Saturday, May 15, 2010

Flashback: 30 years ago

"Vancouver! Vancouver! This is it!"--volcanologist David Johnson's last words.

This week, back in 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted. It is, so far, the most disruptive volcanic eruption in the US. Call me crazy, but perhaps "volcano monitoring" isn't quite as frivolous as Piyush Jindal suggested* last year when he rebutted the unofficial state of the union address (Presidents don't give a State of the Union Address in the year of their first inauguration).

57 people were killed during the eruption, but it was a fraction of the likely total had the eruption happened during the work week instead of on a Sunday.

My dad splurged on a helicopter tour over the crater during one of his first visits to Oregon and Washington, so thanks to him, and a perfectly positioned Horizon Air flight between Portland and Seattle, I've had two opportunities to look straight down into the crater. I don't have any particularly insightful thoughts having done that except, shit, this is some immense stuff. The stuff that makes mountains and islands and disrupts thousands of flights (thanks a lot Iceland).

Portland is far enough away that I'm in no immediate danger from lava or ash. Earthquakes are a whole other thing.

And Portland has its own volcano, in the city limits. Mt. Tabor is, technically, extinct. It is the green mound of trees in the middle of this photo.
But apparently there are volcanic cones there. It's a really cool park though, so when you visit me, we'll stop by. They filmed the Flaming Lips video with all the naked people there ("Watching the Planets").


* Oh, and Piyush was lying when he said "$140 million for something called volcano monitoring" because THIS is what the $140 million budget was for:
US Geological Survey
For an additional amount for ''Surveys, Investigations, and Research'', $140,000,000, for repair, construction and restoration of facilities; equipment replacement and upgrades including stream gages, and seismic and volcano monitoring systems; national map activities; and other critical deferred maintenance and improvement projects.

Happy Birthday James Mason

He was almost James Bond, instead of Sean Connery. The things you learn when you blog.

He was nominated for 3 Oscars (no wins, but I feel like he deserved to win for The Verdict, rather than Louis Gossett Jr. for An Officer and a Gentleman). No Emmys, no Grammys, no Tonys.

The Verdict is the first movie I remember seeing him in (or rather that I can recall his presence in). Since then Lolita, A Star is Born and Georgy Girl all became movies I intend to see (I haven't actually seen them yet, although Lolita is recorded on my DVR). I have seen North by Northwest and Heaven can Wait, but I'll come back to The Verdict. Directed by Sydney Lumet, screenplay by David Mamet, with great performances by Paul Newman, Charlotte Rampling, Jack Warden and Mason. And Bruce Willis. Seriously, he's an extra and is visible in a late courtroom scene.

It was nominated for 5 Oscars, but lost all of them (mostly to Gandhi). But it's where I learned an important business lesson: in court (or in client meetings) don't ask a question you don't already know the answer to.


I find it wholly appropriate that Eddie Izzard uses James Mason's voice when he talks about God. God sounds like James Mason.


Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace!

Flashback song: "Alfie"

I was talking to my mom this afternoon, and we got on the subject of iconic songs from movies (The Days of Wine and Roses is on TCM tonight) and she talked about how Cher did the version of "Alfie" that appears in the movie (Alfie). Which I've never seen, so I didn't know. It lost the Original Song Oscar to "Born Free" in case you're wondering.

So let's start with Cher's version, produced by Sonny Bono, used in the American release of the film.


George Martin produced Cilla Black's version of the song, which was used in the UK release of the film.


I can't embed the Ella Fitzgerald version but it's worth listening to, so click here.

Here's co-writer Burt Bacharach taking a turn with it.


It's been covered by folks from Barbra Streisand to Midge Ure (couldn't find his version) to Olivia Newton John to Stan Getz. The iconic version by Dione Warwick came a year after the movie, and was the biggest charting version of the song (although both Cher and Cilla Black charted with their respective versions), so that's the version I will leave you with.

Happy Birthday Madeline Albright

She is the first woman to serve as Secretary of State, and she's remarkably smart. She's fluent in English, French, Czech (which I always thought was Serbo-Croatian) and Russian, and gets by with Polish and Serbo-Croatian (which we just established is different from the Czech language). Since she was born in Prague, she was removed from the line of succession for the Presidency.

I hoped that the move to revise the Constitution so Arnold Schwarzenegger could run for President would be successful to allow Albright to run as well. The never happened, but there was talk of Albright assuming a role in Czech Republic politics, taking over from Vaclav Havel when he retired (that didn't happen either).

I loved Albright before the Gilmore Girls included her in a dream sequence (as Rory's ideal mom). But I love the Gilmore Girls because they picked Albright, over a variety of strong women, to play that part. Also they used the Mighty Lemon Drops "Inside Out" in the last episode.


She has no Emmys, Grammys, Tonys or Oscars. And that's just fine.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! Sorry you couldn't be President, you'd have been awesome!

Song of the Day: "Fixed"

New music from Canadian band Stars. It kinda sounds like fellow Canadians Metric, but that's actually a good thing as far as I'm concerned. The album, called Five Ghosts, is out June 22nd.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Oh, and here's how you know grumpy racist Pat Buchanan is a racist

Remember back when John "the chin" Roberts was nominated to replace the guy who died, on the Supreme Court? And then Sandy O'Connor resigned and we got Harriet Miers Samuel "you lie!" Alito (he actually said something less memorable but more odious, like "that's not true" or some shit, but it was inappropriate whatever he said).

