Saturday, May 26, 2007

For those of you who've wondered...

...the sexy guy now pictured to the right and above my location is, in fact, me. Yes girls, he is single...

Friday, May 25, 2007

It really is a small world, isn't it?

You know how it is. You've just watched an episode of the wonderful Doctor Who, and you noticed that the actress playing a starship captain looked very familiar to you.

This being the Internet age, you repair to your computer and look her up. The actress, named Michelle Collins, while evidently rather well-known in Britain, doesn't seem to have done any other film or TV work that you've seen.

But it turns out she either performed in the videos for, sang backup on, or both, two songs by Squeeze, one of your favorite bands. Including this one, from 1979:

How beautiful is that? I figure she has to be around 16 years old here (I'm assuming she's the one with "SQU" written on the back of her jacket).

Is it just me, or does this seem to anyone else... an episode of "Monk?"
Bobblehead-doll package mistaken for bomb; state building evacuated

The tables turned on a television commentator who skewers bungling public figures by sending them bobblehead dolls after a package was mistaken this morning for a bomb and forced the evacuation of a state building.

Homina. Homina nomina homina.

Okay. I know this is a terrible cliche. I'm not proud of it. I know I'm just being shallow. But...

Beyonce...Bikini! Beyonce...Bikini!

If I told you I tried to fight the temptation I'd be lying.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Watching the lame duck fly

I thoroughly enjoyed tonight's "Studio 60," returning to NBC's schedule to air its last episodes. Undoubtedly it helps that, since it couldn't matter less how many people watch it any more, I was free to watch the show feeling like it was just me and the rest of the cult.

Something the show played up to, however inadvertently. There's some black humor to be found in the title of the episode alone. This first episode to air after a long hiatus, during which the long ratings-challenged series was officially cancelled, was entitled "The Disaster Show."

And the episode itself was the kind of thing some of us were wishing they'd done more of all along with the "live comedy show" idea: What happens when the prop department-including the cue card holders-go on strike 10 minutes before a broadcast?

They kept the pace snappy (I'm sorry to feel that I have to add "for once"), remembering to bring the funny and leave behind most of the things that were weighing the show down. What things?

Well, I'm really sorry to feel that I have to add this, but Danny, Jordan and Matt didn't even appear. And the show was better than it had been for the last several episodes I remember.

There might have been a lesson in that.

Plus for us serious "West Wing" fans, there was the added value of that series' star Allison Janney, playing herself as the host of the beleaguered show. The script reunited her with "Studio 60" cast member Timothy Busfield, who was Danny on "West Wing."

His character and Janney's C.J. Cregg were the Tracy-Hepburn of that show, and watching them work together is nothing but sheer pleasure.

For those eight or nine of you who were also following the series, in case you didn't know, it's back. Catch it while you can.

It's been some time since I've commented on the fact that Marilyn Manson is not a man

So let's post another announcement. This is the woman that he couldn't keep pleased.

(Or, talk about your Venus, for Goddesses' sake...)

Men are from Earth. Women are from...

About Venus, first things first: Peter O'Toole says "cunt" better than any man alive. The jokey thing to say next here would be that the movie is worth seeing for that alone, but it would be worth it even if not for that.

It's the kind of small film I like a lot, one where how it is played, written and directed matters. As opposed to your big movies where heart, charm and wit are basically irrelevant; some have them some don't, but they're going to succeed anyway.

The story is about a man near death and his relationship with a woman in almost precisely the opposite position. Played or told wrong it could give audiences a sinking feeling, but it's a sweet and fragile film with a vision of maturity that I can only hope to.

There may have been actors who could have played this role as well as O'Toole, but I'm not sure I can think of any, and it's impossible to think of anyone better. It required a genuine character in his 70s; a man that you would believe not all that long ago was a master of women.

(Inasmuch as any man is ever a master of women, which is kind of what the film's about. I should explain: I'm using "master" in the sense of being skilled and learned about, not in control of.)

