Saturday, August 11, 2007

Morphing is inherently creepy

-something I observed back around 1992, when the video for Michael Jackson's "Black Or White" song came out. If you don't remember, it featured a seeming cast of thousands of beautiful people in different colors, one morphing into the other.

In support, you see, of the song's statement that it indeed does not matter if you are black or white. Well, great. Except that my first reaction upon seeing it was, and I have a clear recollection of saying this aloud in my friend Marco Pecenco's apartment..."That is postively creepy."

And it had nothing to do with the then-not-yet-criminally-accused Whacko Jacko The Batshit Insane And His Chimp Bubbles.

It's just that, for me at least, morphing only works when it's supposed to creep me out. There's something almost reptilian and humanity-debasing about it, something that sucks the warmth out of any image to which it's applied.

Even when you have one lovely woman morphing into another.

Someone has put together a morphing video of great-looking actresses from Carole Lombard to Sophia Loren to Holly Hunter. Beautiful women whom any straight boy would be all-too-happy to get romantic with.

But as presented here....(shudder)...well, it doesn't activate my sentimental makes me feel more like I was supposed to feel about Venom in Spider-Man 3, but didn't.

PS: BTW, I stole that video link from Mark Evanier.

I don't know who he stole it from...

Friday, August 10, 2007

I know, you know, they just don't have any proof

Let the record show that it is now 9:18 PM. Having just seen in a promo that tonight's episode of Psych features horse racing, I'm going to test my own psychic abilities: I predict that the fake-psychic, pop-culture obsessed detective will make at least one reference to Hot to Trot.

ETA: Okay, I was wrong, but I'm still happy. The promo for next week showed that the actor John Amos will be a guest star, which means the links between this series and West Wing continue unabated.

John Amos was Admiral Percy "Fitz" Fitzwallace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs on West Wing. An episode of Psych earlier this season was directed by Tim Matheson, who played Vice President John Hoynes on WW.

And as previously noted, Dule Hill (Charlie) and Kirsten Nelson (the young Mrs. Landingham) are regulars on Psych.

Well doesn't that just Smurfing Smurf.

Which 80's cartoon character are you?

Papa Smurf
You get a little blue when things go sour but you know how to relax and have a good time at home. Then again you are just an old man.
How do you compare?
Take this test! Tests from Testriffic

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Don't shoot, it's only me...and my team of writers

The writer and director Mel Shavelson died yesterday.

As this obituary notes, among his credits was the 1958 romantic comedy Houseboat, with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren. I remember watching that movie one summer, and liking it, but...well, an imdb user (also named Ben) describes it as a "family-friendly comedy." With all due respect to my fellow Ben-brother, no movie starring Sophia Loren is family-friendly. Not if you're in the throes of puberty while watching it, anyway.

Shavelson also directed and co-wrote The Seven Little Foys, with Bob Hope. I've yet to see this one, but it's frequently mentioned as a high point in Hope's career-and one of the few in which he actually tried to act.

With those two Oscar-nominated screenplays under his belt, this hardly seems mentioning, but I also thought Shavelson wrote "with" Hope the best of his many cobbled-together "autobiographies," Don't shoot, it's only me : Bob Hope's comedy history of the United States.

Shavelson came up as a gag writer for Hope's radio show (where I actually think he was funniest), so probably it's no wonder he could write most believably in Hope's voice-he only helped create it...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

This song is a classic

Just accept it.

I have a distinct memory of lying in my bed at night sometime around 1984; hearing this for the first time on the radio, and thinking that. Then the DJ back announced who it was, and...well, I didn't exactly sit bolt-upright and cry, "WHAT?" ...but that was kind of how I felt.

I think that's when I began to get an inkling that if you strip away all the publicity, what you're left with is one of the best pop writers...

Roulette and blackjack, builders of paradise

This is a good song by one of the greatest groups of the new wave era coming out of England in the '80s. And a bitingly acidic take on the temptations of self-indulgence, besides.