On both those occasions did Pat say anything about the woeful under-representation of women on SCOTUS?

Nope.

Did he say anything about the absence of Hispanics or Asians?

Nope.

It's just wah wah wah white men are being held down.

Dude, grow a pair and shut the fuck up. Cause Eric Cantor probably isn't coming to your "Jews run the world" pity party.

Secret Shopper is a scam

If you get an email inviting you to be a secret or mystery shopper, and you never once submitted an inquiry, it is a scam. Sounds easy, sounds awesome, and totally a scam. There are companies that do this. Secret Shopper is probably a real company, but they didn't send this. If Secret Shopper's legal department wants to make me eat these words, great. But this isn't for real.

Your first assignment will be to evaluate something like Western Union. You'll get a payment as a check or money order (forgery). You'll deposit it, and keep your $300 and the wire fee, and you'll wire the rest to someone.

You'll be asked to evaluate a variety of Western Union locations in your neighborhood. Do this 8 to 10 times. Always wiring the money left over from your faked check.

And then your bank will put you on the hook for the entire amount of your faked instrument, possibly having you arrested for forgery. Don't do it. Why am I bothering with always posting this shit? Because I get a LOT of traffic at my blog from people looking up the details of these scam emails. They'll put in the contact address or the company name. And I get comments thanking me for explaining the scam. They're called "419" scams, which is the code for advance money scams. Google that. There's a tag at the bottom of this post you can click on and see the variety of winnings I get every day.

You didn't win. It's not a legitimate offer. You'll get burned. Here's today's letter:

Good Day

"We have a mystery shopping assignment in your area and we would like you to participate"Secret Shopper® is accepting applications for qualified individuals to become mystery shoppers. It's fun and rewarding, and you choose when and where you want to shop. You are never obligated to accept an assignment. There is no charge to become a shopper and you do not need previous experience. After you sign up, you will have access to training materials via e-mail, fax or postal mail.

ABOUT US
Secret Shopper® is the premier mystery shopping company, serving clients across America and Canada with over 500,000 shoppers available and ready to help businesses better serve their customers. Continual investment in the latest internet and communication technologies coupled with over 16 years of know-how means working with Secret Shopper® is a satisfying and rewarding experience. Secret shopping as seen on ABC NEWS, NBC NEWS, L.A.TIMES.

Stores and organizations such as The Gap, Walmart, Pizza Hut, and Banks. One amongst many others pay for Secret Shoppers to shop in their establishments and report their experiences. On top of being paid for shopping you are also allowed to keep purchases for free. Secret Shopper® NEVER charge fees to the shopper. Training, tips for improvement, and shopping opportunities are provided free to registered shoppers. Mystery shoppers are either paid a pre-arranged fee for a particular shop, a reimbursement for a purchase or a combination of both.Secret Shopper® has available for immediate assignment an inspection of the customer service of any walmart in your area. You are to shop secretly and invest just a token. This fee will be paid upfront. During this shop you will visit the location and make several observations as regards the customer service.
You will be required to interact with the shop clerk.
You may conduct the shop alone or as a couple.
The assignment will pay $300.00 per duty
Kindly Fill Out the application form below and we will get back to you shortly with the assignment:



First Name..........................
Middle Name.........................
Last Name...........................
Street Address ......................
City, ..................................
State, .........................
Zip Code .................
Cell Phone Number ....................
Home Phone Number .....................
Age...................................
Sex ................
Current Occupation.....................
Alternate Email Address ..............
How often do you check email daily ?...............

We await your urgent response.
Thank you for your help.
We look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,
Hiring Manager
Secret Shopper®

Grumpy racist Pat Buchanan supporting hiring quotas?

(h\t Media Matters)

Remember last year with spicy fiery Latina Maria Sonia Sotomayor, Pat Buchanan was pissed because only white men fought in the Revolutionary Way and the Civil War (which is not actually true) and signed the Declaration of Independence. And yet here was a woman, who should just be some man's property, getting to go to a job and get a paycheck. A tax-payer funded paycheck. Clearly she was nothing but an affirmative action hire.

Well, he's back.
If Kagan is confirmed, the Court will consist of three Jews and six Catholics (who represent not quite a fourth of the country), but not a single Protestant, though Protestants remain half the nation and our founding faith.--Pat Buchanan, not at a KKK rally

So Pat Buchanan wants hiring quotas.

Hiring quotas which are long associated with affirmative action.

Which he hates.

Except if it's affirming whites.

White men, sorry.

White like me. White like Pat.

And a penis. Don't forget the penis.

I seldom do.

Rock on Pat!

Happy Birthday George Lucas

Poor George hasn't won an Oscar like his old buddies (Stephen Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola and Martin Scorcese). But he has one thing they never got: the licensing rights to Star Wars and all its characters. And all its droids. And all its space ships. And all its weapons. And all its, I don't know, ewoks and shit.

