Friday, December 12, 2008
There would be some rules. You can slap as many people as you want, but you get only one slap against any one person. That one slap would bear no legal repercussion, but the law wouldn't require that people allow themselves to be slapped -- businesses could impose no-slapping rules; people could employ bodyguards. Thus, you could be banned from US Airways or Best Buy for using your slap (and would be, until they had banned so many customers that they'd have to allow it) but you wouldn't be prosecuted. You'd never get close enough to Tom Cruise or Rod Blagojevich to take your shot. And just to keep this honest, I'm banning slaps-for-hire.
The best part of this fantasy is not imagining the crack of hand against the cheek of, say, the stranger on my flight two days ago who, while boarding, took somebody else's bag out of the overhead compartment and just left it in the aisle, but rather thinking about how you'd use your one slap with your loved ones. Strangers are easy -- you'll probably see them only once, so you'll either use it or you won't. But with your friends and family, you need to conserve your precious resource. How much regret would Spacewoman have if she used her slap on me that one time at the toll booth in 1996, when we were just dating, not knowing about the ear-reddening argument we'd have in 2003 about the Nike 17205 case? How much more valuable would my slap have been throughout middle- and high-school as a lingering threat, knowing that my impulsive sister would have used hers on me already, leaving kind of a slap-missile gap in our household cold war? Do I know anybody who, at some point, I wouldn't have slapped, and who wouldn't have slapped me?
Come to think of it, would I be proud or shamed to know, at the end of the day, that I had both suffered and doled out more than the average number of slaps? And which speaks better of you -- to have been more slapper than slapped, or the contrary?
Second, once Graham finishes her Guys and Dolls run, she'll return to TV in a new project for ABC from some of the folks behind Arrested Devlopment, in which she'll play "a self-help guru who teaches women how to live a stress-free life -- but struggles to follow her own advice when her boyfriend dumps her." Seems to me like they're looking for a companion for Samantha Who? Of course, unless it's going to be filmed in NYC, that may mean Graham's G&D run will be cut short, so plan accordingly.
FOX Network Program Executive CouncilOkay. Other than the "no Idol Gives Back" thing, since we're a fan of anything that gets Annie Lennox in front of television's biggest audience every year (as well as Carrie Underwood's cover of "Praying for Time"), this is all good. We've seen enough delusionally bad singers for a lifetime, and I'd rather they spend the time ensuring that we get to know all of the semifinalists before it's time for America to vote than trying to make bucks exploiting the mentally ill.
DECEMBER 2008 MINUTES
When will the schedule and any new details about this season be released?
January through March details will hopefully be released before the Holidays. All episodes will be Tuesday-Wednesday. No Thursday’s planned; same overall number of hours as last year. There will be 3 weeks of auditions and 2 weeks of Hollywood rounds. There will be 36 contestants coming here to Hollywood as opposed to 24 last year. There will be a wild card week and there will continue to be 12 contestants in the Finals. There will be a couple of more 2 hour shows than in the past. Promotional thrust will have fewer bad singers and more ‘aspirational’ singers. There will be no Idol Gives Back.
You know I love Hollywood Week. I am thrilled to see more of it.
The shift from 24 to 36 semifinalists, and the existence of a wild card week, suggests that instead of doing the 24-to-20-to-16-to-12 eliminations, it'll be back to something like the old days -- perhaps three weeks with groups of twelve performing on Tuesdays, with the top three each week making it to Hollywood, followed by a fourth week with "judge's favorites who didn't make it the first time," with the top three from that week joining them. The format used the past few years created too many incentives against risk-taking (until the perilous 16-becomes-12 week); this will be better.
[Anyone else remember the year in which the wild card week brought back folks who we had never seen before? What season was that?]
American Idol returns on January 13, 2009, barely a month away.
He knows that when we’re looking at him, we’re also seeing Dirty Harry and the Man With No Name and all his other outlaws and avenging angels who have roamed across the screen for the last half-century. All these are embedded in his every furrow and gesture.Sunday's Times will have a profile of Eastwood, which notes: "Despite what you might have read on Wikipedia, Mr. Eastwood is not a vegan, and he looked slightly aghast when told exactly what a vegan is. 'I never look at the Internet for just that reason,' he said."
