Thursday, December 20, 2007

Global Moron

So, California and over a dozen other states passed laws to reduce greenhouse emissions, specifically those created by cars. And what does President Job do? He (and, one presumes, the auto industry) pressures the EPA to block California and those other states from enacting those laws, which, whether based in California or anywhere else, benefit everyone except the auto industry and, if you're talking pride, the EPA.

Blows the mind, really. It's one thing to use your horrible administration to mess up the world. It's another to actively use your power to undo solutions enacted by other parties to counter your own incompetence and inefficiency.

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Once, Again

I think "Once" is a simple masterpiece, and perhaps down the road a movie that will be remembered more fondly than, say, "No Country for Old Men" (also a masterpiece). Of course, not many people saw "Once" the first time around, but now that it's on DVD a lot of folks will be able to catch up. Still, Fox isn't taking its chances. Here's the original art (above)

and the new art (below).

Notice how it's been made just a little bit more "Christmas-y"? Perhaps they would have been better off from the start lobbying it down from its harsh, nonsensical R rating, possibly the stupidest rating ever given a movie with no sex, no violence, no drugs and only one or two mild curse words delivered in a thick Irish brogue. I say, it's fine for the whole family, and a lovely film no matter who the audience.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Media Matters

So, even though Chris Dodd helped table a retarded motion to grant the telecom industry retroactive immunity for aiding President Job's law breaking, per his willful disregard for FISA checks and balances, wire tapping and government eavesdropping, it turns out the the FCC was in turn the law that makes it hard for a newspaper to own TV stations in the same market.

It was bad enough when the FCC let the likes of Viacom and Clear Channel gobble up radio stations across America. This decision paves the way for further media consolidation and, ultimately, vertical integration. Which will be a disaster for anyone that respects the freedom of the press. I mean, if you think the media is in a dire condition now, just wait until right around the corner when one company inevitably owns all the news outlets - radio, TV, newspaper - in one market. Anyone think that will make things better?

It's no wonder so many of the powers that be rip on the internet as irrelevant. It's quite possible that independent bloggers will be, in the not so distant future, the only thing preventing a total media hegemony. At least until one corporation owns all internet providers, too.

Is it the Question, or the Answer?

I think I'm a pretty good interviewer, but even I recognize that the quality of the interview is based largely on the quality of the subject. Or, barring that, at least the mood of the subject. I've interviewed many famous people, and some of them are dull as all get out. At the same time, I've interview a lot of not so famous people who have been great.

In both cases it's good to know what you're talking about, which is why Terry Gross of "Fresh Air" fame bugs me so much. She's such an incurious interviewer, rarely digging below the surface of her subject even when her subject demands it, and especially even though the tone of her voice implies she's doing digging when she's not.

I heard a pair of interviews from her today that each feature a massive clunker. The first was with the late saxophonist Frank Morgan (who died Friday), where she stated the dominant forms of pop music these days to be "funk" and "rock." Huh?

The other was with film critic David Edelstein (one of my favorites) where Gross revealed she had no idea the current WGA strike covered both TV and movie writers. She was under the impression only TV writers were on strike, so firmly I guess that she had to ask "really?" two more times. Duh.

Most interviewers would kill for her subjects, which include a who's-who of arts and culture figures. I would hope that should anyone ever get a shot at speaking with subjects of the caliber that Gross typically snags that they would try just a little, teeny, tiny bit harder. Of course, the answers the very patient subjects give are often (if you pardon the pun) engrossing. But I wish Gross didn't leave such gems to chance and instead, after all these years, did a better job directing the conversation and not relying so much on so many predictable interview avenues.

Just had to get that off of my chest.

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Monday, December 17, 2007


I was divided at the time, but no doubt David Fincher's "Zodiac" sticks with you. I'm looking forward to diving into the director's cut that came in the mail today, but in the meantime here's a great, totally fascinating clip of how even the most down to earth movies are rife with CGI, and how computers have infiltrated and informed even the most "reality" based movies.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Thrill is Gone

I went to the first night of Thrill Jockey's 15th anniversary celebration, and must admit conceding to the stupefying tedium and heading home early (and skipping the second night entirely). The local label has produced many a fine record from the likes of Tortoise and the Sea and Cake, and licensed great records from Mouse On Mars and, most recently, School of Language. But by and large the discs released by TJ are cold and no fun, and the performances reflected that. Sure, the Sea and Cake have made a nice comeback, Bobby Conn is reliably nuts, and much of the rest of the stable is rife with potential. But I've seen the heck out of most of them, and 15 years later they've long stopped pushing boundaries. Instead they're just running in place.

Aimee Mann's Christmas show, btw, was also surprisingly staid, but it did feature a profane appearance by the rapping Hannukah Fairy.


I don't think America need bend to the will of international pressure on any matter, any more than any country need bend to the will of America, but when the United States is booed not just by protesters but by politicians, you know we're on the wrong track. Of course, any sensible person already knew we were on the wrong track. The question is how difficult President Job may have made it to turn this big unwieldy ship around.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Once in a Lifetime

The future!

“Over the next two years the United States is going to be somewhere it is not now,” Mr. Gore said to loud applause. “You must anticipate that.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Led Zeppelin reunites!

Monday, December 03, 2007


It's been forever, because I've been busy, but I can't resist cross-posting this picture Alma took when we were driving across the west side. Trust me when I say this chicken shack looked even sketchier than this picture conveys. While we stared in awe a woman actually shambled in; she didn't bother closing the door all the way behind her. A second later a stray cat zipped out around the back.