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  January 31, 2005
Def Condi Jam

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Funny Lady: Secretary of State Rice on her first day at the State Department, Jan. 27, 2005 (via Reuters)

"Thank you, thank you. What a great audience out there. Really, I'm not just saying that: you're a great group. You wanna know another great group? The U.N. Or, as I like to call them, 'The United Colors of Benetton!'

"Funny thing about the U.N., and this is a true story! I was there a couple of days ago for a big meeting and one of the aides said to me, 'Do you know where Kofi is?' So, I looked her dead in the eyes and said, 'Listen, just 'cause my title says Secretary doesn't mean I'm gonna get you coffee!' Oh, boy! She turned green then red then blue: talk about united colors!

"I'm outta time. Good night folks, you've been great! Don't forget to tip your server."

Posted at 10:47 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Does Anyone Else Find It Strange That Henry Darger Was Hired To Sketch the Jackson Trial?

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The Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, identify their Assailant.

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At Neverland Ranch, only to escape again.

More on Henry Darger, and more creepy courtroom sketches of Michael Jackson.

Posted at 7:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Vanity Fair Wants to Know What You Think!

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Take the V.F. poll, at the all new VanityFair.com.

Related: Graydon Rides the Wave, by Jennifer Senior, New York, 12/11/00

Posted at 2:10 PM in a Satirical, Shallow fashion.
  January 30, 2005
Riverdale High: The Duel for the Dirt

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Posted at 3:13 PM in a Shallow fashion.
low culture Exclusive: The Aristocrats Punchline Revealed

aristo.jpgThe Aristocrats, the documentary directed by comedian Paul Provenza and featuring George Carlin, Whoopi Goldberg, Gilbert Gottfried and others performing their variations on the legendary, unspeakable 'aristocrats' joke, has emerged as a surprise hit at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival. It was acquired by ThinkFilms for an estimated $750,000, according to Reuters.

Most articles about The Aristocrats point out that even if they could publish the shocking, disgusting 'aristocrats' jokes, they wouldn't dare for fear of ruining the punch line. According to press reports, 'the aristocrats' is the funniest joke ever, and to reveal it would be tantamount to a crime against comedy, not to mention, the film's word-of-mouth marketing effort.

Well, since we walked out of The Crying Game and told everyone on line for the next showing that Jaye Davidson is a man, and delighted in revealing that the wife did it in Presumed Innocent, we're gonna break ranks. Once you read the joke, you can decide for yourself if it is, indeed, the funniest joke ever told.

Knock knock?

Who's there?

The Aristocrats.

The Aristocrats who...?

Continue reading...
Posted at 3:00 PM in a Shallow fashion.
January 30th, 2005: This Birthday's Gonna Be da' Bomb!

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For a Man With A Whole Lotta Heart (Problems)

"Suicide bombs and mortars killed at least 27 people, but voters still came out in force for the first multi-party poll in 50 years. In some places they cheered with joy at their first chance to cast a free vote, in others they shared chocolates." - Iraqis Brave Bombs to Vote in Their Millions, Reuters, Jan. 30, 2005.

"Mr. Cheney was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on January 30, 1941 and grew up in Casper, Wyoming..." - White House bio

Last Year: Present Accomplished

Posted at 11:00 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 29, 2005
Ideological Corrections: For the Record

From "Corrections," The New York Times, Jan. 29, 2005:

Because of an editing error, an article yesterday about Condoleezza Rice's first day as secretary of state referred incorrectly to her coming trip to the Mideast. She will meet Palestinian leaders in the West Bank, not in Israel.

Posted at 6:40 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 28, 2005
On Sunday, would these six Iraqis have voted for the United Iraqi Alliance, or, maybe, the Assembly of Independent Democrats?

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I guess we'll never know.

RELATED: Major parties and alliances, the Associated Press

Posted at 5:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 27, 2005
Two Friends Talking: A One Act Play

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Blair Calls on United States to Cooperate With Rest of the World, by Alan Cowell, The New York Times, Jan. 27, 2005.

TB: Mr. President, you need to cooperate with the rest of the world, sir.
GWB: Aw, hoss. Why you ridin' my ass?
TB: Mr. Bush, I'm quite serious on this matter.
GWB: 'Quite serious!' Fah-fah-fah, I'm an Englisher! Spotted dick!
TB: Now listen here, Mr. President: I shan't allow you to mock my accent. The world needs unity.
GWB: Shan't. That's funny, hoss. You callin' me from a dang car phone, Tonesy?
TB: Busted, sir.
GWB: Now you know you can't be callin' me from no car phone, man! Ashcroft's got one of them scanners: Laura and I gotta turn on the bathroom sinks just to talk dirty. You can't be callin' me from no car phone, hoss.
TB: Yes, sir. Well, Mr. President, I'm almost to my destination. Please do try to cooperate with the rest of the world.
GWB: Alright, hoss. You know I'd do anything for you, Tone. You're my boy. You're my boy, Blue! You're my boy! You get that over there in Britland, Tony? Ya' get it?
TB: Yes, Mr. President. I saw Old School. Very amusing. I, um, must go now. I'm getting another call. It's Nelson Mandela.
GWB: Nelson? He's my boy, too—
TB: Breaking... breaking up, sir.
[click]
GWB: Tony? Tony? Damn dial tone. Get it? Tony, Tony, Tone? Ya' get that, hoss? Damn, I'm talkin' to myself here.

[with respect to David Rees: You're my boy, Rees!]

Posted at 11:16 PM in a Grave fashion.
Save the O.C. for a later date

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You're so goddamned livid right now. The DVR is fucking up, again, and keeps looping the first few frames of tonight's episode of The O.C., which you had set to record because you were in Queens visiting your old friend from college. Well, not so much a friend, but an ex-lover. Girlfriend, whatever. You broke it off with Claudia before graduating, you recall, and that worked out fine until she moved to Astoria and called you up saying how nice it would be to visit her using the fucking 7 train. As if, man, as if. That line on the map is fucking purple, and you look that homo shit right in the eye, and renounce it like there never was a Bravo Network. But you had a momentary relapse and went out to some goddamned Greek restaurant to have a catch-up dinner with her. Fuck, it was tedious, and she kept talking about how Manhattan real estate was so over-rated, but at least you knew you had your DVR slated to capture The O.C. to its 80-gig harddrive. The grape leaves were worth it, though, as was your knowledge that you had hours of available recording time free on your machine.

At least you think you did; the tech/sales guy on the phone wasn't entirely certain, but then again, he was working out of some fucking province in India. So you're now back at your place in Gramercy. And you're feverishly gripping the goddamned all-in-one remote, and trying to get the episode to play, because it's approaching midnight and you need to get into work tomorrow before 8am. PLAY, goddamnit. Peter Gallagher's face is frozen in some actorly-contortion, and the image keeps flickering back and forth between two consecutive frames of video. The DVR's interface is just hanging there onscreen, its cutesy late-'90s fast-forward and rewind arrows just taunting you with their promise of television on your terms.

You hit the exit key rather ungracefully, and you're now out of the onscreen programming guide. You were almost clumsy in your haste to remedy this shit. Got to be more pro-active, responsible. Rational. Calm.

You select tonight's episode again. And it jumps to the credits, the fucking end credits. 1:00:01, it says on that cutesy little bar at the base of your 32-inch television screen. That's just what you needed, right, for it to be midnight and Point Pleasant to come on and taunt you with its insipid content. It's not nearly as inspired as The O.C.. You fucking have to find out what's going on with that Mexican gardener boy, and Julie Cooper's reconnection with Mischa's dad, and that hottie bartender. Yeah, the hottie bartender. Blond. And fucking bisexual. You read online that there's going to be some lesbian shit in upcoming episodes, and, despite your general protestations of all things homo, you can, and will, make an exception when it comes to some tongue-kissing action between Mischa and the blondie.

But these Point Pleasant title sequences are just hanging there, teasing you. You put your hard-on away. You bring up the dialog box, the one that says, "Play from the beginning," and, fuck, fuck, it does just that. You are content. Peter Gallagher appears onscreen again, only as he's speaking fluidly, now, that single-frame grab you were subjected to moments ago seems so much more appealing. Almost Emmy-winning in caliber. He's going to wreck the rich motherfuckers in Newport! Low income housing, he's saying, low income housing. Tell that shit to Claudia, maybe, because, fuck, Astoria pissed you off tonight. And now you're distracted, so you try to rewind a minute or so. And, again, the screen fucking freezes. Fuck you. Time Warner Cable is getting a curt little phone call first thing in the morning tomorrow. You'll be at your desk, and your friends will be talking about The O.C., and you're going to hate them for that.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, now collected in a limited-edition DVD box set, retailing for $34.97 at your local Best Buy. Formatted for Region-1 players.

