Saturday, August 7, 2010

Two great tastes that taste great together

(h\t Popbitch)

Kanye West's tweets.

The New Yorker's cartoon caption contests.

Buzzfeed (here, and do go there to see more) put them together (and edited back on West's insane use OF ALL CAPITAL LETTERS), and the result is pretty fucking funny. (Click image to embiggen.)

Oh. My. God!

As Janice on Friends, Maggie Wheeler got to play one of those perfect recurring characters (I'm also a big fan of Frasier's agent Bebe Glazer). She had a few multi-episode story arcs, but later was used in one-off appearances.

Today is Maggie's birthday, and while the role of Janice may be something of a curse for her, hopefully it's something of a blessing as well. And Mags, I'm looking at your recent IMDB credits--girl, you might want to change agents. "Woman Diapering Baby" on an episode of Fat Actress is really not a step forward, I'm just saying.

But happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy BIrthday David Duchovny

A quick celebration of my 3 favorite performances that weren't in The X-Files (he did really great work there, but these are the non-X ones).

First, as former hand model JP Prewett in Zoolander, Duchovny channels every "mysterious informant" from the movie cliche handbook--there's no video to accompany this, but if you haven't seen Zoolander, it's a triumph of inspired stupidity and I mean that in the best possible way. It's already hysterical before David Bowie or Jon Voight appear.

As Dennis/Denise Price in Twin Peaks he added one more cherry on the sundae that was David Lynch quirkiness.

And finally, his Emmy-nominated turn as "David Duchovny" on The Larry Sanders Show was just brilliant, built around Larry's insecurity that Duchovny has a crush on him. I can't find a clip of Larry receiving an X-Files crew jacket with "The truth is out there" across the back which left him paranoid: "What do you think that means?!"

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Songs of the Day: "Dirtee Disco" & "Holiday"

Dizzee Rascal came to my attention last year thanks to his appearance on Norman Cook's BPA album, on the track "Toe Jam" with David Byrne. His Tongue N' Cheek album is among the Mercury Music Prize nominees, and produced 4 #1 singles in the UK. It's his fourth album, and despite increasing amounts of success with each album, he still lacks the basic resources of spell check--that's racism, plain and simple.

I'm not a huge fan of hip hop (I know you're shocked) but I like that he embraces a big over-produced club sound that I associate with the 90s (probably because that's the last time I went to clubs). You know those brooding, contemplative albums you listen to over and over again when you break up with someone? (Yeah, me neither.) This is the OPPOSITE of that!

He's receiving a lot of critical acclaim, and won the BRIT award for British Male artist, so I won't be surprised if this wins. Of course, I still have 4 or 5 more to go...

Posted without comment

From Patrick Smith's Ask the Pilot column at Salon (here). (Click image to embiggen.)

And now, ladies and gentlemen, Techno Viking

Current TV was running down some of the best viral videos, and I'd not yet experienced Techno Viking, but it's a thing. Apparently he remains something of an enigma--this was part of the Fuckparade (NOTE: their name, not mine, despite, you know, my tendencies), which was a response to the Love Parade, which apparently became too commercial.

August in National Breast-Feeding Month

Presumably for awareness, and nothing required of anyone who's not a lactating mother or their infant children (you know, don't try to breast feed if you're a 46 year-old male), but "head's up" either way.

My company has some kind of certification as "lactation friendly"--does yours?

Oh, and contrary to Glenn Beck's philosophy, offering a lactation facility to female employees is NOT reverse sexism.

Glenn Greenwald on collapsing empire

Greenwald at Salon is always a worthy read (here is the general link), and today's article "What Collapsing Empire Looks Like" (here is the article link) continues that trend.

It also feeds into my assertion that America is shifting to two economic classes rapidly (although it's possible we've just been naive in thinking that the American middle class was anything more than the best-off of the poor, as far as the real economy is concerned--perhaps we've always been two class).

"Does anyone doubt that once a society ceases to be able to afford schools, public transit, paved roads, libraries and street lights -- or once it chooses not to be able to afford those things in pursuit of imperial priorities and the maintenance of a vast Surveillance and National Security State -- that a very serious problem has arisen, that things have gone seriously awry, that imperial collapse, by definition, is an imminent inevitability?  Anyway, I just wanted to leave everyone with some light and cheerful thoughts as we head into the weekend."
Of course, I think we can all agree that street lights are just socialism. Libraries are just socialism. Public transit is just socialism (and stinky socialism at that). And paved roads are HUGE FUCKING SOCIALISM. They're the most socialism-ist of them all.

According to the Libertarian theory, if we take the government out of those luxuries, and keep those TEMPORARY Bush (war criminal) Tax Cuts for the Ultra-Wealthy, then companies like Target and UPS and Sears will step up to maintain our roads--after all, it's in their corporate interests to have roads so they can run their businesses. And I'm sure removing the central authority that ensures that not only the roads that lead to Target stores are actually paved won't ever be a problem. After all Target cares about you (and by "you" I mean, "tax cuts for the ultra wealthy," faggots) and I'm sure they want you to go to other non-Target destinations. Right?

I'm sure we all have individual gripes about roads and roadwork. If the idea that Target and UPS and Sears and Albertson's and Kraft and General Mills and Coors and Coca-Cola and BP and Pfizer (you know, the "free market") can keep roads in a better condition than your state and local government, if that idea makes sense to you, then which Target store do YOU shop at? Mine can't even corral its shopping carts.

