Saturday, November 10, 2007

WE OPEN THE CURTAINS/THAT'S WHAT'S FOR CERTAINS! With the WGA strike not looking like it's headed toward any immediate resolution, actors may start looking for other options in the form of the theatre. Or maybe not. Broadway's stagehands have called a strike to begin now, shutting down the vast majority of Broadway (non-profit shows from Lincoln Center Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Second Stage, and Roundabout aren't affected, nor are three shows that have separate contracts with the union). If the strike stretches longer than a couple of days, openings will be delayed.
HARLOT'S GHOST: Norman Mailer, author of fiction and non-fiction, candidate for Mayor of New York, inventor of a favorite word on the Interweb (at least according to the article linked below), and Gilmore Girls guest star, has died.
LITTLE RED BIKE OUT ON THE MAIN ROAD, LUCKY LITTLE SPONSOR: I mean, yes, by all means, please shop at JC Penney, Target, Mervyn's, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Sears, etc., but what do you want me to say about those places? That you can buy just about all name brands at one or more of those places? Unless some really weird Japanese toy hits -- or unless some more Chinese toys metabolize into powerful drugs -- Christmas FNL Sponsorlove is going to be quite a chore.

So today's featured sponsor is the Bank Americard. Really, I don't know why you would advertise a bank card. I'm not sure how many people are currently signed up with banks that don't offer a bank card option, and for the ones that aren't keeping their money in banks at all, I'm unconvinced that 25-year-old technology is the way to get them off the fence.

But I still like this commercial, where the red bike follows the guy around, a loving-if-commercial homage to The Red Balloon. Back when Abe and Sarah Spaceman settled the kids in Brezhnev-era Moscow for seven months, just about the only thing for an American boy to do was go to the Embassy and watch the movies -- frequently Charlie Chaplin or Harold Lloyd (because the diplomats at the Embassy didn't really get Chinatown), but sometimes The Red Balloon. I hope you all remember The Red Balloon, in which a lonely boy befriends a red balloon that follows him around, until a gang of 5-year-old nihilist French terrorists stones and slingshots the balloon to a slow, suffocating deflation punctuated with a jackbooted heel-stomp pop. And just when you've bottomed out, believing the world too cruel a place for a balloon-loving child pariah, along come the rest of the balloons to show you -- I mean the boy -- that loneliness can be cured by a gaggle of rubber friends and a white-knuckle airborne trip over the Fourth Arrondissement clutching some flimsy balloon strings. I cannot tell you how much I loved this movie, and frankly, it wasn't until just now that I realized that it was a frighteningly accurate and nearly literal depiction of what it was like to be a lonely four-year-old American with inanimate objects as one's best friends (my first words in Russian were "I have a rubber chicken," and if you don't believe me you can ask Spacemom), living among actual, honest-to-God Communist bullies. Oh, great, Bank of Americard, now the next time I see you and your red-bike friend I'm going to start blubbering like I just saw Beaches.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Washington City Paper: Cover Story: Attorney at Blah

RELEVANT, NOT-PRIVILEGED: The Washington City Paper explores the world of temp document review attorneys from the inside, relying on folks like Tom the Temp. Via Volokh.
FIELD TURF REQUIRES NO WATERING: With a strike-afflicted SNL a repeat, NBC's Green Week promotion will FNL in a few hours, where Mrs. Coach's sister will nag Tami to adopt a more green lifestyle. By ... ensuring that Street's wheelchair tires are properly inflated? Encouraging Tim to recycle his empties? Composting the Tyrapist?

So what was the most intrusive Green Week plotline?
THE VIDEO IS WHAT WE THOUGHT IT WAS: To counterbalance my negativity this morning, I give you This Movie Is About Cats Flying.
THEY HAD BEARDS, AND ALMOST ALL OF THEM WENT TO FILM SCHOOL: At this year's Oscar ceremony, it certainly seemed like the fix was in when Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and Steven Spielberg strolled out to present the award for Best Director -- which finally, if predictably, went to their old friend and colleague Martin Scorsese. After all, these four directors represented a whole generation of American filmmakers: the so-called "movie brats" who arrived in Hollywood in the late '60s and early '70s and helped to reinvent and reinvigorate the movie industry, both artistically and commercially. (Their story is memorably told in Peter Biskind's colorful and controversial Easy Riders, Raging Bulls. It's also covered in "The Film School Generation," an episode of the documentary series American Cinema, which is conveniently available online through Annenberg Media; just scroll down to the episode title, click "VoD," sign up for the free registration, and watch the streaming video.)

