Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Goin' down to South Park

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2005 at 12:48 PM

Tuesday is production day here at the Scene. We are very busy and important today (as opposed to other days, when we are important but not very busy). It's all work and no play around here, and we definitely don't have time to make South Park characters of ourselves with the South Park Construction Kit.

Culture of Gall

Posted By on Tue, Mar 22, 2005 at 8:42 AM

Dahlia Lithwick at Slate captures the legal essence of what Congress has done in the Schiavo case:


This is a case in which an established right-to-refuse-treatment claim, litigated for years up and down through the appeals courts, is being thwarted by parents with no custodial claim to their child. By stepping in merely to sow doubt as to whom Terri Schiavo's proper custodian might be, rather than creating some new constitutional right to a "culture of life," Congress has simply called the existing legal regime into doubt without establishing a new one. This new law offers no clarity about what the new federal claims might be. It just forum-shops for a more tractable judge.


The next law enacted should be the one that bars all Republicans from ever using the phrase "judicial activism" again.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Pressure

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2005 at 9:40 PM

Led astray by over-the-moon reviews like this one, the girlfriend and I ventured out to TPAC on Saturday to see Movin' Out, the Broadway hit that gussies up Billy Joel's back catalogue with choreography by Twyla Tharp. The songs were good (well, most of them), the dancing was fine, but if you're going to create characters and a story based on Billy Joel's songs, you should maybe, oh, I don't know, create characters and a story. Movin' Out simply grafted near-random selections to a rote semi-plot in which -- if I have it correctly -- a group of interchangeable friends enjoy teenage hijinks in the '50s (cue songs from An Innocent Man) before the boys go to Vietnam in the '60s (cue "Goodnight Saigon"), then everyone is made blissfully happy in the '80s by jogging. Or something like that.

By employing a (top-notch) rock band to play the songs and a piano-playing vocalist who sounds uncannily like Joel to sing them, Movin' Out passed up a chance at recontextualization in favor of simple mimicry. Nonetheless, the stronger songs -- precision-tooled little mini-stories much more airtight and intriguing than the show built around them -- carried me through a show that otherwise just didn't add up to the sum of its parts. Plus, dude, some of those dancer chicks are hot.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Two Years Later

Posted By on Sun, Mar 20, 2005 at 7:24 AM

Status and cost of the Iraq war two years in? The Center for American Progress has compiled and sourced an accounting by the numbers. A few highlights:


U.S. taxpayers dollars spent on the war in Iraq: $200 billion
Estimated number of troops currently deployed in Iraq: 152,000

U.S. troops killed: 1,511
Americans wounded: 11,285
Estimated number of Iraqi civilians killed: 21,100-39,300
Non-U.S. coalition troops killed in Iraq: 176

Daily average number of insurgent attacks in February 2005: 70
Daily average number of insurgent attacks in February 2004: 14

Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq today: 18,000
Estimated number of insurgents in Iraq in June 2003: 5,000

Countries remaining in the "coalition of the willing": 27
Former coalition members that have withdrawn or announced plans to do so: 14


Those who support this war ought to be able to say how high these costs and casualties can go before it would become no longer justifiable. Exactly how many lives and limbs and billions of dollars would make an armed invasion in the pursuit of non-existent weapons no longer worth it?

Friday, March 18, 2005

Spam Spam Spam Spam

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2005 at 5:36 PM

I love Monty Python. John Cleese and company are responsible for the fact that I a) prefer absurdity to crafted jokes b) can’t take the atrocities of the Spanish Inquisition seriously and c) will never eat Spam in my life. Other quality sketch comedy troupes have some and gone (The State and Kids in the Hall come to mind) and I’ve seen more Second City performances than I can count (I grew up in Chicago), but nobody can do it quite like Monty Python. And now that Monty Python is on Broadway, I suddenly see the appeal of living in New York City. I especially hate it when comedy teams try to copy the Python formula. Song-and-dance numbers eerily similar to the Lumberjack song really irritate me. But last night, I saw part of the new Hollow Men show on Comedy Central. I had seen the commercials and was hopefully optimistic, as any English major would be at the prospect of a comedy team called The Hollow Men. But the few sketches I saw exceeded my expectations. They copied a lot of Monty Python gimmicks - not particularly attractive men dressed up as women, a character that reminded me of Mr. Gumby, and a song about lawyers that was a complete and total rip off of the “Knights of the Round Table,” song (even with table dancing!) - but somehow, it was okay. They were funny. I am hopeful for these Hollow Men. Because while the literary version may be artistically superior, sometimes you really need to see a sketch about canned meat and dead monarchs. And my Monty Python VHS tapes are all warn and grainy.

And in other news:
College student steals sheep. Better yet, college student is too drunk to remember why he stole a sheep. It’s times like these that I doubt the merit of higher education.

Are you sick of the “Getting’ Lucky in Kentucky” shirts? Or how about “Idaho? No, Udaho!” printed tee? Well, now you can get a Not-Ironic tee! (Virginia one is my favorite).

Also….
This illustrates the difference between men & women’s libidos, as seen through the analogy of eating dinner. I don’t have a witty comment; it’s amusing enough all by itself.

And that’s it. Have a good weekend.

Language Evolves

Posted By on Fri, Mar 18, 2005 at 11:45 AM

From Cleveland (where all important cultural phenomena originate) comes big news via The Plain Dealer that a new edition of Webster's Dictionary will include entries for blog, chad, irritable bowel syndrome, webcast, Wi-Fi, WMD, and the all important wedgie, defined clinically as "a prank in which the victim's undershorts are jerked upward so as to become wedged between the buttocks." (I'd like to think this news will yank up the quality of this blog.) (I'd also like to think I didn't just write that.)

wedgie1.jpg

(Don't ask.)

Thursday, March 17, 2005

What is it...

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2005 at 3:53 PM

...about David Letterman that attracts whackos?

First that woman who kept showing up at his house, and now this guy.

(I haven't watched Dave in years, but I used to be a big fan. I even got a letter on Viewer Mail many moons ago. Don't ask what it was about; it's too complicated to explain.)

Here's 2 TNF

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2005 at 3:27 PM

Either of this blog's readers may remember a very public decision-making process over whether or not Thursday Night Fever should be included on PITW's blogroll. After all, we're a little corporate for a cleavage-topped nightlife blog, don't you think? But as of today, I'm pleased to report, Roboto has taken the great leap forward into the 21st Century world of commerce and industry. The only boobs atop the all-new, business-friendly Thursday Night Fever are the WKRN on-air personalities themselves. (Just kidding, guys. It's not the same without the Whistleblower to kick around.)

The best part about Roboto's redesign is that he might be serious. But I won't be a believer until I see Heather Byrd stretched out across the top.

I have measured out my life with books about the gays

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2005 at 2:32 PM

I have to comment. I just have to.

Alabama politician wants to ban books that ҡcknowledge' homosexuality.

Continue reading »

Man on a Mission

Posted By on Thu, Mar 17, 2005 at 10:20 AM

I think we all know people like this guy.

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