Thursday, June 30, 2005

The marriage and uncreative names department: Bennifer II


So apparently Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck got married. Not very shocking, what with her being (now officially) knocked up and all. I am basically happy for them and even have some faint hope that their relationship will last, because I hear they are both nice people. For real: I know two separate people who separately knew them (or at least knew OF them) in high school, and both separately say they are nice. Yeah, that's right, I'm THAT CLOSE to fame!!

Of course, they should both stop making hideous movies. If they want my advice, which they don't, but if they did, Jennifer would be a superhero only on Alias, make like Halle Berry is about Catwoman by making fun of herself for doing Elektra, and otherwise make medium-sized movies like13 Going on 30, which was fairly enjoyable and showed her to have good comic timing. Ben is a trickier matter--everything he's done in recent years has utterly sucked. However, if he returned to his roots of playing slightly dumb, very flat-affect-having guys--as he did so well in both Dazed and Confused and Good Will Hunting--I think he could get the I-only-do-one-thing-but-I-do-it-well kind of thing going on, a la John Wayne or early Kevin Costner.

That advice is my wedding gift to you, Bennifer II!

Supreme Court: "You already said spite"

Not to dwell excessively on that Lady of Miseries also known as "The Law," but I got somethin' to say, namely: many legal scholars apparently do not watch or adequately appreciate Seinfeld.

Many people who write about legal stuff (including Dahlia Lithwick, whom I LUVVVV) dissed the Supreme Court's decisions this week in two cases about the display of Ten Commandments monuments because the Supremes focused on the oovy-groovy standard of what the state's intent was in posting them. In Dahlia's words,

Establishment Clause jurisprudence remains a matter of divining the unknowable secrets lurking in the hearts of sometimes long-dead government officials.
She found Justice Souter's opinion in one of the cases particularly objectionable because he purported to have figured out the "original purpose" of the Kentucky officials who put up a framed poster of the commandments, while dismisisng arguably conflicting evidence:

Justice David Souter, who authored the majority opinion in McCreary, found that the original purpose of the Kentucky county officials was impermissible, given that they openly admitted to framing the Decalogue in part "in remembrance and honor of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Ethics" and in solidarity with Alabama's crusading Judge Roy Moore. This purpose even canceled out later statements of purpose that were religiously neutral. So, counties' subsequent efforts to cure the overtly religious purpose of the display (by tacking secular "foundational" documents such as the Magna Carta and the Mayflower Compact onto the display) do not erase the original, overtly religious purpose.

Now, like I said, Dahlia is my idol, but I think she missed the genius of Souter's opinion: it's a clever reference to a classic Seinfeld episode, "The Wig Master."

A brief synopsis: Jerry is looking at a "crested blazer" at a schmancy store, and the salesguy who's showing it to him hits on Elaine. Jerry buys the blazer, but then gets increasingly pissed about the hitting-on, so he tries to return the blazer. However, when the store people ask him why he wants to return it, he says, "For spite," and then they won't let him return it. He tries to change his mind, but the manager responds with the classic, "You already said spite." Here it is (thanks, Stan the Caddy):

Jerry: "Excuse me I'd like to return this jacket."

Teller: "Certainly. May I ask why?"

Jerry: "........For spite..."

Teller: "Spite?"

Jerry: "That's right. I don't care for the salesman that sold it to

Teller: "I don't think you can return an item for spite."

Jerry: "What do you mean?"

Teller: "Well if there was some problem with the garment. If it were unsatisfactory in some way, thenwe could do it for you, but I'm afraid spite doesn't fit into any of our conditions for a refund."

Jerry: "That's ridiculous, I want to return it. What's the difference what the reason is."

Teller: "Let me speak with the manager...excuse me .............Bob!"(walks over to the manager and whispers)

Teller "........spite....."(Manager walks over)

Bob: "What seems to be the problem?"

Jerry : "Well I want to return this jacket and she asked me why and I said for spite and now she won't take it back."

Bob: "That's true. You can't return an item based purely on spite."

Jerry:. "Well. So fine then ..then I don't want it and then that's why I'm returning it."

Bob: "Well you already said spite so......"

Jerry: "But I changed my mind.."

Bob: " said spite...Too late."

Justice Souter's opinion in the Ten Commandments thing is a clear homage. Kentucky put up the Ten Commandments and said, essentially, "I'm putting this up to promote Christianity." The courts were, like, "Sorry, our policy is you can't post them purely for Christianity." So Kentucky changed its tune: "OK, then, I want to put them up because I like them." Souter is all: "You already said Christianity--too late!" Genius!

