Thursday, May 31, 2007

KOOCHIE KUCHIE KOO



















***UPDATE on Mrs. Kucinich***

(Hat tip to Victor for digging this up.)

---
On May 4, Elizabeth Harper walked with her boss into Dennis Kucinich's Capitol Hill office for a meeting and immediately noticed three things. In the reception area, she saw a visiting nun in white robes. In his inner office sat a shelf bearing an illustration depicting "light consciousness" and a bust of Gandhi.

She studied the lean and intense congressman and felt an attraction.

(that last sentence sounds like it's straight out of a romance novel!)

"Now this is an interesting man," she thought.

Dennis had also closely observed Elizabeth, a statuesque Englishwoman with waist-length red hair.

"I saw her eyes go to the light consciousness picture, then to the Gandhi bust, then to me," he says. "It was like one, two, three. That's when I knew."

(haha....from Ghandi to Kucinich. A leap into love!)

Within an hour, he called his friend, actress Mimi Kennedy, best known for playing Dharma's mother on "Dharma & Greg."

"I met her," Dennis said. Kennedy knew exactly what he meant. She gave a little yelp of joy.

(a yelp?!?!)

Elizabeth and Dennis, by most laws of logic and logistics, should never have met.

She grew up in the 1980s in the tiny English village of North Ockendon, in a cottage where Pea Lane meets Dennis Lane. At Maytree Cottage, she planted flowers, listened to her mother read stories by the wood stove in the winter, and with her younger sister tended stray animals.

(Hobbes, is this what those Lucy Maud books you're always drooling over are like? Or, Anne of Avonlea...are those the same?)

Dennis grew up in the 1950s. Sometimes, he and his six siblings and parents lived in the family car.

(Sometimes? As in sometimes they slept in their car, and sometimes they slept in the house?)

When his mother became ill, the children stayed at the Parmadale Home for Children for months at a time.

Elizabeth went to an academically competitive secondary school in nearby Upminster. She and her classmates occasionally traveled Europe. Always the tallest in her class, she was one of the school's best players of net-ball, a game similar to volleyball.

Dennis, always the shortest boy in his class, went to high school at St. John Cantius in Cleveland's Tremont neighborhood. He worked several jobs to pay his tuition. And despite his 4-foot-9 stature and weight of 97 pounds, he toughed it out on the football team as third-string quarterback.

(Just like Lucas!)




[...]

While Dennis was sure of his attraction at their initial meeting, he didn't know how Elizabeth felt. Several nights later, in his Washington office, he sat at his desk and thought about her. "Basically, I asked for a sign," he says. Seconds later, ping! went his computer, alerting him to an e-mail.

("thought" about her???? hmm...are you sure that "ping" was his computer?)

It was from Elizabeth. The first line read, "This has no connection to work." Dennis was ecstatic.
She was forwarding an e-mail from one of her friends that related to the peace legislation he had proposed as a presidential candidate. He noticed her signature quote at the end: "Knowing love I shall allow all things to come and go, to be as supple as the wind and take everything that comes with great courage. My heart is as open as the sky."

This gave Dennis hope.

The two e-mailed each other regularly. While the e-mails were businesslike, each of them had a deeper agenda: They were attracted to one another. A couple of weeks after their first meeting, while she was in Arizona with her boss for more meetings, she wrote Dennis an e-mail telling him where she was.

("deeper agenda"!! Go Kuch, Go!!)

Several hours later, Elizabeth went shopping before leaving for New Mexico. She bought an opal ring - her birthstone. For reasons she can't explain, she decided to call it her "Dennis ring."

(awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww)


For the conclusion to this love story, click ------------> HERE

"OH, I DIDN'T REALIZE THAT YOU WROTE POETRY"














Q: What's weirder than finding out that Michael Madsen is in the new Olivier Assayas film?

A: Finding out that Michael Madsen writes - and may publish - poetry.

---
Can you talk about some of your other interests such as poetry?

Well, I basically started doing that because I had a lot of free time on my hands. You know I was divorced. When you are in this industry, you spend an awful lot of time alone in motels and trains and airplanes. Strange places and you tend to look around and you spend a lot of time noticing a lot people and things people do and I started writing it down. I started jotting things down. I wasn't much of a reader, but I liked Ernest Hemingway and I liked John Steinbeck. I read a couple of biographies of Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster, and I really just started writing stuff. I would think of stuff and I would write it on a matchbook or f*cking napkin or a paper bag. I wrote one on my leg in the back of a taxi cab in New York 'cause I didn't have a piece of paper. When you think of something, you write it down or you're gonna forget it.

[...]

I was gonna build a fire. It was snowing outside and all the f*cking wood was wet. I had this box with all sh*t and I put the f*cking thing in there and I was lighting it up, and she grabbed it and she took a few pages out and started reading it... And she goes: "Michael, Michael, you really shouldn't burn these things." So, I got the idea of giving it to a publisher in New York that I had met. (Premiere)
---

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

IT'S A SADE WORLD

After the zero star triptych of Haute Tension, Calvaire, and Sheitan, we now have - in the Fall - the latest sadist-horror film from France : Fronteir(s).

The plot (via Twitch) : While an extreme right-wing candidate advances to the second ballot of the presidential election, a group of young armed robbers holes up in a backwoods inn. The inn is located in an old mining wasteland, and its managers are a particularly sordid lot [to wit, (neo-)Nazi cannibals].

