Saturday, March 04, 2006

Tell it, brother

So when the BBC approached Mr. Davies in late 2003 to update "Doctor Who" for the 21st century, he was already teeming with ideas. "It's a genuine love of mine," he said, "and loving a program means you're not blind to its faults."

--Russell T. Davies, producer of the hit revival of Doctor Who, in the NYT

Thanks to my pal Corey for the link.

What, Rodney's not "late, great" too?

Via ohnotheydidn't, Entertainment Weekly has a list up of their picks for the worst movie sequels ever made. I'm not going to reprint the whole list here, but here are a few comments on their choices and commentary.

19. Revenge of the Nerds 2 - Nerds in Paradise

Hard if not impossible to defend, certainly-but it does at least contain the amusement factor of performances by future members of the Aaron Sorkin stock company Bradley Whitford and Timothy Busfield, as well as a young Courtney Thorne-Smith in a bathing suit. But when a 38 Special theme song, with its interesting but almost instantly dated keyboard work (ah, 1987) is the best part of a movie, it's a sign of something.

18. Battle for the Planet of the Apes

Again, almost impossible to defend. It is, however, better than Tim Burton's grotesque remake.

17. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
My favorite Trek joke goes ''What do they call Star Trek in Japan?'' Answer: Sulu, Master Navigator.

Yeah, it's got its share of poor moments (as what among us doesn't)...but I'll put up with a lot for "Excuse me...what does God want with a starship?"

12. Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Predictable, really...but this gives me a chance to repeat my winning forumula for how Lucas could have saved this movie. And no, it doesn't involve killing Jar-Jar at the first opportunity, we keep Jar-Jar-we just get rid of the stupid CGI character idea and cast a living actor.

The actor? Jackie Chan. Think about it.

8. Friday the 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan
None of the Camp Crystal Lake killathons are what you'd call good, but this one's unwatchable. Even the ways Jason dispatches his victims aren't very creative, unless you consider a speargun creative...and I think they used that in Part III.

Au, contraire! I think driving a hot rock from a sauna into somebody's chest-cavity is pretty gosh-darn creative.

7. The Fly II

The best thing about this movie is that is shows you how good a performance Jeff Goldblum gave (and what a good script he had) in the original.

Weekend At Bernie's II

I have no defense for this, but both of the Weekend At Bernie's movies are permanently lodged on my guilty-pleasure list.

2. Caddyshack II
Again with the classy Roman numerals! This is one of the most brilliant marketing ploys ever. I don't know anyone who'd want to see Caddyshack 2, but Caddyshack II? Let me put on my ascot and monocle and I'm there! Unfortunately, Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, and the late great Ted Knight are not there.

See the headline of this post.

Oscar muck

Our occasional internet buddy Mark Evanier has some Oscar predictions up...not about who's going to win (like you, me, and most of America he hasn't seen most of the movies this year), but about what we can expect from the ceremony.

I think he's probably right.


Have you ever wondered what the opening of The Simpsons would look like if it was in live action (and filmed in the U.K.)? Of course you have. And now you can find out.

Friday, March 03, 2006

The Brokeback Mountain phenomenon has officially gone too far

Credit: ohnotheydidn't

Oh, Hermione, why?

There's pictures bouncing around the Culture/Gossip blogs of Emma Watson, the actress who plays my favorite character in the Harry Potter movies (as mentioned, I haven't read the books), enjoying a drink or two. Or three. Or four.

So I have to ask: Oh, Hermione, why?

And I have to admit, if I were writing her dialogue, the reply would go a little something like this:

"Because I'm not even 16 years old yet, I'm an internationally known movie star, and a hot goddess to teenagers. And your problem is?"

Which would be a fair cop.

Points for having both a wolf and Snoopy on her shirt, too.

Is it wrong that I think this is really, really cool?

NEC's "KotoHana" LED flower knows how you feel

It's pretty hard to tell what's going on here, but there seems to be a "Sensibility Technology" that recognizes the user's feelings, and then tells the flower over a wireless connection.

Mood flowers. Dig it.

