Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I'm baaaaaaack! And trying to learn from Paris Hilton

Paris, Savant and Lover

I apologize for my long absence! (If anyone is interested in sponsoring me so that I may quit my job and devote myself full-time to blogging, I worry for you.)

You may think all Paris Hilton has to teach us is how to maintain a stoned-chipmunk look while inadvertently starring in pornos, but in fact that is only one of her many talents. She is also a woman of wise words. This week she opined on the importance of concise writing:

"Last time I met her we were in a restaurant together. She slammed down the menu and screamed, 'I hate reading.'"--Pamela Anderson in the Globe

Word, Paris. In that spirit, I will cut to the chase: Paris is engaged to a man named Paris. Awesome.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

TomCruise: Love Monkey

Apparently this is what love looks like

An alert reader (thanks, Jess!) sent me this hideous update on the TomKat situation, from Salon:

Somebody stop him: In a taped appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" on Monday, Tom Cruise reportedly jumped up onto Winfrey's couch and got down on his knees in an effort to show how smitten he is with Katie Holmes. "I can't be cool. I can't be laid-back," Cruise said. "Something happened and I want to celebrate it." Possibly at the altar. "I'm going to discuss it with her," the actor said when asked about possibly tying the knot with his new girlfriend. "Honestly, I haven't [had this kind of experience before]." Then Cruise brought Holmes out onstage and necked with her. (Associated Press, BBC News)

EWWWWW. This makes me really hope the whole thing is a farce, because otherwise it's just grosser than gross.

Speaking of which, when I went to see Star Wars this weekend (tangent: see Captain Indignant for an interesting discussion of whether one should avoid the opening weekends of big movies, Star Wars in particular) the previews for TomKat's summer blockbusters were back-to-back (except in reverse order--KatTom, as it were). This emphasized the possible motivation for the fake romance, but it also suggested other possible movie-premiere-enhancing fake relationships that didn't make it to the light of day. I think we can all agree: At least Tom didn't decide to date his "War of the Worlds" costar, Dakota Fanning.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Deal on nuclear option: What should I think, O media?

So it seems that 14 Senators made a deal that will avert the nuclear option. In my line of work (whose exact description I will leave vague because, even though only 20 people read my blog and I know who you are, I am pretending to be anonymous) this was the biggest news since sliced bread. However, I found nonetheless that I was not sure what I thought about it. I mean, I had a few thoughts, namely:
  • Janice Rogers Brown: thinks New Deal was socialist revolution; will be Justice on D.C. Circuit = bad.
  • Possible filibuters of rabid psychos in future = good.
  • Internal thoughts in style of Terminator or Bridget Jones = disturbing.

Other than that, my reaction was that I need to read more stuff online to see what other people think about it. Does this mean I am going dumb in my old age, or does it just show the whole postmodern, nothing-has-meaning-until-we-collectively-assign-it-meaning chestnut was right all along?

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

BaldNatalie: This one's for you, Toolstein


Based on the frequency of his comments, I conclude that Toolstein is my biggest fan, and I happen to know that Natalie Portman ranks up there with Katie Holmes in his list o' celebrity crushes. Thus, I thought it important to share this piece of information: Natalie Portman has shaved her head. And she loves the baldness. That is all.

Does Britney's reality show suck?


Is the Pope Catholic? Is the Democratic party bad at winning elections?

Given how un-newsworthy it is that Mrs. Federline's show (unironically titled "Chaotic") is tragically lame, it's impressive how deeply-felt the reviews are. "Britney's Home Video: Plumbing the Depths" (Washington Post) calls Britney a "smutty-mouthed, pudgy-faced brat" and says the show is "an execrable mess by absolutely any standard." It's more than snarky--it's pissy! And Slate's "Is That All There Is? The Warholian appeal of Britney and Kevin: Chaotic" notes that Britney and Kevin are "both certifiable exhibitionists and phenomenally dull people," and that their show "captures the sheer existential tedium of being a celebrity." As bitchy as an anorexic girl in a candy store! Is it weird that this makes me want to watch it more?

