Monday, December 29, 2003

Back to the movie posts

B-Fest lineup is out. Should be fun, as I've only seen two of the features.

In news sure to be ignored in the Oscar ceremony "Death Reel," the beautiful Anita Mui passed away after a brief bout with cervical cancer. You can see her in a number of Hong Kong flicks, including Heroic Trio with Maggie Cheung and Michelle Yeoh, and probably the best Jackie Chan movie ever, Drunken Master 2 (released here as Legend of Drunken Master)

Saw Return of the King. It was okay. I guess it was much better than okay, actually, but it didn't move me. If I never see another Liv Tyler film, it'll be too soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Just saw this morning that Al Gore III was busted for pot. Look for columns this week about how this proves...well, I'm not too sure what it's supposed to prove. Something bad about Gore Jr., and by extension Democrats and liberals, to be sure. Just hope some of those columnists remember that if the rules were applied evenhandedly in Ashcroft's America, Jenna Bush would be jailed under the three-strikes law.

UPDATED: It's Gore III's third brush with the law since 2000, not his second. So he and Jenna could maybe hook up in rehab, the families could bury the hatchet, and paparazzi could catch Franken & Coulter snogging at the reception.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Kathleen Parker, Part Deux

I hope her hand doesn't cramp up writing free passes for Republicans:

Al Gore neglects to pick up a phone:"Has ambition ever been so naked?...Gore may have squandered his moral equity."

Strom Thurmond's lifetime of hypocrisy is an open secret no more: "It's complicated. Things happen."

Good Lord. Breakfast tasted better going down.

Friday, December 19, 2003

three people will get this,

...and I'm married to one of them.

I was at work the other day preparing an insurance tax form for South Carolina. This one was basically a big list of all the municipalities in that state. So I was briefly entertained by the names of a few of the cities. North, for example. Yep, North, SC. And Ninety Six. I wonder if the confederate flag flies freely in Union, SC?

So then I came across...West Columbia. And the only thought that hit me was:

Hey, West Columbia, South Carolina. That's the home of United Music World Recording Studios, Incorporated. If I ever plan to make a record, I can go there. They have the finest sound available anywhere.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Talk about the Passion

Remind me to pick up a copy of Bored of the Rings sometime, because I am. I'm looking forward to seeing Return of the King at some time, probably during the holidays, but it's more get-it-over-with than anything else.

So the big movie of 2003 is now upon us, and it looks like the big movie of 2004 will be The Passion, no, The Passion of Christ, no, The Passion of THE Christ. After a few screenings for various religious groups, it made a surprise appearance as the finale of Aint it Cool News's Butt-Numb-A-Thon. The crowd of movie geeks went wild for it, and by all accounts it eclipsed the Return of The King screening just hours earlier as THE pinnacle of the event. Even the pope took time out of his busy schedule writing checks to victims of abusive priests to see it, and gave it the thumbs up.

So I'm now intrigued by this movie I previously labeled fraught. If Mel Gibson's not actually in it, it's less likely to be a big strokefest like Braveheart was. But I'm also now convinced that the "controversy" over The Passion was planted by Gibson and his people. It all started with a group associated with the US Bishops Council denouncing a "probably stolen early draft" of the script as potentially anti-Semitic. How'd they get the script? I speculate that Team Passion leaked an early, or perhaps deliberately incendiary script, having learned from Last Temptation of Christ that any publicity is good publicity. Then with the film positioned as a political hot potato, the conservative press would take the ball and run, never seeing a Hollywood Is Bad story it didn't like.

So, props to Gibson for taking a page from William Castle's book. Maybe they can offer Rapture insurance policies as well.
Fellow Dead Pooler Scott Monty's posted a few thing lately worthy of comment, but his lack of a comment tool means I have to wait to get home to post anything, and then those plans get sidetracked.

So, a few qualms with recent Monty posts:

Monty vs. the ACLU was full of shameful distortion really good; even worthy of the pros at FOX News. In mentioning the ACLU protesting an appearance by Santa at a public school, he omitted the main point of protest: the Santa in question was a minister, and was reportedly directing students deemed "in need of guidance" to Christian resources; if true, a clear violation of the Establishment clause. Scott's claim that the ACLU "cares not a whit about the First Amendment" where religion is concerned has been refuted countless times through the years, as the group has sided with Rastafarians, the Amish, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, and even Jerry Falwell himself. Scott's effort to equate the ACLU's involvement in a case determining whether speech on a website incited a murder with being pro-pedophilia is just embarrassing.

Ironically in a later post, Scott laments the Supreme Court's decision upholding McCain-Feingold, and joins the ACLU in doing so.


Posts here and here about Gore endorsing Dean over Lieberman. Okay:

1. Ever since the '00 election, Lieberman has distanced himself from that campaign. He and his supporters (or at least the opposition that cried the most about the endorsement) are playing the loyalty card as deftly as OJ's team played the race card.

2. Quoting Kathleen Parker? Scott, Scott, Scott...let's take a look at these quotes from elsewhere in the column:

Gore "loves" Dean for what Dean can give him. A Supreme Court nomination. A Cabinet position. Another vice presidency? And Dean loves Gore for bringing him the establishment credibility he needed.

What makes this folie a deux so entertaining, of course, is that Gore deeply wants the man he endorsed to lose. Gore's endorsement is the kiss Fredo gets before his little boat ride with Michael Corleone's hitman.

Back-to-back paragraphs, no less. You following this? When Dean grants Gore's wish by losing, he will then grant Gore another wish in the form of a Supreme Court nomination or Cabinet position. Apparently they grow 'em pretty powerful in Vermont.

Monday, December 8, 2003


As Mark mentioned, Trashmasters was this weekend. Unlike the East Coasters, I didn't run into a single flake of snow, yet my return flight was delayed by a mechanical problem, so I was delayed 5 hours in getting home, eventually flying through Charlotte on USAir.

The tournament was fun, with only a couple of dud packs. I can hold my head high losing to the Barker/Burger/Kidder/Peskin combo. It should be noted that Craig has swept 2003, winning titles at six events. It's a dominance that'll be curtailed only by the number of events he chooses to participate in. He's always been good, but he's now in an age window where he remembers more old-school trash than the younger players on the circuit, but is still just a few years out of school and is more easily in touch with younger, more current stuff. And as a high school teacher, he's going to be surrounded by youth culture and will continue to pick it up. I think he/his team will be the favorites for a while now. Not unbeatable, but doing so will take a lot of work.

My K-Tel Hell streak is secure: I believe I'm the only player to have qualified for the finals in each of the event's eight years. My record once in the finals is abysmal, however; I think I've claimed less than 20 of a total 1000 points available since 1997. Go Me!

Wednesday, December 3, 2003

Dead Pool 2003

By the way, the new Mac kicks posterior. Safari is a nifty browser, AppleWorks looks to be a great package, and I'm finally putting a dent in in my Netflix backlog, watching Chasing Amy with commentary in a window while blogging away. I've yet to light the crackpipe that is the iMusic Store, but that can wait til we go high-speed.