Posted at 5:31 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
The Louise Post Post

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Veruca Salt's Louise Post goes Anna Nicole Smith.

From Willy Wonka's I Want It Now, sung by Veruca Salt (the character, not the band):

I want a feast
I want a bean feast
Cream buns and donuts and fruitcake with no nuts
So good you could go nuts
I want a ball
I want a party
Pink macaroons and a million balloons
And performing baboons
Give it to me
NOW!
Indeed.
(Thanks Erin)

Posted at 3:19 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Screw Park City, This Year It’s All About Davos

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Among the attendees at the World Economic Forum, (clockwise from top left) world spokesman Richard Gere, U2 point man Bono, Citigroup Chief Executive Hottie Charles Prince, and Catwoman star Sharon Stone.
(photos via AP)

Posted at 1:02 PM in a Shallow fashion.
low culture Gossip Alert Vol. 3

Despite Page Six's lede, Pete Doherty, formerly of The Libertines, currently of Babyshambles, is indeed disappointingly, crashingly sober. And not only do Kate and Pete dance the 12-step together, he's now attempting to guide the ur-waif's new singing career.

Update: Or not.

And yeah, Juliet and Julian dance down the red carpet of commitment this spring. But what of the band's rhythm section, similarly due for new tax filings, and the ceremony newly transported from France to New York? Now that's news...

Posted at 6:33 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 26, 2005
Or, As I Like to Call Her, "The Future Mrs. Matt Haber"


J.K. Rowling Names Daughter Mackenzie

Posted at 3:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
How to design a record sleeve for your favorite hipster band

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L-R, Tegan and Sara, So Jealous; Bright Eyes, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn

Hmmm...and you're still wondering what the next Bloc Party or Dears LP will look like?

Posted at 2:34 PM in a Shallow, Soundproof, Versus fashion.
Here's to a great second term!

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"America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth. Across the generations, we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation's security, and the calling of our time.

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."

-- From President Bush's second inaugural speech, January 20, 2005
Posted at 1:30 PM in a Grave fashion.
I voted today. Did you? (Also, my mom took the crusts off of my sandwich.)

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Iraqi youngsters display an election pamphlet, as a British soldier on patrol in the southern Iraqi city of Basra, looks on, Wednesday Jan. 2005, as Iraq heads for national elections scheduled for January 30.(AP Photo/Odd Anderson, pool)

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Children examine election posters displayed on a campaign vehicle as Kurdish women's rights activists raise election awareness among poor and often illiterate women in suburbs of Arbil, Wednesday, Jan. 26. 2005. Kurds are expected to attend the forthcoming elections in Iraq in overwhelming numbers thus strengthening their position in the interim Iraqi parliament. (AP Photo/Sasa Kralj)

Posted at 1:05 PM in a Grave fashion.
You can't handle the truth!

bush_nicholson_truth.jpgFrom Powell gives bleak assessment of Iraq security problems, by Guy Dinmore in Washington for the Financial Times, January 13 2005:

According to Chas Freeman, former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia and head of the independent Middle East Policy Council, Mr Bush recently asked Mr Powell for his view on the progress of the war. "We're losing," Mr Powell was quoted as saying. Mr Freeman said Mr Bush then asked the secretary of state to leave.

Or, directly from Mr. Freeman's mouth, by way of the transcript of his appearance at the recent Capitol Hill Conference Series on U.S. Middle East Policy, Iraq, Afghanistan, and the War on "Terror", January 11, 2005:

Anyway, the other day I understand that someone went into the Oval Office - someone known to everybody here, a rather senior person who is on his way out of the administration - and was asked by the president what was going on in Iraq, and said, with his characteristic bluntness, we're losing - and was asked to leave the office forthwith and not continue the discussion.

So there's a question about what is going on in Iraq, and perhaps the competition between reality-based analysis, much disparaged in Washington these days, and hallucinatory optimism, which is the alternative.

Posted at 12:24 PM in a Grave fashion.
Most Incomprehensibly Confusing Press Event Ever

mysterypr.jpgBond Beauty Drops in to Boost World Record Abseil Attempt: Rachel Grant at Twickenham Rugby Stadium, London

Who in the hell is Rachel Grant?

Abseil?

Was the attempt successful?

We assumed a brief Google could set our minds at ease. We were wrong.

Posted at 12:05 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Debates 2004: "Exaggerations," "Lies," and "Mistruths" revisited

kerry_prompter_debate.jpgFrom the San Francisco Chronicle, Wednesday, January 26, 2005:

Bush adds $80 billion to wars' costs; Afghanistan, Iraq tally would pass $300 billion if OKd

But what to make of this, dated a whopping three months earlier (Friday, October 1, 2004), from the Washington Post's analysis of the first Presidential debate between candidates George W. Bush and John Kerry:

Few Factual Errors, but Truth Got Stretched at Times

Kerry suggested that the United States has spent $200 billion on Iraq, largely because it supplied the bulk of the troops. This was an exaggeration because it combined the amount already spent -- about $120 billion -- with money that is expected to be spent in the coming year or requested by the administration.

In case you're interested in researching more of Candidate Kerry's various lies and deceptions, rest assured that various media outlets displayed an eerie amount of non-prescience last fall. Why not comb through the following links, as well? They're each chock full of documentation of Kerry's $200 billion mendacity...

Distortions and Misstatements At First Presidential Debate, Bush and Kerry both have problems with the facts at their meeting in Coral Gables, (FactCheck.org)

A Primer for Tonight's First Debate, Both Bush and Kerry Have Set the Stage With Some Misleading Claims, (Washington Post)

Some key claims in debate and how they really stack up, (Knight Ridder/The Seattle Times)

Reality Check: Distorted Debates, (WCCO TV)

Posted at 10:01 AM in a Grave fashion.
Hope You Got a Poncho On - That Shit's Gonna Blow

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Posted at 10:00 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 25, 2005
Overlooked by Oscar

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Jude Law in Alfie... Jude Law in I ♥ Huckabees

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Jude Law in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events... Jude Law in Closer

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Jude Law in Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow... Jude Law in The Aviator

Bastards just hate a handsome motherfucker.

Posted at 10:23 PM in a Shallow fashion.
On the Value of Specificity in Writing

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Ask Men, the online portal for anything with testes, has declared its Top 99 Most Desirable Women (get it? That’s one less than a hundred). Aside from the rather disappointing photos, the accompanying text for each babe also leaves something to be desired – any sense of actually describing the buxom beauty in question.

It’s a sure sign of the homogenization of popular culture. Or a sign of the overwhelming demands that society places on women’s appearance. Or maybe it’s a sign of AskMen’s lackluster editorial content. Eh, it’s probably something.

Just try to match each babe with her sexy vagaries.

Total Hottie Banal Sentiment
1. Vivica A. Fox A. …this girl could rival NASCAR. There's a sweetness about her that keeps people tuning in for more. Add to that a curvaceous figure and cleavage like the Appalachian Mountains -- well-shaped, impressive and all-natural.
2. Kristanna Loken B. Her mocha skin highlights every nook and cranny of her flawless body.
3. Alicia Keys C. What, you never looked at her legs? You never imagined what those bee-stung lips feel like? For all men and -- let's be honest -- many women, X remains an icon of unique sexiness that begs for further screen appearances.
4. Fergie (from Black-Eyed Peas) D. She's no teenage waif in skimpy clothes. She's got the curves, the moves and the attitude to make any man pay attention. She oozes more sex appeal per square inch than the whole of Sweden.
5. Nikki Cox E. X's striking face and luscious body attract men and women alike -- she has an impressive lesbian following. She's been dancing for years and it has paid off with a tight and toned body.
6. Demi Moore F. Her proportions and facial features are flawless, and there's nothing we can say about her lips that hasn't been said a dozen times already.
7. Uma Thurman G. In a blonde-saturated popular culture, X provides a refreshing respite with her sensual dark-haired aura. Her luminous eyes still give the movie screen an extra glow in those many close-ups.
8. Halle Berry H. Her beatific face, long legs, perfect curves... is it hot in here? One look at her is enough to realize why she became a model before turning to acting.
9. Angelina Jolie I. Yet she still maintains an allure usually restricted to the mysterious, and each time we see her scantily clad it's like the first time.
10. Brooke Burke J. A perfectly contoured stomach, toned legs and a more than ample chest should secure X a spot on this list for years to come.

