Tuesday, September 30, 2014

If politics is Hollywood for ugly people, what is being a CEO?

Who knows what to make of someone who finds it important to do this to their face. Even pay handsomely for it, so to speak.

He's probably pretty happy right now, because he's engaged in battle. He was all set to have a cushy settlement approved, and the lawyers were all set to collect a handsome fee, and the judge said no, too cushy.

Who knew the federal judiciary was disturbing its slumbers?

This happens to be a particularly good judge. I've seen him in action. But the article says the courts are examining settlements for collusion. I don't believe it. If it's an actual focus, they're examining it for the right collusion.

Too bad they weren't so alert for the tobacco suits and other fraudulent actions by our AG's.

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 crash 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.

TB

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.

AW

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:


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Shonda For Shonda

Shonda Rhimes is a highly successful TV producer of shows (Grey's Anatomy, Scandal) I don't watch.  She was recently the subject of an article in The New York Times by TV critic Alessandra Stanley that started:

When Shonda Rhimes writes her autobiography, it should be called “How to Get Away With Being an Angry Black Woman.”

It goes without saying the piece was positive...or meant to be, anyway.  This being the Times, in fact, it was filled with boilerplate liberal groveling:

[Rhimes has] introduced a set of heroines who flout ingrained television conventions and preconceived notions about the depiction of diversity.

[....] Ms. Rhimes has embraced the trite but persistent caricature of the Angry Black Woman, recast it in her own image and made it enviable. She has almost single-handedly trampled a taboo even Michelle Obama couldn’t break.

Stanley even goes out of her way to attack a conservative to prove she's down with the Sisters.  But that phrase, "Angry Black Woman." Ugh!

Predictably, there's been a backlash.  Several articles have attacked the piece and the Times even published a letter calling for Stanley's dismissal.  In addition, many Hollywood figures have come to Rhimes' defense.  Recently, Times editor Margaret Sullivan responded:

There are some big questions here – about diversity, about editing procedures and about how The Times deals with stories about women and race. They are worth exploring in depth.

[....] The readers and commentators are correct to protest this story. Intended to be in praise of Ms. Rhimes, it delivered that message in a condescending way that was – at best – astonishingly tone-deaf and out of touch.

I don't know if the issues this piece raises are worth exploring in depth.  I quite agree the phrase was tone deaf, but it was just a trick (the first line is a takeoff of Rhimes' new show How To Get Away With Murder) that failed.  Stanley was using it to catch your attention, to take a cliché and turn it inside out. But she couldn't expect to get that far--the phrase itself is out of place, and therefore playing on it doesn't make much of a point.  Mindlessly calling a person, or a group, angry when that's not their essence--even if the reason the article exists is to show there's so much more--is no way to make a point, and certainly no way to endear yourself to your readers.

Still Running

Believe it or not, Bruce Springsteen turns 65 today.  But the Boss ain't retiring. He's still out there rocking.












Monday, September 22, 2014

Buy low, sell high

"It can be difficult for readers to distinguish between good information and distracting nonsense."

Our intrepid blogger also believes in data, thinks competition takes away all the money and people lie to themselves, and that writing and reading make you a better writer and thinker. I guess he's three times better than PajamaGuy, having just celebrated his 30,000th posting, for which he is apparently paid, at least in advertising.

No More Acting

Eric The Actor is dead.  He was probably the most popular of the Wack Pack--the group of odd people who called in regularly to the Howard Stern radio show.

He first appeared in 2002, complaining about how unfair it was for the show to call American Idol contestant Kelly Clarkson unattractive.  It turned out Eric was a dwarf with an odd, halting voice and a nasty attitude--perfect for the Stern show.  He became a regular, and at first was known as Eric The Midget.  But that changed when he made his aspirations known.

Eric had no known talent, except being ill-tempered, but he thought he could make it as an actor.  And with the connections the Stern show offered, he got some roles. The funny thing was even though he wasn't exactly in demand, he'd refuse point blank to play certain parts, especially gay characters.

That was what was most fun about him.  You'd think he'd be thrilled at all the exposure the show gave him, but he was generally angry, swearing at any slight, real or imagined.

He also had a wish list of over a thousand items at Amazon.com.  And apparently fans bought him some of the stuff.  Not that he was ever grateful.

He'd always had medical issues, so--not unlike the early departure of another wack packer, Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf, who also died at 39--you could sort of see it coming.  Still, his death is a shock.  Just yesterday I listened to a replay his first call. It'll be weird not to have any more to look forward to.




The BOS

Happy birthday, William O. Smith.  A 20th century classical composer and jazz performer, his work explored what a clarinet could do, often going beyond conventional expectations.






Sunday, September 21, 2014

Sets And Violence

Boardwalk Empire is in its fifth and final season for HBO.  It was introduced with a lot of hoopla--created by Terence Winter of The Sopranos, directed by Martin Scorsese, set in Atlantic City at the dawn of Prohibition, with a huge, expensive set recreating the Boardwalk.  Now that it's ending, the fifth season jumps years ahead to the end of Prohibition.

The show never became the hit HBO hoped for, one that might replace The Sopranos. It wasn't a water cooler show, like Breaking Bad. (Both those hopes would be fulfilled by Game Of Thrones.)  For all the money and talent they threw at it, it never really happened.

