Saturday, May 17, 2008
Regulus' Blog Improv: Tragedy, Comedy, & Hippopotamy
Updated slightly (4 AM EDT, May 18, 2008): See below as noted.
Picture of a sunset along the beach in Krabi (sometimes spelled Krabbi or Khrabi), Thailand that I got off the internet.
There is a lot I have to do, including finishing the edits to the group report for my environmental project course and I have to write up -- by midnight Wednesday (that's 11:59PM Tuesday, although folks will insist on referring to that as "midnight Tuesday") -- a 20+ page final report for my international environmental treaties course. I have taken Monday off from work and I have Tuesdays off anyway and I'll just dedicate both days to composing it.
The full time regular position at work starts on June 2nd.
At some point I will have to explain the ironic financial incentive I have to remain in school in the 2008-2009 academic year because of my extreme student loan situation.
If I could figure out how to work full time and somehow take 4 credits of a 600-level class, I would be golden. I may not be able to do it. I was able to get a waiver for the 1 credit requirement (a student needs to be registered for at least one credit in the semester in which he or she graduates from UMCP) if I opt to go ahead and graduate in December 2008. That 1 credit would cost $750 in all.
I also want to relate some of my doings the past few days.
Finally, I want to write this blog entry. The very act of composing this blog entry -- it requires several hours. I also want to put together an entry for my Arcturus blog in time for that crappy "4th anniversary" related to Mr. Sirius.
Speaking of Mr. Sirius, it turns out he is according to at least one press account, a D.C. "local gay comedian," or so said a recent article in our weekly gay newspaper about an unrelated event he is hosting tomorrow night.
Local gay comedian. Well, I suppose he has some talent for doing stand up comedy. (I've seen his YouTube clip of his act from last year and something he hosted at Cobalt last year.)
In general, though, young and pretty gay guys don't do comedy very well. Why? Well, I try to explain below. Please note that I'm NOT saying ANY of this applies to him, since ultimately, I don't really know Mr. Sirius at all.
I think young gay guys are not good at the kind of comedy others (outside their social group) want to hear because they often don't see themselves in proper perspective to the larger world, both in terms of their strengths and weaknesses. A combination of being self - absorbed and needing constantly to create perceptions of who and what they are, often by contrasting themselves in a zero-sum game to others in the world, is not good for that kind of comedic genius.
The problem is that is in order to be the kind of humorist or comedian that others really relate to, you have at some level to be able to make fun of yourself, at least in part, and to see your own personal weaknesses.
Gay guys, esp. young and pretty ones, intentionally avoid seeing their weaknesses, and so they don't see how these weaknesses generate conflict with the wider world that, once realized and retold in a way in which others can relate to it, become the basis of humor. I'm not saying ALWAYS it has to be like this, but if it's only "I'm great and everyone else is shit," well, folks aren't going to pay to hear that.
Two points: (1) It is true that with life experience that sometimes changes, and (2) Lesbians, by contrast, seem to flourish at stand up comedy.
It is true that charisma, presence, timing, confidence are all important as a stand-up comic (maybe not so much as a humorist writer), but they are just the package, as it were. You can throw in looks and body, and well that's great, too, it still doesn't make a good comedian for the long haul.
My own view is that there has to be a touch of tragedy under - pinning comedy. What The Wash. Post TV critic Tom Shales wrote in a March 14, 2000 article about the great 1950s TV show The Honeymooners with Jackie Gleason and Audrey Meadows -- "comedy drenched in sorrow, and therefore true to life" -- is absolutely true.
The bottom line is that real or alleged A-lister travails in life because the world is (perceived to be) filled with so many losers, crazies, uglies, and otherwise worthless humans, has a very limited shelf life as humor, no matter how many F-bombs are dropped or how many straight, drunken girls are in the audience. People aren't gonna pay money to hear that.
Speaking of Jackie "The Great One" Gleason, his Ralph Kramden Honeymooners character also once made the wonderful observation to his friend Ed Norton's wife Trixie when she said she had theatre experience: "Yeah, but there's a big difference between a STAGE and a RUNWAY!"
Speaking of comedians, last night Phil, Stephanie, Gary, and I along with Becky and Wayne went to the D.C. Improve where we saw a really and truly funny comedian, John Pinette.
John Pinette is a large man, and his size is the basis for so many of his jokes because so many things flow from it. He actually lost a great deal of weight from an enormous size.
As an aside, Pinette was the fat man featured in the final Seinfeld episode who the cast sees getting mugged and their failure to help him -- instead they just mock him -- lands them in jail for violating a good Samaritan law. I always thought that was an appropriate ending for that series, which I never liked. I couldn't get beyond Jerry Seinfeld's arrogant, sneering look and lackluster acting.
