Tuesday, November 30, 2004

One More Than Four

1) Nicholson's Tavern & Pub (Cincinnati, OH)
Hotness. Choice beer and wine selection. Excellent menu. Friendly waiters prone to bring free samples to the table. Fireplaces in several ancillary rooms that feed into the main bar. It's in the heart of 'Natuh's deader than dead downtown. People, get over your petty fears, and get downtown. You know you want to. Across the street, you can also visit the Contemporary Art Musem and the unMuseum, where they're currently running an exhibit having something to do with Fela Kuti...I think. It was closed. Details are sparse.

2) Futile Gestures


I'm now officially obsessed with keeping track of whether or not Pedro Martinez would seriously consider leaving the World Champion Red Sox for the Mets. Shea's a cavern of a ballpark, great for pitchers (if they can pitch and aren't named Mel Rojas), and rather kind to Pedro in the past. The team is already committed to letting Leiter walk, or so it seems, and need some, well, star power, in an effort to attract other free agents to a team that since going to the World Series in 2000 has been in a freefall of modest proportions. Minaya seems bent on getting the team back to being sexy and Pedro might just do that. If they're going to spend a lot of money on someone just past their prime, it might as well be the man with the good luck midget instead of the roid addict with cork in his bat. I fully expect the Sawx to up their offer and the Mets to lose out here. But, after about 24 hours of thinking on it, I am now fully supportive of this stupid and futile gesture.

3) Coachella '05
Not too shabby:
APRIL 30
·DAVID BOWIE
·NINE INCH NAILS
·PJ HARVEY
·INTERPOL
·THE FAINT
·FRANZ FERDINAND
·THE POLYPHONIC SPREE
·BOARDS OF CANADA
·TV ON THE RADIO
·YEAH YEAH YEAHS
·SQUAREPUSHER
·CLINIC
·FRENCH KICKS
·SECRET MACHINES
·PHOENIX
·BEEP BEEP
·DOGS DIE IN HOT CARS
·DEATH FROM ABOVE 1979
·THE HELIO SEQUENCE

MAY 1ST
·R.E.M.
·TEARS FOR FEARS
·WILCO
·MODEST MOUSE
·BRIGHT EYES
·JIMMY EAT WORLD
·MOS DEF
·BADLY DRAWN BOY
·THE STREETS
·SPOON
·CAKE
·THE POSTAL SERVICE
·THE SHINS
·SLEATER-KINNEY
·RILO KILEY
·RADIO 4
·DOVES
·IRON AND WINE
·THE ARCADE FIRE
Fucking assholes. I wanted the lineup to suck so I could be all surly and lazy and say, "I'm not spending another torturous eight hours in a car trying to extricate myself from the parking lot. F those bitches." Alas, if this is for real or even closely resembling this lineup, I may now have to consider an alternate plan, one in which I'm pro-active and book a room in advance at some place called the Desert Inn or the Cactii Motel or something. (lineup via The Thighmaster and The NIN Hotline)

4) Veronica Mars, UPN, Tuesday 9 p.m.

My new fave.

5) Vacation
Much needed. Great food, great company, the dogs, some snow, roaring fires, bad movies on the hundred variations of HBO on my parent's cable, etc. Being back at work has no upside, but it could be worse. It's my goal now to attempt to be more positive about my circumstance. Just as I typed that, I realized what an absolute crock of shit it was. Whatevs. Gobble gobble.

Illadelphia

The Sports Guy, after throwing out his back, got to catch up on his viewing of the new Real World. His thoughts:
At this point, the Real World franchise is like an innovative rock band that peaked after its third album, had a brief resurgence a few years later, then kept putting out crummier and crummier albums until you forgot why you liked them in the first place. Just an unconscionably awful show.

Back in the early seasons (specifically NY, LA and SF), this WAS the real world -- seven kids thrown together, living in a big city and learning about life. Then that shifted to seven people who just wanted to be on TV. I thought they solved this problem with the Vegas season, when MTV said to themselves, "Let's stick seven morally corrupt people in a morally corrupt setting and hope for an orgy" (which almost happened). But they followed that up with San Diego and now Philly -- smaller cities where they live in an impossibly gorgeous house and the locals treat them like pariahs, only that doesn't stop them from getting drunk five nights a week.

Now it's an out-and-out freak show. Of the three females, one is salty with everyone because she was abandoned by her parents; one spends most of her time arguing with her boyfriend on the camera phone; and one is a self-professed nymphomaniac. Good balance there. The guys aren't much better. For instance, three weeks ago, Landon (short guy from Wisconsin with a booze problem) went drinking with his ex-girlfriend -- the same ex who dumped him for his best friend. Certainly someone you'd want to remain friendly with. She also brought a dumpy friend with her who wobbled around with a blurcle covering her face, then puked red liquid all over someone's boat. Then they left and Landon cried on camera in the Confessional Room, clinching his status as the biggest loser in the history of the series. That was the whole show.

Last Tuesday was a new low: The nympho (Sarah) was so horny and frustrated, she ended up seducing one of the gay friends of one of her two gay roommates -- that's right, two -- then complained afterwards because he "wasn't that into it." Throw in a set of male genitals and she would have been right back in that thing. I may have hallucinated this show because of the Percocets, but I'm at least 70 percent sure it actually happened.

(How can MTV save this show? They can't. It's a train wreck. Why hasn't HBO ripped off the idea, thrown seven wannabe actors in a Hollywood Hills house and pushed the nudity/partying/swearing envelope? How many times do I have to keep floating this out there?)
For the rest of his TV related observations, head here.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Back and Forth



I'm back from the 'Nati (or, perhaps, more appropriately, the 'Natuh). I missed you all. Your faces. Your smells. Your casual indifference. The vacation went away too soon. I'm still only halfway back. But...

  • Aeon Flux was always a bizarre fascination for me. I always felt like I had missed heaploads of back story (see also: Doonesbury) or was just not into S & M or anime or cocoon sex enough to understand what the mother-f was going on. However, it was always intriguing and sort of sexy in one way or another. This, however, is none of those things. (via MCN)

  • The Mets are leaning towards letting Al Leiter go to the Yankees, while spending an inordinate amount of time in a futile attempt to sign Pedro away from the Sox, and likely ending up with someone like Brad Radke or Matt Clement and signing them to some gaudy contract that they don't deserve but that will be defined by a marketplace where in someone like Kris Benson can make $22 million and change over three years. And who defined said market for pitchers this offseason? Oh, that's right.

  • Free Fiona Apple. (via goldenfiddle)

  • A first look at The Fantastic Four. (via Ending East)

  • Ben, Morgan, and Josh have all stirred from their tryptophan induced slumbers and returned to the blogisphere. One of them has the shits.

  • J. Lo to play He-Man. (via Stereogum)

  • Box maintenance and the answer to the age old question, "What is between the bread in a Quizno's sandwich?"


  • Wednesday, November 24, 2004

    Lates



    I'm out for the next few days. Off to 'Nati. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

    Tuesday, November 23, 2004

    She Mars, She Mars



    Dad's a bit of a mess, if he really is your dad. Mom's missing. Crimes, great and small, need to be solved, and few else can do it but you. You have issues fitting in and an old flame you may or may not still have feelings for. Oh, and did I mention, you're ridiculously cute? No, I'm not talking about Alias, soon to be back on the air, sharing the night with J.J.'s other primetime child, Lost. I'm talking about Veronica Mars, a confection from the writer of Drive Me Crazy and Joel Silver. Yep. And it's on the UPN (Tuesday, 9 p.m., opposite The Amazing Race, tape it or be all fancy with the Tivo that you have that I envy you having). Oh, and it's rad. Now that I've said this, it'll get cancelled. Just you watch.

    Monday, November 22, 2004

    Dirty Old Man Quote of the Day

    "I was in West L.A.'s Laser Blazer last night (Friday, 11.19) and I heard one of the clerks mention Natalie Portman. What about her? I asked. 'My friend's in love with her,' the guy answered. 'Tell him to see Closer then,' I said. 'So they didn't cut her nude scene?' he asked. 'No, they did cut it but it doesn't matter,' I replied, 'because what they left in is fine, trust me. She's got a beautiful ass.' The guy and three behind-the-counter colleagues who were listening crowed in unison, 'Whoaaa-hoohhh!' The guy said to me, 'I think you just sold four tickets!'" - Jeffrey Wells, Hollywood Elsewhere

    Sunday, November 21, 2004

    Istook, A Name a Writer Would Love

    Rep. Ernest Istook (R, Oklahoma) is shaaaaady:
    Democratic leaders and senators from both parties expressed outrage on Sunday about an obscure provision in the huge end-of-session spending bill that would allow the chairmen of the Appropriations Committees and their staff assistants to examine Americans' income tax returns.

    Republican leaders said that their motives had been misread and that there was never any intention to invade the privacy of taxpayers. They promised that the provision would be deleted from the bill in a special session on Wednesday before the spending measure, which cleared Congress on Saturday night, was sent to President Bush for his signature.

