Friday, October 12, 2007

As once observed by an English comedian whose name shamefully escapes me...

...the song "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails" contains not a word about trousers.



Mom Charged With Buying Pa. Teen Weapons

The parents were indulging the boy's interests because he was unhappy, not knowingly aiding a school assault, Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce Castor said.

Acting on a tip from a high school student and his father, police searched the boy's bedroom and found the 9 mm rifle, about 30 air-powered guns modeled to look like higher-powered weapons, swords, knives, a bomb-making book, videos of the 1999 Columbine attack in Colorado and violence-filled notebooks, Castor said.

There's more if you can take it. I can't add anything to the exclamations above.

Of myths and men

There's a new book about one of my favorite cartoonists and yours, Charles Schulz, the inventive creator of the landmark comic strip Peanuts. Schulz's second wife, Jean Schulz, has praised writer David Michaelis for his research.

(In a lovely touch, it appears that the last book Schulz read before his 2000 death was Michaelis' previous biography, of N.C. Wyeth.)

Schulz's son Monte and daughter Amy, however, have voiced objections to the book, which they feel over-psychoanalyzes their father, especially since Michaelis never met the man. Monte also suggests Michaelis may have been "manipulated" by some of those he interviewed.

Reading their comments, I'm reminded of the anger friends & family of John Belushi attached to Bob Woodward's grim biography, Wired.

As there, the failings in the Schulz book as his children see it appear to be not so much about factual inaccuracies or details but about spin.

It seems there will always be at least some slight disconnect when it comes to the private worlds of public men. The comic strip was turned into View Master sets (I had the one you see at the top of this post), movies, etc, and became a shared experience. So too is the life of the cartoonist open to interpretation.

Amy Schulz Johnson rejects the possibility that she has idealized her father, or that this is why she doesn't see him as the author of this book has.

Here I'm reminded of Nancy Sinatra's insistence that the stories about Frank (a Peanuts fan, BTW) were not true. This always seemed to me to be explained away by the obvious conclusion that there are certain things a father does not do in front of his daughter.

Bill Watterson, creator of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes-which certainly approached Peanuts in quality if not in quantity-reviews the Schulz book here.

I had already ordered it from my library, but after reading his review, I'm even more anxious for the book to become available. He says the book emphasizes how Schulz put his heart into his cartoons in more and greater ways than we imagined. Such devotion could only be met in kind.

I love the work of Charles Schulz. I think he was a genius. One reason I think that is because, at least professionally-also like Sinatra-he was able to achieve an ideal.

Something which eluded Belushi (or that his addictions hid from him) on all but the rarest of occasions. I'm sad every time I think about the ill-uses to which he put his charms.

I believe there is very little I could read about Schulz's failings that would affect my view of him as a winner, as un-Charlie Brownlike as that might sound.

But I will probably read this book with at least an average-sized chip of skepticism on my shoulder. This isn’t a bad way to read anything, really.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

besides her oft-commented on breasts, Jennifer Love Hewitt is also the possessor of a prettily-shaped ass

This has been a public service announcement. Because any blog can run pictures emphasizing Ms. Hewitt's breasts, but we here at Dictionopolis in Digitopolis eschew such obvious superficiality.

Se échapper Phillips de bijou de ma couleur préférée.

Productions of Shakespeare I wish I'd seen

Angela Pierce as Maria, Colleen Delany as Katherine, Claire Lautier as the Princess of France and Sabrina LeBeauf as Rosaline in the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s production of Love’s Labor’s Lost, directed by Michael Kahn. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Seven years in the life

Once again, I'm following in the footsteps of PJ. I don't mind following, though-I choose to believe she's got a figure like Lisa "Cuddy" Edelstein.

For her "Thursday 13" today PJ ran a selection of TV shows about the teenage years, and that got me thinking. I've done a post about high school movies, but never TV shows. So...

(To keep it interesting, at least for me, I decided to limit myself to shows which actually aired while I was a teenager. For better and for worse, these are the shows my generation looked to. God help us.)

Married...With Children

One of the greatest, most underrated sitcoms of the past 15-20 years.


It's ironic, but I really think you can trace the decline of this show by how much power Roseanne had over her character.

