ASK Musings

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Monthly Archive: July 2008



July 2008



Obligatory New Yorker Post

Written by , Posted in Feminism

So, I’m assuming you’ve seen and/or heard about this week’s New Yorker cover. I used to subscribe to that magazine, but I found that while some issues were amazing reads, others were just unreadable.

Anyway, I was initially annoyed with it – not because I don’t understand or respect satire, but because I fear the things that the magazine was satirizing are things some people think are so true that they won’t recognize the satire. It’s just so freaky – both that Senator Obama is constantly being called Muslim, AND (and this is even more important to me) that this would be considered a detriment were it true. I realize it’s a stretch to even imagine a woman as president, or a black man, and that’s so freaking depressing. And you can’t even try to factor in other variables, like non-traditional religions (our first pagan president – in 2440!).

But I do have to say that Jon Stewart really said it best – ‘We really shouldn’t get all worked up over a cartoon depicting Barack Obama as a fundamentalist Muslim. Because you know who gets worked up over cartoons? Fundamentalist Muslims.’

Heh. Good point.



July 2008



Sort-of-live musing: George Carlin on SNL

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Two weeks ago, SNL re-ran their first-ever episode as a tribute to the recently deceased George Carlin, who was the host. I’m finally getting around to watching it.

It opens with a kind of silly Belushi sketch, which vaguely reminds me of the scene in When Harry Met Sally . . . where they are at the Met and Harry is trying to get her to repeat what he’s saying (‘…and I’d like to partake of your pecan pie.).

Chevy Chase delivers the first ever “Live, from New York, it’s Saturday Night!” Ah Chevy. Remember he was funny? Good times.

The monologue is George Carlin (wow, he’s so young) delivering his now-famous “Football vs. Baseball” routine, trying to point out why football is so much more testosterone-y than baseball. A sampling (and so much is in the delivery):

“In Football, you get a penalty.

In Baseball, you make an error.”

“Football is played in a stadium.

Baseball is played in a park.”

I’ve read it, but seeing him deliver it is outstanding.

Now we have Dan Ackroyd in a cheesy home . . . it appears to be an ad for “New Dad” – family insurance coverage. As soon as old Dad dies, New Dad is there to help meet “physical and emotional” needs. Nice. And creepy.

Chevy Chase used to be cute, too . . . 

Whoa, it’s jarring to go from the grainy 1970s film to 2008 commercials.

Billy Preston is playing! I like this song. It’s catchy. But not catchy enough to keep me from fast-forwarding.

New sketch. Oooh, Jane Curtain is on the witness stand. Chevy is the attorney. Her voice is so high. Huh. She can’t bring herself to give her evidence, so they’re letting her write the remarks on a piece of paper. Oh, the judge is not happy. Neither is the prosecutor. Nor the defense attorney. They’re showing it to the jury now. We still don’t know what it says. Ha! Gilda was asleep in the jury box, and thinks Belushi is saying whatever ‘it’ is to her. And she likes it. Ah, Gilda.

Oh sweet, it’s the classic Andy Kaufman / Mighty Mouse sketch! It is really funny, because he does absolutely nothing while the theme plays, except to lip sync to “Here I Come to Save the Day.” That’s it. And yet it’s so freaking funny.  He reminds me of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka a bit.

More George stand-up. Let’s see. Ah, tee shirt under a blazer. Classic. “Do you ever look at the crowds in old movies and wonder if they’re dead yet?” HA! Man, he’s so good at the unexpected, mundane hilarious one-liner.

Another musical guest – Janice Ian. Oh man – I didn’t know who sang this. You know the song – it starts with “I learned the truth and 17, that love was meant for beauty queens.” She’s in a white suit with a green satin blouse. More awesome. But now I must fast-forward.

“Victims of Shark Bite.” Jane Curtain hosts. Belushi is missing an arm and half of a leg. Except his ‘missing’ arm just appeared. Awkward. And his other leg is fine, too. And that’s the sketch. No offense, but that seems like something that would be on modern SNL and get panned.

Chevy Chase and other guy. Other guy is supposed to be his wife. Wait, huh? Hmm.

Weekend update! Chevy Chase! Hoffa joke starts it off. Dumb president jokes. Some things never go out of style. “The US Postal Service announced today a new stamp commemorating prostitution. It’s a 10 cent stamp, but if you want to lick it, it’s a quarter.” HA!.

Arthritis ad for medicine that you can’t open. Kind of funny.

I didn’t realize that Chevy first used the “Goodnight, and have a pleasant tomorrow” sign-off that Tina Fey used.

Jim Henson Muppet sketch. Interesting…but not so funny. It’s like every second Robert Schmigel cartoon on modern SNL.

More George Carlin. He just addressed the audience – people are laughing before the punch line. No blue food! Military intelligence.

An Al Brooks film? Huh. Headlines – mocking shows about impossible but true things. “The entire state of Georgia and the entire country of Israel are switching places.” “The age of consent in Oregon is lowered to seven.” Ew. So perverse. And yet kind of funny . . . 

New sketch. Bee hospital. All are in bee costumes. “Congratulations, it’s a drone.” Yay! Then “Congratulations, it’s a worker.” Oh. Bummer.

Mocking technical college commercials.

Valerie Brownfield – Comedianne. A dress shields joke actually got a chuckle. Huh.

“Show us your guns.” Ah, suburbia. High-wasted pants. Always a good choice.