    Representative Ernest Istook, Republican of Oklahoma, who was responsible for the insertion of the tax provision in the 3,000-page, $388 billion legislation that provides financing for most of the government, issued a statement on Sunday saying that the language had actually been drafted by the Internal Revenue Service and that "nobody's privacy was ever jeopardized." Mr. Istook is chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that has authority over the I.R.S. budget.

    John D. Scofield, the spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said that the purpose of the provision was to allow investigators for the top lawmakers responsible for financing the I.R.S. to have access to that agency's offices around the country and tax records so they could examine how the money was being spent. There was never any desire to look at anyone's tax returns, he said.

    Mr. Scofield said the only purpose of the provision was to allow investigators to have access to revenue service offices. He said the authority would be similar to that allowed senior members and staff assistants of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee, the panels with primary jurisdiction over the activities of the revenue service.

    Disclosure of information from income tax returns is against the law and subject to severe penalties.

    One More Than Four (Early Pre-Vacation Edition)

    1) Thanksgiving


    Sadly, this holiday has become little more than the cocktail hour to Christmas. This is not just the angry Jew in me, lashing out at everyone after all the years of "You don't celebrate Christmas?!?! Okay. Okay. Well, do you celebrate Easter?" Thanksgiving is, simply put, the greatest holiday ever. Yeah, I said it. EVER. The Aaron family tradition goes something like this: Wake up early, at least an hour before the Macy's parade begins, and prepare a breakfast feast: fresh squeezed orange juice with an old fashioned manual juicer, pancakes or french toast or both if you're feeling sassy, sausage, bacon, eggs of whatever variety suits your fancy, and hash browns. You then watch the parade, enjoy it for a little while, hope for a few halfway decent lip synched performances of a Broadway show or two and then proceed to mock all the lame C-list celebrities on floats, be they Lawrence brothers, cast members of show's sure to be cancelled momentarily, former girlfriends of friends from college starring in soon to be cancelled sitcoms, or demonic children with braces who sing country songs and are named Billy and are surrounded by teletubbies or M &Ms. After that, you inevitably talk to the extended family on the phone, and, as has been the tradition over the last few years, attempt to convince them that, no, you don't hate L.A. You then take a good long break from eating of any kind, play a little Scrabble, watch football played by teams you generally don't care about, acquire a brief attachment to the Lions in all their mediocrity, and then root against the Cowboys no matter if they're playing a team you like or members of al Quaeda. And then you feast again, this time on turkey and the best stuffing on earth and a wide array of other things, including a mean sweet potato, pear mousse. You then either fall asleep briefly, explode or take a walk, then fall asleep briefly, and then maybe explode. You like to watch Home Alone, but that tradition has seemingly been abandoned, in favor of Joe Rogan making people eat rat penis and Donald Trump firing two douchebags at a time. That aside, turkey day remains my favorite holiday, rat penis be damned.

    I wish I got more time off from work, but, y'know, that's not happening, but I'll make do. Gobble gobble.

    2) Peyton Manning's latest Mastercard ad
    Where in the Colts QB and the sure to be league MVP plays the ultimate fan blowing an air horn after yelling, "And it's full" as a gas station attendant tops off a car's tank, chanting, "Cut that meat, cut that meat" to a butcher behind a deli counter and begging for a high five from a group of business types, who he also serenades with, "Go insurance adjusters! Go insurance adjusters!" while tailgating outside their office.

    3) The Shop Around the Corner (1940)
    Just perfect. You can read more verbose thoughts here.

    4) Wilco, The Wiltern, 11/18/04
    It's well documented here that I hate my job. I hate it so much it makes me hate my life. I'm not saying I'm suicidal or wildly depressed or anything, but times have been better. How maudlin! Yeesh. Well, last Thursday, Wilco saved my day. Now, sure, Ben had some problems with the crowd, which I understand, but the show was just so brilliant, so energetic, so freeing that for a few hours, surrounded by a few smelly older folks and people who apparently didn't like the band they were there to see, I forgot that I had to go to work the next day, that I'm still struggling to sell a script, etc. etc. etc. Thanks, Jeff.

    5) Roller Skating with Gwen


    First, props to Ben for pointing out to me what may be the soundtrack to a John Hughes movie never produced. Head on over to Scenestars and download three tracks from Gwen Stefani's forthcoming Love.Angel.Music.Baby. ("Cool," "The Real Thing," and "Serious") and be like me and remember spiked hair, braces, bar/bat mitzvahs and Shirley Temples, and all consuming crushes on a girl named Shana. H-O-T.

    Eli's Coming


    The future is now. And the losing continues (14-10 to Atlanta).
    Dan Rydell: Eli's Coming.
    Casey McCall: Eli?
    Dan Rydell: From the Three Dog Night song.
    Casey McCall: Yes?
    Dan Rydell: Eli is something bad, a darkness.
    Casey McCall: "Eli's coming. Hide your heart, girl." Eli is a inveterate womanizer. I think you're getting the song wrong.
    Dan Rydell: I know I'm getting the song wrong. But, when I first heard it, that's what I thought it meant. Things stick with you that way.

  • What will become of the filibuster? ("Henry Clay Hated It. So Does Bill Frist," NYT 11/21/04)

  • If I've learned anything, it's that Mario Van Peebles = box office gold:
    CLUB-goers stopping by NA earlier this week were surprised to find it had been replaced by a new nightspot. But it was only temporary - the place was transformed into a ’70s joint called Sasso’s for "Carlito’s Way: The Beginning," the prequel to the 1993 Al Pacino flick. Stars Sean Combs and Mario Van Peebles filmed a key scene at the Noel Ashman-owned club. Combs - now using yet another nickname, "Hollywood Mike" - was clad in a velour leisure suit with his hair straightened. Shooting wrapped up on Wednesday in time for NA to be redecorated once again in a circus theme for Chloe Sevigny’s 30th birthday bash.
    (via Page Six)

  • 3-D and CGI Motherfucka CGI: James Cameron's next feature.

  • The New Yorker's Roger Angell revels in the Red Sox. Best bit:
    I didn’t think much about all my Red Sox fan-friends until the World Series was over. Now they are triumphant, and their old pains and desperate attachments have become historic and quirky. They won’t need their amulets and game-watching rituals anymore—the stuff that was mentioned in so many of the TV news stories the day after, and in some New England newspaper feature stories. A copy of the Bangor Daily News mentioned a family in Old Town that mowed a “Go, Sox” pattern in the lawn, and a ninety-four-year-old lady in Lakeville, Massachusetts, who made herself a little ceramic Fenway Park each year, with porcelain nuns at play inside. This stuff may go on, but, like the Sox home games next year, it will be terrific fun but not the same. Perhaps trying to hold on to something, I got in touch with a bygone Red Sox hero, the pitcher Jim Lonborg, who had won two games in the World Series of 1967 and lost the last one, Game Seven, to Bob Gibson, whom he’d faced on two days’ rest. Lonborg is a dentist in Hanover, Massachusetts, and he called me back after he’d finished with his first patient of the day. He told me that he still got back to Fenway Park to see the Sox three or four times each year, and he admired the energy of this new bunch. So far, none of his old teammates had called, but a few friends had, savoring the day. He’d watched the last World Series game with his twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Nora—he has six children—and they’d high-fived after the Sox won.

    “That’s all?” I said. “Only a high-five?”

    “Well, there were more neighbors and family here when we watched the last game against the Yankees,” he said, almost apologetically. “When that was over, Nora ran up and jumped in my arms and knocked me across a table.”

  • Willing to get mugged or trampled or blamed for a mugging or trampling in the annual scam of that sort? Check out the Black Friday sales at Best Buy and Target. (via planetdan)


  • Saturday, November 20, 2004

    Kibbles and Bits and Bits and Bits


  • Urkel: Before and After.

  • "Intelligent Design."

  • Hitch profiles Colin Powell.

  • Should I run for mayor in Baia Mare, Romania?

  • Bush orders a draft. (via Witz)

  • A.I. iPod holder. (via catchdubs)

  • Franz Ferdinand is out of the new Harry Potter. Jarvis Cocker (Pulp) and Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead) are in.

  • James Wolcott speaks the truth:
    In my book, I called for the toppling of Michael Powell at the FCC, whose arrogant, anti-democratic meddling becomes more autocratic with each inflation of his neck size.

    I was thinking too small, which is unusual for me.

    Jeff Jarvis has a bigger, better idea: abolish the FCC. Get rid of the whole busybody, bureaucratic shebang.

    This is a call which can unite liberals, conservatives, and true libertarians--in short, all those who believe the First Amendment and free speech aren't outmoded ideals that can be breeched whenever some bully behind a desk chooses to exercise his prerogatives and grab face-time on the news. Michael Powell has become a glutton for attention and it's time to starve him and the rest of the white-collar censors.
    For more anti-Powell ranting, go and check out Tom Shales and for an unending, insightful, and terribly necessary barrage against the FCC, do yourself a favor and visit Jeff Jarvis' Buzz Machine (as previously linked above).

  • She Had Dirty Hands Day!

  • Naked News and the iPod.

