Saturday, June 19, 2004

I'LL TRADE YOU A JOHNNIE COCHRAN AND A MARK GERRAGOS FOR YOUR DAVID BOIES: Yes, in an inspired move, law firm Gray Cary has issued trading cards of its summer associates. Story here. Collect them all, and if you collect three of the special shiny holographic cards, you can exchange them for a free summer lunch with the desperate associate of your choice!

Hopefully, this is the first step toward the long anticipated "Federal Judiciary Trading Card Game," with cards like "recusal motion" to take the Antonin Scalia card out of play, and the overpowering power card of "Law & Economics," which enables you to make whatever outlandish statement you wish and back it up by saying "but that's rational behavior!"
KUMAR! KUMAR! KUMAR! Saw The Terminal last night. Starts off strong, but the problem is that there's no good way to end it, and the movie, to a large extent, descends into emotional treacle at the end. Hanks is amazing throughout though, and it's nice to see Spielberg go in a different direction than he's been doing over the past few years--ultimately, this is a very small film, in which 95% of the action takes place within the confines of one space.

But I do want to single out for praise one actor, and that's Kumar Pallana. Kumar is 85, and got his start courtesy of his old friend Wes Anderson, who's had him play brief, but memorable parts in all of his movies--incompetent safecracker Kumar in "Bottle Rocket," groundskeeper Mr. Littlejeans in "Rushmore," and loyal valet Pagoda in "Royal Tennenbaums." In The Terminal, Kumar plays the terminal janitor, who's possessive of his garbage and whose main source of amusement is watching people, especially beautiful women, slip on the slick floors. His character's cynicism serves for an excellent counterpoint to much of the film, and his final scene winds up being touching, unexpected, and funny. Perhaps best of all, Spielberg finds a way to allow Pallana to show off his plate-spinning chops, memorably exhibited in an easter egg on the "Tennenbaums" DVD, to much amusement.

Note that I still have no plans to visit "Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle."

Friday, June 18, 2004

DID I DO SOMETHING WRONG? Finally rented Shattered Glass. It's a great movie on the 'how', not so much on the 'why'.

In case you're wondering whether all the critics were right in hailing Peter Sarsgaard's performance as TNR editor Charles Lane, they were, and when it's time to kick Young Skywalker's Paduan-lying ass, you will cheer.

(See the original Adam Penenberg article which brought Stephen Glass down via this link.)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

KERRY/SAGET '04? Yes, according to the New York Post, Nick at Nite has a surprising success--reruns of "Full House." Yes, what the world needs now is the exploits of Uncle Jesse. Is this the secret part of the Olsen Twins' plan for global domination? Only time will tell.
INCONTINENCE, HELLO: As a longtime fan of talk show host and former USA Today columnist Larry King, I couldn't help but link to this item in today's New York Post.

edited to add: Defamer has a picture.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

CAN I GET A LITTLE HELP HERE? That home PC problem I blogged about has been resolved! Yeah! And most of my files and programs were salvaged, including my iTunes library! Double yeah! However, one critical program--Microsoft Office--was lost in the reformatting process. This means I have to repurchase MS Office. Does anyone know a good, reliable, and cheap place to buy Office 2003--I'm already trying eBay, but would prefer something a little less risky? Suggestions in the comments are invited.
HOMETOWN HEROES: I am not a Larry Brown fan. (Okay, I used to be.)

I think he's an opportunist who ruined the Sixers with lousy decision-making and dumb long-term contracts for older players (Snow, McKie, Buckner), and I hated the way he quit the Sixers, claiming fatigue and a desire to spend more time with family, only to sign with Detroit the next week.

But as much as I dislike Larry Brown, I hate Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Put aside the rape allegations, which are nauseating. He deserves all the boos Philadelphia gives him, a pretty boy who shows disdain for his home and never exerts effort until he has to.

Indeed, the smug sense of entitlement that whole team had this year, the "we'll only play our best when there's a gun to our head" mentality, was an insult to the fans who want to pay attention during the 82-game regular season.

(Okay, I like Shaq, the self-proclaimed "black, basketball-playing Nietzsche", even if his pre-season comments comparing himself to Colin Powell may have proven too apt.)

