Saturday, September 12, 2009

Suck it, Reitman.

Director Jason Reitman on the Academy's experiment with 10 best-picture Oscar nominees:

If a film that's "wonderful but goes unseen" finds a wider audience because of a best-picture spot, the change will be worthwhile, Reitman said. Not so, he said, "if `Saw VI' takes the 10th spot."

as beautiful as I found Joe Wilson's outburst...

...can I just say that I think the actions being taken now by Democrats--threatening censure if he doesn't apologize on the floor of Congress--is just making them look absolutely A-number-one pathetic.


Because these are the same people...the exact same people, many of 'em--who decided to let Bush and Cheney finish their terms with nary a word of sanction, and certainly not the word...impeachment.

Dig it:

They're going to give Wilson a chance to whine to his supporters, about how the mean old Democrats are trying to stifle and silence him and they're bullies. He'll raise money off of it.

Thing is, he'll be right about calling Democrats bullies if they go ahead with this stupid idea.
Bully: a blustering...person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.

Joe Wilson hurt absolutely no one as much as himself. In fact, he showed the world what immature, wrongheaded brats the Republicans have become.

Nancy Pelosi and company want to turn him into a martyr. Nice thinkin', Nancy.

Bush and/or Cheney fed the Bill of Rights into a shredder, made jokes about sending other people's children to their deaths, protected their cronies all around and has generally all but wrecked this country (and their leftover policies may still finish the job).

Joe Wilson is facing censure.

Bush, meanwhile, is chillin' in Texas, and the most dangerous place in America has become between Dick Cheney and a camera.

Priorities. Fucking priorities...

For once, I'm completely in agreement with a television network

From Newsday:

As you may be aware, Maura Tierney - a wonderful actress
and TPWFMA ("the perfect woman for me, apparently.”)

was sidelined over the summer with an undisclosed illness, later reported as breast cancer. Her treatment is on-going, so it's naturally impossible to continue on the show. "Parenthood" - as you know, based on the Steve Martin film of the same name - was a big entry for NBC this fall, then got pushed back to mid-season after Tierney's illness. Fate of the show at this point, naturally, is a little unclear; there's a bold-name cast attached (including Peter Krause, and others) so one wonders how long they will hold on. If the part is to be re-cast, a new name should likely surface shortly, if only to keep the production intact.

And as for the part where I'm in total agreement with a TV network...

"While we are saddened that Maura Tierney won't be able to continue in her current role in 'Parenthood,' our main concern is for her quick and full recovery. Our thoughts and best wishes are with her," NBC said in a statement.

Word up, National Broadcasting Company.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Memorable M*A*S*H

M*A*S*H is the first line of virtually every one of Larry Gelbart's death announcements, as he must have known years ago it would be. I can't imagine him minding too much.

By way of continuing my tribute, here are five episodes that Gelbart wrote, co-wrote, produced, and/or directed, or some combination.

From what I remember, he consistently named these as among his favorites. Look for them in the reruns or at your DVD store (they're all from the first, third and fourth seasons):

"The Interview." This is the famous, semi-improvised black-and-white episode that Gelbart directed as well as partially writing. Only partially because some of the dialogue came from the actors improvisations onto tape recordings which Gelbart then turned into script--sharpening what they'd said and adding his own lines. And some of it was purely improvised on-camera.

One line, however, came directly from Gelbart's research, from something a doctor who'd actually worked in a real M*A*S*H during the Korean War had told him. He gave the line to Father Mulcahy, and William Christopher delivered it beautifully, with just enough emotion in his voice, not overplayed:

When the doctors cut into a patient-and it's cold, you know, the way it is now, today-steam...rises from the body. And the doctor will...will warm himself. Over the open wound...Could anyone look on that and not feel changed?

He was also proud of the "Dear..." episodes built around letters home from virtually every member of the medical staff and the enlisted men too. They even brought in the recurring character of Psychiatrist Maj. Sidney Freedman to write a letter "to" Freud as a form of personal therapy.

