Saturday, January 05, 2008

Iowa Says: Obama

Okay, I wasn't backing Obama here, but thank you, thank you, Iowa Democrats for not backing Hillary Clinton! And even my boy Edwards came in second! Clinton was a close third, but got juuuuust edged out by someone who actually is for universal health care instead of pretending to be. Great news!

You men and women proved that you can see through that android Hillary Clinton and her near-total support of the war. That you don't want a woman who started her political career as a Nixon campaign worker getting the Democratic nomination. That you don't consider someone who, as a lawyer, defended Coca-Cola from its own disabled employees someone who will break us away from corporate domination of politics. That maybe someone on the Wal-Mart board isn't exactly against poisoned toys.

Instead of going with someone who voted for the war repeatedly because of political calculation, you Iowa Democrats went with Obama, a man who never voted for the war. I can understand that. Edwards did vote for the invasion, but he's admitted his mistake. Obama, however, was against it from the start. But I urge the rest of the country to keep in mind that he's the only candidate who wants to bring the troops home as quickly as possible.

239,000 Democrats showed up to vote, 93% more than the last presidential campaign, and over twice the amount of Republicans (115,000). According to this post at Zaius Nation, factoring in the massive difference in the amount of Democrats and Republicans, Mike Huckabee's 34% victory over the other Republicans in Iowa actually translates to an 11.4% total, with Huckabee coming in fourth overall after Obama, Edwards, and Clinton.

Some other good news: among the Republicans, Ghouliani (who showed Iowa how important he considered their votes by not even showing up) came in second to last. He ended up with 3% of the vote, with only Duncan Hunter (at 0.44%) getting less. Ron Paul got more votes; then Fred Thompson and John McCain, with about 13% apiece. Huckabee came in first because... well, why? Because he can play the guitar?What a dignified spectacle. Yes, I get it, Huckabee can play the guitar. Can the monkey do any other tricks to distract people from his monstrous intolerance?

I was, frankly, surprised to see that Kucinich got no votes at all. Even Chris Dodd did slightly better (.04%).

New Hampshire: you're up next. And if I may offer some advice, keep in mind that, when it comes to health care, Obama wants the insurance companies to come up with a new plan, despite being the ones who've gotten us here. He's the second largest payoff of the health industry after Hillary Clinton. He gets more money from Big Pharma than any of the Republican candidates! Someone want to finally ask him why?

Why Idiots and Tigers Don't Mix

Come to find out that the guys who were attacked by a tiger named Tatiana at the San Francisco Zoo were probably provoking it.

Well done, idiots.

I want to be sympathetic. I really do. I mean, I've actually had nightmares before about tigers escaping from the Brookfield Zoo while I'm there. And a tiger is a big animal. I'm sure it's absolutely horrible being killed or mauled by a tiger. Tatiana killed one of those kids. Killed him. There's no denying that's awful.

And there's also no denying that the San Francisco Zoo really should've been more studious in their planning. The moat wall on that big cat grotto they have is a full four feet shorter than the height recommended by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. And it appears to be at a slight, subtle incline. That's just asking for trouble, really. And Tatiana was also the tiger that attacked a zookeeper during a public feeding last year. And the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration blamed (and fined) the zoo for inadequate safety precautions and training. And, zoo employees were slow to respond to the attack because they'd dismissed the news of the attack as "the ravings of a mentally unstable person." Tigers do, it seems, sometimes end up in the moat trying to jump out of their pits; I've read that in a couple of places.

But there are two things I just can't goddamn get past.

First, the three kids who were attacked--Carlos Sousa (17), Paul Dhaliwal (19), and Kulbir Dhaliwal (23)--were probably provoking Tatiana. It's been intimated that one of the victims was dangling his leg over the edge of the moat, which might have ultimately helped the tiger escape. There were pinecones and sticks in the grotto that may have agitated her had they been thrown at her. They couldn't have been there naturally. Also, the Dhaliwals had slingshots on them. They had an empty vodka bottle in their car. And the Dhaliwals have been hostile to the police since the attack occured, initially even refusing to identify themselves to the police or even be questioned by the police until two days after the attack. There's one eyewitness who says she saw them taunting the animals.

And to make themselves look even less guilty, they've hired a lawyer to sue the San Francisco Zoo. And the lawyer is Mark Geragos, who apparently makes his living defending guilty people. His clients include Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Gary Condit, and Scott Peterson. He said the eyewitness account of the Dhaliwals taunting the tigers was "demonstrably false," which makes me wonder if he knows the meaning of the word demonstrably. What is, in fact, demonstrable here is that rich idiots walk around the country as though they own it and nothing bad can ever happen to them because they're touched by the hand of god, and then they sue everyone else whenever something goes wrong. Because it's never their fault; it's always a mess for everyone else to suffer through.

The second thing I can't get past is this: Siberian Tigers are critically endangered. Critically ENDANGERED. That's just one rung down from being extinct in the wild on the conservation status. They only live in one part of the world; there are about five hundred or so in the tiny Amur-Ussuri region of Primorsky in the Far East of Russia, just near the Chinese border. About a dozen or less live in northeastern China. The species seems to have a chance at making a comeback, but it ain't there yet. This is a species that is under the threat of disappearing from the planet.

So, ultimately, that's why I can't sympathize with these idiots. Because a specimen of a beautiful, disappearing animal had to be gunned down because they wanted to act like spoiled assholes. Because they wanted to treat the world as though no one else mattered. Because of their bastardy, their lack of respect for an animal with the power to kill them, their childish need to scoff at man's supposed power over the wild things of the earth, one of the Siberian Tigers has been removed from the world. That I cannot forgive. And to be most frank, I think that if these losers can sue the San Francisco Zoo for causing their own tiger attack, the World Wildlife Fund should be able to sue the Dhaliwals for causing the death of an animal listed as critically endangered. Personally, I wish that Tatiana had managed to kill all three of them for what they did.

RIP Tati.

We Can Be Strong

The entertainment industry is facing a terrible crisis even as we speak. I'm talking, of course, of the possibility that there will be no Golden Globes ceremony this year. Yes, less than two weeks away, we are left to ponder a year without the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's yearly pre-Oscar warm-up circle jerk. If you're reading this, please don't kill yourself. I know I started mentally searching the home for razors at the prospect of not being able to watch a televised industrial award party for a business I'm not a part of (which, now I think of it, I've never actually watched before), but I calmed down. I just have to suck it up and try to face the fact that I may not know which actor from which overrated TV series I don't even watch is a bunch of reporters' Favoritest Actor Ever for 2007.

