Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Do You Know It's Halloween?

Since I've been too old to trick or treat, I haven't been much of a Halloween fan, and I view the recent trend of adults celebrating Halloween with dismay.

That being said, this song is sort of awesome.


Monday, October 30, 2006

Couldn't See This Coming

Reese and Ryan are splitting up. Shocking.

Live from Almaty

In many ways, Saturday Night Live has became a parody of itself. (I'm not going to make a point of discussing the fact that NBC has two other shows about SNL to reinforce this conclusion.) The jokes are too often stale and predictable, and it can't hold a candle to the political humor of Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. Yet, the past two weeks have actually been funny with John C. Reilly and Hugh "I Love Me Some House" Laurie hosting. The skits were for the most part clever, and it worked as sketch comedy. And on November 11, we have the always funny Alec Baldwin hosting.

Yet the opening sketch, which almost always is a political spoof, simply lacks bite. While in the heyday, SNL has had great comic skits (going all the way back to Chevy Chase as Ford, but some of the best were the '88 GOP Debates with Ackroyd playing a bitter Bob Dole and the famous 2000 debates with Will Ferrell as a clueless GWB and the sighs of Al Gore), today the oikutucs skits don't know where they are going and repeat the same note over and over again. Thus, the shows tend to open weakly.

That being said, this week's opening was great. Then again, it shows what's wrong with SNL because it "sold" the first 5 minutes to the Kazakh government. See for yourself.

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What the Hell?!?!

What the hell did they do to Dylan?!

Scenes from an upcoming Broadway show centered on Dylan songs. It's just insane. Please watch the clip, and don't forget to to turn on the sound. It's short, it's awful, it's worth it.

Poor Sam, Poor Gaeta, Poor Tigh . . . Poor Everyone

How frakked up is Starbuck right now? (I'm talking about Battlestar Gallactica here, just in case you wanna stop reading.) She almost killed Gaeta. Look at that idealistic face! What kind of monster would want to put that face out of an airlock? She didn't care that he made the Resistance effective and her escape from Creepy Leoben's apartment/cell possible. She just wanted to hurt someone, and he would do. Sam was right to listen to Starbuck and walk away. She's in no condition to be around other human beings, let alone people who love her, and the way the Circle/secret military tribunal used her obvious broken-ness to get the guilty vote they needed to execute Gaeta was just . . . gross.

When I realized that the secret military tribunal that airlocked Jammer and almost killed the person who should have been the biggest hero of the Resistance was legally sanctioned by President Zarek I almost threw up. And yet, when he explained his reasoning to Roslyn, that it was necessary to get rid of the worst offenders quickly, without bogging down the entire fleet in long drawn-out trials with everyone baying for blood and vengeance . . . part of me thought that made sense. I KNOW! I'm really ashamed. But that's what this show does to you. It makes you think for a few seconds that maybe suicide bombers aren't the worst idea ever, and throwing out habeas corpus maybe kinda isn't the end of the world, and then you realize what you're thinking and how icky it is and want to crawl under your I [heart] Obama quilt and suck your thumb and WAH!


Friday, October 27, 2006

No matter how hard I try, I just can't gain weight!

So Nicole Richie has checked into a treatment facility to "focus on nutrition." Because although she surely does not have an eating disorder, she just can't manage to gain weight. So she's checked herself into a program so that she can learn how to put on a few pounds. Because that's totally normal. Lots of people do that.

Right. Or, maybe she's back on drugs and she's back in rehab, and that's why she's been so skinny in the first place. But that would be crazy. Definitely can't be that.

What kills me about this story is the idea that she simply cannot gain weight. Some people really do have such problems. But I have trouble believing that someone who once looked like the photo on the far right would really have trouble gaining weight if she were really trying. (This is coming from someone who our friend Isaac once called "a chunky monkey." Now that I am no longer a chunky monkey I can tell you that I have no problems becoming one again if I really want to.)

Americans Don't Speed?

I was reading this article in the NY Times about English hatred of cameras that have been posted all over the place to catch speed when I came on this quote that I had to share:
“It’s incredibly difficult to get to people to come to terms with slowing down here,” said Francis Ashton, the road safety manager for the city of Nottingham. “In the States, you have much slower speed limits, and there’s more of a culture of sticking to the speed limit.”
Either Mr. Francis hasn't spent much time on our interstate highway system, or we're really not as bad as I thought. Huh.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The problem with Studio 60

I am really behind on my television watching--the NLCS put me back, and the World Series (even though I officially don't care) isn't helping matters. But last night the Series was rained out, so Gobo and I decided to catch up on some television. He refused to watch The Amazing Race (we're two weeks behind) and I wasn't in the right mindset for Lost (three weeks behind!), so we agreed on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip.

I was reluctant to watch it, just because I haven't been enjoying it all that much. But my only other option was Grey's Anatomy, and I haven't been into that lately either, so I decided Studio 60 was a decent option.

And in watching, I realized why I don't really like this show. The comedy sketches are not funny. The entire premise of this show is that this late-night live comedy show was sucking. But then Josh Lyman and Chandler Bing came in to make it all better, because they are super-funny and super-talented and can turn a show around.

Except it is impossible for the viewers to believe this, because we watch the sketches. And funny they are not. In the episode I watched the "best skit of the night," according to Josh and Chandler and apparently anyone whose opinion we are supposed to value, was a send-up of Nancy Grace, interviewing a teenager who had lost her cell phone. The most tedious three minutes of my life. I almost turned off the show because the skit was so tortuous.

I respect the show for wanting to show us that Chandler and Josh are funny, rather than just telling us. But in order to do that, they have to put something funny on the screen. And they are failing miserably.

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Must See TV Thursday

Starting (kind of) November 16 and for good on November 30, NBC is having a Thursday night line up of the very good My Name is Earl, the funniest show on TV:The Office, the decent through 2 episodes (yet to see last night's) 30 Rock, the always excellent and often mistreated Scrubs, and the surprisingly still going strong ER. (On the 16th, no Scrubs; just 40 minute episodes of the other 3.) I, for one, am pleased. I note that Twenty Good Years is heading to the scrap heap. I never saw it, but I beseech you Jeffrey Tambor, resurrect George Bluth!


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Celebrity Paranormal Project

Just in time for Halloween, the Celebreality (TM) braintrust over at VH1 has come up with a way to blend the freakshow entertainment that is Gary Busey (and other recognizable people) with ghost stories. It's brilliant, brilliant I tell you! They send a "team" of celebrities to a supposedly haunted location, at night, without a crew, give them some paranormal research equipment and cameras, split them up as much as possible, and scare the crap out of them.

What I found most amusing about the one episode I've seen so far is how sincerely into it the team is. People you'd expect to be completely cynical and skeptical (like my fave from the "I love . . ." series, Hal Sparks) are actually really open to the idea of ghosts, and people you'd expect to be easily freaked (like ANTM's Toccara) end up being all "whatever, I'm tired" when left alone in an abandoned hospital in the middle of the night. Love her!

This week's episode features Ethan Zohn, Rachel Hunter, Godfrey, Traci Bingham, and Tony Little.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Happy Birthday iPod

There have been a spate of stories this week about the 5-year anniversary of the iPod's debut, which have me thinking about my very mixed feelings about the iPod.

