Here's A Hand
Not to be played until midnight.
And if you're reading Pajama Guy at midnight, my condolences.
Not to be played until midnight.
The Kennedy Center Honors are fine and all, but there's just something wrong about Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey dressed up and sitting in the President's box, enjoying a rendition of "My Generation."
It's time to go over my predictions for the year. (If any of the other guys made predictions, now would be a good time to look back as well.) I've done okay in the past, but I don't think I saw ahead that clearly this time.
Happy Birthday, Noel "Paul" Stookey, even if you did attend Michigan State University and pledge DU.
It's also Tiger Wood's birthday.
The LA Times recently featured a piece on Malcolm Gladwell and his latest, Outliers (#1 on The New York Times best-seller list), which is the rage of Hollywood. In fact, Gladwell seems to be the guru of choice these days, but has he ever had an insight that wasn't obvious?
[Raul] Castro said Cuban managers need to demand more from their workers, who receive free education and health care and subsidized food rations but on average earn only $20 a month.
The local oldies station, K-Earth, just played the top 5oo songs of all time. Mostly predictable, as well as a sign of what "oldies" means.
Happy birthday, Mary Tyler Moore.
Some people are still claiming the current economic crisis (but not any past boom times) is due to laissez-faire capitalism. As long as such ideas are out there, and even gaining popularity, it's still necessary to write stuff like this.
I've changed my mind. I'm rooting for the Lions today. They're out there today at Lambeau Field, 1 pm EST. They won all their pre-season games, and the Packers are a weak team, so why can't they do it?
In a fairly pointless piece about Barack Obama's smoking on TimesOnline from the UK, the article suddenly turns into an ad:
An assistant of David Copperfield (the magician, not the urchin) was seriously injured during a show. Copperfield's response:
A few weeks ago I noted the people unhappy with Prop 8 should at least appreciate how far things have come. I think this video (it's an excerpt from a longer version no longer available) is a pretty good illustration of that.
The LA City Beat squib review of Bedtime Stories starts thus:
Jesse Walker's top ten lists continue. Now it's 1978. Of his picks, I think The Deer Hunter is overrated, and I can't say I'm a huge fan of The Driver, The Last Waltz or Blue Collar (which does have some good performances), but the rest are interesting.
It's hard to explain exactly what sort of performer Eartha Kitt was. I suppose you have to show it.
Andrew Klavan revives an old tradition with The Advent Reunion. Highly recommended.
Listen to this famous passage:
And best of all, supposedly dead-on accurate.
For those of you celebrate Christmas tonight and tomorrow, have a very merry from a not so frequent poster who resolves to do (and type) better in the coming year.
Just as journalists bemoan the fall of newspapers in general, so do print film critics worry about their profession, figuring its glory days are over.
In "Viva Ned Flanders" The Simpsons revealed--in 1999--that Ned was 60. It turns out his voice, Harry Shearer, has caught up and passed him. The third most important member of Spinal Tap is now 65.
USA Today 's latest editorial is about Obama and smoking.
The latest census stats are in.
In reading my New York Times digest this morning (one of the benefits of being a Sunday subscriber is to get an emailed 9-page digest of the paper every morning- mark my words, they'll be bankrupt any day), I was puzzled by Something. The following sentence appeared in an article referring to the Jets' dying play-off prospects and their apparently ill-advised acquisition of Brett Favre (formatting preserved):
Acquiring him was a win-Maybe you can already see it but I was flummoxed- I know the NYT likes highfalutin prose even in its sports pages, but what exactly did they mean by a "winnow move?" Webster's defines "winnow" as
now move for a team that was not
ready to win now.
" (1) to remove (as chaff) by a current of air (2): to get rid of (something undesirable or unwanted)"which didn't seem to make sense since the move was an acquisition not a disposal. Maybe it was some kind of reference to the Jets' dumping of Chad Pennington, the QB replaced by Favre. However, that doesn't really fit with the rest of the sentence and Pennington is having a great season with the Dolphins so it would be odd to say that without more. Then I thought -well it's a digest, maybe they edited out the supporting commentary .
...to try this against a flagpole in Vermont right now. Go ahead. I dare ya.
I've been dipping into David Thomson's Biographical Dictionary Of Film. With the latest edition almost 1000 pages long, you can't really read it from cover to cover.
House remains one of the most consistently entertaining shows on TV. Still, I wonder if the show is getting tired. They have new arcs each season, some better than others, but this season, after House had trouble with Wilson (that's been taken care of), not he seems ready to start a relationship with Cuddy, the Dean of Medicine.
Here's Jesse Walker's top films of 1988 list. No major complaints--I like most of these films. Here are a few other films of the year that didn't make it:
The University of Chicago has just announced (or the Boston Globe has just noticed) a new policy to permit students of the opposite sex to live together in the same dorm room.