Ahh...the old "backwoods cannibals" again.

And is the "extreme right-wing candidate" a reference to Jean-Marie Le Pen?


Here is a still:



Notice the trademark sadist-horror (aka U-horror, nu-horror, torture horror, etc.) elements in the still : The jaundiced skin, urine colored lighting, mildew, tiles, wide object shoved into small orifice etc.


How will Fronteir(s) fair in the U.S. market - if it gets a 2007 domestic release - against our own sadist horror films Hostel II, Captivity, and the remake of Halloween? I generally think the French are the nastiest of the bunch. For as lousy as the American counterparts are, there is at least some dark humor or b-movie kitsch to temporarily lift you out of the sewer. The French sadists won't even give you an air hole.

YOU CAN'T SPELL CLIVE DAVIS W/O "D-E-V-I-L"

Kelly channeling Amy Lee.


Clive Davis is totally hatin' on our girl Kelly!

He's throwing a fit b/c Clarkson won't take his advice on rewrites for her June album release, My December.

---
Clarkson is not only one of Sony BMG's most profitable artists, having sold close to 15 million albums - she is also not a diva.

She hasn't demanded to renegotiate her deal with the label, our source said, even though "she only gets like $250,000 an album when she could get millions. She refuses to take more money because she wants artistic control. And she has always turned out to be right. If Clive had had his way, she wouldn't have sold nearly as many albums as she did.


"We are appalled he is picking apart one of our own acts - and one that we all love."
The source added, "Kelly wanted to make a deeply personal record. Here's an artist who didn't demand more money, who handed in her record on time in January, after making him millions, and now he rips her? The music business is collapsing, and this is why. They won't let people put out their real music. This is about his huge ego." (NY Post)

---

What's surprising to me is that Kelly wrote 3 of Breakaway's biggest hits in "Because of You", "Behind These Hazel Eyes", and "Walk Away". Now, admittedly, those songs aren't as well crafted as "Breakaway" or "Since U Been Gone", but you'd think she'd at least bought herself some slack.

Maybe Clarkson is just too much of a good ol' gal for Clive Davis.

You also can't spell Clive Davis without V-I-L-E.

ROGER DODGER

















Roger Baxter survived Vietnam.
Roger Baxter lost his leg in an auto accident.
But Roger Baxter is still rockin'.

In his own words : "I'm just a tough old bird."

Yesterday, some poor bastard tried to take on this indomitable man.

---
He was returning from getting a haircut when he discovered a man with a gun inside his house. "He was pointing it at me," Baxter told KDVR-TV. "He kept coming toward me and he got within 5 foot of me and that's when I hauled off and hit him with one of my crutches."
---

SWEET!!

But that's nothing! Mr. Baxter got shot in the chest and survived....because his cell phone was in his pocket and slowed the bullet's impact!

---
"I just got it programmed," Baxter said of the phone.
---

Freakin' BAAADASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY...

...Stephen Malkmus



Geminis are the most creative.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

ON MISS U.S.A. & THE IMMIGRATION DEBATE
















---

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Many here south of the border reveled in her disastrous evening: First Miss USA Rachel Smith slipped and fell on her bottom during the Miss Universe evening gown competition. Then she was booed by hundreds in the Mexican audience.

U.S. athletes have sparked a similar response. In 2005, when the U.S. played Mexico during a World Cup soccer qualifier, the crowd booed the U.S. national anthem and a smattering of fans chanted "Osama! Osama!" during the game.

[...]

Smith was booed repeatedly during her stay in Mexico, including last week, when she carried a guitar and wore an Elvis-style suit during a parade of national costumes held in downtown Mexico City.

She kept her poise during an interview Monday night with pageant judges, despite the boos and chants of "Mexico! Mexico!" that drowned out her answer. (AP)
---


Well Gee!

Then I guess those Mexicans are just a bunch of "nativist", "scared of white, brown, and black people ", "racist", "America-phobic" people, huh?

I mean...I'm just going by the logic of Linda Chavez:

"Some people just don't like Mexicans — or anyone else from south of the border. They think Latinos are freeloaders and welfare cheats who are too lazy to learn English. They think Latinos have too many babies, and that Latino kids will dumb down our schools. They think Latinos are dirty, diseased, indolent and more prone to criminal behavior. They think Latinos are just too different from us ever to become real Americans.

No amount of hard, empirical evidence to the contrary, and no amount of reasoned argument or appeals to decency and fairness, will convince this small group of Americans — fewer than 10 percent of the general population, at most — otherwise. Unfortunately, among this group is a fair number of Republican members of Congress, almost all influential conservative talk radio hosts, some cable news anchors — most prominently, Lou Dobbs — and a handful of public policy "experts" at organizations such as the Center for Immigration Studies, the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA, in addition to fringe groups like the Minuteman Project."


Lesson : When people resort to playing the race card, they are out of arguments.

NORTH AMERICAN SCUM (PART 2)

Man....

When it comes down to what region of the United States has the scummiest of the scum, the Pacific Northwest sure makes a convincing argument. Remember the burning effigies of US Soldiers last month in Portland? Well this is on par with that. And they did it on Memorial Day no less:

---
ORCAS ISLAND, Wash. (AP) - Vandals burned dozens of small American flags that decorated veterans' graves for Memorial Day and replaced many of them with hand-drawn swastikas, authorities said Monday.