Anyway, while I'm sucking wind in the LaPlaca, I may as well run down my picks in the 2004 George Harrison Open, which just opened Monday. In the just-completed year, I finished second, two stiffs behind my wife the Death Queen. With six or so weeks to go, she got Madame Chiang Kai-Shek, and then on the final day of competition she bagged an empty-netter in Gertrude Ederle.

So, my two teams:

TEAM MATLOCK -- all picks are carryovers from at least one season.

Jerry Lewis (77) - Making his third appearance in as many years. He looked like absolute hell in the 30 seconds I saw of the telethon, but he apparently did the whole weekend and set a fundraising record. So who knows?

Alastair Cooke (95) - Former host of Masterpiece Theatre. new to the organization last year.

Ray Bradbury (83) - Of the three-timers, this is the one I'm keeping just because I've had him for so long.

Mickey Rooney (83) - Three-timer.

Ingmar Bergman (85) -Three-timer.

Oleg Cassini (90) This fashion designer was married to Gene Tierney for a while.

Jules Dassin (91) a second-year vet, he directed Rififfi, regarded as the template for all heist films to follow.

Estee Lauder (95) the cosmetics mogul.

Art Linkletter (91) silly TV show host turned embarrassing antidrug advocate turned embarrassing adjustable-furniture pitchman.

Sherwood Schwartz (87) ruiner of television.


Pope John Paul II (83) My one seriously obvious pick, and a new pick for me. Only Ronald Reagan is worth fewer points.

Carl Pohlad -(late 80s?) I caught a bit of a radio interview with the Twins owner when they clinched the division. He sounded way out of it. He was a late addition, as I subbed him in for science-fiction writer Andre Norton after Carl's wife died in November at 86.

Byron Nelson (91) - Golfer.

Al Lewis - (80 or 93, depending on whom to believe) Another bandwagon rookie.

Beverly Cleary (87) - beloved children's author.

Jack Paar (85) - I was surprised to hear he was still alive.

Studs Terkel (91) - I sort of regret this pick because Studs is still sharp as a tack, and I like the guy a lot.

Mickey Spillane (85) - See Jack Paar

Dale Messick (97) - Cartoonist and creator of "Brenda Starr, Reporter"

Miep Gies (94) - I'm already going to hell for participating in this thing for three years now, but selecting the woman who hid the Frank family just assured me a ringside seat.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Ten of My Unpopular Opinions

(in no order; meme cribbed from JC)

1. If we're going to have a death penalty -- and probably we shouldn't -- then all executions should be televised in prime time.

2. Howard the Duck wasn't as bad as it's made out to be.

3. And while I'm on the subject,Popeye is criminally overlooked.

4. Religion be damned; saving oneself for marriage is a terrible idea.

5. There have been only two compelling reasons to turn on the TV on Thursday nights since Seinfeld left the air. Neither lasted a full season.

6. There's nothing wrong with age-inappropriate entertainment consumption.

7. Soccer is more interesting to watch than American football.

8. The Doors and U2 are the most overrated bands ever.

9. The biggest racket in the Western world is the wedding industry.

10. Pie is always better than cake.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

the life-changing pig puppet

You'll need a login to read the story, but the photo is viewable by all, at least for now. The porcine entertainer is Porky Chops, or at least a later version of him. What the story doesn't mention is that my mom was the original voice of Porky. She still has the original puppet, which is pretty beat up: he got a skin graft near his snout after a kid got him too close to a TV light, and is basically showing the age a much-loved 25-year-old toy would show.

The existence of Channel 13 has helped countless kids get through some rough times, but upon reflection, also influenced my life a great deal. The station was the start of my my mom's career path; she began there as a volunteer once my sister started school, helping host shows. After a couple of years she became staff, then the went from there into working on the adult psych ward, then got her nursing degree and went to the head trauma unit, then labor & delivery. The experience also started her down the dark path of collecting pigs. The less said about that the better.

I also volunteered there in my early teens; it was there I got my interest in A/V, which led me to a TV Production magnet high school, which then led to J-school (print). Not only would I have not met Kirsti had I not gone that route; but if I had gone to my local comprehensive high school instead, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have graduated, or at least not on time...I would have gone the way of the junior-high buddies that went to Henry.

Monday, November 24, 2003

downs and ups

I've not been in much of a posting mood as of late, due to general crappiness. I've been working 11-hour days for the past few weeks, and then curling four nights a week -- so have not really relished the thought of coming home and hopping on the computer. The week-long losing streak on the ice didn't help much either. Mom had a health scare that seems to be okay now, while one of her dogs had one that isn't okay, and will most likely be in Stupid Puppy Heaven when we get up to MN tomorrow. And then yesterday morning, there was the harrassing voicemail waiting for me at work; a direct reference to an incident from last Thursday. Only a handful of friends have my work number, so I'm 90% certain this was a coworker's doing. But I can't prove anything, nor can the IT folks trace this "outside caller." I should probably be thicker-skinned about this (and usually am), but I'm not working 7 to 6 every goddamn day with no benefits to be mocked for something I feel sorta lousy bout to begin with.

But there've been some good spots as of late. One of which is sitting on the floor behind me; Kirsti and I got an eMac as our main Christmas present to each other. It's niiiiice, or seems to be, anyway; we won't get it set up 'til after thanksgiving. Not a moment too soon, either, as the trusty 6100 is about to give up the ghost.

Note elsewhere that Mark is just now getting rid of his Mac Classic, circa 1991. We got eight, nine years out of our 6100; one of the first Power Macs to hit the market. When people sneer about Apple's alleged declining market share and predict doom yet again, they're either forgetting or ignoring the installed base. Yeah, Macs are expensive; yeah, their annual marketshare is only 5% or so; but the thing is that users hold on to them forever and upgrade them, instead of buying a new machine every 3 years.

Let's see, what else...

Finally saw Lost in Translation. Along with American Splendor, one of the year's best. There's more to be said later, I think.

Last Wednesday we went to a Fountains of Wayne show. They were fun, but I was surprised to see so many kids there for what I still consider to be a poppy college-radio band. (Seriously, kids -- I mean 11 and 12-year-olds. I guess it's been while since I've seen a band who was actively riding a big TRL hit. ) FoW gave more or less equal time to all three albums, including a nifty version of "Radiation Vibe" from the debut, which segued at times into "Double Vision," "Seven Nation Army" "Oh Sherrie," and "Let's Go."

Oh, and the losing streak is snapped; as of tonight, I've won two of my last three. Tonight's win had nothing to do with my awful play, but I'm not complaining too much.

Saturday, November 8, 2003

Got into a bit of a kerfuffle over on Matt's blog this week over the Reagan miniseries. The irony of it all is I probably wouldn't've watched either, despite the swell Judy Davis. From my perspective a Reagan biopic-- even one financed and starring Barbra Streisand herself-- would be too respectful. Unless all the points mentioned here were to be covered.

