Monday, December 31, 2007

Good Riddance, 2007

We are on the verge of 2007 falling into the dustbin of history. The dustbin is welcome to it, in my humblest of opinion. I wrote last years that 2006 was one of the worst years of my life, probably second behind 2004 when everything went irreparably asunder. The year of our lord was an improvement, I suppose, particularly in the regard I did not spend weeks at a time in the hospital as I did the previous year. It still ends on the same sour note and for largely the same reason. But I survived the holidays anyway. Whooppee. The best days of just about everything are behind me now.

The year was awful to a whole lot of people for a whole lot of reasons, no? Hundreds died in Iraq while all we cared about was Paris Hilton’s jail term and Britney Spears’ bald head, which was an improvement over last year when what we cared about was her bald peach instead. Larry Birkhead and Kevin Federline became America’s favorite dads. No wonder so many moms choose to go it alone with that sort of concept floating about. OJ decides to violently take back his stuff without the benefit of a New York Yankees steroid rage, Don Imus probably things OJ is a nappy headed thief, but Dog the Bounty Hunter is not doing anything now. Maybe he will go after OJ if he jumps bail, or will at least call him a racial epithet.

It was the year of narcissism. Time magazine said we were all Person of the Year and darn if the whole herd did noy take it to heart. Barry Bonds took all the glory for taking the all time home run record away from class act Barry Bonds while his buddy still sits in jail for refusing to admit what we already know—Bonds is a steroid mad hulk. Michael Vick goes to jail for slaughtering dogs while his wife beating NFL peers wish him the best and teams line up to sign him in 2010. Cho decided the best way to make his presence known was to slaughter his classmates at Virginia Tech. luckily NBC was there to make his wish come true.

If anything good came out of 2007, I am afraid I missed it. There are no heroes here. Just tired old people hanging on to whatever the establishment says is of value. Of course, the establishment is either out to lunch, on the picket line, or cannot afford the gas to get to either one. But there are no gays in Iran, waterboarding is not torture, $ .08 per DVD in royalties is not too much to ask, and next year will be the one when the University of South Carolina Gamecocks have a winning team, right? It is all so confusing.

So here is to 2008. may we not all wind up nursing a bottle of whiskey, clutching a shotgun, and wondering where it all went wrong.
Predictions for 2008

The Writers' strike will end sometime in February before the Oscars has to be ad libbed with finger puppets. The final contract will not satisfy neither side and the lingering strike will shorten the season if not cancel the rest entirely. There will not be many new shows prepped to premiere next season, causing an unprecedented network ratings slide. But we will have a new media agreement, just no shows to air in that method.

The war on terror will not escalate even though close to the November election, there will be plenty of heated speculation by the Bush Administration of an impending attack that will make 9/11 look like a dress rehearsal.

On Election Day, everyone but the most hardcore liberals will walk into the voting booth, suddenly realize they cannot bear to see another Clinton on the nightly news everyday for four to eight years and refuse to vote for her. I predict Rudy Giuliani will win both the nomination and the White House, but it will be a left leaning, scandal plagued, and one term presidency.

No one will be completely happy with Ohio State and LSU in the Bowl Championship even though no one can come up with two better choices. There will be calls by pundits for a playoff system, but fans are so excited to see their favorite 6-5 team in an inconsequential bowl, the clamor will amount to nothing. You can cut and paste this one every year for here on out as long as you change the team college teams I mention in the BCS title game.

Tony Romo will run like hell from Poppa Joe and Jessica Simpson’s inevitable shotgun wedding plans, thereby proving he actually can run when the situation calls for it.,

Pervez Musharraf, will not make it six months. Read into that what you will. Pakistan will fall into chaos up until the Taliban takes over and restores order. Most Pakistanis will agree it is about darn time. Bush will be blamed for all of it.

The Dark Knight will be the biggest movie of the year. J. J. Abrams’ Star Trek will do well, but there will be mass suicides involving old school Trekkies over the continuity issues involved in a semi-reboot.

The National League team will continue its downward slide, losing both the All Star game and the World Series even though some upstart NL team will a ridiculously low payroll will make an astounding run at the playoffs.

Either Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan will overdose.

American Idol will start strong, then slip in the ratings as another subpar singer captures the majority of votes for whatever reason. Whoever wins overall will not have as good a career as the second or third place finisher.

Bush will make preparations to retire quietly to Dallas. There will be talk of him becoming the next Commissioner of Baseball, but the MLB owners will go for a politically correct –and probably wiser -choice

As the music industry continues to slide into oblivion, more huge acts will get creative in marketing and distributing their music. Record companies will continue to become an endangered species.

I will continue to be a bitter cynic writing about the inevitable collapse of Western Civilization.
Paris Hilton Celebrates a Day Early

Still working on coming up with that favorite Bible verse, I see.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Bugs Bunny's Lil' Carrot

I have seen this photo and video clips of it floating around along with speculate as to whether the artists dropped a little obscenity into a 1940's cartoon. it is true the Merry Melodies were aimed at an older audience as well, but guys, that is the bathtub showing up behind Bugs Bunny's knees, not his &ahem* personal carrot.

As an animation enthusiast, I had to weigh in. You cannot dick around with these things.
Dallas Cowboys Lose

Who let Jessica Simpson back in the stadium??!!
Doctor Who Season Four Trailer

There appears to be some debate among fans whether the pair of eyes glimpsed at the end of this trailer are a Sontaran or Davros. The Sontarans are definitely slated to return. Davros has been rumored, although I have never bought into the idea he would be played by the great Ben Kingsley. It would not surprise me to see Davros return along with Rose Tyler, et al, in the season finale. supposedly all the stops will be pulled out for that.

One suspects you would not see any of that until the midseason trailer appears, but there is precedent. the season two trailer featured a Cybermen scene from the season finale. It should be noted that particular episode was not filmed in order, however, and this season's finale has to be filmed around Billie Piper's schedule.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Perfect

The New England Patriots are now only the second NFL team to go undefeated.
Geeks with too Much Money

Ted Moustakis of New Jersey, who spent $ 12,000 at Christie's 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection for a uniform and poker visor supposedly worn by Brent Spiner ("Data") while filming Star Trek: The Next Generation, is now suing Christie's and CBS for $ 7 million for allegedly selling him fraudulent items.

You have to wonder about someone who would pay $ 12,000 for one of probably scores of uniforms used by Spiner over the last twenty years of playing Data and a cheap visor you could probably by at a chearo beachwear shop. but when i hear he is filing a lawsuit for $ 7 million, I comfortably realize he is a normal, well adjusted, and red blooded Ameriican engaging in our litigious society.
David Letterman Returns with Writers

Rumors flew for a few days there with the WGA looking like it would not go for an iterim deal, but they have. what is more important is the deal with Letterman's Worldwide Pants is its acceptance of all WGA terms, including most importantly, new media. Now the WGA is going to be producing new material under an acceptable agreement every night, which will undermine the producers' claim it cannot be profitably done.

It is a shrewd move in several ways, not the least of which is Letterman's competition is going back to the air without its writing staffs. prepare for lots of Charlie Rose knock offs with a few stale laughs interspersed. unless you are watching Letterman, then you can just hear the stale laughs and find out if stuff will float. At least we will get a new Top Ten list from now on.

Letterman, Leno, O' Brien, et al, return January 2nd, 2008.
"Long May You Run"--Neil Young

Sweet song. Man, Neil looks about as burnt out here as one can get on this side of the grave.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Is John McCain Surging?

Can John McCain win the Republican nomination? Pundits, particularly in the blogosphere, are kicking around the idea. The rationale goes the other candidates have their own niches, splitting the GOP electorate to the point McCain would be the last man standing. All this is idle speculation to fill air time and pixels. We will not know darn thing until Super Tuesday at least who the nominee is most likely to be. But I am skeptical it will be McCain.

First and foremost, I do not believe conservatives trust him. As far as they are concerned, he holds the wrong positions on global warming, stem cell research, immigration, and the cardinal sin, campaign finance reform. Second, I do not think the press corps is as enamored with him this time around. In 2000, he was a maverick sticking it to the GOP by blasting Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell while touting himself as a victim of Vietnamese torture. This time around he has spoken at Falwell’s Liberty University and, while still making reference to his time as a POW, is not making waves with it. He seems wishy washy and been there, done that. It is bad for him, because Hillary Clinton also has the taint of been there, done that, but she is still in the lead.

