March 13th, 2006

party time

Un film de Jean-Luc Godard

Who, if you'll recall, was once the captain of the starship Enterprise.

Anyway, Friday was mostly given over to doing various housecleaning and administrative duties in prep of the big move (as will be most days, for the duration of March), but I did manage to drag my ass over to rum_holiday's place for a rousing set of Cities & Knights of Catan. And by "rousing" I mean "utterly miserable, insofar as (a) Andrea won every one of the three games we played and (b) I was beaten so badly in one of them that I ended up with two points as my final score. For those of you not familiar with this amazingly great board game, you start the game with three points, and it requires 13 points for a victory. Which means that I not only lost that game, but that I lost it so badly that I had fewer points at the end than when I started. Luckily for me, there is literally no way to get any less than two points; if there was, I'm sure I would have. (Strangely enough, even though I got pounded flatter than hammered shit in all three games, it was Doug who threw a Catantrum.)

Saturday morning was Chicago's St. Patrick's Day parade. This is an annual tradition for my friends and I, and this is the last one I would be able to attend before I move to Minneapolis, so I wanted it to be special; it turned out to be very enjoyable indeed. In attendance were thaitea and I, Doug and Andrea, Sean and Michelle, Lara and Jeff, April, Claire and Steve, and Dirk and his wife, whose name I unfortunately have forgotten. We always make it a big spread, and this year was no exception: the Trav-L-Bar was stocked with whiskey and Dooley's, there were about five Thermoses full of Irish coffee (continuing my run of bad luck with Thermoses, I lost mine on the way home), my messenger bag was filled with Guinness, and there was Dubliner cheese, Kerrygold butter, corned beef and vegetables courtesy of me, fantastic soda bread via Andrea, and a pan of brownies via Dirk's wife. We were hooked the fuck up, is what I'm saying, and I think for the first time, we stayed until the very end of the parade, having lucked into an absolutely gorgeous 72-degree day.

After the parade, most of us headed back to my place, where more food was eaten, more lovely conversation was made, a bunch of traditional (and a bunch more not-so-traditional) Irish music was played, and out guests did their utmost to deplete my supply of alcohol so that I don't have to haul it all the way to Minnesota. It was a great time, and I'm incredibly grateful to my friends for sending me off in such a delightful way. I was worried, given how little time remains before the move and how much I have to do between now and then, that I wouldn't have time for a going-away party, but this served very nicely; I could take a lot worse memories with me than that of hanging around my apartment with my nearest and dearest friends getting nicely toasted on Irish beer.

I will admit to being fairly plastered by the time we got back from the parade, but I quit drinking after a bit so I could be sobered up by Saturday night, when I had to drive out to Evanston to attend an R. Kelly party hosted by my friends Claire and Steve. At this party, we watched -- twice -- the epic song/movie/crack fantasy "Trapped in the Closet", by renowned auteur R. Sylvester Kelly, and please understand the weight I place behind this statement: it was the single stupidest thing I have ever seen in my life. If you had asked me a week ago what the most misguided, failed, woebegotten botch-job in cinematic history was, I would have had a different answer, but now I know better, because I have seen "Trapped in the Closet". Twice. Once with the commentary track, featuring a rapt R. Kelly describing his own work in breathless awe. There's really no way to describe this interminable, malformed, tell-don't-show monstrosity of a monument to one man's ego, so I can just tell you two things: you can see the whole thing on YouTube, and the first twelve installments are only the first parts of a proposed series of thirty-two three-minute chapters. All with the exact same music. Amazing. The party itself was fine, as I was not beaten horribly by the police despite clearly not belonging in the ultra-swank neighborhood. kp3000 and editrix26 were there, and we goggled at the raw genius that is R. Kelly before degenerating into shop talk that drove lesser beings from the room. I headed home around midnight, with my windows wide open and lines like "He continues to rough up the midget as if the midget was under attack" echoing through my head.

Sunday was almost entirely given over to working on freelance projects and writing stuff, but I did have a delightful three-hour conversation with my amazing girlfriend ninafarina, whose birthday it was yesterday. The upshot of it all: I love her a lot. Then I went to sleep, part of the whopping six hours of nappy time I had all weekend. Tonight I plan on collapsing into a fat noisy heap, so if you live anywhere south of Milwaukee, north of the Lew, East of Iowa City or west of Detroit, wear earplugs, 'cause I'm TARRED.

Feel free to tell me about your weekend, the funny noises you make when you sleep, or your thoughts on R. Kelly's stupefying "Trapped in the Closet" below.
flavored with age

Hits, runs

- A fascinating article about the continued massive looting in Iraq by government-sponsored contractors -- and the Bush administration's complicity in this looting, perhaps the most ambitious fraud in American history -- can be read here.

- A new poll shows that Bush's approval ratings are the lowest ever, and that his most precipitous drop-off has been with white males. While I'm always happy to see that asshole floundering, I find the white-males thing disturbing -- what on earth do white guys want that George W. Bush isn't giving them? Is there anything they're not already getting? If HE'S not enough for them, who are they going to nominate next year, George Lincoln Rockwell?

- Occasionally, I will make a ridiculous, sweeping, indefensible statement. Here is one: West Side Story is indisputably the best musical of all time.