On the one hand, it is a great product. It's one of those things that fills needs that you didn't even know you had. When I bought my iPod in March 2004, I thought of it as a cute (and expensive) Walkman -- a nice gadget, but not really anything new. But it is really a lot more than that. It's a way to store all of the music you own in one place, and to have it with you wherever you go. And now, it's not just music -- it's TV shows, movies, books, and podcasts (a concept that didn't even exist two years ago).

But I have some serious qualms. First, the quality. I've been lucky in that the mini that I bought two-and-a-half years ago is still working, but I know that many others, including some fellow junkettes, haven't been. It's just crazy that a $250 electronic product shouldn't be expected to last that long. And Apple's attitude toward it is maddening. They don't seem to care; they expect you to buy another one. And then there are the little things -- why is it so vulnerable to scratching? It's a portable music player for god's sake; it should be rugged. And if the design is going to be the focal point of the advertising, why force people to cover it up with those stupid covers?

Second, I really worry about Apple's market share and exclusive file format squelching competition. I don't want to have to buy a new iPod every 2 years because the old one dies, and more importantly, I'm still holding out hope for something with both an mp3 player and a radio. So I keep buying music on cds, and only buy the occasional single and TV show on iTunes. But if you've bought a lot of content on iTunes, you're stuck with Apple. Which is unsettling.


Like Isaac, I also saw The Queen this weekend and I also recommend it. Helen Mirren was excellent, and I actually felt sympathy for the queen despite the fact that I loathe everything to do with the monarchy.

The movie is obviously intended for an audience of small "r" republicans, portraying the Queen Mother as the odious person I have always thought her to be -- as befits a well-known Nazi sympathizer -- Prince Philip as a complete jackass, and Prince Charles as a well-meaning buffoon. Some of the funniest moments in the movie are those showing Tony Blair -- the (relatively) common man -- and his cabinet reacting to the absurd actions of the royal family and their hangers on.

It was refreshing to see this, because what is even more loathsome than the monarchy itself is the way the American media tries to shove it down our throats. Can someone please remind them that we fought a war so that we wouldn't have to kowtow to these imbeciles anymore?

We have our own set of rich people to provide fodder for our tabloids. Yes, I'm talking about celebrities. The American system has numerous advantages:

1) We don't have to pay them out of our tax money.
2) They are hot.
3) We can change them up when we get tired of the old ones, without having a revolution or anything. Corollary: A person does not automatically become a celebrity just because their parents are celebrities; they have to be (a) hot, (b) slutty, or (c) actually talented.



Make Your Reservations Now

According to CNN, TomKat are getting married on November 18 in Italy. Do you think Matt Stone and Trey Parker will be invited?

Kings and Queens

This past weekend, Mrs. Bartender and I went to see both The Queen and The Last King of Scotland. We recommend both although we slightly preferred the former.

SPOILERS. First, The Queen or, more precisely, Helen Mirren is Elizabeth II. As you probably know, the movie examines the House of Windsor in the wake of the death of Diana and, in particular, the relationship between Elizabeth and her new Prime Minister, Tony Blair, in responding to it. Mirren, who has deservedly been praised for her portrayal, is guaranteed to have a seat at the Kodak Theatre on Oscar night. I also would not be surprised to see James Cromwell get a nomination for his (not very flattering) portrayal of the Duke of Edinburgh. Michael Sheen also deserves praise for channeling Tony Blair. In what, at first, seems as if he is imitating Blair a la Saturday Night Live, as the movie develops, you really get comfortable with him as the PM.

In the end, Blair is the hero of the movie (albeit with harbingers of his future troubles). The Queen too comes off surprisingly well (and human). I particularly enjoyed at the end of the movie she expresses her worry to Blair that at the height of the crisis she had a 25% disapproval rating. Blair today (along with virtually all other elected politicians) must think, "if only." Even Prince Charles comes off fairly decently, but the spouses (the Duke of Edinburgh and Cherie Blair and even the deceased Diana) do not nor does the relic Queen Mother. Finally, the Scottish countryside makes a beautiful backdrop for much of the movie. How accurate the film is I cannot say, but I certainly recommend this fine portrayal of an anachronism dealing with modernity.

From the stoicism of the House of Windsor to the charismatic and quite mad leader of one of the former colonies. The Last King of Scotland was actually filmed in Uganda, and there we meet His Excellency President for Life Field Marshal Al Hadji Dr. Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, King of Scotland, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea, and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular. (Yes, that was his official title.) When I was young, I remember the fascination the West had with Amin. While Amin was one of many African tyrants, he seemed to have come from central casting from his physical heft to his ego to his deserved reputation for ruthlessness to his obvious charisma. That he sent the Queen a letter reading, "Dear Liz, If you want to know a real man, come to Kampala [Uganda's capital]" says a bit about this character. Critically, Forest Whitaker is magnificent as Amin, and he too seems a likely and deserved Oscar nominee. The charisma and madness both come dripping out of his Amin, and you can understand how such an individual can come to lead a nation (much to its horror). Without a compelling Amin, this movie could have succeeded, but Whitaker pulls it off brilliantly.

The film is about a (fictional) Scottish doctor who, through happenstance, becomes Amin's personal physician. As he gets closer and closer to this madman, he his forced to recognize the atrocities that are occurring (and in several cases, that he causes) and the risk to his own life. Yet this is not the story of an honest man getting seduced by the amoral politician (think All the King's Men (and READ THE BOOK!)), but a somewhat amoral and compromised individual getting tied to ruthless, corrupt, and quite mad despot. Because Dr. Garrigan is so flawed from the start of the film, it is no surprise that he is so easily seduced. Not surprisingly, the end is not very pleasant for him (although it could have been much worse).

These two films could not present different portrayals of leadership. From the figurehead that is Her Majesty, the Queen, tied to the past and attempting to be oblivious to public opinion to Tony Blair, the master modern politician, to a mad African despot, leadership means different things at different times in different places. A bigger point for a review of two films that both offer much to recommend, and hence I do.


Monday, October 23, 2006

I've Been Hornswaggled!

I was a little puzzled when I saw that the boy scouts had a new "pirating" merit badge. But after a moment's thought, it was clear that this would be the most awesome merit badge ever. Surely, you would have to know a little bit about tying knots, rowing, and coin collecting, at the very least. A truly interdisciplinary feat.

You can imaging my disappointment when I clicked on the link to learn that the badge is awarded to kids who complete a course sponored by the MPAA to teach them about respecting copyrights. That's lame, mateys.

Two Things That Suck

1. The new movie Marie Antoinette, written and directed by Sofia Coppola. I know that the New York Times' A.O Scott loved it, but I saw it this weekend and can tell you it sucks. The costumes and cinematography are beautiful but that's about it.

2. D.L. Hughley's character on Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. I think he is the biggest disappointment on the show. I blame Aaron Sorkin for failing to write the guy any good lines.

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There should really be a rule against this

I was reading Us Weekly (the actual magazine, not the blog), and it looks like Jonathan and Victoria, the Most Obnoxious Couple Ever from The Amazing Race, have had a baby.

