Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Bible Summarized by a Smartass, Part Thirty-Two: Pauline Epistles

Here's the thing about the next eleven books of the Bible: they're really repetitive and boring. Seriously, it's all Paul writing letters, talking about God and how women and Jews are bad. I got the message, thanks, and I'll get to it when I have the time to care. Here they are boiled down.

2 Corinthians
Dear Corinth,
Peace and all that.
Someone is challenging my authority. I’ve suffered for my love of Christ, and he himself appointed me to lead the Church, so let’s not challenge me on this. Anyone who harms me is harming you, because without me you can’t know Jesus in the right way. The soothing of your earthly suffering kinda sorta depends on me. You know how damned good I am at this “job,” right? And I’m not hiding Christ the way those selfish Jews hid God, right? And when you hurt me, you don’t make me afraid. I don’t fear death in the least, because I’ll just go to Heaven, so go ahead, do me a favor. Punishing me only makes me more secure in my smug belief of total rightness, so be my guest. Corinth, I really want you to get this whole salvation thing. Do it for me. I’m your buddy, Paul. Sure, I brag too much about my close, personal friendship with Jesus, a man I never once met in life, but what am I supposed to do? Not mention at every opportunity that I’m the greatest man on Earth because Jesus made me his ambassador out of every possible human being? That’s crazy. And if you don’t believe me, you don’t believe Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. God and I talk about you, we talk all the time, because we’re friends and he likes me. Just prove I don’t!
Jesus rocks!

Dear Galatia,
Are you really sure you want to abandon your allegiance to specious, unhistorical, unverifiable, secondhand, badly-written fables for so petty a reason as survival? Turning to another gospel, how could you, Galatia? Sure, there are dozens and dozens and dozens of gospels floating around out there, but only I and my Church follow the right ones. Why, God hisself could float down from the sky and tell you something different right now, but he’d be wrong. I used to be a zealot and a Jew, but now I’m reformed and a better man. I took Peter’s place, and even John and James said it was cool! So don’t bother with Jewish laws or circumcision, because that’ll just piss of Jesus. Seriously, he hates you now. Just do what I say. And don’t forget the freakin’ kickbacks, it’s the least you can do.
Ever watchful,

Dear Ephesus,
God. Is. AWESOME!! He frickin’ LOVES YOU! And he doesn’t want you to be Jewish anymore. For your soul, you know? Here’s the new rules: expose darkness, don’t be an ass, don’t get drunk, and thank God for everything. Women, your husbands own you, so be submissive. Men, be nice to your wifebots. Children, be obedient. Slaves, obey your masters, and masters, be nice. Be strong in the Lord. Rhetoric and all that.

Dear Philippi,
I just love you so much better than anyone else. You’re the first church I founded, and you love me. You do what I say. You’re just awesome. Just thought I’d say hi and then stick it in the Bible so that people will know. No reason. Love you.

Dear Colossae,
I’m still praying for your worthless asses. You haven’t hipped to the divinity of Christ and you’re still practicing circumcision. Do you honestly think Jesus is just a prophet? Morons. But I know you’ll come through okay. I mean, you don’t want to be damned for worshiping my God in a slightly different way, do you? Because that would just piss him off. Read my letter to the Ephesians; I repeat most of it verbatim here.
Best wishes!

1 and 2 Thessalonians
Dear Thessalonica,
Timothy tells me you guys are doing super! Real believers, the lot of you. Loving it, just loving it. But…well, many of you have expressed concerns about the Day of Judgment and the Second Coming. Christ is going to return in our lifetime, yes, but if Christians have died while waiting, don’t worry too badly. They’ll be the first ones to enter Heaven, because he’s going to judge the dead first. A lot of you have quit your jobs and are just idly waiting for Jesus to come back. But no man knows when it’s going to happen, so the best we can do is just always be prepared. Do everything we say and it will all work out. Get jobs and give, give, give!
Be good!

1 Timothy
Dear Tim,
Some notes for the Church: supplicate, pray, intercede, and give thanks for all. Men need to pray; women need to do whatever we tell them, because they’re not allowed any power or authority among men. Their job is to have kids and be modest. Bishops have to be above reproach; deacons may only marry once. Honor the widows, but only after they’ve suffered the probing indignity of having their widowhood verified. Stay pure, be impartial, and you can drink wine as long as you don’t get drunk. Do good works!
Okay, love you, buh-bye,

2 Timothy
Timmy Tim Tim Tim Timmy Tim Tim,
Shabadoo! Miss you, buddy. How’s your mom? We’re really losing ground in Asia, I need you to work on that. I know you want to be a good minister, and that starts with doing good works and not worrying about stress. Hey, these are the end times, they’re bound to be a little sucky. I’m on my deathbed, but I know I’ll be rewarded for my life’s work. You can be, too. Keep the faith, kid.

Dear Titey Whitey,
Damn, you’re a good kid. I left you in Crete to pick their elders for their church. Shouldn’t be too hard to find, right? Just a bunch of old Cretans who have only been married once, have faithful children, are utterly perfect, and have never been accused of shit. Well done. Now I need you to shut up the Jews and the circumcised Christians who speak against us, the one true Church. They worship God a teeny bit differently, which means they are damned with all the forces of Hell. Who but Satan would tell mankind that circumcision is important, or to use differently-colored candles in church? Next thing you know, they’ll be saying that women have minds and should be listened to! Tell the women in Crete to be good and teach their daughters to be submissive and have babies and manage the household like they’re s’poseta. Preach it, baby.
Grace ‘n’ stuff,

Dear Philly,
Dude, don’t kill your slave, he’s been a big help and I can vouch for him. This is an important part of the Bible. No, really, it is, cause…

Wow, I'm really starting to see why so many people consider this a rilly, like, RILLY important book. Next week: an anonymous letter sent to the Hebrews as we start barreling our way towards the end of the damn thing!

You Mean They Haven't Shut Mitt Romney Up Yet?

At a recent event called "Ask Mitt Anything," an audience member raised the concern that the government, by tolerating homosexuality, could prevent pastors from preaching that homosexuality is a sin (the implication being that it is, it just is). Romney said that the government shouldn't tell pastors what they can say. I wonder how he'd feel about that if pastors started saying what the Vatican used to say: that secular governments are powerless over the Church, and that the Church is the real authority in everyday life.

Romney also, like the coward he is, refused to say whether he thought homosexuality was immoral, saying: "I don't think that a person who's running for a secular position as I am should talk about or engage in discussions of what they in their personal faith or their personal beliefs is immoral or not immoral." The problem is, if he were actually going to be President (and can you really imagine a world where he is, really?), he would have to end up deciding whether homosexuals, immoral or no, can get married. And he's going to fall back on his beliefs as he, inevitably, makes it a moral issue.

Romney's record on gay rights is...questionable. In 1994, when he was running against Ted Kennedy, Romney was quick to suck up to the gay vote, claiming that he would champion for gay rights better than Kennedy would. But in 2003, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rules that gay marriage was legal in the state, Governor Romney began pushing for a constitutional amendment to "protect the sanctity of marriage."