  • The Metropolitans re-sign Kris Benson (you know, one of the two pitchers acquired for the wild card race they were never in) and it looks like Leiter isn't far behind. What's next is anyone's guess. Magglio Ordonez? Cabrera? But we all must remember. No Sosa. No Sosa. No Sosa. Say it with me, Omar.

  • Tucked In

    And so it begins:
    House and Senate negotiators have tucked a potentially far-reaching anti-abortion provision into a $388 billion must-pass spending bill, complicating plans for Congress to wrap up its business and adjourn for the year.

    The provision may be an early indication of the growing political muscle of social conservatives who provided crucial support for Republican candidates, including President Bush, in the election.

    House officials said Saturday morning that the final details of the spending measure were worked out before midnight and that the bill was filed for the House vote on Saturday.

    The abortion language would bar federal, state and local agencies from withholding taxpayer money from health care providers that refuse to provide or pay for abortions or refuse to offer abortion counseling or referrals. Current federal law, aimed at protecting Roman Catholic doctors, provides such "conscience protection'' to doctors who do not want to undergo abortion training. The new language would expand that protection to all health care providers, including hospitals, doctors, clinics and insurers.

    "It's something we've had a longstanding interest in," said Douglas Johnson, a spokesman for the National Right to Life Committee. He added, "This is in response to an orchestrated campaign by pro-abortion groups across the country to use government agencies to coerce health care providers to participate in abortions."

    First on the Chopping Block

    College just got more expensive, kids. That is, if it's even an option anymore.
    In response, Congress passed legislation in the fall of 2003 to suspend the new formula for at least a year. The Senate put forward the same measure this year, and many members of the House said they also expected the new formula would wait at least until Congress updates the Higher Education Act, which will probably take the better part of the coming year.

    But keeping the old formula in place for another year would add an extra $300 million in grants for college students to a program that is already running at a shortfall, the Office of Management and Budget said. So, the bill approved yesterday, brokered by Congressional leaders in a conference committee, eliminates a provision that would have barred the Education Department from changing the eligibility formula. A Senate staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the White House insisted the provision be dropped, citing the shortfall, and House Republicans were adamant in their agreement to do so.
    Without instructions from Congress to the contrary, however, department officials said that they would most likely start using a new formula, as required by law. Its effect on students could vary greatly from family to family, depending on their economic circumstances. But assuming that the department uses figures that are similar to the ones it proposed last year, as many as 1.2 million low-income students could have their grants cut, according to the American Council on Education, which represents colleges.
    But, Dubya, I thought it was all about getting better education in this new century in order to compete?

    Alone on Christmas Eve in Budapest



    It's well documented here that I'm no fan of remakes. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, they are, at best, ill advised, and, often, at worst, blasphemous. Sydney Pollack thought it wise to remake Sabrina, Jonathan Demme remade The Machurian Candidate, Mel Brooks remade To Be or Not to Be. The lingering question for all of the above is, why? What possessed them? Even if successful (which none of these are), it's impossible to imagine them being remembered for any reason other than their failings in light of the the film they've attempted to improve upon or update.

    In 1998, Nora Ephron felt it her duty to remake The Shop Around the Corner. Ephron was and is no stranger to remakes or updates. She's currently at work on a film version of Bewitched and When Harry Met Sally..., for all its certain charms, is, at the end of the day, little more than a sunnier version of Annie Hall, with every detail, down to Meg Ryan's wardrobe. When I first saw You've Got Mail, I thought it was charming, if a bit too cute and overly neat and tidy, considering that the Hanks character ruins Meg Ryan's character's career and she can't help but love him for it. It was not, however, without its merit. When I saw it, I had never seen The Shop Around the Corner, and although I was then, as I am now, wary of remakes, I felt, at the very least, that the film worked on its own, as an addition to the Hanks/Ryan ouvre, first established by Ephron in Sleepless in Seattle, but first introduced and done with more wit, charm, and emotional resonance than ever credited for, in John Patrick Shanley's notorious box office bomb, Joe Versus the Volcano.

    This afternoon, I decided to watch The Shop Around the Corner. The DVD had been sitting on the shelf long enough I thought, and in the years since 1998, I had grown to be in awe of director Ernst Lubitsch, specifically after seeing Trouble in Paradise and To Be or Not to Be. Now, to be fair, I haven't really watched You've Got Mail in quite some time, and it still might be an entertaining enough film, but it cannot be mentioned in the same breath as the film on which it's based. It is, simply, one of the best romantic comedies I've ever seen, a funny, sweet, compassionate, wise, and subtle piece of filmmaking that needed nothing more than to be viewed to be appreciated. The last thing it needed was a suped up homage having to do with a commercial for AOL or the evils of Barnes & Noble. And in saying what I just said, the crucial difference between the films, if to ignore the exquisite touch of Lubtisch, the exemplary performances of every actor, and the chemistry between James Stewart and Margaret Sullavan, is that Ephron devotes an awful lot of energy to making it a film about big business vs. a small bookshop owner, scraping by and living in a twelve room walkup on the Upper West Side, while Lubtisch and screenwriter Samson Raphaelson are making a film about people. Sure, a film can be made up of ideas, but does a romantic comedy need to be bogged down with a lot of jokes about how no one at Barnes & Noble knows a thing about literature? Every bit of drama and comedy in The Shop Around the Corner has to do with a bevy of characters we care about and what is going on in their lives, in and out of the shop they all care for, be it Mr. Matuschek's wife's infidelity or his wish to spend Christmas Eve with someone or Pirovitch's desire to see his friend have the life, outside the shop, that he has, or Pepi's hilarious need to be in charge of something, someone, other than Mrs. Matuschek's every whim.

    But, most of all, it is the romance between Kralik and Klara (Stewart and Sullavan) that is so right, so expert, so touching that makes this film just so great. Their meeting at the cafe where she is so cruel to him. The fragile, breathtaking moment when she finds that box 237 is empty. When he goes to her and watches her read the letter he wrote, but that she doesn't know is from him. This is filmmaking of the highest order. A remake seems to imply otherwise, or, perhaps, that fear and laziness rule. It makes me think of the Elijah Wood character in Eternal Sunshine trying to be the Jim Carrey character in order to make Clementine love him. It's sad and pointless. All she wants is Joel, the man he's only pretending to be. She knows what we all know. He's nothing like the real thing.

    I Me Mine

    The questions remain. How did this diarrhea come to be splashed across this screen? And who is responsible? Here's something of a timeline:
    Last month, the Writers Guild of America, West, sorted through some of the behind-the-scenes pushing and pulling in an especially contorted arbitration that judged the screenplay for "Beyond the Sea" to have been written by Mr. Spacey and Lewis Colick, a veteran writer whose credits include "Ladder 49," "Domestic Disturbance" and "October Sky."

    In an unusual twist, Mr. Colick, who wrote a first draft of the Darin film for Warner Brothers in 1987, insisted that he not receive first position in the writing credits, though he was entitled to it alphabetically.

    "Stylistically, this movie is not me," said Mr. Colick, who was hired by Warner Brothers after pitching a story about the early rock and pop culture that took root around composers like Carole King in Broadway's famous Brill Building. "Kevin Spacey took Bobby Darin's life and kind of ran with it."

    Mr. Colick wasn't alone in trying to disassociate himself from a completed movie that in many ways softened the edgy, if not bleak, vision that had inspired many of the film's earlier drafts. Another screen veteran, Tom Epperson, who had struck up a friendship with Mr. Spacey while writing an early screenplay draft of Annie Proulx's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel "The Shipping News," in which Mr. Spacey starred, also told the guild that he didn't want to be considered for credit on "Beyond the Sea." Mr. Epperson declined to comment on his reasons. But people involved with the film said Mr. Epperson, an Arkansas-born writer whose credits include "The Gift," "A Family Thing" and "One False Move" (with his former partner Billy Bob Thornton), wrote two drafts that included Mr. Darin's penchant for orgies after he split with his wife, Sandra Dee, and that were far darker than what Mr. Spacey finally shot.

    The guild received yet another "keep-me-out-of-it" request from James Toback, who, long before Mr. Spacey's involvement, had worked with the director Barry Levinson - brought aboard by Mr. Friedman and Warner Brothers - on a similarly tough rendition that had been tailored for Johnny Depp. (Mr. Toback didn't respond to requests for comment for this article.) In 1996, Mr. Toback was reported to have been paid $150,000 a week by Warner Brothers to move in with Mr. Levinson, for whom he had written "Bugsy," and execute a draft, which at the time Mr. Toback called "a miracle of collaboration." Mr. Friedman, however, disapproved, judging the script to be excessively focused on Mr. Darin's childhood rheumatic fever and lifelong struggle with heart disease.

    The Toback draft, as it happened, followed even earlier drafts by Paul Attanasio, the writer of "Quiz Show" and "Donnie Brasco," and Paul Schrader, who had created an especially raw narrative - called by one player a "musical 'Raging Bull' " - by concentrating on Ms. Dee's alcoholism and childhood molestation by her stepfather. Mr. Toback was followed by Lorenzo Carcaterra, who was hired after selling film rights to his Hell's Kitchen crime drama "Sleepers" for $2.1 million.

