Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Washington Mutual implodes? Times are tough. Lehman Brothers is gone? Time for some belt tightening. But Mother’s Cookies? This, my friends, is a tragedy.
The news that the venerable onetime Oakland institution has gone to the great cookie jar in the sky hurts, and not just because it’s yet another sign of how our national economy is about as stable as a flaky flix.
You get that? Because of the economy, for which I blame John McCain, Mother's Cookies has gone away. The only way this could possibly be more unpatriotic is if he'd been caught mugging girl scouts.
Don't tell me it's irrational to blame John McCain for the economy (although his party has been in power for years). This is no time for rationality, we're talking about cookies here!
Mother’s demise feels like the negation of some of the happiest memories of a Bay Area childhood – and is a stark reminder that we aren’t kids anymore. When I think of Mother’s Cookies, I remember hot days at Camp Tzofim in Oakland, with kids drinking Ocean Spray juice out of boxes and singing the Ray Parker, jr. “Ghostbusters” theme song (“Bustin’ makes me feel good!”).
I think I'm going to cry...
Oh that's right...I was. Her name was Hillary. I remember now...
Seriously John, you launched the missiles. You can't call them back now. What the fuck are you doing, John? What the fuck did you think you were doing? Oh my god...
Seriously, I don't get it. That post says:
It's almost a cry for help, with the GOP party faithful amazed McCain could possibly be losing.
How could anyone be amazed McCain could possibly be losing? Unhappy, sure. I can see how a republican could be honestly unhappy that McCain could lose. But amazed? Were the GOP party faithful alive for the past eight years?
ETA this Breaking News:
A legislative committee investigating Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has found she unlawfully abused her authority
OK. At this point, who here thinks that when John McCain heard that he should "vet" Sarah Palin, he thought well, I'm a vet, and I like 'er, that's all I need to know...
It'd be funny if it wasn't still so godamn fucking tragic.
How can I tell you how good it was? Let me put it this way. Even if this character had not been played by Anne Hathaway, I would've wanted to get to know her.
I can't say that about movies like Princess Diaries 2, which I sit through only because it reinforces my belief that Hathaway is The Most Beautiful Woman In The World.
In the case of Rachel (link's to a Variety story about a screening of the film), when the camera wasn't on Hathaway I indeed did miss her.
But it wasn't because she was the only thing that made the film worth looking at.
Far from it, the film has a quartet of star performances, as well as solid supporting actors down the line.
Besides Hathaway, there's Debra Winger, as her mother, Bill Irwin, as her father, and Rosemarie DeWitt as her sister.
DeWitt is the Rachel getting married.
Kym, Hathaway's character, is fresh out of rehab and, wounds still tender, is thrown into the flurry of a household preparing for a wedding.
I was going to say why I missed Hathaway (with DeWitt at right) when she wasn't onscreen and the answer is really that I had come to care about Kym.
This film is riveting, and my girl can act. I'll be honest with you, before she was making it into my holy trinity (Holly, Kate, Anne) mostly on her looks.
You must see it.
I seem to keep returning to this theme: Jigsaw (John) is a psychopath, but his intentions are good. In Saw III, as (IIRC) director Darren Lynn Bousman points out on a DVD commentary, John shows that he himself is not above his own games.
He does so when his own skull is opened up (with a power drill!) and his brain probed while he remains conscious. All so that the final test of his lifetime can be completed.
This is just one reason why Saw III is the most interesting morally, but also the goriest, of any of the Saw films to date. It examines--probably as much as you can in a film about a psychopathic killer (or two) the questions of action vs. inaction and the right action vs. the wrong action.
To write about why I have to say a bit more about its plot than I have in the first two posts in this series. So if you haven't seen the films and think you ever might, you may want to stop reading.
I'm not gonna spoil everything, but it's impossible to write about what I want to without revealing a few plot points...and the YouTube clip at the end is literally the last three-and-a-half-minutes of this DVD.
You've been warned.
In flashbacks that appear late in Saw III but which take place immediately following the end of Saw II, we see Donnie Wahlberg in a vicious fight with Jigsaw's helper, Amanda, who leaves him for dead.
Still, he might have been better off that way (left for dead) because when he angrily shouts "You're not Jigsaw, Bitch! You're NOTHING!" she turns and walks back to him...
One of the victims of the traps (in the "now" of Saw III) this time around is a woman named Lynn, a doctor whose depression has left her in such a state of inaction that a patient almost dies because she fails to respond to a page.
