Friday, September 30, 2005

Conversation of the Day

Co-worker: This freedom of speech stuff has just gotten out of hand. What about my right to privacy from this...all this filth.

Police Officer: That's what happens when you vote for Democrats.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Some of it is just transcendental, some of it is just really dumb

Keith Phipps has a piece on fan fiction (Buffy and Spike move to central California and start an avocado farm, et al) at The Onion A.V. Club. There's apparently Smurf fan fiction (who knew?), most of which is not meant to be taken seriously. But then again:
Not so "Raven Child2," whose sprawling trilogy ("The Smurfette Village!", "Return to the Smurfette Village," and the still-in-progress "How Things Smurf") follows Hefty Smurf on an epic journey that spans several centuries. Separated from the other Smurfs after a devastating flood, Hefty happens on a village that reverses the male-to-female ratio of the patriarchal Smurf Village. Can he find true love with his female analog, Toughette? Will he ever be reunited with his Smurf friends? Can they adjust to modern times when they're whisked into the 21st century?
The mind reels.

The Barbarian

Happy Almost Wednesday, y'all. (At least it's not still Almost Tuesday.) If you're at work and the droning conversation between your co-workers is making you modestly suicidal, with the statement "I'm going to kill myself" (which you repeat, along with "someone please shoot me in the face" over and over and over again) a much easier task than the thought of actually doing it, I offer this brief respite. Do yourselves a favor and check out this piece ("Conan on the Couch") from New York magazine. Some choice bits:
“The Tonight Show should become a lot more like The Price Is Right. It should be more in the game-show area, because if you’re not giving away a boat, no one is taking you seriously. Also, it should be broadcast from a different city every night. Remember ‘Where in the world is Matt Lauer?’ It should have that kind of quality. If you can figure out we’re in Omaha tonight, you get the boat. Also, I want to bring smoking back. These are the kinds of things I’m thinking of.”

O’Brien and Liza Powel met when she consulted on the show as an advertising professional, and they married after dating for two years -- “She had the tiniest apartment on 105th Street. I thought, ‘I don’t have emotional feelings for you at all, but I feel a responsibility to get you out of this apartment.’"

He watches TV, like I’m Alan Partridge on the BBC and MTV’s Laguna Beach (“At first I was trying to make fun of it, but then I was like, ‘Kristin is a bitch, but she’s so much more interesting than L.C.!’ ”).

“There is this expectation that because I live in New York and broadcast out of Rockefeller Center, at night I should have a few Scotches at some cool bar, then it’s downtown for experimental theater and off to the club for saxophone, home at four in the morning for a little cocaine and off to sleep. You know, a little bisexual relationship—‘I have my wife, but I also see Scott.’ ”

O’Brien talks about how much he’s always wanted to do a bit on the contractor for Hitler’s bunker—“Everyone’s coming into Berlin, and he’s saying, ‘You really don’t want to rush this kind of work, you want to do it once and be glad you have it.’ ”

O’Brien’s other comedic touchstones are Saturday-morning Warner Bros. cartoons (he loved the coyote and how all those jokes had to work silently); an SCTV skit in which John Candy, as Yellowbelly, a cavalry officer kicked out of the Army for cowardice, shoots a mother and child for saying his name; the Eiffel Tower–is–in–D.C. episode of Green Acres; the Batman episode where the villain Shame insults Batman with the line, “Your mother wore Army boots,” and Batman responds, “Yes, she did, and she found them quite comfortable.”
And...there's some Daily Show haterade sprinkled throughout, via Conan and Jeff Ross. Super best. Check it.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Ed Gein Collection (Available Now at Pottery Barn)

From J. Hoberman's Toronto Film Festival diary:
The most spectacular example of kamikaze auteurism, however, was Terry Gilliam's almost unwatchable, not altogether unadmirable, and certainly unreleasable TIDELAND. Making exactly the movie he wanted, Gilliam presents an American Gothic Alice in Wonderland in which little Alice is the logorrheic offspring of two flaming junkies (Jennifer Tilly's Courtney Love–like slattern and Jeff Bridges's flatulent Captain Pissgums) and Wonderland is a pair of derelict Midwestern farmhouses seemingly furnished by Wisconsin cannibal Ed Gein. The creatures include a collection of doll heads and Brendan Fletcher's drooling Forrest Gump parody. Increasingly grotesque in its intimations of pedophilia, the movie ends with a comic train wreck, literally. It will become legend.
Wait. Did he just say Pissgums? (via GreenCine Daily)

The Soundtrack of Our Lives

If you saw last night's season premiere of Lost, you might be wondering what the too happy that it's creepy (in a serial killer dressed in his mother's undies, rubbing peanut butter all over himself before tucking it away and posing in front of the mirror to ask, "Do you want to fuck me?" sort of way) song was. It's "Make Your Own Kind of Music" by "Mama" Cass Elliot. So, if you're like me, and you're in the mood to live underground in a swingin' bachelor pad/evil command center, Mama Cass is the only way to go. Obvs.