I really pity this child. And as if being stuck with these annoying, loud, dysfunctional and potentially abusive people as her parents isn't enough, they have named the child Trease Alynette.

Poor, poor baby.

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Friday, October 20, 2006

Rocky Balboa

I love the Rocky movies. I love them so much that I saw Rocky V in the theater twice. The original Rocky, along with The Goonies and South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, is my all-time favorite movie. And so I have been excited about the prospect of Rocky Balboa, the new Rocky movie which comes to theaters on December 22.

Until I watched the trailer On Demand.

I knew a few things about the movie from reading a little online: I knew that Adrian wouldn't be a part of it (dead) and I knew that it would revolve around a boxer named Mason "The Line" Dixon. And I knew that Sly Stallone had said this would be a different Rocky, and a different type of movie, than we have come to expect--that Rocky would be old and broken down (although he was those things in Rocky V as well). In watching the trailer, it now appears that Rocky, old and broken down, decides he wants to fight again. Just small fights, just to have something to do. At about the same time an ESPN-type channel decides to run a simulation to determine which boxer, in his prime, would be world champion. And they decide it would be Rocky over current champion Mason "The Line" Dixon.

I think we all know where this one is going, right? For some reason that I'm sure the movie won't be able to explain, Rocky decides to fight The Line in some sort of exhibition. And he trains. But this time the training is hard because he has things like calcium in his joints.

As much as I love Rocky, I just don't know about this. A 60 year old man fighting a boxer in his prime? The same 60 year old man who couldn't fight in Rocky V because he had taken too many blows to the head and might become brain-damaged? It just doesn't make sense. I was looking forward to the gritty look at what happens to someone who has it all, loses it, and has to deal with the concept of growing old alone. That seemed to be the story Stallone was promising in interviews about this movie. But based on the preview, it isn't what we'll be getting.

Of course, you know where I'll be on December 22.


Welcome, neighbors: Part 2

Last week I reported that Tom and Katie might be moving to the DC area. This week our neighbors may be Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and the three little Jolie-Pitts.

But this rumor has some legs--Brad Pitt himself told a French magazine, Cine Tele Revue that it might happen!

Now I have to figure out how I can arrange a random meeting so that they will decide to be my friend and I can hang out with them all of the time and be in the background of photos that run in Us Weekly.


Amazing Race

I've been meaning to post about this week's episode of The Amazing Race. A few quick points:

1. Didn't Phil look super cute in his khaki shirt in Chennai?

2. I'm so happy that they have changed the rule about what happens if you come in last in a non-elimination leg. No longer will we be forced to watch people begging in impoverished countries or throwing on all of their clothes as they run to the finish line. Not only was this not good television, but I can't think of a time that it mattered. There is almost always a bunching point near the beginning of a leg, which lets people collect money and catch up to other teams. And the lack of stuff never mattered, especially since they always seem to supply them clothing for the cold-weather destinations.

And the new penalty has the potential of making the ending of the next leg pretty interesting, unless Dave and Mary stay at the back of the pack.

3. If given a choice between wrangling a crocodile and putting rice flour in an elaborate pattern, who in their right minds would choose the latter? Sure, you don't know how far it's going to be and all that, but croc-wrangling!

4. I get tired of all of the drama about whether people should tell each other about their flight plans. It's not a question of right or wrong because (a) it's a race and (b) it's not selfish not to share, because doing so has an equal chance of hurting you -- you could just as easily be on the worse flight, and you're forgoing the chance to find out. Given that, no one should be all indignant when other teams don't want to share, and -- equally -- it's stupid to be all coy about it; just say "We're not telling."

5. I sort of like Tyler and James. They seem to have really dry sense of humor, and so far they have not shown the arrogance that we've seen from a lot of the alpha male teams in the past. Although I could do with a little less recovery talk.

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It's Like 1968 or 1934 All Over Again

Why, you ask? Because the Cardinals and Tigers are meeting for the third time in the Fall Classic. The first 2 were epic seven gamers with the Cards' Gas House Gang featuring the Dean Brothers and Pepper Martin winning in '34 with the Tigers and Mickey Lolich besting Bob Gibson in '68 (when Curt Flood (the subject of a new biography) lost a ball in the sun). But before I turn to my thoughts of this year's series (hint--I don't see it going 7), a few thoughts on the Mets/Cardinals battle.

1. My condolences to Red Fraggle. I have not heard from her since the game ended. I trust she is still breathing. Update--she is stirring!

2. As decimated as the Mets pitching staff was, it was their hitting that cost them the series. They got 1 excellent and 1 good enough start from Oliver Perez, a great start and a mediocre one from John Maine, and a great start from Glavine (albeit a bad one in game 5). (Let's not mention Trachsel.) What killed the Mets was a complete inability to hit (other than in game 4). Truly mind boggling how they could not produce.

3. I hate to jump on the bash Tim McCarver bandwagon, but my favorite moment was last night in the 9th when literally seconds after Joe Buck commented that Floyd is easy to double up, McCarver makes the exact same observation. And the way he made it, you would have thought that he had just discovered relativity.

4. Another check minus to Fox. There was a light rain throughout the game with a forecast of heavy storms for 11pm. But not once did Fox discuss the postseason rules for rain. Is a game official if it lasts more than 5 innings? If the game is tied when the deluge comes, do they just replay the whole game? One would think this would be relevant.

5. Endy Chavez. That may have been the greatest catch of all time when one considers the situation. The obvious comparison is Mays in game 1 of the '54 series. And yes, Endy (or Eric as McCarver called him) Chavez is no Willie Mays. But this was a GAME 7. He saved a 2 run homer and turned the DP. The Giants probably lose Game 1 in '54 without the catch and the resulting DP, but they swept the series. Not to knock Mays' catch--it is rightly legendary--but this one may just have been better. Still in awe.

And now (drum roll please), my prediction--Tigers in 5. The NL is terrible, the Cardinals are tired, Jeff Weaver and Jeff Suppan will learn that major league hitters destroy them, and the Tigers are the '06 team of destiny. Granted, many of my predictions have been wrong in this postseason, but the Cards are simply much worse than the Tigers. I feel generous giving them 1 game.

Grey's Anatomy Streak

We've been on quite a Grey's posting streak so I thought I'd keep it up. Good episode last night! Now if only the whole "Izzie killed a man while breaking every ethical code a doctor has but for some insane and improbable reason everyone thinks she still should be a surgeon instead of a defendant or at the very least brought up before whatever organization regulates these things" storyline could just go away, I might be able to enjoy this show again. They can't make the aftermath of that story believable or resonate with me. Ever. So it really would be best if we could just pretend it didn't happen.

Things I did like: the interns' discombobulation at the M&M when they realized why Bailey let them attend; Alex sticking up for Bailey in a completely inappropriate but adorable way; the fact that Addison is rich, no longer Dr. Montgomery-Shepherd, and, for now at least, still on the show; Callie sticking to her guns about dumping George; Addison falling back into bed with steamy Mark; and Bailey pushing her dangerous hormones in the jackass doctor's face. The more this show can focus on Bailey and Addison, the happier I'll be.


Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Sin That Dare Not Speak Its Name (But I Will - DROOP)

I know Wilder already posted a shot of Britney in this outfit (just yesterday in fact) and I'm not going to disavow my comment that the girl is looking trim, but a closer look at this UsWeekly cover had me shaking my head in gloom. The tasteful, thin Britney was indeed too good to be true. Now I kind of hate to be critical of her here, but I'm going to: Brit is sporting some serious, Drew-Barrymore-at-the-Golden-Globes-worthy droop. Now, she's just had a child, lactation and all that, sure the breasts aren't going to be as perky as they once were. No one would expect otherwise. BUT . . . there are articles of clothing specifically designed to counteract the effects of gravity and nature. They're called bras. And one can find them anywhere. Now, I know Britney is fond of going braless, and if that's what's happening here (as Red suggested when I pointed this photo out), ok, I can understand though not necessarily agree with that sartorial choice. (Though for pity's sake she's wearing a turtleneck AND a vest, but a bra would be too much fabric??) But . . . if she's in fact wearing said support garment, it is NOT doing its job. Brit, go into your nearest Nordstrom STAT. There are people who can help.

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In related Grey's Anatomy news

Astute readers might have noticed my comment to Holt's post, below, about T.R. Knight coming out of the closet. Basically, I wondered how or whether T.R. Knight's revelation was related to the news of the fight between Isaiah Washington and Patrick Demspey last week. Reports of the fight said that Washington was complaining that T.R. Knight was late to taping, and Dempsey defended Knight. I wondered whether Washington had used a gay slur when complaining about Knight and, if so, whether that precipitated Knight's relevation that he is gay.

And now it looks like I'm right about Isaiah Washington. At least, the National Enquirer, which, although a shameless rag, did break the Grey's Anatomy story, is now saying that Washington said to Dempsey "I'm not your little faggot, like [name retracted]." Although the Enquirer retracted the name, in light of the fact that we know they were arguing about Knight, and Knight coming out of the closet today, I think we can figure out whose name was included after the slur.

Yuck, yuck, yuck.

ETA: Us Weekly is now running a poll on whether Washington should be fired, in light of the most recent story in the Enquirer.

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Maybe the money from the book deal will go toward his search for the real killers

I didn't think that anything O.J. Simpson did would ever be able to shock me, after watching a picture-in-picture of the White Ford Bronco chase while the Knicks played in the NBA Finals 12 years ago, but I was wrong.

According to Us Weekly and others, O.J. is going to write a book about the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. The title? If I Did It. Apparently the book will be run with the caveat that it is hypothetical, but it goes into excruciating detail about the actual murders, written from the perspective of O.J. as the killer.

Sickening. Doesn't he remember that he had two children with Nicole? And that this might upset them? I guess he doesn't really care.


Out of the Closet

Aw, T.R. Knight, better known as George on Grey's Anatomy, just came out of the closet to People. Though when I shared this news with Red, she said "That was pretty well-known on the gossip boards. Did he just come out for real?" I'm obviously not reading enough internet gossip because I hadn't heard that one yet. Either way, it's unclear whether he's legitimately coming "out of the closet" or just talking about it publicly for the first time. (Small difference, but significant I think.) I hope that ever more gay actors can play straight characters without raising eyebrows.

I related closet watching news, Matt and Lance? Still not gay.

A return to civil disobedience

I went to a very liberal college, where the most popular on-campus groups were the Queer Coalition and the Student Activist Union. The College Republicans had eight members (out of a total student body of 2400). The College Democrats were considered too centrist by most. And yet in the four years I was there, I only saw one protest. And protest might be too strong a word--about fifteen students got together to stand in front of the college's front gates and protest a speech given by a pro-life activist.

In fact, when I have spoken with people who went to college in the '60s and '70s, they often lament the general apathy of college students today. They wonder what happened to real protests--people chaining themselves to trees, carrying signs, screaming into bullhorns.

And so I have been interested in what's going on at Gallaudet University over the past few weeks. I'm not sure how much of this has hit the mainstream media and how much of this is a local DC story, but I think it has been in the news enough to qualify, at least somewhat, as pop culture. After all, civil disobedience used to be a cornerstone of popular culture.

Students have shut down the campus, protesting against the appointment of a new president that the student body, and much of the faculty, does not support. News coverage hasn't been great about getting into the substance of the students' demands, so I did some searching today. First I came across this chat with a student leader of the protests, which I found wholly unhelpful. She continually states that the students believe in shared governance, but doesn't expand on those buzz words very much, and more often than not she side-steps questions or only answers part of a larger question. However, she does direct readers to a website that lays out the points of contention students and faculty have with the new presidential appointment, which actually is pretty helpful in getting one up to speed on the issues.

But what I find most heartening about this situation is that students are actually doing something. They have decided to make a statement about what they consider an injustice. It is commendable that students care enough about their school to take a stand.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Britney Sans 20 Pounds

Damn she looks good for Britney. I bet she had a tummy tuck after Sutton (or JJ?) was born.

Can't wait to see if there will be a Britney comeback.

I have nothing else to say about Britney, or K-Fed, or Britney's shrinking waist line, or whether or not her baby is really named Sutton Pierce Federline. I'm just wasting space because stupid Blogger goes all crazy if there is a picture and not enough text next to it.


Say what?

Can it possibly be true that Scarlett Johansson has a deal in the works to make an album called "Scarlett Sings Tom Waits"?

An anniversary...well, kind of

A week from today is the 20 year anniversary of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Also known as The Game Where the Ball Went through Bill Buckner's Legs and the Red Sox Didn't Win the World Series.

As a Mets fan, one of my earliest sports memories was watching Game 6 at home with my dad and brother (the Mets were playing at home, but there were no tickets for the Fraggle family), and Mookie hitting a slow grounder to first base. My dad cursed, knowing Wilson had hit into the third out. Except...he hadn't. The ball went through Buckner's legs, the Mets, who were trailing in the series 3-2, won Game 6, and then went on to win Game 7 at Shea, bringing them their second World Series championship.

Today, almost 20 years later, the Mets are down 3-2 in a playoff series, entering Game 6, to be played at Shea Stadium. And Game 7 will be at Shea as well, if there is a Game 7. I can only hope that history repeats itself.


Oh Helen . . .

With the obligatory proviso that this is not a political blog, may I recommend to you this depressing but amusing article about some of the people that my home state chooses to send to Congress? To give this post a real pop culture slant, any of you remember the West Wing episode where a Senator from Idaho threatened to hold up military promotions until he gets a nice little boondoggle for the state? Yeah, that was based on a real incident with Larry Craig, mentioned in the article. (My dad was a fraternity brother of Craig's at the University of Idaho. It's a really small state.)


I'm worried about Veronica's sex life

Okay, I don't expect Veronica Mars to be the most realistic show on television. After all, the centerpiece is a teenaged girl who solves mysteries, including who killed her best friend and who killed a class-full of teenagers on a bus. So I get that one has to suspend disbelief when watching the show.

But when I watched a couple of weeks ago, I couldn't get past one thing: Veronica is attending nearby Hearst College and living at home (presumably because she can't afford to live on-campus, but really as an excuse to keep Enrico Colantoni in the mix). When her father is away for the night, he calls Veronica at midnight to make sure that she isn't sleeping over at her boyfriend's place.

