Saturday, January 29, 2011

Happy Birthday Paddy Chayefsky

Chayefsky won 3 Oscars, his third for the eerily prescient Network. It's a biting dark satire about American media and its sway on an easily angered populace; a scene where Faye Dunaway negotiates a reality show with the Ecumenical Liberation Army is a favorite. Wickedly fun.

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace.

It takes a lot to make her happy

Midge, on the other hand, is a complicated creature. We can start with some of your pizza, you will give me some of your pizza, you will give me some of your pizza, you will give me some of your pizza, you WILL give ME some of your pizza...

Now go in the kitchen a make another pizza.

It takes very little to make him happy

When we go to the dog park, if you don't mind, please chase Willy. It makes him sooooo happy.

Is this progress... kinda?

Commercial #1, 2 African Americans and an Asian.

Commercial #2, a plus-sized African American.

Welcome to diversity. "Now could you sound a little more... urban?"

Happy Birthday Greg Louganis

One of the greatest divers of ever, EVER. 4 Olympic gold medals and he knew (knows) how to wear a Speedo. Graceful, lithe (is that redundant), athletic... he's like my twin. My bizarro world twin.

The best thing to do, moving forward, is pretend that one-man show never happened.

So happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "I Wanna Be Your Lover"

Corinne Bailey Rae covers Prince. Also, fuck Prince. I'm sure he's completely washed his hands of this song because, "you can't just go sticking it any which place" which is, really, what this song is about. It's not "I Wanna Be Your Husband" is it? No, no it's not. Fuck Prince.

Song: "I Wanna Be Your Lover"
Artist: Corinne Bailey Rae

Friday, January 28, 2011

"Decorate, paint it for the union"

What do Rick Astley, Bananarama, T'Pau, The Human League, ABC and China Crisis have in common?! This summer's Rewind Festival in Scotland (the home of Scottish music!), and also England (whatev).

Check this shit out while you listen to China Crisis.

OMG this is sooo incredibly important

Exasperated sigh! N Mississippi runs north/south, NOT east/west... duh. Portlandia fail. (Also why are they hyphen-ating the neighbor-hood names?

"...there ain't no one to buy our innocence"

My company Christmas party was held at a bowling alley one year. This was back when I went to company events. I stopped. I can only get myself in trouble. Lead me not into temptation to open my mouth and rant about something or someone. Also my mutant power is to randomly find something weirdly connected to some total stranger who can hear me.

But the bowling alley, that was fun. Around that time (let's say 1997 or 1998) this place was kinda dive-y (a bowling alley, I know) but they've completely made this place bad ass, which is totally not important for this post. We got to bring Christmas music to play on their sound system, so I got to make mix CDs--Christmas stuff with good bowling music. I distinctly remember Bell Biv Devoe's "Poison" got every lane rocking.

For some reason, I thought Sarah McLachlan's "Adia," a truly lovely song, would mix well with something. It did not. I think there was a loud groan. Wait a minute, there was, FROM BECKY! This must have been 2001 or 2002. Yes, Becky gave me shit about this song, which is truly a lovely song--it's from Surfacing, aka "your 1998 girlfriend's favorite album back when you were dating."

It's Sarah's birthday today, and at some point I considered the new artists Kim and I played at the station that sustained, Sarah and The Cowboy Junkies may have had the most enduring careers. Lots of other bands in there: Nine Inch Nails followed my departure for south Florida and Indigo Girls were kinda established when we took over (at least in Atlanta). Yeah, maybe Sarah. I think she did vocals on some dance track around that time, and I can't figure out what. I've been listening to Moev, but can't hear her on any of the songs (but, by the way, Moev is awesome goth music: "agony is borne of desire"... so true).

So let's celebrate with "Adia." You are all free to stop bowling and groan loudly.

Oh yeah, 3 Grammys, no Oscars, Emmys or Tonys (yet).

