Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Mickey Rourke has been going around saying that Sean Penn is a homophobe. I don't really know why. If Penn is, privately--and I'm not aware of much evidence, certainly in the last 10 years, to support that, in fact rather the opposite--I don't really care.
Unless you can show me that Penn has been using his stardom to promote intolerance, all I'm really interested in is him as an actor. And he is an extraordinary actor.
I think of him in Mystic River, for which he deservedly won an Oscar, as the man who turns his ferocious anger against a friend he thinks has killed his daughter.
And I try to tell myself that the same man gave the exquisitely human performance--though that's the wrong word, as it didn't feel like a performance at all--I saw tonight in Milk. Let me back up a minute.
The film itself succeeded with me where other films about gay men and/or politics have not for three main reasons.
It didn't seem stuffily to be trying to Teach Me A Lesson.
I think most of you who have read this blog for even a day know my feelings on civil rights for homosexuals. Nevertheless, my tolerance threshold for screen or stage dramas where the theme seems to be "But honest and truly, gays really are people too!!" is remarkably low.
I just think we should be past the point wherein that kind of statement arouses any reaction other than "Well...duh." I understand that we're not; you can make an argument that we need such works to play in more conservative parts of the country than those in which I've lived. But I don't think I'll ever have respect for them creatively.
Milk, on the other hand, I don't think sets out to Teach A Lesson. It sets out to tell a man's story. Since he was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in America, the story does inherently have some historical and even educational value.
But all praises to Jesus, it's about a man who was gay, not just a Gay Man.
(This is not to say that the film denies his sexuality in any way--which would be hard to do in the first place, tho' not impossible. But it makes it a part of the picture, not the whole thing.)
It didn't get thrown off by movie stars.
Apart from Penn, James Franco as Milk's longtime partner (later friend) and Josh Brolin--who we won't count because he's unrecognizable as Dan White, Milk's assassin--there aren't any.
I don't know if it's what a film student would call "cinéma vérité," but those are two of the words that came to mind. As I understand it, that means the sort of film which opens up a door upon real life, and that's what this felt like to me.
You almost never catch any of the cast acting. Penn's an actor, not a movie star first; in this movie, Franco shows signs for the first time (at least that I've seen) he might be one, too.
Like them, Brolin disappears into his character. And inhabiting White, he makes him full bodied. The performance, and the movie, does not take the cheap shot of presenting him simply as a belt-suited bigot, rather as someone who was messed up.
When we get to the (beautifully terrible) ending, you hate him for what he's going to do and does, yet you don't, not completely. (And yet I was glad to know, and the film reminds us, that White eventually took his own life.)
Just as White, though a villain is not a caricature, Milk, though a hero is not a plaster saint. We see his blind spots and his weaknesses, both personal and professional, and get an idea of his flaws.
Aided by Gus Van Sant's direction and Dustin Lance Black's screenplay, Penn and Franco--both straight AFAIK--convincingly portray something I've seen too little of in movies: A loving, intimate gay relationship.
It has its ups and downs--but that is because relationships have their ups and downs, not that this one is somehow false.
(They even kiss innumerable times, something that was beyond certain other acclaimed movie stars who shall remain Tom Hanks.)
The movie is smart and funny, but that is because Milk and his friends were smart and funny, not because a writer is trying to make them (and thus the writer) appear so. At least, that's the way it played to me. Which leads me to:
It didn't work too hard to entertain us.
This relates to my first reason in that it's kind of the flip side.
Political dramas, when they aren't solemnly trying to Educate The Public, can sometimes err in the other direction and become so "audience friendly" that they lose sight of whatever they might have been trying to say.
Milk unquestionably has something to say, but it says it the way drama says things best, by showing us part of the life of a person. Making us care about him; not just because we care about the same things he does.
Despite the fact that it's a tragedy, it's moving (honestly so) but not depressing. And it has dignity. It doesn't beg for it like some Lesbian Series for the Showtime network (I could mention) does. It just has it.
This is a great biopic.
I'm saying, I really think you should see it.
President-elect Barack Obama's choice of Rick Warren to deliver the inaugural invocation drew one kind of protest. Whether the evangelical pastor offers the prayer in the name of Jesus may draw another. At George W. Bush's 2001 swearing-in, the Revs. Franklin Graham and Kirbyjon Caldwell were criticized for invoking Christ. The distinctly Christian reference at a national civic event offended some, and even prompted a lawsuit.
Warren did not answer directly when asked whether he would dedicate his prayer to Jesus. In a statement Tuesday to The Associated Press, Warren would say only that, "I'm a Christian pastor so I will pray the only kind of prayer I know how to pray."
And now I find this photo--
--of her and other members of the Terminator - The Sarah Connor Chronicles cast showing their support for the writers of the show during the strike earlier this year.
