Saturday, July 7, 2007

YOU ALL, EVERY BUTTIES: Life really does imitate art, because the "All You Need Is Luvs" advertising campaign is coming soon.
DON'T GO FOR SECOND BEST, BABY: One of the things that's just striking about watching LiveEarth is just seeing Madonna up there. It is now twenty-five years since her first single, "Everybody," and if there's an artist you would've assumed back in the mid-80s was all hype and fad, no staying power, it was her. Seriously, who would've thought from her cheeky 1985 Live Aid performance (okay, here's more), at a stadium long since imploded, that not only would she still have a thriving career in 2007, but she'd be regarded as classy? (And British.)

Somehow, I don't expect Britney Spears' career to follow this arc. And people who've been just as big as Madonna but started later -- Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Janet Jackson, to name three -- just haven't had Madge's staying power.

What explains this? It's not just "sex sells," because lots of people are selling it, and it's not just singing talent, because she doesn't have that much of it. Is it just a combination of a strong work ethic -- including the willingness to do all the promotional things necessary for her career, (blonde) ambition and an amazing ability to locate the right producers to advance her musically? Whatever it is, it's worth appreciating and recognizing.
REPLACING FORMER TITLEHOLDER "JOEY: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON:" While wandering through Virgin Megastore this evening, I found my new champion for "inessential TV on DVD." Yes, on 3 disks, it's Pink Lady and Jeff: The Complete Series, which Wikipedia knows a lot about the 6 episodes of. Also, so does Harry Shearer. Seriously, this is on DVD, while I'm still waiting for a single episode of L.A. Law on DVD?
HER NAME WAS ROSE: As usual, Alan Sepinwall and I are on the same page with respect to Doctor Who, which like Sci-Fi's other current flagship, Battlestar Galactica, takes something rather cheesy from long ago which had a cult following, and manages to reinvent it (though Who's political undertones are less present than BSG's). I missed the Series 2 finale due to TiVo issues, but moments from Series 1 still stick (in particular, Christopher Eccleston's joyous "Just this once, everybody lives!" at the end of The Doctor Dances and his final "You were spectacular, and you know what? So was I.") However, because Alan apparently watched on screener, he missed important commercial information--Sci-Fi's upcoming Flash Gordon series is at least being promoted with Queen's immortal theme song.
07.07.07: If you see anything cool during the various Live Earth concerts today, let us know. I just watched the Red Hot Chili Peppers from Wembley on the Sundance Channel, and they never, ever suck.
RAH, RAH, R.A.H.!: Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Robert Anson Heinlein. I could become downright maudlin over his influence on me. Okay, today, I am downright maudlin over his influence on me. But I'll not bother you with that. Instead, I'll quote just this rather unobjectionable bit of advice from his novel, Time Enough for Love:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Heinlein. And Thank You.

Ad Astra!

Friday, July 6, 2007

WHAT I WANT TO KNOW, MR. FOOTBALL MAN, IS WHAT DO YOU DO ABOUT WILLIE MAYS: San Francisco is getting ready for baseball's All-Star Game next Tuesday, closing down streets and freeway ramps like they're Disney Stores. The city is festooned with banners and plastered with posters bearing the game's logo:

Usually, sporting event logos look like they're designed by the athletes themselves -- if you're going to call it an "all-star" event, then you actually have to cram in all the stars, the theory seems to go -- so this logo is surprisingly well-done. With all of the steroids, spousal threatening, and Yankee-stinking going on, MLB clearly and smartly wants to evoke a different, simpler, more innocent time. Everything about this serigraph by local graphic artist Michael Schwab serves a nostalgic idyll -- the uncomplicated blockiness that recalls the old WPA posters; the retro ballpark silhouette; the deep-blue late-afternoon summer sky; the stripped-down deco font. Even the last-minute edit -- the ball splashing into McCovey Cove, which, from Schwab's site, clearly came from MLB and not from Schwab himself -- helps place the event, both geographically and thematically. It's an aesthetically pleasing and commercially brilliant work.

