Blah Blah Blog by Jessica Harper by Jessica
decorative flourish

Archive for September, 2008

Look Who’s Shouting In Washington

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

In Washington last week, there were a bunch of men in black suits shouting.

I know what you’re thinking, so what else is new? But these men were unusual in that they were not shouting at each other, they were shouting The Star Spangled Banner. Not melodically, I mean, just, you know, shouting it, an odd arrangement of it.

They are The Shouting Choir, thirty guys who, according to their website, have “nothing better to do,” so they go around, popping up in a variety of venues, and shout for ten minutes. While it may have been hard to hear them over all the other shouting going on in D.C. last week, if you’d been in DuPont Circle on Tuesday you’d have heard the SSB and other traditional songs presented in a unique format.

Apparrently they are often mistaken for trouble makers and get hassled by cops. This is, of course, partly due to the fact that they are yelling in a serious tone, but also maybe because they wear black ties made out of bicycle tire inner tubes. As an avid tie-watcher, I find their choice compelling, but some might think it suspicious.

The Shouting Choir, by the way, are Finnish. That would distinguish them from some of the other shouting men in D.C. last week, who are simply Finished.

If you have not yet had your fill of hearing men shout this week, and would like to check out the choir, go to then click on recordings, then on The Star Spangled Banner.


Washington Gets Goosed

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

So last week I was in Washinton, D.C. and I strolled the mall with my brother Charlie. Oddly, in front of the Washington monument, there were hundreds of geese. I’m telling you, it was a whole gaggle of ’em.

I could have sworn I heard one of them say, “Boy, the shit has really hit the fan.” I might have been mistaken, though; you’d expect more eloquence from a goose.

Then on Friday, I was almost sure I heard the President of the United States say, “If money isn’t loosened up, this sucker could go down.”

I don’t know. Maybe I need to get my ears examined.

But if I did hear Bush correctly about the sucker, and it does go down, it’s good to know you can always go to the Washington mall and get yourself a goose for dinner. There are different methods of goose capture. While Palin might shoot it from a chopper, Obama would just start talking and it would follow him home.

Bush would never be involved in roasting the bird, of course, or people would be saying he cooked his own goose.

(Samak, the Thai Prime Minister you’ve heard so much about in previous posts, might prepare a Thai version of the dish (click here), although his goose is already cooked.)


Thai One On

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

In a follow-up story to my recent Prime Time post, Thailand’s parliament elected a new P.M. to replace our man Samak. Somchai Wongsawat, unlike his predecessor, is no Rachael Ray. He’s the brother-in-law (and alleged puppet) of Thaksin Shinawatra, one of Thailand’s many deposed leaders, so his selection has pissed some people off.
(Is this too confusing? Imagine how the Thais feel; this is their fourth P.M. in two years. And I can’t help noticing that if you take the ‘h’, and the ‘aw’ out of Shinawatra, you get Sinatra. Draw your own conclusions.)
The protestors who’ve been occupying the p.m.’s office and compound are mad as hell, so they have hunkered down (as they were saying in Galveston recently).They’ve laid down a wood floor across the muddy lawn, pitched a large tent for shelter, installed portable toilets and arranged for sewage removal.
(Maybe they don’t really give a damn about Thailand’s whacky politics; maybe they’re just in it for the cheap housing.)
In any case, the new (cowed) prime guy has given up on the compound and intends to rule from the VIP lounge of Bangkok’s
old (soon-to-be-renovated) airport. I guess he figures that if he gets ousted, a getaway should be a piece of cake. (Apparently he hasn’t traveled lately.)


“Hair” Looks Terrific

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

A few weeks ago, I took my daughter Elizabeth to see “Hair” in Central Park.

It was a perfect, magical New York night, and the Delacorte was jammed with a whole new wave of Hairies. They went mad, infected by the exuberance of the cast and the music and the beauty of the night.

The show is set in the ’60’s but the songs still resonate; the anti-war message has, sadly, a whole new relevance. Nonetheless, although I’m not sure if we’re still in the Age of Aquarius, with “sympathy and trust abounding,” it sure felt like it that night.

At the curtain call, my 19-year-old daughter went on stage with her cousin and a couple hundred other people to dance, and I realized I was exactly Elizabeth’s age when I was in “Hair” on Broadway, way back when, and I cried.

Happily, “Hair” is moving to Broadway in January, so if you’re in NYC, go see it.

Let the sunshine in!


Ambien Nights

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Okay, this isn’t funny.

I recall as vividly as if it were yesterday how I felt when I first read Ms. Magazine, back in the seventies; it was my personal wakeup call to feminism, and I was enraged.

Last night I had a wakeup call, an unwanted one. I woke up in the middle of the night, scared and furious, because of McCain’s choice of VP. What she stands for sets feminism in radical reverse, rocketing it back to antediluvian times, and McCain just sits astride that rocket and smiles.

A friend of mine wrote to me the other day that Palin “is the devil.” She’s pretty scary, but it’s the top of the ticket that’s the villain for making his cynical, offensive choice.

If you haven’t read it all already, here are some blog posts (and a couple of illuminating YouTubes) that clarify. But before you explore these, get yourself some Ambien. You’re gonna need it.,0,1290251.story


Tie One On

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

If you want to get with the Democratic program and join the Brotherhood Of The Traveling Tie, here’s some info on where you can buy a light blue tie (if you live in L.A.): Bloomingdales carries their own brand for $50, Macy’s has a variety of light blue ties ranging in price from $50-$85, and Neiman Marcus has a Brioni for $165.

J. Crew has no light blue, only navy. (Must be Republican territory.)

But the best is at Ralph Lauren’s shop in Beverly Hills. Clean, mean and sleek, it’ll cost you $175. I know because I bought one for my husband for his birthday, which had to be retired after its first outing; Tom spilled fudge sauce on it at a Democraic fundraiser. I almost hit him with a frying pan, but the Ralph Lauren box was an adequate weapon…(see photo).……


The Brotherhood Of The Traveling Tie

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

A little YouTubing reveals that Barck Obama favors an interesting tie choice: plain light blue, simple, subdued, sophisticated and presidential. He’s worn it on many occasions, from the More Perfect Union speech in Philly to Yes We Can.

Then, when introducing Joe in Springlfield, he loaned his VP nominee the tie. (Click here for the evidence.)

It didn’t stop there, however. Apparently, Joe Biden was so fond of the tie in question he borrowed it again for his Denver speech. (Click here.) But not before sub-lending it to another democrat who preceded him on the program: did you notice what Bill Clinton was wearing that night? (If you didn’t, you were either listening way too hard, or watching Family Guy. Click here to get up to speed.)

And in case you were out getting pizza when Al Gore spoke on that historic Thursday night, click here to check out who borrowed the tie next.

Now, excuse me, but Hillary has maybe 500 pants suits, but these demo-dudes can’t even pop for a couple extra ties? They can’t send a surrogate over to the J. Crew summer sale? Are they just going to keep circulating the light blue until somebody spills chanpagne on it?

Obama wore a red stripey number when he made his acceptance speech. I’m guessing Al didn’t have time after his turn at the podium to pass the tie back to its original owner before show time, so Obama wore his other one.

As an ardent tie-watcher, I intend to keep an eye on Al and Joe and Bill over the next several weeks. I’m curious to see when and where the light blue tie appears next, or if the red striped will move into top position as the preferred loaner and begin making the rounds.