Karla Keffer

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Hannity Insanity, Episode #47,845

In Uncategorized on February 28, 2009 at 5:56 pm

So for those of you still hoping to vote in the Sean Hannity poll “What kind of revolution appeals most to you?” I regret to inform you it has been removed. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can watch this clip from Keith Olbermann on Thursday night. If you have no idea who Keith Olbermann and Sean Hannity are – and if you live in the UK or Ireland or Australia or some other English-speaking country that isn’t the USA, we’re number 1, you might not – here is a brief, completely biased primer: Keith Olbermann is the liberal, endearingly loudmouthed host of “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” which airs three times a night on MSNBC. Sean Hannity is the smirking right-wing nutjob star of “Sean Hannity’s America” over on Rupert Murdoch-owned FOX News, or as Keith Olbermann calls it, Fixed Noise, or Faux News. If you say you want a revolution, and you like voting in internet polls, Daily Kos has a kinder, gentler one here.

As usual, when one of these right-wing douchewibblers (tm Sarah Silverman) shoots off his or her yob, I find myself sitting here, staring at the computer screen, trying to suss out how much of my disgust is…I guess you could say justified, although I’m starting to think that justifying one’s feelings is sort of a bullshit concept anyway, but that’s another rant and I’m very tired. I think Sean Hannity is a xenophobic prick and I’d laugh my ass off if someone threw a pie at him and I agree that what he’s asking of his minions certainly fits the technical definition of treason. But the thing is, it’s not like I can claim I’ve never wanted to overthrow the government. And I seem to recall, in a drunken, grief-stricken haze, championing the secession of the NYC metro area from the rest of the country the night after Bush’s “re”election in 2004, although I’m not a famous TV commentator and I didn’t poll the readers of my lame then-blog to that effect. And I wouldn’t have, even if I had been a famous TV commentator, because endorsing violent rebellion is, at the very least, bad for business. Plus, it doesn’t tend to work. People have this way of remembering the violence and not the good intentions behind it, or beside it, or wherever the good intentions may be, assuming there are any.

So I don’t know how much moral outrage I can claim here without being a total hypocrite. If one of “my” guys were suggesting we use violence to overthrow the government, I wouldn’t endorse it, but I would be a helluva lot more sympathetic. And if, dogs forbid, John McCain had won in November, I can’t say for sure I’d behave like a rational adult about it. Again (and again, and again, and again, in case the FBI is still monitoring the flabtackulations of a 32-going-on-85-year-old Brooklyn slackbag), I do not, nor would not, endorse a real-time reenactment of Fort Sumter. But it’s difficult for me to sit here and go, whatever, Sean, you sore loser when I don’t think I’d be able to get out of bed if the shoe were on the other foot.

Whatever. I guess I can still call Hannity a prick in good conscience. Because he is. Not that I can’t be a prick in some contexts, but I’m “our” prick, dammit. And in that prickly spirit, I say this: Get over it, Sean. You’re a douchenozzle. The people have spoken, and for once we’ve spoken correctly.

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Pulling Teeth…

In Uncategorized on February 24, 2009 at 9:43 am

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been researching/writing the history of burlesque for a friend’s burlesque troupe’s website. Something about the word “history” kicks me into term paper mode, and that’s what I came up with the first time out. I knew I was in some minor trouble when my friend told me she didn’t want a treatise. Fortunately, my friend is very forgiving, and after coming up with a new intro and sending the piece back to me, I was sorta kinda able to gin out what she wanted – namely a non-treatise-y social history of the gorgeous ladies of striptease, complete with double entendres and come-ons. My friend is far better at those than I; childhood conditioning is a stern master, and whenever I try to talk sexy I imagine the prick guys from junior high pointing at me and laughing, because fat chicks shouldn’t want to have sex because we’re gross or whatever.

Many lessons were learned, chief among them that writing, even about Gypsy Rose Lee and Dita von Teese, is like pulling teeth out of one’s dick, as the saying goes. And that I’m still way too fucked up and repressed to feel comfortable pulling off a burlesque show (ha ha), because junior high pricks/fat chicks gross et. al. ad. nauseam. And that I really, really, really need to lose some weight, goddammit, because while I love Marilyn Wann and the Fat! So? movement, I am not one of those who is able to feel confident about-slash-love her body when it’s toting around excess tonnage. And no, this is not an invitation to tell me to love my body no matter what or any of that plastic ready-made self-esteem bullshit. I can’t, and I don’t, and if you keep tossing platitudes at me, I will retreat further and further into my lair, listening to Joy Division albums and eating deep-fried Oreos slathered with Crisco just to spite you and your generic silliness. Told you I was fucked up, didn’t I? Yes, I did! I really, really did!