The show never gained its footing.  It had a ton of characters, but it never quite seemed to be about anything. In fact, each new season introduced more people, as if the show were flailing about hoping that something might catch, but all it ever amounted to was well-done period detail and lots of killing.

I stopped watching regularly after the first season, but would tune in for a few episodes every now and then to see if anything had changed.  Well, it did change, it just never cohered.  Maybe it's pointless to attack a show already on the way out, but all I can say is it's too bad.  The idea was good, and the people were talented--Boardwalk Empire was a missed opportunity.

Have Some Faith

Happy birthday, Faith Hill.  Even people like me who don't follow country too closely know her stuff.










Saturday, September 20, 2014

Only three felonies a day?

Downblousing is a crime? Upskirting, possibly so tasteless and juvenile, why not (although I do like the cut of that judge's jib), but downblousing? What's Hollywood going to do?

God Bless Texas. It might save us yet.

The High Cost Of A Reputation

I caught The High Cost Of Loving, a 1958 dramatic comedy starring Jose Ferrer and Gena Rowlands.  It's a minor film about a low-level executive, stuck in a rut at his company, who's worried he's about to be let go.

What intrigued me, however, was the cast, which features Richard Deacon, Nancy Kulp, Jim Backus, Edward Platt and Werner Klemperer.  To those of you who are fans of 60s sitcoms, that's Mel Cooley of The Dick Van Dyke Show, Miss Hathaway of The Beverly Hillbillies, Thurston Howell III of Gilligan's Island, Chief of Get Smart and Colonel Klink of Hogan's Heroes.

All of them played characters who were in positions of authority, more or less.  But it was hard to see them as anything but their sitcom incarnations.  This isn't the only 50s film where this happens. Notably, in Rebel Without A Cause you've got Jim Backus and Ed Platt amongst all the brooding. But I've never seen so many in one place.

The Best Things In Life Are Relative

Here's an interesting piece in The Washington Post entitled "How much $100 is really worth in every state".  It's a map from the Tax Foundation, based on government data, telling you the relative worth of your money.  (Actually, I bet the differences are more stark if you want to buy a house.  For what a so-so ranch costs a few blocks from me you could get a mansion in a lot of the country.)


So my hundred bucks in California (it doesn't break it down by state regions, but it's probably only worse in Los Angeles) is worth $88.57.  In Illinois, where I used to live, it's $99.40.  In Michigan, where I grew up, it's worth $105.93.  I'm moving in the wrong direction.

You want your money to go far?  Try the golden triangle of Arkansas, Mississippi and Alabama.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Money, Television and Bullshit

"Only 36 percent of Americans can name three branches of government"

Truly a parliament of whores.

Wave

Some people think 2014 may be a "wave" election, where one party--in this case, the GOP--makes large gains.  Others say the Republicans will do well (no one thinks they won't win some seats), but it won't be a wave.

They're both right.  Just what makes a wave is in the eye of the beholder.  Okay, sometimes it's so obvious no one can deny it (leftist publications denied Reagan won a landslide in 1980, but they shut up after 1984), but right now, for instance, some are saying the Republicans could take back the Senate and it still won't be a wave.  Well, I guess that'd be good enough until the real wave comes along.

There's little question the Republicans are well positioned compared to, say, 2012. (Then again, some believed things were looking good for the GOP in 2012.)  But when it comes to the Senate, which is really what we're talking about, since the House will remain Republican and the White House isn't in play, we're talking about state by state races, each one different.  There are only 36 (not a typo) races and only about a third are truly in play, so with such a small sample, it'd be easy for a wave to fall apart before it hits the shore.  Bad candidates, foot-in-mouth disease, scandals, new issues and peculiar state practices come into play much more than they would with the larger number of seats in House elections.

Let's say it's time for a wave.  That might simply mean that Republicans will receive a few percentage points more than usual.  Okay, but that could translate to four net seats in the Senate, or six, or eight, all depending on other factors. So let's say bye-bye to the wave and, if we must, come up with some better metaphor.

Ernie

British Composer Ernest Tomlinson turns 90 today.  He's best known for light music.





Thursday, September 18, 2014

I hate myself

David Gregory hits media 'laziness'

Turns out Gregory has discovered there's a 'narrative.' You won't believe what he thinks it is.

Booked

A friend sent me a piece in the Chicago Tribune by none other than Cass Sunstein, reminiscing about the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park.  It is a pretty special place, though Sunstein, now at Harvard, hasn't been at the University of Chicago for a while so I wonder when he was last there.

I'm not sure what occasioned the piece, but it's clear the essay is deeply felt.  (Though sometimes in his mistiness the prose goes a bit astray: "Spend 30 minutes at the Front Table, and your mind would both focus and wander.  You could not be distracted.  You were on an island, or in some kind of warm sea.")  I wouldn't be surprised if he's found a new favorite in Cambridge, but your first bookstore will always be special.

Hyde Park is not the most lovely place, but I do remember certain spots with fondness, and that includes some great bookstores.  Of all the changes in retail that have occurred during my life, the one that fills me with the most nostalgia is the death of the bookstore.  I wonder if anyone's started a pool on when the last one will close.

