Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Post in which all Bluetooth users will comment claiming that they ONLY use it in the car because it's, you know, safer.

My sister posted a rant about those damn Bluetooth talking people.

I can't tell you how many times I have been through some version of this scenario while browsing in a store or otherwise going about my business in public:

Me: (humming tunelessly)
Stranger: (walking toward me) Hello.
Me: Um, hello.
Stranger: (looking right at me) What's up?
Me: Well, not much. Do I know you?
Stranger: (still looking at me) I know, I cannot believe those numbers!
Me: ??? (stranger then turns head so that Bluetooth is visible) Oh, Jesus Christ.

Bluetooth people, if you're going to walk around in public, subjecting strangers to your personal phone conversations, at least have sense enough to keep your eyes cast downward, in an appropriate gesture of humility for your lack of grace. That way the people who still shop while they shop, and drive while they drive, and walk down the street while they walk down the street, can avoid you and not be tricked into thinking that you're actually engaging another member of the human race who is in your physical presence.

But here's the good news! I have a plan to benefit all the crazy-ass homeless people in Los Angeles and other major cities throughout the United States. We simply issue them all Bluetooth headsets. They don't even have to function. We just put the headsets on their heads, and then when they wander the streets, talking nonsense to themselves, they can look important!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Oscars 2007: Come back, Billy Crystal, all is forgiven!

Disclaimer: I have used an exclamation point in the post title in a desperate attempt to make this post sound exciting. It is not exciting. Let’s face it, there isn’t enough lipstick in the world to dress up the snoozing pig that was the 79th Annual Oscar Telecast.

Not that Ellen DeGeneres wasn’t funny hosting the Oscars. She was funny. Funny in that self-deprecating, institution-deflating way that she has. And I’ll admit that I thought it was cute that she got Spielberg to take a picture of her with Eastwood "for her MySpace page." And okay, I’ll also admit that I perked up when they came back from commercial and she was vacuuming under the feet of all the front-rowers, and claiming not to have been told in advance that it was part of the hosting duties. But that was only because at least some kind of break-out from the stand, announce & accept routine was being attempted. Let’s face it people, when the most exciting part of the evening is when some dance troupe that veers dangerously close to mime is making clever shapes behind a scrim, your entertainment threshold has been set pitifully low. Like “Two and a Half Men” low.

But I should have known how the show was going to go, as soon as they employed that old chestnut of bringing out The Uplifting Black Church Choir. Look, the Grammy telecasts have been using The Uplifting Black Church Choir since the Eisenhower administration. It’s a sure way to signal to the non-whites in the audience that they are so down with them and their music and all. I mean, a way that’s short of actually playing any popular non-white music. And if you are an actual black performer on an award show, well, hang in there, and for pete’s sake don’t make any cracks about Jude Law. Also, if you are a black performer on an award show, employing The Uplifting Black Church Choir is an excellent way to signal to whitey that nothing too bad is going to happen to them by watching you. No black titties coming out or anything like that. Just black people churchifying and praying to lord to deliver them from white people, which white people don’t mind, because come on, it’s not like it’s ever going to happen.

So, I guess I must admit that this year really was the Oscars of Diversity, especially if you count British white people as diverse from American white people. Counting Penelope Cruz as Mexican also helps with the diversity angle, although from the look on Cruz’s face when DeGeneres referred to her that way, I don’t think she was so hip on the idea.

Since I’ve already made a “Two and a Half Men” joke, I’m not sure what else I can say about the mildly amusing song performed by John C. Reilly, Will Farrell, and Jack Black about the perils of being a comedian in the movies, and how it can hinder one’s ability to be taken seriously for awards. If they really wanted some advice in that area, all they had to do was ask Eddie Murphy right there in the second row, because I’m sure he’s figured out by now that if Norbit didn’t release the week after he won the Golden Globe, it would have been him standing up on that stage last night, instead of the mildly pissed-off-looking Alan Arkin. And if they ever do figure out how to successfully be both kinds of movie actors, I wish one of them would call Jim Carrey and clue that motherfucker in. Because that man SO wants an Oscar. Really, I can’t even look at him anymore, because he has that begging look in his eyes, like all the time. Like a pre-Braveheart Mel Gibson. It’s painful.

Okay, it was cute that Reilly, Farrell, and Black pretended that Helen Mirren would be the best take-home babe prize in the room, instead of the more believable (and completely Mexican-free!) choice of Penelope Cruz.

Come to think of it, though, Helen Mirren did look really hot. And not many women pushing seventy have a décolletage that stunning. In fact, the more I think about this, the more I think those three guys are of an age that they probably have some early formative memories of beating off to the scene of Helen Mirren as Morgana fucking her half-brother Arthur in Excaliber. That scene was really fucking sexy, especially for the time. Hell, I still think Mirren in Excaliber is the gold standard for hot babe in a fantasy film. I mean, if you don’t count Bowie in Labyrinth.