But that doesn't mean he's intolerant.

"What you look for in a leader is someone who will welcome and treat with respect people who made different choices and have different beliefs in their lives," he said. "I have nothing but respect and feelings of tolerance for people with differences from myself and feel that way with regards to those who are gay."

Uh-huh. You just don't think they should be allowed to marry. You don't believe they should be afforded equal rights under the law as heterosexual people. You agree that they're people who don't share your, what, you want to punish them but not allowing them the legal protection a marriage can bring? Explain to me how this works, please, I really want to hear this. You have no problem with gay people, but you think there should be a constitutional amendment barring them from sharing in the same marriage rights everyone else has? You don't, don't see the total hypocrisy there?

Romney went on to point to one of his cabinet members, a gay man, and his record of having appointed gays to positions in his administration.

Uh-huh. Where have I heard this before? Oh, yeah, from bigots. I have no problem with gays. Hell, some of my best friends are gay. Yeah, we just never see you hang out with them.

Here, it gets better: "I oppose discrimination against gay people. I am not anti-gay. I know there are some Republicans, or some people in the country who are looking for someone who is anti-gay and that's not me."

And...wait for it...creating a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay people from marrying one another--an amendment you support the creation of--is not discrimination? How? How, exactly, is this not discriminating against gay people? You're saying that, because of one single difference between heterosexuals and homosexuals, homosexuals don't deserve equal rights. But you're not discriminating against them. Is anyone else buying this line of garbage?

Romney's big opposition to gay marriage is that it's not in the best interest of children. He doesn't say how, he just knows it's bad for kids to be brought up by two gay parents. Because, like many politicians and others in positions of authority, he thinks he's a social scientist and knows what's good and bad for children.

It's just all funny to me because, let's face it, you could look at Romney's record and the things he says and his personal life and come to the conclusion that he's so far in the closet that there are mothballs in his pockets.

But hey, at least he's not intolerant. He's just really judgmental.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Star Wars Ruminations: From Father to Son, Etc.

This is my contribution to the Star Wars Blog-a-thon going on today at Edward Copeland on Film in honor of today being the 30th anniversary of the original release of Star Wars. This, finally, puts at me at peace with a series I've long had a love/hate with.

I get it. I finally get it. Chancellor Palpatine is Anakin’s father. I’m glad I figured that out.

Let me explain.

Recently I sat down with the entire prequel trilogy to reassess the whole thing. See if it made sense when taken all at once. And to my surprise, it did. I got it. The Phantom Menace is to the Star Wars saga what The Hobbit is to The Lord of the Rings; it tells its own story that stands alone, but it also sets up the universe and introduces us to the rules and to the major forces at play. Qui-Gon Jinn isn’t the main character; Anakin Skywalker is. All six movies are his story, he’s just static in Episodes IV and V because he’s trapped inside this great hulking shell called Darth Vader. I get it now, I really do.

In Episode I, we see Anakin as a boy and discover that he is a, for lack of a better term, virgin birth. He has no father, and Qui-Gon even goes so far as to posit that the midichlorians, that which allows a Jedi to commune with the Force, have simply bonded together and willed themselves into a human being. The most powerful Jedi in history. We don’t get a full explanation in Episode I, but we do get the little moment with Chancellor Palpatine patting Anakin on the shoulder and saying “We shall watch your career with great interest.”

Why? Because Palpatine actually created Anakin.

Moving along.

Episode II. Anakin is older, still a student of an increasingly impatient Obi-Wan. The Jedi Council seems to distrust the boy entirely, and it’s rankling him. He’s found no love in Coruscant or anywhere else, only cold technology and politics. Even Yoda’s a hardass, and Mace Windu just seems to not like him at all. When he sees Padme Amidala again, it’s the first friendly face he’s encountered for years, and immediately reminds him of being a boy. He wants his mommy. He’s having nightmares about her. He goes home, something Obi-Wan would never let him do, only to discover that she’s been taken away by Tusken Raiders and when he finds her she dies in his arms. He gives in to anger and vengefully slaughters everyone in the tribe—men, women, children. The only person he has to hold onto is an overwhelmed Padme. And he loses an arm and gains a mechanical one. Another piece of him—this time literal—lost to the world of the Jedi.

Episode III, and Chancellor Palpatine is ready to make his move and wipe out everyone who stands in his way, even his own allies (the Trade Federation, Count Dooku, etc.). General Grievous is not a coughing robot, he’s a cyborg; he has a human heart. He is Palpatine’s middle ground between Darth Maul (a Jedi) and Darth Vader (a cyborg). Grievous is trained to use lightsabers. Palpatine has been friendly to Anakin, praising his abilities, always making sure that Anakin knows he’s better than the Council give him credit for. Then, when he discovers the truth about Anakin and Padme and Anakin’s nightmares, he does everything he can to get Anakin to turn to the Dark Side. He does what men in power always do to the uncertain to get them to do bad things: he perverts Anakin’s political loyalties, convinces him what he’s doing is to protect others, and then makes sure he knows the person he loves is in danger.

But the most important scene in the movie is the quietest. It is the scene at the opera house, when Palpatine tells Anakin about a Sith Lord, Darth Plagueis. Plagueis, he tells the boy, became so powerful that he could manipulate the midichlorians to create life and cheat death. The straight text here is that Anakin is being tempted to the Dark Side, intimating that there could be a way to keep Padme from dying, as Anakin has had prophetic nightmares detailing. But there’s a deeper subtext. Palpatine doesn’t just mention cheating death. He also mentions creating life. Out of nothing. Out of midichlorians.

Anakin is that life. Anakin was created, either by Darth Plagueis or Palpatine himself (also Darth Sidious and, most likely, Plagueis’s apprentice—the one Palpatine mentions as murdering him) in order to bring, as the prophecy says, balance to the Force. And he does. At the end of the day, there are only four trained Jedi left alive—Palpatine, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda. No other Jedi live at the end of Episode III.

So now I get it. Palpatine is, basically, Anakin’s father. And Anakin, searching for some kind of father figure which he nearly had in Qui-Gon, and which he never had in the rather petulant Obi-Wan. He finds it in Palpatine, the man who praises him, comforts him, pretends to care about him, and then makes him his most powerful weapon. When Palpatine turns him into the cyborg, “more machine now than man” Darth Vader, the first thing he does is inform Vader that Padme died, blaming her death on Anakin himself. And Vader screams a tortured cry. And the last bit of humanity inside him dies.

No wonder they could hide Luke on Vader’s home planet of Tattooine; Anakin would never want to go back there to be reminded of his mother or of Padme.

In Episode IV he’s pure evil. He gets to kill Obi-Wan and have his vengeance.

In Episode V, he tries to take back the son he didn’t know he had. In light of the prequels, I think his claim of wanting to “rule the galaxy as father and son” must have been genuine. We know from Episode II that he believes a dictator can affect change more readily than a democracy; why not finally kill the Emperor (who lied about Anakin’s children being born) and rule the Empire himself with his own right-hand Sith Lord? And better yet, his own son?

