Saturday, November 21, 2009

Happy birthday Troy Aikman

Why does a guy who doesn't care about football select Troy over Goldie Hawn, Cherry Jones, Harold Ramis and Marlo Thomas (all of whom I think are worthy)? Because in the 4 years I lived in Dallas TX, the Cowboys won 3 Super Bowls. And Troy was part of that. Plus it's nice to change things up every now and again (also he does have an Emmy nomination to his name).

I have no evidence to confirm or refute allegations that Aikman's marriage is a sham because he's gay. Just because he married his publicist, doesn't mean anything. Does it? It doesn't... necessarily.

Aikman set a lot of records on the field, and now is a co-owner of the San Diego Padres, and has declined an invitation from Dancing with the Stars. He also is involved with color commentary during football games, but I don't know that first hand.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the day: "All of my Loving"

By Valley Lodge. The gratuitous nudity is just a bonus.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What is parliamentary procedure for "bitch please!"?

Rep. Virginia Foxx (R, NC) at it again. Step aside Bachmann.

Tis the season

For the wonder that is Dina Martina's Christmas Show in Seattle. If you find yourself in that part of the world between Thanksgiving and New Year's, go, see, and laugh your ass off. This isn't a Christmas song, but it will let you know what to expect.

Dina Martina

John | MySpace Video

The power of data

(h/t Kassie)

At little song, a little dance...

A little seltzer down your pants. David Lloyd, a longtime writer for television, passed away this week. He wrote what may be one of the funniest episodes of television ever: Mary Tyler Moore's "Chuckles the Clown Bites the Dust." If you haven't seen it, watch:

Rest in peace dude!

The calming beauty of cookies

Crappy morning, lots of meetings. Didn't get coffee until 3 hours into my morning. And I saw this and a serenity drifted over me. Aaaahhhh.

Flashback song: "Return of the Mack"

Mark Morrison, sometime in the mid-90s. Love this song, and tried to post it a while ago, to no avail. No one had the regular version on the tubes. It's here now (unless it's been yanked and the embed below is broken). So enjoy it now, while you still can. (BTW, he totally says "doo doo").

Happy birthday Ted Turner

The dude took a billboard company that he inherited when his father committed suicide and became a wealthy philanthropist. He's like Bruce Wayne without the vengeance (he was kicked out of Brown University for having a girl in his room--BRUCE WAYNE!).

And thanks to him, I have Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programs like The Venture Bros. and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. So I will plug those clips into his bio.

I respect Turner because, when growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta back in the mid-1970s, WTCG (now TBS) was the primary station for after school viewing. There were really two options: channels 17 and 46. And since TV was all knobs (no remotes), it was easier to switch between 17 and the VHF stations, than it was to get all the way up to 46. I mean, we're not talking about a ton of actual work, I'm just pointing out how the little things can influence ones life. I have no idea who ran channel 46 (which went on to become Atlanta's CBS affiliate years later).

Ted took advantage of inexpensive sitcom syndication (early in the syndication era, actors didn't get any money for reruns making shows like Gilligan's Island really cheap to show), and got the channel available on pretty much every cable carrier's line-up.

And then he created CNN.

And then CNN 2: Electric Bugaloo Headline News (now called HLN). Bought the Atlanta Braves. And started the Goodwill Games. Created TNT. Married Jane Fonda. And created Turner Classic Movies. Bought the MGM/UA movie catalog. Became Vice Chairman of Time Warner after they acquired all Ted's holdings.

About 10 years ago, Ted gave $10 billion (with a "b") to the United Nations (Bruce fucking Wayne). He owns a bunch of ranches in the west, raises bison, and this shout out doesn't do him justice. And he divorced Jane. Or she divorced him. And she got custody of Atlanta? That don't seem right.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the day: "Lady Luck"

This came up on my iTunes at work, and I thought it was from an old Atlantic R&B box set, or a 70s box set that I'd gotten from the library. I was shocked to find out it was from a free sampler I downloaded from Amazon sometime this year (Secretly Canadian records). It's by a dude named Richard Swift, from his 2009 release The Atlantic Ocean. The person in the video totally looks like a drag king, if you ask me. But I love the song. No wait, the person in the video totally looks like a drag king AND I love the song--those two items aren't usually mutually exclusive for me. Enjoy.