Of course, it's all because of those selfish writers in the Guild who won't continue working for chicken feed while everyone else grows fat from their efforts. Thanks a lot, guys. Now I won't be able to see Nicolette Sheridan pretending she's relevant this year.

Back to reality: here's what's going on. The Golden Globes organizers are trying to find an interim agreement with the WGA, the way David Letterman did with his writers. The Hollywood Foreign Press even issued a statement about it. I think it only took a couple of hours for the Writer's Guild to hip to the idea that doing "interim work" during the strike will only draw out the strike without seeing any results. Well, actually, I'm sure it only took them a couple of seconds to hip to it, but they're writers, not awards show organizers or entertainment reporters or actors or directors or producers--they're smart. But the statement came from the WGA a few hours later, and mere minutes afterwards the Screen Actors Guild issued their own statement that they were advising their members not to cross the picket line (as the WGA will be picketing the ceremony).

Man, that's the reason why they should have the Golden Globes this year. I want to see which shanks will cross the picket line. I'll bet Katherine Heigl would. Maybe they can invite "Friend of the Working Man" Mike Huckabee. He likes crossing picket lines.

Synesthesish

73%

Friday, January 04, 2008

Throwdown 1/4

Okay, well, this is the return of the Throwdown. I'm going to try to keep doing this every week, but I'm not going to force myself to find 15 items a week anymore (I do work for a living now, and sadly this isn't a paid job), but it does so happen that for this first of 2008 I do have 15 items. So on to thoughts, questions, and comments for the week.

1. Wow, people still want to see these movies? Seriously, ladies, what are they doing for you? And why the hell does Colin Firth end up with the Bill Pullman role?

2. Another question for the ladies: do you find Tom Hanks sexy? I keep hearing that the real Charlie Wilson was a notorious pussy hound. I mean, I know power is an aphrodisiac and all, but Tom Hanks? That’s who you decide to cast is a movie about a ladies’ man? Further proof that Hollywood is run by old, out of touch white guys. Of course, my grandmother finds Dick Cheney sexy, and yes she used that word, so what do I know?

3. Simon Pegg can’t do any better for a female lead in America than Kirsten Dunst? That’s kind of depressing. Yeah, she’s been really good in some movies, but has anyone else noticed she stinks in romantic comedies? Especially against British people. You know which piece of shit movie I'm talking about.

4. Here was something fun. Last Sunday, Turner Classic Movies aired the Disney version of Treasure Island. I was wiped out, so I fell asleep. When I woke up, Tommy was just starting. I ended up watching the whole movie. Then TCM chose to follow Tommy with a Disney double feature: The Shaggy Dog and The Shaggy D.A. What an odd line-up. Disney, Ken Russell, Disney, Disney. Hey, your children need their minds broadened, anyway. And they should be listening to more Who.

5. Dude, come on, you’re 30. She’s 18 and you’re 30? You have nothing to talk about, so why don’t you quit embarrassing yourself and stop pretending your "relationship" is about anything other than nailing the cheerleader? While we're on this subject, why are really young actresses and celebutantes so ready and willing to fuck anything?

6. I have to admit, I’m surprised Jennifer Aniston has such a nice ass.

7. Well, it’s official: Kevin Federline is no longer the good parent. It was always by default, anyway, but hanging out with Paris Hilton disqualifies you even from that. There is no good parent. Those kids need to be adopted by some old couple in rural Kansas.

8. Related question: how much money would it take for you to stick your tongue in a Petri dish?

9. Yeah, Lindsay Lohan’s still banned from the Throwdown, but I had to point this one out. Apparently, she hooked up with three guys in Italy in one day because, as her classy “professional” snowboarder ex-boyfriend so painstakingly detailed, she’s addicted to penis. And obviously she’s looking for a sugar daddy because she’s broke and no one wants to work with her. But of all the slutty pictures I saw of her from that day, including pictures of her sprawled all over some guy with too much hair, this is the one that actually made me just feel sorry for her dad. Can you imagine having this as a father? If I saw my daughter in a picture like this, I think I’d fly to Italy, track this guy down, and murder him. Of course, that’s really the point, isn’t it, Linz?

10. So, Britney Spears is going to die this year.

11. Look, it’s really beyond time for the big gossip tabloid blogs to stop covering up the nipples and pretending that they’re posting them begrudgingly out of some sort of fake, overblown sense of duty to the news. You have no journalistic integrity, anyway; in fact, you have no journalism. So what’s the point of pretending you’re disgusted by pictures and then reveling in posting them? Get over yourselves; you love this shit and it’s the only reason you exist. Be honest about it.

12. The heartwarmingest story I’ve heard this week: before Charles Manson started killing people, he took over 150 hours of scientology courses. He decided that scientology was total crazy bullshit. Yes, scientology was too crazy for the guy who committed those murders and later carved a swastika in his forehead. And quite frankly, if I had to be stuck in an elevator for four hours with either Manson or Tom Cruise, I'd pick Manson every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I don't trust that Tom Cruise a damn sight.


13. Boy, you can always count on Ghouliani to keep it classy, can’t you? Please, someone, please tell me what this fucking asshole did that makes him so “tested” against terrorists? Lost two buildings to them? Well done.

14. Mike Huckabee crossed a picket line to appear on The Tonight Show. Think about that, “populist” vote. I thought he loved labor. It’s hard to imagine a hypocritical politician who’ll say whatever it takes to get elected…

15. I actually saw an episode of the CW’s mother-daughter pageant competition series Crowned last weekend. Do you know why I listen when people say these shows are dangerous? Because when I saw four of these shrill bitches screaming at each other over some non-issue about who deserves respect and for what, my first though, completely out of the blue, kneejerk reaction was: “Man, American men aren’t beating their wives enough.” Kinda scary. But seriously, what do people not learn as kids that makes them act like selfish idiots?

Through Cosmic Links the TARDIS Flies

A few days later, here are the links for December.
I stumbled across this on Deviant Art one day. Turns out the artist has a whole gallery of these on her Flickr page. Go and look at them, they're absolutely wonderful. Even the fact that they exist is wonderful. In a similar vein, Becca's been posting some more of her art, including these sexy drawings of fairy tale characters.