With my luck, roads are one of like 4 or 5 things Libertarians concede the government should do, but my point is, if these things are important for us to have (I kinda think they are), then a "central authority accountable to the people" has to provide them, to ensure shit like equal access to the poor (oh, and I totally get the shit like the toll roads to the wealthier suburbs north of Atlanta really are designed for BMWs, Toyota Camry and above, etc., I'm not saying the wealthy won't get a corner piece of cake, with lots of icing).

Anyway, sigh, happy Saturday. Not sure how this became another anti-Bush-tax-cuts rant, but there was always a 40% chance, I guess.

Chris Colfer... in a role that will surprise you!

The Young Andy Warhol Adventures, coming soon to Bravo.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Happy Birthday Andy Warhol

N8 bumped any other birthday from my day, but Leland is stepping up to handle the details on Andy Warhol. Leland knows a lot about art, and about pop culture, and I think it's where these two things meet (or approach each other, mathematically, if they do not actually meet) that one finds Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol from his appearance on The Love Boat

"In 15 minutes everybody will be world-famous." - Andy Warhol
Not the quote you were expecting? With Warhol, nothing ever was. A master of making the mundane marvelous, Andy transformed himself into an international celebrity just as skillfully as he transformed the design for a soup can into high-art.

Yet a man of little insightful public introspection, his work to this day still inspires massive volumes of literature and undeniable influence on the art world. Writing about Andy is diametric to how Andy portrayed himself. He was a true enigma. Andy would have been 82 today and if he were alive I'm sure he'd be having a stupendous party and I'm positive Justin Bieber would be there.
Happy birthday, Andy.
Here's Andy eating a hamburger:

And Leland calls this the best interview he ever gave:

And so concludes Leland's portion. I say that because he might bristle at any of the next few things I've decided to include. First Nico--her voice kills me and yet there is this weird perfection in the arrangement that makes this all work.

And what Nico was to music, Joe Dallesandro was to whatever it was he did in front of the cameras ("acting" seems inappropriate)--here he is in Warhol's Blood for Dracula, a movie I actually recorded from cable and watched within the last 4 years. It's horrible.

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace.

Songs of the Day: "All the King's Men" & "Hooting and Howling"

The band Wild Beasts are on the Mercury Prize short list with Two Dancers, their second album. I hadn't heard of them prior to reading the short list, and hadn't heard them at all until this morning. The first song has a little China Crisis/Frazier Chorus thing going on. The second: one part Divine Comedy, one part Radiohead, and heaping garnish of Queen for drama. Worth deeper review.

Happy Birthday Nathaniel Biehle

Welcome N8! Congratulations Melanie and Drew!

Holy crap, Melanie had a baby! She did it! And she did it in what sounds like were her ideal circumstances. Well, short of Sofia Coppola driving her to the hospital.

Nathaniel (he has a middle name, but I don't remember it as it's not "Trouble" or "Danger"--I'll be calling him N8) knew I was asking about him yesterday morning so he figured he'd get this show on the road. He was born at 12:55 a.m. after about 10 hours of labor and she had a natural birth. Which she wanted but ouch but awesome! That shit is hard work (I guess).

To celebrate, here are some songs from She's Having a Baby!!!
Oh, no EGOT credentials... yet.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gracie a la Monet

Today is your FIRST Christmas reference for 2010!!!!

And it's coming from me!

Because Fred Schneider has written a collection of new Christmas songs that he's recorded with The Superions (with whom he created the wonderful "Who Threw That Ham At Me?"). It may be 142 days until Christmas (I used a website, but who knows if it's correct), but it's only 82 before you can purchase "Santa's Disco Party" and a whole host of other sure-to-be classics!!!

Let me see if I have this correct

Barrack Obama opposes gay marriage rights, but he WANTS equality.

So he wants to end straight marriage rights? Nagger please.

About Time: a Project Runway micro-recap

For thoughtful, timely, and complete recaps of Project Runway, go to Project Rungay, Tom and Lorenzo rule. But instead of cleaning, I thought I'd take a quick minute to recap the Season 7 premiere from last week.
  1. Hooray for Portland-area designers. They totally rock!
  2. WTF? It was like 6 actual designers, 4 kinda experienced craft people, and the rest were hired from a temp agency?
  3. WTF! You know what would have been worse that being kicked out from that group of loser outfits? Being the ONLY ONE kicked out from that group of loser outfits. Fuck.

Quote of the day (so far)

(h\t Towleroad)

I'm "cleaning" today, so I expect to be updating the blog a lot as part of my on-going commitment to procrastination.

"I can't separate love and intimacy and that's the Southern guy in me and apparently that makes me gay."--the dude from that show where couples are supposed to fall in love and get married, only, wha?!, none of them ever do, but they keep doing the show, and women keep watching, because women are stupid romantic. In lieu of his name, I'm using a photo of him, above. Oh and below, because why not?
Some of you might think I'm just using this quote as an excuse to run photos of this slab of beef. Others of you probably don't know me. Also pics of Gerard Butler and Matthew Mac*** (however it's spelled) have generated quite a bit of traffic to the blog, so I'm seeing how this does.

But here's the real reason for the post: "the Southern guy in me." Is that a guy from the South who's fucking him? I spent a good 15+ years in Atlanta, and I am happy to step up.

Call me.