I'm a little less enthusiastic about the secondary marketing, though. Hopefully these are readable (but you can click the picture to enlarge):

The geographic pieces are odd -- not clear what trolleys, the Golden Gate bridge, and, uh, the Mission bell tower (? -- I'm new around here) have to do with baseball. And I both like and am troubled by the two baseball players, especially the pitcher, whose shadowy image is hanging from every other lamppost downtown. I like them because they are even more directly influenced by the WPA posters and the WPA posters' own influence, Soviet propaganda (as an aside, one has to appreciate the kookiness of the war-time US government reinforcing American values and ideals through a socialist arts program appropriating the vocabulary of communist art). All three promote their message with the same iconography -- vigorous and clean-cut young adults (usually, but not always, muscular men) proudly engaged in wholesome or patriotic labor. So what's wrong? Well, it's the shadow. First, I don't exactly understand what MLB and Schwab are getting at with the shaded face. That baseball players are shadowy figures with terrible secrets? Well, yes, but I thought that was the stuff MLB wanted you to forget. That all-stars are anonymous everymen? Hmm, I thought they were supposed to be stars. Even worse than the mixed message, though, is that these guys are clearly impostors. MLB parks are oriented so that the line from home plate through the pitcher's mound runs east-northeast. Why? To figure this out, stare directly into the afternoon sun while somebody throws a hard object near your head at 100 miles an hour, and let us know how that works for you. Yet in the posters, the sun is directly at the pitcher's back and in the batter's eyes -- the pitcher seems to be standing at home plate, throwing toward the mound. As much fun as this might be for an inning or so (or would be, if Carl Everett or AJ Pierzynski were playing), again, I don't think it's what MLB had in mind.

YOU'D BETTER COME ON IN MY KITCHEN, BABE, IT'S GOING TO BE RAINING OUTDOORS: I'm working on a list of inconsistently-available urban staples -- the things that are so essential to one's comestible (which is not to say culinary, because that would imply cooking) existence that if they weren't conveniently available, one probably would drive substantial distances every couple of weeks to pick them up. Mine:
  • Indian take-out
  • Newman's Own pineapple salsa.
  • Sweet Baby Ray's barbeque sauce. It's possible that I've never used catsup with Sweet Baby Ray's in the house.
  • Spicy tuna bowl. Sounds like the going rate to have this made to order up here is about $3-4 above the regular price in LA. Must ... not ... overdo it.
  • Drive-thru McDonald's or Burger King or something, so that you can get a soda while the kids are asleep in the car. We've identified the nearest drive-thru to our house as about four miles away, with the second-nearest about eight miles away and the third-nearest about thirty miles away.
  • Cut mango. Cut fruit is so expensive, but with mango it's worth it to avoid the hassle of trying to get the meat off the pit.
  • Low-carb flour tortillas. They taste like uncooked dough. Mmm, uncooked dough. I wish I knew about these in law school, when I was broke and eating a ten-pound bag of potatoes every three days.
  • Freschetta sauce-stuffed-crust four-cheese pizza. Before my doctor told me to cut my cholesterol, we used to eat this once a week. Our grocery store would frequently not stock it, so whenever they had any we would buy like five of them and hoard them in our freezer.
  • Fat-Free Pringles, with Olestra. Now that we know, thanks to Malcolm Gladwell and Eric Schlosser, that Olestra does not cause loose stool but does taste like old-fashioned beef tallow, which you can't get anymore, what excuse is there not to cook in it? Also, I'm happy, but also a little sad, to report that after several years Pringles has corrected its packaging so that it reads "50% fewer calories" instead of the comfortingly ungrammatical "50% less calories."
What can't you live without?

The goggles do nothing - Rec Room - The Phoenix

ICE TO SEE YOU: The Boston Phoenix lists the 25 greatest films referenced within "The Simpsons".
PAGING DON McLEAN: Blender recounts the 100 Days That Changed Music from Radiohead releasing Kid A (No. 100) to the Beatles appearing on Ed Sullivan (No. 1) and omits the day the music died.

Via Pop Candy.
HONG KONG, ENRON, KUDOS VOTING clin-TON: This fellow believes that Billy Joel's We Didn't Start the Fire needs to be updated. In the comments, drop a few lines to get us from Tianamen Square to Rwanda to 9/11 to Paris Hilton. I didn't start the fire, folks, but apparently it goes on and on and on . . .