The "brats" combined a professional craftsmanship honed in the burgeoning film schools of NYU, UCLA, and USC with a more independent view of the director's role. (Insert obligatory reference to auteur theory here.) Inspired by both classic Hollywood and international cinema, they produced more personal, often unconventional films -- like Lucas's THX 1138 (1971), Coppola's The Conversation (1974), Scorsese's Mean Streets (1973) and Taxi Driver (1976) -- films that redefined the cinematic vocabulary and pushed studios to grant directors more artistic freedom.

Yet along with this creative explosion came a commercial revolution. Despite (or because of) their "outsider" perspective and stylistic innovation, several of the "brats" proved to be spectacularly successful moviemakers. Coppola's The Godfather (1972) broke all-time box-office records; Spielberg's Jaws (1975) pioneered the concept of the summer blockbuster; Lucas's Star Wars (1977) demonstrated the enormous value of merchandising. Having helped to accelerate the demise of the old studio system, the "brats" wound up leading the way into a new corporate age of franchises and tentpoles, sequels and prequels, $200 million budgets and mammoth opening weekends.

Two questions to you, then, regarding the Big Four of Coppola, Lucas, Scorsese, and Spielberg. First, who do you believe is the best filmmaker? Second, whose movies do you enjoy the most? (Not necessarily the same answers, I would imagine....)

Next week: punk and disco, cable and VCRs, and MTV.
THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN: It seemed to me that this week's ANTM was designed to be a week in which someone would be cut on the strength or weakness of the whole package instead of their performance in the week's challenges. I mean, two people are selected for "featured roles" in a Gael Enrique Iglesias video based solely on whether they sufficiently resembled Goth Vampire girls (no surprise as to one of the selections, given Tyra's "Tim Burton" comments during the School of Non-Hoochie Sex segment), and then the 2-5 second video clips were the sole determinant of who would be ousted? No way. The oustee was never ever ever going to win, but I was truly hoping that this would be the week in which Chantal would hit the road. I didn't really need to hear her "I was born to model. Look at this face. Look at this body." speech for the 700th time unless it was coming directly from the "lack of self-awareness leads to ironic downfall" page in the Reality TV Scripting for Dummies book.

I also thought that we had finished the Bianca bitch-redemption arc during last week's clip show, but apparently we are heading into round two. Are we being prepared for a Heather/Bianca final two?
EVEN NUTTIER THAN GREGG EASTERBROOK: Perhaps we should not hold a sleep-deprived father of a days-old baby and a four-year old accountable for anything he says, but in case you missed it: The New England Patriots are like Allied prisoners fighting for honor and freedom; the Colts and the NFL are like Nazis; the NFL is attempting to fix the Patriots' games as supplemental punishment for the overblown videotape scandal; Patriots fans are being tested by these unfair hardships but responding with loyalty to their stout, honorable team. And the proof of all of these indignities comes from a game that the Patriots won.

There's a mention, in a list of examples of unfair officiating, of the Steelers-Seahawks Superbowl a few years back, which is a subtle little retraction. You may recall that Simmons's comment at the time was something along the lines of "it was a poorly-officiated game but not in a totally lopsided way; complaining about officiating is boring and brands the complainer a sore loser; so get over it." I suspect that if it had been the Patriots on the other end of that one, Simmons would still be calling for air strikes.
TELL HER IT'S FOR CREED. SHE'LL KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS: We ought to have our weekly Office/30 Rock discussion, because both were good this week -- better than that Harlem Globetrotter ("Does that name mean nothing to you?") was at Kenneth's party. (Anyone want to catalog all the events at that party?)

As for The Office, it was the end-credits bit that elevated the whole thing. As Alan notes today, it is just not easy being The Cool Boss.
HE. VAS. MY. BOYFRIEND! The reviews are out for “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” (its official title), and the Times is "meh" on it, as is the Boston Globe (saying that it "spoil[s] the humor by pointing at it with giant neon arrows"). NY Daily News says good-but-not-as-good-as-The-Producers, as does the Associated Press. Many other reviews here.

