Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hold Me Close Young Tony Danza

The above quote is from Friends and what Pheobe thought the song "Hold me closer tiny dancer" actually said.
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I have that problem myself occasionally. I thought "Waterloo" was "Wanting You".
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And I just found out that I was wrong about a play name. I always thought it was "Morning Becomes Electric", like ... you know.. electricity is in the air.
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Turns out, just down the street is the play "Mourning Becomes Electra". Turns out it is a reference to a person and death! Go figure!
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Here is part of the Wikipedia entry, and let me just say, it doesn't seem anything like an electric and exciting morning...
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The story is an update of the Greek myth of Orestes to the family of a Northern general in the American Civil War. Agamemnon is now General Ezra Mannon, Clytemnestra is his second wife Christine, Orestes is his son Orin, and Electra is his daughter Lavinia. As an updated Greek tragedy, the play features murder, adultery, incestuous love and revenge, and even a group of townspeople who function as a kind of Greek chorus. Though fate alone guides characters' actions in Greek tragedies, O'Neill's characters have motivations grounded in 1930s-era psychological theory as well. The play can easily be read from a Freudian perspective, paying attention to various characters' Oedipus complexes and Electra complexes.

Hanker for a Hunka???

Of course, Ed knows this song by heart and has shared it with me a long before he found the commercial. So now I am suppose to be okay with his fetish for cheese?

Cool Libraries from The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast (Tina Brown's new daily online magazine) has a great tour through new cool libraries. Here are some of the nifftiest.
This is Seattle's new public library. It is beautiful.
Proving that Washington isn't a one town state, this is Ballard Washington's new library. The green room with low water plants is sustainable. There are periscopes inside the library to view the roof and the mountains beyound.
This is a library and bookstore in the Netherlands, built from a converted Dominican Church.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Think about this...


So think about this.
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Let us assume for a moment that the human race doesn't blow itself up in the near future. And we will assume for these purposes we aren't smacked by a major asteroid.
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Furthermore, let us assume that science proceeds in it's discoveries. Not that scientific breakthroughs increase, the speed can even decrease, but science does continue.
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These are both basic assumptions we make everyday. We aren't surprised by smaller cell phones or smarter computers.
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So, given this, it seems clear that at some point in the future, we will discover time travel. Right? That seems fairly basic at some levels.
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So this means that we have, at some point in the future, discovered how to go back in time. That means that people have already been back - right? So, think about this, we have to live in the best possible world there is.
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I mean if any of us could go back and kill Hitler, we would. Obviously someone already has. And the outcome was even worse! Maybe a more effective Nazi took over, the Nazi's won. Instead of 6 million Jews and 20 million dead Russians, we have hundreds of millions dead. So they went back and stopped the person from killing Hitler.
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That is good news. That means that sure, the current recession is bad - but if they didn't go back in time it might have been (or would be) a lot worse.
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Of course, we can't live like with this knowledge. Knowing that the past (our future) is manipulative-able at a macro level is probably not good for us. But it probably is / was or has been.
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I told Ed this and he said that I made his head hurt.

One Last Thing this Super Bowl Week-end


The original Pittsburgh Steeler Cheerleaders (disbanded in 1969).  The "Steelerettes".  With hard hats!
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If they were still a-working on the sidelines I would root for them.  But instead I will root for the sad sacks and Kurt Warner.

Live from an alternate reality.....

And now for a few moments of "Live From an Alternate Reality.. A Few Moments with the Republican National Committee as they elect a new chairman".
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This is a quote from Mike Duncan, out-going chair., "The Democrats mean to use this opportunity of unchallenged power to explode the size and scope of the federal government, to take control of entire sectors of our economy, to crush the conservative opposition through parliamentary procedure and redistricting," he told RNC members, winning applause. "The goal is to indoctrinate a generation of American children to the gentle comforts of the nanny state ... The only thing standing between their agenda and success is the Republican Party."
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To which one must say, "Whaa...?"
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I get that is is the taking point, but really.  Let's interject the teeny tiniest does of reality here.
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Explode the size of the Federal Budget.  I believe the last time that occurred was with the Medicare Prescription "Reform" - promised at $300,000,000 for 4 years - later updated to a more realistic $750,000,000 for 4 years.  Passed by a Republican House, a Republican Senate and signed by a Republican President.
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Explode the scope of the Federal Budget?  I believe the last time that occurred was with "No Child Left Behind" which helped plopped a big turd of Federal Rules into the punch bowl...a traditional local concern - of elementary education.  This was passed by.. wait for it... a Republican House, a Republican Senate and a Republican President.
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When on earth was the last time the scope or size of the Federal Government was reduced?  Oh wait.  Under a DEMOCRAT.  Under Bill Clinton Welfare Reform passed and reduced both the size and scope of Federal Responsibilities and, for added good measure, gave decision making power to the states.  Don't get me wrong, it was bi-partisan legislation that passed with both Republican and Democratic votes.  But - as the recent zero votes for the stimulas points out - Republicans no longer believe in bi-partisanship.  Only playing games.
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I'm not really hot about it, I just find it fascinating that they can be so delusional.  Republicans have some good ideas - but constructing a fairy tale land where they are the Don Quixote tilting at imaginary windmills doesn't help them sell those ideas.

As We Occasional Do....

