Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Iris Mack - even further down the far-right conspiracy rabbit hole




When I was working on my play DARK MARKET I blogged about a mathematician slash stock trader named Iris Mack. I was prepared to admire her but then I discovered her Facebook profile and her bizarre, incoherent political views, which included far-right and anti-vaccination conspiracy theories.  I wrote about her almost four years ago and haven't thought too much about her since then.

But suddenly there's all this interest in my Iris Mack blog post, judging by my web analytics, and someone commented on that post the other day:
Oh no.. an intelligent free thinking black woman who confuses you into butthurtism.. this typical reaction to individuals that dont fit in neat boxes exposes the complete hypocrisy and idiotic ideology of the left. Cheers!
That was odd and apropos of nothing. So I Googled around to see what ole Iris Mack was getting up to. Apparently Iris Mack is hanging out with the extremist most nutty alt-right freak of them all, Alex Jones.

Alex Jones, in case you don't know, is the king of fake news, the purveyor of reckless, insane, dangerous rumor-mongering, one step below even Breitbart. The kind of nuttiness that the Trump presidency has normalized.

Alex Jones almost caused a massacre:
Mr. Welch, the father of two daughters, said he woke up Sunday morning and told his family he had some things to do. He left “Smallsbury,” a nickname for his hometown, for the 350-mile drive to Washington with the intention of giving the restaurant a “closer look” and then returning home. He wanted to “shine some light on it.” As he made his way to Washington, he felt his “heart breaking over the thought of innocent people suffering.” Once he got to the pizzeria, there was an abrupt change of plans. Mr. Welch would not say why he took a military-style assault rifle inside the restaurant and fired it. According to court documents, Mr. Welch said he had come armed to help rescue the children. 
What did he think when he discovered there were no children at the pizzeria? 
“The intel on this wasn’t 100 percent,” he said. However, he refused to dismiss outright the claims in the online articles, conceding only that there were no children “inside that dwelling.” He also said that child slavery was a worldwide phenomenon
Where did he learn about the fake news involving Comet? 
He said it was through word of mouth. After recently having internet service installed at his house, he was “really able to look into it.” He said that substantial evidence from a combination of sources had left him with the “impression something nefarious was happening.” He said one article on the subject led to another and then another. He said he did not like the term fake news, believing it was meant to diminish stories outside the mainstream media, which he does not completely trust. He also said he was not political. While once a registered Republican, he did not vote for Donald J. Trump. He also did not vote for Mrs. Clinton. But he is praying that Mr. Trump takes the country in the “right direction.” 
What was he like? 
Mr. Welch was soft-spoken and polite, and said he liked the outdoors. He was cautious when speaking about what happened, sometimes citing advice he had received from his lawyer. He said he did not believe in conspiracy theories, but then added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks needed to be re-examined. He has listened to Alex Jones, whose radio show traffics in conspiracy theories and who once said that Mrs. Clinton “has personally murdered and chopped up” children. “He’s a bit eccentric,” Mr. Welch said. “He touches on some issues that are viable but goes off the deep end on some things.” Mr. Welch likes to read. A favorite is “Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul,” by John Eldredge, about masculinity in evangelical Christianity. He said he did not do drugs but drank the occasional beer. He misses his children: “They are in my thoughts every second of the day.” He said he had grown religious in the last few years. Tattooed on his back are Bible verses: “Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Jones, perhaps realizing he could become the target of a lawsuit with his reckless disregard for reality, took down his "pizza gate" content, but not before a lot more people realized what a monster he is as well as his connection to Donald Trump.

Selling out your credibility to a monster like Alex Jones - oh how low you have sunk, Iris Mack.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Mon Premiere Ministre D'Amour!

Just when I thought I could not love Justin Trudeau even more...




Trudeau says Canada will take refugees banned by U.S




To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength

Thursday, January 26, 2017

RIP MTM

She also made movies with Elvis
Well Mary Tyler Moore has died at age 80. I'm a fan of her show and of her pioneering taking a younger husband especially when it was still extremely unusual. Her politics were actually pretty iffy...
In a Parade magazine article from March 22, 2009, Moore identified herself as a "libertarian centrist" who watches Fox News. She stated, "...when one looks at what's happened to television, there are so few shows that interest me. I do watch a lot of Fox News. I like Charles Krauthammer and Bill O'Reilly...If McCain had asked me to campaign for him, I would have."[65] In an interview for the 2013 PBS series Pioneers of Television, Moore says that she was "recruited" to join the feminist movement of the 1970s by Gloria Steinem but did not agree with Steinem's views. Moore said she believed that women have an important role in raising children and that she did not believe in Steinem's view that "women owe it to themselves to have a career."[66]

Yeah, not so much.

