Friday, October 24, 2014

It's been a rough year--but things are looking up!

So LAGuy's recent musings led me to wonder how Christopher Lloyd was doing,
and I was shocked to find out how much money he's made. I'm happy for him.

Then today I wondered how Timothy Hutton was doing, and that led me to Timothy Olyphant, another favorite, and come to find out he's doing pretty well, too.

All I can say is, I'm looking forward to the election. I get the feeling we're all going to be happy. (If you can't read the text, both have been selected as People's 2014 Highest Paid Actor, both have had a rough year, both can take comfort in their millions, and both of them seemed to have careers that were dead until a surprise turn around. And their closest competitor is tens of millions behind them in income. What I most want to know is, is the cover picture automated?)

Mama, Look, A Boo Boo

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the series Here Comes Honey Boo Boo may not be renewed by TLC as June Shannon, the mother in the reality show, is allegedly involved with a convicted child molester.

I was taken aback.  I've never watched the show, but, as it's become part of our culture, I'm vaguely familiar with it.  If I'm not mistaken, it's about the adventures of a trashy southern family.  And the trashier it gets, the more TLC likes it.  (TLC stands for The Learning Channel--it's come a long way.)

So what's the problem?  Can't the mom date who she wants?  And if he's got a checkered past, doesn't that fit the concept even better?  What's more, the guy's done his time.  Will he and everyone who associates with him continue to be punished?

I won't be watching Here Comes Honey Boo Boo in any case, but my guess is after several seasons the ratings are on a downward slope, and this is either a negotiating tactic or a way of easing the show off the air.

PS  It's official, the show has been canceled.


Happy 70th, Ted Templeman, who started as a musician and singer and then become one of the top record producers around.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hi Time

It's the autumnal equinox.  That seems as good a day as any to enjoy some music from The Hi-Lo's.

Back To Black

Could it be? Yes, it's the birthday of Pauline Black, lead singer of The Selecter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Furious Reaction

Amy Nicholson, in her review of the WWII film Fury, writes this (minor spoilers):

In trying to say that death is both noble and pointless, Fury makes the fatal mistake of so many war movies: It divides up the battlefield so that our deaths are lofty and the enemies' deaths mean nothing.

1)  War films, and indeed any action films, can choose to have antagonists such that you don't mind that much when they die.  Or not. It's an artistic choice.  It's not a mistake, much less a fatal one, that we care more about the main characters than others.

2)  This is World War II.  Pardon me for not being post-modern enough to think the death of a Nazi is as bad as the death of an American.  Yes, I know, they loved their families, they listened to music, they had dogs, etc.  So what?

3)  It's weird that Nicholson would attack this film for this "flaw" since it goes out of its way to deal with the question.  There's a lot of stuff about how you have to harden your heart and kill mercilessly or people on your side will die.  Then there are scenes of sympathy for the situation the Germans are in, forced by leaders to fight even when they know it's over.  The movie even makes us feel bad about how some of the Germans die.  So what did Nicholson want?  For writer-director David Ayer to give us thirty minutes of background scenes showing the life stories of the German soldiers who march in during the final act so we'll care as much about them as we do about the characters we've been following the whole way through?

I'm Not That Sleepy

Today is the birthday of Christopher Lloyd (the actor), so let's talk about him.

Sometimes reruns of older shows will cut bits to make more room for commercials.  I don't like it in any case, but I really hate it when they cut something I remember and was hoping to see. Case in point, "Elegant Iggy" from Taxi, one of my favorite episodes, and, as it happens, a fan favorite as well.

Here's how it now appears:

I wasn't the only one to notice something missing. Here's a comment on YouTube from a "Jeffrey Sundwall":

I remember seeing this episode (I think) and at the very end Jim, Elaine, and perhaps the hostess of the party are standing around the piano singing something like "too tired to sleep and too much in love to go home". Am I dreaming or is this from a different episode.

You are correct, Jeffrey.  After the Chopin, the show cuts to later, with everyone more informal, standing around the piano and having a good time.  Jim is playing "Two Sleepy People" and, if I recall, the woman who earlier tried to steal him from Elaine is coming on hard.  He sings "and too much in love to say goodnight" and then looks at her and says goodnight.

Okay, the point is made that Iggy surprises Elaine and helps her out, but that extra bit, that grace note, works for both comedy and plot reasons.  Cut the catheter commercial instead.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Two weeks to go till the election.  Have things changes since l last looked?

Yes, but oddly, in both directions.  For instance, a few weeks ago I thought it looked like three easy pickups in open states for the GOP, but now that seems to be two.  On the other hand, New Hampshire, which seemed unlikely for Republicans, now seems possible. The big questions are still turnout and trends.  At this point it's unlikely the polls will change much (and there's so much early voting anyway), but so many states are close that a percentage or two in either direction could make the difference.