PS  Don't ask my why, but the piece reminded me of a personal story about Cass--maybe because in it he's surrounded by books.  When I was in law school, the finals were three hours, but sometimes they'd give you take-home tests where you'd leave the class and have eight hours to work on it. I didn't like this--three hours was enough to get out any ideas you had, and the extra time simply existed to make you feel guilty for not coming up with more insights.

I had a take-home on some soft subject, so I went to my room, read the question, and immediately turned on my tiny black and white TV to watch Green Acres. (I think I was able to work the episode into my answer--Green Acres did feature a lawyer, after all.)

After that, only about seven hours left, might as well start working on it.  So I went to the law library, where it was fairly quiet and, if necessary, I could look up something.  After about two hours, I felt I had pretty much said what I had to say.  Oh, I'd polish it a little, but for all intents and purposes, I was done.  And just then who should walk by but Cass.

We were sort of friends, so he stopped and we started chatting. I don't remember what about.  Maybe about Green Acres--he liked TV as much as I did.  And we're talking maybe five or ten minutes and then he gets this look on his face.  He's just realized I'm in the middle of a test.

He's horrified at the intrusion. He apologizes and rushes off.  For all I knew, he left for the solitude of the Seminary Co-op.  Of course, I would have been glad to keep on talking. Who knows, maybe something I could have worked in something he said about Green Acres.

There's No Stoppin'

Happy birthday, Dee Dee Ramone.  All the originals are gone, but it doesn't mean we're going to stop playing their music.









Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Been Up So Long Looks Like Down To Me

In The New Yorker, Jill Lepore writes about the feminist background of Wonder Woman.  It's a decent piece, and then we get this:

In 1972, Wonder Woman was named a “Symbol of Feminist Revolt”; the next year, the Supreme Court legalized abortion. But the aftermath of Roe v. Wade didn’t bolster the feminist movement; it narrowed it. If 1972 was a legislative watershed, 1973 marked the beginning of a drought. The movement stalled. Wages never reached parity; social and economic gains were rolled back; political and legal victories seemingly within sight were never achieved. .

"Social and economic gains were rolled back."  Which ones?  Could she name them?  I would think in the last 40 years we've seen little but major steps forward for feminism, so much that its basic tenets, dubious to large numbers in the 1970s, are barely questioned today (and woe to those who do).

She does get around to giving some vague examples in the next paragraph, but it's hard to believe this is what she's referring to:

Wonder Woman [...] ran for President on the cover of Ms. in 1972. She’ll run again; she’s never won. The Equal Rights Amendment never became law; in 1982, the deadline for its ratification expired. A century after [Margaret] Sanger started The Woman Rebel, even the fight for birth control isn’t over.

So there hasn't been a woman President?  In the past few decades, for the first time ever, women have had a serious chance of winning the office, and have also been nominated for Vice President by both major parties.  We've also had female Supreme Court Justices, Secretaries of State, a Speaker Of The House and many other high position never before attained.  And who cares what the sex of the President is anyway?  If John McCain had been elected and then died, and Sarah Palin were the first female President, would Lepore consider that a great moment in feminist history?  Meanwhile, we've had some Presidents in the past few decades who would happily describe themselves as feminists.  But no go, Lepore refuses to accept any victories.

The ERA?  Not exactly a rollback when it hadn't passed yet.  Furthermore, sexual equality has been written into the law so many times since then that I'd like to know what difference Lepore thinks passage would have made. 

The fight for birth control isn't over?  This is a good case of moving the goalposts. The main battle today is whether or not the government should force private parties to pay for it.  Doesn't sound like a rollback to me.

Even the wage gap, if you think that's a meaningful statistic, has gotten much better.  In the 70s, women made 59% as much as men.  There's been regular upward movement since then and today the number is around 77%.

You see this too often--someone behind a cause who didn't get absolutely everything (which is always the case) thus feels it's okay to say things are moving backward, no matter how huge the gains.

Like almost any widespread movement, feminism has struggles, within itself and with others. (The ones within may be more important.  Feminism tends to see itself as a leftist cause, which for some reason means many feminists believe they should be opposed to capitalism and individualism.  Unfortunate.)  But it's rather tiresome when movements that have been advancing for a long time take the line that things are moving backward.

JJ

Happy birthday Danish composer Jorgen Jersild. (The "o" has a line through it.)






Tuesday, September 16, 2014

They missed one

A little bit of blog stir over a NYT guest column over decay, decay everywhere, but they missed a pretty good item.

The state of Washington Supreme Court has held the legislature in contempt for disobeying an order to spend more money on schools.

There is no excuse for this and no cure. The court and legislature should be impeached in their entirety, or at least those who did not dissent-the legislature for its mewling we-will-comply response.

Could there be a more basic separation of powers issue? The legislature ought to defund the court altogether for two months or a year, or impeach the affirmative votes, but of course they won't.

This is common in the states, where there has been an active campaign for more than 20 years to cause courts to order funding increases for education, although I'm not aware of others who actually reached the contempt stage. Ohio flirted with it, but the court eventually backed off, mumbling something about how its orders were important.

If we had competent civics programs in the U.S., we would now be teaching that Nebraska has a unicameral state legislature and Washington is run by its supreme court, but the other states at least pretend to separation of powers.

