May 31, 2003

Russian tennis "phenom" Anna Kournikova (subject of posts here and here) is prepared to test the marriage waters once more, this time to international singing "sensation" Enrique Iglesias. Both bride and groom are winless on the women's tennis circuit.

May 30, 2003

One of the more amusing sidelights of being a sports fan is getting to read English newspapers cover American sporting events. For example, here is the Guardian's take on the Stanley Cup Finals, complete with a reference to Martin Brodeur being the "man of the match" last night.

May 29, 2003

Since the Game 1 debacle, I will try a different site for tonight's game--Over/Under in Santa Monica. Go Ducks !!

May 28, 2003

Size Does Matter: According to Adam Felber, there was a side benefit to Clinton's extracurricular activities--it was also good for the economy !!
For those of you missed it this afternoon, AC Milan edged Juventus, 3-2, on penalty kicks, to win the Champions League Final, after playing 120 minutes of breathtakingly dull, scoreless soccer. Milan is owned by an authentic, honest-to-goodness Fascist, Silvio Berlusconi, and like all Italian teams, plays an anally-retentive defensive style. Watching this match was like having to watch this year's Stanley Cup Final, if you're not into either team.

Speaking of fascists, while commenting on another website (and btw, sorry to Mr. Welch for lowering the civility of his comments board, and invoking Godwin's Law), I was surprised that the notion that Ann Coulter is a Nazi isn't universally shared, and that some people even seem to think she makes a lot of sense. In that I have referred to her on occasion as "Fraulein Goebbels" and "Ilsa, she-wolf of the S.S.", it's safe to say I feel pretty strongly that her opinions are extreme, and that she is a dangerous bigot.

In any event, one of the commenters asked me to put up or shut up, so I made the following five points:
1. She said she wished it was the NY Times that had been destroyed on 9/11;
2. She called for the indiscriminate killing of Arabs;
3. She wrote a book (Slander) that utilized fabricated sourcing and footnotes, thereby giving Goebbels "Big Lie" theory a Regnery twist;
4. She's a white supremacist;
5. She told a crippled Vietnam War veteran that our country lost in Indochina because of him.

I thought each of the points above would have been self-evident to anyone who followed the controversy over the past two years. However, as you can see on the comments board, there were people who still weren't convinced, so I now give you footnotes to the above five points:
1. She said she wished it was the NY Times that had been destroyed on 9/11;
My bad--she said that she wished Tim McVeigh had blown up the New York Times, not the 9/11 terrorists. She said that here.

2. She called for the indiscriminate killing of Arabs;
Check here (first paragraph), and here.

3. She wrote a book (Slander) that utilized fabricated sourcing and footnotes, thereby giving Goebbels "Big Lie" theory a Regnery twist;
Check here, and here

4. She's a white supremacist;
As seen here, here (scattered quotes) and here.

5. She told a crippled Vietnam War veteran that our country lost in Indochina because of him.
Here (fourth quote down), here and here.
I hope I don't have to do this again.

UPDATE: Michael Totten, in an otherwise favorable reference to the above, takes issue with my use of the term "nazi". Generally speaking, I think his point is well-taken. As I noted in the comments, using that term is not something I do lightly. In an effort to differentiate Ms. Coulter from the historical events of 1933-45, and realizing that there are still actually "Nazis" in the world who believe that Hitler was a great leader with admirable goals, I used a small-case reference. If he (or anyone else) can think of a better term for me to use to describe someone who makes crude, racist statements and advocates right-wing authoritarianism, I'll use it.

May 27, 2003

A pint or two and the Mighty Ducks await at a friendly neighborhood pub in Culver City....
As if failing to supervise Jayson Blair wasn't bad enough, conservative pundit Mickey Kaus now accuses NY Times editor Howell Raines of attending a trial involving 1963 Birmingham terror bombing suspect Bobby Frank Cherry. According to the Mickster, that Raines "...attended the Ku Klux Klan trial at all (was) more evidence, if any was needed, of Raines self-encasement in the identity of a 'white man from Alabama,' circa 1963." Imagine that; a big city editor whose life was altered by the death of four little girls !!!!

And people wonder why the GOP never gets more than 10% of the black vote.