So the question becomes how accurate are the polls.  In the past couple elections, they've been overrating Republican chances.  The question is have pollsters taken their mistakes into account. (One improvement they allegedly need to make is in who they call--it used to be all landlines, which favors conservatives.)

Here's what conventional wisdom is saying (and even CW admits most of these are close): Republicans pick up seats in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia.  The fail to pick them up in Michigan, North Carolina and North Dakota. They hold on to Kentucky and Mississippi but may lose Georgia and Kansas.

That would mean the GOP takes back the Senate.  But if they underperform (which is the same as the Democrats overperforming--and the real question may be how well the Dems get out the vote), as they have been lately, they won't take it back.  Which is why I still find it hard to give the Republicans a better than even chance to do it.

So I put the odds of the GOP winning the Senate at just below 50%. Isn't that great?  It means whatever happens, I pretty much called it.

They Don't Sing 'Em Like That Any More

Happy birthday, Harry Stewart, better known as Yogi Yorgesson.  He was a performer in an age when comic dialects were widespread, and I think he was the best comic Swede out there.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Happy birthday Calvin Broadus, Jr., aka Snoop Doggy Dogg aka Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion.

(I'm sorry, but "my mind on my money and my money on my mind" is a stupid line.)


Let's say goodbye to Tim Hauser, founder of the Manhattan Transfer.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Taking The Black

Even with a new TV season upon us, I've been binge-watching old shows. For instance, just caught up with the first two seasons of Orphan Black. For a while I've been hearing critics say it's an outrage that star Tatiana Maslany has not been nominated for best lead actress in a drama, and now I understand.  No matter what else you think of the show, it's a real tour de force for her.

Orphan Black starts with protagonist Sarah Manning seeing a woman who looks just like her at a train station--and then having the woman jump in front of a train.  Sarah steals her purse and the mystery begins. She discovers her doppelganger is a detectivbe, and hopes to make some much-needed money by taking her place, but soon finds herself involved in a world where she has numerous clones.  The more she discovers, the more the conspiracy grows, and the more dangerous it becomes.

The show, then, is a mystery-thriller, with a sci-fi bent and some farce thrown in built around all those clones. Maslany plays numerous characters, including troubled Sarah Manning, button-down suburban housewife Alison, scientist Cosima and crazed killer Helena.  Sometimes these characters even impersonate one another, yet Maslany makes each character a separate creation.  For that matter, they often interact, and Maslany is believable on both ends.

There are other characters, or course, such as Felix, Sarah's foster brother (they're both British and the show is from BBC America, so it took a while for me to understand it takes place in America (and is shot in Canada)), Art, the partner of the one who killed herself, Paul, an ex-mercenary who lived with Beth, Delphine, Cosima's co-worker and many others.

The show is fun, though I liked the first season better than the second.  Discovering what's going on was fun, but in the second season, though plenty is still not known, things are more out in the open, and the characters have a better understanding of what's happening.  Thus the show turned from a fascinating mystery to a more by-the-books thriller.  Also, I find Helena one of the more tiresome characters, but she won't seem to go away.

Anyway, the third season is starting next year, and I'll be watching.

Double Day

Today is the 70th birthday of Peter Tosh and the 80th birthday of Dave Guard, founding member of the Kingston Trio. Neither are around to celebrate--both died young, in fact--but we are, so let's enjoy it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Believe It Or Not, I Am Still Talking About Fight Club

Joshua Rothman has an essay in The New Yorker about the real meaning of Gone Girl.  It's not much of a piece so I wouldn't worry about it. But there was one bit that got my attention. He compares Gone Girl to another David Fincher film, Fight Club.  Then he starts a paragraph with this:

There’s a reason, of course, why the first rule of Fight Club is not to talk about Fight Club.

This got me excited.  The way he puts it, I figured it's not just a "a" reason, but "the" reason.  Here it is:

It’s that the lurid core of our imaginative lives is best kept secret.

Oh.  This is the kind of aesthetic/psychological cliché that makes his piece weak to begin with. Sure, if you want to write a term paper on the movie, and force symbolism and deeper meaning on everything in it, you can conclude this and a thousand other things.

But if you want to know the real reason you do not talk about Fight Club, I'll tell you. It's because Fight Club is extremely illegal, and if word gets around, you and the others participating will be thrown in jail.

For A Song

I recently watched a rerun of an old comedy which featured a World War I veteran.  With World War II so far in the past, we hardly ever talk about WWI.  This year was the 100th anniversary, and I don't remember too much discussion (while anniversaries of D-Day are still a big deal).

So let's stop a bit and think about The Great War, which as much as anything created the world we live in.

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