- Colie: Tulanian/Jersey-Girl Katrina-shill. Slept/fell in love with housemate Alex first night. Continued to throw herself drunkenly, slurringly at him the rest of the season, except for (a) when she had mono; (b) when she was in love with Crispin Glover's hippie doppelganger, an Outward-Bound dropout; (c) when she was in love with her ex-boyfriend, with whom she previously and subsequently yammered on about not having a relationship; and (d) when she was mad at Alex about the Jen thing (see below). Wore an incongruous bikini while trying to break up a fight between Tyrie and Davis.
- Jen: Trashy Raiders cheerleader (is there any other kind?); not as hot as she clearly thinks she is. Professed her loyalty to her new friend Colie on the first night. Betrayed that loyalty by sleeping with Alex on the second night. Told Alex he disgusted her and that she'd never sleep with him again. Slept with him again. Slept with John, a bouncer. Slept with some guy visiting another roommate. Told her boyfriend that she slept with Alex once, but that was it. Busted, admitted that she slept with him twice, but that was it. Busted, admitted that she fooled around with the guy visiting a roommate, but that was it. Busted, admitted that she slept with the guy, but that was it. Busted, was about to admit that she slept with the bouncer, but the boyfriend cut her off and said, look, I get the picture. Got insanely, violently drunk every single night. When Tyrie went to the drunk tank, said, essentially, "what's the big deal? I'm there all the time. The baloney sandwich sucks." Off-camera, stalked Spacepeople on Oakland-LA flight.
- Alex: College man-whore. Slept with different roommates on the first two nights of the season; led on the first roommate and did an encore with the second. Brought home a really trashy girl and had loud sex in the middle of the house, then kicked her out. Wears pink shirts with the collar up, like a real-world version of the evil rich kids in teen movies. Is hilariously scared of Jen's boyfriend.
- Tyrie: Angry Black man. Inexplicably managed to remain charming and likeable despite twice getting insanely enraged for no particular reason and once drunkenly peeing in public twenty feet from cops who he knew were there to observe him and thirty feet from his own bathroom in his own house. Cried on the way home from jail. Was really cute with the Outward Bound kids.
- Davis: Gay Christian. Antagonized Tyrie (who is twice his size), inexplicably survived after using the N-word in a drunken fight, set record for playing the "I want to go home" card, biggest gossip/backstabber in the history of reality television. Keeps flirting with insane Brooke, but by "flirting" I mean "pawing and sleeping naked."
- Brooke: Deranged person. Threw a gale-force tantrum when someone told her to wash her own dishes. Faked a broken ankle so transparently that she wore a brace with pumps. Freaked out when she heard that Davis said something catty about her looks. Wrecked Davis's room, rock-star style, because he explained that what he said was that she has a double-chin when she looks down. Cried because a guy asked her to go bowling on a second date.
- Stephen: Kind of a dick, but also kind of boring. They can't all be deranged.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Last night's episode, however, demonstrated that even without great personalities or high drama, the editors sometimes can really bring it. Since it was so clear from the wonderful, chaotic pre-council scheming what was going to happen, the editors just focused on telling the hubristic story of spectacularly botched strategery through the faces of the participants themselves, and it was hilarious. It went immediately to my top three funniest Survivor moments, along with the first caller-and-blindfold challenge (after which Colby doused Jerri Manthey with a leftover bucket of water) and the first season's pre-merge tribal exchange program (Dr. Sean: "we have sticks at our camp too ... we don't eat 'em").
Thursday, April 19, 2007
What's your favorite love story? Mine is It's a Wonderful Life (just watch the scene with when George goes over to Mary's after his brother's wedding). And remember, be proud of your choice, because love means never having to say you're sorry.
- Travolta is barely in the trailer, and I don't believe you hear him sing a note. Especially since he's one of the leads, has top billing, and is coming off a highly successful flick pitched to a similar demo in Wild Hogs, seems like rather an odd choice.
- Almost a third of the trailer seems to be full screen credit names. Do they honestly believe James Marsden, Brittany Snow, Elijah Kelley, and Allison Janney are going to sell tons of tickets on their own? (OK, Janney's certainly a plus.)