It was a new way of telling a story on television and it's continued to be used by other writers including one of my other heroes, Aaron Sorkin. A strong episode of West Wing's second season, "The Stackhouse Filibuster," is structured as a series of letters from White House staffers to members of their families--C.J. to her father, Josh to his mother, and so on. Sorkin also used this device on Sports Night.

Unlike those I've mentioned so far, and the others I will in a moment, "The More I See You" is an episode that rarely seems to get included in television retrospectives. AFAIK it was never a critical or a fan favorite, but Gelbart cited it at least once and I've always remembered that.

It's the episode with Blythe Danner as a nurse and old love of Hawkeye's who is transferred to the 4077th. At first their reunion doesn't go well, then it goes too well (given that she's now married); then it doesn't go at all.

It is perhaps M*A*S*H's most convincing love story, in this case, never-ending, though thwarted love. This, in a way makes it a perfect summation of the series. Certainly of the four years Gelbart spent writing, producing and directing it.

In a self-penned "session" between himself and Dr. Freedman (whom he created) written for one of the more than a few books on the show, Gelbart gave himself the line: You try to give pain a certain style. On M*A*S*H, you can't help but notice if you're one of the millions and billions who has seen virtually every episode multiple times, celebrations are rarely allowed to last.

Although not credited as writer or director, as a producer Gelbart said that "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet" was the first episode where they found the balance they wanted between comedy and heartbreak.

This is the episode where a friend of Hawkeye who's joined up to write a book about the war is wounded, and Hawk watches him die on the operating table. Henry Blake had the great line in that one, whether by credited writer Carl Kleinschmitt, Gelbart, or another hand:

Look, all I know is what they taught me at command school. There are certain rules about a war. Rule number one is, young men die. And rule number two is...doctors can't change rule number one.

Speaking of Henry, Gelbart directed and co-wrote (without credit) "Abyssinia, Henry," the classic episode of television in which Blake gets his discharge but is shot down and killed over the sea of Japan.

Famously, most of the cast was not told about this final twist until just before it was filmed so that the shock on their faces would be at least somewhat real. Gary Burghoff did better than his usual best reading the message informing everyone of their former Colonel's death.

And then, as Gelbart described it in his kind-of memoir, the camera panned across the OR. Someone, off-camera, dropped some surgical instrument and it hit the floor with a hollow, sickening clang and clatter.

It was perfect. Gelbart couldn't have written or planned for it, and he didn't, but I hear it every time I watch that scene. And I wouldn't like to count how many times I've watched that scene.

I'd like to close now with another scene, one that, counterintuitively, comes from an episode made some three years after Gelbart left the series. But it features characters he created or co-created (B.J., Potter, Klinger) or developed (Hawkeye, Margaret, Radar, Mulcahy), and it is from one of the "Dear..." episodes ("Dear Sis").

I think you'll see why I'd like to close with it.

And goodbye, Larry.

We've lost Larry Gelbart.

Damn it.

Playwright, screenwriter, personal real-life hero. God, the way that man could use language. And he used it---

To turn M*A*S*H from a book and movie into a TV show.
To help get Dustin Hoffman into a dress;
And make sure any number of Funny Things happened on the Way to the Forum

He put the words of God into the mouth of George Burns.
He turned the lights onto media tycoons, and then turned them very, very dark.

(I figure you'll get the other references, but it occurs to me that last one might be a little obscure, more's the pity. I'm talking about this great made-for-cable movie.)

And boy...he wrote for Sid Caesar. Do you understand me? He wrote for Sid Caesar. There are DVDs out. Go out and rent them ASAP.

Our paths actually crossed, virtually speaking, a few years ago on the M*A*S*H newsgroup where he would fairly regularly stop by and answer questions. I had the temerity to send him a link to some theatre reviews I was writing at the time--and he was kind enough to say that he'd read and enjoyed them; sent his compliments.

He didn't have to do that (obviously), but from what I read, it was just the kind of man he was. It meant and continues to mean a lot to me.

Somewhere back around that time I formed a theory which I'll still stand by today: Anything funny done on screen, stage or radio in the past 50-60 years can be connected to Gelbart within six degrees or less.

