Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Busby Berkeley Dreams



Last night, I watched 42nd Street. The plots's a bit slapdash and the style of both the acting and writing is certainly dated and overly broad in spots, but it's completely worth a viewing. It's influence is obvious, from Powell and Pressburger's The Red Shoes (and, for that matter, any behind the scenes drama or comedy, from Noises Off to A Chorus Line to All That Jazz) to entire sequences and characters in Showgirls and, in regards to the stunning closing musical sequence done by Busby Berkeley, the most obvious example that comes to mind is Michel Gondry's video for Daft Punk's "Around the World." And, seriously, the closing sequence, when the show is finally put on, is unbelievable. Everything could be completely worthless leading up to it (which, thankfully, its not) and it would be worth every second you waited. Netflix it. (Fun trivia: In an early scene, Bebe Daniels is reading the premiere issue of The New Yorker.)

Baggage from Boston

The Sports Guy's ode to the pennant race.

Dear Jon

Mr. Beaks of Ain't It Cool News writes to Jon Brion:

Dear Jon Brion,

Honestly, man, I’m not stalking you. Much. Just when I can find the time, really, so imagine my joy last week at the sweet scheduling convergence allowing me within swiping distance of the hem of your garment two nights in a row? Of course, discretion, nervousness and security inhibited me, so I will not be made whole soon (look at me labor a Sam Cooke reference!), but just getting to see you in action first at the I HEART HUCKABEES premiere, then at the ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND DVD release party only reinforced my belief that you are one of the most indispensable musical talents working today. (I sincerely hope the rumors are not true, and that you haven’t been removed from Fiona Apple’s long-delayed third CD.)

As a film composer, you’ve already achieved immortality, and it was on your first full-blown solo score (i.e., without Michael Penn’s assistance), too. Though I can’t justify setting aside three hours of my life to wade through MAGNOLIA again, I will occasionally pop in the DVD and marvel over the strange sonic tapestry conjured for the film’s coincidence-laden prologue, which inevitably leads to my flipping forward several chapters to Bill Macy’s anguished gay bar aria that veers with a grandiose elegance from tragic to noble to profound to pathetic under the influence of your soaring composition. Those two moments are as emotionally stirring a marriage of image and music as any I think I’ve ever seen on film. (‘Tis a pity the rest of the film is too sprawling for its own good, but, even if the themes are half-formed, I do appreciate the ambition.) We’re talking as good as Frank’s entrance in ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST, Han Solo’s last, pre-carbonite stand in THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, or Scottie Ferguson’s lengthy, clandestine pursuit of Madeleine Elster in VERTIGO. But those clods – Morricone, Williams, Herrmann – needed a decade to get there; your transcendence came much more rapidly.

Since then, the scores have been too few for my taste, but when they turn up, they’re never less than indelible. Let’s consider, for instance, your contribution to the best film so far of 2004, ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND, which is highlighted by the same strange instrumentation and melancholic melodies that has become your trademark. Like Carter Burwell, the *other* best scorer working today, you’re careful to reflect the tone of the piece, not dictate it like so many of the major symphonic composers (e.g. John Williams, James Horner, Hans Zimmer) have a tendency to do. (I often wonder if you might’ve been able to help tame Gondry/Kaufman’s first all-over-the-topographical-map collaboration, HUMAN NATURE, though much of that film’s wildness was a product of Gondry struggling to enforce his music video sensibility on the quite different medium of narrative filmmaking. Still, you were missed – at the very least, it would’ve been a more tuneful failure.) Typical of this restraint is the slightly off-key piano cue that serves as the gentle aural counterpoint to Joel’s smashing of the stunned (or was it dead?) bird’s skull, which injects a, well, crushing poignancy that the moment desperately needs and might not have if left unscored (it’s also timed beautifully to the bird’s mate alighting from a nearby tree branch). And it’s impossible to imagine the climactic hashing out of the relationship in the flooded beach house working nearly as well without your score’s implicitly mournful acknowledgment that this was their devastating destination all along.

These are but a few of the moments I’ve cherished since the film’s March release, and I’d love to say that I’ve enjoyed revisiting them over the last week, but that bastard Moriarty horded the DVD. Still, I’m more than happy with my compensation, which was the opportunity to see you jam through six songs last Thursday night with Beck and Michel Gondry. Though I understand that you guys haven’t played together all that often, the band’s collective energy was more than infectious enough to override the roughness of the sound. It was a pleasure to hear that positively gutting version of “Everybody’s Gotta Learn Sometimes” live, and the run-through of “The New Pollution” was a semi-revelation if only because I’d never realized how closely the song resembled “Taxman”. Normally, these industry affairs are hopelessly stiff, with everyone too busy networking to enjoy the music, but, somehow, you temporarily shook the narcissism out of them. I was actually kind of shocked to see Jim Carrey grooving away front and center through the whole set (especially since his cast mates, Kate Winslet and Mark Ruffalo, had retreated to the safety of the roped-off VIP section.) It was a great time.

More impressive, though, was your Bob Dylan-esque solo performance of “Knock Yourself Out” the night before at the I HEART HUCKABEES premiere. I’ve loved that track since I first heard it on the trailer, but hearing it before the movie helped prepare me for O. Russell’s whimsicality, which he’s indulged to fearless, but potentially alienating lengths this time out. The song’s a light and witty complement to the film’s unyieldingly philosophical nature, which, by the way, never comes off as pretentious because, all along, O. Russell is blithely sending up the kind of ponderousness in which some critics have mistakenly accused him of engaging. As for the score, it’s as clever and buoyant as the film itself, and while it hasn’t yet affected me as deeply as your work on ETERNAL SUNSHINE, I’m sure I’ll be wearing out the CD over the next couple of months.

I wonder if this sudden flourish of activity means that you’ll finally be following up MEANINGLESS. That’d be nice. I’d also like to see you team up again with Brad Mehldau, as his work since LARGO, while solid, has seemed kind of scattered in its intent. Most ideally, I’d love for P.T. Anderson to return with a fully thought out work, and see if you two can’t match or, perhaps, top your previous collaborations.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll see you at Largo one of these Friday nights. I’ll be the guy trying to stump you by calling out Planet P b-sides.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

One More Than Four

1) TV Episodes I'll Nevin See


Last season on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Manny, she of the revealed thong, hooked up with Craig. At the time, Craig was still singing earnest love songs in the gym to his boo, Ashley. But, you see, Ashley would not give it up. She had issues with Craig's commitment to her, perhaps stemming from her parents divorce and her dad being gay. (shrug; there's so much back story on Degrassi, I have a hard time keeping track, especially because we watch all the episodes out of order) So, he cheated and, in the process, gets Manny preggers. I'm not exactly sure if we ever found out that Manny got pregnant, because The N (Nickelodeon's version of ESPN 2) never aired the episode where Manny aborted said love child. What the fuck? We can watch some douche theater director throw his girlfriend down, causing her drain bamage after she hits her head on a rock on the way down from his shove. We can watch hate crimes committed against Hazel (secretly Muslim). Kids can take ecstacy and, from what I hear, we'll be getting episodes about oral this season. And, for God's sake, we are going to be subjected to three episodes of Kevin Smith playing an untalented writer/director with a rabid fan base, but we can't get an abortion episode. If the show's popularity grows, maybe we'll get the DVDs that are hitting Canada this year and then maybe this two part episode will see the light of day. I mean, for serious, how bad could it be? What could they possibly be so scared about? Fast Times plays on one if not all of the Turner networks all the time. Are you telling me Manny's abortion is way more dramatical than Jennifer Jason Leigh's in and out, let's go get a burger abortion. And if so, haven't we all lived through Tammy of Real World L.A.'s tearful, pain filled abortion?

I'm a slave, I'm a slave, I'm a slave to your lovin'.

2) The Tim Russert Show (f/ Hitch and Sully)
Touching on Iraq, the "War on Drugs," Bush, Kerry, religion, etc. A solid hour. Check it on CNBC. (It looks like it may become something of a regular thing. Not sure how often, but it's not a one time only thing.)

3) AIR (f/The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra) (Live, 9/26/04)
Opening acts: Sondre Lerche (bland) and Stereolab (hot). The show, with a nearly full moon in the air, a tight set, and one of the best venues in L.A, was....scrumtrelescent. (See also: 2+2=5.)