The cast of the MTM show is fairly long-lived, if you leave out Ted Knight (Ted Baxter) who died in 1986.) The rest of them except for him and MTM are still alive:

Georgia Engel (Georgette) - 68
Valerie Harper (Rhoda) - 77
Gavin McLeod  (Murray) - 85
Ed Asner  (Lou Grant) - 87
Chloris Leachman  (Phyllis) - 90

And of course, Betty White, who played Sue Ann, is 95.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

#FreeMelania

Yes I am guilty of calling Melania Trump "Skank FLOTUS" but now I really do feel sorry for her - this looks like a real, awful exchange between her and that POS pretending to be POTUS.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

David Auburn speaks

Taking the C train home - gotta love back-lighting
I went to David Auburn's "master seminar" the other day, sponsored by Primary Stages. I got the heads-up on that thanks to Primary Stages being one of the most reliable advertisers on the NYCPlaywrights web site.

Who is David Auburn? The author of the Pulitzer Prize-winnng PROOF. I don't like every play that wins the PP but I am a big fan of this one - the plot is tight and clever. I'm actually surprised it won the Prize, it seems too well-made to be the kind of thing the Pulitzer judges go for.

PROOF is a well-crafted 3-act play for four actors and one set. It's kind of the perfect play for these theatrical times for those technical reasons alone. But in addition to its technical virtues, it has a subtle but very real feminist message. You can see the movie version starring Gyneth Paltrow. Watch the trailer here.

The seminar was basically people, most of whom were younger than me, asking Auburn questions, usually dreary careerist questions so it wasn't as good as I had hoped. But there were some highlights including Auburn claiming he got a sexual charge out of editing text out of his plays.

More useful was his discussion of the Julliard workshop he had taken with Marsha Norman, and what she said about writing plays -according to Auburn she said you need to tell the audience when they are going home in the first 10 minutes. Or in other words, what has to happen for the play to end.

I was pretty pleased about this because I am currently in rehearsals for my NORMA JEANE play and on page 5 I have Norma Jeane ask if she can use the phone and the doctor won't allow her. That is the basic quest for Norma Jeane, to get to the telephone so she can call someone to come and get her out of there.

The thing that worries me though, is that for all their good advice and ideas - and talent - neither Auburn nor Norman seem to have much work out there now.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The French Scandal Continues!

Justin Trudeau in 1994. Just because...
The Canadians troll the rest of the world by flaunting their absurdly petty problems.

What happened: Justin Trudeau, during a townhall event in Quebec, a famously French-speaking province, was asked a question in English, by a woman bitching that it's difficult to get government-funded mental healthcare in English, there in Quebec.

Trudeau, who is fiercely pro-bilingual, answered the woman in French. This was a week ago, but the Canadian pundits cannot let it go.

Meanwhile my French language skills are increasing, slowly but steadily. I'm getting a good handle on French numbers, thanks to practicing with my English-French iPhone app every day. But I still cannot imagine why the French have such a crazy numbering system - they count from one to sixty-nine in the English language style. OK, their teens are a little off - they say onze (11), douze (12), treize (13), quatorze (14) quinze (15) and seize (16) but then they give up on unique words for seventeen through nineteen and say ten-seven, ten-eight and ten-nine (dix-sept, dix-huit, dix-neuf).

But then they switch it up from 70 - 100: They say sixty-eight, sixty-nine (soixante-huit, soixante-neuf) so far, so good, but then, instead of having a distinct word for "seventy" they go sixty-ten, sixty-eleven, sixty-twelve  (soixante-dix, soixante et onze, soixante-douze) et. cetera. THEN instead of having a distinct word for eighty, they call it four twenty (quatre vingt) - presumably because 4 x 20 = 80. No I am not kidding. And then they use the same system as with seventy when they get to ninety. So if you want to say 99 you say quatre vingt dix-neuf - four twenty ten-nine. It's like you have to do math problems just to count.

The French do take their language very seriously - I just discovered they have the Académie Francais to police the purity of the French language:
The Académie, a council of 40 writers and artists, is entrusted with protecting French from “Anglo-Saxon” attacks and writing an official dictionary, of which the latest unfinished version began in 1992.

One of its tasks is to come up with French equivalents to unwanted English words that slip into French – for example turning “email” into “courriel”.

There is a Quebec version too.

It's quite a contrast to English, which borrows everything it can from every other language - we ain't proud.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Women Hate Donald Trump

And not just Americans.

Women all over the world really hate Donald Trump.

On successive days, two parallel and separate Americas were on display in virtually the same location. First there was President Trump’s inauguration, his message of an ailing society he would restore to greatness aimed at the triumphant supporters who thronged Washington on Friday.

Then on Saturday, in what amounted to a counter-inauguration, the speakers, performers and marchers proclaimed allegiance to a profoundly different vision of the nation. They voiced determination to protect a wide array of rights that they believe Mr. Trump threatens, and that they thought only recently were secure.

“Thank you for understanding that sometimes we must put our bodies where our beliefs are,” Gloria Steinem, the feminist icon and an honorary chairwoman of the march, told the throngs gathered in Washington. “Pressing ‘send’ is not enough.”

 Lots of photos from the NYTimes including:

PARIS


MONTREAL




EVEN ANTARCTICA

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Justin Trudeau is proudly bi...