Shoot-y, pretty, Alaska

Last night's Daily Show (this morning's to me) included a montage of talking heads touting the brilliance of Sarah Palin and explaining why people on the left (I guess that's me) hate her. Apparently she has these qualities. And that's what I don't get. Jon Stewart summarizes nicely. And just to remind you: Palin quit during her first term. She quit the oil committee thing in less than a year. And she faced a shitload of ethics violations charges for behavior before she even got tapped to run for VP (like living in her Wasilla home and charging the state a per diem because she wasn't living in the fucking governor's mansion).
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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Michelle Bachmann would like to remind you that she's still working

Unlike that other crazy Republican woman, the quitter. She's still doing the crazy on top of her full-time elected job. Don't forget.

(h/t Gawker)

The best songs of all time... if you don't listen to a lot of music

XFM, a UK-based radio station polled its listeners and has announced the 10 best songs of ALL TIME. All time reaches all the way back to 1980. That's right, nearly 30 years of popular music. I mean, it's a modern rock kind of station, so maybe the assumption is that anyone before New Wave doesn't count. Is Joy Division New Wave?

10. Muse "Plug in Baby" (2001)--I have to admit I don't know this song. Muse have a recent comeback album, and I'm liking the stuff I've heard (in fact, I have something from them on my list for up-coming songs of the day). Anyway, don't know enough to be snarky. Except THIS over Elvis Costello?

9. The Verve "Bittersweet Symphony" (1997)--This is a highly regarded song in the UK. Tons of accolades. It's a shame Ashcroft got fucked by The Rolling Stones so badly, but there's a lesson in there kids: always clear your publishing before you release your albums. Duh.

8. The Smiths "There is a Light That Never Goes Out" (1986)--No qualms at all. Dina Martina included a version of this in one of her Christmas shows, "what a Christmas-y way to die" was the lyric. It worked.

7. Nirvana "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (1991)--yawn... I mean, unexpected.

6. The Stone Roses "I Am the Resurrection" (1989)--I know I've heard this, but I don't remember it. I don't have strong opinions either way.

5. Joy Division "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (1980)--Absolutely. The most hatred ever directed at me (so far) was from playing Paul Young's version at the college radio station. Ouch.

4. Oasis "Wonderwall" (1995)--Sure, why not.

3. Oasis "Don't Look Back in Anger" (1995)--Okay, really? No Paul Weller or The Jam? Not The Police? No Pretenders or Duran Duran? Okay then.

2. The Killers "Mr. Brightside" (2004)--It's a good song, but is it really the 2nd best song of all time. All time? Really, Kanye, all time? Not The Clash or Big Audio Dynamite?

1. Oasis "Live Forever" (1994)--Seriously? No, seriously? Who voted, the Committee to Piss Off Blur Fans?

Who isn't on this list that's 30% Oasis (but is modern rock-ish, which is why there's no Beatles here either)? The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Ramones, New Order, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Eurythmics/Annie Lennox, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Husker Du, The Go-Gos, and U2. Just to name a few.

Happy birthday Delroy Lindo

I learned to love Lindo based on his performance in The Cider House Rules. I'd seen him before, and in retrospect I started to realize what a talent he is, but it was his work in Cider House that really did it for me. Unfortunately, there are no good clips with him on the tubes, but he and Erykah Badu are both excellent. It was Miramax's big Oscar movie for 1999, but they pushed Michael Caine heavily in the supporting actor category (the same category Lindo belonged in) and Caine ultimately won. The movie itself is a mixed bag--it would have been fine as a CBS movie event (except for the whole "abortion" aspect [spoiler alert]), but I thought The End of the Affair and The Talented Mr. Ripley were both far superior movie-wise.

I realized I'd seen him in the fantastic Get Shorty, the fun Broken Arrow, and the way under-appreciated A Life Less Ordinary. And Crooklyn. And Malcom X. And Ranson.