4) Shadows: A Re-Introduction


A film of conflict: the abyss between the sexes and the races, the struggle between art and commerce, the strains of family, the difference between the life you lead and the life you want. Cassavetes explores each and then provides a resolution, often one as untidy as the conflict itself. A hug between brothers who struggle to coexist when the going gets tough. The agreement to carry on between a singer and his manager, both perhaps knowing, there is no road left but the one we're on, so we might as well travel it together. The unbridgable gap between the races, after Tony spurns Lelia when he discovers she's black. No matter how much she may love him or how much he may actually love her, there's no going back, leading her to find comfort in the arms of a man she's only found comfort in tormenting previously. In that moment on the dance floor, she just needs someone to understand her, her pain, the reason she's been so mean, so indifferent to someone who just wanted to take her out and have a good time. Although, I doubt they'd ever date again. But Cassavetes doesn't allow it all to be wrapped up, even in an untidy fashion, as Benny is unable to overcome his condition. He wants to be a jazz musician but he can't even force one note from his trumpet. He wants to leave the city or at least find some new way of living, but he keeps falling back in the pattern of going out and trying to pick up women he'll never have, unable to touch them or let them touch him, unable to say anything much to them, only depending on a coy smile or cursory glance. In the end, he is walking alone, just beat up by a group of guys, with the one unresolved conflict, the one inside himself, eating away at his soul, bit by bit.

5) Empire of Dreams: The Story of the Star Wars Trilogy


A fantastic doc. Best bits: Kurt Russell reading for Han Solo, an inside account of the disaster that was the Star Wars shoot, Darth without the voice of James Earl Jones, and seeing how the man who created Yoda, Stuart Freeborn, looks like Yoda.

My Blog Hates Your Blog

This shit is mean.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Douchebag of the Week Award

"Religion is more important to them than freedom. It's much more important to them that their sister never walked down the street in a miniskirt than it is all the freedom in the world. Their freedom is in the next life. " - more erudite discourse from Bill Maher, discussing the entire Muslim world or maybe just the entire Arab world

Later, on his own show (Real Time), ever the recycler of his own ignorant, tired material, Maher clarified this statement and applied it only to the Iraqi people. He boldly stated that if asked, the majority of Iraqi men would tell you that they'd rather have Saddam back in power than have their sister walk down the street in a mini-skirt. I'm sure most will be stunned to learn that Aaron McGruder, Larry Gelbart, and Maureen Dowd didn't disagree with this or even express the slightest bit of trouble with such a narrow statement. In fact, Gelbart found it rather amusing. I think it'd be interesting if someone had asked Maher if we should simply ignore the entire Muslim world or the entire Arab world and not just in the context of should we have gone to war in Iraq or Afghanistan, for that matter, but in general. Considering what barbarians they are, why should we even pay a lick of attention to them. If a blood thirsty dictator or warlord decides to start killing huge swaths of people, well, who gives a fuck. Or if they run a totalitarian regime and deny men, women, and children even the most basic of rights, well, they like it that way. They don't want freedom anyway. Things like the brewing student revolution in Iran must be one big hoax. (He did all this while describing Dubya's thinking on the subject as "two dimensional." Pot. Kettle. Black.)

Observation of the Day/Jesus is Keyser Soze

I noticed today that on Ain't It Cool, the DVD review for Passion of the Christ warns that there are spoilers.

Voodoo: Yes!; Driving: No

Defamer has the scoop on how Mischa Barton "sets herself apart" from the "quintessential Hollywood" person by having people, be they in her employ, related to her or fucking her razor sharp vagina, drive her vacant self around. Jeezy creezy, I've seen Paris Hilton driving a car. You can manage, sweetie. This news has not helped in any cause to make me be able to tolerate one more minute of The O.C..

If that wasn't enough, there's also this:

Title:       Hexxx
A voodoo thriller set in New Orleans.
Writer:    Mark Gibson and John Raffo
Agent:     William Morris Agency (Gibson) and mngmnt. firm Evolution Entertainment (Raffo)
Buyer:     MGM
Apartment 3B’s Jennifer Klein will produce.  Toby Jaffe and Pete Chiarelli will executive produce.  Mischa Barton will star.

A development exec. at MGM once told me that the studio had a formula. It was the 20/20/20 formula. The leads had to be in their twenties, the movie had to cost $20 million dollars or less and the film had to be geared towards a 20-something audience. Considering the recent track record of Sony's new toy, voodoo might be the one thing that could make this formula work.

Quote of the Day

On bachelorette parties:

"Oh God, no dancers, no tiara, no phallic lollipops, necklaces, etc. I hate watching a horde of drunk girls with penis necklaces getting their heels stuck in the grate on a city sidewalk and falling all over each other." - friend and OV reader, Aysha Ghadiali

Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Check the trailer for Doug Liman's latest. Shrug. I don't know about this. (via Ain't It Cool)

Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Red Sea

Slate's Election Scorecard looks downright awful for Kerry.

Quote of the Day



"The hostility Cassavetes inspired has always puzzled me. Like Orson Welles, he didn't always play well with others and he didn't make all that much money for the movie industry. The other reason for the discomfort, I think, is that he called himself an artist. Many critics prefer their art with subtitles or not at all. Cassavetes dared to believe that art and movies were not mutually exclusive, and he never gave up on the movies' capacity to move us, to make us feel, to connect us to the world and to other people. It says something about our age that it actually comes as a shock to hear him talk with such frank sincerity about his films as art, which he does in a French television interview included in the Criterion box set. For him, art was never a dirty word; it was a reason for living, the animating pulse." - Manohla Dargis (Props to Ben for the link.)

Hitch, We Need You

Johann Hari of The Independent wishes Hitch would come back to her left and cease his support for Bush.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Memo to Pier


(Props to Stereogum for the pic.)

You're Breakin' My Balls, Hans Blix

A new clip from Team America.

Bogdy



I learned today that Peter Bogdanovich directed this Sunday's ESPN TV movie, Hustle (Pete Rose gambles, Tom Sizemore wears a silly wig playing him). This is now the second recent TV movie biopic from Bogdy, with that ABC movie about Natalie Wood being the last. It's sort of sad to see the level at which Bogdy exists now, considering the great early films of his career (The Last Picture Show, Paper Moon), but, alas, that just seems to be the way of things for many. Anyhow, he's interviewd today over at Page 3 on ESPN.com. Here are some choice bits:

Why has Quentin Tarantino thanked you in the credits of his last three movies?

On "Jackie Brown," he thanked me because he was inspired in that film by a film of mine called "They All Laughed," which is a romantic screwball comedy. Which doesn't have anything to do with "Jackie Brown," but he thought that the casualness with which the actors approached each other -- he was inspired by my film.

"Kill Bill I" and "II" -- the connection's really esoteric. But what happened was that Quentin knows, because he's such a movie buff, that when you hear a disc jockey's voice in my pictures, it's always me, sometimes doing different voices. In "The Last Picture Show," I did about five different disc jockeys, and it's always me.

So he called me and he said, "I stole your voice from 'The Last Picture Show' for the rough cut, but I need you to come down and do that voice again for my picture, and I need you to say a certain thing about Texas. Would you come down?" So I came down, and we recorded it. Took an hour because Quentin directed me 500 different ways. (Laughs.) And he put it in the picture. So my voice is in both "Kill Bill" pictures.

Are there any young directors who remind you of the rocket ride you were on with "The Last Picture Show" and "Paper Moon," your great early movies?

Well, I think Quentin's had a ride with that kind of thing.

I think Wes Anderson has put two pictures together -- "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums." He's a good writer and a good director.

That was a kind of an amazing explosion when that happened to me. You can't keep that kind of thing up. I didn't.

Speaking of "an offer you couldn't refuse," is it true you turned down the opportunity to direct "The Godfather"?

I was asked if I'd be interested in directing a Mafia picture -- a Mafia novel -- for Paramount, and I wasn't interested in doing a Mafia story, and that's how it went. I didn't actually hear the words "The Godfather," but I found out later it was "The Godfather." I wasn't interested in the Mafia at that time. I would be now.

Zuckerman Unhinged

After putting together my Top Ten Jews list, Josh asked why Philip Roth had not been included. Roth was under serious consideration, but, I've just come across what might come to be my reason for not including him. Here is an exchange from this week's Entertainment Weekly, where Roth is interviewed about his forthcoming The Plot Against America:

EW: So you don't go to movies; do you watch TV?

ROTH: I watch the news on PBS; I watch baseball.

EW: Who do you root for?

ROTH: Well, about eight years ago I thought it was a wise thing to change from the Mets to the Yankees, and it's one of the smartest things I've ever done.

For shame.