Sigh. Could she possibly be any more wonderful?
Britney Spears reportedly snuck out of her home in disguise for a secret sex session.
The 'Womanizer' singer apparently defied her father Jamie's ban on men to enjoy the saucy rendezvous with a mystery friend - and even bragged of her romp when she got home.
A source said: "She's been a prisoner in her own home and began to crave affection and attention from someone other than her parents, which is only natural.
Actually, I think if she'd gotten affection and attention from her parents, her whole personality could have been avoided.
Monday, December 29, 2008
A $70m lawsuit filed by Dan Rather, the veteran former newsreader for CBS Evening News, against his old network is reopening the debate over alleged favourable treatment that Bush received when he served in the Texas Air National Guard during the Vietnam war. Bush had hoped that this controversy had been dealt with once and for all during the 2004 election.
The story originally broke two months before the 2004 election, CBS went on to retract the story and Dan Rather was fired after the election. The conservative media went ballistic claiming the documents had been falsified.
CBS were idiots. Everybody knows it.
Trouble is, you were an idiot, too, and CBS did a good thing for a bad reason when they "allowed you to resign." Or maybe you thought we forgot about your going on the Letterman show after September 11, getting down on your knees and sucking Bush's cock on national television.
I believe you were a good reporter once, Dan, but that was yesterday, and I think it went to your head.
This lawsuit isn't about doing anybody any good except your ego, Rather, and there's much more important things than that. It isn't going to change the fact that Bush was elected (not re-elected) in 2004. It isn't going to make CBS News any smarter.
The time of network news is over, Dan, and you helped it come to a bad end.
Go the fuck away.
presented with the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual Literary Awards Festival gala dinner (LitFest) Dec. 3.
PEN USA is the West Coast center for the renowned writers' organization International PEN.
"In a salute to the range of his accomplishments in multiple genres, award-winning television writer, screenwriter, playwright and author," two-time Tony Award winner Gelbart ...received the PEN career award from award-winning writer and producer Aaron Sorkin ("The West Wing," "Charlie Wilson's War," "A Few Good Men").
Emphasis mine, of course.
How fitting is that?
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Only 29 percent of Americans approve of the job Dick Cheney is doing as Vice President. In an interview with his hometown Wyoming newspaper, The Caspar Star-Tribune, Cheney expressed his bewilderment over his low approval numbers:
QUESTION: How do you explain your low approval rating?
CHENEY: I don’t have any idea.
Known as a bit of a political knife-fighter on Capitol Hill for his work as something of a rogue operative after he left Sen. John Kerry's campaign amid a staff shake-up, Gibbs became a close adviser to Obama in the Senate and took an even more prominent role in the senator's 2008 presidential campaign.
Now, however, he is preparing for the actual act of governing, which can be even tougher. Is he prepared for the intense scrutiny of his every word? Is he ready to serve as a media piñata? And, given that he could likely have served as a senior adviser to the president-elect, why would he want the gig?
Jennifer Anistion's Photoshopped GQ cover
Kate Winslet's not retouched GQ photos
Lara Logan becoming a parent
Tom Cruise not being a parent (oh please, let this one be true!)
And the death of Heath Ledger.
As you see, the person who posted it to YouTube wanted you to associate it with Obama. I'm not so sure about that. Still...it's a dreamy speech.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
big mess, i mean a really big mess, a big big mess, he was all mixed up and a big mess! he was a big mess!
Because that disaster is now being called almost 50 times worse than the Exxon Valdez.
Sure enough, this morning I come across this video of a college student missing the very first question on Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?
No points if you guessed from which state this idiot dumbass hails.
Friday, December 26, 2008
her latest film, "Marley & Me," beat out ex Brad Pitt's "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" at the box office.
Brad's film is more critically acclaimed than Jen's and will certainly be a big hit, but we're betting that Jen is highly unlikely to care much about that on her way to the bank.
Personally, I have no plans to see either, but "Marley" might get a look-in when it plays cable. Acclaimed or not, "Button" has "We really, really, really want Oscars" written all over it to me.
*I thought of trying to put some kind of joke together here, about how Jennifer found it was good luck to push this Benjamin's button...maybe even working in some sort of ungentlemanly aside about her tail (get it, huh, because her movie's about a dog).
I think fortunately for all of us, I decided against it.
Even I don't think that Tennessee deserves this:
It looks like the surface of the moon. The black sludge that poured out of a Tennessee coal burning plant now covers entire neighborhoods.
"It's just scary," said Chris Copeland, a resident of Harriman, Tenn. "I have two young girls, and I'm afraid for their health."
This stuff is a witch's brew of toxic heavy metals that needs to be contained and controlled," said Stephen Smith, executive director of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy.