Forty-six flag standards were found empty and another 33 flags were in charred tatters Sunday in the cemetery, authorities said. Swastikas drawn on paper appeared where 14 of the flags had been.


Members of the American Legion on this island off Washington's northwest coast replaced the burned flags with new ones Sunday afternoon.


The vandals struck again on Memorial Day after a guard left at dawn, the San Juan County sheriff's office said. This time, the vandals left 33 of the hand-drawn swastikas.


"This is not an act of free speech. This is a crime," Sheriff Bill Cumming said in a statement released Monday afternoon.

Investigators believe there's more than one culprit, based on the number of flags that were vandalized, Cumming said in a telephone interview. But authorities have no suspects, he said.
The sheriff said deputies were trying to lift fingerprints off what little physical evidence they were able to recover.

---

R. KELLY DONE LOST HIS DAMN MIND!












OK. So that's not really "news", what with his poo-poo/pee-pee video, the pedophilia charges, his past with the pre-teen Aaliyah, Trapped In The Closet, calling his album Chocolate Factory post-pp/pp video, the commentary track on Trapped In The Closet, etc.

Kells new album, Double Up (another reference to the number 2!), comes out today, and the Washington Post has a fudge covered preview of the album:

---
Double Up invites us to a Kelly-verse where telling your lover she's "looking like a big ol' piece of cake" is a good thing ("Sweet Tooth"). A place where a chorus of "Push! Push! Push!" is actually a man coaching his wife through childbirth ("We're Having a Baby"). A place where one's animalistic libido can earn him the title of "sexasaurus" ("The Zoo").

The latter is one of the album's more titillating tunes, but top honors go to "Sex Planet," another quiet stormer, in which Kelly takes his penchant for absurdity to new highs. Or lows. You gotta hear it to believe it. But are we really supposed to believe it? He's kidding, right? Did he just rhyme "Skittles" with "your middle"?
---

But the best part comes from a song called "Same Girl", a track that's probably a prelude to Trapped In The Closet parts 13-24.

---
Kelly is bragging to guest singer Usher about his girlfriend, but once he starts rattling off the finer details, Usher makes the connection. "Went to Georgia Tech? Works for TBS?" he croons. The chorus hits like a slap on the forehead: "We messin' with the same girl!"
---

Georgia Tech? Come on! Shouldn't the lyric have been "Went to Jackson Junior High? Watches TBS?...We messin with the same kid!"

Monday, May 28, 2007

LIFE IMITATES GRINDHOUSE (SORT OF)

























---
Police barricaded streets near St Joseph Hospital in Bellingham, Washington, after a woman called to report a man with an assault rifle walking into a medical office building.

The "assault rifle" turned out to be a prosthetic leg, Bellingham Police Deputy Chief David Doll said.

"Everyone did everything right," he said. "Like we hoped, it turned out to be a good situation."
---

P.S. NO! It wasn't Heather Mills in drag....

AMY POEHLER AND THE TKO























OK. So, I take it back. I was wrong.

Women are funny.

And the final straw came this weekend, from the unlikeliest of places...Saturday Night Live!

It's spooky, sometimes when you make a claim - i.e. "women aren't funny" - you start noticing evidence against that claim. Mother Nature's way I guess (she is a chick, after all...)

I had been leaning this way lately, but Amy Poehler's impersonation of Rosie Perez on this weekend's rerun was the cherry. Couple that with Maya Rudolph and SNL newbie Kristen Wiig, and I am fully ready to concede.

But Amy Poehler is the king...er, queen. She has the impersonation talent of a Darrell Hammond, and the oddball genius of a Horatio Sanz (um, like only THE BEST SNL CAST MEMBER EV-ER!).

But men are still funnier.


p.s. If anyone can find a online video of Poehler doing Perez, please let me know. All of the links I've found so far have pulled the video.

RCTV

Hugo Chavez keeps his word and is silencing free expression and voices as we speak.

Meanwhile...Venezuela's ambassador to Nicaragua tries to drum up support by calling for solidarity in the backyard of the lovely Daniel Ortega:

---
The activity ignited controversial reactions, as local (Nicaraguan) media rejected the call to support non-renewal of the broadcast license for a television station in Venezuela.

La Prensa de Managua newspaper described the invitation as something "unheard of."

"This should not be considered only as an abuse of the Nicaraguan territory by a foreign diplomat and complicity of the Nicaraguan government, but also and above all as an ominous warning of the regime of Daniel Ortega -Chávez' ally- that the same thing will or could happen here," the newspaper add. (El Universal)

---

MEMORIAL DAY













Sunday, May 27, 2007

BUG

Michael Shannon, who plays Peter in the new movie Bug, gives life to the saying: "you should never trust the quiet ones". He has sad eyes, and a short mouth. His features alone pull out your sympathy (they had the same effect in his role as the wandering soldier in World Trade Center). My wife made a good point after the film, "Why would Agnes (Ashley Judd) just go along with Peter and his antics?". Putting aside that Agnes says "you have a really nice body", I think its in his eyes. The eyes man, the eyes.