...lingual that is. So much so that he kicked up a shitstorm by daring to speak French in Quebec! 

I mean Jesus, I thought this was a parody: JUSTIN TRUDEAU BEING INVESTIGATED FOR FRENCH-ONLY RESPONSES





It would be nice of one of the biggest worries in the US was that our highest leader sometimes spoke another language besides English.

Trudeau could have predicted this would be the result of answering a woman, speaking in English, whining that she has to speak French to receive government-funded therapy, in French.

Conservatives, of course, have an answer to the problem of people being forced to get government-funded healthcare in one of the two official languages of the country - by ending government-funded healthcare.

Perhaps Trudeau felt the need to bolster his francophone cred in Quebec. Or maybe, after having to be a good boy all the time, with every thing he says and does endlessly scrutinized and criticized he decided to just say FUCK IT. Or rather BAISE-LE.

Although of course I'm sure Trudeau's most rabid, vicious, obsessed critic, Ezra Levant, wishes Trudeau's bi-ness was not only lingual.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Dear Sweet Canada

In honor of Trump's inauguration, I decided to dedicate the bottom of this week's NYCPlaywrights Saturday email (where I put links to items of theatrical interest, grouped by a single theme) to Canada.

Starting with Justin Trudeau reciting Shakespeare.

Could you imagine Trump reciting Shakespeare? No, of course not because Trump is a thug and a slob.

Like so many Americans, I never paid attention to Canada. Which, when you think about it, is just so weird. First because Canadians certainly think about the USA. Here is Trudeau talking to some kids about Trump - it's a good bet that few American students know who Justin Trudeau is -  hell, plenty of adult Americans have no idea who he is, as this Youtube video so clearly illustrates.

But another reason it's weird is because Canada is a giant country. It's the second biggest country in the world after Russia (USA is #3) although sure, they only have one-tenth the population of the US but still. A giant country is sitting there, less than 300 miles from where I live, and it is directly across a river from the northern border of the state I live in.  Which is a really big state, but still.

It's only because of my new-found admiration for Justin Trudeau that I think about Canada as much as I do now. Prior to discovering my Premier Ministre D'Amour,  the only things I thought about Canada was that Joni Mitchell is Canadian, and that the plot of the South Park movie was a plan to invade Canada ("Blame Canada - with all the hockey hullabaloo, and that bitch Anne Murray too, Blame Canada, they aren't even a real country anyway.")

So I was doing some Googling around, looking for interesting items related to Canadian theater - this item was particularly ghastly - Canada's Hamilton Theatre inundated with angry Americans mistaking it for 'Hamilton' - when I came across information about a play called TRUDEAU STORIES, currently playing at the Great Canadian Theater Company about a young woman who had a Platonic relationship with Pierre Trudeau in the 1980s.

Then I found this podcast interview with the author and I really want to go see this show. I am seriously considering the idea of driving up to Ottawa (which is the capitol of Canada in case you didn't know, and you probably didn't even though it's the capitol of a GIANT COUNTRY) next week.  It's only a 7 hour drive - about the same distance as Washington DC.

In the podcast the author of the play, Brooke Johnson, mentions that people ask her if Justin Trudeau has ever shown up and she said no, although of course she would love it if he did. Maybe he'll show up this Tuesday when I am (maybe) there - SELFIE TIME!

The US is so lucky to have such a good neighbor on our longest border. We really don't appreciate Canada enough, partly because they're so good to us. But although Justin Trudeau can tell you, as he does in this video, that 35 of our united states list Canada as their #1 export destination, Donald Trump, the greatest humiliation of this country (and I once believed that was George W. Bush) most certainly does not know that.

Also, I don't think Donald Trump cares whether Americans would be hurt by a trade war, as JTRU seems to believe. Donald Trump only cares about using his position to LOOT the United States on behalf of himself and Vladimir Putin.

We would really be screwed if Canada came to hate us. We have to stop taking Canada's niceness for granted.

What I'm saying is, we need to start having more appreciation for our dear sweet GIANT neighbor to the north.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Hidden Figures & John Glenn

"Hidden Figures" is such an enjoyable movie and one of the bonus extra reasons to enjoy is that it turns out that John Glenn really was that cool.
This time, though, it’s a name everyone knows: John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the Earth in 1962. Throughout the movie he goes out of his way to be kind to the pool of black mathematicians, and while it’s ridiculously charming (thanks in no small part to Glenn Powell’s performance), it definitely had me walking out of my screening wondering if the real John Glenn was really that woke in real life. 
As it turns out, he was! Just ask NASA’s chief historian Bill Barry, who worked director with the creators of Hidden Figures — and who walked out of his screening impressed with the incredible level of true-to-life detail that the movie captured. I sat down with him at a press junket in New York City, along with astronaut Stephanie Wilson and NASA engineer Dr. Sheila Nash-Stevenson, and he told us all a great story about a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it-moment in the movie that speaks to John Glenn’s real life status as a full-on social justice warrior.