Thursday, July 5, 2007

A CURE FOR YOUR FEVER: In case you needed more proof that upcoming video game Rock Band is going to turn it up to eleven, the notation in the FAQ that players who are "vocalists" in the game will be able to use the mic "to play the tambourine and cowbell notes" in the songs should do it, especially in combination with the fact that Rock Band will feature the original master of "Don't Fear The Reaper" as one of its songs.
WHETHER IGLOO, HUT, OR LEAN-TO, OR GEODESIC DOME, THERE'S NO STRUCTURE I HAVE BEEN TO THAT I'D RATHER CALL MY HOME: If you live in the appropriate areas, don't forget to make a run to the Kwik-E-Mart before they close, where you can pick up Squishees, Buzz Cola, Pink Donuts, and Krusty O's.
FOR THEIR CONSIDERATION: The list of what made the semi-finals for Emmy series consideration leaked (along with what episodes were screened for voters. Some surprises, both on what's in (Rome and Dexter are both in the Top 10 dramas, along with Boston Legal) and what's out (no Gilmore Girls, Brothers and Sisters, or How I Met Your Mother).
AND IF YOU DOLLAR-COST-AVERAGE WITH A DOZEN MEALS AT THE PAPAYA KING, YOU MIGHT POSSIBLY GET DOWN INTO DOUBLE DIGITS -- BUT I DOUBT IT: Matt's post about his trip to the UK reminded me that I never got around to posting about my dinner at Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée (SYTYCD's Jesús may have taken a few weeks to earn proper spelling, but I figure that M. Ducasse warrants his accents aigu from the get-go) in Paris a few weeks ago.

This having been a business trip, the whole experience was rather different than it would have been with my beloved restauranting partner Mr. Cosmopolitan. For starters, one of my dinner companions - the adorer of fine dining who decided we had to eat at Ducasse in the first place - was all bummed because Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée didn't have the same delicious risotto on the menu that he'd had at Louis XV, Ducasse's Mediterranean restaurant in Monaco. I exerted extreme force of will, for which I should be heartily commended, when I refrained from asking whether he thought we were dining at Le Jardin d'Olive.

The room itself was quite lovely in a simple and restrained way -- with the exception of a couple of astonishing chandeliers from which I could not rip my eyes away. I can't find a photo that really does them justice; instead, I will just note that they looked as though Professor Dumbledore had done a number on them, causing hundreds of crystals to drift away from the chandeliers and float about them in a shimmery nimbus. And the chairs had that too-too-precious handbag shelf that I remember reviewers getting all cutesy about when they reviewed Ducasse's New York restaurant -- although, looking at the handbags carried by my fellow diners, I could understand why one might not want to place such items on the floor.

As for the service: it was suitably attentive and french, although Ducasse had made some interesting choices. The example that leaps to mind is that the menus were placed upright in these little placecard holder doohickeys on the table. One need not sully one's fingertips by touching one's menu while selecting one's dinner, but one also could not see one's dining companions over the top or around the sides of one's menu, which struck one as rather weird. My risotto-deprived colleague asked for olive oil in which to dip his monumentally delicious bread (which was just about the most insane thing I'd ever heard, given the array of artisanal butters on the table), and instead received about a pint of olives in a lovely crystal bowl. (Language barrier notwithstanding, they meant well.)

Oh, and the food. Perhaps weirdly, I have less to say about the food than about other aspects of the restaurant. I had the lobster appetizer, which was prepared with the freshest spring peas and asparagus the soil has ever produced. I adore lobster, and this might have been the best I've ever had. Come entree time, I decided to try one of the classic Ducasse specialities -- Volaille de Bresse, morilles et asperges vertes en fricassée (aka chicken) -- figuring (a) I was already really full from the (many) yummy breads I'd been nibbling, the various amuses bouches with which we were showered, and the heavenly lobster; and (b) that this was probably a good opportunity to try the best chicken ever cooked. And yes, the chicken was very good. But -- and now I'm cutting to the punchline a little bit early -- permit me to disclose the price of said chicken dish. Ready? 130 Euros. 130 Euros! You're probably thinking, "wow, $130 is an insane amount of money to spend on an entree, and especially on chicken!" And of course you're right, but you're also forgetting the Euro-to-dollar conversion, which is less than favorable for Americans travelling in Europe right now, which brings the cost of this tasty morsel of chicken to 177 dollars. I am not one to balk at an expensive dinner, but holy shit.