Answer Key: 1-d, 2-h, 3-b, 4-e, 5-a, 6-g, 7-c, 8-i, 9-f, 10-j

Posted at 2:01 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Say It Ain't So, Larry, Say It Ain't So

On crotch-cam auteur Larry Clark's new feature, Wassup Rockers:

The story follows Latino skateboarders from South Central Los Angeles who eschewed the gangbanger lifestyle in favor of their boards and punk rock. In an interview with Variety, Clark says "I got to know them and became fascinated by their lifestyle and the peer pressure they encountered because they didn't like hip-hop, didn't want to be gangsters and weren't into drugs."

Ken Park, we hardly knew ye.

[via Dark Horizons]

Posted at 9:44 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Dorkus Wins for Once in Her Loser Life

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Stinkbomb Sue Anna Yeh, left, poses between classes in Sugar Land, Texas Thursday, Jan. 20, 2005. Yeh, a total spazoid and obvious lesbo at First Colony Middle School in Sugar Land, wrote a poem about No Name-Calling Week that won first prize in a lame-assed contest related to the event, which will be observed at hundreds of middle schools nationwide next week. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

(We’re really not always this mean. It must be the time of year.)

Posted at 7:23 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 24, 2005
Sexing It Up At Sundance

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Alexandra Kerry and Tobey Maguire make love to the camera.

Posted at 10:00 PM in a Shallow fashion.
That Cold Park City Weather Is About To Get a Blast of Hot Air

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Posted at 6:46 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Another One Bites the Dust

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Today marks William Safire’s last Op-Ed piece article for the New York Times, and the paper has set up a lovely multimedia farewell to him online. Even readers are encouraged to get in on the good cheer and offered the chance to “share memories of the columnist.” We thought it might be nice to share some of their moving tributes below.

From Rajivshorey:

Outright thugs in the administration and out of it like Mr Safire are responsible for the utterly venal and criminal policy on Iraq war.

From farmhand07:

Think of all the good he could have done if he had just stayed with selling refrigerators. Instead he used his "salesman" writing style to foist and then prop up the most reprehensible figures in recent American politics. Agnew, Nixon, et al.

Good riddance.

From krome9:

Safire's logic was sometimes just missing and most times corrupt.

From richeeboyee:

You’re a hell of a liar – good riddance.

From jazztenor:

Mmmmm...interesting illustration by Barry Blitt of Safire's self-important melodramatic farewell...

Are we to surmise he is jumping into an empty pool?

Continue reading...
Posted at 12:07 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Arrrrgh! Monster Hungry!

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So, So Mean: Viktor Yushchenko at his inauguration (via Reuters)

Posted at 10:11 AM in a Grave fashion.
An Open Cover Letter To the Editors of The Paris Review

Dear Sirs/Madames:

I was sorry to hear about the recent loss of your editor, Brigid Hughes. All consolations aside, may I suggest my own editorial services to the rescue?

Much like your former editor George Plimpton, my many urbane acquaintances would describe me as possessing the bonhomie and ruddy good cheer of any chronic tippler, whilst still maintaining adequate compos mentis to run the football pool on a Sunday afternoon.

Unlike Mr. Plimpton, however, who forever played the "professional amateur," I am a "consummate professional." Could Mr. Plimpton program basic HTML? I can. Did he boast a proficiency in Excel Spreadsheets and the rest of the Microsoft Office suite? I boast. And I can safely assume that my WPM’s far outstrip Mr. Plimpton on even his best days.

To put it bluntly – I am not possessed of the terminal wanderlust that so plagued Mr. Plimpton. Nor do I possess any aspirations to play the jack-off-of-all-trades: I have no interest in getting in the ring with Archie Moore. I have neither the interest nor the talent to write the Great American Oral Biography. In short I have few, if any, interests – a valuable asset when it comes time to meet the bruising deadlines of a literary quarterly.

If and when I do pursue my acting career, I will serve as a far better representative for The Paris Review than Mr. Plimpton did in the failed Tom Hanks vehicle Volunteers.

When I served as Editorial Intern for Harper’s in the summer of ’97, my dedication to fact-checking the trademarked Index was responsible for the eventual publication of several scathing statistics that concerned federal budget allocations. My recent experience in posting to low culture has presumably prepared me for other things, things of which Mr. Plimpton could only have dreamed. Did Mr. Plimpton post to low culture? I’m fairly certain he didn’t.

As for meeting (and exceeding) the qualifications of your most recent editor, let’s just put it this way: I can urinate standing up.

I am available to move into Mr. Plimpton’s apartment effective March first (when my sublet ends). I look forward to speaking with you about this opportunity.

Yours,
Guy Cimbalo

Posted at 3:47 AM in a Shallow fashion.
The Inevitable Johnny Carson Post

theres_johnny.jpgExcerpted from "The Tonight Show," September, 1991, on the occasion of the Soviet Republics' movement toward independence:

To me, democracy means placing trust in the little guy, giving the fruits of nationhood to those who built the nation...Democracy is people of all races, colors, and creeds united by a single dream: to get rich and move to the suburbs away from people of all races, colors, and creeds.

Democracy is buying a big house you can't afford with money you don't have to impress people you wish were dead. And, unlike Communism, democracy does not mean having just one ineffective political party; it means having two ineffective political parties. Democracy means freedom of sexual choice between any two consenting adults; Utopia means freedom of choice between three or more consenting adults. But I digress.

Democracy is welcoming people from other lands, and giving them something to hold onto -- usually a mop or a leaf blower. It means that with proper timing and scrupulous bookkeeping, anyone can die owing the government a huge amount of money.

Yes, democracy means fighting every day for what you deserve, and fighting even harder to keep other, weaker people from getting what they deserve. Democracy means never having the Secret Police show up at your door. Of course, it also means never having the cable guy show up at your door. It's a tradeoff. Democracy means free television. Not good television, but free.

And finally, democracy is the eagle on the back of a dollar bill, with 13 arrows in one claw, 13 leaves on a branch, 13 tail feathers, and 13 stars over its head--this signifies that when the white man came to this country, it was bad luck for the Indians, bad luck for the trees, bad luck for the wildlife, and lights out for the American eagle.

Posted at 1:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 22, 2005
Such a Little Trooper

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Dying on the Inside: John Kerry with Max Baucus, Jan. 20, 2005 (via, AP).

Always a bridesmaid...

Posted at 2:37 PM in a Grave fashion.
Cliffhanger in Op-Ed Land

From Bush's 'Freedom Speech', by William Safire, The New York Times, Jan. 21, 2005:

On his way out of the first Cabinet meeting after his re-election, President Bush gave his longtime chief speechwriter the theme for the second Inaugural Address: "I want this to be the freedom speech."
In the next month, the writer, Michael Gerson, had a heart attack.

SPOILER ALERT!!

With two stents in his arteries, the recovering writer received a call from a president who was careful not to apply any deadline pressure. "I'm not calling to see if the inaugural speech is O.K.," Bush said. "I'm calling to see if the guy writing the inaugural speech is O.K."
Posted at 10:09 AM in a Grave fashion.
"Cool Mom" Accused of Being "Really, Really Cool Mom"

"A 40-year-old woman faces charges of sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for allegedly supplying drugs and alcohol to high school boys and having sex with some of them.

"Sylvia Johnson, 40, told police she wanted to be a 'cool mom,' according to an arrest affidavit..."

- 'Cool Mom' Threw Sex Parties for Boys, AP, Jan. 21, 2005.

Posted at 10:02 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 21, 2005
Can't We Just Agree on an Approach?

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Posted at 10:22 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Inauguration 2005: America's Elderly Reflect on Our 43rd Whippersnapper

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Highlights from "Americans View Bush Speech Differently", by Angie Wagner for the Associated Press, in which a wide swath of senior citizens' opinions are made available.

First up is Jim Swafford, 62, of Nashville, Tennessee, who sounds a bit, well, focused on the issues. Or at least one issue. One very closely guarded, paranoid issue.

"He's trying to take my Social Security away from me, and he's lying about it," said Swafford, a semiretired owner of a hair salon. "I don't like to listen to him anymore than I have to to find out what he's trying to take away from me."

How about an overarching sense of relativism?

In Rio Rancho, N.M., Bush's speech was on in the cozy recreation room of the Harmony House Residential Senior Living Home. Phyllis Cline sat smiling in her wheelchair, excited she made it back from a doctor's appointment just in time.

Or denial? Nihilism? The sense you're going to die soon?

Joan Keck, 72, wasn't having any of it.

"I'd rather sit and read this book about cats than listen to this," said Keck, gesturing to her book. "I could truly care less."

Posted at 1:25 PM in a Grave fashion.
The way to a woman's heart is through the manipulation of her nation's voters

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Posted at 12:54 PM in a Grave fashion.
Super-Fun Friday Photo Caption Contest*

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How to Enter: Using the 'comments' area, enter your best caption to the above photo (via AP).

Prize: The best caption, as chosen by the editors of this site, will be posted on the main page.

