Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Good night you moonlight ladies"

It's 5-time Grammy winner and musical great (I stopped short of icon, and I'm not sure why) James Taylor's birthday (no other EGOT credentials, thus far). "Sweet Baby James" is probably his best composition with its intricate rhymes, ambling chord progressions and 3/4 time, so let's go with that. It was never released as a single, so it's earned its status as his signature song through quality. Take that "Bad Romance."

Happy Birthday Dave Eggers

Here is a drawing of a stapler.
From A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius is fantastic, but I'm not much of a reader, so take it from the National Book Critics Circle peeps, who gave it an award; it received 4 other book awards and was a finalist for the Pulitzer (losing to a book about Hirohito).

2002's You Shall Know Our Velocity was just confusing.

I should read McSweeney's more. I should read more. I've finished 2 books this year, but one of them I started back in October. Here's their thing from yesterday...

March 11, 2011
- - - -
Dear Dying Ficus,

Jesus Christ with a puka shell necklace, you are such a goddamn diva. I understand that it was stressful to make the ten-block walk, cradled in my arms, from Home Depot to my apartment, but this whole slow suicide routine is seriously trying my patience. I'm sick of hearing you over there in the corner, dropping leaf after leaf, dink, dink, dink, as I watch TV.

At first, I thought that you were just getting used to your new surroundings. I admit this is not a luxury apartment, and I apologize for that. There's the blistering wall paint and fluorescent lights, the sweating toilet and asbestos. There are the basement-dwelling husband-and-wife landlords who scream at each other in Italian, using English only for words like cunt and youshithead! Still, I mean, it's possible to get used to such things. I've been here for six years. I thought you would appreciate it when I put on an Edith Piaf record to drown out the yelling, but no, you didn't seem to like that very much. Dink, you said. Dink, dink.

I did what I could to ease your transition. I did not leave you in your plastic pot. I bought you a glazed ceramic pot. For twenty bucks! The Internet said you like to be talked to, so I told you all about my job search, my dwindling savings. It was therapeutic for me, and I thought we had a moment. I slept through the night for the first time in weeks—then woke to find five new leaves on the floor, curled in defeat.

I was told you don't like it when your leaves rustle, so I moved you away from the window. I was told you don't like shade, so I moved you back. I was told you don't like moving, so I left you alone to sulk and shed.

The sad part is, ficus, we were supposed to have such a beautiful symbiosis. I would shower you with sweet breezes of carbon dioxide, and you, in turn, would purify the air in this tiny train car of a tenement. Together we would fight the black silt that builds up on my windowsills frighteningly fast, filling my lungs as I sleep. And now, just look at yourself: bald spots everywhere, a compost heap's worth of leaves in your ceramic pot.
I am the only one who's allowed to die a slow death in this apartment, DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

Julia LoFaso

I saw Away We Go (here). I was shooshed for laughing.

I think that's it.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

Song of the Day: "More Cowbell"

Asher Roth is coasting in here on the good will he earned from me with "I Love College."

Song: "More Cowbell"
Artist: Asher Roth

Friday, March 11, 2011

You know what, go ahead and worry

It's Bobby McFerrin's (10 Grammys, 1 Emmy nomination) birthday. I heard "Don't Worry, Be Happy" on my drive up to a meeting in Seattle and while I was trying to tag it with Shazam! (in order to ironically send the tag to Eric) I got a call that the meeting was canceled which precluded me from tagging and also explains why I drove 240 miles this morning and have nothing to show for it (except for a nice mileage check, hopefully).

I won't make you endure that, but his music from the documentary Common Threads is still a favorite. So there you go...

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

In defense of traditional marriages (plural)

From Salon, an ugly but effective infographic about the changes in "average wives per candidate" among the contenders for the GOP Presidential nomination in recent years.
Salon/Justin Elliott March 11, 2011
With opposition to marriage equality (code for gay marriage, the thing that will end the world forever) from multiple-marriage experts Newt Gingrich (no really, he's totally a serious candidate), Rudy Guiliani (9/11 infinity), failed failure Donald Trump (he opposes gay marriage which I think has to do with his issues about his hair), and Buddy Roemer (file not found), this makes an awesome statistic.

But they don't count any of Mittens Romney's "celestial wives" and they assume Newt won't divorce and remarry before November, so these numbers are probably not perfect.

Still, fun!

UPDATE: I'm not crazy about the graphic and I decided that this is a more realistic depiction of the data. Note the lack of USA Today-ish flair. I'm boring that way.

Song of the Day: "Are Your Parents Still Together"

Another track from Gospel Music (dude from Black Kids)'s Duettes, this time with dude from Vivian Girls. Still sounding like Jonathan Richman, but that's totally fine.

