Saturday, June 03, 2006

All I got left with was tears; Seven lonely volunteers

I've just finished preparing a (first draft of a) chapter outline of My Girlfriend's Boyfriend to send to the publishers, and I'm looking for volunteers to read it and tell me what they think. Ideally these should be, at least partly, people who haven't read any of the full versions, because I'm trying to see how this reads to an audience that doesn't know the story.


ETA: Oh, and I should give public thanks to Bob Black, who helped out by sending me a sample of onea them chapter outline things. I'd never seen one before.

Apart from McCartney, Bowie, Morrissey & Partridge, this list is mostly a buncha shit

The results of that Paste Magazine 100 Best Living Songwriters poll that I talked about a few months ago are out. As I said at the time, I have some issues with who they chose to define as "songwriters."

For example,
80 Pink Floyd
Now: Are they talking about Roger Waters? I presume they are, since I understand him to have written both words and music for most of the songs you think of when you think of Pink Floyd. So why not just say so?

Similarly, as pleased as I am to see--
57 Morrissey
--above Sting but below James Brown, I still think it was ludicrious to nominate him separately from Johnny Marr at all. And you're telling me I now live in a world in which
36 Beck
is ranked a better songwriter than
37 Smokey Robinson?
That ain't right. And of course:
12 The Rolling Stones
What I've said before still stands. The day anyone can name one song off the last Stones album by the time the next one comes out, is the day I'll believe there's a reason to give a ratfucking piss about them for anyone not in the baby boom generation.
2 Neil Young
I look at Neil Young sort of the way I look at Michael Moore or Al Gore. Even though I know he's almost legendary to many, and there is reason for me to respect him, I think he's more about self-promotion than his fanbase suspects and I trust him less far than I could throw him.

See The Rolling Stones and double it.

Here's an item that had my sympathy and mild curiosity...untill...

So it seems that the Grateful Dead's last keyboard player has died. Apparently he had been quite despondent since Jerry Garcia passed away, and it's believed that he took his own life. Now, as you can well imagine if you know anything at all about my musical taste, the Dead were not, by and large, my cup of tea. Liked their version of the Twilight Zone theme for the '80s revival, that's about it.

But, I like to think I'm not completely insensitive to the feelings of a man who must have been in a great deal of pain. And there is also the creepy-funny aspect of it: Keyboard players for the Grateful Dead have apparently roughly the same life expectancy of drummers for Spinal Tap.

That's what I was thinking as I read this item, and then I got to this paragraph:

Originally a member of the 1970s rock band "The Tubes," Welnick joined the Grateful Dead after longest-serving keyboard player Brent Mydland died in 1990 of a drug overdose.

Waitaminute. This guy was the keyboard player in The Tubes? Forget it. Motherfucker deserved to die. Now he's in the level of hell reserved for people who should never have put their hands on a damn keyboard.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I don't know where I was coming from when I said country music fans don't like strong women

You weirdos who don't like the Dixie Chicks are going to want to scroll down. Via North Jersy Media:
One of the more innocuous explanations given to the Dixie Chicks as to why country radio hasn't been playing their new single, "Not Ready to Make Nice," is because the defiant song doesn't fit in with everything else that's playing on the dial.

"I don't even know what's played on country radio, but when they tell me some titles, it cracks me up," says lead singer Natalie Maines, sitting in a swank New York hotel as the group promotes its new album, "Taking the Long Way."

"Besides, where would we fit on the playlist between 'Honky Tonk Badonkadonk' and 'Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off'?" asks Maines, citing two recent country hits, as the rest of the Chicks -- sisters Martie Maguire and Emily Robison -- join in her laughter.

"We don't want to be a square peg," pipes in Robison, while Maines adds: "We'd rather be the square peg on the other side!"

I suppose I'm the only one who, reading that, wishes the Chicks would cover the theme to the 1982 sitcom...yeah, I thought so. Onward!

"It just [ticks] me off," says a steamed Maguire. Growing up, she found herself defending country music to friends who saw it as a close-minded, conservative genre that had little variety or tolerance for differing opinions.

"I just feel stupid. I was trying to convince people that that stereotype wasn't real ... but it does exist. I thought it was the old school," she says. "Now I wouldn't blame anyone if they didn't want to listen to it."

"I want [the new album] to be successful to prove to myself that the music matters," says Maines, "and radio and organized far right people can't determine your destiny."