Monday, May 16, 2005

Scolding-like-your-mama: the new editorial voice

Fugly Lindsay (picture stolen from Go Fug Yourself)

Go Fug Yourself has a fabulous exegesis of Lindsay Lohan's current "look" (ashy-blond, bony-ass, as explained below) which takes the approach of scolding her like her mama shoulda done. ("You just look so messy, sweetie. And you're such a pretty girl . . .") This works because it frees the Fuggers from their sometimes oppressively mean (although always funny!) tone and allows them to mix real affection ("You used to be so adorable!") with the bitchiness ("Young lady, do you know who you look like with your hair like that? Are you ready for this? Hilary Duff.") This prose style also has the bonus of giving the reader an automatic nostalgia trip, because who doesn't remember her mother telling her she looked "like every skinny blonde starlet in town"? Um. Or whatever. Anyway, I totally advocate that other opinion writers/ pick up on this approach. For instance, today the NYT had an important-but-boring editorial called "Justice Under the Microscope"--but wouldn't it have been more compelling as "Governor Warner, Sweetie, You Disappointed Your Mother When You Nearly Executed that Innocent Man, But Now That You Have Ordered a Review of That Crime Lab I Just Could Not Be Prouder"?

Thanks, Mom, I thought you'd like it.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Doppelgangerland: Lindsay and Nicole


Nikky and Nicole (both photos from E!Online)

Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie seem to have been sucked down the same vortex of ashy-blond hair and bony-ass skinniness. Props to Nikky Hilton for resisting its gravitational pull.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Investigative plagarizing blogger to the rescue!

Aha! If only I had scrolled down slightly more in How Appealing, the blog from which I brazenly stole the subject of that last post, I would have discovered the answer to my question! I should have known that the relevant information was to be found in a judicial opinion. The federal judiciary, God love it, is never one to shy away from explaining the gritty details of joke-telling penises or other burning social issues in sterile, uptight language:

At issue here is the sixty-eighth episode of the show he has entitled "Tim’s Area of Control" . . . The episode included a three minute segment in which a flaccid penis and testicles marked with facial features was the only object within camera range. During this segment, a voice-over was heard identifying the penis character as "Dick Smart" and providing purportedly humorous commentary as if on behalf of the character.

Hmm. Now that the end of my quest is nigh, I should be feeling relieved--but in fact, I find myself faced only with more questions. Specifically, is "flaccid penis and testicles marked with facial features" really a singular subject such that the verb following it should be "was," rather than "were"? The thirst for knowledge is never quenched . . .

The sorry state of the journalistic profession and joke-telling penises

This Detroit Free Press article provides lots of information about the the indecency prosecution of Timothy Huffman, whose penis was apparently the star of a public-access television show:

The offensive-talking penis did a form of Rodney Dangerfield-esque comedy. ("Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was in the Army, ya know. I didn't do much, ya know what I mean? I just hung around.")

Great! Timely, relevant reporting--but where is the key detail? HOW DOES THIS MAN'S PENIS TELL JOKES? If the mainstream media would quit being so coy, maybe bloggers like me wouldn't have to shoulder such a heavy burden! (Hehe. Kidding.)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

The Senate, God love it


During today's Senate Judiciary (stay with me here!) Committee debate on the nomination of former Alabama Attorney General William Pryor to the 11th Circuit, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) made the comment that Democrats don't understand the South. Now, I have to say the man is right. I have had the fortune of spending a year in Alabama, and during that time I learned many perplexing and even confounding things which I'm sure only scratch the surface, for instance, the fact that that macaroni & cheese is a vegetable, that "The War Between the States" is a polite term for what might otherwise be called "The War of Northern Aggression," and that the phrase "X, God love him" is not an evangelical blessing, but rather a wind-up for the biggest smack-down the deliverer can possibly muster, as in: "Sam, God love him, he's not going to amount to much," or "Suzy, God love her, she's a heavy girl."