Martin Fry and Mark White had a chance at being one of the finest songwriting duos techno-pop has produced. But they couldn't sustain it for more than a couple of albums, and not in a row.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Hoo boy

Mana has called me out with a meme...

(1) Explain an issue that you are most passionate about.

(2) Why should all others (ignoramuses that disagree with you) accept your position?

(3) Why do the rest of us (ignoramuses who disagree with you) just not get it?

(1) I don't know if there are any, this morning. Sorry but I'm feeling kind of apathetic.

There are things that I care about. Gay rights is one, and has been since before I created my two lesbian characters who have never really left my mind since. As I like to say, I'm not gay, but I'd like to think I could be. But passionate? I dunno. I just think it's inevitable.

It's weird maybe, but one of the things in my life I've gotten the most angry about is when I see performers exhibiting what I think of as bad showmanship, when I think they're abusing an audience they don't know what to do with.

At times in the past, I may have been passionate to defeat Bush & Cheney, but now, as recently noted, I'm just licking my wounds from the realization that everybody in the world knows what we have to do, but no one in a postion to do so is going to do it.

I'm passionate about protecting kids. And maybe about the idea that that the most anti-sexist position you can take is to be willing to criticise women when you think they're wrong...just as you would a man.

(2) Damned if I know. Where I am right now, I despair of ever convincing anyone of anything. The way I view the world is the way I view the world, and it was knocked into me a long time ago it was a view I couldn't necessarily expect anyone else to share.

(3) “Why do the rest of us (ignoramuses who disagree with you) just not get it?” Well, some of you were raised differently...better, in most cases, I'd like to think, than I was. Most people believe things for all kinds of reasons, and only a few of them are intellectual.

I also think a lot of people have trouble truly having empathy for others...but you can't go by me, I'm having one of my cynical-to-the-point-of toxicity mornings.

Thanks, this was fun.

Anybody else want to play?

I've never been so glad to be full-lipped.

Women see masculine-looking men as more unsuitable long-term partners but men with more feminine features are seen as more committed and less likely to stray, researchers said Wednesday.

Scientists at the universities of Durham and St Andrews came to the conclusion by asking more than 400 British men and women to make judgments on character after looking at digitally-altered pictures of men's faces.

The web-based test asked participants to rate the face for traits such as dominance, ambition, wealth, faithfulness, commitment, parenting skills, and warmth.

Men with square jaws, larger noses and smaller eyes were classed as significantly more dominant, less faithful, worse parents and as having less warm personalities.

Those with finer facial features, fuller lips, wide eyes and thinner, more curved eyebrows on the other hand were viewed as a better bet for long-term relationships.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I really think I am the only non-Canadian watching this, and I may be the only person in the world blogging it

In the words of dreamy British duo Scarlett & Black, feeling exclusive can't be described, so I can’t share it...

I'm starting to get the feeling that the people making the Second City reality series from Canada realized, after already committing, what a bad idea it was for a weekly show. You can really feel them straining to fill up an hour.

It's a shame because I can believe the cast members have some talent (inasmuch as I can tell). But I'd much rather watch a documentary of them trying to put together a sketch show than the...detours this series keeps taking.

Especially when those detours come at the expense of presenting the cast members in a better light. Maybe it's my imagination, but I think they know it.

In the name of what was apparently felt would be "good reality television" (wrong) tonight's show devolved into a limp and dated Survivor parody. In improv, I have to believe that when Drew's Line Is It Anyway beats you to something, it's a bad sign.

(Even with a cast most of whom have at least some improv training and experience, this show is guilty of one of the marks of bad TV: Telling us things three times. Yes, okay guys, we got it that you punked the other cast members into believing you had a meal with Martin Short when you really didn't. Whoo! Good for you. But we got it. We got it, okay? We got it.)

(for some reason, the real, in-the flesh celebrity guests seem to have dried up).

No one's reading this (well, not no one, but I'll get to that in a minute). Still, I would say, if asked: Let us see more of the sketches. Let us-the people who are actually watching-decide who we'd eliminate or not.

I don't mean via an AI-style phone vote, necessarily, I just mean for ourselves. (Besides, even if they did it by phone, I probably wouldn't be eligible to vote, being in the US and all)

I am seriously starting to get the feeling that a documentary of what went on behind the scenes of this show would be better than the show itself.

BTW, I'm compelled to keep posting about this because Sitemeter and a comment or two indicates that people are finding this blog through searches for names of the cast members. I take these people to be friends and family of those cast members, or maybe the cast members themselves.

But whoever you are, to you: Hi! I'm still sticking with Jeannie Cole and Kayla Lorette as the ones I like most. But after this week that's more about stubbornness than because they were allowed to show me much--if any--of their improvising and/or acting stuff.

Once again though, on the bright side, the person eliminated tonight was the same one who I would have eliminated, were it up to me.

But I still hate the way they're trying to force Dave Thomas "as" Simon Cowell...

Made me sad

On the new game show the Power of 10 tonight, Drew Carey gave away a million dollars to a 19-year-old kid. The boy correctly guessed (within an acceptable margin, as set up in the rules) what percentage of women polled said they considered themselves feminists.

The percentage? 29%.

All I can say is that if I'd been on that show I would've lost a lot of money, because I would have put it at much, much higher-like around 80. I think this is another one of those situations where I'm naive.

(I also couldn't help noticing, he noted dryly, that this was a case of one rich white man making another. And by virtue of his cynically if correctly assessing his countrywomen's definitions of themselves, too.)

(Better start practicing now: President Rudy Giuliani...)

(But I digress)

But I'd also be really curious to know if that's exactly the way the question was phrased. I subscribe to the belief that if you tell most people, and certainly most women, what feminism actually means--
advocating social, political, and all other rights of women equal to those of men
--they support it. Sometimes it's a real wake-up call for me to reminded of just how much the word "feminists" has been devalued.

If this isn't ripe material for turning into a metaphoric political song, I don't know what is

In case I haven't mentioned it, my grandfather was Russian

Bill Clinton:

Once when we were walking through my hotel together, a Russian journalist asked [Boris Yeltsin] if he was happy with our meeting. He responded quickly, "Happy? One cannot be happy outside the presence of a beautiful woman. But I am satisfied."

-My Life

Ah, me. Where hath flown the opulence of yesteryear?

Once again, Carole Lombard:

Via Carole & Co.

Not only don't they make dresses like that anymore, but how many actresses could wear them if they did? Can you see Julia Stiles or Jessica Biel wearing something like the above? Okay-maybe, maybe Emma Watson...

Two for Tuesday

This is Paul McCartney's "Spies Like Us" video from 1986 along with, at the end, the final part of a morning show interview he did at the time. The song's one of McCartney's homemade numbers that tries to get by on cuteness and charm, but to be fair, it does.

And this is Olivia Newton John singing "Magic" from 1980. There are some songs in life that you just need, and this is one of them. For me anyway. I also think she's particuarly sexy in this clip, even though (again, for me anyway) that was never a huge part of her appeal.

The only thing that makes Xanadu worth watching is the songs, and this is the best of those.

Monday, August 06, 2007

I probably ought to stop banging my head against this computer desk

[Stephenie Meyer] got up, started writing really for the first time in her life, and just three months later finished a 500 page book about a regular girl named Bella and her gorgeous vampire boyfriend Edward. Readers immidiately bit-so far [Meyer's books] have sold a hefty 1.3 million copies...

Entertainment Weekly

Bam (ow) Bam (ow) Bam! (ow) BAM! (OW)...

Mark Evanier has plagiarized me!

These are examples of a series of posts I made to my old blog, The Sound of the Crowd, back in 2005.

This is Mark, today.

You'll hear from my lawyer in the morning, Evanier.

Holly Hunter laughs that laugh one always hopes beautiful women will laugh when one says something funny

Differences in approach

Ever just read someone who you end up wanting to make write "Brevity is the soul of wit" 50 times on a blackboard, Bart Simpson style?

At Feministing, Cara has found a head-smackingly dumb ad. All that is really needed is to call attention to how head-smackingly dumb it is, something which shouldn't take more than seven words, tops.

Cara? 453 words. With the dumb puns (hers), and the offensive and the misogyny this, and the women as sexual objects that and the overkill overkill overkill overkill....

And then, to wrap things up, she ends on a cum joke.

The head-smackingly dumb ad isn't funny (at all), but it's still funnier than the cum joke.

Admittedly something like this is not a feminist problem as much as it is a blogging problem, or maybe, for me, a "world" problem. But I suspect that things very much like it are part of what makes strong, smart, fantastic and pro equal-rights women hesitate before calling themselves feminists.

It's certainly part of why I do.


This blog is about to get a lot less political.

I know it's not terribly political now, what with the cult tv show and movie references, reviews of obscure (at least in this country) Canadian reality shows, posting other people's homemade videos and clips from my favorite movies, observations on whatever "chick lit" I'm reading this week and arty portraits of naked women.

But I do still look in on the news at least once or twice a week. That is about to stop. Why?

This is why.

Despite the clamor from the Democratic political base for the more drastic step of impeaching Bush, Cheney and Gonzales, Democratic congressional leaders have avoided making any moves that voters might see as a political vendetta.

I was being deadly serious when I said, a few weeks ago, that when people say things like this it makes me want to scream. I tried to be funny about it what with the Daffy Duck picture and all, but I was deadly serious.

It just makes me want to scream. In fact that's what I did when I read that paragraph. And that's when I knew that I was going to have to stop keeping even one eye on the Democrats, Bush, Cheney, Gonzales et all for a while.

For the good of my own mental health, and for this blog's aesthetic value. Because, if I keep reading news items like that, you're going to keep reading blog posts like this:




The voters can-and could always-tell the difference between an impeachment that was a political vendetta and one that is a necessary corrective. It is only--and I do mean only--the senate and congressional "leaders" and the pundit class who cannot.

That is why the disgust level with the Democrats keeps rising and rising. Because everybody--everybody--can see that the Bush administration has been and is a hateful, murderous disaster.

And everybody can now see that these people...the people we charged with catching these, these lizards with delusions of humanity...are too afraid to do anything about it. Because they fear somebody might say they're being mean.

There is nothing mean about standing up to bullies. Even the bullies know that. It's what real men and women do. It seems there are very few of either in Washington. And none with the juice to actually get anything done.

Now I ask you...

Would you rather read a lot more posts like that, or would you rather I start posting more nudes?

That's what I thought.

Random Flickr-blogging 5382


When Marie, Mary, and Miriam found their joint ex-boyfriend Pierre in the recycle bin and realized what had happened, they all had a good laugh about it.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Is it wrong that I totally want to meet this person?

One of the 35 books that I have checked out from the library right now (yes, you read that right) is My Life by Bill Clinton. Now-at my library, as perhaps at yours, when you check out books you have the option of having a printed "receipt" listing their titles and due dates.

I rarely do this, because I'm practically fetishistic about checking the library web site, and almost always know what's due, what I have waiting for me on hold, etc. But, sometimes you find these scraps of paper left in the books by people who had them before you.

There are no names or other identifying marks, of course, but it can be interesting to see what else people who have read what you are reading, have checked out from the library. Like for instance, someone who had the Bill Clinton book before me also checked out at the same time:

Ella enchanted

W.i.t.c.h. Graphic novel #2, by Parke Godwin

Hello Kitty & friends. 3.

Now, the way I see it, there are two possibilities here. The first is that there is someone else out there who likes Anne Hathaway, graphic novels, Parke Godwin, adorable cartoon characters and pop culture, but who also likes to be intelligent and informed about recent events.

Clearly I must find this person so I can make her my queen.

Of course, the other possibility is that this person is a teenage girl who just had a report due on Clinton, in which case, yes, it is wrong that I totally want to meet her.

However, I choose to believe that she's just emotionally still a teenager, like most of us.

Might I remind you, this is art


I don't want to hear anything about any of you getting hard over it.

You either, gentlemen.