Obvs

Uncle Grambo gets love from The Freep.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

This Campaign is About to Get Dirty


(Props to Witz for the pic.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Worst Op-ed Evs

William Safire gets inside John Kerry's head. Blah.

Boo-urns to this

For those unaware, I've never met Josh. I've never spoken to him in any capacity, outside of electronic means. We have not exchanged hellos (save for two very funny birthday cards he sent me). If you're racist and you're thrilled about admitting it, good for you. I don't particularly give a fuck. And off of that, I'm not all that interested in hearing your definition of what you believe to be racist or not racist, considering the haphazard fashion with which you throw the word or the charge around. Otherwise, if asking for a border policy is not a solution, I guess I just won't type anymore. (It's not like anyone really reads this bullshit anyway.) As dire the situation is now in California, namely with regard to medical care, the solution should not be rounding people up or denying them services or providing them with less than solid healthcare. That's the sham of Prop. 187 and it's the sham of a lot of governmental policies that wait until the shit has hit the fan until they try to fix the problem.

The problem is that for the nine million here now, there are millions more on the way. If about 40 clinics are crippled and closed because of nine, how many more will feel the same pinch or the same ax when millions more are getting healthcare and walking out the door without ever paying the bill or having any kind of insurer or healthcare provider to assist them in paying it because of their illegal status. Hospitals are currently feeling a huge burden of elderly illegals who've come over with their younger family members who stay in hospitals until they die because no elder care facilities will or can take them because of Medicare restrictions. These hospitals, if this trend continues unabated, will close. Arrowhead Medical is the latest in a long line of hospitals now citing these kinds of claims. They have no family to contact and no insurer to lean on. They provide quality care, but end up with severe losses because of the absence of finances on the part of the patient. And, often, they close. Sorry folks, your emergency room is no more. If you'd just stop being racist, it'd open again. The healthcare system, in general, is broken. The problem of illegal immigration is furthering along its death. I do not have the mental acumen to say how the healthcare system should or can be fixed, but I can say the same thing about a car. But, I sure as hell know when a car isn't working. That shit blows up and ruins your Monday.

And, frankly, I never said that illegal immigration was the #1 cause of our economic woes, but when non-citizens are drastically altering the landscape of the job market, I do happen to see similarities to other non-citizens, not living in this country (obviously), getting thousands of jobs no longer even available to citizens, who, in many cases, have had said job taken from them. That's also not too disconnected from offshoring or downsizing, which inevitably are of the same philosophy of workers who will work for much lower wages without any kind of protections, i.e. health insurance. But, to be perfectly honest, I'm just as weary, because no matter the topic, this is always how these arguments go. It's tiresome. And I'm starting to sound like Michael Moore. Fuck you for that.

Unlike many left leaning folks these days, I'm not too fond of Pat Buchanan's thoughts on topics. I don't so much go for nazi loving Nixon apologists. Call me Jewish. I won't even clap for him if he happens to say something I agree with...even if it's bashing Bush. I'm not one of the half wits from Silver Lake in the audience for Bill Maher who cheered as if it was Howard Dean when Buchanan went on his rant against the war in Iraq. His wall or the other wall proposed by former California rep. Bob Doran is every bit the racist policy you seem to think I support. That wall was also being proposed some ten years ago when this problem was not even close to as bad as it is today. And Buchanan isn't just against illegal immmigration. He's against all immigration. He wants to completely shut it down.

Linda Chavez, frankly, is part of the problem, as she was an "employer" of illegal immigrants that she treated like slaves. I don't think I go more than five seconds when I see Linda Chavez on any number of the droning yak fests on cable before I begin chanting "Slave Owner," similar to seeing David Justice and chanting "Wife Beater," or seeing Alec Baldwin and cracking a joke about anger management. We should be going after Chavez and people like her and corporations like her. There, bucko, there's another solution. Kerry's always talking about Benedict Arnold companies. Well, if you're destroying the job market by hiring a bunch of illegals for no wages with no protections, you don't get tax breaks anymore. All the loopholes are closed.

The border and the employers. Figure out how to solve those two problems and I am of the belief that serious progress could be made. But every piece of shit in a suit who calls himself a representative or a senator or president is so beholden to big business donors that the mere notion that they'd get off their knees for one damn second and stop deep throating their billion dollar cocks and tell them to start being patriots (there's a word not thrown around often...oh wait) and begin to conduct their businesses not just in the best interest of their stockholders but of their market, and provide their employees with the kind of wages and benefits that allows for them to live a decent life and move up in the world. Now, obviously, shit like Walmart or McDonald's is never going to pay enough to be considered much of a career, but there can be standards for them as well so that the first job can be a stepping stone and not a death trap. (This, of course, speaks to another problem, the increasing cost of college, which continues to rise and bar millions of people from acquiring the kind of training that allows them to use such places as jobs to start out with.)

Fuck it. Who cares? I answered your challenge. Challenges used to be fun. Great Jews, hot chicks...fucking challenges kinda suck now.

Come On In (1 1/2)

I had intended to ignore the race baiting in Josh's piece, as I've grown comfortable with obvious or thinly veiled accusations of racism, "possible" or otherwise, from our man in Fagistan. Referring to the idea that people are bothered by "brown people" taking their jobs implies that said "brown people" are not taking jobs from other "brown people," or that leveling such a charge, be it racism or bigotry or narrow-mindedness will somehow alter the circumstances of the argument, nullifying the points being made. The impact of illegal immigration, as it currently stands, has little to do with race or ethnicity. Granted, the majority of the illegals in California, for example, are Mexican, but that's really neither here nor there. Nine million (and counting) people have poured into the state because cheap labor is available to them because businesses desire it. This kind of cheap labor is now no longer relegated to a few select industries and, subsequently, the job market continues to suffer and the number of available jobs to citizens ("brown" or otherwise) continues to shrink. They could be Canadien or Guatemalan or Irish and it would still, as it has, cause a massive strain on the economy, on the public school system, on the healthcare system, etc. If you combine this economic impact with the impact of outsourcing, downsizing, etc., you have a problem. I don't see aiding and abetting a big part of the problem as some kind of solution. I've only heard a lot of tired rhetoric from politicians on how to solve our economic woes. The tired rhetoric of lobbing a wholly unsubstantiated implication of racism fits right in with that.

Come On In

In response to Josh:

The implication here is that the entire illegal immigrant population is made up of migrant workers. This follows the old argument that no one wants all these jobs, as in no one wants to work out in the hot sun picking oranges. And, in a sense, that's correct. There is a portion of this illegal population that is very much used and abused in, as you say, nomadic work. However, as can be seen in my state, this is changing dramatically. Construction jobs of all sorts. Maintenance jobs of all sorts. Landscaping jobs of all sorts. Child care positions of all sorts. And on and on and on. These are dominated by illegal immigrants, because business owners desire cheap labor they don't have to provide any protections for. Somehow I doubt that the Bush amnesty program will force these employers to change their ways. The program, I believe, provides a three year window, which then implies that illegal immigration will be cut off, not providing new workers to use and abuse while the others get cards, lose jobs, and desire more services to make up for their losses. The amnesty program isn't too far a cry from "No Child Left Behind." It sounds sweet and nice...oooh...no one's left behind...I haven't liked people being left behind since those end of the world Christian movies with Kirk Cameron. But, the program is so underfunded, and, to begin with, so broken in its makeup, that tons of kids are being "left behind." You can't have a three year guest program when millions of people are pouring in per year and expect it to work.

Now, I guess this is nostalgic, but I suppose then that outsourcing is cool too and I'm also being nostalgic in regards to that, because that's immigration in a different sense. For one, the amnesty program essentailly cuts off all other immigration, beyond, perhaps, student visas. There's no point. Keep them there and send them jobs over there and continue to "feel" for all those people who don't have jobs here in one of the "two Americas." (In Kerry's defense, he's been a critic of outsourcing and the Bushies apathy towards it, although I would like to hear what he thinks of the massive amount of outsourcing done by Heinz.)