But have no fear, the TVA is here!
we've just come from a meeting
and we're sure you'd like to know
there'll be deep blue skies and clear blue waters
everywhere you go
"The water is safe," said Amanda Ray of the Tennessee Valley Authority. "The environment is safe. And we're going to clean this up."
(BTW...is it just me, or if the water and enviroment was safe--meaning Free from foreign matter or pollution; unadulterated--would they not need to clean it up?)
The Copeland family doesn't know who to believe.
"People tell you all the time things are safe, and later down the road you find out that they aren't," Copeland said.
but it's an awful price we pay
believing everything they say
here tomorrow gone today
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Somewhat puzzlingly, I've ended up on the newsletter mailing list for Amy Ephron's One For the Table site and now I've gotten a Christmas E-Card from her. It's even "signed" XOX Amy.
This is strange because in my sole E-Mail exchange with Ephron, she hardly left me feeling bathed in her warm embrace. Actually she threatened to sue me for libel.
the fun has just begun; So don't you mess around with me, you won't know what to do, 'Cause I'll put on my cha cha heels and walk all over you!
First, this is a teaser trailer from The Emperor's New Groove, a film I'm a big fan of; in which she was the voice of Yzma.
This is some interviews with Kitt and Bronski Beat about their 1989 collaborative single "Cha Cha Heels," followed by the video.
And this is a great montage that a YouTuber called privatedancer74 put together to Kitt singing Stephen Sondheim's "I'm Still Here." If you watch only one of these, this is the one to watch.
But it's a strange memory in the minds of those of us who grew up in the '70s playing with the old Kenner Star Wars figures that are now worth a lot of money.
It's generally reckoned to be the most ill-conceived Star Wars product ever made. Worse than the (not-so) "special editions," worse than the dialogue in Episode III...well, no...Nothing is worse than the dialogue in Episode III :
[After the massacre at the Jedi temple]
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Not even the younglings survived!
But it was so bad, in fact, that many of us have oft-times wondered...just how did it get so bad?
Vanity Fair wondered that too.
Although Lucas has subsequently had the special disappeared from American television—it has never again been officially aired or released in any video format—Star Wars geeks have not let the world forget that, even more than Jar Jar Binks, this is the one true embarrassment attached to the mostly superlative Star Wars universe.
While flipping through a book of production stills, [writer Bruce] Vilanch says, the Star Wars creator came across a particularly provocative-looking creature. “Lucas, who had been pretty stolid the whole time, turned to me and said: ‘Oh yes, we call him Cuntface.’ And that’s what it looked like, actually. I noticed in a later movie”—Return of the Jedi—“that Lucas had, like, a huge vagina in the desert that sucked things in. So, I think this is one of his leitmotifs.”
Twenty-eight years later, [writer Lenny] Ripps says he still hears from fans and fanzines that want to know about the special. “I think in a bigger sense, it’s nice to know that Star Wars does have feet of clay,” he says. “Ultimately, when all is said and done, it’s an outer-space movie. It’s not sacred. And what has amused me the most is that somehow people think the special discredits the image of this sacred text.”
Thanks hâi jor nôk dtam-raa yiw, Corey Klemow.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
This is a live version. The original is a rather obviously “satiric” look at the commercialization of Christmas, but so well arranged that I like it both because and in spite of that.
If there is such a thing as rockin' genially, this is it.
Brad Whitford won his Emmy for this episode.
I mean, she knows what she's doing up there. So you might like to see what she has to say about it in this Q& A piece.
Best part (IMO):
What’s the best piece of professional advice you ever got?
It’s [from] John [Guare], and it’s in the text of Six Degrees. I’m paraphrasing, but the character Flan asks why paintings in the second grade are clear and beautiful, and then by third grade they all look like mud and camouflage. And the teacher says, “I know when to take their paintings away from them in the second grade.” John and I went out to dinner one night and he equated those lines to acting, where you have to know when to stop. There has to be a point where you say, “The painting is done.” There’s a real temptation in acting to always fiddle with it, and sometimes you ruin the color balance when you do that.
* British Ambassador Lord John Marbury, "Dead Irish Writers," The West Wing.
And this is “The Christmas Waltz,” by Frank Sinatra. Maybe not the most inspired lyric ever written, but a nice holiday song. And I liked the classic Capitol visual on this.
Remember her now? Uh-huh. She's the one who also stuck up for Isaiah Washington. No bad poetry this time, but she's still just as unmusical.
I'd ask how any musician (let alone a gay one) can stand to be partnered to such a woman. But all Etheridge's songs sound alike to me anyway.
Further on the subject of Mr. Warren...looks like somebody forgot the commandment against lying.