    Mr. Carcaterra was unprepared for the eight boxes of accumulated Darin research delivered to his doorstep by the studio. In addition to dozens of scripts, there were tapes, records, videos, early television clips, authorized and unauthorized biographies, tattered newspaper clippings, magazine interviews and transcripts of all that had come before as the project had morphed from "The Bobby Darin Story" to "Dreamer" to "Beyond the Sea."

    "I decided to meet with a lot of real-life people associated with Bobby Darin until he said it was taking the focus off of Bobby," Mr. Carcaterra said, referring to Mr. Levinson. As a result, some of Mr. Carcaterra's best Darin stories - including a Las Vegas confrontation with Elvis Presley in which Mr. Darin supposedly said, "If you're the King, what the [expletive] does that make me?"- were left out of his third and final draft, which came in at a lengthy 164 pages, and was the last one before Mr. Levinson and Warner Brothers dropped out.

    The much briefer shooting script submitted by the finished film's producers for Writer's Guild arbitration - according to Mr. Carcaterra, it was only 92 pages long - proved to be a heartbreaker for one writer who very much wanted a credit, Jeffrey Meek, 45, who is best known for his recurring role as Rev. Thomas Dade on television's "General Hospital.

    "Mr. Meek's exact role in creating "Beyond the Sea" remains a subject of fierce dispute, complicated by the fact that he has received $85,000 of a promised $125,000 to settle his claim to have performed writing services, though he was awarded no credit in the guild arbitration.

    In an interview, Mr. Spacey said Mr. Meek was "not a hired writer" on the project. "He turned in a draft, but it was a draft based on earlier material based on my own screenplays," Mr. Spacey said.

    Mr. Meek, however, said he was indeed hired by Mr. Friedman, a friend who stood up at his wedding and helped connect him with Mr. Spacey, with whom he claims to have produced 12 drafts, including one that was reported by Daily Variety to have received a green light from MGM in early 2003, though no movie resulted at the time.

    "He bought my material and then acted like I didn't exist," said Mr. Meek, who had to shoulder his way into the arbitration after learning that his name wasn't on the long list of writers submitted to the guild by Lions Gate. "I'm not saying I'm Rembrandt, but it's like someone buying a painting and then scratching the name off of it and putting their own there."
    For the entire piece, go here ("Kevin Spacey's Battle for Bobby Darin," NYT 11/20/04). Here's my take on Beyond the Sea and here's an assessment from Ben.

    Best Blog Evs

    You'll notice in the sidebar that this blog has a meter, recording who visits and what site referred them here. Most often, I either know the people coming here, they've come via a link courtesy of friends/fellow bloggers, or, more often than not, I don't know them and they invariably have a blog entirely in Portugese. But, alas, because someone up there loves me and thanks, most likely, to their use of Blogger's Navbar, I came upon this blog (oddly entitled "HBO - A Racist Cable Channel"), which is entirely devoted to the Jew run media, evil Jews, the Jew run government, and a significant hatred of Daniel Pipes. Huzzah! My favorite:
    "The Jew in their never ending quest to promote their own people as well as bigots who hate sand niggers such as hindus, muslims, or any other group of people that the Jew thinks look like a Palestinian will reward bigots as long as the bigot keeps the Jew off their list of hate. Wanna be rich and famous? Become a bigot, make sure you love Jews and kiss their ass and make sure you berate their enemy, the brown man.....the Jew will make you quite rich and famous."
    This comes from an entry entitled, "Why The Jew Loves Toby Keith." Keep the above in mind, OV readers. If you love me and kiss my ass (and if you love Toby Keith), I, by the power of ZOD, will make you rich and famous. Bank on it.

    That's the Truth, Ruth

    Just a few weeks after the Yankees' ALCS self-destruction and the Red Sox's first World Series parade in several years, the Yankees' Double-A team in Trenton has announced the scheduling of Reset the Curse Day on April 16 -- the first visit by Boston's affiliate, the Portland Sea Dogs.

    Among the supernatural festivities planned by the Thunder that day:

    The first 2,000 fans under 16 will receive Bambino replica jerseys, with the No. 3 on the back.

    "The great Babe Ruth in person" will throw out the first pitch, according to the Trenton press release. If this is true, it would require the Babe to reverse a more powerful force than The Curse (seeing as how he's still extremely dead). But whatever.

    There will be a ground-ball fielding contest at first base, in honor of Bill Buckner.

    And to make sure they summon all the curse-restoration powers in the cosmos, the Thunder will hold a séance "to conjure up ghosts of Yankees past." Sorry, Aaron Boone won't be able to make it.

    (via ESPN)

    Porno Password

    Friday's Senate hearing on the dangers of pornography, as organized by Sam Brownback (R, Kansas and 2000's Distinguished Christian Statesman), was hot. H-O-T. The effect of pornography on the brain "mirrors that of heroin or crack cocaine." Brownback and others admitted that their efforts would be hindered by that (excuse my language) gosh darn First Amendment. They listened to proposals such as "billboards and bus ads warning people to avoid pornography, strip clubs and prostitutes" and requiring "police officers to gather evidence of pornography at crime scenes to further research."
    "Internet pornography is corrupting children and hooking adults into an addiction that threatens their jobs and families, a panel of anti-porn advocates told the hearing organized by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., chairman of the Commerce subcommittee on science. Brownback, a father of five, said when he was a boy, the typical kid's exposure was limited to occasional peeks at dirty magazines illicitly obtained by a buddy. Now, he said, pornography seems pervasive. Children run across it while researching homework on the Internet. Vulgar ads arrive unexpectedly by e-mail. Some of his middle-age male friends limit their time alone in hotel rooms to avoid the temptation of graphic pay-per-view movies, Brownback said."

    See also: Focus on the Family's take.

    Red State

    From the first lady of Fagistan, in both real and talking doll form:
    "Garry Wills – who fills in 'occupation' on his federal tax return with 'self-hating Catholic' – denounced America in the New York Times as an unenlightened nation full of people who believe 'more fervently in the Virgin Birth than in evolution.'

    By contrast, apparently, 'enlightened' people believe in the Aborted Birth more fervently than they believe in national defense. And just in the interest of fairness here, Garry: At least there's some documentation on the Virgin Birth story. For people who believe so fervently in evolution, these Bush mandate-deniers sure are resistant to it on a personal level.

    On the same day, on the same nuanced Times editorial page, both Wills and Maureen Dowd wrote that Kerry was defeated by a 'jihad' of Christians. The jihadists, according to Wills, were driven by 'fundamentalist zeal, a rage at secularity, religious intolerance, fear of and hatred for modernity.' Dowd said they were 'a devoted flock of evangelicals, or 'values voters,' as they call themselves ... opposing abortion, suffocating stem-cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage." Finally – a jihad liberals oppose!

    Speaking of gay marriage, as long as liberals are so big on discussing 'mandates' and whether Bush has one (they say he does not), I think the one thing we can all agree on is that there is definitely a 'mandate' against gay marriage. In fact, a clear majority of us are uncomfortable with the word 'mandate' because it sounds like Wayne asking Stephen out for dinner and a movie."

    Or, better yet:
    "The day after the election, documentary filmmaker and Upper West Side denizen Mitch Wood told the New York Times: 'Watching my kids this morning, going down the street, flicking things in the air, jumping around, I wondered, are they going to have that sense of freedom that I had growing up?'

    As if on cue, a commercial jetliner piloted by Islamofascist hijackers did NOT crash in front of Wood at this point, killing his entire family instantly, in silent testimony to the national security we currently enjoy under President Bush. Wood gave no indication of noticing this."

    Friday, November 19, 2004

    The Dead Sea



    Kevin Spacey's Beyond the Sea is, at this time, without a credited writer. The film, a bottomless pit of narcissism, is likely to be credited, when all is said and done and all WGA related wrangling ceases, to the unholy monster of ego behind and in front of the camera, mincing about in a garish yellow suit in sub-Disney cruise line renditions of scenes from An American in Paris, and singing on its soundtrack, while only barely sounding like the "subject" of the film (Bobby Darin) as opposed to that other balding narcissist, James Toback, who may or may not have written this abortion, either with Spacey or for Spacey or in some other time, on some other incarnation of a project revolving around the life of the late Bobby Darin. (According to the IMDB, the film has four writers -- Paul Attanasio, Lorenzo Carcaterra, Jeffrey Meek, and Toback -- but neither the Lion's Gate screener copy box credits nor the screener itself contain writing credits.)