If you haven't seen Get Shorty, that's the first one to look for. Lindo's isn't a huge role, but there are so many rewarding performances, and it all fits together really nicely. John Travolta was on his way to an easy Oscar nomination, and when accepting a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Musical/Comedy for the movie, he made a very public pitch for Scientology. The same year, at the same awards, Nicole Kidman, also on a fast track to an Oscar nomination, won Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy for To Die For, and also made a public pitch for Scientology. Both movies fell off the Oscar map faster than you can say L. Ron. But there's no pitch in the movie, so watch it.

I don't know why A Life Less Ordinary wasn't well received, much like the Coen Brother's The Big Lebowski (another quirky follow up to an indie hit film [Fargo]). Director Danny Boyle's follow up to Trainspotting starred Ewan McGregor, Cameron Diaz, Holly Hunter and Lindo. It's stylish, unexpected and fun. But for fans of Trainspotting's baby on the ceiling, its humor was likely not dark enough. The Big Lebowski wasn't well received either, but it's grown into a cult classic, so maybe there's hope for ALLO now that Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire won a shitload of Oscars last year.

Despite the presence of Lindo and Alfre Woodard, I'm reluctant to push Crooklyn on you. The soundtrack, however, is the shit: The Staple Singers, The Jackson 5, Curtis Mayfield, Jean Knight and The Chi-Lites to name but a few. Check that out from your library.

Anyway, I don't think I've seen him recently, so I will need to get a copy of Up since he does voice work there. Dear Santa.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

For the cat owner in your life

Song of the day: "Make Me"

Janet Jackson is packaging a new song with a "greatest hits" collection. Clark points out that Design of a Decade basically took care of that (since she hasn't actually had a lot of hits since then), but I think he's just jealous cause, of the two of them, she kept her moves... just saying. The song's okay, but I think the only way this song gets associated with "Janet's greatest hits" is by releasing it on the record, not because it's gonna earn that title by itself.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Flashback song: "Dimming of the Day"

This is a great flashback convergence. The version I'm using is sung by birthday girl Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio  (who I like a lot), from the John Sayles (who I love) movie Limbo. Mastrantonio received a Tony nomination for Man of La Mancha about 6 years ago, and prior to that I didn't know she could sing. She can.

"Dimming of the Day" is also one of my favorite Richard Thompson songs, with some of the most passionate lyrics I can think of (see below). There are great covers by Bonnie Raitt, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Mary Black, David Gilmour and The Neville Brothers.

Happy birthday to M.E.M.! Rock on!

This old house is falling down around my ears
I'm drowning in a river of my tears
When all my will is gone you hold me sway
I need you at the dimming of the day

You pull me like the moon pulls on the tide
You know just where I keep my better side

What days have come to keep us far apart
A broken promise or a broken heart
Now all the bonnie birds have wheeled away
I need you at the dimming of the day

Come the night you're only what I want
Come the night you could be my confident

I see you on the street in company
Why don't you come and ease your mind with me
I'm living for the night we steal away
I need you at the dimming of the day
I need you at the dimming of the day

We're #1

In sexually transmitted diseases (among developed countries). The USA set a new record for cases of STDs in 2008. Proving yet again the abstinence-only sex education works (if you're trying to increase unwanted pregnancies and bring back syphilis).

Teen girls have notably high rates of infection for gonorrhea and chlamydia, so yeah, realistic sex education could help with this.

(h/t to Salon)

Happy birthday RuPaul

Back in Atlanta in the 80s, RuPaul was a lot more Warhol than Diana Ross. She (gender etiquette suggests that you use the pronoun based on attire) was a club scene presence, and if you don't know, Atlanta at that time had like a half dozen 24-hour clubs. I took nightlife like that for granted, and was really surprised when I moved away.

Ru- was able to circulate in the alternative music scene, the black nightlife scene, and the gay/drag scene. These were all pretty big scenes.

My first exposure to her films, ultra-low budget movies that played occasionally in clubs and made very little sense, was a scene of RuPaul rubbing a can of Love My Carpet across a man's crotch in a cross between awkward eroticism and product placement. I don't think that was from Star Booty, but we played the soundtrack to Star Booty at the radio station, and this became something of a signature song of mine.