One gushworthy cheese course, several bottles of wine the identities of which I cannot recall (I am usually an unabashed label-requester, but somehow it didn't seem like an appropriate request), a "chocolat en géométrie de goûts et de textures" comprised of about 20 different varieties and formulations of chocolate, and some hand-trimmed jasmine-infused marshmallows later, we dragged ourselves off to our hotel and passed out. I (fortunately) was not tagged with the check, but by my calculation, the tab for my food alone ran about 350 euros. Much as I adore my husband, I think it's safe to say that this one will be reserved for expense-account meals only.
WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT HEADACHES: Sure it would be cool to fly like Superman, web sling like Spidey, or even be a Norse god like Thor, but did you ever want to shrink like Atom or Ant-Man, wear a big, heavy metal suit like Iron Man, or control a school of mackerel like Vinnie Chase? Cracked takes a look at Nine Superhero Powers That Would Be More Trouble Than They're Worth.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

AND IF THEY LET EDIE STAY DEAD, I'LL BE EVEN HAPPIER: Yes, Desperate Housewives has fallen a long way from the creative heights of Season 1, in no small part because the producers seemed to lack a plan after they resolved the Mary Alice mystery, but Nathan Fillion and Dana Delany taking up residence on Wisteria Lane certainly could be promising. However, if there's a show that needs cast surgery more than Housewives currently on the air, I can't recall it. Judging from Wikipedia, as of the end of last season, the show had 16 regulars (including relatively small players like the three Scavo kids), plus people with regular recurring gigs (Mrs. Landingham, Dougray Scott, etc.). (Runner-up? Brothers and Sisters, with a regular cast of 15, including Rob Lowe and the three kids who appear from time to time.)
BENNY HILL WOULD JOIN THE MOURNING: Boots Randolph, best (and basically solely) known for "Yakety Sax," has died at 80. And, as YouTube demonstrates, everything is funny with some Yakety Sax, including, but not limited to, Lord Of The Rings, Jurassic Park, and The Shining.
OH, IT'S WHAT YOU DO TO ME: Am I the only one in these parts who's finding "Hey There Delilah" almost unbearably catchy and kind of touching to boot? Nice to see a simple acoustic guitar driven song at the top of the iTunes list rather than the umpteenth remix of "This Is Why I'm Hot."
MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE: Transformers is pretty much exactly what you want in the heat of the summer--2.5 hours of mindless entertainment in an air-conditioned theatre, and we trot around the world (Qatar! The North Pole! The Pentagon! The Hoover Dam! Downtown L.A.!) and watch stuff blow up good (really good), with more than a few laughs along the way. Smartly, rather than assembling an all-star cast, the producers give the lead to Shia LeBoeuf, who cements his rising stardom with low-key charisma here, and toss in a hearty group of H!ITG!s and related character actors--Jon Voight as Donald Rumsfeld, John Turturro as a Man In Black, Kevin Dunn and recent Tony winner Julie White as LeBoeuf's parents, and Michael O'Neill (better known as Ron Butterfield to Sorkinites) in the Fred Thompson part (Bernie Mac also has an amusing cameo).

Interestingly, Harry Knowles, who you'd figure would be the bullseye for the film, didn't care for it, for exactly the reason I did. He wanted the movie to be more a story about the Transformers, rather than about the humans. It works precisely for that reason--it puts the human characters first (though there are at least one too many human plot threads kicking around in the second act). Also, there's an effing awesome trailer attached, which had me from the moment the big "Bad Robot Productions" card came up on screen at the start, and is the only time I can remember seeing a trailer with no title attached.

Plain as Dirt: History Without Gimmickry -

"JUST ABOUT EVERY MISTAKE THAT A CITY CAN MAKE HAS BEEN MADE HERE, AND THE CONSEQUENCES ARE INCREASINGLY APPARENT": No, not Penn's Landing -- the WaPo visits Independence National Historical Park today, where all the interest now is on the excavation of the President's House and how to remember the slaves who dwelled therein. - Reviews - Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

THE BRITISH ARE COMING! THE BRITISH ARE COMING! Just one week until Order of the Phoenix, and the NYT notes that Variety has already published its review.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

MUSIC, MAKES THE PEOPLE COME TOGETHER: iTunes now has an interesting '00s Pop "Essentials" collection (sadly, link maker does not seem to help), which seems to fall into three categories:
  • Those that are so obviously both still great songs and were big commercial successes, including "Hey Ya!," "Crazy In Love," "Mr. Brightside," and "Since U Been Gone."
  • Those that were substantial radio hits, but have not aged well, including "A Thousand Miles," "You're Beautiful," "Fergalicious," "Pon De Replay," and "With Arms Wide Open."
  • Those which you can't really understand why they're on the list at all. "You Raise Me Up?" "If Everyone Cared" by Nickelback (if you're going with a Nickelback song, why not "Photograph")? "Flake" by Jack Johnson? "With You" by Jessica Simpson? "Like A Stone" by Audioslave?