Young Frankenstein is just a really hard work to adapt, as these reviews note, because unlike The Producers so much of its greatness comes from its cinematic qualities -- the pitch-perfect look-and-feel of classic horror films, and the fact that no one in the movie, save Igor, knows that s/he is in a comedy. It's a lot easier to turn Leo and Max into musical stars than Dr. Victor Fronk-en-steen, and in the former you just had to add more music to a show that's about a musical anyway. Maybe Brooks will have better luck with Blazing Saddles, which is more explicitly comic in its moves.

Still, whenever anyone mentions Frau Blucher, my response is automatic.
LEE CORSO AND KIRK HERBSTREIT CAN GO TO HELL: And tomorrow, they will, as ESPN's College Gameday broadcasts live from Williamstown, Mass., for the 122nd running of football's smallest, and greatest rivalry.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

"IDEALLY," SAID MR. REINER, THE BASKETBALL PLAYER, "I'D LIKE TO SMELL LIKE NOTHING": Interesting Times article on why men might be wearing too much deodorant, including the immigrant assimilationist roots of the whole pro-deodorant phenomenom.
THE UPMIDDLES: The networks have released their prime-time strike schedules for when they finish burning off their scripted programs. Highlights include:

Tyra Bosses You Around (advice), CW, 8:00. Tyra Banks advises people to do stuff like the "after" in her before-and-after eye thing that looks exactly like the before thing, except it's like, pow.
Chucked, NBC, 8:00. NBC staffers throw away things left in the office by striking writers.
Big Brother (reality), CBS, 8:00 (3 hrs).

Reaper (reality), CW, 8:00. Tyra Banks kills people.
Dancing With the Stars (competition), ABC, 9:00. Host Tom Bergeron wings it without scripted quips.
1 vs. 100 (competition), NBC, 8:00. Host Bob Saget wings it without scripted quips, is beeped and mouth-pixellated for entire half-hour.
Big Brother (reality), CBS, 8:00 (3 hrs).

Gossip Girl (talk), CW, 9:00. Tyra Banks talks shit about Naomi Campbell.
Los Strikebusters (drama), Fox, 9:00 (dubbed).
Big Brother (reality), CBS, 8:00 (3 hrs).

Tyra Freaks the Eff Out (reality), CW, 8:00. Tyra yells at quitters, people who came in here fierce but are now disappearing, and Victoria.
The Excerpts From Funny Things Picketing Comedy Writers Said to News Media Comedy Hour (improv comedy), NBC, 8:00. Writer/celebrities from The Office, 30 Rock, The Daily Show, and other hit programs can't help themselves from making funny jokes to news cameras covering pickets in a manner permitting NBC to generate advertising revenue
Big Brother (reality), CBS, 8:00 (2 hrs).
Dr. Mime (drama), ABC, 9:00.
Total Dead Air Static, CBS, 10:00. Big Brother contestants watch TV tuned to nonexistent channel.

Tyra's Gaydar Miscalibrator (talk), CW, 8:00. Tyra Banks interviews diversely flamboyant friends, including Miss Jay, Twirly Twins, Posing Coach, Sutan, Handlebar Mustache Makeup Guy, High School Principal Fashion Show Emcee, and several people called "Miss Thing," until you start to think that Jay Manuel is probably straight.
NBC Page-Off (competition), NBC, 8:00.
Big Brother (reality), CBS, 8:00 (3 hrs)

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

MARK YOUR CALENDARS: The ALOTT5MA Party Planning Committee (not to be confused with the ALOTT5MA Committee To Plan Parties) is in the preliminary stages of discussions for the potential ALOTT5MA NYC-area Chrismukkwanzzasolstice Party. Proposals for dates and locations in December are invited in the comments, but, no, we are not going to Benihana for Nog-a-sakes.
ANYBODY KNOW WHY THERE IS A 20-POUND FROZEN TURKEY UP IN THE LIGHT GRID? Has anyone out there cooked a heritage turkey before? Am trying to finalize our T-Day menu, and would like to figure out if it's worth the expense.
FOLLOWED BY A GROUP READING OF "THREAT LEVEL: MIDNIGHT" BY MICHAEL SCOTT: The writers and actor-writers of "The Office" explain what's at stake in the WGA strike in a new short video, The Office Is Closed.
FROM DIRTY HIPPIES TO DIRTY HARRY: After jumping ahead to the '80s and '90s with Susan Douglas, let's return to our regularly scheduled historical narrative. We left off in the mid-1960s, a moment when widening political and social rebellion -- civil rights activism, student protests, the antiwar movement -- was both reflected in and shaped by a vigorous "counterculture." Musically, this counterculture flourished on freeform FM radio stations and at sprawling concerts like Monterey Pop (1967) and Woodstock (1969), where traditional genres were blurred and traditional inhibitions erased. In movie theaters, the decline of the Production Code and the growing popularity of more adventurous foreign films helped spark a new cinema of alienation and revolt in features like The Graduate (1967), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), and Easy Rider (1969).

