Thursday, August 14, 2003

DOT DOT DOT: Sudden thoughts, second thoughts and things potentially worth a moment's thought. Or not:

So we installed TiVo yesterday. Oh, this is a happy day. It'll load up on Larry Sanders and Critic episodes overnight, then tape a SportsCenter for me so I can zip through the highlights, and we got to pause The Amazing Race when Lucy "immediately required a change," let's call it, and were able to resume minutes later. Wow. God bless America . . . As for the Race itself, as I predicted a month ago, "The anonymous straight guys are going to win. Again. They haven't had anything close to a narrative arc yet, suggesting their developments will be very late in the game." . . . Why has the term "Hebrew" disappeared from the language? When did my people just become "Jews"? . . . For my money, the creepiest sea creature is the lamprey . . . So how did that photo session with Richard Avedon go, anyway? "Cat, you did remember to wear underwear, right?". . . Early warning: Jen. ABC's World News Tonight. This Saturday . . . Now that Uptown Girls is the title of a movie, I hope that someone works on adapting "The Downeaster Alexa". It'll be boffo . . . I can see why Larry King likes this format . . . .The coolest member of the QESG cast (and rising) is Food Guy Ted Allen . . . Marsha, if any Law School Musical vet is making it into the IHS cast, it'll be Dan . . . Only in South Philly would people complain about being able to hear a Springsteen concert for free . . . Is Chunky A due for a comeback? . . . You know it's a good issue of Vanity Fair when the cover story doesn't begin until page 399 . . . I hate to sound like Bill Simmons, but there is something wonderful about the way Keanu Reeves says "I am an EFF BEE EYE agent!" in Point Break . . . I do not understand the argument for Albert Pujols over Barry Bonds for NL MVP, because the stats are pretty damn clear that it's time for Barry to get his sixth. OBP, SLG, OPS, home runs, fielding . . . it's all there.

More later. Time for bed.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

WILLKOMMEN, BIENVENUE, WELCOME! A hearty hello to those of you who are visiting as a result of today's InstaLanche, and I strongly encourage you to visit Pathetic Earthlings, because it's all Andy's fault.

We were without power from about 11a-7p today, which was kinda freaky. Ended up doing a lot of reading, including from the new New Yorker, and we all can now know way more about Cat Power's grooming habits than anyone ever should know.

Things to read until I've got more to say: Simon Dumenco starts the QESG backlash, and how about an A. Whitney Brown sighting? In the big picture, all that's left now is the career resurgence of Terry Sweeney, isn't it?

(Via Gawker and TVTattle, respectively.)
WEAR IT: Both the Hollywood Reporter and Daily Variety (subscribers only) are reporting today that Cameron Diaz is in negotiations to star as Maggie Feller in the upcoming Fox 2000 film In Her Shoes, based on the bestselling novel by Jennifer Weiner. Yay!

See SnarkSpot for more.

Monday, August 11, 2003

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT: As part of my mandate to cover politics as well as pop culture, I was privileged to receive press credentials to attend tonight's Democratic Presidential Candidates Town Meeting sponsored by the Sheet Metal Workers International Association at the National Constitution Center.

(How did I get press credentials? Get this: I asked for them. Phone call with the SMWIA rep went something like "So, you run a weblog?" "Yes." "And it's called Throwing Things?" "Yes." "A weblog . . . that's pretty marginal . . . but, okay, we'll let you in." So I didn't have to sneak in, for once.)

Anyone, this one man's impressions of the candidates tonight, from the fifth row, left side, in case you weren't one of the millions watching live on C-SPAN:

John Kerry: Impressed me the most of the night, although, to be sure, I was a Kerry-leaner coming in. He made a very conscious effort to link himself with President Clinton throughout the evening -- I counted five times where he explicitly stated his leadership would be like Clinton's (tax policy, free trade, balanced budgets, intervention in Kosovo and Haiti, and talking tough on foreign policy). He said the things that this realist wanted to hear in terms of proposing changes to health insurance coverage (though a bit too math-y) and repealing parts of the Bush tax cuts, and kept the Vietnam references down to a realistic level.

