Mr. Smith makes it to PBS

Many of you know I worked for the Jeff Smith campaign last summer, and I plugged the documentary about his 2004 run for the Dick Gephardt's congressional seat, Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore? Well, that film will be showing on PBS in St Louis tonight (Tuesday) at 7:30 PM. Tivo Idol, people, or Tivo this film, because it is amazing. Check your own local listings to see if it's playing outside of St Louis.


Oceania is now at war with Eastasia

The other night, I was watching various TV shows online. I hadn't seen MTV's "My Super Sweet Sixteen" in forever, rightly so, because that show is a crock of shit, but I am a pop-culture completist, and this very base kind of documentary still appeals to me. I had a few glasses of wine (Chris was at his conferences) and settled in to see Eazy-E's daughter's big-ass party. As I was watching the unbelievably rude, mean, and selfish way this girl was talking to the people around her who were her friends, family, or people who were serving her in some way, I just couldn't believe that that was real. I mean, here was this huge painted portrait of Eazy-E hanging on the wall. I couldn't believe that someone who acted this way was being glorified on a television show, and that, undoubtedly, this girl would have 1,800 MySpace comments telling her how awesome she was. It felt like I was watching a Christopher Guest mockumentary.
It's not just shitty "reality" television. Anna Nicole Smith dies tragically. Drama ensues. Certainly bizarre and fascinating, for about two minutes. Does this need continuous coverage on Headline News or MSNBC, tracking the unsubstantiated minutiae of what was in her fridge when she died? If you need any more proof that the media controls what we care about, you need look no further than last week's coverage. You know what else happened last week? Multiple people died in bombings in Iraq, Lebanon, Somalia, and Iran. In fact, 139 people were killed in Iraq by military-related attacks on Monday alone. A major scientific study heralded the medicinal benefit of marijuana. The world finally got on board with acknowledging that global warming is real. Where's the live feed for that? Where are the "reporters" climbing all over each other to get this story? Do more people care about the shameful gold-digging aftermath of a fucked-up woman's death that care about blatant human rights violations happening around the world? Do we care more about how much some complete idiot is going to pay for Britney's ratty extensions on eBay than the Bush Administration's insolent, arrogant attempt to dupe the public into supporting the invasion of another country? Look, I read PinkIsTheNewBlog and PerezHilton, but I also read The New York Times, BBC News, and Mother Jones. We refuse to look critically at what the media spoon-feeds us (or chooses not to spoon-feed us) and become completely apathetic to the world around us.
Last week before I went to the conference, I chaperoned a group of students on a trip to see a stage production of George Orwell's 1984 at Wash U. They had not yet read the book, but were going to start it this week. I've read 1984 several times, and taught it to my seniors when I was in Bamberg, but it wasn't until I saw the stage version, revisiting the text in my head as actors (the interrogators smartly dressed like congressman, complete with power suit and lapel pin) brought the story to life, that I was utterly and completely frightened. Before, I was frightened of what Orwell thought our civilization could become. Now, I was afraid of what it had become.


We Don't Need Stinkin' Mardi Gras

Since I wasn't back from Tan-Tar-A until 4ish, and it was straight Arctic, and Mike D and Kendall were in town, we didn't head to Soulard last night. Affton (i.e. Meghan and Paul's) is where it's at. Some images--

Dan drew a tattoo of George Michael on Emily's back. It was hot as hell. There were several Guitar Hero matchups; here's one of Chris and Mike as Matt Berra looks on.

Real Teachers, Really

Thursday I had to go present at this state conference for English teachers. I was supposed to go with another colleague; we were presenting a session, but he backed out at the last minute, and my car is still sitting in the school parking lot with a broken ignition cylinder or something, so I rented a car and headed to Tan-Tar-A. Dear God. The presentation went really, really well, and I got to hang out with my favoritist professor of my life, Dr. Barb Price, and then things went horribly, horribly askew. I am saving the unabridged version from my memoirs, but here's a brief rundown of the elements that made the post-presentation convention not unlike a bizzaro dream where you find yourself in your underwear running away from the apocalypse with that girl you haven't seen since grade school. So:

1. Grown-ass man constantly running around with a panda puppet. Was seen in the bar. With the puppet.
2. Found out random Truman student who was there is married to Writer Guy. Those who frequented the Dukum Inn circa 2003-2004 know who I'm talking about.
3. Made two friends from North KC, and we spent the night making fun of:
a. 30-year old teachers wearing mom jeans, 'woo!" ing, dancing the cha-cha-slide, singing Margaritaville, one wearing a t-shirt that said, "Got Dick?"
b. another younger non-teacher, who accosted us in the lobby after the bar closed, circa 2AM, and went into hour-long hysterics, complete with tears and chest pounding, about Jesus, to which I responded by parroting everything she said back like the congregation and holding my hand up and telling her to testify, which she absolutely found normal. She also had a frightening lobster-red tanning-bed sunburn.

Long story short, I woke up with a mean hangover and had to drive back to the Lou with no battery in my iPod.


New Favorite Blog

...and not because I'm bound by the power vested in Emily Weidhaas. Chris started a blog, and it's pretty damn good. Give Peace Between People a shoutout, y'all.

Also, I have to tell you about my experience at the state English teacher conference. Let's just say it involved panda puppets, 2 AM Jesus freaks, and a pint of Dewars. I'm hurtin'. But that will come tomorrow. Must go hang out at Meghan's.


Futile Protest Songs

Officially, the kids have gone batshit crazy. I'm holed up in the Writing Center hoping for little-to-no customers. In honor of this totally productive and worthwhile day (and to avoid doing any real work) I made a new playlist in honor of my student's protests to "LET US OUT!" Like I make any real decisions around here. See as follows.

The Sound of Settling--Death Cab
Lost Cause--Beck
Selfless, Cold, and Composed--Ben Folds Five
Roll With It--Ani DiFranco
Drown in My Own Tears--Jeff Buckley
Great Escape--Guster
Waiting for the Sun--The Jayhawks
Mystery of Iniquity--Lauryn Hill
Happiness Is a Warm Gun--The Beatles
Dear Valentine--Guster
Don't Stop Believin'--Journey
It's Not My Cross to Bear--The Allman Brothers
Rise Up With Fists--Jenny Lewis


That's how articulate I am today.

It's pretty cool that we're practically the ONLY school that has school today. And, although we can have school, we apparently cannot have field trips, one of which I had scheduled for today, so here I am with no lesson plans, wearing jeans and a hoodie like I was going to a landfill, which I was, but now I'm not. And Chris is at home, cozy in pajamas, probably watching The View. Well, probably not. But maybe Price is Right.

Shins concert post later this afternoon....


From the Mouths of Babes

"You're a grown-ass lady. Do not put on Pampers thinkin' you gon' drive 900 miles without stopping. You're an astronaut? That ain't smart, not one bit. You gonna have to stop some time, why would you ride around with boo boo in your pants? Work it out!"

My student, in re: astronaut arrested for attempted murder.



We're back from the World Series of Pop Culture, and although we did pass the test, and were the only team in our testing session to do so, we did not make it pass casting, probably because we were so shocked at passing the test that we acted like slaphappy idiots in front of the cameras. So, our trivia glory will not, for the time being, go any further than Lemmons. But Chicago was a (freezingcoldarctic) blast--we saw BodyWorlds 2 at the Museum of Science and Industry, I got to hang with with two of my three best friends from high school, Justin and Mike, and we tied one on at a dive Irish bar in Lincoln Park.

In other news, Green Options launches today, for real. I blog on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and there is great content posted every single day. If you haven't been keeping up with the news, pretty much we're at a tipping point as far as public awareness of climate change, and you'd be wise to get on the green wagon now. This is a great place to start.


Off to find fame and fortune

I haven't posted lately because I have been busy with the Green Options thang, which is working out quite nicely. I hope you'll hop on over to check out my posts, then give them some Hugg or Digg love.

This weekend is the World Series of Pop Culture regionals in Chicago, where Paul, Kevin, and I will be attempting to make the national competition (the one that is on VH1) in New York. There are a lot a team competing and not a lot of teams make it to the Sunday's regional final, but someone's got to win, so it might as well be us. It gives me an excuse to read about Veronica Mars on Wikipedia. I watched every single episode of The Office in the name of research. And it was awesome. Wish us luck!