At some point we saw her live and, after Ru- said something like "this song goes out to everyone in the entire world," Chris Wilson shouted "even in Ceylon?" To which RuPaul replied "yes, even in the salon."

RuPaul spent a lot of time between Atlanta and NYC in the early 90s. I remember being speechless and thrilled when I first saw the video for "Supermodel" on MTV back in 1993--in addition to watching her come into national prominence, it was a refreshing break from gangsta rap and grunge.

I'm disappointed by the options for RuPaul tracks (aside from the awesome original Star Booty footage and audio), but "Back to My Roots" was a lesser hit from her major label debut, and includes the chant "oh, oh, TAMBA" (by the way, Google assumes I meant Tampa) so here you go. By the way, Chris Rock's documentary Good Hair totally better use this song.

RuPaul's biggest hit, based on its UK chart placement and sales, is the remake of "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" with Elton John. Elton lives in Atlanta too. It's this weird gay mecca.

I didn't watch any of RuPaul's Drag Race, so I can't comment on that. I did like him out of drag in Red Ribbon Blues, the only time I've seen him use his full name RuPaul Charles. She's great in the camp classics The Brady Bunch Movie and A Very Brady Sequel as Jan's guidance counselor.

But since I can't find any of those clips, I'll leave you with another remake, this time with Weather Girl Marsha Wash (the voice of C+C Music Factory and Black Box), "It's Raining Men" (the sequel). Not really needed, but whatever.

Happy birthday dude (that's not gender specific when I use it)! Rock on!

Song of the day: "Cheat on Me"

By The Cribs. I don't know anything about The Cribs, except that Johnny Marr is now in the band. Wait, what time is it now?

I do like the song.

If you're going to get indignant about something someone didn't say

You should at least make the statement seem more offensive. Sarah Palin is complaining (by the way, that sentence can be re-used over and over, I am sure); on her book tour she's fighting back against Katie Couric and her insinuation that Alaska is some fringe community at the edge of the continent. But 2 quick points on that:

  1. Alaska is a fringe community at the edge of the continent. I've been there. Bananas are like $3 a piece. Not a pound, a piece. And I think my rental car had a 6-track tape deck. And moose wander the interstates as if they lived there too.
  2. That's not what Couric was asking at all. I mean, if you want to stretch, maybe, but when Couric probes and clarifies, it's clear that this is about understanding better who this "out of nowhere" VP candidate is. Watch.

So my point is this, instead of being offended by the whole non-existent "Alaska is provincial" angle (by the way, Portland OR is totally fucking provincial, so don't tell me Alaska isn't), be offended by the non-existent "Katie Couric called Palin a stupid cunt" comment. It's soooo much more interesting.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A birthday trinity

Three women that I like a lot.

Maggie Gyllenhaal (whose name I will spell differently every time) is moving quickly into "actress I love" territory (Happy Endings, The Dark Knight, Secretary--she's great in all of them). I haven't seen Sherrybaby, her 2006 movie that was supposed to get her an Oscar nomination, but I'm looking forward to Crazy Heart, a movie with Jeff Bridges (another favorite of mine) whose release date has been moved up to get it into this year's Oscar season. I can't embed the video, but click here to watch her singing in Happy Endings.

Martha Plimpton is one of the reasons I have a 10-year rule. Now that she's pushing 40, her chances of scoring a role worthy of her talents are getting smaller. She's got a solid body of work (not very showy, but quality), including The Mosquito Coast, Running on Empty and, of course, The Goonies. She received 3 Tony nominations in the past 3 years, so Broadway seems to be working for her. Here she is being interviewed by a drag queen.

I can't tell you why I like Missi Pyle so much, I just do, okay. I'm following her on Twitter. It was a random decision. I'm not obsessed, in a clinical sense. She's hysterical in the under-appreciated Josie and the Pussycats, and was fun in Galaxy Quest(it's a pretty thankless part) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as Violet's mom. She was in Boeing Boeing on Broadway this past season and is currently touring with her band Smith & Pyle. Here's their song "I Wish You Were Dead."