I have to say, I've come around to really enjoying this controversy. Because it's putting the civil-rights-for-me, but-not-for-thee homophobic positions of this bigot into a national spotlight and forcing him to have to defend them.
This of course, cannot be done, unless you’re an idiot.
Oh wait. Now that I think of it, no I don't, really.
Avy Skolnik, of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, told the AP that "anytime there is an anti-LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] initiative" -- like the recent anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives -- "we tend to see spikes both in the numbers and the severity of attacks." He added: "People feel this extra entitlement to act out their prejudice."
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Alec Baldwin Posted in Huffpo:
The Inauguration Cannot Come Quickly Enough
And somewhere, Kim Basinger is saying "And if anyone knows about coming quickly..."
A woman in the San Francisco Bay area was jumped by four men, taunted for being a lesbian, repeatedly raped and left naked outside an abandoned apartment building, authorities said Monday.
Detectives say the 28-year-old victim was attacked Dec. 13 after she got out of her car, which bore a rainbow gay pride sticker. The men, who ranged from their late teens to their 30s, made comments indicating they knew her sexual orientation, said Richmond police Lt. Mark Gagan.
"It just pushes it beyond fathomable," he said. "The level of trauma — physical and emotional — this victim has suffered is extreme."
Monday, December 22, 2008
Barack Obama said you've got to reach out. You've got to reach a hand of friendship across the aisle and across philosophies in this country.
We can't continue to be a red and blue country. We can't be divided like we have been.
Say, Joe...you know what would be a really great way to promote inclusion?
Showcasing a progressive person of faith with a message of inclusion.
As opposed to, say, Rick Warren.
Just a thought.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Oh, there you go.
Being called ridiculous by Mike Huckabee.
Mike "Evolution? What evolution?" and "The bible, not the Constitution" Huckabee.
That's like being called mentally ill by Michael Jackson.
It's like being called short by Mickey Rooney...
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
I liked it--and liked it a lot--but he loved it, leaning forward in his chair to watch (as opposed to Wall-E, wherein he was a brat) and the first thing he said when it was over was
"Can we see this again?"
I would say it's not the work of art, (nor quite as sophisticated) as say, the best Pixar films have been. But it is full of a great deal of simple pleasures, like fun and excitement; especially if you are (or are with) a child.
It has a lesson, too, but doesn't beat it to death, and some pretty well-developed characters for an animated children's movie.
Also it genuinely has...noIcan'tbelieveI'msayingthiseither...heart.
Some of that heart comes from a featured song by Jenny Lewis called "Barking at the Moon." I loved this song much more than I've liked most of the new songs I've heard in animated films in the past 10 years or so.
I never warmed to Randy Newman's Toy Story songs. "Beyond the Sea" at the end of Nemo hit me pretty good, but of course, that's not a new song.
(Speaking of Nemo, there's an inside-joke reference to that movie in this one.)
Anyway, I don't know how long this will last, but with luck you should be able to hear the Lewis song below.
Barking at the Moon - Jenny Lewis
I'm hoping it'll get a Academy nom for best song.
John Travolta and especially Miley Cyrus (it must be said) do good work as Bolt the dog and his person, Penny. But both are bettered by Susie Essman as the cat Mittens, a really honest performance, and Mark Walton, a Disney story artist (!) as the manic hamster Rhino.
And the hamster rules. Driving away, my nephew was "clawing" at the back passenger-side window, making believe he was the hamster in his ball.
Speaking of rules, it occurs to me that Bolt is also an exception that tests one of my rules, which is this: Animated movies that bill their celebrity voice cast, as this one bills Travolta and Cyrus, are usually a sign of a movie pretty bad. It means a movie that can't be sold upon it's own entertainment, humor or charm.
Not here, tho. Not by a long shot.
Here's a TV spot.
(after clicking "Play Now," click on "Widescreen" to get rid of those annoying little boxes in the corner)
And for the record, here's the ones I chose:
1. What’s Opera, Doc?
2. Porky In Wackyland
3. Bully For Bugs
4. Operation Rabbit
5. The Dover Boys
6. Duck Amuck
7. Birds Anonymous
8. 8 Ball Bunny
9. Duck Dodgers in the 24½th Century
10. Long Haired Hare
But Chris Durang does a really good job of it.
ETA further: Salon asks the very good question: How the hell did Rick Warren get inauguration tickets?
BTW, I know I'm hitting this a lot. It's because I'm truly disappointed in Obama and his staff here.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Obama has chosen Rick Warren.
Warren is opposed, on religious grounds, to abortion rights, gay rights, stem-cell research, and euthanasia. In 2004, he described these issues as "nonnegotiable" and "not even debatable."