Do any names come to your mind besides Peter O'Toole? He floats buoyantly throughout, treating his friends, and his life, with a kind of loving disrespect. The woman he attempts to master here is played by a relative newcomer-then again, compared to O'Toole, who isn't?-named Jodie Whittaker.

In some ways it's the harder role, because I'll tell you a secret: I think this film is full of symbolism. This is just what I saw, because I stopped the "making of" doc a few seconds in when I realized I didn't really want to know what the filmmakers thought.

The direction, by the way, is by Roger Michell. It doesn't surprise me to see that one of his other movies was Notting Hill, also notable for its warmth and human interaction. The writer is Hanif Kureishi, whose other films I don't know, but think perhaps I should. This is the kind of movie I'd like to write.

Getting back to the symbolism, I think what's being examined here is not just a bittersweet, winter-spring quasi-romance, I think it's the beauty in all women that all men, at least all men worth aspiring to be, worship.

That's right, I think Ms. Whittaker was playing Everywoman, and having to do it opposite Peter O'Toole. So no pressure there, right? Fortunately, Ms. Whittaker is simply perfect.

It's not a showy performance at all, but a perceptive and candid one. And everything her character does-both her tenderness and her lack of concern-is consistent with the wounds women have inflicted, and the healing they have administered.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Thank you, Kurt

There is this: Attempted seductions are so cheap for would-be-ink-stained Don Juans or Cleopatras!They don't have to get a bankable actor or actress to commit to the project, and then a bankable director, and so on, and then raise millions of buckareenies from manic-depressive experts on what most people want.

Still and all, why bother? Here's my answer: Many people still need desperately to receive this message: "I feel and think much as you do, care about many of the things you care about, although most people don't care about them. You are not alone"

Kurt Vonnegut, from Timequake, as quoted in Like Shaking Hands With God by Vonnegut and Stringer.

Okay, boys and girls, see if you agree with me on this:

Here's a local story from here in Washington State:

This year's "Women of UW" calendar has been pulled from the shelves of the University Bookstore, apparently because of a protest by some students.

[Cover girl Jeatt] Walker, 20, said she had no doubts about signing up.

"It was classy enough that I was not embarrassed to show it to my family. It was the first big thing I've been in."

She said the calendar "displayed a really good fact that women can be smart and beautiful. The UW is full of really powerful women."

But other students weren't so taken.

"As I flipped through its pages, I became increasingly upset at its blatant objectification of UW students," some wrote in an open letter to UW President Mark Emmert.

"More importantly, I was horrified at the prominent display of the University of Washington's name and trademark logos spread across the pages of the calendar, providing the background for female students posing in provocative outfits against campus settings."

Here's what I think: Nobody, ever, in the history of mankind has ever honestly thought, said or written anything like that. That's not how somebody really feels, that's how somebody thinks they should feel.

That's somebody-or more likely, a committee of somebodies-who's read a few "women's" web sites and now thinks they're "empowered" and antisexist. So they're therefore deciding that only they can perceive sexism while their fellow women who posed aren't smart enough.

As Heinlein said, "A committee is a life form with six or more legs and no brain."

BTW, I've never bought a "Women of..." calendar and probably never will, so it's not about that.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Some might infer something about the fans from this.

Not me, of course. According to the Summer Music Preview issue of EW, after Kelly Clarkson's

performance on the Idol Gives Back charity show last month, one message boarder dubbed her "Mama Cass."

Apparently they thought she was a bit hippy.

This is Kelly Clarkson backstage during that show...

...and this is Mama Cass on the cover of a Mamas and the Papas album.

You know, watching "That '70s Show" doesn't really get me nostaligic for the '70s

It does make me nostalgic for when cute Laura Prepon was a redhead as god intended.

Classic Of Western Literature or Tales Too Tickleish To Tell?

Whatever else it was, Bloom County was one of my favorite syndicated comic-strips.

Here's an interview with writer and artist Berke Breathed.