Lord, that was exhausting. I shall soon return to TomKat to replenish my spirit . . .

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A strange new relationship with William Rehnquist

A silent, mysterious man

I have spent the last two days repeatedly reloading Google News to see if Chief Justice Rehnquist has announced his retirement from the Supreme Court. But nothing! I'm starting to feel like the dumpee in a breakup-by-no-return-phone-calls situation. I'm all, like, He can announce opinions 'til the cows come home and even crack little jokes about them, but can he make a teeny announcement about his future plans? Like, "Yes, retiring" or "No, not retiring"--is that so hard? How could he not say ANYTHING? How could he just leave me here wondering what's going on with NO EXPLANATION AT ALL? Doesn't he CARE how he's affecting my LIFE? How could he possibly think that that hideous bleached-blond Texas A&M sorority girl is in any way preferable to ME?

Ummm. Anyway. I hope he'll figure it out soon.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Real World: In/Out

The new season of the Real World premiered this week, and good lord, did it make me feel old. I remember the first season of the Real World like it was yesterday, and, in the true mark of an old fogie, I am confident it was waaaaay better back in the day. Perhaps I can best quantify this with a classic In/Out chart (except you will have to use your imagination for the chart part, since Blogger doesn't support fancy shit like that):

Out: Angry black men
In: Fiery Latinas

Out: Republican Cuban virgins
In: Sheltered pale hairdresser virgins

Out: Throwing forks
In: Broken facial bones

Out: "If Puck lives in the house, Pedro does not live in the house."
In: "He's a typical frat guy--that's what I love about him."

Out: Aspiring artists
In: Hot tubs

Out: Straight girls learning about gay people
In: Straight girls making out with each other

Nostalgia is such an overwhelming thing. Get Granny a walker and a DVD of Real World: Season 1.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Happy Birthday, Toolstein!

It's Toolstein's birthday today! That's right, my biggest fan is turning 28. If anyone has any advice to give him on how to have a successful 29th year, feel free to comment away!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Wherein I hope that Katie Holmes is whoring herself out

As you may have guessed, I have been in bed, paralyzed by despair for the future of mankind, since last Friday, when TomKat threw a press conference to officially announce that it had forever destroyed the romance of the Eiffel Tower by getting engaged atop it. The well-written and cleverly-titled Washington Post article "Ick-led Pink: Tom & Katie's Hollywood Engagement" pretty much sums up my thoughts on the matter, except that I would have picked something stronger than "ick"--perhaps "Have you no decency, Tom Cruise, you defiler of all that is good and holy." Or something.

Anyway, I was inspired to finally rouse myself from my stupor when I heard (via Dan's comment on my last posting--you're a lifesaver, Dan!) the FABULOUS news that Katie may be marrying Tom for money! As Defamer noted, in the least-blind blind item of the millenium a New York Daily News gossip columnist wrote that "There’s a contract. It’s worth $5 million. It’s for five years. There will be no sex. The deal was sealed June 7. That’s what I’m hearing."

This is the best news of the whole TomKat era. Please, Katie, don't break my heart by saying it isn't true . . .

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Nazi references are so hot right now!

Senator Durbin got into all kinds of shiznit yesterday for using a Hitler metaphor when talking about Guantanomo Bay. But where was the Washington Times's outrage when Tom Cruise--the soon-to-be Mr. Katie Holmes--called psychiatry a Nazi science in an interview with Entertainment Weekly?

EW: You are aware that your views about psychiatry come across as pretty radical to a lot of people.
CRUISE: In the 1980s, you were supposed to say no to drugs. But when I say no to drugs, I'm a radical? 'He's against drugs -- he's a radical! He's against electroshock treatments -- he's a radical!' [Laughing] It's absurd!
EW: Yeah, but Scientology textbooks sometimes refer to psychiatry as a ''Nazi science''...
CRUISE: Well, look at the history. Jung wasan editor for the Nazi papers during World War II. [According to Aryeh Madenbaum, the director of the New York Center for Jungian Studies, this is not true.] Look at the experimentation the Nazis did with electric shock and drugging. Look at the drug methadone. That was
riginally called Adolophine. It was named after Adolf Hitler... [According
to the Dictionary of Drugs and Medications, among other sources, this is an urban legend.]

Tom is totally going all Mel Gibson's Daddy on our asses. FREE KATIE!!

