Saturday, August 30, 2008

I do not wish to watch the new BH 90210

Hell, in my life, I think I've watched exactly one entire episode of the original.

But damn if this picture of "Kelly" (Jennie Garth) doesn't go straight to my heart.

Maggie Gyllenhaal: Real person as hottie


1. Maggie-Gyllenhaal-23, 2. miu-miu_fw2004_003_maggie_gyllenhaal, 3. miu-miu_fw2004_004_maggie_gyllenhaal, 4. miu-miu_fw2004_001_maggie_gyllenhaal, 5. miu-miu_fw2004_002_maggie_gyllenhaal

The world is a mosaic upon a golden floor

Decided to do this bloggy thing I got from PJ:

1. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
2. Using only the first page, pick an image.
3. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

1. What is your first name? Benjy (it used to be)
2. What is your favourite food? Fruit snacks
3. What high school did you go to? Mid-Peninsula
4. What is your favorite color? Green
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Emma Watson, Evanna Lynch (today)
6. Favorite drink? Fruit Juicy Red Hawaiian Punch
7. Dream vacation? California
8. Favorite dessert? Peppermint Stick Ice Cream
9. What do you want to be when you grow up? An Artist.
10. What do you love most in life? Life
11. One word to describe you. Disappointed.
12. Your Flickr name. benvarkentine
We couldn't find any results matching benvarkentine. Did you mean Bonaventure?
Sure, why not?


1. Benjy and Izzy, 2. Red Apples Glistening With Water, 3. Thinking, 4. Forest Green, 5. GYI0050769087.jpg, 6. Hawaiian Punch Fruit Juicy Red, 7. Persistence, 8. Heaven, 9. Untitled, 10. The active life..., 11. Disappointed, 12. Bonaventure Island


Emma Watson and Evanna Lynch, as Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood, respectively, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Granted, admiring any or all of their eye-candy-like attributes was vaguely illegal in this country at the time (with Lynch, it still is).

But I was genuinely thrilled by their work in the film, my favorite of the Potter series to date.

All this, and brains too:

Watson...recorded straight As in her three levels.

Or SATs, as we in America might call them. Good, maybe now she can get a scholarship if she can't afford to go to the University of her choice.

Watson and Lynch will return in the cast of Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince, the release of which has been delayed, officially for strategic, post-writers strike reasons.

Though there has been tittle to the effect that Warner Bros would like a little distance between their film appearing in cinemas and Daniel Radcliffe's penis appearing on Broadway.

John McGame

Thirty happiness

Robin Williams, for adults:

and for kids:

To tell you the truth, I thought this movie was kind of shallow.

But, "Good lord, Lawrence! Why are you slapping a monkey?" still makes me smile.

(BTW, I would've included Disney's Genie, but I couldn't find a clip I liked)

How reassuring.

In response to criticism that Sarah Palin--John McCain's choice to be, as they say, "one heartbeat away from the presidency," has no experience in national security, Charlie Black said:

(Black is one of McCain's top advisers)

“She’s going to learn national security at the foot of the master for the next four years, and most doctors think that he’ll be around at least that long,”

That same article reminds me of something that struck me yesterday, but which I forgot to say here:
The choice of Ms. Palin was reminiscent of former President George Bush’s selection of Dan Quayle, then a barely known senator from Indiana as his running mate in 1988.

Do I really have to add anything to that?

...well, perhaps just one thing: Per Crooks and Liars, Sarah Palin is even less qualified and less experienced than was Dan Quayle. Does that sound like a good idea to anybody?

Meanwhile, MyDD compares her to criminal VP Spiro Agnew...

Friday, August 29, 2008

A swing and a miss

Good god.

Barack Obama didn't just draw 80,000 supporters to Invesco Field in Denver for his address to the Democratic National Convention -- he also garnered 38 million television viewers, TV Decoder reports.

The rating means more people watched him accept his party's nomination on Thursday night than the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the American Idol finale or this year's Academy Awards.

