A couple of weeks back, Hubby and I went to go see “Sucker Punch”. The movie has a pretty involved plot line for something that is at its heart an action fest. For the people who haven’t seen the movie, this trailer does a pretty good job of explaining the feel of the movie. I don’t normally do this, but heavy trigger warnings.
The rest of this post after the fold is going to be heavy on spoilers, so it goes after the fold. (more…)
I, for one, despise internet memes. Don’t you? You come across a video on some obscure blog of a young Governator sexually harassing women in Rio or a Russian dude expertly singing on “Oo ya ya ya ya ya”, and you think, “Whoah. I found this. This is mine. I have discovered a secret treasure of the internet!” Proud of your triumph, you forward it to everybody and their brother, you feature it on your blog, you help your grandmother set up internet access just so she can watch it, and she’s all like, “Meh. I saw this three years ago.” Oof. Like a punch to the gut, it is.
There is one glorious exception. The video I saw last week. I don’t care if you already saw it two weeks ago. Watch it again, and cry tears of joy anew.
The history here is well known to everyone interested in politics but worth summarizing. For most of the first 190 years of the country’s operation, U.S. Senators would, in unusual circumstances, try to delay a vote on measures they opposed by “filibustering” — talking without limit or using other stalling techniques. For most of those years, the Senate could cut off the filibuster and force a vote by imposing “cloture,” which took a two-thirds majority of those voting (at most 67 of 100 Senators). In 1975, the Senate adopted a rules change to allow cloture with 60 votes, and those are the rules that still prevail.
The significant thing about filibusters through most of U.S. history is that they hardly ever happened…
…as the chart below shows, the huge increase in threatened filibusters came from the Republican minority, after the Democrats took back the Senate in 2007. Since the time covered by this chart, the number of threatened (Republican) filibusters has shot up even more dramatically.
In an interview on MSNBC this morning, newly retiring Sen. Evan Bayh declared the American political system “dysfunctional,” riddled with “brain-dead partisanship” and permanent campaigning.
In this morning’s interview he noted that just two weeks ago, Republicans who had co-sponsored a bill with him to rein in the deficit turned around and voted against their own bill.
In no particular order, and make of ‘em what you will, people:
According to Wikipedia, 7 to 10% of the population is lefthanded. Apparently there’s something even more special about PunkAssReaders than we already suspected, because 14% of you are lefthanded, with another 5% being ambidextrous. I read somewhere once that lefties have a higher rate of accidental demise, the world unfortunately not being designed to accomodate their preferred spatial orientation, so take care!
Of the 11% of you who chose “None of the above” when asked what part of your body you washed first, over half of those can’t follow directions. The question specifically excluded hair, face and head, folks–back to grade school for each and every one of you! The rest apparently do not consider their armpits to be either a part of their arm or a part of their torso, but separate entities in of themselves, and either didn’t feel like specifying which side they start on or simultaneously scrub both pits from the get-go, which presents me with an interesting mental image. One of you does, indeed, start on the left armpit specifically though.
77% of our PunkAssReaders are of the lady gender, which is probably all Quin’s fault.
And yes, it is all as that unknown guy on the radio said and much to the ex-spouse’s chagrin–coming in at the big 37%, more of you start on the left arm or shoulder in the shower than anyplace else. The two next-most-common initial scrub locations are the chests or breasts (13%) and the torso or belly (11%). A whopping 6% of you do represent! for starting on the genitals. However, absolutely nobody wants to go anywhere near the butt to start off with (0%). One flexible and nonconformist individual starts with his or her back, which does actually impress me. The remainder divvy it up between neck, right arm or shoulder, or one leg or the other first.
More polls may be forthcoming at random intervals–stay tuned!
Insomnia blogging. The sleeplessness is my own fault, can’t seem to get myself on a steady sleep schedule.
It’s been a month since I moved from Tokyo to Fukuoka, Japan. My big honking project that I’ve spent the last six months of my life on is over. I wrote about 750 pages of curriculum for the school I work for. That’s nearly a Michener novel. It’s good to be finished!
As for Fukuoka, I like it for many reasons. Probably most important is that it’s not Tokyo. There’s lots of ways I love Tokyo, but it’s good to have a breather. Obviously, there are quite a few fewer people here. I can step on a train without imitating a tinned sardine, and I can ride a bicycle without taking my life in my hands. The people are super friendly here, too. I already have about four local food establishments vying to be my “local” since they’re all staffed by such friendly folk who seem to genuinely enjoy talking to me, even with my limited Japanese. And my living situation rocks. My place is big. I have my own garden and a real piano. At my job, my new position is rewarding and not too terribly time-consuming. In short, life, for me, is good. I’m one of the lucky ones, and I certainly appreciate my good fortune.