You see, Lucas somehow kept that when he got money for Star Wars. And became a billionaire.

With a "b."

And who can deny him that money. After all, he created Jar Jar Binks and mitochloridians.


Sigh.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on, I guess.

Happy Birthday Sofia Coppola

[UPDATE: So I misspelled her name in the title, and because I am totally inconsistent, I ALSO spelled her name correctly in the body. Consistency trumps accuracy in my business, but I offer neither. Take that professional success.]

Yes, I am on record as saying that a little nepotism goes a long way. And yes, her death scene in The Godfather: Part III is not good.

But Lost in Translation has a special place among the movies I love. I've avoided watching it again for fear that it wouldn't be as good as I remember. When I interviewed for a job in LA, one of the principals and I had a heated discussion about LiT vs. Something's Gotta Give (over-rated chick flick). I got the job anyway (which I hated, by the way, and was back in Portland in less than 8 months).

Ah well.

Sofia became the 4th member of her family to win an Oscar, I think (her dad has many, her grandfather Carmine won for Original Score for The Godfather: Part II, and cousin Nicolas Cage has one, which is proof that the Academy won't take back an Oscar, no matter how many crappy movies you make after).

Here's the trailer.


Wondering what is whispered at the end is so fucking lame. It's obvious. He says "unobtanium"... duh.

Song of the Day: "Why Don't You Love Me"

Another track from Here Lies Love, the disco opera about Imelda Marcos from David Bryne and Fatboy Slim. This track features vocals by Cyndi Lauper and Tori Amos, a fantastic pairing!

Happy Birthday David Byrne

Here's the thing: I fucking hate "Psycho Killer" (a Talking Heads song). I do. I change the station.

But otherwise, Talking Heads have so much going for them, musically, that he deserves a shout out based on that music alone. My old boss, Reg, tells me I need to rent Stop Making Sense and watch it with a good sound system. I haven't made that happen, but here's "Girlfriend is Better" from that movie.


But his solo tour in 1990, which I saw at an oversold venue on Miami Beach, jam packed with an international audience watching some authentic world music and making the fucking walls sweat from the humanity, may have been one of the best live shows I've ever seen. Also one of the reasons I won't go to sold out concerts. And here's why the Inter-tubes is the most awesome-est thing of ever, ever: a video of some random woman dancing to a track from Byrne's Rei Momo album, a song with Willie Colon. Check this sexy!


He's in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Talking Heads, but his Oscar and Grammy come from working with Ryuichi Sakamoto and Cong Su (I spelled those right, as far as you know) on the score for The Last Emperor. Click here to watch Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey do unnecessary awards show banter before presenting the award.

Byrne continues to make great music, and to innovate. He embraces music as an artistic medium and has produced some large scale installations like programming an entire building to play music. I'm not sure what it means, and 20 years ago I would have written it off as pretentious as shit, but these days I'll just give him credit for that kind of creative energy, and not just milking "Burning Down the House" for all its worth.

I rather liked his 2008 collaboration with Brian Eno, Everything That Happens Will Happen Today. Here's "Strange Overtones" from that Grammy-nominated album:


I've featured tracks from his current collaboration with Norman Cook/Fatboy Slim, Here Lies Love. I've actually decided to make another track from that my song of the day, so see that for a continuation of the David Byrne love.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Notes on Iron Man 2

As someone who loved comic books well into my 20s, I absolutely adored Iron Man, and was giddy when I heard Black Widow would be a character in Iron Man 2 (I have no idea why I love her as a character, but I have since she became the first female to lead a superhero team with The Champions back in the mid-70s [I think--correct me in Comments if you've got something earlier]).

Sooner or later someone will make a comic book movie that's just chock full of ass-kicking, and not worry about back-story or, you know, secret identity shit. Gwyneth Paltrow is a great actress, but she was completely unnecessary for Iron Man 2 (which I saw coming in Iron Man, by the way). IM2 gets weighed down a little with non-ass-kicking scenes, but ends strong (if annoyingly).

But without giving away much, here are some nits I'd like to pick:
  • When the evil genius you spring from prison wants his bird, bring him HIS bird. Do not fuck with the evil genius/pet relationship. Do not bring me a dog you think looks like Gracie, dumb ass. And also, why is the super villain financier a dumb ass like that? He didn't get to be Mr. Money-bags by being a dumb ass, did he?
  • There's just one ass-kicking Black Widow scene. Just one. Scarlett Johansson is awesome (if a bit young for the role), and deserves her own boobies mommy movie.
  • Apparently there are no guns among cops in Monaco. Because if there were, the unarmored, un-flying dude terrorizing the city principality could easily have been taken down with a rifle.
  • If you have the power of flight, and your villain doesn't, and your villain has something wrapped around you, you should totally use your power of flight to, I don't know, ram his unarmored ass into a wall or something. Especially if you are nicely protected by armor yourself. (Or, I don't know, go for a swim if you are also water proof.)
  • They changed Rhodey from Terrence Howard to dude from Picket Fences. Or the other way around. I am confused. They don't ALL look alike (or do they--maybe that's why I'm confused).
  • I won't mention the several Avengers innuendos, but they are cool.
  • Hey, that guy died, right? (Actor, not character.)
  • I'm pretty sure you can't invent an element. You can invent a compound using elements. You can discover a new element. But you can't hypothesize a new element and then create it.  Don't believe me, go make some carbon out of not carbon, and call me when it's ready.
All that being said, loved it. Lots of stupid plot points, but kudos to Justin Theroux (screenplay) and Jon Favreau (director, and plays a minor character) for pushing things forward. I hope Theroux remains involved in the various Avengers projects to give all the movies a through-line.

