Saturday, December 19, 2009

Flashback song: "Somewhere Over The Rainbow"

I am a huge Everything But The Girl fan, and it freaking KILLS me to have just discovered Tracey Thorn singing this from like 1993. Which was pretty much the peak of my import collecting of her stuff! Seriously, my friend Val who was also a super fan didn't know of this either.

It's from a Japanese release by a jazz musician named James McMillan, and I'm including it as part of my seasonal selection. Yes, it's not a traditional holiday song, but I'm sure you'll agree, upon listening, that this arrangement has a very Christmas-y feel to it.

Notes on He's Just Not That Into You

You know what... no. Never mind.

Notes on Julie & Julia, and Up

So today's epiphany is the joy of $1 DVD rentals from redbox. Typically I see a line at every kiosk, but today at my grocery store, no line. And since I was planning to pay-per-view J&J, I figured why not try it and save $4. And they had Up, which I wanted to see, so ta da, I got them both. Even better that I don't need to go all the way to St. John's to return it, I can drop it at my Walgreen's.

Julie & Julia
is a sweet movie, but it's not enough about Julia Childs to make it a true bio, and there's not enough of a story about the Julie chick to make me care. If there were more to that story, I would have settled for Julia in the background, but the movie that's there is like a gourmet entree alongside potato chips and a bag of salad. Or something like that.

Meryl Streep is great, and Childs is an amazing and interesting character. I find myself wanting more of that and less of the blog story (yes, irony that I'm blogging about the relative lack of interest in a story about a blog, get over yourselves). She's pretty much got a lock on a nomination for Best Actress. I'll add that Stanley Tucci was very good and might be a darkhorse contender for a Supporting Actor nomination, but for the fact that he's got some solid traction in that category based on his work in The Lovely Bones. But I could see him swapping the movie for which he's nominated in the way Dennis Hopper did with Hoosiers/Blue Velvet.

I think there's a soft shot at Adapted Screenplay, and possibly for Costumes, and Art Direction. The music, editing and cinematography didn't do much for me.

It was great hearing Mary Kay Place do the voice work as Julie's mom, but there's not much more to say about that. I love her as an actress and still have hope she finds the right role that lets me pontificate about her Oscar odds in the near future.

Up has a lock on a nomination for Animated Feature, but unlike Wall-E and The Incredibles, I don't see Up picking up anything outside that category except, possibly, Original Score. Michael Giacchino was nominated once before, for his score for Ratatouille. It's probably got a darkhorse shot at an Original Screenplay nomination, but I don't really see that happening. It's a sweet movie, and the dog Dug is hysterical (and reminds me a lot of Midge). But it's a lesser movie in the Pixar roster, in my opinion. It might grow on me, like The Incredibles, but that'll take time. It's nice to go into Oscar season where this category is expanding to 5 nominations, and there's no dominant player. Coraline, The Fabulous Mr. Fox and this are all getting critical acclaim, with The Princess and the Frog likely to garner the fourth slot.

2009 singles: "Down"

It's funny, I've heard this song in an episode of The Office and in this video made for a breast cancer awareness promotion, but on its own it's a great fucking single. I don't know anything about Jay Sean except that he's the first "British Asian" to top the US record charts since Freddie Mercury. And while you're scratching your head over that statement, enjoy the song. I'm using the pink glove video again since it was made here in Portland.

Baby are you down down down down down?

I didn't know Midge had a brother...

...who is a movie star. His name is Dug and he's in this Summer's hit movie Up.

The thing about this punchline

FOX News would never confirm or deny something. They would just start their story with "some say Tiger Woods is a vampire" or "IS Tiger Woods really a vampire? Some are suggesting that..."

FOX News, where journalism and ethics can't be found.

I would hate to be John McCain

During the 2008 campaign, Cindy McCain said that Obama's vote against a bill that would provide supplemental funding for the troops sent a shiver down her spine. Her spine I tell you. And this is a woman with a history of prescription painkiller abuse, so you know it takes some serious shit to do that to her spine.

Well, Johnny GETOFFMYLAWN McCain voted against funding the troops last night. So unless she's a total fucking hypocrite who cares more about politics than she does about the troops, like EVERY FUCKING REPUBLICAN IN THE SENATE, her spine is probably shivering again. There's no telling what she might do. John, you might want to use one of your old POW camp tricks and keep one eye open tonight.

Do you have a Republican Senator? Ask him or her why they hate the troops. Because there's no other reason to deny funding to the troops except that you hate the troops AND you hate America. Why would someone who hates America so much even want to be a Senator.

And to every Republican in the Senate that is playing the delay game on healthcare reform: fuck you and every fucking member of your families.

Are your boobs jealous of your butt?

Mine deny it, but I'm not sure. Sarah Haskins from Current TV's Infomania recaps the year in Target: Women ("...underpants").

Flashback song: "That Was The Worst Christmas Ever"

I came late to the Sufjan Stevens party, and I'm still not sure how to pronounce his name. At 34 years old, the man (he'd be a kid if he were 15+ years younger than me) cranks out music inspired by off-beat topics (the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Casimir Pulaski Day, John Wayne Gacy) at an astounding rate. He's done 2 albums in his 50 state album project, and another 6 studio albums since 2000. Oh and he writes all his own songs and plays all his own instruments and probably recycles the materials used in his album packages, and still has time for yoga or pilates. It's exhausting just thinking about it.