And finally, Episode Six. Vader changes out of love. His love for his son causes him to realize that Palpatine had lied to him, perverted him, twisted him into something evil. Caused him to kill the woman he loved. And to save his son, the one piece of Padme he knows can still live, the one piece of himself that still has a chance to be human, Vader puts himself in harm’s way to kill the Emperor. He kills himself in order to save himself.

I get it now. I get the story of Anakin Skywalker and where he came from. It all actually makes sense.

More of my troubled history with Star Wars here (some with blunt, adult language):
Star Wars Ruminations: Advertising
Star Wars Ruminations: Genre
Star Wars Ruminations: Religion & Morals
Star Wars Ruminations: Episode I
Star Wars Ruminations: Please Be Over

When the Hell Is "Life Day"?
Questions to Amuse/Piss Off Star Wars Fans
Looks Like We Sort of Won This One
The Tears of Star Wars Fans Taste the Sweetest

Me Arsin' Around:
Ewoks: A Hunter's Guide

Plus: Empire Magazine has released their most recent issue with 30 separate Star Wars covers to celebrate the anniversary. You can see all 30 of them here.

Throwdown 5/25

15 random thoughts, questions, and observations for the week.

1. My grandmother finds Dick Cheney sexy. That’s all I have to say, I’m just having a lot of trouble dealing with that.

2. Okay, I am a comic book geek but I don’t watch Smallville. This picture has excited me in a very geeky way. Am I missing something, or is it crappy?

3. It’s nice, I guess, that David Hasselhoff got the rights to see his kids again. But all I see are two heartbroken girls. Two sexy heartbroken girls that are just waiting for a father figure to come into their lives…

4. Anyone who’s been subject to one of my rants about the creative bankruptcy of DreamWorks Animation and how they think endless pop culture references are a story…well, they’ll understand just how much I love this news item. Recently, while being interviewed on 99.9 MIX FM in Toronto, Eric Idle basically came out and accused Shrek the Third of stealing bits from Monty Python—all the more bankrupt since Idle and John Cleese are both in the film! Idle blessedly scoffed at the idea of DreamWorks “paying homage” by asking the host “Do you think if I stole your wallet that’d be homage to your money?” I’m so glad someone finally called them on this; as I’ve said before, nine times out of ten an homage is really just a theft so obvious that you can’t hide it, so you wink and pretend it’s intended as a tribute. Says Idle, “I think that’s theft.” Amen, brother.

5. Kelly Clarkson’s upcoming album, My December, has supposedly been hated by her label manager, Clive Davis, and rumors are out that the album won’t be released. Kelly says that’s been blown up by the media, but she does admit that “people have not liked” her other two albums, and that she was urged to cover a Lindsay Lohan track and “hand-me-downs” from other singers. Thank you, Kelly, for not compromising yourself for marketability. That’s the reason you’re the only American Idol winner with a career. Well, you and Carrie Underwood, but it’s not like country music fans demand any sort of quality, is it?

6. NBC finally hipped to the fact that no one in America wants to watch Posh Spice, so Victoria Beckham’s reality show has been unceremoniously shipped to Bravo. Nice move. I hope Katie Price is laughing her ass off.

7. Look at Alicia Silverstone totally snub Elisabeth Hasselback. Hilarious! Fuck you, Hasselback!

8. Since it’s the law in Illinois to have car insurance, there are a ton of local insurance companies preying on that by airing shitty commercials telling you what an asshole you are if you don’t have the requisite insurance. 1-800-Safe-Auto tells you, in a supremely condescending voice, that if you’re pulled over you have to show “proof of financial responsibility.” Can’t you just prove that with a utilities bill, or something? Illinois likes to legislate what should be common sense. The state actually runs commercials telling you to “Click It or Ticket” (which is a clumsy rhyme—click it or tick what?) that mostly revolve around black people getting pulled over for not wearing their seatbelts.

9. Poor Jenna Fischer broke her back falling down a marble staircase. I hope she recovers okay and gets some rest. Fractured four bones, damn, that must fucking hurt. Poor girl.

10. Donna Hogan, the half-sister Anna Nicole Smith never met, decided to do the classy thing by writing Train Wreck, a tell-all (or, heard-all) biography. She’s also going to “treat” herself to new breasts and wants to appear in Playboy. Hey, do you ever wonder why Anna Nicole tried to get away from her family so bad?

11. So, those rumors of Jessica Simpson being pregnant with Mayer-spawn are just rumors, right? She doesn’t look at all pregnant, right? Right?

12. Oh, come off it, Parasite! Do you really think carrying the Bible around and shopping at Buddhist stores is going to keep you out of jail. Would you just suck it up and accept it, already? Gee, idiot, sorry you can’t walk around breaking the law and then flouting it constantly, but guess what? You’re not a princess, this is not your enchanted kingdom, and you have to obey the same rules as everyone else. If your screechy, trampy mother really cared about you, she’d have explained that to you a long time ago. Grow the fuck up, acting like a six year-old is not cute when you’re an adult.

13. Ironic. A stylist who worked behind the scenes at Oprah’s awful The Color Purple musical claims she was fired for daring to suggest that it was too white. Apparently, she was one of only three black people working among the crew. Love that Oprah!

14. Meme Roth of National Action Against Obesity said that Jordin Sparks is too fat to win American Idol and that she sends a bad message to society: “When I look at Jordin, what I see is heart disease, I see diabetes, I see high cholesterol.” When I see Meme Roth, I see someone who needs to shut the fuck up, stop believing the healthcare industry’s bullshit rhetoric about an obesity “epidemic,” and get a real life that doesn’t revolve around making fun of overweight teenagers under the guise of helping them. Jordin, congratulations, we love you and you’re beautiful.

15. A bird shit on President Duh during a press conference this week. True story. Sometimes the animals just know. Dana Perino, probably flopping sweat, said: “Everyone knows that’s a sign of good luck.” If that’s the case, I’d like Bush to keep in mind that getting bitten by a viper means wealth and prosperity, getting kicked in the head by a horse is a sign of fertility, getting trampled by elephants makes someone popular despite their faults, and getting ripped to shreds by gorillas means a 100% approval rating.

TV Report: As If Anyone Watches the CW

The final day of upfront posts.

With Gilmore Girls and Seventh Heaven cancelled, the "network" is pretty much surviving on the few fans still watching Smallville and constant airings of America's Next Top Model, the show whose ratings prove that poor people don't need to buy porn to have something to masturbate to. This is the "network" that has to go as far as to call Supernatural a hit show (and a potential flagship) just because some dorms check it out, and yet cancels Veronica Mars for having similarly low ratings. I've never seen Mars, but I know a number of people who love it and I'm sorry they're losing a favorite. CW has also cancelled All of Us (whatever that is) and, long after they've stopped airing them, Reba and Runaway.