(Yes, radio too--he wrote for Duffy's Tavern, one of the great old-time radio shows, when he was still a teenager)

I own his book Laughing Matters, and treasure it almost as much for his appreciations of other writers, like Ernest Lehman, as for the excerpts from his own work. It's sort of (but not quite) a memoir, and very inspiring.

I just remembered another time our paths sort-of crossed. After the experience of seeing amateurs and divas change the words and intentions of a play I'd written, I actually e-mailed Gelbart again and again he wrote back, saying in so many words (only his were better): Keep fighting. And you don't have any choice.

I always remember, he once wrote that he knew M*A*S*H hadn't made much of a difference when the producers got a letter from a young man who said: I love your show. And: I can't wait to join the army.

I know what he means, but of course, as we all know, M*A*S*H did make a difference. I suppose some could argue that it wasn't the best TV series anybody ever did...but if it's not in the top 3, I'd like to know what is.

Hail and farewell, conquering hero.

A question for any of you with boobs who may be looking in

This looks as though it wouldn't be that comfortable...

(It also looks, at least to me, as if Mrs. Connelly is trying a bit too hard to recapture the hearts of people like me who had crushes on her almost 10 years ago. But that's much more of a subjective thing.)

And I didn't even include the photo of them kissing

Frequently, on this blog, I have expressed disdain for American society's willingness to exploit lesbian sex, particularly in film and television. The use of images of often faux lesbians (or bisexuals) to get certain people's heart rates racing, and so on.

The same "certain people," frequently, who would then turn around and deny gays the right to serve in the military, get married, or visit a loved one in the hospital. Or so I have at least implied in my superiority.

Well. Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page have called my bluff. To promote the new roller derby film that Barrymore directed and co-stars in with Page, the two have posed for a series of pictures in Marie Claire magazine that...see for yourself...

(Via Egotastic, and you'd better believe there's more.)


I dig Drew's Michelle-Pfeiffer-in-Grease 2 jacket here, too.


Now, if I wanted to be all "harrumph," and denying of my animal response, I could claim that these photos are not exploitative, because (at least) Barrymore is openly bisexual, and one does hear those rumors about Ellen Page. And so that's why I'm running them. But to be honest...

Damn, these are adorable.

I quote this song a lot, but it's only because I think of it a lot.

It's all about (for me) being a writer or writing or something...

...but does anybody else think that Howard looks as if he's blissed out on something in that clip?


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wind in the Willows

My favorite of the many different movies there have been of Wind in the Willows (not that I've seen them all) is a lighthearted animated version made for TV by Rankin and Bass in the 1980's. Very underrated.

The music, usually by Maury Laws, was a highlight of all the Rankin/Bass specials. Here, someone has posted the theme tune to that version, as performed by Judy Collins, and cut it to various illustrations of the Willows characters.

Another good take on Obama's speech

By Jacob Heilbrunn at HuffPo. He liked it even more than me or Froomkin...

Will this do? For the past month, Democrats have been wringing their hands over President Obama's supposedly lackluster performance, while Republicans have become increasingly cocky about derailing his presidency. But Obama's speech Wednesday should put to rest any illusions that he or his presidency are on the ropes.

No Shawnee Smith in Saw I-III (and the forthcoming VI) or Milla Jovovich in Resident Evil 1-3?

That ain't right.

Here's an alleged list of the 10 sexiest "Scream Queens."

Ok, I can understand why Jennifer Beals in The Bride didn't make the list.

Although seeing her in that movie is a valued memory of mine, the movie mostly sucked.

But while we're on the subject of sweet pieces in pieces of, where's Rose McGowan in Planet Terror, Sarah Michelle Gellar in The Grudge, Denise Richards in Valentine, Rebecca Gayheart in Urban Legend,
Natasha Henstridge in Species 1 & 2, and Natassja Kinski in Cat People?

I know this is going to be (already is) all over the net today...but it was just so beautiful

South Carolina (I know, I was hoping he'd turn out to be from Tennessee too) Republican congressman Joe Wilson decides it would be a good idea to shout at a President Of The United States while he's giving a speech. You gotta love Pelosi and Biden's "Oh, no you didn't!" faces.