Well, wouldn't that have been nice

You Should Get a MFA (Masters of Fine Arts)

You're a blooming artistic talent, even if you aren't quite convinced.
You'd make an incredible artist, photographer, or film maker.

In the future, Blogthings will determine how all of us get our jobs.

Proof positive that Lindsay Lohan is a real 19-year-old girl

She wrote the following lyric (as quoted in the March 2006 issue of Premiere):

"I wait for the postman to bring me a letter/I wait for the good Lord to make me feel better/And I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders...Tell me the truth, did you ever love me?"

Trust me, that's the kind of sophomoric doggerel you only hear from teenagers...or on the first Tears For Fears album. I'm sure this will affect her hotness ranking.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

There is no love between us anymore

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

But hey, who knew my spirit was in such good shape, huh? Suddenly I feel like Tom Baker should be making that speech in Ark In Space about me...

The first one who convincingly pretends to be surprised gets a kiss full on the mouth

Your Social Dysfunction:

You display social deficits and oddities of thinking. Your perception and communication are similar to those of a schizophrenic.

Take this quiz at

Please note that we aren't, nor do we claim to be, psychologists. This quiz is for fun and entertainment only. Try not to freak out about your results.

Sometimes the universe just gives you gifts (or, hahahahahahahahahaha...)

So, guess what. Mariah Carey's making a movie again. You''ll remember that the last time Ms. Carey made a film, the result was the rather notorious flop Glitter, about which the RT consensus was-

a hodgepodge of movie cliches and bad acting that's sure to generate unintentional laughs. Unfortunately, the movie is not bad enough to be good.

-so we can see that with her new project, she has all the goodwill in the world going for her.

What's that?

What is the name of her new project?

I thought you'd never ask.

Coming soon to a theater near you...Mariah Carey in...Tennessee: The Movie.

This is one of those "I'm insecure about my writing" posts... scroll by if you want to.

Apparently there's a "rush to make Hollywood's next great gay love story," in the wake of Brokeback Mountain's success. And I'm not entirely certain how I feel about that. Partly, it activates all of my "ohmygodthey'regonnabeatmetoit" fears.

Girlfriend's Boyfriend is definitely a gay love story-"great" or not I leave to others. And, as I've said before, the first time I "saw" Keitha and Colley in my head-Annabel came later-it was on a movie screen.

I would love to see a really professional director and actors with as few "divalike" qualties as they can handle-they all have a few-take on the task of telling their story. But if "another Tennesee" happened...I'd kill someone, myself, or both. At least I like to think so.

Just as in taking my characters from a stage idea to a film idea (and then two film ideas) I've been able, I hope, to take advantage of the differing strengths of each medium, now I'm trying like hell to do the same in a book idea.

There were things that I could do in a film that I couldn't do in a play, and there are things I can do in a book that I couldn't do in either. One of the things I like about the story as told in prose is that I think it's built up Annabel's character a little more. In previous versions, people have told me they like Keitha, they like Colley, they like their friendship-but I don't remember anybody saying they like Annabel.

No one's said they dislike her, but that's not the same thing. And I like her a lot, I think for reasons similar to why I liked Giovanni when he showed up in my first play, for those few of you who know it.

Annabel, like Giovanni, in some ways came the most organically of any of my main characters. When I began writing I had a pretty well-rounded idea of who Colley and Keitha were (though obviously things have been added and subtracted). But really all I knew about Annabel was that she was Keitha's girlfriend and she was gonna jump to a wrong conclusion at the start. Everything else was just kind of...there. It just showed up.

Anyway, by virtue of the fact that much of the prose version of Girlfriend's Boyfriend is told in her voice, I think/hope that it gives a fuller picture of who she is-without taking away from the others.

And I keep "discovering" things in each new version, like Annabel's thing for Frank Sinatra. I don't know if I could put my finger on what but I think that told me something about her character that I hadn't known before, or at least hadn't figured out how to show.

So I've partly put away the dream that it has to be a's just that it was conceived that way.

I believe there's an audience out there for the kind of "gay love story" that Girlfriend's Boyfriend is. I "spy" on one or two "focus groups"-in other words, entertainment websites that cater to a gay & lesbian audience. And even in this L Word, Brokeback Mountain landscape I believe-I truly believe-there's desires not being met.