So I felt pretty smart with my carpetbagger insight, when out of nowhere in the same Committee meeting comes Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), seemingly the biggest Yankee around, responding to some kind of crack-smoking claim by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) with, "Orrin, God love you, I don't know how you can say that with a straight face." Ooohh!! A barely veiled bitch-slap to Hatch, with an implicit Dixie dis to Sessions! Or maybe it was just me--Sessions, God love him, didn't seem to notice.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

No. It can't be. That's not true. That's impossible! NOOOO!*

Recently I found myself as heartbroken as a boy with a crush on Katie Holmes when I found out Article III Groupie, a blogger who writes Underneath Their Robes, a very funny blog about the federal judiciary (no easy feat!), is a raging conservative. Like, she's a straight-up "I feel betrayed because Justice Souter turned out not to be a psycho right-winger," "I Luv Judges Who Think The New Deal is Unconstitutional" kind of conservative. Now that the scales have fallen from my eyes, my whole view of Article III Groupie has changed. Before I assumed that her references to Supreme Court clerks as "The Elect" were kinda ironic--but now I wonder, are conservatives really ironic about purported meritocracies? Before I thought that her Superhotties of the Federal Judiciary contest was tongue-in-cheek, but now I think, do Federalist Society members do naughty things with their tongues? Allow me make like a half-assed Carrie Bradshaw and end this with a question: If a conservative makes a joke and I laugh, am I still a liberal?

*Note timely Star Wars reference.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

This isn't my actual license plate, but I thought the last post could use a picture

Voting rights are so hot right now!

As a resident of Washington DC, and the proud owner of license plates bearing what I suspect is America's Only Sarcastically-Toned License Plate Slogan (Taxation Without Representation), I know that residents of DC don't have any voting members of Congress, even though we pay all the same federal taxes as other legislative-representative-having Americans. (Boo!!) Apparently this knowledge puts me in an elite minority, because 78% of Americans think that DC residents have the same voting rights in Congress as everybody else. (This is higher than the percentage of US Weekly readers who think that TomKat is a publicity stunt, proving . . . Um. Nothing.)

Anyway, I can't really toot my own horn about my knowledge of my own lack of voting rights, because I was kinda surprised to read last week that Puerto Ricans can't vote for President, even though they are also U.S. citizens. This makes me wonder: do Puerto Ricans have it worse than Washingtonians? To answer this question, a tally:

Electoral college representation (since 1961): 1 point
No Senators, one non-voting House delegate: 0 points
Federal income taxes: -1 points
Lots of Republians wearing pleated pants: -2 points
Attractive neighborhoods and architecture (I'm not biased!): 2 points
Total = 0 points

Puerto Rico:
No vote for President: -1 point
No Senators, one non-voting House delegate: 0 points
No federal income taxes, but pays Social Security taxes: -1/2 point
Beaches: 3 points
Total = 1 1/2 points

Whew. I can now sleep soundly knowing D.C. residents are officially more screwed than everybody else.

Speaking of creepy . . .

Kenny Chesney's songwriting isn't even on the same creepiness meter as the story about how the day after Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes met, he sent people to her house to clean out her car because it was messy. WTF! Katie, stand up for your hobbit-feet-cold-sore-filthy-car self and dump him!

How did I miss this?

Renee "Constantly Changing Bodyweight" Zellweger got married to Kenny "Country Music Kinda-Star" Chesney! I didn't even know they were dating! This kind of shakes my confidence in my knowledge of all celebrity romances. Must redevote self to reading US Weekly on a regular basis! (Namely, every week.)