What's more, just this month, Warren supported* Prop. 8 in California for absurd reasons, and offered an incoherent theological rationale to Sean Hannity's assertion that the United States needs to "take out" Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Nice thinking, Barack.
It's times like this I'm glad I'm on medication.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
It's still pretty cool, though.
(Among their movie list, "Iron Man" and "Wall-E.")
"Life" actually made it into NBC's top 10 the first week in Dec.
Reese Witherspoon--who I don't seem to have quite as much of a crush on as many do, but still probably have a little one-- has been signed to star.
2. Olivia Wilde has gotten a role in Tron 2.
In a geek sense, this is amazing.
Not that Wilde has a role...
(still), that Tron 2 is actually happening!
Monday, December 15, 2008
About 3.4 Americans per 1000 filed for bankruptcy over the 12-month period ending in September. Tennessee saw the highest per-capita filing rate in the country, with 7.3 residents per thousand filing.
This is the video for the first single from his '85 solo album. If memory serves, the woman in it later became his wife, but still later they divorced.
Greg's a DJ now and also an author. I remember being struck by how different his speaking voice sounded to his singing. I also remember looking at one of his books in a bookshop and not being impressed, but admittedly I've never actually read an entire one of his.
In retrospect, I think future historians are going to be spending a lot of time deciding exactly when it was that George W. Bush began drinking again
Most recent evidence.
Not content with selling her getting you drunk, Anne Hathaway is now selling advertising space on her tummy
It's a good show, damnit. Show some support.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
An Iraqi television journalist hurled two shoes at President Bush on Sunday during a joint news conference Bush was holding with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki to mark the signing of a U.S.-Iraq security agreement.
Bush had just finished his prepared remarks in which he said the security agreement was made possible by the U.S. surge of troops to Iraq last year, when the journalist, Muthathar al Zaidi, pulled his shoes off and hurled them at the president. "This is a goodbye kiss, you dog," Zaidi shouted.
"This is a goodbye kiss, you dog."
I love it.
*(Do you suppose I beat anyone to that joke?)
The fact that my favorite comes from Paris Hilton says something about the state of Notable Quotables in the world
The Top 10 quotes of 2008, as compiled by the editor of the Yale Book of Quotations.
John McCain sideswiped the Republican National Committee on Sunday for the intense focus it has placed on Barack Obama's relationship (however thin) to Gov. Rod Blagojevich.
Saying he was confident that information would be made public regarding the president-elect's contacts with the embattled Illinois governor -- who is accused of putting up Obama's vacant Senate seat to the highest bidder -- McCain urged his Republican colleagues to keep their political priorities in order.
How nice. A lecture on keeping political priorities in order from the man who put Sarah Palin on the national stage.
Go back to bed, John. It's OK.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Wayne's "impudence" line kills me.
It's followed by the game called "Scenes From a Hat."
I love a good game of "Scenes From a Hat."
Come to think of it Wayne also has my favorite line in this game: "In español, I am El Grande Ricardo, but you can call me..."
Thursday, December 11, 2008
The physical and mental abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was the direct result of Bush administration detention policies and should not be dismissed as the work of bad guards or interrogators, according to a bipartisan Senate report released Thursday.
Thank you for staying on top of things, senators. I'll just slip into my DeLorean and hop back a couple of years to when this might have had a good effect for our country.
Who gives a fuck what they blame them for now, they've gotten away with it.
will eventually and inevitably boil into violence
He's joined in this by TV whore and raging Catholic bigot Bill "Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews" Donohue, who
took out a full-page ad in the New York Times on December 5 titled "No Mob Veto," decrying the "violence and intimidation being directed against the LDS or 'Mormon' church and other religious organizations" in the aftermath of Prop 8
Only without, you know, citing any.
And Bill Donohue is one of those jackasses who if you've pissed him off-you can be fairly certain you've done something right.
They're trying to paint Obama with it only with very little...oh, what is the phrase...oh yeah: Proof.
A writer named Bob Cesca has a good post on this up at Huffington.
It began yesterday with the RNC demanding to know the full extent of the president-elect's relationship with Blagojevich even though Patrick Fitzgerald was perfectly clear about the relationship when he said on national television that the president-elect had nothing to do with any of it. But to suggest that the former junior senator from Illinois never communicated with the governor of Illinois is ridiculous on its face -- of course there was the usual level of professional communication there, though it entirely fails to prove or even implicate any corruption on the part of Barack Obama. Then again, since when does reality matter?
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Known about what?