Big Mac

The voices from the earliest days of recording are mostly forgotten.  But if you were buying wax tracks in the 1910s, you couldn't have avoided the most famous Irish tenor of all, John McCormack, who died on this date just as World Wars II was ending.





Jazz På Svenska

How many Swedish jazz pianists do you know?  I know one, which is more than most people, I'm guessing.  Happy birthday, Jan Johansson.





Monday, September 15, 2014

The Big Ten

Today is Pajama Guy's tenth anniversary.  The blog was started by Pajama Guy himself, who is no longer with us (on the blog--he's still alive and well and living in New Jersey). He saw the blog as a political one, and often focused on the media.  In fact, his first five posts were all about the hot story of the time, Rathergate.

Indeed, that's what gave us our name.  It comes from Jonathan Klein's response to bloggers who dared to question CBS news, as quoted in the upper left-hand corner of the blog.

Here's the first post ever:

Viacom to CBS News: Good Riddance?

Is it possible that the Viacom suits aren't worried about Rathergate? After the CNN merger cratered, they may be happy to see the news division implode. What better way to get rid of Dan and the whole lot?

I joined September 19th. Here's my first post:

Hello

Hi. Thought I might as well introduce myself. I'm LAGuy. While Pajama Guy is out East in his PJ's, fingers ready at the keyboard, scrutinizing the New York Times, the Washington Post and the rest of the MSM, I'm out West at some premiere or Hollywood party (B-List).

I've been invited to share my opinions, which may be about politics, but just as often won't. Hope I fit in.
 
I think I called it pretty well.  In fact, by the next day, I was dealing with the Emmy Awards. (A few days later I gave a thumbs down to this new show called Lost.)
 
Eventually Pajama Guy dropped out, but I kept going.  There have been other Guys along the way, but I've been the main supplier of text.
 
I certainly didn't think I'd be at it for ten years.  At the start, I often wondered how I'd think of something to write about each day.  But here we are. So let's celebrate it while it lasts.

Oh Johnny

Hard to believe, but Johnny Ramone died ten years ago today.  One of the founders of The Ramones, as well as a major songwriter, he stuck with the band all the way--only Joey lasted as long.  He also was the martinet who kept them in musical shape, allegedly.

He'd often play four down strokes measure after measure--I don't know how his wrist took it.













Sunday, September 14, 2014

Is she more stupid than John McCain?

"The thought going through my mind was, I owe America a global apology."

Huh? She doesn't know she was just a target of convenience?

Who's The Best?

The New Yorker's TV critic Emily Nussbaum looks at FX's two new sitcoms, You're The Worst and Married, and agrees with me (see, it can happen): the former is pretty good, while the latter is disappointing, especially with the whiny husband at the center.

Before their debuts, based on the casts and premises, I would have guessed the opposite.  But Chris Geere and Aya Cash, as the awful couple at the center of You're The Worst, are very charming and resourceful actors with a surprising amount of chemistry.  You never know.  I've already given up on Married (which FX had more confidence in, since it gave it the better slot) but still check out You're The Worst.

I'm less enamored with the leads' best friends/sounding boards, which brings me to my biggest disagreement with Nussbaum:

[The lead male's closest friend is] Edgar Quintero (Desmon Borges), an eccentric veteran with P.T.S.D. [...T]he show is daring enough to tease both his tendency to tell horrific war stories and the V.A.’s shoddy treatment of veterans.

Why would Nussbaum believe this is even slightly daring?

BC

Today is the birthday of Barry Cowsill, drummer in The Cowsills.  He founded the band with brothers Bill and Bob.  Alas, he died at the age of 50 as a result of Hurricane Katrina.







Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nat should be proud

So it's mildly encouraging an Obama appointee has enough wherewithal to enforce the law. A fairly obvious case, but of course that means nothing or might be a contra-indicator.

What's so interesting is that anyone could think the challenged statement is a "lie," as many press reports described it, making absurd characterizations such as "Ohio law banning campaign lies is struck down" and "A federal judge in Cincinnati has struck down as unconstitutional an Ohio election law that banned candidates or independent organizations from lying in political campaigns"

The lie(tm) was a statement "claiming the Democrat's support for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul equated with support for abortion, even though he opposed abortion."

That's like saying the it's a lie to claim Obamacare will raise costs or lower them, or improve or worsen health care. That our press could report such a thing as a clear conclusion is ludicrous. And as for a politician's beliefs, please. The only true statement John Kerry ever made was that he was for it before he was against it (and needless to say he was pilloried for his inadvertent honesty).

Leftover Vanity Plates Of The Month

On a Silverado: 1 EVILKID.  Are Silverados that evil?

XFITCHK.  Of all the things to brag about.

TARPOTS.  The car smelled fine.

DNCNSNG.  Shouldn't you be driving down Broadway?

J[heart symbol]DSNEY.  Why don't you marry it?

TERPSR1.  For a second I thought it was a dancer, but no, this is a Maryland fan.

Feather Flies

It's the centennial of Leonard Feather.  He was maybe the best-known jazz critic around.  But in addition to writing about it, he played it, composed it and produced it.






Friday, September 12, 2014

May I suggest Bikini Atoll?