Doppelgangerland: Richard and Resnik


Richard (left)

This may be more obscure than the Lindsay/Nicole thing, but whilst watching Beauty and the Geek tonight, I noted that Richard ("Has Kissed One Girl"--and if you missed when this changed from "Has Never Kissed A Girl," Blond Justice does great recaps) looks just like Judith Resnik, a professor of procedure, large-scale litigation, and feminist theory at Yale Law School. Coincidence? You tell me.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Teaching celebrities right from wrong, or, Should I see Batman Begins?

On Beauty and the Geek last week, Chuck ("Medical Student: Functional Neural Imaging") told the ConfessionCam and Scarlet ("Beer Spokesmodel") that people shouldn't reward Richard ("Has Never Kissed a Girl") by laughing at his bizarre behavior, because that only encourages him. This theory struck me as somewhat strange, because I generally think that adults cannot be easily manipulated in the way that, say, children and capuchin monkeys can.

Celebrities, however, are a different story. The continued existence of Nick & Jessica's marriage is evidence that feedback from us, the viewing public, can influence the hell out of celebrity behavior. So this leads me (in a very roundabout way) to the question: Should I see Batman Begins? It's getting pretty good reviews, plus it's hot out, so sitting in a cool dark theater whilst watching rapidly moving pictures and eating Sour Patch Kids sounds like heaven on earth. But would this be encouraging the train-wreck that is TomKat? On the other hand, my obsession suggests that on some level I enjoy the train wreck . . . so does that mean I should see the movie to feed my obsession, or not? What do you peeps think?

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Roy Moore, the Republican party, and hypocrisy

An article in the Boston Globe points out that Roy "Ten Commandments Judge" Moore's popularity in Alabama could lead to a nasty problem for the national Republican party:

Moore, a Republican who enjoys widespread support in his home state, is poised to run against a vulnerable Republican governor. If he wins, some party strategists speculate, he could defy a federal court order again by erecting a religious monument outside the Alabama state Capitol building. With the 2008 presidential race looming, President Bush would then face a no-win decision: either call out the National Guard to enforce a court order against a religious display on state grounds or allow a fellow born-again Christian to defy the courts.

Wouldn't that be awesome, if something happened that exposed a fundamental hypocrisy in the Republican party--the tension between states' rights and making-states-do-everything-right-wing-Christians-want-them-to? The only thing that would be better would be if a bunch of Republican Senators were trying to force the federal courts to overturn years of state court decisions about a woman in a vegetative state. That would really make it clear what hypocrites they are! Oh, wait . . .

OK, then, it would be just as cool if a bunch of Republicans were trying to pass a federal Constitutional amendment that would trump each state's marriage laws. No way would people fail to notice the conflict there! Oh . . .

I think it's time to return to celebrity gossip.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Shocked, SHOCKED: TomKat edition

Sometimes the news is News, and sometimes it's a bunch of super-obvious information that the nation might write about itself in a sort of cosmic 6th grade time capsule ("My name is the United States. My favorite colors are red, white, and blue. I like: puppies, Horatio Alger stories. I don't like: terrorists, poor people.") Here are examples of both:

Super-obvious: Cruise PR machine spins out of control (Rocky Mountain News) Uh, you think?

News: Katie Holmes doesn't know how she met Tom Cruise either ( What?!? Even I know how they met (in short: Tom calls Kat, mystery business-y meeting, sushi-on-jet, walk-on-beach, making out, creepy car-cleaning, true love, Scientology) and I wasn't even there. If they have bad memories, why don't they just read USWeekly?

Friday, June 10, 2005


The FreeKatie T

Are you guys all sharing one brain or something? In the last two days, scores of people--OK, 4--have directed me to, which sells "Free Katie" t-shirts with the provocative and convincing argument:

Don't turn away. Your indifference makes you part of the problem. Talk to your children, join in community support groups and please show your support by wearing your Free Katie™ Gear!

The first time someone emailed me about it, I thought, That's clever, but what should I write about it? and the thing that came to mind was relating an anecdote about how I got in trouble in high school for wearing a T-shirt that said "Free ___ _____." But then I thought, wait, wouldn't it kind of blow my quasi-anonymity to tell that story? Also, I wonder what the other participants in the tale, particularly ____ ______, would think about my putting it online? So then I decided, screw it, some other amusing thing will surely happen today, I don't have to blog about FreeKatie. But then the other half of my audience wrote in about it! As the drug dealer muttered to himself after an encounter with an anxious pothead in a fabulous episode of Freaks and Geeks, "The customer is king!" So, here it is, TomKat-loving audience! FreeKatie! (And if you want to know about my high school experience, buy me a drink and I'll tell you.)