What would you add or subtract? I'd put in some more Clarkson ("Breakaway," for certain), maybe "The Space Between" by Dave Matthews Band, and take out the Audioslave and Jack Johnson for sure.

ANOTHER QUESTION FOR THE AFI: While poking around IMDB, a question comes to mind--in modern times, has there been a better overall year for film in the U.S. than 1998? During that year, the following films saw release in the U.S.--Elizabeth, Shakespeare in Love, Saving Private Ryan, Primary Colors, Life Is Beautiful, The Thin Red Line, Gods and Monsters, A Civil Action, A Simple Plan, Pleasantville, The Truman Show, Out of Sight, There's Something About Mary, You've Got Mail, Enemy of the State, The Wedding Singer, Ever After: A Cinderella Story, Pi, Rushmore, and A Bug's Life. Sure, not everything was great, as it was also the year of Armageddon, Deep Impact, and Patch Adams, but that's a darn fine record.
WE HAVE THREE SIZES--WEE, NOT SO WEE, AND FRIGGIN' HUGE: Thoughts from my trip to the UK, from which I have just returned:
  • Dealing with about 15 hours from depature at JFK to arrival at Edinburgh (including both an emergency stop in St. John's Newfoundland for medical reasons and a transfer through the "good in concept, but rather a mess in practice" Flight Connections Centre at Heathrow) in the same clothes? Not fun. Even less fun? Not recieving your clothes (or anything besides your minimal carry-on luggage) for approximately 48 hours after departure from JFK due to a variety of circumstances, including (I kid you not) the luggage being locked in the back of the delivery truck and the delivery company being unable to open the truck.
  • Edinburgh is a charming and gorgeous city, though friggin' cold, especially when all one has to wear is the long-sleeve button-down shirt one already wore through a 15-hour flight the previous day. Also nice is that it is a city that is almost completely walkable, even if it features a Parliament building that appears to have been furnished from the 2004 Ikea Catalogue. (Seriously, tell me this picture doesn't look like something you'd see at Ikea.)
  • There seemed to be a station available in our hotel in Edinburgh which aired nothing but quickly cancelled Fox programming, including both Vanished and Killer Instinct. Sadly, no evidence of Firefly, though the cool British version of Serenity was on special at numerous retailers.
  • It's somewhat disturbing just how easy it is to find a Starbucks both in London and in Edinburgh. I certainly understand the desire for familiarity (and yes, we ate at KFC one day for lunch), but in a country that at least used to be known for its coffee and tea houses, it's kind of sad to see such standardization. At least the ubiquitous Pizza Express is a British chain.
  • Hampton Court Palace (Henry VIII's summer place), about half an hour outside of London, is the best Palace of the options (though I've not been to Windsor). Plenty of stuff to see and do, including hedge maze. Well worth the half hour trip from Waterloo (though somewhat disturbing that we never once were asked for a ticket on the journey).
  • There's a fascinating contrast between the US and the UK media. While the "alert level" was raised while we were in London, there was remarkably little sensationalism and panic in the media. Such sensationalism and panic was reserved for truly important news, like the upcoming Spice Girls reunion, the question of the romantic status (or lack thereof) between Prince William and Kate Middleton, and the fact that Kylie Minogue will be in an upcoming episode of Doctor Who. Even the Brown-Blair handover (which happened on our first day in Lodnon) was remarkably even-keeled. (Also, very little U.S. news made its was onto UK television--only the Libby commutation and the Obama/Hillary fundraising stuff made anything of note.)
  • Saw Mary Poppins in London. Astounding production values throughout (especially on "Step In Time" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"), and the old songs are as great as they ever were, but even though the show hired a new and well-respected bookwriter, the narrative thread is kind of weak. (Avenue Q, which I saw before leaving NYC, had a similar problem, though less pronounced, in part because the songs which kind of detract from the Princeton/Kate narrative throughline are some of the best in the show, like "The Internet Is For..," "Schadenfreude," and the like).
  • The most brilliant staging in London, though, must go to the exhibition of the Crown Jewels, which first has a queue that wends past video screens of the jewels close up and in use so you don't just feel like you're queueing, and then, conveyor belts moving just fast enough past the jewels so people don't attempt to park themselves in front of them and block everyone's view but still giving everyone a good look.
  • The Bourne Supremacy was one of the features on today's flight back, and, even with some awkward dubbing ("son of a witch?"), that's just a remarkably well-made movie, which makes the smart decision to not paint any of its characters in black and white. Makes me look forward to Bourne Ultimatium all the more.

