Saturday, November 11, 2006

Poetry Corner

All that I have is
Silence and the world outside
And a place to hide


Friday, November 10, 2006

I always liked this song

R.I.P Gerald Levert 1966-2006.

Consider, if you will, this great big question...(UPDATED)

Update: As referenced semi-obliquely in my post below, when George W. Bush was re-elected in 2004 by a sliver of a margin, many Bushy republicans started bleating about how he had "a mandate."

Well, now that the silver shoe is on the other foot, it seems the definition of just what constitutes a mandate has changed, for some. Glenn Greenwald has the story. Hands up, anybody who's surprised.

Original post: How do you spell "relief?" Tom Tomorrow spells it this way, looking at this (newly) modern world...

It’s as if the biopsy results just came back and you don’t have cancer after all. You’re not giddy, exactly, but you can finally take a deep breath and maybe let some of the tension drain out of your shoulders. The future remains uncertain but you can begin to imagine it as something other than relentlessly bleak. As a general rule, I don’t have much faith in Democrats, having not fallen off any turnip trucks within recent memory, but I also think that we’re suddenly in an entirely new ball game. At the very least, I believe they will serve as a necessary bulwark against whatever residual craziness the Bushies may be harboring. They won’t be rubber stamping any plans to invade Iran this time around. And maybe they’ll even step up to the plate and hit one out of the park. They’re newly emboldened, and this is their moment.

It’s time to have grownup conversations now. It goes without saying that the Democrats will disappoint us, one way or another. So what? The test results came back, and it’s not terminal. We got a little breathing room, and isn’t that all you can really ever hope for in life?

ETA: You know what Mr. Tomorrow was saying about not having much faith in Democrats and it going without saying they would disappoint us? That was fast. Via Digby at Hullabaloo:

Some big name Democrats want to oust DNC Chairman Howard Dean, arguing that his stubborn commitment to the 50-state strategy and his stinginess with funds for House races cost the Democrats several pickup opportunities.

Yes, you read that right. With Dean as their chairman, the Democrats have just taken over the house and, defying conventional wisdom, the senate. He has helped lead them to victory. They won. I'm going to say that again. They won. It's being called a stunning blowout of a surprise. They have been unambiguously endorsed by America, they have what some might even call a mandate.

Well, clearly, Dean has to go.

You know how you can tell which one is the Democrat in the whorehouse? He's the one spread eagled on the floor, trying to say around the ball gag he stuffed in his own mouth, "Hit me again! Harder! Harder!"

Why yes, yes it is

Another one from the tree of thoughts, as always worth a good look.

CEL-e-brate good times, come on!

First, this post says the rumors regarding "Studio 60's" death are greatly exaggerated, with some quotes from producer/writer/my own personal Jesus, Aaron Sorkin:
Sorkin insisted that due to the last two weeks of ratings results "we're starting to feel optimistic around here" and reminds us that "The West Wing" also wasn't a hit in its first season. That didn't come until season two.

"But I'm much more comfortable with this feeling (of struggle)," Sorkin said. "It feels like it did when I did 'Sports Night.' 'West Wing' felt strange to me. This feels normal."

Then it gets confirmed by Yahoo! News:
"Studio 60" picked up for season.


Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Wednesday Morning Stepping Down, or Where is the ambiguity? It's over there, in a box.

Here's my favorite (so far)post-election blog posts...

Mahablog started watching last night, and notes that it looks like the Green Party candidate may have been what turned Democrats easily winning Virginia into the nail-biter it was last time I checked. A full takeover of the house AND SENATE, which none of the CW was excpecting, is actually within our grasp.

At 2:30 this morning, Shakespeare's Sister posted an election night wrap up in which she expressed a feeling I've got which may explain why I can't quite turn on the colored lights. I'm familiar with the Democrats work.

Shakes said,
As for the victorious Dems, I’ve got only five little words: Congratulations. Don’t let us down.

Tom points out:

A lot of us were concerned that a Democratic win would be downplayed or redefined as defeat; based on last night's (CNN & MSNBC) coverage, that didn't happen. "Stunning" and "blowout" were words I heard more than once over the course of the evening.

I noticed that too, this morning. On CNN a guy was saying he was "surprised." Oh, really. I mean, I know they live in a bubble, but I'm constantly amazed...

Tom further goes on to say wasn't about the Foley scandal. We know that because Reynolds, Shimkus, Boehner, and Hastert--the people most involved, apart from Foley himself--all won re-election. This election can't be dismissed as distorted by a single scandal; this was clearly a referendum on the Republican party as a whole.

The Smart Patrol has some smart-as you would expect-suggestions for Democrats, including:
Keep your goddamn noses clean.

Grow a pair.

No, really, keep your goddamn noses clean.

The time for Republican Lite is over. You wanted to appear centrist so you could get voted in? Fine. You're voted in. Now stop with this "no amnesty" shit, get on board with stem cell research, get your voters some goddamned health care, and stop with this "well, I'm for civil unions" bullshit.

There. Lecture over. Congratulations, and don't let us down.
Are you detecting a theme?