I emphasise that I truly believe that, for my own benefit, because experience has shown that my beliefs about my work are one hell of a rollercoaster. Sometimes I have no confidence in it whatsoever, sometimes I'm quite indecently proud of it.

Of course, I don't always like thinking of it as a "gay love story," 'cause I'm not sure it is. To me, that implies that the women would not have a problem, and there would be no story, if they were not gay. Mine is a love story. Most of my other stories have been love stories to one degree or another, but they're all much more ambivilent and bittersweet. I don't quite know why it's turned out to be easier for me to write such a story that is definitive and sweet sweet about two women, but it is something I've discussed with my therapist.

If ever there was a time to sell a "gay love story" though, it would seem to be now. So I just try to remind myself of that story about Big that I told you last month. Better to take the time get it right, and lasting, than to make it quick and forgettable.

For the record the below is what brought all this on. I haven't read the issue yet; I probably will, but one headline alone was enough to send me on this little meander. I'm not quite sure what all of the above was in aid of, but thanks to any and all of you who made it through.

Maybe I just like to redeclare my principles once in a while; to remind myself of them.

He's your friend when things get rough

Jack Wild, who was the Artful Dodger in the movie of "Oliver!" and Jimmy on "H.R. Pufnstuf" has died. "Oliver!" used to be one of my favorite musicals; I was actually in a stage production a long time ago (how long ago? Long enough for me to convincingly play a starving orphan child). The teenage Wild was actually nominated for an Oscar for his performance, so you have to wonder if they're rushing him into the "im memory of..." montage for this Sunday night.

By a strange coincidence, I recently went on a nostalgia kick of watching a bunch of old Krofft TV shows, including "Pufnstuf," though that's not the show that most deeply resides in my brain ("The Krofft Supershow" does that.)

The thing about Wild, at least as far as I can see, is that he was just such a "stage school" kid, apt to sing a song (like "Mechanical Man" or "Consider Yourself") at, as they say, the drop of a hat. It's very much the kind of kid I was, once upon a time.

So though I can't claim that Wild was one of my special favorites from childhood...he sure was involved with one or two of 'em. So, R.I.P, Jimmy...hope they let you take that damned flute with you.

May a psychedelic dragon sing you to sleep among the talking trees.

You didn't think it was possible

...but something has come along to make Mike "heckuva job" Brown look good. As you've probably heard, we now have video proof that Bush was specifically warned about Katrina. Before New Orleans was flooded.

Remember what I was saying about how very little would be needed to see the President's numbers drop even further? This should be a very interesting week.
Crooks and Liars has a video up of what appears to be a Presidential video conference recorded a day or more before Katrina made landfall and flooded the city of New Orleans. The video shows both FEMA Director Mike "Heckuva job" Brownie saying he had a gut feeling this would be the "big one" and storm meteorologist Max Mayfield standing in front of a radar image indicating a breach in the levees, specifically from Lake Pontchartrain driven by high winds, was a concern...

ETA-Jane has more.
Hoping to counteract the damage of the story, the White House leaked Newsweek transcripts from daily noon FEMA conference calls during and after Katrina to show how engaged and concerned Dubya was. Trouble is, these are transcripts that they had initially refused to provide to congressional investigators.

I can't recall offhand how many times the Administration has invoked the "dog ate my homework" excuse this year, but I'd have to take off my shoes to count them.

They really had to weigh the benefits of this one -- in order to try and prove that a narcissistic, elitist frat boy actually gave a shit about a bunch of dying poor people they had to bust their own lies:

Some congressional investigators say it now seems somewhat ironic that having belatedly found the Aug. 29 conference-call transcript, the administration is now touting it as evidence of deep presidential -- and White House -- involvement in the crisis.

Yes, I'd say "somewhat ironic" about covers it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Irony, party of one

According to this quiz on which sci-fi crew would you best fit in, I would be happiest living on...the Serenity, of Firefly. Well, great. Joss Whedon's flopped TV series and failed attempt to start a movie franchise apparently has my name written all over it.

