Saturday, July 23, 2011

THE CAUSE OF DEATH... PRETTY MUCH WHAT YOU'D EXPECT: Amy Winehouse has died, aged 27. What a waste of talent.

Friday, July 22, 2011

COOPER NIELSON WATCH: In recognition of the Friends with Benefits v. No Strings Attached box office showdown this season, New York magazine reviews past showdowns involving rival studios making the same movie at the same time, including dueling asteroid, volcano, bug, magician, Truman Capote, Steve Prefontaine and, yes, dance! films.
IN MERCY'S NAME, THREE DAYS ARE ALL I NEED:  From the ALOTT5MA Casterbation (shouldn't it be Casturbation?) Desk comes word of a possible Les Misérables film musical with Russell Crowe as Javert and Hugh Jackman as Valjean, directed by Tom Hooper. Paul Bettany, too, wants to be Javert.
THE CANVAS CAN DO MIRACLES, JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE: This Friday's playlist theme—songs about being in or on the water.
WABI SABI: Ten fascinating words that cannot be directly translated into English.

added: Fifteen more from Mental Floss.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A GREAT BIG BROTHERHOOD OF MAN: Deadline is reporting that the first Glee cast member to make the jump back to Broadway won't be Matthew Morrison (whiteboy rapping has a very limited need on Broadway) or Lea Michele (who has yet to be cast as Fanny Brice, despite her two-year audition for the part), but Darren Criss, who will perform a short three-week engagement in How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying between Daniel Radcliffe's departure in January and a more permanent replacement for J. Pierpont Finch. Criss is allegedly doing this with the blessing of the Glee producers, and, yeah, that'll sell tickets during the traditionally down period of January.
WELL, THEY HAVE BOTH PLAYED PRESIDENTS: Innocent, Scott Turow's sequel to Presumed Innocent, will get the TV movie treatment, with Bill Pullman (who's apparently doing some very interesting work on Torchwood: Miracle Day, but I don't get Starz) replacing Harrison Ford as Rusty Sabich. I had some problems with the story logic in Innocent, and one of the major relationships in the book gave me the oogies, but Sabich's character is a fascinating one, and I'm interested to see what Pullman does here.
RIGHT NOW, WE'RE ALL THIRSTY FOR SOMETHING DIFFERENT: Buzzfeed remembers twenty-three beverages that aren't around anymore of our youth, including a certain transparent Pepsi beverage launched with this Super Bowl ad.
TWIB NOTES: Three small baseball items.
WHEELS STOP: There's lots I could say about the end of the Space Shuttle program. Too much of it skirts The Rule. So, instead, I offer you Deep Space Homer.

That said. Welcome Back, Atlantis.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

RIGHT TRACK OR WRONG TRACK? The Kidz Bop Kidz take on "Born This Way." Needless to say, there have been some changes to the lyrics, and a substantial portion of the song cut entirely, though the central message of the song remains.
YET AGAIN, SWARTHMORE FLIES UNDER THE DOUCHE RADAR: Updating its 2009 list, GQ once again ranks The Douchiest Colleges In America. And while Fair Harvard did not make the list, Larry Summers still had something yesterday to say about the Winklevii:
MR. ISAACSON: So was that scene in The Social Network true?
DR. SUMMERS: I've heard it said that I can be arrogant.
DR. SUMMERS: If that's true, I surely was on that occasion. One of the things you learn as a college president is that if an undergraduate is wearing a tie and jacket on Thursday afternoon at three o'clock, there are two possibilities. One is that they're looking for a job and have an interview; the other is that they are an asshole.
(Laughter; applause.)
DR. SUMMERS: This was the latter case. Rarely, have I encountered such swagger, and I tried to respond in kind.
N.B.  ALOTT5MA Style Guide does not support Dr. Summers' use of the plural pronoun "they" to avoid issues with a single person of indeterminate gender.
HE'LL STRUT ABOUT IN TINY VESTS, THIN TIES AND OUTDATED HATS:  Let me just cram all the Timberlake one can handle into one post -- latest NYT profile, Timberlake on golf, Grantland's Molly Lambert on whether he can ever overcome his fundamental timberlacity to become a real actor ("If the biggest male pop star in the world were also the greatest actor in the world … well, that would hardly be fair, would it?"), and below the fold from last night, Justin Timberlake and Jimmy Fallon's History Of Rap Part 2  (pt 1: here, not Hulu)... and a special treat:
I FELL OFF THE JUNGLE GYM AND WHEN I WOKE UP I WAS IN HERE: A NYT special report: are our playgrounds too safe?  Would our kids learn more and develop better by getting a few scrapes every once in a while? Have you seen a traditional see-saw or playground merry-go-round lately?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I'VE GOT THE POWER: Not quite Kansas City, 1981, but but frightening.

"Korean scientists think they have determined what caused a 39-story Seoul skyscraper to shake violently for 10 minutes, causing the building to be evacuated for two days. Earthquake? Nope. Gale-force winds? Sorry. Volcanic activity? Unh-uh. No, the culprit, they say, was 17-middle-aged gym rats working off the midriff bulge in a Tae Bo class. Apparently, while dancing and boxing to "The Power" by Snap on July 5, the exercisers not only shook their booties, they shook the building."
A CHRIS TRAEGER GRAMMAR RODEO SPECIAL: Yes, literally weeks after we tackled the topic, the Boston Globe explores what literally must be America's most overused adverb:
Bryan Garner, author of “Garner’s Modern American Usage,’’ has developed a scale for the five stages of misuse. Stage one is when usage mistakes crop up, but are widely rejected. By the time a word reaches the dreaded stage five, Garner writes that the incorrect definition is “truly universal, and the only people who reject it are eccentrics.’’

Garner now puts “literally’’ at stage three, which is defined as “being used by a majority of the language community.’’ However, Ben Zimmer, executive producer of the Visual Thesaurus and, believes “literally’’ has already slipped dangerously close to stage four, which means that it has become ubiquitous and only a few diehards reject the new meaning.
 (Videos: short, long. HT: Linda Holmes.)
APROPOS OF ITS BEING REALLY, REALLY HOT OUTSIDE: Is there a product in any field which eclipses the rest of its pack as much as the Neutrogena Cooling Mist Sunblock Sprays kick the ass of every gloppy, gooey, or excessively sticky purveyor of SPF protection which preceded it?

Monday, July 18, 2011

"YOU CAN KEEP THE MEAT DRESS AND THE FIRECRACKER TITS—MERMAID'S MINE": Thus tweeted Bette Midler to Lady Gaga after the latter starting performing numbers as a mermaid in a wheelchair. Yeah, I'd say that shtick is Miss M's property, and still regret that she remains the last of her kind.
IT MIGHT BE RON SWANSON'S NEW FAVORITE CHANNEL: Canada will soon launch a TV channel that is nothing but footage of rotisserie chicken being roasted. (HT: Tara Ariano)
LET ME RIDE ON THE WALL OF DEATH ONE MORE TIME:  In the category of Even More Stuff You Could Not Pay Me Enough Money To Do, visits New Jersey's shuttered Action Park (more here) as part of its review of the six most terrifying theme park rides ever built.

Sunday, July 17, 2011