Yet even as the counterculture reached the apex of commercial success and social impact, the first hints of a cultural counter-revolution were appearing. In a broad sense, this reaction took the familiar form of corporate co-optation, as advertisers and marketers turned the imagery of cultural rebellion into the symbols of "hip consumerism". In music, the tragedy of Altamont (1969) and the deaths of Hendrix, Joplin, and Morrison in 1970 and '71 were paralleled by a wave of mergers and acquisitions, as major labels devoured independents and multinationals bought up record companies. In early '70s movies, alienation and rebellion gave way to law and order, as tough-guy heroes like Popeye Doyle and Dirty Harry fought violently against sneering criminals and the system that coddled them.

All popular culture, of course, reflects its political and social context. But the pop culture of the late '60s and early '70s feels especially bound to its age, particularly shaped by the events of the moment. So how does it hold up today? Do you still enjoy the music and movies of this era? Or are they irretrievably dated, locked firmly into their original time, place, and mood?
SHEET METAL ORIGAMI: MIT has discovered that Frank Gehry's Stata Center on the MIT campus is not exactly a model of structural stability and integrity, and is suing. Given that Gehry described the building as something that "looks like a party of drunken robots got together to celebrate" (and was that supposed to be a compliment?), can anyone consider this a surprise?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

SO ONCE AGAIN, JONES, WHAT WAS BRIEFLY YOURS IS NOW MINE: I officially hate comic book writer Marv Wolfman, because he's kinda right about this interpretation of The Greatest Action Movie Ever, as translated by Popwatch:
[W]e were all wrong about Indiana Jones .. in Raiders of the Lost Ark, he's not a hero... he's a bystander....

In Raiders of the Lost Ark, the Nazis' big plan is to locate and open the Ark of the Covenant. Indiana Jones tries to stop them at every turn. He fails. Because at the end of the film, the Nazis still get the Ark and open it. Look at it this way: if you remove Indy from the film, the outcome is the same. The Nazis go to Marion Ravenwood in Tibet and get the headpiece of the staff of Ra. They already know where the Map Room is, so — possessing the actual headpiece which will give them the right height for the staff — they find the Well of Souls easy-peasy, put the Ark on a truck, and drive it to a submarine bound for the island. (Or, they could've flown it there as planned.) Then, they open the Ark and everyone dies.

While I can't lay claim to this theory, it saddens me to say that I wholeheartedly agree with it. All Indy does is slow them down and cause a little property damage. He never stops them from getting the Ark. And, I guess, he saves Marion's life. But the Nazis win. (Oh, and by the way, remember that fertility god statue Indy was after in the film's open? Belloq gets it.) Not only is Indiana Jones a completely reactive character, his actions dictated entirely by what other people do, he's a big honking loser.
And as a commenter there noted, "Actually, if Indy hadn't blown up the flying wing, the Ark would have been opened in Berlin and Hitler would have been there when it opened. So, basically, he saved Hitler."

So, gang: is Wolfman right? And if so, why is the movie nevertheless so awesome?
IF YOU WANT OUR A-WORK, YOU'LL HAVE TO GIVE US SOME OF THE BACK END: Of all of the various forms of creative expression, the two that I find least appealing are poetry and protest-chants. From the Desperate Housewives battlefield in the WGA strike, we now have one of the worst examples of the latter: "We write the story-a/Eva Longoria".

