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.