This is from his 2003 EP Ding! Dong! Songs for Christmas Volume III. Another in my seasonal selection. Enjoy before you fight for a parking spot at the mall.

Song of the day: "Cinema Italiano"

The last of the 5 Golden Globe nominations, this is an addition to Nine to qualify in the Original Song category, performed by Kate Hudson. It's written by Maury Yeston who did the song score for Nine, and if he's not as well known as Andrew Lloyd Weber or Diane Warren... well, there might be a reason for that. Paul McCartney and the song from Crazy Heart are looking stronger and stronger.

Friday, December 18, 2009

2009 singles: "Games For Days"

Julian Plenti is actually Paul Banks from Interpol. I know that I've been digging Interpol's stuff for the last 6 years or so, but I can't tell you why Banks has done a solo album under an assumed name.

I do know that I totally love this song. It's easily going to end up in my Top 10, very possibly in my Top 5.

Great big lies, as evil as your flies, I meditate to grow wise, I declassify

2009 singles: "The Last Place That Love Lives"

A friend and co-worker went to graduate school at Georgia Tech in the mid-90s and thinks really highly of the Black Crowes. I guess after 8 albums, and 20 years, I really ought to give them some credit for something. They keep at it. And while I wouldn't have gone out of my way to check out Before The Frost... Until The Freeze from the library, when Eric brought it in among a stack of CDs, I added it to my iTunes. Tracks come up here and there, and this one is I end up noticing. Written by Chris alone, it seems like a descendant of "She Talks To Angels" but in a good way.

Set adrift on an ocean, Until I find that peaceful shore

Just in time for Christmas!

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The happiest state, explained

A study ranks Louisiana as the happiest state in the country (here).

I credit their serving liquor at drive-up windows.

Flashback song: "The Christians And The Pagans"

Another seasonal song, this one a celebration of family divergence from Dar Williams.

Have you decorated your home with pagan symbols yet?

Happy birthday Keith Richards

Dude is only 66 years old. I think we can all agree that he has packed a lot into those years.

Happy birthday dude! Rock the fuck on!

2009 singles: "The Wrestler"

While I'm on the subject, here's Bruce Springsteen's song from The Wrestler. The movie is from 2008, but the song is from 2009 because the movie was only in limited release last year and was released wide this year, and the song released this year. This isn't about the movie though, just the song as a stand-alone single.

It's a gut-wrenching song, and lyrically Springsteen clearly spent some time with the movie as inspiration. (Which makes Darren Aronofsky's fumbling of its placement in the movie all the more egregious... gah, this isn't about the movie, sorry.) It's not the kind of song I want on a mix tape, but it IS the kind of song I want to remember 5 years from now.

These things that have comforted me, I drive away, This place that is my home I cannot stay

2009 singles: "Stu's Song"

Since I mentioned it in the last post, I'll toss it in here. I've been frustrated recently by some pretty good original songs written for movies (Bruce Springsteen's "The Wrestler" is a great example) not being used IN the movie (it was relegated to the end credits despite the fact that the scene at the Jersey Shore was a perfect moment to use it). My guess is the song from Avatar will play over the end credits, but by using the score it'll feel like it was part of the movie.

But there's no denying that "Stu's Song" was part of The Hangover, since it was performed by Ed Helms on camera, at the movie's midpoint. Was it integral to the movie? No. Will it be taken seriously come Oscar nomination time? Probably not, it's really minimal; say what you will about "Blame Canada" but as a song it is a fantastic--the entire song score to South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut is on par with Beauty and the Beast (which is Disney's most realized song score)--so anyone in the music branch of the Academy that gave it any attention could easily have voted for it. Listening to all of "Rock Me Sexy Jesus" from Hamlet 2, I realize how quickly that song loses its steam, but I still don't get why "Enter You" from Trick didn't pick up a nomination that year (it works on so many levels).

Anyway, I figure it's worth a reminder.

And if he's been murdered by crystal meth tweakers, Well then we're shit out of luck

Song of the day: "I See You"

Director James Cameron is hoping Avatar is another Titanic, and why not? Love it or hate it, Titanic is a phenomenal piece of film-making. When Cameron goes, he goes big, and visually speaking, he gets it every time.

The music for Avatar is done by the same composer (James Horner) who did Titanic. And along with that, there's an original song for Avatar that, like the original song in Titanic, uses motifs from the score along with lyrics by Will Jennings. The only change is from power balladeer Celine Dion to power balladeer Leona Lewis (I guess she looks more like the blue alien chick).