On Monday night I finally got internet again. A month ago, I was really jonesing for my series of tubes. My circumstances, between my new job and all the busywork attendant with a big move, made any meaningful connectivity more difficult than it was worth. Then, suddenly, about a week into my cold turkey, it ceased to matter. Life presented itself with other things to fill that void, and nothing felt lost. I was a bit surprised by this development. Part of me was even a bit disappointed when I got hooked up again. (The other part of me, of course, was really grateful to be able to get caught up on “Lost”.) But if technology were to suddenly fail us on a wide scale and all computers and televisions were to stop working, have no fear, we’ll be fine. Thus speaketh me, anyway.
True story: Lisa K, you got me in trouble! While I was living blog-free, there was a brief bit of excitement at my company due to a manager who didn’t like me trying to get me in trouble for this here little blog. Probably foolishly, I include the address to this blog in my e-mail sigs, and as per normal I left my sig on an e-mail which another boss happened to forward to a bunch of teachers. The next day, I get this phone call: “So, Quin, I was just looking at this website– this ‘Punk’ ‘Assblog’…” –(yes, he actually went out of his way to pronounce it as though he’d never heard the work “punkass” before)– “…and well… what’s this about anal sex?” He claimed that one of the teachers was terribly offended by it and had contacted him over it, an assertion I find highly suspect. So terribly offended by an article which hadn’t even been on the main page for, like, three weeks. I later heard that he tried to raise a big fuss at head office over it, and everybody there was just like “whatever”. Eventually the manager above him just called me and asked that I not include the blog address in my sig anymore. No sweat!
Strangely enough, aforementioned prudish manager resigned from the company two weeks later. Or perhaps I should add scare quotes and say “resigned”. (And to think I made that voodoo doll of him as a lark– who knew those things actually worked!)
Despite that piece of fun fun fun, I still haven’t quite gotten caught up to speed on what’s going on in the real world, or even just this blog. I see that our little dysfunctional Punkass family has increased by one. A belated welcome, Jad! Looks like your presence has been stirring the pot a little. Hope that’s a good thing.
Right. I’m going to go try to get to sleep again in a minute. First, though, to celebrate my glorious reappearance here, which will surely change all of your lives forever, I’d like to share another song. When I originally created it (for an electronic music class I once took) it was on a crystal clear impeccably mixed DAT tape, but alas the only version that has survived through the years is from a 2nd generation audio tape copy. Also, it’s saddled with the generic title “Theme Du Jour”. Still, it’s one of those ones that gives me a warm glow to hear every now and then. Hope you like it, too.
…by feeding them the Big Lie: the false promise of the Happy Ending.
Makiko, who heads my theatre company, just finished directing a local elementary school play in English, an adaptation of four tales from “The Brothers Grimm” for third graders that she’s been putting on there for the past three years. Once upon a time, she finagled me into writing a song for the big finale, wherein Sleeping Beauty’s curse is lifted, and her castle (portrayed by all 75 children in the cast) wakes up. I show up for the last couple of rehearsals each year to play the underscoring and accompinament on a live piano. This year, I must say the show was in fact a stunning success. We may have ruined a few more young lives, tempting them with the siren call of the theatre.
So, for your appreciation, here is the rehearsal version of the big finale, “Fairy Tales Do Come True”. It features cameos by the Brementown Musicians and the witch from Hansel and Gretel. (For the record, I wrote and recorded this well before my recent foray into Muppetophilia. Though of course like most people my age, as a child I certainly was a Muppetophile.)
Unrelated personal thoughts about blogging that nobody actually wants to read but probably will anyway though I don’t know why you’re inflicting it on yourself when I gave you fair warning, after the jump.
We are pleased to welcome the new friends who have joined our close-knit internet community since the election of our lord and savior, Barack Obama. We realize that the President’s Abortions for All plan, which exists only in your head but is nonetheless real and scary to you, angers you greatly, and we’re always pleased to provide a space on any and all posts for you to vent your frustration at the expense of any other topic we might wish to address. Really, we love it. This blog is all about you.
That said, we have a few rules here to keep the peace. The official PAB banning policy is as follows: banning is done at the discretion of the blogger whose post you are shitting on. The good news is, like most liberals and progressives, we’re a bunch of pussies and rarely do anything so confrontational as banning a complete stranger from our text-kingdom. Banning is also usually preceded by lots and lots and lots of warnings, de-vowelings, pleas for less jackassery, and the like. You will almost never be banned without plenty of notice and justification before hand.