In happier news, my second highest score would put me on Babylon 5, of the series of the same name, and I'm totally cool with that; if nothing else, the performances would be much more powerful.

Sweetest of all, my score for B5 tied with the score putting me aboard the ship favored by the ladies and gentlebeings of Farscape, a show I've never watched.

The name? The good ship Moya. Permission to...come aboard...the Moya. Yes, I'll be getting off...the Moya.

According to a cult sci-fi web site:

Moya is curvaceous and sleek...

Boy, I'll say!

...behind the hull are numerous veins and hull tissues.

And what spectacular hull tissues they are...

Because of it's power and speed, the Peacekeepers were keen to modify Leviathans for battle and breeding. They developed huge ‘collars’ and a number of other control devises and instigated a breeding programme (for which Moya was to be the prototype).

Ok...we're getting into a whole weird area here...

Moya has a couple of transports used for ferrying passengers to and from the ship, a docking beam used for assisting other visitors to the ship and a number of small drones called DRD's used for carrying out repairs and in some cases protecting the ship from aggressive guests.

I'm really enjoying this far too much.

Fourth place in my scoring puts me on the Battlestar Galactica, which I choose to believe means the original where they at least had proper Cylons with one eye bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong ball...the way they're supposed to, goddamnit.

More good news for our returning Veterans

The Washington Post reports,
More than one in three soldiers and Marines who have served in Iraq later sought help for mental health problems, according to a comprehensive snapshot by Army experts of the psyches of men and women returning from the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places.

The accounts of more than 300,000 soldiers and Marines returning from several theaters paint an unusually detailed picture of the psychological impact of the various conflicts. Those returning from Iraq consistently reported more psychic distress than those returning from Afghanistan and other conflicts, such as those in Bosnia or Kosovo.

There's more if you can take it. Boy, I sure would hate to be one of the men or women who sent these soldiers to war for nothing, wouldn't you? You'd almost think the only way you could possibly live with yourself would be to blow out the back of your own skull with an M-16.

Just putting it out there, hoping the part of the Universe that's in charge of proportioning out Karma picks it up...

If you missed Jon Stewart on Larry King...

...the ever-reliable Crooks and Liars has clips and quotes.
Stewart: ...what seems absurd to me is the length that Washington just seems out of touch with the desires of Americans to be spoken to as though they are adults.

I mean when you listen to Bush's speeches, and I'm leaving the Democrats out because I honestly don't feel that they make an impact. They have 49 percent of the vote and three percent of the power. At a certain point you go "Guys, pick up your game."

But Bush, you know the other day when he had the speech about us being addicted to oil, he says those things as though, you know, he just thought of it and we're disagreeing with him, like...everybody's been saying that. Jimmy Carter said it I think in 1978.

And he comes out, "What people don't realize is we're addicted to foreign oil" and he's saying it like you're going "Get out of here." ...And -- and his vice president did shoot a 78-year-old man in the face. Aaron Burr was the last vice president to shoot a guy in the face, [correction]Alexander Hamilton.

KING: And that was a duel.

STEWART: That was a duel based on personal integrity. This vice president thought a 78-year-old man was a bird. It happens....I cannot tell you how many times I'll turn around and go, "Grandpa?" Oh no, it's a pigeon.

The King of the Elephants hates Bush

Via Yahoo! News-

Tens of thousands of Indians waving black and white flags and chanting "Death to Bush!" rallied Wednesday in New Delhi to protest a visit by President Bush.

Surindra Singh Yadav, a senior police officer in charge of crowd control, said as many as 100,000 people, most of them Muslim, had gathered in a fairground in central New Delhi ordinarily used for political rallies.

"Whether Hindu or Muslim, the people of India have gathered here to show our anger. We have only one message — killer Bush go home," one of the speakers, Hindu politician Raj Babbar, told the crowd.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I doubt many of you are as interested in this as I am I'll try to keep this brief, but we have more promising casting news about the most anticipated (by me anyway, and that's all we're really concerned with around here) TV show of next season, Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip."
"The West Wing" co-star Bradley Whitford has joined Aaron Sorkin's new show, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," with Sarah Paulson and Timothy Busfield also coming on board the NBC drama.