Agnes is a down on her luck, bi-sexual bartender living in Oklahoma. She lost her son 9 years ago, and her fresh out of jail husband (Connick Jr.) is a 'sonbitch. Agnes meets Peter, he stays over, they bond, he opens up, conspiracy theories come out, and director William Friedkin turns the remainder of the movie in to a tinfoil and black helicopter nightmare. It's so over-the-top, it pops. The secluded location of a motel room and the rapid deterioration of the characters fuse with each other. And the gore works. It's not the nu-horror sadism that we've come to expect from LIONSGATE releases (Rob Zombie should take notes).

I'm curious to hear the DVD commentary track for Bug, because the set in the film's final 20 minutes is low-budget movie magic on par with The Evil Dead. Aluminum foil, plastic, and candles are everywhere. It's as if some 8th graders were asked to replicate an ice cave for a junior high play, and this is what they came up with. Equally fun, and frustrating, for the set designer, I'm sure. Forgive me "truthers", prison planet denizens, and Ron Paul supporters when I say that this is how I've always imagined Alex Jones' living room (bunker?) looking like.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

FAY GRIM

Fay Grim's dry humor about international intelligence and the conscience of the American mind is unique and shocking. It re-exposes the awful dry humping in socio-political frauds like Syriana, Good Night, and Good Luck, Shooter, Babel, and Children of Men. Hal Hartley's offbeat dialogue finally finds its place in the mouths of these characters. Fay's genuine retorts of "ok", "is that bad?", and "so" to CIA agent Fulbright's long, detailed stories gives Hartley's scenes a real life warmth that his strange world usually lacks.

Fay Grim's heart is in post-9/11 America, but references to the Chilean coup, the Afghan mujahideen, Germany, Israel, Iran, England, jihad, Red China, etc. opens up this fable to a decades worth of world events that run alongside our everyday lives. There's an "it's a small world" notion in the way Fay and her family are so close to classified secrets. Hartley suggests that these conflicts aren't as complex as we think, and that our influence on them is manageable.

The film stumbles a bit when Fay tracks down her husband, Henry, who's being held captive in a cave deep within Pakistan. The sequence is an obvious nod to Osama Bin Laden and his behind-the-curtain terrorist plotting. But Hartley's intentions are unclear, and the actors performances feel out of line. I'd hoped for a better conclusion but it's a small blotch on this great surprise of a film. I never thought I'd find such worldly sensitivity from the dude that directed Amateur.

Friday, May 25, 2007

J.A.W.D. .....

....aka "Jobs Americans Won't Do".

This divisive little phrase has made strange bedfellows of people/groups I thought I'd never find making love to each other : The Wall Street Journal, Salon, John McCain, La Raza, Fred Barnes, Gavin Newsom, Roger Mahony, International A.N.S.W.E.R., President Bush, Ted Kennedy, Tamar Jacoby, The Nation, John Kyl, and on and on and on...

I think the "J.A.W.D." justification for illegal immigration is weightless, or in the least, at this point, unprovable. Are our outsourced manufacturing jobs to China, the outsourced call center jobs to India, and the outsourced shoe making jobs to Thailand ALSO "jobs Americans won't do"? I think most likely they are "jobs that poor Central Americans will do for $2.35 /hr", OR, "jobs Americans won't do for $2.35 /hr".

Certainly Americans were doing the jobs that they now "won't do" before they decided they "won't do" them. Cesar Chavez used to protest illegal workers b/c he was aware of the effect (job loss, wage decrease) it had on his fellow Mexican-Americans immigrants (LEGAL!). And where are the unions? I mean, shouldn't this be the unions shining moment?!?!? I have my beefs with unions too, but come on! (To be fair, I haven't checked on "the union" response, but just in general they've seemed silent on the illegal issue.)

To me, the only reason the pro-illegal crowd (especially the Wall Street Journal crowd) supports loose border enforcement is b/c it lowers the cost of labor. Damn the consequences as long as they make more money.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

DIS-COVER
















No doubt about it....

The worst song on the radio right now is Green Day's cover of "Working Class Hero". And no, no, no, it doesn't have anything to do with Billie Joe faux-representin' for the working class, it's because it's an A-W-F-U-L cover. Billie Joe's snarl is made for 2 minute chuggers like "She" and "Geek Stink Breath", not the acousto-folky set.

I once saw Blind Melon do a cover of "Working Class Hero". It was much better than Green Day's, and Blind Melon's was really bad.

p.s. On the flipside, I think Christina Aguilera covering "Mother" makes for an interesting pairing.

THE ITALIAN

Are You My Mother?

Remember that Dr. Suess book? A baby bird falls from its nest and goes on a journey to find the momma bird. Little Vanya, in The Italian, is on the same quest. He even has a matted haircut that gives the illusion of fresh, wet feathers. When Vanya encounters people on the train, the bus, or the street, he peers up with a hungry curiosity. The child actor, Kolya Spiridonov, has the mug of a silent film star. Turn the subtitles off, and the language will still come through.

Vanya was given to an orphanage as a baby. But in two short months he will be adopted by an Italian couple. This makes Vanya the hero and envy of every other orphan. But Vanya wants his real mother. It's his instinct. Inside the orphanage, he gazes through the window, daydreams on his pillow, and awaits the chance to run, run, run...