Here's the details:

8pm: Everybody Hates Chris. I fell out of love with this after the first three episodes. It's Malcolm in the Middle, but black. High concept!
8:30pm: Aliens in America. This is a sitcom about a white family who hosts a Pakistani Muslim exchange student. Will it be culturally sensitive, or actually funny? I'm almost tempted to tune in and find out.
9pm: Girlfriends. I am definitely not the audience for this show, which I tend to find incredibly irritating. Just the commercials alone, man.
9:30pm: The Game. I've seen it a couple of times because I'm so hot for Brittany Daniel that it should be criminal. Pretty forgettable show.

8pm: Beauty and the Geek. Sure, I roll my eyes now, but I know I'll end up watching it. Again.
9pm: Reaper. A 21 year-old slacker discovers that his parents have sold his soul to Satan; now the kid has to be Satan's bounty hunter. Even Marvel Comics wouldn't buy this shit. Well... okay, that's a bad example.

8pm: America's Next Top Model. Tyra Banks judges other women by the standards the American media held her up to recently, which she cried over and said was unfair. IRONIC!
9pm: Gossip Girl. I remember when this was going to be a movie with Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton; now this popular (I guess) series of adolescent novels is a TV show instead, with Blake Lively (cute) and a bunch of people I've never heard of, plus Kelly Rutherford. From the creator of The OC, if that tells you anything.

8pm: Smallville. I've never watched this. Missing out?
9pm: Supernatural. I've never seen this and I don't really care.

8pm: WWE Friday Night Smackdown. Wow, this and Top Model? Classy "network."

7pm: Online Nation. Whatever that is.
7pm: CW Now. Whatever that is.
8pm: Life is Wild. I was going to describe this, but it's overly complicated. Something about white people living in South Africa, with a too-big cast.

CW is also taking a page out of FOX's classy book, and airing Crowned: The Mother of All Pageants, a reality show about a mother-daughter beauty pageant, and Farmer Wants a Wife, which is basically Joe Government Subsidy-aire or The Bachelor: Floors Made of Dirt.

Wow, there are so many reasons to watch the CW: you hate yourself, you hate your family and want to torture them, you really think that Pepper Dennis was a misunderstood show, you're a 'tard. Many, many reasons.

Banana Links

After some time away, Tom the Dog is back and blogging like a madman about TV. He's taken on the new fall schedules (NBC, ABC, CBS, CW), as well as a complete list of the cancelled network shows and made some interesting observations about the Heroes finale. Go to!

My mistress Cap'n Dyke links to the best thing Joss Whedon ever had to say and some speculations about Hollywood lesbians that are unsurprising, but I hope they're all true. Did you know that being a lesbian automatically makes a girl 35% more interesting? It's true, look it up.

* Michael Shermer brilliantly deconstructs the Secret at Scientific American.
* The retroCRUSH review of Shrek the Third is probably funnier than the actual movie.
* The Film Experience has a hilarious interview with Seth from Defamer.
* No Smoking in the Skull Cave has a beautiful appreciation of Forbidden Zone and beautiful self-portraits of Sophie Howard.
* The Absorbascon posits some more things for 52 to fix in the DC Universe.
* Ack Attack has an excellent and pants-shittingly funny recap of this season's Lost.
* Splotchy has some choice Lost fourth season spoilers here and here.
* Nik at Nite has a close-up of that damn obituary.

Miss Universe is on Monday, and if Miss Mexico Rosa Maria Ojeda doesn't win, I'm going to be pissed. Marius has his own thoughts on this year's contestants here, here, here and here.

* The Last Visible Blog has an excellent beginner's guide to Doctor Who, while The Wastebasket has a speculative guide to the history of Gallifrey.
* Johnny Yen couples an unfortunate L. Frank Baum link with a memory of MGM's The Wizard of Oz.
* Byzantium's Shores looks at some people being dumb.
* HI-WATT-cha Doing? has the best PDF possible tracing the history of rock and roll.
* Andertoons chimes in on that Heroes finale.
* Living Between Wednesdays rates super hunk number 7 and has J. Bone's definitive answer to the Mary Jane statue. 'Nuff said.

Slashfilm has the trailer for Disney's Enchanted. Go to Yahoo! Movies to see those nine minutes from Ratatouille, as well as the stunning trailer for The Golden Compass. And MC links the trailer for Simon Pegg's next movie: Run Fatboy Run.

* You want trailers?Fjetsam is doing a whole series of grindhouse trailers that is pure, undiluted awesome.
* Daily Cognition has 30 notable movie mistakes.
* 5 Completely Unnecessary Direct-to-DVD Sequels (at Cracked, written by Peter Lynn)
* The Onion AV Club interviews Werner Hezog and Louis CK.
* The Velveteen Cockroach by Splotchy.
* For the last time, ModFab has American Idolatry and thoughts on the winner.

The Schrute Buck. You know you want one.

* Culture Kills has one of the best paintings I've ever seen.
* Popped Culture has many, many great images of the Last Supper.
* We all know it's true: Family Guy steals jokes from The Simpsons. Fjetsam has proof.
* And one of the funniest videos I've ever seen is at Layercake. Bon, pay attention to this one.
* 5 Ways Science Wants to Kill You (at Cracked)

Holy crap! After 20 years of intense speculation about her fate, Bambi Woods has come out of hiding an given an interview to YesButNoButYes! Read some background and the prelude, then the interview itself: Part One and Part Two, as well as Bambi's special offer for charity.

* Ariana Huffington wants to know what you want to ask Al Gore.
* Dr. Monkey has an insightful interview with Tom Tancredo, some thoughts on Bushspeak, and some more thoughts on our idiot in chief.
* The Rude Pundit blames the recent Democratic loss on war spending firmly on Joe Lieberman.
* Dr. Zaius has a medication for America, as well as a gift for Armed Forces Day and a poll Bush is doing very well in.

And it's thanks to my favorite pongid professor that this song is stuck in my head! But I agree with him: music just isn't fun anymore. What is? Enjoy the video!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

TV Report: FOX Shit

Yet more on the upfronts.

FOX likes to act like they've got enough hits, but they don't exactly treat shows very well, do they? Moving them around whenever they want, wherever they want, except for their one or two stalwarts. I don't watch much on FOX, because they either cancel everything I like, or they run it into the ground. And all of their shows are declining--and the new shows from last season didn't make it in the ratings, probably because people finally figured out that everything was going to get moved whenever FOX felt like it, anyway. FOX also cancelled Drive (their serious take on Cannonball Run), Happy Hour, Justice, The Loop (wow, was that just this past season?), The O.C., The Rich List (whatever that is), Standoff, Vanished, The Wedding Bells, The War at Home, and The Winner.

FOX, as always, has two schedules. Here's their August to December:

8pm: Prison Break. I've never seen this, but I understand it's popular. In fact, I've never once even thought of watching it.
9pm: K-Ville. Yeah, this takes place in a post-Katrina New Orleans. And it stars Anthony Anderson. What? Seriously, what?

8pm: New Amsterdam. An immortal detective... you know what? I'm just going to stop there.
9pm: House. I've never seen this. Every time I flip past it, Hugh Laurie is just sitting there looking worried. Does anything happen on this show?

