Saturday, July 31, 2010

Friday, July 30, 2010

Quote of the day: the heart of American democracy

(h\t Glenn Greenwald via Twitter)

There's a lot of bluster about a new Mosque being planned close to the World Trade Center/9-11/Ground Zero site that's caused a lot of rancor and insane blustering from assholes like Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin. They don't even realize that there are already Mosques in that neighborhood that are there to, get this, SERVE THE LOCAL RELIGIOUS COMMUNITY. Who, I don't know, might want folks who don't live there to butt out.

But here's a statement that summarizes it very nicely, and deserves to be heard:
"The principle at stake in the Cordoba House controversy goes to the heart of American democracy and the value we place on freedom of religion. Should one religious group in this country be treated differently than another? We believe the answer is no.

As Mayor Bloomberg has said, proposing a church or a synagogue for that site would raise no questions. The Muslim community has an equal right to build a community center wherever it is legal to do so. We would hope the American Jewish community would be at the forefront of standing up for the freedom and equality of a religious minority looking to exercise its legal rights in the United States, rather than casting aspersions on its funders and giving in to the fear-mongerers and pandering politicians urging it to relocate.

What better ammunition to feed the Osama Bin Laden’s of the world and their claim of anti-Muslim bias in the United States as they seek to whip up global jihad than to hold this proposal for a Muslim religious center to a different and tougher standard than other religious institutions would be."--J Street President Jeremy Ben-Ami (here)

It continues to amaze me that so many people don't see how we as a country continue to fuck ourselves with ill-considered and now pointless wars. "We'll keep bombing Afghanistan until their perception of us improves!" Hooray for us. Now wave your flags!

Peace out.

"Vagina, vagina, vagina..."

It's a day FILLED with great birthday options. If you haven't seen Don Roos's The Opposite of Sex, look for it--it's one of the bitchiest dark comedies of the last 20 years, and birthday girl Lisa Kudrow deserved an Oscar nomination for Supporting Actress. The scenes of the drive through the mountains between South Bend, IN and Canada are lovely--I've never seen the mountains of Michigan look so beautiful.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Flashback Song: "Far From Over"

It's also multi-talent Frank Stallone's birthday. This quote from the video description was NOT written by me, but I have to share it:
BEST IN ENTERTAINMENT, Inc. presents Frank Stallone! Seldom has a performer been strongly considered for an Academy Award in both acting and music, yet Frank Stallone has managed to pull it off. His fiery portrayal of a brutish bartender Eddie in the film Barfly had Hollywood insiders abuzz at Oscar time, and his #1 hit Far From Over, from the film Staying Alive, was likewise touted for a 'Best Song' nomination. Its all in a days work for Frank a gifted artist who is equally comfortable on screen or on the concert stage. This Grammy and Golden Globe nominated artist has been everything from a street singer, a rock singer, to a big band singer. Frank was also nominated for a Grammy for best soundtrack and a Golden Globe for Best Original Song from the film Staying Alive. Frank has written songs for 11 films,and has recorded 8 solo albums and has had his music on the Billboard charts 8 times and still plays to SRO crowds in arenas and concert halls from Los Angeles to London. Frank made his on-screen singing debut, performing the self-penned song, sung acapella , 'Take You Back', in the opening scene of the film ROCKY in 1976. Frank has appeared in over 58 movies. One of his most memorable on- screen appearances was his role as Ed Bailey, a dangerous gunslinger in Tombstone, and as Eddie the bartender in Barfly, which gave rise to serious consideration for Frank for an Academy Award nomination, and won the acclaim of renowned film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times. Barfly is a terrific film that features an outstanding performance by Frank Stallonehes both captivating and terrifying at the same time! On stage Frank is a natural performer. His singing, guitar playing and broad experience of playing all over the world has given him an edge as a performer. I cant wait to get out there and sing, notes Frank. That same kind of upbeat anticipation colors every creative endeavor he undertakes. Franks lifelong musical journey continues, and his enthusiasm for entertaining remains unshaken.

Seldom indeed.

Happy birthday Frank! See you at the Newark Airport Hilton next time I'm in town.

Cool party!

It's Arnold Schwarzenegger's birthday, and here are, I think we can all agree, some scenes that should haunt him forever...

Happy birthday Governor! Stay cool!

