Friday, May 30, 2008

Killing Time

The other day Liss and I were talking and she said "Doesn't it seem like we don't even have a government right now? When was the last time there was a major piece of legislation worth discussing?"

I replied, "It's totally like working someplace that is going out of business, and it's like the last couple weeks and everyone's sort of sitting around wondering, hey, should we maybe sweep up or something, but then they think, fuck it, why bother."

Liss added, "It's like we're all just waiting for January Twentieth of next year so the country can start again. Political purgatory."

234 days until something happens.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Safety Dance

Good news for anyone planning to get themselves blown up in the future (pay attention, citizens of Iran), a new, eco-friendly bomb is in the works. German scientists, a group with a solid history of inventing new ways to destroy things, have come up with an explosive material that is good for the environment. You know, aside from what it may vaporize, pulverize or otherwise set aflame.

No, the new explosive doesn't expel poppy seeds and windmills across the countryside when detonated, but it does produce "fewer toxic byproducts than common explosives." That's nice. It's good to know we can dig through rubble with a certain peace of mind now. Maybe they can add scents to the munitions too, that way a war zone can smell like Irish Spring or something.

I guess I'll go remove my "War is bad for children and other living things" bumper sticker from my car now.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sydney Pollack RIP

Veteran director and actor Sydney Pollack died yesterday. Among his more memorable films were Absence of Malice, Out of Africa, and the American classic Tootsie. During his prolific carreer he produced and directed over 40 films, starred in numerous others and even managed to make appearances on TV shows as diverse as King of the Hill, Will & Grace, and The Sopranos.

Pollack was widely admired and respected by his collegues and peers. Upon his passing, George Clooney said "Sydney made the world a little better, movies a little better and even dinner a little better. A tip of the hat to a class act. He'll be missed terribly."

Michael Apted commented "Sydney let the dialogue and the emotion of a scene speak for itself. Not given to cinematic tricks, his gentle and thoughtful touch and his focus on the story let us inhabit the world he created in each film." High praise, if you ask me.

Recount, a dramatization of the 2000 election, a film on which Pollack served as executive producer, is now airing on HBO. Made of Honor, co-starring Pollack, is now in theaters.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

There's No Heaven

Yesterday I wrote a piece about the American Idol finalists where I brushed on some of the reasons for my dislike of David Archuleta, the squeaky-clean young man from Utah and presumed winner. The first draft of that piece included the following few lines:

Take his rendition of John Lennon's "Imagine." He skipped straight to the last verse thereby eviscerating the heart of the song. No surprise really, with it's opening lyric "Imagine there's no Heaven, it's easy if you try." Not the stuff good Mormon boys sing about.
I cut that bit out because I'd already spent two paragraphs lambasting him, and thought enough was enough already (and if anything, subtlety and nuance are my watchwords). What I didn't know at the time was that Archuleta had decided to reprise his performance in last night's show.

When he originally sang the song a couple months back, judge Randy Jackson asked him why he skipped the opening verses of the song. Archuleta responded he only had a minute and a half and could only sing one verse, so he picked his favorite. He added, as he would do countless other times during the course of the show, that he thought the song had "a great message."

When he announced last night he was singing the song again, as his final performance, the first thing I asked was "Is he going to sing all three verses this time?" Not surprisingly, the answer was no.

For those not familiar, here are the verses of the song Archuleta chose not to sing:

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

Archuleta opted instead to sing the third verse, the safe verse, and repeat the chorus three times. I wonder if he thinks the line about "no religion" is one that has "a great message" too.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Clash of the Titans

Tonight's the night, Shakers. The long, hard-fought campaign comes to a close. No, I'm not talking about that business in Kentucky and Oregon; who knows what the hell will happen there. I'm talking about the showdown in Hollywood. Tonight is the final night of competition on American Idol's seventh season.

I know you've all been following my weekly American Idol posts closely and… what? I got busy, okay! I meant to write about it every week, but I was interrupted by painting and picking out duvets and shopping for matching lampshades. Next year, I promise.

Just so you don't feel cheated, here's my recap of the last ten weeks: Bye. Buh-Bye. Bye. Finally! Really? Buh-bye. Bye. Bye. Later. Goodbye.

So, who has survived Simon's witty bon mots and Paula's drunken ramblings? Who are our champions? Whose cuisine will reign supreme?

On one side we've David Archuleta, fresh-faced Mormon boy and Mitt Romney supporter. He's young, he's cute, and I am pretty sure he may be the Antichrist. And his opponent? David Cook, a hip twenty-something emo kid who somehow managed to sing an Our Lady Peace song on national TV and not get voted off: he may be made of Teflon.

Who will win the coveted spot as the seventh American Idol and the sweet record deal that comes along with the tiara? My money's on Archuleta. He's gonna pull in the vote from every teenaged girl and chickenhawk from here to Salt Lake City. He's cute. I'll give him that. He sucks, but he's cute. And that's about all that matters here.

I know lots of people like him and think he's the best thing since tube socks, but I am going to be honest: the kid gives me the creeps. His aww-schucks-oh-wow-golly-you-like-me-you-really-like-me routine comes across as little more than contrived, and when he wins I'm sure we'll see more of the same. And let me tell you, I ain't buying it.

Here's why: In 2004, he was on Star Search. He later went on to win Star Search 2 (and the $100,000 grand prize). He's appeared on TV shows as diverse as The Jenny Jones Show and The Early Show and even managed to get back stage at Idol season one and sing for that season's finalists. He's traveled around the world singing. All of this to much praise. So don't go pretending you're surprised people like you, kiddo. You're not a shy little kid from Utah, you're an overachiever with a conniving stage father, and really, that's not very charming.

But what about his competitor, David Cook? He's certainly more likeable. He's certainly the better singer. His performances have been consistent throughout the season (unlike Archuleta who's been hit-or-miss). And at the very least, Cook has been trying to do something different, in his own emo-pop sort of way, and is one of the most interesting performers the show has had in a long while. And while his unconventional arrangements of oldies like "Billie Jean" and "Hello" might make for great television, I don't think that will carry him to the top spot.

Tune in tonight to see how it all plays out. Or not. There's a Lost rerun on ABC.

Friday, May 16, 2008

McCain on California Marriage Decision

While we're at it:

John McCain supports the right of the people of California to recognize marriage as a unique institution sanctioning the union between a man and a woman, just as he did in his home state of Arizona. John McCain doesn’t believe judges should be making these decisions.
File under "activist judges." How Maverickally Delicious of him.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Magic Number

There's been a lot of talk, since just about forever, that Hillary Clinton should drop out of the race. We've discussed it endlessly, and will likely do so until a nominee is selected, perhaps even after that. Everyone seems to have an opinion as to whether she should run, should have run, should continue to run, deserves to run, has earned the right to run, wank wank wank ad infinitum.

Lately there been a lot of claims that Obama has already won, and so, as these things invariably conclude, Clinton should hang it up. "Fair and square" is how one recent commenter described Obama's victory. But allow me to interject:

2,025 delegates are needed to win the nomination. Obama has 1,865 delegates. Clinton has 1,697.

It's been a long time since I've been in a math class, I'll admit that, but I'm pretty sure the principles of mathematics haven't changed much. I think if they had, I'd have seen it on Yahoo News by now.

Math being what it has been since the time of Archimedes, 1,865 is still less than 2,025. And as such, Obama hasn't won the nomination. And neither has Clinton.

Friday, May 09, 2008


I don't know why R. Kelly is looking at kiddie porn charges, and not statutory rape charges, I haven't really followed the case. I did just want to point out how the AP, yet again, refuses to call rape what it is. Instead Kelly is described as "having sex with a girl as young as 13." As has been pointed out numerous times, sex with children is rape. Period.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

We Got A Mighty Convoy

You all know my love of crazy douchnozzles and their followers. I've a special Fondness for Ron Paul supporters, with their wanktastic Libertarian ethos, penchant For Random capitalization and bizarro grass-roots Campaign tactics.

