Friday, July 28, 2006

Do you like me? Do you really like me?*

Several local bloggers (Eleventh Hour, ThirtyWhat, Unspelled) have posts on the Illinois Times' Best of Springfield nominations. Apparently, they've added a Best Blog category. I must have missed that when I was reading my IT at lunch today. But here it is, you can go and vote online. What do you know about that.

*Whose Academy Award acceptance speech am I parodying here? The NGR is in effect.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The governor's pet ferret

We tend to remember politicians more for their words than their actions. This is because, as a rule, politicians are better suited to talking about things than actually doing something about them. Despite their best efforts to carry on the Websterian tradition of grand oration, many are remembered by but a single word, often uttered in one of their less than shining moments.

Dan Quayle is known as much for the superfluous ‘e’ he insisted on attaching to potato as he is for being no Jack Kennedy. Bill Clinton will forever be known for pondering the precise meaning of the word is. Anytime anyone goes nucular, they’ll think of George W. Bush. And now, we have another to add to the list.

If you follow Illinois politics in the media, answer me this: who is the first person who pops into your head when you hear the word ferret? Governor Blagojevich, right? Not because he resembles a ferret, but because he has grown overly fond of saying it.

Whenever he is faced with questions involving hiring improprieties in his administration, he pipes up with his commitment to “ferret out the wrongdoing.” It’s threatening to become his epitaph.

Although the term ferret out isn’t rare, neither is it common enough to go unnoticed by a blogger desperate for something to make much too big a deal of.

As employed in relation to the hiring scandal, the phrase ferret out has a certain air about it that makes me think that it was specifically selected after much consideration. It is definitely handpicked, perhaps the product of a brain storming session. Further evidence that this isn’t just a favored idiom of descendents of Serbian immigrants is the fact that Abby Ottenhoff has also used it to describe the administration’s number one tactic for dealing with corruption/deflecting negative press.

In general, ferret out is a pleasant enough expression. It has a folksy charm. It’s certainly more colorful than search for and less implicating than sweep out, which often implies not so much out as under the rug. It’s also understandable that they choose to limit the use of the word investigate, as it tends to remind folks of Patrick Fitzgerald.

The problem with ferret out, when spoken by the governor, is that it sounds contrived coming out of his carefully coiffed head, especially after repeated utterances. If Zell Miller or H. Ross Perot tell you that they aim to ferret something out, then it least sounds authentic, especially if they punctuate their intention with a forceful dadgummit. When Blagojevich or Ottenhoff say ferret out, you just want them to stop it already.

The larger issue, however, is that it doesn’t take a trained psychologist - or a zoologist or etymologist for that matter - to hear the cry for help that is subconsciously emanating from the administration every time a ferret is mentioned. It is the muted confession of a people that have grown weary of maintaining a front of innocence when evidence of guilt surrounds them.

The ferret, as you may know, is a member of the Mustelid family and kin to the weasel. Despite the close biological relationship, the phrase weaseling out has a much different meaning than ferreting out. Each time the governor or his minions offer up the latter, they’re really admitting to the former. And that’s just sad.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Why do I even bother?

Although you wouldn’t know to read them, I actually spend a good deal of time thinking through a column before I post it on the old blog. Lately, I haven’t had much time to think and so there hasn’t been anything to post. Nobody’s complaining either.

It’s difficult, on a regular basis, to write a coherent column on a single topic. Many columnists have taken to writing about four of five different subjects to get to their 600-700 word requirement. That’s fine and certainly easier to do, but I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of expounding on a single subject, trying to find few things to say about it that others may not have thought of. Often this will lead to excruciatingly dull analysis or pointless blather, two of the hallmarks of the work we do here at BlogFreeSpringfield. In fact, this column is quickly headed in that direction.

Now that I have a regular gig with the SJ-R, I’ve very much warmed-up to the idea of writing for money. You may be surprised to learn that despite the immense popularity of BFS, advertising revenues are non-existent and for whatever reason the MacArthur Foundation has been reluctant to bestow upon me one of their coveted “genius” grants. So more and more of the time I spend over-analyzing and blathering pointlessly is for gainful pursuits.

I have no plans to quit blogging. It’s a great medium. But along with original BFS commentary, this space will also become a repository for articles and essays that were rejected by paying publications. For those instances when my work is accepted and a check is on its way, I’ll use the blog to link to the work and also to engage in a little puffery.

