward mediocrity and the apathetic sloth that Europe currently "enjoys".

And right there's the uncommon ground between us, "Rev."
As Henry David Thoreau wrote (and I think we can all agree that he was a "Liberal"): "That government governs best that governs least".
It seems that I see Greatness in America where you only see "neglect", almost as if you see government - not Freedom - as the cure-all for whatever might ail us.

Be careful, my friend. Remember the axiom "That government that can give you everything you want is a government that can take away everything you have".

If that axiom doesn't cause you pause then you, finally, and unfortunately, like so many modern "progressives" before you, have decided to give everything unto Caesar because you have mistaken him for God.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 07:06 PM | Comments (9)

August 05, 2004

Tom Ridge in a Cold Fury

I don't know how often bloggers follow links to other bloggers... and, I don't often bother to do it, myself.

But, holy crap, one post, from Cold Fury, cannot be missed:

If Tom Ridge were to pull no punches and let the barking moonbat media have it, it might sound a little. like. this.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 05:40 PM | Comments (1)

One year ago today, pt 2

[I'm not going to copy/paste the text of the original post, from one year ago today, for a couple of reasons: a) The link to Jennifer points back to her Blog-City blog, and b) It was just an inane introduction to this:]

Here's the latest [Dfilm] -- starring JenLars-- from Your's Truly:
Presidential Fun Facts!


Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

One year ago today

[Since I seem to have zero energy for writing a new post, I'll post this from August 5th, 2003. It's interesting that, apparently at the time, I considered Joe Leiberman to be the likely candidate to knock Howard Dean out of his growing front-runner status. John Kerry, at the time, was getting no meaningful support even though the media had touted him as the most electable of the Democrats who'd announced their candidacies. Anywho, here's:]


There's a Democratic Party base that absolutely hates George W. Bush. You know the type; they rant slogans like "selected not elected", "Bush lied, people died", "Bush=Hitler", "SUVs kill kittens", "Sic Semper Tobaccus", "Free Castro!", "We're here; We're obnoxious smelly unemployable anti-self-defense anarcho-socialist weasels; Get used to it!" They want nothing more than to see Bush defeated.

This is a large part of the crowd that loves Howard Dean, and has now made him the face of the Democrat election season. Why Howard Dean? Because Dean, more than any other Democratic candidate (though Kusinich is a close second) has presented himself as the Anti-Bush.

Although many of his positions on several "litmus test" issues for Democrats -- such as gun rights and the death penalty -- are moderate to conservative, he was the first to flat out oppose the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He would bring the troops home, essentially gut the funding for the war on terrorism, and spend the money on a federally administered national health-care system.

But here's a curious problem that the Democrats face: Being so anti-Bush that they want him defeated at all costs in '04, they naturally gravitate toward the Anti-Bush: Dean. But, being such an Anti-Bush, Dean has little chance of defeating the President, whose job approval rating is in the 50-60% range.
The war on terrorism, the Afghanistan mission the Iraq war are all popular and well-regarded accomplishments. Unless the situation in Iraq turns significantly worse, that isn't likely to change.

The Democrats' issue is -- and could still be in a year's time -- the economy and the deficit. The only Democrat running who seems to have, in any way, positioned himself to win next November is Joe Leiberman. But the Anti-Bush, Dean, has called Leiberman "Bush Lite", and claims that being Bush Lite will not defeat Bush. Presumably, being the Anti-Bush will.

Seems to me the Democratic Party base that votes in the primaries have to make a choice between their core motivations: a) to be so anti-Bush that they nominate Howard Dean, and b) to defeat Bush, at all cost, in 2004. Can they do both?

Posted by Tuning Spork at 06:24 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Posted by Tuning Spork at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

Linkin' logs

Nick Queen has an idea: each Thursday let's link to 3 of our favorite blogs!

Michael King has a post about moonbats gone mad about a t-shirt,
RP wonders where to draw the line between building up his daughter's self-esteem vs. vanity.
an Susie's wondering how to get out of not completely blowing nearly $2,000 on a useless class that she wasn't able to complete!

Okay, back to lurking...

Posted by Tuning Spork at 01:32 PM | Comments (4)

August 04, 2004


I left a comment in the thread of the "Kerry Poppins" post over at TexasBestGrok, and got a message that it was undeliverable even though it went through fine and is sitting there all warm and cozy at this very moment.

