Thursday, July 22, 2004

FRAMPTON COMES ALIVE IN AN INAPPROPRIATE PLACE: I've had a problem with the "trend" (mostly evident among young women) of having words on the back of pants/shorts for quite a while (examples here). Sweetie, just because it says "Hottie" on your rear doesn't make you a hottie. That's why I'd like to thank Peter Frampton. Frampton has sued a clothing manufacturer which is making "The Frampton Bikini." The bikini features Frampton's face "on the rear" and the phrase "Baby, I love your waves." It was apparently made without Frampton's consent. Honestly, though, do you want this on your rear? I don't think so.

Also, I must note the immortal exchange between Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her mother, Emily (Kelly Bishop) when Emily unexpectly comes for a visit to see Lorelai in her Juicy Couture jeans:

Emily: You have the word "Juicy" on your rear end.
Lorelai: Well, if I knew you were coming over, I would've changed.
Emily: Into what? A brassiere with the word "Tasty" on it?
Such a shame those two (and the writers) aren't nominated.

FAR FROM PURR-FECT: Not to turn into Rotten Tomatoes here (though that's maybe not a bad idea in light of its recent acquisition), but we simply must share certain bon mots about Oscar-winner Halle Berry's new flick, the pre-ordained disaster "Catwoman."

So what does Mark Holcomb of The Village Voice have to say about it?

This plodding, by-the-numbers superhero flick has all the feline grace of a walleyed mastiff.
And EW's Owen Gliberman?

A third-rate spectacle that's been worked over by too many hacks.
Perhaps the topper? A.O. Scott's opening line in The New York Times (which, somewhat bizarrely, reviews today):

"Catwoman," which opens tomorrow nationwide, achieves something I would not have thought possible. It made me think back fondly on "Garfield."
Scott doesn't have anything nice to say about Berry's performance in the movie, either:

She overacts Patience's flaky timidity and then, to compensate, overdoes Catwoman's suave self-confidence, swinging her hips and pushing out her lips as if she were trying to attract the amorous attentions of Pepe le Pew.
I think it's safe to say that I'll be passing on this one this weekend, though my sister, who actually saw "Gigli" in a theatre, might want to go with this one.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

NERD ALERT: If you haven't had enough of Jeopardy! God Ken Jennings, here's a collection of his unique video signatures.
AS LONG AS WE DON'T HAVE TO SEE 'KAZAAM': Speaking of Shaq Daddy Diesel Fu-Schnick, the self-proclaimed "Millennium Goliath" dropped some serious bon mots at his Welcome To Miami press conference yesterday:

On buying a home in South Florida: "I will be walking naked on the beach. If you take pictures of me naked on the beach, don't sell them to the Enquirer unless I get 15 percent."

On being 32 years old: "I'm like toilet paper, toothpaste and certain amenities - I'm proven to be good. I've still got five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 years left."

On his charity endeavors: "I'm going to feed homeless people on Thanksgiving. I'm going to drive a big truck to certain neighborhoods and pass out toys, good toys. I'm one of the only athletes that sells good-looking shoes at a reasonable price. I was in Orlando and a lady came to me crying. I was like, 'What's wrong? She said, "Your shoes, they cost a $115. And I kind of had to sit back and say to myself: Why would I ask my father to buy a pair of shoes that cost $115. He probably would've punched me. My parents always taught me to give back. You're going to see Shaq-a Claus. Shaq-a Bunny."

How fun will this season be? Says the Big Aristotle: "Get your tickets now. Buy cable now. Get your jerseys now. Pull your boats up to the docking stations now. Bring your Sea-Doos now. If you can't afford a Sea-Doo, get a raft. If you can't afford a raft, go to Wal-Mart and get the blow-up raft like I got at my house."

ALSO, MS. STEWART DID NOT HAVE A CAMEO IN 'MALCOLM X': So, is Martha Stewart like Nelson Mandela? The Wisconsin State Journal has the tale of the tape, a form you know I'm fond of.

Via Althouse.

