Rather than do a new playlist today, I'm going to talk about my choices in the newest Green Monkey Mix, Numb3r5.
1. The Rolling Stones: 100 Years Ago
2. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs: Care of Cell #44
3. Suggs: 4 AM
4. Tenpole Tudor: Swords of a Thousand Men
5. Jack Penate: 1234
6. The Byrds: One Hundred Years from Now (Gram Parsons vocal)
1. This is a single from the Stones' Goat's Head Soup album. Like most of that album, it's not remotely Satanic. (Seriously, the Stones image as a Satanic band is seriously ridiculous. They really shouldn't have pushed that, especially not on albums where "Angie" is the main single.) I love the guitar part; it's just a breezy bit of late-sixties rock.
2. This Zombies cover is one of my favorite songs. Susanna Hoffs' vocals just make this thing soar for me.
3. Suggs is, of course, Lord Suggs, the lead singer from Madness, who had his own solo album just recently, The Lone Ranger. I really just wanted to get something like Madness on there.
4. I just think this song is neat. Tenpole Tudor were labelmates of Madness back on Stiff Records.
5. A live, jangly cover of the Feist song.
6. And I figured this makes a good pairing with the Stones song. This version was a bonus track on the Sweetheart of the Rodeo CD; there's also a version of "The Christian Life" with Parsons singing instead of McGuinn. I managed to find a version that cut nearly a minute of studio chatter. Why they went with the McGuinn vocals over the Parsons I don't know (except they sound more classic Byrds-like), but Parsons has that quality to his voice, that quality, that just sells a song like this.
So, those are my choices. Check out what everyone else has up, too. And as always, thanks to Splotchy for letting me participate once again!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Rather than do a new playlist today, I'm going to talk about my choices in the newest Green Monkey Mix, Numb3r5.
Everyone else was doing it, so, why not me?
I admit, I don't have much thoughts on the Academy Award nominees because, well, I haven't seen a lot of movies yet. Once upon a time, I used to go to the movies every weekend. Nowadays, I can't afford it. So I won't end up seeing a lot of these until they hit DVD.
Best Picture -- I haven't seen any of them yet. But, true to form, I will try and see these movies before the ceremony. Why? I don't know, it's my thing. I already wanted to get out to see Frost/Nixon and Milk, and I was planning to see The Reader on DVD. I'm not enthused about going to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, but I will. As for Slumdog Millionaire, I'm not sure I even care anymore. All of the hype is getting to me and starting to make me think this is this year's Crash -- the silly Lifetime movie that makes people feel really good even though it doesn't have much to say that isn't completely obvious to anyone with even a little life experience. You too, Babel. At least Slumdog Millionaire seems to tell one story instead of several. I mean, why tell a complete story when you can just have moments?
And The Dark Knight getting nominated... it's not Best Picture good. Sorry, but it's not.
I'm ranting now. Moving on.
Anyway, I have no prediction or anything. Probably Slumdog, unless the backlash gets even bigger.
Best Actor -- I'm pretty xazzed to see Richard Jenkins nominated for The Visitor. I just saw it recently and loved it, and was disappointed that Richard Jenkins wasn't being mentioned anymore. He deserves the nomination, for sure. The other pics were all pretty obvious. I guess the real surprise is that they didn't go with Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino over Jenkins. Eastwood, Langella, Penn, Pitt, and Rourke were five of the six actors who I kept hearing were "obviously" going to win Best Actor this year. I heard that about Josh Brolin in W. also, but that died pretty quickly. I figure it'll be Rourke, but who knows? He can't keep his mouth shut lately, and that always hurts.
Best Actress -- I'm really happy that Anne Hathaway got nominated. Haven't seen the movie (and, honestly, it doesn't look like something I'd see if it didn't have Anne Hathaway in it), but I've always known (or at least hoped) that Annie would get nominated for an Oscar one day. Seems like Kate Winslet's year, though, and she's a wonderful actress, one of my favorites. Plus she gets naked in The Reader. Seriously, have you ever noticed how many actresses win an Oscar for a movie they get naked in? Or are at least played up sexually? It's like the female equivalent of playing a cripple. I haven't seen any of the movies nominated.
Best Supporting Actor -- Well, I've seen The Dark Knight, and I really think Heath Ledger's performance is worth an Oscar.
Best Supporting Actress -- Again, nothing. I know a lot of people who wanted to see Penelope Cruz get nominated, so that's cool for them. I love Amy Adams. I kind of think Marisa Tomei might win; it's like a comeback, plus she's been naked a lot.
Best Director -- I honestly never care about this category.
Best Original Screenplay -- It always bugs me when Mike Leigh gets nominated for this award. His working method is to form the screenplay based on improv sessions, so the actors are contributing a healthy amount of dialogue and character to the script, and Leigh taking all of the credit... I don't know, it just rubs me the wrong way. I don't think I've ever like a Mike Leigh film very much, although I loved David Thewlis in Naked. Glad to see WALL-E and In Bruges nominated, though, as both are among the more original screenplays I've seen filmed, and WALL-E is the best science fiction script I've seen in a while. They could've nominated The Visitor, I think. Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Pineapple Express were two of the best-written movies I saw all year.
Best Adapted Screenplay -- I didn't know Robin Swicord was a writer on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That makes me feel a little more comfortable with seeing it. I wonder if Doubt will be the winner.
Best Cinematography -- I wonder if animation would ever get taken seriously in this category. WALL-E had some great cinematography. I'm kind of surprised they shut out Australia; I haven't seen it and don't particularly want to, but the cinematography looked great on the trailers, and the Academy seems to translate "Best Cinematography" to "Prettiest Backgrounds." The Dark Knight is the only nominee I've seen, and that did have great cinematography.
Best Editing -- I never take this category seriously; I always think other movies are better than the ones that actually get nominated. And hey, if The Dark Knight had great editing, it would've been an hour shorter and made more sense. And had a better ending, frankly.
Best Art Direction -- Again, only seen The Dark Knight. And it looked very good. Also, not to harp on it, but animation is a medium, not a genre, and WALL-E had terrific art direction.