8pm: Back to You. Oh, good, Kelsey Grammer's coming back to television. It takes place in the nineties, and stars Grammer and that horrible shrewish harpy Patricia Heaton (God, I despise you), and they're newsanchors who...wait for it...secretly hate each other in real life! Wow, this'll be the hit of 1975!
8:30pm: 'Til Death. Really? I thought they cancelled this. Who are you morons that watch this?
9pm: Bones. Moved again. Is anyone watching this? I tried to for a bit, but it just got so lame.

8pm: Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader? Not if you watch this, you aren't.
9pm: Kitchen Nightmares. Gordon Ramsay is going to do this show in America now? Cool. I hope it's as good as the British version, but it won't be. They'll have to make it a big event, and what I like about the British version is that it's not overdramatic at all. Expect a lot of American whining, though.

8pm: The Search For The Next Great American Band. Oh, shit. That's going to suck. I can just go on MySpace if I want to hear shitty, unsigned bands.
9pm: Nashville. From the, um, "creators" of fake reality show Laguna Beach, and it's the same thing, only in the music industry. Or whatever you call the utter shit that comes out of Nashville.

8pm: Cops.
9pm: America's Most Wanted: America Strikes Back.

7pm: The OT. FOX doesn't have football anymore, but they'll keep jawing about it. At least they're not going to try and air shit in this hour anymore.
8pm: The Simpsons. Gravy train just won't stop spinning its wheels.
8:30pm: King of the Hill. Glad it's back, but, you know, who cares?
9pm: Family Guy. How can this show just keep getting unfunnier?
9:30pm: American Dad. Occasionally cute, but still shit.

And then, since American Idol will come back in January, here's their schedule from January to May:

8pm: K-Ville in January, then Prison Break in March. I was going to reiterate the point about FOX and it's cavalier disregard for viewer loyalty, but really I just think it's incredibly optimistic of FOX to think that they'll still be airing K-Ville by January.
9pm: 24. I've never actually seen this show. Am I really missing anything, or what?

8pm: American Idol. Because it's "an integral part of American pop culture." And if you buy that...
9pm: House.

8pm: Back to You. This will also be cancelled by the time January rolls around.
8:30pm: 'Til Death in January, then The Return of Jezebel James in March. This show stars Parker Posey and Lauren Ambrose as "estranged sisters, polar opposites" (aren't they all?) who are trying to get along. From the creator of Gilmore Girls. This show sounds like a fucking nightmare.
9pm: American Idol Results Show.

8pm: Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?
9pm: Canterbury's Law. Legal drama with Julianna Margulies. Snooze.

8pm: Bones. Ouch.
9pm: New Amsterdam. How fitting: the star of Angel, and then a ripoff of Angel.

8pm: Cops.
9pm: America's Most Wanted: America Strikes Back.

7pm: King of the Hill.
7:30pm: American Dad.
8pm: The Simpsons.
8:30pm: Family Guy.
9pm: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. It just seems waaaaay too late for a show based on The Terminator, but whatever. I can't say I'm interested in it or that I think it's going to be very good. Lena Heady plays Sarah, that's kind of neat, I like her. Who knows, maybe I'll catch it and love it, or maybe I'll hate it like 90% of the science fiction FOX airs.

For the mid-season, there's something called The Rules for Starting Over, which is about a group of newly single friends in there thirties, and... well, if you can't predict where this is going, why bother? I see Rashida Jones is on the show, so that answers any question about whether she'll be on The Office next season.

And that's FOX. Pretty much as awful as you'd expect.

Going Home in Style

I just had an awful idea.

So, let's imagine a future when Chicago realizes that giving someone an orgasm is not the worst crime known to mankind and decides to legalize prostitution. They regulate it, certify sexual professionals, include healthcare, and make it a city service position. They open places where people can go and get taken care of, putting pimps out of business, making the city safer for prostitutes, and even make it a city service position. One that pays well. And they tax it up the ass, leading to a huge influx of revenue for the city. There's a lot less tension in the air because people can go to an adult bar the way they can go to an oxygen bar and come out feeling lighter.

My thought is that Chicago should offer a train service that you have to pay extra for, where you get to enjoy the service of a sexual professional on the ride home. Because we all need a little tension relief after a stressful day at work. Then men don't come home and beat their kids because they're already on edge, and women don't scream at their kids because they had a tough day of making only 70% of what men make and doing more work. And they should call it the Bonerail. That's Boner-ail. Like monorail.

Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car Bonerail! What'd I say? BONERAIL!

I think it's a great idea. Not only because we need to start being honest and stop hiding things and making the world safer for criminals and violence, but because I thought the word "Bonerail" was really funny and wanted to use it in a post. But anything that, say, stops violence against women would be good, too.

All the Quiz Days of My Life

J.D. did some quizzes I hadn't done yet, so I'm a-doin' them here. Everyday is a good day for a quiz day.

You Are a Pundit Blogger!

Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few

You Are Midnight

You are more than a little eccentric, and you're apt to keep very unusual habits.
Whether you're a nightowl, living in a commune, or taking a vow of silence - you like to experiment with your lifestyle.
Expressing your individuality is important to you, and you often lie awake in bed thinking about the world and your place in it.
You enjoy staying home, but that doesn't mean you're a hermit. You also appreciate quality time with family and close friends.

You Are Not Scary

Everyone loves you. Isn't that sweet?

You Should Have Voted For Kerry

Though You'd Rather Vote for Michael Moore

You Are a Centaur

In general, you are a very cautious and reserved person.
However, you are also warm hearted, and you enjoy helping others in practical ways.
You are a great teacher, and you are really good at helping people get their lives in order.
You are very intuitive, and you go with your gut. You make good decisions easily.

Your Famous Movie Kiss is from The Empire Strikes Back

"Captain, being held by you isn't quite enough to get me excited."

You Are Somewhat Logical

Ok, so didn't get the majority of questions right
But you did answer some pretty tough questions correctly
Logic may not be your strong point, but you hold your own!

The Cure Shares Your Taste in Music

See their whole playlist here (iTunes required)

Slacker Kid

High school was a place you showed up occasionally, but you didn't really leave a mark.

You hated rules, authority, and structure. In fact, you still do.

You are Betty Grable

The ulitmate girl next door

You're the perfect girl for most guys

Pretty yet approachable. Beautiful yet real.

Aaron Robert Davis's Aliases

Your movie star name: French Fries Shorty

Your fashion designer name is Aaron Heidelburg

Your socialite name is Boogs Chicago

Your fly girl / guy name is A Dav

Your detective name is Elephant Downers South

Your barfly name is Apple Rum And Coke

Your soap opera name is Robert Wintergreen

Your rock star name is Watchamacallit Time

Your Star Wars name is Aarthu Davrif

Your punk rock band name is The Hungry Butt Paste

You Are "Dizzy and Giddy"

Your Celebrity Baby Name Is...

