Archive for October, 2005

Could the new nominee be any dorkier?

Figures of Speech – It Figures – Does Calling Him “Scalito” Make Him the First Hispanic Nominee?

Best quote about the big story of the day: “Isn’t the middle-aged male pro-life jurist whose last name ends in a vowel seat taken already? Antonin Scalia fills that slot nicely, thank you very much.”

And seriously–he looks like such a nerd, which is fun. People are saying that he’s no John Roberts. He’s reserved and not nearly as charming. And I got the feeling from Nina Totenberg that he’s just a little odd. How will he hold up during the hearings? Let’s face it–Roberts’ winky winkster landed him the job.

Cremaster 2 – review

Matthew Barney is weird, so his partnership with Bjork is perfectly brilliant. I saw Cremaster 3 a couple of years ago, and despite its length (about three hours) and lack of any dialog, I still thought it was so cinematically breathtaking that I had to love it.

Cremaster 2 appears to contain more of a plot than Cremaster 3–it is “about” Gary Gilmore, who was the first person executed after the death penalty was reinstated. He killed a gas station attendant in the late ’70s, and this scene is reanacted in the film. Barney, apparently like the rest of the country, was enamored with the story. Barney plays Gilmore, which for some reason means he spends a lot of time in a Ford Mustang and on a bull. Norman Mailor (who wrote The Executioner’s Song about Gilmore) plays Harry Houdini, who is said to be Gilmore’s grandfather. A woman simply named as Anonymous plays Baby Fay La Foe, Houdini’s lover and definitely Gilmore’s grandmother. Interesting story–I see why Barney is obsessed.

Like Cremaster 3, which is partially set in the Chrysler Building, product placement plays a role. I’m not sure how intentional this is, or if Barney receives money for these placements. The gas station is Sinclair. Two Ford Mustangs are prominant. There’s an obvious Good Year sign inside the gas station.

And then there’s Vaseline. Many of the props are made of baked vaseline (which are currently on display at The Walker), and Barney has a humorus bout with some inside the car. I wish there had been more of the chuckle bits–#3 did make you laugh at times, and it appeared to be intentional.

Bees play a large role, a role still unclear to me. I understand Barney’s main themes–cycles, life, death, bad choices, good choices, sex (full-on graphic sex is shown throughout the first half of #2)…bees have a cycle as well. But doesn’t every living thing?

And as if seeing Norman Mailer in an avant garde film wasn’t enough, Bareny also cast the drummer from the 80s metal band Slayer as a–now get this–drummer for about five minutes. I didn’t get it. But I can totally see Barney as a metal head out in his homestate of Idaho, loving Slayer.

But like with Cremaster 3, nothing you see on the screen makes sense at the time. Everything moves very slowly. But eventually things start to come together–not in a traditional wrap-up-way though–it’s hard to explain.

Every part about Barney’s Cremaster films is dauntingly HUGE. What are these actors (or probably in the case of the horsemen in #2, real professionals) thinking of their parts? It’s amazing that he’s pulled all of this off. Extraordinary. It doesn’t even matter that it doesn’t make sense–no other fine artist has done anything like this. And I’ve never heard of any copy cats since then, either. A true original.

So, I give it 4 out of 10 stars. That may seem like a low score, but if this weren’t Matthew Bareney and if it weren’t a true art film, it would have been a big fat 0. And for the record, I’d give Cremaster 3 a 7.

Barney’s been done with the Cremaster cycle for a couple years now, and is releasing his latest film, Drawing Restraint 9 (which features he and Bjork as amputee lovers) soon. The soundtrack (which also features Bjork) is out now, to not-so-rave-reviews.

Al Roker is a douchebag

Al Roker’s blog

Be sure to clicky for the gayest picture of Trent Lott ever

Figures of Speech – It Figures – You’re Definitely in the Minority, Senator

I love the “It Figures” blog with all my heart. It’s the only blog I get truly excited to read.

Liberal intelligence, wit, making fun of the Right, and teaching readers rhetoric…all in a day’s work for Figaro.

A fascinating explaination of SOX

X Marks the Baseball Team – Why the White Sox aren’t the White Socks. By Daniel Engber

I never knew about Webster’s spelling reform. Apparently “jail” used to be “gaol.” Thank God. I would have loved to be a part of that, being a horrible speller myself.

Be sure to check out the Spelling Reform history page, too.

McCartney US Tour – review and gloat

Last night was one of the best nights of my life, and certainly the best $250 I’ve ever spent. I was in the 10th row, near the center, at a Paul McCartney concert.

I arrived early, a little after 4:00, hoping to catch a glimpse of the man in his Lexus pulling up for sound check. I walked around the Xcel Energy Center and attached River Centre, then decided to wait by the 4th street entry with some other fans. I heard that was where he’d be entering. I got to talking to a few of them–they informed me that Paul had arrived at noon for some reason (as it turns out, he announced that his cousin Pete was in the audience for some reason, which probably explains the afternoon at the venue). I stuck around anyway, talking Beatles and Paul stuff with the others.

There were signs on all the Xcel doors saying that by buying tickets to this show were allowing them to video tape us and use our likeness later.

Doors were set to open at 6:30 but they let the 15-or so people outside in around 5:30. We could hear the end of the sound check (I heard three songs: Blue Moon of Kentucky [I think], The Massage Song [very long], and Lady Madonna). A bit after 6:00 I left for (a very poorly staffed) dinner with friends nearby.

When I returned a bit before 8:00, the show was nowhere near starting. Finally at about 8:20 the DJ half of Twin Freaks (the other half being McCartney himself) starting jamming until 8:45. That was followed by a waaaaaaay too long video of McCartney’s musical career. I thought that was such an insult to everyone’s intelligence, and such a show-offy way of introducing yourself. Come one, we all know you were a Beatle, we all know you had another band, we all know you sucked in the 80s, we all know you’re having a comeback now. Duh. The only good thing that came of that were a few previously unseen (by me) clips, including some of the Mad Day Out.

Then finally the show started. The lady I was sitting next to went ballistic. I was scared that I’d have to hear her singing along the whole time, but the band was so loud it didn’t matter. Some reporters are saying that he seemed bored at first–I didn’t see that. I saw Paul McCartney–showman extraordinaire. I don’t believe a thing he does is real or heart-felt cuz that’s just the kind of bloke he is. Once though, during an acoustic song, he closed his eyes and you could tell he REALLY felt it. That was a nice moment.

But the real highlight came with this sign I developed the night before. Paul likes to stick with his banter throughout the tour, so I thought I’d throw him for a little loop. On the bootleg of a Philly show I got a couple weeks ago, he went on about how he likes to read the signs, but finds it hard to remember lyrics and chords. So, my sign said, “Read my sign but don’t forget the words, Paul.” My mission was to get his attention.

When I first got to my seat, the usher told me I’d be “removed” if I unrolled it. Whatever, there were signs up almost immediately. During Paul’s solo acoustic bit (just him and guitar or piano), I started holding up the sign for a minute then shoving it away, lest I get removed. I thought I saw him notice it once, smile, wink, then carry on with the song. I figured I was just imagining it but then this girl in my row said, “How does it feel to have Paul McCartney smile at you?” Ok good, that wasn’t just my imagination.

I was waiting for his bit where he actually says, “I love all the signs but then it’s harder to remember the words and chords…” Finally he got to that and I held up my sign loud and proud. Suddenly a video camera and a still camera were in front of me. I must have gotten up on the big screen. Paul said, “Yes, and there’s someone holding up a sign that says, “Read my sign but don’t forget the words, Paul.” That’s very nice.” Thumbs up. Chuckle. Smile. Wave. Point. Smile. Off to the piano. Everyone in front of me turned to stare and smile and giggle. Cheers. Laughter. HA! The ladies next to me gave me high fives.

And then I swear he looked at me again with a sparkle in his eye at the beginning of the next song, “For No One,” “she knew someone, but now he’s gone, she doesn’t need him…” Heh.

I better make it on a DVD. Or better yet, Paul should incorporate my sign into his next show, or at least think of me and my sign. I cannot wait for bootlegs of this show and the one in Des Moines tonight.

Oh, and then as I was leaving I found a program under a seat. Glad I didn’t buy one for $25!!

The show was nearly three hours of feeling really really great. Not a bad night–left work early, free parking, good food, great music, great friends, free program, and Paul McCartney has acknowledged my existence. What more can a girl ask for?

Fake word in Oxford English Dictionary

The New Yorker: The Talk of the Town

Apparently the idea of protecting copyright like this goes back to printed encyclopedias. It’s fantastic!

As for “esquivalience” ’s excesses, McKean made no apologies. “Its inherent fakeitude is fairly obvious,” she said. “We wanted something highly improbable. We were trying to make a word that could not arise in nature.” Indeed, “esquivalience,” like Lillian Virginia Mountweazel, is something of a maverick. “There shouldn’t be an ‘l’ in there. It should be esquivarience,” McKean conceded. “But that sounds like it would mean ‘slight differences between racehorses.’ ”

Gee, and I thought I was nerdy.

So-so Night, and Good Luck

I saw Good Night, and Good Luck this past weekend. It wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be.

It looked marvelous–the black and white, the smoking (it always looks great in black and white), the lighting, the costumes–it really put me in the late 50s. The acting was terrific, David Strathairn as Murrow was astounding. I bet he won’t get nominated for an Oscar though. There was nothing heroic. He didn’t play a retard, he didn’t recover from high-speed chases, there was no sex–the academy will forget about him by November. And that’s sad.

But here’s what I didn’t like: I didn’t get to know any of the characters. None of them. We know there’s something up with Robert Downey Jr. and Patricia Clarkson–but how was that important to the McCarthy stuff? If everyone’s private lives were given that attention, that would have been fine. But why was their story important enough? We know it was stupid times. The only thing I can figure out is that it may show hypocrisy on CBS’s part, but not really. Anyway, the only background we get is some text scrolling up the screen just before Murrow does his first anti-McCarthy show. It needed a good 10 minutes in the beginning for background, to gain interest in the characters. It felt like a History channel reenactment at times.

The best surprise bit came from one of Murrow’s Face to Face programs, where he interviewed Liberace, who had just moved into a new house with his mother. “When are you going to settle down and get married, Lee?” “I would love to get married Ed, I just need to find the right partner. I heard that Queen Anne is looking for a man. I hope she finds him and I hope I do too.” Or something very close to that–it was hilarious and clever. Which reminds me–the original footage is placed perfectly throughout the movie.

Still, I gave it a 7 out of 10 on IMDB.

Try not to be scared.

Tom DeLay Mug Shot – October 20, 2005

He looks like one of the Enron fellas smiling to save his life, and millions.

We all do it

Figures of Speech – It Figures – Honk if You Hate Noise