Sunday, December 31, 2006

925 A.D. T'ang...

It's Not Just For Breakfast Anymore

"Ching chong, Danny DeVito, ching chong, drunk on The View ching chong"

Last night my friends and I went to see Curse of the Golden Flower, a new Chinese movie with Chow Yun-Fat, Gong Li and a cast of millions. Waiting to purchase tickets, an older man in line said, "That Chinese movie...what's it called?" Why it's real name is Man cheng jin dai huang jin jia. The same man, after seeing his modern printout of a ticket said, "That's it? THAT'S the ticket? 'Fraid so, Elder Fart Eye, and this was only a prelude to many more questions that came to mind while watching this gawdy epic. We talked about it walking back to the car.

"Get online with Victoria's Secret and order 40,000 tangas."

Things like:

1) This could have been King Lear, only with sons instead of daughters, and China instead of England and the Emperor isn't about to abdicate, not without busting a few caps and a few hundred thousand asses.

"Don't Kill Prince Jei!"
"Oh yeah. Which one is Prince Jei?"

My friend Jill said, "I can't believe the huge cast in this movie." I didn't want to get into the whole digital imaging thing with her so I replied, "Jill. It's China. They have people."

2) The Emperor has ordered a poisonous tisane disguised as anemia medicine for the Empresses' consumption on an hourly basis. There is a highly stylized ritual involving the servants preparing this brew for her. It seemed to give her hot flashes, because she keeps breaking out into a sweat. I half expected to see James Brown wiggle onto the scene and burst into "Cold Sweat." We wondered later. This was China, right? Where they use china? So why was she always drinking out of a glass? One friend said in a Yiddish accent, "A nice glass tea."

In Every Dream Home A Heartache

3) The interior of the Imperial Palace had gaudy pillars of hot pink, neon yellow and a lurid peacock blue. In other words a rainbow effect, plus eunuchs mincing around in women's robes and bright red lipstick announcing the approach of the Hour of the Dragon. And gold. My God, the gold. Was there ever a Bling Dynasty? In several scenes the Empress was busy jamming elaborate gold hair ornaments in place. Seems to me she would have had servants doing that for her. Plus you often saw her acrylic nails covered in flower designs. That would be done by the Honorable Manicurist of Polymer Powder?

"I always give myself half an hour to dry"

3) Oh yeah. The feet. The jiggling women in this movie besides all wearing push it up and out Wonderbras also wore boxy fabric slippers that appeared from a distance to be running shoes. I actually looked it up last night: as early as the T'ang Dynasty, when this movie was set, women did have bound peds to have that perfect Lotus Foot, considered so erotic and desirable, unlike the babes pounding the Forbidden City pavement in this flick.

4) A key theme in the film is the approach of the Chrysanthemum Festival (the Golden Flower of the movies' name) which seems to be a T'ang Dynasty dysfunctional Thanksgiving dinner. The family gathers around the table where they try to poison one another or commit suicide. The son's are fighting over who gets to be Emperor once Daddy's dead and Mom plays favorites. "You love Second Brother more than me!"

"I need a schvitz"

5) Everyone knows martial arts. The Emperor, his sons, his first wife who's suppose to be dead, the royal physician...and speaking of the royal physician, when not busy preparing poisons, he's massaging the Emperor's lower back pain (gold armor is killer) then putting him in a schvitz bath. (Memo to self: do not consume Persian black fungus. You will lose all mental faculties after ingesting this for a period of two months.)

We lost ours in less than two hours after seeing this film. Oh yeah, one of the actors, Jay Chou, is a big pop star in China. He sings the theme song to the movie over the closing credits, and you can get this song as a ringtone on your cellular. Music Pimp Numbah Three.

Year Of The Bore

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Five Wise Men. Yer Late!

She Gave Birth Three Days Ago.

Revisionist: The Five Wise Men
Who Came From The South

Did anyone else write about The Playaz' Christmas card this year? I just got mine. Fellas? Yer late. Please note a living, breathing Guv'na, back from the dead. He should have held off reviving until Easter, then he could have made a bigger impact. Just speculation, but do you think they use Santa during the off-season to run comet dust for them?

If you're having trouble reading the messages, the card says "May this Holiday season be filled with dreams of pecan logs (Stuckey's), cocaine (comet dust shortage), and egg nog (recipe: one part egg to three parts nog)," and further down "Seasons Greetings to all! (except to Pagans and Witches). (Note to Reya).

Tac has written: "10" base to tip."
(I "think" he means Rudolph's nose).

The Revived Guv'na writes: "Ah, super-cuba!"
(The second I read this, I started hearing Abba singing "Super Trooper." I think Guv'na means my super computer status, but then again he may mean sugar cube and think he's in Cuba, waiting for the waiter to bring him a mojito).

I think Bon has hit the nog, because he's feeling warm to say, "Hugs and open mouth kisses! (Do you know how many germs are floating around right now??? Oh. Right. The booze kills them).

