Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Proof positive that Karma is real

Folks who got their audio book version of President Bush's new memoir Decisions Points on Christmas were surprised to see chapter headings like "Bushit" and "Innocent Children Die" when they popped the CD into their computers on Christmas morning.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Nice going, Brainiac

The Northwest Raptor & Wildlife Center says a young bald eagle found shot in the wing is under round-the-clock care.

The center's Matthew Randazzo told the Peninsula Daily News Saturday that the eagle's wing is broken and contains bullet fragments. He says it's unlikely the bird will be able to fly.

The male bird was found floundering on the ground near Beaver, about 10 miles north of Forks. The wildlife center in Sequim and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife are seeking information about the person who shot the bird.

Shooting a bald eagle is illegal. The birds are protected under the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Greetings, programs! (So I've seen Tron Legacy...)

I walked out of the theater with a stupid great smile on my face; humming the ending credits music from the original.

I was pleased.

Oh, before I go on, one quick word about the music, which as one or two of you know was and is one of my favorite features of the original.

I was hoping Daft Punk would find a way to work in a line or two of melody from that Wendy Carlos' score, but if they did, I missed it (and I was listening).

However, though nowhere near as lovely Carlos' for the original, the music in the new film does works just swell. It's just unlikely to be on whatever-the-equivalent-of-my-iTunes will be in 30 years, as Carlos' is.

Now, to the film itself: Yes, the visuals are exciting, but you expect that going in; it's really the least you expect from a Tron movie (and one of the few the first one completely delivered on).

Where it surpasses its predecessor is in the characters, human and non-human, and in the performances. In the first movie, I think, few of the performers had any idea what they were doing.

It's hard to blame them. The movie was pioneering in its use of computer graphics and imagery in a way that few if any saw coming. As a result perhaps, too much of the performances have an aimless quality which tends to impede drama.

Times have changed.

It's no longer news that Jeff Bridges can act his ass off (Last Picture Show, Tron 1, The Fisher King). Bridges returns, 28 years after creating the role (has to be some kind of record), as Kevin Flynn, the protagonist of the original. He owns it.

It's Flynn grown wiser and more accepting of his obligations, both in our world and in the one he created. This grown up Flynn may not please some who expect the man-boy from the first film, but it was the right choice for this one.

As Quorra, Flynn's "apprentice" in the digital world, Olivia Wilde gives a performance that...I think I want to think about and maybe see at least one more time (before I label it). Suffice it to say that she seems awfully human for a program, but there's a reason for that.

The last scene in the movie focuses on Quorra's face. Beyond that I won't reveal the context. But Wilde made me feel. I don't mean she made me feel something emotionally (though she and the film did) in this case, I mean she made me feel what the character was feeling, the sensation. That's gotta be some kind of acting; she's more than just eye candy, though she does look good (pretty darn good).

Bruce Boxleitner also returns to his role as Alan Bradley. It's smaller than in the original, but key, and Boxleitner wears it comfortably.

Those are the good points, now to the bad. I'm going to try to put this so as to avoid spoilers, at least of a specific plot turn, but I am now going to reveal something I haven't seen in the ads, so if you want to go, go now.

The problem comes when Alan's alter-ego shows up. Something happens that I saw coming (one of a couple). It's an inviting idea. But the way in which it is executed suggested to me that it was done quickly and cheaply (presumably when someone realized the movie's called Tron and he's barely in it), rather than being a part of the story from the very beginning.

Garrett Hedlund is well-cast as Flynn's son, but it's an unremarkable part. However, he does everything the film asks of him, and it works, so I won't pick too hard. He may indeed have some game, but I'd need to see him in a better role.

The only woman other than Wilde with star billing in the film, Beau Garrett, merely is eye candy.

I have no idea if she's got any "game," simply because the film doesn't ask her to display any.

And then there's Michael Sheen. Oh dear. Camping it up to beat the band, he resembles nothing so more than Dana Carvey impersonating David Bowie on Saturday Night Live.

This choice of direction doesn't work for me, but at least the part is small and over with quickly.

As for the story, it's true that there are places where it slows to a glacial pace, and others where it is hard to fathom who is who and what's going on.

I don't care. First of all, it's like a Light Cycle only sputtering momentarily before continuing upon its merry way (Light Cycles sputter, right)

And second, compared to what the first one delivered in terms of character and story, this
one is frickin' Lord of the Rings.

I mean, watching a Light Cycle chase in 2010. Totally worth the wait.

And I can't say that about every genre sequel I've seen this year.

(Further to that aside, the headline on the Salon review of this film is "A $170 million insult." Trust me, I know what it feels like to be insulted by a film series of which you are a cult fan. It doesn't feel like this.)

End of line.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Well of course the gay lobby doesn't own the rainbow. Mork does.

An activist for a sub-group of the anti-gay group the National Organization for Marriage is speaking out against the use of the rainbow as a symbol for gay rights. "We are the real rainbow coalition. The gay lobby does not own the rainbow," she said.

Monday, December 13, 2010

South Park was right.

A couple of years ago, when Indiana Jones/Crystal Skull came out, I had a gut feeling that I shouldn't watch it, so I didn't. I didn't watch it in the theater, I didn't watch it on DVD, and I didn't watch it on premium cable.

Now that it has made its way to basic cable, however, I decided to gird my loins and sit through it, albeit with DVR remote at the ready. So now I have.

This has been a review.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

I don't think I've ever been so depressed to be proven right

Me, this blog, September 24th, this year:

Honestly, I am not worried about the tea party movement. They (and their effect on the GOP) are handing Obama and the Democratic party everything they should need to hold onto or even increase their majorities in the senate and house.

What I'm worried about is that they won't grab onto those teacup-nuts and use 'em to knock down some bodies. What I am worried about is that Obama will react to a mid-term "whacking" as Clinton did.

No, not by having an affair--by all accounts President Obama is deeply and passionately in love with his wife, and devoted to his family. But by resorting to the straddle-every-issue, don't-offend-anyone strategy that Clinton embraced from (at least) 1994-1996.

Howard Fineman, HuffPo, today:

The tax-bill fight is revealing a crucial fact about President Obama's new, post-"shellacking" White House: it is increasingly being run by veterans of the Clinton era.

The significance of this staff shift is beyond the operational. The Clinton-era alums, by outlook and experience, represent a centrist, pragmatic, pro-business "wealth-creation" wing of the Democratic Party that flourished during the Clinton presidency in the 1990s.

Outside the White House per se, the president is getting key support from John Podesta, whose Center for American Progress has placed dozens of staffers in key positions inside the administration.

CAP supports the tax-cut deal, perhaps not surprising given that Podesta was once Bill Clinton's highly regarded chief of staff.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

In which my love/hate relationship with Aaron Sorkin continues

Okay. You all know how good a writer I think Aaron Sorkin is, how thankful I am for his work, how much I prize my West Wing and Sports Nights DVDs. Also, I saw The Social Network this week, and thought it was the best film made from one of his scripts since The American President.

Sorkin has a piece on the Huffpo this morning attacking Sarah Palin for, in so many words, torturing and killing and slicing up animals for pleasure.

Now, lord knows I hold no brief for Sarah Palin. I think she makes Pamela Anderson look like a genius, I honestly don't get the whole "It girl" thing, and I hope that on his death bed--far away may that be--John McCain dies knowing exactly what he inflicted upon his country.