Your mission: come up with a dumber chant than the one the professionals just used.
WHAT KIND OF CLOTHES DO I SUPPOSE WOULD BE WORN BY A MAN WITH A MOLE ON HIS NOSE? Our WGA StrikeWatch continues with a video sent along by one of our readers, reminding us how Moonlighting coped with the 1988 WGA Strike.

Those with long memories may recall that the show never really recovered from the layover and had to ditch a planned "3-D Season Finale" promotion in the process, with twenty million 3-D glasses getting remarketed for the 1989 Super Bowl halftime show starring "Elvis Presto".

In other news, Lisa de Moraes reports that the late night shows may return in a week or two with interview-heavy episodes, because while the writers have a strike fund, production assistants and other staffers don't get paid when the shows aren't being produced.
INEBRIATED FAMOUS GUY ALERT*: Shia LeBeouf has reportedly been busted for being too drunk to leave Walgreens. How drunk is that, exactly? I mean, even if you know, you probably don't really remember. You know? And, if you know Chicago, then you know without being told that there is an 80% chance that this is the Walgreens in question.

*An occasional service of ALOTT5MA.

WHEN I GROW UP TO BE A MAN: My sons love the Beach Boys. As a result, we have been listening semi-constantly in the car to a CD entitled The Very Best of the Beach Boys, which includes the song “When I Grow Up to Be a Man”.

The song is one of the most significant transitional-period Brian Wilson songs, as the composer shifted his focus from the youthful surf tunes of the early Beach Boys to the complex and occasionally darker themes of his later songs. "When I Grow Up" is one of Wilson’s first songs to deal with his emotional disquiet. Basically, it’s a somewhat childlike song about maturing. The lyrics express the doubts and anxieties about the process. The refrain where the band counts off the ascending years passing between adolescence and adulthood, is an extremely effective hook.

The song consists of ten questions about growing up, while the background voices tick off the years. Recently, my sons completed this “questionnaire” on my behalf (see comments). I figured I’d present the questions here for your enjoyment (with minor changes all of these questions can be answered by either gender).

1. Will I dig the same things that turn me on as a kid?
2. Will I look back and say that I wish I hadn't done what I did?
3. Will I joke around and still dig those sounds (still dig those rock & roll sounds)?
When I grow up to be a man

4. Will I look for the same things in a woman that I dig in a girl (14, 15)?
5. Will I settle down fast or will I first want to travel the world (16, 17)?
6. Well I'm young and free but how will it be?
When I grow up to be a man

7. Will my kids be proud or think their old man is really a square (18, 19)?
8. When they're out having fun yeah, will I still want to have my share (20, 21)?
9. Will I love my wife for the rest of my life?
When I grow up to be a man?

10. What will I be?

RFP: The ALOTT5MA Management has been thrilled with Professor Jeff's series of lectures on the history of popular culture in the United States, based off the college course he's now teaching, and we'd like to keep the party going (so to speak).

We are blessed at this site with a group of regular readers and commenters with deep and interesting knowledge bases, from whom we all learn a lot every day. But as we've seen with Jeff, we can always go deeper, so here's the deal: if you're interested, go ahead and conceive of an online "lecture series" that you'd like to do this winter for the blog, on any topic bearing some relationship to what our community seems to appreciate. (And you need not be a Professor to apply -- anyone can offer a proposal.)

Figure out how you'd like to structure it -- anything from four long posts in one week to 1-2 posts/week over the course of a few months, whatever works for you -- and if one occurs to you, draw up an outline. And then shoot us an email at throwingthingsblog -at- hotmail dot com and share your ideas. We'll mull them over and see what we can do. No rush -- this is a rolling process. We are looking forward to reading what you have to say.

Monday, November 5, 2007

DOWISETREPLA: We've long known that the world of HIMYM bore little resemblance to the real world of legal recruiting and practice ... but compared to its foray into the world of real estate tonight, last week's BigLaw recruiting was like a Frederick Wiseman documentary.

For the math whizzes out there: assuming Marshall's making 200K a year, how much of an apartment can he afford to buy (a) at normal mortgage rates and (b) at the rates quoted?