This Washington Post article contains the weird tidbit that Kenny was inspired to write a song called "You Had Me At Hello" after seeing Renee in Jerry Maguire. To me the message of that movie was that it's better to be in a relationship with someone you don't really love than to be single, which makes the anecdote kinda creepy.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

TomKat: Redux


Tom & Nicole

Now, I have a brain like a sieve, but when I saw this picture of Tom & Katie in Rome, it reminded me of something. Tom "Napoleon Complex" Cruise in front, very tall ladyfriend following behind, bending down slightly and averting her eyes as if to pretend she is shorter and not very famous--this is no new phenomenon! If Katie gets as much world-dominating-movie-stardom out of this as Nicole did, I guess yippee for her, but is it old-skool of me to wish she could become successful without the aid of a short, funny-toothed, broken-nosed, angry-seeming Scientologist boyfriend? OK, so I'm old-skool.

Another sign of the apocalypse

Pro-estate tax activists develop sense of humor. (On an unrelated note, yahhh for me for learning how to post pictures!)

Literary challenge du jour

It's always a good idea to challenge yourself by reading things that are difficult to understand, such as Russian literature and the Letters to the Editor section of the Montgomery Advertiser. See if you can guess which one this is:

Unruly student learned anyway
I have been watching news report about Sidney Lanier with nostalgia and sympathy. In two years my class, the class of 1957, will have a 50th reunion. I did not graduate. I did not walk. I was not a hood or, as is current, a thug. I was just a bad boy.

I lacked four credits for graduation and, much to the chagrin of my parents, they signed for me to enter the Marine Corps. I was the first and probably the only student ever suspended for wearing Bermuda shorts to school. I accidentally broke a door glass as I was running to class, bled profusely and was suspended. My parents paid for the pane.

I talked a lot. Some of us wore our Levis ($4.94 a pair at the Serum Co.) down low. I peroxided my hair, and did not go to Panama City for spring break. Somewhere between Forest Avenue Elementary, Bellinger Hill, Bellingrath, (the first year it opened), Baldwin Junior High and Lanier from 1954-57, I actually absorbed a lot more than I thought. It is a shame I didn't do more.

The teachers certainly did. We were all white. There was a new white school opening across town and we lost friends to a rival district.

I'm lucky. I eventually saw the error of most of my ways, got a degree on the GI Bill, taught for 33 years and retired without going to jail.
How times have changed.
West Marcus

Don't . . . understand . . . brain . . . hurts.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

"Satan is not just going to let you walk over and get something . . ."

. . . Or so says State Representative Al Edwards, explaining why it will be an uphill battle to pass his bill banning "sexually suggestive" cheerleading in Texas. (Edwards elaborates that he has personally witnessed these she-devils "shaking their behinds and going on, breaking it down." I think that comes right after the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes chapter in Revelations!)

As he is wont to do, Satan has enlisted his minions to assist him in achieving his nefarious ends, among them Kay Lynn Renfro, the director of the Grapevine High School Fillies drill team, who hid her forked tail in her spankies as she told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, "There are many things to me that there is nothing about it that is sexual or explicit, but to someone else watching, it may be." You can tell Satan's spawn by their relativism at 40 paces!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Jennifer Wilbanks, cultural studies guru

The cops are saying that Jennifer "I Ran From My Ginormous Wedding" Wilbanks must have planned her escape because she cut her hair to disguise herself and bought a Greyhound ticket ahead of time. But physical evidence is so 1990s! The real proof that this was no spur-of-the-moment move is how incredibly culturally savvy the whole thing was. How many movies and other cultural phenomena could one person really pay homage to without a lick of foresight? She included not only the obvious obvious nod to Julia Roberts' 1999 quasi-flop Runaway Bride (bonus points because Julia is also from Georgia!) and the classic Fleeing-Wedding-on-Bus reference to The Graduate (although, of course, Jennifer was sans poufy white dress and Dustin Hoffman, as far as we know), but also the interesting new Am-I-A-Perpetrator-Or-Am-I-A-Victim twist on the otherwise five-minutes-ago Bridezilla phenomenon, and, to top it off, the never-gets-old Fake-Kidnapping-by-Imaginary-Nonwhite-Man chestnut that was so well captured in the South Park episode which featured Gary Condit and JonBenet Ramsey's parents. Either Jennifer has been plotting this puppy for months, or somebody should put her in charge of her own TV network, pronto.