And though like Sorkin, I eat meat, I don't want animals tortured (not even John "Jigsaw" Kramer did that). So given all of the foregoing, why do I have any problem with Sorkin's new piece? Two reasons. First, this sentence:

Like 95% of the people I know, I don't have a visceral (look it up) problem eating meat or wearing a belt.

"Look it up?" Geez, Aaron, condescending much?

And second, the whole rest of the piece just isn't as well written as it could've been...or as I've seen such statements made before. For example:

Now, the trick in shooting deer is you gotta get 'em out in the open. And it's tough with deer, 'cause these are clever, cagey animals with an intuitive sense of danger. You know what you have to do to get a deer out in the open? You hold out a Twinkie.

That animal clopped up to me like we were at a party. She seemed to be pretty interested in the Twinkie, so I gave it to her. Looking back, she'd have been better off if I'd given her the damn vest. And Bob kind of screamed at me in whisper, "Move away!" The camera had been re-loaded and it looked like the day wasn't gonna be a washout after all. So I backed away, a couple of steps at a time, and closed my eyes when I heard the shot. Look, I know these are animals, and they don't play bridge and go to the prom, but you can't tell me that the little one didn't know who his mother was.

That's gotta mean something. And later, at the hospital, Bob Shoemaker was telling me about the nobility and tradition of hunting and how it related to the native American Indians. And I nodded and I said that was interesting while I was thinking about what a load of crap it was. Hunting was part of Indian culture. It was food and it was clothes and it was shelter. They sang and danced and offered prayers to the gods for a successful hunt so that they could survive just one more unimaginably brutal winter. The things they had to kill held the highest place of respect for them, and to kill for fun was a sin.

And they knew the gods wouldn't be so generous next time. What we did wasn't food and it wasn't shelter and it sure wasn't sports. It was just mean.

That speech, as if you're not already all way ahead of me, is from a television episode called "The Hungry and the Hunted," of the TV series Sports Night, and was written by...Aaron Sorkin.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Those fuckers.

Ok, I'm sorry to those of you who thought you were done seeing me rant about Saw...but it was just announced that the Saw 3D DVD will only be released in the theatrical cut on the DVD. If one were to want to see an unrated cut--which is the last hope some of us had for a Saw VII we could live with--one would have to get the Blu-Ray.

(And in my case, a Blu-Ray player.)

So, fuck them.

Saw 3D was a letter to Saw fans like me (the ones who cared about stronger writing and characterization)...a letter that was just two words long. And this is the exclaimation point.

(and to add further insult to injury, or just to add that extra dollop of cheese, they're calling it Saw: The Final Chapter on DVD.)

I feel so dirty.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Dear England: Make up the spare bedroom, we're coming back. Much love, the colonies

Tea Party Nation Founder: 'A Wise Idea' To Only Let Property Owners Vote

Judson Phillips, the founder of the group Tea Party Nation, has defended his comments that the Founding Fathers' original plan to only allow property owners to vote "makes a lot of sense" because "property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners."

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Oh, those wacky Canadlians

A teacher has been suspended after she gave her Grade 8 students a sexually-explicit multiple-choice test that included questions about anal sex, lesbian encounters and penis sizes.

Several parents filed complaints after students at Andre-Laurendeau High School, on Montreal’s south shore, were asked whether or not “blacks have bigger penises” or if they agreed that “all sexual positions are comfortable.”

Two sexologists contacted by QMI were split about the value of the test.

As in so many other things, George Carlin was right

For myself, I have solved this political dilemma in a very direct way. On Election Day, I stay home. Two reasons: first of all, voting is meaningless; this country was bought and paid for a long time ago. That empty shit they shuffle around and repackage every four years doesn't mean a thing.

Second, I don't vote, because I firmly believe that if you vote, you have no right to complain. I know some people like to twist that around and say, "If you don't vote, you have no right to complain." But where's the logic in that? Think it through: If you vote, and you elect dishonest, incompetent politicians, and they screw things up, then you're responsible for what they've done. You voted them in. You caused the problem. You have no right to complain.

I, on the other hand, who did not vote—who, in fact, did not even leave the house on Election Day—am in no way responsible for what these politicians have done and have every right to complain about the mess you created. Which I had nothing to do with.

I think I just figured out why John McCain and Joe Lieberman are each other's BFF

They're both two-faced boobs.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


This makes me so happy, I think I am now officially over how much Saw 3D sucked. What does? This does:

Joe Rehyansky: Allow Lesbians To Serve In Order To Give 'Straight Male GIs A Fair Shot At Converting' Them

I know what you're thinking: Who is Joe Rehyansky, and how did he take his finger out of his nose long enough to type the above? I'm glad you asked, because the answer gets to the heart of just why that statement fills me with such joy. You see...

Joe Rehyansky, a former official at the Chattanooga, Tennessee [emphasis mine, natch-BV], District Attorney's office, recently penned an op-ed opposed to allowing gays in the military, in which he argued that lesbians should be allowed to serve in the armed forces, in part because it would give straight male soldiers a chance to "convert" them.

Tennessee. Nothing good comes of being there.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A wookie roar of mourning, please...

...for Irvin Kershner, who directed the single best "Star Wars" film ever: The Empire Strikes Back.It's the most entertaining, the sheerest pleasure to watch, the most inspirational, that rare sequel to improve on the original.

It's also the one George Lucas had the least to do with the filming of. I don't think that's a coincidence.

(This probably goes without saying, but as ever when talking about the original "Star Wars" trilogy, I'm talking about it before Lucas changed them.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just in time for Thanksgiving!

Take heart, friends. That stupid, pious hypocrite Tom Delay has been convicted.

He faces five years to life in prison.

I hear the birds singing...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

By all rights, seems like this should've taken place in Tennessee

Former priest accused of trying to hire hit man


In a murder-for-hire case worthy of a Dan Brown novel, a Roman Catholic priest has been arrested on charges that he solicited a hit man to kill a teenager who had accused him of sexual abuse.

Friday, November 19, 2010

If you're anything at all like me...

...this will make you cheer and laugh.

Dragonboy from Dragon Boy on Vimeo.

It reminds me of Wall-E, inasmuch as it's a romantic story told without dialogue (less even than Wall-E), yet fantastically clear.

PS: I must thank Roger Ebert for putting this in his Journal.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

If The Unworthy Swine (mk II) is responsible...

... for this, Miss Anne, just say the word and I'll have him wishing he were swimming through broken glass.

Anne Hathaway stormed out of her birthday dinner with her parents and boyfriend, Adam Shulman, Friday when the conversation took a turn for the worse at restaurant Tocqueville on East 15th Street. One witness told us, "It sort of came on pretty suddenly. Everyone got pretty quiet. She left crying, and then her boyfriend followed her, but her parents remained." A second witness said, "She told the server, 'We just need a few minutes,' and then she walked out and didn't return." A third witness said, "Her father said, 'Let's not talk about it tonight; it's her birthday.' " A rep for Hathaway, who turned 28, acknowledged she was at Tocqueville but said the drama "never happened . . . The only time Anne left the table was to take a phone call. She did not leave the table upset."

Thursday, November 11, 2010

They've had months, years, to make this "world" of what it could be.

Sentences that offend me both morally and from a linguistic POV.

