Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Science Fiction Quote of the Week

Lying twisted and broken under the acceleration, Barlow realized that some things had not changed, that Jack Ketch was never asked to dinner however many shillings you paid him to do your dirty work, that murder will out, that crime only pays temporarily.

The last thing he learned was that death is the end of pain.
--C.M. Kornbluth, “The Marching Morons”

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The Online Struggle, Part I

Apparently, if you were used to getting your news from USA Today and you were hoping to find out the Oscar results Monday from the local edition without having to log on your computer, you were out of luck. Only a few early results were posted in the actual newspaper. Everything else was reserved for the paper's online site.

Which doesn't seem too bad if you can afford Internet access at home.

But if you don't, well, you really shouldn't be paying attention to the Oscars anyway.

At least that appears to be the official position of the editors of USA Today.

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Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Anti-Valentine Mix

Songs I Did NOT Put on a mix CD for mi novia last week:

1. “Love Stinks” -- J. Geils Band
2. “Love Hurts” -- Nazareth.
3. “If Your Kisses Can't Hold The Man You Love” -- Rasputina
4. “The Jeep Song” -- The Dresden Dolls
5. “Blame It on Your Heart” -- Patty Loveless
6. “Poison Arrow” -- ABC
7. “Past, Present, and Future” -- The Shangri-Las
8. “You Give Love a Bad Name” -- Bon Jovi
9. “Stiletto” -- Billy Joel
10. “I Hate Myself for Loving You” -- Joan Jett

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Word to the Wise

Don't get sick on a Saturday night. Or come down with anything that requires a prescription to be filled.

It's almost impossible to find an open pharmacy on Saturday night. Which is just fine if you're a pharmacist. But not if you're a patient.

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Thursday, February 15, 2007

Holly Go 'Round The Roses


If there's truth in the old saying about a true sophisticate being one who can listen to the William Tell Overture and not think of the Lone Ranger, then what does it say about me that I can't think about a certain Audrey Hepburn movie without being reminded of a certain pop song with the same name?

Anyway, mi novia and I went to a free screening of Breakfast at Tiffany's last night and we both enjoyed the movie. We had both seen bits and pieces of the movie on TV when we were teenagers but this was the first time we had ever seen the whole movie all the way through.

Does it hold up?

Well, I like to think the fact that mi novia enjoyed it despite not even being born when the movie was first released says something in the film's favor. And I must confess I found the movie's rather old-fashioned approach to sex and nudity -- much hinted at but never really shown -- to be a refreshing alternative to the more explicit -- and boring -- approach taken by many of today's films.

Of course, not all aspects of the movie was that admirable. Mickey Rooney's portrayal of the Japanese landlord/neighbor/whatever was in at best questionable taste back then and it hasn't improved with age. Nor is it particularly admirable that the film's view of New York City seems to be almost totally devoid of dark-skinned people. The one non-white I remember seeing on screen was a Japanese extra in a party scene and she, of course, had no lines.

To be fair, few movies of the early sixties seem all that PC by today's standards. And the movie does have many virtues of which political correctness knows nothing. It's smart and witty and subtle. Audrey Hepburn looks absolutely adorable even when her character first wakes up, and even George Peppard -- who wasn't exactly the Kennedy era's answer to Clark Gable -- comes across as rather charming.

I must confess to being a bit surprised by how much this film manage to get away with by 1961 standards. Not only does the film hint that both Holly (Ms. Hepburn's character) and Paul (George's character) support themselves by means that wouldn't exactly be endorsed by the local clergy, but there's also a hint towards the end that Holly just might be in the family way. And then, of course, there's a scene in a 1960s-era strip club that is especially interesting. On one hand, the scene doesn't hide the fact that Holly and George are in an actual strip club. On the other, it doesn't show any actual nudity. And Holly's humorous yet restrained reaction to the stripper's grand “unveiling” says more than a thousand double entendres.

All in all, this was an interesting movie.

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Monday, February 12, 2007

Milestones

Last year I got my first cell phone.

This year I got my first gym membership.

While my current girlfriend is not my first girlfriend, she is the first woman in my life whom I felt serious about.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

All the Things That I Have Seen

1. Night at the Museum (2006).


America apparently loves actor Dick Van Dyke. Why else would they have made this flick such a favorite at the holiday box office? Of course, Dick Van Dyke's character does not come off looking too well in this movie. So maybe America hates Dick Van Dyke. Maybe whom they really love is actor Ben Stiller. After all, he's the real star of the movie and is in far more scenes than Dick Van Dyke. Plus he plays the hero.

Then again, Ben Stiller also plays a guy who gets urinated upon by a monkey. And getting urinated upon by jungle animals is not a trait one generally associates with America's most liked movie stars. So maybe America hates Ben Stiller. If he keeps making flicks this lame, they definitely should.

In any event, there once was a time when Dick Van Dyke was a young and popular comic actor just like Ben Stiller is today. It would be nice to see this flick as a symbolic passing of the comic torch from one generation of comic actors (represented by Mr. Van Dyke) to another (represented by Mr. Stiller). But unfortunately, one only need consider the sorry fate of Mr. Van Dyke's character -- who is basically humiliated by the end of this flick -- to find that kind of symbolism depressing.

No doubt Mr. Stiller one day will be as old as Dick Van Dyke is today. And he too might some day find himself playing in the same movie as the hot young comic actor of the day. Will he fare better then than Mr. Van Dyke did in this movie?

Er, I wouldn't bet the rent money on it...

2. The Holiday (2006).


It's Kate Winslet. In a black swimsuit. And oh, yes, there's a story too. As well as scenes in which Kate Winslet is not wearing a black swimsuit. But it's still good anyway.

Kate's character befriends a feisty old guy (played by Eli Wallach), meets cute with a feisty young guy (played by Jack Black), and basically hangs out in a fancy California mansion.

Unfortunately, there's also Cameron Diaz. Who looks like a Barbie. Not like Latina Barbie or Cubana Barbie. Plain old everyday all-American Barbie.

Which is quite well for the one scene in which she is required to play someone who looks like a Barbie. But, unfortunately, her character is required to do more than that. She's required to meet cute with Jude Law and outact a dog and meet cute with two adorable British moppets and have a big emotional confrontation with her ex-boyfriend that unfortunately is less convincing than her big scene with the dog.

Oh, well. There's still Kate Winslet. In a black swimsuit. Who tells us moviegoers all about the pain and misery of unrequited love. (Which is certainly a subject I can identify with.)

Of course, I can't help but wonder about the sanity of any straight British male who can't find it in his heart to love Kate Winslet. But that's a subject for another day.

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Quote of the Week

There's so many Mexicans!
--Salma Hayek, about the Oscar nominations

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

I'm Famous!

On this site, at least.

Muchas gracias to Ms. Campaspe for the recognition.

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R.I.P. Molly Ivins

Famed liberal journalist Molly Ivins is dead.

She will be missed.

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Brrrr!

It's the first day of February and we just had an afternoon of snow. Most of it is already melting but the outdoor temperature is still hovering in the low thirties so we may have ice tomorrow morning.

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