"It's just a ghost of a long long dead affair"

Pete Burns is a hot mess. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but fucking ugly, well, that's commonly agreed on.
Courtney Love has never looked better

It was a relief for me to find out that Burns isn't pleased with his cosmetic surgeries. In fact, there was a TV special in 2006: Pete Burns' Cosmetic Surgery Nightmares. His Wikipedia entry said that in 2007 Burns announced he was planning to sue the surgeon who did his lips, but it doesn't give any indication as to whether that happened. Although something tells me that got settled out of court very quickly, and with a rock-solid non-disclosure, ergo no update to Wikipedia.

Burns has a run of reality show credits in the UK, including Celebrity Big Brother, Big Brother's Big Mouth (that's Burns), Celebrity Wife Swap, Pete's PA, and a documentary, Pete Burns Unspun.

But for Burns's birthday today, I want to celebrate the "totally 80s" that is Dead or Alive, and I want to do with with something besides "You Spin Me Round."

1987's Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know was Dead or Alive's third album, and their second working with producers Stock Aiken Waterman. If you don't know Stock Aiken Waterman by name, you certainly know them by their sound--Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" is the blueprint (see also: that Donna Summer album; Kylie Minogue; Bananarama; Samantha Fox; Paul Lekakis). Despite all the sameness, I still find something to love about the stuff they touch (see also: Daniel Lanois). Maybe limiting one of the dimensions lets me focus on the other dimensions. Or maybe I'm just gay.

"Something In My House" isn't my favorite song on the album, but I feel like "Brand New Lover" has plenty of exposure. So I'm celebrating my second favorite song--not as bitchy, but still pretty fucking sweet. It's 1987 and I'm at Weekends, 3:30 in the morning, and I WILL have another screwdriver, thank you very much.

Happy birthday dude!

Happy Birthday Adam Yauch

AKA MCA of Beastie Boys. Am I a big fan? No, but yeah. I'm fine with never hearing "Fight for Your Right (to Party)" again, ever. But the boys have put out some great fucking music over the last 25 years, you've got to admit.

Paul's Boutique, their second album, is my favorite, mainly because it's the one I own, but that's mainly because I love it (chicken/egg?). The Dust Brothers (and Matt Dike) produced an excellent album that's pretty revered today (it didn't sell well when it was released and quickly ended up in cut-out bins).

And the album cover, a gate fold of a panoramic shot of Ludlow Street by Jeremy Shatan is fucking awesome. (Click image to embiggen.)

The only bad thing I have to say about the album is that the songs mix together, and when we played it at the radio station, off old school vinyl, it was nearly impossible to get out of a song cleanly.

I'll start with "Shadrach" which is funky and fun. The video, which I'd never seen before today, is actually really interesting. Sadly I can't embed the original version of the song with the video, so this overlays the video with a live recording of the song. It works.

Next, it's a song, it's a simple declarative statement, it's good advice for a Friday night. It's "Shake Your Rump."

And finally, the album's only charting single, "Hey Ladies." The song name checks Sadaharu Oh and features cowbell... what more do you need?

Yauch went through treatment for a salivary gland tumor last year, and the band delayed their next album's release until Yauch would be well enough to tour. Hot Sauce Committee Part 1 is scheduled for September, and I hope Yauch's owies are all better.

And he has 3 Grammys.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Billy Bob Thornton

[Belated, sorry] Billy Bob Thornton did not deserve to win an Oscar for the screenplay of Sling Blade. Sling Blade is a really good movie, and Thornton is a really talented actor and writer (he's also something of a mess, but whatev), but, as far as adaptations go, Anthony Minghella's adaptation of The English Patient is really elegant and much better than Sling Blade. So there you go, "happy birthday but I don't think you deserved your Oscar" is really not a great opener, I'm thinking. But I really dig him (ergo the post), and I'm going to highlight a fantastic screenplay and performance from him, from 1992, One False Move.

The movie stars Thornton, Bill Paxton (or possibly Bill Pullman), and Cynda Williams. All three give fantastic performances, and there was talk of an Oscar nomination for Paxton (sadly it didn't happen). I'm pretty sure Paxton and Williams made my list of best actor and actress performances that year. It's not flawless, but thanks to director Carl Franklin, it's intense and taut (is that redundant?).

And I think changing the title from Color Me Bad was a good idea.

I'll set Siskel and Ebert sing the movie's praises.

So there you go, your next movie from the library.

And happy birthday dude! Rock on! (No hard feelings about the Oscar comment, right?)

Songs of the Day: "Up the Dosage" & "Aim High"

Okay, if you don't know me well enough to know that I've been a Paul Weller fan in some respect since 1982, I've been a Paul Weller fan since 1978 (what, you don't know any better).

I heard The Jam right at their end, but it was a catalog worth learning (and I love that fact that there are now MORE "greatest hits" collections than there are actual albums). I was there for the dawn of The Style Council, and I own their box set (which is a good 25% of why coworker Eric likes me, I think). My "Paul Weller Free Form" radio special was, to be honest, awful (I had been on their air like 3 months, if that, so I sounded terrible and had a couple of warped pieces of vinyl); an earlier telephone interview with him was me being a stammering idiot and him, I'm sure, rolling his eyes until the record label PR dude intervened and wrapped us up (I edited the shit out of my "ums" and "uhs" to make myself sound less confused).

Wait, where was I? Oh, right, the Mercury Prize nominees include Paul Weller this year (Wild Wood made the list of nominees in 1994 but lost to M People because how can you compete with "Moving On Up") and I'm featuring those nominees. And even though 2 tracks from Wake Up the Nation have already been featured as SotD in the past few months, I'm doing 2 more today. Because he's Paul Weller. I've been a fan of his since 1955!