I gotta admit, this seems just as hit-and-miss as modern SNL.

George Carlin. Talking about God. “I think God may not be perfect. I think his work shows that. Look at the mountain ranges. Everything he has ever made died.”

More Billy Preston.

Dan Ackroyd – Trojan Horse home security.

Razor ad. Oh crap! They’re making fun of razors by suggesting a razor with THREE blades. Considering we now have razors with five blades ha.



July 2008



Pop Up

Written by , Posted in Adventures

The humidity has left the City (for awhile, at least). After work, a couple of friends and I ventured over to the new pop-up park at Pier 1 in Brooklyn. It’s great – they took a pier and paved it, added hills with grass, a big sandbox for the kiddies, threw up probably a dozen tables and added a little bar with some beer, wine and food. From there you can see three of the four waterfalls (allegedly you can see the fourth, but a big chunk of plywood was in the way tonight). There was a nice breeze, bright sun and good friends. If you are in the City, I really suggest you try to visit. 



July 2008



Wait, that’s a bar chord? Aw crap. No, I’ll try it.

Written by , Posted in Adventures

I’m trying to take advantage of opportunities that come my way to do something different. Today, after work, I stumbled upon such an opportunity.

As I was leaving work and heading to the train (I chose the A instead of the F because it is 900 degrees out) I ran into four people from the office. One had a guitar, one had a suitcase, and one had a folder full of papers. They claimed they were starting a band, and told me to come along. I kind of – no, really, actually – didn’t believe them. I mean, clearly Chris, with the guitar, was going to play somewhere. But Dave had a suitcase with him, and Nate just generally doesn’t strike me as one to hang out with Chris, Lisa and Dave. Then I looked at the papers and saw they were five packets of a bunch of songs with chords. I figured that if this was some joke they were all simultaneously in on, well, good on them. So I got on the A train going the opposite direction of home.

They reserved a space at a practice / recording studio near Midtown on the west side. This place is great – each room has loads of equipment, including full drum sets and keyboard, mics and amps. I was even able to rent a guitar to play for the session. Of course, I had no clue how to tune it using the tuner they had, so both Chris and Dave had to step in.

At first I was a little apprehensive. I’ve *just* started playing guitar again after about 10 years, and I’ve struggled in the past with picking up on songs quickly. But they were so patient with me. Most of the songs we tried had pretty easy chords, and after Chris correctly called me out on being too worried about looking stupid, I relaxed and just went with it. And it was so worth it. I certainly am nowhere near as good and Chris and Dave – they really know their stuff, and can play complicated melodies and solos – but I kept up for the most part, and had an absolute BLAST the entire time. And Nate was amazing on the keyboard. Seriously, it was this silly two-hour jam session that reminded me of how much fun I have when music is involved.

Hopefully we’ll do it again in a month or so. In the meantime, I can’t wait to get started with my guitar lessons.



July 2008



National Lampoon’ Tahoe Vacation

Written by , Posted in Adventures

A whirlwind week of fun with the family.

My trip had a bit of an inauspicious start. I got to the airport on time (after getting up at 4:30 AM), and the plane pushed back early. But we sat. And sat. And sat some more. After about 30 minutes, the captain came on to say that we couldn’t take off because our flight plan wasn’t cleared. He even shut down the engines, which is never a good sign. Then he came back on, sounding really frustrated, and said that the tower couldn’t access flight plans for anyone heading to the Bay Area. Whoops. 

It was eventually corrected, and I landed in Oakland about 90 minutes late. We headed to Tahoe, with a couple of quick stops – one at the Jelly Belly Factory (yum!) and one at In-and-Out (yum!).

It was so great to get up to the Lake. I’ve not been there in the summer since before I started my current job, and the four of us haven’t been there in the summer in a decade.

Sunday was a full day of walking around and eating. Seriously. We walked down to the Lake, then went over to Kings Beach for some miniature gold – a family tradition. After checking out the art fair, we played (or, in my case, lost) some money at the slot machines. Then we had a super yummy dinner at The Soule Domain. They even had vegan offerings.

Monday was pool day, followed by dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant with the godparents.

Tuesday was a crazy day. We were supposed to go out on a boat, but it was cancelled. We went down to south shore instead, and took the Heavenly gondolas up about 2,000 feet. Seriously, freaky. It was fine hanging over a nearly vertical mountain face when the gondola was moving, but when we just stopped and hung there? Oh HELL NO. I was not amused. But once we got to the top, it was all worth it. The view was breathtaking.

After traveling up a little further, we came across the zip line – the longest in North America. After sister and I took another ski lift to the very top of the mountain (9,500 feet above sea level, about 3,000 feet above the lake), we were each strapped into a harness dangling from a cable. Then the let us go, and we flew 540 feet over tree tops. It was a once-in-a-lifetime feeling of flying, and it was amazing.

The rest of the week was all about the small town USA fourth of July celebrations. There was a pancake breakfast thrown by the local fire house, a parade (featuring square dancers and boats), a tribute to veterans, and a 1940s USO show. It was so fun, with everyone so into the activities. On the actual 4th of July we walked to the Lake and had dinner at the local hotel, where they were setting aside space on the beach for us to sit. The fireworks were spectacular – and a bit scary when a few went off directly on the barge, lighting it on fire. Whoops.

There were some low points – mostly when we would slip into family bickering mode – but overall it was a really relaxing, wonderful time with the family.