Song of the Day: "Round and Round"

I heard this for the first time yesterday and loved it. I think I've listened to this track 5 times and pushed it on a couple of folks who didn't immediately love it (hunh, people don't just love what I love?)--this is like Elvis Costello met Godley and Creme at Todd Rundgren's house, and they all got drunk, traded shoes, and recorded a few tracks. But maybe I'm wrong... about them trading shoes. Whatever.

Mercury Prize nominees will resume eventually.

But I agree with Dr. Robert (the big boss), that the band name (Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti?) is dumb. And like Say Hi to Your Mom (now called Say Hi), or We Say Party You Say Die (now called We Say Party), I have a theory about the future of the band's name... can you guess?

Happy Birthday Kate Bush

I love Kate Bush but am in no way suggesting that I'm a serious Kate Bush fan. A real Kate Bush fan would see me as a total poseur and I don't want to fuck with them. They're not as dangerous as real Stevie Nicks fans (they will cut you), but I just don't need that grief in my life. Not today. Not Kate's birthday.

I respect her (and them) too much.

Here are some songs I like, including "The Hounds of Love" which came on during yesterday's commute home and I still fucking love. "Take my shoes off and THROW them in a lake..."

At this point in the post I want to tell you that first Clark said he didn't realize Kate Bush did anything before The B-52s, THEN he confused her with Kate Smith.

Here's Kate looking like your company's HR lady dressed for a really nice office party, singing with Glass Tiger.

And here's the beautiful "This Woman's Work" used to near perfection in She's Having a Baby. The serious Kate Bush fan sitting next to me was bawling like crazy at the end of this song (while I just was having some kind of allergic reaction to the popcorn that suddenly made my eyes water). I wonder what hospital has such a flatteringly lit waiting room.

By the way, if you haven't heard Maxwell's cover, it's worth checking out (here).

And I leave you with a song that is still a source of dispute between me a co-worker. And can I tell you how wonderful it is to have coworkers that know Kate Bush and The Style Council and Aztec Camera? I can? It is wonderful. Except when he's really talkative and I'm working on a report. And I'm ALWAYS working on a report. Splishy splooshey.

And Kate Bush is one of two credible impressions I can do (or at least could). The other is Andy Bell of Erasure, and the cost of hearing them is 3 Long Island Iced Teas. And you know how I get when I drink (answer: I'm fucking fun!!!).

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Things seen on my way home from work

The shiny pretty Rite Aid sign.

Flowers on the bus seat.

And a shopping cart dressed up as a boom box. God I love Portland!

Here's how customer service is supposed to work

Recently I had problems getting support from Mozy (detailed here) because when I followed the instructions I was given, they turned out to be out-of-date. So I did a blog post and mentioned it to @mozysupport on Twitter.

And they took action! I've been getting really polite and fairly prompt response from Mozy, and they deserve just as prominent a statement of that as of my "issues."

Candice has been great and hasn't once made fun of any of the file names in my back-up log (... that I know of).

So Andrews McMeel Publishing, you're still the worst.

He's just as smart as Sharon Angle

Yes, it's 2 Colbert clips back-to-back, by I think you'll agree this was worth sharing.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Republican Gubernatorial Primary Battle Watch '010 - Tennessee
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

Colbert on Trickle-Down Economics

This is pretty much accurate. And if you aren't in the wealthiest 3% of Americans but you oppose the expiration of the TEMPORARY Bush tax cuts (tax cuts during a war, it's unpatriotic, support our troops you bastards) go fuck yourselves. You are being manipulated to working against your own self interest. Dumbasses.

And don't ever say to me "end the capital gains tax" ever again. That's like saying "all luxury cars should be exempt from paying registration and license charges."

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Ownership Society
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

I am exceptionally brutal and savage bed.

Trying to explain how totally full of shit this guy is, is a waste of my time; but imagine if you woke up EVERY DAY and had a fucking nitwit like this, accepted as credible by other people that hate you because they say bullshit that furthers their agenda... and YOU felt compelled to blog about it. NOW do you get why I'm so cranky?

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Gay Reichs
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Songs of the Day: "Becoming a Jackal" & "Twenty Seven Strangers"

Okay, this stuff is great. I'm instantly digging these guys. They're next up on the Mercury Prize nominees list, and also were mentioned to Eric by one of his buddies, so perhaps they're on their way to big things. Or continued obscurity with a small pool of obsessed fans.