On the other hand, you've got my hometown boys Rip Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace. Rip was one of my favorite college players who's finally able to shine in the pros. Sheed (who my brother's roommate played against in high school) plays with passion every night, and also has an active charitable foundation giving back to all the cities he's called home, including a summer basketball camp he hosts in North Philly every year. I was happy to see the Lakers lose, but almost as happy to see the Pistons win.

Anything else I would say here, Michael Wilbon has said better over the past few weeks.

Darko, Mehmet and Scoreless Williamson now have rings, and Malone, Payton, Barkley and Ewing don't. Heh.
ON WITH THE SCHMO: Faithful readers of this blog -- all fifteen of you -- will recall my fandom for the first season of The Joe Schmo Show.

Well, they're back, and it's as good as last season.

For the uninitiated, Schmo is The Truman Show done for laughs, a parody of reality tv conventions acted out by a troupe of improv actors and, in this case, two unsuspecting dupes who are along for the ride. The target this time is the reality dating shows, as Joe and Jane Schmo believe they're contestants on the new program, "Last Chance For Love."

The producers have it worked out well. You've got the model-perfect Bachelor and Bachelorette, and all the types done well among the other cast members: The Girl Who Cries Too Much, The Bitch, The Stalkerish Guy, The Guy Who's Vaguely Gay and more.

Not only is the casting right, so to is the parody of the structure of reality dating tv. An excessively sincere and pompous British-ish host. Hot tub dates. Game twists announced by a message from a swooping falcon named after the tiger who mauled Roy. "Pearl necklace" ceremonies for the women who move on to the next round. And, yes, as in all reality dating shows, the minorities get kicked off first.

It's all good. What's more, the producers want to let you in on more of the behind-the-scenes thinking -- just read the Schmo Blog.

It's summer. TV choices are slim. This is one of the better ones.
THEY'D HAVE TO HAVE RYAN ADAMS INDUCT HIM, WOULDN'T THEY? Stereogum has the list of this year's newly eligible Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominees, and while I think we'd all love to see an All-Star Jam version of "Summer of '69," the guess here is that Paul Shaffer will be leading the assembled musicians in a wankering version of "I Will Follow."

Besides U2, who are a stone-cold, lead-pop lock to be inducted, I'd say of the new performers the Pretenders are the only other band with an outside chance, given the lack of women-led rock bands, their decent collection of hits (who doesn't love "Brass in Pocket" or "Back on the Chain Gang"?), and their appeal to the Hall's demographic. Ironically, Simple Minds, whose lead singer, Jim Kerr, was married to Chrissy Hynde for six years or so back in the 80s, is also eligible this year for the first time.

Of the past bands that have been overlooked, I know the Hall is a ridiculous exercise, but how can Abba, Black Sabbath, and even Van Halen, Chicago, and John Mellencamp, not be members? Yes all of them, save for Abba, have permitted some aural crimes, but at their heights they all were clearly on their game.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

IN THE BEGINNING, THERE WAS BEAUTY: Sorry about the late notice, but starting tonight at 9pm, and for every subsequent Tuesday and Wednesday night at 9, UPN will be re-running Season 1 of America's Next Top Model.

If, like me, you were not an early adapter to the show, now's your chance. Even if you know who won, you probably don't know all the eliminations in order.

To my knowledge, this is the first time a reality series has been rerun. It's worth your time.
NEXT THING YOU KNOW, IT'S PAULA ZAHN DELIVERING THE NEWS IN A BIKINI AND LEI: Since CableNewser is taking the day off, I must fill the void. Yes, MSNBC has issued its much-awaited summer dress-up Fridays memo, and the memo has made its way to the fine folks over at Gawker, who've put it up here. My favorites?

The notation next to "Disco Day" of "no hotpants please." No mention of whether sparkly leisure suits with overly broad lapels are OK.

"Twin Day," wherein you "pick a partner and dress alike."

But what I really wanted to see was Chris Matthews on "Crazy Hat Day." Because, you know, he doesn't bring quite enough crazy as it is. Sadly, the memo explicitly notes that "on-air talent are exempt from participating." But, "there is always a chance that viewers may catch a glimpse of you in the background." Is it a ratings stunt? We can never be sure.