Speaking of fey British gods, I really really wanted O’Toole to win, and I think it was a pretty cruel joke to make such a big deal about how many times he’s lost, and how old he is, and then to give the award to yet another actor impersonating a real person. Can we call a moratorium on this, please?

Jennifer Hudson: I look hot, right?
Beyonce: Why did I let Jay-Z talk me into this dress? That fat girl looks hotter than me.
Girl on the right: Nobody knows who I am.

I heard the day before the Oscars that the book on Gore winning was 50-50, and it was 2-1 that if he did win, he was going to announce his candidacy. Which is, of course, ridiculous. As I said to Spooney when Gore and DiCaprio were doing their I-was-going-to-announce-but-I’ve -been-played-off-by-the-orchestra bit, Al Gore announcing on the Oscars would be a big, bright, shiny, new, gift-wrapped, tied-with-a-big-fucking-bow present to the right wing. I mean, come on. Hollywood’s candidate. We all know how that would play out, right?

Anyway, he’s not going to announce until Hilary tanks.

I guess there’s no point in rehashing every single boring moment of the night (Celine Dion, Michael Mann’s montage, Clint Eastwood’s Italian 101), although I thought all 3 Dreamgirls song nominees losing to that dreadfully literal Melissa Etheridge song was pretty fucking embarrassing. Let’s enjoy some of those Academy Award-winning lyrics, shall we?:

Now I am throwing off the carelessness of youth


See how brilliantly she incorporates the title of the movie RIGHT INTO THE LYRICS? Wow! If only Melissa Etheridge would write more movie songs, we could look forward to:

Don’t ask us how we are, ‘cause we are fine.

We’re driving toward our LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE.


A Scorsese film that finishes what it started?

Yes, his “first film with a plot” – that’s THE DEPARTED


Sure, I’m Japanese, but I’m more than I seem-a

I’m writing home some LETTERS FROM IWO JIMA.

If she gets busy, I think she could give Randy Newman another run for his money next year.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Gotta love those Kiwis

This is a REAL BILLBOARD for Hell Pizza in New Zealand.

In praise of the incongruous


Kirby over at I Make No Promises has written a great post about what it’s like to be the sporty one in a marriage, and how happy she is that her son throws like a woman, that is, he throws like her, which is good.

I have been told my whole life that I am a spaz, and since I pretty much sucked at schoolyard games, and since I was also definitely the one whose glasses were the much-coveted knock-off target in dodgeball games, I believed them. It didn’t help that my sister could master any sport, instantly, it seemed. Whereas I could pretty much be counted on to let my teammates down. More often, I was simply never even allowed to play.

My ineptitude continued even into adulthood. A friend once convinced me to give racquetball a try. After I failed to return 15 serves in a row, she turned around and looked at me and said “Seriously?”

Now I shall tell you something really nice about my ex husband.

He was a great lover of the football (and the baseball, and the basketball), and he decided one day that he was going to teach me to toss a football back and forth so that we would have a tolerably activity for him to engage in all those times I dragged his ass to the beach. Oh my god, he hated going to the beach! He would lay on the blanket, smoking and sulking, or sighing and wondering out loud how the Dolphins were doing at that minute.

So first, he taught me to catch a football. Initially, I was extremely flinchy, and would cover my head and duck if the ball came within ten feet of me. Memories of my glasses flying across the gym floor paralyzed me. Gradually, I attempted to catch the ball, but it would bounce off my hands and smart like hell. Every throw to me resulted in a loud “Ow!” and an accusatory stare from me to my husband. But hubby, to his credit, was a patient teacher, and one day he stumbled upon the correct thing to say to me that made me stop being afraid. “Don’t try to stop the ball with your hands,” he said, “try to join your hands to the progress of the ball.” On the very next throw, voila, I caught the ball effortlessly. I stared at it, open-mouthed. It had been so easy.

I have to admit that a football, thrown hard at me, still scares me a little bit, but I always repeat my mantra: “join your hands to the progress of the ball,” and it always helps.

Next, he taught me how to throw the football. I took to it amazingly quickly. I couldn’t believe that I actually had a natural talent for something athletic! My husband started referring to my arm as the “the cannon,” and he would pull me into football-tossing sessions with his friends so he could brag about me. It was cute. I tried to live up to the various claims he made about “the cannon.” I think I did okay.

So my ex is long gone, and my current boyfriend doesn’t even own a football, but to this day I can go years without even touching a football, and then pick one up and throw a tight 30 yard spiral on the first try.

It’s a great talent to have when I find myself feeling like the freaky, smoking, foul-mouthed liberal at a suburban, frat-boy barbecue-type event. Makes people think twice about you, ya know?

Is Giuliani a lesbian?

Because how else could he make a living catching softballs?