Rules: Enter as often as you like. No libel, etc.

* low culture cannot guarantee that you have "super-fun".

Posted at 9:33 AM in a Shallow fashion.
A Series of Unfortunate Metaphors

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A Different Fire: An Iraqi man injured in a Baghdad car bombing, Jan. 21, 2005 (via AP)

"By our efforts, we have lit a fire as well - a fire in the minds of men. It warms those who feel its power, it burns those who fight its progress, and one day this untamed fire of freedom will reach the darkest corners of our world."
- George W. Bush, Inaugural Address, Jan. 20, 2005

Related: 14 Killed In Explosion Near Baghdad Mosque, ABC News, Jan. 21, 2005

Posted at 7:58 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 20, 2005
Aiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!!!!

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Devil Spawn: Jenna Bush at the Inauguration, Jan. 20, 2005 (via, Reuters)

Update: The aptly titled, "Come to Daddy," by Chris Cunningham and Aphex Twin.

Posted at 6:08 PM in a Grave fashion.
The Way to a Girl's Heart is Through Her O.C.

ben_pool_1_72.jpg"Other strategies are being considered, such as having a regular column devoted to 'The O.C.,' the Fox show, which is a huge hit among girls in their twenties'so much so that the CollegeHumor boys have discovered that discussing the show’s plotlines is an excellent way of striking up a conversation with a girl." -Funny Boys, by Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, Jan. 24, 2005

Hi, is this seat taken? Oh, god. That sounded so cheesy. I mean, that's worse than asking your sign, right? I'm such a cheeseball.

My name is Dave, what's yours? Marissa? Like Marissa on The O.C.?

What? You don't watch The O.C.? Ha! I totally knew you'd be into The O.C.! Not that you're, like, a 'type,' I mean, you're not a cliché.

You know what the best part of The O.C. is? During the winter, it's like a blast of sunshine in my apartment. Isn't that weird how some shows totally make feel, like, seasons? Like, I always need to wear an extra sweatshirt when I watch The Ice Storm! Weird, right?

Or, like, some albums are the same. For me, Bob Marley is spring. Whenever I put on Legend I just feel I'm on spring break in Jamaica like I was junior year of college.

Have you ever been there? Oh my god, it is awesome! It was just me and my boys for five days: sleeping late, drinking, hanging out on the beach all day. And there were so many hotties—

Wait, that sounded so childish. What I meant was, there were great people from all over, just meeting each other, hooking up... God, I'm sorry. I sound like such a fucking fratboy.

I'm really not like that. I mean, I was in a fraternity, but I'm a regular, down-to-earth guy. I mean, the fact that I would admit to watching The O.C. is, like, totally proof of that. If I were some sort of macho frat dude, would I admit to watching a show that's—let's admit it, okay, Marissa— is kinda gay. I mean, it's totally the sort of show that some closet case would watch at the gym before having down low sex in the locker room, right?

But, um, the fact that... What the hell was I saying, Maria? I mean, Marissa? Wait! Where are you going? I was gonna buy you a drink—and not in a cheesy way!

Wait, come back.

Fucking bitch. If we were in college she'd worship my di-dick. Damnit. I'm so lonely. Why am I so very lonely?

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: O.C. crapola

Posted at 4:03 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
What, No Over-Sized Novelty Severance Check?

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Thanks a Million: Powell says goodbye to, well, everyone. (via AFP)

Posted at 2:00 PM in a Grave fashion.
ID4 (More Years)

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Shock and Awe: Fireworks over the White House, top (via Reuters), Independence Day, bottom (via Catastrophe in the Movies)

Posted at 12:41 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 19, 2005
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, Vol. 7

(By way of the BBC News):

On Wednesday, 19 January, 2005, the website of the British Broadcasting Corporation's News division ran an infographic and featurette entitled At-a-glance: 'Outposts of tyranny' that focused on incoming U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice's announcement during her Senate confirmation hearing earlier this week that there were six "outposts of tyranny" around the world. The following chart accompanied the feature:

bbc_tyranny_original.gif

Due to an editing error, the infographic (as featured, above) was incomplete and therefore inaccurate, and we have uploaded a revised, corrected image in its place (attached below). We apologise for any confusion that may have ensued, and thank you for reading BBC News.

bbc_tyranny_usa.gif

Posted at 4:20 PM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 45

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Posted at 3:33 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Dance Macabre

crisper.jpgAh, Park City in January, otherwise known as the Dance Season – that’s Sundance, Slamdance, and Nodance (now defunct). Those of you foolish enough to brave Park City’s bad hat weather and blue law strictures, however, would do well to catch the debut of Crispin Glover’s What Is It?

That’s right, Glover’s long-awaited, first-in-a-trilogy, what-the-fuck, madhouse will enjoy three public screenings, all followed by Q&A Sessions with the creepy auteur. The film, as per imdb:

Being the adventures of a young man whose principle interests are snails, salt, a pipe, and how to get home. As tormented by an hubristic, racist inner psyche. What Is It? is a bewildering, unnerving, surreal, blackly comic film from the visionary mind of Crispin Glover that tells the inner and outer struggles of a young man facing villains and demons on multiple planes.

The film features a cast consisting largely of actors with Down Syndrome, a snail with the voice of Fairuza Balk, and legendary publisher Adam Parfrey playing “Jealous Minstrel.”

What is it? Indeed. Some help might be gleaned from Glover’s Apocalypse Culture II essay of the same name, in which he blames Steven Spielberg for Columbine, kind of.

The trailer for “What Is It?” is available from Crispin Glover’s official site – it is, however, not safe for work.

After the jump, witness an early poster for "What Is It?" featuring Shirley Temple nude, in Nazi garb. Clearly not safe for anywhere.

Continue reading...
Posted at 10:54 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 18, 2005
And what does Jim Crow wear to the Golden Globes?

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Best Actor, White (aka "Drama"):
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator

Best Actor, Black (aka "Musical or Comedy"):
Jamie Foxx, Ray

Posted at 5:29 PM in a Shallow fashion.
RSVP: 'Regret'

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No Laughing Matter: Not every soldiers' homecoming is a Bush/Cheney photo op. (image via The Memory Hole)

"This year, nine inaugural balls are scheduled, including the Commander-in-Chief Ball, a soiree hosting troops who are heading to—or who have returned from—Iraq or Afghanistan," CNN, Jan. 17, 2005.

The favor of a reply is requested by the Eighteenth of January, Two Thousand and Five.
( ) I Will be able to attend The Commander-in-Chief Ball.
(X) I Will Not be able to attend.

Related: "The acknowledgement of misgivings—Mr Bush hesitated to use the word 'regret' —was a departure for a leader who repeatedly has refused to admit to any mistakes while in office," 'I wish I hadn't said that': Bush admits self-doubt, Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian Unlimited, Jan. 15, 2005.

Posted at 4:57 PM in a Grave fashion.
"Unforeseen circumstances" (or maybe she meant "unacknowledged warnings"?)

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Neo-con monster: Condoleezza Rice does her creators' bidding, molding ineffective policies out of thin air....it's magic!

Confirmation time! Let's hurry up with this and get President Bush's second-term cabinet in order, eh, so we can begin the momentous task of laying the groundwork for peace in the Middle East. To assist in this endeavor, the American people have the wisdom and good judgment of faithful troopers like Condoleezza "Ex Post Facto" Rice, who, in today's Senate confirmation hearing unironically announced that "the time for diplomacy is now," in terms of working with allies to resolve the crisis in Iraq ("Crisis"? Shit, wrong word. I meant, umm, "problem". Social Security is the "crisis," and Iraq merely a "problem." Ok, wait, I'm getting all confused here. Let's move on.)

When asked by Sen. Joseph Biden (D) of Delaware about the strength (or lack thereof) of the current U.S. troop levels in Iraq, Rice countered, or rather, deflected:

"I would not presume to try to give the president military advice, but I do believe that he got good military advice and I do believe that the plan and the forces that we went in with were appropriate to the task," she said.

"We did meet with some unforeseen circumstances," Rice acknowledged.

Oh, dear..."unforeseen circumstances?" (Etiquette question: Is it bad form to call this woman a goddamned close-minded imbecile? Because "unqualified fucking idiot" seems so much ruder.)

Let's take a look back. Patriots from California to Maine so fondly recall those optimistic days in October 2002, when we all had faith that there was surely going to be an overthrow of the tyrannically unsafe-for-Americans Iraqi governing body...and our war plans seemed so efficient, so reasonable! We knew our nation's leaders were listening to experienced veterans of combat, and were shrewdly calculating how to achieve the lofty and noble objective of ridding Iraq of its WMDs...