And here's where I can't suspend my disbelief. Veronica is in college. She has always been independent. She is living at home because she doesn't have another financial option. At some point, her father dictating where she sleeps when he isn't around just isn't okay anymore. And I think college is that point.

And yet Veronica, who protests everything, doesn't seem to protest this. I just don't get it. There was no reason for the entire story of Keith calling Veronica to check up on her while she was her boyfriend, except to add some "realism" to the storyline. But all the plot did was take away any sense of reality. I really didn't like it.

Which is something I might be able to say about this entire season, thus far. Definitely sub-par. I'm hoping for better days (I was happy to see a pudgier Weevil back in the picture). It's sad when your formerly favorite show doesn't excite you anymore.


Friday Night Lights Continues to Not Suck

In fact, it's doing much better than that. Friday Night Lights is beautiful. I won't say it's the highlight of my tv-watching week (that spot in my heart is reserved for Battlestar Gallactica) but it's creeping right up there. I don't think I've ever watched a television show that every week looks and feels like a brilliantly executed one hour film. There's nothing lazy about it. Every scene is gorgeous and real. And it honestly treats the race and class issues that haunt the small-town west without beating you over the head with them or preaching. They show up in the little moments. Last week we got the contrast between the black church services where people were cooling themselves with hand fans and the white church services in an air-conditioned 1960s style cathedral. This week when Saracen was on his tiny scorched front lawn trying to scrub the "loser" off his sign so his grandma wouldn't see, a bunch of kids drove by shouting insults out the window of their car. What got me about that scene was that the car had a big old dent in the driver's side and a fair share of primer on the hood. This was no highschool-on-TV car, it seemed real. And it contrasted with the shiny late-model vehicle we saw Lilah driving later in the episode.

The show conveys menace and dread in the smallest details. The sight of the new "refugee" quarterback walking off the field, shot from below so he looked 8 feet tall. You could just feel the dull thrum of panic in the team that this new, unknown element caused. And in the new quarterback's face, the face of someone who had lost everything and was being used by everyone around him . . . there was nothing.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Dumb Lawsuit of the Day

So it seems that Emerson Electric is suing NBC. Why, you ask. Well, it turns out that an Emerson garbage disposal was used in Heroes and one of the protagonists stuck her hand into it and it was (temporarily) mangled. (It's good to be a hero.) According to CNN, Emerson is claiming trademark infringement and that NBC has portrayed their product in a negative way. WHAT?!? By showing that someone who put her hand in a garbage disposal and then turns it on gets hurt--this somehow portrays a product in a bad light. (I'll leave to the side the intellectual property issue although this seems quite flimsy as well.) What it seems is happening--and as the CNN article states--is that Emerson is trying to get some free publicity by filing this law suit. Here's my response--(1) if I were the judge (not that anyone has asked me to be), I would sanction them for this patently frivolous assertion and (2) I urge the three of you reading this not to buy an Emerson garbage disposal (or any other Emerson product). Don't clog the legal system any more with these ridiculous suits. I'm Isaac, Your Bartender, and I approve this message.

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Percentage of people who, when told that you are planning a trip to Cambodia, say some variant of "Are you going to come home with a Cambodian baby?" -- 38.6.

Okay, I totally made that up. But seriously. A lot.

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Little Children

Here's my movie pick of the month: Todd Field's masterful Little Children starring Kate Winslet and Patrick Wilson (the hotty to the left). I loved Field's directorial debut -- In the Bedroom -- and his sophomore effort, Little Children, is just as intense and funny and riveting and powerful. Winslet and Wilson are both superb in their roles as bored suburban parents engaged in an adulterous affair and generally hoping for something more passionate out of life. The supporting cast members, including Jennifer Connolly and the guy who plays the neighborhood pedophile, also give memorable performances. I highly recommend the movie. (I saw it in New York - not sure if it's been released nationwide yet.)

If you don't trust me or my movie taste, check out the New York Times' review.



Speaking of nuclear Armageddon, you know what show does this right? Battlestar Galactica.

Where Jericho lacks to the courage to follow through on its own premise and really imagine a world in which most of America has been destroyed by nuclear weapons, and instead hews to televisions cliches -- to wit, an improvised tracheatomy by our hero in the first episode, are you freaking kidding me -- BSG does not shy away from any of it. It depicts the practical, emotional, political and spiritual fallout of seeing your civilization destroyed. And it just generally kicks ass.

This season is no exception. Four months have passed since the Cylons came and occupied the human outpost on New Caprica. The humans have formed an insurgency and are engaging in terrorist tactics against the occupiers and their human collaborators. In short, the show is pretty frankly asking the audience to put itself in the shoes of the Iraqi insurgents, which is a pretty gutsy thing to do. Luckily, it looks like this won't last long because Galactica is coming to the rescue.

The big questions are: What is going on with Starbuck? Is she just crazy? That baby can't really be hers, can it? I thought human-Cylon hybrids could only be succesful if conceived in love, or whatever? If not, why is Hera so special? Speaking of Hera, does anyone else see bad things afoot when Sharon and (the somehow even hotter than before) Helo find out that she's still alive? How is Apollo going to lose all that weight? Stay tuned . . . .



I don't get Showtime, but for some reason, I get Showtime on demand for free. While I might technically be committing a crime by doing so, I have been using the opportunity to watch the new show Dexter. Michael C. Hall (from Six Feet Under) plays a serial killer who only kills other serial killers.

In brief: it is awesome. I should probably preface this by saying that my feelings about serial killers are similar to Holt's feelings about nuclear Armageddon. I wouldn't want to encounter one in real life, but I can't get enough of fictional portrayals of them.

As revealed in flashbacks, Dexter was an abused foster kid who was taken in by a cop. After he kills some animals, his father realizes that he is a sociopath, and -- gradually -- channels his urge to kill into killing people who have gotten away with murder. In the present, Dexter is a crime scene analyst for the Miami police. By night, he hunts down people who have gamed the system to continue killing. Meanwhile, another serial killer seems to have figured out Dexter's secret and is engaging him an elaborate cat and mouse game, featuring dead prostitutes and severed body parts. Since Dexter is a sociopath -- fundamentally unable to form emotional connections to other people -- he is thrilled with the idea of having this kind of connection with another person. Hall is really good. He still has that tightly wound quality, but it is really fitting for someone who has to fake pretty much all of his interactions with other people.

I highly recommend it.


We're Doomed

This is not a political blog, and all that, but does anyone else find it troubling that the people overseeing the Great War on Terror don't know the difference between Sunnis and Shi'ites?

Scariest quote:

I told him briefly about the schism that developed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and how Iraq and Iran are majority Shiite nations while the rest of the Muslim world is mostly Sunni. “Now that you’ve explained it to me,” he replied, “what occurs to me is that it makes what we’re doing over there extremely difficult, not only in Iraq but that whole area.”

The "him" in question being the "vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence." Yowza.


Good News!

Ugly Betty has been picked up for the full season! Thanks Televisionary.



This show sure has a way with final scenes! Last week's final scene (Claire the indestructable cheerleader coming to on an autopsy table with her organs exposed after a rapist quarterback accidentally "killed" her) was really cool. But this week - Hiro appearing to Peter in a green-lit subway car where everything else is frozen in time to tell him in English that he'd come from the future? Very very cool. I'm finally starting to care a little bit about the characters . . . except the stripper with the split personality. I actually fast-forwarded through her scenes with the flying politician - someone tell me if I missed something important.