I do admit that this whole blogging business seems pointless at times, sometimes even stupid. But then someone will call someone else a pompous douche bag in the comments section and it will all be worth it again.

So there you have it. I wrote almost 350 words just to say that I plan to keep blogging. It’s a gift.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Terms of Simplicity

We’ve all heard how the proliferation of free news sources on the Web is threatening traditional forms of media, especially newspapers. We’ve also heard that if newspapers are to survive, they must adapt to the evolving trends in both how news is delivered, and how it is consumed. This may be why the SJ-R has recently run two articles written in the Frequently Asked Questions format that is so popular on Web sites.

Yesterday's article on the hiring scandal surrounding the governor’s administration and a previous article explaining CWLP’s proposed deal with the Sierra Club were both given the FAQ treatment.

It could be that the decision to run these stories in this manner was based on some feedback that the public wasn’t grasping the issues involved and so a more elementary approach to presenting the facts was employed. There may be some evidence that this is the case.

A recent statewide poll on the governor’s race recently showed that Blagojevich had a double digit lead over Topinka, despite the recent onslaught of negative press and the revelation of an ongoing federal investigation into his administration. Over on the Capital Fax Blog, two interesting schools of thought were offered in explaining these results: people don’t care about the investigation and lawsuits, or, they don’t really understand their significance. If a lot people really think that these stories are just typical election year mudslinging, then the SJ-R story in today’s paper might help explain to them what’s going on and why it does matter.

My personal reaction to the FAQ style of reporting a story is that it is fine for a sidebar, but that it comes across as somewhat remedial as a front page article. But I have to remember that not everyone has reading comprehension skills as advanced as my own. I was, after all, reading Plato in the original Latin when I was eight years old.*

All lying aside, I would hate to see newspapers go too far in adopting a Web style of writing in order to accommodate the online generation of news consumers.

In my career as a business writer, I’ve been involved in providing copy for Web sites. Studies have shown that people don’t tend to read Web sites, so much as scan them for the particular information that they are looking for. To facilitate these tendencies, good Web copy will be written in short paragraphs, with a lot of subheads and bullet points. This is good when you are searching for a company’s mailing address or hanging around myspace where most of the people are illiterate anyway, but it’s less effective when trying to comprehend a compelling story.

Granted, most people, myself included, don’t give the newspaper a thorough going-over either. The common approach is to scan headlines for articles of interest. But once I find an article of interest, I don’t just want the facts, I want that story. I want the reporter to explain it and put it into context. I want them to convey the proper emotion when appropriate, and to inject some style into the writing.

The FAQ style isn’t as extreme as simply publishing a bulleted-list of facts and I don’t mean to suggest that a radical shift of how stories are written is taking place. I can, however, certainly foresee a time when pull quotes are replaced with a short summary of key points summarizing a newspaper article. And perhaps, after readers have grown accustomed to merely reading the summaries, then narrative reporting will be relegated only to human interest stories.

It would be a shame if today’s increasingly fast-paced lifestyle led to the abridgement of the daily newspaper until all of the life was completely sapped from its pages.

Imagine if this famous passage:

Outlined against a blue, gray October sky the Four Horsemen rode again. In dramatic lore they are known as famine, pestilence, destruction and death. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Stuhldreher, Miller, Crowley and Layden. They formed the crest of the South Bend cyclone before which another fighting Army team was swept over the precipice at the Polo Grounds this afternoon as 55,000 spectators peered down upon the bewildering panorama spread out upon the green plain below.

Was rendered for posterity as simply:

Notre Dame 13 Army 7

One advantage newspapers have over online news sources is that they can be and are at times read at length. While Web sites are surfed through quickly, people will spend quality time with a newspaper, whether it’s when curled up in bed on a Sunday morning, plopped down on a train for a long commute, or holed up in the office restroom for a long break. Let’s hope that newspaper publishers take advantage of this competitive advantage and don’t reduce the day’s events to a series of instant messages.

*I know, Plato was Greek. But did you know that Mickey Mouse had a gay dog?**

**A BFS T-shirt, should they ever become available, to the first person to identify the origin of that joke.

Friday, July 14, 2006

No Muckraking to See Here

Those of you who don’t visit the SJ-R’s Web site might be interested in knowing that you can now post comments to their online stories*, similar to how you can here at BFS. The only difference is that they seem to screen to ensure civility, so you won’t be able to call anybody a d*psh*t.