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Life imitates art: Lindsay re-enacts "Mean Girls" movie

If you missed the cinematic gem that was Mean Girls (featuring a pre-twig-shaped Lindsay Lohan), don't worry about renting it, because Lindsay is making like a Civil War re-enactor and redoing the movie in her actual life!

Just like the movie, "Mean Girls: The Life" started with Lindsay as a cute, smart newcomer to a scary new environment (high school/Hollywood, respectively):

Mean Girls: the movie

Mean Girls: the life

In the second act, though, she was seduced by an army of popular people (The Plastics/The Hilton Sisters) and made herself over into a soulless high-fashion popular-girl clone:



This week Real Life Lindsay moved on to the part of the movie where she has a party but doesn't invite the Alpha Girl she is trying to dethrone: she had Jessica and Ashlee Simpson barred from an MTV Movie Awards after-party. Her fidelity to plot minutae is astounding!

The movie conflict is resolved (SPOILER ALERT) when Tina Fey rounds up all the girls in the gym and makes them realize they shouldn't be mean to each other anymore. I anticipate that in the reality version this will take the form of Parker Posey cornering the Lohan/Hilton/Ritchie clan in some coke-drenched bathroom, feeding them sandwiches and getting them to a rehab clinic. I'm so excited for the end of the movie! Thanks for entertaining us, Lindsay!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Holy crizzap: TomKat engaged

I guess I picked the wrong year to quit using "iz" words to express horror and amazement: MSNBC reports that Katie "won't deny" she's engaged to Tom.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Happy 100th, Amy Blair!

I dunno if I indvertently worked hard last week or what, but somehow I am two days late in celebrating Amy Blair's 100th "Week in Craig" column on BlackTable. She marked the occasion with a party in Manhattan (which I also missed--work cannot explain this; was I abducted by aliens?) and a Very Special Episode of shout-outs from her fans. A sampling:

I am a goodlooking married guy (notice there are no quotes around goodlooking)
that really would like to stroke it in front of a nice female . . .

You are the most ignorant person to have ever existed. Yes, it is understandable that you can dislike Dave Matthews and his music. A lot of people do and they are entitled to their opinions. But you give no real reasons why he should shit on a plate and eat it. You mock the man for ridiculous gestures. Shame on you and I hope you are the first person to eat his shit . . .

Greetings from Baghdad: Hey just started becoming an addicted craigslister, keep up the writing(i needed a good dose of sarcasm and humor). Finally getting out of this annoying dangerous hell hole which wouldn't be that bad if it weren't for the army . . .

From another vaguely mentally unbalanced reader, Happy belated 100th, Blair!

Suffrage is so retro

Last week the NYT National Briefing reported that a female Kansan who has previously spoken out against suffrage for women is now running for public office:
KANSAS: SO MUCH FOR CRITICIZING SUFFRAGE A state senator who said in 2001 that giving women the vote was a symptom of weakness in the American family is seeking the Republican nomination for secretary of state, the state's top elections official. In 2001, the senator, Kay O'Connor, disparaged the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote. "The 19th Amendment is around because men weren't doing their jobs," Ms. O'Connor said, "and I think that's sad. I believe the man should be the head of the family." She now dismisses the controversy as silliness. (AP)

I feel like asking what's wrong with Kansas is really under-stating the enormity of the question. Not to be over-dramatic or whatever, but what's wrong with human beings?

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bizarre stalking behavior: It worked for Bob Woodward!

The real shocker in Bob Woodward's huge article in the Washington Post explaining his relationship with Deep Throat, aka Mark Felt, aka A Very Old Man Who Is No Longer Really With It and Whose Family Thinks It's Time to Cash In, is not that they used tricks torn from the Alias handbook (moving flower pots around on balconies to ask for meetings, etc.), but how they met: Woodward met Mr. Throat (that's sexier than "Felt") at random and then stalked him for career advice because he felt directionless. (That sentence was brought to you by "All the Punctuation Marks Except the Period.")

For real! Before he became a big-time reporter and best-selling author and, most impressively, was portrayed by Robert Redford in "All the President's Men," Woodward was working as some kind of bikeless bike messenger for the Navy, and whilst delivering documents to the White House he met Throat, who was then an assistant director of the FBI. Even though Throat "showed no interest in striking up a long conversation," Woodward asked him for his phone number, and then called him numerous times over the course of several years to consult "in depth about my future."

WTF? I realize I am generally bad at talking up possible mentor figures, but is this really how it's done? It seems bizarre and presumptuous . . . but it seems to have panned out quite well in this case, and I am always open to new suggestions. Watch out, high-ranking government officials, T&A Lady's looking for a job and ain't nobody safe!