Saturday, August 2, 2008
ETA: Oooooh. I'm sorry. We were looking for "Celebrities Perez Hilton Hates."
Friday, August 1, 2008
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Black Crowes Sue Gretchen Wilson Over “Saving Grace” Commercial : Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily
(Petty v. RHCP here.)
The quality of the work is even interfering with the adolescent reflex to heap derision on competitors getting the "hate me" edit.
Bronzer Boy is getting a less homicide-inspiring edit, but it's too late. He's dead to me and I don't like his clothes. The designs from he who cannot be named because his name is fake and irritating and besides which he's already used up every available instance of it speaking of himself in the third person have been really impressive. (He's good. I admit it. Now shut him up.) Other than those two, if somebody would help Lady Jeffrey Sibelia with her eye makeup I'd be all out of complaints about this season's cast.
Also, I thought last night's winner had designed a dress for pheasant smugglers --- bad pheasant smugglers trying to sneak out of an early episode of Miami Vice or Manimal. That's not a complaint. I'm sure it was "good" if you're the sort who knows stuff about such things. As previously and frequently stated, I do not, so I just stand in the pit and laugh and laugh with the rest of the rabble.
Oh, wait, this is a show about dancing, so let's talk about dancing.
Last week I was apparently the only person in America who thought that Joshua had an off week. Clearly he felt he had something to prove to me and me alone, because he did in fact dance his ass off this week. (I do think it's a smidgeon unfair to the other dancers that he and Katee got partnered up again this week, but, then again, Twitch manages to magically draw hip-hop out of the sorting hat week after week.) Also, can someone explain to me how Nigel managed to restrain the urge to comment upon Joshua's shirtlessness during the paso doble? He's never been able to restrain it before -- why now? And despite my total failure as prognosticator last week, I will nonetheless state my belief that I just can't imagine either Katee or Joshua not appearing in next week's finale, particularly after their excellent contemporarary and paso doble performances.
This week's eliminations are shaping up to be interesting, because Mark had quite a strong week. I hate those sideless 80s muscle shirts, but Mark was a beautiful waltzer and his performance during that Sonya Tayeh jazz routine was spectacular. (If Sonya happens to be in the market for a muse, she should welcome a resume from Mark with open arms.) Twitch, on the other hand, lost a deeply one-sided fight for attention versus Chelsie's hips. The hip hop number was a lot of fun, and Twitch's solo's are always memorable, but I don't think it's totally insane to posit that there's a chance that Mark edges him out for the final four. (But then again,, given that Twitch was in the bottom two last week, there's that possible slingshot fan-galvanization effect that I love to point out at every possible opportunity.)
Mr. Cosmo raised an interesting question last night when I was commenting on how strong last night's choreography was across the board. He asked whether there was a choreography vetting process that made sure that big weeks got the best routines -- for example, did Jason Gilkinson's unusually appealing Viennese Waltz and paso dobles get specifically slated for the week of six, or did they just get lucky?
That's it for me . . . what'd you think?
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Like today, when we learn that the IOC has been complicit with the Chinese government in censoring international journalists' ability to use the Internet while reporting on the Games:
Since the Olympic Village press center opened on Friday, reporters have been unable to access scores of Web pages — among them those that discuss Tibetan succession, Taiwanese independence, the violent crackdown of the protests in Tiananmen Square and the sites of Amnesty International, Radio Free Asia and several Hong Kong newspapers known for their freewheeling political discourse."Sufficient." How about, "so repressive that they're even blocking Fire Joe Morgan," as the Rocky Mountain News reports. FJM (via Mose Schrute) responds: "What's the matter, China? Can't handle EqA? Big fans of bunting over there? Love Livan Hernandez, hate Johan Santana?We will not stop blogging until every Chinese citizen has the right to read curse-filled nonsense about Dusty Baker."
A government spokesman initially suggested the problems originated with the site hosts, but on Wednesday, he acknowledged that journalists would not have unfettered Internet use during the Games, which begin Aug. 8.
“It has been our policy to provide the media with convenient and sufficient access to the Internet,” said Sun Weide, the chief spokesman for the Beijing Olympics organizing committee. “I believe our policy will not affect reporters’ coverage of the Olympic Games.”
These Games were awarded to Beijing with the promise that China would improve its record regarding human rights and the environment, vowing to "be open in every aspect to the rest of the country and the whole world." "We are confident," claimed the head of Beijing's Olympic bid committee in 2001, "that the Games coming to China not only promotes our economy, but also enhances all social conditions, including education, health and human rights."