I mention this because there is a rather lengthy thread attached to Wednesday’s front page story concerning the drug investigation involving several public figures in our community.

The first commenter took the paper to task for publishing the names of those involved despite the fact that no charges have been filed. He cited as the reason the paper shouldn’t have run with the story, the irreparable damage to their reputations that will result from the disclosure. I, along with many of the commenter who followed, disagree.

The SJ-R was well within their legal rights to publish this story with the names included. I also believe that they had a responsibility to the community to do so. One of the men named is running for election in the fall, although actually he could walk if he wanted to because he’ll be unopposed on the ballot. Some of the others were in positions where their work could have been easily compromised as a result of any involvement with the dealing of narcotics. It is our right to know what is transpiring in this investigation and the SJ-R’s responsibility to tell us.

I hate to drag the Illinois Times** into this, especially since I don’t screen comments to ensure civility, but I noticed that they didn’t run anything on this story. It could be that, since we already heard about the news on Wednesday and they publish on Thursday, they simply don’t have anything additional to report at this time. But I won’t speculate, except to say that I don’t believe that they shied away from the story as a result of their obvious communist sympathies. Several of those under investigation are known Republicans, after all.

The SJ-R’s report makes clear that no charges have been filed against those named. It’s possible that there won’t be. Whatever transpires in the investigation, it appears doubtful that any these gentlemen were attempting to rival Tony Montana for drug running brazenness. In fact, the lede paragraph of the story describes it as an apparent “investigation of cocaine use.Better a blower than a dealer be. Especially when the feds come nosing*** about.

From my own perspective, however, I’ve always been a “where there’s smoke, there’s fire” kind of guy.

There’s a reason my name has never surfaced on a court document involving a drug investigation. I’ve never sold cocaine, I’ve never snorted cocaine, and to the best of my knowledge, I don’t associate with people who do. I suppose the mysterious guy who pays me $500 to pick up his dry-cleaning in St. Louis every week could be harboring some secrets.. But I just can’t see how somebody who is so particular about the amount of starch in his shirts could be involved in anything as messy as drug trafficking.

So I don’t think that these guys had their names picked out of a hat to be the lucky winners of a full, all-inclusive federal probing. Maybe they just sniffle a lot, or maybe they drive Deloreans, but it’s likely that there was at least something a little shady going on in their lives.

The newspaper story does undoubtedly cause the subjects in question some discomfort. They’ll probably have to crouch down in the pew at church on Sunday lest they be burnt by the glare of their more sanctimonious brethren. But there may be others who can sit up a little taller.

When this story first surfaced in January, the city was awash in rumours. Names were recklessly bandied about. Anyone known to frequent the Office Tavern, or even to work in an office, was looked upon suspiciously. The city was gripped in paranoia, not unlike what happens when you go on an extended coke binge.

Well, perhaps I’m overstating the situation, but there were a lot of rumours. And the SJ-R’s story should help to quell some of the wilder accusations. Those people who were the subject of these rumour can feel publicly vindicated and perhaps rest a little easier. Unless, of course, they're still hopped up on the Bolivian marching powder.

*This not so recent development was news to one of the newspaper’s columnists who just learned about it this week, not long after learning that Cracker Barrel isn’t running a soup kitchen for weary travelers. Go and read Dave Bakke’s column from last Wednesday for an explanation of the latter. It’s a classic.

**Welcome to Springfield Roland.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I've Seen the Future of American Roots Music

Over on the ThirtyWhat and Eleventh Hour blogs, they've been commenting on what is better and worse about Springfield circa 2006. The most obvious decline in quality of life, I chimed in last week, was the inability to procure locally one of Truett Cathy's savory chicken sandwiches. On the positive side, I attempted to be prophetic and listed the potential for a landmark night for music at the Taste of Springfield's American Music Stage.

It turns out, I was right. And Sean Burns is the Fred Puglia of the American Music scene.

Despite having previously heard only one of the bands on the bill, the pre-show press on the acts presented what promised to be an eclectic mix of original music in the non-formulated vein. What I didn't expect was such a large and appreciative crowd for a bill that didn't include a Jimmy Buffet tribute band.