Now, if I can just get these drunken babes out of here and back to their own homes, I'll have some excellent pop culture links. And here they are!
* Splotchy has the lowdown on the second season of Heroes.
* Becca has loads of fun stuff: new pictures of Evangeline, Miss Piggy singing with Rudolf Nureyev, some sexy Playboy babe, a look at her Christmas trees, a Barbie photoshoot, an appreciation of Myrna Loy, a story about working the holidays in retail, a look at her Christmas ornaments, the apparently "contentious" Aria Giovanni, a look at The Reluctant Dragon, the very cute Nauga Monster, sexy Sophie Howard pics, sexy Dita pics, and a post about the masterful motion picture Kwaidan. Damn!
* Ken Levine looks at Hollywood plastic surgery, more WGA strike news, Nick Counter, Kellie Pickler, Juno, Walk Hard, Steve Martin, and the best quotes of the year.
* Dr. Monkey reveals his origin story! He also has pictures of a white squirrel.
* Peter Lynn: Conversations I Shouldn't Have Had. Also, a little bit of title confusion and five years of great Christmas music.
* Piper applauds Jodie Foster, considers digital vs. reality, posts a trailer for the must-see movie featuring a drill bra, and makes a Christmas wish list for the movies.
* Dr. Zaius has found the most suggestive Batman and Superman panel of all time.
* IGN talks to David Cohen about the future of Futurama.
* MWB has the funniest LOLCat in the history of the world. Seriously, joke's over, this is the winner.
* JA keeps my bisexuality running with Jake Gyllenhaal. Damn.
* Of all the posts relating to Christmas, this one from Bubs made me feel the best. Though I also love Santa Whale. Seriously, love him.
* I didn't link them last month, but Lee finished his appreciation of the Star Trek series with The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country.
* Cap'n Dyke found some terrific insults.
* Tosy and Cosh ruminates on the making of King Kong.
* WCBS-TV looks at mistakes in Best Picture winners and nominees.
* Here are not one, but two posts about what a huge bitch Katherine Heigl is. Did anyone else happen to see her wedding pictures? What was with that groom? Damn, buddy, did your own wedding get in the way of your couch-riding, scraggly facial hair-farming day? Thanks for dressing up for the most important day of your life. The divorce countdown starts now.
* Scurvy has some amazing guitars.
* Roger Ebert's 10 Best Films of 2007
* A BBC story about new species discovered in New Guinea.
* The Times Online has an article about the Disney references in Enchanted.
* Animated Views: The Best Animation DVDs of 2007
* Fleshbot: The Year in Porn Movies
* Thank you, PJ!
* The Free Articulator and John Patterson both see the upside of bad movie situations.

And, of course, it's time to look at the political and such. It's not all shallowness here.
* Dr. Monkey has words for Glen Beck, religious enthusiasts, and you, America.
* Distributorcap looks at the electoral college, Jenna Bush on Ellen, Congress's vote on Christmas, Mitt Romney's long distance relationship with the truth, the whole steroids-in-baseball-thing, Bush's latest address, and Pakistan.
* FranIAm has an LGBT rant and a rumination on Huckabee and Catholicism.
* Is Sherri Shepard some kind of retard or does she really just not care how ignorant she is?
* Some Guy steps inside the mind of President Duh.
* T. Rex takes a look at Liberal Fascism.
* Jess Wundrun on Ghouliani's health.
* The Rude Pundit addresses presidential candidates, the relationship between Bush and Congress, some brief observations, HR 847, Fuckabee, ethhics and morality, and Mitt Romney.
* Good morning, America. How are you? Don't you know Splotchy? He's your favorite son. And he rode out to the city of New Orleans: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.
* For those of you who still (for some reason) support Bush: a look at the censored news stories and the financial cost of his mismanaging of America. And here's a great (and long) list of the Bush administration officials who've run out of office amid scandal.
* And finally, Dr. Zaius has a story I've never even heard about, but which gave me a rectal prolapse when I read because it's, uh, vaguely important.

Well, last night Scarlett and I took a shuttle from Mars to my birth state of Iowa. We ate and walked around Des Moines and saw the hospital I was born in and that buffalo at the state building and the house by the fair grounds my grandma used to live in. So, one the way, she was practicing the fifteen-minute speech she gave in support of the candidate who isn't John Edwards, and I was reading the best links I could find to end the year with. Here they are: MWB's kooky religion, Peter Lynn's holiday lessons for 2007, Cracked's list of things we should pretend never happened in 2007, retroCRUSH's list of the most annoying things of 2007, and The Beast's annual 50 Most Loathsome list.

This was actually a single release in the early seventies. Weird, but kind of neat.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Wordstuffs

SPAM EMAIL: Attention All Mom's!

ME: Attention all mom's what?

***************
The girl at the deli sliced my Swiss cheese much thicker than I like it. I told her "very thin," but I guess she couldn't hear me because she was busy talking to someone else about what a good employee she is.

***************
I was watching Jeopardy earlier this week, and the answer to a question was "Diane Arbus." I thought it was funny that the oh-so-precise and crazily-flourished-accents-obsessed Alex mispronounced her name "Die-ann" instead of the correct "Dee-ann."

***************
Commas are important. See?

(Thanks to MC, via Hammer Uncut.)

Ursula, Goose

Power to the People

I copped this from Becca, who was unsurprisingly George. The code wasn't working right, so I copied the picture. If you want to discover your inner Beatle, go here.

Give me love, give me peace on Earth!

Little Girls

Let's talk about this.
This is the latest in what is apparently going to be a long string of controversies regarding Miley Cyrus. The expensive concert tickets, the short dress at the American Music Awards. Apparently she kissed her boyfriend on stage recently and people are calling her a slut, which makes absolutely no sense. And now her MySpace pictures or whatever they are have leaked online and are causing some sort of controversy that some outlets have gone so far as calling a "lesbian scandal."

Lesbian scandal? Can we calm the fuck down here for a minute?

I have a lot of points to make about this, and I'm going to endeavor to make them clearly.

1. I didn't grow up a girl. I was never a 15 year-old girl at any point in my life. But I do know from having a 12 year-old sister and from talking to women who were 15 year-old girls that this kind of thing, the mugging for the camera, the tongues waggling out, the hugging and playing... this seems to be the way girls act out and act up. We all understand that girls touch each other in public in friendly ways that boys can't. We all saw girls in the school halls walk up to a friend and put their arm around her shoulders or her waist. Because of the still-enforced societal pressure against boys being homosexuals (or even appearing to be homosexuals), guys can't be openly comfortable with one another. Girls can be. That's the way they are and the way they act. And, like guys tend to, the media is interpreting it as lesbian play. But I think that, really, a lot of this is just the 21st century version of guys giving the camera the finger. Because of the wave of feminism in the sixties, seventies, and early eighties, girls are more on a level with guys, and because that wave of feminism went wrong in the nineties, a lot of women and their girl children seem to interpret that level as being the one where girls get to prove they can be just as disgusting, idiotic, moronic, and pointless as boys.

