Thursday, July 13, 2006


This blog may be closing soon. Thank you for your patronage, but I need a break.

Under a Cajun moon I lay me open
There is a spirit here that won't be broken
Some words are sad to sing
Some leave me tongue-tied
(But the hardest thing to tell you )
But the hardest words I know
Are I love you goodbye
I love you goodbye
--I Love You Goodbye, Thomas Dolby

And now a little traveling music, if you please...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

A wonderful character actor named Barnard Hughes has died

He was 90. As is my wont at times like these, I want to talk about performances of his that meant something to me.

As the CNN obituary notes, he won the Tony award for the title role in the stage production of "Da," by Hugh Leonard. I never saw the play but he recreated the part 10 years later in the remarkable film version opposite Martin Sheen. To describe the character makes the performance seem less than it is; yes he's a curmudgeon, yes he's crotchety and "cranky." But none of this speaks to how delightful the performance and the film (shot on location in Ireland, some of the landscape is breathtaking) is.

Those three C's were typical of the kind of roles in which Hughes tended to be cast, but he was usually able to put some spin, either of comedy or just-below-the-surface sweetness on them. Take his part in the underrated movie"Doc Hollywood," wherin he played the very picture of the old country doctor who seemingly lives to bedevil his young city "colleague" played by Michael J. Fox.

You may remember him as the grandpa who got the last words in "The Lost Boys." Dramatically, those last words are a cop-out that simply scream "we thought more about the SFX than the script," but Hughes delivers them so well it's hard to care. As big SFX movies go, it's an almost Shakespearian moment.

He was also Walter Gibbs and the dual role of Dumont in the groundbreaking "Tron." When I think of Hughes in that film I think of the dignity and humanity he brought to his roles, both as the human Gibbs who is being pushed out of the company he founded, and the program Dumont, guardian of I/O. "Tron" has more good actors in it than you might think, but Hughes towers above them all.

I think the first place I remember seeing him was in the title role in the sitcom "Mr. Merlin" which I remember liking when I was 10 but who knows what I'd think of it now.
"Mr. Merlin:" Why yes, yes it was the '80s.

I don't quite know what else to say about him-except that he's another actor who, like John Spencer, I'd always kinda hoped to be good enough to write for one day. I send good thoughts to his family and friends, those that were priviliged enough to know and not merely admire him.

Rest in peace, Da. And're not to touch that teapot!


Following up on my post of last month about the writer of "Heathers," one of the more perfect movies of the past 15-20 years, reuniting with its star, Winona Ryder, for a new film...

"According to Winona Ryder, she and Heathers scripter Daniel Waters--both at work on the dark comedy Sex and Death 101--are drumming up a sequel to the 1989 cult classic. 'I've been [arguing], 'There's Heathers in the real world!' she says. 'We have to keep going.'"

No. No you don't. No you shouldn't. "Heathers" does not need a sequel. Then again, that's what I think about "Clerks" and look what's happening there. Even if you could justify such a sequel artistically-and 99% of all sequels can't be-too much time has passed; it's been 17 years and we know too much about Winona.

I don't know what it is with all these years-after sequels lately. I think the "Clerks" sequel is going to suck but I don't care that much, and I certainly don't care that the "Basic Instinct" sequel wasn't worth the wait (who was waiting?). I read elsewhere that Danny DeVito is talking about a third "Romancing the Stone" picture. Forgive me, but has anyone seen Kathleen Turner recently? She may still have the sexy Jessica Rabbit voice but "Body Heat" was a long time ago. Most people probably know her best now as Chandler Bing's transsexual dad.

But "Heathers" actually means something to me, and I don't want to see it tainted.

Source-via ONTD.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Anne Hathaway is trying to kill me.

Seriously. It's the only explaination. Look at this: For crying out loud...

Picture via ohnotheydidn't, where you can also see the rest of Ms. Hathaway's shoot for a magazine called "Hollywood Life." It is unfair how beautiful that woman is.


SyFy Portal has an item about gay characters in science fiction of the past, present and possible future. It's nothing very new if you've been terribly tuned in. A little little "Will & Grace", a little Willow on "Buffy" a little "American networks are still uncomfortable with, etc etc etc."

But here's what grabbed my attention.
It took putting an openly gay man in charge of BBC's "Doctor Who" to help break down some of the sexual barriers in that iconic Welsh television show...

Well, first of all, "Doctor Who" has been gay for years and most of us have either accepted it by now or gotten out of fandom. But second of all...Welsh?

Oh. My. God.