The highlight of the evening was Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles. Through an act of sheer fate, my wife and I saw them just a week and a half before as part of the Pops on the Edge series that brought Aimee Mann to perform with the Boston Pops. We only heard them perform three songs, but that was enough to be won over by their powerful and tuneful sound.

Although artists don’t always like to be compared to other artists, I’d place Sarah musically in the Lucinda Williams and Maria McKee mold, and occasionally hear a hint of Sam Phillips (T-Bone Burnett’s ex not the Sun Records founder) in her impressively expressive voice. She definitely has the pipes, chops, and stage presence to hit it big. With a talented band backing her up, there’s no reason that they shouldn’t be a national act. I highly recommend that you purchase their Silver City CD and highly discourage you from suggesting in their presence, burning a copy from a friend.*

We were fortunate to get to meet the band after their set and hung out with Sarah and Binky the Bassist for a good part of the evening. People this nice and talented deserve to sell a million records.

We got to hear about life on the road for an up-and-coming band and they got to hear about life at home with an up-and-coming family with four kids. Surprisingly, they are striking similarities between interacting with beer-soaked fans and pacifying sugar-saturated toddlers. After a couple of hours of chatting, my wife had made plans for them to come over for brunch the next time they are in town and even settled on a menu of apple/raisin French toast casserole with a nice asparagus and tomato frittata.

I can’t help but contrast the band’s attitude to that of the Drovers, a Chicago band of some renown who played at some ill-fated fall festival the city tried to pawn off a few years ago. After the Drovers’ set, I went over to pass along my appreciation and mentioned to the lead singer some mutual acquaintance. Apparently the sparse and unresponsive crowd did little to humble him to the point of deigning to interact with, who was at the time, a fan. He was thus never invited for brunch, and if he had been, it would have stale Fruit Loops and cream corn.

The Woggles, who went on after Sarah and the boys, might have been confused with the Wiggles, what with their matching outfits, until they kicked off their blistering set of decidedly un-cuddly rock and roll. The band teemed with energy as they pounded out one song after another while bounding across the stage and into the street. I would wager that the lead singer, who goes by the name the Professor, produced more sweat during his band's set than any of the team's participating in the Gus Macker pored out during the entire tournament.

Big Sandy and Fly-Rite Boys' and the Derailers finished out the main bill. While they didn't blow me away like the first two bands I heard that night, they still provided stellar performances that wowed the crowd.

In addition to the top-drawer music, the show brought out some interesting characters. Greasers, goths, punks, and Rat Pack revivalists, each in their respective regalia, took to the streets to hear the music, although they were easily out-numbered by the short/t-shirt/flip-flop crowd. One particularly fetching mod, with a smirk that could kill, provided the perfect dancing accompaniment to the Woggles sixties-style sound. She looked to have come fresh from the set of Shindig!, or for you younger readers, the set of an Austin Powers movie.

The event also marked what I believe to be the first local siting of Beatle Bob, the St. Louis-based icon who is a fixture at music shows throughout the country. His shtick, in addition to looking like a lanky George Harrison, is to dance at the foot of the stage and either infuse the crowd with energy or draw attention to himself - it depends on who you talk to.

One downside to many festivals of this sort is that you are either forced to drink the flagship swill of whatever beer distributor is sponsoring the event, or make like Beatle Bob and go intoxicant-free. Thus I was quite surprised when I noticed that a friend’s beer had a much darker hue than the golden tint of tastelessness that characterizes most water-downed lagers. Sure enough, good old Sam Adams had made his way from Boston to add a touch of taste to the liquid refreshment.

In closing this rather lengthy post, let me say that this was easily the best night of live music I've ever heard in Springfield, just barely beating out St. Croix's triumphant reunion at the state fairgrounds in the summer of 1982.

*An acquaintance of my wife made this faux pas and Binky was beside himself contemplating the injustice of it all. It’s one thing to swipe a couple of Metallica tracks from the burner down the street, but quite another to take the sustenance out of the mouths of musicians just starting down the path of success.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Come Back to the Five & Dime, Foster Brooks, Foster Brooks

Free Image Hosting at

(This is satire.)