    It's hard to put into words how truly wretched this film turned out, not just for Spacey's frequent attempts to mimic Bob Fosse but also the awkward and at times embarassing theatricality of the entire piece, which attempts to, but never succeeds at melding a musical about Bobby Darin, with the life of Bobby Darin, about a film being made about Bobby Darin by Bobby Darin. Got that? No? No need to worry, neither does anyone making the film. (I mean the film called Beyond the Sea, not the Beyond the Sea within Beyond the Sea.) Spacey, in a further attempt to hog every living second of the film, not just with a device that eliminates all possible emotion or truth from any character but him, also happens to feed Kate Bosworth nothing but OC like dialogue ("I just want us to be together, Bobby." pout, pout), dresses and does up Caroline Aaron as if she's a drag queen in some nightmarish John Waters dinner theater production in Boca Raton, and forces us to believe, from start to finish, that he, somewhere in the vicinity of half a century old, is Bobby Darin, at any point in his career, beginning to end, while all the time we know that Darin died in his mid-thirties. It adds a serious creep factor to every single scene between he and Bosworth and makes the entire meta aspect of the film even more obnoxious. Are we to believe that Spacey is playing an other worldly Darin, merely revisiting the events of his life (for the purposes of the film he's making about himself within the movie Spacey is making about Darin), but not changing them at all, unless visited by his childlike self and forced into a conversation about when he will die or if he can ever really die? This makes Kathleen Turner playing a high schooler in Peggy Sue Got Married seem halfway logical, if for only a second.

    Spacey drags every sequence out, especially if it involves him singing or dancing or doing both in some horrifying mode of dress or another, surrounded by young people playing characters that are the age he's supposed to be playing. Every musical sequence runs on and on (even through the credits), while scenes between Spacey and his fellow castmates are almost always short changed. Because they are just extras. Dancers in the background. Stage dressing. Because this is Spacey's show, from start to finish. Heck, it's a show about Spacey about a show about Spacey within a show about Spacey. If this were the musical theater production it seems to fancy itself, this show, this galling display of ego, would be closed after opening night and no one would notice or care.

    Thursday, November 18, 2004

    Why I Love Chris Matthews

    From Dana Stevens/Liz Penn over at Slate:
    "The best part of the opening ceremony at the Clinton Presidential Library was watching MSNBC's Chris Matthews kill time. I've finally figured out the secret of Matthews' weirdly hypnotic charm: He's more comfortable free-associating on TV than most people are on their analyst's couch, so the duller the event he's covering, the further out he gets. As the guests arrived to take their seats in the icy rain, Matthews battled his worst enemy—silence—with some of his usual libidinally charged ramblings: "Boy, that Tipper Gore is a good-looking woman. I'm sorry, I'd like to offer that commentary." During the "Star Spangled Banner," Matthews mused aloud about the inherent unsingability of our national anthem—a point everyone secretly agrees on, but how many news anchors would say it on the air? Best of all, though, were his memories of bygone meetings of a Washington social club for presidential speechwriters, "back in the days when people used to drink." Later, Pat Buchanan, Matthews' fellow member in that club, predicted a grim future for Bill Clinton: "Twenty years of basically just sort of fading away." Matthews objected to this scenario: "You have him just going from watering hole to watering hole, gaining weight."

    Wednesday, November 17, 2004

    No Fun League


  • Michael Goldenberg (Peter Pan) replaces Steve Kloves as the Harry Potter scribe. Kloves brings the hotness (Wonder Boys, The Fabulous Baker Boys) and fared nicely under the strict confines of the Potter job. Looking forward to what he does next.

  • Kiedis gets fugged.

  • Even more John Landis news.

  • The best reality show on TV is back! Jonathan needs to be pushed off a cliff, there's a team of married "professional" wrestlers one of whom's name is Bolo, and plenty of hotness (former gogo dancers, models, etc.), but no midget, making last night's ice wall climb just slightly lackluster.

  • Lindsay Lohan dresses like Jojo in order to promote the fact that she may or may not shop at the same stores as a twelve year old hooch with even worse parents than hers. Not hot. Sorry, babe. (via goldenfiddle)

  • Peggy Noonan tells everyone to "shhhhhhhhh." Oh, how charming. Here's her take on the Specter controversy:
    "I'll finish with Sen. Specter, whose sonorous "Ssssshhhhhhhh" was so satisfying. Arlen Specter was just re-elected by the people of Pennsylvania, a major industrial state; the Judiciary Committee chairmanship is his by tradition and seniority. Conservatives have been angry with him for a long time and for good reason. They have expressed their unhappiness. They have made their point. Mr. Specter has been chastened and warned; the leadership of his party told him to fight for himself. He knows the Republican Party will expect him to support the nomination of judges free of a Roe v. Wade litmus test, or any litmus test, including a religious test. Many believe, and with reason, that a practicing Catholic isn't allowed to be a federal judge in America anymore. Mr. Specter will have to be more open-minded, more supportive, than he's been in the past. But he looks like a man who got the message, doesn't he?"
    Allow me to go a step further than Ms. Noonan. Shut the fuck up. You don't want Specter to be "open minded." You want him to obey the rules laid out in the last few weeks by Frist, Santorum, et al. And I get the impression ya'll are still fucking sore over Bork? Still? Specter approved Clarence Thomas. Does he get no credit for that? He's a Jewish Republican in Pennsylvania. Nothin'? And spare me the "no litmus test" garbage. Santorum is going to rush to approve a pro-choice nominee? How about Frist? Or Sessions? Spare me.

  • The Slate book club dissects I Am Charlotte Simmons. They love/hate it.

  • Information Leafblower's Top 40 Bands In America Today. Ted Leo and the Pharmacists top the list.

  • Collaborate and Listen. My boy Brendan Benson and Jack White are recording an album together, due out this spring. I've been a big Benson-ite ever since I first heard "Emma J" in The Zero Effect and then went out and bought One Mississippi. Do yourself a favor and do the same. (via Uncle Grambo)

  • Poor Nicolette Sheridan. First, Michael Bolton dumped her, and now she's at the center of the dumbest controversy of the week. Yeah, this will all be over by next Monday, right? I mean, it's not like we saw what might have been her boob, adorned with a decorative pastie for some three seconds. That shit will last and last and last. You know, like Cialis. How in the name of Jehovah does the NFl continue to skate by? This is a league that continues to pretend that they have no control over their broadcasts. First it was MTV and CBS and the dastardly pair of Timberlake/Jackson that hoodwinked them and now it's ABC, Terrell Owens, and a hasbeen actress. M'kay. This is a league that almost fined Jake Plummer for having Pat Tillman's number on his helmet. They fine everyone and their mother for dancing, taking their helmet off, using a cell phone after scoring a touchdown, etc. They themselves, on any team website, for any team with cheerleaders, promotes said cheerleaders, utilizing as much t & a as they possibly can. They also do this on their broadcasts, when not aiding in the promotion of shit that makes your dick hard for 40 days and 40 nights, Victoria Secret (hard dicks), Coors Light and their twins (hard dicks, bad aftertaste), every beer on earth that, if you haven't been under a rock for the past two decades, uses sex to sell their product or, last season, in game, cutting away to a Maxim model posing as a sideline reporter. What all this also exposes is the randomness of the "family hour." MNF comes on at 9 p.m. EST. Guess what else does? Oh, yeah, Desperate Housewives. Y'know, Tony Dungy said today that if this is the way it's going to be, he doesn't want his Colts on MNF. Great. Fuck off. Go and not win playoff games without primetime national exposure. Jesus! This isn't news or important or a big deal. I mean, it's not like it's about hearing Tom Hanks say the dreaded "s word" or maybe, if you weren't too drunk to notice, seeing what may or may not have been a boob before they cut away to the blimp shot. Oy.

  • Quote of the Day

    "I still am having fun. There are still things that are really significantly important to me to complete. Right now, I just have no plans of going anywhere." - Michael Powell

    I don't know about anyone else but this just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. I can't wait for every elected official of both our wretched parties to bend over and ask for more from the leader of the FCC, you know, when he's not hypothesizing what Walt Disney might say if he were thawed out and saw the bare back of a woman during a broadcast where, potentially, Victoria Secret lingerie, the Coors twins, and more boner juice than you can shake a flaccid penis at, are promoted every break.

    seis

    Last week, I hoped everyone would go out and buy the latest issue of Vanity Fair and check out a great little piece on the history of Page Six. Well, all of a sudden, Graydon Carter's really hot for the internets. The piece is now online. Check it.

    Tuesday, November 16, 2004

    One More Than Four (Format Shmormat)



    I'm a walking, talking budget cut waiting to happen. I look up and don't see the ax, but I hear them sharpening it in the back room. Last week, the hot shit at work was parents who "accidentally" put their baby in a large vat of soup. Makes putting your kid in a pinata seem reasonable. This week, everyone's hot for giving tickets to homeless guys taking shopping carts from Ralph's and portly Mexican ladies selling flowers on the higway "illegally." Enough bitching and moaning. My apologies.
  • This one's for The Thighmaster.

  • The Wikipedia entry on Hitch.

  • A big day for fascist regimes. One got kicked in the balls for not hiring uglies, minorities or ugly minorities. I knew a guy who used to work for Abercrombie as a greeter. Stand here. Look pretty and disaffected. His manual for employment was written by Goebbels. And everyone's favorite police state is now answering letters from admirers of its iron fisted practices. Topic one: Hey, gay dude, what is the deal with Broadway?

  • "Wild Thing" goes flaccid, pretends that going to sleep early was his idea, as the FDA tells Pfizer to pull latest boner juice ad. (via Hit and Run)

  • Lion's Gate is the new Troma.

  • Esquire's Genius Issue is f-ing great. There's the now infamous profile of AWOL NFL star Ricky Williams hustling stoners at poker, getting bitten by centipedes, and travelling around with psuedo-shamen who name everything after Bob Marley songs. A sweet profile of Bill Murray, a typically hilarious piece on "lifestyle music" and the death of rock 'n roll by Chuck Klosterman, and an insight into what may be a great little movie, the first two pages of Zach Helm's script for Stranger Than Fiction, to be directed by Marc Forster and starring Will Ferrell, and a nice little look into the life of The Defamer. Pick it up.

  • Little leaguers, take note, steroid cream may make you feel good all over, but it won't win you the MVP. Well, unless you play in the National League. On a separate baseball note, I beg of Omar Minaya to stop this dance with Chicago, the Union, and Sammy Sosa. This wreaks of bad move. Dave Kingman bad? No. But still. Stop. Go and see if Magglio Ordonez's knee is sound. Give Orlando Cabrera a call. But back away from the Sammy.

  • The Sports Guy checks the NBA season so far. As always, best.

  • Really?: "The fourth film (Harry Potter), due for release in November next year, is set to feature a cameo appearance from Jarvis Cocker with the former Pulp singer writing the soundtrack. Mercury music prize winners Franz Ferdinand have been tipped as the leading candidates for a "wizard band" who appear in the film." (via The Guardian)

  • David Brooks snuggles with Tom Wolfe. Key bit: "But he's located one of the paradoxes of the age. Highly educated young people are tutored, taught and monitored in all aspects of their lives, except the most important, which is character building. When it comes to this, most universities leave them alone. And they find themselves in a world of unprecedented ambiguity, where it's not clear if you're going out with the person you're having sex with, where it's not clear if anything can be said to be absolutely true. In other words, we have constructed this great apparatus to fill their minds - with thousands of Ph.D.'s ready to serve. But when it comes to courage, which is the pre-eminent virtue since without it nothing else lasts, we often leave them with the gnawing sense that they really should develop it, though God knows how." Shrug. I do hope to find out the genealogy of everyone's horses at Wolfe's fictional campus. Worst part of all this hype is that everyone keeps acting like Wolfe has invented a new genre in the college novel, for one, and, two, he keeps doing this thing, on every interview, where he tells you all about the "slang" of college kids. What a dandy. I'm not going to pretend like I don't dig on two Wolfe novels (although I think I might have problems with Bonfire now), but this one sounds like it wouldn't even make "Wild Thing" hard.

  • Peabs mistakes Maya Angelou for Della Reese.

  • That Ashley Girl teases a comeback.

  • Sunday, November 14, 2004

    Steve Forbes Doesn't Blink

    Sully speaks out in favor of the flat tax.

    Saturday, November 13, 2004

    Petitions!

    Today, Sully links to this quote from Randy Pugh of the American Family Association:

    "Joe Glover, president of the Family Policy Network, has worked tirelessly for family values, including the fight against legalized homosexual 'marriage.' He says it was conservative Christians who put the president back in office and who held to the belief that the president shared their views. But Glover says the day after the election, that all seemed to go out the window. 'The day after George Bush was elected president again, because of this morals revolution taking place in our country, he allows his vice president to not only put his lesbian daughter on the platform, but to bring her lesbian 'partner' up on the stage with him,' Glover says. 'It almost seems to be a slap in the face from the get-go against the very conservatives that re-elected the president at a time when he ought to paying them some homage and respect.' Glover says the Cheney daughter's open flaunting of her homosexuality is the antithesis of what the administration claims to stand for -- and that the post-election display sends a mixed message to Bush supporters."

    So, I decided to visit the American Family Association web site. They're fond of petitions. There's the petition against Arlen Specter and the petition to boycott Procter & Gamble for promoting homosexuality. But for the best of the petitions, they help you file a complaint for hearing the "f" or "s" word during ABC's Veteran's Day broadcast of Saving Private Ryan. (This is not one of those, "I'll make the FCC awake to their inconsistencies" type gesture. Duh.) I don't know any of the fine people at this organization, but two out of these three petitions are directly and slightly indirectly aimed at Jews. Now, I don't want to be all Brendan Fraser in the shower, hurling myself at prep school prick Matt Damon, but F all y'all. Fuck shit fuck fuck fuck fuck shit fuck shit.

    Rollie Fingers



    What on earth is wrong with her? (Pic courtesy of The Superficial.) Although, if you got a few plushies and a flood of toilet water, you'd have yourself a video. This just reeks to me of "I want to be Madonna," and no one should want to be Madonna. Not even Madonna.
  • Will it be Service Animals 18 or Teenage Spermaholics 2? Can Crack Whores of the Tenderloin beat out 30 Days in the Hole? Does White Trash Whore stand a chance against the likes of Teen Sluts, Inc.? Okay. Enough. The AVN Award Nominations are out. (via Fleshbot)

  • Neal Pollack calls bullshit on the now semi-infamous fuckthesouth.com. (link via Hit and Run)

  • Leave us alone: The Catholic League's William Donohue chimes in on the Kinsey controversy (you know you were dying to know what he thought) and on Birth and on all those priests who aren't pedophiles but just nasty homos.

  • I unfortunately mocked Graydon Carter just a few days ago for shunning the internets. Well, well. Looks like I'm a douche. Vanity Fair has spruced up the site. So, you can now read Hitch's latest, "Kissinger Declassified." Most of this month's issue's content is kept under wraps and the site has nothing in the way of an archive, but it's a start.

  • "Gazillionaire Denise Rich has signed on with Buchwald & Assoc. agent Neal Sterns to create a show featuring the interaction between herself and her beautiful, newly married daughter Daniella, a stand-up comic. Sterns handles Nicky Hilton and her parents, Rick and Kathy, who both have shows in the works." (via Page Six) Who cares? Seriously? Is she selling missiles to anyone? No? Her ex-husband acts like a fucking B-grade Bond villain. Get him a reality show. In the words of a comedienne who I'm sure Daniella admires, "Don't get me started..."

  • Friday, November 12, 2004

    Spanking for U-N-I-T-Y

    From that beacon of tolerance, Bob Jones University, comes this congratulatory letter from its president to GWB (courtesy of Electablog):

    Dear Mr. President:

    The media tells us that you have received the largest number of popular votes of any president in America's history. Congratulations!

    In your re-election, God has graciously granted America—though she doesn't deserve it—a reprieve from the agenda of paganism. You have been given a mandate. We the people expect your voice to be like the clear and certain sound of a trumpet. Because you seek the Lord daily, we who know the Lord will follow that kind of voice eagerly.

    Don't equivocate. Put your agenda on the front burner and let it boil. You owe the liberals nothing. They despise you because they despise your Christ. Honor the Lord, and He will honor you.

    Had your opponent won, I would have still given thanks, because the Bible says I must (I Thessalonians 5:18). It would have been hard, but because the Lord lifts up whom He will and pulls down whom He will, I would have done it. It is easy to rejoice today, because Christ has allowed you to be His servant in this nation for another presidential term. Undoubtedly, you will have opportunity to appoint many conservative judges and exercise forceful leadership with the Congress in passing legislation that is defined by biblical norm regarding the family, sexuality, sanctity of life, religious freedom, freedom of speech, and limited government. You have four years—a brief time only—to leave an imprint for righteousness upon this nation that brings with it the blessings of Almighty God.

    Christ said, “If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my father honour” (John 12:26).

    The student body, faculty, and staff at Bob Jones University commit ourselves to pray for you—that you would do right and honor the Savior. Pull out all the stops and make a difference. If you have weaklings around you who do not share your biblical values, shed yourself of them. Conservative Americans would love to see one president who doesn't care whether he is liked, but cares infinitely that he does right.

    Best wishes.

    Sincerely your friend,

    Bob Jones III
    President

    BJIII:lw

    PS: A few moments ago I read this letter to the students in Chapel. They applauded loudly their approval.

    When I told them that Tom Daschle was no longer the minority leader of the Senate, they cheered again.

    On occasion, Christians have not agreed with things you said during your first term. Nonetheless, we could not be more thankful that God has given you four more years to serve Him in the White House, never taking off your Christian faith and laying it aside as a man takes off a jacket, but living, speaking, and making decisions as one who knows the Bible to be eternally true.


    And if that wasn't enough to whet your appetite for petty fascism, get your rocks off reading about James Dobson's penchant for spanking. Dobby's made my bottom rosy on a number of occassions. I highly recommend it. It's even hotter than interracial dating.


    Thursday, November 11, 2004

    The End of the Day Off



  • Having Thursday off was a wonderful thing. It's rare that I actually appreciate working for the government. I'm usually caught up in them not paying me well and fucking me in the ass, but I digress. I did nothing all day. Well, I wrote. But I didn't have to file or answer a phone or listen to stories about co-workers' kids bowel movements. And tomorrow is Friday. Bonus.