2. The new technology that puts a camera phone in the hands of everyone over the age of 10 (they'll be issued it one day by the government) makes this kind of thing more common. Everyone has a camera now, and everyone has the internet. This being a very visual culture, these kinds of things get emailed and posted on personal sites constantly. Granted, Miley's only 15 years old, so it's just playfulness now, but I'd advise her to stop documenting her playtime before she makes Antonella Barba's mistake and pictures of her sucking cock end up online. Just a suggestion. Still, if the shot above of Miley and her friend double-dildoing a piece of candy with their mouths is a "lesbian scandal," then what the fuck is MySpace? It's only a controversy because she's famous. There are millions of girls in America with similar pictures.

3. This is where things do make me a little sick to my stomach, though. Things went terribly wrong in the nineties and now they're just fucked. That wave of feminism really started to go wrong around the time that Demi Moore appeared on the cover of Cigar Afficionado with a big brown dick in her mouth (sorry, but as George Carlin said, "Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes it's a big brown dick"), taking that wave of feminism and putting a frat boy, rich old white man spin on it. It wasn't cool and it wasn't sexy. Women going to strip clubs isn't feminism, it's just proving you can act like a man. Big deal. But because of these attitudes, we've got a massive group of females, aged about 9 through about 30, who apparently think that being able to get a man's attention is somehow validating. And don't think I'm blaming women for this, either. It's because men eventually overreacted to feminism, creating Maxim magazine and The Man Show and Girls Gone Wild, bringing in a new kind of obnoxious, overcompensating male drag that said it was your divine right to act like a pig who never planned to grow up. That it was not only cute to act like an overgrown frat boy, it was expected. And if it pissed off feminists, that was the whole point. If you didn't like beer and tits and farting, there was something unmanly about you (as if that attitude is manly and not juvenile). The reaction of guys like me was that, one day, the boys would grow up and figure out that women liked men and not child-men, and that the love of a great woman and being in a real relationship was better than the frat house. But, sadly, a great number of women decided to play along. "Hey, here's my boobs, look how much fun I am!" Or my favorite lie: "I was so drunk I just had no idea that I was being jackhammered by three guys in front of that whole high school party, or that someone was making a video out of it, and that they would post it on the internet! Daddy, look how much fun I am!"

The shitty part about all that is that society still tends to blame the girl for being drunk and acting slutty. And girls who play into those male expectations are pretty fucking dumb. Not counting the girls who are drugged into it, how stupid do you have to be to let someone fuck you in front of the whole school or the whole fraternity? How stupid do you have to be to suck someone's dick and let them take pictures of it? But guys, you're the ones getting them to do this and making them feel terrible if they don't. You're the ones who pit them against each other (and girls, seriously, why do you play into that competition? There's no prize you're winning.). You should know better. You do know better. You know you do. Try acting like a human being for once. It's much more liberating.

4. Why do they always blame the woman? A recent case that pissed me off involved Laure Manaudou, the French champion swimmer, who let her boyfriend take nude pictures of her. After she broke up with him, he vindictively (and childishly, come on) put those pictures online. And then I kept seeing stories about how this was such a scandal for her, how she should be ashamed of herself for letting these pictures be taken. Why was she to blame? Her boyfriend was the jerk who put what she thought were private photos online. How is that her fault? Why did the media take her to task for being humiliated by a man? If the genders were reversed, the woman would still have been blamed. Doesn't that piss you off as much as it should?

5. It's much harder to believe that photos are "leaked" online anymore. Either everyone's just way too careless, or it's a career move. Thanks to the current generation of celebuskanks, Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, and Kim Kardashian can pretend that their pictures and tapes are stolen and act like, since they said it in the press, it's true. It's as casual as lying to their own incredibly shitty parents. Paris goes on Larry King Live and says she hardly drinks and doesn't do drugs, despite pictorial evidence to the contrary, and it's supposed to be true? Because she said it on TV? If those photos and videos were "stolen," don't you think someone would get sued? Successfully? The way was paved for all of this in the nineties, when the Pamela Anderson/Tommy Lee video was released. Or stolen, sorry. You mean to tell me, honestly, looking me straight in the eye, that Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee can't successfully sue the man who supposedly broke into their house, stole property, and proceeded to sell it commercially? Pull the other one, it plays Water Music.

6. I've written about this one before, but please tell me, why do Americans react so violently to any expression of sexuality? Miley could take pictures of herself performing surgery on fully awake hobos and people wouldn't be this pissed off. That's the part that really blows me away. When the Vanessa Hudgens pictures showed up, I didn't see any sort of dirty, slutty intent behind them. She took a nude picture of herself and sent it to her boyfriend. So what? How is that awful? Did you ever think part of this explosion of over-the-top skankiness is partially an unconscious reaction to the continuing supression of feminine sexuality? What does it teach teenage girls that a photo of Miley and a friend sucking on a piece of candy or Baby V standing naked in front of a camera are dirty and awful and wrong? It's not like they're selling anything. Why is an almost cartoonish level of male sexuality so okay, but the reverse is bad? In fact, if they had stripped off to sell something, people wouldn't be this angry. It's okay for PETA, but not for your boyfriend?

So where does that leave it? I think, for the most part, pictures like these are innocent play that a bunch of dirty adults are pathetically casting their lesbo fantasies onto. But I also think that kind of behavior just gets worse in a lot of cases, especially with our permissive culture. It's a culture where boys are encouraged and expected to act like fucking assholes, where girls are expected to submit to it, and where girls have this reinforced on television. They learn that they're supposed to be objectified, that adolescence is supposed to be a Grand Guignol soap opera, and that (in this case see The Hills or any permutation of MTV's fake reality series) you're actually supposed to put your boyfriend's happiness before your own.

Good luck, girls. God help you. Because when you finally rediscover feminism, you're going to have to start all over again.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

More Indy

Dammit, dammit, dammit! I don't want to see the next Indiana Jones movie! It's going to suck! Everything I know about Steven Spielberg and George Lucas and Harrison Ford tells me deep in my gut that it's going to be absolutely terrible. And yet...

Shia LeBeouf is in it. I like him. And...

Oh my God, look at Cate Blanchett as one of the villains! Jesus, what do I do now!