Oscar chances? Too early to say, but let's assume sound effects, sound editing, and visual effects are all within the realm of possibility.

But the preview for the new Christopher Nolan movie had some bad-ass looking visuals, so I'm eager to see Inception (although it looks like a mess).

[UPDATE: Oh, oh, oh! WTF is up with Sam Rockwell dancing like that? I had flashbacks to Charlie's Angels, and a little bit to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy--do people think it's cool when they have him do that? I think Rockwell is a great actor but this part is a waste of him as an actor--Justin Hammer is significantly older than Tony Stark. Let him play Blizzard or something.]

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Stephen Colbert

He has 4 Emmys (3 for The Daily Show, 1 for The Colbert Report), a Grammy, and a few Peabody awards.

And The Colbert Report is one of my most favorite-est things of ever, ever. In character as the buffoon Stephen Colbert, he is brilliant, just amazing. He is quick, funny, and multi-talented: rapping with Alicia Keys, singing with Willie Nelson, and interviewing Deepak Chopra. Dude can do it all.

And he gets credit for making the White House Correspondents Dinner (aka Stenographers' Prom) what it is today, when he fucking tore into Bush right to his face.


I'm not sure how he'll win his Oscar, but here's hoping. Perhaps Live Action Short Film.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Back in Black - Glenn Beck's Nazi Tourette's
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

OMG! Liza! Hooray!

Coming in September. In time for Grammy consideration.

She needs it people, she needs that Grammy.

E_OT just isn't the same.

Happy Birthday Stevie Wonder

22 Grammys including winning Album of the Year 3 times (a record, tied with Paul Simon I think). His Wikipedia entry says 25 Grammys, but that's double counting his wins for Album of the Year as the artist AND as the producer of that same album, which is 1 Grammy award even if it's multiple trophies handed out. It's like 22 isn't impressive, so they need to puff it up a little. Shit.

2 Emmy nominations (nada from the Tony peeps).

An Oscar win. For "I Just Called to Say I Love You" so suck it, deserving to win. They don't take back Oscars. Especially not from blind men. And especially not from black blind men.

Never gonna happen.

"And I mean it from the bottom of my heart."


So, technically, the atrociously bad The Lady in Red can run during Turner Classic Movies Oscar marathon as an Oscar-winning movie. Cause it is. Due to that shitty song.

Me, I actually like "Part-Time Lover" and yes, of course, I totally sang "Apartheid Lover" when it came on. You did too, if you were alive at the time.

But here's a song that is pretty uniformly appreciated, "Living for the City."


Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Hungry for socialist pork!

Republicans, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D, NY) are all upset (surprise) that the Obama Administration is cutting about $50 million in funds for the "security" of NYC.

Which means Republicans (and Chuck Schumer) love socialism!

And Republicans (and Chuck Schumer) love pork!

Which are both totally true.

They just don't love YOUR pork.

And it's not socialism if I find it useful (see also: interstate highways, air traffic control, public utilities).

I mean, FUCK, can no one see the fucking private market solution here? A $2 per night hotel room surcharge for NYC security would actually exceed $50 million. You're welcome.

Song of the Day: "Back and Forth"

From Australian band Operator Please. It's got some Aqua to it. But it's pure Spring pop (even if, technically, it's their Autumn now).

Scam of the morning: David Bruce

Dear Sir/Madam

My name is (staff Sgt.) David Bruce; i am an American soldier, serving in the Military with the  army's 3rd infantry division.

i have a very desperate need for Assistance and have summed up courage to contact you.  I found your contact through internet serching and I am seeking your kind Assistance to move the  sum of Five million United States dollars (us$5,000,000) to you, as far as I can be assured that my share will be safe in your care Until i complete my service here.

Source of money: some money in US currencies were discovered in barrels at a Farmhouse near one  of saddam’s old palaces in tikrit-iraq during a rescue operation, and it was agreed by staff Sgt Kenneth buff and i that some part of this money be shared Between both of us before informing anybody about it since both of us saw the money first.

This was quite an illegal thing to do, but i tell you what! no compensation can make up For the risk we have taken with our lives in this hell hole, of which my brother in-law Was killed by a road side bomb last time.

The above figure was given to me as my share, and to conceal this kind of money become a Problem for me but with the help of a British contact working here as a diplomat from united nation and with his office Enjoying some immunity, i was able to get the package out to a safe location entirely Out of trouble spot, the fund his now in London presently as a package.

he does not know the real contents of the package, and he believes that it belongs to a British American medical doctor who died in a raid here in Iraq, And before giving up, trusted me to hand over the package to his family in country.

I have now found a very secured way of getting the package out of London to you at home For you to pick up, and i will discuss this with you when i am sure that you are willing To assist me and that my money will be well secured in your hand.