Song: "Are Your Parents Still Together"
Artist: Gospel Music

Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Rock star Vatican assassins"

(h/t Jared)

Okay, I gotta credit the dude for having a really good sense of humor about how he's been sounding.

Options for replacing Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men

Because god forbid we let this show end, there's much discussion about who can replace Charlie Sheen. I'm not at liberty to confirm (or deny) that I'm in discussion for the role (I didn't say with whom), but here are reasons why I could easily replace him:
  • The show's quality* would not suffer with me in the role.
  • The show will save a considerable portion of the $1.25 million per episode they paid Sheen.
  • I already have that wardrobe in my size.
Here are some quick options that I've come up with on just 1 cup of coffee, and I think you'll find these far superior to the names we've all been hearing:
  • Mackenzie Phillips--what, too mannish? Not enough personal problems?
  • Todd Bridges--we will all know that it's not the same actor, so why not give a black actor a high profile role. Todd Bridges is every bit as talented as Charlie Sheen.
  • Melanie Lynskey--she plays Charlie's stalker on the show, and it would be a surreal season to have her appear as him with no clear explanation whatsoever (or maybe I'm just missing Twin Peaks).
  • John Waters--because I feel like that would fucking rule!

* Quality is a relative term.

Meanwhile, Julie Taymor is exiting as director of the Spider-Man musical due to its ever-shifting schedule (ever disaster means more in ticket sales and a later debut, even though it's actually playing on Broadway now, it's in a preview capacity, so IT DOESN'T EXIST). Disaster = $ on Broadway (also the neon lights are bright, but that's a whole other thing), so I think I know a new avenue for Charlie Sheen to start winning!

Happy Birthday Sharon Stone

Stone's a better movie star than actress, and she may even be a better celebrity than movie star. Her first film role was 1984's Irreconcilable Differences, a movie rife with that era's film cliches (if you liked Baby Boom, you'll love it!) but full of clever charms, made ALL THE MORE REWARDING to me just now as I discovered that her character, the diva actress, is based on Cybill Shepherd. There's a whole story component about the making of a musical of Gone With the Wind, called Atlanta, that's hysterical.

Sadly I can't embed this, but it's worth watching.

Apparently much of the movie is a veiled version of the marriage and divorce of director Peter Bogdanovich, his ex-wife Polly Platt (an accomplished producer in her own right), and the young hussy that came between them (yes, I mean Shepherd, but keep in mind this shit was like 35+ years ago when Shepherd would have been reasonably considered young). And the disaster that is At Long Last Love, the movie musical starring Burt Reynolds and Cybill Shepherd... a movie so bad, that Bogdanovich printed an open letter of apology in newspapers across the country (although that might just be 2, I didn't bother to follow up on that).

Oh, there's also part of the story where an adorably young Drew Berrymore (also a better movie star than actress, and maybe also a better celebrity than movie star) tries to become an emancipated minor in the midst of her parents' tumultuous divorce, but really it's the Atlanta stuff that's fantastic. And, AND, Cybill Shepherd dis!

Sharon Stone is also age-appropriate to play the wife of Liam Neeson, but the producers of whatever the fuck that Liam Neeson movie was called didn't bother to ask me.

And she fucking rocked in Total Recall. And I don't begrudge her an Oscar nomination for Casino. I don't think she deserved to win among that year's nominees, but if I can't get a post hoc nomination for Rena Owen in Once Were Warriors, then at least Casino holds up.

I never saw Catwoman, and I feel like I made the right choice there.

In addition to her Oscar nomination, she won an Emmy as Guest Actress in a Drama (The Practice). She's currently in production with an array of "once A-list" or "high profile B-list" stars (Adrien Brody, Kurt Russell, John Legiuzamo--you can decide who's who) in a movie about David Koresh/the Branch Davidian stand-off. Since the only thing I've seen her in since 1999 in an episode of Will & Grace, let's just assume I won't see that one either. But in all fairness, she never reads my blog, so we're kinda even.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

"You know what I'm saying, don't make me say it"

It's Neneh Cherry's birthday, and if I ever made you a mix tape between 1989 and, say, 1996 (probably the last year I was able to make mix tapes, although now I actually have a cassette player in one of my cars), there's a good chance "Kisses on the Wind" is on it. It's not as great a single as "Buffalo Stance," but it's a great single and went Top 10 in the US.

And you know I couldn't use the most obvious option.

Happy birthday dude!