Science Brooklyn

You Are a Smart American

You know a lot about US history, and you're opinions are probably well informed.
Congratulations on bucking stereotypes. Now go show some foreigners how smart Americans can be.

Your Hair Should Be White

Classy, stylish, and eloquent.
You've got a way about you that floors everyone you meet.

Your Penis Name Is...

Shag Stick

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

TV Report: Upcoming CBS I Won't See

More upfront madness.

CBS says that rating for Survivor are "slightly down." Interesting spin. Most people were surprised to discover that it was even on anymore. CBS had very few new shows this year, but Shark was the only hit, but I stopped watching it mid-season when it finally got too stupid for words. And putting Katie Couric on the news? Wow, way to get rid of any respect anyone had for CBS News.

ABC cancelled, The Class, Close to Home, Jericho, The King of Queens, Smith, Three Lbs., Waterfront. I only saw three of those; I hated The Class, thought Smith was just unfortunate, and The King of anyone really going to miss it? Keep in mind that this question is coming from a man who watches reruns most weeknights on a local station.

CBS's schedule for the fall:

8pm: How I Met Your Mother. I never really enjoy this show when I see it. Neil Patrick Harris is awesome, he really is, but I find the rest of the cast just so bland they aren't any fun to watch. Plus, all the plots seem ripped off from the British Coupling.
8:30pm: The Big Bang Theory. This is just pathetic wish fulfillment. Two science nerds find themselves living next door to the kind of painfully-written imaginary girlfriend that so many guys wish existed but actually doesn't: Kaley Cuoco as a sexy, Midwestern wannabe screenwriter who works as a waitress. Oh, and she's single! Give me a fucking break. What, she couldn't also be a world class mechanic, a soccer star, AND a nurse, too? I think it's cute that Chuck Lorre is apparently accepting pitches from 15 year-old writers, but give me a break.
9pm: Two and a Half Men. Never seen it.
9:30pm: Rules of Engagement. I watched one episode of this show, drawn in by the cast (specifically Patrick Warburton, Bianca Kajlich, and my dear Megyn Pryce). It was awful. And this got renewed?
10pm: C.S.I.: Miami. Life's too short to watch shit with David Caruso in it.

8pm: N.C.I.S. Never seen it.
9pm: The Unit. Never seen it.
10pm: Cane. Basically a Hispanic version of The Godfather with Hector Elizondo, Nestor Carbonell, and Jimmy Smits. I've got to level with you: I will probably never, ever see this. I just wonder if that means Nestor Carbonell is going to be killed off on Lost tonight.

8pm: Kid Nation. Meh. This reality show gives 40 kids, aged 8 to 15, 40 days to rebuild a ghost town from the 19th century and turn it into a town that works. Who the fuck even comes up with an idea like that? Unless the kids go all Lord of the Flies, why bother watching?
9pm: Criminal Minds. Never seen it.
10pm: C.S.I.: NY. Never seen it.

8pm: Survivor. Why? Just, really, why bother anymore? You've milked it, find something else.
9pm: C.S.I.: Crime Scene Investigation. I only ever saw the first episode and thought it was pretty dumb. And another science fiction show not called science fiction, but whatever. Still pretty lame.
10pm: Without a Trace. Never seen it.

8pm: Ghost Whisperer. I've only seen this a few times when I'm really, really bored. I have to say, I like Jennifer Love Hewitt, and I like her plunging neckline on this show, but it's really, really dumb.
9pm: Moonlight. A vampire detective... you know, I'm just going to stop there. Oh, and Joel Silver produces it, in case you weren't sure it would suck.
10pm: Numb3rs. Never seen it. I'm sure the idiotic use of a number as a letter in the title has something to do with that.

8pm: Crime Time Saturday.
10pm: 48 Hours: Mystery.

7pm: 60 Minutes.
8pm: Viva Laughlin. The American version of the BBC's Viva Blackpool, which I never saw. Still, I'm sure this will be easily as successful as every musical series in America always is. Really. No, really. Hugh Jackman produces and occasionaly appears.
9pm: Cold Case. Never seen it. Life's too short to watch CBS too often.
10pm: Shark. This was a hit show? Then why is it on Sundays at 10?

For mid-season, there's a show called Swingtown, which is about swingers in the seventies and sounds perfectly awful. Jack Davenport and Molly Parker bizarrely star. CBS is also bringing back The New Adventures of Old Christine and The Amazing Race are coming back in mid-season.

Film Week

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

Stunning Russian film about a woman in love. Her boyfriend, Boris, is recruited to the front when World War II breaks out, and poor Veronica is raped by his cousin, Mark, and shamed into marrying him. Throughout the film she pines for Boris to return, wanting to escape the hellish life she’s been forced into. It’s an excellent, sad study of the way something as powerful as war can take away control over one’s own life. **** stars.

More Luis Bunuel surrealism, and a hard movie to describe. It involves Viridiana (the luminous Silvlia Pinal), a young woman about to enter a convent, who stops at the home of her widowed uncle, only to be drugged and maneuvered into a marriage. I can’t describe more than that without giving it away, and you have to see every Bunuel film for itself. You just do. **** stars.

The third and final part of Roberto Rossellini’s World War II trilogy, and I think the least compelling. Probably because he seemed more concerned with his affair with Anna Magnani at the time to actually sit down and direct the movie. Again we have Rossellini’s weird interest in suicidal children, in this case a young boy who lives in postwar Germany among the destruction. It’s especially an interesting—coming as it does from an Italian director—commentary on the German national character, using the hollow landscape to describe the psychology of the broken characters. It’s very sympathetic, damning the Nazis but also unwilling to abandon the Germans to their fate out of simple humanity. Not as stirring or as excellent as Open City or Paisan, but very, very good. ***1/2 stars.

BRANDO (2007)
Pretty interesting documentary about Marlon Brando that goes on too long. I don’t know that this needed the entire three hours, or to be broken into two segments. The first segment is fascinating, taking off some of the “Greatest Actor of All Time” awe and bullshit, and just looking at Brando the man and what drove him and how he did what he did. The second half gets bogged down in how incredible The Godfather is (it is, but Jesus, give it a rest already) and glosses over a lot of Brando’s later life, when he was most remote. The second half doesn’t really live up to the promise of the first half, eventually slowing down into a reminder of the high points. Too bad; up until then, I was actually fascinated by Brando, which doesn’t happen to me very often anymore. *** stars.

This is a movie that’s just stayed in my mind. It’s easy to miss, really, and its plot appears subtle on the outside, but it’s about more than it lets on. Edward Norton stars as a cowboy in modern day San Fernando Valley who falls in love with and courts a teenage girl (Evan Rachel Wood) before things get all surreal and the shooting starts. But in a layered way, this is a movie about the intense loneliness and yearning of people in America, seeking to make a connection, afraid to face the future or even confront the present, comforting itself with memories of a constructed past. This movie was dismissed by a lot of critics, but I honestly found it fascinating and got lost in it. Norton continues to be very good when he wants to be, and Evan Rachel Wood has become something of an object of fascination for me. She’s potentially very interesting. She’s obviously interested in exploring emotions that are a little outside the mainstream, but I wonder if she can maintain that in an interesting way. **** stars.