"We have to deal with the world as we find it,"


Top White House Senior advisor, David Axelrod, on why Democrats are going to cave on extending the tax cuts for the wealthy.

Why it offends me morally:

If I have to explain this, you must not have been reading this blog very long.

Why it offends me from a linguistic POV:

"As we find it" makes it sound like they, to use the common phrase, "were born yesterday." Sorry, no. Mr. Axelrod, we--the people who voted to put you (via your bosses) in the White House--we are dealing with the world as we find it.

Every single day, we wake up in that world and we do as best as can to play the only cards we're dealt. You and the President, Mr. Axelrod, are dealing with the world as you have (at the very least, through benign neglect) made it. There's a slight difference.

Do not go asking for our sympathy, get off the fucking cross and do the jobs we hired you (we thought) to do. You have two years until your next worker review, and we want to see a sharp improvement in your performance. Or we will get ourselves another guy.

This has been a warning.

This isn't even worthy of Tucker Carlson

Conservative pundit and Daily Caller editor Tucker Carlson perpetrated a hoax last weekend by posing as Keith Olbermann in a series of emails to a Philadelphia columnist.

On Tuesday afternoon, a set of emails surfaced on the Philadelphia news site Phawker. Phawker said that the emails showed the "100% for real" correspondence between Olbermann and Philadelphia Daily News columnist Stu Bykofsky over the weekend. In the emails, "Olbermann" talks about his boss, MSNBC President Phil Griffin, in hyperbolic, insulting terms.

On Tuesday night, Yahoo's Michael Calderone reached Carlson by phone. Carlson confirmed that he had, in fact, sent the emails posing as Olbermann.

"Could you resist?" Carlson said. "It was just too funny. The flesh is weak."

Look, we've long known that Carlson is an awful human being; a suckup little creep. But by his standards, this qualifies as just barely, even...twatlike. Making up emails and sending them as though they were by another person? Fancy!

Tsk, Tucker. What happened to you?

Monday, November 08, 2010

One of those "I think I agree with 99% of this" post links

Lincoln Mitchell: From the Audacity of Hope to Timid and Kvetchy

It is strange that a candidate who was able to read voters so well has become a president who seems to think citizens simply want legislation. Voters don't care about legislation; they care about outcomes.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

To shock of all, Obama "signals compromise with GOP."

A chastened President Barack Obama signaled a willingness to compromise with Republicans on tax cuts and energy policy Wednesday, one day after his party lost control of the House and suffered deep Senate losses in midterm elections.

Sigh. Mr. President, let me put this simply: THEY'RE NEVER GOING TO COMPROMISE WITH YOU. NEVER. IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. EVER. If they wouldn't do it when you had the House and Senate, what fantasy of denial leads you to believe that they'll do it now?

With his comments, Obama largely followed the lead of Republican leaders who said earlier in the day they were willing to compromise — within limits.

With unemployment at 9.6 percent, both the president and the Republicans will be under pressure to compromise. Yet neither must lose faith with core supporters — the Republicans with the tea party activists who helped them win power, Obama with the voters whose support he will need in 2012.

He's already lost our support. And one reason is: None of us are even the slightest bit surprised that he "largely followed the lead of Republican leaders."

Monday, November 01, 2010

I think he's right

I've been wondering for a day or two if anyone else got the same uneasy feeling I got from listening to Jon Stewart's final comments at the anger/sanity rally. So far, the only person I've seen come close to expressing it is Keith Olbermann:

Keith Olbermann: Jon Stewart Jumped The Shark At Rally

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Well hell, I want to be straight with her too...

...but I don't think she'd like--oh, I see what you're saying.

Miller To Maddow On Gay Marriage: 'I Want To Be Straight With You'

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Democratic Congressman is making noises about impeaching Chief Justice Roberts

I'd love to see it, but considering this is the congress that let the Bush, Cheney and the vile Rumsfeld walk away clean, you'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath. I also can't help thinking that if the Democratic "controlled" congress had done a better job opposing Roberts in the first place we wouldn't be in this fix.

Monday, October 25, 2010

There can be only one explaination for why this is so amazing.

And that is that the Democratic party had nothiing directly to do with it.

I would have embedded this, but for some reason defying understanding they've chosen to make it autoplay only. So I'll just link to it. "It" is a get-out-the-vote ad released by MoveOn.org and
starring Olivia Wilde.*

*Bisexual doctor on House (and lucky enough to have gotten out while the getting was good).

Co-star of Tron 2 (the aforementioned other genre sequel I'm most looking forward to this year).

Actually a pretty good actress.

Oh, and Maxim's Hottest Woman in the World, 2009.


Friday, October 22, 2010

Dear lord, I think I'm going to cry

New poster for the other genre sequel I'm most looking forward to this year.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Further observations on my downstairs neighbor

In case you missed the first set...

Ok, I feel the need to get this down. About 15 minutes ago (as I wrote this in an email to a friend), I woke up and went to the bathroom. I could hear our friend, the flower snoring beneath me.

I turned on my space heater and was about to get a drink before going back to bed when I heard a knock at my door. "Who is it?" I said, pretty sure that I knew who it was. "It's Derek" (the delicate flower.).

The following conversation took place (as best I recall) after I unlocked and opened the door-which, BTW, took me three or more tries--just woke up, remember.

DF: Could you turn down whatever's playing, please? (he may not have said please).

Me (incredulously): The music?

(let me explain why I was incredulous. What he was talking about--we have to assume--was the music coming from my little iPod speakers the size of one hand.

But what kind of music, you may wonder. One of my thumping dancefloor anthems? No, strangely enough I don't find my Kylie Minogue terribly soothing for sleep, so I was listening to the likes of the soundtrack to Godspell, and Miles Davis. Y'know, hard-hitting stuff like that.

The speakers were on the floor next to my bed, yes--where I've had them many nights before without complaint. Now back to our exchange)

DF: Well whatever it is, I can hear it.

Me: You have remarkably keen ears.

DF: Are you being snotty?

Me: What time is it?

DF: It's five AM.

Me: Ok, I'm being snotty. You see this thing on my nose? (I was indicating one of the nasal strips I had bought a few days ago). This is something I got to help me breathe easier so that I wouldn't disturb you with my horrible snoring. I have gone to more trouble for you than I have for some women I have known. We live in an apartment. Deal with it.

And I shut (did not slam) and locked the door.

(Neither of us raised our voices during the discussion, BTW)

Now, I think I have a pretty good idea what happened. Obviously, something about my getting out of bed, walking the few feet to the bathroom and using it woke him. And I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do about that.

Remember, I know for a fact that he'd been sleeping not five minutes before, so I don't think it was my hard-rockin music...but whatever. Rather than take the few minutes it would've taken to go back to sleep, as you or I would...he decided he had the right to come up here and complain to me.

BTW, I could hear him snoring again as I was writing this, so I know I didn't terribly upset his sleep patterns. I wish I had a "sum-it-all-up" paragraph here, but I don't. As I say, I just wanted to get this down. But I do feel pretty safe in saying: It's not me. It's him.

Now, to try to return to my own blissful tranquility...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Questions for the Universe

Wouldn't you think that in this day and age, there'd be an easy way to find out which issues of Mad Magazine (or stories from same) were reprinted in what paperbacks?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What do they mean "back?"

