Friday, September 30, 2005


Serenity opens today!!!!

As I may have previously mentioned, I have been drooling on myself with anticipation about this movie for months. I seriously Have. Not. Read. Reviews., which makes it the first time I will see a movie without knowing what was going to happen since, like, high school. (That's because I grew up in a town without computers or magazines.) (Just kidding, Mom!)

Anyway, my point is, you should really go see this movie. It's all things for all dudes: It's a Western! It's a futuristic sci-fi without the Trekky dorkiness (sorry, Dad)! It's got outlaws, crime, the threat of violence, a mysterious teen with strange powers, and a classy hooker! It's funny, and it has attractive, Asian-influenced sets! What more could you want in a movie?

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Michael Vartan has left the building

So they really did it: Alias killed off Michael Vaughn, a.k.a. the main love interest for star Jennifer Garner's character Sydney for four seasons, a.k.a. the dude whose real name we found out in this very episode was apparently something else (Henri Mureaux? Dunno, it was French), a.k.a. the character played by Michael Vartan, a.k.a. Jennifer Garner's ex-boyfriend in real life. There had been rumors of this all summer, spawning an actual movement of people who say they'll boycott ABC's advertisers if they kill MV. While this seemed like a case of misguided energy, I was also kind of frustrated about the idea that JG would make them fire a major character just so she wouldn't have to hang out with her ex, and annoyed that they'd start off another season by killing Sydney's fiance (that's how the very first season started). However, shockingly, now that it's happened I feel none too upset, and almost relieved that now Sydney can stop moping around and making unconvincing puppy eyes at her boyfriend and back to kicking butt. Either that, or I'm relieved that I have one less TV show to watch.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Sen. Garfleck?

As the Washington Post said yesterday, Virginia Democrats are going batshit about the idea of Ben Affleck (who's shopping for a house in Charlottesville with his wife/baby-mama-to-be Jennifer Garner) running for Senate against Republican George Allen next year.

Now, call me as crazy as a Democrat who lives in Virginia, but I don't think this is a half-bad idea. Here is my rationale:

1. It's about time for Democrats to back slowly away from those lame "qualified candidates." Republicans have gotten plenty of mileage out of the whole entertainer-turned-elected-official thing (e.g., Reagan, Schwarzenegger, Sonny Bono, and, as this helpful site reminded me, Shirley Temple Black and several others), and if Democrats learned anything in the 2004 election, it should have been that personal heroism, honor, and experience can't hold a candle to name recognition and a blind faith in those who lead us into war. Ben played a war hero in Pearl Harbor, so that should be plenty to convince people that he can guide the country through a crisis.

2. Although he's from Massachussetts originally, Mr. Affleck appears to have a thing for red states--in addition to the house-hunting in Virginia, he also owns a home in Georgia.

3. He's got a pretty wife and will soon have a (presumably pretty) baby.

4. Ben is hot. Now, it's true that he has arguably let himself go a bit lately, but one man's flabby movie star is another man's breathtaking elected official.

5. Circumstantial evidence suggests that he has the personal charisma of the last successful Democrat, Bill Clinton. Specifically, he's dated a string of the most gorgeous, successful women in Hollywood (see: Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Lopez, Jennifer Garner), and this is not attributable to his looks alone (see #4 above). Also, as FameTracker observed back in 2000, Affleck has the fame of Johnny Depp even though he probably deserves the fame of Omar Epps, further suggesting that he's getting a boost from his own personal charm.

6. Finally, and this is where I admit I am going out on kind of a limb, I think Ben may be smart. For your consideration, I present what he said about the public's obsession with his then-ladyfriend Jennifer Lopez's sexuality in a March 2003 interview with Vanity Fair:
"Jen has had fewer boyfriends than your average high-school junior," he says. "In the physical sense, she's extremely chaste. She's had a much simpler, more easily explainable, more clean romantic history than I have. She can tell the whole story in 15 minutes, whereas I always preface the whole story with 'It was complicated ... ' I think this also has to do with race. There's a kind of language that's used about her-the spicy Latina, the tempestuous diva. She's characterized as oversexed. I mean, the woman's had five boyfriends in her whole life! She's a deeply misunderstood woman, in my opinion."
Now, say what you will about how he was fooling himself if he thought his twice-divorced girlfriend's romantic history was uncomplicated, but I think the rest of it is fairly perceptive.