It's been nominated for a Golden Globe and is getting a push for an Oscar nomination. That process has gotten a little confusing in recent years (they started a bake-off process, and now every song clip is viewed in its context of the movie and a score of 6-10 is given by each member of the blue ribbon panel and there's some mandatory minimum--it's how there were only 3 songs nominated last year). It's playing in the background as I type this, and I have to say I'm not feeling it. I think I'm pulling for the song Ed Helms sings in The Hangover over this.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reactions to the Screen Actors Guild Award film nominees

I was very pleased to see that the cast of An Education picked up a nomination for Best Ensemble. They are all solid, even if many of them have un-showy roles. It's a fantastic ensemble, period. Their competition this year are ensembles from The Hurt Locker (clearly on track for a slew of Oscar nominations, and possible wins for Best Picture and even a "girl" could win Best Director), Inglorious Basterds (which is in the thick of a run for Oscar nominations, but it may work its way onto the list of 10 Best Picture nominations without a Director nod of Tarantino), Precious (which continues a strong run, and will easily lock down 2 acting nominations), and Nine which hasn't landed too strongly in the critics awards or preliminary show business awards, but could rebound with the guild awards next month.

What's missing? It would have been nice to see Star Trek here--they did a great job casting for the reboot, and got some genuinely good performances in a big popcorn movie (but don't get me started on the details--is there no OSHA for Romulans?), Up In The Air (I guess nominating 3 of the principals individually means they're not snubbing the movie, but still), The Lovely Bones (barely getting awards play, and only thanks for Stanley Tucci), It's Complicated (which picked up the Ensemble award from NBR), The Messenger, and maybe The Last Station (although 2 of its principals are here). Oh, and The Hangover, which is getting smallish recognition here and there.

The 5 Best Actor nominees seem like the 5 that will pick up Oscar nominations: Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart), George Clooney (Up In The Air),  and Morgan Freeman (Invictus) seem certain. Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), and long overdue for a nomination Colin Firth (A Single Man) are in very strong positions as well, just one notch below "certain." I could see one of those two miss, but that would require a swell of support for Tobey Maguire (Brothers) or a big debut for Nine (Daniel Day-Lewis). Michael Stulhbarg (A Serious Man) or Ben Foster (The Messenger) have a tough hill to climb if they want to get in there. The relative recent nature of Clooney's and Freeman's Oscar wins make me think this is Bridges's year. Which is good, cause I like him.

Of the 5 nominees for Best Actress, I think Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) are nearly locks on Oscar nominations. I think the last 2 slots will go to Sandra Bullock (The Blindside), Helen Mirren (The Last Station) or Emily Blunt (The Young Victoria).

It's beginning to look like Up In The Air will pick up nominations for both Anna Kendrick and Vera Farmiga in the Supporting Actress category. Mo'Nique (Precious) has been pretty dominant in the critics awards (losing NBR to Kendrick), and has a lock as well. The other 2 nominees for SAGs in this category, Penelope Cruz (Nine) and Diane Kruger (Inglorious Basterds) don't seem that certain. I was a little surprised that Samantha Morton (The Messenger) and Julianne Moore (A Single Man) didn't make it here. I think they're at least as strong as Cruz and Kruger. I thought highly of Paula Patton in Precious, and would love her to end up in the mix. The other player that might show up is Sigourney Weaver in Avatar. But technically Nine is loaded with potential in this category, so I'll wait to see how that opens.

And finally, among the Supporting Actor contenders, Christopher Waltz (Inglorious Basterds) has a lock on a nomination; in addition to winning nearly every critics award, he also has a Best Actor award from Cannes earlier this year.  Woody Harrelson (The Messenger) feels stronger than the rest of the pack in terms of Oscar nomination odds. Matt Damon (Invictus) is probably next strongest, and I could see those 3 plus Christopher Plummer (The Last Station). It feels like The Lovely Bones might end up forgotten come nomination time, and this is where I could see something completely out of left field coming through: either an actor from The Hurt Locker (Anthony Mackie) or someone like Steve Martin (It's Complicated). [UPDATE: After sleeping on this, I'll add Karl Urban (Bones in Star Trek), and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover).]

The Hurt Locker is reopening near my office, so I'll try to pick that up at lunch in the next week. And I'll watch Julie & Julia (and perhaps Inglorious Basterds) on pay-per-view very soon. I don't get Up In The Air until Christmas weekend... sigh.

2009 singles: "The Last Dance"

Danish band The Ravonettes made a return with In and Out of Control. I don't know much about them except I think they had a song used in a Kmart ad several years ago, when Kmart was trying to be hip, fashion-wise. I think there were WB actors in the ads. It's been a while though.

And every time you overdose, I rush to intensive care

Happy anniversary to The Simpsons

20 years ago today. I am conflicted because when I do watch, I seldom pay attention through the entire show. And so many episodes seem like another return to a show they've done before (and better). But still, I'm waiting for a cable channel that is JUST The Simpsons, 24/7. Because I will watch that, more than you'd think.

2009 singles: "All Babes Are Wolves"

I think I heard Spinnerette for the first time in 2008 with their debut "Ghetto Love" EP. Their full-length album came out this year, and this song caught my attention. Otherwise don't know much. They're from LA, and this song rocks.

Knives in the kitchen, sheets on the bed, It's just another distraction from the love we have

2009 singles: "Two Weeks"

Don't know much about Grizzly Bear except they seem to get confused (by me) with Fleet Foxes). It's all good, I'm sure.