Best Costume Design -- I''m never excited by this category, to be honest. It's always a recent-period movie or something obvious (like this year's nominee, The Duchess). Hellboy II had great costume design, but let's not take something outlandish and creative as seriously as recreating tee shirts from the seventies... That sounds more bitter than I actually am. I actually don't care.
Best Makeup -- I wonder if they'll go right for the Joker. Admittedly, it's a stunning bit of makeup design. Hellboy II got nominated, and the makeup there is fantastic.
Best Score -- I haven't heard any except for WALL-E, which had a very nice Thomas Newman score. I didn't dig too many scores this year, honestly.
Best Song -- Okay, so, we're only down to three nominees instead of five? That doesn't make sense. There were a few good songs this year. And, seriously, the Academy snubbed Bruce Springsteen for "The Wrestler"? I never thought I'd see that day. I remember winning some easy cash back in 2000 when a friend bet me some song from The Emperor's New Groove would win over Bob Dylan's fantastic song "Things Have Changed" from Wonder Boys. "Disney always wins," he said. "Please," I said, "like the boomers are going to miss the opportunity to give Bob Dylan an Oscar." And I was right. Not giving another one to Bruce seems uncharacteristic.
Anyway, my favorite song from a movie this year was "Inside of You" from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The song from WALL-E, which was nominated, is a pretty song. I also liked "Another Way to Die" from Quantum of Solace.
Best Sound Mixing -- Of the two films I saw, WALL-E would be my pick.
Best Sound Editing -- Again, got to go with WALL-E. Those Ben Burtt sounds helped make that movie what it was, and Burtt always deserves to win, frankly.
Visual Effects -- I always hate this category. Three nominees? There could easily be five. And The Dark Knight and Iron Man had good effects, but I think the effects in Hellboy II were better. And why not the imaginative creatures in The Spiderwick Chronicles? I just think this category could be fuller and not so obvious.
Best Animated Feature -- I'm still not sure whether I like this category. It ghettoizes animated films just for being in a different medium than live action. And WALL-E really is the Best Picture of 2008, animated or otherwise. I haven't seen Bolt, but Kung Fu Panda was a lot better than I expected it to be.
Best Foreign Language Film -- Sort of another ghetto category, isn't it? I've only heard of two of the movies, and one--Waltz with Bashir--I very much want to see.
Best Documentary Feature -- I've only heard of two of these. Man on Wire, I alternately hear, is really good or really overrated. I haven't seen it yet. I want to see Encounters at the End of the World just because it's Herzog.
Best Documentary Short -- Nothing to say. Haven't seen 'em.
Best Animated Short -- Yay, Oktapodi! Outside of WALL-E and the new Wallace & Gromit, Oktapodi is the best piece of animation I saw all year. I also dug Presto, of course.
Best Live Action Short -- No opinion.
Complete list of nominees here. Oscars are on 22 February. Time for me to get moving on those Best Pictures.
Warner Bros announced that they're going to make a live action/CGI combo film of Tom and Jerry. Now, granted, I'm always willing to be proved wrong, but on the face of things, this just seems like the lamest idea for a Tom and Jerry cash-in. And that's after decades of seeing Warner Bros desperately trying to cash in on their property with TV series and animated movies. Are these two still friends? Once they became friends, all of the magic went out of it and the whole series became pointless, anyway. I'm not a fan of any of the cartoons once Gene Deitch comes onboard, anyway.
You can hardly blame Warner; those Garfield and Alvin and the Chipmunks movies did mad money, and Warners already had hits with the Scooby Doo movies. (And, actually, I really enjoyed both of the Scooby Doo movies. And both of the Garfield movies, come to think of it. And I inexplicably love The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle, so you really don't have to listen to anything I have to say, anyways.)
But what's the plot of Tom and Jerry, really. It has a great premise, one that was milked for a lot of funny moments, but there's no inherent story beyond "cat tries to eat mouse, mouse outsmarts cat." The story they've come up with here is, according to Variety, “an origin story that reveals how Tom and Jerry first meet and form their rivalry before getting lost in Chicago and reluctantly working together during an arduous journey home.”
An origin? What did I just say? "Cat tries to eat mouse, mouse outsmarts cat." There's your origin. Does this really need to be another one of those movies (supposedly for kids) where the lives of the characters revolve around things that bad kids' movies always revolve around, like marketing rivalries or midlife crises or something stupid. Jesus, The Flintstones was about corporate espionage and boardroom takeovers, how were kids going to be into that?
And this getting lost and working together business. That seems like literally the lamest plot you could come up with. It's the plot of a ton of movies about beloved childhood characters. It's basically the plot of Garfield. It's also the plot of Toy Story, though I doubt the writing will be as sharp on Tom and Jerry. Who cares? What's the plot of the sequel going to be? Something as stunningly original as "Tom and Jerry get lost again, but this time in a foreign country open for wacky jokes"? Can't wait for that one.
And finally, seeing the characters in CGI just sounds unappealing.
Oh, and also: this is 2009. The pussified children of the baby boomers have grown up into pussified, overly-cautious adults who are putting out paste and pabulum for their extremely pussified precious children. So expect the hilarious cartoon violence, especially in a live action setting, to be completely toned down or even dropped in favor of pratfalls and lessons about working together and caring for each other.
Can't wait for that Care Bears movie. Then we can just drop the storytelling and go straight to bullying people into being total sissies, so emotionally open that they can't make decisions. Except to go see a damn live action Care Bears movie.
God, I hope I didn't give anyone any ideas.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.
1. Well… that pretty much says it all about this country. (via)
2. Fox and Warner Bros. settled over Watchmen. I figured there was no way Warner was going to not release a movie with this much buzz. So there you go.
3. Columbia Pictures has won the rights to Isaac Asimov’s seminal Foundation trilogy. They plan it as a series of pictures produced and directed by Roland Emmerich. So, in case you were wondering whether there would ever be a good movie based on Isaac Asimov’s Foundation, the answer is no.
4. This looks like a cool movie, but I have to say: Dead of Winter. Come on, it’s so obvious and so much better. Just saying.
