Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
I woke up thinking about Andrew Marvell and Alexander Pope fighting a duel inside a wooden bowl full of Caesar salad. This could not ever have happened (oh really?) because they were not quite contemporaries (Marvell died in 1678, Pope was born ten years later); Caesar salad was not invented until the 20th century; and that would have had to be one huge salad bowl or two really small poets---either way you know something is wrong. I do not remember who was winning, or whether this was bare-knuckled battle or with weapons, but I do recall that every once in a while one of them would try to climb out and a stream of olive oil would run down the side, knocking the combatant back to the salad arena.
In case you are wondering, the answer to the query in the post title is this: It depends on whether the chicken is in chunks or strips.
Friday, December 22, 2006
I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays (Bill O'Reilly can bite me) and extend my sincere congratulations to California, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut and (as of this week) New Jersey for having your heads screwed on straight and your priorities in order. Congratulations!
See you folks next week.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Eager to begin refurbishing his tattered legacy, the President hopes to raise $500 million to build his library and a think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Bush lived in Dallas until he was elected governor of Texas in 1995.Then this appeared on Think Progress about two weeks later:
Bush sources with direct knowledge of library plans told the Daily News that SMU and Bush fund-raisers hope to get half of the half billion from what they call "megadonations" of $10 million to $20 million a pop.
Bush loyalists have already identified wealthy heiresses, Arab nations and captains of industry as potential "mega" donors and are pressing for a formal site announcement - now expected early in the new year.
"You can't ask people in Dallas for $20 million until they can be sure the library won't be in Waco," one Bush source noted.
The rest of the cash will come from donors willing to pony up $25,000 to $5 million.
"It's a stretch," said another source briefed on the plans. "It's so much bigger than anything that's been tried before. But the more you have, the more influence [on history] you can exert."
The half-billion target is double what Bush raised for his 2004 reelection and dwarfs the funding of other presidential libraries. But Bush partisans are determined to have a massive pile of endowment cash to spread the gospel of a presidency that for now gets poor marks from many scholars and a majority of Americans.
The legacy-polishing centerpiece is an institute, which several Bush insiders called the Institute for Democracy. Patterned after Stanford University's Hoover Institution, Bush's institute will hire conservative scholars and "give them money to write papers and books favorable to the President's policies," one Bush insider said.
"I'll be dead when they get it right." – President Bush, on how his legacy will be viewed, according to a "recent visitor" to the White House who says Bush is "still resolutely defiant, convinced history will ultimately vindicate him."Yeah, especially when you stack the deck.
But, of course, the library isn't the entire country. And no matter how much money is invested into this one cluster of buildings, it will end up as a sort of pitiful shrine for the Dubya faithful to take their children on a pilgrimage. "You see, son? He was actually a great man! And it was actually Democrats that got all those soldiers killed and created Civil War in Iraq!"
It's all so very sad. And is it any wonder that the staff of Southern Methodist University have already made their feelings known that they do not wish to be host to this monument to delusion?
Monday, December 18, 2006
Of course, this is a "family value" that should be practiced year round. But the Bill O'Reilly Brigade has been the antithesis of this spirit for two years running, now. Slate has an excellent breakdown of this today:
It's fitting that Eisenhower should have pioneered the tradition of all-purpose holiday messages. They typified his belief that, as he once put it, "Our government makes no sense unless it is founded on a deeply felt religious faith—and I don't care what it is. With us, of course, it is the Judeo-Christian concept, but it must be a religion that all men are created equal." His statement expressed the paradox of America's emerging religious disposition in the 1950s. In many ways, religion was resurgent in public life, with prayer breakfasts, "In God We Trust" added to paper currency, and the words "under God" inserted in the Pledge of Allegiance. Simultaneously, however, the Holocaust had made the merits (indeed the necessity) of religious toleration all the more compelling. Most Protestants, moreover, had come to realize that immigration had permanently transformed the American populace and that for comity to prevail in daily life, diverse creeds would have to coexist. Hence, this was also the golden age of the "interfaith" movement and the spread of that insipid public-relations neologism Judeo-Christian (a phrase that crystallizes the conflation of Christmas and Hanukkah).
Will Herberg's classic Protestant-Catholic-Jew (1955) captured the detente achieved among America's three leading religions. The book examined the Eisenhower Era condition of "pervasive secularism amid mounting religiosity." Herberg concluded that Americans (not unlike Ike) placed a high value not so much on God as on religion itself. "One's particular religion is, of course, to be cherished and loyally adhered to," he wrote, "but it is not felt to be something that one 'flaunts' in the face of people of other faiths." Most Americans in the 1950s believed in God, yet insisted that their beliefs didn't impinge much on their politics or business affairs. And, as Herberg noted, "what is secularism but the practice of the absence of God in affairs of life?" The same mix of private faith and public accommodation—precisely what irritates today's Christianists—prevails today.
The interfaith, tolerant spirit, ascendant in the 1920s, had by the '50s become synonymous with what Herberg called "the American Way of Life." In the decades since, we have expanded the Protestant-Catholic-Jew troika to include Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and others (although not without some ugly resistance). And, certain terms of the compact have been renegotiated, as when the Supreme Court concluded that prayer doesn't belong in public schools—though, in keeping with Herberg's analysis, a moment of silence has remained constitutionally kosher. Overall, the understandings reached by the 1950s have remained an American consensus. Indeed, far from a war on Christmas, this consensus should be seen as a socially useful, ideologically justifiable, and highly agreeable truce.
Far from this, most right-wing Christians have taken their "Freedom of Religion" to mean something else: The Freedom to be Assholes.
Way to propagate the Christmas Spirit, Bill.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
In related news, the CIA unveiled plans to renovate their image by creating their own eye-catching logo.
Despite this bit of modernization, CIA director Michael V. Hayden reassured the country that the CIA will continue to stand for "truth, justice and the American way".
Here's a little taste (via ComingSoon) of what awaits us in Summer 2007:
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
It has already won top honors from the American Film Institute, the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. That's quite a feat for a movie that hasn't gotten one tenth the publicity of Flags of Our Fathers, which was filmed by Eastwood back-to-back with Letters. They serve as companion pieces to tell the story of one battle from both sides, and both have their share of inspiring patriotism as well as heartbreaking disillusionment.
My fear is that when people start talking about Oscar, right-wingers will accuse Eastwood of denigrating troops currently in the field as well as bolstering the enemy we now face (or some such nonsense to that effect). The disadvantage right wingers have at playing this kind of game is that their targets are not always so easily swayed or hit.
They came after Spielberg last year for daring to tell both sides of the story in Munich. Palestinians sympathetic? Perish the thought. Old Steven might just convince some people out there that these are real people with motivations that are not as simply defined as "pure evil". When they lashed out at Spielberg, he didn't bat an eye and gave them as good as he got. My admiration for the man went from seeing him as a great director to seeing him as a great human being.
Incidentally, go check out the website for the film. It's a work of art in and of itself.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
"In all my time in Washington I've never seen such smugness, arrogance, or such insufferable moral superiority. Self-congratulatory. Full of itself. Horrible."I think we now have the textbook example of "pot and kettle" that will stand the test of time.
For a good hour, I tried to pretend that I had never heard of Mel Gibson: the maker of fanatical blockbusters, the spewer of hateful rants. I tried—really tried—to experience Apocalypto as an ethnographic thriller about an ancient culture. But though it may have been researched to within an inch of its life, this film is not, by any reasonable standard, ethnography. It teaches us nothing about Mayan civilization, religion, or cultural innovations. (Calendars? Hieroglyphic writing? Some of the largest pyramids on Earth?) Rather, Gibson's fascination with the Mayans seems to spring entirely from the fact (or fantasy) that they were exotic badasses who knew how to whomp the hell out of one another, old-school. You don't leave Apocalypto thinking of the decline of civilizations or the power of myth or anything much except, wow, that is one sick son of a bitch.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
The dressing becomes the dominant flavor, here. And unlike most other Caesar's, there is no ranch element in this dressing. Instead, it's an incredibly light and tangy element that is refreshing compared to the heaviness of ranches. Also unlike most other Caesar's I have tried, this one takes an ingredient from the Classic Caesar that most restaurants leave out: Egg. The flavor is hardly noticeable combined with the dressing, but it's a worthy addition for it's source of protein and ability to fill you up more (a very desirous attribute when you're talking about an entree salad). The remaining three elements (lettuce, chicken, croutons) are also dominated by the dressing, but not so much as to make them dispensable. The blend of two different lettuces make a nice contrast of textures. The chicken, with no grilled flavor that I could detect, is also good. And the croutons manage to be buttery and crunchy without going overboard into Texas Toast territory.
Again, this salad is particularly recommended for it's filling ability and comparatively cheap price. So if you're looking to work off some of those Christmas sweets, this is a great place to start.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
If there is a bright spot, then it's the fact that what I did write was, I think, pretty good. I plan on completing it after the holidays, perhaps as my New Years Resolution. Otherwise, it's blogging as usual and (surprise!) a new Chicken Caesar review sometime next week. Stay tuned.
Friday, December 01, 2006
I speak, of course, of The Crying Game.
Whitaker plays Jody, a British soldier who is kidnapped by the IRA. As have many prisoners before and after him have done, he attempts to gain sympathy from the guy chosen to guard him, played by Stephen Rea. During their conversations about people and their ability to change, he tells of the old fable that concerns a scorpion and a frog:
Jody: "Scorpion wants to cross a river, but he can't swim. Goes to the frog, who can, and asks for a ride. Frog says, 'If I give you a ride on my back, you'll go and sting me.' Scorpion replies, 'It would not be in my interest to sting you since as I'll be on your back we both would drown.' Frog thinks about this logic for a while and accepts the deal. Takes the scorpion on his back. Braves the waters. Halfway over feels a burning spear in his side and realizes the scorpion has stung him after all. And as they both sink beneath the waves the frog cries out, 'Why did you sting me, Mr. Scorpion, for now we both will drown?' Scorpion replies, 'I can't help it, it's in my nature.'"
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Now that he has refused to be sworn in on a Bible and wishes to substitute a Koran, right wing idiots like Dennis Prager thinks it "undermines American civilization". Never mind the fact that nowhere in the Constitution does it require elected officials to swear on any religious text. These nitwits will never, ever understand the separation of Church & State, so that's why we need to vote every single one of them out of office (or, in the case of Prager, discredit his false arguments at every turn).
BONUS SKIPPY MOMENT: Prager was one of conservatives that appeared in the documentary Fuck, which I reviewed back in May. Near the end, after all his speechifying about language, he let slip the one word that was far dirtier than the title, and also the word that demolished all arguments: Arbitrary. He stated point blank that the demonization and position of the word "Fuck" as a harbinger of cultural chaos was all arbitrary. Definition:
1. Determined by chance, whim, or impulse, and not by necessity, reason, or principle: stopped at the first motel we passed, an arbitrary choice.So much for logic and fairness.
2. Based on or subject to individual judgment or preference: The diet imposes overall calorie limits, but daily menus are arbitrary.
3. Established by a court or judge rather than by a specific law or statute: an arbitrary penalty.
4. Not limited by law; despotic: the arbitrary rule of a dictator.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
With these themes in mind, Thanksgiving is a ripe occasion for his work. The New Yorker actually commissioned five different covers from him for their Thanksgiving issue. I've posted two of them down below. You have to click on the pictures and open them up, but trust me ... they are worth it.
Happy Thanksgiving, folks. Let's give thanks for our loved ones most of all.
Monday, November 20, 2006
Saturday, November 18, 2006
"Dismissed from NASA's space program, former astronaut-in-training Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) pursues his lifelong dream by building his own rocket in the Polish Brothers' family film. On the eve of his launch, he must battle foreclosure on his ranch, a small-town community of disbelievers, the FAA, and FBI agents who want to shut him down in the name of Homeland Security - but remains determined to reach his goal and instill in his children the courage to pursue their own dreams, no matter the odds."
Kinda makes Kevin Costner's character in Field of Dreams sound downright levelheaded and sensible, don't it?
So, it seems they are going for a straight-faced feel-good drama, even though the inclination of most people when they see that poster will be to roll their eyes and/or burst out laughing. You can tell they are going for earnest, because the one thing the poster reminds me of (besides photoshopping over at Worth1000.com) is the poster of The Rookie, another earnest movie of some fortyish guy achieving their dreams while being backlit by a sunset. At least Dennis Quaid isn't wearing a spacesuit and riding a friggin horse!
When Billy Bob Thornton first came onto the scene, his down-home Southern demeanor had some comparing him to Andy Griffith (And for those of you who would consider this an insult, go see A Face in the Crowd). It is then ironic that this film bears an eerie similarity to a cult classic television movie called Salvage. This film starred Griffith as a junkyard owner who dreamed of going to the moon in a spacesuit and rocketship he builds himself. In case you're wondering, the film is every bit as silly as a 1979 TV movie about a homemade spacecraft can be.
I suppose if this film can draw a lesson from it's counterpart from almost thirty years ago, it is this: Keep something like this on the small screen ... and maybe broadcast it opposite the Super Bowl or something.
Friday, November 17, 2006
"In an interview with Fox and Friends this morning, outgoing Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works James Inhofe (R-OK) argued that the current wave of unprecedented warming is due to 'natural changes.' 'God’s still up there,' Inhofe said, and to the extent there is warming going on, it is 'due to the sun.'"Congratulations, Senator. You just inherited the environmental pig-ignorance crown from former Secretary of the Interior James "My responsibility is to follow the Scriptures which call upon us to occupy the land until Jesus returns." Watt.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
So imagine my amusement when I clicked on a link called The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and got this page:
We help companies build chainsaw business productivity infrastructure to fuel chainsaw business growth and transform their chainsaw IT infrastructure into a strategic chainsaw asset!
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Last night on Fox News, former President George H.W. Bush said the current political climate has "gotten so adversarial that it's ugly." Asked to offer an explanation for why there is this "incivility," Bush pinned the blame on bloggers. "It's probably a little worse now given electronic media and the bloggers and all these kinds of things," he said.Yes, George. Because it's all to do with intelligent political commentators like Daily Kos and nothing to do with nation wide broadcasters like Anne Coulter, Rush Limbaugh or any number of people on the conservative news network that's interviewing you. Dipstick.
And Number Two:
Also, Bush revealed that he enjoys using "the email" but lamented that his son, President George W. Bush, cannot for fear that the emails would get subpoenaed. Bush worried that presidents who used email would be forced to prove "that you were telling the truth and all this stuff."
Yes, heaven knows what will happen to the highest office in the land if Dubya was forced to tell the truth.
"The apple doesn't fall very far" and all that.
Unfortunately, I did not win this grand prize, but one of the consolation prizes instead. What was it, you ask? Ahem ...
I don't wish to look a gift horse in the mouth and all that, but could these guys have picked consolation prizes that were somewhat similar to the grand prize?
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Keith Ellison, a 43-year-old defense attorney and state representative, was projected to defeat two rivals to succeed retiring Democrat Martin Sabo in a seat that has been held by Democrats since 1963.
Ellison, who converted to Islam as a 19-year-old college student in his native Detroit, won with the help of Muslims among a coalition of liberal, anti-war voters. "We were able to bring in Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists," he said. "We brought in everybody."
Congratulations, Mr. Ellison. Even more so than soon-to-be-appointed Speaker Nancy Pelosi, you bring some much needed variety to the haggard old WASP's that currently dominate American politics. I salute you.
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Rev. Ted Haggard said yesterday he bought methamphetamine and received a massage from a male prostitute. But the influential Christian evangelist insisted he threw the drugs away and never had sex with the man.But the second one has not been as well publicized:
Haggard, who as president of the National Association of Evangelicals wielded influence on Capitol Hill and condemned both gay marriage and homosexuality, resigned Thursday after a Denver man named Mike Jones claimed he had had many drug-fuelled trysts with Haggard.
Kent "Dr. Dino" Hovind, founder of Creation Science Evangelism and the Dinosaur Adventure Land creationist theme park in Florida ("where Dinosaurs and the Bible meet!"), and his wife face more than 200 years in jail for tax fraud. ... Yesterday, Dr. Dino was found guilty on 58 counts, including not paying an $845,000 employee-related tax bill.You can read more of that second story here.
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Which is my awkward segue to the film Johnny Handsome. Rourke plays the title character, who has some physical features similar to the Elephant Man, but is also a smart crook. When he is left for dead by a couple of double-crossers, he's put in a prison hospital and given the opportunity to undergo experimental surgery to fix his face and also start a new life. The doctor, natch, is played by our good friend Forest Whitaker (with a heavy bai-yoo accent). The following exchange is right after he details to Johnny the surgery he wants to perform.
Dr. Steven Fisher: "Anyway, this is not an abstraction for you. You can come out of this with a normal life."
Johnny Handsome: "This experiment is all bulls*&t. I'm still going to be Johnny Handsome."
Dr. Steven Fisher: "I will give you a new name. I will give you a new face. I will give you new identification and a chance at a new life. They do that for witnesses. I can do that for you."
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Specifically, that means that, as of today, all three Beastie Boys are now officially in their forties.
I know that this is Halloween and all, but this is more depressing than scary.
Monday, October 30, 2006
"Hi, I'm Ryan Phillippe, serious actor. How serious? I was the star of this year's Best Picture Oscar winner, Crash. And now, I'm the star of Flags Of Our Fathers, the latest film from two-time Best Director Oscar winner Clint Eastwood. I am a big, big deal. Can someone please tell my wife so that she'll let me choose what restaurant we go to or pick out colours for the new living room design she's paying for?"And then later that morning via the Associated Press ...
"Hi, I'm Reese Witherspoon. My husband said what? ... No, whatever -- did you say 'my husband'? I could swear we fired that guy back in May. I have to make a call."
Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, who started the year on an Oscar-winning high, are ending it on a low note: The couple have separated.
"We are saddened to announce that Reese and Ryan have decided to formally separate," publicist Nanci Ryder said in a statement issued Monday on behalf of the couple.
Oddly enough, they included the Pyramids in the voting. I think that they should be a given for the new set and we should only vote on six to replace the ones that are gone. It's the least we can do for all that slave labor that died building the damn things.
Go and vote. Spread the word. It may be the best part of your Monday morning.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
All this means that after the obligatory Forest Whitaker Quote and maybe another LEGO post, I'll be signing off for 30 days. So be forewarned!
All three of you.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Of course, a number of the disks seem to have deteriorated past the ability to play, but some of the most memorable ones still work.
I was able to pick up where I left off maybe sixteen, seventeen years ago with my party of six adventurers (Named "Palin", "Cleese", "Jones", "Gilliam", "Chapman" & "Idle") and go roving about the countryside killing Giant Bees and such. I mean, really, why blow your money on a PSP2 when you have stuff like this around the house?
Monday, October 23, 2006
He decided that he would tackle Bob Dylan on this album by doing a parody of "Subterranean Homesick Blues". And when he approached this task, he made a decision: Since Bob Dylan's lyrics don't make any sense anyway (and thus are hard to do a straightforward parody of), he decided to form the lyrics completely out of Palindromes. The result must be heard to be believed. Go listen and watch "Bob" here.
Thanks to Slate for cluing me in to this song as well as providing a great essay about Yankovic's career.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Which brings me to a Republican political commercial that is making the rounds on television. It's funded by an old white male billionaire and it's target audience are young, low income blacks. The commercial feature two young black males talking about abortion. Here's their exchange:
BLACK MAN #1: "If you make a little mistake with one of your 'hos,' you'll want to dispose of that problem tout suite, no questions asked."The first impression from this exchange is obvious: This canny billionaire Republican has obviously uncovered our secret plan to force all American women to have abortions if we get back in power, thus the motivation for these two guys to vote GOP. Damn. They got us dead to rights, didn't they?
BLACK MAN #2: "That's too cold. I don't snuff my own seed."
BLACK MAN #1: "Maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican."
But that's not what I wanted to address. This is: "Tout Suite"
"Tout Suite"? "Tout Suite"?!?
The article that is linked above takes issue with the use of the word "ho's", which is a fair argument. However, I can't get past the whole "tout suite" thing, myself. I mean, my confession does apply here in that I'm not all that familiar with modern slang. However, I'm pretty sure "tout suite" went the way of the dodo sometime before LBJ was president. Hearing the first guy use that term was so jarring that I half expected the second one to end his sentence with "23 Skidoo"! I mean, we knew that Republicans were out of touch, but come on!
And as a postscript to this, you should know that there are two spellings and meanings to this term. "Toot Sweet" was popular with soldiers during WWI as a way to say "quick as you can". It's obvious they wanted this meaning for the commercial. "Tout Suite", however, is a French term for a silent fart, which miraculously makes this entire farce even funnier than it was.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
In my searching, I also came across a long list of nicknames that Bush uses. I don't know as to the authenticity of each of these names, though I have read in numerous places that nicknaming is a habit Dubya uses to remember people. The names range from innocuous (Dick Cheney is "Big Time") to obvious (George Sr. is "Poppy") to downright insulting (Vladimir Putin is "Pootie-Poot").
And then there's current Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, whom Bush apparently calls "Fredo". I don't know. Even considering how much the guy has helped Bush over the years, I'd be nervous of a nickname like that. At the very least, I'd avoid any impromptu fishing trips.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
I wouldn't be surprised if this whole site served as an elaborate audition tape for the actress who plays "Ms. Dewey". She's definitely a charmer.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
"If the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush Administration again, all right?"Bill O'Reilly now:
"Over the next three nights, President Bush will have his say. You will know exactly where he stands on the most vital issues facing America and the world. Because every presidential interview is finite - time is always a concern - I decided to concentrate on the conflicts - Iraq, Iran, North Korea and terror - rather than on domestic issues. Also, I think it's important to look ahead rather than to look back. what good does it do to rehash WMDs? Does that do you any good?"I heard that the current bid on Ebay for O'Reilly's spine is a buck fifty.
It's quite a film, and must have been rather daring when it was released in 1959. Instead of laying blame on a specific superpower, the film is more a general cautionary note against the nuclear arms race. Apparently, this was still too radical for some during the height of the Cold War. The New York Daily News took a swipe at the film in it's review:
"This is a would-be shocker which plays right up the alley of a) the Kremlin and b) the Western defeatists and/or traitors who yelp for the scrapping of the H-bomb. ... See this picture if you must (it seems bound to be much talked about), but keep in mind that the thinking it represents points the way toward eventual Communist enslavement of the entire human race."Reading this was reassuring in a way. It shows that the language of the radical and dangerous right wing hasn't changed a hell of a lot in almost fifty years. It makes the shmucks easier to spot.
Monday, October 16, 2006
Russia is out to find its own Brooke Shields to star in a new, local-language version of the sitcom "Suddenly Susan."
The Russian reincarnation of NBC's 1996-2000 series, which starred Shields in the title role as a San Francisco columnist, is part of a big move by the show's producer, Warner Bros., to develop foreign versions of old U.S. sitcoms, such as "Perfect Strangers," "Step by Step" and "Full House." (Warner Bros., like CNN, is a unit of Time Warner.)
"Susan" is being produced in conjunction with a Russian broadcaster, CTC, which will shoot 40 episodes of the series. CTC has also committed to 40 episodes of "Step by Step" and 20 episodes of "Full House."
Meanwhile, the first episode of the Russian version of "Perfect Strangers" debuted a week ago on Ren TV. Mismatched roommates Larry and Balki have become Ivan (Artem Semakin) and Andrei (Anton Eldarov). Andrei arrives from his remote ex-Soviet republic and moves straight into the flat of his Moscow cousin, Ivan, where cultures clash between the two dissimilar characters.
I know there is still some pent up anger on the part of Americans for the now-defunct evil empire, but this is just cruel!
Sunday, October 15, 2006
They're giving us the whole. damn. thing.
Now think about this for a moment. SNL is currently in it's thirty-second season. It's logical to assume that they aren't going to stop at season one or even season five (though, if I ever have the inclination to buy any of these gargantuan sets, my purchases won't likely go past this point). According to the episode guide, there was a total of 604 episodes in seasons one to thirty-one. At 70 minutes an episode (90 minutes minus commercials), that means a complete set of box sets of the past 31 seasons will come to just over 704 hours of material. Watching this at a rate of, say, 16 hours a day would mean you could complete it in a month and a half.
I can't imagine anyone who would want to do this, myself very much included. All the number crunching I did is just to demonstrate what a friggin huge amount of material this is. And a great deal of it, sorry to say, sucks.
But as I said, I may be tempted to grab at least Season One. If nothing else, it would be a great time capsule. When George Carlin took the stage as host of the premier episode on October 11, 1975, I was one day shy of my second birthday. I obviously don't remember watching it during that first run, but I did catch the truncated episodes they showed on Nick at Nite When I was in High School.
Those are good memories. Perhaps even good enough to blow eighty dollars on Season One.
Friday, October 13, 2006
This clip is from The Ice Harvest and has Billy Bob Thornton doing some Slingblade improv during one of his scenes with John Cusack. It's even funnier if you've seen both Slingblade and Ice Harvest, but it's still pretty damn funny on it's own.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
With recruitment down sharply, and the prospect of being held back by the nation of millions appearing once again likely, top-ranking Public Enemy officials issued an order Monday for all retired Security Of The First World personnel to return to active duty.
"In order to come to the aid of the hip-hop nation, we must regrettably ask those men who heroically served the Black Planet to once again don their fatigues and take up their plastic arms," S1W Chief and Public Enemy Minister Of Information Professor Griff said. "We have no more options. It's not as though we can simply call 911. That would be a joke."
"Some see this as a sign of defeat," Griff added. "Don't believe the hype: We will come out triumphant in this Mess Age."
S1W comprised the paramilitary security wing of the Public Enemy forces from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s. Their intimidating martial presence and synchronized dance steps routinely struck fear in the hearts of concertgoers hoping to enjoy a Beastie Boys or Big Audio Dynamite performance.
Personally, I'd love to see a cage match with the entire Public Enemy group vs. about a dozen of the biggest Gansta Rappers out there today. It wouldn't even be a contest.
Where's Chuck D when you need him?
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
I mention this because the trailer for his next film Grindhouse (which can be found at ComingSoon.net) seems to be even more evocative of the period than the Kill Bill films were. It's NSFW, so check it out when you get home.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
Overweight middle-aged adults tend to score more poorly on tests of memory, attention and learning ability than their thinner peers do, researchers reported Monday.Just what I needed. You know, I always suspected that the ... uh ... what was I talking about?
The findings, they say, suggest that a heavier weight in middle age may mean a higher risk of dementia later in life.
Reporting in the journal Neurology, the researchers speculate that higher rates of cardiovascular disease or diabetes might help explain the link. But it’s also possible that substances produced by fat cells, such as the hormone leptin, have direct effects on the brain.
Oooh, look! A birdie!
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
Dennis Hastert's 2004 book Speaker: Lessons from Forty Years in Coaching and PoliticsHuh? No, the currently besieged Speaker of the House did not star in the 2000 film with Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich. The Amazon keyword search simply picked up on an actor named Patrick Hastert, who has the honor of playing "Reporter #3" in the film.
An "I Love J. Dennis Hastert" Long Sleeve T-shirt (?!?!?!)
An "I voted for J. Dennis Hastert" Keychain
The Shadow of the Vampire DVD
However, it is interesting to note that the film's plot concerns a megalomaniac who discovers that someone he is in charge of is habitually out harming others. Instead of acting out so that further harm is prevented, the megalomaniac keeps it a secret so that his own plans may not be disrupted. In the end, the man who has been harming people dies and the megalomaniac goes on to reap his success.
I'm thinking the parallels are going to stop before that happens, though.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
LOTT: "I always had trouble understanding — Iraqis look like Iraqis, and Americans look like Americans. Now I can’t tell –"I initially tried to write about this in regular paragraph form, but I'm thinking that bullet points will be easier:
STEWART: "You mean that as unity, not as what the hell, they all look alike to me."
LOTT: "Methodist, Baptists, and Catholics live in my hometown. They all look the same to me, they all look like Americans."
- Racial breakdown of Grenada, Mississippi, Trent Lott's birthplace: 98.6% Whites and African Americans, 1.4% Other (Including Hispanic, Asian and Arabic).
- Racial breakdown of the United States of America: 87.4% Whites and African Americans, 12.6% Other (Including Hispanic, Asian and Arabic).
- Religious breakdown of Mississippi: 93.0% Christian or related sects, 7.0% Other or None (Including Jewish, Muslim and Hindu).
- Religious breakdown of the United States of America: 76.5% Christian or related sects, 23.5% Other or None (Including Jewish, Muslim and Hindu).
Citizenship ain't what it used to be.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Yes, my droogies, we're talking about the dreaded Battlefield Earth. Whitaker plays Ker, sidekick to big alien honcho Terl (John Travolta) in all their underhanded and sadistic activities. Reviewer Ken Begg over at Jabootu's Bad Movie Dimension actually makes some specific comments about Whitaker in the "Afterthoughts" section of his review:
"Unsurprisingly, Forest Whitaker provides the closest thing to a decent performance here. A real and actual actor, he gamely attempts to bring his role as it's written to life. Which is as someone who, despite being incredibly dense, persists in believing that he's slyer than those around him. (And considering how smart Terl and the rest come off, you can't really blame him.) Rather than helping, however, Whitaker's efforts serve instead to throw the film further off-kilter. The problem is that the cast brings so many different sensibilities to their performances. Whitaker, for his part, nobly tries to bring some depth and weight to his role. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast, all pretty much novices except for one obvious exception, brings a stolid, uninspired seriousness to their roles. This, in turn, serves mainly to amplify the script's already prodigious unintended humor factor."That's pretty much spot on. But I suffered through this whole mess for a reason, and that was to bring you folks a quote. Alas, the only thing really quote-worthy spoken by Whitaker is the film's last line, which is spoken to Terl after he has been imprisoned by the humans inside of Fort Knox.
Ker: "Look at the bright side: You may not be wallowing in luxury on Psychlo, but at least you finally got your gold!"And lest you think that everybody is a little too hard on this silly sci-fi film, I point you to the trivia section over at IMDb that says, "Forest Whitaker expressed his regret for participating in this movie". Ouch. I guess John Travolta was moving his own damn couch after this one.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Republican state attorney general candidate Jeanine Pirro said Wednesday she was under federal investigation for plotting to secretly record her husband to find out whether he was having another affair.Nothing special here. But I did enjoy this latter comment in the article:
Pirro, speaking at a Manhattan news conference, said that any probe into her troubled marriage was "highly improper" but she had no intention of quitting her campaign.
She repeatedly said this was a personal matter involving her husband and charged she was the target of "an unethical, overzealous prosecutor with a partisan agenda."Pirro is currently running for Attorney General only because she dropped out of a Senate race against Senator Clinton when her party realized she couldn't defeat Hillary. Now that she's not slinging mud anymore at the former First Lady, maybe the two should get together and chat about overzealous prosecutors with partisan agendas sticking their nose into politician's personal lives.
Apparently, Republicans have never heard of the concept until now.
That's when I first saw "Brick Central Terminal".
This corner of the LEGO department contained dozens of clear plastic bins with batches of LEGO pieces. Each bin contained a specific type and color piece. While I stood staring at this, slackjawed, Mrs. Mosley spotted the sign off to the side that explained how one could purchase a bag of LEGO for 19.99. The bag, almost the length of a subway footlong, had a zipper seal on top to settle what one could get away with in terms of "a bag full" in this scenario.
Believe it or not, I hesitated. Fortunately, Mrs. Mosley was there to prod me on and insist I get a bag. So I did. In fact, two nights later, I got a second one.
And here they are:
Big yellow bags just about to burst with LEGO goodness. Here's the combined pile of them:
For those of you not understanding the significance of all this, let me explain. When you buy a set, and you plan to use those piece to make other things, you may end up with a lot of pieces you don't have a lot of use for. An opportunity to buy exactly what you want is, therefore, pretty damn cool.
But allow me to express this in economics. The total cost of the two bags was 40 dollars and the total amount of bricks was 1,761. Now, lets take a sample set like the 4881 Robo Platoon (which Mrs. Mosley got for me sometime back). It has lots of small pieces, which I leaned heavily towards in my choices, and few really specialized parts. That set currently goes for $10.00 and has 218 pieces. If I bought 8 of those sets, I'd have 1,744 pieces, which means that I got twice the amount of LEGO for my money in Toys R Us.
LEGO FANS REJOICE!
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
- Broadway - There was nothing playing that really got both of us excited to see, Except for maybe Wicked, and that was not an option at the half-price TKTS booth. So we went and saw The Producers and had a grand old time. Incidentally, this makes two Broadway plays I've seen on vacation in other cities (the other was The Lion King in Toronto) and they were both based on films I haven't seen yet. Weird.
- Central Park - Easily one of the highlights of our trip. We took a stroll through the southern half of it only hours after landing and checking into our hotel. The weather was clear and cool and we ate lunch next to "The Pond". We then wandered and ended up on a bench on "The Mall" (Ingenious names this park has). Someone played a saxophone down on one end while Mrs. Mosley's head lay in my lap. Moments don't get more perfect than that.
- Empire State Building - You know, I might have been able and willing to wait an hour in line to go on Thunder Mountain ten years ago, but I'll be damned if I'll do it these days for most anything, including King Kong's hangout. To quote Sergeant Roger Murtaugh: "I'm too old for this sh*t!"
- Jackhammers - We passed only one, and it was working on a building and not the street itself.
- Panhandling - Two large instances of this on the subway itself. Both were during crowded periods. The first guy set down his hat (some change already jingling in it) and did a very loud spiel asking for money, gum, cigarettes, anything. He did get some change from others, and Mrs. Mosley and I simultaneously wondered if he jumped a turnstile or actually paid two dollars in order to come down here and beg for change. The second guy, who wandered from one end of the subway car to another offering (of all things) AA and AAA batteries for sale. Unfortunately for him, we happened to be flush at the time.
- Pigeon droppings - Yep. Once while standing on a street corner and the bird was perched on a street sign above my head. Little bastard.
- Post 9/11 security - The extra airport security was expected, including the whole "no liquids" thing. What wasn't expected was the fact that security to enter the Statue of Liberty was higher than the airports themselves. We went through the standard security routine once to get on the ferry and a second time to enter the statue. The second also had some sort of compressed air thingy that blew at your sides in case you carried a biological weapon on your clothes.
- Queens - This was the only borough outside of Manhattan that we ventured into. I'm not sure what I expected to find there, but Mrs. Mosley's first words as we emerged from the underground subway station was, "Hey! We're in the suburbs!".
- Street Vendors - No, we didn't get around to partaking of any of these. Mrs. Mosley's stomach can be sensitive to strangely cooked meat, so we took a pass. However, as much talk as I had heard about hot dogs and pretzels, the smells seemed to overwhelmingly indicate that marinated chicken on skewers was the most popular dish at these places. I have to admit, they did smell good.
- Subway - We took the subway to quite a few places throughout the city, though Mrs. Mosley and I agreed that it's not as easy to understand as the other three subway systems we have used on our trips (London, Toronto, D.C.).
- Taxi Cabs - We rode in cabs twice during the trip. The first was from Laguardia to our hotel after we landed and the second was from our hotel to Penn Station when we left. For the record, the first cabbie did wear a turban (East Indian, not Arabic).
- Times Square - It's as crowded and flashy and gaudy as you'd imagine, yet it's strangely charming because of it. Since I'm not partial to crowds, I wouldn't want to spend a huge amount of time there, but I'm glad I was able to visit for a little while.
- Traffic - Though it may be foolish to try and navigate all over Jacksonville with just public transportation, I am convinced it would be downright insane to get around NYC by car. Honestly, I saw more traffic jams at all times of day in all parts of town. It's ridiculous. And I think some of my suspension of disbelief will from now on be threatened if I ever see another movie with a NYC high speed car chase in it. It simply can't be done.
- Transvestites - I spotted one on a subway platform while we waited quite a while for our train. He had on high heels (natch), cigarette pants, a pink blouse and a white-blonde whig. A very fifties look. However, the whig didn't go nearly far enough to cover up his natural brown hair, half an inch of which could easily be seen. Nice try, though.
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Bill Clinton did what almost none of us have done in five years.
He has spoken the truth about 9/11, and the current presidential administration.
"At least I tried," he said of his own efforts to capture or kill Osama bin Laden. "That’s the difference in me and some, including all of the right-wingers who are attacking me now. They had eight months to try; they did not try. I tried."
Thus in his supposed emeritus years has Mr. Clinton taken forceful and triumphant action for honesty, and for us; action as vital and as courageous as any of his presidency; action as startling and as liberating, as any, by any one, in these last five long years.
The Bush Administration did not try to get Osama bin Laden before 9/11.
The Bush Administration ignored all the evidence gathered by its predecessors.
The Bush Administration did not understand the Daily Briefing entitled "Bin Laden Determined To Strike in U.S."
The Bush Administration did not try.
Moreover, for the last five years one month and two weeks, the current administration, and in particular the President, has been given the greatest “pass” for incompetence and malfeasance in American history!
President Roosevelt was rightly blamed for ignoring the warning signs—some of them, 17 years old—before Pearl Harbor.
President Hoover was correctly blamed for—if not the Great Depression itself—then the disastrous economic steps he took in the immediate aftermath of the Stock Market Crash.
Even President Lincoln assumed some measure of responsibility for the Civil War—though talk of Southern secession had begun as early as 1832.
But not this president.
To hear him bleat and whine and bully at nearly every opportunity, one would think someone else had been president on September 11th, 2001 -- or the nearly eight months that preceded it.
That hardly reflects the honesty nor manliness we expect of the executive.
But if his own fitness to serve is of no true concern to him, perhaps we should simply sigh and keep our fingers crossed, until a grown-up takes the job three Januarys from now.
Except for this.
After five years of skirting even the most inarguable of facts—that he was president on 9/11 and he must bear some responsibility for his, and our, unreadiness, Mr. Bush has now moved, unmistakably and without conscience or shame, towards re-writing history, and attempting to make the responsibility, entirely Mr. Clinton’s.
Of course he is not honest enough to do that directly.
As with all the other nefariousness and slime of this, our worst presidency since James Buchanan, he is having it done for him, by proxy.
Thus, the sandbag effort by Fox News Friday afternoon.
Consider the timing: the very weekend the National Intelligence Estimate would be released and show the Iraq war to be the fraudulent failure it is—not a check on terror, but fertilizer for it.The kind of proof of incompetence, for which the administration and its hyenas at Fox need to find a diversion, in a scapegoat.
It was the kind of cheap trick which would get a journalist fired—but a propagandist, promoted:
Promise to talk of charity and generosity; but instead launch into the lies and distortions with which the Authoritarians among us attack the virtuous and reward the useless.And don’t even be professional enough to assume the responsibility for the slanders yourself; blame your audience for “e-mailing” you the question.
Mr. Clinton responded as you have seen.
He told the great truth untold about this administration’s negligence, perhaps criminal negligence, about bin Laden.
He was brave.
Then again, Chris Wallace might be braver still. Had I in one moment surrendered all my credibility as a journalist, and been irredeemably humiliated, as was he, I would have gone home and started a new career selling seeds by mail.
The smearing by proxy, of course, did not begin Friday afternoon.
Disney was first to sell-out its corporate reputation, with "The Path to 9/11." Of that company’s crimes against truth one needs to say little. Simply put: someone there enabled an Authoritarian zealot to belch out Mr. Bush’s new and improved history.The basic plot-line was this: because he was distracted by the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton failed to prevent 9/11.
The most curious and in some ways the most infuriating aspect of this slapdash theory, is that the Right Wingers who have advocated it—who try to sneak it into our collective consciousness through entertainment, or who sandbag Mr. Clinton with it at news interviews—have simply skipped past its most glaring flaw.
Had it been true that Clinton had been distracted from the hunt for bin Laden in 1998 because of the Monica Lewinsky nonsense, why did these same people not applaud him for having bombed bin Laden’s camps in Afghanistan and Sudan on Aug. 20, of that year? For mentioning bin Laden by name as he did so?
That day, Republican Senator Grams of Minnesota invoked the movie "Wag The Dog."
Republican Senator Coats of Indiana questioned Mr. Clinton’s judgment.
Republican Senator Ashcroft of Missouri—the future attorney general—echoed Coats.
Even Republican Senator Arlen Specter questioned the timing.
And of course, were it true Clinton had been “distracted” by the Lewinsky witch-hunt, who on earth conducted the Lewinsky witch-hunt?
Who turned the political discourse of this nation on its head for two years?
Who corrupted the political media?
Who made it impossible for us to even bring back on the air, the counter-terrorism analysts like Dr. Richard Haass, and James Dunegan, who had warned, at this very hour, on this very network, in early 1998, of cells from the Middle East who sought to attack us, here?
Who preempted them in order to strangle us with the trivia that was, “All Monica All The Time”?
Who distracted whom?
This is, of course, where—as is inevitable—Mr. Bush and his henchmen prove not quite as smart as they think they are.
The full responsibility for 9/11 is obviously shared by three administrations, possibly four.
But, Mr. Bush, if you are now trying to convince us by proxy that it’s all about the distractions of 1998 and 1999, then you will have to face a startling fact that your minions may have hidden from you.
The distractions of 1998 and 1999, Mr. Bush, were carefully manufactured, and lovingly executed, not by Bill Clinton, but by the same people who got you elected President.
Thus, instead of some commendable acknowledgment that you were even in office on 9/11 and the lost months before it, we have your sleazy and sloppy rewriting of history, designed by somebody who evidently read the Orwell playbook too quickly.
Monday, September 25, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Arrivederci, and all that Jazz!
Monday, September 18, 2006
All of this leads to a picture of one fan that popped up on the First Coast News website this morning:
When viewing that picture above, one has to consider if it is more or less ridiculous than this:
My conclusion? About the same. I guess that means we're really in the big leagues now.
In lieu of original content, I present this handy-dandy chart by Wired magazine that compares the odds of dying from a terrorist attack to other causes of death in the United States. Enjoy! (Via Boing Boing):
Thursday, September 14, 2006
While taking this series of shots of Battersea Power Station in the early hours a police car pulled up on Grosvenor Road and two officers, one female, one male got out. They told me that they were stopping me under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and asked what I was doing.
"Taking photos," said I.
"What of?" asked she
"Battersea Power Station," I said. "Would you like to see some."
"Yes, if you don't mind," she said.
I showed her a picture.
"Can I see some more?"
I showed her 6 or 7.
"They're very good," she said. "Have you go any ID?"
"Yeah," I said, handing her my driver's licence... "what do you need that for?"
"If we stop anyone under the Prevention of Terrorism Act we have to fill in some paperwork. Do you have any possessions?"
I pointed at my bike with a bag on the panier.
"Just that," I said.
"Okay... well, even looking through your camera constitues a search so we have to fill in the form."
She started filling in Form 5090: Stops and Searches.
"It's a beautiful building," said her colleague. "The thing is, we're in Central London and we have to be really careful these days. I like your shots though ... very nice. What do you do with them?"
"Nothing really," I said. "I'll probably put a couple of them on a website."
"Right. What website is that then?"
"Oh flickr!" said the WPC, stopping her form-filling for a moment. "I've got photos on there. Photos of my wedding from 7 weeks ago."
"Really?" I asked. "It's good isn't it? Oh... and congratulations on 7 weeks ago."
"Thanks," she said with a smile. "So... have you ever been arrested?"
She picked up her walkie talkie and contacted someone else, asking them to run a check on my name. There was no awkward break in the conversation though as her colleague picked up the slack."
So, is digital the same as a film camera at night?" he asked.
"How do you mean?"
"Y'know, exposure time and all that... with the poor light," he explained.
"Yeah, I guess so," I said. "That's why I like night time photography. But I've never been any good with film."
The walkie-talkie crackled into life to tell them there was no match with my details.
"Do you mind if I write down that website?" asked PC Chap.
"It's flickr.com" said PC Lady.
"There are thousands of people posting photos there." I explained.
"How do I find yours?" he asked.
"flickr.com, slash photos, slash dgbalancesrocks," I said. "Don't ask."
"Here's your copy of the form," she said, handing it to me. "Nice chatting to you. You can carry on if you like."
"Thanks," I said. "Have a good evening."
"Thanks," said he.
"Thanks," said she.
And they drove off into the night. It was all surprisingly jolly. A novel good cop/good cop routine.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Saturday, September 09, 2006
"In a clearly hurried and panicked half-response, ABC has just issued a defensive statement declaring that the movie is 'unfinished'. ('Unfinished?' Really? What now, do you suppose they need to put a few computer-graphics Jar-Jars in the White House meetings, just to spice things up a bit?)"
Thursday, September 07, 2006
#10 - "Look, I don't want to wax philosophic, but I will say that if you're alive you've got to flap your arms and legs, you've got to jump around a lot, for life is the very opposite of death, and therefore you must at very least think noisy and colorfully, or you're not alive." - Mel Brooks
#9 - "We're all here to fart around. Don't let anyone tell you any different!" - Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country
#8 - "We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone." - Orson Welles
#7 - "Forty-two" - Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
#6 - "The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we're gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, 'cause that's what it does. It's a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it's true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn't share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn't know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, 'Why are we here?' Plastic ... asshole!" - George Carlin, Jammin' In New York
#5 - "My formula for living is quite simple. I get up in the morning and I go to bed at night. In between, I occupy myself as best I can." - Cary Grant
#4 - "You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life." - Albert Camus
#3 - "Well, it's nothing very special. Uh, try to be nice to people, avoid eating fat, read a good book every now and then, get some walking in, and try to live together in peace and harmony with people of all creeds and nations." - Monty Python and the Meaning of Life
#2 - "I think I've discovered the secret of life - you just hang around until you get used to it." - Charles Schulz
#1 - "Deep down, all of us are probably aware that some kind of mystical evolution - a melding into the godhead, into love - is our true task. Yet we suppress the notion with considerable force because to admit it is to admit that most of our political gyrations, religious dogmas, social ambitions, and financial ploys are not merely counterproductive but trivial. Our mission is to jettison those pointless preoccupations and take on once again the primordial cargo of inexhaustible ecstasy. Or, barring that, to turn out a good thin-crust pizza and a strong glass of beer." - Tom Robbins in Life magazine, 1991
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
“The secret of life is butter.”--Chef Didier (Gerard Depardieu)It's a very appealing way to look at it, but the question remains: Does he mean it in the Julia Child way or in the Last Tango in Paris way?