[And someone did the same thing on the NYT site last night too, as evidenced by this editor's note responding to comments on a since-deleted faux-"Adam B." reposting of that essay of mine. WTF? As to the underlying article, I really don't have much to say -- I spoke to the reporter for the piece, and my memories are consistent with the students quoted and with the slightly-earlier course syllabus unearthed. Also, don't hire Dan Fischel as your campaign strategist.]
Readers may recall the initial experiments in this area -- some of which had compelling results -- perpetrated by MC Hawking.
The 2007 league MVP runner-up was initially left off the list of 23 players invited to try out for the USA squad, but since she has a lucrative contract with a Russian team during the off-season, obtaining dual citizenship was easy despite having no family ties to Russia:
"I didn't say no to USA Basketball," Hammon recently told the Houston Chronicle. "The option for me to play for USA Basketball really wasn't an option. ... I don't think people would be as upset if I was playing for Switzerland. God loves Russia just as much as God loves America."Says USA coach Anne Donovan, "If you play in this country, live in this country and you grow up in the heartland and you put on a Russian uniform, you are not a patriotic person in my mind."
Meanwhile, the Clippers' Chris Kaman is playing for Germany -- but at least he has German great-grandparents (and was never going to make the USA squad.) And, yes, Nigeria's Hakeem Olajuwon suited up for the 1996 USA men's team, and yes the Olympics are supposed to be about international understanding, but nationalism is the fuel that drives the Games (other than commerce), and suiting up for the Rooskies -- of all people -- just seems wrong.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, John Cho, ... | Perfect Casting: 23 Stars On Screen As Themselves | Photos | EW.com
(That said, I see their David Duchovny on The Larry Sanders Show and raise with Jon Stewart on same as Larry's replacement-in-waiting, a kick-ass self-parody even before Stewart had a public self to parody, and the late Warren Zevon desperate to playing something on Larry's show other than "Werewolves of London".)
And so while I didn't complain when they closed the Fourth Floor (with the Mathematics exhibit and the dot and the line movie), or when they scrapped the whole "Futures Center" concept in place of generic exhibit space, or when they junked the mammoth Hall of Mechanics and the Liquid Air show or got rid of the walkthrough Boeing 707 they had out back (and, okay, no one misses Shipbuilding Along The Delaware), but by gum I'm going to speak out now. Karen Heller reports today that changing the museum's name to "The Franklin" is indicative of even worse things are afoot, as the current Whydah exhibit is indicative of how much science has been removed from the building:
"Pirates" is the latest in the Franklin's succession of tantalizing blockbusters, following "Body Worlds," and shows on the Titanic, Star Wars, and King Tut, the equivalent of a casino floor show, there to draw in folks who might find science sort of yucky. What "Pirates" doesn't teach is science; instead it dumbs down learning to a theme-park level. ... "Sports Challenge" is more Dave and Buster's than lessons in physiology, a homage to hyperactivity where kids run around without ever stopping to learn.Oh, yeah: there's also a Narnia exhibit. Because that movie was all about scientific fact.
"Sir Isaac's Loft" contains one of those George Rhoads kinetic sculptures found in airports. "Sometimes you just can't avoid science," the caption reads, almost as an apology. "My intention is not to exemplify scientific principles," Rhoads states on the plaque. Oh, great.
Frequently, the Franklin seems as scared of learning as it does of science. Lopping off the "Institute" is an indication. What I watched was kids dashing madly, going from one pit stop to the other, without absorbing much. There was so much insistent fun (!) and no, this-isn't-really-science stuff that the place is transformed into just another consumer palace.
Monday, July 28, 2008
[FYI, NBC's talent roster for the Games is here. Wow: this is Jim Lampley's 14th Games. Also, I did not realize that there's now a 10K open water swimming event. Cool.]
For my money, the greatest feat in Olympic history was Bob Beamon's 29'2.5" long jump in 1968 -- 21.75" longer than the previous world record, and a record that stood for an unbelievable 23 years -- but I was still two years from being born so I can hardly call that a memory. My favorite memory involved watching Ben Johnson's short-lived 1988 100-meter victory in my freshman dorm room, when he just muscled his way to a then-unreal 9.79 while slowing down before the finish line, forcing the Americans in the room to hand cash to the Canadians (which we would get back a few days later). I don't care that Johnson was hopped up on stanozolol (though, if you care, Carl Lewis, Linford Christie, and Dennis Mitchell all tested positive for steroids at different times in their careers, so it's not entirely clear that Johnson's use made it an unfair race). Johnson looked like the Incredible Hulk and ran like the Roadrunner, his turnover seemingly too fast for the TV cameras, or SI's cameras, to capture. Dirty or not, Johnson embarrassing the field in what was then probably the greatest collection of fast people ever -- while soon embarrassing Canada to boot -- was something to behold.