Wayne is keeping focused on the true meaning of Christmas, quoting Joshua 5:2. (I had to get my King James out for this one.
"At that time the LORD said unto Joshua, Make thee sharp knives, and circumcise again the children of Israel the second time." (Yanno. Why don't they ever show this at Christmas? Television stations could preempt The Charlie Brown Christmas Special or It's A Wonderful Life and add a whole new dimension to the holiday).

Phil closes the card off with "Cube--I hope you are doing well. Happy Kwanzaa."

Happy Kwanzaa to you too, Phil, and to all of The Merry Gentlemen Playaz.

I wish them a joyous New Year, and I hope they've made their resolutions. Things like:

Start buying lottery tickets at a luckier store.

Don't eat medicine just because it looks like candy.

Always replace the gas nozzle before driving away from the pump.

Keep an extra safe distance when driving near police cars while wearing sunglasses after dark and having the driver's seat in the "prone" position.

Learn what the hell "resolution" means.

Become the number one hit when you type "Playaz" into The Google. (They are currently number two).

Happy Holidays From Washington, Gentlemen

Monday, December 25, 2006

A Wet Christmas

Sunday, December 24, 2006

On The Streets Of Balt Amore

This week my friend Laura told me a story that took place in Baltimore, so at this point, I’m going to let her words take over….

So. I have a headlight partially out. The running light works, but the main light is out, and I'm driving through Baltimore on the way home. A city cop pulls me over and asks for my license. He's looking at my birthday (fill in year) and says “So what, you're…? (fill in the wrong age). That was my first clue that he's not too bright. Simple subtraction isn't a skill that city policemen need to prove they have, I guess. He asks... was I was married? any kids? ... all kinds of personal stuff. After a few minutes of chitty chatting, he finally goes back to his car.

Meanwhile, I got out to see the headlight, which part is out. So while I'm looking at my car, he waves me over to his car. I get to his door, and he said, "I'm going to give you a repair order. Why don't you get in so you can sign it when I'm done?" Reluctantly, I got into his stinky old police car and he asks me other questions: Did I grow up in Maryland, do I have family in the area, am I ready for Christmas?" Another cop is coming through on the walkie talkie thingie, saying that I do own the car and it wasn't stolen. The cop looks at me and smiles, then he says "I was checking you out."

"Everything I Eat Turns To Muscle"

He took almost 10 minutes to write out this repair order, and I'm blathering about what mechanic I'll take the car to, why wasn't it cold yet so close to Christmas. I was obviously feeling awkward. So he finally finishes, I sign the notice, and he says "If you have any questions, you can give me a call." Then he gives me his business card. He follows with "or, if you just want to call for any reason". Yeah. Right.

So as I exit, he says "I'll be talking to you." (Uh huh.) As I'm getting into my car, he asks "Do you know where you are going?"... making sure I wasn't lost, I assumed. I told him, "Yes. Sure I do," and he said, "Because if not, you can follow me. I'm going to meet some coworkers at the XYZ diner, you know where that is?". I politely decline and get in my car. Finally, back in familiar territory. Never loved my car more!

THEN... This is the funny part. Then he pulls up beside me (my window was still down), and he yells "Hey Laura. Wanna race?" CAN YOU BELIEVE? On the city streets of Bal'mer. Then he said, "I'll get a head start" and peels out. This was a first for me.

"Meet Me At The Sidebar, East Lex."

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Red High Heels

I just finished reading Antonia Fraser's Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King and I was discussing it with a friend: the intricate, layered degrees of formality in language, title and dress, the lavish expenditure of the monarchy and the juggling of relationships (particularly those of the Sun King) in lives lead on the public stage of French court. My friend said, "Why don't you write a review of the book on your blog, but in rap? You could call it L14: His Bitches & Ho's. "

Oh. The red high heels* of the title?

Louis XIV, 1701
by Hyacinthe Rigaud**

* Quoting directly from my copy of Philip Mansel's Dressed to Rule: Royal and Court Costume From Louis XIV to Elizabeth II:

"One aspect of French court dress survives today. Red heels had been introduced by Louis XIV by 1673, probably to confirm the elevation of his court above the rest of humanity. Red heels, which were restricted to nobles with the right genealogical qualifications to be presented at court, demonstrated that the nobles did not dirty their shoes." Another proposed purpose was the red heels of nobility showed "...they were always ready to crush the enemies of the state at their feet." Talons rouges eventually became a synonym for French courtiers' futile insolence.

"Red heels remained part of formal wear at the French court, for members of the royal family and the noblesse présentée. From Versailles, red heels spread across Europe. They were worn by Louis XIV's greatest enemy, William III, and they can be seen in the coronation portraits of English, German and Austrian royalty. Today, red heels are still worn every year, at the state opening of British parliament in Westminster and the Garter Ceremony at Windsor, by the pages of Elizabeth II."

** The portrait by Rigaud was commissioned by Louis as a gift to Philip V of Spain. Louis was so enthralled with himself, not only did he keep it, but he commissioned a second copy for Versailles. The painting currently hangs in The Louvre.

"Work them kicks, Roi"
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