I don't know that this will end up on a Top 50 list, but it's good to be reminded.

Save up all the days, A routine malaise

Song of the day: "The Weary Kind"

Co-written by T Bone Burnett, and co-written and performed here by Ryan Bingham, this song is from the new Jeff Bridges movie Crazy Heart which seems to have him on a fast track to an Oscar. He plays a washed-up musician which was the right right to help Robert Duvall 25 years ago (Duvall also appears in Crazy Heart). The song itself is getting some attention, including a Golden Globe nomination. Bridges is a favorite of mine, so all this is good news to me--hopefully Bridges also sings in the movie.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


We are entitled to our own opinions, we are not entitled to our own facts

(h/t Bill in Exile)

Oh snap.

Senator Franken (D, MN) takes Senator Thune (D, SD) to task for a somewhat lopsided presentation.

Song of the day: "Winter"

What a wonderful gift for the holidays: a new song from U2 that can be both a song of the day, a quasi-seasonal song (it's a very loose thematic thing), and since it's a Golden Globe nominee it gives me a chance to mention those, since I didn't recap yesterday.

This is from the movie Brothers (for which Tobey Maguire was also nominated for Best Actor in a Drama). Since Bono said "fuck" during their Golden Globe acceptance speech for The Gangs of New York a few years ago I wouldn't bet on them too heavily. I'm thinking Paul McCartney's song from Everybody's Fine (song of the day 3 days ago, I think), or the new song from Crazy Heart (tomorrow's song of the day). Tune in--I'll try to do all the nominations this week.

By the way, don't drive and listen to this, cause it's putting me back to sleep. I'm gonna grab more coffee and some food to try to wake up.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Congratulations to Jane Lynch

One of Glee's 4 Golden Globe nominations is to the fantastic Jane Lynch. You know her face, now learn her name.

Congratulations to Modern Family

The show my coworker and I lovingly call "Gay Dads" picked up a Golden Globe nomination for Best TV Series Musical/Comedy. Just the one ("the Glee" picked up 4, and congrats to them as well). If you're not watching it, what is your fucking problem? No, seriously? Idiot.

If you are then you know that it's like a perfect gift that I will be so tired of next season (which is what happens with shows on ABC).

Go Gay Dads!

2009 singles: "Cheat On Me"

Johnny Marr is now in a band called The Cribs. Don't know anything about them except that Johnny Marr recently joined the band. I give him another 10 months with them. It's inevitable that he and Axl Rose work together somehow, but I'm not sure where that leaves The Cribs, or even who they are. This is their 4th album (whatever it's called).

Cause things go together, better than others, Like manic depression, and hyper-sexuality

Supplemental holiday song: "Can I Interest You In Hanukah?"

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Brilliant.

A Colbert Christmas: Jon Stewart
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorU.S. Speedskating

Again with the UN and Nigeria

Seriously, I'm starting to wonder if there really isn't a fortune awaiting me. "Dude, we tried you like 700 different times, sorry man, but the money's gone now." Nah.

Anyway, I opened a gmail account using the name of the first lady of Nigeria to reply to some of these. I'll let you know if I get any responses to my replies. Here's what I said:

As first lady of the glorious wonderment of a country that is Nigeria I must ask you to back the fuck off from your desecration of the beauty of our country with this decietful arbitration.

Your skills are weak and penis is smaller than most.

You are a foul man of ugliness.


Oh, and while the header LOOKS like it came from, the "reply to" address was some gmail account, which any asshole (cough) can create. "Look at me, I"m the first lady of Nigeria!"

--- On Tue, 12/15/09, UNITED NATIONS ORGANIZATION wrote:

Subject: Compliments of the season
Date: Tuesday, December 15, 2009, 6:34 PM

Internal Audit,Monitoring,Consulting And Investigations Division
From: Mrs.Inga-Britt Ahlenius
To:Fund Beneficiary,

This is to inform you that I came to Nigeria yesterday from London,after series of complains from the FBI and other Security agencies from Asia, Europe, Oceania, Antarctica,South America and the United States of America respectively, against the Federal Government of Nigeria and the British Government for the rate of scam activities going on in these two nations.

I have met with all the concerned authorities who claimed that they have been trying their best to make sure you receive your fund in your account.

Right now,as directed by our secretary general Mr.Ban Ki-Moon,We are working in collaborations with the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and have decided to waive away all your clearance fees/Charges and authorise the Government of Nigeria to effect the payment of your compensation of an amount of $10M approved by both the British government and the UN into your account without any delay.The only fee you will pay to confirm your fund in your account,is your Notarization fee to the UN.

Sincerely,you are a lucky person because I have just discovered that some top Nigerian and British Government Officials are interested in your fund and they are working in collaboration with One Mr.Richard Graves from USA to fraustrate you and thereafter divert your fund into their personal account.

I have a very limited time to stay in Nigeria here so I would like you to urgently respond to this message so that I can advise you on how best to confirm your fund in your account within the next 72 hours.

Sincerely yours,
Mrs.Inga-Britt Ahlenius.