But, just in case nobody reads the thread anymore, and 'cause I'm so burned out from doing more of my mid-summer spring cleaning --
(It's not that I'm getting so-o-o-o much done, it's that it's been so stiflingly muggy this week that just carrying a box up two flights of stairs can send me into comfort-sapping bouts of perspiratiotude) --
h'yar 'tis, in all it's silly glory:

D'oh! a State, a nanny State,
ray, a laser from my gun,
me, a guy who can aim straight
fah, the distance to the sun.
so, I think I'll vote for Bush,
La-La Land is on the coast,
tea? I'd rather have a Busch,
but that'd bring me back to D'oh!

Posted by Tuning Spork at 06:26 PM | Comments (3)

August 03, 2004

The Long Night

[I still have a few post ideas in m' head that I've yet to find the time to post, but, in the meantime, here's yet another silly song lyric. It's very minor-chord-driven. Hope y'like it!:

Look out for an empty smile;
something's coming into style...
They'll get you to drop yer guard
then buy you on yer own credit card...
700 club and alcohol
will calm you down 'til y'crawl
If pride is yer poison,
bet yer happy hour has come and gone...
There's so much darkness
we must be damn close to dawn

There'se precedents fer jungle law:
"fight fire with fire" and "dog eat dog"
Wanna be left in docile servitude
trading in our thought for food?
We're in a world of handing politicians
words with foggy definations
believing that the Truth must be left or right or wrong.
Oh, there's so much darkness...
we must be damn close to dawn.

talking head shops
killer raindrops
piled up pollution
sneaker Revolutions
zodiac signs
seedless grapevines
pet rocks and gold dust
and an electric toothbrush
caffeine and nicotine
pretend yer always seventeen
while random acts of congress
appeal to our selfishness....

If y'really wanna use your pride
let it take you for a ride
straight through the billboards, and 12-page advertisements,
to the plan of handing our domination down
to the every next generation
I think the choice will be clear
Don't dare ya prove me wrong...

There's so much darkness;
We must be damn close to dawn.

Posted by Tuning Spork at 09:26 PM | Comments (0)

August 01, 2004

Radio appearance went well..but not great

I just finished my guest spot on John Strauss' "First Day" program on WIBC (AM-1070) in Indianapolis to talk about my Fred LaRue was Deep Throat theory. It lasted only about 5 minutes but we seemed to get a lot out in that short time.

I was a little nervous but I got through it without drawing any blanks, stumbling over my own lips, or letting my voice fall to my usual soft-spoken volume (I feared that John would have to say "Can you speak up a bit?").
All in all, it was a pretty good segment. :)

Stage fright has always been a problem for me. Whenever I used to go out to various "open mike" nights at bars and clubs I would have to be pushed onto the stage. I'd stand there frozen as my name was called. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't see. Once I got started, though, it usually came out all right.
My worst fear always was that I would forget the lyrics and stand there like a dumb-ass going "la la la" through half the song.

One time I was out with my friend Ellen on a karaoke night somewhere and I'd decided to get up and sing a song. I kept shaking and getting a dry mouth everytime I started to go write my name on the list of performers. She kept saying "Either do it or don't do it, it's getting late and we have to go soon."
"I'll do it, I'll do it. Just let me work up the nerve..."

After about two hours of trying to make the move I finally asked Ellen "Would you be mad at me if, after all this time, I chickened out?"
"No," she said, "Does that mean we can go now?"

I'd made the commitment to the radio spot and I wasn't going to back out. I spent the morning sitting by my computer going over my notes and preparing how I wanted to begin. The closer it got to 1:10 - the appearance time - the more I began to shake nervously.
I was drinking Maxwell House instant coffee to get me "up" for the show, and at about 12:30 I began to feel my stomach getting upset. Really upset. I tried to read some of my thesis out loud to prepare my speaking cadence, and I kept running out of breath and faltering because simply speaking was upsetting my stomach even more.

I went into the bathroom and hurled.

After a few minutes I was feeling a bit better. I sat in silence and waited for the phone call from John Strauss, running my presentation through my head and drumming my hands on my knees to release the nervous energy.
I was as ready as I was ever going to be.