It’s good to see that Springfield’s own Pinky is back in town after a stint in rehabilitation following the March tornadoes. The beloved pink elephant, of which Pinky is one, has delighted us for almost a century by parodying the whimsical side of chronic alcoholism and is an important icon in our post-temperate society. Yet it was somewhat sad to see the old whiskey-induced apparition on the frontpage of the newspaper, because it served as a bittersweet reminder on how society no longer celebrates the hallucinatory effects of the delirium tremens as heartily as it once did.

Sure, people are still getting drunk. Really drunk. But it is no longer politically correct to look to the seriously soused as a source of entertainment. Where once the town drunk was the court jester to the common man, now they are only there to be pitied or reformed. One need only study the evolving mores as portrayed on television sitcoms over the decades to see this transformation.

The 1960s were a golden age for sot-based entertainment. The Rat Pack were riding high and Dean Martin was spilling drinks in some of the country’s finest venues. Far away from the Las Vegas glitz, in a make-believe North Carolina town, Americans were falling in love with Otis Campbell from the Andy Griffith Show.

Otis was an unapologetic drunk and the folks in Mayberry, and the television audience, took great delight in his antics. We weren’t forced to see the inner demons that drove him to drink, only the hilarious spectacle of his dangerously impaired faculties. There were half-hearted attempts to redeem his soul from the evils of drink, but we all knew that he would soon be stumbling back into his homey jail cell to sleep off another bender.

In the 1970s, the homemade still that kept Otis liquored-up in the North Carolina hills made its way over to Korea to tickle the funny bones of the doctors’ of the 4077. While M*A*S*H did regularly feature many scenes of unabashed drunkenness played strictly for laughs, the social consciousness that arose in the post-Viet Nam era almost made it incumbent upon the show’s creators to show us how Hawkeye, Trapper John, and Henry were using the gin to self-medicate in order to quell the horrors of war. Throughout the show’s long run, as Hawkeye became more sensitive and introspective and less of a souse, the entertainment value greatly declined.

The 1970s also introduced us to Carlton Your Doorman from the spin-off sensation, Rhoda. Carlton was a pothead in every sense of the word but I seem to recall that the show’s writers made references to his alcohol use in order to protect impressionable viewers against the dangers of drugs. Still, we were able to laugh at Carlton’s brain cell-depleted ramblings without having to concern ourselves about whatever psychological scars led him to such a comical and chemically-dependent state.

Onto the 1980s, where we were invited into a bar in Beantown, one where everybody knows your name. What better setting to celebrate the inherent hilarity of intense inebriation. But Cheers unrealistically “protected” the viewer against scenes that might glorify the over consumption of alcohol.

Norm, a character who valued his next beer more than his wife, was almost never depicted in a state of delightful drunkenness. His dry wit never turned lushy, no matter if he was shown entering the bar for his first beer of the day (NORM!!), or closing it down after soaking on a stool for hours. Despite his prodigious beer consumption, he was immune to its mirthful effects.

In fact, the only time Cheers played intoxication for laughs, during Sam’s fall off the wagon, they were also beating us over the head with a moralistic tale involving the perils of drowning our sorrows. The sober Sam was a carefree libertine with an eye for the ladies – the drunk Sam was pretty much the same way, except that he had Diane haranguing him about his self-destructive behavior. Although Diane was a strong comic foil for Sam, there is no reason that he couldn’t have combated her more regularly while half in the bag rather than giving in to her incessant do-goodism.

The tradition of the pie-eyed jokester isn’t completely lost in modern times. The Simpson’s Barney Gumble has picked up the torch from Otis Campbell as he belches his way into the annals of television. Bill from King of the Hill lets us chuckle at his beer-stoked sentimentality over a life spent pining over his best friend’s wife.. But these are two-dimensional characters who lack the human element that makes public displays of drunkenness some damn funny.

The only place that the seriously inebriated receive any publicity at all these days is in Police Beat, and only then if they stoop to some showy display such as chasing a roommate around with a weed whacker or attempting that tired old gag of mistaking the neighbor’s house as their own. This is just another example of how the media glorifies violence while ignoring life’s simple joys. Gone are the days when the town drunk could entertain young and old alike by stumbling through the town square while warbling “How Dry I Am” at the top of his Glutathione deficient lungs. Now he has to blow his hand off with an M-80 or we don’t even notice.