Also, for some reason, we get Motormouth Maybelle (rather than Tracy) leading the ensemble in "You Can't Stop The Beat" as music for the trailer. The good news is that Michelle Pfeffer looks like she's going to work out well, and Christopher Walken doing "Timeless To Me" should be a blast. I'll still see it, but something has to be done to calm doubts about Travolta.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
- Recommended by one or more Throwers of Things
- Paperback (sadly, this was the death knell -- at this time, anyway -- for Abundance)
- Not unduly depressing (My Sister's Keeper bit the dust here)
- Not said to require excessive investment of brainpower before getting interesting (Blind Assassin, I'm talking to you)
- Available for same-day-in-Manhattan delivery from B&N (because I just got around to ordering tonight) (this one knocked off Carter Beats the Devil)
- Otherwise captured my interest upon reading the Amazon reviews (B&N's reviews and user comments always suck. I can't figure out why. But they have the same-day Manhattan delivery, so I usually floomph around on Amazon and then order from B&N if I need books quickly)
And so here's the list:
- The Magician's Assistant, by Ann Patchett
- Snow Flower Secret Fan, by Lisa See
- Dirty Job, by Christopher Moore
- Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940, by George Chauncey
- Monopoly: The World's Most Famous Game and How It Got That Way, by Philip E. Orbanes
- The 21 Balloons, by William Pene du Bois (this one is kind of a cheat, because no one actually recommended it, but I found out tonight that Mr. Cosmo had never read it, and so I ordered it for him -- except I think I'm likely to sneak it into my suitcase and hand it over to him when I get back)
Thank you all for your help! I'll report in after I've actually read something.
Still, humanely-raised veal is on the rise.
This has the potential to be a four-hankie flick.
I completely forgot to do this yesterday, so let me just note that according to BabyCenter.com (reg req'd), your five-year-old [blogger] "is well past the temper tantrum stage (most of the time, at least). But he's not exactly obedient, either. In fact, he refuses to come in for dinner when you call him, ignores your requests to pick up his socks, and teasingly rolls the soccer ball around on the kitchen floor despite your rule against playing ball in the house." Rather than punish, we should "try to catch him being good and encourage him when he is. Remember, disciplining your kindergartner doesn't mean controlling him — it means teaching him to control himself." Also, if we see Duncan teasing others, "Although it upsets you to hear taunts escape your child's lips, keep your cool and resist the urge to cut him down to size. Remember, he's probably looking for a reaction."
And, finally, picking up on a story from four years ago today, I regret to inform you that global warming may have a deleterious effect on the ability of future native Alaskan generations to eat their muktuk.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
... (now that I'm done watching) so thank goodness someone in the booth forced that awkward nod to Blacksburg by Cowell at the show's end. I thought all four men were weak, Sanjaya especially (almost a Corey "Against All Odds"-level of badness, while looking like the Cavs' Anderson Varejao), but Jordin just ruled it on "Broken Wing", perhaps the best performance of the finals so far.
Still, I'm a bit bored by this season. Can we watch the consolation-bracket Idol instead, with Sabrina Sloan, Opera Girl Rachel Zevita, Leslie Hunt, Gina Glocksen, Stephanie Edwards, Jared Cotter, Brandon Rogers, and that Canadian ringer who was in Les Mis?
Rolling Stone has the lowdown on the truth behind the myths in its list of the top 25 Songs With a Secret. Sadly they decline to tackle the vexing hidden agenda behind Gordon Lightfoot's cryptic "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."
Over the course of the next hour of predictably numbing cattiness, inconclusive proof or disproof of Asian fetishism (why did he ditch the cute, enthusiastic Amanda but keep the homely tuneless one and the boring ambivalent one?), gratuitous mud-wrestling, and jettisoning of the unevenly-botoxed Playmate and the sorority recruiter with no eyebrows (no, really!), I did have one cogent thought. Bachelor Andy is like the malevolent real-life version of the Tom Hanks character in Big. He walks like a child, bouncing on his toes and swaying stiffly from side to side. He reacts to his weird situation -- being ensconced in an adolescent fantasy, except with the expectation that he act with unadolescent maturity -- like a child, with ill-timed goofy grins and a stony you-caught-me-peeking-at-your-bikini rictus. He makes decisions like a kid who knows his maturity is being judged -- one for me (Chesty McBoobie, from South Carolina) and one for you (the deep one who won't stop talking about my dead uncle and her dead boyfriend). And he says really weird things that sound like what a clueless 12-year-old might think an adult in his situation might say: "women and fast cars are sexy." Half-right, slugger! So I really hope this all ends with him shriveling up in his suit and shuffling home while an appropriate Bachelorette stand-in for Elizabeth Perkins is left to ponder her inadvertent pedophilia.