Anne Hathaway sells a date with her for $12,000 for charity
To quote one of my favorite parts:
you keep talking about, jeez, it would be redefining a word... and it feels like semantics is cold comfort, when it comes to humanity
ETA this from Think Progess:
Huckabee — like other conservatives who make similar claims — is wrong to suggest that American public opinion is on his side. A recent poll found that a full 75 percent of Americans favor either gay marriage or civil unions, with nearly 50 percent favoring gay marriage itself. More importantly, the next generation is much more open to gay rights: According to CNN exit polls, an overwhelming majority — 67 percent — of 18-29 year-olds voted against stripping gay couples of their right to marry in California.
And ETA, again, that there's more discussion at The Washington Monthly.
Check 'im out.
ETA: Vinnie asked me to mention that the vid was directed by Paolo Marchica.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
His first "real" report card comes, as far as I'm concerned, after the first 100 days, fabled in song and story. After that, we see how it goes until 2010 (The Year We Make Contact).
Serious-taking or not, how can you not like this line from CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider?
"An Obama job approval rating of 79 percent! That’s the sort of rating you see when the public rallies around a leader after a national disaster. To many Americans, the Bush Administration was a national disaster,"
Monday, December 08, 2008
Still, as American Prospect co-editor Robert Kuttner said on ABC's "This Wee," it'd be far better if Obama's economic team included "someone who really believes deeply that casino capitalism is a menace ... however, at the same time, every time I second-guessed Obama in the campaign, he was right, and I was wrong."
--What would Obama do?
Sunday, December 07, 2008
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Further on that subject, Proposition 8 and similar measures in other states were obviously a step back. But there's reason to think that taken as a whole, this country is becoming more and more supportive of gay rights
Friday, December 05, 2008
Thursday, December 04, 2008
Paris Hilton wants to play Tinkerbell - not her pet Chihuahua, but the famed fairy from "Peter Pan." A source tells us the celebutard is lobbying for the title role in Disney's live-action version of "Tinkerbell," in which the pixie finally gets a chance at life as a real girl.
Wednesday, December 03, 2008
One of the many reasons why I love the man is because he expresses the frustration that you and I and many others feel. But he does it without losing his sense of humor, as you and I would.
So yeah, I'm used to laughing.
I'm not used to having my mouth drop open in literal, actual, I'm-not-kidding-around-here horror as it did last night.
And she calls him "Big Daddy"...
Tuesday, December 02, 2008
actresses...will vie for an unprecedented prize -- a break-out role in "Saw VI" from Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures.
Now, by "break-out role," I'm assuming they mean the girl who wins will be in a trap (in the movie) that requires her to break her jaw or something to get out. Saw being Saw. Still:
I imagine I'm alone in this (or at least nearly so), especially as the series has progressed. But I stand stubbornly by my belief that the Saw series requires a better class of actor than the wriggling asses and pretty faces (male and female) that make up your Texas Chainsaw Massascream 3's.
Tobin Bell is the most obvious example, and Costas Mandylor is IMO underrated. But of course, they're both men.
Representing the opposite sex, I think that Beverley Mitchell did a nice job with her small, supporting role in Saw II.
But most prominently, we have Shawnee Smith, who is sexy indeed (clock her one unbilled scene in Leaving Las Vegas) but also very much "in the moment" as an actor.
(That's her below. And also, come to think of it, by Mitchell's side above.)
Smith acted in the first three Saw films and she's now one of the three hosts of Scream Queens. This brings up one reason why I’m only keeping one eye on the series.
The young actresses all seem to be taking the "break-out" part of this hype terribly seriously, as though it's just Saw VI and then next stop, romantic comedies opposite Vince Vaughn.
You want to say to them (I do, anyway): Guys, Shawnee Smith was in on the ground floor of Saw. Her character actually had an--whatchamacallit--emotional arc.
And what's more, even before that she had a career going back to the '80s. Her first role in a movie was in the 1982 adaptation of Annie, and she was also in Summer School and the Blob remake.
In the latter, BTW, she was an admitted inspiration for Joss Whedon when he was creating Buffy. And she's appeared on several television shows. Now she's one of three hosts of Scream Queens.
What I'm saying is: I don't think this is necessarily going to be the boost to your career that you imagine.
Another reason I've yet to be able to get though an entire episode without occasionally flipping away: You're familiar with my "actors shouldn't talk" rule?
Picture a show that is virtually nothing but actors talking. Talking about each other (with the long knives out) & about themselves. Actors who may not necessarily be all that bright. Not that it's a requirement, but, well, one of them--I won't say who--has an Official Web Site with the word "Official" misspelled.
Interspersed only with chances to emote! -either in I-want-attention-getting emotional outbursts (at least one or two of them are not so much Scream Queens as drama queens) or in acting "challenges."
James Lipton would blow his brains out after more than half an hour of this.
The third reason is summed up by the fact that I put "reality" in quotes when discussing "reality" TV shows. They're not reality.