I actually met Mr. Pinette after the show. He was signing autographs. I just handed him a blank piece of paper -- I didn't buy his CD -- on the front of which was printed up a menu. He turned it over and saw that and I was worried he thought I was making fun of him.
He wrote: "To [Regulus] You Go Now! Best Wishes, John Pinette."
Bethesda, Md., sky vista, May 16, 2008 around 615PM.
Prior to this, we had gone to Cafe Japone on P St., NW, along with Chris T. and Aimee. There is a story there, too, including a $440 bill that Phil covered and a hot, straight, but arrogant waiter who I ended up having some words with just before we left to head over to the Improv.
Of note, after the Improv, as we walked up Connecticut Ave., toward Dupont Circle, Phil and I managed to scale the statue of a seated Henry Wadsworth Longfellow located by M St., NW, and 18th St., NW. Gary and I then went to Cobalt.
Looking up Connecticut Ave., NW, at R St., NW, around 745PM, May 16, 2008.
Today, I had lunch with my mom and Ray at Applebee's in College Park. Our usual 94th Aero Squadron place by the College Park Airport was overrun with families for a graduation event. I then walked via University Park to Prince George's Plaza, where I bought some needed new t-shirts, underwear (boxer briefs), and socks, as well as two shirts.
I'm meeting Aime tomorrow for lunch in Silver Spring. Tomorrow night, I'm not sure.
Political Detour -- Part I
Weather Update: Area Precipitation Stats
We continue to do very well with rainfall (precip.) this season even as the pattern has mostly remained seasonable to a bit below normal -- rather than WAY, WAY FRICKIN' above normal, as is so standard these days.
Through 5PM EDT today, DCA is at 8.57" for May month-to-date, or +6.51" above normal and +7.12" above May 2007 through this point. For year-to-date, DCA is at 21.83" or +7.56" above normal.
The BWI numbers are 6.77" for May month-to-date or +4.68" above normal and +5.87" above May 2007 through this point.
For IAD, numbers are 8.34" for May month-to-date or +6.08" above normal and +8.12" above May 2007 through this point. Recall IAD had a record dry year last year. For year-to-date, IAD is at 20.97" or +6.12" above normal.
The long-wave pattern -- as reflected in this 60 hour forecast for 500mb heights and vorticity over North America -- featuring a trough over eastern North America and a ridge over the western U.S. (with extreme heat and rapid snow melt in the mountains) should continue for the next 3 to 4 days, keeping the mid-Atlantic a bit cool.
ANYTHING that keeps the D.C. summer season shitty heat and humidity AND rainless drought at bay is fine with me.
Political Detour -- Part II
Below is appended a column by writer Gene Lyons about the Hillary hatred out there coming from the hateful liberal Democratic base, the mainstream media whores and bullies, and the netroots thought police. I have a lot of political commentary I'd like to write, but instead I'll just append the piece. It sort of sums up how I feel.
Lyons co-wrote with Joe Conason THE definitive account of the effort to destroy the Clintons by the rightwing GOP hate machine in The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton published in 2000. Now the hate comes from the left.
Clinton navigates ‘perfect storm’ of naysayers
by Gene Lyons
May 14, 2008
Source here. I inserted some paragraph breaks in this version.
It’s long been my opinion that if Hillary Clinton could be appointed president,nobody could do the job better.
I couldn't agree more with Lyons.
In a parliamentary system, she’d stand an excellent chance of becoming prime minister, since political parties tend to select leaders more on the basis of competence than the dubious skills of a game show host.
Amen. But America doesn't have a parliamentary system and what's more, it tends to be stupid, so the wrong people usually win.
Like Al Gore, Clinton is seen by friends as warm, funny and empathetic. She does better in small groups and town hall-type events than in large arenas. Also like Gore, she’s motivated more by duty than most politicians. Unfriendly eyes see her determination as “entitlement.” Misogyny runs deeper in American culture than many admit; brainy women are seen as unnatural.
The camera doesn’t love her the way it loves Sen. Barack Obama. Too, her candidacy has labored under the manifest dis - advantage of the Beltway media’s unreasoning hatred of her husband, the virulence of which continues to amaze. In Arkansas, some think it’s rooted in resentment that some smooth-talking, white-trash hayseed from the American outback could become president. In Washington, it’s whispered that her unresponsiveness to certain socially prominent hostesses made them loathe her.
Who knows? There’s no denying that her candidacy has encountered what a friend calls a “perfect storm” of progressive idealists merging with Clinton-hating celebrity courtiers in the “mainstream” media. And yet she keeps chugging along like the Little Engine That Could, defying increasingly shrill demands to quit.
Weeks before the Indiana primary, Obama described it as the potential tiebreaker. Then he went out and lost it. Nevertheless , all but openly gloating, NBC’s Tim Russert took it upon himself to announce, “We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it.”