Never mind shouting at a President mid-speech (I know, but never mind it), what Wilson was accusing him of lying about...wasn't a lie. How perfectly republican. Here's my favorites so far of the responses from his colleagues :
House Majority Whip James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat, said the remark was the latest in a long line of political attacks by Wilson.

“Joe Wilson took our state's reputation to a new low. I thought [Gov.] Mark Sanford had taken it as low as it could go, but this is beyond the pale," Clyburn said.

That's true...this year, South Carolina seems to be going for pride of place as the new Te...ah, y'know.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate, predicted that Wilson’s outburst would have consequences.

"The person who said it will pay a price,” Durbin said. “I think the average American thinks that the president and the office deserve respect, and that was a disrespectful comment. They'll pay a price in the court of public opinion."

You get the feeling Wilson is going to find out that nobody wants to play with him at recess anymore?

Overall, I thought it a fine, powerful speech--much better than I feared if maybe not quite as good as I hoped. But then, what I hoped for was the rhetorical equivalent of ripping up a tree and knocking some bodies down with it...and that letter from Kennedy came pretty close.

And my god. He did it. He called lies, lies. I've been waiting years for a powerful Democrat to use that word instead of something pathetically weak like "disinformation."

I'd put it somewhere between a B+ and an A-. Why not a solid A? Well, for one thing, as Froomkin (who, like me, generally liked the speech), points out:
one very important thing was entirely missing from Obama's speech: Any explanation of what he's been up to in his backroom deals with health industry titans. This demonstrated a real lack of transparency, honesty, and courage on Obama's part...

Oh, happy day

Remember a few years ago, when Disney--then still the Mouse of little brain--had the highbrow idea to "celebrate" Winnie The Pooh's anniversary by replacing Christopher Robin? folks are in charge at Disney, now. Specifically...John Lasseter. And:
animation czar John Lasseter has announced a new Pooh film in London this morning, the first to be produced by the Disney studio in over 35 years. The movie, to be directed by Steve Anderson and Don Hall, is expected to use five stories of A.A. Milne’s that have never been adapted and will weave them into a feature length animated film. Joining the production as the lead story artist is the great Burny Mattinson, who worked with Walt on the original Pooh films.

Pooh continues his search for honey in Spring 2011.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I just wrote to my congressman...

...who is "Baghdad" Jim McDermott,* the following letter:

Congressman, I'm writing to urge you to continue to fight against a health care bill that does not include a public option--and particularly against one with this "trigger" idea. The latter, I've been convinced, is just a way for Big health care to kill such an option.

Any "trigger" already has been, or conversely never will be, triggered. Either way, we don't need it. What we need is a health care bill *with* a public option, and any bill that comes before you without one, is a bill you need to kill. Thank you.

* I use the nickname just because I think it's funny, not because I oppose the congressman--it's quite the opposite, I think he's usually right.

Remember the guy who tossed a shoe at our ex-president's head?

He's about to get out of prison and he'll be greeted with open arms and bouquets of flowers...speaking metaphorically, of course. Speaking literally, he's going to be greeted with
A new four-bedroom home has been built by his former boss. A new car – and the promise of many more – awaits.

Pledges of harems, money and healthcare are pouring in to his employers, the al-Baghdadia television channel.

“One Iraqi who lived in Morocco called to offer to send his daughter to be Muntazer’s wife,” said editor Abdul Hamid al-Saij.

“Another called from Saudi offering $10m for his shoes, and another called from Morocco offering a gold-saddled horse.

(Via Think Progress)

What does it say that I'm feeling like this guy spoke for me better than I'm expecting our president to this very evening?

Oh, God...

"I, out of an effort to give Congress the ability to do their thing and not step on their toes, probably left too much ambiguity out there, which allowed then opponents of reform to come in and to fill up the airwaves with a lot of nonsense," Obama told ABC's Robin Roberts on "Good Morning America."

"Probably left too much amiguity"...which is, in itself, an ambiguous statement.

Oh, I don't feel good about this...