Her next patient will not allow for such lethargy: It's John Kramer, aka Jigsaw. This is where he has the line:
Death is a surprise party. Unless, of course, you're already dead on the inside. Unless you're the type of person who swallows antidepressants to hide the pain.
Lynn is abducted and a collar is locked around her neck. It's studded with shotgun pellets and is linked to Jigsaw's heart monitor so that if he dies, the shells will detonate. Thus she's forced into a very simple game:
Keep John alive (this is where the improvised surgery comes in) until another victim, Jeff, finishes his tests or she will be killed.
Jeff is a man so obsessed with vengeance he can no longer connect (even with his 10-year-old daughter), after his younger son has been killed by a car. He's kidnapped and put through a series of confrontations with the men and woman he holds accountable for his loss.
All are set in traps that will ultimately kill them unless Jeff intervenes. He's told that if he makes it through his tests, he will come face-to-face with the person responsible for the loss of his child.
His test: Will he save these people? And even if he will, what sacrifices is he willing to make to do so?
One example will suffice. A woman who was the sole witness to the accident that killed his son but failed to come forward. Her cowardice contributed to the light sentence the driver responsible received: Six months in jail.
She is presented to Jeff naked, suspended by her wrists in the middle of a walk-in refrigerator-
--systematically being sprayed with freezing water.
(BTW, lest you be wondering: This is probably the most un-erotic scene involving a naked woman ever filmed. This is quite deliberate, director Bousman took pains not to shoot her provocatively, but to emphasize the woman's vulnerability and humanity--Debra Lynne McCabe's performance doesn't hurt either)
She will die in a matter of minutes unless Jeff chooses to free her. What would you do? Although he hesitates, he ultimately tries to save her. But in order to reach the key that will do so, he must press his own cheek against an icy pipe, where it sticks to the ice and he must tear a chunk off of his own skin in order to get away.
When he comes face-to-face with John Kramer at the end, Jeff's actions cause Jigsaw to ask, scoffing:
You haven't learned anything tonight, have you? Your rage and your vengeance will only hurt the ones you love.
John then offers one final test, as he lies there, evidently helpless in a hospital bed: Will Jeff take the opportunity to kill him, or not?
See what I mean? Action. Inaction. The right action. The wrong action...
Thursday, October 09, 2008
Republican presidential candidate John McCain said Thursday that questions about Democratic rival Barack Obama's association with a former war protester linked to Vietnam-era bombings are part of a broader issue of honesty.
Well, he's right. They are part of a broader issue of honesty. But not Obama's. McCain's.
At this point, John McCain calling you dishonest is like Barack Obama saying you have big ears.
McCain: [Obama] voted for nearly a billion dollars in pork barrel earmark projects, including, by the way, $3 million for an overhead projector at a planetarium in Chicago, Illinois. My friends, do we need to spend that kind of money?
Well, that sounds outrageous, of course. Especially since I don't know about you, but to me "overhead projector" conjures images of the kind they used to use for science slidehows in high school. Well, funny story. Turns out (what were the odds?) there was a little more to it than that...
All those nights I dreamt of you
I wonder where they've gone
I'll singe your pretty blonde lashes
We're talking fire - We're talking flame
We're talking ice into ashes
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Lindsay Lohan actually owns no undergarments of any kind.
2. Penelope Cruz. Walking along the seaside; coming into the water. In a bikini.
3. I'd like to go out on a limb here, and say that I think Adriana Lima is as cute as a bunny. Who's with me?
All together now: Aww, Kristen Bell...
2. Hilary Duff clearly wants to return to my loving embrace. She's cut a silly (and I mean that as a good thing) PSA asking young people not to say "gay" when they mean "bad."
For those of you playing at home...
That means that Cindy McCain thinks the Obama campaign against her husband this year has been dirtier than the Bush campaign against him in 2000.
You know, that was the one where they slimed John McCain by implying that the black little girl he adopted with Cindy was actually the product of his being unfaithful to her.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, has been reminding people that John McCain was part of the "Keating Five."
Boy, what a sleaze.
And I don't mean Barack Obama.
Sweet Christ, but Eva Amurri has some sexy tits.
Ok, granted, pretty much all tits are sexy...but Eva Amurri's really working with something special.
And as if that weren't enough, would you look at her fucking eyes?
If I started listing all the things I'd like to do to and with her body...we'd be here another four hours, so we would...
