Pop Culture Junkette

Addicted to pop culture.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

They've created a monster!

Yesterday Us Weekly announced that the magazine was going "Paris-free," and there would be no coverage of Paris Hilton in its upcoming issue (the moratorium appears to be for one week only).

Now Us Weekly's blog has also declared it will no longer post about Paris, claiming that her statement to Larry King that she has never done drugs (difficult to believe, particularly in light of photos showing her smoking marijuana) pushed [the Us Weekly bloggers] over the online edge." They haven't told us how long the ban will last, saying only it will be "for the time being." (FYI, Bailey Quarters declared a year ago that she wouldn't post about Paris, because she doesn't contribute anything to...anything, so Pop Culture Junkette is way ahead of Us Weekly.)

Of course, 70 percent of Us Weekly's readers wish Paris "would go into hiding," so perhaps the lack of ink isn't so surprising. But isn't it at least a little hypocritical? After all, Us Weekly was instrumental in making Paris Hilton the celebrity she is today. When Paris was just a teenager, Us Weekly would run photos of Paris and Nicky, back before anyone knew who they were. And they continued to promote her as she became better-known.

I guess Us Weekly is starting to feel a little like Dr. Frankenstein.


What's the Deal with Ann Coulter and John Edwards?

As I am sure you are aware, the latest skirmish between Ann Coulter and John Edwards was launched this week. It started with Coulter's lovely comment that, "If I'm gonna say anything about John Edwards in the future, I'll just wish he had been killed in a terrorist assassination plot." This led to her confrontation with Elizabeth Edwards where she simply kept stammering that Mrs. Edwards wanted to silence her. This comes on the heels of her calling former Senator Edwards a "faggot" earlier this year and her earlier making insulting comments about the Senator's supposed political use of the death of his son (which, for the most part, seems not to be grounded in any fact).

I recognize that virtually no one takes Coulter seriously. Indeed, she makes Rush Limbaugh sound like Kant, but I am mystified about her obsession with John Edwards. I have, however, developed a few theories:

1. She is secretly in love with Edwards, but like a pre-teen, she only can show her love by insulting him.
2. She believes that he is the Democrats weakest candidate and is using these tactics to help him get the nomination.
3. Conversely, she is secretly working with Edwards, as they both recognize that these idiotic attacks gave both of them attention (all that she cares about) and help him raise money.
4. She is even dumber than I imagine.

Any guesses? Other theories?


I Couldn't Agree More with the Gumdrop

Cambodian Food Update!

As it happens, the "Mekong River" is one of the cultures featured at this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival (along with Northern Ireland and Virginia). So, if you want to try Cambodian food, you can do so until July 8th.

Labels: ,

Happy 10th Anniversary, Iron Mike

Ten years ago today, Mike Tyson decided to bite off a piece of Evander Holyfield's ear. And, amazingly, things have only gotten stranger for Iron Mike. I'm sure that he has no money but that he is still alive is somewhat of an achievement.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

How Can I Put This?

There's an article in Salon today asking whether Cambodian food will ever catch on in America. Having recently spent 10 days there, I think I can safely say not anytime soon.

It's not that the food was really bad, but that it just wasn't particularly distinctive. Befitting its location, it was sort of mix between Thai and Vietnamese food. We ate a lot of fried noodles and other kinds of stir fries. The only two meals that stand out were (1) something that our guide was eating on Chinese new year in Anlong Veng that involved dipping cooked beef and raw vegetables into a fermented fish paste that tasted sort of like blue cheese, and (2) something called lok lak (basically stir fried beef with tomatoes in a lemon grass flavored sauce) in a cafe in Phnom Penh. Another meal that stood out: the dish of stir fried chicken necks that I was served for lunch one day. I would tell you how it tasted, but I couldn't really figure out how to eat it. (Holt was with me, so maybe she'll correct me if I'm forgetting something.)