First is "Up the Dosage"--it makes the most of the retro soul motifs that are prominent  on a few songs of this album (it's like 40% new "Jam" songs, 40% "Amy Winehouse" production [normally I'd use this as an insult, but Weller tends to Spirograph through musical styles and retro soul/60s pop are in his oeuvre--he should get to bluegrass soon], 20% miscellaneous).

And "Aim High" starts with an organ arrangement that hearkens back to Style Council tracks like "Mick's Up," "Mick's Blessing" and "Mick's Peanut Allergy." But there's a little Three Dog Night horns arrangement in here too.

Lucky for Weller, M People are not nominated for the Mercury Prize this year. Unfortunately for him, according to The xx, The xx are the favorite to win. I guess we'll see September 7th.

Today's Constitutional History Moment

My sleep schedule has been screwed up the last couple of days, so Gracie decided it was time to get up around 4:30 (which was perfect timing to make fun of Clark for rolling in at 5 a.m.) and I caught a great piece of history on MSNBC's Morning Joe (which is NOT a show I actually watch, so clearly it was on from Rachel Maddow yesterday).

They said (and I confirmed, because yes, it's 5:30 in the morning and I'm on vacation, why wouldn't I be blogging) that the Republican Party proudly proclaims their role in the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution in 1866. (And also, possibly, Precious is a Republican.)
Republicans Passed the 14th Amendment
The 14th Amendment guarantees due process and equal protection of the laws to all citizens.  It enshrines in the Constitution provisions of the GOP’s 1866 Civil Rights Act.  The original purpose of the 14th Amendment was to defend African-Americans from their Democrat oppressors in the post-Civil War South.

The principal author of the 14th Amendment was U.S. Rep. John Bingham (R-OH).  In Congress, all votes in favor of the 14th Amendment were from Republicans, and all votes against it were from Democrats.

In 1868, the Republican Governor of New Jersey vetoed an attempt by the Democrat-controlled legislature to rescind the state's ratification of the 14th Amendment.

Read more:

There is so much that's awesome about that, but really, what matters, is that Republicans are unabashedly trumpeting the 14th Amendment as one of their accomplishments. Which means they should have no problem with anything the 14th Amendment actually says, like:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."

If you are born in America, you are an American citizen. And since Republicans ALONE* made this part of the Constitution, as they so proudly proclaim, then someone should tell Senators Lindsey Graham (R, SC), Mitch McConnell (lame duck R, KY), and Jon Kyl (R, AZ), the first names I found when I searched on "repeal the fourteenth amendment." 

"No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof."

Any politician who has talked about his or her state seceding from the US on account of, you know, all the Socialisms, is barred from reelection. This means you Gov. Rick Perry (R, TX). This means you Rep. Zach Wamp (R, TN). This metaphorically means you Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R, MN), since your statements have been more abstract (that, or I just can't understand the shit you're babbling about).

"The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."
I don't have a specific reference on this one. It seems like I've been hearing shit about how, with the massive Obama-created deficit** all the Tea Party activists proclaimed that the founding fathers something something no public debt. And since I missed John Adams on HBO, all I can say is, hey look, 14th Amendment, problem solved!

And yes, I totally get that our debt is insane these days, so I think we can ALL agree the best things to do are to let the TEMPORARY Bush tax cuts benefiting the ultra-wealthy expire, and to get Bill Clinton back into the White House... he's the greatest President of our times and his true fiscal conservatism led to unprecedented economic expansion. He left us with trillions in surplus. Suck on that one Tea Party. (And if you're opposed to the country having a surplus, fuck you--you can't have it both ways, either let us keep a surplus for rainy days, or shut the fuck up when we run a deficit. But when your man flushes the surplus AND adds $4 trillion in debt, just shut the fuck up.)

"No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

This means you California. Equal protection is the basis of the Federal Court overturning of Prop. 8 yesterday. Here is what Judge Vaughn Walker (sorry, GAY Judge Vaughn Walker, and according to Michelle Malkin, that's the ONLY reason he's overturning Prop. 8... also she's a cunt) said:
"Proposition 8 fails to advance any rational basis in singling out gay men and lesbians for denial of a marriage license. Indeed, the evidence shows Proposition 8 does nothing more than enshrine in the California Constitution the notion that opposite- sex couples are superior to same-sex couples. Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."

Towleroad (here) has a nice and brief description on the 4 points on which Walker bases his findings (so go there and read for details and citations): 1.  This case is about civil marriage.  Religious belief has no place here.; 2.  Marriage is a state of commitment, not a construct in which to have children.; 3.  Same-sex couples are just like opposite-sex couples.; 4.  Domestic partnerships insufficiently recognize those relationships.

Oh, and 5. cause he's gay (Michelle Malkin said so, in that cunty way that she, a cunt, says things--I need a "cunt" swear jar, because I do actually try to avoid that word, despite this morning's post).

I think today will be filled with a lot of angry talking points (what with it being a day that ends in -y) and profoundly shallow bluster from all sides about nothing in particular. And, of course, gay marriage is destroying America and running up our debt. So let's end equal protection!


* "Congress, all votes in favor of the 14th Amendment were from Republicans, and all votes against it were from Democrats." If you read that and thought, wow, Congress alone passed and ratified the 14th Amendment, welcome to my morning. In fact, Congress voted to propose the Amendment, but 3/4s of states had to ratify it, but since that pesky detail doesn't help the narrative, we'll just use the headline "Republicans Passed the 14th Amendment" and see if any geeky bloggers find it.

