PLEASE NOTE: As the headline says, this post is for musical-theater nerds only. For people who already know the show. Otherwise stop reading. Don't scream at me about spoiler alerts because Russell Crowe kills himself!! OK? Kills himself. He dies. He's dead. Dunzo. Along with almost everyone else. Although some of them come back from the dead to sing about Jesus.
1) Going to see Les Miserables with someone who doesn't realize it's a musical is a hilarious experience. "Wait, is this a musical?" said my friend about one minute, five seconds in. He was the one who chose the movie. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
2) Goldy's totally right, it's klutzy, it's all close-ups, all "giant heads in dreary circumstances," and Hugh Jackman's giant head is particularly out-of-control giant, and veiny, and ugly, and never once does he take off his shirt or become a wolverine, which is ridiculous.
3) Russell Crowe's stiffness puts taxidermy to shame. It's like Russell Crowe wasn't available so they got Madame Tussauds' Russell Crowe to play Russell Crowe playing Javert, and the wax statue was all, "Yeah, I can sing. I can sing!! LET ME SING." Also, how satisfying is it when his body, post-jumping-off-building, lands on the side of that fountain and makes that crunching sound? Gah! That was so satisfying. And possibly an inside joke from the sound effects people about his stiff performance.
4) Anne Hathaway is amazing. As in, one is amazed how much better the movie gets when she's in the frame. I could watch her just standing there sewing for the rest of my life. Also amazing: how much better a song gets if she sings it. Who knew Fantine was even a character? Who in history has listened to "I Dreamed a Dream" all the way through—the most skippable song on the original cast recording, which has, let's be honest, a lot of skippable songs? "I Dreamed a Dream" is the worst. Until this movie. Where it is the best.
5) Helena Bonham Carter + Sacha Baron Cohen = not funny. They play the Thenardiers, the "comic relief," but in this case the comic relievers have been relieved of their comic relief duties. Or something. Mathematically, they cancel each other out? It's weird. It's almost riveting how boring their performances are.
6) Sweet battle scenes.
Sigh. Money quote:
“And they even admit this is about banning the ugliest guns, it’s about cosmetics and it has nothing to do about how a firearm works,” host Ginny Simone said toward the end of the segment.
“Well, you know, banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago,” Hammer responded. “But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It’s just bad politics.”
Of course, how guns look do equate to things like how many bullets they can fire and how fast. Just like Knife Control. Smaller is OK because it has more practical uses. I suppose you could use a samurai sword to open your mail, but it's not the obvious tool for the job. Similarly, you could behead someone with a pen knife, but it's a lot tougher than with a sword. But that's got nothing to do with how blades work, it's just discrimination based on size and looks.
I spent the last two weeks in Peru for Christmas break. I'm not going to bore you to death with a slideshow or a blow-by-blow account of what I did, but I do want to make a couple of recommendations.
* If you've ever wanted to take a trip to South America, I highly recommend the Inca Trail hike to Machu Picchu. I was part of a group doing the standard hike—four days, three nights—and it kicked my ass, but I was glad I did it by the end of the trail. The tour group I traveled with was named Enigma, and I did the Classic Inca Trail package. It takes you along a trail of mostly stone steps to saddlebacks that are higher than Mount Rainier and swiftly descending staircases of 3000 steps that the guides refer to as the gringo killer. The landscapes varied tremendously over the three days, from gently rolling hills to scrubby mountain trails to lush jungle. (This hike was decidedly not roughing it; Enigma provided a team of porters who did the cooking, carried the equipment, and set up and took down the tents. Peru started cracking down on Inca Trail tourism around the turn of the century; you're required to have guides, and there are even laws insisting that the tour groups provide camping tables and chairs for their customers along the way. I think these laws are more for the good of the trail than the tourists; apparently, tourists just used to trash the trail when they were left to their own devices.) Machu Picchu itself was incredible and mysterious and weird and totally worth it. My group was there during the rainy season and so there were fewer tourist groups funneling through the city; my guide said that the crowds are so thick in July and August that you can barely move.