They are Irish. Becoming a Jackal is their debut. And I love this album cover.

Happy Birthday Geddy Lee

Yes, Geddy Lee.

Oops, wrong guy.


It's possible that Rush have more than 1 song, but as far as I'm concerned, no, no they don't.

Here's the coolest thing I discovered about Lee today: In 2008 Lee donated 200 autographed Negro League baseballs to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, including a number of extremely hard-to-find signatures.

"What you say about his company is what you say about society"

Okay, gotta go catch the mist. Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Happy "Birthday" Jules Shear

NOTE: Today is probably NOT Jules Shear's birthday. Here's the thing, today's birthday options are limited. I mean, I love Showgirls, but I don't LOVE Showgirls, so Elizabeth Berkley is out. Sally Struthers was on Gilmore Girls (normally moving you to the head of the line), but I can't do a post about her without a South Park clip which is pretty fucking merciless, so I feel like skipping her to avoid this actually balances out the GG thing (it's convoluted, but just go with it). Jim Davis, the creator of the Garfield comic strip has 3 Emmys, but I'm already bored with that.

Meanwhile, I dig Jules Shear and his birth date isn't included in his Wikipedia entry, so he's being activated as a designated hitter birthday for this inning.

Jules flies under the radar as a songwriter, and isn't a real hit-maker. He's doing better than you or me (unless this is Alan Menken, Marc Shaiman or Andrew Lloyd Weber, all of whom are avid readers of this blog), but Alison Moyet's version of "Whispering Your Name" is his last charting song, and that was back when I lived in Dallas, and THAT was before Clinton was re-elected. (1994)

The first song you're likely to know of his is also his highest-charting song (#5 in the US)--"All Through the Night"--Cyndi Lauper  recorded it for She's So Unusual. I like this recent live version, so I'm using that instead of the original.

The Bangles provided his only other top 40 single with "If She Knew What She Wants" which is also a song I unofficially associate with my dad during my parents' divorce (and I don't want to go into a lot of details, but I love them both, and they both kinda deserve a lot of the crazy they were given by the other, and I mean that in the nicest possible way).

Jules fronted a band called Reckless Sleepers and we played them when I was DJing back in college, so I have a fondness for "If We Never Meet Again" but it's also a fucking great song (I'm not a Nick Hornby fan, and didn't even finish reading High Fidelity, but there's a nice little passage in there about talking to someone with the awareness that it's the last time you'll ever see them, but I digress).

If you haven't picked up on the recurring motif that Shears succeeds with songs about shitty relationships, try to pay more attention. Here's Alison Moyet with a stripped down version of "Whispering Your Name" (there's a wonderful dance version as well--she makes it work because it's a good fucking song). The finger pointing by Moyet is actually not necessary to sell the song, in my never-humble opinion.

Shear released a damn fine album in 1998; Between Us is a collection of Shear's songs sung as duets with many of my favorites, including Rosanne Cash, Patty Griffin, Carole King and Freedy Johnston. And the song with Paula Cole is amazingly good (and I was never her biggest fan, if you get my point). But you'll have to take my word on this because there are no tracks online OR in my freaking iTunes which means I haven't imported in to try to post something for you. SIGH. But it's a great album, trust me.

So even though there's only about a 0.27% chance that today IS your birthday, as my designated birthday for the day, happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Well, for philosophical integrity, I'm sure there will be outrage...

(h\t I Love Charts)

Good Blog (here) has a graphic on the % of Iraq reconstruction funds that cannot be accounted for, based on the findings of a Dept. of Defense report released this week.

You may recall that several Congresspersons recently made a big fucking deal about extending unemployment benefits on account of that adding billions to our deficit. I'm sure this missing $8+ billion will incur similar concern and swift Congressional investigation.

In 3, 2, ... (CUE: CRICKETS)

Jack's the smart one (I guess that makes me the good-looking one)

Friend/coworker/person I readily admit is smarter than me (which is rare) Jack had this comment on my open letter to Holland, Michigan (which, technically, is a "bitch please" letter to the Family Research Council).