So, go Sen. Garfleck! (The Reliable Post columnists at the WP say "Benator" or "Sennifer," but I like mine better.) If I had Congressional representation, I'd be happy to vote for you.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Annoyances of human behavior: Crowded Bus Edition*

I rode the bus home today, which caused me to reflect on what an annoying and irrational people we human beings are. To wit: when the bus is crowded, it is necessary for the passengers standing in the aisles to move towards the back of the bus so that more people can get on at the front. Everyone knows this, since they have gotten on crowded buses before and wished others would move back, and also because the bus driver is constantly yelling, "Move back!"

Nonetheless, a majority of bus riders absolutely refuse to move back. (I could attribute this to D.C. residents, but since others have noted the same phenomenon in other cities, I will lay off D.C. and conclude it is a fairly universal occurrence.) Instead, they cling for dear life to whatever pole or strap they happen to have their little paws on. Why do they do this? Do they feel that the people getting on the bus constitute a deluge of sorts, and that if they let go they will be washed away, perhaps swept out the back windows and onto the street? Is it some kind of Rosa Parks shout-out? (Note: Unlike the strap-grippers, Rosa Parks had a seat. Also, fighting for racial justice.) Do they think they are pioneers on the frontier who will eventually be granted ownership of the pole to which they are clinging if they set up a homestead there for long enough? Are they just resisting the authority of the bus driver and/or the new passengers in an aimless sort of way?

I just have no idea. If you see a very grumpy-looking girl on a crowded bus scowling at the pole-clingers while shoving her way to the back of the bus, give me a wave.

*I realize that the entire point of this post is to bitch about something that bugs me, and that this means I am in some way imitating Andy Rooney. This is unfortunate because I have hated Andy Rooney for years. I have long said: "I hate Andy Rooney. How can a crotchety old man make an entire career out of bitching about things that bug him?" But now I realize that my hatred was actually jealousy in disguise. Sorry, Mr. Rooney. CBS, if you are thinking of replacing Andy Rooney with a younger crotchety person who will bitch about things that bug her, you know where to look.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Daily Candy DC: One of these things is lame

When I heard found out that Daily Candy, that deliciously-titled sender of emails about shopping opportunities, was starting a D.C. edition, I felt rather like I'd imagine you'd feel about a new baby: excited, proud, but anxious about what the cruel world would hold for the vulnerable little tyke, and secretly worried that the kid would turn out doofy, or dumb, or annoying. (Does this mean I'm not ready to have kids, do you think?)

In the best-case scenario, Daily Candy DC would mean that my adopted current home, the historic homeland of homeliness, would have officially arrived as a non-dorky city. In the nightmares that kept me up at night, thought, this new development would reveal the lame-o core of my poor little non-state.

Well, it started this week. And. Um. Well, here's an excerpt from one of the first DailyCandy DCs:

Big news: Dos Gringos now delivers right to The Raven’s barstools. So after you order your regular drink, call DG and ask for anything from their delicious cafe menu. Like the skinny chicken salad sandwich made with yogurt, low-fat mayo, and Granny Smith apples. The spectacular curried rice salad. And a tasty steamer made with Italian syrup and hot chocolate. Someone from Dos Gringos’ waitstaff will happily walk it across the street to you in no time.

With the same day's offering for D.C.'s much cooler big sister, I mean New York:

Introducing you to Key, a cool new clothing boutique on Grand
Street. A former artist’s studio, the sunny, spacious, laid-back shop has high ceilings, antique wallpaper, hardwood floors, and a patio in back. As for the clothes? Well, every piece is special and wearable.