** Actual deficit created by war criminal George W. Bush, but it's okay because he's white.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Song of the Day: "When the World Comes to an End"

Dirty Projectors & Bjork have collaborated on an EP to benefit National Geographic Society's Ocean Initiative. Someone described this as a Dirty Projectors with some Bjorkishness thrown in. I'm not sure I can hear that (I definitely heard Dirty Projectors).

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Today's Yummy: Pine State Biscuits

This photo from their website (here) and not an actual lunch item. I was too eager to eat my lunch to remember to snap some pics before I chowed down.

I got the Wedgie (fried chicken, fried green tomato, blue cheese and iceberg lettuce), the Steak Club (flank steak, heirloom tomato, butter lettuce and blue cheese), an Andouille Corn Dog, and Hash-Ups (hashbrowns with all kinds of accessories and possibly some heroin, cause I want more). Take all that and divide by 2, since I split with Clark (although I'm regretting that generosity now).

Nice combination of ingredients in everything I had. The biscuits are a little iffy to eat with your fingers, so expect to use a knife and fork and all is good. It's solid comfort food, more "retro" than "foodie" but in the best possible sense.

Anyway, yum. Multiple locations--I got food from NE Alberta since I got my haircut next door at Bishop's (I'm a total homogenized hipster).

Aloof infant at Pine State Biscuits

Is it okay to snap a quick picture like this, or are pictures of children taken without parental consent wrong? And what about my video camera in the locker room?

"He has no credibility left."

(h\t Towleroad)

That quote is from Sen. John Ensign (R, NV) about Bill Clinton after his affair with (let's leave her name out of it) became public, when Ensign called on Clinton to resign.

Since I left one non-elected extra-marital affair partner's name out, I will ALSO leave Ensign's whore's name out of it. You see, total fucking hypocrite Jon GOOD CHRISTIAN Ensign violated his marriage oath (to God) and had an affair with a married staff member and then, I don't know ethics violation after ethics violation followed (OR his family is really generous with $100,000 gifts).

But this ISN'T about Jon Ensign's fucking hypocrisy. Well, not entirely.

Today Ensign said he has reservations about revoking Don't Ask/Don't Tell. Ensign said... you know what, I'm not going to quote Ensign today, I'm just going to quote Ensign on Clinton.

Now that Ensign's admitted to having an affair, he needs to resign. He has NO CREDIBILITY LEFT. I know because he said so himself, back before he lost his credibility.

Oh, but as to Don't Ask/Don't Tell, since Ensign never spent 1 minute in the Armed Forces, he doesn't know quite how professional they are, and how ending Don't Ask/Don't Tell won't affect our troop readiness at all (well, no more than integrating or allowing "girls" to serve already has). It's a shame he never served, or even, apparently, spent time with active troops. He just cares about big donations from military contractors and pretending he's a Christian.

No wonder he has no credibility left.

Two Colbert clips

The first is required viewing: David H. Brooks, his Alpha Dog of the Week.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Alpha Dog of the Week - David H. Brooks
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

The second is optional: Is Stephen gay?

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen Might Be Gay
Colbert Report Full Episodes2010 ElectionFox News

"Saigon... shit. I'm still only in Saigon."

I can't see a ceiling fan on film without thinking of that line, as much because of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 as actually seeing Apocalypse Now.

Today's Martin Sheen's birthday, and while I still haven't seen The Departed, AN seems like the best "Martin Sheen" movie (so far).

Apocalypse Now (which totally seems like it needs "!" in the title) is an example of the epic brilliance of Francis Ford Coppola. It's chaotic and long but but filled with greatness; if you've never given it an earnest watching, you'd be satisfied. Go with the longer "redux" version. It's longer, but it's worth it.

The movie received 8 Oscar nominations, winning Best Cinematography for Vittorio Storaro (he won again for Reds and for The Last Emperor) and Best Sound. It hasn't permeated pop culture in the way that The Godfather movies have, but how do you feel about the smell of napalm in the morning? And what does it smell like?

The story is based on Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, but the screenplay is a melange of source material including Lord Jim (also Conrad), Werner Herzog's film Aguirre, the Wrath of God, and Michael Herr's Dispatches, with a garnish of T. S. Eliot. Do I know this because I'm literate? No. I know this because I read Wikipedia to edumacate myself when I do these posts. And I'd like to believe they are at least 64% accurate (hey, that's more than 2/3s).

But for all the film's iconic quotes, it's this pair, from director FFC after the film screened at Cannes as a work in progress, that deserve highlighting:
"We had access to too much money, too much equipment, and little by little we went insane"

"My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam"

I'm gonna wrap this with a couple of random thoughts. First, Emilio and Charlie were never as cute as their dad is here. Second, I know this is amazingly inappropriate, but I would love to see a Muppets Apocalypse Now. And finally, never get out of the boat.

And happy birthday Martin Sheen. Rock on!

Songs of the Day: "Winter Winds" & "Little Lion Man"

I've only featured Mumford & Sons once before ("The Cave"), so I'll do 2 songs from them today, but since "Little Lion Man" gets played all the time these day, that's just a half-ass post from me. Think of it as 1.5 songs.

They're nominated for the Mercury Prize this year, and despite what The xx say in their own Wikipedia entry, I wouldn't be surprised if these guys didn't have better timing for the award. And Mumford & Sons received the endorsement of James Lee Curtis of Radio Shack. I had to read that 3 times to figure out what Jamie Lee Curtis had to do with Radio Shack... he needs to consider "Jim" instead.