* If you're hiking the Inca Trail, or if you're even going to Cuzco, you'll want to take something to fight altitude sickness. I took Diamox the whole way through, but even then you'll want lots of coca tea and coca leaves for chewing; the high you get from coca leaves is not unlike a caffeine high, but it helps the oxygen circulate in a way that Diamox can't. (Coca leaf hard candy is a surprisingly good delivery system, too.)
* A person I know, who heard I was going to Peru for Christmas, informed me that she had been to Peru and her entire story was summed up in one sentence: "It's really dirty there."
6. My 50-year-old newly single, wheat- and lactose-intolerant aunt: "I'm really into crystals now. Especially amethysts, which absorb negative energy..."
5. My mother: "I wish you were as easy to breed as my dog."
4. Me to my brother: "What should I tell people that you do for a living?"
"I don't give a shit. Tell them I drive an ice cream truck."
"They know you're in the Navy."
"Tell them I drive an ice cream truck for the Navy."
"Why don't you tell them that?"
"People don't ask me dipshit questions."
3. A family friend: "Your brother says he's driving an ice cream truck now? I thought he was in the Navy?"
2. My dad: "Your dog is humping Ana again. I think she's going to need to change her pants."
1. My grandmother: "It's really the weirdest rash and it started in my anus..."
"What we need in this country is a NRACP. Then legislators would adopt gun control measures like that." (snaps fingers)
Let's all take a moment to engage in a friendly, non-horrifying, non-tear-inducing debate and binding Slog poll.
My favorite DS9 character is Quark, followed by Odo, with Garak and Kira as solid runners-up. The poll lists only what Wikipedia considers the main cast—you'll have to write in supporting cast. Show your work.
The words "community," "academic," and "research" were thrown around like Mardi Gras beads during today's 12:30 p.m. Consortium for a New Policing Paradigm press conference.
But it seems the only substantive step toward building a better Seattle Police Department that emerged from the day and a half mediation session between police officers, community leaders, academics, and researchers was a need for "trust."
That's the issue they identified as the most urgent: "Trust."
No new steps of action, no specifics, no timeline, just trust.
Some company with press materials that are so obscure, we can't even figure out what they do, just sent us some scones. The feeling here so far: Scones are never that good. Most people don't really like scones. Most scones are really dry. If a given scone happens to be really good, you get the distinct feeling that a British person would sniff haughtily and say, "But, my dear lady/man, THAT is not a scone at ALL. Not-tat-tall." They are also pale and unappetizing-looking (and then there's the scones! Sorry, so sorry). If you're thinking of sending baked goods, maybe make it not scones. Of course, beggars/choosers and all that: Thank you, company! But...
"I used to write the most florid garbage. Now I write concise garbage."
A friend asks on Facebook:
OPINION REQUEST: straight men doing drag. would it be akin to a white guy doing blackface? I feel like on some level it would be offensive, but I could be crazy. (I hadn't even considered it until someone else said it might be and then I started worrying.)
This sounds like liberal hand-wringing to me. Hell, I've done drag and I'm not even a man, let alone a gay one. However, I felt this called for a binding Slog poll, so please, tell my friend whether he is a terrible person or he can do drag!
A House Committee is apparently taking the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to task for routinely fucking up its job to keep America's skies safe:
No one would argue that the T.S.A. should not be held closely accountable. There have been too many problems. Since the agency was created in the aftermath of Sept. 11, this column has regularly reported on many of them, like the outrage that began in 2004 over charges that some screeners were groping female travelers. More recently, the agency faced questions about its decision to replace metal detectors with those whole-body image machines, which the T.S.A. still has not adequately defended against claims that they are personally invasive, arguably unsafe and ultimately not as reliable as good old metal detectors.