Also who could forget how great John Glenn was on Frasier.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

OMG Siri! Je ne désire PAS la prostitueé!

I discovered a free language app for my iPhone and it's great - it can hear what you say in English and translate it into French - or vice-versa. It's really helpful for me for learning how to speak French properly. You really have to roll and/or choke on your Rs like a mofo if you want to be understood. I have to make at least five tries when attempting to say, for example, the French word for fur ("fourrure") - you have to go all in on the back of the throat rrrrrr until it sounds like you have to hack up a massive fur ball ("boule de fourrure") To be honest, after practicing speaking French for ten minutes or so I end up with a sore throat.

Also you have to make the "eh" sound at the end of words, really clearly for the phone to get the word. For example, in order to be understood when you say 11 (I am practicing my French numbers) you can't just say "ounz" you have to go "ouunzzeh" or it thinks you're saying "on" which is translated to "we."

Although I can't get the app to understand me when I say the French word for 100 ("cent") - it hears me say sans, centre, sante, and trente. I've tried every possible way to pronounce it and I still can't get it to hear me right. The only way I can make it work is if I say 103, for example (cent-trois) and then for some reason it understands that I said "cent."

OMG Siri! WTF???
Siri can't translate what you say into English (not while I have her on the French Canadian setting) but she responds to you and she can even do math.

But OMG Siri is SUCH a hypocrite. As I reported yesterday, she freaked out when I used the French Canadian version of curse words,  "les sacres" like she's such a delicate flower. So when I told her the other night that I was going to sleep ("J'ai aller coucher") she thought I said I wanted to talk to an escort and she gave me the name of two escort services!!! 

Is "I'm going to sleep" the French Canadian phrase for "get me a whore"? Zut alors!

Monday, January 16, 2017

Siri (qui n'aiment pas des sacres) & SIRI

French Canadian Siri found this expression "indecent."
I decided that if my goal is to at least visit Montreal, if not move there for 4 - 8 years, I should switch Siri's language from Frenchy-French to French Canadian.

I tested to make sure the transition was complete et voila - Siri was highly offended when I said "boîte de baptemes" (box of baptisms) to her, and replied:

je vous prie de faire preuve d'un peu plus de décence

Which means: "I ask you to show a little more decency."

Formidable! French Canadian Siri knows the "sacres."

I mentioned a couple of months ago that Justin Trudeau (in 2006) used that expression, "box of baptisms."

I asked Siri what a "sacres" was and she said "If your mother could hear you!"

Then I said "osti batarde" (host bastard) and she "je vais debrancher votre micro... je prefere etre sourde que d'entendre ça!"

Which means "I will unplug your microphone... I prefer to be deaf to listening to this."


Ça ma fait rire!

Saying "osti du tabernak du chalice" got the response "je vais faire comme si je n'avais rien entendu" which means "I will act as if I had not heard anything."

And "chateau de marde" (castle of shit) got this response: "Pourquoi recourir a ce genre de vocabulaire... Le français est une langue tellement riche!" which means "why use that kind of vocabulary? French is such a rich language!"

And speaking of French Canadian Siri, it appears that there is a play being produced in Montreal at Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui called SIRI. The web site says (in French of course I translated it via Google Translate)
Talk to her in a natural voice. Siri understands not only what you say, but also what you want to say, and responds to you. Talk to her like a real person. "Siri is the personal assistant created by Apple and integrated into each of the iPhone. What is the power relationship with this technology? What are the real differences between modern man and machine? Is it enough to have a body to be human? 
In a staging by Maxime Carbonneau, actress Laurence Dauphinais enters into dialogue with Siri. For if the application is at our service and knows all of us, we do not learn anything from it. Little by little, by a methodical question-and-answer session, the actress pushes the limits of the machine so that it betrays itself, until their two identities merge and reveal the mystery that connects them.

In the video snippet on the web page, their Siri uses a woman's voice so I assume that is also the case in the show, but the French translation originally said "Talk to him in a natural voice... Talk to him like a real person."

And the reason for that is that in French, "talk to him in a natural voice" is "Parlez-lui d’une voix naturelle."

"Parlez-lui "is "talk to  with the pronoun "lui" - but lui could be male or female so the translator assumed male. I made the adjustment manually. But I find it odd that the French make such a big freaking deal about genderizing everything - like putting an extra e on the end of things like your country designation (if you're a guy you're an Americain for example but if you're a woman you're an Americaine) and they genderize things randomly - for instance if you are a woman you are la femme, but if you are a female teacher you are le professeur. Professor is male. And your body parts have different genders - your arm is masculine (le bras) but your leg is feminine (la jambe). OMD!

So with all that genderizing you'd think they'd do it in a situation where it would really come in handy. But no.

Oh well, I will try to catch a show when I visit Montreal, probably in the summer.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Siri te parle

I've never used the Siri app on my iPhone before, but I decided that it would be fun to practice French with Siri. I already knew Siri could speak French because Solange (of Solange Te Parle fame) dedicated a Youtube video episode to talking to Siri on her phone. Her Siri has a male voice. Which mine could have too, if I changed the setting.