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
The one great thing about a gathering like this is that it gives us the opportunity to come together as a people. For instance, right about now, I'm sure that everyone watching would like to slap Tom Brokaw.
Tell it, brother.
2. CNN's "Political Ticker" blog has some good Fact Check posts on claims made during the debate. McCain's assertion to have stood up to Ronald Reagan once scores as true, for example. His attacking of Obama as in the tank for Freddie and Fannie, not so much.
The age gap between the two men - McCain is 72 and Obama is 47 - has seldom been as obvious. The Republican, asked how the economic crisis would affect the three top priorities of his administration, appeared unable to remember what they were and jotted down a note.
4. In case you were wondering--I know I was--while they were in Tennessee, yes, Obama and Michelle did drop in on Al and Tipper.
"I am so excited about what is lying ahead for our country," Gore said. But he cautioned that "We can't take anything for granted. We've got a lot of hard work to do."
"But ladies and gentlemen, I take such pleasure and pride in saying these words: The next president of the United States of America, Barack Obama!" Gore said.
5. BTW, I know none are scientific, so I'm not making any claims for their predictions, but I find it interesting that when I checked, Obama was winning 99% of the internet the "Who won the second presidential debate in Nashville?" polls--including Fox News and Town Hall.
If you listen to NPR, watch Keith Olbermann or Stephen Colbert, you may have heard this month about a polling site called FiveThirtyEight.com.
(I say "supposed to be," because it's numbers; so how the fuck do I know?)
Anyway, a couple of the guys who run the site were in Nashville tonight "liveblogging" the debate. They thought Obama clearly won, but McCain did better than he did at the first debate. That's what I think, too.
But that isn't what I wanted to share with you. I wanted to share with you this paragraph on their experience in the host state:
By the way, a special shout out for an absolutely horrible experience on the campus of Belmont University. I'm not sure I've ever been to a less welcoming place. We hated this campus and the staff here so much that we left to watch the debate at a pizza joint. I don't like to regret things, but it would be hard to overstate how terrible a day this has been, and how crappy every interaction we had in Tennessee was.
Some things never change.
That's more her songwriting, tho-I'll go to my grave believing Madonna was always a better interpretive artist than she is creative. Think of the Oscar-nominated "Sooner or Later" from Dick Tracy. Stephen Sondheim wrote it, but I thought Madonna performed it perfectly.
And some of her '80s hit singles are genuinely inspirational in their way, like "Into The Groove" (which I actually think she did write), and most of those from Like A Virgin (which she didn't)
As for her acting, another thing I'll go to my grave believing is that the reason she can't do it is because acting is built upon being emotionally naked whether you are wearing clothes or not, and that's against all the logic of Madonna's career.
I did grow up in the '80s (you noticed?) and sometimes I've thought she actually looks pretty amazing.
I also think she is, for young men of my generation, as much a symbol of the feminine as her namesake.
She's an honest-to-god pop icon. And when she had a body, boy did she have a body.
I do wonder, though: Madonna...what did you do to go from that...to this?
What did you do?
(The picture comes from a photo spread in Italian Vogue, via VIP Breakdown.)
Palin's routine attacks on the media have begun to spill into ugliness. In Clearwater, arriving reporters were greeted with shouts and taunts by the crowd of about 3,000. Palin then went on to blame Katie Couric's questions for her "less-than-successful interview with kinda mainstream media."
I've said it before but it's worth repeating: Sarah Palin is the only person in the world so lightweight she makes Katie Couric look like a gadfly journalist.
One Palin supporter shouted a racial epithet at an African American sound man for a network and told him, "Sit down, boy."
What are you doing, Sarah? What did you do, John? (I can call them by their first names...he's "my friend" and she's "just like us."
"One of his earliest supporters is a man named Bill Ayers," she said. ("Boooo!" said the crowd.) "And, according to the New York Times, he was a domestic terrorist and part of a group that, quote, 'launched a campaign of bombings that would target the Pentagon and our U.S. Capitol,' " she continued. ("Boooo!" the crowd repeated.)
(If any of you don’t know, the Ayers-Obama “connection” has been widely debunked.)
"Kill him [Obama]!" proposed one man in the audience.
What are you doing, Sarah?
