Saturday, July 29, 2006

I know this isn't a new thought, but man this country is screwed up about sex

Breast-feeding cover upsets magazine readers

Associated Press
Jul. 28, 2006 12:00 AM

NEW YORK - "I was SHOCKED to see a giant breast on the cover of your magazine," one person wrote. "I immediately turned the magazine face down," wrote another. "Gross," said a third.

These readers weren't complaining about a sexually explicit cover, but rather one of a baby nursing, on a parenting magazine. It's yet another sign that Americans are squeamish over the sight, even as breast-feeding itself gains more support from the government and medical community.

The evidence of public discomfort isn't just anecdotal. In a survey published in 2004 by the American Dietetic Association, less than half, or 43 percent, of 3,719 respondents said women should have the right to breast-feed in public.

So that's how screwed up we are, huh? A photograph of a breastfeeding infant, with no nipple visible, mother discreetly turned in profile, and some people are responding as though it were a full-frontal shot of Uma Thurman nude in a shower.

Of course, I wouldn't be offended if that were the cover of a magazine either, but that's a subject for another time. Or maybe not. Because it speaks to something. As most of you guys and gals who read this blog on any kind of regular basis will know, I can put a double entendre spin on just about anything.

But-I'm gonna go out on a limb here-there is nothing sexual about the above photograph. Unless we're so afraid of the reality of our bodies that a baby's breakfast becomes pornography. Which we really shouldn't be.

But apparently, we are. Because IIRC, that figure for how many people think women should be allowed to breast-feed in public is actually lower that that for how many think gays and lesbians should be able to be legally married.

That's how screwed up we are about sex.

We're not just homophobic, we're heterophobic.

Friday, July 28, 2006

'Tis to smile grimly over

Kevin Smith's Career Highlights, as chosen by those irrepressible scamps at The Onion. My favorites:

1995: Emerged bloodied but safe after spending 10 harrowing days up Harvey Weinstein's ass.

2002: Smoked away Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back profits in one sitting.

In re the last one, well, that would explain a lot...

The "wearing your underwear on the outside of your clothes" trend has now officially gone too far

Then again, these are pictures of Nicole Richie, who may be the least-sexy alleged hot chick I have ever seen.

ETA: If you scroll down that same link, you'll find some pictures of Lisa Kudrow with her husband and son at LAX. I don't normally like paparazzi photos when someone's young children are involved; I've never linked to one before. That's where I think the line should be drawn.

I'm making an exception in this case because the kid is so obviously digging it.

I'm desperately, desperately old

MTV is celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year, but that's not what makes me feel old. No, what makes me feel old is that by way of tribute their satellite channel VH1 Classic (home of the fantastically invaluable We Are the '80s program) is going to re-run the first 24 hours of MTV programming.

I remember when MTV did that for their 10th anniversary. I'm desperately, desperately old. Meanwhile, USA Today has come up with what they feel are the Top 25 Moments In MTV History.

Herewith, a few of their choices along with my comments. And since MTV used to run videos, we're going to have one or two of those too.

24. Girl meets girl
Aug. 28, 2003

The moment: Madonna performed her classic hit Like a Virgin with Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears at the Video Music Awards. The Material Girl caused a sensation when she shared an open-mouthed kiss with Spears.

Yes, sensational. In some countries in the world, the police still don't do much if a couple of lesbians get killed. In the US, they still can't serve in the military or, in most states, get married. But it sure is sensational when a couple of straight disco divas get it on for attention.

18. A big lil' stunt

Sept. 9, 1999

The moment: Lil' Kim showed up at the Video Music Awards in a one-shouldered purple number with an exposed breast covered by a pastie.

What made it really special: Tongues started wagging when she hit the red carpet. And then when Kim arrived on stage with Mary J. Blige and Diana Ross to present the award for rap video, Ross reached over and cupped and jiggled Kim's exposed breast.

I remember that moment. But to me, the best part was Ross joking "It's the new Supremes!..." As those of us who know something of their history thought "No, if that were the case, one of them would be dying penniless and insane and you'd be pushing the other one out of the spotlight on TV, Diana."

17. You gotta Love it
Sept. 4, 1996

The moment: During the red-carpet arrivals at the Video Music Awards, Courtney Love interrupted Kurt Loder's interview with Madonna by hurling her compact at them. The rocker stole the Material Girl's thunder when she stumbled on stage — babbling about everything from Madonna's shoes to her desire to be a candy striper — then fell down.