On the other hand, the hearing last Thursday seemed to have an agenda, which was that the T.S.A. should be replaced by private security companies — you know, like the ones that were accused of hiring poorly trained, underpaid screeners at airports before Sept. 11 brought a somewhat more intense focus to checkpoint security.
I'm no security expert but I suspect that replacing one terrible system with another won't fix the clubfoot ballet that is our airport security system. For instance, I've inadvertently flown with a canister of pepper spray in my bag on two separate trips in the last month without being flagged by TSA, so clearly their security still has gaping holes to fill.
Nevertheless, I've gone through four TSA checkpoints in the last month and apparently the hawk eyes manning our x-ray airport machines haven't caught it. Neither did the man who searched my purse on one flight out of SEATAC—he was after the 1/3 fluid-ounce bottle of eye drops I'd forgotten to remove. That got me a finger wagging!
Obviously, I need to be better about checking my goddamn purse for instruments of terror (eye drops, pepper spray) before I leave my house on trips out of town. But it also handily illustrates how spot-shoddy our security system is. TSA may get more elaborate every day but that doesn't mean we're getting any safer.
The day after Thanksgiving is usually a snoozer at Stranger HQ—except for those who care about shopping and/or are expected to leverage the absurdity of Black Friday into some pithy observation about the economy. If you're anybody else, please enjoy this video of a football player who may or may not have purposefully kicked another football player in the groin.
Which brings us to the day's etymology: groin.
1590s, earlier grine (1530s), from M.E. grynde "groin" (c.1400), originally "depression in the ground," from O.E. grynde "abyss," perhaps also "depression, hollow," from P.Gmc. *grundus.
I'm going to start using "grundus" instead of "groin." It sounds better, more earthy and visceral. The OED says "groin" comes from "depression" because the grundus is in the "fold or depression" between the abdomen and the thigh.
And here's a little groin-related medical advice from Lanfranc's Science of Cirurgie, circa 1400: "If þe prickynge be in þe foot, anoynte þe grynde wiþ hoot comoun oile." I think that means that if your foot hurts, rob hot oil on your grundus.
(If you're looking for real news, the Guardian's blog is covering the tumult in Egypt in real time.)
New York Times makes obligatory Cheech and Chong references, of course. But also gives Stranger its props as famous home of pot-heads.
The goal: official communications in language that the hip, young, urban and quite possibly stoned audience that Mr. Spangenthal-Lee wrote for at The Stranger might actually want to read.
Reading? What's that?
Savory treats and booze would work too. I can't promise you the kiss from Cienna, but if you bring booze, well, you know...
Apparently the first episode of the new season of Top Chef Seattle contained no Seattle whatsoever except for a few requisite shots of the Space Needle. Now I don't feel so bad for missing it. (I don't have cable, but I watched a couple seasons of Top Chef at a friend's house a few years back—when Robin Leventhal was on it and the season after that—but then, frankly, it all started to seem repetitive and boring. Speaking of which, Padma "speaks out" about the Seattle season over herezzzzzzzzzzzzz.) If you're going to watch it, though, this is probably a fun way to do so.
Inspired by Leslie Dean.
"Oh, so you're telling me that you can pass a landmark civil rights law but you can't figure out how to send me a link?"
God I love this day.
As long as Cienna is sharing the contents of her desk drawer, I thought I'd snap a photo of mine:
Two things to note: A) unlike Cienna, I tend to do my shaving at home; and B) no, I eat prunes because I actually like them.
Today I opened my desk drawer and was confronted with a terrible caricature of womanhood.
All that's missing from this picture is my biological clock.
UPDATE: My keyboard is now covered in chocolate and errant hair trimmings.
Let's say you're stuck at your eye doctor in Renton, which doubles as a Dairy Queen because you meet all your health needs via discount medical coupons purchased online (also: free ice cream!). And your eye doctor is too busy fixing the soft-serve machine to see you, and near-sighted children are screaming for Dip Cones, and the Internet is preoccupied with the weather. What the fuck do you do?