5. The biggest stories from Sundance this week were the arrival of Paris Hilton in her Hello Kitty hat and Hulk Hogan’s ex-wife hanging out with her boytoy. Does this mean that the last shred of dignity the Sundance Film Festival had is gone and I don’t have to hear about how “real” it is anymore? Though, to be fair, Paris Hilton did star in an interesting indie film once…
6. Figure skating can be so much fun to watch.
7. Intrigueresting. Scientists have determined that Homo florensis, the so-called “Hobbit,” is an evolutionary dead end and not part of the chain that led from Homo erectus to Homo sapiens. However, this is only from a study of the skull (an accepted method) and not from any genetic evidence, which I hope we’re also going to get. Was florensis another hominid species that co-existed and couldn’t compete, like Neanderthal? We’ll see, but the evidence seems to say yes.
8. The Pentagon reported that 61% of Gitmo detainees who were released “turned to terrorism.” Imagine that; someone detained without legal access or any basic rights under a suspended Geneva Convention might hold a grudge against the people who tortured him. Who could guess? Anyway, it’s irrelevant, since “turned to terrorism” has actually turned out to be a Pentagon euphemism for bitching about their terrible treatment. Just like how it’s easy to claim the casualties in Iraq are low when you don’t put certain types of kills in the total, it’s also easy to claim the terrorists have huge numbers when you’re counting complainers among those who are trying to kill people. I think this has been one of the true evils of the last eight years: the attempt to equate dissent with terrorism.
9. Bradley Schlozman, head of the civil rights and voting rights division of the Department of Justice (and a Bush appointee), committed his plans to weed out the “disloyal” Democrats and liberals in his department and replace them with “right-thinking” Republicans to email. And he appears to have succeeded. He has, of course, been found to have violated civil services laws, but I’m too cynical to imagine he’ll face the prosecution he deserves. Several people have come forward to talk about the Bush culling of government agencies; can you imagine how many neocon ideologues must be in there now? Everything comes down to party loyalty with these people. Ask Valerie Plame how it went for people who openly disagreed with Bush.
10. House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers in a report: “Many think these acts rise to the level of impeachable conduct. I agree. I have never wavered in my belief that this President and Vice-President are among the most impeachable officials in our Nation’s history, and the more we learn the truer that becomes.” So…what was the problem? Seriously, there’s a vast difference between what you claim to believe and what you do with those beliefs, and apologizing for it now is just a lame attempt to save his public image with a Democratic White House and Congress to contend with. Especially now that, when and if Cheney and Bush have charges brought against them, “we were never impeached” is definitely going to be part of their defense.
11. The final report on the election is that 30% of the ballots were cast early, before Election Day. As someone who’s argued for reforming the voting process for years, I’m heartened by these numbers. More people want to vote, and if the process is not as incredibly inconvenient for them as it has been in years past, they will. Let’s keep early voting.
12. Bishop Gene Robinson’s speech was blacked out of the HBO coverage of the inauguration “We Are One” concert on Sunday. I don’t know who HBO was trying to suck up to or what the purpose of blacking out an openly-gay bishop was, especially since HBO is constantly patting itself on the back for not being afraid of controversy, but they sure know how to do censorship when they want to. Let them know what you think.
13. Barack Obama retook the oath of office because of “an abundance of caution.” I guess that’s the euphemism for shutting up professional smugfucks like Chris Wallace who were probably going to spend the next few years “jokingly” questioning whether or not Obama was legally the president. Which is, I guess, the perfect topper to an inauguration speech that was partially about how we needed to stop fighting over stupid partisan issues and actually fix the problems we have.
14. And finally, congratulations to Graham Parker, who finally solved his Rubik’s Cube after 26 years. I hope he feels good. Small accomplishment perhaps, but an accomplishment nonetheless. As someone who’s never solved one, I congratulate you.
Questions That Pissed Off a Trekkie Friend Even More Than He Was Already Pissed Off About the New Star Trek Movie
If the new movie is in some sort of continuity...
...how can James Kirk and Captain Pike be on the Enterprise at the same time when they never served together?
...where are Dr. Boyce, Yeoman Colt, and Number One on Pike's Enterprise?
...who plays Gary Mitchell? Or Elizabeth Dehner?
...shouldn't the Starfleet uniforms look at least like the uniforms in "Where No Man Has Gone Before"?
...why is Sulu at the helm? He should be in astrosciences while Gary Mitchell is still at the helm. Seriously, why isn't Gary Mitchell in this movie? He and Kirk were buds!
...and what about Dr. Piper? Shouldn't he be the medical officer instead of McCoy?
...why is Chekov on the bridge? He wasn't navigator until the second season. It should be Lee Kelso or something, shouldn't it?
He got pretty pissed off. Antagonizing nitpickers is fun. 9 times out of 10 you get the same spiel: a long, long list of argumentative details followed by an unconvincing "Dude, it's only a movie."
Thursday, January 22, 2009
The 50 Most Loathsome People in America 2008 (Buffalo Beast)
[.] JA has completed his Golden Trouser Awards for 2008. This is one of the movie awards lists I actually look forward to.
[.] Cinematical’s 25 Lamest of 2008. I love especially the description of Tyler Perry as “the Uwe Boll of uplifting relationship dramedies.” ‘Bout time someone said it.
[.] Peter Lynn’s The 10 Most Dead People of 2008 (Man vs. Clown!)
[.] "Let's get The Most Important Announcement out of the way right at the top, so I can put your minds at ease: I am not on the list again this year! Yes you can breathe easier, I am not dead. Now that your fears are calmed, let's get down to the fun parts." Tallulah Morehead on the Dead Folks of 2008. (Huffington Post)
[.] "However, here and here only, exclusively for readers of The Morehead the Merrier, is my far more upbeat year-end obituary piece, My Good Riddance List, people who passed away this year that I am more than glad to see go. The don't-let-the-Door-Into-Hell-hit-you-on-the-ass-as-you-saunter-in type of folks. (Oh all right. Let the door hit you.) They're the Feel-Good Death Notices of 2008. Enjoy." Ms. Morehead has another list to read at her own blog.
[.] 15 Overlooked Deaths of 2008 (Cracked)
[.] Pajiba’s Third Annual Shit List
[.] “Wait, so the Joker really orchestrated that big truck chase just so that he could get caught and go to prison, then he could kidnap that guard and grab his phone to make the call to set off the bomb he'd previously sewn inside the henchman in the next cell? That would kill the guy who stole the mobsters' money, thus enabling him to … er, what?” The Guardian’s 8 most ridiculous film plots of the year.