The WBTV-produced "Studio 60" is set behind the scenes of a fictional broadcasting network's flagship late-night sketch comedy show. Whitford will play a producer-director and recovering cocaine addict who has come back to run the sketch show he used to work for. Paulson plays a Christian fundamentalist, while Busfield will play the control-room director.

Busfield, who also enjoys a successful career as a TV director, also will serve as a producing director on "Studio 60."

Whitford won an Emmy in 2001 for his role on "West Wing."

Busfield often has collaborated with Sorkin. He starred in the Broadway run of Sorkin's "A Few Good Men"; was a director on the writer-producer's comedy for ABC, "Sports Night"; and recurred on "West Wing."

As noted in an earlier post that Blogger ate in a meltdown, they'll be joining Nate Corddry of "The Daily Show," Amanda Peet of my obsessive daydreams, Matthew Perry of "Friends," Evan Handler, also a recurring on "West Wing" and Stephen Weber of "Reefer Madness."

Now that's what I call a cast.

God I love Johnny Rotten

A.K.A. John Lydon. Not so much for his music, especially with the Sex Pistols. For me the best thing about punk is that it gave birth to the new pop, post-punk and post-post-punk groups like Thompson Twins and Pet Shop Boys.

(There is a direct connection-for details and further reading, see Like Punk Never Happened by Dave Rimmer, Pet Shop Boys-Literally by Chris Heath and The Best of Smash Hits, edited by Neil Tennant before he became a pop star.)

Pil was more to my liking--especially "This is Not a Love Song," "Don't Ask Me," "Seattle," the groundbreaking collaboration with Afrika Bambaataa "World Destruction," and "Disappointed." But he just seems like such a laugh, and he's so emminently quotable.

Case in point. The Pistols were recently announced as being among the next entrants into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. Well, it seems Johnny is just not having that, as evidenced by this official announcement...

Sigh. I tell you people, if I were a teenaged girl, John Lydon is exactly the kind of bad boy I would get hung up on.


To Do Today
posted by Thesaurus Rex Monday, February 27, 2006

Find a Republican.

Confirm that they voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004.

Say, "This whole Iraq thing? Thank you for that. Heck of a job."

Walk away.

I have a good friend who voted for Bush in 2000, now bitterly regrets it, actually went so far as to vote for Kerry in 2004, and tends to hang her head in shame when I remind her of her initial horrendous mistake.

Think I should let her off the hook?

We take no position on paper

Blogger Harry McCracken has a post about a recent visit to Pixar held as a benefit for San Francisco's Cartoon Art Museum. Lucky guy.
Unlike the earlier benefits, the bulk of last night's presentation was done by one guy--Michael Johnson, a Pixar technical guy who's also a board member at the museum. That was fine; he did a great job, giving a talk that was about both Pixar's film-making process and its perspective on the world.

I find some bits of that perspective really inspiring.

He began by stating three Pixar rules of success:

1. Casting, casting, casting. (ie, nothing is more important than the team you hire)

2. Hire people smarter than yourself.

3. Art as a team sport. ("51 percent is plays well with others.")

* Johnson said that all Pixar productions begin as 2D ideas. Some of the artists who work on ideas like to use real-world art materials; others work digitally, using Wacom's Cintiq tablets. That's fine: "We take no position on paper."

* He showed a great little film about all the work that went into giving The Incredibles' Violet plausible long hair. It had never been done before and was a huge technical challenge: "Violet's hair brought this production to its knees."

* Random quote: "We don't want real-looking humans--they're kind of creepy...reality is just a useful measure of complexity."

Tell it, brother.

More fun with polling data (Updated)

In case you hadn't heard, Bush's approval rating is now at 34 percent. Breaking into the 20s is beginning to seem more and more like a real possibility. All it would take, quite frankly, is just one more flame-out of incompetence. Just one more port deal, or Iraq continuing its slide into civil war.

I'm not rooting for those things to happen. I just think they're going to.