You missed something at the very end (you might have been too steamed at that point). 
The last two “Myths” are in pretty stark contradiction to one another. If we take the rebuttal to the first “Myth” to be accurate, that gays are maladjusted and have far more psychological disorders than gen pop, then how can the rebuttal to the second “Myth,” that gays have higher levels of educational attainment, also be true? Doesn’t most research indicate that attaining higher levels of education is negatively correlated with psychological disorders. Maybe it’s the other way ‘round for teh gayz, but it seemed like a pretty glaring contradiction to me J 
I'm not sure about the negative correlation between education and psychological disorder, but thinking through my Ivy League educated friends, I'll say "seems right."

Thanks dude! 

No comment required

(h\t Rude Pundit via Twitter)

My Open Letter to the Good People of Holland, Michigan

(h\t Towleroad)

The city of Holland is considering an anti-discrimination ordinance that would cover sexual orientation and gender identity. HORROR!

So the Family Research Council took out this ad (click to embiggen):

But even though this shit is based on discredited research, I am going to spend a little time rebutting it, because no, I don't think my time would be better spent exercising, why do you ask? (And why is my leg so numb?)

"Pro-homosexual activists"
The term is "non-bigots" if you please. That would make the publishers of this ad bigots. Pretty clear so far, right?

"Most civil rights laws grant protections based on characteristics that are inborn, involuntary, immutable, and innocuous (NOTE: nice alliteration there) or protected in the Constitution (religion). None of that is true of the choice to engage in homosexual behavior."

I flat out dispute the idea that homosexuality is not at least 50% genetic. The statistics of homosexuality among siblings is notably higher than it is in the general population (none of which I have handy, but a la Glenn Beck, trust me on this). That might speak to nurture but, aha, the statistics don't hold up among non-genetic siblings. As far as you know (I'm pretty sure, and it's more research than the Family Research Council did, so fuck it).

Also, so what. "Most" means not all. So this would not be an unprecedented protection. So what?

But here's what's clever about that: they sidestep genetics by saying "engage in homosexual behavior." So, you know, go be a homosexual BUT DON'T engage in homosexual behavior (like watching The Tony's and chilling fruit in white wine [goes great with anal sex]). Sorry, fuck that. I'm ready to make "Gay" a religion just to get this shit over with. You're not born a Christian or a Scientologist either, so why should they get all the protections? Cher hear our prayers.

"Let's not grant special protection to voluntary sexual behaviors that are that are actually harmful to individuals and to society."
Okay, maybe sexual behavior is voluntary, but the complete failure of abstinence-only sex education proves that the sex drive is pretty fucking intense. But regardless, what is it that I'm doing in my bedroom (and, for the purposes of this post, let's leave it at that) that's harming society that my non-married heterosexual neighbors aren't? Please be specific, because if this is about AIDS that's a whole other Oprah. And if this is just about that "taint" of having hot man-on-man sex going on somewhere in city limits, then go fuck yourselves. Also you have no idea how kinky my straight neighbors are (probably). Compared to them, I am tame. (As far as you know.)

"Myth: People are born gay
Fact: The research does not show that anyone is born 'gay,' and suggests instead that homosexuality results from a complex mix of developmental factors"
Born gay is really tough to prove. Amazingly gay people all seem to agree that they don't have a choice (I don't have a choice, and trust me, my life would be much easier and my house much cleaner if I could choose--and based on TV sitcoms, I could score a really hot wife). But, like evolution and gravity, it's nearly impossible to prove in such a conclusive way that people come to agreement. Oh yeah, I don't believe in gravity--prove it exists.

Even if we did a large scale experimental design where gay and straight men donated sperm which would be used to impregnate lesbian and straight women in a 2 x 2 cell design (gay sperm & lesbian egg; gay sperm & heterosexual egg; heterosexual sperm & lesbian egg; heterosexual sperm  & heterosexual egg), and THEN these infants were removed at birth and placed into another set of controlled family environments (seriously, I like this idea, although I need a really robust sample size and there's that whole "unethical do experiment with humans like this"). Plus I think it's a good 20-25 year proposal and then I've got all these human subjects to deal with. Yuck.

Here's the real story: do they say that the research proves (or even says) that people aren't "born gay"? No, they don't. And if the research proved (or said that) they totally would make a huge point about that. So either we have inconclusive research or the findings are nuanced and won't fit in the ad, but "trust us, it means you're not born gay" isn't going to cut it.

