Saturday, March 22, 2008

I can't get no Satis faction


Peace-loving and tolerant, receptive to wealth, analytical and science-minded, tender towards those who are not ignorant, can sometimes be angry.

Colors: male: deep red, female: deep blue
Compatible Signs:
Amon-Ra, Set
Jan 1 - Jan 7, Jun 19 - Jun 28, Sep 1 - Sep 7, Nov 18 - Nov 26

Role: Goddess who protected the sources of the Nile and goddess of the cataract at the border of Egypt and Nubia
A woman wearing the white crown of Upper Egypt with antelope horns on the sides.
Sacred animal:

What is Your Egyptian Zodiac Sign?
Designed by CyberWarlock of Warlock's Quizzles and Quandaries

Actually, I'd be more likely to say "Let the Republicans take care of de nial...I'll be over here with the harem."

Not everyone looks hot in my favorite color

Case in point.

Bill Clinton embarasses his wife's campaign again

I've often said that Bill Clinton has been the greatest president of my lifetime so far...which says a lot more about my lifetime than it does about Bill Clinton. But...

Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign is trying to clarify comments by former President Clinton during a stop in North Carolina.

Clinton seemed to question Barack Obama's patriotism, and the comments led an Obama aide to liken the former president to Joseph McCarthy.

Clinton said at a Charlotte campaign event Friday that he thinks "it would be a great thing if we had an election year where you had two people who loved this country and were devoted to the interest of this country.

Now, I choose not to speculate as to whether or not Mr. Clinton meant that comment as a hit on Mr. Obama's patriotism. I can see how it could be taken that way, but I can also see that it could have been misinterpreted, as the Clinton campaign insists.

The part I love is this:
He added that "people could actually ask themselves who is right on these issues, instead of all this other stuff that always seems to intrude itself on our politics."

Yes. "All this other stuff." Like presidents who make the stupidest mistake any Rhodes Scholar ever made, and lack the self-control to keep it in their pants in the oval office.

Y'know, for all that Bill and his wife had a plague of phony "scandals" visited on them by irrational Clinton-haters, I don't forget the ones they brought on themselves.

I give Spandau Ballet credit for a little more than "True."

There's this song, for example, top 20 in the UK and Australia but nothing over here. This is live in 1984.

Say what you will about Spandau Ballet, but Tony Hadley can sing...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ma couleur préférée adore l'Asie Argento


Things We Lost in the Fire is one of those movies that, in the wrong hands, could've been an overly-sentimental Lifetime movie tearjerker. Fortunately...

Screenwriter Allan Loeb's story is one of beauty, compassion and hope. It apparently didn't find much of an audience in the theaters, but it's the kind of movie a lot of people will likely see on DVD, as I did. It shouldn't lose much in the translation.

A small movie about big emotions, it tells the story of two kinds of recovery. Halle Berry plays a woman grieving the death of her husband.

Benicio Del Toro plays her husband's best friend, a recovering/relapsing heroin addict. They come together and they help each other, though not in the ways you expect--or fear.

That's right, friends, it's another movie about an unconventional male/female relationship. Surprised I liked it?

Apparently playing a mother in this film is one of the things that convinced Berry that she wanted to become one in real life. It's not hard to see why in her performance, and the knowledge that she recently gave birth adds a little something extra.

To watch Berry in this film is to be reminded of a couple of things. One is just how beautiful she is. While I wait for you to contain your shock, let me emphasize that I don't only mean hot, which she is and which goes without saying. I mean, beautiful.

Another is how very, really talented she is. It's a layered, felt performance. This girl's Oscar was not a fluke.

I know more than a few women find Benicio Del Toro sexy, too. I can see it. And he is also, of course, an Oscar winner.
But for all of the work that Del Toro evidentially puts into making his craft seem effortless (and it does), his real Christmas present was that face.

It's the face of an old-fashioned movie star like we might have had in the '50s. Except that in the '50s, he would have played only gang members and other criminals and not many of those.