The very latest congressional generic trend chart: GOP back in the driver's seat.

Actually, it's become undeniably apparent that the GOP never left the driver's seat...

Monday, October 11, 2010

So it's come to this.

Police agencies across the country are recruiting thousands of civilians for a growing number of duties previously performed by uniformed cops, in an unusual concession to local budget cuts.

The positions -- some paid and others volunteer -- are transforming every-day citizens into crime-scene investigators, evidence gatherers and photographers in what some analysts suggest is a striking new trend in American policing.

"It's all being driven by the economy and we should expect to see more of it," says University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris, who analyzes law enforcement practices. "As budgets are squeezed, an increasing number of duties are going to be moved off officers' plates."

You realize what this means...

(story via HuffPo)

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Looking for something saddening to read on this Saturday?

Here's a lengthy, and chilling, look at the Senate and White House's failure to effectively address climate change. It'll take you about 10 minutes to read, but IMO it's well worth your time. However, if you want the shorter version, here it is in two sentences:

1. There is no hope.

2. Give up.

(when I say saddening and chilling, I mean...)

Friday, October 08, 2010

Because when you think hip, you think James Carville

Even Democratic strategist James Carville was forced to admit of Christine O'Donnell 'Now, this is one hip woman,' on CNN's Crossfire.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Laudable Listening

Jon Stewart interviewed on NPR. Fair warning: You'll need to set aside about 45 minutes, but I think you'll find it well worth the time.

This is one of those "I think I agree with every single word of this" link posts

Keli Goff: Why We Shouldn't Blame the Bullies for the Recent String of LGBT Suicides

The kids doing the bullying are not really the ones at fault. The message they are receiving from adults is that today in 2010 it may not be okay to call someone the N-word on the playground, but it is okay to call someone the F-word.

Would be funny, if only...

H/t Cartoon Brew, via my friend Corey.

Monday, October 04, 2010

An open question for viewers of House (MD)

Is it me, or has the writing gone to absolute hell these past two episodes?

Isn't that giving an unfair advantage to the sexually active, straight male teacher?

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) says that even though "no one" came to his defense in 2004 after he said that gay people and unwed mothers should be banned from teaching, "everyone" quietly told him that he shouldn't back down from his position.

He also implied that not banning gay people and women who have sex before marriage from teaching would be an attack on Christians, and defended his position on banning gay teachers because he holds the same position on women who have sex outside of marriage.

"[When I said those things,] no one came to my defense," he said, the Spartanberg Herald-Journal reported. "But everyone would come to me and whisper that I shouldn't back down. They don't want government purging their rights and their freedom to religion."

Friday, October 01, 2010


I think Aaron Sorkin is one step away from becoming a parody of himself. And you know that's not easy for me to say, loving most of his work the way I do. It's just that first there was this Daily Beast article in which he rants defensively:

“I wrote all 45 episodes of Sports Night. I wrote the 88 episodes of The West Wing during the four years I was writing the show. I wrote 22 episodes of Studio 60,” he says, referring to the television shows he created. “I understand that’s different from other shows where the show-runner assigns episodes out, and the show-runner just does a final polish on his typewriter. That’s not what I do. I collaborate with a great many people. I collaborate with the director. I collaborate with the actors. I collaborate with the designers. But I’m a playwright. I don’t write by committee. I write by myself.”

If that is so...why did each and every one of those shows have a writing staff at all? I could list, here, the names of all the other writers whose names are on the scripts of all those shows. Some of these are credited alongside Sorkin and some are not. And some he really did write all by himself.

But you can't tell me television networks will pay an entire room full of writers when one guy is actually generating 100% of the content. And of course, he wasn't. Do I believe all or almost all of those scripts went through rewrites (something more than "a final polish") by Sorkin (whether his name is on them or not) in his role as creator/chief writer/producer? Yes I do, absolutely, and very much to their benefit in nearly every case.

But that's not at all what he seems to be suggesting in this quote. Instead, he seems to be suggesting that every thought presented or word spoken onscreen in the shows he created was his and his alone. And I'm sorry, I just don't buy it.

I know about the oversensitive writer (believe me...I know about the oversensitive writer). This may be part-and parcel of the breed, and especially not shameful in those of us still hammering away upon our own individual walls.

But in a multiple-award winning, millionaire screenwriter who is so famous that his name actually gets used in movie ads...it's just unseemly.

So that's the first thing that got me thinking my man Sorkin was veering towards self-parody. And here is the second.
In The Social Network, Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) models Facebook on Harvard's legendary final clubs, private groups made up of some of the school's most privileged students. But the clubs are as secretive as they are exclusive, which meant researching them was no easy task for screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Luckily, he got a hand from one of the school's most famous alums: Natalie Portman.

Way to distance yourself from that "elitist" label, Mr. Sorkin. I'm sure her experience as a beautiful if annoying movie star is very typical of Harvard grads.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Now how did I not see this coming?

The latest from George "Greed can be a powerful ally" Lucas...

George Lucas watched the massive success of “Avatar” and “Alice in Wonderland” in the 3-D format and decided it was time for a return of the Jedi.

“Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” will return to theaters in 3-D in 2012 and will be followed in the stereoscopic format by the five other live-action movies set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.

Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic special-effects shop is overseeing the 3-D conversion. 20th Century Fox will release them, as it has done for all previous “Star Wars” films.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Actually, that's the last thing I'm worried about

The CS Monitor has an article on Bill Clinton's advice for Obama. Though I think some or even much of it is good advice, I also think it's all stuff Obama must already know in his bones.

It's just a matter of whether or not he can find enough Democrats with the spines to do what needs to be done (and good luck with that).

So I don't want to talk about the advice. No, what jumped out at me was this assertion by the writer, Brad Knickerbocker (excellent name BTW):
Clinton speaks from experience. Two years into his first term, he got whacked by Newt Gingrich and the GOP’s “Contract with America.” Obama now faces a GOP whose base is more energized than Democrats are (although both parties have the "tea party" movement to worry about), and which has just unveiled its “Pledge to America.”

Honestly, I am not worried about the tea party movement. They (and their effect on the GOP) are handing Obama and the Democratic party everything they should need to hold onto or even increase their majorities in the senate and house.

What I'm worried about is that they won't grab onto those teacup-nuts and use 'em to knock down some bodies. What I am worried about is that Obama will react to a mid-term "whacking" as Clinton did.

No, not by having an affair--by all accounts President Obama is deeply and passionately in love with his wife, and devoted to his family. But by resorting to the straddle-every-issue, don't-offend-anyone strategy that Clinton embraced from (at least) 1994-1996.

Though at least I almost certainly don't need to worry that he'll start listening to the likes of Dick Morris (aka the gnome who lives under your bed and nibbles at your toes), as Clinton did...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"The bottom line is that, issue by issue, we're liberal."

...We're just afraid to admit it.

Bob Cesca reminds us of a few things.

The "both sides" meme [is] a very popular and very serious false equivalency based upon the notion that somehow both sides are equally to blame for this or that. Hell, even Jon Stewart's forthcoming rally is founded upon the false "both sides" meme -- organized around the misguided observation that there's equal levels of insanity on both sides -- as if the unmitigated blather and glaring contradictions from the tea party people, talk radio hosts, Fox News Channel and the Republicans who pander to all three is somehow equivalent to, say, a comparatively minor group like Code Pink. It's a cop-out argument meant to sound fair-minded, but bears no resemblance to the reality of a lopsidedly insane far-right.

