Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Battlestar Galactica Season 3 DVD Update

Last week Holt posted that Battlestar Galactica Season 4 would not premiere until April 2008. I have only watched seasons 1 and 2, and suspected this didn't bode well for the season 3 DVD release.

I was right.

It looks like the season 3 DVD will also release in April 2008. What really sucks is that it is already available in region 2 (basically Europe and the Middle East) and will be available in late November in region 4 (Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Central and South America).

This is a tough predicament. I could just buy the season on iTunes and start watching immediately. But it's so much more enjoyable watching on the 50 inch television. What to do?


This isn't really her kid, right?

Holt pointed out to me that Us Weekly has posted a photo on their blog which they claim is Liz Hurley, her husband, Hugh Grant and Liz's five year old son, Damian.

A quick Google search confirms that Damian is, in fact, five years old.

But here's the thing--here is Damian's photo at his mother's wedding in March 2007:

And here is Damian now (eight months later):

So...the second picture isn't Damian after a growth spurt, is it? Because if so, that would be the biggest growth spurt ever and the largest five year old since Andre the Giant, right?


Vaya con Satan, A-Rod

Let me start by saying something nice about A-Rod and his agent, Scott Boras (whom The New Yorker ran a great profile of last week). By releasing the news that A-Rod was opting out of his contract in the middle of the final game of the World Series, the two of them diverted much of the sports talk away from the Red Sox winning the title. As a Yankee fan, I am happy not to listen to this crap or watch Jonathan Papelbon do his idiotic dance.

That being said, this was only the latest in what can only be described as a series of arrogant and low class moves. If he wanted to leave the Yankees, fine, but to release the info when he did is nothing short of disgusting. And I hope that for someone who seems to care only about money, he ends up with less (much less) than he would have gotten had he stayed in the Bronx.

As far as baseball in the Bronx next year, I am optimistic. For those who read The Sports Guy, he has discussed for years "The Ewing Theory," which holds that a team plays better when a particular star player is injured or no longer with the team. The genesis of the term was the 1999 NBA Playoffs where after Ewing's injury, the Knicks rallied to beat the Indiana Pacers and advance to the NBA Finals. (Yes, kids, the Knicks were once good.) There was other evidence in support of this theory regarding Ewing, but most of his defeats in the pros were at the hands of Michael Jordan, and he did win a title at Georgetown. (Of course, he often made idiotic guarantees of victory, and the Knicks almost always proceeded to lose.)

Yet, the theory should, it would seem, more properly be named for A-Rod. He is, without doubt, the best player in the game. His statistics in the regular season are beyond compare and when he retires, he will, almost certainly, hold numerous records including the granddaddy of them all, the HR record. And yet, look at what happens when he leaves a team:

2000 Mariners 91-71 (w/ A-Rod)
2001 Mariners 116-46 (w/o A-Rod)

2003 Rangers 71-91 (w/ A-Rod)
2004 Rangers 89-73(w/o A-Rod)

And it wasn't like these teams got a lot of talent when A-Rod left. (The Mariners got nothing, in fact, for him.) Improvements of 18 and 25 games are extremely rare, and yet they occurred when A-Rod left. In fact, the 2001 Mariners tied the record for most regular season wins. For the record, a bad 2000 Rangers team increased its win total barely when A-Rod joined them--from 71 to 73, both years far in the cellar. The 2004 Yankees had the same record as the prior year but lost in the ALCS after having made it to the World Series the prior year.

Thus, put your money now on the Yankees at least making the ALCS next year. Of course, the one thing that would truly guarantee a great Yankee year--the Red Sox signing A-Rod.


Friday, October 26, 2007

Oh NO!!!

According to the LA Times (via Televisionary) Battlestar Galactica's fourth and final season won't be back until APRIL. Let me repeat that for those of you, who, like me, will refuse to hear that horrible horrible news the first time. We won't find out what the HELL that season finale meant until APRIL.

I'm really trying to look on the bright side here, which is that I might actually have cable again by then.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Michael Clayton

I saw Michael Clayton on Saturday and I recommend it. Good acting, suspenseful, etc.

But, as a lawyer, I have a few thoughts about its depiction of life at large firms.

First, it got some of the details right -- especially the associates in the hotel room having no idea what to do when the partner becomes indisposed. But a lot of things wrong. Hilariously, at one point, they talk about how much discovery they've done in the case and mention 400 depositions (an absurdly high number) and 85,000 documents (an absurdly low number). They also talk about how the partners went out for drinks when the number of billable hours on the case hit 30,000. Again, for a nationwide class action that's been going on for 6 years, that's nothing.

Second, it's really strange to watch George Clooney talk about document review!

Third, I really like very realistic movies, a style that I associate with the 1970s. A recent example of a movie in this genre is The Insider. I think that's what Michael Clayton was going for, but it missed the mark. The bad guys were too bad, which made the ethical dilemmas the characters faced too easy. It's too bad because I think that there's an interesting movie to be made about how much power corporations have, the pressures on individuals within that world to bend the rules, how the rules and gamesmanship and legal system can blind you to the underlying truth and fairness of the matter. But this isn't that movie. [Spoiler alert!] I mean, the managing partner at a major law firm would not let a client destroy key documents. And the general counsel at a major corporation wouldn't have people killed to keep the truth from coming out.

