Saturday, December 13, 2003

NO GOOD MOVIE IS TOO LONG: Or so Roger Ebert wrote about Love Actually, which we saw last night, to which he added, "No bad movie is short enough. 'Love Actually' is too long. But don't let that stop you."

(And, okay, it is too long, and there was pruning to be done -- I'd have axed all the Keira Knightley-centered hijinks, I guess, though keeping the wedding scene itself. Or the couple who met on the film set.)

Still, it's a damn cute movie, with multiple interweaving tales of love -- love found, love lost, love sought. Writer/director Richard Curtis stacks ending on top of ending to push all sorts of emotional buttons, each one stronger than the next, and you find yourself moved despite yourself. It just plain works.

For both men and women, eye candy abounds. Especially for the women: between the adult charms of Alan Rickman (oh, but why not a random "Asian Dawn" reference!), randy Hugh Grant, melancholy Liam Neeson and an especially firthy Colin Firth, whatever your tastes in masculinity are, they'll be satisfied here.

(Side note: does Colin Firth have it in his contract that he has to have a scene in every movie where he's moving determinedly through the streets in pursuit of love?)

All of this is merely preliminary so I can related to you something Jen said to me during the movie that is likely the funniest thing either of us has said all year -- though, mind you, it requires that you watched season two of The Amazing Race.

So there's a scene late in the movie, where a character is rushing through Heathrow Airport, and Jen turns to me and says, "Holy shit! Was that The Groanies? What are they still doing there?"

Anyway, see the movie with someone you love, or want to love.

Friday, December 12, 2003

AS LONG AS 'DOUCHEBAG' IS PROTECTED, WE'RE STILL SAFE: This Monday, December 8, 2003, California congressman Doug Ose and Texas's Lamar Smith introduced H.R. 3687, an actual, potential law, which has now been referred to the House Judiciary Committee for consideration.

The bill reads as follows (go to Thomas, type in "H.R. 3687" if you doubt me):
A BILL To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, is amended--

(1) by inserting `(a)' before `Whoever'; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

`(b) As used in this section, the term `profane', used with respect to language, includes the words `shit', `piss', `fuck', `cunt', `asshole', and the phrases `cock sucker', `mother fucker', and `ass hole', compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms).'.

Still legal to say on the radio: "blowjob", "dickwad", "rimming", "santorum" and "big floppy donkey dick".

Your tax dollars at work. Via Atrios.
82? 85? I BID ONE YEAR: Reach your hand into a happy Bob Barker's jacket pocket today -- it's his 80th birthday.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

GUESS I'M ON MY WAY: The Farrelly Brothers new film Stuck on You has the kind of cast most directors would kill for.

No, I'm not talking about stars Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear -- which, face it, sounds so 1999. And not even the presence Farrelly Brothers fave Lin Shaye makes it noteworthy, even if she did attend high school with Jen's mom.

No, I mean this: how about casting New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and Bills safety Lawyer Milloy as "Computer Geeks #1 and #2"? How about the acting debut of a properly-medicated (presumably) Ricky Williams as a high school football coach? And the topper: former Heisman winner Gino Torretta makes an appearance as a "thug".

Can you beat that? Will Cold Mountain have a role in it for Andre Ware? Did Peter Jackson cast Ickey Woods in Return of the King?

No, I don't think so.
WILL EL WINGADOR TRIUMPH AGAIN? Today, this blog officially inaugurates its coverage of Wing Bowl XII, Philadelphia's annual celebration of more than half of the seven deadly sins -- but first, and foremost, gluttony.

As we build towards the January 30, 2004 championship, contested before 20,000+ fans at 6am on the Friday before the Super Bowl, head over to the official website to download video of some of the qualifying stunts -- both the victories (a man inhaling two pounds of brussels sprouts in three minutes) as well as those who failed to qualify, like this gentleman, who had a problem with speed-eating jalapeno peppers.

Philadelphia . . . there's no place like it.