I got these from a Vanity Fair article that's starting to change my mind. Damn it!

An Open Letter to Iowa Voters

Well, tomorrow's the big day. Tomorrow is the time for you to decide which of the politicians who's been sucking up to you for your vote for months now is the lesser of the evils. Since you're not going to vote for a Republican (unless of course you've been enjoying these last eight years), I'd like to speak to the residents of my birth state about which of the Democratic candidates is the best choice.

Let's skip ahead: it's John Edwards.

Here's the thing. I know Dennis Kucinich is a good guy. What he says (with the exception of considering Ron Paul as a running mate, which he seems to have let go of, thankfully) does line up with what I think needs to be done. But I'm sorry, Kucinich supporters, the guy doesn't have a hope of winning. Or even coming close. I don't know if it's a lack of dynamism or a lack of media coverage or whatever superficial thing it is that influences voters that certainly isn't ideas, but the guy's not going to win. Even he knows it; he told his supporters yesterday to support Barack Obama instead.

But, frankly, I think that would be a mistake. I'm saying this as a resident of Illinois, the state he's a senator for: I don't know who this guy is. And I voted for him for the Senate! Yes, he's good at delivering speeches. And he was against the war before the war started, which is a good thing. But he's also voted to fund the war. He voted to make it harder for someone to file a class action suit against a corporation, which is a vote for the corporations. And he wants the insurance companies to create a new health care plan. Yeah, he seems sincere, but he really isn't. He's playing up to both sides. He tells us he's against the war and for health care and against corporations preying on us, but his votes say differently.

As for Hillary Clinton, I still can't figure out why people are bothering with her. I can understand women who are supporting her because she's a woman; it's stupid reasoning, but I can at least understand it. But otherwise...what? She's voted for the war repeatedly, over and over, at every turn. Whatever she say's, she's supported the war since day one. And unlike John Kerry or Joe Biden or John Edwards, she's never apologized for it. Those guys at least came to understand how they were misled and apologized for it; Clinton won't take accountability and admit she was wrong. She agrees she was misled, but she thinks that absolves her of any guilt. It doesn't. Accept it. She didn't stop voting for the war until she started her campaign.

And it's not just the war. Check out her horrible voting record, too. Or think about her apparent friendship with Joe Liebermann, the Democrat Who Walks Like a Republican. Or think about the fact that she's practically funded by the pharmaceutical companies. If you're still supporting Clinton by this point...

So, why John Edwards? Because, like Kucinich, he genuinely hates the corporations. He thinks they are strangling our democracy. He refuses to take their money. Even the monopolistic media seems to fear him. He has said he was wrong to vote for the war. He even changed his mind; in September, he said he couldn't promise that the troops would be out of Iraq by the end of his first term, but last week he said he'd have them home before the end of his first year. He also has a universal health care plan that is actually detailed on his campaign website; he doesn't want to leave it up to the insurance companies like Clinton and Obama do.

Knowing all of these things, who's the best choice? A Senator with basically no record who protects the corporations, a Senator who voted for the war repeatedly and is in the pocket of insurance and Big Pharma, or a Senator who wants to break the corporate hold over the government, end the war, and help you pay for your children's health care? I think the answer's obvious. Because if you vote against health care, you're only hurting yourself and everyone else.

So, since Al Gore hasn't jumped in, I'd say vote for Edwards. Just my opinion. But please think about it.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

ENCHANTED (2007)
I can't overstate just how much I loved and adored this film. Granted, I'm a Disney fan, and I saw the similarities between this film and Splash and hoped that this movie would do for Disney now what Splash did for Disney in 1984. Between this, the Pixar merger, and Meet the Robinsons, it actually seems like Disney's on the right track after all. This is a perfect little film, combining some great animation, excellent special effects, and fun performances with a plot that is both a satire of and a love letter to older and recent attitudes and conventions in Disney movies. And what ties it all together is, of course, the special and wonderful performance of Amy Adams as Giselle, a fairy tale girl who steps right out of cartoons and into modern day Manhattan. She's followed by her true love, James Marsden in his second great performance this year, his shady servant (Timothy Spall, a fave of mine), his chipmunk sidekick, and finally his wicked stepmother, the evil Queen Narissa, who is Susan Sarandon, as always looking sexy as hell. Patrick Dempsey plays the man Giselle meets in New York and, of course, she beings to realize the advantages of being a modern woman with her own feelings instead of sitting around pining for fairy tale love. I adore this movie in large part because it doesn't compromise on Giselle's happiness, but does understand that circumstances and attitudes change in life, and it doesn't necessarily have to mean that you've lost something just because what you want changes. People have to adapt, even if they're cartoon characters. But it also somehow manages to not tear apart fairy tale dreams as something naive and useless, either. This just works for me on so many levels. And Amy Adams is just so perfect in this role, I'm actually astonished. I've liked her on and off, but I didn't expect her to be this good in this movie. Stunningly perfect. Wonderfully perfect. **** stars.

LOVERS AND OTHER STRANGERS (1970)
Based on a play by Joseph Bologna and Renee Taylor, and I wish they'd starred in it. It's a pretty good, somewhat dated look at marriage and romance in the late sixties, seen from multiple perspectives. There's no plot, really, it's a bunch of vignettes involving people leading up to and during a wedding. The groom is having doubts, his brother's getting divorced from his modern wife (Diane Keaton), his parents are urging them not to, and his best friend is desperately searching for love. Meanwhile, the bride's father is having a frankly pathetic affair. The vignettes are hit and miss, but all sexual and romantic attitudes are given time to be considered, and I liked that. Also, I'm surprised by how sexy Anne Meara was; I tend to always hate her when I see her in stuff, but damn, she looked good. Most of the performances are pretty good, but the best are Richard Castellano (Clemenza from The Godfather) and Bea Arthur as the groom's old-fashioned parents. They see the romantic chaos around them and urge reason, firmly representing an older attitude (definitely my grandparents' attitude) that people should stay together no matter what and stop wanting more. They play their roles so well, not overacting or becoming stereotypes, hiding a humanity that is obviously a bit disappointed and wondering what might have been, all while asserting that you have to take the good with the bad and being grateful for the good. They're somehow tragic and noble at the same time. They're the reason to see this movie. When Arthur says of her daughter-in-law "I can understand her wanting to leave; I can't understand her leaving," or Castellano tells his older son, on the verge of a divorce, that the key to marriage is to accept your wife for what she is... it's heartbreaking. They're both excellent. How come Bea Arthur's never in anything anymore? She's awesome. ***1/2 stars.