Seing Claire use her power to punish the teen rapist, seeing some of the heroes starting to interact with each other, having Sean kidnapped and tortured (?) by Claire's adopted dad, and Hiro's Vegas Rain Man interlude for a touch of levity? Most evenly enjoyable episode yet.

Any of the other Junkettes (or non-Junkette blog readers) watching? Is this show ever going to find a way to make the middles of the episode as enthralling as the final scenes? Anybody else wish we could have more Claire, more Hiro, and more Sean and less of everyone else?

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Tuesday Breakup

People is reporting that the less obnoxious and occasionally brunette Hilton sister and the Entourage actor Kevin Connolly have broken up. Aw.

Does that mean we slightly obsessive bloggers can stop wondering if she's pregnant?

I'm No Tax Lawyer, But . . .

I think Wesley Snipes needs a new accountant. Or perhaps he was upset because he seems to have fallen off the face of the earth and wanted a little attention. Can Blade IV: Blade vs. the IRS be in the works?

Monday, October 16, 2006


What is wrong with this picture? (Taken from the New York Times wedding page.)

The answer? The apostrophe is facing the wrong way. This drives me up a wall. And it shocks me that not only did "Bob and Gail" make this mistake on something they passed out at their wedding, but they submitted the photo to the New York Times. And not only did they submit this photo to the Times, but the Times printed it.

When will people learn that when apostrophes are used to replace part of a word, they should curve to the right? That is to say, when you write a word like "don't," in which the apostrophe replaces the "o" in "do not," the hollow part of the apostrophe faces to the left, while the full part faces to the right. It looks a little like a backward "c."

And replacing the first two numbers of a year is just the same as replacing the "o" in "do not." So the apostrophe should face in the same direction.

Have the New York Times' standards dropped this much?

Friday, October 13, 2006

Congratulations, Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk, the Turkish novelist was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature yesterday. I recently read his Istanbul: Memories and the City, which I greatly enjoyed, but I have yet to read any of his novels. His works focus on the dichotomies Turkey faces--Europe and Asia, Muslim and secular, Ataturk and the Ottomans, Istanbul and Constantinople. Turkey is in many ways the great hope of the Muslim world (a secular, Western, democracy), but it is imperfect at all of these things. Pamuk's work brings out the roots of these imperfections.

Having visited Istanbul with Mrs. Bartender last year, let me just say that it is one of the most spectacular cities I have ever seen. The dichotomies Pamuk writes of certainly create problems for Turkish identity and its future, but they also make the city fascinating culturally, architecturally, and gastronomically. Parts of it make you feel like you could be in San Francisco and at other times Cairo. We can't wait to return and explore much more of Turkey.

Some TV Thoughts

1. Hands down, The Office is now the funniest show on television. Michael Scott's telling Dwight to "Hug it out, bitch" was only topped by his kissing Oscar in the season premiere. The show just has numerous laugh out loud moments. Moreover, it keeps the plot moving in such interesting ways. Having Jim move to Stamford was genius--it keeps the show fresh, incorporates some new characters (without having a baby or adding Cousin Oliver), and adds a new dynamic to the Jim/Pam will they or won't they. The continuation of Michael and Jan's bizarre relationship is also a nice subplot. And Angela's Lady Macbeth moment last week was killer. So what I'm really saying is if you don't watch this show, you should. It may take a little time for a new viewer, but you must give it a chance. You will not regret it.

2. Which brings me to what was probably an even funnier show, Arrested Development. Yes, I know you've heard this all before, but I still miss my Bluths. Over the past two months, Mrs. Bartender and I watched the entire series (even though I had already seen most of the episodes). There is no word to describe this show except genius. I just keep my fingers crossed that Mitchell Hurwitz et al. will make the movie.

3. We've been watching both SNL shows on NBC. Studio 60 has been good but not great. It's hard to really care about the Matt/Harriet relationship as we don't know these characters yet but it is definitely the focal point of the show. The skits seem no funnier than the average SNL skit, i.e., some chuckles but certainly not cutting edge. And yet, as with all Aaron Sorkin shows, the dialogue is 5 notches above most other shows. I just have to keep reminding myself I'm not watching The West Wing.

As for 30 Rock, I was pleasantly amused. First, Alec Baldwin is just a great comedic (and non-comedic) actor. He may ham it up at times, but he is excellent and every scene he is in, he steals. Second, Tracy Morgan was surprisingly good although I am not sure if his madman routine will work in the long haul. We will see how things progress, but I will definitely tune in next week (or at least record the show).

4. No long Lost post this week, but I am still bitter about the ending of this week's episode. First, the Yankees lay a complete egg against the Tigers and then I am subjected to an even more bitter baseball memory. Damn you all! Mrs. Bartender keeps asking me if the writers know where the show is going, and I assure her that, at least to some extent, they do. Am I crazy to believe this? I'm just excited Hurley and Locke are back next week.

5. Finally, RIP Corey Lidle.

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Jericho - A little too much pool playing?

Before I'd even seen this week's episode, Bailey told me she was disappointed with the direction the show was heading, and her criticism was summed up by this (I paraphrase): "Don't you think there's a little too much standing around playing pool immediately after the apocolypse?" And yeah, I do. Even though this week's episode all revolved around finding enough gas to keep the hospital generator running, there just doesn't seem to be enough focus on the shortages this town is about to face. I mean, the gas they have is ALL they're going to have for the foreseeable future. Do you really think that in that situation they should be using it to keep the THREE TVs running and pool table lights on at the bar during the middle of the day? Seriously? And then there's Grace, the store owner who's all "I can't give gas to the hospital because I need my car." Which, fair point. But why the hell is she driving it purely as a means to get from her house to her store in the first place (carrying no cargo or other people as far as I could see)? Don't you think this situation kind of calls for, I don't know, a BIKE, or at the very least some sort of car pool plan?

Maybe it's just me, but I'd find a show that had a few more of those kinds of details, people struggling with the idea that this is the last of this sort of item this town might get so how can we allocate it and make it last, would be more interesting than this weird conspiracy with the "St. Lous cop."


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Project Runway - Michael Has Lost His Metaphorical Sheen, While Gaining All Kinds of Literal Sparkle

Anybody else terribly worried about Michael after last night's Project Runway? Everything I saw of his was, not to put too fine a point on it, fugly. The piratical cross-ties cinching up his white, show-opening dress were bad enough, but to see them echoed on a "modern urban safari" shirt with freaking GOLDEN SEQUINS on the pockets was just . . . not pretty. It was showing, as the Laura on the show and not on this blog, might say, serious ugly. (I'm so sorry I can't find any pictures!)

I was really interested in what we saw of the other collections though, especially Uli's. The bone belt buckle on the skirt we saw at her Miami apartment was gorg! And how cute was Uli talking about the American dream? I had no idea she grew up in East Germany. It makes her obsession with color and pattern and heat so much more understandable.

Laura's dresses looked stunning. Though the red one with the sparkles inside looked pretty blah on the dress form, but I imagine it will be look better on an actual body. I hope.