Fuck it, I can't continue with this sarcastic bullshit anymore. Some things transcend the classic model of asshole-ness, and disparaging the ineptitude of others is one of those things. Let's instead try channeling some constructive hostility of the "We-told-you-so" variety:

What follows is a (lengthy, but necessarily so) selection by Michael T. Klare from "War Plans and Pitfalls", from the October 21, 2002 issue of The Nation.

However, while there appears to be unanimity among top Administration officials on the need for a military assault on Iraq, there has been no such consensus regarding the precise form of such an attack. Senior military commanders with experience in the 1991 Persian Gulf conflict have argued for a Desert Storm-like engagement involving hundreds of thousands of US combat troops, while civilian strategists in the Defense Department and some conservative think tanks have advocated a more daring and innovative approach, employing a relatively small contingent of ground troops backed up by the massive use of air power and precision-guided munitions. It appears that President Bush--under pressure from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney--has accorded primacy to the unconventional approach.

Bush favors this approach for several reasons. To begin with, the unconventional approach allows for a much earlier assault on Iraq than would be the case under the conventional one. Any replay of Desert Storm, however scaled down, would require the deployment of hundreds of thousands of troops (plus all of their heavy equipment) from the United States and Europe to the Middle East. This task could not be completed until next spring, and so would require US forces to commence combat operations at the onset of the blistering desert summer. The unconventional plan, on the other hand, would entail fewer troop deployments and could be set in motion by early winter--the optimal time of year.

Adoption of the bolder plan also helps the United States get around the problems created by the reluctance of some friendly Arab countries, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, to allow the use of their territory as a staging ground for the US invasion of Iraq. An army of 250,000 combatants would almost certainly require the use of bases in Saudi Arabia, as was the case during the 1991 conflict; a force of 50,000 can be assembled in Kuwait, Qatar and some of the other small Gulf kingdoms.

But it is ideology, most of all, that appears to govern the President's choice of strategic options. By starting the war in January or February, the Administration would escape more than the summer heat--it would short-circuit the diplomatic process at the UN and undercut any international effort to rely on UN arms inspectors to complete the "disarmament" of Iraq. Even while pushing for a favorable resolution at the UN Security Council, US officials have warned that the time for diplomacy is rapidly running out. "We're talking days and weeks, not months and years," President Bush said of the time that should be given to Saddam Hussein to comply with UN demands for the disclosure and destruction of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) remaining in his possession.

The more innovative plan would also give armchair strategists in the military academies and think tanks an opportunity to test innovative, "out of the box" techniques that have been gaining favor in recent years. These include the use of commandos equipped with laser target-designators who can infiltrate deep into enemy territory and pinpoint targets for attack by laser-guided bombs and missiles. Such attacks are intended to "decapitate" an enemy force (kill or immobilize its top leaders, or otherwise impair their ability to transmit orders to combat units in the field) and to pulverize its "centers of gravity" (e.g., presidential palaces, major military headquarters, communications centers, fuel depots). Another approach to be tested is "effects-based" targeting--that is, attacks intended to produce a desired effect (here, the disintegration of the current Iraqi regime) by targeting the assets, properties and institutions most valued by the enemy leadership.

Finally, you'll recall "coalition forces" subsequently invaded Iraq in March 2003. March. No longer near the height of the cool season which had at one point seemed so important. Which means the Administration fucked up the invasion and occupation on all fronts.

It's reassuring to consider, however, the degree to which Team Bush was held accountable for their dishonesty and poor judgment in last fall's elections, right? (Shit, there goes that goddamned sarcasm again. Enough, enough, enough.)

And our apologies to Miss Manners, but "unqualified fucking idiot" seems to be the way to go here.

Posted at 3:39 PM in a Grave fashion.
Occupation Training Manual, page 62: Educating The Iraqi Police Force

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Posted at 12:24 PM in a Grave fashion.
Unintentionally Hilarious Photos: Golden Globes Edition

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P. Diddy and Rosario Dawson

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Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts and Juan Valdez

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Hugh Hefner (forgive the watermark)

(Thanks TK)

Posted at 11:40 AM in a Shallow, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Headline

rashers.jpgRashomon, in case you were wondering, is Akira Kurasawa's 1950 classic in which the account of a murder-rape is told from four very different points of view. There's nothing quite like it -- an opinon borne out by newspapers' insistence on invoking the film whenever accounts of any given event differ, which is, like, all the time. A brief Lexis-Nexis search later and it becomes apparent -- the New York Times is by far the most egregious abuser of the "Rashomon" shorthand. Confer:

Rashomon in Melbourne
To hurl a bustling, kaleidoscopic, Rashomonian novel into the present climate is to indulge in a gamble -- a bid for space and quiet and the willing suspension of disbelief -- that is either foolish or heroic or, most likely, both.
by Daphne Merkin, 1/16/05

The Suspense Is Killing Me
Burt makes the most of a Rashomon approach, deftly demonstrating that what lives vividly in one person's memory can be erased or deeply buried in another's.
by John Hartl, 12/19/04

Five Faces of Antigone, From Surfer Babe to Widow
''Antigone Project'' fast-forwards its Greek heroine to the present, then offers a Rashomon-ized view of her tragic plight, interpreted by five female writers paired with five female directors.
by Phoebe Hoban, 10/27/04

"Rashomon" Meets "Gilligan's Island"
''Lost,'' a new ABC drama about air-crash survivors marooned on a spooky deserted island, sounds ludicrous -- ''Gilligan's Island'' meets ''The X-Files.'
by Alessandra Stanley, 9/12/04

Moody Loners Vs. Bad Guys
[...] and on "Boomtown," the Rashomon of crime shows, all the characters get a chance to interpret the evidence their own way.
by Alessandra Stanley, 10/26/03

Partly Mozart Followed by the Real Thing
Mozart got the Rashomon treatment at the Mostly Mozart festival on Tuesday night.
by Anne Midgette, 8/7/03

Corrections
An article last Sunday about the Albany budget negotiations misstated the source of the "Rashomon" narrative technique, which reveals shifting views of the same event through different witnesses. It was used in the 1950 film of that name by Akira Kurosawa, not in the short story by that name. (The film was based on two stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa -- "In a Grove," which uses the technique, and "Rashomon," which does not.)
6/1/03

We could go on, and we will -- more "Rashomon's" after the jump.

Continue reading...
Posted at 6:55 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 15, 2005
Charles Graner, You Were Just Convicted of Abusing Iraqi Prisoners in Abu Ghraib. What Are You Gonna Do Now?

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"I'm going to Disneyworld!" (via AFP)

Posted at 2:11 PM in a Grave fashion.
One Happy Fat Cat

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Top, Dick and Denny verify the election, Jan. 6, 2005. (via, Reuters);
bottom, the Cheshire Cat, from Alice in Wonderland

Posted at 11:43 AM in a Grave fashion.
  January 14, 2005
Blind Item Guessing Game

Despite low culture's attorney's protestations, we're pushing through with our New York Times Op-Ed Page blind item guessing game, pesky legal troubles be damned.

From yesterday's Maureen Dowd column:

A few years ago at a White House Correspondents' dinner, I met a very beautiful actress. Within moments, she blurted out: "I can't believe I'm 46 and not married. Men only want to marry their personal assistants or P.R. women."
Send your (nonlibelous!) theories to [email protected], er, just post them in the comments or something.

Posted at 8:55 AM in a Shallow fashion.
The Krush Groove Asana

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Russell Simmons offers up some truly troubling stills from the set of Phat Farm's new sneaker campaign.

At least it doesn't look like his maids are going to make another appearance...

Posted at 5:13 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 13, 2005
Though, after a great deal of effort on my part, I just can't get into Drea de Matteo

oc_julie.jpgApparently, The O.C. is all popular and shit, and a lot of people seem to like it. They're all, like, "We love The O.C.!" We, however, are alternative-minded types. We vote Nader. We drive Toyota Scions. We shop at fucking Trader Joe's and buy their cheap-ass wine. And then we don't get drunk, we get intoxicated. And, also, you know what? We watch Joey.

That sounded more hostile than was intended.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: When we had a bit more time than at the present, it turns out we were all just a bit too O.C.-centric.

Posted at 5:16 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
I'm So Excited, and I Just Can't Hide It (I'm About to Lose Control, and I think I like it)

Aide to Top Iraqi Cleric, and 5 Others, Are Killed in Attack, the New York Times, January 13, 2005:

Ayatollah Sistani's representative, Sheikh Mahmoud al-Madaini, was killed along with his son and four guards after leaving sunset prayers at a mosque in Madain, about 12 miles south of the capital, said an official in Ayatollah Sistani's office.

In further pre-election violence that is predicted to escalate, seven Iraqis were killed and a Turkish man was kidnapped in front of a Baghdad hotel by a group of gunmen today, according to an employee of the hotel.