Quote of the Day

"I'm just like Fassbinder, but without the drugs and the whores." - Steven Soderbergh

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Hand Check

From today's Washington Post comes this:
Early last month, the bureau's Washington Field Office began recruiting for a new anti-obscenity squad. Attached to the job posting was a July 29 Electronic Communication from FBI headquarters to all 56 field offices, describing the initiative as "one of the top priorities" of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and, by extension, of "the Director." That would be FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III.

The new squad will divert eight agents, a supervisor and assorted support staff to gather evidence against "manufacturers and purveyors" of pornography -- not the kind exploiting children, but the kind that depicts, and is marketed to, consenting adults.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales wouldn't mind if the religious right warmed to his many charms, if a particular honor were to be bestowed upon him soon. Perhaps this is a play for their affection or perhaps it's just another case of one of the many jacktards appointed by this president doing a shitty job and getting slapped on the back for it by the man who put him there. Either way, I just threw up. And while I'm at it, there's this portion of the piece:
Congress began funding the obscenity initiative in fiscal 2005 and specified that the FBI must devote 10 agents to adult pornography. The bureau decided to create a dedicated squad only in the Washington Field Office. "All other field offices may investigate obscenity cases pursuant to this initiative if resources are available," the directive from headquarters said. "Field offices should not, however, divert resources from higher priority matters, such as public corruption."

Public corruption, officially, is fourth on the FBI's priority list, after protecting the United States from terrorist attack, foreign espionage and cyber-based attacks. Just below those priorities are civil rights, organized crime, white-collar crime and "significant violent crime." The guidance from headquarters does not mention where pornography fits in.

"The Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's top priority remains fighting the war on terrorism," said Justice Department press secretary Brian Roehrkasse. "However, it is not our sole priority. In fact, Congress has directed the department to focus on other priorities, such as obscenity."
If we can't catch Bin Laden, I guess Peter North will have to do.

Friday, September 16, 2005

(Sick and Tired) Quote of the Day

"I guess I wasn't the only one who decided to skip watching the president live last night. Across the blogosphere, it seems as if many others decided to catch it later, or on the web, or just read the transcript. Why? Because I knew what was coming: an attempt at spiritual uplift, greased by billions and billions that we don't have, organized by a federal government that, under Bush, cannot seem to organize anything competently. I'm not saying we don't need to spend money on the reconstruction of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. I'm saying I don't want to hear it from this guy. As a friend of mine commented last night over a drink, I don't hate this president and never have. I'm just sick of him. Sick of the naked politicization of everything (Karl Rove over-seeing reconstruction?); sick of the utter refusal to acknowledge that there is a limit to what the federal government can borrow from this and the next generation; sick of the hijacking of the conservative tradition for a vast increase in the power and size of government, with only a feined attempt at making it more effective; sick of the glib arrogance and excuses for failure that dot the landscape from Biloxi to Basra. I'm not the only one." - Andrew Sullivan

Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Unremembered 80s

One week or one fictional year has now passed since the premiere episode of FOX's Reunion (even thoughh 1987 won't air until next Thursday). For whatever reason, I decided this was the show that I'd add to my paltry list of shows I watch. Yeah, not so much. In case you missed it, here a few helpful hints for avoiding Reunion:

1) Basil Exposition's stellar eulogy, which opens the show and leans more towards laying out the show's basic premise (These six people...Three HOT guys(!)...Three HOT girls(!) redefined friendship. You know nothing of the bonds that tie people together unless you knew these six. Fuck you for thinking that Chandler and Joey got along alright and would be there for each other if need be. FUCK YOU!) than, y'know, an actual eulogy. If Cliff's Notes were made for crap TV shows...who am I kidding...this show is a Cliff's Notes version of a real show.

2) Craig is rich. Will is poor. They are best friends. Craig is rich. His dad is such a wealthy layabout that he has all the time in the world to plot schemes to get his son out of any and all trouble that the little rascal gets into. Will's father is too busy clipping hedges outside the Waldbaums. Craig can't stand trial for vehicular manslaughter because a judge and jury will not take kindly to a rich kid's transgressions. Will can stand trial because judges and juries are soft when it comes to the poor's transgressions. Craig and Will are best friends. Craig and Will are best friends. Craig ("Baby Ben Affleck") and Will have nothing in common, seem to sort of dislike each other, keep a fair share of secrets from one another (like Will knocking up Craig's girlfriend and secretly loving her), but as they say about sixty times throughout the hour...THEY ARE BEST FRIENDS.

3) There's a scene early on when a detective confronts one of the characters in the present day. (The show tracks twenty years in the life of these six friends, culminating in one of them getting murdered...the clues to whodunit are laid out in the episodes leading us to the present.) The cop makes some reference to how he needs to talk to her in private because he can't ask these kinds of questions in public. This falls flat, of course, because he doesn't ask her anything even mildy spicy. No questions about a dirty sanchez she may or may not have received in 1991. No discussion of the use of pieces of flair as sex toys at the grand opening of the TGIF in Sysosset, NY. Nope. Just more bland exposition for the guy who apparently didn't listen closely enough to the eulogy.