Good to be back to rejoin the fun in these parts, and looking forward to (work permitting) seeing many of you in Philly on the 13th (spooky though that sounds).

BEAMING? Matt Damon, Adrien Brody and Gary Sinise are in talks to play Kirk, Spock and McCoy in a Star Trek prequel film to be co-written and directed by ALOTT5MA fave J.J. Abrams.
I WOULD THINK THE NICELY MARBLED BOBBY JENKS WOULD BE THE FIRST CHOICE: This Q & A with Chicago White Sox reliever Boone Logan gets off to a rocky start, goes downhill quick with an uncomfortable exchange about cannibalism, and then crashes and burns with this valentine for the US Cellular faithful:
What's the funniest thing a fan has ever said to you?

Not much bright stuff coming out of stands. They're just a bunch of idiots.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Suburban Guerrilla » James Capozzola, 1962-2007

JIM CAPOZZOLA, R.I.P.: There was a Philadelphia blogosphere before Duncan Black, and well before this site, and its name was the Rittenhouse Review. Its founder, Jim Capozzola, died tonight at the age of 45. Jim was the networking glue that brought together us Philadelphia bloggers in the early years, was the guy who told me which opera to take Jen to as a birthday present (and vouched for his skills as a gift-wrapper if I wanted to purchase the libretto), and a hell of a good writer.

So go on and read his writing to remember him, whether it's his Koufax award-winning "Al Gore and the Alpha Girls" or just any random page in his archives. His pen could slash, but there was always a sweetheart holding it. I'm going to miss him plenty.

:: :: Reviews :: The Flintstones In Viva Rock Vegas (xhtml)

THE SECOND MILLION BEGINS: And there's no better way to do it than by doing something I didn't do enough for our first million readers -- suck up to Roger Ebert.

For those of you who loved his first compendium of negative reviews, I Hated Hated Hated This Movie, you will be pleased to know that he has finally published Your Movie Sucks, covering the past five years or so. Of one film, he writes "The pun, it has been theorized, is the lowest form of humor. This movie proves that theory wrong. There is a lower form of humor: jokes about dinosaur farts."

Those of you who laughed at this line -- and especially, those who can identify the film which provoked it -- should buy the book immediately. It is fun, inessential reading.

I'll note that there are only three films (so far) which he disliked that I did, in fact, like: The Princess Diaries, which is a formula film that works; Just Friends, because Anna Faris is brilliant in it and my brother-in-law produced it; and Wet Hot American Summer, which Ebert treated as a straight, crappy movie rather than a witty, loving homage to a specific subset of crappy movies.
RAISES PINKIE FINGER; LIFTS TOWARDS CORNER OF MOUTH: Within the next hour, we will indeed reach one million readers.

e.t.a. 5:10 pm: We did it! We did it! We did it, hooray! ¡Lo hicimos!

DICK LOUDON V. JOSIAH BARTLET: Vermont and New Hampshire are duking it out to determine which is more awesome.
OF COURSE, FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF WOULD HAVE BEEN 15 MINUTES LONG IF THIS WERE IN PLACE: I certainly have my protective side, but I can't imagine that when my daughter reaches driving age I'm going to want to install in her car a GPS tracking device that instantly alerts me when she speeds for more than 30 seconds, drives too late at night or -- and isn't this what Those We Don't Speak Of are for? -- drives past a designated perimeter zone.

What's more, this "Teensurance" program offers to conduct a psychological profile of your child to determine her potential risks behind the wheel -- is she a "me driver" or a "not me driver"? "How is your teen’s desire to engage in new, exciting, perhaps unconventional or even illegal experiences and sensations?" they ask. Apparently, "Teens that receive a high score on this scale are more likely to crash." Go figure.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

WHEN I'M SAYING "THIS IS CRASS, EVEN FOR DIDDY," YOU KNOW IT'S BAD: Not only has he repurposed "I'll Be Missing You," his Notorious B.I.G. tribute, for this today's Concert for Diana, but I swear I just heard him shout If you miss Diana, make some noise! to the Wembley crowd.

This is an open thread.