That's not his Fortress Of Solitude, that's Brokeback Mountain

Excerpted from the LA Times: would think that Warner Bros. might have been happy with Alonso Duralde's cover story about "Superman Returns," which gushed, "Superheroes — let's face it — are totally hot."

There was a twist: Duralde's "Superman Returns" story was not in Entertainment Weekly or Newsweek or Premiere. It ran in the May 23 issue of the Advocate, the prominent national gay magazine, next to the headline: "How Gay Is Superman?" several entertainment and cultural writers have noted, superheroes hold obvious — and growing — gay appeal. In addition to being strikingly good-looking, the characters often are portrayed as alienated outsiders, typically leading double lives.

Warner Bros. declined to comment. But the studio is reaching out to some gay moviegoers. Warners has bought "Superman Returns" advertising time on Logo, a year-old digital cable channel in 20 million homes that calls itself "the channel for Gay America."

I would think Warner Bros. would decline to comment, considering the blue costume that DC had temporarily stuck Superman in all those years ago.

Back to the Times:
Despite the gay-branding issues "Superman" might face, there are a number of hit pop culture products that have benefited greatly from gay and lesbian fans.

The 1990s TV series "Xena: Warrior Princess" had a loyal and large following among lesbians (which the show courted) and the rock band Queen maintained a huge audience of young straight males despite the gay imagery of its name, music and stage shows. In comics, it has become increasingly common to not only create new gay characters but also to rework the mythology of long-time heroes to make them gay, as is the case with both Batwoman and Colossus.
Excuse me, I need a moment, I've been out of comics for a long time. Colossus is gay? But...but...but Kitty Pride...but...

Molly Ivins

It's times like this I long for Al Gore to have watched State Of The Union, a Tracy/Hepburn film directed by Frank Capra that if he'd watched, he'd be president today. (And from which Ronald Reagan stole one of the most widely quoted examples of his "wit.")

The lovely and talented Ms. Ivins has a couple of items that could make me re-think my resistance to the idea of another Gore run. First, the latest on what we did, what our soldiers did for us, in Haditha.

So, Haditha becomes another of the names at which we wince, along with Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and My Lai. Tell you what: Let’s not use the “stress of combat” excuse this time. According to neighbors, the girls in the family of Younis Khafif—the one who kept pleading in English, “I am a friend. I am good”—were 14, 10, 5, 3 and 1. What are they going to say? “Under stress of combat, we thought the baby was 2”?

Then this latest example of the way the Bush administration handles screw-ups: With reward and promotion.

Two weeks ago, Amir Taheri had an Op-Ed article in the Canadian National Post claiming that the Iranians have a law requiring Jews to wear yellow badges. It turned out to be a complete fabrication and has been the subject of much contempt among bloggers. So Tuesday, Taheri was invited to the White House along with other “experts” to give the president their “honest opinions.” With advice like that, our war in Iran will be a slam-dunk.

But in the end, you have to thank god for the English and their sense of wit, as Molly says:
Tony Blair...joined Bush in a mistake-admitting-athon last week. (The Prez is sorry he talked “too tough” to the terrorists.) Neither of them thought to name “the war in Iraq,” for example, as a mistake. But, as The Economist rather unkindly put it, their meeting was “The Axis of Feeble."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

A Mark Gibson Television Production

Okay, so it's a blog, not a TV show, but those words just sound like they should follow. Mark was kind enough to give me a little shout-out in his blog, so I'm gonna return the favor and send you round to his.

If nothing else, I owe him some sort of payback for reproducing the cover of this Dell comic that is creepy and just not right. Especially if you've heard the things about Chuck Connors that I've heard.

(Five words: "The Rifleman is double-cocking.")

Def.Con.One, Hey what's occurring? What goes on?

And the groundswell begins.

I'd like to be, under the sea, in an...

PZ Myers has a thing for octopi and the like. Today, he's indulging that love with a collection of links and pics.

The one on the right is a Japanese manhole cover, I'm not quite sure where the one below comes from.

"LGBT" sounds like a progressive rock band

You know, something like Yes without their one strong song...Ladies and gentlemen, LGBT!

But seriously, folks...a blog called Mombian has declared this "Blogging for LGBT Families Day." The idea is to "help show the strength of those who support LGBT families and their rights."

Well, I certainly support that. But what specifically to write about?

I think that, and I hope I don't get brickbats for being too obvious, the gay community is in some ways in their most precarious position ever. Absolute full rights are inevitable, and I believe we'll see it within the next generation. Unfortunately, this means that those who-although they can come up with a lot of nonsense to distract from this-don't think as homosexuals as people, are digging in. They're going to make "a last stand."

