Saturday, June 12, 2010

Song of the Day: "My Chariot"

Another track from Depreciation Guild.

Happy Birthday Jim Nabors

I want to wish a big GAY birthday to Jim Nabors. Jim was the subject of rumors that he is gay, and he was annoyed because this would hurt his ability to play anything but a comic character. Which... wait, what character have you played since Gomer Pyle? Oh, right, you were in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas... not at all gay.

Nabors lives in Hawaii, as do Richard Chamberlain, Randy Travis and Tom Selleck.

No Emmys, no Grammys, etc.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

What was in Glinda said? "Come out, come out, wherever you are."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Okay folks, prepare your telephone poles

(h\t Towleroad)

Happy Birthday Adrienne Barbeau

I will take any excuse to post the theme from Maude on my blog. We miss you Bea Arthur!!!

And the Family Guy remix. We miss you Seth MacFarlane!!! (call me)

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Put the candle back

It's Gene Wilder's birthday today. and while I can't get so worked up as to feature an entire post (as I could over Aaron Sorkin, apparently), Gene has certainly contributed to classic movies from my life.

EGOT stats: 2 Oscar nominations (Supporting Actor for The Producers; Adapted Screenplay for Young Frankenstein), and an Emmy win (Guest Actor, Will and Grace).

"Pure Imagination" by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley is a fantastic song, and perfect for a commercial. If only it hadn't been for shitty fucking AT&T and their pathetic as hell data network. I mean, their incredibly sucky voice network is only incredibly sucky. But their data network? Piece of shit.

Wilder survives Gilda Radner, whose loss is still sad.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Rhinestone Eyes"

Another track from Gorillaz's Plastic Beach.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Andrew Niccol

Niccol wrote and directed Gattaca, a fantastic film noir science fiction movie. I love a lot of things about this movie, including the script and the direction. But beyond that, its score by Michael Nyman, and its Oscar-nominated art direction, are both great. Even the costume design is great. Check it out of your public library if you haven't seen it!

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Judy Garland

The girl could work a song.

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace!

Song of the Day: "Bushwick Blues"

You guys know how easily I can confuse 2 similar names (even if they're not that similar), so imagine my thrill when I heard The Delta Spirit. And the Duke Spirit. Hooray. This is one of those bands. Either Delta (from San Diego) or Duke (from UK). As far as I'm concerned, they're the same band. Enjoy the song.

Delta Spirit - "Bushwick Blues" from DUKE STREET on Vimeo.

Happy Birthday Clark

If you buy him a couple of drinks, he will totally do this dance for you.

By the way, if you're rolling on ecstasy, I've (cough) heard that this song is the greatest song of all time, ever.

And I am hoping to get Anna Falaxis to perform this at Darcelle's soon. Cross your fingers.

The kids thank you for all your hard work, and I probably do too. Midge can't wait to help you eat cake.

Happy birthday dude! Hey, look, you're still here!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

For Your Consideration: Will Arnett

Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, 30 Rock
I could watch Arnett with Alec Baldwin for hours.

Happy Birthday Aaron Sorkin

Writer/producer Aaron Sorkin gets a lot of shit.

And only some of it is deserved.

On the one hand, Sorkin had written some of the most literate, compelling television of the last 20 years: Sports Night (after they lost the laugh track) and The West Wing.

On the other hand he created a show around Rob Lowe and Moira Kelly. Honestly, The West Wing STARRED Rob Lowe and Moira Kelly, everyone else was just a supporting actor. Actually, Martin Sheen was added at the last minute (originally the President was never going to be seen), so he got "Heather Locklear" credit at the end. That worked so well that Moira Kelly's character, Mandy, all but disappeared (I think she appeared in 2 separate scenes per episode in last part of the first season) and in the season 1 finale she was among the group of characters who were shot at.

CLIFFHANGER!!! Will the character played by the actress who's leaving the show be killed?! Actually, it was better than that: the character was never mentioned again. Oh, snap. I'm sure Kelly was a little pissed when watching the season 2 premiere.

And that's how the term "Mandyville" came to be. But there's also a town called Mandyville in Louisiana, which is different.