Anyway, expect a Best New Artist nomination at the Grammys, possibly 2-3 more beyond that.

Monday, August 2, 2010

"On windy nights like this his world's on a string"

Winter Hours were a late 80s college rock band that my college radio friends and I fucking loved!

They were 2 parts R.E.M, 1 part The Church, and 2 heaping tablespoons of INXS, and they had a brief flirtation with rock stardom after they got signed to a major label imprint. But the music business signs 100 for every 1 band you ever hear of. So unless you listened to Album 88 from like 1985 to 1989 (or knew them from their local music scene up in New Jersey), they're probably 1 of the other 99 for you.

I was surfing around, looking for information on some random old favorites; one never knows who will be at the county fair. Or Berbati's. Which is how I found out about A Few Uneven Rhymes, a tribute album to Winter Hours that's more than a year old (and yet none of my peeps has mentioned, so I may still be breaking this news to them) with some of the proceeds going to Road Recovery (details on all this here).

And, oh yeah, the singer, Joseph Marques, died back in 2003. Seriously, do any of my peeps know this?

Back in 1986 the ladies all loved Joseph. I won't say they swooned--perhaps stood off to the side and gave moody glances (seriously, did that move EVER work?), but never swooned. I don't recall the details, but the band was supposed to play ____ (let's say 688) only it closed that very day, so they ended up playing ____ instead (let's say Club Rio). I assume Kim Turner came to the rescue. She's handy like that, and could have made that happen with a snap of her fingers.

I got in despite being under age (Georgia had a really liberal drinking age that I was 4 days behind benefiting from; this kept me from seeing most club shows until I turned 20 and made myself a "replica ID"--notice how I avoid self-incrimination there?) and I was up front, singing along with every song. And Joseph high-fived me at the end of the show. But because it's me, we missed. Which wasn't him, it's me, and still is.

Anyway, dead guy, tribute album. I bought the disk from iTunes (apparently I will still pay for charity albums), in part because members of Nada Surf, The Violent Femmes, and The Feelies all contribute (that's not showy talent, that's just talent). There was enough interest that it's actually 28 tracks (with a few repeats)--a little surprising considering the obscurity of the band (that's the other reason I had to get it).

Which is how we get to tonight's flashback song. This song epitomizes my college angst, and I mean that in the best possible way. This EP (extended play single for you children out there) coincides with whatever sophomore year English class I took where I learned Romantic literature (or was it Gothic, shit) and the lyrics totally fit that archetype. I told Val to ask about that when she interviewed them, and they had no idea what she (I) was talking about. Hooray for college!

Enjoy the song.

And rest in peace dude!

Minutiae--skip this post

Just random crap that I keep forgetting to remember so I am posting here.

1. Don't get a VW Passat. I'm not saying don't get a VW, but I am saying don't get a VW Passat.

It's possible I would encourage you to avoid all VWs, but I'll keep my recommendations specific to my experience. OR... make friends with your mechanic.

I missed the chance to photograph the car that looks exactly like mine (below) that was ALSO in for, you know, the $500 "oil change" (you take it in for an oil change and, oh look, the flimsy plastic part in the very hot engine compartment is disintegrating because, I don't know, it's plastic and the engine compartment gets very hot, and like a sucker, I say "sure, replace it"). Okay, maybe the problem isn't the car, maybe it's that I naively trust my mechanic. But he is very nice.

2. Yes, mother, we do (finally) have Pepsi Throwback (made with real sugar). So I bought one. Sadly I was not returned to my happy, optimistic youth.

3. A shiny new building behind the First Presbyterian Church (previously here) on the western edge of  downtown Portland.

OMG, it's Alaska AND Hawaii

AKA the freak states., an organization that appears to be European (read that in an ironically sneering manner) and utilizing Legos in some official capacity (click images to embiggen)...

... has a great "periodic table" on various data visualization techniques (here and YES, this IS vacation blogging, why do you ask).

The lowest left lime green item (Da) is a data map. A data map that looks suspiciously like the subject of an earlier episode of Rebel Agenda (here):

But check out this newer map and see if you can identify any subtle differences (no, not the use of color):

Apparently Europeans have no problem distorting American geography just for the sake of completeness. Also, hey look Edward Tufte, you can see Alaska and Hawaii and, while not topographically accurate, at least the data are all there. Shit. (Of course, I can't actually use this data map to help me drive from Seattle to Hawaii, so it does have flaws--better to omit Hawaii entirely. Did I mention it's small?)

Today still feels like Sunday to me, so technically vacation doesn't kick in until tomorrow. Or until I shower. Whichever comes first.

Happy Birthday Butch Vig

I'm happy I heard a shout out to him on the radio, as he flies under the radar of my usual daily birthday lists. If you don't know Butch, he produced some of the most significant albums of the 90s, including Nirvana's Nevermind and Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dreams and Gish (plus Helmet and Soul Asylum and Sonic Youth and L7 and...); and is one fourth of Garbage.

Despite his production cred, he only won his first Grammy this year, for his work with Green Day on their 21st Century Breakdown album (as a member of Garbage, he's been nominated 5 or 6 times, but no wins there).

I'll start with Nirvana, a little reluctantly. It's unquestionably the "biggest" (defined in any number of ways) album he's produced, even if Kurt Cobain bristled at the outcome, at least initially (and possibly because of the mixing and not the production). Philly Rob had the brilliant idea that Pet Shop Boys should cover "Lithium" and, well, they totally should.