OK. First, Dos Gringos has delivered to the Raven for eons, but their hippie-dippie service is so slow that you'd be better off cultivating that Granny Smith yourself in the alley, and the Raven is so dank with smoke that eating in there would probably be carcinogenic. Second, whyyyyyyy does D.C. get a sandwich delivered to a bar when New York gets a spacious, patio'd store of special, wearable clothes? What did we do to provoke this unparalleled wrath from the gods of retail and lifestyle? What do you think I could do to make the other kids stop throwing sticks at little Washington?

Blogthings says I'm 23 years old

OK, this one is disturbing. I mean, I guess I'm in the right decade, but couldn't I be at least 25?

You Are 23 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

President fired for substance abuse

Ooops, I mean Kate Moss, a.k.a. the poster girl for heroin chic in the '90s, was fired from modeling jobs with H&M, Chanel, and Burberry for allegedly using cocaine.

The President, who allegedly is hitting the bottle again due to his grief over his "handling of the Katrina crisis and troop losses in Iraq," a.k.a. his crappy poll numbers, still has his job of being the most powerful person in the world.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney split over "fraud"

I am fascinated by the news that Renee Zellweger filed to have her four-month-old marriage to country star Kenny Chesney annuled on the grounds of "fraud." While she says "fraud" is a legal term and not a reflection on Chesney, that's kind of like saying that being a "convict" or a "bastard" is just a legal description. It's true, but it doesn't really help.

So, what does it mean? Based entirely on a bar review class on the laws of a state other than California that I took several years ago, I will say with 50% confidence that "fraud" in this context has to be something very fundamental to the marriage, and which, if Renee had known about it, she wouldn't have married him. Traditionally (I'm still talking out my ass here, by the way), this would have to be something like saying you were pregnant (or a virgin) when you weren't, or concealing a sexually transmitted disease, insanity, or the fact that you were already married. Interestingly, I seem to recall that lying about whether you loved the other person would not count--ahhh, institution of marriage, you beautiful thing! Back in the day, lying about your race could count. Of course, concealing your homosexuality might also do it. Let the unfounded speculation continue apace!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

John's Angels

Today the Roberts hearing ended, but not before a boat-load of women who used to work with him testified about how much he supports women in the workplace. Listening to this testimony made me wonder if perhaps I've been living in some kind of imaginary la-la land where men and women (or at least highly-educated professional ones) have some kind of vague equality, or at least pretend like they do. To wit, the evidence that Roberts is super-feminist was:

1. One female associate took maternity leave and then worked part-time, and yet Roberts still supoprted her in becoming a partner in the law firm because she was a good lawyer.
2. When Roberts's wife recently went on a business trip, he took their children to a family event and took care of them by himself for three whole days.

Um. This is impressive? This is so retro that just writing about it is zapping me back 40 years and stealing all my irony. Nothing . . . funny . . . to . . . say. Excuse me while I go re-immerse myself in a modern la-la land bubble (a.k.a. Jon Stewart).

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Britney's a mom

As Gawker told us, Britney had her baby today, and named it (I guess him) Preston Michael Spears Federline, which is at least better than the name Kevin Federline, her babydaddy (I guess husband) reportedly wanted (that would be "Vegas.").

Now seems an appropriate time to reflect on why Britney wanted to have children young. According to a letter to her fans she posted on in 2004, it's because her own mom was a young "Supermom":

She would go to church every week like everyone else, but she always looked sexy in her black dress and she was the one all the other women would gossip about. She would come home and put on her size 2 shorts and a bikini top to wash the car & get a tan at the same time . . .
Sounds awesome. Best of luck, Brit!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Roberts and Jackson Rippner: separated at birth?