Here are some of the fabulous nonsequiturs that appeared in today's dose of spam:

am telling you nothing new. It all lay in the surface of practical

The Great Eastern sailed on the 13th of July, 1866. The operation

Full Selection of US Licensed Prescriptionsconstitution. The sovereign, in order to live and act, must

We Now Have Xanax, Valium, Levitra, and Faster Acting Viagr@ SoftTabs

From US Pharmacies, not Mexico or Pakistanservices of professional persons, are, in a great measure, guided

must cause the enemy to regard our straightforward attack as one

in their native country. We possessed a house in Geneva, and a campagne

and realized, it would found in the name of humanity a complete

away into the dancing hall, whirled round it at full speed with her

--in a pharmaceutical ad

The retribution you have received is to be loved by me.The retribution you have received is to be loved by me.I cowered from Amber as she kicked my arse.The retribution you have received is to be loved by me.

--sexual stamina pills

comprise all those persons most celebrated for their scientific

even silence. I have nothing more to say to you. Let this first time you

and not to learn all things indiscriminately. I confess

the right to govern, obedience to it becomes a moral duty, not a

Good-night. He thought me over for a moment, then went out by

This gentleman, the Rev. Mr. Hussey, was one of the rejected

Removal Information on Site

in the Theory of Descent. By A. Weismann. Translated and Edited by

There were about 6,000 cubic yards to detach, so as to dig

Ten thousand thanks to Henry for his kindness, his affection,

--financial independence

UltimatelyA blizzard comes and all the hunters head in to their campsite.

Most importantlyBilly has to catch three coons to qualify for the finals.

--meet singles "just like me." Oh, you mean the married kind?

Tuesday, November 4, 2003

Kill Bill

When have you married well? When she opts for the stylized, hyper-violent controversial film over the well-regarded drama. So we both enjoyed Kill Bill a great deal, though K. didn't care for the more realistic scenes of violence. The film works a little more if you've seen some of the old Shaw Brothers martial-arts/revenge pics, and some of the crazy stuff Takashi Miike is churning out in Japan. It may be a disappointment to casual Tarantino fans who were drawn to Pulp Fiction by the dialogue. Kill Bill is written like subtitles or a dub-track in an old chopsocky. Too wordy, or stilted, or erudite, or something, to believably come from someone's mouth: "Those of you lucky enough to have your lives take them with you! However, leave the limbs you've lost. They belong to me now." Not a movie that will see you bombarded with quotes for months (probably a Good Thing). Yet somehow it all works, and very well. I'm looking forward to Part 2.

I must say that some well-known bloggers here and here are quite off-base about this movie that they haven't seen. Lileks at least admits he hasn't seen it and gives his reasons why; I deduce that Easterbrook hasn't seen it through his botching of plot points. Also, both are quick to dismiss Tarantino's movies as degrading crap -- but are either ignoring Jackie Brown and the rather tender love story at its heart, or saw a different film than I. I suppose it's been a while since Dr. Wertham was last exhumed.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

called on account of warmth

Stupid warm weather in October. there's supposed to be SNOW on the ground by now, and the kids are supposedto trick-or-treat it it just like I did as a kid, and it was ALL UPHILL and I was THANKFUL... Due to temps in the mid-to-high 60s today, curling was cancelled this evening. Apparently the sheet was greasy and soft to the point where rocks were leaving rings in the ice. Which worked out okay, actually.

I'm 1-1 thus far. We lost Monday's game (turns out we have a different skip than previously mentioned) in an extra end. Took an early lead, gave it up, fell behind, rallied for 3 to tie in the 8th. Tuesday was much better; we jumped to a 4-0 lead and built on it, and the opponents conceded after 7. I also played much better on Tuesday as a second, but I wouldn't necessarily say that means I'm improving a great deal. I'm told a lot of Canadian clubs start their newbies out at second since the consistent draws required at lead are harder to master. There's a lot to that theory.

Sunday, October 26, 2003

Movies with song titles

After dissing All Tomorrow's Parties below, I started thinking that there were very few good movies taking their titles from previously-existing songs. This exercise excludes movies based on songs, so Convoy, Harper Valley PTA...out. Also, a key phrase is previously-existing, so I'm not considering movies where the eponymous song was created for the film: no Purple Rain, Can't Stop the Music, 42nd Street, etc.

The few decent ones I can think of:

Singin' in the Rain -- the title song originally appeared in this film.

High Fidelity and About A Boy -- named for an Elvis Costello song and a Patti Smith song, respectively.

Some Kind of Wonderful and Sixteen Candles - Grand Funk Railroad did the former; The Crests did the latter, both tunes later lending their names to John Hughes-penned works. In a similar vein, not making the cut is Pretty in Pink (Psychedelic Furs), because I think it's not very good. The movie, not the song.

After which I'm drawing a blank; suggestions are welcome. A part of the problem is that most movies of this ilk are rushed out to capitalize on a hit song's success and marketed specifically to the people that liked the song in question, and look to me like they'd be garbage. Thus I've not seen Girls Just Want to Have Fun, What A Girl Wants, or Something to Talk About. If I'm missing out on something regarding these films, please tell me and...I won't believe you.

I've seen a bunch of movies lately, what with the Chicago Film Festival adding to my usual habits. But I'm hesitant to blog about most of them, as they will inevitably work their way into the TRASH questions I'm in a push to complete, which affects a sizable portion of my theoretical audience. The things I'm at liberty to talk about are the things that are unlikely to come your way. If they make the rounds, The Twilight Samurai was an affecting film from (duh) Japan, and Chokher Bali was a prestigious Indian drama (read: not a musical) starring the painfully gorgeous Aishwarya Rai. Grimm, a folktale-meets urban-legend tale from the Netherlands, was mediocre. Avoid All Tomorrow's Parties at all costs. Having nothing to do with the Velvet Underground song, the William Gibson novel, or the music festival, it's a plodding, incomprehensible bore.

So...the new curling season starts this week. I'm in four leagues in the fall.

Monday - the "NFL event" is ironically named, as it's played during Monday Night Football, or most of it, anyway. My vice in this event is a guy a played with in last year's Sunday morning event, which we won. My skip has been a member of the club since 1951. For reference, my parents were born in '49 and '50.

Tuesday - last year the Richard Wilde event was held on Wednesdays, and my team was runner-up. Our team's been split up, but so were the winners. I'm throwing second stones in this event. I was supposed to be a sub for this league, but somehow I'm now on the schedule. I'm hoping this doesn't leave me too banged up for...

Thursday - The McBain/Penfield is the big deal men's event of the year. Played Wednesdays and Thursdays this year, it determines the six house berths in our annual International Men's Bonspiel, as well as the club championship. Most of the teams remain intact from year to year, and some people playing you only see in this event. Last year as a newbie I sat this one out, but managed to get on a rink this year with my mentor from last season, who was also my skip in the aforementioned Wilde runner-up team. I'm playing lead, but the second (another second-year player, and one of the few tolerable Yankee fans I know) and I may switch positions from game to game.

Friday - The Tartan event is the big mixed league. There's a trophy involved, and a berth in the biannual Mixed Bonspiel the club hosts. Spouses frequently curl together in mixed events, but I usually play with a woman who, like me, has a non-curling S.O. So Andrea and I entered this one together again, and are teamed with...the Sorensens. When I joined the club, I couldn't count the times I was asked, "any relation to B.?" even though they're -sen's. The Sorensens moved to Florida before the start of last season, but snowbird life didn't work out, so they moved back midseason. I ended up telling people I was his older brother.

Thursday, October 16, 2003


There should be a lot of glum faces at work today. Should be fun.

No Cubs fan would ever dream of it, but here's how you remove the jinx:

Get out of Wrigley.

The park was built to house a team in the short-lived Federal League. The Cubs didn't move there until 1916, eight years into their 95-year groove. Their previous World Series victories were at the West Side Grounds, and their string of 19th-century NL titles were won at a string of other small parks. In fact, the only team to prosper in the Allegedly Friendly Confines were...the Chicago Bears, who won 6 pre-Super Bowl NFC titles there since moving up from Decatur.

Sure it's a half-baked theory, but no more stupid than some story about a goat.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Long before PanFan, long before MBTV became TWOP, a guy named Danny was writing hilariously detailed recaps of 90210 episodes, seasons 5 thru 9. They're still out there.

Who are your best source for information on things of a sexual nature?

Why, the (supposedly) celibate, of course.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to call a plumber to do some work on my car.

Thursday, October 9, 2003

Tonight while preparing dinner:

Greg: So I've rationalized watching Angel.

Kirsti (eyes audibly rolling in her sockets): Oh?

G: Yeah, it's not because it's a Joss Whedon's a Ben Edlund show.

K: Greg, it's okay, you can watch TV, it's entertainment, it's not a big deal.

G: Yeah, but I think it's just cooler to be an Edlund fan than a Whedon fan.

K: (shrugs) Y'd still get your ass kicked.

Run out right now...

and consume these entertainment products:

Music: Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers By now you've certainly heard "Stacy's Mom," or at least heard about the video. But stick around for the album, chock full of funny, beautiful power-pop. Particular standouts: "Valley Winter Song," "All Kinds of Time," "Little Red Light."

Film: American Splendor

I know the hot movie is currently Lost in Translation, but hey, I haven't seen it myself. So go see this before it disappears.

Print: The National Lampoon Yearbook Parody

Never mind Animal House, this was NatLamp's finest hour, and I honestly think this is one of the greatest comic achievments of the past century. Back in print in a "39-year class reunion" edition, it's still a gem. Even the new "class letter" opening the reprint is good stuff, and delivered a sucker-punch tailor-made for yours truly near the end.

Sunday, October 5, 2003

Quizbowl and hygiene can, in fact, go together.

This was borne out Saturday at Mark & Sarah's wedding. You can get your Rashomon on by going here, here, here, or perhaps at mothballed sites here, here, or here.

A swellegant affair, even without buzzers on the table. I got to see a scary convergence of BUCB alums scrubbed up and behaving (except for Rosenberg, but what's to be expected, really). I finally got to pin an identity to the many tales of Monty. I got to watch my wife try in vain to extract the earworm that is "Cotton-Eye Joe."

Congratulations to Mark & Sarah, thank you for the open bar, and for not allowing that icky "After the Lovin'" to be played.

Oh, and we may have to change our trash-team name to "The Gazelles."

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

good movie alert

...and surprisingly so. Just got back from seeing The Rundown. If you're like me -- and I know I am -- this is a title you keep forgetting for some reason, and you just refer to it as "that one with The Rock, Stifler and Christopher Walken."

Something about the trailer made me think "guilty pleasure, maybe," but it ended up being a genuinely solid action-comedy. The Rock could probably quit the day job, provided he ever gets out from under McMahon's thumb (Vince is an exec producer). S.W. Scott and Walken were fun doing what you'd expect. Very nice to see Ewen Bremner (Spud from Trainspotting) pop up again.

On the home I managed to pull in the fuzzy sounds of WCCO, 400 miles away in Minneapolis. The Twins won at home, and the broadcast team was staying on the air waiting to celebrate an official divisional clinch. They interviewed whomever'd talk to them while the fans watched the Royals and White Sox games on the Jumbotrons. Very surreal. Once the magic number went to ), I wasn't sure whether I was hearing crowd noise or static. Now where'd that Homer Hanky go?

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

bad movie alert

I saw Underworld Monday night. I had moderate hopes, but they were dashed. Very dull, when the acting wasn't laughable, and very little I hadn't seen before. Beckinsale looks good in vinyl, but that's not enough to carry the film.

What's more, it seems the lawsuit White Wolf Publishing has brought against Sony has some merit. (NOTE: the link is laden with movie spoilers). Most of the 60 points of similarity in the suit are bunk, but there are at least two concepts (that memories are transmited through the blood of the biter, and the idea of elder vamps going into centuries-long dormancy periods until revived) that seem to be lifted from the RPGs.

Friday, September 12, 2003

If it were written today...

Would this song be considered too lefty for commercial radio?

I think so.

Sunday, September 7, 2003

did you know...

that I do very very very basic webmaster stuff for the curling club?

Thursday, August 28, 2003

my LaPlaca picks

This was a tough year to pick. Mostly because I don't watch much TV at all, but a big part of it was I vowed to stay away from FOX shows, as I've been burned twice now on announced shows never appearing. So, then:

10. Friends - Finally, it's going away.

9. Whoopi - Because she's not funny. She has never been funny. She's been incisive, perhaps -- her one-woman show was pretty good, as I recall.

8. Married to the Kellys - I was tempted to pick on this show's leadin, Hope and Faith, because of show-killer Ted McGinley. But H&F also has Kelly Ripa, who people (who aren't me) love, so they cancel each other out. MttKellys, on the other hand, has Breckin Meyer, so it's doomed.

7. Frasier - See comments for Friends, above; and Everybody Loves Raymond, below.

6. Tarzan - Do I even need to say anything here?

5. 10-8 - CHiPS retread between the safety that is America's Funniest Home Videos and the weirdness that is Alias will please neither of those established audiences.

4. Joan of Arcadia - teenager talking to God? Too quirky for a Friday night on CBS. If it survives, it'll be in a new timeslot.

3. Threat Matrix - Lukewarm cop-action show in the sacrifical Thursday slot against Friends and Survivor? buh-bye.

2. Like Family - hm. WB sitcom with an early premiere. I think it will draw poorly between Reba and Grounded for Life, but it's always a risk picking on WB sitcoms (same with UPN, for that matter), because what do they have to lose?

1. Everybody Loves Raymond - supposed to be the last season, but there's a good chance the cast could be moneywhipped into sticking around.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Mmmmm...unexplained bacon

If ever bacon demands an explanation, it's here.
this post, and the earlier bloggage I allude to in Matt's comments, got me wondering: at what point does political spam become a tool of the opposition? Are we approaching a time when, for argument's sake, pro-Dean spam is issued from pro-Bush factions (or vice versa), on the assumption that it will annoy more people than it will convert?

Monday, August 18, 2003

musings on the new workplace

At the risk of going all Jim's Journal on you, the new job is okay. Right now I come in, I do stuff, and I go home. As they get busier, I'll come in, do lots more stuff, and maybe never get to go home. But I'm eligible for OT, so that's a plus. They're installing new carpet that can be best described as "Cosby." So I'm in a temporary cube now and was supposed to get moved today, but the moving elves never came. At least the fumes have died down.

There are some interesting perks at this place. The building brings in ice-cream vendors on Wednesdays during lunch, alternating between DQ and Good Humor. This will probably go away during the winter, but maybe then they'll bring in St. Bernards with brandy casks. Also, the pop machines are a measly 25 cents...and stock Dr. Pepper, regular and diet.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

iViva Irrelevancy!

Blaster virus? What Blaster virus? Not on a Mac, baby. But work got nailed; that made Tuesday interesting.

Let's see...

Wisconsin State Fair The deep-fried Twinkie is foul. The process accentuated the Twinkie's chemical taste. Deep-fried candy bars are still delicious, however...this time it was a Mars. In non-food news, I was dismayed that the llamas were not yet on the grounds.

the weddin' A splendid time was had by all. Mom & Bonus Mom are quite happy.

Amy moves back to the Chicago area to get her MBA at Northwestern. Liz & Matt are arriving at our place tomorrow to help with the move, see us, etc.

Tuesday, August 5, 2003

speaking of which,

Go Episcopalians. This is a great thing for Christianity. I hope that this combines with recent Vatican statements and that battle lines get drawn. There needs to be a schism; progressives within the faith need to assert themselves and take a stand against the bigots controlling the dialogue, and the teachings of Jesus (who never mentioned homosexuality) need to regain the forefront from the letters of Paul.
I'd like to extend my sincere personal thanks to President George W. Bush, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, Dr. William Frist (R-Tenn.), and Justice Antonin Scalia.

Why, you may ask?

Because the recent asshattery by these people have energized me around my mom's impending commitment ceremony this weekend. Since Mom and Donna mentioned their intent last November to do a ceremony, I've been supportive, but somewhat wary, as if I'd been asked to attend a Renaissance-costume nuptial, or something in which the couple wrote their own vows (Keep in mind, I eloped, so pretty much everythingseems excessive where weddings are involved). But, take that, you bigoted morons, there's a stand to make. Frankly, if you think my mom threatens your family, then you've got bigger problems than you think.

So yeah, hey guys, thanks for the extra measure of joy in your disapproval. Jackasses.

Thank you, I missed you too.

Since the last post, I:

*installed a new shower surround in the master bath, exposing my horrible caulking abilities for all to see,

*installed a new air-conditioner in the bedroom,

*started a new job,

*got pretty good at GTAIII,

*lost my lead in the dead pool,

*began reading Moby-Dick, or The Whale,

*did not go to Las Vegas,

*did indulge my geekiness in Indy for four days.

*was, and still am, tired a lot, despite going to bed before 10 most nights.

Of these, the new job might be most noteworthy, but for some reason I find Moby Dick to be the most interesting bullet item. I picked it up for 50 cents at the last Brandeis Book Sale, and thought, this is one of the many cultural touchstones that you've not read, and it's shorter than the latest Harry Potter tome. So I'm a little over halfway through it now. It makes for good El reading, but it's odd reading for the beaches of suburban Chicago.

Sunday, June 29, 2003

Yet another movie list

The exhausting and somewhat questionable New York Times list of the "1000 Greatest Movies Ever Made." Stuff I've seen is once again in Bold. I'm still trying to figure out how I missed seeing The Birds.

Partial vindication for Jenni and me, as two derided MDN picks (They Shoot Horses... and Baxter) made the list. Then again, so did Moonraker...go figure.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

I didn't serve much cheese...

...but the whine flowed like a mighty rivahhh!

I type, of course, of the last MDN, in which I chose decent movies that were still mocked relentlessly. First up was this bleak, cynical film, on a tape hampered by poor sound and some serious pan & scan. How Gig Young didn't get on that AFI villains list, I don't know. Not much character development aside from Young, but that's okay. You don't watch Survivor or The Real World for the character development. You watch to see who's gonna throw forks, dammit. I think today, how you take TSHDT depends mostly on one's Jane Fonda tolerance level. Also, it's hard to tap into the desperation of the marathon participants. Today's reality-show participants are going on just to be on TV, or to do some travel, or get some endorsements...not because may be the only chance to get regular meals for a month. And dance marathons today are the domain of well-fed college brats.

Next up was this Busby Berkeley/Ray Enright musical. I love this movie's silly plot, decent songs, and terrific musical numbers. There are some problems with showing a film like this. Foremost is the jarring casual racism of the era, which Deeablo touches upon (and is why I didn't show Footlight Parade, which gives you dancin' Cagney on one hand, but "Shanghai Lil" on the other). Secondly, all the Warner Brothers Depression-era musicals have corny, formulaic plots and cram in all the musical numbers at the end. So there's a fair amount of downtime before the payoff. 42nd Street is for some reason considered the classic WB/Busby musical (probably because of its Broadway revival in the seventies and the "You've got to come back a star!" line), but to my mind it doesn't stand out any more than Footlight Parade, Golddiggers of 1933, or Dames. I went with Dames because Guy Kibbee's a great second-banana of the era, and because it's got Berkeley at his most insane -- "The Girl At The Ironing Board" has a washerwoman serenading her client's skivvies...and them serenading her back. "I Only Have Eyes For You" foretells "Being John Malkovich," only with the disturbing mug of the long-on-connections, short-on-talent Ruby Keeler.

So yeah, much complaining, specifically about false advertising when we claimed to be showing "good" movies. To this I say a. they are good, you philistines, and b. with some of the swill that's been shown , the bar for good has been lowered substantially.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

Another movie meme, this time with a twist. Bold denotes what I've seen, of course, while bold italic denotes things I've finally seen just within the past three years:

The really-lame AFI 100 list:

1. CITIZEN KANE (1941)

2. CASABLANCA (1942)




6. THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)

7. THE GRADUATE (1967)



10. SINGIN' IN THE RAIN (1952)




14. SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)

15. STAR WARS (1977)

16. ALL ABOUT EVE (1950)


18. PSYCHO (1960)

19. CHINATOWN (1974)


21. THE GRAPES OF WRATH (1940) (I know I've seen parts, but not enought to count it)

22. 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY (1968)


24. RAGING BULL (1980)


26. DR. STRANGELOVE (1964)



29. MR. SMITH GOES TO WASHINGTON (1939) (parts, again)


31. ANNIE HALL (1977)


33. HIGH NOON (1952)








41. WEST SIDE STORY (1961)

42. REAR WINDOW (1954)

43. KING KONG (1933)




47. TAXI DRIVER (1976)

48. JAWS (1975)





53. AMADEUS (1984)



56. M*A*S*H (1970)

57. THE THIRD MAN (1949)

58. FANTASIA (1940)



61. VERTIGO (1958)

62. TOOTSIE (1982)

63. STAGECOACH (1939)



66. NETWORK (1976)



69. SHANE (1953)


71. FORREST GUMP (1994)

72. BEN-HUR (1959)


74. THE GOLD RUSH (1925)


76. CITY LIGHTS (1931)


78. ROCKY (1976)

79. THE DEER HUNTER (1978)

80. THE WILD BUNCH (1969)

81. MODERN TIMES (1936)

82. GIANT (1956)

83. PLATOON (1986)

84. FARGO (1996)

85. DUCK SOUP (1933)



88. EASY RIDER (1969)

89. PATTON (1970)

90. THE JAZZ SINGER (1927)

91. MY FAIR LADY (1964)

92. A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)

93. THE APARTMENT (1960)

94. GOODFELLAS (1990)

95. PULP FICTION (1994)

96. THE SEARCHERS (1956)


98. UNFORGIVEN (1992)



Hmm...Okay, so the viewing holes that Netflix has patched up aren't as spectacular as I had thought. I'm sure some of you (okay, the some of you that are named My Sister) are wondering when I'm gonna see Forrest Gump. The answer is still never, if I have anything to do with it. I'll see 99 of these (okay, 98 -- a college roommate put me off My Fair Lady) and be done. I know enough about me and enough about Gump to know that I will hate it and bear grudges against all who recommended it to me. And I already did that with that damn Jerry Maguire.

Monday, June 16, 2003

I was amused this weekend, if not particularly surprised, to learn of quizbowl connections among the group I play boardgames with. I suppose the center of that particular Venn diagram is fuller than one might suspect, no matter how marginalized "geek stuff" is in trash. More than one gamer has expressed interest in curling, too. That should be interesting. Now, to set up more enclaves of Movie Dictator Nights...

So Saturday afternoon, the much-planned face-to-face game of Diplomacy (if you're not sure what I'm talking about and don't want to follow the link, think of the backstabbing and alliance aspects of Survivor without immunity challenges, product placements, and, um, swimsuit models) finally happened. My jargon-filled recap of same is


Saturday night K. and I saw The Funseekers, a Minneapolis band from my youth who reunited for a Mod fest in Chicago. They were great, and one opening act was good enough for me to buy the CD. The crowd was a little odd, with over half wearing various Mod attire. Kirsti nailed it: like Goths, the women usually look good, but the guys were just sad with maybe one or two exceptions. White belts! Ascots! Orange double-breasted suits! And scooters, scooters, scooters, seemingly all wedged in tightly around my parking space. I needed some Astroglide to get home.

Sunday we went to the last day of the Brandeis Book Sale (everything for 50 cents) with Jenni and Alexis. I got a bunch of stuff that'll become trash prizes, and regrettably few things that I'll keep. We and Steve had brunch and questionable service at Cheesecake Factory, then Jenni came back and hung out with us for a few hours.

Friday, June 13, 2003

A Vast Right-wing Spam Conspiracy?

When people think of spam e-mail, people usually think of natural Viagra, porn, or Nigerian scams. Lately much of my spam has been for Dittohead crap. Flag stuff. Israeli gas masks. Iraq's Most Wanted cards. Axis of Weasels cards. And most recently, in a mail bewilderingly titled "Stop Hillary's Book" (yeah, damn that pesky first amendment --ed.), something called "Axis of Hillary" cards. I'm not sure how purchasing playing cards of any nature is going to "stop" a book, but there you go.

In non-marketing spam news, one of the better bloggers (either Atrios or Ted Barlow, linked in the left column on this page) did an interesting analysis some time ago of the presidential email forwards mentioned on Apparently there are far more false emails denigrating Clinton(s) then there are for Bush, and of them, there's more of an effort to cast Bush in a positive light than there is for Clinton.

I'm just sayin', is all...

Saturday, June 7, 2003

hey, links are back, yo.
Perhaps the best lyrical ad-lib ever?

"Why am I standing here?/I should be kissing her/

Why am I Schlesinger?/I should be Kissinger"

--The Suicide Commandos, covering The Monkees' "She"

Wednesday, June 4, 2003


Much better. Acrobat still is unable to make the smart quotes in the font I'm using, but eliminating the need for quotation marks to begin with fixes things just as well.

Tuesday, June 3, 2003


So...this place wants a resume in PDF. I don't own Acrobat; probably would be a bad idea to buy it now, considering we'll have to bite the bullet and go OS X. So I tour the north suburbs, looking for a Kinko's or like place where I can convert a Word file to PDF. First place -- no go. They want me to drop off the file as a job, and they can't get it to me until tomorrow. Thanks but no thanks. I head back to the Kinko's in Evanston. Would have been my first stop, but one of my other intended errands was to get a haircut, and I was looking for places sorta close together. There is NO parking available in the tiny development housing the Green Bay Rd. Kinko's. I have to do something illegal to get into the realtor's lot next door (which I'm not supposed to park in anyway). There's one Mac at Kinko's. The rate for the machine is double the others. So I get on it, and distill a PDF...and the smart quotes are missing! They're not re-appearing as ditto marks, they're just gone. It's no wonder I got turned down at the blood bank today due to high blood pressure.

Sunday, June 1, 2003

The House...of Buttafuoco

We have another member of the family. We brought my sister's cat, Vinnie Buttafuoco, home with us from our Memorial Day trip to MN. Our incumbent cat, Sofia B., is Vinnie's littermate, and they spent a good eight years together, so we weren't sure how the sibs would get along after four or so years apart.

Surprisingly, there's a good deal of harmony. They're not best buds anymore, but they don't hiss at each other too much, and the extent of the fights have been Sof running up, swatting him on the head, and running away. Both are very goodnatured. Vinnie was great in the car, although the Valium probably had a lot to do with that.

They're very Felix and Oscar. Sofia is a tortoiseshell calico, and is very slight. People see her and can't believe she's full-grown, let alone almost 13 years old. Vinnie is a wicked huuuuge lump of ginger tabby, with paws like catcher's mitts because of his extra toes. He also has a meow like a yodel, or a baby talking.

Buy me a scanner and you can see pictures. Bwaahaha!

Thursday, May 22, 2003

not at all surprising...

Swiped from Dee, here's what I've seen off EW's list of top 50 cult movies:

1. This Is Spinal Tap

2. The Rocky Horror Picture Show

3. Freaks

4. Harold and Maude

5. Pink Flamingoes

6. Texas Chainsaw Massacre

7. Repo Man

8. Scarface

9. Blade Runner

10. Shawshank Redemption

11. Five Deadly Venoms

12. Plan 9 From Outer Space

13. Brazil

14. Eraserhead

15. Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!

16. The Warriors

17. Dazed and Confused

18. Hard-Boiled

19. Evil Dead II

20. The Mack

21. Pee-Wee's Big Adventure

22. Un Chien Andalou

23. Akira

24. The Toxic Avenger

25. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

26. Stranger Than Paradise

27. Dawn of the Dead

28. The Wiz

29. Clerks

30. The Harder They Come

31. Slap Shot

32. Re-Animator

33. Grey Gardens

34. The Big Lebowski

35. Withnail and I

36. Showgirls

37. A Bucket of Blood

38. They live

39. The Best of Everything

40. Barbarella

41. Heathers

42. Rushmore

43. The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

44. Love Streams

45. Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story

46. Aguirre: The Wrath of God

47. Walking and Talking

48. The Decline of Western Civilization II: The Metal Years

49. Friday

50. Faces of Death, Vol. 1

...I've seen part of Faces of Death, but I'm not counting it anyway. In fact, I call shenanigans on it even making the list, as it's a video and not a theatrical release. And shame on me for owning Bucket of Blood in two media and never watching it. I've never heard of 33 and 44.

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

speaking of Fraught...

I just won this off eBay. Why? For the curling, of course.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The suspense movie of the summer...

Is Spellbound, an Oscar-nominated documentary about eight contestants in the 1999 Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee. The kids are all endearing -- not nearly the freakshows I'd come to expect from previous bees and a certain other intellectual activity I know of and participate in. And the competition scenes: oh. my. god. you'll be on the edge of your seat spelling along silently (or not silently, if you were the jackasses behind me). It's crazy just how much this films sucks you in.

Blow off The Matrix this weekend and see this instead.

Tuesday, May 6, 2003

Could this be the oldest unremixed original song in any Dance Dance Revolution machine? My guess is it is. Certainly the coolest.

UPDATE: "That's The Way I Like It" pops up in some machines, beating The Specials by four years.

Friday, May 2, 2003

oh yeah, forgot about this

Not the most timely sentiment any more, but: If you watched even a minute of last weekend's NFL draft, and have ever complained about the Oscar telecast being "too long,"

...then you're a tool.
The Pattern

Lemme get this straight...

1. The US looks the other way and sides with repressive regimes when it comes to worldwide women's rights issues.

2. Feminists in the US do take note, but their protests are downplayed, the kooky bitches.

3. When these countries somehow run afoul of the US, we intervene militarily.

4. To try to silence anti-war feminists, the conservatives then trumpet the offenses against women in the naughty countries, the same ones they failed to condemn earlier, and try to claim feminists are the ones waffling on the issue. I missing anything here?

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

with aplomb, I plumb

I spent my Patriot's Day installing a new kitchen faucet. Most of that time was actually spent uninstalling the old one, which pretty much sucked. No leverage, a banyan tree of pipes under the sink due to the disposal, and whoever installed the old one was putty-crazy. But once it was removed, the rest of the operation went smoothly.

Saw A Mighty Wind Monday night. It's the weakest of the Chris Guest mockumentaries, but still has its moments. Tuesday during lunch I headed over to Wherehouse, which is in its final death throes -- 60-80 percent off what's left now. Still managed to pick up some not-altogether-useless stuff:

Big Hits of Mid-America: The Soma Records Story -- this was a small Minneapolis label in the mid-60s that gave the world The Trashmen ("Surfin' Bird") and The Castaways ("Liar Liar").

The Orgazmo sountrack, which features the only Smashmouth song worth a damn, and "Jesus and I Love You" by the crushworthy April March.

A racing game for the Playstation 1 (I don't think I mentioned; in a colossal moment of weakness I bought a used PS2 last weak. Big mistake.)

All for $10 and change. not bad.
If you're not partaking in Craig's latest music tournament, you should be. He posted a full list of bands, but it was in alphabetical order. So to decode what's to come, I arranged them into seed order by region. Hard to see much past the Round of 8 because I don't know how the regional champs will face off, but I firmly believe that U2 was awarded the cushiest trip to the round of 8. But take my predicitons with a big fat salt lick. The last time I comleted any sort of tournament bracket, I finished dead last -- well behind a pick based on Scrabble tile values.

Thursday, April 17, 2003

Miracle on Ice 2?

Team USA -- representing Illinois at Nationals -- are 2003 women's world curling champions, edging out Canada in the finals, 5-3. The hugeosity of this cannot be overstated. Minus the Cold War aspect, this is every bit as big a step forward as was hockey in Lake Placid.

NBC is running highlights this Sunday at 1 CT. You should check it out.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

So, hey, TRASHionals -- the big reason I was so quiet there for a month -- came and went this weekend, and what few public comments there are thus far are positive. So yay us. Nice to see everyone again. I did get to compete in Dave Murphy's audio-covers theme round, which played to my strengths. I brought home an Elvis 5-disc boxset for my troubles. I would have liked to have played a few more theme rounds, but dinner awaited...

This long weekend (Thur.-Mon.) was also late Christmas; this being the trip that was rescheduled when my back decided it wanted a quiet holiday at home and a bunch of drugs. So that was okay. I'm a little peevish about the travel burden always falling on us when it comes to this side of the fam, but it was fine.

A couple of observations:

Flying to Boston is now an 8-hour venture, what with getting ourselves to and from each airport. About the same as driving to Minneapolis, only without a stop for tasty pie.

I seem to have lost most of any nostalgic feelings I had for Boston. I had a great time there in school, but now...meh. This is probably due to the places I went this time -- I was in a BU classroom building all day Saturday and part of Sunday. Friday night I went to the TRASH welcoming party across from Fenway. It had rained all day, and the home opener was delayed, then quickly called off, so Landsdowne Street was pretty much a sea of puddles and pulped newspapers. Don't get me started on Braintree. FWIW, the suburb my mom has relocated to is about 5 times worse, but she harbors no illusions about it, and at least it's laid out in something resembling a grid.

Coming from where I came from, Boston was appealing. Coming from where I am now, I can see why much of the luster is gone. Ironically, this was an open-house weekend at BU. I wonder if the deal was cinched for any of those high-schoolers when they wandered over to Nuggets and found some rare vinyl they'd been seeking for a few years...

Monday, April 7, 2003

Hmmm...something must have happened in the month I didn't bother blogging. Didn't bother here, anyway, though countless other blogs were tarnished by my "thoughts."

The curling season ended last week. In my last official game -- a game with playoff ramifications -- I played as if I started a month ago. Just horrible. I didn't singlehandedly keep us out of the finals, but I certainly did my part.

On the whole, though, I did get much better. I aspired to, and achieved -- mediocrity. Whoo! More next year, most likely. Now I have to find something to do with myself 3-4 nights a week.

Oscars: My night was made ten minutes in, when Spirited Away deservingly won Best Animated Feature.

Speaking of animation, I just about had a damn stroke watching Rejected on Sunday.

Friday, March 7, 2003

Fun with Netflix

Part I in an irregular series...

Actual NFLX recommendations from my welcome page, somehow based on recent rentals. I'm not making these up.

I'll Like: The Basketball Diaries

similar to: Keep the River on Your Right

I'll Like: My Cousin Vinny

similar to: Go Tigers!

I'll Like: Bull Durham

similar to: An Evening with Kevin Smith

...and most bewildering,

I'll Like: Heavyweights

similar to: Panic Room

Thursday, March 6, 2003

A lot of interesting things going on worthy of comment, but I'm not in the mood.