As we occasional do, we take a small peek at Scooter's very favorite scathing quote from the New York Times Movie Reviews.  Today "New In Town" with the Renee Zellweger, Scooter's own little choice as a charisma-free actress.  Then "The Uninvited", probably too easy a target, but the review is funny.
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First Up.. Renee (bleh)

In the flat romantic comedy “New in Town,” RenĂ©e Zellweger plays Lucy Hill, a shark in spike heels who wields pretentious corporate jargon like a machete. An aspiring master of the universe who works at the Miami headquarters of a food-processing giant, Lucy is dispatched to an underperforming branch in New Ulm, Minn., to oversee slash-and-burn operations. After a few minutes of listening to her running off at the mouth, you may never again want to hear “dialogue” used as a verb.
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Watching Ms. Zellweger’s joyless performance, you have to wonder what happened to this formerly charming actress who not so long ago seemed on the verge of becoming a softer, more vulnerable Shirley MacLaine. As a corporate climber, her edge is all in her clacking heels, not in her bland performance. She is equally unconvincing as a cozy, born-again everyday person with a sense of community responsibility. And where is her most appealing mannerism, her dimpled smile? In a performance that operates as if on automatic pilot, it has faded away.
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and now....

“The Uninvited” sounds like the name of a generic horror movie, which is more or less what it is. But when you stop to think about it, the title is actually a clue to the picture’s lameness. Words beginning with “un” do have a certain scary resonance — intimations of the unknown, the undead, the uncontrollable and the unholy — but “uninvited”? As in “not on the guest list”? Only in Hollywood could such a notion be a source of terror.

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Two gentlemen behind me kept up a lively, derisive banter — the kind of thing that would ordinarily drive me mad with rage but that in this case saved me a bit of work. Just at the moment when the kindly local sheriff left the heroine alone in a dark room, assuring her that no one else would get hurt — spoiler alert! he was wrong! — one fellow asked his friend: “Is this a commercial break? Because I need to go to the bathroom.”

I saw a wonderful show last night....


Add ImageLast night I got to see an amazing wonderful show.  O shan't review it right now, since it doesn't open until tonight and I my review comes out on Thursday.
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However much of it was a tumble of words and phrases that spoke of passion of life - and I am inspired.
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ps - It was of an age of flowery words and flowing thoughts and might well influence me some today.  Forewarned is forearmed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I call bullshit on the NY Times: Updated and Retracted


I don't get the lies.  I don't get why, even now, the outgoing administration (that would be "W's") gets to make up lies and the press dutifully prints them.  
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Hell, if it just making things up, I can do that!
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Today the New York Times posted and published some Republican hack bullshit about the fact that Obama didn't wear a coat in the first Oval Office meeting.  And how the Capital "flew into a tizzy".
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First, if that is all the Capital needs to go into a Tizzy, no wonder the pantywaists can't get anything done.
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Second, it is spread by Republican party hacks who push lies like this, "Thus did an ironclad rule of the George W. Bush administration — coat and tie in the Oval Office at all times — fall by the wayside, only the first of many signs that a more informal culture is growing up in the White House under new management. Mr. Obama promised to bring change to Washington and he has — not just in substance, but in presidential style. "
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And finally it is patently untrue.  If you were dealing with a fully competent 6 year old you would call it a lie.  And a stupid lie at that.  But since we are dealing with Politicians we will just call it "untrue".
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The picture above (from the Los Angeles Times) is George Tenant at the White House pushing the famously incorrect assumption about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to the President in the Oval Office.  By the way, George Tenant was the famous source of the quote that it was a "Slam Dunk"the Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction would be found.  A lie - oops  I mean "an untruth" that he was rewarded with a Presidential Medal of Freedom Award in 2004.
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And, as I should have said before I wandered momentarily off track, unless he is wearing the Emperor's New Clothing line jacket it appears he is jacket-less.  Apparently the neither the sight of George Tenant without a jacket or missing weapons of mass destruction threw the Capital into a "tizzy" before this.
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What really bugs me is that this same hokey line was already peddled to CNN, who ran it as a story.  Then it was proven false.  And now, days later, it is reframed at the New York Times.  It is a lie and it is sloppy.

Updated

I wrote the author who answered my letter.   Sheryl Gay Stolberg stated that this story was indeed true and that the picture of George Tenant was proof only of an exception.  Furthermore, she said that she had actually worked hard to verify this story.  And so I will withdraw my calling of Bullshit.  However, I stand by my comment that if this is what throws the capital into a "tizzy" we are all on a fast train to nowhere.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Saw Pal Joey Today...


Today I saw a matinee of Pal Joey with Stockard Channing and Martha Plimpton.  I really liked it a lot.
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It got bad reviews because the original male star, Christen Hof, broke his foot right before the play opened and the back up only had 2 weeks to practice.  But Matthew Risch has grown into the role.  Funny enough, but Eddie and I saw Matthew Risch as Warner (he was the understudy) in Legally Blonde.
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I get why he might have been tentative in the beginning.  After all, he IS the show.  You have got to totally buy that Stockard Channing, Marthe Plimpton and a bevy of other women would throw it all away for him.  Anyway, he was darn good.
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But Stockard Channing!  She is mesmerizing on stage.  She isn't a great singer, she hasn't really progressed from Rizo in Grease.  But to hear her heartache in Bewitched Bothered and Bewildered is .... well magic
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An Odd Thing