  • Where's the money, Lebowski?: Suha Arafat to receive $22 million per year from the Palestinian Authority's budget and/or her now deceased husband's secret stash, measured anywhere from $4-8 billion. $22 million? To quote Chris Rock, "What is she eatin'?" I guess Suha's got to get some extra cheese on her Whopper.

  • The Godfather Returns (in print). Why? And try as they might, it will never top this idiotic bullshit.

  • Reebok brings back the Pump.

  • Ronald McDonald costume + hot chick = The McGrand (via Boing Boing)

  • The Sports Guy reviews Real World/Road Rules Battle of the Sexes 2. Best: "I slept in my uniform last night because I wanted to win! And nobody stepped up today!" A Ray Lewis quote? Nope. Those words were hollered by Ayanna on the Real World /Road Rules Battle of the Sexes 2, MTV's masterful blend of contrived dissension and unintentional comedy. Tears streaming down her face, Ayanna was so distraught about being voted off, she stormed away like a little kid. Can you blame her? For the self-absorbed degenerates who compete on this show, staying alive isn't about prize money as much as it is about sticking around. None of them wants to go home, probably because none of them has a job. It's a battle for survival. Literally. Needless to say, no other TV show leaves me as consistently delighted."

  • Quote of the Day

    "The blue ascendancy is nearly as strong among Republicans as it is among Democrats. Those whose "moral values" are invested in cultural heroes like the accused loofah fetishist Bill O'Reilly and the self-gratifying drug consumer Rush Limbaugh are surely joking when they turn apoplectic over MTV. William Bennett's name is now as synonymous with Las Vegas as silicone. The Democrats' Ashton Kutcher is trumped by the Republicans' Britney Spears. Excess and vulgarity, as always, enjoy a vast, bipartisan constituency, and in a democracy no political party will ever stamp them out." - Frank Rich

    iPod Socks

    Riiiiight...



    (via Verbose Coma)

    I Love Sequels



    "We want to get cameras rolling now and have it ready in two-three years. We want to document and commercialize it. Fifty-one percent of the American people lacked information (in this election) and we want to educate and enlighten them. They weren't told the truth. We're communicators and it's up to us to start doing it now. The official mourning period is over today and there is a silver lining -- George W. Bush is prohibited by law from running again." - Michael Moore, on plans to make a sequel to Fahrenheit 9/11

    Wanna get Dirrrty?

    The controversy surrounding the forthcoming Kinsey, from writer/director Bill Condon, has already begun. And, do yourself a favor, all the while keeping all sharp objects away from your eyes, and read "The Kinsey Fact Sheet" (pdf) courtesy of "Dr." James Dobson and Focus on the Family.

    Take the Day Off



  • Yawn: Denise Richards hits the pages of Playboy.

  • Dave Poland predicts Best Picture for Phantom of the Opera. The only thing that can stop it is The Aviator, he says. My batsuit nipples are erect at the thought of it...not so much.

  • Peter Gammons is in Key Biscayne at the GM meetings. Piazza back to L.A. for Shawn Green? Carlos Beltran to the Yankees for 10 years? Kevin Brown for Andruw Jones? Troy Glaus to the Sox? Read it. And, from the New York Daily News, more Sosa to the Mets rumors.

  • 1, 2, 3, 14: Stop it. Okay? I do not need to see the U2 iPod ad every single commercial break. Seriously. When I first heard the single, I dug it. Now, if it's on for a few seconds, either Ben or I begs for whomever has the remote control to turn it off. I'm not going to go as far as saying it's worse than Burger King's "Return of the King" ads, which frightened me to my core, and had me quivering in the fetal position, but, please, can't we just put it away, for the sake of good taste?

  • Vincent D'Onofrio loses his shit. (via Page Six)

  • Safety Scissors: I hate, hate, HATED the first one, but this trailer is nicely creepy. Note: this is in no way an endorsement of the demon child genre so popular in Hollywood. The Ring not only had the evil child villain but also the forty two year old screenwriter as emobodied by a mutant troll nine year old boy who addresses his mother by her first name, which is not worse, but not that much better.

  • The Mysteries of Pittsburgh: Getting better and better. I'm halfway through. Read me.

  • Subtle references to Federline's wang: "I believe your house is a reflection of yourself, so I want anything in mine to be exquisite." - Britney Spears (via Popbitch)

  • Michael Powell hates veterans.

  • Kieslowski rolls over in his grave. (via The Whine Colored Sea)

  • Our long national nightmare is over. Shandon Anderson is no longer a Knick. Buyouts are the new hotness.

  • About two years ago, I had a breif conversation with Mr. T at my local Ralph's. Standing at the display of many a green orange in the produce section, I muttered to myself, "Gross." The man beside me then said, "They look just plain awful." That man was Mr. T. However, my love has its bounds. This guy has me beat. (via catchdubs)

  • Wednesday, November 10, 2004

    Below Deck



    The following question and answer sessions come from Family.org, a site run by Focus on the Family, as led by world renowned bag of douche Rev. James Dobson:

    My wife and I love each other very much, but we're going through a time of apathy. We just don't feel close to each other. Is this normal, and is there a way to bring back the fire?
     
    This happens sooner or later in every marriage. A man and woman just seem to lose the wind in their romantic sails for a period of time.

    Their plight reminds me of seamen back in the days of wooden vessels. Sailors in that era had much to fear, including pirates, storms, and diseases. But their greatest fear was that the ship might encounter the Doldrums. The Doldrums was an area of the ocean near the equator characterized by calm and very light shifting winds. It could mean certain death for the entire crew. The ship's food and water supply would be exhausted as they drifted for days, or even weeks, waiting for a breeze to put them back on course.

    Well, marriages that were once exciting and loving can also get caught in the romantic doldrums, causing a slow and painful death to the relationship.


    Ah, yes, the troubled life of seamen. Hehe, wooden vessels. Spice it up with butt sex on the high seas, folks. Huzzah!

    and...

    My wife will not respond to me sexually unless the circumstances are just right. It isn't enough for us to just enjoy each other physically. I have to talk to her and spend time with her before we even go to bed or else she is disinterested. Are other women like this?
     
    The majority are just like that.

    Sex for a woman is not exclusively a physical experience. It must have a romantic element to satisfy her. Unless a woman feels a certain closeness to her husband at a particular time -- unless she believes he respects her as a person -- she may be unable to enjoy a sexual encounter with him. When she makes love in the absence of that romantic closeness, she often feels used. In a sense, her husband has exploited her body to gratify himself. Like your wife, she may either refuse to participate, or she will yield with reluctance and resentment.

    To the contrary, a man can come home from work in a bad mood, spend the evening slaving over his desk or in his garage, watch the eleven o'clock news in silence, and finally hop into bed for a brief encounter. The fact that he and his wife have had no tender moments in the entire evening does not inhibit his sexual desire significantly. He sees her on her way to bed in her clingy nightgown, and that is enough to throw his switch. But his wife is not so easily moved. She waited for him all day, and when he came home and hardly even greeted her, she felt disappointment and rejection. His continuing coolness and self-preoccupation put a padlock on her desires. Therefore, she may find it impossible to respond to him later in the evening.

    The inability to explain this frustration is, I believe, a continual source of irritation to women.


    (Insert joke about leaving toilet seat up here.)

    While visiting Dobson's site, you can also read up on just how holy and awesome former Laker Derek Fisher is, their mad love for The Incredibles, James Dobson's eleven(!) reasons to oppose gay marriage, Science vs. "The Gay Gene," and the proof that abstinence is way sexy.

    Endorsements



    Michael Ledeen of The National Review endorses Zell Miller for Secretary of State. Dude, wake up. Bush isn't firing anyone, so unless Colin steps down, the duelin' Dem won't be called upon, even if Bush were so inclined to make his drunkest decision since kicking the sauce and cuddling with JC.

    Tuesday, November 09, 2004

    Gotta Start Somewhere



    The Knicks win. 1-2. Lenny Wilkens still not fired. Dig it.

    The Magic Bullet

    Watching a bit of Scarborough Country tonight (with fill-in host and renowned plagiarist Mike Barnicle), I was reminded of the existence of conservative blowhard Terry Jeffries, he of Human Events, who relentlessly badgered Carl Bernstein on his knowledge of Martin Luther King Jr. quotes and harangued the rest of the panel and Barnicle (busy thinking of what Scarborough might say and then passing it off as his own thought) about the rights of Americans to raise their children with the values Americans have held for two centuries. Finding out which nasty values are excluded in these lessons would certainly be intriguing. So, because I'm a masochist, I decided to go on over and visit the Human Events website. Atop the splash page is this piece, on the struggles ahead for Arlen Specter:

    Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has failed to secure public support from members of the Judiciary Committee, and now even Pennsylvania’s junior senator, Rick Santorum, is officially "undecided" about supporting Specter's bid to chair the Judiciary Committee, according to a spokesman with the Senate Republican Conference, which Santorum leads.

    More than half of the members on the Senate Judiciary Committee are declining to say whether they plan to support Sen. Specter's bid to become the committee's chairman when the 10-member panel votes by secret ballot in January.