We are absorbing another country's poorest individuals. In California, this has resulted in massive strains on schools and medical facilities. And I assume the answer to this will be universal healthcare for all. But "all" will grow exponentionally it seems year by year, straining said healthcare for "all," leaving us with the same mess we're in now, but with a different label on it. And what of American labor? I know the unions see the illegal immigrant population as potential members. I know Michael Moore says there's a lot of space in the middle, as he's noticed driving through. (as he said on Lou Dobbs) And I know that the Kerry camp and the Bush camp mistakenly believe that this amnesty program will get them the Hispanic vote, despite the fact that the majority of Hispanics polled indicate an opposition to illegal immigration (it's usually 70-30), turning out the old argument, I came here legally and so should they. (This kind of thinking was the rickety plank that Gray Davis pinned all his hopes of not being recalled on. That worked out well, huh?) So, if we are to believe Bush, here's my take: Outsourcing is not bad. Amnesty is on its way. The economy is great. If I can just get my paypal account to work, I can start selling all my belongings on eBay. Then, I can be part of this new economy everyone's talking about.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Quote of the Day



"Brazillian Super-Clydesdale Gisele Bunchen will be playing your run of the mill supermodel/bank robber/race-car driver in this fall’s Taxi. The 20th Century Fox sponsored masterpiece-of-shit, which also stars the 100% unfunny Jimmy Fallon and the Meryl Streepish Queen Latifah, is sure to have people vomitting in the aisles and demanding refunds, shortly before each and every theater showing the film is burned to the ground and pissed upon. Totally Netflixin’ it though!" - goldenfiddle

For Josh

The Navbar brought me here. Another someone fond of Orson Scott Card.

One More Than Four

1) "You Knew"


Fred Norris is the secret weapon on the Howard Stern show. He certainly doesn't get the amount of attention Howard (obviously), Robin or Artie get, but his skills, especially with sound effects, makes the show what it is (i.e. the now infamous "You knew" clip of Rep. Heather Wilson (R-NM), Taylor Rain's oh yeahs or the endless amount of George Takei clips). On my drive to work, I heard a question and answer session with Fred, with questions provided by listeners. One of the questions asked was who Fred found to be the most unfunny guest who was supposed to be funny. His answer: David Cross. He compared him to "a loaf of bread." Thank you, Fred.

2) Ranting


The economy is awesome. Recently, Dick Cheney and Rep. David Drier (R-CA, Chairman of the House Rules Committee) brought it to my attention that the economy is even better than I imagined, because many folks are amassing income off of eBay. Gosh, I should have a garage sale this weekend. The liberal media sure isn't covering that aspect of this newly booming economy. Maybe they're saving it for sweeps. Drier might be in the news today, if the news covered anything. He spoke before the house on a plan to create a new social security card for all citizens and legal immigrants. This will, as the blustery first part of the speech explained, help us fight terrorism. Little known fact: When Al Quaeda terrorists are sneaking in through the southern and northern borders, their real aim is to get a job at Walmart as a greeter. Man, we'll catch so many terrorists when they swipe their card at the interview. Dumbasses.

Drier then went on to explain how great this new card will be in his effort to fight illegal immigration. Before I get to the kicker, I'd like to add that Drier has the worst voting record on the topic of illegal immigration of any Republican in the House and there are over 100 Democrats who score better than him, including conservative punching bags Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton, Ted Kennedy, and our next president, John Kerry. Now, he makes this big speech and proposes this bill and this new card and...drum roll please...then voices his support for Bush's amnesty program. So, let me get this straight, you're fighting illegal immigration, but only in the future. The nine million in his state alone...rad. The nine million to follow...he's working on a secret plan. Fear not. Riiiiiight.

While Drier was making his speech, the California Board of Supervisors were still trying to figure out how to keep open a trauma center that is likely to close due, in large part, to medicare fraud and unpaid bills from...drum roll please...illegal immigrants. If this trauma center were to close, it'd move the stats up to somewhere around 40 clinics closed in the last few years. (One of the many reasons cited for ousting Joe "Gray" Davis and one of the many reasons why so many have been underwhelmed by the Governator, who ran on an anti-amnesty program, via driver's licenses for illegals, and is now working on a program just like that one, but, I don't know, less "girly.") And the importance of this card in relation to border control is still beyond me. But, hey, who cares. Let's just fucking open it up. Both candidates for president want it that way. I think it's about time we all go down to the border, get naked, and start fucking in a big pile of humanity. (It worked on South Park.)

None of this really has anything to do with how much I hate my job, how little I get paid or how I've had my job threatened because I took time off with the approval of my supervisors or how I was secretly enrolled in a union and had dues taken out of my paycheck before I ever signed anything. Or maybe it does. I'm not one of these fuckwits who thinks we should arm yokels in Arizona to shoot incoming illegals, but I do think we should put someone in that same spot and have them say, "Turn the fuck around." A lot of people come here legally. They come here for work. They come here for a better life. Letting people in without any kind of standard isn't exactly what I would expect from this paranoid administration. But, they love giving jobs away. Either here for greedy corporate types hot for low wages or farmed out abroad for greedy corporate types hot for low wages.

You're either with us or with the terrorists, right? Well, what happens when you're the one holding the door? And by opening up the border, not only do you make us less safe, but you also continue to cripple an economy by allowing such labor practices to go unchecked, with a lot of hemming and hawing about keeping America strong, forging ahead into a bright future, and making an income by selling shit on the internet. I don't expect the man I'm voting for to ask Dubya that question (or for anyone to ask Kerry either...I'm comfortable in knowing that the best we'll get is Jon "Car Bombs are Funny!" Stewart rubbing noses with the candidate and making one joke after another about how the show isn't really a news show...excuse me...RAHAAAA), but it's about time the American people stop waiting for him to, and ask it themselves. Maybe at WashU. Maybe.

3) I Am Victorian!
Free pizza tonight, courtesy of The Whine Colored Sea, thanks to winning The Amazing Race bet, where in Ben banked on Bellisimo and the little lady. Bad move, Ben. Bad move.

4) "Drink To Me Babe Then," A.C. Newman (off of the album The Slow Wonder)
A pop gem. Newman's voice reminds me of Brendan Benson, and a little bit Stephen Malkmus. Another iTunes discovery. Huzzah!

A.C. Newman: Official Site

5) F Contraction


Once upon a time, Major League Baseball, in its infinite wisdom, considered contracting two teams, both of which were to be struggling financially and unable to proceed in any kind of viable way. This list included the last two World Champions and (as pictured above) the first team to clinch their division title this season. I'm no Bob Costas, but in my humble opinion, Bud Selig's a douche.

For more fives: 2+2=5 (Ben's #1 was to be on my list, but overlapping is lame), The Wrathful and the Gloomy: All Crush Edition, The Jordan 5 (Inaugural Edition), Five Easy Pieces, Five Letter Words, and The Mayakovsky Approved 5 Is The Loneliest Number. Hotness.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Reclusive Scavenger Claims, "I Have the Key to Mayakovsky."



Now that the second overheated post has been taken down, perhaps Pier can let us all in on who wrote one sentence on his blog, sending him into a mad rage that never ceased to entertain me, especially when the mystery person brilliantly taunted him without ever typing a word.

More Glamorama Tidbits

Not An Exit has Roger Avary debunking some of the online rumors about his adaptation of Glamorama. The only casting he's willing to confirm is that of Kip Pardue in the lead, and of Vincent Gallo as, well, I guess, Vincent Gallo. The film is still in pre-production and doesn't so much have funding. (All of the above continues to sound pretty shitty to me, except for the part about it having no funding.)

Avary is busy working on the script for Silent Hill for director Christophe Gans (The Brotherhood of the Wolf).

Cristal Wishes and Chicken Finger Dreams

Defamer wishes Brit and the hubby well:

"There is but one thing that could rouse us from the weekend-long absinthe binge that prepares us for the ordeal of the Primetime Emmy Awards and sit us down in front of the computer: the surprise wedding of Britney Spears to layabout facial hair innovator/underemployed Baryshnikov Kevin Federline. We're relieved, really, because we anticipate not having to report any Spears-related secret wedding rumors for at least the next seven months. And that lovely thought has us feeling magnanimous enough (though we are forced to consider the possibility that the pleasant, lightly-burning sensation around our heart is due to the absinthe) to wish Mr. and Mrs. Federline a long and happy union. May the child that will soon follow grow fat and happy on a diet of mashed Cheetos and Red Bull, and may angels merrily dance in the background of its dreams."

Burgess on Film

Sunday night is movie night. Tonight was Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent. Searching around, I happened upon the idiotic musings of Steve Burgess (Salon.com, 8/13/99). Here are some choice selections from the piece:

"Did anyone else notice that Wim Wenders' "Wings of Desire" (1987), one of the most praised movies of the past 15 years, made a lot more sense without the subtitles? Pauline Kael apparently did. She wrote that the film "has a visual fascination, but no animating force -- that's part of why it's being acclaimed as art." But was I the only one sucked in by Kael's description of "Night of the Hunter" as "one of the most frightening movies ever made," only to discover a ham-fisted and occasionally risible bit of hokum?"