The first new music review I've written in almost three years has been posted

It's at my old stomping ground of Ink 19, and it's of the revived Orchestral Manoeuvers in the Dark's collection of new songs, History of Modern.

Of which you can get a taste from the ad below.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aaron, suck it up: Studio 60 failed because it wasn't your best work.

October is going to begin and end well for me, moviegoing-wise.

It’s opening with The Social Network, directed by David Fincher but most importantly to me written by Aaron Sorkin, whose work I tend to love.

I love his work but I don't always think he's right. Case in point:

As ]Sorkin] revs up, we coast over the statistic that one in four Americans still believes Barack Obama was not born in the United States (“There’s just too much bad information getting out there, and I have to believe that’s mostly the fault of the Internet, which isn’t held to any standards of accuracy”).

Oh god, he's back on this again.

Stop being pissed at the bloggers about S60, Sorkin.

Maybe you've been writing nonfiction too long. Maybe you've forgotten that your ficticious characters are 99 and 44/100% pure wish-fuffilment. It's the politicians and the journalists, Aaron.

There's bad information out there because few or no real politicians these days have the morals of your West Wing, and at least as few journalists these days have the talent of your Danny Concannon.

Not the people on the Internet, 95% of who are just trying to get through their lives after those people who actually have power and influence get through with them.

But anyway, that's how the month of October is starting in movies for me.

It's going to end with...oh shoot, what was that again...it's a heartwarming musical romantic comedy...I just can't think of the title...oh yes, that's right, I remember now, it’s...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Nile Crocodile

Nile Crocodile
Originally uploaded by geoftheref
its the one the only croco! strongest reptile on earth! stay away or else.

Tristan Deyoung-Dreykuss

(da nephew)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Observations on my downstairs neighbor

Apparently he's such a precious flower that he's called the manager--twice--to complain about my snoring. According to what he told her, it's actually driven him from his home at night, when he takes to the streets in his car rather than...oh just, say, toughening up, the crybaby.

So has anyone got a good snoring remedy?

I don't doubt that he can hear me...because I can hear *him.* (The floors here are thin.) Difference between us, I haven't been whining about it...

The manager just suggested that I move into an open apartment across the hall from where I am now, so he's no longer be right beneath me. I'd rather not do that (I happen to like the views from my windows)...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sometimes I have to wonder

Do the Democrats--and specifically President Obama--realize that they won the last election?

In Talking Points Memo:

Onward and Downward
... Dems preemptively moving to compromise on tax cut politics? It appears House Democrats may be moving toward accepting half a loaf on the policy front in exchange for conceding the politics to the GOP.

Oh well, it would've been nice if they'd acted like winners for a while (y'know, when they actually were)...but don't worry, they'll be losers again soon enough.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dear Anti-Mosqueteers...

Do you realize you're coming off so deranged that you're making my man Jigsaw look sane?

Do you care?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Oh, god...

I think I just figured something out. For years now, I've been saying (at least in my more cyncial moments) the reason why Republicans always seem to be in a position of strength while Democrats always seem weak is this:

Republicans have accepted and learned to use to their advantage something which Democrats still deny: Most of the people in this country are rock, bone, stick, stone stupid.

Now I think, Democrats (or at least the Obama administration's version of them) have started to catch on to this...but they think it only applies to their base.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Friday, September 03, 2010

This doesn't seem to have hit the news sites...

...but on Facebook Alex Bennett is saying that comedian Robert Schimmel has died in the hospital following this car accident.

A Modest Proposal:

Via the H-Post:

BP is warning Congress that if lawmakers pass legislation that bars the company from getting new offshore drilling permits, it may not have the money to pay for all the damages caused by its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Okay, BP, how about this. You don't have to pay any money. However, all your executives are required by law to wear big, impossible-to-mistake letters "BP" at all times. The rest of us are free to beat you bloody with tire irons whenever and however many times we see fit.

Sound good?

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Your final reminder

Tomorrow, September 1, is my birthday. My Amazon.com Wish List can be found to the right of these very words.

And if you find these frequent pesterings annoying (I know I would), just wait till October rolls around. Then you're gonna get so many Saw references you'll be begging me to go back to wheedling for some token of your approval--begging, I say!

I want to play a game (and no, this isn't a Saw post)

Those are coming in about a month.

The game I want to play is that I want you to read the opening paragraphs of this news item...

NC farm produces emerald shaped into massive gem

An emerald so large it's being compared with the crown jewels of Russian empress Catherine the Great was pulled from a pit near corn rows at a North Carolina farm.

The nearly 65-carat emerald its finders are marketing by the name Carolina Emperor was pulled from a farm once so well known among treasure hunters that the owners charged $3 a day to shovel for small samples of the green stones. After the gem was cut and re-cut, the finished product was about one-fifth the weight of the original find, making it slightly larger than a U.S. quarter…....

...and tell me honestly: How many lines into it did you have to get before the words "meteor;" "crystal;" "Superman" and/or "Kryptonite" crossed your mind?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Questions for the Universe

What the hell is Matt Frewer doing not participating in the DVD of Max Headroom: The Complete Series?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Things I've Found In Books: The Tradition continues

Just now, between pages 94 and 95 of the Seattle Public Library's copy of How I Got To Be Whoever It Is I Am, by Charles Grodin...:

It's apparently a prayer card such as is given out at a funeral. There's a photograph on the front of a sculupture I don't know enough to recognize, but it's of a man collapsed in the arms of an angelic-looking woman. Against a blue-sky backdrop.

On the back, it says "In Loving Memory of..." and I won't give the name, but curiously it's the same as a science fiction writer/editor (not the same person, tho) and quotes the 23rd Psalm:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for though art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wait--that's illegal now?

Trial Begins for Actress Accused of Sham Marriage

At least 10% of all the married couples in Hollywood just went: "Uh-oh."

Friday, August 20, 2010

Piranha 3-D is a lowest-common-denominator B-movie

By which I mean: You know how I can take the Saw movies seriously and defend my love for them on an intellectual level (and will, at the drop of a hat)?

This is not that kind of movie. This is the kind of movie the only reason to make is to have fun with it (if you dismiss the cynical motive).

And few of the surprisingly A-list stars--among them Elisabeth Shue,
Jerry O'Connell, Ving Rhames, Adam Scott, Jessica Szohr, Christopher Lloyd and Richard Dreyfuss--seem likely to have needed the money.

(Ok, maybe Dreyfuss.)

So I can only surmise that's why they wanted to make it--for the fun.

Some movies that are fun to watch were not fun to make, and vice-versa. I hope this one was both, but I can only speak from once side of the screen.

I haven't seen the Roger Corman-produced "cult classic," to which I guess this is technically the second sequel, but I'm told that Steven Spielberg thought that original Piranha movie, directed by Joe Dante and released in 1978, was the best of the Jaws ripoffs.

Supposedly that's why he hired Dante to direct a segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie (which was crap, but Dante's was far from the worst of it).

The point is that this movie (directed by Alexandre Aja) has to be at least that good. The only real question to ask about a film like this (or really any) is: Does it work? The answer is yes, it works very well indeed.

