Here’s an overlong writeup of the 20071005 Jonathan Coulton with Paul and Storm concert at Johnny D’s in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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Wake Me Up Before You JoCoBroPro

Friday, June 15, 2007

With the JoCoFo(rums) a no-go, I’m posting this here, which is appropriate because it’s fairly lengthy. Fairly.

This is my proposed synopsis of the JoCo Forums’ Jonathan Coulton Broadway Production. It’s way too long and unwieldy, but hey, I’m more of an idea guy (read: lazy guy) — I’ll leave the arguments about what to trim to everyone else.

My really long writeup follows this jump-cut.

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Crisis of faith

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

or, A post in which I contemplate rooting for the Saints in their second season after Katrina while conscientiously avoiding calling myself a “fair-weather fan”

Back to the old grind.

I am finding it difficult to root for any team with that player on it, and I say this after he had three touchdown catches last game (granted, against the unimpressive Texans). The team I really want to support is New Orleans.

For one thing, New Orleans is basically a Cowboy satellite state right now. Head coach Sean Payton, as sports commentators keep mentioning, ran the Dallas offense the last three years.

(Less frequently mentioned: Payton is an Eastern Illinois University alumnus, as is Cowboys backup QB / fan favorite Tony Romo, whom Payton coached the last few years. Of the 32 NFL head coaches, three are EIU alumni: Payton, Mike Shanahan of the Broncos, and Brad Childress of the Vikings. Payton, Romo, and Shanahan were starting QBs for the Division I-AA Panthers.)

Rob Petitti, who started 16 games at RT for Dallas last year, plays for the Saints. Two of their three starting linebackers (Shanle and Fujita) were brought over from Dallas.

The Cowboys have so much LB depth that even running a 3-4 defense, i.e. starting 4 linebackers, they

  • let the Saints take Shanle and Fujita, who both had started last year,
  • cut Rocky Boiman, whom they had given an $1 million signing bonus, and
  • regularly leave 2006 1st round pick Bobby Carpenter off the game-day active roster.

Also, I cannot forget ex-Cowboy and current Saints starting SS Omar Stoutmire, much as I would like to.

What else? I can totally pull for Drew Brees and Deuce McAllister, both of whom are playing really well despite recent potentially career-ending injuries. Reggie Bush and Joe Horn have got to be a lot of fun to watch, and as regards fineable touchdown rituals, cell phones trump Sharpies any day.

Oh, and they can actually finish the job against the Eagles. *muttermuttermutter*

The problem? The Saints are 5-1 right now, and nothing screams “bandwagon” more than deciding to switch loyalties to a team that’s 5-1. (It’d be breaking a Man Law.) I mean, Cowboys fans are notorious for bandwagonism as it is. And I wasn’t exactly out there every game rooting for the post-Katrina Saints, when every NFL fan was required to support them. I can make excuses — I’d be cheering for players I like (the Scotts, particularly), and I can hardly wait for Payton to break out Blue Steel — but 5-1 still nags at my sense of decency.

I do want to make it clear that if I transfer my loyalties to the Saints, that’s it for me as long as the player has a star on his helmet. I don’t mean I wouldn’t be happy if he won a Super Bowl with the Cowboys, but the Saints would be “my” team. Whichever I decide on, I’ll support, even at the detriment of the other.

Which means, of course, that you should be circling 10 December on the calendars, folks, because that’s when this crucible culminates. We’ll see what I’m saying then:

“…I love to watch them lose to the Cowboys…”


“Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints!”

In the meantime, the Saints have got a bye this Sunday, which gives me another week to come to some kind of decision. Of course, if it weren’t for that bandwagon thing, my choice would be easy. Still, New Orleans has a tough schedule coming up, so maybe I should be hoping they lose some games so that I can cheer for them with an easy conscience.

(PS: The first football game I ever attended was a preseason game between the Cowboys and the Saints.)

Vaguely a Musing: History as She is Spoke

Wednesday, October 4, 2006

History, they say, is written by the winners, but history textbooks, it seems, are written by a bunch of losers. I’ll grant that there really is no good way of putting events disparate in time and space into a coherent structure. Still, one could avoid, for example, going into detail about the Lindbergh kidnapping at the beginning of a chapter while not describing the invention of the airplane until the last pages of that chapter, as the history textbook I used in high school did.

[A history textbook I looked over recently] has a section about the Middle East in which the narrative jumps from something like 10,000 years ago to 5000 years ago to 4000 years ago to 3500 years ago as if this all happened in about two days. The book covered five centuries of the Babylonian kingdoms in two terse paragraphs. If those authors had continued at that pace, those same two paragraphs could explain everything that has happened in the Western Hemisphere since the voyages of Columbus.

[20080328: The rest of this was meant to be an essay, but it would take at least four revisions to be any good.]

The best-laid plans of My-an-mar.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

or, How do you solve a problem like Myanmar?

Question: How do you pronounce Myanmar?

Wikipedia tells me — well, it tells me a lot, none of which helps. Apparently, it’s supposed to be pronounced, in Burmese (not in “Myanmarese,” strangely), as “Myanma”, but all y’all non-rhotics gave the people of Myanmar the idear that they could tack on that extra “r” without affecting the pronunciation and make themselves worth more in Scrabble. I now know that the “an” is pronounced differently in Burmese depending on whether it is used as a noun or an adjective. It also tells me that

Opposition parties, although they oppose the English name “Myanmar”, do not oppose the official Burmese name Myanma, and no opposition party is proposing to use the colloquial name Bama as the official name of the country.

I’m a little tired, but I gather that “Bama” is pronounced to fit into

Bermuda, Bahama, / Come on, pretty Bama,

rather than

I can’t forget the glamour,

Your eyes held a tender light,

And stars fell all over Bama

Last night., another place I go for answers, helps me less. The dictionary gives the pronunciation as

Myan·mar (myän-mär, -mär),

and the encyclopedia as

Myanmar (myänmär, mēänmär)

and the “geography” as

Myanmar (myahn-mahr, meye-ahn-mahr)

I think I’m going to have to wait until I finally meet someone from Bama Burma Myanmar before I find out where this accent actually falls, and I get the feeling that I’ll have to endure a political spiel before I get my answer.

Instead, doggerel.

“We shall disembark in Burma,”

Mama said to Grandma Rita.

But when they reached terra firma

They found terra incognita.

Unbeknownst to dear old Mama,

She had misinformed my gran’mar;

They found neither Bur- nor Bama —

Burma had become Myanmar.

— Bry

PS: If y’all wouldn’t mind hanging on, I’ll try to figure out some way to work Yangon in.