"What's particularly annoying about Hitchcock's shortcomings is that they so often turn up as the dead cockroach at the bottom of a near-perfect cinematic sundae. His endings are chronically weak, tacked-on affairs that give the impression the portly director was late for supper. Even after a legitimate gem like "Vertigo," it's quite possible to leave the theater wondering, why exactly did Kim Novak topple so readily off that tower? Perhaps she borrowed some pants from Joseph Cotten?"

"Foreign Correspondent has other gaping plot holes, but they're the kind that require you to hit the pause button and think for a bit, whereas the airplane scene is one of those spell-breaking moments that invite derision and disbelief as surely as the sight of a boom mike atop the frame."

"Whether it's a Hitchcock or some other dubious classic showing up in the late listings accompanied by a multi-stellar rating, you may want to deduct a star and a half for the rosy glow of nostalgia. For every legitimate masterpiece like Carol Reed's "The Third Man" or Fred Zinnemann's "High Noon," there's a revered stretch of tedium like John Ford's "The Grapes of Wrath" or Billy Wilder's mirthless "Some Like it Hot." Remember, even the verdict of history sometimes comes from a jury of chuckleheads -- 20 years after they left the air, the Monkees were seriously being hailed as trendsetters."

Penne with fresh peas, turkey sausage, and "a touch of cream"

Wes Anderson talks about style in movies with Lynn Hirschberg of the NY Times.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Room on Fire



Fleeting glimpses of Abu Ghraib-like footage, choosing between Eva Mendes and Mila Kunis, and a stylistic choice Ken Russell might love, but sadly no pinball with Slash. The video for The Strokes' "The End Has No End" (the best song off of Room on Fire, methinks) can be seen here.

(Props to Ending East for the link.)

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Imaginary Girlfriends

The J has laid down the guantlet and challenged her fellow bloggers to name their Top 5 Movie Crushes of all times. (Morgan has already answered the call. And so have Ben, Jessica, and Tom. Josh and Pier haven't chimed in. Josh has fat, fascist children to deal with and Pier's too busy waging his war with a dead Russian poet.)

1) Grace Kelly as Lisa Carol Fremont (Rear Window)
You're trapped in a wheelchair with a broken leg and Perry Mason may or may not have killed and subsequently hacked up his wife in the apartment across the way and, oh yeah, the hottest woman ever, in all her snooty, Hitchockian sophistication, is madly in love with you, the Prince of Monaco not even a glimmer in her eye. Her entrance, the slo-mo kiss, the uttering of her full name, a light turned on with each...Lisa...Carol...Fremont. Sigh.

2) Kerri Green as Andy Carmichael (The Goonies)
The secret is simple. She may go for the older guy without the driver's license, but when it comes down to it, she wants the kinda nerdy kid with braces. Thus, when it's raining in Oregon, and you're tangling with a family of counterfieters and seeking the sunken pirate treasure, this is your girl.

3) Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly (Breakfast at Tiffany's)
If you don't know by now, you never will.

4) Claude Jade as Christine (Stolen Kisses)
Oh, Antoine, please don't fuck it up. The key may be in the wine cellar scene. Antoine tries to kiss her and she refuses, but later, on their way back up those same stairs, she kisses him. I wish I spoke French.

5) Natalie Portman as Sam (Garden State)

(Duh.)

Wally World



The latest in the Jason Kidd saga now, apparently, may involve the Knicks. In a scenario that would send Kidd to the T-Wolves, the Knicks would jettison Kurt Thomas and acquire Strong Island native Wally Szczerbiak and Aaron Williams. I don't get this deal from a Knick standpoint, especially when the defense of acquiring Wally is that he'll provide "insurance" for Allan Houston and his ailing knees. Mmmmkay. Then what the hell is Jamal Crawford here for? Let's break it down. The team now has three point guards, if you don't count Crawford: Steph, Moochie Norris, and recently signed Jamison Brewer. They have a plethora of off guards: Houston, Crawford, Penny, Shandon Anderson, and rookie Trevor Ariza. They also already have a player starting at Wally's natural position of the 3 in Tim Thomas. Now, trading Kurt makes some sense, since the team already has Mike Sweetney, the Drunk, and Jerome Williams. And Aaron Williams can play center with Nazr. (Unless, of course, just signed Bruno Sundov lights it up in training camp and steals the job. Uhuh. Right.) Now, I suppose, we are meant to believe that Wally, Tim Thomas, Allan Houston, Jamal Crawford, Penny Hardaway, and Shandon Anderson, who collecetively earn something close to the GDP of a number of countries, will be tickled to share as much time as Lenny Wilkens can dole out. Riiiiiight.

Also today, Vince Carter reiterated his demand to be traded. I anxiously await the New York tabloids to craft unfeasible trade rumors that have Carter in blue and orange next season, perhaps playing along side 11 other players who all play his position.

Clinton: No; More Gigli Jokes: Yes

Ben Affleck will host the 30th Season Opener of SNL (10/2/04). The musical guest will be Nelly.

The Protest Song



Morgan touched on protest music earlier this week, with his analysis of "Strange Fruit" and NOFX lyrics. Now, Slate's Jody Rosen fawns over every bit of protest music out right now, from Jadakiss' "Why?" to Eric Idle's childish ditty against the FCC.

(Speaking of "protests," or, maybe more appropriately, acts of dissidence or skepticism, or, rather, paranoid delusions, there's this humdinger of a short from The Freedom Underground (I warn you, it feels long and may, like it did me, test your patience). You can visit their fairly bland main site, here. Hat tip to The Thigh Master for the link. For a debunking of the conspiracy theory laid out in the above short film, you can check Snopes or, if you desire something easier, shorter, and more reasonable, just think about it for, oh, three seconds, and then, I don't know, go eat a sandwich.)


Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Because You're Sick of Porn

The Superficial has a new sister site, Anticlown. Check it, for shit like this.

Peabs: Behind the Blog

Still on vacation, but a consort has some inside info on our future president.

Sound Advice



Head on over to Fingertips and download "Retour A Vega" by The Stills. It's off the Wicker Park soundtrack. How did that come to be? There's this and The Postal Service's Phil Collins cover, plus Broken Social Scene's Lover Spit, and more. The power of Hartnett is beyond our understanding. Oui Oui.

Artless



This is not another posting regarding The Brown Bunny.

The genius Mets brass has decided to fire manager Art Howe, effective at the end of the season. Howe has already led the Mets to a last place finish and may be in the process of doing that a second time. All this, in a division occupied by a homeless team whose schedule is so arduous that one wonders how they ever manage to win games. And, yes, I know, the argument goes that the plight of the Expos would be nothing to a minor league team, but F that. This is not the minor leagues and MLB's handling of Les Expos has been awful.

Anyway, Howe is now gone, which begs the question, who's next? I'm sure Don Baylor will be interviewed (he would be the first black manager in team history) and former Met Wally Backman (now a minor league manager) may get a look, and it wouldn't shock me in the slightest if Joe Torre is contacted, if the Yankees happen to fall short of another World Series crown. There's then the possibility of bringing back a former manager. Davey Johnson is still alive. Bobby V is in Japan. Dallas Green must be somewhere with access to a phone. None of these choices make much sense, but these are the Mets, the same team that just traded their top prospect for a pitcher who may not a throw a single pitch next season. Bravo!

As for Art, he won't be missed. What memories are there to cling to? Thinking...thinking...yep. Nothin. At least Bobby V took the team to the playoffs and the Series and the last time I checked, Art Howe never once got thrown out of a game and then, subsequently, snuck back into the dugout in a disguise made up of a fake mustache and sunglasses.

Silly Rabbit



The war over The Brown Bunny rages on at Poisonville's comments page.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

One More Than Four

1) Skin to Skin


Once upon a time, I boldy stated that if given the opportunity, I'd go skin to skin with Paris Hilton. No condom. No way. No how. And then, I saw the tape. And I don't know if it was Rick Solomon's status as a douchebag of unfathomable proportions or her needy performance of "Say you love me," "Am I pretty?" etc. that led me to now loathe her, to frown when I see her Guess? ads (Is an Anna Nicole-like fall from "grace," where in I wish for her televised death, that far off?), and to no longer appreciate her skills in interviews where she finds ways to exclusively talk about herself, her upcoming movie, her fragrance, etc, and yet never answer any of the questions asked of her.

Recently, Paris got a fellow "actress" fired off of her new "film," National Lampoon's Pledge This, which I'm sure will make us all forget that National Lampoon has not mattered or produced anything worthwhile in something close to twenty years. Now, as for going skin to skin with Ellen Hollman...obvs. (Hat tip to The Superficial.)