Back to Sorkin; he has an eye for talented actors: Felicity Huffman, Peter Krause, Josh Charles, Bradley Whitford, Richard Schiff, John Spencer, Dule Hill, Kathryn Joosten, and Allison Janney--he didn't discover any of them, but the parts her wrote for them established them as real talents. Actually, let me say he has an eye for talented white actors (and Dule Hill). As I write this I realize how white his sports show in New York City (which doesn't have a large population of minorities, I admit) and his government show set in Washington DC (ditto) both were. Yes, there was Robert Guillaume, and Dule Hill, but they both sound vaguely French so does that even count? Alan Alda, Allison Janney, John Spencer, Stockard Channing, Bradley Whitford, and Richard Schiff all won Emmys for their acting on The West Wing (and they're all white! it's like he doesn't even know Asians exist).

Sorkin has 6 Emmys. He wrote A Few Good Men as a play before adapting for the big screen, but picked up no EGOT love for either format. Nor for his screenplay for Charlie Wilson's War, which is a pretty good movie, all things considered.

I couldn't get into his Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, a show basically about the behind-the-scenes action of a Saturday Night Live-type show. It premiered on NBC the same year as 30 Rock, a show basically about the behind-the-scenes action of a Saturday Night Live-type show. When Tina Fey hosted the Writers Guild of America's east coast awards dinner that year (they have them in NYC and LA on the same night), she said that Aaron Sorkin was in LA wearing the same dress, it was just twice and long and not funny. Nice. She also had a "walk and talk" scene with Alec Baldwin where they basically walked in a circle before realizing they were both following the other one. Love her.

Anyway, Aaron, no one remembers Cop Rock either (that wasn't him, it's just an indication that TV greats like Stephen Bocho can survive failure). I'm looking forward to the next walking, talking show.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! And see you in Mandyville!

Song of the Day: "Honey if You Love Him (That's All That Matters)"

"I've got to confess, your ex- was a hot mess"

Andy Bell from Erasure + Perry Farrell from Jane's Addiction = confusingly awesome! From Bell's second solo album.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The future is now

Meet my new tankless water heater. It's part of my home weatherization/energy efficiency make-over.

You may commence to ooohing and aaahing.

Oh noes

Sadness comes to California, and really to democracy in America. Orly Taitz lost her bid to become California's Secretary of State, losing the Republican primary to some non-crazy person.

In fact, voters preferred someone who had never voted in an election before 2009 over Taitz.

Non-voter, but sane. Now there's a campaign slogan!

Happy Birthday Joan Rivers

UPDATE: Tom and Lorenzo appear to be seconding this (here).

My selection of Joan as today's birthday is likely to evoke some grimaces. But give me a minute. Before the excessive plastic surgeries, and the inept red carpet interviews, she was a ground breaker.

Let's start with stand-up comedy. There's no definitive list, but I think it's fair to say she's among the first 5 women to become major stars in stand-up comedy. Phyllis Diller is probably the first lady of stand-up, but Joan is the Rolling Stones to Diller's Beatles. And I think that makes Totie Fields The Who. Click here to watch an adorably young Joan Rivers on The Ed Sullivan Show back in 1967.

She was a popular performer on The Tonight Show, wrote some best selling books, and picked up a Grammy nomination. She also has a Tony nomination and a Daytime Emmy.

She also wrote and directed Rabbit Test, a movie about the first pregnant man, starring Billy Crystal. It's a mess, but you've got to give her credit for trying.

Her close working relationship with Johnny Carson earned her the official role of guest host in 1983 (Carson took Mondays off--I have to say there was a certain charm to guest hosts like Burt Reynolds and Kermit the Frog). Her departure to helm FOX's first attempt at a late night show in 1986 was never forgiven by Carson, despite many attempts by Rivers.

And, AND, she was in Space Balls.

And let's be honest, she turned the red carpet stuff into an event. Before her, no one gave the red carpet arrivals anywhere near that kind of attention. If she had any clue as to what actors were actually nominated, and for what movie, it would have been perfect, but you can't have everything.

So here's to you Joan. They weren't all successes, but you kept going. We won't talk about the plastic surgeries.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

She's ready for her close-up Mr. DeMille

(h\t to Clark for sending this along)

Midge and Willy enjoy a rare moment of sunshine.