- Things we learned from the last poll I did, about three hundred years ago: Dennis Miller annoys many of you; football and basketball are the most hated sports on my friends list and baseball the most beloved (and no one much cares about hockey); "Brokeback Mountain" was the most-seen Oscar film by you, and "North Country" the least-seen; and an equal number of you found the term 'sand-nigger' offensive and delightful. In the competition to give me a new name, I'm calling dreamweasel the winner for his suggestion of "Muhammed O'Hanrahan".

- Did anyone watch HBO's new Mormon fundamentalist actiocomedramedy Big Love? Word has it that it stinks on ice depsite the dynamite cast. Can anyone confirm or deny? Is it worth my time to steal or otherwise 'acquire' this program?

THE END.
spit-take

Hey, remember last time we did a poll?

Me neither. So here's one that's just about R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet".

Poll #690183 A Global Poll Thing

Who is your favorite character in R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet"?

Sylvester
1(2.3%)
Cathy/Mary
0(0.0%)
Rufus
2(4.7%)
Chuck
0(0.0%)
Gwendolyn
0(0.0%)
Twan
5(11.6%)
Officer James
0(0.0%)
Bridget
2(4.7%)
Big Man
2(4.7%)
Rosey the Nosey Neighbor
1(2.3%)
Narrator R. Kelly
2(4.7%)
the Beretta
2(4.7%)
who could possibly decide between all these brilliant dramatic characters?
7(16.3%)
I have no idea what you're talking about
16(37.2%)
Fuck you
3(7.0%)

Which is your favorite chapter of R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet"?

Chapter 1: Enter the Closet
0(0.0%)
Chapter 2: Let's Settle This Christian-Like
1(2.3%)
Chapter 3: A Homo Named Chuck
0(0.0%)
Chapter 4: I'm Going to Climax
2(4.7%)
Chapter 5: Oh My God a Rubber
3(7.0%)
Chapter 6: But From His Perspective...
1(2.3%)
Chapter 7: Like a Spatula Gonna Do Something Against Them Guns
1(2.3%)
Chapter 8: I'mo Heat Up This Chicken
1(2.3%)
Chapter 9: The Midget in the Cupboard
4(9.3%)
Chapter 10: I Think I Done Shitted On Myself
4(9.3%)
Chapter 11: Baby Daddy
0(0.0%)
Chapter 12: That Ho Was Me
1(2.3%)
I'm withholding judgment until all 32 chapters are done
6(14.0%)
I have no idea what you're talking about
16(37.2%)
No, seriously, fuck you
3(7.0%)

What is your favorite word or phrase from R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet"?

"shuh"
0(0.0%)
"bogus mack shit"
0(0.0%)
"y'all ass is crazy"
6(14.0%)
"like I was tryin' to give her a baby"
3(7.0%)
"I'm gonna bust a vessel in my brain"
0(0.0%)
"sniggle"
2(4.7%)
"put they ass on blast"
0(0.0%)
"Rosie is a G, no doubt"
2(4.7%)
"he realizes Bridget's allergic to cherries"
3(7.0%)
"He continues to rough up the midget as if the midget was under attack"
6(14.0%)
"hot mess"
0(0.0%)
"snurs"
2(4.7%)
"old crusty wig-wearing-ass ho"
5(11.6%)
I have no idea what you're talking about
12(27.9%)
Fuck you sideways with a hammer
2(4.7%)

Overall, what is the greatest thing about R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet"

The fact that even though he probably spend about twenty million dollars on it, it looks like it was done at a public access cable studio
1(2.3%)
How nobody ever explained the principle of 'show, don't tell' to R. Kelly, so the whole movie is just him showing us something and then singing about what we're seeing
2(4.7%)
How "Sylvester" keeps yelling at everyone to calm down, when it's him who pulls out a gun and threatens to kill people at the drop of a hat
8(18.6%)
How R. Kelly's narration inexplicably shifts from first person to third person for no reason, sometimes in the same verse
1(2.3%)
How the song, when it is finished, will be approximately an hour and a half long, and contains no chord changes or variations of any kind
1(2.3%)
How the plot makes no sense whatsoever because R. Kelly is clearly making it all up as he goes along
1(2.3%)
How R. Kelly uses the word "cliffhanger" when he means "surprise" or "mystery"
1(2.3%)
How sometimes R. Kelly self-censors the foul language, and sometimes he doesn't, with no explanation
1(2.3%)
How Sylvester is really R. Kelly, but R. Kelly is also in the movie as the narrator, and you can only tell which is which by the color of their shirt
1(2.3%)
How we're supposed to think the fact that Rufus is a pastor gives his character weight and moral complexity, even though he is having a gay affair and curses like a sailor
2(4.7%)
How there doesn't seem to be any reason whatsoever for Twan to exist
0(0.0%)
How, in the commentary, R. Kelly explains what is going on in the movie, as if we couldn't just see it plus listen to the song explaining everything that's happening anyway
5(11.6%)
How R. Kelly claims that there is going to be a talk show based on "Trapped in the Closet"
3(7.0%)
I have no idea what you're talking about
14(32.6%)
Fuck you twice bent-over by an elephant
2(4.7%)

What other great thing about R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" can you think of?