Like Candy Spelling, Joss Whedon gets his ideas from me.

Whedon, the "genius"(?) behind Buffy, comments on that same "Captivity" movie I wrote about earlier this month. I would have liked his article a lot more if he hadn't decided to glorify and reward a violent and vicious would-be rapist punk in his own "feminst" series.

And if he'd ever been able to write out a strong woman character without killing them.

In fact, I would like all of Whedon's work a lot more (and I do like it) if that were true.

But that's me.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Y' it happens, it hasn't been my day, my week...(UPDATED)

Thanks to my Mann James, who sent man James. That is, my guitar-loving sometime colleague James Mann-who makes me look like a Bush-loving warmonger-sent me James Brown's 20 All-Time Greatest Hits! from my Amazon list.

He doesn't say why; it's not my birthday for another three months and change (September First, for those of you who want to do your shopping now). If I had to bet I'd say it was because he somehow sensed that I only had a couple of JB tracks in my collection on soundtracks and compilations. And judged me a failure because of it. Quite right, too.

Baby baby baby, baby baby baby, baby baby baby, baby baby baby...

(UPDATE: James wrote, in his blog, the strongest post I've seen on the news we had earlier this week that sex-phobic babbling idiot Jerry Falwell is dead. I hadn't posted about that here because I really had little else to say, apart from his being a sex-phobic babbling idiot.

James has more.)

We try.

A comment on my Customer review of the book Memories Of John Lennon quotes my statement
"Never trust anyone who says their favorite John Lennon song is 'Imagine.' They're drippy people."

And writes...

Wow. That's about the most pompous, asinine statement I've ever heard.

I wish you had, Amy

Amy Sherman-Palladino Q & A about the finale of Gilmore Girls and the beginnings of her new show, The Return of Jezebel James. She ends by saying,
I don't believe that bull----, ''If you love it, let it go.'' If you love it, stay there and make sure no one else f---s it up.

And my first response was: Yeah! Just another one of the many reasons why I have a crush on Amy Sherman-Palladino. But then I thought again. Isn't letting Gilmore Girls go and letting other people fuck it up exactly what she did?

It's just problematic to have to add this codicil to her statement:

Unless you can't come to terms with the network. If so, then walk away only after having painted your characters into piss-poor positions. So that even if the new showrunner had been a more distinct writer, he still wouldn't have been able to save the ship.

My admiration for her sharp writing remains undiminished, and I'm looking forward to the new series. But...

It's as if someone wanted to create a person just for me

Sandra Lou. She's sexy. She's adorable. Actually she looks a little like Christa Miller. She sings daft electronic/techno-pop, with an emphasis on the "pop." In French.

The first verse of her song in English translates as:
That would not displease to me that you embrace me
But is necessary to seize your chance before it passes
If you seek a trick to break the ice

Which is just genius.

She wears mini-skirts, hot-pink and fluorescent yellow.

Best of all, she looks like she's having fun, and dammit there's life in her eyes. She even got through an entire video for a sugary pop song about a banana without once resorting to that shot.

She shakes her hair.

I think I'm in love.

What a great video this would be for a Monday morning, if only I could tell one day from another.

With much love to the Zaius Nation for showing me her beauty.

I want to be John Legend.

However, in a pinch I'd settle for being a certain blue dress.

Happy birthday, Jane Wiedlin!

Okay, so it was yesterday, but some things should be noted and celebrated, and the birth of one of the primary composers from the Go-Go's is one of them. She is-brace yourself, TTEC-49.

That first picture, BTW, comes from Ms. Wiedlin's own journal, so it's not like I'm presenting her in a way other than which she would wish to be represented.

The second picture is my favorite of her solo albums (actually, the only one I own).

Personally, I wish she wouldn't go and do things like The Surreal Life which make it harder to defend her from accusations of being a has-been.

But I choose to believe her and the other Go-Go's accomplishments will outlast that.

This is always good news, no matter where it comes from.