[.] Eric D. Snider learns from watching the movies of 2008 (here and here).
[.] The 10 Worst Media Moments of 2008 (The Huffington Post)
[.] Tengrain Presents 2008 (Mock, Paper, Scissors)
Historietas Perversas! A blog with nothing but covers to Mexican adult comics. Each one looks like it should be a Robert Rodriguez movie! (via Undead Film Critic)
[.] Michael Sporn has some of Bill Tytla’s drawings for Fantasia and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as well as one of his action analysis classes. And he’s also got an analysis of Ub Iwerks’ Jack and the Beanstalk.
[.] Best fakeout ever. (Once Upon a Geek)
[.] “Stop paying the Jim Carreys of the world $20 million a picture. Comedy stars in particular wear out their welcome long before studios stop giving them giant paydays. I have just four words: Eddie Murphy, Michael Myers?” Ken Levine has some excellent tips for saving the entertainment industry.
[.] “Should a movie's substantive value be deemed nonexistent simply because style takes precedence in that particular film? Or does the artifice sometimes disguise the substance beneath the style, and perhaps entertainment value also?” A fascinating post at Cinema Viewfinder, especially given peoples’ reactions to special effects movies these days.
[.] “Heidi and Spencer may just be the douchiest clownshoes on the planet. Or the greatest geniuses of our time. We may never know.” (Courtney Enlow has a theory about the vapid Hills couple.)
[.] 100 cereal box covers. I love this kind of post.
[.] I love posts like this, too. Flash Comics, by the 10s. Every tenth Flash cover is an interesting way to look at the evolution of one of my favorite comics: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3. I love Jay Garrick.
[.] “I know I’ve gotten off subject, but the fact is, we’re all a bunch of sissies. You don’t put a warning label on a hot cup of coffee. Its common freaking sense that if you spill a hot beverage in your lap it’s going to leave a mark. Spilling said cup of coffee in your lap because you knocked it over while trying to answer your cell phone during your morning commute isn’t cause for a lawsuit. It’s a message from above that you should pay more attention to the road and maybe attempt to stay on your side of the highway, dipshit.” (Hobo Traschan on the sissification of America)
[.] “George W. Bush is the worst of Pierce, Buchanan, Harding, Hoover and Nixon rolled into one.” Distributorcap answers the question: Who is the worst president ever?
If you’ve never seen Dita Von Teese perform her wonderful martini glass act, here it is on YouTube.
[.] And lastly, Becca has finally started doing a weekly webcomic over at No Smoking in the Skullcave.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
"I can't stand modern movies [...] Young people are surrounded by virtual things. They lack real experience or life and lose their imagination. Animators can only draw from their own experience of pain and shock and emotions." -- Hayazo Miyazaki, deconstructing today's animation
Yesterday was the first time in nearly a decade that I felt like the country had a real sense of itself again. I could actually feel this massive sigh of relief on the part of so many Americans. Many are caught up in the "we are one" sentiment, but I'm not the type. And I'm not just thrilled to have a Democrat in office, though Democrats seem the lesser of two evils. I'm not a conservative or a liberal. I just hate George W. Bush, and I'm glad he and his cronies and his daddy's friends are finally out of power and on their way to the vilification of history.
I'm 32 years old. When Bush was appointed by the Supreme Court, I was 24. Bush was not my president; I voted for Nader in 2000 and Kerry in 2004. I liked Bill Clinton, but he was never my president, really. I respected him when he was running in 1992 because I was 16 and he and Gore actually went on MTV and tried to open a dialogue with young people in America. I didn't remember George H.W. Bush ever giving a shit what anyone who couldn't vote (or anyone who could) had to say. Reagan... well, Reagan was elected president when I was 4 and was president until I was 12, and you don't think much about politics at those ages. I just accepted that he was the president and that occasionally he would be breaking into one of my primetime programs to talk about politics. That's what VCRs were for.
But Barack Obama feels like my president. Yes, I didn't support him at first. I liked other candidates better. But Obama proved himself, to my eyes, to be the best candidate for the job. And here's why I finally decided on Obama and why I was so happy yesterday to see him sworn in: because he gets it. He's the first candidate I've ever seen in my life who gets it. He understands what the problems are. He understands what people should be getting out of their government. He doesn't act like a man who is somehow entitled to the presidency; he earned it. He seems serious about governing. And he seems to understand that the American people are expected to take part in their own governance.
Compare that to George W. Bush. He didn't get it. He never got it. His final press conference and his farewell address showed a man so isolated and disinterested and detached from reality that he couldn't stop congratulating himself for the messes he's made as though they were the greatest presidential successes in history. He didn't understand what the problems are; he pursued his own agenda. He seemed irritated and touchy whenever anyone suggested there should be accountability and oversight. He ran the government as though it were his own personal corporation that was meant to do nothing for the people. He wanted the voices of the people shut out.
It's that insulting baby boomer attitude: I'm going to do whatever I feel I need to, and you don't have the right to ask any questions about it, because that makes you ungrateful. Just believe me when I tell you it's for your own good and shut up.
I get that attitude all the time, and not just from boomers, sadly. Every time I've wanted to express my immense dissatisfaction with Bush, there was always someone--someone I knew, someone I worked with, someone commenting on this blog--who tried to make me feel as though I was somehow being ungrateful for all of the work Bush was supposedly doing keeping me safe from terrorists or from economic prosperity or from low gas prices or from international respect for my country. Yeah, I should be really grateful. These people never made me feel like I was in the wrong but, in generally calling me names, certainly proved my point that Bush couldn't be defended on issues, on service, or in ideals.
The point is this: I didn't feel smug yesterday. I didn't feel like my side won or like it was time to punish anyone or that I was going to get everything I ever wished for and live happily ever after. I didn't feel like I was proven right or vindicated in any way. I just felt like an American again. I felt like someone who had pride in his country again. I felt like I was a part of something again.