In the first years, Roseanne Conner is a strong, funny, loving woman. At the end, she's controlling, grim, and hateful.

But man, the writers and actors on this were so strong...before she destroyed it all.

Happy Days

Happy Days is more interesting for what it tells us about the '70s and '80s (Scott Baio -- what were we thinking?), than about the '50s. Just as That '70s Show will tell future generations more about what passed for entertainment around the turn of the century than the 1970's.

But hey, I watched it, you watched it...

One Day At A Time

All I really remember right now about this series is that bouncy theme song...


What always used to aggravate me about this series is that the puppet was so much funnier than the family they put around him. That is why he is still working now and most of them are not.

I think I did have an early crush on Andrea Elson, though.

The Cosby Show

Well, let's face it. If you grew up in the '80s, this pretty much defined sitcoms for you. But that doesn't mean I don't agree with the Simpsons satire of the episodes in which one of the grandparents (all of whom were great jazz musicians) played...

Growing Pains

Ok, Kirk Cameron turned out to be a clueless born-again, but this show was actually funny...three or four times...

Gimme a Break!

See One Day at a Time. But, Nell Carter did have a fine voice.

Family Ties

I have darn fond memories of this series, though I think I'd be hard-pressed to tell you why. Guess it's another '80s thing. At least, I don't think it was just because Justine Bateman was so hot...

Charles In Charge

Come to think of it, why hasn't anyone put together a"Charles In Charge curse" theory? Look at the facts.

Scott Baio appeared in a "reality" series that showed him to be an uncommonly boring asshole.
Willie Aames has now found God and appears in a series of videos for children as the scripture-spouting superhero Bibleman.
Nicole Eggert dated Corey Haim.
Josie Davis does fully nude scenes in poorly-reviewed, barely released movies directed by actors who are apparently better at that.
Jennifer Runyon retires to San Clemente.

Tell me somebody on that show didn't desecrate a shrine somewhere along the way.

A Year In The Life

This was a miniseries I loved followed by a regular series I only liked, but I remember both were incredibly well-acted.

Silver Spoons

Okay. This isn't exactly the best show in history...

Parker Lewis Can't Lose

Why do I have the feeling there may have been more to this series than I can remember at the moment? (Besides the fact that a quick Yahoo! search just revealed to me that Milla Jovovich was in the pilot)

Plus these series about which I've got little or nothing to say:

Call to Glory (or, Elisabeth Shue: Who knew?), The Facts of Life, Who's the Boss? (or, Alyssa Milano: Who knew?)

Head Of The Class (or, Robin Givens: Who knew?), My Two Dads, It's Your Move, Kate & Allie (or, Allison Smith...), The Hogan Family, The New Adventures of Beans Baxter...

If the Farrelly brothers want me to see "The Heartbreak Kid"-and based on its cool (and not in a good way) box office, they do...

...they're going to have to work a lot harder to convince me that a perfectly pleasant, good-looking woman like Malin Akerman is the nightmare she's apparently supposed to be in the movie.

Seriously, they keep running ads where the worst thing she does is sing along to dumb pop music. And we're supposed to identify with Ben Stiller's suffering because he's too hip & cool to do so.

All it does, at least to me, is make him look like the kind of prude that I'd get sick of a lot faster than I would a sexy drinkawater who just happens to like the Spice Girls.

Besides. I'm a sucker for leopardskin...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My girl Tara Reid is looking gooooooooooooooooood

As Snagglepuss would say: Beautiful even.

I always knew she had it in her.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Sting-rock's worst lyricist?

[Police] Frontman Sting was just lambasted by music magazine Blender as rock's worst lyricist. The teacher-turned-rocker writes lines that according to the publication exude "mountainous pomposity (and) cloying spirituality."

Sting topped the list, to be published in the November issue, for a few laughable lyrics, including the decision to quote a Volvo bumper sticker in "If You Love Someone Set Them Free,"

Fair enough, I suppose. Though what bothers me about that song is the notion that it's always multi-billionaire rock stars like Sting and John Lennon telling us we can live here and be happy with less. Otherwise, Sting was good when he was good.

Also making the top five, Rush drummer Neil Peart at number two

Why is he here? Because he's here. Why did it happen? Because it happened.