What I liked most about this movie was the way it avoided the typical tragic love story clich├ęs, and instead presented friendship as something worthwhile. Peter Dinklage, in a great performance, stars as a man who loves trains and, even though he tries to be solitary, ends up forming friendships with unlikely people. It’s a character study, but one that’s surprising and doesn’t go for the obvious. This was one of those indie movies I always hear is so great, which always shuts me off, but this is actually a very sweet, very well made movie. **** stars.

I’d heard a lot of people say this was a good movie, but I don’t know what they’re smoking. Supremely annoying, especially since we never really get to see the two leads as a couple and understand what made them work in the first place. See The War of the Roses instead. I couldn’t finish watching this. * star; at least the camera’s pointed in the right direction. Although I’m not sure if “at Vince Vaughn or Jennifer Aniston” is really the right direction, but that’s just getting philosophical.

I liked it better when it was called Pauline at the Beach. Let’s just leave it there. **1/2 stars.

Boring. * star. And I hate that fucking title.

SLEUTH (1972)
The last film directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, based on a play by Anthony Shaffer, is a gem. Laurence Olivier plays a detective novelist who invites Michael Caine, his wife’s lover, to his house for a set-up. It’s a murder mystery with no body and some very fun twists. The dialogue is wonderful, and the two actors are more than up to it. It doesn’t get much better than this kind of movie for me; a duel of words, intensifying and then, finally, paying off. **** stars. I just found out they’re remaking this movie with Jude Law, who is no Michael Caine (as he’s already proven).

I get this movie completely, and it’s a hard one to get out of my head. The more times passes since I saw it, the more I appreciate what it does. It doesn’t do it justice to describe it as a musical, although one could. Steve Martin stars as a Depression era salesman who has an unhappy marriage and falls in love with a schoolteacher (Bernadette Peters—I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t find Bernadette Peters sexually fascinating, beginning with Annie when I was six). This is the kind of movie people were making in the seventies and very early eighties that were, in some way, commentaries on the types of movies they watched as children. This apes the style of an early thirties musical (aided deftly by some gorgeous cinematography by Gordon Willis), complete with sudden song numbers (all lip-synched by the actors). But at the same time, it sees through to the real sleazy, seedy quality those musicals had. The way a musical number would brighten a scene despite the fact that whatever was going on was emotionally opposed to the sudden brightness. It takes a genre and examines it with a cynical, more modern viewpoint—Steve Martin’s character is a loser and kind of a shit, his marriage is unhappy. He looks at things idealistically, but more and more uses fantasy as a retreat from his everyday life. And Christopher Walken tap dances to one of my favorite songs from the era, “Let’s Misbehave.” It’s a gorgeous movie, right up to the horrible, tacked on studio happy ending. It does mar the movie, but on the other hand, the actors and the filmmakers aren’t remotely invested in it, so it’s easy to ignore. As far as I’m concerned, the movie ends when it’s supposed to. Interesting commentary on America, American movies, and film itself. **** stars.

Carl Theodor Dreyer’s films are never short of fascinating. This one concerns a 17th century pastor consumed with capturing an old woman who has been accused of witchcraft and her subsequent flight. While all of this is capturing the pastor’s attention, his wife begins an affair with her stepson. This causes her to be accused as a witch, too, and the pastor has to wrestle with his commitment to his faith and his commitment to his wife. An excellent movie about passion and duty, it also serves as a commentary on things that were happening in Nazi-occupied Holland when this was being made. A little too well, incidentally, as Dreyer was obliged to flee the country after its release. **** stars.

Entry in James A. FitzPatrick’s series of Traveltalk shorts. This one’s pretty aimless, stopping at various points in America and ending with a reading of Theodore O’Hara’s poem “The Bivouac of the Dead” set against shots of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It’s meant to fill Americans with patriotic zeal about fighting the Nazis. Some of it is unintentionally amusing now (a copper strip mine seen as proof of man’s dominance over the planet, for example), but it’s very pretty to look at. ***

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Health Report: Week 23

It feels weird being back on the horse. I feel like I gained weight, but my pants still fit the same as they did after I'd lost 20 pounds. Did they stretch? They still feel loose. But looking at the scale, I obviously gained some weight back. Weird.

I'm also getting those mood swings back. And I'm having some trouble sleeping. And I'm having trouble eating, because I'm poor and can't always get good food. But my shit is really healthy-looking. So that's nice. Seriously, I'm, like, a third there, right? I've been walking, listening to the iPod, thinking about where exactly my life went so wrong that I'm a 30 year old, unemployed college graduate. By the end of the summer, it'll be a year since I graduated. Still no job. Damn. This job market is out of control. I'm going to move to Australia or Spain or something. I've subscribed to a podcast to learn some Spanish. We'll see...

Turns out there's a really good butcher shop in town, so now I don't have to drive an hour east to get meat for hamburgers. The meat in town, especially at Wal-Mart and Jewel, tastes off to me, and I could never eat it. But I love burgers, so I was driving out of my way every so often. Now I can get it local, which is nice. I've got a high trepidation about eating some stuff right now (like chicken), and anything I can get that actually resembles human food... Ain't not bad.

I'm not giving up red meat, I just can't. I'll lessen the intake, natch, but I'm not getting rid of that. Or sugar. Or butter. Just lessening. Butter especially, since margarine is so awful. Margarine was made to fatten turkeys, but it kept killing them, so the people who created it decided to get a return on their money by adding yellow food coloring and selling it as a "healthy" alternative to butter. This healthy alternative increases the risk of heart disease in women by over 53%, is very high in trans fat, triples the risk of a coronary, and basically has no nutritional value. It even lowers the quality of breast milk, lowers your body's good cholestrol, increases the risk of some cancers, and descreases immune and insulin response.

And it's one molecule away from being plastic. Seriously, it is. If you leave a tub of margarine in your garage for a couple of days, no flies will touch it, it will not have rotted, and it won't smell. Even microorganisms won't grow on it. Ew.

I think I'll stick with the butter. I just won't use a ton of it. That's the real mistake, I think.

Minnie the Moocher

In honor of Semaj, who loves the song, and me, who loves cartoons. I think there are few things that could make me happier than a rotoscoped dancing walrus with the voice of Cab Calloway.

Dear E! Entertainment Television

Stop hurting us. Just stop. Our souls can't take anymore. Please, no more of these.


TV Report: Next Season on ABC

Continuing posts on the upfronts.

ABC did better this season, with a couple of hits and Grey's Anatomy, Lost, Desperate Housewives and Boston Legal still going strong. And their reality shows are actually doing well: Dancing with the Stars, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, The Bachelor (surprisingly), and Supernanny. Of course, there were a lot of failures, too: The Nine, Day Break, Six Degrees.

