Saturday, October 02, 2010

Halloween: "Ghostbusters"

I used to see this music video all the time. Today, what shocks me is not the amount of celebrity cameos, but the fact that Bill Murray even appears in this.

This video also makes me think about why there shouldn't be a Ghostbusters 3 unless you can be really, really careful about it. The first movie may have appealed to kids, but they made a comedy with Lovecraftian mythology and a sense of the weird. That's why it worked; it was a comedy first, an adventure second, and a movie that appealed to kids third. The problem with Ghostbusters 2 is that it aimed at kids first, and it was dumb and silly and too into its marketing potential. A third movie has to be a comedy, or at least a comedic take on the genre. I'm afraid today it would just try too hard to be cool, and then just be this pointless action movie without any character.

Anyway, I dig this video. And I love the guitar riff. This is great pop. Or maybe great kitsch.

My Cinema Autobiography

So, continuing on with what is apparently my favorite subject--me--we get to 1985. Beverly Hills Cop was the number one movie for the first 9 weeks of the year. I didn't see it until I was older, but I remember hearing Harold Faltermeyer's "Axel F" on the radio all the time.

Another movie I didn't see for years but have a vivid memory of just the same is Dune. I didn't know what it was, but I remember seeing action figures at Toys 'R Us. I still think it's insane that there were Dune action figures. Unless you were going to have Baron Harkonnen rape your sister's Ken dolls, what was the point of that? Did they really think kids were going to rush out to see Dune and then beg their parents for the toys? I don't think Universal understood the point of Frank Herbert's masterpiece for one second, to be honest.

The other memory that really stands out for me at the time is when it came out on video. The guy at the video store was handing out a small piece of paper with the rental; it was a glossary. I haven't seen that kind of thing happen since.

Huh, Avenging Angel and Tuff Turf came out the same weekend. What a battle. I also see that Gwendoline and Tomboy came out the same weekend. Tawny Kitaen or Betsy Russell? Don't make me choose! (Because Betsy Russell will win.) (Mischief came out two weeks later, too. Apparently February is when everyone wants to see teen sex comedies.)

Okay, now, Fantasia was re-released in 1985, and maybe that was the time we went to see it. That would actually make more sense to me. (And it was the same re-recorded version that came out in 1982.) With the history of the E.T. incident under our belt, it might make more sense that my Mom thought we should leave early instead of letting me get freaked out by the "Night on Bald Mountain" sequence. Still, as I was now 8 instead of 6, I hope I'm wrong...

The first movie I know for sure we went to see in 1985 (in March) was a Disney movie, though: Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend. I was a dinosaur kid, and I had to see a movie about people discovering a still-living brontosaurus family. I liked the animatronic dinosaurs, but even as a kid I was pretty underwhelmed. I'd kind of like to see it again just to see how bad it is; I remember seeing it just a year or two later and thinking what a shit movie it was. It couldn't compare to going to the Field Museum and seeing the skeleton of a triceratops or a parasaurolophus or a brachiosaur.

I used to put together those wooden models of dinosaur skeletons. I was never quite as meticulous about it as I should have been, though. I loved models, but I was always too impatient unless they were snap-together kits. I didn't have enough patience. Too bad.

Also in March: The Care Bears Movie. There was an audience full of kids clapping along to that song at the end of the movie. That would make me nauseous today, but hey, I was 8. I liked the Care Bear Cousins, because one of them was a lion and one of them was a rabbit. I've always loved rabbits; I always wanted one as a kid, but my parents would never let me have one. I saw Watership Down on TV one year (they aired it in two parts across two nights, which is odd, considering how short it is), then read the novel--the longest I'd read, up to that time--and have been in love with rabbits ever since.

The same weekend The Care Bears Movie came out, Return of the Jedi was re-released, and that was worth a few more trips to the cinema. My Mom's favorite part of the movie was the final confrontation between Vader, Luke, and the Emperor. Between the initial release and this one, we saw the movie a total of 13 times. I've never beat that number. Nothing that comes out today is likely to beat it, frankly.

On 7 June, The Goonies came out. That movie just perfectly encapsulated my generation of kids, with all of our bike riding and swearing and camaraderie. That was the first movie I ever saw that really felt like it was mine, about me and my friends. It just got us kids, and we loved it for that. I know I saw it a few times. It remains one of my favorite movies of all time. I had the board game, by the way. Remember that one?