(He has played his share, but they aren't the only people he plays.)

The movie's good pedigree also extends to producer Sam Mendes, BTW. I don't think American Beauty (which Mendes directed) was as deep as it thought it was. But he's married to Kate Winslet

and the father of one of her children, the villain, so he must have something going for him...

David Duchovny plays Berry's husband, seen in flashback. It's a solid performance. Working with Berry and the two young actors who play their children (about whom more in a moment), Duchovny lets you know just how good what they've lost was.

Omar Benson Miller plays Berry's brother, in a part that is as small in size as Miller is large, but key, and brings both a weight and sensitivity to it.

I was especially pleased to recognize him from an episode of The West Wing, proving once again that everything I enjoy connects to that series sooner or later, one way or another.

(In a similar connection, Robin Weigert, one of the stars of Life, has a one-scene part)

(This picture has nothing to do with Allison Lohman's role in the film...but what am I, a mackerel?)

Lohman, an actress whose work is new to me, is strong in another smaller role, as a young woman who befriends Del Toro in NA. One of the things I like about both Miller and Lohman in their roles is that neither tries too hard to "seize their moments."

These are truly supporting performances, and in no way the lesser because of it.

Now. I said I wanted to say a little something about Alexis Llewellyn and Micah Berry, who play Duchovny and Berry's daughter and son, respectively (Micah is no relation to Halle). What I think I want to say is, they're the kind of performances that make you want to forget W.C. Fields.

Director Susanne Bier's were the right hands for this script, and although you may feel yourself tear up once or twice (I did), it feels earned, so you don't resent it.

This is the sexiest thing I have ever seen.

Remember when I told you about Casey Knowles, the young woman of whom stock footage, as a girl, was used in the "phone" ad for Clinton and turned to be, to say the least, not a Clinton supporter?

She's in a new ad now...

By and large, I admire Jodie Foster...

I admire her obvious smarts, her achievements as an actress/producer; her sex appeal. At times she's annoyed me by not coming out sooner, standing by homophobic Christ-fetishist Mel Gibson, or giving interviews when it's clear she really doesn't like talking about herself. Which is fine, BTW, but just don't grant interviews. Don't waste our time, yours, or the interviewers.

But by and large, I admire her.

This is why I gotta ask...

Jodie Foster...what happened?

I'm not just going for a cheap joke here, I'm genuinely worried.

"J. Lo." (and, of course, her ass) leaves my favorite color ready to pass out

So I'm watching the "Tyra Banks Show" here late last night/early this morning...

As one does. One of her guests was busty brown-butter toffee blonde babe Danielle Fishel, formerly nice-girl Topanga on Boy Meets World, discussing her recent DUI arrest.

At the top of the show--"Tonight, on Tyra..."--they showed a little flash-forward clip to part of Fishel's interview, wherein she was saying,

"I deserve to be punished."


Why yes, yes you've been a bad, bad girl...

(I could've fainted dead away...)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

You're not helping.

Two reactions to Obama's speech on race relations.

First, this:

Hillary Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferraro slammed Barack Obama on Thursday for comparing her, during a speech on race relations, with the preacher at the center of a political firestorm.

Ferraro, who was forced to quit Clinton's campaign last week after suggesting that Obama had an advantage because he is black, told a California newspaper her comments were quite different from the incendiary, racially charged sermons of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Geraldine, for God's sake: Sit down and shut up. I know it must be very exciting for you to be back in the spotlight after a quarter-century away, and I'm sure you must be re-living a lot of those days through Mrs. Clinton. As I remember, you had trouble with your husband, too. Not the same kind of trouble, of course.

But let me address something: this isn't actually about you and it isn't about Obama's Rev. It's about Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, and about which of them will actually make the better president--for those of us whose chapter in history isn't already written.