Because I finally figured out that that baby boomer attitude of Bush's had made me feel like a guy who just crashed here but wasn't really welcome. I felt like my government had completely abandoned me. Shut me out. Like I hadn't been asked what I could do for my country, but to just keep shopping and not ask any questions. And now, I feel like my government is run by adults again and not spoiled children who only saw governing as an opportunity for personal gain.
I'm not a Democrat or a Republican. I'm just an American. And since yesterday, I'm really happy to be one again. Do I expect all of my problems to be solved immediately by Obama simply being president? No, I'm not 6. I'm realistic. Obama's got a lot of work in front of him.
But for the first time in eight years, I feel like the guy in charge can handle it. And that, more importantly, he's going to try to.
I don't know if these ads are made by the same people who made the fun adult LEGO ads I posted a couple of days ago, but these are just... stupid. I can't find any information out about their origin.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
For my own purposes, I'm going to be making lists here of a project I'm working on. I've been gathering music for years and putting them on tapes and CDs I've always just called Generic Music. They started as tapes I made when I was in junior high and high school; then they moved to CDs several years ago. Recently, there's been a bit of a crisis with my music collection and the shitty CD-Rs the series has been on, so I'm re-doing them as MP3 collections, salvaging what I can and finding replacements or new music. So, once again, I'm starting Generic Music over. Just to help me have another place to archive the listings, I'm going to be putting up the tracklists here. Feel free to completely ignore these.
1. Opening: 20th Century Fox Fanfare (Ralph Wiggum Version)
2. Iggy Pop & Sum 41: Little Know-It-All
3. The Fratellis: All Along the Watchtower
4. Dialogue: I'm Gonna See Her Boobs
5. Feist: I Feel It All
6. Aliotta-Haynes-Jeremiah: Lake Shore Drive
7. The Tee Set: Ma Belle Amie
8. Chris Thile & Mike Marshall: The Goldberg Variations: Variation No. 1 (JS Bach)
9. The Mountain Goats: Woke Up New
10. Dialogue: Derek's Don't Run
11. 50 Cent & The Game: Hate It or Love It
12. Dialogue: Chunder
13. Mott the Hoople: All the Young Dudes
14. Intermission: The Time Is Now, the Time Is Here
15. The Puppini Sisters: Crazy in Love
16. M. Ward: You Still Believe in Me
17. Homer Simpson: Hold Music
18. Leroy Anderson: The Typewriter
19. Kanye West ft. Jamie Foxx: Gold Digger
20. The Bird & the Bee: How Deep Is Your Love
21. Celebrity Moment: Zsa Zsa Gabor Can't Do the Fucking Commercial
22. Dialogue: Laugh, Cry
23. DJ Earworm: Papa Was a Clock
24. The Donnas: Dancing with Myself
25. Oscar Meyer Weiner (Lounge Version)
26. Dialogue: Cooperation and Crisps
27. Alanis Morrisette: Hands Clean
28. Israel Kamakawiwo'ole: Over the Rainbow
29. The Beatles: Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End
Police Academy (1984)
Directed by Hugh Wilson; story by Neal Israel & Pat Proft, screenplay by Neal Israel & Pat Proft and Hugh Wilson; produced by Paul Maslansky
Wow. This movie is even worse than I remember it being.
Granted, I used to like it, but I used to be 8.
I don't even know what to say here. I just don't get it. It's not remotely a funny movie, it's just stupid. There are no characters, there are placeholders stumbling around with a single unfunny gag, and they're each doing their one gag over and over and it never becomes funny. Everything's obvious and irritating. Bubba Smith is tall and black, so he's terrifying. Hilarious! Michael Winslow does sound effects with his mouth. That's a career builder? And Steve Guttenberg as the cool guy... how does that even happen? I've seen the Gute in a lot of movies now, and I still just don't dig the guy. He's not cool, he's not funny, he's not remotely likeable... I don't know. This is how 5 year-olds tell jokes; where's the point?
I feel like Tom Hanks in Big pissing everyone off by saying "I don't get it," but, you know, I don't get it. I don't get how this stupid movie, that no one over 10 could think was remotely funny, somehow spawned the Friday the 13th of shitty comedy series.
I think I hate this movie. I'm actually sorry I watched it. That's how bad it is.
At least there were tits. Not Kim Cattrall's sadly, but some tits.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Rob Thomas says he's about 70% of the way through the story for a Veronica Mars movie, saying "I’m feeling like I’m on the right track now. But I don’t want to give that away yet." The only thing he says is that the story takes place at the end of Veronica's college career and not in the FBI (which is now officially a "what if?" situation, which is fine with me because it wouldn't be the same without her father involved).
But the fact is, Rob Thomas wants to do the movie, Joel Silver wants to do the movie, and Kristen Bell wants to do the movie. It will happen. That is the happiest entertainment news I've had for a while!
George W. Bush is finally leaving office. The Worst President in American History is finally going to be gone, characteristically leaving everyone else to clean up the mess his incompetence made. President Duh is no more, and will now accept his place in history as a total fucking disaster. Sorry pundits, trolls, and apologists, but you're wrong: history is not going to be kind to this idiot. No matter how many times you say it, no matter how many times Bush pats himself on the back and says he did a great job, it's never going to magically become true. Bush made our lives worse, he failed at everything he touched, and he may have destroyed the dreams of prosperity for an entire generation. Fuck him. May he rot in prison.
Did anyone else watch the final press conference and the farewell address. I sure did. It's amazing how completely detached this fucker is from the reality of what happened to America in the last eight years. I knew we were in trouble when he was campaigning, shopped at a grocery store to show how "real" he was, and was amazed at the magic device the cashier used to scan the UPC code. I knew we were in trouble when he stole the election and America decided to just live with it. I knew we were in trouble when I watched him walk to the White House on his inauguration day. There were so many protestors, so many boos. And CNN bravely cut the sound and put on patriotic march music. I knew right then that we were fucked.
And we were.
By any measurement, Bush has failed. Completely.
On day one, he started dismantling environmental regulations.
He barred federal funding for overseas abortion counseling on the anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision. Because, apparently, personal moral objection outweighs individual freedom.
He immediately planned an illegal invasion of Iraq and created a web of spin and lies in order to justify it to the American people.
He took an immediate stance against labor unions and job protection.
He supported ANWR drilling.