"Myth: Sexual orientation can never change"
The fact portion is too long to include. But yes, "lesbian until graduation" is a documented phenomenon. The number of ex-gays who, oops, fall off the wagon and on the penis, continues to grow. And also: Ted Haggard and Larry Craig... I rest my case (I think).

No wait, prove it. You think this is true? Then take the gay challenge. Go gay for a month and report back about how much you LOVED being your office style maven and every hapless woman's best friend. Or if you're a women, go lez, and come help me with some house repairs (please).

"Myth: Ten percent of the population is gay.
Fact: Less than three percent of Americans identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual."
So fucking what? How small does a group have to be for discrimination to be okay? The handicapped aren't that big a population but oh, fuck, build a ramp, build a ramp. Shit. And closed captioning? Pff, do you even know a deaf person (also not all deaf people were BORN deaf). Sorry, someone might stumble across this and think I'm serious.

Civil rights aren't a popularity contest.

And Holland, Michigan benefits greatly from being a gay travel destination (there's a whole Saugatuck thing), so 3% overall, but I dispute that is correct for the municipality of discussion here. And also, so fucking what?

"Myth: Homosexuals do not experience a higher level of psychological disorders than heterosexuals"
I'm not citing their fact because, so fucking what? "We discriminate and discriminate and ostracize and beat the shit out of you, why do you guys drink so much?" "I have no idea, where's my Xanax?"

Oh, and I will put a random sampling of gays and lesbians up against a random sampling of NASCAR fans to evaluate this claim and see who has more substance abuse and other psychological issues. I think we can all agree you're not born a NASCAR fan (something tells me this could be one of those random comments that end up drawing fire... and yet I keep typing).

"Myth: Homosexuals are seriously disadvantaged by discrimination"
The ad seriously attempts to make the point that because gays tend to have more education, discriminating against them is okay. That is seriously wrong.

Civil rights are not a popularity contest.

And the Family Research Council are bigots. And full of shit.

Flame off.

Songs of the Day: "Bubbles" & "The Captain"

Okay, back the Mercury Prize list (we were discussing it earlier and then SQUIRREL).

I don't know anything about this band except what I've read on Wikipedia this morning: they're Scottish (we shall test my theory that I love all Scottish music including Sheena Easton), this is their fifth album, and I have no idea about the band's name (like where it came from our how it's pronounced). And Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age may have played guitar on "Bubbles" which is a little confusing as I think they HAVE a guitar player in the band, but whatever.

For the Mercury Prize stuff, I've decided to post 2 songs if I haven't covered them previously, and I will admit to swapping "The Captain" with "That Golden Rule" even if including "The Captain" might remove the need for my bonus video below, but when have you ever known me to demonstrate restraint? Exactly.

But what's interesting about me swapping tracks (yes, indulge me, "interesting" as much as any of my shit is interesting) is that "That Golden Rule" was just a little too Them Crooked Vultures for my taste. Is the Scottish rule officially disproved? Not yet, I did kinda like "Bubbles" although as I think about the possible presence (seriously, the album is like 9 months old, could someone in the know update Wikipedia) of Josh Homme (who is also 1/3 of Them Crooked Vultures) makes this feel a lot like Queens of the Stone Age, who I like, but ONLY with more cowbell.

So welcome to my first dose of Biffy someone (shit, can't they have 1 normal word in their name).

And, bonus, here's what the band looks like shirtless (because it's there). [UPDATE: hey look, apparently they never wear them, keeping it anyway.]

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Otherwise it's just Christianity à la carte

(h\t Bill in Exile)

Here's my retort:
Leviticus 20:9 "For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him."

You can't embrace SOME of the Bible's judgments and not ALL of them. God is NOT looking to you to edit. So anyone carrying a Leviticus 20:13 sign, ask about 20:9. But not if it's a menstruating woman ("the sickness") because, ICK, that's her fountain and discovering it means you will be shunned (don't ask me).

Something tells me every last one of them (and of you) has cursethed (?) your father or your mother (or even my mother).





