Saturday, December 04, 2004

Village People

The Village People were a disco band of the late 1970s. The gay-themed group was well known for their outrageous on-stage costumes (the members dressing up as a police officer, an American Indian chief, a construction worker, a soldier, and a cowboy) as for their catchy tunes and lyrics, which had gay themes which are often considered to be subtle enough to be missed by some heterosexuals.
Although the band sang in English, it has been created (in 1977) and managed by two French musicians, Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo (see picture (, who also wrote their songs. It was therefore somewhat artificial, like Frank Farian's Boney M or Trevor Horn's Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
The band's name references the somewhat gay area of New York City named Greenwich Village. Jacques Morali and Henri Belolo got the inspiration for creating an assembly of American man archetypes while walking through the Village one day and meeting gay men dressed in various fantasy ways.
Their hit "In The Navy" was considered by the United States Navy for use in a recruiting advertising campaign on television and radio. They contacted Belolo, who decided to give the rights for free but at the condition that the Navy helps them to shoot the music video. Less than a month later The Village People arrived at the San Diego Naval base. The Navy provided them with a war ship, several airplanes and hundreds of Navy men. However, when the video started showing and the Navy started the parallel ad campaign some newspapers protested against using taxpayer money to fund music videos (and especially for a morally dubious group). The Navy cancelled the campaign as a result. The scandal boosted the popularity of the song tremendously.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A good level posting

Another one bites the dust: Can't Take My Eyes Off of You: 1 Man, 7 Days, 12 Televisions, Jack Lechner, 2000. The concept is that this guy acquires twelve TVs and tries to watch them fifteen hours a day for a week. He wants to get an idea of what's on TV today and how craptastic it is, I suppose. But I was expecting some type of analysis, or at least witty commentary. Instead, reading the book is like...watching twelve TV channels at once. Now most of y'all know that I don't watch TV, but when I do watch it, it's pretty carefully -- there's a show I want to watch, so I put it on. I don't want to tune in late or turn it off before it's over. I watch the show for 30 or 60 minutes, reading during the commercials. I don't use a remote control. What for? I don't care what's on the other channels, and I'd rather read during the commercials than find out. Plus, if I click back too late, I might miss some critical dialogue on the show I'm watching.Reading this book, though, is like watching TV with...well, most people. The channel changes every couple of minutes. I can't keep up, and if I grow interested in something, the Remote Nazi changes it anyway after what seems to be an arbitrary length of time. There's no commentary and no conversation. Lechner describes what's on one TV in one paragraph, and another TV in the next paragraph, on and on, ad nauseum. I'm getting a headache.Next up: Motel of the Mysteries. Now this one I'm excited about. It's about people 4000 years (or so) in the future that discover the remnants of America buried in the earth. They make all sorts of erroneous assumptions about our culture based on what they find, like someone died in the bathtub, so they think it's a coffin, and shit like that.

Have made my way through quite a chunk of the to-be-read shelf in the last few days. I began, and finished, Stick Figure: A Diary of My Former Self by Lori Gottlieb. It's the true story of an eleven-year-old anorexic. It made me feel so gross and brought back so many evil memories that I made sure I was always eating a mayo-drenched sandwich or a big pile of chocolate-covered mango slices while reading it, sort of to fend off the demons.Then I picked up The Bone People, Keri Hulme. I hated it right away. I can't even say I started it, because just a glance at the first page (and then some other pages in the middle to make sure it wasn't just an annoying prologue) made me certain I would loathe it. Here's the first "paragraph":"He walks down the street. The asphalt reels by him."It is all silence."The silence is music."He is the singer."The people passing smile and shake their heads."He holds a hand out to them."The light is blinding; he loves the light."They are the light."Yuck. So not me.So then I tried Henry James's Portrait of a Lady. Now this one I gave the old college try, if you will. I actually read 60 pages before I gave up. It's just too convoluted and it's over 800 pages long.
Almost forgot: during lunch at today's meeting, I wanted to check my email, so I went out to the main floor of the library and asked where the Internet computers were. I was directed to a room in the back and asked to sign a sheet with my name and the time I arrived. While I was doing this, I made small talk with the librarian at the desk and mentioned I was just in Baton Rouge for a meeting but I wanted to check my hotmail. She said, "Oh, no, I'm sorry, you won't be able to do that. The computers are filtered. You can't use email on them." I was too surprised to even ask why. I sat down at a terminal anyway and tried going to Denied. Jesus Christ.The librarian did say that "the new director" had recently decided that policy was stupid and so in the future, the public will be permitted to check email at the library's computers. Still.