You read about carrots. Because apparently, they're making a comeback:
Carrots, those little spark plugs in a salad or a stew, have suddenly become an engine driving restaurant menus. Chefs across the country are showcasing handsome, meaty specimens in a rainbow of colors, dressed and garnished without a sliver of meat or fish. Well, maybe a touch of bacon.
“People are feeling more comfortable with having something like carrots in the center of the plate,” said Dan Kluger, the executive chef at ABC Kitchen in New York, where a salad of roasted carrots and avocado has become one of his most popular, and imitated, dishes.
Troy Guard, the chef and owner of TAG in Denver, makes a carrot taco that puts the root vegetable through its paces, with a carrot tortilla and a filling of braised carrots, a salad of raw carrots and cilantro, and guacamole.
“Last year brussels sprouts were really huge,” he said. “Now it’s carrots.”
And then you pray to Jesus Carrot-Humping Christ for your eye-doctor-slash-DQ manager to offer up a couple of forks, so that you may take care of your eye and entertainment problems in two quick twists of the wrist.
Honey Boo Boo Child's interview with Dr. Drew is the greatest handling of the media since Divine '72.
(However, Divine was an adult who spouted her views from the screens of midnight movies, while HBB is a child who spouts hers on CNN-sponsored HLN. This is why we suck.)
...will you be watching season 4? Now that EVERYONE YOU CARED ABOUT IS GONE?! No, no I'm NOT over seasons 2 and 3. I might never be over them. HARRUMPH!
I'm no doctor, but I am a pioneer of innovative self medicating. For instance, did you know that when you suffer from a sore throat and headache, a bottle of red wine does the trick just as well as cough drops and Advil?
You have to be okay with drinking at 9:00 a.m. but I am perfectly okay with drinking at 9:00 a.m. Best yet, it turns the common head cold into a party for one.
So: We're sitting in our regularly scheduled editorial meeting where we enjoy high-minded conversations about new art openings and the nuances of pot legislation while patting ourselves on the back and obsessively polishing our hipster glasses, when all of a sudden someone brings up how great pumpkin seeds are.
Because they are. Fucking great. Roasted, salted, curried, garlicked to hell and back. Fucking delicious.
Only some people sitting around me got this look on their faces—that puckered asshole look—and started arguing that pumpkin seeds aren't all that fucking great because "there's not that much protein in them" and "they make your teeth hurt." Yeah, if your teeth are made of gummy bears instead of the hardest bone* in your body, like most people.
And I thought: "Who are these gummy-toothed assholes that surround me? Assholes who moan about pumpkin protein while stuffing Mound Bars end over end in their yawning cakeholes? Where's my face hammer???"
More importantly, are they alone? And so, good people of Slog, I ask you:
*Okay, teeth are not bones—they're stronger than bones. Whatever. Shuttup.
"Had I been twenty years younger and worn the tux, I would have sex blisters."
Ugh. It's waaaaay too early in the morning to be imagining any of my coworkers with sex blisters.
In case you missed it, a study says so! CUUUUUTE. Of course, baby-kitten-viewing was only shown to increase productivity in terms of improved performance at a game that's "a lot like Operation." No one has that job except surgeons.
Smith, the pub/taxidermy haven from Linda Derschang on Capitol Hill's 15th Avenue, had an unfavorable revolving-door chef situation for quite a while after it opened in 2007.
Then, finally, Eliot Guthrie started cooking there, and at last, it was good. Then he left (anyone know where he is now?).
Then Chris Howell took over, and he'd been a lead line cook with the Tom Douglas empire for a number of years, and it was good again. Now Howell is returning to T-Doug—he's going to Brave Horse Tavern, lucky for Amazon employees.
Yesterday was Howell's last day at Smith, and no one there knew who'd be taking over next. Sigh. Derschang has not yet returned an email asking what's up.
(Meanwhile, newly open today on 15th: The Wandering Goose, from Volunteer Park Cafe’s Heather Earnhardt.)