I want you to tell me How much you will take from this money for the assistance you will give to me.

One Passionate appeal i will make to you is not to discuss this matter with anybody, if you have  any reasons to reject this offer, please and please destroy this message as any Leakage of this information will be too bad for the u.s. soldier's here in Iraq.

I do Not know how long we will remain here; month after month was giving as the deadliest month for us to be out Here, yet we are station here till this moment. Totally, we lost many men and i have been shot,wounded and survived two sucide Bomb attacks by the special grace of GOD.

This and other reasons i will mention later Has prompted me to reach out for help.I honestly want  this matter to be resolved immediately, please contact meas soon as Possible with my private  e-mail address which is my only way of communication (e-mail: sgtdavidbruce@yahoo.co.jp) May god bless you and your family

From David Bruce

Tax cuts for job creation

Chris Dudley, a candidate in Oregon's gubernatorial primary, is running television commercials espousing tax cuts for job creation.

I wonder what planet he spent the years 2000 through 2009 on, since the George W. Bush administration basically cut every fucking type of tax they could (they love to take care of the ultra-wealthy) and effectively LOST jobs over that time.

Seriously, Bush/Cheney PROVES tax cuts DON'T EQUAL jobs. So why the fuck is someone dumb enough to think they do?

And more importantly, why is anyone dumb enough to vote for someone who is dumb enough to think they do?

I you are a registered Republican in Oregon, and still haven't turned in your ballot, just trace an outline of your hand and make a turkey out of it and mail it in (or drop it off). Because it's way better than voting for Chris Dudley. Cause he fucking thinks tax cuts will yield jobs. And that's just retarded gay silly.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pfff, less than $2 million US... not interested

This afternoon's scam email (it's short and a little dull):

Ticket Number: 56475600545 188
You have won £850,000. For more information, contact Mr. Barret Johnson (ukclaimclaimsdept@discuz.orgukclaimclaimsdept@discuz.org>)
Tel:+44 704 571 2880 with your Name:/Address:/Age:/Sex:/Phone:/Occupation:/Country:
Send all details to ukclaimclaimsdept@discuz.orgukclaimclaimsdept@discuz.org> only.
Sincerely,
(Web-Email Information Manager)

Happy Birthday Katharine Hepburn

She won 4 of her 12 Oscar nominations, all for Best Actress. I allow that she is fantastic, but contend that 4 is probably 1 too many, maybe even 2 too many. Sorry. Also, she never attended the awards, so she's just an ingrate.

She also has an Emmy. But she lost both her Tony nominations, and has no Grammy.

And no Golden Globes?! Wow. They aren't an important award, except when marketing oneself for an Oscar nomination, so clearly she wasn't hurt by that, but still. Wow.

Here's Cher with a tribute to Hepburn.


Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace!

Song of the Day: "Polaroids and Red Wine"

Ugh. Okay, so the deal is that Jaguar Love sound annoying the first, I don't know, 8 times you hear them. They do. And then something happens. They burrow into your brain and plant a seed. And then the shrill sound seems, suddenly, poppy. So proceed with caution.

That being said, I LOVE the DIY nature of this fan video. You go kids! Enjoy community college!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hah, he thinks I'm "honest"

Scam of the afternoon:


My Name is Mr.Working Benson

I am the auditor and head of computing department of a bank here in United Kingdom. There is an account opened in this bank in 1990 and since my inception into office in 2001, nobody has operated on this account again. I took the courage to look for a reliable and honest person who will be capable for this important transaction. In order to transfer out 4,000,000.00 (Four Million Pounds Sterling) .

After going through some old files, I discovered that if i do not Remit this money out urgently,it will be forfeited for nothing.

Please respond immediately I will use my position and influence to effect the legal approval and onward transfer of this fund into your account with appropriate clearance from foreign payment department. You will stand to get 40% while 60% will be for me. Kindly quote the reference (acct) numbers above when responding to this mail. You can contact through my direct email at (mrworkingbenson@gmail.com)

I will fill you in with further details upon your reply .

Thanks and God bless.
Sincerely yours,
Mr. w Benson
Direct phone number +447031844731

Song of the Day: "Yesterday"

I don't have a lot of time this morning, so here's new Toni Braxton with some dude whose name I'm not going to bother to learn. Glad she's back.

The wisdom of K

(h\t Eric)

Eric is entering the milieu (it's difficult, I know, especially if you don't have pets, to figure Twitter out), and has begun posting deep thoughts from his wife Kara. I adore Kara, but I think I get "polite in public" Kara more than I want. Or so it seems...

Anttenion is the attention given by ants

Scam of the morning.

Anttention:Client

On behalf of the Trustees and Executor of the estate of Late Engr.Jurgen Krugger. I once again try to notify you as my earlier letter was returned undelivered. I hereby attempt to reach you again by this same email address on the WILL. I wish to notify you  that late Engr. Jurgen Krugger made you a beneficiary to his WILL.He left the sum of 3,000,000.00 GBP(Three Million Great British Pounds) to you in the Codicil and last testament to his WILL

This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real andtrue. Being a widely traveled man, he must have been in contact with you in the past or simply you were nominated to him by one of his numerous friends abroad who wished you good.