Today's letter to my Congressional represenatives

After listening to Joe FUCKING Lieberman lie and lie and lie, I decided to send a note to my Senators (Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, both D, OR) and my Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D, OR). Here's the version I sent to Merkley:

I'm pleased at the work you're doing, and I'm a little dismayed at the crap that's going on in Congress. Clearly the issue of campaign finance reform needed to happen before a substantive change to health care could happen. But in the meantime, I'd like to see a change to the health care coverage that members of Congress and their staff receive.

I'd like members of Congress to have to shop for and purchase health insurance for themselves and their staffs as though they are businesses located in the districts they serve. They will be reimbursed for their current amount that's currently covered on their behalf as part of their participation in the Federal government's plan, but will have to make up the difference that regular businesses face on their own.

I'm sending this same request to Ron Wyden and Earl Blumenauer (whose name I probably misspelled).

Call it the Healthcare Localization Act.

The only difference in the other versions is who else I sent it to and removing the note about misspelling Blumenauer's last name in the version to him. I actually think I got it right for once.

Send the same note to your peeps. I'm tired of Senators who have no worries about health insurance deciding for the rest of us.

2009 singles: "Dominos"

It's sooo much easier when I don't know anything about the band. This is Big Pink. (CUE: Crickets)

As soon as I love her it's been too long, Talks of future with you makes me ill

The South Carolina law on adultery

(h/t David Mixner)

Hey look:

"Any man or woman who shall be guilty of the crime of adultery or fornication shall be liable to indictment and, on conviction, shall be severally punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars nor more than five hundred dollars or imprisonment for not less than six months nor more than one year or by both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court. "

Since Gov. Mark Sanford (R, SC) won't be impeached, someone should press charges for breaking the state law.

Listen, this is a desecration of opposite marriage! Do something!

Flashback song: "Merry Christmas From The Family"

I first heard this when I lived back in Dallas. Robert Earl Keen is huge on the Texas music circuit, but relatively unknown beyond that, which is a shame. If this song doesn't become a new holiday standard for you, I just don't feel like I know you. (If I know you... some of you I don't actually know, which is totally cool, thanks for reading.)

A part of my seasonal offerings, this is the only song that mentions Salem Lights cigarettes by name.

2009 singles: "Yeah! Oh Yeah!"

I discovered Jens Lekman at some point in the last 2 years, thanks to his wonderful "A Postcard To Nina" which I later heard as Tom Kater's music bed for his Tom vs. the JLA comics reviews (here). If you read Silver Age DC comics in the early/mid-80s, it's totally worth a visit. He's current reviewing Silver Age Flash comics, so you have to go to mid-2008 or earlier months for JLA reviews. When he switched to Flash he jumped way back to the 1960s, which was a different kind of bad. Trust me.

Oh right, music. Jens down.

Tracey Thorn was this chick I'd heard of before, but I'm not sure where. (So if you know me you know my love for Everything But The Girl is going on 25 years now, and I'm being wacky and ironical because it's early and it seems like that's gonna be funny but in 3 hours when I read this for the billion typos it has, I'll want to delete that part.) They cover a Magnetic Fields song for a tribute album to Merge Records that also includes stuff by The Shins and Death Cab. I need to get the whole thing, apparently.

Though I need you more than air, is it true you just don't care?, Are you having an affair?, Yeah! Oh, yeah!

Song of the day: "Stay Down"

I am happy that the world of Moby is still out there, cranking out new music. And I hope he has another moment in the sun with another hit album. But I don't see this making my "best of" list for the year... just saying.

Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 singles: "Stillness Is The Move"

Dirty Projectors had 2 songs of the day in 2009, and this is one of them. I might have chosen "Cannibal Resource" but Solange does a cover of this one so I'm using that to help me decide.

Dirty Projectors are from Brooklyn and this is from their Bitte Orca album. Solange is Beyonce's sister and lives in the basement of her parents' house in Houston TX. Or so Dlisted leads me to believe.

After all that we've been through, I know that I will always love you

Apparently I'm not alone...

In my contempt for Hadassah Lieberman. The bloggers at Fire Dog Lake are working to have her removed as a Global Ambassador for the Susan G. Komen Foundation on account of the fact that she is a corrupt whore for the healthcare industries that want to prevent reform. They may have used other language.

"I call for Susan G. Komen for the cure to ask Hadassah Lieberman to step down as a compensated "Global Ambassador" for the organization in light of the inherent conflict of interest her continued presence brings."

Details here.

Flashback song: "Everything's Coming Up Roses"

I read that Elton John is working on an album of dance music. Which is awesome, I guess. I mean, it's likely something that you can avoid if it's not your thing (details here).

But Elton releasing a dance album (oh God, I just had this Elton/Gaga mash-up flash through my head) reminds me of perhaps the campiest thing of all time: the Ethel Merman Disco Album.

It exists. I think I've purchase 3 copies (as gifts for others) during my used record shopping. Like any great collectible, it sells for about $80 a copy at little gay boutiques in places like Palm Springs, and $1 in used record stores in Gresham OR.