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

My hero

The fourth estate sale

As if you need more of a reason to think that the MSM, and especially the White House correspondents, are overfed, vain little lapdogs. (Not you Helen. I love you.) Listen to one of them whine about political bloggers:
They want us to play a role that isn’t really our role. Our role is to ask questions and get information. … It’s not a chance for the opposition to take on the government and grill them to a point where they throw their hands up and surrender. … It’s not a political exercise, it’s a journalistic exercise. And I think often the blogs are looking for us to be political advocates more than journalistic ones.” - Richard Wolffe, WH correspondent for Newsweek.
Your role is to ask questions and get information? Who told you that, the fucking White House correspondent fairy? Are you fucking kidding me? You work for News-fucking-week, and you don't think that it's your job to grill politicians who are refusing to give out honest and complete information? What the fuck kind of piece of shit reporter are you?

It's just amazing to me that, for once in the history of journalism, the corporations that produce what passes for news in this country have a chance to find out directly, and rather instantly, what the people who consume their product think of the product - and their reaction is to tell the consumer that they are just plain wrong? And mean? And if the consumer weren't so busy being "hateful," they'd thank their lucky fucking stars that those WHC bitches even bother to lob those big stinking soft balls of cheese they call "questions" at all?

Fuck them all. I'm so mad right now I could just spit.

(Think Progress via Eschaton)

That's not smog, that's MARINE LAYER

So, this weekend, I took my NYC friend Kate to the Sunset Ranch stables, and we took a little ride along the ridge between the Hollywood Hills and the San Fernando Valley.

My horse, Tonto, was ornery in that way that stabled horses can be sometimes, but I showed him who was boss (me!) and he was fine after that. We saw a very hungry looking coyote on the trail who trotted away from us quickly, and then paused for a moment on the edge of a ravine very picturesquely before disappearing into the chaparral. No doubt he had other fish to fry.

Our guide was a very unspoiled dude who grew up on his family's ranch in Fresno. He spoke of LA as if it still completely mystified him how people managed to get around such a place. He told us he did some competitive riding in Industry Hills. He looked about 40, but he was so tanned and his squint wrinkles were so deep that he could easily have been 10 years younger. At one point, as we were riding along side of a hillside that had been cut away for the trail, he confided that he would look through the exposed layers of earth for glints of gold. It was a habit he had gotten from his father, who would send him into streams on their ranch whenever he saw a suspicious glint. It was usually fool's gold, he said. He then ran his hand along the earth wall and speculated that (and I quote), "there's gold in these here hills."

At that point, Kate looked back at me with her "Did you hear that?" face. I mouthed the words "I'm in love" back to her.

Sometimes, living in LA sure doesn't suck.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Frankie say relax, I've been discharged

The NYTimes notes that the US military has been issuing more "moral waivers" than ever, and have welcomed an increasing number of felons among their new recruits:

Last year, such waivers were granted to 8,129 men and women — or more than one out of every 10 new Army recruits. That number is up 65 percent since 2003, the year President Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq. In the last three years, more than 125,000 moral waivers have been granted by America’s four military services.

Most of last year’s Army waivers were for serious misdemeanors, like aggravated assault, robbery, burglary and vehicular homicide. But around 900 — double the number in 2003 — were for felonies. Worse, the Army does no systematic tracking of recruits with waivers once it signs them up, and it does not always pay enough attention to any adjustment problems. Without adequate monitoring and counseling, handing out guns to people who have already committed crimes poses a danger to the other soldiers they serve with and to the innocent civilians they are supposed to protect.

Meanwhile, the military discharges over 700 soldiers a year under its absolutely fucking genius "Don't ask, don't tell" policy.

So, what's a soldier to believe? Clearly, the military is sending mixed signals in regards to their duties and responsibilities. Several soldiers at Abu Gahraib, for example, were disciplined and even jailed, even though they were following the orders of their superiors. Because the Pentagon says that you are supposed to follow the Geneva Convention, even if your superior tells you not to.*

So, who is more likely to be difference-between-right-and-wrong-challenged? A homosexual, or a convicted felon?

*some restrictions may not apply if you are the Attorney General

Still think he's a maverick, ya fucking idiots?

This past weekend, John McCain took a more conservative position on abortion. What a fucking surprise.
"I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Mind of Men-steal-a

If you've got 10 minutes, and you care about the world of stand-up comedy (I do), then watch this video of Joe Rogan finally cornering fake Mexican and serial joke stealer Carlos Mencia.

Bells On Recommends

I have such talented friends!

One of them is starring in this very funny, and somewhat NSFW film (if you cannot view, go here):

The other is starring in this also funny, and totally SFW film that your coworkers probably won't get. But you will. Because you are fabulous:


Yesterday, W was asked at his press conference why the American people should believe him about this Iran Qud force IED stuff. Here’s what he said:

“Ed, we know [the IEDs are] there, we know they're provided by the Quds force. We know the Quds force is a part of the Iranian government. I don't think we know who picked up the phone and said to the Quds force, go do this, but we know it's a vital part of the Iranian government.

What matters is, is that we're responding. The idea that somehow we're manufacturing the idea that the Iranians are providing IEDs is preposterous.”

Preposterous? Preposterous?

To quote Indigo Montoya, I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Let me lay out a little example of preposterous for you.

