spatch: (Spike Dancing The Hula)
The Broadway in Boston series has announced its 2008-2009 lineup. The two dramatic offerings are Frost/Nixon, a darn good piece about David Frost's epic interview with post-Watergate Nixon, and A Bronx Tale, Chazz Palminteri's one-man show which looks rather compelling.

There are six musicals this year: A Chorus Line ("The curtain goes up on a bunch of young hopefuls in 1970s leotards..."), Brigadoon, Legally Blonde, Nice Work If You Can Get It (another "New Gershwin" musical starring Harry Connick Jr), Spring Awakening, which I know will make all the theaterkids squee, and... Dirty Dancing.

Oh, yes.

Now I know some of you may have already heard of this, but let's let everybody else in on the joke, okay? Yes, we have another movie adaptation, ladies and gentlemen, and another jukebox musical (the fact that there's only a "Musical Supervisor" listed in the creative credits and no, say, "Composer" leads us to understand that there no original songs have been written for the show.) Eleanor Bergstein, the original creator and author, is behind it, so at least we can say that this is at least a project borne of love for the piece and because some producer thought it'd be cool to string together some Billy Joel songs and name the leads Brenda and Eddie.

But still. Dirty Dancing? Okay, it was a big-ass hit movie, everybody loved it, Jerry Orbach was in it, nobody put Baby in the corner, Patrick Swayze launched his amazing singing career (still selling out arena crowds wherever he goes, eh?) and the pop music of the early 1960s made a brief comeback in the late 80s (ok, I still enjoy Mickey & Sylvia every now and then.)

Lest we think this might be tongue in cheek, let me be the first to reassure you that no, it's really serious. Really. The official title is, and I kid you not, "Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage". The Classic Story.

The Classic Story.

THE CLASSIC STORY.

I cannot write this in any more caps.

By the way, Googling for "classic story" brings up hits for Peter Pan, Rapunzel and The
Gingerbread Man, all of which have enjoyed successful musical adaptations, so maybe the show's in good company here.

This show has been pretty big overseas. It was a West End recordbreaker and the Australians love it. But then again, weren't they also the ones who came up with the idea for Mamma Mia?

Do we want to know what it's all about? Sure we do! Read on, press notes!
Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage is a coming of age love story involving the talented and headstrong dancer Johnny Castle and Frances 'Baby' Houseman. During her family's summer holiday at the popular Kellerman's resort, Baby, a doctor's daughter with dreams of joining the Peace Corps, meets Johnny, the guy from the wrong side of the tracks. Against all odds, they fall in love, learning life-changing lessons along the way. The production features such tunes as "Hungry Eyes," "Do You Love Me?" and the Oscar-winning "(I've Had) The Time of My Life."
(Wait a minute... Against All Odds? That's another movie entirely, kids.)

I know a lot of people love this movie. It's clear that the story resonates on many levels with many different people, and there's dancing and music and catchphrases and some pretty steamy bits. That much is cool. I don't think it needs to be put up on a pedestal, though other folks disagree. Here, presented for your giggles, is someone's cultural addition to history via the Dirty Dancing movie article on Wikipedia. Given that Wikipedia has given me some of the best laughs I've ever had (I'm particularly fond of the scholarly checklist of Recurring Themes in John Irving's Work), you can bet I love this following textbrick. While the points made about the theme is valid, just imagine it being read in a pretentious academic voice with no hint of irony whatsoever.
Dirty Dancing has been described as a coming-of-age tale showing the passage from adolescence to adulthood, in a classic hero's journey format similar to Homer's Odyssey. The hero, Baby, is an innocent who receives a call to adventure from a gatekeeper – one of the camp staff asking her in to the party – who invites her to cross a bridge (symbolically significant as it links different realms) and Baby passes into an unfamiliar world (the resort's staff and their dancing rituals). Baby then proceeds through tests and trials (dancing lessons, Penny's abortion, the performance at the Sheldrake, standing up for Johnny) to achieve personal growth, "knowledge acquired through personal experience". She is rewarded for her achievements, by sexual union with Johnny. At the end of the film she undergoes the supreme ordeal (the climactic lift), which she conquers, and is rewarded by being raised, both literally into the air and figuratively into divinity, demonstrating that the hero has achieved a new higher state of being, and has been permanently changed by the journey.
And lo has Baby achieved enlightenment.

I hope you all took notes because this will be on the exam. Top scorers will be rewarded for their achievements in the form of sexual union with Johnny.

And I don't know about you, but I'm always confusing Dirty Dancing with The Odyssey. I keep going "Wait, which one had the lotus eaters again?"
spatch: (Default)
TCM is showing "Sh! The Octopus" at 1:00 am EST. It is one of the stupidest movies ever.

Night people everywhere rejoice.
spatch: (Admit One)
So last night I saw THE HOUSE ON HAUNTED HILL and not the groovy one from 1959, I'm talking the remake from 1999 with Taye Diggs and Geoffrey Rush of all people and I really am all going, like, what? about it and stuff. Okay I am going to tell you the story of the House on Haunted Hill okay so sit down and listen.

Written in CAFFEINE-O-RAMA )

Still, I had more fun watching FROM DUSK TIL DAWN a few nights earlier. But I would totally ride a roller coaster with Lisa Loeb any day. Over and over and over and over again. You know how to reach me. Let's make this happen.
spatch: (Typewriter Guy)
[livejournal.com profile] ayelle has brought to our attention the story of a nature writer whose textbook descriptions of the black-footed ferret were lifted, word-for-word, and used as pillow talk in a romance novel. Paul Tolme's article on the black-footed ferret, which he researched in South Dakota, was originally published in Defender magazine's summer 2005 issue. Somehow, he became an unwitting contributor of dialogue to Cassie Edwards' romance novel "Shadow Bear", in which the exotically-named Shiona Bramlett falls in love with a Lakota chief named, uh, Shadow Bear. Tolme, alerted to this lifting by a romance novel snark blog, reads the book and discovers that portions of his article were placed hot on the heels of a torrid sex scene. I quote:
...a few pages later, as Bramlett and Shadow Bear bask in their postcoital glow, my ferrets arrive on the scene.

Bramlett hears something rustling in the bushes and recoils in fear. Could it be the evil Jack Thunder Horse, come to steal the map that reveals the secret location of the gold discovered by her late father?

No!

It's just a family of ferrets. Phew. Let's put aside for now that ferrets live on the prairie, where there are no bushes—never mind the forest where Edwards has set her characters. Seeing the cute animals, Shiona and Shadow Bear launch into a discussion about the cute little critters.

"They are so named because of their dark legs," Shadow Bear says, to which Shiona responds: "They are so small, surely weighing only about two pounds and measuring two feet from tip to tail."

Shiona then tells Shadow Bear how she once read about ferrets in a book she took from the study of her father. "I discovered they are related to minks and otters. It is said their closest relations are European ferrets and Siberian polecats," she says. "Researchers theorize that polecats crossed the land bridge that once linked Siberia and Alaska, to establish the New World population."

Ohmygod that is so hot.
Well, we took a look at that and worried. You see, we had been hard at work on a romance novel of our own, tenatively entitled "Buffalo Love", and had just smoked two cigarettes (one for each of our protagonists) after finishing a particularly steamy passage. We worried slightly because, as you see, while we were in the midst of this strenuous writing, a Wikipedia window just happened to be open and we might have kinda glanced its way while tapping intently on the keyboard. However, after reading over the finished passage, we are certain that we did no wrong and that nobody will notice anyway.

AND SO, burning with desire and torrid passion... )

It's certain we've nothing to fear.
spatch: (Spike Dancing The Hula)
Pray, scorn me not! I pledge my troth to thee
And if thou shalt ever deign to change thy mind
My love so strong compels me head the line
In the hopes thou tak'st a chance on me.

Oft times have I thought back upon that night
O sweet Fernando, canst thou hear the drums?
Their beat brings something in the air that comes
To make the stars of liberty shine bright.

Behold, this lass of only seventeen
What beauty this, such grace upon the floor!
Jiveth she as none have dared before
O truly, for she is the Dancing Queen.

It's oft been told the winner takes it all
If that be so, the loser takes the fall.
spatch: (Default)
Here it is, folks, your Moment of Denouement.
Music, Maestro? *ahem*

You and I in our little workshop
Making LED lights from the money we got
Hanging glowies before dawn
Til one by one, they're all done
Three weeks later, MBTA subway
Worker sees one, he goes "Oh hey,
Better call the bomb squad by
Cause ninety-nine Mooninites have arrived"

Ninety-nine Mooninites
Hanging from the overpass
With their middle fingers high
As if to say "Hub, kiss my ass"
Here's Ignignokt, that one's Err
But Boston does not know for sure
The Aqua Teens are advertised
By ninety-nine Mooninites in the sky

Ninety-nine cops on the scene
Can't believe what they've just seen
There's batteries and wires, too
And no one knows just what to do
They look explosive, clench your fists
They must be from terrorists!
We better blast them to the sky
Cause ninety-nine Mooninites must die

Ninety-nine white vans arrive
All with TV crews inside
Everyone's a news reporter
Everyone's a Chet or Nat
Breathlessly they cause a panic
Are these bombs or just Satanic?
Suddenly the bloggers cry
"Wait a minute, those are Mooninites!"

Ninety-nine lulz we have had
And all because of Pete and Sean
It's all over, but Menino's mumbling
Words like "hoax" to hide his bumbling
Folks are selling souvenirs
To commemorate our Day of Fear
And here is a Mooninite
I check eBay and make my bid...
spatch: (Otho on Ice Bucket)
Mr. Spatch: WHOOOOOO LIVES IN A PINEAPPLE UNDER THE SEA?
Ms. A. Mittens: Someone who has long since died of asphyxiation! Such a housing situation is impractical at best!
Mr. Spatch: ok, you win.
Mr. Spatch: we also would have accepted "JOHN! De! LANCIE!"
spatch: (spatch - porter)
I'm not sure who designed the checkout points of purchase at Shaw's supermarkets, but I'm willing to bet it was a friend of the lowest bidder who designed the Charlie Card machines. There are so many stupid little user interface problems with things that it's amazing any actual currency-based commerce is conducted successfully there on a daily basis. I think we'd be much better off going back to the bartering system, only I'd hate to be out of chickens when I need to buy more toilet paper.

The first example of this supermarket dorkitude is the credit/debit card pad, which has been much discussed among Bostonians and Bostonians with zeroes where Os ought to be. The first few steps of this payment process are easy enough: you swipe your card, choose DEBIT or CREDIT or EBT or AZT or IHTFP, enter in your Redundant RPIN Number if necessary, and then select the amount of cash back, if any, that you would like.

The total is then displayed on the touch screen like this:

TOTAL AMOUNT TO PAY
$37.50
IS THIS CORRECT?

do you want to go out with me? circle one
[YES] [NO]


Along with the touch screen, there are buttons on the keypad marked YES and NO. If you push NO on either one, the transaction is cancelled and you have to swipe your card all over again.

If you push YES on either one... the transaction is cancelled and you have to swipe your card all over again.

The correct procedure, my little nublets, is to press the ENTER key on the keypad. (Oh, yeah, by the way, there's an ENTER key on the keypad.) Yes, the UI asks you a question and instead of being able to answer with the responses provided, you have to hit a wholly different key altogether. It's pretty much the worst Interactive Fiction puzzle ever, and the only way you solve it is by typing UNDO and trying another button, or by reading the helpful sign that used to say "WHEN ASKED IF THE TOTAL IS RIGHT HIT ENTER, NOT YES" until someone ripped it off the unit. Or maybe you'll luck out and get the cashier who says "don't-hit-yes-hit-enter-don't-hit-me-either-I-didn't-code-this-piece-of-crap."

Now that one's just annoying. And as counter-intuitive as it is, it isn't potentially profitable for you, the consumer. What can be a potential windfall for you is the horrible way the self-checkout lanes at Shaw's are designed.

It's a very easy concept, right? You scan your own groceries, put them in the bag, pay with cash or card, collect your change or cash back, and hey presto you've not had one single iota of human interaction but your groceries are ready to go! And, truth be told, once you get the process down pat, it does go by pretty quickly. But the self-checkout unit is, again, designed by a complete moron who probably also thought the original iMac puck-mouse was a pretty neat idea.

See, the touch screen and scanner are on one side of the unit. The racks of plastic bags are in the middle. The payment collectors -- bill acceptors, coin slot and card swipey thingy -- are on the other side of the unit. No problem, very ergonomic, you move from one side of the unit to the other as your transaction progresses. Scan, bag, pay, get the hell out of Dodge. Left to right (or right to left if you're reading Hebrew or Arabic.)

But what if you want cash back, or have some change coming your way? Oh, that's easy. Anyone with half a brain could intuitively divine where the little compartment that dispenses your bills will be. The little compartment that dispenses your bills is, of course, in a hard-to-notice location, back under the scanner part of the unit. It's nowhere near the place where you pay and therefore is naturally very hard to miss. So hard, in fact, that there are signs put up all over the unit that says DON'T FORGET YOUR CHANGE! IT'LL BE UNDER THE SCANNER. DON'T LOOK AT ME, I'M JUST THE SIGN. P.S. IF YOU FORGET YOUR CHANGE WE CAN'T REIMBURSE YOU. STOP LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT. GOD I HATE BEING THE ONE TO BEAR BAD NEWS. WHY CAN'T I BE THE SIGN THAT SAYS "BUY ONE BOX OF DELICIOUS COOKIES AND GET ONE FREE" OR SOMETHING? EVERYBODY LIKES THE BUY-ONE-GET-ONE-FREE SIGNS. NOBODY LIKES ME. I'M EVEN LESS LIKED THAN THE SIGN THAT SAYS "SORRY, WE GOT BUSTED BY A 15-YEAR-OLD IN A STING OPERATION AND CAN'T SELL CIGARETTES FOR TWO WEEKS." JUST PUT ME IN THE SHREDDER AND GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY.

As an added precaution, when you're done with your transaction, the pre-recorded chipper voice who guides your every step through this amazing shopping quest also says "Don't forget your change! It will be under the scanner. No, I don't know why. Stop asking me. This is a recording. Thank you for shopping at -- Shaw's!"

This evening I used the checkout lane at the Porter Square Shaw's and, worried it was going to start raining before I made it home, asked for $20 cash back so I could go annoy a taxi driver with a piss-ant fare from Porter to Davis. Yeah, cabbies have been known to complain to me about small fares. What do they expect when they stand at the supermarket in Porter? Airport fares? JUST BOUGHT MY CANNED HAM AND DRY CEREAL, NOW IT'S OFF TO SUNNY ACAPULCO!

Christ, I'm digressing like gangbusters tonight. Must've forgotten one of my meds today.

At any rate, when I asked for the $20 back, I got it in tens. I scooped my change out of the compartment, shoved it in my wallet, and hightailed it out to see if the rain had come. It hadn't, so off I went down the street, busily humming a happy tune. Then I pondered that maybe the wad of cash I'd grabbed from the change compartment felt a bit thick. Checking my wallet, I realized that I'd grabbed four ten-dollar bills from the change compartment. I looked at the receipt; the charge was exactly as it should've been for me. I'd grabbed someone else's forgotten twenty along with my own.

I'm kind of on the fence about this -- $20 seems to me to be as much extra money as I could take and not feel compelled to give back to the manager. But then again, what could the manager do? The store already says they won't reimburse forgotten change ("You say you left $20 in the self-checkout change bin? Yes, we seem to have had twenty dollars turned in to the Lost & Found today. Could you describe the bills to me?") and really, it's no longer the supermarket's money, it's some poor schmoe's change and who knows how long ago they forgot it.

So hey, free twenty bux. I'll go hog wild and get two coffees tomorrow morning, plus one for the elderly guy who hangs outside the Davis T stop with a handful of papers, hollering "FREE METRO PAY-PAH!" (It's clear he's not an actual Metro employee, as he doesn't wear the vest or hat and there's an actual Metro giver-outer inside the station itself; he's just this old dude who probably lives in the elderly housing place up College Ave and who apparently likes getting up in the morning to play paperboy and talk to people. I like him.)

But what about you?

[Poll #842673]

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