father-issues.jpg

I don't mean to dish the Pope.  After all, he is the titular head of the Catholic Church and the arcane workings of that body, mainly religious  but clearly more than just that, are beyond me. 
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I do find it odd however that the Pope - a former Hitler Youth and German Army Member - would rehabilitate a holocaust denying Bishop who doesn't believe there were gas chambers.  That seems odd.
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I comment on it only because yesterday was the 65th anniversary of the Russians liberating Auschwitz.  And the holocaust has become a cliche (and launching pad for a host of movies - some good some terrible) more than a memory.  But we do kind of need to remember and keep on guard.
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Just in terms of Jews (not to mention much smaller numbers of gypsies, homosexuals and political prisoners) 6,000,000 were gassed to death.  How many is that?
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It is like gassing the population of Mankato MN.  And then again. And then again.  For 180 times!
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It is like gassing the population of Missoula MT 105 times.
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It is like herding together the entire state of Wyoming and killing each and every one of them.  Then stacking their bodies like firewood.  And then doing it again, 11 more times.
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That is a lot of dead people.  And a lot for a Bishop to deny.  It is a lot for anyone to deny.  Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also denies the holocaust - but we think he is a kook and denounce him.  Well he is a kook - so we are right there.
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Oh well, like I said, not my table.  But if the Pope wants to be known as more than ex-Hitler Youth, this isn't a good way to go about it.

Sometimes a great notion...


(Reprinted from the Daily Mail with no comment) David Beckham scored his first goal for AC Milan over the weekend causing a rush for his ass by teammates:

"The 33-year-old football ace was seen getting groped by his AC Milan team-mates, Andrea Pirlo and Clarance Seedorf during the Serie A stars game against Bologna at the Renato Dall'Ara stadium...it wasn't just a case of cheeky behaviour, the pair were congratulating midfielder Beckham - and also touching him for luck after he scored his first goal for the club he is on loan to for three months. An AC Milan insider said: 'Everyone knows Beckham has a golden touch and he has proved that since he arrived. 'Italy is a superstitious country and people often touch things for luck - the players are doing the same with Beckham and touching his bottom because he is seen as a lucky mascot.' Pictures of the players touching the bottom of Beckham were published in several Italian newspapers, all with the headline: 'Now he is a lucky talisman.' Since the former Manchester United player arrived in Milan, the side has not lost a match both in the Italian league, nor in a friendly."

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Okay, with one comment.  I could use a little luck myself.


A Twofer


In deference to my "any reason to post a picture of Brad" - let me give a shout out to Phil, John and Carson (I know that Don doesn't care :-).   Here is a picture of Jessica Alba.
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And why you ask?
Well, Jessica made a fool of Bill O'Riley and I always approve of people taking down a blow hard a notch or two.
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At the inauguration, made fun of Bill O'Riley to a Fox News Reporter.  In the discussion she said that the reporter had to be neutral about the whole thing, like Sweden in WWII.
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Bill O'Riley claimed she was a pin-head because she meant that Switzerland was neutral in WWII.
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Jessica set the record straight with this comment: "I want to clear some things up that have been bothering me lately,” Alba blogged on MySpace Celebrity. “Last week, Mr. Bill O'Reilly and some really classy sites (i.e.TMZ) insinuated I was dumb by claiming Sweden was a neutral country. I appreciate the fact that he is a news anchor and that gossip sites are inundated with intelligent reporting, but seriously people... it's so sad to me that you think the only neutral country during WWII was Switzerland."
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FYI, Ms. Alba is indeed correct Sweden was also neutral in WWII - as they have been in every war since the 1400s.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In Older Men Sean... not younger


In the annuals of "really?"

The Annual Dance

I opened the LA Times today, because it is Oscar time and the LA Times covers the Oscars like no one else. Including this year - where they have a voter who is sharing his thoughts anonymously (Deep Vote - get it, like Deep Throat from Watergate; I said like no one else - not always great :-) One more aside, Deep Vote is a pretentious twit and impossibly shallow in his reviews - no hurry there.
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Anyway, there is an Angelino annual ritual I forgot about. It is the yearly, post-Football season, "Will LA get a pro football team this time?" dance. (USC is only semi-pro and doesn't count.)
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It always ends in the negative because LA doesn't do the one thing that successful dancers do (ones like Houston - now home of the Texans, or Tennessee -new home of the Titans (nee Oilers), or Baltimore -home of the Ravens, or Cleveland -home of the Browns (nee Ravens)). LA does not pony up the cash. Not the least of the reasons why is that Angelino's have been without a football team since 1994 and are doing fine.
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That may sound odd, but both the LA / Oakland Raiders and the LA/ Orange County /St. Louis Rams could only get out of the contract by pulling horrible attendance figures. So they ran their teams into the ground so no one went. And the Byzantine contract requires that television show the home team if the game isn't sold out so we watched these two dogs play every Sunday for 2 years. We were happy when they left that we could at least WATCH good football.
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ps - Georgia Rosenbloom Fortiere was, is and will always be a conniving bitch in my book. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Had Carrol Rosenbloom known what she would do with his beoved Rams, he would have fixed his will.
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This year talk is centered on San Diego Chargers moving to the City of Industry.
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This would be the new stadium, built on top of a rather tall hill (although it would be a low mountain in Florida).
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For those of you familiar with the freeway system it would be at the conflux of the 605 and 60. And on Sundays would bring not only the 605 and 60 to a screeching halt, but play hell with the 10 (at San Fanciscito Carson!), the 5 at the narrow part near Downy and the end of the 105.
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It is on the Metro line... oh wait.. it isn't anywhere near a Metro line.
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It will, of course, not be built. It will join the ranks of the Carson Landfill, the Irving Gravel Pit, the refurbished Colosseum and the stadium within the Rose Bowl in the "if we only had a billion dollars" hall of fame.
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This yearly dance started like some Greek Tragedy for football fans, then moved to farce and is now an annual sideshow much less sad, but just as frustrating as Arab Israeli peace talks.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Bad Mall