The speech was also the most-watched convention in history. In comparison, John Kerry's speech in 2004 drew 24.4 million viewers and George W. Bush's was watched by 27.5 million.

Are you beginning to get an idea why McCain keeps trying to make Obama's "celebrity" into a bad thing?

Ok, the Palin thing (assorted thoughts)

BTW, I hope you appreciate that I will not be making any Python references during the remainder of this campaign.

Now first, a quick shot: That sound you hear is every single person in America saying...


But seriously: It sure looks to me like McCain, in an act of desperation, is trying to throw so-called "Puma" (or "Hillary") Democrats a bone. Here's hoping they know it'll only stick in their throats.

I don't know if any Clinton supporters are reading this blog, but if you are, ladies (and gentlemen)...this is John McCain's way of saying he thinks you're stupid. So...are you?

Was it only ever about having a woman--any woman, no matter how inexperienced or unqualified, no matter what she thinks politically--in the White House?

I mean, anti-choice Sam Brownback likes this woman. So does the homophobic “christian” coalition. That's got to be a sign of something.

To be fair however, she is an emminently qualified Republican politician...she's already under investigation for corruption in office.

On another tack, Joe Biden and Barack Obama appear to have a real affection for one another--either that or they're Academy Award-caliber actors. Sarah Palin and John McCain are "practically strangers" according to Palin herself.

Oh, and she thinks HRC is a whiner.

I know I'm not the first person to mention this....

...but doesn't any campaign worker ever think to check if performers have given their permission to have one of their songs associated with a candidate, or are even likely to do so? Most recently, Van Halen is mad at McCain for pinching "Right Now."

But this has been going on at least as far back as "Born In The USA" being co-opted by the Reagan campaign. Probably longer, that's just as far back as I remember.

Hot Chicks in the GreenHouse


The Dixie Chicks (Natalie Maines, Emily Robison; Martie Maguire)

Say it before, say it again: Smart chicks rule. And these smart chicks saw a lot of trash dumped on them (figuratively and literally) because they were right, and right early, about President Bush.

Unfortunately, Emily Robison and husband Charlie have recently divorced. I hope she'll have more success personally in the future; I know the Chicks will continue to have it professionally.

Eva Green.

Eva Green rocks life. Or as a beautiful man once said:

She doesn't even have to be showing anything but her face
and no heterosexual man could stop himself mentally cataloging a few carnal pleasures.

You put her in a dress that shows off her wow! of a body...

...and strong men could be forgiven for passing out.

Green seems to be working more in her role as "ambassador" for Montblanc pens than she does as a film star at the moment.

Runner up:

Lisa Edelstein. She's lovely.

She's a Democrat. What the hell more do you want out of life?

Edelstein is working on House season five.

I'd also like to say a handful of words about Jodie Whittaker in the film Venus.

Not just because of her performance--although she's simply perfect--but because I feel that the whole film is a kind of statement about men and their relationships with women.

How am I ever going to show my face in San Francisco again?

Which Guitar Player Are You? (pics)
Marty Friedman
Marty Friedman
You are Marty Friedman! Formerly of Cacophony and Megadeth, you have one of the most distinct sounds of any guitar player. Your style fits well in any type of music; you are so versatile that you have to stay solo so that you can stretch every aspect of your ability. You are one of the best sweep-pickers ever to live, and you're very elusive.

Twenty-nine happiness

Thursday, August 28, 2008

You were wondering when I would get to her, weren't you.


Anne Hathaway.

What, you thought I forgot?

It was a stroke of genius casting Anne Hathaway in Brokeback Mountain. Because if a man is married to this woman...

...and would still rather have sex with another clearly shows that man is gay.

She's quite simply reason enough to believe in god, need I say more?

Ok: She symbolizes beatitude. She's the future Mrs. Varkentine. The most beautiful woman in the world. Although--and if I had a dollar for every time I've heard this from a beautiful woman--she says she never thought she was.