And Republicans get overwhelming support from our military. Except, of course, when they don't. From AmericaBlog:

72% of US troops in Iraq want us to withdraw in a year
by John in DC - 2/28/2006 11:19:00 AM

That's the Murtha plan, a Democratic plan, that our troops are supporting. Remember that, oh Democrats who were afraid to support Congressman Murtha (Mr. Hoyer, uh hum). Democrats represent mainstream American values now. Believe it, and trumpet it. You don't get credit for coming to the party late - embrace these policies now.

From the NYT via E&P:
A poll of U.S. troops currently serving in Iraq—reportedly the first of its kind—shows that 72% advocate a U.S. pullout within a year, with only 23% for staying as long ”as necessary,” reports Nicholas Kristof in his New York Times column today.

Boy, it would be nice if the Democrats didn't have their head up the symbol of their party, wouldn't it?


On the February 24 edition of MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, host Chris Matthews joined Weekly Standard senior writer Stephen F. Hayes in praising President Bush's handling of the controversial agreement to turn over control of six U.S. ports to a company owned by the government of Dubai. Matthews compared Bush to Atticus Finch -- the Alabama lawyer who "represents morality and reason" in Harper Lee's 1960 novel To Kill a Mockingbird (Warner Books).

Matthews's comparison of Bush to Finch -- a character portrayed by Gregory Peck in a 1962 film adaptation (Brentwood Productions, Pakula-Mulligan, Universal International Pictures) of the novel, and voted the number one movie hero of all time by the American Film Institute -- is just the most recent example of his over-the-top praise for Bush.
-- Media Matters for America

Monday, February 27, 2006

I almost went for Neil Diamond, but that would have been wrong

Paste Magazine is conducting a poll to name the 100 Best Living Songwriters. They have a long list of nominees to consider, or you can write in your own. Though I have to ask, what's up with nominating Andy Partridge and not Colin Moulding? Or worse, Morrissey and not Johnny Marr? At least Partridge and Moulding aren't songwriting partners, but Morrissey could never have done The Smiths without Johnny...

But for the record, yours truly went with (from their list, in alphabetical order by first name)...

Andy Partridge (XTC)
Chris Difford/Glen Tilbrook (Squeeze)
David Bowie (Invented rock n' roll, and I won't hear otherwise)
Joe Jackson (If you don't know I love him, you haven't been paying attention)
Martin Gore (Depeche Mode)
Neil Finn (Crowded House, Split Enz)
Paul McCartney (Keitha's right, he is a really good songwriter)

BTW, I feel I should add that in both these lists, I'm judging songwriters by the whole of their work, even if in some cases I'm not as happy with their most recent.

I wrote in (no particular order)...

Paul Hyde
Michael Grace, Jr. (My Favorite)
Thomas Dolby
Thompson Twins
Human League
Pet Shop Boys
Stephen Sondheim
Roland Orzabal (Tears For Fears)
The Go Go's
Peter Gabriel
Vince Clarke (Erasure, Depeche Mode, Yaz, The Assembly)
Johnny Marr (The Smiths, Electronic)

The links should explain why, for any and most of the writers you haven't heard of.

Talk of impeachment growing slightly more serious. Via Shakespeare's Sister, Harper's has just published an article making the case. Cynic that I am, I still think it far more likely that George W. Bush will be fragged by his own troops (metaphorically speaking) than that Democrats will do anything. Even if they do retake the house.

But, I just want to see Bush forced to leave office before his term is completed; at the moment I'm not picky about who ushers him out.

And I like this guy too...
It starts out introducing our favorite man, John Conyers, and questions him on just what he was thinking by introducing a resolution "to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment” in a Republican-majority House, given how the neocon Congress are nothing more than lemmings (slight paraphrase). Conyers goes to brass tacks in answering why:

“To take away the excuse,” he said, “that we didn't know.” So that two or four or ten years from now, if somebody should ask, “Where were you, Conyers, and where was the United States Congress?” when the Bush Administration declared the Constitution inoperative and revoked the license of parliamentary government, none of the company now present can plead ignorance or temporary insanity, can say that “somehow it escaped our notice” that the President was setting himself up as a supreme leader exempt from the rule of law.