These spectral figures, totems of masculinity and mementos from a heroic cinematic age, are what make this unassuming film — small in scale if not in the scope of its ideas — more than just a vendetta flick or an entertainment about a crazy coot and the exotic strangers next door. As the story unfolds and the gangbangers return and Walt reaches for his gun, the film moves from comedy into drama and then tragedy and then into something completely unexpected. We’ve seen this western before, though not quite. Because this isn’t John Wayne near the end of the 20th century, but Clint Eastwood at the start of the still-new 21st, remaking the image of the hero for one more and perhaps final time, one generation of Americans making way for the next.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
See, NBC? You can do scripted television shows that people like!
Finke also notes that protests have arisen over the planned honoring of Jerry Lewis with the Academy's Humanitarian Award due to his recent use of anti-gay slurs as schtick in his public appearances. Personally, I'm still waiting for Day The Clown Cried.
ETA: Finke is now reporting that an offer has been made to Hugh Jackman.
Speaking of fraggles, "hootie-hoo"?? Muppetier and muppetier! How much more muppety could it be? The answer is none. None more muppety. ...unless of course there is a kids episode later in the season and costumes are involved.
Good quickfire this week with really good challenges where, for once, the drama about the elimination got me right in the gut. The arguments for sending Gene home were all there, and I was shocked to discover that deep within all my vortices of snark and bile there is still a small kernel of something human that cares about the outcome of reality television shows.
But enough of that. Does anyone think it's plausible that Danny shoved those inexplicable notches in his beard so that he wouldn't look too much like the other large bearded cheftestant? Is that giving him too hard a time? I believe he did show up with a full beard, and the notches appeared only after they got to the residence.
- All four Doubt performers are nominated, as is the screenplay, but no best picture or director nomination?
- Big love for Vicky Christina Barcelona (unsurprising, as the HFPA tends to love Woody Allen and foreign performers)--acting nods for Bardem, Rebecca Hall, and Penelope Cruz, as well as a best pic nominee.
- Meryl Streep is nominated in both best actress categories (Doubt and Mamma Mia!), and Kate Winslet is nominated as a lead actress for Revolutionary Road and a supporting actress for The Reader.
- Even though the Globes don't divide their supporting acting categories into comedy/drama, two comic actors got in on supporting actor--both for Tropic Thunder--Robert Downey, Jr. and Tom Cruise. Both are, naturally, going to lose to Heath Ledger.
- Clint Eastwood--two nominations--both for music.
- Kevin Connolly for lead actor in a comedy? Seriously? (And NPH is the sole nod for anything on CBS Monday.)
- Aside from Sean Penn's performance, Milk is shut out.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
At close inspection, none of Alinea's recipes requires terribly advanced techniques. There are unfamiliar ingredients, such as soy lecithin, a commercial emulsifier, and tapioca maltodextrin, which helps transform liquids into powders. But the dishes are intricate, requiring patience, time -- and a lot of dishwashing. To make the liquefied popcorn, Blymire used 17 bowls, pots, strainers, utensils and glasses for weighing, cooking, blending and serving the tiny post-dessert shot. And that was one of the easy ones.See, e.g., Blymire on "Sea Urchin, vanilla, chili, mint", or indeed "Caramel Popcorn, liquefied":
My first reaction was that it looked like the aftermath of the Delts' 1987 Heaven and Hell party, but after straining it, it looked more like corn pudding, which was much more appetizing for all of us.Oh, and she already spent eighteen months cook/blogging The French Laundry at Home.