In fact, let me give you 3.

First of all, of course, it is preposterous that a president would deliberately mislead his country in order to serve his hidden agenda. Especially when lives are at stake.

Secondly, when a reporter asked you if you agreed that what was happening in Iraq was a “civil war,” you said this: “I can only tell you what people on the ground, whose judgment -- it's hard for me, living in this beautiful White House, to give you an assessment, firsthand assessment. I haven't been there; you have, I haven't.”

Okay, forget the fact that it’s a really bad idea to point out to reporters that you consider yourself removed from the reality of the war. It’s also more than a little bit PREPOSTEROUS to imagine a president championing our involvement in Iraq while also asserting that he’d never been there, when in fact he HAS been there. Twice.

The first time was Thanksgiving, remember? You were holding this big beautiful fake turkey like you were going to serve it to our troops, when in fact the military mess facility subsidiary of Halliburton was serving chipped turkey on toast that day or some shit, remember? The second time was…oh, fuck it. Ask Rove. He’ll tell you.

Anyway, my 3rd example of preposterous is that BushCo has been trumpeting our relationship with the democratically-elected government of Iraq. Now, the US is also quite upset with Iraqi religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr for feeding the Shi’a insurgency that perpetuates one side of the Iraqi civil war. Al-Sadr is apparently currently in Iran, because he is afraid that the surge of troops in Baghdad is a threat to his life. BushCo has just asserted that the government of Iran, which is Shi’a, is backing the Shi’a militia in Iraq, and sending them powerful IEDs, which have also been used against US troops in Iraq. Al-Sadr is our enemy. The Shi’a militias are our enemy. Iran is our enemy.

You know what else al-Sadr, the Shi’a militias, and Iran have in common?

They all support Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Now, if only we had some in with the Iraqi government, then we could get them to stop working with our enemies! If only we were involved with the Iraqis, you know, on the ground, on the inside of Iraq, in some kind of cooperative venture. If only we were providing some sort of service, to them, that we could use as a bargaining chip so they would stop supporting the people that kill our troops…

If only we had some kind of influence with the government of Iraq! Now, that might be something worth fighting for!!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day, Spooney

This morning I put on a kimono-type top, wide-legged sailor pants, 40s-style platform slingbacks, a large bead necklace, and a fuzzy shruggy-type thing. I was pretty sure it was cute, albeit a tad artistic compared to my usual work get-ups.

How do I look, I asked Spooney.

He said, "You look like Phyllis."

I was puzzled. I didn't know a Phyllis.

Then it hit me. He meant Mary Richards's landlady Phyllis.

"What?" I said. How could he possibly compare me, in looks to she of the eponymous Mary Tyler Moore spin-off sitcom?

It was then that the backpeddling began. "I mean you look very 70s," he offered. "You know. It's very...70s."

I looked at him. I'll admit, readers, that I could've let him off the hook at that point by telling him that he probably meant, Rhoda, not Phyllis. But I didn't. It was wrong of me, I know.

But I always liked Rhoda, so that's cool.

Still, those chocolates better not suck, baby.

More on the blackitude

Look, Debra Dickerson is obviously a very intelligent woman, and I believe she is sincere, but what on earth is to be gained by going on the Colbert Report and claiming that Barack Obama cannot be African-American, although he might be African-African-American? Okay, he's not "the descendant of West African slaves," as Ms. Dickerson defines a black American, but I'm not so sure that distinction would make a difference to anyone who, for example, might be tempted to discriminate against him because of the color of his skin. Several black commentators have remarked that whites like Obama because he isn't really black. How can that be true, I wonder, if whites didn't know he wasn't black until those same commentators said so?

How can you define the issue of American race in terms of geneology, when the causes and effects of racism are almost entirely based on physical appearance?

This issue makes my head spin. Luckily, the Daily Show is there with an antidote from their Senior Black Correspondent, Larry Wilmore:

Wilmore: American blacks love African art, African clothes, African music. We're just not that crazy about Africans. So for blacks to support Obama, he's got to make up his mind. Is he African, or American? Because he can't be both. That doesn't make sense.

Stewart: But obviously, being an American of African descent...wouldn't that just make him -

Wilmore: Some kind of unspeakable hybrid? Exactly, Jon. And this isn't science fiction. It's politics.

The Swiftboating of Jesus

“I was in Vietnam. Where was Jesus? On the sidelines, marching for peace most likely. Peace will get us nowhere in this time of eternal conflict. Like everyone, I support Christ’s earlier work, but I’ve been told I’m anti-Christ now. So be it. Just vote for me,” said GOP hopeful John McCain.

William K. Wolfrum via Crooks and Liars

Monday, February 12, 2007

The 49th Grammys - How you like me now?

The official theme of last night’s Grammy Awards seemed to be “Nyah, nyah nyah nyah nyah,” or, as Natalie Maines put it, quoting “the Simpsons,” “ha, ha!

