Saturday, November 29, 2008


Everywhere I look I keep reading that it's a bad year for movies. My response, as many of these I've listed before:

The Dark Knight
Rachel Getting Married
Tropic Thunder
In Bruges
Hamlet 2
Hellboy 2
Pineapple Express
Synecdoche, NY
Iron Man
Standard Operating Procedure
Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Released this year, belatedly in America:
Tarsem's The Fall
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days

I still haven't seen:

Happy Go Lucky
Encounters at the End of the World
Man on Wire
My Winnipeg
Slumdog Millionaire
(not everybody's panning it)

This is a bad year? Because it wasn't an unexpected cattle-gun shot of frame-advancements in art-houses like last year?

The above aren't all great movies, but a few of them are, and they're all worth your nickel. If 90% of everything is usually crap, it's been a good year.

The year American Beauty won Best Picture was the same year that Battlefield Earth, Highlander: Endgame, and Dungeons and Dragons all came to theaters.

I think we'll survive the chihuahuas.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


I'm 26, unemployed, have had the worst year of my life, and am thankful anyway. I've seen people I love moving forward while my life has perilously stalled, and I'm thankful to be a part of their lives, as thankful when I'm on the right track as when I'm on the wrong.

Also, for this bad year. I'll emerge from it.

We're not alone, not a single one of us, which on a day like today brings a mixture of heartrbreak and gratitude, heartbreak for the horrors across the Atlantic and for the troubles at home, but gratitude also that we get to be here for a little while, and we have so much to inspire us on a daily basis, where we're inclined to look, and frankly, where we're not.

I'm thankful for January 20th. I'm thankful that we're safe from the nuclear codes again. I'm thankful that we've elected a President who possibly knows that whatever side of this war you're on, violence is the very last resort. Or we are all savages.

We'll all of us emerge from this bad decade, just you watch.

I'm thankful that in light of all this, I've had a family that was willing to take me in in my greatest time of need, give me time, give me food, and deal patience.

I'm lucky to have the boyfriend that I have, a ghosthunter, fully aware he's trying to find a me that escaped my body a year ago when I couldn't get what I needed to have.

Finally, I'm thankful this came out when I was a kid:

Transition: Golden Age - TV on the Radio

Inevitable: The Shield - Family Meeting

8 1/2 Floor: Synecdoche, NY

Shimmer of Aurora Borealis: The Yiddish Policemen's Union

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I've Done Worse

From the comment thread for the AV Club's interview with Walton Goggins:





I didn't get hooked on The Shield until midway through the third season. I'll miss those bastards when they're gone.

West Wing: Electoral Intent

Bravo's been re-airing random episodes of The West Wing since we won, as if to say, remember when this seemed like fantasy? Believing in government? Can you feel that?

Believing in the process even a little wasn't always confined to Sorkin High-Style Wit-Whack-A-Mole.

So they showed an episode from the last season, written by Deborah Cahn, and I was set to just fall asleep to it, when, as I'd been assured would happen early on by those who'd followed it, I was kept awake by the momentum of the plot and the quality of the writing. Was it even close to Sorkin? Well, no, we might as well call Paul Haggis a 'writer', so as not to be that unfair in making comparisons.

Points of awkwardness revealed themselves in the obvious attempts by Cahn to ramp up the velocity of the dialogue in pursuit of a Sorkiny tête-à-tête. These points could've been avoided if she'd (or probably the whole writing team) accepted that Sorkin's velocity was a characteristic of Sorkin's writing, but not, at his best, the end-all be-all goal. The volume of his ideas inherently resulted in fast-paced delivery, which has played no small part in giving him a screwball comedy edge.

Still, that awkwardness isn't the fault of the post-Sorkin seasons. They had a trademark to uphold that was probably beyond anybody's reach (even post WW Sorkin's, it seems).

Season seven appears to be a stand-alone show, good enough for the devoted, especially in light of recent political events. Or maybe I just saw an uncommonly strong episode.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Not only will he be the first President using a laptop in the Oval Office, I'd say it's probably the one seen here. Teehee.


Why isn't Andy Samberg the lead on this show? He's a national treasure.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Only Seat In Town


I have a better idea, which is they get none of my business from now on. Suits me fine, as I usually head out to Regal or Carmike theaters anyway.

Besides, the idea that Milk will be one of the most profitable films of the holiday season strikes me as more than a little naive.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Ha Ha

After Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin dismissed the value of community organizing in her acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on Sept. 3 -- "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a community organizer, except that you have actual responsibilities," she said to applause -- Obama raised $10 million within 24 hours."

More people have an innate sense of injustice than we might think. Seems so.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Friends As Often As Possible

It's a great movie. It's not too early to say so about A Prairie Home Companion, because, as a coda to an inspiring career, it effortlessly incorporated into its scenes all a dedicated man had ever learned in life.

I admit something similar to what Ebert reveals in his opening paragraph, there: When I think of the diner scene at the end, with Tomlin, Keillor, Streep and Kline, I see Altman sitting next to them. I attribute their lines to him. It's how I remember the scene.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Do You Pray to Jesus with That Mouth?

This "Family Council" guy is proof that the courts are superior to the mob. This is why appointments to those courts must understand what minority rights are, and how that concept is separate from mere identity politics.

Every homosexual in America, including the moronic 27% of you that voted Republican, should be happy Barack Obama won for one simple reason: The Supreme Court.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Remember Remember the 4th of November

I wanted to be in Chicago last week, but couldn't swing it. I probably wouldn't have been in Grant Park, but hell, I still would've loved to have been in the city.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What's It To You?