Happy Birthday Betty Thomas

She has 2 Emmys--one for acting (Hill Street Blues), one for directing (an episode of Dream On) (another 8 nominations, by the way). For one of these, she was seated so far in the back of the auditorium that some dude, thinking she wasn't there, decided to get up and pretend to be accepting on her behalf. It was amusing because you could see her coming down the aisle behind him but he got up and said some thanks and left. (That's like seeing one of those World Series surprise home run things for you straight people.)

I have a lot of respect for Thomas because she's succeeding in the largely male-dominated world of directing. In fact, you'll recall my referring to Catherine Hardwick's Oscar win as for Best Lady Director (she was only the 4th nominee with a uterus, and the first to win). Thomas is like the less glamorous Penny Marshall, but without the nepotism to give her a head start.

So respect. But also reality: not all of her movies are great. Some of her movies are things like Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel. Which made a lot of money. So truly she can play with the boys (money trumps critical acclaim). I haven't seen it, so I won't comment on its possible quality. Also as a grumpy middle-aged man, I might not be the target audience.

The Late Shift, about the Letterman/Leno war, is probably her best movie, but I'll take the total campy delight of The Brady Bunch Movie to celebrate her.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

So it's going to be like that is it Mozy?

[UPDATE: Mozy comes through!!! Details here--I mean, everything below still happened, but they did some kick ass customer service as a result of reading this, which is awesome.]

After losing a bunch of my porn important personal files to an external hard drive crash (another in a long line) I decided to subscribe to Mozy, a cloud-based back-up service. I was excited, seeing as I could prepay 2 years and get a discount and have unlimited storage, hooray. It's a smart way to not lose shit that would be a hassle to replace (don't make me re-import 13,000 songs into iTunes).

But I haven't gotten a successful back-up in a while, so I turned to their support system. And here's fuck-up #1 from them. The link to their website (a thing that can be updated so as to be current, cause, DUH, it's a website) says this. (Click to embiggen)

The key takeaway: "send us an email at and include your log file." I didn't just decide to do that because I'm a maverick, I did it because they told me to do it.

But then, oh snap, that's not what you're supposed to do. Apparently the email system knows this, but the website doesn't (dumbass).
Thank you for contacting Mozy. Please note that this email account is not monitored and support cases are no longer created through email.

To obtain assistance, please log in to our newly redesigned and improved support portal at Once logged in, if you currently have an open case with Mozy you'll be able to see the current status and updates for your case. If you're eligible, you will also be able to submit a new case through the support portal. Additionally, please check out our new knowledge base and forum regarding your question. We are confident that you'll find the assistance you are looking for and we welcome your feedback in our efforts to make the new support portal even better.

Finally, if you've forgotten your Mozy account email address or password, or are having trouble logging in to the support portal, please email

Here's a thought--if that email address isn't monitored, maybe take it the fuck off your website.

But it gets better.

It's possible that Mozy isn't compatible with my version of Mac OS. That might be an easy thing to overlook for someone who isn't immersed in operating system details as part of his day job. I don't think I would have overlooked that had it be clear, nor would I have paid for 2 years up front if there were a doubt. And again, I work with operating system information, so trust me on this one. (Also I successfully completed 1 back-up, hello.)

I found that possible issue at the support portal, and since my account type supports online chat support, and since online chat support was online, I decide to ask. (Click image to embiggen.)

So it's going to be like that, is it? And you people thought the Dilbert page-a-day calendar FUCKING FIASCO (thanks a lot Andrews McMeel Publishing censors) would be a cautionary tale. But really, take the fucking email address of that site... shit.

This is going to be fun. And I have a 2-week vacation coming up!!!

Song of the Day: "I Heart California"

Courtesy of Leland, a track from Admiral Radley--it's his song of the summer. It's definitely catchy.

Prepare a list of what you need, before you sign away the deed

Yesterday was also Jason Robards's birthday--can't explain why I dig him so much but I've loved him in a few movies, including Magnolia--it was a mess, but there's no denying there's real greatness in it. And the audaciousness (audacity?) of stopping the movie for Aimee Mann's "Wise Up" was remarkable and is an all-time favorite movie moment of mine (I have about 6,000 of those).

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace.