What made it special: Although Madonna maintained her composure, Love's brazen interruption marks one of the most embarrassing moments in VMA history.

Sez them! I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Courtney Love ought to be given her own reality TV show. Love, 24/7. Now that's a show that I'd watch.

16. Cornholio is born
July 15, 1994

The moment: On the animated Beavis and Butt-Head, a sugar binge causes the normally shy Beavis to yank his Metallica T-shirt up over his head and become Cornholio, a Nicaraguan rebel in search of "T.P. for his bunghole."

In my entire life, I've only ever thought one joke on Beavis and Butt-Head was funny. It was when they were watching the video for a certain catchy song from 1985...

...and Butt-Head asked, "Is this, like...children's music?"

And then there's the opening of what I remember as one of the best, most underrated game shows in the history of television...

9. 'Remote' turns us on
Dec. 7, 1987

The moment: With Remote Control, pop-culture freaks found a gem of a game show in host Ken Ober's basement. Also lurking there: future stars Adam Sandler and Denis Leary, in skits such as "Stud Boy" and "Andy Warhol's Diary."
And Kari Wuhrer and Colin Quinn! For god's sake, have some respect for a body of work!

(Forgive the exploitative nudity, but I was 16 years old in 1987 and Kari was very important to me)

6. A united front 2
July 13, 1985

The moment: The multi-venue music collaboration Live Aid, organized by Geldof and Ure, aired to raise money for famine relief in Ethiopia. Bands such as The Who, Duran Duran and Hall & Oates performed around the globe, with main locations in London and Philadelphia.

What made it special: The outgrowth of Band Aid drew 1.5 billion viewers across 100 countries for the live broadcast, one of the largest-scale satellite linkups and TV broadcasts of all time. It raised more than $280 million.

All of this is, naturally, noble. But what those of us who were there at the time remember is that MTV's coverage of the event was the most critisized of the day, because of their inexplicable tendency to cut away from the perfomers to the non-entity VJ's faces for "reaction shots."

"Hey, Teddy Pendergrass is making his first public appearance since his near-fatal car accident which paralyzed him for life. Let's see what Mark Goodman thinks about that..."

Thursday, July 27, 2006

And now, a completely immature joke that made me feel better on this dark day


The movie based on Firefly, Joss Whedon's flopped TV series.


A bladder leakage product, that is to say, adult incontinence diapers, as it were, something designed to soak up lots and lots of piss and disguise a bad smell.

You be the judge.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

And then Ben began to cry

Went to my video store today. Wednesday is "rent one, get one free" day. I'm scanning through the independent comedy section when a title leaps off the shelf and comes rushing into my eyes: My Girlfriend's Boyfriend.

I slumped back against the shelf behind me.

The plot revolves around a marriage. It's got a gay theme qnd a jealous gay character. And just to make me feel a little bit more like someone's encroaching on territory I thought I'd staked out, it features a supporting performance by 1980's pop star Deborah Gibson.

Times like these were made for Heaven 17. All hopeless fantasies are making fools of me...

I tried but could not bring
The best of everything
Too breathless then to wonder
I died a thousand times
Found guilty of no crime
Now everything is thunder

I'll turn the last card down...

It's all about perspective, really

The new Us Weekly mag says Tori Spelling is "broke" after her mom managed to get her cut out of her dad, Aaron's will. Staying out of the eerily appropriate soap-opera the Spellings life and death has suddenly become...

The cover also says she's "struggling to make ends meet." In the blurb they've set up on their web site in hopes of making you buy the magazine, we learn:

Tori’s share – a cash inheritance payment of $200,000, combined with approximately $600,000 in private investments

$800,000. Do you have any idea what I could do with $800,000? Is there anyone reading this who can rationalize "broke" and "struggling to make ends meet" with $800,000? Because if there is, call me, you're beautiful and I think I love you...

This is a shout going out...

My friend Corey has now been mentioned on Mark Evanier's blog a grand total of three times. It would be the act of a small, petty man to point out that I myself have been mentioned nine times, plus this blog is listed on Mark's links page.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


A bill that would make it a crime to take a pregnant girl across state lines for an abortion without her parents' knowledge passed the Senate Tuesday

No one knows how many girls get abortions in this way, or who helps them.

A last-minute deal by Sens. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., would cut off the ability of men who impregnate their daughters from taking them out of state for abortions and from suing those who help get the procedure in other states.

During floor negotiations with Boxer, Ensign rejected a proposal by Feinstein to protect from prosecution such confidants as grandparents, clergy and others to whom a girl might turn for help.