But don't let that dissuade you from seeing it. P.S. The tracking shot at the end is a thing of beauty.

New Favorite Radio Station

The last couple of times I was in Portland, Oregon I couldn't get enough of this radio station, KNRK 94.7. It bills itself as "Alternative Portland" and its slogan is "It's different here." (Which, on a sidenote - word - Portland is very different.) Anyway, it's a mix of modern alternative music, whatever that means, and classics from the 80s and 90s. The mix is fabulous. I just heard Talking Head, Green Day, and Tears for Fears. I know everyone has different music preferences, but . . . if this sounds at all appealing, check out their audio stream here. The registration process is a little annoying, but I think worth it. (It may not be if you are lucky enough to be able to listen to satellite radio at home or the office, but I'm not that lucky. If you want to get a better sense of what they play before registering for yet another website, here's their recent playlist.)

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Pandering At Its Worst

No one--at least until now--has ever questioned Rudy Giuliani's credentials as a Yankee fan. Throughout his mayoralty, he loyally rooted for the Bronx Bombers and never paid much attention to the other NY team. (Red Fraggle--what are they called again?) But then yesterday, Rudy let it be known that he was pulling for the Sox in the Series. He claims that this decision was made out of AL loyalty. I call BS. No true Yankee fan would ever root for the Sox in the Series. We hate the Red Sox; hate all things Red Sox; heck, we won't even wear red socks. All Rudy is doing is trying to win some more votes in NH, which, it just so happens, is located near Boston. Hillary rightly took heat for claiming in 2000 to have always been a Yankee fan; this is even worse as Rudy sells out his love for the Yankees in his attempt to win the GOP nomination. (Well, I guess if Romney can reverse himself on every thing he ever stood for, Rudy can betray himself here.)

For what it's worth, I pick the Sox in 6, but I hope the Rockies win.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A Little Awkward Even For Curb

SPOILERS. Curb Your Enthusiasm has always thrived on the awkward moments. Larry does things he really shouldn't do because he (like his alter ego, George Costanza) follows his own set of rules. At times, his rules make more sense than the rules most people follow, but it doesn't lessen the uncomfortableness of certain scenes.

This week, however, Larry's television wife, Cheryl, left him, essentially because he hung up on her when she was afraid her flight was going to crash while the TiVO guy was at their house. There were some hysterical moments (Larry's trying to woo her back by explaining he always carries mints, tissues, and pens, and the behavior of Super Dave aka Funkhauser), but as I watched the episode, there remained the awkwardness of knowing that Larry and his real wife, Laurie, had split up over the summer. How much reality inspired this, I don't know, but it definitely made the episode stranger than most. What happens over the final three episodes remains to be seen, and of course, I laughed a lot on Sunday night, but this is going to be tough to watch. (Of course, few shows other than Curb would even address this.)


Well, That Sucked or Possibly the Most Obvious Movie Review Ever

Yesterday I really wanted to see a movie. Like, willing-to-drive-200-miles-roundtrip-to-get-to-a-theater-whose-sole-offering-wasn't-a-daily-showing-of-The Kingdom-wanted to see a movie. But I wasn't in the mood for anything heavy, serious, or violent. I didn't want to watch Cate Blanchette in huge dresses making googly eyes at Clive Owen, or Viggo Mortensen with his goodies dangling beating people up, or Brad Pitt staring pensively at the screen with Casey Affleck actually acting in the background. In other words, I was desperate for a good, old-fashioned, rom-com. But are there any to be found out there? HELL NO. The marquees read, to my eyes, like a recipe for depression. Even what should be good old action flicks (like, for example, something starring Jennifer Garner and Jamie Foxx for god's sake!) are set in the Middle Eeast and seem to have depressing real-world ties. What the hell is up with this? The studio execs who plan release dates should really get together and have a nice collective viewing of that classic Sullivan's Travels.

Anyway, that long preliminary rant is just to explain why I saw The Game Plan yesterday. For those of you who haven't seen the trailer or read a review (I'm assuming none of you have actually seen the movie) the poster pretty much gives you the story. The Rock is a big old selfish football player who finds out he has an adorable ballet-loving moppet of a daughter who throws his life into chaos until he and all his teammates/friends (SPOILER ALERT) learn to adore her on their way to winning the football championship. I actually, in spite of wanting a romantic-comedy, not daddy-daughter comedy, kind of wanted to see this. I did, after all, see The Pacifier (with Vin Diesel playing a Navy SEAL/nanny and 4 or 5 adorable moppetts) in the theater, and kind of enjoyed it. But The Game Plan makes The Pacifier look like Oscar bait. It was that bad. The Rock is no Vin Diesel. And the annoying love intererest in The Game Plan (played by that Spanish woman from Without a Trace) is DEFINITELY no Lauren Graham (who played the same role in The Pacifier). But . . . I sat through the whole damn thing. And it really really sucked. So even if you're desperate, don't do it. Just . . . pop in a DVD of While You Were Sleeping, or About a Boy, like I should have done yesterday, and will do today.