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "The Pocket"

(h/t Clark)

Clark mentioned Andy Grammer to me yesterday. I'd never heard of him, so went looking, and I found this song. It's a nice change of pace (yes, Buble, sure, but not nearly as much as jangly guitars, amiright?).

So there you go. (Not all my stories are interesting.)

Song: "The Pocket"
Artist: Andy Grammer

Quote of the day

"I love the Constitution so much, I'm going to keep it in a pit and use its skin to make me a dress."--Pootmatoot at Gawker

This in regard to a resolution sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), the intent of which is to amend the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. It's good to see them so focused on jobs and the deficit, but I guess ICE could hire people to deport newborns, so that qualifies as new jobs.

And presumably they would go by bus, which means bus drivers, which are jobs. And buses need tires, which means jobs. Although it's probably cheaper just to contract the bus service from Mexico (thanks NAFTA), so maybe we should just do that.

Now where did I put my American flag lapel pin? No, the other one, my casual Friday American flag lapel pin.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Alan Cumming

Have you seen Josie and the Pussycats? It was written for adults but marketed to kids and they didn't get the humor. It's a product placement-laden send-up of consumerism, with music from the primary songwriters for The Go-Gos, Fountains of Wayne and Counting Crows, and Babyface (it seemed weird to call him the primary songwriter for himself)--Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo is the musical voice of Josie.

Oh, and Alan Cumming and Parker Posey. So you know it's super serious. Oh, yeah, and the boy band is named Du Jour. You should totally look for their song "Back Door Lover" if you like that kind of thing (boy band music, what did you ... nevermind).

Yes, he's won a Tony, yes he has his own fragrance (Cumming: the Fragrance), yes he IS Nightcrawler. And Romy and Michelle. And he will be Gutsy Smurf in... you know what, just check out Josie and the Pussycats, it's really funny.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Yeah yeah, you would

(h/t Someecards)

Street ad found in Los Angeles

Wait... Tina Turner's SON?

Song of the Day: "On the Corner"

Sexy vampires turned rockers!
The Twilight Singers' new album, Dynamite Steps, is out in about 3 weeks. This song opens with what I assume to be a brand new Casio keyboard someone got for Christmas.

Song: "On the Corner"
Artist: Twilight Singers (Team Ambivalence!)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Oh noes, Cher is pissed

(h/t Clark)

Cher is pissed that pal Dianne Warren, who won a Golden Globe for "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" from Burlesque, was passed over for an Oscar nomination (details here).

Said near-EGOT winner Cher, via Twitter:
“We didn’t get a nomination 4 best song ! That sucks ! Diane’s song Is so beautiful ! It’s hard to understand how u win … The Golden Globe 4 BEST SONG & not even get nominated by the OSCARS? Oh well it is..what it is ,,,,the sun is still shining !”
It's easy to understand, Cher. Winning the GG is like a curse against an Oscar nomination. Take a look at the recent winners of Golden Globes for Original Song, and how they've done in terms of Oscar:
  • 2011 "You Haven't Seen the Last of Me" (Burlesque)--Oscar nomination? No!
  • 2010 "The Weary Kind" (Crazy Heart)--Oscar nomination? Yes, and win!
  • 2009 "The Wrestler" (The Wrestler)--Oscar nomination? No!
  • 2008 "Guaranteed" (Into the Wild)--Oscar nomination? No!
  • 2007 "The Song of the Heart" (Happy Feet)--Oscar nomination? No!
  • 2006 "A Love That Will Never Grow Old" (Brokeback Mountain)--Oscar nomination? No!
  • 2005 "Old Habits Die Hard" (Alfie)--Oscar nomination? No!
  • 2004 "Into the West" (LOTR The Return of the King)--Oscar nomination? Yes, and win!
  • 2003 "The Hands That Built America" (Gangs of New York)--Oscar nomination? Yes.
  • 2002 "Until" (Kate & Leopold)--Oscar nomination? Yes.
So in the past 10 years, 60% of Golden Globe winners for Original Song failed to secure even a nomination for an Oscar. Diane shouldn't take it personally.