He produced Freedy Johnston's This Perfect World and plays on "Bad Reputation," a song that always takes me back to Fall of 1994, driving along Turtle Creek in Dallas with the sunroof open. The darkness of his lyrics are masked by delightfully poppy music.

And finally, my favorite Garbage song, "Special."

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Is it my imagination...?

Or are these Blackberry ads offensive?

I thought it was a joke ad the first time I saw the gay guys.... (is it?)

A few quick notes about Peter O'Toole

  • He is not dead yet, Becky.
  • He does not have a sister named Muff O'Clit.
  • His 8 Oscar nominations with no wins makes him the most nominated actor never to win (edging out Richard Burton). He did get an honorary Oscar in 2003 and picked up another nomination 3 years after that.
  • Today is his birthday.
Here he is reciting the lyrics from a Spice Girls song.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Happy Birthday Mary-Louise Parker

I wanted the first clip to be from Longtime Companion, the first movie I ever saw her in. The movie was written by Craig Lucas, and Parker's Broadway debut was in Lucas's Prelude to a Kiss (for which she received a Tony nomination).  Her scenes in Longtime Companion bring this almost impossible warmth, her southern accent rich and genuine. And of course I can't find that clip. [UPDATE: Yes I can! I need not to limit my searches to youtube is all.]

She lost out on the movie of Prelude to a Kiss to Meg Ryan (and despite that, it's still a sweet quirky movie totally worth seeing). And while she won a Tony for Proof, she lost out on that movie to Gwyneth (okay, how does spell check recognize that and not "New Zealand"?) Paltrow.

By the way, Paltrow presented that very Tony award to Parker (watch here) and then snapped up the part in the movie. Should we consider that "ironic," "coincidental" or "opportunistic"?

I'm ignoring The Client (notable for Brad Renfro's debut, but not much else). Craig Lucas's Reckless was adapted for the screen in 1995. It's too weird to describe, but it's also quirky and fun. And I have no idea how it got financed, but I paid to see it in the theater and enjoyed it.

RECKLESS: Movie Trailer. Watch more top selected videos about: Stephen Dorff, Norman Rene
Parker played Rachel (the Mia Farrow role) in the Broadway debut of Reckless (Lucas wrote the play in the early 80s but it never had a Broadway run until 2004) earning her third Tony nomination because I know you would be disappointed if I didn't account for every one of those.

I'm passing on Fried Green Tomatoes, Grand Canyon, and Boys on the Side (she's good in all three), and going for a big finish with Angels in America (oh yeah, I'm also passing on Weeds which I never really cared for despite trying 3 times, and despite Martin Donovan whom I adore).

The miniseries of Angels in America is easily one of the best "movies" of the last decade. I wish they'd released all 6 hours of it for Oscar eligibility, but they didn't (they're HBO and I guess their dominance of the mini-series/tv-movie categories of the Emmys isn't a fluke, and I guess if they committed the resources to make this happen, I need to just say "thanks" and shut up).

Director Mike Nichols uses every part of Tony Kushner's dazzlingly complex and brilliant plays (Millennium Approaches and Perestroika--Kushner adapted for the screen, so I guess it's no surprise) with themes on religion, sexuality, Communism, AIDS, power, love, and madness. Even my mother urges you to see it if you haven't yet.

Wilson plays Harper Pitt, a Mormon housewife grappling with hallucinations, a closeted gay husband, and Valium addiction (or as I call it, "Wednesday with Larry Craig's wife") and picked up the supporting actress Emmy.

And that's where I'll wrap it up. She's got this pattern of sleeping with/dating/marrying/having babies with her co-stars that I roll my eyes at, but I won't mention that here. It would be tacky of me to even bring it up.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Basic Space"

My first day off from work for vacation, and I'm awake at 5:00 a.m. Groan. And by the way, morning news guys on TV, we can all stipulate that "traffic is really light" at 5:00 a.m. No need to include that out of routine ("we only know how to go from weather to traffic to headlines, we don't know how to go from weather to headlines").

The xx are among this year's Mercury Prize nominees (in fact, their own editable Wikipedia entry proclaims them the favorites). Since they have had songs of the day here 3 times this year ("VCR," "Crystalized" and "Islands"--and I did that from memory, as far as you know), this will be a single song post.

I wouldn't say that I'm really "excited" by their music, I do I like the album (xx) a lot. I think they make subtle music, not the big obvious pop or dance tracks that I get really excited over, so it's not them it's me.

Oh, try not to confuse The xx with XX--they are totally different bands (duh).

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"Things are going to start happening to me now."

Matt Zoller Seitz at Salon (here) has a list of the Top 10 stupid comedies for smart people, and while I'm inclined to haggle over some of these (I think Team America: World Police is a smart movie, but so does Zoller Seitz) I'll just celebrate the list because there's a lot of funny shit here.

10. Bowfinger
9. Team America: World Police

8. Idiocracy
7. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle (I can't embed the scene of Neil Patrick Harris tripping here)
6. The Pink Panther Strikes Again
5. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (if you haven't seen the first 3 minutes of this movie, you're missing some intensely funny shit)

4. The Patsy
3. The Jerk

2. Big Business [NOTE: the 1929 Laurel & Hardy movie, not the Bette Midler/Lily Tomlin movie from the 80s]
1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail


"Could you tell me one thing you remember about me?"

I've reached a point of possible indifference toward Counting Crows, and it wasn't always that way. I liked, but didn't love, August and Everything After--there's good stuff on the album, even if I did grow tired of the song they wrote about me ("Mr. Jones"--who else could it be about?).