Song of the Day: "Forget That You're Young"

This new track from The Raveonettes captivated me with its ethereal quality... or so I thought. Now I think it caught my attention because it's actually "Dancing in the Dark." A lo-fi, hipster reinvention of Bruce Springsteen. Clever. (Also I like the song.)

Song: "Forget That You're Young"
Artist: The Raveonettes

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Happy Birthday Linda Fiorentino

Jared's never seen The Last Seduction (which is the name of the movie whose name I couldn't remember during our trip on Monday), and Fiorentino's great in it. She was ineligible for an Oscar because the movie aired on TV before its theatrical release, but she would have been a real contender (Jessica Lange won for Blue Sky, a movie that sat on the distributor's shelf for like 4 years before getting a modest release).

And this time it's Bill Pullman, but it could have very easily been Bill Paxton.

And Peter Berg directed the feature film of Friday Night Lights and produces the TV series with the same name which Jared has encouraged me to watch. There's an awful lot about Jared in this birthday post... weird.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

The Clark Health Update for March 9

He's already been discharged.

After I've had my coffee we can discuss the efficacy of having 8 different people in my house when only 3 were actually attending Clark, and 1 was asking me for any medical details I could provide (at 4 in the morning... not many). Apparently saying that he is "42 or 43" didn't work for them.

But today, in honor of Clark, please tell everyone you live with about any allergies you have to medications. I have no known allergies to medicine, but I hate pine pollen (in case it comes up as a homeopathic thing).

Song of the Day: "Ghost Town"

This new Kurt Vile song is suitably somber for my weird mood this morning.

Clark's already sent me a text message from the hospital that he's feeling much better and would try to come home soon. Updates to come.

Song: "Ghost Town"
Artist: Kurt Vile


Clark had some kind of respiratory distress and needed an ambulance last night. More details as they become available.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A quick reminder

Before being officially fired, Charlie Sheen was making $1.25 million per episode of Two and a Half Men. That amounted to working 4 days a week for 24 weeks over a 9 month period.

And, AND, he slept with Denise Richards when she was hot.

So maybe I shouldn't make fun of him when he says he's winning... I mean, I'll pass on Denise, but you get my point.

Happy Birthday Janet Wright

Wright plays Emma in the ensemble of Corner Gas, a sweetly funny Canadian sitcom that I used to catch on WGN... but they stopped airing it. Conveniently, I picked up the first 2 seasons on DVD from my library the other day.

Corner Gas has all the trappings of any number of fish-out-of-water shows, so don't expect it to break new ground. But like a vacation to Canadian, you will have a very enjoyable time even if it's not the most exciting time (or something--I'm sure there's epic beauty in the Canadian Rockies, don't overthink). It is far superior to Two and a Half Men, that's for sure.

Wright's won a Genie, 2 Geminis and a Leo award. I have no idea what those are, but I'm sure they're very special. They're probably metric or something.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

"Back where my garden blooms all year"

It's Mardi Gras today, and I am reminded of my first Mardi Gras experience, back in 1992. I was unemployed, mooching off my dad, and was making plans to go to graduate school. I weaseled my way into an interview at the University of Texas through connections of an otherwise worthless ex-boss, and set out on a road trip in my old Mazda pick-up truck: west from Atlanta to Dallas (I'd used my trip to Austin to get my foot in the door at a company in Dallas I heard might be hiring); south from Dallas to Austin; east from Austin to Hammond, Louisiana (and New Orleans proper) with Robin and Marlynn; then home.

I had an incredible time in Hammond and New Orleans (I never understood the currency of beads until that weekend, and it overwhelmed my voyeuristic tendencies). If you need a tour guide for the city, ask for Marlynn, the girl's got stories. Comprehensive stories. Robin's fun too, but she's more of a Club Couch gal.

I returned to Hammond (well, Convington) last October when Robin got married. My company orders its king cakes from the Berry Patch Gourmet Market, which I think is in Hammond and Ponchatoula.

Oh yeah, I was admitted to UT, but passed on it to take that job in Dallas.

Here's the essence of that road trip in a song, Nanci Griffith from The Last of the True Believers, "Banks of the Ponchartrain."

Song of the Day: "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N."

This was on my list of songs for SOTD and yesterday Amazon made it available as a free download, if you're so inclined. It's got a nice, laid-back, Kinks-esque quality to it.

Song: "L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N."
Artist: Noah and the Whale

Quote of the morning

"This is not your grandmother's non-stick coating."--An infomercial
Um, what? Which grandmother?

Monday, March 7, 2011

That's my momma now

Some people have moms who are crazy cat ladies. Me, I've got a mom who feeds hawks, raccoons and cats.

