Saturday, March 25, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
Diner's Journal has thus far included an interesting melange of topics ranging from preliminary reviews of new restaurants (most recently A Voce and Buddakan Comes to New York), coatcheck tipping policies, and the glory of brussels sprouts (hallelujah!) to the NYT's policy on re-reviewing restaurants, a food-related book review, and so forth.
The Pour is similarly wide-ranging: personal thoughts on legendary wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr., a review of an Alsatian restaurant with an excellent beer list, a diatribe on the mediocrity of certain restaurants' wine lists and the creativity of others', and an ode to an aged Rioja rosé.
Interesting stuff on both blogs -- bon appétit! Or should I say salut?
Thursday, March 23, 2006
F'ristance, just check out this comment thread from Zoller Seitz on the most recent Sopranos episode, which glides from dream interpretation to My So-Called Life to determining who was the unsung hero of Homicide: Life on the Streets. (Can I put in a word for Barnfather?) Good stuff, yo.
I've always been a fan of Lee's: I'll take someone ambitious who occasionally fails over someone who never tries at all, and Malcolm X, Get on the Bus, She's Gotta Have It, School Daze, Do The Right Thing, hell, even most of Bamboozled still holds up pretty well. (Want to talk about an Academy injustice? How about Scent of a Woman getting best picture/director noms over Malcolm X.)
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Duke Blue Devils vs. LSU Tigers: Even a jungle cat must yield to the prince of darkness! Duke
Texas Longhorns vs. WV Mountaineers: Back to yer stills, good ol' boys, you've been trampled in a stampede. Texas
Memphis Tigers vs. Bradley Braves: MascotMatcher has done a poor job assessing the Braves, but Memphis has a tiger in the tank. Roar! Memphis
UCLA Bruins vs. Gonzaga Bulldogs: Bear baiting hits the sweet sixteen, and the pooches come out on top. Gonzaga
Villanova Wildcats vs. BC Eagles: Our national bird will put the feral kitties to shame. BC
Florida Gators vs. Georgetown Hoyas: The McHoya Sandwich: Chomp! Florida
UConn Huskies vs. Washington Huskies: When the larger lads from the Nutmeg State meet the rotund boys from the shadow of Rainier, it's the Long Tidal River vs. Puget Sound, it's Storrs vs. Olympia, it's grunge vs. polka, it's Joe Lieberman vs. Scoop Jackson, it's Millstone vs. Hanford, it's the Cascadia Plate vs. the Moodus Noises, it's Sub Base Bangor vs. Sub Base New London, it's... tedious. UConn
Wichita St. Shockers vs. George Mason Patriots: No shock here: Wichita State has been fixed in the all-seeing eye. Those aren't ceremonial aprons, they're butcher's aprons. George Mason
So let's do it. Keep a running tally in the comments and show us where each artist is, like so:
1. 50 Cent (half-dollar in the road, front-left).
2. Guns n'Roses (atop the card, front-left). . . .
Now I am by no means a Heinlein expert -- I've owned the book for 20 years and have never cracked the cover -- but the notion that the many coincidences we've observed in the characters' pasts aren't for real, but are instead a product of the island's juju (hee!) seems quite feasible. And Heinlein seems like as reasonable a place as any for JJ and the Island Band to be deriving inspiration from. What say you? (I am quite confident that we've got one or two Heinlein experts among us -- can you help me out on this grok business?)
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
In the meantime, this is well worth watching.
Is there any doubt as to who should go home this week? Nearly everyone brought their A game -- even Kevin the outclassed, who delivered a perfectly sweet and lovely performance. After a couple of messy weeks, Kellie delivered a personal best with a song that I predicted a week ago she'd be singing for 50s night. Paris was finally Parislike again, Ace was suitably Acey (although his schtick is starting to wear a little thin for me), and Katharine and Mandisa were just brilliant. Despite the fact that I continue not to get Elliott, this week's performance was quite lovely. Taylor's song choice was questionable, but are his fans really going to desert him now, in his hour of need? Unlikely.
So who's it going to be? I think there are two candidates, but only one who really should go home. Lisa's effort to bring the cute felt a little fake, especially with the big performances delivered by her fellow ladies onstage. But it was Bucky who fell short this week -- fun song choice from an enjoyability standpoint, disastrous one from a singing competition standpoint. (The same could be said for Taylor, but I think Taylor's got a much broader fan base and a heck of a lot of goodwill built up.)
A final note on Daughtry: what I find most interesting about him is that he seems to know much more about music than the other competitors. Not necessarily music theory or the nuances of technical vocal performance, but about the universe of songs and what he should be singing to best showcase his talents. Unlike the crop of 16 year olds year in and year out who say things like "oh, I was born 35 years after the fifties ended and so I just picked a song that sounded pretty," I get the sense that Daughtry is very knowledgeable and smart when it comes to picking songs.