Yesterday we were on a quest for Ikea Meatballs.  You know, as you do.
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Well we got a zip car and were going to go to Paramus, where there is a pretty good mall outside of the Paramus Ikea.
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Then we remembered (after checking) that malls (and Ikea's) in Northern Jersey are not open on Sunday.  Really!
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So we had to make back up plans.
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Plan 1 was to go to Elizabeth New Jersey, but the reviews talked about stolen GPSs, gang fights that closed the mall early on Saturday night AND it was an outlet mall.  Which I don't like.
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So we went out to Hicksville and the South Broadway Mall.
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The South Broadway Mall was sad.  There was a Macy's, a Target and a Spencer Gifts knock off store.  There was a reason sized H & M, but the most crowded booth was the "Sell Your Gold for $".
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We got our little drops of Swedish Heaven and vamoosed.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Gerr.. Great!!

Tonight we saw Christine Ebersol at the Carlyle.
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It's a little hard to explain who she is or what the Carlyle is, but I will try on both counts.
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Christine Ebersol is the winner of last year's Tony award for Best Actress in a Musical for Grey Gardens. She is an amazing singer and an amazing actress. She put on a show at the Carlyle Hotel that was moving, funny and wonderful.
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She sang a lot of old songs (like 1930s and 1940s) that were really fun, including "42nd Street".
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The Carlyle Cafe is this TINY cabaret room with only 70 seats. So we saw here in a space that was so intimate that it was like a living room.
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And it was really fun. It was the room Eartha Kitt played all the time, until she passed. IN fact, as an encore, Christine Ebersol sang and Eartha Kitt song, "Marvelous" and sang the hell out of it.
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Great night.



Dip Shit


For the record, if you listen to Limbaugh and expect to be taken seriously, think again.
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Rooting for the President of the US to fail during a reccession is asnine. My dislike of Bush NEVER led me to hope that he failed the country. You see some of us put our love of the country and the people here above a misguided hatred of the other guy. He may try to slump this offense off later as he said he "hated liberalism". But that ain't what he said and no rewriting of the facts later will change that. He hates Democrats so much he hopes the President fails the country.
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And that is a mean-spirted, horrible thing to say as that dip shit's President presided over 1 million plus job loses in his last 3 months in office and our economy fell 5 percent last year under Republicans.
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Money quote from Fat Ass:
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Limbaugh told his listeners that he was asked by “a major American print publication” to offer a 400-word statement explaining his “hope for the Obama presidency.” He responded:
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So I’m thinking of replying to the guy, “Okay, I’ll send you a response, but I don’t need 400 words, I need four: I hope he fails.” (interruption) What are you laughing at? See, here’s the point. Everybody thinks it’s outrageous to say. Look, even my staff, “Oh, you can’t do that.” Why not? Why is it any different, what’s new, what is unfair about my saying I hope liberalism fails? Liberalism is our problem. Liberalism is what’s gotten us dangerously close to the precipice here. Why do I want more of it? I don’t care what the Drive-By story is. I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: “Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails.” Somebody’s gotta say it.

So I Went and Saw The Curious Case of ... Button



Well, I went and saw The Curious Case of Benjamin Button yesterday (in lui of my afternoon nap).
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Was it good? Yes.
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Was it great? Depends on your patience.
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It is a long movie. If you go waiting to see hot Brad without a shirt, you have about 90 minutes before he nudes up. You will be dissapointed.
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It is truly a quiet movie that is really moving... if you are willing to sit through it.
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Here is the thing. The movie is "about" love and life. It is about accepting age, accepting fate and embracing what you are given.
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There are probably more than a few ways to do this. One is a TV series method - where you learn to enjoy and "feel" characters over time. A movie doesn't really have that luxury. Then there is the Steven Spielberg method - where he just tells you over and over and over "how" to feel. It is a method that most people seem to like, but I find very artificial.
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The C Case of B Button chooses an altogether different method. In the case of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, the viewer is already familiar with them - at least their appearance. So the filmmaker is free to let their emotions grow onscreen and things happen without hitting you on the head with it.
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As Cate Blanchett gets old or Brad Pitt gets young - we are already so familiar with their faces that the visual clues are almost subliminal. The story, and it's many inducements to fully enjoy life as it is given, can be more subtle because we feel the march of years on these familiar faces.
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The fact that their voices, while familiar, aren't an everyday input as much as their faces are, makes their stories more poignant. However, even with those faces, the movie's method requires you to SEE their stories in order to fell them, not just be told how the characters feel.
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Make no mistake, it is a 3 hour life story that frustrates with a few missteps. The biggest being a reliance on storm imagery that never really works, and the second being the use of Hurricane Katrina to book-end the piece that seems stupid and artifical.
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Finally, if Brad Pitt's voice bugs you avoid at all costs. He is a constant presence that both stars and narrates the story. If, like some folks, that slow, easy, low pitched cadance he has makes you a little weak in the knees - then see it.
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Ultimately, I loved it. And I say this knowing it will drive a lot of people crazy. It isn't Brad's best movie (that would be Twelve Monkeys - where he really did deserve an Oscar), but I did think Cate Blanchett was about as good as I have seen her in a much less showy role that Queen Elizabeth. The supporting old folks, his mother works in a home forthe aged, are well used and excellent in the small but sometimes critical, roles. And Tilda Swindon, making a very small part, looks beautiful - something you never really say with her!
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As for Best Picture.... It's no Milk - but like I said Milk was a personal time for me and I can be no judge of it. Benjamin Button is certainly better than The English Patient - at about the same pace.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Oscar Nominations (or any excuse for Brad!)