May 26, 2003

Blew off M2 yesterday and went instead to a second-run cineplex in Northridge to see The Two Towers, a worthy sequel but inferior to the original. A cagey move, on my part: admission was only $3.50, and I didn't have to fight my way through a crowd to see it. Now I know why my friend predicted that if they ever made a movie of my life, I would be played by Brad Dourif. The other important discovery from this film is that Elvish is now the second language in which Liv Tyler cannot act.

The always-amusing Los Angeles Times published one of its hardy perennials this morning, a column decrying the fact that motion pictures are increasingly geared towards teenagers and young adults. Together with the complaint that "there are no roles for women over 40" in movies (btw, why is that supposed to be so outrageous, but not the fact that there are no positions on NFL rosters for men over 40), it's safe to say that some variation of this theme has been published every year since 1960.

C'mon, is anyone really shocked or outraged at this state of affairs? Let's face it, the only people motivated to get out of the house to see a movie (and brave the conditions referenced here) are the young. Movies are a relatively cheap date, where you can kill a couple of hours and maybe even get lucky. Naturally, in the free market, movie studios are going to aim their product at that audience, whilst adults are served for the most part by HBO and the TV networks. If you are a bit more, well, settled, it's much easier just to wait til the films you want to see go to video, where you can watch them in the privacy of your home without losing anything.

Not that adults are missing a whole lot. Just look at the last few movies to win the best film Oscar. Gladiator. A Beautiful Mind. Chicago. The English Patient. Titanic. Braveheart. All of them, pure unadulterated crap. Probably the best of the lot, Shakespeare in Love, will be remembered only because Miramax waged one of the most vulgar campaigns on record to win the award, which it stole from a legitimate classic. I have nothing but kind words for American Beauty, since my sister worked on it as an Assistant Art Director, but lets just say that it loses quite a bit of its sting the second time you see it. And none of those movies are "youth-oriented". You have to go back to Schindler's List to find the last time the Best Film Oscar went to a movie that was better than an average episode of "The Sopranos" or "The Shield".

In any event, complaining that movies are geared to adolescents is a sure sign of fogeyness, hopefully one that I can inure myself to. I may be saddened at my own departed youth when I realize I don't "get" the popularity of Seann William Scott, or that I can't identify any rapper other than Eminem, but there's no point whining about it. Youth shall be served.
Ever wondered what would happen if all (or most) of Congress were to be killed or incapacitated by some cataclysmic event? Well, the A.E.I. and the Brookings Institute have a modest proposal. Although less sweeping than every political scientist's least favorite constitutional amendment, I am still concerned about any measure that might be cooked up by a body that is currently under the control of Tom Delay.

May 25, 2003

How do Keanu Reeves, media consolidation, Barry Diller, movie marketing, Laci Peterson, Hermann Hesse, Iraqi "possession" of WMD, Jayson Blair, and the crappiness that is Matrix: Reloaded interrelate? Frank Rich explains it all in this column. Quoth the Only Pundit Who Matters:
"The Matrix Reloaded" is so dull, so literally ruled by Laurence Fishburne's trance-inducing Morpheus, that I had to reload the "Matrix" DVD to remember why I had been taken with all those streaming digits the first time around. But never mind. You can't argue with a $135.8 million four-day opening, which in itself validated the movie's premise.

It's the conceit of the "Matrix" films that most of mankind is plugged into a virtual-reality program conjured up by all-powerful machines to tease our brains while they loot our bodies for bioelectric power. AOL Time Warner, the powerful machine behind the films, pulled off a comparable feat by plugging the country into its merchandising program for "The Matrix Reloaded" to loot our wallets.
(link via Matt Y.)
Ironically, there's a good chance I might go see M2 this weekend anyway. The advent of digital technology, DVD's, and cable have made actually going to a movie theatre to see a movie rather pointless. With few exceptions, there is more creativity on television now than there is in motion pictures, the acting is better, the stories are more original: only a few films (M2 possibly being one of them) actually gain anything artistically by being seen in a movie theatre. And of course, you're not being gouged for $20 a person for popcorn, soft drinks, parking and all the other accoutrements arising from a trip to the neighborhood mall.