"Reality show strands Democrat and Republic senators on island"

Dead Again

I recently caught up with the first three seasons of The Walking Dead on Netflix.  Since then, thanks to On Demand, I've seen the fourth season, with a month to spare before season five starts.  Spoilers ahead.

It struck me as more of the same.  Zombies are fun, and people fighting each other while also worrying about zombies can make for decent action. But the characters are pretty thin and the plot stretched out--what took them 16 episodes could probably have been accomplished in half as many  It's also getting a bit repetitive, since you can only be surrounded by zombies in so many ways.

In fact, I had plenty of time to think about unanswered question during the many slow moments.  First, just how did the zombies take over?  They're deadly and relentless, but they're brainless and not that fast.  Sure, the early shock would give them the edge, but once the problem becomes clear, it seems to me a decent army division, properly equipped and trained, could take out millions.  But let's say no one was paying attention and right now the undead outnumber the living a hundred to one. No big deal.  Everyone's got a quota--try to kill two or three a day, shouldn't be that hard, and before you know it no more zombies. After all, the enemy doesn't strategize and doesn't reproduce.  Heck, just kill one a day and in three or four months you're safe.  Another question--does becoming a zombie makes your bones go soft, because it sure is easy to slice of their heads, or stab them through the skull.  One more thing. In the first season, people took great care not to get even the slightest amount of zombie blood on them.  Now they get splattered with the stuff. Okay, they've learned it's no big deal, even if they're all infected and will go zombie when they die, but it's still pretty odd.  I mean, if a zombie bites you, you die and turn into one, but zombie blood and other parts on your skin (especially on open sores, which there seem to be plenty of in this violent world) and sometimes in your mouth or eyes does nothing?

I was a bit surprised by the first episode of season four, since we're still in the prison from the third season, and not going anywhere.  Previously, each season started with a move to a new location. Instead, we spend half the season stuck in what was destroyed, I thought, in season three.  There are new characters, and some die--mostly the newbies. There's also an outbreak of flu.  Really?  We've already got everyone turning into zombies, and that's not enough? 

We also meet up with the Governor again, who should have been dealt with last season.  He attacks the prison...didn't he do that last season as well?  At least Hershel dies.  I was hoping that guy wouldn't make it past season two, so this was a long time coming.  Alas, pretty much all the other regulars make it to the end, including Glenn, who used to be fun but is insufferable now that he's in love with Maggie, and Rick's tiresome teenage son Carl.

The team is forced out of the prison.  Everyone thinks everyone else is dead, but they all make it one way or another.  The various escapees get their own episodes with their own adventures--sort of a break in the format.  Then most of them meet in Terminus, a place that says it offers sanctuary but is much more sinister.  So we know where we're going to start season five, and it's not a bad place, since we've got new and interesting bad guys, and the good guys are reunited and have their backs against the wall.  I expect I'll be watching it along with the millions of others who have made it TV's biggest phenomenon, but it won't be high priority.

One good thing about the show--it's got a positive message. All it will take to get the races living together in harmony is a zombie apocalypse.

Midnight Woman

Happy birthday, Maria Muldaur.






Thursday, September 11, 2014

Updates

Hmm. Spielberg's already retrofitted "ET" with having the federal agents carry dream catchers instead of guns.

Maybe it's time for Cameron to replace "Skynet" with "Apple."

Happy Anniversary

It's September 11th.  And with the rise of Isis, people are more nervous than they've been on this date in years. The question--is this a bad thing?

I can still recall the weeks after the original 9/11.  Everyone was waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I flew to the Midwest in October that year and I remember the grim feeling at the airport.  Everyone was looking at each other--will this be the flight they choose?

We couldn't know then, of course, that the terrorists had temporarily shot their bolt. (And maybe they hadn't. Maybe it was anti-terrorist measures that made the difference.)  For some time the country was on edge.  On the first anniversary of the date, people wondered if there'd be a follow-up.

It's certainly not good for a country to be on the verge of hysteria every year.  The question then becomes, with terrorists who would attack us every day if they could, and would glory in the deaths of Americans, are we too complacent.  I don't think so, but that's just what you say before the big attack comes, isn't it?

I don't expect for anything big to happen today.  If there's any happy thought I can conjure up, it's that If someone told me on September 12, 2001, that for the next 13 years nothing close to comparable to what just happened will happen again in the U.S., I'd have been happy.

All Part

Happy birthday Arvo Part, the Estonian minimalist composer inspired by Gregorian chants.






Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Lostover

In Variety, Andrew Wallenstein compares The Leftovers, which just finished its first season, with Lost.  The comparison may be understandable inasmuch as the former is producer Damon Lindelof's first series since he ended Lost so controversially.  But really the comparison isn't very helpful.  Okay, they're both dramas with large casts and a central mystery, but the focus is different.

Lost was about airplane crash survivors landing on a mysterious island with seemingly magical properties.  They discover more people on the island and find out more about how strange the island and its inhabitants are.  All along we're waiting to find out the answers to the show's many mysteries.

Meanwhile, The Leftovers starts with 2% of the Earth's population suddenly disappearing.  We then cut to almost a year later and focus on a small town in upstate New York as the citizens try to go on with their lives.  There's no indication that anyone will figure out how or why those millions disappeared, so there's not much of an engine to the show. It's more about how people deal with their grief.  Really there's no mystery to solve--or at least no indication we're expected to see it solved--and the show would rather investigate humanity.  (Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe we will finally discover why the event happened. But unlike Lost, where the characters were constantly trying to figure out the mysteries, The Leftovers spends essentially no time on this--many in the world have tried to figure it out and so far all have failed.)