He abandoned his campaign pledge to cut carbon emissions and overturned a regulation reducing the allowable level of arsenic in drinking water.
He backed out of the Kyoto treaty and still defends this decision. His Clear Skies initiative merely set back the cause of reducing emissions by a decade.
He abandoned an effort to crack down on offshore tax havens. Good thing we don't desperately need tax money! Then he cut the taxes of rich people by over a trillion dollars.
He opposed a UN treaty to curb international trafficking in small arms.
He nominated a timber industry lobbyist to oversee the US Forest Service. And that guy got the job. He also let oil executives write energy policy
He rejected an international treaty on germ warfare and biological weapons.
He ignored warnings that Osama bin Laden was going to attack the United States.
He limited stem cell research for, you know, moral reasons rather than legal ones.
He started the formless, goalless "War on Terror," which has been about as effective as the War on Drugs; just like the ongoing War on Drugs, it's been very successful in losing money and yielding no practical results. He also used this childish concept to justify his war with Iraq, claiming a connection between 9-11 and Iraq that didn't exist, and essentially ignoring the people who attacked us in favor of his own private vendetta.
He pressured the EPA to lie and say the air was safe to breath at Ground Zero, and ignored first responders' cries for medical help after putting their health at serious risk over what they considered their patriotic duty.
He bailed out the airline industry, because the free market system is only right for America when rich people make tons of money. Why should corporations have consequences?
The PATRIOT Act, which Bush has used to justify countless crimes his administration has committed. The real point of the PATRIOT Act is that it shields Bush from punishment while he does whatever he wants to. Under this act, the Justice Department has detained thousands and subjected many to torture and even murder. Some can be held indefinitely and without cause. All the while it's been callously ignored that information obtained under torture is not legally actionable.
He blocked the release of presidential records back in November 2001. Why? Because he knew everything he was doing was illegal. Prove me wrong.
He tried to privatize Social Security and hand it over to the same goons who couldn't keep banks solvent.
No Child Left Behind has made it impossible to educate children and turned schools into a giant craft fair where doing your best is apparently enough and any measures for success or failure are completely meaningless. Like everything else, he's turned schools into a business where turnover is more important than quality.
He completely ignored the Geneva Convention and held prisoners without rights, essentially turning America into one of those countries we're always denouncing for doing the same thing.
He ignored warnings from as far back as 2001 that a massive hurricane hitting New Orleans was one of the likeliest disasters the country could face; instead, he was listening to plans to privatize FEMA operations because he thought of FEMA as an entitlement program.
He had the IRS stop auditing large corporations and the rich and turned them on the working poor instead.
He completely ignored Congress and set up his own shadow government after 9-11.
He stopped the EPA from declaring a public health emergency over asbestos fibers used in insulation throughout the country.
He plotted a coup to overthrow Hugo Chavez, and admitted it. And you still wonder why Chavez is pissed at the US?
He did not catch Osama bin Laden. Ever. But he did admit he didn't think about him very much. Imagine if Eisenhower had said he didn't think about Hitler very much.
He allowed domestic spying on Americans: anyone at any time for any reason anywhere, and no oversight. And he encouraged Americans to inform on one another.
He decided it was legal and even sane to adopt a policy of preemptive war. If anyone else had done so, they would be immediately decried as an enemy of freedom.
He weakened tire inflation standards, which seems small but has killed hundreds of people.
He ordered that workers in the DHS be stripped of civil service protections. I guess when you're asking a lot of people to do something illegal, it helps not to have any legal regulations in place.
He stripped medical privacy regulations. Because why wouldn't patients want just anyone to be able to access their medical records? Like, say, marketing people?
He completely undermined the EPA and had the audacity to call it the "Healthy Forest" initiative. The man he handpicked to be Wildlands Fuel Coordinator was a man who had published articles denying the existence of ecosystems and downplaying the dangers of extinction. Oh, and he also has no administrative experience. Bush also continued to champion the logging industry by eliminating environmental regulations if the logging will reduce fire risk (despite the fact that the Department of Agriculture found that over-logging increases fire risk). He also announced every piece of environmental destruction on days he knew the media would be inattentive, which is sleazy.
He denounced Affirmative Action.
Bush sought an exemption to an international treaty banning methyl bromide. Sure, it depletes the ozone layer, but they use it on golf courses, dammit.
Appointed his buddy Michael Brown to head FEMA. Many have pointed out that Brown's previous position was running the International Arabian Horse Association. Not enough people have pointed out he got fired from that job.
Bush had ties to one of the people who jammed the Democratic phone lines and stole the 2002 mid-term election; that guy just mysteriously died when his plane "ran out of gas."
He lied about Iraq's imaginary nuclear weapons program. He made it up. There was no evidence at all for weapons of mass destruction. None. And the media was 100% complicit, through action or inaction, in spreading this lie, despite findings announced at the same time, once even on the same day, that Iraq was not trying to build nuclear weapons and did not have the resources to do so. Was Saddam Hussein a bad man? Sure. But the pretext for invading his country was a lie. And he publicly lied about finding them, too. And then, when he couldn't maintain the lie, he joked about it.
Jessica Lynch? Staged. Deaths by friendly fire? Covered up. We're not even allowed to see images of flag-covered coffins returning to the US. Why? Because all of those people died for a lie. For a pretext to yet more illegal plundering by George W. Bush and his gang of criminals.
His Education Secretary Rod Paige is a Christian. Which is fine in private, but wrong when it leads to preferential treatment and the corruption of the education system. Paige later denounced the National Education Association as a "terrorist organization."
Mission Accomplished. Also staged. Cameras were purposely placed so you couldn't see the harbor just a few miles away so Bush could have his jet landing. Yeah, a pompous leader running a shadow government, spying on his own people, committing crimes daily, holding thousands of detainees without cause or legal counsel or basic human rights, appearing to the public in military regalia and dispensing propaganda. That doesn't sound like a dictatorship at all... Ironic that we were fighting Saddam Hussein and Bush was doing his best to impersonate him.
The work in Africa in AIDS prevention he's being praised for is a lie; the money goes to abstinence education, which simply does not work and is a sham. Telling people not to fuck in a continent where AIDS is spread by rape and drug use is like telling people who have autism to just pretend they don't have health problems... like scientologists do.