A couple of weeks later, Return to Oz was released. I think this remains an incredibly underrated, wonderful movie. By this time, I had read all of L. Frank Baum's and Ruth Plumly Thompson's Oz books, and I was really excited to see Jack Pumpkinhead, my favorite Oz character, in a movie. What a wonderful job they did with him, too. I read all I could about the making of that movie, and even saw a special about it on Nickelodeon. I was thrilled to find out that the voice and operations of Jack Pumpkinhead were by Jim Henson's son Brian. I was still very fascinated with puppetry and physical special effects.

For some reason, I remember going to see Return to Oz with just my Dad over at the Palace Cinema. But Jayne must've seen it too. Or did she see it on video? Jayne, if you're there, what do you remember?

Back to the Future came out on the Fourth of July weekend. For some reason, I don't remember seeing it in the summer. It was quite a success: it was number one for 12 weeks, with just a one-week interruption (by National Lampoon's European Vacation). But I remember going to see it at a second-run theater--the Tivoli, I think. I loved it, of course. And it sparked a crush on Lea Thompson that refuses to go away entirely. The fact that it starred Alex P. Keaton from Family Ties, possibly my favorite TV show at that time (and still a favorite--I watch reruns on one of the local channels every Saturday afternoon), was a pretty big deal for me.

On 12 July, the weekend before my birthday, Joe Dante's Explorers was released. My Mom took a couple of friends and myself to see it. Another flick I immediately loved. Still a fave, and one of my favorite Jerry Goldsmith scores, incidentally. The idea that you could build a spaceship out of a Tilt-O-Whirl was kind of palpable with me. And, since computers were still new in homes--we had a Wang computer that my Dad had from work, and not a lot of other families had computers yet--the idea that you could use one to generate an airtight capsule was the kind of science fiction magic that seemed realistic to, you know, a kid turning 9 in 1985.

The next week, my old nemesis E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial came back to haunt me. It was re-released, and this time my Mom very wisely talked me into facing my fears and giving the movie another chance. Although I still found the same parts intense, I rode through it and absolutely loved the movie. It was immediately one of my favorites. I don't think Steven Spielberg has ever made another movie as good as this one. When it came out on video a few years later, I got it for Christmas and watched it over and over again. It's still one of those movies, like The Godfather, that, if I catch it on cable, I have to watch through to the end.

If only all my fears had been conquered so easily.

And only a week after that, on 26 July, The Black Cauldron was released. I loved it. I was so excited about seeing it, and when I finally got to (at the Ogden 6 again, I believe), I thought it was fantastic. My love for it grew mysterious over the years, too, when the movie was never re-released again and Disney very rarely pushed the fact that it ever existed. It didn't even hit video until sometime in the mid-to-late 90s. I can see the problems with the movie now--it looks like a big compromise between the desire to make something epic and groundbreaking in Disney animation, and the second-guessing of it as something too intense for kids--but I still enjoy it.

The best thing it did for me, though, was to provide me an entry into the world of Prydain. Dell Yearling reprinted all five of the Lloyd Alexander Chronicles of Prydain novels, and the second book (The Black Cauldron) had a movie tie-in cover. That's how I found out about the Alexander novels and devoured them, including the collection of Prydain short stories, The Foundling and Others.

My parents actually used to take me to bookstores all the time. By then I was totally in love with fantasy and science fiction, and they used to buy me books all the time and encourage me to read. As I've said several times here, I read Charlotte's Web in the summer between kindergarten and first grade, and ever since then I've been an avid reader. The Chronicles of Prydain are great books to read when you're 9.

2 August saw the release of Follow That Bird, the Sesame Street movie, and while it wasn't as good as the other Muppet movies, I still enjoyed it.

23 August: Ghostbusters re-release. Yup; bustin' still made me feel good. (And really, doesn't it always. And yes, I meant that as an awkward double entendre.) And a week later? Gremlins re-release. I caught both of those a couple of times.

27 September was the release of another Disney movie that doesn't seem well-remembered: The Journey of Natty Gann. I remember liking it a lot as a kid, but being underwhelmed by it years later. I totally had a crush on Meredith Salenger, though. I don't think I've seen her in anything since the remake of Village of the Damned. (Although according to Wikipedia, she had a small role in Race to Witch Mountain, and I don't even remember seeing her in it.)