And you're not helping any of us. You're not helping America, you're not helping Obama, and you're certainly not helping the woman you claim to support. All you are doing is showing that you don't know when to get the foot out of your mouth. In fact when you do, you just can't wait to shove it back in there...

"To equate what I said with what this racist bigot has said from the pulpit is unbelievable," Ferraro told the Daily Breeze in an interview. "(Obama) gave a very good speech on race relations, but he did not address the fact that this man is up there spewing hatred."

He didn't? Funny. I thought that's what this was:

(from Obama's speech)

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one’s family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What’s remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn’t make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright’s generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician’s own failings.

Name-calling without context is...well, it's just name-calling without context.

And another thing:

"What (Wright) is doing is spewing that stuff out to young people and to younger people than Obama and putting it in their heads that its OK to say 'God damn America' and to beat up on white people," Ferraro told the Breeze. "You don't preach that from the pulpit." is OK to say 'God damn America.' Its being OK is one of the symbols of our country--the land of the free, or so I've heard. Someone who was once in the running to be the proverbial heartbeat away from the presidency shouldn't have to be reminded of that.

And I admit I missed the part where Wright had told youths it was OK to beat up on white people. I kinda question whether he actually did, but if I'm wrong, I'm sure someone will send me along a relevant link.

On, and one last thing before I move on. I do think it's possible one reason that I, if not most Democrats, aren't as ruffled by the idea that Obama's Rev. said some dumb, angry things, is because I've never been under the thumb of a preacher.

And I don't judge them much, but when I do, it tends to be based upon what they do, rather than what they say. Speaking of what folks say: Is anyone saying that Rev. Wright didn't do any of the positive things Obama said he did? I tend to think not, because I tend to think I would've heard about it.

Also, like most Democrats, I believe in the separation of church and state. So I'm not really concerned about whether or not Senator Obama agrees with Wright's dumbest, angriest rhetoric (though I don't believe he does).

Unless you think he's going to pass laws changing the song to "God Damn America, land that I loathe," or legalizing the beating of white people by blacks...this should be a non-issue. Does anyone think he's going to do anything like that?

Then let's all grow up a bit and calm down, hmm?

Now to end on a more uplifting note, this item from (of all places) Middle East Online written by Brent Budowsky who, it says here:

was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and to Bill Alexander, then the chief deputy whip of the House.


Almost as important as [Obama's] discussion of race was the grace he showed towards Geraldine Ferraro and the honesty he showed about the feelings of those who are white, who face forms of injustice themselves, to remedy forms of past discrimination that they themselves did not commit.

The great moral and political truth of America, as old as the battles between Jefferson and Hamilton, is the battle between those who seek to unite the disempowered and the disrespected, to achieve historic change, versus those who seek to divide them against each other, to defend a decadent status quo, to prevent historic change.

The great battles of history have been between the "uniters", who want to uplift the vast majority, versus the dividers, who want to preserve the power of the few by dividing the many against each other.

The cause of Martin Luther King is the cause of the steelworker and mill worker. The cause of Cesar Chavez is the cause of the woman denied the promotion and the soldier denied the body armor and health care. The cause of the pulpit of every denomination is the cause of the great truth that those who have should help those who have not -- not because it helps some rather than others, but because it helps the whole, which benefits us all.

Another day, another brilliant Obama speech

This one on the varied costs of the war. That'll lead you to a blog post on it, but as with the speech about race, be sure to scroll down and read the written text.

God forgive me...

Knock knock knock knock knock...

"Who is it?"

"Your new dresser, Miss Shields! I'm here to help you change for the shooting today."

"Oh, good. One moment, and I'll let you in..."

Another one of those jokes which only seems funny because it's almost three o'clock in the morning, and for which I may be apologizing come day.


"Hi, this is Jennifer Love Hewitt for California Oranges..."

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

And now, to counterbalance all the talk about this nutty war, I give you...

...the sane, peaceful beauty of Jennifer Aniston's ass.

Who's your buddy, who's your friend?

Also in this item: At least one picture that would cause Joey Tribbiani's head to explode, if you know what I mean and I think you do...

"Mismanaged." Like the war was an Inn or a Savings & Loan.

This entry and the one before are sparked by my participation in the Iraq War "Blogstorm".

And to what I said previously, I just want to add: It's not a movie. Why do I want to add that? Because

President George W. Bush said on Wednesday he had no regrets about the unpopular war in Iraq despite the "high cost in lives and treasure" and declared that the United States was on track for victory

Treasure? Dear god. He thinks he's Nicholas Cage.

Bush's Democratic critics used the anniversary to press accusations that the Republican president launched the invasion based on faulty intelligence, mismanaged the war and failed to put together an exit strategy.

Two out of three ain't bad. Failed to put together an exit strategy? Absolutely--because they thought they wouldn't need one. "Mismanaged" the war (see headline, above)? Well, obviously. But--

launched the invasion based on faulty intelligence

No. No no. No, no, no and no. Let's not let him off the hook here. He launched the invasion based on "intelligence" he either knew to be false and deceptive, for which he should be impeached, or that he didn't, but should have...for which he should be impeached.

"Five years into this battle, there is an understandable debate over whether the war was worth fighting, whether the fight is worth winning, and whether we can win it," Bush told an audience of top military officers and Pentagon employees

No, George. The understandable time for debate was before you committed other people's children to risk and lose their lives. That was the time. But you wouldn't allow it.

And by the way, don't mess with the Dixie Chicks.

But, this post is not going to be devoted solely to pointing out that Bush is a proven failure. Because, as low as my opinion is of that man's competence...I don't think much better of opportunists like Hillary, and John Kerry, who voted for the war.

Voted for the war when those of us who were listening knew that intelligence was being fixed around it, instead of vice-versa. And here are the latest stats on the results of that vote, per USA TODAY:

Iraq already is America's third-longest major war (behind Vietnam and the Revolutionary wars), longer than the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, the Korean War and the U.S. involvement in both world wars.

I say we can make this the next 100 years war--if we really, really try!

The war has killed almost 4,000 Americans and wounded 60,000 others, cost more than a half-trillion dollars in military and reconstruction expenses, and killed anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of Iraqis — no one knows exactly how many.

And there's a human cost in more than "only" deaths and physical wounding.

• Living for months at a time on high alert, “which will take a psychological toll on anyone,” according to Army Reservist Lt. Col. Terry McGuire of Williamsville, who served in Iraq helping reunite families who were dislocated.

...Unlike other wars where the mission was very basic — search and destroy the enemy — the military finds itself multitasking as it helps to rebuild Iraq.

Geoff Millard [is] a former Lockport resident who served in Iraq with the National Guard.

Now living in Washington, D.C., Millard heads a chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War and is involved in high-profile events to inform the public about the horrors of war.

With fierce disdain, he recalls a command meeting he was at in Iraq, serving as a secretary to a general.

“The general and his staff were being briefed on how an Iraqi family, two parents and two children, were killed at a traffic control point because they were thought to be suicide bombers.

“A full bird colonel turns to the entire division level staff at the meeting and says, ‘If these f . . . Hajjii’s [a derogatory term used for Iraqis] learned to drive, this s...wouldn’t happen.’ That really shocked me. I thought at least the brass would believe in the rhetoric of this whole thing. How can you bring freedom to a people if you don’t respect them enough even when they’re killed,” Millard said.

What troubled him the most, Millard says, is that the colonel appeared not to consider the psychological damage the soldier who shot the family would carry with him the rest of his life and “the fact that we killed an entire blood line that day.”

This post is also not intended to be another show of slathering devotion for Barack Obama. But, I do think the press underestimates just how good a "trump card" is his early and consistent opposition to the war.

What do I think we need to do? I think we need to bring our troops home and end this war. But don't take it from me. Take it from Millard's organization, which has put together a list of 19 reasons why the war has to be ended and ended now.

I think they're right, and the only note I would add is that even if "victory" (whatever that looks like) is possible...we're not gonna see it until at least 2009.

And at least as long as Bush and the Bushies, who are incapable of saying "I'm to blame; I was wrong." are still in charge...what we're going to keep seeing the most is people dying without meaning. People being wounded. And people being otherwise all fucked up.

We're going to keep sinking deeper and deeper until we're up to our heads in the big muddy.

No, Hillary...

Hillary Rodham Clinton told a group of young veterans Tuesday that one lesson of the Iraq War is not to commit troops "unless you are prepared to go all the way and are prepared to be successful."

Oh, God. Oh, my God. The lesson of the Iraq war is that we should have been prepared to go all the way?

First of all, isn't that what the Republicans were saying about Vietnam back in the day? And second, to paraphrase George Carlin: Imagine that, folks. An American presidential candidate actually using the sexual slang of a 13-year-old to describe her would-be foreign policy.

The lesson of the Iraq War is that you cannot commit troops based on deceptions and lies. There is no possible victory great enough to justify the cost in blood and billions, or to erase that stain.

At this point, Hillary Clinton, like Bush and virtually everyone else who still advocates the war, is either a liar or an idiot. I'm gonna go out a limb here and say that neither should be the president. Again.

Seriously, how am I supposed to have faith in Mrs. Clinton's judgement when it failed her (and her country) this miserably?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Apparently, I was wrong not to have given "Gossip Girl" a chance.

Don't read the spin, read the speech...Sweet God...

Via TPM: Barack Obama. The Speech. To coin a phrase: Wow. I'll quote a handful of excerpts below (if I wasn't careful, I'd quote the whole thing), but seriously: Read the speech.

I won't even try too hard to sell it to you; I'll just say about my reaction to it, as a writer and one who appreciates good writing: It's like if Aaron Sorkin wrote for a Thomas Jefferson/JFK ticket.

And to slightly misquote Sorkin, if Obama wins, he'll have the headline writers and networks asking each other how to spell erudite...

...we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright’s sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

[But] This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don’t have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life.

I would not be running for President if I didn’t believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

...By itself, that single moment of recognition between that young white girl and that old black man is not enough. It is not enough to give health care to the sick, or jobs to the jobless, or education to our children.

But it is where we start.

A sudden journey...

Also featured on Yahoo! today...

The World's Cheesiest Love Song Playlist

You're The Inspiration - Chicago

I like this. Shut up.

The One That You Love - Air Supply

Fortunately perhaps, I can say that I never really liked much Air Supply, with a couple of exceptions of which this isn't one.

Suddenly - Billy Ocean

Indistinct but innocuous.

Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler

A sweeping ballad that should've been swept out the door.

Hello - Lionel Richie

Sigh. This song will always be about gazing at Susan Bagley, one of my jr. high crushes, in the library.

(Everything I Do) I Do It For You - Bryan Adams

I swear to you folks, one of these days Bryan Adams is just going to break me and I'm going to turn to suicide. Or homicide. I haven't decided yet.

Separate Lives - Phil Collins

Go on...

Hold On To The Nights - Richard Marx

Richard Marx kinda strikes me as being the John Mayer of his day. Seems like a decent enough fellow, good sense of humor about himself--but the music? Makes Hootie & the Blowfish sound nourishing.

Tonight, I Celebrate My Love - Peabo Bryson

What can be said at this point?

At This Moment - Billy Vera

All I remember about this one is that it became a hit on the back of its use in Family Ties.

Always - Atlantic Starr

Ok, I'm a sucker for this one too. Don't tell anybody.

Islands In The Stream - Dolly Parton

I like the Bee Gees version better...

I Honestly Love You - Olivia Newton-John

I prefer ONJ circa "Magic," but there's a powerful rendition of this song in The Boy From Oz, the Broadway show about Peter Allen, the man who wrote it (and "Arthur's Theme," below).