"We Walk the Same Line" -- Everything But the Girl ("If you lose your faith, you can have mine")
"Many Rivers to Cross" -- Jimmy Cliff
"Nightswimming" -- R.E.M. (regret is a common theme in our communications)
"Who Knows Where the Time Goes" -- Judy Collins
"I Wish You Peace" -- The Eagles
and the title of this item
Any other suggestions?
Monday, March 20, 2006
Four hundred episodes. I mean, wow. It just remains a towering, almost incomprehsible cultural accomplishment, making animation cool for adults again and placing allusion and satire atop the humor mountaintop, for better or for worse. It started when I was a senior in high school, such that when the show reaches this milestone, it willhave been on the air for half my life. When it started, as that zany show about Rebellious "Eat My Shorts" Bart, could anyone have foreseen this?
(Put a depressing way, though, this means that by 2008, half the show's episodes will have taken place after Phil Hartman's death, post-Hutz, post-McClure.)
Watch the new UK trailer, and then, ummm . . . I mean, it's The Simpsons, people. Say something smart.
I, for one, will be sticking with my off-list frapp preferences -- have you tried an almond or hazelnut frappuccino yet? Don't bother looking for it on the menu; just trust me that it's there.
I realize that this is my second preschooler culture post in the last week. Apologies. Really.
Two prominent features of 24: (1) I do love how they manage to end every episode with a new little cliffhanger -- it's very first-season-of-Alias in that regard, and (2) I find myself watching every character with skepticism: Will he turn out to be a mole? Will she? Who exactly is zoomin' who? The conclusion of this episode married these two tendencies nicely, don't you think?
(Sadly, I will not be posting about Prison Break, as my %&*@#%!!&^% Time Warner Cable DVR -- that's right, I dare to speak its name aloud -- chose tonight to pitch a hissy fit and do all sorts of things that did not involve recording Prison Break or HIMYM. I think my other DVR picked up HIMYM, but wasn't set for Prison Break. Feel free to let me know what happened.)
Edited to add: Here's an interesting Q&A with Prison Break's supervising producer.
Once, when visiting LA long before I moved here, a friend and I were roped into seeing a taping of a "hit TV show." It turned out to be Perfect Strangers, and I believe that the whole process of attendance violated the Geneva Conventions. We were put on a bus, sent out to the Valley somewhere, warmed up (in theory) by exactly the kind of stand-up comedian that you would expect to open for Perfect Strangers, and force-fed take after take of Balki and Larry getting stuck in an elevator. The worst thing about it was the unhinged-looking girl in the front row with clothes about 10 years out of date who went into hysterics every time Bronson Pinchot appeared and who carried a sign that said "Balki I [heart] You." I guess there's a stalker for every star. It's hard to believe that happened 15 or 20 years ago, but I'll take the fact that I can't imagine this happening today as a sign that the world is a better place.
I'm developing an idea that Matthew McConaughey is a kind of anti-Christ. I'm 35% to 40% serious. He may not be the Satanic emissary of our times, but I honestly believe if and when the real devil rises up from those sulfur caverns and begins to walk the earth, he'll look and behave exactly like McConaughey.
He's not just the absolute nadir of empty-vessel pretty boy actors. I'm talking about an almost startling inner quality that transcends mere shallowness. It's there in McConaughey's eyes . . . eyes that look out at the wonder and terror of life but do nothing but scan for opportunity . . . something or someone to hustle or seduce or make a buck off. Eyes that convey a Maynard G. Krebs-like revulsion at the idea that life may finally be about something you can't touch, taste or own.
He has the soul of a Texas bartender who dabbles in real estate and has an overly made-up and undereducated girlfriend who drops by at the end of a shift to give him a lift home, except that he tends to ignore her when there's a good game on and all his empty-ass buddies are there . . . a bartender who will clean shot glasses for 20 minutes before looking in your direction . . . a guy with a thin voice and a hey-buddy Texas drawl who sorta kinda needs to be stabbed with a screwdriver.
And from there, Wells says what he really thinks.
Sunday, March 19, 2006
edited to add: Sepinwall tries to make some sense of it, including a call to "give Edie Falco the Emmy right now. Just give it to her. Seriously. Do not pass Go, do not collect other nominations, just ship the statuette to her apartment today. There is no way any other actress on television is going to have two better scenes this year than . . . ." well, if you haven't seen it, I'm not going to spoil it.
(Seriously, everything I've said about 'The Office' being the saddest funny show on tv, or the funniest sad show, was triply true this week.)