"Not now, not ever"

It's also Paul Newman's birthday. He's one of the all-time greats. I re-watched 1994's Nobody's Fool on cable a few weeks ago; it holds up nicely. Here he is in one of his 10 Oscar-nominated performances (he won 1), with Jessica Alba under a TON of make-up.

Happy birthday dude! Rest in peace.

Happy Birthday David Strathairn

He's a regular in John Sayles's movies, but really it was his turn as Moss in The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd (which, yes, Becky totally got me to watch) that made me a fan. I am giddy to find this clip today, since I remember the Ingrid Bergman incident more than 20 years after first seeing this episode.

He picked up an Emmy for his work in the TV movie Temple Grandin, an Oscar nomination for Good Night and Good Luck, and a Grammy nomination in the Spoken Word category for... something. Not bad for a guy whose name no one can ever remember.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "Damn These Vampires"

A coworker likens The Mountain Goats to the Indigo Girls. While that's maybe a little cursory, I'll take it. I think I can listen to every IG album and find plenty of things to like, and that seems to be the same with recent Goats albums (the early stuff, the stuff recorded on a boom box, I am struggling with--I'll report back after Tallahassee).

And, AND, All Eternals Deck (out soon) also has a song called "Liza Forever Minelli"... indeed!

Song: "Damn These Vampires"
Artist: The Mountain Goats

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Someone is trying to injure me

What other explanation could there be for this banana peel found by my vehicle?!
This is no boating accident!

2010's Top 50 Singles, #10-1

In the end it came down to 3 songs, each of whom found a place in my heart the minute I heard them. If you'd asked me back in October, I would have bet a large sum of money on Cee-Lo. It's still hard to believe that didn't make number 1. But "Fuck You" was among the 3 most favorite, and I will sing it loudly, and proudly, to the good people at Andrews McMeel Publishing, should I ever end up with another defective product.

"Crash Years" and "Bloodbuzz Ohio" share some similarities: big elaborate percussion, captivating chord progressions, and I'm not sure what either of them is about. They both have lyrics that continue to taunt me, for "Crash Years" it's "Your finger's raised. you're looking for the word, what you want is 'accident'"--Neko knows how to sing a phrase like that, with a matter-of-fact nature that grabs me.

But it was the lyric from "Bloodbuzz Ohio" that cemented its win: "I never thought about love when I thought about home." Dark, almost devastating, but not maudlin or sentimental. I've been describing the song as hypnotic for months, and part of that is realizing that singer Matt Beringer wields his voice like another instrument in the band--it's like it's mixed in with the bass or something. Hypnotic. Still.

After contemplation "Drunk Girls" felt like as much novelty as great single. And, yeah, another Diddy Dirty Money song. Let's wrap up the singles of 2010...

10 Diddy Dirty Money 'Yeah Yeah (You Would)'
9 LCD Soundsystem 'Drunk Girls'
8 Guster 'Do You Love Me?'
7 Maximum Balloon/Aku 'Tiger'
6 Band of Horses 'Laredo'
5 Frightened Rabbit 'Nothing Like You'
4 Vampire Weekend 'Giving Up the Gun'
3 Cee Lo Green 'Fuck You'
2 The New Pornographers 'Crash Years'
1 The National 'Bloodbuzz Ohio'

Congratulations Roger Deakins!

He received his ninth Oscar nomination this morning, for the sumptuous camera work on True Grit. There's one artificial looking shot near the end, otherwise it's pretty much flawless. Especially a lovely shot of someone riding away on a horse over Steinfeld's shoulder early in the movie.

Good luck dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "We Belong Together"

The only Oscar nominee for Best Original Song that I haven't yet featured here, this is the requisite Randy Newman song (by changing tempos with this one, he's earned himself the removal of a derisive term that was part of that sentence). Henceforth, we shall call this "We Belong at Farrell's" (the ice cream parlors).