Why The Internet Was Invented, Part Three

So we could have web pages like this one, an entire page devoted to dishing romance novels in hilariously bitchy fashion. All at the greatest web page name ever (deposing the only recently crowned My Boyfriend Is A Twat), Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Example:

I don’t know where to put my eyes first, or where to avert them from. Her neck is broken. Her head’s too big for her body. Her sleeve appears to be as wide as my ass.

And he has a bleeding rose in his crotch.

Trust me, go, read, you'll laugh your tits off. I may have to write that romance novel after all, just for the sheer pleasure of watching these ladies take it apart.

No. I'm a vaudevillian.

Mark's writing about Abbott & Costello's signature "Who's On First" bit reminded me that of all the riffs other comics have done on it (Wikipedia has a list), my all-time favorite is the Kids in the Hall Bad Straight Man sketch, which goes a little something like this...

Anticipation (Updated)

Update: Stewart is the guest today on Larry King. As I write this the live broadcast is almost over, but CNN being CNN, it should be repeated about three more times tonight. I'm looking forward to the Oscars more and more.

The Los Angeles Times has a good piece on Jon Stewart's upcoming Academy Awards gig. I'm psyched. Here are some of my favorite bits from the article.
He is bummed too that the academy did not nominate "Grizzly Man" for best documentary, because of the high-concept commentary he might have wrung from Werner Herzog's existential rumination on the bear lover eventually eaten in the wilds.

Stewart explains, "I very much wanted to do a bit where the bear from 'Grizzly Man' and one of the penguins from 'March of the Penguins' came out to present best documentary. Only the bear would come out and I would go over and go, 'YOU PROMISED ME! YOU PROMISED ME! I CAN'T BELIEVE YOU DID IT! WHAT ARE WE GONNA TELL HIS WIFE?'

BRUCE VILANCH, the wild-haired gag writer and gay activist celebrating his Oscar "Sweet 16," has his own ideas for a "Brokeback Mountain" bit ("I was hoping for a seminude kick line, but I lost") and for dealing with Clooney ("With a bottle of wine and some date-rape drugs").

"The show could end with gay cowboys and Truman Capote and a 'tranny,' " a.k.a. a transvestite from "Transamerica," Vilanch says. "Not what the red states are used to."

You know, when I say "Man, that's gay"'ve crossed a line.

Stewart says he consulted Crystal, Steve Martin and Rock and all advised him not to try to outthink either the academy or the audience, just trust his instincts and have fun. That and, "Chris said, 'Go there with a passport, $10,000 and a fake beard. And if you have to head to Mexico, you head to Mexico.' "

"I'm not doing this for posterity," he says of hosting Oscar night. Stewart leans back behind his desk and explains how these awards are a 78-year-old entity and a pretty sweet franchise and he'll be borrowing interest from it, not the other way around. Can he bring a slightly different atmosphere? "That may be," he says.

"My impulse is always to start with absurdity, either the absurdity of me doing it, or whatever the absurdity may be of this year's films … I'll do that or I will come up with a song parody that somehow figures out a way to rhyme 'Syriana' and 'Capote,' which is not going to be easy,"

Still having trouble finding that special someone, ladies?

Well, as one or two of you from the old days may remember, Sean Hannity has your back. In addition to being an idiot and a liar, Hannity is a matchmaker via the "Hannidate" section of his website.

The General has found an example of the kind of fine young man who is out there for the having.

The thanks of a grateful blogger

...can be earned by looking over to the right there and clicking the View my complete profile link where you'll find, among other things, a link to my Wish List.

If any of you wish to earn the thanks of a grateful blogger, that is.

A lament for libertarians

...posted by Arthur Silber, described by a self-proclaimed liberal blogger as
one of the blog world’s authentic voices: a free-market capitalist, Ayn Rand-quoting libertarian who isn’t awed by power or transported by dreams of Middle Eastern empire.