Friday, October 19, 2007

For the love of Iggy

I'm not really sure why I haven't posted about the whole Ellen Degeneres dog debacle before now, because I certainly have a lot of thoughts on the topic. I suspect everyone reading this knows the background, but as a quick primer for the uninitiated, Ellen and her girlfriend, Portia DiRossi, adopted a puppy from a LA-area rescue group, signing a contract that said if they couldn't keep the puppy, they would return him to the rescue group (this is pretty standard for a rescue group). When the group called her a few weeks after the adoption to ask how the dog was doing, she said the dog didn't get along with their cats, and she therefore rehomed it, giving it to her hairdresser, who has two children, ages 11 and 12. The rescue group heard this and went to the hairdresser's home, along with animal control, and took the dog back.

Ellen then went on her show to beg the group to give the dog back to the hairdresser, tearfully explaining that the children were now attached to Iggy. She also said that she "apparently" signed a contract saying she would return Iggy to the rescue if it didn't work out, but that the rescue "is not a home." The rescue has since stated that it won't give Iggy back to the hairdresser because they have a rule prohibiting families with children under 14 to adopt small dogs. Last night, an attorney for the group stated that the rescue actually told the family they would consider them if they applied for Iggy, but they refused to do so. The director of the rescue has received death threats. And everyone has an opinion on who was wrong.

Including me. What really bothers me about this situation is the disservice Ellen, who states she loves animals and was clearly trying to do the right thing by adopting from a rescue, rather than going to a breeder or, worse, a pet store, is doing to rescues throughout the country. Rescues already get a bad rap from a lot of people who don't understand why they have so many rules. I volunteer with a rescue group and we require an application, a quick phone interview, a vet reference (if you have had pets in the past; if you haven't, you need to state who you will use) and a home visit. We also require a contract that has a clause that states if you can't keep the pet for any reason, you return it to the rescue.

Is this overkill? No. It's actually all important. If someone isn't willing to fill out a short application with about 10 questions (name, address, phone number, animal you want, how long you are at home, whether you rent and can have pets, landlord reference, vet reference, current and previous pets and what happened to previous pets) then you really don't have the time to take care of an animal. The landlord reference is important to be sure the person can have pets. I don't want to adopt out an animal only to have it returned in six months because "the landlord won't let me keep it." The vet reference is important to make sure the animals currently and formerly in the person's care were treated well (it also sometimes reveals lies elsewhere in an application--a person will say Fido died of old age, when in fact Fido and his six siblings were all hit by cars because the owner leaves them loose in the front yard). Information on current animals is important to make sure the pet applied for is a good match, and information on previous animals is helpful because it can help reveal whether the owner has been responsible in the past. A home visit is done so a rescue representative can meet the applicant, see how their current animals are treated, and give them tips about potential hazards they notice in the home.

And then there is the clause that the animal be returned to the rescue. This is one of the most important aspects of the adoption process. Without this clause, a person can rehome the animal to anyone. What does this mean? All the careful checking the rescue group did for the first applicant is useless if that applicant just turns around and gives the dog to someone else. The group has no idea if the new owner has been charged with animal cruelty (we do check), whether they are allowed to own pets, whether they have euthanized their last three pets when they became "too difficult," or are a bad home for the pet for any number of reasons. If someone does decide they can't keep their pet and has a great new home for it, the solution is easy: tell the rescue group. Basically every rescue I know will then put the new adopters through their screening process and if all goes well, give them the pet.

So what disappoints me so much about Ellen isn't that she went on the show to beg for the dog to be returned. It's that she hasn't explained why these rules exist and are important, and hasn't given any other rescue group the opportunity to do so. Her appearances have only made rescues seem unreasonable and draconian.

That's not to say that I agree with the actions of the rescue group in this situation. It all depends on what happened. If the story their attorney shared is correct and the group offered to allow this family adopt if they filled out the application, and they refused, then the group has done nothing wrong. If that isn't the case and they simply refused because of the ages of the children, I think they could have been more flexible. Although I understand age guidelines for certain dogs and breeds, in this case, the children are pretty close in age to 14 and if they were mature enough to handle the dog responsibly, I think the rescue group could have had the family go through its typical adoption procedures and, if they "passed," allowed them to keep the dog. (I say all this without any real information about how Iggy was being treated and what the children are like, but I am assuming they are good kids who loved the dog and the dog was doing well.)

But even if this rescue group was too strict, not all of them are. Nor have I ever come across a rescue like the one Heather Havrilesky wrote about on salon.com. She claims that, as an adopter looking for a young dog, she was pointed to senior dogs or dogs who were ill and needed special medical attention. That makes no sense and I simply cannot imagine a rescue group that would do so. The rescue wants to place all of their animals in the best possible homes. So if someone wants a young dog, every rescue group I know will actually match them up with a young dog. Even if they presented a dog that was more special needs, they certainly wouldn't do so to the exclusion of others. I have to wonder whether Havrilesky only went to one rescue group, because it just does not sound realistic.

At the end of the day, I'm sad that this will discourage people from going through rescue groups or shelters (who usually have similar policies) to adopt their pets. Instead they will go to the nearby pet store, full of animals from unethical backyard breeders, because they don't ask any questions as long as you can pay their fee.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Think It's October

The calendar says it is October which means it must be the baseball playoffs although too often this postseason, there has not been any baseball. Here are some random thoughts on what has occurred (and not occurred) over the past several weeks.