Would I be disappointed with McCain? No, I really do not care at this point. Truth be told, Clinton is such an establishment candidate, I am not so sure I would be upset to see her win even if I would never vote for her myself. Oh, and I think people are kidding themselves if they think Barack Obama is anyone other than another Howard Dean or Bill Btadley. They may poll the people in New Hampshire and Iowa to see who they support, but it is the establishment who actually doe vote. Obama might yank South Carolina away from John Edwards, but I cannot see him doing much more than that. This is his last presidential run for a while, two. Someone might choose him as a running mate somewhere down the line, but that is about the extent of his destiny. My advice? Look at Al Gore, Sen. Obama, because that is your vareer path.

I am going to go a wee bit further. I have no clue who the GOP nod will go to. I would like to think Rudy Giuliani, but what do I know? I have a gut feeling, since there is no clear frontrunner or conservative for that matter, if a Republican wins, he is going to have a very unpopular single term in which he appoints a liberal SCOTUS justice, touts initiatives to halt global warming, slides us closer to the abyss of socialized medicine, and continues futilely to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11 to stir the country up even though everyone has long since forgotten about the sting of it. So it is difficult to get excited about Republican chances in the first place, you know what I mean?
"They Rage On"--Dan Seals

I was lying in bed just a few minutes ago when I started thinking about this song. It is strange, but that sort of thing happens quite a bit for me. "They Rage On' is a country song from the mid-'80's, long before Billy Ray and Garth showed up to electrify the genre beyond all recognition. by the same token, the video came before megaproducer Mutt lange started having sex with Shania Twain, so the production values have yet to be imported from rock, either.

None of that matters. The lyrics have jumped out at me for right now and that is all I am concerned with. Enjoy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Paris Hilton Loses Much of Inheritance

Paris Hilton stands to inherit a mere 3% of the $ 2.3 billion dollar fortune Baron Hilton has amassed. the rest will go to charity. Take heart, however. The 3% is still larger than the jack squat Conrad Hilton plans to leave her after her embarrassing antics over the last few years. She has also earned a tidy sum just for being Paris Hilton, though why people want to throw money at her for that is beyond me.

The point is she has plenty of cash left to overdose with. Maybe she will even come up with her favorite Bible verse for Larry King in the interim.
Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

I do not even pretend to understand the trappings of the powder keg that is the Asian subcontinent, but with Pakistan being torn apart by radical Muslims, being the only Muslim country with nuclear weapons, and possibly the hiding place of Osoma Bin Laden, the last thing the country needs is this added turmoil.

Interesting how our media is split. some are speculating Al Qeada (Although the government Bhutto ran in the late '80's and early '90's was a big supporter of the Taliban), others are thinking it was an inside job to justify marshal law. Still others are concerned with which presidential candidate will benefit most in the primaries. Most Americans cannot find Pakistan on a map, but they are going to eally 'round the flag' for the toughest candidate after something like this happens.

Weird, but probably true.
Doctor Who--"Voyage of the Damned"

Residing on the wrong side of the pond, I had to wait a while to see this. I had heard earlier today the Christmas special broke a ratings record for the BBC and got British Christians in a tizzy. The ratings record being broken does not surprise me, but I was curious what could get British parishioners upset. By all accounts, the Church of England is pretty much a hobby and little else for its members. (flame away, folks.) I figured whatever elements bugged them would have to be extreme. After watching, I am puzzled. Perhaps the Anglicans are just as anal as many of their more fundamentalist brethren in the Bible Belt. More on that in a moment.

I have always consider Russell T. Davies’ work hit and miss. When it is good, it is good. When it is bad, it is unwatchable. He has a tendency to be derivative. I think he considers it homage. I am more inclined to say it is a rip off. “Voyage of the Damned” was, well, half of that. Right up until the last twenty minutes, VotD was part Titanic, part Poseidon Adventure, part “Robots of Death” and all enormously been there, done that, now use the t-shirt to wash my car on a boring Saturday. There was also a great deal of RTD’s wish fulfillment., which I gather explains Kylie Minogue’s appearance. A fine appearance it was, by the way. To be pushing fifty, she is still a hot little number.

The Titanic turns out to be a space cruise ship on which aliens can visit primitive alien cultures. In this case, Earth. The cruise line is owned by Max Capricorn and both have seen their better days. Capricorn was forced out by the company’s board of directors. In revenge, he plans to use the ship to crash into Earth, killing all six billion people, and causing a scandal that will wipe out the company. His assistans, which are robot angels, are inexplicably killing everyone on board while the disabled ship is going down in order to eliminate witnesses even though they will all be killed on impact anyway. Maybe Capricorn was canned because of idiocy in his plans.

The Doctor saves the day after a climb through the ship picks off a number of passengers just like the aforementioned Poseidon Adventure. Along the way, the Doctor and Astra (Minogue) bond a la Titanic, but in this one, she dies as opposed to stowaway Leonardo DiCa...-er, I mean the Doctor. Her death is where VotD gets interesting. David Tennant’s mother died midway through filming, so saying goodbye to Astra really let out some genuine emotion. It was like a whole other show. It might have just struck me hard given my current state of mind, but VotD was redeemed by the last twenty minutes or so. It is worth watching if you can hang on though the early, paint by numbers bits.

Oh, yes--the Christian protest. it beats me, really. there were jokes about aliens misunderstanding Christmas as a holiday on which humans worship Santa. There was no particular mention of Christ, but the Doctor does make a snide remark about "being there" the first Christmas. Perhaps I missed the significance of what he said. The angel imagery could have ticked someone off, I guess. But iam assuming it was the Santa bit. Well, heck. why do you not consider that a satire on the commercialization of Christmas and a perversion opf the religious implications rather than be offended?

Rating: *** (out of 5)

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Hottest Old Chick of 2007

That would be Nicolette Sheridan, MILF extraordinaire.
Patriots Seek Perfection on National Television

Saturday's game between the undefeated New England Patriots and the New York Giants was originally going to air solely on the NFL Network, an experiment few seem to have bought into. unless you lived in Boston or New York, you were very unlikely to see firsthand if the Patriots can become on ly the second undefeated team in NFL history behind the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

now the game is going to be simulcast on the NFL Network, NBC, and CBS. I am not sure if it was Sen. John Kerry supposedly pulling strings, fan uproar, or the WGA strike causing networks to demand something attention grabbing to put on the air, but I am glad whatever it was worked.

I really hope I do not have to give John Kerry any credit for it...
Will n' Adolf, Sittin' in a Tree

I have had other things on my mind as of late a bit more important than this celebrity faux pas, but for the sake of being thorough, I have to post something. what will Smith actually said was:
“Even Hitler didn’t wake up going, ‘let me do the most evil thing I can do today.’ I think he woke up in the morning and using a twisted, backwards logic, he set out to do what he thought was ‘good.’”
Smith was dumb here on two levels. first, you never casually mention Hitler. People do not go for that sort of thing. Second, never assume the unwashed passes can handle a philosophical question about morality. they need velvet ropes to get them into a movie without hurting themselves.

Speaking of movies--you are promoting I Am Legend! Do not talk about Hitler while promoting your latest film. Marketing 101 there, pal.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Because I Bounce

I survived Christmas! Without racking up a credit card bill, to boot. You know once you have established good credit, you ought to chop up every single card in your wallet. I have used mine twice in five years and one of those was for an emergency hotel room. Not for an assignation, mind you. It was raining heavily in Munich. Sounds like a dumb excuse, not to mention a high risk of having the thing rejected. No such calamity occurred. But here I am stalling.

I wrote earlier how unpleasant Christmas can be for me. There are a ton of reasons for that, but these days many hinge on the contradictions of the holiday. What are the true religious meanings behind it and where does crass commercialism fit in? I find myself being a lot more reflective these days when in the past I would not have cared either way. I am inclined to not dwell on it now and I would skip it to embrace the idea of Christmas as a time for family gatherings. Well, that is nigh impossible. Pretty much everyone is in Magnolia Cemetery except me without much chance of ever moving on with any semblance of a life for myself.

Have I mentioned I barely held it together today? I managed to, though. I decided earlier Christmas is all about the kids anyway and this one was certainly no exception. I had Christmas dinner with my sister’s in laws. This year, my sister had a child back in March and another of the family had triplets. None of them are old enough to know what is going on just yet, but I suspected by the fun they were having they got into the spirit of it anyway. With so many small kids, there was an interesting phenomenon of being handed a baby when you walk in the door to help feed, change, or be a naptime mat, whichever was the most urgent need.

They are not going to remember this Christmas at all. In fact, they probably have three or so more before any stick with them. But I could not help but wonder if they would look back in a Christmas when they reach four or five years old and hang on to that memory as The Best Christmas Ever like I do. Is that what you have to do at a certain point? Not live in the past, but spend time counting the blessings of what went on before? I have heard that sort of thing said all the time over the years to the point it sounded like insincere pablum. I always figured it was a pastime for old men, sitting on a front porch in their golden years. At least, I envisioned it for me. Not at thirty-one. But here I am.

I hope everyone had a nice holiday for themselves.
Merry Christmas!

I believe I have gotten every drop of blood out of the turnip of the holidays with posts over the last couple days. So now I shall further refrain from licking the red off everyone's candy cane and wish everyone a merry Christmas instead. in my own special way, of course:

Monday, December 24, 2007

David Tennant Staying as the Doctor

Contrary to Catherine Tate’s earlier comments, David Tennant has gone on the record as staying with Doctor Who through four specials through the 2009 “season” and has not been approached for anything beyond. It should be noted he wishes to be “enigmatic” beyond 2009, which opens speculation his final special of 2009 might feature a regeneration into the Eleventh Doctor. Such is mere speculation, of course. For all I know, he wants to hold out for more money and would rather appear ambivalent about staying put.

It may still be just me, but I sensed a bit of irritation with Catherine Tate over her comments. It may just be a natural reaction to someone spreading rumors, innocently or not, but Tennant has not historically put on a happy face and gushed about his coworkers regardless of any personal drama. Do you think Tate is just as annoying off camera as she is on? Surely one cannot fake being that aggravating without some internal embers to flame in the first place.

Have I mentioned lately I really do not want her character of Donna to return? Why the heck fans did not warm up to Freema Agyeman’s Martha Jones is beyond me. At least we will get to see her in Torchwood and the latter half of DW season four.

While I am on the subject, I am prettyambivalent whether Tennant ultimately goes or stays. He is a great actor, but you can only tell it when he is not playing the Doctor. There was such a marked difference between his John smith in “Human Nature/Family of Blood” that I felt gypped when he resumed the Doctor’s personality. He is genuinely stifled by the role, whether it is a boyhood fantasy to play the doctor of his or not I am curious to see what someone else can do with the role.
Christmas Eve

It is Christmas Eve. I am about to enter the home stretch of surviving the holiday season of 2007. way back in the halcyon days of yore, my family used to split Christmas festivities in two. On Christmas Eve, everyone gathered at my house for dinner and to open presents we had all gotten for each other. Santa Claus would come, then we would all head to my paternal grandparents for Christmas Day dinner. The holidays got testier over the years as we all did our part to put the fun in dysfunctional. The gatherings shrank and eventually we all split into factions. I believe 1990 was the last time we even faked enjoying each other.

I guess faked is the word for it. The last seventeen years have laid a lot of truth bare. But, heck, there was always an underlying animosity. My grandfather used to plop his police scanner in the middle of the dining room table and turn the volume up so we could all partake in the various stabbings and shootings taking place in Pine Ridge. He was a man who liked being contrary right up until about a year before he died when he knew the end was near. He wavered between a need for redemption and an, “Aw, screw it,” attitude that I never fully understood, but was fascinated by viewing. Let us not even get started on what an awful cook my grandmother was or the whole in laws versus spouse matter. I will tell you this: my grandmother had strawberry shortcake for dessert every year, but never bothered to unfreeze the strawberries. How those deadly weapons were never used in a fatal duel between she and my mother remains a mystery to me today.

Since then, Christmas has been odd. I have celebrated in different places with different people most every one of them. A couple times, there was not much of anything at all. The one constant was the differentiation between Christmas eve and Day. That ended, too, five years ago. Christmas 2002 was the last I ever celebrated with my mother before she died. That Christmas marked the end of Christmas eve having any meaning.

I know full well these things are a matter of individual traditions. Good grief, Christmas is not even about the birth of Christ. It is a pagan celebration of Winter Solstice. If you think back to the Gospel of Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus (Think Linus from Peanuts, if you must) the shepherds were watching their flocks by night. Shepherds do not keep their sheep out in December. Jesus, according to theologians in the know, was probably born in the springof 4 BCE. The Church placed Christmas on the same day as a pagan holiday so Christians would celebrate the birth of Christ instead. It worked out swell and we have Santa, Rudolph, Frosty, trees, and huge credit card bills to prove it. But after this huge digression, I come back to the sense that 2002 was the end of even more than I ever considered before.

I am not sure how much it matters. I have a surprising ambivalence about it all. Maybe I have just been jaded over the years or I have finally realized having my own happy traditions will never come to pass. It could just be me getting older. I cannot remember the last time I ever wanted anything for Christmas or had a sense of anticipation about it. I did many moons ago as a child, but I am certainly not one of those anymore. Christmas caters to kids. It has as long as I can remember. My best memories of Christmas are the ones when I was the youngest. Back then, I was not aware there was such a thing as feet of clay or that, you know, dreams do not come true after all. You just sort of endure it anyway. I guess that is what I have to do. I just wish there was more mercy involved.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blonde Ambition Grosses $ 384

Jessica Simpson's latest dud has gone straight to DVD, but to be merciful, the movie was released to eight theaters in her home state of Texas. However, Blonde ambition grossed only $ 384 on Friday. Presumably that was the day patients at the mental hospital had their field trip to the movies and Fred Claus was all sold out.

Rather rough news for Ms. Simpson. High school football season is over and the WGA strike means there is nothing new on television. Yet Texans would rather watch their grass turn even more brown than go see their favorite daughter's latest masterpiece.

Worse yet, she gets taunted by scores of Carolina Panthers fans wearing masks of her face in order to distract Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. we Carolinians are a sebsitive bunch. you would think we might appreciate Daisy Duke a little more.
Happy Festivus!

Happy Festivus, dear readers and whoever can stop masturbating to photos of Jessica Simpson and Amanda Tapping long enough to realize I actually write on this here fandangled blog thingy every now and then. I am going to assume virtually everyone understands the decade old holiday traditions associated with Festivus since no one could possibly care less about Seinfeld than I do, yet I am well versed in the holiday. If not, sit back and enjoy my favorite Festivus activity, The Airing of Grievances. For those not in the know, this is the time when one gathers around loved ones and recounts all the ways they were a disappointment during the year. As all of humanity has pretty much failed me, I had a tough time narrowing it down. But I managed to touch on the biggies. You should know that I am an equal opportunity cynic, so these are in no particular order.

The WGA Strike--What a way to shatter my illusions of what a great job writing for television would be. I spent a great deal of time in college reading screenwriting books and magazines, following the advice the best I could. It was not until my junior year when I sought advice from a film studies professor that I learned those publication cater to folks who still hold onto the illusion Hollywood still “discovers” the secretly talented waiter or truck driver and makes him into a star. No one who follows the advice of magazines ever writes anything of significance.

Hollywood writers go to Ivy League colleges or one of the Sourhern California schools catering to Hollywood. They major in film studies, communications, theater, or English. They often have to get a MFA, then toil away on Disney dreck as a staffer, writing television shows by committee for workmen’s wages. Or they can freelance, which is like catching lightning in a bottle, while being paid so low, they have to keep working as teachers, journalist, or other journeymen writers. What do you get for it? A flat fee, then 2.5% one time royalty fees, and finally, 4 cents a DVD.

Cork the bubbly, baby. There ain’t no glamour in tinsel town.

The 2008 Presidential Race--. You would think the election was being held tomorrow. Instead, we have wall to wall coverage of the nearly irrelevant Iowa and New Hampshire. There has not been one ounce of excitement in this race. Heck, I wish there was a way they could all lose. The candidates all wish there was a way Jesus could become their running mate. I think there are some citizenship issues there. Come on, people. We have beeen talking about this election since November 2006. We are going to be so irritated by the coverage, when the election day rolls around, only the candidates themselves will show up to vote. What do you want to bet John Edwards falls for the old You Vote for Me, I’ll Vote for You Trick and loses to Hillary Clinton by a single vote.

Rock and Roll--It was a lousy year. Where is the revival of Big Hair ‘80’s Rockers? That is what I want to see. Convince me it is 1988 all over again. Are they all too busy starring on VH1 reality shows?

Britney Spears and Paris Hilton--I would like to be more intellectual in writing about the downfall of civilization, but these two skanks are the best indicators. At least, they bring in the most hits. I hear alan keyes constantly talk about our the culture crumbling in this country. It is easy to dismiss his assertions as hyperbolic rhetoric. But when I see Larry King asking Paris Hilton abpout the Bible, I suddenly realize Keyes might just be on to something.

Boston--The Red Sox won the World Series. The Patriots are going to go undefeated and almost inevitably steamroll whoever they face in the Super Bowl. Even the Celtics are having a good year. At least the Bruins are mediocre. I cannot stand it when Massachusetts gets cocky. It is a longstanding South Carolina thing. Google “Preston Brooks” sometime and you will see what I mean.

Hiatus Plans-- After that jaw dropping cliffhanger, we are only going to get 16 episodes which we have to wait eight months for. Now with the strike, we are only going to get eight. But there is more. We are are only going to get the same amount of episodes in each of the two subsequent seasons with the same eight month gap between them. We are going to get short bursts of new material, stretched out over three years. Does this mean no resolution to the story arc until 2010? Yikes. At the same time, Doctor Who is going to have a full season of thirteen episodes in 2008, only three specials in 2009, and another season in 2009,until it returns fulltime in 2010, probably without David Tennant. Battlestar Galactica’s final season was going to be split ten episodes in 2008 and ten in 2009, but now thanks to the WGA strike, only thirteen may be produced altogether. 24 remains unscheduled. No matter, since Kiefer Sutherland is currently sitting in jail. It has not been a good year for the future of my favorite shows.

My health--Bah. Do not get me started. I would hate to ruin a perfectly good Festivus.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Terrell Owens Injured

Would someone kindly escort Jessica Simpson out of the stadium?
Kylie Minogue

The Australian pop star will be featured in the Doctor Who Christmas special, "Voyage of the Damned," on Christmas Day. ergo, I have to post a bathing suit photo at some point before then. Honestly, with Ms. Minogue, Nicole Kidman, and especially Emilie de Ravin, they do gre them nicely Down Under.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Spears Through the Heart

W. C. Fields, a true cynic if there ever was one, advised never to work with children or animals. I am certain Nickelodeon wished it had followed the axiom before it singed up to do business with the Spears family. (I could be mean and urge speculation as to whether the children or animals part is relevant here, but I am going to cast aside my Scrooge nature for a moment in the spirit of the holidays. But just you wait until January 1st.) by now you have heard Britney’s little sis is following in the fading pop star’s white trash footsteps by becoming a single teen mother.

The news is a jaded soul’s dream on so many different levels, I do not even know where to begin. I guess the best place to start is with the act itself. Her boyfriend, who one can only assume aspires to be Kevin Federline except for, like, a successful moocher and stuff, impregnated the sixteen year old Jamie Lynn even though he is nineteen. He may very well face charges of statutory rape. Big age differences always send up a red flag in my mind and, for the record, pretty much any distance when one or the other is under eighteen is a big difference. I have yet to meet any guy over the age of eighteen with two brain cells to rub together 9there is the key) interested in a sixteen year old or younger. There is something creepy about it beyond the relationship being illegal in the first place. But we apparently have Spears’ mother at least having tacit approval.

I knock on Poppa Joe for pimping out Jessica Simpson, which I believe he has done since she was about Jamie Lynn’s age. I have a gut feeling now Momma spears is a cut below even him. All right, so she was encouraging Jamie Lynn to become a children’s television star. I have no beef with that. Opportunity knocks, right? Well, Jamie Lynn has blown it by getting pregnant. Momma is going to cash in anyway. She has already signed a deal with a tabloid to get $ 1 million for the first photos of the new baby. All this after momma spears signed a deal pen—get this –a book on parenting. She did such a good job with Britney, after all. Where is she in all the drama surrounding her grandchildren, by the way? Is there some alienation there? I have not followed the soap opera closely enough to know.

Getting back to my original point, we have Nickelodeon in a very awkward spot. I have to assume Jamie Lynn’s show will halt production. But I am sure the network is going to have to answer questions. You cannot bypass the opportunity to discuss teen pregnancy. I hwear Linda Ellerbee, a journalist who has popped up on the network for specials on breast cancer and the First Gulf War, will create another news show on teen pregnasncy. It is going to be great when you have a lot of teen girls’ idol 9sad in and of itself) having unprotected sex with an adult who is going to jail,, being stuck as a single mother, and having momma spears prove such actions do not pay by, of course, becoming a millionaire because of the error in Jamie Lynn’s judgment. Good luck with that one, Ms. Ellerbee.

I say western civilization is in decline so often it sounds cliché, but darn it, I am on the verge of insisting we hand it back over to the cockroaches. They were doing a much better job in the first place.
Second Time As Farce

I will admit it--Rudy Giuliani may very well be the Howard Dean of 2008 instead of Mike Huckabee.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Terrell Owens Thinks Jessica Simpson is a Jinx

I called that one last Monday. Here is what TO jokingly had to say:
Asked Wednesday about the Simpson scenario, Owens playfully chimed in: "Right now, Jessica Simpson is not a fan favorite — in this locker room or in Texas Stadium. With everything that has happened, obviously the way Tony played and the comparison between her and Carrie Underwood, I think a lot of people feel like she's kind of taken his focus away," Owens said, echoing the chatter on sports-talk radio and blogs. "Other than that, she was hot on my list until last week."
Well, I have two bits of good news for Cowboys fans. first, both Simpson and Romo are fickle, so the fling probably will not last long. Second, if simpson really is a distraction, it will offer up a good excuse when the Cowboys get annihilated by the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Hopefully, for my sake, the whammy is still on this week when the Cowboys play my Panthers. A fellow can dream, can he not? The article is here.
Tom Tancredo Drops Presidential Bid

The news is like hearing Michael Bolton will stop touring. You are certain someone cares, you just cannot imagine who.

Well, maybe Lou Dobbs cares about Tancredo. He seems to dislike every immigrant who arrived ten minutes after his ancestors did. Perhaps this will prompt that long rumored third party bid of his.
Torchwood Season Two Trailer

Ah, but the British writers are not on strike. As a Buffy the Vampire Slayer detractor, I cannot say I am particularly excited about James Marsters appearing as Capt. John Hart, but they are hyping the heck out of him here. I am happy to see freema Agyeman reprising her role as Martha Jones for a trio of episodes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The 2008 Horse Race That Isn't

Are you vbone weary of hearing about who is going to win the early primaries? Pundits are making it sound as though Mike Huckabee, as a for instance, is fast on the rise, ready to annihilate the other candidates. Perhaps his ascendancy is a matter of Providence? He would probably like you to think that. Even the ever accurate matt Drudge is getting into the act. You would almost think John McCain is a comeback kid after his three big endorsements, or maybe Ron Paul is on the rise thanks to a group of supporters unaffiliated with his campaign raising $ 6 million for him.

Well, fret not any further. None of that matters in the slightest because The Gallup Poll, the most accurate in the business, has the real story. Rudy Giuliani has 27% of the Republican vote, well ahead of Mike Huckabee in second place with 16%. Mitt Romney, Fred Thompson, and McCain all clock in at 14% each. So there you go. Just about any drama over who the overall GOP nominee will be is media manufactured.

(Digression: why is Alan Keyes embarrassing himself running yet again? I like the guy, but there comes a point when one has to realize the presidency is not one’s destiny. He does not even have a book to promote as a Pat Buchananesque excuse for running. End of digression.)

I will grant you if a candidate winds up winning morethan one of the early primaries, he will gain some traction in the polls. It worked for John kerry last time around. But it appears Giuliani’s Super Tuesday strategy is a lot more sound than he is being given credit for.
Lost--"Jack & Kate"

Here is my latest Lost music video. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Petty Politics of 2008

There is way too much wacky stuff going on in the world of the 2008 race to leave off with my last post. The 2004 race was about, of all things, who did what during the Vietnam War. One hoped this time around we would have higher concerns—like maybe the war in Iraq. But the war has been shoved off to the side by the media. (Probably because the surge is working. Heaven forbid that be widely known.) The economy shows sings of sluggishness, too. But are we thinking about either of those things? Nope. The presidential race is now about high school politics.

I have already written about how pundits speculate Hillary Clinton may not be pretty enough for prom queen, so we can lay that one aside for now.

Joe Lieberman, who has been screwed over by his party even more than Trent Lott by his, opted not to endorse any Democratic candidate for president in spite of the fact four of his senate colleagues are running. Instead, he went out and endorsed John McCain on what one might consider a principled stand embracing an independent, aisle crossing candidate. But wait. He only did so because McCain asked for his endorsement. Lieberman would have been more than happy to endorse Clinton, Joe Biden, or perhaps even Barack Obama if they had only asked. Lieberman just wants to be loved, people. Is that so wrong?

When I speak of high school politics, I am not just referring to silly popularity contests. I mean juvenile crap, too. Rudy Giuliani is reminded he had police protection for his girlfriend while he was still married and responds, “What’s your point?” Do not get me wrong. In some ways I think that is hilarious. At least he is upfront about the things he has done while mitt Romney, as a for instance, makes nothing but excuses and outright lies to cover up his flip flops and assorted foibles. Romney is still better than the lethgic Fred Thompson, who makes Dwight Eisenhower look like a go getter. No one is even interested in his flip flops or foi…zzzzz.

Oh, sorry. Must have dozed off there. Where was I?

Oh, mike Huckabee. The 2008 version of Howard Dean. There is a little story about him that is not getting a whole lot of press. As governor, he leaned on the director of the state police, John Bailey, not to prosecute his son for torturing and killing a dog while the boy was employed at a Boy Scout camp. Bailey was eventually fired. No word on whether the dog was waterboarded or if he was ‘really” tortured. No word on what sort of serial killer Huckabee’s son is going to become, either, but it could make for some interesting discovers somewhere in Huckabee’s potential second term. At least roger Clinton was just a Mickey Rourke style misfit. The Little Huckabee is a full on Michael Vick. Not that he will get 23 months in federal prison, of course.

Speaking of Huckabee and others for that matter, why has the 2008 race become a game of who can be the most holy? I did not think we as a nation were even that interested in religion. No one wants to sit beside a born again Christian on a long plane ride, but we definitely want one in the White House? I am beginning to think Christopher Hitchens’ theory of an anti-religious backlash prevalent in the United States is not all that accurate. I do fear it, honestly, even as a professing Christian, I am a firm believer in Ron Paul’s statement that when fascism comes, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying across. At least, that is how is has always come in the past.
Age of Unreason

I am not going to repost it here for reasons I will explain, but I am certain by now you have seen the photo of a haggard and puffy Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail. Matt Drudge has had the photo up for the better part of two days, once as the main headline, without any accompanying new story. I am not going to post it here because I think it is tasteless to put that bad picture up just for the sake of making Clinton look physically bad while the other candidates, all of whom probably feel just as exhausted as Clinton and surely have been caught on camera at their worst, get off scott free. I am not a Clinton backer, but this seems tasteless to me.

The photo has had repercussions. Pundits are asking whether a nation obessed with sex appeal would elect an aging woman as president. You have to take the question a step further. Compare Bush now to what he looked like in 2000 or the 1992 Bill Clinton to when he left office. When appeared on the national scene, he was the rock and roll president. When he left, he was gray and puffy. Ready for the rocking chair and rolling (slowly) out of bed. Sure, he was still a dirty old man who fancied chubby interns, but the truth is eight years in the White House aged him rapidly. Many folks may think Bush is Chauncy Gardner from Being There, but the last eight years have been about fifteen for him.

Campaigning is tough on candidates, but the job will nearly kill them right in front of our eyes. But I am surprised rather than be impressed someone even wants to take on the role, we obsess over whether Clinton is pretty enough to withstand deteriorating on the nightly news. I do not hear anyone speculating John Edwards will not keep his girly figure. Although I must confess I have heard Mike Huckabee referred to as a potential health nut in chief thanks to his losing 100 pounds and some diet regimen or another.

I guess it is true Clinton is going to be held to standards of beauty regardless. Maybe she is running at a bad time considering Argentina’s new president is one foxy dish. Maybe a large part of Congress’ unpopularity now is that Nancy Pelosi is not a beauty queen. How much of a factor can that be? Are we really that shallow a country? Would Margaret Thatcher rwally not have stood a chance in our political system because she could not pass the swimsuit competition? It is only applicable to women, apparently. Recall Paul Tsongas wanted to prove his good health by swimming pool laps and all anyone remembers (with a shuddr, of course) is his speedo.

I guess the axiom that men get more distinguished with age, but women just age is true in politics as well. Amazing how we are willing to dump or at least dump on a female candidate for not withstanding the ravages of time.
On the Latest WGA Meeting

The WGA had an informational meeting last night for its members on the progress of the strike. Various writers who blog have written about the proceeding. Near as I can cobble together, the union is still solidly behind the strike, including all of the “moral” demands remaining on the table. Two major issues were addressed. Neither of them mean that much to me, but they are indicative the WGA means to stand its ground.

First, the WGA has opted not to grant a waiver for the soon to air Golden Globes. It is my understanding a waiver would grant a temporary cessation of the strike for that event only, thereby allowing writers to write monologues and jokes, etc for the show. It is not going to happen here and the WGA has let it be known it will not grant a waiver for the Academy Awards should the strike linger on that long. A number of actors (some WGA members) have said they will not cross the picket liones to appear on the awards show, either.

Second, while there was not a firm no stated, there will likely not be an interim deal with David Letterman’s production company. The WGA is still seeking interim deals with larger companies because they want to break away huge chunks of management, but Letterman’s Worldwide Pants just is not a big enough player. The WGA would only be helping CBS plug in an hour of fresh programming it would not otherwise have. With Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien returning sans writers, Letterman will probably be forced to go back anyway, so why should the WGA help him?

By all accounts the WGA seems ready to negotiate, but I am not holding breath waiting for progress. There still seems to be a lot of sparring left on everyone’s mind first. But hey, theBBC has some good stuff coming up in the next few weeks for those inclined to watch such things.
Lost Season Four Trailer

Only eight episodes, but darn if this does not look cool. Grr...writers strike.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The WGA Strike

I have not written about the WGA strike in a few days. Since talks abruptly ended on December 7th, news has been sparse, but bad. There are a number of indications the strike is going to curtail the remainder of this television season and have a profound impact on the next. But before I get to exactly what I mean about next season, how about a little recap on where we stand now? It does break the heart of this little wannabe writer who once bought into the hype of what a path to creative satisfaction and financial easy street the profession was.

Shortly after the producers walked out on the 7th, the WGA filed a federal claim accusing the producers of not negotiating in good faith, a federal requirement in labor disputes. The WGA may be correct on this one. The producers have refused to negotiate at all until the WGA drops its self-proclaimed “moral” demands. (Include animation and reality show writers under the new agreement, among others.) However, the WGA have thus far considered the demands a take it or leave it ultimatum, thereby signifying they are not negotiating in good faith, either. No matter. The feds are not likely to seriously intervene regardless. You may think having no new episodes of Ugly Betty to watch until next fall is a crisis, but the feds tend to think these labor disputes are minor compared a coal miner or airline pilot strike. Heck, even baseball. You may recall both sides of the 1994 MLB strike were called to the Clinton white House shortly before the World Series was canceled.

The WGa is now trying a different tactic. Depending on who you hear it from, it may or may not have been initiated by WGA member David Letterman, who is allegedly trying to create a private deal with the WGA in order to return his show to the air. The WGA has sent over 300 letters to individual production companies offering to negotiate interim deals with them in the meantime in order to circumvent the studios. This would not be a very wide ranging solution, but rather it would attempt to break up the solidarity of management. For example, David Letterman owns his show lock, stock, and barrel. He then allows CBS to air them under a contract with his production company. The Tonight Show, however, is owned entirely by NBC, not Jay Leno, and could not return to the air until the stroke ended. Sitcoms and dramas fall into one category or the other. I believe, for example, My Name is Earl is independently produced and contracted to NBC while Battlestar Galactica is financed entirely by NBC Universal. The former could theoretically go back into production while the latter could not. All this assuming the strategy of creating interim contracts with production companies comes to pass.

The producers are working their own strategy. It hinges on two parts. First, they are planning to negotiate in good faith with the director’s Guild of America (“DGA”) and have a new contract in place before the old one expires in June. Having a settled contract will undermine the WGA’s effort. The WGA has already sent a request to the DGA to hold off negotiating a new contract to which the DGA has made only a token motion. The DGa is not ass monolithic as the WGa and includes lots of technical personnel who do not receive royalties on their work. There is not as much at stake for them and see no reason to drag things out, especially not for the sake of the writers. Secondly, networks are running out of new episodes to air. People are going to start noticing there is no new content on the air. Up until this point, television viewers have not held any open animosity for the writers. Producers are counting on that changing as they fill the air as best they can with non written material, giving the appearance they are doing their best to entertain you while the greedy writers are dragging their feet.

Those new episodes are going to dry up with the next month. Networks have hunkered down and are advertising certain new episodes as potentially the final of the season. Even shows premiering this spring will have shorter runs. Lost, for example, has only eight episodes ready to air. What is worse iis that it is about to extend into next season as well. Spring is the time when creative producers (all of which are WGA members) begin pitching shows for next season. They have pitch the idea, write, cast, and film a pilot, shop it around as necessary, assemble a production crew including awriting staff, and begin filming by late May or early June. The process starts in January and runs frantically from then on in order to make everything happen on time. But not this year. We are looking at some far reaching consequences even if the strike is settled relatively quickly—which it will not be.

UPDATE: Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien are going back to work, sans writing staffs, on January 2nd.
So That is It!

Why did Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo have the worst game of his career yesterday? He was probably thinkiong about the post game festivities.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Upstaging Underdogs Signify Nothing

A lot of unlikely folks reaped the benefits of a few coups. Unfortunately, none of them likely mean diddly in the long run.

First, John McCain got the endorsement of the leading newspapers in Iowa and New Hampshire. It will not help him any since if he gains momentum, it will terrify the poobahs of the Republican party and force them to bludgeon the maverick’s campaign into itty, bitty pieces. Likewise, the rising Mike Huckabee hired Republican guru Ed Rollins to run his campaign. Rollins will not help the cash strapped Huckabee much, either, since he is running for commander-in-chief, not pastor-in-chief as he seems to believe.

The Carolina Panthers defeated the playoff bound Seattle Seahawks. The winless Miami Dolphins are winless no more as they defeated the faltering Baltimore Ravens. No word on whether any referees referred to the players as “boy.” The New York Jets, widely predicted to be annihilated by the undefeated New England Patriots, still lost, but still miraculously kept the score to within two touchdowns. There will be dump truck loads full of gambling money exchanging hands tomorrow over that one. Of course, he only way the Panthers, Dolphins, or Jets are going to make it to the playoffs is by buying a ticket just like the rest of us.

Finally, Catherine Tate, who will much to the chagrin of the free world resume her role as the companion in the next series of Doctor Who, let slip in a radio interview she does not believe Tennant will return for a fifth season. Word has been tenant had signed on for a fifth season. In fact, it was going to be delayed until 2010 so he could take another acting job in the interim. I think the older rumor has more credibility than Tate, but we shall see.

This could mean a regeneration at the end of the fourth series. With billie Piper returning for the final episodes of the season, could Russell T. Davies be planning to pull out all the stops? If so, then the three specials planned for 2009 would involve a new Doctor instead of Tennant. There is also a rumor floating about the three specials may tell the story of the Time War with perhaps Paul McGann reprising his role as the Eighth Doctor. It is difficult to tell about these things. Rumors fly hot and heavy in the United Kingdom and inevitably lose something when they maske it across the pond. Sounds cool if true, though, no?
Lost--"Locke"

Here is my latest Lost video. this one centers on John Locke. He is the character I most relate to.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Lost Returns in January

Lost will return with its eight in the can episodes starting January 31st at 9:00PM. That is a Thursday, marking the first time new Lost episodes have been away from Wednesdays. The show will likely crush its only first run competition, Celebrity Apprentice.

Show runners Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof are not happy with the plan and neither am I.. The final episode filmed before the WGA strike is said to not be a decent season finale. I would have preferred for ABC to hold off until the WGA strike has ended and air the complete season as originally planned like FOX has done with 24. alas, ABC is starved for both original content and a ratings boost.

The worst part is the final eight episodes of season four will likely be tacked on to season five which will not begin until the spring of 2009. Losties might be in for a long wait for their fix.
Dynamics Shift in the 2008 Race

It looks as though the conventional wisdom of who the 2008 frontrunners for their respective party nominations has been turned on its ear. It is more than just the national frontrunners doing poorly in Iowa or New Hampshire. That sort of thing happens all the time. The interesting bit is that the long time frontrunners are slipping nationally. Both Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani may lose all four early contests and be forced to pin their hopes on Super Tuesday when they could (theoretically) nearly clinch. This is assuming early primary victories do not give another candidate momentum.

None of this is carved in stone. I recall Howard Dean was supposed to sweep the primaries and beat Bush in the general election even by knocking off some red states. Victory was such a sure thing, prominent Democrats like Al Gore lined up to endorse him. We all know by now Dean lost badly across the board and is more famous now for his rabid weasel “I Have a scream” speech. These primaries and caucuses are small affairthat often hinge on one candidate or another being able to cajole more people away from their hot chocolate and cozy fire to rek out in the snow and vote for them. Honestly, if more Americans knew the presidential election process, from nomination to the electoral college members choosing actually picking the candidate, there would be an uproar demanding change.

But let me get off that particular soapbox and back to the dynamics of 2008. I suspected the candidates most likely to win the party nominations had a strategy for the new, sped up primary process. Apparently they do not. I cannot imagine their stumbling to be exclusively a matter of arrogant entitlement. Perhaps it was. I am certain Hillary Clinton did not expect a serious cllenge from a freshman senator like Barack Obama. I am not only surprise how well he is doing, I am surprised anyone is running against Clinton at all. Okay, outside of John Edwards. But he seems so separated from reality, he will probably run again in 2012. Maybe even 2016.

I understand she is polarizing. She comes across as icy and pushy on top of 16 years of political baggage. But she is an establishment candidate and that is what folks really want even if they say they do not. Voters do not want rapid change. They said they did when they elected her husband. Then when he tried to deliver with gays in the military and universal health care, his popularity plummeted and Republicans took over Congress. If voters see a new Bill Clinton in Obama, history is going to repeat itself. Face facts, Hillary knows this. She is not going to be a radical president. She just wants to be president. I think Democrats are going to get caught up in the excitement of Obama and it is going to come back to haunt them.

The GOP has the same problem. I am a Giuliani man, but I realize Mitt Romney would not be that bad a president. Dull and uninspiring, but how pathetic do you have to be these days to think the president is an inspiration? Neither one of them is going to rock the boat and that is what voters are ultimately comfortable with. But the party seems to be lining bup behind Mike Huckabee, a guy who might play well in the Bible Belt, but nowhere else. Even more than the democrats, Republicans will so often nominate a candidate who cannot win, but gosh darn it, he says all the rightthings during the primaries. I rank him with Obama: an agent of change for people who think they want change, but really do not.

So what is going to happen? You got me. At this point, I see the process so fractured, we may not have a nominee for a while, contrary to what pundits have said about the new system. The strategies, such that they are, will not do much for Hillary and Rudy to regain their status are not much. Heck, Hillary does not have one. She cannot attack Obama. He is too popular. Giuliani is going to give a speech today advertised as a refocusing of his campaign. The problem is he is giving it in florida where he has lost his lead to Huckabee, but no one much cares right now. The media is in Iowa and everyone else is scouring the malls for a Nintendo Wii.

The only prediction I think can be accurately made is whoever ultimately wins the nominations will not be a consensus candidate and is likely to limp unconvincingly across the finish line. So much for anyone’s sense of entitlement in the matter.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Lost--"Juliet"

Here is a new music video centered on Juliet. It is set to "Comin' Up from Behind" by Marcy Playground. they were a one hit wonder with "Sex and Candy," but i cannot figure out why. this song was pretty cool, too. enjoy.
New Jessica Simpson Photo

Just because I have been rough on the girl lately and she is awful purrty. Plus her latest movie, Blonde ambition, has gone straight to DVD. I am not sure gawking at her will cheer her up any, but if i can help in some small way, I must do so.
The Mitchell Report

Without any particular effort, I have acquired a considerable number of Hall of Famers’ baseball card over the last twenty years. Believe me it is an awkward compulsion considering my geeky comic book roots, but a compulsion it is. If there is a display of wax packs of sports cards anywhere near the check out counter, I have to purchase a pack or two. I prefer baseball or football, but while I could not name a dozen NBA or NHL players, if that is all I can get, then a pack of basketball or hockey cards will do While I have actually been pretty nonchalant about my accident collection, it has let me in on a secret card collectors have known for decades: we could have named virtually every player in the Mitchell Report months ago if someone had bothered to ask.

Place a Barry Bonds rookie card right his latest and you will see what I mean. As a 22 year old rookie, he was probably in the best shape of his life. Yet eighteen years later, at a time when most players his age have long since moved on to beer distributorships and casino greeting, Bonds is twice as muscled. Ditto Jose Canseco, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire, and scores of others. Laying out a progression of their baseball cards resembles an evolution of man chart you might find in an old issue of National Geographic.

It is so much an open secret, I would be more inclined to mock the accursed New York Yankees for having eight members of their last world championship team on the list rather than be shocked or appalled by the revelation. I would if I did not find a half dozen or so former Atlanta Braves on the list, that. Nor is that a particularly big shock. Former third baseman Ken Caminiti died a few years ago at the much too young age of 45 due to heart problems caused by steroid use.

From the chatter I have heard thus far, the most surprising name is Roger Clemens. Why? The guy is a Hall of Fame shoo in 9at least he was before yesterday) who has been throwing heat for 24 years. There are tons of star players right now who were not even born when he threw his first big league pitch. Yet his best seasons, including a year in which opposing batters hit .197 against him, came in his forties. That is not natural.

In fact, it is so unnatural, you cannot help but place a great deal of blame for the steroid problem on ownership and management. You cannot miss the marked difference in players’ appearance and performance. But more steroids means more home runs and home runs means more fans buying tickets. Best to look the other way when you are talking about a billion dollar sport.

I honestly understand why they do it. Big stars want to be even bigger, blow up their numbers, and increase their chances at endorsements and Cooperstown, depending on their priorities. I also understand the journeyman infielder or even the minor leaguer with two kids and a mortgage who desperately needs to make it in The Show. I also understand the former are going to get away with what they have done while the latter will suffer the suspensions.

The Mitchell Report is a matter of Commissioner Bud Selig, who is coming to the end of his term, trying to clear up his legacy. He has presided over a lot of good things: the wild card, interleague play, and revenue sharing to name three. But5 his will be known as the steroid era because all the classic, longstanding records have fallen to steroid enhanced players. I will grant you his heart is in the right place. I think Selig genuinely wanted to clear the matter up and let the chips fall where they may. I think it was a brave move as well, considering the Mitchell Report is what he is going to be known for now. Pete Rozell was the greatest NFL Commissioner ever, but there will always be a pall over his reign because he decided to play the weekend after JFK was assassinated. So it will be with Selig.

There will be a firestorm for a few days over the report. There will be questions of its validity and rightfully so. George Mitchell is a part owner of the Boston Red Sox. The MLBPA is going to consider this report a matter of owners being out to get the players because of that. I can even see rattling of legal sabers over defamation. But I siuspect after a couple days, it will all go back to business as usual save for a few less Hall of Famers making it to Cooperstown because of very poor judgment and Bud Selig wondering if he will eventually be considered the Richard Nixon of baseball.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Paris Hilton Pole Dancing in Germany

While the Germans are responsible for two world wars and the deaths of tens of millions, even they should not have to endure a half naked Paris Hilton cavorting about as if she has any clue what she is doing.

Paris looks like a monkey hanging from a tree limb there. She shaved her armpits, too. That is not really a German turn on, is it?

(I keed, I keed. Send me no complaints. It is those darn rough edges of society I keep prattling on about.)
Freakin' at the Freakers' Ball

I have seen the photos of the two Penn State students who attended a Halloween party dressed as two slain Virginia Tech students, complete with bullet holes and fake blood. I saw it as tasteless even if I was not particularly offended myself. It is not mystery to me society has rough edges mostly due to self-absorbed idiots like those two bozos and the Virginia Tech gunman himself, for that matter. The massacre is not yet six months old. The costumes were bound to offend someone if they got out in public. There is the rub.

These photos were not intended to be put on public display. Yes, the morons put them on their Facebook pages, but anyone who knows how that site works understands only accepted friends can see them. If you will notice several of the photos have the VT costumed folks posing with other students who do not seem all that offended. They even seem somewhat excited to be doing something edgy and wild. I do not think that excuses the matter, but I can recall back to my college days when I both saw and participated in things that would raise the eyebrows of any unfortunate soul who happened to learn about it. You can call it the stupidity of youth if you wish or the rough edges I referred to above.

Rough edges appears to be the explanation of the male member of the duo. I have seen him on several news shows, the most recent being last night, even though he has to be aware of the drubbing he is going to get. Then again, the media pundits who are so massively offended by hisactions keep reopening the same wounds for the VT victims’ families by constantly dragging him out in front of the cameras in the name of righteous indignation or high ratings, whichever is more important. You may decide how cynical you want to be about it.

The real probalme is the guy has a point. While it might have been a tasteless act to wear the costumes, he had no intention of any VT families who lost loved ones seeing him in it. He went to a party to shock his friend and increase his reputation as an envelope pushing jackass. That the photos got out were not his doing and, frankly, it is not his responsibility to keep everyone from being offended while he goes along his merry way. Yes, saying so makes him sound like a jerk, but I think he is right. Plus I think the media is being hypocritical by trotting out him and the photos over and over again. How is that not offensive? Heck, the media is an accomplice in the matter.

It makes me uncomfortable to agree with the dope. That he has a point here is a matter akin to a broken clock being right twice a day. Pretty much everything else he says, including mourning VT students were showing off for the camera and claiming no one cries over the other 26,000 American people who die everyday (It is more like 6.000), but bad trees sometimes bear good fruit. Miranda was a rapis and let us not even discuss the First Amendment victories Larry Flynt gave us.

To cap it off, I recall two incidents in the recent past which are relevant. Bill Maher were a Crocodile Hunter costume complete with stingray tail through the heart to last year’s Playboy Mansion Halloween party less than two months after Steve Irwin had been killed. He got little more than some fingers wagged in his face. Prince Harry wore a Nazi uniform to a party three or four years ago and got in hot water because of his status as royalty. Personally, I thought if you were offended by that and laugh at The Producers or even Hogan’s Heroes, you are a hypocrite. So what is the deal? Is being offended by this stuff just a matter of groupthink or is there a real sense of lost decency? I am thinking the former.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Jessica simpson Wants to Go Fully Nude

Good news for all you horn dogs out there. In a concerted effort to enhance her thespian skills, Jessica Simpson wants to wiggle her naked body on screen. Reports do not name the script, so take the news with a huge grain of salt, but Simpson wants to take on a dramatic role in which there are several graphic sex scenes featuring full frontal nudity. Simpson has said she would disrobe for the sake of her career even if Poppa Joe does not approve.

One suspects when Poppa Joe gets dollar signs in his eyes, he probably will approve. If it is artistic nudity, of course. One further suspects Simpson has actually read a porn script and does not know the difference. Somehow I doubt this is a matter of another Stanley Kubrick seeking Simpson for something like Eyes Wide Shut. More likely this is On Golden Blonde and she believes the lower salary just means it is a heady film actors mke for Oscar consideration only. You know, so they can earn their chops and go to global warming activism fundraisers with their heads held high and their gas guzzling SUVs well hidden.

All that said, if we have to kill Poppa Joe in order to make this happen, I have no objections. Some drastic things have to be done in the name of high art. The Medicis were known to chop off a hand or two if their financed endeavors did not meet expectations.
Alex Trebek Has a Heart Attack

What is, “Oh, no!” Fortunately it was a minor scare. Trebek is currently in a Los Angeles hospital recovering with his wife by his side. Jeopardy is currently on a holiday filming break and the 67 year old host plans to return for regular tapings whwen they resume in January.

Good thing, too. Jeopardy is one of my daily bright spots. I have watched it off and on for years depending upon my varying schedules. I have been a dutiful viewer since 2004 when I picked the show up again while recovering from surgery. My early convalescence coincided almost in sync with Ken Jennings’ run as the all time Jeopardy champion. All time at least in terms of games played and cash won. I believe he lost the ultimate tournament of champions to another fellow.

I wish Alex Trebek a speedy recovery. I would hate for Jeopardy to go on hiatus along with most every other television show thanks to the WGA strike. Nor would it be the same with another host. Plus, I was surprised to discover he is 67 years old. He looks much younger. Anyway, get well soon, Mr. Trebek.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

On Turning Thirty-One

Now that I am filled with shrimp fried rice and birthday cake, I thought I would sit down and reflect on what it feels like to become even creakier. But about all I can say is I have a nagging pain in my lower back I did not have yesterday. So is lower back pain and the occasional prostate exam about the only things in my future? Sheesh. This growing old stuff is for the birds. But better than the alternative, right? Let us not go there.

I wish I could be more literary here and quote Yeats or Nash or Dickenson or even Dr. Seuss. For whatever reason, people seem to feel there is poignancy in his simplicity. I just think there is simplicity in his simplicity, but what do I know? Fifty word vocabularies irritate me. But I am about to quote Star Trek, so snicker away at my hypocrisy. Understand I embrace it as you laugh. So there.

My sister told me earlier there was a specific birthday she had when it dawned on her she was getting old. I do not know that I have hit that one yet, in all honesty. I have felt worn out and weary of life well before blowing out any candles. I think what makes people feel old on their birthdays is the lopsided ratio of accomplishments versus time passed. Poor health has taken care of that one for me, making being melancholy about growing older rather irrelevant.

Star Trek: Generations fell prey to the Odd Numbered Trek Curse, but it had a few bright spots. One was the main villain, Dr. Soran’s, repeated line, “Time is the fire in which we all burn.” Malcolm McDowell, who played Soren, liked it so much he had it monogrammed on a pocket watch. It is a very cynical way of looking at the passage of time. Soran compared creeping old age to a stalking tiger ready to pounce on and devour his prey. Capt. Picard counters his argument by saying he views time as a companion whom you stroll along beside through all stages of life’s journey. Then Soran kills Capt. Kirk, so you never really like him enough to consider his argument. Picard is the hero of the film, to boot.

I have thought about the two opinions in recent days. My cynical nature liked Soran’s philosophy thirteen years ago when I first saw the movie. Time has not changed my mind. If anything, it rings more true.
Kristen Bell as Slave Girl Leia

Yes, it is my birthday, capping off a pretty bad year. I guess God is trying to make up for it in some small way by having Kristen Bell wear this bikini.
Annual Tradition

Here it is yet again. Today I am creakier, falling apart, and even more firmly on the wrong side of thirty. Thirty-one, to be exact. There is not a heck of a lot more to say, but when has that ever stopped me? later, folks.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Jeanne Hassam

Get used to the name Jeanne Assam. You are going to be hearing a lot about her. She is the security guard at New Life Church in Colorado who shot and killed a gunman, Matthew Murray, before he could commit a Virginia Tech level rampage. Her story has all the elements of a flare up in the culture wars: an attractive woman with a gun saving Christians from a crazed killer and giving all the credit to God. (What? No nod to Smith & Wesson? For shame.) You have enough right there to make right wing hearts flutter and left wingers grumble.

The NRA will (rightfully so, I might add) crow about how one armed woman saved a hundred lives Sunday. I have argued myself guns are the great equalizer. A criminal would not dare bother a bank guard carrying bags of cash will not think twice about bashing an old lady over the head for the $ 10 in her purse because the former is armed, the latter is not. I am all for pistol packing grannies. You can reduce crime considerably when it becomes more difficult to determine in which house a gun lives.

But the NRA will not be the only source. I can already hear Pat Robertson celebrating on The 700 Club. You see, Jesus said he came to bring a sword. He had been living in the 21st century, he would have said a .38 Special instead. This is one of those incidents where you see the true colors of Christians, me included. As followers of Christ, we all have to decide to quietly march into the Coliseum to be eaten by lions or to fight back. It is the point of revelation in which you learn whether certain Christians prefer the Old Testament way of doing things to the New. In all honesty, it shows how much lip service one pays to Christian ideals they do not understand.

I am going to tell on myself here since it appears I am critiquing Christians for being hypocrites. I have never fired a gun in my life. I certainly think I could never take a human life. But in spite of any ideas Christians probably should be pacifists, I think I would have to open fire on Matthew Murray. Lord only knows if I could pull the trigger or even hit the broad side of a barn, but any idea that might not be the Chritlike thing to do would certainly have gone out the window.

This is why Hassam’s hero worship is going to make me uncomfortable as long as it lasts. All the folks who think The Purpose driven Life is the epitome of theology are going to celebrate her because “God gave her the strength” to pull the trigger. If Joel Osteen does not mention her in a sermon and get a huge round of applause, I will be shocked to no end. I am not trying to knock her, either. If I were in that church, I would have chered or on myself to save my bacon. She is a hero. But I am curious how much my acceptance of her actions comes at a spiritual cost. I suspect few will explore the issue. What few detractors there are will worry more about gun violence while every other higher concern is lost in the adulation.
Tortured Logic

Ah, waterboarding. That wondrous interrogation technique in which a terrorist (for now anyway) is put through a simulated drowning without actually being drowned. While the procedure is designed to force a terrorist to give up information, no one can quite decide whether it actually is torture or how evil it makes the Bush Administration. Or can they?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and thirty other Congressmen and Senators from both parties were briefed on the waterboarding technique five years. Out of the thirty, only one raised any objection to the practice. Why is that?
“In fairness, the environment was different then because we were closer to Sept. 11 and people were still in a panic,” said one U.S. official present during the early briefings. “But there was no objecting, no hand-wringing. The attitude was, ‘We don’t care what you do to those guys as long as you get the information you need to protect the American people.’”
In other words, five years ago it was not only important to protect the American people, but pander to their fear of annihilation at the hands of illiterate, horseback riding cave dwellers in Afghanistan. But today the sting of fear from 9/11 has pretty much evaporated (replaced by fear an illegal immigrant might be cutting someone’s front lawn for $ 2/hour) so pandering to the anti-waterboarding crowd is much more politically sound.

It is fascinating how general principles shift with the wind in the United States. You may read the entire Washington Post article here
Bad Luck Hat Trick

So, who is going to suffer more for the events of today: Michael Vick, Hillary Clinton, or the American people? Choose carefully. This counts for half your grade and there will be no extra credit opportunities no matter how short your skirt is.

Michael Vick, formally a highly paid star with the Atlanta Falcons, was sentenced today to 23 months on federal charges relating to dog fighting and destroying pit bulls that were not aggressive enough. He will have to serve at least 18 months of the sentence even with good behavior, so he will not see freedom until well into 2009. He also faces state charges relating to dog fighting in the commonwealth of Virginia. Southern states have a habit of throwing the book at defendant’s found guilty of crimes with helpless victims. Even without the Virginia charges looming over him, Vick is over 30 and unlikely to ever play football again. Maybe one of the Canadian Football league teams would take him for a year or two, but I doubt it. Good riddance, I say.

I am not so sure the wheels are coming off Hillary Clinton’s campaign so much as reporters are looking to stir up some drama in what has been a relatively boring campaign. No one has been caught in bed with adead woman or a live man and, frankly, I am disappointed. Is the fact that Oprah is stumping for Barack Obama the only interesting story to talk about? Heck, the crowds being drawn are for her, not him. But if the stories are not being manufactured to stir the pot, I will bet any problems the campaign has are caused by her husband. They even coined the term Clinton Fatigue towards the end of 2000 to describe how people still liked him, but really wished he would go away for a while. Are we ready for four to eight more years of him?

Heh. Do you remember way back when the Monica Lewinsky scandal was in full swing? Pundits were all expecting Hillary to run for president at some point and therefore knew she would never divorce him. It would tarnish her chances. I do not and never did have a rabid hatred for either of them like many of my conservative brethren. I do not know if she ever wanted to break a lamp on his skull or if she felt staying together for the sake of Chelsea was a the best idea and I am not going to presume either. But I am wondering now if she regrets not getting rid of him before now. I wish I had a better grasp of how folks really feel about the two of them as a team. Not that Hillary is going to let him hang around the white House too much in the event she wins anyway. They are two complex yet seemingly emotionally shallow people. No wonder they fascinate pundits so.

Finally, the American people. Why in the world are so many leading candidates currently choosing God as their running mate? Mike Huckabee wants to take the country back to Jesus. Rudy Giuliani has excused his social liberalism with a love the sinner, hate the sin attitude. Mitt Romney thinks the United states is a theocracy which ought to scare the heck out of most everyone since we seem as a country to understand more about the Jedi knights than the Latter Day Saints. I do not remember a campaign being this sectarian since God told Pat Robertson he would be president in 1988. wires were crossed on that phone call obviously. (Parson Pat should have used Jack Bauer’s service. None of his calls ever get dropped.) Does all this talk about religion not give people the willies? I am a professing Christian and I am uncomfortable with it.