Happy Birthday Blake Edwards

A little late, but worth taking a minute for. Edwards is easy to trivialize--too many Pink Panther movies, 10 (actually a pretty good movie), S.O.B.--lots of low brow stuff. But that's the thing, comedy always looks easy. But The Days of Wine and Roses, Breakfast at Tiffany, Victor/Victoria and the under-appreciated That's Life--a lot of good stuff in those movies.

He received an honorary Oscar a few years ago, presented by Jim Carrey, as if to underscore the lack of appreciation for comedy.

10 has great slapstick and is sweetly sentimental without getting annoying. If you haven't seen it in a while, look for it. I don't know if it's Brian Dennehy's first movie, but he charms as a resort bartender.

His only Oscar nomination was for the screenplay of Victor/Victoria, (one of the movie's 7 nominations, winning the Original Song Score Oscar for long-time collaborator Henry Mancini and Leslie Briscuse--all 4 of Mancini's Oscars are for movies Edwards directed). It's a fun musical, if you can stand musicals--Leslie Ann Warren chews the scenery and it's wonderful to watch.

I'll leave you with the iconic "Moon River" sung by Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffany's (but you already knew that). Henry Mancini shared the Original Song Oscar with lyricist Johnny Mercer--and that Oscar sits in the Georgia State University library (go panthers!) with the rest of Mercer's archives.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Dame Helen Fucking Mirren

On the red carpet for the 2001 Oscars (the ones in 2002 for the 2001 movies), someone asked Samuel L. Jackson if there was any particular performer he was rooting for. This was the year that Denzel Washington and Halle Berry would win Oscars for Lead Actor and Actress, which was a big deal (and still kinda is, although I feel like there has definitely been progress in nominating and awarding actors of color--the 7 winners in the years from 2000 to 2009 certainly outnumber the 5 winners from 1939 to 1999), so one might have expected (as I'm sure whoever was holding that microphone did) that Jackson would mention Washington and/or Berry. Especially Berry since they worked together early on (impressively) in Spike Lee's Jungle Fever. 

But he didn't. He said, yes, he was rooting for Helen Mirren.

But he said it as Samuel L. Jackson says things, with the word "fucking" at least implied, and delivered as pretty much only SLJ or any number of SLJ imitators would deliver it. If you don't know what I'm talking about (really, you don't?) go to youtube and type in "snakes on a plane."

Becky and I sat there, and just delighted in this.

Samuel L. Jackson officially renamed Helen Mirren as Helen FUCKING Mirren. Which is how I've referred to her since, except now she's Dame Helen FUCKING Mirren, or possibly Dame Helen F. Mirren. And maybe the FUCKING is just Fucking but whatever.

"Helen (Fucking) Mirren" is what the man said.

She did not win that year (Gosford Park), but she is a woman with some serious EGOT credentials: winning 1 of her 4 Oscar nominations, winning 4 of her 10 Emmy nominations, and nominated for 2 Tonys. To put the Tony nominations into perspective, she's acted in 2 plays for which she's been eligible for a Tony nomination, so she's batting 1.000 on nominations there, even if she hasn't won. And she's totally the kind of performer who will sneak a Grammy in for spoken word--she's just got that kind of gravitas.

Dame Helen Fucking Mirren. Love her. But I'm not her biggest fan. So I am turning things over to Sonya to praise the dame with some guest birthday love.

It was in the Irish movie Cal that I first noticed you. You were the older Catholic widow who fell in love with that doomed young man swept up in the IRA. I was a young girl swept up in the first throes of love with independent film and that movie played at my art house in Atlanta. You were a perfect Russian, in White Nights, with more than a hint of badass about you, and then on to being Harrison Ford's put upon wife in The Mosquito Coast. You were again a wife in both The Comfort of Strangers, and The CookThe Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover, where you carried on an affair--you naughty girl you!--again with a doomed lover. Both of those movies creeped me out, but!...were fabulous.
I know you were many more interesting vixens and lovers and wives and badasses betwixt and between the ones I mentioned, and I have seen many of them. But none of these are so complicated, so delicious, so abjectly fascinating as your Detective Chief Inspector, Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect. I've never seen a character played with such perfect imperfection as you have done in creating this character. Every wrong move Tennison makes, every good and bad judgement call is pitch-perfect as you play her. The scene where you throw the wine on the pompous prat who becomes your boss? Genius! I have watched that sequence over and over again just to capture the nuances of your expressions and body language. There is not another soul on the planet who could have done that scene, or any scene with this character, as well as you. Even though Prime Suspect is done and you are left an alcoholic retiree, I will always think well of you, and would not ask for a number 8, because you want to keep changing and growing.
I love your Queens--the plodding one caught up scandal not really of your own design, your long-suffering Queen, and your volatile Queen. I love your scientist who made me actually watch a Nic Cage action movie. I love that soon you will be the voice an owl, and return to the Bard as Prospera, and run a whorehouse. I love that you keep changing and growing and thrilling me with your characters come to life. You are THE actress. Happy 65th Birthday, Dame Helen Mirren! I love you! Keep changing!