1. As indicated, the added days off are awful. Not only does this kill the momentum of a series, but Game 7 of the World Series is schedule for November 1. At least the game will be in Cleveland or Boston, so you know it won't be too cold. Moreover, the added day(s) of rest have, for the most part, to benefit the worse team. To be clear, one would figure that, on average, the stronger team would have a deeper pitching staff, but the added days off lessen that advantage. And in baseball, a sport where the differential between the playoff teams is extremely slim, every advantage given to the lesser team increases the randomness in postseason outcome. (I'm talking about you, the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals.)

2. I admit that I used to like Tim McCarver, but he has gotten really bad. His shock--repeated the other night--at discovering that a team is more likely to score 2+ runs after a leadoff home run than a lead off walk is beyond stupid. Look at it this way, Tim, would you be more likely to score 1 run with no one on and no one on base or score at least 2 runs with no one on and a runner on first. Not hard to guess which is more likely.

3. Be sure to watch FrankTV, starting Novemeber 20. Sorry, that just gets programmed into you.

4. Speaking of TBS, I do not begrudge MLB for having their games on this network. However, having Chip Caray as the main announcer was an utter disaster as Richard Sandomir and others pointed out. Even worse, was agreeing to 10pm start times for 2 of the NLCS games. Now I can live with the late start during the division series because there are 4 series occurring. However, I believe that this is the first time that the Champioship Series has had late games. MLB should not allow this. They should, as they have in the past, require that when there are 2 games, one starts at around 4:30 EDT and the other at 8 (and I mean the first pitch at 8 or 8:07). Otherwise, virtually no one on the east coast (and midwest for that matter) makes it to the end of the late games (or the early games if the Red Sox and Indians play another game like game 2). Yes, FOX is dreading the likelihood of Cleveland/Colorado, but if America had had more of a chance to watch the Rockies, there would have been more interest in one of the great baseball stories and one of the soundiest teams that I have ever watched.

5. When a ball goes past Manny's head in his first game against the Tribe next year, do you think he will have any idea why they are throwing at him?

If the Indians win tonight, enjoy the near week of no baseball before Game 1 next Wednesday.


A sex change for Mr. Men?

As a child, I loved Roger Hargreaves' Mr. Men and Little Miss books. As an adult, I still love them. I'm such a fan that I own two Little Miss Bossy shirts (one purchased, one homemade), one Mr. Messy shirt (homemade), a Little Miss Chatterbox shirt (purchased), a Little Miss Stubborn shirt (purchased) and a pair of Little Miss Bossy pajama pants (purchased, and by now you have probably figured out who my favorite Little Miss was). I also bought my niece (9 months old) a Little Miss Naughty dress, which is totally adorable. Back in 2002, a friend and I wanted to buy the rights to Little Miss and Mr. Men so that we could sell tee-shirts with their likeness. We were convinced it would make a good amount of money. I guess we were right, because the company, Chorion, that did purchase said rights, now sells the apparel in Saks and Nordstrom.

But Chorion has also done something that I just can't abide. They are putting together a television show and in so doing have changed the look of some of the Mr. Men and Little Miss Characters. What's worse, although they had 83 characters to choose from and only took 25, they still managed to change the gender of a few!

The formerly excellent website, mrmen.com, now only features these 25 pseudo-characters, and you can see the changes for yourself. I warn any fan of the series: it's not pretty. Mr. Messy is wearing blue sneakers? Little Miss Naughty has hair?! (And pink hair, at that.) Luckily, there is a "classic" site available, but even it doesn't feature all of the characters. Where is Little Miss Bossy? Little Miss Scatterbrain? Little Miss Splendid? Terrible.

Definitely feeling a lot more like Mr. Grumpy than Little Miss Sunshine right about now.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Thank You, Mayor Fenty

Today, Washington, DC Mayor Adrian Fenty signed an order requiring DC cabs to abandon the zone system and install meters. As with most DC-area residents, I am thrilled by this development. The zone system was awful--rendering extremely short trips too expensive to warrant using a cab and ripe for abuse. In fact, more than half the time I used a cab, the driver tried to rip me off; I can only imagine what happened to tourists who had virtually no shot at deciphering the zone system. While the cabbies have fought against this tooth and nail, the city has finally done the right thing. Now if only the cabbies will learn that if they are vacant, the light on the roof should be on, and if they have a fare, it should be off. Really, is that so complicated?


Friday, October 12, 2007

Let's Be Frank

Any of us who have been watching the baseball playoffs on TBS have quickly come to learn that FrankTV debuts on November 20. The Frank in question is Frank Caliendo who in the commercials that seem to air during every station break does a series of impressions of, among others, George W. Bush, John Madden, Al Pacino, and Dr. Phil. He actually is very good at the impressions, but the overkill of the ad campaign (as occurs for some show every baseball postseason) makes it ripe for ripping.

Here, however, are my suggestions for additional impressions that Frank should do in his commercials:
  • Dane Cook admitting (1) that he knows nothing about baseball, (2) that the only reason he become spokesman for the postseason (in a truly annoying ad campaign) is because he has compromising pictures of Bud Selig and a transvestite prostitute, and (3) admitting that his "comedy" career began when he accidentally wandered onto the stage at the Improv and some drunk talent scout somehow thought he was funny.
  • John Cougar Mellencamp singing about the checks he has received from Chevy, how no one was even talking about him because he decided that his latest "hit" should be a car commercial, and telling everyone that this is my country and everyone else can go to hell.
  • And, of course, Ron Silver, screaming, "His father's the district attorney." (For those of you who don't get this last reference, I refer you to the 2003 postseason and the constant ads for the show Skin. The show may have only lasted 3 episodes, but the ads remain one of my two favorite memories of that postseason, the other involves Aaron Boone.)


