Friday, August 31, 2018

R.I.P. John McCain


Arizona Senator John McCain -- most famous for his status as a former presidential candidate as well as for his status as a former military officer -- retired from office for the last time on August 25, 2018, at age 81.

He will be missed.

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, August 27, 2018

Ouch! My Arm!

On the plus side, my back has been feeling better.

On the minus side, my left elbow has been acting up to the extent that I dare not lean on my left arm too much when I'm getting up. I'm hoping that it is just a case of tennis elbow brought on by overwork, but here's the thing: I don't play tennis.

Labels: ,

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Show Tune of the Week: "Half of the People"

I was going to post this yesterday in honor of composer Leonard Bernstein's 100th birthday but for some reason, it seemed more appropriate to post an excerpt from Bernstein's Mass on a Sunday. The lyrics are supposed to have been a gift from composer Paul Simon -- yes, the same Paul Simon of Simon and Garfunkel fame. I hope you all like it.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Movie Quote of the Week

Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answers?
--Ian McKellen, X-Men (2000)

Labels: , , ,

TV Quote of the Week

The quality of the victim should not matter any more than the quality of his killer.
--Sam Waterston, Law and Order, "Genius"

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, August 23, 2018

That's Funny. She Doesn't Look Latina: Parte XXV


Deborah Berebichez. A Mexican physicist, data scientist, TV host, educator, and blogger of Jewish descent who is known for promoting education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. In 2004, she became the first Mexican woman to graduate with a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University. Sometimes going by the name of "The Science Babe", she has appeared in television and radio segments where she explained scientific concepts in ordinary life.

She has also been featured in the television show "You Have Been Warned" (a.k.a. "Outrageous Acts of Science") on The Science Channel, and among other things, she was a recipient for Top Latina Tech Blogger by the Association of Latinos in Social Media LATISM.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Question of the Week

Should I consider myself weird because I would rather see Elisabeth Shue lip-sync to the Crystals in Adventures in Babysitting than watch her get smacked around (and worse) in Leaving Las Vegas?

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Pop Song of the Week: "Roll Over, Beethoven"

In belated honor of the late Chuck Berry.

Labels: , , ,

Movie Song of the Week: "Think"

In honor of the late Aretha Franklin --- and in belated honor of the late Matt "Guitar" Murphy.

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Movie Quote of the Week

These occidentals, they are all alike.
--Ramon Novarro, The Barbarian (1933)

Labels: , , ,

TV Quote of the Week

My mind rebels at stagnation. Give me problems; give me work. Give me the most abstruse cryptogram, the most intricate analysis, and I'm in my proper atmosphere. Then I can dispense with artificial stimulants. But I abhor the dull routine of existence. I crave mental exultation. That is why I have chosen my own profession, or rather, created it, for I am the only one in the world.
--Jeremy Brett, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, "An Affair in Bohemia"

Labels: , , , ,

Fantasy Quote of the Week

We're all hurling towards death. Some of us just run faster.
--Lizzie Hyde in Viola Carr's The Diabolical Miss Hyde

Labels: , , ,

Science Fiction Quote of the Week

"It is my body, not yours," said Olava burning. "Or his. I have given it to my God. And I do not pass it out like little party cakes for the momentary satisfaction of those who happen to be around me. It is neither a sedative, palliative, reward, or bribe. It is my body."
--Richard Ben Sapir, The Far Arena

Labels: , , ,

Friday, August 17, 2018

R.I.P. Aretha Franklin


American singer Aretha Louise Franklin -- also known as the Queen of Soul and best known for such songs as "Respect," "Chain of Fools" and "Think" -- sang her last note yesterday on August 16, 2018 at age 76.

She will be missed.

Labels: , , ,

R.I.P. Fats Domino


American singer Fats Domino -- best known for such songs as "Ain't That a Shame" and "Blueberry Hill" -- found his last thrill on October 24, 2017, at age 89.

He will be missed.

Labels: , , ,

R.I.P. Chuck Berry

He will be missed.

Singer Chuck Berry -- best known for many songs such as "Maybelline" and "You Never Can Tell" -- hung up his guitar for the last time on March 18 2017, at age 90.

He will be missed.