Gosh, what sort of downbeat attitude is that? Why would such violence be "predicted to escalate"? What we, the American people need, is some goddamned optimism! You know, the kind of peppy good cheer we heard one short week ago:

Bush Rejects Growing Pessimism on U.S. Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, January 7, 2005:

"The Iraqi elections, rather than turning out to be a promising turning point, have the great potential for deepening the conflict," Scowcroft said at the New America Foundation luncheon, expressing a view increasing shared by both Democratic and Republican foreign policy specialists.

Asked if he shares Scowcroft's concerns, Bush told reporters today, "Quite the opposite. I think elections will be such a incredibly hopeful experience for the Iraqi people."

[...]

Bush said in response to a question, "I think we're making great progress" in Iraq. He added, "And it's exciting times for the Iraqi people. And it's so exciting there are some who are trying to intimidate people from going to the polls."

Posted at 5:02 PM in a Grave fashion.
Truly Shocking!

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Hols from £9.50? That 8-Page pullout and booking form must be amazing.

Posted at 3:22 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 12, 2005
Perfect For Airline Travel!

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[via bOING bOING, via waxy, via Eye Beam, via Pop Gadget, so you've seen it]

Posted at 3:31 PM in a Shallow fashion.
...But the search for Ron and Nicole's killer continues

US gives up search for Iraq WMD, BBC News, January 12, 2005:

Intelligence officials have confirmed the US has stopped searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

President Discusses the Future of Iraq, the White House, February 26, 2003:

In Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world -- and we will not allow it. (Applause.) This same tyrant has close ties to terrorist organizations, and could supply them with the terrible means to strike this country -- and America will not permit it. The danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons cannot be ignored or wished away. The danger must be confronted. We hope that the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the United Nations and disarm, fully and peacefully. If it does not, we are prepared to disarm Iraq by force. Either way, this danger will be removed. (Applause.)
Posted at 2:36 PM in a Grave fashion.
Do as I say, and as I do, which is what I think, and do, not say. I think.

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In today's Washington Times (one of those "conservative" papers read so, so regularly around these parts each day, before we roll them up early in the afternoon to beat the heathens preparing our food), President Bush unloads on the paper's editors and reporters about his true calling, espousing the usual rigmarole about "moral philosophy" this and "God's will" that. In other words, American moralists have been graciously treated to yet another reminder of the man's esteemed sense of nobility and right and wrong.

Anyway, amidst all the God-love, the story offers up this puzzlingly opaque gem of Bush's legendary anti-logic:

"I think people attack me because they are fearful that I will then say that you're not equally as patriotic if you're not a religious person," Mr. Bush said. "I've never said that. I've never acted like that. I think that's just the way it is."

It's good to be good, but it's better to be God, apparently. Or at least down with Him. Because, you know, He's more important than laws, or history, or judicial precedents. Even if you're not exactly saying that. Like, maybe, you're just implying that. But, you know, you never did say any such thing.

Hey, come on now, why's everyone getting all angry all of a sudden?

Posted at 12:38 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 11, 2005
Pyramid Scheme

Credit Guy Womack (no relation) for even further lowering the bar on the bullshit we can expect from defense attorneys. As lawyer for Charles Graner, the alleged ringleader of the Iraq prisoner abuse scandal, Womack yesterday offered a defense that managed to be at once offensive, incredible and troglodytic. From Reuters:

Graner's attorney said piling naked prisoners into pyramids and leading them by a leash were acceptable methods of prisoner control. He compared this to pyramids made by cheerleaders at sports events and parents putting tethers on toddlers.

"Don't cheerleaders all over America form pyramids six to eight times a year. Is that torture?" Guy Womack, Graner's attorney, said in opening arguments to the 10-member U.S. military jury at the reservist's court-martial.

Outrage was registered in all the expected outposts, but what of the slander to cheerleaders? Surely the Pyramid Defense doesn’t do the spirit industry any favors. I contacted Sheila Noone, editor of American Cheerleader magazine, for her thoughts.

Continue reading...
Posted at 1:10 PM in a Grave fashion.
Amber Alert: Andrea Peyser Demonstrates An Unusual Self-Awareness

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From everyone's favorite Columnist of the Year, Andrea Peyser, in today's New York Post:

C' mon, Amber. I'm really a lot of fun when you get to know me.
Her blue-green eyes puffy from apparent lack of sleep ' or was it tears? ' and her hands trembling nervously, the literary welterweight formally known as Amber Frey looked up into my eyes. And grimaced.
Well it's true ' I'm no Scott Peterson.
...
And in this starkly unromantic setting, our eyes met. Amber clutched her stomach queasily with her hand.
I feared she'd throw up.
Amber 'Victim Tour' Lands Here
And in only vaguely related news, enjoy another look at Amber's massive braces and minimal assets. (Safe neither for work nor much anywhere else.)

amberalerted.jpg

Posted at 10:58 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Dax Power

daxter.jpgIn honor of today’s DVD/video release of the Dax Shepard vehicle Without a Paddle, low culture is proud to present the following unpublished excerpt from an interview with Ashton Kutcher, Dax’s Punk’d co-star. (The interviewer shall remain nameless.)

X: Alright my friend has a question for you. He wants to know if we were supposed to accept Dax Shephard as an actor in Without a Paddle or if we were being Punk’d? (chuckles)

Kutcher: I haven’t seen the movie. It may have been. You better tell your friend to stop talking shit about my friend unless he’s an actor and he can outperform that.

X: (chuckling) Do you ummm… are you doing like… your roles like a business person and like a producer?

And now Ashton will finally have his chance to catch the film, described by the Boston Globe as “harmlessly cretinous.”

Posted at 9:35 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 10, 2005
I Almost Drowned, But They Saved Me (and Then I Lost My Pants)

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America's Funniest Rescue Video

You gotta watch this dramatic real-time video (QT) of a guy being saved from the Los Angeles river from CNN.com. (Or, choose your preferred version here.)

Now, try watching while listening to the music from The Benny Hill Show.

And before you get mad at me, the guy was okay.

Update: Turns out video is for CNN Premium subscribers only. Damn, but it was so funny.

Posted at 6:37 PM in a Shallow fashion.
You've Come A Long Way, Big Willie

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King of Queens: Will Smith and Kevin James in Hitch.

"Talking about Six Degrees [of Separation] with Premiere magazine a decade ago, Smith raised eyebrows in the p.c.-sensitive media by confessing that before he accepted the role, his friend Denzel Washington had warned him, 'Just don't be kissing no man.'"
- It's a queer eye for the straight thesp, by David Rooney, Variety, March 14, 2004 (subscription required).

Posted at 6:08 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Adventures in the Skin Trade, Vol. 3

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(Answer Key: John Goodman + Ricky Gervais = Michael Moore at Sunday's People's Choice Awards)

Previously: Vol. 2, Vol. 1

Posted at 8:06 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Least Believable Pull Quote Ever

spearsseventeen1.jpgFrom the (barely visible) cover of February, 2005's Seventeen magazine:

Jamie Lynn Spears - Britney's Sister Confesses... "I Don't Want to Get Too Famous"
Really? Then why exactly are you on the goddamned cover of Seventeen?





Posted at 8:02 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Everything Is Shit

With a new Amazon entry for the Jonathan Safran Foer novel Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (via Maud), the literary set is treated to a sneak-peek at the wonderblah’s sophomore effort. And boy-o, does it look hot…

From our Amazonian product description:

Oskar Schell is an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist. He is nine years old.

Already we’ve got a Wes Anderson adaptation waiting to happen (Rushmost?). Maybe Jonathan Lipnicki is a little old – but wouldn’t he be perfect? Precocious, non-threatening and Tiger Beat enough to pull off this acrobatic feat of cutesiness. But wait, there’s more. Still from Amazon:

And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center.

Oh, snap. No he didn’t.

Oh, yes, he did. But it couldn’t get any bigger, could it? It could, and it does:

His search for the lock careens from Central Park to Coney Island to the Bronx and beyond. But it also travels into history, to Dresden and Hiroshima, where horrific bombings once shattered other lives. Along the way, Oskar encounters a motley assortment of humanity ' a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, lovers enraptured or scorned ' all survivors in their own ways.
Now we’ve got firebombing, nuclear annihilation and the Cyclone thrown in the mix – you just know this shit’s gonna be deep. Oprah deep. Liev Schreiber deep.

If only Foer had a chance to add the tsunami – this thing could have been really hot.

Posted at 8:01 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 8, 2005
Tomorrow's Corrections Today, Vol. 6

"'Strange Love' is a documentary about Brigitte Nielsen, the Danish giantess from 'Rocky IV' turned dissolute nudist, and Flavor Flav, the wily Ritalin-deprived clock-wearing Public Enemy hype man from the South Bronx.
[...]
"But Flav, who steals the show here, also lets his guard down sometimes, admitting to crippling anxiety. And when he is not able to make Brigitte laugh with his antics, and the cultural gulf between them seems unbridgeable, he can also look like a small, lost old man who has come far from the South Bronx but does not quite know how or why."
-Flouting Convention, Embracing Eccentricity, The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2005.

"[Meth] Aiyyo Flav
[Flav] Whassup Meth?
[Meth] What you know about niggaz from Long Island right?
[Flav] Huh?
[Meth] True Long Island right?
[Flav] All my life!
[Meth] All your life right?
[Flav] All my life!
[Meth] Westbury
[Flav] Word up, Freeport, Long Island, Roosevelt, Long Island"
- "Soul Power (Black Jungle)," Wu-Tang Clan, feat. Flavor Flav

Related:
Artist Name: Flavor Flav
Born: 1959
In: Roosevelt, Long Island, NY
- AOL Music: Flavor Flav

Date of birth (location)
16 March 1959
Roosevelt, Long Island, New York, USA
- IMDB

Posted at 7:38 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Paging Don DeLillo

"Hundreds of people were kept from their homes Friday in Graniteville, S.C., because of chlorine gas that was released after a train crash early Thursday. Bulldozers began moving the derailed cars."
-Cloud Rising From Train Wreck, Then Death and a Ghost Town, The New York Times, Jan. 8, 2005.

"Finally, after 'a night of dream-lit snows,' an 'airborne toxic event' originates in a rail accident at a nearby train yard. The dark billowing cloud is full of Nyodene D..."
-Summary of Don DeLillo's White Noise.

Related: Don DeLillo and the Towers

Posted at 6:51 PM in a Grave fashion.
This Year At the Movies: Have A Ball!

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The Woodsman, in theaters now... Coach Carter, opening Jan. 14, 2005

Posted at 6:43 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 7, 2005
Positive numbers, fuzzy math, and well-spun figures

bush_smiling_green.jpgThere's an undeniable buzz in the air as January 30th, the date of the upcoming Iraqi elections, rapidly approaches. It's much akin to that feeling of excitement one gets around the holidays as you watch presents slowly accumulate underneath the family Christmas tree, and they just keep accumulating, and you're all, "Wow, how many of those presents are for me, and what did I get?"

And since you're such a simpleminded bastard, you hold a press conference, and you talk about how excited you are about your presents. You prattle on and on about how you "think elections will be such a incredibly hopeful experience for the Iraqi people." And you add that

14 of Iraq's 18 provinces "appear to be relatively calm." The four remaining provinces "are places where the terrorists are trying to stop people from voting," [you] said. "So I know it's hard. But it's hard for a reason. And the reason it's hard is because there are a handful of folks who fear freedom."

And then this Grinch-like Brent Scowcroft asshole, who served under your dad as his national security adviser, and who just now apparently decided to fucking betray you, starts trying to take a bunch of the presents away and opens them up and shows you that there's coal inside the sloppily-packaged boxes. And then you go, "Wow, 'coal' is a bad metaphor for 'dissent and civil war', and the gift boxes are an even worse metaphor for 'free and stable elections!'"

So, anyway, Scowcroft goes on:

"The Iraqi elections, rather than turning out to be a promising turning point, have the great potential for deepening the conflict," Scowcroft said. He said he expects increased divisions between Shiite and Sunni Muslims after the Jan. 30 elections, when experts believe the government will be dominated by the majority Shiites.

Scowcroft predicted "an incipient civil war" would grip Iraq and said the best hope for pulling the country from chaos would be to turn the U.S. operation over to NATO or the United Nations -- which, he said, would not be so hostilely viewed by Iraqis.

But you? You're sticking to your guns; you're a stubborn, close-minded simpleton, after all. You're staying with those numbers you cited above, how 14 of the 18 extant provinces are "safe" and "calm." And, yeah, there are those four troubled regions, but you know what? Four out of eighteen, thats less than a quarter of the Iraqi geographic spectrum.

But your math, as usual, fucking sucks, and is distorted to no end, and doesn't accurately take into account the depth of the problem. Because what you've left out of your simpleminded assessment of reality is the key fact that, get this, those four troubled provinces together contain more than half the population of Iraq.

When even Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz, the commander of your ground forces in Iraq acknowledges this issue, it might help to pay attention. Particularly when he adds,

"I just can't guarantee that everyone will be able to go to a poll in total safety," he said. "I cannot put a bubble around every person walking from their home to the polling site."

Because, while we're dealing with tired clichés and bad metaphors, that "bubble" General Metz is talking about is so obviously wrapped around you, chump.

Posted at 12:16 PM in a Grave fashion.
Made of Clay

claymate.jpgThe following are troubling sentences taken out of context from Clay Aiken's sure-to-be-smash hit, Learning to Sing: Hearing the Music in Your Life, his memoir-cum-self helper-cum-religious manifesto. All quotes courtesy Amazon's "Search Inside This Book."

Page 5: She replied that a wife was someone who would cook for me and wash my clothes and love me, and I said to her, "I'm already married." Mom laughed and said, "To whom?" And I said, "You, Mama!"

Page 38: I was so conflicted.

Page 65: Little boys don't wake up and say, "Gee, my yanking that little boy's underpants out of his corduroys is mean-spirited..."

Page 96: For some reason I've rarely been able to say "I love you" straight to his face.

Page 126: I felt out of control. I was this big, wet mess, trying to crawl into an old woman's arms.

Page 145: Jeff trusted me to run a camp of 150 kids.

Page 197: That I never need to see another video with a pretty young girl dressed like a hooker.

Page 224: I met some people who were Moravian.

Page 229: Determing what faith a child will have is a decision that should be made at home, not at the YMCA camp.

Posted at 3:51 AM in a Shallow fashion.
Lady Metroland's Guide to the Jet-Set

Rule 1: Whilst attending an event with Mohamed Al-Fayed, avoid photo ops at all costs.

hewitt.jpg
Jennifer Love Hewitt and al-Fayed open the Harrods January 2004 Sale.

liu.jpg
Lucy Liu and al-Fayed open the Harrods January 2005 Sale.

liu2.jpg
Lucy Liu and al-Fayed open the Harrods January 2005 Sale (cont.).

[Big ups TK...]

Posted at 3:09 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 6, 2005
This is the sound The O.C. makes

OC_soundtrack.jpgYou're going to write the perfect three-minute pop song. You've been saying this to yourself since you saw Beck open for Beth Orton at that secret show he did at the El Rey for her a few years back, only, for you, it wasn't a secret show, because you knew about his playing an intimate acoustic set hours in advance. And when an excited hush fell over the floor when Beth Orton came out to announce her opening act, you smiled knowingly. Your friends said you glowered, but that was most likely because you thought Orton's Central Reservation was such a letdown. You have nothing against Beck.

Besides, he's the old guard. You're all about Rooney, now, and The Walkmen, and labels like Sub Pop. You adored Eric's Trip way back when, and you've been listening to Minnesota's slowcore riot act Low well before they first appeared on "Music From the O.C. Mix 3: Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah". Fuck, you had that original EP before the word "Kranky" was being whispered by every other record-buyer at Amoeba. You know droning music, and you're not even Finnish like that Mika Vainio motherfucker. That shit's just noise. Static. Like Felix Kubin on fucking heroin. You know this because you got yourself a Nord Lead years ago, just so you could create your own take on the percussive mathematic chaos of labels like Schematic and Warp. You were going to outshine Autechre.

But then you ended up having to work seventy-plus hours a week at your marketing firm during that product launch for Coke's newest clear soda, and you lost interest. You fucking hated clear soda. You did, however, develop a severe drinking problem, in that other sense of consuming fluids. And started to appreciate the way that vocal-based indie music better complemented your commute on the fucking 10 freeway as you rolled into work later and later after those long nights out, and you tuned off KCRW and KXLU and popped in the latest Doves record. That somehow led to your getting, finally, that old Unkle record from 1998, which you had ignored for so long, because you never liked DJ Shadow, even when he did his own production work, much less his manning the decks for that cross-eyed James Lavelle motherfucker as he did on this record...but then you heard Ian Brown sing on that remake of that one song, and Richard Ashcroft, and Thom Yorke, and you were hooked. It was like the Britpop fad from the mid-90s, all NME and shit, but, somehow, cooler. Like, Flaunt- or index-caliber. And so you bought the soundtrack to Jonathan Glazer's "Sexy Beast" because Unkle collaborated with South on it. And you grew to love South, too. Those beats were so slinky. And the guitars, so synthetic. You traded in your Nord Lead for a Fender Stratocaster and an amp. You couldn't really figure out which effects pedals to get, so you winged it, and fucked around with the sounds as they ran through your G4 laptop.