Probably, this was largely our fault. Our guide book made a point of saying that Cambodians will eat anything, and I suspect that most restaurants have figured out that a lot of things won't appeal to Western palates. See fermented fish paste and chicken necks; we also saw a street vendor selling roasted crickets. But I don't think that would be any different here in the U.S. than it was in Cambodia. That being said, maybe I'll try the recipe in the article.

This stands in stark contrast to Vietnam, where the food was spectacularly good, and a real highlight of the trip.

I note that Tyler Cowen's Ethnic Dining Guide, the bible for ethnic restaurants in the DC area, does not even list Cambodian food as a category. Of course, this could just reflect the relative lack of Cambodian immigrants in this area.

Labels: ,

New Music Alert

I'm looking forward to the new Spoon album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, which is being released on July 10. You can already hear it here.

For the doubters: Need I remind you of the greatness of "I Turn My Camera On"? And that Britt Daniel was on Veronica Mars!?! Also, the New Yorker loves it.


Commercial Appeal

I know that there's a huge debate about whether bands letting their songs be used in commercials is "selling out." And I have been appalled by this practice in a few instances -- "Lust for Life" being used to sell Jaguars comes to mind. But mostly I think it's awesome; I love hearing songs I like on tv, especially when they're by bands that don't get played on the radio.

So, I've been amused to hear the New Pornographers' song "The Bleeding Heart Show" on commercials for the University of Phoenix lately. Of course, they don't include any of the words, so we don't get to hear Neko Case singing.


So True

I love this question and answer, from today's paper:

Dear Miss Manners:

Today we received the following admonition in our office e-mail. The gentlemen who sent it is new to his supervisory position in our office and was transferred to his position from a former post in computer services. "Please do not send any e-mails in all capitol letters. This is very rude and unprofessional. Much like we don't allow yelling in the office, we should not be yelling in our e-mails."

Aside from the misspelling of "capital," is this statement true? Not that any one would type in capital letters, but if she did, is it truly seen as yelling, rude and unprofessional?

Well, as a matter of fact, YES, IT IS. (You see? And do forgive Miss Manners for dramatizing the point.)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Very Meta

Speaking of comics, this "Sally Forth" from two weeks ago was awesome:

Because, seriously, what was Ted's job? What is Sally's job, for that matter, besides getting high at work? (It is occurring to me that "Sally Forth" is not exactly the cutting edge of pop culture.)

Feeling Japanese

My local Border's currently has a poster in its window advertising Haruki Murakami's new book, After Dark. I haven't read it, but I did recently read Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and Norwegian Wood, both of which I would recommend.

Wind-Up Bird Chronicle had been sitting by my bed unread for years, having been recommended to me by a friend. I was a little worried about it because one of the blurbs compared it to Pynchon and I know that my friend t.s. loves Pynchon too. Me? Not so much. But I decided to take it on my trip to Asia, and I ended up really enjoying it. (As did Holt.) I don't get the Pynchon comparisons. If anything, it reminded me a lot of Paul Auster, whose books I like. I then bought and read Norwegian Wood when I got home. Both books deal with themes of alienation and have not-quite-fantastical elements, but elements of weird stuff happening that the characters don't really treat as being weird. If that makes any sense.

I had never read any Japanese novels before, and I don't think of the novel as an Asian art form. So it was interesting in that regard. Both books read as if they had been written in English, which leads me to believe that the translator -- Jay Rubin -- did an amazing job.

Accuracy in Media

Since everyone else is doing it, I have to link to this 2004 Spin article by Chuck Klosterman about bands that are neither underrated nor overrated, but rated exactly where they should be. The bit about Ton Loc is hilarious.

I have to agree with the entry on Matthew Sweet.

5. Matthew Sweet: Every Matthew Sweet album has only one good song, and this good song is inevitably the first single, and this single is always utterly perfect (“Sick of Myself” off 100% Fun, “Where You Get Love” off Blue Sky on Mars, “Girlfriend” off Girlfriend, etc.). He sells enough albums to live comfortably, and that seems reasonable.