2) Janice
My theory continues to gain strength. Everyone wants to look like Janice from The Muppets.





3) The John and Ken Show, KFI AM 640
Leaders of the charge to recall Gray Davis, and honest enough to admit that Arnold had and continues to have serious flaws. (Similar to Anyone but Bush, they intoned Anyone but Gumby...except, of course, for Bustamecha, which was like keeping Davis but letting his lesser half have the keys.) Originators of "Political Human Sacrifice," which sets its sights on California legislators, namely David Drier (R), Daryl Isaa (R), and Joe Baca (D). Carrying the load by ranting and raving more than anyone else I've heard of about the continuing illegal immigration catastrophe in California (with most recent rantings having to do with The Totalization Bill and The Hayworth Amendment, which would allow illegal immigrants to accrue social security benefits if they can verify their work status. The Hayworth Amendment would have stopped that from occurring, and as far as I know, is now dead.) Like any radio show, they can get shrill and obnoxious, but when so many other choices are just cheerleaders for one side, it's nice to have raving lunatics on the side that says both sides suck and calls for people to get involved and make their government listen.

4) Caving


I have to admit, I loved the first episode of The Apprentice. I resisted it last season, largely out of a distaste for Trump. Whatevs. I'm over it.

5) "A Change Is Gonna Come," Sam Cooke
As linked on the newly redesigned Music For Robots. Fantastic. Check it.


(Fives. See also: 5 The Hard Way, 2+2=5, The Wrathful and the Gloomy, Five Easy Pieces, 5, and Five Letter Words)

Monday, September 13, 2004

DGG

Ebert declares David Gordon Green's Undertow a masterpiece.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Money Shot



Richard Kelly has answered the much asked question of why he got rid of "Killing Moon" at the opening of the new director's cut of Donnie Darko:

"I love INXS' Never Tear Us Apart. It has a more kind of ethereal, dreamlike... slightly sarcastic quality that I wanted to open the film with... the way the family is kind of sassing each other, you know, with the leaf blower, the way the lyrics tie into two worlds collide... if we could live for a thousand years... we all have wings, some of us don't know why... All the lyrics were designed in shot. I was playing it on the set to orchestrate the camera to that. So I wanted to restore it to the way it was in the Sundance cut so audiences could see what my original intentions were and then get to experience Echo & the Bunnymen at the big climactic moment. It's almost like, not to be too crude... It's Ain't It Cool, so what the hell? (laughs)... But it's like Echo & the Bunnymen was the cum-shot song in the film to me and you don't want to put that at the opening. "

For the rest of his interview with "Quint," go here.

Things to Do

To my few Austin, TX readers (Marc, Rob), go check out Broken Social Scene at Austin City Limits this Friday, the 17th. Or not. Whatevs. Damn Canadiens need to get their asses to L.A. already.

Lunar Park

Rumor has it, this is the title of Bret Easton Ellis' long awaited new novel. As many rumors have stated previously, the book is apparently about Ellis, Ellis' dad, and the writing of American Psycho. Newly rumored release date of October '05. I'm not getting too hyped until this moves beyond interweb rumor.

An e-mail from P.T.A.



Check it. It looks like work on the next film will start soon. Huzzah!

Welcome Back

Pier returns to answer challenges at Poisonville. He also says that Open Water resembles something that Gus Van sant might make, which seems to me not only insulting to Van Sant but to almost anyone named Gus. (Also, in case you were wondering, Pier has quickly declined Urby's request that he register to vote.)

Day of Rest



Of all people, it's Maureen Dowd who gets that one of the big, if not the biggest problem in the Kerry campaign may be Bob Shrum. (For more on Shrum or "The Shrum Curse" there's WaPo, Slate (1), and Slate(2).)

At the newly redesigned RogerEbert.com, Eb wants to know what happened to Daryl.

Urby calls for an effort to convince Pier to register to vote. And, on a side note, someone other than Pier has answered Ben's challenge to put together the top ten comic book movies of all time.

What the fuck is I Killed My Lesbian Wife, Hung Her on a Meat Hook, and Now I Have a Three-Picture Deal at Disney and what does Ben Affleck have to say about it? (Hat tip to goldenfiddle.)

Brother Lawrence picks on a dude's bumper stickers: "He's (I'm assuming it's a dude) on the Upper West Side, driving a STATIONWAGON and his first bumper sticker is about protecting the environment. His second bumper sticker complains that the war is about oil and that we should turn to solar power. Hey, genius, how 'bout taking the LIRR instead of driving in? I can't read the third bumper sticker but the fourth one calls for the secession of eastern Suffolk County to form a new county, Peconic County, a movement by the folks in the Hamptons who don't want to pay for county services for the working stiffs of central Long Island. Though I'm a big fan of smaller government, the irony is that he has a specialized license plate honoring... Suffolk County. The final bumper sticker says no to "Suburbia". Did I mention this guy's from Suffolk County, the very definition of suburbia? And that he drove a station wagon into Manhattan? Okay, just making sure I got that straight."

Another Kurosawa remake. This time, it's Ikiru. Jim Sheridan will work with Richard Price to polish his script.   Walter Parkes and Stone Village's Scott Steindorff will produce for Dreamworks.   Jim Sheridan will direct.  Tom Hanks may star. Durst.

47 more points than necessary.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Hotter than Kaballah

Ben has put it to me to cull together a list of the top ten Jews of all time. I tried to mix it up and get people from different walks of life. So, yeah, here it is:

1) The J.C., Jesus "El Savior" Christ, The Messiah, Jeezy Creezy, Son of God


Hippie Jew convinces billions of goyim into worshipping him outside the confines of his bar mitzvah day where "the man" might be allowed to drink a few spiked shirley temples. Savior and shamen for many, providing hope and inspiration for those seeking it. Jerk off material for Mel Gibson. Holds frequent late night conversations with Dubya. Totally misunderstood, much like any gawky Jewish boy struggling to make girls make out with him at USY events when he's thirteen, wearing braces, and singing his haftorah like Peter Brady on the episode when his "change" begins. Drinks wine and acts groovy and wishes everyone would remember to do the same. If he came down to earth and saw what was being done in his name, would never stop vomiting. (This final line provided by great/notorious Jew, Woody Allen.)

2) Moses
The Ten Commadments. Parter of the Red Sea. Former head of the National Rifle Association. Hater of damn filthy apes. Convinces Pharoah to let his people go after some seriously zany biblical hijinx. (locusts, frogs, and blood, oh my!) Ain't nothin to fuck with. (Honorable Mention: Simon Wiesenthal, also not a Jew to be trifled with. He will hunt your Nazi ass down.)

3) Albert Einstein


Genius (and the defintion of the word for many). Nobel Prize winner. Quantum theory. Theory of Relativity. Once played by the late Walter Matthau. Raddest mustachioed mf this side of Tom Selleck. "Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." (Honorable Mention: Niels Bohr, Richard Feynman)

4) Karl Marx
Father of Communism. No matter the whole "opium of the people" thing, born a Jew and on the list. (Honorable Mention: Noam Chomsky)

5) Abraham
Grand pooba. Father of the tribe.

6) Elvis Presley, "The King of Rock 'n Roll"
Icon. Beloved mother was Jewish. Seemingly no real affiliation with Jewishness but no matter, he makes it on the list. Godfather of Jewish tradition of stealing from black artists, but surpasses all others in doing so. Loves Jewish mom so much that many say he refused to outlive her, in fact, sleeping near a picture of her grave stone. (Honorable Mention: Bob Dylan, George Gershwin, Gustav Mahler)

7) Sandy Koufax


Hero. Along with Mel Ott, the reason why so many grandparents buy their grandchildren books on great Jewish athletes when bar mitzvahs or birthdays roll around. Greatest Jewish athlete of all time, destroying erroneous stereotypes with every pitch. Rumors abounded recently he might have been the greatest Jewish gay athlete ever but those rumors have been denied, leaving Koufax as the greatest Jewish athlete and Mike Piazza as the greatest gay athlete not named Kordell. (Honorable Mention: Mel Ott, Howard Cosell)

8) J. Robert Oppenheimer
Tortured genius changes course of history (thinking that he will create the one thing that can stop Hitler) and regrets it for the rest of his life. Maybe not the guy you put on the cover of Great Jews in History but still worth a mention, if for nothing else but his notoriety. Likely featured in much skinhead literature, although I'd figure most impotent fuckwit racists like shit like nukes and trucks with huge tires or motorcycles, which may make them feel conflicted considering the Jewish background of the atom bomb. But whatevs, they run the media. Fuck em. Also, star of great, little produced play "The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer," where he is haunted by Lilith (a fellow outcast).