- My pile of old Traveller books. Traveller being the granddaddy of science fiction roleplaying games. Also, old Car Wars stuff, which included a submission from me to the Autoduel Quarterly, my first sale (and but one of three bits of nonlegal writing I've earned money for) at the age of 14. I earned $5, but never cashed the check, since I thought the check was cooler than the cash.
- $15 in Eastern Caribbean Dollars from a sailing trip to Dominica and Guadouple in 1998; also, about $4.50 in loose pre-1964 dimes and quarters.
- An autographed photo of Chancellor Helmut Kohl; also, one of King Fahd.
- Maureen McHugh's China Mountain Zhang, a lovely science fiction novel from 1992 or so. Of all the things in this novel -- about a 22nd century dominated by the People's Republic of China -- I found most frightening was the fact that mandatory hour-long political meetings on Mars were held during the one hour on Mars which lasts 1 hour 39 1/2 minutes.
- A can of Diet Coke from 1987, the purchase of which would send AUS$0.05 to the first defence of Australia's America's Cup Victory.
- Seibold & Walsh's Monkey Business.
- A bookcase I built in 7th grade woodshop.
- A factory set of Schabak-brand 1:600 scale Boeings, 727, 737, 757, 767, 747-100 and 747-200, in the original Boeing factory livery. Craphound I am not, but I found these in a garbage bin when my first law firm moved to a difference office. I think I could get about $100 for it on Ebay.
Remark on any old crap you've found around the house of late. Or remark on my crap because I have a whole big lot of it.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Famous Folks For Hillary include Michael Douglas, Gigi Levangie Grazer, Brian Grazer, Don Henley, Christine Lahti, Barry Manilow, Rodney and Holly Robinson-Peete, Kate Capshaw and Steven Spielberg, and Elizabeth Taylor.
Don Henley wants to explore John Edwards' Two Americas as well, as do Seth Green, Barry Manilow (again!), Brett Ratner, Darren Star, the Spielbergs, Barbra Streisand, and Brian Robbins.
Chris Dodd's fans include Michael Douglas, Mister Steve Martin, Barbra Streisand, Dick Ebersol, Elisabeth Shue and insult comic Jeffrey Ross.
Screenwriter Paul Haggis has a complex scenario with twenty-five overlapping characters that leads to a Dennis Kucinich win, as does former Baywatch star Alexandra Paul. A "Howard Mandel" in Los Angeles has given Joe Biden $3300, plus $1000 to Obama. (** Except there's two Howard Mandels in Beverly Hills who give generously to Dems; the other is an OB/GYN. So it's unclear whether this is this is the one who asks women to open their briefcases for a living, or the one . . . )
Adam Sandler gave Rudy Giuliani $2100, and John O'Hurley is also chanting "Ru-dy!" to the tune of $2300, while both Pat Boone and "Body by" Jake Steinfeld has pumped up Mitt Romney's coffers. More as I find it, but if you want to find it yourself, the NYT site seems to have the most flexible search engine.
update: Mark Ruffalo gave Kucinich $1000. And Matt has more in the Comments.
update again: Via a friend and other sources -- add Jackson Browne, Steven Bochco, Tommy Schlamme and Susan Sarandon to the Obama list, with Tracey Ullman giving $250 before yelling "go home!"; Marla Maples gave $1000 to Clinton, and Casey Kasem dedicated $250 to Dennis Kucinich. Lorne Michaels sent John McCain $1000, and you can insert your own "straight talk" joke here.
Coaches: Dean Smith dipped into the four corners of his pockets to find $4400 for John Edwards; Barry Switzer gave $2000 to Bill Richardson and still went for it on 5th and 1.
It seems to me that if there were footage available to paint Dustin and Kandice as superficial Mean Girls, the producers would have used it by now. There isn't a reality TV reason in the world to edit a nasty team so that their true colors remain under wraps forever. For two seasons, I have been impressed not only by the BQs' racing skills (much of the time), but also by their composure under pressure and their ability to treat each other with fairness and respect even under the most trying of circumstances, not to mention their lack of gratuitous sniping at other teams.