Just when you think you've seen it all when it comes to the idiotic things people do to girls in this world, it turns out you haven't.

Two words.

"Breast ironing."

Would to that I were making this up.

Billions of blistering barnacles!

If you, like me, have many fine memories of the Tintin comic strip, you may want to keep an eye out for a special that's airing on PBS this month. That link will give you some more information about it, and also lead you to where you can check local listings to see when it airs in your area.

I loved Tintin as a young adult, and when I recently went on a nostalgia kick and ordered several of the books from my library, I thought they held up beautifully. As an older adult (at least chronologically) I discovered a lot more of the detail in the art, too.

Of course, the fact the strip inspired the names of two different British new wave bands (The Thompson Twins...
...and Stephen "Tintin" Duffy) is merely the icing on the cake.

One rarely gets a chance to see such carefully prepared sarcasm

Susan Madrak:
Personally, I'm embarrassed by all of us liberal blogofascists insisting on a place in the national discourse simply because we happened to be, um, right about George Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Condi Rice, Tom DeLay, Karl Rove, Iraq, the WMDs, the allegiances of the corporate media, the steady erosion of civil liberties, global warming, Republican incompetence, hypocrisy, greed and dishonesty, fiscal irresponsibility, the widening chasm between economic classes, and the evergrowing efforts to turn our country into a theocracy.

It's also really important to understand the difference between a president getting a blowjob in the Oval Office and a president pretending to look for WMDs in the Oval Office. One of those things is funny ha-ha, and the other is treason. Bloggers never quite got that, and I hang my head in shame at our collective shortcomings.

You want facts? Here's one. The fact is, government (and by extension, the media) exists to serve itself. Liberal bloggers are simply weak, greedy and obnoxious for insisting their vision of American democracy is the correct one, grounded though it may be in obsolete concepts like law.

Read the whole thing.

Much better?

Hi there. Do me a favor, would you? Try to get this video clip to play and leave a comment or write telling me whether or not it works for you. I've heard from one or two people that the embedded links are not working. They work for me, so this is strange.

The clip, BTW, may well be my favorite thing that I've discovered so far via YouTube. It's a recent dance remix of a classic song you'll recognize. And the video is basically everything you want rock n roll to be: It's kind of stupid, frankly a bit sexist, and a little childish. I love it.

I sure hope you can see it.

ETA: My friend Corey, master of all things technological which baffle me (that means he knows how to program his VCR and likes to flaunt it, the tart) writes
No problem seeing it. For anybody who can't see the clips, the problem is likely with your browser and not with the video itself, and I'm guessing you also can't watch the videos directly at Make sure you have the latest version of the Flash plugin installed.

Ok, that's one vote in, anybody else?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Random Flickr-Blogging: IMG_2816

Sometimes Chris felt as if he were the last duck on earth.

Original source here.

In later years, the lead singer of The Buggles fell upon hard times.

Words To Live By (One More Time!)

John Irving's The World According to Garp is one of my favorite novels for many reasons, among them, his ability to bring you inside the head of his characters. It's one of the books that...well it would be too much to say I was trying to follow in its/his footsteps when I started to try to write fiction. But it would not be too much to say I was (and am) frequently aware of it as an aspiration.

Given his and its success, there's no question I'm not alone in that. However, it added to my pleasure in discovering this, from Irving's interview in Writers at Work 8, given while he was in progress on A Prayer For Owen Meany:
I feel the story I am writing existed before I existed, I'm just the slob who finds it, and rather clumsily tries to do it, and the characters, justice. I think of writing fiction as doing justice to the people in the story, and doing justice to their story-it's not my story...

Yes. That's exactly how I feel, and seeing it said by a "real" writer...they don't come much me a little more hope (I don't have faith, I have hope, but that's another post).

In the same interview, he also quotes one of my favorite sayings about writing:
Didn't Faulkner say something like it was necessary only to write about "The human heart in conflict with itself" in order to write well?

Well Mr. Bush, there's one of those wishes you can make come true

President Bush was in Chicago Thursday for his 60th birthday, having dinner with Mayor Daley. When asked by reporters what he wanted for his birthday he replied, "I've got a lot of birthday wishes. I hope the troops are safe. I hope Roger Ebert does well."

My Madonna cease-fire is still in effect

Therefore, I have nothing to say about this picture.

I have no remark to make. If you do, however, don't let me stop you.

Homina homina

Kristen "Veronica Mars" Bell in a gold bikini.

Anne Hathaway in a black bra with her shirt open.

I don't ask for much, really...

(pictures via ONTD)