And Jeffrey. I felt so horrible for Jeffrey. I really believe that he worked his heart out on this collection, and it's going to be tragic if some taint hangs over him forever because of Laura's accusation. I think it's pretty assy of the producers to leave the question open for a whole week if their ultimate finding next week is that he did nothing wrong. These are serious allegations and it is cruel to hang someone's integrity out to dry for the sake of a "to be continued."

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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Advisors? They're amazing!

I was just reading the Us blog, and they quote her talking about her trip with Posh Spice in Paris: “I’m having so much fun. . . . It’s amazing!”

Much has been made of Katie constantly saying that everything is "amazing," making her seem more and more like a lobotomized shell of a woman, instead of a young, promising actress in her prime. So by this point, isn't there someone out there telling her not to say things are amazing? We know she has an advisor--that Scientologist who used to follow her around everywhere. And surely she and Tom have about fifty publicists in their stable.

And yet she continues to say that things are "amazing." Hell, by this point she shouldn't even need an advisor to tell her to stop. As long as she can read, she surely knows that "it's amazing" has become a punchline for any joke about her. Is she being tongue-in-cheek? Is she laughing at us all? Or is she just this dumb?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Blogs are reporting that Michael Knight from Project Runway and Brandy are a couple. I'm not sure I believe it.

In any event, Team Knight! I hope he kicks ass on the show tomorrow night.

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Just like in my dream

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie have reunited. It's official. According to this article, the formerly-fueding pair had "dinner" together (the quote are mine--really, do we think that Nicole actually ate anything?) and then waited for their car while texting on their Sidekicks. Because really, nothing says reunited friendship better than standing next to each other and not interacting.

But the best part: after leaving the restaurant, the two had a sleepover party. Which is exactly what happened in a dream I had a few months ago, in which I was hanging out at Paris' house, and then Nicole came over and told Paris she needed to talk, and they ended up having a sleepover. (I ended up going home, but not before Kathy Hilton tried to get me to drive 20 minutes away to pick her up some take-out, bring it back to her house, and then go back home again.)

It's like I'm psychic.

(Just for kicks, I included a photo of Nicole in heftier days. Just so we can all remember what she used to look like.)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Jack, Matt, Leo, and, oh yeah, Marty

Those four names alone make one want to see a movie, and The Departed does not disappoint. While it may not be Goodfellas or Raging Bull, it is a thoroughly captivating, at times hilarious, and extremely vicious film. The acting is, unsurprisingly, outstanding (including, in addition to the principals, Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg, and Alec Baldwin) as is the richly developed struggles of the two mirror figures, played by Damon and DiCaprio. Mrs. Bartender and I both highly recommend.

AND FROM HERE ON THERE ARE SPOILERS. Damon and DiCaprio play two young state police officers. Sgt. Sullivan (Damon), however, is a protege of Frank Costello (Nicholson), the head of Boston's Irish mob and is his rat in the force. Billy Costigan (DiCaprio), in contrast, goes undercover and infiltrates Costello's organization. The tensions they both feel in their double lives, which frequently intersect, is the heart of the story as is the question of loyalty. Sullivan is the epitome of this virtue, just unfortunately most of it is shown to the wrong man. He will not betray Costello, until he realizes that Costello himself is nowhere near as faithful as he is. He does not cheat on his girlfriend (although she is not so loyal). He even aspires to something grander--the State House. Considering the past history of Massachusetts political leaders (see, e.g., William Bolger), a connection to organized crime is not disqualifying and this is more than a pipe dream.

DiCaprio is better in this film than anything I have seen him in in years. His Costigan struggles with multiple loyalties that go back to his childhood where he split time between the wealthy north shore and southie and even getting thrown out of an elite prep school. His family, with the exception of his deceased father, was made up of crooks, and the tension between his dichotomous backgrounds is only exacerbated by his ties to both Costello and his police boss, Martin Sheen. Both are father figures to Costigan, who has lost both parents, and trying to decide who he is (while trying to find out who is the rat in the state police) leads to his near collapse.

The film is filled with typical Scorsese sequences, almost all of which keep the viewer riveted. Even though the movie is 2 1/2 hours, it moves along briskly with almost nothing I would cut (the one exception being the opera scene--just a chance for Jack to showboat while adding essentially nothing to the plot). While the plot may push credibility at times, we had such a good time watching the film, it really did not matter. And the final shot is a wonderful combination of humor and a moral that the film tell so well without beating the viewer over the head.

As of now, this would get my vote for Best Picture (but I realize the remaining contenders are just starting to come out).


Friday, October 06, 2006

Sometimes It's Better To Be Lost


Last night, Mrs. Bartender watched the final 3 episodes of season 2 followed by a late night viewing of the season 3 premier. The show continues to intrigue me even though I'm not sure that even they know where it's heading. Last night only featured 3 of our original castaways, and it appears that we may not even learn the fate of another crucial trio--Locke, Eko, and Desmond--next week. We did learn a little more about Jack as well as Kate and Sawyer but most of all we learned something about the Others.

--First, was that Lost or desperate Housewives at the start of the show. (Nice mirroring between the opening scene and the premier of last season.) We now know that the Others are suburbanites (on a fricking big island). Why? Were they abandoned here earlier? Are they part of the DHARMA initiative? Or not? Clearly Kelvin, who stated he was part of DHARMA, was not plugged into this society. Moreover, Ben/Henry Gale is their leader but is he "him," the leader to whom he and others have referred?

--The Others clearly have contact with the outside world. How else to explain all of the information they have on Jack (and presumably the rest of the survivors). This would explain the lists that Goodwin (and presumably Ethan) made of the survivors.

--As the season finale made clear (we think) and as reiterated last night, it appears happenstance that flight 815 crashed on the island. As opposed to the theory--a la Locke--that they were brought there for a reason, it appears random due to Desmond's not entering the numbers. (Granted fate could work in deeper ways, but this appears not to have been planned.)

--Nice shout out to Steven King, a big fan of the show. I think he'll enjoy being mocked. I think the book group was reading Carrie. A book about psychic powers, interesting.

--Jack is one messed up guy. Was he sad when Juliet told him that Sara is happy? I think so--as Sara herself observed, he is always looking for something to fix, and she doesn't seem to need fixing (assuming Juliet is telling the truth--big assumption). And now we can see that Jack can blame himself for his father's resuming drinking/killing a pregnant woman/losing his medical license/drinking himself to death in Australia. Or did he drink himself to death? Juliet has the autopsy (she says).

--As for Sawyer, it seemed very obvious that the escape was a ruse. In fact, I thought they were going to "execute" the guy that "freed" him.

--Finally, the show continues to intimate that there is some huge psychology experiment going on, but why? From the "observations" from the Pearl of the Swan that were actually an experiment of their own (sorry, Locke) to what is now being done to Jack, Sawyer, and Kate, this has been a constant theme. Ben/Henry and Juliet both appear to be psychologists and we also know that Libby claimed to be one. What is the purpose of all of this?

As always, Lost leaves me with a lot of questions but a looking forward to next week.