‘Growing up, there’s a lot of pressure on young women,’ she says. ‘You just want to be cookie-cutter beautiful.

In the unlikely event that Anne happens across this blog some evening:

Anne, when your parents made you, they made a new mold.

Other women want to look like you.

You don't want to look like other women.

Hathaway is at the DNC convention in Denver this week. A couple of days ago she was quoted by the AP giving her feelings about Obama in a way that made me think, "Anne, I love you...but please don't talk about politics anymore."

Not that she's not for him (she is), but the way she expressed herself...well, you know how I always say that actors shouldn'

Photobucket Kelly Clarkson.

Sure, her first hits were all prefabricated drive, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. She's got an incredible voice, and with later records she least to me, and that's all we're concerned about here...she was more than cute (although she is).

Plus I liked the way she showed a spine with her label, and she has clever eyes. And it pissed me off when people said she was "pudgy."

Clarkson is presently touring with Reba McEntire.

Twenty-eight happiness

For the record--just in case you need it spelled out--I'm not saying I like Lindsay Lohan in particular (actually, I think she has the brains of a piece of felt). However, I am using her as a representative of a couple of things that I do like...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My heart is racing with anticipation

"Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas's resurrection of his previous series "Cupid" (much loved by a small cult of fans including yours truly) has been picked up for midseason.

Bobby Cannavale will be playing the role of Trevor, played in the original by Jeremy Piven. I'm not very familiar with Cannavale's work, but (it says here) he did win an Emmy, so I'll give him a shot.

And anyway, what really makes me happy--besides just that it's being picked up--is that Sarah Paulson, late of Sorkin's "Studio 60," (and incidentally, openly gay) will be playing Claire. And here's another one of those coincidences I love so well.

That role was created by the actress Paula Marshall. Following the cancellation of the original version of "Cupid," Marshall appeared in a three-episode arc on "Sports Night," created by...Aaron Sorkin.

All things are connected.

2004: In flux


Virginia Madsen.

Most of you by now have probably heard my shtick about Virginia Madsen:

When we die, if we've been good, we get to take a never-ending hot shower with her at the age of 21.

But I don't think I've ever mentioned that whole bit comes from her work in the movie Creator.

Yes, the scene appears, and yes, it's sexy, but even more, it's touching and romantic.

spot the allegory
Originally uploaded by incidental music

Madsen got a chance to show her chops as an actress in Sideways.

In the main, most of her movies before that only gave her a chance to show something else.

Since then she's kept busy making as many movies as she can but unfortunately, almost none of them have been as well-received. Maybe she'll have better luck now that she's becoming a producer.

Kate Winslet.

Winslet is one of the most satisfying actresses in the world today. Although it goes without saying I am enamored of her smokin'-hot body, I use the word satisfying not because of that but because she always delivers in performance.

I take it as a given that she will eventually win an Oscar, if not more than one.

As Sara Gilbert (who come to think of it, I should've put in this series of posts around 92-94) said on The Big Bang Theory,

"Come for the breasts, stay for the brains." That's Kate Winslet. I'd also put money (if I had any) on her aging better than most of her contemporaries.

Winslet is reuniting with her Titanic co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, in a film directed by her husband, Sam Mendes.

Runner-Up : Natalie Portman. Look, I just don't think she's a very good actress, and in interviews and such she seems like kind of a silly person.

Shore' do like to look at her, tho.

Last month Portman was a celebrity guest judge on Project Runway. She also inspired the name of an electropop band based here in Seattle, Natalie Portman's Shaved Head.

I find them kind of unlovely, but what do you want of me? I'm old enough to remember the Silicon Teens...

As the late George Carlin said...

"I leave symbolism to the symbol-minded."

Sparked by this AP story:

The roll call has begun, moments after Sen. Barack Obama was nominated to be the Democratic presidential candidate.

Obama's name was put forward just after supporters of vanquished rival Hillary Rodham Clinton nominated her in a symbolic gesture.

Twenty-seven happiness

I think these are the best pieces of nonfiction writing I've ever done. BTW, they're included in this series not just for making me happy when I feel that I write well--though lord knows it does.

They're also pieces about a musician and a drama writer who I worship...well not quite as gods, but I think the world of their work. At their best, yeah, maybe they can walk on the water just a little bit.

Fair warning: They're somewhat lengthy, especially the last two. But if I had the requisite ego I would recommend them to you unreservedly.

Good thing I don't, huh?

PopMatters: The One and Only Girl for Me, an obituary tribute for Kirsty MacColl.

Ink 19: Exploring The West Wing.

Ink 19: Return To The West Wing.

For what it's worth...

The best line I've heard of from the convention so far is from Sen. Bob Casey:
John McCain calls himself a maverick, but he votes with George Bush over 90 percent of the time. That's not a maverick. That's a sidekick."

I also liked Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius:
"Even though John McCain has spent 26 years in Washington voting over and over again against investing in renewable energy, John McCain does support some renewables. He wants to renew the failed Bush agenda for another four years. John McCain has also renewed the Bush Rove style of politics, focus on bringing down your opponent instead of lifting America up.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Holly, Halle; dark and lighter berries


Scarlett Johansson. Photobucket

As I said here not long ago, there was a time when Scarlett Johansson looked like being more than just a hot piece of ass with a fine rack.

That time has, apparently, passed (at least for now...but who knows what the future will bring?)...well one thing it'll bring is her impending marriage to Canadian actor Ryan Reynolds, who I like to think of as the Jessica Biel of actors.

(Kind of nice to look at, if you like that sort of thing, but otherwise a pretty big joke)

She appears in the latest Woody Allen film to be hailed by nostalgic critics with hope in their eyes as a "return to greatness" and attract almost no audiences. She is also an Obama supporter and Kanye West's "favorite white girl."

Halle Berry.


Besides her undeniably inspirational body and beautiful face (I mean, I wouldn't deny them--would you?), the former model is a talented actress who can give a layered, felt performance--when she has a role she can sink her teeth into.

Sad to say, what's probably her best known part--Storm in the X-Men films--is by no means her best work. They're good movies--at least the first two are, I haven't seen the third--but Berry performance is poor.

I don't think it's entirely her fault--it's not a well-written role, and Berry is miscast in any case. I thought she was better as a Bond girl, which isn't a very original role either, but at least it called for more elements that Berry could bring to the part.

But her Oscar for Monster's Ball was no fluke.

And I cannot recommend Things We Lost in the Fire to you highly enough.

Like others in this series, Berry is presently focusing on being a new mom, but she also has a couple of films coming up.

Holly Hunter.

Hunter is, for my money, the best, bravest actress in America. There just seems to be nothing between the eyes of the audience and the souls of the characters she plays.

She's nude above (oh, you noticed?), but it almost doesn't matter: A Holly Hunter character is always nude anyway.

I've spent a lot of time on my other blog talking about her series Saving Grace, which I first I didn't think lived up to its hype, but I've come to fall in love with it.

Somewhere there's a piece to be written--maybe it already has been and I just haven't seen it--about how feminist that show is. Not just because of Hunter--though as I've said before, I think she's constitutionally incapable of playing a "girlfriend" part.

But the other women in the show and Hunter's relationships with them are all fine and funny creations. Meaning fine as in "superior;" not "she was so fine"--although actually that applies too when you're talking about Hunter and Laura San Giacomo.

The same goes for her character's relationships with the men, but it's no accident the series was created by a woman, I'm sure.

Grace finished its summer run last night but will return in March. Christina Ricci--who really ought to make it into this series of posts somewhere--has been cast as a guest-star for a multiple episode arc, I believe as Detective Grace's new partner.

Hunter is a long shot for the Emmy, given how few people seem to be watching the series, but I'll be praying for her, in my way.


Two words:

Smooooooth bootylicious.

Some protests have recently erupted over an ad for L'Oreal cosmetics in which Beyoncé appears with her skin appearing to have been lightened. Now married to Jay-Z, she'll appear in an upcoming movie, Obsessed. Her little sister Solange has a new album.

Wow. This is a really, really, really, really bad idea.

It appears we have the leaves of Sherwood Forest to thank (or blame, depending on your viewpoint) for a possible outing of Aussie thespo Russell Crowe as legendary US comedian Bill Hicks.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, filming on Crowe's latest project Nottingham has been postponed until at least March next year "because director Sir Ridley Scott wanted the leaves on the trees in England's Sherwood Forest to be the right colour".

Crowe has therefore opted to spend some quality time with his family in Oz while "working on other projects". He said: "I have another project based on the life of comedian Bill Hicks, which is going from treatment to draft stage with Kiwi writer Mark Staufer."

I mean really, really, really, really, really bad. Why so bad? Well, right now, name me one instance in which Russell Crowe has ever been shown to have had any kind of a sense of humor. Whatsoever.

Exactly. When playing a comedian as rightly admired as Hicks, it is good to have some kind of sense of humor one's own self. According to all availible evidence, Crowe has none.

Hey, Russell...Russell? Be smart, Russell. Talk to Dustin Hoffman about playing Lenny Bruce. Talk to Hicks' friends and see if you can make them fall down laughing.

Because if you can't (and I wouldn't bet on it)...this is a really, really, really, really, really, really bad idea...

(really, really, really really...)

Twenty-six happiness

As most of you know, Terry Gilliam is my favorite director. His best films (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, Fisher King) get 10 out of 10 stars in my book, they sing to me. Even his less interesting movies (12 Monkeys, Brothers Grimm) are always watchable and have something new and interesting to offer.

He knows how to make big, epic movies that still have people in them.

An enterprising YouTuber has put together a little tribute compilation of images from Gilliam's films set to the rock instrumental ballad "Sleepwalk." But for some reason they left out his first film, Jabberwocky, so I'm going to preface their tribute with the trailer for that.

I've always liked the line of, I think it was Gilliam's collaborator and friend Charles McKeown, who said Gilliam's films were like taking the top of his head off and having a look around inside.

There's such a thing as carrying it too far, lady

Bitter? A tad.

"So, Alice, whadaya wanna do when we're done dining on the entrails of the most recent man we destroyed?"

"I dunno Estelle, whada YOU wanna do?"

From a suggestion by Corey K.


Originally uploaded by themidtownfritz
Just a lovely photo of the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz, "my" beach.

The skycars are a new addition since I was there last, but then it's only been over 10 YEARS.


From a suggestion by Corey K.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Embrace your Mr. Reminder Guy status, George

George sent in another half-dozen women I could have named for my 1999 post. So these are his suggestions with my comments.

Not to be Mr. Reminder Guy, but how about the duo of Sevari and Burch in American Beauty?

I considered both. What stopped me was twofold. One, I don't actually like American Beauty all that much--I consider it overrated.

Two...I read somewhere that Birch was under 18 when she filmed her nude scene for it and that kinda freaked me out.

But hey, if you don't mind looking like a dirty old man...

Updates: Suvari getting naked on film is still a selling point.

As for Birch, well...speaking of things that creep me out...

Or the duo of Dunst and Williams in Dick?

I've never seen Dick. Dunst I was kinda saving for 2000 and Bring It On.

I've seen more pictures of Michelle Williams than I've actually seen her act, but she's certainly a good-looking young woman (and she did do really fine work in Me Without You).

Updates: Dunst, as I said, is waiting to hear about Spider-Man 4.

Michelle Williams is focusing on being a mother and is also said to be seeing director Spike Jonze. She has a new movie coming out called Wendy and Lisa, which is not the story of Prince's former guitarist and keyboardist, sorry to say.