So anyway, why am I telling you all of this? I'm telling you all of this because next week is the "big" final episode and I feel like declaring my colors.
Of the women remaining, Michelle Galdenzi is gorgeous, but I've just seen nothing else really compelling about her. Plus, she's a Ren Fest chick, and such behavior should not be rewarded.
Tanedra...well, I'm just not seeing the talent. And again--maybe I stand alone in this, but I happen to think being in a Saw film requires talent (at least some).
So I'm team Lindsay (Felton). I like the look of her:
But it's not just infatuation...more importantly, I think she's shown the most talent.
I also like that when the girls got a scare in last night's episode, Lindsay didn't even spill her wine. Now that's my kind of woman.
Monday, December 01, 2008
"I Am Shelby Lynne" — an album embraced by rock and country audiences alike — snagged her a Best New Artist Grammy. It was her sixth album, but Grammy rules are funny like that.
...and that she played the role of Johnny Cash's mother in "Walk The Line," which I saw and rated highly, but I don't remember her specifically. Maybe I'll rent it and watch it again.
Anyway, Lynne's singing sounds like a soul-country hybrid, and her latest album is a tribute to Dusty Springfield. You can hear samples of it at her website linked above; her myspace page. Or here, watch this. She's dangerously, frighteningly good:
/ˌkyʊəriˈɒsɪti/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [kyoor-ee-os-i-tee]
2. a curious, rare, or novel thing.
The Bush White House was warned about the looming financial crisis, but chose not to pay attention.
Is it wrong that I'd kinda like to see Bush and about a dozen of his staff vs. my man Jigsaw?
Do you ever get the feeling that the Pentagon is being run by Phil Hartman's character from the Sgt. Bilko movie? (ETA additional excerpt)
A man called "Matthew Alexander" (a pseudonym) is having a book published about his experiences as an army interrogator. He's also written an article for the Washington Post:
I'm not some ivory-tower type; I served for 14 years in the U.S. Air Force, began my career as a Special Operations pilot flying helicopters, saw combat in Bosnia and Kosovo, became an Air Force counterintelligence agent, then volunteered to go to Iraq to work as a senior interrogator. What I saw in Iraq still rattles me -- both because it betrays our traditions and because it just doesn't work.
But what really made me think that Hartman's Major Thorn was in charge is what "Alexander" says about the-
extraordinary amount of unclassified material -- including passages copied verbatim from the Army's unclassified Field Manual on interrogations and material vibrantly displayed on the Army's own Web site.
-which the Army tried to redact before permitting the book to be published.
If memory serves--and it does--this is very similar to what the CIA did to the gorgeous Valerie Plame Wilson when her book was written. (Her book is also important and fascinating, BTW--I don't mean to suggest she's only gorgeous.)
Back to "Alexander:"
I sued, first to get the review completed and later to appeal the redactions. Apparently, some members of the military command are not only unconvinced by the arguments against torture; they don't even want the public to hear them.
We're told that our only options are to persist in carrying out torture or to face another terrorist attack. But there truly is a better way to carry out interrogations -- and a way to get out of this false choice between torture and terror.
In an interview with the conservative online publication Newsmax, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said the GOP must broaden its appeal to avoid becoming “the old white-guy party,” and recommended that Republicans create a “shadow government” to work on its own agenda.
1. Ok, quick hands up: Who here thinks the GOP is going to be listening to any Bushes ever again for at least another eight years?
2. Isn't that what some used to call...um I dunno what is the phrase...oh yes: Treason?
As most of you know, I'm a little wary of Sen. Clinton becoming our next secretary of state. I don't oppose it per se (I mean, it's not like she was Dick Cheney)...I'm just a little wary. Suspicious, you might say.
Ok, so I once said I thought she had vinegar for blood, and I hated some of the things she got up to when running against Obama. But I digress. Richards argues that this (Clinton's nomination) is a good thing; I think she makes some good points.
I'm still not 100% convinced yet, but I'm willing to give Clinton a chance.
Especially since Rush Limbaugh has endorsed her. The only reason I can think of why he'd do that, is to make liberal Democrats like myself wary and suspicious of our president's selection process.
I refuse to give him the pleasure.
"I wish the intelligence had been different, I guess."
-- President Bush, in an interview with ABC News,
You and us both, Dub. You and us both.
Tina Fey does Vanity Fair.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Parishioners of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Modesto have been told they should consider going to confession if they voted for Barack Obama, because of the president-elect's position condoning abortion.
Friday, November 28, 2008
"I would like to be a person remembered as a person who, first and foremost, did not sell his soul in order to accommodate the political process," Bush said,
It's hard to sell something which, if it ever existed, died a long, long time ago.
"I came to Washington with a set of values, and I'm leaving with the same set of values. And I darn sure wasn't going to sacrifice those values...