Thursday, October 11, 2007

Courthouse chic

I have refrained from posting about the Britney Spears saga for months, but this was so funny I couldn't help myself:
Superior Court Commissioner Scott Gordon asked the clerk to swear her in under
oath. Spears raised her right hand and said "I do.”
He then asked Spears to
state her name, and she responded, "Britney." Gordon clarified, "Your full
name." She replied, "Britney Spears."
He then said, "The petitioner is
wearing sunglasses, but counsel said there is a medical condition."

Source: Us Weekly

Am I the only one cracking up that she only gave her first name? Or is this something most people might do? And as for the sunglasses...perhaps she was at the ophthalmologist and got her eyes dilated?


Josh Ritter

I saw Josh Ritter at the 9:30 club on Tuesday night and it was fantastic. As I mentioned here last December, I loved the Animal Years, the cd he released last year. On the first few listens, I don't like his new cd The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter quite as much, but it's still pretty good -- well worth listening to.

Still, truth be told, I was not particularly looking forward to the show, which I bought tickets for about a month ago. Mostly because it didn't start until 10 o'clock on a Tuesday night. What the hell? I'm too old for that crap. Plus, I had to miss then end of House.

But I'm so glad I went. He was great. The band was great. He had a horn section! But mostly he was just so happy, it was infectious. He kept saying how happy he was to be there and thanking us for coming and whenever the horns would come on, he would say "Horns!" and, at one point, he said it was the biggest show he'd ever played in the U.S. I would also like to say that the smoking ban makes seeing a concert at the 9:30 club a much more pleasant experience.

It was webcast on NPR's Web site. You can find it here. The sound is not that great (but that could just be my speakers), but at the 16:30 mark you can hear my friend J. shouting "Yes," when he asked if anyone in the audience was from North Dakota.

So, the strange thing is that when I came to work yesterday morning I called this guy who is basically my boss to talk about work. And we were chitchatting and I said that I had been to a show last night and that he probably wouldn't have heard of the guy, but when I said the name Josh Ritter, my boss starting singing "Idaho," a song off of The Animal Years. He said he had seen him a few times, but mostly because this other guy we work with is such a huge fan that he's seen him 10 times, including flying to Dublin to see him a few weeks ago. That's devotion!

Anyway, I would like to point out for our readers that the's playing in Minneapolis on October 17 and in Boise on October 20, among other tour dates.

I love me some Anthony Bourdain

People is quoting Anthony Bourdain's attack on Rachael Ray in Outside magazine. Apparently Ray is now a spokesperson for Dunkin Donuts? Who knew? Not the girl without television reception, but that's a bitterness for another day, anyway, this is part of what Bourdain had to say . . .
I'm not a very ethical guy. I don't have a lot of principles. But somehow this seems to me over the line. Juvenile diabetes has exploded. Half of Americans don't have necks. And she's up their saying, 'Eat some [...] Dunkin' Donuts. You look great in that swimsuit – eat another doughnut! That's evil.
Man, I love this guy. Of course, I also love a good donut now and then . . .

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Violet on the Runway

The release date of this book is slightly unfortunate, because I suspect it would have been perfect beach reading, but I am nevertheless going to strongly recommend all of you readers go to your nearest bookstore and pick up Violet on the Runway.

Why? First off, it's about a teenager who is tapped to become a model and uproots her life to NYC so she can negotiate the high-pressure industry. For anyone who has loved Sweet Valley High, Teen Magazine's "Great Model Search" (remember when Tiffani-Amber Thiessen and some other girl named Tiffany tied for the prize?) and America's Next Top Model, this is probably a must-read. Oh, and if you are a Tarheel (and I know we have at least one) some of the book takes place in Chapel Hill!

Also, it is written by one of my college classmates. She was the Features Editor of the school paper while I was the Senior Editor, and when I decided I wanted to be drunk my entire last semester of college instead of being Editor-in-Chief, she stepped in and did an amazing job. Which may help to explain why she is now a published author with a three-book deal and I am writing posts about quadraboob and South Park on this blog. But be that as it may, she is a really talented writer, and I'm sure her book reflects that.

Once I read the book, I'll report back with a review. But if any other Junkette finishes first, feel free to post your own review. I won't be offended.

"Over the moon!"

Us Weekly is confirming that Jennifer Lopez is pregnant. And, according to a friend, she is "over the moon."

I'm as big a fan of "Hey Diddle Diddle" as the next Fraggle, but what is up with this saying? Have you ever heard anyone use it in real life? I haven't. Yet every time a celebrity has some good news, s/he is reportedly over the moon.

J-Lo. Lionel Ritchie when he heard of Nicole's pregnancy. Eva Longoria, describing Marcia Cross' feelings on getting married. Toni Colette, on her pregnancy. Enough already! Can't they just be happy? Is happy not enough? Thrilled? Ecstatic?