According to him this money is to support your humanitarian activities and to help the poor and the needy in our society.

Please if I reach you as I am hopeful, endeavor to get back to me as soon as possible to enable me conclude my job. I hope to hear from you in no distant time

Note: You are advise to contact me with my personal email address:palmerwilliams1923@live.co.uk
I await your prompt response.

Yours in Service, 
BARRISTER WILLIAM PALMER  ESQ.
PRINCIPAL PARTNERS: Barrister Aidan Walsh.Esq Markus Wolfgang, Mr. John Marvey Esq,
Mr. Jerry Smith Esq

Monday, May 10, 2010

Now THAT'S a campaign ad

It got my attention!


A fresh new scam!

Mon, May 10, 2010 2:54:07 PM

GRANT NOTICE

Fondazione Di Vittorio

Via Donizetti n. 7/B 00198 Roma
http://www.fondazionedivittorio.it



Dear Beneficiary,



The Foundation Di Vittorio (FDV) would like to notify you that you have been chosen by the board of trustees as one of the final recipients of a cash Grant/Donation for your own personal, educational, and business development.



The Foundation DI Vittorio Italy (FDV) was conceived with the objective of human growth, educational and scientific research, with a mind also for Community development. In conjunction with the UNITED NATION SYSTEM, UNO and the EU. We are giving out an annual donation of
US$2,500,000.00 (Two Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) each to 50 lucky recipients each year, undermining your religion. These specific Donations/Grants will be awarded to 50 lucky international recipients worldwide in different categories for their personal business development and enhancement of their educational plans. This is a yearly program, which is a measure of universal development strategy.



Based on the random selection exercise of internet websites and millions of supermarket cash invoices worldwide, you were selected among the lucky recipients to receive the award sum of US$2,500,000.00 (Two Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars) as charity donations/aid from the Foundation Di Vittorio Italy (FDV) ECOWAS, EU and the UNO in accordance with the enabling act of Parliament.



Note that all beneficiaries email addresses were selected randomly from over 100,000 internet websites or a shop's cash in voice around your area in which you might have purchased something from.



This program is gears towards the fulfillments of the 1999 constitution on Poverty eradication ACT of section 302, subsection 26 volumes 9 of the UNITED NATIONS REVIEW to render financial assistance to beneficiaries around the globe For sustainable standard of living.



You are required to fill out below information and send it to Mr. Riccardo Benlluchi
the Executive Secretary Via this email address:riccardobenlluch@aim.com

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Gender wars

(h\t I Love Charts)

Click to embiggen.

Song of the Day: "Crash Years"

Neko Case steps up to the mike on this New Pornographers track. Love her. Love!

Happy Birthday Bono

As a member of U2, he's won 22 Grammys in 23 years (23 years of Grammys, not 23 years of recording), been inducted in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, and said "fuck" on live television, earning him a permanent ban on replacement of defective products from the prudes at Andrews McMeel Publishing.

He's also been working on Spider Man: The Musical and helped create The Million Dollar Hotel (a "hot mess" but actually, since it's boring as shit, perhaps "a cold mess" is more apt), so I think those cancel out the Nobel nomination.

And by moving U2's publishing royalties into a tax haven, and not paying taxes in Ireland, they're depriving the poor there. Oops.

Ah well, he's still possibly the best version of a "Rock Star" my generation can hope for. So I'll let his music speak for him. First up, and I'm just hearing this for the first time, is a collaboration with Michael Hutchence, from Hutchence's posthumous solo album. The song was co-written by Hutchence and Andy Gill of Gang of Four.


I rather liked this collaboration with Jay-Z, Rihanna and The Edge, from earlier this year, from Hope for Haiti.


I just looked for "Silver & Gold" (from Artists United Against Apartheid's Sun City album) because it's actually credited as a Bono song, and ran across this clip from Rattle & Hum. I've never seen the movie, and watching this clip I'm not too worried.


Next is Bono with Clannad. That's Maire Brennan singing. Love her.


So far I've avoided proper U2 songs (despite the clip from R&H).  And now, instead of picking one or two, here's a megamix of their stuff. (I love megamixes--they're so 80s!)


Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

The most inadequatest

Cool site Most Awesomest Thing Ever is a great time suck, and lets you pick the more awesome between 2 randomly paired items, like "volleyball" and "the underground railroad" and "batteries" and "bathrooms." There are people (real and characters), places and things. Go, enjoy, watch the sound (the sound effects are loud, but also awesome!).

Here's what's at the bottom of the list currently:
Bottom (#1253) Kevin Federline
#1252 Sanjaya Malakar
#1251 Mitt Romney
#1250 Glitter (presumably the movie)
#1249 Robert Pattison

Just above them are Glenn Beck, The Hills, and the DMV. Lane Bryant is barely ahead of Sarah Palin.

This looks like a scam




Something tells me Victoria Secret is NOT responsible for 3 emails so close together.

R.I.P. Lena Horne

She passed away yesterday at 92. A remarkable woman with a remarkable voice, America benefits from her voice, and her contributions to the civil rights movement.


Rest in peace dude!