It’s the kids who really stand to lose here. They see a picture of a pink elephant and immediately think “Dumbo”, completely missing out on the significance of that cocktail he dependently has his snout wrapped around. Pinky may have recovered from the tornado, but he may never recover its rightful place in our hearts.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

I was drinking when I wrote this, forgive me if it goes astray*

Today's the fourth of July
another June has gone by
and when they light up our town I just think
what a waste of gunpowder and sky

Not exactly George M. Cohan, and if you've ever heard the song that contains these lyrics, you know that it isn't the type of tune that will have the kids marching across the couches in the family room. But the words are poignant, the melody is beautiful, and I had the great fortune to see the artist who wrote this song in concert while away attending blogger sensitivity training last week.

Regular readers of BFS may recall that in my Grandstand fantasy line-up post I expressed my life's wish to see Aimee Mann perform with the Boston Pops. After thoroughly convincing me that my wish was a pipe dream, my wife, with a big assist from her parents, came through with the tickets, accommodations, and baby sitting that combined to make it one of the best birthday presents I have ever received.

The reason I began this post with the rather sullen opening lyrics to Aimee's non-hit song, "Fourth of July", was to illustrate what type of songwriter she is, and thus, allow myself an opportunity to rant about a fellow concert-goer.

Aimee doesn't write stadium anthems or hot dance club singles. Her songs are expertly crafted musical vignettes that tend to explore the darker side of the human condition. She also isn't the type of performer who claps her hands demonstratively over her head or hurriedly speaks her lyrics ahead of the melody (see: Mac Davis) so that those unfamiliar with a song can still sing along. So appreciating her in concert requires a higher level of decorum than is called for at an Aerosmith or Mariah Carey concert. Basically, it asks that you sit there and soak in the music without distracting others who are trying to do the same. Unfortunately, this proved difficult for the woman sitting to my right (my lovely wife was to my left and was the model of propriety the entire evening.)

Despite the presence of a fine rock drummer and world-class percussionists on stage, the woman next to me thought that the performance would do well with an additional cadence courtesy of her clogged foot tapping against Symphony Hall's hardwood floor. Had she a modicum of rhythm, the tapping may have been absorbed in the acoustical vibrations created by the musicians, but this wasn't the case. She would just barely miss the beat with the first tap, then miss widely with the next. Picture Navin Johnson attempting to snap his fingers to his mother's gospel-inspired assuagements and you'll have a good sense of the scene. The tapping was also accompanied by intermittent hand claps that were Tourette's-like in that they came on suddenly, without provocation, and were totally inappropriate to the ambiance being created by the musicians.

Yes, there is a primal aspect to music that speaks to the soul and manifests itself involuntarily in any number of ways. But certain music requires a cerebral attentiveness to fully appreciate. In these instances, it is the audiences' duty to quell their urge to engage in any type of activity (singing-along, wild gyrations, air guitaring) that might distract from the performance given by those who have earned the spotlight and for whom the audience paid to hear.

Lest I seem a snob on such matters, let me say that I have no problem with audience participation if such actions are encouraged by the performer or the performance. If Vince Neil wants turn the vocal duties on "Home Sweet Home" over to the crowd while he sneaks backstage for another fix, well, that's rock 'n' roll baby. In fact, it's highly likely that acts such as Big and Rich are able to perpetrate their fraudulent music only because their fans are so caught up in their own hooting and hollering that they don't notice the defectiveness of the music emanating from the stage.

Despite the annoyance, the concert was sublime. I agree with the Boston Herald reviewer who thought that more could have been done to reinterpret Aimee's songs to take advantage of the orchestral setting, but given that the concert series only allowed for one rehearsal, this isn't so much a fault as a missed opportunity. Of course, since this was the first time I've seen Aimee in concert, she could have burped the melody to her songs and I still would have proclaimed it the greatest moment in the history of music since Mozart first laid down his stuff for the Austrians.

And as for the lady next to me, I'm glad that I didn't vocalize my inner contempt. She was, after all, having a good time. And she is an Aimee Mann fan, which in my estimation puts her in the upper echelon of society. As much as I despise Adam Sandler, if he came out in an interview as an Aimee Mann fan I would immediately go and purchase his entire film oeuvre on DVD. Although I still probably wouldn't be able to bring myself to watch them.

*I wasn't actually drinking when I wrote this, but a week off from blogging has left me a bit incoherent. Any grammatical errors are deeply regretted.