Another, sponsored by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (news, bio, voting record), D-N.J., would have encouraged the federal government to provide money for more sex education. That bill failed earlier in the day, 48-51.

"If we do nothing about teen pregnancy yet pass this punitive bill, then it proves that this (bill) is only a political charade and not a serious effort to combat the problem," Lautenberg said.

Abstinence is the best way to prevent teenage pregnancy, responded Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla.

"How many people really think it's in the best interest of young people to be sexually active outside of marriage? Does anything positive ever come from that?" Coburn asked.

Okay, any of you want to take this one, or should I?

That's the creepiest thing I've ever seen in my whole entire life

It's actually a picture of a contestant on Britain's Next Top Model. But doesn't it have "Femme-bot who distracts James Bond and then tries to kill him" written all over it?

Okay, the embryos thing

Those of you who watch The Daily Show, which I'm assuming is most of you, well-educated readers that you are, may remember a fella named Sen. Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas. He's the one who, in making his "case" in opposition to stem-cell research, held up a child's drawing of an embryo that (he said) was asking "are you going to kill me?"

Jon Stewart rightfully had some fun with this anti-science whackaloon. And I can't help thinking it's another one of those cases where something that was satire 20 years ago becomes all-too real today.

But Blue Gal, meanwhile, has something to say about if from a most priviliged position:
I am a former infertility patient. I know.

Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS)? Kiss my ass.

There are difficult decisions to be made in infertility, and they do not need to be made in the halls of Congress. They need to be made between a couple and their doctor, and when you try to tell a group of highly educated (and when you've followed your own reproductive cycle for 24 months IN A ROW believe me you are educated) people who have invested THOUSANDS of dollars and TENS OF THOUSANDS of tears in order to have any child at and when they "should" proceed so that "precious life" is perserved.

Fuck you. Just fuck you. YOU HAVE NO FUCKING IDEA, SIR. NONE AT ALL.

I just kinda thought that was a message that should be shared.

Monday, July 24, 2006

If that's what we're calling it now

AOL users have named Pink the musician they would most like to add to their buddy list.

Note to self: Selling out carries with it a certain amount of bad karma

From a ContactMusic news article on top-grossing films of the weekend:

...the failure of two other newcomers may have given former Disney exec Nina Jacobson and ABC film critic Joel Siegel a case of schadenfreude. M. Night Shyamalan's Lady in the Water, which received Jacobson's negative appraisal when the writer-director took his script to her (he subsequently made the film at Warner Bros.), drew an estimated $18.2 million. Kevin Smith's Clerks II, while costing only a fraction of Lady, earned only $9.6 million. Although the film reportedly cost about $5 million to make, it cost about $20 million to market.

Awesome, dude. Sweet.

We've lost another one of the great character actors, Mako

First a few quotes from the Playbill news item, then me.
Mako, the Japanese actor who was Tony Award nominated for playing the Reciter in the original Broadway production of Pacific Overtures, died July 21 at his home in Somis, in Ventura County, California, according to friends and colleagues.

"Personally, Mako helped open my eyes as a young artist just graduating from USC," East West Players' producing artistic director Tim Dang told "He made me aware of the lack of opportunities in the industry and the valiant work that was ahead. He wanted to make sure that I was tough enough to survive in an industry where 80 percent of artists are unemployed and that percentage is even worse if you are an artist of color."

Mako's film credits include "Memoirs of a Geisha," "Conan the Barbarian," "Seven Years in Tibet," "Pearl Harbor," "The Green Hornet," "Rising Sun," "The Ugly Dachshund" and more.

His sonorous performance in Pacific Overtures was captured on the original cast recording.

He also appeared in four different episodes of "M*A*S*H" as four different characters over the long span of the series. The most memorable was probably "Guerrilla My Dreams." Mako played a South Korean officer Hawkeye tries to prevent from interrogating a wounded woman being held at the 4077th as an enemy guerrilla. (That synopsis is slightly rewritten from the one appearing in The Classic Sitcom Guide). It was a rare episode in which Hawkeye's trusty liberalism was found to be deficient.

But perhaps Mako's most underrated performance is in an overlooked film called The Wash, released in 1988. Playing a rigid, domineering husband and father who nearly breaks when his wife of over 40 years finds the strength to leave him, he is superb, powerful and filled with emotion. The film may be hard to find, though it is available in some of your better video stores, and I cannot recommend it too highly.