So when Wallenstein writes "Please, Damon, whatever went wrong with 'Lost'…don’t let it happen to 'Leftovers' " it doesn't make any sense.  Whatever went wrong with Lost doesn't apply to The Leftovers. But then, I'm not sure that Wallenstein gets Lost.

Here's how he puts it:

For all the acclaim “Lost” drew since becoming a hit on ABC a decade ago, there was also a considerable backlash that battered [Damon Lindelof  and partner] Carlton Cuse after a finale oft criticized for not adequately tying up the show’s many mysteries

[,,,,] Make no mistake: “Lost” collapsed under the weight of a mythology so intricately built that it simply imploded. If “Leftovers” isn’t careful, the same fate could await it.

No, a thousand times, no.  As a secondary issue for some, Lost didn't adequately tie up its mysteries.  But, in fact, it did tie up most of the mysteries--it's the poor answers that bother so many fans.  And, in general, the wrong direction and poor storytelling of the series final season was also a problem.  It didn't implode under the intricate mythology--it gave answers that made millions feel cheated because it went in a direction they (including me) didn't want.

Here We Come A-Vassiling

Composer Vassil Kazandjiev turns 80 today.  He wrote that modren-style music, so you've been warned.





Tuesday, September 09, 2014

A man who understands what's important

Poor guy, holding back those tears.

But by God, he should have anticipated the optics, that's the important thing.

Drama Is The New Comedy

TV critics (how long has that profession been around?) say we've been living in a golden age of drama since The Sopranos debuted 15 years ago.  But one thing about this drama--a lot of it is funny.  David Chase said his show was as much The Honeymooners as The Godfather.  In its first season or so, I would have characterized Breaking Bad as a dark comedy. And Mad Men can be hilarious.

But now we're getting all the way and nominating some hourlong shows that play like dramas in the comedy categories. The most obvious example is a show I've just caught up on, Orange Is The New Black.  On Netflix, it's had two seasons of 13 episodes and has been picked up for at least one more.  I would describe it as a drama with a humorous bent, but according to the Emmy Awards--and therefore it's producers, I guess--it's a comedy, competing with The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family for statuettes (and generally losing).

I approached it with trepidation.  I'd watched an awful lot of episodes of creator Jenji Kohan's last show, Weeds, but never really liked it. (So why watch it?  Guess I pay so much for premium cable I feel obligated--that would also explain all the episodes of Boardwalk Empire, Nurse Jackie and Californication I've logged.) That show's characters ranged from obnoxious to hateful.  The plot was ridiculous, even for a comedy. The writing was more empty cleverness than true wit.  And too often the action would stop dead so some character could mouth Jenji Kohan's political beliefs.

I'm happy to report that Orange Is The New Black is a much better show. It has flaws, but overall it's one of the more intriguing and entertaining things out there.  Set in a women's prison, it follows Piper Chapman, a blonde WASPy type, who's engaged to be married when a former lesbian lover drops a dime on her.  They'd been partners in crime--literally--drug-running and money laundering.  Rather than risk fighting a felony charge, Piper surrenders to the authorities, and her term is fifteen months.  This story is based on the book of the same name by Piper Kerman, a WASPy blonde who spent a year inside.

Chapman, played by Taylor Schilling, is the sort of character you'd expect to be the lead in a sitcom, until she's thrown in jail, anyway.  And that's the point.  Kohan wants someone TV viewers can relate to, so she can ease us into a wide-ranging cast of prisoners and prison officials--most of whom I expect were created by Kohan and her staff, and aren't in the book.  A huge cast it is--there are about forty regular and recurring characters, but most are distinct enough that after a few episodes you can tell them apart.  The show features plenty of familiar faces, from TV (Laura Prepon of That '70s Show and Kate Mulgrew of Star Trek) and movies (Jason Biggs and Natasha Lyonne of American Pie), but even more relatively new faces.

What Piper discovers, once she's in stir, is that the old rules of life no longer apply.  The system dehumanizes you as all the perks of personal autonomy that you took for granted no longer apply.  You're told what to do, where to be, when to eat, when to shower, etc.  And if you don't comply, you can be sent to solitary.  Piper soon discovers she's got to play the game to make it.  The first thing she learns is people revert to basic tribalism.  The whites stay with the whites, the blacks with the blacks, the Latinas with the Latinas.

She's also got the problem of how to keep the relationship with her fiancé going while she serves her sentence. Meanwhile, she discovers she's locked up with the old girlfriend who named her.

Everyone in prison has something going--something to give them whatever sense of hope or pride they can manage.  Either it's from group identity or some scam they pull or barter they manage.  And whatever property or perks they're allowed to have they fight fiercely to hold onto.  In the men's prison genre, there's usually plenty of violence. Women aren't quite so violent, but there's still some fighting here.  And, also like the men's genre, plenty of sex--sometimes with guards, usually with each other.

In addition, each episode--not unlike Lost, still the most influential show of our time--gives us a glimpse into the past, showing what some inmate's life was like outside, and often what led them to the crime that put them in prison.