And, indeed, I have exactly two Matthew Sweet songs on my iPod -- "Sick of Myself" and "Girlfriend." And I do think that "Sick of Myself" is pretty close to being the perfect pop song. I loooove it.


Pop Culture Junkette Reads the Newspaper!

As you all know, I am a Serious Radio Journalist, so it should not surprise you that I am in the habit of reading the newspaper every day. Today's highlights:

1. I have to recommend this 4-part series about how evil Dick "The Angler" Cheney is. Answer: totally fracking evil. You really have to read it to get a sense of the disdain that Cheney holds for concepts like democracy, the rule of law, and not torturing people. This is complemented today by Dana Milbank's column about the White House's attempt to spin Cheney's argument about not being part of the executive branch. And Gene Robinson's column noting that Cheney sort of immunizes Bush against a serious attempt at impeachment.

2. Yesterday's Supreme Court decision in Hein strengthens my long-standing suspicion that the entire doctrine of standing is designed to make it hard for liberals to sue. Funny how that works.

3. It doesn't seem to be in the online version, but this article on kids playing was accompanied by "tips" from a book about teaching kids to play. And not this one, which means that there are at least two books about teaching kids the importance of unstructured play. This strikes me as being unclear on the concept. Also a symptom of what I call late stage capitalism.

4. This article about Facebook photos showing up in a high school yearbook reminds me that I joined Facebook recently. Don't ask me why. Anyone else on it?

5. I'm worried about Kelly Clarkson's new album. Bad reviews of her new cd in both the Post and the Times. Don't make me consider the possibility that Clive Davis is right!

6. Shaq is awesome. But that doesn't necessarily mean that I want to watch his new show, "Shaq's Big Challenge."

7. Is anyone else sick of the learning disabled kids storyline in "For Better or For Worse"? Does anyone else even read FBoFW? I just have a hard time believing that high school kids even act that way, which makes the whole thing sort of sanctimonious. Not as bad as the inevitability of Elizabeth ending up with Anthony though. At least he got rid of the porn 'stache.

8. The article in Scientific American, discussed here, about what would happen if humans disappeared from the Earth sounds really interesting. I'm also enjoying the kerfuffle about the Esquire profile of Angelina Jolie dubbed "the worst celebrity profile ever written" by Slate.

9. This article about NBA players summer workouts reminds me of the mystery of Paulo Coelho. It seemed like every book store I went into on my trip to Asia this winter had a row of books by him, and I had never heard of him. Here's his wiki entry, which is not very edifying.

10. Greg Oden was the guest on PTI yesterday and he seemed really cool. I wish him the best. He is seriously like the oldest-looking 19-year-old ever though.

11. These ConferenceBikes look incredibly dorky.

That is all!

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Case of the Missing Pants

The DC legal community has spend the past several weeks fascinated by the amazingly wacky lawsuit against a dry cleaner seeking damages of $54 million for a supposedly lost pair of pants. Essentially, the argument was premised upon DC's consumer protection law and the sign reading "Satisfaction Guaranteed" at the dry cleaner. Today, justice was served as the court found for the defendants.

The most amazing thing about this case, however, is that the plaintiff is a judge, specifically an administrative law judge in DC. Even more frightening is what he was doing when he was appointed. As the Washington Post explained:

Until he landed the judgeship, Pearson had been out of work. Strapped for cash and running up close to his limit on his credit cards, he brought his pants in one or two at a time to avoid maxing out his credit.

Perhaps I am naive in thinking that those appointed to the bench have slightly more impressive resume's than "Judge" Pearson's.