Song: "We Belong at Farrell's"
Artist: Randy Newman and the Farrell's Fun-Time Band

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cunt du Jour: Clarence Thomas

This is like a pubic hair on America's Coke!
Cunt du Jour 1/24/11: Justice Clarence Thomas reaching out to honk a boob

Justice Clarence Thomas failed to disclose his batshit crazy wife Ginni's income from various right-wing lobbying entities when filling out his federal financial disclosure forms from 1997 to 2009. Ginni made nearly $686,589 for work between 2003 and 2007 alone. That's about $131,372 a year (assuming she worked all of 2003 through all of 2007), or more than $10,900 a month. So, you know, meager part-time work that any of us would have totally forgotten. Details here.

$2,725 a week.

More than $68 an hour. Who can keep track of the change in their couch cushions?

But Thomas offered a perfectly believable excuse: the forms are too hard to figure out.

"Spousal noninvestment income" is too hard for Clarence Thomas to figure out... and, even better, since he didn't know what it meant, he just checked "no" every time, instead of asking an adult for help. Take a look (this is 2008, but all of them are here). (As Clarence himself would say, "touch it, it gets bigger" [i.e., click to embiggen])
Clarence Thomas's FOR REALS 2008 disclosure thingy that he DIDN'T UNDERSTAND cause it's sooooo hard (that's what she said)

Every time. He didn't even mix it up a little.

And, AND, he signed the thing that said "this is for reals!" Touch it, baby, you know you want to see all the fine, fine print.
More Clarence Thomas for reals 2008 disclosure thing, look at that certification language!!!!

Hey, y'all remember when Bill Clinton LIED under oath in a civil lawsuit?! God that was awful, wasn't it.

2010's Top 50 Singles, #20-11

So close... almost done, in fact. Imma let you finish, Kanye, but Dr. Dog  edged you out; still, for one of the last songs in my consideration, you did pretty well--guess I can appreciate those lyrics. Macy Gray's second appearance (only 3 artists on here twice), Girls = impressing, ceo song = future commercial (I hope), and if Fitz & the Tantrums end up one-hit wonders, well, they do it with a fantastic hit.

20 The Phenomenal Handclap Band '15 to 20'
19 Girls 'Heartbreaker'
18 Fitz & the Tantrums 'MoneyGrabber'
17 Arcade Fire 'Ready to Start'
16 Kanye West 'Runaway'
15 Dr. Dog 'Take Me Into Town'
14 Robbie Williams/Gary Barlow 'Shame'
13 ceo 'Come With Me'
12 Monarchy 'The Phoenix Alive'
11 Macy Gray 'Lately'

Song of the Day: "Dear Laughing Doubters"

The last chance for speculative; by this time tomorrow, Oscar nominations will be announced. Will Sondre Lerche have his name mispronounced 600 different ways when this surprise nomination is announced? ... or, you know, not. Either way, I still haven't seen Dinner for Schmucks. I did see The Dinner Game 11 years ago (I always figured they would go with Danny DeVito, I was wrong).

Song: "Dear Laughing Doubters"
Artist: Sondre Lerche

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Here's that Cher remix I wanted last month

In honor of me not totally hating Burlesque, here's a remixed-to-hell version of the Cher power-ballad that might earn Diane Warren another Oscar nomination. Teh gayz love us some ballads turned into disco... I'm sure that's symbolic of something. But then, sometimes a penis is just a penis.

2010's Top 50 Singles, #30-21

You people are gluttons for punishment. Or I am.

The return of Jay-Z, a song I fully expect to hear at every dental appointment for the next 6 years (Lady Antebellum), and everything comes to a grinding halt with Tracey Thorn... the song is that good, that I let things come to a grinding halt.