Mary J. Blige, whose album “The Breakthrough,” was, as we were so frequently reminded last night, a “breakthrough,” and whose performance last night was apparently also a “breakthrough” of some sort, thanked 55 people in her first acceptance speech, including Jesus, and “Father God” TWICE. By the time she got around to thanking her tape delivery guy (unfortunately, I’m not kidding), they started to play her off, but she plowed ahead, undeterred. They didn’t dare cut her off entirely, though, as anyone who saw the show last night knows what Ms. Blige does to those who cross her - she’ll devote one section of an award acceptance speech to making snide remarks about them: "It has not only shown that I'm an artist and a musician and a writer, but it's also shown that I'm growing into a better human being. Tonight we celebrate the better human being, because for so many years, I have been talked about negatively, but this time I'm being talked about positively by so many people."

Although as a 10-year resident of the glorious San Fernando Valley, I do have to acknowledge Ms. Blige for the following bit of wisdom: “It’s in the valley where you learn who you really are.”


I’ve always liked MJ Blige, as she seemed to have more going on upstairs than CERTAIN so-called “divas” I could name, but after that speech last night, I am really glad I never talked shit about Ms. MJB.

Except I just did. Damn.

Another winner who couldn’t resist gloating was Ludacris, who, besides modestly thanking “all the people who made this masterpiece happen,” also sarcastically thanked Oprah (who famously doesn’t care for the rappers so much) and Bill O’Reilly, whose rants against Ludacris were credited with getting him fired from a muy-lucrative Pepsi ad campaign. Ludacris, who was freakin hilarious on Saturday Night Live, by the way, playing an Elton John-obsessed hair restoration specialist, also theorized that all it took for him to finally win a Grammy was to cut his hair. Not so, Mr. Chris “Ludacris” Bridges. All it takes to win a Grammy is to host SNL, do a couple of high-profile movies for white audiences, and make albums that the kids don’t care about anymore.

So, mission accomplished.

But the biggest “fuck y’all” of the night came from the Dixie Chicks, who won 5 Grammys, including Song of the Year, Outstanding Country (suck it, hicks!) Album, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year. Yes, it’s hard to believe that in a year when the uber-fabulous Gnarls Barkley dominated the airwaves with one of the most popular cross-over songs ever, a song that was immediately covered by artists ranging from Nelly Furtado to The Raconteurs to Cat Power to Shawn Colvin to The Zutons, that they couldn’t snag Record of the Year over a song like “Not Ready to Make Nice,” but such is the way of the Grammys. Maybe if Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse had performed their song dressed as the Dixie Chicks instead of airline employees…

Well, hindsight. You know.

Don’t get me wrong, I really do love the Dixie Chicks, and by “love,” I mean, I love them, and the idea of them, really much more than I love their music, which tends to be a teeny-tiny bit on the over-produced side. Seriously. I mean, LORD KNOWS I appreciate the sentiment being expressed in “Not Ready to Make Nice,” which of course is their answer to all the boneheads who turned against them for not liking our president, but that song sounds like the pitch corrector chewed them up and spit out Ashlee Simpson X3.

But let’s take a look at the lyrics for “Not Ready to Make Nice:”

It's a sad, sad story
that a mother will teach her daughter
that she ought to hate a perfect stranger.
And how in the world
can the words that I said
send somebody so over the edge
that they'd write me a letter
saying that I better shut up and sing
or my life will be over?

Death threats. Okay…you can kind of understand why the Academy of Recording Arts would want to stand behind their gals. And so, fine, I am down with the accolades, but still, you’d think that, given everything that has gone on, that they would have prepared an acceptance speech that acknowledged the controversy in an intelligent way, and showed that, in spite of the conflict, they are bigger than those that opposed them.

No such luck. While the sisters were both gracious, if not eloquent, Natalie Maines acted as if a Grammy, a freakin’ Grammy, would make her enemies eat their hearts out. Her various attempts at acceptance speeches never got any more meaningful than when she clumsily offered that “I think people are using their freedom of speech tonight with all of these awards.” Wow. Talk about an opportunity wasted.

Some other thoughts on the evening:

- So the motherfucking Police play together after 20 years, on international television, for millions of people, and Sting has to go and mess up Roxanne by making it all fake-jazzy in the really annoying way of his. Ugh. How disappointing. At least none of them got fat.

- When Jamie Fox, who joked that Snoop Dogg fled the building and was “Crip walkin’ down the 405” after hearing that “the Police” would be at the broadcast, did not get a laugh, he lamented that “that joke would kill on BET.”

Yes, Jaime, no doubt that the viewers of “Beef: The Series” would be rolling in the aisles. But let’s not set the bar too high, eh?

- What’s up with the Justin Timberlake nose cam? Justin, darling, we all benefit from a little aesthetic distance, especially a man who seems to be hoping people won’t notice that he is, in fact, white. I mean, really, Justin, is it just coincidence that every single person in your 30-piece band is black, or is it some kind of rule that you have?

- I'm sorry, but I love Shakira. She is fucking HOT. Because she dances with abandon, like she means it, instead of dancing with the studied vanity of CERTAIN so-called “divas” I could name, who look more like strippers in need of a pole.

- Note to the producers of the show: when you put a big blow-out orchestra, with a huge choir, and a huge string section, behind every single performance on your show, it kinda loses its impact after a while.

- Stevie Wonder needs someone who is not blind to give him wardrobe advice.

- Rascal Flatts playing tribute to the Eagles was dubbed by Spooney as “Life in the Lame Lane.” Dammit, I wish I’d thought of it first.

- Smokey Robinson: “So take a good look at my face. You’ll see my smile looks out of place. If you look closer, it’s easy to see that my plastic surgeon pulled it WAY too tight.”

- You could see Sam Jackson’s man boobs through his Nehru-jacket-y-thing. Looks like someone has let himself go after finding out that he can’t just jerk off into a film can for $10 million every year.

- Lionel Richie: “Hello? Is it me you’re looking for? Because I am like, so available.”

- Beyonce won the bad wig of the night award, but only because Tony Bennett has won the award so many times he is permanently disqualified.

- By far the best moment of the night was at the end of the “In Memoriam” segment, when James Brown’s cape guy brought out his GFOS cape, and hung it over the mikestand.

Rest in peace, Godfather of Soul. I hope you’re in a better place now, a place without crappy, self-important awards shows.

Glutton for the snark? Read my review of last year’s Grammys.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bells On Contest!

I love me some Gnarls Barkley.

They're performing on the Grammys Sunday. And I'm wondering what they will wear.

You can see what they wore the the MTV awards last year. They've also dressed as Napoleon Dynamite and Pedro, Cheech & Chong, Superman & Clark Kent, Freddie & Michael, and Malcolm McDowell in Clockwork Orange. I saw them on Conan dressed in towels and bathrobes, and somewhere else I can't remember they wore prep school uniforms. Just Google Gnarls Barkley if you don't know what I'm talking about.

So, what do you think they'll wear Sunday to sing their nominated song, Crazy?

Guess! Winner gets a prize of some kind, maybe. Maybe the prize will be that I WON'T comment on your blog for a whole month.

The not-so-Untouchables

While so far, at least, BushCo doesn't yet have the cojones to go after the Untouchable Fitzgerald, they have begun a campaign, aided by an obscure Arlen Specter-enabled provision in the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, to replace federal prosecutors with BushCo cronies. Conanson in Salon:

Carol Lam, the U.S. attorney in San Diego who successfully prosecuted the sensationally crooked Republican Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham, was fired for no known reason while she is still pursuing important leads in that historic case. Cunningham is supposed to be cooperating, but if Bush replaces her with a partisan stooge, he may be able to keep his secrets. Bud Cummings, the respected U.S. attorney in Little Rock, Ark., was canned to make room for a Republican opposition research operative and Karl Rove acolyte named Timothy Griffin. Could that conceivably have anything to do with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's presidential candidacy? Paul Charlton, the U.S. attorney in Arizona, was thrown out while investigating allegations of corruption against Republican Rep. Rick Renzi.

And John McKay, the U.S. attorney in Seattle whose diligence has been praised by judges and lawyers of both parties, was simply ordered to quit last December, for no obvious reason. Although McKay's last evaluation by the Justice Department was excellent, the attorney general insists that all of these curious firings were due to "performance" issues.

I have a feeling we're going to be hearing more from that Griffin hack in the next, oh, say, year and 9 months - wanna bet?


Yesterday I found myself oddly upset and moved by the news of this woman's death. Leave it to the fucking brilliant Cintra Wilson to put her finger on why:
Nothing shows so well how unkind we are, as a society, than the way we report on our falling women. Hollywood has been restless, cruel and itchy, jonesing for a real tragedy. It was getting bored merely humiliating people on "American Idol." Drug-addled Hollywood strumpets like Linsday Lohan, Courtney Love and Nicole Richie have all been on various deathwatch lists for quite some time, and the tabloids have been licking their chops, waiting to be fed a body...

What needs saying -- what it seems nobody has yet said -- is that when she was able to suppress her demons enough to pull herself together and look her best, she was fabulously gorgeous. Numerous red-carpet moments, the footage of which we now run over and over again like a televised rosary in order to understand her death, reveal this. Anna Nicole was a star because she possessed an unusually large amount of beauty... She was indelicate, but an unstable element nonetheless -- not so much a candle in the wind as a bonfire in a hailstorm. But the real similarity between Anna Nicole and Marilyn was their shimmering tension -- an unsettlingly powerful physical beauty, collapsing irresistibly in real time beneath the frailties of its hostess. She was entropy porn at its finest.

Our fascinated gaze was her real addiction -- and the humiliating media tractor pull between our disgust and our attraction for her was, in all likelihood, both her lover and her murderer. Fame, the only chemotherapy available for the desperate toxicity of narcissism, proves once again that it is deadly enough in its own right to be avoided.

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Many Republicans, and Joe Lieberman, have argued in the past, and did again on the Senate floor and in House committee yesterday, that to disagree with the president is to give aid and comfort to the enemy. Which is, by the way, the very definition of treason.

You know who disagrees with them? Only Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who testified before the House Armed Services Committee that "There's no doubt in my mind that the dialogue here in Washington strengthens our democracy. Period."

Oh, and also Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who said that "History is littered with examples of people who underestimated robust debate in Washington D.C. for weakness on the part of America." About the morale of our troops, he said that "As long as this Congress continues to do what it has done, which is to provide the resources for the mission, the dialogue will be the dialogue, and the troops will feel supported." Also, "I think they're sophisticated enough to understand that that's what the debate's really about."

I would go further, of course, and say that it is our president who aids and comforts our enemies, because he gives substance to the very worst assumptions that they make about us, and because his policies increase their ranks and harden their hearts against us.

And I know that there are those who would say that just because we have differences of opinion on policy, and how you implement it, that doesn't mean that BushCo isn't sincere. It doesn't mean that they don't love their country just as much as I do.


They don't love it as much as I do, because I would not put my own personal drama ahead of my country. I would not send men to war, a war I justified with fear and lies, in order to prove that I could do what my daddy could not. I would not sacrifice the lives and the welfare of millions of Americans in order to line my own pockets and the pockets of my buddies. I would not cheat and maneuver to take the office of leader against the will of the people, and then decide it was more work than I was willing to put in, and leave the pieces to fall where they may.

No, they do not love this country like I do. They do not. And I suggest that those yellow ribbon magnet-sporting BushCo supporters stop waving their Patriot Club cards in our faces, because from where I sit it's about time they got their memberships renewed.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

In other breaking news: hot dogs look like wieners

Some critics and bloggers, who are apparently easily upset, and perhaps missing all the attention they got over the whole Nipplegate thing, are complaining to the FCC that during the most recent Superbowl halftime show, Prince "intentionally used his guitar as an inappropriate phallic symbol."

Well, duh.

But what I want to know is, who are these naïve fucktards?

And how is it…

that they’ve survived

into adulthood

without figuring out

that your guitar

IS your dick?

Even my normally modest Spooney has been known to make the “O” face when he rocks it out.

Seriously, if you picture me in place of the guitar in the above photo, you pretty much know what we look like when we have sex.

Sorry, Spooney.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Knock knock. Hoosier?

Megan over at By and By posted a few days ago about Midwestern Literature, and does it even exist as a genre, and what defines it, exactly?

And are people from other regions of the U.S. as shaped by their region as southerners are by theirs? I believe Midwesterners are, although I would say that we don’t proclaim our identity as much as Southerners do, perhaps because we’ve not been asked to justify that identity as much as Southerners have been over the years. The Midwest isn’t considered majestic, or gothic, or rebellious, or bigoted, or inbred, particularly, it’s just considered boring. And in a way, it is, and I’m not just talking about the scenery. True, the people in Minnesota are very different from the people in Indiana (or god forbid, Kansas), but we also do share a kind of regional identity. If you’ve even listened to Garrison Keillor on a Prairie Home Companion you might have some idea what I’m talking about.

I’ve noticed that Southerners are pretty picky about who’s pretending to be a Southerner in the movies. For instance, many southerners quite rightly protested DeNiro’s villain in Cape Fear, mostly because he sounded like he was being played by Foghorn Leghorn. There is a big difference, they will tell you, between an Alabama southern accent and a Louisiana southern accent, and I agree, there is. Frequently though, those same Southerners, when I favor them with my world-famous imitation of my mother (who hails from south-central Nebraska), will tell me that she sounds like Marge, that cop in Fargo. My mother most certainly does not sound like Marge in Fargo, but leave it to a Southerner to not be able to hear the difference.

So all this got me thinking about those things that I consider unique about the Midwest, and why I am, when all is said and done, sort of proud to be from such a place. And I thought that I would tell you readers a story, a true story, see if that doesn’t help me get my point across.

A few years ago, before the death of my stepfather Al, a farmer who succumbed to a mysterious breathing ailment most likely related to a lifetime of handling fertilizers and other chemical poisons, my mother and I were driving down the gravel road that took us from their farm to the closest county road into town. For the better part of a mile, we drove in between the fields Al tended and the fields belonging to Al’s brother, Archie. Both had planted wheat that year.

My mom was glancing across the road toward her brother-in-law’s fields, which were now waist-high with a crop just about ready to be harvested. I didn’t think too much about it at the time, although it was unusual for my mother to take her eyes off the road, as she was very tender-hearted about the rabbits and pheasants and even the field mice that routinely met their deaths under her wheels. The road saw only about ten to fifteen cars a day, and the adjacent wildlife were, I suppose, relatively unschooled in the ways of avoiding them. Also, the groomers hadn’t hit this road in a long time, and the gravel had been pushed into deep furrows, making it a bit more difficult to navigate than usual.