Finally, if you want to help the Chungs, the family that runs the dry cleaners, here is a link to their legal defense fund: http://customcleanersdefensefund.com/

Lucky 13: Luckier Than 12, Not as Lucky as 11

Mrs. Bartender and I went to see Oceans 13 on Friday night, and while not a great movie, we certainly enjoyed it. Okay, it's a bunch of cool kids figuring out how to take revenge on Willy Bank (Al Pacino in a, swear to god, understated performance) and--I'm sure this is a huge spoiler--succeeding. As opposed to Oceans 12, it doesn't try to do too much as it keeps the story fairly clean and simple story. Sure, there are some wacky twists, but the action, for the most part, stays in Vegas (with a brief and quite funny foray into Mexico), and the movie is a good time. I love the racial harmony of the team--it doesn't matter if you're white, black, Asian, or Elliott Gould--if you're cool and have skills, you can team up with Danny Ocean. The film has some plain old fun set pieces, some nifty gadgets to pull off the operation, and a very funny final scene with Clooney, Pitt, and Damon. All that plus Super Dave Osborne aka Bob Einstein aka Albert Brooks' brother.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


Forbes has come out with a list of the "Celebrity 100." I recommend that you not click on that link because it's like the most annoying Web site ever. The list itself is a pretty transparent attempt to get people to read Forbes to see pictures of celebrities. And the "methodology" seems like pure b.s.

All of that being said, according to Forbes, Mitch Albom is one of the 100 most influential celebrities! (Number 96, to be exact.) What the hell? I feel like there was some justification for Tuesdays with Morrie, because it's based on a real guy (I think). But did the world need The Five People You Meet in Heaven or For One More Day?*

What is more disturbing is that, inspired by Albom's success, Mike Lupica is now writing novels! Young adult novels! This has to stop.

*Note: I have not actually read any of these books, so it's possible that they are works of literary genius that I'm unfairly prejudging.



One show I've been watching this summer is MI-5 on BBC America. You can tell it's a few years old because the bad guys are mostly anarchists and Eastern European smugglers rather than terrorists. Also, they have not yet done a show about someone poisoned with polonium unlike, oh, every other police show in the past year.

Last night's episode featured Hugh Laurie as a posh, uptight MI-6 agent. It's funny, because I so thoroughly associate him with House now, that when I see him as a Brit, I expect him to be Bertie Wooster.


Not Such Great Minds . . . .

Okay, so I'm not good enough in working with my computer to have the two front pages the same size or to exclude the back page of the News. (No, Red Fraggle, the unfortunate Met headine was not meant as a slap at you.) Update: As you can see, I solved this problem. Regardless, do both the News and the Post employ the same headline writer? I did a double take (or was it a quadruple take) when I walked by vending machines carrying both papers.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Girl Named Sam

Congratulations, Tiger and Elin, on the birth of your daughter, Sam Alexis Woods. I bet that when Tiger looks back on the past week, coming in second at the Open won't be such a big deal. That being said, you know he will be focused on winning at Carnoustie next month (and hopefully here in DC in 2 weeks). As for the name, Sam not Samantha is a little different but it certainly ain't a Boy Named Sue.


If You Haven't Seen This Yet,

you really should. This clip of Paul Potts (not to be confused with the murderous Cambodian dictator, Pol Pot) on Britain's Got Talent is absolutely fantastic. I know it has been all over the blogosphere, but if you haven't yet watched it, give yourself a little treat.


The Best She Can Do?

So for those who care, Hillary Clinton had a contest to select her campaign's theme song. The winner? You and I by Celine Dion. See here.

Why does she do these things? Doesn't she know that Celine is Canadian? And French-Canadian to boot. And, worst of all, that lots of Americans can't stand her. And that she is begging for Titanic jokes if her campaign starts to falter. There had a to be a better choice. Actually, there were lots of better choices.

Update: I do give Hillary credit for the video used to introduce the winning song. If only she had made a better selection . . . .


Monday, June 18, 2007

Requiem for Studio 60

On Saturday night, Mrs. Bartender and I watched the past 3 episodes of Studio 60. (Two more remain before the series is officially dead.) Why, you ask? I'm not really sure other than we've watched up until now, so why not make it through until the bitter end. And watching these episodes reinforced the problems with the show that led to its demise. (I'll leave out discussing that the sketches just aren't very funny as that theme has been beaten to death.)