So that's my most indelible memory. Yours?
- In a column so long it took five Internet pages (standard word capacity for an Internet page: ∞), the most important thing (judged by placement in the story) that King has to say is that Brett Favre has a nice house.
- King apparently makes a distinction between "things I think I think" and "things I think I know," limiting this latest column to the latter. Try to come up with an explanation of that distinction that doesn't yield the result "Peter King usually is a crappy journalist."
- "[A] statue of Gandhi in Jackson seems about as in-the-right place as a statue of Ward Cleaver at the Playboy Mansion." You hear that, Jackson, Missisippi? As the world's most recognizable locus of sexual depravity is to a mostly-forgotten tame-seeming guy from a 50-year-old fictional TV show, so are you, in your illimitable thirst for violence and wanton oppression, to the man who represents the ideal of nonviolent resistance.
- King has no qualms about a three-beer working dinner, even if the guy he's interviewing is conspicuously drinking iced tea.
For the actual analysis, I'll refer you to Alan Sepinwall's thoughts on the season premiere. For me, the fun of the premiere was noticing all of the interesting tidbits that were tucked into the episode without explanation or comment. There were little ones, like the quick shot way at the beginning of a lock being installed on Don's office door and the kid showing up in a sweater for his interview (it just goes to show you that Gen Y isn't the first generation receiving complaints about inappropriate office attire). And there were bigger ones, like Salvatore's new living arrangements (all that in just the 15 months since his dinner with the Belle Jolie guy?) and Don's lack of surprise upon arriving home to find no dinner awaiting him.
Relatedly but unrelatedly: you always hear about the finishing school accent that Jacqueline Bouvier brought to her marriage to Jack Kennedy -- and how. Can you imagine that going over like anything but a lead balloon today?
"WE CANNOT CHANGE THE CARDS WE ARE DEALT, JUST HOW WE PLAY THE HAND.” – RANDY PAUSCH 1960-2008: Randy Pausch, the Carnegie Mellon computer science professor renowned for his powerful "last lecture" in which he shared his thoughts as he faced terminal cancer, died on Friday at the age of 47.
The lecture Professor Pausch delivered—“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"—was not about dying. It was about the value of surmounting obstacles, of making possible the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything he had come to believe. It was about living. For many of us, his words became a reminder that our own futures are all too brief and that we should make the most of every precious moment we have.
A few highlights from the lecture:
- the power of enthusiasm,
- the importance of childhood dreams (“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you.”),
- the fortitude needed to overcome setbacks, ("Brick walls are there for a reason. They let us prove how badly we want things."),
- the value of being patient with others. ("Wait long enough, and people will surprise and impress you."), and
- the joy of mentoring others.
The lecture is available here (76 minutes long). A transcript of the lecture is here. You can get a copy of the book here (I've read the book and recommend it). This WSJ article by the co-author of the book (Jeffrey Zaslow) is quite good. The official "last lecture" website is here.
2. Our House—Madness
4. Walk Like an Egyptian—Bangles
5. Walking On Sunshine—Katrina & The Waves
6. Jump—Van Halen
7. Material Girl—Madonna
8. Thriller—Michael Jackson
9. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic—The Police
10. Hold Me Now—Thompson Twins
11. Down Under—Men at Work
12. Everybody Wants to Rule the World—Tears for Fears
13. The Reflex—Duran Duran
14. 99 Luftballons—Nena
15. Girls Just Want To Have Fun—Cyndi Lauper
17. Rock Me Amadeus—Falco
19. American Music—Violent Femmes
20. Take On Me—a-ha
21. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)—Eurythmics
22. Need You Tonight—INXS
23. Don't You (Forget About Me)—Simple Minds
24. Faith—George Michael
25. If You Love Somebody Set Them Free—Sting
26. Don't Dream It's Over—Crowded House
27. Never Surrender—Corey Hart
28. When Doves Cry—Prince
29. Where The Streets Have No Name—U2
30. No One Is to Blame—Howard Jones
31. In Your Eyes—Peter Gabriel
33. Shattered Dreams—Johnny Hates Jazz
35. Love Shack—B-52s
36. Addicted to Love—Robert Palmer