Anyway, it was an adventure speaking to Siri en francais. Siri has a hard enough time understanding someone who is fluent in French (see the Solange video for details) so she had a really hard time understanding me. I don't remember what I said in this case, but I wasn't trying to call Siri a dummy (Bete) but she took it that way and responded:

("I do my best, Nancy.")


She knows any information stored on the phone, including my birthday.

C'est vrai

Although she has an unpredictable personality. One minute she's a suck-up. I asked her what her favorite song was. 

("I like your music")

And then the next minute she's a smart-ass. I asked her what time it was, not her opinion of the time.

("It's 4:28 AM! Much too early for me...")

But she can find you anything in Wikipedia and even read it aloud for you. Although you have to ask the right question. First I tried "qui est le premier ministre du Canada?" but it's possible I wasn't able to pronounce "premier ministre" well enough for her to understand. 



Saturday, January 14, 2017

The mystery of why The Nation magazine loves Putin

I've been a subscriber to The Nation a few times in my life, but that's not happening again until they stop being such brocialist assholes. They have been consistently championing Putin and attempting to gaslight anybody who thinks the Trump-Putin connection is both plausible and worrisome. They call it neo-McCarthyism.

And of course Doug Henwood, the king of Hillary Clinton-hating brocialists is right there with them. The Daily Beast just published an article discussing the Nation-Putin connection and there was Henwood:

Another Nation staple, contributing editor Doug Henwood, has maintained a professional relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, yet is apparently very tetchy about the collaboration, as I also discovered when I engaged him. 
Henwood had planned to work with Assange on putting out a book about Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches—Henwood annotating, Assange writing the foreword—transcripts of which were of course originally hacked by Russian intelligence and disseminated through WikiLeaks, at least according to 17 different U.S. intelligence agencies, two of which concluded that this was done with the express purpose of helping Trump get elected. When I brought up this pending project, as detailed both on the book publisher’s website and in multiple articles, Henwood called me a “fucking idiot.” (Henwood’s publisher, when contacted for this story, noted that Henwood was no longer affiliated with the endeavor, saying that he had now grown “weary of chronicling Hillary Clinton’s boundless political shortcomings.”)
Yep, that's Henwood. Insulting or smearing anybody who disagrees with him - or even questions him.  My very first encounter with Henwood he did it to me - although he prefers to do it when you can't respond to, or even see the attack, as he did to me most recently, when a pal of his included him in his Twitter mentions and Henwood could see what I said about him. Henwood had blocked me back in 2014 on Twitter and so normally we can see each others' tweets.

Henwood did not fail to overreact, in his usual fashion, to my opinion of his political views with a smear against my character. It was only because I happened to create a separate Twitter account that I was able to see this smear.

The Nation is a disgrace. I'll either read Katha Pollitt's column there for free, or I'll wait until she publishes a collection of those columns.


I'm right in there with all the legitimate journalists whom
Henwood has insulted. I couldn't be more proud.



Friday, January 13, 2017

Friday night Bhangra with Justin Trudeau

I decided to have India food for dinner tonight, so it's a good time to watch Justin Trudeau dance the Bhangra.

I should say this is three years before he became Prime Minister - he was still just the MP from Papineau at this point. But you know he would have no problem doing this as the Prime Minister either. You can't watch this video on my blog though, you have to go to Youtube by clicking the video.






And I found ANOTHER version from a different camera! Whoohoo!





According to Wiki:
The origins of traditional Bhangra are speculative. According to Dhillon (1998), Bhangra is related to the Punjabi dance 'bagaa' which is a martial dance of Punjab.[2]
However, the folk dance of Majha originated in Sialkot and took root in Gujranwalla, Sheikhupur, Gujrat (districts in Punjab, Pakistan) and Gurdaspur (district in Punjab, India).[3][4][5] The traditional form of Bhangra danced in the villages of Sialkot district is regarded as the standard.[6] Although the main districts where traditional Bhangra is performed are in Punjab, Pakistan, the community form of traditional Bhangra has been maintained in Gurdaspurdistrict, Punjab, India and has been maintained by people who have settled in Hoshiarpur, Punjab India[7] after leaving what is now Punjab, Pakistan.
Being a seasonal dance, traditional Bhangra is practiced in the month leading up to the festival of Vaisakhi. During this month, the harvest, especially wheat crop, is reaped. Local fairs mark the festival of Vaisakhi. After days of harvesting and at Vaisakhi fairs, Bhangra is performed, as a dance of men alone.

If there is anything more adorable than Justin Trudeau in traditional garb dancing his multi-ethnic heart out, I can't imagine what. He isn't necessarily the most graceful dancer - there is definitely something of a geek in the man - but you have to love him just for his child-like, good-sport enthusiasm and his gesture of solidarity with non-European culture. Sigh...

