Pop Culture Junkette
Addicted to pop culture.
Friday, August 31, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
I must confess that I did not know until this week that foot tapping was "a signal used by persons wishing to engage in lewd contact." Who knows what other signals I'm unwittingly sending out? Scary!
Via Slate, this video recreation of the incident in question is pretty hilarious.
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Aww. This performance by Feist on last night's Letterman was pretty awesome. Complete with her own choir of indie rock hipsters.
Monday, August 27, 2007
I really can't stand the Post's media columnist Howard Kurtz, and this article in today's paper is a good example of why. It's about some CNBC "reporter" named Erin Burnett. The whole point of the article is that she's supposedly really pretty and has a knack for snappy on-air commentary. But it somehow elides the fact that she is apparently retarded.
Until today, this woman had only entered my radar screen twice. A couple of months ago, there was a segment on the Today show about the fact that a lot of the Democratic candidates are making inequality an issue in the campaign. She did like a two minute segment pointing out that the stock market was way up, unemployment was low and our income tax system is really progressive. And that was it!
No mention of say increasing health care, education and housing costs; the switch from pensions to the more risky 401(k)s and IRAs; the decline of unions; the increasing share of regressive taxes like state income taxes, sales taxes and payroll taxes as part of the overall tax burden. No discussion with any of the many people who have written entire books about this subject in recent years.
No, it was just "America is like totally equal. Please stop worrying about this and buy more awesome GE products." In fact it was so dumb, I actually complained to Red Fraggle about it when I got to work.
And then a couple of weeks ago, there was the kerfuffle about Chris Matthews being creepy to her when she appeared on Hardball. And it's true, he really was creepy. But listen to what she was actually saying when she was allowed to talk:
People should be careful what they wish for ... if China ... is to start making, say, toys that don't have lead in them, or food that isn't poisonous, their costs of production are going to go up. And that means prices at Walmart, here in the United States, are going to go up too. So, I would say China is our greatest friend right now. They're keeping prices low.Words fail.
Cleveland Cuisine Alert
I was catching up on my No Reservations viewing this weekend and learned that tonight's new episode is devoted to Cleveland! I thought that at least one of you would be interested in that fact.
Does anyone else watch this show? I really like it. Bourdain is the perfect host. He's very open to people and food and experiences, but at the same time very opinionated and willing to say that stuff sucks. That being said, I don't agree with all of his opinions, particulary regarding the appeal of offal. [Shudder.] Of course, being the perfect yupster that I am, I share his belief that cheap, dive-y places are likely to have the best food.
It looks like there's a marathon next Monday. I'm looking forward to catching the episodes on Uzbekistan and Ghana.
Friday, August 24, 2007
LiLo Admits She's Screwing Up Her Life by Acting Like a No-Talent Celebutard? Or . . . the Effort to Keep Lindsay Insurable Through PR Continues?
Um, that long ass title actually says most of what I wanted to say. On the heels of accepting a plea agreement on her two DUI charges, Lindsay Lohan released a statement admitting that she is, indeed, addicted to drugs and alcohol and it's actually messing her life up a little bit. Welcome to the real world Lohan's PR agent. Is this the first sign that Lohan may actually, for once, not be using rehab as a publicity stunt, but might truly want to stop partying like it's 1999? (Hello, I'm old.)
In other LiLo news, the Go Fug Girls do a nice fug of her Maxim cover. Gotta agree that she looks completely wasted and sad in that shot. Is this really what men think is hot?
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Who Is John Galt?
Okay, this is not strictly speaken pop culture related. But this story in today's Times cracked me up. I mean, who could have guessed that there could be anything screwy about a company called the "John Galt Corporation"?
Talk to Me
Last night, I saw Talk to Me. I can't believe that this movie isn't getting more buzz.
It's the story of Ralph Waldo "Petey" Greene, played by Don Cheadle, an ex-con who becomes a successful DJ/TV host/comedian in Washington, DC. While it has some of the standard biopic cliches -- Guess what? He was an alcoholic! -- it is really more the story of the friendship between Petey and Dewey Hughes, the radio executive who gave him his first job. Hughes is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, who I had somehow previously failed to notice is totally hot.
It's hard to say how much of my enjoyment of the movie stems from the fact that it is set in DC. Not the official Washington that we see in so many movies, but the real DC where we live -- "chocolate city" to use a term coined by Greene. For example, Ben's Chili Bowl makes an appearance.
There's also the matter of the music. If you like 60s and 70s Motown and soul music, this is the movie for you. People in the theater were singing along to many of the songs (which was sort of annoying, truth be told). Particularly effective was the use of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" the night that Martin Luther King was shot, and Washington burned. I was totally crying, ya'll.
So, if you're looking for something to see in these dog days of August, I highly recommend this movie.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I can't believe I failed to recommend the movie, Once, which I saw a few weeks ago. It's about an Irish street musician type who meets a Czech piano player, and they then form a band and record a cd together. I think the most apt description is "sweet."
It's great because they solve the typical problem of musicals -- the unreality of people randomly breaking in to song -- by the fact that the movie is about them actually writing and performing the songs. Plus, they're all singer-songwritery songs. And there are no jazz hands.