Today was an excellent food day. It didn't start off that way, since the power was turned off this morning (for a "planned outage"; I paid my bill, thanks), so I didn't wake up until five minutes after I was supposed to have left for Baton Rouge, a fact I ascertained by going out to my car and checking. So I didn't eat breakfast. Imagine my pleasure, then, to arrive at the Jones Creek Regional Library and discover an entire table loaded with muffins, nut breads, and juices all for me. Well, me and the other attendees.Lunch, though, was a make-your-own-sandwich bar, which meant I had cheddar and honey mustard on white, and spent a good five minutes picking through piles of roast beef and ham trying to find cheese that hadn't touched the muscle of a dead animal. But after that, I took Route 61 home and found a Jack in the Box. Haven't been to one of those since California. I got the seasoned fries, of course. And then I stopped at Oriental Market in Metairie to get some gyoza. They were out of the enormous $10 bags I got last time, but I picked up a few smaller ones. And then...this is the best of all...I went to Union Supermarket on the recommendation of a co-worker and absolutely fell in love. It's a Mexican grocery store! In New Orleans! They even have a bakery, and they make their own pico de gallo, tamales and tortilla chips. Plus they sell chihuahua cheese! Nowhere else in New Orleans does, or at least I haven't found anywhere yet. And they have frozen pupusas! It's almost like discovering Whole Foods for the first time.

Good to be back. Yesterday my keyboard put on a fantastic show of disobedience; I actually sent an email that read, in part, "nm67otumhinm67rvgworkswowyoup\'rervgoinm67 toumhinm67kip\'nmhafuckinm67psycum hoitumhinm67kispilledbv54eerinm67tonmhykeybv54oard." Translation: "Nothing works. Wow, you're going to think I'm a fucking psycho. I think I spelled beer into my keyboard." And that, indeed, is what I do think. When I dismantled that keyboard today, there was a sticky yellowish fluid entrapping gray cat hair under most of the keys. Ew.This new one is not ergonomic like the other, but it only cost $9.99. Ten bucks! I love Best Buy.Today I went to Baton Rouge to attend a Teen Advisory Board workshop. Basically we all sat around and listened to a man named Kevin explain how he started a TAB in his own library, which was, like, the ALA Best Library of 2002 and 2003, or something, and he has 50 kids that are TAB members, and a $10 grand budget just for his TAB. This could not be less relevant to my own library. Plus, Kevin was a little man from Michigan, and he decided that Louisiana would be a safe place to tell Illinois jokes. "We call it Ill-annoying," he giggled. I raised my hand and he said, "Let me guess; you're from Illinois." I said, "I am, and there we wear t-shirts that say 'Muck Fichigan.'" The audience tittered nervously.I took I-10 out there and saw an orange highway sign that read "INMATES WORKING." Now, it's nice that the state of Louisiana wants motorists to avoid hitting the poor enslaved highway workers, but why must their incarcerated status be advertised? What's wrong with the standard "Men at Work" sign, or some nonsexist update thereof? Plus the prisoners were wearing head-to-toe blaze-orange jumpsuits. Ew.Received the following disgusting email yesterday: "USPS New Stamp...REMEMBER the MUSLIM bombing of PanAm Flight 103!...(snip)...REMEMBER the MUSLIM attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11/2001!...REMEMBER all the AMERICAN lives that were lost in those vicious MUSLIM attacks! Now the United States Postal Service REMEMBERS and HONORS the EID MUSLIM holiday season with a commemorative first class holiday postage stamp."REMEMBER to adamantly and vocally BOYCOTT this stamp when purchasing your stamps at the post office. To use this stamp would be a slap in the face to all those AMERICANS who died at the hands of those whom this stamp honors."Fuck you. You know what I think?* I think it's obvious that males almost exclusively were responsible for the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I think there should be a ban on postage stamps issued that honor men. In fact, we shouldn't even celebrate Christmas, because it glorifies the day a man was born. Some men are terrorists; therefore, all men are terrorists. Celebrating Christmas, then, would be "a slap in the face" to the families of all those that died on 9/11.*I don't, of course, think this. But it makes just as little sense as what the fucking psycho that wrote the other email thinks.

Coolest idea ever: There's a library-themed hotel. Rooms are numbered according to the Dewey Decimal Classification, and there are books in each room that fall within the associated Dewey class. Some room themes: Fairy Tales, Erotic Fiction, Dinosaurs, Law, Fashion Design, Paranormal. Nice.Apparently, though, OCLC is suing them because they're using the DDC without permission. Whatever. I'd say that exemplifies the term "frivolous" as it relates to lawsuits.So the hotel is a great idea and all, but they could use some IT-knowledgable librarians to debug their reservations software. I've been trying to make a reservation so that I can find out how much a room runs per night, but every date I try is either booked or I get a message that says, "The dates you have selected exceed the maximum stay of 30 nights," even when I'm only trying to book one or two nights. So I've got no idea how much the hotel costs. I suspect it's outrageously expensive, though, since amenities include "bottled spring water, Belgian chocolates, two-line speaker phones, data ports, voice mail and high speed Internet access, TV with 36 premium cable channels, VCR with complimentary selection from our video library of the American Film Institute's top 100 films, complimentary wine and cheese reception each weekday evening, complimentary refreshments throughout the day including international coffees, cappuccino, espresso, teas, fruit and biscuits, newspapers, [and] complimentary health club privileges."Ah, here it is: room charges range from $295 (petite room with standard double bed) to $770 (two-room suite). Well, maybe someday.

I should add that I loved Maus I and Maus II. Not that they're novels, but they are, you know, graphic, and I enjoyed them thoroughly. Wouldn't have read them at all if Maus I hadn't been required for class, though.

Now I've begun Stardust by Neil Gaiman. This is my first Gaiman, largely because I loathe "graphic novels" or whatever euphemism for "comic book" is the current vogue. Stardust, written in, like, words, is excellent, though. There's a town called Wall with a mysterious door into a meadow that only opens every nine years for the Faerie Market, and a spell was cast on a boy that was trying to buy a glass flower for his girlfriend and now who knows what will occur?

The library hosted a teen rap contest today. I didn't know what to expect, but was totally blown away by the local talent. A fourteen-year-old won the grand prize, which is to appear on a cable access show hosted by Wild Wayne, and also to rap on Wayne's radio show, which is apparently very popular. The kids had to rap about libraries, literacy, or some similar topic, which I thought might be lame, but they did awesome jobs. I'm now listening to Q93 in support, but I didn't realize that (a) it's a ClearChannel station and (b) in addition to hip-hop, it features R&B slow jams. So I'm turning it off now.

On the movie-star front, Lauren has now appeared in an unnamed magazine or newspaper. Okay, the top of the page was cut off, so I don't know which one, but it appears to be an industry publication because it contains phrases like "is repped by the Pakula/King agency." It has a cute little picture of Lauren, and the text reads:"...Lauren Birkell will appear opposite Agnes Bruckner in MGM's "The Woods". Birkell's character is a shy, awkward girl who is the butt of jokes and is befriended by a "bad girl"; the two help each other as they are put under a death spell by an evil headmistress. Birkell next appears in "Paparazzi" for Fox. She is repped by the Pakula/King agency and Tiffany Kuzon at Evolution..."Excellent. I can't wait to see The Woods. But why does this magazine put movie titles in quotes? Unorthodox.


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