UNLESS you do something like the following:
- Threaten to kill, rape, stalk, or harm people
- Publish personal identifying information about yourself or others
- Be a racist and/or sexist and/or homophobic jerk for the pure glee of being an anti-pc sexist, racist, homophobic jerk
and new for 2009:
- hijack the screennames of regular commenters to be a douche
We are much smaller than Pandagon, and hope to avoid the mandatory registration policy that name-hijackers have driven them to. Please assist us in this and we will continue to allow you to vomit all over our comment threads to the very limit of human endurance.
We’ve got a fairly large percentage of our writers who actually create things in various media on a fairly regular basis. From what I’ve been able to glean, at the very least Marc makes movies, Violet is a designer, Sabotabby is a cartoonist, and I do theater and music. I’m sure most of us have other mad skillz we’ve been keeping secret– and that goes for you commenters too.
But at the moment, this here friendly little blog doesn’t appear to have an audience very hungry for our creative works. I dream of a day when an appearance by The Patriarchy gathers a hundred comments, and a brilliant bit of comedy writing can draw in referral links from a dozen other blogs.
Not that I’m seriously expecting that to ever happen, but part of it is that we don’t share often enough. In other words, if people don’t ever start to expect it, they’re not going to come here looking for it. So what the hell, I’ve decided I’m going to try to help us grow an audience that likes us for our creative stuff too, by posting some of my own stuff on a regular basis. If you don’t want to check it out, just don’t click on these posts!
ANDERSON COOPER: Well, we’re here at CNN headquarters, gearing up for a controversial, tight race. Yes, a tight race that could go for days, mired in legal challenges and—what do you mean we just called five states?
Exactly four years ago to the day (it’s already November 4th in my time zone), the Freedom Bandits made their world premiere.
I was spending a few months back in Austin, Texas, in an interlude between my time in London and my move to Japan. While I was there, theater director friend Joanna Garfinkel got me involved with a political theater festival set to open on Election Day, 2004. If I wrote something, she promised, she would direct. So I wrote a one-act play, a dark slapstick political satire rock musical called “Freedom Bandits”.
It was about a mild-mannered emo rock band from Canada (portrayed by Jay McElfresh, the charismatic frontman for the Awesome Cool Dudes; Nick Travis, an old school rock’n'roller whose day job was as Guy Forsyth’s bass player; Punkass Marc; and myself) who are on tour in the American south during the run-up to the 2004 US national elections. The band members get branded as international terrorists by overzealous local police, and soon enough they are on a cross-country run for the Canadian border, Homeland Security in hot pursuit.
To aid their escape, they adopt the disguise of the “Freedom Bandits”, an All-American hard rock band, and posing as such they win a talent contest for the “most patriotic song”– and inadvertantly record what goes on to be a megahit single in the process, If They All Were American. Through an unlikely sequence of events, our plucky band of Canadians are soon faced with a choice between safely returning to Canada… or risking their lives to play a special concert which could very well decide the fate of the US Presidency, and the world.
We premiered it while the results were literally still coming in on the Kerry-Bush race. The play had two endings, and so, in its first performance– since Kerry appeared to be in the lead at the time– we performed the “Kerry wins” ending for what turned out to be the first and only time. (Alas, it made for a much more dramatically satisfying ending to the play than the “Bush wins” ending we had to do for the other performances.)
The best part? I later discovered that I had actually, through my psychic powers, based the play on a true story.
The whole thing was really a blast. We all decided afterwards to make a music video of If They All Were American, as kind of a going-away project just before I left for Asia. Joanna, Marc and I amassed a cast of fifty in what promised to be a joyfully ironic display of over-the-top These-Colors-Don’t-Run Americana. Unfortunately, less than a week before we were set to shoot, Jay suddenly learned his dad had terminal cancer, and he dropped out of the filming to go be with family. Without our lead singer, it just didn’t feel right going on. So we scrapped the project, and during my last three days in America, Marc and I made a short film instead.
All that remains of this once-promising music video is a lone recording of the song. It, unfortunately, has only a temp track on top with me singing, which was meant to be replaced by Jay at a later date. But it’s better than nothing, and to this day I’m still proud of the song itself.
So, without further ado, I present the only song ever recorded by the late, great Freedom Bandits. An anthem for a superpower’s battered soul. Ladies and gentlemen, for your listening pleasure: