Monday, March 29, 2010

I miss all the fun stuff...

According to many, many sources, to which I feel too lazy to link right now, Michael Steele or some other representative of the RNC spent about $2,000.00 of Committee money at a certain club in West Hollywood. The club, Voyeur, is apparently a fake-lesbian-bondage-for-straight-patrons establishment. Very classy.

It is also one block away from my apartment.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The good, the bad, the ugly

The good: I came out to my next-door neighbor today. She was surprised, but eventually fine with it. That brings the list of people-to-whom-I-am-not-out down to one. I am seeing him on Saturday; maybe I'll clear the list then.

The bad: I slept until noon after a terrible night of insomnia, despite my efforts to adjust to a healthier sleep schedule. Hopefully today's exercise—I walked to town to do grocery shopping instead of driving—will make sleep easier to achieve tonight.

The ugly: Mom said that she can't see her friend in April, because there are people coming to visit on Sunday. There was no context to allow that to make any more sense than it does here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's the little things

So you probably disagree with me about this, but right now here's the best part of the healthcare bill passing and the reaction to its passage:

Lots and lots of news articles now have reason to say "attorneys general" every other sentence.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Look at me, I'm in a musical!

It's that time again! Herein I present to you the list of the subjects my students have chosen for their final papers (which are all graded!!). In place of my usual links to the music in question, which are very difficult when discussing live shows—do you know how many terrible high school productions are now on YouTube for the world to almost see and sort of hear a little?—I've decided to include the themes they used to talk about the shows.

Aladdin: racism!
Annie: dreams v. reality
Beauty and the Beast: after reading so, so many final exams about it, I've forgotten what the paper was on
Cats: attraction v. empathy
Chess: disguising selfishness through nationalism
Chicago: innocence, lies, and sexiness
Cinderella (Brandy): gender roles
Company: growing up
Damn Yankees: the seductiveness of Communism!
Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: satirizing the hero
Evita: outsiders and cynicism
Funny Girl: gender performance
Godspell: Vietnam and religion
Grease: gender roles
Guys and Dolls: the 50s and conformity
Hairspray x 2: race, size, gender and the 60s; this one sort of directs the topic on its own
High Society: class, jazz, and a little race
How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying): sexual innuendo and corporate culture
In the Heights: finding out you're already home right where you are--Wizard of Oz much?
Les Misérables: the personal v. the political
A Little Night Music: choosing the right partners? I don't really remember, but it was very Send in the Clowns-y, with a little Night Waltz.
The Little Mermaid x 2: parental authority and teenage rebellion or something like that
Little Shop of Horrors x 2: class and morality
Mamma Mia!: gender, with a touch of race
Mary Poppins x 2: magic and nonsense; father figures
Miss Saigon: Orientalism and "reverse Orientalism." Which was really just more Orientalism.
Mulan: breaking gender boundaries
My Fair Lady x 2: gender roles, but again after all the final exams I've forgotten the other one...
Oliver!: class (duh)
Parade: xenophobia and anti-Semitism
Passion: writing your emotions
Peter Pan (Disney): the cyclical nature of growing up, I think
Peter Pan (Mary Martin): Victorian gender roles
Phantom of the Opera x 2: masks. And also masks.
Pippin: satire of war
Porgy and Bess: love
The Producers: feminizing the Nazis
Rent x 2: isolation and community after 9/11; gender
South Pacific x 2: racism! Also other racism.
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut: something about blaming Canada, but I forget the details. There was a graduate paper on South Park after I read this one, and now my head is stuck on that one.
The Sound of Music x 2: conformity v. individuality; something about comfort; this one I forget because I just wrote about it.
Spring Awakening x 2: adolescence, sex, authority
Sweeney Todd (Film): I remember something about Mrs. Lovett, but not what it was...
Sweeney Todd (Stage): obsession and the Industrial Revolution
West Side Story: after about 35 WSS essays, not a chance I remember this particular one
White Christmas: racism and patriotism
The Wizard of Oz: courage
You Were Never Lovelier: race and gender

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The awesome just keeps coming

This link won't take you directly to the awesome in question, but it will take you to Shakesville, which is superbly awesome enough to justify linking to it at the drop of a hat, and then Shakesville will send you to the amazing website That's What Bea Said.

You know you need to visit this site now. Go on. Check it out. It just might tell you that "you're a furry little gnome and we feed you too much."

I have been so prolific on this blog recently, and this isn't the end of it! Pretty soon you'll be treated to the quarterly list of "what did my students decide to write about?" Since this quarter it's the musicals class, it'll be all showtunes all the time! I'm assuming, of course, that they all actually read the question this time, which has not, historically been true. But I have very high hopes for this bunch!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Even more awesome!!

Homophobic political opportunist Hiram Monserrate, famous (and kicked out of the senate) for slashing his partner with a broken glass and claiming he slipped while bringing her a glass of water...pause to consider the implausibility of this statement...has failed to win back his NY state senate seat! This is wonderful news for:

1. His district in Queens
2. The democrats in the state senate
3. Gay New Yorkers
4. Women

Next target: Rubén Díaz, Sr. Better keep to your pulpit, preacher man; we don't want you in our government no more.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sometimes things are awesome

This is a thing that is awesome. Margaret Atwood in a Canadian movie-musical about hockey? Is there anything in the world that could possibly be better than that?

I didn't think so.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Educational Priorities

So I just started listening to the Planet Money podcast from NPR, which I am tempted already to recommend to everybody. One of the pieces I've started to listen to is about the educational systems in Jamaica and Barbados, and how that system is tied to the countries' per capita GDP. I haven't gotten to Barbados yet, but the situation in Jamaica is pretty dire. Nevertheless...
"You're doing so much with the resources that you have. Do you think, 'if I had more resources, there's all these things that I would do?' What would you do?"

"I'd purchase instruments for the students to use! How can you teach music and then there are no instruments for them to do the practice on?"

This is an exchange between the interviewer for Planet Money and the principal of a small elementary school in Jamaica whose financial situation is so desperate that one teacher not only purchased the whiteboard for his classroom out of pocket, but actually had to build it himself from plywood and formica rather than buying a pre-made one. The standardized test situation in Jamaica is even more crushing than in the US, with one test at age 10 determining much of your future economic status, and what does this amazingly intelligent, dedicated, wonderful principal offer as her first, immediate, "duh" response? Musical instruments. That's what her students need. Second on her list? A reading teacher for every classroom.

Food for thought.