So…yeah. On a lighter note, and sort of along the lines of pulling teeth out of one’s genitalia, I’ve started reading The Sound and the Fury. It’s actually nowhere near as bad as I’d thought it would be in terms of netherworld tooth extraction, even though the first 75 pages or so are told by a severely mentally retarded thirty-three year-old. I think it helps that I had fair warning. A college friend of mine admitted in his Facebook “25 Random Things” list that he’d tried to read The Sound and the Fury in high school, but stopped after the first fifty pages. Faulkner is one of those authors I’ve always wanted to read but didn’t because I was afraid I wouldn’t understand what in the name of gourd he was trying to say, thus giving us all further evidence of my “stupidity,” but goddammit, I am thirty-two and I need to, need to, need to get over that shit. So I asked my friend if he had any tips or tricks for approaching The Sound and the Fury, and he told me to just keep going, keep at it, keep plugging away, because it does get more lucid and it’s a beautiful book. And what do you know? He was right! Thanks, College Friend, whose name I won’t mention because he hasn’t given me permission! I wonder how many other intelligent people with no self-esteem and the attention span of a gnat tried to read The Sound and the Fury and failed because they thought they were total dumbasses, and I wonder how many high school English teachers made them feel like shit because they couldn’t figure out what the fuck was going on in the first chapter. We never actually read Faulkner at my lameass high school, but I can totally see my hateful eleventh grade English teacher dispensing with its incoherence and starting in immediately on the goddamned theme, leaving losers like me to sink or swim. Bitch.

Anyway. That’s what’s going on here at the Flatbush Ranch. That, and dicking around on Facebook, and checking out graduate programs in theater, until the hateful eleventh grade English teacher in my amygdala starts in with her smirky litany about what a waste of space I am, and it all gets to be too much and I have to lie down with a cold cloth over my eyes and fantasize about punching her out.

Oh, jeez – one more thing. My grandpa just had heart surgery. He’s fine, all things considered, and is threatening to sign himself out of the hospital, and my awesome Grandma Vera (who is technically my step-grandmother, a term I try to avoid because Vera is way too fucking cool to be marginalized like that) is threatening to chain him to the bed if he pulls that shit. So let’s all send him our curmudgeonly, yet deeply sentimental good vibes. He’ll need ‘em, because he has to go back for more heart surgery in another couple of weeks, and he just had all his teeth pulled. Don’t worry, he’s not knocking on heaven’s door or anything – it’s just a whole bunch of seams are falling apart at once. Get well(ish)(esque) soon, Grandpa. You are much loved.

Ooh, What’s That Smell…?

In Uncategorized on February 9, 2009 at 7:25 pm

So apparently there was a “mysterious but harmless” maple syrup smell permeating the Big Apple (insert your own apple pancake joke here), predominantly on the Upper West Side. Public outcry was such that our fearless leader, Chairman Bloomberg, held a press conference to unveil the source of said olfactory anomaly.

I’m a South Brooklyn hermit, so I missed it in real time. Thanks be to gourds for Brian Lehrer (and his all-hail-the-power-of-the-people attitude) for bringing this important biznit to our attention and for inviting us, the listeners, to contribute to Nancy Drew and The Case of the Missing Maple Syrup. Among our amateur sleuthing hypotheses, many more of which are available here: “New life forms evolving in the Gowanus Canal,” “Mrs. Butterworth is having a hot flash,” “Sadly, it was the sweet smell of success wafting up from Wall Street, but alas with the staggering fall of the market it has been replaced with the foul fumes of failure (awkward alliteration, but tried!),” and “Sap brewing in Times Square and environs, engendered by the proliferation of sickeningly sweet Disney musicals.” Gee, I wonder what sort of pompous ass musical snotrag could have come up with that last one. Hmmmm.

Self-described “scent nerd” Ed Shepp of NYC offered this, the sole correct answer:

“I’m betting it’s a spill of maple furanone (and it has other names, like 5-ethyl-3-hydroxy-4-methyl-5H-furan-2-one). It could have come from a perfumery or a food-processing plant. It’s a smell that is ridiculously strong, and I think smells like curry full-strength but like maple or caramel diluted down to below 1%. It’s either maple furanone or caramel furanone.

“That’s my guess.”

And…whaddya know? Turns out the maple syrup odor was caused by, yup, a food processing plant in Hudson County, NJ “that has processed foenugreek [sic] seeds to produce flavors and fragrances that resulted in esters being formed in the air. According to Merriam-Webster, a foenugreek seed is ‘a leguminous annual Asian herb (Trigonella foenumgraecum) with aromatic seeds used in making curry, imitation vanilla flavoring, and some veterinary medicines.’” When asked on air the next day why he didn’t share his thoughts with the mayor’s office, Shepp replied he had no idea the mayor’s office was investigating the source of the smell. But…but…fenugreek is people, Ed! Gah.

Actually, fenugreek has quite the medicinal properties, according to Wikipedia. Nursing mothers may take it in capsule form to stimulate milk production, and fenugreek supplements are reported to lower cholesterol and lessen symptoms of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. So, much ado about nothing, although according to Dan Blumberg at the WNYC News Blog, “the city investigated because you can never be too sure.”

Um, yeah.

I love this picture and will be printing it out and sticking it on my wall as soon as I get a working printer.

I love this picture and will be printing it out and sticking it on my wall as soon as I get a working printer.