Before we conclude I have a quick observation and a brief question. The observation: If Piranha 3-D doesn't get Rhames an Oscar, there is no god.

Now the question: When did the "Flower Duet From Lakme" become de rigueur music for lesbian scenes?

Now back to our entry: There's something to be said about a movie that is exactly, completely, and totally what it is. Piranha 3-D is a lowest-common-denominator B-movie...but it's a good lowest-common-denominator B-movie.

(Even if one--admittedly minor--character does disappear without us ever knowing what happened to him. I'm assuming he was bitten to death off-screen, or in a cut scene which will be added to the DVD)

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Dems: What the fuck are you doing?

...scuse me...I have a question I'd like to ask the Democrats...it's in regards to the Mosque thing (which isn't actually a Mosque, and isn't...oh, skip it). The question is this: What the fuck are you doing?

There are few freedoms more central to who we are, or who some of us still think we're supposed to be, than the freedom of religion (or the reverse, freedom from religion, but that's a whole other what-the-fuck-are-you-doing for another frustrating day).

And instead of standing that ground and making that case, you're reacting to people who are, flatly, stupid and racist. As though they were neither.

What the fuck are you doing?

Why is it that when they're worried about an election Republicans run to the right, and Democrats run to the right?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Me, in this blog, on Friday, April 23, 2010:
A young [actress] named Rooney Mara ... bears watching as an up-and-comer.

E! Online yesterday:

Rooney Mara just landed the role of a lifetime as Lisbeth Salander in the much-hyped American version of Stieg Larsson's novel The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. She's set to star alongside Daniel Craig and Robin Wright in the cult favorite book-turned-flick.

She's also got a leading role in the forthcoming Social Network movie, with a screenplay by some unknown named Aaron Sorkin.

Don't tell me I don't know an actress to watch when I see one.

I should also mention that in the case of the audio items...I will gladly accept iTunes gifts.

Ahem. So. In two weeks I will be 39. I intend for this to be the last birthday I will ever acknowledge (it's a Jack Benny thing). So if you've yet to commemorate the date of my birth, or if it's been quite some time, this could well be your last chance.

Do you want to go to your grave knowing you never expressed your affection for me in some material way? I wouldn't think so. So what can you do about it? Funny you should ask.

Look over to your right and you'll find a list of over 20 suggestions--some of them quite reasonably priced.

(The last couple of years or so I've done "countdowns" on my blogs but I don't think I want to do that this year--perhaps mostly because I couldn't think of one...)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Am I the only person who thinks he's wrong about that?

A woman identified as an anti-war protester hit U.S. Sen. Carl Levin in the face with an apple pie during the Armed Services Committee chairman's meeting with constituents in northern Michigan, authorities said Monday.

Big Rapids police arrested Ahlam M. Mohsen, 22, of Coldwater, on assault and disorderly conduct charges. She has no listed telephone number.

Mohsen told the Big Rapids Pioneer she hoped "to send a message that liberals and Democrats are just as implicated in the violence (of war) as the Republicans."

Levin appeared to take the pie toss in stride.

"They didn't hurt me, but they hurt their cause even more than their own extreme words had already done," he said in a statement Monday afternoon.

Oh, really?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Just a few reminders that the good is coming to outweigh the bad, at least on this issue

1. Gay marriage supporters outnumber foes at rallies.

2. CNN Poll is First To Show Majority Support for Gay Marriage

3. Today in Sex: American Bar Association Says "I Do" to Gay Marriage

And as an aside to our good friends at President Obama's White House...way to drag your feet on an issue when you could've (and should've) been on the cutting edge...


Now this presents me with a poser. A certain misogynistic conservative (whose name I'm deliberately not mentioning because being talked about is clearly what they want) has proclaimed their disapproval of recent comments made by Jennifer Aniston.

The good-looking star told reporters:

"Women are realizing it more and more knowing that they don't have to settle with a man just to have that child. Times have changed and that is also what is amazing is that we do have so many options these days, as opposed to our parents' days when you can't have children because you have waited too long."

Said MC has dubbed the curvy Aniston a poor role-model for young girls, as well as "destructive to our society."

Here then is my dilemma. Even acknowledging the fact that someone in Jennifer Aniston's position would presumably be willing and able, as a single mother, to offer this hypothetical child what most moms could not.

As I think any of you who've been reading my blogs for a few years (and god bless you, BTW) know, I don't think single parenthood is such a good idea. The reason? I'm the son of a single parent. I know too well many of the things that can go wrong.

Yet...I just can't take the side of the misogynistic conservative...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Once again, a few words on a good cause:

I've talked already some recently about my friend Corey and Sacred Fools, so I'll let him take this for a minute. Corey?

Sacred Fools, my theater home of more than eleven years, is now conducting our summer fundraising campaign! The goal is $20,000 by the end of this month. Donors of $50 and over get free tickets and other perks - see the link below! Although we have had some sellout successes lately, we cannot survive on ticket sales alone; the expenses are just too high. Please donate (it's tax deductible!) and help us continue to make award-winning, fun theater!

Thanks, Corey.

I'll just add one wild promise to the above. Now, I haven't checked this with Cor or any other resident Fool, but I feel confident in making this assertion: Your contribution to Sacred Fools is guaranteed not to be spent on response ads to TV stars to run in USA Today.

Monday, August 09, 2010

I'd be proud if this were my daughter*

Taylor Momsen:

On the pictures of her crotch being all over the internet: "I don't take [any of the stories about me] to heart; I just look at it this way: My fucking tampon's on the goddamn Internet."

On wearing a friendship bracelet from her vibrator: "It doesn't talk back to me, so it's really not a best friend ... I'm not a whore for masturbating, so fuck you if you want to call me one. I think women should equally be allowed to pleasure themselves as much as men. I think that if that has any more controversy than a man talking about pleasuring himself, then there's something wrong with the world."

On the most famous fetus in the world Justin Bieber: "I don't know who Justin Bieber is. I only know his name because it keeps being brought up to me. I listen to Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, so I have no idea who he is. That's not a dis; I just don't know."

*And I'm at least 50% serious about that.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Publishers perish

Hey, remember the Men at Work/Colin Hay/"Down Under" plagiarism suit? It's happening again. The publishers of the iconic Beach Boys song "California Girls" are making noises about suing Katy Perry for her hit of the summer, "California Gurls."

The publishers, pls note. As this entry makes clear, the Beach Boys themselves (and in specific the co-writer of their song) are just fine with it.

This is what happens when people think anybody who didn't write a song can possibly own it.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

For Cal

How it makes me quiver
Originally uploaded by sgs_1019


Open question to those of you with MP3 players: Any recommendations for better earphones than those that came with my 4th generation iPod, which have already gone bad?

We're looking for great-sounding, quality earphones (or "buds" as I understand the kids are calling it these days) at not too great a price. So?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Is it possible for somebody to become...

... a parody of themselves, when there was already something pretty funny (not funny ha ha, funny strange) about her?

Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle's understanding of the political press appears to have even conservative outlets scratching their heads.

The Tea Party favorite made another peculiar remark during an interview with Fox News on Monday evening, explaining that she wanted "to have the press be our friend," and "ask the questions we want to answer so that they report the news the way we want it to be reported."

Fox News's Carl Cameron told Angle that she sounded "naïve" before resorting to somewhat nervous laughter.