What's really sad is that this might actually be true.
...As one or two of you may remember, I do not like Rosie O'Donnell a whole awful lot. And by "a whole awful lot" I mean "at all." I think she's out-of-tune (and I don't mean musically--I've never heard her sing, for which I am thankful), classless, and suffers from a severe case of talent-lack.
This being the case, it will not surprise you that I found other things to do than watch her live variety special Wednesday night. This may have been a mistake.
Because if the reviews are to be believed it was not so much live as...well, there's an obvious pun to be made, but I'm going to have the good taste not to make it.
This sounds as though it may have been a bomb of historical proportions.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
As always, in no particular order:
Film and TV:
Most of Babylon 5
Stranger Than Fiction.
Bender's Game. After the first two Futurama straight-to-DVD movies had my faith wavering, the third helped to restore it.
The Bond movies that I like and not the ones I don't
Monk, which is approaching its eighth and final season.
Tron 2! That it's coming.
Gone Baby Gone
Richard Williams' The Thief Who Never Gave Up.
Dirt. For me, the biggest casualty of the writers' strike.
Shoot 'Em Up
A Midwinter's Tale (AKA In the Bleak Midwinter)
Cave of the Yellow Dog
Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day
Triumph the Insult Dog
The Saw film series
Artists of the guitar and synthesizer:
Teachers (more the soundtrack than the movie, but...)
"How Soon is Now," by The Smiths.
Upstairs At Eric's
Arts and entertainment:
Jeopardygirl, Corey and the usual suspects.
Friday Night Lights will be back on NBC on January 16, 2009.
I'm telling you this now so you have time to go out and rent the first two seasons and be all caught up when I start nudging you about watching this series.
And by the way...
Watch Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. The show started out good and has only gotten better, but it's being beaten in the ratings even by Chuck. And that ain't right.
"I happen to think the media is up to a bit of mischief here. I think the media wants to take Sarah Palin and make her, subliminally, the face of the Republican party. They want to make her: this is what Republicans are, the face of the party, the leader of the party, because it amuses them to do that."
Who else you got?
PS: As the Political Wire reminds us, and as I blogged about at the time:
During the presidential election, Noonan was caught on a live microphone saying Sen. John McCain's pick of Palin doomed the Republican ticket.
My favorite Celebrity poll site is asking:
Which of the following celeb families would you like to spend Thanksgiving weekend with?
I voted for The Lohans, but I'm assuming they mean Lindsay and Sam. If the rest of her family has to be there, then I'm switching my vote to the Hiltons. Yes, there's just as much a chance I'd be going to jail before the weekend was over, but there's an ever better chance I'd get to have sex.
A Missouri mother on trial in a landmark cyberbullying case was convicted Wednesday of three minor offenses instead of the main conspiracy charge in a cruel Internet hoax that apparently drove a 13-year-old girl to suicide.
The federal jury could not reach a verdict on the conspiracy allegation against 49-year-old Lori Drew and rejected three other felony counts of accessing computers without authorization to inflict emotional harm on the girl.
Instead, the panel convicted her of three misdemeanor offenses of accessing computers without authorization. Each of those counts is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Drew faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted of the four original counts.
I have only three words to say about this: It's a start.
Drew did not show any visible emotion when the clerk read the verdicts.
See post title.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
Bush meets with Nobel Award winners
WASHINGTON (AP) — Three 2008 Nobel laureates from the United States lined up with President George W. Bush on Monday for an Oval Office photograph to mark their achievements.
The third laureate at the White House was Paul Krugman of New York, who won the Nobel Prize in economics for his work on international trade patterns. Krugman, a frequent critic of the Bush administration who opposed the recent $700 billion financial bailout, is a Princeton University professor and New York Times columnist.
I'll bet that was a funny, funny meeting.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Via TPM Election Central.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Read this, watch the accompanying clip (if you can) and make the call.
Best part: At the end, when he tries to assert that, as a man, of course, he's not offended...
Of course, Bill. We all know what a man you are. What with the calling for beating up on The Dixie Chicks and all.
Judgemental kulturkampfer (look it up) Michael Medved attempts to argue that homosexuals should shut up about wanting to get married on the grounds that Elton John says he doesn't want to.
One of the world's most prominent gay entertainers offered some rare common sense on the explosive issue of same sex marriage.
Psst--Michael! Elton John is a bubblegum pop musician whom I cannot believe anybody takes seriously as a spokesman for gay rights. This is the same guy who dueted with the thug Eminem.
Don't get me wrong--he's fabulous, a stately homo of England. But if you've seen Elton John: Tantrums & Tiaras, the TV documentary that his own partner made about him...you know that "rare common sense" maybe aren't the words you want to be using .