FOUR MEN AND A PRAYER (1938)
John Ford directed this movie about four British brothers (two of them David Niven and George Sanders) and one American girl (Loretta Young--why am I always surprised by how beautiful she is?) trying to clear the name of their wrongly discharged father (C. Aubrey Smith). It's part adventure, part crime thriller, but I also found it kind of slow and not as much fun as it seemed it should be. Not a terrible movie by any means, but not one of Ford's overlooked gems, either. **1/2 stars.

WHEN WILLIE COMES MARCHING HOME (1950)
Okay this one was a John Ford overlooked gem. More overtly a comedy than a lot of Ford's films, Dan Dailey plays a smalltown guy who is the first in his town to volunteer to serve when the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, he's stationed in his home town, and eventually everyone comes to think of him as a coward. He tries his hardest to see some action, and when he finally does, no one believes him. Fun, funny, and kind of heartwarming. **** stars.

WEE WILLIE WINKIE (1937)
I had never seen a Shirley Temple movie in my life (except for later movies made when she was a teenager), but I saw this one because it's a Kipling adaptation and John Ford directed it. Of course, it's barely related to the Kipling story (which is about a boy, anyway), but it's not a bad film. This isn't a musical, so there's no singing or dancing, but Shirley Temple is very aware of herself and how she performs, and not in a mechanical way, either. She's really something; I can see why she was so popular. The film is about a girl who goes to live with her grandfather (C. Aubrey Smith), who is the colonely of a Highland regiment in India. There's a love story and a political story, but Ford seems most interested in what is consequently the best part of the picture, which is the friendship between Shirley Temple and a gruff, plainspoken Scottish sergeant played wonderfully by Victor McLaglen. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning. *** stars.

THE ADVENTURES OF TOM SAWYER (1938)
David O. Selznick produced this lavish Twain adaptation, but I found the boy playing Tom to be kind of annoying and not comfortable with the role. ** stars.

Hilary's Muff

Hilary's muff went out to sea
to find herself a sailor,
but each and every one was gay
and wouldn't think to nail her.

And though each sailor lad was proud,
and each a naval freeman,
none gave a thought to poor Miss Muff
and gave her any semen.

And so Miss Muff came back to land
to find she was embarrassed
because each prick was limp and slick
from bumping uglies with Paris.

And so Miss Muff was all alone
on meaner streets and chilled, so
she straightways went back to her home
and arms of Mister Dildo.

And so, the moral of this tale,
is clearly right in view,
but when Duffster's muff was all alone
then where the Hell were you?

--Phillip A. Ellis

Let the Suckage of BBC America Begin

I hate to be a prig about this, because I do love having a channel which gets me the British programming I really want to see a year or three after it airs, but why is BBC America going to be airing Dancing with the Stars? And no, not the UK series Strictly Come Dancing which Dancing with the Stars was a rip-off of; this is the actual American series Dancing with the Stars.

Where do I start with why this sucks?

Okay, I'll start with the theory, still always true, that eventually all cable channels start to suck because they drift away from their original concept. So many people have pointed out that MTV doesn't play music anymore that it actually pisses me off more often than it makes me laugh. Why doesn't MTV play music anymore? It's all game shows and TRL (which doesn't even play complete videos) and lame ass reality shows that, quite frankly, are damaging at least one generation of children (the current one). The SCI FI Channel cancels most of its best original programming because they're offended no one watches the reruns, then they show ECW Wrestling? VH1 barely shows music that isn't the same AOR shit or stuff they've been charging way too much money to air; American Movie Classics is showing Guarding Tess, Mission: Impossible, Navy SEALs and Iron Eagle today; Game Show Network now airs reality shows and a documentary series about successful people (because they're "winners," apparently); Cartoon Network has crappy live action series; TV Land is showing the movies In the Line of Fire and To Live and Die in L.A. this weekend; Comedy Central airs programs and movies that are blatantly unfunny. Now BBC America, which shows far too many game shows, garden shows, home shows, and that antiques show with that old guy with creepy hair when they could actually be airing things I want to see, airs American programs. Why does this shit go on? Does it really bring in extra viewers? Because it actually just reeks of desperation.

The other issue I have is with the shelf life of reality shows. Does anybody really watch these things more than once? That's not a rhetorical question, I really don't know. Reality shows are pretty ephemeral, especially reality competitions. But, on the other hand, I know there are people who watch old football games over and over again, even though they know the outcome. Somebody must be punishing themselves with that American Idol Rewind they air in syndication, although I don't know why. With reality shows, it seems to me that once they've happened, who really cares? The only reality show I've wanted to see a second time was Newlyweds: Nick & Jessica, and that's because it has Jessica Simpson on it.

Either way, this seems like the beginning of the end for BBC America. Maybe it started when they initiated an American news broadcast. Since this kind of bullshit is happening, could they at least give us BBC America 2, and maybe not wait a whole year to air Doctor Who?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Evaluating Disney: 1947

Walt Disney was at a low point this year. In a funk, he seemed to all outward appearances to no longer care. It seemed he had no direction in mind. After the bad reception of Song of the South and the continuing inability to make another animated feature like Snow White, he wasn't sure what to do next. He knew he wanted to regain the critical acceptance he'd had in the 1930s, but didn't know how to get it. Perhaps he just didn't know what people wanted to see anymore. He'd won a lot of Oscars over the years, especially special and technical Oscars, but they didn't translate into public interest.

Although this lack of confidence and lack of enthusiasm was manifesting itself, the basic sentiment was nothing new. Strained from overwork, Walt had actually had a nervous breakdown at the end of 1931. But he'd gotten better and the short films had soared. Mickey Mouse was so overwhelmingly successful that Walt felt confident enough to take the gamble on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and it had paid off tremendously. But the failures of Fantasia and Pinocchio, projects so close to his heart, had ground him down. In 1941, Walt had told his family that he planned to retire by the end of the year and hand over the company to a successor. That never happened, mostly because he felt it was important to steer the studio through the years of war films. By the end of the war, the European markets could be regained, and Walt was excited about the promise of combination features and new avenues. But after Song of the South, Walt became disenchanted by the cost, and the audience's constant rejection just hurt too much. It seems strange to consider now that Fantasia, Pinoochio, and Bambi were box office failures, but they were.