Happy birthday dudes! Rock on!

Song of the day: "The Sweetest Thing"

Yet another track from Camera Obscura's My Maudlin Career.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Travel review of the day

[Update: yikes, it was Erin, not Eric. D'oh!]
Friend Erin Eric, reacting to my comment that Dayton OH looked depressing during the first part of the Project Runway finale.
"Dayton is like Detroit minus all of the interesting things. Think about that… "

Happy birthday Sam Waterston

Three of today's birthdays have a strong case as birthday of the day. Beverly D'Angelo is superbly talented and was the voice of Lurlene Lumpkin on The Simpsons.

Ed Asner has 7 Emmys, and by winning in the Drama and Comedy categories for playing the same character (Lou Grant), that was some kind of Emmy first.

But only Sam Waterston endores robot insurance.

Waterston has a mere one Emmy, and not for Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU or Caffeine-Free Law & Order. It's for Outstanding Informational Series for something that was informational (ergo I don't care).

He was nominated for an Oscar for 1984's The Killing Fields. It's a great movie, but depressing and harrowing and I'd be happy never to see it again. I don't get how Waterston was nominated for lead actor and co-star Dr. Haing S. Ngor won supporting actor. Ngor has a considerably larger amount of screen time than Waterston (all of the actual killing fields scenes? they contain Ngor--the movie's not called Upper East Side), but as I've said in the past, I'd rather win supporting actor than get nominated in lead (where Ngor likely would have lost to Amadeus star F. Murray someone... it's been 25 years since he last worked so no use recalling his name). The Killing Fields was nominated for a slew of Oscars and won 3 in total, including editing and cinematography for Chris Menges (whose work I respect, but I don't consider him a favorite--after I read about that trick that Haskell Wexler did in Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolf? I noticed something similar that Menges did years later in Michael Collins--you never get to see the sky, giving the British occupation of Northern Ireland a claustrophobic feel).

He's worked with Woody Allen 3 times, including Hannah and Her Sisters (where Carrie Fisher and Dianne Wiest fight for his attention), and Crimes and Misdemeanors. His roles in both are smaller, but in C&M he's fantastic--it's a performance I listed as my supporting actor of the year, despite its brevity. Unfortunately I can't get his scenes on youtube, but go, watch, you'll see.

Along with the wonderful Jerry Orbach, Waterston was named a Living Landmark of NYC. And he was in the movie Capricorn One back in 1978, which means he knows OJ. Wonder what stories he has. Sure it was over 30 years ago, but next time you run into him, ask him. And report back here in comments!

I'll skip posting L&O stuff. Cause, you know, just switch to TNT, it's on now.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Earl Blumenauer in today's New York Times

"The news media was a particular culprit in this [death panel] drama. This was not just Fox News; seemingly all the national news organizations monitored any meetings they could find between lawmakers and constituents, looking for flare-ups, for YouTube moments. The meetings that involved thoughtful exchanges or even support for the proposals would never find their way on air; coverage was given only to the most outrageous behavior, furthering distorting the true picture."

Earl Blumenauer (D, OR) is my Representative. The full article is here.

It's sad that he makes as much as Virginia Foxx (R, NC) and Michelle Bachmann (R, MN).

Song of the day: "Did You See Me Coming?"

The recent Pet Shops Boys album, Yes, is ready for me to pick up from my library. In 2010 they will be eligible for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, although they won't be inducted. Just ask Kraftwerk and Eurythmics. Maybe there needs to be a pop music hall of fame. Or dance music. Or good music. There you go, the Good Music Hall of Fame.

I used to lament the fact that I liked them a lot, and maybe that was distracting me from liking bands like The Pretenders and Squeeze--bands I clearly should have liked more. And then they released Behavior, an absolute work of art. And you know who agrees with me on that? Axl Rose. The song "November Rain" was inspired, at least in part, by "My October Symphony."

Anyway, here's a track from their latest, from a few months ago. After I pick up the CD, I'll see if there's a better track to feature soon.