Monday, June 14, 2004

MUNCHY, CRUNCHY, CHOCOLATELY: While it falls short of Apple on the celebrities-giving-stupid-names-to-their-offspring scale, clearly Courtney Cox and David Arquette were aiming for a shot near the top by saddling their first born with the name Coco.

At least they had the good sense to reject some of their earlier choices, such as Cap'n, Froot, and Sugar-Frosted.
WELL, I GUESS IT'S BETTER THAN BIZ MARKIE: Yes, according to MSNBC, the release date for William Hung's next album is already set. According to TV Tattle, it'll be titled "Measure of a Bang." So whoever's buying this? Please stop, for all of our sakes, or I may be forced to release my new album, "Marcotte Sings Showtunes," on the public. And trust me, you don't want to hear me warbling "Memory."
LITIDATING: I'm always reticient to link to stuff from Gawker, thinking that folks who visit here already read it (and if not, you should). But today's item is too good to pass up. Yes, this is the demand letter written by a single man seeking to collect on his "go out with me" agreement with a single woman. Given that the guy is apparently a law firm associate (because, frankly, who else writes like that?) I think he'd be far better off eating the $37.25. Or, hell, just expense it to a client.

As a side note, my home computer gave me a great brithday present by deciding to crash on me to a point where it won't even let me reinstall the system. I'm hoping to be able to straighten out the problem tonight, but blogging may be light until problem is fixed.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

THE TIME HAS COME -- A FACT'S A FACT: In news sure to excite voters from Kintore east to Yuendemu, Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett is running for the Australian Parliament.

Via Whatevs.
PUTTING THINGS INTO PERSPECTIVE: Regardless of what happens during the NBA Finals, these numbers are telling:
Number of league championships won by one man, Phil Jackson: 10 or 11, depending on your math. Nine as a coach (1991-93, 1996-98, and 2000-02), plus 1-2 as a player for the New York Knicks (1970 and 1973, though he didn't actually play the entire 1969-70 season because of injury).

Number of league championships won by every professional team playing in the entire city of Philadelphia in all four major sports ever: 10. Three by the Eagles (1948-49, 1960), two by the Sixers (1967, 1983), two by the Flyers (1974-75), one by the Phillies (1980), and two, which I guess count, by the now-in-Golden-State Warriors of the NBA (1947, 1956).

Bottom line: the Curse sucks, and something must be done.
MILLIE THE MOLE PREPARES TO CEDE TITLE OF MOST OFFENSIVE PHYSICALLY-BASED AMAZING RACE INSULT: CBS has posted the bios of this year's Amazing Race teams. Does it seem to anybody else that they let Fox cast this season? Included among the contestants are two beauty queens, a male model, hot twins, an NFL cheerleader, and -- oh yeah -- a Syrian dwarf. For good measure or possible synergy, CBS threw in one of the most annoying contestants from one of the most annoying seasons of reality television.
YOU GO TO THE ZOO, BUT YOU CAN'T FEED GUERILLAS: Picking up the meme I started last Saturday (whether advertantly or in-), the WaPo's David Segal asks today: why is it that "no president in history ever inspired more vitriolic pop than Reagan"?

edited to add: Spencer Ackerman has more, including this choice quote from Bob Mould:
At the dawn of the Reagan era, pioneering singer and guitarist Bob Mould was a student at St. Paul's Macalaster College. "I remember watching these kids getting up in the morning on my dorm floor, putting on a suit and tie and a briefcase, talking about this guy from California named Ronald Reagan and how he was going to be the next president," Mould told journalist Michael Azerrad. "And I'd be sitting there arguing with those fucks in speech class and poli sci and just hating that, thinking 'This is not acceptable behavior. This is not what we're supposed to be doing with our late teens.'"
THE COUNTDOWN IS OVER! Yes, the countdown clocks have finally rolled over, and it is officially now marginally less perverted and wrong for middle-aged men to fantasize about Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who turn 18 today. Those obsessed with jailbait can now move on to other celebrities. Others born today? Actor Ethan Embry, "Jackass" Steve-O, Weezer singer Rivers Cuomo, sportscaster Hannah Storm, actress Ally Sheedy, master of illusion Siegfred Fischbacher, artist Christo, schizophrenic mathematician John Forbes Nash, and this faithful blogger. So may all readers have as happy a day as I hope to.