The disappointing thing was the realization that no Ethel was harmed in the making of this album. Someone just took one of her existing vocal tracks and put the Star Wars Cantina Band music behind it (and a little bit of "Bad Girls" at the very end). Which is a shame, since Ethel was a force of nature and I'd have loved to hear her actually record something specifically disco.

I've had a fondness for Ethel since watching Call Me Madam one day when I was home sick from school, like in 4th grade. Yes, gay even then.

I read a biography of Tallulah Bankhead that suggests that her and Ethel's limited success in film had to do with their larger-than-life personalities not translating well to a two-dimensional medium. You had to see them live to appreciate them. Which I can understand.

To that end, I'm including a live version of Ethel doing the song properly.

God speaks out on climate change

(h/t Rude Pundit and Huffington Post)

During a debate over climate change, televised live in Denmark (I think that's where Copenhagen is located), one of the top scientists that is skeptical of climate change, suffered a heart attack. Mid-sentence.

Finally, we can all agree, climate change is real, and God is pissed about it.

No God-fearing Christian can deny this. It happened. Ergo, Cap and Trade.

Next up? Healthcare! Take it away Jesus. I'm thinking Joe Lieberman.

You don't need to speak Finnish...

Just listen with your eyes!

It's kinda like that show Jackass, except you hurt others

I'm not going to name names, but a reality show star just had her 19th child 3 months premature during an emergency C-section. This woman is 43 years old, and allegedly is upset that she might not be able to have more children. Which is fine, I guess. I mean, she's clearly got issues, and why worry about the kids you already have when you can make another one.

The Quiverfull movement doesn't seem to give a fuck what happens with kids after they're born (they're God's blessing, end of concern), so just go make more. I'm not going to go down the path of criticizing their philosophy (oh, who am I kidding, I totally am: hey, aside from kids, what OTHER blessings are there from God in the bible? Please name 5, and no cheating with the Google.)

Quiverfull takes its purpose from Psalms 127:3-5, but why in the name of all that is holy (like Jesus, and Liza Minelli) is there not a Sleepytime movement? Psalms 127:2 says: "It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." Praise God everyone.

So my original point was this: TLC, which airs the reality show about a family that has 19 kids, needs to put a fucking warning on at the beginning and after every commercial break. Because this shit is as stupid and irresponsible as the shit on Jackass. And if you want to argue the theology about it, we can, after my nap.

Quote of the day

"Though I don't know exactly what's in it, from what I hear, I certainly would have a hard time voting for it because it has some of the same infirmities that the public option did."--Sen. Joe Lieberman (I, CT)

I just wanted to take this opportunity to call Joe Lieberman a hypocrite and his wife, Haddasah, a whore (she takes money from healhcare companies as a "lobbyist" of sorts, and he opposes reforms that would cost those companies millions and millions of dollars... I don't know if she swallows).

What he hasn't read is a proposal to allow people as young as 55 years old to buy into Medicare. But also he opposes it. It might increase the deficit. And that would be bad. Unless it's 2 huge mutherfucking unending wars. Those are good. We love those.

Deficits from needless deaths are GOOD if they are war-related. Deficits from preventing needless deaths are BAD. Got it?

It is time to end healthcare coverage for Congress, and require members of Congress to obtain insurance for their staff as though they were small businesses located in their districts. Fuck subsidizing them. They haven't lived with the joy of finding coverage, and yet they want to belabor this so they can get another round of campaign funds? Nope.

Also I really REALLY want a Death Panel job. When are they hiring for those?

Song of the day: "Nothing To Hide"

Yo La Tengo from their Popular Songs album released earlier this year.

To be immediately

For a mere $630, I can claim $10.5 million. Why I'd have to be an idiot to pass this up...

International Debt Funds Recovery Unit
United States Department of the Treasury Washington DC
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW;
Washington, DC 20220


We the International Debt Funds Recovery Unit of United States Department of the Treasury Washington DC, hereby inform you of our recovery of winning inherited funds via cash consignment baggage from United Nations (UN) association of London England liaison office valued @ $10.5million United States Dollars in your favor.

The funds recovery was witnessed by the Federal Bureau of investigation (FBI), and Interpol Unit envoys deployed to London by United States Department of the Treasury Washington DC, to monitor the proceedings of the funds recovery from United Nations (UN) Association of London England. The team confirmed that the legal modalities maintained for the coordination of the funds release was a fair and just considered opinion by United Nations (UN) Association of London England.

The event was also opportunity of achievement for the Prime Minister, to meet the deadline given to him at the 2009 G20 London Summit to clear all outstanding beneficiary debts and lottery wining debts owned to foreigners by the Britain government. For this reason, the United States Department of the Treasury coordinates hereby state that before any effective steps of action on your cash consignment baggage will be taken for its released to you, you are to reconfirm your personal Information stated as following below. The information will enhance your cash consignment baggage delivery from our pecuniary vault here in Washington DC, to your location.


Full Name:
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Any form of prove of identification:
Current Age:

At the receipt of the above information we will not hesitate to open communication with you given you vital information for easy communication between you and the U.S. Treasury. Be well informed that before we commence the delivery of your cash consignment baggage to your proposed bank address as stated on your pervious correspondence the vital legal paperwork's that we need to execute a perfect delivery known as "Stamp of Duty Paperwork's and Permission Order Papers will cost you the sum of $630.00USD for the paperwork's to be procured and only reply if you are ready to claim your consignment box and issued the paper works to me immediately.