Almost Paradise - Ann Wilson & Mike Reno

I thought that dreams belonged to other men...

I Want To Know What Love Is - Foreigner

Did you know Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins is part of the choir on this song?

How Am I Supposed To Live Without You - Michael Bolton

I've said it before. If Steve Perry had been just a little more productive in the 90's, we could have completely averted Michael Bolton.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn - Poison

Yeah, it does.

Feels Like Heaven - Peter Cetera

I don't remember this song at all, but the '80s single of the same name by none-hit wonders Fiction Factory is lovely.

I Go Crazy - Paul Davis

Here again--this song means nothing to me, but there is a nifty little new wave number of the same name by Flesh For LuLu...

I Swear - All-4-One

I know nothing about this and it doesn't remind me of anything.

Everytime You Go Away - Paul Young

Cheesy? I've killed for less. I love this recording of a great song (written by Daryl Hall, if you don't know). I always thought it would mix well with Maxi Priest's cover of "Wild World"...

Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now - Starship

...Fair enough...

The Lady In Red - Chris De Burgh

There is an age group for which this song is the height of romanticism. That age group is 16-19. The rest of us have since discovered Gershwin.

Always And Forever - Heatwave

Don't know it, don't know anything about it.

I'll Always Love You - Taylor Dayne

As Taylor Dane goes, I'm more partial, actually, I'm not really partial to any Taylor Dane...

The Power Of Love - Celine Dion

I imagine I could go for quite a long time without hearing any more of the bombastic wailing Celine Dion indulges in.

I Need Love - LL Cool J

Ladies Love Cool James...

All Cried Out - Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam

Bit of a guilty pleasure, this.

Arthur's Theme - Christopher Cross

The best that you can do...

Lovin' You - Minnie Riperton

Better in the songs that sample it.

Could It Be Magic - Barry Manilow

I'm apathetic about Manilow. I don't love him, but it's become too much of a cliché to hate him.

All My Life - K-Ci & JoJo

Don't think I've ever heard this song in all my life.

Faithfully - Journey

Journey was just unfortunate.

Red flag to a bull, this

Yahoo! is featuring what they call
The official "New Wave Sissy Boy 80s Hits You Were Afraid To Admit You Liked In High School" playlist
-on their home page. Well. I think we all knew I wasn't going to let this pass without comment...

Too Shy - Kajagoogoo
Ask me sometime how many copies of this record I have...go on, ask me.

No One Is To Blame - Howard Jones
I prefer the Dream Into Action album version to the single, but yeah, I'm a fan. My friend Jeopardygirl is an even bigger one.

Do You Really Want To Hurt Me - Culture Club
Culture Club's songs were, are, and always will be colored construction paper. Pretty but lightweight and apt to blow away.

Poison Arrow - ABC
ABC set out to make pop more ridiculous and less pompous without being any less emotionally engaging. They succeeded.

Save A Prayer - Duran Duran
Ashamed? Not a bit of it. This is one of their best, most lush records and songs. But for God's sake avoid the Arena live a live singer, Simon LeBon was not quite in control of his instrument yet...

Careless Whisper - Wham!'s a classic, innit?

Hold Me Now - The Thompson Twins
A recent documentary showed ex-Twins knocking themselves and being down on their hits. Which is a shame -- they were great.

If You Leave - Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark
Another classic.

Blasphemous Rumours - Depeche Mode
Martin Gore's lyrics aren't always as strong as they could be, but this is one of his best-and a theme (religion) he would return to again and again.

Tainted Love - Soft Cell
Well I've talked about them before--for a long time I felt as though I should like Soft Cell more than I did and now, I do. If that makes me a sissy, I'll slip into the leather dress willingly...

It's My Life - Talk Talk
Still holds up.

More Than This - Roxy Music
Along with Bowie and Kraftwerk, Roxy Music wrote the old testament.