Walt had, perhaps, doomed himself to failure by spending so much money on projects. Even the shorts were expensive, over three times more expensive than what other studios were spending. Though the Walt Disney Studios had begun releasing films in 1928, none of those films turned a profit for Disney until 1933's Three Little Pigs. Disney had made all of his money on merchandising and publishing. And now here he was, with so many film ideas fallen by the wayside, and the rights to other stories--Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Sword in the Stone, and a Ward Greene story about a mutt and a cocker spaniel; plus, he was negotiating with P.L. Travers over the film rights to Mary Poppins as well as attempting to develop the Felix Salten novel The Hound of Florence as a live action feature--with no idea how to proceed with any of them. Things were grim. Things were so grim that, to recover losses and continute to operate, Walt and his brother Roy briefly considered merging with their distributor, RKO.

Incidentally, Walt had stepped down as president of Walt Disney Productions in 1945; Roy had replaced him. Walt was becoming more and more distant from his company, and especially the people who worked for him. He would never get over the strike. When people began seeing communists everywhere, Walt equated that with the labor strike and some of the people involved, perhaps particularly Art Babbitt. Babbitt had been one of the leaders of the walkout, and immediately after the strike ended, Walt fired Babbitt, who went to work elsewhere. Perhaps as an act of defiance, Babbitt reapplied to work at the studio in late 1945. Walt refused to rehire him, even though the National Labor Relations Board ordered him to. The case went before the Supreme Court and Babbitt won; he then quit the studio a month later, and Walt ordered his credits removed from the films he'd worked on. Disney was already distrustful in 1944 when he had co-founded the Motion Picture Alliance for the Promotion of American Ideals and become their vice president. That same year, Walt himself had written to Senator Robert R. Reynolds and urged him to increase the presence and involvement of the House Un-American Activities Committee in Hollywood. In 1947, Walt was one of 39 people subpeonaed to testify before HUAC about the supposed communist influence in Hollywood; he gladly did what he considered his patriotic duty.

That was the only government involvement Walt had this year; there were no more government films, no more commercial films, and nothing left for Inter-American Affairs. For the most part, the shorts continued on with little to no involvement from the man himself. The cartoons released this year could, if one were being uncharitable, be seen mainly as attempted moneymakers for the studio while Walt tried to gain a new sense of direction.

2/12: Pluto's House Warming
Pluto. That cute little turtle from Canine Patrol is back, and that's really the highlight here. Pluto gets a wonderful new dog house (on the beach), but the turtle tries to take it over. Then Butch comes along and kicks out Pluto, so the turtle saves him. It's the same plot of most of the Pluto cartoons--Pluto gets in a fight with a cute little animal, then the animal saves him and they become friends--and it's starting to wear. But this one is exceptionally cute, with some good character animation (Butch in repose was hysterical).

3/21: Rescue Dog
Pluto. There's that cute animal formula again. This time the animal is Salty the Seal and Pluto is a rescue dog in Alaska or something. There is some genuinely anxious stuff when Pluto nearly drowns, but otherwise, it's merely workmanlike.

4/18: Straight Shooters
Donald Duck. Jack King directed this short, one of the better with Donald for the year. The Donald Duck cartoons, in my opinion, never really recovered from Carl Barks leaving the story team and heading into the Disney comic books. In this short, Donald is a carny who cheats his nephews, so they take revenge. There's a weird, kind of icky sequence where the nephews disguise themselves as a woman to cheat a lustful Donald out of some candy. Straight shooters indeed. Still a pretty funny cartoon. Also, the Donald Duck cartoons now have an actual theme song.

5/9: Sleepy Time Donald
Donald Duck. Another Jack King. Donald sleepwalks over to Daisy's house, and since she's fearful of waking him, they go out on a late night date. There's a hilarious sequence in the zoo; Donald tries to give Daisy a ring, but it lands on the finger of a flattered chimpanzee. At this point, it really seems like the Donald Duck cartoons especially are showing some influence from the growing success of Warner's Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series. I can't find anything saying that there was, but the cartoons with Donald seem to show it.

5/30: Figaro and Frankie
Figaro. And this cartoon, actually, is a bit like a Looney Tunes short. Figaro wants to eat Minnie's bird Frankie, a canary (great design), and the bird flies away. After some torment, Figaro saves Frankie from Butch. It's cute, but Figaro isn't quite interesting enough to sustain a series. He didn't appear in a ton of shorts; as for his series, this is the last of three cartoons.

6/20: Clown of the Jungle
Donald Duck. When I first saw this short (which is actually quite hilarious), my first thought was that Jack Hannah had seen Porky in Wackyland. The Aracuan bird is an excellent foil for the easily-frustrated Donald, just as the DoDo was for Porky Pig. The Aracuan is another Three Caballeros character who--much like Jose Carioca and Panchito Pisolero--I would've liked to see return more often. Few of the Donald Duck cartoons were this wild and this full of energy. Too bad. I have noticed, by the way, that the animators are giving Donald more foils now, such as the Aracuan or other animals or the Bootle Beetle or, later this year, Chip an' Dale. Pinto Colvig does the Aracuan's catchy little song.

7/11: Donald's Dilemma
Donald Duck. Really, it's Daisy's dilemma that makes up this dark short. Donald gets hit in the head with a flower pot, resulting in his voice suddenly becoming beautiful. He dumps Daisy and becomes a singing star (singing "When You Wish Upon a Star," funnily enough), and Daisy pines to get him back, finally injuring him again so he'll go back to normal. It's not really a surprise to see Daisy acting selfishly and meanly. Daisy's voice is oddly creepy.

8/1: Crazy with the Heat
Donald and Goofy. I remember this from when I was a kid. I thought it was funnier then. Donald and Goofy are driving in the desert when their car breaks down. They hallucinate a soda shoppe and a mad Arab who tries to kill them. It just seems kind of familiar and weirdly arbitrary. There's nothing invested in this cartoon.

8/22: Bootle Beetle
Donald Duck. A rare traveling beetle tells a younger friend to beware the bug collector. Then we see Donald trying to catch the Bootle Beetle as a youngster. It's a cute cartoon; I like the ending especially, with an elderly Donald still trying to catch the beetle. Art Babbitt worked on this cartoon. I'm not sure where, but the older beetle especially reminds me of his work.

9/12: Wide Open Spaces
Donald Duck. This is one of the funnier cartoons of the year, with Donald attempting to find a place to sleep in the woods. Of course, given Donald's history with making things work, it's obvious how it'll go. I find it interesting that, at some point in the last few years, the general setting of the shorts has become less rural. I see the city and the wilderness more often. There's some great gags in here involving Donald's blow-up mattress.