Song of the Day: "Cocaine and Ashes"

From Son Volt's American Central Dust.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Flashback Song: "It's Not Unusual"

Today's my cousin Tom's birthday (anyone with the surname Jones is my cousin), and there's a certain perfection in this song--short, sweet, and not particularly vocally challenging (Tom adds his pieces of flair, but if one were to tackle this at kareoke one wouldn't be expected to live up to that, I think). I'm sure Tom's performed this song at least 300 times a year for the last 35 years. At least.

Florence Ballard was the real singer in the original Supremes line-up--she's the person on whom Jennifer Hudson's Dreamgirls character is based. But Diane looked and sounded whiter, and those cross-over sales were important to Berry Gordy. Here's a version she recorded solo back in 1968.

I can't find Cher's version, so you'll have to make due with 2.

Happy Birthday James Ivory

Oregon's own James Ivory, along with gay partner (like they were gay together) producer Ismail Merchant (what, you didn't know that?) and writer Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, his Merchant Ivory Pictures became synonymous with classic period films in the 80s and 90s. His career didn't begin with The Remains of the Day, or even The Bostonians, but for the purposes of this post, let's pretend it did.

The Bostonians: saw it, don't remember much. Vanessa Redgrave rebounded from her 70s Oscar controversy with a Best Actress nomination (it was the year we liked, REALLY liked, Sally Field, so she lost, but all things considered it was an honor for Redgrave to be nominated). Its other nomination was for Costume Design.

But Merchant Ivory BECAME Merchant Ivory with the first period piece that I actually enjoyed: A Room With a View. (Well, if you could Amadeus, then maybe it's the second.) I don't think I stayed awake through the movie the first time I saw it, but I definitely enjoyed it and ultimately have seen the whole thing. Also, don't go to the movies with me at night. I am going to point out this, taken directly from the movie's Wikipedia entry:
At this point in the movie, it should be noted that there is a swimming scene with continuous male frontal nudity and a chase scene that surprises the women main characters, who are surprised by seeing three nude men running through the woods.
I wonder if this has anything to do with my enjoyment of the movie... More importantly, would this warning exist if this had been about boobies? You decide, penises included in this trailer.

It won 3 of its 8 Oscar nominations, including Ruth Prawer Jhabvala's first win for Adapted Screenplay.

There are movies in between Remains and Howards End, but let's skip those. I'm being the stereotypical Merchant Ivory fan now, and they don't even know Slaves of New York exists (they are lucky).

There is no apostrophe in Howards End. I didn't care for it on first viewing, but much later grew to appreciate it. It picked up 6 Oscar nominations, winning 3 including Emma Thompson's near universal acclaim as Best Actress, and Jhabvala's second Adapted Screenplay Oscar. Redgrave is amazing, but she disappears after the first hour of the movie. Even still, Marisa Tomei? Sigh.

But I think, oddly, that my favorite is the under-appreciated The Remains of the Day. The acting from both Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson (both Oscar nominees) is amazing in its subtlety. Truly they are repressed Brits. He lost an Oscar to Tom Hanks in Philadelphia. Don't get me started...

Aside from the acting, the movie is pure elegance. The editing, the cinematography, the art direction--it's just a perfect little movie, that had the unfortunate timing to come out the same year as Schindler's List. Ergo 8 Oscar nominations, 0 wins.

Supposedly Ivory roomed with a former coworker's dad when they went to the University of Oregon together, so I am possibly 3 degrees of separation from Ivory (and 4 from 2-time Oscar winner Ruth Prawer Jhabvala). If I don't have to actually try to get in touch with him, then let's say that's for sure.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Growin' Trade"

From Levon Helm's Grammy-winning Electric Dirt. Levon turned 70 a couple weeks ago, so belated shout out.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Your tax dollars at work

This is a postcard that you can "send" to Spirit, the Mars rover. On Mars.

It's something you can do at a NASA-funded website called Be a Martian. The official goal of is "to inspire digital age workforce development and life long learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics."


Seriously weak.

Based on this, I am ready to cut about $50 billion from NASA's budget.

And if this is the software the Americans Speaking Out people were referencing, I understand why that site is a piece of shit. A tax-payer funded piece of shit. NOT a Republican PAC funded piece of shit--they're wasting ALL OUR money.