Some people aren't happy with the idea of Caroline Kennedy replacing Hillary Clinton as New York's junior Senator, saying her only qualifcation is her last name. What's the problem? Wasn't that Hillary's qualification as well?
I heard it again, just the other day. An argument I've written about so many times my regular readers are probably tired of it. But I'm still surprised every time I hear it.
Looks like Eddie Murphy (and not Johnny Depp) will be The Riddler in the next Batman movie. Okay, why not?
I just read Geoff Emerick's excellent Here, There And Everywhere. As any Fab Four fan knows, Emerick was the main recording engineer for much of the Beatle's career. It always intrigues me to know what the "suits" thought of artists and entertainers, since we're so used to hearing the story in the other direction. And at stuffy EMI records, they really did have to wear suits--coclor-coded ones in fact--even after everyone else was wearing what they wanted in the pscyhedelic 60s.
At first I didn't think it was possible, but now I'm a believer. The Lions are going to do what no other team has done. They are going to lose every game this season.
Barack Obama's recent press conference was full of the boilerplate one expects at these events. One of the few interesting moments was when he came out in favor of heavier environmental regulation of the automobile industry, and in particular was hoping California would lead the way in regulating even more than the federal government does. And he didn't just claim the cost to consumers would be good for us (actually, he didn't mention the cost to consumers), he claimed it would help the economy.
Dock Ellis (that was his real first name), former pitcher for Pitttsburgh Pirates, has died. Dock Ellis was the pitcher at the first baseball game I ever attended when I was 9. A masterful effort which truly got me hooked on baseball (it helped that the Pirates won the World Series that year). As the first link details, Dock was hooked on other things during his best years making the claim that he pitched a 1970 no-hitter while high on LSD.
The last two weeks, when I watched Saturday Night Live I noticed I couldn't see what they were showing on the right and left of the screen. I could tell beause when they use graphics, they go over the side. I'm guessing they're broadcasting a widescreen show and, for some reason, instead get a TV ratio with letterboxing, I'm not getting the black bands at top and bottom. I wonder if this is happening to anyone else?
I question how much, in the long run, the Fed cutting interest rates to almost zero will help. If things getting worse, what do we do next?
Here's the headline: "California Democrats devise plan to hike taxes."
The one-stop shop for answers to more than half of your relatives' emails.
Majel Barrett has died. (What sort of name is Majel? She's the only Majel I've ever heard of.) Beloved by Star Trek fans, she's probably appeared in more incarnations of the show than anyone else. She was also creator Gene Roddenberry's lover and then wife (which explains how she got all those roles).
No big surprises in the SAG nominations. In the movies, they sure like Doubt, though I'm a bit surprised Philip Seymour Hoffman is nominated as a supporting actor. Maybe it was the easiest place to put him.
So OPEC is making a deep cut in production, but oil prices keep dropping. Let's hope the trend of us paying less and OPEC getting less continues for a long time.
New England Guy asks way down in the comments of a post on "I Am Woman":
At the end of the year, my friend Jesse Walker makes top ten lists from previous decades. Here's his list for 1998.
The number one grossing film of all time in England? Mamma Mia.
Every year they recalibrate American Idol. It's the biggest hit on TV, but I guess they want to keep it fresh. Few changes have actually improved it.
“Due to the continued lack of consumer credit for the American car buyer and the resulting dramatic impact it has had on overall industry sales in the United States, Chrysler LLC announced that it will make significant adjustments to the production schedules of its manufacturing operations. In doing so, the Company will keep production and dealer inventory aligned with U.S. market demand. In response, the Company confirmed that all Chrysler manufacturing operations will be idled at the end of the shift Friday, Dec. 19, and impacted employees will not return to work any sooner than Monday, Jan. 19, 2009. [emphasis added]
Chrysler dealers confirmed to the Company at a recent meeting at its headquarters, that they have many willing buyers for Chrysler, Jeep® and Dodge vehicles but are unable to close the deals, due to lack of financing. The dealers have stated that they have lost an estimated 20 to 25 percent of their volume because of this credit situation.
The Company will continue to monitor the production schedules of its manufacturing operations moving forward.”
Two thoughts: One, I don't imagine they could do much worse if they went through a forced restructuring and Two, aren't we glad that we gave all that money to banks so that they could, you know, lend it out?