The Toronto Star is carrying a story from the Wall Street Journal about how reportedly, Japanese women's breasts are getting bigger and they are in general become curvier. This is always good news, and I mean that for both men and women.

Curvier=healthier, as far as I'm concerned. The fact that it also=sexier to my gaze is just a delightful bonus.

The story carries the perhaps-inevitable headline of

Japanese women bust out

It also contains the four sexiest paragraphs ever to appear, certainly in the Wall Street Journal, but probably in the Toronto Star as well.

Nami Sakamoto, an advertising-agency employee, embodies the new look. The 26-year-old is tall – by Japanese standards – at 5 feet 5 inches. She's also voluptuous, with a 35-inch bust and 35-inch hips.

"I had a hard time finding button-down shirts that would close," says Sakamoto, especially when she was in high school and there were fewer foreign retailers in Japan that actually sold bigger sizes.

"Sometimes the buttons would burst off." Now she buys clothes at Western retailers that carry larger sizes.

Other young women are buying special items to flaunt their new physique. "It's just more fun to show some skin," says Ayami Arii, a 19-year-old vocational school student, who recently sported a tiny denim mini skirt and an iridescent push-up bra that peeks out from below her low-cut blouse. Her bra, a big seller at boutiques in Tokyo's Shibuya 109 department store, is called a "Showy Bra." Similar to a string bikini top, the $60 bras, made to be peeking out of a low-cut blouse, started appearing last year and come in a variety of colours, from red patent leather to leopard print and orange sequins.

My stars! (fans face) It's getting hot in here...

Sunday, May 20, 2007

And...Random Flickr-blogging 5183

"Say Mabel."
"What is it, Gertrude?"
"You see where Alberto Gonzales, Bush and his cabinet are going mad?"
"I saw, I saw. You reckon they'll ever be above 50% again in their lives?"
"Not hardly. That'll teach 'em to stop the ballot count and just install a President in the name of the party for which I've worked all of my adult life."
"You're bitter, Mabel."

Photo credit

Random Flickr-blogging 5183

Some weeks, you get lucky. Today I found over half a dozen pictures that all seemed to remind me of a song one or two of you may also know, one way or another. So here's the lyric. I've put the video at the end, too, for those of you who don't know it.

When the leaves
Turn from green to brown
And autumn shades
Come tumbling down
To leave a carpet on the ground
Where we have laid

When winter leaves her branches

And icy breezes chill the air

The freezing snow lies everywhere

My darling
Will we still be there?

When spring rejoices
Down the lane
And everything is new again

Will everything be
Just the same

Will we be there?

Julia, Eurythmics. One of their best, most beautiful songs.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8

On the other hand, maybe I don't miss the '80s as much as I thought.

Calvin Harris, a Scottish producer and singer, hit number 10 on the UK charts with this record. He is now reportedly writing for Kylie Minogue, and supported Groove Armada among others on tour.

Harris is only partly responsible for this version of the video-the sections where you see him lipsynching come from the original. The rest were put together, in the main, by a YouTuber called LoveSoldier106.

I should probably be required to watch this video every time I go on one of my "totally tubular '80s child" rants. Because it's an affectionate, loving tribute to just what was considered..."Acceptable in the 80's..."

Simon LeBon thinks he's Mick Jagger this clip of Duran Duran performing "Notorious" live. This song originally came out a few years before I started liking Duran, but in retrospect I like it a lot, even though (as with most of their records) I have no idea what the words are supposed to mean.

I only know what they mean to me, and to me, the best words, the reasons why this dance song takes me to a pretty dark place, have always been
I heard your promise
But I don't believe it

I don't really trust anyone outside my own head. I mean I know why; I was betrayed at a very early age by someone who everything, inside and out, tells you you are supposed to trust above all others.

And the pattern of my life, at least as it seems to me, is people speaking pretty words to me and then fucking me over and going away.

So I hear your promise.

But I don't believe it.