And it all sounded like shit. It certainly didn't sound like Interpol's first record.

You had somehow failed to capture that mélange of angst and self-loathing and morose despair that ran throughout "Untitled". Instead, you had penned a series of asinine ditties that sounded more like the fucking Shins, which was ok, except you weren't into Sub Pop just yet, so it wasn't ok at the time. You were a wreck. You hated yourself, and your friend Leslie, who had played drums on the record in certain parts, invited you over to her place in Los Feliz to watch this new Fox TV pilot for which she had done some of the casting. And when The O.C. began, and you heard those first few strains of Phantom Planet singing their rapturous hit "California", you were hooked. Really, it was, just...rapturous (and yes, you fucking hated the DFA up to this point, so re-treaded disco beats had been done to death as far as you were concerned, and you were instead eagerly seeking out guitar hooks).

Phantom Planet, man...You still hate Jason Schwartzman. He was at the Wiltern once while you were watching Damien Rice play, and he just looked so fucking smug. Then he made some small talk with the bandmembers, and they ushered him backstage, and you really, really hated him. You fucking love Damien Rice. And you're going to write the perfect three-minute pop song about that. It'll be like that song that girl group wrote about David Duchovny in 1998, only less stalkerish. Probably more like the song Ben Gibbard wrote about Evan Dando in 2001 as part of the build-up to his later Postal Service success. You could totally do that. Three minutes. That's all you need. Now for some inspiration...sixty fucking minutes thereof.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: You can't stop R.O.C.K.ing, can you? You just can't.

Posted at 4:06 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
Insensitive Headline of the Day

Residents Trickle Back, but Falluja Still Seems Dead

[The New York Times, Jan. 6, 2005]

Posted at 2:26 PM in a Grave fashion.
"Things are seriously fucked up here, bro. Can you maybe take me outta here when you leave? I'll do anything: I'll sit in baggage, I'll work as a Steward. Anything."

004powell.jpg
Small Talk: Indonesian Social Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab confers with Colin Powell (Reuters)

Posted at 12:50 PM in a Grave fashion.
  January 5, 2005
I just don't know which conservative mouthpiece to believe anymore

From KOGO AM 600 Radio's "Uniquely Conservative Talk Radio-", the Steve Yuhas Show, Jan. 3, 2005:

"Tsunami Aid Packages Grow into Billions: Sri Lanka Refuses Most Israeli Help"

...and from the conservative Israeli newspaper, the Jerusalem Post, Jan. 5, 2005:

"Sri Lanka requests more medical aid from Israel"

Posted at 4:04 PM in a Grave fashion.
We all dislike it when the Bush family meddles in international and diplomatic affairs

colin_jeb_indonesia2.jpg

colin_jeb_indonesia.jpg

And, yes, this is totally taken out of context. "Giving aid", "saving face", blah blah blah. We just love us some good old Colin Powell, that's all.

Posted at 3:42 PM in a Grave fashion.
How Many Things Are Wrong With the Following PR Quotable?

From US Weekly, January 10, 2005:

"Three days later, [Angelina] Jolie strolled around a market near Beirut, Lebanon. '[My son] Maddox is Buddhist, so I'm making Christmas a time where he learns about new countries,' she said recently."

Posted at 2:57 AM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 4, 2005
Now That There Aren't Any Cute White Kids Left, At Least We've Got Cute (White) Cats

kittyruins.jpg
Feline survivor : A cat who survived the tidal wave, walks among the debris in search of food on the worst hit Thai island of Phi Phi. (AFP/Saeed Khan)

RELATED: One-year-old Hannes Bergman of Sweden

ALSO RELATED: Tween Karl Nilsson of Sweden

ALSO, ALSO RELATED: German baby, another German baby, German Nickelodeon fans, and brave, brave Petra Nemcova (practically German (Czech) and likely developmentally disabled (super-attractive)).

Posted at 9:40 PM in a Grave fashion.
Super Boys' Club

Comic Book Resource features its share of explosive comic book rumor-mongering (Magneto fears for the life of Scarlet Witch?!), but nothing can quite compare to the journalistic dynamite contained in Rich Johnston's most recent column. Specifically,

But then there was the Superman movie rumour. Still not totally resolved, still looking more likely by the minute, with massive impications all over the place, it had to be Rumour Of The Year.

That Bryan Singer wanted to cast an actor who was in the closet, and who would declare themselves to be gay in the lead up to, or during the release of the film. So that it would have a meta-textual element, over secret identities, and also give young gay individuals a positive role model in their lives. And presumably, not make stereotypical remarks about men dressed in tight colourful leotards.

On, and then, Brandon Routh being cast in the lead.

As the evangelical churches of the USA hold their breath, ready to start an onslaught of whipped up mob-hatred, Dan DiDio gingerly accepted the award on behalf of DC. "You know, we're appointing a Senior Vice President of Marketing? Something tells me I think we're going to need him..."

Let's take a look at some of the evidence available for speculating on Brandon Routh's sexuality, and see if we can't clear things up.

-According to his imdb entry, Brandon is sometimes credited as "B. J. Routh". B.J. is homosexual slang for a hummer.

-Among B.J.'s television appearances? An episode of Will and Grace, a homosexual sitcom, titled "A Gay/December Romance."

-B.J.'s official site is BrandonRouth.tv. In homosexual patois, TV stands for transexual.

-According to some, largely unsubstantiated reports, director Bryan Singer is gay.

The verdict? Get ready to start your righteous indignation...

Posted at 2:03 PM in a Shallow fashion.
  January 3, 2005
Unintentionally Hilarious Photo of the Moment, Vol. 44

bush_clinton.jpg

Posted at 10:01 PM in a Grave, Unintentionally Hilarious fashion.
So We Can Safely Assume She Won't Be Appearing In Brown Bunny 2...

gallobolly2.jpgFrom Reuters, "Bride and Prejudice" Star Mulls Screen Kiss, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2005:

"Bride and Prejudice" star Aishwarya Rai, one of the top stars of India's prim film industry, says she won't rule out kissing in films when she moves from "Bollywood" to Hollywood -- although she says it is certain to create a minor scandal among her fans.
...
She has never kissed on screen -- not even after 24 films because kissing is taboo in the Indian cinema. Rai said if she did kiss someone on screen in a Hollywood movie, it would create a minor scandal among her fans.

Related: Your Ultimate Movie Guide

Posted at 8:38 PM in a Shallow fashion.
Meanwhile, In Bizarro World...

001cheerleaders.jpg
We Got Spirit, Yes We Do: "If you love Jesus, cheer real loud!" [via Reuters]

After his landslide defeat by John Kerry, former president George W. Bush returned to his first career as a male cheerleader.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and several others in the President's inner circle were arrested on war crimes charges.

Bagels no longer fattening...

Related: Are these the most covered-up cheerleaders you've ever seen?

Posted at 8:25 AM in a Grave, Satirical fashion.
  January 2, 2005
Hey, Colin: Don't Burn the Bridge on the Way Out, Okay?

002powell.jpgThere's a big difference between a slip of the tongue and an unconscious dig. Check out Colin Powell's remarks on Meet the Press this weekend, and tell me if there's any love lost between Powell and big Dick Cheney:

MR. RUSSERT: Were you worn down or frustrated by the philosophical differences with Secretary Rumsfeld or Vice President Cheney?

SEC'Y POWELL: I work for the president of the United States. He's always allowed me to present my views. More often than not, the views of the senior leadership of the administration, myself, Secretary Cheney—excuse me, Vice President Cheney; I still remember him as my secretary when I was chairman—Vice President Cheney, Secretary Rumsfeld, Dr. Rice—more often than not we agreed with one another.
Damn! Put away the claws, man.

But, mistakes aside, I assume Powell still considers Cheney a fiend. I mean friend. Whoops: my bad.

Posted at 4:40 PM in a Grave fashion.
Make our "team" part of your "team"
jean-paul tremblayJean-Paul Tremblay written-ed, directed and co-produced a bunch of so-called "comedy" and "video" content, is notoriously competitive, and nonetheless settles for bottom-tier tokenism. Repped by John Herndon at Grape Dope Entertainment. Thrill jockey!
matt haberMatt Haber has written for The New York Times, Esquire, and The New York Observer. He is not allergic to pet dander and can do "ethnic" accents if the part calls for it. He is repped by Candy Addams at Entertainment 4-Every-1. Feeling special?
Guy Cimbalo is so cute! Yes, he is. Who's a cute little Guy? You are, you are! Guy's our very own star of stage and screen and is repped by Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm. Rowr!
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