Oh Europe, Where Oh Where Did It All Go Wrong? – The Rise and Fall of The Eurovision Song Contest

It all went to the crapper in 1999 when two rulings annihilated the core essence of the Eurovision song contest we knew and loved: the cancellation of the national language restriction and the abolishment of the mandatory live orchestra rendered an annual event of joy and pride (!) into an annual ceremony of exasperation. Where once entire families gathered and listened to every song by every country, and crossed their fingers during the long tallying of the votes – now it seems that families gather to watch the opening performance, only to be dispersed by the second or third song, then gather again when someone yells ‘We’re on next!’, only to retire to bed as soon as it is clear which Eastern Bloc country excelled in mimicking a Britney karaoke performance. The time of Poupée de cire, poupée de son (Luxembourg, 1965) and J’aime la vie (Belgium, 1986) has gone, and the time for Every Way That I Can (Turkey, 2003) and Hard Rock Hallelujah (Finland, 2006) has come.

This year’s official Irish submission for the 53rd Eurovision Song Contest is called Irelande Douze Pointe (sic) and I believe it will win. Like the 1992 Israeli submission ‘Ze Rak Sport’ (6th place) it is a Eurovision song about the Eurovision song contest, a 21st century Ars Poetica, if you will. Oh yeah, the lead singer is a puppet named Dustin the Turkey.

The 2008 Eurovision Song Contest will be held on May 24, 2008 in Belgrade, Serbia.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vW8IHDxsTLE

Dustin the Turkey feat. Kitty B – Irelande douze pointe – Lyrics

Oh, I come from a nation
What knows how to write a song
Oh Europe, where oh where did it all go wrong?
Come on!
 
Irlande douze points
 
Drag acts and bad acts and Terry Wogan’s wig
Mad acts and sad acts, it was Johnny Logan’s gig
 
Shake your feathers and bop your beak
Shake ’em to the west and to the east
Wave Euro hands and Euro feet
Wave ’em in the air to the turkey beat
 
Irlande douze points
Irlande douze points
Irlande douze points
To the funky beat
Come on
 
G-O-B gobble B-L-E, yeah…
 
Hello ABBA, hello Bono, hello Helsinki
Hola Prague, hello sailor, c’est la vie
Auf Wiedersehen, Mamma Mia and God Save the Queen
G’day Austria, bonjour Serbia,
You know what I mean
 
Shake your feathers and bop your beak
Shake ’em to the west and to the east
Wave Euro hands and Euro feet
Wave ’em in the air to the funky beat

Irlande douze points
Irlande douze points
Irlande douze points
(fart)
Aha
 
Irlande douze points
Irlande douze points
Irlande douze points
To the funky beat
Come on
 
Give us another chance, we’re sorry for Riverdance
Sure Flatley, he’s a Yank
And the Danube flows through France
Block vote, shock vote
Give us your twelve today
You’re all invited to Dublin, Ireland
And we’ll party the Shamrock way
 
Irlande douze points – Irlande douze points
Irlande douze points – Irlande douze points
Irlande douze points – Irlande douze points
Irlande douze points – to the funky beat
Come on
 
Irlande douze points, Irlande douze points
 
Eastern Europe, we love you
Do you like Irish stew?
Or goulash, as it is to you

Yes, it’s Bulgaria, we love you
Belarus, Georgia, Montenegro
Moldovia, Albania, Croatia
Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Macedonia
Don’t forget Turkey
Hungary, Estonia, Slovakia
Armenia, Bosnia-Herzegova
And don’t forget the Swiss – cheese!

Rent Extended – Additional 141,120 Minutes to Catch the Broadway Musical

[singlepic id=56 w=320 h=240 float=right]Although the official website does not show it yet, the Broadway musical hit Rent will play to September 7, 2008 – according to Playbill. That’s an additional three months you have to catch the show. If you are absolutely, positively sure you will not be able to see it live, you can always rent or buy the film version.