ABC surprisingly (but thankfully) decided not to air the American remakes of Britain's Footballers Wives (a show I love) and Life on Mars, as well as a bunch of other lame-sounding shit like a TV version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Lots of shows cancelled: According to Jim (finally), Big Day, Daybreak, Extreme Makover, The Great American Dream Vote, Help Me Help You, In Case of Emergency, The Nine, Show Me the Money, Six Degrees, and What About Brian. The George Lopez Show also got cancelled, and I don't appreciate George Lopez basically crying that it's racism; dude, your show wasn't funny and no one watched it, let it go. Do something else. And they cancelled The Knights of Prosperity, despite saying they wouldn't. That sucks, it was a funny show. Too bad.

Here's the sked:

8pm: Dancing with the Stars. God, people are dumb. And look at it running into Heroes, trying to take it down. Do you think it will? I do.
9:30pm: Sam I Am. Christina Applegate gets amnesia and can't remember her life, so she gets to start over again and discover herself. I'm sure that's as horrible as it sounds, but since I'll be watching Heroes, I won't find out. Oh, and because I don't care.
10pm: The Bachelor. God, people are dumb. Keep reaching for that equality star, women.

MONDAY (Spring)
8pm: Wife Swap. This is still on? Why?
9pm: Sam I Am. I think it's cute that ABC thinks they won't have cancelled it by this point.
9:30pm: Notes from the Underbelly. I would say that this is the problem with so many American TV shows and movies--that too many of the (white) people creating them think their experiences with having babies and getting married and being single are so unique and so fascinating--except that I've never actually watched this.
10pm: October Road. I've never seen this and I don't know anyone who has.

8pm: Cavemen. A sitcom based on the Geico cavemen, one of the absolute worst ad campaigns I've ever seen. Get fucked.
8:30pm: Carpoolers. Here's a liberal quote from the press release: "There are men who actively try and figure out the world--together. These men are more complicated than we might think--they have hopes, ambitions, families, careers, and insecurities. These men are the Carpoolers; four guys, living different versions of the modern suburban family life who obsess, dream, and strategize as they rocket their way up and down the carpool lane every day." If that doesn't make you want to throw your TV through the window and out into the street, I can't help you.
9pm: Dancing with the Stars Results (Fall).
9pm: Cashmere Mafia (Spring). Four successful executive women have fucked up personal lives. Isn't this already going to air on NBC? Why is someone as talented as Miranda Otto on this show? ABC also tries to enter the Desperate Housewives arena, choosing this show over the Footballers' Wives remake. This is produced by Darren Star, so at least it'll be cancelled in about three weeks.
10pm: Boston Legal. Never seen it. Am I missing anything?

8pm: Pushing Daisies. Let's quote from the badly-written press release again. Seriously, whomever they hire to write this stuff has got to go, because he's not doing his job of selling crap by making it sound good. "It is a love story about a young man with a very special gift...the ability to return someone dead briefly back to life with just a simple touch. Ned, a mild-mannered baker of fabulous pies ["fabulous?" Oh, Jesus, help me], discovered his gift as a child. Now he puts his gift to good use, working with his only friend, a private investigator, to crack murder cases by asking victims to name their killers. But the tale gets complicated, as all tales do [oh, are you fucking kidding me?], when he saves his childhood sweetheart and she miraculously stays alive. Each week, she encourages him to use his powers to solve mysteries and help others. Life would be perfect, except for one cruel twist: if Ned ever touches her again, she'll lose the life he gave her, for good this time. There's always a catch." Please kill me. I'm assuming this is because they don't have a Medium or a Ghost Whisperer at ABC, but this is just too gruesomely lame for words.
9pm: Private Practice. Spin off of Grey's Anatomy, a show I've still never watched and don't really plan to.
10pm: Dirty Sexy Money. Soap opera about "the Darlings of New York City, so absurdly wealthy they put the 'upper' in Upper East Side." Seriously, who writes this shit? Yeah, I have other things to do on Wednesday besides watch a network soap about Billy Baldwin running for president, thanks.

8pm: Ugly Betty. Yay! I love this show. I heard the dumbest criticism of this show recently: "This isn't a realistic look at Hispanic-American family life at all." Wow, no shit? And I thought this was the most realistic show on TV! Next you'll be telling me that this isn't a realistic look at working at magazine, either!
9pm: Grey's Anatomy. Every time I see a commercial for this, someone's crying and some chick song is playing. I don't think this is for me.
10pm: Big Shots. Here's an original concept: "The line gets blurred between the boardroom and the bedroom in a new outrageous drama about four dysfunctional CEOs who will do anything to stay on top." Great, another one of those. Single guys who are too old for this behavior to be cute anymore act like children, but at least they're successful and rich, so it's okay. Hey, I'm glad as anyone that Christopher Titus finally got another show (I liked Titus, I really did), but this is just ridiculously stupid.

8pm: Men in Trees. I'm surprised this was renewed. My mom likes it. My mom likes Northern Exposure, too. My mom has suspect taste.
9pm: Women's Murder Club. This is going to be condescending, so either bear with me or skip ahead. Angie Harmon is a detective who, frustrated with how long it can take to investigate and prosecute a crime, decides "to circumvent the Justice Department men's club" by putting together "an all-female group of experts a medical examiner, a newspaper reporter and a young assistant district attorney. And because personal lives often blend into professional ones, they also become reliable friends." Ouch. Just, ouch. And Brett Ratner is producing it. You have to love network TV and their insistence that women doing any kind of work outside of the house is bizarre and unusual. I can just hear the network executives patting these women on their head like little doggies who did a neat trick. Just... ouch.
10pm: 20/20.

8pm: Saturday Night College Football.

7pm: America's Funniest Home Videos. Or as it should be called, America's Most Funniest Men Taking It in the Nuts, Plus Some Cute Kids and Cats Doing Shit.
8pm: Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Whatev.
9pm: Desperate Housewives. Never seen it. Might never.
10pm: Brothers and Sisters. Never seen it. Definitely never will. Calista Flockhart can kiss my black ass.

For mid-season replacements, we have Eli Stone, with Jonny Lee Miller playing... okay, it's kind of unfair to keep doing this, but here's the press release. Read it with a dramatic Will Arnett voice for maximum comedic effect. "Today, the worst thing happened to mercenary attorney Eli Stone. A case made him care. As if that's not hard enough for a soulless shark, Eli's also hallucinating larger-than-life visions of pop stars and his dead relatives. With club sauce." Okay, I added that last one, but still, you can just see some ass sitting around going "Der, Shark is popular, Ghost Whisperer is popular, let's put them together to create a shitty rip-off that no one will ever see, even if it actually airs!" Do you realize people get paid an obscene amount of money for coming up with ideas this shitty? There's also Miss/Guided, a sitcom with Judy Greer as a high school guidance counselor who gets reminded of her past dorkiness by her old rival, Brooke Burns, who is also on the faculty. It sounds very much bad. But she's determined to do her best because, you know, being popular is an important part of being able to help kids with their problems. Perhaps the most important part.

And finally, there's Oprah's Big Give, which turns Oprah's embarrassing need to buy America's love into a competition. I guess that's the most perfect testament to her ego there could possibly be.

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