4) The part of Aaron...the nebbish whose "Wham! is the next Beatles" lines really slay for people who think people were always making inane references back in the days they think they're nostalgic for but still maintain a superiority to. He's also what happens when Adam Brody ends up in The OC and you get the guy who was told they were going a different way after the second callback.

5) No craft. Everything and I mean everything is played on its head. A scene about friendship, for example, never shows them being friends, but just has them talking about how great it is being friends...over and over and over again. The concept is still interesting, but when everything else is this bland, no one cares who gets killed, because we already want them all dead anyway.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Multiculturalists Invade Poland

"But back then, as now, we were a nation of newly arrived immigrants, threatened from abroad and bombarded with destructive ideologies. Then, it was communism and fascism. Today, it is multiculturalism, political correctness and, among the Muslim population, radical Islam." - Tony Blankley, in today's Washington Times. Blankley does a couple of things in this piece. He reaffirms the undeniable fact that he is, to put it mildly, an overflowing bag of nuts, and, two, lays the seeds for a movement to bring back the analogies section of the SATs. If you'd like, you can post a Blankley related analogy question in the comment section. The winner gets to go to an internment camp. Wait. What?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Quote of the Day

"My old friend and frequent critic Geoffrey Wheatcroft once tried to define a moment of perfect contentment and came up with the idea of opening a vintage wine while settling down to read an undiscovered work by P.G. Wodehouse. Another comrade identified bliss with writing or reading very hard in the afternoon, knowing that someone really, really nice was coming to dinner. I, too, have a taste for the simpler pleasures. Can I convey the deep sense of delight that stole over me when I learned that George Galloway and Jane Fonda were to go on an "anti-war" tour together and that the idea of this perfect partnership had come from Eve Ensler, author of The Vagina Monologues?

The pure silliness and risibility of the thing would have been quite beyond one's power of invention. And, oh, just to be present when they finally meet. Jane can shyly tell George, who yells daily about the rape of Jerusalem by Zionism, of the brave days in 1982 when she and Tom Hayden went to entertain Gen. Sharon's invading troops in Lebanon. He can huskily and modestly discuss (he says he's a great admirer of her role in Barefoot in the Park) his long record as one of Britain's leading pro-life politicians, and his more recent outrage at the judicial "murder" of Terri Schiavo.

Jane Fonda, who the last I heard was in the throes of a post-orgasmic spiritual transfiguration, was a byword for ditziness even on the left when I was young, and she now issues apologies for her past politics almost as rapidly as Barbarella changed positions." - Hitch, in a fine return to form

Friday, September 02, 2005

Quote of the Day

Among the many instances where members of the news media (apparently roused from their summer long nap) stuck it to the horrifically incompetenet boobs which populate every inch of our teeming bureacuracy, Anderson Cooper handing Mary Landrieu (whose existence as a living, breathing homosapien, let alone a U.S. Senator has always bothered me since she came on the scene) is, by far, my favorite. Keep it up, Anderson:
Anderson Cooper: Does the federal government bear responsibility for what is happening now? Should they apologize for what is happening now?

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D, LA): Anderson, there will be plenty of time to discuss all of those issues, about why, and how, and what, and if. But, Anderson, as you understand, and all of the producers and directors of CNN, and the news networks, this situation is very serious and it's going to demand all of our full attention through the hours, through the nights, through the days.

Let me just say a few things. Thank President Clinton and former President Bush for their strong statements of support and comfort today. I thank all the leaders that are coming to Louisiana, and Mississippi, and Alabama to our help and rescue.

We are grateful for the military assets that are being brought to bear. I want to thank Senator Frist and Senator Reid for their extraordinary efforts.

Anderson, tonight, I don't know if you've heard -- maybe you all have announced it -- bt Congress is going to an unprecedented session to pass a $10 billion supplemental bill tonight to keep FEMA and the Red Cross up and operating.

Cooper: Excuse me, Senator, I'm sorry for interrupting. I haven't heard that, because, for the last four days, I've been seeing dead bodies in the streets here in Mississippi. And to listen to politicians thanking each other and complimenting each other, you know, I got to tell you, there are a lot of people here who are very upset, and very angry, and very frustrated.

And when they hear politicians slap -- you know, thanking one another, it just, you know, it kind of cuts them the wrong way right now, because literally there was a body on the streets of this town yesterday being eaten by rats because this woman had been laying in the street for 48 hours. And there's not enough facilities to take her up.

Do you get the anger that is out here?"
And, as a side note, is it time to kill Michael Chertoff yet? And, if not, let me know when. I'll be out of town and would like to take part in any number of possible public hangings/floggigs/etc. So hit me up on the cell.