For some reason, I remember that I had the novelization of The Journey of Natty Gann. I think I got it through one of those Scholastic Books fliers we were always getting in school.

November saw the movie version of another saccharine cartoon: Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer. I know we went to see it--my sister loved Rainbow Brite--but I don't remember thing one about it.

Thanksgiving weekend an animated 3D movie called Starchaser: The Legend of Orin was released. That was the first time I ever saw a movie in 3D. I really enjoyed it, even though it's pretty much a Star Wars rip-off. I think my Mom was shocked by it, though, because of the sex jokes and some swearing. She used to get that way. I actually own this on DVD. One of my curios from the 80s.

On 29 November, Santa Claus: The Movie was released, which I am quite confident in calling one of the worst movies ever made. We went to see it; my Mom watched it at Christmas for a few years. She likes the early parts of the movie, which are kind of the origin of Santa Claus, because it fits in with her favorite idea of Santa, which is sort of folksy and old European. The rest of the movie even she admits is crap.

13 December: The Jewel of the Nile. By this time, I'd seen Romancing the Stone on VHS, and I'd love it, in part because it starred Louie from Taxi. We saw this one second run at, I think, the Tivoli. I loved the Billy Ocean song "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going." Can you imagine Michael Douglas or Kathleen Turner being in a music video today?

And then the year capped off for us with a reissue of 101 Dalmatians.

Oh, I see that, also at the end of that year, the IMAX film The Dream Is Alive was released. We went to see that at the Museum of Science & Industry's big OMNIMAX theater. It was a perfect movie for my Mom and I, because it was about the space program and what it took to be an astronaut--a dream of mine at the time--and was narrated by one of my Mom's favorite people, Walter Cronkite. The space program was one of our things, my Mom and me.

Wow, 1985 was a good, fun year for movies.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Cinema Bio Addendum (and My Parents, with a Little Health Report Update Thrown In)

I'm just going to navel-gaze here for a minute.

In the first installment of My Cinema Autobiography, I talked about seeing The Dark Crystal with my sister and my Dad and not remembering--even though she tells me it's true--that my Mom went with us. My sister Jayne commented on the post and said she remembered going as a whole family and that she and I sat up front by ourselves, closer to the screen. I don't remember that at all; I remember just the three of us going and seeing it.

I was talking to my Dad earlier today, and he mentioned that we actually went to see the movie twice--once just the three of us at the Palace Cinema, and once the four of us at the Ogden 6. I just think it's weird how Jayne and I can each remember completely separate times we went to see the same movie.

Dad and I talked for a bit; part of the reason I've been doing the My Cinema Autobiography stuff is that it brings back things I'd forgotten from when I was a kid: times spent with my family and my friends. Dad remembers a lot of stuff from my childhood that, sometimes, I only have brief flashes of.

My Dad was a pretty active father, actually. He always wanted to go out and do stuff as a family, and if Mom didn't want to go or wanted to go shopping or something--my Mom went through a period of depression where she didn't get out of bed much--we would go just the three of us.

My favorite memories of that time are of getting up on Saturday morning and Dad making us pancakes. He would cut them up for us with a pizza cutter, too, while we listened to his Beatles and Beach Boys 8-tracks. I didn't just like Saturdays because there was no school, but because my Dad was going to be home, too. We liked to play with Dad, because he was a big kid sometimes. Not in a soft way--he was always our Dad, not one of those fathers who tries to be a friend and then was ineffectual when disciplining you or explaining what you did wrong, because he could be firm--but in a fun way. We used to build models or wrestle in the living room.

I remember that my Dad always used to like to have a bologna sandwich with Ruffles potato chips and a bottle of Pepsi for lunch. I got my love of soda from him; he had a hard time giving it up, too--not as hard as I did, but a hard time--and I remember him trying to switch to Diet Rite for a while and then finally giving it up. He gave it up because of his blood pressure, which is part of the reason I gave it up; my Dad's never had weight problems like I do.

We used to watch TV during the day when we were done playing. The three of us never missed The Three Stooges, but we also used to watch badly-dubbed kung fu movies or Godzilla movies or wrestling; whatever was on local TV.