The biggest problem is that the show never decided what it wanted to be. Half the time, Sorkin thought he was doing The West Wing Part II--such as the oh so manufactured plot line where Tom Jeter's brother is kidnapped in Afghanistan. Or over the fights with the FCC. Or about Matt's attempts to tell jokes in the wake of 9/11. (I know; it's been 5 years.) This is supposed to be a show about a sketch comedy program, but Sorkin's desire to tell us all that is wrong and right in the world is just too strong. Sure, Sorkin's preaching wore thin on The West Wing or A Few Good Men (you're right, Aaron, I can't handle the truth), but at least it wasn't completely misplaced. Here it's just forced.

Yet the other major strain of the show became the romantic comedy angle, but this was too was forced and repeated too many times--Danny and Jordan; Mat and Harriet;Tom and the chick from the British Office. Before we had even developed relationships with these characters, we were supposed to care about will they or won't they. This takes time to work, and here it did not.

Ironically, Sorkin masterminded a great and funny sitcom that was about the making of a TV show. Of course, Sports Night lasted only two seasons, but it was a really good show. It did not try to do too much, and you actually cared about the characters in a way that never occurred here. Alas, and better luck next time.


John from Cincinnati

Like Red and Isaac, I also watched John from Cincinnati last week. But, unlike them, wow, I really didn't like it. At least three of the characters were so annoying that I couldn't wait for them to get off of my TV. That would be Rebecca DeMornay's character, Butchie, and John (the title character). Between the three of them, we're talking about a pretty big chunk of the show that I found unwatchable.

Also, you get the sense that David Milch is so enamored with language that he'd rather have the characters talk than, you know, actually interact with each other. That's not fun. Show, don't tell, David!

All that being said, I do have a Season Pass to this show, and will probably give it a few more episodes.


Tiger Fug

Like Isaac, I watched a little of the U.S. Open yesterday. I was struck by how fugly Tiger was dressed.

I know a red shirt and black pants is Tiger's signature look on Sundays, but I really don't like it. Something about the bold, harsh colors looks really out of place on a golf course. He looks like he should be working a Pizza Hut or something.

But this particular combo -- the muscle mock turtle neck and pleated pants. Egad, he looked horrible. It really showed how much he has bulked up over the years, which in my mind, is not a good development aesthetically.

By contrast, I thought that Aaron Baddeley looked adorable.

Cute checked pants! Nice earth toned shirt. Not too muscular. Of course, he was very difficult to watch for other, non-clothing-related, reasons.

Labels: ,

Random Thoughts

1. Okay, one final thought on the final Sopranos episode. I rewatched the episode, and it was really chock full of great moments--Paulie unzipping his pants after Bobby's funeral; Carmela's comment to AJ that if children had been playing in the leaves, he would have killed them; Agent Harris in all of his glory, but two things stand out. One--the sit down b/w Tony and NY at the junk yard. Again, the show hearkens back to the Godfather and the meeting Don Corleone organized among the five families to end the mob war. But that meeting was at a fancy restaurant; now, they meet in a dump. Tony and company did have bottled water, however! Again, the lost glory of the past rears its head.

And, of course, the last scene. The tension that Chase was able to put into that simple scene was amazing. When you watch it a second time, it is the ordinariness that is so striking. And yet Chase was able to have the viewers experience the stress that Tony continuously has lived with and will live with in those moments. We feared what was entering through that door, and could not sit still. (I still don't buy the Tony died theory although it is an interesting one; and if you saw the comment about Phil Leotardo's nephew being the guy in the Members Only jacket, it's a lie.)

2. Mrs. Bartender and I saw Waitress last week. The movie is very cute albeit fairly light. Not a must see, but an enjoyable two hours. And it certainly makes you want to have a really good piece of pie.