Hat tip to Perez

Here is one of the songs that rings particularly true with me:

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One Song Glory – Rent Musical – Lyrics

One song
Glory
One song
Before I go
Glory
One song to leave behind

Find one song
One last refrain
Glory
From the pretty boy front man
Who wasted opportunity

One song
He had the world at his feet
Glory
In the eyes of a young girl
A young girl
Find glory
Beyond the cheap colored lights

One song
Before the sun sets
Glory – on another empty life
Time flies – time dies
Glory – one blaze of glory
One blaze of glory – glory

Find
Glory
In a song that rings true
Truth like a blazing fire
An eternal flame

Find
One song
A song about love
Glory
From the soul of a young man
A young man

Find
The one song
Before the virus takes hold
Glory
Like a sunset
One song
To redeem this empty life

Time flies
And then – no need to endure anymore
Time dies

What’s Wrong With the Israeli Internet Today? – Brought To You Courtesy of the Israeli Screen Actors Guild

Update 1/2010: Hadar Ratzon now has an official website at HadarRatzon.co.il

I have already posted an elaborate list of the top annoyances plaguing the Israeli Internet, but wherever my mouse takes me I encounter more and more prototypical examples:
Today, while preparing to reply to a recent reader’s comment in a post I wrote about Israeli actress Hadar Ratzon, I stumbled upon her private cell phone number, her home number, home address, and email. Yes, believe it or not – all it took was a simple Google search, as apparently Shaham, the Israeli Screen Actors Guild thought it wise to upload her resum? to their website, including the mentioned contact details. Upon expanding my search I found around 150 members’ resumes, many of which included contact details and even the coveted national ID number (an SSN equivalent).

This is what where we are headed in this 21st century: never mind the criminal acts, like the occasional stealing of Ministry of Interior records and uploading it to the nearest P2P network – no need for criminal acts when the government ships the database by regular mail and it gets lost. Never mind the illegal reverse telephone lookup which lets you easily spy upon a caller, revealing its name and address – no need for illegal acts when a body of government passes regulation to reveal contact details of pet owners, so that as long as you are stalking someone who has a dog, you can get all your spying needs fulfilled legally.

[singlepic id=55 w=240 h=360 float=right]Forget about sex tapes leaked to the internet – that is just entertainment compared to the tidal wave of bank frauds, phishing scams and identity thefts headed our way. You thought The Net was a silly 1995 film with Sandra Bullock? Better think again. Lucky for Bullock she is not a member of the Israeli SAG, so I cannot use her cell phone number as a gimmick to end this post – but if you liked the 2007 film Rendition, just pick up the phone and convey that to cast member Hadar Ratzon – you already know how to find her phone number.
 
 

It’s not about abortion. It’s about the next 20 years. Twenties and thirties, it was the role of government. Fifties and sixties, it was civil rights. The next two decades, it’s gonna be privacy. I’m talking about the Internet. I’m talking about cell phones. I’m talking about health records, and who’s gay and who’s not. And moreover, in a country born on a will to be free, what could be more fundamental than this?

– Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) – The West Wing TV Series

 
  

* As with my previous ‘What’s Wrong With the Israeli Internet Today?’ posts, all the information was checked, double checked, and was correct at the time of its publishing. On average, things I complain about tend to get fixed, usually within a few weeks, so if you stumbled upon this page and got different Google results, it probably means that the relevant people read my post. No worries, in the age of Internet Archive, nothing posted on the internet can ever be removed.

** Hadar Ratzon was somewhat surprised an hour ago when I rang her up. Although she knew Shaham had her resum?, she was not aware that any Tom, Dick or Harry can just run her digits and get her on the phone (or show up at her doorstep, for that matter). She did not sound too happy about that.
On a related side note, she acknowledged visiting the mentioned previous post about her on my blog, and insinuated it was the trigger for improving her official Agency page.

ANSI art created using HTML Image Page Builder

John F. Kennedy Quote about Myths

The great enemy of truth is very often not the lie – deliberate, contrived and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Too often […] we enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.

President John F. Kennedy – Commencement Address at Yale University, Old Campus, New Haven, Connecticut, June 11, 1962

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To The Still-Unnamed Still-Living American Soldier Who Doesn’t Know It Yet

Today, as the Iraq war starts its sixth year, and only a short time before the 4000th American soldier is inevitably killed in action, I thought I would share a song by Pink, an open letter to the person who had a lot to do with the predicament the world is in right now:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eDJ3cuXKV4

Dear Mr. President – Pink – Lyrics

Dear Mr. President,
Come take a walk with me.
Let’s pretend we’re just two people and
You’re not better than me.
I’d like to ask you some questions if we can speak honestly.