WWE: Superstars > Hall of Fame > Fabulous Moolah > Remembering Moolah

PROFESSIONAL WRESTLER DIES OF NATURAL CAUSES: Wrestling under the name "The Fabulous Moolah", Mary Lilian Ellison held the women's wrestling championship belt for 30+ barely-interrupted years during the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s, before finally losing to Wendi Richter (managed by Cyndi Lauper) at MTV's "Brawl to End It All" back in 1984 at the height of the "rock and wrestling" fad. In 1999, at the age of 76, she regained the the title one last time before losing it days later, and she remained active with the federation doing backstage skits from time to time. She passed away on Friday at the age of 84. You can see her in action via this link.
WALK WHICH WAY? While driving through lovely Western Michigan earlier today, I came across this rather bizarre Aerosmith cover on the radio. No more or less offensive, I suppose, than Aerosmith's own attempt at getting all Adult Contemporary.
BEWITCHED, BOTHERED, AND BEWILDERED: As I noted in my last post, Susan Douglas's Where the Girls Are argues that baby-boomer girls grew up amid a popular culture that often pulled them in contradictory directions, between the narcissist and the masochist, the confident "new woman" and the traditional girlfriend/wife/mother. The rise of "prefeminist agitation" in the mid-1960s -- particularly the release of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique (1963) -- set the stage for a new round of pop-culture figures: the magical stars of Bewitched (1964-72) and I Dream of Jeannie (1965-70), whom Douglas sees as representing a cultural anxiety about modern women's unpredictable "powers." (This chapter, by the way, draws the most eye-rolling from students who think Douglas reads waaaaaay too much into "silly" pop culture.)

By 1970, though, the genie of "women's lib" was out of the bottle and onto the streets, attracting an often vicious media backlash; Time provided an especially blatant example with its August 1970 cover of author Kate Millett as a "grim, ball-busting ninja from hell," as Douglas puts it. Not surprisingly, then, pop-culture heroines in the early 1970s often navigated and embodied the tensions between feminism and antifeminism. On The Mary Tyler Moore Show (1970-77), Mary Richards constantly vacillated between assertiveness and meekness, independence and humility. Bea Arthur's Maude (1972-78) offered a more consistently self-assured, even daring central character, but she was also a "strident, loud, unfeminine bruiser." With the 1976 trifecta of Charlie's Angels, Wonder Woman, and The Bionic Woman, viewers certainly got "women with power," Douglas notes, "but only in comic book settings that could never be mistaken for reality."

As the battle over the Equal Rights Amendment took center stage in the late '70s and early '80s, the political clashes between the Schlaflys and the Steinems of the world were mirrored in pop-culture "catfights," most infamously "between the traditional wife and mom [Krystle] and the feminist bitch from hell [Alexis]" on Dynasty. Reaching the end of her narrative in the early 1990s (the book came out in 1994), Douglas does see some signs of hope in more confident, creative performers like Roseanne and Madonna. Yet she's also troubled by the familiar refrain of late-20th-century American women: "I'm not a feminist, but..."

So how (if at all) has pop culture's image of women changed over the past decade or so, since Douglas's study first appeared? If Douglas were to publish an updated version of Where the Girls Are, which examples of feminine/feminist pop culture, circa 1994-2007, would she absolutely have to discuss?
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS SPONSORLOVE: 40-75% LESS LATE: I don't know, I kind of liked the Three Irritable Stooges in Mexico (though creeped out by what Spacewoman refers to as the "Throw Momma from the Tambien moment"), and all of the actors play the hell out of everything written for them, good or bad. But what I'm really here to do is give you the facts on a fine product from an FNL sponsor: Olay Definity (Foam). I have no idea what this product does, unless it splashes you in slow motion and then colors you in sepia. As far as I can tell, the product name either was randomly selected in a branding snafu resembling one of the old Reese's Peanut Butter Cups commercials (Cowboy: You got your peanut butter in my chocolate! Astronaut: you got your chocolate in my peanut butter! Opera singer: It's delicious! Delicious!), or some genius picked it specifically to evoke a combination of:
[(definition, as in clarity) or (the state of being definite, i.e., certainty)]
[infinity or (de-infinity, i.e., whatever the opposite of infinity is -- either zero or one or negative infinity)].
Personally, I prefer "definite infinity" -- possibly a one-word paradox. Great product name. Makes me feel languorously sepial already.