9/27: FUN AND FANCY FREE
This year's feature was not only a package, but a package basically cobbled together from some leftover parts. Some of it seems to consciously try and recall earlier Disney efforts in a weird attempt to ingratiate itself with the audience. For example, the film opens with Jiminy Cricket singing the title song, "Fun and Fancy Free," which was originally written (with the title "I'm a Happy-Go-Lucky Fellow") for Pinocchio. Jiminy hosts the film, introducing the first half, Bongo.

Bongo was originally pushed by Walt as a feature idea. Based on a 1930 story by Sinclair Lewis, he saw the story of a circus bear as a natural successor to Dumbo, perhaps even featuring some of the same characters. Joe Grant and Dick Huemer, the same story men who had, ironically, practically forced Dumbo on Walt, refused to work on Bongo. They felt it was simply too slight, too shallow to work as a feature. The story was about a circus bear who escapes from the train, then meets a girl bear and falls in love, and fights a massive wild bear for her paw. The story department came up with other characters, including Chimpy, Bongo's valet, who didn't make it into the film. Jack Kinney stopped directing Goofy cartoons and was assigned to Bongo, which seems an odd choice until you see it. It's basically a short padded like mad. Dinah Shore narrates Bongo, which certainly helps, because her voice, speaking or singing, is just heavenly. In fact, it's kind of easy to get lost in her voice and kind of ignore the cartoon. It's cute, but it's far too long for the little bit of material it really is. A seven-minute short would be one thing. At a half hour, it's pushing things. But there are some good animation flourishes, and Bongo has a nice design.

After Bongo, Jiminy head across the street to mingle with live action, at a party with Edgar Bergen and his dummies Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd. The little girl at the party is Luana Patten, the little girl from Song of the South (she would also appear in Disney's So Dear to My Heart with her South co-star Bobby Driscoll; Walt was building himself a repertory company). Personally, I don't much care for Edgar Bergen, and that casts a bit of a pall over the second half of the film.

Edgar tells the children the story of Mickey and the Beanstalk, which is actually all of the completed animation for The Legend of Happy Valley, the Mickey/Donald/Goofy movie that was begun in 1940 and shelved in 1941. Based on what's offered here, it would've been much nicer to see the finished movie. There are some great animated sequences, like the growth of the beanstalk and Goofy getting caught on a giant plate of Jell-O, real tours-de-force that show the animators at an artful high. Billy Gilbert, who had done the voice of Sneezy in Snow White, plays Willie the Giant. And the golden harp sure looks like a Fred Moore girl to me. There was a sequence storyboarded featuring Minnie Mouse, but it was never animated. The voices were recorded in 1940, so Walt Disney once again does the voice of Mickey.

What really mars Mickey and the Beanstalk for me, though, is the narration. It's just intrusive, and the "humor" of Charlie McCarthy's snide remarks detracts from the overall experience. On television, the narration was replaced with narration by Professor Ludwig Von Drake; on video, that was replaced by Sterling Holloway. I'd have loved for it to not have any, except in the very beginning. It's one of many losses that this film was never finished.

Overall, Fun and Fancy Free is an odd picture, pairing Jiminy Cricket, combination work, an unfinished feature, and a short that doesn't quite come off. It seems bizarre to put them all together, and the end result is pleasant but not a great achievement.

Animation Credits:
Production supervisor: Ben Sharpsteen
Director: William Morgan
Animation directors: Jack Kinney, Bill Roberts, Hamilton Luske
Directing animators: Ward Kimball, Les Clark, John Lounsbery, Fred Moore, Wolfgang Reitherman
Animators: Hugh Fraser, Phil Duncan, Judge Whitaker, Art Babbitt, John Sibley, Marc Davis, Harvey Toombs, Hal King, Ken O’Brien, Jack Campbell


10/3: Mickey's Delayed Date
Mickey Mouse. This is another Mickey short that's really a de facto Pluto cartoon, with Mickey rushing to get dressed for a date with Minnie and Pluto trying to help him. It's alright, but no great shakes. I still don't like the new Mickey Mouse voice. Also, Mickey seems to have been redesigned into something more angular and kind of flat. I wonder if there's a UPA influence here? Minnie Mouse never seemed to be a popular character, either, and Mickey and Minnie would not share the screen together again until 1983. This cartoon contains a sequence that heavily recalls the Silly Symphony (which won an Oscar) The Country Cousin; it seems to almost be copied from it.

10/31: Foul Hunting
Goofy. This is, surprisingly, not a "How To" short, and Goofy is the same Goofy he used to be. It's refreshing to see him again, as he really is a lovable character. In this short, directed by Jack Hannah, he goes duck hunting only to be outsmarted at every turn. There's a great ending, too. This is one of the shorts this year that literally made me laugh out loud.

11/14: Mail Dog
Pluto. Again, Pluto (as a mail carrier in the Arctic) gets pissed off at something small and cute (Flutter Foot the Rabbit), but they wind up friends after a chase. It's getting old.

11/28: Chip an' Dale
Donald Duck. You know, when I was a kid, I couldn't stand Chip an' Dale. They were cruel, mean, and annoying. Now, after making my way to 1947 and seeing every Disney short, they're actually quite refreshing. They're not only a great foil for Donald, they also have actual personalities. They're bratty, fun, and quite like how Mickey and Donald used to be. For my money, this Oscar-winning cartoon is Disney's best in 1947.

12/26: Pluto's Blue Note
Pluto. This is probably one of my favorite Pluto cartoons. It's uncharacteristic of the hound; like in Springtime for Pluto, he just wants to frolic with the animals instead of hurting them. His "singing" voice is so bad, however, that no one wants to let him join in. He ends up using a record player to pretend to sing "You Belong to My Heart" (a song from The Three Caballeros), and all the female dogs (including Minnie's Pomeranian Fifi and Dinah the Dachsund) go crazy for it. Great character animation on Pluto in this short.

Although it doesn't relate directly to the animation, it is worth pointing out that in December, Carl Barks did the story "Christmas on Bear Mountain" for Donald Duck Comics, which was the first appearance of one of Disney's most beloved characters (with a huge following), Uncle Scrooge McDuck.

1947 was not a terrific year in terms of quality or finance; in the next year, Walt Disney Productions would begin losing money. But there were a few developments which would eventually cause fortunes to turn around. In the first place, Walt had visited Alaska with an eye to making a documentary. And in the second, the animators had decided that it was time to take a gamble on finally making another full-length animated feature. Picking up some ideas that had been kicking around the studio for some time, experimental storyboarding had begun on Cinderella.