WELL READ OR RED IN THE FACE? I thought that being an English major as an undergrad, while not providing me with a skill that could ever earn me six figures, would at least have saved me the embarrassment of only having read five books on this list of 50 Essential Reads by Contemporary Authors put together by the organizers of the UK's Orange Prize for Fiction.

How many have you read? What book should be on the list? And what book from the remaining 45 (cross off Nos. 2, 18, 24, 29, and 31) should I read next?

Link via Blog of a Bookslut, where there are also some interesting items about some sloppy editing in Jim DeRogatis' new book.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

HOPE FOR THE AMERICAN PENAL SYSTEM: According to this article, when the Hawkins County (TN) Jail neglected to lock the cell doors, 4 inmates left the jail, walked down the street to buy beer at the local market, and then came back. Now, maybe this is where Martha Stewart wants to be sent.
IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT: Yes, Bulwer-Lytton results are in--this year's "winners" are here. For those of you who don't know, Bulwer-Lytton recognizes the worst single sentence proposed as a beginning for a novel. Grand prize winner this year:

She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight . . . summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp's tail . . . though the term "love affair" now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism . . . not unlike "sand vein," which is after all an intestine, not a vein . . . and that tarry substance inside certainly isn't sand . . . and that brought her back to Ramon.

Frankly, I prefer this runner-up:

The legend about Padre Castillo's gold being buried deep in the Blackwolf Hills had lain untold for centuries and will continue to do so for this story is not about hidden treasure, nor is it set in any mountainous terrain whatsoever.

Although honestly, can anything beat the 1998 grand prize winner?

The corpse exuded the irresistible aroma of a piquant, ancho chili glaze enticingly enhanced with a hint of fresh cilantro as it lay before him, coyly garnished by a garland of variegated radicchio and caramelized onions, and impishly drizzled with glistening rivulets of vintage balsamic vinegar and roasted garlic oil; yes, as he surveyed the body of the slain food critic slumped on the floor of the cozy, but nearly empty, bistro, a quick inventory of his senses told corpulent Inspector Moreau that this was, in all likelihood, an inside job.

ARCHIE, SPIDEY, AND THE HULK: If you are or ever were a comic book geek (this blogger sheepishly raises his hand here), then you will love this rich and detailed list of The 100 Greatest Comics of the 20th Century.

By the way, if you are or ever were a fan of the Marvel Universe, find a copy of Marvels, which is No. 65 on the list. I've had a copy of it sitting around the house for a few years and picked it up on a whim the other day and couldn't put it down. Just outstanding.
CHOREOGRAPHERS, C-H-O-R-E-O-G-R-A-P-H-E-R-S: Though it falls neatly into this blog's fixations on academic competition and on musical theatre, I honestly haven't had anything to say about the new musical "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee." Yes, it's an audience participation musical about a spelling bee. Well, I suppose it's better than "The I'm Not Dead Yet Song."
THE WAGES OF GREED: I only rarely blog about sports, since I'm not a big fan. Heck, Adam will probably kick me because I could have had free tickets to one of this weekend's Phillies/Mets games at Shea, but passed. However, this story from Sunday's New York Times Magazine is too good to pass up.

5 years ago, Matt Harrington was one of the top picks in the MLB amateur draft, right out of high school. After turning down exceedingly rich deals from the Colorado Rockies, who drafted him, he's been drafted every year (increasingly low in the draft), waiting for the right deal to be offered. Each year, the offer goes down. Now, he has the dubious distinction of being the longest holdout ever. The truly sad part? While he's kept on playing (in independent minor league ball), he seems to be regressing.

The question the article raises--and it's a good one--is this: Did Matt Harrington ruin baseball, or did baseball ruin Matt Harrington? Somehow, I think the answer is between the two. Well worth your time.
THE CONCERT FOOL AND OTHER ARCHETYPES: The WaPo's David Segal attempts a taxonomy of "show-going morons" and others who can ruin one's concert-going experience.

Are there any he missed?  Any particular tales you'd like to share?