Any excuse for a Brad picture.
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This excuse being he was nominated for Best Actor and the Curious Case of Benjamin Button got 
13 nominations.  I would love to see it, and I probably will during a school day.  Eddie has not desire for a 3 hour movie, Brad or no Brad.
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I also want to see The Reader, as I LOVE Kate Winslett.  
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I fear that Slumdog Millionaire will have an expectations issue.  That is, it might be a good little movie, but expecting a Best Picture scope movie is not in the cards for it.
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As for Frost / Nixon.  It was a great play and the same people are in the movie, I am sure it will be good.  And I am sure I will be disappointed.  Movies don't generally live up to the live experience for me.
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Ed and I saw Milk and loved it.  It isn't a particularly "gay" movie, more a political movie about a gay guy.  Sean Penn was very good (and you who know, know I am not a giant Sean Penn fan).  For me it was so much "of-a-time" it was almost an out of body experience.  It takes place EXACTLY when I was in college.  It also discusses a proposition  in California that would have banned any gay person from teaching school.  Milk, the character and the movie, talked a lot about that fight.  And it talked a lot about the importance of being out.  And it was real and it was what made me live an open live.  Not a big I'M GAY LOOK AT ME type life, but a I'm gay, it's no big deal type life.
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 One final note.  These awards FINALLY acknowledge one of the great musicians of all time.  Danny Elfman was nominated for best score for Milk.
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I have LOVED LOVED LOVED Danny Elfman since he was the lead singer and composer for Oingo Boingo - a 1980s new wave band.
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I saw them back before they hit it big (when they were still "The Mystic Knights of the Onigo Boingo").
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Danny is a genius and has done the music for (deep breath):
First Batman Movie
Nightmare Before Christmas
Good Will Hunting
Mission Impossible
Donnie Darko
Spy Kids
Big Fish
The Simpsons Theme
Chicago (the music between the old songs)
Mars Attacks
Men in Black
Sleepy Hollow
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Desperate Housewives
Charlotte's Web
Meet the Robinsons
and many many more.
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He was also Jack Skelator's singing voice in Nightmare Before Christmas and the singing voice of the Oompa Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
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He is a genius of the type I dream I could one day be.
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One last P.S. about Oingo Boingo.  For YEARS, even after the broke up, they played a Halloween night concert and the Universal Amphitheater for years.  They were kind of a Los Angeles institution, although you have heard of their songs (Dead Man's Party, Little Girls, Stay...)

So much better.. finally

Well I finally feel better.  It took longer than it should because of the cold in New York. 
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So many of you know this, but I didn't.  Below about 15 degrees F feels VERY different from 32 degrees F.  I know it doesn't seem like much, but it is!  The last week it has been as cold in New York as it has for 3 years - about as long as I have been here.  So the lows of 5 and 8 have been a unpleasant wake up call to the Scooter.
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I finally got used to taking Trevor for a walk in 26 - 32 degrees in the morning.  And it was cold.  Bitter cold.  Freezing cold.  I couldn't take it any lower cold.
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Then I walked him in 8 degrees with a wind.
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Yah, that is a LOT colder.  Trevor, a smart dog, doesn't like it at all.  He will go to the first tree or hydrant, pee and then pull you back inside.  I tell him he has to poop and he gives me the are-you-kidding? look.  He will not squat outside when it is below about 10.  He just won't.  He will hold it in, until Ed and I go somewhere.  Then he runs into the shower or tub to crap and all is well.  He is curled up in his snuggle ball, happy warm and a half pound lighter when we get home.
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Can't blame him really.  Cold is COLD.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

This is why it is a big deal...

Okay, there is an honest question why is marriage a big deal.  Well here, with the company name removed, is why it is a big deal.  By the way, the answer is kind of bullshit since you can have better benefits than the feds require - and I think California forces them to acknowledge same sex spouses - but you can see why it is a big deal-io.
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Hi Ed,

Thank you for the email and sharing your concerns with us.   I partnered with the ** Benefits team at corporate in Fairfield and confirmed the following information:

 The ** pension plan survivor annuity benefit does not treat a same-sex partner/spouse on essentially the same basis as an opposite-sex spouse .   The spousal definition in this plan tracks to the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as solely between members of the opposite sex.    Since our ** pension plan is federally governed (ERISA), state same-sex marriage and civil union laws do not apply.   This is the situation regardless of the state in which the ** employee resides.

Former French Minister Mauled by Maltese


Some headlines write themselves.  I would write something pithy and humorous, but that work has been done by the Guardian - apparently a real incident.  I copy for you entertainment pleasure.
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Former French president Jacques Chirac was rushed to hospital after being mauled by his own 'clinically depressed' pet dog.

The 76-year-old statesman was savaged by his white Maltese dog - which suffers from frenzied fits and is being treated with anti-depressants.

The animal, named Sumo, had become increasingly violent over the past years and was prone to making 'vicious, unprovoked attacks', Chirac's wife Bernadette said.

The former president, who ruled France for 12 years until 2007, was taken to hospital in Paris where he was treated as an outpatient and sent home, VSD magazine reported.  Mrs Chirac said: 'The dog went for him for no apparent reason.

'We were already aware the animal was unpredictable and is actually being treated with pills for depression.  'My husband was bitten quite badly, but he is certain to make a full recovery over the coming weeks.'  The former French First Lady did not reveal where on his body Chirac was bitten.

The pet, named after the Japanese form of wrestling, was a gift to the Chiracs from their grandson Martin.