Reaction among some Obama supporters was less polite.
“It’s high time,” wrote John Aravosis on americablog. com, “the Superdelegates told the Clintons to take their sorry, scandal-ridden asses and get the hell out. We are going to have another month of these vindictive, racist losers destroying Obama’s credibility with the very voters he is going to need in the fall to beat [John ] McCain.”
Avarosis is a gay netroots blogger who lives right here in D.C., and like so many of the other big netroots bloggers, not to mention Olbermann, fell so in love with Obama while coming down with Andrew Sullivan anti-Clinton Deranged Syndrome.
Clinton didn’t help herself with an infelicitous demographic allusion, citing an Associated Press story “that found how Senator Obama’s support... among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again.”
This prompted even so normally sensible an observer as my good friend Joe Conason to compare her to George Wallace. So did New York Times columnist Bob Herbert, who’s been fanning the racial flames since Obama’s New Hampshire loss. This because under the politically correct rules of engagement preferred by the Obama camp, only the Illinois senator gets to make ex cathedra observations about such ticklish matters as race and class, which must be treated as infallible. Pundits like Herbert and The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson have been chattering about the so-called “Bradley effect” ever since New Hampshire, but the Clinton camp must not.
Why not ? Because contrary to conventional wisdom, it wasn’t the Clintons who “racialized” the campaign at all. It was the Obama campaign, seemingly for the sake of galvanizing African American voters in must-win South Carolina. (See Princeton historian Sean Wilentz’s article, “Race Man: How Barack Obama Played the Race Card and Blamed Hillary Clinton,” in The New Republic. )
The problem, however, is that tactic, along with the crackpot effusions of Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Obama’s deeply unpersuasive claim that he knew nothing about them, transformed his candidacy. Many citizens who would vote for an African American without a second thought are put off by a candidate who makes race the central issue of his campaign. Winning tactic, losing strategy.
Screaming “racist” at people -- I’ve received a grand total of two e-mails from Obama supporters that didn’t -- only makes things worse. Real bigots don’t care, while Clinton supporters increasingly resent the accusation. (My skin’s thicker than most. ) Most also think it’s a foolhardy way to avoid discussing the realities of the Electoral College, which is what Clinton was trying to do.
Regardless of why working - class white voters don’t support Obama, no Democrat can win without them. Can anybody name two states that Obama can win that John Kerry lost in 2004?
Supporters normally duck the question with effusive references to massive voter turnout, which the blogger “Anglachel” parodies: For all the “crowing about what a superdoublewidefantastic party organization The Precious has built, how it’s cool and digital and virtual and full of lots and lots of bloggers and money.... All of which makes me go so where were those voters in Indiana? Pennsylvania?...
His efforts didn’t make a difference for him in Ohio, Texas, Massachusetts or California.... The fact is that the contest this year as such, not just Obama, is bringing out a huge number of voters, and half of them are voting for Hillary.” Meanwhile, I’m hearing increasing numbers of Clinton supporters, passionate Democrats all, say they cannot vote for Obama. And that’s a very worrying sign.
Free-lance columnist Gene Lyons is a Little Rock author and recipient of the National Magazine Award.
Copyright 2001-2008 Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Inc. All rights reserved
I think that's all for now. Kristof is coming over soon and we are going to Cobalt. I actually don't feel that well tonight. I have a headache and feel a bit dizzy and flush, but it could just be from sitting in from of this computer for so long.
UPDATED: I went to Cobalt with Kristof and I'm back home now. It wasn't the best night in the world BUT it was packed in an old-school sorta way because of a special DJ who was "spinning" there. The music sounded like Nation back in the day. My favorite bartender was there and he sure is looking buff and attractive, but I'm not going to go there. I've created enuf difficulties for myself vis-a-vis bartenders in years gone by and I know better.
P.S. On a hippopotamus note ...
Yes, this is an actual photo. It comes from Haller Park, a zoological preserve in Mombasa, Kenya and was taken in 2005. It features a baby hippo named Owen snuggled up to Mzee, a male Aldabra giant tortoise estimated to be 100 to 130 years old.
Owen lost his mother in the Indian Ocean tsunami disaster of Dec. 26, 2004 as the wave train reached the African coastline, going up the Sabaki River, where he was battered around and lost his mother. He adopted Mzee -- "wise old man" in Swahili -- as his surrogate mother, at least for a while. Yay. Zoo officials moved Mzee from the enclosure and paired Owen with a female hippo named Cleo, who apparently is kind of a bitch. Boo.
Here is a happy photo montage of Owen and Mzee and other images from Kenya set to the song "What the world needs now is love."
My next update, barring something noteworthy, probably won't be until Wednesday or Thursday.