This week's open letter to John Boehner

Rep. John Boehner (R, OH) had this to say on Friday, about Paul McCartney: "I hope he'll apologize to the American people for his conduct which demeaned him, the White House and President Obama."

(Previously Paul McCartney had this to say about George W. Bush: "After the last eight years, it's great to have a president who knows what a library is.")

To which I expect George W. Bush thought "hell, I KNOW what a liberry is, theys building me one right now in Dallas" (sic). And to give the full effect you have to read it with the shear smugness that a man with the audacity to cut taxes while his country was fighting TWO wars would have.

But back to John Boehner (hey JB)... why, I was wondering, is John Boehner demanding this? Then I realized, all the important Republicans (wait who are... nevermind) are at Rush's fourth wedding down in Florida. So Boehner looked up, and realized he was the only one around, so he MUST be in charge. Sometimes, late at night, Chekov is in charge in the Enterprise.

John Boehner is just a really orange Chekov minus the adorable accent.

So John, let me point out that the White House is just a building. To demean that building, you're demeaning the American people, which is redundant since you already named us. And speaking for both the American people, and our symbolic buildings (also parks, bridges, lakes and monuments), as regards Paul McCartney: we good. Honestly, the sheer joy of something as wonderfully poppy as "Silly Love Songs" totally outweighs that little dish.

And that's not even touching The Beatles--that might even cover an unjustified invasion of Iraq destroying that country and running up hundreds of billions of dollars in debt here, and McCartney NEVER did anything quite so despicable. (But if he had, he might be covered... )

So while I can't speak for President Obama, I'm pretty sure no one else is all that concerned. But you should totally use these last few minutes while you're "in charge" to do something productive for the Republican party. Maybe you can do something about the Americans Speaking Out website, which is really slow and they deleted some of my best suggestions, it's almost like you only want suggestions that fit your pre-existing narrative (but I digress).

Also, that software helped mapped the moon? Dude, someone sold you some real shitty software, and I'm pretty sure Microsoft didn't come along until well after the moon was mapped.

Where was I? Oh, right, "we good."

Drill baby, drill, continued

(h\t Boing Boing)

Here are 3 key take-aways from BP's Regional Oil Spill Response Plan for the Gulf of Mexico (June, 2009):
  1. In the worst case discharge scenario (on chart below), an oil leak was expected to come ashore with highest probability in Plaquemines Parish within 30 days.
  2. Spokespersons were advised never to assure the public that an ecosystem would be back to normal after the worst case scenario, which we are now living through.
  3. Corexit oil dispersant toxicity has not been tested on ecosystems, according to the Oil Spill Response Plan. "Ecotoxilogical effects: No toxicity studies have been conducted on this product."
So naturally this is the fault of "extreme greenies" (right Sarah Palin?).

Also, why are they still "in charge" of the clean-up?

(Click image to embiggen.)

Happy Birthday Harvey Fierstein

I take a moment to celebrate 4-time Tony winner (1 time Emmy nominee) Harvey Fierstein because his success (and in some ways Sandra Bernhard's also) means that maybe I can also have a successful life in the musical theater. Seriously, this voice earned a Tony for Best Actor in a Musical (suck it Antonio Banderas).

2 of Harvey's Tonys are for acting, 2 are for writing (Torch Song Trilogy, and for the book of La Cage aux Folles). I read that Harvey and Tommy Tune are the only 2 individuals to win Tonys is 4 different categories. I'm not going to bother to check on that, so if it's not true don't blame me (but do let me know so I can do my "show business awards buzz kill" act on Wikipedia again).

Harvey's been less successful in Hollywood.

He did pick up an Emmy nomination for an episode of Cheers. It was a Guest Actor performance in one of the years when they did away with the Guest Actor category (it's a long story, but I am happy to discuss it with you). I can't find a clip of that, but here's a clip from his short-lived talk show, Plug Away with Harvey Fierstein.

There's no way to end this except with the short-stoppingest, crowd-pleasingest, self-affirmingest song you could ever hope for, "You Can't Stop the Beat" from Hairspray (thanks again Marc Shaiman!).