When I read someone using the term, I immediately like them less (which is sad, because I always liked Toni Colette). Luckily, J.Lo. herself hasn't used the phrase (yet). This is good news, because I don't think I could be friends with someone who says "over the moon," and if I ever met her, I think I would want to be J.Lo's pal (once I convinced her that fur was evil, of course).

Reason #137 that Cass Sunstein Kicks Ass

Comb-overs are hott.

So, the Chronicle of Higher Education asked a bunch of scholars what their guilty pleasures were. Among the incredibly lame answers: bike-riding, Sudoku, studying languages, opening new text books, and landscape restoration. What is up with these people?

The only recognizably human response was from Cass Sunstein, who cited his love for Lost, including having visited Lostpedia. Now that's more like it.

Reason #136 That Going to Law School Ruins Your Life

So, I have seen the idea of organizing your books by color in a bunch of places recently and always thought that it was cool, but my books are just not that colorful.

On design*sponge today there was a before and after picture that makes my point. Notice how the books in the two pictures are totally different. And the legal case books on the bottom shelf of the before picture are nowhere to be found in the after picture.
(Note: Post title is for humor value only. I actually liked law school.)

I'm Ready For Some Football

As I noted last week, I bought the Season 1 DVDs of Friday Night Lights. I will agree with Red Fraggle and The Sports Guy (and when the two of them agree on something, it can't be wrong) that the first season was excellent. Sure, there were some hiccups, but the show contained outstanding acting, interesting story lines, and some good football scenes (even if virtually every game was decided on the final play). Of course, the ratings were lousy, but NBC, to its credit, kept the show alive.

Season 2 debuted on Friday night (!), and I managed to watch the final two episodes of season 1 and the season 2 premiere that evening. (It did help me get over the gnat-infested nightmare that likely cost Joe Torre his job.) As other critics have pointed out, the premiere contains a plot twist that could ruin the series.

SPOILERS. All of a sudden, not only does the guy who tried to rape Tyra reappear, but Landry kills him. Even worse, they decide to throw the body off a bridge. Now, I know Tyra and Landry were freaked out, but was there really no choice? I mean, this guy tried to rape Tyra and was now stalking her. Sure, Landry overreacted but this is Texas. A jury would have acquitted him if he shot the guy 132 times, reloaded his automatic weapon, and shot him 48 more times. Puh-lease. If they really wanted to have a plot device to match a romantic relationship between the town slut and a geek more realistic, they could have called the cops and let the chips falls where they would. Instead, I fear the show turning into I Know What You Did Last Summer. If the rapist is still alive and comes back to haunt them, I give up.

In other news, the exchange between Lyla (who found Jesus this summer) and Riggins was priceless. And the conflicts the Coach faces now that he is in Austin while his wife has to care for the new baby (daughter, of course) without him makes for a more interesting development for this season than the Landry/Tyra nonsense. And, not surprisingly, much tension is added to the Matt/Julie relationship. I'm sure there will be many twists and turns, but you know these two will ultimately end up together (assuming the show reaches an ending).

I know the show needs to increase its viewership, and perhaps the emphasis on football as the advertising hook during year 1 was a mistake. But year 1 made clear this was not a football show. For the writers (and network) to conclude that the answer is to have less football (and more melodrama) is a mistake. I hope a bridge has not been crossed (or a body thrown over that bridge that can't be recovered).


Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Tuesday Night Televsision: Cavemen and Carpoolers

Imagine it's 8:15 p.m., and you're at the gym. You're working out on the recumbant bike, because it has a reclined seat and is therefore easier than all of the other machines offered. And it has a built-in television. It's Tuesday. What do you do?

If you're me, you decide to take one for the team (that's you, readers) and watch a double-header of Cavemen and Carpoolers.

Unfortunately (fortunately?), I only caught the second half of Cavemen. I didn't have too much trouble catching on to the "plot," though. It involves a group of cavemen, including our friend from the Geico commercials, who all hang out together. (I didn't see any cavewomen.) Geico Caveman is interested in a new girl, a cute blonde, who apparently doesn't mind that he is a caveman. So it appears that cavemen are discriminated against. In fact, not only does Cute Blonde not have a problem with Geico Caveman's Caveman-ness, but she has a thing for cavemen. She has been with many, many cavemen before. And...that was about it. Except for the fact that all of the cavemen were wearing tennis clothes, which I am guessing was explained earlier in the episode.

So it wasn't funny, but when compared to Carpoolers, hysterical. Carpoolers is about four guys who carpool together. I didn't catch their names, so I'll call them The Guy Who Drives, Jerry O'Connell's Character, The Guy with the Rich Wife and The New Guy. First off, I really don't like Jerry O'Connell. I don't find him funny or attractive or really much of anything. Jerry O'Connell's Character appears to be the ringleader of the group. He's a dentist, but he wears a leather jacket, so he must be cool.

The Guy Who Drives doesn't have much of a personality at all, except for the fact that he's the guy who drives the car. He's also the guy who brought The New Guy to the carpool. He's constantly telling The New Guy to "be cool," because apparently if The New Guy isn't cool, Jerry O'Connell (who approved him for the carpool before meeting him) will kick him out of the carpool. It appears that The Guy Who Drives and The Guy with the Rich Wife do not have any say. Jerry calls the shots.

The New Guy is a young married, with a wife and young child. Apparently he needs to be part of the carpool because he and his wife share a car, and he wants her to have it in case the baby "chokes on a grape."