Gravel roads in that part of the Nebraska are narrow, and flanked by ditches to hold the run-off rain, and it is the custom to drive in the middle of the road until a car approaches from the opposite direction. At that time, you must slow down, and cross into the lesser-used right-hand furrows, while the approaching car does the same. Also, at the point when you pass the oncoming car, it is customary to lift your fingers, and only your fingers, from the steering wheel, and give a slight nod of your head to the approaching driver. The person in the oncoming car of course does the same. If the person in the other car doesn’t know you, say perhaps because you are an infrequent visitor to your mother’s farm, they may not return the salute, but that is only part of a natural reticence in the denizens of that area towards strangers, because strangers are so infrequently seen, and you should not take it as an offense. On the other hand, if the oncoming driver doesn’t recognize you, but does recognize your car, because it belongs to your mother and their neighbor, you will be given the benefit of the doubt and, of course, the accompanying salute.

My mother and I had just passed her brother-in-law in his truck on the road between his fields and Al’s, and after she watched him disappear behind a rise in the rear view mirror, she slowly pulled over to the side of road.

“What are you doing?” I said.

Mom didn’t answer but instead put her beige 1988 Riviera into park, and got out, leaving the door open. She crossed the road gingerly in her low-heeled sandals and stepped carefully over the ditch on the opposite side. She then waded into the wheat field, and looked around, shading her eyes with one hand.

I could not for the life of me imagine what could possibly inspire my mother to abandon her vehicle and take to the fields in this way. For all I knew she had decided to fly into town instead.

She returned to the car just moments later holding a shaft of wheat in her hand. She sat down on the car seat with the door still open. She slowly pulled the wheat apart and looked at the kernels in her hand. She pushed one or two of them around with her finger.

“Mom, what ARE you doing?”

Again, she didn’t answer but instead dropped the wheat into the road, pulled her legs into the car and shut the door.


She put the car into drive and eased back into the middle of the road. “Well,” she said with a kind of terse satisfaction, “I don’t know why they’re crying poor this year. That wheat looked pretty good to me.”

It’s difficult to explain to someone not from the Midwest what a quintessentially Midwestern moment it is that I just described. Perhaps I should start with the first rule of being a Midwesterner: Don’t let anyone else know what you’ve got. Midwesterners are judgmental above all else, and if they know you’re doing well, they’re going to wonder why you are being so stingy by, for example, bringing a noodle dish to every single pot luck when you could afford to bring a meat dish. And if you are not doing so well, then why were you just seen buying the expensive quilted toilet paper, when you should be buying the inexpensive Kroger brand, especially since you seem to be too good to clip grocery coupons like everyone else.

So you can’t win. The only thing you can do is deflect attention to someone else (Can you believe the Myers are putting in a swimming pool? A BUILT-IN swimming pool?), or keep them guessing as to what you’ve got. You do this by being noncommittal at all times. If someone asks you how your year is going, and you’re obviously doing well because you have a brand new car in your driveway, you say “Fine.” If someone asks you the same question, and you just had your new car repossessed, you say “Okay.”

Pride is the ultimate sin a Midwesterner can commit, and so praise is properly deflected, not accepted, except if you accept it in the name of the Lord, and even then, don’t be too showy about it. If the juiciness of a Thanksgiving turkey is praised, the proper cook always claims that last year’s turkey was better and she forgot to baste it for nearly an hour and oh, gosh, she doesn’t know where her head was at but thank you. If a shiny new piece of farm equipment is being lauded in envious terms by a neighboring farmer, the owner will be sure to point out that a hitch tends to stick in the cold and they sure don’t make things like the used to.

Pride is never measured in terms that assess its affect on you, but in terms that indicate the degree to which you are attempting to show up your neighbors. My mother, for example, is a genuinely good and gentle woman, and lord knows she is a thousand times more tolerant and open-minded than anyone else in Buffalo County, but I have never heard a statement more dripping with scorn and revulsion than when she told me that Lou Ellen had just worn her best dress to church. Her best dress. I don’t know what Lou Ellen could’ve been thinking. You just don’t do that. You wear your best dress to your daughter’s or son’s wedding. You don’t wear it to church. With all your neighbors there.

Because who do you think you are?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Who will rid me of this meddlesome report?

The American Enterprise Institute, the GENIUSES behind "the surge," is offering $10,000 (plus expenses, natch) to any scientist who writes or speaks to discredit the latest U.N. report on global climate change. 2,500 scientists around the world contributed to the U.N. study, which states that they are 90% sure that climate change is a man-made phenomenon.

The AEI is a close ally of BushCo, and is funded largely by Exxon Mobil.

Meanwhile, on the side of all that is right and good in the world, Al Gore is nominated not only for an Academy Award, but also for a freakin' Nobel Peace Price.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Molly Ivins can't die yet, can she?

First Ann Richards, now Molly Ivins. Texas must be running awfully low on audacity right about now. Also grit, spunk, and heart.

"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."

(quote via The Nation)