Pressed on his remarks, Obama said that the speech would give "a lot of clarity"


I think this is what they call being "full-breasted."

FWIW, I don't want to leave, but if they keep giving me reasons...

Here's the latest. Presently, if I click on the "Request Unlock Review" link, I get a message which says both
Your blog is in violation of the terms of service

Blogger is a free service for communication, self-expression and freedom of speech.

This would seem inconsistent.

I could all but choke on the bitter irony.

wolf hunting opened in many areas of Idaho Tuesday, Sept. 1

--that is, on my 38th birthday. And many of you long-timers may remember how I feel about wolves--for any newbies, they're my third favorite animal after cats and dolphins.

And who's so eager to hunt wolves? Big men. Big men like-
Robert Millage of Kamiah said he was surrounded by a pack of wolves before dawn and waited until light to call them with a hand call that sounded like a wounded coyote. The 80-pound female wolf came to him yards before Millage shot her with his .243 rifle in the Lolo Zone. The wolf was around 30 yards from the hunter when she was shot.

I. Fucking. Hate. Hunters.

You should also know that wolves threatening humans is much more unusual than, say, the other way around:

In a news release, Defenders of Wildlife states, “The scheduled wolf hunts would cripple the regional wolf population by isolating wolves into disconnected subgroups incapable of genetic or ecological sustainability. The wolf hunts would also allow the killing of the breeding alpha male and female wolves, thereby disrupting the social group, leaving pups more vulnerable.

Aggressive hunting plans in Idaho and Montana will dramatically reduce gray wolf populations and jeopardize the future of gray wolves in the northern Rockies.” Melanie Stein, Associate Regional Representative, Sierra Club.

The only good news is:
Idaho hunters will have their work cut out for them to reach the 220-wolf limit set by Fish and Game commissioners earlier this month, experts say.

Becky Schwanke, a wolf biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and a hunter whose husband and father trap wolves, was more blunt about Idaho hunters' chances for success.

Wolves aren't going to remain naive for long.

Schwanke said wolves will be cagey even if they haven't been hunted.

...a wolf encountered is not a wolf killed.

Here's to a lot of encounters that are not kills.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

You've heard of a deal with the devil? How about a deal with an angel?

I admit it freely: I watched the season premiere of Tyra Banks' syndicated talk show today. I was curious about the much-hyped "reveal" of her real hair.

Minus wigs, extensions, and so on, Tyra Banks looked like...she looked like a sexy angel. She's still Tyra Banks, for crying out loud.

I sort of love Tyra, and it's not just because according to one of those blog quizzes, if I were a Victoria's Secret model, she's the one I'd be. Although that doesn't hurt.

Later in the show, she had Perez Hilton on as a guest. Tyra proposed to him a deal: If he would refrain from talking trash about celebrity kids (she specified: under 18) for six months, she would put him on her America's Next Top Model show.

Sounds good to me. And not just because the prize was hanging out with Tyra Banks and some aspiring models for a few days, either.

I try never to talk trash about children--celebrity or otherwise--anyway. Of course, maybe that's why I'm not a celebrity and Hilton--tho I can't quite believe it--is.

I'm not a regular reader of Hilton's blog; I don't think I ever have been. I hold not much brief for him one way or the other. Or at least, I didn't, until I found out that he lied to Tyra when he agreed to her deal.

Hilton, who reportedly taped the episode last month, was only willing to take a one-month hiatus from kid bashing, but after an on-camera negotiation with Banks that started with her asking for a year-long freeze, the duo agreed that he’d avoid catty comments about underage kids for six months. Ironically, the episode aired only a few weeks after Hilton took Demi Moore’s 15-year-old daughter Tallulah to task on his Twitter page for wearing a low-cut top.

Lying to a Victoria's Secret Angel...there's a special place in hell for people like that.

Get 'im, Tyra!

PS: And for pete's sake, why would you pick on a 15-year-old kid when Demi "my breasts are 100% real!" Moore is right there?

Even going after Rumer Willis--seen at left with her mother--would be a bit more defensible.*

There is still some legitimate question about her acting ability (call it a hunch, but Sorority Row is not going to help) and she's a grown woman.