Bush's FCC encouraged corporate monopolies.
He suspended military aid to countries that refused to grant US citizens immunity before the International Criminal Court.
Valerie Plame. Only one of many instances where the Bush administration demonstrates its petty immaturity by endangering or ruining the lives of Americans who show dissent. The FBI even admitted it was gathering information on protestors who were against the war.
He had Congress' 9-11 Report edited to omit large portions on Saudi Arabia, the country the attackers came from and where Osama bin Laden gets his money from, but who is apparently to be held blameless in the 9-11 attacks. I'm sure any country would return the favor if they were attacked by US citizens.
And how about that Medicare bill, which seems to only have been passed in order to protect high pharmaceutical costs. He also lied to Congress about how much the plan would cost, and threatened to fire anyone who told the truth before the bill was passed. And the White House created illegal, fake news reports to support the bill.
Bush's USDA didn't think it was important to ban the sale of "downer" cattle until after Mad Cow disease came to the US.
He ordered torture. And he lied about it. And he continues to lie about it. And he tried to cover it up even as the media was reporting it.
He tried to postpone or suspend the 2004 election, justifying it with trumped up "evidence" and outright lies that al-Qaeda would attack America on Election Day.
He tried to block lawsuits and make it unlawful for consumers to sue pharmaceutical companies or the FDA for approving dangerous drugs and ill-made medical devices that have endangered or ended lives.
He purposely waited until the Senate was in recess to appoint fundraisers, lobbyists, and cronies to federal positions, including head of the FTC.
He turned a surplus into a record budget deficit before his first term was over. His administration also presided over a steady increase in the national poverty rate, the number of people who don't have health insurance, and the unemployment rate. This didn't just develop in the last few months; these problems have been getting slowly worse and worse for as long as Bush has been president.
He let the federal ban on assault weapons expire. I'll defend your Second Amendment rights, but don't try to tell me that being a hunter means you need to hoard AK-47s.
When it became clear that US forces and Iraqi police were responsible for twice as many Iraqi deaths as insurgent forces, Bush had the facts suppressed and ordered that statistics no longer be provided to reporters.
He was pretty obviously being fed information during the October debates. That same month, it was found unequivocally that Iraq had manufactured no WMDs since 1991 and that hundreds of weapons and explosives in Iraq had simply disappeared. And the American death toll in Iraq hit 1,001. Despite this, Bush still gets re-elected. Heckuva job, America.
Hurricane Katrina. Good thing Bush undercut FEMA, put an incompetent in charge of it, and had cut spending for the reinforcement of the levees. Just like on 9-11, Bush sat there and did nothing until he could come up with a story claiming he didn't know a disaster could happen. But he'd been warned about 9-11 and he'd been warned about the possibility of a hurricane destroying New Orleans and done nothing to stop them from happening. He and his gang also did nothing to plan the reconstruction of Iraq, giving way to an insurgency, a civil war, thousands dead, and the Surge, which Republicans love to point to as a victory instead of mentioning that it was only necessary because the initial invasion was underplanned and undermanned.
He reauthorized the PATRIOT Act but also issued a statement saying he was exempt from informing Congress how the FBI would use its expanded police powers. Bush has used many signing statements to hold himself and his administration exempt from any laws he doesn't want to follow.
Harriet Miers. Jack Abramoff. Formaldehyde in FEMA trailers. The US attorney firing. Scooter Libby. Walter Reed. Alphonso Jackson. The US Marine slaughter of Iraqi civilians. Circumventing the White House email system. Blackwater. Joking about pollution. Over 950 days on vacation.
This man has done nothing in office but ignore facts, ignore laws, pursue his own agenda, commit crimes, lie about those crimes, and gone to great length to cover up those crimes. If he were the manager of a K-Mart he would have been shitcanned a long time ago; but he manages the United States and is somehow allowed to run rampant doing whatever his little peanut brain seizes on.
He does not care about Americans. He never did. He only cared about what he wanted and what he could get.
Fuck you, George W. Bush. It's times like this when I want to believe in an ordered universe, so that I can peacefully imagine you'll spend eternity as a patient in Walter Reed hospital, waterboarded daily by Iraqis shitting down your throat while spotted owls peck out your eyes.
I guess I'll concede one thing to the trolls, pundits, and apologists about President Duh. He achieved two things. First, he ruined the country more than I thought he would. And second, he cleared a hell of a lot of brush.
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Directed by Emile Ardolino; written by Eleanor Bergstein; produced by Linda Gottlieb
I remember seeing this movie on cable when I was 12 and didn't know what it meant to get a girl "in trouble." I really didn't. My cousin explained it to me. She was really into this movie, and I was in Des Moines the summer this premiered on cable, which means that I had to sit through it about seven or eight times. Then I just sort of blocked it out forever.
I'm not really sure what to say about this movie. I hate it when people do this kind of waffling, but it's not really a movie I had strong feelings for in any way. The plot is pretty simplistic: a girl freshly out of high school goes with her family to a mountain resort in 1963, and she grows up and discovers her sexuality when she falls in love with a dance instructor from the wrong side of the tracks. That's about it; it's pretty predictable and hits all of the beats you expect, rather than unfolding organically. It's not a story so much as a collection of scenes. But it's also enjoyable in spurts: Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey have genuine chemistry, and it's pretty breezy. I know people who just love this movie, and I can see why they would. It's not a bad movie at all. It's not a great one, either. It's cute. This is why Roger Ebert has a two-and-a-half-star rating. I wouldn't recommend it, but I didn't hate it.
A brief note about Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze. It's always seemed to me like Patrick Swayze is way too old to be screwing around with little Jennifer Grey; I don't know how old his character is supposed to be, but it seems like he's past the point of a father being okay with their relationship. But they also played fellow high school students in Red Dawn, which was two years before this movie. I looked them up and I see that Swayze is, in fact, eight years older than Jennifer Grey. However, he was 35 when he made this movie and she was 27. So who knows what's supposed to be what, honestly?
A couple of other things. First, Jennifer Grey's face. She really never should have gotten the nose job. I always thought she was attractive when I was younger; now she just looks bland and boring. She doesn't stand out anymore.