ETA: At Frameshop, Jeffrey Feldman expands on that question:
One wonders at this point how the various agencies charged with the responsibility of protecting the Presidential candidates from violence will respond to this latest tactic from the McCain campaign. If, for example, a McCain supporter threatens the life of Sen. Obama by shouting 'Kill him!' at a Palin rally, should Sen. Obama's Secret Service contingent launch an investigation? Having been accused of terrorist ties by the McCain campaign, will Sen. Obama's name be put on the 'No Fly' list, effectively making it impossible for him to engage in normal airline travel?
An even more basic question, perhaps: Is Gov. Palin trying to incite violence against Sen. Obama [Emphasis mine-BV] as part of an ill-conceived campaign strategy to change the topic from the economy at any cost?
Time will tell how law enforcement will respond, but one thing is already certain: the more Palin and McCain incite calls for violence against Sen. Obama, the more their chances of achieving a victory in November disappear.
The more I think of it, the more I think that if we have any hope of pulling together to solve our problems, then Obama is our only shot.
However, I question their choice of an example.
THE MOVIE: Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (2005)
THE SCENE: Natalie Portman's Amidala tries to get her hubby, Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen), to give up his megalomaniacal Dark Side ways.
THE LINE: ''Hold me, like you did by the lake on Naboo.''
True, like most dialogue in that movie, that one did make me want to perform a self-lobotomy with a spoon. But it's not the worst line in the picture. No, that dubious honor has to go to
[After the massacre at the Jedi temple]
Obi-Wan Kenobi: Not even the younglings survived!
That is all. Thank you.
I'm thinking of this now because The Riches has been cancelled. IMO this is another show that, like Dirt (also on FX), was potentially great but got shot down by the writers' strike.
But, at least I can't claim the network didn't support The Riches. Eddie Izzard & Minnie Driver were all over the talk shows, and there were ads for both seasons all over TV.
I can't say that about Life, starring Lewis and Shahi, which is doing badly in the ratings. Besides its total invisibility on the late-night talk shows, the only ads I've seen for it have been online.
Whether or not you remember that, I am quite certain you remember that Anne Hathaway is my Reason Enough to Believe in god (tm). So you'll understand that as this news breaks, I have something of a moral dilemma on my hands.
Hathaway, meanwhile, has scored a plum role in Tim Burton's highly anticipated spin on Alice in Wonderland. She'll play the White Queen, who's exiled by her foul-tempered sister, the Queen of Hearts (Helena Bonham Carter), and befriends Alice (Mia Wasikowska).
And she dresses real cool.
Monday, October 06, 2008
An unemployed man with an advanced finance degree who was despondent over his own financial problems shot and killed his wife, three children, mother-in-law and then himself in an upscale home in a gated community, police said Monday.
Officers found the bodies Monday morning after the wife failed to show up at a neighbor's home to go to work, Deputy Chief Michel Moore said. The deaths occurred sometime after Saturday evening.
There's nothing witty to be said about this. Just, oh, god...
The family members' names were not immediately released because police wanted to make sure the children's schools had time to make grief counselors available. The children were sons ages 19, 12 and 7.
But, I've always figured, surely "Carol" is the kind of film where you keep the budget low so that even if it bombs, you still may go into profit. Kevin Smith currently bases his whole career on this plan, and certainly the TV spots for "Carol" make it look pretty slap-dash.
Uh-uh. "Carol" has a reported budget of $20 million.
"Religulous?" $2.5 million.
That means, if my math is not incorrect--and it very well may be--that to go into profit, "Carol" will have to keep making money at the same rate at which it opened--which almost never happens--well past the election.
Anyone think it's going to have that kinda shelf life, Like it or not, right or left? Does it seem like the kinda movie where they can make up their losses in international sales, for that matter?
"Religulous," on the other hand, I'll make a prediction now and say it'll be in profit by the end of the week, if it's not already.
BTW: I'm not fond of Bill Maher and I don't plan to see "Religulous." It looks to me like the kind of movie where even if I agree with most everything it says, I wouldn't want to admit that because then I'd be in the same camp with such a bitch. So it's not about that.
But the difference in economics...perhaps especially considering the current situation...well, it just puts a smile on my face, that's all, it puts a smile on my face.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
Even if a couple of the sketches were--just as obviously--written by cast members who wanted to get their hands on my Anne. But she wore green in another, which was--again obviously--a signal to me.
Here's one where she played Mary Poppins, the (not very) inside joke being that Julie Andrews played Hathaway's grandmother in the Princess Diaries films.
ETA: Oh yes, I wanted to mention that in in her opening monologue,
Hathaway joked that, last summer, "I broke up with my boyfriend... and two weeks later he was sent to prison for fraud ... I mean, we've all been there, right, ladies?"