*I wouldn't, tho. I'm feeling all peace-and-love towards Rumer Willis tonight because she's expressed-
disgust [with] "young Hollywood" because it promotes the idea you need to "see your bones through your skin" to be considered beautiful.

The girls I will probably love forever

Just because of who they were when I was who I was, if you know what I mean.

Lea Thompson. Many may try, but few will ever be as cute.

Ally Sheedy and Molly Ringwald. Face it, ladies, this is who you're competing with in my head, pretty much 24/7.

...(now, and Then)

Who totally would've played Hermione Granger if the Harry Potter movies'd been made about 25 years earlier.

Granted it didn't last long-no more than three years, tops-but there was a time there when Rae Dawn Chong was a godess.

Speaking of which...


Still, yeah, when all is said and done.

Kelly McGillis. BTW, did you know that according to at least one source, Madonna and the recently out McGillis had an affair?

And finally, of course, Brigitte Nielsen., I'm kidding about that one.

Imagine no posessions, indeed

Alyssa Milano got married recently too, but has yet to follow in Milla's fottsteps further by taking off her clothes for the camera.

I guess whe know who really cares about her fans.

Per People Magazine:
The “Who's the Boss?” alum walked down the aisle to John Lennon's iconic song Imagine, wearing a custom made Vera Wang gown...

That strike anybody else as ironic?

Dear Mr. Obama...who did we elect president?

...and I call him "Mr." Obama, not "President" Obama for a very real reason which I will get to in a moment. I see in the AP that:

As Obama talked strategy with Democratic leaders at the White House, the one idea that most appeals to his party's liberal base lost ground in Congress. Prospects for a government-run plan to compete with private insurers sank as a leading moderate Democrat, Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, said he could no longer support the idea.

BTW, the plan Sen. Baucus does support will fine Americans who cannot afford health insurance.

Yes, you read that right. The American dream has gone from quality health care for all, to let's put a double tax on people who are already leading loveless, undignified lives.

Do you ever get the feeling that the ghost of Dick Cheney (I know, you say, he's not dead, I say, I are you sure of that?) has a shotgun trained on Obama in the Oval Office?

The fast-moving developments put Obama in a box. As a candidate, he opposed fines to force individuals to buy health insurance, and he supported setting up a public insurance plan.

Democrats are considering a fallback: using the public plan as a last resort if after a few years the insurance industry has failed to curb costs. That approach is also being pushed by Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, a moderate whose support could be critical to any health legislation.

Here's where we get to why I refer to him as "Mr." Obama, sir. In his speech tomorrow, one of the things which I will be looking to him to answer is this: Just who did my country elect president last November?

Did we elect Max Baucus? We damn sure did not. Did we elect Olympia Snowe president? We did not.

We elected Barack Obama. Lately I've been wondering if he realizes that. I ask because for a couple of people who were not chosen to lead their country, people like Baucus and Snowe seem to carry a lot more weight than the person who was.

And he looks like a Steppin' Fetchit running to curry their favor:

"[Obama]'s been receptive, recognizing that there's difficulties with the public option," Snowe said.

No, there aren't problems with the public option, Mr. Obama...Senator Snowe. Not according to...oh, what is the phrase...the public:

What there are, is problems with most of the Republican lawmakers...and just too many of the Democratic ones.


Name That Tune

Thanks to Mark Evanier for including this clip on his blog, thereby informing me it was on YouTube so I could include it on mine. This is one of the classic Sesame Street songs.

Just the other day my mother and I were singing it to my nephew in the car on the way to go swimming.

Growing up, I knew and loved the song best through its appearance on the Bert & Ernie Sing-Along: Original Cast SS album.

Which was, itself, one of the best-loved albums of my childhood...

Point of order: On Greek, Calvin and Mike are not bisexual.

Here's a short piece purportedly about how
Some of our favorite mainstream [TV] characters are embracing their bisexual sides (well, the writers are).