Apparently the two leads -- Glen Hansard (of the Frames) and Marketa Irglova -- are now touring as the Swell Season and have released a cd of the same name. You can hear one of my favorite songs from the movie, "Falling Slowly," here.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
The first (and only so far) season of Dexter was released on DVD today. And TWoP has recently started recapping it.
For the love of God, you have to start watching this show.
Daryl Hall Onslaught
Another Magazine Article
Darn, this post should have been called "a little light reading." There was a really interesting article in last week's New Yorker about light pollution, which -- among other things -- prevents us from seeing the night sky and some say has adverse health effects. It doesn't seem to be online unfortunately.
It's pretty sad -- apparently there's nowhere east of the Mississippi that you can see a truly dark night sky anymore. Holt and I were in south-east Asia earlier this year, and the sky was amazing. In particular, we spent the Lunar New Year camping out at Preah Vihear, a fairly remote mountain top temple on the border between Thailand and Cambodia. It was really just unbelievable how many stars there were and sad to think what we're all missing every day.
A Little Light Reading
Wow. This article in Vanity Fair about the Arthur Miller's son, who was born with Down's Syndrome in 1966, and immediately sent to an institution and basically disavowed is very sad, but fascinating.
Monday, August 20, 2007
Sorry for being away for the past few weeks, but it is August.
Mrs. Bartender and I did a double feature on Friday night. We started with Superbad, and we were not disappointed. I would place it as the best of the 3 Apatow films (above Forty Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up) and boldly state that it has a chance to enter the pantheon of high school movies (along with, among others, Fast Times and Dazed and Confused (with which Superbad also follows a day in the life)). As good as Jonah Hill is, Michael Cera's dry comedic touch is more difficult and brilliantly pulled off. While Mrs. Bartender pointed out that he was basically reprising George Michael (from what I will always refer to as the late, lamented Arrested Development), he is so good at it that I don't subtract any points. I am confident that his range will expand in the future. And, as many others have said, McLovin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) steals much of the movie.
Two criticisms: One, I thought that some of the cop scenes could have been cut. Sure, I know that Seth Rogen co-wrote the movie, but the Washington Post described his appearance playing one of the cops as a "cameo." They need a dictionary. Second, I thought that the use of a certain bodily fluid was merely an attempt to up the ante, was beyond unrealistic, and was simply gross. That said, it is an excellent film.
Following Superbad, we hit Death at a Funeral. As a caveat, it was probably a mistake to see another comedy. While it had some very funny moments, it was nothing more than fair in my book. I doubt it will leave much of an impression a few months from now.
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
People is reporting that Jesse Spencer and Jennifer Morrison, two of the three cottages on House, have called off their engagement. I swear I just learned about their engagement like two weeks ago because I saw Morrison on the cover of some bridal magazine. That's got to be a bummer when she goes through the checkout line at her local Walgreens. In other news, sorry for the lack of updates. Some junkettes are actually working like crazy, some are on vacation, and as for me, well, I just can't think of anything much to say about pop culture in these hot smoky months.
Sunday, August 05, 2007
The Great Deluge
Normally it's Isaac or Bailey posting reviews of books, but I'm in the middle of a fantastically compelling book that I just have to recommend. I don't read a lot of non-fiction, and I don't read any contemporary history, but I'm so glad I made an exception for The Great Deluge, by Douglas Brinkley. Covering just one week, from the Saturday before Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf coast to the Saturday after when the Superdome was finally evacuated, it's a sprawling and well-researched history of shenanigans, heroics, cowardice, greed, incompetence, kindness, and neglect. The author was actually a victim of the storm, and while most definitely not a first-person narrative, his closeness to the material informs his judgments and prose, but not to the book's detriment. By turns heartbreaking and infuriating, I'm finding it impossible to put this book down. (Photo credit: Phil Coale, AP via www.talkingproud.us)
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Where did Jon Favreau go?
The above picture is from last year, and, as you can see, Mr. Favreau is none too thin. In fact, he looks like he ate Mikey. (That's his character from Swingers. I was just shocked to realize that Swingers came out more than a decade ago. I feel old.)
Two nights ago, Mrs. Bartender was watching The Ten, as I was trying to fall asleep. (I swear that sentence is true.) They were doing a story on Iron Man (already getting great buzz as one of the big movies of next year (coming May 2, 2008) and starring Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Terrence Howard), when they interview the director. It takes me a second before I realize it is an unrecognizabloe Favreau. He must have dropped about 100 pounds. Perhaps he's hoping to play a super hero in the future and not Comic Book Guy.
We'll Always Have Springfield
Mrs. Bartender and I went to see The Simpsons Movie on Friday night, and I was mighty pleased. Sure, we paid $10 to watch a long episode of a great, albeit past its prime, television show, but the movie was a very good episode with enough special touches to justify it being on the big screen. Quibbles, sure: The plot resembled that of a least one other environmental episode; not enough Mr. Burns and Smithers (not even close) or a number of other charcters, but the first scene was a classic and there were a ton of laugh out loud moments. I'm not shocked to see how well it did considering it really is fun for all ages. If you enjoy the television show, you should definitely see this film.