My girl has a sense of humor about herself...obviously.
Hard...but not impossible.
I'm loosening up my genre rules, tho, because I really want to see this take. Besides
You can now also choose your four from
Comic book or animated movie
Here are my new ones.
The genuine freak
Versus the two who wear masks
Dan the Elfman scores!
Requiem For a Dream
The USA dream;
Harry's mother has one too
Riveting but bleak.
Singin' in the Rain
To sing and dance in the rain
Splish-splash, take a bath.
Sideways, a good film
For we who love Ginny Mad.
With feel for men's souls.
Now: I'm tagging PJ and Alan Coil.
In her character attack, Palin questions Obama's association with William Ayers, a member of the Vietnam-era Weather Underground. Her reference was exaggerated at best if not outright false. No evidence shows they were "pals" or even close when they worked on community boards years ago and Ayers hosted a political event for Obama early in his career.
Emphasis mine. Great, right? Sort of does what the press is supposed to do: Report what the politicans say, and then go on to say whether or not any evidence supports it.
But in a classic sort of "on-the-other-hand-ism," this piece goes on to suggest that
Obama isn't above attacking McCain's character with loaded words, releasing an ad on Sunday that calls the Arizona Republican "erratic" - a hard-to miss suggestion that McCain's age, 71, might be an issue.
Wait a minute. Nothing about the word "erratic" suggests the issue of age. "Erratic" means "having no certain or definite course; wandering; not fixed." Anyone seen McCain in the last few weeks, even days? How is that behavior not erratic?
Oh! And for that matter, even if that were a reference to his age...why shouldn't the age of a man in his 70's, with a history of cancer, be an issue?
But, for the sake of argument, let's say that there was any case to make that it should not--and I think that would specious at best, if not totally implausible.
But any such argument would be derailed by McCain's selction of such an unqualified, inexperienced person as his VP. His age is an issue. He made it one. Obama didn't.
And it's not a personal attack, either, as some other news items are suggesting. The Obama ad explicitly calls McCain "Erratic in a crisis," referring to the economy.
"Our financial system in turmoil," an announcer says in Obama's new ad. "And John McCain? Erratic in a crisis. Out of touch on the economy."
A harsh and plainly partisan judgment, certainly...
Certainly? Certainly not. The plainest thing about this judgement is that we all heard John McCain say "The fundamentals of our economy are strong," as Wall Street was imploding.
That's why the Obama campaign gets to say he's "out of touch on the economy."
And then he wouldn't even stand by his own words, which--I think--a real "maverick," would do. He backed away from them. That's why the Obama campain gets to call him "Erratic in a crisis."
Anyone who thinks getting called those things, in this context, is "harsh," probably isn't going to be too comfortable in the oval office anyway.
Calling McCain's reactions "erratic" is A, self-evidently true, and B, professional. It's talking about how McCain does his job.
Click to see full size.
Oh, and "partisan?" Well...yeah. There's an election going on. By their very nature, those are partisan. Elections should be partisan. Governing should be bi-partisan.
That's (one of the places) where George Bush fucked up. As Chris Rock said, "so bad he's made it hard for a white man to run for president."
Or, as the most effective President I'm likely to see in my lifetime said...
...I don't think Americans are tired of partisan politics; I think they're tired of hearing career politicians diss partisan politics to get a gig. I've tried it before, they ain't buying it. That's okay, though. That's okay, though, 'cause partisan politics is good. Partisan politics is what the founders had in mind. It guarantees that the minority opinion is heard, and as a lifelong possessor of minority opinions, I appreciate it.
Aaron Sorkin and Paul Redford, The West Wing, "Game On."
Mortgage forgiven for woman, 90, who shot herself
AKRON, Ohio - Mortgage finance company Fannie Mae said it is forgiving the mortgage debt of a 90-year-old woman who shot herself in the chest as sheriff's deputies attempted to evict her.
Addie Polk's plight was cited by Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, on Friday before the House voted to approve the $700 billion financial rescue package. Kucinich voted against the plan.
Fannie Mae announced later Friday that it would dismiss its foreclosure action, forgive Polk's mortgage and allow her to return to the Akron home where she's lived since 1970.
"Just given the circumstances, we think it's appropriate," Fannie Mae spokesman Brian Faith said, citing Kucinich's statement and news reports. "It certainly made our radar screen."