Over at Wings For Wheels, it's (finally) morning in America again.
...there is no ambiguity about the messages that were sent throughout the House Of Representatives, the state legislatures and capitols. An unqualified rejection of everything the Bush Administration has done to the country over the last six years. What strikes me most about looking at the maps is that the Democrats did not lose any seats. Unfortunately, that meant that some good, moderate Republicans had to go, but it also showed moderation in your speeches means nothing when you vote the party line on most issues.

And in news completely unrelated to the vote yesterday, the vile Rumsfeld is stepping down.

And finally, everything at Unclaimed Territory is, as usual, worth reading. But if you're only going to read one, make it this one:
One of the most important things our country needs is a bright light to be shined on what this Government has done, and if the Bush administration really wants to resist those inquiries and claim the right not just to be above the law, but also immune from scrutiny, all the better.

As effectively as anything, that resistance will highlight exactly what they are. And the ensuing fight -- framed as the President's claimed entitlement to continue to operate in complete secrecy, with no limits or checks, just as he did for five years with a rubber-stamping Republican Congress -- is exactly the one that Democrats should aggressively seek out and engage.

I hope these are good signs. I hope they're good signs for all of us.

Yet more bad and good TV ratings news

Yesterday’s Losers (excluding repeats):
Friday Night Lights (NBC), Standoff (Fox), Veronica Mars (CW)

NBC’s struggling Friday Night Lights (4.1/ 6),... and the CW’s diluted Gilmore Girls (3.7/ 5). Comparably, Gilmore Girls on the WB on the year-ago evening was considerably more potent at a 5.3/ 8 (on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2005).

Speaking of schadenfreude...actually, it occurs to me that there's something quite fitting in the dilution both rating and (as far as I can see) creatively of Gilmore Girls this season. The series has lost it's controlling intelligences and its lead character has lost her mind.

On the other hand, a show that I'm tentatively prepared to say is resurging creatively, Veronica Mars, is still wavering in the ratings. But there may be good news for fans, if the usually-trustworthy Marc Berman is correct:

...the CW’s still struggling Veronica Mars (2.0/ 3). To the fans wondering if the CW will give Veronica Mars a back-nine episode order, my guess is yes given the lack of upcoming new midseason programming options.

Oh, and some other things happened last night and this morning, but I'm sure I'll get to them shortly. Let's concentrate on what's really important.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Open, bare-faced Schadenfreude

Channel Island:

"30 Rock," at least in its current incarnation, has been resoundingly rejected by the audience on Wednesdays, and it's not simply ready to be pitched into the fire opposite ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and CBS' "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation."

Consider that this week, writer-performer Tina Fey's send-up of a workplace resembling her alma mater at "Saturday Night Live" sank to its lowest rating yet in the key demo, with an awful 1.7 rating/5 share in the adults aged 18-49 demographic (4.6 million total viewers), according to figures from Nielsen Media Research. And the news for "30 Rock" is only getting worse, with the show registering demo declines in each of its four airings so far. This week's result was down 41% among young adults compared with the premiere.

Emphasis not, I repeat, not mine.

To put it in perspective, that means it's doing worse than "Veronica Mars." On the CW.



Also in the Nov. 16 issue of Rolling Stone (it's just a treasure trove) is a review of Gwen Stefani's newest downloadable track, dubbing it a "must have" because

It samples "The Lonely Goatherd" from The Sound of Music, complete with a yodeled intro, which sounds like something Prince Paul might have dreamt up ten years ago.

Au, contraire! As in all things, the answer is in the '80s, specifically in a certain little five-million-copy-selling European charttopper...

Just when you think Bill O'Reilly could not possibly be a bigger ass

Now, if you've been reading this blog for almost any time at all, you probably know I think Bill O'Reilly is a pretty big ass, and a liar besides. Hell, if you've been reading this blog for any time at all you probably agree.

But, I know what you're saying. You're saying, if only he'd publicly called for the physical abuse of women.

Well, guess what.

In the new Rolling Stone, there is a short piece on the aforementioned new Dixie Chicks documentary. an astonishing clip from his Fox News show, Bill O'Reilly calls the band "callow, foolish women who deserve to be slapped around."

PS: The new RS also contains the full version of that Colbert/Stewart interview I excerpted a few days ago. Colbert makes my day by referencing one of my favorite Peter Cook quotes. The one about how in gaguing the effect of satire you have only to look to Berlin in the '20's and '30s. Which did so much to prevent the rise of Hitler.

For those of you who care

NBC continues to stand behind Aaron Sorkin's "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" in the wake of continuing speculation that disappointing ratings threaten to knock one of its flagship new fall shows off the air.

The latest round of rumors followed a weekend report from a Fox News Web site that said the highly promoted and expensive series faced "imminent" cancellation.

Not true, say NBC officials, who ordered three more scripts for the series last week and are expected to decide soon whether to produce more episodes for the spring.

"I'm sitting here right now with some very good television shows that I think have a lot of promise that need to be nurtured a little bit," said NBC Entertainment President Kevin Reilly in reference to "Studio 60," "30 Rock" and "Friday Night Lights." "I'm pulling for these shows."