The movie reference is unintentional, but given X-Men's easy reading as metaphor for the gay or other minority experience, maybe it shouldn't be.

On the other hand, there are people who have been waiting so long for the acknowledgement they should have been given "from the womb to the tomb." But they're too quick (IMO) to follow anything that even looks like light.

See everything from Mary Cheney, to those who thought the White House wouldn't screw them at the Easter Egg Roll, to the inexplicable success of The L Word. I think it's a very, very precarious time.

But at least I know which camp I'm in.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

It was only a matter of time, really

Frankly, I'm surprised it took them this long.


Pop rocker Pink was blown away after giving a speech to 700 girls at Toronto's Humberside Collegiate Institute while promoting her album 'I'm Not Dead', after a group of Paris Hilton wannabes slammed her words...

Pink enjoyed screams and applause from the majority of the girls, except for a group of 15-year-old miss prisses who threw insults at her, such as, "Maybe you put down girls like Paris because you are soooo fat and UGLY!"

The singer remained confident in her views, and told them to avoid the "stupid girl epidemic".

The Hilton wannabes snapped back, "You're just jealous because Paris has talent!"

Paris Hilton has fans?

Paris Hilton has talent?

Source: Tittle-Tattle, via Dlisted, where Michael K. sez:

I've seen Paris act, sing, dance and even suck dick...she can't do any of those things right.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006


Now, I don't think much one way or other about Tom Petty. Like some of the singles, that's about it. Similarly, Jeff Lynne. ELO was just a little before my time. Although...(looks one way, then the other, then decides oh, the heck with it and admits) Xanadu is something of a guilty pleasure. I've always said Prince was a musical genius, though.

...but that doesn't explain why this clip of Petty, Lynne and Prince performing George Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" is so killer. BTW, I'm pretty sure that kid strumming away on an acoustic behind Petty is Dhani Harrison, George's son.

Reasons to save us, and keep it all painless.

On the one hand, we invented what we laughably call the democratic political system. On the other, one of us can do things like this. Hey St. Peter, would you call that even?

I know it's true, oh so true, cause I saw it on TV

The enemy cannot defeat us on the battlefield, but what they
can do is put horrible images on our TV screens.

--George Bush, Philadelphia Congressional Dinner, May 24, 2006


Monday, May 29, 2006

Okay, I'll do the obvious joke: You can call him Al

If you can take another Al Gore post, Nora Ephron has a good one at the Huffington.

What sets the Gore movie apart is not the way it's made, or even the power of its material about global warming, but the reaction of the audience. The audience -- which is to say, us, us liberals, us on the left -- is mortified. Deeply mortified. Icecaps melt, lakes dry up, there are hurricanes and heatwaves, but as you watch, what really goes through your head are the number of Americans and Iraqis who are dead because Gore isn't President, and the realization that we're in some way to blame.

Al Gore doesn't make it to the top three reasons on my list of Who's To Blame -- Bill Clinton, Ralph Nader and Karl Rove are way ahead of him. But Gore's on the list, he and Bob Schrum and the rest of his advisors. There was triangulation. There was caution. There was the third debate. There was bad makeup. We cared about those things, we said so aloud, we were disappointed in his candidacy, we stood by and watched the Republicans steal the Presidency from him and on some level we behaved as if it somehow proved that the system worked.

I think Ephron is somewhat overrated as a director/screenwriter (and her sister, Amy, once threatened me), but I give her props for this.

I'm always up for a little beauty

Sparked by PZ Myers' list of beautiful things...

The ocean.

The synthesizer. That's a Prophet V. sequencer, BTW, since I know you were wondering. As used by Thompson Twins.

Terry Gilliam movies, which for some reason I've chosen to represent with this vidcap of Uma Thurman as Venus in The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen.

Frank Sinatra singing a Moonlight Serenade.

Starflyer 59's Leave Here a Stranger.

Annabel & Keitha, of course.

Dr. Seuss books.

Elisabeth Shue. There's a moment on the LLV soundtrack CD where she says "Don't you like me, Ben?" I could die every time...

A Renoir oil titled In the Meadow.

And Ryuichi Sakamoto's BTTB.