First Sad Cancellation of the Fall Season

Just heard on CNN that that Kidnapped has been cancelled. The network will air the remaining shows, but they've shut down production. I was really getting into this show, so I'm sad. But I also realized yesterday when I was listing just SOME of the TV shows I watch to an acquaintance and she looked at me in horror how insane my schedule is, so . . . I'm going to look on the bright side. They've given me one hour of my life back!


Thursday, October 05, 2006

This is why technology sucks

My DVR hasn't been working well lately. Two nights ago I realized that Veronica Mars wasn't on the recording schedule. I knew I had set a season recording for it, and when I checked, the DVR told me that was the case. And yet--it hadn't scheduled to tape any episodes! I tried everything I could think of to make it recognize the season recording, but it wouldn't. Eventually, I had to program each show individually. I wasn't happy, but I felt lucky that I realized it before the show began.

Last night I wasn't quite as lucky. My DVR recognized I had a season recording set for Lost. In fact, my DVR said it was recording Lost. And yet...it didn't record the show! I figured this out 45 minutes into the episode and, again, nothing I did seemed to fix the problem. Which means that I didn't get to watch Lost last night, even though I had been eagerly awaiting the episode since May, and now I have to watch it on my tiny computer screen instead of my 50" plasma.

Life is just really tough sometimes.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Welcome, neighbors!

There was a time about a year ago when rumors were flying that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were buying a home in her native Ohio, so that she could be near her family after baby Suri arrived. Nothing seemed to come of that.

But now that Tom and Katie are super best friends with Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder, it looks like they be moving to (just a little outside) our 'hood. That's right--at least one report has Tom and Katie purchasing a home in Upperville, VA. A $22 million home, in fact. Which you can check out right here.

I have to admit, I wouldn't mind an invite.

Thanks to Mrs. King for telling me about this!


Friday Night Lights

It was awesome. I loved every second of it. Totally lived up to the hype (which is always hard, even for great shows). Within minutes, I actually cared about the characters. Many tears were a rollin' down my cheeks throughout the episode.

Can't wait for next week.

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It's a little weird, but I like it

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard have announced that she gave birth to a baby girl yesterday. The name? No, it wasn't "aa." It's Ramona. Which I have to admit I kind of like. But only if they named her after Ramona Quimby, Age 8.

Check out Spin's artist of the day

Here. In case you weren't aware, Lost premieres tonight. I won't be watching for a few days as I wait for Mrs. Bartender to watch the final 4 episodes of season 2 on DVD. (She has watched the entire series over the past few months--a great activity while feeding Isaac, Jr.) Hopefully, by Sunday, I will be able to watch it.

Death of a Giant

R.W. "Johnny" Apple passed away today at the age of 71. He was one of my heroes. Not only was he the NY Times bureau chief in cities around the world (including DC) and the possessor of top notch political insight, but he was also a lover of food, drink, culture, and travel. His collection of travel recommendations of 40 major US and Canadian cities is an invaluable tool for knowing what not to miss in one's travels. The Times article reporting his death is here. He cannot be replaced.

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Picture of the Week

I call it Incompetence, Obliviousness, and Unseemliness. (In case you're keeping score, that's former FEMA Director Michael ("Heck of a Job, Brownie") Brown, President George W. Bush, and former Congressman Mark ("I would drive a few miles for a hot stud like you") Foley.) Hat tip, Andrew.

All the Cool Kids are Watching Battlestar Gallactica

Or at least the dorks who write two of my other favorite shows, Veronica Mars and the Gilmore Girls are watching. Both shows namechecked BSG last night and the curse of the future: "frak." It really is a great word.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I just saw someone on the street wearing those anti-cellulite shoes that they sell at Bliss.

Listen, I'm no fan of cellulite, but I have never understood why anyone would want to wear shoes that announce to the world: "I have cellulite and I'm so concerned about it that I'm willing to walk around in public wearing these ugly shoes."


A Long Time Ago . . .

You know what tonight is, right? The return of our favorite detective. At 9 on the CW.


Terror in the Skies

I recommend this article in today's NYT, written by a Times columnist who happened to be on the private jet that survived a midair collision over the Amazon. Harrowing!


Monday, October 02, 2006

Setting the Bar High

The NY Times' review of Friday Night Lights is just a LITTLE over the top:
Lord, is “Friday Night Lights” good. In fact, if the season is anything like the pilot, this new drama about high school football could be great — and not just television great, but great in the way of a poem or painting
Wow. I sure hope it lives up to that.

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Insensitivity on a reality show?

Who would have thought?

Last night, one of the challenges on The Amazing Race led the participants to the "Hanoi Hilton"--where Vietnam POWs were held and tortured. And it really struck me as wrong that the teams were running around the place, searching frantically for their clue, when it was a place of such misery for so many people.

The Cho Bros. actually did take some time to pay their respects, as it were. And I don't blame the other teams for not doing so--they were racing, after all. But the whole situation just left me feeling a little unsettled, and I wondered why the challenge couldn't have just been in another place. I know that in the past, the Race has informed teams when they couldn't run or shout in a particular place (usually because it has religious significance). I can understand not wanting to do that here, but if that were the case, couldn't they have just skipped it all together?

Did anyone else feel unsettled when watching this last night?

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A Weepy Afternoon at the Movies

I went to see the new Ashton Kutcher/Kevin Costner in the Coast Guard movie The Guardian this weekend, and it was a very fine, noble, serviceable piece of entertainment. It had the requisite plot devices - watery heroics, crusty mentor, brash but troubled protege, new love, old love, power struggle - that this particular genre requires, with not too many clunky lines. But what I really wanted to post about was how many times I cried. THREE times people. And not a single tear was shed during the movie I went to see.

The waterworks began with a preview for the new Will Smith movie The Pursuit of Happyness. Yeah, I know. I haven't teared up at a Will Smith movie since Six Degrees of Separation. But in the movie Smith plays this guy with greying hair trying to keep it all together in front of his very young son as they're trodden down further and further into homelessness and desperation as Will pursues his dream of becoming a stockbroker. Ok, that sounds kind of stupid, but the preview is seriously sappy y'all. And I wasn't sobbing, just had a tear or two in my eye . . .

But then, oh but then they followed the sappy tearjerker with a MONDO sappy tearjerker with a preview for We Are Marshall. Have any of you seen this preview yet? Oh my god it is heart rending. The movie is based on a true story. In 1970 a plane carrying most of Marshall University's football team and coaches crashed into the side of a mountain killing all 75 people on board. And then somehow Matthew McConnaghey shows up and I went from slightly misty-eyed to sobbing in two minutes flat.

Thankfully the previews of tragedy were interrupted by a preview for some fantasy movie about dragons and I was able to pull myself together before The Guardian started. And I'll have you know that I managed to sit through the whole damn thing without shedding a single tear until the bastards got me with the credits. THE CREDITS! They started a slide show of these old Coast Guard photos. After sitting through this entire movie about a service whose motto is "So that others may live" I started tearing up at these photos of real people who had risked their lives over the years to save others and then, and THEN they transitioned into photos of the Coast Guard rescuing people during the floods after Hurricane Katrina and it was over. To top it all off I noticed just how many REAL Coast Guard employees had played parts in the movie. Sopping puddle of mess.

I'm so ashamed.