August 26, 2006

I was at a party at the guy's abode last night, and didn't hear a word about this getting published this morning. Since Shaq was so kind to invite me, I may have to nominate him for a Pulitzer Prize.
Glenn Greenwald points out some more embarassing moments from the annals of conservative online pullings the wings off a butterfly.

August 25, 2006

I haven't read James Lileks in awhile, so I have to admit this passage, in an otherwise banal whinefest on "performance art" grabbed me:
Of course, one could make the case that the greatest threats to the freedoms of the West are posed by the head-choppers, plane-exploders, their many merry supporters, and the nuke-seeking state that supports them.

But don't expect the artists to make the case.


The artists seem more concerned with a culture that won't let gays marry than one that won't let them live.
(link via Instapundit)
Well, since you put it that way, if by "freedoms of the West," we're talking about basic civil liberties, due process, freedom from cruel and unusual punishment, etc., well, no, the "head choppers," "plane exploders," et al., are clearly not the "greatest threat" to those liberties, not here in America, nor anywhere in any western democracy. Unlike the real fascists we were fighting in the '40's, terrorists do not pose an existential threat to our country. Al Qaeda can blow up planes to its heart's content, and even deliver the occasional nuke to one of the great cities in our Blue States, and still not threaten our right to self-government or our devotion to the Bill of Rights. It has been our own government that has seen fit to threaten those liberties, often without even a modiucum of a rationale towards fighting terrorists.

As terrible as September 11 was, it still resulted in less than half the number of dead Americans than at the Battle of Iwo Jima, fighting over "less than eight square miles," in a war that really did determine the survival of the "freedoms of the West." Of course, back then, those who saw the battle against the Axis Powers as a twilight struggle in the defense of freedom were too busy enlisting in the armed forces to be refighting the culture wars of the 1960's in the media.

And as far as whether artists in the West should care more about homophobia here than the persecution of gays in the Middle East, well, I guess artists are just funny that way, caring more about what's going on in their own backyard than somewhere else. We should care about both, for we are our brother's keeper and all that, but artists, as public citizens, can do a lot more to fight battles here than abroad.
I wonder how many of these suckers endorsed St. Joseph of Ingratius in the primary.
A Dingo Ate My Baby !!! Here's a list of movies that would be in turnaround if we lived in a just universe. My fave: Titanic II: Two Titanics.
Que sera, sera: Heathers 2? Apparently....

August 24, 2006

Greatest Johnny Cash cover ever !!!

August 23, 2006

Salon's TV maven, and Blue Devil Fanatic, Heather Havrilesky, notes what has been an obvious trend for some time, that what's on TV is generally smarter and better for you than what gets screened in movie houses, but provides enough examples to convince even the most jaded of film geeks. The cineplex is in the same position today that the drive-in was fifteen years ago, and the bricks-and-mortor record store was five years ago, a technologically obsolete mode of technology that services an increasingly narrower and narrower group. Because of the competition provided by thousands of cable and network channels, television offers more choices, is more willing to take risks on unknown talent, and has more time to develop storylines and characters than even the best films, all of which are crippled by the two-hour straightjacket.

Five will get you ten that Tom Cruise being fired yesterday has more to do with a multinational corporation deciding that it could no longer justify paying any film star $12 million a picture than for any bizarre behavior the Scientology acolyte has been accused recently. The beginning of the end for motion pictures occurred the day AMPAS relented on the screener ban; when the core constituency of the film industry realized they could cast an informed vote on the best movies of a year based on what they viewed on their DVD player, rather than hauling their lazy asses to Westwood, the jig was clearly up.
Cat Stevens covered this song on the Rushmore soundtrack, but the original version is by far the best. Unfortunately, either the audio is a split-second behind the video, or this is a really bad lip-sinc:

August 22, 2006

50-49-1: That is a not-unlikely partisan breakdown in the Senate that we might see the morning of November 8, 2006, should the Democrats pick 5-6 seats. With the one independent (Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who will probably breeze to victory) certain to vote with the Democrats, this margin would make control of the Senate dependent on the whims of one Senator. Right now, the focus has been on Joseph Lieberman, who continues to hold a narrow lead in the polls running as an "independent Democrat," potentially holding the tiebreaking vote.

But has anyone considered the possibility that Chuck Hagel of Nebraska might be a more likely fly in the ointment? Hagel is clearly estranged from the GOP on a whole host of issues, ranging from the Iraq War to his lukewarm support for some of Bush's more extreme nominees, and has evidenced an intent to run for the Oval Office in 2008, possibly as an independent. In fact, he has been far more likely to buck his party on important issues than Lieberman has with the Democrats, and he wouldn't be as far out of the Democratic mainstream as his Nebraska colleague, Ben Nelson. Is anyone in the Democratic leadership on the Hill putting out any feelers, just in case they need his vote? If not, why not?
Roky Lives: With the recent untimely demise of Syd Barrett and Arthur Lee, it is fitting that tribute be paid to this legend while he still walks amongst us:

Did you know that my three-year old nephew, Charles Ruderman, calls Dave Brubeck's "Take Five", "Drums"? Of course you didn't; you weren't able to go with him yesterday to Disneyland....

Children really need to be taught to appreciate the sacrifices their elders make when they go to the so-called Happiest Place on Earth, as to what an absolutely hellish experience it is for those of us older than twelve. Having lived in LA my whole life (so far), the routine of going to Disneyland everytime some relative visits from out of town, or everytime a toddler needs to be amused, is quite mundane. The admission price of just under $60 a head gets you into an amusement park that is jammed, end-to-end, with people, and a grand total of one halfway decent roller coaster (Space Mountain, which is a classic ride more for the fact that it's totally in the dark than anything else).

On a typical summer day, every ride worth going on, either for nostalgia's sake (Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion) or for its kitsch value (The Jungle Cruise, a ride so steeped in racial stereotypes that its core audience seems to be the College Republicans, if one were to take it seriously), will have a line at least forty-five minutes long. In fact, the lines everywhere, from the ticket window to the admissions entrance to the "restaurant" serving a greasy fried chicken patty and fries, are frustratingly long. After fifty years, Disney does not have a clue as to handle crowds. Locals have long ago picked Knots Berry Farm or Magic Mountain as the place to spend a day after their thirteenth birthday.

So the only redeeming aspect of Disneyland is the shared impact it has on the wee ones. For my nephew, it was as if he was getting on the rides for the first time, and obviously, it wasn't the same rides I would have picked. Hearing him sing along to "It's a Small World", or accompanying him on Winnie the Pooh's Wild Adventure (twice), makes it almost seem like the sixty dollars was well spent.

August 20, 2006

A bit of a let down, this: Snakes on a Plane barely finished atop the weekend's box office, and that included an extra night of receipts from their late-night Thursday, lets-screen-this-before-any-critic-can-report-what-a-pathetic-piece-of-tripe-this-is. Since the reviews haven't been that bad, the distributors may have been too clever by half.
One of the great underrated (and underappreciated) bands of all-time. Bruce Springsteen, an unabashed admirer, never sounded better when he and his band rocked like this:

Sadly, the lead singer, Mike Smith, has been in failing health of late, and the band's music is very difficult to find.