9) Esther
Legendary Jewish queen. Recording of "La Isla Bonita" lights world on fire. Marries hack film director and makes Kaballah all the rage. Plum role for any young Hebrew school girl to land in the annual Purim play. (Honorable Mention: Golda Mair)

10) Stanley Kubrick


Cinematic genius. Outduels many others for final spot on list. (Honorable Mention: Billy Wilder, Sergei Eisenstein, Woody Allen, J.D. Salinger, Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust, Arthur Miller, Steven Spielberg, Maya Deren, Fritz Lang, Emeric Pressburger, Joel and Ethan Coen, Howard Stern, Mel Brooks)

Quote of the Day

"At the end of the day, I think 100% of men in this world would have to admit that they masturbate in the shower. But only Vincent Gallo has made a film all about it. For that, he deserves more than bad reviews. He deserves to be admonished by an artistic community that shouldn't stand for such offensive, hateful, self-indulgent filth." - Morgan (Night For Day)

Friday, September 10, 2004

Out of Business?

Will Posionville's doors ever re-open?

Speechwriter

Make a speech for George W. (Not that great, but still kind of fun.) (Hat tip to Sully.)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Creepy

Pier reminded me again last night that I had to check out the trailer for Birth, the latest from director Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast). Well, Movie City News helped out, and here it is. Yowza. (I hope it's not just another evil kid movie. As you all know, I hate evil kid movies. Although, I've never seen The Good Son which both Ben and Josh seem to think is the shit. Oh, and I didn't so much like Glazer's first movie, but whatevs. Good trailer. I'll go.)

Check It

Over at The Big Ticket (a great MP3 blog), you can check two tracks ("Folkloric Feel" and "Energy of Death") from the new Apostle of Hustle record. Apostle of Hustle is one of the many Broken Social Scene side projects. Yes, I know. I'm obsessed. I don't care. I'll do what I want. Whateva.

Font Fights

Helvetica v. Arial.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

New Hitch

"Murder by Any Other Name"

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

One More Than Four

1) Avoiding the Facts
Upon watching Wonder Boys last night for the umpteenth time, I went to sleep thinking about snow. I could've gone to sleep thinking of the pending work day or I could've lamented the end of a great three day weekend. Instead, I thought of waking up to a blizzard, of not going to school in the morning, anxiously watching the ticker at the bottom of the screen during the end of the half hour local news update, hoping and praying that my school would be listed. I thought of a girl I shouldn't think of, and of lying in bed with her, waking up every hour on the hour between 1 a.m. and 6 and whispering to each other ideas on what we'd do if there was "a snow day." I woke up and it was still hot. It was over 100 today. And I was back at work. But thanks to one of the best hangout movies ever, I didn't go to bed thinking about the unavoidable facts. (Mondays should always be Tuesdays.)

2) The Obsession Grows
As promised, I went out and bought everything I could find of Broken Social Scene: You Forgot It In People, feel good lost, and Bee Hives (a b-sides collection). Obvs.

3) Black Narcissus/Powell/Pressburger

Re-watching Narcissus this weekend rekindled my love for the film and its filmmakers. Do yourself a favor and rent/buy The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus, I Know Where I'm Going!, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, and whatever else you can find. Genius at work.

4) Dying

Hey, Dick, go fuck yourself.

5) New Season, New Team to be Disappointed By

The NFL season begins this week. The G-Men are generally picked to finish last or second to last. The Tom Coughlin era begins now! I think Coughlin may be be the next Dan Reeves (if they open poorly, I will label him the '04 model of Ray Handley), but I'm willing to give his scowl and military drill sergeant style a chance...if it works. I doubt it will, unless of course Chunky soup does work and Kurt Warner's arm is not a rag or made of materials resembling those of a rag. 6-10? 8-8? 9-7? Can Ron Dayne finally earn his paycheck or make us forget that he was a #1 draft choice? Shrug. Go Blue!

Undertow

The latest from David Gordon Green.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Eb at Telluride

He gives his preliminary take on Kinsey, Palindromes, and some others. My favorite bit:

"I saw five movies on Saturday. What else could I do? It was raining most of the day, and then for a change it snowed. As I was standing in a tent waiting to get into the screening of 'Yes,' a young woman appeared out of the downpour, her coat drenched, wet hair in her eyes, and said, 'I hate it how I love movies so much that I put myself through this!'"

You can check it here.

Douchie McGee Speaks

There are gonna be lots of folks expressing disappointment or downright hostility with the idea of this movie. Let 'em vent. If it's all that bad, Xtian will just sweep it off the board. But the last thing I'm interested in is opinions on what I'm doing this early in the process, if at all. The beauty of making that first flick was being able to do it in a vacuum. Granted, I could've kept my mouth shut about it 'til we were done shooting; but with "Clerks X" coming out, it just felt right to share. Regardless - I don't want folks running here with reports of what's being said about the idea of this film at other boards. Don't waste your/my time with the braying of the jackasses. There's not even a movie to bray about yet. Once there is, if you still still feel the need to tell me what some random, knuckle-headed Talk Backer has to say about the finished product, then God bless. But until then, leave it in the locker room.

Oh, who am I kidding? This flick makes me so happy, I'm not even bothered by the bitching (could still be even happier without it, though). I'm in love with this flick. If other folks aren't, I can't really say I'm concerned. I've read the script; they haven't. I have the benefit of insight into the flick beyond the title and the notion of it; they don't. The reaction is pretty much what I thought it'd be: a ton of positive, and minimal amount of bitching. Even if the equation was reversed, I'd still feel as good as I do now.

-from Kevin Smith

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Brother Lawrence

Brother Lawrence is Ultragrrrl's brother. He got a pass into the Republican Convention on its final night. Here's an excerpt from his story:

2:30pm: Dig this: I’m trying to make a left turn on W60th Street and this idiot in a huge, gas-guzzling SUV cuts me off. I don’t know what kind of SUV it was. Just that it was black and American made and it had Jersey plates. Sure enough, his 12-miles-to-the-gallon look-at-me-I’m-so-rugged vehicle had a piece of cardboard duck-taped to the rear window with the words “Stop Mad Cowboy Disease” written in ransom note-style handwriting. In his defense, to show what a great environmentalist he is, he had a bicycle rack with a mountain bike attached to it on the back.

To top it off, after he cuts me off, he had the nerve to give ME the finger. Okay, it’s one thing to cut me off. But to flip me the bird while doing so? This was the pure definition of chutzpah.
So, I drive up right behind this jerk, open my window, and shouted at him, “Just for cutting me off, I’m voting for Bush! I hope you’re happy – you just lost a vote for Kerry!”

To which he replied, “That’s your choice to be ignorant!”

Me: “Yeah, but now I hope Bush wins just because of you!”

Air pollution maker: “That’s your choice to vote for a homophobe!”

Me: “Homophobe? Of the two tickets, Dick Cheney is the only one who said he’d tolerate gay marriages!”

Now, that argument really happened. Even more fascinating is that it was shouted while we were driving up Central Park West, navigating through traffic so we could yell at each other.
I found a phenomenal parking space on West 62nd and CPW. What’s more, it’s FREE! Allah be praised!

and...

He might as well have read the Iliad to us. For one thing, I wouldn’t have been in a tizzy. He went on and on about how he was going to spend money on this and spend money on that. I sent a text message to a friend, “Who’s gonna pay for all this crap?” Bush would’ve been better off saying he was going to take the entire federal budget for domestic spending and go to Foxwoods and putting it all on red. He would’ve had a better success rate than with some of the things he’s proposing. And then with the social issues… Dude, cut it out and just be President, not priest.

For the rest, go here.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Pope Death Watch: Day 942

The benevolent one condemns gay marriage for the umpteenth time. He accuses Canada, by allowing gay marriage in certain provinces, of promoting a "false understanding" of marriage. Due, in large part, to the Pope's continuing life, I have come to believe I have a "false understanding" of mortality.