Lisa Schwarzbaum, Entertainment Weekly:
After a contest to name the Illinois Governor Rod Blagoveich pay-me-for- a-Senate-seat-scandal, Slate has awarded the above moniker to the scandal. I have to admit, its not too bad but not too exciting. I enjoy entering these contests but can't complain here because my entry was fairly lame (something about endless bad hair days). I did like one of the runners-up- "Pay-Rod" but I guess that would only make sense to baseball and Madonna fans and unintentionally suggests a connection to male prostitution. (Disclosure- I have been entering these type of contests for years but only have two runner-up commendations to show for it, both cartoon captions dealing with local Boston issues, however I am hopeful on the latest Letterman top 10 contest)
In an AICN talkback about the top ten films of the year, we get a pretty good list:
Most recaps of the final episode of the "Villains" chapter of Heroes were not that positive, but I kind of liked it. I mean considering how ridiculous everything has been up to now, putting a tight lid on things (by trashing a lot of previous episodes) and moving forward gives me hope.
The Coleman-Franken post-election brouhaha seems eerily familiar. Just like Florida in 2000, the Republican was ahead after the original vote and, though it got closer, still ahead after the conventional recount. Meanwhile, there were challenges on both sides and then the Democrat demanded the vote continue beyond where it normally stops, with only certain types of votes counted, and others ignored. Then the Republican sued to, in essence, stop the vote.
In Dennis Prager's column about how minorities should feel shame as well as pride, we find this:
It only takes about 3 tries to get it right, and 4 to have the shoe go straight through his head. No interesting "FATALITY!" graphics or sounds, like a good ol' game of Mortal Kombat. And having a numeric scale for each of the settings makes it too easy to replicate your results. In sum, I give it an F.
According to researchers, British researchers no less, watching romantic comedies can ruin your love life .
Fred Armisen played New York's blind governor David Paterson on SNL. Turns out the Guv and his people weren't amused.
LA is cold and rainy. Anywhere else that would be unpleasant, but here it's such a nice change of pace.
I said I'd like to hear Rush Limbaugh's response to Colin Powell's attack. Well, here it is.
El Coyote is about a mile from where I live. It's known for mid-range Mexican, and is always packed in the evenings. Until recently, anyway.
How about voting via cellphone? That convenient enough for you to bother voting? Note that the technology is still limited enough that you'll need to make a physical trip to get a chip. And yeah, that's just what we need, a government-issued chip. On second thought, I'll keep pulling my lever behind the curtain, thanks.
It recently hit me, at least half the surviving main characters on Heroes we've had reason to believe, at one time or another, were dead. This is just too much. Occasionally, a character surviving what looks like the end is fine, but when it becomes routine? Boy....wolf?
One of our Constitution's lesser-known amendments is the Seventeeth, which requires that Senators be elected by popular vote. One of the lesser-known sections of this amendment is it also allows state legislatures to empower the governor to appoint an interim senator if there's a vacancy.
I'm not too impressed by the first throw, but am really surprised he got off the second one before the Secret Service guys got in front of the President. Say what you will about him, GWB still has pretty good reflexes for an old guy.
In Todd McCarthy's pan of The Day The Earth Stood Still, we get this:
It looks like Detroit's two papers, the News and the Free Press, may soon be offering abbreviated versions and not delivering daily. Print journalism is in trouble, but the point of a paper is daily, dependable service of a quality good. If they don't offer what makes them unique, it'll be that much easier to remove them from our lives.
Steven Soderbergh, talking up his film Che, says:
The plots of My Name Is Earl are often surprisingly labyrinthine. Each episode has Earl trying to cross a former bad deed off his list. His first attempt usually fails in some way and he has to come up with a deeper solution. But this week's "Orphan Earl" might have been the most complex half hours I've ever seen, with one long con counteracting another.
Since it appears Governor Blagojevich had contact with someone representing Barack Obama, there's intense speculation as to who it was. Many feel it was Rahm Emanuel, who knew Blago, and had even taken over his House seat.
Van Johnson has died. Made a ton of films, mostly in the 40s and 50s. He was a genial enough presence on screen, and reasonably versatile, but not really my kind of movie star.
Looks like Jay Leno will have a five-night-a-week gig on NBC at ten. Suddenly, their prime time schedule seems a lot less interesting. I hope this isn't a taste of things to come elsewhere.
In January, House will be on Mondays at 8. This suggests three things. 1) Get out of the way, American Idol is coming. 2) The Sarah Connor Chronicles is in trouble. 2) I'll have to decide between House and The Big Bang Theory. (And with the switchover coming in February, soon I won't be able to pull the old mini TV with rabbit ears out so I can watch one and record the other.)