So I've been watching the John Roberts hearing, and I found myself thinking, where have I seen that before? The unnusually light-blue eyes, the very square face, the mama's-boy haircut, the charming facade disguising a cold, dead heart . . . Oh yeah, it was Jackson Rippner, the assassin-type Cillian Murphy plays in Red Eye, the v. entertaining movie co-starring Rachel McAdams of Mean Girls fame.

The movie is totally worth seeing if you're in the mood for a popcorn thriller that's not gory. There's a great moment when Rachel's character, Lisa, is freaking out as the plane takes off because she's afraid of flying, and Jackson, who started up a banter with her in the terminal and seems to be sitting by her on the plane in a happy coincidence, starts asking her questions about her family. When the plane levels off, Lisa thanks him for distracting her. "Oh, no, that's not what I was doing," he replies (I'm paraphrasing, peeps.) "Oh yeah, what were you doing?," she asks him somewhat flirtatiously. "I'm trying to keep the focus on you and your father," he answers. "Why, are you a shrink?" she says, somewhat less confidently. "No, I'm working with a team of assassins who have kidnapped your father and we'll kill him if you don't do what we say." Fast fade from flirtation to terror. Great cinematic moment.

It would be nice if I could tell you what the parallel point in the Roberts hearing was, but there really wasn't one. The hearing is more like the earlier part in the movie when Jackson is trying to make nice with Lisa in the airport, and when she tells a grumpy fellow traveller to stop picking on the airline employees, he gets her back--but as he talks to the guy, he grabs his arm just a tad too hard. You only know it's foreshadowing in the movie because you've seen the preview. I'm afraid the airplane-confrontation part of the Roberts tale might not come until we realize we're stuck on the judicial equivalent of a red-eye flight in the seat next to him, like, I mean, when he's the Chief Justice for the next 40 years.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

TomKat update: Katie Holmes to gradually disappear

An alert reader, probably concerned about my meanderings into the realm of throw pillows and BBC news broadcasts, sent this gripping, disturbing update on the TomKat situation from Salon:

Call her old-fashioned, but Katie Holmes is planning on giving up her last name when she goes through with her marriage to Tom Cruise. And in keeping with her more recent trend of taking things too far, she's even taking on his preferred first name for her, Kate. Shrugging off the precedent set by former Cruise wives Mimi Rogers and Nicole Kidman, she'll use the name Kate Cruise both privately and professionally. A source tells In Touch: "Tom calls her Kate, so he suggested she start going by that professionally." (WENN via

So, yes, she's officially forsaken her own identity, and yes, Kate Cruise sounds like a porn star. However, in the spirit of being thankful for small favors, let's imagine how it could be worse: she could take on Tom Cruise's real last name, and instead of Kate she could adopt some private term of endearment that he (could well have) bestowed on her, which would make her . . . Cupcake Mapother. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Help me pick a pillow!

Pop DotsShangri-LaAir Traffic ControlQuatrefoilParasols

I'm trying to pick a throw pillow for my couch. Which one do you like? Imagine it on a velvet-ish reddish couch (technically "paprika"-colored) in a room with various blue colors, some orange, some yellow, and a bunch of other colors. As the artist formerly known as P. Diddy would (inaccurately and probably inappropriately) say, Vote or Die!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The BBC keeps it real

The New Orleans situation is so awful that I actually watched the news last night instead of MTV. An observation: the BBC is the only news channel that discussed whether the hurricane rescue effort was racist in a rational way.


BBC reporter: There are accusations that the response to Hurricane Katrina was racist, because the huge majority of the victims were poor and black, and they were left without food or water or medical assistance for many days, and many died as a result.

American reporter: Kanye "Straw Man" West made an accusation that President Bush doesn't care about black people. Generic Pundit, do you agree, or do you think it's divisive and inappropriate to play the race card at this time of crisis?

Generic Pundit: Thanks, Bob. At this time of crisis, it's divisive and inappropriate to play the race card. Plus, President Bush likes Condi Rice and Colin Powell, so it's just not true that he doesn't care about black people.

I hear England is beautiful this time of year.