Second, Kenny Ortega. I was surprised to see he was the choreographer on this movie. He later destroyed the Hollywood musical by making Newsies, one of the worst trainwrecks I've ever seen. But what's interesting is that he's now the impressario behind the High School Musical series, and you can see just how much of the plot of High School Musical 2 comes straight out of Dirty Dancing. Except, of course, sex doesn't exist in Disney Channel movies, so the big problems never really materialize in High School Musical 2, which is even breezier and less focused than this movie (lucky for them they had Ashley Tisdale, whose performance as Sharpay Evans is gathering a cult following and absolutely deserves to).
The choreography in Dirty Dancing ain't bad, by the way. It looks like, wait for it, dancing. Most dancing in movies today just looks like random, rhythmic spasming.
Oh, and Kelly Bishop plays Jennifer Grey's mother. I've always considered Kelly Bishop a lust object and still do. She was my favorite part of Gilmore Girls. That is all.
So... Dirty Dancing. Not much to it, but I can see why anyone would like it. It's a wishy-washy summation, but there it is.
"Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term 'Art,' I should call it 'the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul.' The mere imitation, however accurate, of what is in Nature, entitles no man to the sacred name of 'Artist.'"
One of America's greatest artists, born today in 1809.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
I picked this up at Quit Your Day Job.
1. Were you named after anyone?
Yes, actually, but I can't quite remember who. It was a family member I never met; one of my dad's grandparents, I think. His name was Robert, and that's my middle name. I always thought it was after my own father, who's named Robert (Bob).
2. When was the last time you cried?
Yesterday. I was watching something that got to me, but now I can't remember what. Might have been an episode of Doctor Who.
3. What is your favorite lunch meat?
4. Do you have kids?
No. And it's only been in the last couple of years that I've wanted one. But I know I can't take care of a kid.
5. If you were another person would you be friends with you?
I don't know. Maybe. I mean, I like the same stuff I would like if I were another person. But I know most people find me obnoxious and opinionated and all kinds of touchy bullshit, so who can say?
6. Do you use sarcasm a lot?
7. Do you still have your tonsils?
Yes. Appendix, too.
8. Would you bungee jump?
I'd have to have a really, really good reason. Like, if Kat Dennings asked me to... I know, I'm way too easy. Honestly, I just don't see the point. I've never been one of those people who enjoyed that kind of movement thrill.
9. What is your favorite cereal?
Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries. I can't eat them anymore, because they kind of make me sick, but it was always my favorite when I was a kid and a teenager, so I have to give Cap a shout-out. These days, it's Rice Chex. I can always eat Rice Chex.
10. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off?
11. Do you think you are strong?
I don't know. I can handle a lot of stuff internally, and I'm a little better with pain than I used to be, but I have the strength of an infant.
12. What is your favorite ice cream?
Baskin-Robbins. I love their chocolate better than any of the chocolate ice cream I've ever had (Ben & Jerry's is pretty good if you can ever find it, but fuck you, Hagen-Daazs!).
13. What is the first thing you notice about people?
Different things catch my notice for everyone. I will admit, there's one part of a woman's body that I find sexier and more alluring than anything else, and I tend to glance at that when I see an attractive woman. But I'm not only looking at that. I don't know, different people are all different. Oddly enough, right?
14. Red or pink?
Pink. I think red's overdone. Unless we're talking hair.
Redheads... do we even need another hair color?
15. What is the least favorite thing about yourself?
Well, being so damn out of shape. And being so lazy.
16. Who do you miss the most?
My sister Ellen. And Jim Henson.
17. What color shoes are you wearing?
I'm not. I'm relaxing at home. Outside I wear my brown boots.
18. What was the last thing you ate?
I had bacon, eggs, and toast for breakfast like I do almost every morning. It's the perfect breakfast. Why mess with a classic?
19. What are you listening to right now?
My newly-finished mix of 1981 music. Only 189 songs, instead of 222, like the 1980 one. Currently, Judas Priest's "Hot Rockin'" just gave way to ELO's "Twilight." I keep thinking I'll post the track lists, I'm just not sure anyone cares. Not that that stops me from posting things like lists or, say, memes!
20. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
21. Favorite smells?
Strawberries. Bacon. Paint. Coffee. Old comics. That vaguely-warm smell that comes off of old record players when you're using them. Popcorn.
22. Who was the last person you spoke to on the phone?
Must've been when Becca called to say she was leaving work and stopping for groceries last night.
23. Favorite sports to watch?
Still not a big sports guy. Though watching Australian football is pretty exciting.
24. Hair color?
25. Eye color?
Blue, but not Arakkis blue.
26. Do you wear contacts?
No, I wear glasses.
27. Favorite food?
Pizza is still nature's most perfect food, even in moderation.
28. Scary movies or happy endings?
As long as it's good, I'm not particular.
29. Last movie you watched?
Dirty Dancing. Keep your eyes open for an upcoming 80s Revisited.
30. What color shirt are you wearing?
31. Summer or winter?
Summer, for sure. I really need this fucking winter to be over.
32. Hugs or kisses?
Hey, make me an offer.
33. Favorite desserts?
Cheesecake, chocolate cake, pumpkin pie.
34. I’m most likely to...
Not give a shit.
35. I’m least likely to...
Care that I don't give a shit.
36. What book are you reading now?
Nothing. I was reading a bunch of BPRD collections, but I've just finished them and haven't started anything new yet. Any suggestions?
37. What is on your mouse pad?
Don't have one.
38. What did you watch on television last night?
We played video games last night. There's nothing on Saturday nights except for SNL, which I TiVo.
39. Favorite sounds?
Crashing waves. Awesome guitars. Orchestras. Certain bedroom sounds.
40. Rolling Stones or The Beatles?
Why pick one or the other? They're both awesome. I have every Beatles album, every John Lennon album, every George Harrison, Ringo's first four albums, and Paul's through all of the seventies. I have every Rolling Stones album through Tattoo You. That's a lot of awesome music to enjoy without having to decide one or the other is better. They're both so different, anyway.
41. What is the furthest you’ve been from home?
42. Do you have a special talent?
I don't think so. I mean, I think I have talent, I just don't think it's particularly special.
43. Where were you born?
Des Moines, Iowa.