Here's the hawk letting mom know he's (he?) ready for some food:

Here's what a feeding looks like:

And, yes, I totally get that feeding wildlife like this is probably not a good idea. You deal with your own parents.

Happy Birthday Donna Murphy

I used to like Joan Cusack's sitcom, What About Joan?; but I wasn't a big fan of Donna Murphy on the show. Here she is, a 2-time Tony winner for her work in Broadway musicals,  in the role of a woman with serious stage fright.

By the way, this is what it's like going to Fred Meyer with John. Every time. He is such a diva.

Oh yeah, it's Donna's birthday and she has 2 Tony wins and 2 more Tony nominations. She will headline the new musical The People in the Picture opening on Broadway in April with a bunch of actors whose names I do not know (the musical appears to be based on the work of Iris Rainer Dart... THE WOMAN WHO WROTE BEACHES bitches... read a book).

I can't find any details on Grammys, but she does have a Daytime Emmy and a CableACE Award (the Emmys for cable TV back before they gave Emmys to cable TV, which is now about the only TV that wins Emmys). But you may know her as a love interest of Capt. Picard in Star Trek: Insurrection or of Dr. Octopus in Spider-Man 2. And she's in the Disney animated movie Tangled.

In looking at various clips of different Annas tackling The King & I (one of her Tony wins), I would really love to see Amber Benson get a shot at that role. I could make it work (call me). And yes, that is Ritchie Valens/"Jose" Chavez y Chavez (Lou Diamond Phillips) as the King of Siam because, you know, why not... I'm told he did quite well, all things considered.

John can tell you a lot more about Donna, including the many times he's seen her perform, possibly in comments here (c'mon dude).

And happy birthday Donna. Rock on, I guess. Diva on?

Duh! Winning!

(h/t Dlisted)

Song of the Day: "Omega Dog"

The Dears had some music I liked 2 or 3 years ago, so give this one a spin with me.

Song: "Omega Dog"
Artist: The Dears

Brutal, just brutal

I opted to gate check my smaller bag yesterday, after a crowded flight into Orlando last week left me no leg room. That smaller bag contains (-ed) my CPAP machine, and didn't make it to Portland last night.

As a result, I've gotten about 2-3 hours of sleep spread out over the course of the night.

The human-sized Mickey and Minnie Mouse dolls DID make the flight and had plenty of room in the overhead bin. Priorities, people, priorities.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Happy Birthday Moira Kelly

Once upon a time some TV producers cast Moira Kelly and Rob Lowe to star in a new NBC drama called West Wing. The show established itself as a rock solid ensemble, winning dozens of Emmys (including like 18 for Allison Janney).

The show went on. People enjoyed it. Things happened. Yadda yadda. It's overcast in Florida this morning, but my flight's still on schedule. I'm still getting that weird tingling in my left hand. I'll probably have to go back to the doctor's this week.

Speaking of West Wing, I'm flying to Washington DC today and changing planes there. That's a little out of the way. I hope the weather's okay since I didn't bring a heavy coat (I mean, why would I, I'm in Florida).

I've been reading Rosanne Cash's memoir, Composed, although I didn't get too far (mostly because I Xanax myself up and try to sleep through the flights), but I'll report back when I'm done. I recently finished Under the Banner of Heaven and I'm interested in reading dude's book about the Mt. Everest expedition that went bad. They made his book Into the Wild into a movie and I rather liked that.

[Did you notice how I never even mentioned Kelly after the first paragraph? That's Moira Kelly on West Wing in blog-post form.]

Clark loves The Cutting Edge so here's this (including Black Box's "Ride on Time"... sweet):

Also she was in the hit show Hack FILE NOT FOUND

Dear Moira, dance with the stars, won't you? Please.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on!

"Ev'ryone deserves the chance to fly!"

Composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz is primarily a Broadway dude, which makes his 3 Oscars and 0 Tonys a little weird, but I'm sure he's okay with that (and 3 Grammy wins). Dude needs to knock out an original song for an Emmy win.

Here's Idina Menzel tearing up the show stopper from Wicked.

Happy birthday dude! Rock on! (If you do a musical with Cher, maybe you can both clean up that empty Tony spot in your EGOT cabinet.)

Song of the Day: "Morning Mr. Magpie"

Let's dig a little deeper into the new Radiohead. Here's track 3 from King of Limbs. There's a wonderful hyperactivity to the percussion (both man-made and artificial), belied by Yorke's voice. It makes me wonder about the order in which the layers of each track are laid down in the studio--I couldn't possibly sing in as meandering a way over this frenetic music.

Song: "Morning Mr. Magpie"
Artist: Radiohead