So why does every other team consistently despise them and claim that they're devious and underhanded? Can it really just be because they're blonde and pretty? It's not like the Race has ever been hurting for physically attractive competitors -- see Derek & Drew, Rob & Ambuh (with an asterisk, because everyone certainly did hate them), Lena & Kristy, the Double-Ds, Kris (arguably the most beautiful Racer ever) & John, Brandon & Nicole, Reichen, Christie, Oswald, and so forth. It just doesn't make any sense to me.
- Drama (after a "no award" last year) goes to Rabbit Hole, a surprisingly comic play about grief and finding your way after the death of a loved one (with a little quantum physics mixed in) that ran on Broadway last spring and is rapidly becoming a regional staple, over three plays I've never heard of (no nominations for Spring Awakening or Grey Gardens). (Interestingly, Playbill reports that the jury was overruled by the Pulitzer Board--the jury apparently wanted to give it to another play and not even nominate Rabbit Hole.)
- Public Service goes to Wall Street Journal for its articles on stock option backdating.
- Fiction goes to Cormac McCarthy's The Road.
- The Looming Tower wins "General Nonfiction" over Fiasco.
- Well-deserved "Special Citations" (aka "lifetime achievement awards") to Ray Bradbury and John Coltrane.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
e.t.a.: And Sepinwall interviews a central cast member from this episode about what happened.
Also, can we please have a fast-forward where multiple teams can compete at once? or, at least, one in which the skill involved is more advanced than "sit still"? I do give Charla credit for her work in this episode -- not an easy physical detour for her, yet she seemed to handle it deftly. Also, kudos to the sound effects editor on that scene.
But everything else about the episode? Sucked.
But he strikes me as a bright, thoughtful kid with a sense of humor who's occasionally harassed by his 16-year-old brother, and it occurred to me that rather than just gifting him with a cash equivalent or the like, that I might be able to assemble for him some kind of Survival Kit and Guide Book For Remaining A Mensch In Your Teenage Years, a collection of books and DVDs that might help him keep his bearings and mature over time. Like, I think every teenage Jewish boy needs a copy of Woody Allen's Without Feathers. Maybe John Edgar Wideman's Brothers and Keepers, but thirteen may be too young for that. And he should see School Ties. What else?
I would love to be able to argue with Tarantino’s presentation of violence, his attitude toward violence. But I really couldn’t tell you what it is, after all these years.
That’s what bothered me even the first time I saw Pulp Fiction, although at the time I discounted those misgivings, and I shouldn’t have. When Marvin gets shot in the car, by accident, it’s very much like the rest of Pulp Fiction, and the rest of Tarantino’s work, in that it’s comical, and the sense of humor is superficially very Scorsesean. It’s bloody, savage violence, and the callousness with which characters address -- or just as often don’t address -- the violence is the source of tension and excitement in the movie. But where Tarantino differs from Scorsese is that while Scorsese sometimes succumbs to a savage impulse, he always has an attitude about it, namely that people who behave this way are monsters -- they’re missing something. It doesn’t mean they have no human qualities or that they don’t have interesting characteristics, but it does mean that we should not get too comfortable with them. Scorsese never allowed us to get too comfortable with the characters in GoodFellas, which to this day remains one of the primary influences on all of Tarantino� It’s bloody, savage violence, and the callousness with which characters address -- or just as often don’t address -- the violence is the source of tension and excitement in the movie. But where Tarantino differs from Scorsese is that while Scorsese sometimes succumbs to a savage impulse, he always has an attitude about it, namely that people who behave this way are monsters -- they’re missing something. It doesn’t mean they have no human qualities or that they don’t have interesting characteristics, but it does mean that we should not get too comfortable with them. Scorsese never allowed us to get too comfortable with the characters in GoodFellas, which to this day remains one of the primary influences on all of Tarantino’s work. But Tarantino’s missing something about Scorsese. In GoodFellas the disjunction between the excitement of the filmmaking and the protagonist’s dry, kind of bored, retrospective narration told you all you needed to know about Scorsese’s attitude toward the material, which was, “Yes, it’s an exciting life, but these people are sociopaths, and their lives are all about power and getting what you want when you want it, damn the consequences.”
In contrast, Pulp Fiction is centered on a couple of guys who kill people for a living, and it’s presented, more so than any other film about assassins that I can recall, as a morally neutral skill or trade, like being a plumber or a golf pro. I am not an especially moralistic critic -- I don’t think the purpose of movies is to educate us on the proper way to live -- but I object to that.