Director Andrei Kravchuk gives us an unsentimental look at the inner workings of a Russian orphanage, but he doesn't linger on the cliches of ratty tenements and heartless caretakers. The Italian follows in the traditions of Mother and Son, The Return, and Father and Son, three - also Russian - films that express familial emotions both physically and visually instead of relying on dialogue. These films are subtle, but the imagery is so rich that a 4 minute long shot evokes more feeling (and exposition) than a 4-cuts-per-second scene ever could.

ABEL FERRARA

The Guardian talks to Abel Ferrara at Cannes, and, as expected, he's all over the place (and a little nutty):

---
I ask him about the appeal of strip clubs amd he gives a dismissive shrug. "What do you think the appeal is? It's basically t*ts and a*s. It's the opportunity to watch beautiful women take their clothes off." He downs a mouthful of beer. "I used to go to strip clubs. Don't any more. What's the point of looking at all these beautiful women if you're not allowed to touch them?"

[...]

"Ferrara plans to stay in Rome to shoot a prequel to his 1990 gangster thriller King of New York. But he is wary about making a violent picture in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre. "I don't want to wake up and see some fucking kid brandishing a gun like the characters in my movies. So I gotta think long and hard about that. The secret is not to make a film that causes something like Virginia Tech to happen. The secret is to make a film that stops it happening. So I gotta think about it."

[...]

Ferrara came up on the tail end of that whole exploitation scene with his gruelling 1979 debut Driller Killer. "Oh yeah, that was a cool time," he says fondly. "And then my next movie, Ms 45? That used to play as a grindhouse double-bill with some movie about Idi Amin. This was way before that new Idi Amin movie, whatever they called it. The Last King of Something?" Scotland. "Yeah, Scotland. Anyway, these two movies used to screen together in midtown and the theatre was full of these ex-cons who'd just got out of prison. And they'd sit there saying the lines along with the actors because they'd seen the films a hundred times." He shakes his head. "Yeah, that was a great scene." (Guardian)
---

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

GO GO TALES

Not surprisingly, Abel Ferrara's first film to get the big-screen treatment since New Rose Hotel (R' X-mas (2001) went straight to video, and Mary (2005) has yet to surface anywhere) is getting the love it/hate it response:

---
About a third of the audience abandoned last night's screening of the new Abel Ferrara drama Go Go Tales. The exodus started at around the half-hour mark and petered out about 20 minutes before the end.

Does this make the Ferrara film a dud? I'm not sure it necessarily does. The director has always polarised audiences and would probably be secretly embarrassed to make a movie that absolutely everyone loved to bits. But I do think that the number of walk-outs were in direct proportion to the applause at the end. The people who remained were Ferrara devotees, die-hards, near-fanatics. Offended by the exits of their milksop enemies they gained revenge at the end by roaring defiant appreciation through the closing credits.

The trouble is that they were only applauding to themselves, and maybe even for themselves. The others had long since gone home. (Guardian Blog)
---

And so it goes. I consider myself a "Ferrara devotee", so much so that I think my wife - while she was still my girlfriend - questioned our relationship when I told her I thought The Addiction was brilliant. This guy punched me in the face when I told him the same thing.

But I'm not a blind devotee. I think he's made some bad ones. I never liked King of New York, Cat Chaser, or The Funeral, and I only think half of Bad Lieutenant is good. But I'll friggin' go to war for China Girl, Dangerous Game, The Addiction, and The Blackout.
I can't think of another modern filmmaker I admire that is so willing to admonish himself and his real life choices on screen. He's not a cynic or a misanthrope as some have branded him. Like Peckinpah, he believes in love and redemption, even when things get damn near nasty.

(I think I will revisit these films soon.......)

¿QUÉ EL INFIERNO?

If this is true, why is it true?

---
Tax amnesty: Unlike last year’s Senate amnesty bill, which required the illegal immigrants to pay three of five years back taxes, this year’s bill does not require them to pay any back taxes(!!!). Senator Kennedy wanted them to pay some taxes, but the White House insisted upon a complete tax amnesty. (National Review)
---

If you would like to tackle - some or all - of the Senate's bill, click HERE for all 326 pages. I plan on doing some fact checking of the above claim ASAP.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

WHO WANTS TO BE A SOCIALIST?

Isn't it nice to see civilized, hood less, effigy-free, groomed, and educated protesters for once???? Well, soak it in, b/c when The Fat Toad seizes Radio Caracas TV on Monday morning, there may be fewer and fewer of these images leaking out of Venezuela.

You know, it really makes one wonder why people like Danny Glover find the Toad to be so "remarkable". Ah, but then you gotta wonder what makes people like Danny Glover even wonder about things in the first place. No use wandering around for answers on that one....

---
Founded in 1953, RCTV is Venezuela's oldest private network and broadcasts a mix of talk shows, soap operas and a version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" RCTV frequently airs complaints of corruption, crime and inefficiency from both opposition and government supporters, whose grievances are rarely broadcast on state-run TV channels. (AP)
---

Duh! It makes so much sense now! Hugo can't let Who Wants to Be A Millionaire? get in the way of his great socialist experiment! Regis Philbin, cash prizes, advertising...it's so imperialistic, so materialistic, so ..... American.

[NOTE: Hugo's version of Millionaire? , will be Who Wants To Be a Socialist?. The more questions you answer correctly, the more money and property you must give up. One thing though, it gets kinda boring b/c all of the questions are about The Bolivarian Revolution.]