Sometimes we'd get up early, around 5 or so, and go fishing. I once saw a field mouse and thought it was the coolest thing; we used to have so many animals around then. There was an otter in the local pond. We would pretty much only catch bullheads and bluegills, but some of the bullheads got really, really big. We once tried to tie a big one to my bike, and it pulled the bike into the pond. After fishing, we'd usually go have breakfast at McDonald's. Back then, McDonald's was a rare treat and not a default setting. My Dad, rightly so, didn't want us eating it too much. Though we did used to eat Burger King more, but probably because they always had Star Wars or Muppet collector's glasses.

That was a really fun time, going to see movies or fish or go to an arcade or just playing all day with my Dad. Saturday was my favorite day of the week because he'd be home. I dreaded Sunday because of Sunday School, but the day before was the best time.

You know, this post sounds like I'm being a little unfair to my Mom... I just bring up all this stuff about my Dad because we talked today and all this stuff was sparked in my mind. I don't mean to imply that my Mom was never there or something. She liked to do other stuff like go shopping--and there is no hell like being trapped in a Sears and looking at all of the housewares when you know the toy store is just out in the mall--and sometimes she was too depressed to get up, but we did a lot of fun stuff too.

My Mom always loved to take us to Showbiz Pizza and play video games and just watch us kids have fun. She loved to go to the movies, too, and like I said earlier, she took us to see Return of the Jedi a number of times because she loved it as much as we did. She used to shelter me and humor me when I was scared of E.T. or of aliens or, when I was real little, of the shadows the tree created in my bedroom in the morning, which I was terrified were the Flying Monkeys.

My Mom had a garden, and it was always neat to look at (and to play with my Star Wars figures in). She had a feeder that hummingbirds used to feed from. I remember one time when a bird flew into our patio door and stunned itself; she looked after him while he recovered, and he even sat there as she petted him.

She would take us to the pool a lot of days in the summer; the pool was within walking distance, and it was a really nice one, too. She took us to see Halley's Comet when it passed by. I remember when she woke me and Jayne up in the middle of the night so we could watch the Berlin Wall get torn down live on television. And I used to love it when she would drive me and Jayne around on dark December nights to see peoples' Christmas lights while we listened to Bing Crosby.

The best thing my Mom did for me was, at a very early age, to get me deeply interested in outer space and science fiction. She had always been fascinated by the space program--she was born in 1957--and was a huge fan of Star Trek. She made me watch Cosmos with her and got me interested in reading real SF and books about space travel and speculating on what might be out there on other planets. It's a love I've nurtured my entire life, and it's thanks to her sharing her own love with me.

I guess I'm just more nostalgic tonight than usual. But those were good times and, damn it, now they're gone. I sure am glad they happened, though.

I've gone through a long stretch in my life that I'm just coming out of, where I focused a lot on the negativity I felt from the things in the past that didn't go the way I wanted or that made me feel bad or embarrassed. Lately, I've been thinking about just how much fun and love and adventure there was in my childhood, and it's made me feel better to have a more even picture of my past. Sorry to indulge in it so often here, but it's kind of like self-therapy for me. (And it's cheap, because I can't afford to go see the therapist.)

I'm feeling so much better these days.

Halloween: The First Charlie Brown Trick or Treat

I've been reading a lot of the original Peanuts strips lately and really enjoying them. Here's the first time Charles Schulz ever did a Halloween strip, from 1951. (Click it to make it bigger, these are pretty small.)

It's October!

I think I'm going to be posting Halloween stuff every day again this year, so do don't go getting sick of my favorite holiday early!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

TV Report: Other Mentions

:: I did forget to mention that Castle came back and is as fun as ever. The new shows haven't been tops, but the returning shows have been great.

:: What an underwhelming opening for Saturday Night Live. And why is Jenny Slate gone? Is it because she had at least one recurring character, and that's one less for Kristen Wiig to make into one of her I-get-it-they're-all-the-same-socially-awkward characters? They had a whole summer to work on something, and they give us this pile. I think it's certainly time for Fred Armisen to go. And more Kenan Thompson, since he's carrying the damn thing. He carried the entire previous season. And what a coup, SNL: a new black man on the show, and all you have him do is play a Jamaican stereotype and impersonate Will Smith and Chris Tucker. Bravo.

Katy Perry was funny, though. But the whole thing relied too much on cameos. Also, I hate it when an actor on the show is in character and "confronted" by the person they're impersonating.

:: Nice to see Jenny Slate show up again on Bored to Death, though. And I hope they keep Mary Kay Place around.

:: The season opener of Eastbound and Down was like someone reached inside Becca's mind and pulled out a show tailor made for her. I didn't know if this show could pull off a second season, as much as I loved the first one, but one episode in and I already love it. The makers of this show seem more confident this season, more sure of what they want to accomplish with the character.

:: I think Weeds managed to work its way out of the hole it dug itself into. I hope they go somewhere more interesting, because I fucking hate Nancy Botwin right now. And is Elizabeth Perkins ever coming back? She used to be the best part of the show.

:: I'm not surprised to see that Lone Star was the first show canceled this season. I didn't watch it--it didn't look like my cup of tea, despite the presence of David Keith--but I was plenty sick of the commercials which, since May, have been telling us that Lone Star was the most anticipated/best new drama of the season. I never heard anyone say anything about it. And apparently no one watched it, either.

:: As predicted, I didn't bother to watch the second episodes of Raising Hope or Running Wilde. I still expect them to get canceled soon enough. Probably Running Wilde will go first; it's too quirky and not sweet enough for Fox. Raising Hope is more the kind of show they like to give a lot of chances to. Worst case scenario, they'll move it to early Sunday evenings when American Idol comes on.

:: I'm probably the only guy here that watches Teen Mom, but I actually got pissed off watching it this week. Amber and Gary are a train wreck of a couple. I'm sick of watching Amber get pissed off and yell and scream every time her unrealistic expectations come crashing down, but I especially bristle when she hits him because she doesn't know any other way to deal with her serious anger problems. On this week's episode, she punched him so hard in the head that his head went back into the wall. Then she kept hitting him and even kicked him in the back as he was walking down the stairs.

The thing that really pissed me off was finding out that she's only now being investigated by the police for domestic abuse because the police started receiving emails after the episode aired demanding that something be done. MTV, who was there filming this, didn't feel like it was their place to call the police. We can argue cinema verite vs. somewhat exploitative reality show all we want, but I bet if the genders we reversed, and he had punched her, MTV would've called the cops.


Hell's Kitchen

:: I was impressed watching the Red Team get it together for the EMT breakfast. They were, briefly, a well-functioning unit. (Except for Emily; Emily is too spacey and just doesn't focus.) The eggs and french toast looked delicious, and I expect I'll be having some french toast for breakfast in the next couple of days. (Damn it, this show makes me so fricking hungry.) My being impressed didn't last long, though, since we're treated to more of Sabrina's bitching. She doesn't think she should have to do prep. Isn't she a fucking prep chef? What the fuck? Her biggest weakness in the kitchen is her utter selfishness. She's too good to do prep? All of this is going to hurt her in the future. I'm not surprised they put her up for elimination again--yes, she wasn't in the kitchen, but you're not ingratiating yourself to your teammates and proving yourself invaluable when you're flitting off to do your make-up when everyone else is busting their ass to prep the kitchen. And, of course, she just trashes her teammates when Gordon asks why she should stay. There's always the one person who's too full of shit to learn and convinced of their own mastery and is a nightmare who stay way too long. Last time it was Ben, now it's Sabrina.

I think the Red Team is going to be a lot stronger once they finally get rid of her (or Emily, or Gail--her lack of attention to the steak was vapidly insane, and Gordon's reaction was pretty classic.) I'm pretty sure I don't like Jillian, either. I don't know what she's getting out of being Sabrina's slightly-less-bitchy lieutenant, but her reassurance that her team's "fat, ugly bitches" hated she and Sabrina because the were fat, ugly bitches just made me hate her. Though it does amuse me, in a cosmic fashion, considering this is a whole pot/kettle situation.

On the Blue Team, Raj was the one flitting off, and thankfully he flitted right off the show. I couldn't stand this idiot for a second longer. Gordon saw right away that the kitchen functioned much more smoothly without Raj pulling everyone down like a millstone. Good call.

I have to say, I felt the Red Team won that dinner service. It didn't seem quite fair to call it a loss, but the customer consensus is life or death for a restaurant. I think Gordon may have felt that way and put them through the pressure just to stir the anthill, as it were, and already knew what decision he was going to make.

:: Second episode, it becomes clear that Sabrina is dead weight and Trev is a whiny little bitch. (And also that I was wrong last week when I called Louis the guy who seemed to have the most potential; to my surprise, Vinny is kicking ass in the kitchen. Just because he was a weasel as a waiter doesn't mean he can't cook.) Sabrina was too good to milk a cow and admitted to trying to game things behind the scenes, which says to me that she knows her cooking can't compete for her. Also, she's a prep chef who needs that much help--help she won't listen to, even though she asks for it--in prep? Dead. Weight.