Recent polls have shown that since leaving office Chirac is now regarded as one of the most popular politicians in France, liked by 70 per cent of people.  In the last days of his presidency, he was much less popular, liked by just 50 per cent of the population.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Amazing New Stuff on the Web


Foreign Policy Magazine has put up a new web site that is GREAT.
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One of the best things they do is this "Think Again" series.  They do it in their magazines, but they are now doing it more often on-line.
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They are short paragraphs about a general topic (like Counterinsurgency right now).
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The post a series of "accepted truths" or conventional wisdom, then agree or disagree with it in a short paragraph or two.
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It is cool and fun.  Here is the link if you want to see it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Who's Birthday?


Ed's Birthday is Jan 21. Here are some pictures from days gone by.
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Above he is with John and below in his full glory.

The Inauguration



It is odd working from home on a day like today. I got to watch the Inauguration and President Obama's speech - but not with a crowd. So I listened like I would watching with Ed (as opposed to cheer as it seemed many in the streets did).
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I can't critique the speech. I think it was moving and touching, but it was very personal. He reached out to people's heart in the speech. If, like me, you were willing to be drawn in - or even hoped to be, it was great.
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But I don't know how it played to those who still worry about him as President.
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I will say that the pool video artists and editors SUCK. Whoever they were, they know nothing about the cadence and emotion of a Black Speaker. And whatever else he is, President Obama is a wonderful, gifted black speaker. The camera, seemingly afraid of viewers A.D.D., cut away from Obama's pauses to random faces the crowd, diminishing the effect of the pause and the following words. The faces, a diversely appropriate mix of races and incomes, were meant to be moving to the viewers - but the words were enough. In fact the words were what we tuned in for.
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It was the heavy hand of a video director who no longer trusts the American people to recognize emotion and true commitment. And I only mention it because it is the same heavy hands that insist on telling us what our politicians are saying. Spinning, okay lying, in order to drive us apart.
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I hope Obama can end some tiny part of this process. I hope that people heard the speech for what I heard - a praise of the people of the country and a call to action to make it whole again.

You Go Aretha!


She kicks ass.
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And I love her hat.
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She sang wonderfully at the Inauguration.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Recovery Proceeds Slowly

I don't know what we had / have. I thought it was food poisining originally - and it still might be, but Ed has it to.
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It is either stomach flu or salmonella and either way it has been a disgusting few days.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Plane from our house

So here is the plane from our house.
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It landed a little north of our house (so I couldn't see it), but it kept drifting more and more south.
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First of all I was amazed at the great job the pilot did landing the plane. I mean any mistake and they are toast.
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Second how lucky to land on the Hudson river during the day. The commuter ferries were there in less than 5 minutes to take the passengers off the plane's wings.
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Which probably saved a lot of lives or at least help avert a ton of hypothermia.
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It was quite the thing to watch live and on TV at the same time.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I KNEW it!


Despite protestations from Ed (and Jane and Jo and everyone) I KNEW chesse was yucky. And MSNBC shall tell us the truth.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Trust Me: Bradley's New Show


You should watch the new TNT show "Trust Me".
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Our good friend Bradley is the associate producer.
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This is the TNT blurb about it:

About the Show
Eric McCormack ( Will & Grace ) and Tom Cavanagh ( Ed ) return to series television in TNT's TRUST ME , a sharp, witty drama series that centers on two best friends working as creative partners at a top-ranked Chicago ad agency.
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Joining McCormack and Cavanagh in TRUST ME are Monica Potter ( Boston Legal ), Griffin Dunne ( Law & Order: Criminal Intent ), Sarah Clarke ( 24 ), Mike Damus ( Lost in Yonkers ) and Geoffrey Arend ( Garden State ). The show from Warner Horizon Television is executive-produced by THE CLOSER's Greer Shephard, Michael M. Robin, Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny . Baldwin and Coveny are also writers on the show. TRUST ME premieres Monday, Jan. 26, 2009, at 10 p.m. (ET/PT) , following an all-new episode of THE CLOSER.
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Set against the backdrop of the high-pressure world of advertising, TRUST ME focuses on Mason (McCormack) and Conner (Cavanagh), a pair of ad men whose strong creative partnership has served the firm of Rothman Greene & Mohr extremely well over the years. Mason, an art director, is a responsible, workaholic family man with a beautiful wife, Erin (Clarke), two children and an undying loyalty to the brands he helps sell. By contrast, his writing partner, Conner (Cavanagh), is a single, impulsive copywriter with the attention span of a teenager. Their yin-yang relationship is put to the test when Mason is named a creative director of the agency, making him Conner's boss. The series follows the changing dynamics between the two friends, who are better together than they are apart.
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Also working in the same creative group is new hire Sarah Krajicek-Hunter (Potter), an award-winning copywriter whose forceful personality has a tendency to rub people the wrong way. Hector (Arend) and Tom (Damus) are a junior creative team with untraditional ideas that don't always sit well with their new boss. The entire team is supervised by Tony Mink (Dunne), a man who lives and dies by the advertising business but has a growing sense his days in this young person's business may be numbered.
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TRUST ME follows these memorable characters as they try to navigate the waters of inter-office politics, personality conflicts, easily bruised egos, professional jealousies and unreasonable client demands.
TRUST ME was created by Hunt Baldwin and John Coveny, who have a combined total of over 20 years of experience in the advertising world having worked for J. Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett Advertising in Chicago .