The princess has owies

Midge, in repose in the shade.
(click image to embiggen)

When leaving the dog park on Saturday morning Midge hurt her leg. Possibly because someone helped her into the truck (me, and yes, the guilt is palpable).

So she's been hobbling around for a couple of days.

But she makes it to my side if there's food involved, so I know it's not broken.

Or she's a REAL fighter.

You go girl!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

No, no I do not

Favorite moms: the women of friends

They did a really great job casting actresses to play the various mothers.

Christina Pickles as Ross & Monica's mom


Marlo Thomas as Rachel's mom


Morgan Fairchild as Chandler's mom (Kathleen Turner as his dad deserved an Emmy for casting)


Teri Garr as Phoebe's mom


Brenda Vaccaro as Joey's mom
SIGH! Clip not found...

Favorite moms: Beatrice Henderson

Debbie Reynolds in Mother

Favorite moms: Miranda Hobbes

We talked about my self-identification with Miranda a while ago. Watching this clip, is there any doubt? (And I'm not talking about the belly, although...)

Favorite moms: Cass Eliot

Mama Cass

Favorite moms: Naomi Judd

I'm just building on "mom" and "mama"--here she is with Wynonna, the Judds' first #1 song, "Mama He's Crazy." Love the hair, hope it wins!

Favorite moms: Peggy Hill

When one of her students paddled her, I had an emotional reaction. That's unusual, even for me.

Favorite moms: Marge Simpson

This is out of the context of her being a mom, but a great scene nonetheless.

A quick vindication for Kate Mulgrew

I know she's been waiting on this for a while now. I didn't watch Voyager, but when Genevieve Bujold was first cast as Capt. Janeway, I planned on it. I loved Bujold in House of Yes, Dead Ringers and Choose Me.

I wanted to find a clip of her in House of Yes, for Mother's Day, when I ran across this, from the pilot episode she filmed for Voyager. Holy fuck is it weak. But I do love that she was ready to destroy the Kardashians--especially if she takes out the Jenners too. Actually I don't know who the Kardashians are, because they've never done anything that makes them worth knowing. So disperse with the graviton particle fields!


Viva Kate Mulgrew! Sorry I ever doubted you (not that I did, I just was enthusiastic about Bujold, which was apparently not warranted).

Happy Mother's Day

"These are the options?"


Song of the Day: "Who Makes Your Money"

Spoon from Transference.

5 years ago today

On May 9, 2005 Denver CO began enforcing a breed ban against dogs they decide are "pit bulls." In those 5 years, they have killed more than 3,000 dogs.

That's over 600 dogs a year.

That's over 83 dogs a month.

That's nearly 3 dogs a day.

These dogs, by and large, have not hurt, attacked or menaced anyone. They were simply assumed to be an impending danger.

They rounded up legally registered household pets and destroyed them.

How does Denver know a dog is a "pit bull?" Animal control enforcers fill out a form that looks like this (click image to embiggen--note that this form may have been updated, but this is the example that was in operation about a year or so ago):
The best part of this form is that any combination of answers can be selected and a dog still be destroyed as a "pit bull."

Combine that with documented instances of dogs that were declared "pit bull" and nearly destroyed being proven to be okay, per the Denver law, and you have an implementation that is totally fucked. Willy, one of my 2 rescues from Denver, is less than 50% from a banned breed (ergo legal), but sat on death row, since someone decided he was a "pit bull." It's a canine version of racism.

Bad dogs come in any breed (every breed, plus mutts, thanks to bad owners).

Oh, and in those 3 years, reported dog attacks have gone up.

Happy Birthday James L. Brooks

I've just learned that Brooks had something to do with the nightmare that is Jerry Maguire, and I'm not switching over to Billy Joel. That's how great I think Brooks is.

Here's a quick aside. Back in 1981, Brooks appeared, kinda as himself, in actor/writer/director Albert Brooks's Modern Romance (Brooks and Brooks aren't related to each, except professionally). Since James appeared on screen very rarely, I'm not sure what prompted Albert to cast him, but it works. Bruno Kirby rounds out the trio, and the neurosis is wonderful (both in this scene and in the movie as a whole). I think this scene sets the context of James's career: nerdy brilliance.


As a show creator, he had a hand in The Mary Tyler Moore Show and its myriad off-spring (Rhoda, Phyllis, Lou Grant), along with Taxi, and Room 222. If we stop here, he has 8 Emmys.

He also adapted Starting Over for the screen. If you haven't seen it, it's one of Burt Reynolds's best movies: his wife (Candice Bergen--today is also her birthday) leaves him to pursue an ill-considered career in music (see clip below), and her unlikely success (pre-autotune) haunts him scene after scene; and then he meets Jill Clayburgh.


Then he made a movie called Terms of Endearment, adapting the screenplay from Larry McMurty's novel and helping Shirley MacLaine finally win her Oscar as Best Actress (well, her first so far), on her sixth nomination. Jack Nicholson picks up his second Oscar, this time for Supporting Actor. And Brooks gets 3: Adapted Screenplay, Director and Best Picture. He's "king of the world" but isn't actually obnoxious about it.