News that under difference circumstances would have caused me to fall down

Kristen Bell, Anne Hathaway featured in Penthouse Magazine. Fortunately(?) it's not a pictorial, it's a list of the "Hottest New Stars." The once and future Veronica Mars came in third under Oscar nominee Amy Adams and someone called Jaime Alexander. The future Mrs. Varkentine came in ninth under a bunch of people she's prettier than, and I don't understand that.

Then again, this is Penthouse Magazine. Their standards may be somewhat higher than mine.

Oh no, not that

Robbie Williams is one of those pop acts that I like...but never quite enough to actually buy one of his albums. Which doesn't make me much of a rarity in America, where he can't seem to get any traction, despire being one of Britain's biggest-sellers.

But I like his perverse onstage persona-especially the time when, on The Tonight Show, he made Mike Myers looks like a homophobic jackass (believe me, if I could find a clip, I would have posted it). I like some of his songs, especially "Millenium." And he's made worthy contributions to a couple of soundtracks and compilations I like, singing the end credits song to Finding Nemo and covering Noel Coward for the 20th Century Blues CD.

Now he's got an album coming out on which...damn if he doesn't seem to be waving to try to get my attention. He's collaborating with Pet Shop Boys-Neil Tennant will duet on one of the songs and he and Chris Lowe are producing parts of the album as well. And covering the classic Human League song "Louise."

I don't know about you, but that's enough to pique my curiosity. But here's the part I don't understand. As reported in the UK Mirror:
ROBBIE Williams is either a very brave or a very foolish man.

The singer is risking the wrath of Madonna's husband Guy Ritchie by raking over the past on a track on his controversial new album

Both dated leggy TV presenter Tania Strecker - Ritchie before he met Madonna and the Robster after the film director ditched her.

Music industry insiders tell us the track She's Madonna is based on an alleged conversation Guy had with Tania when he left her.

According to her version of events, the man behind hit movies Lock, Stock and Snatch ended their romance with the words: "Look, you know I really love you, but she's Madonna."

"Risking the wrath" of Guy Ritchie. Oh no, not that. Not the wrath of Razzie-sweeping director Guy Ritchie, whose ill-conceived collaboration with his wife didn't even open in the UK, and scarcely stopped in the theaters here on its way to home video. Not the man who has seen a promising career turn rotten for reasons upon which I wouldn't dare to speculate (thanks to my cease-fire still being in effect).

Anything but that. No, please no.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Random Flickr-Blogging: IMG_4416: But seriously folks

A choice of captions:

1. You have no idea how good this looks right now. I'm a sucker for water imagery anyhow. I think the ocean is beautiful and many of my favorite songs have, overt or covert, water associations, at least for me (sometimes they just sound watery).

But after the couple of days we've been having in Seattle, when "Go jump in the lake" is no longer an insult but an expression of have no idea how good this looks right now.

(On a related subject, this is an unpaid commercial announcement: Popsicles are gooooooooood.)

2. Words and image:

Should have taken warning
it was just
People ignoring
Running, hiding, lost
Couldn't find, find a place to go

Red skies at night...

Someone's taking over
And it look like they're aiming
Right at you (and me, and everybody...)
Someone said
we could be dead by morning
Someone cries

Red eyes at night...

-Red Skies, The Fixx

Original source here.

Random Flickr-Blogging: IMG_4416: The Completely Obnoxious Edition

"Yeah-I showed it to him for a quarter. You got a problem with that?"

Original source here.

Clifford had been wondering whether the new girl was a natural blonde, until he saw the effect that the smallest thought entering her brain had upon her head.

Original source here.

Realizing that he'd badly miscalculated the ratio of Monologues to Vagina, Alex began pondering how he could best make good his escape.

Original source here.

If ever a picture was just crying out for the caption "I'm not as think as you drunk I am..."

Original source here.

"This? Why, this is a special magic charm that protects me from bad luck and also gives men an excuse to stare at my boobs. Why?"

Original source here.

"Cel-e-brate good times, come on! Whaddaya mean the record's over? Come on everbody! One more time!"

When the two vampires in the background took Amy out, nobody really minded that much.

Original source here.

"So, like...that's Barcelona or something behind us, right? What?"

Original source here.

...I'd like to take this moment to apologize for some of the jokes above, which I think most people who know me would say are unlike me. I blame the heat.

In reference to the third piece of advice...

...I'd just like to say that my friend Corey and I are both mentioned (separately) in Wikipedia entries. This means we're experts, according to How To Be An Expert On Anything by Stephen Colbert.

Technology in the hands of 11-year-old boys is a dangerous thing

Case in point.