The Guy with the Rich Wife is apparently Jerry O'Connell's Character's best friend, although we don't really know why they are friends, or how. In fact, we don't know why anyone would be Jerry O'Connell's Character's friend. He's the type of friend who asks The Guy with the Rich Wife if he thinks his wife makes more money than him, and then when The Guy with the Rich Wife says he doesn't know, makes The Guy with the Rich Wife doubt his relationship, saying women who make more than men don't need their husbands and will eventually get rid of them. He also asks The Guy with the Rich Wife questions like "who is on top" when they have sex, because apparently men who aren't on top have no control.

The Guy with the Rich Wife, at the beginning of the episode, doesn't actually know how much money his wife makes, because she keeps that information from him and doesn't share her money. We learn about that during this charming exchange:
The Guy with the Rich Wife: The money I make is ours, the money she makes is hers.
The Guy Who Drives: At least you have your money. My wife just gets my paycheck and I don't even know what I make.
Jerry O'Connell's Character: My wife takes all of my money. Her lawyer saw to that. Har, har, har.

Yes, the "har, har, har" was actually uttered by Jerry O'Connell, and is not my sarcasm. Jerry O'Connell's Character, being a "good friend," then goes and sleeps with someone who works at bank of the Rich Wife, and tells The Guy with the Rich Wife what his wife makes. This sends The Guy with the Rich Wife into a huge tailspin, but although he is a marriage counselor, he is unable to discuss this issue with his wife at all (played by Faith Ford).

Speaking of the wife, her character has managed to flip a house three times in one day. How is that possible? "In this market, anything is possible!" Really? Because everything I read says the market isn't a seller's market anymore. Did they film this pilot two years ago? And their son? His name is Marmaduke. I really need not say more. The best part of the episode was definitely the first five seconds, when "I'm All Out of Love" was playing on the radio. (But even that was ruined, when The Guy Who Drives started crying because he lost his virginity to that song..."well, to the first verse.")

When I got home last night, Gobo had also just returned from the gym, and he said to me "you know, when I was at the gym, nothing was on, so I watched Cavemen and the beginning of Carpoolers." I would have him write a guest review, but I think I have probably said more than enough about these shows already.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Quite a Double Feature

Last night, Mrs. Bartender and I decided at the last minute to see David Cronenberg's Eastern Promises. Needless to say, scoring tickets was not a problem as there were only 5 of us in the theater. Regardless of crowd size, the movie was excellent: Extremely well acted, extremely violent, and extremely clever. Viggo Mortensen is fantastic as a Russian mob cleaner with his physical transformation from other roles being uncanny. While there are a few scenes that will make the squeamish turn away, I highly recommend this film and thought it even better than A History of Violence.

(SPOILERS) The story involves Anna (Naomi Watts), a midwife, who delivers the baby of a dying girl who, as her diary reveals, has been brought from the former Soviet Union as a sex slave. Anna, who is half Russian, is drawn into a world that fascinates her but of which she understands little. Semyon (played by the excellent Armin Mueller-Stahl) is the head of the mob family, but his biological son, Kirill, is, for various reasons, ill fitted to the mob life. Ultimately, it is his son's "perversions" that prove fatal to Semyon for a variety of reasons. Not only does Kirill respond to gossip about his sexuality to kill a mob captain igniting a bit of a mob war, but his inability to rape the sex slave leaves this job to his father. The resulting pregnancy ultimately proves his undoing. There is even more cleverness that I will not bother to touch. (SPOILERS END)

After returning home from this excellent movie, I planted myself in front of the TV (thankfully, TBS HD miraculously appeared yesterday) to watch the Padres/Rockies epic. When I tuned in it was 6-5 Rockies, but the Padres quickly tied it up on a misplay by Matt Holliday. Ultimately, as any baseball fan knows, the game stayed tied until the 13th, when the awful Jorge Julio unsurprisingly gave up a two run homer, seeming to put the Padres in the playoffs. In comes Trevor Hoffman (no Hells Bells in Coors Field) to wrap up the game, but before you could blink, the Rockies had hit two doubles and a triple (Holliday, redeeming himself and perhaps winning the MVP), and had tied the game. One pitch later, Jamey Carrol hit a sacrifice fly, and the Rockies had won (although Holliday probably never touched home plate but was ruled safe). (Now is not the time for the instant replay debate, but (1) other than HR calls, I think it is a very bad idea and (2) it would not have made a difference here because the replay is not conclusive that he did not touch the plate; he most likely didn't, but he might have.)

That game was baseball at its finest. It was the first walk off win in a single game tiebreaker, a claim that is somewhat misleading because the NL used to play a 3 game tiebreaker, and Bobby Thomson's HR was certainly a walk off.

With the Rockies making the playoffs, only the Yankees were in the postseason in 2006 and 2007; for a sport that is often attacked for lack of competitive balance, half of the teams have made the postseason in just the past 2 seasons. What happens from here is anyone's guess (I still can't fathom how a mediocre Cardinals team won last year), but the next 4 weeks will be a lot of fun. Just for the heck of it, I will pick the Cubs and Rockies in the NL and the Yankees and Red Sox in the AL. And as a Yankees fan, I dread another Yankees/Red Sox battle; I can't handle all the stress.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Why I hate Grey's Anatomy

So much for a witty post title. Last week, I posted that I really thought I was going to give up Grey's Anatomy. But I have a hard time dropping a show in the middle of its life, so I decided to tune in for the season premiere to see if it was more tolerable than I remembered.