Broad Strokes

The situation in Iraq isn't exactly what I would consider a model for any and all future foreign policy manuevers by this or any future administration. Iraq has been a persistent problem for over a decade now, thanks to a despotic lunatic running a country as if it were his own international circle jerk. A buildup or, as we now know to be the case for the last few years under Hussein, an attempted buildup of weapons, conventional or otherwise, for seemingly no other purpose but to insure that no one would dare disturb his regime, that of building after building, and, amusingly, mosque after mosque, built in his name. Sanctions, those which had been roundly protested by many of the same individuals who now protest the war, were failing, and doing little more than starving the people, already under the fist of their own country and now being punished by much of the rest of the world. This is also implying that any aid, let's say, the Oil for Food program, was ever even aiding the Iraqis, as opposed to, say, padding several bank accounts, in several countries, of several individuals whose moral uprigtness isn't exactly earned.

So, for some twelve years, the international community putzed around with the mafia, hoping that one day, the old man would play ball. The hope of this kind of thinking is that when the old man dies, one of his sadistic sons will stop feeding women to tigers long enough to come to their senses and do what the old man never did. We're also to assume that if the sanctions were lifted, if the oil for food program worked, if diplomatic relations improved thanks to multilateral assistance in such matters, that Saddam would not have continued to do what he'd been doing for years, attempting to, if not successfully building up weapons programs of all types, that he wouldn't buy missiles off the shelf at the North Korean Walmart-o-weapons as records show he was trying to do just prior to the U.S. led invasion.

After all that, not to mention the human rights violations which are now apparently meant to be seen as next to nothing, since, well, other countries are worse, we are meant to believe that there was some kind of definitive choice in the case of Iraq. We are meant to believe that leaving Saddam in place was the idea and that his regime would not cause us much problems in the future if left alone. (In a side note, I'm always flummuxed by the politics of filmmaker David O. Russell, whose film Three Kings seems to imply that although we never should have gone to Iraq for the first Gulf War, the least we could've done is stand up with the Iraqis against Saddam. But, then, well, I guess that wasn't really what he meant. He meant that instead, we should just have left it alone altogether, and maybe wagged our finger some more or flew over and bombed a few more buildings, and left the country to be saved by people without the means to save themselves.) None of this is meant to gloss over the obvious flaws in the Bush administration's plan for peace after the invasion or, for that matter, their methods of getting us there in the first place. But I am not of the mind that somehow this is only our predicament because George W. Bush became president. Iraq was a matter of great importance to this government, be it led by a president of the Republican or Democratic party, and sooner or later, this was going to come to a head. Could we have waited? I suppose so, but for how long? What would have come from another year of inspections? Suppose that Hans Blix and friends find nothing, as we have found nothing. Then what? Do we lift the sanctions? Open up relations, as we had done before with him or other despots like him, and, perhaps, play a few more Kissinger-like games of realpolitik? And then what? Are we to assume he plays by our rules, whatever those may be? I'm consistently confused by the assertion that, somehow, this was some created conflict, that Iraq was just some random country we picked off of a map for any number of reasons, ranging from those dastardly Jews like Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle or that this was all just a way for cowboy Bush to get it all back for his dad, who, if you'll notice, pretty much opposed this war, if not publicly, but via proxies like Weinberger and Kissinger and the old guard of which he's a part, and in the simple fact that this man's memoirs are consistenyly quoted as the prognostication for what is now something of a mess in Iraq. He knew what every anti-war protestor felt. This was doomed.

So, after all that, how do I respond to Josh's assertion that I'll be drinking it up with Hitch and beating the war drums on the march to the Sudan. The Sudan isn't Iraq and, conversely, Iraq isn't the Sudan. I think our handling of the Sudan, thus far, has been lazy and fairly shameful and action on the matter must be taken. Am I calling for an invasion? No. But I am calling for action of some kind, which it would seem to me, is what so many were calling for in Iraq, if not, say, for an invasion. Or am I wrong? Is everyone who was against the war in Iraq calling for complete isolationism in regards to the country or any country for that matter or were they calling for different means of solving the problem? (Granted, the cheers that Nazi loving fuckwits like Pat Buchanan get from "liberal" audiences makes me worry.) There are ways to cope with the problems in Sudan, ways to fix the situation, with international agreement, but I suppose any call for this might be considered "beating the drums of war" by my friend at Fagistan.

Is this like the simplistic chant of "Fight AIDS not Iraq" that was heard this week in New York? I am for this administration or any other calling on all its allies to assist them in helping to solve the problems plaguing the Sudan. Aid, peacekeeping forces, etc. Every fight is not the same. The Sudan is not Iraq and neither of them are Iran and none of the above are North Korea. Y'know, the frequent charge against George W. is that everything is black and white and that the world is viewed too simplistically. And you know what? That's not too far off. But the way to defeat him in November is not to start acting like him. The way to defeat him is to think of better ideas on how to solve the multitude of problems that plague our world. How can the chaos and genocide and horrors in the Sudan be stopped? The answer to that question isn't another quip from the peanut gallery. The answer to that question is finding a way to do what the president you hate so much couldn't. The Sudan can be an opportunity to bring allies back together, for a cause just as noble as the one I think many deemed unnecessary. But differences of opinions aside, something must be done and this is a chance to do it.

Or, if you're "possibly racist" like me, you just say bomb em all. Who gives a fuck about brown people anyway.

Friday, September 03, 2004

Quote of the Day II (Using Your Naughty Bits for the Good of Mankind)

"In a homosexual relationship, there is nothing implied except the self-fulfillment, contentment and satisfaction of the parties involved in the relationship," said Keyes, who holds a Ph.D from Harvard University. "That means it is a self-centered, self-fulfilling, selfish relationship that seeks to use the organs intended for procreation for purposes of pleasure. The word pleasure in Greek is hedone and we get the word hedonism from that word."

Keyes emphasized it was a reporter, not he, who brought up the name of Mary Cheney.

"You have intervened in order to try to personalize the discussion of an issue that I did not personalize," Keyes told reporters at an Illinois delegation caucus. "The people asking me the question did so and if that's inappropriate, blame the media. Don't blame me."

I'm sure this isn't news to anyone, but this kind of logic doesn't just apply to homosexuality. Keyes, like Santorum, and others of that ilk, also seem to want to control what everyone does with their "organs." Frankly, Keyes should be glad some people use their "organs" for pure pleasure (even by way of Star Trek kink), because, news flash douche, you wouldn't be running for the Senate if they didn't.

It Was Bound to Happen Eventually

iPod erotica.

Quote of the Day

"I will add one thing more. And that is the personal sadness I feel that this president who praises freedom wishes to take it away from a whole group of Americans who might otherwise support many parts of his agenda. To see the second family tableau with one family member missing because of her sexual orientation pains me to the core. And the president made it clear that discriminating against gay people, keeping them from full civic dignity and equality, is now a core value for him and his party. The opposite is a core value for me. Some things you can trade away. Some things you can compromise on. Some things you can give any politician a pass on. But there are other values - of basic human dignity and equality - that cannot be sacrificed without losing your integrity itself. That's why, despite my deep admiration for some of what this president has done to defeat terror, and my affection for him as a human being, I cannot support his candidacy. Not only would I be abandoning the small government conservatism I hold dear, and the hope of freedom at home as well as abroad, I would be betraying the people I love. And that I won't do." - Andrew Sullivan

Imaginary Friends

Meet Scott Stereogum.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

The Pitch

Mix the political and social commentary of Outfoxed with "A Fantasy, A Musical, A Place Where Dreams Come True," and you have:

Title:         Bud & Bill
Log Line:  An unlikely friendship forms between the father of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and the father of one of the victims in the April 1995 attack.
Writer:      Donald Martin
Agent:       n/a
Buyer:       Robert Greenwald Productions
Price:         n/a
Genre:       Drama
Logged:     9/2/04
More:        Robert Greenwald and Alys Shanti  will produce.

In the Buffalo Bill Voice

W.-


Do you want to fuck me?


Yes or No?


Circle One.


-Z.

Random Wrap



Zell Miller hates John Kerry...may still hate darkies. Developing.

The Hulk has a blog. (Hat tip to goldenfiddle.)

See what happens when characters from The Simpsons mate. (Props to Witz.)

Even the jewelry might give you herpes. The Paris Hilton Collection at Amazon.

Peter Jackson talks up King Kong.

Josh on Dick Cheney: "Cheney doesn't bother me as much as he bothers many people. Oh, sure, he's a creepy shuffling 1920s horror-movie monster (I'm often tempted to call him Lon), but there is something intensely likeable in his anger, his fear-mongering and his viciousness. He's such a throwback to an older, more openly-savage style of political campaigning that it's sort of fascinating to watch him. He'll tell you to go fuck yourself and then not apologize. Imagine what it takes, in these times, to actually stand up for your own worst impulses and actions?"

ESPN on the sports history of George W. (And John Kerry.)