"Garrulous!?" Hey, I resent that!

Via Sinematik.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Inter Views

I want to build up a little more interest around here, for me if no one else. So I think I'll throw the "interview" net out again...

("What others reproach you for, cultivate; it is yourself." - Jean Cocteau)

Here's looking at the rules, sweetheart:

Do YOU want to be interviewed?

Interview rules:
1. Leave me a comment saying "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. I get to pick the
3. You will update your blog with a post containing your the answers to the questions.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview
someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Is it possible Mel Gibson is really just an underground poet?

I mean, not to be the last person on the dogpile or anything, but check out this collection of text messages:

"Your goddamn mailbox is full! Hear you are at Sherman Oaks.

"Safe is best!

"I'm drowning in self doubt and depression. And pure rage.

"I'm just not digging it. Every minute like an agonized eternity. F*ck."

This means something, and I think it's artful.

Oh no, wait. Not artful. Awful. Yeah, that's it.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

And a big howdy to whoever found this...

...by Googling the title of my first--and to date, only--produced play and my last name from Beverly Hills this afternoon.

If that's you, Tara Reid, dammit, I said no!

Monday, July 26, 2010

A few words about the widget at right...

No, I'm not taking commercial space (yet). This production was originally done at the Sacred Fools theater company in Los Angeles, where my pal Corey is a member. He sez...
...we've made our Kickstarter fundraising goal - but that goal was just for the cost of renting a truck and driving the set/props across the country. We still need more to help with the rest of the show's expenses, though, so please either donate below, or come to the L.A. performances that begin this weekend... ticket sales entirely go towards the Fringe performances!

Corey is one of my most generous and supportive friends, and he deserves a good turn. But even if he wasn't and he didn't, Sacred Fools has won about four dozen awards (and been nominated for 100 more). They have a long list of strongly positive reviews; they're worthy of your support.

(They're also the company that hosted the first reading of my play The Girl in the Boat), but I see no reason for you to hold that against them...)

We know.

Movie panels in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con 2010 came to a close with Marvel assembling the entire lead cast of The Avengers together on the stage with director Joss Whedon, including the official announcement of Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/Hulk.

Finally, director Joss Whedon was announced and said “I had a dream all my life and it was not this good.” He joked that he was going to blow it.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm so happy...

Trailer, we have trailer, captain!

Friday, July 23, 2010

It's times like this I'm proud to be a geek from California

Unbeknownst to the dastardly fanatics of the Westboro Baptist Church, the good folks of San Diego's Comic-Con were prepared for their arrival with their own special brand of superhuman counter protesting chanting "WHAT DO WE WANT" "GAY SEX" "WHEN DO WE WANT IT" "NOW!" while brandishing ironic (and some sincere) signs. Simply stated: The eclectic assembly of nerdom's finest stood and delivered.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

it's...new Saw movie poster time.

Oh, I don't feel good about this--but it'll probably work to attract a new audience, which I assume is what the producers want, It's that time of year again, kiddies. Funny how time flies, in'it?

BTW, said producers are now telling the mainstream media that Saw VII (we real fans refuse to call it Saw 3D) will indeed be the last of the series. The USA Today item also has a couple of points which raise my ire:

The film was re-edited and submitted six times to the Motion Picture Association of America to bring it from an NC-17 to an R rating.

"I'm surprised we got it," says producer Mark Burg. "It's more violent than any of them. But it's in 3-D, it answers all the questions, it comes full circle. We have the goods on this one."

He couldn't say the same thing about the franchise's sixth installment, which earned $28 million last year, roughly half the take of its most recent predecessors.

While also earning the best reviews since the original; making it on to at least a few "best of the year" lists, and not all at horror-movie sites. I know, I've been coming back to that theme since Saw VI opened last year.

It's because I think VI director Kevin Greutert made a film he can genuinely be proud of, and I hate to see it getting the blame for the downturn in the series' earnings.

...family groups accused the franchise of giving rise to "torture porn" films that relish punishing their victims, especially women.

Sigh...okay, the "torture porn" thing. I refer you, again, to this article:
...the Saw movies actually contain less torture than most horror movies, in that most of the excruciating pain is self-inflicted by the characters. John "Jigsaw" Kramer (Tobin Bell), the bogeyman of the series, places his victims in death traps that are usually fast-acting and can only be stopped by an act of self-mutilation or the murder of another person. These are definitely nasty things to do to someone, but they're quick and are done out of a deranged kind of philanthropy—Jigsaw believes those who survive will be stronger people for it—as opposed to the prolonged interrogations we usually associate with torture today.

As for the victims being especially, women, it should be noted that the first Saw is one of the only horror movies in which not a single woman is killed. And the rest of the films are remarkably fair-minded about which sex is to be tested.

For every woman thrown into a pit of dirty hypodermic needles (which she survives, BTW) or getting her arms stuck in a box booby-trapped with razors (she doesn't), there's a man who has to climb inside a working furnace or gets his head blown off by a gun attached to the peephole in a door.

(All those examples, BTW, come from Saw II...should you want to rent it)

But at least, the article does give franchise star Tobin Bell the last word:

"It's a free country," says Bell, who plays Jigsaw. "If people don't want to look at certain things, they shouldn't go. The people who don't go to films were more upset than the horror fans."

Exactly. I know for a fact that hearing or reading a description of a Saw film (or even looking at the posters) is a lot more upsetting than actually going to one.

The way I know that is that my idea of the films, gleaned from that, upset me a lot more before I'd actually seen them. When I did, I became a fan (you may have noticed).

Those fans, Tobin says, are the only ones who matter. "You can say what you want about it, but Saw fans have loved and supported it every year. We must have been doing something right."

And that's why he is our man...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lying fink strikes again

Reading the doings of Andrew Breitbart always makes me feel the need for a shower.

Case in point.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Friday, July 02, 2010

I may have to rethink this whole "Buddhism-influenced" thing

Sign outside Yoga studio today: "Om is Where the Heart Is."

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I don't even know how to begin to tell you all the things that are wrong with this

The Travel Channel is running a show called "Most Unique McDonalds."

Oh, well that's just divine

If you follow national politics at all, you may have heard of one Sharron Angle. And if you've seen her on TV you may have come, as I have, to the conclusion that this woman A) Is probably a slow reader, if she reads at all, and B) Is creepy.

I'm not even talking about her positions on the issues, which are a whole other level of hell. I'm just talking about the way she comes off. As for her position on an issue...

Manders: Is there any reason at all for an abortion?

Angle: Not in my book.

Manders: So, in other words, rape and incest would not be something?

Angle: You know, I'm a Christian and I believe that God has a plan and a purpose for each one of our lives and that he can intercede in all kinds of situations and we need to have a little faith in many things.

Hear that, ladies? If you become pregnant because you were raped by a close relative, rejoice and be happy, for that is all just part of God's great good plan for you.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cute overload...

Emmy Rossum holding a puppy...what am I, made of stone?

Friday, June 18, 2010

For those of you at home, Elton John and Rod Stewart also played Sun City in Apartheid South Africa.

Just so we're clear.

Taking a break from the nerve-wrecking political reality in Israel is becoming even more difficult these days, as a number of well known music artists are canceling their scheduled concerts in Israel. This comes in the wake of last week's flotilla incident that turned deadly when nine pro Palestinian activists were killed after clashing with Israeli commandos.