Taylor Schilling is excellent at the center of show.  She's lovely, of course, but she's believable as a semi-innocent thrown into the lion's den. (The show has to deglamorize her a bit, but you can still see she's beautiful.) Most of the other actors do a good job, and with numerous plots spinning away from Piper's story (there's even an episode in the second season that manages without her), they all hold interest.

I don't know if I'd call the show a comedy.  It occasionally makes me laugh, but not like a good sitcom. Still, it's a hybrid, and I suppose it can just as easily be called a comedy as a drama.

Each of the first two seasons take place over three or four months. At that rate, the show can last another two or three seasons before Piper's term is over.  That should be enough.  I'd hate to see them lengthen her sentence just so the show can run longer.

Otis, My Man

Happy birthday, Otis Redding.  He was only 26 and at the height of his powers when he died in a plane crash, so who knows what we lost.  But we know what we've got.









Monday, September 08, 2014

Reaction Airy

Critic Amy Nicholson has a bone to pick with Forrest Gump on its 20th anniversary re-release. Alas, it's the same bone that's been stuck in many a craw since the original came out.  See, the film has Forrest at the center of modern American history but he just keeps winning because of his dumb innocence, sweetly floating above it all while many critics of America come off bad.  Or something like that.

It's a fair criticism that the film doesn't go deeply into politics, but that's sort of the point. It's an oddly constructed film--almost experimental--that swiftly moves from one fantastic episode to the next.  That such an odd film, one that breaks so many rules, became an Oscar-winning blockbuster is a surprise, and mostly due to the light but sure touch of director Robert Zemeckis, along with Tom Hanks' winning performance and some good gags and touching moments along the way. (Though it does run out of steam somewhere around the two-thirds mark.)  Nicholson misses the odd construction and format--it was such a big hit that many critics dismissed it as just another mega-hit rather than the unique thing it is--and actually complains that it doesn't follow the original novel, as if it's Hollywood's job to shoot the book and not adapt it. (And it's not like the original is some sort of classic.) 

But these complaints were there the first time around.  Does Nicholson have anything to add?  She complains that maybe 90s audiences were happy just to hear things are okay and not have to hear about how bad war is.  In the Clinton era, she adds, maybe war didn't seem so awful. Unfortunately for her desire to spout mindless perceptions about the film's timing, Forrest Gump was made in the wrong era.  If it were ten years earlier, she could use the lie about the Reagan years being a period when America forgot everything and pretended life was great. If it was ten years later, she could pretend Forrest Gump is a stand-in for George W. Bush.

Wait a second, that's just what she does.  Somehow she's able to drag the all-purpose villain Bush into this. 

The year it came out, George W. Bush was elected governor of Texas. He was arguably Forrest Gump as commander-in-chief, a cheerfully oblivious 7-minute miler whom you could almost imagine would press his muddy, sweaty face to a shirt and leave an imprint of a smiley, like a sanguine Shroud of Turin.

But that lie comes later. In the 90s, Bush was a highly successful wheeler-dealer governor of a huge state, a real whiz at politics.  Almost the opposite of Forrest Gump.  You could make just as good (i.e., bad) a case that Obama was a representative of oblivious faculty lounge politics, ultimately an empty suit who won because he allowed people to project whatever dreams they had onto his Presidency.

Except Nicholson doesn't want to compare the film to anything today.  She just wants to attack the same things she's been attacking for years.  Though, to be fair, when she first saw it, I'm sure she hated it, and that was twenty years ago.  Now she's at least learned to hate it from the perspective of ten years ago.

Feats Of Clay

Happy birthday, James Clay. I suppose the most famous jazz flautist today is Ron Burgundy, but he wasn't the first.  Clay wasn't bad on saxophone either.






Sunday, September 07, 2014

Give him what he wants

Speaking of socialists, Bernie Sanders wants a wealth tax.

I say fine, give it to him. We'll start with pilot program and tax his wealth. Everything above the median income for his state. And of course we can take his pension right now, at least everything above the median income. So he's not jolted we can phase in the income tax part over five years.

(Did you see Professor Reynolds Soviet joke? What happens if the USSR takes  over the Sahara Desert? Nothing for 50 years, then a shortage of sand.)

Honest socialists

What a wonderful, wonderful sentence:

Two White House officials said Obama concluded that circumventing Congress through executive actions on immigration during the campaign would politicize the issue and hurt future efforts to pass a broad overhaul.

I admit this is less about socialism than it is about anti-Americanism, but then again Obama gets to define that any way he likes, doesn't he? "Nothing is more American than hating America, and it's unpatriotic to say otherwise."

What I'm curious about is, in prompting this story, who is Obama talking to? I suppose the issue is so toxic that the Democrat Party was pleading for him to publicly back off.

New New Beverly or On The QT

The New Beverly Cinema has been a mainstay of my filmgoing since I moved to Los Angeles.  It's within walking distance and while other revival house close, it's remained defiantly open, showing both old and new classics, often with actual filmmakers (this being LA) dropping in.  A few years ago it looked like it might close but in swooped Quentin Tarantino to buy it, and keep it running along its old lines.