I got their second album, Recovering the Satellites after reading a pretty glowing review in Rolling Stone. I didn't expect to love it as much as I did, and I got caught in having to defend them at every mention. "But, no, they're a really great band..." I'd add out of some kind of loyalty or esteem for the band.

I saw them a few years later, in Seattle, touring in support of This Desert Life, and all the rock star posturing at that show (the pinnacle of which was the ACCORDION SOLO!!!!!) was the beginning of the end. I mean, I think I got copies of the next few albums via friends at record labels, but after "Big Yellow Taxi" I have learned to keep my mouth shut.

Today is Adam Duritz's birthday, and in addition to being the dude with the dreadlocks, he's also the band's primary songwriter. And Recovering the Satellites is a really good album.

And when you find yourself unexpectedly back home at Christmas, driving your dad's car because he's in the cardiac care unit recovering from a massive heart attack, and it starts snowing in Atlanta, where it barely snows and never before Christmas, and you hit the brakes and his handgun comes sliding out from under the seat and you just pull over and ask yourself "what the fuck is going on?!" its themes of losing control of your life, well, you might find them relevant.

"The smell of hospitals in winter, and the feeling that it's all a lot of oysters and no pearls"--first he wrote "Mr. Jones" about me, now this? Eerie.

But you've heard "A Long December" a million times. Chances are you haven't heard "Have You Seen Me Lately" quite so much, so I'm going with that. It speaks to the restless energy you get when a lot of things change, and you can't really control it all.

Counting Crows haven't won any of their paucity of Grammy nominations, nor did they win their Oscar nomination for "Accidentally in Love" (which is a perfectly fine pop song). But there's still time.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Le Scrabble

The French couple who tried to quiet John's coworker's restless, disruptive child (yes, I'm not letting this go), were playing Scrabble possibly in French, possibly bilingual Scrabble. Which led me to wonder if it's an easier or harder game in other languages. (Click image to embiggen.)

Or maybe I just don't know the words "jamais" and "wapiti."

Anyone parlais that can weigh in here?

My Evening of Culture

Artwork by Alex Fernandez
This is the second year that Portland's Atomic Arts theatre troop has performed episodes of Star Trek in a park close to my house. Some cities have Shakespeare in the Park, Portland has Star Trek in the Park. I missed last year's "Amok Time" episode, but just finished watching "Space Seed" and IT WAS FUCKING AWESOME!!!

"Space Seed" is the first appearance of Khan and there's so much great stuff going on that the cast has a blast. The watchword is "fun" so I won't bother critiquing acting, because I had a great time.

The venue is a remarkably small but that's part of the charm. John and I showed up more than 2 hours before the start, got a great spot in the shade and caught up. Oh, but if you go, don't sit 2 rows behind his coworker, because her kid was loud and fidgety for the whole damn hour. Even when the French couple gave him a toy. The barking dog, the ice cream truck, the thumping of the bass--none of these things annoyed me as much as that kid.

Here's a sense of the size of the crowd. Today was the final scheduled performance, but it's been fairly full the entire run (last year's run was 2 weekends, this year's 4 weekends).

And this will give you a sense of the production values involved.

Here's an adorable couple in matching red shirt uniforms--this guy needs to do whatever it takes to keep this girl happy if she's this good of a sport. Assuming Star Trek is his thing and not hers (I'm not stereotyping, I'm speaking demographically.)

And this is the cast during the curtain call. Then they did a sneak preview of next year's episode (the evil Spock episode!!!!!) that was awesome-r.

The best news was that they will do another performance, at the Bagdad Theatre, before a special screening of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (what are the odds?). The best part? John's coworker's kid can't get in because it's 21 and older. See you there!

Song of the Day: "Windstorm"

Two years ago I characterized School of Seven Bells as sounding a lot like the Cocteau Twins (listen to "Half Asleep" if you don't believe me). The new album, Disconnect From Desire, seems to have found its own sound--clearly similar but on its own footing. This is the first single.

Happy Birthday Dom DeLuise

This may be all I need to say about Dom. It's possible his best work was in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

As Melvin Thorpe, the crusading reporter out to enforce his morals, he gets to exclaim as he encounters the aroma of pot "they're smoking (SNIFF SNIFF) cocaine!" And he gets to sing "Texas Has a Whorehouse In It" which I can't find by itself. There's so much cheesy about the movie and the musical itself, that it's easy to forget that it earned Charles Durning his first Oscar nomination.

[NOTE: It's entirely possible The Glass Bottom Boat (which I think needs a hyphen: "glass-bottom") might be his best work, but I haven't seen it, that I recall.]

Somewhere beneath the slapstick in The End lies a really great movie--Reynolds is diagnosed with a terminal illness and decides to avoid the painful effects of his condition by committing suicide, and DeLuise is the mental patient determined to help him finish the job. I have a soft spot for old Burt Reynolds comedies that don't involve automobiles as a key plot point, and in addition to the usual suspects, this one's got Kristy MacNichol, so, you know, hooray.

Speaking of automobiles, I'm only sharing the Cannonball Run outtakes because they're funny. Reynolds regularly showed bloopers over his end credits and they often out did the movies.

Here's something weird--I thought DeLuise died like 8 to 10 years ago. He died in May 2009. Of swine flu. Or possibly cancer. Or possibly complications from diabetes. It's a little confusing.

Here he is in a few clips with Dean Martin. You can never have enough Dino.

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace!