Friday, October 27, 2006

Absolute Zero

Bill O'Reilly was the guest on Oprah. He was somewhat restrained, but still true to his usual self: blustery, polarizing, absolutist, dismissive, disingenuous, smirky, high-handed...yawn. I can't even bother to finish.

I did have to laugh, though, when he was moaning about how liberals own the media and entertainment, so how can the poor "traditionalists" get their voices heard?

Yes, it's the liberals who have all the money, who control all. That must be why NBC has refused to air commercials advertising the Dixie Chicks' movie, "Shut Up and Sing", because it's disparaging to President Bush.

The Dixie Chicks were guests on Oprah's show earlier in the week. I'm not a fan of country music, but I am a big fan of Natalie Maines now that I know more about what happened. Plus she's cute (they all are).

Some detractors have blown this up into it sounding like she make a long speech about hating Bush, when all she really did was make an off-the-cuff comment to a friendly audience.

The resulting firestorm has a parallel in John Lennon's 1966 comment that the Beatles were more popular than Jesus (in England, where the comment was made, they were). Boycotts, death threats, and record burnings happened then, too. 14 years later Lennon was murdered, ostensibly as a result of this comment.

Why is it that people who say they have such strong faith find it so threatened by such off-handed comments that they must utterly destroy the opposing voices?

I think I'll just shut up and vote.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

T-Rextasy

Now that some phone commercial is featuring Allison Goldfrapp's very T. Rex song "Ooh-La-La", I thought I'd take this opportunity to mention that you can see the real thing in the new-ish DVD "Born To Boogie".

BTB is the legendary concert film of 24-year-old Marc Bolan and T. Rex at the height of their powers in 1972, fully restored to crystal-clear cinematic glory, and given a fresh 5.1 mix by original music producer Tony Visconti.

The movie is a product of Apple Films, and was produced and directed by one of its camera operators: Ringo Starr. The DVD project was put together by Bolan's son Rolan (yes, Rolan Bolan), who was just two years old when his dad died in a car crash in 1977.

The deluxe 2-disc edition includes the original restored movie, plus the two complete Wembley concerts, plus outtakes, plus interviews. Apart from the concert itself, the movie features some surreal interludes and a jam session in the Apple recording studio with Ringo and Elton John.

And may I just say that the live version of "Bang A Gong" kicks ass.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

TV, 10/20/2006

Daily Show with John Stewart (from DVR): Guest Kirsten Dunst was clearly not even trying to be entertaining, coherent, or follow the conversation. I think she wanted to get off the publicity bus and into her jammies.

Real Time with Bill Maher: Jason Alexander watched as Barney Frank demolished the Republican-talking-point-spouting ninny Steve Moore. Moore grinned like a jackass and toed the party line like a tiresome little dweeb. I think he thought he was "doing the comedy thing" or something, but he has a palpable lack of a sense of humor. Frank rightly had no time for such infantile nonsense.

Def Comedy Jam: Skinny host Mike Epps, dressed in his Spike Lee Halloween costume, flew around the stage like a ragdoll in between acts. Impressionist Aris Spears was pretty entertaining, but much of his act was lost on me, not being a fan of hip hop. The rest of the show featured liberal use of the word "nigga", lots of false bravado, and the odd comparison with white people. The show ended with an ill-timed demonstration of jagged, asymmetrical, uncomfortable-looking dance moves.

According to an online audience poll, most respondents (51%) preferred the third act (Arnez J), who recounted his experience receiving a colonoscopy.

But what do I know? The show isn't meant for me--although, a couple of weeks ago, I thought Katt Williams killed, and my opinion agreed with the audience (71% pro).

Didn't get to: DVRed copy of Orson Welles' butchered masterpiece "The Magnificent Ambersons".

Otherwise:

Still missing "House", even though it has taken a noticeable turn for the worse in Season 3. What happened to the writing?? And how come Jennifer Morrison is the only principal whose title card isn't an anatomical picture?

Still liking "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" a lot, especially Sarah "doesn't play for my team but has great lips not to mention comic talent" Paulson. I liked Aaron Sorkin's "Sports Night" too, even though I'm not a sports fan, and that lasted only two seasons.