I do not intend to continuously post Keith Olbermann. I know you could say he's the headliner for MSNBC's Liberal Power Hours, and that he's just a pundit like O'Reilly or Hannity. Well, I'd like to see them come close to anything resembling the kind of perspective, generosity and sincerity evinced in the clip below. If it's all for show-biz, then it's a preferable show-biz to the oblivion of mainstream television.

If he's doing it for the dollars, I say we pay him, and if he's our shouting hard-liner, we could do a lot worse.


I don't care if they're ever funny again.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

I Found Blingee


Congratz on your new job, Cuz!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Zombie Stomp

Adam Freeland's Marine Parade label has been one of the highest caliber of the past eight years. It was one of the faces of breaks without being limited to breaks, the result being that artists like ILS and Infusion could never stick around for very long. They produced great work in the early half of the decade, moved on to other labels, and through good albums and bad, found a cookie-cutter mold to stick with.

They haven't budged since. Beber disappeared, as did Apex. Forme, aka Richard File, is still doing thrilling work with UNKLE. Thoroughly excellent as Sta and Alex Metric are, they currently also work with other labels and have produced tracks that might not forever fit Freeland's ever evolving musical style, so give 'em a few years (that isn't a negative thought).

Freeland oughtta be pretty happy this year, because Evil Nine have emerged victorious. They've been with him from the beginning, from the track Special Move, to the album You Can Be Special Too, and now here with their stereo scorching They Live.

And folks, it's the best dance album in a long time. It's genre defining and genre defying. Perhaps it's the Evil Nine genre: Punk rock, nu disco, zombie-punk dancehall, and Halloween breaks. Adam Freeland will change in two or three years, and Evil Nine'll be there to complement him.

The album has the best instrumentals this year, pummeling brilliance into deceptively minimal schemes. They're anthems. Stadium sized.

El-P pumps a measured level of adrenaline into All the Cash. David autoKratz brings on the catchiest vocals of the album, unless you count the zombie in the titular track, They Live, or the uplift of Seraphim's Icicles (a track I dare you not to listen to eight times a day for the first few days). Toastie Tailor returns, and rounds out one hell of a collaboration.

I think there's crossover appeal here. They've recalled an era of music, refashioned it, brought it back from the dead, and made it sufficiently bizarre, fun, catchy, and finally lighthearted.

Rejoice. Brains.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Does your vote count? Yes.

Does the right leadership make a difference? Yes.

Remember who trademarked the phrase "Fair and Balanced".

Remember who benefits from voter apathy.

Remember that sometimes we're individuals, and sometimes we're needed as a unified people. It's called the social contract.

Did we attack people personally for their vote when we questioned their leaders? Maybe, but that's part of the process. Speaking truth to power is our birthright. We must grow a backbone, rattle off our thin skins, and get real.

Do we need to be civil in victory? Yes. Good people have been abused by bad leaders, but, frankly, their feelings aren't as important to me as are the victims of the past eight years of unlawful rule by thugs and theocrats.

They say a new day is dawning for the Democratic party. A new era like the one we saw begin with FDR that ended in Grant Park in 1968.

Still, if we manage to do nothing else but bring the Republican party back to its center, and move it to govern away from the kooks and the gun-nuts and the homophobes, we'll have done a great victory for consensus government in the future.

Beyond those observations, we simply don't know what's going to happen next. How utterly exciting.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


This space can't be left blank today. I don't know what to say after this, because she said it right, and I'm only posting because I'm out of breath.

Following this election closely has focused me (in an even more persistent monomania than usual!), helped me distract myself from nagging fears and terrible heartbreak.

I'm not trying to be a downer. I'm simply addressing the fact that I wish I had been financially independent and emotionally sound enough to go help out in a place that could use help. Helping out in Ohio or Pennsylvania would've been great. I can't imagine going door to door around here. This ain't a swing-state. We're 15 points behind and voting for the 14th century, because Barack "isn't gonna share his wealth".

That's what I heard my grandmother say. I say nothing, because my family goes Republican way back, far back enough that when the Roosevelt dime was minted, my Granny's Uncle would only take two nickels, or, grocer boy, you'd damned get it.

I used to argue more loosely with Granny and Mom about these sorts of things, but not now, when I believe they've been abused by terrible leadership and a disdain for the Constitution. The stopping-distance, I think, is long enough that it might not hit them very directly in their lifetimes, so their preferred narrative of America can persist. With Rush Limbaugh for Granny and Fox News for my Mom (and Granny), it can definitely persist.

I overheard them talking about a woman at my Mom's workplace, who said that Obama's birth-certificate has been kept from the public, and I got upset. Couldn't contain myself. I thought, surely, surely, you're not buying into that hate-speech? My Mom finished by saying that she had told the lady at work that that was ridiculous, that Obama was a citizen, let's not get crazy. She said this wearing a Sarah Palin button.

In that moment she showed what was obvious to me to begin with, that she has ten times more sense and compassion than the farce on her button. She said she admired Obama, believed he was a very bright man, but disagreed with his policies, and that was it. The negative campaigning isn't working on anyone but rabid nutjobs.

It occurred to me that if McCain had picked a center-right running mate, run a campaign based on low taxes and small government, he'd be doing a lot better, and it would be perfectly honorable (though wrong and impractical in our time of debt and crisis).

In explaining her stance, my Mother showed a calm decency that, however wrongheaded politically I still think she is, gives me hope that an Obama win may be more magnanimous than we can imagine. I hope so. I'm baffled. My Mom and Granny root for their home-team, and were sad for Fulmer today. They have the same attitude towards the G.O.P. They don't like 'em to lose, but they can handle it.

Am I baffled by the Palin button? Disgusted by it, but at Palin, not my Mom. Beyond that, I'm just ready for a real President, and thankful it'll be handled with grace in this household if I get my wish. Other households in TN may not be so lucky.