New Monroe footage



The New York Times has a piece today about an amateur photographer whose footage of the Seven Year Itch subway grating shoot in Manhattan was discovered (over 10 years ago but they just got around to sharing it with the Times.) The article makes a valid point:

Then Mr. Ewell is there, chatting with Ms. Monroe, who pushes him into position. The dress flutters again, Ms. Monroe holds it down, bending slightly, smiling and talking to Mr. Ewell, but it flutters up some more and she laughs, her head thrown back. It blows up again, but she doesn’t push it down this time, and it flies up over her head, clearly revealing two pairs of underwear that, because of the bright lights, do not protect Ms. Monroe’s modesty quite as much as she might have liked.

A few years ago I posted this photo which shows that her two pairs of underpants were no match for the bright lights.




Thursday, January 12, 2017

Worthwhile Canadian swearing-in ceremony

JTRU LIVE - Elvis is in the building!
OK I did not plan to watch the live transmission of the swearing-in of new Canadian cabinet members but when I got the CBC email update indicating that this would be shown live in the next few minutes, I admit I was curious - was JTRU back from Christmas vacation, during which he spent time on the private island of the Aga Khan which the right-wingers were so apoplectic over?

Right-wingers don't have any problem with Donald Trump actually charging $500 a pop for people to visit him at Mar-a-Lago.

And Canadian right-wingers are butthurt over any money spent on the Trudeau family's personal needs (the thought of a nanny for the Trudeau children drives them into a frothing rage) so you would think that they would be happy that the Trudeau family did not have to pay rent during their vacation. Oh well, you can't expect anything less than shameless hypocrisy from conservatives.

After so much time watching historical footage of Trudeau, I was intrigued by the idea of watching JTRU in real time. The ceremony was actually as boring as you can imagine, right up there with Worthwhile Canadian Initiative, in spite of Elvis being in the building. But I was multi-tasking, doing some relatively low-brain activity for work with the ceremony on in the  background so it wasn't a big whoop.

I was hoping that JTRU was going to give a speech, but all he did was hug the swearees, have his picture taken, and sign the register (pictured.)

At most me and 90 other people were watching this. And I was probably the only New Yorker, if not the only American. Maybe my JTRU obsession is getting a little much...

Meanwhile Krugman approves of Trudeau's foreign affairs minister:



But Canadian reporters are concerned how she will get along with Trump's buddy Putin.
(This is the speech I was looking for.)



I recently discovered this parody of an anti-Trudeau attack ad. I thought it was pretty funny.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Hoist by his own pee-tard

This is the first page of the leaked report: 

US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: REPUBLICAN CANDIDATE DONALD TRUMP'S ACTIVITIES IN RUSSIA AND COMPROMISING RELATIONSHIP WITH THE KREMLIN





Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Boohoo Smurfette


A cranky right-winger emailed me yesterday:

Do you really have to regale us with the Women in The Age Of Trump excerpts? I've never seen so much whiny, brainless hate issued against a man who hasn't even taken office. All the while rapist Bill Clinton enjoys the good life on the corrupt money that flowed into the Clinton Foundation. All the while Hillary Clinton divulged national secrets from her hacked bathroom server. All the while Barack Hussein Obama pissed over our Constitution. Where was Americans In The Age Of Obama? 
All my life I've listened to this whining liberal crap. No wonder no one goes to the the theater. Nothing but narcissistic, preachy, boring, bed-wetting dreck. I'm sorry to say, nobody gives a damn what you think. Nobody gives a damn what I think, either, but I'm not going to lose sleep over it. 
Get a grip on life. The world is not ending. Our Country is not ending. The sun will rise tomorrow like it always does and the birds will chirp with gusto.

I really wanted to let him have it but I restrained myself enough to respond somewhat professionally. This is what I said:

While I believe you are wrong in every particular about Hillary and Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, that’s beside the point: even you cannot possibly deny that Donald Trump has a history of public hostility towards women. Even women on the Right, such as Megyn Kelly, whom Trump targeted for asking him questions he didn’t like. Kelly received rape and death threats thanks to Trump aiming his “beautiful Twitter account” at her.

Trump’s outrageous thuggishness is not only limited to targeting women, and his thuggishness is only one of many reasons why he will go down in history as the worst president, but I decided to focus on women since he’s publicly bragged about sexual assault and about hitting on married women. These are things which, in the past, would have completely destroyed a politician’s career. That is why it is indeed correct to say “this is not normal.” And that is why, although I have avoided addressing politics via NYCPlaywrights in the past, I decided to do so now.
As far as the project and the excerpts:

  • You are under no obligation to read the excerpts
  • The excerpts are only being posted for two weeks
  • Many of the plays/excerpts have nothing to do directly with the election or even with politics  
  • You could click the topics on the right-hand side of the page to filter out the play excerpts
But clearly you have been triggered by this project, and are offended by the idea that many people in the arts have liberal views, so by all means, feel free to refrain from visiting the NYCPlaywrights web site. It receives no government funds, (hooray for private enterprise) and we can get along very well without you.