Now same-sex smooches are as commonplace as opposite-sex ones. In May, on ABC frat romp "Greek," college boys Calvin and Mike played tonsil hockey

As I say above, (at least) one thing demands a correction, at least as far as I'm concerned (and that's all we're really concerned with around here, after all): Calvin and Mike are both gay, Calvin openly, Mike less so.

What's weird is that the Rebecca-thinks-she-might-be-a-lesbian storyline on Greek is a much better fit for what this article is talking about--but then, I'm not convinced that the article knows what it's talking about.

As usual, what it's really about is the use of hot-and-(same) sexy girls (mostly) as an attempt to pull viewers.

Emma Watson and two would-be worshippers whom she has bewitched

Or: If Wishes were Horses

You'd think being in Pearl Harbor would be embarassing enough

Kate Beckinsale says she won't be appearing in another Underworld movie for fear that seeing her mother in such tight costumes would embarass her daughter, Lilly.

The fact that by most accounts, the Underworld movies suck has nothing to do with it, of course.

Look what's off the market, boys

Milla Jovovich got married recently. As if to commemorate the occasion, she also decided to pose in the nude--totally, completely in the nude--for some magazine called Purple.

(Pictures via Egotastic--and yes, there's more.)

Beautiful girl, that.

Though maybe I shouldn't say girl-these pictures remind me of those early Madonna ones I like so much because she looks like a real, grown-up, adult woman.

Best-named campaign for early breast cancer detection ever.

Touch A Tit, Save A Tit, starring Jaime King, Katherine McPhee; Emily Deschanel (all pictured).

These are just photos from the set of a first of a series of PSAs (more at the link including Minka Kelly, Alyson Hannigan and Taryn Southern). I'll try to bring you the full things when they become available.

And I should hope this goes without saying but all easy jokes aside, obviously this is a very good cause.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Spam defined

My Dancing Girls blog has been temporarily (I hope) "locked" by Blogger. You might understandably think this is because of its "adult" content but you'd be so wrong.

The Blogger TOS explicitly permit adult content and anyway the content on that blog leans towards the PG-13.


No you see, DG "has been identified as a potential spam blog" by "The Blogger Team."

A "spam blog" is thusly defined:

The ease of creating and updating webpages with Blogger has made it particularly prone to a form of behavior known as link spamming. Blogs engaged in this behavior are called spam blogs, and can be recognized by their irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text, along with a large number of links, usually all pointing to a single site.

Ok, "irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text." Granted that's a judgment call, but I'm prepared to concede any time that I have written about Kim Kardashian, it's irrelevant.

However, "The Blogger Team" can tell the likes of Lisa Edelstein and Eva Mendes about that "repetitive and nonsensical" crack themselves. I can't be held responsible for how they might react.

"Lisa, did you see what they just said about what Ben writes about us?"

"Yes, I did. I'll go warm up the car."

"Hold on, I'll want to wear heels for this..."

But seriously(?)...I don't think that blog has what anybody could describe as a large number of links--and the ones that are there certainly don't all go to the same site.

I've requested a "review" and with any luck, that blog will be "unlocked" in a couple of days.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

even while admitting that this individual image does rather touch my heart... always, I feel compelled to reassert my aversion to Japanese animation.

(It's from Hayao Miyazaki’s film Ponyo)

An educated guess

When she grows up, if she wants to, Ireland Baldwin is going to rule all of Hollywood. Why do I say this? Well, first of all, take a look at the statuesque beauty--already taller than her mother, Kim Basinger, who is not a short woman.

And Ireland Baldwin (she of the famous voicemail from her father, Alec) is only 13. Young, beautiful, tall; good acting and comedy genes? Talk about the world being your oyster...

Well shake it up baby, now...

The new Entertainment Weekly has one of those "50 best" lists; this time, it's Best Songs of The Beatles.

As an EW blog says,

Is there even such a thing as the best Beatles song of all time? ...Whichever song you personally think is the Beatles’ best, chances are you’re right.

That said, their list is actually pretty good, as those lists go. They hit most of my high points: "A Day in the Life" (No.2), "Strawberry Fields" (No. 4), (No. 30) "Help!" (No.13), "She Loves You" (No. 6), "All You Need Is Love" (No. 50).

