February 10th, 2005

distributed postmodern agitprop

Random thought

I was pondering this morning ...

Out of all the ways that humanity has found to deface its civilization, out of all the random property damage that's been caused turning urban areas into war zones, amid all the broken windows and graffiti-streaked bridges and sticker-adorned stop signs and torn-down road markers ... I can't recall ever having seen a shot-out or torn-down traffic light.

It can't be that this has never occurred to anyone. Can it? Are we so thoroughly embedded in the car culture, so dependent on our vehicles, that a vandal would no more think of shooting out a traffic light or painting over the center stripe than they would of sabotaging their own front porch steps? Or are we so embedded in our car culture that a malfunctioning stoplight is seen by the Powers That Be as a critical repair, and thus they're fixed so quickly (barring something like a riot) that the illusion of permanence is maintained?
  • Current Music
    Chemical Brothers, "Alive Alone"
What's my line? (pic by Kinkyturtle)

"Odysseus!: The Musical," or what Kady and I talk about late at night

Tell me, o muse, of the time kadyg and I were lying there, snuggling and bantering about her sheepskin rug ...

We came to the conclusion that she needed more of them. Or, Kady suggested, perhaps a herd of sheep. Spurred by a passing moment of classical homage, I added, "And a cyclops."

"And a dog named Dave," she countered, which sent us both into fits of giggles.

"He'd have to have only one eye."

"Dave the cyclops dog."

"I don't remember the cyclops dog in the Odyssey. Maybe I need to go back to the Lattimore translation?"

The discussion somehow tangented into having missed making pancakes for Shrove Tuesday, which led to talk of making a Jerry Liberation Day holiday as an excuse to cook pancakes, but that's neither here nor there.

"We should do that," I said some short time later, then clarified -- since my brain was stuck on an idea about four tangents back -- "rewrite the Odyssey, I mean. Put a dog named Dave in it. Go back to the ancient Greek, translate it ourselves. It's in the public domain."

"We need to make it a musical," Kady suggested.

I was silent for a moment.

"What rhymes with 'Peloponnesian'?" I asked.

And that, dear reader, broke my brain. We climbed into bed with me making up snippets of "Odysseus!: The Musical" show tunes off of the top of my head. I continued to do so until I was *ahem* properly distracted, and even now I can't get some of the rhymes out of my head without writing them down.

So!

Odysseus!: The Musical

Act I, Scene I

SPOTLIGHT comes up on dark stage, illuminating THE POET HOMER for his introductory solo.

HOMER: You can go talk to the Cretans
If you want some good light readin'
Or go take a walk to Sparta
If you want some nice wars started
Athens has its mathematicians,
Thebes has all those patricians,
But those young upstarts can't capture our hearts
Like the tale I now will start preachin'!

SECOND SPOTLIGHT illuminates ODYSSEUS, who poses heroically.

HOMER: Odysseus hails from Ithaca
Which is kind of a tongue-twithica
So let's just call him ...

STAGE LIGHTS come on, revealing a BIG BOAT with the word "ARGOS" fancily written on the prow, scratched out hastily, and the words "ITHACAN NAVY" scrawled underneath. The boat is full of ODYSSEUS' CREW.

OARSMEN: Peloponnesian!

FULL BAND strikes up into opening song.

OARSMEN: He sails the seven seas, an'
He's our favorite Peloponnesian!
For he's known throughout the region
As a wily Peloponnesian!
Even in abysses Stee-gee-an
They sing of our Peloponnesian!
Yes, he's known throughout the region
As a wily Peloponnesian!

HOMER: (spoken) A wily fellow? You don't say!

OARSMAN 1: (spoken) Sure as nighttime follows day!

OARSMAN 2: (spoken) He'll get us killed without delay

OARSMEN: But we still love him anyway!

HOMER: (spoken) So just how wily is he?

OARSMEN: (spoken in a ragged chorus) Boss! Tell him about the cyclops!

ODYSSEUS: (spoken) Oh, alright ...

LIGHTS DIM for ODYSSEUS' solo.

ODYSSEUS: We'd all sailed straight off the map
When Polyphemus set his trap
We all went to the big guy's home
Then found his door was solid stone
So we were stuck in his deep, dark cave
With a cyclops and a dog named Dave
And we were all afraid we would get eaten ...

OARSMEN: Which doesn't really rhyme with Peloponnesian!

ODYSSEUS: But I made myself a cunning plan
With a bad pun on the name "no man"
So I offered the monster some free gin --

MUSIC swells to a crescendo, OARSMEN jump out of boat and pose in a chorus line.

OARSMEN: That's our wily Peloponnesian!

ODYSSEUS bows, MUSIC stops.

HOMER: (spoken) On second thought, let's just call him Greek.