Let me take a minute to talk about the smell. It's sooooo much better than the farty movie theatre popcorn smell (which smells great for the first 30 seconds, and then just ends up smelling, well, farty). This popcorn pudding purée (because it went into the blender and was strained again before serving, but that's one of the steps I don't have a photo of) was sweet and salty and smelled like my favorite corn pudding dish, only better, and more like fall, if that makes sense. We tasted it at this point, and the only way I can think of to describe how it tasted is to say that it tasted like chewed-up popcorn... but not in a gross-out kind of way. In a really awesome kind of way.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Tony Burrows never had a hit record under his own name, but he managed the feat of having four records in the British Top Ten at the same time, all under different names. The British session vocalist was the lead singer of:
- Edison Lighthouse's Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes), which hit # 5 on the American pop charts in February of 1970,
- White Plains' My Baby Loves Lovin' (someone has set this song to a "Lost" theme), which peaked at #13 on the US Top 40 in May of the same year,
He also sang background on many of Elton John's early-'70s albums (especially Madman Across the Water). In fact, he sings background on ALOTT5MA fave Tiny Dancer (this clip taken from the memorable scene in "Almost Famous").
Monday, December 8, 2008
Did I mention this is happening in real time? I am actually getting on a cross-country flight and must leave soon, etc. Help me, please.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
That general tone carried over into the start of Boston Legal, with Shore going to work at a Boston Biglaw firm, but by no later than Season 3 (with the introduction of Clarence/Clarice and Jerry Espenson), the show had changed into something completely different. Gleefully aware of its own absurdity, extremely metafictional (particularly in this final season), and allowing David E. Kelley to use Shore as a mouthpiece for his views (mostly political, but sometimes about the media), the show became a comedy (and a pretty good one). Sure, sometimes you still would have mystery and personal plotlines, but the show had turned into something different--witness Alan Shore before the Supreme Court (sadly, the only version I can find has a prologue with an even more expressly partisan political rant). The Kelleyverse has always been a strange place, and I'll miss this corner of it. Share favorite moments (pretty much anything with Alan and Denny on the balcony), favorite characters (Parker Posey's nervous attorney? Betty White's gleefully homicidal secretary?), or rant about how Spader has repeatedly prevented worthier folks from getting an Emmy below.
Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend: "'We'd never been heard,' [Townshend] says, the 'we' referring to the British working class of his upbringing. 'So we created our own language, which was rock-and-roll. And this honor is the establishment saying, We hear you. And that's a strange thing, because if they can hear us, maybe we don't need to do this anymore. It's like somebody saying to Tupac Shakur, Ah, I understand what you're saying. Well, you're not supposed to understand what he's saying. You're supposed to be [expletive] scared.'"
Morgan Freeman: "'As an actor,' Freeman says, 'you like to be well rounded. But the industry puts you in a niche. I don't think Sidney [Poitier] ever successfully played a bad part. Fonda did once in 'Once Upon a Time in the West,' but it was the only time he played a really bad guy. Gary Cooper never did. Clark Gable never did. So you're in good company when you get packaged as Mr. Good Guy. Of course, you have to be careful in thinking that's who you are in life. It's called the Othello effect. Taking the character offstage.'"
Barbra Streisand: "When Hamlisch assembles the musicians for a Streisand tour, for example, he tells them that if they're not willing to bend the rules and work serious overtime, forget it: 'If we're going to do this by the letter of the law, then don't do this,' he instructs them. 'I'm not going to stop if she is on a creative roll.'
'Her talent is her voice and her unbelievable taste level,' he adds. 'Let's assume you were working for NASA and they're going to be putting a man on the moon. Everyone has to do a perfect job. What she is, is the vessel that can get you to the moon.'"
Twyla Tharp: "'Well, it's an old story,' Tharp says. 'It's called independence. It begins with Mozart. Haydn wasn't liberated. Haydn accepted that he ate in the kitchen with the servants and he wore the livery. Mozart wanted to eat at the table. It's about having control over the work that you do and controlling what you will do, and that is part and parcel of having the wherewithal to do it.'"
George Jones: "'You think about the things you done, the way you treated people,' he says. 'I'm troubled with those thoughts quite often. You just wished you hadn't hurt people like you'll do when you're messed up. It was pretty bad. I'll tell you what bothers me more than anything: All the dates I missed, when I got the title No-Show Jones. In my mind, I can envision these people, the old grandma and her daughter, they saved their money for probably a couple of months, gave up things, walked down the country roads or whatever to go to the show, and I'm not there. I can just see these people in my mind. I let 'em down. So many of them. That bothers me worst of all.'"