This was the second complaint I received about the Women in the Age of Trump project I created for NYCPlaywrights. The other complaint was about the onerous burden of having to wade through semifinalist play excerpts in order to find calls-for-submissions. Boo hoo, Smurfette

These complaints are balanced by other people telling me how much they enjoy reading the excerpts. 

Creepo wrote back and began his response by complaining that people were mean to Sarah Palin. I didn't bother to read the rest, I just asked him to stop contacting me. His next response began "just like a liberal" and I immediately trashed that one too. 

The comment about Barack Obama "pissing all over our Constitution" is mysterious. I can't imagine what this guy thinks Obama did wrong in relation to the Constitution, I assume he read it on Breitbart or maybe Alex Jones invented something. But anybody who defends Donald Trump obviously has a brain that works differently from the brains of the rest of humanity, and trying to comprehend their thought patterns is pretty futile - they will never make any kind of rational sense. 

Monday, January 09, 2017

Frenchy-french sing-song list

I have a perfectly legitimate reason for posting this JTRU pic
I can't be the only one who has noticed it but nobody on the Internet has mentioned it, as far as I have been able to find: when francophones say a list of things, they sometimes use a little sing-song lilt at the end of each item.

I noticed this when watching the TV series (now available online) "French in Action"  in this episode of French in Action, you can hear it from Pierre Capretz, the originator of the series, as he lists things invented by the French (near the end of the episode.)

They don't always do it when they list things, but they do it often enough that it's an actual thing.

I don't think English-speakers do it, but maybe I'm just so immersed in the anglophone world I don't notice it.

You can hear Justin Trudeau do it in this video. You knew I couldn't go for more than a day without mentioning JTRU.

He says something like:

Il y'a le énormément influence de le

  • culturelle, (cul-TOO-rell)
  • Des religieux (re-LIH-jooz)
  • Les différents groupes plus conservateurs de la nature (lah NAH-toor)

I wonder if the fact that Trudeau is speaking to someone who represents a group holding a summit on speaking French has something to do with his adopting that sing-song style here. He also does it in this video talking to a francophone interviewer.

When I tried to match the sing-song to notes on a musical scale, it struck me that I had heard something like it before... and then I remembered - I heard it in the opening music of a 1924 silent film from France. Here is the film below, the music I'm talking about starts at minute 0:25. That's what the Frenchy-french sing-song sounds like.




You can see Erik Satie in the film - he's the guy jumping into the frame on the left at minute 0:53. Pretty spry for a guy who died of acute alcoholism only a year later. (Who is Erik Satie? You've heard his work.)

The film is also notable for Paris cityscapes, goofy surrealism, and the wackiest funeral procession ever.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Gorey

I went to see the play THE SECRET LIVES OF EDWARD GOREY. It was OK, but it wasn't so much a play as a stylized lecture on the life of Edward Gorey, complete with a slide show. Granted, some of the slides were cleverly animated, and the biographical time-line was not a simple chronology,  but still. The play pretty much completely threw out the playwright's rule of "show not tell" - it was almost completely tell.

It reminded me a little of the play POWERHOUSE, another biographical play about a minor celebrity I don't care about and which left me emotionally unaffected. Although POWERHOUSE was much more frenetic than GOREY.

I submitted my Norma Jeane play to the people who produced GOREY, and now I understand why, at least in part, they rejected it - my play, although it refers to - and enacts - several moments from Monroe's life, is an actual play, with conflict and in which events unfold in the now before the audience. I guess the producers prefer the more reminiscence-based approach when it comes to biographical plays.

As I said, I'm not really interested in Edward Gorey. I went to see this play because it is a biographical piece and I was looking for some possible inspiration as I prepare to produce my Norma Jeane play. Plus I had a discount ticket.

I do like Gorey's clean black and white illustration style, which reminds me a little of the work of Aubrey Beardsley - although Beardsley's line was more graceful and Beardsley had a much more erotic imagination. And Gorey's focus on the macabre doesn't really work for me. But you know, it's fine.

The only thing I really find interesting about Gorey is the fact that Wikipedia counts him as an asexual. The idea that someone could go through life without feeling erotic attraction for anybody is so bizarre and incomprehensible to me, I was hoping there would be quite a bit of focus on that. But instead the play seems to think he was just a deeply closeted gay man, who perhaps did not get a lot of action, but in his old age was content with his isolated existence on Cape Cod with seven cats and various weird collections (e.g. a postcard collection of Victorian post-mortem photography focused on dead babies.)  And Gorey wasn't much on intellectual curiosity from what I can tell. I mean, he had a degree in French literature from Harvard but he never went to France.

In spite of all of this, the play got great reviews. There is no accounting for critics' taste.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

French I have learned thanks to Justin Trudeau

Since Trudeau is a politician and talks about politics constantly, there are certain words and phrases he hits on repeatedly, and so I have learned them more quickly than other French words and phrases thanks to watching so many of his videos.

