Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Linda Ronstadt, Victim

Gov. Jerry Brown of California signed legislation on Sunday that explicitly requires colleges and universities that receive state funds to define consent in students’ sexual encounters in terms of "yes means yes" rather than the traditional "no means no."

In other words, explicit consent is required all along the way.  This is part of a national movement.  But before our governor signed the bill, I wish I could have asked him a question or two.

1)  Under this standard, how many rapes have you have committed in your life?

2)  If you've committed more than, say, a hundred, should we really be listening to a multiple rapist?

Actually, I think the law doesn't go far enough.  Rather than requiring men to get consent, take them out of the picture completely, and require women to make every move, getting the consent of the male as they go along.  Then for sure we'd know where we stand.

Rockin' Rollin' Bolan

Marc Bolan of T. Rex died in a car crach before he was 30, but here we are, decades later, still listening.  Happy birthday.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Ace reporting

The local paper somewhat naively (disingenuously?) asks whether Cordray could be on the AG list.

Good lord yes. He'd be a great choice for the Dems and the Dems' view of the country, and it would give him a pretty significant leg up on his future political ambitions.

In fact it's hard to imagine a better choice. Big Sis? Please.

Satisfaction, Justice and the American Way

LAGuy notes he has (implicitly, an overwhelming majority of) friends who are upset about corporations being "persons." (It goes without saying that their misanthropy extends only to disfavored corporations, not favored ones.)

What a marker, to be upset about a corporation being a "person." What do they think, that judges and shareholders think it has veins?

I suppose robots will be a help in this regard. We can center anthropomorphization on the robot, then blow the robot up after it tearfully apologizes to everyone and says it loves Big Brother. It can be a reality show sponsored by CT Corporation.

Clearly, the press and the people who find this an issue won't have the attention span to recognize that those single "corporations" they hate so are dozens and hundreds of corporations. It will be all the more satisfying to blow them up again.

Satire Is What Plays On Saturday Night

Saturday Night Live had its 40th season premiere over the weekend.  What started as a revolution has long since become an institution.  The particular episode, hosted by star of the moment Chris Pratt, was fairly weak.  There were a few laughs, but most of the bits weren't great in concept or execution.

It's become a strange tradition--the weak premiere.  I can't remember the last one I thought was top-notch. You'd think having all summer to come up with funny ideas, the first show would feature the best of the best, but for some reason it always seems like everyone comes back rusty and needs a while to get back into it. (Not that the average episode of SNL is that great, but they usually manage to put it together at least a few times per season.)

In The Hollywood Reporter, reviewer Ken Tucker had something odd to add:

In general, SNL continues to suffer from a wobbly point of view when it addresses political issues — its foolish insistence on trying to be evenhanded in hitting Democratic and Republican targets looks cowardly in the Stewart-Colbert era...

SNL is a rare political humor show that isn't anti-Republican all the time, and that apparently rankles Tucker.  They have the nerve to occasionally puncture Democrats, so they're "wobbly." Actually, as of late, SNL has mostly been a branch of the Obama administration, but they did make mild sport of the President in one bit, so I guess Tucker burst a blood vessel. His idea of good satire is to have his prejudices catered to and his definition of  "cowardly" comedy is that which challenges his beliefs.


Happy birthday, Tommy Boyce.  He was one-half of the songwriting team Boyce and Hart, best  known for the tunes they created for the Monkees.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

This Is Where I Hate You

Calum Marsh gives a thumbs down to This Is Where I Leave You in an LA Weekly squib.  Fair enough. It's a pretty wan effort, and the critics haven't been kind.  But Marsh goes too far:

Its subject, perhaps unintentionally, is the inexhaustible narcissism of affluent white people, who here mope and moan their way through various breakups and infidelities. Rich people, the film suggests, suffer the same indignities in romance as the rest of us. Fair enough, but you may find it rather more difficult to extend your sympathies to Bateman's heartbroken cuckold when he begins cruising through the suburbs in his luxury convertible.

[....] you have to wonder about the social myopia of a millionaire who feels compelled to bemoan his hardships at feature length. And anyway, who, exactly, is the audience for a movie that so openly lionizes one obnoxious family's wealth?

I do agree that a lot of whining is a bad thing in a movie.  If the characters' problems are all internal, you just want to shake them and say pull yourself together and imagine you're in a Howard Hawks film. But where's all this hostility coming from?

First, it didn't strike me that the family in the film was that wealthy.  The patriarch who brings the family together when he dies owned, as far as I can tell, a mid-sized sporting goods store in a small town in upstate New York.  This is not a recipe for riches.  Even if the oldest brother has built it into a small chain this doesn't exactly put them in Zuckerberg country.  The house where they sit shiva is a colonial in the suburbs, not a mansion.