Thank you.
God Bless America.
Sincerely yours
Mr. Michael Cena.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another list of 10 movies from 2000-2009

Stuff that I'm reminding myself of so I can make a "best of the decade" list. And to supplement this, I'm watching Gangs of New York as I type this. It's big and well made, but, as with The Age of Innocence, I don't feel any authenticity in the movie. Like Scorsese is going through the motions. But more on that later...

Here are 10 more movies I really enjoyed from this decade:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Casino Royale/Quantum of Solace (I'm not a huge enthusiast about merging movies like this, but I'm allowing it for the consideration time)
Batman Begins/The Dark Knight
Iron Man
Star Trek
Michael Clayton
Monster's Ball
Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Notes on An Education

I'm trying to be efficient in my viewing of this year's awardy movies, and I picked An Education because Carey Mulligan is on a clear path to an Oscar nomination for Best Actress. As always, this isn't a traditional review, just notes to myself on potential for Oscar nominations.

The major thing that stands out about this movie is how well acted it is, across the board. Nothing flashy, just solid work from Mulligan to Alfred Molina, to a two-scene role of Emma Thompson's. Hopefully that will count for something with the Screen Actors Guild, but with The Hurt Locker, Precious, Nine, and Star Trek sporting impressive ensembles, this group may not have a high enough profile. Still solid work.

I feel like the direction, while solid, was possibly too subtle for me. I feel like I missed any possible clues that would help understand one of the major plot points, and I feel like the first part of the movie should have been shorter so the later parts could be a little meatier.

Mulligan has to be considered a strong contender for Best Actress, but it's tough to see anything else about the movie as anything better than soft. Molina is great, a long under-appreciated actor, so perhaps a solid long shot for supporting actor. I can see him as this year's Jim Broadbent.

Saarsgaard (whatever) is a lead, I'm thinking I read. He is a lead. He is good. But I can't see him too competitive this year. Not with Jeff Bridges, Colin Firth, George Clooney and Jeremy Renner out there.

I guess the screen play (adapted) and art direction have soft shots.

The costumes were nice, and aside from Young Victoria, I don't know what big period pieces are out there (Nine), so there as well. I'll say the directing, cinematography and editing are darkhorses potentials. Best picture is probably a little better than that given the field will be 10.

Reactions to a slew of critics awards

The Hurt Locker appears to be the big winner, traction-wise, of this weekend's (and some lesser stuff from last week) critics awards. Locker picked up Best Picture and Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow, a girl!) from the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn.; Best Picture, Director, Actor (Jeremy Renner), Cinematography and Editing from the Boston Film Critics Society; Best Director and Best Ensemble from the Washington DC Area Film Critics Something Something; and was one of the American Film Institute's 10 Films of the Year.

Up In The Air, which a lucky elite have been able to see, also had a great weekend, but since it was off to a strong start with the National Board of Review, it doesn't benefit as much, at least for the purposes of this post. LAFCA gave it their Best Screenplay award, and it placed as runner-up as Best Picture and Anna Kendrick as Best Supporting Actress. WAFCA named it Best Picture, Best Actor (George Clooney), Best Screenplay. And it was on the AFI 10 Films of the Year list.

All 3 critics groups gave their Supporting Actor and Actress awards to the same 2 people: Christopher Waltz for Inglorious Basterds and Mo'Nique for Precious, suggesting they're both well on their ways to Oscar nominations.

Precious adds a few more accolades from this group: the AFI list; Best Breakthrough Performance (Gabourey Sidibi); and Best Ensemble from Boston (a tie with Star Trek, which I think is cool).

A Serious Man is making a little "playoff" progress as well. The Coen Brothers movie picked up an AFI Top 10 list entry and Best Screenplay from Boston. In contrast, Avatar which is being touted as a lock on a ton of Oscar nominations, was runner-up for Production Design from LA... that's it. It didn't even make the AFI list.

The decision to move the release of Crazy Heart earlier to put Jeff Bridges in the hunt seems to be paying off for him (Best Actor LAFCA), and for T-Bone Burnett and Stephen Bruton who won Best Music/Score from LA, and Best Use of Music in a Film (Boston)--the weird wording (it's not "Best Score") suggests they are voting on the original songs, so expect it to be a player in that category come Oscar nomination time. Colin Firth showed up as runner-up on a couple of lists, so I'm expecting him to show up with a nomination as well.

Carey Mulligan (An Education) and Meryl Streep (Julie & Julia) both got some recognition for their work, with Mulligan Best Actress from DC (and runner-up in LA), and Streep winning from Boston.

District 9, Nine (the musical), and In the Loop started to crop up as well. In the Loop was very well reviewed when it was released last Summer (95% fresh per Rotten Tomatoes), so it's good to see that hasn't been totally forgotten.