This is a paraphrase of what someone told me. Essentially, there's gonna be a bailout anyway. If this Congress doesn't do it, a more heavily Democrat Congress with a new President will do it next year. Get it done now and you'll end up with a more even-handed deal,
Lately on 30 Rock they've been giving Liz and Jack the A-story while Tracy gets shunted off to a less entertaining subplot. In the pilot, it seemed the main axis of the show would be harried headwriter of The Girlie Show Liz Lemon dealing with crazy new star Tracy Jordan. Meanwhile, network exec Jack Donaghy might occassionally drop by and crack the whip. But it turned out that Jack and Liz were the far more compelling couple.
This morning a headline link caught my eye on boston.com "Ashley Olsen Is At the CIA" I didn't have to time to check it out but I thought, "cool, maybe they're trying for a bizarro Bond-girl-type appeal."
As day follows night . . . Clothing for the "principled" tee shirt wearer.
Last night I was switching back and forth between Letterman and Leno, who were hosting, respecitvely, Amy Adams and Kate Beckinsale. Then Michael Sheen, star of Frost/Nixon (who, by the way, dated Kate Beckinsale for years, lucky guy) came on Letterman. I'm always interested to hear what Paul Shaffer plays, since it always is a pun on the guest. I was guessing they'd play up that Sheen is playing David Frost, and try something like "The Christmas Song"--"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire/ Jack Frost nipping at your nose." Instead, they sandbagged me with "Ohio"--"Tin Soldiers and Nixon's coming/ We're finally on our own."
The picks from the New York Film Critics Circle are in, and I'm glad to see, if you look at the other critics' awards, there are no clear front runners in practically any category. Keeps things exciting.
A lot of people are insulted by the photo of Obama's (overrated) speechwriter Jon Favreau cupping the imaginery breast of a cardboard cutout of Hillary Clinton.
I thought the latest episode of Heroes was the best of the season. Not that it was great, but at least it wasn't hopeless. In fact, if you forgot about the last two seasons and pretended the characters have been acting consistently and rationally in the past, there were some pretty good scenes. Here's my analysis. There will be spoilers.
Two remarkably similar programs have recently appeared, Under The Influence on TCM and Spectacle on the Sundance Channel. They're both one-on-one talk shows, where an artist discusses his influences, interspersed with clips. And both are hosted by an Elvis.
Pretty bizarre best film choice for the LA critics: Wall-E? I wouldn't even name it best cartoon.
Steven Soderbergh's allegedly troubled two-part production Che will be opening in LA soon to qualify for the Oscars. If it's as bad as Todd McCarthy suggested in Variety, it'll need some awards to get anyone to come.
Another story about liberals being disenchanted with Obama's picks. It's all rather silly.
Harry Knowles did a great thing in 1996 when he created Ain't It Cool News, a fun place for fanboys to hang out and hear the latest. There were just two problems with the Head Geek--he had no taste and he couldn't write.
David Horowitz is castigating the nutty conservatives who claim Obama wasn't born on American soil and therefore can't become President. That's all very well and good, but he goes too far:
The WGA nominations are pretty good. I like how they nominated the episode of My Name Is Earl entitled "Vote for This and I Promise to Do Something Crazy at the Emmys." But I can't say I'm thrilled at their choice of the Eli Stone pilot.
To add "bike there" to the Google Maps options. Thanks.
Bryan Fuller will return as a writer on Heroes. I wasn't a fan of his Pushing Daisies, but this has to be a good thing.
A lot of people are talking about Bill Ayers' editorial in The New York Times, but it really doesn't add anything new to the debate. It merely reminds us, in case we forgot, that Ayers is an unrepentant terrorist.
The DC film critics have spoken, and certain favorites are becoming clear. Well, one. Slumdog Millionaire seems to be the film everyone likes.
One of my favorite movie lines comes from Clockwise, a little-seen John Cleese film: "I can take the despair. It's the hope I can't stand."
My kind of guy:
Ball celebrated his 98th birthday Nov. 14 by visiting with Jack Nicklaus at The Bear's Club in Jupiter, Fla. Ball had never met Nicklaus, who won The Masters a record six times.
Ball hit some shots for Nicklaus, and the two talked about the golf swing to a group of students from The First Tee...Ball became a PGA member in 1931, and he remains an active teacher. He likes to work the lesson tee in the mornings at Willoughby Golf Club in Stuart, Fla., and then play about nine holes of golf in the afternoon.
Asked the secret to his longevity he said, "Have a good wife, and drink a couple of Scotches every night."
I don't think I've read a review of Milk yet where the critic doesn't mention the failure of Proposition 8 somewhere. But I think they're seeing the glass of milk as half empty. Okay, maybe homosexual rights haven't advanced as fast as hoped, but isn't it still pretty amazing how far they've come?
I received a menu for Hong Kong Bistro in my mailbox. It's one of those places that offer Chinese food and sushi. Isn't that a bit like offering Italian and Mexican?