I guess the "song" category leaves out "Twist & Shout" because none of the Beatles actually wrote it, but if you want to talk about a record, or a vocal...

Conversely, while I might buy that "Helter Skelter" (No.47) or "Let It Be" (No.7) belong on such a list as songs, I think the recordings The Beatles actually made of them are a bit of a bust.


One of the only ones on their list I would've left out, if this were just my list, is "I Saw Her Standing There." But I realize that's a personal thing--it just hasn't been a part of my life the way it has for others (and other songs have for me).

And for our "What? No..." category, there's "Here, There and Everywhere," which is found nowhere on EW's list, even tho it's one of McCartney's most graceful.

As an aside--a pet theory of mine is that if you really want to know the best McCartney songs and the best Lennon songs, read what they've said about each other's work.

Competitors as well as collaborators, they were also each other's best critics. My point being, Lennon always said "Here..." was one of his favorite songs of the Beatles, which means it was good.

Also among the missing: I'm not sure, but it seems like "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" should be on here somewhere. And neither version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is on? (Personally I like the reprise--their best "rock" recording IMO).

Just to get cute EW decided to add choices for the five "worst" Beatle songs, too ("All You Need Is Love" makes both lists). I find it hard to imagine anyone getting too worked up about defending "Dig It," "Don't Pass Me By," or "Wild Honey Pie."

But I do feel a twinge of guiltorsomethinglikeit that leads me to want to stick up for "Flying." See, I could've done a post about the top five most-underrated Beatles songs, only it would've read a lot like the track listing to Magical Mystery Tour.

Plus "For the Benefit of Mr. Kite"--altho, even tho that's a brilliant production, as a song perhaps it can left off on the grounds that Lennon took virtually the whole lyric from an antique poster. And maybe "Think For Yourself."

Speaking of Josh Marshall, as I was, or...

...actually Bill Moyers was, just a moment ago, this:

Another Obama First

Barack Obama definitely the first black man to get attacked by the right for telling kids to study hard and stay in school.

Come on, Mr. President.

Tina Turner notwithstanding, we need another hero.

Via Daily Kos, this from Bill Moyers (excerpts):

Come on, Mr. President. Show us America is more than a circus or a market. Remind us of our greatness as a democracy. When you speak to Congress next week, just come out and say it. ...

Here's a suggestion, Mr. President: ask Josh Marshall to draft your speech. Josh is the founder of the website He's a journalist and historian, not a politician. He doesn't split things down the middle and call it a victory for the masses. He's offered the simplest and most accurate description yet of a public insurance plan — one that essentially asks people: would you like the option — the voluntary option — of buying into Medicare before you're 65?

God forbid that while talking to 60,000 public school students, the President should appear smart

Okay, the 'Obama speaks to schoolchildren, conservatives inexplicably threatened' thing. I haven't had anything to say about this yet because all I could think of was the above quote from the sadly fictitious President Bartlet in The West Wing. I figured I've been to that well at least one time too many.

Oh, that, and the obvious explanation for conservatives feeling threated (racism) but that was, well, obvious.

But then I found this piece by Jason Linkins on Huffington Post.

It starts:
Yesterday, I noted that Florida's GOP Chair Jim Greer had heard about President Barack Obama's intention to address the schoolchildren of America on the occasion of the start of a new school year, and went quite mental, warning darkly that the address was nothing more than a dastardly inculcation into socialism and a viral spread of liberal propaganda. Naively, I imagined this would be a derangement confined to a few weird nobodies, but, duh, I forgot: everyone is crazy now.

--which of course made me think of the songtitle "Mama Weer All Crazee Now." But this is the 'graph that made my brain light up:
Oh, and there are also examples of fringey types equating the outreach effort to the Civilian National Security Force and "Hitler youth brigades" and admonishing, "Leave our kids alone!" It's like the right wing blogosphere went home, dosed themselves with mescaline and sat around watching History Channel reruns on mute while Pink Floyd's The Wall played in the background.

Emphasis mine. Gotta admit, that would explain a lot...