Creed frontman Scott Stapp at number three,

I seem to have made it to 36 without ever really hearing, or at least retaining, any of Stapp's songwriting. Ditto Dan Fogelberg, who's at number five.

Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher at number four,

And after're my...

Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant made the list at number 23 for the song "Ramble On," which contains references to J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series

I don't care much for, or about Led Zeppelin, but I will say that Plant, in interviews and such, seems to have a decent sense of humor about him.

Carly Simon was also taunted for "You're So Vain," which rhymes the words "yacht," "apricot" and "gavotte."

Again-fair enough, but there's so much more to mock Ms. Simon for than her bad rhymes. Like for instance, that she once turned down a chance to sing "One For My Baby (And One More For The Road)" with Frank Sinatra. Because she didn't want to be seen to be promoting drunk driving.

Even one of the Fab Four members made the list - Paul McCartney sat at number 38 for his duet with Stevie Wonder, Ebony and Ivory, a song about racial harmony

True-McCartney can be a very lazy lyricist, especially without Lennon around to keep him honest. But this is far from his worst effort. I still think that's "Live & Let Die" ("And in this ever changing world in which we live in...").

But even composers we love can let us down. I still can't believe Joe Jackson wrote Night And Day II. Or Pet Shop Boys wrote Release.

On the other hand, inspired lyricists lift dull composers, why do you think almost everything Andrew Lloyd Webber writes without Tim Rice sucks?

Adrianne Palicki

I was reminded by Alan Coil's comment that I hadn't posted a picture of her with my Friday Night Lights post of four days ago, so I went searching for one.

This is dumb, but what the hell it's my blog: In this picture (from an unaired pilot she did in 2004), she reminds me a lot of my character Annabel. She's even the right age.

I just haven't seen her do enough to know if I think she's versatile enough to play the character.

Certainly Palicki's role on FNL is nothing like it. (Not that she doesn't do a lovely job on that series, she does.) But suddenly I'm thinking, idly, that I'd like to see more of her as an actress.

Monday, October 08, 2007

I really like Sara Gilbert.

Had a look at The Big Bang Theory tonight because I'd read she was going to guest, reuniting with her former Roseanne co-star
Johnny Galecki.

She's supposedly recurring, which is a good move, since their one (1) scene was a lesson in what real chemistry looks like.

Made me wish rather than what happened in the last season of Roseanne, they'd just spun Darlene & David off into their own series (a kind of Generation X Mad About You).

The difference with the rest of the (pretty sitcom-stale) show was almost like night and day.

As a rule I find it difficult to care about dumb characters, perhaps especially dumb-girl characters, and that appears to be what Kaley Cuoco is playing here.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not enough for dumb girls on TV to be hot (and to my taste, Cuoco's only tepid). You must also be funny.

I didn't care about the geeky guys either, but at least they made me laugh, albeit infrequently. I got the idea I was more supposed to respect them for actually making jokes about Asimov's rules of robotics, regardless of whether the jokes are actually funny.

The problem with writing characters who are supposed to be smart, at least in sitcoms, is that you want to be able to get them into sitcom situations. So that laugher will ensue. But you don't want them to act like idiots, because they're supposed to be smart.

Fraiser had eight or nine years before it really started going downhill that way. Bang seems to be starting at that lower level.

It didn't hurt too badly, but I doubt I'll be tuning in again unless they dump a third of the cast and offer Gilbert anything she wants to come on board permanent.

Noted for the record

Caught a documentary on cable early this morning: Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film. Not bad if, as they say, you're into that sort of thing. I'm mostly in it for the talking back to the screen.

However, there was one quite unfortunate mistake: At one point, Wes Craven was identified by a caption as both the director and writer of Scream. Au, contraire! That movie was written by Kevin Williamson...

Of course, I only put gumdrops in, so I wouldn't weally hurt him

PJ asked for her readers favorite cartoons; I thought I'd inflict mine on, I mean, share mine with you. And just for the heck of it, I decided to do it with pictures instead of words.

Let me know if there's anything here (in no particular order, and click to see images in original size...) you don't recognize...

Whoops! How'd that one get in there...