(This blog's previous Wing Bowl coverage can be found here and here, and you can see what Jen had to say about Wing Bowl X via this link.)
TODAY'S PROJECT: It's holiday season. Take a minute and recommend some books that would be of interest to the sort of person who reads this weblog.

More content to come later today.
FELGERCARB: That's what the purists are likely saying about it. But who's a purist? Me, I like Starbuck better as a hottie.
BACK ON THE SCENE, CRISPY AND CLEAN: After an IT-induced hiatus, I am pleased to plunge back in to the sea of alleged information that is the burgeoning world blogocracy. Also returning this week -- perhaps coincidentally -- is the least-censored variety host on nationwide basic cable, Dave Chappelle.

Now, I don't know Dave, but he appears to be my kind of people. (By which I mean that he knows how to roll a joint and use the word "motherfucker" ... even if perhaps he hasn't quite figured out when not to.) It may not be high-brow, it may not be PC, but bless him for providing us with another season of Chappelle's Show! Please everybody, show whatever support you can for this free-wheeling skit comedy enterprise (subject of course to the particular constraints of your respective world-views, finely-honed senses of humor, and general Standard Sphinchter Settings).

Long live the smart end of low culture. It's infinitely preferable to the dumb end of high culture.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

BURROWED AND HID LIKE AN ALBINO GOPHER: The Chicago Sun-Times' Phil Rosenthal evaluates the final six Survivors, saying this "arguably has been the best "Survivor" since "The Australian Outback"."

Some day next week, if I have time, I'll rank all seven seasons, but it'll probably go first season at the top, then the triple-crossing brilliance of Amazon, with dreary Africa and predictable Thailand at the bottom.

Where this season ultimately is ranked depends on how it ends, but it's clearly in the upper half. Thoughts?
BECAUSE WE LIKE ANYONE WHO USES 'AND STUFF' IN A SENTENCE: The NY Observer has a few good paragraphs today on NYT Sunday Arts and Leisure editor Jodi Kantor, about whom I've had many good things to say, even if Sunday's puff piece on the Farrellys was both unenlighening and really, really long.

I mean, what's next -- a double-jump piece on the Wayans brothers?
THANK YOU, JOHN OATES. THANK YOU: It's about damn time: The Onion A.V. Club's Least Essential Albums Of 2003 is now available, including categories like Least Essential Solo Album (Smiths Division) and Least Essential 2PacSploitation.

If that weren't enough, the Least Essential Reality TV Offshoots list should do it, which has this to say about fellow tuffle-headed Delaware Valley native Justin Guarini:
Few "Least Essential" categories were as hotly contested in 2003 as "Least Essential American Idol Cash-In": American Idol Season 2: All-Time Classic American Love Songs may be the most hellish show-choir recital ever, complete with the Idols' calamitous rendition of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The U.S.A." But Guarini takes the prize for his sudden inability to incite passion in the least demanding audience on earth.

More essential Throwing Things "least essential" coverage can be found here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2003

I HEAR IT CAN BE FRIGID AT TIMES: Apparently, a lot of Google users are coming here seeking a transcript of the Paris Hilton appearance on SNL. While I appreciate your business, this website actually has it.
I AM TRYING TO BREAK YOUR HEART: We'll be back to the usual silliness by day's end -- yesterday was a day of travel and celebration -- but until then, I feel like passing along one of the more depressing collections of journalism I've seen lately -- the Washington Post's series on troubles at the National Zoo.

We've got administrators changing records regarding animals who died while under their care, elephants suffering from tuberculosis because the Zoo failed to give the required tests, lies, deceit, everything but sex involved in a scandal that has claimed 23 animal lives in the past six years, including two red pandas that died when rat poison was left in their enclosure.

Oh, sad.

In other news, The Hebrew Hammer was occasionally cute, but mostly disappointing. Felt like they never really decided if Mordechai Benjamin Carver was supposed to be a macho Jew or a whiny, stammering stereotype. Missed opportunity.

Finally, you should make this duck dish sometime. Yum.

More later.