Saturday, September 08, 2007

pharmaceutical diaries one

Well, I can now officially say it: I'm on the pill. Gosh, I hope this doesn't make the kids at school think I'm a slut. I considered posting that "Sunshine, lollypops and rainbows" song as a joke after taking just one.

But seriously, of course, I'm told I can expect side effects before I can expect any actual effects, which seems like a rotten trick. No major side effects yet, but I'm looking forward to it.

At least, nothing I can be sure isn't my imagination--except, of course, the sexual dysfunction.

No more suicidal thoughts than usual, though I did cry a little over the end of a Scrubs episode I watched online (it was the one after Brendan Fraser dies, for god's sake. What am I, a machine?).

What I'm taking is Fluoxetine 10 MG tablets, BTW.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Ben nods.

Holly Hunter:

"...any artist is working from a feeling of being separate and apart at some galvanizing point in life."

I swear you can actually see him rubbing his hands

As has been observed, there are few things more joyful than reading Roger Ebert (continued good health, Roger) when he's performing his sad duty of reviewing a film that falls flat.

This joy may have reached a kind of zenith when, at a roast, Rob Reiner was forced to read aloud from Ebert's review of Reiner's film, North.

That's the review from which Ebert took the title of his first collection of cutting reviews, I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie.

So perhaps you can imagine how much I liked reading his review of the new film, The Hottest State.

He opens with this wise and instructive statement:

As a topic of fiction, the only things I have against young love are youth and romance. There has to be something more. Who would care about Romeo and Juliet if it hadn't been for their unfortunate misunderstanding? There has to be comedy, or tragedy, or suspense, or personality quirks or something more than the fact that Young Person A loves Young Person B.

(Yes...there does, doesn't there, Ben thought smugly, before chewing on his juicy-trag gum)

Ebert continues:

When [the] hero stands in the street reciting beneath her window from "Romeo and Juliet," (and he does), surely the point is not his gauche behavior but her failure to pour water on him.

My schadenfreude in this was compounded by the knowledge that The Hottest State was written, directed by and co-stars Ethan Hawke. Based on his "semi-autobiographical" novel, yet.


While I'm sure he's very pretty, Ethan Hawke has always seemed to me to epitomize what I mean when I make this oft-repeated comment:


And his attempts to become the voice of his generation, I've always thought, should be greeted only with indifference if not outright scorn.

Admittedly Hawke didn't exactly help himself with me when, pimping his movie in some magazine or other recently, he equated it with All That Jazz.

This is what you call a red flag to a bull.

All That Jazz is one of my favorite movies; one of the most interesting and memorable ever made. If you're equating your work with that...boy, you better bring it.

If Ebert (and his compiled colleagues at RT) is anything to go by...Hawke has a lot of nerve.

Then again, I kind of knew that when he co-wrote an 80-minute rationale for having cheated on his wife.

S'il y a quelque chose que vous voulez, s'il y a quelque chose je peux faire, m'invite juste et je l'enverrai avec l'amour de moi vous.

WMOA Charlotte Gainsbourg, star of The Science of Sleep and "the (first) French girl" in my recent series of posts, has been hospitalized after suffering a brain hemorrhage.

She is reportedly expected to return home soon.

(per Yahoo! News)

I don't look good in tight pants.

Your Superpower Should Be Mind Reading

You are brilliant, insightful, and intuitive.
You understand people better than they would like to be understood.
Highly sensitive, you are good at putting together seemingly irrelevant details.
You figure out what's going on before anyone knows that anything is going on!

Why you would be a good superhero: You don't care what people think, and you'd do whatever needed to be done

Your biggest problem as a superhero: Feeling even more isolated than you do now

Yes, ma'am! I'll go anywhere you say...

(to explain the headline, this photo is called ....and that's the way to Amarillo, Sir. on Flickr.)

Believe it or not, sometimes I think I post too many gorgeous photos of beautiful women around here.

But then I think: Women are just a miracle, and we must bask in their joy and's square bad luck not to.

Besides, Amarillo is in Texas...and in case I haven't mentioned it much in the past year...I love Texas women.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

I wonder why we waste our lives here...When we could run away to paradise

So I'm thinking about To Live And Die In LA, which I've now seen.

A couple IMDb users describe it as having been "shamefully misunderstood" by critics of the time. I dunno, maybe it was (I was paying more attention to Back To The Future and Cocoon that year). I know Roger Ebert liked it a lot, though.

What did I think?

I think this is a film with no heroes, just a protagonist. My rule of thumb has always been that whoever ends up changed the most by the events of a story is its protagonist. The biggest twist in this movie is that the person who you think that is for the first 106 minutes or so turns out not to be, and that's all I'll say for those of you who haven't seen it, which you probably should.

In bare bones, this is about a cop (William L. Petersen) whose partner is killed and who decides that the son-of-a-bitch responsible (Willem Dafoe) must pay. The film has more mean twists to it than this suggests, unfortunately, it also has some big, stupid logic holes.

But anyway, those bare bones aren't really what the piece is about. What it's "really" about, first of all, is a man who lowers himself into hell and finds that he likes it there.

Visually it's a beautifully composed and shot film (directed by William Friedkin, photography by Robby Muller) with a great sense of place and time; almost worth seeing for those elements alone.

Some of the dialogue, unfortunately, is brutal: "I'm gonna bag Masters, and I don't give a shit how I do it." Which is why more than any movie except Legend and Star Wars: Episode I, this one might be just as well enjoyed if the DVD had a music-only audio track.

Even though none of the film music is as good as the title song.

You guys know I'm always up for a little Wang Chung tonight, but even I'll tell you this is the most dated part of the film.

That title song remains perfect, however.

Especially when you realize that the lyrics make the most sense if thought of not from the point of view of one of the "stars," as you might think, but someone who appears sixth in the credits. I'll get back to that in a moment.

You see, what I think this movie is about, secondarily, is not just the hatred of women, but the rejection of any "womanly" qualities (like vulnerability).

Dafoe's character, ostensibly the "bad guy" of the piece, has many "effeminate" characteristics. And although he is shown as having a girlfriend, played by the very shapely Debra Feuer, that character is a male impersonator; revealed to be either lesbian or bisexual.

It's suggested that she is making sport of him all along.

(Her girlfriend, just as an aside, is played by a young Jane Leeves, later known for Frasier and before that Murphy Brown.)

Even a scene cut from the original release but available on the DVD supports this reading of the film as being about men needing never to let their guards down, lest a soft side show.

It features Petersen's partner, played by John Pankow (who probably never topped this in movies, but was good, and funny, on Mad About You on television).

He tries to reconnect with his ex-wife when his world is falling apart, and is violently rejected.

The character who I think most suits the lyrics of the title song is played by Darlanne Fluegel. She's a parolee who trades information, and her body, to keep on Petersen's good side lest he throw her back in jail.

It's suggested she may want to form a truer bond with him, but he blocks her every attempt. It's Fluegel who wonders why she's wasting her life; feels trapped and dreams of running away.

But the character either goes unrewarded, or, depending on how you want to put some things together from the clues the movie gives you, was a traitor all along.

In which case she gets exactly what she deserves, the movie darkly seems to be saying. Still, she's the only one in the movie who longs to fit her life with another person (or at least with a man-see above).

Everyone else, whether a "good" guy or bad, thinks only of themselves.

Go figure. Or should that be: Go, figure!

According to, Playboy magazine turned down a chance to have a young Deborah Harry as a Playmate.

Who could have known? (I believe the one thing every straight male-and one or two gay females-who listens to modern rock has in common is this: At one time or another, we've all masturbated to either Debbie, or Chrissie Hynde.)

Bill Clinton is, like disco, a flawed, marvelous institution.

I know he's no Jed Bartlet, but...

(Warning: This post wanders a bit. to incorporate a couple of things I've been thinking about. But I've got a great quote with which to close)

I've been looking for an excuse to mention something about former President Clinton. As he sells his new book and campaigns for his wife, he's made what I think are important statements on the need for the US to withdraw from Iraq.

He's done this both on the David Letterman and Larry King programs, but the statements haven’t gotten a lot of attention from the media, with the exception of this from

Former President Bill Clinton said the U.S. will have to withdraw a ``substantial'' number of troops from Iraq this year because the war has stretched the military too thin.

Any new national security emergency would require tapping the Navy and Air Force because the Army, National Guard and Reserves are ``overstressed,'' Clinton said in an interview on CNN's ``Larry King Live'' program.

``I don't see any alternative consistent with the responsibilities for national security to a substantial withdrawal of troops this year, because the military is so overstressed,'' Clinton, 61, said.

Has anyone seen anything from any of the Democratic frontrunners as concise, plainspoken, sensible and sane as that?

The media, meanwhile, would rather talk about how he can't be Hilary's VP. They're also sure it must gall him to bury his innate charm so that his wife looks less creepy.

But gosh, he's still popular; imagine that, they seem to say. The media has never really gotten over the fact that the United States Of America actually likes a guy they chose to be in charge of their country twice.

At least when that guy doesn't fuck it up by lying us into an unending war, invading our privacy and ignoring the science on climate change.

Which brings me to something else I wanted to mention: When people like me ask Can we impeach them now? we get treated like radical fringe children only slightly above your average Dennis Kucinich supporters.

We don't have the votes, we're told (and for some reason I always imagine we are being patted on the head as we are told so). Well, maybe we don't. But I keep wondering about something, and yes, I'm serious about this even though I know it sounds like that Simpsons running gag: Won't somebody please think of the children?

Right now we are teaching more than one entire generation that sticking fingers in your ears when people tell you things you don't want to know is okay. And so is lying so that people will kill and be killed for you.

I keep thinking, with black, black humor, of how Rush Limbaugh said Bill Clinton made America's youth obsessed with blow jobs. But of course, he's not concerned with what George W. Bush's words and deeds, and our apparent rollover acceptance of them, have done to that youth.

Not that I was really expecting him to be. But neither is any "serious" newspaperman or, apparently, many of us sitting out there at our keyboards. So it must be okay. Because otherwise, we'd actually do something about it.

Don't just rush past that, please: Really think about it. That is the message we're sending. Refusing to listen; lying to and hurting others is perfectly all right in the good old US of A.

And now, to send you out on an upbeat note, this from former President Bill Clinton:

In 1982, when I was trying to regain the governor's office, a man called and said he'd had a message from God telling him my opponent was the instrument of the Lord and I was the instrument of the devil and he was going to do God's will and eliminate me. He turned out to be an escapee from a Tennessee mental institution.

-My Life

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Unanswerable questions of film.

"Where do you get off having tits?"

--Rick, to Terry, in Just One Of The Guys.

Dull, soulless dance music--It's the bloody Pet Shop Boys, sweetie!

I always say only PSB would include those extracts from the television show "Absolutely Fabulous" on their own charity record/tribute to the show.

And only they would perform a record that consists almost entirely of such extracts..."live."

I give you Pet Shop Boys live 1994:

Love it.

Re-drawing the map

Or, "It's not all naked, sexy women you know, or at least there are reasons why it sometimes seems that way."

At the clinic today, to see about taking medication, I was asked to fill out (among other things) a Patient Health Questionnaire. Just for "fun" I thought I'd post the questions...and my answers.

Have you been bothered by any of the symptoms listed below during the past two weeks? If you have, put a check in the box that best describes how often you have had that symptom.

[Boxes avalible: Not at all, Several Days, More Than Half The Days and Nearly Every Day.]

1. Feeling down, depressed, or hopeless?
I said: More Than Half The Days

2. Little interest or pleasure in doing things?
I said: Several Days.

3. Trouble falling or staying asleep, or sleeping too much?
I said: Several Days.

4. Feeling tired or having too little energy?
I said: Nearly Every Day.

5. Poor appetite or overeating?
I said: More Than Half The Days.

6. Feeling bad about yourself--or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down?
I said: Nearly Every Day.

7. Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television?
I said: Not At All.

8. Moving or speaking so slowly that other people could have noticed. Or the opposite--being so fidgety or restless that you have been moving around a lot more than usual?
I said: Not At All.

9. Thoughts that you would be better off dead or hurting yourself in some way?
I said: Several Days.**

11. If you are experiencing any of the problems on this form, how difficult have these problems made it for you to do your work, take care of things at home or get along with other people?

[Choices: Not difficult at all, Somewhat difficult, Very difficult and Extremely difficult] I said: Somewhat difficult, but I may have been lowballing.

**About this one: You don't have to be too scared that it's something I would really do (Jen, put the phone down!). But I'd be lying if I said I never think about it. That's one of the reasons I'm in therapy and sought medication.

I've been prescribed a generic form of Prozac but have not yet had it filled. I suspect when I do this blog will turn, at least in part, into a kind of a "Prozac diary." I may have caved on the sex and drugs, but I refuse to fill it with rock and roll...

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What do you get when you add a classic animation director to a classic story?

The Phantom Tollbooth, which as I've mentioned was one of my absolute favorite movies and books as a child (and the inspiration for the name of this blog). The original book was by Norton Juster; the movie was directed by Chuck Jones (w/Abe Levitow).

Here's two extended clips from the movie. If you want to know more about what's going on, there are two good synopses (one brief, one long) at the link above. Other than that I'll just let the clips speak for themselves.

Except, to say that I love the songs in this movie...

The first sequence shows the kingdom of Digitopolis:

Yes, that's Mel Blanc as the voice of The Dodecahedron.

Second is the penultimate sequence of the film.

(It looks like the whole thing can be found in several parts on YouTube at the moment, BTW, should you care to look for them.)

Britney Spears' boobs announce plans to go solo

In an unexpected but probably inevitable development, Britney Spears' boobs today announced their intention to embark on a career entirely separate from hers.

"Britney's a sweet girl," said a close friend, "but the boobs are tired of being attached to such a fool."

"Besides, she's been exploiting them for years. They don't want her to be a nun, but frankly they're bit wary of what she may ask of them in her next 'comeback.' Last time, one of the boobs almost caught pneumonia!"

"Also, frankly, they're not proud of this, but they miss Justin."

When showbiz insiders expressed surprise that a pair of breasts could actually have a singing or movie star career...well, actually, no showbiz insiders expressed such surprise.

Elsewhere, reaction was varied throughout the breast community. Christina Aguilera's sent out a statement saying they knew all too well what it was like living underdressed and overexposed. They said they'd hoped Spears would get through it, as Aguilera had, but they understood and supported the desire to make a clean break and start a new life.

When asked to comment, all one of Janet Jackson's breasts would say was a muffled "Help me!" Jessica Alba's issued a similarly veiled statement. Paris Hilton's looked up hazily and said "...what?"

And Lindsay Lohan's breasts said they just wanted to know why nobody liked them anymore.

Britney intimates not wishing to be identified say that her "gals" came to this decision only after a long, dark night of the soul during which they were visited by the ghost of Anna Nicole Smith's breasts.

"They really put the fear of god into them," a source confides.

Early indications were that the boobs first single would be a reimagining of "Boom Boom (Let's Go Back To My Room)," by Paul Lekakis.

There was also talk of their accepting the lead in a remake of the classic film "Hardbodies."

Because interesting looking, confident women are obsolete and men never notice them

Hollywood actress Maggie Gyllenhaal has taken over supermodel Kate Moss as the smouldering new face - and knockout body - of lingerie line Agent Provocateur.

Serena Rees, co-founder of Agent Provocateur, said: "Maggie is not an obvious sex symbol."

"She is interesting looking, confident and beautiful in a way that is non-threatening, which makes her appealing to men and women alike."

Monday, September 03, 2007

I always liked this movie, and the song by Limahl and Giorgio Moroder

However, hands up anyone who thinks Limahl has ever found in her face, the mirror of his dream. This video is from an '80s festival in 2006. Notice how, just as on the original, the woman singer does all the heavy lifting.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Random Flickr Blogging: 4159

For the second week in a row: I have nothing funny to say about this picture, it just made me smile.



So I'm watching "Cherish," a self-consciously quirky film starring WMOA Robin Tunney. Featured in a small acting role is onetime critic's darling recording artist Liz Phair. As I say, it's a small role that doesn't ask much of Phair, but she does with it what she can.

What I want to know is, what fool decided it would be oh-so-clever to stick Phair's album cover, name and face prominently displayed, up at the counter in a record store scene?

Willing suspension of disbelief, so long...

Tell me about it, Desi.

From a wire that Desi Arnaz sent to Lucille Ball, early in their romance:

"Darling, I'm in Knoxville [Tennessee] and we haven't been able to find a girl to dance with me in the whole town. They haven't even heard of rumbas..."