Have I mentioned how happy I am about the whole "discovering Stornoway" thing? Kicking myself that I skipped their concert, but Clark was still in the hospital and, I don't know, guilt? Malaise? Whatev.

30 Jay-Z/Alicia Keys 'Empire State of Mind'
29 Sarena-Maneesh 'I Just Wanna See Your Face'
28 Tracey Thorn 'Late in the Afternoon'
27 Stornoway 'Zorbing'
26 Broken Social Scene 'Forced to Love'
25 Janelle Monae/Big Boi 'Tightrope'
24 Ted Leo & the Pharmacists 'Bottled in Cork'
23 Shout Out Louds 'Walls'
22 Ryan Bingham 'Country Roads'
21 Lady Antebellum 'Need You Now'

Notes on Burlesque

Wow, that did not suck... as badly as I expected. At times, it was downright enjoyable.

What the movie lacks in acting, story, music and heart, it... um... Stanely Tucci is awesome!!! Remember, back when I wrote notes on Easy A and I said something like "I can easily see these roles being included among a set of movies for a critics award or two (although let me say that, having seen the Burlesque trailer twice now, I hope Tucci isn't winning for his work in Easy A & Burlesque only)." I take that back. After seeing overly angst-y work in Black Swan (none in Supporting Actor, granted) and scratching my head over The Social Network (in a general sense), I will say Stanley Tucci really deserves some critical acclaim this year, for work in less-than-demanding roles, he still was, no IS, adorable. Yes, I haven't seen The Fighter or The King's Speech, but Tucci is gifted enough to bring this movie up to B-grade for many of his scenes.

And Cam Gigandot looks good naked.

... he does.

Oscar nominations? Yes, I think this movie will pick up nominations for Costume Design and at least 1 for Original Song. I can see a soft chances for Art Direction, Make-up, and/or 1 more Original Song.

It's a dark horse, at best, for Editing and Sound Editing.

But, oh yeah, Cher's face, and Christina's dream of acting, these 2 things need to STOP for a while.

Oh, and Alan Cumming? WTF?

And, AND, who told Eric Dane's to put a shirt on? Fail!

2010's Top 50 Singles, #40-31

For those of you who didn't stop when they saw "Hole," welcome back. I believe P. Diddy's first appearance will be your next obstacle (and yes, I said "first" just then). It's also Macy Gray's first appearance, and surprisingly, the only track I ended up using from Here Lies Love... after all that babbling.

But we start this batch of songs with Superchunk, and end it with The Thermals--I think that's a nice, fuzzy, indie rock set of book ends.

!!! and Chromeo give it a funky center. Crystal Pepsi's drag anthem sits right at the heart of this set, and I heard "Beauty in the World" when I was shopping clearance sales yesterday, and am further convinced that some retailer needs to grab that song for their Spring commercials. Macy, girl, you can take me to dinner for my thanks.

40 Superchunk 'Digging for Something'
39 Macy Gray 'Beauty in the World'
38 !!! 'Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass'
37 Chromeo 'Don't Turn the Lights On'
36 Belle & Sebastian 'I Want the World to Stop'
35 David Byrne/Fatboy Slim/Alice Russell 'Men Will Do Anything'
34 Teenage Fanclub 'Sometimes I Don't Need to Believe in Anything'
33 Diddy Dirty Money 'Ass on the Floor'
32 Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti 'Bright Lit Blue Sky'
31 The Thermals 'I Don't Believe You'

Song of the Day: "I Remain"

Oscar nominations will be announced on Tuesday morning at its traditional ungodly early time of 5:35 a.m. PST to cater to the east coast news magazine schedules. And the answer to "what has Alanis been doing the last couple of years" includes "releasing a potentially (cough) Oscar-nominated Original Song from The Prince of Persia." I hope, for her sake, that they don't give bonus nomination consideration to songs one stays awake through, since this wouldn't collect those. I did hear my coffee beep, so excuse me whilst I fetch that.

Song: "I Remain"
Artist: Alanis Morissette