And talk shows?? Pfft...forget about it. Citizens bouncing and debating ideas with each other? Hugo definitely can't have that.

Wait ... hold on a sec. Doesn't Hugo hate Bush? Yes, yes, yes ... he does! And that is pretty damn cool bro. Well, screw it then. Let's just pretend everything I said above never happened.......................................................................................................................................................................................................

SARAH POLLEY / AWAY FROM HER



















See Sarah Polley chew gum and talk about her movie, Julie Christie, being Canadian, 300, and more ------> HERE

Monday, May 21, 2007

RADIO ON

"Lazy Eye" - Silversun Pickups

"Lazy Eye" makes you feel good about the 90's alternative rock experience. It rides on a "1979" groove and the singer sounds like a shy Billy Corgan. But there's more... the short-armed guitar noodling in between verses that brings to mind Unrest, and then some super-blast guitar pedal pushing reminiscent of Hum. The whole song feels nice in the summer of 2007.


"Girlfriend" - Avril Lavigne

I'm convinced that it's the tambourines in this song's 2nd, 3rd, and 4th chorus that's elevated it to mega-hit #1 4 EVA status. Avril puts the hook into your head as soon as the song starts, so when the second (...and third, and fourth) time comes around, the quadruple overdubbed tambourines are like fishnet icing on a pink and blond cupcake.

LOS RICO SUAVE SENADORES

Interpretations of the Senate's illegal immigrant bill are starting to surface. Law professor and Kansas Republican, Kris Kobach, gets in his quick hits, but the following is the most disturbing:

---
6) The bill even lets gang members get the amnesty. This comes at a time when violent international gangs have brought mayhem to our cities. More than 30,000 gang members operate in 33 states, trafficking in drugs, arms and people.

Deporting illegal-alien gang members has been a top ICE priority. This bill would end that: Under it, a gang member qualifies for the Z-visa privileges as long as he simply signs a "renunciation of gang affiliation." He can keep his tattoos.

In Sen. Kennedy's America, "immigration enforcement" will become an oxymoron. And - just like the last time we offered an amnesty, in 1986 - millions of new illegal aliens will flood the country to apply for the amnesty fraudulently.
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SHADOWS

A lot will be said, written, debated, and blogged this week about the Senate's proposed immigration bill. Since the bill - all 300-400 pages of it - won't be released until later this morning, it's hard to start forming opinions strictly on the hearsay that's leaking out of Washington.

However, one phrase that is already peeving me when it comes to debating illegal immigration is "living in the shadows". Sen. Graham, Sen. Kennedy, Sen. McCain, and Pres. Bush have been using it in Q & As this weekend. It's a classic victimization phrase, effectively used in news bites to manipulate the casual observer.

So, as I was trying to gather my thoughts on this annoyance, I noticed that Mark Steyn had already done it for me:

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"Whenever folks use this "living in the shadows" line, they assume that these 12-20-30 million people all have a burning desire to move out of the shadows and live under the klieg lights of officialdom. But, in fact, if you wanted to construct the perfect arrangement for modern life, it would be to acquire:

a) just enough of an official identity to be able to function - open bank accounts, etc - and to access free education and health care; but

b) not enough of an official identity to attract the attentions of the IRS and the other less bountiful agencies of the state.

The present "undocumented" network structures provide this. For these Z visas to "work" (in Washington terms), they have to be attractive enough to draw sufficient numbers out of "the shadows". Right now, "living in the shadows" is a pretty good deal. Somerset Maugham famously called Monte Carlo a sunny place full of shady people. Undocumented America is a shady place full of sunny people.

Instead of attempting to draw the undocumented out of the shadows, it might be fairer to allow the rest of us to "live in the shadows", too. My suggestion is that, on the day this bill comes into effect, all 300 million US citizens and legal residents should apply for a Z visa."
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Sunday, May 20, 2007

AWAY FROM HER

Away From Her feels like classic Japanese cinema in the way it looks at and empathizes with the lives of the over-60 generation. We expect a film about mental health to show the deteriorating mind and tragic decline of its subject, but director Sarah Polley decides to reach for a real life experience of a husband losing his wife in a capacity other than death.

Julie Christie is getting a lot of attention for her performance, as she should, but the highlight of the movie is Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent. According to IMDB, he's been acting since the sixties, but Away From Her was my introduction to him. Pinsent has a stable, stoned presence about him. He carries his reactions subtly, and makes us pull from our own human experiences when we think about his struggle.

Away From Her
takes tragedy, and turns it into a victory of human growth.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

1/4

The Astros just completed the 40th game of their 162 game season. The completion of the game meant a loss, and it was a loss that could have been avoided. Two throwing errors, late in the game, and boom...game over.

A flat 20-20 (.500) is where they stand...as fresh and vulnerable as on opening day. I hoped for better, but I'm not discouraged. The Astros are a poor first half team. Their bats never seem wake up until July.

Meanwhile, Roy Oswalt is a stud, and the middle relief pitching has been great, but they need another big guy. (Is the Woody Williams experiment officially a bust?)

Carlos Lee has been worth the money so far. Mark Loretta has been a nice surprise. Hunter Pence is the hot new kid that the fans need. Berkman is steady. But Ensberg...oh Ensberg, what happened to you? Look for Mike Lamb to take over.