This week, the US rock band "Pixies" has cancelled their concert in Tel Aviv just two days before the show. The band did not specify the exact reason, but the organizers say the decision was related to last week's flotilla raid. This announcement follows recent concert cancellations by the British dance band "Klaxons" and the "Gorillaz Sound System". Elvis Costello has also recently cancelled a scheduled show in Israel, prior to the flotilla incident, to protest Israeli policies towards the Palestinians.

Others, such as Elton John and Rod Stewart, are still planning to perform in Israel this summer.

Do the words "I never thought I'd see the day" mean anything to you?

Hugh Laurie and Lisa Edelstein shooting a scene for the season premiere of House.

We might've prevented it, but...

Roger Ebert on the oil leak. Excerpts:
What we can't seem to accept is that the oil is leaking and we can't stop it. This doesn't fit the modern narrative in which we can fix anything if we get organized and throw enough money at it.

The difference is, Bush could have done more with Katrina, but I don't see what Obama can do with the Spill. He's instructed: "Take personal command!" Should the President be our go-to guy on oil spills? ... He can try to pass some energy legislation, but both parties are in the pockets of Big Oil. Those few legislators who work for meaningful federal solutions are pilloried as "socialists."

Thursday, June 17, 2010

To recap...

In March of 2008, I changed the title of this blog from DiD to "a dragon dancing with the Buddha." I kept it that until early this month, when I decided to change it back again. It doesn't mean much of anything--the blog is the blog, no matter what I call it.

So what I can't figure out is why, now that I've changed it back, all of a sudden I keep turning up on lists of Buddhist Bloggers.

I mean, I don't object to that or anything, I just think it's funny that for the two years this blog had Buddha in its title, AFAIK I made no such listings. As I wrote the other day, I consider myself "Buddhism-influenced," or "Zen-ish," as Life's Charlie Crews would say, but not a full-fledged Buddhist.

I guess it's just a riddle.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

By chance, that also happens to be my drag name

Jennifer Aniston Clings to a 'Chastity Pillow' for Sex Scenes

I see this as a clear (and remarkably far-sighted) metaphor

...for the damage done by the Gulf spill and the challenges of cleaning it up.

I mean honestly...what else could it be?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

If you can't trust Jew comics, or little old ladies, whom can you trust?

I don't know what was weirder about tonight's Daily Show w/Jon Stewart. That Jon spent his entire first segment mocking the idea that something is clearly, clearly wrong with the Democratic primary in South Carolina, and one might rightly wonder whether republicans were involved...

...or that in the interview, Betty White made a point of saying she personally draws the line at making drug (specifically pot) jokes; then in the ad for her new series airing immidiately after that segment, she was seen making a drug (specifically pot) joke.

Maura Tierney health and employment update

Less than a year after dropping out of Parenthood to undergo treatment for breast cancer, Maura Tierney is returning to TV with a starring role on the upcoming ABC drama The Whole Truth, Entertainment Weekly reports.

Oh sure, now...

Somewhat to my surprise, I find that this blog, under its until-recently name of a dragon dancing with the Buddha, has been listed on a page of potential nominees for something called the "Blogisattva Awards, honoring excellence in English-language Buddhist blogging."

It seems pretty clear that they just did a search for blogs with words like "Buddha" in the title or description.

The thing is though, even when this one did have that word in its title, I'm not sure I'd call it a Buddhist blog. I have some interest in Buddhism, as most of you know, and talk about it from time to time, both here and on one or two of my other blogs.

But that doesn't make any of them "Buddhist blogs" any more than they're Fixx blogs or Jedi blogs or Jonathan Carroll blogs or...

Great typographical errors in craigslist postings

neural network
Originally uploaded by onkel_wart
The paint is very neural so anyone could move right in with the furniture they own!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Books That Make Me Want to Say Fuck You

Okay. You know how if you purchase and/or review things on Amazon, they occasionally send you e-mails of items they're hoping you'll buy from them as well?

I don't mind this at all, actually. Though I've rarely if ever bought something based on their recommendations, it has led me to order a book or two from the library that I might otherwise not have tried.

But today, they suggested, among others, the title "Life Is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment." Well, I certainly would enjoy to find that path, so I looked it up at the library. Here are the first words of the summary:
Composer, musician, and philanthropist Peter Buffett [the author], son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett...

That's right: A "pull yourself up by your own bootstraps" guide written by the son of a billionaire.

Fuck you.

Wait, there's more. In the same search results on the library web site, I found this title: "Have a new husband by Friday : how to change his attitude, behavior & communication in 5 days." Consider, for a moment, gentle reader, what your response would be to this title if it said wife rather than husband.

That would be a tad anti-feminist, would it not? Women good. Men bad.

Fuck you.

One more and this, I admit, is not so much of a "fuck you" response as I Really Don't Think That's a Good Idea: "How to set his thighs on fire : 86 red-hot lessons on love, life, men, & (especially) sex."

Back me up on this one, won't you, fellas? Setting our thighs on fire does not make us want to "love you all night long." It makes us want to reach for the special medication spray.

Not that I have any.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recommended reading on the Israeli blockade

Via Daily Kos:

Can we stop pretending the blockade is about keeping weapons out of Gaza?

An official document obtained by McClatchy reveals the Israeli blockade of Gaza is not about weapons, but instead "economic warfare" meant to collectively punish the Gazan civilians for having the audacity to vote in a free and fair election in a way Israel doesn't like. This is a crime.

The Geneva Convention, in which Israel is a signatory, expressly prohibits targeting civilians for "collective punishment." This fact apparently has made little impression on the Israeli leadership.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

You think I'm right to be suspicious of this, or is it only because it happened you-know-where?

Lightning kills Tenn. woman before fiance proposed

Lightning struck three times as the Knoxville, Tenn., couple were on Max Patch Bald, near Asheville. The third hit Butler, 30, and his girlfriend, Bethany Lott, 25, killing her on Friday, he told the Asheville Citizen Times. He suffered third degree burns.

"I was spun 180 degrees and thrown several feet back," he told the newspaper. "My legs turned to Jello, my shoes were smoking and the bottom of my feet felt like they were on fire."

His mother, Janet Delaney, said her future daughter-in-law loved the mountains.

Butler suffered third-degree burns, but Delaney said he hasn't been to a doctor despite her urging him to go. She said his emotions seem to be in good shape.

Seriously. I'm asking you. I'm not going for the knee-jerk Tennesee joke here. Something about this makes me go hmm...

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Aaron Sorkin writing for one of the greatest ensemble casts in TV history.

11 minutes of Sports Night, the show so good, it made me love a show that was about sports...sorta.

Saturday, June 05, 2010


Arizona School Demands Black & Latino Students’ Faces On Mural Be Changed To White

An Arizona elementary school mural featuring the faces of kids who attend the school has been the subject of constant daytime drive-by racist screaming, from adults, as well as a radio talk-show campaign (by an actual city councilman, who has an AM talk-radio show) to remove the black student’s face from the mural, and now the school principal has ordered the faces of the Latino and Black students pictured on the school wall to be repainted as light-skinned children.

(All emphasis in original)

As I've said elsewhere: At least Arizona isn't kidding anyone, or even themselves, anymore. They might as well just put it right on the state flag: Arizona: Brown Spics Are Stupid.