3. Some fascinating (and atrocious) golf over the past 4 days at Oakmont. The amazing thing about Tiger is how badly he seemed to play on Sunday at both the Masters and now the Open, and in both tournaments, he ended up in second place. (Of course, he played nowhere close to as badly as Aaron Baddeley did yesterday.) Yesterday, he just could not make a birdie (with one exception) although he kept saving pars left and right. Cabrera played a fantastic round although he came quite close to choking it away on 16 and 17. Espn.com is asking whether Cabrera won it or Tiger lost it. Puh-lease. Tiger shot a respectable 72 and Cabrera a terrific 69. More importantly, Tiger just couldn't make a birdie at then end to force a playoff. It was not like some other golfer putting his head up his butt on the last hole and making double when a par would win and a bogey would force a playoff. (Yes, Phil, I'm talking about you.)

4. Good to see that Entourage is back. The hiatus was rough.

5. I watched the pilot episode of John from Cincinnati and was intrigued enough to stick with it. I've liked Bruce Greenwood for a long time (going back to St. Elsewhere), and the cast is very good including Al Bundy and Dylan McKay. The supernatural and surfing is a strange premise, but I have faith in David Milch (Deadwood and NYPD Blue).

6. Finally, I'm halfway through Walter Isaacson's Einstein biography (fittingly titled Einstein). I highly recommend it. As much as is possible, he makes the physics understandable. I can, somewhat, handle special relativity; general relativity is much more mind boggling. Even more importantly, Isaacson is an excellent writer (although he has a tendency to reiterate repeatedly a central theme of his books). Even without understanding the physics, there is a fascinating story of the life Einstein led, becoming a mega-celebrity from around 1920 until his death in 1955, a celebrity that obviously still lasts. Perhaps if he were alive today, he could be on a reality show. He would certainly have lent his voice to The Simpsons.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, June 11, 2007

Animal Sanctuary cures hangovers

Well, it cured my hangover, at least. On Saturday morning (after a night of too much alcohol), a friend and I went to Poplar Springs Animal Sanctuary, a sanctuary for rescued farm animals, where they can live out their lives in peace and happiness. My friend and I have both sponsored animals at Poplar Springs: I sponsor two chickens named Tyler and Wendy (pictured at right: Wendy is the white chicken and Tyler is the spotten one), and my friend sponsors a pig named Peony.

The sanctuary was amazing, and I would highly recommend anyone interested in animals try to arrange a visit. They have chickens, turkeys, a peacock, pigs, mules, horses, goats, sheep and cows at the sanctuary, and they are all friendly, so you can even go up and pet them. In fact, I held two chickens (they just sat peacefully in my arms and let me stroke their feathers) and a goat befriended me, butting his head up to my hand to receive petting and following me around. There were a bunch of children visiting the sanctuary with their parents, and they were able to hand-feed the goats and sheep. A place like Poplar Springs is such a nice, cruelty-free alternative to evil petting zoos.

The proprietors know the names of every single animal at the sanctuary (they have over 70 chickens alone!) as well as their stories. If you sponsor an animal through them, they send you a biography of the animal as well as a framed photo. It's amazing to think that a place like this exists just an hour outside of DC. But it does! So donate and visit! It was a phenomenal experience and absolutely worth the trip.


Fade to Black

Like you need to be told, but here it is, Spoilers.

I have spent the past 12 hours trying to digest, as best I can, last night's episode and, more importantly, the ending everyone is talking about. Did it bring the clean satisfaction of most movies/television shows? Of course not, but did anyone really think David Chase would have neatly ended things. But as it as much of a non-ending as some are complaining? I don't think so either.

By the end, Tony's recognition of life and, more importantly, his life had significantly grown and thus the show could end. I actually think the most important scene was the penultimate one--the meeting with Junior. Here he sees what is, in one sense, victory in his chosen profession. His Uncle had run (with Tony's father) northern NJ; he had lived into old age; he still (seemingly) had money. But what is he left with--he has no memory of anything that occurred in the past 30 or so years; no idea where his money is; and he is incarcerated in a state hospital (not that he realizes it). This is what surviving got him. Of course, the other options--dead like Bobby (or Phil in one, last great (and grossly funny) hit) or in a coma like Sil--aren't any better (although Sil will have very good nails).