Ahh...but it's early. Part II starts tomorrow.

The best news is that we all know the Milwaukee Brewers will start fading eventually. I mean, who wants to watch a World Series game (or NLCS game for that matter) in Milwaukee?!?!?

BURQINI KILL














Istanbul could be the next best place to market the burqini:

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A decision by Turkey's largest city to ban some pictures of swimsuit models has revived claims about the rising power of Islam, with newspapers saying the move was more befitting of theocratic Iran than a secular democracy.

Istanbul municipality asked stores selling swimwear made by Turkish manufacturer Nelson to seek permission to place photographs of models in swimsuits and bikinis on store front windows located on main streets. It then denied them permission.

[...]

"They said that the photographs were not up to EU standards and that they could cause car accidents," said Eskinazi, quoting Istanbul's urban planning department.

The municipality's urban planning department said it denied permission because the application was not in the proper form. (Reuters)
---

"EU standards". That's a bit oxymoronic...ain't it?

***WARNING***
A POSSIBLE ETHNICALLY INSENSITIVE JOKE IS COMING

And what's up with the "causing accidents" concern? Come on! How many Muslim cab drivers patrol NYC on a daily basis and never get in accidents? And NYC has some of the best eye candy in the world!

Or...maybe Speedo has a lot of surplus wet suits and they are leaning heavily on the Turkish wet suit lobbyists. Hey Daily Kos...check and see if the Bush Crime Family has ties to Speedo. That's gotta be the answer here.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

MY BLUEBERRY NIGHTS

Trailer for the new Wong Kar-Wai movie ---- >HERE

SO EXCITED!

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UPDATE:

Check out some beautiful stills from My Blueberry Nights -----> HERE
(It may take a minute to load...then scroll all the way down)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

THE FORT DIX DICKS

Mark Steyn has a great quote in his latest Washington Times column:
"Most terrorists are jokes until the bomb goes off."
I would expand that to: "terrorism is considered a joke until the bomb goes off".

Have the cynics prevailed and truly convinced Americans that terrorism is a minuscule threat? Are the Fort Dix six seen as nothing more than some kids who on any other night would have robbed a Kentucky Fried Chicken? Or worse, do people see groups like the FD 6 as just another Weather Underground (who had intended to plant a nail bomb at Fort Dix themselves.)

It doesn't help that our President is an awful communicator. If he mentioned the ordeal at all, it was in a canned sound bite. It's deflating to me that the media didn't discuss the successful raid and arrest of these scumbags for more than just a day. (In contrast, how many days is it now that we've been subjected to "Paris Goes To Prison" coverage?) The kid from Circuit City that turned in the martyr's tape should have been on all of the Sunday talk shows.

I will expand Mark Steyn's quote one more time:

"Terrorists will continue to think America is a joke, until..."

COME TOGETHER
















"You can get a Mexican truck driver to work for a heck of a lot less than a Teamster in the United States, and you can get a Mexican dock worker to work for a heck of a lot less than a longshoreman in the United States and that's what this is ultimately designed to do," said Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore.

"We need to ensure that this program only takes places after the Mexican companies meet the same conditions that American companies do.", Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich

"We're going to have a major accident somewhere, and people are going to say, 'How did this happen?" said Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif.

"We do not need 90,000-pound unguided missiles on our highways," said Rep. Robin Hayes, R-N.C.
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HALLELUJAH!!!

Finally some fully functioning bi-partisan brain power!

In a vote 0f 411-3, the House poops on one of the Bush admin.'s worst ideas.

UPDATE ON HALEH ESFANDIARI




















Last week, an American scholar and dual U.S./Iranian citizen was jailed in Iran after being detained for a period of time. Iran has now officially said she was arrested for "crimes against national security":

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The vague allegations of possible "crimes against national security" have been used often against writers and scholars, as the basis of either investigations or charges, as a "cloak to justify arbitrary detention and coercive interrogation," Ghaemi said.

In Washington, Wilson Center deputy director Michael van Dusen called the investigation "totally unfounded." Since Esfandiari was first called in for interrogation by the intelligence ministry more than four months ago, the center has provided Iran a complete account of every one of its programs on the Middle East. She was taken to prison March 8 after being under virtual house arrest since the beginning of the year.

"We've given Iran all the information on what the Middle East program did and where it got its money. We have been very open. We have nothing to hide," Van Dusen said. "The accusations against her are unfounded."(WashPost)
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Wonkette, DailyKos, Firedoglake, and Glenn Greenwald still don't appear to care b/c Ms. Esfandiari's name still isn't Jose Padilla.

www.freehaleh.org

LI-LO IS THE HOTTEST WOMAN ALIVE?

I must be out of touch.
Out of touch with who men dream of touching.
Out of touch with what makes men touch themselves.

Today, Maxim released their annual 100 HOTTEST WOMEN list.

Lindsey Lohan was #1. Eek. Maybe when she had a body, back in the Mean Girls days, I could understand a top 10 slot, but now?!?!

The hottest woman in the world is my wife, but because she isn't famous (YET!) she didn't make the list.

Luckily, Maxim didn't forget about the second hottest woman alive....Elisha Cuthbert, at #15.