Hastings T-Bone Story


So, , I was watching Trevor leave a T-Bone steak bone on the floor, as he wasn’t hungry, and I remembered a story about Hastings.
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Hastings would, of course, wolf down any food in order to get to Ashford’s food faster. This including devouring any food that was available, then running over to steal Ashford’s. The problem with this scheme was 2 T-Bone steak bones. With 2 bones, Hastings and Ashford would both eat as quickly as possible and then trade bones (after some growling and stuff).
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But once out in the desert, we gave them both dogs bones – put Hastings outside with his and left Ashford inside. After a few minutes they wanted to change, so we open the door – only to hear Ashford barking.
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Hastings, sneaky shit he was, had put his bone on the first step of the pool – because Ashford was afraid of the pool and the water. So Hastings was eating Ashford bone as fast as he could, before I figured it out. And Ashford stood outside the pool and barked at the bone in the pool.

Miss Creepy.. Nice cheek implants



Yikes, I think that Rene Z. has had some bad cheek implants.
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And those implants, coupled with the nightmare hair-do and Goth / S&M gown is not a pretty look.
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She just looks scary now.
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And condescending.  I think that the face-lift and cheek implants give her a condescending smirk she can't really help.
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And what is with the squint?  Can she not afford sun glasses.  Was the lift too tight and she can't open her eyes now?
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Oh well... you can't argue with those people that just love her.
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She is a girl who inspires a reaction from others.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Week-end fun


Today we went to a really cool thing. It was the New York Times "Arts and Lei sue" week-end. They had discussion groups with a bunch of people like Lewis Black, Vampire Week-end, etc.
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The famous ones were sold out, but Ed and I went to hear these guys talk today.
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They are the New York Times Washington Senior Corespondents. It was really fun.
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Jeff Zeleny has follow Obama since Chicago days, and Sherly Gay Stolberg has been following Bush.
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There were plenty of anecdotes, but the real purpose was too talk about what to expect in the first 100 days of Obama's Presidency.
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Very different look at the President.
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And, at 90 minutes, the perfect amount of discussion.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's all about the expectations....

I liked Valkyrie. I think it is all about the expectations. I expected to kind of laugh at it, and instead I enjoyed it.
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Too bad Tom Cruise has become "Tom Cruise; Crazy Scientoligist" because he isn't a horrible little actor.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Here is the problem with Bride Wars


We already have Bridzilla's on WE (or weh! or wee-wee or however it is being written now).
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The real thing is already impossible to believe - so why watch Ann Hathaway and Kate Hudson act like idiot girlys?
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It is like going to the zoo to look at a picture of a Lion.

Here's the Problem with the Minnesota Senate race

For those of you not in the US of A, or perhaps just not in Minnesota, you may not have heard this.  After the November election, the Minnesota Senate Seat (and any senate Seat is pretty powerful) was in a recount.
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Worse for the poor folks from Minnesota, it was a recount between Al Franken - a liberal and an ex-Saturday Night Live funny man, and Norm Coleman - a first term Republican who was swept into power in 2002 in a bizarre mix of George W. Bush post-9/11 love and the unexpected death of his opponent (no funny business here it was just an odd convergence of happenstance).
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So there have been counts and recounts and lawsuits and lawsuits and still no Senator sitting to represent Minnesota.
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The problem, honestly.  It was a tie.  Out of some 6 million votes, the winning margin is less than 300 in either case.  Here is the problem.  That is a like 0.005% difference.  It is a statistical error of tiny proportions.  Any human count or machine count is going to be less that 99.995% accurate.
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But Minnesota (like most states) doesn't have a "what do we do in a statistical tie" rule.  It may or may not have a "what do we do in case of a tie", but with 6 million+ votes, you will have a different outcome every time, and almost never a tie.
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So the race, like all too many things in America, is reduced to a set of lawsuits that will cost the state money and deliver no better answer than flipping a coin.
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sigh
BUT if you want a roll on the floor hilarious update, then watch the "Red State Update" below.  I particularly like the question, "We can block a Senator from coming in?  Can we block them all?"  and his explanation of why Caroline Kennedy is a fine pick for Senator "and Number two: She's a Kennedy and she ain't never raped nobody, OD'ed or skidded on the ice and killed someone, hell that's qualification in my book..."
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Quote of the day from Joan Crawford


Well, my g-mail had a quote for today from Joan Crawford.  It was...
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 "I believe in the dollar. Everything I earn, I spend! 
Joan Crawford 
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But my own favorite was found when I looked at her quotes.
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"I never go outside unless I look like Joan Crawford the movie star. If you want to see the girl next door, go next door. 
Joan Crawford 
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And, of course, my favorite of all time...
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Recently I heard a 'wise guy' story that I had a party at my home for twenty-five men. It's an interesting story, but I don't know twenty-five men I'd want to invite ta a party. 
Joan Crawford 

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Mr. Madoff should be in Jail...


I know it would be hard on Bernie Madoff in jail.  I mean he is old and evil and will probably not fair well with the criminal element in the Bronx or Midtown holding jails.
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But...
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On top of bilking tons of people out of, like $50 Billion dollars, he is now sending out MILLIONS of dollars of diamond watches, broaches, bracelets Tiffany and Cartier junk through the mail to hide them from prosecutors.
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And when he was found out he claimed they were (wait for it) Hanukah presents!  Like your non-jewish friends normally get 3 diamonds watches at Hanukah. Liar!
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NOW they have found $173,000,000 in checks he was ready to mail out when they arrested him.  
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Rumor has it that he is allowed "home parole", in a 7 million dollar penthouse on the Upper East Side, because he was cooperating with the fuzz (isn't that a great 1970's word .. "fuzz").  But his "hanukah" presents tend to say "once a shit-faced, self-obsessed, lying crook with no moral compass, well then always one."
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Time to get friendly with the other New York area crooks and thieves - albeit it none so brazen as you and none who actually took down charities - but crooks all the same.  Maybe you guys could teach each other things.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

She's suppose to be great, but....