    Conservative groups opposed to Specter flooded Senate Republican offices with phone calls after Specter suggested President Bush shouldn't nominate judges who oppose abortion. Specter has since backed away from his comments.


    The site goes on to list the names, phone numbers, and fax numbers of members of the committee and key Republican leaders. So, if you feel like calling Rick Santorum and talking about butt plugs, put your fingers to work (not on his hungry asshole...yet) and dial (202) 224-6324.

    Butt Butt Butt

    "Yep, they have an entire article on the fact that at the end of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," I got up and readjusted my power-glutes. Slow news day? It was the first thing my boyfriend pointed out to me when I called him after the show. The reason? Slate demands an answer. My boyfriend chimes in: 'If they knew me, they wouldn't be asking.'"

    The above was put up as "Quote of the Day" last night. Sully has since changed the quote and even has Dana Stevens/Liz Penn fooled. For shame. Does Sully's boyfriend get no consideration? And what of the beagle?

    One More Than Four

    1) Friendly Reminders


    Curb Your Enthusiasm is the best show involving bald guys yelling at each other across a table. No diggity.

    The genius of Francis Ford Coppola's panoramic masterpiece, The Godfather, which is only aided by adding mediocre Italian food, delivered by the greatest drain on my funds, L.A. Bites, to the viewing.

    "Yoga Means Union" and "Anecdote" by Ambulance LTD. and "Hello? Is This Thing On?" by !!! can rock the iPod any time they want.

    Blogging about the NBA has its pitfalls, even for league owners/bloggers. When I own the Knicks in Two Thousand Not So Much, I will continute to blog about just how much my team annoys the shit out of me, fines be damned. However, by Two Thousand Not So Much, blogging might be as hot as Compuserve.

    Greg Evigan and Paul Reiser are in for a fight if they truly want to make the My Two Dads home a proper one in the eyes of Jehovah.

    2) The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon


    Inspired by Sunday night's umpteenth viewing of Wonder Boys in a hearty but failed effort to stave off the Sunday blues. Just started today. Love it.

    3) The Incredibles


    How many dependable brands are there? Pixar's almost automatic (although Cars looks suspect and like that talking auto, Valvoline ad). Brad Bird's got the goods, not just writing and directing, but his hilarious voicing of fashion designer to the supers, Edna "E" Mode. Don't wear a cape.

    4) Rumor-mongering

    Bret Easton Ellis may have a new book out as of October '05. Best.

    5) "The Gossip Behind the Gossip," by Frank DiGiacomo (Vanity Fair, December '04)

    A dishy look behind the scenes of the New York Post's infamous Page Six. Graydon Carter doesn't seem to believe in the power of the internets, so I can't link you to it. So shell out the five bucks, have your hands smell like various colognes and perfumes for a few hours, and read it. By the way, Paula Froehlich is my girlfriend.

    Fives: The Wrathful and the Gloomy: Rivers Cuomo Edition and 2+2=5 (Sorta).


    There's No Dancing in this Town

    There’s been a lot of talk, post-election, that the Democrats or “the left” needs to talk more about their faith or at least seem comfortable about discussing it, and, best of all, utilize their discussion of “faith” in the way it relates to the issues of, say, the economy or healthcare. It must be said that such a discussion of faith should be excluded from the discussion of the war in Iraq or the war on terrorism, so as to avoid the inevitable charge of “crusade.” I assume this is implied if not directly stated when there’s all this talk about discussions of “faith.”

    As Sully attempted to say on this season’s final episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, the left needs to embrace those in the red states for whom there is a chance of sway to their side of the aisle. (True and sometimes false, which he readily admits. The key is figuring out who can be swayed and who needs to be fought with every inch of our rhetorical might.) In doing so, he asserted that one of the big problems (if not the biggest) for the left is that they are more troubled by George W. Bush than they are by Saddam Hussein. This elicited a smattering of groans/boos from the same audience that had just weeks earlier cheered when Bill Maher pointed out that Bin Laden may have made a few worthwhile points in his last tape.

    And then today comes Hitch, with the argument that the left’s unwillingness or simply soft approach to terrorism or Islamic jihadism (or whatever term you’d like to apply to the subject), is more agregious than the domestic battles that Bush and his cronies may soon wage and have been waging since his taking office. This is both true and false. It is true that too much of the far left has a crush on anything even slightly anti-American and bends over backwards to defend the motives of heartless killers, thugs, and radicals if their actions are taken in the name of a cause they might agree with in the abstract. It is also true that despite its flaws and missteps, the Bush administration has confronted two mafia regimes and the largest terrorist network in the world, all of whom either perpetrate their atrocities in the name of God or whom, in the case of Saddam, ally themselves with such forces when they see fit. (This argument is frequently debunked, unless of course you count paying for suicide bombers killing innocents in pizzerias and discos as nothing at all, housing, funding, and aiding a Bin Laden-ite we’ve now become well acquainted with, or old time, Hall of Fame terrorists who he treats like visiting movie stars, and allows to practice his nefarious ways in the same country where I believe kite flying is all the rage.)

    At the same time, however, one-issue voter Hitchens seems to softball the anger towards the Bushies continuing attempts to chip away at the wall between church and state. (There are few better in waging the argument for secularism, which makes some of his pro-Bush softness disappointing, even with his many qualifiers in the piece.) For much of his first term, Bush wisely left such things to his proxies, be they James Dobson or Brent Bozell or even any number of talking heads on radio or FOX or elsewhere. But now, with his “mandate”/“capital,” Bush seems to be leaning towards doing the talking and the walking himself, be it with Supreme court appointments, amendments to the Constitution or more insidious practices. Hitch is wise to point out that it might be difficult to respect a movement that can fight the likes of Bush and the religious right with all its might but can’t find it in their hearts or minds to battle such foes as Islamic jihadism, be it for the reasons of allegiance (true or incidental) or pacifism. But if Hitch will look beyond his one issue and examine that this president seems to desire a more religious America while fighting more violent and frightening religious extremism elsewhere, he might try and do the same kind of self examination himself.

    For there is no substantive argument that the likes of the Taliban or Saddam or Bin Laden or any variation of the aforementioned are somehow less dangerous than John Ashcroft or Jerry Falwell, but if we allow such people to get their way, are we not on the path of self destruction, allowing those in our midst to begat a future, more militant generation, that may be more interested in fervently controlling our day to day activities, than just what one section of the population may be doing at a wedding chapel. (It must also be pointed out that for all the hand wringing over the anti-gay marriage rhetoric by Bush and his proxies by the left or the Democratic party, the last Democratic president to hold office opposes gay marriage (as does his wife, a future candidate), and few in the party seem to be inclined to fight this fight with any means other than “separate but equal” style pandering in the form of civil unions or small measures such as giving them a little, or, rather, just enough to make the issue go away.)

    Monday, November 08, 2004

    In the Mix



  • Mo tells all from inside the Beyond the Sea premiere. I demand more posts in Udo Kier speak. Vee love eet.

  • To my SoFla peoples, the majority of whom bleed teal and orange, congrats, the Mustache is about to leave the building. In related news, I won this week in fantasy football, thanks to another stellar performance from Peyton Manning. This comes on the same night where I just made instant pancakes with nothing but the batter in the box and water and am still watching Snowman's Pass with Nicole Eggert (hotness fading) and Marc Singer (The Beastmaster has seen better days) on Lifetime. Beat that.

  • It's just one douchebag after another.

  • First all that dolphin fuckery with Josh, and now this.

  • Celebrate Hold Each Other Tight Against The Cold Morning Day! over at Girls are Pretty.

  • Peabs will not effin concede. Deal with it. He's your president. Go to Canada if you can't handle this shit. Shmears.

  • If you live in Boston and you're not eating lunch here, tomorrow, well, shame on you.

  • Quote of the Day/Power Glutes

    "Yep, they have an entire article on the fact that at the end of HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher," I got up and readjusted my power-glutes. Slow news day? It was the first thing my boyfriend pointed out to me when I called him after the show. The reason? Slate demands an answer. My boyfriend chimes in: 'If they knew me, they wouldn't be asking.'" - Sully, in response to this by Dana Stevens/Liz Penn/Surfergirl in Slate

    Sunday, November 07, 2004

    0-2



    Yes, indeed, NYK, in their home opener at the World's Most Famous Arena, lost by 34 to the Celtics. (I would have posted about this sooner, but the amount of vile profanity that would have been written might have led to some level of embarassment on my part.) This followed their defeat to KG and the T-Wolves (all of whom, I hear, are just trying to feed their families) in their season opener. Needless to say, this doesn't make me happy. Now, look, you can go and lose to the Timberwolves. Minnesota might win the West if they can settle things down and/or trade for Jason Kidd. That's a respectable loss. But to come home and lose to the Celtics BY THIRTY FOUR POINTS...no, no, no. Not okay, guys. Not okay. It's only 2 games. I'm not going to panic and, by panic, I mean worry about falling short of the sixth seed in the conference and a false sense of achievement, but if this ship isn't righted, the "Fire Lenny" movement starts here.