Paulbots are a special breed with a weird knack for overdoing things. Take this pair of signs, for example, a couple miles outside of town:

They must be a good ten or fifteen feet high, and promise that Ron Paul "Will Work For Freedom!" That may be true so long as you're not a woman and your idea of freedom means the ability to mint your own money or not pay taxes or maybe privatize the fire department.

But, hey, if you're not sure he'll really "work for freedom," check out the little graphic in the middle:

"No Lying Lips Here!" Well, that's a relief. I wasn't sure he's been telling the truth, but now I can rest easy. Nothing says credibility like day-glo spray paint and a hand-made sign hanging near the interstate.

Go, Paulbots, go! Keep rockin' through the night!

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Mullet, Jugs, and Speed

I don't know if you've seen the movie Crank starring Jason Statham, but if you ever have the opportunity, don't. It sucks. I recently described it to some cohorts as "a vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile, vile movie."

When pressed for clarification I responded:

Everything about it was awful.

Foremost was the scene where the hero wants to have sex with his girlfriend, and she says "no" over and over again. That doesn't stop him from pouncing on her. (There's a word for that, you know.) Of course, she suddenly gets into it and turns into a wildcat. All of this happens on the sidewalk in Chinatown, as throngs of onlookers hoot, holler and cheer.

Then there was a foot chase through a hospital where the hero ran over and shoved down countless patients, which I think was supposed to be funny. Or maybe not. I dunno. It went on far too long and was really off-putting.

There was also that tired old sight gag where the hero has a raging hard-on and it's sticking straight out from his waist. Not funny the first time I saw that gag twenty-five years ago, not funny now. (Has anyone in Hollywood ever actually had an erection?)

There was not one likable character in the whole thing. The hero was a contract killer who rapes his girlfriend, beats up elderly hospital patients, makes homophobic wisecracks, etc. and yet we're supposed to somehow give a shit if he lives or dies.

Personally I was hoping the bad guys would kill him.

Not to mention the film making itself was garish, obnoxious, edited in a manner reminiscent of Ritalin-starved music videos by third-rate rock acts.

It was the worst movie I've seen in a long time, and dude, I rented Frankenfish recently.
So I was kind of surprised when I read they were making a sequel. It's doubly strange considering Statham's character does end up dying at the end and is somehow set to star in the follow-up. (And hey, if I just ruined the ending of the movie for you, too bad, I consider that part of my civic duty.) Maybe he'll play an Evil Twin™ or something. Perhaps he'll only show up in flashbacks.

Or maybe he'll be a spectral mentor to the film's other star, Corey Haim. (It could be like Faraway, So Close!, but with buckets of misogyny, racism and homophobia.) Haim may be too much the human trainwreck to appear in Lost Boys 2: The Tribe, but is apparently just trainwrecky enough to be in Crank 2: High Voltage (see inset).

I just hope that's a picture of him after makeup.

Now, I'm going to get a little personal here and address this last bit directly to Jason Statham: I really liked you in Snatch and The Italian Job. I even enjoyed you in Transporter, despite that film otherwise being a total box of suck. I know you want to be a big action star, but come on, crap like this isn't a good idea. Do you think Schwarzenegger looks back on Commando with anything other than shame? How do you think Stallone feels about having Cobra on his résumé? At least Cobra had that weird little scene with Brigitte Nielsen and the robots.

All I'm saying, Jason, to you and everyone else in Hollywood, please stop making crap like this. Please please please. We don't need it. We don't want it.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

There's More To Life Than Books, You Know

But not much more…

Everyone's favorite Dominionist douchenozzle, Mike "Gastric Bypass" Huckabee, is writing a tell-all book! Well, not a traditional tell-all, more the type that's a let-me-tell-you-all-how-fucking-great-I-am book. Due out just in time to be irrelevant, Huckabee's book promises "a lot of untold stories and untold anecdotes." Wow. I can't wait.

Also publishing a memoir this year: Miley Cyrus.