Other notables that I find attractive:

#11 Sienna Miller
#23 Hilary Duff
#24 Sophia Bush
#38 Shakira
#46 Kristen Bell
#47 Katharine McPhee
#48 Mandy Moore

But I really have a beef with Maxim for not including the third hottest woman alive...

Anna Faris!!

...and what about Rachel McAdams??

I guess those girls are too "cute" and don't have enough "hotness" for the Maxim crowd, but I love those ladies.

Monday, May 14, 2007

NEW RUFUS

Is it me, or does the artwork for the new Rufus Wainwright album look like an album cover for a black metal band? (...without the cute little ink pen drawn stars, of course.)

PLAYING GAY

**UPDATED w/ corrections**


















Sports and gay men are two things that haven't meshed well together yet (Lesbian atheletes on the other hand seem to do ok...maybe b/c - as many people suspect - 80% of WNBAers are lesbians). Earlier this year, former NBAer Tim Hardaway said he hated gays, and now a gay male lacrosse coach (Kyle Hawkins) at Missouri has been fired.

The athletic department is denying they fired Hawkins b/c he is gay, but the early facts of the matter don't really back that up: Hawkins was a first year coach. First year coaches are rarely fired for their performance.** (Hawkins' team went 6-9, which is below average, but certainly not terrible). The coach also has an outstanding overall collegiate record of 127-58.

What were some of the reasons the athletic department gave for his firing?

* Dissatisfaction with his practice regimen.

* His negative reputation outside the school.

* Hawkins wasn't compatible with a club sport.

* Lacrosse was his life...all he cared about

Well, those are pretty weak and unbelievable.

If Hawkins had a "negative reputation" outside of school, they would have known this before they hired him last year, and the next time a coach is fired b/c the sport is "his life" will be the first.

Missouri, and the lacrosse players, had to have known Hawkins was gay when they hired him. It's not new news. But was it attention they didn't like? We shall see, but for now The University of Missouri athletic department** should do a better job of explaining themselves.

However, let's not forget the positive stories out there...

A gay lacrosse player for Dartmouth, Andrew Goldstein, recalls the positive aspects of coming out to his teammates:

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"In the summer of 2003, directly following a breakout year by both our team (the most wins in school history, a share of the Ivy League championship, and Dartmouth’s first NCAA tournament appearance) and myself (All-New England, All-Ivy League, All-America), I decided to come clean with everyone. I knew that I wasn’t the first gay athlete at Dartmouth, and it turns out I wouldn’t even be the only openly gay athlete in the sophomore class, but I did know that I had no openly gay team sport athletes to look up to. I am still not sure if I am the first guy on a team sport to come out at Dartmouth, but I am thankful that I had teammates when it came time to open up. They reassured me that I was their goalie either way. I got two responses from the guys on my team: first, the guarantee that they would always have my back no matter what, and second, an apology for anything they may have done to make me feel uncomfortable. At one of the most historically conservative schools in the country, my teammates were there when I doubted how I might be received." (Discourse)
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**CORRECTION**

A reader pointed out that Hawkins was not a first year coach at Missouri. This is true, and it was my mistake in saying that it was. His record at Missouri was 112-49 (via Wikipedia). It is also true that Missouri Lacrosse is NOT a part of the athletic department. It is a club sport.

Thanks to the reader for catching these errors.

I WANNA BE OFFENDED TOO!!

Some GQ dude is in trouble right now b/c he used the term "Asian whore" in his column this month. He didn't call anyone in particular an Asian whore, or call for the death of Asian whores, or say that Asian whores use too much teeth...no, he just said "Asian whores". (Page Six)

Hmmm.

....There are whores on every continent.
....Asia is a continent.

Thus, there are Asian whores.

Janice Lee, of the AJAA (American Journalists Against Asians...wait....Asian Journalists Awaiting Apologies...no....DAMMIT...what is it?!?!?....Asian American Journalists Association...that's it!) is the offended party.

But hey, I think Asian whores should be offended by Ms. Lee's being offended!!! If she's offended that the words "asian" and "whore" are used together, than what does that say about Ms. Lee's feelings towards whores? She is racist towards whores!!! WHORE OPPRESSOR!!! I think the AWAA (the Asian Whore Advancement Association) should now go after Ms. Lee.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

28 WEEKS LATER

28 Weeks Later starts off in the vein of its prequel, Land of the Dead, Children of Men etc. Dystopian nightmare world...police state...boys in blue and camo are bad...US is bad...UK is bad...bleh, bleh, bleh. But my wife pointed something out after the film was over, and she's right. New director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo turns up the human element in 28 Weeks Later and gives it something none of the aforementioned zeros could ever dream of having (covering my a*s here: my wife liked the aforementioned movies...any negativity towards them is my own).

Don't get me wrong. I don't think 28 Weeks Later is a great film (or even a good one for that matter), but there are a handful of scenes that refreshingly place the characters in morally ambiguous positions. Whatever path they choose is understandable, even while in our seats, we may find them dishonorable. Should a husband save himself, or die with his wife? Should a General firebomb an entire city b/c a formerly contained virus is spreading again? Should an infected person, showing signs of a strong immune system, be disposed of anyway for the greater good?

It's not clear where the filmmaker stands on these questions, but by the films end, the answer to all of those questions seems to be a resounding "YES!".