Tarantino is one of the last people in Hollywood who believes in film, as opposed to video.  He still shoots on film even though the format is essentially outmoded.  And he likes showing film in his cinema.  He's got a huge collection of 35mm stuff from which to pick.

This month the New Beverly is closed for repairs.  Not a bad idea.  While the place did have a pleasantly run-down feeling, a little sprucing up can't hurt.  But the bigger rumor is that Tarantino will be taking a more hands-on approach toward running the place.  Hard to know how to feel about this. It's not like it hadn't been run well before, but maybe he'll add something.  Either way, it'll be good when it opens its doors against come October.

Take It Easy

Eric Lynn Wright, better known as Eazy-E, would have been 51 today.  But he died when he was 31.  However, unlike the early deaths of a number of of Gangsta Rap figures, he didn't die from violence, but AIDS.





Saturday, September 06, 2014

That Persson Person

Happy 40th, Nina Persson. She's a Swedish gal who's the lead singer of The Cardigans, a band that enjoyed some success in the 90s.






Out Of The Cage

Happy birthday, John Cage.  A day late, but he appreciates silence.

In his memory, let's listen to three different interpretations of his most famous piece, "4' 33"."





Friday, September 05, 2014

Sorry But This Is Really Dumb

As someone who can't blink without seeing a Dunkin Donuts in the distance*, I don't understand this (Santa Monicons camping out waiting for a new franchise to open).   Its a bright garishly-colored fast food feeling usually messy fast food joint.    The donuts are OK (duh, they're donuts) and while some folks love the coffee, others claim its swill.  I'm a tea drinker only so I can't comment but I will note the DD Ice Tea often has the sulphur-y** aftertaste of something that has sat around for a while.


Maybe I shouldn't be hard on the Left Coasters, maybe we all prefer things from the other side of the country.  I like to hang out in the muted-colors & (usually) cool music of Starbucks (well I did until the f*cking business school grads took over and made it more of a factory and took away the comfy chairs in the downtown locations).   The Iced Tea is freshly made  and is only as overpriced as the DD version.   However, I am not willing to camp out for it, even in nice weather. 


* Many suburban towns have Dunkin Donuts stores right across the street from each other so they can catch both the inbound and outbound traffic during the commute.    Since they keep doing it, I assume this actually makes business sense.  

** The devil is in the details.  

Give 'em a point

How interesting. The NYT skipped party affiliation of the Kansas Secretary of State. Good for them, and a bit of a surprise.

What's The Matter With Kansas or Chads In Politics

As Columbus guy notes tangentially, a smart if underhanded move by the Democrats in Kansas.  With the Senate in the balance, the party has convinced its nominee, Chad Taylor, to drop out of the race at the last second.  Previously, it was a three-way race, with long-time Republican Senator Pat Roberts going up against Taylor and independent Greg Orman.

The latest polls had been showing Roberts with a solid if unspectacular lead, but no one over the 40% level and Orman getting around 20%.  It's possible if the Dems rally behind him (even though Taylor will still be on the ballot) that Orman can take it.  And if he does, he may caucus with the Dems. The Republicans need six net seats to win back the Senate, and this takes a likely victory and puts it in the question mark category.

Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri spoke to Taylor about dropping out. You remember her--she won reelection in 2012 against Todd Akin.  Now that was a case where the GOP could have used a little party discipline.

Not Enough Hooch

Before I start, I suppose you were expecting a post on Joan Rivers. I don't have much to say about her.  She wasn't exactly my cup of tea, but she was a talented and hardworking standup comedian who had a lengthy, significant and even trailblazing career.

Anyway, over at Bloomberg, Megan McArdle writes about the state of popular cinema.  Apparently, after watching the 1989 comedy crime film Turner And Hooch*, she wonders why the Hollywood formula has gotten so dull. According to McCardle, even a relatively minor film like TAH, compared to the tentpole summer films of today, had room to breathe, even explore its characters.

She has a point, but it's hardly the first time it's been made. I quite agree that most blockbusters today are tired, and special effects (especially in the age of the CGI) have become too important, all too often trumping the things that actually matter, which are story and character.  But that's what people were saying at the beginning of the modern blockbuster era (and before then, actually).  Since the days of Jaws and Star Wars in the 70s, critics have been complaining that Spielberg and Lucas ruined Hollywood, turning the focus toward blockbusters filled with spectacle. (An excellent book on this, somewhat sympathetic at least to the early films of this style, is Tom Shone's Blockbuster.) Certainly by 1989, the year of Turner And Hooch, it was a critical convention to say films had lost their feeling.

And they may be right.  You watch an "action" film from, say, the late 60s and it'll look like My Dinner With Andre compared to the non-stop stuff we have today. Some blame Joel Silver, producer of the Lethal Weapon series and so many other action epics, who helped solidify the plot where there's an explosion every ten minutes.  But the point is the golden age is always in the past.  If you had said in the 1980s this is a time when Hollywood really knew how to make films about people, the Megan McArdles of the day (were there Megan McArdles then, or is she a recent invention like today's blockbusters?) would probably have thought you were nuts.  And no doubt some future Megan McArdle will be looking back fondly on the great stuff we had in the 2010s.

*I haven't seen Turner And Hooch since it was released.  The only thing I can say about it is it was better than that year's similarly-themed K-9.

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