"Ugly Betty" is campy fun, but a fish out of water doesn't last long; they either learn to breathe air or get dry and crunchy. America Ferrera is appealing, and made up to disguise her real-life hotsy-totsiness. A couple of plotlines threaten to serve up "Tonight, on a very special Ugly Betty..." (ex-boyfriend/ex-NetZero pitchman, dad's health, nephew's flaming fabulousness, etc.)

"Grey's Anatomy" is an annoying soap opera. Not getting the whole "McDreamy" thing. I thought Patrick Dempsey did a respectable Fred Astaire in "Loverboy" back in 1989, but c'mon. He's hardly in the show, anyway. Ellen Pompeo: no. Katherine Heigl: yes. Kate Walsh: doesn't have to wear a fat suit for Drew Carey any more.

"Heroes" is holding my interest. Good characters, but ultimately a comic book.

"Six Degrees": Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby, Zoe Saldana, and that woman from I, Robot are nice to look at. It's also good to see a positive role for a black man.

"Psych": Still not buying the supposed charm of James "Roday" Rodriguez, but Maggie Lawson is sweet. Dulé Hill's sidekick role is embarrassing, but hey, he has a hot wife.

"Doctor Who": The storyline about Mme. de Pompadour was promising, but the pacing was rushed. I think all the new shows have been pretty rushed.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Andrew Sullivan, part 2

Here are some of the points Andrew Sullivan raised during his interview on C-SPAN:
  • "Christian humility in the face of a God we cannot ever fully know is a virtue that we have forgotten."
  • "[R]eligious faith when it becomes inseparable from politics fuels division because it makes compromise impossible."
  • "Christianity is not about controlling people. It’s not about telling people what to do. It’s about telling yourself what to do."
  • "[I]t is hard enough for us to know what God wants us to do with our own lives let alone knowing what He wants us to do to other people’s lives."
  • "I was forced to really ask myself not whether God exists...but whether He’s good or evil. That to me is the big question."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Andrew Sullivan: Soul Conservative

On C-SPAN's show Q&A, Andrew Sullivan discusses his book "The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How To Get It Back", but really, this is just the starting point for a very interesting interview.

He touches on his thoughts on Conservatism, Catholicism, his own religious faith, political philosophy, being in a committed relationship (with a man), dealing with being HIV-positive for 13 years, why he endorsed Kerry in 2004, and other topics.

Interviewer Brian Lamb asks simple, penetrating questions, and lets Sullivan do the talking. (Many interviewers could learn a lot from Lamb's economy.)

This is the first time I've heard Andrew Sullivan speak at length, and I learned a lot.

Strongly recommended.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Better RED than dead

I now own my first-ever Apple product--or should I say (PRODUCT)?

I picked up one of the new (PRODUCT)RED iPod nano gadgets. The first song I loaded was the first song on the first solo album by Jon Brion: "Gotta Start Somewhere."

I think the whole RED project is a great idea, hatched by Paul "Bono Vox" Hewson and Bobby "member of the Kennedy clan" Shriver.

Whatever you think of Bono--and who doesn't?--he does follow through.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Yes I do!

Back in 1976, in the midst of Bicentennial fever, there was an Elton John song that became a hit called "Philadelphia Freedom." At least, that's what I think Bernie Taupin wrote. I could only ever understand three words:

Fill uh deh-fay-uh fee-dah
Shy-nuh me
Uh luh yuh
Shy-nuh lie
Tru-leh ow bada woe bada hi
Shy-nuh lie, shy-nuh lie
Shy-nuh lie, woe-sha shy-nuh lie
Fill uh deh-fay-uh fee-dah
Uh luh-huh-huh
Yes I do!

And as for Philadelphia freedom took me knee-high to a man: the less said, the better.

Health food

In the past few days in the US, we've had E. coli found in spinach, lettuce, and ground beef, and now there's C. botulinum in some Canadian organic carrot juice.

I think I'll stick to chocolate and Dr. Pepper.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Willa Cather: The Road is All

Tonight I watched a rerun of the PBS American Masters portrait of Willa Cather.

I think my reading list just got a bit longer.