Yet as his mob family is decimated with only Paulie, looking for the Virgin Mary at the Bing, still around, Tony also sees the wreck his own family has become. And just as he blames his mother for his problems, he recognizes, at least briefly, that he is a major cause of his kids' problems. Meadow's statement that the FBI's persecution of her father drove her to the law (and not the dreamed of future as Dr. Soprano) hurt. Of course, as much as this scene reflected on Tony's supposed failures, it even more showed that Meadow is no different from Carm in being willfully blind to her father's occupation. No state (not even NJ) is persecuting Tony for no reason.

And AJ finally saw the light . . . in a burning SUV. The entire army/Trump helicopter pilot/CIA agent career path seems like nothing more than a recognition of that great Soprano trait to take the hand one is dealt and play it as well as possible. Did AJ really want to join the army? I doubt it. He played his parents for all they were worth and ended up with a BMW, model girlfriend, a job with virtually no work, and his own club in the future. The American dream. For once, AJ really was Tony's son.

(I note that some conservatives are annoyed at David Chase for AJ's criticisms of SUVs and the war in Iraq. First, to see AJ as the mouthpiece for Chase's political views, whatever they might be, seems bizarre as AJ is ranting about all sorts of stuff in his screwed up state. Second, he still (supposedly) wants to join the army and fight the terrorists, hardly far left views. Third, to criticize Iraq is none too radical. AJ is just a very screwed up kid, at least until his epiphany. I don't equate his discourses with An Inconvenient Truth.)

This is the best that Tony can have, being with his somewhat screwed up family, recognzing to some extent all of their flaws, and knowing that they can all die at any minute. So this brings us to the ending. First, I don't think, as some of theorized, that the fade to black was Tony's death although it is an interesting theory. Instead, I see it as just the continuation of the life that he has chosen with those he loves and with a sword of Damacles permanently hanging above him whether in the form of an indictment or a hit from any one of the people in that restaurant or some other one. There may not have been a gun in the toilet, but there could have been. Tony Soprano will be permanently stuck in this position (unless David Chase decides to come back for more). So it may not have brought the simple satisfaction that on some level I and most viewers wanted, but if you were watching The Sopranos for simple satisfaction, you were watching the wrong show.


Saturday, June 09, 2007

The Death of Tony Soprano?

No, I don't think T is actually going to kick the bucket tomorrow, but I am sad as I await tomorrow night's final farewell to the family. I don't think the series is going to end with discovering that the entire saga has simply been a figment of his or AJ's imagination, but wouldn't it be great if Tony ended up in prison with Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer? I will actually have some serious thoughts on Monday regarding what happens tomorrow night. So buckle up and enjoy.


Friday, June 08, 2007

Why Does This Breaking News Report Amuse Me?

"A judge orders Paris Hilton back to jail, CNN confirms. She was taken from court screaming."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Peter Burns and Amanda Woodward: Together forever?

I had no idea that Heather Locklear and Jack Wagner were dating until I went to Us Weekly's blog this afternoon! When did this news break? Why wasn't I informed immediately?

I always loved Locklear and Wagner together on Melrose Place. Peter Burns was a much better match for Amanda than Billy, Jake or Kyle. Sure, Peter almost killed Amanda on the operating table, but then she saved him from being lobotomized. And then they were so happy together, until Taylor decided to pursue former brother-in-law Peter and he went for it (but only after Craig made him think Amanda and Craig had been together, which they hadn't), and Peter made Taylor dress like her dead sister. But then Peter dumped Taylor and decided he loved Amanda (after being with Lexi for a little while) so he had some thugs kidnap her so that he could "save" her and she would fall for him again, but Amanda stayed with Kyle. And eventually Peter married Amanda's high school friend Eve, who turned out to be a totally deranged cheerleader, and Peter and Eve broke up and Amanda and Kyle broke up, and then Amanda and Peter faked their own deaths to escape the law and ended up on a tropical island together. And now they are together in real life.