Labels: , , ,

R.I.P. Holly Dunn


American country singer Holly Dunn -- best known for such songs as "You Got Me Going" and "Daddy's Hands" -- finished her last tune on November 14, 2016 at age 59.

She will be missed.

Labels: , , ,

R.I.P. Robert Vaughn


American actor Robert Vaughn -- best known for his role as Napoleon Solo in the 1960s TV series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and his Emmy-winning role in the 1970s miniseries Washington: Behind Closed Doors as well for his roles in such movies as The Magnificent Seven and Bullit -- walked off the set for the final time on November 11, 2016, at age 83.

He will be missed.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Random Thoughts

So much for the notion that the new pope was going to change things.

No, seriously. I had high hopes that Pope Francis I would be an improvement on his predecessor but apparently I was wrong.

As sick as it sounds, I'm glad none of my Catholic relatives live in Pennsylvania. And I can't help feeling sorry for those people who do live there.

If I worked for the Vatican right now, I'd worry less about bad press and more about Judgment Day.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, August 13, 2018

Ms. Deschanel Sole Success in Failure to Launch


Halfway through the 2006 movie Failure to Launch, Zooey Deschanel had a scene in this movie where she was walking around in a department store at which point she casually picked up the entire movie and placed it in her pocket. Not that was a whole lot of movie to steal at that point. The plot was boring, the characters -- apart from Ms. Deschanel's, of course -- were less than charming and it became blatantly obvious that even someone as attractive as Sarah Jessica Parker couldn't carry a romcom in which neither half of the main romantic couple seemed all that interesting. Pretty soon I stopped wishing for her to succeed and instead chose to spend my time waiting for Ms. Deschanel to return.

Not that Ms. Deschanel didn't have her share of bad material to contend with -- especially toward the end when the script kept expecting her to do Moe Howard imitations. But she did have her moments and unlike Ms. Parker, I actually wanted to see more of her character even though the movie was not about her (a fact made obvious by the fact that she was not pictured on the above movie poster). Indeed, Ms. Deschanel was the sole reason that Failure to Launch did not leave a bad taste in my mouth. Too bad for her that her TV series New Girl was never all that funny. For a while there, Ms. Deschanel had a lot of potential and for all I know, she might still have.

Labels: , , , ,

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Pop Song of the Week: "Womanizer"

Fifty shades of Britney, give or take forty-seven.

Labels: , , , ,

Movie Song of the Week: "Cousin Kevin"

'Tis the season for bullies, unfortunately. So why not post the ultimate bully song?

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, August 10, 2018

Movie Quote of the Week

Leave it to the Catholics to destroy existence.
--Salma Hayek, Dogma (1999)

Labels: , , ,

TV Quote of the Week

Face it, Marge, Catholics rule! We've got Boston, South America, the good part of Ireland, and we're making serious in-roads in Mozambique, baby!
--Dan Castellaneta, The Simpsons, "The Father, the Son, and the Holy Guest Star"

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Pity the Poor First Husband: Kisses for My President


Contrary to whatever impression the recent Hillary Clinton campaign might have given you, Hollywood hasn't made all that many movies about a female President in the White House. Indeed, apart from the 1964 movie Kisses for My President, it's difficult for me to think of one. And even Kisses for My President leaves more than a bit to be desired on the cinematic front.

For what it was worth, Polly Bergen made a fine impression as Leslie Harrison McCloud, the first woman president of the United States. But sadly the movie wasn't really about her. It was about her husband Thad (played by Fred MacMurray).

Thad used to be a big industrialist before his wife got elected, but now she was in the White House, he was just another First Spouse with little to do save for keeping out of trouble and attending meaningless social events -- a situation which was just fine for previous presidential spouses but not for Thad. Because he was a guy, you know. And according to the dogma of 1964 Hollywood, guy problems were much more important than woman problems.

Eventually he did get into trouble -- first when he was entertaining a conniving Latin American dictator named Raphael Valdez Jr. (played by Eli Wallach) and then again when he was almost seduced by a job offer from an ex-girlfriend named Doris Weaver (played by Arlene Dahl). For that matter, the children had issues too but the movie was not as interested in those issues as it was in the plight of poor Tad.