I hope Kevin Reilly means what he says above. Seems to me I remember thinking he came off well in Bill Carter's last book. Speaking of books, I reread Grant Tinker's book recently. He was the chairman of NBC in the early-to-mid '80s who bought shows like The Cosby Show, St. Elsewhere, and Cheers.

These and others became profitable Emmy-winners for NBC that decade. And he supported those, like the latter two, that didn't produce the hoped-for ratings right out of the gate. Here's hoping Reilly's taking his cue for patience from him.

Although, last night's episode of Studio 60 had me questioning my own commitment to the show-I thought it ran out of air about halfway through. And procceded to slide downwards into a near-unintentional-satire of bad TV (the kind where they tell you everything three times).

But one bad episode does not mean I'm giving up. And it might not even have been a bad episode. It occured to me last night that maybe I'm preparing for the anticipated "pain" of a cancellation by finding fault.

"See! Maybe it really wasn't that good, after all."

PS: Although, Kevin, if you have to give one the chop, I don't think anyone's really going to miss 30 Rock...

Monday, November 06, 2006

Two more comments on tomorrow

From the closing to George Carlin's comedy special "Back In Town" (slightly edited):

"Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents, and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses, American universities, and they're elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do, folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders.

...Because if it's really just the fault of these politicians, then where are all the other bright people of conscience? Where are all the bright, honest, intelligent Americans ready to step in to save the nation and lead the way? We don't have people like that in this country. Everybody's at the mall scratchin' his ass, pickin' his nose, takin' his credit card out of his fanny pack and buying a pair of sneakers with lights on them.

...So I're going to have one of those swell elections that you like so much. You'll enjoy yourselves, it'll be a lot of fun. I'm sure as soon as the election is over your country will improve immediately.

PS for the Doctor Who fans among you: Try to imagine the above video as Simon Lebon's audition tape to replace Colin Baker. I'm serious. Look at the way he's dressed, and count how many images in the video seem reminisent of Doctor Who in the '80s.

And you know what, he would have been great. You can't tell me he wouldn't have been at least as good or better than Sylvester McCoy in his first couple of stories. And Nick Rhodes is auditioning for the part of, apparently, a Tharil.

To coin a phrase, the clothes have no emperor

Mahablog has a good roundup of commentary on George Bush and tomorrow's election.

Two responses to last night's Orson Welles parody on The Simpsons

If you missed the segment, it's above. BTW, that's the very funny voice performer Maurice LaMarche doing his Welles impression. Which sounds nothing at all like his voice for The Brain (of Pinky & the...).

But it's the end I want to talk about. As you saw, it was a jab at the republican party. I had two responses. The first was as someone who likes to flatter himself he's a pretty astute judge of TV comedy.

In that sense, I thought it was heavyhanded, not well or clearly led up to and, you should pardon the expression, out of left field. It suffered, as so much of The Simpsons has for me in the past five years, from "lets say" syndrome.

That's where you get a sense not of a story being told but a room full of jaded, creatively bankrupt and exhausted writers saying "let's say...", anything to get out of the corners into which they've painted themselves.

In this case "let's say...we take a jab at the republicans!"

However, my other response was as someone who's a Democrat (tho sometimes just barely thanks to their jelly-like consistencies). In that sense, I thought: If these ideas stick in enough people's heads for a few more days... will almost be worth how random and tacked on it seems.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Random Flickr-Blogging: IMG_4884

That's the most disturbing picture I've ever seen in my whole entire life.


I stand corrected.


Side note to Tom: See, this is how you make Seattle look good. Speeding by.


As the seas opened and swallowed the moon, Christopher began to suspect that perhaps he had been too quick to accept that deal on his internet and phone service.


Part of the "put the children to work early" farms we can expect if the Republicans retain control of the senate.

(That's my political humor...people like it when you're topical)


I stand corrected, again. What we have here is a rare photograph of Michael Myers as a baby. Note the lovely young babysitter in the background and try not to think about what happened after it was taken.


To tell you the truth, this was going to be the third and last "I stand corrected" caption 'till I saw Tiger Lillie there standing to the left of Strawberry and Sir Mix-a-Lot. She really takes the edge off.


Final, absolute clinching proof that I am ahead of the state of Tennessee almost five months. One or two of you may remember when I posted about Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, who is either a cynical opportunist or a homophobe (as I said then, if you support a Constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage, there just ain't a third choice.)

The "punchline" of the post was a photo from his daughter's "Facebook" page that was bouncing around the blogs at the time, in which she's seen kissing another girl. Well, guess what--just--made the commercial news in Tennessee?

Now, I know there's another way of looking at this than as evidence of Tennessee's essential back-asswardness in comparison to those of us here in the jet set. I know you could say it just goes to show how ahead of the pack the bloggers are.

Including but certainly not limited to myself and myself, hardly even most prominently. But c'mon,'s Tennessee. You'll have to forgive me if I choose to go along with the first option.

Cutting up with captions

Wrapping up the campaign...

Say what you will about ole' Rick "man on dog" Santorum, his wife is sexy. Kinda makes you wonder just what he's harboring if he's so terrified that gays will wreck his marriage, but...

"I'm a little rabbit! Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky!"

Pics via BagnewsNotes.