It wasn't. There were two storylines in the episode that absolutely drove me nuts.

First, Lexy Grey. Much like essentially every other doctor at Seattle Grace, she has no concept of how to be appropriate. Near the beginning of the episode we learn there is a huge car pile up, and that the victims are being brought to the hospital. These victims, of course, are the medical stories we will follow throughout the rest of the episode. As the victims come rolling in, Meredith is directing her interns and trying to figure out what to do next. And Lexy walks up and tells Meredith her first name. At which point Meredith tells her to get moving, clearly busy trying to...I don't know, save a life or two. But Lexy then chooses that moment to tell Meredith she is her sister. Yeah, totally inappropriate. To further showcase her bad timing, she then interrupts Meredith as she is having a conversation with Derek. Now at this point, Lexy has no idea Meredith and Derek are dating. But she doesn't have a problem walking up to two superior doctors (one an attending and the other a resident) and interrupting their conversation about a patient to apologize to Meredith for having bad timing earlier.

I wasn't surprised, since this is exactly the type of inappropriate behavior Meredith and Izzy engaged in for the first three seasons of the show. Actually, Meredith showcased another example during the first scene of the episode, when she showed the interns the cots they can sleep in and awkardly started babbling about how they shouldn't sleep with each other and certainly not with attendings. Do Shonda Rhimes and the writers think we will find this charming? Amusing? Because certainly we aren't expected to find it realistic, right?

The second storyline that had me gritting my teeth was that of Miranda Bailey. At the end of last season, Bailey didn't make Chief Resident even though she expected to; Callie was given the honor instead. So for the entire episode Bailey pouted like a child, belittling Callie and constantly saying "not my responsibility" whenever something went wrong. Most ridiculous, however, was her treatment of the Chief. This man is the Chief of Surgery at the hospital. He is respected and he is her boss. When he asked, more than once, to speak with her, she again pouted, telling him that she refused to talk with him about the Chief Resident position. This is her boss. But because he chose not to give her a position she wanted, she refuses to speak to him?! This is appropriate?

And after that behavior, why would the Chief have given Bailey the job? She didn't show any maturity or ability to communicate. She didn't show any ability to deal with personal criticism (and not getting the position is an inherent critique). Wouldn't a reasonable person have tried to figure out what qualities they lacked if they weren't given the position? And if they couldn't come up with any, wouldn't the reasonable response be to ask the Chief what she could have done differently? Not here. Apparently the reaction a competent individual should have to such an affront is to throw a quiet temper tantrum. One thing the show could have done to redeem itself, slightly, would have been for the Chief to call Bailey on her crap and tell her she was acting like a child and that although she was struggling (on her first day in the position), Callie wasn't acting like an overgrown brat. But no, we got a stupid trumped-up excuse that Bailey wasn't chosen because she was such a good surgeon. Gag.

So yeah, I still hate Grey's Anatomy.


Brit and Pam

Just made my daily UsWeekly/People stops and two stories have me shaking my head. First: Britney's lost custody of her kids. I . . . don't really know what to say about that that hasn't already been said. How long can this downward spiral last? A mere 12 months ago who would have thought the tide would have turned and people would be rooting for K-Fed as the parent with his shit together? I'm of course I need to know WHY Britney lost custody now as opposed to a few weeks ago. Did she fail one of the court-ordered drug tests? Fail to submit to one? Did the recent tabloid confessions of a former bodyguard play a role? And most importantly, why the HELL do I care? But I do. Which is why I post on a pop culture website so I should just go with it right and abandon all shame?

In a similar vein of why the hell do I care and unanswered questions . . . what is with Pamela Anderson's increasingly dubious choices in men? Tommy Lee . . . ok. Certain amount of wacked out charm. Anybody else watch that "reality" show where he went to college? I kind of found that amusing. Kid Rock? Myeh. Couldn't really see that one, but whatever, people like him. But RICK SALOMON? SERIOUSLY? He of "One Night in Paris" 'fame'? The man who led Shannen Doherty to deck said Paris Hilton? What the hell? You really must check out the US story on using sexual favors to pay a gambling debt and "falling in love". It's priceless.

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When It Rains, It Pours

Britney is losing custody of her kids on Wednesday. And I thought she was up for mother of the year.


Red Fraggle Wins

(Fittingly) on Friday, after succumbing to pressure from Red Fraggle and The Sports Guy, I bought season one of Friday Night Lights on DVD (for the low, low, low price of $20). Over the past three days, I have watched 12 of the episodes, and with a lot of baseball, some football, and a 17 month old to also watch (sans Mrs. Bartender), I did pretty, pretty good. And I have to say that it is a pretty damn good show. It is not a show about football although the sport plays a big role in the show. There is some fine acting and a number of interesting plotlines.

(Spoiler alert!) For example, the storyline about Street's dealing with his spinal cord injury is very well done and quite moving although part of it merely demonstrated that the writer had seen (the excellent documentary) Murderball. There are some stretches--the rawness of Matt and his insecurity--that are a bit much, but all in all it is a very good show that deserves to be watched. It ain't The Sopranos, but then again, what is.