None of the adult kids seemed to be doing especially well (though Tina Fey's husband might be pretty successful, it's hard to tell). In fact, two of the four seem to be out of a job.  Is Marsh so choked with hatred against affluent white people (other races can be as rich as they want, I guess) that he can't pay attention to the plot?  By the way, the luxury convertible is not Bateman's.

But let's say they're rich.  Why should that matter?  All it means is they don't have to worry about money.  Most romances and romantic comedies and other similar genres have characters who don't spend too much time thinking about money.  Sure, that's one potential problem you can throw in, but guess what--trouble with relationships can happen even when you have plenty, and there's no need to qualify this in a drama, as incredible as it may seem to Marsh.

There is one problem in the film, however, that almost no one complains about outside movies: Jason Bateman has two beautiful women (Rose Byrne and Abigail Spencer) throwing themselves at him.  Now there's something that's hard for most guys to sympathize with.

Born Naphtali

Happy birthday, Tuli Kupferberg, a founder, singer and songwriter of 60s rock band the Fugs--a euphemism for a word you couldn't say in public back then.  Kupferberg was also a poet, publisher, anarchist and all-around member of the counterculture. (What happens when the counterculture becomes the culture?  Do you become a member of the establishment, or find new things to protest?)

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Check This Out

I recently got an order of checks from my banking institution.  Included inside the package was a small slip of paper stating:

Per California Proposition 65:

WARNING:  This checkbook cover contains chemicals, including DEHP, known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm

1)  Beyond being vaguely nervous, what am I supposed to do with this information?

2)  Thank goodness we passed Prop 65 to pass on such important data.  Think of all those deaths and ruined pregnancies because of people who weren't cautious enough with their checkbook cover.  Money well spent.

3)  The State of California knows things?  All my friends are driven crazy by the notion that a corporation is a person, but they never seem to have trouble with the idea that the state we live in has its own agency.

Days Of Passed Future

I was reading some of Roger Ebert's old reviews when I came upon an interesting sentence. It's from his look at Ten From Your Show Of Shows, a collection of sketches from the 1950s variety show released in theatres in 1973:

Today it would seem impossible to do a weekly 90-minute live comedy program in front of an audience; in 1950, they did it because there wasn't any other way to do it.

We can't expect Roger to be clairvoyant, but he sure seems pretty confident in his opinion.  Of course, he'd be proved wrong in a couple years when a weekly 90-minute live comedy program in front of an audience called Saturday Night Live debuted.

Friday, September 26, 2014

LA Gal

Happy birthday, country singer Lynn Anderson.

O To The N-J

Happy birthday, Olivia-Newton John.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

On Whose Authority?

Pope Francis has been speaking out against Islamic extremists, claiming that using their religion to justify violence as they do is wrong. "Authentic religious spirit is being perverted by extremist groups" he says:

All believers must be particularly vigilant so that, in living out with conviction our religious and ethical code, we may always express the mystery we intend to honor. This means that all those forms which present a distorted use of religion must be firmly refuted as false [...]

I'm glad the Pope is speaking out in this way, trying to use his influence against what is a serious problem.  But why does he think anyone should listen? The President of Venezuela is free to speak out against American foreign policy, but we're free to ignore him.  I dare say Muslims who support terror feel even less attachment to the Catholic Church.

The Pope speaks as if there's a general, agreed-upon thing called religion which has rules everyone must follow, rather than specific religions each with rules of their own--indeed, separate religions that are mutually exclusive.  The Pope is an authority on his own religion (and even there I'm sure many Catholics disagree with him), but how does he have any authority to tell other religions how to act?  If he wants to say other religions are false I can understand that, but to seemingly accept these religions and then interpret what they mean I don't quite get.


One of the premiere song stylists of our time turns 65 today.  Happy birthday, Anson Williams.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hump Music

I liked the band Wednesday Week the first time I heard them.  The group was formed by the Callan sisters, Kristi and Kelly, but I don't know their birthdays.  It is Wednesday, however, so this'll have to do.

Lovely Linda

Happy birthday, Linda McCartney.  She died too young.

In the 60s, she was a photographer, doing fine work snapping shots of many rock artists.  That's how she met Paul McCartney.  She clicked and they clicked.  They were married in 1969--her second marriage, his first.

He decided she should be part of the band.  Paul couldn't understand why people didn't accept her.  It's like this, Paul.  She's your wife, and if you want her around, that's your business.  But if we come to see your show, we expect professional entertainment.

Okay, she wasn't the greatest singer.  But I've always had a fondness for the song she got to sing on Wings At The Speed Of Sound:

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