Including...
  • Le class moyenne - the middle class
  • Le chef - leader - the English word chef comes from "chef de cuisine"
  • Pays - country
  • D'abord - firstly 
  • Je trouve - I find
  • Tres content - very happy 
  • Tout a fait - absolutely
  • Besoins - needs
  • Ecoute - listen
  • Combat de box - boxing match
  • Quarante et un - 41 (the age Trudeau was when he boxed Patrick Brazeau)
  • Prochain - next
  • Peut-Être - maybe
  • Tellement - so much
  • Tres tres - according to a French language learning video on Youtube, it is common for francophones to repeat a word for emphasis and Trudeau does this all the time, in French and English. It's much more noticeable, I assume, in English than in French
And then there is Trudeau's favorite phrase. He uses it so much that all you have to do is Google "not in spite of our differences but because of our differences" and the search results will be a whole bunch of speeches by Justin Trudeau.

And he's been using this phrase since at least 2011. He says it, in French, at minute 17:00 of this video shot in May 2011.
Pour moi, la réalité est que le Canada est un pays fort, non pas en dépit de la diversité, mais à cause de a diversité.




It's so hard to understand what French speakers are saying in part because everything is pronounced differently. Take the name Justin for example. In English it's pronounced "JUST-in" but in French they pronounce it "yoos-TAHn" with just the tiniest hint of an "n" sound there at the end. Mon dieu!

Do the French say OMD instead of OMG? I have found no evidence for this yet.

Friday, January 06, 2017

The Canadian Kid

"The Canadian Kid" headed for the ring
Before I discovered the movie "God Save Justin Trudeau" I watched a ton of videos related to the 2012 boxing match between Justin Trudeau, now the Prime Minister of Canada and Patrick Brazeau, now the day manager of a strip club (true story) and not once did I hear anybody refer to Trudeau as "The Canadian Kid" in spite of the fact that he walked into the ring wearing a robe with those words emblazoned on the back.

Patrick Brazeau's robe said "Brazz Knuckles Brazeau" and he was called that many times, especially by right-wing commentator Ezra Levant. It's a curious thing. Trudeau was referred to by the match announcer as "The Papineau Pugilist" on several occasions, never anything else.

In any case, this is what The Canadian Kid had to say after the match, as recorded in the movie "God Save Justin Trudeau."

Q: So how does it feel? 
   TRUDEAU 
It feels really good. I had a game plan that I was going to stick to - I knew he was going to come in heavy and hard, right off the bat, but I also knew that I was going to be able to take anything he threw at me. And when he did he emptied himself out and I just kept going. 
What was it in my training that allowed me to do that? It wasn’t my training, it’s how I am. I take hits and I keep going. That’s a lesson that Pat learned tonight, maybe a few other people learnt tonight but we’ll see how it goes. 
Q: What have you proved for Justin Trudeau for the liberal party? 
I proved that a liberal can take a punch. I proved that we’re not people who can be counted out even though we seem nicer, and a little more touchy-feely and we believe in good things and we believe in giving opportunities to people and we don’t trash talk as much and we don’t go negative.  But we can hit really hard and we can take anything they give at us, because the heart pushes further than anything else.

In his autobiography, Trudeau had this to say about his approach to the fight:

A week before the fight, Matt Whitteker, my trainer in Ottawa, asked about my fight plan. I told him how I thought it would go: Brazeau would throw everything he had at me early. I'd spend the first round keeping him away with my jab and reach, and let him tire himself out. By the second round I'd have more gas than him and take the initiative, and perhaps in the third round I'd go for the knockout. Matt smiled at my confidence and teased: "Oh you'll wait for the third round to knock him him out, will you?"
Having just re-watched the movie for the seventh or eighth time, I could swear that in the training scene shown just before the actual match, Trudeau, coached by his Montreal trainer Ali Nestor Charles (you can see his Linked In profile here, written in French bien sur) is actually practicing being hit hard in the head and being stunned in the ring. Which paid off when he was being pummeled by Brazeau in the first round.

But then, what do I know about boxing?

But I do know something about unrequited love, which brings me to Ezra Levant's for Justin Trudeau.

Here is the photo that triggered Ezra Levant's epic meltdown (a family asked Trudeau to be in their bridal photos), in which he called the entire Trudeau family sluts. You can't get the video of the meltdown, they removed it (and apologized to Justin Trudeau) but here's a transcript of an interview Levant gave about the incident. Levant is a foul little pustule of a man.


If that photo triggered him, I can just imagine what this one did. I can't find the video for this kiss, but I did find a very brief clip from another moment in that show (the March 4, 2012 episode of "Tout Le Monde En Parle" just a few weeks before the boxing match ) with Trudeau's wife jocularly suggesting he kiss a different man.



I still can't figure out where the Canadian alt-right stands on homosexuality though. I questioned Judgy Bitch on her blog about it but so far only her flying monkeys have responded. She once referred to Trudeau as a "faggot" but she also claims to love self-described faggot Milo Yiannopoulous - and certainly Levant had no qualms about publishing a video of famous misogynist Gavin McInnes making out with Yiannopoulous.

There's some very weird logical dissonance going on with the far right - I mean even more than usual.