2009 singles: "Summertime Clothes"

I fully expect to see "I FUCKING HATE ANIMAL COLLECTIVE" in the comments of the post. But I don't think I'd ever heard of them before 2008, and yet they're this big thing. Big enough to cause hate. Merriweather Post Pavilion, which received universal acclaim when it came out back in January, is their 8th "traditional" album.

Much like Radiohead, they have complex songs that seem to require repeated listening (from me at least), and I probably am not doing them or the album justice by loading 4 songs on my phone to listen to on my train rides to/from work.

By the way, Becky hates Panda most of all. I have no idea what that means. It's like she's got a vendetta against the drummer for Bon Jovi... okay then.

Let's leave the sound of the heat for the sound of the rain, It's easy to sleep when it wets my brain

2009 singles: "Satellite Skin"

I'm not sure what's up with Modest Mouse. I mean, they're indie cool, they're from the greater Western Washington area. My fresh faced college graduate hiree from my dot com year in Seattle loved them. And Death Cab. And Silver Jews. I think. I might be confusing them with some other band. And that's the problem. Too much indie cool, not enough investment in learning them.

Here's what I do know: Johnny Marr, no long a member of the band.

This song is from their EP Nobody's First and You're Next. If you're easily confused, like me, you might think it's from the New Moon soundtrack. That's "Satellite Heart" which is a different song.

Whatever, it's a good song.

You can say what you want, you're forgiven, Well happy fuckin' congratulations

2009 singles: "The Fear"

Lily Allen has a certain swagger to her that I find a little off-putting. And I think I wouldn't care a bit if I thought she was talented.

I'm not saying she's not, I'm just not sure either way.

Take this song as an example. Do I like it because it's a good song? Or do I like it because it was a fairly ubiquitous song and I'm comfortable with it?

Now I'm not a saint, but I'm not a sinner, Now everything is cool as long as I'm getting thinner

Mo money, mo Nigerians

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Mrs.Christy Jordan.

Happy birthday Steve Buscemi

I've been in love with his work since 1986, in Parting Glances (his first movie).

The Coen Brothers have used him well in Miller's Crossing, Barton Fink, The Hudsucker Proxy, Fargo, and The Big Lebowski. This montage from Lebowski isn't really a testament to him as an actor, but it's worth sharing.

Buscemi broke through as Mr. Pink in Reservoir Dogs in 1992.

He was on Nickolodeon's The Adventures of Pete & Pete as Ellen Hickle's dad. If you don't know Pete & Pete, they had a TON of cool guest stars (including Buscemi, who I think was considered recurring). Here's a list, and a rather detailed clip.

He's done some turns on TV (most notably on The Sopranos for which he received an Emmy nomination) and has done a little directing (including The Sopranos, for which he received an Emmy nomination). I'm not a big fan of his character on 30 Rock, but it got him another Emmy nomination. Still 0 wins though, sorry dude.

His biggest acclaim came for the indie hit Ghost World in 2001. I expected an Oscar nomination, following critics awards from a variety of groups including the New York Film Critics Circle, and a Golden Globe nomination. Alas no. But he was fantastic in it.

And yes, I am intentionally avoiding all mention of Con Air. You're welcome.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Matt Taibbi on Obama and Wall Street

Matt Taibbi ranks just below Glenn Greenwald as "writers who overwhelm me with their thoroughness and whose names I can remember." Both approach their writing with a point of view, but its that fact that allows them to dismiss as bullshit stuff that is actually bullshit, instead of having to give all sides of an issue the opportunity to say their talking points without actually challenging the veracity of their claims.

I think Taibbi first got my attention with a piece he wrote for Rolling Stone about John McCain, but he kept my attention by explaining the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) better than any other reporter. If you don't know what credit-default swaps are, he's the guy to see.

His new article for Rolling Stone (here) takes a lively look at how Obama's administration is (and ISN'T) working to reform Wall Street to ensure we don't have to pony up a trillion dollars RIGHT AWAY BECAUSE OH MY GOD IF YOU DON'T, IT'S ALL GOING TO END!
People like Pat aren't aware of it, but they're the best friends Obama has. They hate him, sure, but they don't hate him for any reasons that make sense. When it comes down to it, most of them hate the president for all the usual reasons they hate "liberals" — because he uses big words, doesn't believe in hell and doesn't flip out at the sight of gay people holding hands. Additionally, of course, he's black, and wasn't born in America, and is married to a woman who secretly hates our country.

Also, you can't use the word "fuck" too much in articles.

Song of the day: "(I Want To) Come Home"

Paul McCartney wrote an original song for the new Robert DeNiro movie Everybody's Fine (a remake of an Italian movie from about 10 years ago that I'd never heard of that starred Marcello Mastroianni). I doubt I'll get around to seeing this in theaters (its Rotten Tomatoes rating is 46% fresh), but that won't stop me from pontificating on Oscar chances. I'd characterize a shot for Best Actor, and for Adapted Screenplay as darkhorses, but I will say that the original song by McCartney has to be considered a contender.

Unless, of course, the filmmakers don't actually use the song sufficiently IN the movie (see also: "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" from Brokeback Mountain or "The Wrestler" from The Wrestler), in which case all bets are off. And if that's the case, we need to have a little talk about how to avoid wasting original songs from iconic musicians.