I thought that Al Gore's failure in 2000 was tied to his failure to figure out how to take credit for the Clinton economic legacy while disclaiming the moral legacy. It's about time Democrats showed pride in what they accomplished in the 1990s, and the policies which led to Clinton's romp over Dole in 1996.

Joseph Lieberman: In a surprise move (for me), I found myself digging Senator Palpatine. More than anything else, I want to win in 2004, and face it: Lieberman's one of the few Dems who can possibly attract votes from moderates who voted for Bush in 2000. The Democrats need to outflank Bush on national security issues next year by explaining how we're less safe now than we ought to be, and Lieberman can deliver that message, and he did so with some passion tonight.

Part of it was the forum: by focusing on economic and military issues, the town meeting stayed away from those more conservative parts of Lieberman's platform which might have otherwise annoyed me. Moving on . . .

Howard Dean: Sorry, gang, I was 'meh' on him tonight. I appreciate his tack on health care reform, that he wanted something that was going to pass, even if not ideal, but it was a bit too much of the "I did it in Vermont, so I can do it nationwide" for me. Still, God bless him for raising the issue of the administration's failure to confront the Saudis on their complicity in 9/11 and anti-Americanism beyond, because it's a good issue for the Dems. And I did like his needling of Sen. Kerry on his vote in favor of the present war, noting that you can't give the President the authority to rush into war and then complain that he ends up using that authority.

Dean can reach the so-called "radical middle" that Perot touched. I want a candidate who'll attract the actual middle too, and I hope he can do that too.

Dick Gephardt: Relied a lot on his Congressional record, and why not? It's a good one. But I'm pro-Nafta and he's not, and that's a problem. Did love his noting that based on the President's unilateral foreign policy, that he probably got an 'F' in grade school for "plays well with others". Admired his desire to rid ourselves of dependence on Middle Eastern oil in 10 years.

Al Sharpton: The great thing about Presidential primaries is that it brings out the entertaining ideologues -- Alan Keyes and B-1 Bob Dornan on the right, and Rev. Sharpton on the left. His best quips of the night:
(1) That the Florida recount, Texas redistricting and California recall demonstrated a Republican philosophy of "Let's do it again until I win."

(2) Explaining that we didn't just need jobs in America, but good jobs. (Paraphrasing): "In slavery, we all had jobs. We just didn't have wages or benefits or . . . "

(3) Wondering why we couldn't find Bin Laden, couldn't find Saddam Hussein, saying he "wouldn't put Bush in charge of my Missing Persons Bureau in my administration. Only thing he seems to be able to find is Crawford, Texas."

Sharpton closed by recounting how his grandmother told him that the only way to move a donkey was by slapping it around, and he intended to keep slapping around the Democratic Party across the country. The party needs his message . . . but as for the messenger himself . . . .

Carol Mosely Braun: I have nothing bad to say about my fellow Chicago Law grad. She raised issues of child labor and the role of women in leadership which no one else did, and I particularly liked her expressions of regret that our nation squandered the world's goodwill post-9/11 through our arrogance abroad.

Dennis Kucinich: Sign #27 that I'm getting older -- a Democratic presidential candidate says "As wealth accelerates upwards, we become less free", and I feel the oogies. He's anti-Nafta, anti-WTO, anti-war, and he's just not going to win.

It was fun being in the room, and I was able to hang out at some of the post-meeting "media availabilities" with the candidates, though I left the questioning to actual journalists. Also, I got to meet Smokin' Joe Frazier, who rocks. All in all, an entertaining evening.

Politics coverage will continue on an as-needed basis, and your regularly scheduled cultural coverage will resume tomorrow.
HOLD THIS SPACE: Blogging is on pause for the day, so that we may bring you extensive, actual journalism later tonight. I'm serious.

In the meantime, go check out the links down the side. It's what they're there for.

Sunday, August 10, 2003

MANY RIVERS TO CROSS: You'd think, maybe, that after four marriages, sixty years of life and a wildly successful media career, that a man would have all the housewares and tchotchkes he needed.

Apparently not.

Check out the gift registries for Geraldo Rivera and Erica Levy, who were joined under the chuppah in Manhattan earlier today.

"The Jews need me," said Rivera recently, but what does Rivera need?

Well, you could still get him a maple rolling pin from Williams-Sonoma. After all, none were recovered from Al Capone's vault. . . .