And when she's put up for elimination--again--she trashes her teammates--again. Lovely girl.

Speaking sarcastically of lovely, how about Trev? What a prick this guy is. Seriously, just a whiny loser. He had a chance where it seemed like he knew what he was doing and was going to be a real asset, then he had that infantile blow-up with Raj and became a whiny bitch in the second episode. Seriously, your team is finally bonding with Raj gone and a mark in the win column, and you pick that moment to ruin everything and get seriously overdramatic about how no one tasted your ravioli? Dude, they know they were wrong, you sucked up to Gordon, now move the fuck on. Instead, he painted a target on his back and all the other guys want to stick the knife in.

So, as always, we don't have teams, we have a bunch of people who don't get it. The Red Team is going to keep fighting as long as Sabrina wants to make everything a ghetto brawl, and the Blue Team now has Trev holding them back because he wants to be precious about his hurt feelings.

Louis was a good choice to let go, but Sabrina and Trev really need to get out pretty fast.

Also... having ravioli for dinner tonight.

Tony Curtis 1925-2010

"Service to others is the rent we pay for life on this planet."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Film Week

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

The most bizarre paint commercial ever. This 12-minute informational film was produced by the Federal Civil Defense Administration and something called the National Clean Up-Paint Up-Fix Up Bureau (actually the National Paint, Varnish and Lacquer Association). It attempts to show you how a clean, well-painted house is more likely to survive a nuclear blast than a poorly-maintained house. Yes, these people are here to convince you that keeping your house freshly painted and your neighborhood clean will make you less likely to die in the event of a nuclear war. Actually, no... they want to convince you that your house will survive, not necessarily you, since the film mentions nothing about what would happen to the inhabitants of the nice house during the intense heat and destructive blast. It's pretty bizarre. It reminded me a lot of Duck and Cover, which tries to convince you that hiding under a wooden desk will protect you from the catastrophic heat of a hydrogen bomb. No worries, kids! **1/2 stars.

Meh. British Rosemary's Baby rip-off with a creepy midget. At least Joan Collins looks sexy. And Caroline Munro turns up here and there. * star.

Meh. The twist is obvious in the first 8 minutes. And it's boring. * star. This season of mine and Becca's creepy movie-watching is not off to a great start.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

STFU, Joe Biden

Shut the fuck up everyone in the Democratic Party telling me "Get in gear" or "Stop whining" or "Get over it" or "Buck up."

This is really the message the Democrats want to go into a midterm election with? "Stop whining"? This is really how you're going to energize the base? "The Republicans will be worse"?

I'm starting to wonder how life under the Republicans will be that much different. All President Obama has done the last two years is prove that he's just as good at acting like a corporate-owned tool as the Republicans.

Let me put it this way, assholes: if you're not interested in making advances on the things I voted you into office to do, I'm not interested in voting for you anymore.

You have been disappointments, and you want to get mad at people like me because we're disappointed? You people have no principles, you have turned your back on what used to be major Democratic values, and your only message now is "The Republicans will be worse" ... and you want me to stop whining?

Wow... just... wow. Fuck you for that. Fuck you for all of it.

Did you investigate and prosecute war crimes like torture? No.

Did you remove "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? No. You even asked the courts not to impose an injunction on DADT, which says to me that you obviously have no intentions of repealing it. This is just a sneaky way of trying to keep it while paying lip service to the base that wants it gone.

Did you allow privacy lawsuits against corporations, even with evidence of illegal surveillance by the Bush Administration? No. You actively blocked these lawsuits.

Did you allow torture victims to seek redress in court? No. You blocked that, too.

Did you vote to eliminate the Bush tax cuts on people making over $250,000 a year? No. The Senate decided to hold the vote until after the elections, which says to me that they're not going to vote for it at all. God forbid any money should flow into the economy when it can be removed from the economy wholesale and invested elsewhere.

Jesus, you guys can't even get on message as to how devastating the Bush tax cuts really were to the US. Here's some actual numbers to get you started.

Have you figured out how this jobs bill is going to occur? No. Because you clearly don't want to alienate the rich voters who probably didn't vote for you and still won't by taking away their tax cuts. According to the National Academy of Sciences, there may be 51 million people living in poverty in what is supposedly the greatest country in the world. What are you doing about that? So far, nothing.