What do you feel when you see all the homeless on the street?
Who do you pray for at night before you go to sleep?
What do you feel when you look in the mirror?
Are you proud?

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye
And tell me why?

Dear Mr. President,
Were you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
Are you a lonely boy?
How can you say
No child is left behind?
We’re not dumb and we’re not blind.
They’re all sitting in your cells
While you pave the road to hell.

What kind of father would take his own daughter’s rights away?
And what kind of father might hate his own daughter if she were gay?
I can only imagine what the first lady has to say
You’ve come a long way from whiskey and cocaine.

How do you sleep while the rest of us cry?
How do you dream when a mother has no chance to say goodbye?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Can you even look me in the eye?

Let me tell you ’bout hard work
Minimum wage with a baby on the way
Let me tell you ’bout hard work
Rebuilding your house after the bombs took them away
Let me tell you ’bout hard work
Building a bed out of a cardboard box
Let me tell you ’bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
You don’t know nothing ’bout hard work
Hard work
Hard work
Oh

How do you sleep at night?
How do you walk with your head held high?
Dear Mr. President,
You’d never take a walk with me.
Would you?

I Know How the Republicans Are Going To Win This Election

Usually when I do not have any comments to add to a link, a photo, or a video, I just post it on my Tumblelog, but the following video is too important to be missed and is just so very articulate that I dare not add one word of commentary. This is MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann’s special comment on Hillary Clinton, in regards to Geraldine Ferraro:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtAja20kTCA

‘And the Band Played On’ Film Quote About Bad Medicine

When doctors start acting like businessmen, who can the people turn to for doctors?

Dr. Dennis Donohue (Ken Jenkins) – And the Band Played On (1993)

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Watch the entire scene here, buy the DVD here.

What I Hate About American Political Correctness

PC is great! I really love it! Replacing pejorative terms with neutral ones makes a lot of sense and I even think it takes quite a bit of courage. Just this week, the hearing impaired parents of a fallen Israeli soldier were called deaf-mutes by the Israeli media, even by TV channels that featured interviews in which the so-called mute father spoke coherently about his loss.

What I hate about American Political Correctness is the notion that anything bad one might say can be taken back by an apology. Made a catastrophic faux pas? No worries! As long as you are on US soil you can just apologize and move on. Forgiveness is automatic.

Recently, Oklahoma State Representative Sally Kern gave a speech in which she expressed her anti-gay beliefs. After the speech was secretly recorded and made public, The Cimarron Alliance, a local LGBT group asked Speaker of the House that she be censured if she does not apologize. I completely understand the request for a censure, but what use would an apology make? Anyone who listens to her speech can appreciate how articulate her hatred is, and how she firmly believes homosexuality is “the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam”. It is quite possible that public pressure will force her to apologize in a day or two, but what good does an apology do when it comes from someone who thinks gays “want to get our young children into the government schools so they can indoctrinate them”.
 
 

Aside:
There are now claims that Rep. Kern is the not-so-proud mother of a gay son named Jesse. Yes, it is a worn out cliché and it should not make a difference, but it needs to be pointed out. Mysteriously, her official bio page was very recently changed and now does not mention any of her children:

Before (March 4, 2008) After (March 13, 2008)
[singlepic id=53 w=220 h=600 float=center] [singlepic id=52 w=220 h=600 float=center]

Israeli Singer Shiri Maimon Commits Copyright Infringement

Last night on Lior Shlein’s late night show on Channel 10, Israeli singer Shiri Maimon confessed to bootlegging the Mama Mia musical in London for personal use. I should emphasize I am not complaining in any way, shape or form – quite the opposite, I was very happy to learn she has a blasé attitude towards intellectual property, especially since her new album was just released and may find its way into various peer-to-peer networks.

Enjoy her ‘funny story’ of fooling the security guard (Hebrew):

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GrYt3KZQwgc

Now that Shiri de facto joined the movement against intellectual property, she should educate herself by watching Steal This Film.