I know that she is suppose to great in "Damages." She is thought to be Amazing, Wonderful.
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She has won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for it, right?
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But it is Glenn Close. And I cannot forgive her.
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Ed remembers her fondly from "Dangerous Liaisons" in which she was, correctly, great.
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But not me. For me there is a volcanic memory of Glenn Close. It was her butchering hatchet job on "Sunset Boulevard".
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Watch (if you dare!) the clip below to see her ruin a perfectly good show with a singing voice that rivals mine.


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Perchance it is the fact I first saw the show in London with Patti Lupone. Say what you will about the Diva, she can sing the hell out of the song. The video below is not great (let's say terrible), but the difference is stark even with quality.

Did I tell you my “Moment” story?

I don’t know if I told everyone this story in bits or pieces, but this was one of the first times my father (the charming man but big fat liar) and his lies made me out to be a fool. Not wrong, just a fool.
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So Ed and Lynn and I are watching “Hello Dolly” on video, and the song “It Only Takes a Moment to Fall In Love” comes on. That same song is now known by the world as it was included in Wall.E to great effect. Thinking I have something unique to share, I do what I normally do. I pipe up to share my vast fount of knowledge.
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“Do you know how long a Moment is?” I ask. Now, I am quite satisfied with the answer because most people assume that a moment is some indeterminate length of time. But I know the truth, and after a moment of hesitation by them, I say, “A Moment is EXACTELY 2 minutes.”
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Lynn and Ed calmly (and more politely) call bullshit on me. And so I am forced to explain to the poor saps. “No really. When I was little…”
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It is at this point in the story I realize I am well and fully screwed. After all, if I heard it when I was “little”, I probably heard it through my father. But like a cornered rat, I prattle on – now knowingly bluffing, “…when I was little the commercials would come on TV and say ‘We’ll be back in a moment’. And I was told that a moment was EXACTELY 2 minutes and you could tell because they showed four 30 second commercials.”
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Ed pounces on the weak link in my story, “Told by who?”
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Being wrong, I get defensive...“Not everything he said was a lie. He said the last title before a movie starts is the ‘Directed By’, and he was right there.”
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There is general arguing before we turn back to Hello Dolly – but it is not forgotten. The next night, on return from the desert Ed has to look this up in the dictionary, like, 2 minutes after we are in the door. He is right and I am wrong. He IMMEDIATELY calls Lynn
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He starts the conversation without even so much as a hello...“I looked it up. You know what the dictionary says a Moment is?”
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He then hands the phone to me and says, "Tell her!"
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And since I had the phone I did. “The dictionary says a Moment is exactly 2 minutes.” And I hung up.
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Ed called back immediately. Ed and Lynn laugh and everyone has a big laugh at my expense. And I vow to always count internally to 10 before I repeated something my wonderful lying father told me - just to do a quick saniety test.
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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Cool / Fun Story about Sheepdogs and Penguins



I first heard about this today in reference to something else (the Pink Iguana), but I think the story is really cool.
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The penguins pictured above are from Australia (the type Ed, Lynn and I saw) are threatened by other species (dingos, wild fox, etc.) on some islands.  To protect the penguins, they have introduced a couple of Italian Sheepdogs (pictured below).


Apparently these dogs bond with the animals they are raised with  and then protect the other animals.  This is working very well with some Australian penguins.

For those who might not get Tom Tomorrow


Select to expand....

Amazing Pictures and good for George W. Bush


As you may or may not know, I have not been a big fan of Geroge W. Bush. However, full credit where it is due. He has created some of the largest Wildlife Refuges ever in American waters. The pictures on MSNBC are amazing and the story is pretty cool.
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So there you go, Kudos. (Although why Presidents wait until the last minute to do things like this confuses me. Clinton did the same sort of thing. It is like a last minute Hail Mary pass to get good grades from people who like nature. Are there big anti-nature people out there?)

Monday, January 05, 2009

Worst... Show... Ever...!!!!


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This is the worst show ever!!
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Now that I am turning 50 I must leave the trappings of childhood(ish) behind me. Which leaves me not being able to enjoy the HORRIBLE “Superstars of Dance” in the full method it should be.
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Superstars of Dance – which includes neither Superstars nor “dancers” in the traditional sense of being able to keep a beat – is clearly meant to be enjoyed with good friends and high as a kite.
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Of course you and I know that I have never partaken of such enjoyment – I have only read out it.
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Nor would I. It is an evil that both my parents warned me about repeatedly.
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But if I were too be of such unsound mind , this is the show to do it with. From Michael Flatley (somehow proclaimed “the most famous Dancer on the Planet”) to the Chinese Ribbon Dancer who couldn’t make the Opening Ceremonies to the Australian group angry dancers this is a show teaming with (to quote Michael F) “terpsichorean brilliance”.
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It is a train wreck that flattens all viewers with blinding lighting, muddled or over amplified sound, unwatchable shots of dancing wherein the legs of the dancers often are not shown and cardboard cutout judges.
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The judges by the way are from the 8 or 9 countries and 2 of them (but only) 2 are forced to wear “national outfits”. So the US, Australian, Argentinean, South African etc judges are dressed normally and sit next to a Chinese Monk and some poor Russian rip off of Bela Karoli in a table cloth stolen from the local Moscow Diner.
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Fabulous (with Tivo only)….