1:10 had come and gone and I wondered if my appearance had been postponed or cancelled. I didn't want to check my email as that would tie up the phone line.

Then, at 1:12, the call came. John was upbeat and friendly and told me that we were about a minute away. "Great!" I said, "I'm a little nervous..."
"You're gonna do just fine!" he said, and I immediately began to calm down.

I could hear John talking on the air as he gave an introduction that lasted about a minute, in which time I had settled down dramatically. Once I got started it went fine, just like he said!

Everytime I finish a public speaking/musical performance I just sit and wonder what the hell I was so nervous about.

Christ, I'm an idiot...

UPDATE: I've had a few hours to mull over my on-air performance and have concluded that it wasn't as "fine" as I'd originally hoped.

The first problem is that I was nervous as hell and thought that I'd successfully disguised the shakiness in my voice. I know now that my nervousness must have been carried across the airwaves loud and clear.

The second problem was that John Strauss, unexpectedly, tried to steer the conversation toward the Deep Throat mystery generally, and I then kept trying to steer it back to why Fred LaRue, and no one else, was Deep Throat -- which is what I'd prepared myself all week to do.

For that reason John and his listeners may have thought that the conversation sounded a bit clumbsy. He wanted a leisurely discussion on Deep Throat theory while I had prepared to give a Fred-LaRue-was-Deep-Throat-and-no-one-else-was-so-there(!) presentation.

John, and his audience, probably heard the conversation as being a bit choppy and unfocused. John and I were each trying to pull each other in our own prepared direction.

I very nearly emailed John during the week to ask if we could pre-tape the segment. I didn't because I didn't want to ask too much of his time.
I wish now that I had because I could have given a 20-frickin'-minute monologue on Fred LaRue as Deep Throat.

I made a point of telling him how stagefright I was and I think that maybe he just couldn't believe that someone could be as stagefright as I'd claimed to be.

At one point John asked me a question that, I swear, sounded like "Fred LaRue's passing has eliminated other suspected Deep Throats, right?" (Those aren't John's words, but that's how they sounded...)

I responded that I didn't quite understand the question, and he admitted that he'd been a bit convoluted.
What he meant to ask was something along the lines of: "The death of Deep Throat candidates have, in the past, eliminated them as candidates for Deep Throat".

The question, I know now, was meant to be an invitation to me to talk about the upcoming August 9th 30th anniversary of Nixon's resignation, and that that might be why we haven't heard from Woodward and Bernstein yet.
Due to John's clumbsy wording I completely missed the cue. (Sorry, John!)

He then clarified that the anniversary was coming up, and I was able - in the nick of time - to rescue myself from complete cluelessness.

The segment ended earlier than expected - and just as I'd started to become at ease enough to do a second one. But, John must have instinctively sensed that I was out of my element in public speaking and wanted to let me off the hook.

His closure, and subsequent off-air comment, "You did great!" was -- it's obvious to me now -- his way of telling me "You did yer best, thank you, but ferchrissakes go relax and take a breath now...!"

I'm breathing just fine... now that I'm not on anyone's air-time but my own!

If I'm ever again asked to appear "live" I'll have to remember to insist on a pre-taping.

UPDATE II: I received an email from John which was in response to my request for a tape of the segment, and, also, anything that followed where any callers may have chimed in with their own Deep Throat theories.

He told me that the show wasn't taped, and that no Watergate buffs had called in afterwards, but that some people had told him personally that they found the segment fascinating.

I may have been too hard on myself in that above Update. I remember being careful to segue John's questions into an opportunity to provide more evidence of LaRue=DT. He wrote: "Very good job on the radio... I hope you do some more media. Aug. 9 is a great news hook. You could pitch it that even if the anniversary comes and goes without an announcement from W&B, that's still an important development -- perhaps one more name crossed off the Deep Throat list."

Excellent idea, that! For someone other than moi...!

OK, perhaps my first assessment was more correct -- that it went pretty well, afterall -- and my later second-guessing was fed mainly by my own dearth of self-confidence.
Or, more likely, it's a little from column A and a little from column H. Either way, I seriously doubt that I'll pursue anymore media appearances before the 9th. Unless they can be pre-taped! :P

Posted by Tuning Spork at 01:49 PM | Comments (7)
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