But I digress. The important thing I wanted to say is that you can now get Olay Definity in foam. Before now, your only Definity-delivery options were stick, invisible solid, cream, paste, fluff, froth, resin, time-release gelcap, I.V., schmear, inert gas, subcutaneous injection, supplement powder, aerosol spray, saturated rag, marination, poison-tipped arrow, sports drink, eardrop, vapo-rub, dialysis, suppository, innoculation, transdermal patch, anti-stick coating, tainted beef, second-hand smoke, and viral pandemic.
AN EPISODE FEATURING A SHARK: With a considerable measure of sadness, I am starting to wonder if Friday Night Lights has "jumped the shark." I found Friday's episode to be both boring and implausible.

I will be careful here not to mention any spoilers, but the scenes that rang hollow for me included:
  • the scene in the Gulf of Mexico,
  • the scene in the locker room at half time,
  • the second half of the football game,
  • the dinner involving 2 football players and Coach Taylor, and
  • certain aspects of the scenes involving Tami and Eric Taylor.
Alan Sepinwall agrees in part and disagrees in part with my thoughts. His piece is here.
HARRY POTTER, SCHOOL TIES, READING CATCHER IN THE RYE; DEAD POETS STANDING ON THEIR DESKS, NEIL SHOT HIMSELF AND WE ALL WEPT; PREP TO READ, TAPS TO SEE, PHINEAS FALLS FROM A TREE: As a followup to Professor Jeff's discussion of the construction of gender roles through pop culture, here's the requested thread to discuss the pros and cons of single-sex schooling versus co-education.

I myself don't have a strong view one way or the other, and end up vacillating between the "life is co-ed and there are many more differences between kids than just the male/female distinction" view and the "isn't it great to have schools and teachers who are specifically focused on the developmental and social needs of just girls or just boys" position.
SCIENTIFIC MAPP SHEDS A TEAR; STEVEN LEVITT PREPARES A REVISION: Florida State's list of recruits includes British Footman and Yourhighness Morgan. The assistant coach who doesn't assign them to be travel-team roommates should be fired.

A NORMA RAE MOMENT: So, the Writers' Guild of America is, as of now, officially on strike against the major motion picture and television production companies. So, what does this mean? As best as I can figure out:
  • All new writing by Union Members for dramatic or comic TV shows stops--"pencils down means pencils down" is the slogan. This includes late night comedy and daytime drama, with late night comedy being the first to shut down due to its almost live nature.
  • Scripts already delivered may be produced, and Union Members with multiple titles (e.g. "writer/director," "writer/producer") may continue to work, but not on the writing side. Scripts get shot as is, where is, with no revisions by a WGA member.
  • SAG cannot join the strike, but has indicated its support, as many of the WGA issues in this negotiation are similar to those faced by SAG, and its members will be walking picket lines.
  • Reality, game show, news, and sports writing is apparently covered by a separate deal, and is relatively unaffected.

WGA members apparently may continue to blog or write other than for struck entities. ALOTT5MA is (as far as I know) not a struck entity, and we remain open for business. As usual in this sort of political matter, ALOTT5MA has no official position, but I suspect I speak for us all when I say that I hope the parties can resolve their differences and get back to entertaining us all.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

TRICK OR TREAT: The brilliant comic bit with Danielle's Halloween costume on the decidedly reinvigorated (courtesy not only of Marcia Cross' full-time return, but the perpetual awesomeness of Nathan Fillion) Desperate Housewives reminded me of the one indisputably perfect subplot on the Halloween episode of My So-Called Life. Sure, much of the episode is one of the show's ventures into magical realism, with the kids finding an actual ghost of a prior outcast, but it's the subplot with Angela's little sister dressing as her fondest fantasy/heroine--Angela--that still works and allows us insight into both characters. (See also the mirror syndrome patient on House last week.)
BROKEN DONKEYS SHOULD BE RETURNED NEXT TO BROKEN OXEN: An interesting first leg of the Race tonight, full of daring bicycling (seriously, gorgeous, but doing that either as the cyclist or in the bucket seat would scare me to death), lessons about why you should never, ever, ever connect through Heathrow if you can avoid, and yes, obstreporous animals. We didn't have quite a Colin-level reaction to the donkey issues, but still, that donkey was clearly broken. And I'm already quite liking the plucky Goths, despite their excess of consonants, and the "Married Ministers," who will get eliminated early on, but seem like decent people, which there have been a shortage of on the Race in recent runs.