(id/pw via bugmenot)

Monday, July 19, 2004

FREE NICK SWISHER: Those of you with long memories may recall my review of Moneyball last year:
Nor does the book have the longitudinal scope I wanted to see. There's a great chapter inside the A's draft room, and a brief epilogue on how two picks have done during their first few months in the minor leagues . . . but I want to see how Beane's picks are three years down the line, because that's where the proof of his methods lie.
Well, according to a recent interview with Michael Lewis, it's going to happen:
Q: Hi Michael, I wanted to interview you for my site because I’d seen some rumors around the Internet that you were working on a follow-up to Moneyball. So is there any truth to that rumor?

A: You know when I sold Moneyball, I sold it in two books. And I decided it was a book after the draft of 2002. So when I decided it was a book, I thought that I would really want to know what happened to these kids. And so I’ve been marinating in minor league baseball for the two years. It’s a different kind of book so I anticipate it taking another two or three seasons before I’m even ready to write it. I’m just gathering string right now. The players really need to work out their fates before I can sit down to write about them.
Tentative publication date is 2007, but here's a sneak peek.
...but she doesn't get to stay in Vegas.

Pop songstress Linda Ronstadt's stay at a Las Vegas hotel was cut short over the weekend after she dared to dedicate an encore of the Eagles hit "Desperado" to Michael Moore.

Here's the short version:
Aladdin President Bill Timmins ordered security guards to escort pop diva Linda Ronstadt off the property following a concert Saturday night during which she expressed support for controversial documentary filmmaker Michael Moore...

Near the close of her performance, Ronstadt dedicated the Eagles hit "Desperado" to Moore, producer of "Fahrenheit 9/11," and the room erupted into equal parts boos and cheers.

She said Moore "is someone who cares about this country deeply and is trying to help."

Ronstadt has been making the dedication at each of her engagements since she began a national tour earlier this summer, but it has never sparked such a reaction.

Hundreds of angry fans streamed from the theater as Ronstadt sang. Some of them reportedly defaced posters of her in the lobby, writing comments and tossing drinks on her pictures.
Timmins later expressed hope that next week's performace by Whoopi Goldberg would go off without a hitch.

WE'VE BEEN ON THE RUN, DRIVING IN THE SUN:  In news from the West Coast: following in the footsteps of Mark Cuban, writer/director/actor/Emmy-snubee Zach Braff has a blog, too.  Honestly, how can you resist a blog that features comments like:

"They showed "Hidalgo" on the plane ride here. I didn't have earphones and I kept dozing in and out, but as far as I can tell it’s a love story between a man and a horse. Since their love is forbidden, they travel the Earth looking for a community that will tolerate their desire to snuggle and receive lower insurance premiums."

Well worth your time and energy. Also in West Coast news, worth noting that the AP notes Gov. Schwarzenegger has officially declared his opponents to be "girlie men." Yes, life has actually become a bad "Saturday Night Live" sketch. Fortuntely, I'm not flying out there to appear this week--just appearing by phone.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

AND RALPH NADER ADVERTISES ON "THIS WEEK IN SELF-DELUSION:" Speaking of "Jeopardy!," today's Times has a fascinating article on what sort of programs both presidential campaigns are advertising on. Interesting tidbits? Bush prefers "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy!," while Kerry likes to advertise on "Pyramid" and "Family Feud." A more interesting contrast is the fact that Bush advertises heavily on Leno, while Kerry prefers Letterman. But John? Advertising on "Becker?" Gonna have to slap you for that one.

Also interesting in today's paper? This piece, which asks the question "Just how smart is Ken Jennings?" Interesting take on the subject.

And one final point--for raw amusement, it's hard to beat finding the places they had to reloop "Celebrity Poker Showdown" after Cingular withdrew its sponsorship after discovering (gasp!) that people drink and make racy remarks while playing poker. Hosts are talking and then we randomly cut to an overhead shot of the table while they remove the "Cingular" reference. Inadvertent humor is the best.