I Ran (So Far Away) - A Flock Of Seagulls
And here we have the '80s single that even I can't stand. But, this does give me an excuse to pull out one of my favorite quotes.

"Any idiot with two fingers crossed can make a record. Get a beat, throw in some lyrics and someone somewhere is going to like it."-
Mike Score, A Flock Of Seagulls-who should know.

Promises, Promises - Naked Eyes
Never exactly pioneers, but I remember them well...

Perfect Way - Scritti Politti
Big hit. Killer. The thing about Scritti Politti records is that they've always had a sense of place...

West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys

I could recite the lyrics right now. Don't test me.

Only You - Yaz
Part of the lineage, and one of the most effective blends of smooth synthesizers and lovely vocals ever.

Girls Just Want To Have Fun - Cyndi Lauper
Eh. I can take it or leave it.

Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
We can dance if we want to.

Love Plus One - Haircut 100
Not in over 25 years have I had a clue as to what this song is about. Nor have I cared, 'cos it's succesful without knowing.

True - Spandau Ballet
I said this in my other blog last month-- I think most people think of True as "just" a love song (probably because the backing vocals and production make it such a sedative). But for me it's always been about more than that.

Perhaps it's just my nutty interpretation, but I hear it as a song about, among other things, a need to return to your self. Plus as a record it's just so soulful and sweet.

You laugh--but it makes it taste like mint!

Oh, what sad times are these when passing ruffians can say "Ni" at will to old ladies...

Which Holy Grail Character Are You?
Roger the Shrubber
Roger the Shrubber
There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

"Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who" is a rare film

(Jenny McCarthy isn't in the picture, but she was at the premiere with her beau Jim Carrey...therefore I am totally justified in running this photo of her.)

First, the trailer for Ice Age 3 made me want to see it. As you can yourself see...

...there are dinosaurs.

Picture Scrat vs. a T-Rex.

Now, our feature presentation:

(There may be spoilers...though if you don't know the story...)

It's a rare film that could mix the lovely surrealism of Dr. Seuss with the radio-ready rock of REO Speedwagon and still win my approval.

Fortunately, Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who is a rare film. It so totally won me over with its great animation (and well-paced story) that when Horton and the Whos start an inter-world duet in the last act...Well, there was nothing to be done but just go with the total loopy-ness of it all.

I'd lay odds on this one being a joy forever, the most beautiful (cinematically) animated film since Finding Nemo, diverting and colorful.

The designs stay true to the Seuss originals while giving the Whos individual personalities (a Goth! A punk!), and also creating a world in which you'd like to live.

Mostly CGI, there are a couple of funny frame-animation sequences which should probably be left as a surprise.

And yes, when I took my nephew to a park afterwards, he started listening to flowers.

He also liked the slapstick and the cute parts.

On another level, though deeper or not I wouldn't say, at a few points in the movie I found myself drifting towards thinking of it as political allegory.

This is obviously not what Seuss intended--and even if he had, it would not be today's political figures--and it probably wasn't what (the filmmakers) Blue Sky intended either.

So I'm not claiming anything for this being what it "really" means--just reporting to you what occurred to me, in hopes you'll get a kick out of it.

The jumping off point for me was the introduction of the sour Kangaroo character (voice by Carol Burnett).

She's described by the narrator as one "Who always thinks she knows better than you."

Given what I was saying about her yesterday, it suddenly became irresistible to start seeing the sour Kangaroo as Hillary Clinton.

And then I went further. The mayor of Whoville (voice of Steve Carell), who knows there's a threat to his world, while the town elders make fun of him and call him a boob?

Al Gore, of course.

As for Horton (voice by Carrey)...Horton the listener, Horton the eloquent, Horton the profound and visionary elephant (heh...elephant. Irony, some call it)?

Horton our hero, who never gives up? Why, that's just Barack Obama, who'll soon grab the cup.

I appreciate the sentiment, Susan, but really, George W. Bush has no place between those tits

Susan Sarandon at an unidentifed 2003 event.