He made Broadcast News shortly thereafter. It introduced the world to Holly Hunter. It was nominated for 7 Oscars. It's the finale of The Mary Tyler Moore Show turned into a movie, with Holly Hunter as Mary, Albert Brooks as Murray, and William Hurt as Ted Baxter.

He shared the love by producing Big, and Say Anything, and The War of the Roses. I love The War of the Roses. Love. Seriously, I don't get how that movie is not celebrated. It's better than Driving Miss Daisy, Dead Poet's Society and When Harry Met Sally, all from the same year. Sheesh. But all Brooks did was produce, so moving on...

He helped launch The Tracey Ullman Show, one of the first shows ever on a brand new network called Fox. God I am old (some of you are too). He picks up 2 Emmys for writing the show, and also helps launch a successful spin-off around an animated family from Springfield.

Which is how he won another 10 Emmys. 10 going in to The Simpsons, plus 10 (so far) from The Simpsons is 20 Emmys. But life's not all show business awards; as an Executive Producer to one of the most successful television shows ever, and a show that has expanded the idea of tie-in merchandising to, well, I'm at a loss to describe. I'm not wearing my Ralph Wiggum boxer shorts as I type this, but I did fold them last night while I was doing laundry. Along with my Duff Beer surfboards boxer shorts. And my Duff Beer t-shirt. And my Mr. Sparkle t-shirt. But those things are mundane. How about re-branding some 7-11s as Kwik-e-Marts as a promotion for The Simpsons Movie. How about the talking Homer bottle opener. Or the Homer slippers. Maybe there's nothing super unique about the shit I can think of, but you've got to agree there's been a lot. And pretty much everything. I guess, technically, they haven't released their "Don't Have a Cow Man" line of vegetarian entrees, but there's still time. Itchy and Scratchy soft drinks, there! And he gets a percentage. It might be a teeny-tiny percentage, but multiplied by a bazillion, and that's a nice check. I've joked that I'm waiting for The Simpsons cable TV channel, but it occurs to me that if they called a channel "Springfield" they could build it around The Simpsons and still run a variety of programming. Patent pending!

Okay, back to movies. Dark clouds appear on the horizon. I'll Do Anything started as a musical, with the music part provided by Prince (by the way, fuck Prince, self-righteous judgmental asshole--trivializing gay relationships as "sticking things every which place" after making a career on hyper-sexualized, often androgynous music... can we gays get our money back from you if you dislike our lifestyles so much?). THIS is what it sounds like when doves cry:
Anyway, the movie as a musical was a disaster. There's a storyline in the movie about movie test screenings, and the musical version of the movie test screened poorly, so they dropped the musical part. The final product is a total mess. It's been over 15 years since I've seen it, and it's all hazy. It doesn't help that both Joely Fischer and Joely Richardson are in it (see also: my problems differentiating between Max von Sydow and Maximilian Schell). Nick Nolte was fresh off Prince of Tides and as he was filming this, playing a down-on-his luck actor, he was named People's Sexiest Man Alive... oops. I don't remember much about the movie (I seem to recall laughing at a joke about statisticians, but don't recall the joke itself), but I vividly recall a quote from someone involved in the movie, who was being asked to hear some of the songs that didn't get used [UPDATE: apparently Carole King and Sinead O'Connor also contributed songs]. She said "asking me to play you these songs is like asking me to show you pictures of my miscarriage." Harsh, but understandable. And memorable.

Jerry Maguire is a piece of shit. But Brooks probably just wrote a check.

We've spoken recently about As Good As It Gets (2 more Oscar nominations for Brooks). It's on the cusp of good and great movie. Nicholson and Hunt are great, Kinner not. The story is a mess at times, but the dialog is priceless. And this would make a great Broadway musical. Patent pending.

He made a movie called Spanglish, one of Adam Sandler's quests to be taken seriously as an actor (see also: Robin Williams, Jim Carrey, Billy Crystal). It was Oscar bait, but failed to pick up more than 2 Golden Globe nominations. It made a respectable $55 million, but on a budget of $80 million. The words awkward and uneven appear in the Wikipedia entry and seem apt. But I haven't actually seen it. Amazingly, I'm not well versed in Adam Sandler movies (I've seen Big Daddy and 50 First Dates, apparently, and not much else).

Then came The Simpsons Movie. I went to the first show, starting around midnight, up in Cinetopia in Vancouver. I am told old for this (that) shit. And Cinetopia has really comfy seats. Snore. And when the movie was over, at like 2:30 in the morning (on a school night), I was in a different state. Note to self: never again. As I approach the early bird special age, I'm thinking that an 8:00 a.m. show would be ideal--those damn kids would be in school (or, as was the case since it was Summer, just going to sleep).

Next up How Do You Know? It has Reese Witherspoon, Paul Rudd, Jack Nicholson, and Owen Wilson and is about a love triangle (see also: Broadcast News; Spanglish [I think]). Because Hollywood operates the way it does, I'll assume Reese is involved with Rudd and Nicholson, and Owen Wilson plays her sassy gay friend.

I'll leave you with the trailer for Broadcast News, which took some time to grow on me. But I still hate the very end. I'll take The War of the Roses ending any day.


Happy birthday dude! Rock on!