I was sad, however, to learn that Wagner split from wife Kristina Malandro last year. I watched them as Frisco and Felicia on General Hospital for years.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Quote of the Day

"In the future, I plan on taking more of an active role in the decisions I make."

--Paris Hilton

For her full written statement, see here.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Swapping books on Bookmooch

Has anyone ever heard of Bookmooch? It's a book-swapping website where you post books you want to get rid of and then browse for books you want. When you find a book you want you request it from the person who has it, who then sends it to you.

It's all totally free. You get points by posting books and by sending them to others, and then you use those points to get books from others. All you pay for is shipping when you send a book (and sending books is really cheap).

I signed up this weekend but haven't gotten any books yet. Someone actually has a Gladys Mitchell book which, according to Holt, are great mysteries and hard-to-find. The one this person has is called "Spotted Hemlock." I'm thinking it might be the first one I order. Anyone know if it is any good?

Unfortunately for me, the books I have posted are all relatively popular mysteries, which probably means not many people will want them.

Labels: ,

Not All That It's Knocked Up To Be

On Friday night, Mrs. Bartender and I went to see Knocked Up. I needed a happy movie to take my mind off of certain things, and in that the movie succeeded. However, the raves it has gotten from certain reviewers--A.O Scott in the Times and Entertainment Weekly--were just over the top. The movie was entertaining, had a number of good laughs, but it is not a great film. Both of us enjoyed The 40-Year Old Virgin more, and a good amount of this film was predictable. Don't get me wrong, there are some very funny moments, and with Isaac, Jr., having been born just over a year ago, there were a number of scenes we could really relate to. However, my advice is that this is not a must see movie even if you won't regret going to see it.


Nobody Here Gets Out Alive?

SPOILERS! With the penultimate Sopranos episode, Tony's isolation has multiplied drastically. As for his mob family, he is left with Paulie, his birthday present from Bobby (the automatic weapon), and not much else. That he has to rely the most on the second of these--with which he cuddles, alone, as the episode ended--is indicative of the sad position Tony finds himself in. And at least poor Bobby ended up going down in his favorite store--maybe a little overdone, but I loved watching the trains derail. Not that Sil and Bobby were geniuses, but they at least were very useful aides to Tony.

And as the core of his mob family is gone either by the hands of others or by Tony himself, he too is abandoned by Dr. Melfi at a particularly inopportune time. After years of trying, Elliot finally got enough under her skin to get her to abandon Tony. Yeah he ripped out the steak recipe from Departures (not an accidental magazine title), but Dr. Melfi had to know--as we surely do--that her therapy was actually doing Tony some good. Not that he was on the straight and narrow, but his mental health had improved. He is going to need some serious psychotherapy if he survives.

But what of his other family? At the moment, they are all okay (physically), but this will not last. Okay, they are all in mental disarray as was evident at Artie's restaurant when Tony and Carm lied about how they were thrilled with Meadow's career choice and lied about what it was and lied about how thrilled they were with her new boyfriend and lied about how well AJ was doing. (Btw, great cameo by Mr. and Mrs. Eric Mangini. For Red Fraggle: J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets.) So they may be temporarily safe, but they are not well.

So whither Tony Soprano? I think that next week Tony will survive but not without both of his families being decimated. Go back to the ur-Sopranos: The Godfather. The second one ends with Michael all alone--his father and brothers dead (one by his own orders), his wife having left him and having had an abortion, and most of his closest allies gone as well. I don't think this will end much differently. Although I don't think Carm, Meadow, and AJ are all destined to sleep with the fishes, at least one of them is going to go. Tony's telling Carm that families don't get touched seems like wishful thinking. I think that either Carm or Meadow is going to get whacked (and I think that Phil too will be gone after the completely screwed up hit on him this week). The show has had a consistent theme of Tony's isolation and abandonment; it will end with him more alone than ever before.

I am already sad thinking that I have but one more Sopranos post.