I got an email from a college friend with whom I've been out of contact for a few years. While Friend A only sent an in-joke, it did inspire me to Google another long-lost friend. It seems Friend B has allegedly been doing some bad stuff. Some -- many -- would consider this the worst stuff you can get caught doing short of an al-Qaeda link (and were it not for terrorism being such a media priority, I'm sure a much bigger deal about this would be made, as B had recently achieved a position of some standing in B's community).

So now I'm just sad. For everyone allegedly involved, and for the family and friends of all parties. And I'm reminded of another college in-joke shared with A and B; this being a quote from a professor who did not suffer fools gladly in his lecture halls:

"Mr./Ms. _____, did you go to high school? Did you PASS?"

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

What kept me?

Finally got around to watching the movie that's been sitting on top of the TV for months. Easily the saddest comedy out there. Maybe Muriel's Wedding is in the ballpark.

Danny Peary has a book, Alternate Oscars, in which he names his picks for Best Picture, Actor and Actress from 1927 to 1992 or so. For 1960 he selects Psycho over The Apartment. Well, okay, one could make the argument. But his argument is that The Apartment's premise is dated. Psycho, however, is plagued by some horrible psychobabble in the third act. Nearly deflates the greatness that preceded it.

And that's the way it crumbles, cookie-wise.

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

lunchtime thought(s)

I see that Mike has posted the last of his pop-culture Nobel awards, and gone with my suggestion. I get the idea Mike's not particularly crazy about the selection, but based on the criteria, I'm really hard-pressed to think of a better choice, although perhaps there's a techie out there that deserves consideration (inventor of the Steadicam?). Perhaps Corman himself is not the best filmmaker, but neither is Les Paul the best guitarist. In terms of one living person influencing so many careers, Corman's the man. With a few exceptions, there was one main path to Hollywood success behind the camera, depending on the era. Under the studio system, you signed with a studio. Today, you go to film school. From the mid-to-late fifties to about 1975, you put in some time working for Corman or some of the other cheapies.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Atrios has a good series of posts about The Bell Curve. Moxy Fruvous also summed things up succinctly a few years ago.

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

no, the other BC

I'm smitten. A little scary on the eye makeup in this photo, but this may be the most consistently attractive sports team I've ever seen.

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

aaah! My ears!

Last weekend on Wait Wait! Don't Tell Me! Arianna Huffington was asked to name the song distributed to each school in the U.S. in the late 50s/early 60s to promote the new (at the time) President's Council on Physical Fitness. Huffington whiffed the question. I chalked this up to Arianna having spent her youth in Greece and England, but the other panelists seemed to not know about this particular ditty either. "Chicken Fat" was composed by Meredith Willson, writer of my least-favorite musical, and recorded by Prof. Harold Hill himself, Robert Preston. It's horrible; easily at home on another NPR show. The Wait Wait folks couldn't find a (legal) copy to play on the air, but to punish my audience of five,

Friday, February 7, 2003

aaah! my eyes!

Matt's blog has become wholly unreadable in Netscape (4.7.x). Cyan links, black text, grey background. Ow. On the other hand, Mike just became Netscape-friendly.

Using IE full-time would be a solution if it didn't freeze once a day.

Thursday, February 6, 2003

Sign this or we can't be friends any more.

Tuesday, February 4, 2003

Yes to all three

For how much to grieve, if at all, see Joe

For what NASA should do, see Dwight

For the thing you were thinking but can't admit to, there's Anthony

Friday, January 31, 2003

If anything can truly be considered fraught in my life right now, it's this project currently employing me. Case in point: I'm home early today so that a new build can go up before we all come in for overtime tomorrow. Things that make you go, "Hmmm..."

Monday, January 27, 2003

Best of 2002

Nine easy-to-find movies mingle with nine movies worth the hunt:

1. Spirited Away -- In a year of continued Harry Potter and LOTR hype, this is where the real magic was.

2. Tribute -- A KISS act with a black Paul Stanley! Bitter resentment between "Davy" and "Mike" in the aftermath of a Monkees-act breakup! Spinal Tap meets Behind The Music in this documentary about tribute bands.

3. The Believer - brutal, rich, and rewarding.

4. Hell House - the annual Halloween spookhouse put on by a funadmentalist church in Texas made for the scariest movie of the year.

5. About A Boy - One of the years earlier delights. I'm not qualified to say it was Hugh Grant's best work, but it didn't make me want to wring his neck, so that's something.

6. Rabbit-Proof Fence - Why this isn't gettimg more end-of-year attention is beyond me.

7.(tie) Happiness of the Katakuris and Chaos - two strange visions, one aptly described as "The Sound of Music with a body count," the other a solid psychological thriller, from Japanese cult directors.

9. Lilo and Stitch - Disney gets it right for a change.

10. The Endurance - Simply one of the most amazing stories of the past century.

11. The Man Without A Past - A Finnish Depression-era "forgotten man" film?

12. Two Towers -- Too bad I was sick of hearing about it even before I saw it.

13. Bowling for Columbine -- see above comment.

14. The Independent - May Morty make another 472 films, all as good as VENUS DE MOFO or THE MAN IN THE IRON LUNG.

15. Punch-Drunk Love -- Will the P.T. Anderson and Adam Sandler audiences ever intersect again?

16. Lagaan - brisk and thoroughly engaging at 225 minutes.

17. Scotland, PA - Macbeth for laughs? hell yes!

18. Spider-Man - the best comic-book movie is still Ghost World, but this one had so many opportunities to fall flat, but didn't.

Didn't See: Adaptation, Harry Potter, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, The Hours, Far from Heaven

Best "Bad" Movie

Blue Crush

Worst "Good" Movie

Blind Spot: Hitler's Secretary



House of 1000 Corpses

Attack of the Clones

Hollywood Ending


Friday, January 24, 2003

Take That

I'm tired of the Academy Awards being called the "gay Super Bowl." I hereby dub this weekend's annual football game "Oscars for Idjits." So bite me!

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Yes, I am still alive

...and walking around. Feeling pretty good, actually.

This weekend we were in Michigan for some trashy goodness. My team saw its five-year title streak snapped in the finals, by 12 points (for people unfamiliar with quizbowl, this is akin to losing by a free throw with no time on the clock). I can live with that. Craig had wanted a win for some time now, and he was nigh-unstoppable in the playoffs.

Our pre-tournament entertainment was a Toledo Storm hockey game. It was craptacular. Much better was the dinner at Tony Packo's, where I got to win over some converts to the wonders of the deep-fried pickle, and had a quite-good chili on spaetzel. Yum.

The second half of curling season is underway, and we picked up a win last night to go 2-0 in the Erwin event. I was thinking that the second half was going much worse than the first, but I added them up last night and I'm 3-4 so far, not counting a slaughter in a game I subbed in -- 2-0 in the Ervin, 1-1 in some mixed events, but a woeful 0-3 in the President's league, in which my weight is always off and I can't hit the broom. One would think I'd be better in the President's, since I'm playing lead, whereas in the Erwin I'm a second.

Congratulations to Natalie and James, who got engaged this weekend. tomorrow I'm picking up Chris to take in this hallowed event.