Go, Stealers! (Cue tomatoes. Or Heinz Ketchup bottles. Whatevs.)

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2009 at 7:59 pm

I know, I know – we’re ushering in a new era of personal responsibility and ethics. Still and yet, I can’t help but admire the tactical strategy at play here. I mean, if you’re gonna rob a bank, this is the way to do it:

A downtown bank was robbed during the Steelers victory parade celebration Wednesday afternoon, police said.

A man resembling the bank robbery suspect was released by police after showing up at police headquarters.

Police said the Huntington Bank on 650 Smithfield Street was robbed around 1:30 p.m. while the city was honoring the Steelers with a Super Bowl victory parade.

The robber was described by police as a white male wearing a black and gold Steelers jacket and blue jeans.

Police said the robber approached a teller in the bank with a note that said, “I am not joking, give me all of your money; I have a gun.”

The teller told police the actor put his right hand inside his jacket as if he were hiding a gun, but no weapon was observed.

Police said the teller hid a dye pack inside an undetermined amount of cash, and the dye pack exploded shortly after the robber exited the bank at Smithfield Street and Liberty Avenue.

The robber dropped the money and fled the scene, police said.

If I were the judge, I would sentence the guy to 25 years for dropping the money. That is, if I didn’t have any ethics. And more importantly, if I were a judge. That position appears to require a level of personal responsibility and schmooze-making of which I am cripplingly incapable. Oh, and there’s the minor detail of law school – friends who’ve attended depict it as the 11th circle of hell. Ah, dreams, plans, hopes.

Erratum(?): My dad would have me point out the inconsistency of calling Pittsburgh “filthy” whilst including a link to the Duquense Incline (see “Places” sidebar) that contains a link touting Pittsburgh as one of America’s most livable cities. I am not entirely sure if this is an inconsistency on my part, or a miscalculation on my dad’s for implying filthy cities cannot, prima facie, also be among the most livable. At any rate, my dad would also have me point out that Pittsburgh is nowhere near as filthy as it once was. Either way is fine with me, as I have a deep affection for both Pittsburgh and filth.

Esoteric Ruminations [/sarcasm] on Super Bowl XLIII

In Uncategorized on February 3, 2009 at 1:32 am

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Trees were killed, that this napkin could live. The poor, poor trees. If you need me, I will be in the corner, loudly and proudly committing ritual suicide on their behalf.

Tee hee. I won’t be doing that, of course. My dad sent me that napkin. He rocks. He is, I believe, the person responsible for buying me a Terry Bradshaw doll when I was three or so. It wasn’t technically a Terry Bradshaw doll – it was a generic white guy Steelers action figure, but it came with stick-on numbers, and my dad stuck on Terry Bradshaw’s number, which was twelve. Did they make generic black guy Steelers action figures? I would certainly hope and think so, given that would have been completely racist and that the other star players – Lynn Swann, Franco Harris, and Mean Joe Green, among others- were black.

Anyway. I don’t typically give two hoots and a holler for football, except as it involves the Steelers and any team that has the audacity to score against them. I’m only half kidding about the latter. That said, I would not have committed the aforementioned ritual suicide if the Cardinals had won, which they so totally almost did, oh my fucking gourds. The only teams that make me want to go all Yukio Mishima on myself are the Red Sox and the Patriots. Sorry, Bostonians – I’m a New Yorker. It’s in my contract, and by now my DNA, like as not.

The Steelers/Cards matchup, though, is the latest in a series of rather fast and furious identity crises, both personal and, um, well, political, if you can file “football” under the latter. See, for years, the Steelers have been the underdogs. That’s part of their charm, these raggedy, scrappy guys from filthy fucking Pittsburgh who can’t get a break, until they finally up and get a break, and then we’re all dancing in the streets and pouring Iron City on our heads and waving our Terrible Towels around because David has trumped Goliath. Problem is, it looks like the Steelers are now Goliath. Pittsburgh is still fucking filthy, god love the place, but the Steelers have won two Super Bowls in the past three years. That’s one for the thumb plus an extra digit, and that doesn’t say “underdog” to me so much as it says Official Bad-Ass Motherfuckers of the AFC. I’m all for the boys in black and gold being bad-ass motherfuckers, but the “official” part gets to me a bit. How are we Steelers fans supposed to act now that we’re legit, assuming we are? Are we going to have to drink microbrews now? Wear suits? Are Broncos and Cowboys fans going to start looking at us the way we used to look at them – with white-hot rage and what Tennessee Williams called “the terrible, stiff-necked pride of the defeated”? Hey, man, don’t be hatin’ on us! We’re the good guys! We’re just working class stiffs from Steel Town! We’ve won only six Super Bow…oh. Oops. Shit. Yeah, well, fuck you anyway, Denver and Dallas! At least nobody ever made any prime time soap operas about…shitfuckpiss again. Well, but ours was on Showtime. Which is not, technically, a network. So. There. Ha.

Hmmm. This is turning out to be somewhat more profound than I’d thought. Damn. At least the Pirates still suck, kind of.