He writes:
At one time, libertarianism represented a serious and vital intellectual tradition, one that included thinkers and writers of great significance such as Hayek and von Mises. The faux "libertarians" of today, who are especially and annoyingly numerous among bloggers, have rendered genuine libertarianism unrecognizable. For the moment, libertarianism's reputation has been almost entirely destroyed and deservedly so, if one considers only its loudest contemporary advocates. These phony libertarians have no understanding at all of the principles they claim to be defending, and genuine liberty can find no place in their world view.


Remember that idea of mine? About how if the Democrats don't start opening up their mouths and saying something the Republicans are going to swoop in and claim credit for "saving" us? Well, it's gaining currency in much more popular and powerful forums like AmericaBlog, where in noting that even William Freakin' Buckley, Jr now says the war is a failure, John adds:
It's over, folks. Cong. Murtha's "extreme" position of only some three months ago is now mainstream conservative conventional wisdown. Only time will tell if the rest of the Dems join in, or whether the conservatives will get credit for "saving us" from Iraq. And only time will tell if the Dems are smart enough and crafty enough to label the Republicans as abject failures.

If Iraq was key to the war on terror, as Bush has said so many times, then his failure there has put our country at even more risk. Just like the Dubai ports deal, George Bush is making life in America and this world more dangerous by the day.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

That would be fun, but...

Philip Seymour Hoffman, best actor nominee (for Capote), says
"The director of the film (Bennett Miller) and I went to college together and the writer (Dan Futterman) of the film, we all met when we were 16.

"We had this friend at the time, Steven, and we all made this drunken pact that if one of us ever won the Academy Award, that we would bark the whole acceptance speech."

"We were very serious," he continued. "Literally, we were like: 'I'll do that. I will definitely commit to that.' Bennett and I met with Steven recently in Los Angeles and he said: 'So remember we made this pact that you have to bark?'

"The thing is you can't just bark, you have to bark until they pull you off (the stage). Let's hope I don't have to get up there."

That's still not the Oscar Moment I Most Wish We Could See. When William H. Macy was nominated for his work in, I believe, Fargo, he once said, his friend the writer and director David Mamet offered him a huge bribe to, if he won, begin his speech by taking out a small piece of paper and saying...

"These two lesbians are shopping for power tools, and...I'm sorry, I have the wrong speech."

Right early, right often

Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher shows once again why she and Redd are the right-on chicks of the blogsphere with an entry about the importance of remembering just who was wrong, and who was right, about the Iraq conflict.

Read it, and follow the links she provides to Wolcott and BTCNews, but here's her conclusion:
Until someone can point out the inherent logic to me of the John Dickerson's of the world who have concluded that we early opponents of the war were wrong to be right even as the warmongers were right in their wrongness, I think it's valid to keep harping on the scorecard. If not only to knock the struts out from underneath the GOP's plan to run on "national security" in 2006, then surely to figure out who should be listened to from here on in based on who has had a clear-eyed vision of this mess from the start, as distinct from those who most certainly have not.

On the other hand, maybe I'll write that one next

Someone I'm asking to be a "beta reader" of the new draft of My Girlfriend's Boyfriend just asked who I envisioned as its audience. I replied:
Anyone who cares about a true romance. And by that I don't mean the kind of novel in which buxom redheads with names like "Wylde" are captured by scruffysexycool pirates and tied to the mast.

Well I'll be

Rest in peace, Don Knotts.

Cartoon Brew reminds us of his vocal performance in the underrated "Cats Don't Dance" animated movie. The obits are mostly hitting Barney Fife, of course, but there's also mention of "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," a film I remember fondly and was always kind of glad they never remade. There was talk of it a few years ago with Jim Carrey or-gulp-Mike Myers. And "The Apple Dumpling Gang" which, I only recently learned, is based on a novel by someone whose writing how-to books have recently been useful to me. And who else could have been the "TV Repairman" in the overrated "Pleasantville?"

To my generation, though, Knotts was first-and-foremost Mr. Furley on "Three's Company," a series I probably shouldn't have been watching as early as I was. I'm not sure, but I think some of the jokes might have been about some sort of sex-related misunderstanding.

ETA: As I kinda suspected he would, Mark Evanier has a couple of good personal anecdotes about the man he calls "The most beloved person in all of show business," here and here.