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Oh Sir Ben Kingsley, you totally rock

Apparently a variety of wannabe-/quasi-celebrities have be making public audition tapes for the next Transformers movie.

And now Ben Kingsley has too! Which totally rocks.

Happy Birthday Sandra Bernhard

I saw her about 4 years ago (based on the dates in Wikipedia, it was Everything Bad & Beautiful, but if you'd shown me a list of random snarky names, I would never have remembered that one)--it was the only Sunday afternoon/evening show that fit in before Broadway Bares. I remember being mildly amused, but the problem with Bernhard is I just don't get the joke. I mean, I get some of the jokes, I think, but I feel like there's a larger joke that I'm not in on. Otherwise, why is she singing? (Right? It's some ultra-hip-irony thing, right?)

That being said, her 1990 movie Without You, I'm Nothing had some fantastic costume designs. Here she is rocking out to Sylvester's "Do You Wanna Funk?"

And to give you a little context, here's the original.

No EGOT, but maybe that's part of the joke.

Still, I'm happy she's around--she's like our version of Soupy Sales. Not quite sure how they got so far based on their schtick, but ultimately glad they've done it.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

No homo

From Current's Infomania's That's Gay segment.

Song of the Day: "The Ghost Inside"

Another track from Broken Bells (aka James Mercer of The Shins, and Danger Mouse). I didn't think people were spending this much money on rock videos any more, but apparently I was wrong.

This is why you'll be eating liberty bird in November

Remember what happened when France told us to chill over the whole Iraq/WMD thing? If you don't remember:
  1. What the fuck are you on?
  2. We didn't chill and we unjustly invaded Iraq and fucked up that country and drove up hundreds of billions of dollars in debt that not even the most fiscally conservative war supporters expected.
  3. Congress changed the name of french fries to "freedom" fries in their cafeteria. (That showed them.)
So if we are reflexively going to transform Turkey from ally to enemy (and we are), just cause they have the audacity to be upset over having their citizens, in an aid flotilla, attacked (and killed) by the Isreali military, in international waters (they are so uptight), then there's no way in hell we can eat a bird whose name is loosely related to that country.

And because we're Americans (well, except those of you who got here looking for shirtless pictures of Matthew McConaughey ((seriously, according to my web stats, I'm getting like a hundred a day)) since many of you are in Europe) we won't consider the situation if we just change the name. Change the name=problem solved.

Hooray for America! Hooray for "solving" problems. And boo to aid flotillas.

More Rush

I wanted to point out that, from news reports, Elton John performed at Rush Limbaugh's fourth wedding (you know, the true love forever, this time I mean it, wedding).

Why in the name of sparkly gay unicorns would Elton John play at Rush Limbaugh's fourth, third or inevitable fifth weddings? Because he got paid, bitches, because he got paid. Like a MILLION dollars. He didn't get to be wealthy (his personal wealth is estimated at more than $250 million) by turning down a million dollars here and a million dollars there.

Even if the million dollars is coming from a colossal dick with an addiction to opiates.

I'm sure the fact that Elton and his partner, David Furnish have been together longer than any of Rush's earlier marriages wasn't at all an issue. After 4 Vicodin I'm sure Rush is very hazy about most things, let alone shit that happened 5 years ago or more. Well, except about Monica Lewinsky (OUTRAGE!).

And if Elton did a really good job, maybe Rush will hire him for his next 4 weddings. That would make $5 million from various Rush Limbaugh weddings, and that's real money folks.

Glenn Greenwald at Salon (here) got around to Rush this morning (he's been focused on the Israeli attack on the aid flotilla heading to Gaza):
So as Newt Gingrich does while standing next to his third wife (who, as was true for Gingrich's second wife, was previously known as his "adulterous mistress"), Rush Limbaugh will now crusade for Traditional Marriage with his fourth wife (and counting) at his side.  As is so often the case, the Traditional Marriage movement is led by people who discard their wives and get new, younger replacements the way most people change underwear.
That's not fair. Most people actually keep their underwear a ridiculous amount of time. I think "car" would have been a better analogy. Those are only good for 4 or 5 years, right?

I was going to look for a snarky Elton John song to post here, but why do that when I can just go to Nona again?