Did you put a block on offshore drilling? No. Even after the nightmare in the Gulf, you're pushing for more drilling. This says to me that you have no intention of opening up the playing field for research into alternative technologies.

Have you legalized marijuana? No. You laughed at our concerns while federal raids/murders continued, simply throwing more money and gas on the fire that is this nation's laughable drug war failure.

Have you allocated more money and resources for education? No. You think they should reform first, as if one doesn't go hand in hand with the other.

Did you reduce the unconstitutional spending on faith-based programs? No. You expanded it.

Did you fight for the public option? No. Even as you claimed you were defending it, you were making backroom deals to kill it.

Oh, which reminds me: transparency? Don't make me laugh.

Did you pull the troops out of Iraq? No. There are still 50,000 soldiers there, no matter what kind of positive, promise-keeping spin you put on it.

Have you started raiding the homes of private citizens just because they oppose the war? YES, YOU HAVE.

State secrets, warrantless wiretapping, illegal imprisonment, civil liberties, unemployment, home foreclosures, health care-related bankruptcies, debt, renditions, suppression of torture photos, same-gender marriage... all disappointing decisions and/or silence.

You have continued and expanded every Bush policy we elected you to remove and been silent about the fallout.

And you want us to stop whining just because you're supposedly more altruistic than the Republicans? Please explain to me how that's so.

You have turned on the people who voted for you, both by kicking our concerns aside and by telling us that we're whiners for not doing everything we can to keep you in power.

Are you seriously shocked that we don't want you here anymore? That we have no interest in helping you keep the power to kick us in the teeth?

The worst part of this is that President Obama has decided, like his two predecessors, that he doesn't need to be accountable for his continuing failures. Clinton and Bush Jr. didn't believe in accountability, either. God knows I didn't like Bush Sr, but I doubt he would've degraded himself with this pitiful display. I think he was very aware of why he lost the 1992 election.

But Obama won't acknowledge any of our disappointments as areas where he's failed or something that the Democrats will try to fix. Instead, Obama and Biden are telling us that if we don't like the job they're doing, it's because we're naive, crazy, or some kind of fringe lunatics. I'm amazed they haven't come right out and accused us of being communists yet. Hell, these guys don't even acknowledge poll after poll that says they're losing support among the voters. Less and less of us have faith that Obama can pull anything off.

It's disappointing, and it's blindingly stupid, that all Obama and Biden can offer us in a midterm is "Stop whining and stump for us, because the other guys will be worse." They can't (or won't) even articulate how Republicans would be worse. And it's shameful for them to offer us a vague "There are important things at stake!" when all I can see that's at stake is the Democrats holding on to their power. But if this is all they're going to do with it, why bother?

Don't talk to us like we owe you fealty, and if we don't, then we're just taking our ball and going home because we're upset we didn't get our way. Maybe we've just had our eyes opened and can see you for what you aren't. You're not the progressive candidate you pretended to be. You're not the guy for the job. It's not that we don't want to play anymore; it's that we don't want you on our team.

I, for one, am sick of the "someone else will do it later" approach to governance. I'm tired of spending trillions on defense instead of our infrastructure. I'm tired of being made love to so you can get my vote and my mandate and then just do whatever the fuck you want. And to be insulting about it and so openly disdainful of the very voters you need to vote for you is just the final straw.

I suggest a new slogan for your party: "At least we'll kiss you first."

Sally Menke 1953-2010

Sally Menke, the editor of all of Quentin Tarantino's films and an amazing talent, was found dead yesterday. This is a sad day not only for her family and friends, but for film lovers.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Kristen Bell Mondays

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Song of the Week: "I Love Rock 'n' Roll"

I love Joan Jett. Her birthday was a few days ago, and Jay at The Sexy Armpit posted a couple of fantastic live videos, so I'm stealing one for this week's Song of the Week.

Joan was a big deal for me as a kid; this song in particular was a suburban anthem for a little while where I lived, and if you were cool, you let the girls have Madonna, but you knew Joanie was the real deal. The tuff rock chick with her growl and her leather jacket, her boots and tight jeans... when I was a little kid, I was in love with the high school girls who dressed like that and acted like they were ready for a fight. It was awesome.

Here's Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, live in New Jersey in 1983.

Halloween Is Coming Soon...

I'm already over-excited.