Or the duo of Polley and Gershon in Guinevere, which I haven't seen, but they are lovely women, at least.

I haven't seen it either. I agree that Polley is a lovely woman, she's also a choice screenwriter and director.

I like Gina Gershon, too. And I've noticed something. According to my highly informal poll/anecdotal evidence, she seems to be high up on most straight women's list of those they would "turn" for (one suspects it's all to do with Bound).

Kind of the way I feel about John Barrowman and David Boreanaz...but that's a different post.

Updates: Polley appears not to have any work coming out in the near future, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

Gershon is still trying to live down Showgirls--and if you ever want an easy laugh, read Joe Eszterhas's accounts of her reaction to his writing. She treated him like he was flipping' Lawrence Kasdan or something...

And then there's Jennifer Jason Leigh in eXistenZ, and I like her and the film both. JJL never gets enough props if you ask me.

It's another film I've never seen, but we're in great agreement about JJL--I consider her one of the most beautiful of American actresses.

Not a bad director, either...I wish she wouldn't try to "write," but again, that's another entry.

Update: Leigh's most recent film is Margot at the Wedding, which (wait for it) I haven't seen but received a cool reception from critics.

Stand by for possibly the most self-indulgent joke ever made on this blog, and that's saying something

Saw V:

Jigsaw's had work done.

Ok, the Joe Biden thing

Steve Clemons wrote a piece for the Huffington Post on why he thinks Biden is the right choice for VP; I'm inclined to agree. I don't have too many strong feelings about Biden one way or the other, but I've liked more of the things he's said and done than I've disliked.

I especially agree with Clemons' argument that those who rail that Biden is too much of an "insider"
should remember what happened to Jimmy Carter when he tried to be the total outsider who was going to wreck Washington's ways and do it differently. He had no insider to help him maintain the success of looking like an outsider.

I noticed this with Bill Clinton, too, and I've been a little worried about the "outsider" aspects of Obama's campaign. I understand their appeal--believe me, I understand their appeal--but the cold hard fact of the matter is:

In order to get anything done in Washington, you've got to have insiders have your back too. That's why I think this is a canny choice. Or to get back to Clemons:

There are many reasons why Joe Biden was exactly the right guy for Obama, but the biggest reason is that Biden's competence will help Obama be able to remain Obama.

Under and overexposed


Nora-Jane Noone.

Nora-Jane Noone really needs to be seen in more movies. She's young, nice to look at, and capable of a terrific performance.

She seems to be getting typecast in horror films lately, but I could see her as Keitha (for those of you who know what that means).

Christina Aguilera. Sure, sometimes she's been underdressed and overexposed.

But she can really sing.

I think this mix (by Peter Rauhofer) is excellent.

Aguilera recently performed before Donald Trump (for the money, one assumes), and as you may have heard, she is a new parent.

dada is A European artistic and literary movement (1916-1923) that flouted conventional aesthetic and cultural values

This is an image of a beautiful, topless young woman.

da da!

Twenty-five happiness

Two parts from The Muppet Show. From the thoughtful to the hilarious.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Start Me Up


Eva Mendes. I don't really know what more I can say once I've said she's so hot she's like laser beams shooting into your eyes, and I've already said that.

So I'm going to steal a speech from the underrated Michael Keaton movie Johnny Dangerously.

"I like you, kid. You got spirit.



You got those.

I like those on a woman."

A commercial in which Mendes appears was recently banned in the United States because apparently, at one point, you could see her nipple.

Bad, bad nipple.

She has responded by saying she prefers tasteful nudity to violence.

This just makes her hotter, if possible.

"I guess there is this little Catholic girl still inside me somewhere," says one of the world's sexist women.

"For a while there I wanted to be a nun.

"Well, that was until my sister told me that they don't get paid.

I hadn't noticed this before, but she apparently has some sort of weird speech impediment which makes her L's sound like P's...