In any event, the movie was not a complete loss. Despite all the attention focused on Fred MacMurray, Polly Bergen managed to do a good job of convincingly portraying a female president, especially in the scenes in which she stood up to a patronizing U.S. senator (played by Edward Andrews) and Raphael Valdez Jr. Nor did Ms. Bergen have a monopoly on good roles. Wallach managed to play his role in a memorable fashion and it didn't hurt that he had a few good scenes with John Banner, an actor best known for playing Sgt. Schultz on the TV series Hogan's Heroes but seen in this film playing the role of the Soviet Ambassador.

Unfortunately, by turning the fictional story of the first female president into a romantic comedy and focusing primarily on male issues, the movie eventually undermined itself to the point that it's no surprise that it rarely seems to be mentioned in movie buff circles. If I had to pick the worst part of the film, it would be the ending which was the setup for a really bad one-liner by Mr. MacMurray that has not improved with age. Of course, Kisses for My President would not be the last Hollywood film to reflect a dubious attitude towards the Women's Liberation Movement. But it is one of the most obvious ones.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Quote of the Week

We must admit that people of color can be racist, and this racism is an idiotic mindless support of a system that beats us down. We have to commit to stop being racist against each other. Because by being racist against each other, we bring racism on ourselves.
--Steven De Castro, “Identity in Action: A Filipino American’s Perspective.” From the anthology, The State of Asian America: Activism and Resistance in the 1990s, edited by Karin Aguilar-San Juan

Labels: , , ,

Monday, August 06, 2018

Ad of the Week

Aubrey Plaza is now selling cell phones? How the mighty have fallen!

Labels: , , ,

Pensamientos Acerca de Televisión

Supergirl: “Pilot”

I had high hopes for this TV series when it first came out but they were dashed when the show quickly became a "super-villain of the week" type of show. And worse yet, it was a boring "super-villain of the week" show.

It didn't help that the show's writer kept feeling the need to remind us of the other great superperson who came here from Krypton instead of just focusing on Kara aka Supergirl. At times even Kara's adoptive sister Alex seemed to get more attention than Kara. (Then again you have to admire the chutzpah of that scene in which Alex basically bawled out Kara for saving her life.)

The oddest part of this show was the decision to cast Calista Flockhart as Cat Grant, the obligatory boss from hell who seemed like one part Ann Coulter and the other part Katherine Graham. On one hand, she had the most interesting lines on the show. On the other, it seemed quite odd to see her evolve into Kara's work mom. Of course, when the second season started, she started appearing on the show less often so I saw no real reason to continue watching the show. I don't think I missed much.

Labels: , , ,

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Movie Quote of the Week

You know, that's what I admire about you! Even though you are being hit on by absolutely beautiful woman, you are determined to maintaining your vow of chastity. You know, you'd make a hell of a Republican!
--Tom Sizemore, Passenger 57 (1992)

Labels: , , ,

TV Quote of the Week

The only real way to reform the civil service system is to reform the political system, and no government's going to reform the system that put it into power.
--John Nettleton, Yes, Prime Minister, "Power to the People"

Labels: , , , , ,

Ow! My Aching Back

Every so often my back acts up and yesterday it decided to act up really bad. So bad, in fact, that when it was still acting the same way this morning, I was seriously tempted to call in sick on Monday. Fortunately, two Tylenol pills and a few hours later, it got to the point where I could actually walk normally without feeling the need to use a walker. I hope the problem is only temporary but I'm trying to be careful just the same.

Oddly enough, my back seemed okay when I was just standing up or sitting still. It was only when I shifted positions that it started to act up. Quite ironic considering how rarely it acted up last week whenever when my current job required me to move heavy items.

Labels: ,

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Book of the Week


Hey, it's a book of film essays written by an actual Latina. And yet she refers her Peruvian ancestry only once. Almost as if she were a regular film critic. Or a film philosopher.

A Latina film philosopher... What a concept!

Seriously, I found this book quite interesting. I look forward to reading more of Ms. Chocano's work in the future.

Edited to Add:

If there's one major problem with this book, it's the way Ms. Chocano's writing makes me want to think twice about my review of Lars and the Real Girl. And that's hardly a bad problem to have.

Labels: , , , , , , ,