Alex Toth

A comics and animation artist named Alex Toth passed away a day or so ago. If you don't know who that was, Mark Evanier has a quick obit here. Or, to put it another way:

Jennifer Aniston has sexy legs

For those of you that hadn't heard.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Everyone's favorite asshole

I want to say a special shout-out to Paul Gleason, an actor who died today. He was best known for playing...well, see the a streak of films in the '80s:

  • He was the asshole FBI man in Die Hard.
  • He was the asshole principal in The Breakfast Club (spoofing himself over 15 years later in Not Another Teen Movie).
  • He was the asshole bad guy in Trading Places who meets King (Kong) fate.
  • He was even...wait for asshole in a guilty pleasure of mine, Morgan Stewart's Coming Home (my favorite Alan Smithee film!)

So what I'm saying is I, like you, have spent a bunch of hours watching Paul Gleason being taught lessons he richly deserved, and he always made it fun. All kidding aside, I wish him a respectful farewell.

Noah's wife?

Also on Roger Ebert's site today, the following piece of information from a reader:
One of the great ironies of Dan Brown's book is that it assaults you with its greatest piece of idiocy before you've even picked it up. The man's name is Leonardo, please. "da Vinci" (note the lower-case "d"), is NOT his family name, it's his hometown. He was born in Vinci, Italy, in 1452, in a time before Europeans had started surnaming themselves. Brown's error is on par with writing a book on the life of Christ called The Of Nazareth Code, or assuming St. Joan was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. "Of Arc." It's amazing that anyone could take seriously the historical claims of a work whose title screams out, "penned by an historical ignoramus!"

I looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove reading things like that.

Gore film

And I don't mean "Halloween X: When In Doubt, Blame The Druids," either. Roger Ebert has an article here on Al Gore and his new "Inconvenient Truth" movie. Now, as you know, I don't think Gore is the savior that some in the Democratic blogsphere have convinced themselves he is.

I think a lot of them, on some level, believe that if we can just get Gore in the oval office where he should have been all along, we can magically make it like the past years have never happened.

And it ain't that easy. The list of names responsible for what's happened to this country is long and yes, Republicans make up most of it, with Bush at the top of the tree. But Democrats haven't exactly been covering themselves in glory either and Al Gore is among them.

That said, Ebert makes the film sound better than it looked to me in the trailer.

What he wants you to know is that he has not made a political film. Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" tries to move outside politics and focus on the facts of global warming. Gore says those facts are established, the returns are in, there is almost unanimous scientific agreement about them, and we may have about 10 years before the earth reaches a tipping point from which it cannot recover.

Now that's the kind of talk I like to hear. I like the idea of simply presenting the facts, for which there is overwhelming evidence, and saying This Is The Case. I only wish Democrats would do it about more things.

I've been thinking lately that another of the reasons this blog is not as political as it used to be is for similar reasons: As far as I'm concerned, the facts are in, and in any even reasonably rational universe, virtually the entire Bush administration would be thrown out of the White House.

But I don't have the power to make that happen, and the people who do are extraordinarily unlikely to be listening to me, let alone reading this blog. So I can do lots of posts about what a closed-minded twit George W. Bush is, or I can run pictures of Anne Hathaway.

What would you do?

Ebert further goes on to say of Gore,
He has been traveling the world for six years making speeches in which this message has evolved. But all of those speeches put together have not had the impact of this new documentary, directed by Davis Guggenheim, which is horrifying, enthralling and has the potential, I believe, to actually change public policy and begin a process which could save the earth.

But then, Gore turns around and reminds me of another reason I don't quite trust him.
"...the energy industry has paralyzed America for 20 years with disinformation...They're using exactly the same strategy the tobacco industry used. They're saying there is a 'controversy,' and they refer to a 'debate' when in fact the scientific consensus on global warming is definitive."

Unfortunately, whenever Gore mentions tobacco, I remember things like this:
Six years after Vice President Al Gore's older sister died of lung cancer in 1984, he was still accepting campaign contributions from tobacco interests.

Four years after she died, while campaigning for president in North Carolina, he boasted of his experiences in the tobacco fields and curing barns of his native Tennessee. And it took several years after Nancy Gore Hunger's death for Gore and his parents to stop growing tobacco on their own farms in Carthage, Tenn.

So from where exactly does he get the moral authority to point a finger and say "shame, shame, shame?"

That said-

I believe he's right about this, and I hope the movie fulfills the potential Ebert believes it has; that would obviously be its greatest success.

But some people think the film is some sort of a shadowy stalking horse for a Gore '08 campaign...and I gotta say, I still hope not.