I saw Cal, a million years ago, and I have no recollection of it. She won the Best Actress award from the Cannes Film Festival and I think she may be the only two-time winner of that award. (Okay, thank you Wikipedia--she has won twice, but so have Barbara Hershey and Vanessa Redgrave.)

Here's the performance that had Samuel L. Jackson all agog.

And finally, for no particular reason, here she is at a flower show.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

And big thanks to Sonya!!!

Song of the Day: "King of Anything"

Ugh, busy day, weird schedule, etc. This SotD is courtesy of Clark. I liked Bareilles's "Love Song" (especially when I found out it was a "fuck you" to her A&R guy who pushed her to write a love song), so I'm more than willing to give this one a shot. Plus I love hand claps, pretty much always.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

"...then again you break everyone's heart."

OMFG I just now realized, while watching the atrociously wonderful St. Elmo's Fire, that it's like a mega-after-school special for twenty-year olds:

  • stalking
  • alcohol abuse
  • infidelity
  • date rape
  • drug abuse
  • shitty interior decor
  • and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (I love you Mare Winningham!)

How can we add this to the Library of Congress preservation list?! I mean STAT!!!

The joys of dog parenting

1. The wayward bird that made its way into the kitchen this morning. Dogs? Oblivious. Hooray for 3 (three!) guard dogs. They're like Stormtroopers who can't hit an 8' tall Wookie with a laser sight (presumably) on their standard issue rifle. God I hope a bird doesn't get into that exhaust port...

2. The helpless sandwich sitting on my table, while I got up to get a key for Clark, snapped up brazenly by Midge. So not ONLY are they letting birds get by left and right (well, left, I mean so far one bird), but also taking food from me. So that's like 2 demerits, amiright?

"I took your sandwich... and I'll do it again."

3. Oh wait, unending love. Right, that.

Apparently I shop a lot

(Click image to embiggen)

And apparently there are only so many order numbers in the world.

Sigh, fucking spam.

Happy Birthday Brad Renfro

His talent was immediately evident with The Client (when Joel Schumacher's not putting nipples on the batsuit, he can find some acting talent--SEE ALSO: Colin Farrell). He's great in Apt Pupil and the impossibly creepy Bully. So gay and/or pedo- directors really had a way with Renfro... that heroin OD was so unexpected.

But I am totally pissy that he was left off the Oscar in memorium thing (dude made 21 movies) that year. Someone made this video for him, so here you go...

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace.

Happy Birthday Thurston Moore

Of course "Kool Thing" from 1990's Goo was the MOST IMPORTANT SONG OF THE DECADE by being the first song ever to mix rap and rock*.

* This is from some pretentious as fuck reviewer that was included in an NPR story; the reviewer doesn't seem to acknowledge Run DMC/Aerosmith, or even The Beastie Boys.

Sonic Youth, (or is it The Pixies), are like my generation's Velvet Underground--musically annoying but ultimately refreshing to hear (LIKE ONCE A WEEK).

But Thurston ruined "Superstar" so there's that.

Here's last year's "Sacred Trickster" which, yeah, lyrically annoying but ultimately I like. Sigh.

Anyway, yep, that's about it.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! (But not more than once a week, at least that I can hear.)

PS--if you're a Sonic Youth fan who is in any way offended by this, please point me to YOUR Tracey Thorn or Annie Lennox birthday post, and I will apologize.

Bonus Mercury Prize SotD: "Closer"

And here's a second track from CBR's The Sea.

Song of the Day: "I'd Do It All Again"

Mercury Prize nominee Corinne Bailey Rae from The Sea